Honours - Part1

A Scholar is musing on his want of success.

To strive—and fail. Yes, I did strive and fail;
I set mine eyes upon a certain night
To find a certain star—and could not hail
With them its deep-set light.

Fool that I was! I will rehearse my fault:
I, wingless, thought myself on high to lift
Among the winged—I set these feet that halt
To run against the swift.

And yet this man, that loved me so, can write—
That loves me, I would say, can let me see;
Or fain would have me think he counts but light
These Honours lost to me.

[The letter of his friend.]

What are they? that old house of yours which gave
Such welcomes oft to me, the sunbeams fall
Still, down the squares of blue and white which pave
Its hospitable hall.

A brave old house! a garden full of bees,
Large dropping poppies, and Queen hollihocks,
With butterflies for crowns—tree peonies
And pinks and goldilocks.

'Go, when the shadow of your house is long
Upon the garden—when some new-waked bird,
Pecking and fluttering, chirps a sudden song,
And not a leaf is stirred;

'But every one drops dew from either edge
Upon its fellow, while an amber ray
Slants up among the tree-tops like a wedge
Of liquid gold—to play

'Over and under them, and so to fall
Upon that lane of water lying below—
That piece of sky let in, that you do call
A pond, but which I know

'To be a deep and wondrous world; for I
Have seen the trees within it—marvellous things
So thick no bird betwixt their leaves could fly
But she would smite her wings;—

'Go there, I say; stand at the water's brink,
And shoals of spotted grayling you shall see
Basking between the shadows—look, and think
'This beauty is for me;

' 'For me this freshness in the morning hours,
For me the water's clear tranquillity;
For me the soft descent of chestnut flowers;
The cushat's cry for me.

'The lovely laughter of the wind-swayed wheat;
The easy slope of yonder pastoral hill;
The sedgy brook whereby the red kine meet
And wade and drink their fill.'

'Then saunter down that terrace whence the sea
All fair with wing-like sails you may discern;
Be glad, and say 'This beauty is for me—
A thing to love and learn.

' 'For me the bounding in of tides; for me
The laying bare of sands when they retreat;
The purple flush of calms, the sparkling glee
When waves and sunshine meet.'

'So, after gazing, homeward turn, and mount
To that long chamber in the roof; there tell
Your heart the laid-up lore it holds to count
And prize and ponder well.

'The lookings onward of the race before
It had a past to make it look behind;
Its reverent wonders, and its doublings sore,
Its adorations blind.

'The thunder of its war-songs, and the glow
Of chants to freedom by the old world sung;
The sweet love cadences that long ago
Dropped from the old-world tongue.

'And then this new-world lore that takes account
Of tangled star-dust; maps the triple whirl
Of blue and red and argent worlds that mount
And greet the IRISH EARL;

'Or float across the tube that HERSCHEL sways,
Like pale-rose chaplets, or like sapphire mist;
Or hang or droop along the heavenly ways,
Like scarves of amethyst.

'O strange it is and wide the new-world lore,
For next it treateth of our native dust!
Must dig out buried monsters, and explore
The green earth's fruitful crust;

Must write the story of her seething youth—
How lizards paddled in her lukewarm seas;
Must show the cones she ripened, and forsooth
Count seasons on her trees;

'Must know her weight, and pry into her age,
Count her old beach lines by their tidal swell;
Her sunken mountains name, her craters gauge,
Her cold volcanoes tell;

'And treat her as a ball, that one might pass
From this hand to the other—such a ball
As he could measure with a blade of grass,
And say it was but small!

'Honours! O friend, I pray you bear with me:
The grass hath time to grow in meadow lands,
And leisurely the opal murmuring sea
Breaks on her yellow sands;

'And leisurely the ring-dove on her nest
Broods till her tender chick will peck the shell;
And leisurely down fall from ferny crest
The dew-drops on the well;

'And leisurely your life and spirit grew,
With yet the time to grow and ripen free:
No judgment past withdraws that boon from you,
Nor granteth it to me.

'Still must I plod, and still in cities moil;
From precious leisure, learned leisure far,
Dull my best self with handling common soil;
Yet mine those honours are.

'Mine they are called; they are a name which means,
'This man had steady pulses, tranquil nerves;
Here, as in other fields, the most he gleans
Who works and never swerves.

' 'We measure. not his mind; we cannot tell
What lieth under, over, or beside
The test we put him to; he doth excel,
We knew, where he is tried;

' 'But, if he boast some farther excellence—
Mind to create as well as to attain;
To sway his peers by golden eloquence,
As wind doth shift a fane;

' 'To sing among the poets—we are nought:
We cannot drop a line into that sea
And read its fathoms off, nor gauge a thought,
Nor map a simile.

' 'It may be of all voices sublunar
The only one he echoes we did try,
We may have come upon the only star
That twinkles in his sky.'

' And so it was with me.'

O false my friend!
False, false, a random charge, a blame undue;
Wrest not fair reasoning to a crooked end:
False, false, as you are true!

But I read on: 'And so it was with me;
Your golden constellations lying apart
They neither hailed nor greeted heartily,
Nor noted on their chart.

'And yet to you and not to me belong
Those finer instincts that, like second sight
And hearing, catch creation's undersong,
And see by inner light.

'You are a well, whereon I, gazing, see
Reflections of the upper heavens—a well
From whence come deep, deep echoes up to me—
Some underwave's low swell.

'I cannot soar into the heights you show,
Nor dive among the deeps that you reveal;
But it is much that high things ARE to know,
That deep things ARE to feel.

' 'Tis yours, not mine, to pluck out of your breast
Some human truth, whose workings recondite
Were unattired in words, and manifest
And hold it forth to light

'And cry, 'Behold this thing that I have found.'
And though they knew not of it till that day,
Nor should have done with no man to expound
Its meaning, yet they say,

' 'We do accept it: lower than the shoals
We skim, this diver went, nor did create,
But find it for us deeper in our souls
Than we can penetrate.'

You were to me the world's interpreter,
The man that taught me Nature's unknown tongue,
And to the notes of her wild dulcimer
First set sweet words and sung.

'And what am I to you? A steady hand
To hold, a steadfast heart to trust withal;
Merely a man that loves you, and will stand
By you, whate'er befall.

'But need we praise his tendance tutelar
Who feeds a flame that warms him? Yet 't is true
I love you for the sake of what you are.
And not of what you do:—

'As heaven's high twins, whereof in Tyrian blue
The one revolveth: through his course immense
Might love his fellow of the damask hue,
For like, and difference.

'For different pathways evermore decreed
To intersect, but not to interfere;
For common goal, two aspects, and one speed,
One centre and one year;

'For deep affinities, for drawings strong,
That by their nature each must needs exert;
For loved alliance, and for union long,
That stands before desert.

'And yet desert makes brighter not the less,
For nearest his own star he shall not fail
To think those rays unmatched for nobleness,
That distance counts but pale.

'Be pale afar; since still to me you shine,
And must while Nature's eldest law shall hold;'—
Ah, there's the thought which makes his random line
Dear as refined gold!

Then shall I drink this drought of oxymel,
Part sweet, part sharp? Myself o'erprized to know
Is sharp; the cause is sweet, and truth to tell
Few would that cause forego,

Which is, that this of all the men on earth
Doth love me well enough to count me great—
To think my soul and his of equal girth—
O liberal estimate!

And yet it is so; he is bound to me,
For human love makes aliens near of kin;
By it I rise, there is equality:
I rise to thee, my twin.

'Take courage'—courage! ay, my purple peer,
I will take courage; for thy Tyrian rays
Refresh me to the heart, and strangely dear
And healing is thy praise.

'Take courage,' quoth he, 'and respect the mind
Your Maker gave, for good your fate fulfill;
The fate round many hearts your own to wind.
Twin soul. I will! I will!

A Story Of Doom: Book V.

And when two days were over, Japhet said,
'Mother, so please you, get a wife for me.'
The mother answered, 'Dost thou mock me, son?
'Tis not the manner of our kin to wed
So young. Thou knowest it; art thou not ashamed?
Thou carest not for a wife.' And the youth blushed,
And made for answer: 'This, my father, saith
The doom is nigh; now therefore find a maid,
Or else shall I be wifeless all my days.
And as for me, I care not; but the lands
Are parted, and the goodliest share is mine.
And lo! my brethren are betrothed; their maids
Are with thee in the house. Then why not mine?
Didst thou not diligently search for these
Among the noblest born of all the earth,
And bring them up? My sisters, dwell they not
With women that bespake them for their sons?
Now, therefore, let a wife be found for me,
Fair as the day, and gentle to my will
As thou art to my father's.' When she heard,
Niloiya sighed, and answered, 'It is well.'
And Japhet went out from her presence.
Quoth the great Master: 'Wherefore sought ye not,
Woman, these many days, nor tired at all,
Till ye had found, a maiden for my son?
In this ye have done ill.' Niloiya said:
'Let not my lord be angry. All my soul
Is sad: my lord hath walked afar so long,
That some despise thee; yea, our servants fail
Lately to bring their stint of corn and wood.
And, sir, thy household slaves do steal away
To thy great father, and our lands lie waste,—
None till them: therefore think the women scorn
To give me,—whatsoever gems I send,
And goodly raiment,—(yea, I seek afar,
And sue with all desire and humbleness
Through every master's house, but no one gives)—
A daughter for my son.' With that she ceased.

