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The traveller hears me now and then,
*s This fellow would make weakuess weak, And melt the waxen hearts of men."
" And all we met was fair and good,
And all was good that Time could bring,
And all the secret of the Spring Moved in the chambers of the blood;
Another answers, “Let him be,
He loves to make parade of pain,
That with his piping he may gain The praise that comes to coustancy."
“And many an old philosophy
On Argive heights divinely sang,
And round us all the thicket rung To many a fute of Arcady.”
A third is wroth, “Is this. an hour
When more and more the people throng The chairs and thrones of civil power ?
"A time to sicken and to ewoon,
When Science reaches forth her arms
To feel from world to world, and charms Her secret from the latest moon!"
As sure and perfect as I say?
The very source and font of Day Is dash'd with wandering isles of night. If all was good and fair we met,
This earth had been the Paradise
It never look'd to human eyes Since Adam left his garden yet. And is it that the haze of grief
Makes former gladuess loom so great ?
The lowness of the present state, That sets the past in this relief? Or that the past will always win
A glory from its being far;
Aud orb into the perfect star
Behold, ye speak an idle thing:
Ye never knew the sacred dust :
I do but sing because I must, And pipe but as the linnets sing:
And one is glad: her vote is gay,
For now her little ones have ranged;
And one is sad: her note is changed, Because her brood is stol'n away.
Which led by tracts that pleased us ell, Thro' four sweet years arose and fell, From flower to flower, from suow to snow
And we with singing cheer'd the way,
And crown'd with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,
Whereou with equal feet we fared ;
And then, as now, the day prepared
As light as carrier-birds in air;
I loved the weight I had to bear,
When mighty Love would cleave in twain
The lading of a single pain, Aud part it, giving half to him.
But where the path we walk'd began
To slant the fifth autumnal slope, As we descended, following Hope, There sat the Shadow fear'd of man;
Tho broke our fair companionship,
And spread his mantle dark and cold,
And wrapt thee formless iu the fold, And dull'd the murmur on thy lip,
XXVI. Still onward winds the dreary way;
I with it: for I long to prove
No lapse of moons can canker Love, Whaterer fickle tongues may say.
And bore thee where I could not see
Nor follow, tho' I walk in haste,
And think that somewhere in the waste The Shadow sits and waits for me.
Or breaking into song by tits,
Alone, alone, to where he sits, The Shadow cloak'd from head to foot,
And if that eye which watches guilt
And goodness, and hath power to see
Within the green the moulder'd tree, And towers fall'ı as soon as built,O, if indeed that eye foresee
Or see (in Him is no before)
In more of life true life no more, And Love the indifference to be,
Who keeps the keys of all the creeds,
I wander, often falling lame,
And looking back to whence I came, Or on to where the pathway leads;
Then might I find, ere yet the morn
Breaks hither over Indian seas,
That Shadow waiting with the keys, To shroud me from my proper scorn.
And crying, “How changed from where it ran Thro' lands where not a leaf was dumb;
But all the lavish hills would hum The murmur of a happy Pan:
XXVII. I ENVY not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage, That never knew the summer woods ;
“When each by turns was guide to each,
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unsetter'd by the sense of crime, To whom a conscience never wakes :
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth,
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth ; Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
T is better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.
We ceased: a gentler feeling crept
Upon us : surely rest is meet:
“They rest,” we said, “their sleep is sweet," And silence follow'd, and we wept. Our voices took a higher range:
Once more we sang: “They do ot die
Nor lose their mortal sympathy, Nor change to us, although they change ; * Rapt from the fickle and the frail
With gather'd power, yet the same,
Perces the keen seraphic Came From orb to orb, from veil to veil.”
XXVIII. Tu6 time draws near the birth of Christ :
The moon is hid; the night is still ;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill Answer each other in the mist.
Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor, Swell out and fail, as if a door Were shut between me and the sound:
Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
Draw forth the cheerful day from nights
O Father, touch the east, and light The light that shone when Hope was borna
Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and good-will, good-will and peace, Peace and good-will, to all mankind.
And home to Mary's house return'd,
Was this demanded,-if he yearn'd To hear her weeping by his grave ?
