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VIII.

BESIDE THE DRAWING-BOARD.

“ As like as a Hand to another Hand:”

Whoever said that foolish thing, Could not have studied to understand

The counsels of God in fashioning, Out of the infinite love of His heart, This Hand, whose beauty I praise, apart From the world of wonder left to praise, If I tried to learn the other ways Of love, in its skill, or love, in its power. “ As like as a Hand to another Hand :" Who said that, never took his stand, Found and followed, like me, an hour, The beauty in this,-how free, how fine To fear, almost, of the limit-line ! As I looked at this, and learned and drew, Drew and learned, and looked again, While fast the happy minutes flew, Its beauty mounted into my brain, And a fancy seized me; I was fain

To efface my work, begin anew,
Kiss what before I only drew;
Ay, laying the red chalk ’twixt my lips,
With soul to help if the mere lips failed,
I kissed all right where the drawing ailed,
Kissed fast the grace that somehow slips
Still from one's soulless finger-tips.

Go, little girl, with the poor coarse hand ! I have my lesson, shall understand.

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There is nothing to remember in me,

Nothing I ever said with a grace,
Nothing I did that you cared to see,

Nothing I was that deserves a place
In your mind, now I leave you, set you free.

Conceded! In turn, concede to me,

Such things have been as a mutual flame. Your soul's locked fast; but, love for a key,

You might let it loose, till I grew the same In your eyes, as in mine you stand : strange plea!

3. For then, then, what would it matter to me

That I was the harsh, ill-favoured one ? We both should be like as pea and pea;

It was ever so since the world begun : So, let me proceed with my reverie.

How strange it were if you had all me,

As I have all you in my heart and brain, You, whose least word brought gloom or glee,

Who never lifted the hand in vain Will hold mine yet, from over the sea !

Strange, if a face, when you thought of me,

Rose like your own face present now, With eyes as dear in their due degree,

Much such a mouth, and as bright a brow, Till you saw yourself, while you cried “ 'Tis She!”

6. Well, you may, or you must, set down to me

Love that was life, life that was love; A tenure of breath at your lips' decree,

A passion to stand as your thoughts approve, A rapture to fall where your foot might be.

But did one touch of such love for me

Come in a word or a look of yours, Whose words and looks will, circling, flee

Round me and round while life endures, Could I fancy “As I feel, thus feels He;"

8.

Why, fade you might to a thing like me,

And your hair grow these coarse hanks of hair, And your skin, this bark of a gnarled tree,

You might turn myself; should I know or care, When I should be dead of joy, James Lee ?

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