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FROM CHILDE HAROld."
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.
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,
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;
I have outlived myself by many a day :
And for the remnant which may be to come,
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.
BERTHA IN THE LANE.
PUT the broidery-frame away,
Sister, help me to the bed,
And stand near me, dearest-sweet!
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!
At the sight of the great sky;
Through the winding hedge-rows green,
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,
I sat down beneath the beech
But the sound grew into word
As the speakers drew more near —
What you wished me not to hear.
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 !
Had he seen thee, when he swore
He would love but me alone?
Could we blame him with grave words,
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;
And now die of my own thorns,
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
Jesus, victim, comprehending
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
COME to me, O my Mother! come to me,
As a peculiar darling? Lo, the flies
O Lord, Thou doest well. I am content.
His hands of blood. Let him array himself
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,
A leper with no power but his disease.
LORD, I am weeping. As Thou wilt, O Lord,
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