1

 

Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,

Unwind the solemn twine, and tie my Valentine!

 

Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,

For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain.

All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air,

God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair!

The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one,

Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;

The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,

Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.

The high do seek the lowly, the great do seek the small,

None cannot find who seeketh, on this terrestrial ball;

The bee doth court the flower, the flower his suit receives,

And they make merry wedding, whose guests are hundred leaves;

The wind doth woo the branches, the branches they are won,

And the father fond demandeth the maiden for his son.

The storm doth walk the seashore humming a mournful tune,

The wave with eye so pensive, looketh to see the moon,

Their spirits meet together, they make their solemn vows,

No more he singeth mournful, her sadness she doth lose.

The worm doth woo the mortal, death claims a living bride,

Night unto day is married, morn unto eventide;

Earth is a merry damsel, and heaven a knight so true,

And Earth is quite coquettish, and beseemeth in vain to sue.

Now to the application, to the reading of the roll,

To bringing thee to justice, and marshalling thy soul:

Thou art a human solo, a being cold, and lone,

Wilt have no kind companion, thou reap'st what thou hast sown.

Hast never silent hours, and minutes all too long,

And a deal of sad reflection, and wailing instead of song?

There's Sarah, and Eliza, and Emeline so fair,

And Harriet, and Susan, and she with curling hair!

Thine eyes are sadly blinded, but yet thou mayest see

Six true, and comely maidens sitting upon the tree;

Approach that tree with caution, then up it boldly climb,

And seize the one thou lovest, nor care for space, or time!

Then bear her to the greenwood, and build for her a bower,

And give her what she asketh, jewel, or bird, or flower --

And bring the fife, and trumpet, and beat upon the drum --

And bid the world Goodmorrow, and go to glory home!

 

 

 

2

 

There is another sky,

Ever serene and fair,

And there is another sunshine,

Though it be darkness there;

Never mind faded forests, Austin,

Never mind silent fields --

Here is a little forest,

Whose leaf is ever green;

Here is a brighter garden,

Where not a frost has been;

In its unfading flowers

I hear the bright bee hum:

Prithee, my brother,

Into my garden come!

 

 

 

3

 

"Sic transit gloria mundi,"

"How doth the busy bee,"

"Dum vivimus vivamus,"

I stay mine enemy!

 

Oh "veni, vidi, vici!"

Oh caput cap-a-pie!

And oh "memento mori"

When I am far from thee!

 

Hurrah for Peter Parley!

Hurrah for Daniel Boone!

Three cheers, sir, for the gentleman

Who first observed the moon!

 

Peter, put up the sunshine;

Patti, arrange the stars;

Tell Luna, tea is waiting,

And call your brother Mars!

 

Put down the apple, Adam,

And come away with me,

So shalt thou have a pippin

From off my father's tree!

 

I climb the "Hill of Science,"

I "view the landscape o'er;"

Such transcendental prospect,

I ne'er beheld before!

 

Unto the Legislature

My country bids me go;

I'll take my india rubbers,

In case the wind should blow!

 

During my education,

It was announced to me

That gravitation, stumbling,

Fell from an apple tree!

 

The earth upon an axis

Was once supposed to turn,

By way of a gymnastic

In honor of the sun!

 

It was the brave Columbus,

A sailing o'er the tide,

Who notified the nations

Of where I would reside!

 

Mortality is fatal --

Gentility is fine,

Rascality, heroic,

Insolvency, sublime!

 

Our Fathers being weary,

Laid down on Bunker Hill;

And tho' full many a morning,

Yet they are sleeping still, --

 

The trumpet, sir, shall wake them,

In dreams I see them rise,

Each with a solemn musket

A marching to the skies!

 

A coward will remain, Sir,

Until the fight is done;

But an immortal hero

Will take his hat, and run!

 

Good bye, Sir, I am going;

My country calleth me;

Allow me, Sir, at parting,

To wipe my weeping e'e.

 

In token of our friendship

Accept this "Bonnie Doon,"

And when the hand that plucked it

Hath passed beyond the moon,

 

The memory of my ashes

Will consolation be;

Then, farewell, Tuscarora,

And farewell, Sir, to thee!

 

 

 

4

 

On this wondrous sea

Sailing silently,

Ho! Pilot, ho!

Knowest thou the shore

Where no breakers roar --

Where the storm is o'er?

 

In the peaceful west

Many the sails at rest --

The anchors fast --

Thither I pilot thee --

Land Ho! Eternity!

Ashore at last!

 

 

 

5

 

I have a Bird in spring

Which for myself doth sing --

The spring decoys.

And as the summer nears --

And as the Rose appears,

Robin is gone.

 

Yet do I not repine

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown --

Learneth beyond the sea

Melody new for me

And will return.

 

Fast is a safer hand

Held in a truer Land

Are mine --

And though they now depart,

Tell I my doubting heart

They're thine.

 

In a serener Bright,

In a more golden light

I see

Each little doubt and fear,

Each little discord here

Removed.

 

Then will I not repine,

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown

Shall in a distant tree

Bright melody for me

Return.

 

 

 

6

 

Frequently the wood are pink --

Frequently are brown.

Frequently the hills undress

Behind my native town.

Oft a head is crested

I was wont to see --

And as oft a cranny

Where it used to be --

And the Earth -- they tell me --

On its Axis turned!

Wonderful Rotation!

By but twelve performed!

 

 

 

7

 

The feet of people walking home

With gayer sandals go --

The Crocus -- til she rises

The Vassal of the snow --

The lips at Hallelujah

Long years of practise bore

Til bye and bye these Bargemen

Walked singing on the shore.

 

Pearls are the Diver's farthings

Extorted from the Sea --

Pinions -- the Seraph's wagon

Pedestrian once -- as we --

Night is the morning's Canvas

Larceny -- legacy --

Death, but our rapt attention

To Immortality.

 

My figures fail to tell me

How far the Village lies --

Whose peasants are the Angels --

Whose Cantons dot the skies --

My Classics veil their faces --

My faith that Dark adores --

Which from its solemn abbeys

Such ressurection pours.

 

 

 

8

 

There is a word

Which bears a sword

Can pierce an armed man --

It hurls its barbed syllables

And is mute again --

But where it fell

The saved will tell

On patriotic day,

Some epauletted Brother

Gave his breath away.

 

Wherever runs the breathless sun --

Wherever roams the day --

There is its noiseless onset --

There is its victory!

Behold the keenest marksman!

The most accomplished shot!

Time's sublimest target

Is a soul "forgot!"

 

 

 

9

 

Through lane it lay -- through bramble --

Through clearing and through wood --

Banditti often passed us

Upon the lonely road.

 

The wolf came peering curious --

The owl looked puzzled down --

The serpent's satin figure

Glid stealthily along --

 

The tempests touched our garments --

The lightning's poinards gleamed --

Fierce from the Crag above us

The hungry Vulture screamed --

 

The satyr's fingers beckoned --

The valley murmured "Come" --

These were the mates --

This was the road

Those children fluttered home.

 

 

 

10

 

My wheel is in the dark!

I cannot see a spoke

Yet know its dripping feet

Go round and round.

 

My foot is on the Tide!

An unfrequented road --

Yet have all roads

A clearing at the end --

 

Some have resigned the Loom --

Some in the busy tomb

Find quaint employ --

 

Some with new -- stately feet --

Pass royal through the gate --

Flinging the problem back

At you and I!

 

 

 

11

 

I never told the buried gold

Upon the hill -- that lies --

I saw the sun -- his plunder done

Crouch low to guard his prize.

 

He stood as near

As stood you here --

A pace had been between --

Did but a snake bisect the brake

My life had forfeit been.

 

That was a wondrous booty --

I hope 'twas honest gained.

Those were the fairest ingots

That ever kissed the spade!

 

Whether to keep the secret --

Whether to reveal --

Whether as I ponder

Kidd will sudden sail --

 

Could a shrewd advise me

We might e'en divide --

Should a shrewd betray me --

Atropos decide!

 

 

 

12

 

The morns are meeker than they were --

The nuts are getting brown --

The berry's cheek is plumper --

The Rose is out of town.

 

The Maple wears a gayer scarf --

The field a scarlet gown --

Lest I should be old fashioned

I'll put a trinket on.

 

 

 

13

 

Sleep is supposed to be

By souls of sanity

The shutting of the eye.

 

Sleep is the station grand

Down which, on either hand

The hosts of witness stand!

 

Morn is supposed to be

By people of degree

The breaking of the Day.

 

Morning has not occurred!

 

That shall Aurora be --

East of Eternity --

One with the banner gay --

One in the red array --

That is the break of Day!

 

 

 

14

 

One Sister have I in our house,

And one, a hedge away.

There's only one recorded,

But both belong to me.

 

One came the road that I came --

And wore my last year's gown --

The other, as a bird her nest,

Builded our hearts among.

 

She did not sing as we did --

It was a different tune --

Herself to her a music

As Bumble bee of June.

 

Today is far from Childhood --

But up and down the hills

I held her hand the tighter --

Which shortened all the miles --

 

And still her hum

The years among,

Deceives the Butterfly;

Still in her Eye

The Violets lie

Mouldered this many May.

 

I spilt the dew --

But took the morn --

I chose this single star

From out the wide night's numbers --

Sue - forevermore!

 

 

 

15

 

The Guest is gold and crimson --

An Opal guest and gray --

Of Ermine is his doublet --

His Capuchin gay --

 

He reaches town at nightfall --

He stops at every door --

Who looks for him at morning

I pray him too -- explore

The Lark's pure territory --

Or the Lapwing's shore!

 

 

 

16

 

I would distil a cup,

And bear to all my friends,

Drinking to her no more astir,

By beck, or burn, or moor!

 

 

 

17

 

Baffled for just a day or two --

Embarrassed -- not afraid --

Encounter in my garden

An unexpected Maid.

 

She beckons, and the woods start --

She nods, and all begin --

Surely, such a country

I was never in!

 

 

 

18

 

The Gentian weaves her fringes --

The Maple's loom is red --

My departing blossoms

Obviate parade.

 

A brief, but patient illness --

An hour to prepare,

And one below this morning

Is where the angels are --

It was a short procession,

The Bobolink was there --

An aged Bee addressed us --

And then we knelt in prayer --

We trust that she was willing --

We ask that we may be.

Summer -- Sister -- Seraph!

Let us go with thee!

 

In the name of the Bee --

And of the Butterfly --

And of the Breeze -- Amen!

 

 

 

19

 

A sepal, petal, and a thorn

Upon a common summer's morn --

A flask of Dew -- A Bee or two --

A Breeze -- a caper in the trees --

And I'm a Rose!

 

 

 

20

 

Distrustful of the Gentian --

And just to turn away,

The fluttering of her fringes

Child my perfidy --

Weary for my ----------

I will singing go --

I shall not feel the sleet -- then --

I shall not fear the snow.

 

Flees so the phantom meadow

Before the breathless Bee --

So bubble brooks in deserts

On Ears that dying lie --

Burn so the Evening Spires

To Eyes that Closing go --

Hangs so distant Heaven --

To a hand below.

 

 

 

21

 

We lose -- because we win --

Gamblers -- recollecting which

Toss their dice again!

 

 

 

22

 

All these my banners be.

I sow my pageantry

In May --

It rises train by train --

Then sleeps in state again --

My chancel -- all the plain

Today.

 

To lose -- if one can find again --

To miss -- if one shall meet --

The Burglar cannot rob -- then --

The Broker cannot cheat.

So build the hillocks gaily

Thou little spade of mine

Leaving nooks for Daisy

And for Columbine --

You and I the secret

Of the Crocus know --

Let us chant it softly --

"There is no more snow!"

 

To him who keeps an Orchis' heart --

The swamps are pink with June.

 

 

 

23

 

I had a guinea golden --

I lost it in the sand --

And tho' the sum was simple

And pounds were in the land --

Still, had it such a value

Unto my frugal eye --

That when I could not find it --

I sat me down to sigh.

 

I had a crimson Robin --

Who sang full many a day

But when the woods were painted,

He, too, did fly away --

 

Time brought me other Robins --

Their ballads were the same --

Still, for my missing Troubador

I kept the "house at hame."

 

I had a star in heaven --

One "Pleiad" was its name --

And when I was not heeding,

It wandered from the same.

And tho' the skies are crowded --

And all the night ashine --

I do not care about it --

Since none of them are mine.

 

My story has a moral --

I have a missing friend --

"Pleiad" its name, and Robin,

And guinea in the sand.

And when this mournful ditty

Accompanied with tear --

Shall meet the eye of traitor

In country far from here --

Grant that repentance solemn

May seize upon his mind --

And he no consolation

Beneath the sun may find.

 

 

 

24

 

There is a morn by men unseen --

Whose maids upon remoter green

Keep their Seraphic May --

And all day long, with dance and game,

And gambol I may never name --

Employ their holiday.

 

Here to light measure, move the feet

Which walk no more the village street --

Nor by the wood are found --

Here are the birds that sought the sun

When last year's distaff idle hung

And summer's brows were bound.

 

Ne'er saw I such a wondrous scene --

Ne'er such a ring on such a green --

Nor so serene array --

As if the stars some summer night

Should swing their cups of Chrysolite --

And revel till the day --

 

Like thee to dance -- like thee to sing --

People upon the mystic green --

I ask, each new May Morn.

I wait thy far, fantastic bells --

Unto the different dawn!

 

 

 

25

 

She slept beneath a tree --

Remembered but by me.

I touched her Cradle mute --

She recognized the foot --

Put on her suit

And see!

 

 

 

26

 

It's all I have to bring today --

This, and my heart beside --

This, and my heart, and all the fields --

And all the meadows wide --

Be sure you count -- should I forget

Some one the sum could tell --

This, and my heart, and all the Bees

Which in the Clover dwell.

 

 

 

27

 

Morns like these -- we parted --

Noons like these -- she rose --

Fluttering first -- then firmer

To her fair repose.

 

Never did she lisp it --

It was not for me --

She -- was mute from transport --

I -- from agony --

 

Till -- the evening nearing

One the curtains drew --

Quick! A Sharper rustling!

And this linnet flew!

 

 

 

28

 

So has a Daisy vanished

From the fields today --

So tiptoed many a slipper

To Paradise away --

 

Oozed so in crimson bubbles

Day's departing tide --

Blooming -- tripping -- flowing

Are ye then with God?

 

 

 

29

 

If those I loved were lost

The Crier's voice would tell me --

If those I loved were found

The bells of Ghent would ring --

 

Did those I loved repose

The Daisy would impel me.

Philip -- when bewildered

Bore his riddle in!

 

 

 

30

 

Adrift! A little boat adrift!

And night is coming down!

Will no one guide a little boat

Unto the nearest town?

 

So Sailors say -- on yesterday --

Just as the dusk was brown

One little boat gave up its strife

And gurgled down and down.

 

So angels say -- on yesterday --

Just as the dawn was red

One little boat -- o'erspent with gales --

Retrimmed its masts -- redecked its sails --

And shot -- exultant on!

 

 

 

31

 

Summer for thee, grant I may be

When Summer days are flown!

Thy music still, when Whipporwill

And Oriole -- are done!

 

For thee to bloom, I'll skip the tomb

And row my blossoms o'er!

Pray gather me --

Anemone --

Thy flower -- forevermore!

 

 

 

32

 

When Roses cease to bloom, Sir,

And Violets are done --

When Bumblebees in solemn flight

Have passed beyond the Sun --

The hand that paused to gather

Upon this Summer's day

Will idle lie -- in Auburn --

Then take my flowers -- pray!

 

 

 

33

 

If recollecting were forgetting,

Then I remember not.

And if forgetting, recollecting,

How near I had forgot.

And if to miss, were merry,

And to mourn, were gay,

How very blithe the fingers

That gathered this, Today!

 

 

 

34

 

Garland for Queens, may be --

Laurels -- for rare degree

Of soul or sword.

Ah -- but remembering me --

Ah -- but remembering thee --

Nature in chivalry --

Nature in charity --

Nature in equity --

This Rose ordained!

 

 

 

35

 

Nobody knows this little Rose --

It might a pilgrim be

Did I not take it from the ways

And lift it up to thee.

Only a Bee will miss it --

Only a Butterfly,

Hastening from far journey --

On its breast to lie --

Only a Bird will wonder --

Only a Breeze will sigh --

Ah Little Rose -- how easy

For such as thee to die!

 

 

 

36

 

Snow flakes.

 

I counted till they danced so

Their slippers leaped the town,

And then I took a pencil

To note the rebels down.

And then they grew so jolly

I did resign the prig,

And ten of my once stately toes

Are marshalled for a jig!

 

 

 

37

 

Before the ice is in the pools --

Before the skaters go,

Or any check at nightfall

Is tarnished by the snow --

 

Before the fields have finished,

Before the Christmas tree,

Wonder upon wonder

Will arrive to me!

 

What we touch the hems of

On a summer's day --

What is only walking

Just a bridge away --

 

That which sings so -- speaks so --

When there's no one here --

Will the frock I wept in

Answer me to wear?

 

 

 

38

 

By such and such an offering

To Mr. So and So,

The web of live woven --

So martyrs albums show!

 

 

 

39

 

It did not surprise me --

So I said -- or thought --

She will stir her pinions

And the nest forgot,

 

Traverse broader forests --

Build in gayer boughs,

Breathe in Ear more modern

God's old fashioned vows --

 

This was but a Birdling --

What and if it be

One within my bosom

Had departed me?

 

This was but a story --

What and if indeed

There were just such coffin

In the heart instead?

 

 

 

40

 

When I count the seeds

That are sown beneath,

To bloom so, bye and bye --

 

When I con the people

Lain so low,

To be received as high --

 

When I believe the garden

Mortal shall not see --

Pick by faith its blossom

And avoid its Bee,

I can spare this summer, unreluctantly.

 

 

 

41

 

I robbed the Woods --

The trusting Woods.

The unsuspecting Trees

Brought out their Burs and mosses

My fantasy to please.

I scanned their trinkets curious -- I grasped -- I bore away --

What will the solemn Hemlock --

What will the Oak tree say?

 

 

 

42

 

A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!

Your prayers, oh Passer by!

From such a common ball as this

Might date a Victory!

From marshallings as simple

The flags of nations swang.

Steady -- my soul: What issues

Upon thine arrow hang!

 

 

 

43

 

Could live -- did live --

Could die -- did die --

Could smile upon the whole

Through faith in one he met not,

To introduce his soul.

 

Could go from scene familiar

To an untraversed spot --

Could contemplate the journey

With unpuzzled heart --

 

Such trust had one among us,

Among us not today --

We who saw the launching

Never sailed the Bay!

 

 

 

44

 

If she had been the Mistletoe

And I had been the Rose --

How gay upon your table

My velvet life to close --

Since I am of the Druid,

And she is of the dew --

I'll deck Tradition's buttonhole --

And send the Rose to you.

 

 

 

45

 

There's something quieter than sleep

Within this inner room!

It wears a sprig upon its breast --

And will not tell its name.

 

Some touch it, and some kiss it --

Some chafe its idle hand --

It has a simple gravity

I do not understand!

 

I would not weep if I were they --

How rude in one to sob!

Might scare the quiet fairy

Back to her native wood!

 

While simple-hearted neighbors

Chat of the "Early dead" --

We -- prone to periphrasis

Remark that Birds have fled!

 

 

 

46

 

I keep my pledge.

I was not called --

Death did not notice me.

I bring my Rose.

I plight again,

By every sainted Bee --

By Daisy called from hillside --

by Bobolink from lane.

Blossom and I --

Her oath, and mine --

Will surely come again.

 

 

 

47

 

Heart! We will forget him!

You and I -- tonight!

You may forget the warmth he gave --

I will forget the light!

 

When you have done, pray tell me

That I may straight begin!

Haste! lest while you're lagging

I remember him!

 

 

 

48

 

Once more, my now bewildered Dove

Bestirs her puzzled wings

Once more her mistress, on the deep

Her troubled question flings --

 

Thrice to the floating casement

The Patriarch's bird returned,

Courage! My brave Columbia!

There may yet be land

 

 

 

49

 

I never lost as much but twice,

And that was in the sod.

Twice have I stood a beggar

Before the door of God!

 

Angels -- twice descending

Reimbursed my store --

Burglar! Banker -- Father!

I am poor once more!

 

 

 

50

 

I haven't told my garden yet --

Lest that should conquer me.

I haven't quite the strength now

To break it to the Bee --

 

I will not name it in the street

For shops would stare at me --

That one so shy -- so ignorant

Should have the face to die.

 

The hillsides must not know it --

Where I have rambled so --

Nor tell the loving forests

The day that I shall go --

 

Nor lisp it at the table --

Nor heedless by the way

Hint that within the Riddle

One will walk today --

 

 

 

51

 

I often passed the village

When going home from school --

And wondered what they did there --

And why it was so still --

 

I did not know the year then --

In which my call would come --

Earlier, by the Dial,

Than the rest have gone.

 

It's stiller than the sundown.

It's cooler than the dawn --

The Daisies dare to come here --

And birds can flutter down --

 

So when you are tired --

Or perplexed -- or cold --

Trust the loving promise

Underneath the mould,

Cry "it's I," "take Dollie,"

And I will enfold!

 

 

 

52

 

Whether my bark went down at sea --

Whether she met with gales --

Whether to isles enchanted

She bent her docile sails --

 

By what mystic mooring

She is held today --

This is the errand of the eye

Out upon the Bay.

 

 

 

53

 

Taken from men -- this morning --

Carried by men today --

Met by the Gods with banners --

Who marshalled her away --

 

One little maid -- from playmates --

One little mind from school --

There must be guests in Eden --

All the rooms are full --

 

Far -- as the East from Even --

Dim -- as the border star --

Courtiers quaint, in Kingdoms

Our departed are.

 

 

 

54

 

If I should die,

And you should live --

And time should gurgle on --

And morn should beam --

And noon should burn --

As it has usual done --

If Birds should build as early

And Bees as bustling go --

One might depart at option

From enterprise below!

'Tis sweet to know that stocks will stand

When we with Daisies lie --

That Commerce will continue --

And Trades as briskly fly --

It makes the parting tranquil

And keeps the soul serene --

That gentlemen so sprightly

Conduct the pleasing scene!

 

 

 

55

 

By Chivalries as tiny,

A Blossom, or a Book,

The seeds of smiles are planted --

Which blossom in the dark.

 

 

 

56

 

If I should cease to bring a Rose

Upon a festal day,

'Twill be because beyond the Rose

I have been called away --

 

If I should cease to take the names

My buds commemorate --

'Twill be because Death's finger

Claps my murmuring lip!

 

 

 

57

 

To venerate the simple days

Which lead the seasons by,

Needs but to remember

That from you or I,

They may take the trifle

Termed mortality!

 

 

 

58

 

Delayed till she had ceased to know --

Delayed till in its vest of snow

Her loving bosom lay --

An hour behind the fleeting breath --

Later by just an hour than Death --

Oh lagging Yesterday!

 

Could she have guessed that it would be --

Could but a crier of the joy

Have climbed the distant hill --

Had not the bliss so slow a pace

Who knows but this surrendered face

Were undefeated still?

 

Oh if there may departing be

Any forgot by Victory

In her imperial round --

Show them this meek appareled thing

That could not stop to be a king --

Doubtful if it be crowned!

 

 

 

59

 

A little East of Jordan,

Evangelists record,

A Gymnast and an Angel

Did wrestle long and hard --

 

Till morning touching mountain --

And Jacob, waxing strong,

The Angel begged permission

To Breakfast -- to return --

 

Not so, said cunning Jacob!

"I will not let thee go

Except thou bless me" -- Stranger!

The which acceded to --

 

Light swung the silver fleeces

"Peniel" Hills beyond,

And the bewildered Gymnast

Found he had worsted God!

 

 

 

60

 

Like her the Saints retire,

In their Chapeaux of fire,

Martial as she!

 

Like her the Evenings steal

Purple and Cochineal

After the Day!

 

"Departed" -- both -- they say!

i.e. gathered away,

Not found,

 

Argues the Aster still --

Reasons the Daffodil

Profound!

 

 

 

61

 

Papa above!

Regard a Mouse

O'erpowered by the Cat!

Reserve within thy kingdom

A "Mansion" for the Rat!

 

Snug in seraphic Cupboards

To nibble all the day

While unsuspecting Cycles

Wheel solemnly away!

 

 

 

62

 

"Sown in dishonor"!

Ah! Indeed!

May this "dishonor" be?

If I were half so fine myself

I'd notice nobody!

 

"Sown in corruption"!

Not so fast!

Apostle is askew!

Corinthians 1. 15. narrates

A Circumstance or two!

 

 

 

63

 

If pain for peace prepares

Lo, what "Augustan" years

Our feet await!

 

If springs from winter rise,

Can the Anemones

Be reckoned up?

 

If night stands fast -- then noon

To gird us for the sun,

What gaze!

 

When from a thousand skies

On our developed eyes

Noons blaze!

 

 

 

64

 

Some Rainbow -- coming from the Fair!

Some Vision of the World Cashmere --

I confidently see!

Or else a Peacock's purple Train

Feather by feather -- on the plain

Fritters itself away!

 

The dreamy Butterflies bestir!

Lethargic pools resume the whir

Of last year's sundered tune!

From some old Fortress on the sun

Baronial Bees -- march -- one by one --

In murmuring platoon!

 

The Robins stand as thick today

As flakes of snow stood yesterday --

On fence -- and Roof -- and Twig!

The Orchis binds her feather on

For her old lover - Don the Sun!

Revisiting the Bog!

 

Without Commander! Countless! Still!

The Regiments of Wood and Hill

In bright detachment stand!

Behold! Whose Multitudes are these?

The children of whose turbaned seas --

Or what Circassian Land?

 

 

 

65

 

I can't tell you -- but you feel it --

Nor can you tell me --

Saints, with ravished slate and pencil

Solve our April Day!

 

Sweeter than a vanished frolic

From a vanished green!

Swifter than the hoofs of Horsemen

Round a Ledge of dream!

 

Modest, let us walk among it

With our faces veiled --

As they say polite Archangels

Do in meeting God!

 

Not for me -- to prate about it!

Not for you -- to say

To some fashionable Lady

"Charming April Day"!

 

Rather -- Heaven's "Peter Parley"!

By which Children slow

To sublimer Recitation

Are prepared to go!

 

 

 

66

 

So from the mould

Scarlet and Gold

Many a Bulb will rise --

Hidden away, cunningly, From sagacious eyes.

 

So from Cocoon

Many a Worm

Leap so Highland gay,

Peasants like me,

Peasants like Thee

Gaze perplexedly!

 

 

 

67

 

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne'er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

 

Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear of Victory

 

As he defeated -- dying --

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Burst agonized and clear!

 

 

 

68

 

Ambition cannot find him.

Affection doesn't know

How many leagues of nowhere

Lie between them now.

 

Yesterday, undistinguished!

Eminent Today

For our mutual hone, Immortality!

 

 

 

69

 

Low at my problem bending,

Another problem comes --

Larger than mine -- Serener --

Involving statelier sums.

 

I check my busy pencil,

My figures file away.

Wherefore, my baffled fingers

They perplexity?

 

 

 

70

 

"Arcturus" is his other name --

I'd rather call him "Star."

It's very mean of Science

To go and interfere!

 

I slew a worm the other day --

A "Savant" passing by

Murmured "Resurgam" -- "Centipede"!

"Oh Lord -- how frail are we"!

 

I pull a flower from the woods --

A monster with a glass

Computes the stamens in a breath --

And has her in a "class"!

 

Whereas I took the Butterfly

Aforetime in my hat --

He sits erect in "Cabinets" --

The Clover bells forgot.

 

What once was "Heaven"

Is "Zenith" now --

Where I proposed to go

When Time's brief masquerade was done

Is mapped and charted too.

 

What if the poles should frisk about

And stand upon their heads!

I hope I'm ready for "the worst" --

Whatever prank betides!

 

Perhaps the "Kingdom of Heaven's" changed --

I hope the "Children" there Won't be "new fashioned" when I come --

And laugh at me -- and stare --

 

I hope the Father in the skies

Will lift his little girl --

Old fashioned -- naught -- everything --

Over the stile of "Pearl."

 

 

71

 

A throe upon the features --

A hurry in the breath --

An ecstasy of parting

Denominated "Death" --

 

An anguish at the mention

Which when to patience grown,

I've known permission given

To rejoin its own.

 

 

 

72

 

Glowing is her Bonnet,

Glowing is her Cheek,

Glowing is her Kirtle,

Yet she cannot speak.

 

Better as the Daisy

From the Summer hill

Vanish unrecorded

Save by tearful rill --

 

Save by loving sunrise

Looking for her face.

Save by feet unnumbered

Pausing at the place.

 

 

 

73

 

Who never lost, are unprepared

A Coronet to find!

Who never thirsted

Flagons, and Cooling Tamarind!

 

Who never climbed the weary league --

Can such a foot explore

The purple territories

On Pizarro's shore?

 

How many Legions overcome --

The Emperor will say?

How many Colors taken

On Revolution Day?

 

How many Bullets bearest?

Hast Thou the Royal scar?

Angels! Write "Promoted"

On this Soldier's brow!

 

 

 

74

 

A Lady red -- amid the Hill

Her annual secret keeps!

A Lady white, within the Field

In placid Lily sleeps!

 

The tidy Breezes, with their Brooms --

Sweep vale -- and hill -- and tree!

Prithee, My pretty Housewives!

Who may expected be?

 

The Neighbors do not yet suspect!

The Woods exchange a smile!

Orchard, and Buttercup, and Bird --

In such a little while!

 

And yet, how still the Landscape stands!

How nonchalant the Hedge!

As if the "Resurrection"

Were nothing very strange!

 

 

 

75

 

She died at play,

Gambolled away

Her lease of spotted hours,

Then sank as gaily as a Turn

Upon a Couch of flowers.

 

Her ghost strolled softly o'er the hill

Yesterday, and Today,

Her vestments as the silver fleece --

Her countenance as spray.

 

 

 

76

 

Exultation is the going

Of an inland soul to sea,

Past the houses -- past the headlands --

Into deep Eternity --

 

Bred as we, among the mountains,

Can the sailor understand

The divine intoxication

Of the first league out from land?

 

 

 

77

 

I never hear the word "escape"

Without a quicker blood,

A sudden expectation

A flying attitude!

 

I never hear of prisons broad

By soldiers battered down,

But I tug childish at my bars

Only to fail again!

 

 

 

78

 

A poor -- torn heart -- a tattered heart --

That sat it down to rest --

Nor noticed that the Ebbing Day

Flowed silver to the West --

Nor noticed Night did soft descend --

Nor Constellation burn --

Intent upon the vision

Of latitudes unknown.

 

The angels -- happening that way

This dusty heart espied --

Tenderly took it up from toil

And carried it to God --

There -- sandals for the Barefoot --

There -- gathered from the gales --

Do the blue havens by the hand

Lead the wandering Sails.

 

 

 

79

 

Going to Heaven!

I don't know when --

Pray do not ask me how!

Indeed I'm too astonished

To think of answering you!

Going to Heaven!

How dim it sounds!

And yet it will be done

As sure as flocks go home at night

Unto the Shepherd's arm!

