Christina Rossetti

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    Biographical information

  1. A Better Ressurection
  2. A Birthday
  3. A Daughter Of Eve
  4. A Pause
  5. A Study (A Soul)
  6. Aloof
  7. An Apple-Gathering
  8. At Home
  9. Before The Paling Of The Stars
  10. Beneath Thy Cross
  11. Bride Song
  12. By The Sea
  13. Cobwebs
  14. Cousin Kate
  15. De Profundis
  16. Dream Land
  17. Echo
  18. Fluttered Wings
  19. From Sunset To Star Rise
  20. From The Antique
  21. Goblin Market
  22. Holy Innocents
  23. In An Artist's Studio
  24. In Progress
  25. In The Willow Shade
  26. Is It Well With The Child?
  27. Later Life (Fragment)
  28. Marvel Of Marvels
  29. Maude Clare
  30. May
  31. Mirage
  32. Monna Innominata: A Sonnet Of Sonnets
  33. No, Thank You John
  34. Passing Away, Saith The World
  35. Promises Like Pie-Crust
  36. Remember
  37. Rest
  38. Shappho
  39. Silent Noon
  40. Sleeping At Last
  41. Song (She Sat And Sang Alway)
  42. Spring Quiet
  43. The Convent Threshold
  44. The First Day
  45. The Prince's Progress
  46. The Thread Of Life
  47. The Three Enemies
  48. Twice
  49. Uphill
  50. What Would I Give
  51. When I Am Dead, My Dearest
  52. Who Has Seen The Wind?
  53. Who Shall Deliver Me?
  54. Winter: My Secret




    Biographical information

      Name: Christina Georgina Rossetti
      Place and date of birth: London (England); December 5, 1830
      Place and date of death: London (England); December 29, 1894 (aged 64)

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      A Better Ressurection

        I have no wit, no words, no tears;
        My heart within me like a stone
        Is numbed too much for hopes or fears.
        Look right, look left, I dwell alone;
        I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with grief
        No everlasting hills I see;
        My life is in the falling leaf:
        O Jesus, quicken me.

        My life is like a faded leaf,
        My harvest dwindled to a husk:
        Truly my life is void and brief
        And tedious in the barren dusk;
        My life is like a frozen thing,
        No bud nor greenness can I see:
        Yet rise it shall--the sap of spring;
        O Jesus, rise in me.

        My life is like a broken bowl,
        A broken bowl that cannot hold
        One drop of water for my soul
        Or cordial in the searching cold;
        Cast in the fire the perished thing;
        Melt and remould it, till it be
        A royal cup for Him, my King:
        O Jesus, drink of me.

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      A Birthday

        My heart is like a singing bird
        Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
        My heart is like an apple-tree
        Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;
        My heart is like a rainbow shell
        That paddles in a halcyon sea;
        My heart is gladder than all these
        Because my love is come to me.

        Raise me a dais of silk and down;
        Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
        Carve it in doves and pomegranates,
        And peacocks with a hundred eyes;
        Work it in gold and silver grapes,
        In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;
        Because the birthday of my life
        Is come, my love is come to me.

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      A Daughter Of Eve

        A fool I was to sleep at noon,
        And wake when night is chilly
        Beneath the comfortless cold moon;
        A fool to pluck my rose too soon,
        A fool to snap my lily.

        My garden-plot I have not kept;
        Faded and all-forsaken,
        I weep as I have never wept:
        Oh it was summer when I slept,
        It's winter now I waken.

        Talk what you please of future spring
        And sun-warm'd sweet to-morrow:--
        Stripp'd bare of hope and everything,
        No more to laugh, no more to sing,
        I sit alone with sorrow.

      Up

      A Pause

        They made the chamber sweet with flowers and leaves,
        And the bed sweet with flowers on which I lay;
        While my soul, love-bound, loitered on its way.
        I did not hear the birds about the eaves,
        Nor hear the reapers talk among the sheaves:
        Only my soul kept watch from day to day,
        My thirsty soul kept watch for one away:--
        Perhaps he loves, I thought, remembers, grieves.
        At length there came the step upon the stair,
        Upon the lock the old familiar hand:
        Then first my spirit seemed to scent the air
        Of Paradise; then first the tardy sand
        Of time ran golden; and I felt my hair
        Put on a glory,and my soul expand.

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      A Study (A Soul)

        She stands as pale as Parian statues stand;
        Like Cleopatra when she turned at bay,
        And felt her strength above the Roman sway,
        And felt the aspic writhing in her hand.
        Her face is steadfast toward the shadowy land,
        For dim beyond it looms the light of day;
        Her feet are steadfast; all the arduous way
        That foot-track hath not wavered on the sand.
        She stands there like a beacon thro' the night,
        A pale clear beacon where the storm-drift is;
        She stands alone, a wonder deathly white;
        She stands there patient, nerved with inner might,
        Indomitable in her feebleness,
        Her face and will athirst against the light.

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      Aloof

        The irresponsive silence of the land,
        The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
        Speak both one message of one sense to me:--
        Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
        Thou too aloof, bound with the flawless band
        Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
        But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
        What heart shall touch thy heart? What hand thy hand?
        And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
        And sometimes I remember days of old
        When fellowship seem'd not so far to seek,
        And all the world and I seem'd much less cold,
        And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
        And hope felt strong, and life itself not weak.

      Up

      An Apple-Gathering

        I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple tree
        And wore them all that evening in my hair:
        Then in due season when I went to see
        I found no apples there.
        With dangling basket all along the grass
        As I had come I went the selfsame track:
        My neighbours mocked me while they saw me pass
        So empty-handed back.

        Lilian and Lilias smiled in trudging by,
        Their heaped-up basket teazed me like a jeer;
        Sweet-voiced they sang beneath the sunset sky,
        Their mother's home was near.

        Plump Gertrude passed me with her basket full,
        A stronger hand than hers helped it along;
        A voice talked with her thro' the shadows cool
        More sweet to me than song.

        Ah Willie, Willie, was my love less worth
        Than apples with their green leaves piled above?
        I counted rosiest apples on the earth
        Of far less worth than love.

        So once it was with me you stooped to talk
        Laughing and listening in this very lane:
        To think that by this way we used to walk
        We shall not walk again!

        I let my neighbours pass me, ones and twos
        And groups; the latest said the night grew chill,
        And hastened: but I loitered, while the dews
        Fell fast I loitered still.

      Up

      At Home

        When I was dead, my spirit turned
        To seek the much-frequented house:
        I passed the door, and saw my friends
        Feasting beneath green orange boughs;
        From hand to hand they pushed the wine,
        They sucked the pulp of plum and peach;
        They sang, they jested, and they laughed,
        For each was loved of each.

        I listened to thier honest chat:
        Said one: "To-morrow we shall be
        Plod plod along the featureless sands,
        And coasting miles and miles of sea."
        Said one: "Before the turn of tide
        We will achieve the eyrie-seat."
        Said one: "To-morrow shall be like
        To-day, but much more sweet."

        "To-morrow," said they, strong with hope,
        And dwelt upon the pleasant way:
        "To-morrow," cried they, one and all,
        While no one spoke of yesterday.
        Their life stood full at blessed noon;
        I, only I, had passed away:
        "To-morrow and to-day," they cried;
        I was of yesterday.

        I shivered comfortless, but cast
        No chill across the table-cloth;
        I, all-forgotten, shivered, sad
        To stay, and yet to part how loth:
        I passed from the familiar room,
        I who from love had passed away,
        Like the remembrance of a guest
        That tarrieth but a day.

      Up

      Before The Paling Of The Stars

        Before the winter morn,
        Before the earliest cock crow,
        Jesus Christ was born:
        Born in a stable,
        Cradled in a manger,
        In the world his hands had made
        Born a stranger.

        Priest and king lay fast asleep
        In Jerusalem;
        Young and old lay fast asleep
        In crowded Bethlehem;
        Saint and angel, ox and ass,
        Kept a watch together
        Before the Christmas daybreak
        In the winter weather.

        Jesus on his mother's breast
        In the stable cold,
        Spotless lamb of God was he,
        Shepherd of the fold:
        Let us kneel with Mary maid,
        With Joseph bent and hoary,
        With saint and angel, ox and ass,
        To hail the King of Glory.

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      Beneath Thy Cross

        Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
        That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross,
        To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
        And yet not weep?

        Not so those women loved
        Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
        Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
        Not so the thief was moved;

        Not so the Sun and Moon
        Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
        A horror of great darkness at broad noon--
        I, only I.

        Yet give not o'er,
        But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
        Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
        And smite a rock.

      Up

      Bride Song

        Too late for love, too late for joy,
        Too late, too late!
        You loitered on the road too long,
        You trifled at the gate:
        The enchanted dove upon her branch
        Died without a mate;
        The enchanted princess in her tower
        Slept, died, behind the grate;
        Her heart was starving all this while
        You made it wait.

        Ten years ago, five years ago,
        One year ago,
        Even then you had arrived in time,
        Though somewhat slow;
        Then you had known her living face
        Which now you cannot know:
        The frozen fountain would have leaped,
        The buds gone on to blow,
        The warm south wind would have awaked
        To melt the snow.

        Is she fair now as she lies?
        Once she was fair;
        Meet queen for any kingly king,
        With gold-dust on her hair,
        Now these are poppies in her locks,
        White poppies she must wear;
        Must wear a veil to shroud her face
        And the want graven there:
        Or is the hunger fed at length,
        Cast off the care?

