204 Works of Christina Georgina Rossetti
She fell asleep on Christmas-eve: At length the long-ungranted shade Of weary eyelids overweigh’d The pain naught else might yet relieve.
Our mother, who had leaned all day Over the bed from chime to chime, Then raised herself for the first time, And as she sat her down did pray.
Her little work-table was spread With work [...]
In the bleak mid-winter Frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone; Snow had fallen, snow on snow, Snow on snow, In the bleak mid-winter Long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, Nor earth sustain; Heaven and earth shall flee away When He comes to reign: In the bleak mid-winter [...]
Where sunless rivers weep Their waves into the deep, She sleeps a charmed sleep: Awake her not. Led by a single star, She came from very far To seek where shadows are Her pleasant lot.
She left the rosy morn, She left the fields of corn, For twilight cold and lorn And water springs. Through sleep, [...]
Why were you born when the snow was falling? You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling, Or when grapes are green in the cluster, Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster For their far off flying From summer dying.
Why did you die when the lambs were cropping? You should have died at the apples’ [...]
Hear now a curious dream I dreamed last night, Each word whereof is weighed and sifted truth.
I stood beside Euphrates while it swelled Like overflowing Jordan in its youth: It waxed and colored sensibly to sight, Till out of myriad pregnant waves there welled Young crocodiles, a gaunt blunt-featured crew, Fresh-hatched perhaps and daubed with [...]
Live all thy sweet life through Sweet Rose, dew-sprent, Drop down thine evening dew To gather it anew When day is bright: I fancy thou wast meant Chiefly to give delight.
Sing in the silent sky, Glad soaring bird; Sing out thy notes on high To sunbeam straying by Or passing cloud; Heedless if thou art [...]
O roses for the flush of youth, And laurel for the perfect prime; But pluck an ivy branch for me Grown old before my time.
O violets for the grave of youth, And bay for those dead in their prime; Give me the withered leaves I chose Before in the old time.
O love, love, hold me fast,– He draws me away from thee; I cannot stem the blast, Nor the cold strong sea: Far away a light shines Beyond the hills and pines; It is lit for me.
I have thee close, my dear, No terror can come near; Only far off the northern light shines clear.
The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay, Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept. He leaned above me, thinking that I slept And could not hear him; but I heard him say: “Poor child, poor child”: and as [...]
Love, strong as Death, is dead. Come, let us make his bed Among the dying flowers: A green turf at his head; And a stone at his feet, Whereon we may sit In the quiet evening hours.
He was born in the Spring, And died before the harvesting: On the last warm summer day He left [...]
Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more, day by day, You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand [...]
My heart is like a singing bird Whose nest is in a watered shoot; My heart is like an apple-tree Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit; My heart is like a rainbow shell That paddles in a halcyon sea; My heart is gladder than all these Because my love is come to me.
Raise me [...]
The upland flocks grew starved and thinned: Their shepherds scarce could feed the lambs Whose milkless mothers butted them, Or who were orphaned of their dams. The lambs athirst for mother’s milk Filled all the place with piteous sounds: Their mothers’ bones made white for miles The pastureless wet pasture grounds.
Day after day, night after [...]
Frost-locked all the winter, Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits, What shall make their sap ascend That they may put forth shoots? Tips of tender green, Leaf, or blade, or sheath; Telling of the hidden life That breaks forth underneath, Life nursed in its grave by Death.
Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly, Drips the soaking rain, [...]
“Now did you mark a falcon, Sister dear, sister dear, Flying toward my window In the morning cool and clear? With jingling bells about her neck, But what beneath her wing? It may have been a ribbon, Or it may have been a ring.”– “I marked a falcon swooping At the break of day: And [...]
As rivers seek the sea, Much more deep than they, So my soul seeks thee Far away: As running rivers moan On their course alone So I moan Left alone.
As the delicate rose To the sun’s sweet strength Doth herself unclose, Breadth and length: So spreads my heart to thee Unveiled utterly, I to thee [...]
Every valley drinks, Every dell and hollow: Where the kind rain sinks and sinks, Green of Spring will follow.
Yet a lapse of weeks Buds will burst their edges, Strip their wool-coats, glue-coats, streaks, In the woods and hedges;
Weave a bower of love For birds to meet each other, Weave a canopy above Nest and egg [...]
When I was dead, my spirit turned To seek the much-frequented house I passed the door, and saw my friends Feasting beneath green orange-boughs; From hand to hand they pushed the wine, They sucked the pulp of plum and peach; They sang, they jested, and they laughed, For each was loved of each.
I listened to [...]
Go from me, summer friends, and tarry not: I am no summer friend, but wintry cold, A silly sheep benighted from the fold, A sluggard with a thorn-choked garden plot. Take counsel, sever from my lot your lot, Dwell in your pleasant places, hoard your gold; Lest you with me should shiver on the wold, [...]
I had a love in soft south land, Beloved through April far in May; He waited on my lightest breath, And never dared to say me nay.
He saddened if my cheer was sad, But gay he grew if I was gay; We never differed on a hair, My yes his yes, my nay his nay.
A hundred, a thousand to one; even so; Not a hope in the world remained: The swarming, howling wretches below Gained and gained and gained.
Skene looked at his pale young wife:– “Is the time come?”–”The time is come!”– Young, strong, and so full of life: The agony struck them dumb.
Close his arm about her now, [...]
Morning and evening Maids heard the goblins cry: “Come buy our orchard fruits, Come buy, come buy: Apples and quinces, Lemons and oranges, Plump unpecked cherries, Melons and raspberries, Bloom-down-cheeked peaches, Swart-headed mulberries, Wild free-born cranberries, Crab-apples, dewberries, Pine-apples, blackberries, Apricots, strawberries;– All ripe together In summer weather,– Morns that pass by, Fair eves that [...]
A SONG FOR ALL MARIES.
Our Master lies asleep and is at rest; His Heart has ceased to bleed, His Eye to weep. The sun ashamed has dropt down in the west; Our Master lies asleep.
Now we are they who weep, and trembling keep Vigil, with wrung heart in a sighing breast, While slow time [...]
The flowers that bloom in sun and shade And glitter in the dew, The flowers must fade. The birds that build their nest and sing When lovely spring is new, Must soon take wing.
The sun that rises in his strength To wake and warm the world, Must set at length. The sea that overflows the [...]
“Love brought Me down; and cannot love make thee Carol for joy to Me? Hear cheerful robin carol from his tree, Who owes not half to Me I won for thee.”
“Yea, Lord, I hear his carol’s wordless voice; And well may he rejoice Who hath not heard of death’s discordant noise. So might I too [...]
Whoso hears a chiming for Christmas at the nighest, Hears a sound like Angels chanting in their glee, Hears a sound like palm-boughs waving in the highest, Hears a sound like ripple of a crystal sea.
Sweeter than a prayer-bell for a saint in dying, Sweeter than a death-bell for a saint at rest, Music struck [...]
A night was near, a day was near; Between a day and night I heard sweet voices calling clear, Calling me: I heard a whirr of wing on wing, But could not see the sight; I long to see my birds that sing,– I long to see.
Below the stars, beyond the moon, Between the night [...]
Many a flower hath perfume for its dower, And many a bird a song, And harmless lambs milkwhite beside their dams Frolic along,– Perfume and song and whiteness offering praise In humble, peaceful ways.
Man’s high degree hath will and memory, Affection and desire; By loftier ways he mounts of prayer and praise, Fire unto fire, [...]
“Arise, depart, for this is not your rest.” Oh, burden of all burdens,–still to arise And still depart, nor rest in any wise! Rolling, still rolling thus to east from west, Earth journeys on her immemorial quest, Whom a moon chases in no different guise. Thus stars pursue their courses, and thus flies The sun, [...]
