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Title: A Roadside Harp - A Book of Verses
Author: Guiney, Louise Imogen
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.

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                       This ebook is dedicated to
                                 EMMY
                 friend, colleague, mentor, role model
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      https://archive.org/details/roadsideharpbook00guinuoft



A ROADSIDE HARP


      *      *      *      *      *      *

  By Miss Guiney.

  THE WHITE SAIL, AND OTHER
    POEMS. 16mo, gilt top, $1.25.

  SONGS AT THE START. 16mo, $1.00.

  A ROADSIDE HARP. 16mo.

  HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.
  BOSTON AND NEW YORK.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


A ROADSIDE HARP

A Book of Verses by

LOUISE IMOGEN GUINEY


   “_Highway, since you my chief Parnassus be,
   And that my Muse, to some ears not unsweet,
   Tempers her words to trampling horses’ feet,
   More oft than to a chamber melody!_”


[Illustration]



Boston and New York
Houghton Mifflin and
Company M DCCC XCIII

Copyright, 1893
By Louise Imogen Guiney
All Rights Reserved

The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.
Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co.



TO DORA AND HESTER SIGERSON


  _There in the Druid brake
  If the cuckoo be awake
  Again, O take my rhyme!
  And keep it long for the sake
  Of a bygone primrose-time;
  You of the star-bright head
  That twilight thoughts sequester,
  You to your native fountains led
  Like to a young Muse garlanded:
  Dora, and Hester._

March, 1893.



TABLE OF CONTENTS


                                                _Page_

  PETER RUGG the Bostonian                           1

  A Ballad of Kenelm                                 8

  Vergniaud in the Tumbril                          10

  Winter Boughs                                     13

  M. A. 1822-1888                                   13

  W. H. 1778-1830                                   14

  The Vigil-at-Arms                                 14

  A Madonna of Domenico Ghirlandajo                 15

  Spring Nightfall                                  15

  A Friend’s Song for Simoisius                     16

  Athassel Abbey                                    17

  Florentin                                         18

  Friendship Broken                                 19

  A Song of the Lilac                               20

  In a Ruin, after a Thunder-Storm                  21

  The Cherry Bough                                  21

  Two Irish Peasant Songs                           23

  The Japanese Anemone                              25

  Tryste Noel                                       26

  A Talisman                                        27

  Heathenesse                                       27

  For Izaak Walton                                  28

  Sherman: “An Horatian Ode”                        29

  When on the Marge of Evening                      32

  Rooks in New College Gardens                      32

  Open, Time                                        33

  The Knight Errant (Donatello’s Saint George)      34

  To a Dog’s Memory                                 35

  A Seventeenth-Century Song                        36

  On the Pre-Reformation Churches about Oxford      37

  The Still of the Year                             38

  A Foot-note to a Famous Lyric                     39

  T. W. P. 1819-1892                                41

  Summum Bonum                                      41

  Saint Florent-le-Vieil                            42

  Hylas                                             42

  Nocturne                                          43

  The Kings                                         44

  Alexandriana                                      47

  London: Twelve Sonnets.

      On First Entering Westminster Abbey           55

      Fog                                           55

      St. Peter-ad-Vincula                          56

      Strikers in Hyde Park                         56

      Changes in the Temple                         57

      The Lights of London                          58

      Doves                                         58

      In the Reading-Room of the British Museum     59

      Sunday Chimes in the City                     59

      A Porch in Belgravia                          60

      York Stairs                                   61

      In the Docks                                  61



A ROADSIDE HARP.

POEMS BY LOUISE IMOGEN GUINEY



_Peter Rugg the Bostonian_


I

  THE mare is pawing by the oak,
  The chaise is cool and wide
  For Peter Rugg the Bostonian
  With his little son beside;
  The women loiter at the wheels
  In the pleasant summer-tide.

  “And when wilt thou be home, Father?”
  “And when, good husband, say:
  The cloud hangs heavy on the house
  What time thou art away.”
  He answers straight, he answers short,
  “At noon of the seventh day.”

  “Fail not to come, if God so will,
  And the weather be kind and clear.”
  “Farewell, farewell! But who am I
  A blockhead rain to fear?
  God willing or God unwilling,
  I have said it, I will be here.”

  He gathers up the sunburnt boy
  And from the gate is sped;
  He shakes the spark from the stones below,
  The bloom from overhead,
  Till the last roofs of his own town
  Pass in the morning-red.

  Upon a homely mission
  North unto York he goes,
  Through the long highway broidered thick
  With elder-blow and rose;
  And sleeps in sound of breakers
  At every twilight’s close.

  Intense upon his heedless head
  Frowns Agamenticus,
  Knowing of Heaven’s challenger
  The answer: even thus
  The Patience that is hid on high
  Doth stoop to master us.


II

  Full light are all his parting dreams;
  Desire is in his brain;
  He tightens at the tavern-post
  The fiery creature’s rein:
  “Now eat thine apple, six years’ child!
  We face for home again.”

  They had not gone a many mile
  With nimble heart and tongue,
  When the lone thrush grew silent
  The walnut woods among;
  And on the lulled horizon
  A premonition hung.

  The babes at Hampton schoolhouse,
  The wife with lads at sea,
  Search with a level-lifted hand
  The distance bodingly;
  And farmer folk bid pilgrims in
  Under a safe roof-tree.

  The mowers mark by Newbury
  How low the swallows fly,
  They glance across the southern roads
  All white and fever-dry,
  And the river, anxious at the bend,
  Beneath a thinking sky.

  But there is one abroad was born
  To disbelieve and dare:
  Along the highway furiously
  He cuts the purple air.
  The wind leaps on the startled world
  As hounds upon a hare;

  With brawl and glare and shudder ope
  The sluices of the storm;
  The woods break down, the sand upblows
  In blinding volleys warm;
  The yellow floods in frantic surge
  Familiar fields deform.

  From evening until morning
  His skill will not avail,
  And as he cheers his youngest born,
  His cheek is spectre-pale;
  For the bonnie mare from courses known
  Has drifted like a sail!


III

  On some wild crag he sees the dawn
  Unsheathe her scimitar.
  “Oh, if it be my mother-earth,
  And not a foreign star,
  Tell me the way to Boston,
  And is it near or far?”

  One watchman lifts his lamp and laughs:
  “Ye’ve many a league to wend.”
  The next doth bless the sleeping boy
  From his mad father’s end;
  A third upon a drawbridge growls:
  “Bear ye to larboard, friend.”

  Forward and backward, like a stone
  The tides have in their hold,
  He dashes east, and then distraught
  Darts west as he is told,
  (Peter Rugg the Bostonian,
  That knew the land of old!)

  And journeying, and resting scarce
  A melancholy space,
  Turns to and fro, and round and round,
  The frenzy in his face,
  And ends alway in angrier mood,
  And in a stranger place,

  Lost! lost in bayberry thickets
  Where Plymouth plovers run,
  And where the masts of Salem
  Look lordly in the sun;
  Lost in the Concord vale, and lost
  By rocky Wollaston!

  Small thanks have they that guide him,
  Awed and aware of blight;
  To hear him shriek denial
  It sickens them with fright:
  “They lied to me a month ago
  With thy same lie to-night!”

