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Less than divine that she might mate with By me conjectured, but conjectured so
As things I touch far fainter substance If mortal merely, could my nature cope
show. With such o'ermastery of maddening Was it mine eyes' imposture I have seen
Flit with the moonbeams on from shade to If Goddess, could she feel the blissful woe
sheen That women in their self-surrender know? Through the wood-openings? Nay, I see
Out of her heaven new-lighted, from her Long she abode aloof there in her heaven,
brow Far as the grape-bunch of the Pleiad seven The hair breeze-scattered, like loose mists Beyond my madness' utmost leap; but
that blow here
Across her crescent, goldening as they go Mine eyes have feigned of late her rapture High-kirtled for the chase, and what was near,
shown, Moulded of mind-mist that broad day dis- Of maiden rondure, like the rose halfpels,
blown. Here in these shadowy woods and brook- If dream, turn real! If a vision, stay ! lulled dells.
Take mortal shape, my philtre's spell obey !
If hags compel thee from thy secret sky Have no heaven-babitants e'er felt a void
incantations, why not I, In hearts sublimed with ichor unalloyed ? Whose only magic is that I distil E'er longed to mingle with a mortal fate A potion, blent of passion, thought, and Intense with pathos of its briefer date ?
will, Could she partake, and live, our human Deeper in reach, in force of fate more rich, stains ?
Than e'er was juice wrung by Thessalian Even with the thought there tingles through witch
From moon-enchanted herbs, - a potion Sense of unwarned renewal; I, the dead,
brewed Receive and house again the ardor fled, Of my best life in each diviner mood ? As once Alcestis; to the ruddy brim Myself the elixir am, myself the bowl Feel masculine virtue flooding every limb, Seething and mantling with my soul of soul. And life, like Spring returning, brings the Taste and be humanized: what though the key
cup, That sets my senses from their winter free, With thy lips frenzied, shatter ? Drink it Dancing like naked fauns too glad for shame.
If but these arms may clasp, o'erquited so, Her passion, purified to palest flame, My world, thy heaven, all life means I Can it thus kindle? Is her purpose this ?
shall know. I will not argue, lest I lose a bliss That makes me dream Titbonus' fortune mine,
Sure she hath heard my prayer and granted (Or what of it was palpably divine
half, Ere came the fruitlessly inmortal gift;) As Gods do who at mortal madness laugh. I cannot curb my hope's imperious drift Yet if life's solid things illusion seem, That wings with fire my dull mortality; Why may not substance wear the mask of Though fancy-forged, 't is all I feel or see.
dream ? In sleep she comes; she visits me in dreams,
And, as her image in a thousand streams, My Goddess sinks; round Latmos' darken- So in my veins, that her obey, she sees, ing brow
Floating and flaming there, her images Trembles the parting of her presence now, Bear to my little world's remotest zone Faint as the perfume left upon
Glad messages of her, and her alone. By her limbs' pressure or her feet that With silence-sandalled Sleep she comes to pass
(But softer-footed, sweeter-browed, than Within the soul's shrine ? Could
star In motion gracious as a seagull's wing, Be set in heaven again by prayers and tears And all her bright limbs, moving, seem to And quenchless sacrifice of all my years, sing:
How would the victim to the flamen leap. Let me believe so, then, if so I may And life for life’s redemption paid hold With the night's bounty feed my beggared cheap !
day. In dreams I see her lay the goddess down But what resource when she herself deWith bow and quiver, and her crescent
From her blue throne, and o'er her vassal Flicker and fade away to dull eclipse
bends As down to mine sbe deigns her longed-for That shape thrice-deified by love, those lips;
eyes And as her neck my happy arms enfold, Wherein the Lethe of all others lies ? Flooded and lustred with her loosened gold, When
queen of heaven's remoteShe whispers words each sweeter than a
ness tires, kiss:
Herself against her other self conspires, Then, wakened with the shock of sudden Takes woman's nature, walks in mortal bliss,
ways, My arms are empty, my awakener fled, And finds in my remorse her beauty's And, silent in the silent sky o'erhead,
praise ? But coldly as on ice - plated snow, she Yet all would I renounce to dream again gleams,
The dream in dreams fulfilled that made Herself the mother and the child of dreams.
my pain, My noble pain that heightened all my
years Gone is the time when phantasms could With crowns to win and prowess-breeding appease
tears; My quest phantasmal and bring cheated Nay, would that dream renounce once more
ease; When, if she glorified my dreams, I felt Her from her sky there looking down at Through all my limbs a change immortal
melt At touch of hers illuminate with soul. Not long could I be stilled with Fancy's Goddess, reclimb thy heaven, and be once
dole; Too soon the mortal mixture in me caught An inaccessible splendor to adore, Red fire from her celestial flame, and A faith, a hope of snch transcendent worth fought
As bred ennobling discontent with earth; For tyrannous control in all my veins: Give back the longing, back the elated My fool's prayer was accepted; what re
mood mains ?