        We never saw her with a smile
        Or with a frown;
        Her bed seemed never soft to her,
        Though tossed of down;
        She little heeded what she wore,
        Kirtle, or wreath, or gown;
        We think her white brows often ached
        Beneath her crown,
        Till silvery hairs showed in her locks
        That used to be so brown.

        We never heard her speak in haste;
        Her tones were sweet,
        And modulated just so much
        As it was meet:
        Her heart sat silent through the noise
        And concourse of the street.
        There was no hurry in her hands,
        No hurry in her feet;
        There was no bliss drew nigh to her,
        That she might run to greet.

        You should have wept her yesterday,
        Wasting upon her bed:
        But wherefore should you weep today
        That she is dead?
        Lo we who love weep not today,
        But crown her royal head.
        Let be these poppies that we strew,
        Your roses are too red:
        Let be these poppies, not for you
        Cut down and spread.

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      By The Sea

        Why does the sea moan evermore?
        Shut out from heaven it makes its moan,
        It frets against the boundary shore;
        All earth's full rivers cannot fill
        The sea, that drinking thirsteth still.

        Sheer miracles of loveliness
        Lie hid in its unlooked-on bed:
        Anemones, salt, passionless,
        Blow flower-like; just enough alive
        To blow and multiply and thrive.

        Shells quaint with curve, or spot, or spike,
        Encrusted live things argus-eyed,
        All fair alike, yet all unlike,
        Are born without a pang, and die
        Without a pang, and so pass by.

      Up

      Cobwebs

        It is a land with neither night nor day,
        Nor heat nor cold, nor any wind, nor rain,
        Nor hills nor valleys; but one even plain
        Stretches thro' long unbroken miles away:
        While thro' the sluggish air a twilight grey
        Broodeth; no moons or seasons wax and wane,
        No ebb and flow are there among the main,
        No bud-time no leaf-falling there for aye,
        No ripple on the sea, no shifting sand,
        No beat of wings to stir the stagnant space,
        And loveless sea: no trace of days before,
        No guarded home, no time-worn restingplace
        No future hope no fear forevermore.

      Up

      Cousin Kate

        I was a cottage maiden
        Hardened by sun and air
        Contented with my cottage mates,
        Not mindful I was fair.
        Why did a great lord find me out,
        And praise my flaxen hair?
        Why did a great lord find me out,
        To fill my heart with care?

        He lured me to his palace home -
        Woe's me for joy thereof-
        To lead a shameless shameful life,
        His plaything and his love.
        He wore me like a silken knot,
        He changed me like a glove;
        So now I moan, an unclean thing,
        Who might have been a dove.

        O Lady kate, my cousin Kate,
        You grew more fair than I:
        He saw you at your father's gate,
        Chose you, and cast me by.
        He watched your steps along the lane,
        Your work among the rye;
        He lifted you from mean estate
        To sit with him on high.

        Because you were so good and pure
        He bound you with his ring:
        The neighbors call you good and pure,
        Call me an outcast thing.
        Even so I sit and howl in dust,
        You sit in gold and sing:
        Now which of us has tenderer heart?
        You had the stronger wing.

        O cousin Kate, my love was true,
        Your love was writ in sand:
        If he had fooled not me but you,
        If you stood where I stand,
        He'd not have won me with his love
        Nor bought me with his land;
        I would have spit into his face
        And not have taken his hand.

        Yet I've a gift you have not got,
        And seem not like to get:
        For all your clothes and wedding-ring
        I've little doubt you fret.
        My fair-haired son, my shame, my pride,
        Cling closer, closer yet:
        Your father would give his lands for one
        To wear his coronet.

      Up

      De Profundis

        Oh why is heaven built so far,
        Oh why is earth set so remote?
        I cannot reach the nearest star
        That hangs afloat.

        I would not care to reach the moon,
        One round monotonous of change;
        Yet even she repeats her tune
        Beyond my range.

        I never watch the scatter'd fire
        Of stars, or sun's far-trailing train,
        But all my heart is one desire,
        And all in vain:

        For I am bound with fleshly bands,
        Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
        I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
        And catch at hope.

      Up

      Dream Land

        Where sunless rivers weep
        Their waves into the deep,
        She sleeps a charmed sleep:
        Awake her not.
        Led by a single star,
        She came from very far
        To seek where shadows are
        Her pleasant lot.

        She left the rosy morn,
        She left the fields of corn,
        For twilight cold and lorn
        And water springs.
        Through sleep, as through a veil,
        She sees the sky look pale,
        And hears the nightingale
        That sadly sings.

        Rest, rest, a perfect rest
        Shed over brow and breast;
        Her face is toward the west,
        The purple land.
        She cannot see the grain
        Ripening on hill and plain;
        She cannot feel the rain
        Upon her hand.

        Rest, rest, for evermore
        Upon a mossy shore;
        Rest, rest at the heart's core
        Till time shall cease:
        Sleep that no pain shall wake;
        Night that no morn shall break
        Till joy shall overtake
        Her perfect peace.

      Up

      Echo

        Come to me in the silence of the night;
        Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
        Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
        As sunlight on a stream;
        Come back in tears,
        O memory, hope, love of finished years.

        O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
        Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
        Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet;
        Where thirsting longing eyes
        Watch the slow door
        That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

        Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
        My very life again though cold in death:
        Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
        Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
        Speak low, lean low
        As long ago, my love, how long ago.

      Up

      Fluttered Wings

        The splendour of the kindling day,
        The splendor of the setting sun,
        These move my soul to wend its way,
        And have done
        With all we grasp and toil amongst and say.

        The paling roses of a cloud,
        The fading bow that arches space,
        These woo my fancy toward my shroud,
        Toward the place
        Of faces veil’d, and heads discrown’d and bow’d.

        The nation of the awful stars,
        The wandering star whose blaze is brief,
        These make me beat against the bars
        Of my grief;
        My tedious grief, twin to the life it mars.

        O fretted heart toss’d to and fro,
        So fain to flee, so fain to rest!
        All glories that are high or low,
        East or west,
        Grow dim to thee who art so fain to go.

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      From Sunset To Star Rise

        Go from me, summer friends, and tarry not:
        I am no summer friend, but wintry cold,
        A silly sheep benighted from the fold,
        A sluggard with a thorn-choked garden plot.
        Take counsel, sever from my lot your lot,
        Dwell in your pleasant places, hoard your gold;
        Lest you with me should shiver on the wold,
        Athirst and hungering on a barren spot.
        For I have hedged me with a thorny hedge,
        I live alone, I look to die alone:
        Yet sometimes, when a wind sighs through the sedge,
        Ghosts of my buried years, and friends come back,
        My heart goes sighing after swallows flown
        On sometime summer's unreturning track.

      Up

      From The Antique

        It's a weary life, it is, she said:
        Doubly blank in a woman's lot:
        I wish and I wish I were a man:
        Or, better then any being, were not:

        Were nothing at all in all the world,
        Not a body and not a soul:
        Not so much as a grain of dust
        Or a drop of water from pole to pole.

        Still the world would wag on the same,
        Still the seasons go and come:
        Blossoms bloom as in days of old,
        Cherries ripen and wild bees hum.

        None would miss me in all the world,
        How much less would care or weep:
        I should be nothing, while all the rest
        Would wake and weary and fall asleep.

      Up

      Goblin Market

        Morning and evening
        Maids heard the goblins cry:
        "Come buy our orchard fruits,
        Come buy, come buy:
        Apples and quinces,
        Lemons and oranges,
        Plump unpecked cherries-
        Melons and raspberries,
        Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
        Swart-headed mulberries,
        Wild free-born cranberries,
        Crab-apples, dewberries,
        Pine-apples, blackberries,
        Apricots, strawberries--
        All ripe together
        In summer weather--
        Morns that pass by,
        Fair eves that fly;
        Come buy, come buy;
        Our grapes fresh from the vine,
        Pomegranates full and fine,
        Dates and sharp bullaces,
        Rare pears and greengages,
        Damsons and bilberries,
        Taste them and try:
        Currants and gooseberries,
        Bright-fire-like barberries,
        Figs to fill your mouth,
        Citrons from the South,
        Sweet to tongue and sound to eye,
        Come buy, come buy."

        Evening by evening
        Among the brookside rushes,
        Laura bowed her head to hear,
        Lizzie veiled her blushes:
        Crouching close together
        In the cooling weather,
        With clasping arms and cautioning lips,
        With tingling cheeks and finger-tips.
        "Lie close," Laura said,
        Pricking up her golden head:
        We must not look at goblin men,
        We must not buy their fruits:
        Who knows upon what soil they fed
        Their hungry thirsty roots?"
        "Come buy," call the goblins
        Hobbling down the glen.
        "O! cried Lizzie, Laura, Laura,
        You should not peep at goblin men."
        Lizzie covered up her eyes
        Covered close lest they should look;
        Laura reared her glossy head,
        And whispered like the restless brook:
        "Look, Lizzie, look, Lizzie,
        Down the glen tramp little men.
        One hauls a basket,
        One bears a plate,
        One lugs a golden dish
        Of many pounds' weight.
        How fair the vine must grow
        Whose grapes are so luscious;
        How warm the wind must blow
        Through those fruit bushes."
        "No," said Lizzie, "no, no, no;
        Their offers should not charm us,
        Their evil gifts would harm us."
        She thrust a dimpled finger
        In each ear, shut eyes and ran:
        Curious Laura chose to linger
        Wondering at each merchant man.
        One had a cat's face,
        One whisked a tail,
        One tramped at a rat's pace,
        One crawled like a snail,
        One like a wombat prowled obtuse and furry,
        One like a ratel tumbled hurry-scurry.
        Lizzie heard a voice like voice of doves
        Cooing all together:
        They sounded kind and full of loves
        In the pleasant weather.

