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XII

-Ah, but the fresher faces !

“ Is it true," Thou 'lt ask, “ some eyes are beautiful and new ? “Some hair,-how can one choose but grasp such

wealth ? " And if a man would press his lips to lips “ Fresh as the wilding hedge-rose-cup there slips

“ The dew-drop out of, must it be by stealth ?

XIII

“ It cannot change the love still kept for Her, “ More than if such a picture I prefer

“ Passing a day with, to a room's bare side : “ The painted form takes nothing she possessed, Yet, while the Titian's Venus lies at rest, " A man looks. Once more, what is there to chide?

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XIV
So must I see, from where I sit and watch,
My own self sell myself, my hand attach

Its warrant to the very thefts from me-
Thy singleness of soul that made me proud,
Thy purity of heart I loved aloud,

Thy man's-truth I was bold to bid God see !

XV

Love so, then, if thou wilt! Give all thou canst
Away to the new faces--disentranced,

(Say it and think it) obdurate no more: Re-issue looks and words from the old mint, Pass them afresh, no matter whose the print

Image and superscription once they bore !

XVI

Re-coin thyself and give it them to spend, -
It all comes to the same thing at the end,

Since mine thou wast, mine art, and mine shalt be,

Faithful or faithless : sealing up the sum
Or lavish of my treasure, thou must come

Back to the heart's place here I keep for thee !

XVII
Only, why should it be with stain at all ?
Why must I, 'twixt the leaves of coronal,

Put any kiss of pardon on thy brow?
Why need the other women know so much,
And talk together, “Such the look and such

“The smile he used to love with, then as now !”

XVIII

Might I die last and show thee! Should I find
Such hardships in the few years left behind,

If free to take and light my lamp, and go
Into thy tomb, and shut the door and sit,
Seeing thy face on those four sides of it

The better that they are so blank, I know !

XIX

Why, time was what I wanted, to turn o'er
Within my mind each look, get more and more

By heart each word, too much to learn at first; And join thee all the fitter for the pause 'Neath the low door-way's lintel. That were cause

For lingering, though thou calledst, if I durst !

XX
And yet thou art the nobler of us two :
What dare I dream of, that thou canst not do,

Outstripping my ten small steps with one stride ?
I 'll say then, here's a trial and a task ;
Is it to bear ?-if easy, I 'll not ask :

Though love fail, I can trust on in thy pride.

XXI

Pride ?—when those eyes forestall the life behind
The death I have to go through !-when I find,

Now that I want thy help most, all of thee !
What did I fear ? Thy love shall hold me fast
Until the little minute's sleep is past

And I wake saved. —And yet it will not be !

IN A YEAR.

I

NEVER any more,

While I live,
Need I hope to see his face

As before.
Once his love grown chill,

Mine may strive :
Bitterly we re-embrace,

Single still.

II

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Was it something said,

Something done,
Vexed him was it touch of hand,

Turn of head ?
Strange ! that very way

Love begun :
I as little understand

Love's decay.

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III

When I sewed or drew,

I recall
How he looked as if I sung,

-Sweetly too.

If I spoke a word,

First of all
Up his cheek the colour sprung,

Then he heard.

IV

Sitting by my side,

At my feet,
So he breathed but air I breathed,

Satisfied !
I, too, at love's brim

Touched the sweet :
I would die if death bequeathed

Sweet to him.

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And the passion I had raised,

To content.
Since he chose to change

Gold for dust,
If I gave him what he praised

Was it strange ?

VIII

Would he loved me yet,

On and on,
While I found some way undreamed

-Paid my debt !
Gave more life and more,

Till all gone,
He should smile “ She never seemed

“ Mine before.

IX

“What, she felt the while,

“ Must I think? “ Love 's so different with us men!”

He should smile : “ Dying for my sake

“ White and pink ! Can't we touch these bubbles then “But they break ?”

X

Dear, the pang is brief,

Do thy part,
Have thy pleasure! How perplexed

Grows belief!
Well, this cold clay clod

Was man's heart:
Crumble it, and what comes next ?

Is it God?

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