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And I to have tempted you! I, who tired

Your soul, no doubt, till it sank! Unwise, I loved and was lowly, loved and aspired,

Loved, grieving or glad, till I made you mad, And you meant to have hated and despised

Whereas, you deceived me nor inquired!
She, ruined? How? No heaven for her?

Crowns to give, and none for the brow
That looked like marble and smelt like myrrh?

Shall the robe be worn,and the palm-branch borne, And she go graceless, she graced now

Beyond alĩ saints, as themselves aver? Hardly! That must be understood!

The earth is your place of penance, then;
And what will it prove? I desire your good,

But, plot as I may, I can find no way
How a blow should fall, such as falls on men,

Nor prove too much for your womanhood.
It will come, I suspect, at the end of life,

When you walk alone, and review the past; And I, who so long shall have done with strife,

And journeyed my stage and earned my wage And retired as was right, -I am called at last

When the devil stabs you, to lend the knife. He stabs for the minute of trivial wrong,

Nor the other hours are able to save, The happy, that lasted my whole life long:

For a promise broke, not for first words spoke, The true, the only, that turn my grave

To a blaze of joy and a crash of song. Witness beforehand! Off I trip

On a safe path gay through the flowers you flung: My very name made great by your lip,

And my heart a-glow with the good' I know Of a perfect year when we both were young,

And I tasted the angels' fellowship.

And witness, moreover ... Ah, but wait!

I spy the loop whence an arrow shoots! It may be for yourself, when you meditate,

That you grieve—for slain ruth, murdered truth. “Though falsehood escape in the end, what boots ? “How truth would have triumphed!”—you sigh

too late. Ay, who would have triumphed like you, I say!

Well, it is lost now; well, you must bear, Abide and grow fit for a better day:

You should hardly grudge, could I be your judge! But hush! For you, can be no despair:

There's amends: 'tis a secret : hope and pray! For I was true at least-oh, true enough!

And, Dear, truth is not as good as it seems! Commend me to conscience! Idle stuff!

Much help is in mine, as I mope and pine, And skulk through day, and scowl in my dreams

At my swan's obtaining the crow's rebuff. Men tell me of truth now—“False!” I cry:

Of beauty—“A mask, friend! Look beneath!” We take our own method, the devil and I,

With pleasant and fair and wise and rare: And the best we wish to what lives, is-death;

Which even in wishing, perhaps we lie! Far better commit a fault and have done

As you, Dear !—for ever; and choose the pure, And look where the healing waters run,

And strive and strain to be good again, And a place in the other world ensure,

All glass and gold, with God for its sun.
Misery! What shall I say or do?

I cannot advise, or, at least, persuade:
Most like, you are glad you deceived memrue

No whit of the wrong: you endured too long,
Have done no evil and want no aid,
Will live the old life out and chance the new.

And your sentence is written all the same,

And I can do nothing,—pray, perhaps: But somehow the world pursues its game,

If I pray, if I curse,-for better or worse: And my faith is torn to a thousand scraps, And my heart feels ice while my words breathe

flame. Dear, I look from my hiding-place.

Are you still so fair? Have you still the eyes ? Be happy! Add but the other grace,

Be good! Why want what the angels vaunt? I knew you once: but in Paradise,

If we meet, I will pass nor turn my face.


STOP, let me have the truth of that!
D Is that all true? I say, the day
Ten years ago when both of us

Met on a morning, friends-as thus
We meet this evening, friends or what?-
Did you because I took your arm

And sillily smiled, “A mass of brass “That sea looks, blazing underneath!"

While up the cliff-road edged with heath,
We took the turns nor came to harm-
Did you consider “Now makes twice

“That I have seen her, walked and talked “With this poor pretty thoughtful thing,

“Whose worth I weigh: she tries to sing; “Draws, hopes in time the eye grows nice;

“Reads verse and thinks she understands;

“Loves all, at any rate, that's great, “Good, beautiful; but much as we

"Down at the bath-house love the sea, “Who breathe its salt and bruise its sands : “While ... do but follow the fishing-gull

“That flaps and floats from wave to cave! “There's the sea-lover, fair my friend!

“What then? Be patient, mark and mend! “Had you the making of your scull?” And did you, when we faced the church

With spire and sad slate roof, aloof From human fellowship so far,

Where a few graveyard crosses are, And garlands for the swallows' perch,Did you determine, as we stepped

O'er the lone stone fence, “Let me get “Her for myself, and what's the earth

“With all its art, verse, music, worth“Compared with love, found, gained, and kept? “Schumann's our music-maker now;

“ Has his march-movement youth and mouth? “ Ingres's the modern man that paints;

“Which will lean on me, of his saints ? “Heine for songs; for kisses, how?". And did you, when we entered, reached

The votive frigate, soft aloft Riding on air this hundred years,

Safe-smiling at old hopes and fears,— Did you draw profit while she preached ? Resolving, “ Fools we wise men grow!

“Yes, I could easily blurt out curt "Some question that might find reply

“As prompt in her stopped lips, dropped eye, And rush of red to cheek and brow:

“Thus were a match made, sure and fast,

“'Mid the blue weed-flowers round the mound “Where, issuing, we shall stand and stay

“For one more look at baths and bay, "Sands, sea-gulls, and the old church last“A match 'twixt me, bent, wigged and lamed,

“Famous, however, for verse and worse, “Sure of the Fortieth spare Arm-chair

“When gout and glory seat me there, “So, one whose love-freaks pass unblamed, “And this young beauty, round and sound

As a mountain-apple, youth and truth “With loves and doves, at all events

“With money in the Three per Cents; “Whose choice of me would seem profound:“She might take me as I take her.

“Perfect the hour would pass, alas! “Climb high, love high, what matter? Still,

“Feet, feelings, must descend the hill: "An hour's perfection can't recur. “Then follows Paris and full time

“For both to reason: 'Thus with us!' “She 'll sigh, 'Thus girls give body and soul

“At first word, think they gain the goal, “When 'tis the starting-place they climb!' “My friend makes verse and gets renown;

“Have they all fifty years, his peers ? “He knows the world, firm, quiet and gay;

"Boys will become as much one day: “They're fools; he cheats, with beard less brown. “For boys say, Love me or I die!

“He did not say, The truth is, youth I want, who am old and know too much;

I'd catch youth: lend me sight and touch! Drop heart's blood where life's wheels grate dry!

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