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HEAP cassia, sandal-buds and stripes
Of labdanum, and aloe-balls,
Smeard with dull nard an Indian wipes
From out her hair: such balsam falls
Down sea-side mountain pedestals,
From tree-tops where tired winds are fain,
Spent with the vast and howling main,
To treasure half their island-gain.
And strew faint sweetness from some old
Egyptians fine worm-eaten shroud
Which breaks to dust when once unrolld;
Or shredded perfume, like a cloud
From closet long to quiet vowd,
With mothd and dropping arras hung,
Mouldering her lute and books among,
As when a queen, long dead, was young.
OVER the sea our galleys went,
With cleaving prows in order brave
To a speeding wind and a bounding wave
A gallant armament:
Each bark built out of a forest-tree
Left leafy and rough as first it grew,
And naild all over the gaping sides,
Within and without, with black bull-hides,
Seethed in fat and suppled in flame,
To bear the playful billows game;
So, each good ship was rude to see,
Rude and bare to the outward view.
But each upbore a stately tent
Where cedar pales in scented row
Kept out the flakes of the dancing brine,
And an awning droopd the mast below,
In fold on fold of the purple fine,
That neither noontide nor star-shine
Nor moonlight cold which maketh mad,
Might pierce the regal tenement.
When the sun dawnd, O, gay and glad
We set the sail and plied the oar;
But when the night-wind blew like breath,
For joy of one days voyage more,
We sang together on the wide sea,
Like men at peace on a peaceful shore;
Each sail was loosed to the wind so free,
Each helm made sure by the twilight star,
And in a sleep as calm as death,
We, the voyagers from afar,
Lay stretchd along, each weary crew
In a circle round its wondrous tent
Whence gleamd soft light and curld rich scent,
And with light and perfume, music too:
So the stars wheeld round, and the darkness past,
And at morn we started beside the mast,
And still each ship was sailing fast!
Now, one morn, land appearda speck
Dim trembling betwixt sea and sky
Avoid it, cried our pilot, check
The shout, restrain the eager eye!
But the heaving sea was black behind
For many a night and many a day,
And land, though but a rock, drew nigh
So we broke the cedar pales away,
Let the purple awning flap in the wind.
And a statue bright was on every deck!
We shouted, every man of us,
And steerd right into the harbour thus,
With pomp and pæan glorious.
A hundred shapes of lucid stone!
All day we built its shrine for each,
A shrine of rock for every one,
Nor paused till in the westering sun
We sat together on the beach
To sing because our task was done;
When lo! what shouts and merry songs!
What laughter all the distance stirs!
A loaded raft with happy throngs
Of gentle islanders!
Our isles are just at hand, they cried,
Like cloudlets faint in even sleeping;
Our temple-gates are opend wide,
Our olive-groves thick shade are keeping
For these majestic formsthey cried.
O, then we awoke with sudden start
From our deep dream, and knew, too late,
How bare the rock, how desolate,
Which had received our precious freight:
Yet we calld outDepart!
Our gifts, once given, must here abide:
Our work is done; we have no heart
To mar our work,we cried.
THUS the Mayne glideth
Where my Love abideth;
Sleeps no softer: it proceeds
On through lawns, on through meads,
On and on, whateer befall,
Meandering and musical,
Though the niggard pasturage
Bears not on its shaven ledge
Aught but weeds and waving grasses
To view the river as it passes,
Save here and there a scanty patch
Of primroses too faint to catch
A weary bee. ... And scarce it pushes
Its gentle way through strangling rushes
Where the glossy kingfisher
Flutters when noon-heats are near,
Glad the shelving banks to shun,
Red and steaming in the sun,
Where the shrew-mouse with pale throat
Burrows, and the speckled stoat;
Where the quick sandpipers flit
In and out the marl and grit
That seems to breed them, brown as they:
Naught disturbs its quiet way,
Save some lazy stork that springs,
Trailing it with legs and wings,
Whom the shy fox from the hill
Rouses, creep he neer so still.
THE years at the spring,
And days at the morn;
Mornings at seven;
The hill-sides dew-pearld;
The larks on the wing;
The snails on the thorn;
Gods in His heaven
Alls right with the world!
