The Angel That Presided O'Er My Birth

The Angel that presided o'er my birth
Said, 'Little creature, form'd of Joy and Mirth,
'Go love without the help of any Thing on Earth.'

by William Blake.

It Was Wrong To Do This, Said The Angel

'It was wrong to do this,' said the angel.
'You should live like a flower,
Holding malice like a puppy,
Waging war like a lambkin.'

'Not so,' quoth the man
Who had no fear of spirits;
'It is only wrong for angels
Who can live like the flowers,
Holding malice like the puppies,
Waging war like the lambkins.'

by Stephen Crane.

"It Was Wrong To Do This," Said The Angel

"It was wrong to do this," said the angel.
"You should live like a flower,
Holding malice like a puppy,
Waging war like a lambkin."

"Not so," quoth the man
Who had no fear of spirits;
"It is only wrong for angels
Who can live like the flowers,
Holding malice like the puppies,
Waging war like the lambkins."

by Stephen Crane.

The Angel Of Life

LIFE’S Angel watched a happy child at play,
Wreathing the riches of the blushing May:
His eye was cloudless as the heavens above,
But there was pity in her look of love.

The flowers he gathered bloomed their brief bright hour,
Then rained their petals in a silent shower:
The boy looked up at her with strange surprise,
And sadder grew the pity in her eyes.

by Richard Rowe.

The Guardian Angel

WHEN my good-nights and prayers are said
And I am safe tucked up in bed,
I know my guardian angel stands
And holds my soul between his hands.


I cannot see his wings of light
Because I keep my eyes shut tight,
For, if I open them, I know
My pretty angel has to go.


But through the darkness I can hear
His white wings rustling very near;
I know it is his darling wings,
Not Mother folding up my things!

by Edith Nesbit.

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled!

And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.

So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

by William Blake.

The Hour Of The Angel

Sooner or late--in earnest or in jest--
(But the stakes are no jest) Ithuriel's Hour
Will spring on us, for the first time, the test
Of our sole unbacked competence and power
Up to the limit of our years and dower
Of judgment--or beyond. But here we have
Prepared long since our garland or our grave.

For, at that hour, the sum of all our past,
Act, habit, thought, and passion, shall be cast
In one addition, be it more or less,
And as that reading runs so shall we do;
Meeting, astounded, victory at the last,
Or, first and last, our own unworthiness.
And none can change us though they die to save!

by Rudyard Kipling.

An Angel In The House

How sweet it were, if without feeble fright,
Or dying of the dreadful beauteous sight,
An angel came to us, and we could bear
To see him issue from the silent air
At evening in our room, and bend on ours
His divine eyes, and bring us from his bowers
News of dear friends, and children who have never
Been dead indeed,--as we shall know forever.
Alas! we think not what we daily see
About our hearths,--angels that are to be,
Or may be if they will, and we prepare
Their souls and ours to meet in happy air;--
A child, a friend, a wife whose soft heart sings
In unison with ours, breeding its future wings.

by James Henry Leigh Hunt.

Sonnet 60: When My Good Angel Guides Me

When my good angel guides me to the place,
Where all my good I do in Stella see,
That heav'n of joys throws only down on me
Thunder'd disdains and lightnings of disgrace:

But when the rugg'st step of Fortune's race
Makes me fall from her sight, then sweetly she
With words, wherein the Muses' treasures be,
Shows love and pity to my absent case.

Now I, wit-beaten long by hardest Fate,
So dull am, that I cannot look into
The ground of this fierce Love and lovely hate:

Then some good body tell me how I do,
Whose presence absence, absence presence is;
Blist in my curse, and cursed in my bliss.

by Sir Philip Sidney.

To My Guardian Angel

Merciful spirit! who thy bright throne above
Hast left, to wander through this dismal earth
With me, poor child of sin!—Angel of love!
Whose guardian wings hung o'er me from my birth,
And who still walk'st unwearied by my side,
How oft, O thou compassionate! must thou mourn
Over the wayward deeds, the thoughts of pride,
That thy pure eyes behold. Yet not aside
From thy sad task dost thou in anger turn;
But patiently, thou hast but gazed and sighed,
And followed still, striving with the divine
Powers of thy soul for mastery over mine;
And though all line of human hope be past,
Still fondly watching, hoping, to the last.

by Frances Anne Kemble.

The Angel And The Clown

I saw wild domes and bowers
And smoking incense towers
And mad exotic flowers
In Illinois.
Where ragged ditches ran
Now springs of Heaven began
Celestial drink for man
In Illinois.

There stood beside the town
Beneath its incense-crown
An angel and a clown
In Illinois.
He was as Clowns are:
She was snow and star
With eyes that looked afar
In Illinois.

I asked, "How came this place
Of antique Asian grace
Amid our callow race
In Illinois?"
Said Clown and Angel fair:
"By laughter and by prayer,
By casting off all care
In Illinois."

by Vachel Lindsay.

I Heard An Angel

I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing,
'Mercy, Pity, Peace
Is the world's release.'

Thus he sung all day
Over the new mown hay,
Till the sun went down
And haycocks looked brown.

I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath and the furze,
'Mercy could be no more,
If there was nobody poor,

And pity no more could be,
If all were as happy as we.'
At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.

Down pour'd the heavy rain
Over the new reap'd grain ...
And Miseries' increase
Is Mercy, Pity, Peace.

by William Blake.

The Angel Of Pain

Angel of Pain, I think thy face
Will be, in all the heavenly place,
The sweetest face that I shall see,
The swiftest face to smile on me.
All other angels faint and tire;
Joy wearies, and forsakes desire;
Hope falters, face to face with Fate,
And dies because it cannot wait;
And Love cuts short each loving day,
Because fond hearts cannot obey
That subtlest law which measures bliss
By what it is content to miss.
But thou, O loving, faithful Pain-
Hated, reproached, rejected, slain-
Dost only closer cling and bless
In sweeter, stronger steadfastness.
Dear, patient angel, to thine own
Thou comest, and art never known
Till late, in some lone twilight place
The light of thy transfigured face
Sudden shines out, and, speechless, they
Know they have walked with Christ all day.

by Helen Hunt Jackson.

The Angel Of Patience

A FREE PARAPHRASE OF THE GERMAN.

To weary hearts, to mourning homes,
God's meekest Angel gently comes
No power has he to banish pain,
Or give us back our lost again;
And yet in tenderest love, our dear
And Heavenly Father sends him here.

There's quiet in that Angel's glance,
There 's rest in his still countenance!
He mocks no grief with idle cheer,
Nor wounds with words the mourner's ear;
But ills and woes he may not cure
He kindly trains us to endure.

Angel of Patience! sent to calm
Our feverish brows with cooling palm;
To lay the storms of hope and fear,
And reconcile life's smile and tear;
The throbs of wounded pride to still,
And make our own our Father's will.

O thou who mournest on thy way,
With longings for the close of day;
He walks with thee, that Angel kind,
And gently whispers, 'Be resigned
Bear up, bear on, the end shall tell
The dear Lord ordereth all things well!'

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

The Angel-Thief

TIME is a thief who leaves his tools behind him;
He comes by night, he vanishes at dawn;
We track his footsteps, but we never find him
Strong locks are broken, massive bolts are drawn,

And all around are left the bars and borers,
The splitting wedges and the prying keys,
Such aids as serve the soft-shod vault-explorers
To crack, wrench open, rifle as they please.

Ah, these are tools which Heaven in mercy lends us
When gathering rust has clenched our shackles fast,
Time is the angel-thief that Nature sends us
To break the cramping fetters of our past.

Mourn as we may for treasures he has taken,
Poor as we feel of hoarded wealth bereft,
More precious are those implements forsaken,
Found in the wreck his ruthless hands have left.

Some lever that a casket's hinge has broken
Pries off a bolt, and lo! our souls are free;
Each year some Open Sesame is spoken,
And every decade drops its master-key.

So as from year to year we count our treasure,
Our loss seems less, and larger look our gains;
Time's wrongs repaid in more than even measure,--
We lose our jewels, but we break our chains.

by Oliver Wendell Holmes.

When first we met she seemed so white
I feared her;
As one might near a spirit bright
I neared her;
An angel pure from heaven above
I dreamed her,
And far too good for human love
I deemed her.
A spirit free from mortal taint
I thought her,
And incense as unto a saint
I brought her.

Well, incense burning did not seem
To please her,
And insolence I feared she’d deem
To squeeze her;
Nor did I dare for that same why
To kiss her,
Lest, shocked, she’d cause my eager eye
To miss her.
I sickened thinking of some way
To win her,
When lo! she asked me, one fine day,
To dinner!

Twas thus that made of common flesh
I found her,
And in a mortal lover’s mesh
I wound her.
Embraces, kisses, loving looks
I gave her,
And buying bon-bons, flowers and books,
I save her;
For her few honest, human taints
I love her,
Nor would I change for all the saints
Above her
Those eyes, that little face, that so
Endear her,
And all the human joy I know
When near her;
And I am glad, when to my breast
I press her,
She’s just a woman, like the rest,
God bless her!

by Ellis Parker Butler.

Oh, was it a death-dream not dreamed through,
That eyed her like a foe?
Or only a sorrow left over from life,
Half-finished years ago?


How long was it since she died-who told?
Or yet what was death-who knew?
She said: 'I am come to Heaven at last,
And I'll do as the blessèd do.'


But the custom of earth was stronger than Heaven,
And the habit of life than death,
How should an anguish as old as thought
Be healed by the end of breath?


Tissue and nerve and pulse of her soul
Had absorbed the disease of woe.
The strangest of all the angels there
Was Joy. (Oh, the wretched know!)


'I am too tired with earth,' she said,
'To rest me in Paradise.
Give me a spot to creep away,
And close my heavy eyes.


'I must learn to be happy in Heaven,' she said,
'As we learned to suffer below.'-
'Our ways are not your ways,' he said,
'And ours the ways you go.'


As love, too wise for a word, puts by
All a woman's weak alarms,
Joy hushed her lips, and gathered her
Into his mighty arms.


