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by Francis Thompson
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NEW POEMS,

By Francis Thompson.

Dedication to Coventry Patmore.

Lo, my book thinks to look Time's leaguer down, Under the banner of your spread renown! Or if these levies of impuissant rhyme Fall to the overthrow of assaulting Time, Yet this one page shall fend oblivious shame, Armed with your crested and prevailing Name.

Note.—This dedication was written while the dear friend and great Poet to whom it was addressed yet lived. It is left as he saw it— the last verses of mine that were ever to pass under his eyes.

F. T.



Contents.

SIGHT AND INSIGHT.

The mistress of vision. Contemplation. 'By reason of Thy law.' The dread of height. Orient ode. New Year's chimes. From the night of forebeing. Any saint. Assumpta Maria. The after woman. Grace of the way. Retrospect.



A NARROW VESSEL.

A girl's sin—in her eyes. A girl's sin—in his eyes. Love declared. The way of a maid. Beginning of the end. Penelope. The end of it. Epilogue.



MISCELLANEOUS ODES.

Ode to the setting sun. A captain of song. Against Urania. An anthem of earth.



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

'Ex ore infantium.' A question. Field-flower. The cloud's swan-song. To the sinking sun. Grief's harmonics. Memorat memoria. July fugitive. To a snow-flake. Nocturn. A May burden. A dead astronomer. 'Chose vue.' 'Whereto art thou come.' Heaven and hell. To a child. Hermes. House of bondage. The heart. A sunset. Heard on the mountain.



ULTIMA.

Love's almsman plaineth his fare. A holocaust. Beneath a photograph. After her going. My lady the tyranness. Unto this last. Ultimum. Envoy.



SIGHT AND INSIGHT.



'Wisdom is easily seen by them that love her, and is found by them that seek her. To think therefore upon her is perfect understanding.'

WISDOM, vi.



THE MISTRESS OF VISION.

I

Secret was the garden; Set i' the pathless awe Where no star its breath can draw. Life, that is its warden, Sits behind the fosse of death. Mine eyes saw not, and I saw.

II

It was a mazeful wonder; Thrice three times it was enwalled With an emerald— Seal-ed so asunder. All its birds in middle air hung a-dream, their music thralled.

III

The Lady of fair weeping, At the garden's core, Sang a song of sweet and sore And the after-sleeping; In the land of Luthany, and the tracts of Elenore.

IV

With sweet-panged singing, Sang she through a dream-night's day; That the bowers might stay, Birds bate their winging, Nor the wall of emerald float in wreath-ed haze away.

V

The lily kept its gleaming, In her tears (divine conservers!) Wash-ed with sad art; And the flowers of dreaming Pal-ed not their fervours, For her blood flowed through their nervures; And the roses were most red, for she dipt them in her heart.

VI

There was never moon, Save the white sufficing woman: Light most heavenly-human— Like the unseen form of sound, Sensed invisibly in tune,— With a sun-deriv-ed stole Did inaureole All her lovely body round; Lovelily her lucid body with that light was inter- strewn.

VII

The sun which lit that garden wholly, Low and vibrant visible, Tempered glory woke; And it seem-ed solely Like a silver thurible Solemnly swung, slowly, Fuming clouds of golden fire, for a cloud of incense- smoke.

VIII

But woe's me, and woe's me, For the secrets of her eyes! In my visions fearfully They are ever shown to be As fring-ed pools, whereof each lies Pallid-dark beneath the skies Of a night that is But one blear necropolis. And her eyes a little tremble, in the wind of her own sighs.

IX

Many changes rise on Their phantasmal mysteries. They grow to an horizon Where earth and heaven meet; And like a wing that dies on The vague twilight-verges, Many a sinking dream doth fleet Lessening down their secrecies. And, as dusk with day converges, Their orbs are troublously Over-gloomed and over-glowed with hope and fear of things to be.

X

There is a peak on Himalay, And on the peak undeluged snow, And on the snow not eagles stray; There if your strong feet could go,— Looking over tow'rd Cathay From the never-deluged snow— Farthest ken might not survey Where the peoples underground dwell whom antique fables know.

XI

East, ah, east of Himalay, Dwell the nations underground; Hiding from the shock of Day, For the sun's uprising-sound: Dare not issue from the ground At the tumults of the Day, So fearfully the sun doth sound Clanging up beyond Cathay; For the great earthquaking sunrise rolling up beyond Cathay.

XII

Lend me, O lend me The terrors of that sound, That its music may attend me. Wrap my chant in thunders round; While I tell the ancient secrets in that Lady's singing found.

XIII

On Ararat there grew a vine, When Asia from her bathing rose; Our first sailor made a twine Thereof for his prefiguring brows. Canst divine Where, upon our dusty earth, of that vine a cluster grows?

XIV

On Golgotha there grew a thorn Round the long-prefigured Brows. Mourn, O mourn! For the vine have we the spine? Is this all the Heaven allows?

XV

On Calvary was shook a spear; Press the point into thy heart— Joy and fear! All the spines upon the thorn into curling tendrils start.

XVI

O, dismay! I, a wingless mortal, sporting With the tresses of the sun? I, that dare my hand to lay On the thunder in its snorting? Ere begun, Falls my singed song down the sky, even the old Icarian way.

XVII

From the fall precipitant These dim snatches of her chant Only have remain-ed mine;— That from spear and thorn alone May be grown For the front of saint or singer any divinizing twine.

XVIII

Her song said that no springing Paradise but evermore Hangeth on a singing That has chords of weeping, And that sings the after-sleeping To souls which wake too sore. 'But woe the singer, woe!' she said; 'beyond the dead his singing-lore, All its art of sweet and sore, He learns, in Elenore!'

XIX

Where is the land of Luthany, Where is the tract of Elenore? I am bound therefor.

XX

'Pierce thy heart to find the key; With thee take Only what none else would keep; Learn to dream when thou dost wake, Learn to wake when thou dost sleep. Learn to water joy with tears, Learn from fears to vanquish fears; To hope, for thou dar'st not despair, Exult, for that thou dar'st not grieve; Plough thou the rock until it bear; Know, for thou else couldst not believe; Lose, that the lost thou may'st receive; Die, for none other way canst live. When earth and heaven lay down their veil, And that apocalypse turns thee pale; When thy seeing blindeth thee To what thy fellow-mortals see; When their sight to thee is sightless; Their living, death; their light, most light- less; Search no more— Pass the gates of Luthany, tread the region Elenore.'

XXI

Where is the land of Luthany, And where the region Elenore? I do faint therefor. 'When to the new eyes of thee All things by immortal power, Near or far, Hiddenly To each other link-ed are, That thou canst not stir a flower Without troubling of a star; When thy song is shield and mirror To the fair snake-curl-ed Pain, Where thou dar'st affront her terror That on her thou may'st attain Persean conquest; seek no more, O seek no more! Pass the gates of Luthany, tread the region Elenore.'

XXII

So sang she, so wept she, Through a dream-night's day; And with her magic singing kept she— Mystical in music— That garden of enchanting In visionary May; Swayless for my spirit's haunting, Thrice-threefold walled with emerald from our mor- tal mornings grey.

XXIII

And as a necromancer Raises from the rose-ash The ghost of the rose; My heart so made answer To her voice's silver plash,— Stirred in reddening flash, And from out its mortal ruins the purpureal phantom blows.

XXIV

Her tears made dulcet fretting, Her voice had no word, More than thunder or the bird. Yet, unforgetting, The ravished soul her meanings knew. Mine ears heard not, and I heard.

XXV

When she shall unwind All those wiles she wound about me, Tears shall break from out me, That I cannot find Music in the holy poets to my wistful want, I doubt me!



CONTEMPLATION.

This morning saw I, fled the shower, The earth reclining in a lull of power: The heavens, pursuing not their path, Lay stretched out naked after bath, Or so it seemed; field, water, tree, were still, Nor was there any purpose on the calm-browed hill.

The hill, which sometimes visibly is Wrought with unresting energies, Looked idly; from the musing wood, And every rock, a life renewed Exhaled like an unconscious thought When poets, dreaming unperplexed, Dream that they dream of nought. Nature one hour appears a thing unsexed, Or to such serene balance brought That her twin natures cease their sweet alarms, And sleep in one another's arms. The sun with resting pulses seems to brood, And slacken its command upon my unurged blood.

The river has not any care Its passionless water to the sea to bear; The leaves have brown content; The wall to me has freshness like a scent, And takes half animate the air, Making one life with its green moss and stain; And life with all things seems too perfect blent For anything of life to be aware. The very shades on hill, and tree, and plain, Where they have fallen doze, and where they doze remain.

No hill can idler be than I; No stone its inter-particled vibration Investeth with a stiller lie; No heaven with a more urgent rest betrays The eyes that on it gaze. We are too near akin that thou shouldst cheat Me, Nature, with thy fair deceit.

In poets floating like a water-flower Upon the bosom of the glassy hour, In skies that no man sees to move, Lurk untumultuous vortices of power, For joy too native, and for agitation Too instant, too entire for sense thereof, Motion like gnats when autumn suns are low, Perpetual as the prisoned feet of love On the heart's floors with pain-ed pace that go. From stones and poets you may know, Nothing so active is, as that which least seems so.

For he, that conduit running wine of song, Then to himself does most belong, When he his mortal house unbars To the importunate and thronging feet That round our corporal walls unheeded beat; Till, all containing, he exalt His stature to the stars, or stars Narrow their heaven to his fleshly vault: When, like a city under ocean, To human things he grows a desolation, And is made a habitation For the fluctuous universe To lave with unimpeded motion. He scarcely frets the atmosphere With breathing, and his body shares The immobility of rocks; His heart's a drop-well of tranquillity; His mind more still is than the limbs of fear, And yet its unperturbed velocity The spirit of the simoom mocks. He round the solemn centre of his soul Wheels like a dervish, while his being is Streamed with the set of the world's harmonies, In the long draft of whatsoever sphere He lists the sweet and clear Clangour of his high orbit on to roll, So gracious is his heavenly grace; And the bold stars does hear, Every one in his airy soar, For evermore Shout to each other from the peaks of space, As thwart ravines of azure shouts the mountaineer.



'BY REASON OF THY LAW'.

Here I make oath— Although the heart that knows its bitterness Hear loath, And credit less— That he who kens to meet Pain's kisses fierce Which hiss against his tears, Dread, loss, nor love frustrate, Nor all iniquity of the froward years Shall his inur-ed wing make idly bate, Nor of the appointed quarry his staunch sight To lose observance quite; Seal from half-sad and all-elate Sagacious eyes Ultimate Paradise; Nor shake his certitude of haughty fate.

Pacing the burning shares of many dooms, I with stern tread do the clear-witting stars To judgment cite, If I have borne aright The proving of their pure-willed ordeal. From food of all delight The heavenly Falconer my heart debars, And tames with fearful glooms The haggard to His call; Yet sometimes comes a hand, sometimes a voice withal, And she sits meek now, and expects the light.

