Gratitude by Henry Van Dyke

“Do you give thanks for this? — or that?”
No, God be thanked
I am not grateful
In that cold, calculating way, with blessing ranked
As one, two, three, and four, — that would be hateful.

I only know that every day brings good above”
My poor deserving;
I only feel that, in the road of Life, true Love
Is leading me along and never swerving.

Whatever gifts and mercies in my lot may fall,
I would not measure
As worth a certain price in praise, or great or small;
But take and use them all with simple pleasure.

For when we gladly eat our daily bread, we bless
The Hand that feeds us;
And when we tread the road of Life in cheerfulness,
Our very heart-beats praise the Love that leads us.

This blog is managed by Indian novelist Jyoti Arora. Check out her novels and personal blog at jyotiarora.com

A Woman’s Shortcomings, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

She has laughed as softly as if she sighed,
She has counted six, and over,
Of a purse well filled, and a heart well tried –
Oh, each a worthy lover!
They “give her time”; for her soul must slip
Where the world has set the grooving;
She will lie to none with her fair red lip:
But love seeks truer loving.

She trembles her fan in a sweetness dumb,
As her thoughts were beyond recalling;
With a glance for one, and a glance for some,
From her eyelids rising and falling;
Speaks common words with a blushful air,
Hears bold words, unreproving;
But her silence says – what she never will swear –
And love seeks better loving.

Go, lady! lean to the night-guitar,
And drop a smile to the bringer;
Then smile as sweetly, when he is far,
At the voice of an in-door singer.
Bask tenderly beneath tender eyes;
Glance lightly, on their removing;
And join new vows to old perjuries –
But dare not call it loving!

Unless you can think, when the song is done,
No other is soft in the rhythm;
Unless you can feel, when left by One,
That all men else go with him;
Unless you can know, when unpraised by his breath,
That your beauty itself wants proving;
Unless you can swear “For life, for death!” –
Oh, fear to call it loving!

Unless you can muse in a crowd all day
On the absent face that fixed you;
Unless you can love, as the angels may,
With the breadth of heaven betwixt you;
Unless you can dream that his faith is fast,
Through behoving and unbehoving;
Unless you can die when the dream is past –
Oh, never call it loving!

This blog is maintained by Indian novelist Jyoti Arora. Check out her novels and personal blog at jyotiarora.com

‘My Vocation’ by Toru Dutt

A waif on this earth,
Sick, ugly and small,
Contemned from my birth
And rejected by all,
From my lips broke
Where – oh where shall I fly?
Who comfort will bring?
Sing, – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.

Life struck me with fright –
Full of chances and pain,
So I hugged with delight
The drudge’s hard chain;
One must eat, – yet I die,
Like a bird with clipped wing,
Sing – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.

Love cheered for a while
My morn with his ray,
But like a ripple or smile
My youth passed away.
Now near Beauty I sigh,
But fled is the spring!
Sing – said God in reply,
Chant poor little thing.

All men have a task,
And to sing is my lot –
No meed from men I ask
But one kindly thought.
My vocation is high –
‘Mid the glasses that ring,
Still – still comes that reply,
Chant poor little thing.

1819 New Year’s Carrier’s Address, By: Major Henry Livingston, Jr.

Believe me, dear patrons, I have wand’red too far,
Without any compass, or planet or star;
My dear native village I scarcely can see
So I’ll hie to my hive like the tempest-tost bee.
Hail home! sacred home! to my soul ever dear;
Abroad may be wonders but rapture is here.
My future ambition will never soar higher
Than the clean brushed hearth and convivial fire;
Here I lounge at my pleasure, and bask at my ease,
Full readily sooth’d, and desirous to please,
As happy myself as I happy can be,
I wish all the circle as happy as me.
But hark what a clatter! the Jolly bells ringing,
The lads and the lasses so jovially singing,
Tis New-Years they shout and then haul me along
In the mdist of their merry-make Juvenile throng;
But I burst from their grasp: unforgetful of duty
To first pay obeisence to wisdom and Beauty,
My conscience and int’rest unite to command it,
And you, my kind PATRONS, deserve & demand it.
On your patience to trespass no longer I dare,
So bowing, I wish you a Happy New Year.

Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind- By: William Shakespeare

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 freindship if feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze thou bitter sky,
That does not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As a friend remembered not.
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.