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With pathos shall command, with wit beguile,
A generous tear of anguish, or a smile.
[From The Pleasures of Hope..]
Unfading Hope! when life's last
embers burn, When soul to soul, and dust to dust return!
Heaven to thy charge resigns the
awful hour! Oh! then, thy kingdom comes, immortal Power! What though each spark of earthborn rapture fly The quivering lip, pale cheek, and
closing eyel Bright to the soul thy seraph hands convey
The morning dream of life's eternal day —
Then, then the triumph and the
trance begin, And all the phoenix spirit burns within!
[From The Pleasures of Hope.]
AGAINST SKEPTICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Are these the pompous tidings ye
proclaim, Lights of the world, and demigods of
Is this your triumph — this your
proud applause. Children of Truth, and champion of
her cause? For this hath Science searched on
weary wing, By shore and sea — each mute and
living thing! Launched with Iberia's pilot from
the steep, To worlds unknown and isles beyond
Or round the cope her living chariot driven,
And wheeled in triumph through the signs of Heaven.
Oh! star-eyed Science, hast thou wandered there,
To waft us home the message of despair?
Then bind the palm, thy sage's brow to suit,
Of blasted leaf, and death-distilling fruit!
Ah me! the laurelled wreath that
Murder Tears, Blood-nursed, and watered by the
widow's tears, Seems not so foul, so tainted, and so
As waves the night-shade round the
skeptic head. What is the bigot's torch, the tyrant's
I smile on death, if Heavenward
Hope remain: But, if the warring winds of Nature's
Be all the faithless charter of my life, If Chance awakened, inexorable power This frail and feverish being of an hour;
Doomed o'er the world's precarious
scene to sweep, Swift as the tempest travels on the
To know Delight but by her parting smile,
And toil, and wish, and weep a little while;
Then melt, ye elements, that formed in vain
This troubled pulse and visionary brain!
Fade, ye wild flowers, memorials of
my doom, And sink, ye stars, that light me to
the tomb! Truth, ever lovely, —since the world
The foe of tyrants, and the friend of man, —
How can thy words from balmy slumber start
Reposing Virtue pillowed on the heart!
Yet, if thy voice the note of thunder rolled,
And that were true which Nature never told,
Let Wisdom smile not on her conquered field
No rapture dawns, no treasure is revealed!
Oh! let her read, nor loudly, nor elate,
The doom that bars us from a better fate;
But, sad as angels for the good man's sin,
Weep to record, and blush to give it in!
He that loves a rosy cheek
Or a coral lip admires,
Fuel to maintain his fires;
But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Hearts with equal love combined,
Where these are not, I despise
Lovely cheeks or lips or eyes.
No tears, Celia, now shall win,
I have searched the soul within
I have learned thy arts, and now
ASK ME NO MORE.
Ask me no more where Jove bestows,
Ask me no more whither do stray
Ask me no more whither doth haste
Ask me no more where those stars 1 ight
Ask me no more if east or west
So here hath been dawning another
blue day! Think, wilt thou let it slip useless
Out of eternity this new day was born; Into eternity at night will return.
Behold it aforetime, no eye ever did; So soon it forever from all eyes is hid.
Here hath been dawning another
blue day; Think, wilt thou let it slip useless
What is hope? A smiling rainbow Children follow through the net:
'Tis not here — still yonder, yonder; Never urchin found it yet.
What is life? A thawing iceboard On a sea with sunny shore:
Gay we sail; it melts beneath us; We are sunk, and seen no more.
What is man? A foolish baby; Vainly strives, and fights, and frets:
Demanding all, deserving nothing, One small grave is all he gets.
Solitude! Life is inviolate solitude;
Never was truth so apart from the
dreaming As lieth the selfhood inside of the
Guarded with triple shield out of all quest,
So that the sisterhood nearest and
sweetest, So that the brotherhood kindest,
completest, Is but an exchanging of signals at
Desolate! Life is so dreary and desolate.
Women and men in the crowd
meet and mingle, Yet with itself every soul standeth
Deep out of sympathy moaning its moan;
Holding and having its brief exultation;
Making its lonesome and low lamentation; Fighting its terrible conflicts alone.
Separate! Life is so sad and so separate.
Under love's ceiling with roses for lining,
Heart mates with heart in a tender entwining, » Yet never the sweet cup of love filleth full.
Eye looks in eye with a questioning wonder.
Why are we thus in our meeting asunder? Why are our pulses so slow and so dull?