In this Avernian sky, This sultry and incumbent canopy Of dull and doomed regret; Where on the unseen verges yet, O yet, At intervals, Trembles, and falls, Faint lightning of remembered transient sweet— Ah, far too sweet But to be sweet a little, a little sweet, and fleet; Leaving this pallid trace, This loitering and most fitful light a space, Still some sad space, For Grief to see her own poor face:-

Here where I keep my stand With all o'er-anguished feet, And no live comfort near on any hand; Lo, I proclaim the unavoided term, When this morass of tears, then drained and firm, Shall be a land— Unshaken I affirm— Where seven-quired psalterings meet; And all the gods move with calm hand in hand, And eyes that know not trouble and the worm.



THE DREAD OF HEIGHT.

If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say: We see: your sin remaineth. JOHN ix. 41.

Not the Circean wine Most perilous is for pain: Grapes of the heavens' star-loaden vine, Whereto the lofty-placed Thoughts of fair souls attain, Tempt with a more retributive delight, And do disrelish all life's sober taste. 'Tis to have drunk too well The drink that is divine, Maketh the kind earth waste, And breath intolerable.

Ah me! How shall my mouth content it with mortality? Lo, secret music, sweetest music, From distances of distance drifting its lone flight, Down the arcane where Night would perish in night, Like a god's loosened locks slips undulously: Music that is too grievous of the height For safe and low delight, Too infinite, For bounded hearts which yet would girth the sea!

So let it be, Though sweet be great, and though my heart be small: So let it be, O music, music, though you wake in me No joy, no joy at all; Although you only wake Uttermost sadness, measure of delight, Which else I could not credit to the height, Did I not know, That ill is statured to its opposite; Did I not know, And even of sadness so, Of utter sadness make, Of extreme sad a rod to mete The incredible excess of unsensed sweet, And mystic wall of strange felicity. So let it be, Though sweet be great, and though my heart be small, And bitter meat The food of gods for men to eat; Yea, John ate daintier, and did tread Less ways of heat, Than whom to their wind-carpeted High banquet-hall, And golden love-feasts, the fair stars entreat.

But ah withal, Some hold, some stay, O difficult Joy, I pray, Some arms of thine, Not only, only arms of mine! Lest like a weary girl I fall From clasping love so high, And lacking thus thine arms, then may Most hapless I Turn utterly to love of basest rate; For low they fall whose fall is from the sky. Yea, who me shall secure But I of height grown desperate Surcease my wing, and my lost fate Be dashed from pure To broken writhings in the shameful slime: Lower than man, for I dreamed higher, Thrust down, by how much I aspire, And damned with drink of immortality? For such things be, Yea, and the lowest reach of reeky Hell Is but made possible By forta'en breath of Heaven's austerest clime.

These tidings from the vast to bring Needeth not doctor nor divine, Too well, too well My flesh doth know the heart-perturbing thing; That dread theology alone Is mine, Most native and my own; And ever with victorious toil When I have made Of the deific peaks dim escalade, My soul with anguish and recoil Doth like a city in an earthquake rock, As at my feet the abyss is cloven then, With deeper menace than for other men, Of my potential cousinship with mire; That all my conquered skies do grow a hollow mock, My fearful powers retire, No longer strong, Reversing the shook banners of their song.

Ah, for a heart less native to high Heaven, A hooded eye, for jesses and restraint, Or for a will accipitrine to pursue! The veil of tutelar flesh to simple livers given, Or those brave-fledging fervours of the Saint, Whose heavenly falcon-craft doth never taint, Nor they in sickest time their ample virtue mew.



ORIENT ODE.

Lo, in the sanctuaried East, Day, a dedicated priest In all his robes pontifical exprest, Lifteth slowly, lifteth sweetly, From out its Orient tabernacle drawn, Yon orb-ed sacrament confest Which sprinkles benediction through the dawn; And when the grave procession's ceased, The earth with due illustrious rite Blessed,—ere the frail fingers featly Of twilight, violet-cassocked acolyte, His sacerdotal stoles unvest— Sets, for high close of the mysterious feast, The sun in august exposition meetly Within the flaming monstrance of the West. O salutaris hostia, Quae coeli pandis ostium! Through breach-ed darkness' rampart, a Divine assaulter, art thou come! God whom none may live and mark! Borne within thy radiant ark, While the Earth, a joyous David, Dances before thee from the dawn to dark. The moon, O leave, pale ruined Eve; Behold her fair and greater daughter {1} Offers to thee her fruitful water, Which at thy first white Ave shall conceive! Thy gazes do on simple her Desirable allures confer; What happy comelinesses rise Beneath thy beautifying eyes! Who was, indeed, at first a maid Such as, with sighs, misgives she is not fair, And secret views herself afraid, Till flatteries sweet provoke the charms they swear: Yea, thy gazes, blissful lover, Make the beauties they discover! What dainty guiles and treacheries caught From artful prompting of love's artless thought Her lowly loveliness teach her to adorn, When thy plumes shiver against the conscious gates of morn!

And so the love which is thy dower, Earth, though her first-frightened breast Against the exigent boon protest, (For she, poor maid, of her own power Has nothing in herself, not even love, But an unwitting void thereof), Gives back to thee in sanctities of flower; And holy odours do her bosom invest, That sweeter grows for being prest: Though dear recoil, the tremorous nurse of joy, From thine embrace still startles coy, Till Phosphor lead, at thy returning hour, The laughing captive from the wishing West.

Nor the majestic heavens less Thy formidable sweets approve, Thy dreads and thy delights confess, That do draw, and that remove. Thou as a lion roar'st, O Sun, Upon thy satellites' vex-ed heels; Before thy terrible hunt thy planets run; Each in his frighted orbit wheels, Each flies through inassuageable chase, Since the hunt o' the world begun, The puissant approaches of thy face, And yet thy radiant leash he feels. Since the hunt o' the world begun, Lashed with terror, leashed with longing, The mighty course is ever run; Pricked with terror, leashed with longing, Thy rein they love, and thy rebuke they shun. Since the hunt o' the world began, With love that trembleth, fear that loveth, Thou join'st the woman to the man; And Life with Death In obscure nuptials moveth, Commingling alien, yet affin-ed breath.

Thou art the incarnated Light Whose Sire is aboriginal, and beyond Death and resurgence of our day and night; From him is thy vicegerent wand With double potence of the black and white. Giver of Love, and Beauty, and Desire, The terror, and the loveliness, and purging, The deathfulness and lifefulness of fire! Samson's riddling meanings merging In thy twofold sceptre meet: Out of thy minatory might, Burning Lion, burning Lion, Comes the honey of all sweet, And out of thee, the eater, comes forth meat. And though, by thine alternate breath, Every kiss thou dost inspire Echoeth Back from the windy vaultages of death; Yet thy clear warranty above Augurs the wings of death too must Occult reverberations stir of love Crescent and life incredible; That even the kisses of the just Go down not unresurgent to the dust. Yea, not a kiss which I have given, But shall tri-umph upon my lips in heaven, Or cling a shameful fungus there in hell. Know'st thou me not, O Sun? Yea, well Thou know'st the ancient miracle, The children know'st of Zeus and May; And still thou teachest them, O splendent Brother, To incarnate, the antique way, The truth which is their heritage from their Sire In sweet disguise of flesh from their sweet Mother. My fingers thou hast taught to con Thy flame-chorded psalterion, Till I can translate into mortal wire— Till I can translate passing well— The heavenly harping harmony, Melodious, sealed, inaudible, Which makes the dulcet psalter of the world's desire. Thou whisperest in the Moon's white ear, And she does whisper into mine,— By night together, I and she— With her virgin voice divine, The things I cannot half so sweetly tell As she can sweetly speak, I sweetly hear.

By her, the Woman, does Earth live, O Lord, Yet she for Earth, and both in thee. Light out of Light! Resplendent and prevailing Word Of the Unheard! Not unto thee, great Image, not to thee Did the wise heathen bend an idle knee; And in an age of faith grown frore If I too shall adore, Be it accounted unto me A bright sciential idolatry! God has given thee visible thunders To utter thine apocalypse of wonders; And what want I of prophecy, That at the sounding from thy station Of thy flagrant trumpet, see The seals that melt, the open revelation? Or who a God-persuading angel needs, That only heeds The rhetoric of thy burning deeds? Which but to sing, if it may be, In worship-warranting moiety, So I would win In such a song as hath within A smouldering core of mystery, Brimm-ed with nimbler meanings up Than hasty Gideons in their hands may sup;— Lo, my suit pleads That thou, Isaian coal of fire, Touch from yon altar my poor mouth's desire, And the relucent song take for thy sacred meeds.

To thine own shape Thou round'st the chrysolite of the grape, Bind'st thy gold lightnings in his veins; Thou storest the white garners of the rains. Destroyer and preserver, thou Who medicinest sickness, and to health Art the unthank-ed marrow of its wealth; To those apparent sovereignties we bow And bright appurtenances of thy brow! Thy proper blood dost thou not give, That Earth, the gusty Maenad, drink and dance? Art thou not life of them that live? Yea, in glad twinkling advent, thou dost dwell Within our body as a tabernacle! Thou bittest with thine ordinance The jaws of Time, and thou dost mete The unsustainable treading of his feet. Thou to thy spousal universe Art Husband, she thy Wife and Church; Who in most dusk and vidual curch, Her Lord being hence, Keeps her cold sorrows by thy hearse. The heavens renew their innocence And morning state But by thy sacrament communicate: Their weeping night the symbol of our prayers, Our darkened search, And sinful vigil desolate. Yea, biune in imploring dumb, Essential Heavens and corporal Earth await, The Spirit and the Bride say: Come! Lo, of thy Magians I the least Haste with my gold, my incenses and myrrhs, To thy desired epiphany, from the spiced Regions and odorous of Song's traded East. Thou, for the life of all that live The victim daily born and sacrificed; To whom the pinion of this longing verse Beats but with fire which first thyself did give, To thee, O Sun—or is't perchance, to Christ?

Ay, if men say that on all high heaven's face The saintly signs I trace Which round my stol-ed altars hold their solemn place, Amen, amen! For oh, how could it be,— When I with wing-ed feet had run Through all the windy earth about, Quested its secret of the sun, And heard what thing the stars together shout,— I should not heed thereout Consenting counsel won:- 'By this, O Singer, know we if thou see. When men shall say to thee: Lo! Christ is here, When men shall say to thee: Lo! Christ is there, Believe them: yea, and this—then art thou seer, When all thy crying clear Is but: Lo here! lo there!—ah me, lo everywhere!'

{1} The earth.



NEW YEAR'S CHIMES.

What is the song the stars sing? (And a million songs are as song of one.) This is the song the stars sing: Sweeter song's none.

One to set, and many to sing, (And a million songs are as song of one), One to stand, and many to cling, The many things, and the one Thing, The one that runs not, the many that run.

The ever new weaveth the ever old (And a million songs are as song of one). Ever telling the never told; The silver saith, and the said is gold, And done ever the never done.