        Laura stretched her gleaming neck
        Like a rush-imbedded swan,
        Like a lily from the beck,
        Like a moonlit poplar branch,
        Like a vessel at the launch
        When its last restraint is gone.

        Backwards up the mossy glen
        Turned and trooped the goblin men,
        With their shrill repeated cry,
        "Come buy, come buy."
        When they reached where Laura was
        They stood stock still upon the moss,
        Leering at each other,
        Brother with queer brother;
        Signalling each other,
        Brother with sly brother.
        One set his basket down,
        One reared his plate;
        One began to weave a crown
        Of tendrils, leaves, and rough nuts brown
        (Men sell not such in any town);
        One heaved the golden weight
        Of dish and fruit to offer her:
        "Come buy, come buy," was still their cry.
        Laura stared but did not stir,
        Longed but had no money:
        The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste
        In tones as smooth as honey,
        The cat-faced purr'd,
        The rat-paced spoke a word
        Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard;
        One parrot-voiced and jolly
        Cried "Pretty Goblin" still for "Pretty Polly";
        One whistled like a bird.

        But sweet-tooth Laura spoke in haste:
        "Good folk, I have no coin;
        To take were to purloin:
        I have no copper in my purse,
        I have no silver either,
        And all my gold is on the furze
        That shakes in windy weather
        Above the rusty heather."
        "You have much gold upon your head,"
        They answered altogether:
        "Buy from us with a golden curl."
        She clipped a precious golden lock,
        She dropped a tear more rare than pearl,
        Then sucked their fruit globes fair or red:
        Sweeter than honey from the rock,
        Stronger than man-rejoicing wine,
        Clearer than water flowed that juice;
        She never tasted such before,
        How should it cloy with length of use?
        She sucked and sucked and sucked the more
        Fruits which that unknown orchard bore,
        She sucked until her lips were sore;
        Then flung the emptied rinds away,
        But gathered up one kernel stone,
        And knew not was it night or day
        As she turned home alone.

        Lizzie met her at the gate
        Full of wise upbraidings:
        "Dear, you should not stay so late,
        Twilight is not good for maidens;
        Should not loiter in the glen
        In the haunts of goblin men.
        Do you not remember Jeanie,
        How she met them in the moonlight,
        Took their gifts both choice and many,
        Ate their fruits and wore their flowers
        Plucked from bowers
        Where summer ripens at all hours?
        But ever in the moonlight
        She pined and pined away;
        Sought them by night and day,
        Found them no more, but dwindled and grew gray;
        Then fell with the first snow,
        While to this day no grass will grow
        Where she lies low:
        I planted daisies there a year ago
        That never blow.
        You should not loiter so."
        "Nay hush," said Laura.
        "Nay hush, my sister:
        I ate and ate my fill,
        Yet my mouth waters still;
        To-morrow night I will
        Buy more," and kissed her.
        "Have done with sorrow;
        I'll bring you plums to-morrow
        Fresh on their mother twigs,
        Cherries worth getting;
        You cannot think what figs
        My teeth have met in,
        What melons, icy-cold
        Piled on a dish of gold
        Too huge for me to hold,
        What peaches with a velvet nap,
        Pellucid grapes without one seed:
        Odorous indeed must be the mead
        Whereon they grow, and pure the wave they drink,
        With lilies at the brink,
        And sugar-sweet their sap."

        Golden head by golden head,
        Like two pigeons in one nest
        Folded in each other's wings,
        They lay down, in their curtained bed:
        Like two blossoms on one stem,
        Like two flakes of new-fallen snow,
        Like two wands of ivory
        Tipped with gold for awful kings.
        Moon and stars beamed in at them,
        Wind sang to them lullaby,
        Lumbering owls forbore to fly,
        Not a bat flapped to and fro
        Round their rest:
        Cheek to cheek and breast to breast
        Locked together in one nest.

        Early in the morning
        When the first cock crowed his warning,
        Neat like bees, as sweet and busy,
        Laura rose with Lizzie:
        Fetched in honey, milked the cows,
        Aired and set to rights the house,
        Kneaded cakes of whitest wheat,
        Cakes for dainty mouths to eat,
        Next churned butter, whipped up cream,
        Fed their poultry, sat and sewed;
        Talked as modest maidens should
        Lizzie with an open heart,
        Laura in an absent dream,
        One content, one sick in part;
        One warbling for the mere bright day's delight,
        One longing for the night.

        At length slow evening came--
        They went with pitchers to the reedy brook;
        Lizzie most placid in her look,
        Laura most like a leaping flame.
        They drew the gurgling water from its deep
        Lizzie plucked purple and rich golden flags,
        Then turning homeward said: "The sunset flushes
        Those furthest loftiest crags;
        Come, Laura, not another maiden lags,
        No wilful squirrel wags,
        The beasts and birds are fast asleep."
        But Laura loitered still among the rushes
        And said the bank was steep.

        And said the hour was early still,
        The dew not fallen, the wind not chill:
        Listening ever, but not catching
        The customary cry,
        "Come buy, come buy,"
        With its iterated jingle
        Of sugar-baited words:
        Not for all her watching
        Once discerning even one goblin
        Racing, whisking, tumbling, hobbling;
        Let alone the herds
        That used to tramp along the glen,
        In groups or single,
        Of brisk fruit-merchant men.

        Till Lizzie urged, "O Laura, come,
        I hear the fruit-call, but I dare not look:
        You should not loiter longer at this brook:
        Come with me home.
        The stars rise, the moon bends her arc,
        Each glow-worm winks her spark,
        Let us get home before the night grows dark;
        For clouds may gather even
        Though this is summer weather,
        Put out the lights and drench us through;
        Then if we lost our way what should we do?"

        Laura turned cold as stone
        To find her sister heard that cry alone,
        That goblin cry,
        "Come buy our fruits, come buy."
        Must she then buy no more such dainty fruit?
        Must she no more such succous pasture find,
        Gone deaf and blind?
        Her tree of life drooped from the root:
        She said not one word in her heart's sore ache;
        But peering thro' the dimness, naught discerning,
        Trudged home, her pitcher dripping all the way;
        So crept to bed, and lay
        Silent 'til Lizzie slept;
        Then sat up in a passionate yearning,
        And gnashed her teeth for balked desire, and wept
        As if her heart would break.

        Day after day, night after night,
        Laura kept watch in vain,
        In sullen silence of exceeding pain.
        She never caught again the goblin cry:
        "Come buy, come buy,"
        She never spied the goblin men
        Hawking their fruits along the glen:
        But when the noon waxed bright
        Her hair grew thin and gray;
        She dwindled, as the fair full moon doth turn
        To swift decay, and burn
        Her fire away.

        One day remembering her kernel-stone
        She set it by a wall that faced the south;
        Dewed it with tears, hoped for a root,
        Watched for a waxing shoot,
        But there came none;
        It never saw the sun,
        It never felt the trickling moisture run:
        While with sunk eyes and faded mouth
        She dreamed of melons, as a traveller sees
        False waves in desert drouth
        With shade of leaf-crowned trees,
        And burns the thirstier in the sandful breeze.

        She no more swept the house,
        Tended the fowls or cows,
        Fetched honey, kneaded cakes of wheat,
        Brought water from the brook:
        But sat down listless in the chimney-nook
        And would not eat.

        Tender Lizzie could not bear
        To watch her sister's cankerous care,
        Yet not to share.
        She night and morning
        Caught the goblins' cry:
        "Come buy our orchard fruits,
        Come buy, come buy."
        Beside the brook, along the glen
        She heard the tramp of goblin men,
        The voice and stir
        Poor Laura could not hear;
        Longed to buy fruit to comfort her,
        But feared to pay too dear.

        She thought of Jeanie in her grave,
        Who should have been a bride;
        But who for joys brides hope to have
        Fell sick and died
        In her gay prime,
        In earliest winter-time,
        With the first glazing rime,
        With the first snow-fall of crisp winter-time.

        Till Laura, dwindling,
        Seemed knocking at Death's door:
        Then Lizzie weighed no more
        Better and worse,
        But put a silver penny in her purse,
        Kissed Laura, crossed the heath with clumps of furze
        At twilight, halted by the brook,
        And for the first time in her life
        Began to listen and look.

        Laughed every goblin
        When they spied her peeping:
        Came towards her hobbling,
        Flying, running, leaping,
        Puffing and blowing,
        Chuckling, clapping, crowing,
        Clucking and gobbling,
        Mopping and mowing,
        Full of airs and graces,
        Pulling wry faces,
        Demure grimaces,
        Cat-like and rat-like,
        Ratel and wombat-like,
        Snail-paced in a hurry,
        Parrot-voiced and whistler,
        Helter-skelter, hurry-skurry,
        Chattering like magpies,
        Fluttering like pigeons,
        Gliding like fishes, --
        Hugged her and kissed her;
        Squeezed and caressed her;
        Stretched up their dishes,
        Panniers and plates:
        "Look at our apples
        Russet and dun,
        Bob at our cherries
        Bite at our peaches,
        Citrons and dates,
        Grapes for the asking,
        Pears red with basking
        Out in the sun,
        Plums on their twigs;
        Pluck them and suck them,
        Pomegranates, figs."