 

Perhaps you're going too!

Who knows?

If you should get there first

Save just a little space for me

Close to the two I lost --

The smallest "Robe" will fit me

And just a bit of "Crown" --

For you know we do not mind our dress

When we are going home --

 

I'm glad I don't believe it

For it would stop my breath --

And I'd like to look a little more

At such a curious Earth!

I'm glad they did believe it

Whom I have never found

Since the might Autumn afternoon

I left them in the ground.

 

 

 

80

 

Our lives are Swiss --

So still -- so Cool --

Till some odd afternoon

The Alps neglect their Curtains

And we look farther on!

 

Italy stands the other side!

While like a guard between --

The solemn Alps --

The siren Alps

Forever intervene!

 

 

 

81

 

We should not mind so small a flower --

Except it quiet bring

Our little garden that we lost

Back to the Lawn again.

 

So spicy her Carnations nod --

So drunken, reel her Bees --

So silver steal a hundred flutes

From out a hundred trees --

 

That whoso sees this little flower

By faith may clear behold

The Bobolinks around the throne

And Dandelions gold.

 

 

 

82

 

Whose cheek is this?

What rosy face

Has lost a blush today?

I found her -- "pleiad" -- in the woods

And bore her safe away.

 

Robins, in the tradition

Did cover such with leaves,

But which the cheek --

And which the pall

My scrutiny deceives.

 

 

 

83

 

Heart, not so heavy as mine

Wending late home --

As it passed my window

Whistled itself a tune --

A careless snatch -- a ballad -- A ditty of the street --

Yet to my irritated Ear

An Anodyne so sweet --

It was as if a Bobolink

Sauntering this way

Carolled, and paused, and carolled --

Then bubbled slow away!

It was as if a chirping brook

Upon a dusty way --

Set bleeding feet to minuets

Without the knowing why!

Tomorrow, night will come again --

Perhaps, weary and sore --

Ah Bugle! By my window

I pray you pass once more.

 

 

 

84

 

Her breast is fit for pearls,

But I was not a "Diver" --

Her brow is fit for thrones

But I have not a crest.

Her heart is fit for home --

I -- a Sparrow -- build there

Sweet of twigs and twine

My perennial nest.

 

 

 

85

 

"They have not chosen me," he said,

"But I have chosen them!"

Brave -- Broken hearted statement --

Uttered in Bethlehem!

 

I could not have told it,

But since Jesus dared --

Sovereign! Know a Daisy

They dishonor shared!

 

 

 

86

 

South Winds jostle them --

Bumblebees come --

Hover -- hesitate --

Drink, and are gone --

 

Butterflies pause

On their passage Cashmere --

I -- softly plucking,

Present them here!

 

 

 

87

 

A darting fear -- a pomp -- a tear --

A waking on a morn

To find that what one waked for,

Inhales the different dawn.

 

 

 

88

 

As by the dead we love to sit,

Become so wondrous dear --

As for the lost we grapple

Tho' all the rest are here --

 

In broken mathematics

We estimate our prize

Vast -- in its fading ration

To our penurious eyes!

 

 

 

89

 

Some things that fly there be --

Birds -- Hours -- the Bumblebee --

Of these no Elegy.

 

Some things that stay there be --

Grief -- Hills -- Eternity --

Nor this behooveth me.

 

There are that resting, rise.

Can I expound the skies?

How still the Riddle lies!

 

 

 

90

 

Within my reach!

I could have touched!

I might have chanced that way!

Soft sauntered thro' the village --

Sauntered as soft away!

So unsuspected Violets

Within the meadows go --

Too late for striving fingers

That passed, an hour ago!

 

 

 

91

 

So bashful when I spied her!

So pretty -- so ashamed!

So hidden in her leaflets

Lest anybody find --

 

So breathless till I passed here --

So helpless when I turned

And bore her struggling, blushing,

Her simple haunts beyond!

 

For whom I robbed the Dingle --

For whom I betrayed the Dell --

Many, will doubtless ask me,

But I shall never tell!

 

 

 

92

 

My friend must be a Bird --

Because it flies!

Mortal, my friend must be,

Because it dies!

Barbs has it, like a Bee!

Ah, curious friend!

Thou puzzlest me!

 

 

 

93

 

Went up a year this evening!

I recollect it well!

Amid no bells nor bravoes

The bystanders will tell!

Cheerful -- as to the village --

Tranquil -- as to repose --

Chastened -- as to the Chapel

This humble Tourist rose!

Did not talk of returning!

Alluded to no time

When, were the gales propitious --

We might look for him!

Was grateful for the Roses

In life's diverse bouquet --

Talked softly of new species

To pick another day;

Beguiling thus the wonder

The wondrous nearer drew --

Hands bustled at the moorings --

The crown respectful grew --

Ascended from our vision

To Countenances new!

A Difference -- A Daisy --

Is all the rest I knew!

 

 

 

94

 

Angels, in the early morning

May be seen the Dews among,

Stooping -- plucking -- smiling -- flying --

Do the Buds to them belong?

 

Angels, when the sun is hottest

May be seen the sands among,

Stooping -- plucking -- sighing -- flying --

Parched the flowers they bear along.

 

 

 

95

 

My nosegays are for Captives --

Dim -- expectant eyes,

Fingers denied the plucking,

Patient till Paradise.

 

To such, if they should whisper

Of morning and the moor,

They bear no other errand,

And I, no other prayer.

 

 

 

96

 

Sexton! My Master's sleeping here.

Pray lead me to his bed!

I came to build the Bird's nest,

And sow the Early seed --

 

That when the snow creeps slowly

From off his chamber door --

Daisies point the way there --

And the Troubadour.

 

 

 

97

 

The rainbow never tells me

That gust and storm are by,

Yet is she more convincing

Than Philosophy.

 

My flowers turn from Forums --

Yet eloquent declare

What Cato couldn't prove me

Except the birds were here!

 

 

 

98

 

One dignity delays for all --

One mitred Afternoon --

None can avoid this purple --

None evade this Crown!

 

Coach, it insures, and footmen --

Chamber, and state, and throng --

Bells, also, in the village

As we ride grand along!

 

What dignified Attendants!

What service when we pause!

How loyally at parting

Their hundred hats they raise!

 

Her pomp surpassing ermine

When simple You, and I,

Present our meek escutheon

And claim the rank to die!

 

 

 

99

 

New feet within my garden go --

New fingers stir the sod --

A Troubadour upon the Elm

Betrays the solitude.

 

New children play upon the green --

New Weary sleep below --

And still the pensive Spring returns --

And still the punctual snow!

 

 

 

100

 

A science -- so the Savants say,

"Comparative Anatomy" --

By which a single bone --

Is made a secret to unfold

Of some rare tenant of the mold,

Else perished in the stone --

 

So to the eye prospective led,

This meekest flower of the mead

Upon a winter's day,

Stands representative in gold

Of Rose and Lily, manifold,

And countless Butterfly!

 

 

 

101

 

Will there really be a "Morning"?

Is there such a thing as "Day"?

Could I see it from the mountains

If I were as tall as they?

 

Has it feet like Water lilies?

Has it feathers like a Bird?

Is it brought from famous countries

Of which I have never heard?

 

Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!

Oh some Wise Men from the skies!

Please to tell a little Pilgrim

Where the place called "Morning" lies!

 

 

 

102

 

Great Caesar! Condescend

The Daisy, to receive,

Gathered by Cato's Daughter,

With your majestic leave!

 

 

 

103

 

I have a King, who does not speak --

So -- wondering -- thro' the hours meek

I trudge the day away --

Half glad when it is night, and sleep,

If, haply, thro' a dream, to peep

In parlors, shut by day.

 

And if I do -- when morning comes --

It is as if a hundred drums

Did round my pillow roll,

And shouts fill all my Childish sky,

And Bells keep saying "Victory"

From steeples in my soul!

 

And if I don't -- the little Bird

Within the Orchard, is not heard,

And I omit to pray

"Father, thy will be done" today

For my will goes the other way,

And it were perjury!

 

 

 

104

 

Where I have lost, I softer tread --

I sow sweet flower from garden bed --

I pause above that vanished head

And mourn.

 

Whom I have lost, I pious guard

From accent harsh, or ruthless word --

Feeling as if their pillow heard,

Though stone!

 

When I have lost, you'll know by this --

A Bonnet black -- A dusk surplice --

A little tremor in my voice Like this!

 

Why, I have lost, the people know

Who dressed in flocks of purest snow

Went home a century ago

Next Bliss!

 

 

 

105

 

To hang our head -- ostensibly --

And subsequent, to find

That such was not the posture

Of our immortal mind --

 

Affords the sly presumption

That in so dense a fuzz --

You -- too -- take Cobweb attitudes

Upon a plane of Gauze!

 

 

 

106

 

The Daisy follows soft the Sun --

And when his golden walk is done --

Sits shyly at his feet --

He -- waking -- finds the flower there --

Wherefore -- Marauder -- art thou here?

Because, Sir, love is sweet!

 

We are the Flower -- Thou the Sun!

Forgive us, if as days decline --

We nearer steal to Thee!

Enamored of the parting West --

The peace -- the flight -- the Amethyst --

Night's possibility!

 

 

 

107

 

'Twas such a little -- little boat That toddled down the bay!

'Twas such a gallant -- gallant sea

That beckoned it away!

 

'Twas such a greedy, greedy wave

That licked it from the Coast --

Nor ever guessed the stately sails

My little craft was lost!

 

 

 

108

 

Surgeons must be very careful

When they take the knife!

Underneath their fine incisions

Stirs the Culprit -- Life!

 

 

 

109

 

By a flower -- By a letter --

By a nimble love --

If I weld the Rivet faster --

Final fast -- above --

 

Never mind my breathless Anvil!

Never mind Repose!

Never mind the sooty faces

Tugging at the Forge!

 

 

 

110

 

Artists wrestled here!

Lo, a tint Cashmere!

Lo, a Rose!

Student of the Year!

For the easel here

Say Repose!

 

 

 

111

 

The Bee is not afraid of me.

I know the Butterfly.

The pretty people in the Woods

Receive me cordially --

 

The Brooks laugh louder when I come --

The Breezes madder play;

Wherefore mine eye thy silver mists,

Wherefore, Oh Summer's Day?

 

 

 

112

 

Where bells no more affright the morn --

Where scrabble never comes --

Where very nimble Gentlemen

Are forced to keep their rooms --

 

Where tired Children placid sleep

Thro' Centuries of noon

This place is Bliss -- this town is Heaven --

Please, Pater, pretty soon!

 

"Oh could we climb where Moses stood,

And view the Landscape o'er"

Not Father's bells -- nor Factories,

Could scare us any more!

 

 

 

113

 

Our share of night to bear --

Our share of morning --

Our blank in bliss to fill

Our blank in scorning --

 

Here a star, and there a star,

Some lose their way!

Here a mist, and there a mist,

Afterwards -- Day!

 

 

 

114

 

Good night, because we must,

How intricate the dust!

I would go, to know!

Oh incognito!

Saucy, Saucy Seraph

To elude me so!

Father! they won't tell me,

Won't you tell them to?

 

 

 

115

 

What Inn is this

Where for the night

Peculiar Traveller comes?

Who is the Landlord?

Where the maids?

Behold, what curious rooms!

No ruddy fires on the hearth --

No brimming Tankards flow --

Necromancer! Landlord!

Who are these below?

 

 

 

116

 

I had some things that I called mine --

And God, that he called his,

Till, recently a rival Claim

Disturbed these amities.

 

The property, my garden,

Which having sown with care,

He claims the pretty acre,

And sends a Bailiff there.

 

The station of the parties

Forbids publicity,

But Justice is sublimer

Than arms, or pedigree.

 

I'll institute an "Action" --

I'll vindicate the law --

Jove! Choose your counsel --

I retain "Shaw"!

 

 

 

117

 

In rags mysterious as these

The shining Courtiers go --

Veiling the purple, and the plumes --

Veiling the ermine so.

 

Smiling, as they request an alms --

At some imposing door!

Smiling when we walk barefoot

Upon their golden floor!

 

 

 

118

 

My friend attacks my friend!

Oh Battle picturesque!

Then I turn Soldier too,

And he turns Satirist!

How martial is this place!

Had I a mighty gun

I think I'd shoot the human race

And then to glory run!

 

 

 

119

 

Talk with prudence to a Beggar

Of "Potose," and the mines!

Reverently, to the Hungry

Of your viands, and your wines!

 

Cautious, hint to any Captive

You have passed enfranchised feet!

Anecdotes of air in Dungeons

Have sometimes proved deadly sweet!

 

 

 

120

 

If this is "fading"

Oh let me immediately "fade"!

If this is "dying"

Bury me, in such a shroud of red!

If this is "sleep,"

On such a night

How proud to shut the eye!

Good Evening, gentle Fellow men!

Peacock presumes to die!

 

 

 

121

 

As Watchers hang upon the East,

As Beggars revel at a feast

By savory Fancy spread --

As brooks in deserts babble sweet

On ear too far for the delight,

Heaven beguiles the tired.

 

As that same watcher, when the East

Opens the lid of Amethyst

And lets the morning go --

That Beggar, when an honored Guest,

Those thirsty lips to flagons pressed,

Heaven to us, if true.

 

 

 

122

 

A something in a summer's Day

As slow her flambeaux burn away

Which solemnizes me.

 

A something in a summer's noon --

A depth -- an Azure -- a perfume --

Transcending ecstasy.

 

And still within a summer's night

A something so transporting bright

I clap my hands to see --

 

Then veil my too inspecting face

Lets such a subtle -- shimmering grace

Flutter too far for me --

 

The wizard fingers never rest --

The purple brook within the breast

Still chafes it narrow bed --

 

Still rears the East her amber Flag --

Guides still the sun along the Crag

His Caravan of Red --

 

So looking on -- the night -- the morn

Conclude the wonder gay --

And I meet, coming thro' the dews

Another summer's Day!

 

 

 

123

 

Many cross the Rhine

In this cup of mine.

Sip old Frankfort air

From my brown Cigar.

 

 

 

124

 

In lands I never saw -- they say

Immortal Alps look down --

Whose Bonnets touch the firmament --

Whose Sandals touch the town --

 

Meek at whose everlasting feet

A Myriad Daisy play --

Which, Sir, are you and which am I

Upon an August day?

 

 

 

125

 

For each ecstatic instant

We must an anguish pay

In keen and quivering ration

To the ecstasy.

 

For each beloved hour

Sharp pittances of years --

Bitter contested farthings --

And Coffers heaped with Tears!

 

 

 

126

 

To fight aloud, is very brave --

But gallanter, I know

Who charge within the bosom

The Cavalry of Woe --

 

Who win, and nations do not see --

Who fall -- and none observe --

Whose dying eyes, no Country

Regards with patriot love --

 

We trust, in plumed procession

For such, the Angels go --

Rank after Rank, with even feet --

And Uniforms of Snow.

 

 

 

127

 

"Houses" -- so the Wise Men tell me --

"Mansions"! Mansions must be warm!

Mansions cannot let the tears in,

Mansions must exclude the storm!

 

"Many Mansions," by "his Father,"

I don't know him; snugly built!

Could the Children find the way there --

Some, would even trudge tonight!

 

 

 

128

 

Bring me the sunset in a cup,

Reckon the morning's flagons up

And say how many Dew,

Tell me how far the morning leaps --

Tell me what time the weaver sleeps

Who spun the breadth of blue!

 

Write me how many notes there be

In the new Robin's ecstasy

Among astonished boughs --

How many trips the Tortoise makes --

How many cups the Bee partakes,

The Debauchee of Dews!

 

Also, who laid the Rainbow's piers,

Also, who leads the docile spheres

By withes of supple blue?

Whose fingers string the stalactite --

Who counts the wampum of the night

To see that none is due?

 

Who built this little Alban House

And shut the windows down so close

My spirit cannot see?

Who'll let me out some gala day

With implements to fly away,

Passing Pomposity?

 

 

 

129

 

Cocoon above! Cocoon below!

Stealthy Cocoon, why hide you so

What all the world suspect?

An hour, and gay on every tree

Your secret, perched in ecstasy

Defies imprisonment!

 

An hour in Chrysalis to pass,

Then gay above receding grass

A Butterfly to go!

A moment to interrogate,

Then wiser than a "Surrogate,"

The Universe to know!

 

 

 

130

 

These are the days when Birds come back --

A very few -- a Bird or two --

To take a backward look.

 

These are the days when skies resume

The old -- old sophistries of June --

A blue and gold mistake.

 

Oh fraud that cannot cheat the Bee --

Almost thy plausibility

Induces my belief.

 

Till ranks of seeds their witness bear --

And softly thro' the altered air

Hurries a timid leaf.

 

Oh Sacrament of summer days,

Oh Last Communion in the Haze --

Permit a child to join.

 

Thy sacred emblems to partake --

They consecrated bread to take

And thine immortal wine!

 

 

 

131

 

Besides the Autumn poets sing

A few prosaic days

A little this side of the snow

And that side of the Haze --

 

A few incisive Mornings --

A few Ascetic Eves --

Gone -- Mr. Bryant's "Golden Rod" --

And Mr. Thomson's "sheaves."

 

Still, is the bustle in the Brook --

Sealed are the spicy valves --

Mesmeric fingers softly touch

The Eyes of many Elves --

 

Perhaps a squirrel may remain --

My sentiments to share --

Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind --

Thy windy will to bear!

 

 

 

132

 

I bring an unaccustomed wine

To lips long parching

Next to mine,

And summon them to drink;

 

Crackling with fever, they Essay,

I turn my brimming eyes away,

And come next hour to look.

 

The hands still hug the tardy glass --

The lips I would have cooled, alas --

Are so superfluous Cold --

 

I would as soon attempt to warm

The bosoms where the frost has lain

Ages beneath the mould --

 

Some other thirsty there may be

To whom this would have pointed me

Had it remained to speak --

 

And so I always bear the cup

If, haply, mine may be the drop

Some pilgrim thirst to slake --

 

If, haply, any say to me

"Unto the little, unto me,"

When I at last awake.

 

 

 

133

 

As Children bid the Guest "Good Night"

And then reluctant turn --

My flowers raise their pretty lips --

Then put their nightgowns on.

 

As children caper when they wake

Merry that it is Morn --

My flowers from a hundred cribs

Will peep, and prance again.

 

 

 

134

 

Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower,

But I could never sell --

If you would like to borrow,

Until the Daffodil

 

Unties her yellow Bonnet

Beneath the village door,

Until the Bees, from Clover rows

Their Hock, and Sherry, draw,

 

Why, I will lend until just then,

But not an hour more!

 

 

 

135

 

Water, is taught by thirst.

Land -- by the Oceans passed.

Transport -- by throe --

Peace -- by its battles told --

Love, by Memorial Mold --

Birds, by the Snow.

 

 

 

136

 

Have you got a Brook in your little heart,

Where bashful flowers blow,

And blushing birds go down to drink,

And shadows tremble so --

 

And nobody knows, so still it flows,

That any brook is there,

And yet your little draught of life

Is daily drunken there --

 

Why, look out for the little brook in March,

When the rivers overflow,

And the snows come hurrying from the fills,

And the bridges often go --

 

And later, in August it may be --

When the meadows parching lie,

Beware, lest this little brook of life,

Some burning noon go dry!

 

 

 

137

 

Flowers -- Well -- if anybody

Can the ecstasy define --

Half a transport -- half a trouble --

With which flowers humble men:

Anybody find the fountain

From which floods so contra flow --

I will give him all the Daisies

Which upon the hillside blow.

 

Too much pathos in their faces

For a simple breast like mine --

Butterflies from St. Domingo

Cruising round the purple line --

Have a system of aesthetics --

Far superior to mine.

 

 

 

138

 

Pigmy seraphs -- gone astray --

Velvet people from Vevay --

Balles from some lost summer day --

Bees exclusive Coterie --

Paris could not lay the fold

Belted down with Emerald --

Venice could not show a check

Of a tint so lustrous meek --

Never such an Ambuscade

As of briar and leaf displayed

For my little damask maid --

 

I had rather wear her grace

Than an Earl's distinguished face --

I had rather dwell like her

Than be "Duke of Exeter" --

Royalty enough for me

To subdue the Bumblebee.

 

 

 

139

 

Soul, Wilt thou toss again?

By just such a hazard

Hundreds have lost indeed --

But tens have won an all --

 

Angel's breathless ballot

Lingers to record thee --

Imps in eager Caucus

Raffle for my Soul!

 

 

 

140

 

An altered look about the hills --

A Tyrian light the village fills --

A wider sunrise in the morn --

A deeper twilight on the lawn --

A print of a vermillion foot --

A purple finger on the slope --

A flippant fly upon the pane --

A spider at his trade again --

An added strut in Chanticleer --

A flower expected everywhere --

An axe shrill singing in the woods --

Fern odors on untravelled roads --

All this and more I cannot tell --

A furtive look you know as well --

And Nicodemus' Mystery

Receives its annual reply!

 

 

 

141

 

Some, too fragile for winter winds

The thoughtful grave encloses --

Tenderly tucking them in from frost

Before their feet are cold.

 

Never the treasures in her nest

The cautious grave exposes,

Building where schoolboy dare not look,

And sportsman is not bold.

 

This covert have all the children

Early aged, and often cold,

Sparrow, unnoticed by the Father --

Lambs for whom time had not a fold.

 

 

 

142

 

Whose are the little beds, I asked

Which in the valleys lie?

Some shook their heads, and others smiled --

And no one made reply.

 

Perhaps they did not hear, I said,

I will inquire again --

Whose are the beds -- the tiny beds

So thick upon the plain?

 

'Tis Daisy, in the shortest --

A little further on --

Nearest the door -- to wake the Ist --

Little Leontoden.

 

'Tis Iris, Sir, and Aster --

Anemone, and Bell --

Bartsia, in the blanket red --

And chubby Daffodil.

 

Meanwhile, at many cradles

Her busy foot she plied --

Humming the quaintest lullaby

That ever rocked a child.

 

Hush! Epigea wakens!

The Crocus stirs her lids --

Rhodora's cheek is crimson,

She's dreaming of the woods!

 

Then turning from them reverent --

Their bedtime 'tis, she said --

The Bumble bees will wake them

When April woods are red.

 

 

 

143

 

For every Bird a Nest --

Wherefore in timid quest

Some little Wren goes seeking round --

 

Wherefore when boughs are free --

Households in every tree --

Pilgrim be found?

 

Perhaps a home too high --

Ah Aristocracy!

The little Wren desires --

 

Perhaps of twig so fine --

Of twine e'en superfine,

Her pride aspires --

 

The Lark is not ashamed

To build upon the ground

Her modest house --

 

Yet who of all the throng

Dancing around the sun

Does so rejoice?

 

 

 

144

 

She bore it till the simple veins

Traced azure on her hand --

Til pleading, round her quiet eyes

The purple Crayons stand.

 

Till Daffodils had come and gone

I cannot tell the sum,

And then she ceased to bear it --

And with the Saints sat down.

 

No more her patient figure

At twilight soft to meet --

No more her timid bonnet

Upon the village street --

 

But Crowns instead, and Courtiers --

And in the midst so fair,

Whose but her shy -- immortal face

Of whom we're whispering here?

 

 

 

145

 

This heart that broke so long --

These feet that never flagged --

This faith that watched for star in vain,

Give gently to the dead --

 

Hound cannot overtake the Hare

That fluttered panting, here --

Nor any schoolboy rob the nest

Tenderness builded there.

 

 

 

146

 

On such a night, or such a night,

Would anybody care

If such a little figure

Slipped quiet from its chair --

 

So quiet -- Oh how quiet,

That nobody might know

But that the little figure

Rocked softer -- to and fro --

 

On such a dawn, or such a dawn --

Would anybody sigh

That such a little figure

Too sound asleep did lie

 

For Chanticleer to wake it --

Or stirring house below --

Or giddy bird in orchard --

Or early task to do?

 

There was a little figure plump

For every little knoll --

Busy needles, and spools of thread --

And trudging feet from school --

 

Playmates, and holidays, and nuts --

And visions vast and small --

Strange that the feet so precious charged

Should reach so small a goal!

 

 

 

147

 

Bless God, he went as soldiers,

His musket on his breast --

Grant God, he charge the bravest

Of all the martial blest!

 

Please God, might I behold him

In epauletted white --

I should not fear the foe then --

I should not fear the fight!

 

 

 

148

 

All overgrown by cunning moss,

All interspersed with weed,

The little cage of "Currer Bell"

In quiet "Haworth" laid.

 

Gathered from many wanderings --

Gethsemane can tell

Thro' what transporting anguish

She reached the Asphodel!

 

Soft falls the sounds of Eden

Upon her puzzled ear --

Oh what an afternoon for Heaven,

When "Bronte" entered there!

 

 

 

149

 

She went as quiet as the Dew

From an Accustomed flower.

Not like the Dew, did she return

At the Accustomed hour!

 

She dropt as softly as a star

From out my summer's Eve --

Less skillful than Le Verriere

It's sorer to believe!

 

 

 

150

 

She died -- this was the way she died.

And when her breath was done

Took up her simple wardrobe

And started for the sun.

Her little figure at the gate

The Angels must have spied,

Since I could never find her

Upon the mortal side.

 

 

 

151

 

Mute thy Coronation --

Meek my Vive le roi,

Fold a tiny courtier

In thine Ermine, Sir,

There to rest revering

Till the pageant by,

I can murmur broken,

Master, It was I --

 

 

 

152

 

The Sun kept stooping -- stooping -- low!

The Hills to meet him rose!

On his side, what Transaction!

On their side, what Repose!

 

Deeper and deeper grew the stain

Upon the window pane --

Thicker and thicker stood the feet

Until the Tyrian

 

Was crowded dense with Armies --

So gay, so Brigadier --

That I felt martial stirrings

Who once the Cockade wore --

 

Charged from my chimney corner --

But Nobody was there!

 

 

 

153

 

Dust is the only Secret --

Death, the only One

You cannot find out all about

In his "native town."

 

Nobody know "his Father" --

Never was a Boy --

Hadn't any playmates,

Or "Early history" --

 

Industrious! Laconic!

Punctual! Sedate!

Bold as a Brigand!

Stiller than a Fleet!

 

Builds, like a Bird, too!

Christ robs the Nest --

Robin after Robin

Smuggled to Rest!

 

 

 

154

 

Except to Heaven, she is nought.

Except for Angels -- lone.

Except to some wide-wandering Bee

A flower superfluous blown.

 

Except for winds -- provincial.

Except by Butterflies

Unnoticed as a single dew

That on the Acre lies.

 

The smallest Housewife in the grass,

Yet take her from the Lawn

And somebody has lost the face

That made Existence -- Home!

 

 

 

155

 

The Murmur of a Bee

A Witchcraft -- yieldeth me --

If any ask me why --

'Twere easier to die --

Than tell --

 

The Red upon the Hill

Taketh away my will --

If anybody sneer --

Take care -- for God is here --

That's all.

 

The Breaking of the Day

Addeth to my Degree --

If any ask me how --

Artist -- who drew me so --

Must tell!

 

 

 

156

 

You love me -- you are sure --

I shall not fear mistake --

I shall not cheated wake --

Some grinning morn --

To find the Sunrise left --

And Orchards -- unbereft --

And Dollie -- gone!

 

I need not start -- you're sure --

That night will never be --

When frightened -- home to Thee I run --

To find the windows dark --

And no more Dollie -- mark --

Quite none?

 

Be sure you're sure -- you know --

I'll bear it better now --

If you'll just tell me so --

Than when -- a little dull Balm grown --

Over this pain of mine --

You sting -- again!

 

 

 

157

 

Musicians wrestle everywhere --

All day -- among the crowded air

I hear the silver strife --

And -- walking -- long before the morn --

Such transport breaks upon the town

I think it that "New Life"!

 

If is not Bird -- it has no nest --

Nor "Band" -- in brass and scarlet -- drest --

Nor Tamborin -- nor Man --

It is not Hymn from pulpit read --

The "Morning Stars" the Treble led

On Time's first Afternoon!

 

Some -- say -- it is "the Spheres" -- at play!

Some say that bright Majority

Of vanished Dames -- and Men!

Some -- think it service in the place

Where we -- with late -- celestial face --

Please God -- shall Ascertain!

 

 

 

158

 

Dying! Dying in the night!

Won't somebody bring the light

So I can see which way to go

Into the everlasting snow?

 

And "Jesus"! Where is Jesus gone?

They said that Jesus -- always came --

Perhaps he doesn't know the House --

This way, Jesus, Let him pass!

 

Somebody run to the great gate

And see if Dollie's coming! Wait!

I hear her feet upon the stair!

Death won't hurt -- now Dollie's here!

 

 

 

159

 

A little bread -- a crust -- a crumb --

A little trust -- a demijohn --

Can keep the soul alive --

Not portly, mind! but breathing -- warm --

Conscious -- as old Napoleon,

The night before the Crown!

 

A modest lot -- A fame petite --

A brief Campaign of sting and sweet

Is plenty! Is enough!

A Sailor's business is the shore!

A Soldier's -- balls! Who asketh more,

Must seek the neighboring life!

 

 

 

160

 

Just lost, when I was saved!

Just felt the world go by!

Just girt me for the onset with Eternity,

When breath blew back,

And on the other side

I heard recede the disappointed tide!

 

Therefore, as One returned, I feel

Odd secrets of the line to tell!

Some Sailor, skirting foreign shores --

Some pale Reporter, from the awful doors

Before the Seal!

 

Next time, to stay!

Next time, the things to see

By Ear unheard,

Unscrutinized by Eye --

 

Next time, to tarry,

While the Ages steal --

Slow tramp the Centuries,

And the Cycles wheel!

 

 

 

161

 

A feather from the Whippoorwill

That everlasting -- sings!

Whose galleries -- are Sunrise --

Whose Opera -- the Springs --

Whose Emerald Nest the Ages spin

Of mellow -- murmuring thread --

Whose Beryl Egg, what Schoolboys hunt

In "Recess" -- Overhead!

 

 

 

162

 

My River runs to thee --

Blue Sea! Wilt welcome me?

My River wait reply --

Oh Sea -- look graciously --

I'll fetch thee Brooks

From spotted nooks --

Say -- Sea -- Take Me!

 

 

 

163

 

Tho' my destiny be Fustian --

Hers be damask fine --

Tho' she wear a silver apron --

I, a less divine --

 

Still, my little Gypsy being

I would far prefer,

Still, my little sunburnt bosom

To her Rosier,

 

For, when Frosts, their punctual fingers

On her forehead lay,

You and I, and Dr. Holland,

Bloom Eternally!

 

Roses of a steadfast summer

In a steadfast land,

Where no Autumn lifts her pencil --

And no Reapers stand!

 

 

 

164

 

Mama never forgets her birds,

Though in another tree --

She looks down just as often

And just as tenderly

As when her little mortal nest

With cunning care she wove --

If either of her "sparrows fall,"

She "notices," above.

 

 

 

165

 

A Wounded Deer -- leaps highest --

I've heard the Hunter tell --

'Tis but the Ecstasy of death --

And then the Brake is still!

 

The Smitten Rock that gushes!

The trampled Steel that springs!

A Cheek is always redder

Just where the Hectic stings!

