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"But thou," said I, "hast missed thy mark, Who sought'st to wreck my mortal ark, By making all the horizon dark.
"Why not set forth, if I should do This rashness, that which might ensue With this old soul in organs new?
"Whatever crazy sorrow saith,
No life that breathes with human breath
"'Tis life, whereof our nerves are scant, O life, not death, for which we pant; More life, and fuller, that I want."
I ceased, and sat as one forlorn. Then said the voice, in quiet scorn, 66 Behold, it is the Sabbath morn."
And I arose, and I released
Like softened airs that blowing steal,
On to God's house the people prest:
One walked between his wife and child,
The prudent partner of his blood
And in their double love secure,
These three made unity so sweet,
I blest them, and they wandered on:
A second voice was at mine ear,
As from some blissful neighborhood,
A little hint to solace woe,
Like an Æolian harp that wakes
Such seemed the whisper at my side: "What is it thou knowest, sweet voice?" I
"A hidden hope," the voice replied:
So heavenly-toned, that in that hour
To feel, although no tongue can prove,
And forth into the fields I went,
I wondered at the bounteous hours,
I wondered, while I paced along:
So variously seemed all things wrought,
And wherefore rather I made choice
O, LADY FLORA, let me speak:
I went through many wayward moods To see you dreaming and, behind,
A summer crisp with shining woods. And I too dreamed, until at last
Across my fancy, brooding warm, The reflex of a legend past,
And loosely settled into form.
And would you have the thought I had,
Nor look with that too-earnest eyeThe rhymes are dazzled from their place, And ordered words asunder fly.
THE SLEEPING PALACE.
The varying year with blade and sheaf Clothes and reclothes the happy plains; Here rests the sap within the leaf,
Here stays the blood along the veins. Faint shadows, vapors lightly curled,
Faint murmurs from the meadows come, Like hints and echoes of the world To spirits folded in the womb.
Soft lustre bathes the range of urns
Deep in the garden lake withdrawn.
On the hall-hearths the festal fires,
Roof-haunting martins warm their eggs:
In these, in those the life is stayed. The mantles from the golden pegs
Droop sleepily: no sound is made, Not even of a gnat that sings.
More like a picture seemeth all Than those old portraits of old kings, That watch the sleepers from the wall.
Here sits the Butler with a flask
Between his knees, half-drained; and there The wrinkled steward at his task, The maid-of-honor blooming fair: The page has caught her hand in his : Her lips are severed as to speak: His own are pouted to a kiss:
The blush is fixed upon her cheek.
Till all the hundred summers pass,
The beams, that through the Oriel shine, Make prisms in every carven glass,
And beaker brimmed with noble wine. Each baron at the banquet sleeps,
Grave faces gathered in a ring. His state the king reposing keeps.
He must have been a jovial king.
All round a hedge upshoots, and shows
And grapes with bunches red as blood;
Close-matted, burr and brake and briar, And glimpsing over these, just seen,
High up, the topmost palace-spire.
When will the hundred summers die,
And thought and time be born again,
Bring truth that sways the soul of men?