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His gold among her golden hair,
Kindling it all, till slowly so
A glory round her head doth glow;
A withered flower is in her hand,
That grew in some far distant land,
And, silently transfigured,
With wide calm eyes, and undrooped head,
They found the stranger-maiden dead.
A youth, that morn, 'neath other skies,
Felt sudden tears burn in his eyes,
And his heart throng with memories;
All things without him seemed to win
Strange brotherhood with things within,
And he forever felt that he
Walked in the midst of mystery,
And thenceforth, why, he could not tell,
His heart would curdle at the smell
Of his once-cherished lily-bell.
Something from him had passed away;
Some shifting trembles of clear day,
Through starry crannies in his clay,
Grew bright and steadfast, more and more,
Where all had been dull earth before;
And, through these chinks, like him of old,
His spirit converse high did hold
With clearer loves and wider powers,
That brought him dewy fruits and flowers
From far Elysian groves and bowers.
Just on the farther bound of sense,
Unproved by outward evidence,
But known by a deep influence
Which through our grosser clay doth shine
With light unwaning and divine,
Beyond where highest thought can fly
Stretcheth the world of Mystery -
And they not greatly overween
Who deem that nothing true hath been
Save the unspeakable Unseen.
One step beyond life's work-day things,
One more beat of the soul's broad wings,
One deeper sorrow sometimes brings
The spirit into that great Vast
Where neither future is nor past;
None knoweth how he entered there,
But, waking, finds his spirit where
He thought an angel could not soar,
And, what he called false dreams before,
The very air about his door.
These outward seemings are but shows
Whereby the body sees and knows;
Far down beneath, forever flows
A stream of subtlest sympathies
That make our spirits strangely wise
In awe, and fearful bodings dim
Which, from the sense's outer rim,
Stretch forth beyond our thought and sight,
Fine arteries of circling light,
Pulsed outward from the Infinite.
A YEAR'S LIFE.
HOPE first the youthful Poet leads,
And he is glad to follow her;
Kind is she, and to all his needs
With a free hand doth minister.
But, when sweet Hope at last hath fled,
Cometh her sister, Memory;
She wreathes Hope's garlands round her head, And strives to seem as fair as she.
Then Hope comes back, and by the hand
She leads a child most fair to see,
Who with a joyous face doth stand
Uniting Hope and Memory.
So brighter grew the Earth around,
And bluer grew the sky above;
The Poet now his guide hath found,
And follows in the steps of Love.
TO VOLUME OF POEMS ENTITLED
A YEAR'S LIFE.
THE gentle Una I have loved,
The snowy maiden, pure and mild,
Since ever by her side I roved,
Through ventures strange, a wondering child,
In fantasy a Red Cross Knight,
Burning for her dear sake to fight.
If there be one who can, like her,
Make sunshine in life's shady places,
One in whose holy bosom stir
As many gentle household graces
And such I think there needs must be
Will she accept this book from me?
GENTLE, Lady, be thy sleeping,
Peaceful may thy dreamings be,
While around thy soul is sweeping,
Dreamy-winged, our melody;
Chant we, Brothers, sad and slow,
Let our song be soft and low
As the voice of other years,
Let our hearts within us melt,
To gentleness, as if we felt
The dropping of our mother's tears.
Lady! now our song is bringing Back again thy childhood's hours Hearest thou the humbee singing Drowsily among the flowers? Sleepily, sleepily
In the noontide swayeth he,
Half rested on the slender stalks
That edge those well-known garden walks;
Hearest thou the fitful whirring
Of the humbird's viewless wings -
Feel'st not round thy heart the stirring
Of childhood's half-forgotten things?
Seest thou the dear old dwelling With the woodbine round the door? Brothers, soft! her breast is swelling With the busy thoughts of yore; Lowly sing ye, sing ye mildly, Rouse her spirit not so wildly, Lest she sleep not any more. "Tis the pleasant summertide, Open stands the window wideWhose voices, Lady, art thou drinking? Who sings the best beloved tune In a clear note, rising, sinking, Like a thrush's song in June? Whose laugh is that which rings so clear And joyous in thine eager ear?
Lower, Brothers, yet more low
Weave the song in mazy twines;
She heareth now the west wind blow
At evening through the clump of pines;
O! mournful is their tune,
As of a crazèd thing
Who, to herself alone,
Is ever murmuring,
Through the night and through the day,
For something that hath passed away.
Often, Lady, hast thou listened,
Often have thy blue eyes glistened,
Where the summer evening breeze
Moaned sadly through those lonely trees,
Or with the fierce wind from the north
Wrung their mournful music forth.
Ever the river floweth
In an unbroken stream,
Ever the west wind bloweth,
Murmuring as he goeth,
And mingling with her dream;
Onward still the river sweepeth
With a sound of long-agone;
Lowly, Brothers, lo! she weepeth,
She is now no more alone;
Long-loved forms and long-loved faces
Round about her pillow throng,
Through her memory's desert places
Flow the waters of our song.
Lady! if thy life be holy
As when thou wert yet a child,
Though our song be melancholy,
It will stir no anguish wild;
For the soul that hath lived well,
For the soul that child-like is,
There is quiet in the spell
That brings back early memories.
LIFT up the curtains of thine eyes
And let their light outshine!
Let me adore the mysteries
Of those mild orbs of thine,
Which ever queenly calm do roll,
Attuned to an ordered soul!
Open thy lips yet once again
And, while my soul doth hush
With awe, pour forth that holy strain
Which seemeth me to gush,
A fount of music, running o'er
From thy deep spirit's inmost core!
The melody that dwells in thee
Begets in me as well
A spiritual harmony,
A mild and blessed spell;
Far, far above earth's atmosphere
I rise, whene'er thy voice I hear.