OH who shall say that we are free !
Surely life's chains are strong to bind
From youth to age, from birth to death,
Body and mind.

We run the riotous race of youth,
Then turn from evil things to good :
'Tis but a slower pulse, a chill
Of youth's hot blood.

We mount the difficult steeps of thought,
Or pace the dusty paths of gain :
'Tis but that sense receding leaves
A keener brain.

Time takes this too, and then we turn
Our dim eyes to the hidden shore ;
Life palls, and yet we long to live,
Ay, nothing more.

IT was not that thy eyes
Were blue as autumn skies,
It was not that thy hair
Was as an angel's fair.
No excellence of form could move
A finer soul to so much love.

Nor that in thee I sought
For precious gems of thought,
Nor ever hoped to find
Hid treasure in thy mind.
Gray wisdom comes with time and age,
And thine was an unwritten page.

But that I seemed in thee
My other self to see,
Yet purer and more high
Than meets my inner eye,
Like that enamoured boy who, gazing down,
His lower self would in his higher drown.

To and fro, to and fro,
The long, long processions go,
Fainter now and now more bright,
Now in shadow, now in light ;
Gay and sad, and gay again,
Mixed of pleasure, mixed of pain.
Bridal song and burial dirge,
Rippling blue and leaden surge ;
Sunlit plain and storm-wrapt hill,
Saintly lives or stained with ill ;
Youth and fire and frolic mirth,
Cold age bending back to earth ;
Hope and faith and high endeavour,
Dead lives slowly waning ever ;
Gleams of varying sun and shade,
Buds that burst, and flowers that fade ;
Lives that spring, and lives that fall,
And a Hidden Will o'er all.

Vou see that tall house opposite ?
Three times within the fleeting year,
Since last the summer-time was here,
Great changes have gone over it.

For first a bridal bright and gay
Filled the long street with riotous sound ;
And amid smiles from all around,
The newly-wedded passed away.

And when the violets came once more,
And lambs were born, a concourse went,
Still gayer, still more innocent.
To christening from that stately door.

And now the mute house dull and drear,
From blinded eyes, stares blank and white ;
And amid dust and glaring light,
The black lines slowly disappear.

DOWN dropped the sun upon the sea,
The gradual darkness filled the land ;
Amid the twilight, silently,
I felt the pressure of a hand.

And a low voice: 'Have courage, friend.
Be of good cheer, 'tis not for long ;
He conquers who awaits the end,
And dares to suffer and be strong.'

I have seen many a land since then,
Known many a joy and many a pain.
Victor in many a strife of men,
Vanquished again and yet again.

The ancient sorrow now is not,
Since time can heal the keenest smart ;
Yet the vague memory, scarce forgot,
Lingers deep down within the heart.

Still, when the ruddy flame of gold
Fades into gray on sea and land,
I hear the low sweet voice of old,
I feel the pressure of a hand.

WILD flowers in spring were sweet to childish hands
As riches to the wretch possessing naught ;
And as the water-springs in desert lands
Are the pale victories of patient thought :
But sweeter, dearest, sweeter far,
The hours when we together are.

No more I know the childish joys of old,
Nor yet have learnt the grave delights of age:
A miser, gloat I on thy locks' rich gold ;
A student, ponder on thy soul's fair page.
Thus do I grow both rich and wise,
On these fair locks and those deep eyes.

Therefore in wit and wealth do I increase,
Poring on thee, as on a fair writ book ;
No panic-fear can make that rich stream cease,
Nor doubt confuse the crystal of thy look.
Some to the mart, some to the oratory,
May turn them : thou art both to me.

FOR ever and for ever
The changeless oceans roar :
And dash their thundering surges down
Upon the sounding shore :
Yet this swift soul, this lightning will,
Shall these, while they roll on, be still ?

For ever and for ever
The eternal mountains rise,
And lift their virgin snows on high
To meet the silent skies.
Yet shall this soul which measures all,
While these stand steadfast, sink and fall?

For ever and for ever
The swift suns roll through space ;
From age to age they wax and wane,
Each in its ordered place :
Yet shall this soul, whose inner eye
Foretells their cycles, fade and die ?

For ever and for ever
We have been, and we are,
Unchanging as the ocean wave,
Unresting as the star :
Though suns stand still, and time be o'er,
We are, and shall be, evermore.

At An Almshouse

BENEATH these shadows holy
Age rests, or paces slowly,
And muses, muses always
On that which once has been,
Recalling years long ended,
And vanished visions splendid ;
The throb, the flush of old days,
When all the world was green.

When every hour brought pleasure,
And every flower a treasure,
And whispered words were spoken,
And love was everywhere.
The swift brief hour of passion,
And then the old, old fashion,
The childish accents broken
Oh, precious days and fair !

The years of self-denial,
Blissful tho' full of trial,
The young blooms waxing stronger,
The older come to fruit.
The tranquil days of gladness,
The gradual calm and sadness,
When childhood cheers no longer,
And all the house is mute.

Gone, but not wholly taken ;
Left, yet not all forsaken.
Again the worn hearts cherish
The memories of home ;
Again love-whispers greet them,
Their children run to meet them,
Blest dreams which never perish
Until the end be come.

Love Triumphant

LOVE took me up, a naked, helpless child,
Love laid me sleeping on the tender breast,
Love gazed on me with saintly eyes and mild,
Love watched me as I lay in happy rest,
Love was my childhood's stay, my chiefest good,
My daily friend, my solace, and my food.

But when to Love's own stature I was come,
Treading the paths where fabled Loves abound,
Hard by the Cytherean's magic home,
Loveless I paced alone the enchanted ground.
Some phantoms pale I marked, which fled away,
And lo, my youth was gone ; my hair turned gray.

Loveless I lived long time, until I knew
A thrill since childish hours unknown before,
My cloistered heart forth to the wicket flew,
And Love himself was waiting at the door.
And now, howe'er the treacherous seasons move,
Love dwells with me again, and I with Love.

Love folds me round, Love walks with me, Love takes
My heart and burns it with a holy fire :
Love lays me on his silver wings, and makes
My fainting soul to thinner air aspire.
Love of the Source, the Race, the True, the Right,
This is my sole companion day and night.

FROM day to day, from year to year,
New waves of change assail us here ;
Each day, each year, prolongs the chain
Where pleasure alternates with pain.

New earth-born exhalations rise,
To hide the heavens from our eyes ;
New clouds obscure the vision fair,
Which once was round us everywhere.

New precious obligations come,
New sanctities of love and home,
New tender hopes, new anxious fears,
And sweet experiences of tears.

Old tastes are lost, old thoughts grow strange,
Old longings gradually change,
Old faiths seem no more dear or true,
Lost in the full light of the new.

Youth's boundless aspirations fled,
And every wild ambition dead ;
Love not a meteor blinding sight,
But a pure ray of sober light.

And for the passionate self of old,
A deep affection, calm, not cold ;
A pitying love serenely kind,
A broader trust, a juster mind,

A faith which occupies the heart,
Tho' the brain halts to bear its part,
Which threat and promise fail to move,
Like the dim consciousness of love.

Tho' much be taken, much is left,
Not all forsaken nor bereft ;
From change on change we come to rest,
And the last moment is the best.

The Treasure Of Hope

O FAIR bird, singing in the woods,
To the rising and the setting sun,
Does ever any throb of pain
Thrill through thee ere thy song be done:
Because the summer fleets so fast ;
Because the autumn fades so soon ;
Because the deadly winter treads
So closely on the steps of June?

O sweet maid, opening like a rose
In love's mysterious, honeyed air,
Dost think sometimes the day will come
When thou shalt be no longer fair :
When love will leave thee and pass on
To younger and to brighter eyes ;
And thou shall live unloved, alone,
A dull life, only dowered with sighs ?

O brave youth, panting for the fight,
To conquer wrong and win thee fame,
Dost see thyself grown old and spent,
And thine a still unhonoured name :
When all thy hopes have come to naught,
And all thy fair schemes droop and pine
And wrong still lifts her hydra heads
To fall to younger arms than thine ?

Nay ; song and love and lofty aims
May never be where faith is not ;
Strong souls within the present live ;
The future veiled, the past forgot :
Grasping what is, with thews of steel,
They bend what shall be, to their will ;
And blind alike to doubt and dread,
The End, for which they are, fulfil.

IN Volhynia the peasant mothers,
When spring-time brings back the leaves,
And the first swallows dart and twitter
Under the cottage eaves,—

Sit mute at their windows, and listen,
With eyes brimming over with tears,
To the broken sounds which are wafted
To their eager watching ears.

And throw out bread and honey
To the birds as they scintillate by ;
And hearts full of yearning and longing,
Borne out on the wings of a sigh.

For they think that their dear lost children,
The little ones who are gone,
Come back thus to the heartsick mothers
Who are toiling and sorrowing on.

And those sun-lit wings and flashing
White breasts, to their tear-dimmed eyes
Bring visions of white child -angels
Floating in Paradise.

And again to the sounds they hearken.
Grown silent while incomplete,
The music of childish laughter,
The patter of baby feet.

Till the hearts which are barren and childless,
The homes which are empty and cold :
The nests whence the young have departed,
Are filled with young life as of old.

Thus each spring, to those peasant mothers,
Comes the old Past again and again ;
And those sad hearts quicken and blossom,
In a rapture of sorrowless pain.

WHO but has seen
Once in his life, when youth and health ran high,
The fair, clear face of truth
Grow dark to his eye ?
Who but has known
Cold mists of doubt and icy questionings
Creep round him like a nightmare, blotting out
The sight of better things.