 

Mirth is the Mail of Anguish

In which it Cautious Arm,

Lest anybody spy the blood

And "you're hurt" exclaim!

 

 

 

166

 

I met a King this afternoon!

He had not on a Crown indeed,

A little Palmleaf Hat was all,

And he was barefoot, I'm afraid!

 

But sure I am he Ermine wore

Beneath his faded Jacket's blue --

And sure I am, the crest he bore

Within that Jacket's pocket too!

 

For 'twas too stately for an Earl --

A Marquis would not go so grand!

'Twas possibly a Czar petite --

A Pope, or something of that kind!

 

If I must tell you, of a Horse

My freckled Monarch held the rein --

Doubtless an estimable Beast,

But not at all disposed to run!

 

And such a wagon! While I live

Dare I presume to see

Another such a vehicle

As then transported me!

 

Two other ragged Princes

His royal state partook!

Doubtless the first excursion

These sovereigns ever took!

 

I question if the Royal Coach

Round which the Footmen wait

Has the significance, on high,

Of this Barefoot Estate!

 

 

 

167

 

To learn the Transport by the Pain

As Blind Men learn the sun!

To die of thirst -- suspecting

That Brooks in Meadows run!

 

To stay the homesick -- homesick feet

Upon a foreign shore --

Haunted by native lands, the while --

And blue -- beloved air!

 

This is the Sovereign Anguish!

This -- the signal woe!

These are the patient "Laureates"

Whose voices -- trained -- below --

 

Ascend in ceaseless Carol --

Inaudible, indeed,

To us -- the duller scholars

Of the Mysterious Bard!

 

 

 

168

 

If the foolish, call them "flowers" --

Need the wiser, tell?

If the Savants "Classify" them

It is just as well!

 

Those who read the "Revelations"

Must not criticize

Those who read the same Edition --

With beclouded Eyes!

 

Could we stand with that Old "Moses" --

"Canaan" denied --

Scan like him, the stately landscape

On the other side --

 

Doubtless, we should deem superfluous

Many Sciences,

Not pursued by learned Angels

In scholastic skies!

 

Low amid that glad Belles lettres

Grant that we may stand,

Stars, amid profound Galaxies --

At that grand "Right hand"!

 

 

 

169

 

In Ebon Box, when years have flown

To reverently peer,

Wiping away the velvet dust

Summers have sprinkled there!

 

To hold a letter to the light --

Grown Tawny now, with time --

To con the faded syllables

That quickened us like Wine!

 

Perhaps a Flower's shrivelled check

Among its stores to find --

Plucked far away, some morning --

By gallant -- mouldering hand!

 

A curl, perhaps, from foreheads

Our Constancy forgot --

Perhaps, an Antique trinket --

In vanished fashions set!

 

And then to lay them quiet back --

And go about its care --

As if the little Ebon Box

Were none of our affair!

 

 

 

170

 

Portraits are to daily faces

As an Evening West,

To a fine, pedantic sunshine --

In a satin Vest!

 

 

 

171

 

Wait till the Majesty of Death

Invests so mean a brow!

Almost a powdered Footman

Might dare to touch it now!

 

Wait till in Everlasting Robes

That Democrat is dressed,

Then prate about "Preferment" --

And "Station," and the rest!

 

Around this quiet Courtier

Obsequious Angels wait!

Full royal is his Retinue!

Full purple is his state!

 

A Lord, might dare to lift the Hat

To such a Modest Clay

Since that My Lord, "the Lord of Lords"

Receives unblushingly!

 

 

 

172

 

'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy!

If I should fail, what poverty!

And yet, as poor as I,

Have ventured all upon a throw!

Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so --

This side the Victory!

 

Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!

Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!

And if indeed I fail,

At least, to know the worst, is sweet!

Defeat means nothing but Defeat,

No drearier, can befall!

 

And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea!

Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be!

At first, repeat it slow!

For Heaven is a different thing,

Conjectured, and waked sudden in --

And might extinguish me!

 

 

 

173

 

A fuzzy fellow, without feet,

Yet doth exceeding run!

Of velvet, is his Countenance,

And his Complexion, dun!

 

Sometime, he dwelleth in the grass!

Sometime, upon a bough,

From which he doth descend in plush

Upon the Passer-by!

 

All this in summer.

But when winds alarm the Forest Folk,

He taketh Damask Residence --

And struts in sewing silk!

 

Then, finer than a Lady,

Emerges in the spring!

A Feather on each shoulder!

You'd scarce recognize him!

 

By Men, yclept Caterpillar!

By me! But who am I,

To tell the pretty secret

Of the Butterfly!

 

 

 

174

 

At last, to be identified!

At last, the lamps upon thy side

The rest of Life to see!

 

Past Midnight! Past the Morning Star!

Past Sunrise!

Ah, What leagues there were

Between our feet, and Day!

 

 

 

175

 

I have never seen "Volcanoes" --

But, when Travellers tell

How those old -- phlegmatic mountains

Usually so still --

 

Bear within -- appalling Ordnance,

Fire, and smoke, and gun,

Taking Villages for breakfast,

And appalling Men --

 

If the stillness is Volcanic

In the human face

When upon a pain Titanic

Features keep their place --

 

If at length the smouldering anguish

Will not overcome --

And the palpitating Vineyard

In the dust, be thrown?

 

If some loving Antiquary,

On Resumption Morn,

Will not cry with joy "Pompeii"!

To the Hills return!

 

 

 

176

 

I'm the little "Heart's Ease"!

I don't care for pouting skies!

If the Butterfly delay

Can I, therefore, stay away?

 

If the Coward Bumble Bee

In his chimney corner stay,

I, must resoluter be!

Who'll apologize for me?

 

Dear, Old fashioned, little flower!

Eden is old fashioned, too!

Birds are antiquated fellows!

Heaven does not change her blue.

Nor will I, the little Heart's Ease --

Ever be induced to do!

 

 

 

177

 

Ah, Necromancy Sweet!

Ah, Wizard erudite!

Teach me the skill,

 

That I instil the pain

Surgeons assuage in vain,

Nor Herb of all the plain

Can Heal!

 

 

 

178

 

I cautious, scanned my little life --

I winnowed what would fade

From what would last till Heads like mine

Should be a-dreaming laid.

 

I put the latter in a Barn --

The former, blew away.

I went one winter morning

And lo - my priceless Hay

 

Was not upon the "Scaffold" --

Was not upon the "Beam" --

And from a thriving Farmer --

A Cynic, I became.

 

Whether a Thief did it --

Whether it was the wind --

Whether Deity's guiltless --

My business is, to find!

 

So I begin to ransack!

How is it Hearts, with Thee?

Art thou within the little Barn

Love provided Thee?

 

 

 

179

 

If I could bribe them by a Rose

I'd bring them every flower that grows

From Amherst to Cashmere!

I would not stop for night, or storm --

Or frost, or death, or anyone --

My business were so dear!

 

If they would linger for a Bird

My Tambourin were soonest heard

Among the April Woods!

Unwearied, all the summer long,

Only to break in wilder song

When Winter shook the boughs!

 

What if they hear me!

Who shall say

That such an importunity

May not at last avail?

 

That, weary of this Beggar's face --

They may not finally say, Yes --

To drive her from the Hall?

 

 

 

180

 

As if some little Arctic flower

Upon the polar hem --

Went wandering down the Latitudes

Until it puzzled came

To continents of summer --

To firmaments of sun --

To strange, bright crowds of flowers --

And birds, of foreign tongue!

I say, As if this little flower

To Eden, wandered in --

What then? Why nothing,

Only, your inference therefrom!

 

 

 

181

 

I lost a World - the other day!

Has Anybody found?

You'll know it by the Row of Stars

Around its forehead bound.

 

A Rich man -- might not notice it --

Yet -- to my frugal Eye,

Of more Esteem than Ducats --

Oh find it -- Sir -- for me!

 

 

 

182

 

If I shouldn't be alive

When the Robins come,

Give the one in Red Cravat,

A Memorial crumb.

 

If I couldn't thank you,

Being fast asleep,

You will know I'm trying

Why my Granite lip!

 

 

 

183

 

I've heard an Organ talk, sometimes

In a Cathedral Aisle,

And understood no word it said --

Yet held my breath, the while --

 

And risen up -- and gone away,

A more Berdardine Girl --

Yet -- know not what was done to me

In that old Chapel Aisle.

 

 

 

184

 

A transport one cannot contain

May yet a transport be --

Though God forbid it lift the lid --

Unto its Ecstasy!

 

A Diagram -- of Rapture!

A sixpence at a Show --

With Holy Ghosts in Cages!

The Universe would go!

 

 

 

185

 

"Faith" is a fine invention

When Gentlemen can see --

But Microscopes are prudent

In an Emergency.

 

 

 

186

 

What shall I do -- it whimpers so --

This little Hound within the Heart

All day and night with bark and start --

And yet, it will not go --

Would you untie it, were you me --

Would it stop whining -- if to Thee --

I sent it -- even now?

 

It should not tease you --

By your chair -- or, on the mat --

Or if it dare -- to climb your dizzy knee --

Or -- sometimes at your side to run --

When you were willing --

Shall it come?

Tell Carlo --

He'll tell me!

 

 

 

187

 

How many times these low feet staggered --

Only the soldered mouth can tell --

Try -- can you stir the awful rivet --

Try -- can you lift the hasps of steel!

 

Stroke the cool forehead -- hot so often --

Lift -- if you care -- the listless hair --

Handle the adamantine fingers

Never a thimble -- more -- shall wear --

 

Buzz the dull flies -- on the chamber window --

Brave -- shines the sun through the freckled pane --

Fearless -- the cobweb swings from the ceiling --

Indolent Housewife -- in Daisies -- lain!

 

 

 

188

 

Make me a picture of the sun --

So I can hang it in my room --

And make believe I'm getting warm

When others call it "Day"!

 

Draw me a Robin -- on a stem --

So I am hearing him, I'll dream,

And when the Orchards stop their tune --

Put my pretense -- away --

 

Say if it's really -- warm at noon --

Whether it's Buttercups -- that "skim" --

Or Butterflies -- that "bloom"?

Then -- skip -- the frost -- upon the lea --

And skip the Russet -- on the tree --

Let's play those -- never come!

 

 

 

189

 

It's such a little thing to weep --

So short a thing to sigh --

And yet -- by Trades -- the size of these

We men and women die!

 

 

 

190

 

He was weak, and I was strong -- then --

So He let me lead him in --

I was weak, and He was strong then --

So I let him lead me -- Home.

 

'Twasn't far -- the door was near --

'Twasn't dark -- for He went -- too --

'Twasn't loud, for He said nought --

That was all I cared to know.

 

Day knocked -- and we must part --

Neither -- was strongest -- now --

He strove -- and I strove -- too --

We didn't do it -- tho'!

 

 

 

191

 

The Skies can't keep their secret!

They tell it to the Hills --

The Hills just tell the Orchards --

And they -- the Daffodils!

 

A Bird -- by chance -- that goes that way --

Soft overhears the whole --

If I should bribe the little Bird --

Who knows but she would tell?

 

I think I won't -- however --

It's finer -- not to know --

If Summer were an Axiom --

What sorcery had Snow?

 

So keep your secret -- Father!

I would not -- if I could,

Know what the Sapphire Fellows, do,

In your new-fashioned world!

 

 

 

192

 

Poor little Heart!

Did they forget thee?

Then dinna care! Then dinna care!

 

Proud little Heart!

Did they forsake thee?

Be debonnaire! Be debonnaire!

 

Frail little Heart!

I would not break thee --

Could'st credit me? Could'st credit me?

 

Gay little Heart --

Like Morning Glory!

Wind and Sun -- wilt thee array!

 

 

 

193

 

I shall know why -- when Time is over --

And I have ceased to wonder why --

Christ will explain each separate anguish

In the fair schoolroom of the sky --

 

He will tell me what "Peter" promised --

And I -- for wonder at his woe --

I shall forget the drop of Anguish

That scalds me now -- that scalds me now!

 

 

 

194

 

On this long storm the Rainbow rose --

On this late Morn -- the Sun --

The clouds -- like listless Elephants --

Horizons -- straggled down --

 

The Birds rose smiling, in their nests --

The gales -- indeed -- were done --

Alas, how heedless were the eyes --

On whom the summer shone!

 

The quiet nonchalance of death --

No Daybreak -- can bestir --

The slow -- Archangel's syllables

Must awaken her!

 

 

 

195

 

For this -- accepted Breath --

Through it -- compete with Death --

The fellow cannot touch this Crown --

By it -- my title take --

Ah, what a royal sake

To my necessity -- stooped down!

 

No Wilderness -- can be

Where this attendeth me --

No Desert Noon --

No fear of frost to come

Haunt the perennial bloom --

But Certain June!

 

Get Gabriel -- to tell -- the royal syllable --

Get Saints -- with new -- unsteady tongue --

To say what trance below

Most like their glory show --

Fittest the Crown!

 

 

 

196

 

We don't cry -- Tim and I,

We are far too grand --

But we bolt the door tight

To prevent a friend --

 

Then we hide our brave face

Deep in our hand --

Not to cry -- Tim and I --

We are far too grand --

 

Nor to dream -- he and me --

Do we condescend --

We just shut our brown eye

To see to the end --

 

Tim -- see Cottages --

But, Oh, so high!

Then -- we shake -- Tim and I --

And lest I -- cry --

 

Tim -- reads a little Hymn --

And we both pray --

Please, Sir, I and Tim --

Always lost the way!

 

We must die -- by and by --

Clergymen say --

Tim -- shall -- if I -- do --

I -- too -- if he --

 

How shall we arrange it --

Tim -- was -- so -- shy?

Take us simultaneous -- Lord --

I -- "Tim" -- and Me!

 

 

 

197

 

Morning -- is the place for Dew --

Corn -- is made at Noon --

After dinner light -- for flowers --

Dukes -- for Setting Sun!

 

 

 

198

 

An awful Tempest mashed the air --

The clouds were gaunt, and few --

A Black -- as of a Spectre's Cloak

Hid Heaven and Earth from view.

 

The creatures chuckled on the Roofs --

And whistled in the air --

And shook their fists --

And gnashed their teeth --

And swung their frenzied hair.

 

The morning lit -- the Birds arose --

The Monster's faded eyes

Turned slowly to his native coast --

And peace -- was Paradise!

 

 

 

199

 

I'm "wife" -- I've finished that --

That other state --

I'm Czar -- I'm "Woman" now --

It's safer so --

 

How odd the Girl's life looks

Behind this soft Eclipse --

I think that Earth feels so

To folks in Heaven -- now --

 

This being comfort -- then

That other kind -- was pain --

But why compare?

I'm "Wife"! Stop there!

 

 

 

200

 

I stole them from a Bee --

Because -- Thee --

Sweet plea --

He pardoned me!

 

 

 

201

 

Two swimmers wrestled on the spar --

Until the morning sun --

When One -- turned smiling to the land --

Oh God! the Other One!

 

The stray ships -- passing --

Spied a face --

Upon the waters borne --

With eyes in death -- still begging raised --

And hands -- beseeching -- thrown!

 

 

 

202

 

My Eye is fuller than my vase --

Her Cargo -- is of Dew --

And still -- my Heart -- my Eye outweighs --

East India -- for you!

 

 

 

203

 

He forgot -- and I -- remembered --

'Twas an everyday affair --

Long ago as Christ and Peter --

"Warmed them" at the "Temple fire."

 

"Thou wert with him" -- quoth "the Damsel"?

"No" -- said Peter, 'twasn't me --

Jesus merely "looked" at Peter --

Could I do aught else -- to Thee?

 

 

 

204

 

A slash of Blue --

A sweep of Gray --

Some scarlet patches on the way,

Compose an Evening Sky --

A little purple -- slipped between --

Some Ruby Trousers hurried on --

A Wave of Gold --

A Bank of Day --

This just makes out the Morning Sky.

 

 

 

205

 

I should not dare to leave my friend,

Because -- because if he should die

While I was gone -- and I -- too late --

Should reach the Heart that wanted me --

 

If I should disappoint the eyes

That hunted -- hunted so -- to see --

And could not bear to shut until

They "noticed" me -- they noticed me --

 

If I should stab the patient faith

So sure I'd come -- so sure I'd come --

It listening -- listening -- went to sleep --

Telling my tardy name --

 

My Heart would wish it broke before --

Since breaking then -- since breaking then --

Were useless as next morning's sun --

Where midnight frosts -- had lain!

 

 

 

206

 

The Flower must not blame the Bee --

That seeketh his felicity

Too often at her door --

 

But teach the Footman from Vevay --

Mistress is "not at home" -- to say --

To people -- any more!

 

 

 

207

 

Tho' I get home how late -- how late --

So I get home - 'twill compensate --

Better will be the Ecstasy

That they have done expecting me --

When Night -- descending -- dumb -- and dark --

They hear my unexpected knock --

Transporting must the moment be --

Brewed from decades of Agony!

 

To think just how the fire will burn --

Just how long-cheated eyes will turn --

To wonder what myself will say,

And what itself, will say to me --

Beguiles the Centuries of way!

 

 

 

208

 

The Rose did caper on her cheek --

Her Bodice rose and fell --

Her pretty speech -- like drunken men --

Did stagger pitiful --

 

Her fingers fumbled at her work --

Her needle would not go --

What ailed so smart a little Maid --

It puzzled me to know --

 

Till opposite -- I spied a cheek

That bore another Rose --

Just opposite -- Another speech

That like the Drunkard goes --

 

A Vest that like her Bodice, danced --

To the immortal tune --

Till those two troubled -- little Clocks

Ticked softly into one.

 

 

 

209

 

With thee, in the Desert --

With thee in the thirst --

With thee in the Tamarind wood --

Leopard breathes -- at last!

 

 

 

210

 

The thought beneath so slight a film --

Is more distinctly seen --

As laces just reveal the surge --

Or mists -- the Apennine

 

 

 

211

 

Come slowly -- Eden!

Lips unused to Thee --

Bashful -- sip thy Jessamines --

As the fainting Bee --

 

Reaching late his flower,

Round her chamber hums --

Counts his nectars --

Enters -- and is lost in Balms.

 

 

 

212

 

Least Rivers -- docile to some sea.

My Caspian -- thee.

 

 

 

213

 

Did the Harebell loose her girdle

To the lover Bee

Would the Bee the Harebell hallow

Much as formerly?

 

Did the "Paradise" -- persuaded --

Yield her moat of pearl --

Would the Eden be an Eden,

Or the Earl -- an Earl?

 

 

 

214

 

I taste a liquor never brewed --

From Tankards scooped in Pearl --

Not all the Vats upon the Rhine

Yield such an Alcohol!

 

Inebriate of Air -- am I --

And Debauchee of Dew --

Reeling -- thro endless summer days --

From inns of Molten Blue --

 

When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee

Out of the Foxglove's door --

When Butterflies -- renounce their "drams" --

I shall but drink the more!

 

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats --

And Saints -- to windows run --

To see the little Tippler

Leaning against the -- Sun --

 

 

 

215

 

What is -- "Paradise" --

Who live there --

Are they "Farmers" --

Do they "hoe" --

Do they know that this is "Amherst" --

And that I -- am coming -- too --

 

Do they wear "new shoes" -- in "Eden" --

Is it always pleasant -- there --

Won't they scold us -- when we're homesick --

Or tell God -- how cross we are --

 

You are sure there's such a person

As "a Father" -- in the sky --

So if I get lost -- there -- ever --

Or do what the Nurse calls "die" --

I shan't walk the "Jasper" -- barefoot --

Ransomed folks -- won't laugh at me --

Maybe -- "Eden" a'n't so lonesome

As New England used to be!

 

 

 

216

 

Safe in their Alabaster Chambers --

Untouched my Morning

And untouched by Noon --

Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection --

Rafter of satin,

And Roof of stone.

 

Light laughs the breeze

In her Castle above them --

Babbles the Bee in a stolid Ear,

Pipe the Sweet Birds in ignorant cadence --

Ah, what sagacity perished here!

 

 

 

217

 

Savior! I've no one else to tell --

And so I trouble thee.

I am the one forgot thee so --

Dost thou remember me?

Nor, for myself, I came so far --

That were the little load --

I brought thee the imperial Heart

I had not strength to hold --

The Heart I carried in my own --

Till mine too heavy grew --

Yet -- strangest -- heavier since it went --

Is it too large for you?

 

 

 

218

 

Is it true, dear Sue?

Are there two?

I shouldn't like to come

For fear of joggling Him!

If I could shut him up

In a Coffee Cup,

Or tie him to a pin

Till I got in --

Or make him fast

To "Toby's" fist --

Hist! Whist! I'd come!

 

 

 

219

 

She sweeps with many-colored Brooms --

And leaves the Shreds behind --

Oh Housewife in the Evening West --

Come back, and dust the Pond!

 

You dropped a Purple Ravelling in --

You dropped an Amber thread --

And how you've littered all the East

With duds of Emerald!

 

And still, she plies her spotted Brooms,

And still the Aprons fly,

Till Brooms fade softly into stars --

And then I come away --

 

 

 

220

 

Could I -- then -- shut the door --

Lest my beseeching face -- at last --

Rejected -- be -- of Her?

 

 

 

221

 

It can't be "Summer"!

That -- got through!

It's early -- yet -- for "Spring"!

There's that long town of White -- to cross --

Before the Blackbirds sing!

It can't be "Dying"!

It's too Rouge --

The Dead shall go in White --

So Sunset shuts my question down

With Cuffs of Chrysolite!

 

 

 

222

 

When Katie walks, this simple pair accompany her side,

When Katie runs unwearied they follow on the road,

When Katie kneels, their loving hands still clasp her pious knee --

Ah! Katie! Smile at Fortune, with two so knit to thee!

 

 

 

223

 

I Came to buy a smile -- today --

But just a single smile --

The smallest one upon your face

Will suit me just as well --

The one that no one else would miss

It shone so very small --

I'm pleading at the "counter" -- sir --

Could you afford to sell --

I've Diamonds -- on my fingers --

You know what Diamonds are?

I've Rubies -- live the Evening Blood --

And Topaz -- like the star!

'Twould be "a Bargain" for a Jew!

Say -- may I have it -- Sir?

 

 

 

224

 

I've nothing else -- to bring, You know --

So I keep bringing These --

Just as the Night keeps fetching Stars

To our familiar eyes --

 

Maybe, we shouldn't mind them --

Unless they didn't come --

Then -- maybe, it would puzzle us

To find our way Home --

 

 

 

225

 

Jesus! thy Crucifix

Enable thee to guess

The smaller size!

 

Jesus! thy second face

Mind thee in Paradise

Of ours!

 

 

 

226

 

Should you but fail at -- Sea --

In sight of me --

Or doomed lie --

Next Sun -- to die --

Or rap -- at Paradise -- unheard

I'd harass God

Until he let you in!

 

 

 

227

 

Teach Him -- When He makes the names --

Such an one -- to say --

On his babbling -- Berry -- lips --

As should sound -- to me --

Were my Ear -- as near his nest --

As my thought -- today --

As should sound --

"Forbid us not" --

Some like "Emily."

 

 

 

228

 

Blazing in Gold and quenching in Purple

Leaping like Leopards to the Sky

Then at the feet of the old Horizon

Laying her spotted Face to die

Stooping as low as the Otter's Window

Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn

Kissing her Bonnet to the Meadow

And the Juggler of Day is gone

 

 

 

229

 

A Burdock -- clawed my Gown --

Not Burdock's -- blame --

But mine --

Who went too near

The Burdock's Den --

 

A Bog -- affronts my shoe --

What else have Bogs -- to do --

The only Trade they know --

The splashing Men!

Ah, pity -- then!

 

'Tis Minnows can despise!

The Elephant's -- calm eyes

Look further on!

 

 

 

230

 

We -- Bee and I -- live by the quaffing --

'Tisn't all Hock -- with us --

Life has its Ale --

But it's many a lay of the Dim Burgundy --

We chant -- for cheer -- when the Wines -- fail --

 

Do we "get drunk"?

Ask the jolly Clovers!

Do we "beat" our "Wife"?

I -- never wed --

Bee -- pledges his -- in minute flagons --

Dainty -- as the trees -- on our deft Head --

 

While runs the Rhine --

He and I -- revel --

First -- at the vat -- and latest at the Vine --

Noon -- our last Cup --

"Found dead" -- "of Nectar" --

By a humming Coroner --

In a By-Thyme!

 

 

 

231

 

God permits industrious Angels --

Afternoons -- to play --

I met one -- forgot my Schoolmates --

All -- for Him -- straightway --

God calls home -- the Angels -- promptly --

At the Setting Sun --

I missed mine -- how dreary -- Marbles --

After playing Crown!

 

 

 

232

 

The Sun -- just touched the Morning --

The Morning -- Happy thing --

Supposed that He had come to dwell --

And Life would all be Spring!

 

She felt herself supremer --

A Raised -- Ethereal Thing!

Henceforth -- for Her -- What Holiday!

Meanwhile -- Her wheeling King --

Trailed -- slow -- along the Orchards --

His haughty -- spangled Hems --

Leaving a new necessity!

The want of Diadems!

 

The Morning -- fluttered -- staggered --

Felt feebly -- for Her Crown --

Her unanointed forehead --

Henceforth -- Her only One!

 

 

 

233

 

The Lamp burns sure -- within --

Tho' Serfs -- supply the Oil --

It matters not the busy Wick --

At her phosphoric toil!

 

The Slave -- forgets -- to fill --

The Lamp -- burns golden -- on --

Unconscious that the oil is out --

As that the Slave -- is gone.

 

 

 

234

 

You're right -- "the way is narrow" --

And "difficult the Gate" --

And "few there be" -- Correct again --

That "enter in -- thereat" --

 

'Tis Costly -- So are purples!

'Tis just the price of Breath --

With but the "Discount" of the Grave --

Termed by the Brokers -- "Death"!

 

And after that -- there's Heaven --

The Good Man's -- "Dividend" --

And Bad Men -- "go to Jail" --

I guess --

 

 

 

235

 

The Court is far away --

No Umpire -- have I --

My Sovereign is offended --

To gain his grace -- I'd die!

 

I'll seek his royal feet --

I'll say -- Remember -- King --

Thou shalt -- thyself -- one day -- a Child --

Implore a larger -- thing --

 

That Empire -- is of Czars --

As small -- they say -- as I --

Grant me -- that day -- the royalty --

To intercede -- for Thee --

 

 

 

236

 

If He dissolve -- then -- there is nothing -- more --

Eclipse -- at Midnight --

It was dark -- before --

Sunset -- at Easter --

Blindness -- on the Dawn --

Faint Star of Bethlehem --

Gone down!

 

Would but some God -- inform Him --

Or it be too late!

Say -- that the pulse just lisps --

The Chariots wait --

 

Say -- that a little life -- for His --

Is leaking -- red --

His little Spaniel -- tell Him!

Will He heed?

 

 

 

237

 

I think just how my shape will rise --

When I shall be "forgiven" --

Till Hair -- and Eyes -- and timid Head --

Are out of sight -- in Heaven --

 

I think just how my lips will weigh --

With shapeless -- quivering -- prayer --

That you -- so late -- "Consider" me --

The "Sparrow" of your Care --

 

I mind me that of Anguish -- sent --

Some drifts were moved away --

Before my simple bosom -- broke --

And why not this -- if they?

 

And so I con that thing -- "forgiven" --

Until -- delirious -- borne --

By my long bright -- and longer -- trust --

I drop my Heart -- unshriven!

 

 

 

238

 

Kill your Balm -- and its Odors bless you --

Bare your Jessamine -- to the storm --

And she will fling her maddest perfume --

Haply -- your Summer night to Charm --

 

Stab the Bird -- that built in your bosom --

Oh, could you catch her last Refrain --

Bubble! "forgive" -- "Some better" -- Bubble!

"Carol for Him -- when I am gone"!

 

 

 

239

 

"Heaven" -- is what I cannot reach!

The Apple on the Tree --

Provided it do hopeless -- hang --

That -- "Heaven" is -- to Me!

 

The Color, on the Cruising Cloud --

The interdicted Land --

Behind the Hill -- the House behind --

There -- Paradise -- is found!

 

Her teasing Purples -- Afternoons --

The credulous -- decoy --

Enamored -- of the Conjuror --

That spurned us -- Yesterday!

 

 

 

240

 

Ah, Moon -- and Star!

You are very far --

But were no one

Farther than you --

Do you think I'd stop

For a Firmament --

Or a Cubit -- or so?

 

I could borrow a Bonnet

Of the Lark --

And a Chamois' Silver Boot --

And a stirrup of an Antelope --

And be with you -- Tonight!

 

But, Moon, and Star,

Though you're very far --

There is one -- farther than you --

He -- is more than a firmament -- from Me --

So I can never go!

 

 

 

241

 

I like a look of Agony,

Because I know it's true --

Men do not sham Convulsion,

Nor simulate, a Throe --

 

The Eyes glaze once -- and that is Death --

Impossible to feign

The Beads upon the Forehead

By homely Anguish strung.

 

 

 

242

 

When we stand on the tops of Things --

And like the Trees, look down --

The smoke all cleared away from it --

And Mirrors on the scene --

 

Just laying light -- no soul will wink

Except it have the flaw --

The Sound ones, like the Hills -- shall stand --

No Lighting, scares away --

 

The Perfect, nowhere be afraid --

They bear their dauntless Heads,

Where others, dare not go at Noon,

Protected by their deeds --

 

The Stars dare shine occasionally

Upon a spotted World --

And Suns, go surer, for their Proof,

As if an Axle, held --

 

 

 

243

 

I've known a Heaven, like a Tent --

To wrap its shining Yards --

Pluck up its stakes, and disappear --

Without the sound of Boards

Or Rip of Nail -- Or Carpenter --

But just the miles of Stare --

That signalize a Show's Retreat --

In North America --

 

No Trace -- no Figment of the Thing

That dazzled, Yesterday,

No Ring -- no Marvel --

Men, and Feats --

Dissolved as utterly --

As Bird's far Navigation

Discloses just a Hue --

A plash of Oars, a Gaiety --

Then swallowed up, of View.

 

 

 

244

 

It is easy to work when the soul is at play --

But when the soul is in pain --

The hearing him put his playthings up

Makes work difficult -- then --

 

It is simple, to ache in the Bone, or the Rind --

But Gimlets -- among the nerve --

Mangle daintier -- terribler --

Like a Panter in the Glove --

 

 

 

245

 

I held a Jewel in my fingers --

And went to sleep --

The day was warm, and winds were prosy --

I said "'Twill keep" --

 

I woke -- and chid my honest fingers,

The Gem was gone --

And now, an Amethyst remembrance

Is all I own --

 

 

 

246

 

Forever at His side to walk --

The smaller of the two!

Brain of His Brain --

Blood of His Blood --

Two lives -- One Being -- now --

 

Forever of His fate to taste --

If grief -- the largest part --

If joy -- to put my piece away

For that beloved Heart --

 

All life -- to know each other --

Whom we can never learn --

And bye and bye -- a Change --

Called Heaven --

Rapt Neighborhoods of Men --

Just finding out -- what puzzled us --

Without the lexicon!

 

 

 

247

 

What would I give to see his face?