The chase that's chased is the Lord o' the chase (And a million songs are as song of one), And the pursued cries on the race; And the hounds in leash are the hounds that run.

Hidden stars by the shown stars' sheen; (And a million suns are but as one); Colours unseen by the colours seen, And sounds unheard heard sounds between, And a night is in the light of the sun.

An ambuscade of light in night, (And a million secrets are but as one), And a night is dark in the sun's light, And a world in the world man looks upon.

Hidden stars by the shown stars' wings, (And a million cycles are but as one), And a world with unapparent strings Knits the simulant world of things; Behold, and vision thereof is none.

The world above in the world below (And a million worlds are but as one), And the One in all; as the sun's strength so Strives in all strength, glows in all glow Of the earth that wits not, and man thereon.

Braced in its own fourfold embrace (And a million strengths are as strength of one), And round it all God's arms of grace, The world, so as the Vision says, Doth with great lightning-tramples run.

And thunder bruiteth into thunder, (And a million sounds are as sound of one), From stellate peak to peak is tossed a voice of wonder, And the height stoops down to the depths thereunder, And sun leans forth to his brother-sun.

And the more ample years unfold (With a million songs as song of one), A little new of the ever old, A little told of the never told, Added act of the never done.

Loud the descant, and low the theme, (A million songs are as song of one); And the dream of the world is dream in dream, But the one Is is, or nought could seem; And the song runs round to the song begun.

This is the song the stars sing, (Ton-ed all in time); Tintinnabulous, tuned to ring A multitudinous-single thing, Rung all in rhyme.



FROM THE NIGHT OF FOREBEING. An ode after Easter.

In the chaos of preordination, and night of our forebeings.—

SIR THOMAS BROWNE.

Et lux in tenebris erat, et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.—

ST. JOHN.

Cast wide the folding doorways of the East, For now is light increased! And the wind-besomed chambers of the air, See they be garnished fair; And look the ways exhale some precious odours, And set ye all about wild-breathing spice, Most fit for Paradise. Now is no time for sober gravity, Season enough has Nature to be wise; But now distinct, with raiment glittering free, Shake she the ringing rafters of the skies With festal footing and bold joyance sweet, And let the earth be drunken and carouse! For lo, into her house Spring is come home with her world-wandering feet, And all things are made young with young desires; And all for her is light increased In yellow stars and yellow daffodils, And East to West, and West to East, Fling answering welcome-fires, By dawn and day-fall, on the jocund hills. And ye, winged minstrels of her fair meinie, Being newly coated in glad livery, Upon her steps attend, And round her treading dance and without end Reel your shrill lutany. What popular breath her coming does out-tell The garrulous leaves among! What little noises stir and pass From blade to blade along the voluble grass! O Nature, never-done Ungaped-at Pentecostal miracle, We hear thee, each man in his proper tongue! Break, elemental children, break ye loose From the strict frosty rule Of grey-beard Winter's school. Vault, O young winds, vault in your tricksome courses Upon the snowy steeds that reinless use In coerule pampas of the heaven to run; Foaled of the white sea-horses, Washed in the lambent waters of the sun. Let even the slug-abed snail upon the thorn Put forth a conscious horn! Mine elemental co-mates, joy each one; And ah, my foster-brethren, seem not sad— No, seem not sad, That my strange heart and I should be so little glad. Suffer me at your leafy feast To sit apart, a somewhat alien guest, And watch your mirth, Unsharing in the liberal laugh of earth; Yet with a sympathy, Begot of wholly sad and half-sweet memory— The little sweetness making grief complete; Faint wind of wings from hours that distant beat, When I, I too, Was once, O wild companions, as are you, Ran with such wilful feet. Wraith of a recent day and dead, Risen wanly overhead, Frail, strengthless as a noon-belated moon, Or as the glazing eyes of watery heaven, When the sick night sinks into deathly swoon.

A higher and a solemn voice I heard through your gay-hearted noise; A solemn meaning and a stiller voice Sounds to me from far days when I too shall rejoice, Nor more be with your jollity at strife. O prophecy Of things that are, and are not, and shall be! The great-vanned Angel March Hath trumpeted His clangorous 'Sleep no more' to all the dead— Beat his strong vans o'er earth, and air, and sea. And they have heard; Hark to the Jubilate of the bird For them that found the dying way to life! And they have heard, And quicken to the great precursive word; Green spray showers lightly down the cascade of the larch; The graves are riven, And the Sun comes with power amid the clouds of heaven! Before his way Went forth the trumpet of the March; Before his way, before his way Dances the pennon of the May! O earth, unchilded, widowed Earth, so long Lifting in patient pine and ivy-tree Mournful belief and steadfast prophecy, Behold how all things are made true! Behold your bridegroom cometh in to you, Exceeding glad and strong. Raise up your eyes, O raise your eyes abroad! No more shall you sit sole and vidual, Searching, in servile pall, Upon the hieratic night the star-sealed sense of all: Rejoice, O barren, and look forth abroad! Your children gathered back to your embrace See with a mother's face. Look up, O mortals, and the portent heed; In very deed, Washed with new fire to their irradiant birth, Reintegrated are the heavens and earth! From sky to sod, The world's unfolded blossom smells of God.

O imagery Of that which was the first, and is the last! For as the dark, profound nativity, God saw the end should be, When the world's infant horoscope He cast. Unshackled from the bright Phoebean awe, In leaf, flower, mould, and tree, Resolved into dividual liberty, Most strengthless, unparticipant, inane, Or suffered the ill peace of lethargy, Lo, the Earth eased of rule: Unsummered, granted to her own worst smart The dear wish of the fool— Disintegration, merely which man's heart For freedom understands, Amid the frog-like errors from the damp And quaking swamp Of the low popular levels spawned in all the lands. But thou, O Earth, dost much disdain The bondage of thy waste and futile reign, And sweetly to the great compulsion draw Of God's alone true-manumitting law, And Freedom, only which the wise intend, To work thine innate end. Over thy vacant counterfeit of death Broods with soft urgent breath Love, that is child of Beauty and of Awe: To intercleavage of sharp warring pain, As of contending chaos come again, Thou wak'st, O Earth, And work'st from change to change and birth to birth Creation old as hope, and new as sight; For meed of toil not vain, Hearing once more the primal fiat toll:- 'Let there be light!' And there is light! Light flagrant, manifest; Light to the zenith, light from pole to pole; Light from the East that waxeth to the West, And with its puissant goings-forth Encroaches on the South and on the North; And with its great approaches does prevail Upon the sullen fastness of the height, And summoning its levied power Crescent and confident through the crescent hour, Goes down with laughters on the subject vale. Light flagrant, manifest; Light to the sentient closeness of the breast, Light to the secret chambers of the brain! And thou up-floatest, warm, and newly-bathed, Earth, through delicious air, And with thine own apparent beauties swathed, Wringing the waters from thine arborous hair; That all men's hearts, which do behold and see, Grow weak with their exceeding much desire, And turn to thee on fire, Enamoured with their utter wish of thee, Anadyomene! What vine-outquickening life all creatures sup, Feel, for the air within its sapphire cup How it does leap, and twinkle headily! Feel, for Earth's bosom pants, and heaves her scarfing sea; And round and round in bacchanal rout reel the swift spheres intemperably!

My little-worlded self! the shadows pass In this thy sister-world, as in a glass, Of all processions that revolve in thee: Not only of cyclic Man Thou here discern'st the plan, Not only of cyclic Man, but of the cyclic Me. Not solely of Mortality's great years The reflex just appears, But thine own bosom's year, still circling round In ample and in ampler gyre Toward the far completion, wherewith crowned, Love unconsumed shall chant in his own furnace-fire. How many trampled and deciduous joys Enrich thy soul for joys deciduous still, Before the distance shall fulfil Cyclic unrest with solemn equipoise! Happiness is the shadow of things past, Which fools still take for that which is to be! And not all foolishly: For all the past, read true, is prophecy, And all the firsts are hauntings of some Last, And all the springs are flash-lights of one Spring. Then leaf, and flower, and falless fruit Shall hang together on the unyellowing bough; And silence shall be Music mute For her surcharg-ed heart. Hush thou! These things are far too sure that thou should'st dream Thereof, lest they appear as things that seem.

Shade within shade! for deeper in the glass Now other imaged meanings pass; And as the man, the poet there is read. Winter with me, alack! Winter on every hand I find: Soul, brain, and pulses dead; The mind no further by the warm sense fed, The soul weak-stirring in the arid mind, More tearless-weak to flash itself abroad Than the earth's life beneath the frost-scorched sod. My lips have drought, and crack, By laving music long unvisited. Beneath the austere and macerating rime Draws back constricted in its icy urns The genial flame of Earth, and there With torment and with tension does prepare The lush disclosures of the vernal time. All joys draw inward to their icy urns, Tormented by constraining rime, And there With undelight and throe prepare The bounteous efflux of the vernal time. Nor less beneath compulsive Law Rebuk-ed draw The numb-ed musics back upon my heart; Whose yet-triumphant course I know And prevalent pulses forth shall start, Like cataracts that with thunderous hoof charge the disbanding snow. All power is bound In quickening refusal so; And silence is the lair of sound; In act its impulse to deliver, With fluctuance and quiver The endeavouring thew grows rigid; Strong From its retracted coil strikes the resilient song.

Giver of spring, And song, and every young new thing! Thou only seest in me, so stripped and bare, The lyric secret waiting to be born, The patient term allowed Before it stretch and flutteringly unfold Its rumpled webs of amethyst-freaked, diaphanous gold. And what hard task abstracts me from delight, Filling with hopeless hope and dear despair The still-born day and parch-ed fields of night, That my old way of song, no longer fair, For lack of serene care, Is grown a stony and a weed-choked plot, Thou only know'st aright, Thou only know'st, for I know not. How many songs must die that this may live! And shall this most rash hope and fugitive, Fulfilled with beauty and with might In days whose feet are rumorous on the air, Make me forget to grieve For songs which might have been, nor ever were? Stern the denial, the travail slow, The struggling wall will scantly grow: And though with that dread rite of sacrifice Ordained for during edifice, How long, how long ago! Into that wall which will not thrive I build myself alive, Ah, who shall tell me will the wall uprise? Thou wilt not tell me, who dost only know! Yet still in mind I keep, He which observes the wind shall hardly sow, He which regards the clouds shall hardly reap. Thine ancient way! I give, Nor wit if I receive; Risk all, who all would gain: and blindly. Be it so.

'And blindly,' said I?—No! That saying I unsay: the wings Hear I not in praevenient winnowings Of coming songs, that lift my hair and stir it? What winds with music wet do the sweet storm foreshow! Utter stagnation Is the solstitial slumber of the spirit, The blear and blank negation of all life: But these sharp questionings mean strife, and strife Is the negation of negation. The thing from which I turn my troubled look Fearing the gods' rebuke; That perturbation putting glory on, As is the golden vortex in the West Over the foundered sun; That—but low breathe it, lest the Nemesis Unchild me, vaunting this— Is bliss, the hid, hugged, swaddled bliss! O youngling Joy carest! That on my now first-mothered breast Pliest the strange wonder of thine infant lip, What this aghast surprise of keenest panging, Wherefrom I blench, and cry thy soft mouth rest? Ah hold, withhold, and let the sweet mouth slip! So, with such pain, recoils the woolly dam, Unused, affrighted, from her yeanling lamb: I, one with her in cruel fellowship, Marvel what unmaternal thing I am.