Wintry boughs against a wintry sky; Yet the sky is partly blue And the clouds are partly bright. Who can tell but sap is mounting high Out of sight, Ready to burst through?
Winter is the mother-nurse of Spring, Lovely for her daughter’s sake. Not unlovely for her own; For a future buds in everything Grown [...]
A robin said: The Spring will never come, And I shall never care to build again. A Rosebush said: These frosts are wearisome, My sap will never stir for sun or rain. The half Moon said: These nights are fogged and slow, I neither care to wax nor care to wane. The Ocean said: I [...]
From depth to height, from height to loftier height, The climber sets his foot and sets his face, Tracks lingering sunbeams to their halting-place, And counts the last pulsations of the light. Strenuous thro’ day and unsurprised by night He runs a race with Time, and wins the race, Emptied and stripped of all save [...]
While we slumber and sleep, The sun leaps up from the deep,– Daylight born at the leap,– Rapid, dominant, free, Athirst to bathe in the uttermost sea.
While we linger at play– If the year would stand at May!– Winds are up and away, Over land, over sea, To their goal, wherever their goal may be.
A dancing Bear grotesque and funny Earned for his master heaps of money, Gruff yet good-natured, fond of honey, And cheerful if the day was sunny. Past hedge and ditch, past pond and wood He tramped, and on some common stood; There, cottage children circling gaily, He in their midmost footed daily. Pandean pipes and [...]
Woman was made for man’s delight,– Charm, O woman! Be not afraid! His shadow by day, his moon by night, Woman was made.
Her strength with weakness is overlaid; Meek compliances veil her might; Him she stays, by whom she is stayed.
World-wide champion of truth and right, Hope in gloom, and in danger aid, Tender and [...]
A lowly hill which overlooks a flat, Half sea, half country side; A flat-shored sea of low-voiced creeping tide Over a chalky, weedy mat.
A hill of hillocks, flowery and kept green Round Crosses raised for hope, With many-tinted sunsets where the slope Faces the lingering western sheen.
A lowly hope, a height that is but low, [...]
Unmindful of the roses, Unmindful of the thorn, A reaper tired reposes Among his gathered corn: So might I, till the morn!
Cold as the cold Decembers, Past as the days that set, While only one remembers And all the rest forget,– But one remembers yet.
“I have not sought Thee, I have not found Thee, I have not thirsted for Thee: And now cold billows of death surround me, Buffeting billows of death astound me,– Wilt Thou look upon, wilt Thou see Thy perishing me?”
“Yea, I have sought thee, yea, I have found thee, Yea, I have thirsted for thee, [...]
Lord, if I love Thee and Thou lovest me, Why need I any more these toilsome days; Why should I not run singing up Thy ways Straight into heaven, to rest myself with Thee? What need remains of death-pang yet to be, If all my soul is quickened in Thy praise; If all my heart [...]
Inner not outer, without gnash of teeth Or weeping, save quiet sobs of some who pray And feel the Everlasting Arms beneath,– Blackness of darkness this, but not for aye; Darkness that even in gathering fleeteth fast, Blackness of blackest darkness close to day. Lord Jesus, through Thy darkened pillar cast, Thy gracious eyes all-seeing [...]
“Thou whom I love, for whom I died, Lovest thou Me, My bride?”– Low on my knees I love Thee, Lord, Believed in and adored.
“That I love thee the proof is plain: How dost thou love again?”– In prayer, in toil, in earthly loss, In a long-carried cross.
“Yea, thou dost love: yet one adept Brings [...]
They are flocking from the East And the West, They are flocking from the North And the South, Every moment setting forth From realm of snake or lion, Swamp or sand, Ice or burning; Greatest and least, Palm in hand And praise in mouth, They are flocking up the path To their rest, Up the [...]
Man rising to the doom that shall not err,– Which hath most dread: the arouse of all or each; All kindreds of all nations of all speech, Or one by one of him and him and her? While dust reanimate begins to stir Here, there, beyond, beyond, reach beyond reach; While every wave refashions on [...]
Spring bursts to-day, For Christ is risen and all the earth’s at play.
Flash forth, thou Sun, The rain is over and gone, its work is done.
Winter is past, Sweet Spring is come at last, is come at last.
Bud, Fig and Vine, Bud, Olive, fat with fruit and oil and wine.
Break forth this morn In roses, [...]
Dear Lord, let me recount to Thee Some of the great things thou hast done For me, even me Thy little one.
It was not I that cared for Thee,– But Thou didst set Thy heart upon Me, even me Thy little one.
And therefore was it sweet to Thee To leave Thy Majesty and Throne, And [...]
Is this the Face that thrills with awe Seraphs who veil their face above? Is this the Face without a flaw, The Face that is the Face of Love? Yea, this defaced, a lifeless clod, Hath all creation’s love sufficed, Hath satisfied the love of God, This Face the Face of Jesus Christ.
Shall Christ hang on the Cross, and we not look? Heaven, earth, and hell stood gazing at the first, While Christ for long-cursed man was counted cursed; Christ, God and Man, Whom God the Father strook And shamed and sifted and one while forsook:– Cry shame upon our bodies we have nursed In sweets, our [...]
When will the day bring its pleasure? When will the night bring its rest? Reaper and gleaner and thresher Peer toward the east and the west:– The Sower He knoweth, and He knoweth best.
Meteors flash forth and expire, Northern lights kindle and pale; These are the days of desire, Of eyes looking upward that fail; [...]
Lord, I am waiting, weeping, watching for Thee: My youth and hope lie by me buried and dead, My wandering love hath not where to lay its head Except Thou say “Come to Me.”
My noon is ended, abolished from life and light, My noon is ended, ended and done away, My sun went down in [...]
Wearied of sinning, wearied of repentance, Wearied of self, I turn, my God, to Thee; To Thee, my Judge, on Whose all-righteous sentence Hangs mine eternity: I turn to Thee, I plead Thyself with Thee,– Be pitiful to me.
Wearied I loathe myself, I loathe my sinning, My stains, my festering sores, my misery: Thou the [...]
Before the mountains were brought forth, before Earth and the world were made, then God was God: And God will still be God, when flames shall roar Round earth and heaven dissolving at His nod: And this God is our God, even while His rod Of righteous wrath falls on us smiting sore: And this [...]
…”Una selva oscura.”–Dante.
Awake or sleeping (for I know not which) I was or was not mazed within a wood Where every mother-bird brought up her brood Safe in some leafy niche Of oak or ash, of cypress or of beech,
Of silvery aspen trembling delicately, Of plane or warmer-tinted sycamore, Of elm that dies in [...]
The irresponsive silence of the land, The irresponsive sounding of the sea, Speak both one message of one sense to me:– Aloof, aloof, we stand aloof, so stand Thou too aloof bound with the flawless band Of inner solitude; we bind not thee; But who from thy self-chain shall set thee free? What heart shall [...]
–Proverbs xxiv. 11, 12.
I have done I know not what,–what have I done? My brother’s blood, my brother’s soul, doth cry: And I find no defence, find no reply, No courage more to run this race I run Not knowing what I have done, have left undone; Ah me, these awful unknown hours that fly [...]
Life flows down to death; we cannot bind That current that it should not flee: Life flows down to death, as rivers find The inevitable sea.
Men work and think, but women feel; And so (for I’m a woman, I) And so I should be glad to die And cease from impotence of zeal, And cease [...]
“Who’ll serve the King?”
What little urchin is there neverHath had that early scarlet fever,Of martial trappings caught?Trappings well call’d–because they trapAnd catch full many a country chapTo go where fields are fought!
What little urchin with a ragHath never made a little flag(Our plate will show the manner),And wooed each tiny neighbor still,Tommy or Harry, Dick [...]