I'd give -- I'd give my life -- of course --

But that is not enough!

Stop just a minute -- let me think!

I'd give my biggest Bobolink!

That makes two -- Him -- and Life!

You know who "June" is --

I'd give her --

Roses a day from Zanzibar --

And Lily tubes -- like Wells --

Bees -- by the furlong --

Straits of Blue

Navies of Butterflies -- sailed thro' --

And dappled Cowslip Dells --

 

Then I have "shares" in Primrose "Banks" --

Daffodil Dowries -- spicy "Stocks" --

Dominions -- broad as Dew --

Bags of Doublons -- adventurous Bees

Brought me -- from firmamental seas --

And Purple -- from Peru --

 

Now -- have I bought it --

"Shylock"? Say!

Sign me the Bond!

"I vow to pay

To Her -- who pledges this --

One hour -- of her Sovereign's face"!

Ecstatic Contract!

Niggard Grace!

My Kingdom's worth of Bliss!

 

 

 

248

 

Why -- do they shut Me out of Heaven?

Did I sing -- too loud?

But -- I can say a little "Minor"

Timid as a Bird!

 

Wouldn't the Angels try me --

Just -- once -- more --

Just -- see -- if I troubled them --

But don't -- shut the door!

 

Oh, if I -- were the Gentleman

In the "White Robe" --

And they -- were the little Hand -- that knocked --

Could -- I -- forbid?

 

 

 

249

 

Wild Nights -- Wild Nights!

Were I with thee

Wild Nights should be

Our luxury!

 

Futile -- the Winds --

To a Heart in port --

Done with the Compass --

Done with the Chart!

 

Rowing in Eden --

Ah, the Sea!

Might I but moor -- Tonight --

In Thee!

 

 

 

250

 

I shall keep singing!

Birds will pass me

On their way to Yellower Climes --

Each -- with a Robin's expectation --

I -- with my Redbreast --

And my Rhymes --

 

Late -- when I take my place in summer --

But -- I shall bring a fuller tune --

Vespers -- are sweeter than Matins -- Signor --

Morning -- only the seed of Noon --

 

 

 

251

 

Over the fence --

Strawberries -- grow --

Over the fence --

I could climb -- if I tried, I know --

Berries are nice!

 

But -- if I stained my Apron --

God would certainly scold!

Oh, dear, -- I guess if He were a Boy --

He'd -- climb -- if He could!

 

 

 

252

 

I can wade Grief --

Whole Pools of it --

I'm used to that --

But the least push of Joy

Breaks up my feet --

And I tip -- drunken --

Let no Pebble -- smile --

'Twas the New Liquor --

That was all!

 

Power is only Pain --

Stranded, thro' Discipline,

Till Weights -- will hang --

Give Balm -- to Giants --

And they'll wilt, like Men --

Give Himmaleh --

They'll Carry -- Him!

 

 

 

253

 

You see I cannot see -- your lifetime --

I must guess --

How many times it ache for me -- today -- Confess --

How many times for my far sake

The brave eyes film --

But I guess guessing hurts --

Mine -- got so dim!

 

Too vague -- the face --

My own -- so patient -- covers --

Too far -- the strength --

My timidness enfolds --

Haunting the Heart --

Like her translated faces --

Teasing the want --

It -- only -- can suffice!

 

 

 

254

 

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --

That perches in the soul --

And sings the tune without the words --

And never stops -- at all --

 

And sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --

And sore must be the storm --

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm --

 

I've heard it in the chillest land --

And on the strangest Sea --

Yet, never, in Extremity,

It asked a crumb -- of Me.

 

 

 

255

 

To die -- takes just a little while --

They say it doesn't hurt --

It's only fainter -- by degrees --

And then -- it's out of sight --

 

A darker Ribbon -- for a Day --

A Crape upon the Hat --

And then the pretty sunshine comes --

And helps us to forget --

 

The absent -- mystic -- creature --

That but for love of us --

Had gone to sleep -- that soundest time --

Without the weariness --

 

 

 

256

 

If I'm lost -- now

That I was found --

Shall still my transport be --

That once -- on me -- those Jasper Gates

Blazed open -- suddenly --

 

That in my awkward -- gazing -- face --

The Angels -- softly peered --

And touched me with their fleeces,

Almost as if they cared --

I'm banished -- now -- you know it --

How foreign that can be --

You'll know -- Sir -- when the Savior's face

Turns so -- away from you --

 

 

 

257

 

Delight is as the flight --

Or in the Ratio of it,

As the Schools would say --

The Rainbow's way --

A Skein

Flung colored, after Rain,

Would suit as bright,

Except that flight

Were Aliment --

 

"If it would last"

I asked the East,

When that Bent Stripe

Struck up my childish

Firmament --

And I, for glee,

Took Rainbows, as the common way,

And empty Skies

The Eccentricity --

 

And so with Lives --

And so with Butterflies --

Seen magic -- through the fright

That they will cheat the sight --

And Dower latitudes far on --

Some sudden morn --

Our portion -- in the fashion --

Done --

 

 

 

258

 

There's a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons --

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes --

 

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us --

We can find no scar,

But internal difference,

Where the Meanings, are --

 

None may teach it -- Any --

'Tis the Seal Despair --

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air --

 

When it comes, the Landscape listens --

Shadows -- hold their breath --

When it goes, 'tis like the Distance

On the look of Death --

 

 

 

259

 

Good Night! Which put the Candle out?

A jealous Zephyr -- not a doubt --

Ah, friend, you little knew

How long at that celestial wick

The Angels -- labored diligent --

Extinguished -- now -- for you!

 

It might -- have been the Light House spark --

Some Sailor -- rowing in the Dark --

Had importuned to see!

It might -- have been the waning lamp

That lit the Drummer from the Camp

To purer Reveille!

 

 

 

260

 

Read -- Sweet -- how others -- strove --

Till we -- are stouter --

What they -- renounced --

Till we -- are less afraid --

How many times they -- bore the faithful witness --

Till we -- are helped --

As if a Kingdom -- cared!

 

Read then -- of faith --

That shone above the fagot --

Clear strains of Hymn

The River could not drown --

Brave names of Men --

And Celestial Women --

Passed out -- of Record

Into -- Renown!

 

 

 

261

 

Put up my lute!

What of -- my Music!

Since the sole ear I cared to charm --

Passive -- as Granite -- laps My Music --

Sobbing -- will suit -- as well as psalm!

 

Would but the "Memnon" of the Desert --

Teach me the strain

That vanquished Him --

When He -- surrendered to the Sunrise --

Maybe -- that -- would awaken -- them!

 

 

 

262

 

The lonesome for they know not What --

The Eastern Exiles -- be --

Who strayed beyond the Amber line

Some madder Holiday --

 

And ever since -- the purple Moat

They strive to climb -- in vain --

As Birds -- that tumble from the clouds

Do fumble at the strain --

 

The Blessed Ether -- taught them --

Some Transatlantic Morn --

When Heaven -- was too common -- to miss --

Too sure -- to dote upon!

 

 

 

263

 

A single Screw of Flesh

Is all that pins the Soul

That stands for Deity, to Mine,

Upon my side the Veil --

 

Once witnessed of the Gauze --

Its name is put away

As far from mine, as if no plight

Had printed yesterday,

 

In tender -- solemn Alphabet,

My eyes just turned to see,

When it was smuggled by my sight

Into Eternity --

 

More Hands -- to hold -- These are but Two --

One more new-mailed Nerve

Just granted, for the Peril's sake --

Some striding -- Giant -- Love --

 

So greater than the Gods can show,

They slink before the Clay,

That not for all their Heaven can boast

Will let its Keepsake -- go

 

 

 

264

 

A Weight with Needles on the pounds --

To push, and pierce, besides --

That if the Flesh resist the Heft --

The puncture -- coolly tries --

 

That not a pore be overlooked

Of all this Compound Frame --

As manifold for Anguish --

As Species -- be -- for name --

 

 

 

265

 

Where Ships of Purple -- gently toss --

On Seas of Daffodil --

Fantastic Sailors -- mingle --

And then -- the Wharf is still!

 

 

 

266

 

This -- is the land -- the Sunset washes --

These -- are the Banks of the Yellow Sea --

Where it rose -- or whither it rushes --

These -- are the Western Mystery!

 

Night after Night

Her purple traffic

Strews the landing with Opal Bales --

Merchantmen -- poise upon Horizons --

Dip -- and vanish like Orioles!

 

 

 

267

 

Did we disobey Him?

Just one time!

Charged us to forget Him --

But we couldn't learn!

 

Were Himself -- such a Dunce --

What would we -- do?

Love the dull lad -- best --

Oh, wouldn't you?

 

 

 

268

 

Me, change! Me, alter!

Then I will, when on the Everlasting Hill

A Smaller Purple grows --

At sunset, or a lesser glow

Flickers upon Cordillera --

At Day's superior close!

 

 

 

269

 

Bound -- a trouble --

And lives can bear it!

Limit -- how deep a bleeding go!

So -- many -- drops -- of vital scarlet --

Deal with the soul

As with Algebra!

 

Tell it the Ages -- to a cypher --

And it will ache -- contented -- on --

Sing -- at its pain -- as any Workman --

Notching the fall of the Even Sun!

 

 

 

270

 

One Life of so much Consequence!

Yet I -- for it -- would pay --

My Soul's entire income --

In ceaseless -- salary --

 

One Pearl -- to me -- so signal --

That I would instant dive --

Although -- I knew -- to take it --

Would cost me -- just a life!

 

The Sea is full -- I know it!

That -- does not blur my Gem!

It burns -- distinct from all the row --

Intact -- in Diadem!

 

The life is thick -- I know it!

Yet -- not so dense a crowd --

But Monarchs -- are perceptible --

Far down the dustiest Road!

 

 

 

271

 

A solemn thing -- it was -- I said --

A woman -- white -- to be --

And wear -- if God should count me fit --

Her blameless mystery --

 

A hallowed thing -- to drop a life

Into the purple well --

Too plummetless -- that it return --

Eternity -- until --

 

I pondered how the bliss would look --

And would it feel as big --

When I could take it in my hand --

As hovering -- seen -- through fog --

 

And then -- the size of this "small" life --

The Sages -- call it small --

Swelled -- like Horizons -- in my vest --

And I sneered -- softly -- "small"!

 

 

 

272

 

I breathed enough to take the Trick --

And now, removed from Air --

I simulate the Breath, so well --

That One, to be quite sure --

 

The Lungs are stirless -- must descend

Among the Cunning Cells --

And touch the Pantomine -- Himself,

How numb, the Bellows feels!

 

 

 

273

 

He put the Belt around my life

I heard the Buckle snap --

And turned away, imperial,

My Lifetime folding up --

Deliberate, as a Duke would do

A Kingdom's Title Deed --

Henceforth, a Dedicated sort --

A Member of the Cloud.

 

Yet not too far to come at call --

And do the little Toils

That make the Circuit of the Rest --

And deal occasional smiles

To lives that stoop to notice mine --

And kindly ask it in --

Whose invitation, know you not

For Whom I must decline?

 

 

 

274

 

The only Ghost I ever saw

Was dressed in Mechlin -- so --

He wore no sandal on his foot --

And stepped like flakes of snow --

 

His Gait -- was soundless, like the Bird --

But rapid -- like the Roe --

His fashions, quaint, Mosaic --

Or haply, Mistletoe --

 

His conversation -- seldom --

His laughter, like the Breeze --

That dies away in Dimples

Among the pensive Trees --

 

Our interview -- was transient --

Of me, himself was shy --

And God forbid I look behind --

Since that appalling Day!

 

 

 

275

 

Doubt Me! My Dim Companion!

Why, God, would be content

With but a fraction of the Life --

Poured thee, without a stint --

The whole of me -- forever --

What more the Woman can,

Say quick, that I may dower thee

With last Delight I own!

 

It cannot be my Spirit --

For that was thine, before --

I ceded all of Dust I knew --

What Opulence the more

Had I -- a freckled Maiden,

Whose farthest of Degree,

Was -- that she might --

Some distant Heaven,

Dwell timidly, with thee!

 

Sift her, from Brow to Barefoot!

Strain till your last Surmise --

Drop, like a Tapestry, away,

Before the Fire's Eyes --

Winnow her finest fondness --

But hallow just the snow

Intact, in Everlasting flake --

Oh, Caviler, for you!

 

 

 

276

 

Many a phrase has the English language --

I have heard but one --

Low as the laughter of the Cricket,

Loud, as the Thunder's Tongue --

 

Murmuring, like old Caspian Choirs,

When the Tide's a' lull --

Saying itself in new infection --

Like a Whippoorwill --

 

Breaking in bright Orthography

On my simple sleep --

Thundering its Prospective --

Till I stir, and weep --

 

Not for the Sorrow, done me --

But the push of Joy --

Say it again, Saxton!

Hush -- Only to me!

 

 

 

277

 

What if I say I shall not wait!

What if I burst the fleshly Gate --

And pass escaped -- to thee!

 

What if I file this Mortal -- off --

See where it hurt me -- That's enough --

And wade in Liberty!

 

They cannot take me -- any more!

Dungeons can call -- and Guns implore

Unmeaning -- now -- to me --

 

As laughter -- was -- an hour ago --

Or Laces -- or a Travelling Show --

Or who died -- yesterday!

 

 

 

278

 

A shady friend -- for Torrid days --

Is easier to find --

Than one of higher temperature

For Frigid -- hour of Mind --

 

The Vane a little to the East --

Scares Muslin souls -- away --

If Broadcloth Hearts are firmer --

Than those of Organdy --

 

Who is to blame? The Weaver?

Ah, the bewildering thread!

The Tapestries of Paradise

So notelessly -- are made!

 

 

 

279

 

Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,

Then, I am ready to go!

Just a look at the Horses --

Rapid! That will do!

 

Put me in on the firmest side --

So I shall never fall --

For we must ride to the Judgment --

And it's partly, down Hill --

 

But never I mind the steeper --

And never I mind the Sea --

Held fast in Everlasting Race --

By my own Choice, and Thee --

 

Goodbye to the Life I used to live --

And the World I used to know --

And kiss the Hills, for me, just once --

Then -- I am ready to go!

 

 

 

280

 

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,

And Mourners to and fro

Kept treading -- treading -- till it seemed

That Sense was breaking through --

 

And when they all were seated,

A Service, like a Drum --

Kept beating -- beating -- till I thought

My Mind was going numb --

 

And then I heard them lift a Box

And creak across my Soul

With those same Boots of Lead, again,

Then Space -- began to toll,

 

As all the Heavens were a Bell,

And Being, but an Ear,

And I, and Silence, some strange Race

Wrecked, solitary, here --

 

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,

And I dropped down, and down --

And hit a World, at every plunge,

And Finished knowing -- then --

 

 

 

281

 

'Tis so appalling -- it exhilarates --

So over Horror, it half Captivates --

The Soul stares after it, secure --

A Sepulchre, fears frost, no more --

 

To scan a Ghost, is faint --

But grappling, conquers it --

How easy, Torment, now --

Suspense kept sawing so --

 

The Truth, is Bald, and Cold --

But that will hold --

If any are not sure --

We show them -- prayer --

But we, who know,

Stop hoping, now --

 

Looking at Death, is Dying --

Just let go the Breath --

And not the pillow at your Cheek

So Slumbereth --

 

Others, Can wrestle --

Yours, is done --

And so of Woe, bleak dreaded -- come,

It sets the Fright at liberty --

And Terror's free --

Gay, Ghastly, Holiday!

 

 

 

282

 

How noteless Men, and Pleiads, stand,

Until a sudden sky

Reveals the fact that One is rapt

Forever from the Eye --

 

Members of the Invisible,

Existing, while we stare,

In Leagueless Opportunity,

O'ertakenless, as the Air --

 

Why didn't we detain Them?

The Heavens with a smile,

Sweep by our disappointed Heads

Without a syllable --

 

 

 

283

 

A Mien to move a Queen --

Half Child -- Half Heroine --

An Orleans in the Eye

That puts its manner by

For humbler Company

When none are near

Even a Tear --

Its frequent Visitor --

 

A Bonnet like a Duke --

And yet a Wren's Peruke

Were not so shy

Of Goer by --

And Hands -- so slight --

They would elate a Sprite

With Merriment --

 

A Voice that Alters -- Low

And on the Ear can go

Like Let of Snow --

Or shift supreme --

As tone of Realm

On Subjects Diadem --

 

Too small -- to fear --

Too distant -- to endear --

And so Men Compromise

And just -- revere --

 

 

 

284

 

The Drop, that wrestles in the Sea --

Forgets her own locality --

As I -- toward Thee --

 

She knows herself an incense small --

Yet small -- she sighs -- if All -- is All --

How larger -- be?

 

The Ocean -- smiles -- at her Conceit --

But she, forgetting Amphitrite --

Pleads -- "Me"?

 

 

 

285

 

The Robin's my Criterion for Tune --

Because I grow -- where Robins do --

But, were I Cuckoo born --

I'd swear by him --

The ode familiar -- rules the Noon --

The Buttercup's, my Whim for Bloom --

Because, we're Orchard sprung --

But, were I Britain born,

I'd Daisies spurn --

None but the Nut -- October fit --

Because, through dropping it,

The Seasons flit -- I'm taught --

Without the Snow's Tableau

Winter, were lie -- to me --

Because I see -- New Englandly --

The Queen, discerns like me --

Provincially --

 

 

 

286

 

That after Horror -- that 'twas us --

That passed the mouldering Pier --

Just as the Granite Crumb let go --

Our Savior, by a Hair --

 

A second more, had dropped too deep

For Fisherman to plumb --

The very profile of the Thought

Puts Recollection numb --

 

The possibility -- to pass

Without a Moment's Bell --

Into Conjecture's presence --

Is like a Face of Steel --

That suddenly looks into ours

With a metallic grin --

The Cordiality of Death --

Who drills his Welcome in --

 

 

 

287

 

A Clock stopped --

Not the Mantel's --

Geneva's farthest skill

Can't put the puppet bowing --

That just now dangled still --

 

An awe came on the Trinket!

The Figures hunched, with pain --

Then quivered out of Decimals --

Into Degreeless Noon --

 

It will not stir for Doctors --

This Pendulum of snow --

This Shopman importunes it --

While cool -- concernless No --

 

Nods from the Gilded pointers --

Nods from the Seconds slim --

Decades of Arrogance between

The Dial life --

And Him --

 

 

 

288

 

I'm Nobody! Who are you?

Are you -- Nobody -- Too?

Then there's a pair of us!

Don't tell! they'd advertise -- you know!

 

How dreary -- to be -- Somebody!

How public -- like a Frog --

To tell one's name -- the livelong June --

To an admiring Bog!

 

 

 

289

 

I know some lonely Houses off the Road

A Robber'd like the look of --

Wooden barred,

And Windows hanging low,

Inviting to --

A Portico,

Where two could creep --

One -- hand the Tools --

The other peep --

To make sure All's Asleep --

Old fashioned eyes --

Not easy to surprise!

 

How orderly the Kitchen'd look, by night,

With just a Clock --

But they could gag the Tick --

And Mice won't bark --

And so the Walls -- don't tell --

None -- will --

 

A pair of Spectacles ajar just stir --

An Almanac's aware --

Was it the Mat -- winked,

Or a Nervous Star?

The Moon -- slides down the stair,

To see who's there!

 

There's plunder -- where --

Tankard, or Spoon --

Earring -- or Stone --

A Watch -- Some Ancient Brooch

To match the Grandmama --

Staid sleeping -- there --

 

Day -- rattles -- too

Stealth's -- slow --

The Sun has got as far

As the third Sycamore --

Screams Chanticleer

"Who's there"?

 

And Echoes -- Trains away,

Sneer -- "Where"!

While the old Couple, just astir,

Fancy the Sunrise -- left the door ajar!

 

 

 

290

 

Of Bronze -- and Blaze --

The North -- Tonight --

So adequate -- it forms --

So preconcerted with itself --

So distant -- to alarms --

And Unconcern so sovereign

To Universe, or me --

Infects my simple spirit

With Taints of Majesty --

Till I take vaster attitudes --

And strut upon my stem --

Disdaining Men, and Oxygen,

For Arrogance of them --

 

My Splendors, are Menagerie --

But their Completeless Show

Will entertain the Centuries

When I, am long ago,

An Island in dishonored Grass --

Whom none but Beetles -- know.

 

 

 

291

 

How the old Mountains drip with Sunset

How the Hemlocks burn --

How the Dun Brake is draped in Cinder

By the Wizard Sun --

 

How the old Steeples hand the Scarlet

Till the Ball is full --

Have I the lip of the Flamingo

That I dare to tell?

 

Then, how the Fire ebbs like Billows --

Touching all the Grass

With a departing -- Sapphire -- feature --

As a Duchess passed --

 

How a small Dusk crawls on the Village

Till the Houses blot

And the odd Flambeau, no men carry

Glimmer on the Street --

 

How it is Night -- in Nest and Kennel --

And where was the Wood --

Just a Dome of Abyss is Bowing

Into Solitude --

 

These are the Visions flitted Guido --

Titian -- never told --

Domenichino dropped his pencil --

Paralyzed, with Gold --

 

 

 

292

 

If your Nerve, deny you --

Go above your Nerve --

He can lean against the Grave,

If he fear to swerve --

 

That's a steady posture --

Never any bend

Held of those Brass arms --

Best Giant made --

 

If your Soul seesaw --

Lift the Flesh door --

The Poltroon wants Oxygen --

Nothing more --

 

 

 

293

 

I got so I could take his name --

Without -- Tremendous gain --

That Stop-sensation -- on my Soul --

And Thunder -- in the Room --

 

I got so I could walk across

That Angle in the floor,

Where he turned so, and I turned -- how --

And all our Sinew tore --

 

I got so I could stir the Box --

In which his letters grew

Without that forcing, in my breath --

As Staples -- driven through --

 

Could dimly recollect a Grace --

I think, they call it "God" --

Renowned to ease Extremity --

When Formula, had failed --

 

And shape my Hands --

Petition's way,

Tho' ignorant of a word

That Ordination -- utters --

 

My Business, with the Cloud,

If any Power behind it, be,

Not subject to Despair --

It care, in some remoter way,

For so minute affair

As Misery --

Itself, too vast, for interrupting -- more --

 

 

 

294

 

The Doomed -- regard the Sunrise

With different Delight --

Because -- when next it burns abroad

They doubt to witness it --

 

The Man -- to die -- tomorrow --

Harks for the Meadow Bird --

Because its Music stirs the Axe

That clamors for his head --

 

Joyful -- to whom the Sunrise

Precedes Enamored -- Day --

Joyful -- for whom the Meadow Bird

Has ought but Elegy!

 

 

 

295

 

Unto like Story -- Trouble has enticed me --

How Kinsmen fell --

Brothers and Sister -- who preferred the Glory --

And their young will

Bent to the Scaffold, or in Dungeons -- chanted --

Till God's full time --

When they let go the ignominy -- smiling --

And Shame went still --

 

Unto guessed Crests, my moaning fancy, leads me,

Worn fair

By Heads rejected -- in the lower country --

Of honors there --

Such spirit makes her perpetual mention,

That I -- grown bold --

Step martial -- at my Crucifixion --

As Trumpets -- rolled --

 

Feet, small as mine -- have marched in Revolution

Firm to the Drum --

Hands -- not so stout -- hoisted them -- in witness --

When Speech went numb --

Let me not shame their sublime deportments --

Drilled bright --

Beckoning -- Etruscan invitation --

Toward Light --

 

 

 

296

 

One Year ago -- jots what?

God -- spell the word! I -- can't --

Was't Grace? Not that --

Was't Glory? That -- will do --

Spell slower -- Glory --

 

Such Anniversary shall be --
Sometimes -- not often -- in Eternity --
 When farther Parted, than the Common Woe --
 Look -- feed upon each other's faces -- so --
 In doubtful meal, if it be possible
 Their Banquet's true --
 
 I tasted -- careless -- then --
 I did not know the Wine
 Came once a World -- Did you?
 Oh, had you told me so --
 This Thirst would blister -- easier -- now --
 You said it hurt you -- most --
 Mine -- was an Acorn's Breast --
 And could not know how fondness grew
 In Shaggier Vest --
 Perhaps -- I couldn't --
 But, had you looked in --
 A Giant -- eye to eye with you, had been --
 No Acorn -- then --
 
 So -- Twelve months ago --
 We breathed --
 Then dropped the Air --
 Which bore it best?
 Was this -- the patientest --
 Because it was a Child, you know --
 And could not value -- Air?
 
 If to be "Elder" -- mean most pain --
 I'm old enough, today, I'm certain -- then --
 As old as thee -- how soon?
 One -- Birthday more -- or Ten?
 Let me -- choose!
 Ah, Sir, None!

 

 

 

297

 

It's like the Light --

A fashionless Delight --

It's like the Bee --

A dateless -- Melody --

 

It's like the Woods --

Private -- Like the Breeze --

Phraseless -- yet it stirs

The proudest Trees --

 

It's like the Morning --

Best -- when it's done --

And the Everlasting Clocks --

Chime -- Noon!

 

 

 

298

 

Alone, I cannot be --

For Hosts -- do visit me --

Recordless Company --

Who baffle Key --

 

They have no Robes, nor Names --

No Almanacs -- nor Climes --

But general Homes

Like Gnomes --

 

Their Coming, may be known

By Couriers within --

Their going -- is not --

For they've never gone --

 

 

 

299

 

Your Riches -- taught me -- Poverty.

Myself -- a Millionaire

In little Wealths, as Girls could boast

Till broad as Buenos Ayre --

 

You drifted your Dominions --

A Different Peru --

And I esteemed All Poverty

For Life's Estate with you --

 

Of Mines, I little know -- myself --

But just the names, of Gems --

The Colors of the Commonest --

And scarce of Diadems --

 

So much, that did I meet the Queen --

Her Glory I should know --

But this, must be a different Wealth --

To miss it -- beggars so --

 

I'm sure 'tis India -- all Day --

To those who look on You --

Without a stint -- without a blame,

Might I -- but be the Jew --

 

I'm sure it is Golconda --

Beyond my power to deem --

To have a smile for Mine -- each Day,

How better, than a Gem!

 

At least, it solaces to know

That there exists -- a Gold --

Altho' I prove it, just in time

Its distance -- to behold --

 

Its far -- far Treasure to surmise --

And estimate the Pearl --

That slipped my simple fingers through --

While just a Girl at School.

 

 

 

300

 

"Morning" -- means "Milking" -- to the Farmer --

Dawn -- to the Teneriffe --

Dice -- to the Maid --

Morning means just Risk -- to the Lover --

Just revelation -- to the Beloved --

 

Epicures -- date a Breakfast -- by it --

Brides -- an Apocalypse --

Worlds -- a Flood --

Faint-going Lives -- Their Lapse from Sighing --

Faith -- The Experiment of Our Lord

 

 

 

301

 

I reason, Earth is short --

And Anguish -- absolute --

And many hurt,

But, what of that?

 

I reason, we could die --

The best Vitality

Cannot excel Decay,

But, what of that?

 

I reason, that in Heaven --

Somehow, it will be even --

Some new Equation, given --

But, what of that?

 

 

 

302

 

Like Some Old fashioned Miracle

When Summertime is done --

Seems Summer's Recollection

And the Affairs of June

 

As infinite Tradition

As Cinderella's Bays --

Or Little John -- of Lincoln Green --

Or Blue Beard's Galleries --

 

Her Bees have a fictitious Hum --

Her Blossoms, like a Dream --

Elate us -- till we almost weep --

So plausible -- they seem --

 

Her Memories like Strains -- Review --

When Orchestra is dumb --

The Violin in Baize replaced --

And Ear -- and Heaven -- numb --

 

 

 

303

 

The Soul selects her own Society --

Then -- shuts the Door --

To her divine Majority --

Present no more --

 

Unmoved -- she notes the Chariots -- pausing --

At her low Gate --

Unmoved -- an Emperor be kneeling

Upon her Mat --

 

I've known her -- from an ample nation --

Choose One --

Then -- close the Valves of her attention --

Like Stone --

 

 

 

304

 

The Day came slow -- till Five o'clock --

Then sprang before the Hills

Like Hindered Rubies -- or the Light

A Sudden Musket -- spills --

 

The Purple could not keep the East --

The Sunrise shook abroad

Like Breadths of Topaz -- packed a Night --

The Lady just unrolled --

 

The Happy Winds -- their Timbrels took --

The Birds -- in docile Rows

Arranged themselves around their Prince

The Wind -- is Prince of Those --

 

The Orchard sparkled like a Jew --

How mighty 'twas -- to be

A Guest in this stupendous place --

The Parlor -- of the Day --

 

 

 

305

 

The difference between Despair

And Fear -- is like the One

Between the instant of a Wreck

And when the Wreck has been --

 

The Mind is smooth -- no Motion --

Contented as the Eye

Upon the Forehead of a Bust --

That knows -- it cannot see --

 

 

 

306

 

The Soul's Superior instants

Occur to Her -- alone --

When friend -- and Earth's occasion

Have infinite withdrawn --

 

Or She -- Herself -- ascended

To too remote a Height

For lower Recognition

Than Her Omnipotent --

 

This Mortal Abolition

Is seldom -- but as fair

As Apparition -- subject

To Autocratic Air --

 

Eternity's disclosure

To favorites -- a few --

Of the Colossal substance

Of Immortality

 

 

 

307

 

The One who could repeat the Summer day --

Were greater than itself -- though He

Minutest of Mankind should be --

 

And He -- could reproduce the Sun --

At period of going down --

The Lingering -- and the Stain -- I mean --

 

When Orient have been outgrown

And Occident -- become Unknown --

His Name -- remain --

 

 

 

308

 

I send Two Sunsets --

Day and I -- in competition ran --

I finished Two -- and several Stars --

While He -- was making One --

 

His own was ampler -- but as I

Was saying to a friend --

Mine -- is the more convenient

To Carry in the Hand --

 

 

 

309

 

For largest Woman's Hearth I knew --

'Tis little I can do --

And yet the largest Woman's Heart

Could hold an Arrow -- too --

And so, instructed by my own,

I tenderer, turn Me to.

 

 

 

310

 

Give little Anguish --

Lives will fret --

Give Avalanches --

And they'll slant --

Straighten -- look cautious for their Breath --

But make no syllable -- like Death --

Who only shows the Marble Disc --

Sublimer sort -- than Speech --

 

 

 

311

It sifts from Leaden Sieves --

It powders all the Wood.

It fills with Alabaster Wool

The Wrinkles of the Road --

 

It makes an Even Face

Of Mountain, and of Plain --

Unbroken Forehead from the East

Unto the East again --

 

It reaches to the Fence --

It wraps it Rail by Rail

Till it is lost in Fleeces --

It deals Celestial Vail

 

To Stump, and Stack -- and Stem --

A Summer's empty Room --

Acres of Joints, where Harvests were,

Recordless, but for them--

 

It Ruffles Wrists of Posts

As Ankles of a Queen --

Then stills its Artisans -- like Ghosts --

Denying they have been --

 

 

 

312

 

Her -- "last Poems" --

Poets -- ended --

Silver -- perished -- with her Tongue --

Not on Record -- bubbled other,

Flute -- or Woman --

So divine --

Not unto its Summer -- Morning

Robin -- uttered Half the Tune --

Gushed too free for the Adoring --

From the Anglo-Florentine --

Late -- the Praise --

'Tis dull -- conferring

On the Head too High to Crown --

Diadem -- or Ducal Showing --

Be its Grave -- sufficient sign --

Nought -- that We -- No Poet's Kinsman --

Suffocate -- with easy woe --

What, and if, Ourself a Bridegroom --

Put Her down -- in Italy?

