With something like remorse, I grant
The world has beauty which I want,
And if, instead of judging it,
I at its Council chance to sit,
Or at its gay and order'd Feast,
My place is lower than the least,
The conscience of the life to be
Smites me with inefficiency,
And makes me all unfit to bless
With comfortable earthliness
The rest-desiring brain of man.
Finally, then, I fix my plan
To dwell with Him that dwells apart
In the highest heaven and lowliest heart.
Nor 'will I, to my utter loss,
Look to pluck roses from the Cross.

As for the good of human love,
"Twere countercheck almost enough
To think that one must die before
The other! and perhaps 'tis more
In love's last interest to do
Nought the least contrary thereto,
Than to be blest, and be unjust,
Or suffer injustice; as they must,
Without a miracle, whose pact
Compels to intercourse and act
In mutual aim when darkness sleeps
Cold on the spirit's changeful deeps.

Enough if, to my lonely share,
Fall gleams that keep me from despair.
Happy the things I here discern ;
More happy those for which I yearn,
But measurelessly happy above
All else are those we know not of !


DEAREST my Love and Wife, 'tis long
Ago I closed the unfinish'd Song
Which never could be finish'd ; nor
Will ever Poet utter more
Of love than I did, watching well
To lure to speech the unspeakable !
“Why, having won her, do I woo ?
That final strain to the last height flew
Of written joy, which wants the smile
And voice that are, indeed, the while
They last, the very things you speak,
Dear Honor, who mak'st music weak
With ways that say, “Shall I not be
As kind to all as Heaven to me!”
And yet, ah, twenty times my Bride,


From you soft sleeping, on this day
Of days, some words I long to say,
Some words superfluously sweet
Of fresh assurance, thus to greet
Your waking eyes, which never grow
Weary of telling what I know,
So well, yet only well enough
To wish for further news, my Love!

Here, in this latest August dawn,
By windows opening on the lawn,
Where shadows yet are sharp with night,
And sunshine seems asleep, though bright;
And, further on, the wealthy wheat
Bends in a golden drowse, how sweet
To sit, and cast my careless looks
Around my walls of well-read books,
Wherein is all that stands redeem'd
From Time's huge wreck, all men have dream'd
Of truth, and all by poets known
Of feeling, and in weak sort shown,
And, turning to my heart again,
To find therein what makes them vain,
The thanksgiving mind, which wisdom sums,
And you, whereby it freshly comes,
As on that morning, (can there be
Twenty-two years 'twixt it and me?)
When, thrilld with hopeful love, I rose
And came in haste to Sarum Close,
Past many a homestead slumbering white
In lonely and pathetic light,
Merely to fancy which drawn-blind
Of thirteen had my Love behind,
And in her sacred neighbourhood
To feel that sweet scorn of all good
But her, which let the wise forefend
When wisdom learns to comprehend.

Dearest, as each returning May
I see the season new and gay,
With new joy and astonishment,
And Nature's infinite ostent
Of lovely flowers in wood and mead
That weet not whether any heed,
So see I, daily wondering, you,
And worship with a passion new
The Heaven that visibly allows
Its grace to go about my house,
The partial Heaven that, though I err,
And mortal am, gave all to her
Who gave herself to me. Yet I
Boldly thank Heaven, (and so defy
The sackcloth sort of humbleness
Which fears God's bounty to confess,)
That I was fashion'd with a mind

So naturally it moved above
All sordid contraries of love,
Strengthen'd in youth with discipline
Of light, to follow the divine
Vision, (which ever to the dark
Is such a plague as was the ark
In Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron) still
Discerning, with the docile will
Which comes of full-persuaded thought,
That intimacy in love is nought
Without pure reverence, whereas this,
In tearfullest banishment, is bliss.

For which cause, dear Honoria, I
Have never learn'd the weary sigh
Of those that to their love-feasts went,
Fed, and forgot the Sacrament,
And not a trifle now occurs,
But sweet initiation stirs
Of new-discover'd joy, and lends
To feeling change that never ends;
And duties, which the many irk,
Are made all wages and no work.