Does that lamp still burn in my Father’s house,Which he kindled the night I went away?I turned once beneath the cedar boughs,And marked it gleam with a golden ray;Did he think to light me home some day?
Hungry here with the crunching swine,Hungry harvest have I to reap;In a dream I count my Father’s kine,I hear [...]
Weary and weak,–accept my weariness;Weary and weak and downcast in my soul,With hope growing less and less,And with the goalDistant and dim,–accept my sore distress.I thought to reach the goal so long ago,At outset of the race I dreamed of rest,Not knowing what now I knowOf breathless haste,Of long-drawn straining effort across the waste.
One only [...]
I have desired, and I have been desired;But now the days are over of desire,Now dust and dying embers mock my fire;Where is the hire for which my life was hired?Oh vanity of vanities, desire!
Longing and love, pangs of a perished pleasure,Longing and love, a disenkindled fire,And memory a bottomless gulf of mire,And love a [...]
To think that this meaningless thing was ever a roseScentless, colorless, this!Will it ever be thus (who knows?)Thus with our bliss,If we wait till the close?
Though we care not to wait for the end, there comes the endSooner, later, at last,Which nothing can mar, nothing mend:An end locked fast,Bent we cannot re-bend.
All things that passAre woman’s looking-glass;They show her how her bloom must fade,And she herself be laidWith withered roses in the shade;With withered roses and the fallen peach,Unlovely, out of reachOf summer joy that was.
All things that passAre woman’s tiring-glass;The faded lavender is sweet,Sweet the dead violetCulled and laid by and cared for yet;The dried-up [...]
A million buds are born that never blow,That sweet with promise lift a pretty headTo blush and wither on a barren bedAnd leave no fruit to show.
Sweet, unfulfilled. Yet have I understoodOne joy, by their fragility made plain:Nothing was ever beautiful in vain,Or all in vain was good.
Such a hubbub in the nests,Such a bustle and squeak!Nestlings, guiltless of a feather,Learning just to speak,Ask–”And how about the fashions?”From a cavernous beak.
Perched on bushes, perched on hedges,Perched on firm hahas,Perched on anything that holds them,Gay papas and grave mammasTeach the knowledge-thirsty nestlings:Hear the gay papas.
Robin says: “A scarlet waistcoatWill be all the wear,Snug, [...]
“If you’ll busk you as a brideAnd make ready,It’s I will wed you with a ring,O fair lady.”
“Shall I busk me as a bride,I so bonny,For you to wed me with a ring,O boy Johnny?”
“When you’ve busked you as a brideAnd made ready,Who else is there to marry you,O fair lady?”
“I will find my lover [...]
In my Autumn garden I was fainTo mourn among my scattered roses;Alas for that last rosebud which unclosesTo Autumn’s languid sun and rainWhen all the world is on the wane!Which has not felt the sweet constraint of June,Nor heard the nightingale in tune.
Broad-faced asters by my garden walk,You are but coarse compared with roses:More choice, [...]
I sat beneath a willow tree,Where water falls and calls;While fancies upon fancies solaced me,Some true, and some were false.
Who set their heart upon a hopeThat never comes to pass,Droop in the end like fading heliotrope,The sun’s wan looking-glass.
Who set their will upon a whimClung to through good and ill,Are wrecked alike whether they sink [...]
There is silence that saith, “Ah me!”There is silence that nothing saith;One the silence of life forlorn,One the silence of death;One is, and the other shall be.
One we know and have known for long,One we know not, but we shall know,All we who have ever been born;Even so, be it so,–There is silence, despite a [...]
The soonest mended, nothing said;And help may rise from east or west;But my two hands are lumps of lead,My heart sits leaden in my breast.
O north wind swoop not from the north,O south wind linger in the south,Oh come not raving raging forth,To bring my heart into my mouth;
For I’ve a husband out at sea,Afloat [...]
The splendor of the kindling day,The splendor of the setting sun,These move my soul to wend its way,And have doneWith all we grasp and toil amongst and say.
The paling roses of a cloud,The fading bow that arches space,These woo my fancy toward my shroud;Toward the placeOf faces veiled, and heads discrowned and bowed.
The nation of [...]
Not for me marring or making,Not for me giving or taking;I love my Love and he loves not me,I love my Love and my heart is breaking.
Sweet is Spring in its lovely showing,Sweet the violet veiled in blowing,Sweet it is to love and be loved;Ah, sweet knowledge beyond my knowing!
Who sighs for love sighs but [...]
Why has Spring one syllable lessThan any its fellow season?There may be some other reason,And I’m merely making a guess;But surely it hoards such wealthOf happiness, hope and health,Sunshine and musical sound,It may spare a foot from its nameYet all the sameSuperabound.
Soft-named Summer,Most welcome comer,Brings almost everythingOver which we dream or singOr sigh;But then Summer [...]
“Oh tell me once and tell me twiceAnd tell me thrice to make it plain,When we who part this weary day,When we who part shall meet again.”
“When windflowers blossom on the seaAnd fishes skim along the plain,Then we who part this weary day,Then you and I shall meet again.”
“Yet tell me once before we part,Why [...]
Poor the pleasureDoled out by measure,Sweet though it be, while briefAs falling of the leaf;Poor is pleasureBy weight and measure.
Sweet the sorrowWhich ends to-morrow;Sharp though it be and sore,It ends for evermore:Zest of sorrow,What ends to-morrow.
Because you never yet have loved me, dear,Think you you never can nor ever will?Surely while life remains hope lingers still,Hope the last blossom of life’s dying year.Because the season and mine age grow sere,Shall never Spring bring forth her daffodil,Shall never sweeter Summer feast her fillOf roses with the nightingales they hear?If you had [...]
The Spring spreads one green lap of flowersWhich Autumn buries at the fall,No chilling showers of Autumn hoursCan stay them or recall;Winds sing a dirge, while earth lays out of sightHer garment of delight.
The cloven East brings forth the sun,The cloven West doth bury himWhat time his gorgeous race is runAnd all the world grows [...]
Never on this side of the grave again,On this side of the river,On this side of the garner of the grain,Never,–
Ever while time flows on and on and on,That narrow noiseless river,Ever while corn bows heavy-headed, wan,Ever,–
Never despairing, often fainting, ruing,But looking back, ah never!Faint yet pursuing, faint yet still pursuingEver.
Oh fair Milly Brandon, a young maid, a fair maid!All her curls are yellow and her eyes are blue,And her cheeks were rosy red till a secret care madeHollow whiteness of their brightness as a care will do.
Still she tends her flowers, but not as in the old days,Still she sings her songs, but not [...]
Maiden May sat in her bower,In her blush rose bower in flower,Sweet of scent;Sat and dreamed away an hour,Half content, half uncontent.
“Why should rose blossoms be born,Tender blossoms, on a thornThough so sweet?Never a thorn besets the cornScentless in its strength complete.
“Why are roses all so frail,At the mercy of the gale,Of a breath?Yet so [...]
There’s no replyingTo the Wind’s sighing,Telling, foretelling,Dying, undying,Dwindling and swelling,Complaining, droning,Whistling and moaning,Ever beginning,Ending, repeating,Hinting and dinning,Lagging and fleeting–We’ve no replyingLiving or dyingTo the Wind’s sighing.
What are you telling,Variable Wind-tone?What would be teaching,O sinking, swelling,Desolate Wind-moan?Ever for everTeaching and preaching,Never, ah neverMaking us wiser–The earliest riserCatches no meaning,The last who hearkensGarners no gleaningOf wisdom’s treasure,While [...]
Long have I longed, till I am tiredOf longing and desire;Farewell my points in vain desired,My dying fire;Farewell all things that die and fail and tire.
