PAL: Perspectives in American Literature - A Research and Reference Guide

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Johnson, Thomas H., ed. Complete Poems. Boston: Llittle, Brown, 1960. PS1541 .A1

 

601

A still -- Volcano -- Life --

That flickered in the night --

When it was dark enough to do

Without erasing sight --

A quiet -- Earthquake Style --

Too subtle to suspect

By natures this side Naples --

The North cannot detect

The Solemn -- Torrid -- Symbol --

The lips that never lie --

Whose hissing Corals part -- and shut --

And Cities -- ooze away --

 

 

602

Of Brussels -- it was not --

Of Kidderminster? Nay --

The Winds did buy it of the Woods --

They -- sold it unto me

It was a gentle price --

The poorest -- could afford --

It was within the frugal purse

Of Beggar -- or of Bird --

Of small and spicy Yards --

In hue -- a mellow Dun --

Of Sunshine -- and of Sere -- Composed --

But, principally -- of Sun --

The Wind -- unrolled it fast --

And spread it on the Ground --

Upholsterer of the Pines -- is He --

Upholsterer -- of the Pond --

 

 

603

He found my Being -- set it up --

Adjusted it to place --

Then carved his name -- upon it --

And bade it to the East

Be faithful -- in his absence --

And he would come again --

With Equipage of Amber --

That time -- to take it Home --

 

 

604

Unto my Books -- so good to turn --

Far ends of tired Days --

It half endears the Abstinence --

And Pain -- is missed -- in Praise --

As Flavors -- cheer Retarded Guests

With Banquettings to be --

So Spices -- stimulate the time

Till my small Library --

It may be Wilderness -- without --

Far feet of failing Men --

But Holiday -- excludes the night --

And it is Bells -- within --

I thank these Kinsmen of the Shelf --

Their Countenances Kid

Enamor -- in Prospective --

And satisfy -- obtained --

 

 

605

The Spider holds a Silver Ball

In unperceived Hands --

And dancing softly to Himself

His Yarn of Pearl -- unwinds --

He plies from Nought to Nought --

In unsubstantial Trade --

Supplants our Tapestries with His --

In half the period --

An Hour to rear supreme

His Continents of Light --

Then dangle from the Housewife’s Broom --

His Boundaries -- forgot --

 

 

606

The Trees like Tassels -- hit -- and swung --

There seemed to rise a Tune

From Miniature Creatures

Accompanying the Sun --

Far Psalteries of Summer --

Enamoring the Ear

They never yet did satisfy --

Remotest -- when most fair

The Sun shone whole at intervals --

Then Half -- then utter hid --

As if Himself were optional

And had Estates of Cloud

Sufficient to enfold Him

Eternally from view --

Except it were a whim of His

To let the Orchards grow --

A Bird sat careless on the fence --

One gossipped in the Lane

On silver matters charmed a Snake

Just winding round a Stone --

Bright Flowers slit a Calyx

And soared upon a Stem

Like Hindered Flags -- Sweet hoisted --

With Spices -- in the Hem --

‘Twas more -- I cannot mention --

How mean -- to those that see --

Vandyke’s Delineation

Of Nature’s -- Summer Day!

 

 

607

Of nearness to her sundered Things

The Soul has special times --

When Dimness -- looks the Oddity --

Distinctness -- easy -- seems --

The Shapes we buried, dwell about,

Familiar, in the Rooms --

Untarnished by the Sepulchre,

The Mouldering Playmate comes --

In just the Jacket that he wore --

Long buttoned in the Mold

Since we -- old mornings, Children -- played --

Divided -- by a world --

The Grave yields back her Robberies --

The Years, our pilfered Things --

Bright Knots of Apparitions

Salute us, with their wings --

As we -- it were -- that perished --

Themself -- had just remained till we rejoin them --

And ‘twas they, and not ourself

That mourned.

 

 

608

Afraid! Of whom am I afraid?

Not Death -- for who is He?

The Porter of my Father’s Lodge

As much abasheth me!

Of Life? ‘Twere odd I fear [a] thing

That comprehendeth me

In one or two existences --

As Deity decree --

Of Resurrection? Is the East

Afraid to trust the Morn

With her fastidious forehead?

As soon impeach my Crown!

 

 

609

I Years had been from Home

And now before the Door

I dared not enter, lest a Face

I never saw before

Stare solid into mine

And ask my Business there --

"My Business but a Life I left

Was such remaining there?"

I leaned upon the Awe --

I lingered with Before --

The Second like an Ocean rolled

And broke against my ear --

I laughed a crumbling Laugh

That I could fear a Door

Who Consternation compassed

And never winced before.

I fitted to the Latch

My Hand, with trembling care

Lest back the awful Door should spring

And leave me in the Floor --

Then moved my Fingers off

As cautiously as Glass

And held my ears, and like a Thief

Fled gasping from the House --

 

 

610

You’ll find -- it when you try to die --

The Easier to let go --

For recollecting such as went --

You could not spare -- you know.