A hopeless hour,
When all the voices of the soul are dumb,
When o'er the tossing seas
No ligh may come,
When God and right
Are gone, and seated on the empty throne
Are dull philosophies and words of wind,
Making His praise their own.

Better than this,
The burning sins of youth, the old man's greed,
Than thus to live inane ;
To sit and read,
And with blind brain
Daily to treasure up a deadly doubt,
And live a life from which the light has fled,
And faith's pure fire gone out.

Until at last,
For some blest souls, but never here for all,
Burns out a sudden light,
And breaks the thrall,
And doubt has fled,
And the soul rises, with a clearer sight
For this its pain, its sorrow, its despair,
To God and truth and right.

Plead we for those
Gently and humbly, as befitteth men
On whom the same chill shade
Broods now as then.
So shall they learn
How an eternal wisdom rules above,
And all the cords of Being ar bound fast
To an unfailing love.

A Yorkshire River

THE silent surfaces sleep
With a sullen viscous flow,
And scarce in the squalid deep
Swing the dead weeds to and fro,
And no living thing is there to swim or creep
In the sunless gulfs below.

And beneath are the ooze and the slime,
Where the corpse lies as it fell,
The hidden secrets of crime
Which no living tongue shall tell,
The shameful story of time,
The old, old burden of hell.

All the grasses upon the bank
Are bitter with scurf and drift,
And the reeds are withered and dank ;
And sometimes, when the smoke clouds shift,
You may see the tall shafts in a hideous rank
Their sulphurous fumes uplift.

From the black blot up the stream
The funeral barges glide,
And the waves part as in a dream,
From broad bow and sunken side ;
And 'tis 'greed, greed!' hisses from coal and from steam,
Foul freightage and turbid tide,

Like the life of a slumb'ring soul
Grown dull in content and health,
Whose dark depths lazily roll,
Whose still currents creep by stealth.
Nor sorrow nor yearning comes to control
The monotonous tide of wealth.

Fair or foul, in life as in death,
One blight and corruption o'er all,
Blow on them, great wind, with thy breath,
Fall, blinding water-floods, fall,
Till the dead life below awakeneth,
And deep unto deep doth call !

PEACE, moaning Sea ; what tale have you to tell ?
What mystic tidings, all unknown before ?
Whether you break in thunder on the shore,
Or whisper like the voice within the shell,
O moaning Sea, I know your burden well,
'Tis but the old dull tale, filled full of pain ;
The finger on tne dial-plate of time,
Advancing slow with pitiless beat sublime,
As stoops the day upon the fading plain ;
And that has been which may not be again.

The voice of yearning, deep but scarce expressed,
For something which is not, but may be yet ;
Too full of sad continuance to forget,
Too troubled with desires to be at rest,
Too self-conflicting ever to be blest.
The voice of hopes and aspirations high,
Swallowed in sand, or shivered on the rock ;
Tumultuous life dashed down with sudden shock ;
And passionate protests, narrowed to a sigh,
From hearts too weak to live, too strong to die.

The voice of old beliefs which long have fled,
Gone with a shriek, and leaving naught behind,
But some vague utterance, cold as wintry wind,
Some dim remembrance of a ghostly dread
Which lingers still when faith itself is dead.
And, above all, through thund'rous wintry roar,
And summer ripple, this, and this alone,
For ever do I make this barren moan :
No end, there is no end, on Time's dull shore
I wail, I beat, I thunder, evermore.

A Midsummer Night

THE long day wanes, the broad fields fade ; the night,
The sweet June night, is like a curtain drawn;
The dark lanes know no faintest sound, and white
The pallid hawthorn lights the smoothpleached lawn ;
The scented earth drinks from the silent skies
Soft dews, more sweet than softest harmonies.

There is no stir nor breath of air, the plains
Lie slumbering in the close embrace of night,
Only the rustling landrail's note complains;
The children's casement shows the half-veiled light,
Only beneath the solemn elm trees tall
The fountain seems to fall and cease to fall.

No change will come, nor any sound be made
Thro' the still hours which shall precede the day ;
Only the bright-eyed stars will slowly fade,
And a thin vapour rise up cold and gray,
Then a soft breeze will whisper fresh and cold,
And up the swift sun hurries red as gold.

And then another dawn, another link,
To bind the coming to the vanished day,
Another foot-pace nearer to the brink
Whereon our perilous footsteps hardly stay,
Another line upon the secular page
Of birth-throes, bridals, sick-beds, youth and age.

Sweet summer night, than summer days more fair,
Safe haven of the weary and forlorn,
Splendid the gifts the luminous noontides bear,
Lovely the opening eyelids of the morn ;
But thou with softest touch transrigurest
This toilworn earth into a heaven of rest.

HE stood above the well-known shore ;
Behind, the sea stretched dull and gray:
And slowly with the breeze of morn
The great ship forged away.

Almost he wished she might return,
And speed him to some further change ;
The old scenes greeted him again,
And yet all things were strange.

There were the dreams he used to dream
In the long nights when day was here ;
The shady Sunday path to church,
The winding brooklet clear.

The woods with violets blue in Spring,
The fallow where they chased the hare,
The gable peeping through the elms,
All filled him with despair.

For all was there except the past—
The past, his youth for dross had sold !'
The past which after-years in vain
Prize more than all their goid.

Then age fell on him with a flash,
Time smote him, and his soul grew gray,
And thoughts in busier scenes unknown,
Chased youth and hope away,

The past, which seemed so near before,
A step might gain it, came to be
A low cloud sunk beyond a gulf,
Wider than any sea.

Nor what the present had in store,
Knowing ; at last his great suspense
Grew to a bitter load of pain,
Too great for mortal sense.

So, by the well-known paths at last,
He gained the well-remembered door,
Sick for a voice which he should hear,
Ah ! never, never, more

Strange children round, a stranger's face
Of wonder, so the dream was o'er.
He turned ; the dead past comes not back.
No, never, never, more.

The Living Past

FAITHFUL souls that watch and yearn,
Expectant of the coming light,
With kindling hearts and eyes that burn
With hope to see the rule of right ;

The time of peace and of good will,
When the thick clouds of wrong and pain
Roll up as from a shining hill,
And never more descend again ;

The perfect day, the golden year,
The end of sorrow and of sighs ;
Whether the heavenly change be here,
Or far beyond the sunset skies,—

I cherish you, I love your faith,
I long with you that this may be ;
But hark, a dreary voice which saith,
'Vain dreamer, what were it to thee!'

For though the blest hour strike before
Another sunrise vex the earth,
And pain and evil rule no more,
But vanish in the newer birth,—

Though war and hatred come to cease,
And sorrow be no more, nor sin,
And in their stead an endless peace
Its fair unbroken reign begin,—

What comfort have ye? What shall blot
The memories of bitter years,
Of joys which have been, but are not,
And floods of unforgotten tears ?

The painful records graven clear
On carven rock or deathless page ;
The long unceasing reign of fear,
The weary tale of lust and rage ;

The ills whose dark sum baffles thought,
Done day by day beneath the sun ?
'That which is done,' the old sage taught,
'Not God Himself can make undone.'

For that which has been, still must live,
And 'neath the shallow Present last.
Oh, who will sweet oblivion give,
Who free us from the dreadful Past ?

To The Setting Sun

STAY, O sweet day, nor fleet so fast away
For now it is that life revives again,
As the red tyrant sinks beneath the hill ;
And now soft dews refresh the arid plain ;
And now the fair bird's voice begins to thrill ;
With hidden dolours making sweet her strain
And wakes the woods that all day were so still.

Stay, O sweet day, nor fleet so fast away ;
For now the rose and all fair flowers that blow
Give out sweet odours to the perfumed air,
And the white palace marbles blush and glow,
And the low, ivy-hidden cot shows fair.
Why are time's feet so swift, and ours so slow ?
Haste, laggard ! night will fall ere you are there.

Stay, O sweet day, nor fleet so fast away ;
Soon the pale full-faced moon will slowly climb
Up the steep sky and quench the star of love.
Moonlight is fair, but fairer far the time
When through the leaves the dying shafts above
Slope, and the minster sounds its curfew chime,
And the long shadows lengthen through the grove.

Stay, O sweet day,' nor fleet so fast away;
For, hark ! the chime throbs from the darkling tower ;
Soon for the last time shall my love be here :
Fair day, renew thy rays for one brief hour.
O sweet day, tarry for us, tarry near ;
To-morrow, love and time will lose their power,
And sighs be mine, and the unbidden tear.

Stay, O sweet day, nor fleet so fast away.
But, ah ! thou may'st not ; in the far-off west
Impatient lovers weary till you rise ;
Or may be caring naught thou traversest
The plains betwixt thee and thy final skies :
Go, then ; though darkness come, we shall be blest,
Keeping sweet daylight, in each other's eyes.

THE spring day was all of a flutter with flags ;
The mad chimes were beating like surf in the air ;
The beggars had slunk out of sight with their rags ;
And the balconies teemed with the rich and the fair.

And below, on each side, the long vistas were set
In a frame-work of faces, patient and white,
Wives, mothers, sweethearts, with full eyes wet,
And sick hearts longing to see the sight.

Till at length, when the evening was waning, there ran
A stir through the crowd, and far-off, like a flame,
The setting sun burned on the helms of the van,
And with trampling of hoofs the proud conquerors came.