He took her to his holy heart,
And there-for he held her fast-
The saddest spirit in the world,
Came to herself at last.

by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward.

I.

I SHALL not paint them. God them sees, and I:
No other can, nor need. They have no form,
I may not close with human kisses warm
Their eyes which shine afar or from on high,
But never will shine nearer till I die.
How long, how long! See, I am growing old;
I have quite ceased to note in my hair's fold
The silver threads that there in ambush lie;
Some angel faces bent from heaven would pine
To trace the sharp lines graven upon mine;
What matter? in the wrinkles ploughed by care
Let age tread after, sowing immortal seeds;
All this life's harvest yielded, wheat or weeds,
Is reaped, methinks: at my little field lies bare.

II.

BUT in the night time, 'twixt it and the stars,
The angel faces still come glimmering by;
No death-pale shadow, no averted eye
Marking the inevitable doom that bars
Me from them. Not a cloud their aspect mars;
And my sick spirit walks with them hand in hand
By the cool waters of a pleasant land:
Sings with them o'er again, without its jars,
The psalm of life, that ceased, as one by one
Their voices, dropping off, left mine alone
With dull monotonous wail to grieve the air.
O solitary love, that art so strong,
I think God will have pity on thee erelong,
And take thee where thou'lt find those angel faces fair.

by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik.

The Angel And The Child. (From Jean Reboul, The Baker Of Nismes)

An angel with a radiant face,
Above a cradle bent to look,
Seemed his own image there to trace,
As in the waters of a brook.

'Dear child! who me resemblest so,'
It whispered, 'come, O come with me!
Happy together let us go,
The earth unworthy is of thee!

'Here none to perfect bliss attain;
The soul in pleasure suffering lies;
Joy hath an undertone of pain,
And even the happiest hours their sighs.

'Fear doth at every portal knock;
Never a day serene and pure
From the o'ershadowing tempest's shock
Hath made the morrow's dawn secure.

'What then, shall sorrows and shall fears
Come to disturb so pure a brow?
And with the bitterness of tears
These eyes of azure troubled grow?

'Ah no! into the fields of space,
Away shalt thou escape with me;
And Providence will grant thee grace
Of all the days that were to be.

'Let no one in thy dwelling cower,
In sombre vestments draped and veiled;
But let them welcome thy last hour,
As thy first moments once they hailed.

'Without a cloud be there each brow;
There let the grave no shadow cast;
When one is pure as thou art now,
The fairest day is still the last.'

And waving wide his wings of white,
The angel, at these words, had sped
Towards the eternal realms of light!--
Poor mother! see, thy son is dead!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Swamp Angel

There is a coal-black Angel
With a thick Afric lip,
And he dwells (like the hunted and harried)
In a swamp where the green frogs dip.
But his face is against a City
Which is over a bay of the sea,
And he breathes with a breath that is
blastment,
And dooms by a far decree.

By night there is fear in the City,
Through the darkness a star soareth on;
There's a scream that screams up to the zenith,
Then the poise of a meteor lone--
Lighting far the pale fright of the faces,
And downward the coming is seen;
Then the rush, and the burst, and the havoc,
And wails and shrieks between.

It comes like the thief in the gloaming;
It comes, and none may foretell
The place of the coming--the glaring;
They live in a sleepless spell
That wizens, and withers, and whitens;
It ages the young, and the bloom
Of the maiden is ashes of roses--
The Swamp Angel broods in his gloom.

Swift is his messengers' going,
But slowly he saps their halls,
As if by delay deluding.
They move from their crumbling walls
Farther and farther away;
But the Angel sends after and after,
By night with the flame of his ray--
By night with the voice of his screaming--
Sends after them, stone by stone,
And farther walls fall, farther portals,
And weed follows weed through the Town.

Is this the proud City? the scorner
Which never would yield the ground?
Which mocked at the coal-black Angel?
The cup of despair goes round.
Vainly he calls upon Michael
(The white man's seraph was he,)
For Michael has fled from his tower
To the Angel over the sea.
Who weeps for the woeful City
Let him weep for our guilty kind;
Who joys at her wild despairing--
Christ, the Forgiver, convert his mind.

by Herman Melville.

A Pastoral Betwixt David, Thirsis, And The Angel Gabriel, Upon The Birth Of Our Saviour

DAVID.
What means yon apparition in the sky,
Thirsis, that dazzles every shepherd's eye?
I slumbering was when from yon glorious cloud
Came gliding music heavenly, sweet, and loud,
With sacred raptures which my bosom fires,
And with celestial joy my soul inspires;
It soothes the native horrors of the night,
And gladdens nature more than dawning light.

THIRSIS.
But hold, see hither through the yielding air
An angel comes: for mighty news prepare.

ANGEL GABRIEL.
Rejoice, ye swains, anticipate the morn
With songs of praise; for lo! a Saviour's born.
With joyful haste to Bethlehem repair,
And you will find the almighty infant there;
Wrapp'd in a swaddling band you'll find your king,
And in a manger laid, to him your praises bring.

CHORUS OF ANGELS.
To God who in the highest dwells,
Immortal glory be;
Let peace be in the humble cells
Of Adam's progeny.

DAVID.
No more the year shall wintry horrors bring;
Fix'd in the indulgence of eternal spring,
Immortal green shall clothe the hills and vales,
And odorous sweets shall load the balmy gales;
The silver brooks shall in soft murmurs tell
The joy that shall their oozy channels swell.
Feed on, my flocks, and crop the tender grass,
Let blooming joy appear on every face;
For lo! this blessed, this propitious morn,
The Saviour of lost mankind is born.

THIRSIS.
Thou fairest morn that ever sprang from night,
Or deck'd the opening skies with rosy light,
Well mayst thou shine with a distinguish'd ray,
Since here Emmanuel condescends to stay.
Our fears, our guilt, our darkness to dispel,
And save us from the horrid jaws of hell.
Who from his throne descended, matchless love!
To guide poor mortals to bless'd seats above:
But come without delay, let us be gone,
Shepherd, let's go, and humbly kiss the Son.

by James Thomson.

You call me an angel of love and of light,
A being of goodness and heavenly fire,
Sent out from God’s kingdom to guide you aright,
In paths where your spirits may mount and aspire.
You say that I glow like a star on its course,
Like a ray from the alter, a spark from the source.

Now list to my answer; let all the world hear it;
I speak unafraid what I know to be true:
A pure, faithful love is the creative spirit
Which makes women angels! I live in but you.
We are bound soul to soul by life’s holiest laws;
If I am an angel – why, you are the cause.

As my ship skims the sea, I look up from the deck.
Fair, firm at the wheel shines Love’s beautiful form,
And shall I curse the barque that last night went to wreck,
By the Pilot abandoned to darkness and storm?
My craft is no stauncher, she too had been lost –
Had the wheelman deserted, or slept at his post.

I laid down the wealth of my soul at your feet
(Some woman does this for some man every day) .
No desperate creature who walks in the street,
Has a wickeder heart that I might have, I say,
Had you wantonly misused the treasures you woon,
-As so many men with heart riches have done.

This flame from God’s altar, this holy love flame,
That burns like sweet incense for ever for you,
Might now be a wild conflagration of shame,
Had you tortured my heart, or been base or untrue.
For angels and devils are cast in one mould,
Till love guides them upward, or downward, I hold.

I tell you the women who make fervent wives
And sweet tender mothers, had Fate been less fair,
Are the women who might have abandoned their lives
To the madness that springs from and ends in despair.
As the fire on the hearth which sheds brightness around,
Neglected, may level the walls to the ground.

The world makes grave errors in judging these things,
Great good and great evil are born in one breast.
Love horns us and hoofs us – or gives us our wings,
And the best could be worst, as the worst could be best.
You must thank your own worth for what I grew to be,
For the demon lurked under the angel in me.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Dedicated To My Sister, Mrs. Sarah A. Ayres.

One beautiful evening in summer,
Ere the sunbeams had vanished from sight,
When they stooped down to kiss the green prairies,
And bid all the flowers ' Good-night' ;

When the last lingering rays that descended
Fell full in the waterfall's face,
And caught the bright ripples, while dancing,
To give them a parting embrace;

Sad and doubting I sat by the brook-side,
And gazed on expiring Day,
Until Thought fell asleep in my bosom
And Memory flew softly away.

The clouds that hung lightly above me
Wore colors of beauty untold:
Displaying, in exquisite blending,
Their crimson and purple and gold.

The Breeze had forgotten its murmur,
The Zephyr had banished its sigh,
And echoes of heavenly anthems
Seemed dropping from harps in the sky.

Anon came the dim, dreamy twilight
To bend o'er our wild-flower track;
For, like truants, the sunbeams strayed earthward,
While darkness kept drawing them back.

Soon the long, waving grass of the meadow,
The waterfall sparkling and bright,
The trees and the church on the hill-side,
Were hid by the curtain of Night.

Then I sighed, in the fullness of sadness,
To think that the sunbeams had died,
Until white pinions fluttered around me,
And low whispers woke at my side :

' The gloom that the Night casts o'er nature
The splendor of Day ever mars,
But 'tis only the darkness, O mortal!
Can bring out the light of the stars.

' The soul, like the heavens above thee,
Has its seasons of sunlight and gloom;
And often the mental horizon
Is clouded by thoughts of the tomb.

' When the beams of Prosperity gladden,
Our troubles are laid in the dust ;
And 'tis only Adversity's mantle
Can bring out the starlight of Trust.

'Go ! learn of this emblem a lesson,—
Let Faith find a home in thy breast,
And Contentment will follow her footsteps,
And sing all repinings to rest.'

There was silence,—I gazed all around me
For the source of those whispers of love;
But naught met my wandering vision
Save the stars looking down from above.

Since then, when earth-shadows enfold me,
New strength to my spirit is given;
For I know it is only the darkness
Can brhvg oat the starlight of heaven.

by Kate Harrington.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. The Prologue.

