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Her fair auburn tresses —
Who was her father?
Alas! for the rarity
Where the lamps quiver
So far in the river,
With many a light
From window and casement,
From garret to basement,
She stood with amazement,
Houseless by night.
The bleak wind of March
In she plunged boldly —
Take her up tenderly —
Ere her limbs frigidly,
Owning her weakness,
Farewell, Life! my senses swim,
Welcome, Life! the spirit strives:
It was not in the winter
Our loving lot was cast; It was the time of roses —
We plucked them as we passed!
That churlish season never frowned
On early lovers yet! O, no — the world was newly crowned
With flowers when first we met.
'T was twilight, and I bade you go —
It was the time of roses, —
It is not death, that some time in a sigh
This eloquent breath shall take its
speechless flight; That some time these bright stars,
that now reply In sunlight to the sun, shall set in
That this warm conscious flesh shall
perish quite, And all life's ruddy springs forget to
That thought shall cease, and the immortal sprite
Be lapped in alien clay and laid below;
It is not death to know this—but to know
That pious thoughts, which visit at
new graves In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go So duly and so oft, —and when grass
Over the past-away, there may be then
No resurrection in the minds of men.
LOVE BETTERED BY TIME.
Love, dearest lady, such as I would speak,
Lives not within the humor of the
Not being but an outward phantasy That skims the surface of a tinted cheek, —
Else it would wane with beauty, and
grow weak, As if the rose made summer — and
Amongst the perishable things that die,
Unlike the love which I would give
and seek; Whose health is of no hue — to feel
With cheeks' decay, that have a rosy prime.
Love is its own great loveliness alway,
And takes new beauties from the
touch of time: Its bough owns no December and no
But bears its blossoms into winter's clime.
[From The Legend of St. Olaft Kirk.]
VALBORG WATCHING AXEL'S DEPARTURE.
At kirk knelt Valborg, the cold altar-stone
The dull tramp of his troopers, up she fared
By stair and ladder to old Steindor's post, —
For he was mute, and could not nettle her
With words' cheap guise of sympathy. There perched
Beside him up among the dusty bells,
She pushed her face between the mullions, looked
Across the world of snow, lighted like day
By moon and moor-ild; saw with misty eyes
A gleam of steel, an eagle's feather tall;
And through the clear air watched it, tossing, pass
Across the sea-line; saw the ship lift sail
And blow to southward, catching light and shade
As 'mong the sheers and skerries it picked out
A crooked pathway; saw it round the ness,
And, catching one last flicker of the moon,
Fade into nothingness. With desolate steps
She left the bellman and crept down the stairs;
Heard all the air re-echoing: "He is gone!" —
Felt a great sob behind her lips, and tears
Flooding the sluices of her eyes; turned toward
The empty town, and for the first time saw
That Nidaros was small and irksome, felt
First time her tether galling, and, by heaven!
Wished she'd been born a man-child, free to fare
Unhindered through the world's wide pastures, free
To stand this hour with Axel as his squire.
And with him brave the sea-breeze. Aimlessly
She sought the scattered gold-threads that had formed
Life's glowing texture: but how dull they seemed!
How bootless the long waste of lagging weeks,
With dull do-over of mean drudgeries,
And miserable cheer of pitying mouths
Whistling and whipping through small round of change
Their cowering pack of saw and circumstance!
How slow the crutches of the limping years!
[Six Quatrains from Album-Leates.]
Darkness before, all joy behind!
The palace with its splendid dome,
Is first to challenge storms that roam
THIS NAME OF MINE.
This name of mine the sun may steal away,
Fierce fire consume it, moths eat
name and day; Or mildew's hand may smooch it with
But not my love, for that shall live alway.
I've regretted most sincerely,
But to those I've loved most dearly,
Let your truth stand sure, And the world is true;
Let your heart keep pure — And the world will, too.
He erred, no doubt, perhaps he sinned;
Shall I then dare to cast a stone? Perhaps this blotch, on a garment white,
Counts less than the dingy robes I own.
I Gave my little girl back to the
From them it was that she took her name;
I gave my precious one back to the daisies,
From where they caught their color she came; And now, when I look in the face of a daisy,
My little girl's face I see, I see! My tears, down dropping, with theirs
commingle, And they give my precious one
back to me.
Lord Houghton (richard Monckton Milnes).
I'm not where I was yesterday,
I have lost a thought that many a year
Was most familiar food
And the sky was sombre gray.
I thought, how should I see him first,
How catch his greeting tone. —
Oh! what is Life but a sum of love,
And not for those that fall!
And now how mighty a sum of love
Is lost for ever to me
No, I'm not what I was yesterday, Though change there be" little to see.
Heart of the people! Working men! Marrow and nerve of human powers; Who on your sturdy backs sustain Through streaming time this world of ours;
Hold by that title, — which proclaims,
That ye are undismayed and strong,
And he who still and silent sits
Blessings that hope has ne'er defined
Thus all must work — with head or hand,
For self or others, good or ill:
Then in content possess your hearts,
I WANDERED BY THE BROOKSIDE.
I Wandered by the brook-side,
I wandered by the mill, —
I could not hear the brook flow,
The noisy wheel was still;
There was no burr of grasshopper,
No chirp of any bird,
But the beating of my own heart
Was all the sound I heard.
I sat beneath the elm-tree,
I watched the long, long shade,
And as it grew still longer,
I did not feel afraid;
For I listened for a footfall,
I listened for a word, —
But the beating of my own heart
Was all the sound I heard.
He came not, — no, he came not, —
Fast silent tears were flowing,
THE WORTH OF HOURS.
Believe not that your inner eye
For every man's weak self, alas! Makes him to see them, while they pass.
As through a dim or tinted glass:
But if in earnest care you would
Those surely are not fairly spent, That leave your spirit bowed and bent
In sad unrest and ill-content:
And more, — though free from seem-
If then a painful sense comes on
Of something from your being's chain,
Broke off, nor to be linked again