        "Good folk," said Lizzie,
        Mindful of Jeanie,
        "Give me much and many"; --
        Held out her apron,
        Tossed them her penny.
        "Nay, take a seat with us,
        Honor and eat with us,"
        They answered grinning;
        "Our feast is but beginning.
        Night yet is early,
        Warm and dew-pearly,
        Wakeful and starry:
        Such fruits as these
        No man can carry;
        Half their bloom would fly,
        Half their dew would dry,
        Half their flavor would pass by.
        Sit down and feast with us,
        Be welcome guest with us,
        Cheer you and rest with us."
        "Thank you," said Lizzie; "but one waits
        At home alone for me:
        So, without further parleying,
        If you will not sell me any
        Of your fruits though much and many,
        Give me back my silver penny
        I tossed you for a fee."
        They began to scratch their pates,
        No longer wagging, purring,
        But visibly demurring,
        Grunting and snarling.
        One called her proud,
        Cross-grained, uncivil;
        Their tones waxed loud,
        Their looks were evil.
        Lashing their tails
        They trod and hustled her,
        Elbowed and jostled her,
        Clawed with their nails,
        Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
        Tore her gown and soiled her stocking,
        Twitched her hair out by the roots,
        Stamped upon her tender feet,
        Held her hands and squeezed their fruits
        Against her mouth to make her eat.

        White and golden Lizzie stood,
        Like a lily in a flood,
        Like a rock of blue-veined stone
        Lashed by tides obstreperously, --
        Like a beacon left alone
        In a hoary roaring sea,
        Sending up a golden fire, --
        Like a fruit-crowned orange-tree
        White with blossoms honey-sweet
        Sore beset by wasp and bee, --
        Like a royal virgin town
        Topped with gilded dome and spire
        Close beleaguered by a fleet
        Mad to tear her standard down.

        One may lead a horse to water,
        Twenty cannot make him drink.
        Though the goblins cuffed and caught her,
        Coaxed and fought her,
        Bullied and besought her,
        Scratched her, pinched her black as ink,
        Kicked and knocked her,
        Mauled and mocked her,
        Lizzie uttered not a word;
        Would not open lip from lip
        Lest they should cram a mouthful in;
        But laughed in heart to feel the drip
        Of juice that syruped all her face,
        And lodged in dimples of her chin,
        And streaked her neck which quaked like curd.
        At last the evil people,
        Worn out by her resistance,
        Flung back her penny, kicked their fruit
        Along whichever road they took,
        Not leaving root or stone or shoot.
        Some writhed into the ground,
        Some dived into the brook
        With ring and ripple.
        Some scudded on the gale without a sound,
        Some vanished in the distance.

        In a smart, ache, tingle,
        Lizzie went her way;
        Knew not was it night or day;
        Sprang up the bank, tore through the furze,
        Threaded copse and dingle,
        And heard her penny jingle
        Bouncing in her purse, --
        Its bounce was music to her ear.
        She ran and ran
        As if she feared some goblin man
        Dogged her with gibe or curse
        Or something worse:
        But not one goblin skurried after,
        Nor was she pricked by fear;
        The kind heart made her windy-paced
        That urged her home quite out of breath with haste
        And inward laughter.

        She cried "Laura," up the garden,
        "Did you miss me ?
        Come and kiss me.
        Never mind my bruises,
        Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices
        Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
        Goblin pulp and goblin dew.
        Eat me, drink me, love me;
        Laura, make much of me:
        For your sake I have braved the glen
        And had to do with goblin merchant men."

        Laura started from her chair,
        Flung her arms up in the air,
        Clutched her hair:
        "Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted
        For my sake the fruit forbidden?
        Must your light like mine be hidden,
        Your young life like mine be wasted,
        Undone in mine undoing,
        And ruined in my ruin;
        Thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden?"
        She clung about her sister,
        Kissed and kissed and kissed her:
        Tears once again
        Refreshed her shrunken eyes,
        Dropping like rain
        After long sultry drouth;
        Shaking with aguish fear, and pain,
        She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth.

        Her lips began to scorch,
        That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
        She loathed the feast:
        Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung,
        Rent all her robe, and wrung
        Her hands in lamentable haste,
        And beat her breast.
        Her locks streamed like the torch
        Borne by a racer at full speed,
        Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
        Or like an eagle when she stems the light
        Straight toward the sun,
        Or like a caged thing freed,
        Or like a flying flag when armies run.

        Swift fire spread through her veins, knocked at her heart,
        Met the fire smouldering there
        And overbore its lesser flame,
        She gorged on bitterness without a name:
        Ah! fool, to choose such part
        Of soul-consuming care!
        Sense failed in the mortal strife:
        Like the watch-tower of a town
        Which an earthquake shatters down,
        Like a lightning-stricken mast,
        Like a wind-uprooted tree
        Spun about,
        Like a foam-topped water-spout
        Cast down headlong in the sea,
        She fell at last;
        Pleasure past and anguish past,
        Is it death or is it life ?

        Life out of death.
        That night long Lizzie watched by her,
        Counted her pulse's flagging stir,
        Felt for her breath,
        Held water to her lips, and cooled her face
        With tears and fanning leaves:
        But when the first birds chirped about their eaves,
        And early reapers plodded to the place
        Of golden sheaves,
        And dew-wet grass
        Bowed in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
        And new buds with new day
        Opened of cup-like lilies on the stream,
        Laura awoke as from a dream,
        Laughed in the innocent old way,
        Hugged Lizzie but not twice or thrice;
        Her gleaming locks showed not one thread of gray,
        Her breath was sweet as May,
        And light danced in her eyes.

        Days, weeks, months,years
        Afterwards, when both were wives
        With children of their own;
        Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
        Their lives bound up in tender lives;
        Laura would call the little ones
        And tell them of her early prime,
        Those pleasant days long gone
        Of not-returning time:
        Would talk about the haunted glen,
        The wicked, quaint fruit-merchant men,
        Their fruits like honey to the throat,
        But poison in the blood;
        (Men sell not such in any town;)
        Would tell them how her sister stood
        In deadly peril to do her good,
        And win the fiery antidote:
        Then joining hands to little hands
        Would bid them cling together,
        "For there is no friend like a sister,
        In calm or stormy weather,
        To cheer one on the tedious way,
        To fetch one if one goes astray,
        To lift one if one totters down,
        To strengthen whilst one stands."

      Up

      Holy Innocents

        Sleep, little Baby, sleep,
        The holy Angels love thee,
        And guard thy bed, and keep
        A blessed watch above thee.
        No spirit can come near
        Nor evil beast to harm thee:
        Sleep, Sweet, devoid of fear
        Where nothing need alarm thee.

        The Love which doth not sleep,
        The eternal arms around thee:
        The shepherd of the sheep
        In perfect love has found thee.
        Sleep through the holy night,
        Christ-kept from snare and sorrow,
        Until thou wake to light
        And love and warmth to-morrow.

      Up

      In An Artist's Studio

        One face looks out from all his canvasses,
        One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans;
        We found her hidden just behind those screens,
        That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
        A queenin opal or in ruby dress,
        A nameless girl in freshest summer greens,
        A saint, an angel; -- every canvass means
        The same one meaning, neither more nor less.
        He feeds upon her face by day and night,
        And she with true kind eyes looks back on him
        Fair as the moon and joyfull as the light;
        Not wan with waiting, not with sorrow dim;
        Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
        Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.

      Up

      In Progress

        Ten years ago it seemed impossible
        That she should ever grow so calm as this,
        With self-remembrance in her warmest kiss
        And dim dried eyes like an exhausted well.
        Slow-speaking when she had some fact to tell,
        Silent with long-unbroken silences,
        Centered in self yet not unpleased to please,
        Gravely monotonous like a passing bell.
        Mindful of drudging daily common things,
        Patient at pastime, patient at her work,
        Wearied perhaps but strenuous certainly.
        Sometimes I fancy we may one day see
        Her head shoot forth seven stars from where they lurk
        And her eyes lightnings and her shoulders wings.

      Up

      In The Willow Shade

        I sat beneath a willow tree,
        Where water falls and calls;
        While fancies upon fancies solaced me,
        Some true, and some were false.

        Who set their heart upon a hope
        That never comes to pass,
        Droop in the end like fading heliotrope
        The sun's wan looking-glass.

        Who set their will upon a whim
        Clung to through good and ill,
        Are wrecked alike whether they sink or swim,
        Or hit or miss their will.

        All things are vain that wax and wane,
        For which we waste our breath;
        Love only doth not wane and is not vain,
        Love only outlives death.

        A singing lark rose toward the sky,
        Circling he sang amain;
        He sang, a speck scarce visible sky-high,
        And then he sank again.

        A second like a sunlit spark
        Flashed singing up his track;
        But never overtook that foremost lark,
        And songless fluttered back.

        A hovering melody of birds
        Haunted the air above;
        They clearly sang contentment without words,
        And youth and joy and love.

        O silvery weeping willow tree
        With all leaves shivering,
        Have you no purpose but to shadow me
        Beside this rippled spring?

        On this first fleeting day of Spring,
        For Winter is gone by,
        And every bird on every quivering wing
        Floats in a sunny sky;

        On this first Summer-like soft day,
        While sunshine steeps the air,
        And every cloud has gat itself away,
        And birds sing everywhere.

        Have you no purpose in the world
        But thus to shadow me
        With all your tender drooping twigs unfurled,
        O weeping willow tree?

        With all your tremulous leaves outspread
        Betwixt me and the sun,
        While here I loiter on a mossy bed
        With half my work undone;

        My work undone, that should be done
        At once with all my might;
        For after the long day and lingering sun
        Comes the unworking night.

