America's Funniest Home Poems


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An Account of the Greatest English Poets

Addison, Joseph (1672 - 1719)
1     Long had our dull forefathers slept supine,
2Nor felt the raptures of the tuneful Nine;
3Till Chaucer first, the merry bard, arose,
4And many a story told in rhyme and prose.
5But age has rusted what the poet writ,
6Worn out his language, and obscur'd his wit;
7In vain he jests in his unpolish'd strain,
8And tries to make his readers laugh, in vain.
9     Old Spenser next, warm'd with poetic rage,
10In ancient tales amus'd a barb'rous age;
11An age that yet uncultivate and rude,
12Where'er the poet's fancy led, pursu'd
13Through pathless fields, and unfrequented floods,
14To dens of dragons and enchanted woods.
15But now the mystic tale, that pleas'd of yore,
16Can charm an understanding age no more;
17The long-spun allegories fulsome grow.
18While the dull moral lies too plain below.
19We view well-pleas'd at distance all the sights
20Of arms and palfreys, battles, fields, and fights,
21And damsels in distress, and courteous knights;
22But when we look too near, the shades decay,
23And all the pleasing landscape fades away.
24     Great Cowley then (a mighty genius) wrote,
25O'er-run with wit, and lavish of his thought:
26His turns too closely on the reader press;
27He more had pleas'd us, had he pleas'd us less,
28One glitt'ring thought no sooner strikes our eyes
29With silent wonder, but new wonders rise;
30As in the milky-way a shining white
31O'er-flows the heavn's with one continu'd light,
32That not a single star can show his rays,
33Whilst jointly all promote the common blaze.
34Pardon, great poet, that I dare to name
35Th' unnumber'd beauties of thy verse with blame;
36Thy fault is only wit in its excess,
37But wit like thine in any shape will please.
38What muse but thine can equal hints inspire,
39And fit the deep-mouth'd Pindar to thy lyre;
40Pindar, whom others, in a labour'd strain
41And forc'd expression, imitate in vain?
42Well-pleas'd in thee he soars with new delight,
43And plays in more unbounded verse, and takes a nobler flight.

  • N. J. Endicott
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Nearer, my God, to Thee

Adams, Sarah Flower (1805 - 1848)
1Nearer, my God, to Thee,
2   Nearer to Thee!
3E'en though it be a cross
4   That raiseth me:
5Still all my song shall be
6Nearer, my God! to Thee,
7   Nearer to Thee.
8Though, like the wanderer,
9   The sun gone down,
10Darkness be over me,
11   My rest a stone;
12Yet in my dreams I'd be
13Nearer, my God, to Thee,
14   Nearer to Thee.
15Then let the way appear
16   Steps unto heaven;
17All that Thou sendest me
18   In mercy given:
19Angels to beckon me
20Nearer, my God, to Thee,
21   Nearer to Thee.
22Then with my waking thoughts
23   Bright with Thy praise,
24Out of my stony griefs
25   Bethel I'll raise;
26So by my woes to be
27Nearer, my God, to Thee,
28   Nearer to Thee.
29Or if on joyful wing,
30   Cleaving the sky,
31Sun, moon, and stars forgot,
32   Upward I fly:
33Still all my song shall be,
34Nearer, my God, to Thee,
35   Nearer to Thee.

  • Ian Lancashire
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Amy Margaret's Five Years Old

Allingham, William (1824 - 1889)
1Amy Margaret's five years old,
2Amy Margaret's hair is gold,
3Dearer twenty-thousand-fold
4    Than gold, is Amy Margaret.
5"Amy" is friend, is "Margaret"
7Or peeping daisy, summer's pet?
8    Which are you, Amy Margaret?
9A friend, a daisy, and a pearl,
10A kindly, simple, precious girl, --
11Such, howsoe'er the world may twirl,
12    Be ever,--Amy Margaret!


6] carkanet: necklace or headband. Back to Line

  • Ian Lancashire
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God's Light-houses

Jackson, Helen Hunt (1830 - 1885)
1When night falls on the earth, the sea
2  From east to west lies twinkling bright
3With shining beams from beacons high
4  Which flash afar a friendly light.
5The sailor's eyes, like eyes in prayer,
6  Turn unto them for guiding ray:
7If storms obscure their radiance,
8  The great ships helpless grope their way.
9When night falls on the earth, the sky
10  Looks like a wide, a boundless main.
11Who knows what voyagers sail there?
12  Who names the ports they seek and gain?
13Are not the stars like beacons set
14  To guide the argosies that go
15From universe to universe,
16  Our little world above, below?--
17On their great errands solemn bent,
18  In their vast journeys unaware
19Of our small planet's name or place
20  Revolving in the lower air.
21O thought too vast! O thought too glad!
22  An awe most rapturous it stirs.
23From world to world God's beacons shine:
24  God means to save his mariners!

  • Ian Lancashire
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After Binyon

Barwin, Gary (1964 - )
2as the part of me that's left
3grows old
4rage shall not weary me
5nor the damn years
6yes, and at the sunset
7in the morning
8and all afternoon
9and for much of the night
10I'll remember me


1] Alluding to "The Fallen" by Lawrence Binyon (1869-1943). Back to Line

  • Ian Lancashire
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