Shepherd Swains That Feed Your Flocks

`Shepherd swains that feed your flocks
'Mong the grassy-rooted rocks,
While I still see sun and moon,
Grant to me this simple boon:
As I sit on craggy seat,
And your kids and young lambs bleat,
Let who on the pierced pipe blows
Play the sweetest air he knows.
And, when I no more shall hear
Grasshopper or chanticleer,
Strew green bay and yellow broom
On the silence of my tomb;
And, still giving as you gave,
Milk a she-goat at my grave.
For, though life and joy be fled,
Dear are love-gifts to the dead.'

Sweet Love Is Dead

Sweet Love is dead:
Where shall we bury him?
In a green bed,
With no stone at his head,
And no tears nor prayers to worry him.

Do you think he will sleep,
Dreamless and quiet?
Yes, if we keep
Silence, nor weep
O'er the grave where the ground-worms riot.

By his tomb let us part.
But hush! he is waking!
He hath winged a dart,
And the mock-cold heart
With the woe of want is aching.

Feign we no more
Sweet Love lies breathless.
All we forswore
Be as before;
Death may die, but Love is deathless.

Time’s Defence

``Why am I deemed an enemy of men
Who would beyond Life's limit life prolong?
If they believe that they will live again,
How can it be that I have done them wrong?
Is it not I who rout the Winter snows,
And Spring's melodious symphonies renew,
Bring back the blush unto the budding rose,
And christen Summer's birth with morning dew?
'Tis I that ring the silvery nuptial peal,
When streams the Bridal up the rustic nave,
And if around the bier where mourners kneel
I toll the passing-bell and dig the grave,
From death and grief I half dispel the gloom,
Inscribing words of hope upon the loved one's tomb.''

Go Away, Death!

Go away, Death!
You have come too soon.
To sunshine and song I but just awaken,
And the dew on my heart is undried and unshaken;
Come back at noon.

Go away, Death!
What a short reprieve!
The mists of the morning have vanished, I roam
Through a world bright with wonder, and feel it my home;
Come back at eve.

Go away, Death!
See, it still is light.
Over earth broods a quiet more blissful than glee,
And the beauty of sadness lies low on the sea;
Come back at night.

Come to me, Death!
I no more would stay.
The night-owl hath silenced the linnet and lark,
And the wailing of wisdom sounds sad in the dark;
Take me away.

Tell me your race, your name,
O Lady limned as dead, yet as when living fair!
That within this faded frame
An unfading beauty wear.
Were you ever known to fame,
Or, more wisely, chose to be
Lost in love's obscurity?
We may question, gaze, and guess,
You will never answer ``yes,''
For your sweet lips are closed by Death's relentlessness.

Yes, you were chill before
Some thoughtful hand to us your loveliness bequeathed.
You already then no more
Moved, or spoke, or felt, or breathed,
But an eternal silence wore.
Dank and limp your ample hair,
And your eyelids kept the stare
Of a face that cannot speak;
And, where lived the rose's streak,
There only lingered then the lily in your cheek.

Was it your own strange prayer
That you, in death, should be in living garb arrayed,
And your aspect seem as fair,
Fanciful and undecayed,
As when life and love were there?
No! it was no idle whim:
Death was in love with you, and you in love with Him.
And when you, with tender dread,
All to Him surrenderëd,
He took care you should retain
All of life except its pain,
And with unabated charms
Lie fast asleep in your unsleeping lover's arms.

Henry Bartle Edward Frere

Bend down and read-the birth, the death, the name.
Born in the year that Waterloo was won,
And died in this, whose days are not yet run,
But which, because a year conceived in shame,
No noble need will christen or will claim.
And yet this dead man, England, was Thy son,
And at his grave we ask what had he done,
Bred to be famous, to be foiled of Fame.
Be the reply his epitaph: That he,
In years as youth, the unyielding spirit bore
He got from Thee, but Thou hast got no more;
And that it is a bane and bar to be
A child of Thine, now the adventurous sea
All vainly beckons to a shrinking shore.

Therefore, great soul, within your marble bed
Sleep sound, nor hear the useless tears we weep.
Why should you wake, when England is asleep,
Or care to live, since England now is dead?
Forbidden are the steeps where Glory led;
No more from furrowed danger of the deep
We harvest greatness; to our hearths we creep,
Count and recount our coin, and nurse our dread.
The sophist's craft hath grown a prosperous trade,
And womanish Tribunes hush the manly drum:
The very fear of Empire strikes us numb,
Fumbling with pens, who brandished once the blade.
Therefore, great soul, sleep sound where you are laid,
Blest in being deaf when Honour now is dumb.

Once again, banners, fly!
Clang again, bells, on high,
Sounding to sea and sky,
Longer and louder,
Mafeking's glory with
Kimberley, Ladysmith,
Of our unconquered kith
Prouder and prouder.

Hemmed in for half a year,
Still with no succour near,
Nor word of hope to cheer
Wounded and dying,
Famished, and foiled of sleep
By the fierce cannon's leap,
They vowed still, still to keep
England's Flag flying.

Nor was their mettle shown
By male and strong alone,
But, as intrepid grown,
Fragile and tender,
Without or tear or sigh,
Echoed the brave old cry,
``We, too, would rather die,
Die than surrender.''

As pressed the foe more near,
Only with naked spear,
Ne'er knowing what to fear,
Parley, or blench meant,
Forward through shot and shell,
While still the foremost fell,
They with resistless yell
Stormed his entrenchment.

Then, when hope dawned at last,
And fled the foe, aghast
At the relieving blast
Heard in the melley,-
O our stout, stubborn kith!
Kimberley, Ladysmith,
Mafeking, wedded with
Lucknow and Delhi!

Sound for them martial lay!
Crown them with battle-bay,
Both those who died, and they
'Gainst death could wrestle:
Powell of endless fame,
All, all with equal claim,
And, of the storied name,
Gallant young Cecil!

Long as the waves shall roll,
Long as Fame guards her scroll,
And men through heart and soul
Thrill to true glory,
Their deed, from age to age,
Shall voice and verse engage,
Swelling the splendid page
Of England's Story.

John Everett Millais

Now let no passing-bell be tolled,
Wail now no dirge of gloom;
Nor around purple pall unfold
The trappings of the tomb!
Dead? No, the Artist doth not die;
Enduring as the air, the sky,
He sees the mortal years roll by,
Indifferent to their doom.

With the abiding He abides,
Eternally the same;
From shore to shore Time's sounding tides
Roll and repeat His name.
Death, the kind pilot, from His home
But speeds Him unto widening foam,
Then leaves Him, sunk from sight, to roam
The ocean of his Fame.

Nor thus himself alone He lives,
But, by the magic known
To His ``so potent art,'' He gives
Life lasting as His own.
See, on the canvas, foiling Fate,
With kindling gaze and flashing gait,
Dead Statesmen still defend the State,
And vindicate the Throne.

Stayed by His hand, the loved, the lost,
Still keep their wonted place;
And, fondly fooled, our hearts accost
The vanished form and face.
Beauty, most frail of earthly shows,
That fades as fleetly as it blows,
By Him arrested, gleams and glows
With never-waning grace.

His, too, the wizard power to bring,
When city-pent we be,
The matron Autumn, maiden Spring,
Bracken and birchen-tree.
Look, 'twixt gray boulders fringed with fern,
The tawny torrents chafe and churn,
And, lined with light, the amber burn
Goes bounding to the sea.

Toll then for Him no funeral knell,
Nor around aisle and nave
Let sorrow's farewell anthem swell,
Nor solemn symbols wave.
Your very brightest banners bring,
Your gayest flowers! Sing, voices, sing!
And let Fame's lofty joybells ring
Their greeting at His grave!

Lo, here among the rest you sleep,
As though no difference were
'Twixt them and you, more wide, more deep,
Than such as fondness loves to keep
Round each lone sepulchre.

Yet they but human, you divine,
Warmed by that heavenly breath,
Which, when ephemeral lights decline,
Like lamp before nocturnal shrine,
Still burneth after death.

Yes, here in Tuscan soil you lie,
With Tuscan turf above;
And, lifting silent spires on high,
The cypresses remind the sky
Of the city of your love.

And you did grow so like to her
Wherein you dwelt so long,
Your thoughts, like her May roses, were
Untrained, unchecked, but how astir,
And oh how sweet, with song!

The Poet of Olympian mien
His frenzy doth control,
And, gazing on the dread Unseen,
Keep mind majestic, will serene,
And adamantine soul.

He, save to Wisdom sternly true,
Is but the sport of Fate
And gladiatorial pain. But you!
A poet, and a woman too!
The burden was too great.

And so you laid it down, and here,
Oblivious of life's load,
Quiet you sleep through all the year,
Young Spring, staid Summer, Autumn sere,
And Winter's icy goad.

The swallows, freshly on the wing,
In April's sun rejoice;
The nightingales unceasing sing;
Yes, Spring brings back the birds of Spring,
But not, alas! your voice.

So round your sleep I soft let fall
Frail emblems of regret;
The lowly wind-flower, tulip tall,
The iris mantling wayside wall,
And weeping violet.

My votive flowers to-day will blow,
To-morrow be decayed;
But, though long sunk from sight, I know,
The glory of your afterglow
Will never wholly fade.

Hush! or you'll wake her. Softly tread!
She slumbers in her little bed.
What do I see? A coffin! Dead?
Yes, dead at break of morning.

No, no, it cannot, cannot be!
I know that I can wake her. See!
She only plays at sleep. Ma mie,
Kiss me, for it is morning.

Look, pretty, look! Within, without,
Snowdrops and hyacinths lie about.
Why don't you clutch them with a shout
Blither than birds of morning?

You used to clap your hands with glee,
When I brought flowers. ``Are these for me?''
Now, now, you neither scent nor see
These incense-buds of morning.

Do you not know me, pet? Speak! speak!
There is no answer in her cheek.
To find her now where shall I seek?-
Seek in the vanished morning!

What can I do to make her heed?
I am crying, love; I am indeed.
Open your eyes and see. What need
To tease me all the morning?

Look! We will sally forth and play;
Ramble, and never ask our way,
Lessons and tasks all put away,
As though it were not morning.

We will do all that you desire,
And I will never, never tire
Of romping with you by the fire,
When 'tis no longer morning.

Your favourite tales, oft told before,
I'll tell you, darling, o'er and o'er;
It never shall be bedtime more,
Will you but wake this morning.

I will not ask you to sit still;
You shall be naughty when you will;
Shall spill my ink and spoil my quill,
And squander all my morning.

Alas! Alas! it is no cheat!
Quiet she lies from face to feet!
No smile, no sigh, no hue, no heat,
No earnest of the morning.

Draw high the sheet above her head.
She liked it, so. Dead? No, not dead.
The angels, hovering round her bed,
Will greet her in the morning.

Mozart’s Grave

Where lies Mozart? Tradition shows
A likely spot: so much, no more:
No words of his own time disclose
When crossed He to the Further Shore,
Though later ages, roused to shame,
On tardy tomb have carved his name.

The sexton asked, ``What may this be?''
``A Kapellmeister.'' ``Pass it in:
This common grave to all is free,
And for one more is room within.
It fills the fosse. Now tread it down,
With pauper, lunatic, and clown.''

Yet had he wizarded with sound
Electors, Cardinals, and Kings,
While there welled forth from source profound
The flow of silvery-sounding springs,
Music of tenderness and mirth,
One with his very soul at birth.

And they? Where are they now? The bust,
The elaborately carven tomb,
Whose scrolls, begrimed by age and dust,
None care to stoop and scan for whom,
Are all remaining to express
Their monumental nothingness.

Mitre, and coronet, and Crown,
Gaze into space that heeds them not,
Unmeaning pomp of dead renown,
Medley of Monarchs long forgot,
Who from the nations' ghastly strife
Won immortality-for life.

Once, on Nile's bank an artist raised
A temple at the King's command,
And on it name august emblazed.
But when a flood submerged the land,
His name was washed away, and lo!
The artist's own stood out below.

Thus vanish ostentatious lives,
But, through all time, belov'd Mozart,
Your magic memory survives,
Part of the universal heart:
In joy a sympathetic strain,
In sorrow, soother of our pain.

The Potentates on whom men gaze,
When once their Rule hath reached its goal,
Die into darkness with their days;
But Monarchs of the mind and soul
With light unfailing and unspent
Illuminate Fame's firmament.

The Death Of Huss

In the streets of Constance was heard the shout,
``Masters! bring the arch-heretic out!''
The stake had been planted, the faggots spread,
And the tongues of the torches flickered red.
``Huss to the flames!'' they fiercely cried:
Then the gate of the Convent opened wide.

Into the sun from the dark he came,
His face as fixed as a face in a frame.
His arms were pinioned, but you could see,
By the smile round his mouth, that his soul was free;
And his eye with a strange bright glow was lit,
Like a star just before the dawn quencheth it.

To the pyre the crowd a pathway made,
And he walked along it with no man's aid;
Steadily on to the place he trod,
Commending aloud his soul to God.
Aloud he prayed, though they mocked his prayer:
He was the only thing tranquil there.

But, seeing the faggots, he quickened pace,
As we do when we see the loved one's face.
``Now, now, let the torch in the resin flare,
Till my books and body be ashes and air!
But the spirit of both shall return to men,
As dew that rises descends again.''

From the back of the crowd where the women wept,
And the children whispered, a peasant stepped.
A goodly faggot was on his back,
Brittle and sere, from last year's stack;
And he placed it carefully where the torch
Was sure to lick and the flame to scorch.

``Why bring you fresh fuel, friend? Here are sticks
To burn up a score of heretics.''
Answered the peasant, ``Because this year,
My hearth will be cold, for is firewood dear;
And Heaven be witness I pay my toll,
And burn your body to save my soul.''

Huss gazed at the peasant, he gazed at the pile,
Then over his features there stole a smile.
``O Sancta Simplicitas! By God's troth,
This faggot of yours may save us both,
And He who judgeth perchance prefer
To the victim the executioner!''

Then unto the stake was he tightly tied,
And the torches were lowered and thrust inside.
You could hear the twigs crackle and sputter the flesh,
Then ``Sancta Simplicitas!'' moaned afresh.
'Twas the last men heard of the words he spoke,
Ere to Heaven his soul went up with the smoke.

Shelley’s Death

What! And it was so! Thou wert then
Death-stricken from behind,
O heart of hearts! and they were men,
That rent thee from mankind!
Greedy hatred chasing love,
As a hawk pursues a dove,
Till the soft feathers float upon the careless wind.

Loathed life! that I might break the chain
Which links my kind with me,
To think that human hands for gain
Should have been turned 'gainst thee,-
Thee that wouldst have given thine all
For the poor, the sick, the thrall,
And weighed thyself as dross, 'gainst their felicity!

We deemed that Nature, jealous grown,
Withdrew the glimpse she gave,
In thy bright genius, of her own,
And, not to slay, but save,
That she timely took back thus
What had been but lent to us,
Shrouding thee in her winds, and lulling 'neath her wave.

For it seemed meet thou shouldst not long
Toss on life's fitful billow,
Nor sleep 'mid mounds of silenced wrong
Under the clay-cold willow:
Rather that thou shouldst recline
Amid waters crystalline,
The sea-shells at thy feet, and sea-weed for thy pillow.

We felt we had no right to keep
What never had been ours;
That thou belongedst to the deep,
And the uncounted hours;
That thou earthly no more wert
Than the rainbow's melting skirt,
The sunset's fading bloom, and midnight's shooting showers.

And, thus resigned, our empty hands
Surrendered thee to thine,
Thinking thee drawn by kindred bands
Under the swirling brine,
Playing there on new-strung shell,
Tuned to Ocean's mystic swell,
Thy lyrical complaints and rhapsodies divine.

But now to hear no sea-nymph fair
Submerged thee with her smile,
And tempests were content to spare
Thee to us yet awhile,
But for ghouls in human mould
Ravaging the seas for gold,-
Oh! this blots out the heavens, and makes mere living vile!

Yet thy brief life presaged such death,
And it was meet that they
Who poisoned, should have quenched, thy breath,
Who slandered thee, should slay;
That thy spirit, long the mark
Of the dagger drawn in dark,
Should by the ruffian's stroke be ravished from the day.

Hush! From the grave where I so oft
Have stood, 'mid ruined Rome,
I seem to hear a whisper soft
Wafted across the foam;
Bidding justest wrath be still,
Good feel lovingly for ill,
As exiles for rough paths that help them to their home.

The Last Redoubt

Kacelyevo's slope still felt
The cannon's bolt and the rifles' pelt;
For a last redoubt up the hill remained,
By the Russ yet held, by the Turk not gained.

Mehemet Ali stroked his beard;
His lips were clinched and his look was weird;
Round him were ranks of his ragged folk,
Their faces blackened with blood and smoke.

``Clear me the Muscovite out!'' he cried,
Then the name of ``Allah!'' resounded wide,
And the rifles were clutched and the bayonets lowered,
And on to the last redoubt they poured.

One fell, and a second quickly stopped
The gap that he left when he reeled and dropped;
The second,-a third straight filled his place;
The third,-and a fourth kept up the race.

Many a fez in the mud was crushed,
Many a throat that cheered was hushed,
Many a heart that sought the crest
Found Allah's throne and a houri's breast.

Over their corpses the living sprang,
And the ridge with their musket-rattle rang,
Till the faces that lined the last redoubt
Could see their faces and hear their shout.

In the redoubt a fair form towered,
That cheered up the brave and chid the coward;
Brandishing blade with a gallant air,
His head erect and his temples bare.

``Fly! they are on us!'' his men implored;
But he waved them on with his waving sword.
``It cannot be held; 'tis no shame to go!''
But he stood with his face set hard to the foe.

Then clung they about him, and tugged, and knelt.
He drew a pistol out from his belt,
And fired it blank at the first that set
Foot on the edge of the parapet.

Over, that first one toppled; but on
Clambered the rest till their bayonets shone,
As hurriedly fled his men dismayed,
Not a bayonet's length from the length of his blade.

``Yield!'' But aloft his steel he flashed,
And down on their steel it ringing clashed;
Then back he reeled with a bladeless hilt,
His honour full, but his life-blood spilt.

Mehemet Ali came and saw
The riddled breast and the tender jaw.
``Make him a bier of your arms,'' he said,
``And daintily bury this dainty dead!''

They lifted him up from the dabbled ground;
His limbs were shapely, and soft, and round.
No down on his lip, on his cheek no shade:-
``Bismillah!'' they cried, ``'tis an Infidel maid!''

``Dig her a grave where she stood and fell,
'Gainst the jackal's scratch and the vulture's smell.
Did the Muscovite men like their maidens fight,
In their lines we had scarcely supped to-night.''

So a deeper trench 'mong the trenches there
Was dug, for the form as brave as fair;
And none, till the Judgment trump and shout,
Shall drive her out of the Last Redoubt.

The lights of Mesolongi gleam
Before me, now the day is gone;
And vague as leaf on drifting stream,
My keel glides on.

No mellow moon, no stars arise;
In other lands they shine and roam:
All I discern are darkening skies
And whitening foam.

So on those lights I gaze that seem
Ghosts of the beacons of my youth,
Ere, rescued from their treacherous gleam,
I steered towards truth.

And you, too, Byron, did awake,
And ransomed from the cheating breath
Of living adulation, stake
Greatness on death!

Alas! the choice was made too late.
You treated Fame as one that begs,
And, having drained the joys that sate,
Offered the dregs.

The lees of life you scornful brought,
Scornful she poured upon the ground:
The honoured doom in shame you sought,
You never found.

``The Spartan borne upon his shield''
Is not the meed of jaded lust;
And, ere your feet could reach the field,
Death claimed your dust.

Upon the pillow, not the rock,
Like meaner things you ebbed away,
Yearning in vain for instant shock
Of mortal fray.

The futile prayer, the feeble tear,
All that deforms the face of death,
You had to bear, whilst in your ear
Hummed battle's breath.

You begged the vulture, not the worm,
Might feed upon your empty corse.
In vain! Just Nemesis was firm
'Gainst late remorse.

Too much you asked, too little gave,
The crown without the cross of strife.
What is it earns a soldier's grave?
A soldier's life.

Think not I come to taunt the dead.
My earliest master still is dear;
And what few tears I have to shed,
Are gathering here.

Behind me lies Ulysses' isle,
The wanderer wise who pined for home.
But Byron! Neither tear nor smile
Forbade you roam.

Yours was that bitterest mortal fate,
No choice save thirst or swinish trough:
Love's self but offered sensuous bait,
Or virtuous scoff.

Yet was it well to wince, and cry
For anguish, and at wrong to gird?
Best,-like your gladiator, die
Without a word!

There be, who in that fault rejoice,
Since sobs survive as sweetest lays,
And yours remains the strongest voice
Of later days.

For me, I think of you as One
Who vaguely pined for worthier lot
Than to be blinked at like the sun,
But found it not.

