Want gave tongue, and, at her howl,
Sin awakened with a growl.
Ah, poor girl ! she had a right
To a blessing from the light,
Title-deeds to sky and earth
God gave to her at her birth,
But, before they were enjoyed,
Poverty had made them void,
And had drunk the sunshine up
From all nature's ample cup,
Leaving her a first-born's share
In the dregs of darkness there.
Often, on the sidewalk bleak,
Hungry, all alone, and weak,
She has seen, in night and storm,
Rooms o'erflow with firelight warm,
Which, outside the window-glass,
l'oubled all the cold, alas !
Till each ray that on her fell
Stabbed her like an icicle,
And she almost loved the wail
Of the bloodhounds on her trail.
Till the floor becomes her bier,
She shall feel their pantings near,
Close upon her very heels,
Spite of all the din of wheels ;
Shivering on her pallet poor,
She shall hear them at the door
Whine and scratch to be let
Sister bloodhounds, Want and Sin!
Hark! that rustle of a dress,
Stiff with lavish costliness!
Here comes one whose cheek would

But to have her garment brush
'Gainst the girl whose fingers thin
Wove the weary broidery in,
Bending backward from her toil,
Lest her tears the silk might soil,
And, in midnight's chill and murk,
Stitched her life into the work,
Shaping from her bitter thought
Heart's-ease and forget-me-not,
Satirizing her despair
With the emblems woven there.
Little doth the wearer heed
Of the heart-break in the brede ;
A hyena by her side
Skulks, down-looking, - it is Pride.
He digs for her in the earth,
Where lie all her claims of birth,
With his foul paws rooting o'er
Some long-buried ancestor,

Who, perhaps, a statue won
By the ill deeds he had done,
By the innocent blood he shed,
By the desolation spread
Over happy villages,
Blotting out the smile of peace.
There walks Judas, he who sold
Yesterday his Lord for gold,
Sold God's presence in his heart
For a proud step in the mart;
He hath dealt in flesh and blood, –
At the bank his name is good,
At the bank, and only there,
"T is a marketable ware.
In his eyes that stealthy gleam
Was not learned of sky or stream,
But it has the cold, hard glint
Of new dollars from the mint.
Open now your spirit's eyes,
Look through that poor clay disguise
Which has thickened, day by day,
Till it keeps all light at bay,
And his soul in pitchy gloom
Gropes about its narrow tomb,
From whose dank and slimy walls
Drop by drop the horror falls.
Look! a serpent lank and cold
Hugs his spirit fold on fold ;
From his heart, all day and night,
It doth suck God's blessed light.
Drink it will, and drink it must,
Till the cup holds naught but dust;
All day long he hears it hiss,
Writhing in its fiendish bliss ;
All night long he sees its eyes
Flicker with foul ecstasies,
As the spirit ebbs away
Into the absorbing clay.
Who is he that skulks, afraid
Of the trust he has betrayed,
Shuddering if perchance a gleam
Of old nobleness should stream
Through the pent, unwholesome room,
Where his shrunk soul cowers in

Spirit sad beyond the rest
By more instinct for the best?
'Tis a poet who was sent
For a bad world's punishment,
By compelling it to see
Golden glimpses of To Be,
By compelling it to hear

And, not seldom blown to flame, Vindicate its ancient claim.



Songs that prove the angels near ;
Who was sent to be the tongue
Of the weak and spirit-wrung,
Whence the fiery-winged Despair
In men's shrinking eyes mighi flare.
"T is our hope doth fashion us
To base use or glorious :
He who might have been a lark
Of Truth's morning, from the dark
Raining down melodious hope
Of a freer, broader scope,
Aspirations, prophecies,
Of the spirit's full sunrise,
Chose to be a bird of night,
Which, with eyes refusing light,
Hooted from some hollow tree
Of the world's idolatry.
'T is his punishment to hear
Flutterings of pinions near,
And his own vain wings to feel
Drooping downward to his heel,
All their grace and import lost,
Burdening, his weary ghost :
Ever walking by his side
He must see his angel guide,
Who at intervals doth turn
Looks on him so sadly stern,
With such ever-new surprise
Of hushed anguish in her eyes,
That it seems the light of day
J'rom around him shrinks away,
Or drops blunted from the wall
Built around him by his fall.
Then the mountains, whose white peaks
Catch the morning's earliest streaks,
lle must see, where prophets sit,
Turning east their faces lit,
Whence, with footsteps beautiful,
To the earth, yet dim and dull,
They the gladsome tidings bring
Of the sunlight's hastening:
Never can these hills of bliss
Be o'erclimbed by feet like his !
But enough! O, do not dare
From the next the veil to tear,
Woven of station, trade, or dress,
More obscene than nakedness,
Wherewith plausible culture drapes
Fallen Nature's myriad shapes !
Let us rather love to mark
How the unextinguished spark
Will shine through the thin disguise
Of our customs, pomps, and lies,

