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Title: New Poems
Author: Thompson, Francis
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "New Poems" ***

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                          [Picture: Book cover]



                                NEW POEMS


                                    BY
                            FRANCIS THOMPSON.

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                                * * * * *

                             BURNS AND OATES
                      26 ORCHARD STREET, LONDON, W.
                                   1907

                                * * * * *

                         _Third English Edition_

                                * * * * *



CONTENTS

                                        PAGE
Dedication                               vii
             SIGHT AND INSIGHT
   The Mistress of Vision                  3
   Contemplation                          14
   ‘By Reason of Thy Law’                 18
   The Dread of Height                    21
   Orient Ode                             26
   New Year’s Chimes                      36
   From the Night of Forebeing            40
   Any Saint                              58
   Assumpta Maria                         67
   The After Woman                        74
   Grace of the Way                       77
   Retrospect                             80
                A NARROW VESSEL
   A Girl’s Sin—in her Eyes               85
   A Girl’s Sin—in his Eyes               91
   Love Declared                          94
   The Way of a Maid                      96
   Beginning of the End                   98
   Penelope                              100
   The End of it                         102
   Epilogue                              103
              MISCELLANEOUS ODES
   Ode to the Setting Sun                107
   A Captain of Song                     123
   Against Urania                        126
   An Anthem of Earth                    129
              MISCELLANEOUS POEMS
   ‘Ex Ore Infantium’                    151
   A Question                            154
   Field-flower                          157
   The Cloud’s Swan-Song                 159
   To the Sinking Sun                    166
   Grief’s Harmonics                     169
   Memorat Memoria                       171
   July Fugitive                         173
   To a Snow-flake                       177
   Nocturn                               179
   A May Burden                          181
   A Dead Astronomer                     183
   ‘Chose Vue’                           184
   ‘Whereto art thou come’               185
   Heaven and Hell                       186
   To a Child                            187
   Hermes                                188
   House of Bondage                      189
   The Heart                             191
   A Sunset                              193
   Heard on the Mountain                 197
                    ULTIMA
   Love’s Almsman Plaineth his           207
   Fare
   A Holocaust                           209
   Beneath a Photograph                  211
   After her Going                       212
   My Lady the Tyranness                 214
   Unto this Last                        218
   Ultimum                               221
   Envoy                                 224



DEDICATION


                           TO COVENTRY PATMORE

   LO, my book thinks to look Time’s leaguer down,
   Under the banner of your spread renown!
   Or if these levies of impuissant rhyme
   Fall to the overthrow of assaulting Time,
   Yet this one page shall fend oblivious shame,
   Armed with your crested and prevailing Name.

_Note_.—This dedication was written while the dear friend and great Poet
to whom it was addressed yet lived.  It is left as he saw it—the last
verses of mine that were ever to pass under his eyes.

                                                                     F. T.



SIGHT AND INSIGHT


   ‘Wisdom is easily seen by them that love her, and is found by them
   that seek her.
   To think therefore upon her is perfect understanding.’

                                                               WISDOM, vi.



THE MISTRESS OF VISION.


                                    I

         SECRET was the garden;
         Set i’ the pathless awe
         Where no star its breath can draw.
         Life, that is its warden,
   Sits behind the fosse of death.  Mine eyes saw not, and I saw.

                                     II

         It was a mazeful wonder;
         Thrice three times it was enwalled
         With an emerald—
         Sealèd so asunder.
   All its birds in middle air hung a-dream, their music thralled.

                                     III

         The Lady of fair weeping,
         At the garden’s core,
         Sang a song of sweet and sore
         And the after-sleeping;
   In the land of Luthany, and the tracts of Elenore.

                                     IV

         With sweet-panged singing,
         Sang she through a dream-night’s day;
         That the bowers might stay,
         Birds bate their winging,
   Nor the wall of emerald float in wreathèd haze away.

                                      V

         The lily kept its gleaming,
         In her tears (divine conservers!)
         Washèd with sad art;
         And the flowers of dreaming
         Palèd not their fervours,
         For her blood flowed through their nervures;
   And the roses were most red, for she dipt them in her heart.

                                     VI

         There was never moon,
         Save the white sufficing woman:
         Light most heavenly-human—
         Like the unseen form of sound,
         Sensed invisibly in tune,—
         With a sun-derivèd stole
         Did inaureole
         All her lovely body round;
   Lovelily her lucid body with that light was interstrewn.

                                   VII

         The sun which lit that garden wholly,
         Low and vibrant visible,
         Tempered glory woke;
         And it seemèd solely
         Like a silver thurible
         Solemnly swung, slowly,
   Fuming clouds of golden fire, for a cloud of incense-smoke.

                                    VIII

         But woe’s me, and woe’s me,
         For the secrets of her eyes!
         In my visions fearfully
         They are ever shown to be
         As fringèd pools, whereof each lies
         Pallid-dark beneath the skies
         Of a night that is
         But one blear necropolis.
   And her eyes a little tremble, in the wind of her own sighs.

                                     IX

         Many changes rise on
         Their phantasmal mysteries.
         They grow to an horizon
         Where earth and heaven meet;
         And like a wing that dies on
         The vague twilight-verges,
         Many a sinking dream doth fleet
         Lessening down their secrecies.
         And, as dusk with day converges,
         Their orbs are troublously
   Over-gloomed and over-glowed with hope and fear of things to be.

                                      X

         There is a peak on Himalay,
         And on the peak undeluged snow,
         And on the snow not eagles stray;
         There if your strong feet could go,—
         Looking over tow’rd Cathay
         From the never-deluged snow—
         Farthest ken might not survey
   Where the peoples underground dwell whom antique fables know.

                                     XI

         East, ah, east of Himalay,
         Dwell the nations underground;
         Hiding from the shock of Day,
         For the sun’s uprising-sound:
         Dare not issue from the ground
         At the tumults of the Day,
         So fearfully the sun doth sound
         Clanging up beyond Cathay;
   For the great earthquaking sunrise rolling up beyond Cathay.

                                     XII

         Lend me, O lend me
         The terrors of that sound,
         That its music may attend me.
         Wrap my chant in thunders round;
   While I tell the ancient secrets in that Lady’s singing found.

                                    XIII

         On Ararat there grew a vine,
         When Asia from her bathing rose;
         Our first sailor made a twine
         Thereof for his prefiguring brows.
         Canst divine
   Where, upon our dusty earth, of that vine a cluster grows?

                                     XIV

         On Golgotha there grew a thorn
         Round the long-prefigured Brows.
         Mourn, O mourn!
   For the vine have we the spine?  Is this all the Heaven allows?

                                     XV

         On Calvary was shook a spear;
         Press the point into thy heart—
         Joy and fear!
   All the spines upon the thorn into curling tendrils start.

                                     XVI

         O, dismay!
         I, a wingless mortal, sporting
         With the tresses of the sun?
         I, that dare my hand to lay
         On the thunder in its snorting?
         Ere begun,
   Falls my singed song down the sky, even the old Icarian way.

                                    XVII

         From the fall precipitant
         These dim snatches of her chant
         Only have remainèd mine;—
         That from spear and thorn alone
         May be grown
   For the front of saint or singer any divinizing twine.

                                    XVIII

         Her song said that no springing
         Paradise but evermore
         Hangeth on a singing
         That has chords of weeping,
         And that sings the after-sleeping
         To souls which wake too sore.
   ‘But woe the singer, woe!’ she said; ‘beyond the dead his
   singing-lore,
         All its art of sweet and sore,
         He learns, in Elenore!’

                                     XIX

         Where is the land of Luthany,
         Where is the tract of Elenore?
         I am bound therefor.

                                     XX

         ‘Pierce thy heart to find the key;
         With thee take
         Only what none else would keep;
         Learn to dream when thou dost wake,
         Learn to wake when thou dost sleep.
         Learn to water joy with tears,
         Learn from fears to vanquish fears;
         To hope, for thou dar’st not despair,
         Exult, for that thou dar’st not grieve;
         Plough thou the rock until it bear;
         Know, for thou else couldst not believe;
         Lose, that the lost thou may’st receive;
         Die, for none other way canst live.
         When earth and heaven lay down their veil,
         And that apocalypse turns thee pale;
         When thy seeing blindeth thee
         To what thy fellow-mortals see;
         When their sight to thee is sightless;
         Their living, death; their light, most lightless;
         Search no more—
   Pass the gates of Luthany, tread the region Elenore.’

                                     XXI

         Where is the land of Luthany,
         And where the region Elenore?
         I do faint therefor.
         ‘When to the new eyes of thee
         All things by immortal power,
         Near or far,
         Hiddenly
         To each other linkèd are,
         That thou canst not stir a flower
         Without troubling of a star;
         When thy song is shield and mirror
         To the fair snake-curlèd Pain,
         Where thou dar’st affront her terror
         That on her thou may’st attain
         Persean conquest; seek no more,
         O seek no more!
   Pass the gates of Luthany, tread the region Elenore.’

                                    XXII

         So sang she, so wept she,
         Through a dream-night’s day;
         And with her magic singing kept she—
         Mystical in music—
         That garden of enchanting
         In visionary May;
         Swayless for my spirit’s haunting,
   Thrice-threefold walled with emerald from our mortal mornings grey.

                                    XXIII

         And as a necromancer
         Raises from the rose-ash
         The ghost of the rose;
         My heart so made answer
         To her voice’s silver plash,—
         Stirred in reddening flash,
   And from out its mortal ruins the purpureal phantom blows.

                                    XXIV

         Her tears made dulcet fretting,
         Her voice had no word,
         More than thunder or the bird.
         Yet, unforgetting,
   The ravished soul her meanings knew.  Mine ears heard not, and I
   heard.

                                     XXV

         When she shall unwind
         All those wiles she wound about me,
         Tears shall break from out me,
         That I cannot find
   Music in the holy poets to my wistful want, I doubt me!



CONTEMPLATION


   THIS morning saw I, fled the shower,
   The earth reclining in a lull of power:
   The heavens, pursuing not their path,
   Lay stretched out naked after bath,
   Or so it seemed; field, water, tree, were still,
   Nor was there any purpose on the calm-browed hill.

   The hill, which sometimes visibly is
   Wrought with unresting energies,
   Looked idly; from the musing wood,
   And every rock, a life renewed
   Exhaled like an unconscious thought
   When poets, dreaming unperplexed,
   Dream that they dream of nought.
   Nature one hour appears a thing unsexed,
   Or to such serene balance brought
   That her twin natures cease their sweet alarms,
   And sleep in one another’s arms.
   The sun with resting pulses seems to brood,
   And slacken its command upon my unurged blood.

   The river has not any care
   Its passionless water to the sea to bear;
   The leaves have brown content;
   The wall to me has freshness like a scent,
   And takes half animate the air,
   Making one life with its green moss and stain;
   And life with all things seems too perfect blent
   For anything of life to be aware.
   The very shades on hill, and tree, and plain,
   Where they have fallen doze, and where they doze remain.

   No hill can idler be than I;
   No stone its inter-particled vibration
   Investeth with a stiller lie;
   No heaven with a more urgent rest betrays
   The eyes that on it gaze.
   We are too near akin that thou shouldst cheat
   Me, Nature, with thy fair deceit.

   In poets floating like a water-flower
   Upon the bosom of the glassy hour,
   In skies that no man sees to move,
   Lurk untumultuous vortices of power,
   For joy too native, and for agitation
   Too instant, too entire for sense thereof,
   Motion like gnats when autumn suns are low,
   Perpetual as the prisoned feet of love
   On the heart’s floors with painèd pace that go.
   From stones and poets you may know,
   Nothing so active is, as that which least seems so.

   For he, that conduit running wine of song,
   Then to himself does most belong,
   When he his mortal house unbars
   To the importunate and thronging feet
   That round our corporal walls unheeded beat;
   Till, all containing, he exalt
   His stature to the stars, or stars
   Narrow their heaven to his fleshly vault:
   When, like a city under ocean,
   To human things he grows a desolation,
   And is made a habitation
   For the fluctuous universe
   To lave with unimpeded motion.
   He scarcely frets the atmosphere
   With breathing, and his body shares
   The immobility of rocks;
   His heart’s a drop-well of tranquillity;
   His mind more still is than the limbs of fear,
   And yet its unperturbed velocity
   The spirit of the simoom mocks.
   He round the solemn centre of his soul
   Wheels like a dervish, while his being is
   Streamed with the set of the world’s harmonies,
   In the long draft of whatsoever sphere
   He lists the sweet and clear
   Clangour of his high orbit on to roll,
   So gracious is his heavenly grace;
   And the bold stars does hear,
   Every one in his airy soar,
   For evermore
   Shout to each other from the peaks of space,
   As thwart ravines of azure shouts the mountaineer.



‘BY REASON OF THY LAW’


   HERE I make oath—
   Although the heart that knows its bitterness
   Hear loath,
   And credit less—
   That he who kens to meet Pain’s kisses fierce
   Which hiss against his tears,
   Dread, loss, nor love frustrate,
   Nor all iniquity of the froward years
   Shall his inurèd wing make idly bate,
   Nor of the appointed quarry his staunch sight
   To lose observance quite;
   Seal from half-sad and all-elate
   Sagacious eyes
   Ultimate Paradise;
   Nor shake his certitude of haughty fate.

   Pacing the burning shares of many dooms,
   I with stern tread do the clear-witting stars
   To judgment cite,
   If I have borne aright
   The proving of their pure-willed ordeal.
   From food of all delight
   The heavenly Falconer my heart debars,
   And tames with fearful glooms
   The haggard to His call;
   Yet sometimes comes a hand, sometimes a voice withal,
   And she sits meek now, and expects the light.

   In this Avernian sky,
   This sultry and incumbent canopy
   Of dull and doomed regret;
   Where on the unseen verges yet, O yet,
   At intervals,
   Trembles, and falls,
   Faint lightning of remembered transient sweet—
   Ah, far too sweet
   But to be sweet a little, a little sweet, and fleet;
   Leaving this pallid trace,
   This loitering and most fitful light a space,
   Still some sad space,
   For Grief to see her own poor face:—

   Here where I keep my stand
   With all o’er-anguished feet,
   And no live comfort near on any hand;
   Lo, I proclaim the unavoided term,
   When this morass of tears, then drained and firm,
   Shall be a land—
   Unshaken I affirm—
   Where seven-quired psalterings meet;
   And all the gods move with calm hand in hand,
   And eyes that know not trouble and the worm.



THE DREAD OF HEIGHT


    If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say: We see: your
    sin remaineth.

                                                              JOHN ix. 41.

   NOT the Circean wine
   Most perilous is for pain:
   Grapes of the heavens’ star-loaden vine,
   Whereto the lofty-placed
   Thoughts of fair souls attain,
   Tempt with a more retributive delight,
   And do disrelish all life’s sober taste.
   ’Tis to have drunk too well
   The drink that is divine,
   Maketh the kind earth waste,
   And breath intolerable.

   Ah me!
   How shall my mouth content it with mortality?
   Lo, secret music, sweetest music,
   From distances of distance drifting its lone flight,
   Down the arcane where Night would perish in night,
   Like a god’s loosened locks slips undulously:
   Music that is too grievous of the height
   For safe and low delight,
   Too infinite,
   For bounded hearts which yet would girth the sea!

   So let it be,
   Though sweet be great, and though my heart be small:
   So let it be,
   O music, music, though you wake in me
   No joy, no joy at all;
   Although you only wake
   Uttermost sadness, measure of delight,
   Which else I could not credit to the height,
   Did I not know,
   That ill is statured to its opposite;
   Did I not know,
   And even of sadness so,
   Of utter sadness make,
   Of extreme sad a rod to mete
   The incredible excess of unsensed sweet,
   And mystic wall of strange felicity.
   So let it be,
   Though sweet be great, and though my heart be small,
   And bitter meat
   The food of gods for men to eat;
   Yea, John ate daintier, and did tread
   Less ways of heat,
   Than whom to their wind-carpeted
   High banquet-hall,
   And golden love-feasts, the fair stars entreat.

   But ah withal,
   Some hold, some stay,
   O difficult Joy, I pray,
   Some arms of thine,
   Not only, only arms of mine!
   Lest like a weary girl I fall
   From clasping love so high,
   And lacking thus thine arms, then may
   Most hapless I
   Turn utterly to love of basest rate;
   For low they fall whose fall is from the sky.
   Yea, who me shall secure
   But I of height grown desperate
   Surcease my wing, and my lost fate
   Be dashed from pure
   To broken writhings in the shameful slime:
   Lower than man, for I dreamed higher,
   Thrust down, by how much I aspire,
   And damned with drink of immortality?
   For such things be,
   Yea, and the lowest reach of reeky Hell
   Is but made possible
   By forta’en breath of Heaven’s austerest clime.

   These tidings from the vast to bring
   Needeth not doctor nor divine,
   Too well, too well
   My flesh doth know the heart-perturbing thing;
   That dread theology alone
   Is mine,
   Most native and my own;
   And ever with victorious toil
   When I have made
   Of the deific peaks dim escalade,
   My soul with anguish and recoil
   Doth like a city in an earthquake rock,
   As at my feet the abyss is cloven then,
   With deeper menace than for other men,
   Of my potential cousinship with mire;
   That all my conquered skies do grow a hollow mock,
   My fearful powers retire,
   No longer strong,
   Reversing the shook banners of their song.

   Ah, for a heart less native to high Heaven,
   A hooded eye, for jesses and restraint,
   Or for a will accipitrine to pursue!
   The veil of tutelar flesh to simple livers given,
   Or those brave-fledging fervours of the Saint,
   Whose heavenly falcon-craft doth never taint,
   Nor they in sickest time their ample virtue mew.