Who blindly fought his way from birth,
Nor learned, till 'twas too late to heed,
Not all the noblest songs are worth
One noble deed:

Who, with the doom of glory cursed,
Still played the athlete's hollow part,
And 'neath his bay-green temples nursed
A withered heart.

On, silent keel, through silent sea.
I will not land where He, alas!
Just missed Fame's crown. Enough for me
To gaze, and pass.

If You Were Mine, If You Were Mine,

`If you were mine, if you were mine,
The day would dawn, the stars would shine,
The sun would set, the moon arise,
In holier and yet heavenlier skies.
Then unto me the Year would bring
A younger April, fresher Spring.
I should not then seek sylvan ways
For primrose clusters, woodbine sprays,
To hear the mavis' matin tale,
Or nocturn of the nightingale.
For at your coming there would pass
A glow, a glory, o'er the grass,
The flowers would in your gaze rejoice,
The wildwood carol in your voice,
Returning gleam chase lingering gloom,
And life be never out of bloom,
If you were mine!

`If you were mine, I should not know
In what fair month the roses blow,
When the pure lily bares her brow,
Or ringdoves coo their nuptial vow.
For, with your hand soft-clasped in mine,
I still should smell the eglantine,
And, wheresoe'er our steps should stray,
The incense of the new-mown hay.
By restless wave or restful mere,
In wanderings far or wanderings near,
On cheerful down, in pensive glen,
It would be always Summer then,
If you were mine.

`If you were mine, I should not fear
The warnings of the waning year,
The garnering sickle, girdled sheaf,
The falling acorn, floating leaf,
Moisture of eve and haze of morn,
Pearls turned to rubies on the thorn,
The silvering tress on fading brow,
The dimples that are furrows now.
For, leaving summits once I clomb,
With you, would seem but wending home.
Leaning on love in life's decline,
More sweet the shadow than the shine,
The cushat's perch than swallow's wing,
And Autumn peace than pomp of Spring,
If you were mine.

`If you were mine, how then should I
Heed frozen fallow, churlish sky,
Bleak, songless branches, sapless rind,
The wailing of the homeless wind,
The dwindling days, the deepening snow,
The dull, dead weight of wintry woe?
For, harkening to the Christmas peal
Without, our hearts within would feel,
In glowing rafter, flickering blaze,
The sunshine of departed days,
And round the hearth dear memories swarm
To keep life young, to keep love warm,
If you were mine.'

`Yet you are mine, yes, you are mine.
No length of land, no breadth of brine,
Can keep whom spirit links, apart,
Or make an exile of the heart.
And when from soul, no more the thrall
Of sense, the fleshly fetters fall,
And, purified by combats past,
Long-martyred love is crowned at last,
You then before the Heavenly Throne
Will take my hand, nor blush to own,
That you were mine!'

When June is wreathed with wilding rose
When June is wreathed with wilding rose,
And all the buds are blown,
And O, 'tis joy to dream and doze
In meadows newly mown,
Go take her where the graylings leap,
And where the dabchick dives,
Or where the bees from clover reap
The harvest for their hives;
For Summer is the season when,
If you but know the way,
A maid that's kissed will kiss again,
And pelt you with the hay,
The hay,
And pelt you with the hay.

At Shelley’s Grave

Beneath this marble, mute of praise,
Is hushed the heart of One
Who, whilst it beat, had eagle's gaze
To stare upon the sun.
Equal in flight
To any height,
He lies where they that crawl but come,
Sleeping most sound,-Cor Cordium.

No rippling notes announcing spring,
No bloom-evoking breeze,
No fleecy clouds that earnest bring
Of summer on the seas,
Avail to wake
The heart whose ache
Was to be tender overmuch
To Nature's every tone and touch.

The insolence of stranger drum,
Vexing the broad blue air,
To smite a nation's clamour dumb,
Or spur a rash despair,
Which once had wrung
That prophet tongue
To challenge force or cheer the slave,
Rolls unrebuked around his grave.

The cruel clarion's senseless bray,
The lamb's half-human bleat,
Patter of shower on sward or spray,
Or clang of mailèd feet,
Are weak alike
To stir or strike
The once swift voice that now is dumb
To war's reveil, cicala's hum.

Oh wake, dead heart! come back! indeed
Come back! Thy thunderous brow
And levin shafts the world did need
Never so much as now.
The chain, the rack,
The hopes kept back
By those whom serfs are forced to trust,
Might well reanimate thy dust.

Nay, Poet, rest thou quiet there,
'Neath sunshine, wind, and rain;
At least if thou canst scarce repair,
Thou dost not share our pain.
It is enough
That cold rebuff
And calumny of knave and dunce
Did vex thy tender spirit once.

Where was the marvel, though thy corse
Submitted to the pyre,
Thy heart of hearts should foil the force
Of the sea-wind-blown fire?
It was but just
That what was dust
Should own the cradle whence it came-
But when did flame e'er feed on flame?

Or rather say the sacred torch,
The while it did illume
Thy heart, did also so far scorch,
Was nought left to consume?
That ardent zeal
For human weal
Had searched and parched it o'er and o'er,
Till, lava like, 'twould burn no more.

I snatch the banner from thy grave,
I wave the torch on high;
'Spite smiling tyrant, crouching slave,
The Cause shall never die!
Sceptre and cowl
May smite or scowl,
Serfs hug the chains they half deserve-
Right cannot miss, howe'er it swerve!

Alas! you failed, who were so strong:
Shall I succeed, so weak?
Life grows still shorter, art more long;
You sang-I scarce can speak.
Promethean fire
Within your lyre
Made manly words with music mate,
Whilst I am scarce articulate.

He sang too early to be heard;
The world is drowsy still;
And only those whose sleep is stirred
By lines that streak the hill,
Or the first notes
Of matin throats,
Have heard his strain 'mid hush of night,
And known it harbinger of Light.

But when the Day shall come whose dawn
He early did forbode,
When men by Knowledge shall be drawn,
Not driven by the goad,
This spot apart,
Where sleeps his heart,
Deaf to all clamour, wrong, or rage,
Shall be their choicest pilgrimage.

Dead! Is she dead?
And all that light extinguished!

Mend your words,
Those gropings of the blind along plain paths
Where all the Heavens are shining! Know you not,
Though the Eternal Luminary dips
Below our cramped horizon, leaving here
Only a train of glory, he but goes
To dawn on other and neglected worlds,
Benighted of his presence! So with her,
Whose round imagination, like the sun,
Drew the sad mists of the low-lying earth
Up to her own great altitude, and there
Made them in smiling tears evaporate.
Announce the sun's self dead, and o'er him roll
An epitaph of darkness;-then aver
She too has set for ever.

Think it thus,
If for sweet comfort's sake. What we call death
Is but another sentinel despatched
To relieve life, weary of being on guard,
Whose active service is not ended here,
But after intermission is renewed
In other fields of duty. This to her
Was an uncertain promise, since it seems,
Unto the eye of seriousness, unreal,
That, like a child, death should but play with life,
Blowing it out, to blow it in again.
This contradiction over, now she stands
Certain of all uncertainty, and dwells
Where death the sophist puzzles life no more,
But with disdainful silence or clear proof
Confuted is for ever. Yet our loss
By others' gain is mended not, and we
Sit in the darkness that her light hath left.
Comfort our grief with symbols as we will,
Her empty throne stares stony in our face,
And with a dumb relentlessness proclaims
That she has gone for ever, for ever gone,
Returning not. . . . How plain I see her now,
The twilight tresses, deepening into night,
The brow a benediction, and the eyes
Seat where compassion never set, and like
That firm, fixed star, which altereth not its place
While all the planets round it sink and swim,
Shone with a steady guidance. O, and a voice
Matched with whose modulations softest notes
Of dulcimer by daintiest fingers stroked,
Or zephyrs wafted over summer seas,
On summer shores subsiding, sounded harsh.
Listening whereto, steeled obduracy felt
The need to kneel, necessity to weep,
And craving to be comforted; a shrine
Of music and of incense and of flowers,
Where hearts, at length self-challenged, were content
Still to be sad and sinful, so they might
Feel that exonerating pity steal
In subtle absolution on their guilt.

Dead? Never dead!
That this, man's insignificant domain,
Which is not boundary of space, should be
The boundary of life, revolts the mind,
Even when bounded. Into soaring space
Soar, spacious spirit! unembarrassed now
By earthly boundaries, and circle up
Into the Heaven of Heavens, and take thy place
Where the Eternal Morning broadens out
To recognise thy coming. Realm on Realm
Of changeless revolution round thee roll,
Thou moving with them, and among the stars
Shine thou a star long looked for; or, unbuoyed,
Beyond the constellations of our ken,
Traverse the infinite azure with thy heart,
And with love's light elucidate the Spheres;
While we, below, this meek libation pour,
Mingled of honey and hyssop, on thy grave!

The Passing Of The Century

How shall we comfort the Dying Year?
Beg him to linger, or bid him go?
The light in his eyes burns dim and low,
His hands are clammy, his pulse beats slow,
He wanders and mumbles, but doth not hear.
The lanes are sodden, the leaf-drifts sere,
And the wrack is weaving his shroud of white.
Do you not see he is weary quite
Of the languor of living, and longs for night?
Lo! He is gone! Now lower him down
In the snug-warm earth, 'neath the clods of brown
And the buds of the winter aconite.

How shall we part with the bygone Year?
Cover with cypress, or wreathe with bay?
He will not heed what you do or say,
He is deaf to to-morrow as yesterday.
Why do you linger about his bier?
He has gone to the Ghostland, he is not here.
We may go on our way, we may live and laugh,
Round the banqueting blaze can feast and quaff.
The purple catafalque, stately staff,
The dirges of sorrow, the songs of praise,
And the costliest monument man can raise,
Are but for the Spirit's cenotaph.

Dust unto dust, He is dead, though he
Was the last of the centuried years that flow,
We know not wherefore, we never shall know,
With the tide unebbing of Time, and go
To the phantom shore of Eternity.
Shadows to shadows, they flit and flee
Across the face of the flaming sun,
The vague generations, one by one,
That never are ended, never begun.
Where is the dome or the vault so vast,
As to coffin the bones of the perished Past,
Save the limitless tomb of Oblivion?

What tale would he tell, could the dead but speak?
``I was born, as I died, amid wrath and smoke,
When the war-wains rolled, and the cannons spoke,
When the vulture's cry and the raven's croak
Flapped hungrily over the dying shriek,
And nothing was seen but a blood-red streak
Betwixt lowering sky and leaden main;
When slanted and slashed the rifles' rain
Upon furrows whose harvest were sheaves of slain;
When the levin's glare by the thunder's crash
Was bellowed, and ever 'twixt flash and flash
The howl of the unspent hurricane.''

Let the dead discourse with the dead. So ask
How best now to welcome the new-born Year.
She is coming, is coming, and, lo! is here,
With forehead and footstep that know not fear.
She will shrink from no pleasure, evade no task,
But there never was worn or veil or mask
Like her frank fair face and her candid soul.
Do you fathom her thoughts, can you guess her goal,
Her waywardness chasten, her fate control?
She will wend with her doom, and that doom be ours;
So greet her with carol and snow-white flowers,
And crown her with Hope's own aureole.

Yet mind her dawn of the dark, for she,
She too must pass 'neath the lych-gate porch;
And give to her keeping the vestal Torch,
That may ofttime smoulder, and sometimes scorch,
But rebrightens and burns eternally:
The beacon on land and the planet at sea,
When the night is murk, and the mist is dense,
To guide us Whither, remind us Whence,
The Soul's sure lamp through the shades of sense.
She must tread the Unknown the dead years trod;
Though rugged the road, yet the goal is God,
And the will of all-wise Omnipotence.

The Mountains
What ails you, Ocean, that nor near nor far,
Find you a bourne to ease your burdened breast,
But throughout time inexorable are
Never at rest?

With foaming mouth and fluttering crest you leap
Impatiently towards never-shifting beach,
Then wheel, and hurry to some distant deep
Beyond your reach.

Nor golden sands nor sheltering combes can slake
Your fretful longing for some shore unknown,
And through your shrineless pilgrimage you make
Unending moan.

The Sea
Nimbused by sunlight or enwreathed in snow,
Lonely you stand, and loftily you soar,
While I immeasurably ebb and flow
From shore to shore.

I see the palm-dates mellowing in the sun,
I hear the snow-fed torrents bound and brawl,
And if, where'er I range, content with none,
I know them all.

Inward the ice-floes where the walrus whet
Their pendent tusks, I sweep and swirl my way,
Or dally where 'neath dome and minaret
The dolphins play.

Beneath or bountiful or bitter sky
If I myself can never be at rest,
I lullaby the winds until they lie
Husht on my breast.

The Mountains
Till they awake, and from your feeble lap
Whirl through the air, and in their rage rejoice:
Then you with levin-bolt and thunderclap
Mingle your voice.

But I their vain insanity survey,
And on my silent brow I let them beat.
What is there it is worth my while to say
To storm or sleet?

I hear the thunder rumbling through the rain,
I feel the lightning flicker round my head;
The blizzards buffet me, but I remain
Dumb as the dead!

Urged by the goad of stern taskmaster Time,
The Seasons come and go, the years roll round.
I watch them from my solitude sublime,
Uttering no sound.

For hate and love I have nor love nor hate;
To be alone is not to be forlorn:
The only armour against pitiless Fate
Is pitying scorn.

The Sea
Yet do I sometimes seem to hear afar
A tumult in your dark ravines as though
You weary of your loneliness, and are
Wrestling with woe.

The Mountains
When the white wolves of Winter to their lair
Throng, and yet deep and deeper sleeps the snow,
I loose the avalanche, to shake and scare
The vale below.

And, when its sprouting hopes and brimming glee
Are bound and buried in a death-white shroud,
Then at the thought that I entombed can be,
I laugh aloud.

The Sea
I grieve with grief, at anguish I repine,
I dirge the keel the hurricane destroys:
For all the sorrows of the world are mine,
And all its joys.

And when there is no space 'twixt surf and sky,
And all the universe seems cloud and wave,
It is the immitigable wind, not I,
That scoops men's grave.

I wonder how the blast can hear them moan
For pity, yet keep deaf unto their prayers.
I have too many sorrows of my own,
Not to feel theirs.

And when the season of sweet joy comes round,
My bosom to their rapture heaves and swells;
And closer still I creep to catch the sound
Of wedding bells.

I see the children digging in the sand,
I hear the sinewy mariners carouse,
And lovers in the moonlight, hand-in-hand,
Whispering their vows.

You in your lofty loneliness disdain
Suffering below and comfort from above.
The sweetest thing in all the world is pain
Consoled by Love.

Heaven strews the earth with snow,
That neither friend nor foe
May break the sleep of the fast-dying year;
A world arrayed in white,
Late dawns, and shrouded light,
Attest to us once more that Christmas-tide is here.

And yet, and yet I hear
No strains of pious cheer,
No children singing round the Yule-log fire;
No carol's sacred notes,
Warbled by infant throats,
On brooding mother's lap, or knee of pleasèd sire.

Comes with the hallowed time
No sweet accustomed chime,
No peal of bells athwart the midnight air;
No mimes or jocund waits
Within wide-opened gates,
Loud laughter in the hall, or glee of children fair.

No loving cup sent round?
No footing of the ground?
No sister's kiss under the berried bough?
No chimney's joyous roar,
No hospitable store,
Though it be Christmas-tide, to make us note it now?

No! only human hate,
And fear, and death, and fate,
And fierce hands locked in fratricidal strife;
The distant hearth stripped bare
By the gaunt guest, Despair,
Pale groups of pining babes round lonely-weeping wife.

Can it be Christmas-tide?
The snow with blood is dyed,
From human hearts wrung out by human hands.
Hark! did not sweet bells peal?
No! 'twas the ring of steel,
The clang of armèd men and shock of murderous bands.

Didst Thou, then, really come?-
Silence that dreadful drum!-
Christ! Saviour! Babe, of lowly Virgin born!
If Thou, indeed, Most High,
Didst in a manger lie,
Then be the Prince of Peace, and save us from Hell's scorn.

We weep if men deny
That Thou didst live and die,
Didst ever walk upon this mortal sphere;
Yet of Thy Passion, Lord!
What know these times abhorred,
Save the rude soldier's stripes, sharp sponge, and piercing spear?

Therefore we, Father, plead,
Grant us in this our need
Another Revelation from Thy throne,
That we may surely know
We are not sons of woe,
Forgotten and cast off, but verily Thine own.

Yet if He came anew,
Where, where would shelter due
Be found for load divine and footsteps sore?
Here, not the inns alone,
But fold and stable groan
With sterner guests than drove sad Mary from the door.

And thou, 'mong women blest,
Who laidst, with awe-struck breast,
Thy precious babe upon the lowly straw,
Now for thy new-born Son
Were nook and cradle none,
If not in bloody trench or cannon's smoking jaw.

Round her what alien rites,
What savage sounds and sights-
The plunging war-horse and sulphureous match.
Than such as these, alas!
Better the ox, the ass,
The manger's crib secure and peace-bestowing thatch.

The trumpet's challenge dire
Would hush the angelic choir,
The outpost's oath replace the Shepherd's vow;
No frankincense or myrrh
Would there be brought to her,
For Wise Men kneel no more-Kings are not humble now.

O Lord! O Lord! how long?
Thou that art good, art strong,
Put forth Thy strength, Thy ruling love declare;
Stay Thou the smiting hand,
Invert the flaming brand,
And teach the proud to yield, the omnipotent to spare.

Renew our Christmas-tide!
Let weeping eyes be dried,
Love bloom afresh, bloodshed and frenzy cease!
And at Thy bidding reign,
As in the heavenly strain,
Glory to God on high! on earth perpetual peace!

*********************************** ***********above ready for slurp

In the ages of Faith, before the day
When men were too proud to weep or pray,
There stood in a red-roofed Breton town
Snugly nestled 'twixt sea and down,
A chapel for simple souls to meet,
Nightly, and sing with voices sweet,
Ave Maria!

There was an idiot, palsied, bleared,
With unkempt locks and a matted beard,
Hunched from the cradle, vacant-eyed,
And whose head kept rolling from side to side;
Yet who, when the sunset-glow grew dim,
Joined with the rest in the twilight hymn,
Ave Maria!

But when they up-got and wended home,
Those up the hillside, these to the foam,
He hobbled along in the narrowing dusk,
Like a thing that is only hull and husk;
On as he hobbled, chanting still,
Now to himself, now loud and shrill,
Ave Maria!

When morning smiled on the smiling deep,
And the fisherman woke from dreamless sleep,
And ran up his sail, and trimmed his craft,
While his little ones leaped on the sand and laughed,
The senseless cripple would stand and stare,
Then suddenly holloa his wonted prayer,
Ave Maria!

Others might plough, and reap, and sow,
Delve in the sunshine, spin in snow,
Make sweet love in a shelter sweet,
Or trundle their dead in a winding-sheet;
But he, through rapture, and pain, and wrong,
Kept singing his one monotonous song,
Ave Maria!

When thunder growled from the ravelled wrack,
And ocean to welkin bellowed back,
And the lightning sprang from its cloudy sheath,
And tore through the forest with jaggèd teeth,
Then leaped and laughed o'er the havoc wreaked,
The idiot clapped with his hands, and shrieked,
Ave Maria!

Children mocked, and mimicked his feet,
As he slouched or sidled along the street;
Maidens shrank as he passed them by,
And mothers with child eschewed his eye;
And half in pity, half scorn, the folk
Christened him, from the words he spoke,
Ave Maria.

One year when the harvest feasts were done,
And the mending of tattered nets begun,
And the kittiwake's scream took a weirder key
From the wailing wind and the moaning sea,
He was found, at morn, on the fresh-strewn snow,
Frozen, and faint, and crooning low,
Ave Maria!

They stirred up the ashes between the dogs,
And warmed his limbs by the blazing logs,
Chafed his puckered and bloodless skin,
And strove to quiet his chattering chin;
But, ebbing with unreturning tide,
He kept on murmuring till he died,
Ave Maria!

Idiot, soulless, brute from birth,
He could not be buried in sacred earth;
So they laid him afar, apart, alone,
Without or a cross, or turf, or stone,
Senseless clay unto senseless clay,
To which none ever came nigh to say,
Ave Maria!

When the meads grew saffron, the hawthorn white,
And the lark bore his music out of sight,
And the swallow outraced the racing wave,
Up from the lonely, outcast grave
Sprouted a lily, straight and high,
Such as She bears to whom men cry,
Ave Maria!

None had planted it, no one knew
How it had come there, why it grew;
Grew up strong, till its stately stem
Was crowned with a snow-white diadem,-
One pure lily, round which, behold!
Was written by God in veins of gold,
``Ave Maria!''

