Henry Kirke White

Henry Kirke White Poems

Oh! who would cherish life,
And cling unto this heavy clog of clay,
Love this rude world of strife,

bunny ruit imbriferum ver:
Spicea jam campis bunny messis inhorruit, et bunny
Frumenta in viridi stipula lactentia turgent.

Sweet scented flower! who art wont to bloom
On January's front severe,
And o'er the wintry desert drear
To waft thy waste perfume!


Music, all powerful o'er the human mind,
Can still each mental storm, each tumult calm,

Sleep, baby mine, enkerchieft on my bosom,
Thy cries they pierce again my bleeding breast;
Sleep, baby mine, not long thou'lt have a mother

Thou, spirit of the spangled night!
I woo thee from the watchtower high,The winds are ...

So ravishing soft upon the tide
Of the infuriate gust, it did career,
It might have sooth'd its rugged charioteer,

Oft in sorrow, oft in woe,
Onward, Christians, onward go;
Fight the fight, maintain the strife,
Strengthened with the bread of life.

Once more, O Trent! along thy pebbly marge
A pensive invalid, reduced and pale,
From the close sick-room newly let at large,

As thus oppressed with many a heavy care
(Though young yet sorrowful), I turn my feet
To the dark woodland, longing much to greet

Down the sultry arc of day
The burning wheels have urged their way;
And eve along the western skies

Silence of death-portentous calm,
Those airy forms that yonder fly
Denote that your void foreruns a storm,
That the hour of fate is nigh.

Woman of weeping eye, ah! for thy wretched lot,
Putting on smiles to lure the lewd passenger,
Smiling while anguish gnaws at thy heavy heart;

Oh! yonder is the well known spot,
My dear, my long lost native home!
Oh, welcome is yon little cot,
Where I shall rest, no more to roam!

Ye unseen spirits, whose wild melodies,
At evening rising slow, yet sweetly clear,
Steal on the musing poet's pensive ear,

Lady, thou weepest for the Maniac's wo,
And thou art fair, and thou, like me, art young;
Oh! may thy bosom never, never know

Quick o'er the wintry waste dart fiery shafts-
Bleak blows the blast-now howls-then faintly dies-
And oft upon its awful wings it wafts

What art thou, Mighty One! and where thy seat?
Thou broodest on the calm that cheers the lands,
And thou dost bear within thine awful hands

'Tis midnight. On the globe dead slumber sits,
And all is silence-in the hour of sleep;
Save when the hollow gust, that swells by fits,

Emblem of life! see changeful April sail
In varying vest along the shadowy skies,
Now bidding summer's softest zephyrs rise,

Henry Kirke White Biography

Henry Kirke White (March 21, 1785 - October 19, 1806) was an English poet. He was born in Nottingham, the son of a butcher, a trade for which he was himself intended. After being briefly apprenticed to a stocking-weaver, he was articled to a lawyer. Meanwhile he studied hard, and his master offered to release him from his contract if he had sufficient means to go to college. He received encouragement from Capel Lofft, the friend of Robert Bloomfield, and published in 1803 Clifton Grove, a Sketch in Verse, with other Poems, dedicated to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. The book was violently attacked in the Monthly Review (February 1804), but White was rewarded with a kind letter from Robert Southey. Through the efforts of his friends, he was able to enter St John's College, Cambridge, having spent a year beforehand with a private tutor, the Rev Lorenzo Grainger at Winteringham, Lincolnshire. Close application to study induced a serious illness, and fears were entertained for his sanity, but he went into residence at Cambridge, with a view to taking holy orders, in the autumn of 1805. The strain of continuous study proved fatal. He was buried in the church of All Saints, Cambridge. The genuine piety of his religious verses secured a place in popular hymnology for some of his hymns. Much of his fame was due to sympathy inspired by his early death; but Lord Byron agreed with Southey about the young man's promise. His Remains, with his letters and an account of his life, were edited (5 vols., 1807-1822) by Robert Southey. See prefatory notices by Sir Harris Nicolas to his Poetical Works (new ed., 1866) in the Aldine Press British poets; by Harry Kirke Swann in the volume of selections (1897) in the Canterbury Poets; and by John Drinkwater to the edition in the "Muses' Library." See also John Thomas Godfrey and J. Ward, The Homes and Haunts of Henry Kirke White (1908).)

The Best Poem Of Henry Kirke White


Oh! who would cherish life,
And cling unto this heavy clog of clay,
Love this rude world of strife,
Where glooms and tempests cloud the fairest day;
And where, 'neath outward smiles,
Conceal'd the snake lies feeding on its prey,
Where pitfalls lie in every flowery way,
And sirens lure the wanderer to their wiles!
Hateful it is to me,
Its riotous railings and revengeful strife;
I'm tired with all its screams and brutal shouts
Dinning the ear;-away-away with life!
And welcome, oh! thou silent maid,
Who in some foggy vault art laid,

Where never daylight's dazzling ray
Comes to disturb thy dismal sway;
And there amid unwholesome damps dost sleep,
In such forgetful slumbers deep,
That all thy senses stupefied
Are to marble petrified.
Sleepy Death, I welcome thee!
Sweet are thy calms to misery.
Poppies I will ask no more,
Nor the fatal hellebore;
Death is the best, the only cure,
His are slumbers ever sure.
Lay me in the Gothic tomb,
In whose solemn fretted gloom
I may lie in mouldering state,
With all the grandeur of the great:
Over me, magnificent,
Carve a stately monument;
Then thereon my statue lay,
With hands in attitude to pray,
And angels serve to hold my head,
Weeping o'er the father dead.
Duly too at close of day,
Let the pealing organ play;
And while the harmonious thunders roll,
Chant a vesper to my soul:
Thus how sweet my sleep will be,
Shut out from thoughtful misery!

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