Then said the Master: 'Some thou hast with thee,
Brought up among thy children, dutiful
And fair; thy father gave them for my slaves,—
Children of them whom he brought captive forth
From their own heritage.' And she replied,
Right scornfully: 'Shall Japhet wed a slave?'
Then said the Master: 'He shall wed: look thou
To that. I say not he shall wed a slave;
But by the might of One that made him mine,
I will not quit thee for my doomed way
Until thou wilt betroth him. Therefore, haste,
Beautiful woman, loved of me and mine,
To bring a maiden, and to say, 'Behold
A wife for Japhet.'' Then she answered, 'Sir,
It shall be done.'
And forth Niloiya sped.
She gathered all her jewels,—all she held
Of costly or of rich,—and went and spake
With some few slaves that yet abode with her,
For daily they were fewer; and went forth,
With fair and flattering words, among her feres,
And fain had wrought with them: and she had hope
That made her sick, it was so faint; and then
She had fear, and after she had certainty,
For all did scorn her. 'Nay,' they cried. 'O fool!
If this be so, and on a watery world
Ye think to rock, what matters if a wife
Be free or bond? There shall be none to rule,
If she have freedom: if she have it not,
None shall there be to serve.'
And she alit,
The time being done, desponding at her door,
And went behind a screen, where should have wrought
The daughters of the captives; but there wrought
One only, and this rose from off the floor,
Where she the river rush full deftly wove,
And made obeisance. Then Niloiya said,
'Where are thy fellows?' And the maid replied,
'Let not Niloiya, this my lady loved,
Be angry; they are fled since yesternight.'
Then said Niloiya, 'Amarant, my slave,
When have I called thee by thy name before?'
She answered, 'Lady, never'; and she took
And spread her broidered robe before her face.
Niloiya spoke thus: 'I am come to woe,
And thou to honor.' Saying this, she wept
Passionate tears; and all the damsel's soul
Was full of yearning wonder, and her robe
Slipped from her hand, and her right innocent face
Was seen betwixt her locks of tawny hair
That dropped about her knees, and her two eyes,
Blue as the much-loved flower that rims the beck,
Looked sweetly on Niloiya; but she knew
No meaning in her words; and she drew nigh,
And kneeled and said, 'Will this my lady speak?
Her damsel is desirous of her words.'
Then said Niloiya, 'I, thy mistress, sought
A wife for Japhet, and no wife is found.'
And yet again she wept with grief of heart,
Saying, 'Ah me, miserable! I must give
A wife: the Master willeth it: a wife,
Ah me! unto the high-born. He will scorn
His mother and reproach me. I must give—
None else have I to give—a slave,—even thee.'
This further spake Niloiya: 'I was good,—
Had rue on thee, a tender sucking child,
When they did tear thee from thy mother's breast;
I fed thee, gave thee shelter, and I taught
Thy hands all cunning arts that women prize.
But out on me! my good is turned to ill.
O, Japhet, well-beloved!' And she rose up,
And did restrain herself, saying, 'Dost thou heed?
Behold, this thing shall be.' The damsel sighed,
'Lady, I do.' Then went Niloiya forth.

And Amarant murmured in her deep amaze,
'Shall Japhet's little children kiss my mouth?
And will he sometimes take them from my arms,
And almost care for me for their sweet sake?
I have not dared to think I loved him,—now
I know it well: but O, the bitterness
For him!' And ending thus, the damsel rose,
For Japhet entered. And she bowed herself
Meekly and made obeisance, but her blood
Ran cold about her heart, for all his face
Was colored with his passion.
Japhet spoke:
He said, 'My father's slave'; and she replied,
Low drooping her fair head, 'My master's son.'
And after that a silence fell on them,
With trembling at her heart, and rage at his.
And Japhet, mastered of his passion, sat
And could not speak. O! cruel seemed his fate,—
So cruel her that told it, so unkind.
His breast was full of wounded love and wrath
Wrestling together; and his eyes flashed out
Indignant lights, as all amazed he took
The insult home that she had offered him,
Who should have held his honor dear.
And, lo,
The misery choked him and he cried in pain,
'Go, get thee forth'; but she, all white and still,
Parted her lips to speak, and yet spake not,
Nor moved. And Japhet rose up passionate,
With lifted arm as one about to strike;
But she cried out and met him, and she held
With desperate might his hand, and prayed to him,
'Strike not, or else shall men from henceforth say,
'Japhet is like to us.'' And he shook off
The damsel, and he said, 'I thank thee, slave;
For never have I stricken yet or child
Or woman. Not for thy sake am I glad,
Nay, but for mine. Get hence. Obey my words.'
Then Japhet lifted up his voice, and wept.

And no more he restrained himself, but cried,
With heavings of the heart, 'O hateful day!
O day that shuts the door upon delight.
A slave! to wed a slave! O loath餠wife,
Hated of Japhet's soul.' And after, long,
With face between his hands, he sat, his thoughts
Sullen and sore; then scorned himself, and saying,
'I will not take her, I will die unwed,
It is but that'; lift up his eyes and saw
The slave, and she was sitting at his feet;
And he, so greatly wondering that she dared
The disobedience, looked her in the face
Less angry than afraid, for pale she was
As lily yet unsmiled on by the sun;
And he, his passion being spent, sighed out,
'Low am I fallen indeed. Hast thou no fear,
That thou dost flout me?' but she gave to him
The sighing echo of his sigh, and mourned,
And he wondered, and he looked again,
For in her heart there was a new-born pang,
That cried; but she, as mothers with their young,
Suffered, yet loved it; and there shone a strange
Grave sweetness in her blue unsullied eyes.
And Japhet, leaning from the settle, thought,
'What is it? I will call her by her name,
To comfort her, for also she is naught
To blame; and since I will not her to wife,
She falls back from the freedom she had hoped.'
Then he said 'Amarant'; and the damsel drew
Her eyes down slowly from the shaded sky
Of even, and she said, 'My master's son,
Japhet'; and Japhet said, 'I am not wroth
With thee, but wretched for my mother's deed,
Because she shamed me.'
And the maiden said,
'Doth not thy father love thee well, sweet sir?'
'Ay,' quoth he, 'well.' She answered, 'Let the heart
Of Japhet, then, be merry. Go to him
And say, 'The damsel whom my mother chose,
Sits by her in the house; but as for me,
Sir, ere I take her, let me go with you
To that same outland country. Also, sir,
My damsel hath not worked as yet the robe
Of her betrothal'; now, then, sith he loves,
He will not say thee nay. Herein for awhile
Is respite, and thy mother far and near
Will seek again: it may be she will find
A fair, free maiden.'
Japhet said, 'O maid,
Sweet are thy words; but what if I return,
And all again be as it is to-day?'
Then Amarant answered, 'Some have died in youth;
But yet, I think not, sir, that I shall die.
Though ye shall find it even as I had died,—
Silent, for any words I might have said;
Empty, for any space I might have filled.
Sir, I will steal away, and hide afar;
But if a wife be found, then will I bide
And serve.' He answered, 'O, thy speech is good;
Now therefore (since my mother gave me thee),
I will reward it; I will find for thee
A goodly husband, and will make him free
Thee also.'
Then she started from his feet,
And, red with shame and anger, flashed on him
The passion of her eyes; and put her hands
With catching of the breath to her fair throat,
And stood in her defiance lost to fear,
Like some fair hind in desperate danger turned
And brought to bay, and wild in her despair.
But shortly, 'I remember,' quoth she, low,
With raining down of tears and broken sighs,
'That I am Japhet's slave; beseech you, sir,
As ye were ever gentle, ay, and sweet
Of language to me, be not harder now.
Sir, I was yours to take; I knew not, sir,
That also ye might give me. Pray you, sir,
Be pitiful,—be merciful to me,
A slave.' He said, 'I thought to do thee good,
For good hath been thy counsel'; but she cried,
'Good master, be you therefore pitiful
To me, a slave.' And Japhet wondered much
At her, and at her beauty, for he thought,
'None of the daughters are so fair as this,
Nor stand with such a grace majestical;
She in her locks is like the travelling sun,
Setting, all clad in coifing clouds of gold.
And would she die unmatched?' He said to her,
'What! wilt thou sail alone in yonder ship,
And dwell alone hereafter?' 'Ay,' she said,
'And serve my mistress.'
'It is well,' quoth he,
And held his hand to her, as is the way
Of masters. Then she kissed it, and she said,
'Thanks for benevolence,' and turned herself,
Adding, 'I rest, sir, on your gracious words';
Then stepped into the twilight and was gone.

And Japhet, having found his father, said,
'Sir, let me also journey when ye go.'
Who answered, 'Hath thy mother done her part?'

He said, 'Yea, truly, and my damsel sits
Before her in the house; and also, sir,
She said to me, 'I have not worked, as yet,
The garment of betrothal.'' And he said,
''Tis not the manner of our kin to speak
Concerning matters that a woman rules;
But hath thy mother brought a damsel home,
And let her see thy face, then all is one
As ye were wed.' He answered, 'Even so,
It matters nothing; therefore hear me, sir:
The damsel being mine, I am content
To let her do according to her will;
And when we shall return, so surely, sir,
As I shall find her by my mother's side,
Then will I take her'; and he left to speak;
His father answering, 'Son, thy words are good.'

The Star's Monument

[He thinks.]

If there be memory in the world to come,
If thought recur to Some Things silenced here,
Then shall the deep heart be no longer dumb,
But find expression in that happier sphere;
It shall not be denied their utmost sum
Of love, to speak without or fault or fear,
But utter to the harp with changes sweet
Words that, forbidden still, then heaven were

[He speaks.]

