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´╗┐Title: A Lover's Diary, Volume 2.
Author: Parker, Gilbert
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "A Lover's Diary, Volume 2." ***

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A LOVER'S DIARY

By Gilbert Parker

Volume 2.


CONTENTS:

DREAMS
THE BRIDE
THE WRAITH
SURRENDER
THE CITADEL
MALFEASANCE
ANNUNCIATION
VANISHED DREAMS
INTO THY LAND
DIVIDED
WE MUST LIVE ON
YET LIFE IS SWEET
LOST FOOTSTEPS
THE CLOSED DOOR
THE CHALICE
MIO DESTINO
I HAVE BEHELD
TOO SOON AWAY
THE TREASURE
DAHIN
LOVE'S USURY
THE DECREE
'TIS MORNING NOW
SACRIFICE
SHINE ON
SO, THOU ART GONE
THE THOUSAND THINGS
ONES
THE SEA
THE CHART
REVEALING
OVERCOMING
WHITHER NOW
ARARAT
AS LIGHT LEAPS UP
THE DARKENED WAY
REUNITED
SONG WAS GONE FROM ME
GOOD WAS THE FIGHT
UNCHANGED
ABSOLVO TE
BENEDICTUS
THE MESSAGE
UNAVAILING
YOU SHALL LIVE ON
"VEX NOT THIS GHOST"
THE MEMORY
THE PASSING
ENVOY



          DREAMS

          And so life passed. I lived from year to year
          With shadows, the strong warders of desire;
          I learned through them to seek the golden fire
          That hides itself in Song's bright hemisphere.

          Through them I grew full of imaginings,
          I made strange pictures, conjured images
          From my deep longings; wrote the passages
          Of life inwrought with half-glad wonderings.

          For who can know a majesty of peace,
          That wanders, ever waiting for a voice
          To say to him, "Behold, at last surcease

          Of thy unrest has come, therefore, rejoice"?
          Here set I down some dreams that come again,
          Almost forgotten in my higher gain.



          THE BRIDE

          A ship at sea; a port to anchor in;
          Not far a starry light upon the shore.
          The sheeted lightning, like a golden door,
          Swings to and fro to let earth-angels in.

          Most bravely has she sailed o'er every sea,
          Withstood the storm-rack, spurned the sullen reef;
          Cherished her strength; and held her guerdon fief
          To him who saith, "My ship comes back to me!

          Behold, I sent her forth a stately thing,
          To be my messenger to farthest lands,
          To Fortunate Isles, and where the silver sands

          Girdle a summer sea; that she might bring
          My bride, who wist not that I loved her so--
          This is no bitter day for me, I trow!"



          THE WRAITH

          A ship in port; well-crossed the harbour-bar;
          The hawser swung, the grinding helm at rest;
          Hands clasping hands, and eyes with eager zest
          Seeking the loved, returning from afar.

          And he, the master, holding little reck
          Of all, save but the idol of his soul,
          Seeks not his loving ardour to control.
          Mark how he proudly treads the whitened deck!

          "My bride, my bride, my lone soul's best beloved,
          Come forth, come forth!  Where art thou, Isobel?--
          Pallid, and wan!  Lord, hath it thus befell

          This is but dust; where has the spirit roved?
          O death-cold bride! for this, then, have I strove?
          O phantom ship, O loveless wraith of Love!"



          SURRENDER

          A day of sunshine in a land of snow,
          And a soft-curtained room, where ruddy flakes
          Of fame fall free, in liquid light that slakes
          The soft desire of one cold, paleface: lo,

          Close-pressed sweet lips, and eyes of violet,
          That are filled up as with a sudden fear--
          A storm's prelude upon the expectant mere.
          Yet deep behind what never they forget,

          Who ever see in life's chance or mischance.
          And he who saw, what could he do but say,
          "Fold up the tents; the camp is struck; away!

          Vain victor who rides not in rest his lance!"
          Beside the hearthstone where the flame-flakes fell,
          There lay the cold keys of the citadel.