Over the lily they built a shrine,
Where are mingled the mystic bread and wine;
Shrine you may see in the little town
That is snugly nestled 'twixt deep and down.
Through the Breton land it hath wondrous fame,
And it bears the unshriven idiot's name,
Ave Maria.

Hunchbacked, gibbering, blear-eyed, halt,
From forehead to footstep one foul fault,
Crazy, contorted, mindless-born,
The gentle's pity, the cruel's scorn,
Who shall bar you the gates of Day,
So you have simple faith to say,
Ave Maria?

LEAVE me a little while alone,
Here at his grave that still is strown
With crumbling flower and wreath;
The laughing rivulet leaps and falls,
The thrush exults, the cuckoo calls,
And he lies hush’d beneath.

With myrtle cross and crown of rose,
And every lowlier flower that blows,
His new-made couch is dress’d;
Primrose and cowslip, hyacinth wild,
Gather’d by monarch, peasant, child,
A nation’s grief attest.

I stood not with the mournful crowd
That hither came when round his shroud
Pious farewells were said.
In the fam’d city that he sav’d,
By minaret crown’d, by billow lav’d,
I heard that he was dead.

Now o’er his tomb at last I bend,
No greeting get, no greeting tend,
Who never came before
Unto his presence, but I took,
From word or gesture, tone or look,
Some wisdom from his door.

And must I now unanswer’d wait,
And, though a suppliant at the gate,
No sound my ears rejoice?
Listen! Yes, even as I stand,
I feel the pressure of his hand,
The comfort of his voice.

How poor were Fame, did grief confess
That death can make a great life less,
Or end the help it gave!
Our wreaths may fade, our flowers may wane,
But his well-ripen’d deeds remain,
Untouch’d, above his grave.

Let this, too, soothe our widow’d minds;
Silenced are the opprobrious winds
Whene’er the sun goes down;
And free henceforth from noonday noise,
He at a tranquil height enjoys
The starlight of renown.

Thus hence we something more may take
Than sterile grief, than formless ache,
Or vainly utter’d vow;
Death hath bestow’d what life withheld
And he round whom detraction swell’d
Hath peace with honor now.

The open jeer, the covert taunt,
The falsehood coin’d in factious haunt,
These loving gifts reprove.
They never were but thwarted sound
Of ebbing waves that bluster round
A rock that will not move.

And now the idle roar rolls off,
Hush’d is the gibe and sham’d the scoff,
Repress’d the envious gird;
Since death, the looking-glass of life,
Clear’d of the misty breath of strife,
Reflects his face unblurr’d.

From callow youth to mellow age,
Men turn the leaf and scan the page,
And note, with smart of loss,
How wit to wisdom did mature,
How duty burn’d ambition pure,
And purged away the dross.

Youth is self-love; our manhood lends
Its heart to pleasure, mistress, friends,
So that when age steals nigh,
How few find any worthier aim
Than to protract a flickering flame,
Whose oil hath long run dry!

But he, unwitting youth once flown,
With England’s greatness link’d his own,
And, steadfast to that part,
Held praise and blame but fitful sound,
And in the love of country found
Full solace for his heart.

Now in an English grave he lies:
With flowers that tell of English skies
And mind of English air,
A grateful sovereign decks his bed,
And hither long with pilgrim tread
Will English feet repair.

Yet not beside his grave alone
We seek the glance, the touch, the tone;
His home is nigh,—but there,
See from the hearth his figure fled,
The pen unrais’d, the page unread,
Untenanted the chair!

Vainly the beechen boughs have made
A fresh green canopy of shade,
Vainly the peacocks stray;
While Carlo, with despondent gait,
Wonders how long affairs of State
Will keep his lord away.

Here most we miss the guide, the friend;
Back to the churchyard let me wend,
And, by the posied mound,
Lingering where late stood worthier feet,
Wish that some voice, more strong, more sweet,
A loftier dirge would sound.

At least I bring not tardy flowers:
Votive to him life’s budding powers,
Such as they were, I gave—
He not rejecting, so I may
Perhaps these poor faint spices lay,
Unchidden, on his grave!

Who Would Not Die For England!

Who would not die for England!

This great thought,
Through centuries of Glory handed down
By storied vault in monumental fane,
And homeless grave in lone barbaric lands,
Homeless but not forgotten, so can thrill
With its imperious call the hearts of men,
That suddenly from dwarf ignoble lives
They rise to heights of nobleness, and spurn
The languid couch of safety, to embrace
Duty and Death that evermore were twin.

``Who would not die for England!''

Thus He said,
Who at the holiest of all English hearths,
The holiest and the highest, had been given
A seat, an English Princess for his Bride,-
Now at that hearth weeping her widowed tears,
Bitter and barren as the winter rain.
``It is not meet that I, whom this famed Isle,
This generous, mighty, and majestic Land,
Ennobled as her son, should not repay
Her splendid gift of kinship. Let me go,
Go where they go, Her world-researching race,
That slumber pillowed on the half-drawn sword,
And wake at whisper of her will, to greet
Duty and Death that evermore were twin.''

Who would not die for England!

And for Her
He dies, who, whether in the fateful fight,
Or in the marish jungle, where She bids,
Far from encircling fondness, far from kiss
Of clinging babes, hushes his human heart,
And, stern to every voice but Hers, obeys
Duty and Death that evermore were twin.

So across the far-off foam,
Bring him hither, bring him home,
Over avenues of wave,-
English ground,-to English grave;
Where his soldier dust may rest,
England's Flag above his breast,
And, love-tended, long may bloom
English flowers about his tomb.

Who would not die for England, that can give
A sepulture like this, 'mid hamlet crofts,
And comely cottages with old-world flowers,
And rustic seats for labour-palsied limbs,
The pensioners of Peace! I linger here,
Pondering the dark inexplicable Night,
Here by this river-girt sequestered shrine
Whose vanished walls were reared anew by Him,
Of Princes the most princely, if it be
That Wisdom, Love, and Virtue more adorn
Sarcophagus of Kings than dripping spears,
Lone wailing hearths and hecatombs of slain.
And He too died for England, He who lived
Scorning all joy save that great joy of all,
The love of one true woman, She a Queen,
Empress and Queen, yet not the more revered,
Not the more loved, for those resounding names,
Than for the lowlier titles, Gracious, Good,
The Worthiest of Women ever crowned.

Sweetest Consort, sagest Prince!
Snows on snows have melted since
England lost you;-late to learn
Worth that never can return;
Learned to know you as you were,
Known, till then, alone to Her!
Luminous as sun at noon,
Tender as the midnight moon,
Steadfast as the steered-by star,
Wise as Time and Silence are:
Deaf to vain-belittling lie,
Deaf to gibing jealousy;
Thinking only of the goal,
And, like every lofty soul,
Scanning with a far-off smile
The revilings of the vile.

Yes, He too died for England! thence withdrawn
Dim to that undiscoverable land
Where our lost loved ones dwell with wistful eyes,
And lips that look but speak not. . . . But away!
Away from these soft-whispering waves that make
A dulcet dirge around the new-delved grave,
To bluff East-Anglia, where on wind-swept lawns
The sanguine crocus peeps from underground
To feel the sun and only finds the snow;
And, whinnying on the norland blast, the surge
Leaps against iron coast with iron hoof,
As though the hosts of Denmark foamed afresh,
Caparisoned for ravin! And I see
A cradle, not a coffin, and therein
Another Child to England; and, veiled Fate
Over it bent with deep-divining gaze,
And with oracular lips, like nurse inspired,
Foretelling the fair Future.

``Another Albert shalt Thou be, so known,
So known, so honoured, and His name shall stand
The sponsor to your spotlessness, until
Dawns the full day when, conscious of your soul,
Your soul, your self, and that high mission laid
On all of such begetting, you may seize
The sceptre of your will, and, thus-wise armed
Against the sirens of disloyal sense,
Like to your pure progenitor abide
In God's stern presence, and surrender never
That last prerogative of all your race,
To live and die for England!''

The lark went up, the mower whet his scythe,
On golden meads kine ruminating lay,
And all the world felt young again and blithe,
Just as to-day.

The partridge shook her covey from her wings,
And limped along the grass; on leaf and lawn
Shimmered the dew, and every throat that sings
Chanted the dawn.

The doe was followed by her new-dropped fawn,
And, folding all her feathers on her breast,
The swan within the reedmace deep withdrawn
Dreamed on her nest.

In the green wheat the poppy burst aflame,
Wildrose and woodbine garlanded the glade,
And, twin with maiden Summer, forth there came
A summer Maid.

Her face was as the face of mid-June when
Blossoms the meadowsweet, the bindweed blows:
Pale as a lily first She blenched, and then
Blushed like a rose.

They placed a Crown upon her fair young brow,
They put a Sceptre in her girlish hand,
Saying, ``Behold! You are Sovereign Lady now
Of this great Land!''

Silent She gazed, as one who doth not know
The meaning of a message. When She broke
The hush of awe around her, 'twas as though
Her soul that spoke.

``With this dread summons, since 'tis Heaven's decree,
I would not palter, even if I could;
But, being a woman only, I can be
Not great, but good.

``I cannot don the breastplate and the helm,
To my weak waist the sword I cannot gird,
Nor in the discords that distract a Realm
Be seen or heard.

``But in my People's wisdom will I share,
And in their valour play a helpful part,
Lending them still, in all they do or dare,
My woman's heart.

``And haply it may be that, by God's grace,
And unarmed Love's invulnerable might,
I may, though woman, lead a manly race
To higher height;

``If wise will curb disorderly desire,
The Present hold the parent Past in awe,
Religion hallowing with its sacred fire
Freedom and Law.

``Never be broken, long as I shall reign,
The solemn covenant 'twixt them and me,
To keep this Kingdom, moated by the main,
Loyal yet free.''

Thus with grave utterance and majestic mien
She with her eighteen summers filled the Throne
Where Alfred sate: a girl, withal a Queen,
Aloft, alone!

But Love that hath the power to force apart
The bolts and baulk the sentinels of Kings,
Came o'er the sea, and in her April heart
Folded his wings.

Thenceforth more dear than diadem She owned
A princely helpmate, sharer in her trust,
If not her Sceptre:-since, withal, enthroned
By Time the just.

Scorner of wrong, and lover of the right,
Compounded all of nobleness he seemed,
And was indeed the perfect gentle Knight
The poet dreamed.

So when the storm of wrath arose that drave
Scared Rulers from their realms, Her Throne, deep laid
In liberty and trust, calm shelter gave
To Kings dismayed.

And stronger grew the bond of love and grace
Betwixt Her and her People, while that She
Reigned the glad Mother of a Royal race,
Rulers to be.

But Death that deepens love in darkening life
Turned to a pall the purple of her Throne.
Then, more than once the maid, the widowed wife
Reigned all alone!

``Leave me awhile to linger with the dead,''
Weeping, She sued. ``But doubt not that I still
Am nuptialled to my People, and have wed
Their deathless will.

``Their thoughts shall be my thoughts, their aim my aim,
Their free-lent loyalty my right divine;
Mine will I make their triumphs, mine their fame,
Their sorrows mine.

``And I will be the bond to link them all
In patriot purpose till my days be done,
So that, in mind and might, whate'er befall,
They still keep One.''

Then to the winds yet wider was unfurled
The Flag that tyrants never could enslave,
Till its strong wisdom governed half the world,
And all the wave!

And, panoplied alike for War or Peace,
Victoria's England furroweth still the foam
To harvest Empire, wiser than was Greece,
Wider than Rome!

Therefore with glowing hearts and proud glad tears,
The children of her Island Realm to-day
Recall her sixty venerable years
Of virtuous sway.

Now too from where Saint-Lawrence winds, adown
'Twixt forests felled and plains that feel the plough,
And Ganges jewels the Imperial Crown
That girds her brow;

From Afric's Cape, where loyal watchdogs bark,
And Britain's Sceptre ne'er shall be withdrawn,
And that young Continent that greets the dark
When we the dawn;

From steel-capped promontories stern and strong,
And lone isles mounting guard upon the main,
Hither her subjects wend to hail her long
Resplendent Reign.

And ever when mid-June's musk-roses blow,
Our Race will celebrate Victoria's name,
And even England's greatness gain a glow
From Her pure fame.

A Point Of Honour

``Tell me again; I did not hear: It was wailing so sadly. Nay,
Hush! little one, for mother wants to know what they have to say.
There! At my breast be good and still! What quiets you calms me too.
They say that the source is poisoned; still, it seems pure enough for you!

``I shall bring them to shame, aye one and all, my Father who loves me so,
Dear Mother, a little severe at times, but with story as white as snow,
And sister Effie, so trim and quick, so fair and betrothed so long,
Who will wait for her lover for years and years, but would die at the thought of wrong.

``O don't! For I know what my brother Ralph, if he knew it, would think and say.
He would drive me across the lonely moor, and would curse me all the way;
Would call on the cold wet winds to whip, and the sunshine to pass me by,
And vow that the ditch were too good a grave for a thing as foul as I.

``And then there is grand-dad, worn and white, who can scarcely speak or see,
But sits in the sun in his wicker chair, with the Bible upon his knee.
To him 'twould but sound like a buzzing hive if they talked to him of my fall:
Yet I almost think that I dread his face, turned heavenward, more than all.

``We have never been either rich or poor, but a proud, stiff yeoman stock.
And to think that I am the first to bring sin's scab on a cleanly flock!
The pet lamb, too, as they call me still, the dearest of all their dears!
Hush, little one! But you well may wail, suckled not upon milk, but tears.

``He never will marry me now, that's sure. Who takes a wife with a stain?
How we used to sit in the bluebell wood, and roam through the primrose lane!
And I was thinking of some one else, while the nightingale trilled above.
He alone, I think, will forgive me though, such a wonderful thing is Love.

``Do you think I do not foresee it all?-a mother and not a wife,
A babe but without a father still, and the lack and the shame for life,
The nudge and the sidelong sneer, in church, at market, year out, year in.
But what would you have me do to escape the wages of my sin?

``Give up the child? To whom? To what? To honest and kindly folk
Who have never a chit of their own and long for a wee thing to kiss and stroke,
Who will call it their own, will rear as such, will teach it to lisp and pray:
He will find the money for that and more. There is nothing he will not pay.

``Pay? Well, go on: I am listening hard, for the little one's now at rest.
Just look how it sucks and smiles in sleep on the pillow of mother's breast.
Though I never thought-does Love ever think?-that such was the end of all,
It is wicked, but still for a joy like this I would almost repeat my fall.

``Yes, I understand. He has done his best. O, you make it perfectly clear.
He is doing it all for me, no doubt; he has nothing to face or fear.
But 'tis strange that fathers with gold may pay for their guilt, and can then forget,
And that lasting shame and a broken heart are the share of the mother's debt.

``I have sometimes thought that Nature has against woman some lasting pique,
For she makes us weak where we should be strong, and strong where we might be weak,
Most good when a little badness pays, and bad when 'tis safe being good.
To be always good, and nothing but good, 's the one hope for womanhood.

``And I then should be good, or seem to be, which is pretty well much the same,
Should hold up my head with the straightest then, and be shocked at a sister's shame.
Be called by the Vicar his model maid, be kissed by the Vicar's wife,
And may-be marry an honest man, and be happy and loved for life.

``The hollyhocks now up the garden walk are flowering strong and straight,
The bees are out in the mignonette, and the mossrose lingers late;
The orchard reddens, the acorn cups are thick 'neath the pollard oak,
And up from the old red chimney-stack curls the first blue Autumn smoke.

The kine from the lowland are trailing home, and file betwixt shed and rick,
In the wide brown bowls on the dairy shelf the cream lies smooth and thick;
I can hear the geese in the farmyard pond, I can see the neat new thatch.
Now what if I went there brave and bold, and took courage to lift the latch?

``They never would know, they would cluster round, they would drag me in through the door,
Would fondle and cuddle, and hug and kiss, and pull me down to the floor;
And who should kiss first, and who kiss last, would be all they would think of then;
And at night we should all of us kneel and pray, and I too should say, ``Amen!''

``They never would know; but I should know, and, when they were all asleep,
I should lie awake through the long dark night, and wonder, and sob, and weep,
Through the dear sweet bitter detested past would my wavering fancy roam,
And at dawn I should learn to smile again, for at least I should be at home.

``And where would It be? I must not ask-for I'm to be strong and wise,-
If well or ailing, alive or dead, what colour its hair and eyes,
Never knit a sock for its little feet, to the end never know its name.
There's a shamelessness yet more shameful far than the worst abyss of shame!

``Well, you see I am going. And where? Why, home! Yes, straight unto Father's door,
With this tell-tale thing in my warm weak arms, right over the windy moor.
I shall tremble and stammer and halt, no doubt, and look like a thing accurst,
And so double my fault by my helplessness; and then I shall know the worst.

``If my Mother scolds, I will bow my head; if my sister shrinks, I will weep;
If my brother smites, I will let him smite, for a sin so dark and deep.
But what if my Father rises up, and drives from the door,-what then?
Well, then I will go to the Father of all Who pardoned Magdalen.''

Celestial Heights

Hail! steep ascents and winding ways,
Glimmering through melting morning haze,
Hail! mountain herd-bells chiming clear!
Hail! meads and cherry-orchards green,
And hail, thrice hail! thou golden mean,
The châlet's simple cheer!

I leave the highwayed world behind,
And amid pathless pinewoods wind,
I drink their aromatic air;
Leap with kin feet the leaping stream,
And wake, as from an evil dream,
To dawn and speechless prayer.

Louder I hear the cattle-bells,
Wider the prospect spreads and swells,
Lakes, mountains, snow-peaks, round me throng;
I veil mine eyes, with awe oppressed,
Then gaze, and with a carolling breast
Burst into native song.

The moist cool dews are round my feet;
Forests of wild-flowers, simple, sweet,
With honey load each vacant breeze,
Which healing bears upon its wing,
Breathes with an air of more than Spring,
And banishes disease.

My limbs their youthful stride regain,
From off me fall fatigue and pain,
I mount more borne on wings than feet;
My blood in faster current flows,
Yet, like stream fed by mountain snows,
Is coolest when most fleet.

And not this common frame alone
Reclaims its youth, remounts its throne;
I feel, as air and sky expand,
That here the spirit, as the flesh,
Grows fragrant, dewy, healthful, fresh,
And like the landscape, grand.

Is it then so? And must the soul,
That unseen wing towards unseen goal,
Disdain the crowded vale's delights,
Its heat unfruitful, vapid noise,
And soaring, solitary, poise
Among celestial heights?

Even so. And, poised aloft, my soul
Far above human fret and dole
In empyrean calm abides.
No mortal voice the silence mars;
I hear the singing of the stars,
And the eternal tides.

The greedy aims, the lean regrets,
The disenchantment Hope begets
On ravished hearts,-beheld from here,
Like unto hamlet, pasture, stream,
Confused in one indifferent dream,
Mean and minute appear.

Man's feeble fury, trivial hate,
The pains that upon pleasure wait,
The exhaustion of tumultuous love,
The hopes that dwindle, fears that grow,
All that upheaves the plain below,
Tranquil, I breathe above.

Yet 'mid these sun-confronting peaks,
The undesisting spirit seeks
To mount to loftier, rarer height.
Are what we see but toys of sense,
And we who see them but a lens
Refracting heavenly light?-

-Imperfect mirror, faulty glass,
Who let the pure white rays to pass
But twist the coloured beams awry,
Belittle all the good we see,
And ill, since of our own degree,
Absorb, to magnify?

Who knoweth, or shall answer find?
I hear the rising of the wind,
More near and full the torrent's plash;
The swaying pine-woods murmur deep,
The lightnings laugh, and, roused from sleep,
The storm-winds meet and crash!

From underneath their lurid cowls,
Rossberg 'gainst Rigi frowns and scowls,
Across Arth's vale that cowers for dread;
And, mustering for their awful goal,
The phalanxed thunders, rumbling, roll
Around Pilatus' head.

Zug's gentle bosom heaves with fear,
And Küssnachts' waves, late soft and clear
As maiden's gaze or childhood's kiss,
Wax black as murkiest pool of hell,
When the infernal tempests swell,
And demons jeer and hiss.

'Mid such a ferment what is Man?
He sits beneath the rainbow's span,
And contemplates his little state:
He hears the darkness call, and deems
The skies speak to him in his dreams,
And recognise him great.

Yet not for him the Heavens engage
In their reverberating rage,
For him the ambushed levins fight.
Him?-but a fainter lightning-flash,
Him?-but a feebler thunder-crash,
Ending in deeper night!

Lo! unto other lands of air
The elemental furies bear
The roar of unexhausted strife;
And, freed from the sepulchral gloom,
Earth once again, as from the tomb,
Rises to light and life.

Pilatus frees his rugged head,
Zug's crouching lake, released from dread,
Looks up and smiles with face serene;
And, gazed on by the dying sun,
The phantom snow-crests, one by one,
Glow with transfigured mien.