I Her sons pursue the butterflies,
Her baby daughter mocks the doves
With throbbing coo; in his fond eyes
She's Venus with her little Loves;
Her footfall dignifies the earth,
Her form's the native-land of grace,
And, lo, his coming lights with mirth
Its court and capital her face!
Full proud her favour makes her lord,
And that her flatter'd bosom knows.
She takes his arm without a word,
In lanes of laurel and of rose.
Ten years to-day has she been his.
He but begins to understand,
He says, the dignity and bliss
She gave him when she gave her hand.
She, answering, says, he disenchants
The past, though that was perfect; he
Rejoins, the present nothing wants
But briefness to be ecstasy.
He lauds her charms; her beauty's glow
Wins from the spoiler Time new rays;
Bright looks reply, approving so
Beauty's elixir vitæ, praise.
Upon a beech he bids her mark
Where, ten years since, he carved her name;
It grows there with the growing bark,
And in his heart it grows the same.
For that her soft arm presses his
Close to her fond, maternal breast;
He tells her, each new kindness is
The effectual sum of all the rest!
And, whilst the cushat, mocking, coo'd,
They blest the days they had been wed,
At cost of those in which he woo'd,
Till everything was three times said;
And words were growing vain, when Briggs,
Factotum, Footman, Butler, Groom,
Who press'd the cyder, fed the pigs,
Preserv'd the rabbits, drove the brougham,
And help'd, at need, to mow the lawns,
And sweep the paths and thatch the hay,
Here brought the Post down, Mrs. Vaughan's
Sole rival, but, for once, to-day,
Scarce look'd at; for the ‘Second Book,’
Till this tenth festival kept close,
Was thus commenced, while o'er them shook
The laurel married with the rose.

II
‘The pulse of War, whose bloody heats
‘Sane purposes insanely work,
‘Now with fraternal frenzy beats,
‘And binds the Christian to the Turk,
‘And shrieking fifes’—


III
But, with a roar,
In rush'd the Loves; the tallest roll'd
A hedgehog from his pinafore,
Which saved his fingers; Baby, bold,
Touch'd it, and stared, and scream'd for life,
And stretch'd her hand for Vaughan to kiss,
Who hugg'd his Pet, and ask'd his wife,
‘Is this for love, or love for this?’
But she turn'd pale, for, lo, the beast,
Found stock-still in the rabbit-trap,
And feigning so to be deceased,
And laid by Frank upon her lap,
Unglobed himself, and show'd his snout,
And fell, scatt'ring the Loves amain,
With shriek, with laughter, and with shout;
And, peace at last restored again,
The Bard, who this untimely hitch
Bore with a calm magnanimous,
(The hedgehog roll'd into a ditch,
And Venus sooth'd), proceeded thus:

by Coventry Patmore.

The Guardian-Angel

A PICTURE AT FANO.

I.

Dear and great Angel, wouldst thou only leave
That child, when thou hast done with him, for me!
Let me sit all the day here, that when eve
Shall find performed thy special ministry,
And time come for departure, thou, suspending
Thy flight, mayst see another child for tending,
Another still, to quiet and retrieve.

II.

Then I shall feel thee step one step, no more,
From where thou standest now, to where I gaze,
---And suddenly my head is covered o'er
With those wings, white above the child who prays
Now on that tomb---and I shall feel thee guarding
Me, out of all the world; for me, discarding
Yon heaven thy home, that waits and opes its door.

III.

I would not look up thither past thy head
Because the door opes, like that child, I know,
For I should have thy gracious face instead,
Thou bird of God! And wilt thou bend me low
Like him, and lay, like his, my hands together,
And lift them up to pray, and gently tether
Me, as thy lamb there, with thy garment's spread?

IV.

If this was ever granted, I would rest
My bead beneath thine, while thy healing hands
Close-covered both my eyes beside thy breast,
Pressing the brain, which too much thought expands,
Back to its proper size again, and smoothing
Distortion down till every nerve had soothing,
And all lay quiet, happy and suppressed.

V.

How soon all worldly wrong would be repaired!
I think how I should view the earth and skies
And sea, when once again my brow was bared
After thy healing, with such different eyes.
O world, as God has made it! All is beauty:
And knowing this, is love, and love is duty.
What further may be sought for or declared?

VI.

Guercino drew this angel I saw teach
(Alfred, dear friend!)---that little child to pray,
Holding the little hands up, each to each
Pressed gently,---with his own head turned away
Over the earth where so much lay before him
Of work to do, though heaven was opening o'er him,
And he was left at Fano by the beach.

VII.

We were at Fano, and three times we went
To sit and see him in his chapel there,
And drink his beauty to our soul's content
---My angel with me too: and since I care
For dear Guercino's fame (to which in power
And glory comes this picture for a dower,
Fraught with a pathos so magnificent)---

VIII.

And since he did not work thus earnestly
At all times, and has else endured some wrong---
I took one thought his picture struck from me,
And spread it out, translating it to song.
My love is here. Where are you, dear old friend?
How rolls the Wairoa at your world's far end?
This is Ancona, yonder is the sea.

by Robert Browning.

Guardian-Angel, The

A PICTURE AT FANO.

I.

Dear and great Angel, wouldst thou only leave
That child, when thou hast done with him, for me!
Let me sit all the day here, that when eve
Shall find performed thy special ministry,
And time come for departure, thou, suspending
Thy flight, mayst see another child for tending,
Another still, to quiet and retrieve.

II.

Then I shall feel thee step one step, no more,
From where thou standest now, to where I gaze,
---And suddenly my head is covered o'er
With those wings, white above the child who prays
Now on that tomb---and I shall feel thee guarding
Me, out of all the world; for me, discarding
Yon heaven thy home, that waits and opes its door.

III.

I would not look up thither past thy head
Because the door opes, like that child, I know,
For I should have thy gracious face instead,
Thou bird of God! And wilt thou bend me low
Like him, and lay, like his, my hands together,
And lift them up to pray, and gently tether
Me, as thy lamb there, with thy garment's spread?

IV.

If this was ever granted, I would rest
My bead beneath thine, while thy healing hands
Close-covered both my eyes beside thy breast,
Pressing the brain, which too much thought expands,
Back to its proper size again, and smoothing
Distortion down till every nerve had soothing,
And all lay quiet, happy and suppressed.

V.

How soon all worldly wrong would be repaired!
I think how I should view the earth and skies
And sea, when once again my brow was bared
After thy healing, with such different eyes.
O world, as God has made it! All is beauty:
And knowing this, is love, and love is duty.
What further may be sought for or declared?

VI.

Guercino drew this angel I saw teach
(Alfred, dear friend!)---that little child to pray,
Holding the little hands up, each to each
Pressed gently,---with his own head turned away
Over the earth where so much lay before him
Of work to do, though heaven was opening o'er him,
And he was left at Fano by the beach.

VII.

We were at Fano, and three times we went
To sit and see him in his chapel there,
And drink his beauty to our soul's content
---My angel with me too: and since I care
For dear Guercino's fame (to which in power
And glory comes this picture for a dower,
Fraught with a pathos so magnificent)---

VIII.

And since he did not work thus earnestly
At all times, and has else endured some wrong---
I took one thought his picture struck from me,
And spread it out, translating it to song.
My love is here. Where are you, dear old friend?
How rolls the Wairoa at your world's far end?
This is Ancona, yonder is the sea.

by Robert Browning.

The Angel Of The Church

I.
Aye, strike with sacrilegious aim
The temple of the living God;
Hurl iron bolt and seething flame
Through aisles which holiest feet have trod;
Tear up the altar, spoil the tomb,
And, raging with demoniac ire,
Send down, in sudden crash of doom,
That grand, old, sky-sustaining spire.

II.

That spire, for full a hundred years,[1]
Hath been a people's point of sight;
That shrine hath warmed their souls to tears,
With strains well worthy Salem's height;
The sweet, clear music of its bells,
Made liquid soft in Southern air,
Still through the heart of memory swells,
And wakes the hopeful soul to prayer.

III.

Along the shores for many a mile,
Long ere they owned a beacon-mark,
It caught arid kept the Day-God's smile,
The guide for every wandering bark;[2]
Averting from our homes the scaith
Of fiery bolt, in storm-cloud driven,
The Pharos to the wandering faith,
It pointed every prayer to Heaven!

IV.

Well may ye, felons of the time,
Still loathing all that's pure and free,
Add this to many a thousand crime
'Gainst peace and sweet humanity:
Ye, who have wrapped our towns in flame,
Defiled our shrines, befouled our homes,
But fitly turn your murderous aim
Against Jehovah's ancient domes.

V.

Yet, though the grand old temple falls,
And downward sinks the lofty spire,
Our faith is stronger than our walls,
And soars above the storm and fire.
Ye shake no faith in souls made free
To tread the paths their fathers trod;
To fight and die for liberty,
Believing in the avenging God!

VI.

Think not, though long his anger stays,
His justice sleeps--His wrath is spent;
The arm of vengeance but delays,
To make more dread the punishment!
Each impious hand that lights the torch
Shall wither ere the bolt shall fall;
And the bright Angel of the Church,
With seraph shield avert the ball!

VII.

For still we deem, as taught of old,
That where the faith the altar builds,
God sends an angel from his fold,
Whose sleepless watch the temple shields,
And to his flock, with sweet accord,
Yields their fond choice, from THRONES and POWERS;
Thus, Michael, with his fiery sword
And golden shield, still champions ours!

VIII.

And he who smote the dragon down,
And chained him thousand years of time,
Need never fear the boa's frown,
Though loathsome in his spite and slime.
He, from the topmost height, surveys
And guards the shrines our fathers gave;
And we, who sleep beneath his gaze,
May well believe his power to save!

IX.

Yet, if it be that for our sin
Our angel's term of watch is o'er,
With proper prayer, true faith must win
The guardian watcher back once more I
Faith, brethren of the Church, and prayer--
In blood and sackcloth, if it need;
And still our spire shall rise in air,
Our temple, though our people bleed!

by William Gilmore Simms.

The Boy And The Angel

Morning, evening, noon and night,
``Praise God!; sang Theocrite.

