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Thou in the virgin morning of thy
Hast felt the bitter waters o*er thee roll.
Yet thou knowest, too, the terrible delight,
The still content, and solemn ecstasy;
Whatever sharp, sweet bliss thy kind may know. Thy spirit is deep for pleasure as for woe —
Deep as the rich, dark-caverned,
awful sea That the keen-winded, glimmering
dawn makes white.
TWO LOVE QUATRAINS.
Not from the whole wide world I choose thee — Sweetheart, light of the land and the sea!
The wide, wide world could not enclose thee, For thou art the whole wide world to me.
Years have flown since I knew thee first,
And I know thee as water is known of thirst:
Yet I knew thee of old at the first sweet sight,
And thou art strange to me, love, tonight.
WHAT WOULD I SAVE THEE
What would I save thee from, dear
heart, dear heart? Not from what heaven may send
thee of its pain; Not from fierce sunshine or the
scathing rain: The pang of pleasure; passion's
wound and smart; Not from the scorn and sorrow of
Nor loss of faithful friends, nor any gain
Of growth by grief. I would not
thee restrain From needful death. But oh, thou
other part Of me! — through whom the whole
world I behold, As through the blue I see the stars
In whom the world I find, hid
fold on fold! Thee would I save from this — nay, do
not move! Fear not, it may not flash, the air
Save thee from this—the lightning of my love.
I COUNT MY TIME BY TIMES THAT I MEET THEE.
I Count my time by times that I meet thee;
These are my yesterdays, my morrows, noons,
And nights; these my old moons and my new moons.
Slow fly the hours, or fast the hours do flee, i If thou art far from or art near to me:
If thou art far, the birds' tunes
are no tunes; If thou art near, the wintry days
are Junes,— Darkness is light, and sorrow can
Thou art my dream come true, and thou my dream, The air I breathe, the world wherein I dwell; My journey's end thou art, and thou the way; Thou art what I would be, yet only seem;
Thou art my heaven and thou art my hell;
Thou art my ever-living judgmentday.
Of other men I know no jealousy, Nor of the maid who holds thee
close, oh, close: But of the June-red, summerscented rose, And of the orange-streaked sunset sky
That wins the soul of thee through thy deep eye; And of the breeze by thee beloved, that goes O'er thy dear hair and brow; the song that flows Into thy heart of hearts, where it may die.
I would I were one moment that sweet show Of flower; or breeze beloved that
toucheth all; Or sky that through the summer eve doth burn. I would I were the song thou Iovestso, At sound of me to have thine eyelid fall:
But I would then to something human turn.
Once, looking from a window on a land
That lay in silence underneath the sun;
A land of broad, green meadows, through which poured
Two rivers, slowly winding to the sea,—
Thus, as I looked, I know not how or whence,
Was borne into my unexpectant soul
That thought, late learned by anxious-witted man.
The infinite patience of the Eternal Mind.
AND WERE THAT BEST?
And were that best, Love, dreamless, endless sleep? Gone all the fury of the mortal
The daylight gone, and gone the starry ray!
And were that best, Love, rest serene and deep?
Gone labor and desire; no arduous steep
To climb, no songs to sing, no
prayers to pray, No help for those who perish by
No laughter 'midst our tears, no tears to weep! And were that best, Love, sleep with no dear dream,
Nor memory of any thing in life ?
Stark death that neither help nor hurt can know! Oh, rather, Love, the sorrow-bringing gleam.
The living day's long agony and strife!
Arm strong love in pain,— the waking woe!
THROUGH LOVE TO LIGHT.
Through love to light! Oh, wonderful the way
That leads from darkness to the perfect day!
From darkness and from sorrow of
the night To morning that comes singing o'er
Through love to light! Through light, O God, to thee,
Who art the love of love, the eternal light of light!
[From The Deserted Village.]
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden flower grows wild.
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher's modest mansion rose.
A man he was to all the country dear, And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to
change his place; Unskilful he to fawn, or seek for
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learned to prize —
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train;
He chid their wanderings, but relieved their pain.