THE rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listend with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneeld and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soild gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And calld me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, oer all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved meshe
Too weak, for all her hearts endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-nights gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I lookd up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshippd me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laughd the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untightend next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blushd bright beneath my burning kiss:
I proppd her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scornd at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gaind instead!
Porphyrias love: she guessd not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirrd,
And yet God has not said a word!
Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devils-smithy
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?
He is with her; and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!I am here.
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the Kings.
That in the mortaryou call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,is that poison too?
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filligree-basket!
Soon, at the Kings a mere lozenge to give
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastille, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!
Quickis it finished? The colours too grim!
Why not soft like the phials, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!
What a drop! Shes not little, no minion like me
Thats why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,say, no!
To that pulses magnificent come-and-go.
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall,
Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all!
Not that I bid you spare her the pain!
Let death be felt and the proof remain;
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace
He is sure to remember her dying face!
Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close:
The delicate droplet, my whole fortunes fee
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?
Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know itnext moment I dance at the Kings!
THEREs a woman like a dewdrop, shes so purer than
And her noble hearts the noblest, yes, and her sure faiths
And her eyes are dark and humid, like the depth on depth
Hid i the harebell, while her tresses, sunnier than the wild-
Gush in golden-tinted plenty down her necks rose-misted
Then her voices music... call it the wells bubbling, the
And this woman says, My days were sunless and my nights
Parchd the pleasant April herbage, and the larks hearts out-
If you loved me not! And I who (ah, for words of flame!)
Who am mad to lay my spirit prostrate palpably before her
I may enter at her portal soon, as now her lattice takes me,
And by noontide as by midnight make her mine, as hers she
THE moths kiss, first!
Kiss me as if you made me believe
You were not sure, this eve,
How my face, your flower, had pursed
Its petals up; so, here and there
You brush it, till I grow aware
Who wants me, and wide ope I burst.
The bees kiss, now!
Kiss me as if you enterd gay
My heart at some noonday,
A bud that dares not disallow
The claim, so all is renderd up,
And passively its shatterd cup
Over your head to sleep I bow.
THE gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i the slushy sand.
Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, throits joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!
ROUND the cape of a sudden came the sea,
And the sun lookd over the mountains rim:
And straight was a path of gold for him,
And the need of a world of men for me.
ALLs over, then: does truth sound bitter
As one at first believes?
Hark,tis the sparrows good-night twitter
About your cottage eaves!
And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,
I noticed that, to-day;
One day more bursts them open fully
You know the red turns gray.
To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest?
May I take your hand in mine?
Mere friends are we,well, friends the merest
Keep much that I resign:
For each glance of the eye so bright and black.
Though I keep with hearts endeavour,
Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,
Though it stay in my soul for ever!
Yet I will but say what mere friends say,
Or only a thought stronger;
I will hold your hand but as long as all may,
Or so very little longer!
I SAIDThen, dearest, since tis so,
Since now at length my fate I know,
Since nothing all my love avails,
Since all, my life seemd meant for, fails,
Since this was written and needs must be
My whole heart rises up to bless
Your name in pride and thankfulness!
Take back the hope you gave,I claim
Only a memory of the same,
And this beside, if you will not blame;
Your leave for one more last ride with me.
My mistress bent that brow of hers,
Those deep dark eyes where pride demurs
When pity would be softening through,
Fixd me a breathing-while or two
With life or death in the balance: right!
The blood replenishd me again;
My last thought was at least not vain:
I and my mistress, side by side
Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So, one day more am I deified.
Who knows but the world may end to-night?
Hush! if you saw some western cloud
All billowy-bosomd, over-bowd
By many benedictionssuns
And moons and evening-stars at once
And so, you, looking and loving best,
Conscious grew, your passion drew
Cloud, sunset, moonrise, star-shine too,
Down on you, near and yet more near,
Till flesh must fade for heaven was here!
Thus leant she and lingerdjoy and fear!
Thus lay she a moment on my breast.
Then we began to ride. My soul
Smoothd itself out, a long-crampd scroll
Freshening and fluttering in the wind.
Past hopes already lay behind.
What need to strive with a life awry?
Had I said that, had I done this,
So might I gain, so might I miss.