1. Some sort of heart I know is hers,

I chanced to feel her pulse one night; A brain she has that never errs,

And yet is never nobly right; It does not leap to great results,

But, in some corner out of sight, Suspects a spot of latent blight, And, o'er the impatient infinite, She bargains, haggles, and consults. Her eye, - it seems a chemic test

And drops upon you like an acid ; It bites you with unconscious zest,

So clear and bright, so coldly placid; It holds you quietly aloof, It holds, -- and yet it does not win

you ; It merely puts you to the proof

And sorts what qualities are in you ; It smiles, but never brings you nearer,

It lights, - her nature draws not nigh; 'Tis but that yours is growing clearer

To her assays; - yes, try and try,

You 'll get no deeper than her eye. There, you are classified : she's gone

Far, far away into herself ;
Each with its Latin label on,
Your poor components, one by one,

Are laid upon their proper shelf
In her compact and ordered mind,
And what of you is left behind
Is no more to her than the wind ;
In that clear brain, which, day and night,
No movement of the heart e'er jos-

tles, Her friends are ranged on left and

right, Here, silex, hornblende, sienite ;

There, animal remains and fossils.
And yet, O subtile analyst,

That canst each property detect
Of mood or grain, that canst untwist

Each tangled skein of intellect,
And with thy scalpel eyes lay bare

Each mental nerve

more fine than air, -O brain exact, that in thy scales Canst weigh the sun and never err,

For once thy patient science fails, One problem still defies thy art; — Thou never canst compute for her The distance and diameter

Of any simple human heart.


Hear him but speak, and you will feel

The shadows of the Portico Over your tranquil spirit steal,

To modulate all joy and woe,

To one subdued, subduing glow; Above our squabbling business-hours, Like Phidian Jove's, his beauty lowers, His nature satirizes ours;

A form and front of Attic grace,

He shanes the higgling market-place, And dwarfs our more mechanic powers. What throbbing verse can fitly render That face,

- so pure, so trembling-tender ? Sensation glimmers through its rest, It speaks unmanacled by words,

As full of motion as a nest That palpitates with unfledged birds;

'Tis likest to Bethesda's stream, Forewarned through all its thrilling

springs, White with the angel's coming gleam, And rippled with his fanning wings. Hear him unfold his plots and plans, And larger destinies seem man's; You conjure from his glowing face The omen of a fairer race; With one grand trope he boldly spans

The gulf wherein so many fall, 'Twixt possible and actual ; His first swift word, talaria-shod,

rant with conscious God, Out of the choir of planets blots The present earth with all its spots. Himself unshaken as the sky, His words, like whirlwinds, spin on high

Systems and creeds pellmell together; 'Tis strange as 10 a deaf man's eye, While trees uprooted splinter by,

The dumb turmoil of stormy weather;
Less of iconoclast than shaper,

His spirit, safe behind the reach
Of the tornado of his speech,

Burns calmly as a glowworm's tap So great in speech, but, ah! in act

So overrun with vermin troubles, The coarse, sharp-cornered, ugly fact

Of life collapses all his bubbles : Had he but lived in Plato's day,

He might, unless my fancy errs, Have shared that golden voice's sway

O'er barefooted philosophers. Our nipping climate hardly suits The ripening of ideal fruits : His theories vanquish us all summer, But winter makes him dumb and

dumber; To see him ’mid life's needful things

Is something painfully bewildering; He seems an angel with clipt wings

Tied to a mortal wife and children, And by a brother seraph taken In the act of eating eggs and bacon. Like a clear fountain, his desire

Exults and leaps toward the light, In every drop it says “ Aspire !"

Striving for more ideal height; And as the fountain, falling thence, Crawls baffled through the common

gutter, So, from his speech's eminence, He shrinks into the present tense,

Unkinged by foolish bread and butter. Yet smile not, worldling, for in deeds

Not all of life that's brave and wise is; He strews an ampler future's seeds,

'T is your fault if no harvest rises ; Smooth' back the sneer; for is it naught

That all he is and has is Beauty's? By soul the soul's gains must be

wrought, The Actual claims our coarser thought,

The Ideal hath its higher duties.



