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THERE is a dungeon in whose dim drear light What do I gaze on? Nothing: look again! Two forms are slowly shadowed on my sight, Two insulated phantoms of the brain : It is not so; I see them full and plain, An old man and a female young and fair, Fresh as a nursing mother, in whose vein The blood is nectar: but what doth she there, With her unmantled neck, and bosom white and bare ?

Full swells the deep pure fountain of young life, Where on the heart and from the heart we took Our first and sweetest nurture, when the wife, Blest into mother, in the innocent look, Or even the piping cry of lips that brook No pain and small suspense, a joy perceives Man knows not, when from out its cradled nook She sees her little bud put forth its leaves What may the fruit be yet? I know not- - Cain was Eve's.

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Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim

No tears, but tenderness to answer mine:

Go where I will, to me thou art the same,
A loved regret which I would not resign.
There yet are two things in my destiny,
A world to roam through, and a home with thee.

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I can reduce all feelings but this one;

And that I would not; for at length I see Such scenes as those wherein my life begun.

The earliest, even the only paths for me, Had I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun, I had been better than I now can be ; The passions which have torn me would have slept : I had not suffered, and thou hadst not wept.

With false Ambition what had I to do?

Little with Love, and least of all with Fame! And yet they came unsought, and with me grew, And made me all which they can make,―a name.

Yet this was not the end I did pursue;
Surely I once beheld a nobler aim.
But all is over; I am one the more
To baffled millions which have gone before.
And for the future, this world's future may
From me demand but little of my care;

I have outlived myself by many a day :
Having survived so many things that were;
My years have been no slumber, but the prey
Of ceaseless vigils; for I had the share
Of life which might have filled a century,
Before its fourth in time had passed me by.

And for the remnant which may be to come,
I am content; and for the past I feel
Not thankless, for within the crowded sum
Of struggles, happiness at times would steal,
And for the present, I would not benumb

My feelings farther. - Nor shall I conceal That with all this I still can look around, And worship Nature with a thought profound.

For thee, my own sweet sister, in thy heart

I know myself secure, as thou in mine : We were and are I am, even as thou art Beings who ne'er each other can resign; It is the same, together or apart,

From life's commencement to its slow decline We are intwined, let death come slow or fast, The tie which bound the first endures the last! BYRON.


PUT the broidery-frame away,
For my sewing is all done!
The last thread is used to-day,
And I need not join it on.
Though the clock stands at the noon,
I am weary! I have sewn,
Sweet, for thee, a wedding-gown.

Sister, help me to the bed,

And stand near me, dearest-sweet!
Do not shrink nor be afraid,
Blushing with a sudden heat!
No one standeth in the street!
By God's love I go to meet,

Love I thee with love complete.

Lean thy face down! drop it in

These two hands, that I may hold 'Twixt their palms thy cheek and chin, Stroking back the curls of gold. "T is a fair, fair face, in sooth, Larger eyes and redder mouth Than mine were in my first youth!

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At the sight of the great sky;
And the silence, as it stood
In the glory's golden flood,
Audibly did bud, and bud!

Through the winding hedge-rows green,
How we wandered, I and you,

With the bowery tops shut in,

And the gates that showed the view; How we talked there! thrushes soft Sang our pauses out, or oft

Bleatings took them from the croft.

Till the pleasure, grown too strong,
Left me muter evermore;
And, the winding road being long,
I walked out of sight, before;
And so, wrapt in musings fond,
Issued (past the wayside pond)
On the meadow-lands beyond.

I sat down beneath the beech
Which leans over to the lane,
And the far sound of your speech
Did not promise any pain;
And I blessed you, full and free,
With a smile stooped tenderly
O'er the May-flowers on my knee.

But the sound grew into word

As the speakers drew more near —
Sweet, forgive me that I heard

What you wished me not to hear.
Do not weep so, do not shake-
O, I heard thee, Bertha, make
Good true answers for my sake.