  To-night, to-night, as nights succeed,
  He swears at home to bide,
  Until, pursued with laughter
  Or fled as soon as spied,
  The weather-drenchèd man is known
  Over the country side!


IV

  The seventh noon ’s a memory,
  And autumn ’s closing in;
  The quince is fragrant on the bough,
  And barley chokes the bin.
  “O Boston, Boston, Boston!
  And O my kith and kin!”

  The snow climbs o’er the pasture wall,
  It crackles ’neath the moon;
  And now the rustic sows the seed,
  Damp in his heavy shoon;
  And now the building jays are loud
  In canopies of June.

  For season after season
  The three are whirled along,
  Misled by every instinct
  Of light, or scent, or song;
  Yea, put them on the surest trail,
  The trail is in the wrong.

  Upon those wheels in any path
  The rain will follow loud,
  And he who meets that ghostly man
  Will meet a thunder-cloud,
  And whosoever speaks with him
  May next bespeak his shroud.

  Tho’ nigh two hundred years have gone,
  Doth Peter Rugg the more
  A gentle answer and a true
  Of living lips implore:
  “Oh, show me to my own town,
  And to my open door!”


V

  Where shall he see his own town
  Once dear unto his feet?
  The psalms, the tankard to the King,
  The beacon’s cliffy seat,
  The gabled neighborhood, the stocks
  Set in the middle street?

  How shall he know his own town
  If now he clatters thro’?
  Much men and cities change that have
  Another love to woo;
  And things occult, incredible,
  They find to think and do.

  With such new wonders since he went
  A broader gossip copes,
  Across the crowded triple hills,
  And up the harbor slopes,
  Tradition’s self for him no more
  Remembers, watches, hopes.

  But ye, O unborn children!
  (For many a race must thrive
  And drip away like icicles
  Ere Peter Rugg arrive,)
  If of a sudden to your ears
  His plaint is blown alive;

  If nigh the city, folding in
  A little lad that cries,
  A wet and weary traveller
  Shall fix you with his eyes,
  And from the crazy carriage lean
  To spend his heart in sighs:--

  “That I may enter Boston,
  Oh, help it to befall!
  There would no fear encompass me,
  No evil craft appall;
  Ah, but to be in Boston,
  GOD WILLING, after all!”--

  Ye children, tremble not, but go
  And lift his bridle brave
  In the one Name, the dread Name,
  That doth forgive and save,
  And lead him home to Copp’s Hill ground,
  And to his fathers’ grave.

[Illustration]



_A Ballad of Kenelm_

  “In Clent cow-batch, Kenelm King born Lieth under a thorn.”


  IT was a goodly child,
  Sweet as the gusty May;
  It was a knight that broke
  On his play,
  A fair and coaxing knight:
  “O little liege!” said he,
  “Thy sister bids thee come
  After me.

  “A pasture rolling west
  Lies open to the sun,
  Bright-shod with primroses
  Doth it run;
  And forty oaks be nigh,
  Apart, and face to face,
  And cow-bells all the morn
  In the space.

  “And there the sloethorn bush
  Beside the water grows,
  And hides her mocking head
  Under snows;
  Black stalks afoam with bloom,
  And never a leaf hath she:
  Thou crystal of the realm,
  Follow me!”

  Uplooked the undefiled:
  “All things, ere I was born
  My sister found; now find
  Me the thorn.”
  They travelled down the lane,
  An hour’s dust they made:
  The belted breast of one
  Bore a blade.

  The primroses were out,
  The aislèd oaks were green,
  The cow-bells pleasantly
  Tinked between;
  The brook was beaded gold,
  The thorn was burgeoning,
  Where evil Ascobert
  Slew the King.

  He hid him in the ground,
  Nor washed away the dyes,
  Nor smoothed the fallen curls
  From his eyes.
  No father had the babe
  To bless his bed forlorn;
  No mother now to weep
  By the thorn.

  There fell upon that place
  A shaft of heavenly light;
  The thorn in Mercia spake
  Ere the night:
  “Beyond, a sister sees
  Her crownèd period,
  But at my root a lamb
  Seeth God.”

  Unto each, even so.
  As dew before the cloud,
  The guilty glory passed
  Of the proud.
  Boy Kenelm has the song,
  Saint Kenelm has the bower;
  His thorn a thousand years
  Is in flower!

[Illustration]



_Vergniaud in the Tumbril_


I

  THE wheels are silent, the cords are slack,
  The terrible faces are surging back.
  France, they too love thee! bid that keep plain;

  The wrath and carnage I stayed afar
  Colleagues of my white conscience are:
  Accept my slayers, accept me slain!

  Shed for days, in its olden guise
  The quiet delicate snake-skin lies
  To cheat a boy on his woodland stroll:

  What if he crush it? Others see
  Beauty’s miracle under a tree
  Supple in mail, and adroit, and whole;

  The shaper rid of a shape, and thence
  (Growth of an outgrown excellence),
  Mounted with infinite might and speed,

  Freed like a soul to the heaven it dreamed;
  Over life that was, and death that seemed
  A victory and a revenge indeed!

  As the serpent moves to the open spring,
  The while a mock, a delusive thing
  Sole in sight of the crowd may be,

  So ye, my martyrs, arise, advance!
  For what is left at the feet of France
  It is our failure, it is not we.


II

  Not to ourselves our strength we brought:
  Inexpiable the Hand that wrought
  In us the ruin of no redress,

  The storm, the effort, the pang, the fire,
  The premonition, the vast desire,
  The primal passion of righteousness!

  Scarce by the pitiful thwarted plan,
  The haste, or the studious fears of man
  Drawing a discord from best delight,

  The measure is meted of God most wise;
  Nor the future, with her adjusted eyes,
  Shall speak us false in our dying fight.

  But e’en to me now some use is clear
  In the builded truth down-beaten here
  For any along the way to spurn,

  Since ever our broken task may stand
  Disaster’s college in one saved land,
  Whence many a stripling state shall learn.

  Out of the human shoots the divine:
  Be the Republic our only sign,
  For whose life’s glory our lives have been

  Ambassadors on a noble way
  Tempest-driven, and sent astray
  The first and the final good between.

  Close to the vision undestroyed,
  The hope not compassed and yet not void,
  We perish so; but the world shall mark

  On the hilltop of our work we died,
  With joy of the groom before the bride,
  With a dawn-cry thro’ the battle’s dark.


III

  O last save me on the scaffold’s round!
  Take heart, that after a thirst profound
  The cup of delicious death is near,

  And whoso hold it, or whence it flow,
  O drink it to France, to France! and know
  For the gift thou givest, thou hast her tear.

  True seed thou wert of the sunnier hour,
  Honorable, and burst to flower
  Late in a hell-pit poison-walled:

  Farewell, mortality lopped and pale,
  Thou body that wast my friend! and Hail,
  Dear spirit already!... My name is called.

