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At life's best, with our eyes upturned Whither life's flower is first discerned,

We, fixed so, ever should so abide ? What if we still ride on, we two, With life for ever old yet new, Changed not in kind but in degree, The instant made eternity,– And heaven just prove that I and she

Ride, ride together, for ever ride?


All I believed is true!

I am able yet

All I want, to get
By a method as strange as new:
Dare I trust the same to you?

If at night, when doors are shut,

And the wood-worm picks,

And the death-watch ticks, And the bar has a flag of smut, And a cat's in the water-butt


And the socket floats and flares,

And the house-beams groan,

And a foot unknown
Is surmised on the garret-stairs,
And the locks slip unawares-

And the spider, to serve his ends,

By a sudden thread,

Arms and legs outspread, On the table's midst descends, Comes to find, God knows what friends !-

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If since eve drew in, I say,

I have sat and brought

(So to speak) my thought To bear on the woman away, Till I felt my hair turn grey

Till I seemed to have and hold,

In the vacancy

'Twixt the wall and me From the hair-plait's chestnut-gold To the foot in its muslin fold


Have and hold, then and there,

Her, from head to foot,

Breathing and mute,
Passive and yet aware,
In the grasp of my steady stare-

Hold and have, there and then,

All her body and soul

That completes my whole, ! All that women add to men, In the clutch of my steady ken

IX. Having and holding, till

I imprint her fast

On the void at last
As the sun does whom he will

Then,-if my heart's strength serve,

And through all and each

Of the veils I reach
To her soul and never swerve,
Knitting an iron nerve-

Command her soul to advance

And inform the shape

Which has made escape And before my countenance Answers me glance for glance


I, still with a gesture fit

Of my hands that best

Do my soul's behest, Pointing the power from it, While myself do steadfast sit

XIII. Steadfast and still the same

On my object bent,

While the hands give vent
To my ardour and my aim
And break into very flame-

Then I reach, I must believe,

Not her soul in vain,

For to me again
It reaches, and past retrieve
Is wound in the toils I weave;

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And must follow as I require,

As befits a thrall,
- Bringing flesh and all,
Essence and earth-attire,
To the source of the tractile fire :

Till the house called hers, not mine,

With a growing weight

Seems to suffocate
If she break not its leaden line
And escape from its close confine.

Out of doors into the night!

On to the maze

Of the wild wood-ways, Not turning to left nor right From the pathway, blind with sight

XVIII. Making thro' rain and wind

O'er the broken shrubs,

'Twixt the stems and stubs, With a still, composed, strong mind, Not a care for the world behind

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