And though their places somewhat filled --

As did their Marble names

With Moss -- they never grew so full --

You chose the newer names --

And when this World -- sets further back --

As Dying -- say it does --

The former love -- distincter grows --

And supersedes the fresh --

And Thought of them -- so fair invites --

It looks too tawdry Grace

To stay behind -- with just the Toys

We bought -- to ease their place --

 

 

611

I see thee better -- in the Dark --

I do not need a Light --

The Love of Thee -- a Prism be --

Excelling Violet --

I see thee better for the Years

That hunch themselves between --

The Miner’s Lamp -- sufficient be --

To nullify the Mine --

And in the Grave -- I see Thee best --

Its little Panels be

Aglow -- All ruddy -- with the Light

I held so high, for Thee --

What need of Day --

To Those whose Dark -- hath so -- surpassing Sun --

It deem it be -- Continually --

At the Meridian?

 

 

612

It would have starved a Gnat --

To live so small as I --

And yet I was a living Child --

With Food’s necessity

Upon me -- like a Claw --

I could no more remove

Than I could coax a Leech away --

Or make a Dragon -- move --

Not like the Gnat -- had I --

The privilege to fly

And seek a Dinner for myself --

How mightier He -- than I --

Nor like Himself -- the Art

Upon the Window Pane

To gad my little Being out --

And not begin -- again --

 

 

613

They shut me up in Prose --

As when a little Girl

They put me in the Closet --

Because they liked me "still" --

Still! Could themself have peeped --

And seen my Brain -- go round --

They might as wise have lodged a Bird

For Treason -- in the Pound --

Himself has but to will

And easy as a Star

Abolish his Captivity --

And laugh -- No more have I --

 

 

614

In falling Timbers buried --

There breathed a Man --

Outside -- the spades -- were plying --

The Lungs -- within --

Could He -- know -- they sought Him --

Could They -- know -- He breathed --

Horrid Sand Partition --

Neither -- could be heard --

Never slacked the Diggers --

But when Spades had done --

Oh, Reward of Anguish,

It was dying -- Then --

Many Things -- are fruitless --

‘Tis a Baffling Earth --

But there is no Gratitude

Like the Grace -- of Death --

 

 

615

Our journey had advanced --

Our feet were almost come

To that odd Fork in Being’s Road --

Eternity -- by Term --

Our pace took sudden awe --

Our feet -- reluctant -- led --

Before -- were Cities -- but Between --

The Forest of the Dead --

Retreat -- was out of Hope --

Behind -- a Sealed Route --

Eternity’s White Flag -- Before --

And God -- at every Gate --

 

 

616

I rose -- because He sank --

I thought it would be opposite --

But when his power dropped --

My Soul grew straight.

I cheered my fainting Prince --

I sang firm -- even -- Chants --

I helped his Film -- with Hymn --

And when the Dews drew off

That held his Forehead stiff --

I met him --

Balm to Balm --

I told him Best -- must pass

Through this low Arch of Flesh --

No Casque so brave

It spurn the Grave --

I told him Worlds I knew

Where Emperors grew --

Who recollected us

If we were true --

And so with Thews of Hymn --

And Sinew from within --

And ways I knew not that I knew -- till then --

I lifted Him --

 

 

617

Don’t put up my Thread and Needle --

I’ll begin to Sew

When the Birds begin to whistle --

Better Stitches -- so --

These were bent -- my sight got crooked --

When my mind -- is plain

I’ll do seams -- a Queen’s endeavor

Would not blush to own --

Hems -- too fine for Lady’s tracing

To the sightless Knot --

Tucks -- of dainty interspersion --

Like a dotted Dot --

Leave my Needle in the furrow --

Where I put it down --

I can make the zigzag stitches

Straight -- when I am strong --

Till then -- dreaming I am sewing

Fetch the seam I missed --

Closer -- so I -- at my sleeping --

Still surmise I stitch --

 

 

618

At leisure is the Soul

That gets a Staggering Blow --

The Width of Life -- before it spreads

Without a thing to do --

It begs you give it Work --

But just the placing Pins --

Or humblest Patchwork -- Children do --

To Help its Vacant Hands --

 

 

619

Glee -- The great storm is over --

Four -- have recovered the Land --

Forty -- gone down together --

Into the boiling Sand --

Ring -- for the Scant Salvation --

Toll -- for the bonnie Souls --

Neighbor -- and friend -- and Bridegroom --

Spinning upon the Shoals --

How they will tell the Story --

When Winter shake the Door --

Till the Children urge --

But the Forty --

Did they -- come back no more?

