Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

Therefore, great heart, bear up I thou

art but type Of what all lofty spirits endure, that

fain Would win men back to strength and

peace through love: Each hath his lonely peak, and on each

heart Envy, or scorn, or hatred, tears lifelong With vulture beak; yet the high soul

is left; And faith, which is but hope grown

wise ; and love And patience, which at last shall over

come. 1843.

seem

SONG.

False thought I most false ! for how

could I endure These crawling centuries of lonely woe Unshamed by weak complaining, but

for thee, Loneliest, save me, of all created things, Mild-eyed Astarte, my best comforter, With thy pale smile of sad benignity?

Year after year will pass away and To me, in mine eternal agony, But as the shadows of dumb summer

clouds, Which I have watched so often darken

ing o'er The vast Sarmatian plain, league-wide

at first, But, with still swiftness, lessening on

and on Till cloud and shadow meet and mingle

where The gray horizon fades into the sky, Far, far to northward. Yes, for ages

yet Must I lie here upon my altar huge, A sacrifice for man. Sorrow will be As it hath been, his portion; endless

doom, While the immortal with the mortal

linked Dreams of its wings and pines for what

it dreams, With upward yearn unceasing. Better For wisdom is meek sorrow's patient

child, And empire over self, and all the

deep Strong charities that make men seem

like gods ; And love, that makes them be gods,

from her breasts Sucks in the milk that makes mankind

one blood. Good never comes unmixed, or so it

seems, Having two faces, as some images Are carved, of foolish gods; one face

is ill; But one heart lies beneath, and that is

good, As are all hearts, when we explore their

depths.

SO:

VIOLET ! sweet violet :
Thine eyes are full of tears ;

Are they wet

Even yet
With the thought of other years?
Or with gladness are they full,
For the night so beautiful,
And longing for those far-off spheres?

Loved one of my youth thou wast,
Of my merry youth,

And I see,

Tearfully,
All the fair and sunny past,
All its openness and truth,
Ever fresh and green in thee
As the moss is in the sea.

Thy little heart, that hath with love
Grown colored like the sky above,
On which thou lookest ever, —

Can it know

All the woe
Of hope for what returneth never,
All the sorrow and the longing,
To these hearts of ours belonging ?
Out on it I no foolish pining

For the sky

Dims thine eye, Or for the stars so calmly shining; Like thee let this soul of mine Take hue from that wherefor I long,

Self-stayed and high, serene and strong, Not satisfied with

hoping - but divine. Violet ! dear violet ! Thy blue eyes are only wet With joy and love of Him who sent thee, And for the fulfilling sense Of that glad obedience Which made thee all that Nature meant

thee! 1841.

Gazing upon me, Rosaline !
There is no sorrow in thine eyes,
But evermore that meek surprise,
O God I thy gentle spirit tries
To deem me guiltless, Rosaline !

Above thy grave the robin sings,
And swarms of bright and happy things
Flit all about with sunlit wings,
But I am cheerless, Rosaline !
The violets on the hillock toss,
The gravestone is o'ergrown with moss;
For nature feels not any loss,
But I am cheerless, Rosaline !

ROSALINE.

I did not know when thou wast dead;
A blackbird whistling overhead
Thrilled through my brain; I would

have fled,
But dared not leave thee, Rosaline !
The sun rolled down, and very soon,
Like a great fire, the awful moon
Rose, stained with blood, and then a

Swoon
Crept chilly o'er me, Rosaline !

my

Thou look'dst on me all yesternight.
Thine eyes were blue, thy hair was bright
As when we murmured our troth-plight
Beneath the thick stars, Rosaline !
Thy hair was braided on thy head,
As on the day we two were wed,
Mine eyes scarce knew if thou wert

dead,
But shrunk heart knew, Rosaline !
Thedeath-watch ticked behind the wall,
The blackness rustled like a pall,
The moaning wind did rise and fall
Among the bleak pines, Rosaline !
My heart beat thickly in mine ears :
The lids may shut out fleshly fears,
But still the spirit sees and hears,
Its eyes are lidless, Rosaline !
A wildness rushing suddenly,
A knowing some ill shape is nigh,
A wish for death, a fear to die,
Is nut this vengeance, Rosaline?
A loneliness that is not lone,
A love quite withered gone,
A strong soultrampled from its throne,
What wouldst thou further, Rosaline?
'Tis drear such moonless nightsas these,
Strange sounds are out upon the breeze,
And the leaves shiver in the trees,
And then thou comest, Rosaline !
I seem to hear the mourners go,
With long black garments trailing slow,
And plumes anodding to and fro,
As once I heard them, Rosaline !
Thy shroud is all of snowy white,
And, in the middle of the night,
Thou standest moveless and upright,

up and

The stars came out; and, one by one,
Each angel from his silver throne
Looked down and saw what I had done :
I dared not hide me, Rosaline !
I crouched; Ifeared thy corpse would cry
Against me to God's quiet sky,
I thought I saw the blue lips try
To utter something, Rosaline !
I waited with a maddened grin
To hear that voice all icy thin
Slide forth and tell my deadly sin
To hell and heaven, Rosaline !
But no voice came, and then it seemed,
That, if the very corpse had screamed,
The sound like sunshine glad had

streamed
Through that dark stillness, Rosaline !
And then, amid the silent night,
I screamed with horrible delight,
And in my brain an awful light
Did seem to crackle, Rosaline !
It is my curse ! sweet memories fall
From me like snow, - and only all
Of that one night, like cold worms, crawl
My doomed heart over, Rosaline !