Nature, enough! within thy glass Too many and too stern the shadows pass. In this delighted season, flaming For thy resurrection-feast, Ah, more I think the long ensepulture cold, Than stony winter rolled From the unsealed mouth of the holy East; The snowdrop's saintly stoles less heed Than the snow-cloistered penance of the seed. 'Tis the weak flesh reclaiming Against the ordinance Which yet for just the accepting spirit scans. Earth waits, and patient heaven, Self-bonded God doth wait Thrice-promulgated bans Of his fair nuptial-date. And power is man's, With that great word of 'wait,' To still the sea of tears, And shake the iron heart of Fate. In that one word is strong An else, alas, much-mortal song; With sight to pass the frontier of all spheres, And voice which does my sight such wrong.

Not without fortitude I wait The dark majestical ensuit Of destiny, nor peevish rate Calm-knowledged Fate. I, that no part have in the time's bragged way, And its loud bruit I, in this house so rifted, marred, So ill to live in, hard to leave; I, so star-weary, over-warred, That have no joy in this your day— Rather foul fume englutting, that of day Confounds all ray— But only stand aside and grieve; I yet have sight beyond the smoke, And kiss the gods' feet, though they wreak Upon me stroke and again stroke; And this my seeing is not weak. The Woman I behold, whose vision seek All eyes and know not; t'ward whom climb The steps o' the world, and beats all wing of rhyme, And knows not; 'twixt the sun and moon Her inexpressible front enstarred Tempers the wrangling spheres to tune; Their divergent harmonies Concluded in the concord of her eyes, And vestal dances of her glad regard. I see, which fretteth with surmise Much heads grown unsagacious-grey, The slow aim of wise-hearted Time, Which folded cycles within cycles cloak: We pass, we pass, we pass; this does not pass away, But holds the furrowing earth still harnessed to its yoke. The stars still write their golden purposes On heaven's high palimpsest, and no man sees, Nor any therein Daniel; I do hear From the revolving year A voice which cries: 'All dies; Lo, how all dies! O seer, And all things too arise: All dies, and all is born; But each resurgent morn, behold, more near the Perfect Morn.'

Firm is the man, and set beyond the cast Of Fortune's game, and the iniquitous hour, Whose falcon soul sits fast, And not intends her high sagacious tour Or ere the quarry sighted; who looks past To slow much sweet from little instant sour, And in the first does always see the last.



ANY SAINT.

His shoulder did I hold Too high that I, o'erbold Weak one, Should lean thereon.

But He a little hath Declined His stately path And my Feet set more high;

That the slack arm may reach His shoulder, and faint speech Stir His unwithering hair.

And bolder now and bolder I lean upon that shoulder So dear He is and near:

And with His aureole The tresses of my soul Are blent In wished content.

Yes, this too gentle Lover Hath flattering words to move her To pride By His sweet side.

Ah, Love! somewhat let be! Lest my humility Grow weak When thou dost speak!

Rebate thy tender suit, Lest to herself impute Some worth Thy bride of earth!

A maid too easily Conceits herself to be Those things Her lover sings;

And being straitly wooed, Believes herself the Good And Fair He seeks in her.

Turn something of Thy look, And fear me with rebuke, That I May timorously

Take tremors in Thy arms, And with contriv-ed charms Allure A love unsure.

Not to me, not to me, Builded so flawfully, O God, Thy humbling laud!

Not to this man, but Man,— Universe in a span; Point Of the spheres conjoint;

In whom eternally Thou, Light, dost focus Thee!— Didst pave The way o' the wave;

Rivet with stars the Heaven, For causeways to Thy driven Car In its coming far

Unto him, only him; In Thy deific whim Didst bound Thy works' great round

In this small ring of flesh; The sky's gold-knotted mesh Thy wrist Did only twist

To take him in that net.— Man! swinging-wicket set Between The Unseen and Seen;

Lo, God's two worlds immense, Of spirit and of sense, Wed In this narrow bed;

Yea, and the midge's hymn Answers the seraphim Athwart Thy body's court!

Great arm-fellow of God! To the ancestral clod Kin, And to cherubin;

Bread predilectedly O' the worm and Deity! Hark, O God's clay-sealed Ark,

To praise that fits thee, clear To the ear within the ear, But dense To clay-sealed sense.

All the Omnific made When in a word he said, (Mystery!) He uttered THEE;

Thee His great utterance bore, O secret metaphor Of what Thou dream'st no jot!

Cosmic metonymy! Weak world-unshuttering key! One Seal of Solomon!

Trope that itself not scans Its huge significance, Which tries Cherubic eyes.

Primer where the angels all God's grammar spell in small, Nor spell The highest too well.

Point for the great descants Of starry disputants; Equation Of creation.

Thou meaning, couldst thou see, Of all which dafteth thee; So plain, It mocks thy pain;

Stone of the Law indeed, Thine own self couldst thou read; Thy bliss Within thee is.

Compost of Heaven and mire, Slow foot and swift desire! Lo, To have Yes, choose No;

Gird, and thou shalt unbind; Seek not, and thou shalt find; To eat, Deny thy meat;

And thou shalt be fulfilled With all sweet things unwilled: So best God loves to jest

With children small—a freak Of heavenly hide-and-seek Fit For thy wayward wit,

Who art thyself a thing Of whim and wavering; Free When His wings pen thee;

Sole fully blest, to feel God whistle thee at heel; Drunk up As a dew-drop,

When He bends down, sun-wise, Intemperable eyes; Most proud, When utterly bowed.

To feel thyself and be His dear nonentity— Caught Beyond human thought

In the thunder-spout of Him, Until thy being dim, And be Dead deathlessly.

Stoop, stoop; for thou dost fear The nettle's wrathful spear, So slight Art thou of might!

Rise; for Heaven hath no frown When thou to thee pluck'st down, Strong clod! The neck of God.



ASSUMPTA MARIA.

'Thou needst not sing new songs, but say the old.'—COWLEY.

Mortals, that behold a Woman, Rising 'twixt the Moon and Sun; Who am I the heavens assume? an All am I, and I am one.

Multitudinous ascend I, Dreadful as a battle arrayed, For I bear you whither tend I; Ye are I: be undismayed! I, the Ark that for the graven Tables of the Law was made; Man's own heart was one, one Heaven, Both within my womb were laid. For there Anteros with Eros Heaven with man conjoin-ed was,— Twin-stone of the Law, Ischyros, Agios Athanatos.

I, the flesh-girt Paradises Gardenered by the Adam new, Daintied o'er with sweet devices Which He loveth, for He grew. I, the boundless strict savannah Which God's leaping feet go through; I, the heaven whence the Manna, Weary Israel, slid on you! He the Anteros and Eros, I the body, He the Cross; He upbeareth me, Ischyros, Agios Athanatos!

I am Daniel's mystic Mountain, Whence the mighty stone was rolled; I am the four Rivers' fountain, Watering Paradise of old; Cloud down-raining the Just One am, Danae of the Shower of Gold; I the Hostel of the Sun am; He the Lamb, and I the Fold. He the Anteros and Eros, I the body, He the Cross; He is fast to me, Ischyros, Agios Athanatos!

I, the presence-hall where Angels Do enwheel their plac-ed King— Even my thoughts which, without change else, Cyclic burn and cyclic sing. To the hollow of Heaven transplanted, I a breathing Eden spring, Where with venom all outpanted Lies the slimed Curse shrivelling. For the brazen Serpent clear on That old fang-ed knowledge shone; I to Wisdom rise, Ischyron, Agion Athanaton!

See in highest heaven pavilioned Now the maiden Heaven rest, The many-breasted sky out-millioned By the splendours of her vest. Lo, the Ark this holy tide is The un-handmade Temple's guest, And the dark Egyptian bride is Whitely to the Spouse-Heart prest! He the Anteros and Eros, Nail me to Thee, sweetest Cross! He is fast to me, Ischyros, Agios Athanatos!

'Tell me, tell me, O Belov-ed, Where Thou dost in mid-day feed! For my wanderings are reprov-ed, And my heart is salt with need.' 'Thine own self not spellest God in, Nor the lisping papyrus reed? Follow where the flocks have trodden, Follow where the shepherds lead.' He, the Anteros and Eros, Mounts me in AEgyptic car, Twin-yoked; leading me, Ischyros, Trembling to the untempted Far.

'Make me chainlets, silvern, golden, I that sow shall surely reap; While as yet my Spouse is holden Like a Lion in mountained sleep.' 'Make her chainlets, silvern, golden, She hath sown and she shall reap; Look up to the mountains olden, Whence help comes with lioned leap.' By what gushed the bitter Spear on, Pain, which sundered, maketh one; Crucified to Him, Ischyron, Agion Athanaton!

Then commanded and spake to me He who framed all things that be; And my Maker entered through me, In my tent His rest took He. Lo! He standeth, Spouse and Brother; I to Him, and He to me, Who upraised me where my mother Fell, beneath the apple-tree. Risen 'twixt Anteros and Eros, Blood and Water, Moon and Sun, He upbears me, He Ischyros, I bear Him, the Athanaton!

Where is laid the Lord arisen? In the light we walk in gloom; Though the sun has burst his prison, We know not his biding-room. Tell us where the Lord sojourneth, For we find an empty tomb. 'Whence He sprung, there He returneth, Mystic Sun,—the Virgin's Womb.' Hidden Sun, His beams so near us, Cloud enpillared as He was From of old, there He, Ischyros, Waits our search, Athanatos.

Who will give Him me for brother, Counted of my family, Sucking the sweet breasts of my Mother?— I His flesh, and mine is He; To my Bread myself the bread is, And my Wine doth drink me: see, His left hand beneath my head is, His right hand embraceth me! Sweetest Anteros and Eros, Lo, her arms He leans across; Dead that we die not, stooped to rear us, Thanatos Athanatos.

Who is She, in candid vesture, Rushing up from out the brine? Treading with resilient gesture Air, and with that Cup divine? She in us and we in her are, Beating Godward: all that pine, Lo, a wonder and a terror! The Sun hath blushed the Sea to Wine! He the Anteros and Eros, She the Bride and Spirit; for Now the days of promise near us, And the Sea shall be no more.

Open wide thy gates, O Virgin, That the King may enter thee! At all gates the clangours gurge in, God's paludament lightens, see! Camp of Angels! Well we even Of this thing may doubtful be,— If thou art assumed to Heaven, Or is Heaven assumed to thee! Consummatum. Christ the promised, Thy maiden realm is won, O Strong! Since to such sweet Kingdom comest, Remember me, poor Thief of Song!