Then a softness -- suffuse the Story --

And a silence -- the Teller’s eye --

And the Children -- no further question --

And only the Sea -- reply --

 

620

It makes no difference abroad --

The Seasons -- fit -- the same --

The Mornings blossom into Noons --

And split their Pods of Flame --

Wild flowers -- kindle in the Woods --

The Brooks slam -- all the Day --

No Black bird bates his Banjo --

For passing Calvary --

Auto da Fe -- and Judgment --

Are nothing to the Bee --

His separation from His Rose --

To Him -- sums Misery --

 

 

621

I asked no other thing --

No other -- was denied --

I offered Being -- for it --

The Mighty Merchant sneered --

Brazil? He twirled a Button --

Without a glance my way --

"But -- Madam -- is there nothing else --

That We can show -- Today?"

 

 

622

To know just how He suffered -- would be dear --

To know if any Human eyes were near

To whom He could entrust His wavering gaze --

Until it settle broad -- on Paradise --

To know if He was patient -- part content --

Was Dying as He thought -- or different --

Was it a pleasant Day to die --

And did the Sunshine face his way --

What was His furthest mind -- Of Home -- or God --

Or what the Distant say --

At news that He ceased Human Nature

Such a Day --

And Wishes -- Had He Any --

Just His Sigh -- Accented --

Had been legible -- to Me --

And was He Confident until

Ill fluttered out -- in Everlasting Well --

And if He spoke -- What name was Best --

What last

What One broke off with

At the Drowsiest --

Was He afraid -- or tranquil --

Might He know

How Conscious Consciousness -- could grow --

Till Love that was -- and Love too best to be --

Meet -- and the Junction be Eternity

 

 

623

It was too late for Man --

But early, yet, for God --

Creation -- impotent to help --

But Prayer -- remained -- Our Side --

How excellent the Heaven --

When Earth -- cannot be had --

How hospitable -- then -- the face

Of our Old Neighbor -- God --

 

 

624

Forever -- it composed of Nows --

‘Tis not a different time --

Except for Infiniteness --

And Latitude of Home --

From this -- experienced Here --

Remove the Dates -- to These --

Let Months dissolve in further Months --

And Years -- exhale in Years --

Without Debate -- or Pause --

Or Celebrated Days --

No different Our Years would be

From Anno Domini’s --

 

 

625

‘Twas a long Parting -- but the time

For Interview -- had Come --

Before the Judgment Seat of God --

The last -- and second time

These Fleshless Lovers met --

A Heaven in a Gaze --

A Heaven of Heavens -- the Privilege

Of one another’s Eyes --

No Lifetime -- on Them --

Appareled as the new

Unborn -- except They had beheld --

Born infiniter -- now --

Was Bridal -- e’er like This?

A Paradise -- the Host --

And Cherubim -- and Seraphim --

The unobtrusive Guest --

 

 

626

Only God -- detect the Sorrow --

Only God --

The Jehovahs -- are no Babblers --

Unto God --

God the Son -- Confide it --

Still secure --

God the Spirit’s Honor --

Just as sure --

 

 

627

The Tint I cannot take -- is best --

The Color too remote

That I could show it in Bazaar --

A Guinea at a sight --

The fine -- impalpable Array --

That swaggers on the eye

Like Cleopatra’s Company --

Repeated -- in the sky --

The Moments of Dominion

That happen on the Soul

And leave it with a Discontent

Too exquisite -- to tell --

The eager look -- on Landscapes --

As if they just repressed

Some Secret -- that was pushing

Like Chariots -- in the Vest --

The Pleading of the Summer --

That other Prank -- of Snow --

That Cushions Mystery with Tulle,

For fear the Squirrels -- know.

Their Graspless manners -- mock us --

Until the Cheated Eye

Shuts arrogantly -- in the Grave --

Another way -- to see --

 

 

628

They called me to the Window, for

" ‘Twas Sunset" -- Some one said --

I only saw a Sapphire Farm --

And just a Single Herd --

Of Opal Cattle -- feeding far

Upon so vain a Hill --

As even while I looked -- dissolved --

Nor Cattle were -- nor Soil --

But in their stead -- a Sea -- displayed --

And Ships -- of such a size

As Crew of Mountains -- could afford --

And Decks -- to seat the skies --

This -- too -- the Showman rubbed away --

And when I looked again --

Nor Farm -- nor Opal Herd -- was there --

Nor Mediterranean --

 

 

629

I watched the Moon around the House

Until upon a Pane --

She stopped -- a Traveller’s privilege -- for Rest --

And there upon

I gazed -- as at a stranger --

The Lady in the Town

Doth think no incivility

To lift her Glass -- upon --

But never Stranger justified

The Curiosity

Like Mine -- for not a Foot -- nor Hand --

Nor Formula -- had she --

But like a Head -- a Guillotine

Slid carelessly away --

Did independent, Amber --

Sustain her in the sky --

Or like a Stemless Flower --

Upheld in rolling Air

By finer Gravitations --

Than bind Philosopher --

No Hunger -- had she -- nor an Inn --

Her Toilette -- to suffice --

Nor Avocation -- nor Concern

For little Mysteries

As harass us -- like Life -- and Death --

And Afterwards -- or Nay --

But seemed engrossed to Absolute --

With shining -- and the Sky --

The privilege to scrutinize

Was scarce upon my Eyes

When, with a Silver practise --

She vaulted out of Gaze --

And next -- I met her on a Cloud --

Myself too far below

To follow her superior Road --

Or its advantage -- Blue --

 