Springtide and youth and useless pleasureAnd all my useless scheming,My hopes of unattainable treasure,Dreams not worth dreaming,Glow-worms that gleam but yield no warmth in gleaming,
Farewell all shows that fade in [...]
Beautiful, tender, wasting away for sorrow;Thus to-day; and how shall it be with thee to-morrow?Beautiful, tender–what else?A hope tells.
Beautiful, tender, keeping the jubileeIn the land of home together, past death and sea;No more change or death, no moreSalt sea-shore.
The buttercup is like a golden cup,The marigold is like a golden frill,The daisy with a golden eye looks up,And golden spreads the flag beside the rill,And gay and golden nods the daffodil,The gorsey common swells a golden sea,The cowslip hangs a head of golden tips,And golden drips the honey which the beeSucks from sweet [...]
Lovely Spring,A brief sweet thing,Is swift on the wing;Gracious Summer,A slow sweet comer,Hastens past;Autumn while sweetIs all incompleteWith a moaning blast,–Nothing can last,Can be cleaved unto,Can be dwelt upon;It is hurried through,It is come and gone,Undone it cannot be done,It is ever to do,Ever old, ever new,Ever waxing oldAnd lapsing to Winter cold.
FOUNDED ON AN ANECDOTE OF THE FIRST FRENCH REVOLUTION.
Johnny had a golden headLike a golden mop in blow,Right and left his curls would spreadIn a glory and a glow,And they framed his honest faceLike stray sunbeams out of place.
Long and thick, they half could hideHow threadbare his patched jacket hung;They used to be his Mother’s [...]
A boat amid the ripples, drifting, rocking,Two idle people, without pause or aim;While in the ominous west there gathers darknessFlushed with flame.
A haycock in a hayfield backing, lapping,Two drowsy people pillowed round about;While in the ominous west across the darknessFlame leaps out.
Better a wrecked life than a life so aimless,Better a wrecked life than a [...]
To come back from the sweet South, to the NorthWhere I was born, bred, look to die;Come back to do my day’s work in its day,Play out my play–Amen, amen, say I.
To see no more the country half my own,Nor hear the half familiar speech,Amen, I say; I turn to that bleak NorthWhence I came [...]
There are sleeping dreams and waking dreams;What seems is not always as it seems.
I looked out of my window in the sweet new morning,And there I saw three barges of manifold adorningWent sailing toward the East:The first had sails like fire,The next like glittering wire,But sackcloth were the sails of the least;And all the crews [...]
The mystery of Life, the mysteryOf Death, I seeDarkly as in a glass;Their shadows pass,And talk with me.
As the flush of a Morning Sky,As a Morning Sky colorless–Each yields its measure of lightTo a wet world or a dry;Each fares through day to nightWith equal pace,And then each oneIs done.
As the Sun with glory and [...]
“Should one of us remember,And one of us forget,I wish I knew what each will do–But who can tell as yet?”
“Should one of us remember,And one of us forget,I promise you what I will do–And I’m content to wait for you,And not be sure as yet.”
I dreamed and did not seek: to-day I seekWho can no longer dream;But now am all behindhand, waxen weak,And dazed amid so many things that gleamYet are not what they seem.
I dreamed and did not work: to-day I workKept wide awake by careAnd loss, and perils dimly guessed to lurk;I work and reap not, while [...]
Beatrice, immortalized by “altissimo poeta … cotantoamante;” Laura, celebrated by a great though an inferior bard,–havealike paid the exceptional penalty of exceptional honor,and have come down to us resplendent with charms, but (atleast, to my apprehension) scant of attractiveness.
These heroines of world-wide fame were preceded by a bevyof unnamed ladies “donne innominate” sung by a [...]
Sonnets are full of love, and this my tomeHas many sonnets: so here now shall beOne sonnet more, a love sonnet, from meTo her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,To my first Love, my Mother, on whose kneeI learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;Whose service is my special dignity,And she my loadstar while I [...]
Where are the songs I used to know,Where are the notes I used to sing?I have forgotten everythingI used to know so long ago;Summer has followed after Spring;Now Autumn is so shrunk and sere,I scarcely think a sadder thingCan be the Winter of my year.
Yet Robin sings through Winter’s rest,When bushes put their berries on;While [...]
If I might only love my God and die!But now He bids me love Him and live on,Now when the bloom of all my life is gone,The pleasant half of life has quite gone by.My tree of hope is lopped that spread so high,And I forget how summer glowed and shone,While autumn grips me with [...]
Thou who didst hang upon a barren tree,My God, for me;Though I till now be barren, now at length,Lord, give me strengthTo bring forth fruit to Thee.
Thou who didst bear for me the crown of thorn,Spitting and scorn;Though I till now have put forth thorns, yet nowStrengthen me ThouThat better fruit be borne.
Thou Rose of [...]
I would have gone; God bade me stay:I would have worked; God bade me rest.He broke my will from day to day,He read my yearnings unexpressed,And said them nay.
Now I would stay; God bids me go:Now I would rest; God bids me work.He breaks my heart tossed to and fro,My soul is wrung with doubts [...]
I love and love not: Lord, it breaks my heartTo love and not to love.Thou veiled within Thy glory, gone apartInto Thy shrine, which is above,Dost Thou not love me, Lord, or careFor this mine ill?–I love thee here or there,I will accept thy broken heart, lie still.
Lord, it was well with me in time [...]
We meet in joy, though we part in sorrow;We part to-night, but we meet to-morrow.Be it flood or blood the path that’s trod,All the same it leads home to God:Be it furnace-fire voluminous,One like God’s Son will walk with us.
What are these that glow from afar,These that lean over the golden bar,Strong as the lion, [...]
Am I a stone and not a sheepThat I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy Cross,To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,And yet not weep?
Not so those women lovedWho with exceeding grief lamented Thee;Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;Not so the thief was moved;
Not so the Sun and MoonWhich hid their faces in [...]
As eager home-bound traveller to the goal,Or steadfast seeker on an unsearched main,Or martyr panting for an aureole,My fellow-pilgrims pass me, and attainThat hidden mansion of perpetual peace,Where keen desire and hope dwell free from pain:That gate stands open of perennial ease;I view the glory till I partly long,Yet lack the fire of love which [...]
Give me the lowest place: not that I dareAsk for that lowest place, but Thou hast diedThat I might live and shareThy glory by Thy side.
Give me the lowest place: or if for meThat lowest place too high, make one more lowWhere I may sit and seeMy God and love Thee so.
I am pale with sick desire,For my heart is far awayFrom this world’s fitful fireAnd this world’s waning day;In a dream it overleapsA world of tedious illsTo where the sunshine sleepsOn the everlasting hills.–Say the Saints: There Angels ease usGlorified and white.They say: We rest in Jesus,Where is not day or night.
My soul saith: I [...]
“O Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?Me whom thou settest in a barren land,Hungry and thirsty on the burning sand,Hungry and thirsty where no waters beNor shadows of date-bearing tree:–O Lord, how canst Thou say Thou lovest me?”
“I came from Edom by as parched a track,As rough a track beneath My bleeding feet.I [...]
It’s oh in Paradise that I fain would be,Away from earth and weariness and all beside;Earth is too full of loss with its dividing sea,But Paradise upbuilds the bower for the bride.
Where flowers are yet in bud while the boughs are green,I would get quit of earth and get robed for heaven;Putting on my raiment [...]
Why should I call Thee Lord, Who art my God?Why should I call Thee Friend, Who art my Love?Or King, Who art my very Spouse above?Or call Thy Sceptre on my heart Thy rod?Lo, now Thy banner over me is love,All heaven flies open to me at Thy nod:For Thou hast lit Thy flame in [...]
God strengthen me to bear myself;That heaviest weight of all to bear,Inalienable weight of care.
All others are outside myself;I lock my door and bar them out,The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.