Fruitless, fruitionless I Life is fruit ionless; Never the heaped-up and generous
measure; Never the substance of satisfied pleasure;
Never the moment with rapture elate;
But draining the chalice, we long
for the chalice, And live as an alien inside of our
Bereft of our title and deeds of estate.
Pitiful! Life is so poor and so pitiful.
Cometh the cloud on the goldenest
weather; Briefly the man and his youth stay
Falleth the frost ere the harvest is in, And conscience descends from the
open aggression To timid and troubled and tearful concession, And downward and down into parley with sin.
Purposeless 1 Life is so wayward and purposeless. Always before us the object is shifting,
Always the means and the method are drifting, We rue what is done—what is undone deplore;
More striving for high things than things that are holy.
And so we go down to the valley so lowly,
Wherein there is work, and device never more.
Vanity, vanity! All would be vanity, Whether in seeking or getting our
pleasures, Whether in spending or hoarding our treasures, Whether in indolence, whether in strife —
Whether in feasting and whether in fasting,
But for our faith in the Love everlasting — But for the Life that is better than life.
THE FERR T OF GALLA WA Y.
In the stormy waters of Gallaway My boat had been idle the livelong day,
Tossing and tumbling to and fro, For the wind was high and the tide was low.
The tide was low and the wind was high,
And we were heavy, my heart and I,
At set o' th' sun, the clouds outspread
Like wings of darkness overhead, When, out o' th' west, my eyes took heed
Of a lady, riding at full speed.
The hoof-strokes struck on the flinty hill
Like silver ringing on silver, till
I saw the veil in her fair hand float,
And flutter a signal for my boat.
The waves ran backward as if aware Of a presence more than mortal fair, And my little craft leaned down and lay
With her side to th' sands o' th' Gallaway.
"Haste, good boatman 1 haste!" she cried,
"And row me over the other side!" And she stripped from her finger the
shining ring, And gave it me for the ferrying.
"Woe's me! my Lady, I may not go, For the wind is high and th' tide is low,
And rocks, like dragons, lie in the wave, —
Slip back on your finger the ring you gave!
"Nay, nay! for the rocks will be
melted down, And the waters, they never will let
me drown, And the wind a pilot will prove to
For my dying lover, he waits for me!"
Then bridle-ribbon and silver spur She put in my hand, but I answered
"The wind is high and the tide is low,—
I must not, dare not, and will not go!"
Her face grew deadly white with pain, And she took her champing steed by
th' mane, And bent his neck to th' ribbon and
That lay in my hand, — but I answered her:
"Though you should proffer me
twice and thrice Of ring and ribbon and steed the
The leave of kissing your lily-like hand!
I never could row you safe to th' land."
"Then God have mercy!" she faintly cried,
"For my lover is dying the other side!
0 cruel, O cruellest Gallaway, Be parted, and make me a path, I pray!"
Of a sudden, the sun shone large and bright
As if he were staying away the night; And the rain on the river fell as sweet
As the pitying tread of an angel's feet.
And spanning the water from edge to edge
A rainbow stretched like a golden bridge.
And I put the rein in her hand so fair,
And she sat in her saddle th' queen o' th' air.
And over the river, from edge to
She rode on the shifting and shimmering bridge,
And landing safely on the farther side,—
"Love is thy conqueror, Death!" she cried.
Seek not to walk by borrowed light, But keep unto thine own:
Do what thou doest with thy might, And trust thyself alone!
Work for some good, nor idly lie
Within the human hive; And though the outward man should die,
Keep thou the heart alive!
Strive not to banish pain and doubt,
In pleasure's noisy din; The peace thou seekest for without
Is only found within.
If fortune disregard thy claim,
When thou hast done thy best.
Disdain neglect, ignore despair,
Plant thou thy feet, as on a stair,
I Dreamed I had a plot of ground, Once when I chanced asleep to drop,
And that a green hedge fenced it round,
Cloudy with roses at the top.
I saw a hundred mornings rise,—
And Spring with Summer in her eyes
A thousand vines were climbing o'er The hedge, I thought, but as I tried
To pull them down, for evermore The flowers dropt off the other side!
Waking, I said, "These things are signs
Sent to instruct us that 'tis ours Duly to keep and dress our vines,— Waiting in patience for the flowers.
"And when the angel feared of all Across my hearth its shadow spread,
The rose that climbed my garden wall Has bloomed the other side," I said.
SPENT AND MISSPENT.
Stay yet a little longer in the sky,
O golden color of the evening sun! Let not the sweet day in its sweetness die,
While my day's work is only just begun.