Cadent fails the stars along:- Mortals, that behold a woman Rising 'twixt the Moon and Sun; Who am I the heavens assume? an All am I, and I am one.



THE AFTER WOMAN.

Daughter of the ancient Eve, We know the gifts ye gave—and give. Who knows the gifts which YOU shall give, Daughter of the newer Eve? You, if my soul be augur, you Shall—O what shall you not, Sweet, do? The celestial traitress play, And all mankind to bliss betray; With sacrosanct cajoleries And starry treachery of your eyes, Tempt us back to Paradise! Make heavenly trespass;—ay, press in Where faint the fledge-foot seraphin, Blest Fool! Be ensign of our wars, And shame us all to warriors! Unbanner your bright locks,—advance Girl, their gilded puissance, I' the mystic vaward, and draw on After the lovely gonfalon Us to out-folly the excess Of your sweet foolhardiness; To adventure like intense Assault against Omnipotence!

Give me song, as She is, new, Earth should turn in time thereto! New, and new, and thrice so new, All old sweets, New Sweet, meant you! Fair, I had a dream of thee, When my young heart beat prophecy, And in apparition elate Thy little breasts knew wax-ed great, Sister of the Canticle, And thee for God grown marriageable. How my desire desired your day, That, wheeled in rumour on its way, Shook me thus with presentience! Then Eden's lopped tree shall shoot again: For who Christ's eyes shall miss, with those Eyes for evident nuncios? Or who be tardy to His call In your accents augural?

Who shall not feel the Heavens hid Impend, at tremble of your lid, And divine advent shine avowed Under that dim and lucid cloud; Yea, 'fore the silver apocalypse Fail, at the unsealing of your lips? When to love YOU is (O Christ's Spouse!) To love the beauty of His house; Then come the Isaian days; the old Shall dream; and our young men behold Vision—yea, the vision of Thabor mount, Which none to other shall recount, Because in all men's hearts shall be The seeing and the prophecy. For ended is the Mystery Play, When Christ is life, and you the way; When Egypt's spoils are Israel's right, And Day fulfils the married arms of Night. But here my lips are still. Until You and the hour shall be revealed, This song is sung and sung not, and its words are sealed.



GRACE OF THE WAY.

'My brother!' spake she to the sun; The kindred kisses of the stars Were hers; her feet were set upon The moon. If slumber solved the bars

Of sense, or sense transpicuous grown Fulfill-ed seeing unto sight, I know not; nor if 'twas my own Ingathered self that made her night.

The windy trammel of her dress, Her blown locks, took my soul in mesh; God's breath they spake, with visibleness That stirred the raiment of her flesh:

And sensible, as her blown were, Beyond the precincts of her form I felt the woman flow from her— A calm of intempestuous storm.

I failed against the affluent tide; Out of this abject earth of me I was translated and enskied Into the heavenly-regioned She.

Now of that vision I bereaven This knowledge keep, that may not dim:- Short arm needs man to reach to Heaven, So ready is Heaven to stoop to him.

Which sets, to measure of man's feet, No alien Tree for trysting-place; And who can read, may read the sweet Direction in his Lady's face.

And pass and pass the daily crowd, Unwares, occulted Paradise; Love the lost plot cries silver-loud, Nor any know the tongue he cries.

The light is in the darkness, and The darkness doth not comprehend: God hath no haste; and God's sons stand Yet a Day, tarrying for the end.

Dishonoured Rahab still hath hid, Yea still, within her house of shame, The messengers by Jesus bid Forerun the coming of His Name.

The Word was flesh, and crucified, From the beginning, and blasphemed: Its profaned raiment men divide, Damned by what, reverenced, had redeemed.

Thy Lady, was thy heart not blind, One hour gave to thy witless trust The key thou go'st about to find; And thou hast dropped it in the dust.

Of her, the Way's one mortal grace, Own, save thy seeing be all forgot, That truly, God was in this place, And thou, unbless-ed, knew'st it not.

But some have eyes, and will not see; And some would see, and have not eyes; And fail the tryst, yet find the Tree, And take the lesson for the prize.



RETROSPECT.

Alas, and I have sung Much song of matters vain, And a heaven-sweetened tongue Turned to unprofiting strain Of vacant things, which though Even so they be, and throughly so, It is no boot at all for thee to know, But babble and false pain.

What profit if the sun Put forth his radiant thews, And on his circuit run, Even after my device, to this and to that use; And the true Orient, Christ, Make not His cloud of thee? I have sung vanity, And nothing well devised.

And though the cry of stars Give tongue before his way Goldenly as I say, And each from wide Saturnus to hot Mars He calleth by its name, Lest that its bright feet stray; And thou have lore of all, But to thine own Sun's call Thy path disorbed hast never wit to tame; It profits not withal, And my rede is but lame.

Only that, 'mid vain vaunt Of wisdom ignorant, A little kiss upon the feet of Love My hasty verse has stayed Sometimes a space to plant: It has not wholly strayed, Not wholly missed near sweet, fanning proud plumes above.

Therefore I do repent That with religion vain, And misconceiv-ed pain, I have my music bent To waste on bootless things its skiey-gendered rain: Yet shall a wiser day Fulfil more heavenly way, And with approv-ed music clear this slip I trust in God most sweet; Meantime the silent lip, Meantime the climbing feet.



A NARROW VESSEL.



Being a little dramatic sequence on the aspect of primitive girl- nature towards a love beyond its capacities.



A GIRL'S SIN.

I.—In her eyes.

Cross child! red, and frowning so? 'I, the day just over, Gave a lock of hair to—no! How DARE you say, my lover?'

He asked you?—Let me understand; Come, child, let me sound it! 'Of course, he WOULD have asked it, and— And so—somehow—he—found it.

'He told it out with great loud eyes— Men have such little wit! His sin I ever will chastise Because I gave him it.

'Shameless in me the gift, alas! In him his open bliss: But for the privilege he has A thousand he shall miss!

'His eyes, where once I dreadless laughed, Call up a burning blot: I hate him, for his shameful craft That asked by asking not!'

Luckless boy! and all for hair He never asked, you said? 'Not just—but then he gazed—I swear He gazed it from my head!

'His silence on my cheek like breath I felt in subtle way; More sweet than aught another saith Was what he did not say.

'He'll think me vanquished, for this lapse, Who should be above him; Perhaps he'll think me light; perhaps— Perhaps he'll think I—love him!

'Are his eyes conscious and elate, I hate him that I blush; Or are they innocent, still I hate— They mean a thing's to hush.

'Before he nought amiss could do, Now all things show amiss; 'Twas all my fault, I know that true, But all my fault was his.

'I hate him for his mute distress, 'Tis insult he should care! Because my heart's all humbleness, All pride is in my air.

'With him, each favour that I do Is bold suit's hallowing text; Each gift a bastion levelled, to The next one and the next.

'Each wish whose grant may him befall Is clogged by those withstood; He trembles, hoping one means all, And I, lest perhaps it should.

'Behind me piecemeal gifts I cast, My fleeing self to save; And that's the thing must go at last, For that's the thing he'd have.

'My lock the enforc-ed steel did grate To cut; its root-thrills came Down to my bosom. It might sate His lust for my poor shame!

'His sifted dainty this should be For a score ambrosial years! But his too much humility Alarums me with fears.

'My gracious grace a breach he counts For graceless escalade; And, though he's silent ere he mounts, My watch is not betrayed.

'My heart hides from my soul he's sweet: Ah dread, if he divine! One touch, I might fall at his feet, And he might rise from mine.

'To hear him praise my eyes' brown gleams Was native, safe delight; But now it usurpation seems, Because I've given him right.

'Before I'd have him not remove, Now would not have him near; With sacrifice I called on Love, And the apparition's Fear.'

Foolish to give it!—'Twas my whim, When he might parted be, To think that I should stay by him In a little piece of me.

'He always said my hair was soft— What touches he will steal! Each touch and look (and he'll look oft) I almost thought I'd feel.

'And then, when first he saw the hair, To think his dear amazement! As if he wished from skies a star, And found it in his casement.

'He's kiss the lock—and I had toyed With dreamed delight of this: But ah, in proof, delight was void— I could not SEE his kiss!'

So, fond one, half this agony Were spared, which my hand hushes, Could you have played, Sweet, the sweet spy, And blushed not for your blushes!



A GIRL'S SIN.

II.—In his eyes.

Can I forget her cruelty Who, brown miracle, gave you me? Or with unmoisted eyes think on The proud surrender overgone, (Lowlihead in haughty dress), Of the tender tyranness? And ere thou for my joy was given, How rough the road to that blest heaven! With what pangs I fore-expiated Thy cold outlawry from her head; How was I trampled and brought low, Because her virgin neck was so; How thralled beneath the jealous state She stood at point to abdicate; How sacrificed, before to me She sacrificed her pride and thee; How did she, struggling to abase Herself to do me strange, sweet grace, Enforce unwitting me to share Her throes and abjectness with her; Thence heightening that hour when her lover Her grace, with trembling, should discover, And in adoring trouble be Humbled at her humility! And with what pitilessness was I After slain, to pacify The uneasy manes of her shame, Her haunting blushes!—Mine the blame: What fair injustice did I rue For what I—did not tempt her to? Nor aught the judging maid might win Me to assoil from HER sweet sin. But nought were extreme punishment For that beyond-divine content, When my with-thee-first-giddied eyes Stooped ere their due on Paradise! O hour of consternating bliss When I heavened me in thy kiss; Thy softness (daring overmuch!) Profan-ed with my licensed touch; Worshipped, with tears, on happy knee, Her doubt, her trust, her shyness free, Her timorous audacity!



LOVE DECLARED.

I looked, she drooped, and neither spake, and cold, We stood, how unlike all forecasted thought Of that desir-ed minute! Then I leaned Doubting; whereat she lifted—oh, brave eyes Unfrighted:—forward like a wind-blown flame Came bosom and mouth to mine! That falling kiss Touching long-laid expectance, all went up Suddenly into passion; yea, the night Caught, blazed, and wrapt us round in vibrant fire.

Time's beating wing subsided, and the winds Caught up their breathing, and the world's great pulse Stayed in mid-throb, and the wild train of life Reeled by, and left us stranded on a hush. This moment is a statue unto Love Carved from a fair white silence. Lo, he stands Within us—are we not one now, one, one roof, His roof, and the partition of weak flesh Gone down before him, and no more, for ever?— Stands like a bird new-lit, and as he lit, Poised in our quiet being; only, only Within our shaken hearts the air of passion, Cleft by his sudden coming, eddies still And whirs round his enchanted movelessness.

A film of trance between two stirrings! Lo, It bursts; yet dream's snapped links cling round the limbs Of waking: like a running evening stream Which no man hears, or sees, or knows to run, (Glazed with dim quiet), save that there the moon Is shattered to a creamy flicker of flame, Our eyes' sweet trouble were hid, save that the love Trembles a little on their impassioned calms.



THE WAY OF A MAID.

