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And as I stood there suddenly,

All wan with traversing the night,

Upon the desolate verge of light Yearned loud the iron-bosomed sea.

Even so, where Heaven holds breath and

hears The beating heart of Love's own

breast,Where round the secret of all spheres

All angels lay their wings to rest, How shall my soul stand rapt and awed, When, by the new birth borne abroad

Throughout the music of the suns, It enters in her soul at once And knows the silence there for God ! Here with her face doth memory sit

Meanwhile, and wait the day's decline, Till other eyes shall look from it,

Eyes of the spirit's Palestine, Even than the old gaze tenderer : While hopes and aims long lost with her

Stand round her image side by side,

Like tombs of pilgrims that have died About the Holy Sepulchre. 1847. 1870.


Saddens those hours, as when the Looks upon daylight. And with her I stooped to drink the spring-water, Atbirst where other waters sprang;

And where the echo is, she sang, My soul another echo there. But when that hour my soul won

strength For words whose silence wastes and

kills, Dull raindrops smote us, and at length

Thundered the heat within the hills. That eve I spoke those words again Beside the pelted window-pane;

And there she harkened what I said, With under-glances that surveyed The empty pastures blind with rain. Next day the memories of these things, Like leaves through which a bird has

flown, Still vibrated with Love's warm wings;

Till I must make them all my own And paint this picture. So, 'twixt ease Of talk and sweet long silences, She stood among the plants in bloom

At windows of a summer room, To feign the shadow of the trees. And as I wrought, while all above

And all around was fragrant air, In the sick burthen of my love It seemed each sun-thrilled blossom

there Beat like a heart among the leaves. O heart that never beats nor heaves,

In that one darkness lying still,

What now to thee my love's great will, Or the fine web the sunshine weaves? For now doth daylight disavow

Those days,-nought left to see or hear. Only in solemn whispers now At night-time these things reach mine

When the leaf-shadows at a breath
Shrink in the road, and all the heath,

Forest and water, far and wide,
In limpid starlight glorified,
Lie like the mystery of death.
Last night at last I could have slept,

And yet delayed my sleep till dawn,
Still wandering. Then it was I wept :

For unawares I came upon Those glades where once she walked

with me:

COULD you not drink her gaze like wine?

Yet though its splendor swoon
Into the silence languidly

As a tune into a tune,
Those eyes unravel the coiled night

And know the stars at noon.


The gold that's heaped beside her hand,

In truth rich prize it were ; And rich the dreams that wreathe her

brows With magic stillness there; And he were rich who should unwindd

That woven golden hair. Around her, where she sits, the dance

Now breathes its eager heat; And not more lightly or more true

Fall there the dancers' feet
Than fall her cards on the bright board

As 'twere an heart that beat.
Her fingers let them softly through,

Smooth polished silent things ;
And each one as it falls reflects

In swift light-shadowings, Blood-red and purple, green and blue,

The great eyes of her rings. Whom plays she with? With thee,

who lov'st

Those gems upon her hand ; With me, who search her secret brows;

With all men, bless'd or bann'd. We play together, she and we,

Within a vain strange land:

But for the light that led : and if light is, It is because God said, Let there be light."

1848. 1886.



A land without any order, —

Day eren as night, (one saith,)— Where who lieth down ariseth not

Nor the sleeper awakeneth ; A land of darkness as darkness itself

And of the shadow of death.

What be her cards, you ask? Even

these :The heart, that doth but crave More, having fed ; the diamond,

Skilled to make base seem brave; The club, for smiting in the dark ;

The spade, to dig a grave. And do you ask what game she plays ?

With me 'tis lost or won ;
With thee it is playing still ; with him

It is not well begun;
But 'tis a game she plays with all

Beneath the sway o'the sun.

Not that the earth is changing, O my

God! Nor that the seasons totter in their

walk,Not that the virulent ill of act and talk Seethes ever as a winepress ever trod.Not therefore are we certain that the rod Weighs in thine band to smite thy

world ; though now Beneath thine hand so many nations

bow, So many kings :--not therefore, O my

God!But because Man is parcelled out in men To-day ; because, for any wrongful blow, No man not stricken asks, “I would be

told Why thou dost thus ;” but his heart

whispers then, He is he, I am I.” By this we know. That the earth falls asunder, being old.

1848 or 1849. 1870.

