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Literary Calligraphy by Susan Loy


 

RED ROSE: LOVE
Robert Burns

O, my luve is like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June, O, my love is like a melodie, That's sweetly play'd in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass, So deep in luve am I, And will luve thee still my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, And the rocks melt wi the sun! And I will luve thee still, my dear, While the sands o life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve! And fare thee weel, a while! And I will come again, my luve, Tho it were ten thousand mile!

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RED TULIP: DECLARATION OF LOVE
Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me, and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers, to whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses, With a thousand fragrant posies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A belt of straw and ivy buds, With coral clasps and amber studs: And if these pleasures may thee move, Come live with me, and be my love.

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ROAD NOT TAKEN, The
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

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RED ROSEBUDS
James Russell Lowell

"And what is so rare as a day in June? Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune, and over it softly her warm ear lays:
Whether we look, or whether we listen, we hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might, an instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light, climbs to a soul in grass and flowers." 

James Russell Lowell, "The Vision of Sir Launfal"           

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ROSEMARY: REMEMBRANCE
William Shakespeare

There's rosemary, that's for remembrance: pray you love, remember: Hamlet, Act IV, Scene V

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SANTA CLAUS, SWEET OLD GENTLEMAN
Emily Dickinson

"Atmospherically it was the most beautiful Christmas on record -- the Hens came to the Door with Santa Claus, and the Pussies washed themselves in the open Air and Santa Claus himself-- sweet old gentleman, was even gallanter than usual...It was a lovely Christmas."

Reprinted by permission of the publishers from THE LETTERS OF EMILY DICKINSON, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Cambridge, Mass: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1958, 1986 by the President and fellows of Harvard College.

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SHAKESPEARE'S FLOWERS OF AUTUMN
William Shakespeare

Upper right: Sir, the year growing ancient, not yet on summer's death, nor on the birth of trembling winter, the fairest flowers o' the season are our carnations and streak'd gillyvors...The Winter's Tale

Lower right: I'll bring thee to clustering filberts, and sometimes I'll get thee young scamels from the rock. Wilt thou go with me?....I prithee now, lead the way, without any more talking...The Tempest

Center: Now stand you on the top of happy hours, and many maiden gardens, yet unset, with virtuous wish would bear your living flowers much liker than your painted counterfeit:...Sonnet XVI

Lower Left: Crown'd with rank fumiter and furrow-weeds, with bur-docks, hemlock, nettles, cuckoo-flowers, darnel, and all the idle weeds that grow in our sustaining corn. King Lear

Upper left: That time of year thou mayst in me behold when yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang upon those boughs which shake against the cold, bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang. Sonnet 73

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SHAKESPEARE'S FLOWERS OF WINTER
William Shakespeare

Upper left: Give me those flowers there, Dorcas. Reverend sirs, for you there's rosemary and rue; these keep seeming and savour all the winter long: grace and remembrance be to you both..."The Winter's Tale."

Upper right: ...beauty's effect with beauty were bereft, nor it, nor no remembrance what it was: but flowers distill'd though they with winter meet, leese but their show; their substance still lives sweet. Sonnet 5.

Lower right: Lawn as white as driven snow; cypress black as e'er was crow; gloves as sweet as damask roses; masks for faces and for noses; bugle bracelet, necklace amber, perfume for a lady's chamber..."The Winter's Tale."

Lower left: ...Nor did I wonder at the lily's white, nor praise the deep vermillion in the rose; they were but sweet, but figures of delight; drawn after you, you pattern of all those. Yet seemed it winter still...Sonnet 97.

Center: A fair one are you, well you fit our ages with the flowers of winter. "The Winter's Tale."

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  "SHAKESPEARE'S PANSY & ROSEMARY"
William Shakespeare

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrance: pray you, love, remember.
And there is pansies, that's for thoughts." Hamlet, Act IV.

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SIMPLE GIFTS
Shaker Hymn

'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free, 'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be, And when we find ourselves in the place just right, 'Twill be in the valley of love and delight. When true simplicity is gain'd, To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd, To turn, turn will be our delight 'Till by turning, turning we come round right.

