Tag Archives: William Adolphe Bouguereau

To an Isle in the Water

The Proposal. William Adolphe Bouguereau. 1872.


To an Isle in the Water

William Butler Yeats, 1889


Shy one, shy one,

Shy one of my heart,

She moves in the firelight

Pensively apart.


She carries in the dishes,

And lays them in a row.

To an isle in the water

With her would I go.


She carries in the candles,

And lights the curtained room,

Shy in the doorway

And shy in the gloom;


Any shy as a rabbit,

Helpful and shy.

To an isle in the water

With her would I fly.

Magnifying Glass

Ninety-three Degrees in the Shade. William Adolphe Bouguereau.


Magnifying Glass

Walter de la Mare


With this round glass

I can make magic talk—

A myriad shell show

In a scrap of chalk;


Of but an inch of moss

A forest—flowers and trees;

A drop of water

Like a hive of bees.


I lie in wait and watch

How the deft spider jets

The woven web-silk

From his spinnerets;


What tigerish claws he has!

And oh, the silly flies

That stumble into his snare—

With all those eyes!


Not even the tiniest thing

By this my magic glass

Will make more marvelous

And itself surpass.


Yes, and with lenses like it,

Eyeing the moon,

‘Twoud seem you’d walk there

In an afternoon!


‘Magnifying Glass’ was published in Bells and Grass, a 1941 collection of Walter de la Mare’s poems for children.


At the Edge of the Brook. William-Adolphe Bouguereau. 1875.



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Maiden! with the meek, brown eyes,

In whose orb a shadow lies

Like the dusk in evening skies!


Thou whose locks outshine the sun,

Golden tresses, wreathed in one,

As the braided streamlets run!


Standing, with reluctant feet.,

Where the brook and river meet,

Womanhood and childhood fleet!


Gazing with a timid glance,

On the brooklet’s swift advance,

On the river’s broad expanse!


Deep and still, that gliding stream

Beautiful to thee must seem,

As the river of a dream.


Then why pause with indecision,

When bright angels in thy vision

Beckon thee to fields Elysian?


Seest thou shadows sailing by,

As the dove, with startled eye

Sees the falcon’s shadow fly?


Hearest thou voices on the shore,

That our ears perceive no more,

Deafened by the cataract’s roar?


O, thou child of many prayers!

Life hath quicksands, Life hath snares!

Care and age come unawares!


Like the swell of some sweet tune

Morning rises into noon,

May glides onward into June.


Childhood is the bough where slumbered

Birds and blossoms many numbered;—

Age, that bough with snows encumbered.


Gather then, each flower that grows,

When the young heart overflows,

To embalm that tent of snows.


Bear a lily in thy hand;

Gates of brass cannot withstand

One touch of that magic wand.


Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth

In the heart the dew of youth,

On thy lips the smile of truth.


O, that dew, like balm, shall steal

Into wounds that cannot heal,

Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;


And that smile, like sunshine dart

Into many a sunless heart,

For a smile of God thou art.


The Bird Ch ri. William Adolphe Bouguereau. 1867.



Paul Laurence Dunbar


I know what the caged bird feels, alas!

When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;

When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,

And the river flows like a stream of glass;

When the first bird sings and the fist bud opes,

And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—

I know what  the caged bird feels!


I know why the caged bird beats his wing

Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;

For he must fly back to his perch and cling

When he fain would be on the bough a-swing;

And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars

And they pulse again with a keener sting—

I know why he beats his wing!


I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,

When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—

When he beats his bars and he would be free;

It is not a carol of joy or glee,

But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,

But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—

I know why the caged bird sings!


The writer Paul Laurence Dunbar is celebrated as the first important black poet in American history. He was highly acclaimed even in his own time by the likes of James Weldon, James Newton Matthew, and James Whitcomb Riley.

Dunbar’s first volume of poetry, Oak and Ivy, was published in 1893 with editorial assistance from friend and former classmate Orville Wright (one of the famous flying brothers). The volume included what remains perhaps Dunbar’s most popular poem—”Sympathy,” in which he uses the image of a caged bird to movingly express the plight of blacks in American society.

Sea Shell

The Shell. William Adolphe Bouguereau. 1871.


Sea Shell

Amy Lowell, 1912


Sea Shell, Sea Shell,

Sing me a song, O Please!

A song of ships and sailor men,

And parrots and tropical trees,

Of islands lost in the Spanish Main

Which no man ever may find again,

Of fishes and corals under the waves,

And seahorses stabled in great green caves.

Sea Shell, Sea Shell,

Sings of the things you know so well.