 

630

The Lightning playeth -- all the while --

But when He singeth -- then --

Ourselves are conscious He exist --

And we approach Him -- stern --

With Insulators -- and a Glove --

Whose short -- sepulchral Bass

Alarms us -- tho’ His Yellow feet

May pass -- and counterpass --

Upon the Ropes -- above our Head --

Continual -- with the News --

Nor We so much as check our speech --

Nor stop to cross Ourselves --

 

 

631

Ourselves were wed one summer -- dear --

Your Vision -- was in June --

And when Your little Lifetime failed,

I wearied -- too -- of mine --

And overtaken in the Dark --

Where You had put me down --

By Some one carrying a Light --

I -- too -- received the Sign.

‘Tis true -- Our Futures different lay --

Your Cottage -- faced the sun --

While Oceans -- and the North must be --

On every side of mine

‘Tis true, Your Garden led the Bloom,

For mine -- in Frosts -- was sown --

And yet, one Summer, we were Queens --

But You -- were crowned in June --

 

 

632

The Brain -- is wider than the Sky --

For -- put them side by side --

The one the other will contain

With ease -- and You -- beside --

The Brain is deeper than the sea --

For -- hold them -- Blue to Blue --

The one the other will absorb --

As Sponges -- Buckets -- do --

The Brain is just the weight of God --

For -- Heft them -- Pound for Pound --

And they will differ -- if they do --

As Syllable from Sound --

 

 

633

When Bells stop ringing -- Church -- begins

The Positive -- of Bells --

When Cogs -- stop -- that’s Circumference --

The Ultimate -- of Wheels.

 

 

634

You’ll know Her -- by Her Foot --

The smallest Gamboge Hand

With Fingers -- where the Toes should be --

Would more affront the Sand --

Than this Quaint Creature’s Boot --

Adjusted by a Stern --

Without a Button -- I could vouch --

Unto a Velvet Limb --

You’ll know Her -- by Her Vest --

Tight fitting -- Orange -- Brown --

Inside a Jacket duller --

She wore when she was born --

Her Cap is small -- and snug --

Constructed for the Winds --

She’d pass for Barehead -- short way off --

But as She Closer stands --

So finer ‘tis than Wool --

You cannot feel the Seam --

Nor is it Clasped unto of Band --

Nor held upon -- of Brim --

You’ll know Her -- by Her Voice --

At first -- a doubtful Tone --

A sweet endeavor -- but as March

To April -- hurries on --

She squanders on your Ear

Such Arguments of Pearl --

You beg the Robin in your Brain

To keep the other -- still --

 

 

635

I think the longest Hour of all

Is when the Cars have come --

And we are waiting for the Coach --

It seems as though the Time

Indignant -- that the Joy was come --

Did block the Gilded Hands --

And would not let the Seconds by --

But slowest instant -- ends --

The Pendulum begins to count --

Like little Scholars -- loud --

The steps grow thicker -- in the Hall --

The Heart begins to crowd --

Then I -- my timid service done --

Tho’ service ‘twas, of Love --

Take up my little Violin --

And further North -- remove.

 

 

636

The Way I read a Letter’s -- this --

‘Tis first -- I lock the Door --

And push it with my fingers -- next --

For transport it be sure --

And then I go the furthest off

To counteract a knock --

Then draw my little Letter forth

And slowly pick the lock --

Then -- glancing narrow, at the Wall --

And narrow at the floor

For firm Conviction of a Mouse

Not exorcised before --

Peruse how infinite I am

To no one that You -- know --

And sigh for lack of Heaven -- but not

The Heaven God bestow --

 

 

637

The Child’s faith is new --

Whole -- like His Principle --

Wide -- like the Sunrise

On fresh Eyes --

Never had a Doubt --

Laughs -- at a Scruple --

Believes all sham

But Paradise --

Credits the World --

Deems His Dominion

Broadest of Sovereignties --

And Caesar -- mean --

In the Comparison --

Baseless Emperor --

Ruler of Nought --

Yet swaying all --

Grown bye and bye

To hold mistaken

His pretty estimates

Of Prickly Things

He gains the skill

Sorrowful -- as certain --

Men -- to anticipate

Instead of Kings --

 

 

638

To my small Hearth His fire came --

And all my House aglow

Did fan and rock, with sudden light --

‘Twas Sunrise -- ‘twas the Sky --

Impanelled from no Summer brief --

With limit of Decay --

‘Twas Noon -- without the News of Night --

Nay, Nature, it was Day --

 

 

