Sunday Sonnet – The pillar perished by Sir Thomas Wyatt

Thomas Wyatt 1503-1542

The pillar perished

The pillar perished is whereto I lent,
The strongest stay of mine unquiet mind;
The like of it no man again can find
From east to west still seeking though he went.
To mine unhap! for hap away hath rent
Of all my joy the very bark and rind;
And I, alas, by chance am thus assigned
Dearly to mourn till death do it relent.
But since that thus it is by destiny,
What can I more but have a woeful heart,
My pen in plaint, my voice in woeful cry,
My mind in woe, my body full of smart,
And I myself myself always to hate
Till dreadful death do ease my doleful state?

Sunday Sonnet – Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844-1889

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled thing –
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim,
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings,
Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
Well swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him

Sunday Sonnet – The Dead by Mathilde Blind

Mathilde Blind 1841-1896

The Dead

The dead abide with us! though stark and cold
Earth seems to grip them; they are with us still:
They have forged our chains of being for good or ill
And their invisible hands these hands yet hold.
Our perishable bodies are the mould
In which their strong imperishable will,
Mortality’s deep yearning to fulfil,
Hath grown incorporate through dim time untold,
Vibrations infinite of life in death,
As a star’s travelling light survives its star!
So may we hold our lives, that when we are
The Fate of those who then will draw this breath,
They shall not drag us to their judgment bar,
And curse the heritage which we bequeath.

Sunday Sonnet – Remember Me by Christina Georgina Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti 1830-1894

Remember Me

Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve;
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad

Sunday Sonnet – Nuptial Sleep by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 1826-1881

Nuptial Sleep

At length their long kiss severed, with sweet smart;
And as the last slow sudden drops are shed
From sparkling eaves when all the storm has fled,
So singly flagged the pulses of each heart.
Their bosoms sundered, with the opening start
Of married flowers to either side outspread
From the knit stem; yet still their mouths, burnt red,
Fawned on each other where they lay apart.
Sleep sank them lower than the tide of dreams,
And their dreams watched them sink and slid away.
Slowly their souls swam up again, through gleams
Of watered light and dull drowned waifs of day;
Till from some wonder of new woods and streams
He woke and wondered more; for there she lay

Sunday Sonnet – This was the woman by George Meredith

George Meredith 1828-1909

This was the woman

This was the woman; what now of the man?
But pass him. If he comes beneath a heel,
He shall be crushed until he cannot feel,
Or, being callous, haply till he can,
But he is nothing: – nothing? Only mark
The rich light striking out from her on him!
Ha! what a sense it is when her eyes swim
Across the man she singles, leaving dark
All else! Lord God, who madest the thing so fair,
So that I am drawn to her even now!
It cannot be such harm on her cool brow
To put a kiss? Yet if I meet him there!
But she is mine! Ah no! I know too well
I claim a star whose light is overcast;
I claim a phantom-woman in the past:
The hour has struck, though I heard not the bell

Sunday Sonnet – Rachel by Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold 1822-1888


Sprung from the blood of Israel’s scattered race,
At a mean inn in German Arrau born,
To forms from antique Greece and Rome uptorn,
Tricked out with a Parisian speech and face,
Imparting life renewed, old classic grace;
Then soothing with thy Christian strain forlorn,
A-Kempis, her departing soul outworn,
While by her bedside Hebrew rites have place –
Ah, not the radiant spirit of Greece alone
She had – one power, which made her breast its home!
In her, like us, there clashed (contending powers)
Germany, France, Christ, Moses, Athens, Rome.
The strife, the mixture in her soul, are ours:
Her genius and her glory are her own

Sunday Sonnet – To thee, with whom my best affections dwell by Alfred Tennyson

Alfred Lord Tennyson

To thee, with whom my best affections dwell,
That I was harsh to thee, let no one know;
It were, O Heaven! a stranger tale to tell
Then if the vine had borne the bitter slow.
Though I was harsh, my nature is not so:
A momentary cloud upon me tell;
My coldness was mistimed like summer-snow;
Cold words I spoke, yet loved thee warm and well
Was I so harsh? Ah, dear, it could not be
Seemed I so cold? What madness moved my blood
To make me thus belie my constant heart
That watched with love thine earliest infancy,
Slow-ripening to the grace of womanhood,
Through every change that made thee what thou art