ORIENT ODE


   LO, in the sanctuaried East,
   Day, a dedicated priest
   In all his robes pontifical exprest,
   Lifteth slowly, lifteth sweetly,
   From out its Orient tabernacle drawn,
   Yon orbèd sacrament confest
   Which sprinkles benediction through the dawn;
   And when the grave procession’s ceased,
   The earth with due illustrious rite
   Blessed,—ere the frail fingers featly
   Of twilight, violet-cassocked acolyte,
   His sacerdotal stoles unvest—
   Sets, for high close of the mysterious feast,
   The sun in august exposition meetly
   Within the flaming monstrance of the West.
   _O salutaris hostia_,
   _Quæ coeli pandis ostium_!
   Through breachèd darkness’ rampart, a
   Divine assaulter, art thou come!
   God whom none may live and mark!
   Borne within thy radiant ark,
   While the Earth, a joyous David,
   Dances before thee from the dawn to dark.
   The moon, O leave, pale ruined Eve;
   Behold her fair and greater daughter {27}
   Offers to thee her fruitful water,
   Which at thy first white Ave shall conceive!
   Thy gazes do on simple her
   Desirable allures confer;
   What happy comelinesses rise
   Beneath thy beautifying eyes!
   Who was, indeed, at first a maid
   Such as, with sighs, misgives she is not fair,
   And secret views herself afraid,
   Till flatteries sweet provoke the charms they swear:
   Yea, thy gazes, blissful lover,
   Make the beauties they discover!
   What dainty guiles and treacheries caught
   From artful prompting of love’s artless thought
   Her lowly loveliness teach her to adorn,
   When thy plumes shiver against the conscious gates of morn!

   And so the love which is thy dower,
   Earth, though her first-frightened breast
   Against the exigent boon protest,
   (For she, poor maid, of her own power
   Has nothing in herself, not even love,
   But an unwitting void thereof),
   Gives back to thee in sanctities of flower;
   And holy odours do her bosom invest,
   That sweeter grows for being prest:
   Though dear recoil, the tremorous nurse of joy,
   From thine embrace still startles coy,
   Till Phosphor lead, at thy returning hour,
   The laughing captive from the wishing West.

   Nor the majestic heavens less
   Thy formidable sweets approve,
   Thy dreads and thy delights confess,
   That do draw, and that remove.
   Thou as a lion roar’st, O Sun,
   Upon thy satellites’ vexèd heels;
   Before thy terrible hunt thy planets run;
   Each in his frighted orbit wheels,
   Each flies through inassuageable chase,
   Since the hunt o’ the world begun,
   The puissant approaches of thy face,
   And yet thy radiant leash he feels.
   Since the hunt o’ the world begun,
   Lashed with terror, leashed with longing,
   The mighty course is ever run;
   Pricked with terror, leashed with longing,
   Thy rein they love, and thy rebuke they shun.
   Since the hunt o’ the world began,
   With love that trembleth, fear that loveth,
   Thou join’st the woman to the man;
   And Life with Death
   In obscure nuptials moveth,
   Commingling alien, yet affinèd breath.

   Thou art the incarnated Light
   Whose Sire is aboriginal, and beyond
   Death and resurgence of our day and night;
   From him is thy vicegerent wand
   With double potence of the black and white.
   Giver of Love, and Beauty, and Desire,
   The terror, and the loveliness, and purging,
   The deathfulness and lifefulness of fire!
   Samson’s riddling meanings merging
   In thy twofold sceptre meet:
   Out of thy minatory might,
   Burning Lion, burning Lion,
   Comes the honey of all sweet,
   And out of thee, the eater, comes forth meat.
   And though, by thine alternate breath,
   Every kiss thou dost inspire
   Echoeth
   Back from the windy vaultages of death;
   Yet thy clear warranty above
   Augurs the wings of death too must
   Occult reverberations stir of love
   Crescent and life incredible;
   That even the kisses of the just
   Go down not unresurgent to the dust.
   Yea, not a kiss which I have given,
   But shall triúmph upon my lips in heaven,
   Or cling a shameful fungus there in hell.
   Know’st thou me not, O Sun?  Yea, well
   Thou know’st the ancient miracle,
   The children know’st of Zeus and May;
   And still thou teachest them, O splendent Brother,
   To incarnate, the antique way,
   The truth which is their heritage from their Sire
   In sweet disguise of flesh from their sweet Mother.
   My fingers thou hast taught to con
   Thy flame-chorded psalterion,
   Till I can translate into mortal wire—
   Till I can translate passing well—
   The heavenly harping harmony,
   Melodious, sealed, inaudible,
   Which makes the dulcet psalter of the world’s desire.
   Thou whisperest in the Moon’s white ear,
   And she does whisper into mine,—
   By night together, I and she—
   With her virgin voice divine,
   The things I cannot half so sweetly tell
   As she can sweetly speak, I sweetly hear.

   By her, the Woman, does Earth live, O Lord,
   Yet she for Earth, and both in thee.
   Light out of Light!
   Resplendent and prevailing Word
   Of the Unheard!
   Not unto thee, great Image, not to thee
   Did the wise heathen bend an idle knee;
   And in an age of faith grown frore
   If I too shall adore,
   Be it accounted unto me
   A bright sciential idolatry!
   God has given thee visible thunders
   To utter thine apocalypse of wonders;
   And what want I of prophecy,
   That at the sounding from thy station
   Of thy flagrant trumpet, see
   The seals that melt, the open revelation?
   Or who a God-persuading angel needs,
   That only heeds
   The rhetoric of thy burning deeds?
   Which but to sing, if it may be,
   In worship-warranting moiety,
   So I would win
   In such a song as hath within
   A smouldering core of mystery,
   Brimmèd with nimbler meanings up
   Than hasty Gideons in their hands may sup;—
   Lo, my suit pleads
   That thou, Isaian coal of fire,
   Touch from yon altar my poor mouth’s desire,
   And the relucent song take for thy sacred meeds.

   To thine own shape
   Thou round’st the chrysolite of the grape,
   Bind’st thy gold lightnings in his veins;
   Thou storest the white garners of the rains.
   Destroyer and preserver, thou
   Who medicinest sickness, and to health
   Art the unthankèd marrow of its wealth;
   To those apparent sovereignties we bow
   And bright appurtenances of thy brow!
   Thy proper blood dost thou not give,
   That Earth, the gusty Mænad, drink and dance?
   Art thou not life of them that live?
   Yea, in glad twinkling advent, thou dost dwell
   Within our body as a tabernacle!
   Thou bittest with thine ordinance
   The jaws of Time, and thou dost mete
   The unsustainable treading of his feet.
   Thou to thy spousal universe
   Art Husband, she thy Wife and Church;
   Who in most dusk and vidual curch,
   Her Lord being hence,
   Keeps her cold sorrows by thy hearse.
   The heavens renew their innocence
   And morning state
   But by thy sacrament communicate:
   Their weeping night the symbol of our prayers,
   Our darkened search,
   And sinful vigil desolate.
   Yea, biune in imploring dumb,
   Essential Heavens and corporal Earth await,
   The Spirit and the Bride say: Come!
   Lo, of thy Magians I the least
   Haste with my gold, my incenses and myrrhs,
   To thy desired epiphany, from the spiced
   Regions and odorous of Song’s traded East.
   Thou, for the life of all that live
   The victim daily born and sacrificed;
   To whom the pinion of this longing verse
   Beats but with fire which first thyself did give,
   To thee, O Sun—or is’t perchance, to Christ?

   Ay, if men say that on all high heaven’s face
   The saintly signs I trace
   Which round my stolèd altars hold their solemn place,
   Amen, amen!  For oh, how could it be,—
   When I with wingèd feet had run
   Through all the windy earth about,
   Quested its secret of the sun,
   And heard what thing the stars together shout,—
   I should not heed thereout
   Consenting counsel won:—
   ‘By this, O Singer, know we if thou see.
   When men shall say to thee: Lo! Christ is here,
   When men shall say to thee: Lo! Christ is there,
   Believe them: yea, and this—then art thou seer,
   When all thy crying clear
   Is but: Lo here! lo there!—ah me, lo everywhere!’



NEW YEAR’S CHIMES.


   WHAT is the song the stars sing?
      (_And a million songs are as song of one_.)
   This is the song the stars sing:
      _Sweeter song’s none_.

   One to set, and many to sing,
      (_And a million songs are as song of one_),
   One to stand, and many to cling,
   The many things, and the one Thing,
      The one that runs not, the many that run.

   The ever new weaveth the ever old
      (_And a million songs are as song of one_).
   Ever telling the never told;
   The silver saith, and the said is gold,
      And done ever the never done.

   The chase that’s chased is the Lord o’ the chase
      (_And a million songs are as song of one_),
   And the pursued cries on the race;
      And the hounds in leash are the hounds that run.

   Hidden stars by the shown stars’ sheen;
      (_And a million suns are but as one_);
   Colours unseen by the colours seen,
   And sounds unheard heard sounds between,
      And a night is in the light of the sun.

   An ambuscade of light in night,
      (_And a million secrets are but as one_),
   And a night is dark in the sun’s light,
      And a world in the world man looks upon.

   Hidden stars by the shown stars’ wings,
      (_And a million cycles are but as one_),
   And a world with unapparent strings
   Knits the simulant world of things;
      Behold, and vision thereof is none.

   The world above in the world below
      (_And a million worlds are but as one_),
   And the One in all; as the sun’s strength so
   Strives in all strength, glows in all glow
      Of the earth that wits not, and man thereon.

   Braced in its own fourfold embrace
      (_And a million strengths are as strength of one_),
   And round it all God’s arms of grace,
   The world, so as the Vision says,
      Doth with great lightning-tramples run.

   And thunder bruiteth into thunder,
      (_And a million sounds are as sound of one_),
   From stellate peak to peak is tossed a voice of wonder,
   And the height stoops down to the depths thereunder,
      And sun leans forth to his brother-sun.

   And the more ample years unfold
      (_With a million songs as song of one_),
   A little new of the ever old,
   A little told of the never told,
      Added act of the never done.

   Loud the descant, and low the theme,
      (_A million songs are as song of one_);
   And the dream of the world is dream in dream,
   But the one Is is, or nought could seem;
      And the song runs round to the song begun.

   This is the song the stars sing,
      (_Tonèd all in time_);
   Tintinnabulous, tuned to ring
   A multitudinous-single thing,
      Rung all in rhyme.



FROM THE NIGHT OF FOREBEING
AN ODE AFTER EASTER


    _In the chaos of preordination_, _and night of our forebeings_.—

                                                        SIR THOMAS BROWNE.

    _Et lux in tenebris erat_, _et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt_.—

                                                                 ST. JOHN.

   CAST wide the folding doorways of the East,
   For now is light increased!
   And the wind-besomed chambers of the air,
   See they be garnished fair;
   And look the ways exhale some precious odours,
   And set ye all about wild-breathing spice,
   Most fit for Paradise.
   Now is no time for sober gravity,
   Season enough has Nature to be wise;
   But now discinct, with raiment glittering free,
   Shake she the ringing rafters of the skies
   With festal footing and bold joyance sweet,
   And let the earth be drunken and carouse!
   For lo, into her house
   Spring is come home with her world-wandering feet,
   And all things are made young with young desires;
   And all for her is light increased
   In yellow stars and yellow daffodils,
   And East to West, and West to East,
   Fling answering welcome-fires,
   By dawn and day-fall, on the jocund hills.
   And ye, winged minstrels of her fair meinie,
   Being newly coated in glad livery,
   Upon her steps attend,
   And round her treading dance and without end
   Reel your shrill lutany.
   What popular breath her coming does out-tell
   The garrulous leaves among!
   What little noises stir and pass
   From blade to blade along the voluble grass!
   O Nature, never-done
   Ungaped-at Pentecostal miracle,
   We hear thee, each man in his proper tongue!
   Break, elemental children, break ye loose
   From the strict frosty rule
   Of grey-beard Winter’s school.
   Vault, O young winds, vault in your tricksome courses
   Upon the snowy steeds that reinless use
   In coerule pampas of the heaven to run;
   Foaled of the white sea-horses,
   Washed in the lambent waters of the sun.
   Let even the slug-abed snail upon the thorn
   Put forth a conscious horn!
   Mine elemental co-mates, joy each one;
   And ah, my foster-brethren, seem not sad—
   No, seem not sad,
   That my strange heart and I should be so little glad.
   Suffer me at your leafy feast
   To sit apart, a somewhat alien guest,
   And watch your mirth,
   Unsharing in the liberal laugh of earth;
   Yet with a sympathy,
   Begot of wholly sad and half-sweet memory—
   The little sweetness making grief complete;
   Faint wind of wings from hours that distant beat,
   When I, I too,
   Was once, O wild companions, as are you,
   Ran with such wilful feet.
   Wraith of a recent day and dead,
   Risen wanly overhead,
   Frail, strengthless as a noon-belated moon,
   Or as the glazing eyes of watery heaven,
   When the sick night sinks into deathly swoon.

   A higher and a solemn voice
   I heard through your gay-hearted noise;
   A solemn meaning and a stiller voice
   Sounds to me from far days when I too shall rejoice,
   Nor more be with your jollity at strife.
   O prophecy
   Of things that are, and are not, and shall be!
   The great-vanned Angel March
   Hath trumpeted
   His clangorous ‘Sleep no more’ to all the dead—
   Beat his strong vans o’er earth, and air, and sea.
   And they have heard;
   Hark to the Jubilate of the bird
   For them that found the dying way to life!
   And they have heard,
   And quicken to the great precursive word;
   Green spray showers lightly down the cascade of the larch;
   The graves are riven,
   And the Sun comes with power amid the clouds of heaven!
   Before his way
   Went forth the trumpet of the March;
   Before his way, before his way
   Dances the pennon of the May!
   O earth, unchilded, widowed Earth, so long
   Lifting in patient pine and ivy-tree
   Mournful belief and steadfast prophecy,
   Behold how all things are made true!
   Behold your bridegroom cometh in to you,
   Exceeding glad and strong.
   Raise up your eyes, O raise your eyes abroad!
   No more shall you sit sole and vidual,
   Searching, in servile pall,
   Upon the hieratic night the star-sealed sense of all:
   Rejoice, O barren, and look forth abroad!
   Your children gathered back to your embrace
   See with a mother’s face.
   Look up, O mortals, and the portent heed;
   In very deed,
   Washed with new fire to their irradiant birth,
   Reintegrated are the heavens and earth!
   From sky to sod,
   The world’s unfolded blossom smells of God.

   O imagery
   Of that which was the first, and is the last!
   For as the dark, profound nativity,
   God saw the end should be,
   When the world’s infant horoscope He cast.
   Unshackled from the bright Phoebean awe,
   In leaf, flower, mould, and tree,
   Resolved into dividual liberty,
   Most strengthless, unparticipant, inane,
   Or suffered the ill peace of lethargy,
   Lo, the Earth eased of rule:
   Unsummered, granted to her own worst smart
   The dear wish of the fool—
   Disintegration, merely which man’s heart
   For freedom understands,
   Amid the frog-like errors from the damp
   And quaking swamp
   Of the low popular levels spawned in all the lands.
   But thou, O Earth, dost much disdain
   The bondage of thy waste and futile reign,
   And sweetly to the great compulsion draw
   Of God’s alone true-manumitting law,
   And Freedom, only which the wise intend,
   To work thine innate end.
   Over thy vacant counterfeit of death
   Broods with soft urgent breath
   Love, that is child of Beauty and of Awe:
   To intercleavage of sharp warring pain,
   As of contending chaos come again,
   Thou wak’st, O Earth,
   And work’st from change to change and birth to birth
   Creation old as hope, and new as sight;
   For meed of toil not vain,
   Hearing once more the primal fiat toll:—
   ‘Let there be light!’
   And there is light!
   Light flagrant, manifest;
   Light to the zenith, light from pole to pole;
   Light from the East that waxeth to the West,
   And with its puissant goings-forth
   Encroaches on the South and on the North;
   And with its great approaches does prevail
   Upon the sullen fastness of the height,
   And summoning its levied power
   Crescent and confident through the crescent hour,
   Goes down with laughters on the subject vale.
   Light flagrant, manifest;
   Light to the sentient closeness of the breast,
   Light to the secret chambers of the brain!
   And thou up-floatest, warm, and newly-bathed,
   Earth, through delicious air,
   And with thine own apparent beauties swathed,
   Wringing the waters from thine arborous hair;
   That all men’s hearts, which do behold and see,
   Grow weak with their exceeding much desire,
   And turn to thee on fire,
   Enamoured with their utter wish of thee,
   Anadyomene!
   What vine-outquickening life all creatures sup,
   Feel, for the air within its sapphire cup
   How it does leap, and twinkle headily!
   Feel, for Earth’s bosom pants, and heaves her scarfing sea;
   And round and round in bacchanal rout reel the swift spheres
   intemperably!

   My little-worlded self! the shadows pass
   In this thy sister-world, as in a glass,
   Of all processions that revolve in thee:
   Not only of cyclic Man
   Thou here discern’st the plan,
   Not only of cyclic Man, but of the cyclic Me.
   Not solely of Mortality’s great years
   The reflex just appears,
   But thine own bosom’s year, still circling round
   In ample and in ampler gyre
   Toward the far completion, wherewith crowned,
   Love unconsumed shall chant in his own furnace-fire.
   How many trampled and deciduous joys
   Enrich thy soul for joys deciduous still,
   Before the distance shall fulfil
   Cyclic unrest with solemn equipoise!
   Happiness is the shadow of things past,
   Which fools still take for that which is to be!
   And not all foolishly:
   For all the past, read true, is prophecy,
   And all the firsts are hauntings of some Last,
   And all the springs are flash-lights of one Spring.
   Then leaf, and flower, and falless fruit
   Shall hang together on the unyellowing bough;
   And silence shall be Music mute
   For her surchargèd heart.  Hush thou!
   These things are far too sure that thou should’st dream
   Thereof, lest they appear as things that seem.

   Shade within shade! for deeper in the glass
   Now other imaged meanings pass;
   And as the man, the poet there is read.
   Winter with me, alack!
   Winter on every hand I find:
   Soul, brain, and pulses dead;
   The mind no further by the warm sense fed,
   The soul weak-stirring in the arid mind,
   More tearless-weak to flash itself abroad
   Than the earth’s life beneath the frost-scorched sod.
   My lips have drought, and crack,
   By laving music long unvisited.
   Beneath the austere and macerating rime
   Draws back constricted in its icy urns
   The genial flame of Earth, and there
   With torment and with tension does prepare
   The lush disclosures of the vernal time.
   All joys draw inward to their icy urns,
   Tormented by constraining rime,
   And there
   With undelight and throe prepare
   The bounteous efflux of the vernal time.
   Nor less beneath compulsive Law
   Rebukèd draw
   The numbèd musics back upon my heart;
   Whose yet-triumphant course I know
   And prevalent pulses forth shall start,
   Like cataracts that with thunderous hoof charge the disbanding snow.
   All power is bound
   In quickening refusal so;
   And silence is the lair of sound;
   In act its impulse to deliver,
   With fluctuance and quiver
   The endeavouring thew grows rigid;
   Strong
   From its retracted coil strikes the resilient song.

