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VI.

Could ye, “ We loved her once' Say cold of me when further put away

In earth's sepulchral clay,
When mute the lips which deprecate to-day?
Not so ! not then-least then! When life is shriven

And death's full joy is given,-
Of those who sit and love you up in heaven,

Say not, “We loved them once.'

VII.
Say never, ye loved ONCE :
God is too near above, the grave, beneath,

And all our moments breathe
Too quick in mysteries of life and death,
For such a word. The eternities avenge

Affections light of range.
There comes no change to justify that change,

Whatever comes—Loved ONCE!

VIII.

And yet that same word ONCE Is humanly acceptive. Kings have said

Shaking a discrowned head, “We ruled once,'—dotards, “We once taught and led," Cripples once danced i' the vines, and bards approved,

Were once by scornings moved: But love strikes one hour-LOVE! those never loved

Who dream that they loved ONCE.

THE HOUSE OF CLOUDS.

I.
I would build a cloudy House

For my thoughts to live in,
When for earth too fancy-loose,

And too low for heaven:
Hush! I talk my dream aloud,

I build it bright to see,
I build it on the moonlit cloud

To which I looked with thee.

Cloud-walls of the morning's grey,

Faced with amber column, Crowned with crimson cupola

From a sunset solemn : May-mists, for the casements, fetch,

Pale and glimmering, With a sunbeam hid in each

And a smell of spring.

III.

Build the entrance high and proud,

Darkening and then brightening, Of a riven thunder-cloud,

Veinëd by the lightning: Use one with an iris-stain

For the door so thin, Turning to a sound like rain

As I enter in.

IV.

Build a spacious hall thereby

Boldly, never fearing ;
Use the blue place of the sky

Which the wind is clearing :
Branched with corridors sublime,

Flecked with winding stairs, Such as children wish to climb

Following their own prayers.

v. In the mutest of the house,

I will have my chamber; Silence at the door shall use

Evening's light of amber, Solemnizing every mood,

Softening in degree, Turning sadness into good

As I turn the key.

VI.
Be my chamber tapestried

With the showers of summer,
Close, but soundless, glorified

When the sunbeams come hereWandering harpers, harping on

Waters stringed for such, Drawing colour, for a tune,

With a vibrant touch.

VII

Bring a shadow green and still

From the chestnut-forest,
Bring a purple from the hill,

When the heat is sorest;
Spread them out from wall to wall,

Carpet-wove around,
Whereupon the foot shall fall

In light instead of sound.

TIII

Bring fantastic cloudlets home

From the noontide zenith, Ranged for sculptures round the room,

Named as Fancy weeneth ; Some be Junos, without eyes,

Naiads, without sources, Some be birds of paradise,

Some, Olympian horses.

IX.
Bring the dews the birds shake off

Waking in the hedges, -
Those too, perfumed for a proof,

From the lilies' edges :
From our England's field and moor,

Bring them calm and white in, Whence to form a mirror pure

For Love's self-delighting.

Bring a grey cloud from the east

Where the lark is singing, (Something of the song at least

Unlost in the bringing): That shall be a morning-chair,

Poet-dream may sit in When it leans out on the air,

Unrhymed and unwritten.

XI.

Bring the red cloud from the sun,

While he sinketh catch it; That shall be a couch,—with one

Sidelong star to watch it, Fit for Poet's finest thought

At the curfew-sounding; Things unseen being nearer brought

Than the seen, around him.

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