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882                                          Blue and White

BLUE is Our Lady’s colour,
   White is Our Lord’s.
To-morrow I will wear a knot
   Of blue and white cords,
That you may see it, where you ride
   Among the flashing swords.
O banner, white and sunny blue,
   With prayer I wove thee!
For love the white, for faith the heavenly hue,
And both for him, so tender-true,
   Him that doth love me!

883                                               Our Lady

MOTHER of God! no lady thou:
   Common woman of common earth
Our Lady ladies call thee now,
   But Christ was never of gentle birth;
   A common man of the common earth.
For God’s ways are not as our ways:
   The noblest lady in the land
Would have given up half her days,
   Would have cut off her right hand,
   To bear the child that was God of the land.
Never a lady did He choose,
 Only a maid of low degree,
So humble she might not refuse
 The carpenter of Galilee:
 A daughter of the people, she.
Out she sang the song of her heart.
   Never a lady so had sung.
She knew no letters, had no art;
   To all mankind, in woman’s tongue,
   Hath Israelitish Mary sung.
And still for men to come she sings,
 Nor shall her singing pass away.
He hath fillàd the hungry with good things’—
 O listen, lords and ladies gay!—
 ‘And the rich He hath sent empty away.’

884                                                  Punctilio

O LET me be in loving nice,
Dainty, fine, and o’er precise,
That I may charm my charmàd dear
As tho’ I felt a secret fear
To lose what never can be lost,—
Her faith who still delights me most!
So shall I be more than true,
Ever in my ageing new.
So dull habit shall not be
Wrongly call’d Fidelity.

885                                                Unwelcome

We were young, we were merry, we were very very
      And the door stood open at our feast,
When there pass’d us a woman with the West in her eyes,
      And a man with his back to the East.
O, still grew the hearts that were beating so fast,
      The loudest voice was still.
The jest died away on our lips as they pass’d,
      And the rays of July struck chill.
The cups of red wine turn’d pale on the board,
      The white bread black as soot.
The hound forgot the hand of her lord,
      She fell down at his foot.
Low let me lie, where the dead dog lies,
      Ere I sit me down again at a feast,
When there passes a woman with the West in her eyes,
      And a man with his back to the East.

886                                                  Gone

ABOUT the little chambers of my heart
Friends have been coming—going—many a year.
     The doors stand open there.
Some, lightly stepping, enter; some depart.

Freely they come and freely go, at will.
The walls give back their laughter; all day long
     They fill the house with song.
One door alone is shut, one chamber still.


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