Yes, and he too! let him stand

In thy thoughts, untouched by blame. Could he help it, if my hand

He had claimed with hasty claim !
That was wrong perhaps, but then
Such things be- and will, again!
Women cannot judge for men.

Had he seen thee, when he swore

He would love but me alone?
Thou wert absent, sent before
To our kin in Sidmouth town.
When he saw thee, who art best
Past compare, and loveliest,
He but judged thee as the rest.

Could we blame him with grave words,
Thou and I, dear, if we might?
Thy brown eyes have looks like birds
Flying straightway to the light;
Mine are older. Hush! - look out
Up the street! Is none without?
How the poplar swings about!

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I like May-bloom on thorn-tree, Thou like merry summer-bee! Fit, that I be plucked for thee.

Yet who plucks me?-no one mourns;
I have lived my season out,

And now die of my own thorns,
Which I could not live without.
Sweet, be merry! How the light
Comes and goes! If it be night,
Keep the candles in my sight.

Are there footsteps at the door?

Look out quickly. Yea, or nay? Some one might be waiting for Some last word that I might say. Nay? So best! - So angels would Stand off clear from deathly road, Not to cross the sight of God.

Colder grow my hands and feet,

When I wear the shroud I made, Let the folds lie straight and neat, And the rosemary be spread, That if any friend should come, (To see thee, sweet!) all the room May be lifted out of gloom.

And, dear Bertha, let me keep

On my hand this little ring, Which at nights, when others sleep, I can still see glittering.

Let me wear it out of sight,

In the grave, - where it will light
All the dark up, day and night.

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Jesus, victim, comprehending
Love's divine self-abnegation,
Cleanse my love in its self-spending,
And absorb the poor libation!
Wind my thread of life up higher,
Up through angels' hands of fire!
I aspire while I expire !—



COME to me, O my Mother! come to me,
Thine own son slowly dying far away!
Through the moist ways of the wide ocean, blown
By great invisible winds, come stately ships
To this calm bay for quiet anchorage;
They come, they rest awhile, they go away,
But, O my Mother, never comest thou !

As a peculiar darling? Lo, the flies
Hum o'er him! Lo, a feather from the crow
Falls in his parted lips! Lo, his dead eyes
See not the raven! Lo, the worm, the worm
Creeps from his festering corse! My God! my

O Lord, Thou doest well. I am content.
If Thou have need of him he shall not stay.
But as one calleth to a servant, saying
"At such a time be with me," so, O Lord,
Call him to Thee! O, bid him not in haste
Straight whence he standeth. Let him lay aside
The soiléd tools of labor. Let him wash

His hands of blood. Let him array himself
Meet for his Lord, pure from the sweat and fume
Of corporal travail ! Lord, if he must die,
Let him die here. O, take him where Thou gavest!
And even as once I held him in my womb

The snow is round thy dwelling, the white snow, Till all things were fulfilled, and he came forth,

That cold soft revelation pure as light,
And the pine-spire is mystically fringed,
Laced with incrusted silver. Here-ah me!
The winter is decrepit, underborn,

A leper with no power but his disease.


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LORD, I am weeping. As Thou wilt, O Lord,
Do with him as Thou wilt; but O my God,
Let him come back to die! Let not the fowls
O' the air defile the body of my child,
My own fair child, that when he was a babe,
I lift up in my arms and gave to Thee!
Let not his garment, Lord, be vilely parted,
Nor the fine linen which these hands have spun
Fall to the stranger's lot! Shall the wild bird,
That would have pilfered of the ox, this year
Disdain the pens and stalls? Shall her blind


That on the fleck and moult of brutish beasts Had been too happy, sleep in cloth of gold Whereof each thread is to this beating heart

So, O Lord, let me hold him in my grave
Till the time come, and Thou, who settest when
The hinds shall calve, ordain a better birth;
And as I looked and saw my son, and wept
For joy, I look again and see my son,
And weep again for joy of him and Thee!



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