Then to his poor trade he turned,
Whereby the daily meal was earned.

Hard he laboured, long and well;
O'er his work the boy's curls fell.

But ever, at each period,
He stopped and sang, ``Praise God!''

Then back again his curls he threw,
And cheerful turned to work anew.

Said Blaise, the listening monk, ``Well done;
``I doubt not thou art heard, my son:

``As well as if thy voice to-day
``Were praising God, the Pope's great way.

``This Easter Day, the Pope at Rome
``Praises God from Peter's dome.''

Said Theocrite, ``Would God that I
``Might praise him, that great way, and die!''

Night passed, day shone,
And Theocrite was gone.

With God a day endures alway,
A thousand years are but a day.

God said in heaven, ``Nor day nor night
``Now brings the voice of my delight.''

Then Gabriel, like a rainbow's birth,
Spread his wings and sank to earth;

Entered, in flesh, the empty cell,
Lived there, and played the craftsman well;

And morning, evening, noon and night,
Praised God in place of Theocrite.

And from a boy, to youth he grew:
The man put off the stripling's hue:

The man matured and fell away
Into the season of decay:

And ever o'er the trade he bent,
And ever lived on earth content.

(He did God's will; to him, all one
If on the earth or in the sun.)

God said, ``A praise is in mine ear;
``There is no doubt in it, no fear:

``So sing old worlds, and so
``New worlds that from my footstool go.

``Clearer loves sound other ways:
``I miss my little human praise.''

Then forth sprang Gabriel's wings, off fell
The flesh disguise, remained the cell.

'Twas Easter Day: he flew to Rome,
And paused above Saint Peter's dome.

In the tiring-room close by
The great outer gallery,

With his holy vestments dight,
Stood the new Pope, Theocrite:

And all his past career
Came back upon him clear,

Since when, a boy, he plied his trade,
Till on his life the sickness weighed;

And in his cell, when death drew near,
An angel in a dream brought cheer:

And rising from the sickness drear
He grew a priest, and now stood here.

To the East with praise he turned,
And on his sight the angel burned.

``I bore thee from thy craftsman's cell
``And set thee here; I did not well.

``Vainly I left my angel-sphere,
``Vain was thy dream of many a year.

``Thy voice's praise seemed weak; it dropped---
``Creation's chorus stopped!

``Go back and praise again
``The early way, while I remain.

``With that weak voice of our disdain,
``Take up creation's pausing strain.

``Back to the cell and poor employ:
``Resume the craftsman and the boy!''

Theocrite grew old at home;
A new Pope dwelt in Peter's dome.

One vanished as the other died:
They sought God side by side.

by Robert Browning.

Boy And The Angel, The

Morning, evening, noon and night,
``Praise God!; sang Theocrite.

Then to his poor trade he turned,
Whereby the daily meal was earned.

Hard he laboured, long and well;
O'er his work the boy's curls fell.

But ever, at each period,
He stopped and sang, ``Praise God!''

Then back again his curls he threw,
And cheerful turned to work anew.

Said Blaise, the listening monk, ``Well done;
``I doubt not thou art heard, my son:

``As well as if thy voice to-day
``Were praising God, the Pope's great way.

``This Easter Day, the Pope at Rome
``Praises God from Peter's dome.''

Said Theocrite, ``Would God that I
``Might praise him, that great way, and die!''

Night passed, day shone,
And Theocrite was gone.

With God a day endures alway,
A thousand years are but a day.

God said in heaven, ``Nor day nor night
``Now brings the voice of my delight.''

Then Gabriel, like a rainbow's birth,
Spread his wings and sank to earth;

Entered, in flesh, the empty cell,
Lived there, and played the craftsman well;

And morning, evening, noon and night,
Praised God in place of Theocrite.

And from a boy, to youth he grew:
The man put off the stripling's hue:

The man matured and fell away
Into the season of decay:

And ever o'er the trade he bent,
And ever lived on earth content.

(He did God's will; to him, all one
If on the earth or in the sun.)

God said, ``A praise is in mine ear;
``There is no doubt in it, no fear:

``So sing old worlds, and so
``New worlds that from my footstool go.

``Clearer loves sound other ways:
``I miss my little human praise.''

Then forth sprang Gabriel's wings, off fell
The flesh disguise, remained the cell.

'Twas Easter Day: he flew to Rome,
And paused above Saint Peter's dome.

In the tiring-room close by
The great outer gallery,

With his holy vestments dight,
Stood the new Pope, Theocrite:

And all his past career
Came back upon him clear,

Since when, a boy, he plied his trade,
Till on his life the sickness weighed;

And in his cell, when death drew near,
An angel in a dream brought cheer:

And rising from the sickness drear
He grew a priest, and now stood here.

To the East with praise he turned,
And on his sight the angel burned.

``I bore thee from thy craftsman's cell
``And set thee here; I did not well.

``Vainly I left my angel-sphere,
``Vain was thy dream of many a year.

``Thy voice's praise seemed weak; it dropped---
``Creation's chorus stopped!

``Go back and praise again
``The early way, while I remain.

``With that weak voice of our disdain,
``Take up creation's pausing strain.

``Back to the cell and poor employ:
``Resume the craftsman and the boy!''

Theocrite grew old at home;
A new Pope dwelt in Peter's dome.

One vanished as the other died:
They sought God side by side.

by Robert Browning.

The Angel In The House. Book I. The Prologue.

I.
Mine is no horse with wings, to gain
‘The region of the spheral chime;
‘He does but drag a rumbling wain,
‘Cheer'd by the coupled bells of rhyme;
‘And if at Fame's bewitching note
‘My homely Pegasus pricks an ear,
‘The world's cart-collar hugs his throat,
‘And he's too sage to kick or rear.’


II.
Thus ever answer'd Vaughan his Wife,
Who, more than he, desired his fame;
But, in his heart, his thoughts were rife
How for her sake to earn a name.
With bays poetic three times crown'd,
And other college honours won,
He, if he chose, might be renown'd,
He had but little doubt, she none;
And in a loftier phrase he talk'd
With her, upon their Wedding-Day,
(The eighth), while through the fields they walk'd,
Their children shouting by the way.


III.
‘Not careless of the gift of song,
‘Nor out of love with noble fame,
‘I, meditating much and long
‘What I should sing, how win a name,
‘Considering well what theme unsung,
‘What reason worth the cost of rhyme,
‘Remains to loose the poet's tongue
‘In these last days, the dregs of time,
‘Learn that to me, though born so late,
‘There does, beyond desert, befall
‘(May my great fortune make me great!)
‘The first of themes, sung last of all.
‘In green and undiscover'd ground,
‘Yet near where many others sing,
‘I have the very well-head found
‘Whence gushes the Pierian Spring.’


IV.
Then she: ‘What is it, Dear? The Life
‘Of Arthur, or Jerusalem's Fall?’
‘Neither: your gentle self, my Wife,
‘And love, that grows from one to all.
‘And if I faithfully proclaim
‘Of these the exceeding worthiness,
‘Surely the sweetest wreath of Fame
‘Shall, to your hope, my brows caress;
‘And if, by virtue of my choice
‘Of this, the most heart-touching theme
‘That ever tuned a poet's voice,
‘I live, as I am bold to dream,
‘To be delight to many days,
‘And into silence only cease
‘When those are still, who shared their bays
‘With Laura and with Beatrice,
‘Imagine, Love, how learned men
‘Will deep-conceiv'd devices find,
‘Beyond my purpose and my ken,
‘An ancient bard of simple mind.
‘You, Sweet, his Mistress, Wife, and Muse,
‘Were you for mortal woman meant?
Your praises give a hundred clues
‘To mythological intent!
And, severing thus the truth from trope,
‘In you the Commentators see
‘Outlines occult of abstract scope,
‘A future for philosophy!
‘Your arm's on mine! these are the meads
‘In which we pass our living days;
‘There Avon runs, now hid with reeds,
‘Now brightly brimming pebbly bays;
‘Those are our children's songs that come
‘With bells and bleatings of the sheep;
‘And there, in yonder English home,
‘We thrive on mortal food and sleep!’
She laugh'd. How proud she always was
To feel how proud he was of her!
But he had grown distraught, because
The Muse's mood began to stir.

V.
His purpose with performance crown'd,
He to his well-pleased Wife rehears'd,
When next their Wedding-Day came round,
His leisure's labour, ‘Book the First.’

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. The Epilogue

I
‘Ah, dearest Wife, a fresh-lit fire
‘Sends forth to heaven great shows of fume,
‘And watchers, far away, admire;
‘But when the flames their power assume,
‘The more they burn the less they show,
‘The clouds no longer smirch the sky,
‘And then the flames intensest glow
‘When far-off watchers think they die.
‘The fumes of early love my verse
‘Has figured—’ ‘You must paint the flame!’
‘'Twould merit the Promethean curse!
‘But now, Sweet, for your praise and blame.’
‘You speak too boldly; veils are due
‘To women's feelings.’ ‘Fear not this!
‘Women will vow I say not true,
‘And men believe the lips they kiss.’
‘I did not call you 'Dear' or 'Love,'
‘I think, till after Frank was born.’
‘That fault I cannot well remove;
‘The rhymes’—but Frank now blew his horn,
And Walter bark'd, on hands and knees,
At Baby in the mignonette,
And all made, full-cry, for the trees
Where Felix and his Wife were set.
Again disturb'd, (crickets have cares!)
True to their annual use they rose,
To offer thanks at Evening Prayers
In three times sacred Sarum Close.

II
Passing, they left a gift of wine
At Widow Neale's. Her daughter said:
‘O, Ma'am, she's sinking! For a sign,
‘She cried just now, of him that's dead,
‘'Mary, he's somewhere close above,
‘'Weeping and wailing his dead wife,
‘'With forceful prayers and fatal love
‘'Conjuring me to come to life.
‘'A spirit is terrible though dear!
‘'It comes by night, and sucks my breath,
‘'And draws me with desire and fear.'
‘Ah, Ma'am, she'll soon be his in death!’