The lover whose soul shaken is In some decuman billow of bliss, Who feels his gradual-wading feet Sink in some sudden hollow of sweet, And 'mid love's us-ed converse comes Sharp on a mood which all joy sums— An instant's fine compendium of The liberal-leav-ed writ of love; His abashed pulses beating thick At the exigent joy and quick, Is dumbed, by aiming utterance great Up to the miracle of his fate. The wise girl, such Icarian fall Saved by her confidence that she's small,— As what no kindred word will fit Is uttered best by opposite, Love in the tongue of hate exprest, And deepest anguish in a jest,— Feeling the infinite must be Best said by triviality, Speaks, where expression bates its wings, Just happy, alien, little things; What of all words is in excess Implies in a sweet nothingness, With dailiest babble shows her sense That full speech were full impotence; And while she feels the heavens lie bare, She only talks about her hair.

BEGINNING OF END.

She was aweary of the hovering Of Love's incessant tumultuous wing; Her lover's tokens she would answer not— 'Twere well she should be strange with him somewhat: A pretty babe, this Love,—but fie on it, That would not suffer her lay it down a whit! Appointed tryst defiantly she balked, And with her lightest comrade lightly walked, Who scared the chidden Love to hide apart, And peep from some unnoticed corner of her heart. She thought not of her lover, deem it not (There yonder, in the hollow, that's HIS cot), But she forgot not that he was forgot. She saw him at his gate, yet stilled her tongue— So weak she felt her, that she would feel strong, And she must punish him for doing him wrong: Passed, unoblivious of oblivion still; And if she turned upon the brow o' the hill, It was so openly, so lightly done, You saw she thought he was not thought upon. He through the gate went back in bitterness; She that night woke and stirred, with no distress, Glad of her doing,—sedulous to be glad, Lest perhaps her foolish heart suspect that it was sad.

PENELOPE.

Love, like a wind, shook wide your blosmy eyes, You trembled, and your breath came sobbing-wise For that you loved me.

You were so kind, so sweet, none could withhold To adore, but that you were so strange, so cold; For that you loved me.

Like to a box of spikenard did you break Your heart about my feet. What words you spake! For that you loved me.

Life fell to dust without me; so you tried All carefullest ways to drive me from your side, For that you loved me.

You gave yourself as children give, that weep And snatch back, with—'I meant you not to keep!' For that you loved me.

I am no woman, girl, nor ever knew That love could teach all ways that hate could do To her that loved me.

Have less of love, or less of woman in Your love, or loss may even from this begin— That you so love me.

For, wild Penelope, the web you wove You still unweave, unloving all your love; Is this to love me,

Or what rights have I that scorn could deny? Even of your love, alas, poor Love must die, If so you love me!

THE END OF IT.

She did not love to love; but hated him For making her to love, and so her whim From passion taught misprision to begin; And all this sin Was because love to cast out had no skill Self, which was regent still. Her own self-will made void her own self's will

EPILOGUE.

If I have studied here in part A tale as old as maiden's heart, 'Tis that I do see herein Shadow of more piteous sin.

She, that but giving part, not whole, Took even the part back, is the Soul: And that so disdain-ed Lover— Best unthought, since Love is over.

Love to invite, desire, and fear, And Love's exactions cost too dear Count for Love's possession,—ah, Thy way, misera Anima!

To give the pledge, and yet be pined That a pledge should have force to bind, This, O Soul, too often still Is the recreance of thy will!

Out of Love's arms to make fond chain, And, because struggle bringeth pain, Hate Love for Love's sweet constraint, Is the way of Souls that faint.

Such a Soul, for saddest end, Finds Love the foe in Love the friend; And—ah, grief incredible!— Treads the way of Heaven, to Hell.



MISCELLANEOUS ODES.



ODE TO THE SETTING SUN.

PRELUDE.

The wailful sweetness of the violin Floats down the hush-ed waters of the wind, The heart-strings of the throbbing harp begin To long in aching music. Spirit-pined,

In wafts that poignant sweetness drifts, until The wounded soul ooze sadness. The red sun, A bubble of fire, drops slowly toward the hill, While one bird prattles that the day is done.

O setting Sun, that as in reverent days Sinkest in music to thy smooth-ed sleep, Discrowned of homage, though yet crowned with rays, Hymned not at harvest more, though reapers reap:

For thee this music wakes not. O deceived, If thou hear in these thoughtless harmonies A pious phantom of adorings reaved, And echo of fair ancient flatteries!

Yet, in this field where the Cross planted reigns, I know not what strange passion bows my head To thee, whose great command upon my veins Proves thee a god for me not dead, not dead!

For worship it is too incredulous, For doubt—oh, too believing-passionate! What wild divinity makes my heart thus A fount of most baptismal tears?—Thy straight

Long beam lies steady on the Cross. Ah me! What secret would thy radiant finger show? Of thy bright mastership is this the key? Is THIS thy secret, then? And is it woe?

Fling from thine ear the burning curls, and hark A song thou hast not heard in Northern day; For Rome too daring, and for Greece too dark, Sweet with wild wings that pass, that pass away!

ODE.

Alpha and Omega, sadness and mirth, The springing music, and its wasting breath— The fairest things in life are Death and Birth, And of these two the fairer thing is Death. Mystical twins of Time inseparable, The younger hath the holier array, And hath the awfuller sway: It is the falling star that trails the light, It is the breaking wave that hath the might, The passing shower that rainbows maniple. Is it not so, O thou down-stricken Day, That draw'st thy splendours round thee in thy fall? High was thine Eastern pomp inaugural; But thou dost set in statelier pageantry, Lauded with tumults of a firmament: Thy visible music-blasts make deaf the sky, Thy cymbals clang to fire the Occident, Thou dost thy dying so triumphally: I SEE the crimson blaring of thy shawms! Why do those lucent palms Strew thy feet's failing thicklier than their might, Who dost but hood thy glorious eyes with night, And vex the heels of all the yesterdays? Lo! this loud, lackeying praise Will stay behind to greet the usurping moon, When they have cloud-barred over thee the West. Oh, shake the bright dust from thy parting shoon! The earth not paeans thee, nor serves thy hest, Be godded not by Heaven! avert thy face, And leave to blank disgrace The oblivious world! unsceptre thee of state and place!

Ha! but bethink thee what thou gazedst on, Ere yet the snake Decay had venomed tooth; The name thou bar'st in those vast seasons gone— Candid Hyperion, Clad in the light of thine immortal youth! Ere Dionysus bled thy vines, Or Artemis drave her clamours through the wood, Thou saw'st how once against Olympus' height The brawny Titans stood, And shook the gods' world 'bout their ears, and how Enceladus (whom Etna cumbers now) Shouldered me Pelion with its swinging pines, The river unrecked, that did its broken flood Spurt on his back: before the mountainous shock The rank-ed gods dislock, Scared to their skies; wide o'er rout-trampled night Flew spurned the pebbled stars: those splendours then Had tempested on earth, star upon star Mounded in ruin, if a longer war Had quaked Olympus and cold-fearing men. Then did the ample marge And circuit of thy targe Sullenly redden all the vaward fight, Above the blusterous clash Wheeled thy swung falchion's flash And hewed their forces into splintered flight.

Yet ere Olympus thou wast, and a god! Though we deny thy nod, We cannot spoil thee of thy divinity. What know we elder than thee? When thou didst, bursting from the great void's husk, Leap like a lion on the throat o' the dusk; When the angels rose-chapleted Sang each to other, The vaulted blaze overhead Of their vast pinions spread, Hailing thee brother; How chaos rolled back from the wonder, And the First Morn knelt down to thy visage of thunder! Thou didst draw to thy side Thy young Auroral bride, And lift her veil of night and mystery; Tellus with baby hands Shook off her swaddling-bands, And from the unswath-ed vapours laughed to thee.

Thou twi-form deity, nurse at once and sire! Thou genitor that all things nourishest! The earth was suckled at thy shining breast, And in her veins is quick thy milky fire. Who scarfed her with the morning? and who set Upon her brow the day-fall's carcanet? Who queened her front with the enrondured moon? Who dug night's jewels from their vaulty mine To dower her, past an eastern wizard's dreams, When hovering on him through his haschish-swoon, All the rained gems of the old Tartarian line Shiver in lustrous throbbings of tinged flame? Whereof a moiety in the Paolis' seams Statelily builded their Venetian name. Thou hast enwoof-ed her An empress of the air, And all her births are propertied by thee: Her teeming centuries Drew being from thine eyes: Thou fatt'st the marrow of all quality.

Who lit the furnace of the mammoth's heart? Who shagged him like Pilatus' ribb-ed flanks? Who raised the columned ranks Of that old pre-diluvian forestry, Which like a continent torn oppressed the sea, When the ancient heavens did in rains depart, While the high-danc-ed whirls Of the tossed scud made hiss thy drench-ed curls? Thou rear'dst the enormous brood; Who hast with life imbued The lion maned in tawny majesty, The tiger velvet-barred, The stealthy-stepping pard, And the lithe panther's flexuous symmetry.

How came the entomb-ed tree a light-bearer, Though sunk in lightless lair? Friend of the forgers of earth, Mate of the earthquake and thunders volcanic, Clasped in the arms of the forces Titanic Which rock like a cradle the girth Of the ether-hung world; Swart son of the swarthy mine, When flame on the breath of his nostrils feeds How is his countenance half-divine, Like thee in thy sanguine weeds? Thou gavest him his light, Though sepultured in night Beneath the dead bones of a perished world; Over his prostrate form Though cold, and heat, and storm, The mountainous wrack of a creation hurled. Who made the splendid rose Saturate with purple glows; Cupped to the marge with beauty; a perfume-press Whence the wind vintages Gushes of warm-ed fragrance richer far Than all the flavorous ooze of Cyprus' vats? Lo, in yon gale which waves her green cymar, With dusky cheeks burnt red She sways her heavy head, Drunk with the must of her own odorousness; While in a moted trouble the vexed gnats Maze, and vibrate, and tease the noontide hush. Who girt dissolv-ed lightnings in the grape? Summered the opal with an Irised flush? Is it not thou that dost the tulip drape, And huest the daffodilly, Yet who hast snowed the lily, And her frail sister, whom the waters name, Dost vestal-vesture 'mid the blaze of June, Cold as the new-sprung girlhood of the moon Ere Autumn's kiss sultry her cheek with flame? Thou sway'st thy sceptred beam O'er all delight and dream, Beauty is beautiful but in thy glance: And like a jocund maid In garland-flowers arrayed, Before thy ark Earth keeps her sacred dance.

And now, O shaken from thine antique throne, And sunken from thy coerule empery, Now that the red glare of thy fall is blown In smoke and flame about the windy sky, Where are the wailing voices that should meet From hill, stream, grove, and all of mortal shape Who tread thy gifts, in vineyards as stray feet Pulp the globed weight of juiced Iberia's grape? Where is the threne o' the sea? And why not dirges thee The wind, that sings to himself as he makes stride Lonely and terrible on the Andean height? Where is the Naiad 'mid her sworded sedge? The Nymph wan-glimmering by her wan fount's verge? The Dryad at timid gaze by the wood-side? The Oread jutting light On one up-strain-ed sole from the rock-ledge? The Nereid tip-toe on the scud o' the surge, With whistling tresses dank athwart her face, And all her figure poised in lithe Circean grace? Why withers their lament? Their tresses tear-besprent, Have they sighed hence with trailing garment-gem? O sweet, O sad, O fair! I catch your flying hair, Draw your eyes down to me, and dream on them!

