Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SONNET, by RICHARD WATSON GILDER

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THE SONNET, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: What is a sonnet? 'tis the pearly shell
Last Line: Mid-ocean deep to the sheer mountain walls.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets; Thought; Thinking

What is a sonnet? 'T is the pearly shell
That murmurs of the far-off murmuring sea;
A precious jewel carved most curiously;
It is a little picture painted well.
What is a sonnet? 'T is the tear that fell
From a great poet's hidden ecstasy;
A two-edged sword, a star, a song, -- ah me!
Sometimes a heavy-tolling funeral bell.
This was the flame that shook with Dante's breath,
The solemn organ whereon Milton played,
And the clear glass where Shakespeare's shadow falls:
A sea this is, -- beware who ventureth!
For like a fiord the narrow floor is laid
Mid-ocean deep to the sheer mountain walls.

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