Sunday Sonnet – When our two souls by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning 1806-1861

When our two souls stand up erect and strong,
Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and nigher,
Until the lengthening wings break into fire
At either curved point, what bitter wrong
Can the earth do to us, that we should not long
Be here contented? Think. In mounting higher,
The angels would press on us and aspire
To drop some golden orb of perfect song
Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay
Rather on earth. Beloved, where the unfit
Contrarious moods of men recoil away
And isolate pure spirits, and permit
A place to stand and love in for a day,
With darkness and the death-hour rounding it

Sunday Sonnet: Gipsies by John Clare

John Clare 1793-1864

The snow falls deep; the forest lies alone;
The boy goes hasty for his load of brakes,
Then thinks upon the fire and hurries back;
The gipsy knocks his hands and tucks them up,
And seeks his squalid camp, half hid in snow,
Beneath the oak which breaks away the wind,
And bushes close in snow like hovel warm;
There tainted mutton wastes upon the coals,
And the half-wasted dog squats close and rubs,
Then feels the heat too strong, and goes aloof;
He watches well, but none a bit can spare,
And vainly waits the morsel thrown away.
‘Tis thus they live – a picture to the place,
A quiet, pilfering, unprotected race

Sunday Sonnet: It is a beauteous evening by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth 1770-1850

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free;
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea:
Listen! the mighty being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder – everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year,
And worship’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not

Sunday Sonnet – When the Assault Was Intended to the City by John Milton

John Milton 1608-1674

Captain, or colonel, or knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did the ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms:
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o’er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun’s bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses’ bower:
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground; and the repeated air
Of sad Electra’s poet had the power
To save th’ Athenian walls from ruin bare

Sunday Sonnet: Come, darkest night by Lady Mary Wroth

Lady Mary Wroth 1587-1652

Come, darkest night, becoming sorrow best;
Light, leave thy light, fit for a lightsome soul;
Darkness doth truly suit with me oppressed
Whom absence’ power doth from mirth control.
The very trees with hanging heads condole
Sweet summer’s parting, and of leaves distressed
In dying colours make a grief-ful role:
So much, alas, to sorrow are they pressed.
Thus of dead leaves her farewell carpet’s made:
Their fall, their branches, all their mournings prove
With leafless, naked bodies, whose hues vade
From hopeful green, to wither in their love.
If trees and leaves for absence mourners be,
No marvel that I grieve, who like want see

Sunday Sonnet: To the Noble Lady, the Lady Mary Wroth by Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson 1572-1637

I that have been a lover, and could shew it,
Though not in these, in rhymes not wholly dumb;
Since I exscribe your sonnets, am become
A better lover. and much better poet.
Nor is my Muse or I ashamed to owe it
To those true numerous graces; whereof some
But charm the senses, others overcome
Both brains and hearts; and more now best do know it:
For in your verse all Cupid’s armoury,
His flames, his shafts, his quiver, and his bow,
His very eyes are yours to overthrow.
But then his mother’s sweets you so apply,
Her joys, her smiles, her loves, as readers take
For Venus’ ceston every line you make

Sunday Sonnet: At the round earth’s imagined corners by John Donne

John Donne 1572-1631

At the round earth’s imagined corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, o’erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God, and never taste death’s woe.
But let them sleep, Lord, and me mourn a space;
For if above all these my sins abound,
‘Tis late to ask abundance of thy grace
When we are there: here on this lowly ground
Teach me how to repent; for that’s as good
As if thou hadst sealed my pardon with thy blood

Sunday Sonnet: Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare 1564-1616

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimmed.
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee

Sunday Sonnet: Eternity by William Alabaster

William Alabaster 1567-1640

Eternity, the womb of things created,
The endless bottom of duration,
Whose half was always past, yet unbegun,
And half behind still coming unabated;
Whose thread cojoined, both unseparated,
Is time, which dated is by motion;
Eternity, whose real thoughts are one
With God, that is everness actuated:
O tie my soul unto this endless clew,
That I may overfathom fate and time
In all my actions which I do pursue,
And bound my thoughts in that unbounded clime:
For soul and thoughts, designs and acts, are evil,
That under compass of this life do level

Sunday Sonnet – Most Glorious Lord of Life by Edmund Spenser

Edmund Spenser 1552-1599

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrowed hell didst bring away
Captively thence captive, us to win:
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we, for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,
May live for ever in felicity;
And that thy love we weighing worthily
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought:
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught

Sunday Sonnet: With how sad steps by Sir Philip Sidney

Sir Philip Sidney 1554-1586

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climbest the skies;
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What, may it be that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp bow tries?
Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feelest a lover’s case;
I read it in thy looks; thy languished grace
To me that feel the like thy state decries.
The even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me:
Is constant love deemed there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?

Sunday Sonnet: From Tuscany by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey

Henry Howard, Earl of Surry 1517-1547

From Tuscany came my lady’s worthy race;
Fair Florence was sometimes her ancient seat;
The western isle, whose pleasant shower doth face
Wild Camber’s cliffs, did give her lively heat.
Fostered she was with milk of Irish breast,
Her sire an earl, her dame of prince’s blood;
From tender years in Britain she doth rest,
With a king’s child, where she tastes ghostly food,
Hunsdon did first present her to my eyen:
Bright is her hue, and Geraldine she hight;
Hampton me taught to wish her first for mine,
And Windsor, alas, doth chase me from her sight.
Beauty of kind, her virtues from above,
Happy is he that may obtain her love

Sunday Sonnet: My galley charged with forgetfulness by Thomas Wyatt

Thomas Wyatt 1503-1542

My galley charged with forgetfulness
Through sharp seas in winter nights doth pass
‘Tween rock and rock; ad eke mine enemy, alas,
That is my lord, steereth with cruelness;
And every oar a thought in readiness,
As through that death were light in such a case.
An endless wind doth tear the sail space,
Or forced sighs and trusty fearfulness;
A rain of tears, a cloud of dark disdain,
Hath done the wearied cords great hinderance,
Wreathed with error and eke with ignorance.
The stars be hid that led me to this pain;
Drowned is reason that should me comfort,
And I remain, despairing of the port

Sunday Sonnet: God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins 1844-1889

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings

Sunday Sonnet: Hap by Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy 1840-1928

If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: ‘Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!’
Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of the ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than i
Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan:
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain

Sunday Sonnet: Echoes by Emma Lazarus

Emma Lazarus 1849-1887

Late-born and woman-souled I dare not hope
The freshness of the elder lays, the might
Of manly modern passion shall alight
Upon my Muse’s lips, nor may I cope
(Who veiled and screened by womanhood must grope)
With the world’s strong-armed warriors and recite
The dangers, wounds, and triumphs of the fight,
Twanging the full-stringed lyre through all its scope.
But if thou ever in some lake-floored cave
O’erbrowed by rocks a wild voice wooed and heard,
Answering at once from heaven and earth and wave,
Lending elf-music to thy harshest word
Misprize thou not these echoes that belong
To one in love with solitude and song

Sunday Sonnet: Manchester by Night by Mathilde Blind

Mathilde Blind 1841-1896

O’er this huge town, rife with intestine wars,
Whence as from monstrous sacrificial shrines
Pillars of smoke climb heavenward. Night inclines
Black brows majestical with glimmering stars
Her dewy silence soothes life’s angry jars;
And like a mother’s wan white face, who pines
Above her children’s turbulent ways, so shines
The moon athwart the narrow cloudy bars,
Now toiling multitudes that hustling crush
Each other in the fateful strife for breath,
And, hounded on by divers hungers, rush
Across the prostrate ones that groan beneath,
Are swathed within the universal hush,
As life exchanges semblances with death