A space, and they fleet from me. Must ye fade— O old, essential candours, ye who made The earth a living and a radiant thing— And leave her corpse in our strained, cheated arms? Lo ever thus, when Song with chorded charms Draws from dull death his lost Eurydice, Lo ever thus, even at consummating, Even in the swooning minute that claims her his, Even as he trembles to the impassioned kiss Of reincarnate Beauty, his control Clasps the cold body, and foregoes the soul! Whatso looks lovelily Is but the rainbow on life's weeping rain. Why have we longings of immortal pain, And all we long for mortal? Woe is me, And all our chants but chaplet some decay, As mine this vanishing—nay, vanished Day. The low sky-line dusks to a leaden hue, No rift disturbs the heavy shade and chill, Save one, where the charred firmament lets through The scorching dazzle of Heaven; 'gainst which the hill, Out-flattened sombrely, Stands black as life against eternity. Against eternity? A rifting light in me Burns through the leaden broodings of the mind: O bless-ed Sun, thy state Uprisen or derogate Dafts me no more with doubt; I seek and find.

If with exultant tread Thou foot the Eastern sea, Or like a golden bee Sting the West to angry red, Thou dost image, thou dost follow That King-Maker of Creation, Who, ere Hellas hailed Apollo, Gave thee, angel-god, thy station; Thou art of Him a type memorial. Like Him thou hang'st in dreadful pomp of blood Upon thy Western rood; And His stained brow did veil like thine to night, Yet lift once more Its light, And, risen, again departed from our ball, But when It set on earth arose in Heaven. Thus hath He unto death His beauty given: And so of all which form inheriteth The fall doth pass the rise in worth; For birth hath in itself the germ of death, But death hath in itself the germ of birth. It is the falling acorn buds the tree, The falling rain that bears the greenery, The fern-plants moulder when the ferns arise. For there is nothing lives but something dies, And there is nothing dies but something lives. Till skies be fugitives, Till Time, the hidden root of change, updries, Are Birth and Death inseparable on earth; For they are twain yet one, and Death is Birth.

AFTER-STRAIN.

Now with wan ray that other sun of Song Sets in the bleakening waters of my soul: One step, and lo! the Cross stands gaunt and long 'Twixt me and yet bright skies, a presaged dole.

Even so, O Cross! thine is the victory. Thy roots are fast within our fairest fields; Brightness may emanate in Heaven from thee, Here thy dread symbol only shadow yields.

Of reap-ed joys thou art the heavy sheaf Which must be lifted, though the reaper groan; Yea, we may cry till Heaven's great ear be deaf, But we must bear thee, and must bear alone.

Vain were a Simon; of the Antipodes Our night not borrows the superfluous day. Yet woe to him that from his burden flees! Crushed in the fall of what he cast away.

Therefore, O tender Lady, Queen Mary, Thou gentleness that dost enmoss and drape The Cross's rigorous austerity, Wipe thou the blood from wounds that needs must gape.

'Lo, though suns rise and set, but crosses stay, I leave thee ever,' saith she, 'light of cheer.' 'Tis so: yon sky still thinks upon the Day, And showers aerial blossoms on his bier.

Yon cloud with wrinkled fire is edg-ed sharp; And once more welling through the air, ah me! How the sweet viol plains him to the harp, Whose pang-ed sobbings throng tumultuously.

Oh, this Medusa-pleasure with her stings! This essence of all suffering, which is joy! I am not thankless for the spell it brings, Though tears must be told down for the charmed toy.

No; while soul, sky, and music bleed together, Let me give thanks even for those griefs in me, The restless windward stirrings of whose feather Prove them the brood of immortality.

My soul is quitted of death-neighbouring swoon, Who shall not slake her immitigable scars Until she hear 'My sister!' from the moon, And take the kindred kisses of the stars.



A CAPTAIN OF SONG.

(On a portrait of Coventry Patmore by J. S. Sargent, R.A.)

Look on him. This is he whose works ye know; Ye have adored, thanked, loved him,—no, not him! But that of him which proud portentous woe To its own grim Presentment was not potent to subdue, Nor all the reek of Erebus to dim. This, and not him, ye knew. Look on him now. Love, worship if ye can, The very man. Ye may not. He has trod the ways afar, The fatal ways of parting and farewell, Where all the paths of pain-ed greatness are; Where round and always round The abhorr-ed words resound, The words accursed of comfortable men,— 'For ever'; and infinite glooms intolerable With spacious replication give again, And hollow jar, The words abhorred of comfortable men. You the stern pities of the gods debar To drink where he has drunk The moonless mere of sighs, And pace the places infamous to tell, Where God wipes not the tears from any eyes, Where-through the ways of dreadful greatness are He knows the perilous rout That all those ways about Sink into doom, and sinking, still are sunk. And if his sole and solemn term thereout He has attained, to love ye shall not dare One who has journeyed there; Ye shall mark well The mighty cruelties which arm and mar That countenance of control, With minatory warnings of a soul That hath to its own selfhood been most fell, And is not weak to spare: And lo, that hair Is blanch-ed with the travel-heats of hell.

If any be That shall with rites of reverent piety Approach this strong Sad soul of sovereign Song, Nor fail and falter with the intimidate throng; If such there be, These, these are only they Have trod the self-same way; The never-twice-revolving portals heard Behind them clang infernal, and that word Abhorr-ed sighed of kind mortality, As he— Ah, even as he!



AGAINST URANIA.

Lo I, Song's most true lover, plain me sore That worse than other women she can deceive, For she being goddess, I have given her more Than mortal ladies from their loves receive; And first of her embrace She was not coy, and gracious were her ways, That I forgot all virgins to adore; Nor did I greatly grieve To bear through arid days The pretty foil of her divine delays; And one by one to cast Life, love, and health, Content, and wealth, Before her, thinking ever on her praise, Until at last Nought had I left she would be gracious for. Now of her cozening I complain me sore, Seeing her uses, That still, more constantly she is pursued, And straitlier wooed, Her only-ador-ed favour more refuses, And leaves me to implore Remembered boon in bitterness of blood.

From mortal woman thou may'st know full well, O poet, that dost deem the fair and tall Urania of her ways not mutable, When things shall thee befall What thou art toil-ed in her sweet, wild spell. Do they strow for thy feet A little tender favour and deceit Over the sudden mouth of hidden hell?— As more intolerable Her pit, as her first kiss is heavenlier-sweet. Are they, the more thou sigh, Still the more watchful-cruel to deny?— Know this, that in her service thou shalt learn How harder than the heart of woman is The immortal cruelty Of the high goddesses. True is his witness who doth witness this, Whose gaze too early fell— Nor thence shall turn, Nor in those fires shall cease to weep and burn— Upon her ruinous eyes and ineludible.



AN ANTHEM OF EARTH.

Proemion.

Immeasurable Earth! Through the loud vast and populacy of Heaven, Tempested with gold schools of ponderous orbs, That cleav'st with deep-revolting harmonies Passage perpetual, and behind thee draw'st A furrow sweet, a cometary wake Of trailing music! What large effluence, Not sole the cloudy sighing of thy seas, Nor thy blue-coifing air, encases thee From prying of the stars, and the broad shafts Of thrusting sunlight tempers? For, dropped near From my remov-ed tour in the serene Of utmost contemplation, I scent lives. This is the efflux of thy rocks and fields, And wind-cuffed forestage, and the souls of men, And aura of all treaders over thee; A sentient exhalation, wherein close The odorous lives of many-throated flowers, And each thing's mettle effused; that so thou wear'st, Even like a breather on a frosty morn, Thy proper suspiration. For I know, Albeit, with custom-dulled perceivingness, Nestled against thy breast, my sense not take The breathings of thy nostrils, there's no tree, No grain of dust, nor no cold-seeming stone, But wears a fume of its circumfluous self. Thine own life and the lives of all that live, The issue of thy loins, Is this thy gaberdine, Wherein thou walkest through thy large demesne And sphery pleasances,— Amazing the unstal-ed eyes of Heaven, And us that still a precious seeing have Behind this dim and mortal jelly. Ah! If not in all too late and frozen a day I come in rearward of the throats of song, Unto the deaf sense of the ag-ed year Singing with doom upon me; yet give heed! One poet with sick pinion, that still feels Breath through the Orient gateways closing fast, Fast closing t'ward the undelighted night!

Anthem.

In nescientness, in nescientness, Mother, we put these fleshly lendings on Thou yield'st to thy poor children; took thy gift Of life, which must, in all the after-days, Be craved again with tears,— With fresh and still-petitionary tears. Being once bound thine almsmen for that gift, We are bound to beggary, nor our own can call The journal dole of customary life, But after suit obsequious for't to thee. Indeed this flesh, O Mother, A beggar's gown, a client's badging, We find, which from thy hands we simply took, Nought dreaming of the after penury, In nescientness.

In a little joy, in a little joy, We wear awhile thy sore insignia, Nor know thy heel o' the neck. O Mother! Mother! Then what use knew I of thy solemn robes, But as a child, to play with them? I bade thee Leave thy great husbandries, thy grave designs, Thy tedious state which irked my ignorant years, Thy winter-watches, suckling of the grain, Severe premeditation taciturn Upon the brooded Summer, thy chill cares, And all thy ministries majestical, To sport with me, thy darling. Thought I not Thou set'st thy seasons forth processional To pamper me with pageant,—thou thyself My fellow-gamester, appanage of mine arms? Then what wild Dionysia I, young Bacchanal, Danced in thy lap! Ah for thy gravity! Then, O Earth, thou rang'st beneath me, Rocked to Eastward, rocked to Westward, Even with the shifted Poise and footing of my thought! I brake through thy doors of sunset, Ran before the hooves of sunrise, Shook thy matron tresses down in fancies Wild and wilful As a poet's hand could twine them; Caught in my fantasy's crystal chalice The Bow, as its cataract of colours Plashed to thee downward; Then when thy circuit swung to nightward, Night the abhorr-ed, night was a new dawning, Celestial dawning Over the ultimate marges of the soul; Dusk grew turbulent with fire before me, And like a windy arras waved with dreams. Sleep I took not for my bedfellow, Who could waken To a revel, an inexhaustible Wassail of orgiac imageries; Then while I wore thy sore insignia In a little joy, O Earth, in a little joy; Loving thy beauty in all creatures born of thee, Children, and the sweet-essenced body of woman; Feeling not yet upon my neck thy foot, But breathing warm of thee as infants breathe New from their mother's morning bosom. So I, Risen from thee, restless winnower of the heaven, Most Hermes-like, did keep My vital and resilient path, and felt The play of wings about my fledg-ed heel— Sure on the verges of precipitous dream, Swift in its springing From jut to jut of inaccessible fancies, In a little joy.

