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Counting the happy chances strewn about
Thick as the leaves, and saying which was best, The rosy lights of morning all went out,
And it was burning noon, and time to rest.
Then leaning low upon a piece of shade,
Fringed round with violets and pansies sweet, "My heart and I," I said, "will be delayed,
And plan our work while cools the sultry heat."
Deep in the hills, and out of silence vast,
A waterfall played up his silver tune;
My plans lost purpose, fell to dreams
And held me late into the afternoon.
But when the idle pleasures ceased to please, And I awoke, and not a plan was planned,
Just as a drowning man at what he
Catches for life, I caught the thing at hand.
And so life's little work-day hour has all
Been spent and misspent doing
what I could, And in regrets and efforts to recall The chance of having, being, what
And so sometimes I cannot choose but cry,
Seeing my late-sown flowers are
hardly set; O darkening color of the evening sky, Spare me the day a little longer
Life's sadly solemn mystery,
The glorious longing to be free,
Alternately the good and ill,
Fountains of love within my heart,
Beneath my feet the unstable ground,
Immortal longings in my soul,
No purely pure, and perfect good,
A beauteous promise in the bud,
The glad, green brightness of the spring;
The summer, soft and warm; The faded autumn's fluttering gold, The whirlwind and the storm.
To find some sure interpreter
My spirit vainly tries;
And know that love is wise.
What is it that doth spoil the fair adorning With which her body she would dignify,
When from her bed she rises in the
morning To comb, and plait, and tie Her hair with ribbons, colored like
What is it that her pleasure discomposes
When she would sit and sing the sun away— [roses, Making her see dead roses in red
And in the downfall gray A blight that seems the world to overlay?
What is it makes the trembling look of trouble About her tender mouth and eyelids fair? Ah me, ah me! she feels her heart beat double, Without the mother's prayer, And her wild fears are more than she can bear.
To the poor sightless lark new powers are given, Not only with B golden tongue to sing,
But still to make her wavering way toward heaven With undiscerning wing; But what to her doth her sick sorrow bring?
Her days she turns, and yet keeps overturning. And her flesh shrinks as if she felt the rod;
For 'gainst her will she thinks hard
things concerning The everlasting God, And longs to be insensate like the
Sweet Heaven, be pitiful! rain down upon her [such;
The saintly charities ordained for She was so poor in everything but honor, [much! And she loved much—loved Would, Lord, she had thy garment's hem to touch.
Haply, it was the hungry heart within her,
The woman's heart, denied its natural right, That made of her the thing which men call sinner, Even in her own despite; Lord, that her judges might receive their sight!
One sweetly solemn thought
I am nearer home to-day
Nearer my father's house,
Nearer the great white throne,
Nearer the bound of life,
Where we lay our burdens down; Nearer leaving the cross,
Nearer gaining the crown!
But lying darkly between,
Winding down through the night, Is the silent unknown stream,
That leads at last to the light.
Closer and closer my steps
Closer Death to my lips
Oh, if my mortal feet
Have almost gained the brink; If it be I am nearer home
Even to-day than I think;
Father, perfect my trust;
Let my spirit feel in death, That her feet are firmly set
On the rock of a living faith!
We are face to face, and between us here
Is the love we thought could never die;
Why has it only lived a year?
No matter who — the deed was done By one or both, and there it lies;
The smile from the lip forever gone, And darkness over the beautiful eyes.
Our love is dead, and our hope is wrecked; So what does it profit to talk and rave,
Whether it perished by my neglect, Or whether your cruelty dug its grave!
Why should you say that I am to blame,
Or why should I charge the sin on
Our work is before us all the same, And the guilt of it lies between us two.
We have praised our love for its beauty and grace; Now we stand here, and hardly dare
To turn the face-cloth back from the face,
And see the thing that is hidden there.
Yet look! ah, that heart has beat its last,
And the beautiful life of our life is o'er,
And when we have buried and left the past,
We two, together, can walk no more.
You might stretch yourself on the dead, and weep, And pray as the prophet prayed, in pain;
But not like him could you break the sleep,
And bring the soul to the clay again.
Its head in my bosom I can lay. And shower my woe there, kiss on kiss,
But there never was resurrection-day In the world for a love so dead as this.
And, since we cannot lessen the sin
By mourning over the deed we did, Let us draw the winding-sheet up to the chin, Ay, up till the death-blind eyes are hid!
THE LADY JACQUELINE.
"False and fickle, or fair and sweet,
I care not for the rest, The lover that knelt last night at my feet
Was the bravest and the best. Let them perish all, for their power has waned, And their glory waxed dim; They were well enough while they lived and reigned, But never was one like him! And never one from the past would I bring
Again, and call him mine; — The King is dead, long live the King!" Said the Lady Jaqueline.