Now let us talk about the ancient days,
And things which happened long before our birth:
It is a pity to lament that praise
Should be no shadow in the train of worth.
What is it, Madam, that your heart dismays?
Why murmur at the course of this vast earth?
Think rather of the work than of the praise;
Come, we will talk about the ancient days.

There was a Poet, Madam, once (said he);
I will relate his story to you now,
While through the branches of this apple-tree
Some spots of sunshine flicker on your brow;
While every flower hath on its breast a bee.
And every bird in stirring doth endow
The grass with falling blooms that smoothly glide,
As ships drop down a river with the tide.

For telling of his tale no fitter place
Than this old orchard, sloping to the west;
Through its pink dome of blossom I can trace
Some overlying azure; for the rest,
These flowery branches round us interlace;
The ground is hollowed like a mossy nest:
Who talks of fame while the religious spring
Offers the incense of her blossoming?

There was a Poet, Madam, once (said he),
Who, while he walked at sundown in a lane,
Took to his heart the hope that destiny
Had singled him this guerdon to obtain,
That by the power of his sweet minstrelsy
Some hearts for truth and goodness he should gain,
And charm some grovellers to uplift their eyes
And suddenly wax conscious of the skies.

'Master, good e'en to ye!' a woodman said,
Who the low hedge was trimming with his shears.
'This hour is fine'—the Poet bowed his head.
'More fine,' he thought, 'O friend! to me appears
The sunset than to you; finer the spread
Of orange lustre through these azure, spheres,
Where little clouds lie still, like flocks of sheep,
Or vessels sailing in God's other deep.

'O finer far! What work so high as mine,
Interpreter betwixt the world and man,
Nature's ungathered pearls to set and shrine,
The mystery she wraps her in to scan;
Her unsyllabic voices to combine,
And serve her with such love as poets can;
With mortal words, her chant of praise to bind,
Then die, and leave the poem to mankind?

'O fair, O fine, O lot to be desired!
Early and late my heart appeals to me,
And says, 'O work, O will —Thou man, be fired
To earn this lot,'—she says, 'I would not be
A worker for mine OWN bread, or one hired
For mine OWN profit. O, I would be free
To work for others; love so earned of them
Should be my wages and my diadem.

' 'Then when I died I should not fall,' says she,
'Like dropping flowers that no man noticeth,
But like a great branch of some stately tree
Rent in a tempest, and flung down to death,
Thick with green leafage—so that piteously
Each passer by that ruin shuddereth,
And saith, The gap this branch hath left is wide;
The loss thereof can never be supplied.' '

But, Madam, while the Poet pondered so,
Toward the leafy hedge he turned his eye,
And saw two slender branches that did grow,
And from it rising spring and flourish high:
Their tops were twined together fast, and, lo,
Their shadow crossed the path as he went by—
The shadow of a wild rose and a briar,
And it was shaped in semblance like a lyre.

In sooth, a lyre! and as the soft air played,
Those branches stirred, but did not disunite.
'O emblem meet for me!' the Poet said;
'Ay, I accept and own thee for my right;
The shadowy lyre across my feet is laid,
Distinct though frail, and clear with crimson light;
Fast is it twined to bear the windy strain,
And, supple, it will bend and rise again.

'This lyre is cast across the dusty way,
The common path that common men pursue;
I crave like blessing for my shadowy lay,
Life's trodden paths with beauty to renew,
And cheer the eve of many a toil-stained day.
Light it, old sun, wet it, thou common dew,
That 'neath men's feet its image still may be
While yet it waves above them, living lyre, like thee!'

But even as the Poet spoke, behold
He lifted up his face toward the sky;
The ruddy sun dipt under the grey wold,
His shadowy lyre was gone; and, passing by,
The woodman lifting up his shears, was bold
Their temper on those branches twain to try,
And all their loveliness and leafage sweet
Fell an the pathway, at the Poet's feet.

'Ah! my fair emblem that I chose,' quoth he,
'That for myself I coveted but now,
Too soon, methinks, thou hast been false to me;
The lyre from pathway fades, the light from brow.'
Then straightway turned he from it hastily,
As dream that waking sense will disallow;
And while the highway heavenward paled apace,
He went on westward to his dwelling-place.

He went on steadily, while far and fast
The summer darkness dropped upon the world,
A gentle air among the cloudlets passed
And fanned away their crimson; then it curled
The yellow poppies in the field, and cast
A dimness on the grasses, for it furled
Their daisies, and swept out the purple stain
That eve had left upon the pastoral plain.

He reached his city. Lo! the darkened street
Where he abode was full of gazing crowds;
He heard the muffled tread of many feet;
A multitude stood gazing at the clouds.
'What mark ye there,' said he, I and wherefore meet?
Only a passing mist the heaven o'ershrouds;
It breaks, it parts, it drifts like scattered spars—
What lies behind it but the nightly stars?'

Then did the gazing crowd to him aver
They sought a lamp in heaven whose light was hid;
For that in sooth an old Astronomer
Down from his roof had rushed into their mid,
Frighted, and fain with others to confer,
That he had cried, 'O sirs!'—and upward bid
Them gaze—'O sirs, a light is quenched afar;
Look up, my masters, we have lost a star!'

The people pointed, and the Poet's eyes
Flew upward, where a gleaming sisterhood
Swam in the dewy heaven. The very skies
Were mutable; for all-amazed he stood
To see that truly not in any wise
He could behold them as of old, nor could
His eyes receive the whole whereof he wot,
But when he told them over, one WAS NOT.

While yet he gazed and pondered reverently,
The fickle folk began to move away.
'It is but one star less for us to see,
And what does one star signify?' quoth they;
'The heavens are full of them.' 'But, ah!' said he,
That star was bright while yet she lasted.' 'Ay!'
They answered: 'praise her, Poet, an' ye will:
Some are now shining that are brighter still.'

'Poor star! to be disparaged so soon
On her withdrawal,' thus the Poet sighed;
'That men should miss, and straight deny her noon
Its brightness!' But the people in their pride
Said, 'How are we beholden? 't was no boon
She gave. Her nature 't was to shine so wide:
She could not choose but shine, nor could we know
Such star had ever dwelt in heaven but so.'

The Poet answered sadly, 'That is true!'
And then he thought upon unthankfulness,
While some went homeward; and the residue,
Reflecting that the stars are numberless,
Mourned that man's daylight hours should be so few,
So short the shining that his path may bless:
To nearer themes then tuned their willing lips,
And thought no more upon the star's eclipse.

But he, the Poet, could not rest content
Till he had found that old Astronomer;
Therefore at midnight to his house he went
And prayed him be his tale's interpreter.
And yet upon the heaven his eyes he bent,
Hearing the marvel; yet he sought for her
That was awanting, in the hope her face
Once more might fill its reft abiding-place.

Then said the old Astronomer: 'My son,
I sat alone upon my roof to-night;
I saw the stars come forth, and scarcely shun
To fringe the edges of the western light;
I marked those ancient clusters one by one,
The same that blessed our old forefather's sight:
For God alone is older—none but He
Can charge the stars with mutability:

'The elders of the night, the steadfast stars,
The old, old stars which God has let us see,
That they might be our soul's auxiliars,
And help us to the truth how young we be—
God's youngest, latest born, as if, some spars
And a little clay being over of them—He
Had made our world and us thereof, yet given,
To humble us, the sight of His great heaven.

'But ah! my son, to-night mine eyes have seen
The death of light, the end of old renown;
A shrinking back of glory that had been,
A dread eclipse before the Eternal's frown.
How soon a little grass will grow between
These eyes and those appointed to look down
Upon a world that was not made on high
Till the last scenes of their long empiry!

'To-night that shining cluster now despoiled
Lay in day's wake a perfect sisterhood;
Sweet was its light to me that long had toiled,
It gleamed and trembled o'er the distant wood;
Blown in a pile the clouds from it recoiled,
Cool twilight up the sky her way made good;
I saw, but not believed—it was so strange—
That one of those game stars had suffered change.

'The darkness gathered, and methought she spread.
Wrapped in a reddish haze that waxed and waned;
But notwithstanding to myself I said—
'The stars are changeless; sure some mote hath stained
Mine eyes, and her fair glory minishèd.'
Of age and failing vision I complained,
And thought 'some vapour in the heavens doth swim,
That makes her look so large and yet so dim.'

'But I gazed round, and all her lustrous peers
In her red presence showed but wan and white;
For like a living coal beheld through tears
She glowed and quivered with a gloomy light:
Methought she trembled, as all sick through fears,
Helpless, appalled, appealing to the night;
Like one who throws his arms up to the sky
And bows down suffering, hopeless of reply.

'At length, as if an everlasting Hand
Had taken hold upon her in her place,
And swiftly, like a golden grain of sand,
Through all the deep infinitudes of space
Was drawing her—God's truth as here I stand—
Backward and inward to itself; her face
Fast lessened, lessened, till it looked no more
Than smallest atom on a boundless shore.

'And she that was so fair, I saw her lie,
The smallest thing in God's great firmament,
Till night was at the darkest, and on high
Her sisters glittered, though her light was spent;
I strained, to follow her, each aching eye,
So swiftly at her Maker's will she went;
I looked again—I looked—the star was gone,
And nothing marked in heaven where she had shone.'

'Gone!' said the Poet, 'and about to be
Forgotten: O, how sad a fate is hers!'
'How is it sad, my son?' all reverently
The old man answered; 'though she ministers
No longer with her lamp to me and thee,
She has fulfilled her mission. God transfers
Or dims her ray; yet was she blest as bright,
For all her life was spent in giving light.'

