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There if you seek not, and gone if you look,

Ninety miles off as the eagle flies.

But mountains make not all the shore
The mainland shows to Appledore;
Eight miles the heaving water spreads
To a long, low coast with beaches and

That run through unimagined mazes,
As the lights and shades and magical hazes
Put them away or bring them near,
Shimmering, sketched out for thirty miles
Between two capes that waver like threads,
And sink in the ocean, and reappear,
Crumbled and melted to little isles,
With filmy trees, that seem the mere
Half-fancies of drowsy atmosphere;
And see the beach there, where it is
Flat as a threshing-floor, beaten and packed
With the flashing flails of weariless seas,
How it lifts and looms to a precipice,
O'er whose square front, a dream, no

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Eastward as far as the eye can see,
Still eastward, eastward, endlessly,
The sparkle and tremor of purple sea
That rises before you, a flickering hill,
On and on to the shut of the sky,
And beyond, you fancy it sloping until
The same multitudinous throb and thrill
That vibrate under your dizzy eye
In ripples of orange and pink are sent
Where the poppied sails doze on the yard,
And the clumsy junk and proa lie
Sunk deep with precious woods and nard,
'Mid the palmy isles of the Orient.
Those leaning towers of clouded white
On the farthest brink of doubtful ocean,

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How looks Appledore in a storm?

I have seen it when its crags seemed frantic,

Butting against the mad Atlantic, When surge on surge would heap enorme, Cliffs of emerald topped with snow, That lifted and lifted, and then let go A great white avalanche of thunder, A grinding, blinding, deafening ire Monadnock might have trembled under; And the island, whose rock-roots pierce below

To where they are warmed with the central fire,

You could feel its granite fibres racked,
As it seemed to plunge with a shudder

and thrill

Right at the breast of the swooping hill, And to rise again snorting a cataract Of rage-froth from every cranny and ledge, While the sea drew its breath in hoarse

and deep,

And the next vast breaker curled its edge, Gathering itself for a mightier leap.

North, east, and south there are reefs and breakers

You would never dream of in smooth weather,

That toss and gore the sea for acres,

Bellowing and gnashing and snarling together;

Look northward, where Duck Island lies,

And over its crown you will see arise,
Against a background of slaty skies,
A row of pillars still and white,

That glimmer, and then are gone from

As if the moon should suddenly kiss,
While you crossed the gusty desert by

The long colonnades of Persepolis;
Look southward for White Island light,
The lantern stands ninety feet o'er the

There is first a half-mile of tumult and fight,

Of dash and roar and tumble and fright,
And surging bewilderment wild and wide,
Where the breakers struggle left and right,
Then a mile or more of rushing sea,
And then the lighthouse slim and lone;
And whenever the weight of ocean is

Full and fair on White Island head,

A great mist-jotun you will see Lifting himself up silently High and huge o'er the lighthouse top, With hands of wavering spray outspread, Groping after the little tower,

That seems to shrink and shorten and cower,

Till the monster's arms of a sudden drop, And silently and fruitlessly

He sinks back into the sea.

You, meanwhile, where drenched you stand, Awaken once more to the rush and roar, And on the rock-point tighten your hand, As you turn and see a valley deep,

That was not there a moment before, Suck rattling down between you and a heap Of toppling billow, whose instant fall Must sink the whole island once for all, Or watch the silenter, stealthier seas

Feeling their way to you more and more; If they once should clutch you high as the knees,

They would whirl you down like a sprig of kelp,

Beyond all reach of hope or help; -
And such in a storm is Appledore.