III
Vaughan, when his kind Wife's eyes were dry,
Said, ‘This thought crosses me, my Dove;
‘If Heaven should proffer, when we die,
‘Some unconceiv'd, superior love,
‘How take the exchange without despair,
‘Without worse folly how refuse?’
But she, who, wise as she was fair,
For subtle doubts had simple clues,
Said, ‘Custom sanctifies, and faith
‘Is more than joy: ah, how desire
‘In any heaven a different path,
‘Though, found at first, it had been higher?
‘Yet love makes death a dreadful thought!
‘Felix, at what a price we live!’
But present pleasures soon forgot
The future's dread alternative;
For, as became the festal time,
He cheer'd her heart with tender praise,
And speeches wanting only rhyme
To make them like his winged lays.
He discommended girlhood. ‘What
‘For sweetness like the ten-years' wife,
‘Whose customary love is not
‘Her passion, or her play, but life?
‘With beauties so maturely fair,
‘Affecting, mild, and manifold,
‘May girlish charms no more compare
‘Than apples green with apples gold.
‘Ah, still unpraised Honoria, Heaven,
‘When you into my arms it gave,
‘Left nought hereafter to be given
‘But grace to feel the good I have.’


IV
Her own and manhood's modesty
Made dumb her love, but, on their road,
His hand in hers felt soft reply,
And like rejoinder fond bestow'd;
And, when the carriage set them down,
‘How strange,’ said he, ‘'twould seem to meet,
‘When pacing, as we now this town,
‘A Florence or a Lisbon Street,
‘That Laura or that Catherine, who,
‘In the remote, romantic years,
‘From Petrarch or Camoens drew
‘Their songs and their immortal tears!’
But here their converse had its end;
For, crossing the Cathedral Lawn,
There came an ancient college-friend,
Who, introduced to Mrs. Vaughan,
Lifted his hat, and bow'd and smiled,
And fill'd her kind large eyes with joy,
By patting on the cheek her child,
With, ‘Is he yours, this handsome boy?’

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto Ix.

Preludes.

I The Nursling of Civility
Lo, how the woman once was woo'd:
Forth leapt the savage from his lair,
And fell'd her, and to nuptials rude
He dragg'd her, bleeding, by the hair.
From that to Chloe's dainty wiles
And Portia's dignified consent,
What distance! But these Pagan styles
How far below Time's fair intent!
Siegfried sued Kriemhild. Sweeter life
Could Love's self covet? Yet 'tis sung
In what rough sort he chid his wife
For want of curb upon her tongue!
Shall Love, where last I leave him, halt?
Nay; none can fancy or foresee
To how strange bliss may time exalt
This nursling of civility.


II The Foreign Land
A woman is a foreign land,
Of which, though there he settle young,
A man will ne'er quite understand
The customs, politics, and tongue.
The foolish hie them post-haste through,
See fashions odd, and prospects fair,
Learn of the language, ‘How d'ye do,’
And go and brag they have been there.
The most for leave to trade apply,
For once, at Empire's seat, her heart,
Then get what knowledge ear and eye
Glean chancewise in the life-long mart.
And certain others, few and fit,
Attach them to the Court, and see
The Country's best, its accent hit,
And partly sound its polity.

III Disappointment
‘The bliss which woman's charms bespeak,
‘I've sought in many, found in none!’
‘In many 'tis in vain you seek
‘What can be found in only one.’


The Friends.

I
Frank's long, dull letter, lying by
The gay sash from Honoria's waist,
Reproach'd me; passion spared a sigh
For friendship without fault disgraced.
How should I greet him? how pretend
I felt the love he once inspired?
Time was when either, in his friend,
His own deserts with joy admired;
We took one side in school-debate,
Like hopes pursued with equal thirst,
Were even-bracketed by Fate,
Twin-Wranglers, seventh from the First;
And either loved a lady's laugh
More than all music; he and I
Were perfect in the pleasant half
Of universal charity.

II
From pride of likeness thus I loved
Him, and he me, till love begot
The lowliness which now approved
Nothing but that which I was not.
Blest was the pride of feeling so
Subjected to a girl's soft reign.
She was my vanity, and, oh,
All other vanities how vain!

III
Frank follow'd in his letter's track,
And set my guilty heart at ease
By echoing my excuses back
With just the same apologies.
So he had slighted me as well!
Nor was my mind disburthen'd less
When what I sought excuse to tell
He of himself did first confess.

IV
Each, rapturous, praised his lady's worth;
He eloquently thus: ‘Her face
‘Is the summ'd sweetness of the earth,
‘Her soul the glass of heaven's grace,
‘To which she leads me by the hand;
‘Or, briefly all the truth to say
‘To you, who briefly understand,
‘She is both heaven and the way.
‘Displeasures and resentments pass
‘Athwart her charitable eyes
‘More fleetingly than breath from glass,
‘Or truth from foolish memories;
‘Her heart's so touch'd with others' woes
‘She has no need of chastisement;
‘Her gentle life's conditions close,
‘Like God's commandments, with content,
‘And make an aspect calm and gay,
‘Where sweet affections come and go,
‘Till all who see her, smile and say,
‘How fair, and happy that she's so!
‘She is so lovely, true, and pure,
‘Her virtue virtue so endears,
‘That often, when I think of her,
‘Life's meanness fills mine eyes with tears—’
‘You paint Miss Churchill! Pray go on—’
‘She's perfect, and, if joy was much
‘To think her nature's paragon,
‘'Tis more that there's another such!’


V
Praising and paying back their praise
With rapturous hearts, t'ward Sarum Spire
We walk'd, in evening's golden haze,
Friendship from passion stealing fire.
In joy's crown danced the feather jest,
And, parting by the Deanery door,
Clasp'd hands, less shy than words, confess'd
We had not been true friends before.

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto X.

Preludes.

I Frost in Harvest
The lover who, across a gulf
Of ceremony, views his Love,
And dares not yet address herself,
Pays worship to her stolen glove.
The gulf o'erleapt, the lover wed,
It happens oft, (let truth be told),
The halo leaves the sacred head,
Respect grows lax, and worship cold,
And all love's May-day promising,
Like song of birds before they pair,
Or flush of flowers in boastful Spring,
Dies out, and leaves the Summer bare
Yet should a man, it seems to me,
Honour what honourable is,
For some more honourable plea
Than only that it is not his.
The gentle wife, who decks his board
And makes his day to have no night,
Whose wishes wait upon her lord,
Who finds her own in his delight,
Is she another now than she
Who, mistress of her maiden charms,
At his wild prayer, incredibly
Committed them to his proud arms?
Unless her choice of him's a slur
Which makes her proper credit dim,
He never enough can honour her
Who past all speech has honour'd him.

II Felicity
To marry her and take her home!
The poet, painting pureness, tells
Of lilies; figures power by Rome;
And each thing shows by something else!
But through the songs of poets look,
And who so lucky to have found
In universal nature's book
A likeness for a life so crown'd!
Here they speak best who best express
Their inability to speak,
And none are strong, but who confess
With happy skill that they are weak.

III Marriage Indissoluble
‘In heaven none marry.’ Grant the most
Which may by this dark word be meant,
Who shall forbid the eternal boast
‘I kiss'd, and kiss'd with her consent!’
If here, to Love, past favour is
A present boast, delight, and chain,
What lacks of honour, bond, and bliss,
Where Now and Then are no more twain!


The Epitaph.

I
‘At Church, in twelve hours more, we meet!
‘This, Dearest, is our last farewell.’
‘Oh, Felix, do you love me?’ ‘Sweet,
‘Why do you ask?’ ‘I cannot tell.’


II
And was it no vain fantasy
That raised me from the earth with pride?
Should I to-morrow verily
Be Bridegroom, and Honoria Bride?
Should I, in simple fact, henceforth
Live unconditionally lord
Of her whose smile for brightest worth
Seem'd all too bountiful reward?
Incredible life's promise seem'd,
Or, credible, for life too great;
Love his own deity blasphemed,
And doff'd at last his heavenly state.
What law, if man could mount so high,
To further insolence set bars,
And kept the chaste moon in the sky,
And bade him not tread out the stars!

III
Patience and hope had parted truce,
And, sun-like, Love obscured his ray
With dazzling mists, driven up profuse
Before his own triumphant way.
I thought with prayer how Jacob paid
The patient price of Rachel; then,
Of that calm grace Tobias said,
And Sarah's innocent ‘Amen.’
Without avail! O'erwhelming wealth,
The wondrous gift of God so near,
Which should have been delight and health
Made heart and spirit sick and sere.
Until at last the soul of love,
That recks not of its own delight,
Awoke and bade the mists remove,
And then once more I breathed aright;
And I rehears'd my marriage vow,
And swore her welfare to prefer
To all things, and for aye as now
To live, not for myself, but her.
Forth, from the glittering spirit's peace
And gaiety ineffable,
Stream'd to the heart delight and ease,
As from an overflowing well;
And, orderly deriving thence
Its pleasure perfect and allow'd,
Bright with the spirit shone the sense,
As with the sun a fleecy cloud.
If now to part with her could make,
Her pleasure greater, sorrow less,
I for my epitaph would take
‘To serve seem'd more than to possess.’
And I perceiv'd, (the vision sweet
Dimming with happy dew mine eyes),
That love and joy are torches lit
From altar-fires of sacrifice.

IV
Across the sky the daylight crept,
And birds grew garrulous in the grove,
And on my marriage-morn I slept
A soft sleep, undisturb'd by love.

by Coventry Patmore.

The Destroying Angel

I dreamt a dream the other night
That an Angel appeared to me, clothed in white.
Oh! it was a beautiful sight,
Such as filled my heart with delight.

And in her hand she held a flaming brand,
Which she waved above her head most grand;
And on me she glared with love-beaming eyes,
Then she commanded me from my bed to arise.

And in a sweet voice she said, "You must follow me,
And in a short time you shall see
The destruction of all the public-houses in the city,
Which is, my friend, the God of Heaven's decree."

Then from my bed in fear I arose,
And quickly donned on my clothes;
And when that was done she said, " Follow me
Direct to the High Street, fearlessly."