And with every step they advanced, you might hear
Women's voices, half-maddened with long-deferred joy :
'Thank God ! he is safe. See, my love, we are here !
See ! here am I, darling ; and this is our boy !'

Or, 'Here am I, dearest, still iaithful and true ;
Your own love as of old!' Or an agonised cry,
As the loved face came not with the comrades she knew
And the rough soldiers found not a word to reply.

And pitiful hands led her softly away,
With a loving heart rent and broken in twain ;
And the triumph sweeps onward, in gallant array,
The life and the hope, the despair and the pain.

Where was it? In Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome?
Ages since, or to-day ; in the old world, or new ?
Who shall tell ? From all time these strange histories come ;
And to-day, as of old, the same story is true.

And the long line sweeps past, and the dull world rolls on
Though the rapture is dead and the sad tears are dry,
And careless of all, till the progress be done,
Life rides like a conqueror triumphing by.

SHUT in by self, as by a brazen wall,
In a dry, windless court alone,
Where no refreshing dews of eve may fall,
Nor morning sun has shone.

But ever broader, ever higher, higher,
And ever yearly stronger grown,
In long circuitous folds high towers aspire
Around her central throne.

And every year adds some fair outercourt,
Green, lit with fountains, tended well,
Some dainty pleasaunce fit for joy and sport,
But not wherein to dwell.

Or some high palace spired with fretted gold,
And tricked with gems of thought and art;
In blank perspective ranks its chambers cold,
Too fair to touch the heart.

For far within the inmost coil of towers,
Wrapt round with shadows like a cloak,
Where on the twilight hush of slowpaced hours
Full utterance never broke ;

Neither of laughter nor the painful sound
Of great thoughts come to sudden birth,
Nor murmurs from the Sea that frets around
The dull laborious earth ;

Nor voice of love or child, nor note of glee,
Nor sigh, nor any weal nor woe
Naught but a chill, at times, as hopelessly
The slow years come and go ;

She broods immured, a devil or a saint,
Shut fast within a lonely cell,
Peopled with beatific visions faint,
Or ghostly shapes of hell.

And every year she hears from some high gate
That breaks the dizzy circuit of the wall,
By hands invisible, but strong as fate,
The loud portcullis fall.

And every year upon her duller ear
Faint and more faint the outward echoes come,
Fainter the mingled tones of hope and fear,
To this her cloistered home.

Till, when the weary circuit's done and past,
The last gate clangs, the tall towers sway and fall,
A great voice calls with thunders, and at last
The captive breaks her thrall!

As one who on a lonely bed of pain
Feels the soft hand he felt when he was young;
Or, who at eve, on some far Eastern plain,
Hears the old songs once by his mother sung:
So to me, looking on thy portrait, dear,
Thou and my youth and love are ever near.

It may be that the painter failed to show,
How should he not? the soul within thine eyes,-
Their blue unruffled depths, thy cheeks aglow
With virgin blushes that unbidden rise;
Thy coral lips, thy white neck, round, and fair,
Or the sweet prodigal auburn of thy hair.

How should he? Not for him thou wast, but me;
Love shot no sudden splendour in his eyes;
Love guided not his hand, content to see
Mere beauty, as of sunset-hills or skies;
Nor soothed his dull ear with the mystic strain,
Heard once a life, and nevermore again.

Only the lovely shell he saw; the cloak,
The perfect vesture of the hidden soul.
Not for his eyes thy slumbering angel woke,
Stretched in deep sleep, where love's broad waters roll:
Had he but seen her wings of silver move,
He had forgot to paint, and learned to love.

Yet is his skill to me for ever blest,
For that which it has left of grace and truth;
Those sweet eyes shine, yet need no time of rest,
Still thy fair cheek retains its rounded youth.
In wakeful nights I light my lamp, and know
The same dear face I knew long years ago.

Yet worn am I, too old for love, and gray.
Too faithful heart, thou shouldst not still abide
With such as I, nor longer deign to stay:
These are the follies wiser worldlings chide.
Thou wouldst transfer those glances, wert thou wise,
To younger lives and more responsive eyes.

Ah! no, remain; not thus you looked of yore;
Another, perhaps more worthy, bore the prize;
I could not tell you then the love I bore,
Or read the soft requital in your eyes;
Now no change comes, now thou art always kind,
Then thou wast cold and changeful as the wind.

WHAT shall it profit a man
To have stood by the source of things,
To have spent the fair years of his youthful prime
In mystical questionings ;
To have scaled the lovely height,
While his brothers slept below ;
To have seen the vision bright
Which but few on earth may know,—
If when his task be done
He lives his life alone ?
If in the busy street
None come whom he may greet ?
If in his lonely room
With the night the shadows deepen into ghostly shapes of gloom ?

It may be his soul may say,
' I have gained me a splendid dower ;
I can look around on the toiling crowd,
With the pride of a conscious power.
I can hear the passer-by
Tell of all my world-wide fame ;
I have friends I shall not see
Who dwell fondly on my name.
If the sweet smile of wife
Light not my joyless life,
If to my silent home
No childish laughter come,
Shall I no solace find
In communion with the monarchs of the fair broad realm of mind ?'

But when sickness wears him, or age
Creeps on, and his soul doth yearn
For the tender hand and the soothing voice
That shall never more return
When the lessening throng of friends,
Not unkind, but each one set
Safe within white walls of home,
All the world without forget,—
Shall not old memories rise
'Twixt book and weary eyes,
Till knowledge come to seem
A profitless vague dream ?
Shall not he sometimes sigh
For the careless past unlearned, and the happy days gone by ?

Ah ! not to be happy alone,
Are men sent, or to be glad.
Oft-times the sweetest music is made
By the voices of the sad.
The thinker oft is bent
By a too-great load of thought ;
The discoverer's soul grows sick
With the secret vainly sought :
Lonely may be the home,
No breath of fame may come,
Yet through their lives doth shine
A purple light Divine,
And a nobler pain they prove
Than the bloom of lower pleasures, or the fleeting spell of love.

The River Of Life

BRIGHT with unnumbered laughters, and swollen by a thousand tears,
Rushes along, through upland and lowland, the river of life ;
Sometimes foaming and broken, and sometimes silent and slumbrous,
Sometimes down rocky glens, and sometimes through flowery plains.
Sometimes the mountains draw near, and the black depths swirl at their bases,
Sometimes the limitless meads fade on the verge of the sky,
Sometimes the forests stand round, and the great trees cast mystical shadows,
Sometimes the golden wheat waves, and girls fill their pitchers and sing.

Always the same strange flow, through changes and chances unchanging,
Always—in youth and in age, in calm and in tempest the same—
Whether it sparkle transparent and give back the blue like a mirror,
Or sweep on turbid with flood, or black with the garbage of towns—
Whether the silvery scale of the minnow flash on the pebbles,
Or whether the poisonous ooze cling like a shroud round the dead—
Whether it struggle through shoals of white blooms and feathery grasses,
Or bear on its bosom the hulls of oceantost navies—the same.

Flow on, O mystical river, flow on through desert and city ;
Broken or smooth, flow onward into the Infinite sea.
Who knows what urges thee on, what dark laws and cosmical forces
Stain thee or keep thee pure, and bring thee at last to thy goal ?
What is the cause of thy rest or unrest, of thy foulness or pureness ?
What is the secret of life, or the painful riddle of death ?
Why is it better to be than to cease, to flow on than to stagnate ?
Why is the river-stream sweet, while the sea is as bitter as gall ?

Surely we know not at all, but the cycle of Being is eternal,
Life is eternal as death, tears are eternal as joy.
As the stream flowed, it will flow; though 'tis sweet, yet the sea will be bitter :
Foul it with filth, yet the deltas grow green and the ocean is clear.
Always the sun and the winds will strike its broad surface and gather
Some purer drops from its depths, to float in the clouds of the sky;—
Soon these shall fall once again, and replenish the full-flowing river.
Roll round then, O mystical cycle ! flow onward, ineffable stream !

A Hymn In Time Of Idols

THOUGH they may crowd
Rite upon rite, and mystic song on song;
Though the deep organ loud
Through the long nave reverberate full and strong ;
Though the weird priest,
Whom rolling clouds of incense half conceal,
By gilded robes increased,
Mutter and sign, and proudly prostrate kneel ;
Not pomp, nor song, nor bended knee
Shall bring them any nearer Thee.

I would not hold
Therefore that those who worship still where they,
In dear dead days of old,
Their distant sires, knelt once and passed away,
May not from carven stone,
High arching nave and reeded column fine,
And the thin soaring tone
Of the keen music catch a breath divine,
Or that the immemorial sense
Of worship adds not reverence.

But by some bare
Hill- side or plain, or crowded city street,
Wherever purer spirits are,
Or hearts with love inflamed together meet,
Rude bench and naked wall,
Humble and sordid to the worlddimmed sight,
On these shall come to fall
A golden ray of consecrating light,
And Thou within the midst shall there
Invisible receive the prayer.

In every home,
Wherever there are loving hearts and mild,
Thou still dost deign to come,
Clothed with the likeness of a little child ;
Upon the hearth Thou still
Dwellest with them at meat, or work, or play ;
Thou who all space dost fill
Art with the pure and humble day by day ;
Thou treasures! the tears they weep,
And watchest o'er them while they sleep.

Spirit and Word !
That still art hid in every faithful heart,
Indwelling Thought and Lord-
How should they doubt who know
Thee as Thou art ?
How think to bring Thee near
By magic words, or signs, or any spell,
Who art among us here,
Who always in the loving soul dost dwell,
Who art the staff and stay indeed
Of the weak knees and hands that bleed ?

