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769                                         The Married Lover

WHY, having won her, do I woo?
  Because her spirit’s vestal grace
Provokes me always to pursue,
  But, spirit-like, eludes embrace;
Because her womanhood is such
  That, as on court-days subjects kiss
The Queen’s hand, yet so near a touch
  Affirms no mean familiarness;
Nay, rather marks more fair the height
  Which can with safety so neglect
To dread, as lower ladies might,
  That grace could meet with disrespect;
Thus she with happy favour feeds
  Allegiance from a love so high
That thence no false conceit proceeds
  Of difference bridged, or state put by;
Because although in act and word
  As lowly as a wife can be,
Her manners, when they call me lord,
  Remind me ’tis by courtesy;
Not with her least consent of will,
  Which would my proud affection hurt,
But by the noble style that still
  Imputes an unattain’d desert;
Because her gay and lofty brows,
  When all is won which hope can ask,
Reflect a light of hopeless snows,
  That bright in virgin ether bask;
Because, though free of the outer court
  I am, this Temple keeps its shrine
Sacred to Heaven; because, in short,
  She’s not and never can be mine.

770                                                Departure

IT was not like your great and gracious ways!
  Do you, that have naught other to lament,
Never, my Love, repent
  Of how, that July afternoon,
You went,
With sudden, unintelligible phrase,
And frighten’d eye,
Upon your journey of so many days
Without a single kiss, or a good-bye?
I knew, indeed, that you were parting soon;
And so we sate, within the low sun’s rays,
You whispering to me, for your voice was weak,
Your harrowing praise.
Well, it was well
To hear you such things speak,
And I could tell
What made your eyes a growing gloom of love,
As a warm South-wind sombres a March grove.
And it was like your great and gracious ways
To turn your talk on daily things, my Dear,
Lifting the luminous, pathetic lash
To let the laughter flash,
Whilst I drew near,
Because you spoke so low that I could scarcely hear,
But all at once to leave me at the last,
More at the wonder than the loss aghast,
With huddled, unintelligible phrase,
And frighten’d eye,
And go your journey of all days
With not one kiss, or a good-bye,
And the only loveless look the look with which you pass’d:
’Twas all unlike your great and gracious ways.

771                                             The Toys

MY little Son, who look’d from thoughtful eyes
&nb dde sp; And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey’d,
  I struck him, and dismiss’d
With hard words and unkiss’d,
—His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darken’d eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a red-vein’d stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach.
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray’d
To God, I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with trancàd breath,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And Thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
Thou’lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
‘I will be sorry for their childishness.’

772                                        Magna est Veritas

HERE, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, glad ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world’s course will not fail;
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.

773                                              A Farewell

WITH all my will, but much against my heart,
We two now part.
My Very Dear,
Our solace is, the sad road lies so clear.
It needs no art,
With faint, averted feet
And many a tear,
In our opposàd paths to persevere.
Go thou to East, I West.
We will not say
There’s any hope, it is so far away
But, O, my Best
When the one darling of our widowhead,
The nursling Grief,
Is dead,
And no dews blur our eyes
  To see the peach-bloom come in evening skies,
Perchance we may,
Where now this night is day,
And even through faith of still averted feet,
Making full circle of our banishment,
Amazàd meet;
The bitter journey to the bourne so sweet
Seasoning the termless feast of our content
With tears of recognition never dry.


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