[Illustration]



_Winter Boughs_


  HOW tender and how slow, in sunset’s cheer,
  Far on the hill, our quiet treetops fade!
  A broidery of northern seaweed, laid
  Long in a book, were scarce more fine and clear.
  Frost, and sad light, and windless atmosphere
  Have breathed on them, and of their frailties made
  Beauty more sweet than summer’s builded shade,
  Whose green domes fall, to bring this wonder here.
  O ye forgetting and outliving boughs,
  With not a plume, gay in the jousts before,
  Left for the Archer! so, in evening’s eye,
  So stilled, so lifted, let your lover die,
  Set in the upper calm no voices rouse,
  Stript, meek, withdrawn, against the heavenly door.

[Illustration]



_M. A. 1822-1888_


  GOOD oars, for Arnold’s sake
  By Laleham lightly bound,
  And near the bank, O soft,
  Darling swan!
  Let not the o’erweary wake
  From this his natal ground,
  But where he slumbered oft,
  Slumber on.

[Illustration]



_W. H. 1778-1830_


  BETWEEN the wet trees and the sorry steeple,
  Keep, Time, in dark Soho, what once was Hazlitt,
  Seeker of Truth, and finder oft of Beauty;

  Beauty ’s a sinking light, ah, none too faithful;
  But Truth, who leaves so here her spent pursuer,
  Forgets not her great pawn: herself shall claim it.

  Therefore sleep safe, thou dear and battling spirit,
  Safe also on our earth, begetting ever
  Some one love worth the ages and the nations!

  Nothing falls under to thine eyes eternal.
  Sleep safe in dark Soho: the stars are shining,
  Titian and Wordsworth live; the People marches.

[Illustration]



_The Vigil-at-Arms_


  KEEP holy watch with silence, prayer, and fasting
  Till morning break, and all the bugles play;
  Unto the One aware from everlasting
  Dear are the winners: thou art more than they.

  Forth from this peace on manhood’s way thou goest,
  Flushed with resolve, and radiant in mail;
  Blessing supreme for men unborn thou sowest,
  O knight elect! O soul ordained to fail!

[Illustration]



_A Madonna of Domenico Ghirlandajo_


  LET thoughts go hence as from a mountain spring,
  Of the great dust of battle clean and whole,
  And the wild birds that have no nest nor goal
  Fold in a young man’s breast their trancèd wing;
  For thou art made of purest Light, a thing
  Art gave, beyond her own devout control;
  And Light upon thy seeing, suffering soul
  Hath wrought a sign for many journeying;
  Our sign. As up a wayside, after rain,
  When the blown beeches purple all the height
  And clouds sink to the sea-marge, suddenly
  The autumn sun (how soft, how solemn-bright!)
  Moves to the vacant dial, so is lain
  God’s meaning Hand, thou chosen, upon thee.

[Illustration]



_Spring Nightfall_


  APRIL is sad, as if the end she knew.
  The maple’s misty red, the willow’s gold
  Face-deep in nimble water, seem to hold
  In hope’s own weather their autumnal hue.
  There is no wind, no star, no sense of dew,
  But the thin vapors gird the mountain old,
  And the moon, risen before the west is cold,
  Pale with compassion slopes into the blue.
  Under the shining dark the day hath passed
  Shining; so even of thee was home bereaved,
  Thou dear and pensive spirit! overcast
  Hardly at all, but drawn from light to light,
  Who in the doubtful hour, and unperceived,
  Rebuked adoring hearts with change and flight.

[Illustration]



_A Friend’s Song for Simoisius_


  THE breath of dew, and twilight’s grace,
  Be on the lonely battle-place;
  And to so young, so kind a face,
  The long, protecting grasses cling!
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

  In rocky hollows cool and deep,
  The bees our boyhood hunted sleep;
  The early moon from Ida’s steep
  Comes to the empty wrestling-ring.
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

  Upon the widowed wind recede
  No echoes of the shepherd’s reed,
  And children without laughter lead
  The war-horse to the watering.
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

  Thou stranger Ajax Telamon!
  What to the loveliest hast thou done,
  That ne’er with him a maid may run
  Across the marigolds in spring?
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

  With footstep separate and slow
  The father and the mother go,
  Not now upon an urn they know
  To mingle tears for comforting.
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

  The world to me has nothing dear
  Beyond the namesake river here:
  O Simois is wild and clear!
  And to his brink my heart I bring;
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

  My heart no more, if that might be,
  Would stay his waters from the sea,
  To cover Troy, to cover me,
  To save us from the perishing.
  (Alas, alas,
  The one inexorable thing!)

[Illustration]



_Athassel Abbey_


  FOLLY and Time have fashioned
  Of thee a songless reed;
  O not-of-earth-impassioned!
  Thy music ’s mute indeed.

  Red from the chantry crannies
  The orchids burn and swing,
  And where the arch began is
  Rest for a raven’s wing;

  And up the bossy column
  Quick tails of squirrels wave,
  And black, prodigious, solemn,
  A forest fills the nave.

  Still faithfuller, still faster,
  To ruin give thy heart:
  Perfect before the Master
  Aye as thou wert, thou art.

  But I am wind that passes
  In ignorant wild tears,
  Uplifted from the grasses,
  Blown to the void of years,

  Blown to the void, yet sighing
  In thee to merge and cease,
  Last breath of beauty’s dying,
  Of sanctity, of peace!

  Tho’ use nor place forever
  Unto my soul befall,
  By no belovèd river
  Set in a saintly wall,

  Do thou by builders given
  Speech of the dumb to be,
  Beneath thine open heaven,
  Athassel! pray for me.

[Illustration]



_Florentin_


  HEART all full of heavenly haste, too like the bubble bright
  On loud little water floating half of an April night,
  Fled from the ear in music, fled from the eye in light,
  Dear and stainless heart of a boy! No sweeter thing can be
  Drawn to the quiet centre of God who is our sea;
  Whither, thro’ troubled valleys, we also follow thee.

[Illustration]



_Friendship Broken_


I

  WE chose the faint chill morning, friend and friend,
  Pacing the twilight out beneath an oak,
  Soul calling soul to judgment; and we spoke
  Strange things and deep as any poet penned,
  Such truth as never truth again can mend,
  Whatever arts we win, what gods invoke;
  It was not wrath, it made nor strife nor smoke:
  Be what it may, it had a solemn end.
  Farewell, in peace. We of the selfsame throne
  Are foeman vassals; pale astrologers,
  Each a wise sceptic of the other’s star.
  Silently, as we went our ways alone,
  The steadfast sun, whom no poor prayer deters,
  Drew high between us his majestic bar.


II

  Mine was the mood that shows the dearest face
  Thro’ a long avenue, and voices kind
  Idle, and indeterminate, and blind
  As rumors from a very distant place;
  Yet, even so, it gathered the first chase
  Of the first swallows where the lane ’s inclined,
  An ebb of wavy wings to serve my mind
  For round Spring’s vision. Ah, some equal grace
  (The calm sense of seen beauty without sight)
  Befell thee, honorable heart! no less
  In patient stupor walking from the dawn;
  Albeit thou too wert loser of life’s light,
  Like fallen Adam in the wilderness,
  Aware of naught but of the thing withdrawn.

[Illustration]



_A Song of the Lilac_


  ABOVE the wall that ’s broken,
  And from the coppice thinned,
  So sacred and so sweet
  The lilac in the wind!
  And when by night the May wind blows
  The lilac-blooms apart,
  The memory of his first love
  Is shaken on his heart.