   Giver of spring,
   And song, and every young new thing!
   Thou only seest in me, so stripped and bare,
   The lyric secret waiting to be born,
   The patient term allowed
   Before it stretch and flutteringly unfold
   Its rumpled webs of amethyst-freaked, diaphanous gold.
   And what hard task abstracts me from delight,
   Filling with hopeless hope and dear despair
   The still-born day and parchèd fields of night,
   That my old way of song, no longer fair,
   For lack of serene care,
   Is grown a stony and a weed-choked plot,
   Thou only know’st aright,
   Thou only know’st, for I know not.
   How many songs must die that this may live!
   And shall this most rash hope and fugitive,
   Fulfilled with beauty and with might
   In days whose feet are rumorous on the air,
   Make me forget to grieve
   For songs which might have been, nor ever were?
   Stern the denial, the travail slow,
   The struggling wall will scantly grow:
   And though with that dread rite of sacrifice
   Ordained for during edifice,
   How long, how long ago!
   Into that wall which will not thrive
   I build myself alive,
   Ah, who shall tell me will the wall uprise?
   Thou wilt not tell me, who dost only know!
   Yet still in mind I keep,
   He which observes the wind shall hardly sow,
   He which regards the clouds shall hardly reap.
   Thine ancient way!  I give,
   Nor wit if I receive;
   Risk all, who all would gain: and blindly.  Be it so.

   ‘And blindly,’ said I?—No!
   That saying I unsay: the wings
   Hear I not in prævenient winnowings
   Of coming songs, that lift my hair and stir it?
   What winds with music wet do the sweet storm foreshow!
   Utter stagnation
   Is the solstitial slumber of the spirit,
   The blear and blank negation of all life:
   But these sharp questionings mean strife, and strife
   Is the negation of negation.
   The thing from which I turn my troubled look
   Fearing the gods’ rebuke;
   That perturbation putting glory on,
   As is the golden vortex in the West
   Over the foundered sun;
   That—but low breathe it, lest the Nemesis
   Unchild me, vaunting this—
   Is bliss, the hid, hugged, swaddled bliss!
   O youngling Joy carest!
   That on my now first-mothered breast
   Pliest the strange wonder of thine infant lip,
   What this aghast surprise of keenest panging,
   Wherefrom I blench, and cry thy soft mouth rest?
   Ah hold, withhold, and let the sweet mouth slip!
   So, with such pain, recoils the woolly dam,
   Unused, affrighted, from her yeanling lamb:
   I, one with her in cruel fellowship,
   Marvel what unmaternal thing I am.

   Nature, enough! within thy glass
   Too many and too stern the shadows pass.
   In this delighted season, flaming
   For thy resurrection-feast,
   Ah, more I think the long ensepulture cold,
   Than stony winter rolled
   From the unsealed mouth of the holy East;
   The snowdrop’s saintly stoles less heed
   Than the snow-cloistered penance of the seed.
   ’Tis the weak flesh reclaiming
   Against the ordinance
   Which yet for just the accepting spirit scans.
   Earth waits, and patient heaven,
   Self-bonded God doth wait
   Thrice-promulgated bans
   Of his fair nuptial-date.
   And power is man’s,
   With that great word of ‘wait,’
   To still the sea of tears,
   And shake the iron heart of Fate.
   In that one word is strong
   An else, alas, much-mortal song;
   With sight to pass the frontier of all spheres,
   And voice which does my sight such wrong.

   Not without fortitude I wait
   The dark majestical ensuit
   Of destiny, nor peevish rate
   Calm-knowledged Fate.
   I, that no part have in the time’s bragged way,
   And its loud bruit
   I, in this house so rifted, marred,
   So ill to live in, hard to leave;
   I, so star-weary, over-warred,
   That have no joy in this your day—
   Rather foul fume englutting, that of day
   Confounds all ray—
   But only stand aside and grieve;
   I yet have sight beyond the smoke,
   And kiss the gods’ feet, though they wreak
   Upon me stroke and again stroke;
   And this my seeing is not weak.
   The Woman I behold, whose vision seek
   All eyes and know not; t’ward whom climb
   The steps o’ the world, and beats all wing of rhyme,
   And knows not; ’twixt the sun and moon
   Her inexpressible front enstarred
   Tempers the wrangling spheres to tune;
   Their divergent harmonies
   Concluded in the concord of her eyes,
   And vestal dances of her glad regard.
   I see, which fretteth with surmise
   Much heads grown unsagacious-grey,
   The slow aim of wise-hearted Time,
   Which folded cycles within cycles cloak:
   We pass, we pass, we pass; this does not pass away,
   But holds the furrowing earth still harnessed to its yoke.
   The stars still write their golden purposes
   On heaven’s high palimpsest, and no man sees,
   Nor any therein Daniel; I do hear
   From the revolving year
   A voice which cries:
   ‘All dies;
   Lo, how all dies!  O seer,
   And all things too arise:
   All dies, and all is born;
   But each resurgent morn, behold, more near the Perfect Morn.’

   Firm is the man, and set beyond the cast
   Of Fortune’s game, and the iniquitous hour,
   Whose falcon soul sits fast,
   And not intends her high sagacious tour
   Or ere the quarry sighted; who looks past
   To slow much sweet from little instant sour,
   And in the first does always see the last.



ANY SAINT


   HIS shoulder did I hold
   Too high that I, o’erbold
         Weak one,
      Should lean thereon.

   But He a little hath
   Declined His stately path
         And my
      Feet set more high;

   That the slack arm may reach
   His shoulder, and faint speech
         Stir
      His unwithering hair.

   And bolder now and bolder
   I lean upon that shoulder
         So dear
      He is and near:

   And with His aureole
   The tresses of my soul
         Are blent
      In wished content.

   Yes, this too gentle Lover
   Hath flattering words to move her
         To pride
      By His sweet side.

   Ah, Love! somewhat let be!
   Lest my humility
         Grow weak
      When thou dost speak!

   Rebate thy tender suit,
   Lest to herself impute
         Some worth
      Thy bride of earth!

   A maid too easily
   Conceits herself to be
         Those things
      Her lover sings;

   And being straitly wooed,
   Believes herself the Good
         And Fair
      He seeks in her.

   Turn something of Thy look,
   And fear me with rebuke,
         That I
      May timorously

   Take tremors in Thy arms,
   And with contrivèd charms
         Allure
      A love unsure.

   Not to me, not to me,
   Builded so flawfully,
         O God,
      Thy humbling laud!

   Not to this man, but Man,—
   Universe in a span;
         Point
      Of the spheres conjoint;

   In whom eternally
   Thou, Light, dost focus Thee!—
         Didst pave
      The way o’ the wave;

   Rivet with stars the Heaven,
   For causeways to Thy driven
         Car
      In its coming far

   Unto him, only him;
   In Thy deific whim
         Didst bound
      Thy works’ great round

   In this small ring of flesh;
   The sky’s gold-knotted mesh
         Thy wrist
      Did only twist

   To take him in that net.—
   Man! swinging-wicket set
         Between
      The Unseen and Seen;

   Lo, God’s two worlds immense,
   Of spirit and of sense,
         Wed
      In this narrow bed;

   Yea, and the midge’s hymn
   Answers the seraphim
         Athwart
      Thy body’s court!

   Great arm-fellow of God!
   To the ancestral clod
         Kin,
      And to cherubin;

   Bread predilectedly
   O’ the worm and Deity!
         Hark,
      O God’s clay-sealed Ark,

   To praise that fits thee, clear
   To the ear within the ear,
         But dense
      To clay-sealed sense.

   All the Omnific made
   When in a word he said,
         (Mystery!)
      He uttered _thee_;

   Thee His great utterance bore,
   O secret metaphor
         Of what
      Thou dream’st no jot!

   Cosmic metonymy!
   Weak world-unshuttering key!
         One
      Seal of Solomon!

   Trope that itself not scans
   Its huge significance,
         Which tries
      Cherubic eyes.

   Primer where the angels all
   God’s grammar spell in small,
         Nor spell
      The highest too well.

   Point for the great descants
   Of starry disputants;
         Equation
      Of creation.

   Thou meaning, couldst thou see,
   Of all which dafteth thee;
         So plain,
      It mocks thy pain;

   Stone of the Law indeed,
   Thine own self couldst thou read;
         Thy bliss
      Within thee is.

   Compost of Heaven and mire,
   Slow foot and swift desire!
         Lo,
      To have Yes, choose No;

   Gird, and thou shalt unbind;
   Seek not, and thou shalt find;
         To eat,
      Deny thy meat;

   And thou shalt be fulfilled
   With all sweet things unwilled:
         So best
      God loves to jest

   With children small—a freak
   Of heavenly hide-and-seek
         Fit
      For thy wayward wit,

   Who art thyself a thing
   Of whim and wavering;
         Free
      When His wings pen thee;

   Sole fully blest, to feel
   God whistle thee at heel;
         Drunk up
      As a dew-drop,

   When He bends down, sun-wise,
   Intemperable eyes;
         Most proud,
      When utterly bowed.

   To feel thyself and be
   His dear nonentity—
         Caught
      Beyond human thought

   In the thunder-spout of Him,
   Until thy being dim,
         And be
      Dead deathlessly.

   Stoop, stoop; for thou dost fear
   The nettle’s wrathful spear,
         So slight
      Art thou of might!

   Rise; for Heaven hath no frown
   When thou to thee pluck’st down,
         Strong clod!
      The neck of God.



ASSUMPTA MARIA


    ‘_Thou needst not sing new songs_, _but say the old_.’—COWLEY.

   _Mortals_, _that behold a Woman_,
      _Rising ’twixt the Moon and Sun_;
   _Who am I the heavens assume_? _an_
      _All am I_, _and I am one_.

   Multitudinous ascend I,
      Dreadful as a battle arrayed,
   For I bear you whither tend I;
      Ye are I: be undismayed!
   I, the Ark that for the graven
      Tables of the Law was made;
   Man’s own heart was one, one Heaven,
      Both within my womb were laid.
         For there Anteros with Eros
            Heaven with man conjoinèd was,—
         Twin-stone of the Law, _Ischyros_,
            _Agios Athanatos_.

   I, the flesh-girt Paradises
      Gardenered by the Adam new,
   Daintied o’er with sweet devices
      Which He loveth, for He grew.
   I, the boundless strict savannah
      Which God’s leaping feet go through;
   I, the heaven whence the Manna,
      Weary Israel, slid on you!
         He the Anteros and Eros,
            I the body, He the Cross;
         He upbeareth me, _Ischyros_,
            _Agios Athanatos_!

   I am Daniel’s mystic Mountain,
      Whence the mighty stone was rolled;
   I am the four Rivers’ fountain,
      Watering Paradise of old;
   Cloud down-raining the Just One am,
      Danae of the Shower of Gold;
   I the Hostel of the Sun am;
      He the Lamb, and I the Fold.
         He the Anteros and Eros,
            I the body, He the Cross;
         He is fast to me, _Ischyros_,
            _Agios Athanatos_!

   I, the presence-hall where Angels
      Do enwheel their placèd King—
   Even my thoughts which, without change else,
      Cyclic burn and cyclic sing.
   To the hollow of Heaven transplanted,
      I a breathing Eden spring,
   Where with venom all outpanted
      Lies the slimed Curse shrivelling.
         For the brazen Serpent clear on
            That old fangèd knowledge shone;
         I to Wisdom rise, _Ischyron_,
            _Agion Athanaton_!

   See in highest heaven pavilioned
      Now the maiden Heaven rest,
   The many-breasted sky out-millioned
      By the splendours of her vest.
   Lo, the Ark this holy tide is
      The un-handmade Temple’s guest,
   And the dark Egyptian bride is
      Whitely to the Spouse-Heart prest!
         He the Anteros and Eros,
            Nail me to Thee, sweetest Cross!
         He is fast to me, _Ischyros_,
            _Agios Athanatos_!

   ‘Tell me, tell me, O Belovèd,
      Where Thou dost in mid-day feed!
   For my wanderings are reprovèd,
      And my heart is salt with need.’
   ‘Thine own self not spellest God in,
      Nor the lisping papyrus reed?
   Follow where the flocks have trodden,
      Follow where the shepherds lead.’
         He, the Anteros and Eros,
            Mounts me in Ægyptic car,
         Twin-yoked; leading me, _Ischyros_,
            Trembling to the untempted Far.

   ‘Make me chainlets, silvern, golden,
      I that sow shall surely reap;
   While as yet my Spouse is holden
      Like a Lion in mountained sleep.’
   ‘Make her chainlets, silvern, golden,
      She hath sown and she shall reap;
   Look up to the mountains olden,
      Whence help comes with lioned leap.’
         By what gushed the bitter Spear on,
            Pain, which sundered, maketh one;
         Crucified to Him, _Ischyron_,
            _Agion Athanaton_!

   Then commanded and spake to me
      He who framed all things that be;
   And my Maker entered through me,
      In my tent His rest took He.
   Lo! He standeth, Spouse and Brother;
      I to Him, and He to me,
   Who upraised me where my mother
      Fell, beneath the apple-tree.
         Risen ’twixt Anteros and Eros,
            Blood and Water, Moon and Sun,
         He upbears me, He _Ischyros_,
            I bear Him, the _Athanaton_!

   Where is laid the Lord arisen?
      In the light we walk in gloom;
   Though the sun has burst his prison,
      We know not his biding-room.
   Tell us where the Lord sojourneth,
      For we find an empty tomb.
   ‘Whence He sprung, there He returneth,
      Mystic Sun,—the Virgin’s Womb.’
         Hidden Sun, His beams so near us,
            Cloud enpillared as He was
         From of old, there He, _Ischyros_,
            Waits our search, _Athanatos_.

   Who will give Him me for brother,
      Counted of my family,
   Sucking the sweet breasts of my Mother?—
      I His flesh, and mine is He;
   To my Bread myself the bread is,
      And my Wine doth drink me: see,
   His left hand beneath my head is,
      His right hand embraceth me!
         Sweetest Anteros and Eros,
            Lo, her arms He leans across;
         Dead that we die not, stooped to rear us,
            _Thanatos Athanatos_.

   Who is She, in candid vesture,
      Rushing up from out the brine?
   Treading with resilient gesture
      Air, and with that Cup divine?
   She in us and we in her are,
      Beating Godward: all that pine,
   Lo, a wonder and a terror!
      The Sun hath blushed the Sea to Wine!
         He the Anteros and Eros,
            She the Bride and Spirit; for
         Now the days of promise near us,
            And the Sea shall be no more.

   Open wide thy gates, O Virgin,
      That the King may enter thee!
   At all gates the clangours gurge in,
      God’s paludament lightens, see!
   Camp of Angels!  Well we even
      Of this thing may doubtful be,—
   If thou art assumed to Heaven,
      Or is Heaven assumed to thee!
         _Consummatum_.  Christ the promised,
            Thy maiden realm is won, O Strong!
         Since to such sweet Kingdom comest,
            Remember me, poor Thief of Song!

   Cadent fails the stars along:—
      _Mortals_, _that behold a woman_
         _Rising ’twixt the Moon and Sun_;
      _Who am I the heavens assume_? _an_
         _All am I_, _and I am one_.



THE AFTER WOMAN


   DAUGHTER of the ancient Eve,
   We know the gifts ye gave—and give.
   Who knows the gifts which _you_ shall give,
   Daughter of the newer Eve?
   You, if my soul be augur, you
   Shall—O what shall you not, Sweet, do?
   The celestial traitress play,
   And all mankind to bliss betray;
   With sacrosanct cajoleries
   And starry treachery of your eyes,
   Tempt us back to Paradise!
   Make heavenly trespass;—ay, press in
   Where faint the fledge-foot seraphin,
   Blest Fool!  Be ensign of our wars,
   And shame us all to warriors!
   Unbanner your bright locks,—advance
   Girl, their gilded puissance,
   I’ the mystic vaward, and draw on
   After the lovely gonfalon
   Us to out-folly the excess
   Of your sweet foolhardiness;
   To adventure like intense
   Assault against Omnipotence!

   Give me song, as She is, new,
   Earth should turn in time thereto!
   New, and new, and thrice so new,
   All old sweets, New Sweet, meant you!
   Fair, I had a dream of thee,
   When my young heart beat prophecy,
   And in apparition elate
   Thy little breasts knew waxèd great,
   Sister of the Canticle,
   And thee for God grown marriageable.
   How my desire desired your day,
   That, wheeled in rumour on its way,
   Shook me thus with presentience!  Then
   Eden’s lopped tree shall shoot again:
   For who Christ’s eyes shall miss, with those
   Eyes for evident nuncios?
   Or who be tardy to His call
   In your accents augural?

   Who shall not feel the Heavens hid
   Impend, at tremble of your lid,
   And divine advent shine avowed
   Under that dim and lucid cloud;
   Yea, ’fore the silver apocalypse
   Fail, at the unsealing of your lips?
   When to love _you_ is (O Christ’s Spouse!)
   To love the beauty of His house;
   Then come the Isaian days; the old
   Shall dream; and our young men behold
   Vision—yea, the vision of Thabor mount,
   Which none to other shall recount,
   Because in all men’s hearts shall be
   The seeing and the prophecy.
   For ended is the Mystery Play,
   When Christ is life, and you the way;
   When Egypt’s spoils are Israel’s right,
   And Day fulfils the married arms of Night.
   But here my lips are still.
   Until
   You and the hour shall be revealed,
   This song is sung and sung not, and its words are sealed.



GRACE OF THE WAY


   ‘MY brother!’ spake she to the sun;
      The kindred kisses of the stars
   Were hers; her feet were set upon
      The moon.  If slumber solved the bars

   Of sense, or sense transpicuous grown
      Fulfillèd seeing unto sight,
   I know not; nor if ’twas my own
      Ingathered self that made her night.

   The windy trammel of her dress,
      Her blown locks, took my soul in mesh;
   God’s breath they spake, with visibleness
      That stirred the raiment of her flesh:

   And sensible, as her blown were,
      Beyond the precincts of her form
   I felt the woman flow from her—
      A calm of intempestuous storm.

