George Henry Boker

George Henry Boker Poems


When all the labors of the day are past,
And on the world-exposed and fretted edge

While Sherman stood beneath the hot test fire,
That from the lines of Vicksburg gleamed,
And bomb-shells tumbled in their smoky gyre,

Close his eyes; his work is done!
What to him is friend or foeman,
Rise of moon, or set of sun,
Hand of man, or kiss of woman?

These blows of fate that shake our troubled life,
This long, long sorrow o'er our parted fate,
Like foes assailing us with armed hate,


If she should give me all I ask of her,
The virgin treasures of her modest love;

Another year has passed us, while the earth
Grew green and grey again beneath our eyes,
And now once more, the snowy mantle lies

Clash, clash goes the sabre against my steed's side,
Kling, kling go the rowels, as onward I ride;
And all my bright harness is living and speaks,

What are you waiting for, George, I pray? -
To scour your cross-belts with fresh pipe-clay?
To burnish your buttons, to brighten your guns;


Roll the grand harmonies which finite mind
Can neither reason of nor understand,

A marvel to me is my lady's hand;
'Tis not that plump, thick-palmed and dimpled thing
With pointed ends and almond nails ye sing,

Her prudish foot, seen rarely as a nun,
Is steep and narrow, flexible as steel,
Touching her pathway but at toe and heel,

Such of her beauties as the world may see,
Whose eyes escort her eagerly around,
Lackeying her way with homage too profound

Again I touch thee, vexing instrument,
My hard and rarely-mastered Tuscan lute!
Though faulty poets of thy worth are mute,

Thus gracious ever is my darling's mind;
Forgiving not alone the guilt which dyes
My features scarlet, when my history lies

A golden circle for my lady's hand,
Crowned with a ruby 'twixt the outspread wings
Of that eternal globe which brooding swings

If any comfort lies within the zone
Of ruddy gold that round thy finger clings;
If from the ruby's steady radiance springs

There blew a breeze across the flowers, that said,
'Love is the sweetest thing which mortals know!'
And so I launched my shallop in the glow

Ah, lute, how well I know each tone of thee,
From shrillest treble unto solemn bass,
The power of every fret, the time and place

Hark! in that tone I heard my lady sigh,
Sigh with the burden of some longing pain,
Some dim half-thought, that will not come again;

'Tis not in hollow wood and tinkling wire
To be the wonder I would have them be;
Contrive my spells however cunningly,

George Henry Boker Biography

George Henry Boker (October 6, 1823 – January 2, 1890) was an American poet, playwright, and diplomat. In 1848 his first volume of verse, "The Lessons of Life, and other Poems," was published. Also, he met Bayard Taylor and Richard Henry Stoddard, who would be long-lasting friends. This group of young men supported and encouraged each other in the face of official journalistic criticism. Launched in the literary life, Boker began to write assiduously. His first play, Calaynos, went into two editions during 1848, and the following year was played by Samuel Phelps at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, May 10. This tragedy is notable for its depiction of the racial issues between the Spanish and the Moors. This was soon followed by other plays. The next to be staged was a comedy, The Betrothal (1850). Two other tragedies from this time are Anne Boleyn (1850) and Leonor de Guzman (1853). During this time, in correspondence with his friends, Boker was determining to himself the distinction between poetic and dramatic style. But Boker was not wholly wed to theatrical demands; he still approached the stage in the spirit of the poet who was torn between loyalty to poetic indirectness, and necessity for direct dialogue. Francesca da Rimini, (1853) is the play he is most well-remembered for. It is a verse tragedy based on the story of Paolo and Francesca from the fifth canto of Dante's Inferno. Boker published the original version, called the reading version, but used an acting version for the stage which had more directness and dramatic flow. This allowed for a compromise between the poet of the reading version and the demands of the theatre. The American Civil War not only turned Boker's pen to the Union Cause, but changed him politically from a Democrat to a staunch Republican. In fact, his name is closely interwoven with the rehabilitation of the Republican party in Philadelphia. His volume "Poems of the War," was issued in 1864. In the 1860s, the Union League Club was founded, with Boker as the leading spirit; through his efforts the war earnestness of the city was concentrated here; from 1863-71 he served as its secretary; from 1879-84 as its President. But Boker's thoughts were also concerned with poetry. In 1869, Boker issued Königsmark, The Legend of the Hounds and other Poems, and this ended his dramatic career until his return from abroad.)

The Best Poem Of George Henry Boker

Sonnet Xxx:


When all the labors of the day are past,
And on the world-exposed and fretted edge
Of my sad soul, like doves upon the ledge
Of yonder roof, my cares, with wings closed fast,
Doze into night; and from the future cast
Of my dark life I ask no cheering pledge,
No growing plume, hope's broken wing to fledge;
Content, if that dear hour will only last;
'Twere meet, that in this respite of the heart,
Some heavenward look, some thankful thought were given
To the great hand, that out of discord even,
Shapes my brief rest. But stubborn in the part
We ingrates play, the thoughts, that upward start,
Stoop to thy feet, and miss the way to heaven.

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