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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 's 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 —so!

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!

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 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 !"

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 !”


What did the other do? You be judge !

Look at us, Edith! Here are we both ! Give him his six whole years : I grudge

None of the life with you, nay, I loathe Myself that I grudged his start in advance

Of me who could overtake and pass. But, as if he loved you ! No, not he,

Nor anyone else in the world, 't is plain : Who ever heard that another, free

As I, young, prosperous, sound, and sane, Poured life out, proffered it—“ Half a glance

Of those eyes of yours and I drop the glass !"

7. Handsome, were you ? 'Tis more than they held,

More than they said ; I was 'ware and watched : I was the 'scapegrace, this rat belled

The cat, this fool got his whiskers scratched : The others ? No head that was turned, no heart

Broken, my lady, assure yourself! Each soon made his mind up; so and so

Married a dancer, such and such

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