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Plunged on the vessel and swept in a cata- Till I woke from the trance, and the ship ract off from her sides,

stood still, and the skies were blue, And ever the great storm grew with a howl But the face I had known, O mother, was and a hoot of the blast

pot the face that I knew. In the rigging, voices of hell

then came the crash of the mast. • The wages of sin is death, and there I The strange misfeaturing mask that I saw began to weep,

so amazed me that I I am the Jonah, the crew should cast me Stumbled on deck, half mad. I would fling into the deep,

myself over and die : For, ah, God! what a heart was mine to

- be was waving a flag – the one forsake her even for you !

man left on the wreck • Never the heart among women,' he said, • Woman,' – he graspt at my arm, --stay more tender and true.'

there !'- I crouch'd upon deck The heart! not a inother's heart, when I • We are sinking, and yet there's hope: left my darling alone.'

look yonder,' he cried, 'a sail !' 128 Comfort yourself, for the heart of the In a tone so rough that I broke into pasfather will care for his own.'

sionate tears, and the wail • The heart of the father will spurn her,' I Of a beaten babe, till I saw that a boat was cried, ' for the sin of the wife,

nearing us-- then The cloud of the mother's sbame will enfold All on a sudden I thought, I shall look on her and darken her life.'

the child again. Then his pale face twitch’d. 'O Stephen,

I love you, I love you, and yet As I lean'd away from his arms * would They lower'd me down the side, and there God, we had never inet !'

in the boat I lay And he spoke not only the storm; till With sad eyes fixt on the lost sea-home, as after a little, I yearn'd

we glided away, For his voice again, and he callid to me, And I sigh'd as the low dark bull dipt • Kiss me!' and there

- as I

under the smiling main, turn'd

Had I stay'd with him, I bad now - with •The heart, the heart!' I kiss'd him, I him — been out of my pain.'

clung to the sinking form, And the storm went roaring above us, and

XI was out of the storm.

They took us abnard. The crew were gentle,

the captain kind,

But I was the lonely slave of an oftenVIII

wandering mind; And then, then, mother, the ship stagger'd For whenever a rougher gust might tumble under a thunderous shock,

a stormier wave, That shook us asunder, as if she had struck • Stephen,' I moan'd, 'I am coming to and crash'd on a rock;

thee in thine ocean-grave.' For a huge sea smote every soul from the And again, when a balmier breeze curl'd decks of the Falcon but one;

over a peacefuller sea, All of them, all but the man that was I found myself moaning again, 'O child, I lash'd to the helm had gone;

am coming to thee.' And I fell — and the storm and the days went by, but I knew no more —

XII Lost myself — lay like the dead by the The broad white brow of the isle - that dead on the cabin floor,

bay with the color'd sand Dead to the death beside me, and lost to Rich was the rose of sunset there, as we the loss that was mine,

drew to the land; With a dim dream, now and then, of a All so quiet the ripple would hardly blanch

hand giving bread and wine,




into spray





And gone



At the feet of the cliff; and I pray'd- Of land running out into rock — they had My child,'— for I still could pray,

saved many hundreds from wreck – May her life be as blissfully calın, be Glared on our way toward death, I remem. never gloom'd by the curse

ber I thought, as we past, Of a sin, not hers!'

Does it matter how many they saved ? we Was it well with the child ?

are all of us wreck'd at last I wrote to the nurse •Do you fear?' and there came thro' the Who had borne my flower on her hireling roar of the breaker a whisper, a heart; and an answer came

breath, Not from the nurse — nor yet to the wife Fear ? am I not with you? I am frighted - to her maiden name !

at life, not death.' I shook as I open'd the letter - I knew

that hand too wellAnd from it a scrap, clipt out of the And the suns of the limitless universe deaths' in a paper, fell.

sparkled and shone in the sky, • Ten long sweet summer days' of fever, Flashing with fires as of God, but we knew and want of care !

that their light was a lie that day of the storm – 0 Bright as with deathless hope - but, howmother, she came to me there !