So with the beautiful Angel away I did go,
And when we arrived at the High Street, Oh! what a show,
I suppose there were about five thousand men there,
All vowing vengeance against the publicans, I do declare.

Then the Angel cried with a solemn voice aloud
To that vast end Godly assembled crowd,
"Gentlemen belonging the fair City of Dundee,
Remember I have been sent here by God to warn ye.

"That by God's decree ye must take up arms and follow me
And wreck all the public-houses in this fair City,
Because God cannot countenance such dens of iniquity.
Therefore, friends of God, come, follow me.

"Because God has said there's no use preaching against strong drink,
Therefore, by taking up arms against it, God does think,
That is the only and the effectual cure
To banish it from the land, He is quite sure.

"Besides, it has been denounced in Dundee for fifty years
By the friends of Temperance, while oft they have shed tears.
Therefore, God thinks there's no use denouncing it any longer,
Because the more that's said against it seemingly it grows stronger."

And while the Angel was thus addressing the people,
The Devil seemed to be standing on the Townhouse Steeple,
Foaming at the mouth with rage, and seemingly much annoyed,
And kicking the Steeple because the public-houses wore going to be destroyed.

Then the Angel cried, " Satan, avaunt! begone!"
Then he vanished in the flame, to the amazement of everyone;
And waving aloft the flaming brand,
That she carried in her right hand

She cried, "Now, friends of the Temperance cause, follow me:
For remember if's God's high decree
To destroy all the public-houses in this fair City;
Therefore, friends of God, let's commence this war immediately."

Then from the High Street we all did retire,
As the Angel, sent by God, did desire;
And along the Perth Road we all did go,
While the Angel set fire to the public-houses along that row.

And when the Perth Road public-houses were fired, she cried, " Follow me,
And next I'll fire the Hawkhill public-houses instantly."
Then away we went with the Angel, without dread or woe,
And she fired the IEawkhill public-houses as onward we did go.

Then she cried, "Let's on to the Scouringburn, in God's name."
And away to the Scouringburn we went, with our hearts aflame,
As the destroying Angel did command.
And when there she fired the public-houses, which looked very grand.

And when the public-houses there were blazing like a kiln,
She cried, " Now, my friends, we'll march to the Bonnet Hill,
And we'll fire the dens of iniquity without dismay,
Therefore let's march on, my friends, without delay."

And when we arrived at the Bonnet Hill,
The Angel fired the public-houses, as she did well.
Then she cried, "We'll leave them now to their fate,
And march on to the Murraygate."

Then we marched on to the Murraygate,
And the Angel fired the public-houses there, a most deserving fate.
Then to the High Street we marched and fired them there,
Which was a most beautiful blaze, I do declare.

And on the High Street, old men and women were gathered there,
And as the flames ascended upwards, in amazement they did stare
When they saw the public-houses in a blaze,
But they clapped their hands with joy and to God gave praise.

Then the Angel cried, "Thank God, Christ's Kingdom's near at hand,
And there will soon be peace and plenty throughout the land,
And the ravages of the demon Drink no more will be seen."
But, alas, I started up in bed, and behold it was a dream!

by William Topaz McGonagall.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto Xii.

Preludes

I The Married Lover
Why, having won her, do I woo?
Because her spirit's vestal grace
Provokes me always to pursue,
But, spirit-like, eludes embrace;
Because her womanhood is such
That, as on court-days subjects kiss
The Queen's hand, yet so near a touch
Affirms no mean familiarness,
Nay, rather marks more fair the height
Which can with safety so neglect
To dread, as lower ladies might,
That grace could meet with disrespect,
Thus she with happy favour feeds
Allegiance from a love so high
That thence no false conceit proceeds
Of difference bridged, or state put by;
Because, although in act and word
As lowly as a wife can be,
Her manners, when they call me lord,
Remind me 'tis by courtesy;
Not with her least consent of will,
Which would my proud affection hurt,
But by the noble style that still
Imputes an unattain'd desert;
Because her gay and lofty brows,
When all is won which hope can ask,
Reflect a light of hopeless snows
That bright in virgin ether bask;
Because, though free of the outer court
I am, this Temple keeps its shrine
Sacred to Heaven; because, in short,
She's not and never can be mine.

II The Amaranth
Feasts satiate; stars distress with height;
Friendship means well, but misses reach,
And wearies in its best delight
Vex'd with the vanities of speech;
Too long regarded, roses even
Afflict the mind with fond unrest;
And to converse direct with Heaven
Is oft a labour in the breast;
Whate'er the up-looking soul admires,
Whate'er the senses' banquet be,
Fatigues at last with vain desires,
Or sickens by satiety;
But truly my delight was more
In her to whom I'm bound for aye
Yesterday than the day before,
And more to-day than yesterday.


Husband And Wife

I
I, while the shop-girl fitted on
The sand-shoes, look'd where, down the bay,
The sea glow'd with a shrouded sun.
‘I'm ready, Felix; will you pay?’
That was my first expense for this
Sweet Stranger, now my three days' Wife.
How light the touches are that kiss
The music from the chords of life!

II
Her feet, by half-a-mile of sea,
In spotless sand left shapely prints;
With agates, then, she loaded me;
(The lapidary call'd them flints);
Then, at her wish, I hail'd a boat,
To take her to the ships-of-war,
At anchor, each a lazy mote
Black in the brilliance, miles from shore.

III
The morning breeze the canvas fill'd,
Lifting us o'er the bright-ridged gulf,
And every lurch my darling thrill'd
With light fear smiling at itself;
And, dashing past the ‘Arrogant,’
Asleep upon the restless wave,
After its cruise in the Levant,
We reach'd the ‘Wolf,’ and signal gave
For help to board: with caution meet,
My bride was placed within the chair,
The red flag wrapp'd about her feet,
And so swung laughing through the air.

IV
‘Look, Love,’ she said, ‘there's Frederick Graham,
‘My cousin, whom you met, you know.’
And seeing us, the brave man came,
And made his frank and courteous bow,
And gave my hand a sailor's shake,
And said, ‘You ask'd me to the Hurst:
‘I never thought my luck would make
‘Your wife and you my guests the first.’
And Honor, cruel, ‘Nor did we:
‘Have you not lately changed your ship?’
‘Yes: I'm Commander, now,’ said he,
With a slight quiver of the lip.
We saw the vessel, shown with pride;
Took luncheon; I must eat his salt!
Parting he said, (I fear my bride
Found him unselfish to a fault),
His wish, he saw, had come to pass,
(And so, indeed, her face express'd),
That that should be, whatever 'twas,
Which made his Cousin happiest.
We left him looking from above;
Rich bankrupt! for he could afford
To say most proudly that his love
Was virtue and its own reward.
But others loved as well as he,
(Thought I, half-anger'd), and if fate,
Unfair, had only fashion'd me
As hapless, I had been as great.

V
As souls, ambitious, but low-born,
If raised past hope by luck or wit,
All pride of place will proudly scorn,
And live as they'd been used to it,
So we two wore our strange estate:
Familiar, unaffected, free,
We talk'd, until the dusk grew late,
Of this and that; but, after tea,
As doubtful if a lot so sweet
As ours was ours in very sooth,
Like children, to promote conceit,
We feign'd that it was not the truth;
And she assumed the maiden coy,
And I adored remorseless charms,
And then we clapp'd our hands for joy,
And ran into each other's arms.

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto Vii.

Preludes.

I Joy and Use
Can ought compared with wedlock be
For use? But He who made the heart
To use proportions joy. What He
Has join'd let no man put apart.
Sweet Order has its draught of bliss
Graced with the pearl of God's consent,
Ten times delightful in that 'tis
Considerate and innocent.
In vain Disorder grasps the cup;
The pleasure's not enjoy'd but spilt,
And, if he stoops to lick it up,
It only tastes of earth and guilt.
His sorry raptures rest destroys;
To live, like comets, they must roam;
On settled poles turn solid joys,
And sunlike pleasures shine at home.


II ‘She was Mine’
‘Thy tears o'erprize thy loss! Thy wife,
‘In what was she particular?
‘Others of comely face and life,
‘Others as chaste and warm there are,
‘And when they speak they seem to sing;
‘Beyond her sex she was not wise;
‘And there is no more common thing
‘Than kindness in a woman's eyes.
‘Then wherefore weep so long and fast,
‘Why so exceedingly repine!
‘Say, how has thy Beloved surpass'd
‘So much all others?’ ‘She was mine.’


The Revulsion.

I
'Twas when the spousal time of May
Hangs all the hedge with bridal wreaths,
And air's so sweet the bosom gay
Gives thanks for every breath it breathes;
When like to like is gladly moved,
And each thing joins in Spring's refrain,
‘Let those love now who never loved;
‘Let those who have loved love again;’
That I, in whom the sweet time wrought,
Lay stretch'd within a lonely glade,
Abandon'd to delicious thought,
Beneath the softly twinkling shade.
The leaves, all stirring, mimick'd well
A neighbouring rush of rivers cold,
And, as the sun or shadow fell,
So these were green and those were gold;
In dim recesses hyacinths droop'd,
And breadths of primrose lit the air,
Which, wandering through the woodland, stoop'd
And gather'd perfumes here and there;
Upon the spray the squirrel swung,
And careless songsters, six or seven,
Sang lofty songs the leaves among,
Fit for their only listener, Heaven.
I sigh'd, ‘Immeasurable bliss
‘Gains nothing by becoming more!
‘Millions have meaning; after this
‘Cyphers forget the integer.’