Then let them take
Their pagan trappings, and their lifeless lore;
Let us arise and make
A worthy temple where was none before.
Each soul its own best shrine,
Its priesthood, its sufficient sacrifice,
Its cleansing fount divine,
Its hidden store cf precious sanctities.
Those only fit for priestcraft are
From whom their Lord and King is far.

The Garden Of Regret

BEYOND the dim walls of the shadowy Past,
A sweet vague host of fancies flourishes,
Like garden seeds in some rough hollow cast,
Which all unasked the kind earth nourishes,
And sends up tender blooms more sweet and fair
Than the dull Present rears with all its care.

There on its thin stem hangs the frail white flower;
Far sweeter now she shines within the shade,
Than when of old within the trim-kept bower
And perfumed lush parterres her home she made ;
Because her sister blooms are past and gone,
And this alone it is that lingers on.

The same white flower, but oh, the depths of change !
Before, the creamy petals, broad and strong,
Were all adust with gold, and filled with strange
Sweet scents, which lurked the odorous depths among ;
Deep in her honeyed wells, the bee would stay
Content, and birds sing round the livelong day.

The same white flower yet changed in scent and hue.
Now the fair feeble petals curl and shrink ;
The dead smooth surfaces are veined with blue ;
No honeyed draughts they hold for bee to drink,
Nor busy hum, nor joyous song is heard.
What hath she left to charm or bee or bird ?

Only a faint sweet odour lingers yet,
Dearer than those rich scents of former years :
A fragile fairness, fairer through regret,
And watered by the dewy fount of tears.
To me that outcast flower is dearer grown,
Than when in those fair gardens overblown.

I set her in the garden of my heart,
And water her from life's sincerest spring ;
And lo ! once more the frail stems quicken and start,
Fair honeyed blooms arise and blithe birds sing :
The old sweet flower in scent and gorgeous hue,
But not the tender grace that once I knew.

Alas ! not in the Present will she grow :
The Present has its own blooms sweet and bright ;
Within its four walls life's fair pleasures blow,
And each gay season brings its own delight :
Far off in dewy shades the exile sweet
Grows fair, and paths untrodden by living feet.

There let her stay. I know not if my theme
Be love, or some fair child of heart or mind :
Young friendships, hopes, beliefs, which like a dream
Pass from us leaving some sweet ghost behind.
Leave them behind, they have been ; others are,
And shall be. Lo ! the spring time is not far.

Two ships which meet upon the ocean waste,
And stay a little while, and interchange
Tidings from two strange lands, which lie beneath
Each its own heaven and particular stars,

And fain would tarry ; but the impatient surge
Calls, and a cold wind from the setting sun
Divides them, and they sadly drift apart,
And fade, and sink, and vanish, 'neath the verge—

One to the parching plains and seething seas
Smitten by the tyrannous Sun, where Mind alone
Withers amid the bounteous outerworld,
And prodigal Nature dwarfs and chains the man—

One to cold rains, rude winds, and hungry waves
Split on the frowning granite, niggard suns.
And snows and mists which starve the vine and palm,
But nourish to more glorious growth the man.

One to the scentless flowers and songless birds,
Swift storms and poison stings and ravening jaws :
One to spring violets and nightingales,
Sleek-coated kine and honest gray-eyed skies.

One to lie helpless on the stagnant sea,
Or sink in sleep beneath the hurricane :
One to speed on, white-winged, through summer airs,
Or sow the rocks with ruin—who shall tell ?

So with two souls which meet on life's broad deep,
And cling together but may not stay ; for Time
And Age and chills of Absence wear the links
Which bind them, and they part for evermore—

One to the tropic lands of fame and gold,
And feverish thirst and weariness of soul ;
One to long struggles and a wintry life,
Decked with one sweet white bloom of happy love.

For each, one fate, to live and die apart,
Save for some passing smile of kindred souls ;
Then drift away alone, on opposite tides,
To one dark harbour and invisible goal

'TIME flies too fast, too fast our life decays.'
Ah, faithless ! in the present lies our being ;
And not in lingering love for vanished days !

'Come, happy future, when my soul shall live.'
Ah, fool ! thy life is now, and not again ;
The future holds not joy nor pain to give !

' Live for what is : future and past are naught.'
Ah, blind ! a flash, and what shall be, has been.
Where, then, is that for which thou takest thought ?

Not in what has been, is, or is to be,
The wise soul lives, but in a wider time,
Which is not any, but contains the three !

TAKE thou no thought for aught save right and truth,
Life holds for finer souls no equal prize ;
Honours and wealth are baubles to the wise,
And pleasure flies on swifter wing than youth.
If in thy heart thou bearest seeds of hell,
Though all men smile, yet what shall be thy gain ?
Though all men frown, if truth and right remain,
Take thou no thought for aught; for it is well.

Take thou no thought for aught; nor deem it shame
To lag behind while knaves and dullards rise ;
Thy soul asks higher guerdon, purer fame,
Than to loom large and grand in vulgar eyes.
Though thou shouldst live thy life in vile estate,
Silent, yet knowing that deep within thy breast
Unkindled sparks of genius lie repressed,—
Greater is he who is, than seemeth, great.

If thou shouldst spend long years of hope deferred,
Chilled through with doubt, and sickening to despair ;
If as cares thicken, friends grow cold and rare,
Nor favouring voice in all the throng be heard ;
If all men praise him whom thou know'st to be
Of lower aims and duller brain than thine,—
Take thou no thought, though all men else combine
In thy despite : their praise is naught to thee.

Bethink thee of the irony of fate,
How great men die inglorious and alone ;
How Dives sits within upon his throne,
While good men crouch with Lazarus at the gate.
Our tree of life set on Time's hither shore
Blooms like the secular aloe once an age:
The great names scattered on the historic page
Are few indeed, but the unknown are more.

Waste is the rule of life : the gay flowers spring,
The fat fruits drop, upon the untrodden plain ;
Sea-sands at ebb are silvered o'er with pain ;
The fierce rain beats and mars the feeble wing ;
Fair forms grow fairer still for deep disease ;
Hearts made to bless are spent apart, alone.
What claim hast thoti to joy, while others moan ?
God made us all, and art thou more than these ?

Take thou no care for aught save truth and right ;
Content, if such thy fate, to die obscure ;
Wealth palls and honours, Fame may not endure,
And loftier souls soon weary of delight.
Keep innocence ; be all a true man ought ;
Let neither pleasure tempt, nor pains appal :
Who hath this, he hath all things, having naught ;
Who hath it not, hath nothing, having all.

St. David's Head

SALT sprays deluge it, wild waves buffet it, hurricanes rave ;
Summer and winter, the depths of the ocean girdle it round ;
In leaden dawns, in golden noon-tides, in silvery moonlight
Never it ceases to hear the old sea's mystical sound.
Surges vex it evermore
By gray cave and sounding shore,

Think of the numberless far-away centuries, long before man,
When the hot earth with monsters teemed, and with monsters the deep,
And the red sun loomed faint, and the moon was caught fast in the motionless air,
And the warm waves seethed through the haze in a secular sleep.
Rock was here and headland then,
Ere the little lives of men.

Over it long the mastodons crashed through the tropical forest,
And the great bats swooped overhead through the half-defined blue ;
Then they passed, and the hideous ape-man, speechless and half-erect,
Through weary ages of time tore and gibbered and slew.
Grayer skies and chiller air,
But the self-same rock was there.

Then the savage came and went, and Briton and Roman and Saxon,
Till our England grew rich and great, and her white sails covered the sea ;
Thus through all this long story of ours, civil progress and vanquished foeman,
From Crecy to Trafalgar, from the bondsman down to the free,
Still those dark rocks, and beneath
Keeps the sea its face of death.

So it shall be when the tide of our greatness has ebbed to the shallows ;
So when there floats not a ship on this storm-tossed westerly main,
Hard by, the minster crumbles, the city has shrunk to a village ;
Thus shall we shrink one day, and our forests be pathless again ;
And the headland stern shall stand,
Guarding an undiscovered land.

Vex it, O changeless ocean ; rave round it, tempests unceasing ;
Sink it, great earthquakes, deep in the depths of the fathomless sea ;
Bum them, fierce fires of the centre, burn rock and ocean together,
Till the red globe flare throughout space, through the ages to be.
Cease, make an end, dull world, begone
How shall I cease while you roll on ?

Time, oh, horrible ! Space, oh, terrible ! Infinite Void !
Dreadful abysses of Being ! blighting a finite brain ;
How shall the creatures of thought subsist, when the thinker ceases ?
Begone, dull figments, be done ! not alone shall you dare to remain.
Without me you yourselves must fall ;
I hold the measure of you all.

A CRUEL little stream I know,
Which slowly, slowly crawls between
The ooze banks, fringed with sedges green,
That serve to bind its feeble flow.

So sheltered that no passing breath
Of west-wind stirs it ; nay, the blast
Which strips the tall elms and is past,
Scarce wakes to life its race of death.

On its black surface year by year
The marsh flowers, grown untimely old,
Shed their soft petals like a tear,
And hopeless drown their faded gold.

Deep in its darkling depths the pike
Darts with his cruel jaws ; by night
The black eels, sinuous, serpent-like,
Twist like fell ghosts that fear the light.

Spring shuns it, summer loves it not ;
The low fat fields are lit with bloom,
But here the watery sedges rot,
And all the months are clothed with gloom.