          THE CITADEL

          A night wind-swept and bound about with blee
          Of Erebus; all light and cheer within;
          White restless hands that falter, then begin
          To weave a music-voiced fantasy.

          And life, and death, and love, and weariness,
          And unrequital, thrid the maze of sound;
          And one voice saith, "Behold, the lost is found!"
          And saith not any more for joyfulness.

          Out of the night there comes a wanderer,
          Who waits upon the threshold, and is still;
          And listens, and bows down his head, until

          His grief-drawn breath startles the heart of her.
          The victor vanquished, at her feet he fell,
          A prisoner in his conquered citadel.



          MALFEASANCE

          Two of one name; they standing where the sun
          Makes shadows in the orchard-bloom of spring;
          She holding in her palm a jewelled ring,
          He speaking on what evil it had done.

          "Raise thy pale face and wondrous eyes to mine;
          Let not thy poor lips quiver in such pain;
          Too young and blindly thou hast drunk the wine
          Crushed from the lees of love.  Be strong again.

          Trail back thy golden hair from thy broad brow,
          And raise thy lily neck like some tall tower,
          That recks not any strife nor any hour,

          So it but holds its height, heeding not how.
          The noblest find their way o'er paths of ire
          To the clear summit of God's full desire."



          ANNUNCIATION

          I think in that far time when Gabriel came
          And gave short speech to Mary sweet and wise,
          That when the faint fear faded from her eyes,
          And they were filled up with a sudden flame

          Of joy bewildering and wonderment;
          With reverence the angel in her palm
          Laid one white lily, dewy with the balm
          Of the Lord's garden; saying: "This is sent

          For thine espousal, thou the undefiled;
          And it shall bloom till all be consummate."
          Lo, then he passed. She, musing where she sate,

          Felt all her being moved in manner wondrous mild;
          Then, laying 'gainst her bosom the white flower,
          She bowed her head, and said, "It is God's dower."



          VANISHED DREAMS

          Dreams, only dreams. They sprang from loneliness
          Of outer life; from innermost desire
          To reach the soul that now in golden fire
          Of cherished song I pray for and caress.

          I wandered through the world with longing gaze,
          To find her who was my hope's parallel,
          That to her I might all my gospel tell
          Of changeless love, and bid her make appraise.

          I knew that some day I should look within
          The ever-deepening distance of her eyes;
          For, in my dreams, from veiled Seraphim

          Came one, as if in answer to my cries:
          And passing near me, pointed down the road
          That led me at the last to thy abode.



          INTO THY LAND

          Into thy land of sunlight I have come,
          And live within thy presence, as a ray
          Of light lives in the brightness of the day;
          And find in thee my heaven and my home.

          Yet what am I that thou shouldst ope the gate
          Of thy most sweet completeness; and should spend
          Rich values of thy life on me thy friend,
          For which I have no worthy duplicate!

          Nay, lady, I no riches have to give;
          I have no name of honour, or the pride
          Of place, to priv'lege me to sit beside

          Thee in thy kingdom, where thy graces live.
          Wilt thou not one day whisper, "You have climbed
          Beyond your merits; pray you, fall behind"?



          Wish thy friend joy of his journey, but pray in secret
          that he have no joy, for then may he return quickly to thee.
                                                   --Egyptian Proverb.



          DIVIDED

          Divided by no act of thine or mine,
          Forever parted by a fatal deed,
          A fatal feud.  Alas! when fathers bleed,
          The children shall fulfil the wild design.

          A Montague hath killed a Capulet,
          A Capulet hath slain a Montague,--
          Twin graves, twin sorrows, and oh, mad to-do
          Of vengeance! oh, dread entail of regret!

          There lie they in their dark, self-chosen graves,
          And from them cries Hate's everlasting ghost,--
          "Blood hath been shed, and Love and ye are slaves,

          Time wrecks, and freedom drifts upon life's coast."
          Yet not for us the relish of that doom
          Which found a throne upon a Juliet's tomb.



          WE MUST LIVE ON

          We must live on; a deeper tragedy:
          To see, to touch, to know, and to desire;
          To feel in every vein the glorious fire
          Of Eden, and to cry, "Oh, to be free!"