'Her mission she fulfilled assuredly,'
The Poet cried: 'but, O unhappy star!
None praise and few will bear in memory
The name she went by. O, from far, from far
Comes down, methinks, her mournful voice to me.
Full of regrets that men so thankless are.'
So said, he told that old Astronomer
All that the gazing crowd had said of her.

And he went on to speak in bitter wise,
As one who seems to tell another's fate,
But feels that nearer meaning underlies,
And points its sadness to his own estate:
'If such be the reward,' he said with sighs,
'Envy to earn for love, for goodness hate—
If such be thy reward, hard case is thine!
It had been better for thee not to shine.

'If to reflect a light that is divine
Makes that which doth reflect it better seen,
And if to see is to contemn the shrine,
'T were surely better it had never been:
It had been better for her NOT TO SHINE,
And for me NOT TO SING. Better, I ween,
For us to yield no more that radiance bright,
For them, to lack the light than scorn the light.'

Strange words were those from Poet lips (said he);
And then he paused, and sighed, and turned to look
Upon the lady's downcast eyes, and see
How fast the honey bees in settling shook
Those apple blossoms on her from the tree;
He watched her busy fingers as they took
And slipped the knotted thread, and thought
how much
He would have given that hand to hold—to touch.

At length, as suddenly become aware
Of this long pause, she lifted up her face,
And he withdrew his eyes—she looked so fair
And cold, he thought, in her unconscious grace.
'Ah! little dreams she of the restless care,'
He thought, 'that makes my heart to throb apace:
Though we this morning part, the knowledge sends
No thrill to her calm pulse—we are but FRIENDS.'

Ah! turret clock (he thought), I would thy hand
Were hid behind yon towering maple-trees!
Ah! tell-tale shadow, but one moment stand—
Dark shadow—fast advancing to my knees;
Ah! foolish heart (he thought), that vainly planned
By feigning gladness to arrive at ease;
Ah! painful hour, yet pain to think it ends;
I must remember that we are but friends.

And while the knotted thread moved to and fro
In sweet regretful tones that lady said:
'It seemeth that the fame you would forego
The Poet whom you tell of coveted;
But I would fain, methinks, his story know.
And was he loved?' said she, 'or was he wed?
And had he friends?' 'One friend, perhaps,' said he,
'But for the rest, I pray you let it be.'

Ah! little bird (he thought), most patient bird,
Breasting thy speckled eggs the long day through,
By so much as my reason is preferred
Above thine instinct, I my work would do
Better than then dost thine. Thou hast not stirred
This hour thy wing. Ah! russet bird, I sue
For a like patience to wear through these hours—
Bird on thy nest among the apple-flowers.

I will not speak—I will not speak to thee,
My star! and soon to be my lost, lost star.
The sweetest, first, that ever shone on me,
So high above me and beyond so far;
I can forego thee, but not bear to see
My love, like rising mist, thy lustre mar:
That were a base return for thy sweet light.
Shine, though I never more shall see that thou
art bright.

Never! 'T is certain that no hope is—none!
No hope for me, and yet for thee no fear
The hardest part of my hard task is done;
Thy calm assures me that I am not dear;
Though far and fast the rapid moments run,
Thy bosom heaveth not, thine eyes are clear;
Silent; perhaps a little sad at heart
She is. I am her friend, and I depart.

Silent she had been, but she raised her face;
'And will you end,' said she, 'this half-told tale?'
'Yes, it were best,' he answered her. 'The place
Where I left off was where he felt to fail
His courage, Madam, through the fancy base
That they who love, endure, or work, may rail
And cease—if all their love, the works they wrought,
And their endurance, men have set at nought.'

'It had been better for me NOT to sing,'
My Poet said, 'and for her NOT to shine;'
But him the old man answered, sorrowing,
'My son, did God who made her, the Divine
Lighter of suns, when down to yon bright ring
He cast her, like some gleaming almandine,
And set her in her place, begirt with rays,
Say unto her 'Give light,' or say 'Earn praise?'

The Poet said, 'He made her to give light.'
'My son,' the old man answered, 'blest are such;
A blessed lot is theirs; but if each night
Mankind had praised her radiance—inasmuch
As praise had never made it wax more bright,
And cannot now rekindle with its touch
Her lost effulgence, it is nought. I wot
That praise was not her blessing nor her lot.'

'Ay,' said the Poet, 'I my words abjure,
And I repent me that I uttered them;
But by her light and by its forfeiture
She shall not pass without her requiem.
Though my name perish, yet shall hers endure
Though I should be forgotten, she, lost gem,
Shall be remembered; though she sought not fame,
It shall be busy with her beauteous name.

'For I wilt raise in her bright memory,
Lost now on earth, a lasting monument,
And graven on it shall recorded be
That all her rays to light mankind were spent;
And I will sing albeit none heedeth me,
On her exemplar being still intent:
While in men's sight shall stand the record thus—
'So long as she did last she lighted us.' '

So said, he raised, according to his vow,
On the green grass, where oft his townsfolk met,
Under the shadow of a leafy bough
That leaned toward a singing rivulet,
One pure white stone, whereon, like crown on brow,
The image of the vanished star was set;
And this was graven on the pure white stone
In golden letters—'WHILE SHE LIVED SHE SHONE.'

Madam, I cannot give this story well—
My heart is beating to another chime;
My voice must needs a different cadence swell;
It is yon singing bird, which all the time
Wooeth his nested mate, that doth dispel
My thoughts. What, deem you, could a lover's rhyme
The sweetness of that passionate lay excel?
O soft. O low her voice—'I cannot tell.'

[He thinks.]

The old man—aye he spoke, he was not hard;
'She was his joy,' he said, 'his comforter,
But he would trust me. I was not debarred
Whate'er my heart approved to say to her.'
Approved! O torn and tempted and ill-starred
And breaking heart, approve not nor demur;
It is the serpent that beguileth thee
With 'God doth know' beneath this apple-tree.

Yea, God DOTH know, and only God doth know.
Have pity, God, my spirit groans to Thee!
I, bear Thy curse primeval, and I go;
But heavier than on Adam falls on me
My tillage of the wilderness; for lo,
I leave behind the woman, and I see
As 't were the gates of Eden closing o'er
To bide her from my sight for evermore.

[He speaks.]

I am a fool, with sudden start he cried,
To let the song-bird work me such unrest:
If I break off again, I pray you chide,
For morning fleeteth, with my tale at best
Half told. That white stone, Madam, gleamed beside
The little rivulet, and all men pressed
To read the lost one's story traced thereon,
The golden legend—'While she lived she shone.'

And, Madam, when the Poet heard them read,
And children spell the letters softly through,
It may be that he felt at heart some need,
Some craving to be thus remembered too;
It may be that he wondered if indeed
He must die wholly when he passed from view;
It may be, wished when death his eyes made dim,
That some kind hand would raise such stone for him.

But shortly, as there comes to most of us,
There came to him the need to quit his home:
To tell you why were simply hazardous.
What said I. Madam?—men were made to roam
My meaning is. It hath been always thus:
They are athirst for mountains and sea foam;
Heirs of this world, what wonder if perchance
They long to see their grand inheritance?

He left his city, and went forth to teach
Mankind, his peers, the hidden harmony
That underlies God's discords, and to reach
And touch the master-string that like a sigh
Thrills in their souls, as if it would beseech
Some hand to sound it, and to satisfy
Its yearning for expression: but no word
Till poet touch it hath to make its music heard.

[He thinks.]

I know that God is good, though evil dwells
Among us, and doth all things holiest share;
That there is joy in heaven, while yet our knells
Sound for the souls which He has summoned there;
That painful love unsatisfied hath spells
Earned by its smart to soothe its fellow's care:
But yet this atom cannot in the whole
Forget itself—it aches a separate soul.

[He speaks.]

But, Madam, to my Poet I return,
With his sweet cadences of woven words,
He made their rude untutored hearts to burn
And melt like gold refined. No brooding birds
Sing better of the love that doth sojourn
Hid in the nest of home, which softly girds
The beating heart of life; and, strait though it be,
Is straitness better than wide liberty.

He taught them, and they learned, but not the less
Remained unconscious whence that lore they drew,
But dreamed that of their native nobleness
Some lofty thoughts that he had planted, grew;
His glorious maxims in a lowly dress
Like seed sown broadcast sprung in all men's view,
The sower, passing onward, was not known,
And all men reaped the harvest as their own.

It may be, Madam, that those ballads sweet,
Whose rhythmic measures yesterday we sung,
Which time and changes make not obsolete,
But (as a river bears down blossoms flung
Upon its breast) take with them while they fleet—
It may be from his lyre that first they sprung:
But who can tell, since work surviveth fame?—
The rhyme is left, but last the Poet's name.

He worked, and bravely he fulfilled his trust—
So long he wandered sowing worthy seed,
Watering of wayside buds that were adust,
And touching for the common ear his reed—
So long to wear away the cankering rust
That dulls the gold of life—so long to plead
With sweetest music for all souls oppressed,
That he was old ere he had thought of rest.

Old and grey-headed, leaning on a staff;
To that great city of his birth he came,
And at its gates he paused with wondering laugh
To think: how changed were all his thoughts of fame
Since first he carved the golden epitaph
To keep in memory a worthy name,
And thought forgetfulness had been its doom
But for a few bright letters on a tomb.

The old Astronomer had long since died;
The friends of youth were gone and far dispersed;
Strange were the domes that rose on every side;
Strange fountains on his wondering vision burst;
The men of yesterday their business plied;
No face was left that he had known at first;
And in the city gardens, lo, he sees
The saplings that he set are stately trees.

