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With books, with flowers, with Angel offices, And call her hard and cold which seem'd a truth : Like creatures native unto gracious act,
And still she feard that I should lose my mind, And in their own clear element, they moved.
And often she believed that I should die:
Till out of long frustration of her care, But sadness on the soul of Ida fell,
And pensive tendance in the all-weary noons, And hatred of her weakness, blent with shame. And watches in the dead, the dark, when clocks Old studies fail'd; seldom she spoke; but oft Throbb'd thunder thro' the palace floors, or callid Clomb to the roofs, and gazed alone for hours On flying Time from all their silver tonguesOn that disastrous leaguer, swarms of men
And out of memories of her kindlier days, Darkening her female field : void was her use; And sidelong glances at my father's grief, And she as one that climbs a peak to gaze
And at the happy lovers heart in heartO'er land and main, and sees a great black cloud And out of hauntings of my spoken love, Drag inward from the deeps, a wall of night, And lonely listenings to my mutter'd dream, Blot out the slope of sea from verge to shore, And often feeling of the helpless hands, And suck the blinding splendor from the sand, And wordless broodings on the wasted cheekAnd quenching lake by lake and tarn by tarn From all a closer interest flourish'd up, Expunge the world: so fared she gazing there ; Tenderness touch by touch, and last, to these, So blacken'd all her world in secret, blank
Love, like an Alpine harebell hung with tears And waste it seem'd and vain ; till down she came, By some cold morning glacier; frail at first And found fair peace once more among the sick. And feeble, all unconscious of itself,
But such as gather'd color day by day. And twilight dawn'd; and morn by morn the lark Shot up and shrill'd in flickering gyres, but I Last I woke sane, but wellnigh close to death Lay silent in the muffled cage of life:
For weakness: it was evening: silent light And twilight gloom’d; and broader-grown the bowers Slept on the painted walls, wherein were wrought Drew the great night into themselves, and Heaven, Two grand designs: for on one side arose Star after star, arose and fell; but I,
The women up in wild revolt, and storm'd Deeper than those weird doubts could reach me, lay At the Oppian law. Titanic shapes, they cramm'd Quite sunder'd from the moving Universe,
The forum, and half-crush'd among the rest Nor knew what eye was on me, nor the hand A dwarflike Cato cower'd. On the other side That nursed me, more than infants in their sleep. Hortensia spoke against the tax; behind,
A train of dames: by axe and eagle sat, But Psyche tended Florian: with her oft
With all their foreheads drawn in Roman scowls, Melissa came; for Blanche had gone, but left And half the wolf's-milk curdled in their veins, Her child among us, willing she should keep The fierce triumvirs; and before them paused Court-favor: here and there the small bright head, Hortensia, pleading: angry was her face. A light of healing glanced about the couch, Or thro' the parted silks the tender face
I saw the forms: I knew not where I was: Peep'd, shining in upon the wounded man
They did but seem as hollow shows; nor more With blush and smile, a medicine in themselves Sweet Ida: palm to palm she sat: the dew To wile the length from languorous hours, and draw Dwelt in her eyes, and softer all her shape The sting from pain; nor seem'd it strange that soon And rounder show'd: I moved: I sigh'd: a touch He rose up whole, and those fair charities
Came round my wrist, and tears upon my hand: Join'd at her side; nor stranger seem'd that hearts Then all for languor and self-pity ran So gentle, so employ'd, should close in love, Mine down my face, and with what life I had, Than when two dew-drops on the petal shake And like a flower that cannot all unfold, To the same sweet air, and tremble deeper down, So drench'd it is with tempest, to the sun, And slip at once all-fragrant into one.
Yet, as it may, turns toward him, I on her
Fixt my faint eyes, and utter'd whisperingly : Less prosperously the second suit obtain'd At first with Psyche. Not though Blanche had sworn “ If you be, what I think you, some sweet dream, That after that dark night among the fields,
I would but ask you to fulfil yourself: She needs must wed him for her own good name; But if you be that Ida whom I knew, Not tho' he built upon the babe restored ;
I ask you nothing: only, if a dream, Nor tho' she liked him, yielded she, but fear'a Sweet dream, be perfect. I shall die to-night. To incense the Head once more; till on a day Stoop down and seem to kiss me ere I die." When Cyril pleaded, Ida came behind Seen but of Psyche: on her foot she hung
I could no more, but lay like one in trance, A moment, and she heard, at which her face That hears his burial talk'd of by his friends, A little flush'd, and she past on; but each
And cannot speak, nor move, nor make one sign, Assumed from thence, a half-consent involved But lies and dreads his doom. She turn'd; she In stillness, plighted troth, and were at peace.
She stoop'd; and out of languor leapt a cry; Nor only these : Love in the sacred halls
Leapt fiery Passion from the brinks of death; Held carnival at will, and flying struck
And I believed that in the living world With showers of random sweet on maid and man. My spirit closed with Ida's at the lips; Nor did her father cease to press my claim,
Till back I fell, and from mine arms she rose Nor did mine own now reconciled; nor yet
Glowing all over noble shame; and all Did those twin brothers, risen again and whole; Her falser self slipt from her like a robe, Nor Arac, satiate with his victory.
