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SHE AND HE.
"she is dead!" they said to him.
"Come away; Kiss her! and leave her! — thy love
They smoothed her tresses of dark
brown hair; On her forehead of marble they laid
Over her eyes, which gazed too much,
They drew the lids with a gentle touch;
With a tender touch they closed up well
The sweet thin lips that had secrets to tell;
About her brows, and her dear, pale face
They tied her veil and her marriagelace;
And drew on her white feet her
white silk shoes; — Which were the whiter no eye could
And over her bosom they crossed
her hands; "Come away," they said, — "God
And then there was silence; — and
nothing there But the Silence — and scents of
And jasmine, and roses, and rosemary;
For they said, "As a lady should lie, lies she!"
And they held their breath as they left the room,
With a shudder to glance at its stillness and gloom.
But he — who loved her too well to dread
The sweet, the stately, the beautiful dead,—
He lit his lamp, and took the key, And turn'd it! — Alone again — he and she!
He and she; but she would not speak, Though he kiss'd, in the old place, the quiet cheek;
He and she; yet she would not smile, Though he call'd her the name that was fondest erewhile.
He and she; and she did not move To any one passionate whisperof love!
Then he said, "Cold lips! and breast
without breath! Is there no voice? — no language of
"Dumb to the ear and still to the
But to heart and to soul distinct,— intense?
"See, now,— I listen with soul, not ear —
What was the secret of dying, Dear?
"Was it the infinite wonder of all, That you ever could let life's flower fall?
"Or was it a greater marvel to feel The perfect calm o'er the agony steal?
"Was the miracle greatest to find
how deep. Beyond all dreams, sank downward
"Did life roll backward its record, Dear,
And show, as they say it does, past things clear?
"And was it the innermost heart of the bliss
To find out so what a wisdom love is?
"Oh, perfect Dead! oh, Dead most dear.
I hold the breath of my soul to hear;
"I listen — as deep as to horrible hell,
As high as to heaven! — and you do not tell!
"There must be pleasures in dying, Sweet,
To make you so placid from head to feet!
"I would tell you, Darling, if I were dead,
And 'twere your hot tears upon my brow shed.
"I would say, though the angel of
death had laid His sword on my lips to keep it unsaid.
"You should not ask, vainly, with
streaming eyes, Which in Death's touch was the
chief est surprise;
"The very strangest and suddenest thing
Of all the surprises that dying must bring."
Ah! foolish world! Oh! most kind Dead!
Though he told me, who will believe it was said?
Who will believe that he heard her say,
With the soft rich voice, in the dear old way: —
"The utmost wonder is this,—I hear, And see you. and love you, and kiss you. Dear;
"I can speak, now you listen with
soul alone: If your soul could see, it would all
"What a strange delicious amazement is Death,
To be without body and breathe without breath.
"I should laugh for joy if you did
Oh, listen! Love lasts! — Love never will die.
"I am only your Angel who was your Bride;
And I know, that though dead, I have never died."
AFTER DEATH IN ARABIA.
He who died at Azan sends
Faithful friends! It lies, I know,
Sweet friends! What the women lave
Of the falcon, not the bars
Loving friends! Be wise and dry
Allah glorious! Allah good!
Farewell, friends! Yet not farewell;
Be ye certain all seems love,
He that died at Azan gave
This to those who made his grave.
If on this verse of mine
looked for life,
this strife! But let it serve to say That, when we kneel to pray, Prayers rise for thee thine ear shall
never know; And that thy gallant deed, For God, and for our need, is in all hearts, as deep as love can
'Tis good that thy name springs
sounds be heard.
Oh watcher! worn and pale,
work and will!
heart are still!
IN THE DARK.
[The author's last poem, written a few days before his death.]
All moveless stand the ancient cedar-trees Along the drifted sand-hills where they grow; And from the darkness comes a wandering breeze, And waves them to and fro.
A murky darkness lies along the
When bright the sunbeams of the morning shone, And the eye vainly seeks by sea and land
Some light to rest upon.
No large, pale star its glimmering
vigil keeps; An inky sea reflects an inky sky; And the dark river, like a serpent,
To where its black piers lie.
Strange salty odors through the darkness steal, And through the dark, the oceanthunders roll;
Thick darkness gathers, stifling, till I feel
Its weight upon my soul.
I stretch my hands out in the empty air;
I strain my eyes into the heavy night;
Blackness of darkness!—Father, hear my prayer! Grant me to see the light!
A Harmless fellow, wasting useless days,
Am I: I love my comfort and my leisure;
Let those who wish them toil for
gold and praise; To me the summer-day brings more
So, here upon the grass, I lie at ease, While solemn voices from the Past
are calling. Mingled with rustling whispers in the
And pleasant sounds of water idly falling.
There was a time when I had higher aims
Than thus to lie among the flowers and listen To listening birds, or watch the sunset's flames
On the broad river's surface glow and glisten.
There was a time, perhaps, when I had thought To make a name, a home, a bright existence: But time has shown me that my dreams are naught Save a mirage that vanished with the distance.
Well, it is gone: I care no longer now
For fame, for fortune, or for empty praises;
Rather than wear a crown upon my brow,
I'd lie forever here among the daisies.
So you, who wish for fame, good friend, pass by; With you I surely cannot think to quarrel:
Give me peace, rest, this bank whereon I lie, And spare me both the labor and the laurel!
When I shall be divorced, some ten
years hence, From this poor present self which I
When youth has done its tedious
vain expense Of passions that forever ebb and flow;
Shall I not joy youth's heats are left behind,
And breathe more happy in an even clime? —
Ah no, for then I shall begin to find A thousand virtues in this hated time!
Then I shall wish its agitations back, And all its thwarting currents of desire;
Then I shall praise the heat which then I lack,
And call this hurrying fever, generous fire;
And sigh that one thing only has been lent
To youth and age in common — discontent.
Foiled by our fellow-men, depress'd, outworn,
We leave the brutal world to take its way.
And,Patience! in another life, we say, The world shall be thrust down, and we up-borne.
And will not, then, the immortal
armies scorn The world's poor, routed leavings?
or will they, Who failed under the heat of this
life's day, Support the fervors of the heavenly
No, no! the energy of life may be Kept on after the grave, but not begun;
And he who flagg'd not in the earthly strife,
From strength to strength advancing only he,
His soul well-knit, and all his battles won,
Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life.
'twas August, and the fierce sun overhead
Smote on the squalid streets of Bethnal Green,
And the pale weaver, through his windows seen
In Spitalfields, look'd thrice dispirited.
I met a preacher there I knew, and said:
"111 and o'erwork'd, how fare you in
this scene?"— "Bravely!" said he; "for I of late
have been much cheer'd with thoughts of
Christ, the living bread."
O human soul! as long as thou canst so
Set up a mark of everlasting light, Above the howling senses' ebb and flow,
To cheer thee, and to right thee if
thou roam — Not with lost toil thou laborest
through the night! Thou mak'st the heaven thou hop'st
indeed thy home.