Upon the grass beneath their welcome shade,
Behold! he marks the fair white monument,
And on its face the golden words displayed,
For sixty years their lustre have not spent;
He sitteth by it and is not afraid,
But in its shadow he is well content;
And envies not, though bright their gleamings are,
The golden letters of the vanished star.

He gazeth up; exceeding bright appears
That golden legend to his agèd eyes,
For they are dazzled till they fill with tears,
And his lost Youth doth like a vision rise;
She saith to him, 'In all these toilsome years,
What hast thou won by work or enterprise?
What hast thou won to make amends to thee,
As thou didst swear to do, for loss of me?

'O man! O white-haired man!' the vision said,
'Since we two sat beside this monument
Life's clearest hues are all evanishèd,
The golden wealth thou hadst of me is spent;
The wind hath swept thy flowers, their leaves are shed;
The music is played out that with thee went.'
'Peace, peace!' he cried; 'I lost thee, but, in truth,
There are worse losses than the loss of youth.'

He said not what those losses were—but I—
But I must leave them, for the time draws near.
Some lose not ONLY joy, but memory
Of how it felt: not love that was so dear
Lose only, but the steadfast certainty
That once they had it; doubt comes on, then fear,
And after that despondency. I wis*
The Poet must have meant such loss as this.

But while he sat and pondered, on his youth,
He said, 'It did one deed that doth remain,
For it preserved the memory and the truth
Of her that now doth neither set nor wane,
But shine in all men's thoughts; nor sink forsooth,
And be forgotten like the summer rain.
O, it is good that man should not forget
Or benefits foregone or brightness set!'

He spoke and said, 'My lot contenteth me;
I am right glad for this her worthy fame;
That which was good and great I fain would see
Drawn with a halo round what rests—its name.'
This while the Poet said, behold there came
A workman with his tools anear the tree,
And when he read the words he paused awhile
And pondered on them with a wondering smile.

And then he said, 'I pray you, Sir, what mean
In wonder quoth the Poet, 'Hast thou been
A dweller near at hand, and their intent
Hast neither heard by voice of fame, nor seen
The marble earlier?' 'Ay,' said he, and leant
Upon his spade to hear the tale, then sigh,
And say it was a marvel, and pass by.

Then said the Poet, 'This is strange to me.'
But as he mused, with trouble in his mind,
A band of maids approached him leisurely,
Like vessels sailing with a favouring wind;
And of their rosy lips requested he,
As one that for a doubt would solving find,
The tale, if tale there were, of that white stone,
And those fair letters—'While she lived she shone.'

Then like a fleet that floats becalmed they stay.
'O, Sir,' saith one, 'this monument is old;
But we have heard our virtuous mothers say
That by their mothers thus the tale was told:
A Poet made it; journeying then away,
He left us; and though some the meaning hold
For other than the ancient one, yet we
Receive this legend for a certainty:—

'There was a lily once, most purely white,
Beneath the shadow of these boughs it grew;
Its starry blossom it unclosed by night,
And a young Poet loved its shape and hue.
He watched it nightly, 't was so fair a sight,
Until a stormy wind arose and blew,
And when he came once more his flower to greet,
Its fallen petals drifted to his feet.

'And for his beautiful white lily's sake,
That she might be remembered where her scent
Had been right sweet, he said that he would make
In her dear memory a monument:
For she was purer than a driven flake
Of snow, and in her grace most excellent;
'The loveliest life that death did ever mar,
As beautiful to gaze on as a star.'

'I thank you, maid,' the Poet answered her,
'And I am glad that I have heard your tale.
With that they passed; and as an inlander,
Having heard breakers raging in a gale,
And falling down in thunder, will aver
That still, when far away in grassy vale,
He seems to hear those seething waters bound,
So in his ears the maiden's voice did sound.

He leaned his face upon his hand, and thought
And thought, until a youth came by that way;
And once again of him the Poet sought
The story of the star. But, well-a-day!
He said, 'The meaning with ranch doubt is fraught,
The sense thereof can no man surely say;
For still tradition sways the common ear,
That of a truth a star DID DISAPPEAR.

'But they who look beneath the outer shell
That wraps the 'kernel of the people's lore,'
Hold THAT for superstition; and they tell
That seven lovely sisters dwelt of yore
In this old city, where it so befell
That one a Poet loved; that, furthermore,
As stars above us she was pure and good,
And fairest of that beauteous sisterhood.

'So beautiful they were, those virgins seven,
That all men called them clustered stars in song,
Forgetful that the stars abide in heaven:
But woman bideth not beneath it long;
For O, alas! alas! one fated even,
When stars their azure deeps began to throng,
That virgin's eyes of Poet loved waxed dim,
And all their lustrous shining waned to him.

'In summer dusk she drooped her head and sighed
Until what time the evening star went down,
And all the other stars did shining bide
Clear in the lustre of their old renown,
And then—the virgin laid her down and died:
Forgot her youth, forgot her beauty's crown,
Forgot the sisters whom she loved before,
And broke her Poet's heart for evermore.'

'A mournful tale, in sooth,' the lady saith:
'But did he truly grieve for evermore?'
'It may be you forget,' he answereth,
'That this is but a fable at the core
O' the other fable.' 'Though it be but breath,'
She asketh, 'was it true?' Then he, 'This lore,
Since it is fable, either way may go;
Then, if it please you, think it might be so.'

'Say, but,' she saith, 'if I had told your tale,
The virgin should have lived his home to bless;
Or, must she die, I would have made to fail
His useless love.' 'I tell you not the less,'
He sighs, 'because it was of no avail:
His heart the Poet would not dispossess
Thereof. But let us leave the fable now.
My Poet heard it with an aching brow.

And he made answer thus: 'I thank thee, youth;
Strange is thy story to these agèd ears,
But I bethink me thou hast told a truth
Under the guise of fable. If my tears,
Thou lost belovèd star, lost now, forsooth,
Indeed could bring thee back among thy peers
So new thou shouldst be deemed as newly seen,
For men forget that thou hast ever been.

'There was a morning when I longed for fame,
There was a noontide when I passed it by,
There is an evening when I think not shame
Its substance and its being to deny;
For if men bear in mind great deeds, the name
Of him that wrought them shall they leave to die
Or if his name they shall have deathless writ,
They change the deeds that first ennobled it.

'O golden letters of this monument!
O words to celebrate a loved renown
Lost now or wrested! and to fancies lent,
Or on a fabled forehead set for crown,
For my departed star, I am content,
Though legends dim and years her memory drown:
For what were fame to her, compared and set
By this great truth which ye make lustrous yet?'

'Adieu!' the Poet said, 'my vanished star,
Thy duty and thy happiness were one.
Work is heaven's best; its fame is sublunar:
The fame thou dost not need—the work is done
For thee I am content that these things are;
More than content were I, my race being run,
Might it be true of me, though none thereon
Should muse regretful—'While he lived he shone.'

So said, the Poet rose and went his way,
And that same lot he proved whereof he spake.
Madam, my story is told out; the day
Draws out her shadows, time doth overtake
The morning. That which endeth call a lay,
Sung after pause—a motto in the break
Between two chapters of a tale not new,
Nor joyful—but a common tale. Adieu!

And that same God who made your face so fair,
And gave your woman's heart its tenderness,
So shield the blessing He implanted there,
That it may never turn to your distress,
And never cost you trouble or despair,
Nor granted leave the granter comfortless;
But like a river blest where'er it flows,
Be still receiving while it still bestows.

Adieu, he said, and paused, while she sat mute
In the soft shadow of the apple-tree;
The skylark's song rang like a joyous flute,
The brook went prattling past her restlessly:
She let their tongues be her tongue's substitute;
It was the wind that sighed, it was not she:
And what the lark, the brook, the wind, had said,
We cannot tell, for none interpreted.

Their counsels might be hard to reconcile,
They might not suit the moment or the spot.
She rose, and laid her work aside the while
Down in the sunshine of that grassy plot;
She looked upon him with an almost smile,
And held to him a hand that faltered not.
One moment—bird and brook went warbling on,
And the wind sighed again—and he was gone.

So quietly, as if she heard no more
Or skylark in the azure overhead,
Or water slipping past the cressy shore,
Or wind that rose in sighs, and sighing fled—
So quietly, until the alders hoar
Took him beneath them; till the downward spread
Of planes engulfed him in their leafy seas—
She stood beneath her rose-flushed apple-trees.

And then she stooped toward the mossy grass;
And gathered up her work and went her way;
Straight to that ancient turret she did pass,
And startle back some fawns that were at play.
She did not sigh, she never said 'Alas!'
Although he was her friend: but still that day,
Where elm and hornbeam spread a towering dome,
She crossed the dells to her ancestral home.

And did she love him?—what if she did not?
Then home was still the home of happiest years;
Nor thought was exiled to partake his lot,
Nor heart lost courage through foreboding fears;
Nor echo did against her secret plot,
Nor music her betray to painful tears;
Nor life become a dream, and sunshine dim,
And riches poverty, because of him.

But did she love him?—what and if she did?
Love cannot cool the burning Austral sand,
Nor show the secret waters that lie hid
In arid valleys of that desert land.
Love has no spells can scorching winds forbid,
Or bring the help which tarries near to hand,
Or spread a cloud for curtaining faded eyes
That gaze up dying into alien skies.

The Four Bridges

I love this grey old church, the low, long nave,
The ivied chancel and the slender spire;
No less its shadow on each heaving grave,
With growing osier bound, or living briar;
I love those yew-tree trunks, where stand arrayed
So many deep-cut names of youth and maid.

