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These mortal lullabies of pain
May bind a book, may line a box,
May serve to curl a maiden's locks; Or when a thousand moons shall wane
A man upon a stall may find,
And, passing, turn the page that tells
But what of that? My darken'd ways
To breathe my loss is more than fame, To utter love more sweet than praise.
AGAIN at Christmas did we weave
The holly round the Christmas hearth,
The yule-clog sparkled keen with frost,
As in the winters left behind,
Again our ancient games had place, The mimic picture's breathing grace, And dance and song and hoodman-blind.
Who show'd a token of distress?
No single tear, no type of pain: O sorrow, then can sorrow wane? O grief, can grief be changed to less?
O last regret, regret can die!
No-mixt with all this mystic frame,
"MORE than my brothers are to me"
Let this not vex thee, noble heart! I know thee of what force thou art To hold the costliest love in fee.
But thou and I are one in kind,
As moulded like in nature's mint ; And hill and wood and field did print The same sweet forms in either mind.
For us the same cold streamlet curl'd
Through all his eddying coves; the same All winds that roam the twilight came In whispers of the beauteous world.
At one dear knee we proffer'd vows,
One lesson from one book we learn'd, Ere childhood's flaxen ringlet turn'd To black and brown on kindred brows.
And so my wealth resembles thine,
But he was rich where I was poor, And he supplied my want the more As his unlikeness fitted mine.
If any vague desire should rise,
That holy Death ere Arthur died Had moved me kindly from his side, And dropt the dust on tearless eyes;
Then fancy shapes, as fancy can,
The grief my loss in him had wrought,
I make a picture in the brain;
I hear the sentence that he speaks;
But turns his burthen into gain.
His credit thus shall set me free;
And, influence-rich to soothe and save,
Reach out dead hands to comfort me.
COULD I have said while he was here
My love shall now no further range ; There cannot come a mellower change, For now is love mature in ear."
Love, then, had hope of richer store:
This haunting whisper makes me faint, "More years had made me love thee more."
But Death returns an answer sweet:
"My sudden frost was sudden gain, And gave all ripeness to the grain, It might have drawn from after-heat."
I WAGE not any feud with Death
For changes wrought on form and face; No lower life that earth's embrace May breed with him, can fright my faith.
Eternal process moving on,
From state to state the spirit walks
Or ruin'd chrysalis of one.
Nor blame I Death, because he bare
For this alone on Death I wreak
The wrath that garners in my heart;
DIP down upon the northern shore,
Delaying long, delay no more.
What stays thee from the clouded noons, Thy sweetness from its proper place? Can trouble live with April days,
Or sadness in the summer moons?
Bring orchis, bring the foxglove spire,
O thou, new-year, delaying long,
Delayest the sorrow in my blood, That longs to burst a frozen bud, And flood a fresher throat with song.
WHEN I contemplate all alone,
The life that had been thine below,
I see thee sitting crown'd with good,
In glance and smile, and clasp and kiss, On all the branches of thy blood;
Thy blood, my friend, and partly mine;
When thou should'st link thy life with one Of mine own house, and boys of thine
Had babbled "Uncle" on my knee;
I seem to meet their least desire,
To clap their cheeks, to call them mine.
Beside the never-lighted fire.
I see myself an honour'd guest,
Or deep dispute, and graceful jest:
While now thy prosperous labour fills
With promise of a morn as fair;
And all the train of bounteous hours
To reverence and the silver hair
Till slowly worn her earthly robe,
Her lavish mission richly wrought, Leaving great legacies of thought, Thy spirit should fail from off the globe;
What time mine own might also flee,
As link'd with thine in love and fate, And, hovering o'er the dolorous strait To the other shore, involved in thee,
Arrive at last the blessed goal,
And He that died in Holy Land Would reach us out the shining hand, And take us as a single soul.
What reed was that on which I leant?
THIS truth came borne with bier and pall,
O true in word, and tried in deed,
And whether trust in things above,
Be dimm'd of sorrow, or sustain'd;
My capabilities of love;
Your words have virtue such as draws
A faithful answer from the breast,
And loyal unto kindly laws.
My blood an even tenor kept,
Till on mine ear this message falls,
God's finger touch'd him, and he slept.