 

 

 

313

 

I should have been too glad, I see --

Too lifted -- for the scant degree

Of Life's penurious Round --

My little Circuit would have shamed

This new Circumference -- have blamed --

The homelier time behind.

 

I should have been too saved -- I see --

Too rescued -- Fear too dim to me

That I could spell the Prayer

I knew so perfect -- yesterday --

That Scalding One -- Sabachthani --

Recited fluent -- here --

 

Earth would have been too much -- I see --

And Heaven -- not enough for me --

I should have had the Joy

Without the Fear -- to justify --

The Palm -- without the Calvary --

So Savior -- Crucify --

Defeat -- whets Victory -- they say --

The Reefs -- in old Gethsemane --

Endear the Coast -- beyond!

'Tis Beggars -- Banquets -- can define --

'Tis Parching -- vitalizes Wine --

"Faith" bleats -- to understand!

 

 

 

314

 

Nature -- sometimes sears a Sapling --

Sometimes -- scalps a Tree --

Her Green People recollect it

When they do not die --

 

Fainter Leaves -- to Further Seasons --

Dumbly testify --

We -- who have the Souls --

Die oftener -- Not so vitally --

 

 

 

315

 

He fumbles at your Soul

As Players at the Keys

Before they drop full Music on --

He stuns you by degrees --

Prepares your brittle Nature

For the Ethereal Blow

By fainter Hammers -- further heard --

Then nearer -- Then so slow

Your Breath has time to straighten --

Your Brain -- to bubble Cool --

Deals -- One -- imperial -- Thunderbolt --

That scalps your naked Soul --

 

When Winds take Forests in the Paws --

The Universe -- is still --

 

 

 

316

 

The Wind didn't come from the Orchard -- today --

Further than that --

Nor stop to play with the Hay --

Nor joggle a Hat --

He's a transitive fellow -- very --

Rely on that --

 

If He leave a Bur at the door

We know He has climbed a Fir --

But the Fir is Where -- Declare --

Were you ever there?

 

If He brings Odors of Clovers --

And that is His business -- not Ours --

Then He has been with the Mowers --

Whetting away the Hours

To sweet pauses of Hay --

His Way -- of a June Day --

 

If He fling Sand, and Pebble --

Little Boys Hats -- and Stubble --

With an occasional Steeple --

And a hoarse "Get out of the way, I say,"

Who'd be the fool to stay?

Would you -- Say --

Would you be the fool to stay?

 

 

 

317

 

Just so -- Jesus -- raps --

He -- doesn't weary --

Last -- at the Knocker --

And first -- at the Bell.

Then -- on divinest tiptoe -- standing --

Might He but spy the lady's soul --

When He -- retires --

Chilled -- or weary --

It will be ample time for -- me --

Patient -- upon the steps -- until then --

Hears! I am knocking -- low at thee.

 

 

 

318

 

I'll tell you how the Sun rose --

A Ribbon at a time --

The Steeples swam in Amethyst --

The news, like Squirrels, ran --

The Hills untied their Bonnets --

The Bobolinks -- begun --

Then I said softly to myself --

"That must have been the Sun"!

But how he set -- I know not --

There seemed a purple stile

That little Yellow boys and girls

Were climbing all the while --

Till when they reached the other side,

A Dominie in Gray --

Put gently up the evening Bars --

And led the flock away --

 

 

 

319

 

The nearest Dream recedes -- unrealized --

The Heaven we chase,

Like the June Bee -- before the School Boy,

Invites the Race --

Stoops -- to an easy Clover --

Dips -- evades -- teases -- deploys --

Then -- to the Royal Clouds

Lifts his light Pinnace --

Heedless of the Boy --

Staring -- bewildered -- at the mocking sky --

Homesick for steadfast Honey --

Ah, the Bee flies not

That brews that rare variety!

 

 

 

320

 

We play at Paste --

Till qualified, for Pearl --

Then, drop the Paste --

And deem ourself a fool --

 

The Shapes -- though -- were similar --

And our new Hands

Learned Gem-Tactics --

Practicing Sands --

 

 

 

321

 

Of all the Sounds despatched abroad,

There's not a Charge to me

Like that old measure in the Boughs --

That phraseless Melody --

The Wind does -- working like a Hand,

Whose fingers Comb the Sky --

Then quiver down -- with tufts of Tune --

Permitted Gods, and me --

 

Inheritance, it is, to us --

Beyond the Art to Earn --

Beyond the trait to take away

By Robber, since the Gain

Is gotten not of fingers --

And inner than the Bone --

Hid golden, for the whole of Days,

And even in the Urn,

I cannot vouch the merry Dust

Do not arise and play

In some odd fashion of its own,

Some quainter Holiday,

When Winds go round and round in Bands --

And thrum upon the door,

And Birds take places, overhead,

To bear them Orchestra.

 

I crave Him grace of Summer Boughs,

If such an Outcast be --

Who never heard that fleshless Chant --

Rise -- solemn -- on the Tree,

As if some Caravan of Sound

Off Deserts, in the Sky,

Had parted Rank,

Then knit, and swept --

In Seamless Company --

 

 

 

322

 

There came a Day at Summer's full,

Entirely for me --

I thought that such were for the Saints,

Where Resurrections -- be --

 

The Sun, as common, went abroad,

The flowers, accustomed, blew,

As if no soul the solstice passed

That maketh all things new --

 

The time was scarce profaned, by speech --

The symbol of a word

Was needless, as at Sacrament,

The Wardrobe -- of our Lord --

 

Each was to each The Sealed Church,

Permitted to commune this -- time --

Lest we too awkward show

At Supper of the Lamb.

 

The Hours slid fast -- as Hours will,

Clutched tight, by greedy hands --

So faces on two Decks, look back,

Bound to opposing lands --

 

And so when all the time had leaked,

Without external sound

Each bound the Other's Crucifix --

We gave no other Bond --

 

Sufficient troth, that we shall rise --

Deposed -- at length, the Grave --

To that new Marriage,

Justified -- through Calvaries of Love --

 

 

 

323

 

As if I asked a common Alms,

And in my wondering hand

A Stranger pressed a Kingdom,

And I, bewildered, stand --

As if I asked the Orient

Had it for me a Morn --

And it should lift its purple Dikes,

And shatter me with Dawn!

 

 

 

324

 

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church --

I keep it, staying at Home --

With a Bobolink for a Chorister --

And an Orchard, for a Dome --

 

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice --

I just wear my Wings --

And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,

Our little Sexton -- sings.

 

God preaches, a noted Clergyman --

And the sermon is never long,

So instead of getting to Heaven, at least --

I'm going, all along.

 

 

 

325

 

Of Tribulation, these are They,

Denoted by the White --

The Spangled Gowns, a lesser Rank

Of Victors -- designate --

 

All these -- did conquer --

But the ones who overcame most times --

Wear nothing commoner than Snow --

No Ornament, but Palms --

 

Surrender -- is a sort unknown --

On this superior soil --

Defeat -- an outgrown Anguish --

Remembered, as the Mile

 

Our panting Ankle barely passed --

When Night devoured the Road --

But we -- stood whispering in the House --

And all we said -- was "Saved"!

 

 

 

326

 

I cannot dance upon my Toes --

No Man instructed me --

But oftentimes, among my mind,

A Glee possesseth me,

 

That had I Ballet knowledge --

Would put itself abroad

In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe --

Or lay a Prima, mad,

 

And though I had no Gown of Gauze --

No Ringlet, to my Hair,

Nor hopped to Audiences -- like Birds,

One Claw upon the Air,

 

Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls,

Nor rolled on wheels of snow

Till I was out of sight, in sound,

The House encore me so --

 

Nor any know I know the Art

I mention -- easy -- Here --

Nor any Placard boast me --

It's full as Opera --

 

 

 

327

 

Before I got my eye put out

I liked as well to see --

As other Creatures, that have Eyes

And know no other way --

 

But were it told to me -- Today --

That I might have the sky

For mine -- I tell you that my Heart

Would split, for size of me --

 

The Meadows -- mine --

The Mountains -- mine --

All Forests -- Stintless Stars --

As much of Noon as I could take

Between my finite eyes --

 

The Motions of the Dipping Birds --

The Morning's Amber Road --

For mine -- to look at when I liked --

The News would strike me dead --

 

So safer -- guess -- with just my soul

Upon the Window pane --

Where other Creatures put their eyes --

Incautious -- of the Sun --

 

 

 

328

 

A Bird came down the Walk --

He did not know I saw --

He bit an Angleworm in halves

And ate the fellow, raw,

 

And then he drank a Dew

From a convenient Grass --

And then hopped sidewise to the Wall

To let a Beetle pass --

 

He glanced with rapid eyes

That hurried all around --

They looked like frightened Beads, I thought --

He stirred his Velvet Head

 

Like one in danger, Cautious,

I offered him a Crumb

And he unrolled his feathers

And rowed him softer home --

 

Than Oars divide the Ocean,

Too silver for a seam --

Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon

Leap, plashless as they swim.

 

 

 

329

 

So glad we are -- a Stranger'd deem

'Twas sorry, that we were --

For where the Holiday should be

There publishes a Tear --

Nor how Ourselves be justified --

Since Grief and Joy are done

So similar -- An Optizan

Could not decide between --

 

 

 

330

 

The Juggler's Hat her Country is --

The Mountain Gorse -- the Bee's!

 

 

 

331

 

While Asters --

On the Hill --

Their Everlasting fashions -- set --

And Covenant Gentians -- Frill!

 

 

 

332

 

There are two Ripenings -- one -- of sight --

Whose forces Spheric wind

Until the Velvet product

Drop spicy to the ground --

A homelier maturing --

A process in the Bur --

That teeth of Frosts alone disclose

In far October Air.

 

 

 

333

 

The Grass so little has to do --

A Sphere of simple Green --

With only Butterflies to brood

And Bees to entertain --

 

And stir all day to pretty Tunes

The Breezes fetch along --

And hold the Sunshine in its lap

And bow to everything --

 

And thread the Dews, all night, like Pearls --

And make itself so fine

A Duchess were too common

For such a noticing --

 

And even when it dies -- to pass

In Odors so divine --

Like Lowly spices, lain to sleep --

Or Spikenards, perishing --

 

And then, in Sovereign Barns to dwell --

And dream the Days away,

The Grass so little has to do

I wish I were a Hay --

 

 

 

334

 

All the letters I can write

Are not fair as this --

Syllables of Velvet --

Sentences of Plush,

Depths of Ruby, undrained,

Hid, Lip, for Thee --

Play it were a Humming Bird --

And just sipped -- me --

 

 

 

335

 

'Tis not that Dying hurts us so --

'Tis Living -- hurts us more --

But Dying -- is a different way --

A Kind behind the Door --

 

The Southern Custom -- of the Bird --

That ere the Frosts are due --

Accepts a better Latitude --

We -- are the Birds -- that stay.

 

The Shrivers round Farmers' doors --

For whose reluctant Crumb --

We stipulate -- till pitying Snows

Persuade our Feathers Home.

 

 

 

336

 

The face I carry with me -- last --

When I go out of Time --

To take my Rank -- by -- in the West --

That face -- will just be thine --

 

I'll hand it to the Angel --

That -- Sir -- was my Degree --

In Kingdoms -- you have heard the Raised --

Refer to -- possibly.

 

He'll take it -- scan it -- step aside --

Return -- with such a crown

As Gabriel -- never capered at --

And beg me put it on --

 

And then -- he'll turn me round and round --

To an admiring sky --

As one that bore her Master's name --

Sufficient Royalty!

 

 

 

337

 

I know a place where Summer strives

With such a practised Frost --

She -- each year -- leads her Daisies back --

Recording briefly -- "Lost" --

 

But when the South Wind stirs the Pools

And struggles in the lanes --

Her Heart misgives Her, for Her Vow --

And she pours soft Refrains

 

Into the lap of Adamant --

And spices -- and the Dew --

That stiffens quietly to Quartz --

Upon her Amber Shoe --

 

 

 

338

 

I know that He exists.

Somewhere -- in Silence --

He has hid his rare life

From our gross eyes.

 

'Tis an instant's play.

'Tis a fond Ambush --

Just to make Bliss

Earn her own surprise!

 

But -- should the play

Prove piercing earnest --

Should the glee -- glaze --

In Death's -- stiff -- stare --

 

Would not the fun

Look too expensive!

Would not the jest --

Have crawled too far!

 

 

 

339

 

I tend my flowers for thee --

Bright Absentee!

My Fuchsia's Coral Seams

Rip -- while the Sower -- dreams --

 

Geraniums -- tint -- and spot --

Low Daisies -- dot --

My Cactus -- splits her Beard

To show her throat --

 

Carnations -- tip their spice --

And Bees -- pick up --

A Hyacinth -- I hid --

Puts out a Ruffled Head --

And odors fall

From flasks -- so small --

You marvel how they held --

 

Globe Roses -- break their satin glake --

Upon my Garden floor --

Yet -- thou -- not there --

I had as lief they bore

No Crimson -- more --

 

Thy flower -- be gay --

Her Lord -- away!

It ill becometh me --

I'll dwell in Calyx -- Gray --

How modestly -- alway --

Thy Daisy --

Draped for thee!

 

 

 

340

 

Is Bliss then, such Abyss,

I must not put my foot amiss

For fear I spoil my shoe?

 

I'd rather suit my foot

Than save my Boot --

For yet to buy another Pair

Is possible,

At any store --

 

But Bliss, is sold just once.

The Patent lost

None buy it any more --

Say, Foot, decide the point --

The Lady cross, or not?

Verdict for Boot!

 

 

341

 

After great pain, a formal feeling comes --

The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs --

The stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,

And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

 

The Feet, mechanical, go round --

Of Ground, or Air, or Ought --

A Wooden way

Regardless grown,

A Quartz contentment, like a stone --

 

This is the Hour of Lead --

Remembered, if outlived,

As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow --

First -- Chill -- then Stupor -- then the letting go --

 

 

 

342

 

It will be Summer -- eventually.

Ladies -- with parasols --

Sauntering Gentlemen -- with Canes --

And little Girls -- with Dolls --

 

Will tint the pallid landscape --

As 'twere a bright Bouquet --

Thro' drifted deep, in Parian --

The Village lies -- today --

 

The Lilacs -- bending many a year --

Will sway with purple load --

The Bees -- will not despise the tune --

Their Forefathers -- have hummed --

 

The Wild Rose -- redden in the Bog --

The Aster -- on the Hill

Her everlasting fashion -- set --

And Covenant Gentians -- frill --

 

Till Summer folds her miracle --

As Women -- do -- their Gown --

Of Priests -- adjust the Symbols --

When Sacrament -- is done --

 

 

 

343

 

My Reward for Being, was This.

My premium -- My Bliss --

An Admiralty, less --

A Sceptre -- penniless --

And Realms -- just Dross --

 

When Thrones accost my Hands --

With "Me, Miss, Me" --

I'll unroll Thee --

Dominions dowerless -- beside this Grace --

Election -- Vote --

The Ballots of Eternity, will show just that.

 

 

 

344

 

'Twas the old -- road -- through pain --

That unfrequented -- one --

With many a turn -- and thorn --

That stops -- at Heaven --

 

This -- was the Town -- she passed --

There -- where she -- rested -- last --

Then -- stepped more fast --

The little tracks -- close prest --

Then -- not so swift --

Slow -- slow -- as feet did weary -- grow --

Then -- stopped -- no other track!

 

Wait! Look! Her little Book --

The leaf -- at love -- turned back --

Her very Hat --

And this worn shoe just fits the track --

Herself -- though -- fled!

 

Another bed -- a short one --

Women make -- tonight --

In Chambers bright --

Too out of sight -- though --

For our hoarse Good Night --

To touch her Head!

 

 

 

345

 

Funny -- to be a Century --

And see the People -- going by --

I -- should die of the Oddity --

But then -- I'm not so staid -- as He --

 

He keeps His Secrets safely -- very --

Were He to tell -- extremely sorry

This Bashful Globe of Ours would be --

So dainty of Publicity --

 

 

 

346

 

Not probable -- The barest Chance --

A smile too few -- a word too much

And far from Heaven as the Rest --

The Soul so close on Paradise --

 

What if the Bird from journey far --

Confused by Sweets -- as Mortals -- are --

Forget the secret of His wing

And perish -- but a Bough between --

Oh, Groping feet --

Oh Phantom Queen!

 

 

 

347

 

When Night is almost done --

And Sunrise grows so near

That we can touch the Spaces --

It's time to smooth the Hair --

 

And get the Dimples ready --

And wonder we could care

For that old -- faded Midnight --

That frightened -- but an Hour --

 

 

 

348

 

I dreaded that first Robin, so,

But He is mastered, now,

I'm accustomed to Him grown,

He hurts a little, though --

 

I thought If I could only live

Till that first Shout got by --

Not all Pianos in the Woods

Had power to mangle me --

 

I dared not meet the Daffodils --

For fear their Yellow Gown

Would pierce me with a fashion

So foreign to my own --

 

I wished the Grass would hurry --

So -- when 'twas time to see --

He'd be too tall, the tallest one

Could stretch -- to look at me --

 

I could not bear the Bees should come,

I wished they'd stay away

In those dim countries where they go,

What word had they, for me?

 

They're here, though; not a creature failed --

No Blossom stayed away

In gentle deference to me --

The Queen of Calvary --

 

Each one salutes me, as he goes,

And I, my childish Plumes,

Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment

Of their unthinking Drums --

 

 

 

349

 

I had the Glory -- that will do --

An Honor, Thought can turn her to

When lesser Fames invite --

With one long "Nay" --

Bliss' early shape

Deforming -- Dwindling -- Gulfing up --

Time's possibility.

 

 

 

350

 

They leave us with the Infinite.

But He -- is not a man --

His fingers are the size of fists --

His fists, the size of men --

 

And whom he foundeth, with his Arm

As Himmaleh, shall stand --

Gibraltar's Everlasting Shoe

Poised lightly on his Hand,

 

So trust him, Comrade --

You for you, and I, for you and me

Eternity is ample,

And quick enough, if true.

 

 

 

351

 

I felt my life with both my hands

To see if it was there --

I held my spirit to the Glass,

To prove it possibler --

 

I turned my Being round and round

And paused at every pound

To ask the Owner's name --

For doubt, that I should know the Sound --

 

I judged my features -- jarred my hair --

I pushed my dimples by, and waited --

If they -- twinkled back --

Conviction might, of me --

 

I told myself, "Take Courage, Friend --

That -- was a former time --

But we might learn to like the Heaven,

As well as our Old Home!"

 

 

 

352

 

Perhaps I asked too large --

I take -- no less than skies --

For Earths, grow thick as

Berries, in my native town --

 

My Basked holds -- just -- Firmaments --

Those -- dangle easy -- on my arm,

But smaller bundles -- Cram.

 

 

 

353

 

A happy lip -- breaks sudden --

It doesn't state you how

It contemplated -- smiling --

Just consummated -- now --

But this one, wears its merriment

So patient -- like a pain --

Fresh gilded -- to elude the eyes

Unqualified, to scan --

 

 

 

354

 

From Cocoon forth a Butterfly

As Lady from her Door

Emerged -- a Summer Afternoon --

Repairing Everywhere --

 

Without Design -- that I could trace

Except to stray abroad

On Miscellaneous Enterprise

The Clovers -- understood --

 

Her pretty Parasol be seen

Contracting in a Field

Where Men made Hay --

Then struggling hard

With an opposing Cloud --

 

Where Parties -- Phantom as Herself --

To Nowhere -- seemed to go

In purposeless Circumference --

As 'twere a Tropic Show --

 

And notwithstanding Bee -- that worked --

And Flower -- that zealous blew --

This Audience of Idleness

Disdained them, from the Sky --

 

Till Sundown crept -- a steady Tide --

And Men that made the Hay --

And Afternoon -- and Butterfly --

Extinguished -- in the Sea --

 

 

 

355

 

'Tis Opposites -- entice --

Deformed Men -- ponder Grace --

Bright fires -- the Blanketless --

The Lost -- Day's face --

 

The Blind -- esteem it be

Enough Estate -- to see --

The Captive -- strangles new --

For deeming -- Beggars -- play --

 

To lack -- enamor Thee --

Tho' the Divinity --

Be only

Me --

 

 

 

356

 

The Day that I was crowned

Was like the other Days --

Until the Coronation came --

And then -- 'twas Otherwise --

 

As Carbon in the Coal

And Carbon in the Gem

Are One -- and yet the former

Were dull for Diadem --

 

I rose, and all was plain --

But when the Day declined

Myself and It, in Majesty

Were equally -- adorned --

 

The Grace that I -- was chose --

To Me -- surpassed the Crown

That was the Witness for the Grace --

'Twas even that 'twas Mine --

 

 

 

357

 

God is a distant -- stately Lover --

Woos, as He states us -- by His Son --

Verily, a Vicarious Courtship --

"Miles", and "Priscilla", were such an One --

 

But, lest the Soul -- like fair "Priscilla"

Choose the Envoy -- and spurn the Groom --

Vouches, with hyperbolic archness --

"Miles", and "John Alden" were Synonym --

 

 

 

358

 

If any sink, assure that this, now standing --

Failed like Themselves -- and conscious that it rose --

Grew by the Fact, and not the Understanding

How Weakness passed -- or Force -- arose --

 

Tell that the Worst, is easy in a Moment --

Dread, but the Whizzing, before the Ball --

When the Ball enters, enters Silence --

Dying -- annuls the power to kill.

 

 

 

359

 

I gained it so --

By Climbing slow --

By Catching at the Twigs that grow

Between the Bliss -- and me --

It hung so high

As well the Sky

Attempt by Strategy --

 

I said I gained it --

This -- was all --

Look, how I clutch it

Lest it fall --

And I a Pauper go --

Unfitted by an instant's Grace

For the Contented -- Beggar's face

I wore -- an hour ago --

 

 

 

360

 

Death sets a Thing significant

The Eye had hurried by

Except a perished Creature

Entreat us tenderly

 

To ponder little Workmanships

In Crayon, or in Wool,

With "This was last Her fingers did" --

Industrious until --

 

The Thimble weighed too heavy --

The stitches stopped -- by themselves --

And then 'twas put among the Dust

Upon the Closet shelves --

 

A Book I have -- a friend gave --

Whose Pencil -- here and there --

Had notched the place that pleased Him --

At Rest -- His fingers are --

 

Now -- when I read -- I read not --

For interrupting Tears --

Obliterate the Etchings

Too Costly for Repairs.

 

 

 

361

 

What I can do -- I will --

Though it be little as a Daffodil --

That I cannot -- must be

Unknown to possibility --

 

 

 

362

 

It struck me -- every Day --

The Lightning was as new

As if the Cloud that instant slit

And let the Fire through --

 

It burned Me -- in the Night --

It Blistered to My Dream --

It sickened fresh upon my sight --

With every Morn that came --

 

I though that Storm -- was brief --

The Maddest -- quickest by --

But Nature lost the Date of This --

And left it in the Sky --

 

 

 

363

 

I went to thank Her --

But She Slept --

Her Bed -- a funneled Stone --

With Nosegays at the Head and Foot --

That Travellers -- had thrown --

 

Who went to thank Her --

But She Slept --

'Twas Short -- to cross the Sea --

To look upon Her like -- alive --

But turning back -- 'twas slow --

 

 

 

364

 

The Morning after Woe --

'Tis frequently the Way --

Surpasses all that rose before --

For utter Jubilee --

 

As Nature did not care --

And piled her Blossoms on --

And further to parade a Joy

Her Victim stared upon --

 

The Birds declaim their Tunes --

Pronouncing every word

Like Hammers -- Did they know they fell

Like Litanies of Lead --

 

On here and there -- a creature --

They'd modify the Glee

To fit some Crucifixal Clef --

Some Key of Calvary --

 

 

 

365

 

Dare you see a Soul at the White Heat?

Then crouch within the door --

Red -- is the Fire's common tint --

But when the vivid Ore

Has vanquished Flame's conditions,

It quivers from the Forge

Without a color, but the light

Of unanointed Blaze.

Least Village has its Blacksmith

Whose Anvil's even ring

Stands symbol for the finer Forge

That soundless tugs -- within --

Refining these impatient Ores

With Hammer, and with Blaze

Until the Designated Light

Repudiate the Forge --

 

 

 

366

 

Although I put away his life --

An Ornament too grand

For Forehead low as mine, to wear,

This might have been the Hand

 

That sowed the flower, he preferred --

Or smoothed a homely pain,

Or pushed the pebble from his path --

Or played his chosen tune --

 

On Lute the least -- the latest --

But just his Ear could know

That whatsoe'er delighted it,

I never would let go --

 

The foot to bear his errand --

A little Boot I know --

Would leap abroad like Antelope --

With just the grant to do --

 

His weariest Commandment --

A sweeter to obey,

Than "Hide and Seek" --

Or skip to Flutes --

Or all Day, chase the Bee --

 

Your Servant, Sir, will weary --

The Surgeon, will not come --

The World, will have its own -- to do --

The Dust, will vex your Fame --

 

The Cold will force your tightest door

Some February Day,

But say my apron bring the sticks

To make your Cottage gay --

 

That I may take that promise

To Paradise, with me --

To teach the Angels, avarice,

You, Sir, taught first -- to me.

 

 

 

367

 

Over and over, like a Tune --

The Recollection plays --

Drums off the Phantom Battlements

Cornets of Paradise --

 

Snatches, from Baptized Generations --

Cadences too grand

But for the Justified Processions

At the Lord's Right hand.

 

 

 

368

 

How sick -- to wait -- in any place -- but thine --

I knew last night -- when someone tried to twine --

Thinking -- perhaps -- that I looked tired -- or alone --

Or breaking -- almost -- with unspoken pain --

 

And I turned -- ducal --

That right -- was thine --

One port -- suffices -- for a Brig -- like mine --

 

Ours be the tossing -- wild though the sea --

Rather than a Mooring -- unshared by thee.

Ours be the Cargo -- unladed -- here --

Rather than the "spicy isles --"

And thou -- not there --

 

 

 

369

 

She lay as if at play

Her life had leaped away --

Intending to return --

But not so soon --

 

Her merry Arms, half dropt --

As if for lull of sport --

An instant had forgot --

The Trick to start --

 

Her dancing Eyes -- ajar --

As if their Owner were

Still sparkling through

For fun -- at you --

 

Her Morning at the door --

Devising, I am sure --

To force her sleep --

So light -- so deep --

 

 

 

370

 

Heaven is so far of the Mind

That were the Mind dissolved --

The Site -- of it -- by Architect

Could not again be proved --

 

'Tis vast -- as our Capacity --

As fair -- as our idea --

To Him of adequate desire

No further 'tis, than Here --

 

 

 

371

 

A precious -- mouldering pleasure -- 'tis --

To meet an Antique Book --

In just the Dress his Century wore --

A privilege -- I think --

 

His venerable Hand to take --

And warming in our own --

A passage back -- or two -- to make --

To Times when he -- was young --

 

His quaint opinions -- to inspect --

His thought to ascertain

On Themes concern our mutual mind --

The Literature of Man --

 

What interested Scholars -- most --

What Competitions ran --

When Plato -- was a Certainty --

And Sophocles -- a Man --

 

When Sappho -- was a living Girl --

And Beatrice wore

The Gown that Dante -- deified --

Facts Centuries before

 

He traverses -- familiar --

As One should come to Town --

And tell you all your Dreams -- were true --

He lived -- where Dreams were born --

 

His presence is Enchantment --

You beg him not to go --

Old Volume shake their Vellum Heads

And tantalize -- just so --

 

 

 

372

 

I know lives, I could miss

Without a Misery --

Others -- whose instant's wanting --

Would be Eternity --

 

The last -- a scanty Number --

'Twould scarcely fill a Two --

The first -- a Gnat's Horizon

Could easily outgrow --

 

 

 

373

 

I'm saying every day

"If I should be a Queen, tomorrow" --

I'd do this way --

And so I deck, a little,

 

If it be, I wake a Bourbon,

None on me, bend supercilious --

With "This was she --

Begged in the Market place --

Yesterday."

 

Court is a stately place --

I've heard men say --

So I loop my apron, against the Majesty

With bright Pins of Buttercup --

That not too plain --

Rank -- overtake me --

 

And perch my Tongue

On Twigs of singing -- rather high --

But this, might be my brief Term

To qualify --

 

Put from my simple speech all plain word --

Take other accents, as such I heard

Though but for the Cricket -- just,

And but for the Bee --

Not in all the Meadow --

One accost me --

 

Better to be ready --

Than did next morn

Meet me in Aragon --

My old Gown -- on --

 

And the surprised Air

Rustics -- wear --

Summoned -- unexpectedly --

To Exeter --

 

 

 

374

 

I went to Heaven --

'Twas a small Town --

Lit -- with a Ruby --

Lathed -- with Down --

 

Stiller -- than the fields

At the full Dew --

Beautiful -- as Pictures --

No Man drew.

People -- like the Moth --

Of Mechlin -- frames --

Duties -- of Gossamer --

And Eider -- names --

Almost -- contented --

I -- could be --

'Mong such unique

Society --

 

 

 

375

 

The Angle of a Landscape --

That every time I wake --

Between my Curtain and the Wall

Upon an ample Crack --

 

Like a Venetian -- waiting --

Accosts my open eye --

Is just a Bough of Apples --

Held slanting, in the Sky --

 

The Pattern of a Chimney --

The Forehead of a Hill --

Sometimes -- a Vane's Forefinger --

But that's -- Occasional --

 

The Seasons -- shift -- my Picture --

Upon my Emerald Bough,

I wake -- to find no -- Emeralds --

Then -- Diamonds -- which the Snow

 

From Polar Caskets -- fetched me --

The Chimney -- and the Hill --

And just the Steeple's finger --

These -- never stir at all --

 

 

 

376

 

Of Course -- I prayed --

And did God Care?

He cared as much as on the Air

A Bird -- had stamped her foot --

And cried "Give Me" --

My Reason -- Life --

I had not had -- but for Yourself --

'Twere better Charity

To leave me in the Atom's Tomb --

Merry, and Nought, and gay, and numb --

Than this smart Misery.

 

 

 

377

 

To lose one's faith -- surpass

The loss of an Estate --

Because Estates can be

Replenished -- faith cannot --

 

Inherited with Life --

Belief -- but once -- can be --

Annihilate a single clause --

And Being's -- Beggary --

 

 

 

378

 

I saw no Way -- The Heavens were stitched --

I felt the Columns close --

The Earth reversed her Hemispheres --

I touched the Universe --

 

And back it slid -- and I alone --

A Speck upon a Ball --

Went out upon Circumference --

Beyond the Dip of Bell --

 

 

 

379

 

Rehearsal to Ourselves

Of a Withdrawn Delight --

Affords a Bliss like Murder --

Omnipotent -- Acute --

 

We will not drop the Dirk --

Because We love the Wound

The Dirk Commemorate -- Itself

Remind Us that we died.

