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O BLACKBIRD! sing me something well :
While all the neighbors shoot thee round,
I keep smooth plats of fruitful ground, Where thou may'st warble, eat, and well.
The espaliers and the standards all
Are thine; the range of lawn and park :
The unnetted black-hearts ripen dark, All thine, against the garden-wall.
Yet tho' I spared thee all the spring,
Thy sole delight is, sitting still,
With that cold dagger of thy bill To fret the summer jenneting.
A golden bill! the silver tongue,
Cold February loved, is dry:
Plenty corrupts the melody That made thee famous once, when young :
And in the sultry garden-squares,
Now thy flute-notes are changed to course,
I hear thee not at all, or hoarse As when a hawker hawks his wares.
Take warning ! he that will not sing
While yon sun prospers in the blue,
Shall sing for want, ere leaves are new, Caught in the frozen palms of Spring,
THE DEATH OF THE OLD YEAR.
Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
Old year, you must not die:
He lieth still: he doth not move :
Old year, you must not go;
He froth'd his bumpers to the brim;
Old year, you shall not die :
He was full of joke and jest,
Every one for his own.
How hard he breathes ! over the snow
Shake hands, before you die.
eyes : tie
His face is growing sharp and thin.
his chin : Step from the corpse, and let him in That standeth there alone,
And waiteth at the door.
TO J. S.
The wind, that beats the mountain. blows
More softly round the open wold, And gently comes the world to those
That are cast in gentle moull.
And me this knowledge bolder maile,
Or else I had not dared to flow
Even with a verse your holy woe.
'T is strange that those we lean on most,
Those in whose laps our limbs are nursed, Fall into shadow, soonest lost :
Those we love first are taken first.
God gives us love. Something to love
He lends us ; but, when love is grown To ripeness, that on which it throve
Falls off, and love is left alone.
This is the curse of time. Alas!
In grief I am not all unlearn'd;
One went, who never hath return'd.
He will not smile not speak to me
Two years his chair is scen Empty before us. That was he
Without whose life I had not been.
Your loss is rarer; for this star
Rose with you thro' a little arc Of heaven, nor having wander'd far
Shot on the sudden into dark.
I knew your brother: his mute dust
I honor and his living worth:
Was never born into the earth.
I have not look'd upon you nigh,
Since that dear soul hath fall’n asleep. Great Nature is more wise than I:
I will not tell you not to weep.
And tho' mine own eyes fill with dew,
Drawn from the spirit thro' the brain, I will not even preach to you,
Weer, weeping dulls the inward pain."
Let Grief be her own mistress still.
She loveth her own anguish deep More than much pleasure. Let her will
Be done to weep or not to weep.
will not say
" God's ordinance Of death is blown in every wind;” For that is not a common chance
That takes away a noble mind.
His memory long will live alone
In all our hearts, as mournful light That broods above the fallen sun,
And dwells in heaven half the night.
Vain solace! Memory standing near
Cast down her eyes, and in her throat Her voice seem'd distant, and a tear
Dropt on the letters as I wrote.
I wrote I know not what. In truth,
How should I soothe you anyway, Who miss the brother of your youth ?
Yet something I did wish to say:
For he too was a friend to me:
Both are my friends, and my true breast Bleedeth for both; yet it may be
That only silence suiteth best.
Words weaker than your grief would make
'Twere better I should cease; Although myself could almost take
The place of him that sleeps in peace.
Sleep sweetly, tender heart, in peace:
Sleep, holy spirit, blessed soul,
And the great ages onward roll.
Sleep till the end, true soul and sweet.
Nothing comes to thee new or strange. Sleep full of rest from head to feet;
Lie still, dry dust, secure of change.
You ask me, why, tho' ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist, And languish for the purple seas ?
It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land, where girt with friends or foes A man may speak the thing he will;