          To cry, "Oh, wipe the gloomy stain away,
          Thou who first raised the sword, Who gave the hilt
          Into the hand of man. This blood they spilt--
          Our fathers--oh, blot out the bitter day!

          Erase the hour from out Thy calendar,
          Turn back the hands upon the clock of Time,
          Oh, Artificer of destroying War--

          Their righteous hate who bore us in our crime!"
          "Upon the children!"--'Tis the cold reply
          Of Him who makes to those who must not die.



          YET LIFE IS SWEET

          Yet life is sweet.  Thy soul hath breathed along,
          Thine eyes have cast their glory on the earth,
          Thy foot hath touched it, and thine hour of birth
          Didst give a new pulse to the veins of song.

          Better to stand amid the toppling towers
          Of every valiant hope; a Samson's dream,
          Than the deep indolence of Lethe's stream,
          The loneliness of slow submerging hours.

          Better, oh, better thus to see the wreck,
          And to have rocked to motion of the spheres;
          Better, oh, better to have trod the deck

          Of hope, and sailed the unmanageable years-
          Ay, better to have paid the price, and known,
          Than never felt this tyrannous Alone!



          LOST FOOTSTEPS

          Upon the disc of Love's bright planet fell
          A darkness yestereve, and from your lips
          I heard cold words; then came a swift eclipse
          Of joy at meeting on hope's it-is-well.

          And if I spoke with sadness and with fear;
          If from your gentle coldness I drew back,
          And felt that I had lost the flowery track
          That led to peace in Love's sweet atmosphere:

          It was because a woful dread possessed.
          My aching heart--the dread some evil star
          Had crossed the warm affection in your breast,

          Had bade me stand apart from where you are.
          The world seemed breaking on my life; I heard
          The crash of sorrows in that chiding word.



          THE CLOSED DOOR

          It is not so, and so for evermore,
          That thou and I must live our lives apart;
          I with a patient smother at my heart,
          And thy hand resting on a closed door?

          What couldst thou ever ask me that I should
          Not bend me to achieve thy high behest?
          What cannot men achieve with lance in rest
          Who carry noble valour in their blood?

          And some nobility of high emprise,
          Lady, couldst thou make possible in me;
          If living 'neath the pureness of thy eyes,

          I found the key to inner majesty;
          And reaching outward, heart-strong, from thy hand,
          Set here and there a beacon in the land.



          THE CHALICE

          Not by my power alone, but thou and I
          Together thinking, working, loving on
          Achievement-wards, as all brave souls have gone,
          Perchance should find new star-drifts in the sky

          That curves above humanity, and set
          Some new interpretation on life's page;
          Should serve the strivings of a widening age,
          And fashion wisdom from the social fret.

          Deep did Time's lances go; thou pluck'st them forth,
          And on my sullen woundings laid the balm
          Of thy life's sweetness. Oh, let my love be worth

          The keeping.  My head beneath thy palm,
          Once more I lift Love's chalice to thine eyes:
          Not till thou blessest me will I arise.



          MIO DESTINO

          Here, making count, at every step I see
          Something in her, like to a hidden thought
          Within my life, that long time I had sought,
          But never found till her soul spoke to me.

          And if she said a thousand times, "I did
          Not call thee, thou cam'st seeking; not my voice
          Was it thou heard'st; thy love was not my choice!"
          I should straightway reply, "That of thee hid,

          Even from thyself, lest it should startle thee,
          Hath called me, made me slave and king in one;
          And when the mists of Time shall rise, and we

          Stand forth, it shall be said, Since Time begun
          Ye two were called as one from that high hill,
          Where the creating Master hath His will."



          I HAVE BEHELD

          I have beheld a multitude stand still
          In such deep silence that a sudden pain
          Struck through the heart in sharing the tense strain,
          And all the world seemed bounded by one will.

          But when precipitated on the sea
          Of human feeling was the incident
          That caught their wonder; then the skies were rent
          With quivering sound, with passion's liberty.

