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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 dwell.
The espaliers and the standards all
Are thine; the range of lawn and park: The unnetted blackhearts ripen dark, All thine, against the garden wall.
Yet, though I spared thee all the spring,
A golden bill! the silver tongue,
That made thee famous once, when young:
And in the sultry garden-squares,
Now thy flute-notes are changed to coarse, I hear thee not at all, or hoarse As when a hawker hawks his wares.
Take warning! he that will not sing
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:
He bath no other life above.
He gave me a friend, and a true, true-love,
Old year, you must not go;
So long as you have been with us,
He frothed his bumpers to the brim;
Old year, you shall not die;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
To see him die, across the waste
Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
How hard he breathes! over the snow
The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
Shake hands, before you die.
Old year, we'll dearly rue for you :
His face is growing sharp and thin.
Close up his eyes: tie up
Step from the corpse, and let him in
That standeth there alone,
And waiteth at the door.
There's a new foot on the floor, my friend,
TO J. S.
THE wind, that beats the mountain, blows
And gently comes the world to those
And me this knowledge bolder made,
'Tis 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
This is the curse of time. Alas!
In grief I am not all unlearned;
Once through mine own doors Death did pass; One went, who never hath returned.
He will not smile-not speak to me
Once more. Two years his chair is seen
Empty before us. That was he
Without whose life I had not been.
Your loss is rarer; for this star
Rose with you through a little arc Of heaven, nor having wandered far, Shot on the sudden into dark.
I knew your brother: his mute dust
A man more pure and bold and just
I have not looked upon you nigh,
Since that dear soul hath fallen asleep. Great Nature is more wise than I:
I will not tell you not to weep.
And though my own eyes fill with dew, Drawn from the spirit through the brain,
I will not even preach to you,
Weep, 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.
I will not say
Of Death is blown in every wind;
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