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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
Has ever truly longed for death.

"'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
The casement, and the light increased
With freshness in the dawning east.

Like softened airs that blowing steal,
When meres begin to uncongeal,
The sweet church bells began to peal.

On to God's house the people prest:
Passing the place where each must rest,
Each entered like a welcome guest.

One walked between his wife and child,
With measured footfall firm and mild,
And now and then he gravely smiled.

The prudent partner of his blood
Leaned on him, faithful, gentle, good,
Wearing the rose of womanhood.

And in their double love secure,
The little maiden walked demure,
Pacing with downward eyelids pure.

These three made unity so sweet,
My frozen heart began to beat,
Remembering its ancient heat.

I blest them, and they wandered on:
I spoke, but answer came there none:
The dull and bitter voice was gone.

A second voice was at mine ear,
A little whisper silver-clear,
A murmur, "Be of better cheer."

As from some blissful neighborhood,
A notice faintly understood,
"I see the end, and know the good.”

A little hint to solace woe,
A hint, a whisper breathing low,
"I may not speak of what I know."

Like an Æolian harp that wakes
No certain air, but overtakes
Far thought with music that it makes:

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
From out my sullen heart a power
Broke, like the rainbow from the shower,

To feel, although no tongue can prove,
That every cloud, that spreads above
And veileth love, itself is love.

And forth into the fields I went,
And Nature's living motion lent
The pulse of hope to discontent.

I wondered at the bounteous hours,
The slow result of winter showers:
You scarce could see the grass for flowers.

I wondered, while I paced along:
The woods were filled so full with song,
There seemed no room for sense of wrong.

So variously seemed all things wrought,
I marvelled how the mind was brought
To anchor by one gloomy thought;

And wherefore rather I made choice
To commune with that barren voice,
Than him that said, "Rejoice! rejoice!"



O, LADY FLORA, let me speak:
A pleasant hour has past away.
While, dreaming on your damask cheek,
The dewy sister-eyelids lay.
As by the lattice you reclined,

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,
And see the vision that I saw,
Then take the broidery-frame, and add
A crimson to the quaint Macaw,
And I will tell it. Turn your face,

Nor look with that too-earnest eyeThe rhymes are dazzled from their place, And ordered words asunder fly.


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
On every slanting terrace-lawn.
The fountain to his place returns

Deep in the garden lake withdrawn.
Here droops the banner on the tower,

On the hall-hearths the festal fires,
The peacock in his laurel bower,
The parrot in his gilded wires.

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
At distance like a little wood;
Thorns, ivies, woodbine, mistletoes,

And grapes with bunches red as blood;
All creeping plants, a wall of green

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,
And newer knowledge, drawing nigh,

Bring truth that sways the soul of men?
Here all things in their place remain,
As all were ordered, ages since.
Come, Care and Pleasure, Hope and Pain,
And bring the fated fairy Prince.

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