Stephen Spender

(28 February 1909 – 16 July 1995 / England)

Quotations

  • ''Far far from gusty waves, these children's faces.
    Like rootless weeds the torn hair round their paleness.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 1-2). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (7th rev. ed., 1962) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
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  • ''Unless, governor, teacher inspector, visitor,
    This map becomes their window and these windows
    That open on their lives like crouching tombs
    Break, O break open,''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 25-28). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (7th rev. ed., 1962) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
  • ''Surely Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example
    With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal—''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 17-18). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (7th rev. ed., 1962) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
  • ''On their slag heap, these children
    Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
    With mended glass, like bottle bits in slag.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 20-22). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (7th rev. ed., 1962) Harcourt, Brace and Company.
  • ''I think continually of those who were truly great.
    Who, from the womb, remembered the soul's history
    Through corridors of light where the hours are suns,
    Endless and singing.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great (l. 1-4). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
  • ''The names of those who in their lives fought for life,
    Who wore at their hearts the fire's centre.
    Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
    And left the vivid air signed with their honour.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. I Think Continually of Those Who Were Truly Great (l. 22-26). . . Oxford Anthology of English Literature, The, Vols. I-II. Frank Kermode and John Hollander, general eds. (1973) Oxford University Press (Also published as six paperback vols.: Medieval English Literature, J. B. Trapp, ed.; The Literature of Renaissance England, John Hollander and Frank Kermode, eds.; The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century, Martin Price, ed.; Romantic Poetry and Prose, Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds.; Victorian Prose and Poetry, Lionel Trilling and Harold Bloom, eds.; Modern British Literature, Frank Kermode and John Hollander, eds.).
  • ''Eye, gazelle, delicate wanderer,
    Drinker of horizon's fluid line;
    Ear that suspends on a chord
    The spirit drinking timelessness;
    Touch, love, all senses;''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. Not Palaces (l. 12-16). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''Death to the killers, bringing light to life.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. Not Palaces (l. 32). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''I say, stamping the words with emphasis,
    Drink from here energy and only energy,''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. Not Palaces (l. 8-9). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.
  • ''No one
    Shall hunger: Man shall spend equally.
    Our goal which we compel: Man shall be man.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. Not Palaces (l. 23-25). . . Norton Anthology of Poetry, The. Alexander W. Allison and others, eds. (3d ed., 1983) W. W. Norton & Company.

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Daybreak

At Dawn she lay with her profile at that angle
Which, when she sleeps, seems the carved face of an angel.
Her hair a harp, the hand of a breeze follows
And plays, against the white cloud of the pillows.
Then, in a flush of rose, she woke, and her eyes that opened
Swam in blue through her rose flesh that dawned.
From her dew of lips, the drop of one word
Fell like the first of fountains: murmured
'Darling', upon my ears the song of the first bird.

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