  In tears it long was buried,
  And trances wrapt it round;
  O how they wake it now,
  The fragrance and the sound!
  For when by night the May wind blows
  The lilac-blooms apart,
  The memory of his first love
  Is shaken on his heart.

[Illustration]



_In a Ruin, after a Thunder-Storm_


  KEEP of the Norman, old to flood and cloud!
  Thou dost reproach me with thy sunset look,
  That in our common menace, I forsook
  Hope, the last fear, and stood impartial proud:
  Almost, almost, while ether spake aloud,
  Death from the smoking stones my spirit shook
  Into thy hollow as leaves into a brook,
  No more than they by heaven’s assassins cowed.

  But now thy thousand-scarrèd steep is flecked
  With the calm kisses of the light delayed,
  Breathe on me better valor: to subject
  My soul to greed of life, and grow afraid
  Lest, ere her fight’s full term, the Architect
  See downfall of the stronghold that He made.

[Illustration]



_The Cherry Bough_


  IN a new poet’s and a new friend’s honor,
  Forth from the scornèd town and her gold-getting,
  Come men with lutes and bowls, and find a welcome
  Here in my garden,

  Find bowers and deep shade and windy grasses,
  And by the south wall, wet and forward-jutting,
  One early branch fire-tipped with Roman cherries.
  O naught is absent,

  O naught but you, kind head that far in prison
  Sunk on a weary arm, feels no god’s pity
  Stroking and sighing where the kingly laurels
  Were once so plenty,

  Nor dreams, from revels and strange faces turning,
  How on the strength of my fair tree that knew you,
  I lean to-day, when most my heart is laden
  With your rich verses!

  Since, long ago, in other gentler weather
  Ere wrath and exile were, you lay beneath it,
  (Your symbol then, your innocent wild brother,
  Glad with your gladness,)

  What has befallen in the world of wonder,
  That still it puts forth bubbles of sweet color,
  And you, and you that burst our eyes with beauty,
  Are sapped and rotten?

  Alas! When my young guests have done with singing,
  I break it, leaf and fruit, my garden’s glory,
  And hold it high among them, and say after:
  “O my poor Ovid,

  “Years pass, and loves pass too; and yet remember
  For the clear time when we were boys together,
  These tears at home are shed; and with you also
  Your bough is dying.”

[Illustration]



_Two Irish Peasant Songs_


I

  I KNEAD and I spin, but my life is low the while,
  Oh, I long to be alone, and walk abroad a mile,
  Yet if I walk alone, and think of naught at all,
  Why from me that ’s young should the wild tears fall?

  The shower-stricken earth, the earth-colored streams,
  They breathe on me awake, and moan to me in dreams,
  And yonder ivy fondling the broke castle-wall,
  It pulls upon my heart till the wild tears fall.

  The cabin-door looks down a furze-lighted hill,
  And far as Leighlin Cross the fields are green and still;
  But once I hear the blackbird in Leighlin hedges call,
  The foolishness is on me, and the wild tears fall!


II

  ’Tis the time o’ the year, if the quicken-bough be staunch,
  The green, like a breaker, rolls steady up the branch,
  And surges in the spaces, and floods the trunk, and heaves
  In little angry spray that is the under-white of leaves;
  And from the thorn in companies the foamy petals fall,
  And waves of jolly ivy wink along a windy wall.

  ’Tis the time o’ the year the marsh is full of sound,
  And good and glorious it is to smell the living ground.
  The crimson-headed catkin shakes above the pasture-bars,
  The daisy takes the middle field and spangles it with stars,
  And down the bank into the lane the primroses do crowd,
  All colored like the twilight moon, and spreading like a cloud!

  ’Tis the time o’ the year, in early light and glad,
  The lark has a music to drive a lover mad;
  The downs are dripping nightly, the breathèd damps arise,
  Deliciously the freshets cool the grayling’s golden eyes,
  And lying in a row against the chilly north, the sheep
  Inclose a place without a wind for tender lambs to sleep.

  ’Tis the time o’ the year I turn upon the height
  To watch from my harrow the dance of going light;
  And if before the sun be hid, come slowly up the vale
  Honora with her dimpled throat, Honora with her pail,
  Hey, but there ’s many a March for me, and many and many a lass!
  I fall to work and song again, and let Honora pass.

[Illustration]



_The Japanese Anemone_


  ALL summer the breath of the roses around
  Exhales with a delicate, passionate sound;
  And when from a trellis, in holiday places,
  They croon and cajole, with their slumberous faces,
  A lad in the lane must slacken his paces.

  Fragrance of these is a voice in a bower:
  But low by the wall is my odorless flower,
  So pure, so controlled, not a fume is above her,
  That poet or bee should delay there and hover;
  For she is a silence, and therefore I love her.

  And never a mortal by morn or midnight
  Is called to her hid little house of delight;
  And she keeps from the wind, on his pillages olden,
  Upon a true stalk in rough weather upholden,
  Her winter-white gourd with the hollow moon-golden.

  While ardors of roses contend and increase,
  Methinks she has found how noble is peace,
  Like a spirit besought from the world to dissever,
  Not absent to men, tho’ resumed by the Giver,
  And dead long ago, being lovely for ever.

[Illustration]



_Tryste Noel_


  THE Ox he openeth wide the Doore
  And from the Snowe he calls her inne,
  And he hath seen her Smile therefore,
  Our Ladye without Sinne.
  Now soone from Sleepe
  A Starre shall leap,
  And soone arrive both King and Hinde;
  _Amen, Amen_:
  But O, the place co’d I but finde!

  The Ox hath husht his voyce and bent
  Trewe eyes of Pitty ore the Mow,
  And on his lovelie Neck, forspent,
  The Blessed lays her Browe.
  Around her feet
  Full Warme and Sweete
  His bowerie Breath doth meeklie dwell;
  _Amen, Amen_:
  But sore am I with Vaine Travèl!

  The Ox is host in Juda’s stall,
  And Host of more than onelie one,
  For close she gathereth withal
  Our Lorde her littel Sonne.
  Glad Hinde and King
  Their Gyfte may bring
  But wo’d to-night my Teares were there,
  _Amen, Amen_:
  Between her Bosom and His hayre!

[Illustration]



_A Talisman_


  TAKE Temperance to thy breast,
  While yet is the hour of choosing,
  As arbitress exquisite
  Of all that shall thee betide;
  For better than fortune’s best
  Is mastery in the using,
  And sweeter than anything sweet
  The art to lay it aside!

[Illustration]



_Heathenesse_


  NO round boy-satyr, racing from the mere,
  Shakes on the mountain-lawn his dripping head
  This many a May, your sister being dead,
  Ye Christian folk! your sister great and dear.
  To breathe her name, to think how sad-sincere
  Was all her searching, straying, dreaming, dread,
  How of her natural night was Plato bred,
  A star to keep the ways of honor clear,
  Who will not sigh for her? who can forget
  Not only unto campèd Israel,
  Nor martyr-maids that as a bridegroom met
  The Roman lion’s roar, salvation fell?
  To Him be most of praise that He is yet
  Your God thro’ gods not inaccessible.