Dead! And the tender twilight sighs.
Wan wane her cheeks, moist grow her eyes,
She draws her robes of mourning round:
Slowly she lights her widowed lamp,
And listens, through the night-dews damp,
To catch some cheering sound.

Yet in her loneliness how fair!
There is a sadness in the air
Sweeter than all the chords of joy;
A fragrance, as of spices borne
Unto the tomb of one we mourn,
And can no more annoy.

Cham's spire, I scarce in heaven descry,
Inverted, in that other sky,
The lake's lit breast, still plain doth glow:
So Soul, that darkly points above,
Shows sure and clear, when glassed by love
In answering heart below.

No more the grazing herds I see,
But still their bells chime silvery
The tuneful, if unmeasured peal,
And, as when heard in dewy morn,
From lonely mind and heart forlorn
Their desolation steal.

The legions of the starry host,
Each to their high and solemn post
In silent discipline repair,
And, from the unbattlemented sky,
With an intrepid calm defy
The demons of the air.

And, lo! athwart their ordered lines,
That strange auxiliary shines,
Who wears the bright long-flowing crest;
Weird warrior from another world,
Whose banner shortly will be furled,
Or waved in realms unguessed.

Erratic pilgrim! go not yet!
And, each fair planet, do not set!
For once, if only once, O Time!
Stay thine interminable march
Round and still round that hollow arch,
Where aeons vainly chime.

For when the tide, which unto Heaven
Brings night, 'gainst earth is backward driven
In waves of rising day, ah! then
Me helpless will it bear once more
Unto that thronged but barren shore,
Ploughed by the cares of men.

Outside The Village Church

``The old Church doors stand open wide,
Though neither bells nor anthems peal.
Gazing so fondly from outside,
Why do you enter not and kneel?

``It is the sunset hour when all
Begin to feel the need to pray,
Upon our common Father call
To guard the night, condone the day.

``Is it proud scorn, or humble doubt,
That keeps you standing, lingering, there;
Half in the Church, and half without,
Midway betwixt the world and prayer?

``No meeter moment could there be
For man to talk alone with God.
The careless sexton has, you see,
Shouldered his spade, and homeward trod.

``The Vicar's daily round is done;
His back just sank below the brow.
He passed the porches, one by one,
That line the hamlet street, and now

``He, in his garden, cons the page,
And muses on to-morrow's text.
The homebound rustic counts his wage,
The same last week, the same the next.

``Nor priest nor hind are you, but each
Alike is welcome here within;
Both they who learn, and they who teach,
Have secret sorrow, secret sin.

``Enter, and bare your inmost sore;
Enter, and weep your stain away;
Leave doubt and darkness at the door;
Come in and kneel, come in and pray.''

Such were the words I seemed to hear,
By no one uttered, but alack!
The voice of many a bygone year,
Striking the church, and echoing back.

I entered not, but on a stone
Sate, that recorded some one's loss;
But name and date no more were shown,
The deep-cut lines were smooth with moss.

Below were longsome tags of rhyme,
But what, you could not now surmise.
Alas! alas! that death and time
Should overgrow love's eulogies.

Round me was Death that plainly spoke
The hopes and aims that life denied;
The curious pomp of simple folk,
The pedantry of rustic pride.

Some slept in square sepulchral caves,
Some were stretched flat, and some inurned;
And there were fresh brown baby graves,
Resembling cradles overturned.

From where I sate I still could watch
The old oak pews, the altar white.
Gable and oasthouse, tile and thatch,
Smiled softly in the sunset light.

From here and there a cottage roof,
Spires of blue vapour 'gan to steal;
To eyes of love a heavenly proof
The mother warmed the evening meal.

No more the mill-stream chafed and churned;
The wheel hung still, the meal lay whole;
From marsh and dyke the rooks returned,
And circled round and round the toll.

The lambs were mute, the sheep were couched,
The hop-poles bent 'neath leaf and bine;
Adown the road the vagrant slouched,
And glanced up at the alehouse sign.

Again I heard the unseen voice:
``Why do you come not in and rest?
Whether you grieve or you rejoice,
You here will be a welcome guest.

``To Heaven it is the half-way house,
Where hope can feed, and anguish may
Recline its limbs and rest its brows,
With simple thanks for ample pay.

``Was it not here you got the name
Which is of you so close a part,
That, uttered, it hath magic claim
To flush love's cheek, to flood love's heart?

``Here too it was, when youth confessed
The weariness of random ways,
And felt a surging in the breast
For faithful nights and fruitful days,

``You came with one who, conquering fear
When love surprised first thought to fly,
Acknowledged with a tender tear
The sweetness of captivity.

``And here 'twill be when you have ta'en
Last look of love, last look of Spring,
When hearts for you will yearn in vain,
And vain for you the birds will sing,

``That shuffling feet and slow will come,
With cumbrous coffin, gloomy pall,
And, while within you moulder dumb,
That prayers will rise and tears will fall.

``And should Death haply prove your friend,
And what in life was scorned should save,
Hither it is that feet will wend,
To read the name upon your grave.''

I heard the voice no more. The rooks
Had ceased to float, had ceased to caw;
The sunlight lingered but in nooks,
And, gazing toward the west, I saw,

Beyond the pasture's withered bents,
Upstanding hop, recumbent fleece,
And sheaves of wheat, like weathered tents,
A twilight bivouac of peace.

Into itself the voice withdrew.
A something subtle all around
Came floating on the rising dew,
And sweetness took the place of sound.

No word of mine, although my heart
Rebelled, the scented stillness shook;
But silence seemed to take my part,
Thus mildly answering mild rebuke:

``'Tis true I have to you not brought
My eager or despondent mood,
But still by wood and stream have sought
The sanctity of solitude.

``But as a youth who quits his home
To range in tracts of freër fame,
However far or wide he roam,
Dwells fondly on his mother's name;

``So bear me witness, dear old Church,
Although apart our ritual be,
I ne'er have breathed one word to smirch
The Creed that bore and suckled me.

``Not mine presumptuous thought to cope
With sage's faith, with saint's belief,
Or proudly mock the humble hope
That solaced the Repentant Thief.

``I do not let the elms, that shut
My garden in from world without,
Exclude your sacred presence, but
I lop them when they shoot and sprout;

``That I at eve, that I at dawn,
That I, when noons are warm and still,
Lying or lingering on the lawn,
May see your tower upon the hill.

``But when Faith grows a sophist's theme,
And chancels ring with doubt and din,
I sometimes think that they who seem
The most without, are most within.

``The name you gave, that name I bear;
The bond you sealed, I sacred keep;
And, when my brain is dust and air,
Let me within your precincts sleep.''

The sexton came and scanned once more
The neat square pit of smooth blue clay,
Then turned the key and locked the door,
And so, like him, I went my way.

I had the summons not obeyed;
I had nor knelt nor uttered word;
But somehow felt that I had prayed,
And somehow felt I had been heard.

Blithe friend! blithe throstle! Is it thou,
Whom I at last again hear sing,
Perched on thy old accustomed bough,
Poet-prophet of the Spring?
Yes! Singing as thou oft hast sung,
I can see thee there among
The clustered branches of my leafless oak;
Where, thy plumage gray as it,
Thou mightst unsuspected sit,
Didst thou not thyself betray
With thy penetrating lay,
Swelling thy mottled breast at each triumphant stroke.
Wherefore warble half concealed,
When thy notes are shaft and shield,
And no hand that lives would slay
Singer of such a roundelay?
Telling of thy presence thus,
Be nor coy nor timorous!
Sing loud! Sing long!
And let thy song
Usurp the air 'twixt earth and sky:
Let it soar and sink and rally,
Ripple low along the valley,
Break against the fir-trees high,
Ofttimes pausing, never dying,
While we lean where fancy bids,
Listening, with half-closèd lids,
Unto the self-same chant, most sweet, most satisfying.

Where hast thou been all the dumb winter days,
When neither sunlight was nor smile of flowers,
Neither life, nor love, nor frolic,
Only expanse melancholic,
With never a note of thy exhilarating lays?
But, instead, the raven's croak,
Sluggish dawns and draggled hours,
Gusts morose and callous showers,
Underneath whose cutting stroke
Huddle the seasoned kine, and even the robin cowers.
Wast thou asleep in some snug hollow
Of my hybernating oak,
Through the dripping weeks that follow
One another slow, and soak
Summer's extinguished fire and autumn's drifting smoke?
Did its waking awake thee,
Or thou it with melody?
Or together did ye both
Start from winter's sleep and sloth,
And the self-same sap that woke
Bole and branch, and sets them budding,
Is thy throat with rapture flooding?
Or, avoiding icy yoke,
When golden leaves floated on silver meres,
And pensive Autumn, keeping back her tears,
Nursed waning Summer in her quiet lap,
Didst thou timely pinions flap,
Fleeing from a land of loss,
And, with happy mates, across
Ocean's restless ridges travel,
To that lemon-scented shore
Where, beneath a deep-domed sky,
Carven of lapis-lazuli,
Golden sunlight evermore
Glistens against golden gravel,
Nor ever a snowflake falls, nor rain-clouds wheel and ravel;
Clime where I wandered once among
Ruins old with feelings young,
Whither too I count to fly
When my songful seasons die,
And with the self-same spell which, first when mine,
Intensified my youth, to temper my decline.

Wherefore dost thou sing, and sing?
Is it for sheer joy of singing?
Is it to hasten lagging Spring,
Or greet the Lenten lilies through turf and turf upspringing?
Dost thou sing to earth or sky?
Never comes but one reply:
Carol faint, carol high,
Ringing, ringing, ringing!
Are those iterated trills
For the down-looking daffodils,
That have strained and split their sheath,
And are listening underneath?
Or but music's prompting note,
Whereunto the lambs may skip?
Haply dost thou swell thy throat,
Only to show thy craftsmanship?
Wouldst thou pipe if none should hearken?
If the sky should droop and darken,
And, as came the hills more close,
Moody March to wooing Spring
Sudden turned a mouth morose,-
Unheeded wouldst, unheeding, sing?
What is it rules thy singing season?
Instinct, that diviner reason,
To which the thirst to know seemeth a sort of treason?
If it be,
Enough for me,
And any motive for thy music I
Will not ask thee to impart,
Letting my head play traitor to my heart,
Too deeply questioning why.
Sing for nothing, if thou wilt,
Or, if thou for aught must sing,
Sing unto thy anxious spouse,
Sitting somewhere 'mong the boughs,
In the nest that thou hast built,
Underneath her close-furled wing
Future carols fostering.
Sing, because it is thy bent;
Sing, to heighten thy content!
Sing, for secret none can guess;
Sing for very uselessness!
Sing for love of love and pleasure,
Unborn joy, unfound treasure,
Rapture no words can reach, yearning no thoughts can measure!

Why dost thou ever cease to sing?
Singing is such sweet comfort, who,
If he could sing the whole year through,
Would barter it for anything?
Why do not thou and joy their reign assert
Over winter, death, and hurt?
If thou forcest them to flee,
They in turn will banish thee,
Making life betwixt ye thus
Mutably monotonous.
O, why dost thou not perch and pipe perpetually?
All the answer I do get,
Is louder, madder music yet;
Thus rebuking: Thou dost err!
I am no philosopher;
Only a poet, forced to sing,
When the cold gusts gather and go,
When the earth stirs in its tomb,
And, asudden, witching Spring
Into her bosom sucks the snow,
To give it back in thorn and cherry-bloom:
When along the hedgerows twinkle
Roguish eyes of periwinkle,
When with undulating glee
Yaffles scream from tree to tree,
And on every bank are seen
Primroses that long have been
Lying in wait with ambushed eyes
To break forth when Winter flies,
Joined by all things swift and sweet,
Following him with noiseless feet,
Pelting him with April showers,
Chasing and chanting his defeat,
Till with undisputed flowers
Thronged are all the lanes to greet
Dove-like inspiring Spring, many-voiced Paraclete.

Therefore, glad bird! warble, and shrill, and carol,
Now that Earth whom winter stripped,
Putteth on her Spring apparel,
Daintily woven, gaily tipped;
Now that in the tussocked mead
Lambkins one another jostle,-
Carol, carol! jocund throstle!
Impregnating the air with thy melodious seed,
Which, albeit scattered late,
Now will quickly germinate,
Giving us who waited long
Vernal harvest of ripe song:
Which, I do perceive, was sent
Nowise to deepen argument,
Rather to teach me how, like thee,
To merge doubt in melody.
Sing, sing away,
All through the day,
Lengthening out the twilight gray,
And with thy trebles of delight
Invade the threshold of the night:
Until felicity, too high, too deep,
Saturated senses steep,
And all that lives and loves subside to songless sleep.

Brother Benedict

Brother Benedict rose and left his cell
With the last slow swing of the evening bell.
In his hand he carried his only book,
And he followed the path to the Abbey brook,
And, crossing the stepping-stones, paused midway,
For the journeying water seemed to say,

But when he stood on the other bank,
The flags rose tall, and the grass grew rank,
And the sorrel red and the white meadow-sweet
Shook their dust on his sandalled feet,
And, lifting their heads where his girdle hung,
Would surely have said had they found a tongue,

Onward and upward he clomb and wound,
Bruising the thyme on the nibbled ground
Here and there, in the untrimmed brake,
The dog-rose bloomed for its own sweet sake;
The woodbine clambered up out of reach,
But the scent of them all breathed as plain as speech,

Shortly he came to a leafy nook,
Where wind never entered nor branch ever shook.
Itself was the only thing in sight,
And the rest of the world was shut out quite.
'Twas as self-contained as the holy place
Where the children quire with upturned face,

A dell so curtained with trunks and boughs,
That in hours when the ringdove coos to his spouse,
The sun to its heart scarce a way could win.
But the trees now had drawn all their shadows in;
There was nothing but scent in the dewy air,
And the silence seemed saying in mental prayer,

'Gainst the trunk of a beech, round, smooth, and gray,
Brother Benedict leaned, with intent to pray,
And opened his book: with vellum bound;
Within, red letters on faded ground;
Pater, and Ave, and saving Creed:-
But look where you would, you seemed to read,

He scarce had a verse of his office said,
Ere a bird in the branches overhead
Began to warble so sweet a strain,
That, strive as he would, still he strove in vain
To close his ears; so he closed his book,
While the unseen throat to the air outshook

'Twas a song that rippled, and revelled, and ran
Ever back to the note whence it began;
Rising, and falling, and never did stay,
Like a fountain that feeds on itself all day,
Wanting no answer, answering none,
But beginning again as each verse was done,

It brought an ecstasy into his face,
It weaned his senses from time and space,
It carried him off to worlds unseen,
And showed him what is not and ne'er has been,
Transporting his soul to those realms of calm,
More blessëd and blessing than even the psalm,

Then, carolling still, it drew him thence
Slowly back to the spheres of sense,
But held him awhile where self expires,
And vague recollections and vague desires
Banish the burden of things that are,
And angels seem canticling, faint and far,

Then across him there flitted the days that are dead,
And those that will follow when these are fled;
Generations of sorrow, wave after wave,
With their samesome journey from womb to grave;
Men's love of the fleshly sweets that sting,
And the comfort that comes when we kneel and sing,

He suddenly started and gazed around,
For silence can waken as well as sound,
And the bird had ceased singing. The dewy air
Still was immersed in mental prayer.
Time seemed to have stopped. So he quickened pace,
But forgot not to say ere he left the lone place,

Downward he wended, and under his feet,
As on mounting, the bruised thyme answered sweet;
As before, in the brake the dog-rose bloomed,
And the woodbine with fragrance the hedge perfumed;
And the white meadow-sweet and the sorrel red,
Had they found a tongue, would still surely have said,

But where were the flags and the tall rank grass,
And the stepping-stones smooth for his feet to pass?
Were they swept away? Did he wake or dream?
A bridge that he knew not spanned the stream;
Though under its archway he still could hear
The journeying water purling clear,

Where had he wandered? This never could
Be the spot where the Abbey orchard stood?
Where the filberts once mellowed, lay tumbled blocks,
And cherry stumps peered through tares and docks;
A rough plot stretched where in times gone by
The plump apples dropped to the joyous cry,

The gateway had vanished, the portal flown,
The walls of the Abbey were ivy-grown;
The arches were shattered, the roof was gone,
The mullions were mouldering one by one;
Wrecked was the oriel's tracery light
That the sun streamed through when they met to recite

Chancel and choir and nave and aisle
Were but one ruinous vacant pile.
So utter the havoc, you could not tell
Which was corridor, cloister, cell.
Cow-grass, and foxglove, and waving weed,
Covered the scrolls where you used to read,

High up where of old the belfry towered,
An elder had rooted and whitely flowered:
Surviving ruin and rain and wind,
Below it a lichened gurgoyle grinned.
Though birds were chirping and flitting about,
They paused not to treble the anthem devout,

Then he went where the Abbot was wont to lay
His children to rest till the Judgment Day,
And at length in the grass the name he found
Of a friar he fancied alive and sound.
The slab was hoary, the carving blurred,
And he rather guessed than could read the word,

He sate him down on a fretted stone,
Where rains had beaten and winds had blown,
And opened his office-book, and read
The prayers that we read for our loved ones dead,
While nightfall crept on the twilight air,
And darkened the page of the final prayer,

But to murkiest gloom when the gloaming did wane,
In the air there still floated a shadowy strain.
'Twas distilled with the dew, it was showered from the star,
It was murmuring near, it was tingling afar;
In silence it sounded, in darkness it shone,
And in sleep that is deepest it wakeful dreamed on,

Do you ask what had witched Brother Benedict's ears?
The bird had been singing a thousand years:
Sweetly confounding in its sweet lay
To-day, to-morrow, and yesterday.
Time? What is Time but a fiction vain,
To him that o'erhears the Eternal strain,

What is it haunts the summer air?
A sense of something lately passed away;
Something pleasant, something fair,
That was with us yesterday,
And is no longer there.
Now from the pasture comes no baby bleat,
Nor the frisk of frolic feet
There is seen.
Blossom and bloom have spread their wings, and flown,
And the bosks and orchards green
The rosy flush of childhood have outgrown.
Lapwing and linnet and lark have fledged their brood;
Mavis and merle have gotten their desire;
The nightingale begins to tire;
Even the cuckoo's note hath fitful grown;
And in the closing leafage of the wood
The ringdove now is left to coo alone.

Then revel in your roses, reckless June!
Revel and ripen swift to your decay.
But your turn will follow soon,
And the rounding harvest-moon
Avenge the too brief innocence of May.
Yet once again there scents the morning air
The soul of something passed away;
Something precious, something fair,
That was breathing yesterday,
And is no longer there.
It is Autumn, dying, dying,
With her leaves around her lying,
And Winter, beggared heir, unprofitably sighing.
Let her die.
Unto us as unto her
Earth is but a sepulchre,
And the over-arching sky
Neither asks nor wonders why
Those who here are left behind
Season sweet and spacious mind
Fain would save;
Yet with pale visages and streaming tears
Must watch the harvest of the ripened years
Locked in the bootless granary of the grave.

Why do you call me hence?
To purge what fault, to punish what offence?
Had I maligned my lot,
Or ever once the privilege forgot
Of being, though the spirit's inward sense,
Mirror and measure of all things that are,
Then it were right, were just,
That, like a falling leaf or failing star,
The winds of Heaven should blow about my dust.
Or had I used the years as waifs and strays,
To build myself a comfortable nest,
Groped life for golden garbage, like the rest,
And, as a lacquey, on the public ways
For private profit hired out my tongue,
Then against death 'twere vain to plead,
Then, then 'twere meet indeed
I should grow silenced, like a bell unrung.
But bear me witness, every Spring that came
Since first with trembling furtive frame
Out of my little crib I crept
While others slept,
Because to me the rising moon
Was more than sleep, or toy, or boon,
That never yet the thrush resumed to sing,
But straight my heart did build, my voice was on the wing;
Found the first primrose gazing frank
From its cradle in the bank,
Harked for the cuckoo days before he called,
Then halted, at his note enthralled.

Why do you beckon to another sphere?
Here was I born,
Am deeply rooted here,
And would not be uptorn.
I want no other fields than these,
No other skies,
No redder dawn to break on bluer seas,
No brighter stars to rise.
Neither do I crave to know
The origin of joy and woe.
I love the doubt, the dark, the fear,
That still surroundeth all things here.
I love the mystery, nor seek to solve;
Content to let the stars revolve,
Nor ask to have their meaning clear.
Enough for me, enough to feel;
To let the mystic shadows steal
Into a land whither I cannot follow;
To see the stealthy sunlight leave
Dewy dingle, dappled hollow;
To watch, when falls the hour of eve,
Quiet shadows on a quiet hill;
To watch, to wonder, and be still.

