Jean de La Fontaine William Cullen Bryant Henry Timrod John Keats Gerald Massey Alice Cary Madison Julius Cawein Elizabeth Stuart Phelps William Wordsworth Anne Whitney Hans Christian Andersen Susan Coolidge Alexander Pushkin Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Robert Browning Walter M. Lindsay Christopher Marlowe Theodore Tilton Elizabeth Barrett Browning Helen Hunt Jackson Oliver Wendell Holmes Katharine Lee Bates Lydia Howard Sigourney Alfred Lord Tennyson Aesop Percy Bysshe Shelley Ella Wheeler Wilcox Celia Thaxter Jean Ingelow Thomas Campbell Frances Sargent Locke Osgood Johann Wolfgang von Goethe James Nack Letitia Elizabeth Landon William Cowper Thomas Moore John Grosvenor Wilson Mary Mapes Dodge Achsa White Sprague John Hay Phoebe Carey Robert Burns John Greenleaf Whittier Ben Jonson Edgar Allan Poe And more ...
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Free Classic Literature provides free access to great works of classic literature. These works are presented in a friendly format for your reading pleasure. All works are indexed by title, first line, last line, and moral (for fables). New pieces are added daily, so visit often. Enjoy!

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hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia = The fear of long words.

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Put the dictionary under a microscope. Visit, For Art Lovers. is pleased to introduce our sister site Litscape Art. Litscape Art offers a unique glimpse into the world of art, with over 400,000 titles by 30,000+ artists. It is well indexed, easily navigable, and very interesting. Images on the individual work pages are quite large and easy to see. Visit Litscape today!

Just The Worlds Best Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

This has nothing to do with literature or words, but this stuff is sheer poetry to lettuce. I will not order caesar salad in a restaurant or buy caesar salad dressing in the supermarket. In my opinion, nothing touches this recipe, and it is very easy and inexpensive to make. Mix it all together and let it sit a few hours in the fridge to let the flavors mix. Toss it with romaine lettuce (or any lettuce) and croutons. This is so good, it would be truly selfish not to share it with my readers. Enjoy!

1 c. mayonnaise (Hellman's works best. Miracle Whip doesn't have the right flavors for this recipe.)
2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 c. half and half cream or milk
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste (it is still very good if you omit the salt)
2 anchovie fillets, chopped (optional)

Just The Worlds Butter Tart Recipe

Nothing goes better with poetry and Scrabble like a good cup of coffee, caesar salad and butter tarts. Many will tell you that butter tarts are fattening, too sweet, etc. They may have a point, so if you are going to eat them, make sure they are good ones, and these are the best.

1/2 c. melted butter
1 3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins
1/2 c. nut meats (or replace with more raisins, either way it is good.)

Beat the eggs, sugar, lemon, and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in the melted butter, fruit and nuts. Line tins with pastry and fill each about 2/3 full. (Frozen tart shells work well and are so easy.) Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then 10-15 minutes at 350F. Makes 24 tarts.

Featured Selections

Suffer, Yet Be Strong by Achsa White Sprague

Yes, suffer if thou must! but oh, be strong,
Although thy trials may be stern and long,
And filled with sorrows dark, that make the heart
Almost too sad to bear its bitter part.
What though thy path is Poverty's lone way
Uncheered by naught save hope's pale, dying ray?
Yet let thy heart be strong; press on in might; --
Bright days will come, if thou but doest right.

A Fable by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Some cawing Crows, a hooting Owl,
A Hawk, a Canary, an old Marsh-Fowl,
One day all met together
To hold a caucus and settle the fate
Of a certain bird (without a mate),
A bird of another feather.

A Mountain Soul by Katharine Lee Bates

A mountain soul, she shines in crystal air
Above the smokes and clamors of the town.
Her pure, majestic brows serenely wear
The stars for crown.

Beautiful Sleep by Achsa White Sprague

Beautiful sleep!
We call you, we implore you,
Come to us now;
Help us to rest the weary head,
From which the strength and power have fled,
And soothe the aching brow.

Clairvoyance by Madison Julius Cawein

The sunlight that makes of the heaven
A pathway for sylphids to throng;
The wind that makes harps of the forests
For spirits to smite into song,
Are the image and voice of a vision
That comforts my heart and makes strong.

Couleur De Rose by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I want more lives in which to love
This world so full of beauty,
I want more days to use the ways
I know of doing duty;
I ask no greater joy than this
(So much I am life's lover),
When I reach age to turn the page
And read the story over.
(O love, stay near!)

Discontent by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The splendid discontent of God
With chaos, made the world,
Set suns in place, and filled all space
With stars that shone and whirled.