[Illustration]



_For Izaak Walton_


  WHAT trout shall coax the rod of yore
  In Itchen stream to dip?
  What lover of her banks restore
  That sweet Socratic lip?
  Old fishing and wishing
  Are over many a year.
  O hush thee, O hush thee! heart innocent and dear.

  Again the foamy shallows fill,
  The quiet clouds amass,
  And soft as bees by Catherine Hill
  At dawn the anglers pass,
  And follow the hollow,
  In boughs to disappear.
  O hush thee, O hush thee! heart innocent and dear.

  Nay, rise not now, nor with them take
  One silver-freckled fool!
  Thy sons to-day bring each an ache
  For ancient arts to cool.
  But, father, lie rather
  Unhurt and idle near;
  O hush thee, O hush thee! heart innocent and dear.

  While thought of thee to men is yet
  A sylvan playfellow,
  Ne’er by thy marble they forget
  In pious cheer to go.
  As air falls, the prayer falls
  O’er kingly Winchester:
  O hush thee, O hush thee! heart innocent and dear.

[Illustration]



_Sherman: “An Horatian Ode”_


  THIS was the truest man of men,
  The early-armored citizen,
  Who had, with most of sight,
  Most passion for the right;

  Who first forecasting treason’s scope
  Able to sap the Founders’ hope,
  First to the laic arm
  Cried ultimate alarm;

  Who bent upon his guns the while
  A misconceived and aching smile,
  And felt, thro’ havoc’s part,
  A torment of the heart,

  Sure, when he cut the moated South
  From Shiloh to Savannah’s mouth,
  Braved grandly to the end,
  To conquer like a friend;

  In whom the Commonwealth withstood
  Again the Carolinian blood,
  The beautiful proud line
  Beneath an evil sign,

  And taught his foes and doubters still
  How fatal is a good man’s will,
  That like a sun or sod
  Thinks not itself, but God!

  Many the captains of our wrath
  Sought thus the pious civic path,
  Knowing in what a land
  Their destiny was planned,

  And after, with a forward sense,
  A simple Roman excellence,
  Pledge in their spirit bore
  That war should be no more.

  Thrice Roman he, who saw the shock
  (Calm as a weather-wrinkled rock,)
  Roll in the Georgian fen;
  And steadfast aye as then

  In plenitude of old control
  That asked, secure of his own soul,
  No pardon and no aid,
  If clear his way were made,

  Would have nor seat nor bays, nor bring
  The Cæsar in him to be king,
  But with abstracted ear
  Rode pleased without a cheer.

  Now he declines from peace and age,
  And home, his triple heritage,
  The last and dearest head
  Of all our perfect dead,

  O what if sorrow cannot reach
  Far in the shallow fords of speech,
  But leads us silent round
  The sad Missouri ground,

  Where on her hero Freedom lays
  The scroll and blazon of her praise,
  And bids to him belong
  Arms trailing, and a song,

  And broken flags with ruined dyes
  (Bright once in young and dying eyes),
  Against the morn to shake
  For love’s familiar sake?

  The blessèd broken flags unfurled
  Above a healed and happier world!
  There let them droop, and be
  His tent of victory;

  There, in each year’s auguster light,
  Lean in, and loose their red and white,
  Like apple-blossoms strewn
  Upon his burial-stone.

  For nothing more, the ages thro’,
  Can nature or the nation do
  For him who helped retrieve
  Our life, as we believe,

  Save that we also, trooping by
  In sound yet of his battle-cry,
  Safeguard with general mind
  Our pact as brothers kind,

  And, ever nearer to our star,
  Adore indeed not what we are,
  But wise reprovings hold
  Thankworthier than gold;

  And bear in faith and rapture such
  As can eternal issues touch,
  Whole from the final field,
  Our father Sherman’s shield.

[Illustration]



_When on the Marge of Evening_


  WHEN on the marge of evening the last blue light is broken,
  And winds of dreamy odor are loosened from afar,
  Or when my lattice opens, before the lark has spoken,
  On dim laburnum-blossoms, and morning’s dying star,

  I think of thee, (O mine the more if other eyes be sleeping!)
  Whose great and noonday splendor the many share and see,
  While sacred and forever, some perfect law is keeping
  The late and early twilight alone and sweet for me.

[Illustration]



_Rooks in New College Gardens_


  THRO’ rosy cloud, and over thorny towers,
  Their wings with all the autumn distance filled,
  From Isis’ valley border hundred-hilled,
  The rooks are crowding home as evening lowers:
  Not for men only and their musing hours,
  By battled walls did gracious Wykeham build
  These dewy spaces early sown and stilled,
  These dearest inland melancholy bowers.

  Blest birds! A book held open on the knee
  Below, is all they know of Adam’s blight:
  With surer art the while, and simpler rite,
  They follow Truth in some monastic tree,
  Where breathe against their innocent breasts by night
  The scholar’s star, the star of sanctity.

[Illustration]



_Open, Time_


  OPEN, Time, and let him pass
  Shortly where his feet would be!
  Like a leaf at Michaelmas
  Swooning from the tree,

  Ere its hour the manly mind
  Trembles in a sure decrease,
  Nor the body now can find
  Any hold on peace.

  Take him, weak and overworn;
  Fold about his dying dream
  Boyhood, and the April morn,
  And the rolling stream:

  Weather on a sunny ridge,
  Showery weather, far from here;
  Under some deep-ivied bridge,
  Water rushing clear:

  Water quick to cross and part,
  (Golden light on silver sound),
  Weather that was next his heart
  All the world around!

  Soon upon his vision break
  These, in their remembered blue;
  He shall toil no more, but wake
  Young, in air he knew.

  He has done with roofs and men.
  Open, Time, and let him pass,
  Vague and innocent again,
  Into country grass.

[Illustration]



_The Knight Errant (Donatello’s Saint George)_


  SPIRITS of old that bore me,
  And set me, meek of mind,
  Between great dreams before me,
  And deeds as great behind,
  Knowing humanity my star
  As first abroad I ride,
  Shall help me wear, with every scar,
  Honor at eventide.

  Let claws of lightning clutch me
  From summer’s groaning cloud,
  Or ever malice touch me,
  And glory make me proud.
  O give my youth, my faith, my sword,
  Choice of the heart’s desire:
  A short life in the saddle, Lord!
  Not long life by the fire.

  Forethought and recollection
  Rivet mine armor gay!
  The passion for perfection
  Redeem my failing way!
  The arrows of the tragic time
  From sudden ambush cast,
  With calm angelic touches ope
  My Paradise at last!

  I fear no breathing bowman,
  But only, east and west,
  The awful other foeman
  Impowered in my breast.
  The outer fray in the sun shall be,
  The inner beneath the moon;
  And may Our Lady lend to me
  Sight of the Dragon soon!

[Illustration]



_To a Dog’s Memory_


  THE gusty morns are here,
  When all the reeds ride low with level spear;
  And on such nights as lured us far of yore,
  Down rocky alleys yet, and thro’ the pine,
  The Hound-star and the pagan Hunter shine:
  But I and thou, ah, field-fellow of mine,
  Together roam no more.