Can this be thou who, lean and pale,

With such immitigable eye Didst look upon those writhing souls in

bale, And note each vengeance, and pass by Unmoved, save when thy heart by

chance Cast backward one forbidden glance,

And saw Francesca, with child's glee, Subdue and mount thy wild-horse

knee And with proud hands control its fiery

prance? With half-drooped lids, and smooth,

round brow, And eye remote, that inly sees Fair Beatrice's spirit wandering now

In some sea luiled Hesperides,
Thou movest through the jarring street,
Secluded from the noise of feet

By her gift-blossom in thy hand,
Thy branch of palm from Holy

No trace is here of ruin's fiery sleet.
Yet there is something round thy lips

That prophesies the coming doom, The soft, gray herald-shadow ere the

eclipse Notches the perfect disk with gloom ; A something that would banish thee, And thine untamed pursuer be,

From men and their unworthy fates, Though Florence had not shut her

gates, And Grief had loosed her clutch and let

thee free. Ah ! he who follows fearlessly

The beckonings of a poet-heart Shall wander, and without the world's

decree, A banished man in field and mart; Harder than Florence' walls the bar Which with deaf sternness holds him far From home and friends, till death's

release, And makes his only prayer for peace, Like thine, scarred veteran of a lifelong

war !

Of calm and peace and deep forgetful

ness, Of folded hands, closed eyes, and heart

at rest, And slumber sound beneath a flowery

turf, Of faults forgotten, and an inner place Kept sacred for us in the heart of

friends ; But these were idle fancies, satisfied With the mere husk of this great mys

tery, And dwelling in the outward shows of

things. Heaven is not mounted to on wings of

dreams, Nor doth the unthankful happiness of

youth Aim thitherward, but floats from bloom

to bloom, With earth's warm patch of sunshine

well content: 'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladderup, Whose golden rounds are our calami

ties, Whereon our firm feet planting, nearer

God The spirit climbs, and hath its eyes un


True is it that Death's face seems stern

and cold, When he is sent to summon those we

love, But all God's angels come

to us disguised; Sorrow and sickness, poverty and death, One after other lift their frowning

masks, And we behold the seraph's face be

neath, All radiant with the glory and the calm Of having looked upon the front of

G With every anguish our earthly part The spirit's sight grows clearer; this

was meant When Jesus touched the blind man's

lids with clay. Life is the jailer, Death the angel sent To draw the unwilling bolts and set us

free. He flings not ope the ivory gate of


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For good, not gravitating earthward

yet, But circling in diviner periods, Are sent into the world, -no little thing, When this unbounded possibility Into the outer silence is withdrawn. Ah, in this world, where every guiding

thread Ends suddenly in the one sure centre,

death, The visionary hand of Might-have-been Alone can fill Desire's cup to the brim ! How changed, dear friend, are thy part

and thy child's ! He bends above thy cradle now, or

holds His warning finger out to be thy guide ; Thou art the nursling now; he watches

thee Slow learning, one by one, the secret

things Which are to him used sights of every

day ; He smiles to see thy wondering glances


Only the fallen spirit knocks at that,
But to benigner regions beckons us,
To destinies of more rewarded toil.
In the hushed chamber, sitting by the

dead, It

grates on us to hear the flood of life Whirl rustling onward, senseless of our

loss. The bee hums on; around the blos

somed vine Whirs the light humming-bird ; the

cricket chirps; The locust's shrill aiarum stings the

ear; Hard by, the cock shouts lustily; from

farm to farm, His cheery brothers, telling of the sun, Answer, till far away the joyance dies : We never knew before how God had

filled The summer air with happy living

sounds; All round us seems an overplus of life, And yet the one dear heart lies cold and

still. It is most strange, when the great mir

acle Hath for our sakes been done, when

we have had Our inwardest experience of God, When with his presence still the room

expands, And is awed after him, that naught is

changed, That Nature's face looks unacknowl

edging, And the mad world still dances heed

less on After its butterflies, and gives no sign. 'Tis hard at first to see it all aright: In vain Faith blows her trump to sum

mon back Her scattered troop: yet, through the

clouded glass Of our own bitter tears, we learn to

look Undazzled on the kindness of God's Earth is too dark, and Heaven alone

shines through. It is no little thing, when a fresh soul And a fresh heart, with their unmeas

ured scope

The grass and pebbles of the spirit

world, To thee miraculous; and he will teach Thy knees their due observances of

prayer. Children are God's apostles, day by day Sent forth to preach of love, and hope,

and peace; Nor hath thy babe his mission left vn

done. To me, at least, his going hence hath

given Serener thoughts and nearer to the

skies, And opened a new fountain in my heart For thee, my friend, and all : and 0,

if Death More near approaches meditates, and

clasps Even now some dearer, more reluctan

hand, God, strengthen thou my faith, that I

inay see That 't is thine angel, who, with loving

haste, Unto the service of the inner shrine, Doth waken thy beloved with a kiss


face ;

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