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.

Could you but give me all that I desire,
I should be richer, and you no more poor,
Companionship beside the household fire,
And common cares that train one to endure.
'Tis not your senses, but your self, I want,
Kinship of vision, sympathy of mind,
That so the bond be based on adamant,
And Love made fast by sanctities that bind.
Yet do not think insensible my gaze
To delicate loveliness of form and face,
But that I covet in the same embrace
The Spirit's yearnings with the body's grace.
Give me all these, and add, with lengthening years,
The sweet sad smile, and piety of tears.

A Wintry Picture (Ii)

Now in the woodlands from the creaking boughs
The last sere leaves are loosened and unstrung,
Where once the tender honeysuckle clung,
And the fond mavis fluted to his spouse.
Already dreaming of her winter drowse,
And brooding dimly on her unborn young,
The dormouse rakes the beechmast, and among
The matted roots the moldwarp paws and ploughs.
Over the furrows brown and pastures grey
The melancholy plovers flap and 'plain;
And, along shivering pool and sodden lane,
As lower droop the lids of dying day,
Like to a disembodied soul in pain,
The homeless wind goes wailing all the way.

Nay, be not June, nor yet December, dear,
But April always, as I find thee now:
A constant freshness unto me be thou,
And not the ripeness that must soon be sere.
Why should I be Time's dupe, and wish more near
The sobering harvest of thy vernal vow?
I am content, so still across thy brow
Returning smile chase transitory tear.
Then scatter thy April heart in sunny showers;
I crave nor Summer drouth nor Winter sleet:
As Spring be fickle, so thou be as sweet;
With half-kept promise tantalise the hours;
And let Love's frolic hands and woodland feet
Fill high the lap of Life with wilding flowers.

Love’s Fitfulness

You say that I am fitful. Sweet, 'tis true;
But 'tis that I your fitfulness obey.
If you are April, how can I be May,
Or flaunt bright roses when you wear sad rue?
Shine like the sun, and my sky will be blue;
Sing, and the lark shall envy me my lay:
I do but follow where you point the way,
And what I feel you doing, straight must do.
The wind might just as well reproach the vane,
As you upbraid me for my shiftings, dear:
Blow from the south, and south I shall remain;
If you keep fixed, be sure I shall not veer.
Nay, on your change my changes so depend,
If ends your love, why then my love must end.

Love’s Wisdom

Now on the summit of Love's topmost peak
Kiss we and part; no farther can we go:
And better death than we from high to low
Should dwindle or decline from strong to weak.
We have found all, there is no more to seek;
All have we proved, no more is there to know;
And Time could only tutor us to eke
Out rapture's warmth with custom's afterglow.
We cannot keep at such a height as this;
And even straining souls like ours inhale
But once in life so rarefied a bliss.
What if we lingered till love's breath should fail!
Heaven of my Earth! one more celestial kiss,
Then down by separate pathways to the vale.

Why love life more, the less of it be left,
And what is left be little but the lees,
And Time's subsiding passions have bereft
One's taste for pleasure, and one's power to please?
Is it not better, like the waning year,
Without lament resignedly to fade,
Since by enduring ordinance all things here
Are in their season shattered and decayed?
If you have shared in April's freshet song,
And Summer can without reproach recall,
Yearn not Autumnal harvest to prolong,
Nor shrink from Winter that awaits us all;
But, lightened of the load of earthly ties,
Pursue with homeward step your journey to the skies.

Love’s Harvest

Nay, do not quarrel with the seasons, dear,
Nor make an enemy of friendly Time.
The fruit and foliage of the failing year
Rival the buds and blossoms of its prime.
Is not the harvest moon as round and bright
As that to which the nightingales did sing?
And thou, that call'st thyself my satellite,
Wilt seem in Autumn all thou art in Spring.
When steadfast sunshine follows fitful rain,
And gleams the sickle where once passed the plough,
Since tender green hath grown to mellow grain,
Love then will gather what it scattereth now,
And, like contented reaper, rest its head
Upon the sheaves itself hath harvested.

How can I tell thee when I love thee best?
In rapture or repose? how shall I say?
I only know I love thee every way,
Plumed for love's flight, or folded in love's nest.
See, what is day but night bedewed with rest?
And what the night except the tired-out day?
And 'tis love's difference, not love's decay,
If now I dawn, now fade, upon thy breast.
Self-torturing sweet! Is't not the self-same sun
Wanes in the west that flameth in the east,
His fervour nowise altered nor decreased?
So rounds my love, returning where begun,
And still beginning, never most nor least,
But fixedly various, all love's parts in one.

Love, wilt thou love me still when wintry streak
Steals on the tresses of autumnal brow;
When the pale rose hath perished in my cheek,
And those are wrinkles that are dimples now?
Wilt thou, when this fond arm that here I twine
Round thy dear neck to help thee in thy need,
Droops faint and feeble, and hath need of thine,
Be then my prop, and not a broken reed?
When thou canst only glean along the Past,
And garner in thy heart what Time doth leave,
O, wilt thou then to me, love, cling as fast
As nest of April to December eave;
And, while my beauty dwindles and decays,
Still warm thee by the embers of my gaze?

Dedication To The Edition Of 1876 To H.J.A.

Three graces still attend me, since the day
Your step across my graceless threshold came:
Reverence, and Gratitude, and Love, their name.
Reverence, whose gaze fears from the ground to stray,
And bows its head, and sues to you to lay
Your foot thereon, and keep my base self down:
Next, Gratitude, that, bolder, by degrees
Creeps up the folds of wedlock's rescuing gown,
To make a circling fondness round your knees;
And lastly, Love, which from that low perch sees
Chaste lips, and tender eyes, and tresses brown,
And, darting upward, finds a home with these.
So stand we level in that high embrace,
And I have all your glory on my face.

The Dregs Of Love

Think you that I will drain the dregs of Love,
I who have quaffed the sweetness on its brink?
Now by the steadfast burning stars above,
Better to faint of thirst than thuswise drink.
What! shall we twain who saw love's glorious fires
Flame toward the sky and flush Heaven's self with light,
Crouch by the embers as the glow expires,
And huddle closer from mere dread of night?
No! cast love's goblet in oblivion's well,
Scatter love's ashes o'er the field of time!
Yet, ere we part, one kiss whereon to dwell
When life sounds senseless as some feeble rhyme.
Lo! as lips touch, anew Love's cresset glows,
And Love's sweet cup refills and overflows.

Dearest, I know thee wise and good,
Beloved by all the best;
With fancy like Ithuriel's spear,
A judgment proof 'gainst rage or fear,
Heart firm through many a stormy year,
And conscience calm in rest.

Why should I let my wayward feet
Cross the fair threshold of thy life?
My hopes and cares of little worth
Drag down thy heavenlier part to earth,
And, like strange discord marring mirth,
Fill thy sweet soul with strife?

But though such fears will cloud my brain,
Nay, though stern Time their truth should prove,
Yet none the less I bid thee take
My life into thine own, forsake
Thy high heart, bid it beat and break,
Like mine, but, like mine, love!

