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Or mocking winds whirl round a chaff
strown floor Thee and thy years and these my words
By flying bair and Auttering hem,-the
beat Following her daily of thy heart and
feet, How passionately and irretrievably, In what fond flight, how many ways
(Lilith) OF Adam's first wife, Lilith, it is told The witch he loved before the gift of
Eve.) That, ere the snake's, her sweet tongue
could deceive, And her enchanted hair was the first
gold. And still she sits, young while the earth
is old, And, subtly of herself contemplative, Draws men to watch the bright web
she can weave, Till heart and body and life are in its
hold. The rose and poppy are her flowers ; for
where Is he not found, O Lilith, whom shed
scent And soft-shed kisses and soft sleep shall
snare? Lo! as that youth's eyes burned at
thine, so went Thy spell through him, and left his
straight neck bent And round his heart one strangling
LXXXII. HOARDED JOY I SAID:
Nay, pluck not, -let the first
fruit be: Even as thou sayest, it is sweet and red, But let it ripen still. The tree's bent
head Sees in the stream its own fecundity And bides the day of fulness. Shall
not we At the sun's hour that day possess the
shade, And claim our fruit before its ripeness
fade, And eat it from the branch and praise
the tree?" I say :
Alas ! our fruit hath wooed the
sun Too long,-'t is fallen and floats adown
the stream. Lo, the last clusters! Pluck them
every one, And let us sup with summer ; ere the
gleam Of autumn set the year's pent sorrow
free, And the woods wail like echoes from
ONCE more the changed year's turning
wheel returns: Aud as a girl sails balanced in the wind, And now before and now again behind Stoops as it swoops, with cheek that
laughs and burns, So Spring comes merry towards me here,
but earns No answering smile from me, whose life
is twind With the dead boughs that winter still
must bind, And whom to-day the Spring no more Behold, this crocus is a withering flame; This snowdrop, snow; this apple-blos
som's part To breed the fruit that breeds the ser
pent's art. Nay, for these Spring-flowers, turn thy
face from them, Nor stay till on the year's last lily-stem The white cup shrivels round the golden
Lo! this is none but I this hour; and lo! This is the very place which to mine
eyes Those mortal hours in vain immortalize, Mid hurrying crowds, with what alone
I know. City, of thine a single simple door, By some new Power reduplicate, must
be Even yet my life-porch in eternity, Even with one presence filled, as once
of yore :
Whom trees that knew your sires shall
cease to know And still stand silent:-is it all a show,A wisp that laughs upon the wall ?-
decree Of some inexorable supremacy Which ever, as man strains his blind
surmise From depth to ominous depth, looks
past his eyes, Sphinx-faced with unabashed augury? Nay, rather question the Earth's self.
Invoke The storm-felled forest-trees moss-grown
to-day Whose roots are hillocks where the
children play ; Or ask the silver sapling 'neath what
yoke Those stars, his spray-crown's clustering
gems, shall wage Their journey still when his boughs
shrink with age.
GET thee behind me. Even as, heavy
curled, Stooping against the wind, a charioteer Is snatched from out his chariot by the
hair, So shall Time be ; and as the void car,
hurled Abroad by reinless steeds, even so the
world : Yea, even as chariot-dust upon the air, It shall be sought and not found any.
where. Get thee behind me, Satan. Oft un
furled, Thy perilous wings can beat and break
like lath Much mightiness of men to win thee
praise. Leave these weak feet to tread in narrow
The lost days of my life until to-day, What were they, could I see them on
the street Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of
wheat Sown once for food but trodden into
clay? Or golden coins squandered and still to Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty
feet? Or such spilt water as in dreams must
cheat The undying throats of Hell, athirst
alway? I do not see them here ; but after death God knows I know the faces I shall see, Each one a murdered self, with low
last breath. “I am thyself, -what hast thou done
to me?" “ And I-and I--thyself," (lo! each one
saith,) " And thou thyself to all eternity!"
THE TREES OF THE GARDEN
Ye who have passed Death's haggard
hills ; and ye
As when two men have loved a woman
well, Each hating each, through Love's and
Since not for either this stark marriage- Ghastly and strange, yet never so is
sheet And the long pauses of this wedding- In thought, but to all fortunate favor
bell ; Yet o'er her grave the night and day As thy love's death-bound features never dispel
dead At last their feud forlorn, with cold and To memory's glass return, but conheat
travene Nor other than dear friends to death Frail fugitive days, and alway keep, I
ween, The two lives left that most of her can Than all new life a livelier lovelihead :tell :
So Life herself, thy spirit's friend and So separate hopes, which in a soul had
Even still as Spring's authentic harThe one same Peace, strove with each
binger other long,
Glows with fresh hours for hope to glorify; And Peace before their faces perished Though pale she lay when in the winter since :
grove So through that soul, in restless brother- Her funeral flowers were snow-flakes hood,
shed on her They roam together now, and wind And the red wings of frost-fire rent the among
LOok in my face; my name is Might
have-been ; GREAT Michelangelo, with age grown I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farebleak
well; And uttermost labors, having once o'er- Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell said
Cast up thy Life's foam-fretted feet beAll grievous memories on his long life
Unto thine eyes the glass where that is This worst regret to one true heart could speak :
Which had Life's form and Love's, but That when, with sorrowing love and re
by my spell verence meek,
Is now a shaken shadow intolerable, He stooped o'er sweet Colonna's dying Of ultimate things unuttered the frail
bed, His Muse and dominant Lady, spirit- Mark me, how still I am! But should wed,
there dart Her hand he kissed, but not her brow or One moment through thy soul the soft cheek.
surprise O Buonarrotti, – good at Art's fire- Of that winged Peace which lulls the wheels
breath of sighs, To urge her chariot !-even thus the Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn Soul,
apart Touching at length some sorely-chast- Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart ened goal,
Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.