639

My Portion is Defeat -- today --

A paler luck than Victory --

Less Paeans -- fewer Bells --

The Drums don’t follow Me -- with tunes --

Defeat -- a somewhat slower -- means --

More Arduous than Balls --

‘Tis populous with Bone and stain --

And Men too straight to stoop again --,

And Piles of solid Moan --

And Chips of Blank -- in Boyish Eyes --

And scraps of Prayer --

And Death’s surprise,

Stamped visible -- in Stone --

There’s somewhat prouder, over there --

The Trumpets tell it to the Air --

How different Victory

To Him who has it -- and the One

Who to have had it, would have been

Contender -- to die --

 

 

640

I cannot live with You --

It would be Life --

And Life is over there --

Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to --

Putting up

Our Life -- His Porcelain --

Like a Cup --

Discarded of the Housewife --

Quaint -- or Broke --

A newer Sevres pleases --

Old Ones crack --

I could not die -- with You --

For One must wait

To shut the Other’s Gaze down --

You -- could not --

And I -- Could I stand by

And see You -- freeze --

Without my Right of Frost --

Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise -- with You --

Because Your Face

Would put out Jesus’ --

That New Grace

Glow plain -- and foreign

On my homesick Eye --

Except that You than He

Shone closer by --

They’d judge Us -- How --

For You -- served Heaven -- You know,

Or sought to --

I could not --

Because You saturated Sight --

And I had no more Eyes

For sordid excellence

As Paradise

And were You lost, I would be --

Though My Name

Rang loudest

On the Heavenly fame --

And were You -- saved --

And I -- condemned to be

Where You were not --

That self -- were Hell to Me --

So We must meet apart --

You there -- I -- here --

With just the Door ajar

That Oceans are -- and Prayer --

And that White Sustenance --

Despair --

 

 

641

Size circumscribes -- it has no room

For petty furniture --

The Giant tolerates no Gnat

For Ease of Gianture --

Repudiates it, all the more --

Because intrinsic size

Ignores the possibility

Of Calumnies -- or Flies.

 

 

642

Me from Myself -- to banish --

Had I Art --

Impregnable my Fortress

Unto All Heart --

But since Myself -- assault Me --

How have I peace

Except by subjugating

Consciousness?

And since We’re mutual Monarch

How this be

Except by Abdication --

Me -- of Me?

 

 

643

I could suffice for Him, I knew --

He -- could suffice for Me --

Yet Hesitating Fractions -- Both

Surveyed Infinity --

"Would I be Whole" He sudden broached --

My syllable rebelled --

‘Twas face to face with Nature -- forced --

‘Twas face to face with God --

Withdrew the Sun -- to Other Wests --

Withdrew the furthest Star

Before Decision -- stooped to speech --

And then -- be audibler

The Answer of the Sea unto

The Motion of the Moon --

Herself adjust Her Tides -- unto --

Could I -- do else -- with Mine?

 

 

644

You left me -- Sire -- two Legacies --

A Legacy of Love

A Heavenly Father would suffice

Had He the offer of --

You left me Boundaries of Pain --

Capacious as the Sea --

Between Eternity and Time --

Your Consciousness -- and Me --

 

 

645

Bereavement in their death to feel

Whom We have never seen --

A Vital Kinsmanship import

Our Soul and theirs -- between --

For Stranger -- Strangers do not mourn --

There be Immortal friends

Whom Death see first -- ‘tis news of this

That paralyze Ourselves --

Who, vital only to Our Thought --

Such Presence bear away

In dying -- ‘tis as if Our Souls

Absconded -- suddenly --

 

 

646

I think to Live -- may be a Bliss

To those who dare to try --

Beyond my limit to conceive --

My lip -- to testify --

I think the Heart I former wore

Could widen -- till to me

The Other, like the little Bank

Appear -- unto the Sea --

I think the Days -- could every one

In Ordination stand --

And Majesty -- be easier --

Than an inferior kind --

No numb alarm -- lest Difference come --

No Goblin -- on the Bloom --

No start in Apprehension’s Ear,

No Bankruptcy -- no Doom --

But Certainties of Sun --

Midsummer -- in the Mind --

A steadfast South -- upon the Soul --

Her Polar time -- behind --

The Vision -- pondered long --

So plausible becomes

That I esteem the fiction -- real --

The Real -- fictitious seems --

How bountiful the Dream --

What Plenty -- it would be --

Had all my Life but been Mistake

Just rectified -- in Thee

 

 

647

A little Road -- not made of Man --

Enabled of the Eye --

Accessible to Thill of Bee --

Or Cart of Butterfly --

If Town it have -- beyond itself --

‘Tis that -- I cannot say --

I only know -- no Curricle that rumble there

Bear Me --

 

 

648

Promise This -- When You be Dying --

Some shall summon Me --

Mine belong Your latest Sighing --

Mine -- to Belt Your Eye --

Not with Coins -- though they be Minted

From an Emperor’s Hand --

Be my lips -- the only Buckle

Your low Eyes -- demand --

Mine to stay -- when all have wandered --

To devise once more

If the Life be too surrendered --

Life of Mine -- restore --

Poured like this -- My Whole Libation --

Just that You should see

Bliss of Death -- Life’s Bliss extol thro’