          So have I stood before this parting day,
          With chilly fingers pressed upon my breast,
          That my heart burst not fleshen bands away,

          And my sharp cry break through my lady's rest.
          I have shut burning eyelids on the sight
          Of this dread time that scorches my sad night.



          TOO SOON AWAY

          Have I then found thee but to lose thee, friend?
          But touched thee ere thou vanished from my gaze?
          And when my soul is struggling from the maze
          Of many conflicts, must our converse end?

          Across the empty space that now shall spread
          Between us, shall I never go to thee?
          Or thou, beloved, never come to me,
          Save but to whisper prayers above the dead?

          Ah, cruel thought! Shall not Hope's convoy bear
          To thee the reinforcements of my love?
          Shall I not on thy white hand drop a tear

          Of crowned joy, one day, where thou dost move
          In thy place regally; even as now
          I place my farewell token on thy brow?



          THE TREASURE

          And now when from the shore goes out the ship
          Wherein is set the treasure that I hold
          Closer than miser all his hidden gold,
          Dearer than wine Zeus carried to his lip;

          My aching heart cries from its pent-up pain,--
          "O Love, O Life, O more than life to me,
          How can I live without the surety
          Of thy sweet presence till we meet again!"

          So like a wounded deer I came to thee,
          The arrow of mischance piercing my side;
          And through thy sorrow-healing ministry

          I rose with strength, like giants in their pride.
          But now--but now--how shall I stand alone,
          Knowing the light, the hope of me is gone?



          DAHIN

          O brow, so fronted with a stately calm,
          O full completeness of true womanhood,
          O counsel, pleader for all highest good,
          Thou hast upon my sorrow poured thy balm!

          Poor soldier he who did not raise his sword,
          And, touching with his lips the hilt-cross, swear
          In war or peace the livery to wear
          Of one that blessed him with her queenly word.

          Most base crusader, who at night and morn
          Crying Dahin, thought not of her again
          From whose sweet power was his knighthood born,

          For whom he quells the valiant Saracen.
          Shall I not, then, in the tumultuous place
          Of my life's warfare ever seek thy face?



          LOVE'S USURY

          Here count I over all the gentle deeds
          Which thou hast done; here summon I thy words,
          Sweeter to me than sweetest song of birds;
          That came like grace immortal to my needs.

          Love's usury has reckoned such a sum
          Of my indebtedness, that I can make
          No lien large enough to overtake
          Its value--and before it I am dumb!

          Yet, O my gracious, most kind creditor,
          I would not owe to thee one item less
          We cannot give the sun requital for

          Its liberal light; our office is to bless.
          If blessings could be compassed by my prayer,
          High heaven should set star-gems in thy hair.



          THE DECREE

          Last night I saw the warm white Southern moon
          Sail upward through a smoky amber sea;
          Orion stood in silver majesty
          Where the gold-girdled sun takes rest at noon.

          I slept; I dreamed. Against a sunset sky
          I saw thee stand all garmented in white;
          With hand stretched to me, and there in thy sight
          I went to meet thee; but I heard thee cry:

          "We stand apart as sun from shining sun;
          Thou hast thy place; there rolleth far and near
          A sea between; until life's all be done

          Thou canst not come, nor I go to thee, dear."
          Methought I bowed my head to thy decree,
          And donned the mantle of my misery.



          'TIS MORNING NOW

          'Tis morning now, and dreams and fears are gone,
          And sleep has calmed the fever in my veins,
          And I am strong to drink the cup that drains
          The last drop through my lips, and make no moan.

          Strength I have borrowed from the outward show
          Of spiritual puissance thou dost wear.
          Shall I not thy high domination share
          Over the shock of feeling?  Shall I grow

          More fearful than the soldier, when between
          The smoke of hostile cannon lies his way;
          To carry far the colours of his queen,

          While her bright eyes behold him in the fray?
          Here do I smile between the warring hosts
          Of sad farewells; and reek not what it costs.