        This day is lapsing on its way,
        Is lapsing out of sight;
        And after all the chances of the day
        Comes the resourceless night.

        The weeping willow shook its head
        And stretched its shadow long;
        The west grew crimson, the sun smoldered red,
        The birds forbore a song.

        Slow wind sighed through the willow leaves,
        The ripple made a moan,
        The world drooped murmuring like a thing that grieves;
        And then I felt alone.

        I rose to go, and felt the chill,
        And shivered as I went;
        Yet shivering wondered, and I wonder still,
        What more that willow meant;

        That silvery weeping willow tree
        With all leaves shivering,
        Which spent one long day overshadowing me
        Beside a spring in Spring.

      Up

      Is It Well With The Child?

        Safe where I cannot die yet,
        Safe where I hope to lie too,
        Safe from the fume and the fret;
        You, and you,
        Whom I never forget.
        Safe from the frost and the snow,
        Safe from the storm and the sun,
        Safe where the seeds wait to grow
        One by one,
        And to come back in blow.

      Up

      Later Life (Fragment)

        Something this foggy day, a something which
        Is neither of this fog nor of today,
        Has set me dreaming of the winds that play
        Past certain cliffs, along one certain beach,
        And turn the topmost edge of waves to spray:
        Ah pleasant pebbly strand so far away,
        So out of reach while quite within my reach,
        As out of reach as India or Cathay!
        I am sick of where I am and where I am not,
        I am sick of foresight and of memory,
        I am sick of all I have and all I see,
        I am sick of self, and there is nothing new;
        Oh weary impatient patience of my lot!
        Thus with myself: how fares it, Friends, with you?

        VI
        We lack, yet cannot fix upon the lack:
        Not this, nor that; yet somewhat, certainly.
        We see the things we do not yearn to see
        Around us: and what see we glancing back?
        Lost hopes that leave our hearts upon the rack,
        Hopes that were never ours yet seem’d to be,
        For which we steer’d on life’s salt stormy sea
        Braving the sunstroke and the frozen pack.
        If thus to look behind is all in vain,
        And all in vain to look to left or right,
        Why face we not our future once again,
        Launching with hardier hearts across the main,
        Straining dim eyes to catch the invisible sight,
        And strong to bear ourselves in patient pain?

        IX
        Star Sirius and the Pole Star dwell afar
        Beyond the drawings each of other’s strength:
        One blazes through the brief bright summer’s length
        Lavishing life-heat from a flaming car;
        While one unchangeable upon a throne
        Broods o’er the frozen heart of earth alone,
        Content to reign the bright particular star
        Of some who wander or of some who groan.
        They own no drawings each of other’s strength,
        Nor vibrate in a visible sympathy,
        Nor veer along their courses each toward
        Yet are their orbits pitch’d in harmony
        Of one dear heaven, across whose depth and length
        Mayhap they talk together without speech.

      Up

      Marvel Of Marvels

        Marvel of marvels, if I myself shall behold
        With mine own eyes my King in His city of gold;
        Where the least of lambs is spotless white in the fold,
        Where the least and last of saints in spotless white is stoled,
        Where the dimmest head beyond a moon is aureoled.
        O saints, my beloved, now mouldering to mould in the mould,
        Shall I see you lift your heads, see your cerements unroll'd,
        See with these very eyes? who now in darkness and cold
        Tremble for the midnight cry, the rapture, the tale untold,--
        The Bridegroom cometh, cometh, His Bride to enfold!

        Cold it is, my beloved, since your funeral bell was toll'd:
        Cold it is, O my King, how cold alone on the wold!

      Up

      Maude Clare

        Out of the church she followed them
        With a lofty step and mien:
        His bride was like a village maid,
        Maude Clare was like a queen.

        “Son Thomas, ” his lady mother said,
        With smiles, almost with tears:
        “May Nell and you but live as true
        As we have done for years;

        “Your father thirty years ago
        Had just your tale to tell;
        But he was not so pale as you,
        Nor I so pale as Nell.”

        My lord was pale with inward strife,
        And Nell was pale with pride;
        My lord gazed long on pale Maude Clare
        Or ever he kissed the bride.

        “Lo, I have brought my gift, my lord,
        Have brought my gift, ” she said:
        To bless the hearth, to bless the board,
        To bless the marriage-bed.

        “Here’s my half of the golden chain
        You wore about your neck,
        That day we waded ankle-deep
        For lilies in the beck:

        “Here’s my half of the faded leaves
        We plucked from the budding bough,
        With feet amongst the lily leaves, -
        The lilies are budding now.”

        He strove to match her scorn with scorn,
        He faltered in his place:
        “Lady, ” he said, - “Maude Clare, ” he said, -
        “Maude Clare, ” – and hid his face.

        She turn’d to Nell: “My Lady Nell,
        I have a gift for you;
        Though, were it fruit, the blooms were gone,
        Or, were it flowers, the dew.

        “Take my share of a fickle heart,
        Mine of a paltry love:
        Take it or leave it as you will,
        I wash my hands thereof.”

        “And what you leave, ” said Nell, “I’ll take,
        And what you spurn, I’ll wear;
        For he’s my lord for better and worse,
        And him I love Maude Clare.

        “Yea, though you’re taller by the head,
        More wise and much more fair:
        I’ll love him till he loves me best,
        Me best of all Maude Clare.

      Up

      May

        I cannot tell you how it was,
        But this I know: it came to pass
        Upon a bright and sunny day
        When May was young; ah, pleasant May!
        As yet the poppies were not born
        Between the blades of tender corn;
        The last egg had not hatched as yet,
        Nor any bird foregone its mate.

        I cannot tell you what it was,
        But this I know: it did but pass.
        It passed away with sunny May,
        Like all sweet things it passed away,
        And left me old, and cold, and gray.

      Up

      Mirage

        The hope I dreamed of was a dream,
        Was but a dream; and now I wake,
        Exceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,
        For a dream's sake.

        I hang my harp upon a tree,
        A weeping willow in a lake;
        I hang my silent harp there, wrung and snapped
        For a dream's sake.

        Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;
        My silent heart, lie still and break:
        Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed
        For a dream's sake.

      Up

      Monna Innominata: A Sonnet Of Sonnets

        1

        Lo dм che han detto a' dolci amici addio. - Dante
        Amor, con quanto sforzo oggi mi vinci! - Petrarca

        Come back to me, who wait and watch for you:--
        Or come not yet, for it is over then,
        And long it is before you come again,
        So far between my pleasures are and few.
        While, when you come not, what I do I do
        Thinking "Now when he comes," my sweetest when:"
        For one man is my world of all the men
        This wide world holds; O love, my world is you.
        Howbeit, to meet you grows almost a pang
        Because the pang of parting comes so soon;
        My hope hangs waning, waxing, like a moon
        Between the heavenly days on which we meet:
        Ah me, but where are now the songs I sang
        When life was sweet because you call'd them sweet?

        2

        Era giа 1'ora che volge il desio. - Dante
        Ricorro al tempo ch' io vi vidi prima. - Petrarca

        I wish I could remember that first day,
        First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
        If bright or dim the season, it might be
        Summer or winter for aught I can say;
        So unrecorded did it slip away,
        So blind was I to see and to foresee,
        So dull to mark the budding of my tree
        That would not blossom yet for many a May.
        If only I could recollect it, such
        A day of days! I let it come and go
        As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
        It seem'd to mean so little, meant so much;
        If only now I could recall that touch,
        First touch of hand in hand--Did one but know!


        3

        O ombre vane, fuor che ne l'aspetto! - Dante
        Immaginata guida la conduce. - Petrarca

        I dream of you to wake: would that I might
        Dream of you and not wake but slumber on;
        Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone,
        As summer ended summer birds take flight.
        In happy dreams I hold you full in sight,
        I blush again who waking look so wan;
        Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone,
        In happy dreams your smile makes day of night.
        Thus only in a dream we are at one,
        Thus only in a dream we give and take
        The faith that maketh rich who take or give;
        If thus to sleep is sweeter than to wake,
        To die were surely sweeter than to live,
        Though there be nothing new beneath the sun.


        4

        Poca favilla gran fliamma seconda. - Dante
        Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
        E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. - Petrarca

        I lov'd you first: but afterwards your love
        Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
        As drown'd the friendly cooings of my dove.
        Which owes the other most? my love was long,
        And yours one moment seem'd to wax more strong;
        I lov'd and guess'd at you, you construed me--
        And lov'd me for what might or might not be
        Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
        For verily love knows not "mine" or "thine;"
        With separate "I" and "thou" free love has done,
        For one is both and both are one in love:
        Rich love knows nought of "thine that is not mine;"
        Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
        Both of us, of the love which makes us one.


        5

        Amor che a nullo amato amar perdona. - Dante
        Amor m'addusse in sм gioiosa spene. - Petrarca

        O my heart's heart, and you who are to me
        More than myself myself, God be with you,
        Keep you in strong obedience leal and true
        To Him whose noble service setteth free,
        Give you all good we see or can foresee,
        Make your joys many and your sorrows few,
        Bless you in what you bear and what you do,
        Yea, perfect you as He would have you be.
        So much for you; but what for me, dear friend?
        To love you without stint and all I can
        Today, tomorrow, world without an end;
        To love you much and yet to love you more,
        As Jordan at his flood sweeps either shore;
        Since woman is the helpmeet made for man.