Before, Behind, And Beyond

O the sunny days before us, before us, before us,
When all was bright
From holt to height,
And the heavens were shining o'er us;
When sound and scent, with vision blent,
Wingèd Hope, and perched Content,
Joys that came, and ills that went,
Seemed singing all in chorus.

O the dreary days behind us, behind us, behind us,
When all is dark,
And care, and cark,
Or transient gleams remind us
Of fruitless sighs, averted eyes,
Baffled hopes and loosened ties,
Pain that lingers, time that flies,
And the hot tears come and blind us.

Oh! is there nought beyond us, beyond us, beyond us,
When all the dead,
The changed, the fled,
Will rise, and look as fond as
Ere Faith put out, and Love in rout,
Foes with vigour, friends without,
Pique and rancour, make us doubt
Hoc tolerare pondus?

Let not the roses lie
Too thickly tangled round my tomb,
Lest fleecy clouds that skim the summer sky,
Flinging their faint soft shadows, pass it by,
And know not over whom.

And let not footsteps come
Too frequent round that nook of rest;
Should I-who knoweth?-not be deaf, though dumb,
Bird's idle pipe, or bee's laborious hum,
Would suit me, listening, best.

And, pray you, do not hew
Words to provoke a smile or sneer;
But only carve-at least if they be true-
These simple words, or some such, and as few,
``He whom we loved lies here.''

And if you only could
Find out some quite sequestered slope
That, girt behind with undeciduous wood,
In front o'erlooks the ocean-then I should
Die with a calmer hope.

And if you will but so
This last request of mine fulfil,
I rest your debtor for the final throw
And if I can but help you where I go,
Be sure, fond friends, I will.

``Awake, awake, for the Springtime's sake,
March daffodils too long dreaming;
The lark is high in the spacious sky
And the celandine's stars are gleaming.
The gorse is ablaze, and the woodland sprays
Are as purple as August heather,
The buds unfurl, and mavis and merle
Are singing duets together.

``The rivulets run, first one by one,
Then meet in the swirling river,
And on out-peeping roots the sun-god shoots
The shafts of his golden quiver.
In the hazel copse the thrush never stops
Till with music the world seems ringing,
And the milkmaid hale, as she carries her pail,
Goes home to the dairy, singing:

``And the swain and his sweet in the love-lanes meet,
And welcome and face each other,
Till he folds her charms in his world-wide arms,
With kisses that blind and smother.''
Then the daffodils came, aflame, aflame,
In orchard, and garth, and cover,
And out April leapt, first smiled, then wept,
And longed for her May-day lover.

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.

SHE wanders in the April woods,
That glisten with the fallen shower;
She leans her face against the buds,
She stops, she stoops, she plucks a flower.
She feels the ferment of the hour:
She broodeth when the ringdove broods;
The sun and flying clouds have power
Upon her cheek and changing moods.
She cannot think she is alone,
As o’er her senses warmly steal
Floods of unrest she fears to own,
And almost dreads to feel.

Among the summer woodlands wide
Anew she roams, no more alone;
The joy she fear’d is at her side,
Spring’s blushing secret now is known.
The primrose and its mates have flown,
The thrush’s ringing note hath died;
But glancing eye and glowing tone
Fall on her from her god, her guide.
She knows not, asks not, what the goal,
She only feels she moves towards bliss,
And yields her pure unquestioning soul
To touch and fondling kiss.

And still she haunts those woodland ways,
Though all fond fancy finds there now
To mind of spring or summer days,
Are sodden trunk and songless bough.
The past sits widow’d on her brow,
Homeward she wends with wintry gaze,
To walls that house a hollow vow,
To hearth where love hath ceas’d to blaze:
Watches the clammy twilight wane,
With grief too fix’d for woe or tear;
And, with her forehead ’gainst the pane,
Envies the dying year.

Let us fly! It is long past eleven;
The watch-dogs are silent; the moon
Hath all but abandoned the heaven,
And midnight is sinking in swoon.
Not a chirp to be heard in the thicket;
The kine are asleep in the byre;
All is hushed; here I stand at the wicket,
Alone, with my pulses on fire.

There! silently close you the lattice!
Now daintily drop we the latch!
What is that? O my pretty one! that is
A sparrow that moved in the thatch.
Quick! a hasty foot over the orchard!
The horses are saddled beyond.
To-night 'tis our fate to be tortured,
To-morrow night nothing but fond!

Yet I pause. O my Mabel! my beauty!
If they who sleep tranquil within
But knew how Love wrestles with Duty,
They weakness would call it, not sin!
If they, the calm clients of virtue,
But once on your bosom had throbbed,
They would swear 'twas a crime to desert you,
And pardon the felon that robbed.

No! Sooner the shade of the cypress
Stretch premature over your tomb,
Than the tread of the slanderous vipress,
Should, pitiless, darken your doom!
And in the last Grand Accusation
For selfishness, falsehood, or sloth,
This act of sublime abnegation
Shall, trumpet-tongued, plead for us both

Giacomo! back to the stable;
I shan't want the horses to-night.
And see you be gentle with Mabel;
It is not her temper, but fright.
Soft and warm, deep and broad, be her litter,
And her mane most caressingly curled.

O God! love is sweet, loss is bitter,
And I am alone in the world!

Were I A Poet, I Would Dwell

`Were I a Poet, I would dwell,
Not upon lonely height,
Nor cloistered in disdainful cell
From human sound and sight.
I would live nestled near my kind,
Deep in a garden garth,
That they who loved my verse might find
A pathway to my hearth.

`I would not sing of sceptred Kings,
The Tyrant and his thrall,
But everyday pathetic things,
That happen to us all:
The love that lasts through joy, through grief,
The faith that never wanes,
And every wilding bird and leaf
That gladdens English lanes.

`Nor would I shape for Fame my lay,
But only for the sake
Of singing, and to charm away
My own or other's ache;
To close the wound, to soothe the smart,
To heal the feud of years,
And move the misbelieving heart
To tenderness and tears.

`And when to me should come the night,
And I could sing no more,
And faithful lips could but recite
What I had sung before,
I would not have a pompous strain
Resound about my shroud,
Nor sepulchre in sumptuous fane,
Near to the great and proud.

`But only they who loved me best
Should bear me and my lyre,
And lay us, with my kin, at rest
Under the hamlet spire,
Where everything around still breathes
Of prayer that soothes and saves,
And widowed hands bear cottage wreaths
To unforgotten graves.

`And they might raise another cross
Within that hallowed ground,
And tend the flowers and trim the moss
About my grassy mound;
But, honouring me, would carve above
No impious boast of Fame,
And, not for Glory, but for Love,
Would keep alive my name.'

She came into the April air,
And passed across the silvery lawn;
Blithe was her voice, her brow was bare,
And rippled from her radiant hair
The glow and glory of the dawn.
Her footfall scared nor doe nor fawn,
No timid songster ceased to sing;
But, wheresoe'er she strayed or stood,
Her maiden coming seemed to bring
A wider wonder to the wood,
And more of magic to the Spring.

