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And feeling hearts,— touch them but
rightly,— pour A thousand melodies unheard before!
[From Human Life.]
Age has now Stamped with its signet that ingenuous brow; And, 'mid his old hereditary trees, Trees he has climbed so oft, he sits and sees
His children's children playing round
his knees: Then happiest, youngest, when the
quoit is flung, When side by side the archers' bows
are strung; His to prescribe the place, adjudge
the prize, [energies Envying no more the young their Than they an old man when his
words are wise; His a delight how pure . . . without alloy; Strong in their strength, rejoicing in
their joy! (repay Now in their turn assisting, they The anxious cares of many and many
And now by those he loves relieved, restored,
His very wants and weaknesses afford A feeling of enjoyment. In his walks, Leaning on them, how oft he stops
and talks, While they look up! Their questions,
their replies, Fresh as the welling waters, round
Gladdening his spirit; and, his theme the past,
How eloquent he is! His thoughts
flow fast; And, while his heart (oh, can the
heart grow old? False are the tales that in the world
are told!) Swells in his voice, he knows not
where to end; Like one discoursing of an absent
But there are moments which he calls his own. Then, never less alone than when alone,
Those whom he loved so long and
sees no more, Loved and still loves,— not dead,—
but gone before, He gathers round him; and revives
scenes in his life,— that breathe enchantment still,—
That come not now at dreary intervals,—
But where a light as from the blessed falls,
A light such guests bring ever,—pure and holy,—
Lapping the soul in sweetest melancholy!
— Ah, then less willing (nor the
choice condemn) To live with others than to think of
[From The Pleasures of Memory.]
Thou first, best friend that heaven
assigns below To soothe and sweeten all the cares
we know; Whose glad suggestions still each
vain alarm, When nature fades and life forgets
to charm; Thee would the Muse invoke! — to
thee belong The sage's precept and the poet's
What softened views thy magic glass reveals,
When o'er the landscape time's meek
twilight steals I As when in ocean sinks the orb of
Long on the wave reflected lustres play;
Thy tempered gleams of happiness resigned
Glance on the darkened mirror of the mind.
Hail, memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine
From age to age unnumbered treasures shine 1
Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey,
And place and time are subject to thy sway!
Thy pleasures most we feel, when most alone;
The only pleasures we can call our own.
Lighter than air, hope's summer
visions die, If but a fleeting cloud obscure the
If but a beam of sober reason play, Lo, fancy's fairy frost-work melts away!
But can the wiles of art, the grasp of power
Snatch the rich relics of a well-spent hour?
These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight,
Pour round her path a stream of living light;
And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest,
Where virtue triumphs, and her sons are blest!
[From The Pleasures of Memory.]
THE OLD SCHOOL-HOUSE.
The school's lone porch, with reverend mosses gray, Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay.
Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn,
Quickening my truant feet across the lawn;
Unheard the shout that rent the
noon-tide air, When the slow dial gave a pause to
Up springs, at every step, to claim a tear,
Some little friendship formed and cherished here;
And not the lightest leaf, but trembling teems
With golden visions and romantic dreams!
[From The Pleasures of Memory.)
Oft may the spirits of the dead descend
To watch the silent slumbers of a friend;
To hover round his evening walk unseen.
And hold sweet converse on the dusky green;
To hail the spot where first their * friendship grew,
And heaven and nature opened to their view!
Oft, when he trims his cheerful hearth, and sees
A smiling circle emulous to please;
There may these gentle guests delight to dwell,
And bless the scene they loved in life so well!
Christina Georgina Rossetti.
Does the road wind up-hill all the way? Yes, to the very end. Will the day's journey take the whole long day? From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a restingplace?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin. .. May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night 1
Those who have gone before. Then must I knock, or call when just in sight? They will not keep you standing at the door.
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labor you shall find the sum. Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yea, beds for all who come.