A simple custom this—I love it well—
A carved betrothal and a pledge of truth;
How many an eve, their linkèd names to spell,
Beneath the yew-trees sat our village youth!
When work was over, and the new-cut hay
Sent wafts of balm from meadows where it lay.

Ah! many an eve, while I was yet a boy,
Some village hind has beckoned me aside,
And sought mine aid, with shy and awkward joy,
To carve the letters of his rustic bride,
And make them clear to read as graven stone,
Deep in the yew-tree's trunk beside his own.

For none could carve like me, and here they stand,
Fathers and mothers of this present race;
And underscored by some less practised hand,
That fain the story of its line would trace,
With children's names, and number, and the day
When any called to God have passed away.

I look upon them, and I turn aside,
As oft when carving them I did erewhile,
And there I see those wooden bridges wide
That cross the marshy hollow; there the stile
In reeds imbedded, and the swelling down,
And the white road toward the distant town.

But those old bridges claim another look.
Our brattling river tumbles through the one;
The second spans a shallow, weedy brook;
Beneath the others, and beneath the sun,
Lie two long stilly pools, and on their breasts
Picture their wooden piles, encased in swallows'

And round about them grows a fringe of reeds,
And then a floating crown of lily flowers,
And yet within small silver-budded weeds;
But each clear centre evermore embowers
A deeper sky, where, stooping, you may see
The little minnows darting restlessly.

My heart is bitter, lilies, at your sweet;
Why did the dewdrop fringe your chalices?
Why in your beauty are you thus complete,
You silver ships—you floating palaces?
O! if need be, you must allure man's eye,
Yet wherefore blossom here? O why? O why?

O! O! the world is wide, you lily flowers,
It hath warm forests, cleft by stilly pools,
Where every night bathe crowds of stars; and
Of spicery hang over. Sweet air cools
And shakes the lilies among those stars that lie:
Why are not ye content to reign there? Why?

That chain of bridges, it were hard to tell
How it is linked with all my early joy.
There was a little foot that I loved well,
It danced across them when I was a boy;
There was a careless voice that used to sing;
There was a child, a sweet and happy thing.

Oft through that matted wood of oak and birch
She came from yonder house upon the bill;
She crossed the wooden bridges to the church,
And watched, with village girls, my boasted skill:
But loved to watch the floating lilies best,
Or linger, peering in a swallow's nest;

Linger and linger, with her wistful eyes
Drawn to the lily-buds that lay so white
And soft on crimson water; for the skies
Would crimson, and the little cloudlets bright
Would all be flung among the flowers sheer down,
To flush the spaces of their clustering crown.

Till the green rushes—O, so glossy green—
The rushes, they would whisper, rustle, shake;
And forth on floating gauze, no jewelled queen
So rich, the green-eyed dragon-flies would break,
And hover on the flowers—aerial things,
With little rainbows flickering on their wings.

Ah! my heart dear! the polished pools lie still,
Like lanes of water reddened by the west,
Till, swooping down from yon o'erhanging hill,
The bold marsh harrier wets her tawny breast;
We scared her oft in childhood from her prey,
And the old eager thoughts rise fresh as yesterday.

To yonder copse by moonlight I did go,
In luxury of mischief, half afraid,
To steal the great owl's brood, her downy snow,
Her screaming imps to seize, the while she preyed
With yellow, cruel eyes, whose radiant glare,
Fell with their mother rage, I might not dare.

Panting I lay till her great fanning wings
Troubled the dreams of rock-doves, slumbering
And she and her fierce mate, like evil things,
Skimmed the dusk fields; then rising, with a cry
Of fear, joy, triumph, darted on my prey,
And tore it from the nest and fled away.

But afterward, belated in the wood,
I saw her moping on the rifled tree,
And my heart smote me for her, while I stood
Awakened from my careless reverie;
So white she looked, with moonlight round her shed,
So motherlike she drooped and hung her head.

O that mine eyes would cheat me! I behold
The godwits running by the water edge,
The mossy bridges mirrored as of old;
The little curlews creeping from the sedge,
But not the little foot so gaily light:
O that mine eyes would cheat me, that I might!—

Would cheat me! I behold the gable ends—
Those purple pigeons clustering on the cote;
The lane with maples overhung, that bends
Toward her dwelling; the dry grassy moat,
Thick mullions, diamond latticed, mossed and grey,
And walls banked up with laurel and with bay.

And up behind them yellow fields of corn,
And still ascending countless firry spires,
Dry slopes of hills uncultured, bare, forlorn,
And green in rocky clefts with whins and briars
Then rich cloud masses dyed the violet's hue,
With orange sunbeams dropping swiftly through.

Ay, I behold all this full easily;
My soul is jealous of my happier eyes,
And manhood envies youth. Ah, strange to see,
By looking merely, orange-flooded skies;
Nay, any dew-drop that may near me shine;
But never more the face of Eglantine!

She was my one companion, being herself
The jewel and adornment of my days,
My life's completeness. O, a smiling elf;
That I do but disparage with my praise—
My playmate; and I loved her dearly and long,
And she loved me, as the tender love the strong.

Ay, but she grew, till on a time there came
A sudden restless yearning to my heart;
And as we went a-nesting, all for shame
And shyness, I did hold my peace, and start;
Content departed, comfort shut me out,
And there was nothing left to talk about.

She had but sixteen years, and as for me,
Four added made my life. This pretty bird,
This fairy bird that I had cherished—she,
Content, had sung, while I, contented, heard.
The song had ceased; the bird, with nature's art,
Had brought a thorn and set it my heart.

The restless birth of love my soul opprest,
I longed and wrestled for a tranquil day,
And warred with that disquiet in my breast
As one who knows there is a better way;
But, turned against myself, I still in vain
Looked for the ancient calm to come again.

My tired soul could to itself confess
That she deserved a wiser love than mine
To love more truly were to love her less,
And for this truth I still awoke to pine;
I had a dim belief that it would be
A better thing for her, a blessèd thing for me.

Good hast Thou made them—comforters right sweet
Good hast Thou made the world, to mankind lent;
Good are Thy dropping clouds that feed the wheat;
Good are Thy stars above the firmament.
Take to Thee, take, Thy worship, Thy renown;
The good which Thou hast made doth wear
Thy crown.

For, O my God, Thy creatures are so frail,
Thy bountiful creation is so fair,
That, drawn before us like the temple veil,
It hides the Holy Place from thought and care,
Giving man's eyes instead its sweeping fold,
Rich as with cherub wings and apples wrought
of gold,

Purple and blue and scarlet—shimmering bells
And rare pomegranates on its broidered rim,
Glorious with chain—and fret-work that the swell
Of incense shakes to music dreamy and dim,
Till on a day comes loss, that God makes gain,
And death and darkness rend the veil in twain.

* * * * * * *

Ah, sweetest! my beloved! each outward thing
Recalls my youth, and is instinct with thee;
Brown wood-owls in the dusk, with noiseless wing,
Float from yon hanger to their haunted tree,
And hoot full softly. Listening, I regain
A flashing thought of thee with their remembered

I will not pine—it is the careless brook,
These amber sunbeams slanting down the vale;
It is the long tree-shadows, with their look
Of natural peace, that make my heart to fail:
The peace of nature—No, I will not pine—
But O the contrast 'twixt her face and mine!

And still I changed—I was a boy no more:
My heart was large enough to hold my kind,
And all the world. As hath been oft before
With youth, I sought, but I could never find
Work hard enough to quiet my self-strife,
And use the strength of action-craving life.

She, too, was changed: her bountiful sweet eyes
Looked out full lovingly on all the world.
O tender as the deeps in yonder skies
Their beaming! but her rosebud lips were curled
With the soft dimple of a musing smile,
Which kept my gaze, but held me mute the while.

A cast of bees, a slowly moving wain,
The scent of bean-flowers wafted up a dell,
Blue pigeons wheeling over fields of grain,
Or bleat of folded lamb, would please her well;
Or cooing of the early coted dove;—
She sauntering mused of these; I, following,
mused of love.

With her two lips, that one the other pressed
So poutingly with such a tranquil air,
With her two eyes, that on my own would rest
So dream-like, she denied my silent prayer,
Fronted unuttered words and said them nay;
And smiled down love till it had nought to say.

The words that through mine eyes would clearly
Hovered and hovered on my lips in vain;
If after pause I said but 'Eglantine,'
She raised to me her quiet eyelids twain,
And looked me this reply—look calm, yet bland—
'I shall not know, I will not understand.'

Yet she did know my story—knew my life
Was wrought to hers with bindings many and
That I, like Israel, servèd for a wife,
And for the love I bare her thought not long,
But only a few days, full quickly told,
My seven years' service strict as his of old.

I must be brief: the twilight shadows grow,
And steal the rose-bloom genial summer sheds,
And scented wafts of wind that come and go
Have lifted dew from honied clover heads;
The seven stars shine out above the mill,
The dark delightsome woods lie veiled and still.

Hush! hush! the nightingale begins to sing,
And stops, as ill-contented with her note;
Then breaks from out the bush with hurried wing,
Restless and passionate. She tunes her throat,
Laments awhile in wavering trills, and then
Floods with a stream of sweetness all the glen.

The seven stars upon the nearest pool
Lie trembling down betwixt the lily leaves,
And move like glowworms; wafting breezes cool
Come down along the water, and it heaves
And bubbles in the sedge; while deep and wide
The dim night settles on the country side.

I know this scene by heart. O! once before
I saw the seven stars float to and fro,
And stayed my hurried footsteps by the shore
To mark the starry picture spread below:
Its silence made the tumult in my breast
More audible; its peace revealed my own unrest.