When June is throned, and round her blows
The rambling briar and lily tall,
I saw her watch the buds unclose,
Herself, herself the loveliest rose,
And stateliest lily of them all.
The blackbirds' fluting, cuckoo's call,
She scarcely heard, for trembled near,
And thrilled her wheresoe'er she strayed,
That note more deep, that voice more dear,
That lures to love the listening maid,
When half is fondness, half is fear.

Among the rows of ripened sheaves,
And orchard harvests golden-red,
The tapestry that Autumn weaves
From fallen fruit and fading leaves,
Pensive she paced with matron tread.
Low was her voice, but all she said
Seemed strangely true, and deeply wise;
And mute her offspring gathered round,
To gaze into her tranquil eyes,
And listen to the sacred sound
Of mellow words and meek replies.

Now by the wintry hearth she sits,
Grey guardian of the household fire,
Foretells the Future, as she knits,
Then back her loving memory flits
To bygone days and dead desire.
Anon her fingers seem to tire,
And weary sense to droop its wing;
But, though her gaze hath feebler grown,
Nor knows she what the children sing,
She sees the Lamb before the Throne,
And hears the Angels canticling.

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.

The Golden Year!

When piped the love-warm throstle shrill,
And all the air was laden
With scent of dew and daffodil,
I saw a youth and maiden,
Whose colour, Spring-like, came and fled,
'Mong purple copses straying,
While birchen tassels overhead
Like marriage-bells kept swaying;
Filled with that joy that lingers still,
Which Eve brought out of Aiden,-
With scent of dew and daffodil
When all the air was laden.

When primrose banks turn pale and fade,
And meads wax deep and golden,
And in lush dale and laughing glade
Summer's gay Court is holden,
Them, nestling close, again I saw,
Affianced girl and lover,
She looking up with eyes of awe
To burning gaze above her;
Playing anew the part oft played,
Sung by the poets olden,-
When primrose banks turn pale and fade,
And meads wax deep and golden.

When autumn woods began to glow,
And autumn sprays to shiver,
Once more I saw them walking slow,
By sedgy-rustling river.
The season's flush was on her cheek,
The season's sadness o'er him:
He stroked her hand, and bade her speak
Of all the love she bore him.
That only made her tears to flow,
And chill his heart to quiver,-
While autumn woods began to glow,
And autumn sprays to shiver.

When winter fields stretched stiff and stark,
And wintry winds shrilled eerie,
I saw him creep, alone, at dark,
Into the churchyard dreary.
He laid him down against the stone,
'Neath which she aye lay sleeping,
Kissed its cold face with many a moan,
Then loudly fell a-weeping:
``Oh! let me in from lonely cark,
Or come thou back, my dearie!''-
But the wintry fields stretched stiff and stark,
And the wintry winds shrilled eerie!

The Evening Light

Angels their silvery trumpets blow,
At dawn, to greet the Morning Glow,
And mortals lift adoring eyes
To see the glorious sun arise.
Then, winged by Faith, and spurred by Hope
Youth scans the hill, youth scales the slope.
Its pulses bound, its thoughts exult,
It finds no danger difficult,
Quickens its pace, disdaining ease
Victor before it comes and sees,
Feeling the Universe its own,
The Sovereign of a Self-made Throne.

Each hope fulfilled, obtained each prayer,
We glory in the Noonday Glare.
Welcome the blinding heat of strife,
Deeming resistance part of life.
We deal the blow, return the stroke,
Fighting our way through dust and smoke,
Until, our battle-banner furled,
We tower above a conquered World;
Whether one leads mankind along
By gift of speech or grace of song,
Seizes by forceful hand the helm,
Or adds an Empire to the Realm,
Confronts the sun with forehead bare,
Exulting in the Noonday Glare.

But, as the lengthening shadows glide
Silent towards the eventide,
And dew baptizes leaf and flower
In twilight's sanctuary hour,
A sacred Something haunts the air,
Tender as love, devout as prayer,
And in the lofty dome afar
Glimmers one bright outriding star,
Announcing to the watchful sight
Coming battalions of the Night.
Then Noonday Glare and Morning Glow
Fade into shadowy Long-ago.
One feels Earth's vain ambitions fade
Into the vanished dust they made.

All that the glow of dawn foretold,
And all the glare of noon unrolled,
Seem nothing to the quiet joy
No clamour mars, no cares destroy,
'Twixt restless day and restful night,
That cometh with the Evening Light.

The Lover’s Song

When Winter hoar no longer holds
The young year in his gripe,
And bleating voices fill the folds,
And blackbirds pair and pipe;
Then coax the maiden where the sap
Awakes the woodlands drear,
And pour sweet wildflowers in her lap,
And sweet words in her ear.
For Springtime is the season, sure,
Since Love's game first was played,
When tender thoughts begin to lure
The heart of April maid,
Of maid,
The heart of April maid.

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;
Then take her where the graylings leap,
And where the dabchick dives,
Or where the bees in 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,
Then pelt you with the hay,
The hay,
Then pelt you with the hay.

When sickles ply among the wheat,
Then trundle home the sheaves,
And there's a rustling of the feet
Through early-fallen leaves;
Entice her where the orchard glows
With apples plump and tart,
And tell her plain the thing she knows,
And ask her for her heart.
For Autumn is the season, boy,
To gather what we sow:
If you be bold, she won't be coy,
Nor ever say you no,
Say no,
Nor ever say you no.

When woodmen clear the coppice lands,
And arch the hornbeam drive,
And stamp their feet, and chafe their hands,
To keep their blood alive;
Then lead her where, when vows are heard,
The church-bells peal and swing,
And, as the parson speaks the word,
Then on her clap the ring.
For Winter is a cheerless time
To live and lie alone;
But what to him is snow or rime,
Who calls his love his own,
His own,
Who calls his love his own?

A March Minstrel

Hail! once again, that sweet strong note!
Loud on my loftiest larch,
Thou quaverest with thy mottled throat,
Brave minstrel of bleak March!

Hearing thee flute, who pines or grieves
For vernal smiles and showers?
Thy voice is greener than the leaves,
And fresher than the flowers.

Scorning to wait for tuneful May
When every throat can sing,
Thou floutest Winter with thy lay,
And art thyself the Spring.

While daffodils, half mournful still,
Muffle their golden bells,
Thy silvery peal o'er landscape chill
Surges, and sinks, and swells.

Across the unsheltered pasture floats
The young lamb's shivering bleat:
There is no trembling in thy notes,
For all the snow and sleet.

Let the bullace bide till frosts have ceased,
The blackthorn loiter long;
Undaunted by the blustering east,
Thou burgeonest into song.

Yet who can wonder thou dost dare
Confront what others flee?
Thy carol cuts the keen March air
Keener than it cuts Thee.

The selfish cuckoo tarrieth till
April repays his boast.
Thou, thou art lavish of thy trill,
Now when we need it most.

The nightingale, while birds are coy,
Delays to chant its grief.
Brave throstle! thou dost pipe for joy
With never a bough in leaf.

