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There are more guests at table, than the hosts
Invited; the illuminated hall
As silent as the pictures on the wall.
The stranger at my fireside cannot see
The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear; He but perceives what is; while unto me
All that has been is visible and clear.
We have no title-deeds to house or lands;
Owners and occupants of earlier dates
And hold in mortmain still their old estates.
The spirit-world around this world of sense
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere
A vital breath of more ethereal air.
Our little lives are kept in equipoise
By opposite attractions and desires ; The struggle of the instinct that enjoys,
And the more noble instinct that aspires.
These perturbations, this perpetual jar
Of earthly wants and aspirations high, Come from the influence of an unseen star,
An undiscovered planet in our sky.
And as the moon from some dark gate of cloud
Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light, Across whose trembling planks our fancies crowd
Into the realm of mystery and night,
So from the world of spirits there descends
A bridge of light, connecting it with this,
Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.
IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE.
N the village churchyard she lies,
Dust is in her beautiful eyes,
But their dust is white as hers.
And foolish pomp of this world of ours?
The richest and rarest of all dowers ?
Either of anger or of pride,
By those who are sleeping at her side.
To find her failings, faults, and errors ?
In your own secret sins and terrors !
THE TWO ANGELS.
"WO angels, one of Life and one of Death,
Passed o’er our village as the morning broke; The dawn was on their faces, and beneath,
The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke.
THE TWO ANGELS.
Their attitude and aspect were the same,
Alike their features and their robes of white;
And one with asphodels, like flakes of light.
I saw them pause on their celestial way;
Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, “ Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray
The place where thy beloved are at rest !”
And he who wore the crown of asphodels,
Descending, at my door began to knock, And my soul sank within me, as in wells
The waters sink before an earthquake's shock.
I recognized the nameless agony,
The terror and the tremor and the pain, That oft before had filled or haunted me,
And now returned with threefold strength again.
The door I opened to my heavenly guest,
And listened, for I thought I heard God's voice; And, knowing whatsoe'er he sent was best,
Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.
Then with a smile, that filled the house with light,
“My errand is not Death, but Life,” he said ; And ere I answered, passing out of sight,
On his celestial embassy he sped.
’T was at thy door, O friend ! and not at mine,
The angel with the amaranthine wreath, Pausing, descended, and with voice divine,
Whispered a word that had a sound like Death.
Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,
A shadow on those features fair and thin; And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,
Two angels issued, where but one went in.
All is of God! If he but wave his hand,
The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud, Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,
Lo! he looks back from the departing cloud.
Angels of Life and Death alike are his;
Without his leave they pass no threshold o'er; Who, then, would wish or dare, believing this,
Against his messengers to shut the door?
And the Poet's song again
MY LOST YOUTH,
FTEN I think of the beautiful town
That is seated by the sea ;
And my youth comes back to me.