Autumn's first footstep sears to brown
Its coarse green fringe ; the first cold breath,
Ere yet the oak-leaf flutters down,
Binds its dull life in icy death.

I hate, I hate you, crawling stream !
Dumb, creeping, murderous wretch, I long
To see the sunlit ripples gleam,
To hear the torrent's jubilant song.

But you, dull monster, all the years
Lie rolling on your sullen flood,
And take your fill of mortal tears ;
Yet, like the Churchmen, spill not blood.

The dark gap in the ice, the boat
Keel upward, or the drifting oar ;
Or, like of old, the little coat,
The white clothes heaped upon the shcre;

And some young life is over and gone,
And some fond heart is broken in twain ;
And you flow smoothly, smoothly on,
Taking no heed for death or pain.

They come and grapple with hooks until
They reach the slimy deep, where lies
The white thing, very cold and still,
With death's gaze in its stony eyes.

And you just make a ripple, and then
Flow smoothly onward : you who slew
Young innocent lives of painted men,
Long ere the crowded city grew ;

And shall in far years yet to be,
Pierce unborn mothers with that sharp pain,
Which only a mother feels when he
Who was her first-born comes again,

A clay-cold heap. I would that I
Had but the archangel's flaming brand ;
So would I burn thy dull springs dry,
And choke thy flow with hills of sand.

Yet why ? Whatever soft souls prate,
Babbling of universal good,
Love is the sister-child of hate,
And all good things are bought with blood.

Virtue were not if vice were not,
Nor darkness if there were not light.
Creep on ; fulfil thy murderous lot ;
For Wrong has equal life with Right.

On A Young Poet

HERE lay him down in peace to take his rest,
Who tired of singing ere the day was done.
A little time, a little, beneath the sun,
He tarried and gave forth his artless song;
The bird that sings with the dawn, sings not for long,
Only when dew is on the grass his breast
Thrills, but his voice is silent long ere noon.
So sang he once, but might not long sustain
The high pure note of youth, for soon, too soon !
He ceased to know the sweet creative pain
Made still one voice, amid the clamorous strife,
And proved no more the joys or pains of life.

And better so than that his voice should fail,
And sink to earth, and lose its heavenlier tone ;
Perchance, if he had stayed, the sad world's moan,
The long low discord of incessant wrong,
Had marred the perfect cadence of his song,
And made a grosser music to prevail.
But now it falls as pure upon the ear,
As sings the brown bird to the star of eve,
Or child's voice in grey minster quiring clear.
Rather then, give we thanks for him than grieve;
Thoughts of pure joys which but in memory live,
More joy than lower present joys can give.

For him, deep rest or high spontaneous strains ;
For us, fierce strife and low laborious song;
For him, truth's face shining out clear and strong ;
For us, half lights, thick clouds, and darkling days.
No longer walks his soul in mortal ways,
Nor thinks our thoughts, nor feels our joys or pains,
Nor doubts our doubts, nor any more pursues,
Knowing all things, the far-off searchless cause ;
Nor thrills with art, or nature's fairest hues,
Gazing on absolute beauty's inmost laws;
Or lies for ever sunk in dreamless sleep,
Nor recks of us ; and therefore 'tis we weep.

But surely if he sleep, some fair faint dream,
Some still small whisper from his ancient home,
Not joy, nor pain, but mixt of each shall come ;
Or if he wake, the thought of earthly clays
Shall add a tender sweetness to his praise ;
Tempering the unbroken joyance of his theme.
And by-and-by the time shall come when we,
Laden with all our lives, once more shall meet,
Like friends, who after infinite wastes of sea,
Look in each other's eyes ; and lo ! the sweet
Sad fount of memory to its depths is stirred,
And the past lives again, without a word.

Mourn not for him ! perchance he lends his voice
To swell the fulness of the eternal psalm ;
Or haply, wrapt in nature's holy calm,
As lurks the seed within the vital earth,
He quickens surely to a higher birth.
Mourn not for him ! but let your souls rejoice.
We know not what we shall be, but are sure
The spark once kindled by the Eternal breath,
Goes not out quite, but somewhere doth endure
In that strange life we blindly christen death.
Somewhere he is, though where we can' not tell ;
But wheresoe'er God hides him, it is well.

In Memory Of A Friend*

BENEATH the feathery fronds of palm
The white stone of a double grave,
And on the horizon, blue and calm,
The tropic ocean wave.

'Twas three years since, no more, that thou,
Dear friend, with us, in daily round,
Didst labour where we labour now,
'Mid London's surge of sound.

Treading the dull slow paths of law,
With little of reward or gain,
To feel a high ambition gnaw
Thy heart with tooth of pain,

And mark with scant content the crowd
Fulfil the immemorial rule
Which drives the fool with plaudits loud
To glorify the fool.

And so with patient scorn didst gain
To winnow from the growing heap
Of barren precedent the grain
Which hides there buried deep.

Till last, congenial labour came,
To call thee o'er the tropic sea,
And exile, gilt by toil and fame,
Severed thy friends from thee.

Brief as we hoped, but ah, how long !
Though lit by news of days well spent,
Of rights defined, of law made strong,
Of rebels grown content,

Of ordered codes so reasoned out,
Speaking with voice so true and clear,
That none who hear them still may doubt
' 'Tis Justice speaketh here.'

Yet not the less thou barest part
In the old talk we loved before ;
The newest growths of thought or art
Delighted more and more,

And all the marvels of thy isle,
The lavish wealth of sea and land,
The skies with their too constant smile,
Loud surf on breathless strand,

The shallow nature fierce, yet gay,
Of our dark brethren ; thou didst learn,
Noting but gazing, far away,
With eyes that still would yearn,

For that fair time when, toil being done,
The happy day at length should come,
When with our kindly autumn sun
Thou should'st revisit home.

* * * *

It was this very year ; and then
The plague, which long time, dealing death,
Had vexed the shores of kindred men,
On those breathed deadly breath.

And one, I know not who, their guest,
Sickening, Love drew them forth to tend,
Careless of needful food and rest,
Their fever-stricken friend,

Who owed to them life's refluent power ;
While for those duteous martyrs twain,
Brother and Sister, one blest hour
Brought one release from pain.

Too generous natures ! kindred souls !
And now, round those twin tombs the wave,
Forgetful of their story, rolls,
And the palms shade their grave.

* * * *

And we what shall we say of thee ?
Thou hast thy due reward, oh, friend
We serve a High Necessity,
To an Invisible End.

That waste nor halting comes at all
In all the scheme is all we know ;
The force was formed that bade thee fall,
Millions of years ago.

The clouds of circumstance unite,
The winds of fate together roll ;
They meet ; there bursts a sudden light,
And consecrates a soul !

To An Unknown Poet *

DEAR friend, who, two long centuries ago,
Didst tread where since my grandsires trod,
Along thy devious Usk's untroubled flow,
Breathing thy soul to God.

I seek, I, born in these our later days,
Using the measure thou didst love,
With halting tribute of too tardy praise,
A poet throned above.

I in the self-same venerable halls
And gray quadrangles made my home,
Which heard, new-built, within their recent walls,
Thy youthful footsteps come.

A little grayer now and stiller grown,
The tranquil refuge now, as then,
Where our dear country glories in her own,
Apart from alien men.

There, on thy musings broke the painful sound
Of arms ; the long-plumed cavaliers
Clanged thro the courts the low fat fields around
Were filled with strife and tears.

Constrained by promptings of thy ancient race,
Thy gown and books thou flungst away,
To meet the sturdy Roundhead face to face
On many a hard-fought day,

Till thy soft soul grew sick, and thou didst turn
To our old hills ; and there, ere long,
Love for thy Amoret, at times, would burn
In some too fervid song.

But soon thy wilder pulses stayed, and, life
Grown equable, thy sweet muse mild,
Sobered by tranquil love of child and wife,
Flowed pure and undefiled.

A humble healer thro' a life obscure,
Thou didst expend thy homely days ;
Sweet Swan of Usk ! few know how clear and pure
Are thy unheeded lays.

One poet shall become a household name
Into the nation's heart ingrown ;
One more than equal miss the meed of fame,
And live and die unknown.

So thou, surviving in thy lonely age,
All but thy own undying love
Didst pour upon the sympathetic page,
Words which all hearts can move;

So quaintly fashioned as to add a grace
To the sweet fancies which they bear,
Even as a bronze delved from some ancient place
For very rust shows fair.

'They all are gone into the world of light !'
It is thy widowed muse that sings,
And then mounts upwards from our dazzled sight
On heavenward soaring wings.

'He that hath found some fledged bird's nest may know '
'At first sight if the bird be flown ;'
' But what fair dell or grove he sings in now,'
'' That is to him unknown.'

' And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams '
' Call to the soul when man doth sleep,'
' So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted themes,'
' And into glory peep.'

' O father of eternal life and all '
' Created glories under Thee !'
' Resume Thy Spirit from this world of thrall'
' Into true liberty.'

* * * *

Thou hast rejoined thy dear ones now, and art,
Dear soul, as then thou wouldst be, free.
I, still a prisoner, strive to do my part
In memory of thee.

Thou art so high, and yet unknown: shall I
Repine that I too am obscure ?
Nay, what care I, though all my verse shall die,
If only it is pure ?

So some new singer of the days to be,
Reading this page with soft young eyes,
Shall note the tribute which I pay to thee
With youth's sweet frank surprise.

