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Brought we but eyes like Mercury's, In thee what songs should waken!
Ah, with what lofty hope we came ! But we forget it, dream of fame, And scrawl, as I do here, a name.
NEW-YEAR'S EVE, 1850
This is the mic night of the century, –
hark ! Through aisle and arch of Godminster have
gone Twelve throbs that tolled the zenith of the
dark, And mornward now the starry hands move
on; * Mornward !” the angelic watchers say, “ Passed is the sorest trial; No plot of man can stay The band upon the dial; Night is the dark stem of the lily Day."
If we, who watched in valleys here below, Toward streaks, misdeemed of morn, our
faces turned When volcan glares set all the east aglow, We are not poorer that we wept and
yearned; Though earth swing wide from God's in
The dandelions and buttercups
Snap, chord of manhood's tenser strain !
O unestrangëd birds and bees !
FOR AN AUTOGRAPH
THOUGH old the thought and oft exprest,
Life is a leaf of paper white
“ Lo, time and space enough,” we cry,
O never-unsympathizing trees !
Of some fallen nunnery's mossy sleep,
IN THE BRANCACCI CHAPEL
He came to Florence long ago,
Upon these elm-arched solitudes No bum of neighbor toil intrudes; The only hammer that I hear Is wielded by the woodpecker, The single noisy calling his In all our leaf-hid Sybaris; The good old time, close-hidden here, Persists, a loyal cavalier, While Roundheads prim, with point of fox, Probe wainscot-chink and empty box; Here no hoarse-yoiced iconoclast Insults thy statues, royal Past; Myself too prone the axe to wield, I touch the silver side of the sbield With lance reversed, and challenge peace, A willing convert of the trees.
The shadows deepened, and I turned Half sadly from the fresco grand; “And is this," mused I, “ all ye earned, High-vaulted brain and cunning hand, That ye to greater men could teach The skill yourselves could never reach ?” “And who were they," I mused, “that
wrought Through pathless wilds, with labor long, The highways of our daily thought ? Who reared those towers of earliest song That lift us from the crowd to peace Remote in sunny silences ?”
How chanced it that so long I tost A cable's length from this rich coast, With foolish anchors bugging close The beckoning weeds and lazy ooze, Nor had the wit to wreck before On this enchanted island's shore, Whither the current of the sea, With wiser drift, persuaded me ?
Out clanged the Ave Mary bells,
Thoughts that great hearts once broke for,
Oh, might we but of such rare days Build up the spirit's dwelling-place! A temple of so Parian stone Would brook a marble god alone, The statue of a perfect life, Far-shrined from earth's bestaining strife. Alas ! though such felicity In our vext world here may not be, Yet, as sometimes the peasant's hut Shows stones which old religion cut With text inspired, or mystic sign Of the Eternal and Divine, Torn from the consecration deep
Breathe cheaply in the common air ;
Safe in Oblivion's chambers strong,
of recognition true Shall silently be drained to you !
I envy him the ungyved prance
With which his freezing feet he warms, And drag my lady's-chains and dance
The galley-slave of dreary forms.
WITHOUT AND WITHIN Oh, could he have my share of din,
And I his quiet ! - past a doubt “Madrid, January 15, 1879. I wrote some 'T would still be one man bored within, verses thirty odd years ago called Without and And just another bored without. Within, and they originally ended with the author's looking up at the stars through six Nay, when, once paid my mortal fee, feet of earth and feeling dreadfully bored,
Some idler on my beadstone grim while a passer-by deciphers the headstone and
Traces the moss-blurred name, will be envies the supposed sleeper beneath. I was persuaded to leave out this ending as too grim
Think me the happier, or I him ? but I often think of it. They have a fine name for this kind of feeling nowadays, and would fain make out pessimism to be a monstrous birth of our century. I suspect it has always
GODMINSTER CHIMES been common enough, especially with naughty children who get tired of their playthings as WRITTEN IN AID OF A CHIME OF BELLS soon as I do the absurdity being that then
FOR CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE we are not content with smashing the toy which turns out to be finite — but everything
GODMINSTER? Is it Fancy's play?
I know not, but the word
say My coachman, in the moonlight there,
Whether 't was dreamed or heard;
As blossoms after rain,
And builds of balf-remembered things
This vision in my brain.
Through aisles of long-drawn centuries Breathes on his aching fists in vain,
My spirit walks in thought, And dooms me to a place more hot.
And to that symbol lifts its eyes
Which God's own pity wrought; He sees me in to supper go,
From Calvary shines the altar's gleam, A silken wonder by my side,
The Church's East is there, Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row The Ages one great minster seem, Of flounces, for the door too wide.
That throbs with praise and prayer. He thinks how happy is my arm
And all the way from Calvary down 'Neath its white-gloved and jewelled The carven pavement shows load;
Their graves who won the martyr's crown And wishes me some dreadful harm,
And safe in God repose;
Who now in heaven have learned
That all paths to the Father lead
Where Self the feet have spurned.