That, fed with thee, spurned every meaner Or was it some eidolon merely, sent
good; By her who rules the shades in banishment, Give even the spur of impotent despair To mock me with her semblance? Were That, without hope, still bade aspire and it thus,
dare; How 'scape I shame, whose will was trai- Give back the need to worship, that still torous ?
pours What shall compensate an ideal dimmed ? Down to the soul the virtue it adores ! How blanch again my statue virgin-limbed, Soiled with the incense-smoke her chosen Nay, brightest and most beautiful, deem priest
naught Poured more profusely as within decreased These frantic words, the reckless wind of The fire unearthly, fed with coals from far thought:
In that quencher of might-be's and would
be's, the grave.' Bid by the Bridegroom, To-morrow, ye
said, And To-morrow was digging a trench for
your bed; Ye said, 'God can wait; let us finish our
wine;' Ye had wearied Him, fools, and that last
knock was mine!"
I, WALKING the familiar street,
And in Arcadia ere I knew it.
But I can't pretend to give you the ser
mon, Or say if the tongue were French, Latin,
or German; Whatever he preached in, I give you my
word The meaning was easy to all that heard; Famous preachers there have been and be, But never was one so convincing as he; So blunt was never a begging friar, No Jesuit's tongue so barbed with fire, Cameronian never, nor Methodist, Wrung gall out of Scripture with such a
Fresh sward for gravel soothed my tread,
And shepherd's pipes my ear delighted; The riddle may be lightly read:
I met two lovers newly plighted. They murmured by in happy care,
New plans for paradise devising, Just as the moon, with pensive stare,
O’er Mistress Craigie's pines was rising. Astarte, known nigh threescore years,
Me to no speechless rapture urges; Them in Elysium she enspheres,
Queen, from of old, of thaumaturges.
And would you know who his hearers must
be ? I tell you just what my guide told me: Excellent teaching men have, day and
night, From two earnest friars, a black and a
white, The Dominican Death and the Carmelite
Life; And between these two there is never
strife, For each has his separate office and station, And each his own work in the congrega
tion; Whoso to the white brother deafens his
ears, And cannot be wrought on by blessings or
tears, Awake in his coffin must wait and wait, In that blackness of darkness that means
too late, And come once a year, when the ghost-bell
tolls, As till Doomsday it shall on the eve of
All-Souls, To hear Doctor Death, whose words smart
with the brine Of the Preacher, the tenth verse of chap
“ An idyl ever newly sweet,
Although since Adam's day recited, Whose measures time them to Love's feet,
Whose sense is every ill requited." Maiden, if I may counsel, drain
Each drop of this enchanted season, For even our honeymoons must wane,
Convicted of green cheese by Reason.
And none will seem so safe from change,
Nor in such skies benignant hover, As this, beneath whose witchery strange
You tread on rose-leaves with your lover
“ Fie, Mr. Graybeard! Is this wise ?
Is this the moral of a poet,
Is privileged once more to sow it ? “ That herb of clay-disdaining root,
From stars secreting what it feeds on, Is burnt-out passion's slag and soot
Fit soil to strew its dainty seeds on ?
WHEN oaken woods with buds are pink,
And new-come birds each morning sing, When fickle May on Summer's brink
Pauses, and knows not which to fling, Whether fresh bud and bloom again, Or boar-frost silvering hill and plain, Then from the honeysuckle gray
The oriole with experienced quest
The cordage of his hammock-nest,
The soft gray cup in safety swings,
Of downy breasts and throbbing wings, O’er which the friendly elm-tree heaves An emerald roof with sculptured eaves.
“ Pray, why, if in Arcadia once, Need one soon forget the way
there ? Or why, once there, be such a dunce
As not contentedly to stay there ?” Dear child, 't was but a sorry jest,
And from my heart I hate the cynic Who makes the Book of Life a nest
For comments staler than rabbinic.
If Love his simple spell but keep,
Life with ideal eyes to flatter, The Grail itself were crockery cheap
To Every-day's communion-platter.
One Darby is to me well known,
Who, as the hearth between them blazes, Sees the old moonlight shine on Joan,
And float her youthward in its hazes.
Below, the noisy World drags by
In the old way, because it must, The bride with heartbreak in her eye,
The mourner following hated dust: Thy duty, winged flame of Spring, Is but to love, and fly, and sing.
He rubs his spectacles, he stares, – 'T is the same face that witched him
early ! He gropes for his remaining hairs,
Is this a fleece that feels so curly ?
Oh, happy life, to soar and sway
Above the life by mortals led, Singing the merry months away,
Master, not slave of daily bread, And, when the Autumn comes, to flee Wherever sunshine beckons thee!
PALINODE - DECEMBER
“Good heavens! but now't was winter
gray, And I of years had more than plenty; The almanac 's a fool! 'T is May!
Hang family Bibles! I am twenty !
Like some lorn abbey now, the wood
Stands roofless in the bitter air;