I intended an Ode,
And it turned to a Sonnet.
It began à la mode,
I intended an Ode;
But Rose cross'd the road
In her latest new bonnet; I intended an Ode;
And it turned to a Sonnet.
A Pleasant Invective Against Printing
The Press is too much with us, small and great:
We are undone of chatter and on dit,
Report, retort, rejoinder, repartee,
Mole-hill and mare's nest, fiction up-to-date,
Babble of booklets, bicker of debate,
Aspect of A., and attitude of B.—
A waste of words that drive us like a sea,
Mere derelict of Ourselves, and helpless freight!
'O for a lodge in some vast wilderness!'
Some region unapproachable of Print,
Where never cablegram could gain access,
And telephones were not, nor any hint
Of tidings new or old, but Man might pipe
His soul to Nature,— careless of the Type!
The Forgotten Grave
OUT from the City’s dust and roar,
You wandered through the open door;
Paused at a plaything pail and spade
Across a tiny hillock laid;
Then noted on your dexter side
Some moneyed mourner’s “love or pride;”
And so,—beyond a hawthorn-tree,
Showering its rain of rosy bloom
Alike on low and lofty tomb,—
You came upon it—suddenly.
How strange! The very grasses’ growth
Around it seemed forlorn and loath;
The very ivy seemed to turn
Askance that wreathed the neighbor urn.
The slab had sunk; the head declined,
And left the rails a wreck behind.
No name; you traced a “6,”—a “7,”—
Part of “affliction” and of “Heaven;”
And then, in letters sharp and clear,
You read—O Irony austere!—
“Tho’ lost to Sight, to Mem’ry dear.”
A Song Of The Four Seasons
When Spring comes laughing
By vale and hill,
By wind-flower walking
Sing stars of morning,
Sing morning skies,
Sing blue of speedwell,-
And my Love's eyes.
When comes the Summer,
Full-leaved and strong,
And gay birds gossip
The orchard long,-
Sing hid, sweet honey
That no bee sips;
Sing red, red roses,-
And my Love's lips.
When Autumn scatters
The leaves again,
And piled sheaves bury
The broad-wheeled wain,-
Sing flutes of harvest
Where men rejoice;
Sing rounds of reapers,-
And my Love's voice.
But when comes Winter
With hail and storm,
And red fire roaring
And ingle warm,-
Sing first sad going
Of friends that part;
Then sing glad meeting,-
And my Love's heart.
To A Greek Girl
WITH breath of thyme and bees that hum,
Across the years you seem to come,—
Across the years with nymph-like head,
And wind-blown brows unfilleted;
A girlish shape that slips the bud
In lines of unspoiled symmetry;
A girlish shape that stirs the blood
With pulse of Spring, Autonoe!
Where’er you pass,—where’er you go,
I hear the pebbly rillet flow;
Where’er you go,—where’er you pass,
There comes a gladness on the grass;
You bring blithe airs where’er you tread,—
Blithe airs that blow from down and sea;
You wake in me a Pan not dead,—
Not wholly dead!—Autonoe!
How sweet with you on some green sod
To wreathe the rustic garden-god;
How sweet beneath the chestnut’s shade
With you to weave a basket-braid;
To watch across the stricken chords
Your rosy-twinkling fingers flee;
To woo you in soft woodland words,
With woodland pipe, Autonoe!
In vain,—in vain! The years divide:
Where Thames rolls a murky tide,
I sit and fill my painful reams,
And see you only in my dreams;—
A vision, like Alcestis, brought
From under-lands of Memory,—
A dream of Form in days of Thought,—
A dream,—a dream, Autonoe!
'Tis an old dial, dark with many a stain;
In summer crowned with drifting orchard bloom,
Tricked in the autumn with the yellow rain,
And white in winter like a marble tomb.
And round about its gray, time-eaten brow
Lean letters speak,--a worn and shattered row:
=I am a Shade; a Shadowe too art thou:
I marke the Time: saye, Gossip, dost thou soe?=
Here would the ring-doves linger, head to head;
And here the snail a silver course would run,
Beating old Time; and here the peacock spread
His gold-green glory, shutting out the sun.
The tardy shade moved forward to the noon;
Betwixt the paths a dainty Beauty stept,
That swung a flower, and, smiling hummed a tune,--
Before whose feet a barking spaniel leapt.
O'er her blue dress an endless blossom strayed;
About her tendril-curls the sunlight shone;
And round her train the tiger-lilies swayed,
Like courtiers bowing till the queen be gone.
She leaned upon the slab a little while,
Then drew a jewelled pencil from her zone,
Scribbled a something with a frolic smile,
Folded, inscribed, and niched it in the stone.
The shade slipped on, no swifter than the snail;
There came a second lady to the place,
Dove-eyed, dove-robed, and something wan and pale,--
An inner beauty shining from her face.
She, as if listless with a lonely love,
Straying among the alleys with a book,--
Herrick or Herbert,--watched the circling dove,
And spied the tiny letter in the nook.
Then, like to one who confirmation found
Of some dread secret half-accounted true,--
Who knew what hearts and hands the letter bound,
And argued loving commerce 'twixt the two,--
She bent her fair young forehead on the stone;
The dark shade gloomed an instant on her head;
And 'twixt her taper fingers pearled and shone
The single tear that tear-worn eyes will shed.
The shade slipped onward to the falling gloom;
Then came a soldier gallant in her stead,
Swinging a beaver with a swaling plume,
A ribboned love-lock rippling from his head.
Blue-eyed, frank-faced, with clear and open brow,
Scar-seamed a little, as the women love;
So kindly fronted that you marvelled how
The frequent sword-hilt had so frayed his glove;
Who switched at Psyche plunging in the sun;
Uncrowned three lilies with a backward swinge;
And standing somewhat widely, like to one
More used to 'Boot and Saddle' than to cringe
As courtiers do, but gentleman withal,
Took out the note;--held it as one who feared
The fragile thing he held would slip and fall;
Read and re-read, pulling his tawny beard;
Kissed it, I think, and hid it in his breast;
Laughed softly in a flattered, happy way,
Arranged the broidered baldrick on his crest,
And sauntered past, singing a roundelay.
* * * * *
The shade crept forward through the dying glow;
There came no more nor dame nor cavalier;
But for a little time the brass will show
A small gray spot,--the record of a tear.