I lock my door upon myself,And bar them out; but who shall wallSelf from myself, most loathed of all?
If I could once lay down myself,And start self-purged [...]
At morn I plucked a rose and gave it Thee,A rose of joy and happy love and peace,A rose with scarce a thorn:But in the chillness of a second mornMy rose bush drooped, and all its gay increaseWas but one thorn that wounded me.
I plucked the thorn and offered it to Thee;And for my thorn [...]
My sun has set, I dwellIn darkness as a dead man out of sight;And none remains, not one, that I should tellTo him mine evil plightThis bitter night.I will make fast my doorThat hollow friends may trouble me no more.
“Friend, open to Me.”–Who is this that calls?Nay, I am deaf as are my walls:Cease crying, [...]
We met, hand to hand,We clasped hands close and fast,As close as oak and ivy stand;But it is past:Come day, come night, day comes at last.
We loosed hand from hand,We parted face from face;Each went his way to his own landAt his own pace:Each went to fill his separate place.
If we should meet one day,If [...]
It’s a year almost that I have not seen her:Oh, last summer green things were greener,Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.
It’s surely summer, for there’s a swallow:Come one swallow, his mate will follow,The bird race quicken and wheel and thicken.
Oh happy swallow whose mate will followO’er height, o’er hollow! I’d be a swallow,To build this [...]
“O where are you going with your love-locks flowing,On the west wind blowing along this valley track?”“The downhill path is easy, come with me an it please ye,We shall escape the uphill by never turning back.”
So they two went together in glowing August weather,The honey-breathing heather lay to their left and right;And dear she was [...]
A smile because the nights are short!And every morning brings such pleasureOf sweet love-making, harmless sport:Love that makes and finds its treasure;Love, treasure without measure.
A sigh because the days are long!Long, long these days that pass in sighing,A burden saddens every song:While time lags which should be flying,We live who would be dying.
Here, where I dwell, I waste to skin and bone;The curse is come upon me, and I wasteIn penal torment powerless to atone.The curse is come on me, which makes no hasteAnd doth not tarry, crushing both the proudHard man and him the sinner double-faced.Look not upon me, for my soul is bowedWithin me, [...]
Once in a dream I saw the flowersThat bud and bloom in Paradise;More fair they are than waking eyesHave seen in all this world of ours.And faint the perfume-bearing rose,And faint the lily on its stem,And faint the perfect violetCompared with them.
I heard the songs of Paradise:Each bird sat singing in his place;A tender song [...]
“And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.”
The earth was green, the sky was blue:I saw and heard one sunny mornA skylark hang between the two,A singing speck above the corn;
A stage below, in gay accord,White butterflies danced on the wing,And still the singing skylark soaredAnd silent sank, and soared to sing.
The cornfield stretched [...]
Like flowers sequestered from the sunAnd wind of summer, day by dayI dwindled paler, whilst my hairShowed the first tinge of grey.
“Oh, what is life, that we should live?Or what is death, that we must die?A bursting bubble is our life:I also, what am I?”
“What is your grief? now tell me, sweet,That I may grieve,” [...]
Through the vales to my love!To the happy small nest of homeGreen from basement to roof;Where the honey-bees comeTo the window-sill flowers,And dive from above,Safe from the spider that weavesHer warp and her woofIn some outermost leaves.
Through the vales to my love!In sweet April hoursAll rainbows and showers,While dove answers dove,–In beautiful May,When the orchards [...]
Hope new born one pleasant mornDied at even;Hope dead lives nevermore,No, not in heaven.
If his shroud were but a cloudTo weep itself away;Or were he buried undergroundTo sprout some day!But dead and gone is dead and goneVainly wept upon.
Nought we place above his faceTo mark the spot,But it shows a barren placeIn our lot.
I marked where lovely Venus and her courtWith song and dance and merry laugh went by;Weightless, their wingless feet seemed made to fly,Bound from the ground and in mid air to sport.Left far behind I heard the dolphins snort,Tracking their goddess with a wistful eye,Around whose head white doves rose, wheeling highOr low, and cooed [...]
A fool I was to sleep at noon,And wake when night is chillyBeneath the comfortless cold moon;A fool to pluck my rose too soon,A fool to snap my lily.
My garden-plot I have not kept;Faded and all-forsaken,I weep as I have never wept:Oh it was summer when I slept,It’s winter now I waken.
Talk what you please [...]
The sunrise wakes the lark to sing,The moonrise wakes the nightingale.Come darkness, moonrise, every thingThat is so silent, sweet, and pale:Come, so ye wake the nightingale.
Make haste to mount, thou wistful moon,Make haste to wake the nightingale:Let silence set the world in tuneTo hearken to that wordless taleWhich warbles from the nightingale
O herald skylark, stay [...]
Love that is dead and buried, yesterdayOut of his grave rose up before my face,No recognition in his look, no traceOf memory in his eyes dust-dimmed and grey.While I, remembering, found no word to say,But felt my quickened heart leap in its place;Caught afterglow thrown back from long set days,Caught echoes of all music passed [...]
Why does the sea moan evermore?Shut out from heaven it makes its moan.It frets against the boundary shore;All earth’s full rivers cannot fillThe sea, that drinking thirsteth still.
Sheer miracles of lovelinessLie hid in its unlooked-on bed:Anemones, salt, passionless,Blow flower-like; just enough aliveTo blow and multiply and thrive.
Shells quaint with curve, or spot, or spike,Encrusted live [...]
Oh what comes over the sea,Shoals and quicksands past;And what comes home to me,Sailing slow, sailing fast?
A wind comes over the seaWith a moan in its blast;But nothing comes home to me,Sailing slow, sailing fast.
Let me be, let me be,For my lot is cast:Land or sea all’s one to me,And sail it slow or fast.
A dream that waketh,Bubble that breaketh,Song whose burden sigheth,A passing breath,Smoke that vanisheth,–Such is life that dieth.
A flower that fadeth,Fruit the tree sheddeth,Trackless bird that flieth,Summer time brief,Falling of the leaf,–Such is life that dieth.
A scent exhaling,Snow waters failing,Morning dew that drieth,A windy blast,Lengthening shadows cast,–Such is life that dieth.
A scanty measure,Rust-eaten treasure,Spending that nought [...]
I said: This is a beautiful fresh rose.I said: I will delight me with its scent,Will watch its lovely curve of languishment,Will watch its leaves unclose, its heart unclose.I said: Old Earth has put away her snows,All living things make merry to their bent,A flower is come for every flower that wentIn autumn; the sun [...]
She came among us from the SouthAnd made the North her home awhileOur dimness brightened in her smile,Our tongue grew sweeter in her mouth.
We chilled beside her liberal glow,She dwarfed us by her ampler scale,Her full-blown blossom made us pale,She summer-like and we like snow.
We Englishwomen, trim, correct,All minted in the self-same mould,Warm-hearted but of [...]
I would not if I could undo my past,Tho’ for its sake my future is a blank;My past for which I have myself to thank,For all its faults and follies first and last.I would not cast anew the lot once cast,Or launch a second ship for one that sank,Or drug with sweets the bitterness I [...]
Keep love for youth, and violets for the spring:Or if these bloom when worn-out autumn grieves,Let them lie hid in double shade of leaves,Their own, and others dropped down withering;For violets suit when home birds build and sing,Not when the outbound bird a passage cleaves;Not with dry stubble of mown harvest sheaves,But when the green [...]
Somewhere or other there must surely beThe face not seen, the voice not heard,The heart that not yet–never yet–ah me!Made answer to my word.
Somewhere or other, may be near or far;Past land and sea, clean out of sight;Beyond the wandering moon, beyond the starThat tracks her night by night.
Somewhere or other, may be far or [...]
