« PreviousContinue »
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!
When have I bow'd to her father, the wrinkled head of the race?
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
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.
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
A wiser epicurean, and let the world have its
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.
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
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
A monstrous eft was of old the Lord and Master of
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
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
For not to desire or admire, if a man could learn it,
Than to walk all day like the sultan of old in a garden of spice.
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 civilization be ruled with rod or with knout?
I have not made the world, and He that made it will guide.
Be mine a philosopher's life in the quiet woodland
Where if I cannot be gay let a passionless peace be
Far off from the clamor of liars belied in the hubbub
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
And most of all would I flee from the cruel madness
The honey of poison-flowers and all the measureless
Ah Maud, you milk-white 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.
A VOICE by the cedar tree,
In the meadow under the Hall!
She is singing an air that is known to me,
Maud with her exquisite face,
And wild voice pealing up to the sunny sky,
Silence, beautiful voice!
Be still, for you only trouble the mind
Still! I will hear you no more,
For your sweetness hardly leaves me a choice
MORNING arises stormy and pale,
In fold upon fold of hueless cloud,
I had fancied it would be fair.
Whom but Maud should I meet
And she touch'd my hand with a smile so sweet
For a courtesy not return'd.
And thus a delicate spark
Of glowing and growing light
Thro' the livelong hours of the dark
Kept itself warm in the heart of my dreams,
Ready to burst in a color'd flame;
Till at last when the morning came
In a cloud, it faded, and seems
What if with her sunny hair,
To entangle me when we met
To have her lion roll in a silken net
And fawn at a victor's feet.