Which he may read that binds the sheaf,
Or builds the house, or digs the grave, And those wild eyes that watch the wave In roarings round the coral reef.
And tell them all they would have told,
And bring her babe, and make her boast, Till even those that miss'd 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 undiscover'd lands.
xf thi Tøy spirit ere our fatal loss
Did ever rise from high to higher;
As mounts the heavenward altar-tire, As flies the lighter thro' the gross.
How fares it with the happy dead ?
For here the man is more and more;
But he forgets the days before
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense
Gives out at times (he kuows not whence) A little fash, a mystic hint; And in the long harmonious years
(If Death so taste Lethean springs)
May some dim touch of earthly things
O turn thee round, resolve the doubt;
My guardian angel will speak out In that high place, and tell thee all.
XIV The baby new to earth and sky,
What time his tender palm is prest
Against the circle of the breast, Has never thought that “this is I:"
But thou art turn'd to something strange,
And I have lost the links that bound
Thy changes; here upou the ground, No more parta 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 tho' my nature rarely yields
To that vague fear implied in death;
Nor shudders at the gulfs beneath, The howlings from forgotten tields: 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, Tho' following with an upward mind
The wonders that have come to thee,
Thro' all the secular to-be, But evermore a life behind.
But as he grows he gathers much,
And learns the use of “1," and "me,"
And finds “I am not what I see, And other than the things I touch." So rounds he to a separate mind
From whence clear memory may begin,
As thro' the frame that binds him in His isolation grows defined. This use may lie in blood and breath,
Which else were fruitless of their due,
Had man to learn himself anew Beyond the second birth of Death.
Upon the last and sharpest height,
Before the spirits fade away,
Some landing-place to clasp and say, “ Farewell! We lose ourselves in light."
XLVill Ir these brief lays of Sorrow born,
Were taken to be such as closed
Grave doubts and answers here proposed, Then these were such as men might scorn: Her care is not to part and prove ;
She takes, when harsher moods remit,
What slender shade of doubt may flits And makes it vassal unto love : And hence, indeed, she sports with words,
But better serves a wholesome law,
And holds it sin and shame to draw The deepest measure from the chords: Nor dare she trust a larger lay,
But rather loosens from the lip
Short swallow-flights of song, that dip Their wings in tears, and skim away.
XLVL XLIY From art, from nature, from the schools,
Let random influences glance,
Like light in many a shiver'd lance That breaks about the dappled pools: The lightest wave of thought shall lisp,
The fancy's tenderest eddy wreathe,
The slightest air of song shall breathe
But blame not thou the winds that make
Ay me! the sorrow deepens down,
Whose muffled motions blindly drown The bases of my life in tears.
“What keeps a spirit wholly true
To that ideal which he bears?
What record ? not the sinless years That breathed beneath the Syrian blue :
“So fret not, like an idle girl,
That life is dash'd with flecks of sın.
Abide: thy wealth is gather'd in, When Time hath sunder'd shell from pearl,'
A sober man among his boys,
Whose yonth was full of foolish noise, Who wears his manhood hale and green:
And dare we to this fancy give,
That had the wild-oat not been sown,
The soil, left barren, scarce had grown The grain by which a man may live?
O, if we held the doctrine sound
For life outliving heats of youth,
Yet who would preach it as a truth To those that eddy round and round ! Hold thou the good: define it well:
For fear divine Philosophy
Should push beyond her mark, and be Procuress to the Lords of Hell.
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
Is rack'd with pangs that conquer trust:
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life The twilight of eternal day.
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will, Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
Or cast as rubbish to the void, When God hath made the pile complete
That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire Is shrivell'd in a fruitless fire, Or but subserves another's gain.
Should still he near us at our side?
Is there no baseness we would hide ? No inner vileness that we dread ?
Behold we know not anything :
I can but trust that good shall fali
At last-far off—at last, to all, And every winter change to spring. So runs my dream : but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light: And with no language but a cry.
Shall he for whose applause I strove,
I had such reverence for his blame,
See with clear eye some hidden shame, And I be lessen'd in his love?