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"Oh, I'm not hired by the Councilmen

ROBERT BRIDGES To cleanse the statues here:

(1844I do this one as a self-willed duty, Not as paid to,

SO SWEET LOVE SEEMED Or at all made to,

(1894) But because the doing is dear.”

So sweet love seemed that April morn,

When first we kissed beside the thorn, Ah, then I hail you brother and friend, - So strangely sweet, it was not strange Liberty's knight divine!

We thought that love could never change. What you have done would have been my

doing, Yea, most verily,

But I can tell — let truth be told Well, and thoroughly,

That love will change in growing old;

35 Had but your courage been mine!

Though day by day is nought to see,
So delicate his motions be.

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The sickness of desire, that in dark days
Looks on the imagination of despair,
Forgetteth man, and stinteth God his

Nor but in sleep findeth a cure for care.
Incertainty that once gave scope to dream
Of laughing enterprise and glory untold, 6
Is now a blackness that no stars redeem,
A wall of terror in a night of cold.
Fool! thou that hast impossibly desired
And now impatiently despairest,
How nought is changed: Joy's wisdom is

Splendid for others' eyes if not for thee:
Not love or beauty or youth from earth is

fled; If they delight thee not, 'tis thou art dead.



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When is the Muse most lustily acclaimed? When she in paths not native goes astray, There to disown her record if she may, Deny her lineage, turn as one ashamed From all she was, and all that once was

famed To be her realm and birthright. Yet to

day, Her need is rather to retrace her way To where of old her steadfast signal

Thence counting it her glory to bestow
On man the things he is poor in,

Life spawns for ever with a rank excess;
To teach him beauty and not ugliness,
The upward not the downward truth; and

Passion's crater yearning,
Troy the ever-burning,
Shelley's lustral pyre;
Dragon-eyes, unsleeping,
Witches' cauldrons leaping,
Golden galleys sweeping
Out from sea-walled Tyre:
Fancies, fugitive and fair,
Flashed with singing through the air
Till, dazzled by the drowsy glare,
I shut my eyes to heat and light; 25
And saw, in sudden night,
Crouched in the dripping dark,
With steaming shoulders stark,
The man who hews the coal to feed my





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FIRES (Proem of Fires, 1910-11)


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All day beneath the bleak, indifferent skies,
Broken and blind, a shivering bag of bones,
He trudges over icy paving-stones,
And "Matches! Matches! Matches!

Matches !” cries.




And now beneath the dismal, dripping

night, And shadowed by a deeper night, he

stands: And yet he holds within his palsied hands Quick fire enough to set his world alight.

"Eva!" - each syllable Light as a flower fell – "Eva!" he whispered the Wondering maid: Soft as a bubble sung Out of a linnet's lung, Soft and most silverly "Eva!” he said. Picture that orchard sprite, Eve, with her body white, Supple and smooth to her Slim finger tips, – Wondering, listening, Listening, wondering, Eve with a berry Half-way to her lips. Oh had our simple Eve Seen through the make-believe! Had she but known the Pretender he was! – Out of the boughs he came, Whispering still her name, Tumbling in twenty rings Into the grass. Here was the strangest pair In the world anywhere, — Eve in the bells and grass Kneeling, and he Telling his story low ... Singing birds saw them go Down the dark path to The Blasphemous Tree. Oh what a clatter when Titmouse and Jenny Wren Saw him successful and Taking his leave! How the birds rated him, How they all hated him! How they all pitied Poor motherless Eve! Picture her crying Outside in the lane, Eve, with no dish of sweet Berries and plums to eat, Haunting the gate of the Orchard in vain ...



(1879 )

EVE (1913)


Eve, with her basket, was
Deep in the bells and grass,
Wading in bells and grass
Up to her knees,
Picking a dish of sweet
Berries and plums to eat,
Down in the bells and grass
Under the trees.




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PEACE (1914)

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To turn,

HEAVEN (c. 1913)

Now, God be thanked Who has matched

us with His hour, And caught our youth, and wakened us

from sleeping!
With hand made sure,


and sharpened power,

as swimmers into cleanness leaping, Glad from a world grown old and cold and weary;

5 Leave the sick hearts that honor could

not move, And half-men, and their dirty songs and

dreary, And all the little emptiness of love! Oh! we, who have known shame, we have

found release there, Where there's no ill, no grief, but sleep

has mending, Naught broken save this body, lost but

breath; Nothing to shake the laughing heart's long

peace there, But only agony, and that has ending; And the worst friend and enemy. is but





Fish (Ay-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat’ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and

Pond, -
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! — Death eddies near -
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time,
Is wetter water, slimier slime !
And there (they trust) there swimmeth

One Who swam ere rivers were begun, Immense, of fishy form and mind, Squamous, omnipotent, and kind; And under that Almighty Fin, The littlest fish may enter in. Oh! never Aly conceals a hook, Fish say, in the Eternal Brook; But more than mundane weeds are there, And mud, celestially fair; Fat caterpillars drift around, And Paradisal grubs are found, Unfading moths, immortal Aies, And the worm that never dies. And in that Heaven of all their wish, There shall be no more land, say fish.





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