And can it be,
That there will break the day,
For me, for me,
When I no more shall hear the throstle flute;
Not because his voice is mute,
But that my soul sleeps stupefied in clay?
Never! what, never again!
Deep within some silent glen
To make a couch with peace, far from surmise of men?
Never, never more to stand,
Spell-bound in a leafy land,
Lie among the grasses tall,
Hear the yaffel call, and call,
And lazily watch the lazy clouds slow floating over all?
That time and life will be, but I shall ne'er
Find little feet upon the stair,
Feel little arms about my throat,
Hear little gleeful voices float
Upon the wavelets of the summer air.
That I again shall never share
The peace that lies upon an English lawn,
Watch the last lingering planet shining fair
Upon the unwrinkled forehead of the dawn?
Never, never, never more,
When fate or fancy bids me roam,
Lessen with loving thoughts the last long mile
That leads unto my home,
Descry the roses down the casement falling,
Hear the garden thrushes calling,
Behold my dear ones standing at the door,
Void of fear, void of guile,
And hail, as I so oft have hailed before,
The broadening salutation of their smile?

Who will salute me There?
Who, who come forth to greet?
Will Virgil stand upon the golden stair?
Shall I see Spenser's face, and sit at Shakespeare's feet?
Will Galileo with unshrouded gaze
Guide me through the starry maze,
Upon wings that never tire,
Up to the Heaven of Heavens, and higher and ever higher?
If this be so,
Quick let me go!
But ah! pale spectre, paler still you grow.
You would but lure me to the other bank,
To find it blank!
Of all we loved, not one hath e'er come back
To beckon us along the track,
To point the way, to indicate the goal,
And stretch out steadying arms to help the tottering soul.

But wilt thou make this compact with me, Death,
And keep thy bond?
That even if mine be but borrowed breath,
Lent here awhile, to be reclaimed beyond,
And its poor husk be dug into the ground;
Then, though the Future may not find my face,
Nor arms that love me round my neck be wound,
Fair lips that lisp not yet my name shall sound,
And hearts that beat not yet be my warm dwellingplace;
That under trees which have no rootlets now,
But will then be trunk and bough
And dome of sheltering leaves, sometimes
A tender tear shall fall upon my rhymes;
And hearts at secret war with life,
Or dreaming maid or disillusioned wife,
Shall my persuasive music bless,
Shall call me comforter in their distress,
And make me live again in sorrowing loveliness?

So unto Death I do commend my Spirit,
And Time which is in league with Death, that they
May hold in trust, and see my kin inherit,
All of me that is not clay;
Embalm my voice and keep it from decay.
Then I will not ask to stay;-
Nay, rather start at once upon the way:
Cheered by the faith that, at our mortal birth,
For some high reason beyond Reason's ken,
We are put out to nurse on this strange earth,
Until Death comes to take us home again.

Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!

Where hast thou, Apollo, gone?
I have wandered on and on,
Through the shaggy Dorian gorges,
Down from where Parnassus forges
Thunder for the Phocian valleys;
Where the Pleistus springs and sallies
Past ravines and caverns dread,
Have, like it, meanderëd;
But I cannot see thee, hear thee,
Find thee, feel thee, get anear thee.
Though in quest of thee I go where
Thou didst haunt, I find thee nowhere,
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!

Still no answer comes. . . . Apollo!
Vainly do I call and holloa
Into each Crissoean cleft
Where the last year's leaves are left.
Deem not I have pushed my way
But from stony Amphissà.
I have come from far-off land,
Traversed foam, traversed sand,
From green pastures sea-surrounded,
Where thy phorminx never sounded;
O'er the broad and barren acres
Of the vainly furrowed breakers,
Across mountains loftier far
Than the peaks of Pindus are;
Skirted groves of pine and fir
Denser than lone Tempe's were,
With no selfish tread, but only
I might find thee, lovely, lonely,
Lingering by thy sacred city:
On me wilt thou not have pity?
Sun-god! Song-god! I implore thee!
Glow, and let me pale before thee,
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!

Fallen tablet, prostrate column,
Solitude and silence solemn!
Half-tilled patches, squalid hovels,
Where life multiplies and grovels-
Is this Delphi, this the shrine
Of the Musagete divine?
This the cavern, this the cell,
Of the Pythian oracle!
Where the tripod, where the altar,
Incense, embassy, and psalter?
Can this pool of cresses be
Cradle of pure Castaly?
From the rock though still it bubbles,
Travels onwards, halts, and doubles,
Where the Muses wont to lave
Limbs as vestal as its wave,
'Mong the flashing waters flashing,-
Gaunt and withered crones are washing.
Not a note of lyre or zittern,
But, below, the booming bittern
Waits his quarry to inveigle,
While o'erhead the silent eagle,
Blinking, stares at the blank sun-
All of thee that is not gone,
Apollo! Apollo!

Who art thou, intruder weird!
With the fine and flowing beard?
Whom no snowy robes encumber,
But a habit black and sombre,
Yet in whose composëd eyes
Lurks the light of mysteries.
Priest thou seemest, but not one
Of the loved Latona's son.
In thy aspect is no gladness,
Glance nor gleam of joyous madness,
Only gloom, only sadness.
Underneath thy knotted girdle
Thoughts congeal and passions curdle,
And about thy brow ascetic
Lives nor light nor line prophetic.
Priest, but priest not of Apollo,
Whither wouldst thou have me follow?
Lead but onward, I will enter
Where thy cold gaze seems to centre,
Underneath yon portal dismal,
Into dusk and chill abysmal.
Hast thou pent him? Is He lying
There within, dethroned and dying?
If thou breathest, hear me crying,
``Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!''

No, but here He cannot be,
God of light and poesy!
What are these I see around,
Gloomy upon gloomy ground,
Making wall and roof to seem
Sepulchre of morbid dream?
Visages with aspect stony,
Bodies lean, and lank, and bony,
In whose lineaments I trace
Neither love, nor joy, nor grace:
Youth with limbs disused and old,
Maidens pale, contorted, cold,
Flames devouring, pincers wrenching
Muscles naked but unblenching,
Writhing snakes forked venom darting
Into flesh-wounds, gaping, smarting,
Furies shagged with tresses fell,
Ghouls and ghosts of nether hell!
Priest of beauty! Priest of song!
Aid me, if thou still art strong!
See me! save me! bear me whither
Glows thy light that brought me hither,
Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!

O the sunshine once again!
O to stand a man 'mong men!
Lo! the horrid nightmare pales
In the light of flowing vales,
In the gaze of steadfast mountains,
Sidelong runnels, forward fountains,
Spacious sky, receding air,
Breadth and bounty everywhere.
What if all the gods be dead,
Nature reigneth in their stead.
Let me dream the noon away
Underneath this full-blown bay,
Where the yellow bees are busy,
Till they stagger, drowsy, dizzy,
From the honeyed wine that wells
Up the branches to the cells
Of the myriad-clustered flowers
Dropping golden flakes in showers.
Here reclined, I will surrender
Sense and soul unto the tender
Mingling of remote and close:
Gods voluptuous, gods morose;
Altars at whose marble meet
Downcast eyes and dancing feet;
Awful dirges, glad carouse,
Unveiled bosoms, shaded brows,
Wreathëd steer and tonsured skull,
Shapes austere with beautiful;
Till the past and present swim
In an ether distant, dim,
And the Delphic fumes rise denser
From a silver-swinging censer,
And in one harmonious dream,
Through a heavenly nimbus, gleam
Lovely limbs and longings saintly,
And pale virgins murmur faintly,
``Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!''

Priest, but priest not of Apollo,
Why dost thou my footsteps follow
From the deep dark shrine down there
To this temple of the air?
What, profaner! wouldst thou lay
Hands upon the sacred bay,
Tearing Daphne limb from limb!
Hast thou, then, no dread of Him?
How? For me? Avaunt, and pass!
I am not fool Marsyas.
Stay! Then to my forehead bind it,
Round my temples wreathe and wind it;
'Chance the Avenger then will come,
Haunt and grot no more be dumb,
But the rills and steeps be ringing,
And a long array come singing,
``Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!''

All in vain! Nor prayer nor taunt
Tempts him back to his loved haunt.
Fretted tablet, fallen column,
Solitude and silence solemn!
He again from Peneus ne'er
Will to Castaly repair;
Never more in cavern dread
Will his oracles be read;
Now I know that Thou art dead,

Then like fountain in mine ear
Spake the god aloud and clear:
``Take it! Wear it! Tis for thee,
Singer from the Northern Sea.
If the least, not last of those,
Suckled 'mong the genial snows.
Though the Muses may have left
Tempe's glen and Delphi's cleft,
Wanderer! they have only gone
Hence to murmuring Albion.
Need was none to travel hither:
Child of England, go back thither.
Traverse foam, traverse sand;
Back, and in thy native land
Thou wilt find what thou dost seek.
There the oracles still speak;
There the mounting fumes inspire
Glowing brain and living lyre.
There the Muses prompt the strain,
There they renovate my reign;
There thou wilt not call in vain,
`Apollo! Apollo! Apollo!'''

A Letter From Italy

Lately, when we wished good-bye
Underneath a gloomy sky,
``Bear,'' you said, ``my love in mind,
Leaving me not quite behind;
And across the mountains send
News and greeting to your friend.''

Swiftly though we did advance
Through the rich flat fields of France,
Still the eye grew tired to see
Patches of equality.
Nothing wanton, waste, or wild;
Women delving, lonely child
Tending cattle lank and lean;
Not a hedgerow to be seen,
Where the eglantine may ramble,
Or the vagrant unkempt bramble
Might its flowers upon you press
Simple-sweet but profitless:
Jealous ditches, straight and square
Sordid comfort everywhere.
Pollard poplars, stunted vine,
Nowhere happy-pasturing kine
Wandering in untended groups
Through the uncut buttercups.
All things pruned to pile the shelf
Nothing left to be itself:
Neither horn, nor hound, nor stirrup,
Not a carol, not a chirrup;
Every idle sound repressed,
Like a Sabbath without rest.

O the sense of freedom when
Kingly mountains rose again!
Congregated, but alone,
Each upon his separate throne;
Like to mighty minds that dwell,
Lonely, inaccessible,
High above the human race,
Single and supreme in space:
Soaring higher, higher, higher,
Carrying with them our desire,
Irrepressible if fond,
To push on to worlds beyond!
Many a peak august I saw,
Crowned with mist and girt with awe,
Fertilising, as is fit,
Valleys that look up to it,
With the melted snows down-driven,
Which itself received from Heaven.
Then, to see the torrents flashing,
Leaping, twisting, foaming, crashing,
Like a youth who feels, at length,
Freedom ample as his strength,
Hurrying from the home that bore him,
With the whole of life before him!

As, when summer sunshine gleams,
Glaciers soften into streams,
So to liquid, flowing vowels,
As we pierced the mountains' bowels,
Teuton consonants did melt
When Italian warmth was felt.
Gloomy fir and pine austere,
Unto precipices sheer
Clinging, as one holds one's breath,
Half-way betwixt life and death,
Changed to gently-shelving slope,
Where man tills with faith and hope,
And the tenderest-tendrilled tree
Prospers in security.
Softer outlines, balmier air,
Belfries unto evening prayer
Calling, as the shadows fade,
Halting crone, and hurrying maid,
With her bare black tresses twined
Into massive coils behind,
And her snowy-pleated vest
Folded o'er mysterious breast,
Like the dove's wings chastely crossed
At the Feast of Pentecost.
Something, in scent, sight, and sound,
Elsewhere craved for, never found,
Underneath, around, above,
Moves to tenderness and love.

But three nights I halted where
Stands the temple, vowed to prayer,
That surmounts the Lombard plain,
Green with strips of grape and grain.
There, Spiaggiascura's child,
By too hopeful love beguiled,
Yet resolved, save faith should flow
Through his parched heart, to forego
Earthly bliss for heavenly pain,
Prayed for Godfrid, prayed in vain.

How looked Florence? Fair as when
Beatrice was nearly ten:
Nowise altered, just the same
Marble city, mountain frame,
Turbid river, cloudless sky,
As in days when you and I
Roamed its sunny streets, apart,
Ignorant of each other's heart,
Little knowing that our feet
Slow were moving on to meet,
And that we should find, at last,
Kinship in a common Past.
But a shadow falls athwart
All her beauty, all her art.
For alas! I vainly seek
Outstretched hand and kindling cheek,
Such as, in the bygone days,
Sweetened, sanctified, her ways.
When, as evening belfries chime,
I to Bellosguardo climb,
Vaguely thinking there to find
Faces that still haunt my mind,
Though the doors stand open wide,
No one waits for me inside;
Not a voice comes forth to greet,
As of old, my nearing feet.
So I stand without, and stare,
Wishing you were here to share
Void too vast alone to bear.
To Ricorboli I wend:
But where now the dear old friend,
Heart as open as his gate,
Song, and jest, and simple state?
They who loved me all are fled;
Some are gone, and some are dead.
So, though young and lovely be
Florence still, it feels to me,
Thinking of the days that were,
Like a marble sepulchre.

Yet, thank Heaven! he liveth still,
Now no more upon the hill
Where was perched his Tuscan home,
But in liberated Rome:
Hale as ever; still his stride
Keeps me panting at his side.
Would that you were here to stray
With me up the Appian Way,
Climb with me the Coelian mount,
With me find Egeria's fount,
See the clear sun sink and set
From the Pincian parapet,
Or from Sant' Onofrio watch
Shaggy Monte Cavo catch
Gloomy glory on its face,
As the red dawn mounts apace.
Twenty years and more have fled
Since I first with youthful tread
Wandered 'mong these wrecks of Fate,
Lonely but not desolate,
Proud to ponder and to brood,
Satisfied with solitude.
But as fruit that, hard in Spring,
Tender grows with mellowing,
So one's nature, year by year,
Softens as it ripens, dear,
And youth's selfish strain and stress
Sweeten into tenderness.
Therefore is it that I pine
For a gentle hand in mine,
For a voice to murmur clear
All I know but love to hear,
Crave to feel, think, hear, and see,
Through your lucid sympathy.

Shortly, shortly, we shall meet.
Southern skies awhile are sweet;
But in whatso land I roam,
Half my heart remains at home.
Tell me, for I long to hear,
Tidings of our English year.
Was the cuckoo soon or late?
Beg the primroses to wait,
That their homely smile may greet
Faithfully returning feet.
Have the apple blossoms burst?
Is the oak or ash the first?
Are there snowballs on the guelder?
Can you scent as yet the elder?
On the bankside that we know,
Is the golden gorse ablow,
Like love's evergreen delight
Never out of season quite,
But most prodigal in Spring,
When the whitethroats pair and sing?
Tell me, tell me, most of all,
When you hear the thrushes call,
When you see soft shadows fleeting
O'er the grass where lambs are bleating.
When the lyric lark, returning
From the mirage of its yearning,-
Like a fountain that in vain
Rises but to fall again,-
Seeks its nest with drooping wing,
Do you miss me from the Spring?

Quickly then I come. Adieu,
Mouldering arch and ether blue!
For in you I sure shall find
All that here I leave behind:
Steadfastness of Roman rays
In the candour of your gaze;
In your friendship comfort more
Than in warmth of Oscan shore;
In the smiles that light your mouth,
All the sunshine of the South.

The curtains of the Night were folded
Over suspended sense;
So that the things I saw were moulded
I know not how nor whence.

Straight I beheld a marble city,
Built upon wayward slopes,
Along whose paths, as if for pity,
Ran tight-drawn golden ropes.

Withal, of many who ascended,
No one appeared to use
This help, allowed in days since mended,
When folks had frailer thews.

The men, all animal in vigour,
Strode stalwart and erect;
But on their brows, in placid rigour,
Watched sovereign Intellect.

Women brave-limbed, sound-lunged, full-breasted,
Walked at a rhythmic pace;
Yet not for that the less invested
With every female grace.

Unveiled and wholly unattended,
Strolled maidens to and fro:
Youths looked respect, but never bended
Obsequiously low.

And each with other, sans condition,
Held parley brief or long,
Without provoking rash suspicion
Of marriage or of wrong.

Distinction none of wooed or winning,
And no one made remark,
Till came they where the old were spinning,
As it was growing dark,

And saying-hushed untimely laughter-
`Henceforward we are one,'
Went homewards. Nor could ever after
Such Sanction be undone.

All were well clad, but none were better,
And gems beheld I none,
Save where there hung a jewelled fetter,
Symbolic, in the sun.

I found Cathedral none nor steeple,
Nor loud defiant choirs;
No martyr worshipped by the people,
On half-extinguished pyres.

But oft exclaimed they one to other,
Or as they passed or stood,
`Let us coöperate, my brother;
For God is very good.'

I saw a noble-looking maiden
Close Dante's solemn book,
Go, and return with linen laden,
And wash it in the brook.

Anon, a broad-browed poet dragging
Logs for his hearth along,
Without one single moment flagging
In shaping of his song.

Each one some handicraft attempted,
Or holp the willing soil:
None but the agëd were exempted
From communistic toil.

Yet 'twas nor long nor unremitting,
Since shared in by the whole;
But left to each one, as is fitting,
Full leisure for the Soul.

Was many a group in allocution
On problems that delight,
And lift, when e'en beyond solution,
Man to a nobler height.

And oftentimes was brave contention,
Such as beseems the wise;
But always courteous abstention
From over-swift replies.

And-I remarked-though whilst debating,
'Twas settled what they sought,
There was completest vindicating
Of unrestricted thought.

Age lorded not, nor rose the hectic
Up to the cheek of Youth;
But reigned throughout their dialectic
Sobriety of truth.

And if a long-held contest tended
To ill-defined result,
It was by calm consent suspended
As over-difficult:

And verse or music was demanded;
Then solitude of night:
By which all-potent Three expanded
Waxeth the Inner Sight.

So far the city. All around it
Olive or vine or corn;
Those having pressed or trod or ground it,
By these 'twas townwards borne,

And placed in halls unbarred and splendid,
With none to overlook,
But whither each at leisure wended,
And what he wanted took.

I saw no crippled forms nor meagre,
None smitten by disease:
Only the old, nor loth nor eager,
Dying by sweet degrees.

And when, without or pain or trouble,
These sank as sinks the sun,
`This is the sole Inevitable,'
All said; `His will be done!'

And went, with music ever swelling,
Where slopes o'erlook the sea,
Piled up the corse with herbs sweet-smelling,
Consumed, and so set free.

O'er ocean wave and mountain daisy
As curled the perfumed smoke,
The notes grew faint, the vision hazy-
Straining my sense, I woke.

Swift I arose. Soft winds were stirring
The curtains of the Morn,
Auguring day, by signs unerring,
Lovely as e'er was born.

No bluer, calmer sky surmounted
The city of my dream,
And what few trees could then be counted
Did full as gracious seem.

But here the pleasant likeness ended
Between the cities twain:
Level and straight these streets extended
Over an easy plain.

Withal, the people who thus early
Began the ways to throng,
With curving back and visage surly,
Toiled painfully along.

Groups of them met at yet closed portals,
And huddled round the gate,
Patient, as smit by the Immortals,
And helots as by Fate.

Right many a cross-crowned front and steeple
Clave the cerulean air:
As grew the concourse of the people,
They rang to rival prayer.

On their confronting walls were posted
Placards in glaring type,
Whereof there was not one but boasted
Truth full-grown, round, and ripe.

And, with this self-congratulation,
Each one the other banned,
With threats of durable damnation
From the Eternal Hand.

Hard by, were challenges to wrangle
On any themes, or all-
From the trisection of the angle
To what they termed the Fall.

Surmounting these were Forms forbidding
Some strife about the Flood;
Since in such points divine unthridding
Shed had been human blood.

From arch and alley sodden wretches
Crept out in half attire,
And groped for fetid husks and vetches
In heaps of tossed-out mire;

Until disturbed by horses' trample,
Bearing the homeward gay,
Who, sleek and warm, with ermines ample,
And glittering diamond spray.

That lightly flecked the classic ripple
Of their full-flowing hair-
For shivering child and leprous cripple
Had not a look to spare.

With garments which the morn ill mated,
Anon came youths along;
From side to side they oscillated,
And trolled a shameful song.

Fair as is fair a cankered lily,
A girl who late did lie
Beneath my window slumbrous-stilly,
Rose as these youths came nigh.

She seized the comeliest, and stroked him,
And plied each foul device;
And having to her flesh provoked him,
Then haggled for the price.

Hereat my heart-this long while throbbing,
And brimming by degrees-
O'erflowed; and, passionately sobbing,
I dropped upon my knees.

And made forgetful by the fluster
Of trouble's fierce extreme,
I cried, `O Thou, the great Adjuster,
God, realise my dream!'

Up came the sun, and straight were shining
Steeple and sill and roof:
To such rash prayer and bold repining
A visible reproof.

Rebuked, I rose from genuflexion,
And did no more blaspheme,
Closing mine eyes for retrospection
Of the departed dream,

Where men saluted one the other,
Or as they passed or stood,
`Let us coöperate, my brother;
For God is very good.'

