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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.
I used to sit and look at my life
A great stone stopped it: oh, the strife
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.
And borne you away to a rock for us two
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