        6

        Or puoi la quantitate
        Comprender de l'amor che a te mi scalda. - Dante
        Non vo' che da tal nodo mi scioglia. - Petrarca

        Trust me, I have not earn'd your dear rebuke,
        I love, as you would have me, God the most;
        Would lose not Him, but you, must one be lost,
        Nor with Lot's wife cast back a faithless look
        Unready to forego what I forsook;
        This say I, having counted up the cost,
        This, though I be the feeblest of God's host,
        The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with His crook.
        Yet while I love my God the most, I deem
        That I can never love you overmuch;
        I love Him more, so let me love you too;
        Yea, as I apprehend it, love is such
        I cannot love you if I love not Him,
        I cannot love Him if I love not you.


        7

        Qui primavera sempre ed ogni frutto. - Dante
        Ragionando con meco ed io con lui. - Petrarca

        "Love me, for I love you"--and answer me,
        "Love me, for I love you"--so shall we stand
        As happy equals in the flowering land
        Of love, that knows not a dividing sea.
        Love builds the house on rock and not on sand,
        Love laughs what while the winds rave desperately;
        And who hath found love's citadel unmann'd?
        And who hath held in bonds love's liberty?
        My heart's a coward though my words are brave
        We meet so seldom, yet we surely part
        So often; there's a problem for your art!
        Still I find comfort in his Book, who saith,
        Though jealousy be cruel as the grave,
        And death be strong, yet love is strong as death.


        8

        Come dicesse a Dio: D'altro non calme. - Dante
        Spero trovar pietа non che perdono. - Petrarca

        "I, if I perish, perish"--Esther spake:
        And bride of life or death she made her fair
        In all the lustre of her perfum'd hair
        And smiles that kindle longing but to slake.
        She put on pomp of loveliness, to take
        Her husband through his eyes at unaware;
        She spread abroad her beauty for a snare,
        Harmless as doves and subtle as a snake.
        She trapp'd him with one mesh of silken hair,
        She vanquish'd him by wisdom of her wit,
        And built her people's house that it should stand:--
        If I might take my life so in my hand,
        And for my love to Love put up my prayer,
        And for love's sake by Love be granted it!


        9

        O dignitosa coscienza e netta! - Dante
        Spirto piщ acceso di virtuti ardenti. - Petrarca

        Thinking of you, and all that was, and all
        That might have been and now can never be,
        I feel your honour'd excellence, and see
        Myself unworthy of the happier call:
        For woe is me who walk so apt to fall,
        So apt to shrink afraid, so apt to flee,
        Apt to lie down and die (ah, woe is me!)
        Faithless and hopeless turning to the wall.
        And yet not hopeless quite nor faithless quite,
        Because not loveless; love may toil all night,
        But take at morning; wrestle till the break
        Of day, but then wield power with God and man:--
        So take I heart of grace as best I can,
        Ready to spend and be spent for your sake.


        10

        Con miglior corso e con migliore stella. - Dante
        La vita fugge e non s'arresta un' ora. - Petrarca

        Time flies, hope flags, life plies a wearied wing;
        Death following hard on life gains ground apace;
        Faith runs with each and rears an eager face,
        Outruns the rest, makes light of everything,
        Spurns earth, and still finds breath to pray and sing;
        While love ahead of all uplifts his praise,
        Still asks for grace and still gives thanks for grace,
        Content with all day brings and night will bring.
        Life wanes; and when love folds his wings above
        Tired hope, and less we feel his conscious pulse,
        Let us go fall asleep, dear friend, in peace:
        A little while, and age and sorrow cease;
        A little while, and life reborn annuls
        Loss and decay and death, and all is love.


        11

        Vien dietro a me e lascia dir le genti. - Dante
        Contando i casi della vita nostra. - Petrarca

        Many in aftertimes will say of you
        "He lov'd her"--while of me what will they say?
        Not that I lov'd you more than just in play,
        For fashion's sake as idle women do.
        Even let them prate; who know not what we knew
        Of love and parting in exceeding pain,
        Of parting hopeless here to meet again,
        Hopeless on earth, and heaven is out of view.
        But by my heart of love laid bare to you,
        My love that you can make not void nor vain,
        Love that foregoes you but to claim anew
        Beyond this passage of the gate of death,
        I charge you at the Judgment make it plain
        My love of you was life and not a breath.


        12

        Amor, che ne la mente mi ragiona. - Dante
        Amor vien nel bel viso di costei. - Petrarca

        If there be any one can take my place
        And make you happy whom I grieve to grieve,
        Think not that I can grudge it, but believe
        I do commend you to that nobler grace,
        That readier wit than mine, that sweeter face;
        Yea, since your riches make me rich, conceive
        I too am crown'd, while bridal crowns I weave,
        And thread the bridal dance with jocund pace.
        For if I did not love you, it might be
        That I should grudge you some one dear delight;
        But since the heart is yours that was mine own,
        Your pleasure is my pleasure, right my right,
        Your honourable freedom makes me free,
        And you companion'd I am not alone.


        13

        E drizzeremo gli occhi al Primo Amore. - Dante
        Ma trovo peso non da le mie braccia. - Petrarca

        If I could trust mine own self with your fate,
        Shall I not rather trust it in God's hand?
        Without Whose Will one lily doth not stand,
        Nor sparrow fall at his appointed date;
        Who numbereth the innumerable sand,
        Who weighs the wind and water with a weight,
        To Whom the world is neither small nor great,
        Whose knowledge foreknew every plan we plann'd.
        Searching my heart for all that touches you,
        I find there only love and love's goodwill
        Helpless to help and impotent to do,
        Of understanding dull, of sight most dim;
        And therefore I commend you back to Him
        Whose love your love's capacity can fill.


        14

        E la Sua Volontade и nostra pace. - Dante
        Sol con questi pensier, con altre chiome. - Petrarca

        Youth gone, and beauty gone if ever there
        Dwelt beauty in so poor a face as this;
        Youth gone and beauty, what remains of bliss?
        I will not bind fresh roses in my hair,
        To shame a cheek at best but little fair,--
        Leave youth his roses, who can bear a thorn,--
        I will not seek for blossoms anywhere,
        Except such common flowers as blow with corn.
        Youth gone and beauty gone, what doth remain?
        The longing of a heart pent up forlorn,
        A silent heart whose silence loves and longs;
        The silence of a heart which sang its songs
        While youth and beauty made a summer morn,
        Silence of love that cannot sing again.

      Up

      No, Thank You John

        I never said I loved you, John:
        Why will you tease me day by day,
        And wax a weariness to think upon
        With always "do" and "pray"?

        You Know I never loved you, John;
        No fault of mine made me your toast:
        Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
        As shows an hour-old ghost?

        I dare say Meg or Moll would take
        Pity upon you, if you'd ask:
        And pray don't remain single for my sake
        Who can't perform the task.

        I have no heart?-Perhaps I have not;
        But then you're mad to take offence
        That don't give you what I have not got:
        Use your common sense.

        Let bygones be bygones:
        Don't call me false, who owed not to be true:
        I'd rather answer "No" to fifty Johns
        Than answer "Yes" to you.

        Let's mar our plesant days no more,
        Song-birds of passage, days of youth:
        Catch at today, forget the days before:
        I'll wink at your untruth.

        Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
        No more, no less; and friendship's good:
        Only don't keep in veiw ulterior ends, And points not understood

        In open treaty. Rise above
        Quibbles and shuffling off and on:
        Here's friendship for you if you like; but love,-
        No, thank you, John.

      Up

      Passing Away, Saith The World

        Passing away, saith the World, passing away:
        Chances, beauty and youth, sapp'd day by day:
        Thy life never continueth in one stay.
        Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey
        That hath won neither laurel nor bay?
        I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May:
        Thou, root-stricken, shalt not rebuild thy decay
        On my bosom for aye.
        Then I answer'd: Yea.

        Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away:
        With its burden of fear and hope, of labour and play,
        Hearken what the past doth witness and say:
        Rust in thy gold, a moth is in thine array,
        A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.
        At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day
        Lo, the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay:
        Watch thou and pray.
        Then I answer'd: Yea.

        Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
        Winter passeth after the long delay:
        New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray,
        Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven's May.
        Though I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray.
        Arise, come away, night is past and lo it is day,
        My love, My sister, My spouse, thou shalt hear Me say.
        Then I answer'd: Yea.

      Up

      Promises Like Pie-Crust

        Promise me no promises,
        So will I not promise you:
        Keep we both our liberties,
        Never false and never true:
        Let us hold the die uncast,
        Free to come as free to go:
        For I cannot know your past,
        And of mine what can you know?

        You, so warm, may once have been
        Warmer towards another one:
        I, so cold, may once have seen
        Sunlight, once have felt the sun:
        Who shall show us if it was
        Thus indeed in time of old?
        Fades the image from the glass,
        And the fortune is not told.

        If you promised, you might grieve
        For lost liberty again:
        If I promised, I believe
        I should fret to break the chain.
        Let us be the friends we were,
        Nothing more but nothing less:
        Many thrive on frugal fare
        Who would perish of excess.

      Up

      Remember

        Remember me when I am gone away,
        Gone far away into the silent land;
        When you can no more hold me by the hand,
        Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
        Remember me when no more day by day
        You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
        Only remember me; you understand
        It will be late to counsel then or pray.
        Yet if you should forget me for a while
        And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
        For if the darkness and corruption leave
        A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
        Better by far you should forget and smile
        Than that you should remember and be sad.