And I resolved, by contrast smitten,
To live and strive by Law;
And first to write, as here are written,
The Visions Twain I saw.

A Woman’s Apology

In the green darkness of a summer wood,
Wherethro' ran winding ways, a lady stood,
Carved from the air in curving womanhood.

A maiden's form crowned by a matron's mien,
As, about Lammas, wheat-stems may be seen,
The ear all golden, but the stalk still green.

There as she stood, waiting for sight or sound,
Down a dim alley without break or bound,
Slowly he came, his gaze upon the ground.

Nor ever once he lifted up his eyes
Till he no more her presence could disguise;
Then he her face saluted silentwise.

And silentwise no less she turned, as though
She was the leaf and he the current's flow,
And where he went, there she perforce must go.

And both kept speechless as the dumb or dead,
Nor did the earth so much as speak their tread,
So soft by last year's leaves 'twas carpeted.

And not a sound moved all the greenwood through,
Save when some quest with fluttering wings outflew,
Ruffling the leaves; then silence was anew.

And when the track they followed forked in twain,
They never doubted which one should be ta'en,
But chose as though obeying secret rein.

Until they came where boughs no longer screened
The sky, and soon abruptly intervened
A rustic gate, and over it they leaned.

Leaned over it, and green before them lay
A meadow ribbed with drying swathes of hay,
From which the hinds had lately gone away.

Beyond it, yet more woods, these too at rest,
Smooth-dipping down to shore, unseen, but guessed;
For lo! the Sea, with nothing on its breast.

``I was sure you would come,'' she said, with a voice like a broken wing
That flutters, and fails, then flags, while it nurses the failure's sting;
``You could not refuse me that, 'tis but such a little thing.

``Do I remember the words, the farewell words that you spoke,
Answering soft with hard, ere we parted under the oak?
Remember them? Can I forget? For each of them cut like a stroke.

``True-were they true? You think so, or they had never been said;
But somehow, like lightning flashes, they flickered about my head,
Flickered but touched me not. They ought to have stricken me dead.

``What do I want with you now? What I always wanted, you know;
A voice to be heard in the darkness, a flower to be seen in the snow,
And a bond linking each fresh future with a lengthening long-ago.

``Is it too much? Too little! Well, little or much, 'tis all
That rescues my life from the nothing it seems to be when I call
For a life to reply, and my voice comes back like a voice from the wall.

``If one played sweet on a lute, yea so soft that you scarce could hear,
Would you clang all the chords with your hand that the octaves might ring out clear?
Lo! asunder the strings are snapped, and the music shrinks silent for fear.

``See! the earth through the infinite spaces goes silently round and round,
And the moon moveth on through the heavens and never maketh a sound,
And the wheels of eternity traverse their journey in stillness profound.

``'Tis only the barren breakers that bellow on barren shore;
'Tis only the braggart thunders that rumble and rage and roar;
Like a wave is the love that babbles; but silent love loves evermore.

``Feeble, shadowy, shallow? Is ocean then shallow that keeps
Its harvest of shell and seaweed that none or garners or reaps,
That the diver may sound a moment, but never drag from its deeps?

``Cowardice? Yes, we are cowards; cowards from cradle to bier,
And the terror of life grows upon us as we grow year by year;
Our smiles are but trembling ripples urged on by a subtide of fear.

``And hence, or at substance or shadow we start, though we scarce know why.
Life seems like a haunted wood, where we tremble and crouch and cry.
Beast, or robber, or ghost,-our courage is still to fly.

``So we look around for a guide, and to place all our fears in his hand,
That his courage may keep us brave, that his grandeur may make us grand:
But, remember, a guide, not an ambush. Oh, tell me you understand!

``Still silent, still unpersuaded. Ah! I know what your thoughts repeat.
We are all alike, and we love to keep passion aglow at our feet,
Like one that sitteth in shade and complacently smiles at the heat.

``You think so? Then come into shade. Rise up, take the seat at my side;
Or, see, I will kneel, not you. What is humble, if this be pride?
What seems cold now will chance feel warm when the fierce glare of noon hath died.

``Have you never, when waves were breaking, watched children at sport on the beach,
With their little feet tempting the foam-fringe, till with stronger and further reach
Than they dreamed of, a billow comes bursting, how they turn and scamper and screech!

``Are we more than timider children? With its blending of terror and glee,
To us life-call it love, if you will-is a deep mysterious sea,
That we play with till it grows earnest; then straight we tremble and flee.

``Oh, never the pale east flushes with ripples of rising day,
Never, never, the birds awakening sing loud upon gable and spray,
But afresh you dawn on my life, and my soul chants its matin lay.

``When the scent of the elder is wafted from the hedge in the cottage lane,
Up the walk, and over the terrace, and in at the open pane,
You are there, and my life seems perfumed like a garden after rain.

``The nightingale brings you nearer, the woodpecker borrows your voice;
The flower where the bees cling and cluster seems the flower of the flowers of your choice.
I am sad with the cloud of your sadness, with the joy of your joy I rejoice.

``What dearer, what nearer would you? Once heart is betrothed to heart,
No closeness can bring them closer, no parting can put them apart.
Oh! take all the balm, leave the bitter, give the sweetness with none of its smart.''

The blue sea now had saddened into gray;
Solid and close the darkening woodlands lay,
And twilight's floating dews clung heavy with the hay.

One with all these, he neither stirred nor spake,
Though for a sound the silence seemed to ache,
Waiting and wondering when his voice the pain would break.

Then since the words hope forced despair to say
Seemed to have vanished with the vanished day,
She turned her from the gate, and slowly moved away.

And he too turned; but pacing side by side,
This mocking nearness did them more divide,
Than if betwixt them moaned the round of ocean wide.

But when o'erhead boughs once more met and spanned,
She halted, laid upon his arm her hand,
And questioned blank his face, his heart to understand.

Had trust or tenderness been hovering there,
She would have known it in the duskiest air;
But face and form alike of every trace was bare.

Her touch he neither welcomed nor repelled;
Pulses that once had quickened straight seemed quelled;
He stood like one that is by courteous bondage held.

One hand thus foiled, the other rescuing came,
And in the darkness sheltered against shame,
She fawned on him with both, and trembled out his name.

Then as a reaper, when the days are meet,
His sickle curves about the bending wheat,
He hollowed out his arms, and harvested his sweet.

``Now what shall I cling to?'' she murmured, ``Behold! I am weak, you are strong.
Brief, brief is the bridal of summer, the mourning of winter is long;
Never leave me unloved to discover love's right was but rapturous wrong!''

Again was silence. Then she slowly felt
The clasp of cruel fondness round her melt,
And heard a voice that seemed the voice of one that knelt.

``The long, long mourning of the winter days
Waits sure for them that bask in summer rays;
One must depart, then life is death to one that stays.

``This fixed decree we can nor change nor cheat;
For I must either leave or lose you, sweet,
And all love's triumphs end in death and dark defeat.

``Death is unconscious change, change conscious death.
Better to die outright than gasp for breath.
Life, dead, hath done with pain; Love, lingering, suffereth.

``The only loss-and this may you be spared!-
For which who stake on love must be prepared,
Is still that, though life may, yet death can not be shared.

``No other pain shall come to you from me.
What love withholds, love needs must ask. But, see!
Since you embrace love's chains, love's self doth set you free.''

So free they wandered, drinking with delight
The scented silence of the summer night,
And in the darkness saw what ne'er is seen in light.

Hushed deep in slumber seemed all earthy jars,
And, looking up, they saw, 'twixt leafy bars,
The untrod fields of Heaven glistening with dewy stars.

At The Gate Of The Convent

Beside the Convent Gate I stood,
Lingering to take farewell of those
To whom I owed the simple good
Of three days' peace, three nights' repose.

My sumpter-mule did blink and blink;
Was nothing more to munch or quaff;
Antonio, far too wise to think,
Leaned vacantly upon his staff.

It was the childhood of the year:
Bright was the morning, blithe the air;
And in the choir I plain could hear
The monks still chanting matin prayer.

The throstle and the blackbird shrilled,
Loudly as in an English copse,
Fountain-like note that, still refilled,
Rises and falls, but never stops.

As lush as in an English chase,
The hawthorn, guessed by its perfume,
With folds on folds of snowy lace
Blindfolded all its leaves with bloom.

Scarce seen, and only faintly heard,
A torrent, 'mid far snow-peaks born,
Sang kindred with the gurgling bird,
Flowed kindred with the foaming thorn.

The chanting ceased, and soon instead
Came shuffling sound of sandalled shoon;
Each to his cell and narrow bed
Withdrew, to pray and muse till noon.

Only the Prior-for such their Rule-
Into the morning sunshine came.
Antonio bared his locks; the mule
Kept blinking, blinking, just the same.

I thanked him with a faltering tongue;
I thanked him with a flowing heart.
``This for the poor.'' His hand I wrung,
And gave the signal to depart.

But still in his he held my hand,
As though averse that I should go.
His brow was grave, his look was bland,
His beard was white as Alpine snow.

And in his eye a light there shone,
A soft, subdued, but steadfast ray,
Like to those lamps that still burn on
In shrines where no one comes to pray.

And in his voice I seemed to hear
The hymns that novice-sisters sing,
When only anguished Christ is near,
And earth and life seem vanishing.

``Why do you leave us, dear my son?
Why from calm cloisters backward wend,
Where moil is much and peace is none,
And journeying hath nor bourne nor end?

``Read I your inmost soul aright,
Heaven hath to you been strangely kind;
Gave gentle cradle, boyhood bright,
A fostered soul, a tutored mind.

``Nor wealth did lure, nor penury cramp,
Your ripening soul; it lived and throve,
Nightly beside the lettered lamp,
Daily in field, and glade, and grove.

``And when the dawn of manhood brought
The hour to choose to be of those
Who serve for gold, or sway by thought,
You doubted not, and rightly chose.

``Loving your Land, you face the strife;
Loved by the Muse, you shun the throng;
And blend within your dual life
The patriot's pen, the poet's song.

``Hence now, in gaze mature and wise,
Dwells scorn of praise, dwells scorn of blame;
Calm consciousness of surer prize
Than dying noise of living fame.

``Have you not loved, been loved, as few
Love, or are loved, on loveless earth?
How often have you felt its dew?
Say, have you ever known its dearth?

``I speak of love divorced from pelf,
I speak of love unyoked and free,
Of love that deadens sense of self,
Of love that loveth utterly.

``And this along your life hath flowed
In full and never-failing stream,
Fresh from its source, unbought, unowed,
Beyond your boyhood's fondest dream.''

He paused. The cuckoo called. I thought
Of English voices, English trees.
The far-off fancy instant brought
The tears; and he, misled by these,

With hand upon my shoulder, said,
``You own 'tis true. The richest years
Bequeath the beggared heart, when fled,
Only this legacy of tears.

``Why is it that all raptures cloy?
Though men extol, though women bless,
Why are we still chagrined with joy,
Dissatisfied with happiness?

``Yes, the care-flouting cuckoo calls,
And yet your smile betokens grief,
Like meditative light that falls
Through branches fringed with autumn leaf.

``Whence comes this shadow? You are now
In the full summer of the soul.
The answer darkens on your brow:
`Winter the end, and death the goal.'

``Yes, vain the fires of pride and lust
Fierce in meridian pulses burn:
Remember, Man, that thou art dust,
And unto dust thou shalt return.

``Rude are our walls, our beds are rough,
But use is hardship's subtle friend.
He hath got all that hath enough;
And rough feels softest, in the end.

``While luxury hath this disease,
It ever craves and pushes on.
Pleasures, repeated, cease to please,
And rapture, once 'tis reaped, is gone.

``My flesh hath long since ceased to creep,
Although the hairshirt pricketh oft.
A plank my couch; withal, I sleep
Soundly as he that lieth soft.

``And meagre though may be the meal
That decks the simple board you see,
At least, my son, we never feel
The hunger of satiety.

``You have perhaps discreetly drunk:
O, then, discreetly, drink no more!
Which is the happier, worldling, monk,
When youth is past, and manhood o'er?

``Of life beyond I speak not yet.
'Tis solitude alone can e'er,
By hushing controversy, let
Man catch earth's undertone of prayer.

``Your soul which Heaven at last must reap,
From too much noise hath barren grown;
Long fallow silence must it keep,
Ere faith revive, and grace be sown.

``Let guide and mule alone return.
For you I will prepare a cell,
In whose calm silence you will learn,
Living or dying, All is well!''

Again the cuckoo called; again
The merle and mavis shook their throats;
The torrent rambled down the glen,
The ringdove cooed in sylvan cotes.

The hawthorn moved not, but still kept
As fixedly white as far cascade;
The russet squirrel frisked and leapt
From breadth of sheen to breadth of shade.

I did not know the words had ceased,
I thought that he was speaking still,
Nor had distinguished sacred priest
From pagan thorn, from pagan rill.

Not that I had not harked and heard;
But all he bade me shun or do,
Seemed just as sweet as warbling bird,
But not more grave and not more true.

So deep yet indistinct my bliss,
That when his counsels ceased to sound,
That one sweet note I did not miss
From other sweet notes all around.

But he, misreading my delight,
Again with urging accents spoke.
Then I, like one that's touched at night,
From the deep swoon of sweetness woke.

And just as one that, waking, can
Recall the thing he dreamed, but knows
'Twas of the phantom world that man
Visits in languors of repose;

So, though I straight repictured plain
All he had said, it seemed to me,
Recalled from slumber, to retain
No kinship with reality.

``Father, forgive!'' I said; ``and look!
Who taught its carolling to the merle?
Who wed the music to the brook?
Who decked the thorn with flakes of pearl?

``'Twas He, you answer, that did make
Earth, sea, and sky: He maketh all;
The gleeful notes that flood the brake,
The sad notes wailed in Convent stall.

``And my poor voice He also made;
And like the brook, and like the bird,
And like your brethren mute and staid,
I too can but fulfil His word.

``Were I about my loins to tie
A girdle, and to hold in scorn
Beauty and Love, what then were I
But songless stream, but flowerless thorn?

``Why do our senses love to list
When distant cataracts murmur thus?
Why stealeth o'er your eyes a mist
When belfries toll the Angelus?

``It is that every tender sound
Art can evoke, or Nature yield,
Betokens something more profound,
Hinted, but never quite revealed.

``And though it be the self-same Hand
That doth the complex concert strike,
The notes, to those that understand,
Are individual, and unlike.

``Allow my nature. All things are,
If true to instinct, well and wise.
The dewdrop hinders not the star;
The waves do not rebuke the skies.

``So leave me free, good Father dear,
While you on humbler, holier chord
Chant your secluded Vespers here,
To fling my matin notes abroad.

``While you with sacred sandals wend
To trim the lamp, to deck the shrine,
Let me my country's altar tend,
Nor deem such worship less divine.

``Mine earthly, yours celestial love:
Each hath its harvest; both are sweet.
You wait to reap your Heaven, above;
I reap the Heaven about my feet.

``And what if I-forgive your guest
Who feels, so frankly speaks, his qualm-
Though calm amid the world's unrest,
Should restless be amid your calm?

``But though we two be severed quite,
Your holy words will sound between
Our lives, like stream one hears at night,
Louder, because it is not seen.

``Father, farewell! Be not distressed;
And take my vow, ere I depart,
To found a Convent in my breast,
And keep a cloister in my heart.''

The mule from off his ribs a fly
Flicked, and then zigzagged down the road.
Antonio lit his pipe, and I
Behind them somewhat sadly strode.

Just ere the Convent dipped from view,
Backward I glanced: he was not there.
Within the chapel, well I knew,
His lips were now composed in prayer.

But I have kept my vow. And when
The cuckoo chuckleth o'er his theft,
When throstles sing, again, again,
And runnels gambol down the cleft,

With these I roam, I sing with those,
And should the world with smiles or jeers
Provoke or lure, my lids I close,
And draw a cowl about my ears.

A Farmhouse Dirge

Will you walk with me to the brow of the hill, to visit the farmer's wife,
Whose daughter lies in the churchyard now, eased of the ache of life?
Half a mile by the winding lane, another half to the top:
There you may lean o'er the gate and rest; she will want me awhile to stop,
Stop and talk of her girl that is gone and no more will wake or weep,
Or to listen rather, for sorrow loves to babble its pain to sleep.

How thick with acorns the ground is strewn, rent from their cups and brown!
How the golden leaves of the windless elms come singly fluttering down!
The briony hangs in the thinning hedge, as russet as harvest corn,
The straggling blackberries glisten jet, the haws are red on the thorn;
The clematis smells no more but lifts its gossamer weight on high;-
If you only gazed on the year, you would think how beautiful 'tis to die.

The stream scarce flows underneath the bridge; they have dropped the sluice of the mill;
The roach bask deep in the pool above, and the water-wheel is still.
The meal lies quiet on bin and floor; and here where the deep banks wind,
The water-mosses nor sway nor bend, so nothing seems left behind.
If the wheels of life would but sometimes stop, and the grinding awhile would cease,
'Twere so sweet to have, without dying quite, just a spell of autumn peace.

Cottages four, two new, two old, each with its clambering rose:
Lath and plaster and weather tiles these, brick faced with stone are those.
Two crouch low from the wind and the rain, and tell of the humbler days,
Whilst the other pair stand up and stare with a self-asserting gaze;
But I warrant you'd find the old as snug as the new did you lift the latch,
For the human heart keeps no whit more warm under slate than beneath the thatch.

Tenants of two of them work for me, punctual, sober, true;
I often wish that I did as well the work I have got to do.
Think not to pity their lowly lot, nor wish that their thoughts soared higher;
The canker comes on the garden rose, and not on the wilding brier.
Doubt and gloom are not theirs and so they but work and love, they live
Rich in the only valid boons that life can withhold or give.

Here is the railway bridge, and see how straight do the bright lines keep,
With pheasant copses on either side, or pastures of quiet sheep.
The big loud city lies far away, far too is the cliffbound shore,
But the trains that travel betwixt them seem as if burdened with their roar.
Yet, quickly they pass, and leave no trace, not the echo e'en of their noise:
Don't you think that silence and stillness are the sweetest of all our joys?

Lo! yonder the Farm, and these the ruts that the broad-wheeled wains have worn,
As they bore up the hill the faggots sere, or the mellow shocks of corn.
The hops are gathered, the twisted bines now brown on the brown clods lie,
And nothing of all man sowed to reap is seen betwixt earth and sky.
Year after year doth the harvest come, though at summer's and beauty's cost:
One can only hope, when our lives grow bare, some reap what our hearts have lost.

And this is the orchard, small and rude, and uncaredfor, but oh! in spring,
How white is the slope with cherry bloom, and the nightingales sit and sing!
You would think that the world had grown young once more, had forgotten death and fear,
That the nearest thing unto woe on earth was the smile of an April tear;
That goodness and gladness were twin, were one:- The robin is chorister now:
The russet fruit on the ground is piled, and the lichen cleaves to the bough.

Will you lean o'er the gate, whilst I go on? You can watch the farmyard life,
The beeves, the farmer's hope, and the poults, that gladden his thrifty wife;
Or, turning, look on the hazy weald,-you will not be seen from here,-
Till your thoughts, like it, grow blurred and vague, and mingle the far and near.
Grief is a flood, and not a spring, whatever in grief we say;
And perhaps her woe, should she see me alone, will run more quickly away.

`I thought you would come this morning, ma'am. Yes, Edith at last has gone;
To-morrow's a week, ay, just as the sun right into her window shone;
Went with the night, the vicar says, where endeth never the day;
But she's left a darkness behind her here I wish she had taken away.
She is no longer with us, but we seem to be always with her,
In the lonely bed where we laid her last, and can't get her to speak or stir.

``Yes, I'm at work; 'tis time I was. I should have begun before;
But this is the room where she lay so still, ere they carried her past the door.
I thought I never could let her go where it seems so lonely of nights;
But now I am scrubbing and dusting down, and seting the place to rights.
All I have kept are the flowers there, the last that stood by her bed.
I suppose I must throw them away. She looked much fairer when she was dead.

``Thank you, for thinking of her so much. Kind thought is the truest friend.
I wish you had seen how pleased she was with the peaches you used to send.
She tired of them too ere the end, so she did with all we tried;
But she liked to look at them all the same, so we set them down by her side.
Their bloom and the flush upon her cheek were alike, I used to say;
Both were so smooth, and soft, and round, and both have faded away.

``I never could tell you how kind too were the ladies up at the hall;
Every noon, or fair or wet, one of them used to call.
Worry and work seems ours, but yours pleasant and easy days,
And when all goes smooth, the rich and poor have different lives and ways.
Sorrow and death bring men more close, 'tis joy that puts us apart;
'Tis a comfort to think, though we're severed so, we're all of us one at heart.