The year stood at its equinoxAnd bluff the North was blowing,A bleat of lambs came from the flocks,Green hardy things were growing;I met a maid with shining locksWhere milky kine were lowing.
She wore a kerchief on her neck,Her bare arm showed its dimple,Her apron spread without a speck,Her air was frank and simple.
She milked into [...]
I WISH you were a pleasant wren,And I your small accepted mate;How we’d look down on toilsome men!We’d rise and go to bed at eightOr it may be not quite so late.
Then you should see the nest I’d build,The wondrous nest for you and me;The outside rough, perhaps, but filledWith wool and down: ah, you [...]
What can lambkins doAll the keen night through?Nestle by their woolly mother,The careful ewe.
What can nestlings doIn the nightly dew?Sleep beneath their mother’s wingTill day breaks anew.
If in field or treeThere might only beSuch a warm soft sleeping-placeFound for me!
“The iniquity of the fathers upon the children.”
O the rose of keenest thorn!One hidden summer mornUnder the rose I was born.
I do not guess his nameWho wrought my Mother’s shame,And gave me life forlorn,But my Mother, Mother, Mother,I know her from all other.My Mother pale and mild,Fair as ever was seen,She was but scarce sixteen,Little [...]
O happy rose-bud bloomingUpon thy parent tree,–Nay, thou art too presuming;For soon the earth entombingThy faded charms shall be,And the chill damp consuming.
O happy skylark springingUp to the broad blue sky,Too fearless in thy winging,Too gladsome in thy singing,Thou also soon shalt lieWhere no sweet notes are ringing.
And through life’s shine and showerWe shall have [...]
Shall I forget on this side of the grave?I promise nothing: you must wait and seePatient and brave.(O my soul, watch with him and he with me.)
Shall I forget in peace of Paradise?I promise nothing: follow, friend, and see,Faithful and wise.(O my soul, lead the way he walks with me.)
I, a princess, king-descended, decked with jewels, gilded, drest,Would rather be a peasant with her baby at her breast,For all I shine so like the sun, and am purple like the west.
Two and two my guards behind, two and two before,Two and two on either hand, they guard me evermore;Me, poor dove, that must not [...]
“Whose heart was breaking for a little love.”
Down-stairs I laugh, I sport and jest with all:But in my solitary room aboveI turn my face in silence to the wall;My heart is breaking for a little love.Though winter frosts are done,And birds pair every one,And leaves peep out, for springtide is begun.
I feel no spring, while [...]
Ah, woe is me for pleasure that is vain,Ah, woe is me for glory that is past:Pleasure that bringeth sorrow at the last,Glory that at the last bringeth no gain!So saith the sinking heart; and so againIt shall say till the mighty angel-blastIs blown, making the sun and moon aghast,And showering down the stars like [...]
Did any bird come flyingAfter Adam and Eve,When the door was shut against themAnd they sat down to grieve?
I think not Eve’s peacockSplendid to see,And I think not Adam’s eagle;But a dove may be.
Did any beast come pushingThrough the thorny hedgeInto the thorny, thistly worldOut from Eden’s edge?
I think not a lion,Though his strength is [...]
Life is not sweet. One day it will be sweetTo shut our eyes and die:Nor feel the wild-flowers blow, nor birds dart byWith flitting butterfly,Nor grass grow long above our heads and feet,Nor hear the happy lark that soars sky high,Nor sigh that spring is fleet and summer fleet,Nor mark the waxing wheat,Nor know who [...]
I loved my love from green of SpringUntil sere Autumn’s fall;But now that leaves are witheringHow should one love at all?One heart’s too smallFor hunger, cold, love, everything.
I loved my love on sunny daysUntil late Summer’s wane;But now that frost begins to glazeHow should one love again?Nay, love and painWalk wide apart in diverse ways.
“While I sit at the door,Sick to gaze within,Mine eye weepeth soreFor sorrow and sin:As a tree my sin standsTo darken all lands;Death is the fruit it bore.
“How have Eden bowers grownWithout Adam to bend them!How have Eden flowers blown,Squandering their sweet breath,Without me to tend them!The Tree of Life was ours,Tree twelvefold-fruited,Most lofty tree [...]
You must not call me Maggie, you must not call me Dear,For I’m Lady of the Manor now stately to see;And if there comes a babe, as there may some happy year,‘T will be little lord or lady at my knee.
O, but what ails you, my sailor cousin Phil,That you shake and turn white like [...]
While roses are so red,While lilies are so white,Shall a woman exalt her faceBecause it gives delight?She’s not so sweet as a rose,A lily’s straighter than she,And if she were as red or whiteShe’d be but one of three.
Whether she flush in love’s summerOr in its winter grow pale,Whether she flaunt her beautyOr hide it [...]
ConsiderThe lilies of the field whose bloom is brief:–We are as they;Like them we fade away,As doth a leaf.
ConsiderThe sparrows of the air of small account:Our God doth viewWhether they fall or mount,–He guards us too.
ConsiderThe lilies that do neither spin nor toil,Yet are most fair:–What profits all this careAnd all this coil?
ConsiderThe birds that [...]
Underneath the growing grass,Underneath the living flowers,Deeper than the sound of showers:There we shall not count the hoursBy the shadows as they pass.
Youth and health will be but vain,Beauty reckoned of no worth:There a very little girthCan hold round what once the earthSeemed too narrow to contain.
What would I give for a heart of flesh to warm me through,Instead of this heart of stone ice-cold whatever I do;Hard and cold and small, of all hearts the worst of all.
What would I give for words, if only words would come;But now in its misery my spirit has fallen dumb:O, merry friends, go [...]
“There’s a footstep coming: look out and see.”–“The leaves are falling, the wind is calling;No one cometh across the lea.”–
“There’s a footstep coming: O sister, look.”–“The ripple flashes, the white foam dashes;No one cometh across the brook.”–
“But he promised that he would come:To-night, to-morrow, in joy or sorrow,He must keep his word, and must come [...]
A song in a cornfieldWhere corn begins to fall,Where reapers are reaping,Reaping one, reaping all.Sing pretty Lettice,Sing Rachel, sing May;Only Marian cannot singWhile her sweetheart’s away.
Where is he gone toAnd why does he stay?He came across the green seaBut for a day,Across the deep green seaTo help with the hay.His hair was curly yellowAnd his [...]
How comes it, Flora, that, whenever wePlay cards together, you invariably,However the pack parts,Still hold the Queen of Hearts?
I’ve scanned you with a scrutinizing gaze,Resolved to fathom these your secret ways:But, sift them as I will,Your ways are secret still.
I cut and shuffle; shuffle, cut, again;But all my cutting, shuffling, proves in vain:Vain hope, vain [...]
On the wind of JanuaryDown flits the snow,Travelling from the frozen NorthAs cold as it can blow.Poor robin redbreast,Look where he comes;Let him in to feel your fire,And toss him of your crumbs.
On the wind in FebruarySnow-flakes float still,Half inclined to turn to rain,Nipping, dripping, chill.Then the thaws swell the streams,And swollen rivers swell the [...]
“Croak, croak, croak,”Thus the Raven spoke,Perched on his crooked treeAs hoarse as hoarse could be.Shun him and fear him,Lest the Bridegroom hear him;Scout him and rout himWith his ominous eye about him.
Yet, “Croak, croak, croak,”Still tolled from the oak;From that fatal black bird,Whether heard or unheard:“O ship upon the high seas,Freighted with lives and spices,Sink, [...]
Once in a dream (for once I dreamed of you)We stood together in an open field;Above our heads two swift-winged pigeons wheeled,Sporting at ease and courting full in view.When loftier still a broadening darkness flew,Down-swooping, and a ravenous hawk revealed;Too weak to fight, too fond to fly, they yield;So farewell life and love and pleasures [...]