ever they sparkled and shone, The dark little worlds running round them

were worlds of woe like our own DESPAIR

No soul in the heaven above, no soul on

the earth below, First printed in . The Nineteenth Century'

A fiery scroll written over with lamentation for November, 1881, with the following pre

and woe. face: “A man and his wife having lost faith in a God, and hope of a life to come, and being utterly miserable in this, resolve to end them

See, we were nursed in the drear nightfold selves by drowning. The woman is drowned,

of your fatalist creed, but the man rescued by a minister of the sect

And we turn’d to the growing dawn, we had he had abandoned.'

hoped for a dawn indeed, When the light of a sun that was coming

would scatter the ghosts of the past, Is it you, that preach'd in the chapel there

And the cramping creeds that had madlooking over the sand ?

den'd the peoples would vanish at Follow'd us too that night, and dogg'd us,

last, and drew me to land ?

And we broke away from the Christ, our

human brother and friend,

For He spoke, or it seem'd that He spoke, What did I feel that night? You are of a hell without help, without end.

curious. How should I tell ? Does it matter so much what I felt? You

V rescued me — yet — was it well Hoped for a dawn, and it came, but the That you came unwish'd for, uncall’d, be

proinise had faded away; tween me and the deep and my We had past from a cheerless night to the doom,

glare of a drearier day; Three days since, three more dark days of He is only a cloud and a smoke who was the Godless gloom

once a pillar of fire, Of a life without sun, without health, with- The guess of a worm in the dust and the out hope, without any delight

shadow of its desire In anything here upon earth ? but, ah, Of a worm as it writhes in a world of the God! that night, that night

weak trodden down by the strong, When the rolling eyes of the lighthouse Of a dying worm in a world, all massacre, there on the fatal neck

murder, and wrong.





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idiot power,




Visions of youth — for my brain was drunk But pity - the Pagan held it a vice

with the water, it seems; in her and in me,

I had past into perfect quiet at length out Helpless, taking the place of the pitying of pleasant dreams, God that should be !

And the transient trouble of drowning – Pity for all that aches in the grasp of an what was it when match'd with the

pains And pity for our own selves on an earth Of the hellish heat of a wretched life rushthat bore not a flower;

ing back thro' the veins ? Pity for all that suffers on land or in air or

the deep, And pity for our own selves till we long'd Why should I live ? one son had forged on for eternal sleep.

his father and fled, And if I believed in a God, I would thank

Him, the other is dead, • Lightly step over the sands! the waters And there was a baby-girl, that had never - you hear them call !

look'd on the light; Life with its anguish, and horrors, and Happiest she of us all, for she past from errors — away with it all !'

the night to the night. And she laid her hand in my own she

was always loyal and sweet Till the points of the foam in the dusk But the crime, if a crime, of her eldestcaine playing about our feet.

born, her glory, her boast, There was a strong sea-current would sweep Struck hard at the tender heart of the us out to the main.

mother, and broke it almost; • Ab, God !' tho' I felt as I spoke I was Tho', glory and shame dying out for ever in taking the name in vain

endless time, • Ah, God !' and we turn'd to each other, Does it matter so much whether crown'd we kiss'd, we embraced, she and I,

for a virtue, or hang'd for a crime ? Knowing the love we were used to believe

everlasting would die. We had read their know-nothing books, and And ruin'd by him, by him, I stood there, we lean'd to the darker side

naked, amazed









In a world of arrogant opulence, fear'd my- And so there were hell for ever! but were self turning crazed,

there a God, as you say, And I would not be mock'd in a mad- His love would have power over hell till it house ! and she, the delicate wife,

utterly vanish'd away. With a grief that could only be cured, if cured, by the surgeon's knife,

Ah, yet - I have had some glimmer, at

times, in my gloomiest woe, Why should we bear with an hour of tor- Of a God behind all — after all — the great ture, a moment of pain,

God, for aught that I know; If every man die for ever, if all his griefs But the God of love and of hell together — are in vain,

they cannot be thought, And the homeless planet at length will be If there be such a God, may the Great God wheeld thro' the silence of space,

curse him and bring him to nought ! Motherless evermore of an ever-vanishing

race, When the worm shall have writhed its last, Blasphemy! whose is the fault? is it and its last brother-worm will have

mine ? for why would you save fled

A madman to vex you with wretched words, From the dead fossil skull that is left in

who is best in his grave ? the rocks of an earth that is dead ? Blasphemy! ay, why not, being damn'd be

yond hope of grace ?