      Up

      Rest

        O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;
        Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;
        Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth
        With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.
        She hath no questions, she hath no replies,
        Hush'd in and curtain'd with a blessed dearth
        Of all that irk'd her from the hour of birth;
        With stillness that is almost Paradise.
        Darkness more clear than noonday holdeth her,
        Silence more musical than any song;
        Even her very heart has ceased to stir:
        Until the morning of Eternity
        Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
        And when she wakes she will not think it long.

      Up

      Sappho

        I sigh at day-dawn, and I sigh
        When the dull day is passing by.
        I sigh at evening, and again
        I sigh when night brings sleep to men.
        Oh! it were far better to die
        Than thus forever mourn and sigh,
        And in death's dreamless sleep to be
        Unconscious that none weep for me;
        Eased from my weight of heaviness,
        Forgetful of forgetfulness,
        Resting from care and pain and sorrow
        Thro' the long night that knows no morrow;
        Living unloved, to die unknown,
        Unwept, untended, and alone.

      Up

      Silent Noon

        Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass, -
        The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:
        Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms
        'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
        All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,
        Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge
        Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge.
        'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

        Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
        Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: -
        So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
        Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
        This close-companioned inarticulate hour
        When twofold silence was the song of love.

      Up

      Sleeping At Last

        Sleeping at last, the trouble and tumult over,
        Sleeping at last, the struggle and horror past,
        Cold and white, out of sight of friend and of lover,
        Sleeping at last.

        No more a tired heart downcast or overcast,
        No more pangs that wring or shifting fears that hover,
        Sleeping at last in a dreamless sleep locked fast.

        Fast asleep. Singing birds in their leafy cover
        Cannot wake her, nor shake her the gusty blast.
        Under the purple thyme and the purple clover
        Sleeping at last.

      Up

      Song (She Sat And Sang Alway)

        She sat and sang alway
        By the green margin of a stream,
        Watching the fishes leap and play
        Beneath the glad sunbeam.

        I sat and wept alway
        Beneath the moon's most shadowy beam,
        Watching the blossoms of the May
        Weep leaves into the stream.

        I wept for memory;
        She sang for hope that is so fair:
        My tears were swallowed by the sea;
        Her songs died on the air.

      Up

      Spring Quiet

        Gone were but the Winter,
        Come were but the Spring,
        I would go to a covert
        Where the birds sing;

        Where in the whitethorn
        Singeth a thrush,
        And a robin sings
        In the holly-bush.

        Full of fresh scents
        Are the budding boughs
        Arching high over
        A cool green house:

        Full of sweet scents,
        And whispering air
        Which sayeth softly:
        "We spread no snare;

        "Here dwell in safety,
        Here dwell alone,
        With a clear stream
        And a mossy stone.

        "Here the sun shineth
        Most shadily;
        Here is heard an echo
        Of the far sea,
        Though far off it be."

      Up

      The Convent Threshold

        There's blood between us, love, my love,
        There's father's blood, there's brother's blood,
        And blood's a bar I cannot pass.
        I choose the stairs that mount above,
        Stair after golden sky-ward stair,
        To city and to sea of glass.
        My lily feet are soiled with mud,
        With scarlet mud which tells a tale
        Of hope that was, of guilt that was,
        Of love that shall not yet avail;
        Alas, my heart, if I could bare
        My heart, this selfsame stain is there:
        I seek the sea of glass and fire
        To wash the spot, to burn the snare;
        Lo, stairs are meant to lift us higher--
        Mount with me, mount the kindled stair.

        Your eyes look earthward, mine look up.
        I see the far-off city grand,
        Beyond the hills a watered land,
        Beyond the gulf a gleaming strand
        Of mansions where the righteous sup;
        Who sleep at ease among their trees,
        Or wake to sing a cadenced hymn
        With Cherubim and Seraphim;
        They bore the Cross, they drained the cup,
        Racked, roasted, crushed, wrenched limb from limb,
        They the offscouring of the world.
        The heaven of starry heavens unfurled,
        The sun before their face is dim.
        You looking earthward, what see you?
        Milk-white, wine-flushed among the vines,
        Up and down leaping, to and fro,
        Most glad, most full, made strong with wines,
        Blooming as peaches pearled with dew,
        Their golden windy hair afloat,
        Love-music warbling in their throat,
        Young men and women come and go.

        You linger, yet the time is short:
        Flee for your life, gird up your strength
        To flee; the shadows stretched at length
        Show that day wanes, that night draws nigh;
        Flee to the mountain, tarry not.
        Is this a time for smile and sigh,
        For songs among the secret trees
        Where sudden blue birds nest and sport?
        The time is short and yet you stay:
        To-day, while it is called to-day,
        Kneel, wrestle, knock, do violence, pray;
        To-day is short, to-morrow nigh:
        Why will you die? why will you die?

        You sinned with me a pleasant sin:
        Repent with me, for I repent.
        Woe's me the lore I must unlearn!
        Woe's me that easy way we went,
        So rugged when I would return!
        How long until my sleep begin
        How long shall stretch these nights and days?
        Surely, clean Angels cry, she prays;
        She laves her soul with tedious tears:
        How long must stretch these years and years?

        I turn from you my cheeks and eyes,
        My hair which you shall see no more--
        Alas for joy that went before,
        For joy that dies, for love that dies.
        Only my lips still turn to you,
        My livid lips that cry, Repent.
        O weary life, O weary Lent,
        O weary time whose stars are few.

        How shall I rest in Paradise,
        Or sit on steps of heaven alone
        If Saints and Angels spoke of love
        Should I not answer from my throne:
        Have pity upon me, ye my friends,
        For I have heard the sound thereof:
        Should I not turn with yearning eyes,
        Turn earthwards with a pitiful pang?
        Oh save me from a pang in heaven.
        By all the gifts we took and gave,
        Repent, repent, and be forgiven:
        This life is long, but yet it ends;
        Repent and purge your soul and save:
        No gladder song the morning stars
        Upon their birthday morning sang
        Than Angels sing when one repents.

        I tell you what I dreamed last night:
        A spirit with transfigured face
        Fire-footed clomb an infinite space.
        I heard his hundred pinions clang,
        Heaven-bells rejoicing rang and rang,
        Heaven-air was thrilled with subtle scents,
        Worlds spun upon their rushing cars.
        He mounted, shrieking, "Give me light!"
        Still light was poured on him, more light;
        Angels, Archangels he outstripped,
        Exulting in exceeding might,
        And trod the skirts of Cherubim.
        Still "Give me light," he shrieked; and dipped
        His thirsty face, and drank a sea,
        Athirst with thirst it could not slake.
        I saw him, drunk with knowledge, take
        From aching brows the aureole crown--
        His locks writhe like a cloven snake--
        He left his throne to grovel down
        And lick the dust of Seraphs' feet;
        For what is knowledge duly weighed?
        Knowledge is strong, but love is sweet;
        Yea, all the progress he had made
        Was but to learn that all is small
        Save love, for love is all in all.

        I tell you what I dreamed last night:
        It was not dark, it was not light,
        Cold dews had drenched my plenteous hair
        Through clay; you came to seek me there.
        And "Do you dream of me?" you said.
        My heart was dust that used to leap
        To you; I answered half asleep:
        "My pillow is damp, my sheets are red,
        There's a leaden tester to my bed;
        Find you a warmer playfellow,
        A warmer pillow for your head,
        A kinder love to love than mine."
        You wrung your hands, while I, like lead,
        Crushed downwards through the sodden earth;
        You smote your hands but not in mirth,
        And reeled but were not drunk with wine.

        For all night long I dreamed of you;
        I woke and prayed against my will,
        Then slept to dream of you again.
        At length I rose and knelt and prayed.
        I cannot write the words I said,
        My words were slow, my tears were few;
        But through the dark my silence spoke
        Like thunder. When this morning broke,
        My face was pinched, my hair was grey,
        And frozen blood was on the sill
        Where stifling in my struggle I lay.
        If now you saw me you would say:
        Where is the face I used to love?
        And I would answer: Gone before;
        It tarries veiled in paradise.
        When once the morning star shall rise,
        When earth with shadow flees away
        And we stand safe within the door,
        Then you shall lift the veil thereof.
        Look up, rise up: for far above
        Our palms are grown, our place is set;
        There we shall meet as once we met,
        And love with old familiar love.

      Up

      The First Day

        I wish I could remember the first day,
        First hour, first moment of your meeting me;
        If bright or dim the season, it might be
        Summer or winter for aught I can say.
        So unrecorded did it slip away,
        So blind was I to see and to foresee,
        So dull to mark the budding of my tree
        That would not blossom yet for many a May.
        If only I could recollect it! Such
        A day of days! I let it come and go
        As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow.
        It seemed to mean so little, meant so much!
        If only now I could recall that touch,
        First touch of hand in hand! - Did one but know!

      Up

      The Prince's Progress

        "Too late for love, too late for joy,
        Too late, too late!
        You loitered on the road too long,
        You trifled at the gate:
        The enchanted dove upon her branch
        Died without a mate.
        The enchanted princess in her tower
        Slept, died, behind the grate;
        Her heart was starving all this while
        You made it wait.

        "Ten years ago, five years ago,
        One year ago,
        Even then you had arrived in time,
        Though somewhat slow;
        Then you had known her living face
        Which now you cannot know:
        The frozen fountain would have leaped,
        The buds gone on to blow,
        The warm south wind would have awaked
        To melt the snow.

        "Is she fair now as she lies?
        Once she was fair;
        Meet queen for any kingly king,
        With gold-dust on her hair.
        Now these are poppies in her locks,
        White poppies she must wear;
        Must wear a veil to shroud her face
        And the want graven there:
        Or is the hunger fed at length,
        Cast off the care?

