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"Twere best at once to sink to peace,

Like birds the charming serpent draws,

To drop head-foremost in the jaws Of vacant darkness, and to cease.

XXXV.

YEt if some voice that man could trust

Should murmur from the narrow house : “The cheeks drop in ; the body bows; Man dies: nor is there hope in dust:'

Might I not say? “yet even here,

But for one hour, O Love, I strive

To keep so sweet a thing alive: But I should turn mine ears and hear

The moanings of the homeless sea,

The sound of streams that, swift or slow,

Draw down Æonian hills, and sow The dust of continents to be ;

And Love would answer, with a sigh,

“ The sound of that forgetful shore

Will change my sweetness more and more, Half dead to know that I shall die."

O me! what profits it to put

An idle case ? If Death were seen

At first as Death, Love had not been, Or been in narrowest working shut,

Mere fellowship of sluggish moods,

Or in his coarsest Satyr-shape
Had bruised the herb and crushed the

grape, And basked and battened in the woods.

XXXVI.

THOUGH truths in manhood darkly join,

Deep-seated in our mystic frame,

We yield all blessing to the name Of Him that made them current coin;

For wisdom dealt with mortal powers,

Where Truth in closest words shall fail,

When Truth embodied in a tale Shall enter in at lowly doors.

And so the Word had breath, and wrought

With human bands the creed of creeds

In loveliness of perfect deeds, More strong than all poetic thought;

Which he may read that binds the sheaf,

Or builds the house, or digg the grave,

And those wild eyes that watch the wave In roarings round the coral reef.

XXXVII.

URANIA speaks with darkened brow:

“Thou pratest here where thou art least •

This faith has many a purer priest, And many an abler voice, than thou;

5 Go down beside thy native rill,

On thy Parnassus set thy feet,

And hear thy laurel whisper sweet About the ledges of the hill.”

And my Melpomene replies,

A touch of shame upon her cheek:

“ I am not worthy ev'n to speak Of thy prevailing mysteries ;

a

“ For I am but an earthly Muse,

And owning but a little art

To lull with song an aching heart, And render human love his dues ;

“ But brooding on the dear one dead,

And all he said of things divine,

(And dear to me as sacred wine To dying lips is all he said,)

“I murmured, as I came along,

Of comfort clasped in truth revealed ;

And loitered in the master's field, And darkened sanctities with song."

XXXVIII.

WITH weary steps I loiter on,

Though always under altered skies

The purple from the distance dies, My prospect and horizon gone.

No joy the blowing season gives,

The herald melodies of spring,

But in the songs I love to sing A doubtful gleam of solace lives.

If any care for what is here

Survive in spirits rendered free,

Then are these songs I sing of thee Not all ungrateful to thine ear.

XXXIX.

COULD we forget the widowed hour,

And look on Spirits breathed away,

As on a maiden in the day When first she wears her orange-flower!

When crowned with blessing she doth rise

To take her latest leave of home,

And hopes and light regrets that come
Make April of her tender eyes ;
And doubtful joys the father move,

And tears are on the mother's face,

As parting, with a long embrace,
She enters other realms of love;
Her office there to rear, to teach,

Becoming, as is meet and fit,

A link among the days, to knit The generations each with each ; And, doubtless, unto thee is given

A life that bears immortal fruit

In such great offices as suit The full-grown energies of heaven. Ay me, the difference I discern 1

How often shall her old fireside

Be cheered with tidings of the bride!
How often she herself return,
And tell them all they would have told,

And bring her babe, and make her boast,

Till even those that missed her most Shall count new things as dear as old ! But thou and I have shaken hands,

Till growing winters lay me low;

My paths are in the fields I know, And thine in undiscovered lands.

XL.

The spirit, ere our fatal loss,

Did ever rise from high to higher;

As mounts the heavenward altar-fire, As flies the lighter through the gross.

VOL. IL

3

But thou art turned to something strange,

And I have lost the links that bound

Thy changes; here upon the ground,
No more partaker of thy change.
Deep folly! yet that this could be

That I could wing my will with might

To leap the grades of life and light, And flash at once, my friend, to thee : For though my nature rarely yields

To that vague fear implied in death;

Nor shudders at the gulfs beneath, The howlings from forgotten fields; Yet oft, when sundown skirts the moor,

An inner trouble I behold,

A spectral doubt which makes me cold, That I shall be thy mate no more, 'Though following with an upward mind

The wonders that have come to thee,

Through all the secular to be, But evermore a life behind.

XLI.

| VEX my heart with fancies dim :

He still outstripped me in the race;

It was but unity of place
That made me dream I ranked with hipi.
And so may Place retain us still,

And he the much-beloved again,

A lord of large experience, train To riper growth the mind and will : And what delights can equal those

That stir the spirit's inner deeps,

When one that loves, but knows not, reaps A truth from one that loves and knows ?

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