I paused, then hurried on; my heart beat quick;
I crossed the bridges, reached the steep ascent,
And climbed through matted fern and hazels thick;
Then darkling through the close green maples went
And saw—there felt love's keenest pangs begin—
An oriel window lighted from within—

I saw—and felt that they were scarcely cares
Which I had known before; I drew more near,
And O! methought how sore it frets and wears
The soul to part with that it holds so dear;
'T is hard two woven tendrils to untwine,
And I was come to part with Eglantine.

For life was bitter through those words repressed,
And youth was burdened with unspoken vows;
Love unrequited brooded in my breast,
And shrank, at glance, from the belovèd brows:
And three long months, heart-sick, my foot
I had not sought her side by rivulet, copse, or lawn—

Not sought her side, yet busy thought no less
Still followed in her wake, though far behind;
And I, being parted from her loveliness,
Looked at the picture of her in my mind:
I lived alone, I walked with soul opprest,
And ever sighed for her, and sighed for rest.

Then I had risen to struggle with my heart,
And said—'O heart! the world is fresh and fair,
And I am young; but this thy restless smart
Changes to bitterness the morning air:
I will, I must, these weary fetters break—
I will be free, if only for her sake.

'O let me trouble her no more with sighs!
Heart-healing comes by distance, and with time,
Then let me wander, and enrich mine eyes
With the green forests of a softer clime,
Or list by night at sea the wind's low stave
And long monotonous rockings of the wave.

'Through open solitudes, unbounded meads,
Where, wading on breast-high in yellow bloom,
Untamed of man, the shy white llama feeds—
There would I journey and forget my doom;
Or far, O far as sunrise I would see
The level prairie stretch away from me!

'Or I would sail upon the tropic seas,
Where fathom long the blood-red dulses grow,
Droop from the rock and waver in the breeze,
Lashing the tide to foam; while calm below
The muddy mandrakes throng those waters warm,
And purple, gold, and green, the living blossoms

So of my father I did win consent,
With importunities repeated long,
To make that duty which had been my bent,
To dig with strangers alien tombs among,
And bound to them through desert leagues to
Or track up rivers to their starting-place.

For this I had done battle and had won,
But not alone to tread Arabian sands,
Measure the shadows of a southern sun,
Or dig out gods in the old Egyptian lands;
But for the dream wherewith I thought to cope—
The grief of love unmated with love's hope.

And now I would set reason in array,
Methought, and fight for freedom manfully,
Till by long absence there would come a day
When this my love would not be pain to me;
But if I knew my rosebud fair and blest
I should not pine to wear it on my breast.

The days fled on; another week should fling
A foreign shadow on my lengthening way;
Another week, yet nearness did not bring
A braver heart that hard farewell to say.
I let the last day wane, the dusk begin,
Ere I had sought that window lighted from within.

Sinking and sinking, O my heart! my heart!
Will absence heal thee whom its shade doth rend?
I reached the little gate, and soft within
The oriel fell her shadow. She did lend
Her loveliness to me, and let me share
The listless sweetness of those features fair.

Among thick laurels in the gathering gloom,
Heavy for this our parting, I did stand;
Beside her mother in the lighted room,
She sitting leaned her cheek upon her band;
And as she read, her sweet voice floating through
The open casement seemed to mourn me an adieu.

Youth! youth! how buoyant are thy hopes! they turn,
Like marigolds, toward the sunny side.
My hopes were buried in a funeral urn,
And they sprung up like plants and spread
them wide;
Though I had schooled and reasoned them away,
They gathered smiling near and prayed a holiday.

Ah, sweetest voice! how pensive were its tones,
And how regretful its unconscious pause!
'Is it for me her heart this sadness owns,
And is our parting of to-night the cause?
Ah, would it might be so!' I thought, and stood
Listening entranced among the underwood.

I thought it would be something worth the pain
Of parting, to look once in those deep eyes,
And take from them an answering look again:
'When eastern palms,' I thought, 'about me rise,
If I might carve our names upon the rind,
Betrothed, I would not mourn, though leaving thee

I can be patient, faithful, and most fond
To unacknowledged love; I can be true
To this sweet thraldom, this unequal bond,
This yoke of mine that reaches not to you:
O, how much more could costly parting buy—
If not a pledge, one kiss, or, failing that, a sigh!

I listened, and she ceased to read; she turned
Her face toward the laurels where I stood:
Her mother spoke—O wonder! hardly learned;
She said, 'There is a rustling in the wood;
Ah, child ! if one draw near to bid farewell,
Let not thine eyes an unsought secret tell.

'My daughter, there is nothing held so dear
As love, if only it be hard to win.
The roses that in yonder hedge appear
Outdo our garden-buds which bloom within
But since the hand may pluck them every day,
Unmarked they bud, bloom, drop, and drift away.

'My daughter, my belovèd, be not you
Like those same roses.' O bewildering word!
My heart stood still, a mist obscured my view:
It cleared; still silence. No denial stirred
The lips beloved; but straight, as one opprest,
She, kneeling, dropped her face upon her
mother's breast.

This said, 'My daughter, sorrow comes to all;
Our life is checked with shadows manifold:
But woman has this more—she may not call
Her sorrow by its name. Yet love not told,
And only born of absence and by thought,
With thought and absence may return to nought.'

And my belovèd lifted up her face,
And moved her lips as if about to speak;
She dropped her lashes with a girlish grace,
And the rich damask mantled in her cheek
I stood awaiting till she should deny
Her love, or with sweet laughter put it by.

But, closer nestling to her mother's heart,
She, blushing, said no word to break my trance,
For I was breathless; and, with lips apart,
Felt my breast pant and all my pulses dance,
And strove to move, but could not for the weight
Of unbelieving joy, so sudden and so great,

Because she loved me. With a mighty sigh
Breaking away, I left her on her knees,
And blest the laurel bower, the darkened sky,
The sultry night of August. Through the trees,
Giddy with gladness, to the porch I went,
And hardly found the way for joyful wonderment.

Yet, when I entered, saw her mother sit
With both hands cherishing the graceful head,
Smoothing the clustered hair, and parting it
From the fair brow; she, rising, only said,
In the accustomed tone, the accustomed word,
The careless greeting that I always heard;

And she resumed her merry, mocking smile,
Though tear-drops on the glistening lashes hung.
O woman! thou wert fashioned to beguile:
So have all sages said, all poets sung.
She spoke of favouring winds and waiting ships,
With smiles of gratulation on her lips!

And then she looked and faltered: I had grown
So suddenly in life and soul a man:
She moved her lips, but could not find a tone
To set her mocking music to; began
One struggle for dominion, raised her eyes,
And straight withdrew them, bashful through

The colour over cheek and bosom flushed;
I might have heard the beating of her heart,
But that mine own beat louder; when she blushed,
The hand within mine own I felt to start,
But would not change my pitiless decree
To strive with her for might and mastery.

She looked again, as one that, half afraid,
Would fain be certain of a doubtful thing;
Or one beseeching 'Do not me upbraid!'
And then she trembled like the fluttering
Of timid little birds, and silent stood,
No smile wherewith to mock my hardihood.

She turned, and to an open casement moved
With girlish shyness, mute beneath my gaze,
And I on downcast lashes unreproved
Could look as long as pleased me; while, the rays
Of moonlight round her, she her fair head bent,
In modest silence to my words attent.

How fast the giddy whirling moments flew!
The moon had set; I heard the midnight chime;
Hope is more brave than fear, and joy than dread,
And I could wait unmoved the parting time.
It came; for by a sudden impulse drawn,
She, risen, stepped out upon the dusky lawn.

A little waxen taper in her hand,
Her feet upon the dry and dewless grass,
She looked like one of the celestial band,
Only that on her checks did dawn and pass
Most human blushes; while, the soft light thrown
On vesture pure and white, she seemed yet
fairer grown.

Her mother, looking out toward her, sighed,
Then gave her hand in token of farewell,
And with her warning eyes, that seemed to chide,
Scarce suffered that I sought her child to tell
The story of my life, whose every line
No other burden bore than—Eglantine.

Black thunder-clouds were rising up behind,
The waxen taper burned full steadily;
It seemed as if dark midnight had a mind
To hear what lovers say, and her decree
Had passed for silence, while she, dropped to
With raiment floating wide, drank in the sound.

O happiness! thou dost not leave a trace
So well defined as sorrow. Amber light,
Shed like a glory on her angel face,
I can remember fully, and the sight
Of her fair forehead and her shining eyes,
And lips that smiled in sweet and girlish wise.

I can remember how the taper played
Over her small hands and her vesture white;
How it struck up into the trees, and laid
Upon their under leaves unwonted light;
And when she held it low, how far it spread
O'er velvet pansies slumbering on their bed.

I can remember that we spoke full low,
That neither doubted of the other's truth;
And that with footsteps slower and more slow,
Hands folded close for love, eyes wet for ruth:
Beneath the trees, by that clear taper's flame,
We wandered till the gate of parting came.

But I forget the parting words she said,
So much they thrilled the all-attentive soul;
For one short moment human heart and head
May bear such bliss—its present is the whole:
I had that present, till in whispers fell
With parting gesture her subdued farewell.

Farewell! she said, in act to turn away,
But stood a moment still to dry her tears,
And suffered my enfolding arm to stay
The time of her departure. O ye years
That intervene betwixt that day and this!
You all received your hue from that keen pain
and bliss.

O mingled pain and bliss! O pain to break
At once from happiness so lately found,
And four long years to feel for her sweet sake
The incompleteness of all sight and sound!
But bliss to cross once more the foaming brine—
O bliss to come again and make her mine!