          SACRIFICE

          And O most noble, and yet once again
          Most noble spirit, if I ever did
          Aught that thy goodness frowns on, be it hid
          Forever, and deep-buried.  Let the rain

          Of coming springs fall on the quiet grave.
          Perchance some violets will grow to tell
          That I, when uttering this last farewell,
          Built up a sacrificial architrave;

          That I, who worship thee, have love so great,
          To live in the horizon thou may'st set;
          To stand but in the shadow of the gate,

          Faithful, when coward promptings cry, "Forget."
          Ah, lady, when I gave my heart to thee,
          It passed into thy lifelong regency.



          SHINE ON

          Shine on, O sun! Sing on, O birds of song!
          And in her light my heart fashions a tune
          Not wholly sad, most like a tender rune
          Sung by some knight in days gone overlong,

          When he with minstrel eyes in Syrian grove
          Looked out towards his England, and then drew
          From a sweet instrument a sound that grew
          From twilight unto morning of his love.

          Go, then, beloved, bearing as you go
          These songs that have more sunlight far than cloud;
          More summer flowers than dead leaves 'neath the snow;

          That tell of hopes from which you raised the shroud.
          My lady, bright benignant star, shine on--

          I lift to thee my low Trisagion!



                HE that hath pleasant dreams is more fortunate
                than one who hath a cup-bearer.
                                            --Egyptian Proverb.



          SO, THOU ART GONE

          So, thou art gone; and I am left to wear
          Thy memory as a golden amulet
          Upon my breast, to sing a chansonnette
          Of winter tones, when summer time is here.

          And yet, my heart arises from the dark,
          Where it fell back in silence when you went
          To seaward, and a sprite malevolent
          Sat laughing in the white sails of thy barque.

          'Twas not moth-wings dashing against the flame,
          Burning in love's areanum; 'twas a cry
          Struck from soul-crossing chords, that, separate, frame

          Life's holy calm, or wasting agony.
          But now between the warring strings there grows
          A space of peace, as 'tween truce-honoured foes.



          THE THOUSAND THINGS

          Here one by one come back the thousand things
          Which made divinely sweet our intercourse;
          Love summons them here straightway to divorce
          The heart from melancholy wanderings.

          "Here laid she her white hand upon my arm;
          To this place came she with slow-gliding grace;
          Here smiled she up serenely in my face;
          And these sweet notes she sang me for a charm."

          I treasure up her words, and say them o'er
          With close-shut eyes; with her again I float
          Upon the Loire; I see the gems she wore,

          The ruby shining at her queenly throat;
          I climb with her again the Pyrenees,
          And hear her laughter ringing through the trees.



          THE SEA

          I in my childhood never saw the sea
          Save in my dreams.  There it was vast and lone,
          Splendid in power, breaking against the stone
          Walls of the world in thunder symphony.

          From it arose mists growing into mists
          Making a cool white curtain for the sun,
          And melting mornward when the day was done,
          A moving sphere where spirits kept their trysts.

          A ceaseless swinging with the swinging earth,
          A never-tiring ebbing to and fro,
          Trenching eternal fastnesses; a girth

          Round mountains in their everlasting snow.
          It was a vast emotion, fibre-drawn
          From all the elements since the first dawn.



          THE CHART

          Then came in further years the virgin sight
          Of the live sea; the sea that marches down,
          With sunny phalanxes and flags of foam,
          To match its puissance with earth's awful might.

          Far off the purple mist drew into mist,
          As thought melts into endless thought, and round
          The rim of the sheer world was heard a sound,
          Floating through palpitating amethyst.

          And through the varying waste of elements
          There passed a sail, which caught the opposing wind,
          Triumphant, as an army in its tents

          Beholds the foe it, conquering, left behind.
          "And Life," I said,--"Life is but like the sea;
          And what shall guide us to our destiny?"



          REVEALING

          The prescience of dreams struck walls away
          From mortal fact, and mortal fact revealed,
          With myriad voices, potencies concealed
          In the dim birth-place of a coming day.