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SNOWBALL: THOUGHTS OF HEAVEN
William Blake

To see the World in a Grain of Sand, and Heaven in a Wild Flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand, an eternity in an hour. Auguries of Innocence

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SNOWDROPS: HOPE
Celia Thaxter

While I am busy with pleasant preparation and larger hope, I rejoice in the beauty of the pure white Snowdrops.

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SONG OF SOLOMON
Song of Solomon

I AM the rose of Sha'ron, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, awake my love, till he please. The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills. My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice. My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely. Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes. My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Be'ther.

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SUNFLOWER: LETTER TO A FRIEND
William Butler Yeats

This very long letter has grown bit by bit. Several times I thought it had come to an end, but being no stamps in the near neighborhood, each time adding a bit...Outside my window the balcony is covered with a whirl of fire-red leaves from the virginia creeper. Today it is raining and blowing and they are flying hither and thither or gathered in corners, sodden with wet...All summer the wooden pilasters of the balcony have been covered with greenest leaves and pinkest sweetpie flower. Now even the horse-chestnut has begun to wither. The chestnuts fall every now and then with quite a rustle and thud, and the whole house at the garden side is covered with a crimson ruin of creeper and the sunflowers are all leaning down, weighted by their heavy seeds.

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THANK YOU CARD ASSORTMENT (3 cards)

Thank You, A Charming Visit

"We had so charming a visit at your house that I have about made up my mind to reside with you permanently... I am easy to get along with. I have few unreasonable wants and never complain when they are constantly supplied. I think I could depend on you."

Hearty Thanks

"Hearty thanks for the pretty box of bon-bons ­ exquisite in taste both inside and out. It is very pleasant, I find, to have friends who think of one and tell one so in bon-bons. The style is faultless."

Thanks, Shakespeare

"I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks."

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THESE BLESSINGS
Benjamin Franklin

These Blessings, Reader, may Heav'n grant to thee; A faithful Friend, equal in Love's degree; Land fruitful, never conscious of the Curse, A liberal Heart and never-failing Purse; A smiling Conscience, a contented mind; A temp'rate knowledge with true Wisdom join'd; A life as long as fair, and when expir'd, A kindly Death, unfear'd as undesir'd.

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"THOREAUS'S PANSY"
Henry David Thoreau

"It is with flowers I would deal. By the dawning or radiance of beauty are we advertised where is the honey and the fruit of thought, of discourse, and of action." Journal, September 7, 1851. "For a flower, I like the name pansy, or pensée, best of any...for thoughts." January 27-28, 1841.

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THOREAU: TO LIVE DELIBERATELY
Henry David Thoreau

In any weather, at any hour of the day or night, I have been anxious to improve the nick of time, and notch it on my stick too; to stand on the meeting of two eternities, the past and future, which is precisely the present moment; to toe that line.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction, -- a work at which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse.

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TINTERN ABBEY
William Wordsworth

Five years have past; five summers, with the length of five long winters! and again I hear these waters, rolling from their mountain-springs with a soft inland murmur. Once again do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs, that on a wild secluded scene impress thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect the landscape with the quiet of the sky.

The day is come when I again repose here, under this dark sycamore... And I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sub-lime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, and the blue sky, and the mind of man: a motion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things, all objects of all thought, and rolls through all things.

Therefore am I still a lover of the meadows and the woods...well pleased to recognize in nature and the language of the sense, the anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse, the guide, the guardian of my heart...This prayer I make, knowing that Nature never did betray the heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege, through all the years of this our life, to lead from joy to joy: for she can so inform the mind that is within us, so impress with quietness and beauty, and so feed with lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues, rash judgements, nor the sneers of selfish men, nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all the dreary intercourse of daily life, shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb our cheerful faith, that all which we behold is full of blessings.

"Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, July 13, 1798," Lyrical Ballads.

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TO CELEBRATE OUR FRIENDSHIP
Ralph Waldo Emerson

My dear friend, The day is so fine that I must try to draw out of its azure magazines some ray to celebrate our friendship...Honor & love to you ever from all gentle hearts, - a wreath of laurel, & far better, a wreath of olive & of palm.