And musing in himself, perchance shall say,
' Two bards whom centuries part are here
One whose high fame and name defy decay,
And one who held him dear,'

On An Old Minster

OLD minster, when my years were few,
And life seemed endless to the boy ;
Clear yet and vivid is the joy
With which I gazed and thought on you.

Thin shaft and flower-wrought capital,
High-springing arch, and blazoned pane,
Quaint gurgoyles stretching heads profane,
And stately throne and carven stall.

The long nave lost in vaporous gray,
The mailed recumbent forms which wait,
In mockery of earthly state,
The coming of the dreadful day.

The haunted aisles, the gathering gloom,
By some stray shaft of eve made fair :
The stillness of the mouldering air,
The faded legends of the tomb.

I loved them all. What care had I,
I, the young heir of all the Past,
That neither youth nor life might last,
That all things living came to die!

The Past was spent, the Past was done,
The Present was my own to hold ;
Far off within a haze of gold
Stretched the fair Future, scarce begun.

For me did pious builders rear
Those reverend walls ; for me the song
Of supplication, ages long,
Had gone up daily, year by year.

And thus I loved you ; but to-day
The long Past near and nearer shows ;
Less bright, more clear, the Future grows,
And all the world is turning gray.

But you scarce bear a deeper trace
Of time upon your solemn brow ;
No sadder, stiller, grayer now,
Than when I loved your reverend face.

And you shall be when I am not ;
And you shall be a thing of joy
To many a frank and careless boy
When I and mine are long forgot.

Grave priests shall here with holy rage,
Whose grandsires are as yet unborn,
Lash, with fierce stripes of saintly scorn,
The heats of youth, the greed of age.

Proud prelates sit on that high throne,
Whose young forefathers drive the plough
While Norman lineage nods below,
In way-worn tramp or withered crone.

And white-haired traders feign to pray,
Sunk deep in thoughts of gain and gold;
And sweet flower-faces growing old,
Give place to fresher blooms than they. ,

With such new shape of creed and rite
As none now living may foretell ;
A faith of love which needs not hell,
A stainless worship, pure and white.

Or, may be, some reverting change
To the old faith of vanished days :
The incensed air, the mystic praise,
The barbarous ritual, quaint and strange.

Who knows ? But they are wrong who say
Man's work is brief and quickly past ;
If you through all these centuries last,
While they who built you pass away.

The wind, the rain, the sand, are slow ;
Man fades before his work ; scant trace
Time's ringer findeth to efface
Of him whom seventy years lay low.

The grass grows green awhile, and then
Is as before ; the work he made
Casts on his grave a reverend shade
Through long successive lives of men.

But he ! where is he ? Lo, his name
Has vanished from his wonted place,
Unknown his tongue, his creed, his race;
Unknown his soaring hopes of fame.

Only the creatures of the brain,
Just laws, wise precepts, deathless verse ;
These weave a chaplet for the hearse,
And through all change unchanged remain.

These will I love as age creeps on ;'
Gray minster, these are ever young ;
These shall be read and loved and sung
When every stone of you is gone.

No hands have built the monument
Which to all ages shall endure ;
High thoughts, and fancies sweet and pure
Lives in the quest of goodness spent.

These, though no visible forms confine
Their spiritual essence fair ;
Are deathless as the soul they bear,
And, as its Maker is, divine.

THE old lives are dead and gone and rotten,
The old thoughts shall never more be thought,
The old faiths have failed and are forgotten,
The old strifes are done, the fight is fought.
And with a clang and roll, the new creation
Bursts forth 'mid tears and blood and tribulation.

Sweet they were, the old days that are ended,
The golden years, the happy careless hours
Then, like Pagan gods on the asphodel extended,
Dreaming, men wove them fancies fair as flowers.
Love laid near them, Art to cheer them, youthful Beauty
Sitting crowned upon the marble throne of Duty.

All good things were theirs to cherish lives grown finer
From the heritage of long ancestral ease,
And a nobler port, and temperate mien diviner
Than their labours and their vigils leave to these ;
Gentler voices, smiles more gracious, and the fashion
Of their soft lives tuned to pity and compassion.

Naught men knew of science, now grown rigid
With its teaching of inexpiable sin ;
Nor the dull pedantic gospel, dead and frigid,
Of a heaven where mind alone may enter in,
Doom awaiting, stern and silent, all transgression,
And no saint with power to make an intercession.

For a Ruler, as men thought they saw above them,
More than earthly rulers, pitiful and mild,
A Father with a stronger love to love them
Than the love an earthly father bears his child—
God above them, and for pleader and defender
Christ's face stooping, like his mother's, true and tender.

But now there seems no place for the Creator
To hold his long unbroken chain of law,
Nor any need for heaven-sent Mediator,
Nor the Providence our fathers thought they saw.
Only a dull world-system, always tending
To a blind goal, by a blind rule unbending.

And for the courtesy and tender graces,
The chivalries and charities of old,
A dull and equal arrogance effaces
Soft sympathies by hard demands and cold ;
And the giver giveth not, lest any blame him,
And the taker may not take, lest taking shame him.

Be still, oh ye of little faith, repining
That the purpose of the Eternal will is dead.
The silent stars forget not yet their shining,
Daily the full sun journeys overhead.
How shall mind's realm alone forget its reason,
When the sure years roll season after season ?

There shall rise from this confused sound of voices
A firmer faith than that our fathers knew,
A deep religion, which alone rejoices
In worship of the Infinitely True,
Not built on rite or portent, but a finer
And purer reverence for a Lord diviner.

There shall come from out this noise of strife and groaning
A broader and a juster brotherhood,
A deep equality of aim, postponing
All selfish seeking to the general good.
There shall come a time when each shall to another
Be as Christ would have him brother unto brother.

There shall come a time when knowledge wide extended,
Sinks each man's pleasure in the general health,
And all shall hold irrevocably blended
The individual and the commonwealth,
When man and woman in an equal union
Shall merge, and marriage be a true communion.

There shall come a time when brotherhood shows stronger
Than the narrow bounds which now distract the world ;
When the cannons roar and trumpets blare no longer,
And the ironclad rusts, and battle flags are furled ;
When the bars of creed and speech and race, which sever,
Shall be fused in one humanity for ever.

Oh, glorious end ! oh, blessed consummation!
Oh, precious day ! for which we wait and yearn.
Thou shalt come, and knit men nation unto nation.
But not for us, who watch to day and burn,
Thou shalt come, but after what long years of trial,
Weary watchings, baffled longings, dull denial !

Of Love And Sleep

I SAW Sleep stand by an enchanted wood,
Thick lashes drooping o'er her heavy eyes :
Leaning against a flower-cupped tree she stood,
The night air gently breathed with slumbrous sighs.
Such cloak of silence o'er the world was spread,
As on Nile sands enshrouds the mighty dead.

About her birds were dumb, and blooms were bowed,
And a thick heavy sweetness filled the air ;
White robed she seemed ; and hidden as in a cloud,
A star-like jewel in her raven hair.
Downward to earth her cold torch would she turn
With feeble fires that might no longer burn.

And in her languid limbs and loosened zone
Such beauty dwelt ; and in her rippling hair,
As of old time was hers, and hers alone,
The mother of gods and men.divinely fair ;
When whiter than white foam or sand she lay,
The fairest thing beneath the eye of day.

To her came Love, a comely youth and strong,
Fair as the morning of a day in June;
Around him breathed a jocund air of song,
And his limbs moved as to a joyous tune :
With golden locks blown back, and eyes aflame,
To where the sleeping maiden leant, he came.

Then they twain passed within that mystic grove
Together, and with them I, myself unseen.
Oh, strange, sweet land ! wherein all men may prove
The things they would, the things which might have been ;
Hopeless hopes blossom, withered youth revives,
And sunshine comes again to darkened lives.

What sights were theirs in that blest wonder-land ?
See, the white mountain-summits, framed in cloud,
Redden with sunset ; while below them stand
The solemn pine-woods like a funeral crowd ;
And lower still the vineyards twine, and make
A double vintage in the tranquil lake.

Or, after storm-tost nights, on some sea isle
The sudden tropical morning bursts ; and lo !
Bright birds and feathery palms, the green hills smile,
Strange barks, with swarthy crews, dart to and fro ;
And on the blue bay, glittering like a crown,
The white domes of some fair historic town.

Or, they fare northward ever, northward still,
At midnight, under the unsetting sun ;
O'er endless snows, from hill to icy hill,
Where silence reigns with death, and life is done :
Till from the North a sweet wind suddenly;
And hark ! the warm waves of the fabulous sea.

Or, some still eve, when summer days are long,
And the mown hay is sweet, and wheat is green,
They hear some wood-bird sing the old fair song
Of joys to be, greater than yet have been;
Stretched 'neath the snowy hawthorn, till the star,
Hung high in heaven, warns them that home is far.

Or, on the herbless, sun-struck hills, by night,
Under the silent peaks, they hear the loud
Wild flutes ; and onward, by the ghostly light,
Whirled in nude dances, sweeps the maddened crowd ;
Till the fierce eddy seize them, and they prove
The shame, the rapture, of unfettered love.

Or, by the sacred hearth they seem to sit,
While firelight gleams on many a sunny head ;
At that fair hour, before the lamp is lit,
When hearts are fullest, though no word be said,—
When the world fades, and rank and wealth and fame,
Seem, matched with this, no better than a name.

All these they knew ! and then a breeze of day
Stirred the dark wood ; and then they seemed to come
Forth with reluctant feet among the
Bare fields, unfanciful ; and all the flame
Was burnt from out Love's eyes, and from his hair,
And his smooth cheek was marked with lines of care.