'Tis the sight of a lifetime to behold
The great shorn sun as you see it now,
Across eight miles of undulant gold
That widens landward, weltered and rolled,

With freaks of shadow and crimson stains;
To see the solid mountain brow

As it notches the disk, and gains and gains,
Until there comes, you scarce know when,
A tremble of fire o'er the parted lips
Of cloud and mountain, which vanishes;

From the body of day the sun-soul slips And the face of earth darkens; but now the strips

Of western vapor, straight and thin,
From which the horizon's swervings win
A grace of contrast, take fire and burn
Like splinters of touchwood, whose edges a

Of ashes o'erfeathers; northward turn
For an instant, and let your eye grow cold
On Agamenticus, and when once more
You look, 't is as if the land-breeze, grow-

From the smouldering brands the film were blowing,

And brightening them down to the very


Yet they momently cool and dampen and deaden,

The crimson turns golden, the gold turns leaden,

Hardening into one black bar

O'er which, from the hollow heaven afar,
Shoots a splinter of light like diamond,
Half seen, half fancied; by and by
Beyond whatever is most beyond
In the uttermost waste of desert sky,
Grows a star;

And over it, visible spirit of dew,

Ah, stir not, speak not, hold your breath,
Or surely the miracle vanisheth,
The new moon, tranced in unspeakable

No frail illusion; this were true,
Rather, to call it the canoe
Hollowed out of a single pearl,

That floats us from the Present's whirl
Back to those beings which were ours,
When wishes were winged things like pow-


Call it not light, that mystery tender,
Which broods upon the brooding ocean
That flush of ecstasied surrender

To indefinable emotion,

That glory, mellower than a mist
Of pearl dissolved with amethyst,

Which rims Square Rock, like what they


Of mitigated heavenly splendor Round the stern forehead of a Saint!

No more a vision, reddened, largened,
The moon dips toward her mountain nest,
And, fringing it with palest argent,
Slow sheathes herself behind the margent
Of that long cloud-bar in the West,
Whose nether edge, erelong, you see
The silvery chrism in turn anoint,
And then the tiniest rosy point
Touched doubtfully and timidly
Into the dark blue's chilly strip,
As some mute, wondering thing below,
Awakened by the thrilling glow,
Might, looking up, see Dian dip
One lucent foot's delaying tip
In Latmian fountains long ago.

Knew you what silence was before?
Here is no startle of dreaming bird
That sings in his sleep, or strives to sing;
Here is no sough of branches stirred,
Nor noise of any living thing,
Such as one hears by night on shore;
Only, now and then, a sigh,
With fickle intervals between,
Sometimes far, and sometimes nigh,
Such as Andromeda might have heard,
And fancied the huge sea-beast unseen
Turning in sleep; it is the sea
That welters and wavers uneasily
Round the lonely reefs of Appledore.


"Your inspiration is still to you a living mistress - make her immortal in her promptings and her consolations by imaging her truly in art. Mine looks at me with eyes of paler flame and beckons across a gulf. You came into my loneliness like an incarnate aspiration. And it is dreary enough sometimes, for a mountain-peak on whose snow your foot makes the first mortal print is not so lonely as a room full of happy faces from which one is missing forever. This was originally the fifth stanza of The Windharp.

O tress! that so oft in my heart hast lain,

Rocked to rest within rest by its thankful beating, Say, which is harder to bear the pain Of laughter and light, or to wait in vain

'Neath the unleaved tree the impossible meeting? If Death's lips be icy, Life gives, iwis,

Some kisses more clay-cold and darkening than his ! Forgive me, but you spoke of it first." J. R. L. to W. J. Stillman, December 7, 1854.

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With hand on latch, a vision white
Lingered reluctant, and again
Half doubting if she did aright,
Soft as the dews that fell that night,
She said, "Auf wiedersehen!”

The lamp's clear gleam flits up the stair;
I linger in delicious pain;

Ah, in that chamber, whose rich air
To breathe in thought I scarcely dare,
Thinks she, "Auf wiedersehen?"

"T is thirteen years; once more I
The turf that silences the lane;
I hear the rustle of her dress,
I smell the lilacs, and ah, yes,
I hear "Auf wiedersehen!


Sweet piece of bashful maiden art!


The English words had seemed too fain,

But these they drew us heart to heart, Yet held us tenderly apart;

She said, "Auf wiedersehen!"



STILL thirteen years: 't is autumn now
On field and hill, in heart and brain;
The naked trees at evening sough;
The leaf to the forsaken bough
Sighs not," Auf wiedersehen!"