Disinterred by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Lo! here's another corpse exhumed!
Another Poet disinterred!
Sensation cried, Dig up the grave,
And let the dust be hoed and stirred;
Ayd bring the bones of Shakespeare out!
'Twill edify the throng, no doubt.

Endymion by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The rising moon has hid the stars;
Her level rays, like golden bars,
Lie on the landscape green,
With shadows brown between.

And silver white the river gleams,
As if Diana in her dreams,
Had dropt her silver bow
Upon the meadows low.

Evening: Ponte Al Mare, Pisa by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The sun is set; the swallows are asleep;
The bats are flitting fast in the gray air;
The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep,
And evening's breath, wandering here and there
Over the quivering surface of the stream,
Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream.

Forest Music by Hannah Flagg Gould

There's a sad loneliness about my heart, --
A deep, deep solitude the spirit feels
Amid this multitude. The things of art
Pall on the senses -- from its pageantry,
Loathing, my eye turns off; and my ear shrinks
From the harsh dissonance that fills the air.

If (Twixt what thou art, and what thou wouldst be, let...) by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Twixt what thou art, and what thou wouldst be, let
No If arise on which to lay the blame.
Man makes a mountain of that puny word,
But, like a blade of grass before the scythe,
It falls and withers when a human will,
Stirred by creative force, sweeps toward its aim.

Last Love by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The first flower of the spring is not so fair
Or bright as one the ripe midsummer brings.
The first faint note the forest warbler sings
Is not as rich with feeling, or so rare
As when, full master of his art, the air
Drowns in the liquid sea of song he flings
Like silver spray from beak, and breast, and wings.

Looking On The Milky Way by Katharine Lee Bates

Flood of stars that hold your course
High across the night,
Serried lustres numberless
As the souls that Godward press
In continual flight,
From what flaming wildfire source,
Shimmering river of the skies,
Tide of light,
Do your waves arise?

Lucy's Gem by Frances Sargent Locke Osgood

You've read, my pet, in olden story,
That oft o'er royal infant's bed,
Some mystic gift of grace or glory
By fairy hands was shed.

My Lighthouses by Helen Hunt Jackson

At westward window of a palace gray,
Which its own secret still so safely keeps
That no man now its builder's name can say,
I lie and idly sun myself to-day,
Dreaming awake far more than one who sleeps,
Serenely glad, although my gladness weeps.

Odes To Nea: You read it in my languid eyes... by Thomas Moore

You read it in my languid eyes,
And there alone should love be read;
You hear me say it all in sighs,
And thus alone should love be said.

Then dread no more; I will not speak;
Although my heart to anguish thrill,
I'll spare the burning of your cheek,
And look it all in silence still!

Romance by Edgar Allan Poe

Romance, who loves to nod and sing
With drowsy head and folded wing
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been -- a most familiar bird --
Taught me my alphabet to say,
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild-wood I did lie,
A child -- with a most knowing eye.

Secret Thoughts by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I hold it true that thoughts are things
Endowed with bodies, breath, and wings,
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results - or ill.

Something Left Undone by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Labour with what zeal we will,
Something still remains undone,
Something uncompleted still
Waits the rising of the sun.

The Broken-Hearted by Katharine Lee Bates

O strange, hushed fellowship of those
Who tread a darkened star,
Who breathe the fragrance of the rose
And thrill with pain instead
Of that old joy, long dead!

The Convent by Alice Cary

Come, thou of the drooping eyelid,
And cheek that is meekly pale,
Give over thy pensive musing
And list to a lonesome tale;
For hearts that are torn and bleeding,
Or heavy as thine, and lone,
May find in another's sorrow
Forgetfulness of their own.
So heap on the blazing fagots
And trim the lamp anew,
And I'll tell you a mournful story --
I would that it were not true!

The Flight From The Convent by Theodore Tilton

I see the star-lights quiver,
Like jewels in the river;
The bank is hid with sedge;
What if I slip the edge?
I thought I knew the way
By night as well as day:
How soon a lover goes astray!

The Fortune-Teller by Thomas Moore

Down in the valley come meet me to-night,
And I'll tell you your fortune truly
As ever 'twas told, by the new moon's light,
To young maidens shining as newly.

The Hidden Name by Hannah Flagg Gould

She loved; but her bosom had buried the dart;
And there, while she strove to conceal it,
Its point had engraven his NAME on her heart
Too deep for her lips to reveal it.

The Influence Of The Affections by James Nack

The beautiful humanities
Of Nature in the simplest dress,
Speak to our sweetest sympathies
Far more than language can express.
I saw a ragged little boy
Run to a withered dame's embrace,
To welcome her with bounding joy,
And fondly press her haggard face.

The Lake Of The Dismal Swamp. by Thomas Moore

They made her a grave, too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she 's gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,
Where, all night long, by a fire-fly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.