``She never wished to be smart and rich, as so many in these days do,
Nor cared to go in on market days to stare at the gay and new.
She liked to remain at home and pluck the white violets down in the wood;
She said to her sisters before she died, `'Tis so easy to be good.'
She must have found it so, I think, and that was the reason why
God deemed it needless to leave her here, so took her up to the sky.

``The vicar says that he knows she is there, and surely she ought to be;
But though I repeat the words, 'tis hard to believe what one does not see.
They did not want me to go to the grave, but I could not have kept away,
And whatever I do I can only see a coffin and church-yard clay.
Yes, I know it's wrong to keep lingering there, and wicked and weak to fret;
And that's why I'm hard at work again, for it helps one to forget.

``The young ones don't seem to take to work as their mothers and fathers did.
We never were asked if we liked or no, but had to obey when bid.
There's Bessie won't swill the dairy now, nor Richard call home the cows,
And all of them cry, `How can you, mother?' when I carry the wash to the sows.
Edith would drudge, for Death one's hearth of the helpful one always robs.
But she was so pretty I could not bear to set her on dirty jobs.

``I don't know how it'll be with them when sorrow and loss are theirs,
For it isn't likely that they'll escape their pack of worrits and cares.
They say it's an age of progress this, and a sight of things improves,
But sickness, and age, and bereavement seem to work in the same old grooves.
Fine they may grow, and that, but Death as lief takes the moth as the grub.
When their dear ones die, I suspect they'll wish they'd a floor of their own to scrub.

``Some day they'll have a home of their own, much grander than this, no doubt,
But polish the porch as you will you can't keep doctors and coffins out.
I've done very well with my fowls this year, but what are pullets and eggs,
When the heart in vain at the door of the grave the return of the lost one begs?
The rich have leisure to wail and weep, the poor haven't time to be sad:
If the cream hadn't been so contrairy this week, I think grief would have driven me mad.

``How does my husband bear up, you ask? Well, thank you, ma'am, fairly well;
For he too is busy just now, you see, with the wheat and the hops to sell:
It's when the work of the day is done, and he comes indoors at night,
While the twilight hangs round the window-panes before I bring in the light,
And takes down his pipe, and says not a word, but watches the faggots roar-
And then I know he is thinking of her who will sit on his knee no more.

``Must you be going? It seems so short. But thank you for thinking to come;
It does me good to talk of it all, and grief feels doubled when dumb.
An the butter's not quite so good this week, if you please, ma'am, you must not mind,
And I'll not forget to send the ducks and all the eggs we can find;
I've scarcely had time to look round me yet, work gets into such arrears,
With only one pair of hands, and those fast wiping away one's tears.

``You've got some flowers, yet, haven't you, ma'am? though they now must be going fast;
We never have any to speak of here, and I placed on her coffin the last.
Could you spare me a few for Sunday next? I should like to go all alone,
And lay them down on the little mound where there isn't as yet a stone.
Thank you kindly, I'm sure they'll do, and I promise to heed what you say;
I'll only just go and lay them there, and then I will come away.''

Come, let us go. Yes, down the hill, and home by the winding lane.
The low-lying fields are suffused with haze, as life is suffused with pain.
The noon mists gain on the morning sun, so despondency gains on youth;
We grope, and wrangle, and boast, but Death is the only certain truth.
O love of life! what a foolish love! we should weary of life did it last.
While it lingers, it is but a little thing; 'tis nothing at all when past.

The acorns thicker and thicker lie, the briony limper grows,
There are mildewing beads on the leafless brier where once smiled the sweet dog-rose.
You may see the leaves of the primrose push through the litter of sodden ground;
Their pale stars dream in the wintry womb, and the pimpernel sleepeth sound.
They will awake; shall we awake? Are we more than imprisoned breath?
When the heart grows weak, then hope grows strong, but stronger than hope is Death.

Grandmother’s Teaching

``Grandmother dear, you do not know; you have lived the old-world life,
Under the twittering eaves of home, sheltered from storm and strife;
Rocking cradles, and covering jams, knitting socks for baby feet,
Or piecing together lavender bags for keeping the linen sweet:
Daughter, wife, and mother in turn, and each with a blameless breast,
Then saying your prayers when the nightfall came, and quietly dropping to rest.

``You must not think, Granny, I speak in scorn, for yours have been well-spent days,
And none ever paced with more faithful feet the dutiful ancient ways.
Grandfather's gone, but while he lived you clung to him close and true,
And mother's heart, like her eyes, I know, came to her straight from you.
If the good old times, at the good old pace, in the good old grooves would run,
One could not do better, I'm sure of that, than do as you all have done.

``But the world has wondrously changed, Granny, since the days when you were young;
It thinks quite different thoughts from then, and speaks with a different tongue.
The fences are broken, the cords are snapped, that tethered man's heart to home;
He ranges free as the wind or the wave, and changes his shore like the foam.
He drives his furrows through fallow seas, he reaps what the breakers sow,
And the flash of his iron flail is seen mid the barns of the barren snow.

``He has lassoed the lightning and led it home, he has yoked it unto his need,
And made it answer the rein and trudge as straight as the steer or steed.
He has bridled the torrents and made them tame, he has bitted the champing tide,
It toils as his drudge and turns the wheels that spin for his use and pride.
He handles the planets and weighs their dust, he mounts on the comet's car,
And he lifts the veil of the sun, and stares in the eyes of the uttermost star.

``'Tis not the same world you knew, Granny; its fetters have fallen off;
The lowliest now may rise and rule where the proud used to sit and scoff.
No need to boast of a scutcheoned stock, claim rights from an ancient wrong;
All are born with a silver spoon in their mouths whose gums are sound and strong.
And I mean to be rich and great, Granny; I mean it with heart and soul:
At my feet is the ball, I will roll it on, till it spins through the golden goal.

``Out on the thought that my copious life should trickle through trivial days,
Myself but a lonelier sort of beast, watching the cattle graze,
Scanning the year's monotonous change, gaping at wind and rain,
Or hanging with meek solicitous eyes on the whims of a creaking vane;
Wretched if ewes drop single lambs, blest so is oilcake cheap,
And growing old in a tedious round of worry, surfeit, and sleep.

``You dear old Granny, how sweet your smile, and how soft your silvery hari!
But all has moved on while you sate still in your cap and easy-chair.
The torch of knowledge is lit for all, it flashes from hand to hand;
The alien tongues of the earth converse, and whisper from strand to strand.
The very churches are changed and boast new hymns, new rites, new truth;
Men worship a wiser and greater God than the halfknown God of your youth.

``What! marry Connie and set up house, and dwell where my fathers dwelt,
Giving the homely feasts they gave and kneeling where they knelt?
She is pretty, and good, and void I am sure of vanity, greed, or guile;
But she has not travelled nor seen the world, and is lacking in air and style.
Women now are as wise and strong as men, and vie with men in renown;
The wife that will help to build my fame was not bred near a country town.

``What a notion! to figure at parish boards, and wrangle o'er cess and rate,
I, who mean to sit for the county yet, and vote on an Empire's fate;
To take the chair at the Farmers' Feast, and tickle their bumpkin ears,
Who must shake a senate before I die, and waken a people's cheers!
In the olden days was no choice, so sons to the roof of their fathers clave:
But now! 'twere to perish before one's time, and to sleep in a living grave.

``I see that you do not understand. How should you? Your memory clings
To the simple music of silenced days and the skirts of vanishing things.
Your fancy wanders round ruined haunts, and dwells upon oft-told tales;
Your eyes discern not the widening dawn, nor your ears catch the rising gales.
But live on, Granny, till I come back, and then perhaps you will own
The dear old Past is an empty nest, and the Present the brood that is flown.''

``And so, my dear, you've come back at last? I always fancied you would.
Well, you see the old home of your childhood's days is standing where it stood.
The roses still clamber from porch to roof, the elder is white at the gate,
And over the long smooth gravel path the peacock still struts in state.
On the gabled lodge, as of old, in the sun, the pigeons sit and coo,
And our hearts, my dear, are no whit more changed, but have kept still warm for you.

``You'll find little altered, unless it be me, and that since my last attack;
But so that you only give me time, I can walk to the church and back.
You bade me not die till you returned, and so you see I lived on:
I'm glad that I did now you've really come, but it's almost time I was gone.
I suppose that there isn't room for us all, and the old should depart the first.
That's as it should be. What is sad, is to bury the dead you've nursed.

``Won't you have bit nor sup, my dear? Not even a glass of whey?
The dappled Alderney calved last week, and the baking is fresh to-day.
Have you lost your appetite too in town, or is it you've grown over-nice?
If you'd rather have biscuits and cowslip wine, they'll bring them up in a trice.
But what am I saying? Your coming down has set me all in a maze:
I forgot that you travelled here by train; I was thinking of coaching days.

``There, sit you down, and give me your hand, and tell me about it all,
From the day that you left us, keen to go, to the pride that had a fall.
And all went well at the first? So it does, when we're young and puffed with hope;
But the foot of the hill is quicker reached the easier seems the slope.
And men thronged round you, and women too! Yes, that I can understand.
When there's gold in the palm, the greedy world is eager to grasp the hand.

``I heard them tell of your smart town house, but I always shook my head.
One doesn't grow rich in a year and a day, in the time of my youth 'twas said.
Men do not reap in the spring, my dear, nor are granaries filled in May,
Save it be with the harvest of former years, stored up for a rainy day.
The seasons will keep their own true time, you can hurry nor furrow nor sod:
It's honest labour and steadfast thrift that alone are blest by God.

``You say you were honest. I trust you were, nor do I judge you, my dear:
I have old-fashioned ways, and it's quite enough to keep one's own conscience clear.
But still the commandment, ``Thou shalt not steal,'' though a simple and ancient rule,
Was not made for modern cunning to baulk, nor for any new age to befool;
And if my growing rich unto others brought but penury, chill, and grief,
I should feel, though I never had filched with my hands, I was only a craftier thief.

``That isn't the way they look at it there? All worshipped the rising sun?
Most of all the fine lady, in pride of purse you fancied your heart had won.
I don't want to hear of her beauty or birth: I reckon her foul and low;
Far better a steadfast cottage wench than grand loves that come and go.
To cleave to their husbands, through weal, through woe, is all women have to do:
In growing as clever as men they seem to have matched them in fickleness too.

``But there's one in whose heart has your image still dwelt through many an absent day,
As the scent of a flower will haunt a closed room, though the flower be taken away.
Connie's not quite so young as she was, no doubt, but faithfulness never grows old;
And were beauty the only fuel of love, the warmest hearth soon would grow cold.
Once you thought that she had not travelled, and knew neither the world nor life:
Not to roam, but to deem her own hearth the whole world, that's what a man wants in a wife.

``I'm sure you'd be happy with Connie, at least if your own heart's in the right place.
She will bring you nor power, nor station, nor wealth, but she never will bring you disgrace.
They say that the moon, though she moves round the earth, never turns to him morning or night
But one face of her sphere, and it must be because she's so true a satellite;
And Connie, if into your orbit once drawn by the sacrament sanctioned above,
Would revolve round you constantly, only to show the one-sided aspect of love.

``You will never grow rich by the land, I own; but if Connie and you should wed,
It will feed your children and household too, as it you and your fathers fed.
The seasons have been unkindly of late; there's a wonderful cut of hay,
But the showers have washed all the goodness out, till it's scarcely worth carting away.
There's a fairish promise of barley straw, but the ears look rusty and slim:
I suppose God intends to remind us thus that something depends on Him.

``God neither progresses nor changes, dear, as I once heard you rashly say:
Man's schools and philosophies come and go, but His word doth not pass away.
We worship Him here as we did of old, with simple and reverent rite:
In the morning we pray Him to bless our work, to forgive our transgressions at night.
To keep His commandments, to fear His name, and what should be done, to do,-
That's the beginning of wisdom still; I suspect 'tis the end of it too.

``You must see the new-fangled machines at work, that harrow, and thresh, and reap;
They're wonderful quick, there's no mistake, and they say in the end they're cheap.
But they make such a clatter, and seem to bring the rule of the town to the fields:
There's something more precious in country life than the balance of wealth it yields.
But that seems going; I'm sure I hope that I shall be gone before:
Better poor sweet silence of rural toil than the factory's opulent roar.

``They're a mighty saving of labour, though; so at least I hear them tell,
Making fewer hands and fewer mouths, but fewer hearts as well:
They sweep up so close that there's nothing left for widows and bairns to glean;
If machines are growing like men, man seems to be growing a half machine.
There's no friendliness left; the only tie is the wage upon Saturday nights:
Right used to mean duty; you'll find that now there's no duty, but only rights.

``Still stick to your duty, my dear, and then things cannot go much amiss.
What made folks happy in bygone times, will make them happy in this.
There's little that's called amusement, here; but why should the old joys pall?
Has the blackbird ceased to sing loud in spring? Has the cuckoo forgotten to call?
Are bleating voices no longer heard when the cherryblossoms swarm?
And have home, and children, and fireside lost one gleam of their ancient charm?

``Come, let us go round; to the farmyard first, with its litter of fresh-strewn straw,
Past the ash-tree dell, round whose branching tops the young rooks wheel and caw;
Through the ten-acre mead that was mown the first, and looks well for aftermath,
Then round by the beans-I shall tire by then,-and home up the garden-path,
Where the peonies hang their blushing heads, where the larkspur laughs from its stalk-
With my stick and your arm I can manage. But see! There, Connie comes up the walk.''

Sacred And Profane Love

In the dark shadow of the windless pines
Whose gloomy glory lines the obsequies
Of the gaunt Claudian Aqueduct along
The lone Campagna to sepulchral Rome,
A Northern youth, companionless, reclined,
Pondering on records of the Roman Past,
Kingdom, Republic, Empire, longwhile gone.
Hard-by, through marble tomb revivified,
Rippled and bubbled water crystalline,
Inwelling from the far-off Sabine hills.
When lo! upon the tomb's deep-dinted rim
Slowly there broadened on his gaze two shapes,
Material embodiment of those
The great Venetian in resplendent hues
Upon the canvas lastingly portrayed,
Christened by fame Profane and Sacred Love.
One was in rich habiliments arrayed,
With dimpling folds about her rounded limbs,
And heaving corset of embossed brocade,
Compressing beaker for her brimming breasts.
Jewels were in her hair, jewels entwined
Themselves round her columnar throat, and thus
On him she gazed unshrinkingly, and seemed
Sensuous seduction irresistible.
The other in nude innocency clad,
All save veined vineleaf cincture round her waist,
Sate with her gaze averted, and beheld
Only her image trembling in the wave.
Her had he fain accosted, but the dread
Of violating her aloofness checked
The movement of his mind, and held him mute.
So to the One resplendently enrobed,
Familiarly fearless as herself,
He turned, albeit his thought was otherwhere,
As elsewhere his desire, and boldly said:
``If with your earthly seeming be conjoined
Gift and capacity of earthly speech,
Speak to me, earthly, an you will, and break
The all too spacious silence with your voice.''
Her curving lips, whose fulness seemed to pledge
Intoxicating kisses, drooped apart,
And to her orbs upsurged volcanic fire,
As she with prompt unhesitating voice,
Commanding more than musical, rejoined.
Whereat that Other ever and anon
Would for a moment turn to him her face,
To note the interpretation of his heart
And wavering of his will, and then once more
Her look averted to the Sabine hills,
And cloudless vault of overarching Heaven.

Profane Love speaks
``I am the Goddess mortals call Profane,
Yet worship me as though I were divine;
Over their lives, unrecognised, I reign,
For all their thoughts are mine.

``I was coeval with the peopled Earth,
And, while it lasts, I likewise shall endure,
For Destiny endowed me at my birth
With every mundane lure.

``Men rear no marble temple to my name,
No statues mould in Minster or in mart,
Yet in their longings silently proclaim
My throne is on their heart.

``Unto the phantom Deities of air
They pay lip homage, carven altars raise,
To these bow down with ceremonial prayer,
And sycophantic praise.

``With them I kneel, but neither praise nor pray,
While tapers burn, hymns float, and organ rolls,
Because I know that there too can I sway
And stupefy their souls.

``Their pompous flatteries are not for me,
My panegyric is the secret sigh:
Wherefore should mortals monuments decree
To Me who cannot die?

``I am the fountain of wealth, titles, power,
'Tis I ordain the pedestal and bust,
When there doth toll the inevitable hour,
The hour of death and dust.

``Ruby, and pearl, and diamond, and the ore
Torn from the entrails of the Earth, are mine;
Mine are the cargoes shipped from shore to shore,
Spices, and silks, and wine:

``Wherewith men buy what crafty barter brings,-
Greater the gain, more hazardous the risks,-
Toil from the many, coronets from Kings,
And lust from odalisques.

``If such content not, since your hopes aspire
On heights of popularity to tower,
I can conduct you on yet swifter tire
To winning-peak of Power.

``Then without scruple, pity, or restraint,
Cleave you your conquering way; for there is nought,
Of all that worldlings crave and hirelings paint,
But can be seized or bought.

``Myriads from mine and furrow, quay and loom,
Shall congregate to hear you pledge and prate,
Hailing you heaven-sent warder-off of gloom,
And Saviour of the State.

``And lissom sirens, temptingly attired,
With heartless hearts, self-seeking as your own,
By your sonorous phrases will be fired,
And gather round your throne.

``Platform and Senate, Cabinet and Court,
You shall cajole, convert, or overawe;
Whithersoe'er you speciously disport,
Your wordy Will be law.

``But many and many a worshipper have I,
So cannot grant monopoly of power:
Others there be who fain would climb as high
As you, and have their hour.

``Then their ambition with your own will shock,
And they awhile on foremost seat may reign:
Men's favour is a quicksand, not a rock,
And veers like gust and vane.

``Then must you with invectives fume and rage
All through the land, denouncing evil times,
With histrionic passion; 'tis a stage
For mountebanks and mimes-

``Slandering the foes who slander you, and so,
If thousands hate, thousands will hail, your name,
Till you in notoriety shall grow,
The herd confound with Fame.

``Them that o'erwhelm, vindictiveness o'erwhelms,
So nought shall you from Fortune's wheel entice,
Gambling for Self's predominance with Realms
And Empires for your dice.

``If with the years male energy should wane,
Orders and honours on you shall be shed:
Thus will you still in man's remembrance reign,
A halo round your head.

``And when at length the End of all life's ends
Doth with the little lay the mighty down,
And domination finally descends
Graveward without its Crown,

``Processions populous, bedizened hearse,
And mourners ermined shall your dust convey
To pompous tomb, and vying prose and verse
Protract your little day.

``What though your name grow faint, as time recedes,
Like scarce-heard wave upon a far-off shore,
And wax the record of your words and deeds
A voice and nothing more,

``You will have drained all that the world can give,
All boons and blandishments of Love Profane,
Success and homage, for which sane men live,
And all the rest is vain.''

She ceased; and, as she ceased, then Sacred Love,
That ever and anon meanwhile had bent
On him her look, and smilingly surmised,
From his vague gaze and inattentive ears,
That he was only waiting for Her voice,
Like to the moon fleeting through fleecy clouds,
Her undissembled beauty on him bared,
And with a voice like sylvan rivulet
That haunts the woodlands, muffled half by leaves,
Serene and slow with silvery clearness spake.

``In the unseen first-fostering of breath
Whose secret is by Science vainly sought,
Uncertain borderland 'twixt Life and Death,
I share the silence of the Mother's thought.

``Her love is not more anxious than is mine,
Together we await the human cry,
For even then I, Sacred Love, divine
If it will grow to voice that may not die.

``And I its foster-mother am, and feed
Its suckling dreams, and watch it waxing strong,
Giving it for its plaything moorland reed,
That it may grow and ripen into Song.

``For Love Profane doth sleeplessly await
Its coming, to mislead it on its way,
Whispering, `Become what Greatness deemeth great,
Till mighty Rulers recognise your sway.'

``I listened tremblingly while Love Profane
Strove to entice you to the worldling's throne,
Along the worldling's way, but strove in vain.
Now hath She gone, and we are here alone.''

His gaze that had on Her who thuswise spake
Fastened, since indivisibly intent
Upon the cadence of her voice, quick turned
At these last words, to look for Love Profane.
But lo! its effigy from marble rim
Had vanished, like the face of Roman sway,
Kingship, Republic, Empire; and the flow
Of water welling through the rifled tomb
Was the sole sound he heard, until her voice
Melodiously measured, spake once more.

``Rise and come near to me, and take my hand,
And lay your cheek against my cheek, for sign
That you henceforth will know and understand
That all the children of the Muse are mine.

``Your parent am I, though I seem so young,
It is my birthright never to grow old;
Young shall I keep so long as songs are sung,
By such fresh offspring gladdened and consoled.

``I was beside the font when you were brought
Into the granite-pillared House of Prayer;
Smiled at your loneliness when first you sought
To sing away your load of childish care.