"In the old, old days, when life was new,
And the world upon me smiled, A pretty, dainty lover I had, Whom I loved with the heart of a child.
When the buried sun of yesterday
Comes back from the shadows dim, Then may his love return to me,
And the love I had for him! But since to-day hath a better thing
To give, I'll ne'er repine;— The King is dead, long live the King!"
Said the Lady Jaqueline.
"And yet it almost makes me weep, Aye! weep, and cry, alas!
When I think of one who lies asleep Down under the quiet grass.
For he loved me well, and I loved again,
And low in homage bent, And prayed for his long and prosperous reign, In our realm of dis content.
But not to the dead may the living cling,
Nor kneel at an empty shrine; — The King is dead, lomj lite the King!" Said the Lady Jaqueline.
"Once, caught by the sheen of stars and lace, I bowed for a single day, To a poor pretender, mean and base,
Unfit for place or sway. That must have been the work of a spell,
For the foolish glamour fled, As the sceptre from his weak hand fell, I head;
And the crown from his feeble But homage true at last I bring
To this rightful lord of mine,— The King is dead, long live the King!" Said the Lady Jaqueline.
"By the hand of one I held most dear,
And called my liege, my own! I was set aside in a single year,
And a new queen shares his throne. To him who is false, and him who is wed,
Shall I give my fealty? Nay. the dead one is not half so dead
As the false one is to me! My faith to the faithful now I bring,
The faithless I resign; — The king is dead, long live the
Said the Lady Jaqueline.
"Yea, all my lovers and kings that were
Are dead, and hid away,
Shut up till the judgment-day.
They are all alike to me; And mine eyes no more can be misled,—
They have looked on loyalty! Then bring me wine, and garlands bring
For my king of the right divine; — The King is dead, long lire the King!" Said the Lady Jaqueline.
Oh, to be back in the cool summer shadow
Of that old maple-tree down in the meadow;
Watching the smiles that grew dearer
and dearer, Listening to lips that grew nearer
and nearer; Oh, to be back in the crimson-topped
Sitting again with my Archie, my lover!
Oh, for the time when I felt his caresses
Smoothing away from my forehead
the tresses; When up from my heart to my cheek
went the blushes, As he said that my voice was as sweet
as the thrush's; As he told me, my eyes were be
witchingly jetty, And I answered 't was only my love
made them pretty!
Talk not of maiden reserve or of duty,
Or hide from my vision such visions
of beauty; Pulses above may beat calmly and
We have been fashioned for earth,
and not heaven; Angels are perfect, I am but a
Saints may be passionless, Archie is human.
Say not that heaven hath tenderer blisses
To her on whose brow drops the soft
rain of kisses; Preach not the promise of priests or
Love-crowned, who asks for the
crown of the angels? Yea, all that the wall of pure jasper
Takes not the sweetness from sweet bridal roses!
Tell me, that when all this life shall be over,
I shall still love him, and he be my lover;
That 'mid flowers more fragrant than clover or heather
My Archie and I shall be always together,
Loving eternally, met ne'er to sever, Then you may tell me of heaven forever.
I Said, if I might go back again To the very hour and place of my birth;
Might have my life whatever I chose, And live it in any part of the earth;
Put perfect sunshine into my sky, Danish the shadow of sorrow and doubt;
Have all my happiness multiplied, And all my suffering stricken out;
If I could have known in the years now gone, The best that a woman comes to know;
Could have had whatever will make her blest, Or whatever she thinks will make
Have found the highest and purest bliss
That the bridal-wreath and ring
And gained the one out of all the world,
That my heart as well as my reason
And if this had been, and I stood tonight
By my children, lying asleep in their beds And could count in my prayers, for a rosary,
The shining row of their golden heads;
Yea! I said, if a miracle such as this Could be wrought for me, at my bidding, still (is, I would choose to have my past as it And to let my future come as it will!
I would not make the path I have trod
More pleasant or even, more straight or wide; Nor change my course the breadth of a hair,
This way or that way, to either side.
My past is mine, and I take it all; Its weakness, — its folly, if you please;
Nay, even my sins, if you come to that,
May have been my helps, not hindrances!
If I saved my body from the flames Because that once I had burned my hand; Or kept myself from a greater sin By doing a less,— you will understand;
It was better I suffered a little pain,
Better I sinned for a little time, If the smarting warned me back from death,
And the sting of sin withheld from crime.
Who knows his strength, by trial, will know What strength must be set against a sin;
And how temptation is overcome He has learned, who has felt its power within! •
And who knows how a life at the
last may show? Why, look at the moon from
where we stand! Opaque, uneven, you say; yet it
A luminous sphere, complete and grand!