Imitating You --

Mine -- to guard Your Narrow Precinct --

To seduce the Sun

Longest on Your South, to linger,

Largest Dews of Morn

To demand, in Your low favor

Lest the Jealous Grass

Greener lean -- Or fonder cluster

Round some other face --

Mine to supplicate Madonna --

If Madonna be

Could behold so far a Creature --

Christ -- omitted -- Me --

Just to follow Your dear future --

Ne’er so far behind --

For My Heaven --

Had I not been

Most enough -- denied?

 

 

649

Her Sweet turn to leave the Homestead

Came the Darker Way --

Carriages -- Be Sure -- and Guests -- too --

But for Holiday

‘Tis more pitiful Endeavor

Than did Loaded Sea

O’er the Curls attempt to caper

It had cast away --

Never Bride had such Assembling --

Never kinsmen kneeled

To salute so fair a Forehead --

Garland be indeed --

Fitter Feet -- of Her before us --

Than whatever Brow

Art of Snow -- or Trick of Lily

Possibly bestow

Of Her Father -- Whoso ask Her --

He shall seek as high

As the Palm -- that serve the Desert --

To obtain the Sky --

Distance -- be Her only Motion --

If ‘tis Nay -- or Yes --

Acquiescence -- or Demurral --

Whosoever guess --

He -- must pass the Crystal Angle

That obscure Her face --

He -- must have achieved in person

Equal Paradise --

 

 

650

Pain -- has an Element of Blank --

It cannot recollect

When it begun -- or if there were

A time when it was not --

It has no Future -- but itself --

Its Infinite contain

Its Past -- enlightened to perceive

New Periods -- of Pain.

 

 

651

So much Summer

Me for showing

Illegitimate --

Would a Smile’s minute bestowing

Too exorbitant

To the Lady

With the Guinea

Look -- if She should know

Crumb of Mine

A Robin’s Larder

Would suffice to stow --

 

 

652

A Prison gets to be a friend --

Between its Ponderous face

And Ours -- a Kinsmanship express --

And in its narrow Eyes --

We come to look with gratitude

For the appointed Beam

It deal us -- stated as our food --

And hungered for -- the same --

We learn to know the Planks --

That answer to Our feet --

So miserable a sound -- at first --

Nor ever now -- so sweet --

As plashing in the Pools --

When Memory was a Boy --

But a Demurer Circuit --

A Geometric Joy --

The Posture of the Key

That interrupt the Day

To Our Endeavor -- Not so real

The Check of Liberty --

As this Phantasm Steel --

Whose features -- Day and Night --

Are present to us -- as Our Own --

And as escapeless -- quite --

The narrow Round -- the Stint --

The slow exchange of Hope --

For something passiver -- Content

Too steep for lookinp up --

The Liberty we knew

Avoided -- like a Dream --

Too wide for any Night but Heaven --

If That -- indeed -- redeem --

 

 

653

Of Being is a Bird

The likest to the Down

An Easy Breeze do put afloat

The General Heavens -- upon --

It soars -- and shifts -- and whirls --

And measures with the Clouds

In easy -- even -- dazzling pace --

No different the Birds --

Except a Wake of Music

Accompany their feet --

As did the Down emit a Tune --

For Ecstasy -- of it

 

 

654

A long -- long Sleep -- A famous -- Sleep --

That makes no show for Morn --

By Stretch of Limb -- or stir of Lid --

An independent One --

Was ever idleness like This?

Upon a Bank of Stone

To bask the Centuries away --

Nor once look up -- for Noon?

 

 

655

Without this -- there is nought --

All other Riches be

As is the Twitter of a Bird --

Heard opposite the Sea --

I could not care -- to gain

A lesser than the Whole --

For did not this include themself --

As Seams -- include the Ball?

I wished a way might be

My Heart to subdivide --

‘Twould magnify -- the Gratitude --

And not reduce -- the Gold --

 

 

656

The name -- of it -- is "Autumn" --

The hue -- of it -- is Blood --

An Artery -- upon the Hill --

A Vein -- along the Road --

Great Globules -- in the Alleys --

And Oh, the Shower of Stain --

When Winds -- upset the Basin --

And spill the Scarlet Rain --

It sprinkles Bonnets -- far below --

It gathers ruddy Pools --

Then -- eddies like a Rose -- away --

Upon Vermilion Wheels --

 

 

657

I dwell in Possibility --

A fairer House than Prose --

More numerous of Windows --

Superior -- for Doors --

Of Chambers as the Cedars --

Impregnable of Eye --

And for an Everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky --

Of Visitors -- the fairest --

For Occupation -- This --

The spreading wide of narrow Hands

To gather Paradise --

 

 

658

Whole Gulfs -- of Red, and Fleets -- of Red --

And Crews -- of solid Blood --

Did place upon the West -- Tonight --

As ‘twere specific Ground --

And They -- appointed Creatures --

In Authorized Arrays --

Due -- promptly -- as a Drama --

That bows -- and disappears --

 

 

659

That first Day, when you praised Me, Sweet,

And said that I was strong --

And could be mighty, if I liked --

That Day -- the Days among --

Glows Central -- like a Jewel

Between Diverging Golds --

The Minor One -- that gleamed behind --

And Vaster -- of the World’s.