0, would I were yonder with her, and Have I crazed myself over their horrible away from your faith and your face ! infidel writings ? O, yes,

Blasphemy! true! I have scared you pale For these are the new dark ages, you see,

with my scandalous talk, of the popular press,

But the blasphemy to my mind lies all in When the bat comes out of his cave, and

the way that you walk. the owls are whooping at noon, And Doubt is the lord of this dunghill and

crows to the sun and the moon, Hence ! she is gone! can I stay ? can I Till the sun and the moon of our science

breathe divorced from the past ? are both of them turn'd into blood, You needs must have good lynx-eyes if I And Hope will have broken her heart, run

do not escape you at last. ning after a shadow of good;

Our orthodox coroner doubtless will find it For their knowing and know-nothing books a felo-de-se,

are scatter'd from hand to hand And the stake and the cross-road, fool, if We have knelt in your know-all chapel too, you will, does it matter to me?

looking over the sand.




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From wasteful living, follow'd - in his To me, my son, more mystic than myself, hand

Or even than the Nameless is to me. A scroll of verse till that old man before . And when thou sendest thy free soul A cavern whence an affluent fountain

thro’ heaven, pour'd

Nor understandest bound nor boundless. From darkness into daylight, turn’d and

ness, spoke:

Thou seest the Nameless of the hundred

names. • This wealth of waters might but seem . And if the Nameless should withdraw to draw

from all From yon dark cave, but, son, the source is Thy frailty counts most real, all thy world higher,

Might vanish like thy shadow in the dark. Yon summit half - a - league in air - and higher

"" And since - from when this earth began The cloud that hides it — higher still the The Nameless never came hea vens

Among us, never spake with man, Whereby the clond was moulded, and And never named the Name

whereout The cloud descended. Force is from the Thou canst not prove the Nameless, O my heights.

son, I am wearied of our city, son, and go Nor canst thou prove the world thou move To spend my one last year among thə hills.

est in, What hast thou there? Some death-song Thou canst not prove that thou art body for the Ghouls

alone, To make their banquet relish ? let me read. Nor canst thou prove that thou art spirit

alone, 6" How far thro' all the bloom and brake Nor canst thou prove that thou art both in

That nightingale is heard !
What power but the bird's could make Thou canst not prove thou art immortal.
This music
in the bird ?

no, How summer-bright are yonder skies,

Nor yet that thou art mortal – nay, my And earth as fair in hue!

son, And yet what sign of aught that lies

Thou canst not prove that I, who speak Behind the green and blue ? But man to-day is fancy's fool

with thee, As man hath ever been.

Am not thyself in converse with thyself, The nameless Power, or Powers, that rule For nothing worthy proving can be proven, Were never heard or seen.”'

Nor yet disproven.

Wherefore thou be

wise, If thou wouldst hear the Nameless, and Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt, wilt dive

And cling to Faith beyond the forms of Into the temple-cave of thine own self,

Faith! There, brooding by the central altar, thou She reels not in the storm of warring Mayst haply learn the Nameless hath a

words, voice,

She brightens at the clash of “Yes” and By which thou wilt abide, if thou be wise,

No," As if thou knewest, tho' thou canst not She sees the best that glimmers thro' the know;

worst, For Knowledge is the swallow on the lake She feels the sun is hid but for a night, That sees and stirs the surface-shadow there She spies the summer thro' the winter But never yet hath dipt into the abysm, 39 bud, The abysm of all abysms, beneath, within She tastes the fruit before the blossom The blue of sky and sea, the green of earth,

falls, And in the million-millionth of a grain

She hears the lark within the songless egg, Which cleft and cleft again for evermore, She finds the fountain where they wail'd And ever vanishing, never vanishes,

“Mirage !"





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