And paler showed the maid, more pure and white
And holier than before. But when I said,
' Sweet eyes, be opened ;' lo, the unveiled sight
Was as the awful vision of the dead !
Then knew I, breathing slow, with difficult breath,
That Love was one with Life, and Sleep with Death.

In Trafalgar Square

UNDER the picture gallery wall,
As a sea-leaf clings to a wave-worn rock,
Nor shrinks from the surging impetuous shock
Of the breakers which gather and whiten and fall
A child's form crouches, nor seems to heed
The ceaseless eddy and whirl of men :
Men and women with hearts that bleed,
Men and women of wealth and fame,
High in honour, or sunk in shame,
Pass on like phantoms, and pass again.
And he lies there like a weed.

A child's form, said I ; but looking again
It is only the form that is childish now,
For age has furrowed the low dull brow,
And marked the pale face with its lines of pain.
Yet but few years have fled, since I first passed by,
For a dwarf's life is short if you go by the sun,
And marked in worn features and lustreless eye
Some trace of youth's radiance, though faint and thin,
But now, oh, strange jest ! there's a beard to his chin.
And he lies there, grown old ere his youth is done,
With his poor limbs bent awry.

What a passer-by sees, is a monstrous head,
With a look in the eyes as of those who gaze
On some far-off sight with a dumb amaze ;
A face as pale as the sheeted dead,
A frail body propt on a padded crutch,
And lean long fingers, which flutter the keys
Of an old accordion, returning their touch
With some poor faint echoes of popular song,
Trivial at all times and obsolete long,
Psalm-tunes, and African melodies,
Not differing very much.

And there he sits nightly in heat and cold,
When the fountains fall soft on the stillness of June,
Or when the sharp East sings its own shrill tune,
Patiently playing and growing old.
The long year waxes and wanes, the great
Flash by in splendour from rout or ball,
Statesmen grown weary of long debate,
Hurry by homewards, and fling him alms ;
Pitiful women, touched by the psalms,
Bringing back innocence, stoop by the wall
Where he lies at Dives' gate.

What are his thoughts of, stranded there ?
While life ebbs and flows by, again and again,
Does the old sad Problem vex his poor brain ?
'Why is the world so pleasant and fair,
Why, am I only who did no wrong
Crippled and bent out of human form ?
Why are other men tall and strong ?
Surely if all men were made to rejoice,
Seeing that we come without will or choice,
It were better to crawl for a day like a worm,
Than to lie like this so long !

'The blind shuffles by with a tap of his staff,
The tired tramp plods to the workhouse ward,
But he carries his broad back as straight as a lord
And the blind man can hear his little ones laugh.
While I lie here like a weed on the sand,
With these crooked limbs, paining me night and day.
Would to Heaven, I were come to the promised land !
Of the sweet old faith which was preached for the poor,
Where none shall be weary or pained any more,
Nor change shall enter nor any decay,
And the stricken down shall stand ?'

And perhaps sometimes when the sky is clear,
And the stars show like lamps on the sweet summer night,
Some chance chord struck with a sudden delight,
Soars aloft with his soul, and brings Paradise near.
And then for even nature is sometimes kind
He lies stretched under palms with a harp of gold ;
Or is whirled on by coursers as fleet as the wind ;
And is no more crippled, nor weak nor bent ;
No more painful nor impotent ;
No more hungry, nor weary nor cold,—
But of perfect form and mind.

Or maybe his thoughts are of humbler cast,
For hunger and cold are real indeed ;
And he longs for the hour when his toil shall be past,
And he with sufficient for next day's need :
Some humble indulgence of food or fire,
Some music-hall ditty, or marvellous book,
Or whatever it be such poor souls desire ;
And with this little solace, for God would fain
Make even His measures of joy and pain,
He drones happily on in his quiet nook,
With hands that never tire.

Well, these random guesses must go for naught
Seeing it were surer and easier far
To weigh to an atom the faintest star,
Than to sound the dim depths of a brother's thought.
But whenever I hear those poor snatches of song,
And see him lie maimed in,tody and soul,
While I am straight and healthy and strong,
I seem to redden with a secret shame,
That we can thus differ who should be the same,
While I hear the World's thundering chariot-wheels roll
Unpitying along

ALL men are poets if they might but tell
The dim ineffable changes which the sight
Of natural beauty works on them : the charm
Of those first days of Spring, when life revives
And all the world is bloom : the whitefringed green
Ofsummer seas swirling around the base
Of overhanging cliffs ; the golden gleam
Seen from some breezy hill, where far and wide
The fields grow ripe for harvest ; or the storm
Smiting the leaden surf, or echoing
On nightly lakes and unsuspected hills,
Revealed in lurid light ; or first perceived,
High in mid-heaven, above the rosy clouds,
The everlasting snows.
And Art can move,
To higher minds, an influence as great
As Nature's self ; when the rapt gazer marks
The stainless mother folding arms divine
Around the Eternal Child, or pitying love
Nailed to the dreadful cross, or the white strength
Of happy heathen gods, or serpent coils
Binding the agonized limbs, till from their pain
Is born a thing of beauty for all time.

And more than Nature, more than Art can move
The awakened soul heroic soaring deeds ;
When the young champion falls in hopeless fight,
Striking for home ; or when, by truth constrained,
The martyr goes forth cheerful to his fate
The dungeon, or the torture, or, more hard,
The averted gaze of friends, the loss of love,
The loneliness of soul, which truth too oft
Gives to reward the faith which casts aside
All things for her ; or saintly lives obscure,
Spent in a sweet compassion, till they gain,
Living, some glow of heaven ; or passionate love,
Bathing our poor world in a mystic light,
Seen once, then lost for ever. These can stir
Life to its depths, till silence grows a load
Too hard to bear, and the rapt soul would fain
Speak with strange tongues which startle as they come,
Like the old saints who spake at Pentecost.

But we are dumb, we are dumb, and may not tell
What stirs within us, though the soul may throb
And tremble with its passion, though the heart
Dissolve in weeping : dumb. Nature may spread
Sublimest sights of beauty ; Art inspire
High thoughts and pure of God -like sacrifice ;
Yet no word comes. Heroic daring deeds
Thrill us, yet no word comes ; we are dumb, we are dumb,
Save that from finer souls at times may rise,
Once in an age, faint inarticulate sounds,
Low halting tones of wonder, such as come
From children looking on the stars, but still
With power to open to the listening ear
The Fair Divine Unknown, and to unseal
Heaven's inner gates before us evermore.

Ah, few and far between ! The earth grows green,
Art's glorious message speaks from year to year,
Great deeds and high are done from day to day,
But the voice comes not which has power to wake
The sleeping soul within, and animate
The beauty which informs them, lending speech
To what before was dumb. They come, they go,
Those sweet impressions spent on separate souls,
Like raindrops on the endless oceanplains,
Lost as they fall. The world rolls on ; lives spring,
Blossom, and fade ; the play of life is played
More vivid than of old a wider stage,
With more consummate actors ; yet the dull,
Cold deeps of sullen silence swallow up
The strain, and it is lost. But if we might
Paint all things as they are, find voice to speak
The thoughts now mute within us, let the soul
Trace on its sensitive surface vividly,
As does the sun our features, all the play
Of passion, all the changeful tides of thought,
The mystery, the beauty, the delight,
The fear, the horror, of our lives, our being
Would blaze up heavenward in a sudden flame,
Spend itself, and be lost.
Wherefore 'tis well
This narrow boundary that hedges in
The strong and weak alike. Thought could not live,
Nor speech, in that pure aether which girds round
Life's central dwelling-place. Only the dull
And grosser atmosphere of earth it is
Which vibrates to the sweet birds' song, and brings
Heaven to the wondering ear. Only the stress,
The pain, the hope, the longing, the constraint
Of limited faculties circling round and round
The grim circumference, and finding naught
Of outlet to the dread unknown beyond,
Can lend the poet voice. Only the weight,
The dulness of our senses, which makes dumb
And hushes half the finer utterance,
Makes possible the song, and modulates
The too exalted music, that it falls
So soft upon the listening soul, that life,
Not withered by the awful harmony, -
Nor drunk with too much sweetness,' nor struck blind
By the too vivid presence of the
Fulfils its round of duty elevated,
Not slain by too much splendour comforted,
Not thunder-smitten soothed, not laid asleep
And ever, through the devious maze of being,
Fares in slow narrowing cycles to the end.

DEAR heart ! what a little time it is since Francis and I used to walk
From church in the still June evenings together, busy with loving talk ;
And now he is gone, far away over seas, to some strange foreign country, and I
Shall never rise from my bed any more, till the day when I come to die.

I tried not to think of him during the prayers; but when his dear voice I heard,
I failed to take part in the hymn ; for my heart fluttered up to my throat like a bird,
And scarcely a word of the sermon I caught. I doubt 'twas a grievous sin;
But 'twas only one poor little hour in the week that I had to be happy in.

When the blessing was given, and we left the dim aisles for the light of the evening star ;
Though I durst not lift up my eyes from the ground, yet I knew that he was not far.
And I hurried on, though I fain would have stayed, till I heard his footstep draw near ;
And love rising up in my breast like a flame, cast out every shadow of fear.

Ah me ! 'twas a pleasant pathway home, a pleasant pathway and sweet ;
Ankle deep through the purple clover ; breast high 'mid the blossoming wheat ;
I can hear the landrails prate through the dew, and the night-jars' tremulous thrill,
And the nightingale pouring her passionate song from the hawthorn under the hill.

