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“Good counsel gave the bird," said she,
I have my hope thrice o'er,
For they sing to my very heart,” she said,
“And it sings to them evermore.
She brought to him her beauty and truth,
But and broad earldoms three, And he made her queen of the broader lands
He held of his lute in fee.
Not always unimpeded can I pray,
Nor, pitying saint, thine intercession claim ;
Too closely clings the burden of the day,
And all the mint and anise that I pay
But swells my debt and deepens my self-blame.
Shall I less patience have than Thou, who know
That Thou revisit'st all who wait for thee,
Nor only fill'st the unsounded deeps below,
But dost refresh with punctual overflow
The rists where unregarded mosses be ? :
The drooping sea-weed hears, in night abyssed,
Far and more far the wave's receding shocks,
Nor doubts, for all the darkness and the mist,
That the pale shepherdess will keep her tryst,
And shoreward lead again her foam-fleeced flocks.
For the same wave that rims the Carib shore
With momentary brede of pearl and gold,
Goes hurrying thence to gladden with its roar
Lorn weeds bound fast on rocks of Labrador,
By love divine on one sweet errand rolled.
And, though Thy healing waters far withdraw,
I, too, can wait and feed on hope of Thee
And of the dear recurrence of Thy law,
Sure that the parting grace that morning saw
Abides its time to come in search of me.
There lay upon the ocean's shore
What once a tortoise served to cover,
A year and more, with rush and roar,
The surf had rolled it over,
Had played with it, and Aung it by,
As wind and weather might decide it,
Then tossed it high where sand-drists dry
Cheap burial might provide it.
It rested there to bleach or tan,
The rains had soaked, the suns had burned ii;
With many a ban the fisherman
Had stumbled o'er and spurned it :
And there the fisher-girl would stay,
Conjecturing with her brother
How in their play the poor estray
Might serve some use or other.
So there it lay, through wet and dry,
As empty as the last new sonnet,
Till by and by came Mercury,
And, having mused upon it,
“Why, here,” cried he, " the thing of things
In shape, material, and dimension !
Give it but strings, and, lo, it sings,
A wonderful invention !
So said, so done ; the chords he strained,
And, as his fingers o'er them hovered,
The shell disdained a soul had gained,
The lyre had been discovered.
O empty world that round us lies,
Dead shell, of soul and thought forsaken,
Brought we but eyes like Mercury's,
In thee what songs should waken!
NEW YEAR'S EVE. 1850.
This is the midnight 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 hand 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 ;
Through earth swing wide from God's intent,
And though no man nor nation
Will move with full consent
In heavenly gravitation,
Yet by one Sun is every orbit bent.
FOR AN AUTOGRAPH.
THOUGH old the thought and oft exprest,
'Tis his at last who says it best,
I'll try my fortune with the rest.
Life is a leaf of paper white
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two, and then comes night.
“Lo, time and space enough,” we cry,
“ To write an epic !” so we try
Our nibs upon the edge, and die.
Muse not which way the pen to hold,
Luck hates the slow and loves the bold,
Soon come the darkness and the cold.
Greatly begin ! though thou have time
But for a line, be that sublime,
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.
Ah, with what lofty hope we came !
But we forget it, dream of fame,
And scrawl, as I do here, a name.
The dandelions and buttercups
Gild all the lawns the drowsy bee
Stumbles among the clover-tops,
And summer sweetens all but me :
Away, unfruitful lore of books,
For whose vain idiom we reject
The soul's more native dialect,
Aliens among the birds and brooks,
Dull to interpret or conceive
What gospels lost the woods retrieve !
Away, ye critics, city-bred,
Once more am I admitted peer
In the upper house of Nature here,
And feel through all my pulses run
The royal blood of breeze and sun.
Upon these elm-arched solitudes
No hum of neighbour 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 hiere,
Persists, a loyal cavalier,
While Roundheads prim, with point
Probe wainscot-chink and empty box ;
Here no hoarse-voiced iconoclast
Insults thy statues, royal Past;
Myself too prone the axe to wield,
I touch the silver side of the shield
With lance reversed, and challenge peace,
A willing convert of the trees.
How chanced it that so long I tost
A cable's length from this rich coast,
With foolish anchors hugging 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?
O, might we but of such rare days
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 vexed 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 Of some fallen nunnery's mossy sleep, So, from the ruins of this day Crumbling in golden dust away, The soul one gracious block may draw,