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Lowell's second child, Rose, died after a week's illness in the spring of 1850. Her father wrote shortly after her death to Mr. Gay: "She was very beautiful-fair, with large dark-gray eyes and fine features. Her smile was especially charming, and she was full of smiles till her sickness began. Dear little child, she had never spoken, only smiled. To show you that I am not unable to go along with you in the feeling expressed in your letter, I will copy a few verses out of my common-place book." The verses were the first form of the following poem, and will be found in the notes at the end of this volume. The poem, with its personal feeling over a universal human experience, found its way into many hearts. It" has roused," Lowell wrote in 1875, strange echoes in men who assured me they were generally insensible to poetry. After all, the only stuff a solitary man has to spin is himself."


YES, faith is a goodly anchor;

When skies are sweet as a psalm, At the bows it lolls so stalwart,

In its bluff, broad-shouldered calm.

And when over breakers to leeward
The tattered surges are hurled,
It may keep our head to the tempest,
With its grip on the base of the world.

But, after the shipwreck, tell me
What help in its iron thews,
Still true to the broken hawser,
Deep down among sea-weed and ooze ?

In the breaking gulfs of sorrow,
When the helpless feet stretch out
And find in the deeps of darkness

No footing so solid as doubt,

Then better one spar of Memory,

One broken plank of the Past,
That our human heart may cling to,
Though hopeless of shore at last!

To the spirit its splendid conjectures,
To the flesh its sweet despair,
Its tears o'er the thin-worn locket
With its anguish of deathless hair!

Immortal? I feel it and know it,
Who doubts it of such as she?
But that is the pang's very secret, -
Immortal away from me.

There's a narrow ridge in the graveyard
Would scarce stay a child in his race,
But to me and my thought it is wider
Than the star-sown vague of Space.

Your logic, my friend, is perfect,

Your moral most drearily true; But, since the earth clashed on her coffin, I keep hearing that, and not you.

Console if you will, I can bear it;

'T is a well-meant alms of breath; But not all the preaching since Adam Has made Death other than Death.

It is pagan; but wait till you feel it,

That jar of our earth, that dull shock When the ploughshare of deeper passion Tears down to our primitive rock.

Communion in spirit! Forgive me,
But I, who am earthly and weak,
Would give all my incomes from dream-

For a touch of her hand on my cheek.

That little shoe in the corner,

So worn and wrinkled and brown, With its emptiness confutes you, And argues your wisdom down.


"I have a notion that the inmates of a house should never be changed. When the first occupants go out it should be burned, and a stone set up with 'Sacred to the Memory of a Home' on it. Suppose the body were eternal, and that when one spirit went out another took the lease. How frightful the strange expression of the eyes would be! I fancy sometimes that the look in the eyes of a familiar house changes when aliens have come into it. For certainly a dwelling adapts itself to its occupants. The front door of a hospitable man opens easily and looks broad, and you can read Welcome! on every step that leads to it.

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I stopped there and tried to put that into verse. I have only half succeeded, and I shall not give it to you. I shall copy it and thrust it into Jane's letter." J. R. L. to C. E. Norton, August 31, 1858.

A similar fancy appears in an earlier letter to Mrs. Francis G. Shaw, to whom Lowell wrote January 11, 1853: "I spent Sunday with Edmund Quincy at Dedham, and, as I came back over the rail yesterday, I was roused from a reverie by seeing 'West Roxbury Station' written up over the door of a kind of Italian villa at which we stopped. I almost twisted my head off looking for the house on the hill. There it stood in mourning still, just as Frank painted it. The color suited my mood exactly. The eyes of the house were shut, the welcoming look it had was gone; it was dead. I am a Platonist about houses. They get to my eye a shape from the souls that inhabit them. My friends' dwellings seem as peculiar to them as their bodies, looks, and motions. People have no right to sell their dead houses; they should burn them as they used to burn corpses. .. I have buried that house now and flung my pious handful of earth over it and set up a headstone- and I shall never look up to the hill-top again, let me pass it never so often."


HERE once my step was quickened,

Here beckoned the opening door, And welcome thrilled from the threshold To the foot it had known before.

A glow came forth to meet me

From the flame that laughed in the grate, And shadows adance on the ceiling,

Danced blither with mine for a mate.

"I claim you, old friend," yawned the arm

chair, "This corner, you know, is your seat;"

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