          Even as a blind man's fingers wander o'er
          His harpstrings, led by sound to dreams of sound,
          Till in his soul an eloquence profound
          Rises above the petulance and roar

          Of the great globe: as in a rush of song
          From feathered throats, one, in a mighty wood,
          'Mid sweet interpositions moves along

          The avenues of some predestined good;
          So I, dream-nurtured, standing by the sea,
          Made levy on the wonders that should be.



          OVERCOMING

          And God is good, I said, and Art is good,
          And labour hath its rich reward of sleep;
          And recompense will come for all who keep
          Dishonour's ill contagion from the blood.

          And over us there curves the infinite
          Blue heaven as a shield, and at the end
          We shall find One who loveth to befriend
          E'en those who faint for shame within His sight.

          And down the awful passes of the sky
          There comes the voice that circumvents the gale;
          That makes the avalanche to pass us by,

          And saith, "I overcome" to man's "I fail."
          "And peradventure now," said I, "the zest
          Of all existence waits on His behest."



          WHITHER NOW

          But man's deliverances intervene
          Between the soul's swift speech and God's high will;
          That saith to tempests of the thought, "Be still!"
          And in life's lazaretto maketh clean

          The leprous sense.  Ah, who can find his way
          Among the many altars?   Who can call
          Out perfect peace from any ritual,
          Or shelter find in systems of a day?

          As one sees on some ancient urn, upthrown
          From out a tomb, records that none may read
          With like interpretation, and the stone

          Retains its graven fealty to the dead:
          So, on the great palimpsest men have writ
          Such lines o'ercrossed that none interprets it.



          ARARAT

          What marvel that the soul of youth should cry,
          "Man builds his temples 'tween me and the face
          Of Him whom I would seek; I cannot trace
          His purpose in their shadow, nor descry

          The wisdom absolute?"  What marvel that,
          With yearning impotent, ay, impotent
          Beyond all measure! his full faith was spent,
          And for his soul there rose no Ararat?

          Yet out upon the sun-drawn sensate sea
          Of elemental pain, there came a word
          As if from Him who travelled Galilee,

          As fair as any Zion ever heard.
          The voice of Love spoke; Love, that writes its name
          On Life and Death-and then my lady came.



          AS LIGHT LEAPS UP

          As light leaps up from star to star, so mounts
          Faith from one soul unto another; so
          The lower to the higher; till the flow
          Of knowledge rises from creation's founts;

          Until from human love we come to know
          The august presence of the Love Divine;
          And feel the light unutterable shine
          Upon half-lights that we were wont to show,

          Absorbing them.  'Tis Love that beckons us
          From low desires, from restlessness and sin,
          To heights that else we had not reached; and thus

          We find the Heaven we dared not hope to win.
          How clearer seem designs immortal when
          Our lives are fed on Love's fine regimen



          THE DARKENED WAY

          "It is no matter;"--thus the noble Dane,
          About his heart more ill than one could tell;
          Sad augury, that like a funeral bell
          Against his soul struck solemn notes of pain.

          So 'gainst the deadly smother he could press
          With calm his lofty manhood; interpose
          Purpose divine, and at the last disclose
          For life's great shift a regnant readiness.

          To-day I bought some matches in the street
          From one whose eyes had long since lost their sight.
          Trembling with palsy was he to his feet.

          "Father," I said, "how fare you in the night?"
          "In body ill, but 'tis no matter, friend,
          Strong is my soul to keep me to the end."



          DISTRUST not a woman nor a king--it availeth nothing.
                                                  --Egyptian Proverb.

          WHEN thou journeyest into the shadows, take not sweetmeats
          with thee, but a seed of corn and a bottle of tears and wine;
          that thou mayst have a garden in the land whither thou goeat.
                                                  --Egyptian Proverb.



          REUNITED

          Once more, once more!  That golden eventide!
          Golden within, without all cold and grey,
          Slowly you came forth from the troubled day,
          Singing my heart--you glided to my side;

          You glided in; the same grave, quiet face,
          The same deep look, the never-ending light
          In your proud eyes, eyes shining through the night,
          That night of absence--distance--from your place.