These two pieces, written during the suspense of a great nation’s agony, aim at expressing human sympathy, not political bias.
“THY BROTHER’S BLOOD CRIETH.”
All her corn-fields rippled in the sunshine,All her lovely vines, sweets-laden, bowed;Yet some weeks to harvest and to vintage:When, as one man’s hand, a cloudRose and spread, and, blackening, burst asunderIn rain and [...]
Long ago and long ago,And long ago still,There dwelt three merry maidensUpon a distant hill.One was tall Meggan,And one was dainty May,But one was fair Margaret,More fair than I can say,Long ago and long ago.
When Meggan plucked the thorny rose,And when May pulled the brier,Half the birds would swoop to see,Half the beasts draw nigher;Half [...]
Till all sweet gums and juices flow,Till the blossom of blossoms blow,The long hours go and come and go,The bride she sleepeth, waketh, sleepeth,Waiting for one whose coming is slow:–Hark! the bride weepeth.
“How long shall I wait, come heat come rime?”–“Till the strong Prince comes, who must come in time,”Her women say. “There’s a mountain [...]
“Jessie, Jessie Cameron,Hear me but this once,” quoth he.“Good luck go with you, neighbor’s son,But I’m no mate for you,” quoth she.Day was verging toward the nightThere beside the moaning sea,Dimness overtook the lightThere where the breakers be.“O Jessie, Jessie Cameron,I have loved you long and true.”–“Good luck go with you, neighbor’s son,But I’m no [...]
“O whence do you come, my dear friend, to me,With your golden hair all fallen below your knee,And your face as white as snowdrops on the lea,And your voice as hollow as the hollow sea?”
“From the other world I come back to you,My locks are uncurled with dripping, drenching dew.You know the old, whilst I [...]
Gone were but the Winter,Come were but the Spring,I would go to a covertWhere the birds sing;
Where in the white-thornSingeth a thrush,And a robin singsIn the holly-bush.
Full of fresh scentsAre the budding boughs,Arching high overA cool green house:
Full of sweet scents,And whispering airWhich sayeth softly:“We spread no snare;
“Here dwell in safety,Here dwell alone,With a clear [...]
I took my heart in my hand(O my love, O my love),I said: Let me fall or stand,Let me live or die,But this once hear me speak(O my love, O my love);Yet a woman’s words are weak:You should speak, not I.
You took my heart in your handWith a friendly smile,With a critical eye you scanned,Then [...]
Young Love lies sleepingIn May-time of the year,Among the lilies,Lapped in the tender light:White lambs come grazing,White doves come building there;And round about himThe May-bushes are white.
Soft moss the pillowFor O, a softer cheek;Broad leaves cast shadowUpon the heavy eyes:There winds and watersGrow lulled and scarcely speak;There twilight lingersThe longest in the skies.
Young Love lies [...]
Flowers preach to us if we will hear:–The rose saith in the dewy morn,I am most fair;Yet all my loveliness is bornUpon a thorn.The poppy saith amid the corn:Let but my scarlet head appearAnd I am held in scorn;Yet juice of subtle virtue liesWithin my cup of curious dyes.The lilies say: Behold how wePreach without [...]
I said of laughter, it is vain.Of mirth I said, what profits it?Therefore I found a book, and writTherein how ease and also pain,How health and sickness, every oneIs vanity beneath the sun.
Man walks in a vain shadow; heDisquieteth himself in vain.The things that were shall be again.The rivers do not fill the sea,But turn [...]
By day she wooes me, soft, exceeding fair:But all night as the moon so changeth she;Loathsome and foul with hideous leprosy,And subtle serpents gliding in her hair.By day she wooes me to the outer air,Ripe fruits, sweet flowers, and full satiety:But through the night, a beast she grins at me,A very monster void of love [...]
The first was like a dream through summer heat,The second like a tedious numbing swoon,While the half-frozen pulses lagged to beatBeneath a winter moon.
“But,” says my friend, “what was this thing and where?”It was a pleasure-place within my soul;An earthly paradise supremely fairThat lured me from the goal.
The first part was a tissue of hugged [...]
Sound the deep waters:–Who shall sound that deep?–Too short the plummet,And the watchmen sleep.Some dream of effortUp a toilsome steep;Some dream of pasture groundsFor harmless sheep.
White shapes flit to and froFrom mast to mast;They feel the distant tempestThat nears them fast:Great rocks are straight ahead,Great shoals not past;They shout to one anotherUpon the blast.
O, soft [...]
It is over. What is over?Nay, how much is over truly!–Harvest days we toiled to sow for;Now the sheaves are gathered newly,Now the wheat is garnered duly.
It is finished. What is finished?Much is finished known or unknown:Lives are finished; time diminished;Was the fallow field left unsown?Will these buds be always unblown?
It suffices. What suffices?All suffices [...]
New Year met me somewhat sad:Old Year leaves me tired,Stripped of favorite things I had,Balked of much desired:Yet farther on my road to-day,God willing, farther on my way.
New Year coming on apaceWhat have you to give me?Bring you scathe, or bring you grace,Face me with an honest face;You shall not deceive me:Be it good or [...]
Oh what is that countryAnd where can it be,Not mine own country,But dearer far to me?Yet mine own country,If I one day may seeIts spices and cedars,Its gold and ivory.
As I lie dreamingIt rises, that land;There rises before meIts green golden strand,With the bowing cedarsAnd the shining sand;It sparkles and flashesLike a shaken brand.
Do angels [...]
I have no wit, no words, no tears;My heart within me like a stoneIs numbed too much for hopes or fears;Look right, look left, I dwell alone;I lift mine eyes, but dimmed with griefNo everlasting hills I see;My life is in the falling leaf:O Jesus, quicken me!
My life is like a faded leaf,My harvest dwindled [...]
“Sweet, thou art pale.”“More pale to see,Christ hung upon the cruel treeAnd bore His Father’s wrath for me.”
“Sweet, thou art sad.”“Beneath a rodMore heavy, Christ for my sake trodThe winepress of the wrath of God.”
“Sweet, thou art weary.”“Not so Christ:Whose mighty love of me sufficedFor Strength, Salvation, Eucharist.”
“Sweet, thou art footsore.”“If I bleed,His feet [...]
This Advent moon shines cold and clear,These Advent nights are long;Our lamps have burned year after year,And still their flame is strong.“Watchman, what of the night?” we cry,Heart-sick with hope deferred:“No speaking signs are in the sky,”Is still the watchman’s word.
The Porter watches at the gate,The servants watch within;The watch is long betimes and late,The [...]
“O happy happy land!Angels like rushes standAbout the wells of light.”–“Alas, I have not eyes for this fair sight:Hold fast my hand.”–
“As in a soft wind, theyBend all one blessed way,Each bowed in his own glory, star with star.”–“I cannot see so far,Here shadows are.”–
“White-winged the cherubim,Yet whiter seraphim,Glow white with intense fire of [...]
Vanity of vanities, the Preacher saith,All things are vanity. The eye and earCannot be filled with what they see and hear.Like early dew, or like the sudden breathOf wind, or like the grass that withereth,Is man, tossed to and fro by hope and fear:So little joy hath he, so little cheer,Till all things end in [...]
I watched a rosebud very longBrought on by dew and sun and shower,Waiting to see the perfect flower:Then, when I thought it should be strong,It opened at the matin hourAnd fell at even-song.
I watched a nest from day to day,A green nest full of pleasant shade,Wherein three speckled eggs were laid:But when they should have [...]
The sweetest blossoms die.And so it was that, going day by dayUnto the church to praise and pray,And crossing the green churchyard thoughtfully,I saw how on the graves the flowersShed their fresh leaves in showers,And how their perfume rose up to the skyBefore it passed away.
The youngest blossoms die.They die and fall and nourish the [...]
