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When, like a flower kept too long in the shade,
Ye find my colours fade,
And all that is not love in me decay'd,
Say ye, "We loved her once?"
Will ye, "We loved her once" Say after, when the bearers leave the door? When having murmur'd o'er
My last "Oh say it not," I speak no more?
Not so-not then-least THEN! when life is shriven,
And death's full joy is given,-
Of those who sit and love you up in heaven,
Say not, "We loved them once."
Say never, "We loved once:" God is too near above-the grave below: And all our moments go
Too quickly past our souls for saying so.
The mysteries of life and death avenge Affections light of range
There comes no change to justify that change, Whatever comes-loved once!
And yet that word of "once"
Is humanly acceptive-kings have said, Shaking a discrown'd head, "We ruled once," idiot tongues, "we once bested." Cripples once danced i' the vines, and warriors proved
To nurse's rocking moved: [loved But Love strikes one hour-LOVE! Those never Who dream that they loved once.
"He giveth His beloved sleep."—Psalm cxxvii. 2.
Or all the thoughts of God that are
Borne inward unto souls afar,
Along the Psalmist's music deep-
Now tell me if that any is,
For gift or grace surpassing this-
"He giveth His beloved sleep?" What would we give to our beloved? The hero's heart, to be unmoved
The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweepThe senate's shout to patriot vowsThe monarch's crown, to light the brows?— He giveth His beloved sleep." What do we give to our beloved? A little faith, all undisproved
A little dust, to overweep-
And bitter memories, to make
The whole earth blasted for our sake!
"He giveth His beloved sleep."
"Sleep soft, beloved!" we sometimes say, But have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep : But never doleful dream again Shall break the happy slumber, when "He giveth His beloved sleep."
How beautiful is earth! my starry thoughts
Look down on it from their unearthly sphere,
And sing symphonious-Beautiful is earth!
The lights and shadows of her myriad hills;
The branching greenness of her myriad woods;
Her sky-affecting rocks; her zoning sea;
Her rushing, gleaming cataracts; her streams
That race below, the wingéd clouds on high;
Her pleasantness of vale and meadow ;-
Meseemeth through the leafy trees to ring
A chime of bells to falling waters tuned;
Whereat comes heathen Zephyrus, out of breath
With running up the hills, and shakes his hair
From off his gleesome forehead, bold and glad
With keeping blythe Dan Phoebus company;-
And throws him on the grass, though half-afraid,
First glancing round, lest tempests should be nigh;
And lays close to the ground his ruddy lips,
And shapes their beauty into sound, and calls
On all the petall'd flowers that sit beneath
In hiding-places from the rain and snow,
To loosen the hard soil, and leave their cold,
Sad idlesse, and betake them up to him.
They straightway hear his voice-
A thought did come,
And press from out my soul the heathen dream.
Mine eyes were purged. Straightway did I bind
Round me the garment of my strength, and heard
Nature's death-shrieking-the hereafter cry,
When he o' the lion voice, the rainbow-crown'd,
Shall stand upon the mountains and the sea,
And swear by earth, by heaven's throne, and Him
Who sitteth on the throne, there shall be time
No more, no more! Then, veil'd Eternity
Shall straight unveil her awful countenance
Unto the reeling worlds, and take the place
Of seasons, years, and ages. Aye and aye
Shall be the time of day. The wrinkled heaven
Shall yield her silent sun, made blind and white
With an exterminating light: the wind,
Unchained from the poles, nor having charge
Of cloud or ocean, with a sobbing wail
Shall rush among the stars, and swoon to death.
Yea, the shrunk earth, appearing livid pale
Beneath the red-tongued flame, shall shudder by
From out her ancient place, and leave-a void.
Yet haply by that void the saints redeem'd
May sometimes stray; when memory of sin
Ghost-like shall rise upon their holy souls;
And on their lips shall lie the name of earth
In paleness and in silentness; until,
Each looking on his brother, face to face,
And bursting into sudden happy tears,
(The only tears undried) shall murmur-«Christ!"
"Mr midnight lamp is weary as my soul,And, being unimmortal, has gone out! And now, alone, yon moony lamp of heavenWhich God lit, and not man-illuminates These volumes, others wrote in weariness,As I have read them; and this cheek and brow, Whose paleness, burnéd in with heats of thought, Would make an angel smile, to see how ill Clay, thrust from Paradise, consorts with mindIf angels could, like men, smile bitterly!
"Yet must my brow be paler! I have vow'd To clip it with the crown which cannot fade, When it is faded. Not in vain ye cry, Oh! glorious voices, that survive the tongues From whence was drawn your separate sovereignty, For I would reign beside you! I would melt The golden treasures of my health and life Into that name! My lips are vow'd apart From cheerful words-mine ears from pleasant sounds
Mine eyes from sights God made so beautiful-
My feet from wanderings under shady trees-
My hands from clasping of dear-loving friends-
My very heart from feelings which move soft!
Vow'd am I from the day's delightsomeness,
And dreams of night!—and when the house is dumb
In sleep-which is the pause 'twixt life and life-
I live and waken thus; and pluck away
Slumber's sleek poppies from my painéd lids-
Goading my mind, with thongs wrought by herself,
To toil and struggle along this mountain-path-
Which hath no mountain-airs-until she sweat,
Like Adam's brow,-and gasp, and rend away,
In agony, her garment of the flesh!"
And so, his midnight lamp was lit anew,— And burn'd till morning. But his lamp of life Till morning burn'd not! He was found embraced, Close, cold and stiff, by death's compelling sleep; His breast and brow supported on a page Character'd over with a praise of fame,— Of its divineness and beatitude
Words which had often caused that heart to throb, That cheek to burn; though silent lay they, now,— Without a single beating in the pulse,
And all the fever gone!
I saw a bay
Spring, verdant, from a newly-fashion'd grave:
The grass upon the grave was verdanter,-
That being water'd by the eyes of One
Who bore not to look up toward the tree!
Others look'd on it-some, with passing glance,
Because the light wind stirred in its leaves;
And some, with sudden lighting of the soul,
In admiration's ecstasy!-ay! some
Did wag their heads like oracles, and say,
"'Tis very well!" But none rememberéd
The heart which housed the root-except that One
Whose sight was lost in weeping!
Is it thus,
Ambition!-idol of the intellect?
Shall we drink aconite, alone to use
Thy golden bowl-and sleep ourselves to death,
To dream thy visions about life? Oh, power!
That art a very feebleness!-before
Thy clayey feet we bend our knees of clay,—
And round thy senseless brow bind diadems,
With paralytic hands,-and shout " A god!”
With voices mortal-hoarse! Who can discern
Th' infirmities they share in? Being blind,
We cannot see thy blindness :-being weak,
We cannot feel thy weakness:-being low,
We cannot mete thy baseness:-being unwise,
We cannot understand thine idiocy !
"THERE is no God," the foolish saithBut none, "there is no sorrow :" And nature oft the cry of faith
In bitter need will borrow.
Eyes, which the preacher could not school,
By wayside graves are raised,
And lips say, "God be pitiful,"
That ne'er said, “God be praised.”
Be pitiful, O God!
The tempest shooteth from the steep The shadow of its coming:
The beasts and birds anear us creep,
As power were in the human!
Power!-while above, the mountain's shake,
We spirits tremble under!
The hills have echoes-but we make
No answer to the thunder.
Be pitiful, O God.