 

 

 

380

 

There is a flower that Bees prefer --

And Butterflies -- desire --

To gain the Purple Democrat

The Humming Bird -- aspire --

 

And Whatsoever Insect pass --

A Honey bear away

Proportioned to his several dearth

And her -- capacity --

 

Her face be rounder than the Moon

And ruddier than the Gown

Or Orchis in the Pasture --

Or Rhododendron -- worn --

 

She doth not wait for June --

Before the World be Green --

Her sturdy little Countenance

Against the Wind -- be seen --

 

Contending with the Grass --

Near Kinsman to Herself --

For Privilege of Sod and Sun --

Sweet Litigants for Life --

 

And when the Hills be full --

And newer fashions blow --

Doth not retract a single spice

For pang of jealousy --

 

Her Public -- be the Noon --

Her Providence -- the Sun --

Her Progress -- by the Bee -- proclaimed --

In sovereign -- Swerveless Tune --

 

The Bravest -- of the Host --

Surrendering -- the last --

Nor even of Defeat -- aware --

What cancelled by the Frost --

 

 

 

381

 

A Secret told --

Ceases to be a Secret -- then --

A Secret -- kept --

That -- can appal but One --

 

Better of it -- continual be afraid --

Than it --

And Whom you told it to -- beside --

 

 

 

382

 

For Death -- or rather

For the Things 'twould buy --

This -- put away

Life's Opportunity --

 

The Things that Death will buy

Are Room --

Escape from Circumstances --

And a Name --

 

With Gifts of Life

How Death's Gifts may compare --

We know not --

For the Rates -- lie Here --

 

 

 

383

 

Exhilaration -- is within --

There can no Outer Wine

So royally intoxicate

As that diviner Brand

 

The Soul achieves -- Herself --

To drink -- or set away

For Visitor -- Or Sacrament --

'Tis not of Holiday

 

To stimulate a Man

Who hath the Ample Rhine

Within his Closet -- Best you can

Exhale in offering.

 

 

 

384

 

No Rack can torture me --

My Soul -- at Liberty --

Behind this mortal Bone

There knits a bolder One --

 

You cannot prick with saw --

Nor pierce with Scimitar --

Two Bodies -- therefore be --

Bind One -- The Other fly --

 

The Eagle of his Nest

No easier divest --

And gain the Sky

Than mayest Thou --

 

Except Thyself may be

Thine Enemy --

Captivity is Consciousness --

So's Liberty.

 

 

 

385

 

Smiling back from Coronation

May be Luxury --

On the Heads that started with us --

Being's Peasantry --

 

Recognizing in Procession

Ones We former knew --

When Ourselves were also dusty --

Centuries ago --

 

Had the Triumph no Conviction

Of how many be --

Stimulated -- by the Contrast --

Unto Misery --

 

 

 

386

 

Answer July --

Where is the Bee --

Where is the Blush --

Where is the Hay?

 

Ah, said July --

Where is the Seed --

Where is the Bud --

Where is the May --

Answer Thee -- Me --

 

Nay -- said the May --

Show me the Snow --

Show me the Bells --

Show me the Jay!

 

Quibbled the Jay --

Where be the Maize --

Where be the Haze --

Where be the Bur?

Here -- said the Year --

 

 

 

387

 

The sweetest Heresy received

That Man and Woman know --

Each Other's Convert --

Though the Faith accommodate but Two --

 

The Churches are so frequent --

The Ritual -- so small --

The Grace so unavoidable --

To fail -- is Infidel --

 

 

 

388

 

Take your Heaven further on --

This -- to Heaven divine Has gone --

Had You earlier blundered in

Possibly, e'en You had seen

An Eternity -- put on --

Now -- to ring a Door beyond

Is the utmost of Your Hand --

To the Skies -- apologize --

Nearer to Your Courtesies

Than this Sufferer polite --

Dressed to meet You --

See -- in White!

 

 

 

389

 

There's been a Death, in the Opposite House,

As lately as Today --

I know it, by the numb look

Such Houses have -- alway --

 

The Neighbors rustle in and out --

The Doctor -- drives away --

A Window opens like a Pod --

Abrupt -- mechanically --

 

Somebody flings a Mattress out --

The Children hurry by --

They wonder if it died -- on that --

I used to -- when a Boy --

 

The Minister -- goes stiffly in --

As if the House were His --

And He owned all the Mourners -- now --

And little Boys -- besides --

 

And then the Milliner -- and the Man

Of the Appalling Trade --

To take the measure of the House --

 

There'll be that Dark Parade --

 

Of Tassels -- and of Coaches -- soon --

It's easy as a Sign --

The Intuition of the News --

In just a Country Town --

 

 

 

390

 

It's coming -- the postponeless Creature --

It gains the Block -- and now -- it gains the Door --

Chooses its latch, from all the other fastenings --

Enters -- with a "You know Me -- Sir"?

 

Simple Salute -- and certain Recognition --

Bold -- were it Enemy -- Brief -- were it friend --

Dresses each House in Crape, and Icicle --

And carries one -- out of it -- to God --

 

 

 

391

 

A Visitor in Marl --

Who influences Flowers --

Till they are orderly as Busts --

And Elegant -- as Glass --

 

Who visits in the Night --

And just before the Sun --

Concludes his glistening interview --

Caresses -- and is gone --

 

But whom his fingers touched --

And where his feet have run --

And whatsoever Mouth be kissed --

Is as it had not been --

 

 

 

392

 

Through the Dark Sod -- as Education --

The Lily passes sure --

Feels her white foot -- no trepidation --

Her faith -- no fear --

 

Afterward -- in the Meadow --

Swinging her Beryl Bell --

The Mold-life -- all forgotten -- now --

In Ecstasy -- and Dell --

 

 

 

393

 

Did Our Best Moment last --

'Twould supersede the Heaven --

A few -- and they by Risk -- procure --

So this Sort -- are not given --

 

Except as stimulants -- in

Cases of Despair --

Or Stupor -- The Reserve --

These Heavenly Moments are --

 

A Grant of the Divine --

That Certain as it Comes --

Withdraws -- and leaves the dazzled Soul

In her unfurnished Rooms

 

 

 

394

 

'Twas Love -- not me --

Oh punish -- pray --

The Real one died for Thee --

Just Him -- not me --

 

Such Guilt -- to love Thee -- most!

Doom it beyond the Rest --

Forgive it -- last --

'Twas base as Jesus -- most!

 

Let Justice not mistake --

We Two -- looked so alike --

Which was the Guilty Sake --

'Twas Love's -- Now Strike!

 

 

 

395

 

Reverse cannot befall

That fine Prosperity

Whose Sources are interior --

As soon -- Adversity

 

A Diamond -- overtake

In far -- Bolivian Ground --

Misfortune hath no implement

Could mar it -- if it found --

 

 

 

396

 

There is a Languor of the Life

More imminent than Pain --

'Tis Pain's Successor -- When the Soul

Has suffered all it can --

 

A Drowsiness -- diffuses --

A Dimness like a Fog

Envelops Consciousness --

As Mists -- obliterate a Crag.

 

The Surgeon -- does not blanch -- at pain

His Habit -- is severe --

But tell him that it ceased to feel --

The Creature lying there --

 

And he will tell you -- skill is late --

A Mightier than He --

Has ministered before Him --

There's no Vitality.

 

 

 

397

 

When Diamonds are a Legend,

And Diadems -- a Tale --

I Brooch and Earrings for Myself,

Do sow, and Raise for sale --

 

And tho' I'm scarce accounted,

My Art, a Summer Day -- had Patrons --

Once -- it was a Queen --

And once -- a Butterfly --

 

 

 

398

 

I had not minded -- Walls --

Were Universe -- one Rock --

And fr I heard his silver Call

The other side the Block --

 

I'd tunnel -- till my Groove

Pushed sudden thro' to his --

Then my face take her Recompense --

The looking in his Eyes --

 

But 'tis a single Hair --

A filament -- a law --

A Cobweb -- wove in Adamant --

A Battlement -- of Straw --

 

A limit like the Veil

Unto the Lady's face --

But every Mesh -- a Citadel --

And Dragons -- in the Crease --

 

 

 

399

 

A House upon the Height --

That Wagon never reached --

No Dead, were ever carried down --

No Peddler's Cart -- approached --

 

Whose Chimney never smoked --

Whose Windows -- Night and Morn --

Caught Sunrise first -- and Sunset -- last --

Then -- held an Empty Pane --

 

Whose fate -- Conjecture knew --

No other neighbor -- did --

And what it was -- we never lisped --

Because He -- never told --

 

 

 

400

 

A Tongue -- to tell Him I am true!

Its fee -- to be of Gold --

Had Nature -- in Her monstrous House

A single Ragged Child --

 

To earn a Mine -- would run

That Interdicted Way,

And tell Him -- Charge thee speak it plain --

That so far -- Truth is True?

 

And answer What I do --

Beginning with the Day

That Night -- begun --

Nay -- Midnight -- 'twas --

Since Midnight -- happened -- say --

 

If once more -- Pardon -- Boy --

The Magnitude thou may

Enlarge my Message -- If too vast

Another Lad -- help thee --

 

Thy Pay -- in Diamonds -- be --

And His -- in solid Gold --

Say Rubies -- if He hesitate --

My Message -- must be told --

 

Say -- last I said -- was This --

That when the Hills -- come down --

And hold no higher than the Plain --

My Bond -- have just begun --

 

And when the Heavens -- disband --

And Deity conclude --

Then -- look for me. Be sure you say --

Least Figure -- on the Road --

 

 

 

401

 

What Soft -- Cherubic Creatures --

These Gentlewomen are --

One would as soon assault a Plush --

Or violate a Star --

 

Such Dimity Convictions --

A Horror so refined

Of freckled Human Nature --

Of Deity -- ashamed --

 

It's such a common -- Glory --

A Fisherman's -- Degree --

Redemption -- Brittle Lady --

Be so -- ashamed of Thee --

 

 

 

402

 

I pay -- in Satin Cash --

You did not state -- your price --

A Petal, for a Paragraph

It near as I can guess --

 

 

 

403

 

The Winters are so short --

I'm hardly justified

In sending all the Birds away --

And moving into Pod --

 

Myself -- for scarcely settled --

The Phoebes have begun --

And then -- it's time to strike my Tent --

And open House -- again --

 

It's mostly, interruptions --

My Summer -- is despoiled --

Because there was a Winter -- once --

And al the Cattle -- starved --

 

And so there was a Deluge --

And swept the World away --

But Ararat's a Legend -- now --

And no one credits Noah --

 

 

 

404

 

How many Flowers fail in Wood --

Or perish from the Hill --

Without the privilege to know

That they are Beautiful --

 

How many cast a nameless Pod

Upon the nearest Breeze --

Unconscious of the Scarlet Freight --

It bear to Other Eyes --

 

 

 

405

 

It might be lonelier

Without the Loneliness --

I'm so accustomed to my Fate --

Perhaps the Other -- Peace --

 

Would interrupt the Dark --

And crowd the little Room --

Too scant -- by Cubits -- to contain

The Sacrament -- of Him --

 

I am not used to Hope --

It might intrude upon --

Its sweet parade -- blaspheme the place --

Ordained to Suffering --

 

It might be easier

To fail -- with Land in Sight --

Than gain -- My Blue Peninsula --

To perish -- of Delight --

 

 

 

406

 

Some -- Work for Immortality --

The Chiefer part, for Time --

He -- Compensates -- immediately --

The former -- Checks -- on Fame --

 

Slow Gold -- but Everlasting --

The Bullion of Today --

Contrasted with the Currency

Of Immortality --

 

A Beggar -- Here and There --

Is gifted to discern

Beyond the Broker's insight --

One's -- Money -- One's -- the Mine -

 

 

 

407

If What we could -- were what we would --

Criterion -- be small --

It is the Ultimate of Talk --

The Impotence to Tell --

 

 

 

408

 

Unit, like Death, for Whom?

True, like the Tomb,

Who tells no secret

Told to Him --

The Grave is strict --

Tickets admit

Just two -- the Bearer --

And the Borne --

And seat -- just One --

The Living -- tell --

The Dying -- but a Syllable --

The Coy Dead -- None --

No Chatter -- here -- no tea --

So Babbler, and Bohea -- stay there --

But Gravity -- and Expectation -- and Fear --

A tremor just, that All's not sure.

 

 

 

409

 

They dropped like Flakes --

They dropped like Stars --

Like Petals from a Rose --

When suddenly across the June

A wind with fingers -- goes --

 

They perished in the Seamless Grass --

No eye could find the place --

But God can summon every face

Of his Repealless -- List.

 

 

 

410

 

The first Day's Night had come --

And grateful that a thing

So terrible -- had been endured --

I told my Soul to sing --

 

She said her Strings were snapt --

Her Bow -- to Atoms blown --

And so to mend her -- gave me work

Until another Morn --

 

And then -- a Day as huge

As Yesterdays in pairs,

Unrolled its horror in my face --

Until it blocked my eyes --

 

My Brain -- begun to laugh --

I mumbled -- like a fool --

And tho' 'tis Years ago -- that Day --

My Brain keeps giggling -- still.

 

And Something's odd -- within --

That person that I was --

And this One -- do not feel the same --

Could it be Madness -- this?

 

 

 

411

 

The Color of the Grave is Green --

The Outer Grave -- I mean --

You would not know it from the Field --

Except it own a Stone --

 

To help the fond -- to find it --

Too infinite asleep

To stop and tell them where it is --

But just a Daisy -- deep --

 

The Color of the Grave is white --

The outer Grave -- I mean --

You would not know it from the Drifts --

In Winter -- till the Sun --

 

Has furrowed out the Aisles --

Then -- higher than the Land

The little Dwelling Houses rise

Where each -- has left a friend --

 

The Color of the Grave within --

The Duplicate -- I mean --

Not all the Snows could make it white --

Not all the Summers -- Green --

 

You've seen the Color -- maybe --

Upon a Bonnet bound --

When that you met it with before --

The Ferret -- cannot find --

 

 

 

412

 

I read my sentence -- steadily --

Reviewed it with my eyes,

To see that I made no mistake

In its extremest clause --

The Date, and manner, of the shame --

And then the Pious Form

That "God have mercy" on the Soul

The Jury voted Him --

I made my soul familiar -- with her extremity --

That at the last, it should not be a novel Agony --

But she, and Death, acquainted --

Meet tranquilly, as friends --

Salute, and pass, without a Hint --

And there, the Matter ends --

 

 

 

413

 

I never felt at Home -- Below ---

And in the Handsome Skies

I shall not feel at Home -- I know --

I don't like Paradise --

 

Because it's Sunday -- all the time --

And Recess -- never comes --

And Eden'll be so lonesome

Bright Wednesday Afternoons --

 

If God could make a visit --

Or ever took a Nap --

So not to see us -- but they say

Himself -- a Telescope

 

Perennial beholds us --

Myself would run away

From Him -- and Holy Ghost -- and All --

But there's the "Judgement Day"!

 

 

 

414

 

'Twas like a Maelstrom, with a notch,

That nearer, every Day,

Kept narrowing its boiling Wheel

Until the Agony

 

Toyed coolly with the final inch

Of your delirious Hem --

And you dropt, lost,

When something broke --

And let you from a Dream --

 

As if a Goblin with a Gauge --

Kept measuring the Hours --

Until you felt your Second

Weigh, helpless, in his Paws --

 

And not a Sinew -- stirred -- could help,

And sense was setting numb --

When God -- remembered -- and the Fiend

Let go, then, Overcome --

 

As if your Sentence stood -- pronounced --

And you were frozen led

From Dungeon's luxury of Doubt

To Gibbets, and the Dead --

 

And when the Film had stitched your eyes

A Creature gasped "Reprieve"!

Which Anguish was the utterest -- then --

To perish, or to live?

 

 

 

415

 

Sunset at Night -- is natural --

But Sunset on the Dawn

Reverses Nature -- Master --

So Midnight's -- due -- at Noon.

 

Eclipses be -- predicted --

And Science bows them in --

But do one face us suddenly --

Jehovah's Watch -- is wrong.

 

 

 

416

 

A Murmur in the Trees -- to note --

Not loud enough -- for Wind --

A Star -- not far enough to seek --

Nor near enough -- to find --

 

A long -- long Yellow -- on the Lawn --

A Hubbub -- as of feet --

Not audible -- as Ours -- to Us --

But dapperer -- More Sweet --

 

A Hurrying Home of little Men

To Houses unperceived --

All this -- and more -- if I should tell --

Would never be believed --

 

Of Robins in the Trundle bed

How many I espy

Whose Nightgowns could not hide the Wings --

Although I heard them try --

 

But then I promised ne'er to tell --

How could I break My Word?

So go your Way -- and I'll go Mine --

No fear you'll miss the Road.

 

 

 

417

 

Is it dead -- Find it --

Out of sound -- Out of sight --

"Happy"? Which is wiser --

You, or the Wind?

"Conscious"? Won't you ask that --

Of the low Ground?

 

"Homesick"? Many met it --

Even through them -- This

Cannot testify --

Themself -- as dumb --

 

 

 

418

 

Not in this World to see his face --

Sounds long -- until I read the place

Where this -- is said to be

But just the Primer -- to a life --

Unopened -- rare -- Upon the Shelf --

Clasped yet -- to Him -- and Me --

 

And yet -- My Primer suits me so

I would not choose -- a Book to know

Than that -- be sweeter wise --

Might some one else -- so learned -- be --

And leave me -- just my A -- B -- C --

Himself -- could have the Skies --

 

 

 

419

 

We grow accustomed to the Dark --

When light is put away --

As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp

To witness her Goodbye --

 

A Moment -- We uncertain step

For newness of the night --

Then -- fit our Vision to the Dark --

And meet the Road -- erect --

 

And so of larger -- Darkness --

Those Evenings of the Brain --

When not a Moon disclose a sign --

Or Star -- come out -- within --

 

The Bravest -- grope a little --

And sometimes hit a Tree

Directly in the Forehead --

But as they learn to see --

 

Either the Darkness alters --

Or something in the sight

Adjusts itself to Midnight --

And Life steps almost straight.

 

 

 

420

 

You'll know it -- as you know 'tis Noon --

By Glory --

As you do the Sun --

By Glory --

As you will in Heaven --

Know God the Father -- and the Son.

 

By intuition, Mightiest Things

Assert themselves -- and not by terms --

"I'm Midnight" -- need the Midnight say --

"I'm Sunrise" -- Need the Majesty?

 

Omnipotence -- had not a Tongue --

His listp -- is Lightning -- and the Sun --

His Conversation -- with the Sea --

"How shall you know"?

Consult your Eye!

 

 

 

421

 

A Charm invests a face

Imperfectly beheld --

The Lady date not lift her Veil

For fear it be dispelled --

 

But peers beyond her mesh --

And wishes -- and denies --

Lest Interview -- annul a want

That Image -- satisfies --

 

 

 

422

 

More Life -- went out -- when He went

Than Ordinary Breath --

Lit with a finer Phosphor --

Requiring in the Quench --

 

A Power of Renowned Cold,

The Climate of the Grave

A Temperature just adequate

So Anthracite, to live --

 

For some -- an Ampler Zero --

A Frost more needle keen

Is necessary, to reduce

The Ethiop within.

 

Others -- extinguish easier --

A Gnat's minutest Fan

Sufficient to obliterate

A Tract of Citizen --

 

Whose Peat lift -- amply vivid --

Ignores the solemn News

That Popocatapel exists --

Or Etna's Scarlets, Choose --

 

 

 

423

 

The Months have ends -- the Years -- a knot --

No Power can untie

To stretch a little further

A Skein of Misery --

 

The Earth lays back these tired lives

In her mysterious Drawers --

Too tenderly, that any doubt

An ultimate Repose --

 

The manner of the Children --

Who weary of the Day --

Themself -- the noisy Plaything

They cannot put away --

 

 

 

424

 

Removed from Accident of Loss

By Accident of Gain

Befalling not my simple Days --

Myself had just to earn --

 

Of Riches -- as unconscious

As is the Brown Malay

Of Pearls in Eastern Waters,

Marked His -- What Holiday

Would stir his slow conception --

Had he the power to dream

That put the Dower's fraction --

Awaited even -- Him --

 

 

 

425

 

Good Morning -- Midnight --

I'm coming Home --

Day -- got tired of Me --

How could I -- of Him?

 

Sunshine was a sweet place --

I liked to stay --

But Morn -- didn't want me -- now --

So -- Goodnight -- Day!

 

I can look -- can't I --

When the East is Red?

The Hills -- have a way -- then --

That puts the Heart -- abroad --

 

You -- are not so fair -- Midnight --

I chose -- Day --

But -- please take a little Girl --

He turned away!

 

 

 

426

 

It don't sound so terrible -- quite -- as it did --

I run it over -- "Dead", Brain, "Dead."

Put it in Latin -- left of my school --

Seems it don't shriek so -- under rule.

 

Turn it, a little -- full in the face

A Trouble looks bitterest --

Shift it -- just --

Say "When Tomorrow comes this way --

I shall have waded down one Day."

 

I suppose it will interrupt me some

Till I get accustomed -- but then the Tomb

Like other new Things -- shows largest -- then --

And smaller, by Habit --

 

It's shrewder then

Put the Thought in advance -- a Year --

How like "a fit" -- then --

Murder -- wear!

 

 

 

427

 

I'll clutch -- and clutch --

Next -- One -- Might be the golden touch --

Could take it --

Diamonds -- Wait --

I'm diving -- just a little late --

But stars -- go slow -- for night --

 

I'll string you -- in fine Necklace --

Tiaras -- make -- of some --

Wear you on Hem --

Loop up a Countess -- with you --

Make -- a Diadem -- and mend my old One --

Count -- Hoard -- then lose --

And doubt that you are mine --

To have the joy of feeling it -- again --

 

I'll show you at the Court --

Bear you -- for Ornament

Where Women breathe --

That every sigh -- may lift you

Just as high -- as I --

 

And -- when I die --

In meek array -- display you --

Still to show -- how rich I go --

Lest Skies impeach a wealth so wonderful --

And banish me --

 

 

 

428

 

Taking up the fair Ideal,

Just to cast her down

When a fracture -- we discover --

Or a splintered Crown --

Makes the Heavens portable --

And the Gods -- a lie --

Doubtless -- "Adam" -- scowled at Eden --

For his perjury!

 

Cherishing -- our pool Ideal --

Till in purer dress --

We behold her -- glorified --

Comforts -- search -- like this --

Till the broken creatures --

We adored -- for whole --

Stains -- all washed --

Transfigured -- mended --

Meet us -- with a smile --

 

 

 

429

 

The Moon is distant from the Sea --

And yet, with Amber Hands --

She leads Him -- docile as a Boy --

Along appointed Sands --

 

He never misses a Degree --

Obedient to Her Eye

He comes just so far -- toward the Town --

Just so far -- goes away --

 

Oh, Signor, Thine, the Amber Hand --

And mine -- the distant Sea --

Obedient to the least command

Thine eye impose on me --

 

 

 

430

 

It would never be Common -- more -- I said --

Difference -- had begun --

Many a bitterness -- had been --

But that old sort -- was done --

 

Or -- if it sometime -- showed -- as 'twill --

Upon the Downiest -- Morn --

Such bliss -- had I -- for all the years --

'Twould give an Easier -- pain --

 

I'd so much joy -- I told it -- Red --

Upon my simple Cheek --

I felt it publish -- in my Eye --

'Twas needless -- any speak --

 

I walked -- as wings -- my body bore --

The feet -- I former used --

Unnecessary -- now to me --

As boots -- would be -- to Birds --

 

I put my pleasure all abroad --

I dealth a word of Gold

To every Creature -- that I met --

And Dowered -- all the World --

 

When -- suddenly -- my Riches shrank --

A Goblin -- drank my Dew --

My Palaces -- dropped tenantless --

Myself -- was beggared -- too --

 

I clutched at sounds --

I groped at shapes --

I touched the tops of Films --

I felt the Wilderness roll back

Along my Golden lines --

 

The Sackcloth -- hangs upon the nail --

The Frock I used to wear --

But where my moment of Brocade --

My -- drop -- of India?

 

 

 

431

 

Me -- come! My dazzled face

In such a shining place!

Me -- hear! My foreign Ear

The sounds of Welcome -- there!

 

The Saints forget

Our bashful feet --

 

My Holiday, shall be

That They -- remember me --

My Paradise -- the fame

That They -- pronounce my name --

 

 

 

432

 

Do People moulder equally,

They bury, in the Grave?

I do believe a Species

As positively live

 

As I, who testify it

Deny that I -- am dead --

And fill my Lungs, for Witness --

From Tanks -- above my Head --

 

I say to you, said Jesus --

That there be standing here --

A Sort, that shall not taste of Death --

If Jesus was sincere --

 

I need no further Argue --

That statement of the Lord

Is not a controvertible --

He told me, Death was dead --

 

 

 

433

 

Knows how to forget!

But could It teach it?

Easiest of Arts, they say

When one learn how

 

Dull Hearts have died

In the Acquisition

Sacrificed for Science

Is common, though, now --

 

I went to School

But was not wiser

Globe did not teach it

Nor Logarithm Show

 

"How to forget"!

Say -- some -- Philosopher!

Ah, to be erudite

Enough to know!

 

Is it in a Book?

So, I could buy it --

Is it like a Planet?

Telescopes would know --

 

If it be invention

It must have a Patent.

Rabbi of the Wise Book

Don't you know?

 

 

 

434

 

To love thee Year by Year --

May less appear

Than sacrifice, and cease --

However, dear,

Forever might be short, I thought to show --

And so I pieced it, with a flower, now.

 

 

 

435

 

Much Madness is divinest Sense --

To a discerning Eye --

Much Sense -- the starkest Madness --

'Tis the Majority

In this, as All, prevail --

Assent -- and you are sane --

Demur -- you're straightway dangerous --

And handled with a Chain --

 

 

 

436

 

The Wind -- tapped like a tired Man --

And like a Host -- "Come in"

I boldly answered -- entered then

My Residence within

 

A Rapid -- footless Guest --

To offer whom a Chair

Were as impossible as hand

A Sofa to the Air --

 

No Bone had He to bind Him --

His Speech was like the Push

Of numerous Humming Birds at once

From a superior Bush --

 

His Countenance -- a Billow --

His Fingers, as He passed

Let go a music -- as of tunes

Blown tremulous in Glass --

 

He visited -- still flitting --

Then like a timid Man

Again, He tapped -- 'twas flurriedly --

And I became alone --

 

 

 

437

 

Prayer is the little implement

Through which Men reach

Where Presence -- is denied them.

They fling their Speech

 

By means of it -- in God's Ear --

If then He hear --

This sums the Apparatus

Comprised in Prayer --

 

 

 

438

 

Forget! The lady with the Amulet

Forget she wore it at her Heart

Because she breathed against

Was Treason twixt?

 

Deny! Did Rose her Bee --

For Privilege of Play

Or Wile of Butterfly

Or Opportunity -- Her Lord away?

 

The lady with the Amulet -- will face --

The Bee -- in Mausoleum laid --

Discard his Bride --

But longer than the little Rill --

That cooled the Forehead of the Hill --

While Other -- went the Sea to fill --

And Other -- went to turn the Mill --

I'll do thy Will --

 

 

 

439

 

Undue Significance a starving man attaches

To Food --

Far off -- He sighs -- and therefore -- Hopeless --

And therefore -- Good --

 

Partaken -- it relieves -- indeed --

But proves us

That Spices fly

In the Receipt -- It was the Distance --

Was Savory --

 

 

 

440

 

'Tis customary as we part

A trinket -- to confer --

It helps to stimulate the faith

When Lovers be afar --

 

'Tis various -- as the various taste --

Clematis -- journeying far --

Presents me with a single Curl

Of her Electric Hair --

 

 

 

441

 

This is my letter to the World

That never wrote to Me --

The simple News that Nature told --

With tender Majesty

 

Her Message is committed

To Hands I cannot see --

For love of Her -- Sweet -- countrymen --

Judge tenderly -- of Me

 

 

 

442

 

God made a little Gentian --

It tried -- to be a Rose --

And failed -- and all the Summer laughed --

But just before the Snows

 

There rose a Purple Creature --

That ravished all the Hill --

And Summer hid her Forehead --

And Mockery -- was still --

 

The Frosts were her condition --

The Tyrian would not come

Until the North -- invoke it --

Creator -- Shall I -- bloom?

 

 

 

443

 

I tie my Hat -- I crease my Shawl --

Life's little duties do -- precisely --

As the very least

Were infinite -- to me --

 

I put new Blossoms in the Glass --

And throw the old -- away --

I push a petal from my gown

That anchored there -- I weigh

The time 'twill be till six o'clock

I have so much to do --

And yet -- Existence -- some way back --

Stopped -- struck -- my tickling -- through --

We cannot put Ourself away

As a completed Man

Or Woman -- When the Errand's done

We came to Flesh -- upon --

There may be -- Miles on Miles of Nought --

Of Action -- sicker far --

To simulate -- is stinging work --

To cover what we are

From Science -- and from Surgery --

Too Telescopic Eyes

To bear on us unshaded --

For their -- sake -- not for Ours --

'Twould start them --

We -- could tremble --

But since we got a Bomb --

And held it in our Bosom --

Nay -- Hold it -- it is calm --

 

Therefore -- we do life's labor --

Though life's Reward -- be done --

With scrupulous exactness --

To hold our Senses -- on --

 

 

 

444

 

It feels a shame to be Alive --

When Men so brave -- are dead --

One envies the Distinguished Dust --

Permitted -- such a Head --

 

The Stone -- that tells defending Whom

This Spartan put away

What little of Him we -- possessed

In Pawn for Liberty --

 

The price is great -- Sublimely paid --

Do we deserve -- a Thing --

That lives -- like Dollars -- must be piled

Before we may obtain?

 

Are we that wait -- sufficient worth --

That such Enormous Pearl

As life -- dissolved be -- for Us --

In Battle's -- horrid Bowl?

 

It may be -- a Renown to live --

I think the Man who die --

Those unsustained -- Saviors --

Present Divinity --

 

 

 

445

 

'Twas just this time, last year, I died.

I know I heard the Corn,

When I was carried by the Farms --

It had the Tassels on --

 

I thought how yellow it would look --

When Richard went to mill --

And then, I wanted to get out,

But something held my will.

 

I thought just how Red -- Apples wedged

The Stubble's joints between --

And the Carts stooping round the fields

To take the Pumpkins in --

 

I wondered which would miss me, least,

And when Thanksgiving, came,

If Father'd multiply the plates --

To make an even Sum --

 

And would it blur the Christmas glee

My Stocking hang too high

For any Santa Claus to reach

The Altitude of me --

 

But this sort, grieved myself,

And so, I thought the other way,

How just this time, some perfect year --

Themself, should come to me --

 

 

 

446

 

I showed her Heights she never saw --

"Would'st Climb," I said?

She said -- "Not so" --

"With me --" I said -- With me?

