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Three roses, wan as moonlight and
weighed down Each with its loveliness as with a
Drooped in a florist's window in a town.
The first a lover bought. It lay at rest,
Like flower on flower, that night, on Beauty's breast.
The second rose, as virginal and fair, Shrunk in the tangles of a harlot's hair.
The third, a widow, with new grief
made wild, Shut in the icy palm of her dead
AN VNTIMELY THOUGHT.
I Wonder what day of the week — I wonder what month of the year — Will it be midnight, or morning, And who will bend over my bier?
— What a hideous fancy to come As I wait, at the foot of the stair, While Lilian gives the last touch To her robe, or the rose in her hair.
Do I like your new dress — pompadour?
And do I like you f On my life, You are eighteen, and not a day more,
And have not been six years my wife.
Those two rosy boys in the crib
All sunshine, and snowy, and pure.
As the carriage rolls down the dark
The little wife laughs and makes cheer;
But ... I wonder what day of the week,
I wonder what month of the year.
In my nostrils the summer wind Blows the exquisite scent of the rose! O for the golden, golden wind, Breaking the buds as it goes, Breaking the buds, and bending the grass,
And spilling the scent of the rose!
0 wind of the summer morn, Tearing the petals in twain, Wafting the fragrant soul
Of the rose through valley and plain,
I would you could tear my heart to
And scatter its nameless pain.
As sweet as the breath that goes
In slumber, a hundred times
I have said the mystic rhymes,
But ere I open my eyes
This ghost of a poem flies;
Of the interfluent strains
Not even a note remains:
I know by my pulses' beat
It was something wild and sweet,
And my heart is strangely stirred
By an unremembered word!
I strive, but I strive in vain,
Toilino across the Mer ile Glace
What miles of land and sea!
My foe, undreamed of, at my side
THE FADED VIOLET.
What thought is folded in thy leaves!
I hold thy faded lips to mine,
0 dry. mute lips! ye are the type Of something in me cold and dead;
Of something wilted like thy leaves; Of fragrance flown, of beauty dim; Yet, for the love of those white hands. That found thee by a river's brim —
That found thee when thy dewy mouth
Was purpled as with stains of wine — For love of her who love forgot,
I hold thy faded lips to mine.
That thou shouldst live when I am dead,
When hate is dead, for me, and wrong.
For this, I use my subtlest art,
AFTER THE RAIN.
The rain has ceased, and in my room
From out the dripping ivy-leaves, Antiquely-carven, gray and high, A dormer, facing westward, looks Upon the village like an eye:
And now it glimmers in the sun, A globe of gold, a disc, a speck: And in the belfry sits a dove With purple ripples on her neck.
PURSUIT AND POSSESSION.
When I behold what pleasure is Pursuit,
What life, what glorious eagerness it is;
Then mark how full Possession falls
from this. How fairer seems the blossom than
the fruit — I am perplext, and often stricken
Wondering which attained the higher bliss.
The winged insect, or the chrysalis
Thou airy phantom that dost ever
haunt me, O never, never rest upon my heart, If when I have thee I shall little want
Still flit away in moonlight, rain, and dew,
Will-o'-the-wisp, that I may still pursue!
When to soft Sleep we give ourselves away.
And in a dream as in a fairy bark Drift on and on through the enchanted dark To purple daybreak — little thought we pay
To that sweet bitter world we know by day.
We are clean quit of it, as is a lark So high in heaven no human eye may mark
Silently down from the mountain's crown
The great procession swept.
Perchance the bald old eagle
Out of his lonely eyrie
Perchance the lion stalking,
For beast and bird have seen and heard
That which man knoweth not.
But when the warrior dieth,
They tell his battles won, And after him lead his masterless steed,
While peals the minute gun.
Amid the noblest of the land
We lay the sage to rest, And give the bard an honor'd place,
With costly marble drest, In the great minster transept
Where lights like glories fall, And the organ rings, and the sweet choir sings
Along the emblazon'd wall.
This was the truest warrior
That ever buckled sword, This the most gifted poet
That ever breathed a word;
THE AGED OAK AT OAKLEY.
I Was a young fair tree;
And never earth's philosopher
As he wrote down for men.
And had he not high honor,—
The hillside for a pall,
With stars for tapers tall, And the dark rock-pines like tossing plumes, Over his bier to wave, And God's own hand, in that lonely land,
To lay him in the grave?
In that strange grave without a name,
Whence his uncoffln'd clay Shall break again, O wondrous thought! Before the Judgment Day, And stand with glory wrapt around
On the hills he never trod, And speak of the strife that won our life
With the Incarnate Son of God.
O lonely grave in Moab's land!
O dark Beth-peor's hill! Speak to these curious hearts of ours,
And teach them to be still.
Ways that we cannot tell; He hides them deep, like the hidden sleep
Of him He loved so well.
That told of sunny days,
And the kine's keeper, came
And scanty leafage serve
How much the heart may bear, and yet not break! How much the flesh may suffer, and not die! I question much if any pain or ache Of soul or body brings our end more nigh; Death chooses his own time; till that is sworn, All evils may be borne.
We shrink and shudder at the surgeon's knife. Each nerve recoiling from the cruel
Whose edge seems searching for the quivering life, Yet to our sense the bitter pangs reveal.
That still, although the trembling flesh be torn. This also can be borne.
We see a sorrow rising in our way, And try to flee from the approaching ill;
We seek some small escape; we weep and pray;
But when the blow falls, then our hearts are still; Not that the pain is of its sharpness shorn,
But that it can be borne.
We wind our life about another life; We hold it closer, dearer than our own:
Anon it faints and fails in deathly strife,
Leaving us stunned, and stricken, and alone; But ah! we do not die with those we mourn, — This also can be borne.
Behold, we live through all things, — famine, thirst, Bereavement, pain; all grief and misery,
All woe and sorrow; life inflicts its worst
On soul and body, — but we cannot die.
Though we be sick, and tired, and faint and worn, — Lo, all things can be borne!