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TOO LATE.

TOO LATE

1.

HERE was I with my arm and heart"

And brain, all yours for a word, a want Put into a look-just a look, your part,

While mine, to repay it . . . vainest vaunt, Were the woman, that 's dead, alive to hear,

Had her lover, that is lost, love's proof to show! But I cannot show it; you cannot speak

From the churchyard neither, miles removed, Though I feel by a pulse within my cheek, ,

Which stabs and stops, that the woman I loved Needs help in her grave and finds none near,

Wants warmth from the heart which sends it-80!

2 Did I speak once angrily, all the drear days

You lived, you woman I loved so well, Who married the other? Blame or praise,

Where was the use then ? Time would tell, And the end declare what man for you,

What woman for me was the choice of God.
But, Edith dead ! no doubting more!

I used to sit and look at my life
As it rippled and ran till, right before,

A great stone stopped it: oh, the strife
Of waves at that stone some devil threw

In my life's midcurrent, thwarting God!

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3. But either I thought, “ They may churn and chide

Awhile, my waves which came for their joy And found this horrible stone full-tide:

Yet I see just a thread escape, deploy Through the evening-country, silent and safe,

And it suffers no more till it finds the sea.” Or else I would think, “ Perhaps some night

When new things happen, a meteor-ball May slip through the sky in a line of light,

And earth breathe hard, and landmarks fall, And my waves no longer champ nor chafe,

Since a stone will have rolled from its place : let

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4.

But, dead! All 's done with : wait who may,

Watch and wear and wonder who will. Oh, my whole life that ends to-day !

Oh, my soul's sentence, sounding still, “ The woman is dead, that was none of his;

And the man, that was none of hers, may go!" There 's only the past left: worry that!

Wreak, like a bull, on the empty coat, Rage, its late wearer is laughing at !

Tear the collar to rags, having missed his throat; Strike stupidly on—"This, this and this,

Where I would that a bosom received the blow !"

5.

I ought to have done more: once my speech,

And once your answer, and there, the end, And Edith was henceforth out of reach !

Why, men do more to deserve a friend, Be rid of a foe, get rich, grow wise,

Nor, folding their arms, stare fate in the face.
Why, better even have burst like a thief

And borne you away to a rock for us two
In a moment’s horror, bright, bloody and brief,

Then changed to myself again—“I slew
Myself in that moment; a ruffian lies

Somewhere: your slave, see, born in his place !"

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