          Calm words, slow touch of hand, but, oh, the cry,
          The long, long cry of passion and of joy
          Within my heart; the star-burst in the sky--

          The world--our world--which time may not destroy!
          Your world and mine, unutterably sweet:
          Dearest, once more, the old song at thy feet.



          SONG WAS GONE FROM ME

          Dearest, once more! This I could tell and tell
          Till life turned drowsy with the ceaseless note;
          Dearest, once more! The words throb in my throat,
          My heart beats to them like a muffled bell.

          Change--Time and Change! O Change and Time, you come
          Not knocking at my door, knowing me gone;
          Here have I dwelt within my heart alone,
          Watching and waiting, while my muse was dumb

          Song was gone from me--sweet, I could not sing,
          Save as men sing upon the lonely hills;
          Under my hand the old chord ceased to ring,

          Hushed by the grinding of the high gods' mills.
          Dearest, once more. Those mad mills had their way--
          Now is mine hour.   To every man his day.



          GOOD WAS THE FIGHT

          How have I toiled, how have I set my face
          Fair to the swords! No man could say I quailed;
          Ne'er did I falter; I dare not to have failed,
          I dare not to have dropped from out the race.

          Good was the fight--good, till a piteous dream
          Crept from some direful covert of despair;
          Showed me your look, that look so true and fair,
          Distant and bleak; for me no more to gleam.

          Then was I driven back upon my soul,
          Then came dark moments; lady, then I drew
          Forth from its place the round unfathomed bowl

          Of sorrow, and from it I quaffed to you;
          Speaking as men speak who have lost
          Their hearts' last prize--and dare not count the cost.



          UNCHANGED

          But you are here unchanged.  You say not so
          In words, but when you placed your hands in mine;
          But when I saw the same old glory shine
          Within your eyes, I read it; and I know.

          And when those hands ran up along my arm,
          And rested on my shoulder for a space,
          A sacred inquisition in your face,
          To read my heart, how could I doubt that charm,

          That truth ineffable!--I set my soul
          In hazard to a farthing, that you kept
          The faith, with pride unspeakable, the whole

          Course of those years in which communion slept.
          Your soul flamed in your look; you read; I knew
          How little worth was I, how heavenly you.



          ABSOLVO TE

          I read your truth. You read--What did you read?
          Did you read all, and, reading all, forgive?
          How I--O little dwarf of conscience sieve
          My soul; bare all before her bare indeed!

          And, looking on the remnant and the waste,
          Can you absolve me,--me, the doubter, one
          Who challenged what God spent His genius on,
          His genius and His pride; so fair, so chaste?

          I am ashamed. . . . And when I told my dreams,
          Shaken and humble,--"Dear, there was no cause,"
          Your words; proud, sorrowful, as it beseems

          Such as thou art. There never was a cause
          Why you should honour me. Ashamed am I.
          And you forgive me, bless me, for reply.



          BENEDICTUS

          You bless me, then you turn away your head--
          "Never again, dear. I have blessed you so,
          My lips upon your lips; between must flow
          The river--Oh the river!"  Thus you said.

          The river--Oh the river, and the sun;
          Stream that we may not cross, sun that is joy:
          Flow as thou must; shine on in full employ--
          Shine through her eyes thou; let the river run.

          O lady, to your liegeman speak.  You say:
          "Dream no more dreams; yourself be as am I"
          Your hands clasped to your face, so shutting out the day.

          An instant, then to me, your low good-bye--
          Good-night, good-bye; and then the social reign,
          The lights, the songs, the flowers--and the pain.



          THE MESSAGE

          "Oh, hush!" you said; "oh, hush!" The twilight hung
          Between us and the world; but in your face,
          Flooding with warm inner light, the sovereign grace
          Of one who rests the brooding trees among--

          Of one who steps down from a lofty throne,
          Seeking that peace the sceptre cannot call;
          And leaving courtier, page, and seneschal,
          Goes down the lane of sycamores alone;

          And, going, listens to the notes that swell
          From golden throats--stories of ardent days,
          And lovers in fair vales; and homing bell:

          And the sweet theme unbearable, she prays
          The song-bird cease! So, on the tale I dare,
          Your "hush!" your wistful "hush!" broke like prayer.



