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by [?]



Far ‘yond this narrow parapet of Time,
With eyes uplift, the poet’s soul should look
Into the Endless Promise, nor should brook
One prying doubt to shake his faith sublime;
To him the earth is ever in her prime
And dewiness of morning; he can see
Good lying hid, from all eternity,
Within the teeming womb of sin and crime;
His soul should not be cramped by any bar,
His nobleness should be so Godlike high,
That his least deed is perfect as a star,
His common look majestic as the sky,
And all o’erflooded with a light from far,
Undimmed by clouds of weak mortality.



Mary, since first I knew thee, to this hour,
My love hath deepened, with my wiser sense
Of what in Woman is to reverence;
Thy clear heart, fresh as e’er was forest-flower,
Still opens more to me its beauteous dower;–
But let praise hush,–Love asks no evidence
To prove itself well-placed: we know not whence
It gleans the straws that thatch its humble bower:
We can but say we found it in the heart,
Spring of all sweetest thoughts, arch foe of blame,
Sower of flowers in the dusty mart,
Pure vestal of the poet’s holy flame,–
This is enough, and we have done our part
If we but keep it spotless as it came.


Our love is not a fading, earthly flower:
Its winged seed dropped down from Paradise,
And, nursed by day and night, by sun and shower,
Doth momently to fresher beauty rise:
To us the leafless autumn is not bare,
Nor winter’s rattling boughs lack lusty green.
Our summer hearts make summer’s fulness, where
No leaf, or bud, or blossom may be seen:
For nature’s life in love’s deep life doth lie,
Love,–whose forgetfulness is beauty’s death,
Whose mystic key these cells of Thou and I
Into the infinite freedom openeth,
And makes the body’s dark and narrow grate
The wide-flung leaves of Heaven’s own palace-gate.



These rugged, wintry days I scarce could bear,
Did I not know that, in the early spring,
When wild March winds upon their errands sing,
Thou wouldst return, bursting on this still air,
Like those same winds, when, startled from their lair,
They hunt up violets, and free swift brooks
From icy cares, even as thy clear looks
Bid my heart bloom, and sing, and break all care;
When drops with welcome rain the April day,
My flowers shall find their April in thine eyes,
Save there the rain in dreamy clouds doth stay,
As loath to fall out of those happy skies;
Yet sure, my love, thou art most like to May,
That comes with steady sun when April dies.



He stood upon the world’s broad threshold; wide
The din of tattle and of slaughter rose;
He saw God stand upon the weaker side,
That sank in seeming loss before its foes:
Many there were who made great haste and sold
Unto the cunning enemy their swords,
He scorned their gifts of fame, and power, and gold,
And, underneath their soft and flowery words,
Heard the cold serpent hiss; therefore he went
And humbly joined him to the weaker part,
Fanatic named, and fool, yet well content
So he could he the nearer to God’s heart,
And feel its solemn pulses sending blood
Through all the widespread veins of endless good.



They pass me by like shadows, crowds on crowds,
Dim ghosts of men, that hover to and fro,
Hugging their bodies round them like thin shrouds
Wherein their souls were buried long ago:
They trampled on their youth, and faith, and love,
They cast their hope of human kind away,
With Heaven’s clear messages they madly strove,
And conquered,–and their spirits turned to clay:
Lo! how they wander round the world, their grave,
Whose ever-gaping maw by such is fed,
Gibbering at living men, and idly rave,
‘We only truly live, but ye are dead.’
Alas! poor fools, the anointed eye may trace
A dead soul’s epitaph in every face!