  Soft showers go laden now
  With odors of the sappy orchard-bough,
  And brooks begin to brawl along the march;
  The late frost steams from hollow sedges high;
  The finch is come, the flame-blue dragon-fly,
  The cowslip’s common gold that children spy,
  The plume upon the larch.

  There is a music fills
  The oaks of Belmont and the Wayland hills
  Southward to Dewing’s little bubbly stream,
  The heavenly weather’s call! Oh, who alive
  Hastes not to start, delays not to arrive,
  Having free feet that never felt a gyve
  Weigh, even in a dream?

  But thou, instead, hast found
  The sunless April uplands underground,
  And still, wherever thou art, I must be.
  My beautiful! arise in might and mirth,
  For we were tameless travellers from our birth;
  Arise against thy narrow door of earth,
  And keep the watch for me.

[Illustration]



_A Seventeenth-Century Song_


  SHE alone of Shepherdesses
  With her blue disdayning eyes,
  Wo’d not hark a Kyng that dresses
  All his lute in sighes:
  Yet to winne
  Katheryn,
  I elect for mine Emprise.

  None is like her, none above her,
  Who so lifts my youth in me,
  That a littel more to love her
  Were to leave her free!
  But to winne
  Katheryn,
  Is mine utmost love’s degree.

  Distaunce, cold, delay, and danger,
  Build the four walles of her bower;
  She ’s noe Sweete for any stranger,
  She ’s noe valley flower:
  And to winne
  Katheryn,
  To her height my heart can Tower!

  Uppe to Beautie’s promontory
  I will climb, nor loudlie call
  Perfect and escaping glory
  Folly, if I fall:
  Well to winne
  Katheryn!
  To be worth her is my all.

[Illustration]



_On the Pre-Reformation Churches about Oxford_


I

  IMPERIAL Iffley, Cumnor bowered in green,
  And Templar Sandford in the boatman’s call,
  And sweet-belled Appleton, and Wytham wall
  That doth upon adoring ivies lean;
  Meek Binsey; Dorchester where streams convene
  Bidding on graves her solemn shadow fall;
  Clear Cassington that soars perpetual;
  Holton and Hampton, and ye towers between:
  If one of all in your sad courts that come,
  Belovèd and disparted! be your own,
  Kin to the souls ye had, while time endures,
  Known to each exiled, each estrangèd stone
  Home in the quarries of old Christendom,--
  Ah, mark him: he will lay his cheek to yours.


II

  Is this the end? is this the pilgrim’s day
  For dread, for dereliction, and for tears?
  Rather, from grass and air and many spheres
  In prophecy his spirit sinks away;
  And under English eaves, more still than they,
  Far-off, incoming, wonderful, he hears
  The long-arrested and believing years
  Carry the sea-wall! Shall he, sighing, say,
  “Farewell to Faith, for she is dead at best
  Who had such beauty”? or with kisses lain
  For witness on her darkened doors, go by
  With a new psalm: “O banished light so nigh!
  Of them was I who bore thee and who blest;
  Even here remember me when thou shalt reign.”

[Illustration]



_The Still of the Year_


  UP from the willow-root
  Subduing agonies leap;
  The squirrel and the purple moth
  Turn over amid their sleep;
  The icicled rocks aloft
  Burn saffron and blue alway,
  And trickling and tinkling
  The snows of the drift decay.
  O mine is the head must hang
  And share the immortal pang!
  Winter or spring is fair;
  Thaw ’s hard to bear.
  Heigho! my heart ’s sick.

  Sweet is cherry-time, sweet
  A shower, a bobolink,
  And the little trillium-blossom
  Tucked under her leaf to think;
  But here in the vast unborn
  Is the bitterest place to be,
  Till striving and longing
  Shall quicken the earth and me.
  What change inscrutable
  Is nigh us, we know not well;
  Gone is the strength to sigh
  Either to live or die.
  Heigho! my heart ’s sick.

[Illustration]



_A Foot-note to a Famous Lyric_


  TRUE love’s own talisman, which here
  Shakespeare and Sidney failed to teach,
  A steel-and-velvet Cavalier
  Gave to our Saxon speech:

  Chief miracle of theme and touch
  That upstart enviers adore:
  _I could not love thee, dear, so much,
  Loved I not Honour more_.

  No critic born since Charles was king
  But sighed in smiling, as he read:
  “Here ’s theft of the supremest thing
  A poet might have said!”

  Young knight and wit and beau, who won
  Mid war’s adventure, ladies’ praise,
  Was’t well of you, ere you had done,
  To blight our modern bays?

  O yet to you, whose random hand
  Struck from the dark whole gems like these,
  Archaic beauty, never planned
  Nor reared by wan degrees,

  Which leaves an artist poor, and art
  An earldom richer all her years;
  To you, dead on your shield apart,
  Be “Ave!” passed in tears.

  How shall this singing era spurn
  Her master, and in lauds be loath?
  Your worth, your work, bid us discern
  Light exquisite in both.

  ’T was virtue’s breath inflamed your lyre,
  Heroic from the heart it ran;
  Nor for the shedding of such fire
  Lives since a manlier man.

  And till your strophe sweet and bold
  So lovely aye, so lonely long,
  Love’s self outdo, dear Lovelace! hold
  The pinnacles of song.

[Illustration]



_T. W. P. 1819-1892_


  FRIEND who hast gone, and dost enrich to-day
  New England brightly building far away,
  And crown her liberal walk
  With company more choice, and sweeter talk,

  Look not on Fame, but Peace; and in a bower
  Receive at last her fulness and her power:
  Nor wholly, pure of heart!
  Forget thy few, who would be where thou art.

[Illustration]



_Summum Bonum_


  WAITING on Him who knows us and our need,
  Most need have we to dare not, nor desire,
  But as He giveth, softly to suspire
  Against His gift, with no inglorious greed,
  For this is joy, tho’ still our joys recede;
  And, as in octaves of a noble lyre,
  To move our minds with His, and clearer, higher,
  Sound forth our fate; for this is strength indeed.

  Thanks to His love let earth and man dispense
  In smoke of worship when the heart is stillest,
  A praying more than prayer: “Great good have I,
  Till it be greater good to lay it by;
  Nor can I lose peace, power, permanence,
  For these smile on me from the thing Thou willest!”

[Illustration]



_Saint Florent-le-Vieil_


  THE spacious open vale, the vale of doom,
  Is full of autumn sunset; blue and strong
  The semicirque of water sweeps among
  Her lofty acres, each a martyr’s tomb;
  And slowly, slowly, melt into the gloom
  Two little idling clouds, that look for long
  Like roseleaf bodies of two babes in song
  Correggio left to flush a convent room.

  Dear hill deflowered in the frantic war!
  In my day, rather, have I seen thee blest
  With pastoral roofs to break the darker crest
  Of apple-woods by many-islèd Loire,
  And fires that still suffuse the lower west,
  Blanching the beauty of thine evening star.

[Illustration]



_Hylas_


  JAR in arm, they bade him rove
  Thro’ the alder’s long alcove,
  Where the hid spring musically
  Gushes to the ample valley.
  (There ’s a bird on the under bough
  Fluting evermore and now:
  “Keep--young!” but who knows how?)