And, as the mystic aisles I pace,
By aureoled workmen built, The winter wind is not so cold
Lives ending at the Cross I trace As the bright smile he sees me win, Alike through grace and guilt; Nor the host's oldest wine so old
One Mary bathes the blessed feet As our poor gabble sour and thin.
With ointment from her eyes,
With spikenard one, and both are sweet,
For both are sacrifice.
Moravian hymn and Roman chant
In one devotion blend,
Of Him, the inmost friend;
And God one music hears.
This slippery globe of life whirls of itself,
downy snow Sometimes, or fringe with foliaged rime,
in vain, Thither the singing birds no more return."
Whilst thus I dream, the bells clash out
Upon the Sabbath air,
A selfish form of prayer;
But in that heaven so near
In God's atoning ear ?
Peal soon that Easter morn
And in all hearts new-born !
To all men shall be given,
And hear My Son in heaven !
Then glowed to me a maiden from the
left, With bosom half disclosed, and naked
arms More white and undulant than necks of
swans; And all before her steps an influence ran Warm as the whispering South that opens
buds And swells the laggard sails of Northern
May. “I am called Pleasure, come with me!”
THE PARTING OF THE WAYS So we two went together; downward
sloped Who hath not been a poet? Who hath not, The path through yellow meads, or so I With life's new quiver full of wingëd
Yellow with sunshine and young green, years, Shot at a venture, and then, following on,
but I Stood doubtful at the Parting of the Ways ? Saw naught nor heard, shut up in one close
joy; There once I stood in dream, and as I I only felt the hand within my own, paused,
Transmuting all my blood to golden fire, Looking this way and that, came forth Dissolving all my brain in throbbing mist.
to me The figure of a woman veiled, that said, Suddenly shrank the hand; suddenly burst
My name is Duty, turn and follow me;' A cry that split the torpor of my brain, Something there was that chilled me in And as the first sharp thrust of lightning her voice;
loosens I felt Youth's hand grow slack and cold in From the heaped cloud its rain, loosened mine,
my sense: As if to be withdrawn, and I exclaimed: “ Save me !” it thrilled; "ob, hide me ! “Oh, leave the hot wild heart within my
there is Death! breast !
Death the divider, the unmerciful, Duty comes soon enough, too soon comes That digs his pitfalls under Love and Death;
And covers Beauty up in the cold ground; The heart grows hardened with perpetual Horrible Death ! bringer of endless dark;
Bargaining with itself to be content;
The Form replied: and fell,
“ Men follow Duty, never overtake; A handful of gray ashes, at my feet. Duty nor lifts her veil nor looks behind.”
But, as she spake, a loosened lock of hair I would have fled, I would have followed Slipped from beneath her hood, and I, who back
looked That pleasant path we came, but all was To see it gray and thin, saw amplest gold; changed;
Not that dull metal dug from sordid earth, Rocky the way, abrupt, and hard to find; But such as the retiring sunset flood Yet I toiled on, and, toiling on, I thought, Leaves heaped on bays and capes of island “That way lies Youth, and Wisdom, and
cloud. all Good;
“O Guide divine,” I prayed," although not For only by unlearning Wisdom comes
yet And climbing backward to diviner Youth; I may repair the virtue which I feel What the world teaches profits to the Gone out at touch of untuned things and world,
foul What the soul teaches profits to the soul, With draughts of Beauty, yet declare how Which then first stands erect with God
ward face, When she lets fall her pack of withered “ Faithless and faint of heart," the voice facts,
returned, The gleanings of the outward eye and “Thou seest no beauty save thou make it ear,
first; And looks and listens with her finer sense; Man, Woman, Nature each is but a glass Nor Truth nor Knowledge cometh from Where the soul sees the image of herself,
Visible echoes, offsprings of herself.
But, since thou need’st assurance of how After long, weary days I stood again
soon, And waited at the Parting of the Ways; Wait till that angel comes who opens all, Again the figure of a woman veiled
The reconciler, he who lifts the veil, Stood forth and beckoned, and I followed The reuniter, the rest-bringer, Death." Down to no bower of roses led the path, I waited, and methought he came; but But through the streets of towns where
how, chattering Cold
Or in what shape, I doubted, for no sign, Hewed wood for fires whose glow was By touch or mark, he gave me as he owned and fenced,
passed: Where Nakedness wove garments of warm Only I knew a lily that I held wool
Snapt short below the head and shrivelled Not for itself; — or through the fields it
Then turned my Guide and looked at me Where Hunger reaped the unattainable unveiled, grain,
And I beheld no face of matron stern, Where idleness enforced saw idle lands, But that enchantment I had followed erst, Leagues of unpeopled soil, the common Only more fair, more clear to eye and brain, earth,
Heightened and chastened by a household Walled round with paper against God and charm; Man.
She smiled, and “Which is fairer," said “ I cannot look," I groaned, “at only these;
“ The hag's unreal Florimel or mine ?”