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Thou seest the card that falls, she knows

The card that followeth: Her game in thy tongue is called Life,

As ebbs thy daily breath: When she shall speak, thou'lt learn her

tongue And know she calls it Death. 1870.


(For a Picture)



God said, Let there be light! and there

was light. Then heard we sounds as though the

Earth did sing And the Earth's angel cried upon the

wing: We saw priests fall together and turn

white : And covered in the dust from the sun's

sight, A king was spied, and yet another king. We said: “The round world keeps its

balancing; On this globe, they and we are opposite If it is day with us, with them 't is night. Still, Man, in thy just pride, remember

thuis : Thou baust not made that thy sons'

sons shall ask What the word king may mean in their

day's task,

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An angel-watered lily, that near Goul Grows and is quiet. Till, one dawn at

home She woke in her white bed, and had no

fear At all,-yet wept till sunshine, and felt

awed: Because the fulness of the time was



Secret continuance sublime
Is the sea's end : our sight may pass

No furlong further. Since time was, This sound hath told the lapse of time.

No quiet, which is death's,-it hath

The mournfulness of ancient life,

Enduring always at dull strife. As the world's heart of rest and wrath,

Its painful pulse is in the sands.

Last utterly, the whole sky stands, Gray and not known, along its path.

THESE are the symbols. On that cloth

of red I'the centre is the Tripoint : perfect each, Except the second of its points, to teach That Christ is not yet born. The books

-whose head Is golden Charity, as Paul hath saidThose virtues are wherein the soul is

rich: Therefore on them the lily standeth,

which Is Innocence, being interpreted. The seven-thornd briar and the palm

seven-leaved Are her great sorrow and her great

reward. Until the end be full, the Holy One Abides without. She soon shall have

achieved Her perfect purity : yea, God the Lord Shall soon vouchsafe His Son to be her

Son. 1848, 1850. 1849, 1870.

Listen alone beside the sea,

Listen alone among the woods;

Those voices of twin solitudes Shall have one sound alike to thee : Hark where the murmurs of thronged

men Surge and sink back and surge again,Still the one voice of wave and tree.


Gather a shell from the strown beach

a And listen at its lips : they sigh

The same desire and mystery, The echo of the whole sea's speech.

And all mankind is thus at heart

Not anything but what thou art : And Earth, Sea, Man, are all in each.




She knew it not,-most perfect pain
To learn : this too she knew not. Strife

For me, calı hers, as from the first.

’T was but another bubble burst Upon the curdling draught of life,My silent patience mine again.

(In the Louvre) WATER, for anguish of the solstice :

nay, But dip the vessel, slowly,-nay, but

lean And hark how at its verge the wave

sighs in Reluctant. Hush ! Beyond all depth

away The heat lies silent at the brink of day : Now the hand trails upon the viol-string That sobs, and the brown faces cease to

sing, Sad with the whole of pleasure. Whither

stray Her eyes now, from whose mouth the

slim pipes creep And leave it pouting, while the shadowed

grass Is cool against her naked side ? Let be: Say nothing now unto her lest she weep, Nor name this ever. Be it as it was, Life touching lips with Immortality.


As who, of forms that crowd unknown Within a distant mirror's shade, Deems such an one himself, and

makes Some sign; but when the image

shakes No whit, he finds his thought betray'd, And must seek elsewhere for his own.

1850, 1886.

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THESE little firs to-day are things

To clasp into a giant's cap,

Or fans to suit his lady's lap. From many winters many springs

Shall cherish them in strength and sap,

Till they be marked upon the map, A wood for the wind's wanderings,

('ONSIDER the sea's listless chime:

Time's self it is, made andible,
The murmur of the earth's own shell.

All seed is in the sower's hands :

And what at first was trained to spread Its shelter for some single head,

Yea, even such fellowship of wands,

May hide the sunset, and the shade
Of its great multitude be laid
Upon the earth and elder sands.

November, 1850. 1870.

“But if you have done your work aright,

Sister Helen, You'll let me play, for you said I might." Be very still in your play to-night,

Little brother."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Third night, to-night, between Hell and

Heaven!!) “ You said it must melt ere vesper-bell,

Sister Helen; If now it be molten, all is well." • Even so,-nay, peace! you cannot tell,

Little brother."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, O what is this, between Hell and Hearen ?)