XCIX. NEWBORN DEATH-I
TO-DAY Death seems to me an infant What holds for her Death's garner ?
child And for thee?
Which her worn mother Life upon my
Has set to grow my friend and play with As thy friend's face, with shadow of soul o'erspread,
(hath been If haply so my heart might be beguil'd Somewhile' unto thy sight perchance To find no terrors in a face so mild,
LIFE THE BELOVED
If haply so my weary heart might be
depart Still a young child's with mine, or wilt
thou stand Fullgrown the helpful daughter of my
heart, What time with thee indeed I reach the
strand Of the pale wave which knows thee
what thou art, And drink it in the hollow of thy hand ?
Ah! when the wan soul in that golden
air Between the scriptured petals sofily
blown Peers breathless for the gift of grace
unknown, Ah! let none other alien spell soe'er But only the one Hope's one name be
there, -Not less nor more, but even that word alone.
1869, 1870, 1881.1
THE CLOUD CONFINES The day is dark and the night
To him that would search their heart :
No lips of cloud that will part
Only, gazing alone,
Deep under deep unknown
Still we say as we go: –
“Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day."
And thou, O Life, the lady of all bliss, With whom, when our first heart beat
full and fast, I wandered till the haunts of men were
passid, And in fair places found all bowers amiss Till only woods and waves might bear
our kiss, While to the winds all thought of Death
we cast :-Ah, Life! and must I have from thee at
last No smile to greet me and no babe but
this? Lo! Love, the child once ours; and
Song, whose hair Blew like a flame and blossomed like a
wreath; And Art, whose eyes were worlds by
God found fair; These o'er the book of Nature mixed their
breath With neck-twined arms,
oft we watched them there : And did these die that thou mightst
bear me Death?
The Past is over and fled ;
Named new, we name it the old ;
Thereof some tale hath been toll,
Whether at all they be,
Or whether they too were we,
Still we say as we go,
“Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day." What of the heart of hate
That beats in thy breast, O Time?
Red strife from the furthest prime, And anguish of fierce debate;
War that shatters her slain,
And eyes fixed ever in vain
Still we say as we go,
WHEN vain desire at last and vain re
gret Go hand in hand to death, and all is
vain, What shall assuage the unforgotten pain And teach the unforgetful to forget ? Shall Peace be still a sunk stream long
unmet,Or may the soul at once in a green plain Stoop through the spray of some sweet
life-fountain And cul the dew-drenched flowering
** Strange to think by the way, 1 Sixteen Sonnets, Numbers 25, 39, 47, 49-52, 53, 65, 67, 86, 91, 97, 99, and 100, were published in the Fortnightly Revieu', 1869. Fifty Sonnets for the exact list see W. M. Rossetti's edition of the Collected Works, I, 517) were published, with eleven lyrics, as “ Sonnets and songs towards & work to be entitled The House of Life," in the Poems. 1870. The House of Life, as it now stands cinsisting of sonnets only, was published in Bulluds and Sonnets, 1881,
Thin are the night-skirts left behind
By day break hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas ! the shred of sleep That wavers with the spirit's wind : But in half-dreams that shift and roll
And still remember and forget, My soul this hour has drawn your soul
A little nearer yet.
Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day.” hat of the heart of love That bleeds in thy breast, O Man? Thiy kisses snatched 'neath the ban
fangs that mock them above: Thy bells prolonged unto knells, Thy hope that a breath dispels, Thy bitter forlorn farewells nd the empty echoes thereof ? Still we say as we go:
"Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know,
That shall we know one day.” he sky leans dumb on the sea, A weary with all its wings ; And oh! the song the sea sings ; dark everlastingly. Our past is clean forgot, Our present is and is not, Our future's a sealed seedplot, und what betwixt them are we? We who say as we go.-
* Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know, That shall we know one day.".
Our lives, most dear, are never near,
Our thoughts are never far apart,
Though all that draws us heart to heart Seems fainter now and now niore clear. To-night Love claims his full control,
And with desire and with regret My soul this hour has drawn your soul
A little nearer yet.
Is there a home where heavy earth Melts to bright air that breathes no
pain, Where water leaves no thirst again And springing fire is Love's new birth? If faith long bound to one true goal
May there at length its hope beget, My soul that hour shall draw your soul
For ever nearer yet. 1881.
In the shadow of your hair,
In the shadow of the wood ; And I said, “My faint heart sighs,
Ah me! to linger there, To drink deep and to dream
In that sweet solitude."
Honev-flowers to the honey-comb And the boney-bees from home.
A honey-comb and a honey-flower, And the bee shall have his hour.
A honeyed heart for the honey-comb, And the humming bee flies home.
A heavy heart in the honey-flower, And the bee has had his hour.
I looked and saw your heart
In the shadow of your eyes, As a seeker sees the gold
In the shadow of the stream; And I said, “ Ah me? what art
Should win the immortal prize, Whose want must make life cold
And Heaven a hollow dream?" I looked and saw your love
In the shadow of your heart, As a diver sees the pearl
In the shadow of the sea ; And I murmured, not above
My breath, but all a part, “Ah! you can love, true girl, And is your love for me?"
A honey-cell's in the honeysuckle, And the honey-bee knows it well.
The honey-comb has a heart of honey, And the humming bee 's so bonny.
A honey-flower 's the honeysuckle, And the bee 's in the honey-bell.
The honeysuckle is sucked of honey, And the bee is heavy and bonny,