   I failed against the affluent tide;
      Out of this abject earth of me
   I was translated and enskied
      Into the heavenly-regioned She.

   Now of that vision I bereaven
      This knowledge keep, that may not dim:—
   Short arm needs man to reach to Heaven,
      So ready is Heaven to stoop to him.

   Which sets, to measure of man’s feet,
      No alien Tree for trysting-place;
   And who can read, may read the sweet
      Direction in his Lady’s face.

   And pass and pass the daily crowd,
      Unwares, occulted Paradise;
   Love the lost plot cries silver-loud,
      Nor any know the tongue he cries.

   The light is in the darkness, and
      The darkness doth not comprehend:
   God hath no haste; and God’s sons stand
      Yet a Day, tarrying for the end.

   Dishonoured Rahab still hath hid,
      Yea still, within her house of shame,
   The messengers by Jesus bid
      Forerun the coming of His Name.

   The Word was flesh, and crucified,
      From the beginning, and blasphemed:
   Its profaned raiment men divide,
      Damned by what, reverenced, had redeemed.

   Thy Lady, was thy heart not blind,
      One hour gave to thy witless trust
   The key thou go’st about to find;
      And thou hast dropped it in the dust.

   Of her, the Way’s one mortal grace,
      Own, save thy seeing be all forgot,
   That truly, God was in this place,
      And thou, unblessèd, knew’st it not.

   But some have eyes, and will not see;
      And some would see, and have not eyes;
   And fail the tryst, yet find the Tree,
      And take the lesson for the prize.



RETROSPECT


   ALAS, and I have sung
   Much song of matters vain,
   And a heaven-sweetened tongue
   Turned to unprofiting strain
   Of vacant things, which though
   Even so they be, and throughly so,
   It is no boot at all for thee to know,
   But babble and false pain.

   What profit if the sun
   Put forth his radiant thews,
   And on his circuit run,
   Even after my device, to this and to that use;
   And the true Orient, Christ,
   Make not His cloud of thee?
   I have sung vanity,
   And nothing well devised.

   And though the cry of stars
   Give tongue before his way
   Goldenly as I say,
   And each from wide Saturnus to hot Mars
   He calleth by its name,
   Lest that its bright feet stray;
   And thou have lore of all,
   But to thine own Sun’s call
   Thy path disorbed hast never wit to tame;
   It profits not withal,
   And my rede is but lame.

   Only that, ’mid vain vaunt
   Of wisdom ignorant,
   A little kiss upon the feet of Love
   My hasty verse has stayed
   Sometimes a space to plant:
   It has not wholly strayed,
   Not wholly missed near sweet, fanning proud plumes above.

   Therefore I do repent
   That with religion vain,
   And misconceivèd pain,
   I have my music bent
   To waste on bootless things its skiey-gendered rain:
   Yet shall a wiser day
   Fulfil more heavenly way,
   And with approvèd music clear this slip
   I trust in God most sweet;
   Meantime the silent lip,
   Meantime the climbing feet.



A NARROW VESSEL.


                 BEING A LITTLE DRAMATIC SEQUENCE ON THE
                     ASPECT OF PRIMITIVE GIRL-NATURE
                          TOWARDS A LOVE BEYOND
                             ITS CAPACITIES.



A GIRL’S SIN
I.—IN HER EYES


   CROSS child! red, and frowning so?
      ‘I, the day just over,
   Gave a lock of hair to—no!
      How _dare_ you say, my lover?’

   He asked you?—Let me understand;
      Come, child, let me sound it!
   ‘Of course, he _would_ have asked it, and—
      And so—somehow—he—found it.

   ‘He told it out with great loud eyes—
      Men have such little wit!
   His sin I ever will chastise
      Because I gave him it.

   ‘Shameless in me the gift, alas!
      In him his open bliss:
   But for the privilege he has
      A thousand he shall miss!

   ‘His eyes, where once I dreadless laughed,
      Call up a burning blot:
   I hate him, for his shameful craft
      That asked by asking not!’

   Luckless boy! and all for hair
      He never asked, you said?
   ‘Not just—but then he gazed—I swear
      He gazed it from my head!

   ‘His silence on my cheek like breath
      I felt in subtle way;
   More sweet than aught another saith
      Was what he did not say.

   ‘He’ll think me vanquished, for this lapse,
      Who should be above him;
   Perhaps he’ll think me light; perhaps—
      Perhaps he’ll think I—love him!

   ‘Are his eyes conscious and elate,
      I hate him that I blush;
   Or are they innocent, still I hate—
      They mean a thing’s to hush.

   ‘Before he nought amiss could do,
      Now all things show amiss;
   ’Twas all my fault, I know that true,
      But all my fault was his.

   ‘I hate him for his mute distress,
      ’Tis insult he should care!
   Because my heart’s all humbleness,
      All pride is in my air.

   ‘With him, each favour that I do
      Is bold suit’s hallowing text;
   Each gift a bastion levelled, to
      The next one and the next.

   ‘Each wish whose grant may him befall
      Is clogged by those withstood;
   He trembles, hoping one means all,
      And I, lest perhaps it should.

   ‘Behind me piecemeal gifts I cast,
      My fleeing self to save;
   And that’s the thing must go at last,
      For that’s the thing he’d have.

   ‘My lock the enforcèd steel did grate
      To cut; its root-thrills came
   Down to my bosom.  It might sate
      His lust for my poor shame!

   ‘His sifted dainty this should be
      For a score ambrosial years!
   But his too much humility
      Alarums me with fears.

   ‘My gracious grace a breach he counts
      For graceless escalade;
   And, though he’s silent ere he mounts,
      My watch is not betrayed.

   ‘My heart hides from my soul he’s sweet:
      Ah dread, if he divine!
   One touch, I might fall at his feet,
      And he might rise from mine.

   ‘To hear him praise my eyes’ brown gleams
      Was native, safe delight;
   But now it usurpation seems,
      Because I’ve given him right.

   ‘Before I’d have him not remove,
      Now would not have him near;
   With sacrifice I called on Love,
      And the apparition’s Fear.’

   Foolish to give it!—‘’Twas my whim,
      When he might parted be,
   To think that I should stay by him
      In a little piece of me.

   ‘He always said my hair was soft—
      What touches he will steal!
   Each touch and look (and he’ll look oft)
      I almost thought I’d feel.

   ‘And then, when first he saw the hair,
      To think his dear amazement!
   As if he wished from skies a star,
      And found it in his casement.

   ‘He’s kiss the lock—and I had toyed
      With dreamed delight of this:
   But ah, in proof, delight was void—
      I could not _see_ his kiss!’

   So, fond one, half this agony
      Were spared, which my hand hushes,
   Could you have played, Sweet, the sweet spy,
      And blushed not for your blushes!



A GIRL’S SIN
II.—IN HIS EYES


   CAN I forget her cruelty
   Who, brown miracle, gave you me?
   Or with unmoisted eyes think on
   The proud surrender overgone,
   (Lowlihead in haughty dress),
   Of the tender tyranness?
   And ere thou for my joy was given,
   How rough the road to that blest heaven!
   With what pangs I fore-expiated
   Thy cold outlawry from her head;
   How was I trampled and brought low,
   Because her virgin neck was so;
   How thralled beneath the jealous state
   She stood at point to abdicate;
   How sacrificed, before to me
   She sacrificed her pride and thee;
   How did she, struggling to abase
   Herself to do me strange, sweet grace,
   Enforce unwitting me to share
   Her throes and abjectness with her;
   Thence heightening that hour when her lover
   Her grace, with trembling, should discover,
   And in adoring trouble be
   Humbled at her humility!
   And with what pitilessness was I
   After slain, to pacify
   The uneasy manes of her shame,
   Her haunting blushes!—Mine the blame:
   What fair injustice did I rue
   For what I—did not tempt her to?
   Nor aught the judging maid might win
   Me to assoil from _her_ sweet sin.
   But nought were extreme punishment
   For that beyond-divine content,
   When my with-thee-first-giddied eyes
   Stooped ere their due on Paradise!
   O hour of consternating bliss
   When I heavened me in thy kiss;
   Thy softness (daring overmuch!)
   Profaned with my licensed touch;
   Worshipped, with tears, on happy knee,
   Her doubt, her trust, her shyness free,
   Her timorous audacity!



LOVE DECLARED


   I LOOKED, she drooped, and neither spake, and cold,
   We stood, how unlike all forecasted thought
   Of that desirèd minute!  Then I leaned
   Doubting; whereat she lifted—oh, brave eyes
   Unfrighted:—forward like a wind-blown flame
   Came bosom and mouth to mine!
                              That falling kiss
   Touching long-laid expectance, all went up
   Suddenly into passion; yea, the night
   Caught, blazed, and wrapt us round in vibrant fire.

      Time’s beating wing subsided, and the winds
   Caught up their breathing, and the world’s great pulse
   Stayed in mid-throb, and the wild train of life
   Reeled by, and left us stranded on a hush.
   This moment is a statue unto Love
   Carved from a fair white silence.
                              Lo, he stands
   Within us—are we not one now, one, one roof,
   His roof, and the partition of weak flesh
   Gone down before him, and no more, for ever?—
   Stands like a bird new-lit, and as he lit,
   Poised in our quiet being; only, only
   Within our shaken hearts the air of passion,
   Cleft by his sudden coming, eddies still
   And whirs round his enchanted movelessness.

   A film of trance between two stirrings!  Lo,
   It bursts; yet dream’s snapped links cling round the limbs
   Of waking: like a running evening stream
   Which no man hears, or sees, or knows to run,
   (Glazed with dim quiet), save that there the moon
   Is shattered to a creamy flicker of flame,
   Our eyes’ sweet trouble were hid, save that the love
   Trembles a little on their impassioned calms.



THE WAY OF A MAID


   THE lover whose soul shaken is
   In some decuman billow of bliss,
   Who feels his gradual-wading feet
   Sink in some sudden hollow of sweet,
   And ’mid love’s usèd converse comes
   Sharp on a mood which all joy sums—
   An instant’s fine compendium of
   The liberal-leavèd writ of love;
   His abashed pulses beating thick
   At the exigent joy and quick,
   Is dumbed, by aiming utterance great
   Up to the miracle of his fate.
   The wise girl, such Icarian fall
   Saved by her confidence that she’s small,—
   As what no kindred word will fit
   Is uttered best by opposite,
   Love in the tongue of hate exprest,
   And deepest anguish in a jest,—
   Feeling the infinite must be
   Best said by triviality,
   Speaks, where expression bates its wings,
   Just happy, alien, little things;
   What of all words is in excess
   Implies in a sweet nothingness,
   With dailiest babble shows her sense
   That full speech were full impotence;
   And while she feels the heavens lie bare,
   She only talks about her hair.



BEGINNING OF END


   SHE was aweary of the hovering
   Of Love’s incessant tumultuous wing;
   Her lover’s tokens she would answer not—
   ’Twere well she should be strange with him somewhat:
   A pretty babe, this Love,—but fie on it,
   That would not suffer her lay it down a whit!
   Appointed tryst defiantly she balked,
   And with her lightest comrade lightly walked,
   Who scared the chidden Love to hide apart,
   And peep from some unnoticed corner of her heart.
   She thought not of her lover, deem it not
   (There yonder, in the hollow, that’s _his_ cot),
   But she forgot not that he was forgot.
   She saw him at his gate, yet stilled her tongue—
   So weak she felt her, that she would feel strong,
   And she must punish him for doing him wrong:
   Passed, unoblivious of oblivion still;
   And if she turned upon the brow o’ the hill,
   It was so openly, so lightly done,
   You saw she thought he was not thought upon.
   He through the gate went back in bitterness;
   She that night woke and stirred, with no distress,
   Glad of her doing,—sedulous to be glad,
   Lest perhaps her foolish heart suspect that it was sad.



PENELOPE


   LOVE, like a wind, shook wide your blosmy eyes,
   You trembled, and your breath came sobbing-wise
      For that you loved me.

   You were so kind, so sweet, none could withhold
   To adore, but that you were so strange, so cold;
      For that you loved me.

   Like to a box of spikenard did you break
   Your heart about my feet.  What words you spake!
      For that you loved me.

   Life fell to dust without me; so you tried
   All carefullest ways to drive me from your side,
      For that you loved me.

   You gave yourself as children give, that weep
   And snatch back, with—‘I meant you not to keep!’
      For that you loved me.

   I am no woman, girl, nor ever knew
   That love could teach all ways that hate could do
      To her that loved me.

   Have less of love, or less of woman in
   Your love, or loss may even from this begin—
      That you so love me.

   For, wild Penelope, the web you wove
   You still unweave, unloving all your love;
      Is this to love me,

   Or what rights have I that scorn could deny?
   Even of your love, alas, poor Love must die,
      If so you love me!



THE END OF IT


   SHE did not love to love; but hated him
   For making her to love, and so her whim
   From passion taught misprision to begin;
   And all this sin
   Was because love to cast out had no skill
   Self, which was regent still.
   Her own self-will made void her own self’s will



EPILOGUE


   IF I have studied here in part
   A tale as old as maiden’s heart,
      ’Tis that I do see herein
      Shadow of more piteous sin.

   She, that but giving part, not whole,
   Took even the part back, is the Soul:
      And that so disdainèd Lover—
      Best unthought, since Love is over.

   Love to invite, desire, and fear,
   And Love’s exactions cost too dear
      Count for Love’s possession,—ah,
      Thy way, misera Anima!

   To give the pledge, and yet be pined
   That a pledge should have force to bind,
      This, O Soul, too often still
      Is the recreance of thy will!

   Out of Love’s arms to make fond chain,
   And, because struggle bringeth pain,
      Hate Love for Love’s sweet constraint,
      Is the way of Souls that faint.

   Such a Soul, for saddest end,
   Finds Love the foe in Love the friend;
      And—ah, grief incredible!—
      Treads the way of Heaven, to Hell.



MISCELLANEOUS ODES


ODE TO THE SETTING SUN


                                 PRELUDE.

   THE wailful sweetness of the violin
      Floats down the hushèd waters of the wind,
   The heart-strings of the throbbing harp begin
      To long in aching music.  Spirit-pined,

   In wafts that poignant sweetness drifts, until
      The wounded soul ooze sadness.  The red sun,
   A bubble of fire, drops slowly toward the hill,
      While one bird prattles that the day is done.

   O setting Sun, that as in reverent days
      Sinkest in music to thy smoothèd sleep,
   Discrowned of homage, though yet crowned with rays,
      Hymned not at harvest more, though reapers reap:

   For thee this music wakes not.  O deceived,
      If thou hear in these thoughtless harmonies
   A pious phantom of adorings reaved,
      And echo of fair ancient flatteries!

   Yet, in this field where the Cross planted reigns,
      I know not what strange passion bows my head
   To thee, whose great command upon my veins
      Proves thee a god for me not dead, not dead!

   For worship it is too incredulous,
      For doubt—oh, too believing-passionate!
   What wild divinity makes my heart thus
      A fount of most baptismal tears?—Thy straight

   Long beam lies steady on the Cross.  Ah me!
      What secret would thy radiant finger show?
   Of thy bright mastership is this the key?
      Is _this_ thy secret, then?  And is it woe?

   Fling from thine ear the burning curls, and hark
      A song thou hast not heard in Northern day;
   For Rome too daring, and for Greece too dark,
      Sweet with wild wings that pass, that pass away!

                                   ODE.

   Alpha and Omega, sadness and mirth,
      The springing music, and its wasting breath—
   The fairest things in life are Death and Birth,
      And of these two the fairer thing is Death.
   Mystical twins of Time inseparable,
      The younger hath the holier array,
         And hath the awfuller sway:
      It is the falling star that trails the light,
      It is the breaking wave that hath the might,
   The passing shower that rainbows maniple.
      Is it not so, O thou down-stricken Day,
   That draw’st thy splendours round thee in thy fall?
   High was thine Eastern pomp inaugural;
   But thou dost set in statelier pageantry,
      Lauded with tumults of a firmament:
   Thy visible music-blasts make deaf the sky,
      Thy cymbals clang to fire the Occident,
   Thou dost thy dying so triumphally:
   I _see_ the crimson blaring of thy shawms!
         Why do those lucent palms
   Strew thy feet’s failing thicklier than their might,
   Who dost but hood thy glorious eyes with night,
   And vex the heels of all the yesterdays?
         Lo! this loud, lackeying praise
   Will stay behind to greet the usurping moon,
      When they have cloud-barred over thee the West.
   Oh, shake the bright dust from thy parting shoon!
      The earth not pæans thee, nor serves thy hest,
   Be godded not by Heaven! avert thy face,
         And leave to blank disgrace
   The oblivious world! unsceptre thee of state and place!

   Ha! but bethink thee what thou gazedst on,
      Ere yet the snake Decay had venomed tooth;
   The name thou bar’st in those vast seasons gone—
         Candid Hyperion,
      Clad in the light of thine immortal youth!
         Ere Dionysus bled thy vines,
   Or Artemis drave her clamours through the wood,
         Thou saw’st how once against Olympus’ height
            The brawny Titans stood,
   And shook the gods’ world ’bout their ears, and how
   Enceladus (whom Etna cumbers now)
      Shouldered me Pelion with its swinging pines,
   The river unrecked, that did its broken flood
   Spurt on his back: before the mountainous shock
         The rankèd gods dislock,
   Scared to their skies; wide o’er rout-trampled night
   Flew spurned the pebbled stars: those splendours then
      Had tempested on earth, star upon star
      Mounded in ruin, if a longer war
   Had quaked Olympus and cold-fearing men.
            Then did the ample marge
            And circuit of thy targe
         Sullenly redden all the vaward fight,
            Above the blusterous clash
            Wheeled thy swung falchion’s flash
         And hewed their forces into splintered flight.

   Yet ere Olympus thou wast, and a god!
         Though we deny thy nod,
   We cannot spoil thee of thy divinity.
         What know we elder than thee?
   When thou didst, bursting from the great void’s husk,
   Leap like a lion on the throat o’ the dusk;
         When the angels rose-chapleted
            Sang each to other,
         The vaulted blaze overhead
         Of their vast pinions spread,
            Hailing thee brother;
   How chaos rolled back from the wonder,
   And the First Morn knelt down to thy visage of thunder!
         Thou didst draw to thy side
         Thy young Auroral bride,
      And lift her veil of night and mystery;
         Tellus with baby hands
         Shook off her swaddling-bands,
      And from the unswathèd vapours laughed to thee.