The Law (The sun may be clouded, yet ever the sun...) by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The sun may be clouded, yet ever the sun
Will sweep on its course till the cycle is run.
And when into chaos the systems are hurled,
Again shall the Builder reshape a new world.

Your path may be clouded, uncertain your goal;
Move on, for the orbit is fixed for your soul.
And though it may lead into darkness of night,
The torch of the Builder shall give it new light.

You were, and you will be: know this while you are.
Your spirit has travelled both long and afar.
It came from the Source, to the Source it returns;
The spark that was lighted, eternally burns.

The Nun's Rose by Frank Dempster Sherman

Over the convent wall
Clambers a rose-vine sweet,
Letting its fragrant blossoms fall
Into the dusty street.

Hither the weary guest,
Drawn by the fresh perfume,
Pauses to dream awhile and rest
Under the spray of bloom:

The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

I was sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving, me. The sentence -- the dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution, perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill-wheel.

The Princess's Fingernail by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

All through the Castle of High-bred Ease,
Where the chief employment was do-as you-please,
Spread consternation and wild despair.
The queen was wrlnging her hands and hair
The maids of honor were sad and solemn;
The pages looked blank as they stood in column;
The court-jester blubbered, Boo-hoo, boo-hoo;
The cook in the kitchen dropped tears in the stew
And all through the castle went sob and wail,
For the princess had broken her fingernail:
The beautiful Princess Red-as-a-Rose,
Bride-elect of the Lord High-Nose,
Broken her fingernail down to the quick --

The Sky-ship by Frank Dempster Sherman

In the soft wind that blows,
Yon cloud-ship of the sky
Spreads a white sail and throws
A shadow where I lie.

Thou seem'st to solve the eternal unity... by Anne Whitney

Thou seem'st to solve the eternal unity
That holds us all. How far, and dim, and deep,
Bathed in the separate sanctity of sleep --
Lost in thy wide forgetting do we lie!
O, lest that dim abyss, where Memory
Beats her disabled wing, and hope is not,
Point to yet wilder deeps, unearth our thought
In thy far glances!

To A Blank Sheet Of Paper by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wan-visaged thing! thy virgin leaf
To me looks more than deadly pale,
Unknowing what may stain thee yet, --
A poem or a tale.

Who can thy unborn meaning scan?
Can Seer or Sibyl read thee now?
No, -- seek to trace the fate of man
Writ on his infant brow.

Unfulfilled by Madison Julius Cawein

In my dream last night it seemed I stood
With a boy's glad heart in my boyhood's wood.

The beryl green and the cairngorm brown
Of the day through the deep leaves sifted down.

The rippling drip of a passing shower
Rinsed wild aroma from herb and flower.

Warned by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

They stood at the garden gate.
By the lifting of a lid
She might have read her fate
In a little thing he did.

He plucked a beautiful flower,
Tore it away from its place
On the side of the blooming bower,
And held it against his face.

Weariness by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

O little feet! that such long years
Must wander on through hopes and fears,
Must ache and bleed beneath your load;
I, nearer to the Wayside Inn
Where toil shall cease and rest begin,
Am weary, thinking of your road!

What Love Is by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Love is the centre and circumference;
The cause and aim of all things - 'tis the key
To joy and sorrow, and the recompense
For all the ills that have been, or may be.

When I Am Dead by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

When I am dead, if some chastened one,
Seeing the item, or hearing it said
That my play is over, and my part done,
And I lie asleep in my narrow bed --
If I could know that some soul would say,
Speaking aloud or silently,
In the heat, and burden of the day,
She gave a refreshing draught to me;

When Love came first to earth, the spring ... by Thomas Campbell

WHEN LOVE came first to earth, the SPRING
Spread rose-beds to receive him,
And back he vow'd his flight he'd wing
To Heaven, if she should leave him.

When Love Is Kind by Thomas Moore

When Love is kind,
Cheerful and free,
Love's sure to find
Welcome from me.

But when Love brings
Heartache or pang,
Tears and such things --
Love may go hang!

Wood-Words by Madison Julius Cawein

These, with symbolic blooms
Of wind-flower and wild-phlox,
I found among the glooms
Of hill-lost woods and rocks,
Lairs of the mink and fox.

The beetle in the brush,
The bird about the creek,
The bee within the hush,
And I, whose heart was meek,
Stood still to hear these speak

The language, that records,
In flower-syllables,
The hieroglyphic words
Of beauty, who enspells
The world and aye compels.

You Never Can Tell by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You never can tell when you send a word,
Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
Just where it may chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend.
Tipped with its poison or balm,
To a stranger's heart in life's great mart,
It may carry its pain or its calm.