  Down the woodland corridor,
  Odors deepened more and more;
  Blossomed dogwood, in the briers,
  Struck her faint delicious fires;
  Miles of April passed between
  Crevices of closing green,
  And the moth, the violet-lover,
  By the wellside saw him hover.

  Ah, the slippery sylvan dark!
  Never after shall he mark
  Noisy ploughmen drinking, drinking,
  On his drownèd cheek down-sinking;
  Quit of serving is that wild,
  Absent, and bewitchèd child,
  Unto action, age, and danger,
  Thrice a thousand years a stranger.

  Fathoms low, the naiads sing
  In a birthday welcoming;
  Water-white their breasts, and o’er him,
  Water-gray, their eyes adore him.
  (There ’s a bird on the under bough
  Fluting evermore and now:
  “Keep--young!” but who knows how?)

[Illustration]



_Nocturne_


  THE sun that hurt his lovers from on high
  Is fallen; she more merciful is nigh,
  The blessèd one whose beauty’s even glow
  Gave never wound to any shepherd’s eye.
  Above our pausing boat in shallows drifted,
  Alone her plaintive form ascends the sky.

  O sing! the water-golds are deepening now,
  A hush is come upon the beechen bough;
  She shines the while on thee, as saint to saint
  Sweet interchanged adorings may allow:
  Sing, dearest, with that lily throat uplifted;
  They are so like, the holy Moon and thou!

[Illustration]



_The Kings_


  A MAN said unto his angel:
  “My spirits are fallen thro’,
  And I cannot carry this battle,
  O brother! what shall I do?

  “The terrible Kings are on me,
  With spears that are deadly bright,
  Against me so from the cradle
  Do fate and my fathers fight.”

  Then said to the man his angel:
  “Thou wavering, foolish soul,
  Back to the ranks! What matter
  To win or to lose the whole,

  “As judged by the little judges
  Who hearken not well, nor see?
  Not thus, by the outer issue,
  The Wise shall interpret thee.

  “Thy will is the very, the only,
  The solemn event of things;
  The weakest of hearts defying
  Is stronger than all these Kings.

  “Tho’ out of the past they gather,
  Mind’s Doubt and Bodily Pain,
  And pallid Thirst of the Spirit
  That is kin to the other twain,

  “And Grief, in a cloud of banners,
  And ringletted Vain Desires,
  And Vice, with the spoils upon him
  Of thee and thy beaten sires,

  “While Kings of eternal evil
  Yet darken the hills about,
  Thy part is with broken sabre
  To rise on the last redoubt;

  “To fear not sensible failure,
  Nor covet the game at all,
  But fighting, fighting, fighting,
  Die, driven against the wall!”



ALEXANDRIANA



_Alexandriana_


I

  I LAID the strewings, sweetest, on thine urn;
  I lowered the torch, I poured the cup to Dis.
  Now hushaby, my little child, and learn
  Long sleep how good it is.

  In vain thy mother prays, wayfaring hence,
  Peace to her heart, where only heartaches dwell;
  But thou more blest, O wild intelligence!
  Forget her, and Farewell.


II

  Gentle Grecian passing by,
  Father of thy peace am I:
  Wouldst thou now, in memory,
  Give a soldier’s flower to me,
  Choose the flag I named of yore
  Beautiful Worth-dying-for,
  That shall wither not, but wave
  All the year above my grave.


III

  Light thou hast of the moon,
  Shade of the dammar-pine,
  Here on thy hillside bed;
  Fair befall thee, O fair
  Lily of womanhood,
  Patient long, and at last
  Here on thy hillside bed,
  Happier: ah, Blæsilla!


IV

  Two white heads the grasses cover:
  Dorcas, and her lifelong lover.
  While they graced their country closes
  Simply as the brooks and roses,
  Where was lot so poor, so trodden,
  But they cheered it of a sudden?
  Fifty years at home together,
  Hand in hand, they went elsewhither,
  Then first leaving hearts behind
  Comfortless. Be thou as kind.


V

  Upon thy level tomb, till windy winter dawn,
  The fallen leaves delay;
  But plain and pure their trace is, when themselves are torn
  From delicate frost away.

  As here to transient frost the absent leaf is, such
  Thou wert and art to me:
  So on my passing life is thy long-passèd touch,
  O dear Alcithoë!


VI

  Hail, and be of comfort, thou pious Xeno,
  Late the urn of many a kinsman wreathing;
  On thine own shall even the stranger offer
  Plentiful myrtle.


VII

  Here lies one in the earth who scarce of the earth was moulded,
  Wise Æthalides’ son, himself no lover of study,
  Cnopus, asleep, indoors: the young invincible runner.
  They from the cliff footpath that see on the grave we made him,
  Tameless, slant in the wind, the bare and beautiful iris,
  Stop short, full of delight, and shout forth: “See, it is Cnopus
  Runs, with white throat forward, over the sands to Chalcis!”


VIII

  Ere the Ferryman from the coast of spirits
  Turn the diligent oar that brought thee thither,
  Soul, remember: and leave a kiss upon it
  For thy desolate father, for thy sister,
  Whichsoever be first to cross hereafter.


IX

  Jaffa ended, Cos begun
  Thee, Aristeus. Thou wert one
  Fit to trample out the sun:
  Who shall think thine ardors are
  But a cinder in a jar?


X

  Me, deep-tressèd meadows, take to your loyal keeping,
  Hard by the swish of sickles ever in Aulon sleeping,
  Philophron, old and tired, and glad to be done with reaping!


XI

  As wind that wasteth the unmarried rose,
  And mars the golden breakers in the bay,
  Hurtful and sweet from heaven forever blows
  Sad thought that roughens all our quiet day;

  And elder poets envy while they weep
  Ion, whom first the gods to covert brought,
  Here under inland olives laid asleep,
  Most wise, most happy, having done with thought.


XII

  Cows in the narrowing August marshes,
  Cows in a stretch of water
  Motionless,
  Neck on neck overlapped and drooping;

  These in their troubled and dumb communion,
  Thou on the steep bank yonder,
  Pastora!
  No more ever to lead and love them,

  No more ever. Thine innocent mourners
  Pass thy tree in the evening
  Heavily,
  Hearing another herd-girl calling.


XIII

  Praise thou the Mighty Mother for what is wrought, not me,
  A nameless nothing-caring head asleep against her knee.



LONDON:

TWELVE SONNETS



_On First Entering Westminster Abbey_


  THABOR of England! since my light is short
  And faint, O rather by the sun anew
  Of timeless passion set my dial true,
  That with thy saints and thee I may consort,
  And wafted in the calm Chaucerian port
  Of poets, seem a little sail long due,
  And be as one the call of memory drew
  Unto the saddle void since Agincourt!

  Not now for secular love’s unquiet lease
  Receive my soul, who rapt in thee erewhile
  Hath broken tryst with transitory things;
  But seal with her a marriage and a peace
  Eternal, on thine Edward’s holy isle,
  Above the stormy sea of ended kings.

[Illustration]



_Fog_


  LIKE bodiless water passing in a sigh,
  Thro’ palsied streets the fatal shadows flow,
  And in their sharp disastrous undertow
  Suck in the morning sun, and all the sky.
  The towery vista sinks upon the eye,
  As if it heard the Hebrew bugles blow,
  Black and dissolved; nor could the founders know
  How what was built so bright should daily die.