I showed her Secrets -- Morning's Nest --

The Rope the Nights were put across --

And now -- "Would'st have me for a Guest?"

She could not find her Yes --

And then, I brake my life -- And Lo,

A Light, for her, did solemn glow,

The larger, as her face withdrew --

And could she, further, "No"?

 

 

 

447

 

Could -- I do more -- for Thee --

Wert Thou a Bumble Bee --

Since for the Queen, have I --

Nought but Bouquet?

 

 

 

448

 

This was a Poet -- It is That

Distills amazing sense

From ordinary Meanings --

And Attar so immense

 

From the familiar species

That perished by the Door --

We wonder it was not Ourselves

Arrested it -- before --

 

Of Pictures, the Discloser --

The Poet -- it is He --

Entitles Us -- by Contrast --

To ceaseless Poverty --

 

Of portion -- so unconscious --

The Robbing -- could not harm --

Himself -- to Him -- a Fortune --

Exterior -- to Time --

 

 

 

449

 

I died for Beauty -- but was scarce

Adjusted in the Tomb

When One who died for Truth, was lain

In an adjoining room --

 

He questioned softly "Why I failed"?

"For Beauty", I replied --

"And I -- for Truth -- Themself are One --

We Brethren, are", He said --

 

And so, as Kinsmen, met a Night --

We talked between the Rooms --

Until the Moss had reached our lips --

And covered up -- our names --

 

 

 

450

 

Dreams -- are well -- but Waking's better,

If One wake at morn --

If One wake at Midnight -- better --

Dreaming -- of the Dawn --

 

Sweeter -- the Surmising Robins --

Never gladdened Tree --

Than a Solid Dawn -- confronting --

Leading to no Day --

 

 

 

451

 

The Outer -- from the Inner

Derives its Magnitude --

'Tis Duke, or Dwarf, according

As is the Central Mood --

 

The fine -- unvarying Axis

That regulates the Wheel --

Though Spokes -- spin -- more conspicuous

And fling a dust -- the while.

 

The Inner -- paints the Outer --

The Brush without the Hand --

Its Picture publishes -- precise --

As is the inner Brand --

 

On fine -- Arterial Canvas --

A Cheek -- perchance a Brow --

The Star's whole Secret -- in the Lake --

Eyes were not meant to know.

 

 

 

452

 

The Malay -- took the Pearl --

Not -- I -- the Earl --

I -- feared the Sea -- too much

Unsanctified -- to touch --

 

Praying that I might be

Worthy -- the Destiny --

The Swarthy fellow swam --

And bore my Jewel -- Home --

 

Home to the Hut! What lot

Had I -- the Jewel -- got --

Borne on a Dusky Breasty --

I had not deemed a Vest

Of Amber -- fit --

 

The Negro never knew

I -- wooed it -- too --

To gain, or be undone --

Alike to Him -- One --

 

 

 

453

 

Love -- thou art high --

I cannot climb thee --

But, were it Two --

Who know but we --

Taking turns -- at the Chimborazo --

Ducal -- at last -- stand up by thee --

 

Love -- thou are deep --

I cannot cross thee --

But, were there Two

Instead of One --

Rower, and Yacht -- some sovereign Summer --

Who knows -- but we'd reach the Sun?

 

Love -- thou are Veiled --

A few -- behold thee --

Smile -- and alter -- and prattle -- and die --

Bliss -- were an Oddity -- without thee --

Nicknamed by God --

Eternity --

 

 

 

454

 

It was given to me by the Gods --

When I was a little Girl --

They given us Presents most -- you know --

When we are new -- and small.

I kept it in my Hand --

I never put it down --

I did not dare to eat -- or sleep --

For fear it would be gone --

I heard such words as "Rich" --

When hurrying to school --

From lips at Corners of the Streets --

And wrestled with a smile.

Rich! 'Twas Myself -- was rich --

To take the name of Gold --

And Gold to own -- in solid Bars --

The Difference -- made me bold --

 

 

 

455

 

Triumph -- may be of several kinds --

There's Triumph in the Room

When that Old Imperator -- Death --

By Faith

 

 

 

456

 

So well that I can live without --

I love thee -- then How well is that?

As well as Jesus?

Prove it me

That He -- loved Men --

As I -- love thee --

 

 

 

457

 

Sweet -- safe -- Houses --

Glad -- gay -- Houses --

Sealed so stately tight --

Lids of Steel -- on Lids of Marble --

Locking Bare feet out --

 

Brooks of Plush -- in Banks of Satin

Not so softly fall

As the laughter -- and the whisper --

From their People Pearl --

 

No Bald Death -- affront their Parlors --

No Bold Sickness come

To deface their Stately Treasures --

Anguish -- and the Tomb --

 

Hum by -- in Muffled Coaches --

Lest they -- wonder Why --

Any -- for the Press of Smiling --

Interrupt -- to die --

 

 

 

458

 

Like eyes that looked on Wastes --

Incredulous of Ought

But Blank -- and steady Wilderness --

Diversified by Night --

 

Just Infinites of Nought --

As far as it could see --

So looked the face I looked upon --

So looked itself -- on Me --

 

I offered it no Help --

Because the Cause was Mine --

The Misery a Compact

As hopeless -- as divine --

 

Neither -- would be absolved --

Neither would be a Queen

Without the Other -- Therefore --

We perish -- tho' We reign --

 

 

 

459

 

A Tooth upon Our Peace

The Peace cannot deface --

Then Wherefore be the Tooth?

To vitalize the Grace --

 

The Heaven hath a Hell --

Itself to signalize --

And every sign before the Place

Is Gilt with Sacrifice --

 

 

 

460

 

I know where Wells grow -- Droughtless Wells --

Deep dug -- for Summer days --

Where Mosses go no more away --

And Pebble -- safely plays --

 

It's made of Fathoms -- and a Belt --

A Belt of jagged Stone --

Inlaid with Emerald -- half way down --

And Diamonds -- jumbled on --

 

It has no Bucket -- Were I rich

A Bucket I would buy --

I'm often thirsty -- but my lips

Are so high up -- You see --

 

I read in an Old fashioned Book

That People "thirst no more" --

The Wells have Buckets to them there --

It must mean that -- I'm sure --

 

Shall We remember Parching -- then?

Those Waters sound so grand --

I think a little Well -- like Mine --

Dearer to understand --

 

 

 

461

 

A Wife -- at daybreak I shall be --

Sunrise -- Hast thou a Flag for me?

At Midnight, I am but a Maid,

How short it takes to make a Bride --

Then -- Midnight, I have passed from thee

Unto the East, and Victory --

 

Midnight -- Good Night! I hear them call,

The Angels bustle in the Hall --

Softly my Future climbs the Stair,

I fumble at my Childhood's prayer

So soon to be a Child no more --

Eternity, I'm coming -- Sire,

Savior -- I've seen the face -- before!

 

 

 

462

 

Why make it doubt -- it hurts it so --

So sick -- to guess --

So strong -- to know --

So brave -- upon its little Bed

To tell the very last They said

Unto Itself -- and smile -- And shake --

For that dear -- distant -- dangerous -- Sake --

But -- the Instead -- the Pinching fear

That Something -- it did do -- or dare --

Offend the Vision -- and it flee --

And They no more remember me --

Nor ever turn to tell me why --

Oh, Master, This is Misery --

 

 

 

463

 

I live with Him -- I see His face --

I go no more away

For Visitor -- or Sundown --

Death's single privacy

 

The Only One -- forestalling Mine --

And that -- by Right that He

Presents a Claim invisible --

No wedlock -- granted Me --

 

I live with Him -- I hear His Voice --

I stand alive -- Today --

To witness to the Certainty

Of Immortality --

 

Taught Me -- by Time -- the lower Way --

Conviction -- Every day --

That Life like This -- is stopless --

Be Judgment -- what it may --

 

 

 

464

 

The power to be true to You,

Until upon my face

The Judgment push his Picture --

Presumptuous of Your Place --

 

Of This -- Could Man deprive Me --

Himself -- the Heaven excel --

Whose invitation -- Yours reduced

Until it showed too small --

 

 

 

465

 

I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died --

The Stillness in the Room

Was like the Stillness in the Air --

Between the Heaves of Storm --

 

The Eyes around -- had wrung them dry --

And Breaths were gathering firm

For that last Onset -- when the King

Be witnessed -- in the Room --

 

I willed my Keepsakes -- Signed away

What portion of me be

Assignable -- and then it was

There interposed a Fly --

 

With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz --

Between the light -- and me --

And then the Windows failed -- and then

I could not see to see --

 

 

 

466

 

'Tis little I -- could care for Pearls --

Who own the ample sea --

Or Brooches -- when the Emperor --

With Rubies -- pelteth me --

 

Or Gold -- who am the Prince of Mines --

Or Diamonds -- when have I

A Diadem to fit a Dom --

Continual upon me --

 

 

 

467

 

We do not play on Graves --

Because there isn't Room --

Besides -- it isn't even -- it slants

And People come --

 

And put a Flower on it --

And hang their faces so --

We're fearing that their Hearts will drop --

And crush our pretty play --

 

And so we move as far

As Enemies -- away --

Just looking round to see how far

It is -- Occasionally --

 

 

 

468

 

The Manner of its Death

When Certain it must die --

'Tis deemed a privilege to choose --

'Twas Major Andre's Way --

 

When Choice of Life -- is past --

There yet remains a Love

Its little Fate to stipulate --

 

How small in those who live --

 

The Miracle to tease

With Bable of the styles --

How "they are Dying mostly -- now" --

And Customs at "St. James"!

 

 

 

469

 

The Red -- Blaze -- is the Morning --

The Violet -- is Noon --

The Yellow -- Day -- is falling --

And after that -- is none --

 

But Miles of Sparks -- at Evening --

Reveal the Width that burned --

The Territory Argent -- that

Never yet -- consumed --

 

 

 

470

 

I am alive -- I guess --

The Branches on my Hand

Are full of Morning Glory --

And at my finger's end --

 

The Carmine -- tingles warm --

And if I hold a Glass

Across my Mouth -- it blurs it --

Physician's -- proof of Breath --

 

I am alive -- because

I am not in a Room --

The Parlor -- Commonly -- it is --

So Visitors may come --

 

And lean -- and view it sidewise --

And add "How cold -- it grew" --

And "Was it conscious -- when it stepped

In Immortality?"

 

I am alive -- because

I do not own a House --

Entitled to myself -- precise --

And fitting no one else --

 

And marked my Girlhood's name --

So Visitors may know

Which Door is mine -- and not

 

 

 

471

 

A Night -- there lay the Days between --

The Day that was Before --

And Day that was Behind -- were one --

And now -- 'twas Night -- was here --

 

Slow -- Night -- that must be watched away --

As Grains upon a shore --

Too imperceptible to note --

Till it be night -- no more --

 

 

 

472

 

Except the Heaven had come so near --

So seemed to choose My Door --

The Distance would not haunt me so --

I had not hoped -- before --

 

But just to hear the Grace depart --

I never thought to see --

Afflicts me with a Double loss --

'Tis lost -- and lost to me --

 

 

 

473

 

I am ashamed -- I hide --

What right have I -- to be a Bride --

So late a Dowerless Girl --

Nowhere to hide my dazzled Face --

No one to teach me that new Grace --

Nor introduce -- my Soul --

 

Me to adorn -- How -- tell --

Trinket -- to make Me beautiful --

Fabrics of Cashmere --

Never a Gown of Dun -- more --

Raiment instead -- of Pompadour --

For Me -- My soul -- to wear --

 

Fingers -- to frame my Round Hair

Oval -- as Feudal Ladies wore --

Far Fashions -- Fair --

Skill to hold my Brow like an Earl --

Plead -- like a Whippoorwill --

Prove -- like a Pearl --

Then, for Character --

Fashion My Spirit quaint -- white --

Quick -- like a Liquor --

Gay -- like Light --

Bring Me my best Pride --

No more ashamed --

No more to hide --

Meek -- let it be -- too proud -- for Pride --

Baptized -- this Day -- a Bride --

 

 

 

474

 

They put Us far apart --

As separate as Sea

And Her unsown Peninsula --

We signified "These see" --

 

They took away our Eyes --

They thwarted Us with Guns --

"I see Thee" each responded straight

Through Telegraphic Signs --

 

With Dungeons -- They devised --

But through their thickest skill --

And their opaquest Adamant --

Our Souls saw -- just as well --

 

They summoned Us to die --

With sweet alacrity

We stood upon our stapled feet --

Condemned -- but just -- to see --

 

Permission to recant --

Permission to forget --

We turned our backs upon the Sun

For perjury of that --

 

Not Either -- noticed Death --

Of Paradise -- aware --

Each other's Face -- was all the Disc

Each other's setting -- saw --

 

 

 

475

 

Doom is the House without the Door --

'Tis entered from the Sun --

And then the Ladder's thrown away,

Because Escape -- is done --

 

'Tis varied by the Dream

Of what they do outside --

Where Squirrels play -- and Berries die --

And Hemlocks -- bow -- to God --

 

 

 

476

 

I meant to have but modest needs --

Such as Content -- and Heaven --

Within my income -- these could lie

And Life and I -- keep even --

 

But since the last -- included both --

It would suffice my Prayer

But just for One -- to stipulate --

And Grace would grant the Pair --

 

And so -- upon this wise -- I prayed --

Great Spirit -- Give to me

A Heaven not so large as Yours,

But large enough -- for me --

 

A Smile suffused Jehovah's face --

The Cherubim -- withdrew --

Grave Saints stole out to look at me --

And showed their dimples -- too --

 

I left the Place, with all my might --

I threw my Prayer away --

The Quiet Ages picked it up --

And Judgment -- twinkled -- too --

Tat one so honest -- be extant --

It take the Tale for true --

That "Whatsoever Ye shall ask --

Itself be given You" --

 

But I, grown shrewder -- scan the Skies

With a suspicious Air --

As Children -- swindled for the first

All Swindlers -- be -- infer --

 

 

 

477

 

No Man can compass a Despair --

As round a Goalless Road

No faster than a Mile at once

The Traveller proceed --

 

Unconscious of the Width --

Unconscious that the Sun

Be setting on His progress --

So accurate the One

 

At estimating Pain --

Whose own -- has just begun --

His ignorance -- the Angel

That pilot Him along --

 

 

 

478

 

I had no time to Hate --

Because

The Grave would hinder Me --

And Life was not so

Ample I

Could finish -- Enmity --

 

Nor had I time to Love --

But since

Some Industry must be --

The little Toil of Love --

I thought

Be large enough for Me --

 

 

 

479

 

She dealt her pretty words like Blades --

How glittering they shone --

And every One unbared a Nerve

Or wantoned with a Bone --

 

She never deemed -- she hurt --

That -- is not Steel's Affair --

A vulgar grimace in the Flesh --

How ill the Creatures bear --

 

To Ache is human -- not polite --

The Film upon the eye

Mortality's old Custom --

Just locking up -- to Die.

 

 

 

480

 

"Why do I love" You, Sir?

Because --

The Wind does not require the Grass

To answer -- Wherefore when He pass

She cannot keep Her place.

 

Because He knows -- and

Do not You --

And We know not --

Enough for Us

The Wisdom it be so --

 

The Lightning -- never asked an Eye

Wherefore it shut -- when He was by --

Because He knows it cannot speak --

And reasons not contained --

-- Of Talk --

There be -- preferred by Daintier Folk --

 

The Sunrise -- Sire -- compelleth Me --

Because He's Sunrise -- and I see --

Therefore -- Then --

I love Thee --

 

 

 

481

 

The Himmaleh was known to stoop

Unto the Daisy low --

Transported with Compassion

That such a Doll should grow

Where Tent by Tent -- Her Universe

Hung out its Flags of Snow --

 

 

 

482

 

We Cover Thee -- Sweet Face --

Not that We tire of Thee --

But that Thyself fatigue of Us --

Remember -- as Thou go --

We follow Thee until

Thou notice Us -- no more --

And then -- reluctant -- turn away

To Con Thee o'er and o'er --

 

And blame the scanty love

We were Content to show --

Augmented -- Sweet -- a Hundred fold --

If Thou would'st take it -- now --

 

 

 

483

 

A Solemn thing within the Soul

To feel itself get ripe --

And golden hang -- while farther up --

The Maker's Ladders stop --

And in the Orchard far below --

You hear a Being -- drop --

 

A Wonderful -- to feel the Sun

Still toiling at the Cheek

You thought was finished --

Cool of eye, and critical of Work --

He shifts the stem -- a little --

To give your Core -- a look --

 

But solemnest -- to know

Your chance in Harvest moves

A little nearer -- Every Sun

The Single -- to some lives.

 

 

 

484

 

My Garden -- like the Beach --

Denotes there be -- a Sea --

That's Summer --

Such as These -- the Pearls

She fetches -- such as Me

 

 

 

485

 

To make One's Toilette -- after Death

Has made the Toilette cool

Of only Taste we cared to please

Is difficult, and still --

 

That's easier -- than Braid the Hair --

And make the Bodice gay --

When eyes that fondled it are wrenched

By Decalogues -- away --

 

 

 

486

 

I was the slightest in the House --

I took the smallest Room --

At night, my little Lamp, and Book --

And one Geranium --

 

So stationed I could catch the Mint

That never ceased to fall --

And just my Basket --

Let me think -- I'm sure --

That this was all --

 

I never spoke -- unless addressed --

And then, 'twas brief and low --

I could not bear to live -- aloud --

The Racket shamed me so --

 

And if it had not been so far --

And any one I knew

Were going -- I had often thought

How noteless -- I could die --

 

 

 

487

 

You love the Lord -- you cannot see --

You write Him -- every day --

A little note -- when you awake --

And further in the Day.

 

An Ample Letter -- How you miss --

And would delight to see --

But then His House -- is but a Step --

And Mine's -- in Heaven -- You see.

 

 

 

488

 

Myself was formed -- a Carpenter --

An unpretending time

My Plane -- and I, together wrought

Before a Builder came --

 

To measure our attainments --

Had we the Art of Boards

Sufficiently developed -- He'd hire us

At Halves --

 

My Tools took Human -- Faces --

The Bench, where we had toiled --

Against the Man -- persuaded --

We -- Temples build -- I said --

 

 

 

489

 

We pray -- to Heaven --

We prate -- of Heaven --

Relate -- when Neighbors die --

At what o'clock to heaven -- they fled --

Who saw them -- Wherefore fly?

 

Is Heaven a Place -- a Sky -- a Tree?

Location's narrow way is for Ourselves --

Unto the Dead

There's no Geography --

 

But State -- Endowal -- Focus --

Where -- Omnipresence -- fly?

 

 

 

490

 

To One denied the drink

To tell what Water is

Would be acuter, would it not

Than letting Him surmise?

 

To lead Him to the Well

And let Him hear it drip

Remind Him, would it not, somewhat

Of His condemned lip?

 

 

 

491

 

While it is alive

Until Death touches it

While it and I lap one Air

Dwell in one Blood

Under one Sacrament

Show me Division can split or pare --

 

Love is like Life -- merely longer

Love is like Death, during the Grave

Love is the Fellow of the Resurrection

Scooping up the Dust and chanting "Live"!

 

 

 

492

 

Civilization -- spurns -- the Leopard!

Was the Leopard -- bold?

Deserts -- never rebuked her Satin --

Ethiop -- her Gold --

Tawny -- her Customs --

She was Conscious --

Spotted -- her Dun Gown --

This was the Leopard's nature -- Signor --

Need -- a keeper -- frown?

 

Pity -- the Pard -- that left her Asia --

Memories -- of Palm --

Cannot be stifled -- with Narcotic --

Nor suppressed -- with Balm --

 

 

 

493

 

The World -- stands -- solemner -- to me --

Since I was wed -- to Him --

A modesty befits the soul

That bears another's -- name --

A doubt -- if it be fair -- indeed --

To wear that perfect -- pearl --

The Man -- upon the Woman -- binds --

To clasp her soul -- for all --

A prayer, that it more angel -- prove --

A whiter Gift -- within --

To that munificence, that chose --

So unadorned -- a Queen --

A Gratitude -- that such be true --

It had esteemed the Dream --

Too beautiful -- for Shape to prove --

Or posture -- to redeem!

 

 

 

494

 

Going to Him! Happy letter!

Tell Him --

Tell Him the page I didn't write --

Tell Him -- I only said the Syntax --

And left the Verb and the pronoun out --

Tell Him just how the fingers hurried --

Then -- how they waded -- slow -- slow --

And then you wished you had eyes in your pages --

So you could see what moved them so --

 

Tell Him -- it wasn't a Practised Writer --

You guessed -- from the way the sentence toiled --

You could hear the Bodice tug, behind you --

As if it held but the might of a child --

You almost pitied it -- you -- it worked so --

Tell Him -- no -- you may quibble there --

For it would split His Heart, to know it --

And then you and I, were silenter.

 

Tell Him -- Night finished -- before we finished --

And the Old Clock kept neighing "Day"!

And you -- got sleepy -- and begged to be ended --

What could it hinder so -- to say?

Tell Him -- just how she sealed you -- Cautious!

But -- if He ask where you are hid

Until tomorrow -- Happy letter!

Gesture Coquette -- and shake your Head!

 

 

 

495

 

It's thoughts -- and just One Heart --

And Old Sunshine -- about --

Make frugal -- Ones -- Content --

And two or three -- for Company --

Upon a Holiday --

Crowded -- as Sacrament --

 

Books -- when the Unit --

Spare the Tenant -- long eno' --

A Picture -- if it Care --

Itself -- a Gallery too rare --

For needing more --

 

Flowers -- to keep the Eyes -- from going awkward --

When it snows --

A Bird -- if they -- prefer --

Though Winter fire -- sing clear as Plover --

To our -- ear --

 

A Landscape -- not so great

To suffocate the Eye --

A Hill -- perhaps --

Perhaps -- the profile of a Mill

Turned by the Wind --

Tho' such -- are luxuries --

 

It's thoughts -- and just two Heart --

And Heaven -- about --

At least -- a Counterfeit --

We would not have Correct --

And Immortality -- can be almost --

Not quite -- Content --

 

 

 

496

 

As far from pity, as complaint --

As cool to speech -- as stone --

As numb to Revelation

As if my Trade were Bone --

 

As far from time -- as History --

As near yourself -- Today --

As Children, to the Rainbow's scarf --

Or Sunset's Yellow play

 

To eyelids in the Sepulchre --

How dumb the Dancer lies --

While Color's Revelations break --

And blaze -- the Butterflies!

 

 

 

497

 

He strained my faith --

Did he find it supple?

Shook my strong trust --

Did it then -- yield?

 

Hurled my belief --

But -- did he shatter -- it?

Racked -- with suspense --

Not a nerve failed!

 

Wrung me -- with Anguish --

But I never doubted him --

'Tho' for what wrong

He did never say --

 

Stabbed -- while I sued

His sweet forgiveness --

Jesus -- it's your little "John"!

Don't you know -- me?

 

 

 

498

 

I envy Seas, whereon He rides --

I envy Spokes of Wheels

Of Chariots, that Him convey --

I envy Crooked Hills

 

That gaze upon His journey --

How easy All can see

What is forbidden utterly

As Heaven -- unto me!

 

I envy Nests of Sparrows --

That dot His distant Eaves --

The wealthy Fly, upon His Pane --

The happy -- happy Leaves --

 

That just abroad His Window

Have Summer's leave to play --

The Ear Rings of Pizarro

Could not obtain for me --

 

I envy Light -- that wakes Him --

And Bells -- that boldly ring

To tell Him it is Noon, abroad --

Myself -- be Noon to Him --

 

Yet interdict -- my Blossom --

And abrogate -- my Bee --

Lest Noon in Everlasting Night --

Drop Gabriel -- and Me --

 

 

 

499

 

Those fair -- fictitious People --

The Women -- plucked away

From our familiar Lifetime --

The Men of Ivory --

 

Those Boys and Girls, in Canvas --

Who stay upon the Wall

In Everlasting Keepsake --

Can Anybody tell?

 

We trust -- in places perfecter --

Inheriting Delight

Beyond our faint Conjecture --

Our dizzy Estimate --

 

Remembering ourselves, we trust --

Yet Blesseder -- than We --

Through Knowing -- where We only hope --

Receiving -- where we -- pray --

 

Of Expectation -- also --

Anticipating us

With transport, that would be a pain

Except for Holiness --

 

Esteeming us -- as Exile --

Themself -- admitted Home --

Through easy Miracle of Death --

The Way ourself, must come --

 

 

 

500

 

Within my Garden, rides a Bird

Upon a single Wheel --

Whose spokes a dizzy Music make

As 'twere a travelling Mill --

 

He never stops, but slackens

Above the Ripest Rose --

Partakes without alighting

And praises as he goes,

 

Till every spice is tasted --

And then his Fairy Gig

Reels in remoter atmospheres --

And I rejoin my Dog,

 

And He and I, perplex us

If positive, 'twere we --

Or bore the Garden in the Brain

This Curiosity --

 

But He, the best Logician,

Refers my clumsy eye --

To just vibrating Blossoms!

An Exquisite Reply!

 

 

 

501

 

This World is not Conclusion.

A Species stands beyond --

Invisible, as Music --

But positive, as Sound --

It beckons, and it baffles --

Philosophy -- don't know --

And through a Riddle, at the last --

Sagacity, must go --

To guess it, puzzles scholars --

To gain it, Men have borne

Contempt of Generations

And Crucifixion, shown --

Faith slips -- and laughs, and rallies --

Blushes, if any see --

Plucks at a twig of Evidence --

And asks a Vane, the way --

Much Gesture, from the Pulpit --

Strong Hallelujahs roll --

Narcotics cannot still the Tooth

That nibbles at the soul --

 

 

 

502

 

At least -- to pray -- is left -- is left --

Oh Jesus -- in the Air --

I know not which thy chamber is --

I'm knocking -- everywhere --

 

Thou settest Earthquake in the South --

And Maelstrom, in the Sea --

Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth --

Hast thou no Arm for Me?

 

 

 

503

 

Better -- than Music! For I -- who heard it --

I was used -- to the Birds -- before --

This -- was different -- 'Twas Translation --

Of all tunes I knew -- and more --

 

'Twasn't contained -- like other stanza --

No one could play it -- the second time --

But the Composer -- perfect Mozart --

Perish with him -- that Keyless Rhyme!

 

So -- Children -- told how Brooks in Eden --

Bubbled a better -- Melody --

Quaintly infer -- Eve's great surrender --

Urging the feet -- that would -- not -- fly --

 

Children -- matured -- are wiser -- mostly --

Eden -- a legend -- dimly told --

Eve -- and the Anguish -- Grandame's story --

But -- I was telling a tune -- I heard --

 

Not such a strain -- the Church -- baptizes --

When the last Saint -- goes up the Aisles --

Not such a stanza splits the silence --

When the Redemption strikes her Bells --

 

Let me not spill -- its smallest cadence --

Humming -- for promise -- when alone --

Humming -- until my faint Rehearsal --

Drop into tune -- around the Throne --

 

 

 

504

 

You know that Portrait in the Moon --

So tell me who 'tis like --

The very Brow -- the stooping eyes --

A fog for -- Say -- Whose Sake?

 

The very Pattern of the Cheek --

It varies -- in the Chin --

But -- Ishmael -- since we met -- 'tis long --

And fashions -- intervene --

 

When Moon's at full -- 'Tis Thou -- I say --

My lips just hold the name --

When crescent -- Thou art worn -- I note --

But -- there -- the Golden Same --

 

And when -- Some Night -- Bold -- slashing Clouds

Cut Thee away from Me --

That's easier -- than the other film

That glazes Holiday --

 

 

 

505

 

I would not paint -- a picture --

I'd rather be the One

Its bright impossibility

To dwell -- delicious -- on --

And wonder how the fingers feel

Whose rare -- celestial -- stir --

Evokes so sweet a Torment --

Such sumptuous -- Despair --

 

I would not talk, like Cornets --

I'd rather be the One

Raised softly to the Ceilings --

And out, and easy on --

Through Villages of Ether --

Myself endued Balloon

By but a lip of Metal --

The pier to my Pontoon --

 

Nor would I be a Poet --

It's finer -- own the Ear --

Enamored -- impotent -- content --

The License to revere,

A privilege so awful

What would the Dower be,

Had I the Art to stun myself

With Bolts of Melody!

 

 

 

506

 

He touched me, so I live to know

That such a day, permitted so,

I groped upon his breast --

It was a boundless place to me

And silenced, as the awful sea

Puts minor streams to rest.

 

And now, I'm different from before,

As if I breathed superior air --

Or brushed a Royal Gown --

My feet, too, that had wandered so --

My Gypsy face -- transfigured now --

To tenderer Renown --

 

Into this Port, if I might come,

Rebecca, to Jerusalem,

Would not so ravished turn --

Nor Persian, baffled at her shrine

Lift such a Crucifixial sign

To her imperial Sun.

 

 

 

507

 

She sights a Bird -- she chuckles --

She flattens -- then she crawls --

She runs without the look of feet --

Her eyes increase to Balls --

 

Her Jaws stir -- twitching -- hungry --

Her Teeth can hardly stand --

She leaps, but Robin leaped the first --

Ah, Pussy, of the Sand,

 

The Hopes so juicy ripening --

You almost bather your Tongue --

When Bliss disclosed a hundred Toes --

And fled with every one --

 

 

 

508

 

I'm ceded -- I've stopped being Theirs --

The name They dropped upon my face

With water, in the country church

Is finished using, now,

And They can put it with my Dolls,

My childhood, and the string of spools,

I've finished threading -- too --

 

Baptized, before, without the choice,

But this time, consciously, of Grace --

Unto supremest name --

Called to my Full -- The Crescent dropped --

Existence's whole Arc, filled up,

With one small Diadem.

 

My second Rank -- too small the first --

Crowned -- Crowing -- on my Father's breast --

A half unconscious Queen --

But this time -- Adequate -- Erect,

With Will to choose, or to reject,

And I choose, just a Crown --

 

 

 

509

 

If anybody's friend be dead

It's sharpest of the theme

The thinking how they walked alive --

At such and such a time --

 

Their costume, of a Sunday,

Some manner of the Hair --

A prank nobody knew but them

Lost, in the Sepulchre --

 

How warm, they were, on such a day,

You almost feel the date --

So short way off it seems --

And now -- they're Centuries from that --

 

How pleased they were, at what you said --

You try to touch the smile

And dip your fingers in the frost --

When was it -- Can you tell --

 

You asked the Company to tea --

Acquaintance -- just a few --

And chatted close with this Grand Thing

That don't remember you --

 

Past Bows, and Invitations --

Past Interview, and Vow --

Past what Ourself can estimate --

That -- makes the Quick of Woe!

 

 

 

510

 

It was not Death, for I stood up,

And all the Dead, lie down --

It was not Night, for all the Bells

Put out their Tongues, for Noon.

 

It was not Frost, for on my Flesh

I felt Siroccos -- crawl --

Nor Fire -- for just my Marble feet

Could keep a Chancel, cool --

 

And yet, it tasted, like them all,

The Figures I have seen

Set orderly, for Burial,

Reminded me, of mine --

 

As if my life were shaven,

And fitted to a frame,

And could not breathe without a key,

And 'twas like Midnight, some -

 

When everything that ticked -- has stopped --

And Space stares all around --

Or Grisly frosts -- first Autumn morns,

Repeal the Beating Ground --

 

But, most, like Chaos - Stopless -- cool --

Without a Change, or Spar --

Or even a Report of Land --

To justify -- Despair.