``Rapture maternal fluttered in my heart
When you yourself disdainfully denied
What worldlings prize, and chose the better part,
Wending where now I find you at my side.

``I know your present sorrow, since you fear
I have forsaken you and left you lone,
And Rome has silenced what you held so dear.
Wait! from the unseen seed the flower is grown.

``Rome is the tomb of Heroes, and of Kings,
Consuls, and conquerors, and world-wide sway:
What wonder, should it silence him that sings
Before he learns what he must sing and say?

``But you may live and die, a Voice unheard:
I promise not what I can not fulfil:
Only,-in the Beginning was the Word,
It was with God, and it is godlike still.

``But unto you, as unto all my line,
Or strong or weak, resounding or obscure,
I pledge the gifts inalienably mine,
Gifts that content and pleasures that endure:

``Companionship of woodlands, hills, and streams,
And gentle womenkind, to whom you owe
Youth in your heart, and shaping of your dreams,
And these will teach what more you need to know.

``Nature's still fresh society will keep
Your feelings young, as you each April follow
Coy maiden Spring, when she awakes from sleep
In windflower dell and primrose pillowed hollow:

``Watch Autumn wax in splendour day by day,
Then, slowly yielding unto Time's assault,
Her moribund magnificence decay,
To sleep entombed in Winter's icy vault;

``And when the boughs stretch bare and fallows hoar,
And plovers wheel about the moorland wide,
Hear the pinched wind wailing through chink and door,
With piteous prayer to share the warm fireside.

``Nature's capriciousness leaves just the same
Her inmost self; she does nor change nor veer;
Just as the seasons lend, with varying name,
Their contrast to the oneness of the year.

``The Poet's love no base-bred difference knows
Of high and low, the peasant and the peer,
Save that his tenderness more heed bestows
On humble sorrow than luxurious tear.

``Childhood's keen questioning, Youth's gropings blind,
Manhood's ambition, Age's graver part,
Alike can move his understanding mind,
And rouse his promptly sympathising heart.

``Here, 'mid the ruins that you now behold,
You will imbibe the meaning of the Past,
Learning to weigh the new by what is old,
The things that perish, and the things that last.

``Instructed thus, keep severed in your mind
The Passing from the Permanent, and prize
Only the precious heirlooms of Mankind,
Thought that ennobles, Art that vivifies.

``Vex not your mind with riddles that beguile
The unwise to wrangle over things unknown.
'Tis not for Song to enrage, but reconcile,
So to the Tower of Babel add no stone.

``But while from futile feuds you dwell apart,
Never forget to render what is due,
In hour of need, from manly hand and heart,
To the male Land whose soil engendered you.

``Should opulence, and ease, and base desire
Deaden effeminate ears to just alarms,
Sound all the clanging octaves of the lyre,
And rouse a nation's manhood unto arms,

``Save only then, no clamorous crowds must mar
The musing silence of secluded days,
Whose course should journey quiet as a star,
That moves alone along Heaven's trackless ways.

``Then will you 'mid deserted Abbey walls
Hear both the matin and the vesper bell,
The girdled Brothers chanting in their stalls,
And see the Prior praying in his cell.

``The Present and the Past shall seem but one,
Kingdoms, and Creeds, and Sceptres, passed away,
Stand out, in retrospection's noonday sun,
As Kingdoms, Creeds, and Sceptres, of to-day.

``In the fair hospitable Tuscan Land,
Where Raphael and Donatello wrought,
Sojourn, and ponder till you understand
The masculine restraint themselves were taught-

``Taught by the disentombed Minervan mind
That, in the days still governing if gone,
Within the rugged Parian block divined
Majestic calmness of the Parthenon.

``And when, departing hence, you wandering wend
Where the brief Attic splendour dawned and shone,
Pray to Athene she to you will lend
The golden curb she lent Bellerophon.

``Nor be the Hill Hellenic sculptors trod
Your one sole haunt, but, let who will condemn,
Kneel at all altars `To the Unknown God,'
Alike at Athens or Jerusalem.

``Siren and seraph, athlete, anchorite,
Saints of the cloister, satyrs of the grove,
In one and all seek meaning and delight,
Reigning Jehovah, abdicated Jove.

``Deem not the Oracles to-day are dumb;
They from their graves the World's course still forecast,
From things long gone expound the things to come,
And prophesy the Future from the Past.

``And not from Gothic shrine and classic urn,
From dome, or spire, or portico alone,
Study the mystery of Art, but learn
From each in turn to apprehend your own.

``Not least from its loved twin, melodious sound,
The universal unseen soul of things,
Whose utterance men invoke when words are found
Powerless to frame their vague imaginings.

``And, when the riper Youth that men call Age
Welcomes the closing dispensation, death,
Song that soothes sorrow and makes suffering sage,
Shall linger with you till your farewell breath.

``Not crowded aisle and ceremonial nave
Claim those that have from me life's lesson learned.
Who best have loved them bear them to their grave,
Where they near home lie `quietly inurned.'''

Then, like the cadence of a closing song,
Her soft voice sank to silence, and he felt
Her arms fold round him, and so widened his,
Eager to share in privileged embrace:
When, lo! the vision vanished with the voice,
And all he saw were the calm Sabine hills,
And all he heard, the lisping of the wave
Clear-welling through the rifled marble tomb.
But all She had said sank deep into his heart,
And what She said is truly written here.

A Dialogue At Fiesole

Halt here awhile. That mossy-cushioned seat
Is for your queenliness a natural throne;
As I am fitly couched on this low sward,
Here at your feet.

And I, in thought, at yours:
My adoration, deepest.

Deep, so deep,
I have no thought wherewith to fathom it;
Or, shall I say, no flight of song so high,
To reach the Heaven whence you look down on me,
My star, my far-off star!

If far, yet fixed:
No shifting planet leaving you to seek
Where now it shines.

A little light, if near,
Glows livelier than the largest orb in Heaven.

But little lights burn quickly out, and then,
Another must be kindled. Stars gleam on,
Unreached, but unextinguished. . . . Now, the song.

Yes, yes, the song: your music to my verse.

In this sequestered dimple of the hill,
Forgotten by the furrow, none will hear:
Only the nightingales, that misconceive
The mid-day darkness of the cypresses
For curtained night.

And they will hush to hear
A sudden singing sweeter than their own.
Delay not the enchantment, but begin.

If you were here, if you were here,
The cattle-bells would sound more clear;
The cataracts would flash and leap
More silvery from steep to steep;
The farewell of a rosier glow
Soften the summit of the snow;
The valley take a tenderer green;
In dewy gorge and dim ravine
The loving bramble-flowers embrace
The rough thorn with a gentler grace;
The gentian open bluer eyes,
In bluer air, to bluer skies:
The frail anemone delay,
The jonquil hasten on its way,
The primrose linger past its time,
The violet prolong its prime;
And every flower that seeks the light,
On Alpine lowland, Alpine height,
Wear April's smile without its tear,
If you were here; if you were here!

If you were here, the Spring would wake
A fuller music in the brake.
The mottled misselthrush would pipe
A note more ringing, rich, and ripe;
The whitethroat peer above its nest
With brighter eye and downier breast;
The cuckoo greet the amorous year,
Chanting its joy without its jeer;
The lark betroth the earth and sky
With peals of heavenlier minstrelsy;
And every wildwood bird rejoice
On fleeter wing, with sweeter voice,
If you were here!

If you were here, I too should feel
The moisture of the Springtide steal
Along my veins, and rise and roll
Through every fibre of my soul.
In my live breast would melt the snow,
And all its channels flush and flow
With waves of life and streams of song,
Frozen and silent all too long.
A something in each wilding flower,
Something in every scented shower,
Something in flitting voice and wing,
Would drench my heart and bid me sing:
Not in this feeble halting note,
But, like the merle's exulting throat,
With carol full and carol clear,
If you were here, if you were here.

Hark! How the hills have caught the strain, and seem
Loth to surrender it, and now enclose
Its cadence in the silence of their folds.
Still as you sang, the verses had the wing
Of that which buoyed them, and your aery voice
Lifted my drooping music from the ground.
Now that you cease, there is an empty nest,
From which the full-fledged melody hath flown.

Dare I with you contend in metaphor,
It might not be so fanciful to show
That nest, and eggs, and music, all are yours.
But modesty in poets is too rare,
To be reproved for error. Let me then
Be crowned full queen of song, albeit in sooth
I am but consort, owing my degree
To the real sceptred Sovereign at my side.
But now repay my music, and in kind.
Unfolding to my ear the youngest flower
Of song that seems to blossom all the year;
``Delay not the enchantment, but begin.''

(reciting). Yet, you are here; yes, you are here.
There's not a voice that wakes the year,
In vale frequented, upland lone,
But steals some sweetness from your own.
When dream and darkness have withdrawn,
I feel you in the freshening dawn:
You fill the noonday's hushed repose;
You scent the dew of daylight's close.
The twilight whispers you are nigh;
The stars announce you in the sky.
The moon, when most alone in space,
Fills all the heavens with your face.
In darkest hour of deepest night,
I see you with the spirit's sight;
And slumber murmurs in my ear,
``Hush! she is here. Sleep! she is here.''

Hark how you bare your secret when you sing!
Imagination's universal scope
Can swift endue this gray and shapeless world
With the designs and colour of the sky.
What want you with our fixed and lumpish forms,
You, unconditioned arbiter of air?
``Yet, you are here; yes, you are here.'' The span
Of nimble fancy leaps the interval,
And brings the distant nearer than the near.

Distance is nearer than proximity,
When distance longs, proximity doth not.

The near is always distant to the mind
That craves for satisfaction of its end;
Nor doth the distance ever feel so far
As when the end is touched. Retard that goal,
Prolonging appetite beyond the feast
That feeds anticipation.

Specious foil!
That parries every stroke before 'tis made.
Yet surfeit's self doth not more surely cloy
Than endless fasting.

Still a swifter cure
Waits on too little than attends too much.
While disappointment merely woundeth Hope,
The deadly blow by disenchantment dealt
Strikes at the heart of Faith. O happy you,
The favourites of Fancy, who replace
Illusion with illusion, and conceive
Fresh cradles in the dark womb of the grave.
While we, prosaic victims, prove that time
Kills love while leaving loveless life alive,
You still, divinely duped, sing deathless love,
And with your wizard music, once again,
Make Winter Spring. Yet surely you forgive
That I have too much pity for the flowers
Children and poets cull to fling away,
To be an April nosegay.

How you swell
The common chorus! Women, who are wronged
So roughly by men's undiscerning word,
As though one pattern served to show them all,
Should be more just to poets. These, in truth,
Diverge from one another nowise less
Than ``women,'' vaguely labelled: children some,
With childish voice and nature, lyric bards,
Weaklings that on life's threshold sweetly wail,
But never from that silvery treble pass
Into the note and chant of manliness.
Their love is like their verse, a frail desire,
A fluttering fountain falling feebly back
Into its shallow origin. Next there are
The poets of contention, wrestlers born,
Who challenge iron Circumstance, and fail:
Generous and strong, withal not strong enough,
Since lacking sinewy wisdom, hard as life.
The love of these is like the lightning spear,
And shrivels whom it touches. They consume
All things within their reach, and, last of all,
Their lonely selves; and then through time they tower,
Sublime but charred, and wear on their high fronts
The gloomy glory of the sunlit pine.
But the great gods of Song, in clear white light,
The radiance of their godhead, calmly dwell,
And with immutable cold starlike gaze
Scan both the upper and the under world,
As it revolves, themselves serenely fixed.
Their bias is the bias of the sphere,
That turns all ways, but turns away from none,
Save to return to it. They have no feud
With gods or men, the living or the dead,
The past or present, and their words complete
Life's incompleteness with a healing note.
For they are not more sensitive than strong,
More wise than tender; understanding all,
At peace with all, at peace with life and death,
And love that gives a meaning unto life
And takes from death the meaning and the sting:
At peace with hate, and every opposite.
Were I but one of these-presumptuous thought!-
Even you, the live fulfilment of such dreams
As these secrete, would hazard well your love
On my more largely loving. 'Twould be you,
Yes, even you, that first would flag and fail
In either of my choosing; you, whose wing
Would droop on mine and pray to be upborne.
And when my pinions did no more suffice
For that their double load, then softly down,
Softly and smoothly as descending lark
That hath fulfilled its rhapsody in Heaven,
And with diminished music must decline
To earthy sounds and concepts, I should curb
Illimitable longings to the range
Of lower aspiration. Were I such!-
But, since I am not-

Am not? Who shall say,
Save she who tests, and haply to her loss?
'Tis better left untested. Strange that you,
Who can imagine whatso thing you will,
Should lack imagination to appraise
Imagination at its topmost worth.
Now wield your native sceptre and extend
Your fancy forth where Florence overbrims
In eddies fairer even than herself.
Look how the landscape smiles complacently
At its own beauty, as indeed it may;
Villa and vineyard each a separate home,
Containing possibilities unseen,
Materials for your pleasure. Now disport!
Which homestead may it please my lord of song
To chalk for his, as those rough Frenchmen did
Who came with bow-legged Charles to justify
Savonarola's scourgeful prophecies?
Shall it be that one gazing in our face,
Not jealous of its beauty, but exposed
To all the wantonness of sun and air,
With roses girt, with roses garlanded,
And balustraded terrace topped with jars
Of clove carnations; unambitious roof,
Italian equivalent to house
Love in a cottage? Why, the very place
For her you once described! Wait! Let me see,
Can I recall the lines? Yes, thus they ran.
Do you remember them? Or are they now
A chronicle forgotten and erased
From that convenient palimpsest, the heart?

In dewy covert of her eyes
The secret of the violet lies;
The sun and wind caress and pair
In the lithe wavelets of her hair;
The fragrance of the warm soft south
Hovers about her honeyed mouth;
And, when she moves, she floats through air
Like zephyr-wafted gossamer.
Hers is no lore of dumb dead books;
Her learning liveth in her looks;
And still she shows, in meek replies,
Wisdom enough to deem you wise.
Her voice as soothing is and sweet
As whispers of the waving wheat,
And in the moisture of her kiss
Is April-like deliciousness.
Like gloaming-hour, she doth inspire
A vague, an infinite desire;
And, like the stars, though out of sight,
Filleth the loneliness of night.
Come how she may, or slow or fleet,
She brings the morning on her feet;
Gone, leaves behind a nameless pain,
Like the sadness of a silenced strain.

A youthful dream.

Yet memory can surmise
That young dream fruited to reality,
Then, like reality, was dream no more.
All dreams are youthful; you are dreaming still.
What lovely visions denizen your sleep!
Let me recall another; for I know
All you have written, thought, and felt, and much
You neither thought nor felt, but only sang.
A wondrous gift, a godlike gift, that breathes
Into our exiled clay unexiled lives,
Manlier than Adam, comelier than Eve.
That massive villa, we both know so well,
With one face set toward Settignano, one
Gazing at Bellosguardo, and its rear
Locked from the north by clustered cypresses,
That seem like fixed colossal sentinels,
And tower above its tower, but look not in,
Might be abode for her whom you conceived
In tropes so mystical, you must forgive
If recollection trips.

To dwell with her is calmly to abide
Through every change of time and every flux of tide.

In her the Present, Past, and Future meet,
The Father, and the Son, and dovelike Paraclete.

She holdeth silent intercourse with Night,
Still journeying with the stars, and shining with their light.

Her love, illumination; her embrace,
The sweep of angels' wings across a mortal's face.

Her lap is piled with autumn fruits, her brow
Crowned with the blossoming trails that smile from April's bough.

Like wintry stars that shine with frosty fire,
Her loftiness excites to elevate desire.

To love her is to burn with such a flame
As lights the lamp which bears the Sanctuary's name.

That lamp burns on for ever, day and night,
Before her mystic shrine. I am its acolyte.

The merest foam of fancy; foam and spray.

Foam-drift of fancy that hath ebbed away.
See how the very simile rebukes
Man's all unsealike longings! For confess,
While ocean still returns, the puny waves
Of mortal love are sucked into the sand,
Their motion felt, their music heard, no more.
Look when the vines are linking hands, and seem
As pausing from the dance of Spring, or just
Preparing to renew it, round and round,
On the green carpet of the bladed corn,
That spreads about their feet: corn, vine, and fig,
Almond and mulberry, cherry, and pear, and peach,
Not taught to know their place, but left to range
Up to the villa's walls, windows, and doors,
And peep into its life and smile good-day,
A portion of its homeliness and joy:
A poet's villa once, a poet's again,
If you but dream it such; a roof for her,
To whom you wrote-I wonder who she was-
This saucy sonnet; saucy, withal sweet,
And O, how true of the reflected love
You poets render to your worshippers.

You are the sun, and I the dial, sweet,
So you can mark on me what time you will.
If you move slowly, how can I move fleet?
And when you halt, I too must fain be still.
Chide not the cloudy humours of my brow,
If you behold no settled sunshine there:
Rather upbraid your own, sweet, and allow,
My looks cannot be foul if yours be fair.
Then from the heaven of your high witchery shine,
And I with smiles shall watch the hours glide by;
You have no mood that is not straightway mine;
My cheek but takes complexion from your eye.
All that I am dependeth so on you,
What clouds the sun must cloud the dial too.

No man should quarrel with his Past, and I
Maintain no feud with mine. Do we not ripen,
Ripen and mellow in love, unto the close,
Thanks no more to the present than the past?
First love is fresh but fugitive as Spring,
A wilding flower no sooner plucked than faded;
And summer's sultry fervour ends in storm,
Recriminating thunder, wasteful tears,
And angry gleam of lightning menaces.
Give me October's meditative haze,
Its gossamer mornings, dewy-wimpled eves,
Dewy and fragrant, fragrant and secure,
The long slow sound of farmward-wending wains,
When homely Love sups quiet 'mong its sheaves,
Sups 'mong its sheaves, its sickle at its side,
And all is peace, peace and plump fruitfulness.

Picture of all we dream and we desire:
Autumn's grave cheerfulness and sober bliss,
Rich resignation, humble constancy.
For, prone to bear the load piled up by life,
We, once youth's pasture season at an end,
Submit to crawl. Unbroken to the last,
You spurn the goad of stern taskmaster Time.
Even 'mid autumn harvest you demand
Returning hope and blossom of the Spring,
All seasons and sensations, and at once,
Or in too quick succession. Do we blame?
We envy rather the eternal youth
We cannot share. But youth is pitiless,
And, marching onward, neither asks nor seeks
Who falls behind. Thus women who are wise,
Beside their thresholds knitting homely gear,
Wave wistful salutation as you pass,
And think of you regretfully, when gone:
A soft regret, a sweet regret, that is
Only the mellow fruit of unplucked joy.
Now improvise some other simple strain,
That with harmonious cadence may attune
The vain and hazard discords of discourse.

When Love was young, it asked for wings,
That it might still be roaming;
And away it sped, by fancy led,
Through dawn, and noon, and gloaming.
Each daintiness that blooms and blows
It wooed in honeyed metre,
And when it won the sweetest sweet,
It flew off to a sweeter:
When Love was young.

When Love was old, it craved for rest,
For home, and hearth, and haven;
For quiet talks round sheltered walks,
And long lawns smoothly shaven.
And what Love sought, at last it found,
A roof, a porch, a garden,
And from a fond unquestioning heart
Peace, sympathy, and pardon,
When Love was old.

Simple, in sooth, and haply true: withal,
Too, too autumnal even for my heart.
I never weary of your vernal note.
Carol again, and sing me back my youth
With the redundant melodies of Spring.

I breathe my heart in the heart of the rose,
The rose that I pluck and send you,
With a prayer that the perfume its leaves enclose
May kiss, and caress, and tend you:
Caress and tend you till I can come,
To the garden where first I found you,
And the thought that as yet in the rose is dumb
Can ripple in music round you.

O rose, that will shortly be her guest,
You may well look happy, at leaving:
Will you lie in the cradle her snowy breast
Doth rock with its gentle heaving?
Will you mount the throne of her hazel hair,
That waves like a summer billow,
Or be hidden and hushed, at nightfall prayer,
In the folds of her dimpled pillow?

And when she awakes at dawn to feel
If you have been dreaming with her,
Then the whole of your secret, sweet rose, reveal,
And say I am coming thither:
And that when there is silence in earth and sky,
And peace from the cares that cumber,
She must not ask if your leaves or I
Be clasped in her perfumed slumber.

Give me your hand; and, if you will, keep mine
Engraffed in yours, as slowly thus we skirt
La Doccia's dark declivity, and make
Athwart Majano's pathless pines a path
To lead us onward haply where it may.
Lo! the Carrara mountains flush to view,
That in the noonday were not visible.
Shall we not fold this comfort to our hearts,
Humbly rejoiced to think as there are heights
Seen only in the sunset, so our lives,
If that they lack not loftiness, may wear
A glow of glory on their furrowed fronts,
Until they faint and fade into the night!