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Or from the crevice peer'd about.
Old faces glimmer'd thro' the doors,
Old footsteps trod the upper floors, Old voices called her from without.
She only said, “ My life is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said ;
I would that I were dead !”
The sparrow's chirrup on the roof,
The slow clock ticking, and the sound Which to the wooing wind aloof
The poplar made, did all confound Her sense; but most she loathed the hour
When the thick-moted sunbeam lay
Athwart the chambers, and the day Was sloping toward his western bower.
Then, said she, “I am very dreary
He will not come,” she said ;
Oh God, that I were dead !”
1. CLEAR-HEADED friend, whose joyful scorn, Edged with sharp laughter, cuts atwain
The knots that tangle human creeds, The wounding cords that bind and strain
The heart until it bleeds, Ray-fringed eyelids of the morn
Roof not a glance so keen as thine :
If aught of prophecy be mine,
Low-cowering shall the Sophist sit;
Falsehood shall bare her plaited brow :
Fair-fronted Truth shall droop not now With shrilling shafts of subtle wit. Nor martyr-flames, nor trenchant swords
Can do away that ancient lie;
A gentler death shall Falsehood die, Shot thro' and thro' with cunning words.
3. Weak Truth a-leaning on her crutch,
Wan, wasted Truth in her utmost need, Thy kingly intellect shall feed,
Until she be an athlete bold, And weary with a finger's touch Those writhed limbs of lightning speed;
Like that strange angel which of old, Until the breaking of the light, Wrestled with wandering Israel,
Past Yabbok brook the livelong night, And heaven's mazed signs stood still In the dim tract of Penuel.
Thou art not steep'd in golden languors, No tranced summer calm is thine,
Ever varying Madeline. Thro’ light and shadow thou dust range,
Sudden glances, sweet and strange, Delicious spites and darling angers,
And airy forms of flitting change.
Smiling, frowning, evermore,
Who may know?
Ever varying Madeline.
From one another,
Hues of the silken sheeny woof
All the mystery is thine ;
Ever varying Madeline.
A subtle, sudden flame,
About thee breaks and dances ;
O’erflows thy calmer glances, And o’er black brows drops down A sudden-curved frown: But when I turn away, Thou, willing me to stay, Wooest not, nor vainly wranglest;
But, looking fixedly the while,
In a golden-netted smile ;