 

 

 

511

 

If you were coming in the Fall,

I'd brush the Summer by

With half a smile, and half a spurn,

As Housewives do, a Fly.

 

If I could see you in a year,

I'd wind the months in balls --

And put them each in separate Drawers,

For fear the numbers fuse --

 

If only Centuries, delayed,

I'd count them on my Hand,

Subtracting, till my fingers dropped

Into Van Dieman's Land.

 

If certain, when this life was out --

That yours and mine, should be

I'd toss it yonder, like a Rind,

And take Eternity --

 

But, now, uncertain of the length

Of this, that is between,

It goads me, like the Goblin Bee --

That will not state -- its sting.

 

 

 

512

 

The Soul has Bandaged moments --

When too appalled to stir --

She feels some ghastly Fright come up

And stop to look at her --

 

Salute her -- with long fingers --

Caress her freezing hair --

Sip, Goblin, from the very lips

The Lover -- hovered -- o'er --

Unworthy, that a thought so mean

Accost a Theme -- so -- fair --

 

The soul has moments of Escape --

When bursting all the doors --

She dances like a Bomb, abroad,

And swings upon the Hours,

 

As do the Bee -- delirious borne --

Long Dungeoned from his Rose --

Touch Liberty -- then know no more,

But Noon, and Paradise --

 

The Soul's retaken moments --

When, Felon led along,

With shackles on the plumed feet,

And staples, in the Song,

 

The Horror welcomes her, again,

These, are not brayed of Tongue --

 

 

 

513

 

Like Flowers, that heard the news of Dews,

But never deemed the dripping prize

Awaited their -- low Brows --

Or Bees -- that thought the Summer's name

Some rumor of Delirium,

No Summer -- could -- for Them --

 

Or Arctic Creatures, dimly stirred --

By Tropic Hint -- some Travelled Bird

Imported to the Wood --

 

Or Wind's bright signal to the Ear --

Making that homely, and severe,

Contented, known, before --

 

The Heaven -- unexpected come,

To Lives that thought the Worshipping

A too presumptuous Psalm --

 

 

 

514

 

Her smile was shaped like other smiles --

The Dimples ran along --

And still it hurt you, as some Bird

Did hoist herself, to sing,

Then recollect a Ball, she got --

And hold upon the Twig,

Convulsive, while the Music broke --

Like Beads -- among the Bog --

 

 

 

515

 

No Crowd that has occurred

Exhibit -- I suppose

That General Attendance

That Resurrection -- does --

 

Circumference be full --

The long restricted Grave

Assert her Vital Privilege --

The Dust -- connect -- and live --

 

On Atoms -- features place --

All Multitudes that were

Efface in the Comparison --

As Suns -- dissolve a star --

 

Solemnity -- prevail --

Its Individual Doom

Possess each separate Consciousness --

August -- Absorbed -- Numb --

 

What Duplicate -- exist --

What Parallel can be --

Of the Significance of This --

To Universe -- and Me?

 

 

 

516

 

Beauty -- be not caused -- It Is --

Chase it, and it ceases --

Chase it not, and it abides --

 

Overtake the Creases

 

In the Meadow -- when the Wind

Runs his fingers thro' it --

Deity will see to it

That You never do it --

 

 

 

517

 

He parts Himself -- like Leaves --

And then -- He closes up --

Then stands upon the Bonnet

Of Any Buttercup --

 

And then He runs against

And oversets a Rose --

And then does Nothing --

Then away upon a Jib -- He goes --

 

And dangles like a Mote

Suspended in the Noon --

Uncertain -- to return Below --

Or settle in the Moon --

 

What come of Him -- at Night --

The privilege to say

Be limited by Ignorance --

What come of Him -- That Day --

 

The Frost -- possess the World --

In Cabinets -- be shown --

A Sepulchre of quaintest Floss --

An Abbey -- a Cocoon --

 

 

 

518

 

Her sweet Weight on my Heart a Night

Had scarcely deigned to lie --

When, stirring, for Belief's delight,

My Bride had slipped away --

 

If 'twas a Dream -- made solid -- just

The Heaven to confirm --

Or if Myself were dreamed of Her --

The power to presume --

 

With Him remain -- who unto Me --

Gave -- even as to All --

A Fiction superseding Faith --

By so much -- as 'twas real --

 

 

 

519

 

'Twas warm -- at first -- like Us --

Until there crept upon

A Chill -- like frost upon a Glass --

Till all the scene -- be gone.

 

The Forehead copied Stone --

The Fingers grew too cold

To ache -- and like a Skater's Brook --

The busy eyes -- congealed --

 

It straightened -- that was all --

It crowded Cold to Cold --

It multiplied indifference --

As Pride were all it could --

 

And even when with Cords --

'Twas lowered, like a Weight --

It made no Signal, nor demurred,

But dropped like Adamant.

 

 

 

520

 

I started Early -- Took my Dog --

And visited the Sea --

The Mermaids in the Basement

Came out to look at me --

 

And Frigates -- in the Upper Floor

Extended Hempen Hands --

Presuming Me to be a Mouse --

Aground -- upon the Sands --

 

But no Man moved Me -- till the Tide

Went past my simple Shoe --

And past my Apron -- and my Belt --

And past my Bodice -- too --

 

And made as He would eat me up --

As wholly as a Dew

Upon a Dandelion's Sleeve --

And then -- I started -- too --

 

And He -- He followed -- close behind --

I felt his Silver Heel

Upon my Ankle -- Then my Shoes

Would overflow with Pearl --

 

Until We met the Solid Town --

No One He seemed to know --

And bowing -- with a Might look --

At me -- The Sea withdrew --

 

 

 

521

 

Endow the Living -- with the Tears --

You squander on the Dead,

And They were Men and Women -- now,

Around Your Fireside --

 

Instead of Passive Creatures,

Denied the Cherishing

Till They -- the Cherishing deny --

With Death's Ethereal Scron --

 

 

 

522

 

Had I presumed to hope --

The loss had been to Me

A Value -- for the Greatness' Sake --

As Giants -- gone away --

 

Had I presumed to gain

A Favor so remote --

The failure but confirm the Grace

In further Infinite --

 

'Tis failure -- not of Hope --

But Confident Despair --

Advancing on Celestial Lists --

With faint -- Terrestial power --

 

'Tis Honor -- though I die --

For That no Man obtain

Till He be justified by Death --

This -- is the Second Gain --

 

 

 

523

 

Sweet -- You forgot -- but I remembered

Every time -- for Two --

So that the Sum be never hindered

Through Decay of You --

 

Say if I erred? Accuse my Farthings --

Blame the little Hand

Happy it be for You -- a Beggar's --

Seeking More -- to spend --

 

Just to be Rich -- to waste my Guineas

On so Best a Heart --

Just to be Poor -- for Barefoot Vision

You -- Sweet -- Shut me out --

 

 

 

524

 

Departed -- to the Judgment --

A Mighty Afternoon --

Great Clouds -- like Ushers -- learning --

Creation -- looking on --

 

The Flesh -- Surrendered -- Cancelled --

The Bodiless -- begun --

Two Worlds -- like Audiences -- disperse --

And leave the Soul -- alone --

 

 

 

525

 

I think the Hemlock likes to stand

Upon a Marge of Snow --

It suits his own Austerity --

And satisfies an awe

 

That men, must slake in Wilderness --

And in the Desert -- cloy --

An instinct for the Hoar, the Bald --

Lapland's -- necessity --

 

The Hemlock's nature thrives -- on cold --

The Gnash of Northern winds

Is sweetest nutriment -- to him --

His best Norwegian Wines --

 

To satin Races -- he is nought --

But Children on the Don,

Beneath his Tabernacles, play,

And Dnieper Wrestlers, run.

 

 

 

526

 

To hear an Oriole sing

May be a common thing --

Or only a divine.

 

It is not of the Bird

Who sings the same, unheard,

As unto Crowd --

 

The Fashion of the Ear

Attireth that it hear

In Dun, or fair --

 

So whether it be Rune,

Or whether it be none

Is of within.

 

The "Tune is in the Tree --"

The Skeptic -- showeth me --

"No Sir! In Thee!"

 

 

 

527

 

To put this World down, like a Bundle --

And walk steady, away,

Requires Energy -- possibly Agony --

'Tis the Scarlet way

 

Trodden with straight renunciation

By the Son of God --

Later, his faint Confederates

Justify the Road --

 

Flavors of that old Crucifixion --

Filaments of Bloom, Pontius Pilate sowed --

Strong Clusters, from Barabbas' Tomb --

 

Sacrament, Saints partook before us --

Patent, every drop,

With the Brand of the Gentile Drinker

Who indorsed the Cup --

 

 

 

528

 

Mine -- by the Right of the White Election!

Mine -- by the Royal Seal!

Mine -- by the Sign in the Scarlet prison --

Bars -- cannot conceal!

 

Mine -- here -- in Vision -- and in Veto!

Mine -- by the Grave's Repeal --

Tilted -- Confirmed --

Delirious Charter!

Mine -- long as Ages steal!

 

 

 

529

 

I'm sorry for the Dead -- Today --

It's such congenial times

Old Neighbors have at fences --

It's time o' year for Hay.

 

And Broad -- Sunburned Acquaintance

Discourse between the Toil --

And laugh, a homely species

That makes the Fences smile --

 

It seems so straight to lie away

From all of the noise of Fields --

The Busy Carts -- the fragrant Cocks --

The Mower's Metre -- Steals --

 

A Trouble lest they're homesick --

Those Farmers -- and their Wives --

Set separate from the Farming --

And all the Neighbors' lives --

 

A Wonder if the Sepulchre

Don't feel a lonesome way --

When Men -- and Boys -- and Carts -- and June,

Go down the Fields to "Hay" --

 

 

 

530

 

You cannot put a Fire out --

A Thing that can ignite

Can go, itself, without a Fan --

Upon the slowest Night --

 

You cannot fold a Flood --

And put it in a Drawer --

Because the Winds would find it out --

And tell your Cedar Floor --

 

 

 

531

 

We dream -- it is good we are dreaming --

It would hurt us -- were we awake --

But since it is playing -- kill us,

And we are playing -- shriek --

 

What harm? Men die -- externally --

It is a truth -- of Blood --

But we -- are dying in Drama --

And Drama -- is never dead --

 

Cautious -- We jar each other --

And either -- open the eyes --

Lest the Phantasm -- prove the Mistake --

And the livid Surprise

 

Cool us to Shafts of Granite --

With just an Age -- and Name --

And perhaps a phrase in Egyptian --

It's prudenter -- to dream --

 

 

 

532

 

I tried to think a lonelier Thing

Than any I had seen --

Some Polar Expiation -- An Omen in the Bone

Of Death's tremendous nearness --

 

I probed Retrieverless things

My Duplicate -- to borrow --

A Haggard Comfort springs

 

From the belief that Somewhere --

Within the Clutch of Thought --

There dwells one other Creature

Of Heavenly Love -- forgot --

 

I plucked at our Partition

As One should pry the Walls --

Between Himself -- and Horror's Twin --

Within Opposing Cells --

 

I almost strove to clasp his Hand,

Such Luxury -- it grew --

That as Myself -- could pity Him --

Perhaps he -- pitied me --

 

 

 

533

 

Two butterflies went out at Noon --

And waltzed upon a Farm --

Then stepped straight through the Firmament

And rested, on a Beam --

 

And then -- together bore away

Upon a shining Sea --

Though never yet, in any Port --

Their coming, mentioned -- be --

 

If spoken by the distant Bird --

If met in Ether Sea

By Frigate, or by Merchantman --

No notice -- was -- to me --

 

 

 

534

 

We see -- Comparatively --

The Thing so towering high

We could not grasp its segment

Unaided -- Yesterday --

 

This Morning's finer Verdict --

Makes scarcely worth the toil --

A furrow -- Our Cordillera --

Our Apennine -- a Knoll --

 

Perhaps 'tis kindly -- done us --

The Anguish -- and the loss --

The wrenching -- for His Firmament

The Thing belonged to us --

 

To spare these Striding Spirits

Some Morning of Chagrin --

The waking in a Gnat's -- embrace --

Our Giants -- further on --

 

 

 

535

 

She's happy, with a new Content --

That feels to her -- like Sacrament --

She's busy -- with an altered Care --

As just apprenticed to the Air --

 

She's tearful -- if she weep at all --

For blissful Causes -- Most of all

That Heaven permit so meek as her --

To such a Fate -- to Minister.

 

 

 

536

 

The Heart asks Pleasure -- first --

And then -- Excuse from Pain --

And then -- those little Anodyness

That deaden suffering --

 

And then -- to go to sleep --

And then -- if it should be

The will of its Inquisitor

The privilege to die --

 

 

 

537

 

Me prove it now -- Whoever doubt

Me stop to prove it -- now --

Make haste -- the Scruple! Death be scant

For Opportunity --

 

The River reaches to my feet --

As yet -- My Heart be dry --

Oh Lover -- Life could not convince --

Might Death -- enable Thee --

 

The River reaches to My Breast --

Still -- still -- My Hands above

Proclaim with their remaining Might --

Dost recognize the Love?

 

The River reaches to my Mouth --

Remember -- when the Sea

Swept by my searching eyes -- the last --

Themselves were quick -- with Thee!

 

 

 

538

 

'Tis true -- They shut me in the Cold --

But then -- Themselves were warm

And could not know the feeling 'twas --

Forget it -- Lord -- of Them --

 

Let not my Witness hinder Them

In Heavenly esteem --

No Paradise could be -- Conferred

Through Their beloved Blame --

 

The Harm They did -- was short -- And since

Myself -- who bore it -- do --

Forgive Them -- Even as Myself --

Or else -- forgive not me --

 

 

 

539

 

The Province of the Saved

Should be the Art -- To save --

Through Skill obtained in Themselves --

The Science of the Grave

 

No Man can understand

But He that hath endured

The Dissolution -- in Himself --

That Man -- be qualified

 

To qualify Despair

To Those who failing new --

Mistake Defeat for Death -- Each time --

Till acclimated -- to --

 

 

 

540

 

I took my Power in my Hand --

And went against the World --

'Twas not so much as David -- had --

But I -- was twice as bold --

 

I aimed by Pebble -- but Myself

Was all the one that fell --

Was it Goliath -- was too large --

Or was myself -- too small?

 

 

 

541

 

Some such Butterfly be seen

On Brazilian Pampas --

Just at noon -- no later -- Sweet --

Then -- the License closes --

 

Some such Spice -- express and pass --

Subject to Your Plucking --

As the Stars -- You knew last Night --

Foreigners -- This Morning --

 

 

 

542

 

I had no Cause to be awake --

My Best -- was gone to sleep --

And Morn a new politeness took --

And failed to wake them up --

 

But called the others -- clear --

And passed their Curtains by --

Sweet Morning -- when I oversleep --

Knock -- Recollect -- to Me --

 

I looked at Sunrise -- Once --

And then I looked at Them --

And wishfulness in me arose --

For Circumstance the same --

 

'Twas such an Ample Peace --

It could not hold a Sigh --

'Twas Sabbath -- with the Bells divorced --

'Twas Sunset -- all the Day --

 

So choosing but a Gown --

And taking but a Prayer --

The only Raiment I should need --

I struggled -- and was There --

 

 

 

543

 

I fear a Man of frugal Speech --

I fear a Silent Man --

Haranguer -- I can overtake --

Or Babbler -- entertain --

 

But He who weigheth -- While the Rest --

Expend their furthest pound --

Of this Man -- I am wary --

I fear that He is Grand --

 

 

 

544

 

The Martyr Poets -- did not tell --

But wrought their Pang in syllable --

That when their mortal name be numb --

Their mortal fate -- encourage Some --

 

The Martyr Painters -- never spoke --

Bequeathing -- rather -- to their Work --

That when their conscious fingers cease --

Some seek in Art -- the Art of Peace --

 

 

 

545

 

'Tis One by One -- the Father counts --

And then a Tract between

Set Cypherless -- to teach the Eye

The Value of its Ten --

 

Until the peevish Student

Acquire the Quick of Skill --

Then Numerals are dowered back --

Adorning all the Rule --

 

'Tis mostly Slate and Pencil --

And Darkness on the School

Distracts the Children's fingers --

Still the Eternal Rule

 

Regards least Cypherer alike

With Leader of the Band --

And every separate Urchin's Sum --

Is fashioned for his hand --

 

 

 

546

 

To fill a Gap

Insert the Thing that caused it --

Block it up

With Other -- and 'twill yawn the more --

You cannot solder an Abyss

With Air.

 

 

 

547

 

I've seen a Dying Eye

Run round and round a Room --

In search of Something -- as it seemed --

Then Cloudier become --

And then -- obscure with Fog --

And then -- be soldered down

Without disclosing what it be

'Twere blessed to have seen --

 

 

 

548

 

Death is potential to that Man

Who dies -- and to his friend --

Beyond that -- unconspicuous

To Anyone but God --

 

Of these Two -- God remembers

The longest -- for the friend --

Is integral -- and therefore

Itself dissolved -- of God --

 

 

 

549

 

That I did always love

I bring thee Proof

That till I loved

I never lived -- Enough --

 

That I shall love alway --

I argue thee

That love is life --

And life hath Immortality --

 

This -- dost thou doubt -- Sweet --

Then have I

Nothing to show

But Calvary --

 

 

 

550

 

I cross till I am weary

A Mountain -- in my mind --

More Mountains -- then a Sea --

More Seas -- And then

A Desert -- find --

 

And My Horizon blocks

With steady -- drifting -- Grains

Of unconjectured quantity --

As Asiatic Rains --

 

Nor this -- defeat my Pace --

It hinder from the West

But as an Enemy's Salute

One hurrying to Rest --

 

What merit had the Goal --

Except there intervene

Faint Doubt -- and far Competitor --

To jeopardize the Gain?

 

At last -- the Grace in sight --

I shout unto my feet --

I offer them the Whole of Heaven

The instant that we meet --

 

They strive -- and yet delay --

They perish -- Do we die --

Or is this Death's Experiment --

Reversed -- in Victory?

 

 

 

551

 

There is a Shame of Nobleness --

Confronting Sudden Pelf --

A finer Shame of Ecstasy --

Convicted of Itself --

 

A best Disgrace -- a Brave Man feels --

Acknowledged -- of the Brave --

One More -- "Ye Blessed" -- to be told --

But that's -- Behind the Grave --

 

 

 

552

 

An ignorance a Sunset

Confer upon the Eye --

Of Territory -- Color --

Circumference -- Decay --

 

Its Amber Revelation

Exhilirate -- Debase --

Omnipotence' inspection

Of Our inferior face --

 

And when the solemn features

Confirm -- in Victory --

We start -- as if detected

In Immortality --

 

 

 

553

 

One Crucifixion is recorded -- only --

How many be

Is not affirmed of Mathematics --

Or History --

 

One Calvary -- exhibited to Stranger --

As many be

As persons -- or Peninsulas --

Gethsemane --

 

Is but a Province -- in the Being's Centre --

Judea --

For Journey -- or Crusade's Achieving --

Too near --

 

Our Lord -- indeed -- made Compound Witness --

And yet --

There's newer -- nearer Crucifixion

Than That --

 

 

 

554

 

The Black Berry -- wears a Thorn in his side --

But no Man heard Him cry --

He offers His Berry, just the same

To Partridge -- and to Boy --

 

He sometimes holds upon the Fence --

Or struggles to a Tree --

Or clasps a Rock, with both His Hands --

But not for Sympathy --

 

We -- tell a Hurt -- to cool it --

This Mourner -- to the Sky

A little further reaches -- instead --

Brave Black Berry --

 

 

 

555

 

Trust in the Unexpected --

By this -- was William Kidd

Persuaded of the Buried Gold --

As One had testified --

 

Through this -- the old Philosopher --

His Talismanic Stone

Discerned -- still withholden

To effort undivine --

 

'Twas this -- allured Columbus --

When Genoa -- withdrew

Before an Apparition

Baptized America --

 

The Same -- afflicted Thomas --

When Deity assured

'Twas better -- the perceiving not --

Provided it believed --

 

 

 

556

 

The Brain, within its Groove

Runs evenly -- and true --

But let a Splinter swerve --

'Twere easier for You --

 

To put a Current back --

When Floods have slit the Hills --

And scooped a Turnpike for Themselves --

And trodden out the Mills --

 

 

 

557

 

She hideth Her the last --

And is the first, to rise --

Her Night doth hardly recompense

The Closing of Her eyes --

 

She doth Her Purple Work --

And putteth Her away

In low Apartments in the Sod -

As worthily as We.

 

To imitate her life

As impotent would be

As make of Our imperfect Mints,

The Julep -- of the Bee --

 

 

 

558

 

But little Carmine hath her face --

Of Emerald scant -- her Gown --

Her Beauty -- is the love she doth --

Itself -- exhibit -- Mine --

 

 

 

559

 

It knew no Medicine --

It was not Sickness -- then --

Nor any need of Surgery --

And therefore -- 'twas not Pain --

 

It moved away the Cheeks --

A Dimple at a time --

And left the Profile -- plainer --

And in the place of Bloom

 

It left the little Tint

That never had a Name --

You've seen it on a Cast's face --

Was Paradise -- to blame --

 

If momently ajar --

Temerity -- drew near --

And sickened -- ever afterward

For Somewhat that it saw?

 

 

 

560

 

It knew no lapse, nor Diminuation --

But large -- serene --

Burned on -- until through Dissolution --

It failed from Men --

 

I could not deem these Planetary forces

Annulled --

But suffered an Exchange of Territory --

Or World --

 

 

 

561

 

I measure every Grief I meet

With narrow, probing, Eyes --

I wonder if It weighs like Mine --

Or has an Easier size.

 

I wonder if They bore it long --

Or did it just begin --

I could not tell the Date of Mine --

It feels so old a pain --

 

I wonder if it hurts to live --

And if They have to try --

And whether -- could They choose between --

It would not be -- to die --

 

I note that Some -- gone patient long --

At length, renew their smile --

An imitation of a Light

That has so little Oil --

 

I wonder if when Years have piled --

Some Thousands -- on the Harm --

That hurt them early -- such a lapse

Could give them any Balm --

 

Or would they go on aching still

Through Centuries of Nerve --

Enlightened to a larger Pain -

In Contrast with the Love --

 

The Grieved -- are many -- I am told --

There is the various Cause --

Death -- is but one -- and comes but once --

And only nails the eyes --

 

There's Grief of Want -- and Grief of Cold --

A sort they call "Despair" --

There's Banishment from native Eyes --

In sight of Native Air --

 

And though I may not guess the kind --

Correctly -- yet to me

A piercing Comfort it affords

In passing Calvary --

 

To note the fashions -- of the Cross --

And how they're mostly worn --

Still fascinated to presume

That Some -- are like My Own --

 

 

 

562

 

Conjecturing a Climate

Of unsuspended Suns --

Adds poignancy to Winter --

The Shivering Fancy turns

 

To a fictitious Country

To palliate a Cold --

Not obviated of Degree --

Nor erased -- of Latitude --

 

 

 

563

 

I could not prove the Years had feet --

Yet confident they run

Am I, from symptoms that are past

And Series that are done --

 

I find my feet have further Goals --

I smile upon the Aims

That felt so ample -- Yesterday --

Today's -- have vaster claims --

 

I do not doubt the self I was

Was competent to me --

But something awkward in the fit --

Proves that -- outgrown -- I see --

 

 

 

564

 

My period had come for Prayer --

No other Art -- would do --

My Tactics missed a rudiment --

Creator -- Was it you?

 

God grows above -- so those who pray

Horizons -- must ascend --

And so I stepped upon the North

To see this Curious Friend --

 

His House was not -- no sign had He --

By Chimney -- nor by Door

Could I infer his Residence --

Vast Prairies of Air

 

Unbroken by a Settler --

Were all that I could see --

Infinitude -- Had'st Thou no Face

That I might look on Thee?

 

The Silence condescended --

Creation stopped -- for Me --

But awed beyond my errand --

I worshipped -- did not "pray" --

 

 

 

565

 

One Anguish -- in a Crowd --

A Minor thing -- it sounds --

And yet, unto the single Doe

Attempted of the Hounds

 

'Tis Terror as consummate

As Legions of Alarm

Did leap, full flanked, upon the Host --

'Tis Units -- make the Swarm --

 

A Small Leech -- on the Vitals --

The sliver, in the Lung --

The Bung out -- of an Artery --

Are scarce accounted -- Harms --

 

Yet might -- by relation

To that Repealless thing --

A Being -- impotent to end --

When once it has begun --

 

 

 

566

 

A Dying Tiger -- moaned for Drink --

I hunted all the Sand --

I caught the Dripping of a Rock

And bore it in my Hand --

 

His Mighty Balls -- in death were thick --

But searching -- I could see

A Vision on the Retina

Of Water -- and of me --

 

'Twas not my blame -- who sped too slow --

'Twas not his blame -- who died

While I was reaching him --

But 'twas -- the fact that He was dead --

 

 

 

567

 

He gave away his Life --

To Us -- Gigantic Sum --

A trifle -- in his own esteem --

But magnified -- by Fame --

 

Until it burst the Hearts

That fancied they could hold --

When swift it slipped its limit --

And on the Heavens -- unrolled --

 

'Tis Ours -- to wince -- and weep --

And wonder -- and decay

By Blossoms gradual process --

He chose -- Maturity --

 

And quickening -- as we sowed --

Just obviated Bud --

And when We turned to note the Growth --

Broke -- perfect -- from the Pod --

 

 

 

568

 

We learned the Whole of Love --

The Alphabet -- the Words --

A Chapter -- then the mighty Book --

Then -- Revelation closed --

 

But in Each Other's eyes

An Ignorance beheld --

Diviner than the Childhood's --

And each to each, a Child --

 

Attempted to expound

What Neither -- understood --

Alas, that Wisdom is so large --

And Truth -- so manifold!

 

 

 

569

 

I reckon -- when I count it all --

First -- Poets -- Then the Sun --

Then Summer -- Then the Heaven of God --

And then -- the List is done --

 

But, looking back -- the First so seems

To Comprehend the Whole --

The Others look a needless Show --

So I write -- Poets -- All --

 

Their Summer -- lasts a Solid Year --

They can afford a Sun

The East -- would deem extravagant --

And if the Further Heaven --

 

Be Beautiful as they prepare

For Those who worship Them --

It is too difficult a Grace --

To justify the Dream --

 

 

 

570

 

I could die -- to know --

'Tis a trifling knowledge --

News-Boys salute the Door --

Carts -- joggle by --

Morning's bold face -- stares in the window --

Were but mine -- the Charter of the least Fly --

 

Houses hunch the House

With their Brick Shoulders --

Coals -- from a Rolling Load -- rattle -- how -- near --

To the very Square -- His foot is passing --

Possibly, this moment --

While I -- dream -- Here --

 

 

 

571

 

Must be a Woe --

A loss or so --

To bend the eye

Best Beauty's way --

 

But -- once aslant

It notes Delight

As difficult

As Stalactite

 

A Common Bliss

Were had for less --

The price -- is

Even as the Grace --

 

Our lord -- thought no

Extravagance

To pay -- a Cross --

 

 

 

572

 

Delight -- becomes pictorial --

When viewed through Pain --

More fair -- because impossible

Than any gain --

 

The Mountain -- at a given distance --

In Amber -- lies --

Approached -- the Amber flits -- a little --

And That's -- the Skies --

 

 

 

573

 

The Test of Love -- is Death --

Our Lord -- "so loved" -- it saith --

What Largest Lover -- hath

Another -- doth --

 

If smaller Patience -- be --

Through less Infinity --

If Bravo, sometimes swerve --

Through fainter Nerve --

 

Accept its Most --

And overlook -- the Dust --

Last -- Least --

The Cross' -- Request --

 

 

 

574

 

My first well Day -- since many ill --

I asked to go abroad,

And take the Sunshine in my hands,

And see the things in Pod --

 

A 'blossom just when I went in

To take my Chance with pain --

Uncertain if myself, or He,

Should prove the strongest One.

 

The Summer deepened, while we strove --

She put some flowers away --

And Redder cheeked Ones -- in their stead --

A fond -- illusive way --

 

To cheat Herself, it seemed she tried --

As if before a child

To fade -- Tomorrow -- Rainbows held

The Sepulchre, could hide.

 

She dealt a fashion to the Nut --

She tied the Hoods to Seeds --

She dropped bright scraps of Tint, about --

And left Brazilian Threads

 

On every shoulder that she met --

Then both her Hands of Haze

Put up -- to hide her parting Grace

From our unfitted eyes.

 

My loss, by sickness -- Was it Loss?

Or that Ethereal Gain

One earns by measuring the Grave --

Then -- measuring the Sun --

 

 

 

575

 

"Heaven" has different Signs -- to me --

Sometimes, I think that Noon

Is but a symbol of the Place --

And when again, at Dawn,

 

A mighty look runs round the World

And settles in the Hills --

An Awe if it should be like that

Upon the Ignorance steals --

 

The Orchard, when the Sun is on --

The Triumph of the Birds

When they together Victory make --

Some Carnivals of Clouds --

 

The Rapture of a finished Day --

Returning to the West --

All these -- remind us of the place

That Men call "paradise" --

 

Itself be fairer -- we suppose --

But how Ourself, shall be

Adorned, for a Superior Grace --

Not yet, our eyes can see --

 

 

 

576

 

I prayed, at first, a little Girl,

Because they told me to --

But stopped, when qualified to guess

How prayer would feel -- to me --

 

If I believed God looked around,

Each time my Childish eye

Fixed full, and steady, on his own

In Childish honesty --

 

And told him what I'd like, today,

And parts of his far plan

That baffled me --

The mingled side

Of his Divinity --

 

And often since, in Danger,

I count the force 'twould be

To have a God so strong as that

To hold my life for me

 

Till I could take the Balance

That tips so frequent, now,

It takes me all the while to poise --

And then -- it doesn't stay --

 

 

 

577

 

If I may have it, when it's dead,

I'll be contented -- so --

If just as soon as Breath is out

It shall belong to me --

 

Until they lock it in the Grave,

'Tis Bliss I cannot weigh --

For tho' they lock Thee in the Grave,

Myself -- can own the key --

 

Think of it Lover! I and Thee

Permitted -- face to face to be --

After a Life -- a Death -- We'll say --

For Death was That --

And this -- is Thee --

 

I'll tell Thee All -- how Bald it grew --

How Midnight felt, at first -- to me --

How all the Clocks stopped in the World --

And Sunshine pinched me -- 'Twas so cold --

 

Then how the Grief got sleepy -- some --

As if my Soul were deaf and dumb --

Just making signs -- across -- to Thee --

That this way -- thou could'st notice me --

 

I'll tell you how I tried to keep

A smile, to show you, when this Deep

All Waded -- We look back for Play,

At those Old Times -- in Calvary,

 

Forgive me, if the Grave come slow --

For Coveting to look at Th