How sing of such things save to her,
Love's self, so love's interpreter!
How the supreme rewards confess
Which crown the austere voluptuousness
Of heart, that earns, in midst of wealth,
The appetite of want and health;
Relinquishes the pomp of life
And beauty to the pleasant wife
At home, and does all joy despise
As out of place but in her eyes ?
And, ah, how tell of love that glows
The lovelier for the fading rose ?
Of weakness which can weight the arm
To lean with thrice its girlish charm ?
Of grace which, like this autumn day,
Is not the sad one of decay,
Yet one whose pale brow pondereth
The far-off majesty of death?
How tell the crowd, whom passion rends,
That love grows mild as it ascends ?
That joy's most high and distant mood
Is lost, not found, in dancing blood ?
Yet that embraces, kisses, sighs,
And all those fond realities
Which are love's words, in us mean more
Delight than twenty years before ?

Fancy how men would make their mirth Over an Epic of the Hearth, Its high, eventful passages Consisting, say, of scenes like these :

One morning, contrary to law,

Commanding either not to intrude
On the other's place of solitude,
Or solitary mind, for fear
Of coming there when God was near,
And finding so what should be known
To Him who is merciful alone,
And views the working ferment base
Of sleeping flesh and waking grace,
Not as we view, our kindness check'd
By likeness of our own defect,
I, rashly entering her room,
Beauty's at once and Virtue's loom,
Mark'd, here, across a careless chair,
A ball-dress flung, as light as air,
And here, beside a silken couch,
Pillows which did the pressure vouch
Of pious knees, (sweet piety!
Of goodness made and charity,
If gay looks told the heart's glad sense,
Much rather than of penitence,)
And, on the couch, an open book,
And written list-I did not look,
Yet just in her clear writing caught:
“ Habitual faults of life and thought
" Which most I need deliverance from.”
I turn'd aside, and saw her come
Along the filbert-shaded way,
Illustrious with her usual gay
Hypocrisy of perfectness,
Which made her heart, and mine no less,
So happy! And she cried to me,
“ You lose by breaking rules, you see !
“ Your treat to-night is now half gone
“Of seeing my new ball-dress on.”
And meeting so my lovely wife,
A passing pang to think that life
Was mortal, when I saw her laugh,
Shaped in my mind this epitaph :
“ Faults had she, child of Adam's stem,
“ But only Heaven knew of them."
Or thus :

Through female fraud intense,
Or the good luck of innocence,
Or both, my wife, with whom I plan
To spend calm evenings when I can,
After the chattering girls and boys
Are gone, or the less grateful noise
Is over, of grown tongues that chime
Untruly, once upon a time
Prevaild with me to change my mind
Of reading out how Rosalind
In Arden jested, and to go
Where people, whom I ought to know,

Who thought in secret, “I will try
“ Some dish more sharply sauced than this
“ Milk-soup men call domestic bliss,"
Took, as she, laughing, bade me take
Our eldest boy's brown Wide-awake
And straw box of cigars, and went
Where, like a careless parliament
Of gods Olympic, six or eight,
Authors and else, reputed great,
Were met in council jocular
On many things, pursuing far
Truth, only for the chace's glow,
Quick as they caught her letting go,
Or, when at fault the view-halloo,
Playing about the missing clue.
And coarse jests came, “ But gods are coarse,”
Thought I, yet not without remorse,
While memory of the gentle words,
Wife, mother, sister, flash'd like swords.
And so, after two hours of wit,
That left a hole where'er it hit,
I said I would not stay to sup,
Because my wife was sitting up,
And walk'd home with a sense that I
Was no match for that company.
Smelling of smoke, which, always kind,
Honoria said she did not mind;
I sipp'd her tea, saw baby scold,
And finger at the muslin fold,
Through which he push'd his nose at last,
And choked and chuckled, feeding fast;
And, he asleep and sent upstairs,
I rang the servants in to prayers,
And after told what men of fame
Had urged 'gainst this and that. “For shame!'
She said, but argument show'd not.
“ If I had answered thus," I thought,
“ 'Twould not have pass'd for very wise.
" But I have not her voice and eyes!
“ Howe'er it be, I'm glad of home,
“ Yea, very glad at heart to come
“ From clatter of those clever daws,
“ Profaning love, confusing laws,
To lean a happy head upon
“ The bosom of my simple swan.”
Or thus :

For many a dreadful day,
In sea-side lodgings sick she lay,
Noteless of love, nor seem'd to hear
The sea, on one side, tumbling near;
Nor, on the other, the loud Ball
Held nightly in the public hall ;
Nor vex'd they my short slumbers, though

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