I cannot—O, I cannot more recall!
But I will soothe my troubled thoughts to rest.
With musing over journeyings wide, and all
Observance of this active-humoured west,
And swarming cities steeped in eastern day,
With swarthy tribes in gold and striped array.

I turn from these, and straight there will succeed
(Shifting and changing at the restless will),
Imbedded in some deep Circassian mead,
White wagon-tilts, and flocks that eat their fill
Unseen above, while comely shepherds pass,
And scarcely show their heads above the grass.

—The red Sahara in an angry glow,
With amber fogs, across its hollows trailed
Long strings of camels, gloomy-eyed and slow,
And women on their necks, from gazers veiled,
And sun-swart guides who toil across the sand
To groves of date-trees on the watered land.

Again—the brown sails of an Arab boat,
Flapping by night upon a glassy sea,
Whereon the moon and planets seem to float,
More bright of hue than they were wont to be,
While shooting-stars rain down with crackling
And, thick as swarming locusts, drop to ground.

Or far into the heat among the sands
The gembok nations, snuffing up the wind,
Drawn by the scent of water—and the bands
Of tawny-bearded lions pacing, blind
With the sun-dazzle in their midst, opprest
With prey, and spiritless for lack of rest!

What more? Old Lebanon, the frosty-browed,
Setting his feet among oil-olive trees,
Heaving his bare brown shoulder through a cloud;
And after, grassy Carmel, purple seas,
Flattering his dreams and echoing in his rocks,
Soft as the bleating of his thousand flocks.

Enough: how vain this thinking to beguile,
With recollected scenes, an aching breast!
Did not I, journeying, muse on her the while?
Ah, yes! for every landscape comes impressed—
Ay, written on, as by an iron pen—
With the same thought I nursed about her then.

Therefore let memory turn again to home;
Feel, as of old, the joy of drawing near;
Watch the green breakers and the wind-tossed foam
And see the land-fog break, dissolve, and clear;
Then think a skylark's voice far sweeter sound
Than ever thrilled but over English ground;

And walk, glad, even to tears, among the wheat,
Not doubting this to be the first of lands;
And, while in foreign words this murmuring, meet
Some little village schoolgirls (with their hands
Full of forget-me-nots), who greeting me,
I count their English talk delightsome melody;

And seat me on a bank, and draw them near,
That I may feast myself with hearing it,
Till shortly they forget their bashful fear,
Push back their flaxen curls, and round me sit—
Tell me their names, their daily tasks, and show
Where wild wood strawberries in the copses grow.

So passed the day in this delightsome land:
My heart was thankful for the English tongue—
For English sky with feathery cloudlets spanned—
For English hedge with glistering dewdrops hung.
I journeyed, and at glowing eventide
Stopped at a rustic inn by the wayside.

That night I slumbered sweetly, being right glad
To miss the flapping of the shrouds; but lo!
A quiet dream of beings twain I had,
Behind the curtain talking soft and low:
Methought I did not heed their utterance fine,
Till one of them said softly, 'Eglantine.'

I started up awake, 't was silence all:
My own fond heart had shaped that utterance clear;
And 'Ah!' methought, 'how sweetly did it fall,
Though but in dream, upon the listening ear!
How sweet from other lips the name well known—
That name; so many a year heard only from
mine own!

I thought awhile, then slumber came to me,
And tangled all my fancy in her maze,
And I was drifting on a raft at sea,
The near all ocean, and the far all haze;
Through the white polished water sharks did glide,
And up in heaven I saw no stars to guide.

'Have mercy, God!' but lo! my raft uprose;
Drip, drip, I heard the water splash from it;
My raft had wings, and as the petrel goes,
It skimmed the sea, then brooding seemed to sit
The milk-white mirror, till, with sudden spring,
It flew straight upward like a living thing.

But strange!—I went not also in that flight,
For I was entering at a cavern's mouth;
Trees grew within, and screaming birds of night
Sat on them, hiding from the torrid south.
On, on I went, while gleaming in the dark
Those trees with blanchèd leaves stood pale
and stark.

The trees had flower-buds, nourished in
deep night,
And suddenly, as I went farther in,
They opened, and they shot out lambent light;
Then all at once arose a railing din
That frighted me: 'It is the ghosts,' I said,
'And they are railing for their darkness fled.

'I hope they will not look me in the face;
It frighteth me to hear their laughter loud;'
I saw them troop before with jaunty pace,
And one would shake off dust that soiled her
But now, O joy unhoped! to calm my dread,
Some moonlight filtered through a cleft o'erhead.

I climbed the lofty trees—the blanchèd trees—
The cleft was wide enough to let me through
I clambered out and felt the balmy breeze,
And stepped on churchyard grasses wet with dew.
O happy chance! O fortune to admire!
I stood beside my own loved village spire.

And as I gazed upon the yew-tree's trunk,
Lo, far off music—music in the night!
So sweet and tender as it swelled and sunk;
It charmed me till I wept with keen delight,
And in my dream, methought as it drew near
The very clouds in heaven stooped low to hear.

Beat high, beat low, wild heart so deeply stirred,
For high as heaven runs up the piercing strain;
The restless music fluttering like a bird
Bemoaned herself, and dropped to earth again,
Heaping up sweetness till I was afraid
That I should die of grief when it did fade.

And it DID fade; but while with eager ear
I drank its last long echo dying away,
I was aware of footsteps that drew near,
And round the ivied chancel seemed to stray:
O soft above the hallowed place they trod—
Soft as the fall of foot that is not shod!

I turned—'t was even so—yes, Eglantine!
For at the first I had divined the same;
I saw the moon on her shut eyelids shine,
And said 'She is asleep:' still on she came;
Then, on her dimpled feet, I saw it gleam,
And thought—'I know that this is but a dream.'

My darling! O my darling! not the less
My dream went on because I knew it such;
She came towards me in her loveliness—
A thing too pure, methought, for mortal touch;
The rippling gold did on her bosom meet,
The long white robe descended to her feet.

The fringèd lids dropped low, as sleep-oppressed;
Her dreamy smile was very fair to see,
And her two hands were folded to her breast
With somewhat held between them heedfully.
O fast asleep! and yet methought she knew
And felt my nearness those shut eyelids through.

She sighed: my tears ran down for tenderness—
'And have I drawn thee to me in my sleep?
Is it for me thou wanderest shelterless,
Wetting thy steps in dewy grasses deep?
O if this be!' I said—'yet speak to me;
I blame my very dream for cruelty.'

Then from her stainless bosom she did take
Two beauteous lily flowers that lay therein,
And with slow-moving lips a gesture make,
As one that some forgotten words doth win:
'They floated on the pool,' methought she said,
And water trickled from each lily's head.

It dropped upon her feet—I saw it gleam
Along the ripples of her yellow hair,
And stood apart, for only in a dream
She would have come, methought, to meet
me there.
She spoke again—'Ah fair! ah fresh they shine!
And there are many left, and these are mine.'

I answered her with flattering accents meet
'Love, they are whitest lilies e'er were blown.'
'And sayest thou so?' she sighed in murmurs sweet;
'I have nought else to give thee now, mine own!
For it is night. Then take them, love!' said she:
'They have been costly flowers to thee—and me.'

While thus she said I took them from her hand,
And, overcome with love and nearness, woke;
And overcome with ruth that she should stand
Barefooted on the grass; that, when she spoke,
Her mystic words should take so sweet a tone,
And of all names her lips should choose 'My own.'

I rose, I journeyed, neared my home, and soon
Beheld the spire peer out above the hill:
It was a sunny harvest afternoon,
When by the churchyard wicket, standing still,
I cast my eager eyes abroad to know
If change had touched the scenes of long ago.

I looked across the hollow; sunbeams shone
Upon the old house with the gable ends:
'Save that the laurel-trees are taller grown,
No change,' methought, 'to its grey wall extends.
What clear bright beams on yonder lattice shine!
There did I sometime talk with Eglantine.'

There standing with my very goal in sight,
Over my haste did sudden quiet steal;
I thought to dally with my own delight,
Nor rush on headlong to my garnered weal.
But taste the sweetness of a short delay,
And for a little moment hold the bliss at bay.

The church was open; it perchance might be
That there to offer thanks I might essay,
Or rather, as I think, that I might see
The place where Eglantine was wont to pray.
But so it was; I crossed that portal wide,
And felt my riot joy to calm subside.

The low depending curtains, gently swayed;
Cast over arch and roof a crimson glow;
But, ne'ertheless, all silence and all shade
It seemed, save only for the rippling flow
Of their long foldings, when the sunset air
Sighed through the casements of the house of prayer.

I found her place, the ancient oaken stall,
Where in her childhood I had seen her sit,
Most saint-like and most tranquil there of all,
Folding her hands, as if a dreaming fit—
A heavenly vision had before her strayed
Of the Eternal Child in lowly manger laid.

I saw her prayer-book laid upon the seat,
And took it in my hand, and felt more near
In fancy to her, finding it most sweet
To think how very oft, low kneeling there,
In her devout thoughts she had let me share,
And set my graceless name in her pure prayer.

My eyes were dazzled with delightful tears—
In sooth they were the last I ever shed;
For with them fell the cherished dreams of years.
I looked, and on the wall above my head,
Over her seat, there was a tablet placed,
With one word only on the marble traced.—

Ah, well! I would not overstate that woe,
For I have had some blessings, little care;
But since the falling of that heavy blow,
God's earth has never seemed to me so fair;
Nor any of His creatures so divine,
Nor sleep so sweet;—the word was—EGLANTINE.