And left her woman, lovelier in her mood
Than in her mould that other, when she came But I lay still, and with me oft she sat :
From barren deeps to conquer all with love: Then came a change; for sometimes I would catch And down the streaming crystal dropt; and she Her hand in wild delirium, gripe it hard,
Far-fleeted by the purple island-sides, And fling it like a viper off, and shriek
Naked, a double light in air and wave, “You are not Ida ;" clasp it once again,
To meet her Graces, where they deck'd her out And call her Ida, tho' I knew her not,
For worship without end ; nor end of mine, And call her sweet, as if in irony,
Stateliest, for thee! but mute she glided forth,
Nor glanced behind her, and I sank and slept,
Deep in the night I woke: she, near me, held
“Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white :
A greater than all knowledge, beat her down.
Ah fool, and made myself Queen of farce!
“Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost, And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
"Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars, And all thy heart lies open unto me..
“ Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves “Blame not thyself too much,” I said, “nor blame A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Too much the sons of men and barbarous laws;
These were the rough ways of the world till now. “Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, Henceforth thou hast a helper, me, that know And slips into the bosom of the lake:
The woman's cause is man's: they rise or sink So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Together, dwarf'd or godlike, bond or free: Into my bosom and be lost in me."
For she that out of Lethe scales with man
The shining steps of Nature, shares with man I heard her turn the page; she found a small His nights, his days, moves with him to one goal, Sweet Idyl, and once more, as low, she read: Stays all the fair young planet in her hands
If she be small, slight-natured, miserable, “Come down, o maid, from yonder mountain How shall men grow? but work no more alone! height:
Our place is much : as far as in us lies What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang), We two will serve them both in aiding herIn height and cold, the splendor of the hills ? Will clear away the parasitic forms But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease That seem to keep her up but drag her down-To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,
Will leave her space to burgeon out of all To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;
Within her-let her make herself her own And come, for Love is of the valley, come,
To give or keep, to live and learn and be For Love is of the valley, come thou down
All that not harms distinctive womanhood. And find him; by the happy threshold, he,
For woman is not undevelopt man, Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize,
But diverse: could we make her as the man, Or red with spirted purple of the vats,
Sweet love were slain: his dearest bond is this, Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk
Not like to like, but like in difference.
He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world ; To roli the torrent out of dusky doors :
She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care, But follow ; let the torrent dance thee down
Nor lose the childlike in the larger mind; To find him in the valley ; let the wild
Till at the last she set herself to man, Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave
Like perfect music unto noble words ; The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill And so these twain, upon the skirts of Time, Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke, Sit side by side, full-summ'd in all their powers, That like a broken purpose waste in air :
Dispensing harvest, sowing the To-be, So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales Self-reverent each and reverencing each, Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth
Distinct in individualities, Arise to thee; the children call, and I
But like each other ev'n as those who love. Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound, Then comes the statelier Eden back to men: Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet ; Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and Myriads of rivulets hurrying thro' the lawn,
calm: The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
Then springs the crowning race of humankind. And murmuring of innumerable bees.”
May these things be!"
Sighing she spoke, “I fear So she low-toned ; while with shut eyes I lay They will not." Listening; then look'd. Pale was the perfect face ;
“Dear, but let us type them now The bosom with long sighs labord ; and meek In our own lives, and this proud watchword rest Seem'd the full lips, and mild the luminous eyes, of equal; seeing either sex alone And the voice trembled and the hand. She said Is half itself, and in true marriage lies Brokenly, that she knew it, she had fail'd
Nor equal, nor unequal: each fulfils In sweet humility; had fail'd in all;
Defect in each, and always thought in thought, That all her labor was but as a block
Purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow, Left in the quarry; but she still were loath,
The single pure and perfect animal, She still were loath to yield herself to one,
The two-cell'd heart beating, with one full stroke, That wholly scorn'd to help their equal rights Life.” Against the sons of men, and barbarous laws.
And again sighing she spoke: “A dream She pray'd me not to judge their ause from her That was mine! what woman taught you this ?” That wrong'd it, sought far less for truth than power
Alone," I said, “from earlier than I know, In knowledge : something wild within her breast, Immersed in rich foroshadowings of the world,
" But I,"
I loved the woman: he, that doth not, lives A gallant fight, a noble princess-why
Not make her true-heroic-true-sublime ?
And I, betwixt them both, to please them both, No Angel, but a dearer being, all dipt
And yet to give the story as it rose, In Angel instincts, breathing Paradise,
I moved as in a strange diagonal,
And maybe neither pleased myself nor them.