Might she have loved me? just as well
She might have hated, who can tell!
Where had I been now if the worst befell?
And here we are riding, she and I.
Fail I alone, in words and deeds?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds?
We rode; it seemd my spirit flew,
Saw other regions, cities new,
As the world rushd by on either side.
I thought,All labour, yet no less
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast,
This present of theirs with the hopeful past!
I hoped she would love me; here we ride.
What hand and brain went ever paird?
What heart alike conceived and dared?
What act proved all its thought had been?
What will but felt the fleshly screen?
We ride and I see her bosom heave.
Theres many a crown for who can reach.
Ten lines, a statesmans life in each!
The flag stuck on a heap of bones,
A soldiers doing! what atones?
They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.
My riding is better, by their leave.
What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell
What we felt only; you expressd
You hold things beautiful the best,
And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
Tis something, naytis much: but then,
Have you yourself whats best for men?
Are youpoor, sick, old ere your time
Nearer one whit your own sublime
Than we who never have turnd a rhyme?
Sing, ridings a joy! For me, I ride.
And you, great sculptorso, you gave
A score of years to Art, her slave,
And thats your Venus, whence we turn
To yonder girl that fords the burn!
You acquiesce, and shall I repine?
What, man of music, you grown gray
With notes and nothing else to say,
Is this your sole praise from a friend?
Greatly his operas strains intend,
But in music we know how fashions end!
I gave my youth: but we ride, in fine.
Who knows whats fit for us? Had fate
Proposed bliss here should sublimate
My beinghad I signd the bond
Still one must lead some life beyond,
Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.
This foot once planted on the goal,
This glory-garland round my soul,
Could I descry such? Try and test!
I sink back shuddering from the quest.
Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?
Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.
And yetshe has not spoke so long!
What if heaven be that, fair and strong
At lifes best, with our eyes upturnd
Whither lifes flower is first discernd,
We, fixd so, ever should so abide?
What if we still ride on, we two
With life for ever old yet new,
Changed not in kind but in degree,
The instant made eternity,
And heaven just prove that I and she
Ride, ride together, for ever ride?
WHERE the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles
Miles and miles
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Tinkle homeward thro the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)
Of our countrys very capital, its prince
Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.
Nowthe country does not even boast a tree,
As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires
Up like fires
Oer the hundred-gated circuit of a wall
Made of marble, men might march on nor be prest,
And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
Such a carpet as, this summer-time, oerspreads
Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,
Stock or stone
Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame
Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
Bought and sold.
Now,the single little turret that remains
On the plains,
By the caper overrooted, by the gourd
While the patching houseleeks head of blossom winks
Through the chinks
Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
As they raced,
And the monarch and his minions and his dames
Viewed the games.
And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve
Smiles to leave
To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece
In such peace,
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey
That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
Waits me there
In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
For the goal,
When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb
Till I come.
But he looked upon the city, every side,
Far and wide,
All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades,
All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts,and then.
All the men!
When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
Of my face,
Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
Each on each.
In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,
And they built their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force
Gold, of course.
Oh heart! oh, blood that freezes, blood that burns!
For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,
With their triumphs and their glories and the rest.
Love is best!
THIS is a spray the Bird clung to,
Making it blossom with pleasure,
Ere the high tree-top she sprung to,
Fit for her nest and her treasure.
O, what a hope beyond measure
Was the poor sprays, which the flying feet hung to,
So to be singled out, built in, and sung to!
This is a heart the Queen leant on,
Thrilld in a minute erratic,
Ere the true bosom she bent on,
Meet for loves regal dalmatic.
O, what a fancy ecstatic
Was the poor hearts, ere the wanderer went on
Love to be saved for it, profferd to, spent on!
O TO be in England
Now that Aprils there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomd pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdropsat the bent sprays edge
Thats the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over,
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little childrens dower
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
NOBLY, nobly Cape Saint Vincent to the North-west
Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay;
Bluish mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay;
In the dimmest North-east distance dawnd Gibraltar grand
Here and here did England help me: how can I help Eng-
Whoso turns as I, this evening, turn to God to praise and
While Joves planet rises yonder, silent over Africa.
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