   Thou twi-form deity, nurse at once and sire!
      Thou genitor that all things nourishest!
      The earth was suckled at thy shining breast,
   And in her veins is quick thy milky fire.
   Who scarfed her with the morning? and who set
   Upon her brow the day-fall’s carcanet?
         Who queened her front with the enrondured moon?
         Who dug night’s jewels from their vaulty mine
            To dower her, past an eastern wizard’s dreams,
      When hovering on him through his haschish-swoon,
         All the rained gems of the old Tartarian line
   Shiver in lustrous throbbings of tinged flame?
         Whereof a moiety in the Paolis’ seams
         Statelily builded their Venetian name.
            Thou hast enwoofèd her
            An empress of the air,
   And all her births are propertied by thee:
            Her teeming centuries
            Drew being from thine eyes:
   Thou fatt’st the marrow of all quality.

   Who lit the furnace of the mammoth’s heart?
      Who shagged him like Pilatus’ ribbèd flanks?
            Who raised the columned ranks
   Of that old pre-diluvian forestry,
   Which like a continent torn oppressed the sea,
      When the ancient heavens did in rains depart,
         While the high-dancèd whirls
   Of the tossed scud made hiss thy drenchèd curls?
         Thou rear’dst the enormous brood;
         Who hast with life imbued
      The lion maned in tawny majesty,
         The tiger velvet-barred,
         The stealthy-stepping pard,
      And the lithe panther’s flexuous symmetry.

   How came the entombèd tree a light-bearer,
            Though sunk in lightless lair?
            Friend of the forgers of earth,
         Mate of the earthquake and thunders volcanic,
         Clasped in the arms of the forces Titanic
            Which rock like a cradle the girth
               Of the ether-hung world;
         Swart son of the swarthy mine,
         When flame on the breath of his nostrils feeds
            How is his countenance half-divine,
            Like thee in thy sanguine weeds?
         Thou gavest him his light,
         Though sepultured in night
      Beneath the dead bones of a perished world;
         Over his prostrate form
         Though cold, and heat, and storm,
      The mountainous wrack of a creation hurled.
         Who made the splendid rose
         Saturate with purple glows;
   Cupped to the marge with beauty; a perfume-press
         Whence the wind vintages
   Gushes of warmèd fragrance richer far
      Than all the flavorous ooze of Cyprus’ vats?
   Lo, in yon gale which waves her green cymar,
         With dusky cheeks burnt red
         She sways her heavy head,
   Drunk with the must of her own odorousness;
      While in a moted trouble the vexed gnats
   Maze, and vibrate, and tease the noontide hush.
      Who girt dissolvèd lightnings in the grape?
   Summered the opal with an Irised flush?
      Is it not thou that dost the tulip drape,
         And huest the daffodilly,
         Yet who hast snowed the lily,
   And her frail sister, whom the waters name,
      Dost vestal-vesture ’mid the blaze of June,
      Cold as the new-sprung girlhood of the moon
   Ere Autumn’s kiss sultry her cheek with flame?
         Thou sway’st thy sceptred beam
         O’er all delight and dream,
      Beauty is beautiful but in thy glance:
         And like a jocund maid
         In garland-flowers arrayed,
      Before thy ark Earth keeps her sacred dance.

   And now, O shaken from thine antique throne,
      And sunken from thy coerule empery,
   Now that the red glare of thy fall is blown
      In smoke and flame about the windy sky,
   Where are the wailing voices that should meet
      From hill, stream, grove, and all of mortal shape
   Who tread thy gifts, in vineyards as stray feet
      Pulp the globed weight of juiced Iberia’s grape?
         Where is the threne o’ the sea?
      And why not dirges thee
   The wind, that sings to himself as he makes stride
      Lonely and terrible on the Andean height?
         Where is the Naiad ’mid her sworded sedge?
         The Nymph wan-glimmering by her wan fount’s verge?
   The Dryad at timid gaze by the wood-side?
            The Oread jutting light
      On one up-strainèd sole from the rock-ledge?
         The Nereid tip-toe on the scud o’ the surge,
   With whistling tresses dank athwart her face,
   And all her figure poised in lithe Circean grace?
         Why withers their lament?
         Their tresses tear-besprent,
      Have they sighed hence with trailing garment-gem?
         O sweet, O sad, O fair!
         I catch your flying hair,
      Draw your eyes down to me, and dream on them!

   A space, and they fleet from me.  Must ye fade—
   O old, essential candours, ye who made
      The earth a living and a radiant thing—
         And leave her corpse in our strained, cheated arms?
         Lo ever thus, when Song with chorded charms
   Draws from dull death his lost Eurydice,
      Lo ever thus, even at consummating,
      Even in the swooning minute that claims her his,
      Even as he trembles to the impassioned kiss
      Of reincarnate Beauty, his control
      Clasps the cold body, and foregoes the soul!
         Whatso looks lovelily
   Is but the rainbow on life’s weeping rain.
   Why have we longings of immortal pain,
   And all we long for mortal?  Woe is me,
   And all our chants but chaplet some decay,
   As mine this vanishing—nay, vanished Day.
   The low sky-line dusks to a leaden hue,
      No rift disturbs the heavy shade and chill,
   Save one, where the charred firmament lets through
      The scorching dazzle of Heaven; ’gainst which the hill,
         Out-flattened sombrely,
   Stands black as life against eternity.
         Against eternity?
         A rifting light in me
      Burns through the leaden broodings of the mind:
         O blessèd Sun, thy state
         Uprisen or derogate
      Dafts me no more with doubt; I seek and find.

         If with exultant tread
            Thou foot the Eastern sea,
            Or like a golden bee
         Sting the West to angry red,
         Thou dost image, thou dost follow
            That King-Maker of Creation,
         Who, ere Hellas hailed Apollo,
            Gave thee, angel-god, thy station;
   Thou art of Him a type memorial.
      Like Him thou hang’st in dreadful pomp of blood
         Upon thy Western rood;
      And His stained brow did veil like thine to night,
         Yet lift once more Its light,
   And, risen, again departed from our ball,
   But when It set on earth arose in Heaven.
   Thus hath He unto death His beauty given:
   And so of all which form inheriteth
         The fall doth pass the rise in worth;
   For birth hath in itself the germ of death,
      But death hath in itself the germ of birth.
   It is the falling acorn buds the tree,
   The falling rain that bears the greenery,
      The fern-plants moulder when the ferns arise.
      For there is nothing lives but something dies,
   And there is nothing dies but something lives.
         Till skies be fugitives,
   Till Time, the hidden root of change, updries,
   Are Birth and Death inseparable on earth;
   For they are twain yet one, and Death is Birth.

                              AFTER-STRAIN.

   Now with wan ray that other sun of Song
      Sets in the bleakening waters of my soul:
   One step, and lo! the Cross stands gaunt and long
      ’Twixt me and yet bright skies, a presaged dole.

   Even so, O Cross! thine is the victory.
      Thy roots are fast within our fairest fields;
   Brightness may emanate in Heaven from thee,
      Here thy dread symbol only shadow yields.

   Of reapèd joys thou art the heavy sheaf
      Which must be lifted, though the reaper groan;
   Yea, we may cry till Heaven’s great ear be deaf,
      But we must bear thee, and must bear alone.

   Vain were a Simon; of the Antipodes
      Our night not borrows the superfluous day.
   Yet woe to him that from his burden flees!
      Crushed in the fall of what he cast away.

   Therefore, O tender Lady, Queen Mary,
      Thou gentleness that dost enmoss and drape
   The Cross’s rigorous austerity,
      Wipe thou the blood from wounds that needs must gape.

   ‘Lo, though suns rise and set, but crosses stay,
      I leave thee ever,’ saith she, ‘light of cheer.’
   ’Tis so: yon sky still thinks upon the Day,
      And showers aërial blossoms on his bier.

   Yon cloud with wrinkled fire is edgèd sharp;
      And once more welling through the air, ah me!
   How the sweet viol plains him to the harp,
      Whose pangèd sobbings throng tumultuously.

   Oh, this Medusa-pleasure with her stings!
      This essence of all suffering, which is joy!
   I am not thankless for the spell it brings,
      Though tears must be told down for the charmed toy.

   No; while soul, sky, and music bleed together,
      Let me give thanks even for those griefs in me,
   The restless windward stirrings of whose feather
      Prove them the brood of immortality.

   My soul is quitted of death-neighbouring swoon,
      Who shall not slake her immitigable scars
   Until she hear ‘My sister!’ from the moon,
      And take the kindred kisses of the stars.



A CAPTAIN OF SONG


                    (ON A PORTRAIT OF COVENTRY PATMORE
                         BY J. S. SARGENT, R.A.)

   LOOK on him.  This is he whose works ye know;
   Ye have adored, thanked, loved him,—no, not him!
   But that of him which proud portentous woe
   To its own grim
   Presentment was not potent to subdue,
   Nor all the reek of Erebus to dim.
   This, and not him, ye knew.
   Look on him now.  Love, worship if ye can,
   The very man.
   Ye may not.  He has trod the ways afar,
   The fatal ways of parting and farewell,
   Where all the paths of painèd greatness are;
   Where round and always round
   The abhorrèd words resound,
   The words accursed of comfortable men,—
   ‘For ever’; and infinite glooms intolerable
   With spacious replication give again,
   And hollow jar,
   The words abhorred of comfortable men.
   You the stern pities of the gods debar
   To drink where he has drunk
   The moonless mere of sighs,
   And pace the places infamous to tell,
   Where God wipes not the tears from any eyes,
   Where-through the ways of dreadful greatness are
   He knows the perilous rout
   That all those ways about
   Sink into doom, and sinking, still are sunk.
   And if his sole and solemn term thereout
   He has attained, to love ye shall not dare
   One who has journeyed there;
   Ye shall mark well
   The mighty cruelties which arm and mar
   That countenance of control,
   With minatory warnings of a soul
   That hath to its own selfhood been most fell,
   And is not weak to spare:
   And lo, that hair
   Is blanchèd with the travel-heats of hell.

   If any be
   That shall with rites of reverent piety
   Approach this strong
   Sad soul of sovereign Song,
   Nor fail and falter with the intimidate throng;
   If such there be,
   These, these are only they
   Have trod the self-same way;
   The never-twice-revolving portals heard
   Behind them clang infernal, and that word
   Abhorrèd sighed of kind mortality,
   As he—
   Ah, even as he!



AGAINST URANIA


   LO I, Song’s most true lover, plain me sore
   That worse than other women she can deceive,
   For she being goddess, I have given her more
   Than mortal ladies from their loves receive;
   And first of her embrace
   She was not coy, and gracious were her ways,
   That I forgot all virgins to adore;
   Nor did I greatly grieve
   To bear through arid days
   The pretty foil of her divine delays;
   And one by one to cast
   Life, love, and health,
   Content, and wealth,
   Before her, thinking ever on her praise,
   Until at last
   Nought had I left she would be gracious for.
   Now of her cozening I complain me sore,
   Seeing her uses,
   That still, more constantly she is pursued,
   And straitlier wooed,
   Her only-adorèd favour more refuses,
   And leaves me to implore
   Remembered boon in bitterness of blood.

   From mortal woman thou may’st know full well,
   O poet, that dost deem the fair and tall
   Urania of her ways not mutable,
   When things shall thee befall
   What thou art toilèd in her sweet, wild spell.
   Do they strow for thy feet
   A little tender favour and deceit
   Over the sudden mouth of hidden hell?—
   As more intolerable
   Her pit, as her first kiss is heavenlier-sweet.
   Are they, the more thou sigh,
   Still the more watchful-cruel to deny?—
   Know this, that in her service thou shalt learn
   How harder than the heart of woman is
   The immortal cruelty
   Of the high goddesses.
   True is his witness who doth witness this,
   Whose gaze too early fell—
   Nor thence shall turn,
   Nor in those fires shall cease to weep and burn—
   Upon her ruinous eyes and ineludible.



AN ANTHEM OF EARTH


                                 PRŒMION

   IMMEASURABLE Earth!
   Through the loud vast and populacy of Heaven,
   Tempested with gold schools of ponderous orbs,
   That cleav’st with deep-revolting harmonies
   Passage perpetual, and behind thee draw’st
   A furrow sweet, a cometary wake
   Of trailing music!  What large effluence,
   Not sole the cloudy sighing of thy seas,
   Nor thy blue-coifing air, encases thee
   From prying of the stars, and the broad shafts
   Of thrusting sunlight tempers?  For, dropped near
   From my removèd tour in the serene
   Of utmost contemplation, I scent lives.
   This is the efflux of thy rocks and fields,
   And wind-cuffed forestage, and the souls of men,
   And aura of all treaders over thee;
   A sentient exhalation, wherein close
   The odorous lives of many-throated flowers,
   And each thing’s mettle effused; that so thou wear’st,
   Even like a breather on a frosty morn,
   Thy proper suspiration.  For I know,
   Albeit, with custom-dulled perceivingness,
   Nestled against thy breast, my sense not take
   The breathings of thy nostrils, there’s no tree,
   No grain of dust, nor no cold-seeming stone,
   But wears a fume of its circumfluous self.
   Thine own life and the lives of all that live,
   The issue of thy loins,
   Is this thy gaberdine,
   Wherein thou walkest through thy large demesne
   And sphery pleasances,—
   Amazing the unstalèd eyes of Heaven,
   And us that still a precious seeing have
   Behind this dim and mortal jelly.
                                    Ah!
   If not in all too late and frozen a day
   I come in rearward of the throats of song,
   Unto the deaf sense of the agèd year
   Singing with doom upon me; yet give heed!
   One poet with sick pinion, that still feels
   Breath through the Orient gateways closing fast,
   Fast closing t’ward the undelighted night!

                                  ANTHEM

   In nescientness, in nescientness,
   Mother, we put these fleshly lendings on
   Thou yield’st to thy poor children; took thy gift
   Of life, which must, in all the after-days,
   Be craved again with tears,—
   With fresh and still-petitionary tears.
   Being once bound thine almsmen for that gift,
   We are bound to beggary, nor our own can call
   The journal dole of customary life,
   But after suit obsequious for’t to thee.
   Indeed this flesh, O Mother,
   A beggar’s gown, a client’s badging,
   We find, which from thy hands we simply took,
   Nought dreaming of the after penury,
   In nescientness.

   In a little joy, in a little joy,
   We wear awhile thy sore insignia,
   Nor know thy heel o’ the neck.  O Mother!  Mother!
   Then what use knew I of thy solemn robes,
   But as a child, to play with them?  I bade thee
   Leave thy great husbandries, thy grave designs,
   Thy tedious state which irked my ignorant years,
   Thy winter-watches, suckling of the grain,
   Severe premeditation taciturn
   Upon the brooded Summer, thy chill cares,
   And all thy ministries majestical,
   To sport with me, thy darling.  Thought I not
   Thou set’st thy seasons forth processional
   To pamper me with pageant,—thou thyself
   My fellow-gamester, appanage of mine arms?
   Then what wild Dionysia I, young Bacchanal,
   Danced in thy lap!  Ah for thy gravity!
   Then, O Earth, thou rang’st beneath me,
   Rocked to Eastward, rocked to Westward,
   Even with the shifted
   Poise and footing of my thought!
   I brake through thy doors of sunset,
   Ran before the hooves of sunrise,
   Shook thy matron tresses down in fancies
   Wild and wilful
   As a poet’s hand could twine them;
   Caught in my fantasy’s crystal chalice
   The Bow, as its cataract of colours
   Plashed to thee downward;
   Then when thy circuit swung to nightward,
   Night the abhorrèd, night was a new dawning,
   Celestial dawning
   Over the ultimate marges of the soul;
   Dusk grew turbulent with fire before me,
   And like a windy arras waved with dreams.
   Sleep I took not for my bedfellow,
   Who could waken
   To a revel, an inexhaustible
   Wassail of orgiac imageries;
   Then while I wore thy sore insignia
   In a little joy, O Earth, in a little joy;
   Loving thy beauty in all creatures born of thee,
   Children, and the sweet-essenced body of woman;
   Feeling not yet upon my neck thy foot,
   But breathing warm of thee as infants breathe
   New from their mother’s morning bosom.  So I,
   Risen from thee, restless winnower of the heaven,
   Most Hermes-like, did keep
   My vital and resilient path, and felt
   The play of wings about my fledgèd heel—
   Sure on the verges of precipitous dream,
   Swift in its springing
   From jut to jut of inaccessible fancies,
   In a little joy.

   In a little thought, in a little thought,
   We stand and eye thee in a grave dismay,
   With sad and doubtful questioning, when first
   Thou speak’st to us as men: like sons who hear
   Newly their mother’s history, unthought
   Before, and say—‘She is not as we dreamed:
   Ah me! we are beguiled!’  What art thou, then,
   That art not our conceiving?  Art thou not
   Too old for thy young children?  Or perchance,
   Keep’st thou a youth perpetual-burnishable
   Beyond thy sons decrepit?  It is long
   Since Time was first a fledgling;
   Yet thou may’st be but as a pendant bulla
   Against his stripling bosom swung.  Alack!
   For that we seem indeed
   To have slipped the world’s great leaping-time, and come
   Upon thy pinched and dozing days: these weeds,
   These corporal leavings, thou not cast’st us new,
   Fresh from thy craftship, like the lilies’ coats,
   But foist’st us off
   With hasty tarnished piecings negligent,
   Snippets and waste
   From old ancestral wearings,
   That have seen sorrier usage; remainder-flesh
   After our father’s surfeits; nay with chinks,
   Some of us, that if speech may have free leave
   Our souls go out at elbows.  We are sad
   With more than our sires’ heaviness, and with
   More than their weakness weak; we shall not be
   Mighty with all their mightiness, nor shall not
   Rejoice with all their joy.  Ay, Mother!  Mother!
   What is this Man, thy darling kissed and cuffed,
   Thou lustingly engender’st,
   To sweat, and make his brag, and rot,
   Crowned with all honour and all shamefulness?
   From nightly towers
   He dogs the secret footsteps of the heavens,
   Sifts in his hands the stars, weighs them as gold-dust,
   And yet is he successive unto nothing
   But patrimony of a little mould,
   And entail of four planks.  Thou hast made his mouth
   Avid of all dominion and all mightiness,
   All sorrow, all delight, all topless grandeurs,
   All beauty, and all starry majesties,
   And dim transtellar things;—even that it may,
   Filled in the ending with a puff of dust,
   Confess—‘It is enough.’  The world left empty
   What that poor mouthful crams.  His heart is builded
   For pride, for potency, infinity,
   All heights, all deeps, and all immensities,
   Arrased with purple like the house of kings,—
   To stall the grey-rat, and the carrion-worm
   Statelily lodge.  Mother of mysteries!
   Sayer of dark sayings in a thousand tongues,
   Who bringest forth no saying yet so dark
   As we ourselves, thy darkest!  We the young,
   In a little thought, in a little thought,
   At last confront thee, and ourselves in thee,
   And wake disgarmented of glory: as one
   On a mount standing, and against him stands,
   On the mount adverse, crowned with westering rays,
   The golden sun, and they two brotherly
   Gaze each on each;
   He faring down
   To the dull vale, his Godhead peels from him
   Till he can scarcely spurn the pebble—
   For nothingness of new-found mortality—
   That mutinies against his gallèd foot.
   Littly he sets him to the daily way,
   With all around the valleys growing grave,
   And known things changed and strange; but he holds on,
   Though all the land of light be widowèd,
   In a little thought.

