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White as snow, thy winding sheet
Shelters thee from head to feet,
Save thy pale face only;

Thy face is turned toward the skies,
The lids lie meekly o'er thine eyes,
And the low-voiced pine-tree sighs

O'er thy bed so lonely.
All thy life thou lov'dst its shade:
Underneath it thou art laid,
In an endless shelter;
Thou hearest it forever sigh
As the wind's vague longings die
In its branches dim and high -
Thou hear'st the waters gliding by
Slumberously welter.

Thou wast full of love and truth,
Of forgiveness and ruth-

Thy great heart with hope and youth
Tided to o'erflowing.

Thou didst dwell in mysteries,

And there lingered on thine eyes
Shadows of serener skies,
Awfully wild memories,

That were like foreknowing;

Through the earth thou would'st have gone,
Lighted from within alone,
Seeds from flowers in Heaven grown
With a free hand sowing.

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Thou didst remember well and long
Some fragments of thine angel-song,
And strive, through want of woe and wrong,
To win the world unto it;

Thy sin it was to see and hear
Beyond To-day's dim hemisphere-
Beyond all mists of hope and fear,
Into a life more true and clear,

And dearly thou didst rue it; Light of the new world thou hadst won, O'erflooded by a purer sun — Slowly Fate's ship came drifting on, And through the dark, save thou, not one Caught of the land a token.

Thou stood'st upon the farthest prow, Something within thy soul said "Now!" And leaping forth with eager brow,

Thou fell'st on shore heart-broken.

Long time thy brethren stood in fear;
Only the breakers far and near,
White with their anger, they could hear;
The sounds of land, which thy quick ear
Caught long ago, they heard not.
And, when at last they reached the strand,
They found thee lying on the sand
With some wild flowers in thy hand,

But thy cold bosom stirred not;
They listened, but they heard no sound.
Save from the glad life all around
A low, contented murmur.

The long grass flowed adown the hill,
A hum rose from a hidden rill,
But thy glad heart, that knew no ill
But too much love, lay dead and still
The only thing that sent a chill
Into the heart of summer.

Thou didst not seek the poet's wreath
But too soon didst win it;
Without 't was green, but underneath
Were scorn and loneliness and death,
Gnawing the brain with burning teeth,

And making mock within it.
Thou, who wast full of nobleness,
Whose very life-blood 't was to bless,
Whose soul's one law was giving,
Must bandy words with wickedness,
Haggle with hunger and distress,
To win that death which worldliness
Calls bitterly a living.


"Thou sow'st no gold, and shalt not reap!" Muttered earth, turning in her sleep; "Come home to the Eternal Deep!' Murmured a voice, and a wide sweep Of wings through thy soul's hush did creep, As of thy doom o'erflying;

It seem'd that thy strong heart would leap
Out of thy breast, and thou didst weep,
But not with fear of dying;

Men could not fathom thy deep fears,
They could not understand thy tears,
The hoarded agony of years

Of bitter self-denying.

So once, when high above the spheres
Thy spirit sought its starry peers,

It came not back to face the jeers
Of brothers who denied it;
Star-crowned, thou dost possess the deeps
Of God, and thy white body sleeps
Where the lone pine forever keeps
Patient watch beside it.

Poet! underneath the turf,

Soft thou sleepest, free from morrow, Thou hast struggled through the surf

Of wild thoughts and want and sorrow Now, beneath the moaning pine,

Full of rest, thy body lieth, While far up is clear sunshine, Underneath a sky divine,

Her loosed wings thy spirit trieth; Oft she strove to spread them here, But they were too white and clear For our dingy atmosphere.

Thy body findeth ample room
In its still and grassy tomb
By the silent river;
But thy spirit found the earth
Narrow for the mighty birth

Which it dreamed of ever;
Thou wast guilty of a rhyme
Learned in a benigner clime,
And of that more grievous crime,
An ideal too sublime

For the low-hung sky of Time.

The calm spot where thy body lies
Gladdens thy soul in Paradise,

It is so still and holy;

Thy body sleeps serenely there,
And well for it thy soul may care,
It was so beautiful and fair,
Lily white so wholly.
From so pure and sweet a frame
Thy spirit parted as it came,
Gentle as a maiden;
Now it lieth full of rest-

Sods are lighter on its breast
Than the great, prophetic guest
Wherewith it was laden.



WHO prest you here? The Past can tell,

When summer skies were bright above, And some full heart did leap and swell

Beneath the white new moon of love.

Some Poet, haply, when the world

Showed like a calm sea, grand and blue, Ere its cold, inky waves had curled

O'er the numb heart once warm and true;

When, with his soul brimful of morn,

He looked beyond the vale of Time, Nor saw therein the dullard scorn

That made his heavenliness a crime;
When, musing o'er the Poets olden,

His soul did like a sun upstart
To shoot its arrows, clear and golden,

Through slavery's cold and darksome heart.

Alas! too soon the veil is lifted

That hangs between the soul and pain, Too soon the morning-red hath drifted Into dull cloud, or fallen in rain!

Or were you prest by one who nurst
Bleak memories of love gone by,
Whose heart, like a star fallen, burst
In dark and erring vacancy?

To him you still were fresh and green
As when you grew upon the stalk,
And many a breezy summer scene
Came back

- and many a moonlit walk;

And there would be a hum of bees,
A smell of childhood in the air,
And old, fresh feelings cooled the breeze
That, like loved fingers, stirred his hair!

Then would you suddenly be blasted

By the keen wind of one dark thought, One nameless woe, that had outlasted

The sudden blow whereby 't was brought.

Or were you prest here by two lovers

Who seemed to read these verses rare, But found between the antique covers

What Spenser could not prison there:

Songs which his glorious soul had heard,
But his dull pen could never write,
Which flew, like some gold-winged bird,

Through the blue heaven out of sight?

My heart is with them as they sit,

I see the rosebud in her breast, I see her small hand taking it

From out its odorous, snowy nest;

I hear him swear that he will keep it,
In memory of that blessed day,
To smile on it or over-weep it

When she and spring are far away.

Ah me! I needs must droop my head,
And brush away a happy tear,
For they are gone, and, dry and dead,
The rosebud lies before me here.

Yet is it in no stranger's hand,

For I will guard it tenderly, And it shall be a magic wand

To bring mine own true love to me.

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