II
And so I mused, till musing brought
A dream that shook my house of clay,
And, in my humbled heart, I thought,
To me there yet may come a day
With this the single vestige seen
Of comfort, earthly or divine,
My sorrow some time must have been
Her portion, had it not been mine.
Then I, who knew, from watching life,
That blows foreseen are slow to fall,
Rehearsed the losing of a wife,
And faced its terrors each and all.
The self-chastising fancy show'd
The coffin with its ghastly breath;
The innocent sweet face that owed
None of its innocence to death;
The lips that used to laugh; the knell
That bade the world beware of mirth;
The heartless and intolerable
Indignity of ‘earth to earth;’
At morn remembering by degrees
That she I dream'd about was dead;
Love's still recurrent jubilees,
The days that she was born, won, wed;
The duties of my life the same,
Their meaning for the feelings gone;
Friendship impertinent, and fame
Disgusting; and, more harrowing none,
Small household troubles fall'n to me,
As, ‘What time would I dine to-day?’
And, oh, how could I bear to see
The noisy children at their play.
Besides, where all things limp and halt,
Could I go straight, should I alone
Have kept my love without default
Pitch'd at the true and heavenly tone?
The festal-day might come to mind
That miss'd the gift which more endears;
The hour which might have been more kind,
And now less fertile in vain tears;
The good of common intercourse,
For daintier pleasures, then despised,
Now with what passionate remorse,
What poignancy of hunger prized!
The little wrong, now greatly rued,
Which no repentance now could right;
And love, in disbelieving mood,
Deserting his celestial height.
Withal to know, God's love sent grief
To make me less the world's, and more
Meek-hearted: ah, the sick relief!
Why bow'd I not my heart before?


III
‘What,’ I exclaimed, with chill alarm,
‘If this fantastic horror shows
‘The feature of an actual harm!’
And, coming straight to Sarum Close,
As one who dreams his wife is dead,
And cannot in his slumber weep,
And moans upon his wretched bed,
And wakes, and finds her there asleep,
And laughs and sighs, so I, not less
Relieved, beheld, with blissful start,
The light and happy loveliness
Which lay so heavy on my heart.

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto Iii.

Preludes

I Love Ceremonious
Keep your undrest, familiar style
For strangers, but respect your friend,
Her most, whose matrimonial smile
Is and asks honour without end.
'Tis found, and needs it must so be,
That life from love's allegiance flags,
When love forgets his majesty
In sloth's unceremonious rags.
Let love make home a gracious Court;
There let the world's rude, hasty ways
Be fashion'd to a loftier port,
And learn to bow and stand at gaze;
And let the sweet respective sphere
Of personal worship there obtain
Circumference for moving clear,
None treading on another's train.
This makes that pleasures do not cloy,
And dignifies our mortal strife
With calmness and considerate joy,
Befitting our immortal life.


II The Rainbow
A stately rainbow came and stood,
When I was young, in High-Hurst Park;
Its bright feet lit the hill and wood
Beyond, and cloud and sward were dark;
And I, who thought the splendour ours
Because the place was, t'wards it flew,
And there, amidst the glittering showers,
Gazed vainly for the glorious view.
With whatsoever's lovely, know
It is not ours; stand off to see,
Or beauty's apparition so
Puts on invisibility.

III A Paradox
To tryst Love blindfold goes, for fear
He should not see, and eyeless night
He chooses still for breathing near
Beauty, that lives but in the sight.


The County Ball.

I
Well, Heaven be thank'd my first-love fail'd,
As, Heaven be thank'd, our first-loves do!
Thought I, when Fanny past me sail'd,
Loved once, for what I never knew,
Unless for colouring in her talk,
When cheeks and merry mouth would show
Three roses on a single stalk,
The middle wanting room to blow,
And forward ways, that charm'd the boy
Whose love-sick mind, misreading fate,
Scarce hoped that any Queen of Joy
Could ever stoop to be his mate.

II
But there danced she, who from the leaven
Of ill preserv'd my heart and wit
All unawares, for she was heaven,
Others at best but fit for it.
One of those lovely things she was
In whose least action there can be
Nothing so transient but it has
An air of immortality.
I mark'd her step, with peace elate,
Her brow more beautiful than morn,
Her sometime look of girlish state
Which sweetly waived its right to scorn;
The giddy crowd, she grave the while,
Although, as 'twere beyond her will,
Around her mouth the baby smile,
That she was born with, linger'd still.
Her ball-dress seem'd a breathing mist,
From the fair form exhaled and shed,
Raised in the dance with arm and wrist
All warmth and light, unbraceleted.
Her motion, feeling 'twas beloved,
The pensive soul of tune express'd,
And, oh, what perfume, as she moved,
Came from the flowers in her breast!
How sweet a tongue the music had!
‘Beautiful Girl,’ it seem'd to say,
‘Though all the world were vile and sad,
‘Dance on; let innocence be gay.’
Ah, none but I discern'd her looks,
When in the throng she pass'd me by,
For love is like a ghost, and brooks
Only the chosen seer's eye;
And who but she could e'er divine
The halo and the happy trance,
When her bright arm reposed on mine,
In all the pauses of the dance!

III
Whilst so her beauty fed my sight,
And whilst I lived in what she said,
Accordant airs, like all delight
Most sweet when noted least, were play'd;
And was it like the Pharisee
If I in secret bow'd my face
With joyful thanks that I should be,
Not as were many, but with grace,
And fortune of well-nurtured youth,
And days no sordid pains defile,
And thoughts accustom'd to the truth,
Made capable of her fair smile?

IV
Charles Barton follow'd down the stair,
To talk with me about the Ball,
And carp at all the people there.
The Churchills chiefly stirr'd his gall:
‘Such were the Kriemhilds and Isondes
‘You storm'd about at Trinity!
‘Nothing at heart but handsome Blondes!
‘Folk say that you and Fanny Fry—’
‘They err! Good-night! Here lies my course,
‘Through Wilton.’ Silence blest my ears,
And, weak at heart with vague remorse,
A passing poignancy of tears
Attack'd mine eyes. By pale and park
I rode, and ever seem'd to see,
In the transparent starry dark,
That splendid brow of chastity,
That soft and yet subduing light,
At which, as at the sudden moon,
I held my breath, and thought ‘how bright!’
That guileless beauty in its noon,
Compelling tribute of desires
Ardent as day when Sirius reigns,
Pure as the permeating fires
That smoulder in the opal's veins.

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book I. Canto Vii.

Preludes.

I Love's Immortality
How vilely 'twere to misdeserve
The poet's gift of perfect speech,
In song to try, with trembling nerve,
The limit of its utmost reach,
Only to sound the wretched praise
Of what to-morrow shall not be;
So mocking with immortal bays
The cross-bones of mortality!
I do not thus. My faith is fast
That all the loveliness I sing
Is made to bear the mortal blast,
And blossom in a better Spring.
Doubts of eternity ne'er cross
The Lover's mind, divinely clear:
For ever is the gain or loss
Which maddens him with hope or fear:
So trifles serve for his relief,
And trifles make him sick and pale;
And yet his pleasure and his grief
Are both on a majestic scale.
The chance, indefinitely small,
Of issue infinitely great,
Eclipses finite interests all,
And has the dignity of fate.

II Heaven and Earth
How long shall men deny the flower
Because its roots are in the earth,
And crave with tears from God the dower
They have, and have despised as dearth,
And scorn as low their human lot,
With frantic pride, too blind to see
That standing on the head makes not
Either for ease or dignity!
But fools shall feel like fools to find
(Too late inform'd) that angels' mirth
Is one in cause, and mode, and kind
With that which they profaned on earth.


Aetna And The Moon.

I
To soothe my heart I, feigning, seized
A pen, and, showering tears, declared
My unfeign'd passion; sadly pleased
Only to dream that so I dared.
Thus was the fervid truth confess'd,
But wild with paradox ran the plea,
As wilfully in hope depress'd,
Yet bold beyond hope's warranty:


II
‘O, more than dear, be more than just,
‘And do not deafly shut the door!
‘I claim no right to speak; I trust
‘Mercy, not right; yet who has more?
‘For, if more love makes not more fit,
‘Of claimants here none's more nor less,
‘Since your great worth does not permit
‘Degrees in our unworthiness.
‘Yet, if there's aught that can be done
‘With arduous labour of long years,
‘By which you'll say that you'll be won,
‘O tell me, and I'll dry my tears.
‘Ah, no; if loving cannot move,
‘How foolishly must labour fail!
‘The use of deeds is to show love;
‘If signs suffice let these avail:
‘Your name pronounced brings to my heart
‘A feeling like the violet's breath,
‘Which does so much of heaven impart
‘It makes me amorous of death;
‘The winds that in the garden toss
‘The Guelder-roses give me pain,
‘Alarm me with the dread of loss,
‘Exhaust me with the dream of gain;
‘I'm troubled by the clouds that move;
‘Tired by the breath which I respire;
‘And ever, like a torch, my love,
‘Thus agitated, flames the higher;
‘All's hard that has not you for goal;
‘I scarce can move my hand to write,
‘For love engages all my soul,
‘And leaves the body void of might;
‘The wings of will spread idly, as do
‘The bird's that in a vacuum lies;
‘My breast, asleep with dreams of you,
‘Forgets to breathe, and bursts in sighs;
‘I see no rest this side the grave,
‘No rest nor hope, from you apart;
‘Your life is in the rose you gave,
‘Its perfume suffocates my heart;
‘There's no refreshment in the breeze;
‘The heaven o'erwhelms me with its blue;
‘I faint beside the dancing seas;
‘Winds, skies, and waves are only you;
‘The thought or act which not intends
‘You service, seems a sin and shame;
‘In that one only object ends
‘Conscience, religion, honour, fame.
‘Ah, could I put off love! Could we
‘Never have met! What calm, what ease!
‘Nay, but, alas, this remedy
‘Were ten times worse than the disease!
‘For when, indifferent, I pursue
‘The world's best pleasures for relief,
‘My heart, still sickening back to you,
‘Finds none like memory of its grief;
‘And, though 'twere very hell to hear
‘You felt such misery as I,
‘All good, save you, were far less dear
‘Than is that ill with which I die!
‘Where'er I go, wandering forlorn,
‘You are the world's love, life, and glee:
‘Oh, wretchedness not to be borne
‘If she that's Love should not love me!’