   In a little strength, in a little strength,
   We affront thy unveiled face intolerable,
   Which yet we do sustain.
   Though I the Orient never more shall feel
   Break like a clash of cymbals, and my heart
   Clang through my shaken body like a gong;
   Nor ever more with spurted feet shall tread
   I’ the winepresses of song; nought’s truly lost
   That moulds to sprout forth gain: now I have on me
   The high Phœbean priesthood, and that craves
   An unrash utterance; not with flaunted hem
   May the Muse enter in behind the veil,
   Nor, though we hold the sacred dances good,
   Shall the holy Virgins mænadize: ruled lips
   Befit a votaress Muse.
   Thence with no mutable, nor no gelid love,
   I keep, O Earth, thy worship,
   Though life slow, and the sobering Genius change
   To a lamp his gusty torch.  What though no more
   Athwart its roseal glow
   Thy face look forth triumphal?  Thou put’st on
   Strange sanctities of pathos; like this knoll
   Made derelict of day,
   Couchant and shadowèd
   Under dim Vesper’s overloosened hair:
   This, where embossèd with the half-blown seed
   The solemn purple thistle stands in grass
   Grey as an exhalation, when the bank
   Holds mist for water in the nights of Fall.
   Not to the boy, although his eyes be pure
   As the prime snowdrop is,
   Ere the rash Phœbus break her cloister
   Of sanctimonious snow;
   Or Winter fasting sole on Himalay
   Since those dove-nuncioed days
   When Asia rose from bathing;
   Not to such eyes,
   Uneuphrasied with tears, the hierarchical
   Vision lies unoccult, rank under rank
   Through all create down-wheeling, from the Throne
   Even to the bases of the pregnant ooze.
   This is the enchantment, this the exaltation,
   The all-compensating wonder,
   Giving to common things wild kindred
   With the gold-tesserate floors of Jove;
   Linking such heights and such humilities
   Hand in hand in ordinal dances,
   That I do think my tread,
   Stirring the blossoms in the meadow-grass,
   Flickers the unwithering stars.
   This to the shunless fardel of the world
   Nerves my uncurbèd back; that I endure,
   The monstrous Temple’s moveless caryatid,
   With wide eyes calm upon the whole of things,
   In a little strength.

   In a little sight, in a little sight,
   We learn from what in thee is credible
   The incredible, with bloody clutch and feet
   Clinging the painful juts of jaggèd faith.
   Science, old noser in its prideful straw,
   That with anatomising scalpel tents
   Its three-inch of thy skin, and brags—‘All’s bare,’
   The eyeless worm, that boring works the soil,
   Making it capable for the crops of God;
   Against its own dull will
   Ministers poppies to our troublous thought,
   A Balaam come to prophecy,—parables,
   Nor of its parable itself is ware,
   Grossly unwotting; all things has expounded
   Reflux and influx, counts the sepulchre
   The seminary of being, and extinction
   The Ceres of existence: it discovers
   Life in putridity, vigour in decay;
   Dissolution even, and disintegration,
   Which in our dull thoughts symbolise disorder,
   Finds in God’s thoughts irrefragable order,
   And admirable the manner of our corruption
   As of our health.  It grafts upon the cypress
   The tree of Life—Death dies on his own dart
   Promising to our ashes perpetuity,
   And to our perishable elements
   Their proper imperishability; extracting
   Medicaments from out mortality
   Against too mortal cogitation; till
   Even of the caput mortuum we do thus
   Make a memento vivere.  To such uses
   I put the blinding knowledge of the fool,
   Who in no order seeth ordinance;
   Nor thrust my arm in nature shoulder-high,
   And cry—‘There’s nought beyond!’  How should I so,
   That cannot with these arms of mine engirdle
   All which I am; that am a foreigner
   In mine own region?  Who the chart shall draw
   Of the strange courts and vaulty labyrinths,
   The spacious tenements and wide pleasances,
   Innumerable corridors far-withdrawn,
   Where I wander darkling, of myself?
   Darkling I wander, nor I dare explore
   The long arcane of those dim catacombs,
   Where the rat memory does its burrows make,
   Close-seal them as I may, and my stolen tread
   Starts populace, a _gens lucifuga_;
   That too strait seems my mind my mind to hold,
   And I myself incontinent of me.
   Then go I, my foul-venting ignorance
   With scabby sapience plastered, aye forsooth!
   Clap my wise foot-rule to the walls o’ the world,
   And vow—_A goodly house_, _but something ancient_,
   _And I can find no Master_?  Rather, nay,
   By baffled seeing, something I divine
   Which baffles, and a seeing set beyond;
   And so with strenuous gazes sounding down,
   Like to the day-long porer on a stream,
   Whose last look is his deepest, I beside
   This slow perpetual Time stand patiently,
   In a little sight.

   In a little dust, in a little dust,
   Earth, thou reclaim’st us, who do all our lives
   Find of thee but Egyptian villeinage.
   Thou dost this body, this enhavocked realm,
   Subject to ancient and ancestral shadows;
   Descended passions sway it; it is distraught
   With ghostly usurpation, dinned and fretted
   With the still-tyrannous dead; a haunted tenement,
   Peopled from barrows and outworn ossuaries.
   Thou giv’st us life not half so willingly
   As thou undost thy giving; thou that teem’st
   The stealthy terror of the sinuous pard,
   The lion maned with curlèd puissance,
   The serpent, and all fair strong beasts of ravin,
   Thyself most fair and potent beast of ravin;
   And thy great eaters thou, the greatest, eat’st.
   Thou hast devoured mammoth and mastodon,
   And many a floating bank of fangs,
   The scaly scourges of thy primal brine,
   And the tower-crested plesiosaure.
   Thou fill’st thy mouth with nations, gorgest slow
   On purple æons of kings; man’s hulking towers
   Are carcase for thee, and to modern sun
   Disglutt’st their splintered bones.
   Rabble of Pharaohs and Arsacidæ
   Keep their cold house within thee; thou hast sucked down
   How many Ninevehs and Hecatompyloi,
   And perished cities whose great phantasmata
   O’erbrow the silent citizens of Dis:—
   Hast not thy fill?
   Tarry awhile, lean Earth, for thou shalt drink,
   Even till thy dull throat sicken,
   The draught thou grow’st most fat on; hear’st thou not
   The world’s knives bickering in their sheaths?  O patience!
   Much offal of a foul world comes thy way,
   And man’s superfluous cloud shall soon be laid
   In a little blood.

   In a little peace, in a little peace,
   Thou dost rebate thy rigid purposes
   Of imposed being, and relenting, mend’st
   Too much, with nought.  The westering Phoebus’ horse
   Paws i’ the lucent dust as when he shocked
   The East with rising; O how may I trace
   In this decline that morning when we did
   Sport ’twixt the claws of newly-whelped existence,
   Which had not yet learned rending? we did then
   Divinely stand, not knowing yet against us
   Sentence had passed of life, nor commutation
   Petitioning into death.  What’s he that of
   The Free State argues?  Tellus! bid him stoop,
   Even where the low _hic jacet_ answers him;
   Thus low, O Man! there’s freedom’s seignory,
   Tellus’ most reverend sole free commonweal,
   And model deeply-policied: there none
   Stands on precedence, nor ambitiously
   Woos the impartial worm, whose favours kiss
   With liberal largesse all; there each is free
   To be e’en what he must, which here did strive
   So much to be he could not; there all do
   Their uses just, with no flown questioning.
   To be took by the hand of equal earth
   They doff her livery, slip to the worm,
   Which lacqueys them, their suits of maintenance,
   And that soiled workaday apparel cast,
   Put on condition: Death’s ungentle buffet
   Alone makes ceremonial manumission;
   So are the heavenly statutes set, and those
   Uranian tables of the primal Law.
   In a little peace, in a little peace,
   Like fierce beasts that a common thirst makes brothers,
   We draw together to one hid dark lake;
   In a little peace, in a little peace,
   We drain with all our burthens of dishonour
   Into the cleansing sands o’ the thirsty grave.
   The fiery pomps, brave exhalations,
   And all the glistering shows o’ the seeming world,
   Which the sight aches at, we unwinking see
   Through the smoked glass of Death; Death, wherewith’s fined
   The muddy wine of life; that earth doth purge
   Of her plethora of man; Death, that doth flush
   The cumbered gutters of humanity;
   Nothing, of nothing king, with front uncrowned,
   Whose hand holds crownets; playmate swart o’ the strong;
   Tenebrous moon that flux and refluence draws
   Of the high-tided man; skull-housèd asp
   That stings the heel of kings; true Fount of Youth,
   Where he that dips is deathless; being’s drone-pipe;
   Whose nostril turns to blight the shrivelled stars,
   And thicks the lusty breathing of the sun;
   Pontifical Death, that doth the crevasse bridge
   To the steep and trifid God; one mortal birth
   That broker is of immortality.
   Under this dreadful brother uterine,
   This kinsman feared, Tellus, behold me come,
   Thy son stern-nursed; who mortal-motherlike,
   To turn thy weanlings’ mouth averse, embitter’st
   Thine over-childed breast.  Now, mortal-sonlike,
   I thou hast suckled, Mother, I at last
   Shall sustenant be to thee.  Here I untrammel,
   Here I pluck loose the body’s cerementing,
   And break the tomb of life; here I shake off
   The bur o’ the world, man’s congregation shun,
   And to the antique order of the dead
   I take the tongueless vows: my cell is set
   Here in thy bosom; my little trouble is ended
   In a little peace.



MISCELLANEOUS POEMS


‘EX ORE INFANTIUM’


   LITTLE Jesus, wast Thou shy
   Once, and just so small as I?
   And what did it feel like to be
   Out of Heaven, and just like me?
   Didst Thou sometimes think of _there_,
   And ask where all the angels were?
   I should think that I would cry
   For my house all made of sky;
   I would look about the air,
   And wonder where my angels were;
   And at waking ’twould distress me—
   Not an angel there to dress me!
   Hadst Thou ever any toys,
   Like us little girls and boys?
   And didst Thou play in Heaven with all
   The angels that were not too tall,
   With stars for marbles?  Did the things
   Play _Can you see me_? through their wings?
   And did Thy Mother let Thee spoil
   Thy robes, with playing on _our_ soil?
   How nice to have them always new
   In Heaven, because ’twas quite clean blue!

   Didst Thou kneel at night to pray,
   And didst Thou join Thy hands, this way?
   And did they tire sometimes, being young,
   And make the prayer seem very long?
   And dost Thou like it best, that we
   Should join our hands to pray to Thee?
   I used to think, before I knew,
   The prayer not said unless we do.
   And did Thy Mother at the night
   Kiss Thee, and fold the clothes in right?
   And didst Thou feel quite good in bed,
   Kissed, and sweet, and thy prayers said?

   Thou canst not have forgotten all
   That it feels like to be small:
   And Thou know’st I cannot pray
   To Thee in my father’s way—
   When Thou wast so little, say,
   Couldst Thou talk Thy Father’s way?—
   So, a little Child, come down
   And hear a child’s tongue like Thy own;
   Take me by the hand and walk,
   And listen to my baby-talk.
   To Thy Father show my prayer
   (He will look, Thou art so fair),
   And say: ‘O Father, I, Thy Son,
   Bring the prayer of a little one.’

   And He will smile, that children’s tongue
   Has not changed since Thou wast young!



A QUESTION


   O BIRD with heart of wassail,
      That toss the Bacchic branch,
   And slip your shaken music,
      An elfin avalanche;

   Come tell me, O tell me,
      My poet of the blue!
   What’s _your_ thought of me, Sweet?—
      Here’s _my_ thought of you.

   A small thing, a wee thing,
      A brown fleck of nought;
   With winging and singing
      That who could have thought?

   A small thing, a wee thing,
      A brown amaze withal,
   That fly a pitch more azure
      Because you’re so small.

   Bird, I’m a small thing—
      My angel descries;
   With winging and singing
      That who could surmise?

   Ah, small things, ah, wee things,
      Are the poets all,
   Whose tour’s the more azure
      Because they’re so small.

   The angels hang watching
      The tiny men-things:—
   ‘The dear speck of flesh, see,
      With such daring wings!

   ‘Come, tell us, O tell us,
      Thou strange mortality!
   What’s _thy_ thought of us, Dear?—
      Here’s _our_ thought of thee.’

   ‘Alack! you tall angels,
      I can’t think so high!
   I can’t think what it feels like
      Not to be I.’

   Come tell me, O tell me,
      My poet of the blue!
   What’s _your_ thought of me, Sweet?—
      Here’s _my_ thought of you.



FIELD-FLOWER


                                A PHANTASY

   GOD took a fit of Paradise-wind,
      A slip of coerule weather,
   A thought as simple as Himself,
      And ravelled them together.
   Unto His eyes He held it there,
   To teach it gazing debonair
      With memory of what, perdie,
   A God’s young innocences were.
   His fingers pushed it through the sod—
   It came up redolent of God,
   Garrulous of the eyes of God
      To all the breezes near it;
   Musical of the mouth of God
      To all had eyes to hear it;
   Mystical with the mirth of God,
      That glow-like did ensphere it.
         _And_—‘_Babble_! _babble_! _babble_!’ _said_;
         ‘_I’ll tell the whole world one day_!’
         _There was no blossom half so glad_,
            _Since sun of Christ’s first Sunday_.

   A poet took a flaw of pain,
      A hap of skiey pleasure,
   A thought had in his cradle lain,
      And mingled them in measure.
   That chrism he laid upon his eyes,
   And lips, and heart, for euphrasies,
      That he might see, feel, sing, perdie,
   The simple things that are the wise.
   Beside the flower he held his ways,
   And leaned him to it gaze for gaze—
   He took its meaning, gaze for gaze,
      As baby looks on baby;
   Its meaning passed into his gaze,
      Native as meaning may be;
   He rose with all his shining gaze
      As children’s eyes at play be.
         _And_—‘_Babble_! _babble_! _babble_!’ _said_;
         ‘_I’ll tell the whole world one day_!’
         _There was no poet half so glad_,
            _Since man grew God that Sunday_.



THE CLOUD’S SWAN-SONG


   THERE is a parable in the pathless cloud,
   There’s prophecy in heaven,—they did not lie,
   The Chaldee shepherds; sealèd from the proud,
   To cheer the weighted heart that mates the seeing eye.

   A lonely man, oppressed with lonely ills,
   And all the glory fallen from my song,
   Here do I walk among the windy hills,
   The wind and I keep both one monotoning tongue.

   Like grey clouds one by one my songs upsoar
   Over my soul’s cold peaks; and one by one
   They loose their little rain, and are no more;
   And whether well or ill, to tell me there is none.

   For ’tis an alien tongue, of alien things,
   From all men’s care, how miserably apart!
   Even my friends say: ‘Of what is this he sings?’
   And barren is my song, and barren is my heart.

   For who can work, unwitting his work’s worth?
   Better, meseems, to know the work for naught,
   Turn my sick course back to the kindly earth,
   And leave to ampler plumes the jetting tops of thought.

   And visitations, that do often use,
   Remote, unhappy, inauspicious sense
   Of doom, and poets widowed of their muse,
   And what dark ’gan, dark ended, in me did commence.

   I thought of spirit wronged by mortal ills,
   And my flesh rotting on my fate’s dull stake;
   And how self-scornèd they the bounty fills
   Of others, and the bread, even of their dearest, take.

   I thought of Keats, that died in perfect time,
   In predecease of his just-sickening song;
   Of him that set, wrapt in his radiant rhyme,
   Sunlike in sea.  Life longer had been life too long.

   But I, exanimate of quick Poesy,—
   O then, no more but even a soulless corse!
   Nay, my Delight dies not; ’tis I should be
   Her dead, a stringless harp on which she had no force.

   Of my wild lot I thought; from place to place,
   Apollo’s song-bowed Scythian, I go on;
   Making in all my home, with pliant ways,
   But, provident of change, putting forth root in none.

   Now, with starved brain, sick body, patience galled
   With fardels even to wincing; from fair sky
   Fell sudden little rain, scarce to be called
   A shower, which of the instant was gone wholly by.

   What cloud thus died I saw not; heaven was fair.
   Methinks my angel plucked my locks: I bowed
   My spirit, shamed; and looking in the air:—
   ‘Even so,’ I said, ‘even so, my brother the good Cloud?’

   It was a pilgrim of the fields of air,
   Its home was allwheres the wind left it rest,
   And in a little forth again did fare,
   And in all places was a stranger and a guest.

   It harked all breaths of heaven, and did obey
   With sweet peace their uncomprehended wills;
   It knew the eyes of stars which made no stay,
   And with the thunder walked upon the lonely hills.

   And from the subject earth it seemed to scorn,
   It drew the sustenance whereby it grew
   Perfect in bosom for the married Morn,
   And of his life and light full as a maid kissed new.