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you
planned; Only remember me; you understand [pray. It will be late to counsel then or Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve: [leave For if the darkness and corruption A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
THE FIRST SPRING DAY.
I Wonder if the sap is stirring yet. If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by
one; Sing, robin, sing; I still am sore in doubt concerning
I wonder if the springtide of this year
Will bring another spring both lost
and dear; If heart and spirit will find out their
Or if the world alone will bud and
sing: Sing, hope, to me; Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for
The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So spring must dawn again with
warmth and bloom, Or in this world, or in the world to
come: Sing, voice of spring, Till I too blossom, and rejoice and
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Nor shady cypress tree:
With showers and dewdrops wet; And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not feel the rain;
Sing on, as if in pain:
That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may remember,
And haply may forget.
Some are laughing, some are weeping;
She is sleeping, only sleeping. Round her rest wild flowers are creeping;
There the wind is heaping, heaping,
There are lilies, and there blushes
There by day the lark is singing
There by night the bat is winging; There for ever winds are bringing Far-off chimes of church-bells ringing.
Night and morning, noon and even.
The long strife at length is striven:
WIFE TO HUSBAND.
Pardon the faults in me,
You can bask in this sun,
Blank sea to sail upon,
A kiss for one friend,
A lock that you must send,
Not a word for you,
AT HOME. When I was dead, my spirit turned To seek the much-frequented house;
I passed the door, and saw my friends Feasting beneath green orange boughs;
From hand to hand they pushed the wine,
They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
They sang, they jested, and they
I listened to their honest chat:
Plod plod along the featureless sands, And coasting miles and miles of sea."
Said one: "Before the turn of tide We will achieve the eyrie-seat."
Said one: "To-morrow shall be like To-day, but much more sweet."
"To-morrow," said they, strong with hope,
And dwelt upon the pleasant way: "To-morrow," cried they one and all,
While no one spoke of yesterday. Their life stood full at blessed noon;
I, only I, had passed away: "To-morrow and to-day" they cried:
I was of yesterday.
I shivered comfortless, but cast
No chill across the tablecloth; I all-forgotten shivered, sad
To stay, and yet to part how loth: I passed from the familiar room,
I who from love had passed away, Like the remembrance of a guest
That tarrieth but a day.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Consider the sea's listless chime: Time's self it is, made audible, — The murmur of the earth's own shell,
Secret continuance sublime Is the era's end. Our sight may pass
No furlong farther. Since time was,
This sound hath told the lapse of time.
No quiet which is death's, — it hath The mournfulness of ancient life, Enduring always at dull strife.
As the world's heart of rest and wrath,
Its painful pulse is on the sands. Lost utterly, the whole sky stands Gray and not known along its path.
Listen alone beside the sea,
Still the one voice of wave and tree.
Gather a shell from the strewn beach, And listen at its lips; they sigh The same desire and mystery,
The echo of the whole sea's speech, And all mankind is thus at heart Not anything but what thou art;
And earth, sea, man, are all in each.
THE BLESSED DAMOZEL.
The blessed damozel leaned out
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
She had three lilies in her hand, And the stars in her hair were seven.
Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem,
But a white rose of Mary's gift,
Her hair that lay along her back
Herseemed she scarce had been a day
One of God's choristers;
From that still look of hers:
Had counted as ten years.
It was the rampart of God's house
By God built over the sheer depth
So high, that looking downward thence
She scarce could see the sun.
It lies in heaven, across the flood
Of ether, as a bridge. Beneath, the tides of day and night
With flame and darkness ridge The void, as low as where this earth
Spins like a fretful midge.
Around her, lovers, newly met
Spoke evermore among themselves
And the souls mounting up to God
And still she bowed herself and stooped
Out of the circling charm; Until her bosom must have made
The bar she leaned on warm, And the lilies lay as if asleep
Along her bended arm.
From the fixed place of heaven she saw
Time like a pulse shake fierce Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove Within the gulf to pierce