          UNAVAILING

          "Never," you said, "never this side the grave,
          And what shall come hereafter, who may know?
          Whether we e'en shall guess the way we go,
          Passing beneath Death's mystic architrave

          Silence or song, dumb sleep or cheerful hours?"
          O lady, you have questioned, answer too.
          You--you to die--silence and gloom for you:
          Dead song, dead lights, dead graces, and dead flowers?

          It is not so: the foolish trivial end,
          The inconsequent paltry Nothing--gone--gone all;
          The genius of the ageless Something spend

          Itself within this little earthly wall:
          The commonplace conception, that we reap
          Reward of drudge and ploughman--idle sleep!



          YOU SHALL LIVE ON

          You shall live on triumphant, you shall take
          Your place among the peerless, fearless ones;
          And those who loved you here shall tell their sons
          To honour every woman for your sake.

          And those your Peers shall say, "Others are pure,
          Others are noble, others too have vowed,
          And for a vow have suffered; but she bowed
          Her own soul and another's to endure.

          She smote the being more to her than all,--
          Her own soul and the world,--a truth to hold,
          Faith with the dead; and hung a heavy pall

          'Tween her and love and life. The world is old,
          It hath sent here none queenlier.  Of the few,
          The royal few is she, martyred and true."



          "VEX NOT THIS GHOST"

          Upon the rack of this tough world I hear,
          As when Cordelia's glories all dissever-
          "Never--never--never--never--never,--"
          That wild moan of the dispossessed Lear.

          O world, vex not this ghost, yea, let it pass,
          The Spirit of these songs.  The fool hath mocked,
          The fool our woe upon us hath unlocked
          From where the soul holds to our lips the glass,

          To see what breath of life.  O fool, poor fool,
          Well, we have laughed together, you and I.
          O fond insulter, in the healing pool

          Of your deep poignant raillery I lie.
          Let us be grand again, my fool.  The throne
          Is gone; but see, the coronation stone!



          THE MEMORY

          Know you where I, my royal fool, was crowned?
          A rock within the great Egean?  Where
          A strong flood hurrieth on Finistere?
          Where at the Pole our valiant men were drowned?

          Where the soft creamy wash of Indian seas
          Spreads palmward? Where the sunset glides to dawn,
          No night between? Where all the tides are drawn
          To greet their Sun and bathe their Idol's knees?

          Where was I crowned? Dear fool, upon a stone
          That standeth where Earth's arches make but one,
          Where all the banners of her soul were flown,

          And trumpeted the legions of the sun.
          The stone is left: 'tis here against the door
          Of throne and kingdom. . . . Pray you, mock no more.



          THE PASSING

          A time will come when we again shall rail--
          Not yet, not yet.  The flood comes on apace,
          That deep dividing river, and her face
          Grows dimmer as it widens--pale, so pale.

          Have we not railed and laughed these many days,
          Mummers before the lights?  Dear fool, your hand
          Upon your lips--Oh let us once be grand,
          Grand as we were when treading royal ways.

          Lo, there she moves beyond the river.  Gone--
          Gone is the sun-lo, starlight in her eyes.
          See, how she standeth silent and alone--

          Oh, hush! let us not vex her with our cries.
          Proud as of old, unto my throne I go. . . .
          Cordelia's gone...... Hush, draw the curtain--so.



          ENVOY

          When you and I have played the little hour,
          Have seen the tall subaltern Life to Death
          Yield up his sword; and, smiling, draw the breath,
          The first long breath of freedom; when the flower

          Of Recompense has fluttered to our feet,
          As to an actor's; and the curtain down,
          We turn to face each other all alone--
          Alone, we two, who never yet did meet,

          Alone, and absolute, and free: oh, then,
          Oh, then, most dear, how shall be told the tale?
          Clasped hands, pressed lips, and so clasped hands again;

          No words. But as the proud wind fills the sail,
          My love to yours shall reach, then one deep moan
          Of joy; and then our infinite Alone.





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