One day, when we came to the wicket gate, 'neath the elms, where we used to part,
His voice began to falter and break as he told me I had his heart.
And I whispered back that mine was his : we knew what we felt long ago ;
Six weeks are as long as a lifetime almost, when you love each other so.

So we put up the banns, and were man and wife, in the sweet fading time of the year,
And till Christmas was over and past, I knew no shadow of sorrow or fear.
It seems like a dream already, alas ! a sweet dream vanished and gone,
So hurried and brief while passing away, so long to look back upon.

I had only had him three little months, and the world lay frozen and dead,
When the summons came, which we feared and hoped, and he sailed over seas for our bread.
Ah, well ! it is fine to be wealthy and grand, and never to need to part ;
But 'tis better far to love and be poor than be rich with an empty heart.

Though I thought 'twould have killed me to lose him at first, yet was he not going for me ?
So I hid deep down in my breast all the grief, which I knew it would pain him to see.
He'd surely be back by the autumn, he said ; and since his last passionate kiss
He has scarcely been out of my thoughts, day or night, for a moment, from that day to this.

When I wrote to him how I thought it would be, and he answered so full of love,
Ah ! there was not an angel happier than I, in all the white chorus above.
And I seemed to be lonely no longer, the days and the weeks passed so swiftly away;
And the March winds died, and the sweet April showers gave place to the blossoms of May.

And then came the sad summer eve, when I sat with the little frock in the sun,
And Patience ran in with the news of the ship Ah, veil ! may His will be done.
They said that all hands were lost, and I swooned away on the floor like a stone ;
And another life came, ere I knew he was safe, and my own was over and gone.

* * * * * * *

And now I lie helpless here, and shall never rise up again ;
I grow weaker and weaker, day by day, till my weakness itself is a pain.
Every morning the slow dawn creeps ; every evening I see from my bed
The orange-gold fade into lifeless gray, and the old evening star overhead.

Sometimes by the twilight dim, or the awful birth of the day,
As I lie, very still, not asleep nor awake, my soul seems to flutter away ;
And I float far beyond the stars, till I thrill with a rapturous pain,
And the feeble touch of a tiny hand recalls me to life again.

And the doctor says she will live. Ah ! 'tis hard to leave her alone,
And to think she will never know, in the world, the love of the mother who's gone.
They will tell her of me, by-and-by, and perhaps she will shed me a tear ;
But if I should stoop to her bed in the night, she would start with a horrible fear.

She will grow into girlhood, I trust, and will bask in the light of love,
And I, if I gain to see her at all, shall only look on from above.
I shall see her and cannot aid, though she fall into evil and woe.
Ah, how can the angels find heart to rejoice, when they think of their dear ones below ?

And Francis, he too will forget me, and go on the journey of life ;
And I hope, though I dare not think of it yet, will take him another wife
It will hardly be Patience, I think, though she liked him in days gone by.
Was that why she came ? But what thoughts are these for one who is soon to die?

I hope he will come ere I go, though I feel no longer the thirst
For the sound of his voice and the light of his eye, which I used to feel at first.
!Tis not that I care for him less, but death dries, with a finger of fire,
The tender springs of innocent love and the torrents of strong desire.

And I know we shall meet again. I have done many things that are wrong,
But surely the Lord of Life and of Love cannot bear to be angry long.
I am only a girl of eighteen, and have had no teacher but love ;
And, it may be, the sorrow and pain I have known will be counted for tna above.

For I doubt if the minister knows all the depths of the goodness of God,
When he says, He is jealous of earthly love, and bids me bow down 'neath the rod.
He is learned and wise, I know, but somehow to dying eyes
God opens the secret doors of the shrine that are closed to the learned and wise.

So now I am ready to go, for I know He will do what is best,
Though He call me away while the sun is on high, like a child sent early to rest.
I should like him to see her first, though the yearning is over and past :
But what is that footstep upon the stair ? Oh, my darling at last, at last!

At Havre De Grace

ABOVE the busy Norman town,
The high precipitous sea-cliffs rise,
And from their summit looking down
The twin-lights shine with lustrous eyes ;
Far out upon the fields of foam,
The first to greet the wanderer home.

Man here has known at last to tame
Nature's wild forces to his will ;
Those are the lightning's fires which flame,
From yon high towers with ray so still :
And knowledge, piercing through the night
Of time, has summoned forth the light.

And there, hard by the lighthouse door,
The earthly set by the divine ;
At a stone's cast, or scarcely more,
Rises a little pagan shrine,
Where the rough seamen come to pray,
And wives, for dear ones far away.

There, on a starry orb, there stands
A heavenly goddess, proud and fair ;
No infant holds she in her hands
Which must a queenly sceptre bear.
Nay ; wonder not, for this is she
Who rules the fury of the sea.

Star of the sea, they call her, yet
Liker to Here doth she show,
Than Aphrodite, rising wet
From the white waves, with limbs aglow.
Calmer she seems, more pure and sweet,
To the poor kneelers at her feet.

Before her still the vestal fires
Burn unextinguished day and night ;
And the sweet frankincense expires
And fair flowers blow, and gems are bright :
For a great power in heaven is she,
This star and goddess of the sea.

Around the temple, everywhere,
Rude tablets hung, attest her might ;
Here the fierce surge she smooths, and there
Darts downward on a bar of light ;
To quench the blazing ship, or save
The shipwrecked from the hungry wave.

And sea-gifts round the shrine are laid,
Poor offerings, costlier far than gold :
Such as the earlier heathen made,
To the twin Deities of old,
Toy ships, shells, coral, glittering spar,
Brought here by grateful hands from far.

A very present help indeed,
This goddess is to whom they bow ;
We seek Thy face with hearts that bleed,
And straining eyes, dread Lord ! but Thou
Hidest Thyself so far away,
Our thoughts scarce reach Thee as we pray.

But is this she, whom the still voice
Of angels greeted in the night ;
Bidding the poor maid's heart rejoice,
With visions hid from wiser sight :
This heathen nymph, this tinselled queen,
First of all mothers who have been ?

Gross hearts and purblind eyes, to make .
An idol of a soul so sweet !
Could you no meaner essence take,
No brazen image with clay feet ;
No saint from out the crowd of lies,
False signs and shameful prodigies ?

For this one bears too great a name,
Above all other women blest ;
The blessed mother, all her fame
Is His who nestled to her breast :
They do but dull her glory down,
These childless arms, this earthly crown.

Poor peasant mother ! scarce a word
Thou spak'st, the long-drawn years retain ;
Only thy womb once bare the Lord ;
Only thou knew'st the joy, the pain,
The high hope seeming quenched in blood
That marked thy awful motherhood.

No trace of all thy life remains,
From His first childhood to the cross ;
A life of little joys and pains,
Of humble gain and trivial loss :
Contented if the ewes should bear
Twin lambs, or wheat were full in ear.

Or if sometimes the memory
Of that dread message of the night
Troubled thy soul, there came to thee
New precious duties ; till the flight,
The desert sands, the kneeling kings,
Showed but as half-forgotten things.

Or sometimes, may be, pondering deep
On miracles of word and deed,
Vague doubts across thy soul would creep,
Still faithful to the older creed :
Could this thy son indeed be He,
This child who prattled at thy knee ?

And of thy after-life, thy age,
Thy death, no record ; not a line
On all the fair historic page
To mark the life these hold divine :
Only some vague tradition, faint
As the sick story of a saint.

But thou no longer art to-day .
The sweet maid-mother, fair and pure;
Vast time-worn reverend temples gray,
Throne thee in majesty obscure ;
And long aisles stretch in minsters high,
'Twixt thee, fair peasant, and the sky.

They seek to honour thee, who art
Beyond all else a mother indeed ;
With hateful vows that blight the heart,
With childless lives, and souls that bleed :
As if their dull hymns' barren strain
Could fill a mother with aught but pain !

To the gross earth they bind thee down
With coils of fable, chain on chain ;
From plague or war to save the town ;
To give, or hold ; the sun, or rain ;
To whirl through air a favourite shrine,
These are thy functions, and divine.

And see, in long procession rise
The fair Madonnas of all time ;
They gaze from sweet maternal eyes,
The dreams of every Christian clime :
Brown girls and icy queens, the breast
And childish lips proclaim them blest.

Till as the gradual legend grew,
Born without stain, and scorning death;
Heavenward thou soarest through the blue,
While saints and seers aspire beneath:
And fancy-nurtured cam'st to be
Queen over sky and earth and sea.

Oh, sin ! oh, shame ! oh, folly ! Rise;
Poor heathen, think to what you bow ;
Consider, beyond God's equal skies,
What pains that faithful soul must know,—
She a poor peasant on the throne
Raised for the Lord of Life, alone.

O sweet ! O heart of hearts ! O pure
Above all purest maids of earth !
O simple child, who didst endure
The burden of that awful birth :
Heart, that the keenest sword didst know,
Soul bowed by alien loads of woe !

Sweet soul ! have pity ; intercede,
Oh mother of mothers, pure and meek ;
They know no evil, rise and plead
For these poor wandering souls and weak ;
Tear off those pagan rags, and lead
Their worship where 'tis due indeed.

For wheresoever there is home,
And mothers yearn with sacred love,
There, since from Heaven itself they come,
Are symbols of the life above :
Again the sweet maid-mother mild,
Again the fair Eternal child.