III
I could not write another word,
Through pity for my own distress;
And forth I went, untimely stirr'd
To make my misery more or less.
I went, beneath the heated noon,
To where, in her simplicity,
She sate at work; and, as the Moon
On Ætna smiles, she smiled on me.
But, now and then, in cheek and eyes,
I saw, or fancied, such a glow
As when, in summer-evening skies,
Some say, ‘It lightens,’ some say, ‘No.’
‘Honoria,’ I began—No more.
The Dean, by ill or happy hap,
Came home; and Wolf burst in before,
And put his nose upon her lap.

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto I.

Preludes.

I The Song of Songs
The pulse of War, whose bloody heats
Sane purposes insanely work,
Now with fraternal frenzy beats,
And binds the Christian to the Turk,
And shrieking fifes and braggart flags,
Through quiet England, teach our breath
The courage corporate that drags
The coward to heroic death.
Too late for song! Who henceforth sings,
Must fledge his heavenly flight with more
Song-worthy and heroic things
Than hasty, home-destroying war.
While might and right are not agreed,
And battle thus is yet to wage,
So long let laurels be the meed
Of soldier as of poet sage;
But men expect the Tale of Love,
And weary of the Tale of Hate;
Lift me, O Muse, myself above,
And let the world no longer wait!


II The Kites
I saw three Cupids (so I dream'd),
Who made three kites, on which were drawn,
In letters that like roses gleam'd,
‘Plato,’ ‘Anacreon,’ and ‘Vaughan.’
The boy who held by Plato tried
His airy venture first; all sail,
It heav'nward rush'd till scarce descried,
Then pitch'd and dropp'd, for want of tail.
Anacreon's Love, with shouts of mirth
That pride of spirit thus should fall,
To his kite link'd a lump of earth,
And, lo, it would not soar at all.
Last, my disciple freighted his
With a long streamer made of flowers,
The children of the sod, and this
Rose in the sun, and flew for hours.

III Orpheus
The music of the Sirens found
Ulysses weak, though cords were strong;
But happier Orpheus stood unbound,
And shamed it with a sweeter song.
His mode be mine. Of Heav'n I ask,
May I, with heart-persuading might,
Pursue the Poet's sacred task
Of superseding faith by sight,
Till ev'n the witless Gadarene,
Preferring Christ to swine, shall know
That life is sweetest when it's clean.
To prouder folly let me show
Earth by divine light made divine;
And let the saints, who hear my word,
Say, ‘Lo, the clouds begin to shine
‘About the coming of the Lord!’


IV Nearest the Dearest
Till Eve was brought to Adam, he
A solitary desert trod,
Though in the great society
Of nature, angels, and of God.
If one slight column counterweighs
The ocean, 'tis the Maker's law,
Who deems obedience better praise
Than sacrifice of erring awe.

V Perspective
What seems to us for us is true.
The planet has no proper light,
And yet, when Venus is in view,
No primal star is half so bright.


Accepted.

I
What fortune did my heart foretell?
What shook my spirit, as I woke,
Like the vibration of a bell
Of which I had not heard the stroke?
Was it some happy vision shut
From memory by the sun's fresh ray?
Was it that linnet's song; or but
A natural gratitude for day?
Or the mere joy the senses weave,
A wayward ecstasy of life?
Then I remember'd, yester-eve
I won Honoria for my Wife.

II
Forth riding, while as yet the day
Was dewy, watching Sarum Spire,
Still beckoning me along my way,
And growing every minute higher,
I reach'd the Dean's. One blind was down,
Though nine then struck. My bride to be!
And had she rested ill, my own,
With thinking (oh, my heart!) of me?
I paced the streets; a pistol chose,
To guard my now important life
When riding late from Sarum Close;
At noon return'd. Good Mrs. Fife,
To my, ‘The Dean, is he at home?’
Said, ‘No, Sir; but Miss Honor is;’
And straight, not asking if I'd come,
Announced me, ‘Mr. Felix, Miss,’
To Mildred, in the Study. There
We talk'd, she working. We agreed
The day was fine; the Fancy-Fair
Successful; ‘Did I ever read
‘De Genlis?’ ‘Never.’ ‘Do! She heard
‘I was engaged.’ ‘To whom?’ ‘Miss Fry.’
‘Was it the fact?’ ‘No!’ ‘On my word?’
‘What scandal people talk'd!’ ‘Would I
‘Hold out this skein of silk.’ So pass'd
I knew not how much time away.
‘How were her sisters?’ ‘Well.’ At last
I summon'd heart enough to say,
‘I hoped to see Miss Churchill too.’
‘Miss Churchill, Felix! What is this?
‘I said, and now I find 'tis true,
‘Last night you quarrell'd! Here she is.’


III
She came, and seem'd a morning rose
When ruffling rain has paled its blush;
Her crown once more was on her brows;
And, with a faint, indignant flush,
And fainter smile, she gave her hand,
But not her eyes, then sate apart,
As if to make me understand
The honour of her vanquish'd heart.
But I drew humbly to her side;
And she, well pleased, perceiving me
Liege ever to the noble pride
Of her unconquer'd majesty,
Once and for all put it away;
The faint flush pass'd; and, thereupon,
Her loveliness, which rather lay
In light than colour, smiled and shone,
Till sick was all my soul with bliss;
Or was it with remorse and ire
Of such a sanctity as this
Subdued by love to my desire?

by Coventry Patmore.

The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto V.

Preludes.

I Rejected
‘Perhaps she's dancing somewhere now!’
The thoughts of light and music wake
Sharp jealousies, that grow and grow
Till silence and the darkness ache.
He sees her step, so proud and gay,
Which, ere he spake, foretold despair;
Thus did she look, on such a day,
And such the fashion of her hair;
And thus she stood, when, kneeling low,
He took the bramble from her dress,
And thus she laugh'd and talk'd, whose ‘No’
Was sweeter than another's ‘Yes.’
He feeds on thoughts that most deject;
He impudently feigns her charms,
So reverenced in his own respect,
Dreadfully clasp'd by other arms;
And turns, and puts his brows, that ache,
Against the pillow where 'tis cold.
If only now his heart would break!
But, oh, how much a heart can hold.


II Rachel
You loved her, and would lie all night
Thinking how beautiful she was,
And what to do for her delight.
Now both are bound with alien laws!
Be patient; put your heart to school;
Weep if you will, but not despair;
The trust that nought goes wrong by rule
Should ease this load the many bear.
Love, if there's heav'n, shall meet his dues,
Though here unmatch'd, or match'd amiss
Meanwhile, the gentle cannot choose
But learn to love the lips they kiss.
Ne'er hurt the homely sister's ears
With Rachel's beauties; secret be
The lofty mind whose lonely tears
Protest against mortality.

III The Heart's Prophecies
Be not amazed at life; 'tis still
The mode of God with His elect
Their hopes exactly to fulfil,
In times and ways they least expect.


The Queen’s Room.

I
There's nothing happier than the days
In which young Love makes every thought
Pure as a bride's blush, when she says
‘I will’ unto she knows not what;
And lovers, on the love-lit globe,
For love's sweet sake, walk yet aloof,
And hear Time weave the marriage-robe,
Attraction warp and reverence woof!

II
My Housekeeper, my Nurse of yore,
Cried, as the latest carriage went,
‘Well, Mr. Felix, Sir, I'm sure
‘The morning's gone off excellent!
‘I never saw the show to pass
‘The ladies, in their fine fresh gowns,
‘So sweetly dancing on the grass,
‘To music with its ups and downs.
‘We'd such work, Sir, to clean the plate;
‘'Twas just the busy times of old.
‘The Queen's room, Sir, look'd quite like state.
‘Miss Smythe, when she went up, made bold
‘To peep into the Rose Boudoir,
‘And cried, 'How charming! all quite new!'
‘And wonder'd who it could be for.
‘All but Miss Honor look'd in too.
‘But she's too proud to peep and pry.
‘None's like that sweet Miss Honor, Sir!
‘Excuse my humbleness, but I
‘Pray Heav'n you'll get a wife like her!
‘The Poor love dear Miss Honor's ways
‘Better than money. Mrs. Rouse,
‘Who ought to know a lady, says
‘No finer goes to Wilton House.
‘Miss Bagshaw thought that dreary room
‘Had kill'd old Mrs. Vaughan with fright;
‘She would not sleep in such a tomb
‘For all her host was worth a night!
‘Miss Fry, Sir, laugh'd; they talk'd the rest
‘In French; and French Sir's Greek to me.
‘But, though they smiled, and seem'd to jest,
‘No love was lost, for I could see
‘How serious-like Miss Honor was—’
‘Well, Nurse, this is not my affair.
‘The ladies talk'd in French with cause.
‘Good-day; and thank you for your prayer.’


III
I loiter'd through the vacant house,
Soon to be hers; in one room stay'd,
Of old my mother's. Here my vows
Of endless thanks were oftenest paid.
This room its first condition kept;
For, on her road to Sarum Town,
Therein an English Queen had slept,
Before the Hurst was half-pull'd down.
The pictured walls the place became:
Here ran the Brook Anaurus, where
Stout Jason bore the wrinkled dame
Whom serving changed to Juno; there,
Ixion's selfish hope, instead
Of the nuptial goddess, clasp'd a cloud;
And, here, translated Psyche fed
Her gaze on Love, not disallow'd.


IV
And in this chamber had she been,
And into that she would not look,
My Joy, my Vanity, my Queen,
At whose dear name my pulses shook!
To others how express at all
My worship in that joyful shrine?
I scarcely can myself recall
What peace and ardour then were mine!
And how more sweet than aught below,
The daylight and its duties done,
It felt to fold the hands, and so
Relinquish all regards but one;
To see her features in the dark;
To lie and meditate once more
The grace I did not fully mark,
The tone I had not heard before;
And from my pillow then to take
Her notes, her picture, and her glove,
Put there for joy when I should wake,
And press them to the heart of love;
And then to whisper ‘Wife!’ and pray
To live so long as not to miss
That unimaginable day
Which farther seems the nearer 'tis;
And still from joy's unfathom'd well
To drink, in dreams, while on her brows
Of innocence ineffable
Blossom'd the laughing bridal rose.

by Coventry Patmore.

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