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XIII

By the rose-flesh mushrooms, undivulged

Last evening-nay, in to-day's first dew Yon sudden coral nipple bulged,

Where a freaked fawn-coloured flaky crew Of toad-stools peep indulged.

XIV

And yonder, at foot of the fronting ridge

That takes the turn to a range beyond,
Is the chapel reached by the one-arched bridge,

Where the water is stopped in a stagnant pond Danced over by the midge.

XV

The chapel and bridge are of stone alike,

Blackish-grey and mostly wet;
Cut hemp-stalks steep in the narrow dyke.

See here again, how the lichens fret
And the roots of the ivy strike !

XVI

Poor little place, where its one priest comes

On a festa-day, if he comes at all,
To the dozen folk from their scattered homes,

Gathered within that precinct small
By the dozen ways one roams-

XVII
To drop from the charcoal-burners' huts,

Or climb from the hemp-dresser's low shed,
Leave the grange where the woodman stores his nuts,

Or the wattled cote where the fowlers spread Their gear on the rock's bare juts.

XVIII

It has some pretension too, this front,

With its bit of fresco half-moon-wise

Set over the porch, Art's early wont :

'T is John in the Desert, I surmise, But has borne the weather's brunt

XIX

Not from the fault of the builder, though,

For a pent-house properly projects Where three carved beams make a certain show,

Dating-good thought of our architect's 'Five, six, nine, he lets you know.

XX

And all day long a bird sings there,

And a stray sheep drinks at the pond at times; The place is silent and aware ;

It has had its scenes, its joys and crimes, But that is its own affair.

XXI

My perfect wife, my Leonor,

Oh heart, my own, oh eyes, mine too, Whom else could I dare look backward for,

With whom beside should I dare pursue The path grey heads abhor ?

XXII

For it leads to a crag's sheer edge with them ;

Youth, flowery all the way, there stopsNot they ; age threatens and they contemn,

Till they reach the gulf wherein youth drops, One inch from our life's safe hem!

XXIII

With me, youth led . . . I will speak now,

No longer watch you as you sit Reading by fire-light, that great brow

And the spirit-small hand propping it, Mutely, my heart knows how

XXIV

When, if I think but deep enough,

You are wont to answer, prompt as rhyme ;
And you, too, find without rebuff

Response your soul seeks many a time,
Piercing its fine flesh-stuff.

XXV
My own, confirm me! If I tread

This path back, is it not in pride
To think how little I dreamed it led

To an age so blest that, by its side,
Youth seems the waste instead ?

XXVI
My own, see where the years conduct !

At first, 't was something our two souls
Should mix as mists do; each is sucked

In each now : on, the new stream rolls,
Whatever rocks obstruct.

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XXVII
Think, when our one soul understands

The great Word which makes all things new,
When earth breaks up and heaven expands,

How will the change strike me and you
In the house not made with hands?

XXVIII
Oh I must feel your brain prompt mine,

Your heart anticipate my heart,
You must be just before, in fine,

See and make me see, for your part,
New depths of the divine !

XXIX

But who could have expected this

When we two drew together first

Just for the obvious human bliss,

To satisfy life's daily thirst With a thing men seldom miss?

XXX
Come back with me to the first of all,

Let us lean and love it over again,
Let us now forget and now recall,

Break the rosary in a pearly rain, And gather what we let fall !

XXXI

What did I say?—that a small bird sings

All day long, save when a brown pair Of hawks from the wood float with wide wings

Strained to a bell : 'gainst noon-day glare You count the streaks and rings.

XXXII
But at afternoon or almost eve

'T is better; then the silence grows To that degree, you half believe

It must get rid of what it knows, Its bosom does so heave.

XXXIII
Hither we walked then, side by side,

Arm in arm and cheek to cheek,
And still I questioned or replied,

While my heart, convulsed to really speak, Lay choking in its pride.

XXXIV
Silent the crumbling bridge we cross,

And pity and praise the chapel sweet,
And care about the fresco's loss,

And wish for our souls a like retreat, And wonder at the moss.

XXXV

Stoop and kneel on the settle under,

Look through the window's grated square : Nothing to see! For fear of plunder,

The cross is down and the altar bare, As if thieves don't fear thunder.

XXXVI

We stoop and look in through the grate,

See the little porch and rustic door, Read duly the dead builder's date;

Then cross the bridge that we crossed before, Take the path again- but wait !

XXXVII

Oh moment one and infinite !

The water slips o'er stock and stone; The West is tender, hardly bright:

How grey at once is the evening grownOne star, its chrysolite !

XXXVIII

We two stood there with never a third,

But each by each, as each knew well : The sights we saw and the sounds we heard,

The lights and the shades made up a spell Till the trouble grew and stirred.

XXXIX

Oh, the little more, and how much it is !

And the little less, and what worlds away! How a sound shall quicken content to bliss,

Or a breath suspend the blood's best play, And life be a proof of this !

XL

Had she willed it, still had stood the screen

So slight, so sure, 'twixt my love and her:

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