I leave behind me the elm-shadowed square
And carven portals of the silent street,
And wander on with listless, vagrant feet
Through seaward-leading alleys, till the air
Smells of the sea, and straightway then the care
Slips from my heart, and life once more is sweet.
At the lane’s ending lie the white-winged fleet.
O restless Fancy, whither wouldst thou fare?
Here are brave pinions that shall take thee far —
Gaunt hulks of Norway; ships of red Ceylon;
Slim-masted lovers of the blue Azores!
‘Tis but an instant hence to Zanzibar,
Or to the regions of the Midnight Sun;
Ionian isles are thine, and all the fairy shores!
A woman is a foreign land,
Of which, though there he settle young,
A man will ne’er quite understand
The customs, politics, and tongue.
The foolish hie them post-haste through,
See fashions odd, and prospects fair,
Learn of the language, "How d’ye do,"
And go and brag they have been there.
The most for leave to trade apply,
For once, at Empire’s seat, her heart,
Then get what knowledge ear and eye
Glean chancewise in the life-long mart.
And certain others, few and fit,
Attach them to the Court, and see
The Country’s best, its accent hit,
And partly sound its polity.
When to oft sleep we give ourselves away,
And in a dream as in a fairy bark
Drift on and on through the enchanted dark
To purple daybreak — little thought we pay
To that sweet bitter world we know by day.
We are clean quit of it, as is a lark
So high in heaven no human eye can mark
The thin swift pinion cleaving through the gray.
Till we awake ill fate can do no ill,
The resting heart shall not take up again
The heavy load that yet must make it bleed;
For this brief space the loud world’s voice is still,
No faintest echo of it brings us pain.
How will it be when we shall sleep indeed?
My enemy came nigh,
Stared fiercely in his face.
My lips went writhing back in a grimace,
And stern I watched him with a narrow eye.
Then, as I turned away, my enemy,
That bitter heart and savage, said to me:
"Some day, when this is past,
When all the arrows that we have are cast,
We may ask one another why we hate,
And fail to find a story to relate.
It may seem then to us a mystery
That we should hate each other."
Thus said he,
And did not turn away,
Waiting to hear what I might have to say,
But I fled quickly, fearing had I stayed
I might have kissed him as I would a maid.
You by the Arno shape your marble dream,
Under the cypress and the olive trees,
While I, this side the wild wind-beaten seas,
Unrestful by the Charles’s placid stream,
Long once again to catch the golden gleam
Of Brunelleschi’s dome, and lounge at ease
In those pleached gardens and fair galleries.
And yet perchance you envy me, and deem
My star the happier, since it holds me here.
Even so one time, beneath the cypresses,
My heart turned longingly across the sea
To these familiar fields and woodlands dear,
And I had given all Titian’s goddesses
For one poor cowslip or anemone.
WE have been friends together,
In sunshine and in shade;
Since first beneath the chestnut-trees
In infancy we played.
But coldness dwells within thy heart,
A cloud is on thy brow;
We have been friends together—
Shall a light word part us now?
We have been gay together;
We have laugh’d at little jests;
For the fount of hope was gushing
Warm and joyous in our breasts.
But laughter now hath fled thy lip,
And sullen glooms thy brow;
We have been gay together—
Shall a light word part us now?
We have been sad together,
We have wept, with bitter tears,
O’er the grass-grown graves, where slumber’d
The hopes of early years.
The voices which are silent there
Would bid thee clear thy brow;
We have been sad together—
Oh! what shall part us now?
My little Son, who look’d from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey’d,
I struck him, and dismiss’d
With hard words and unkiss’d,
—His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darken’d eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a red-vein’d stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray’d
To God, I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And Thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
Thou’lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
‘I will be sorry for their childishness.’
LOVE not, love not! ye hapless sons of clay!
Hope’s gayest wreaths are made of earthly flowers—
Things that are made to fade and fall away
Ere they have blossom’d for a few short hours.
Love not! the thing ye love may change:
The rosy lip may cease to smile on you,
The kindly-beaming eye grow cold and strange,
The heart still warmly beat, yet not be true.
Love not! the thing you love may die,
May perish from the gay and gladsome earth;
The silent stars, the blue and smiling sky,
Beam o’er its grave, as once upon its birth.
Love not! oh warning vainly said
In present hours as in the years gone by;
Love flings a halo round the dear ones’ head,
Faultless, immortal, till they change or die,
AH, sad are they who know not love,
But, far from passion’s tears and smiles,
Drift down a moonless sea, beyond
The silvery coasts of fairy isles.
And sadder they whose longing lips
Kiss empty air, and never touch
The dear warm mouth of those they love —
Waiting, wasting, suffering much.
But clear as amber, fine as musk,
Is life to those who, pilgrim-wise,
Move hand in hand from dawn to dusk,
Each morning nearer Paradise.
Ah, not for them shall angels pray!
They stand in everlasting light,
They walk in Allah’s smile by day,
And slumber in his heart by night.
First, two white arms that held him very close,
And ever closer as he drew him back
Reluctantly, the loose gold-colored hair
A thousand delicate fibers reaching out
Still to detain him; then some twenty steps
Of iron staircse winding round and down,
And ending in a narrow gallery hung
With Gobelin tapestries–Andromeda
Rescued by Perseus, and the sleek Diana
With her nymphs bathing; at the farther end
A door that gave upon a starlit grove
Of citron and clipt palm-trees; then a path
As bleached as moonlight, with the shadow of leaves
Stamped black upon it; next a vine-clad length
Of solid masonry; and last of all
A Gothic archway packed with night, and then–
A sudden gleaming dagger through his heart.
Touched with the delicate green of early May,
Or later, when the rose uplifts her face,
The world hangs glittering in starry space,
Fresh as a jewel found but yesterday.
And yet ’tis very old; what tongue may say
How old it is? Race follows upon race,
Forgetting and forgotten; in their place
Sink tower and temple; nothing long may stay.
We build on tombs, and live our day, and die;
From out our dust new towers and temples start;
Our very name becomes a mystery.
What cities no man ever heard of lie
Under the glacier, in the mountain’s heart,
In violet glooms beneath the moaning sea!