The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
Whose beard, descending, swept his
aged breast; The ruined spendthrift, now no
longer proud. Claimed kindred there, and had his
claims allowed; The broken soldier, kindly bade to
Sate by his fire, and talked the night away —
Wept o'er his wounds, or, tales of
sorrow done, Shouldered his crutch, and showed
how fields were won. Pleased with his guests, the good man
learned to glow, And quite forgot their vices in their
Careless their merits or their faults to scan,
His pity gave, ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And e'en his failings leaned to virtue's side:
But in his duty, prompt at every call,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt for all;
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries
To tempt its new-fledged offspring
to the skies, He tried each art, reproved each dull
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns dismayed,
The reverend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
The service past, around the pious man, [ran;
With ready zeal, each honest rustic
E'en children followed, with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the
good man's smile. His ready smile a parent's warmth
Their welfare pleased him, and their
cares distressed; To them his heart, his love, his
griefs were given — But all his serious thoughts had rest
in heaven. As some tall cliff that lifts its awful
Swells from the vale, and midway
leaves the storm, Though round its breast the rolling
clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
[From The Deserted Village.] THE VILLAGE SCHOOLMASTER.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way, With blossomed furze unprofitably
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school.
A man severe he was, and stern to view —
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind — or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault.
The village all declared how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write, and
cipher too; Lands he could measure, terms and
And e'en the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing, too, the parson owned his skill,
For, e'en though vanquished, he
could argue still; While words of learned length and
thundering sound Amazed the gazing rustics ranged
And still they gazed, and still the
wonder grew, That one small head could carry all
[from The Deserted Village.] THE HAPPINESS OF PASSING ONE'S AGE IN FAMILIAR PLACES.
In all my wanderings round this
world of care, In all my griefs — and God has given
my share — I still had hopes my latest hours to
Amidst these humble bowers to lay
me down; To husband out life's taper at the
And keep the flame from wasting by repose;
I still had hopes — for pride attends us still —
Amidst the swains to show my booklearned skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw; And, as a hare, whom hounds and
horns pursue, Pants to the place from whence at
first she flew, I still had hopes, my long vexations
Here to return — and die at home at last.
O blest retirement! friend to life's decline!
Retreat from care, that never must be mine!
How blest is he who crowns, in shades like these,
A youth of labor, with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since't is hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state,
To spurn imploring famine from the gate;
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue's friend;
Sinks to the grave with unperceived decay.
While resignation gently slopes the
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His heaven commences, ere the world be past.
[From The Trateller.]
Gay sprightly land of mirth and
social ease, Pleased with thyself, whom all the
world can please, How often have I led thy sportive
With tuneless pipe, beside the murmuring Loire!
Where shading elms along the margin grew.
And freshened from the wave the zephyr flew;
And haply, though my harsh touch, faltering still,
But mocked all tune, and marred the dancer's skill,
Yet would the village praise my wondrous power,
And dance, forgetful of the noontide hour.
Alike all ages: dames of ancient days
Have led their children through the
mirthful maze, And the gay grandsire, skilled in
gestic lore, Has frisked beneath the burden of
threescore. So blest a life these thoughtless
realms display, Thus idly busy rolls their world away: Theirs are those arts that mind to
mind endear, For honor forms the social temper
Honor, that praise which real merit gains
Or e'en imaginary worth obtains, Here passes current; paid from hand to hand,
It shifts in splendid traffic round the land:
From courts, to camps, to cottages it strays,
And all are taught an avarice of praise;
They please, are pleased, they give
to get esteem. Till, seeming blest, they grow to
what they seem. But while this softer art their bliss
It gives their follies also room to rise;
For praise too dearly loved, or warmly sought.
Enfeebles all internal strength of thought;
And the weak soul, within itself unblest,
Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
Hence Ostentation here, with tawdry art,
Pants for the vulgar praise which fools impart; lace,
Here Vanity assumes her pert grim
And trims her robe of frieze with copper lace;
Here beggar Pride defrauds her daily cheer,
To boast one splendid banquet once a year;
The mind still turns where shifting fashion draws
Nor weighs the solid worth of selfapplause.