To HelenI saw thee once-once only-years ago;I must not say how many-but not many.It was a july midnight; and from outA full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,With quietude, and sultriness, and slumberUpon the upturn'd faces of a thousandRoses that grew in an enchanted garden,Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe-Fell on the upturn'd faces of these rosesThat gave out, in return for the love-lightThier odorous souls in an ecstatic death-Fell on the upturn'd faces of these rosesThat smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted by thee, by the poetry of thy prescence.Clad all in white, upon a violet bank I saw thee half reclining; while the moonFell on the upturn'd faces of the rosesAnd on thine own, upturn'd-alas, in sorrow!Was it not Fate that, on this july midnight-Was it not Fate (whose name is also sorrow)That bade me pause before that garden-gate,To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?No footstep stirred; the hated world all slept,Save only thee and me. (Oh Heaven- oh, God! How my heart beats in coupling those two worlds!)Save only thee and me. I paused- I looked-And in an instant all things disappeared.(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)The pearly lustre of the moon went out;The mossy banks and the meandering paths,The happy flowers and the repining trees,Were seen no more: the very roses' odorsDied in the arms of the adoring airs.All- all expired save thee- save less than thou:Save only the divine light in thine eyes-Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.I saw but them- they were the world to me.I saw but them- saw only them for hours-Saw only them until the moon went down.What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwrittenUpon those crystalline, celestial spheres!How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!How silently serene a sea of pride!How daring an ambition!yet how deep-How fathomless a capacity for love!But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,Into western couch of thunder-cloud;And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing treesDidst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.They would not go- they never yet have gone.Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.They follow me- they lead me through the years.They are my ministers- yet I thier slaveThier office is to illumine and enkindle-My duty, to be saved by thier bright light,And purified in thier electric fire,And sanctified in thier Elysian fire.They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),And are far up in heaven- the stars I kneel toIn the sad, silent watches of my night;While even in the meridian glare of dayI see them still- two sweetly scintillantVenuses, unextinguished by the sun!

~ Edgar Allan Poe

LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest. Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights. Fog creeping into the cabooses of collier-brigs; fog lying out on the yards, and hovering in the rigging of great ships; fog drooping on the gunwales of barges and small boats. Fog in the eyes and throats of ancient Greenwich pensioners, wheezing by the firesides of their wards; fog in the stem and bowl of the afternoon pipe of the wrathful skipper, down in his close cabin; fog cruelly pinching the toes and fingers of his shivering little ’prentice boy on deck. Chance people on the bridges peeping over the parapets into a nether sky of fog, with fog all round them, as if they were up in a balloon, and hanging in the misty clouds. Gas looming through the fog in divers places in the streets, much as the sun may, from the spongey fields, be seen to loom by husbandman and ploughboy. Most of the shops lighted two hours before their time — as the gas seems to know, for it has a haggard and unwilling look. The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.

~ Charles Dickens