In a little thought, in a little thought, We stand and eye thee in a grave dismay, With sad and doubtful questioning, when first Thou speak'st to us as men: like sons who hear Newly their mother's history, unthought Before, and say—'She is not as we dreamed: Ah me! we are beguiled!' What art thou, then, That art not our conceiving? Art thou not Too old for thy young children? Or perchance, Keep'st thou a youth perpetual-burnishable Beyond thy sons decrepit? It is long Since Time was first a fledgling; Yet thou may'st be but as a pendant bulla Against his stripling bosom swung. Alack! For that we seem indeed To have slipped the world's great leaping-time, and come Upon thy pinched and dozing days: these weeds, These corporal leavings, thou not cast'st us new, Fresh from thy craftship, like the lilies' coats, But foist'st us off With hasty tarnished piecings negligent, Snippets and waste From old ancestral wearings, That have seen sorrier usage; remainder-flesh After our father's surfeits; nay with chinks, Some of us, that if speech may have free leave Our souls go out at elbows. We are sad With more than our sires' heaviness, and with More than their weakness weak; we shall not be Mighty with all their mightiness, nor shall not Rejoice with all their joy. Ay, Mother! Mother! What is this Man, thy darling kissed and cuffed, Thou lustingly engender'st, To sweat, and make his brag, and rot, Crowned with all honour and all shamefulness? From nightly towers He dogs the secret footsteps of the heavens, Sifts in his hands the stars, weighs them as gold-dust, And yet is he successive unto nothing But patrimony of a little mould, And entail of four planks. Thou hast made his mouth Avid of all dominion and all mightiness, All sorrow, all delight, all topless grandeurs, All beauty, and all starry majesties, And dim transtellar things;—even that it may, Filled in the ending with a puff of dust, Confess—'It is enough.' The world left empty What that poor mouthful crams. His heart is builded For pride, for potency, infinity, All heights, all deeps, and all immensities, Arrased with purple like the house of kings,— To stall the grey-rat, and the carrion-worm Statelily lodge. Mother of mysteries! Sayer of dark sayings in a thousand tongues, Who bringest forth no saying yet so dark As we ourselves, thy darkest! We the young, In a little thought, in a little thought, At last confront thee, and ourselves in thee, And wake disgarmented of glory: as one On a mount standing, and against him stands, On the mount adverse, crowned with westering rays, The golden sun, and they two brotherly Gaze each on each; He faring down To the dull vale, his Godhead peels from him Till he can scarcely spurn the pebble— For nothingness of new-found mortality— That mutinies against his gall-ed foot. Littly he sets him to the daily way, With all around the valleys growing grave, And known things changed and strange; but he holds on, Though all the land of light be widow-ed, In a little thought.

In a little strength, in a little strength, We affront thy unveiled face intolerable, Which yet we do sustain. Though I the Orient never more shall feel Break like a clash of cymbals, and my heart Clang through my shaken body like a gong; Nor ever more with spurted feet shall tread I' the winepresses of song; nought's truly lost That moulds to sprout forth gain: now I have on me The high Phoebean priesthood, and that craves An unrash utterance; not with flaunted hem May the Muse enter in behind the veil, Nor, though we hold the sacred dances good, Shall the holy Virgins maenadize: ruled lips Befit a votaress Muse. Thence with no mutable, nor no gelid love, I keep, O Earth, thy worship, Though life slow, and the sobering Genius change To a lamp his gusty torch. What though no more Athwart its roseal glow Thy face look forth triumphal? Thou put'st on Strange sanctities of pathos; like this knoll Made derelict of day, Couchant and shadow-ed Under dim Vesper's overloosened hair: This, where emboss-ed with the half-blown seed The solemn purple thistle stands in grass Grey as an exhalation, when the bank Holds mist for water in the nights of Fall. Not to the boy, although his eyes be pure As the prime snowdrop is, Ere the rash Phoebus break her cloister Of sanctimonious snow; Or Winter fasting sole on Himalay Since those dove-nuncioed days When Asia rose from bathing; Not to such eyes, Uneuphrasied with tears, the hierarchical Vision lies unoccult, rank under rank Through all create down-wheeling, from the Throne Even to the bases of the pregnant ooze. This is the enchantment, this the exaltation, The all-compensating wonder, Giving to common things wild kindred With the gold-tesserate floors of Jove; Linking such heights and such humilities Hand in hand in ordinal dances, That I do think my tread, Stirring the blossoms in the meadow-grass, Flickers the unwithering stars. This to the shunless fardel of the world Nerves my uncurb-ed back; that I endure, The monstrous Temple's moveless caryatid, With wide eyes calm upon the whole of things, In a little strength.

In a little sight, in a little sight, We learn from what in thee is credible The incredible, with bloody clutch and feet Clinging the painful juts of jagg-ed faith. Science, old noser in its prideful straw, That with anatomising scalpel tents Its three-inch of thy skin, and brags—'All's bare,' The eyeless worm, that boring works the soil, Making it capable for the crops of God; Against its own dull will Ministers poppies to our troublous thought, A Balaam come to prophecy,—parables, Nor of its parable itself is ware, Grossly unwotting; all things has expounded Reflux and influx, counts the sepulchre The seminary of being, and extinction The Ceres of existence: it discovers Life in putridity, vigour in decay; Dissolution even, and disintegration, Which in our dull thoughts symbolise disorder, Finds in God's thoughts irrefragable order, And admirable the manner of our corruption As of our health. It grafts upon the cypress The tree of Life—Death dies on his own dart Promising to our ashes perpetuity, And to our perishable elements Their proper imperishability; extracting Medicaments from out mortality Against too mortal cogitation; till Even of the caput mortuum we do thus Make a memento vivere. To such uses I put the blinding knowledge of the fool, Who in no order seeth ordinance; Nor thrust my arm in nature shoulder-high, And cry—'There's nought beyond!' How should I so, That cannot with these arms of mine engirdle All which I am; that am a foreigner In mine own region? Who the chart shall draw Of the strange courts and vaulty labyrinths, The spacious tenements and wide pleasances, Innumerable corridors far-withdrawn, Where I wander darkling, of myself? Darkling I wander, nor I dare explore The long arcane of those dim catacombs, Where the rat memory does its burrows make, Close-seal them as I may, and my stolen tread Starts populace, a gens lucifuga; That too strait seems my mind my mind to hold, And I myself incontinent of me. Then go I, my foul-venting ignorance With scabby sapience plastered, aye forsooth! Clap my wise foot-rule to the walls o' the world, And vow—A goodly house, but something ancient, And I can find no Master? Rather, nay, By baffled seeing, something I divine Which baffles, and a seeing set beyond; And so with strenuous gazes sounding down, Like to the day-long porer on a stream, Whose last look is his deepest, I beside This slow perpetual Time stand patiently, In a little sight.

In a little dust, in a little dust, Earth, thou reclaim'st us, who do all our lives Find of thee but Egyptian villeinage. Thou dost this body, this enhavocked realm, Subject to ancient and ancestral shadows; Descended passions sway it; it is distraught With ghostly usurpation, dinned and fretted With the still-tyrannous dead; a haunted tenement, Peopled from barrows and outworn ossuaries. Thou giv'st us life not half so willingly As thou undost thy giving; thou that teem'st The stealthy terror of the sinuous pard, The lion maned with curl-ed puissance, The serpent, and all fair strong beasts of ravin, Thyself most fair and potent beast of ravin; And thy great eaters thou, the greatest, eat'st. Thou hast devoured mammoth and mastodon, And many a floating bank of fangs, The scaly scourges of thy primal brine, And the tower-crested plesiosaure. Thou fill'st thy mouth with nations, gorgest slow On purple aeons of kings; man's hulking towers Are carcase for thee, and to modern sun Disglutt'st their splintered bones. Rabble of Pharaohs and Arsacidae Keep their cold house within thee; thou hast sucked down How many Ninevehs and Hecatompyloi, And perished cities whose great phantasmata O'erbrow the silent citizens of Dis:- Hast not thy fill? Tarry awhile, lean Earth, for thou shalt drink, Even till thy dull throat sicken, The draught thou grow'st most fat on; hear'st thou not The world's knives bickering in their sheaths? O patience! Much offal of a foul world comes thy way, And man's superfluous cloud shall soon be laid In a little blood.

In a little peace, in a little peace, Thou dost rebate thy rigid purposes Of imposed being, and relenting, mend'st Too much, with nought. The westering Phoebus' horse Paws i' the lucent dust as when he shocked The East with rising; O how may I trace In this decline that morning when we did Sport 'twixt the claws of newly-whelped existence, Which had not yet learned rending? we did then Divinely stand, not knowing yet against us Sentence had passed of life, nor commutation Petitioning into death. What's he that of The Free State argues? Tellus! bid him stoop, Even where the low hic jacet answers him; Thus low, O Man! there's freedom's seignory, Tellus' most reverend sole free commonweal, And model deeply-policied: there none Stands on precedence, nor ambitiously Woos the impartial worm, whose favours kiss With liberal largesse all; there each is free To be e'en what he must, which here did strive So much to be he could not; there all do Their uses just, with no flown questioning. To be took by the hand of equal earth They doff her livery, slip to the worm, Which lacqueys them, their suits of maintenance, And that soiled workaday apparel cast, Put on condition: Death's ungentle buffet Alone makes ceremonial manumission; So are the heavenly statutes set, and those Uranian tables of the primal Law. In a little peace, in a little peace, Like fierce beasts that a common thirst makes brothers, We draw together to one hid dark lake; In a little peace, in a little peace, We drain with all our burthens of dishonour Into the cleansing sands o' the thirsty grave. The fiery pomps, brave exhalations, And all the glistering shows o' the seeming world, Which the sight aches at, we unwinking see Through the smoked glass of Death; Death, wherewith's fined The muddy wine of life; that earth doth purge Of her plethora of man; Death, that doth flush The cumbered gutters of humanity; Nothing, of nothing king, with front uncrowned, Whose hand holds crownets; playmate swart o' the strong; Tenebrous moon that flux and refluence draws Of the high-tided man; skull-hous-ed asp That stings the heel of kings; true Fount of Youth, Where he that dips is deathless; being's drone-pipe; Whose nostril turns to blight the shrivelled stars, And thicks the lusty breathing of the sun; Pontifical Death, that doth the crevasse bridge To the steep and trifid God; one mortal birth That broker is of immortality. Under this dreadful brother uterine, This kinsman feared, Tellus, behold me come, Thy son stern-nursed; who mortal-motherlike, To turn thy weanlings' mouth averse, embitter'st Thine over-childed breast. Now, mortal-sonlike, I thou hast suckled, Mother, I at last Shall sustenant be to thee. Here I untrammel, Here I pluck loose the body's cerementing, And break the tomb of life; here I shake off The bur o' the world, man's congregation shun, And to the antique order of the dead I take the tongueless vows: my cell is set Here in thy bosom; my little trouble is ended In a little peace.

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