But Lilia pleased me, for she took no part
In our dispute: the sequel of the tale Sway'd to her from their orbits as they moved, Had touch'd her; and she sat, she pluck'd the grass, And girded her with music. Happy he
She flung it from her, thinking: last, she fixt With such a mother ! faith in womankind
A showery glance upon her aunt, and said, Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high “You—tell us what we are” who might have told, Comes easy to him, and tho' he trip and fall For she was cramm'd with theories out of books, He shall not blind his soul with clay.”
But that there rose a shout: the gates were closed
At sunset, and the crowd were swarming now, Said Ida, tremulously, "so all unlike
To take their leave, about the garden rails.
So I and some went out to these: we climb'd of your strange doubts : they well might be: I The slope to Vivian-place, and turning saw seem
The happy valleys, half in light, and half A mockery to my own self. Never, Prince ;
Far-shadowing from the west, a land of peace; You cannot love me."
Gray halls alone among the massive groves; “Nay but thee," I said,
Trim hamlets ; here and there a rustic tower “From yearlong poring on thy pictured eyes,
Half-lost in belts of hop and breadths of wheat ; Ere seen I loved, and loved thee seen, and saw
The shimmering glimpses of a stream; the seas; Thee woman thro' the crust of iron moods
A red sail, or a white ; and far beyond, That mask'd thee from men’s reverence up, and Imagined more than seen, the skirts of France.
forced Sweet jove on pranks of saucy boyhood: now,
“Look there, a garden !" said my college friend, Giv'n back to life, to life indeed, thro' thee,
The Tory member's elder son, "and there ! Indeed I love: the new day comes, the light
God bless the narrow sea which keeps her off, Dearer for night, as dearer thou for faults
And keeps our Britain, whole within herself, Lived over : lift thine eyes; my doubts are dead,
A nation yet, the rulers and the ruled My haunting sense of hollow shows: the change,
Some sense of duty, something of a faith, This truthful change in thee has kill'd it. Dear,
Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made, Look up, and let thy nature strike on mine,
Some patient force to change them when we will, Like yonder morning on the blind half-world ;
Some civic manhood firm against the crowdApproach and fear not; breathe upon my brows;
But yonder, whiff! there comes a sudden heat, In that fine air I tremble, all the past
The gravest citizen seems to lose his head, Melts mist-like into this bright bour, and this
The king is scared, the soldier will not fight, Is morn to more, and all the rich to-come
The little boys begin to shoot and stab, Reels, as the golden Autumn woodland reels
A kingdom topples over with a shriek Athwart the smoke of burning weeds. Forgive me, Like an old woman, and down rolls the world I waste my heart in signs : let be. My bride,
In mock heroics stranger than our own; My wife, my life. O we will walk this world,
Revolts, republics, revolutions, most Yoked in all exercise of noble end.
No graver than a school-boys' barring out; And so thro' those dark gates across the wild
Too comic for the solemn things they are, That ro man knows. Indeed I love thee: come,
Too solemn for the comic touches in them, Yield thyself up: my hopes and thine are one :
Like our wild Princess with as wise a dream Accomplish thou my manhood and thyself;
As some of theirs—God bless the narrow seas! Lay thy sweet hands in mine and trust to me."
I wish they were a whole Atlantic broad."
“Have patience," I replied, “ourselves are full
In such discourse we gain'd the garden rails,
Fair-hair'd and redder than a windy morn;
But we went back to the Abbey, and sat ou, Now shaking hands with him, now him, of those So much the gathering darkness charm'd: we sat That stood the nearest—now address'd to speech, But spoke not, rapt in nameless reverie, Who spoke few words and pithy, such as closed Perchance upon the future man: the walls Welcome, farewell, and welcome for the year Blacken'd about us, bats wheel'd, and owls whoop'd, To follow : a shout rose again, and made
And gradually the powers of the night, The long line of the approaching rookery swerve That range above the region of the wind, From the elms, and shook the branches of the deer Deepening the courts of twilight broke them up From slope to slope thro? distant ferns, and rang Thro' all the silent spaces of the worlds, Beyond the bourn of sunset; 0, a shout
Beyond all thought into the Heåven of Heaveus. More joyful than the city-roar that hails Premier or king! Why should not these great Sirs Last little Lilia, rising quietly, Give up their parks some dozen times a year Disrobed the glimmering statue of Sir Ralph To let the people breathe ? So thrice they cried, From those rich silks, and home well-pleased we I likewise, and in groups they stream'd away.
Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown'd,
Let darkness keep her raven gloss:
Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,
Than that the victor Hours should scorn
The long result of love, and boast,
“Behold the man that loved and lost But all he was is overworn.”
Our little systems have their day ;
They are but broken lights of thee,
For knowledge is of things we see ;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul according well,
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear; Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
That name the underlying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
The seasons bring the flower again,
And bring the firstling to the flock;
And in the dusk of thee, the clock
O not for thee the glow, the bloom,
Who changest not in any gale,
Nor branding summer suns avail
Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;
For merit lives from man to man,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth ;
Forgive them where they fail in truth, And in thy wisdom make me wise. 1849.
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,