   Its also darkness of the face withdrawn,
   And the long waiting for the little light,
   So long in life so little.  Like a fawn
   It fled with tempest breathing hard at heel of flight;

   And having known full East, did not disdain
   To sit in shadow and oblivious cold,
   Save what all loss doth of its loss retain,
   And who hath held hath somewhat that he still must hold.

   Right poet! who thy rightness to approve,
   Having all liberty, didst keep all measure,
   And with a firmament for ranging, move
   But at the heavens’ uncomprehended pleasure.

   With amplitude unchecked, how sweetly thou
   Didst wear the ancient custom of the skies,
   And yoke of used prescription; and thence how
   Find gay variety no license could devise!

   As we the quested beauties better wit
   Of the one grove our own than forests great,
   Restraint, by the delighted search of it,
   Turns to right scope.  For lovely moving intricate

   Is put to fair devising in the curb
   Of ordered limit; and all-changeful Hermes
   Is Terminus as well.  Yet we perturb
   Our souls for latitude, whose strength in bound and term is.

   How far am I from heavenly liberty,
   That play at policy with change and fate,
   Who should my soul from foreign broils keep free,
   In the fast-guarded frontiers of its single state!

   Could I face firm the Is, and with To-be
   Trust Heaven; to Heaven commit the deed, and do;
   In power contained, calm in infirmity,
   And fit myself to change with virtue ever new;

   Thou hadst not shamed me, cousin of the sky,
   Thou wandering kinsman, that didst sweetly live
   Unnoted, and unnoted sweetly die,
   Weeping more gracious song than any I can weave;

   Which these gross-tissued words do sorely wrong.
   Thou hast taught me on powerlessness a power;
   To make song wait on life, not life on song;
   To hold sweet not too sweet, and bread for bread though sour;

   By law to wander, to be strictly free.
   With tears ascended from the heart’s sad sea,
   Ah, such a silver song to Death could I
   Sing, Pain would list, forgetting Pain to be,
   And Death would tarry marvelling, and forget to die!



TO THE SINKING SUN


   HOW graciously thou wear’st the yoke
      Of use that does not fail!
   The grasses, like an anchored smoke,
      Ride in the bending gale;
   This knoll is snowed with blosmy manna,
      And fire-dropt as a seraph’s mail.

   Here every eve thou stretchest out
      Untarnishable wing,
   And marvellously bring’st about
      Newly an olden thing;
   Nor ever through like-ordered heaven
      Moves largely thy grave progressing.

   Here every eve thou goest down
      Behind the self-same hill,
   Nor ever twice alike go’st down
      Behind the self-same hill;
   Nor like-ways is one flame-sopped flower
      Possessed with glory past its will.

   Not twice alike!  I am not blind,
      My sight is live to see;
   And yet I do complain of thy
      Weary variety.
   O Sun!  I ask thee less or more,
      Change not at all, or utterly!

   O give me unprevisioned new,
      Or give to change reprieve!
   For new in me is olden too,
      That I for sameness grieve.
   O flowers! O grasses! be but once
      The grass and flower of yester-eve!

   Wonder and sadness are the lot
      Of change: thou yield’st mine eyes
   Grief of vicissitude, but not
      Its penetrant surprise.
   Immutability mutable
      Burthens my spirit and the skies.

   O altered joy, all joyed of yore,
      Plodding in unconned ways!
   O grief grieved out, and yet once more
      A dull, new, staled amaze!
   I dream, and all was dreamed before,
      Or dream I so? the dreamer says.



GRIEF’S HARMONICS


   AT evening, when the lank and rigid trees,
   To the mere forms of their sweet day-selves drying,
   On heaven’s blank leaf seem pressed and flattenèd;
   Or rather, to my sombre thoughts replying,
   Of plumes funereal the thin effigies;
   That hour when all old dead things seem most dead,
   And their death instant most and most undying,
   That the flesh aches at them; there stirred in me
   The babe of an unborn calamity,
   Ere its due time to be deliverèd.
   Dead sorrow and sorrow unborn so blent their pain,
   That which more present was were hardly said,
   But both more _now_ than any Now can be.
   My soul like sackcloth did her body rend,
   And thus with Heaven contend:—
   ‘Let pass the chalice of this coming dread,
   Or that fore-drained O bid me not re-drain!’
   So have I asked, who know my asking vain,
   Woe against woe in antiphon set over,
   That grief’s soul transmigrates, and lives again,
   And in new pang old pang’s incarnated.



MEMORAT MEMORIA


   COME you living or dead to me, out of the silt of the Past,
   With the sweet of the piteous first, and the shame of the shameful
   last?
   Come with your dear and dreadful face through the passes of Sleep,
   The terrible mask, and the face it masked—the face you did not keep?
   You are neither two nor one—I would you were one or two,
   For your awful self is embalmed in the fragrant self I knew:
   And Above may ken, and Beneath may ken, what I mean by these words of
   whirl,
   But by my sleep that sleepeth not,—O Shadow of a Girl!—
   Nought here but I and my dreams shall know the secret of this thing:—
   For ever the songs I sing are sad with the songs I never sing,
   Sad are sung songs, but how more sad the songs we dare not sing!

   Ah, the ill that we do in tenderness, and the hateful horror of love!
   It has sent more souls to the unslaked Pit than it ever will draw
   above.
   I damned you, girl, with my pity, who had better by far been thwart,
   And drave you hard on the track to hell, because I was gentle of
   heart.
   I shall have no comfort now in scent, no ease in dew, for this;
   I shall be afraid of daffodils, and rose-buds are amiss;
   You have made a thing of innocence as shameful as a sin,
   I shall never feel a girl’s soft arms without horror of the skin.
   My child! what was it that I sowed, that I so ill should reap?
   You have done this to me.  And I, what I to you?—It lies with Sleep.



JULY FUGITIVE


   CAN you tell me where has hid her
      Pretty Maid July?
   I would swear one day ago
      She passed by,
   I would swear that I do know
      The blue bliss of her eye:
   ‘Tarry, maid, maid,’ I bid her;
      But she hastened by.
   Do you know where she has hid her,
      Maid July?

   Yet in truth it needs must be
      The flight of her is old;
   Yet in truth it needs must be,
      For her nest, the earth, is cold.
   No more in the poolèd Even
      Wade her rosy feet,
   Dawn-flakes no more plash from them
      To poppies ’mid the wheat.
   She has muddied the day’s oozes
      With her petulant feet;
   Scared the clouds that floated,
      As sea-birds they were,
   Slow on the coerule
      Lulls of the air,
   Lulled on the luminous
      Levels of air:
   She has chidden in a pet
      All her stars from her;
   Now they wander loose and sigh
      Through the turbid blue,
   Now they wander, weep, and cry—
      Yea, and I too—
   ‘Where are you, sweet July,
      Where are you?’

   Who hath beheld her footprints,
      Or the pathway she goes?
   Tell me, wind, tell me, wheat,
      Which of you knows?
   Sleeps she swathed in the flushed Arctic
      Night of the rose?
   Or lie her limbs like Alp-glow
      On the lily’s snows?
   Gales, that are all-visitant,
      Find the runaway;
   And for him who findeth her
      (I do charge you say)
   I will throw largesse of broom
      Of this summer’s mintage,
   I will broach a honey-bag
      Of the bee’s best vintage.
   Breezes, wheat, flowers sweet,
      None of them knows!
   How then shall we lure her back
      From the way she goes?
   For it were a shameful thing,
      Saw we not this comer
   Ere Autumn camp upon the fields
      Red with rout of Summer.

   When the bird quits the cage,
      We set the cage outside,
   With seed and with water,
      And the door wide,
   Haply we may win it so
      Back to abide.
   Hang her cage of earth out
      O’er Heaven’s sunward wall,
   Its four gates open, winds in watch
      By reinèd cars at all;
   Relume in hanging hedgerows
      The rain-quenched blossom,
   And roses sob their tears out
      On the gale’s warm heaving bosom;
   Shake the lilies till their scent
      Over-drip their rims;
   That our runaway may see
      We do know her whims:
   Sleek the tumbled waters out
      For her travelled limbs;
   Strew and smoothe blue night thereon,
      There will—O not doubt her!—
   The lovely sleepy lady lie,
      With all her stars about her!



TO A SNOW-FLAKE


   WHAT heart could have thought you?—
   Past our devisal
   (O filigree petal!)
   Fashioned so purely,
   Fragilely, surely,
   From what Paradisal
   Imagineless metal,
   Too costly for cost?
   Who hammered you, wrought you,
   From argentine vapour?—
   ‘God was my shaper.
   Passing surmisal,
   He hammered, He wrought me,
   From curled silver vapour,
   To lust of His mind:—
   Thou could’st not have thought me!
   So purely, so palely,
   Tinily, surely,
   Mightily, frailly,
   Insculped and embossed,
   With His hammer of wind,
   And His graver of frost.’



NOCTURN


   I walk, I only,
   Not I only wake;
   Nothing is, this sweet night,
   But doth couch and wake
   For its love’s sake;
   Everything, this sweet night,
   Couches with its mate.
   For whom but for the stealthy-visitant sun
   Is the naked moon
   Tremulous and elate?
   The heaven hath the earth
   Its own and all apart;
   The hushèd pool holdeth
   A star to its heart.
   You may think the rose sleepeth,
   But though she folded is,
   The wind doubts her sleeping;
   Not all the rose sleeps,
   But smiles in her sweet heart
   For crafty bliss.
   The wind lieth with the rose,
   And when he stirs, she stirs in her repose:
   The wind hath the rose,
   And the rose her kiss.
   Ah, mouth of me!
   Is it then that this
   Seemeth much to thee?—
   I wander only.
   The rose hath her kiss.



A MAY BURDEN


   THROUGH meadow-ways as I did tread,
   The corn grew in great lustihead,
   And hey! the beeches burgeonèd.
      By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
   It is the month, the jolly month,
   It is the jolly month of May.

   God ripe the wines and corn, I say
   And wenches for the marriage-day,
   And boys to teach love’s comely play.
      By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
   It is the month, the jolly month,
   It is the jolly month of May.

   As I went down by lane and lea,
   The daisies reddened so, pardie!
   ‘Blushets!’ I said, ‘I well do see,
      By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
   The thing ye think of in this month,
   Heigho! this jolly month of May.’

   As down I went by rye and oats,
   The blossoms smelt of kisses; throats
   Of birds turned kisses into notes;
      By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
   The kiss it is a growing flower,
   I trow, this jolly month of May!

   God send a mouth to every kiss,
   Seeing the blossom of this bliss
   By gathering doth grow, certes!
      By Goddès fay, by Goddès fay!
   Thy brow-garland pushed all aslant
   Tells—but I tell not, wanton May!

NOTE. The first two stanzas are from a French original—I have forgotten
what.



A DEAD ASTRONOMER


                           (FATHER PERRY, S.J.)

   STARRY amorist, starward gone,
   Thou art—what thou didst gaze upon!
   Passed through thy golden garden’s bars,
   Thou seest the Gardener of the Stars.

   She, about whose moonèd brows
   Seven stars make seven glows,
   Seven lights for seven woes;
   She, like thine own Galaxy,
   All lustres in one purity:—
   What said’st thou, Astronomer,
   When thou did’st discover _her_?
   When thy hand its tube let fall,
   Thou found’st the fairest Star of all!



‘CHOSE VUE’


                            A METRICAL CAPRICE

   UP she rose, fair daughter—well she was graced
   As a cloud her going, stept from her chair,
   As a summer-soft cloud, in her going paced,
   Down dropped her riband-band, and all her waving hair
   Shook like loosened music cadent to her waist;—
   Lapsing like music, wavery as water,
      Slid to her waist.



‘WHERETO ART THOU COME?’


   ‘FRIEND, whereto art thou come?’  Thus Verity;
   Of each that to the world’s sad Olivet
   Comes with no multitude, but alone by night,
   Lit with the one torch of his lifted soul,
   Seeking her that he may lay hands on her;
   Thus: and waits answer from the mouth of deed.
   Truth is a maid, whom men woo diversely;
   This, as a spouse; that, as a light-o’-love,
   To know, and having known, to make his brag.
   But woe to him that takes the immortal kiss,
   And not estates her in his housing life,
   Mother of all his seed!  So he betrays,
   Not Truth, the unbetrayable, but himself:
   And with his kiss’s rated traitor-craft,
   The Haceldama of a plot of days
   He buys, to consummate his Judasry
   Therein with Judas’ guerdon of despair.



HEAVEN AND HELL


   ’TIS said there were no thought of hell,
      Save hell were taught; that there should be
   A Heaven for all’s self-credible.
      Not so the thing appears to me.
   ’Tis Heaven that lies beyond our sights,
      And hell too possible that proves;
   For all can feel the God that smites,
      But ah, how few the God that loves!



TO A CHILD


   WHENAS my life shall time with funeral tread
   The heavy death-drum of the beaten hours,
   Following, sole mourner, mine own manhood dead,
   Poor forgot corse, where not a maid strows flowers;
   When I you love am no more I you love,
   But go with unsubservient feet, behold
   Your dear face through changed eyes, all grim change prove;—
   A new man, mockèd with misname of old;
   When shamed Love keep his ruined lodging, elf!
   When, ceremented in mouldering memory,
   Myself is hearsèd underneath myself,
   And I am but the monument of me:—
      O to that tomb be tender then, which bears
      Only the name of him it sepulchres!



HERMES


   SOOTHSAY.  Behold, with rod twy-serpented,
   Hermes the prophet, twining in one power
   The woman with the man.  Upon his head
   The cloudy cap, wherewith he hath in dower
   The cloud’s own virtue—change and counterchange,
   To show in light, and to withdraw in pall,
   As mortal eyes best bear.  His lineage strange
   From Zeus, Truth’s sire, and maiden May—the all-
   Illusive Nature.  His fledged feet declare
   That ’tis the nether self transdeified,
   And the thrice-furnaced passions, which do bear
   The poet Olympusward.  In him allied
      Both parents clasp; and from the womb of Nature
      Stern Truth takes flesh in shows of lovely feature.



HOUSE OF BONDAGE


                                    I

   WHEN I perceive Love’s heavenly reaping still
   Regard perforce the clouds’ vicissitude,
   That the fixed spirit loves not when it will,
   But craves its seasons of the flawful blood;
   When I perceive that the high poet doth
   Oft voiceless stray beneath the uninfluent stars,
   That even Urania of her kiss is loath,
   And Song’s brave wings fret on their sensual bars;
   When I perceived the fullest-sailèd sprite
   Lag at most need upon the lethèd seas,
   The provident captainship oft voided quite,
   And lamèd lie deep-draughted argosies;
      I scorn myself, that put for such strange toys
      The wit of man to purposes of boys.

                                    II

   The spirit’s ark sealed with a little clay,
   Was old ere Memphis grew a memory; {190}
   The hand pontifical to break away
   That seal what shall surrender?  Not the sea
   Which did englut great Egypt and his war,
   Nor all the desert-drownèd sepulchres.
   Love’s feet are stained with clay and travel-sore,
   And dusty are Song’s lucent wing and hairs.
   O Love, that must do courtesy to decay,
   Eat hasty bread standing with loins up-girt,
   How shall this stead thy feet for their sore way?
   Ah, Song, what brief embraces balm thy hurt!
      Had Jacob’s toil full guerdon, casting his
      Twice-seven heaped years to burn in Rachel’s kiss?



THE HEART


                               TWO SONNETS

    (To my Critic, who had objected to the phrase—‘The heart’s burning
    floors.’)

                                    I

   THE heart you hold too small and local thing,
   Such spacious terms of edifice to bear.
   And yet, since Poesy first shook out her wing,
   The mighty Love has been impalaced there;
   That has she given him as his wide demesne,
   And for his sceptre ample empery;
   Against its door to knock has Beauty been
   Content; it has its purple canopy
   A dais for the sovereign lady spread
   Of many a lover, who the heaven would think
   Too low an awning for her sacred head.
   The world, from star to sea, cast down its brink—
      Yet shall that chasm, till He Who these did build
      An awful Curtius make Him, yawn unfilled.

                                    II

   O nothing, in this corporal earth of man,
   That to the imminent heaven of his high soul
   Responds with colour and with shadow, can
   Lack correlated greatness.  If the scroll
   Where thoughts lie fast in spell of hieroglyph
   Be mighty through its mighty habitants;
   If God be in His Name; grave potence if
   The sounds unbind of hieratic chants;
   All’s vast that vastness means.  Nay, I affirm
   Nature is whole in her least things exprest,
   Nor know we with what scope God builds the worm.
   Our towns are copied fragments from our breast;
      And all man’s Babylons strive but to impart
      The grandeurs of his Babylonian heart.



A SUNSET


                     FROM HUGO’S ‘FEUILLES D’AUTOMNE’

   I LOVE the evenings, passionless and fair, I love the evens,
   Whether old manor-fronts their ray with golden fulgence leavens,
            In numerous leafage bosomed close;
   Whether the mist in reefs of fire extend its reaches sheer,
   Or a hundred sunbeams splinter in an azure atmosphere
            On cloudy archipelagos.

   Oh gaze ye on the firmament! a hundred clouds in motion,
   Up-piled in the immense sublime beneath the winds’ commotion,
            Their unimagined shapes accord:
   Under their waves at intervals flames a pale levin through,
   As if some giant of the air amid the vapours drew
            A sudden elemental sword.

   The sun at bay with splendid thrusts still keeps the sullen fold;
   And momently at distance sets, as a cupola of gold,
            The thatched roof of a cot a-glance;
   Or on the blurred horizons joins his battle with the haze;
   Or pools the glooming fields about with inter-isolate blaze
            Great moveless meres of radiance.

   Then mark you how there hangs athwart the firmament’s swept track
   Yonder a mighty crocodile with vast irradiant back,
            A triple row of pointed teeth?
   Under its burnished belly slips a ray of eventide,
   The flickerings of a hundred glowing clouds its tenebrous side
            With scales of golden mail ensheathe.

   Then mounts a palace, then the air vibrates—the vision flees.
   Confounded to its base, the fearful cloudy edifice
            Ruins immense in mounded wrack:
   Afar the fragments strew the sky, and each envermeiled cone
   Hangeth, peak downward, overhead, like mountains overthrown
            When the earthquake heaves its hugy back.