Even fond turtle-doves forbear
To coo till woods are warm:
Thou hast the heart to love and pair
Ere the cherry blossoms swarm.

The skylark, fluttering to be heard
In realms beyond his birth,
Soars vainly heavenward. Thou, wise bird!
Art satisfied with earth.

Thy home is not upon the ground,
Thy hope not in the sky:
Near to thy nest thy notes resound,
Neither too low nor high.

Blow what wind will, thou dost rejoice
To carol, and build, and woo.
Throstle! to me impart thy voice;
Impart thy wisdom too.

Why England Is Conservative

Because of our dear Mother, the fair Past,
On whom twin Hope and Memory safely lean,
And from whose fostering wisdom none shall wean
Their love and faith, while love and faith shall last:
Mother of happy homes and Empire vast,
Of hamlets meek, and many a proud demesne,
Blue spires of cottage smoke 'mong woodlands green,
And comely altars where no stone is cast.
And shall we barter these for gaping Throne,
Dismantled towers, mean plots without a tree,
A herd of hinds too equal to be free,
Greedy of other's, jealous of their own,
And, where sweet Order now breathes cadenced tone,
Envy, and hate, and all uncharity?

Banish the fear! 'Twere infamy to yield
To folly what to force had been denied,
Or in the Senate quail before the tide
We should have stemmed and routed in the field.
What though no more we brandish sword and shield,
Reason's keen blade is ready at our side,
And manly brains, in wisdom panoplied,
Can foil the shafts that treacherous sophists wield.
The spirit of our fathers is not quelled.
With weapons valid even as those they bore,
Domain, Throne, Altar, still may be upheld,
So we disdain, as they disdained of yore,
The foreign froth that foams against our shore,
Only by its white cliffs to be repelled!

Therefore, chime sweet and safely, village bells,
And, rustic chancels, woo to reverent prayer,
And, wise and simple, to the porch repair
Round which Death, slumbering, dreamlike heaves and swells.
Let hound and horn in wintry woods and dells
Make jocund music though the boughs be bare,
And whistling yokel guide his gleaming share
Hard by the homes where gentle lordship dwells.
Therefore sit high enthroned on every hill,
Authority! and loved in every vale;
Nor, old Tradition, falter in the tale
Of lowly valour led by lofty will:
And, though the throats of envy rage and rail,
Be fair proud England proud fair England still!

Where Apennine slopes unto Tuscan plain,
And breaks into dimples, and laughs to flowers,
To see where the terrors of Winter wane,
And out of a valley of grape and grain
There blossoms a City of domes and towers,

Teuton, Lombard, and grasping Gaul,
Prince and Pontiff, have forced their way,
Have forded the river, and scaled the wall,
And made in its palaces stye and stall,
Where spears might glisten and war-steeds neigh.

But ever since Florence was fair and young,
And the sun upon turret and belfry shone,
Were her windows bannered and joy-bells rung,
When back to his saddle the Stranger sprung,
And lances were lifted and pikemen gone.

Yes, ever and ever till you, my Queen,
Came over the sea that is all your own,
When the tear on the tip of the vine is seen,
And the fig-tree cressets have flamed to green,
And windflower wakened, and tulip blown.

Then roses were showered before your feet,
And her lily-crowned gonfalons waved above,
And children chanted in square and street,
`All hail to the Monarch may free men greet,
Whose sceptre is Peace, and whose Throne is Love.'

And now that each snow-torrent foams and falls,
And the oreoles sing and the skylarks soar,
And the lithe swallow circles her rose-white walls,
Through the clefts of the Apennine Florence calls,
`More welcome than Spring, come back once more!

`Come back, for the cuckoo is on its way,
And the mountains, smiling, await your smile;
And still in my olive-groves bask and stray,
Till the warm-winged waters and winds of May
Shall waft you back to your own loved Isle.'

`The sickle hath performed its work
`The sickle hath performed its work,
The storm-gusts sweep the aspens bare,
Careering clouds and shadows mirk
Cow the disheartened air.

`No swallow circles round the roof,
No chirp redeems the dripping shed;
The very gables frown reproof,
``Why not already fled?'''

A Royal Home-Coming

Welcome, right welcome home, to these blest Isles,
Where, unforgotten, loved Victoria sleeps,
But now with happy pride your Father smiles,
Your Mother weeps.

You went as came the swallow, homeward draw
Now it hath winged its way to winters green;
But never swallow or wandering sea-bird saw
What You have seen.

For You have circled the earth with pinions fleet,
The seasons through, and everywhere a throng
Of glowing hearts your coming trooped to greet
With flowers and song.

Over the unchanging sea eight changeful moons
Have moved from shield to sickle, seed to sheaves,
And twice a hundred dawns, a hundred noons,
A hundred eves,

Waned to their slumber in the star-lit night,
And ever from land or lake, from wave or crag,
From fixed or floating fort, You had in sight
The British Flag.

And wider, further, onward round the world,
Scouring the field or furrowing the sea,
You found that Emblem, which, where'er unfurled,
Floats o'er the Free:

So that on man, and man's laborious hand,
Nor manacle nor hindrance shall be laid,
But mind with mind, and strand with generous strand,
Contend and trade.

And, though the shade of treasonable strife
Falls on our homes and theirs, You, wandering, saw,
Young Commonwealths You found, surging with life,
Yet ruled by Law:

Whose blood, infused in ours in War's emprise,
To vindicate one Sceptre, sword, and tongue,-
As ours perchance may help to keep them wise,-
Hath made us young.

Fountain of Youth England in mellower years
Hath found and drained, so that She ne'er need know
What Nature feels when Autumn stacks and seres,
Or Yule-gusts blow.

You sailed from us to them, from them to us,
Love at the prow and wisdom at the helm,
August Ambassadors, who strengthen thus
Her Rule and Realm.

Round You to-day a People stand arrayed,
That fain with Peace two wedded worlds would dower,
Therefore rejoicing mightier hath been made
Imperial Power.

The love within my heart that dwells
Knows nought of days or hours;
I hear thee in the Christmas bells,
I feel thee in the vernal showers;
And thy breath is blent with the wandering scent
Of the summer fruits and flowers.

And yet this morn my blood is stirred
With more than wonted glow;
Thy absent voice is strangely heard,
Thy spells upon me stronger grow;
And my spirit sips from unseen lips
That can be but thine, I know.

For thou wast born upon this day,
When I was but a child,
Ere winter frosts were ta'en away,
Ere primroses peeped out and smiled;
Ere the snows were reft from the sheltering cleft,
And the winds were high and wild.

Thus early unto me wast thou
An earnest of the spring;
Of happy birds upon the bough,
And sweet trees blossoming;
Of all that is fair upon earth, in air,
And the streams that bound and sing.

I wonder what the world was like
Before thou didst appear-
Did young lambs skip o'er mound and dyke?
Did throstles warble loud and clear?
And were sea and sky as deep and high
As they are now thou art here?

It were a dreary world indeed
To me, wert thou away;
The night no tumults sweet would breed,
No tranquil dalliance the day;
And though earth should fling all that Fame can bring
At my feet, I would not stay.