        "We never saw her with a smile
        Or with a frown;
        Her bed seemed never soft to her,
        Though tossed of down;
        She little heeded what she wore,
        Kirtle, or wreath, or gown;
        We think her white brows often ached
        Beneath her crown,
        Till silvery hairs showed in her locks
        That used to be so brown.

        "We never heard her speak in haste;
        Her tones were sweet,
        And modulated just so much
        As it was meet:
        Her heart sat silent through the noise
        And concourse of the street.
        There was no hurry in her hands,
        No hurry in her feet;
        There was no bliss drew nigh to her,
        That she might run to greet.

        "You should have wept her yesterday,
        Wasting upon her bed:
        But wherefore should you weep to-day
        That she is dead?
        Lo we who love weep not to-day,
        But crown her royal head.
        Let be these poppies that we strew,
        Your roses are too red:
        Let be these poppies, not for you
        Cut down and spread."

      Up

      The Thread Of Life

        I
        The irresponsive silence of the land,
        The irresponsive sounding of the sea,
        Speak both one message of one sense to me:--
        Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand
        Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band
        Of inner solitude; we bind not thee;
        But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free?
        What heart shall touch thy heart? what hand thy hand?--
        And I am sometimes proud and sometimes meek,
        And sometimes I remember days of old
        When fellowship seemed not so far to seek
        And all the world and I seemed much less cold,
        And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold,
        And hope felt strong and life itself not weak.

        II
        Thus am I mine own prison. Everything
        Around me free and sunny and at ease:
        Or if in shadow, in a shade of trees
        Which the sun kisses, where the gay birds sing
        And where all winds make various murmuring;
        Where bees are found, with honey for the bees;
        Where sounds are music, and where silences
        Are music of an unlike fashioning.
        Then gaze I at the merrymaking crew,
        And smile a moment and a moment sigh
        Thinking: Why can I not rejoice with you?
        But soon I put the foolish fancy by:
        I am not what I have nor what I do;
        But what I was I am, I am even I.

        III
        Therefore myself is that one only thing
        I hold to use or waste, to keep or give;
        My sole possession every day I live,
        And still mine own despite Time's winnowing.
        Ever mine own, while moons and seasons bring
        From crudeness ripeness mellow and sanitive;
        Ever mine own, till Death shall ply his sieve;
        And still mine own, when saints break grave and sing.
        And this myself as king unto my King
        I give, to Him Who gave Himself for me;
        Who gives Himself to me, and bids me sing
        A sweet new song of His redeemed set free;
        he bids me sing: O death, where is thy sting?
        And sing: O grave, where is thy victory?

      Up

      The Three Enemies

        THE FLESH

        "Sweet, thou art pale."
        "More pale to see,
        Christ hung upon the cruel tree
        And bore His Father's wrath for me."

        "Sweet, thou art sad."
        "Beneath a rod
        More heavy, Christ for my sake trod
        The winepress of the wrath of God."

        "Sweet, thou art weary."
        "Not so Christ:
        Whose mighty love of me suffic'd
        For Strength, Salvation, Eucharist."

        "Sweet, thou art footsore."
        "If I bleed,
        His feet have bled; yea in my need
        His Heart once bled for mine indeed."

        THE WORLD

        "Sweet, thou art young."
        "So He was young
        Who for my sake in silence hung
        Upon the Cross with Passion wrung."

        "Look, thou art fair."
        "He was more fair
        Than men, Who deign'd for me to wear
        A visage marr'd beyond compare."

        "And thou hast riches."
        "Daily bread:
        All else is His: Who, living, dead,
        For me lack'd where to lay His Head."

        "And life is sweet."
        "It was not so
        To Him, Whose Cup did overflow
        With mine unutterable woe."

        THE DEVIL

        "Thou drinkest deep."
        "When Christ would sup
        He drain'd the dregs from out my cup:
        So how should I be lifted up?"

        "Thou shalt win Glory."
        "In the skies,
        Lord Jesus, cover up mine eyes
        Lest they should look on vanities."

        "Thou shalt have Knowledge."
        "Helpless dust!
        In Thee, O Lord, I put my trust:
        Answer Thou for me, Wise and Just."

        "And Might."--
        "Get thee behind me. Lord,
        Who hast redeem'd and not abhorr'd
        My soul, oh keep it by Thy Word."

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      Twice

        I took my heart in my hand
        (O my love, O my love),
        I said: Let me fall or stand,
        Let me live or die,
        But this once hear me speak-
        (O my love, O my love)-
        Yet a woman's words are weak;
        You should speak, not I.

        You took my heart in your hand
        With a friendly smile,
        With a critical eye you scanned,
        Then set it down,
        And said: It is still unripe,
        Better wait a while;
        Wait while the skylarks pipe,
        Till the corn grows brown

        As you set it down it broke-
        Broke, but I did not wince;
        I smiled at the speech you spoke,
        At your judgment that I heard:
        But I have not often smiled
        Since then, nor questioned since,
        Nor cared for corn-flowers wild,
        Nor sung with the singing bird.

        I take my heart in my hand,
        O my God, O my God,
        My broken heart in my hand:
        Thou hast seen, judge Thou
        My hope was written on sand,
        O my God, O my God:
        Now let Thy judgment stand-
        Yea, judge me now

        This contemned of a man,
        This marred one heedless day,
        This heart take Thou to scan
        Both within and without:
        Refine with fire its gold,
        Purge Thou its dross away-
        Yea, hold it in Thy hold,
        Whence none can pluck it out.

        I take my heart in my hand-
        I shall not die, but live-
        Before Thy face I stand;
        I, for Thou callest such:
        All that I have I bring,
        All that I am I give,
        Smile Thou and I shall sing,
        But shall not question much.

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      Uphill

        Does the road wind uphill all the way?
        Yes, to the very end.
        Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
        From morn to night, my friend.

        But is there for the night a resting-place?
        A roof for when the slow, dark hours begin.
        May not the darkness hide it from my face?
        You cannot miss that inn.

        Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
        Those who have gone before.
        Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
        They will not keep you waiting at that door.

        Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
        Of labour you shall find the sum.
        Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
        Yea, beds for all who come.

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      What Would I Give

        What would I give for a heart of flesh to warm me through,
        Instead of this heart of stone ice-cold whatever I do!
        Hard and cold and small, of all hearts the worst of all.

        What would I give for words, if only words would come!
        But now in its misery my spirit has fallen dumb.
        O merry friends, go your own way, I have never a word to say.

        What would I give for tears! Not smiles but scalding tears,
        To wash the black mark clean, and to thaw the frost of years,
        To wash the stain ingrain, and to make me clean again.

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      When I Am Dead, My Dearest

        When I am dead, my dearest,
        Sing no sad songs for me;
        Plant thou no roses at my head,
        Nor shady cypress tree:
        Be the green grass above me
        With showers and dewdrops wet;
        And if thou wilt, remember,
        And if thou wilt, forget.

        I shall not see the shadows,
        I shall not feel the rain;
        I shall not hear the nightingale
        Sing on, as if in pain:
        And dreaming through the twilight
        That doth not rise nor set,
        Haply I may remember,
        And haply may forget.

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      Who Has Seen The Wind?

        Who has seen the wind?
        Neither I nor you.
        But when the leaves hang trembling,
        The wind is passing through.
        Who has seen the wind?
        Neither you nor I.
        But when the trees bow down their heads,
        The wind is passing by.

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      Who Shall Deliver Me?

        God strengthen me to bear myself;
        That heaviest weight of all to bear,
        Inalienable weight of care.

        All others are outside myself;
        I lock my door and bar them out
        The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

        I lock my door upon myself,
        And bar them out; but who shall wall
        Self from myself, most loathed of all?

        If I could once lay down myself,
        And start self-purged upon the race
        That all must run ! Death runs apace.

        If I could set aside myself,
        And start with lightened heart upon
        The road by all men overgone!

        God harden me against myself,
        This coward with pathetic voice
        Who craves for ease and rest and joys

        Myself, arch-traitor to mysel ;
        My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
        My clog whatever road I go.

        Yet One there is can curb myself,
        Can roll the strangling load from me
        Break off the yoke and set me free

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      Winter: My Secret

        I tell my secret? No indeed, not I:
        Perhaps some day, who knows?
        But not today; it froze, and blows, and snows,
        And you're too curious: fie!
        You want to hear it? well:
        Only, my secret's mine, and I won't tell.

        Or, after all, perhaps there's none:
        Suppose there is no secret after all,
        But only just my fun.
        Today's a nipping day, a biting day;
        In which one wants a shawl,
        A veil, a cloak, and other wraps:
        I cannot ope to every one who taps,
        And let the draughts come whistling thro' my hall;
        Come bounding and surrounding me,
        Come buffeting, astounding me,
        Nipping and clipping thro' my wraps and all.
        I wear my mask for warmth: who ever shows
        His nose to Russian snows
        To be pecked at by every wind that blows?
        You would not peck? I thank you for good will,
        Believe, but leave that truth untested still.

        Spring's and expansive time: yet I don't trust
        March with its peck of dust,
        Nor April with its rainbow-crowned brief showers,
        Nor even May, whose flowers
        One frost may wither thro' the sunless hours.
        Perhaps some languid summer day,
        When drowsy birds sing less and less,
        And golden fruit is ripening to excess,
        If there's not too much sun nor too much cloud,
        And the warm wind is neither still nor loud,
        Perhaps my secret I may say,
        Or you may guess.

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