   These vapours with their leaden, golden, iron, bronzèd glows,
   Where the hurricane, the waterspout, thunder, and hell repose,
            Muttering hoarse dreams of destined harms,
   ’Tis God who hangs their multitude amid the skiey deep,
   As a warrior that suspendeth from the roof-tree of his keep
            His dreadful and resounding arms!

   All vanishes!  The sun, from topmost heaven precipitated,
   Like to a globe of iron which is tossed back fiery red
            Into the furnace stirred to fume,
   Shocking the cloudy surges, plashed from its impetuous ire,
   Even to the zenith spattereth in a flecking scud of fire
            The vaporous and inflamèd spume.

   O contemplate the heavens! whenas the vein-drawn day dies pale,
   In every season, every place, gaze through their every veil,
            With love that has not speech for need;
   Beneath their solemn beauty is a mystery infinite:
   If winter hue them like a pall; or if the summer night
            Fantasy them with starry brede.



HEARD ON THE MOUNTAIN


                     FROM HUGO’S ‘FEUILLES D’AUTOMNE’

   HAVE you sometimes, calm, silent, let your tread aspirant rise
   Up to the mountain’s summit, in the presence of the skies?
   Was’t on the borders of the South? or on the Bretagne coast?
   And at the basis of the mount had you the Ocean tossed?
   And there, leaned o’er the wave and o’er the immeasurableness,
   Calm, silent, have you harkened what it says?  Lo, what it says!
   One day at least, whereon my thought, enlicensèd to muse,
   Had drooped its wing above the beachèd margent of the ooze,
   And, plunging from the mountain height into the immensity,
   Beheld upon one side the land, on the other side the sea.
   I harkened, comprehended,—never, as from those abysses,
   No, never issued from a mouth, nor moved an ear, such voice as this
   is!

   A sound it was, at outset, vast, immeasurable, confused,
   Vaguer than is the wind among the tufted trees effused,
   Full of magnificent accords, suave murmurs, sweet as is
   The evensong, and mighty as the shock of panoplies
   When the hoarse melee in its arms the closing squadrons grips,
   And pants, in furious breathings, from the clarions’ brazen lips.
   Unutterable the harmony, unsearchable its deep,
   Whose fluid undulations round the world a girdle keep,
   And through the vasty heavens, which by its surges are washed young,
   Its infinite volutions roll, enlarging as they throng,
   Even to the profound arcane, whose ultimate chasms sombre
   Its shattered flood englut with time, with space and form and number.
   Like to another atmosphere with thin o’erflowing robe,
   The hymn eternal covers all the inundated globe:
   And the world, swathed about with this investuring symphony,
   Even as it trepidates in the air, so trepidates in the harmony.

   And pensive, I attended the ethereal lutany,
   Lost within this containing voice as if within the sea.

   Soon I distinguished, yet as tone which veils confuse and smother,
   Amid this voice two voices, one commingled with the other,
   Which did from off the land and seas even to the heavens aspire;
   Chanting the universal chant in simultaneous quire.
   And I distinguished them amid that deep and rumorous sound,
   As who beholds two currents thwart amid the fluctuous profound.

   The one was of the waters; a be-radiant hymnal speech!
   That was the voice o’ the surges, as they parleyed each with each.
   The other, which arose from our abode terranean,
   Was sorrowful; and that, alack! the murmur was of man;
   And in this mighty quire, whose chantings day and night resound,
   Every wave had its utterance, and every man his sound.

   Now, the magnificent Ocean, as I said, unbannering
   A voice of joy, a voice of peace, did never stint to sing,
   Most like in Sion’s temples to a psaltery psaltering,
   And to creation’s beauty reared the great lauds of his song.
   Upon the gale, upon the squall, his clamour borne along
   Unpausingly arose to God in more triumphal swell;
   And every one among his waves, that God alone can quell,
   When the other of its song made end, into the singing pressed.
   Like that majestic lion whereof Daniel was the guest,
   At intervals the Ocean his tremendous murmur awed;
   And I, t’ward where the sunset fires fell shaggily and broad,
   Under his golden mane, methought, that I saw pass the hand of God.

   Meanwhile, and side by side with that august fan-faronnade,
   The other voice, like the sudden scream of a destrier affrayed,
   Like an infernal door that grates ajar its rusty throat,
   Like to a bow of iron that gnarls upon an iron rote,
   Grinded; and tears, and shriekings, the anathema, the lewd taunt,
   Refusal of viaticum, refusal of the font,
   And clamour, and malediction, and dread blasphemy, among
   That hurtling crowd of rumour from the diverse human tongue,
   Went by as who beholdeth, when the valleys thick t’ward night,
   The long drifts of the birds of dusk pass, blackening flight on
   flight.
   What was this sound whose thousand echoes vibrated unsleeping?
   Alas! the sound was earth’s and man’s, for earth and man were weeping.

   Brothers! of these two voices, strange most unimaginably,
   Unceasingly regenerated, dying unceasingly,
   Harkenèd of the Eternal throughout His Eternity,
   The one voice uttereth: NATURE! and the other voice: HUMANITY!

   Then I alit in reverie; for my ministering sprite
   Alack! had never yet deployed a pinion of an ampler flight,
   Nor ever had my shadow endured so large a day to burn:
   And long I rested dreaming, contemplating turn by turn
   Now that abyss obscure which lurked beneath the water’s roll,
   And now that other untemptable abyss which opened in my soul.
   And I made question of me, to what issues are we here,
   Whither should tend the thwarting threads of all this ravelled gear;
   What doth the soul; to be or live if better worth it is;
   And why the Lord, Who, only, reads within that book of His,
   In fatal hymeneals hath eternally entwined
   The vintage-chant of nature with the dirging cry of humankind?

(The metre of the second of these two translations is an experiment.  The
splendid fourteen-syllable metre of Chapman I have treated after the
manner of Drydenian rhyming heroics; with the occasional triplet, and
even the occasional Alexandrine, represented by a line of eight accents—a
treatment which can well extend, I believe, the majestic resources of the
metre.)



ULTIMA


LOVE’S ALMSMAN PLAINETH HIS FARE


   O YOU, love’s mendicancy who never tried,
      How little of your almsman me you know!
   Your little languid hand in mine you slide,
      Like to a child says—‘Kiss me and let me go!’
   And night for this is fretted with my tears,
      While I:—‘How soon this heavenly neck doth tire
   Bending to me from its transtellar spheres!’
      Ah, heart all kneaded out of honey and fire!
   Who bound thee to a body nothing worth,
      And shamed thee much with an unlovely soul,
   That the most strainedest charity of earth
      Distasteth soon to render back the whole
   Of thine inflamèd sweets and gentilesse!
      Whereat, like an unpastured Titan, thou
   Gnaw’st on thyself for famine’s bitterness,
      And leap’st against thy chain.  Sweet Lady, how
   Little a linking of the hand to you!
      Though I should touch yours careless for a year,
   Not one blue vein would lie divinelier blue
      Upon your fragile temple, to unsphere
   The seraphim for kisses!  Not one curve
      Of your sad mouth would droop more sad and sweet.
   But little food love’s beggars needs must serve,
      That eye your plenteous graces from the street.
   A hand-clasp I must feed on for a night,
      A noon, although the untasted feast you lay,
   To mock me, of your beauty.  That you might
      Be lover for one space, and make essay
   What ’tis to pass unsuppered to your couch,
      Keep fast from love all day; and so be taught
   The famine which these craving lines avouch!
      Ah! miser of good things that cost thee naught,
   How know’st thou poor men’s hunger?—Misery!
   When I go doleless and unfed by thee!



A HOLOCAUST


    ‘_No man ever attained supreme knowledge, unless his heart had been
    torn up by the roots_.’

   WHEN I presage the time shall come—yea, now
      Perchance is come, when you shall fail from me,
   Because the mighty spirit, to whom you vow
      Faith of kin genius unrebukably,
   Scourges my sloth, and from your side dismissed
      Henceforth this sad and most, most lonely soul
   Must, marching fatally through pain and mist,
      The God-bid levy of its powers enrol;
   When I presage that none shall hear the voice
      From the great Mount that clangs my ordained advance,
   That sullen envy bade the churlish choice
      Yourself shall say, and turn your altered glance;
   O God!  Thou knowest if this heart of flesh
      Quivers like broken entrails, when the wheel
   Rolleth some dog in middle street, or fresh
      Fruit when ye tear it bleeding from the peel;
   If my soul cries the uncomprehended cry
      When the red agony oozed on Olivet!
   Yet not for this, a caitiff, falter I,
      Beloved whom I must lose, nor thence regret
   The doubly-vouched and twin allegiance owed
      To you in Heaven, and Heaven in you, Lady.
   How could you hope, loose dealer with my God,
      That I should keep for you my fealty?
   For still ’tis thus:—because I am so true,
   My Fair, to Heaven, I am so true to you!



BENEATH A PHOTOGRAPH


   PHŒBUS, who taught me art divine,
   Here tried his hand where I did mine;
   And his white fingers in this face
   Set my Fair’s sigh-suggesting grace.
   O sweetness past profaning guess,
   Grievous with its own exquisiteness!
   Vesper-like face, its shadows bright
   With meanings of sequestered light;
   Drooped with shamefast sanctities
   She purely fears eyes cannot miss,
   Yet would blush to know she _is_.
   Ah, who can view with passionless glance
   This tear-compelling countenance!
   He has cozened it to tell
   Almost its own miracle.
   Yet I, all-viewing though he be,
   Methinks saw further here than he;
   And, Master gay!  I swear I drew
   Something the better of the two!



AFTER HER GOING


   THE after-even!  Ah, did I walk,
      Indeed, in her or even?
   For nothing of me or around
      But absent She did leaven,
   Felt in my body as its soul,
      And in my soul its heaven.

   ‘Ah me! my very flesh turns soul,
      Essenced,’ I sighed, ‘with bliss!’
   And the blackbird held his lutany,
      All fragrant-through with bliss;
   And all things stilled were as a maid
      Sweet with a single kiss.

   For grief of perfect fairness, eve
      Could nothing do but smile;
   The time was far too perfect fair,
      Being but for a while;
   And ah, in me, too happy grief
      Blinded herself with smile!

   The sunset at its radiant heart
      Had somewhat unconfest:
   The bird was loath of speech, its song
      Half-refluent on its breast,
   And made melodious toyings with
      A note or two at best.

   And she was gone, my sole, my Fair,
      Ah, sole my Fair, was gone!
   Methinks, throughout the world ’twere right
      I had been sad alone;
   And yet, such sweet in all things’ heart,
      And such sweet in my own!



MY LADY THE TYRANNESS


   ME since your fair ambition bows
   Feodary to those gracious brows,
   Is nothing mine will not confess
   Your sovran sweet rapaciousness?
   Though use to the white yoke inures,
   Half-petulant is
   Your loving rebel for somewhat his,
   Not yours, my love, not yours!

   Behold my skies, which make with me
   One passionate tranquillity!
   Wrap thyself in them as a robe,
   She shares them not; their azures probe,
   No countering wings thy flight endures.
   Nay, they do stole
   Me like an aura of her soul.
   I yield them, love, for yours!

   But mine these hills and fields, which put
   Not on the sanctity of her foot.
   Far off, my dear, far off the sweet
   Grave pianissimo of your feet!
   My earth, perchance, your sway abjures?—
   Your absence broods
   O’er all, a subtler presence.  Woods,
   Fields, hills, all yours, all yours!

   Nay then, I said, I have my thought,
   Which never woman’s reaching raught;
   Being strong beyond a woman’s might,
   And high beyond a woman’s height,
   Shaped to my shape in all contours.—
   I looked, and knew
   No thought but you were garden to.
   All yours, my love, all yours!

   Meseemeth still, I have my life;
   All-clement Her its resolute strife
   Evades; contained, relinquishing
   Her mitigating eyes; a thing
   Which the whole girth of God secures.
   Ah, fool, pause! pause!
   I had no life, until it was
   All yours, my love, all yours!

   Yet, stern possession!  I have my death,
   Sole yielding up of my sole breath;
   Which all within myself I die,
   All in myself must cry the cry
   Which the deaf body’s wall immures.—
   Thought fashioneth
   My death without her.—Ah, even death
   All yours, my love, all yours!

   Death, then, he hers.  I have my heaven,
   For which no arm of hers has striven;
   Which solitary I must choose,
   And solitary win or lose.—
   Ah, but not heaven my own endures!
   I must perforce
   Taste you, my stream, in God your source,—
   So steep my heaven in yours.

   At last I said—I have my God,
   Who doth desire me, though a clod,
   And from His liberal Heaven shall He
   Bar in mine arms His privacy.
   Himself for mine Himself assures.—
   None shall deny
   God to be mine, but He and I
   All yours, my love, all yours!

   I have no fear at all lest I
   Without her draw felicity.
   God for His Heaven will not forego
   Her whom I found such heaven below,
   And she will train Him to her lures.
   Nought, lady, I love
   In you but more is loved above;
   What made me, makes Him yours.

   ‘I, thy sought own, am I forgot?’
   Ha, thou?—thou liest, I seek thee not.
   Why what, thou painted parrot, Fame,
   What have I taught thee but her name?
   Hear, thou slave Fame, while Time endures,
   I give her thee;
   Page her triumphal name!—Lady,
   Take her, the thrall is yours.



UNTO THIS LAST


   A BOY’S young fancy taketh love
   Most simply, with the rind thereof;
   A boy’s young fancy tasteth more
   The rind, than the deific core.
   Ah, Sweet! to cast away the slips
   Of unessential rind, and lips
   Fix on the immortal core, is well;
   But heard’st thou ever any tell
   Of such a fool would take for food
   Aspect and scent, however good,
   Of sweetest core Love’s orchards grow?
   Should such a phantast please him so,
   Love where Love’s reverent self denies
   Love to feed, but with his eyes,
   All the savour, all the touch,
   Another’s—was there ever such?
   Such were fool, if fool there be;
   Such fool was I, and was for thee!
   But if the touch and savour too
   Of this fruit—say, Sweet, of you—
   You unto another give
   For sacrosanct prerogative,
   Yet even scent and aspect were
   Some elected Second’s share;
   And one, gone mad, should rest content
   With memory of show and scent;
   Would not thyself vow, if there sigh
   Such a fool—say, Sweet, as I—
   Treble frenzy it must be
   Still to love, and to love thee?

   Yet had I torn (man knoweth not,
   Nor scarce the unweeping angels wot
   Of such dread task the lightest part)
   Her fingers from about my heart.
   Heart, did we not think that she
   Had surceased her tyranny?
   Heart, we bounded, and were free!
   O sacrilegious freedom!—Till
   She came, and taught my apostate will
   The winnowed sweet mirth cannot guess
   And tear-fined peace of hopefulness;
   Looked, spake, simply touched, and went.
   Now old pain is fresh content,
   Proved content is unproved pain.
   Pangs fore-tempted, which in vain
   I, faithless, have denied, now bud
   To untempted fragrance and the mood
   Of contrite heavenliness; all days
   Joy affrights me in my ways;
   Extremities of old delight
   Afflict me with new exquisite
   Virgin piercings of surprise,—
   Stung by those wild brown bees, her eyes!



ULTIMUM


   NOW in these last spent drops, slow, slower shed,
   Love dies, Love dies, Love dies—ah, Love is dead!
   Sad Love in life, sore Love in agony,
   Pale Love in death; while all his offspring songs,
   Like children, versed not in death’s chilly wrongs,
   About him flit, frighted to see him lie
   So still, who did not know that Love could die.
   One lifts his wing, where dulls the vermeil all
   Like clotting blood, and shrinks to find it cold,
   And when she sees its lapse and nerveless fall
   Clasps her fans, while her sobs ooze through the webbèd gold.
   Thereat all weep together, and their tears
   Make lights like shivered moonlight on long waters.
   Have peace, O piteous daughters!
   He shall not wake more through the mortal years,
   Nor comfort come to my soul widowèd,
   Nor breath to your wild wings; for Love is dead!

   I slew, that moan for him: he lifted me
   Above myself, and that I might not be
   Less than myself, need was that he should die;
   Since Love that first did wing, now clogged me from the sky.
   Yet lofty Love being dead thus passeth base—
   There is a soul of nobleness which stays,
   The spectre of the rose: be comforted,
   Songs, for the dust that dims his sacred head!
   The days draw on too dark for Song or Love;
   O peace, my songs, nor stir ye any wing!
   For lo, the thunder hushing all the grove,
   And did Love live, not even Love could sing.

   And, Lady, thus I dare to say,
   Not all with you is passed away!
   For your love taught me this:—’tis Love’s true praise
   To be, not staff, but writ of worthy days;
   And that high worth in love unfortunate
   Should still remain it learned in love elate.
   Beyond your star, still, still the stars are bright;
   Beyond your highness, still I follow height;
   Sole I go forth, yet still to my sad view,
   Beyond your trueness, Lady, Truth stands true.
   This wisdom sings my song with last firm breath,
   Caught from the twisted lore of Love and Death,
   The strange inwoven harmony that wakes
   From Pallas’ straying locks twined with her ægis-snakes.
   ‘On him the unpetitioned heavens descend,
   Who heaven on earth proposes not for end;
   The perilous and celestial excess
   Taking with peace, lacking with thankfulness.
   Bliss in extreme befits thee not, until
   Thou’rt not extreme in bliss; be equal still:
   Sweets to be granted think thy self unmeet
   Till thou have learned to hold sweet not too sweet.’
   This thing not far is he from wise in art
   Who teacheth; nor who doth, from wise in heart.



ENVOY


   GO, songs, for ended is our brief, sweet play;
      Go, children of swift joy and tardy sorrow:
   And some are sung, and that was yesterday,
      And some unsung, and that may be to-morrow.

   Go forth; and if it be o’er stony way,
      Old joy can lend what newer grief must borrow:
   And it was sweet, and that was yesterday,
      And sweet is sweet, though purchasèd with sorrow.

   Go, songs, and come not back from your far way:
      And if men ask you why ye smile and sorrow,
   Tell them ye grieve, for your hearts know To-day,
      Tell them ye smile, for your eyes know To-morrow.



FOOTNOTES


{27}  The earth.

{190}  The Ark of the Egyptian temple was sealed with clay, which the
Pontiff-king broke when he entered the inner shrine to offer worship.





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ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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