So, though sore-severed still we be,
Here, helpful one, remain!
Through travels long a bourne to me,
A crowning joy 'mid crushing pain;
An abiding star when the storm-waves jar,
And a rainbow 'mid the rain.

And fear not, sweet, but love like ours
Will keep us ever young:
No prey to the corroding hours,
No feast for the malignant tongue,
But as firm and fond in the years beyond
As when first we clasped and clung.

Age cannot touch such charms as thine;
My heart defies the sun:
Both shall but glow yet more divine,
His course more oft as he may run:
Till we spurn the earth for that second birth,
When we twain shall be only one.

When I am gone, I pray you shed
No tears upon the grassy bed
Where that which you have loved is laid
Under the wind-warped yew-tree's shade.
And let no sombre pomp prepare
My unreturning journey there,
Nor wailing words nor dirges deep
Disturb the quiet of my sleep;
But tender maidens, robed in white,
Who have not yet forgotten quite
The love I sought, the love I gave,
Be the sole mourners round my grave.
And neither then, nor after, raise
The bust of pride, the slab of praise,
To him who, having sinned and striven,
Now only asks to be forgiven,
That he is gone.

When I am gone, you must not deem
That I am severed, as I seem,
From all that still enchains you here,
Throughout the long revolving year.
When, as to Winter's barren shore
The tides of Spring return once more,
And, wakened by their flashing showers,
The woodland foams afresh with flowers,
You sally forth and ramble wide,
I shall walk silent at your side,
Shall watch your mirth, shall catch your smile,
Shall wander with you all the while,
And, as in many a bygone Spring,
Hear cuckoo call and ousel sing.
And, when you homeward wend, along
A land all blithe with bleat and song,
Where lambs that skip and larks that soar
Make this old world seem young once more,
And with the wildwood flowers that fill
Your April laps deck shelf and sill,
I shall be there to guide your hand,
And you will surely understand
I am not gone.

When Summer leans on Autumn's arm,
And warm round grange and red-roofed farm
Is piled the wain and thatched the stack,
And swallows troop and fieldfares pack;
When round rough trunk and knotted root
Lies thick the freshly-fallen fruit,
And 'mong the orchard aisles you muse
On what we gain, on what we lose,
Now vernal cares no more annoy,
And wisdom takes the place of joy,
I shall be there, as in past years,
To share your steps, to dry your tears,
To note how Autumn days have brought
Feelings mature and mellow thought,
The fruitful grief for others' smart,
The ripeness of a human heart.
And, when the winds wax rude and loud,
And Winter weaves the stark year's shroud,
As round the flickering household blaze
You sit and talk of vanished days,
Of parent, friend, no longer nigh,
And loves that in the churchyard lie,
And lips grow weak, and lids grow wet,
Then, then, I shall be with you yet,
Though I seem gone.

Farewell To Spring

I saw this morning, with a sudden smart,
Spring preparing to depart.
I know her well and so I told her all my heart.

``Why did you, Spring, your coming so delay,
If, now here, you cannot stay?
You win my love and then unloving pass away.

``We waited, waited, O so long, so long,
Just to hear the ousel's song.
To-morrow 'twill be hushed, to-day that is so strong.

``Day after day, and dawn again on dawn,
Winter's shroud was on the lawn,
So still, so smooth, we thought 'twould never be withdrawn.

`Now that at last your welcome mimic snow
Doth upon the hawthorn blow,
It bides not on the bough, but melts before we know.

``Scarce hath the primrose o'er the sordid mould
Lavished treasure, than behold!
Our wealth of simple joy is robbed of all its gold.

``When to the woods we hie with feet of mirth,
Now the hyacinths have birth,
Swiftly the blue of Heaven fades from the face of earth.

``You with dry gusts and unrelenting wrack
Kept the liquid cuckoo back.
Now, even ere he goes, he turneth hoarse, alack!

``When, in the long warm nights of June,
Nightingales have got their tune,
Their sweet woe dies, and we are beggared of the boon.

``First drops the bloom, then darkens the green leaf;
Everything in life is brief,
Save autumn's deepening gloom and winter's changeless grief.''

Then with a smile thus answered me the Spring:
``To my voice and flight you cling,
For I, before I perch, again am on the wing.

``With you were I the whole year round to stay,
'Twould be you that went away,
Your love made fickle by monotony of May.

``Love cannot live save upon love beyond.
Leaving you, I keep you fond,
Not letting you despair, but making you despond.

`Farewell, and love me still, my lover dear,
Love me till another year,
And you, if you be true, again will find me here.''

Then darker, deeper, waxed the woods; the ground
Flowerless turned and then embrowned;
And less was of sweet scent, and less was of sweet sound.

Mute was the mavis, moulted was the thorn,
Meads were cut, and lambs were shorn,
And I by Spring was left forsaken and forlorn.

Forlorn, forsaken, shall I be until
Primrose peep and throstle shrill,
And in the orchard gleam the outriding daffodil.

Then shall I know that Spring among the trees
Hiding is, and that the breeze
Anew will fling abroad odours and melodies.

Another Spring Carol

Now Winter hath drifted
To bygone years,
And the sod is uplifted
By crocus spears;
And out of the hive the bee wings humming,
And we know that the Spring, the Spring, is coming.

For the snow hath melted
From sunless cleft,
And the clouds that pelted
Slant sleet have left
The sky as blue as a child's gaze after
Its tears have vanished and veered to laughter.

See! light is gleaming
In primrose brakes,
And out of its dreaming
The speedwell wakes,
And the tender tips of the timid clover
Peep forth to see if the frost be over.

The celandine gazes
Straight at the sun;
The starlike daisies
Peer one by one;
And, over the pool where the sallow glistens,
The daffodil hangs its head and listens.

At first but single,
And then in flocks,
In dell and dingle
The lady-smocks
Make mist for the golden cowslip tapers
To shine like sunrise through morning vapours.

In fat-ribbed fallows
The lapwings nest,
And the home-coming swallows
Seek out where best
They may build, with a love that is sure and stable,
Their cosy cribs under last year's gable.

The blackcaps treble
A strain as sweet
As stream o'er pebble,
Or wind through wheat,
While, like flickering light, the kinglet hovers
Round woodbined haven of hiding lovers.

The lark chants, soaring
From moist brown heath,
'Twixt Heaven's high flooring
And earth beneath,
Like a true wise poet, in wavering weather,
A carol to link the twain together.

The cuckoo, flaunting
O'er glen and glade,
Flies loudly vaunting
New loves betrayed,
Till we all of us echo the madcap saying,
And laugh, and joyously wend a'maying.

Then in mask and tabard
The mummer trips,
And out of its scabbard
The iris slips,
And calls to the lily and rose, ``Why tarry,
Now the nightingale under the silence starry,

``Keeps trilling, trilling,
Its nest above,
The descant thrilling
Of straining love,
That yearneth for more-more-more,-till gladness,
Still winged with wanting, seems one with sadness.''

But once the roses
And lilies blow,
Our wilding posies
Follow the snow,
And, turning to greet the fair new comer,
We find the face of the fearless Summer.