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TO MY DEAR AND LOVING HUSBAND
Anne Bradstreet

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man
Compare with me, ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches the east doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

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TO MY SISTER
William Wordsworth

"It is the first mild day of March: each minute sweeter than before,
the redbreast sings from the tall larch that stands beside our door....
One moment now may give us more than years of toiling reason:
our minds shall drink at every pore the spirit of the season.
Some silent laws our hearts will make, which they shall long obey:
we for the year to come may take our temper of today.
And from the blessed power that rolls about, below, above,
we'll frame the measure of our souls: they shall be tuned to love."

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THE TREE TOUCHED THE CEILING
Anais Nin

"Oh the wonder of this Christmas day...The tree touched the ceiling and was heavy with tinsel and snow and candles -- but who can describe a Christmas tree? The scent of pine, the cheery mystery of the packages below, the charm of the very top star, the flickering little candles...The two rooms had been made cheerful and tidy and cozy -- cheerful because of holly and the season's flowers and mistletoe."

From THE EARLY DIARIES OF ANAIS NIN, 1920-1923. Copyright © 1982 by the Anais Nin Trust.

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"TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS"
Clement C. Moore

"'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now, dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.."

"A Visit from Saint Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore

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A VIRTUOUS RED MAPLE
Henry David Thoreau

A small red maple has grown, perchance, far away on some moist hillside, a mile from any road, unobserved. It has faithfully discharged the duties of a maple there, all winter and summer, neglected none of its economies, added to its stature in the virtue which belongs to a maple, by a steady growth all summer, and is nearer heaven than in the spring, never having gone gadding abroad; and now, in this month of September... this modest maple, having ripened its seeds, still without budging an inch, travels on its reputation, runs up its scarlet flag on that hillside, to show that it has finished its summer work before all other trees, and withdraws from the contest.

Thus that modest worth which no scrutiny could have detected when it was most industrious, is, by the very tint of its maturity, by its very blushes, revealed at last to the most careless and distant observer. It rejoices in its existence; its reflections are unalloyed. It is the day of thanksgiving with it. At last, its labors for the year being consummated and every leaf ripened to its full, it flashes out conspicuous to the eye of the most casual observer, with all the virtue and beauty of a maple, ­ Acer rubrum.

Journal, September 27, 1857

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"VIOLETS"
John Donne

"A single violet transplant, the strength, the colour, and the size (all which before was poor, and scant) redoubles still, and multiplies."

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"VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS, A"
Clement Moore

"And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedlar just opening his pack.
His eyes - how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And fill'd all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night".

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WALLACE STEVENS: OH FLORIDA
Wallace Stevens

Swiftly in the nights, In the porches of Key West, Behind the bougainvilleas, After the guitar is asleep, Lasciviously as the wind, You come...

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WATER LILY

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8.

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WE TWO
Walt Whitman

We two, how long we were fool'd, now transmuted, we swiftly escape as Nature escapes, we are Nature, long have we been absent, but now we return, we become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark, we are bedded in the ground, we are rocks, We are oaks, we grow in the openings side by side, we browse, we are two among the wild herds spontaneous as any, we are two fishes swimming in the sea together, we are what locust blossoms are, We drop scent around lanes mornings and evenings, we are also the course smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals, We are two predatory hawks, we soar above and look down.

We are two resplendent suns, we it is who balance ourselves orbic and stellar, we are as two comets, we prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods, we spring on prey, We are two clouds forenoons and afternoons driving overhead, we are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves rolling over each other and interwetting each other, We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, previous, impervious, we are snow, rain, cold, darkness, we are each product and influence of the globe, We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again, we two, we have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy.

"We Two, How Long We Were Fool'd," Leaves of Grass, 1867.

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WHITE PANSIES
Phillipians 4:8

"Whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
Whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
And if there be any praise, think on these things."

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YES, VIRGINIA CHRISTMAS CARD
Francis P. Church

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith, then, no poetry, no romance... The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies."

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ZINNIA: THOUGHTS OF ABSENT FRIENDS
A.E. Powell

Friendly thoughts and earnest good wishes thus create and maintain what is practically a guardian angel, always at the side of the person thought of.

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