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14

What am I raging alone as my father raged in his mood? Must I too creep to the hollow and dash myself down and die

Rather than hold by the law that I made, nevermore to

brood

On a horror of shatter'd limbs and a wretched swindler's

lie ?

15

Would there be sorrow for me? there was love in the passionate shriek,

Love for the silent thing that had made false haste to the

grave

Wrapt in a cloak, as I saw him, and thought he would rise and speak

And rave at the lie and the liar, ah God, as he used to rave.

16

I am sick of the Hall and the hill, I am sick of the moor and the main.

Why should I stay? can a sweeter chance ever come to me

here?

O, having the nerves of motion as well as the nerves of

pain,

Were it not wise if I fled from the place and the pit and the fear?

17

There are workmen up at the Hall: they are coming back from abroad,

The dark old place will be gilt by the touch of a millionaire : I have heard, I know not whence, of the singular beauty of

Maud;

I play'd with the girl when a child; she promised then to be fair.

18

Maud with her venturous climbings and tumbles and childish

escapes,

Maud the delight of the village, the ringing joy of the Hall, Maud with her sweet purse-mouth when my father dangled the grapes,

Maud the beloved of my mother, the moon-faced darling of all,

19

What is she now? My dreams are bad. She may bring

me a curse.

No, there is fatter game on the moor; she will let me alone. Thanks, for the fiend best knows whether woman or man be the worse.

I will bury myself in my books, and the Devil may pipe to his own.

II

LONG have I sigh'd for a calm: God grant I may find it at last!

It will never be broken by Maud, she has neither savour

nor salt,

But a cold and clear-cut face, as I found when her carriage

past,

Perfectly beautiful: let it be granted her: where is the fault?

All that I saw (for her eyes were downcast, not to be

seen)

Faultily faultless, icily regular, splendidly null,

Dead perfection, no more; nothing more, if it had not

been

For a chance of travel, a paleness, an hour's defect of the

rose,

Or an underlip, you may call it a little too ripe, too full,
Or the least little delicate aquiline curve in a sensitive

nose,

From which I escaped heart-free, with the least little touch of spleen.

III

COLD and clear-cut face, why come you so cruelly meek, Breaking a slumber in which all spleenful folly was drown'd, Pale with the golden beam of an eyelash dead on the cheek, Passionless, pale, cold face, star-sweet on a gloom profound;

Womanlike, taking revenge too deep for a transient wrong Done but in thought to your beauty, and ever as pale as before

Growing and fading and growing upon me without a sound, Luminous, gemlike, ghostlike, deathlike, half the night long Growing and fading and growing, till I could bear it no

more,

But arose, and all by myself in my own dark garden ground,

Listening now to the tide in its broad-flung ship-wrecking

roar,

Now to the scream of a madden'd beach dragg'd down by the wave,

Walk'd in a wintry wind by a ghastly glimmer, and found The shining daffodil dead, and Orion low in his grave.

IV

I

A MILLION emeralds break from the ruby-budded lime
In the little grove where I sit-ah, wherefore cannot I be
Like things of the season gay, like the bountiful season

bland,

When the far-off sail is blown by the breeze of a softer clime,

Half-lost in the liquid azure bloom of a crescent of sea,
The silent sapphire-spangled marriage ring of the land?

2

Below me, there, is the village, and looks how quiet and small!

And yet bubbles o'er like a city, with gossip, scandal, and

spite ;

And Jack on his ale-house bench has as many lies as a

Czar;

And here on the landward side, by a red rock, glimmers the Hall;

And up in the high Hall-garden I see her pass like a light; But sorrow seize me if ever that light be my leading star !

3

When have I bow'd to her father, the wrinkled head of the race?

I met her to-day with her brother, but not to her brother I bow'd;

I bow'd to his lady-sister as she rode by on the moor;
But the fire of a foolish pride flash'd over her beautiful face.
O child, you wrong your beauty, believe it, in being so

proud;

Your father has wealth well-gotten, and I am nameless and

poor.

4

I keep but a man and a maid, ever ready to slander and

steal;

I know it, and smile a hard-set smile, like a stoic, or like
A wiser epicurean, and let the world have its way:

For nature is one with rapine, a harm no preacher can

heal;

The Mayfly is torn by the swallow, the sparrow spear'd by the shrike,

And the whole little wood where I sit is a world of plunder and prey.

5

We are puppets, Man in his pride, and Beauty fair in her

flower;

Do we move ourselves, or are moved by an unseen hand at

a game

That pushes us off from the board, and others ever succeed? Ah yet, we cannot be kind to each other here for an

hour;

We whisper, and hint, and chuckle, and grin at a brother's

shame ;

However we brave it out, we men are a little breed.

6

A monstrous eft was of old the Lord and Master of Earth, For him did his high sun flame, and his river billowing

ran,

And he felt himself in his force to be Nature's crowning

race.

As nine months go to the shaping an infant ripe for his

birth,

So many a million of ages have gone to the making of man : He now is first, but is he the last? is he not too base?

7

The man of science himself is fonder of glory, and vain,
An eye well-practised in nature, a spirit bounded and poor;
The passionate heart of the poet is whirl'd into folly and

vice.

I would not marvel at either, but keep a temperate brain; For not to desire or admire, if a man could learn it, were

more

Than to walk all day like the sultan of old in a garden of

8

For the drift of the Maker is dark, an Isis hid by the veil. Who knows the ways of the world, how God will bring them about?

Our planet is one, the suns are many, the world is wide. Shall I weep if a Poland fall? shall I shriek if a Hungary

fail?

Or an infant civilisation be ruled with rod or with knout?
I have not made the world, and He that made it will guide.

9

Be mine a philosopher's life in the quiet woodland ways, Where if I cannot be gay let a passionless peace be my lot, Far-off from the clamour of liars belied in the hubbub of

lies;

From the long-neck'd geese of the world that are ever hissing dispraise

Because their natures are little, and, whether he heed it or

not,

Where each man walks with his head in a cloud of poisonous flies.

ΙΟ

And most of all would I flee from the cruel madness of

love,

The honey of poison-flowers and all the measureless ill.
Ah Maud, you milkwhite fawn, you are all unmeet for a

wife.

Your mother is mute in her grave as her image in marble

above;

Your father is ever in London, you wander about at your

will;

You have but fed on the roses, and lain in the lilies of life.

V

I

A VOICE by the cedar tree,

In the meadow under the Hall!

She is singing an air that is known to me,
A passionate ballad gallant and gay,
A martial song like a trumpet's call !
Singing alone in the morning of life,
In the happy morning of life and of May,
Singing of men that in battle array,

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