But though sultry shimmer
And panting heat
Lure senses dimmer
To deem them sweet,
Who would not exchange their passionate thunder
For May's moist blushes of maiden wonder?

But Winter hath drifted
To bygone years,
And the sod is uplifted
By crocus spears;
And out of the hive the bee wings humming,
And we know that the Spring is coming, coming!

A Snow-White Lily

There was a snow-white lily
Grew by a cottage door:
Such a white and wonderful lily
Never was seen before.

The earth and the ether brought it
Sustenance, raiment, grace,
And the feet of the west wind sought it,
And smiled in its smiling face.

Tall were its leaves and slender,
Slender and tall its stem;
Purity, all its splendour,
Beauty, its diadem.

Still from the ground it sprouted,
Statelier year by year,
Till loveliness clung about it,
And was its atmosphere.

And the fame of this lily was bruited
'Mong men ever more and more;
They came, and they saw, and uprooted
Its life from the cottage door.

For they said, ``'Twere shame, 'twere pity,
It here should dwell half despised.
We must carry it off to the city,
Where lilies are loved and prized.''

The city was moved to wonder,
And burst into praise and song,
And the multitude parted asunder
To gaze on it borne along.

Along and aloft 'twas uplifted,
From palace to palace led;
Men vowed 'twas the lily most gifted
Of lilies living or dead.

And wisdom, and wealth, and power,
Bowed down to it more and more:-
Yet it never was quite the same flower
That bloomed by the cottage door.

For no longer the night-dews wrought it
Raiment, and food, and grace;
Nor the feet of the west wind sought it,
To dance in its dimpling face.

'Twas pursued by the frivolous rabble,
With poisonous lips and eyes;
They drenched it with prurient babble,
And fed it with fulsome lies.

Thus into the lily there entered
The taint of the tainted crew,
Till itself in itself grew centred,
And it flattery drank like dew.

Then tongues began words to bandy
As to whose might the lily be.
``'Tis mine,'' said the titled dandy;
Said the plutocrat, ``'tis for me.''

Thus over the lily they wrangled,
Making the beautiful base,
Till its purity seemed all mangled,
And its gracefulness half disgrace.

Next they who had first enthroned it,
And blatantly hymned its fame,
Now, curdling their smiles, disowned it,
And secretly schemed its shame.

The lily began to wither,
Since the world was no longer sweet;
And hands that had brought it thither,
Flung it into the street.

A sensitive soul and tender
The flung-away lily found:
He had seen it in hours of splendour,
So he lifted it from the ground.

He carried it back to the garden
Where in olden days it grew,
And he knelt, and prayed for it pardon
From the sun, and the breeze, and the dew.

Then the breeze, since it knows no malice,
And the sun that detesteth strife,
And the dew whose abode is the chalice,
Would have coaxed back the lily to life.

But the lily would not waken,
Nor ever will waken more;
And feet and fame have forsaken
Its place by the cottage door.

Wordsworth At Dove Cottage

Wise Wordsworth, to avert your ken,
From half of human fate.
What is there in the ways of men,
Their struggles, or their state,
To make the calm recluse forswear
The garden path, the fire-side chair,
To journey with the Great?

The narrowest hamlet lends the heart
A realm as rich and wide
As kingdoms do, to play its part;
Who reaps not, that hath tried,
More rapture from the wayside flower
Than all the stairs and robes of power
And avenues of pride?

Whether we scan it from below,
Or bask in it above,
We weary of life's glittering show;
We tire of all save Love.
As, when fatigued with wood-notes shrill,
We listen with contentment still
To cooings of the dove.

In this low cottage nested near
Mountain and lake, you dwelt;
'Twas here you tilled the ground, 'twas here
You loved, and wrote, and knelt.
Hence, wheresoe'er your kindred dwell,
Your songs sincere our hearts compel
To feel the thing you felt.

Glory there is that lives entombed
In spacious-soaring shrine;
A tenement more narrow-roomed
Sufficient is for thine.
A homely temple haply found
Where peasants toil and streamlets sound,
Adorned not, but divine.

Your sacred music still is heard,
When notes profane have died;
Like some familiar home-bred word,
You in our lives abide.
And when with trackless feet we rove
By meadow, mountain, mere, or grove,
We feel you at our side.

Thrice-happy bard! who found at home
All joys that needful be;
Whose longings were not forced to roam
Beyond your household Three:-
Your own proud genius, steadfast, calm,
A wife whose faith was household balm,
And heavenly Dorothy.

What is it sweetens tasteless Fame?
Makes shadowy Glory bliss?
What is the guerdon poets claim?
What should it be but this?-
A heart attuned to understand,
A listening ear, a loving hand,
A smile, a tear, a kiss!

Leave them but these, and let who will
Crave plaudits from the crowd,
Its vapid incense, aves shrill,
And favour of the proud.
The sweetest minister of Fame
Is she who broods upon one's name,
But calls it not aloud.

And this at least, in full, you had,
From sister, and from wife:
They made your gravest moments glad,
They havened you from strife;
Hallowed your verse, revered your tread,
Maintained a nimbus round your head,
And deified your life.

Hence, long as gentle brows shall bend
Over your rustic page,
Their pious love shall still befriend
The poet and the sage;
For, when we cross your cottage sill,
Virtue, no less than Genius, will
Invite the Pilgrimage.

The tallest tower that ever rose
Hath but a span to soar;
Palace and fane are passing shows,
But Time will be no more,
When Wordsworth's home no longer leads
Men's far-off feet to Grasmere's meads,
And sanctifies its shore.

The Passing Of The Primroses

Primroses, why do you pass away?

Nay, rather, why should we longer stay?
We are not needed, now stooping showers
Have sandalled the feet of May with flowers.

Surely, surely, 'tis time to go,
Now that the splendid bluebells blow,
Scattering a bridal peal, to hail
June blushing under her hawthorn veil.

We abode with you all the long winter through:
You may not have seen us, but we saw you,
Chafing your hands in the beaded haze,
And shivering home to your Yuletide blaze.

Why should we linger, when all things pass?
We have buried old Winter beneath the grass,
Seen the first larch break, heard the first lamb bleat,
Watched the first foal stoop to its mother's teat:

The crocus prick with its spears aglow
'Gainst the rallying flakes of the routed snow,
The isle-keeping titmouse wed and hatch,
And the swallow come home to its native thatch:

Fresh emeralds jewel the bare-brown mould,
And the blond sallow tassel herself with gold,
The hive of the broom brim with honeyed dew,
And Springtime swarm in the gorse anew.

When breastplated March his trumpets blew,
We laughed in his face, till he laughed too;
Then, drying our lids when the sleet was done,
Smiled back to the smile of the April sun.

We were first to hear, in the hazel moat,
The nut-brown bird with the poet's note,
That sings, ``Love is neither false nor fleet,''
Makes passion tender, and sorrow sweet.