Why wilt thou haunt me with thineeyes,
Wherein such blessed memories,
Such pitying forgiveness lies,
Than hate more bitter, Rosaline?
Woe 's me! I know that love so high
As thine, true soul, could never die,
And with mean clayin churchyardlie, –
Would it might be so, Rosaline !

1841.

For, in mere weeds, and stones, and

springs, He found a healing power profuse. Men granted that his speech was wise,

But, when a glance they caught Of his slim grace and woman's eyes, They laughed, and called him good-for

naught. Vet after he was dead and gone,

And e'en his memory dim,
Earth seemed more sweet to live upon,
More full of love, because of him.
And day by day more holy grew

Each spot where he had trod,
Till after-poets only knew
Their first-born brother as a god.

1842.

THE SHEPHERD OF KING

ADMETUS.

THE TOKEN.

THERE came a youth upon the earth,

Some thousand years ago, Whose slender hands were nothing

worth, Whether to plough, or reap, or sow. Upon an empty tortoise-shell

He stretched some chords, and drew Music that made men's bosoms swell Fearless, or brimmed their eyes with

dew. Then King Admetus, one who had

Pure taste by right divine, Decreed his singing not too bad To hear between the cups of wine : And so, well pleased with being soothed

Into a sweet half-sleep, Three times his kingly beard he

smoothed, And made him viceroy o'er his sheep. His words were simple words enough,

And yet he used them so, That what in other mouths was rough In his seemed musical and low. Men called him but a shiftless youth,

In whom no good they saw; And yet, unwittingly, in truth, They made his careless words their law. They knew not how he learned at all,

For idly, hour by hour, He sat and watched the dead leaves fall, Or mused upon a common flower. It seemed the loveliness of things

Did teach him all their use,

It is a mere wild rosebud,

Quite sallow now, and dry, Yet there 's something wondrousin it,

Some gleams of days gone by, Dear sights and sounds that are to me The very moons of memory, And stir my heart's blood far below Its short-lived waves of joy and woe. Lips must fade and roses wither,

All sweet times be o'er, They only smile, and, murmuring

“Thither!” Stay with us no more : And yet ofttimes a look or smile, Forgotten in a kiss's while, Years after from the dark will start, And flash across the trembling heart. Thou hast given me many roses,

But never one, like this, O'erfloods both sense and spirit

With such a deep, wild bliss; We must have instincts that glean up Sparse drops of this life in the cup, Whose taste shall give us all that we Can prove of immortality. Earth's stablest things are shadows,

And, in the life to come

[blocks in formation]

The slothful down of pampered igno

rance, Found in it even a moment's fitful rest.

Till from the poet's tongue the message

rolls A blessing to his kind. Never did Poesy appear

So full of heaven to me, as when
I saw how it would pierce through pride

and fear
To the lives of coarsest men.

It may be glorious to write
Thoughts that shall glad the two or

three High souls, like those far stars that

come in sight Once in a century; But better far it is to speak

One simple word, which now and then Shall waken their free nature in the

weak
And friendless sons of men ;

use

To write some earnest verse or line, Which, seeking not the praise of art, Shall make a clearer faith and manhood

shine
In the untutored heart.

He who doth this, in verse or prose,

May be forgotten in his day,
But surely shall be crowned at last with

those
Who live and speak for aye.
1842.

There is an instinct in the human

heart Which makes that all the fables it hath

coined, To justify the reign of its belief And strengthen it by beauty's right

divine, Veil in their inner cells a mystic gift, Which, like the hazel twig, in faithful

hands, Points surely to the hidden springs of

truth. For, as in nature naught is made in

vain, But all things have within their hull of A wisdom and a meaning which may

speak Of spiritual secrets to the ear Of spirit; so, in whatsoe'er the heart Hath fashioned for a solace to itself, To make its inspirations suit its creed, And from the niggard hands of false

hood wring Its needful food of truth, there ever is A sympathy with Nature, which re

veals, Not less than her own works, pure

gleams of light And earnest parables of inward lore. Hear now this fairy legend of old

Greece, As full of freedom, youth, and beauty

still As the imınortal freshness of that grace Carved for all ages on some Attic frieze. A youth named Rhæcus, wandering

in the wood, Saw an old oak just trembling to its

fall, And, feeling pity of so fair a tree, He propped its gray trunk with admir

ing care, And with a thoughtless footstep loitered But, as he turned, he heard a voice be

hind That murmured “Rhæcus ' " 'T was

as if the leaves,

RHECUS. God sends his teachers unto every age, To every clime, and every race of men, With revelations fitted to their growth And shape of mind, nor gives the realm

of Truth Into the selfish rule of one sole race: Therefore each form of worship that

hath swayed The life of man, and given it to grasp The master-key of knowledge, rever

ence, Infolds some germs of goodness and

of right; Else never had the eager soul, which

loathes

on,

« ElőzőTovább »