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Be verily bitter as self-sacrifice, We are no less selfish! if we sleep on rocks

Or roses, sleeping past the hour of

noon, We're lazy.

[from Aurora Leigh.]


As light November snows to empty nests,

As grass to graves, as moss to mildewed stones,

As July suns to ruins, through the rents,

As ministering spirits to mourners,

through a loss, As Heaven itself to men, through

pangs of death He came uncalled wherever grief had


[From Aurora Leigh.]

She was not white nor brown But could look either, like a mist that changed

According to being shone on more or less.

The hair, too, ran its opulence of curls

In doubt 'twixt dark and bright, nor

left you clear To name the color. Too much hair


(I'll name a fault here) for so small a head,

Which seemed to droop on that side

and on this, As a full-blown rose, uneasy with its


Though not a breath should trouble

it. Again, The dimple in the cheek had better


With redder, fuller rounds: and somewhat large

The mouth was though the milky little teeth

Dissolved it to so infantine a smile!

For soon it smiled at me; the eyes

smiled too, But 'twas as if remembering they had


And knowing they should, some day, weep again.

[From Aurora Leigh.] THE ONE UNIVERSAL SYMPATHY. . . . . O WORLD,

O jurists, rhymers, dreamers, what

you please, We play a weary game of hide and


We shape a figure of our fantasy, Call nothing something, and run after it

And lose it, lose ourselves, too, in the search,

Till clash against us, comes a somebody

Who also has lost something and is lost

[From Aurora Leigh.]

Alas, long suffering and most patient

Thou need'st be surelier God to bear with us

Than even to have made us! thou aspire, aspire

From henceforth for me! thou who hast, thyself.

Endured this fleshhood, knowing how, as a soaked

And sucking vesture, it would drag us down

And choke us in the melancholy deep,

Sustain me, that, with thee, I walk

these waves, Resisting! — breathe me upward, thou

for me

Aspiring, who art the Way, the Truth, the Life, —

That no truth henceforth seem indifferent,

No way to truth laborious, and no life. Not even this life I live, intolerable!

Robert Browning.


Fear death? — to feel the fog in my throat, The mist in my face, When the snows begin, and the blasts denote I am nearing the place, The power of the night, the press of the storm, The post of the foe; Where he stands, the Arch-Fear in a visible form, Yet the strong man must go; Now the journey is done and the summit attained, And the barriers fall, Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained, The reward of it all. I was ever a fighter, so, — one fight more,

The best and the last! I would hate that Death bandaged my eyes, and forbore, And bade me creep past. No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers. The heroes of old, Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears, Of pain, darkness and cold. For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave, The black minute's at end, And the elements' rage, the fiendvoices that rave, Shall dwindle, shall blend, Shall change, shall become first a peace, then a joy, Then a light, then thy breast, O soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again.

And with God be the rest!


Never any more

While I live, Need I hope to see his face

As before.

Once his love grown chill.

Mine may strive, — Bitterly we re-embrace,

Single still.

Was it something said,

Something done, Vexed him? was it touch of hand,

Turn of head?
Strange! that very way

Love begun.
I as little understand

Love's decay.

When I sewed or drew,

I recall How he looked as if I sang

— Sweetly too. If I spoke a word,

First of all
Up his cheek the color sprang,

Then he heard.

Sitting by my side,

At my feet,
So he breathed the air I breathed

I too, at love's brim

Touched the sweet:
I would die if death bequeathed

Sweet to him.

"Speak, — I love thee best!"

He exclaimed. "Let thy love my own foretell,"—

I confessed: "Cast my heart on thine

Now unblamed, Since upon thy soul as well

Hangeth mine!"

Was it wrong to own,

Being truth?
Why should all the giving prove

His alone?
I had wealth and ease,

Beauty, youth, —
Since my lover gave me love,

I gave these.

That was all I meant,

— To be just,

And the passion I had raised

To content.
Since he chose to change

Gold for dust,
If I gave him what he praised,

Was it strange?

Would he love me yet,

On and on, While I found some way undreamed,

— Paid my debt! Give more life and more,

Till, all gone, He should smile, "She never seemed Mine before.

"What — she felt the while,

Must I think?
Love's so different with us men,"

He should smile. •' Dying for my sake —

White and pink!
Can't we touch those bubbles then

But they break?"

Dear, the pang is brief.

Do thy part, Have thy pleasure. How perplext

Grows belief 1 Well, this cold clay clod

Was man's heart. Crumble it, — and what comes next?

Is it God?


Beautiful Evelyn Hope is dead!

Sit and watch by her side an hour. That is her book-shelf, this her bed; She plucked that piece of geranium-flower, Beginning to die too, in the glass. Little has yet been changed, I think,

The shutters are shut, — no light may pass

Save two long rays through the hinge's chink.

Sixteen years old when she died! Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name, —

It was not her time to love; beside,
Her life had many a hope and aim,

Duties enough and little cares;
And now was quiet, now astir, —

Till God's hand beckoned unawares, And the sweet white brow is all of her.

Is it too late, then, Evelyn Hope?

What! your soul was pure and true; The good stars met in your horoscope,

Made you of spirit, fire, and dew; And just because I was thrice as old,

And our paths in the world diverged so wide,

Each was naught to each, must I be told?

We were fellow-mortals, — naught beside?

No, indeed! for God above

Is great to grant as mighty to make, And creates the love to reward the love;

I claim you still, for my own love's sake!

Delayed, it may be, for more lives yet,

Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few; Much is to learn and much to forget Ere the time be come for taking you.

But the time will come — at last it will —

When, Evelyn Hope, what meant,

I shall say, In the lower earth, — in the years

long still, — That body and soul so pure and


Why your hair was amber I shall divine,

And your mouth of your own geranium's red, — And what you would do with me, in fine,

In the new life come in the old one's stead.

I have lived, shall I say, so much since . then,

Given up myself so many times, Gained me the gains of various men,

Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;

Yet one thing — one — in my soul's full scope, Either I missed, or itself missed me, —

And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope!

What is the issue? let us see!

I loved you, Evelyn, all the while; My heart seemed full as it could hold,

There was space and to spare for the

frank young smile, And the red young mouth, and the

hair's young gold. So, hush! I will give you this leaf to


See, I shut it inside the sweet, cold hand.

There, that is our secret! go to sleep; You will wake, and remember, and understand.

[from In a Gondola.]


The Moth's kiss, first!

Kiss me as if you made believe

You were not sure, this eve,

IHow my face, your flower, had
Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide open burst.
The Bee's kiss, nowl
Kiss me as if you entered gay
My heart at some noonday,
A bud that dared not disallow
The claim, so all is rendered up,
And passively its shattered cup
Over your head to sleep I bow.


I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris and he:

I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;

"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gate-bolts undrew,

"Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through.

Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,

And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other; we kept

the great pace — Neck by neck, stride by stride, never

changing our place; I turned in my saddle and made its

girths tight, Then shortened each stirrup and set

the pique right, Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained

slacker the bit, Nor galloped less steadily Roland a


'Twas moonset at starting; but while

we drew near Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight

dawned clear; At Boom a great yellow star came

out to see; At Dtlffeld 'twas morning as plain as

could be; And from Mecheln church-steeple we

heard the half-chime — So Joris broke silence with "Yet

there is time!"

At Aerschot up leaped of a sudden the sun.

And against him the cattle stood black every one,

To stare through the mist at us galloping past;

And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,

With resolute shoulders, each butting away

The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray;

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