 

 

660

‘Tis good -- the looking back on Grief --

To re-endure a Day --

We thought the Mighty Funeral --

Of All Conceived Joy --

To recollect how Busy Grass

Did meddle -- one by one --

Till all the Grief with Summer -- waved

And none could see the stone.

And though the Woe you have Today

Be larger -- As the Sea

Exceeds its Unremembered Drop --

They’re Water -- equally --

 

 

661

Could I but ride indefinite

As doth the Meadow Bee

And visit only where I liked

And No one visit me

And flirt all Day with Buttercups

And marry whom I may

And dwell a little everywhere

Or better, run away

With no Police to follow

Or chase Him if He do

Till He should jump Peninsulas

To get away from me --

I said "But just to be a Bee"

Upon a Raft of Air

And row in Nowhere all Day long

And anchor "off the Bar"

What Liberty! So Captives deem

Who tight in Dungeons are.

 

 

662

Embarrassment of one another

And God

Is Revelation’s limit,

Aloud

Is nothing that is chief,

But still,

Divinity dwells under a seal.

 

 

663

Again -- his voice is at the door --

I feel the old Degree --

I hear him ask the servant

For such an one -- as me --

I take a flower -- as I go --

My face to justify --

He never saw me -- in this life --

I might surprise his eye!

I cross the Hall with mingled steps --

I -- silent -- pass the door --

I look on all this world contains --

Just his face -- nothing more!

We talk in careless -- and it toss --

A kind of plummet strain --

Each -- sounding -- shyly --

Just -- how -- deep --

The other’s one -- had been --

We walk -- I leave my Dog -- at home --

A tender -- thoughtful Moon --

Goes with us -- just a little way --

And -- then -- we are alone --

Alone -- if Angels are "alone" --

First time they try the sky!

Alone -- if those "veiled faces" -- be --

We cannot count -- on High!

I’d give -- to live that hour -- again --

The purple -- in my Vein --

But He must count the drops -- himself --

My price for every stain!

 

 

664

Of all the Souls that stand create --

I have elected -- One --

When Sense from Spirit -- files away --

And Subterfuge -- is done --

When that which is -- and that which was --

Apart -- intrinsic -- stand --

And this brief Drama in the flesh --

Is shifted -- like a Sand --

When Figures show their royal Front --

And Mists -- are carved away,

Behold the Atom -- I preferred --

To all the lists of Clay!

 

 

665

Dropped into the Ether Acre --

Wearing the Sod Gown --

Bonnet of Everlasting Laces --

Brooch -- frozen on --

Horses of Blonde -- and Coach of Silver --

Baggage a strapped Pearl --

Journey of Down -- and Whip of Diamond --

Riding to meet the Earl --

 

 

666

Ah, Teneriffe!

Retreating Mountain!

Purples of Ages -- pause for you --

Sunset -- reviews her Sapphire Regiment --

Day -- drops you her Red Adieu!

Still -- Clad in your Mail of ices --

Thigh of Granite -- and thew -- of Steel --

Heedless -- alike -- of pomp -- or parting

Ah, Teneriffe!

I’m kneeling -- still --

 

 

667

Bloom upon the Mountain -- stated --

Blameless of a Name --

Efflorescence of a Sunset --

Reproduced -- the same --

Seed, had I, my Purple Sowing

Should endow the Day --

Not a Topic of a Twilight --

Show itself away --

Who for tilling -- to the Mountain

Come, and disappear --

Whose be Her Renown, or fading,

Witness, is not here --

While I state -- the Solemn Petals,

Far as North -- and East,

Far as South and West -- expanding --

Culminate -- in Rest --

And the Mountain to the Evening

Fit His Countenance --

Indicating, by no Muscle --

The Experience --

 

 

668

"Nature" is what we see --

The Hill -- the Afternoon --

Squirrel -- Eclipse -- the Bumble bee --

Nay -- Nature is Heaven --

Nature is what we hear --

The Bobolink -- the Sea --

Thunder -- the Cricket --

Nay -- Nature is Harmony --

Nature is what we know --

Yet have no art to say --

So impotent Our Wisdom is

To her Simplicity.

 

 

669

No Romance sold unto

Could so enthrall a Man

As the perusal of

His Individual One --

‘Tis Fiction’s -- When ‘tis small enough

To Credit -- ‘Tisn’t true!