  Thy mood with man’s is broken and blent in,
  City of Stains! and ache of thought doth drown
  The primitive light in which thy life began;
  Great as thy dole is, smirchèd with his sin,
  Greater and elder yet the love of man
  Full in thy look, tho’ the dark visor ’s down.

[Illustration]



_St. Peter-ad-Vincula_


  TOO well I know, pacing the place of awe,
  Three queens, young save in trouble, moulder by;
  More in his halo, Monmouth’s mocking eye,
  The eagle Essex in a harpy’s claw;
  Seymour and Dudley, and stout heads that saw
  Sundown of Scotland: how with treasons lie
  White martyrdoms; rank in a company
  Breaker and builder of the eternal law.

  Oft as I come, the hateful garden-row
  Of ruined roses hanging from the stem,
  Where winds of old defeat yet batter them,
  Infects me: suddenly must I depart,
  Ere thought of men’s injustice then and now
  Add to these aisles one other broken heart.

[Illustration]



_Strikers in Hyde Park_


  A WOOF reversed the fatal shuttles weave,
  How slow! but never once they slip the thread.
  Hither, upon the Georgian idlers’ tread,
  Up spacious ways the lindens interleave,
  Clouding the royal air since yester-eve,
  Come men bereft of time and scant of bread,
  Loud, who were dumb, immortal, who were dead,
  Thro’ the cowed world their kingdom to retrieve.

  What ails thee, England? Altar, mart, and grange
  Dream of the knife by night; not so, not so
  The clear Republic waits the general throe,
  Along her noonday mountains’ open range.
  God be with both! for one is young to know
  The other’s rote of evil and of change.

[Illustration]



_Changes in the Temple_


  THE cry is at thy gates, thou darling ground,
  Again; for oft ere now thy children went
  Beggared and wroth, and parting greeting sent
  Some red old alley with a dial crowned;
  Some house of honor, in a glory bound
  With lives and deaths of spirits excellent;
  Some tree rude-taken from his kingly tent
  Hard by a little fountain’s friendly sound.

  O for Virginius’ hand, if only that
  Maintain the whole, and spoil these spoilings soon!
  Better the scowling Strand should lose, alas,
  Her peopled oasis, and where it was
  All mournful in the cleared quadrangle sat
  Echo, and ivy, and the loitering moon.

[Illustration]



_The Lights of London_


  THE evenfall, so slow on hills, hath shot
  Far down into the valley’s cold extreme,
  Untimely midnight; spire and roof and stream
  Like fleeing spectres, shudder and are not.
  The Hampstead hollies, from their sylvan plot
  Yet cloudless, lean to watch as in a dream,
  From chaos climb with many a sudden gleam,
  London, one moment fallen and forgot.

  Her booths begin to flare; and gases bright
  Prick door and window; all her streets obscure
  Sparkle and swarm with nothing true nor sure,
  Full as a marsh of mist and winking light;
  Heaven thickens over, Heaven that cannot cure
  Her tear by day, her fevered smile by night.

[Illustration]



_Doves_


  AH, if man’s boast and man’s advance be vain,
  And yonder bells of Bow, loud-echoing home,
  And the lone Tree foreknow it, and the Dome,
  The monstrous island of the middle main;
  If each inheritor must sink again
  Under his sires, as falleth where it clomb
  Back on the gone wave the disheartened foam?--
  I crossed Cheapside, and this was in my brain.

  What folly lies in forecasts and in fears!
  Like a wide laughter sweet and opportune,
  Wet from the fount, three hundred doves of Paul’s
  Shook their warm wings, drizzling the golden noon,
  And in their rain-cloud vanished up the walls.
  “God keeps,” I said, “our little flock of years.”

[Illustration]



_In the Reading-Room of the British Museum_


  PRAISED be the moon of books! that doth above
  A world of men, the fallen Past behold,
  And fill the spaces else so void and cold
  To make a very heaven again thereof;
  As when the sun is set behind a grove,
  And faintly unto nether ether rolled,
  All night his whiter image and his mould
  Grows beautiful with looking on her love.

  Thou therefore, moon of so divine a ray,
  Lend to our steps both fortitude and light!
  Feebly along a venerable way
  They climb the infinite, or perish quite;
  Nothing are days and deeds to such as they,
  While in this liberal house thy face is bright.

[Illustration]



_Sunday Chimes in the City_


  ACROSS the bridge, where in the morning blow
  The wrinkled tide turns homeward, and is fain
  Homeward to drag the black sea-goer’s chain,
  And the long yards by Dowgate dipping low;
  Across dispeopled ways, patient and slow,
  Saint Magnus and Saint Dunstan call in vain:
  From Wren’s forgotten belfries, in the rain,
  Down the blank wharves the dropping octaves go.

  Forbid not these! Tho’ no man heed, they shower
  A subtle beauty on the empty hour,
  From all their dark throats aching and outblown;
  Aye in the prayerless places welcome most,
  Like the last gull that up a naked coast
  Deploys her white and steady wing, alone.

[Illustration]



_A Porch in Belgravia_


  WHEN, after dawn, the lordly houses hide
  Till you fall foul of it, some piteous guest,
  Some girl the damp stones gather to their breast,
  Her gold hair rough, her rebel garment wide,
  Who sleeps, with all that luck and life denied
  Camped round, and dreams how seaward and southwest
  Blue over Devon farms the smoke-rings rest,
  And sheep and lambs ascend the lit hillside,

  Dear, of your charity, speak low, step soft,
  Pray for a sinner. Planet-like and still,
  Best hearts of all are sometimes set aloft
  Only to see and pass, nor yet deplore
  Even Wrong itself, crowned Wrong inscrutable,
  Which cannot not have been for evermore.

[Illustration]



_York Stairs_


  MANY a musing eye returns to thee,
  Against the lurid street disconsolate,
  Who kept in green domains thy bridal state,
  With young tide-waters leaping at thy knee;
  And lest the ravening smoke, and enmity,
  Corrode thee quite, thy lover sighs, and straight
  Desires thee safe afar, too graceful gate!
  Throned on a terrace of the Boboli.

  Nay, nay, thy use is here. Stand queenly thus
  Till the next fury; teach the time and us
  Leisure and will to draw a serious breath:
  Not wholly where thou art the soul is cowed,
  Nor the fooled capital proclaims aloud
  Barter is god, while Beauty perisheth.

[Illustration]



_In the Docks_


  WHERE the bales thunder till the day is done,
  And the wild sounds with wilder odors cope;
  Where over crouching sail and coiling rope,
  Lascar and Moor along the gangway run;
  Where stifled Thames spreads in the pallid sun,
  A hive of anarchy from slope to slope;
  Flag of my birth, my liberty, my hope,
  I see thee at the masthead, joyous one!

  O thou good guest! So oft as, young and warm,
  To the home-wind thy hoisted colors bound,
  Away, away from this too thoughtful ground,
  Sated with human trespass and despair,
  Thee only, from the desert, from the storm,
  A sick mind follows into Eden air.





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