We were stretched on the grass when the cuckoo's voice
Bade the old grow young, and the young rejoice;
The half-fledged singer who flouts and rails,
So forces the note when his first note fails:

Who scorns, understanding but in part,
The sweet solicitudes of the heart,
But might learn, from the all-year-cooing dove,
That joy hath a briefer life than love.

We would rather go ere the sweet Spring dies.
We have seen the violet droop its eyes,
The sorrel grow green where the celandine shone,
And the windflower fade ere you knew 'twas gone.

The campion comes to take our place,
And you will not miss us in brake or chase,
Now the fragile frond of the fern uncurls,
And the hawthorns necklace themselves with pearls.

When June's love crimsons the cheek of the rose,
And the meadow-swathes sweep in rhythmic rows,
And foxgloves gleam in the darkest glen,
You will not recall nor regret us then.

Leave us our heavenly lot, to cheer
Your lives in the midnight of the year;
And 'tis meet that our light should be withdrawn,
Being stars of winter, with summer's dawn.

For we do not sink into death's dank cave;
The earth is our cradle, and not our grave:
The tides and the stars sway it low and high,
And the sycamore bees hum lullaby.

But when winds roam lonely and dun clouds drift,
Let Winter, the white-haired nurse, but lift
The snowy coverlet softly, then
We will open our eyelids, and smile again.

How oft have you longed that your little ones would
Outgrow not the charm of babyhood,
Keep the soft round arms and the warm moist kiss,
And the magic of April sinlessness!

Then chide us not, now we look good-bye:
We are the children for whom you sigh.
We slip 'neath the sod before summer's prime,
And so keep young to the end of time.

The Passing Of Spring

Spring came out of the woodland chase,
With her violet eyes and her primrose face,
With an iris scarf for her sole apparel,
And a voice as blithe as a blackbird's carol.

As she flitted by garth and slipped through glade,
Her light limbs winnowed the wind, and made
The gold of the pollened palm to float
On her budding bosom and dimpled throat.

Then, brushing the nut-sweet gorse, she sped
Where the runnel lisps in its reedy bed,
O'er shepherded pasture and crested fallow,
And buskined her thigh with strips of sallow.

By the marigold marsh she paused to twist
The gold-green coils round her blue-veined wrist,
And out of the water-bed scooped the cresses,
And frolicked them round her braidless tresses.

She passed by the hazel dell, and lifted
The coverlet fern where the snow had drifted,
To see if it there still lingered on,
Then shook the catkins, and laughed, `'Tis gone!'

Through the crimson tips of the wintry brake
She peeped, and shouted, `Awake! Awake!'
And over the hill and down the hollow
She called, `I have come. So follow, follow!'

Then the windflower looked through the crumbling mould,
And the celandine opened its eyes of gold,
And the primrose sallied from chestnut shade,
And carried the common and stormed the glade.

In sheltered orchard and windy heath
The dauntless daffodils slipped their sheath,
And, glittering close in clump and cluster,
Dared norland tempests to blow and bluster.

Round crouching cottage and soaring castle
The larch unravelled its bright-green tassel;
In scrub and hedgerow the blackthorn flowered,
And laughed at the May for a lagging coward.

Then, tenderly ringing old Winter's knell,
The hyacinth swung its soundless bell,
And over and under and through and through
The copses there shimmered a sea of blue.

Like a sunny shadow of cloudlet fleeting,
Spring skimmed the pastures where lambs were bleating;
Along with them gambolled by bole and mound,
And raced and chased with them round and round.

To the cuckoo she called, `Why lag you now?
The woodpecker nests in the rotten bough;
The song-thrush pipes to his brooding mate,
And the thistlefinch pairs: you alone are late.'

Then over the seasonless sea he came,
And jocundly answered her, name for name,
And, falsely flitting from copse to cover,
Made musical mock of the jilted lover.

But with him there came the faithful bird
That lives with the stars, and is nightly heard
When the husht babe dimples the mother's breast,
And Spring said, sighing, `I love you best.

`For sweet is the sorrow that sobs in song
When Love is stronger than Death is strong,
And the vanished Past a more living thing
Than the fleeting voice and the fickle wing.'

Then the meadows grew golden, the lawns grew white,
And the poet-lark sang himself out of sight;
And English maidens and English lanes
Were serenaded by endless strains.

The hawthorn put on her bridal veil,
And milk splashed foaming in pan and pail;
The swain and his sweeting met and kissed,
And the air and the sky were amethyst.

`Now scythes are whetted and roses blow,'
Spring, carolling, said; `It is time to go.'
And though we called to her, `Stay! O stay!'
She smiled through a rainbow, and passed away.

By Avignon's dismantled walls,
Where cloudless mid-March sunshine falls,
Rhone, through broad belts of green,
Flecked with the light of almond groves,
Upon itself reverting, roves
Reluctant from the scene.

Yet from stern moat and storied tower,
From sprouting vine, from spreading flower,
My footsteps cannot choose
But turn aside, as though some friend
Were waiting for my voice, and wend
Unto thy vale, Vaucluse!

For here, by Sorgue's sequestered stream,
Did Petrarch fly from fame, and dream
Life's noonday light away;
Here build himself a studious home,
And, careless of the crowns of Rome,
To Laura lend his lay:

Teaching vain tongues that would reward
With noisy praise the shrinking bard,
Reminding thus the proud,
Love's sympathy, to him that sings,
Is more than smiles of courts and kings,
Or plaudits of the crowd.

For poor though love that doth not rouse
To deeds of glory dreaming brows,
What but a bitter sweet
Is loftiest fame, unless it lay
The soldier's sword, the poet's bay,
Low at some loved one's feet?

Where are his books? His garden, where?
I mount from flowery stair to stair,
While fancy fondly feigns
Here rose his learned lintel, here
He pondered, till the text grew clear,
Of long-forgotten strains.

On trackless slopes and brambled mounds
The laurel still so thick abounds,
That Nature's self, one deems,
Regretful of his vanished halls,
Still plants the tree whose name recalls
The lady of his dreams.

Aught more than this I cannot trace.
There is no footstep, form, nor face
To vivify the scene;
Save where, but culled to fling away,
Posies of withering wildflowers say,
``Here children's feet have been.''

Yet there's strange softness in the skies:
The violet opens limpid eyes,
The woodbine tendrils start;
Like childhood, winning without guile,
The primrose wears a constant smile,
And captive takes the heart.

All things remind of him, of her.
Stripped are the slopes of beech and fir,
Bare rise the crags above;
But hillside, valley, stream, and plain,
The freshness of his muse retain,
The fragrance of his love.

Why did he hither turn? Why choose
Thy solitary gorge, Vaucluse?
Thy Fountain makes reply,
That, like the muse, its waters well
From source none ne'er can sound, and swell
From springs that run not dry.

Or was it he might drink the air
That Laura breathed in surging prayer
Or duty's stifled sigh;
Feel on his cheek the self-same gale,
And listen to the same sweet wail
When summer nights are nigh?

May-be. Of Fame he deeply quaffed:
But thirsting for the sweeter draught
Of Love, alas for him!
Though draining glory to the dregs,
He was like one that vainly begs,
And scarcely sips the brim.