Who calleth?–Thy Father calleth,Run, O Daughter, to wait on Him:He Who chasteneth but for a seasonTrims thy lamp that it burn not dim.
Who calleth?–Thy Master calleth,Sit, Disciple, and learn of Him:He Who teacheth wisdom of AngelsMakes thee wise as the Cherubim,
Who calleth?–Thy Monarch calleth,Rise, O Subject, and follow Him:He is stronger than Death or Devil,Fear [...]
Summer is gone with all its roses,Its sun and perfumes and sweet flowers,Its warm air and refreshing showers:And even Autumn closes.
Yea, Autumn’s chilly self is going,And winter comes which is yet colder;Each day the hoar-frost waxes bolderAnd the last buds cease blowing.
Ah! changed and cold, how changed and very cold!With stiffened smiling lips and cold calm eyes:Changed, yet the same; much knowing, little wise;This was the promise of the days of old!Grown hard and stubborn in the ancient mould,Grown rigid in the sham of lifelong lies:We hoped for better things as years would rise,But it is [...]
I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sunAnd crocus fires are kindling one by one:Sing, robin, sing!I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
I wonder if the spring-tide of this yearWill bring another Spring both lost and dear;If heart and spirit [...]
O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth;Lie close around her; leave no room for mirthWith its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.She hath no questions, she hath no replies,Hushed in and curtained with a blessed dearthOf all that irked her from the hour of birth;With stillness that [...]
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?Yes, to the very end.Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?From morn to night, my friend.
But is there for the night a resting-place?A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.May not the darkness hide it from my face?You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other [...]
There’s blood between us, love, my love,There’s father’s blood, there’s brother’s blood;And blood’s a bar I cannot pass:I choose the stairs that mount above,Stair after golden skyward stair,To city and to sea of glass.My lily feet are soiled with mud,With scarlet mud which tells a taleOf hope that was, of guilt that was,Of love that [...]
I will accept thy will to do and be,Thy hatred and intolerance of sin,Thy will at least to love, that burns withinAnd thirsteth after Me:So will I render fruitful, blessing stillThe germs and small beginnings in thy heart,Because thy will cleaves to the better part.–Alas, I cannot will.
Dost not thou will, poor soul? Yet I [...]
I bore with thee long weary days and nights,Through many pangs of heart, through many tears;I bore with thee, thy hardness, coldness, slights,For three and thirty years.
Who else had dared for thee what I have dared?I plunged the depth most deep from bliss above;I not My flesh, I not My spirit spared:Give thou Me love [...]
Pardon the faults in me,For the love of years ago:Good by.I must drift across the sea,I must sink into the snow,I must die.
You can bask in this sun,You can drink wine, and eat:Good by.I must gird myself and run,Though with unready feet:I must die.
Blank sea to sail upon,Cold bed to sleep in:Good by.While you clasp, [...]
O pleasant eventide!Clouds on the western sideGrow gray and grayer, hiding the warm sun:The bees and birds, their happy labors done,Seek their close nests and bide.
Screened in the leafy woodThe stock-doves sit and brood:The very squirrel leaps from bough to boughBut lazily; pauses; and settles nowWhere once he stored his food.
One by one the flowers [...]
The hope I dreamed of was a dream,Was but a dream; and now I wakeExceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,For a dream’s sake.
I hang my harp upon a tree,A weeping willow in a lake;I hang my silenced harp there, wrung and snaptFor a dream’s sake.
Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;My silent heart, lie still [...]
“A cup for hope!” she said,In springtime ere the bloom was old:The crimson wine was poor and coldBy her mouth’s richer red.
“A cup for love!” how low,How soft the words; and all the whileHer blush was rippling with a smileLike summer after snow.
“A cup for memory!”Cold cup that one must drain alone:While autumn winds are [...]
She sat and sang alwayBy the green margin of a stream,Watching the fishes leap and playBeneath the glad sunbeam.
I sat and wept alwayBeneath the moon’s most shadowy beam,Watching the blossoms of the MayWeep leaves into the stream.
I wept for memory;She sang for hope that is so fair:My tears were swallowed by the sea;Her songs died [...]
Some are laughing, some are weeping;She is sleeping, only sleeping.Round her rest wild flowers are creeping;There the wind is heaping, heapingSweetest sweets of Summer’s keeping,By the cornfields ripe for reaping.
There are lilies, and there blushesThe deep rose, and there the thrushesSing till latest sunlight flushesIn the west; a fresh wind brushesThrough the leaves while evening [...]
When I am dead, my dearest,Sing no sad songs for me;Plant thou no roses at my head,Nor shady cypress-tree:Be the green grass above meWith showers and dewdrops wet;And if thou wilt, remember,And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,I shall not feel the rain;I shall not hear the nightingaleSing on, as if in [...]
I tell my secret? No indeed, not I:Perhaps some day, who knows?But not to-day; it froze, and blows, and snows,And you’re too curious: fie!You want to hear it? well:Only, my secret’s mine, and I won’t tell.
Or, after all, perhaps there’s none:Suppose there is no secret after all,But only just my fun.To-day’s a nipping day, a [...]
Strike the bells wantonly,Tinkle tinkle well;Bring me wine, bring me flowers,Ring the silver bell.All my lamps burn scented oil,Hung on laden orange-trees,Whose shadowed foliage is the foilTo golden lamps and oranges.Heap my golden plates with fruit,Golden fruit, fresh-plucked and ripe;Strike the bells and breathe the pipe;Shut out showers from summer hours;Silence that complaining lute;Shut out [...]
If I might see another SpringI’d not plant summer flowers and wait:I’d have my crocuses at once,My leafless pink mezereons,My chill-veined snowdrops, choicer yetMy white or azure violet,Leaf-nested primrose; anythingTo blow at once not late.
If I might see another SpringI’d listen to the daylight birdsThat build their nests and pair and sing,Nor wait for mateless [...]
I never said I loved you, John:Why will you tease me, day by day,And wax a weariness to think uponWith always “do” and “pray”?
You know I never loved you, John;No fault of mine made me your toast:Why will you haunt me with a face as wanAs shows an hour-old ghost?
I dare say Meg or Moll [...]
A blue-eyed phantom far beforeIs laughing, leaping toward the sun;Like lead I chase it evermore,I pant and run.
It breaks the sunlight bound on bound;Goes singing as it leaps alongTo sheep-bells with a dreamy soundA dreamy song.
I laugh, it is so brisk and gay;It is so far before, I weep:I hope I shall lie down some [...]
I looked for that which is not, nor can be,And hope deferred made my heart sick in truthBut years must pass before a hope of youthIs resigned utterly.
I watched and waited with a steadfast will:And though the object seemed to flee awayThat I so longed for, ever day by dayI watched and waited still.
Sometimes I [...]
I plucked pink blossoms from mine apple-tree,And wore them all that evening in my hair:Then in due season when I went to seeI found no apples there.
With dangling basket all along the grassAs I had come I went the selfsame track:My neighbors mocked me while they saw me passSo empty-handed back.
Lilian and Lilias smiled in [...]
Out of the church she followed themWith a lofty step and mien:His bride was like a village maid,Maude Clare was like a queen.
“Son Thomas,” his lady mother said,With smiles, almost with tears:“May Nell and you but live as trueAs we have done for years;
“Your father thirty years agoHad just your tale to tell;But he was [...]
Two doves upon the selfsame branch,Two lilies on a single stem,Two butterflies upon one flower:–O happy they who look on them.
Who look upon them hand in handFlushed in the rosy summer light;Who look upon them hand in handAnd never give a thought to night.
Come to me in the silence of the night;Come in the speaking silence of a dream;Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as brightAs sunlight on a stream;Come back in tears,O memory, hope, love of finished years.
O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,Where souls brimful of love [...]