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PENUMBRA I did not look upon her eyes, (Though scarcely seen, with no surprise, 'Mid many eyes a single look,) Because they should not gaze rebuke, At night, from stars in sky and brook. I did not take her by the hand, (Though little was to understand From touch of hand all friends might

take,) Because it should not prove a flake Burnt in my palm to boil and ache. I did not listen to her voice, (Though none had noted, where at choice All might rejoice in listening.) Because no such a thing should cling In the wood's moan at evening. I did not cross her shadow once, (Though from the hollow west the sun's Last shadow runs along so far,) Because in June it should not bar My ways, at noon when fevers are. They told me she was sad that day, (Though wherefore tell what love's sooth

Sooner than they, did register ?)
And my heart leapt and wept to her,
And yet I did not speak nor stir.

“Oh the waxen knave was plump to-day,

Sister Helen ; How like dead folk he has dropped

away!” “ Nay now, of the dead what can you say,

Little brother?"

(O Mother, Mary Mother, What of the dead, between Hell an!

Heaven ?)

“See, see, the sunken pile of wood,

Sister Helen, Shines through the thinned wax red as

blood ! “Nay now, when looked you yet on blood,

Little brother?"

(O Mother, Mary Mother. How pale she is, between Hell and

Heaven!) “Now close your eyes, for they're sick

and sore,

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So shall the tongues of the sea's foam (Though many voices therewith come From drowned hope's home to cry to

me,) Bewail one hour the more, when sea And wind are one with memory. 1870.


Sister Helen, And I'll play without the gallery door." · Aye, let me rest, -I'll lie on the floor,

Little brother."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, What rest to-night, between Hell and

Heaven ?) " Here high up in the balcony,

Sister Helen, The moon flies face to face with me." “ Aye, look and say whatever you see,

Little brother."

(O Mother. Mary Mother, What sight to-night, between Hell and

Heaven ?) “Outside it's merry in the wind's rake.

Sister Helen;

“ Why did you melt your waxen man,

Sister Helen? To-day is the third since you began." " The time was long, yet the time ran,

Little brother."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Three days to-lay, betucen Hell and


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• For bridegroom's side is the bride a thorn,

Little brother?

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Cold bridal cheer, between Hell and

Heaven!) “Three days and nights he has lain abed,

Sister Helen, And he prays in torment to be dead." * The thing may chance, if he have prayed,

Little brother!”

(O Mother, Mary Mother, If he have prayed, between Hell and


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I hear a horse-tread, and I see,

Sister Helen, iree horsemen that ride terribly.” Little brother, whence come the three,

Little brother?"

(O Mother, Mary Mother, hence should they come, between Hell

and Heaven ?) They come by the hill-verge from Boyne Bar,

Sister Helen, nd one draws nigh, but two are afar." Look, look, do you know them who they are,

Little brother?”

(O Mother, Mary Mother, l'ho should they be, between Hell and

Heaven ?) Oh, it's Keith of Eastholm rides so fast,

Sister Helen, For I know the white mane on the blast.” · The hour has come, has come at last,

Little brother!”

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Her hour at last, between Hell and

Heaven!) ** He has made a sign and called Halloo!

Sister Helen,
And he says that he would speak with

Oh tell him I fear the frozen dew,

Little brother."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Why laughs she thus, between "Hell and

Heaven!) * The wind is loud, but I hear him cry.

Sister Helen, That Keith of Ewern's like to die.” * And he and thou, and thou and I,

Little brother.”

(O Mother, Mary Mother, And they and we, between Hell and

Heaven!) "Three days ago, on his marriage-morn,

Sister Helen, He sickened, and lies since then forlorn.”

** But he has not ceased to cry to-day,

Sister Helen, That you should take your curse away." “ My prayer was heard,-he need but pray

Little brother!”

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Shall God not hear, between Hell and

Heaven ?) But he says, till you take back your ban,

Sister Helen, His soul would pass, yet never can. • Nay then, shall I slay a living man,

Little brother?

(O Mother, Mary Mother, A living soul, between Hell and Heaven!) • But he calls for ever on your name,

Sister Helen, And says that he melts before a flame." My heart for his pleasure fared the same,

Little brother."

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Fire at the heart, between Hell and

Heaven!) • Here's Keith of Westholm riding fast,

Sister Helen, For I know the white plume on the

blast." “ The hour, the sweet hour I forecast,

Little brother!”

(O Mother, Mary Mother, Is the hour sweet, between Hell and

Heaven ?) “ He stops to speak, and he stills his horse,

Sister Helen;



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