Is it then so, that glory ne'er
Its throne with happiness will share,
But, baffling half our aim,
Grief is the forfeit greatness pays,
Lone places grow the greenest bays,
And anguish suckles fame?

Let this to lowlier bards atone,
Whose unknown Laura is their own,
Possessing and possest;
Of whom if sooth they do not sing,
'Tis that near her they fold their wing,
To drop within her nest.

Adieu, Vaucluse! Swift Sorgue, farewell!
Thy winding waters seem to swell
Louder as I depart;
But evermore, where'er I go,
Thy stream will down my memory flow
And murmur through my heart.

Dedication To Lady Windsor

Where violets blue to olives gray
From furrows brown lift laughing eyes,
And silvery Mensola sings its way
Through terraced slopes, nor seeks to stay,
But onward and downward leaps and flies;

Where vines, just newly burgeoned, link
Their hands to join the dance of Spring,
Green lizards glisten from clest and chink,
And almond blossoms rosy pink
Cluster and perch, ere taking wing;

Where over strips of emerald wheat
Glimmer red peach and snowy pear,
And nightingales all day long repeat
Their love-song, not less glad than sweet,
They chant in sorrow and gloom elsewhere;

Where, as the mid-day belfries peal,
The peasant halts beside his steer,
And, while he muncheth his homely meal,
The swelling tulips blush to feel
The amorous currents of the year;

Where purple iris-banners scale
Defending wall and crumbling ledge,
And virgin windflowers, lithe and frail,
Now mantling red, now trembling pale,
Peep out from furrow and hide in hedge;

Where with loud song the labourer tells
His love to maiden loitering nigh,
And in the fig-tree's wakening cells
The honeyed sweetness swarms and swells,
And mountains prop the spacious sky;

Where April-daring roses blow
From sunny wall and sheltered bower,
And Arno flushes with melted snow,
And Florence glittering down below
Peoples the air with dome and tower;-

How sweet, when vernal thoughts once more
Uncoil them in one's veins, and urge
My feet to fly, my wings to soar,
And, hastening downward to the shore,
I spurn the sand and skim the surge,

And, never lingering by the way,
But hastening on past candid lakes,
Mysterious mountains grim and gray,
Past pine woods dark, and bounding spray
White as its far-off parent flakes;

And thence from Alp's unfurrowed snow,
By Apennine's relenting slope,
Zigzagging downward smooth and slow
To where, all flushed with the morning glow,
Valdarno keeps its pledge with hope;

And then,-the end, the longed-for end!
Climbing the hill I oft have clomb,
Down which Mugello's waters wend,
Again, dear hospitable friend,
To find You in your Tuscan home.

You, with your kind lord, standing there,
Crowning the morn with youth and grace,
And radiant smiles that reach me ere
Our hands can touch, and Florence fair
Seems fairer in your comely face.

Behind you, Phyllis, mother's pet,
Your gift unto the Future, stands,
Dimpling your skirt, uncertain yet
If she recalls or I forget,
With violets fresh in both her hands.

And next, his eyes and cheeks aflame,
See Other with his sword arrive;
Other, who thus recalls the name,
May he some day renew the fame
And feats, who boasts the blood, of Clive.

How sweet! how fair! From vale to crest,
Come wafts of song and waves of scent,
Whose sensuous beauty in the breast
Might haply breed a vague unrest,
Did not your presence bring content.

For you, not tender more than true,
Blend Northern worth with Southern grace;
And sure Boccaccio never drew
A being so designed as you
To be the Genius of the place.

But whether among Tuscan flowers
You dwell, fair English flower, or where
Saint Fagan lifts its feudal towers,
Or Hewell from ancestral bowers
Riseth afresh, and yet more fair;

Still may your portals, eve or morn,
Fly open when they hear his name,
Who, though indeed he would not scorn
Welcome from distant days unborn,
Prizes your friendship more than fame.

City acclaimed from far-off days
Fair, and baptized in field of flowers,
Once more I scan, with eager gaze,
Your soaring domes, your storied towers.

Nigh on eight lustres now have flown
Since first with trembling heart I came,
And, girdled by your mountain zone,
Found you yet fairer than your fame.

It was the season purple-sweet,
When figs are plucked, and grapes are pressed,
And all your folk with following feet
Bore a dead Poet to sacred rest.

You seemed to fling your gates ajar,
And gently lead me by the hand,
Saying, ``Behold! henceforth you are
No stranger in this Tuscan land.''

And though no love my love can wean
From Albion's crags and cradling sea,
You, Florence, since that hour, have been
More than a foster-nurse to me.

And seems that welcome half profaned,
If, in your lap lain oft and long,
I cherish to have something drained
Of Dante's soul and Petrarch's song?

But more than even Muse can give,
Is Love, which, songless though we be,
While the unloving jarring live,
Makes life one long sweet melody.

And you with love and friendship still
Have teemed, as teem your hills with wine,
And, through the seasons good or ill,
Have made their mellow vintage mine.

But most, while Fancy yet was young,
Yet timely cared no more to roam,
You lent your tender Tuscan tongue
To help me in my English home.

So now from soft Sicilian shore,
And Tiber's sterner tide, I bring
My Autumn sheaves, to share once more
The rapture of your rainbow Spring.

I, lingering in your palaced town,
Asudden, 'neath some beetling pile,
Catch sight of Dante's awful frown,
Or Vinci's enigmatic smile;

Then, following olden footsteps, stroll
To where, from May-day's mocking pyre,
Savonarola's tortured soul
Went up to Heaven in tongues of fire;

Or Buonarroti's godlike hand
Made marble block from Massa's steep
Dawn into Day at his command,
Or plunged it into Night and Sleep.

Onward I pass through radiant squares,
And widening ways whose foliage shames
Our leafless streets, to one that bears
The best-beloved of English names,

And climb the white-veiled slopes arrayed
In bridal bloom of peach and pear,
While, 'neath the olive's phantom shade,
Lupine and beanflower scent the air.

The wild-bees hum round golden bay,
The green frog sings on fig-tree bole,
And, see! down daisy-whitened way
Come the slow steers and swaying pole.

The fresh-pruned vine-stems, curving, bend
Over the peaceful wheaten spears,
And with the glittering sunshine blend
Their transitory April tears.

O'er wall and trellis trailed and wound,
Hang roses blushing, roses pale;
And, hark! what was that silvery sound?
The first note of the nightingale.

Curtained, I close my lids and dream
Of Beauty seen not but surmised,
And, lulled by scent and song, I seem
Immortally imparadised.

When from the deep sweet swoon I wake
And gaze past slopes of grape and grain,
Where Arno, like some lonely lake,
Silvers the far-off seaward plain,

I see celestial sunset fires
That lift us from this earthly leaven,
And darkly silent cypress spires
Pointing the way from hill to Heaven.

Then something more than mortal steals
Over the wavering twilight air,
And, messenger of nightfall, peals
From each crowned peak a call to prayer.

And now the last meek prayer is said,
And, in the hallowed hush, there is
Only a starry dome o'erhead,
Propped by columnar cypresses.