 

 

670

One need not be a Chamber -- to be Haunted --

One need not be a House --

The Brain has Corridors -- surpassing

Material Place --

Far safer, of a Midnight Meeting

External Ghost

Than its interior Confronting --

That Cooler Host.

Far safer, through an Abbey gallop,

The Stones a’chase --

Than Unarmed, one’s a’self encounter --

In lonesome Place --

Ourself behind ourself, concealed --

Should startle most --

Assassin hid in our Apartment

Be Horror’s least.

The Body -- borrows a Revolver --

He bolts the Door --

O’erlooking a superior spectre --

Or More --

 

 

671

She dwelleth in the Ground --

Where Daffodils -- abide --

Her Maker -- Her Metropolis --

The Universe -- Her Maid --

To fetch Her Grace -- and Hue --

And Fairness -- and Renown --

The Firmament’s -- To Pluck Her --

And fetch Her Thee -- be mine --

 

 

672

The Future -- never spoke --

Nor will He -- like the Dumb --

Reveal by sign -- a syllable

Of His Profound To Come --

But when the News be ripe --

Presents it -- in the Act --

Forestalling Preparation --

Escape -- or Substitute --

Indifference to Him --

The Dower -- as the Doom --

His Office -- but to execute

Fate’s -- Telegram -- to Him --

 

 

673

The Love a Life can show Below

Is but a filament, I know,

Of that diviner thing

That faints upon the face of Noon --

And smites the Tinder in the Sun --

And hinders Gabriel’s Wing --

‘Tis this -- in Music -- hints and sways --

And far abroad on Summer days --

Distils uncertain pain --

‘Tis this enamors in the East --

And tints the Transit in the West

With harrowing Iodine --

‘Tis this -- invites -- appalls -- endows --

Flits -- glimmers -- proves -- dissolves --

Returns -- suggests -- convicts -- enchants --

Then -- flings in Paradise --

 

 

674

The Soul that hath a Guest

Doth seldom go abroad --

Diviner Crowd at Home --

Obliterate the need --

And Courtesy forbid

A Host’s departure when

Upon Himself be visiting

The Emperor of Men --

 

 

675

Essential Oils -- are wrung --

The Attar from the Rose

Be not expressed by Suns -- alone --

It is the gift of Screws --

The General Rose -- decay --

But this -- in Lady’s Drawer

Make Summer -- When the Lady lie

In Ceaseless Rosemary --

 

 

676

Least Bee that brew --

A Honey’s Weight

Content Her smallest fraction help

The Amber Quantity --

 

 

677

To be alive -- is Power --

Existence -- in itself --

Without a further function --

Omnipotence -- Enough --

To be alive -- and Will!

‘Tis able as a God --

The Maker -- of Ourselves -- be what --

Such being Finitude!

 

 

678

Wolfe demanded during dying

"Which obtain the Day"?

"General, the British" -- "Easy"

Answered Wolfe "to die"

Montcalm, his opposing Spirit

Rendered with a smile

"Sweet" said he "my own Surrender

Liberty’s beguile"

 

 

679

Conscious am I in my Chamber,

Of a shapeless friend --

He doth not attest by Posture --

Nor Confirm -- by Word --

Neither Place -- need I present Him --

Fitter Courtesy

Hospitable intuition

Of His Company --

Presence -- is His furthest license --

Neither He to Me

Nor Myself to Him -- by Accent --

Forfeit Probity --

Weariness of Him, were quainter

Than Monotony

Knew a Particle -- of Space’s

Vast Society

Neither if He visit Other --

Do He dwell -- or Nay -- know I --

But Instinct esteem Him

Immortality --

 

 

680

Each Life Converges to some Centre --

Expressed -- or still --

Exists in every Human Nature

A Goal --

Embodied scarcely to itself -- it may be --

Too fair

For Credibility’s presumption

To mar --

Adored with caution -- as a Brittle Heaven --

To reach

Were hopeless, as the Rainbow’s Raiment

To touch --

Yet persevered toward -- sure -- for the Distance --

How high --

Unto the Saint’s slow diligence --

The Sky --

Ungained -- it may be -- by a Life’s low Venture --

But then --

Eternity enable the endeavoring

Again.

 

 

681

Soil of Flint, if steady tilled --

Will refund by Hand --

Seed of Palm, by Libyan Sun

Fructified in Sand --

 

 

682

‘Twould ease -- a Butterfly --

Elate -- a Bee --

Thou’rt neither --

Neither -- thy capacity --

But, Blossom, were I,

I would rather be

Thy moment

Than a Bee’s Eternity --

Content of fading

Is enough for me --

Fade I unto Divinity --

And Dying -- Lifetime --

Ample as the Eye --

Her least attention raise on me --

 

 

683

The Soul unto itself

Is an imperial friend --

Or the most agonizing Spy --

An Enemy -- could send --

Secure against its own --

No treason it can fear --

Itself -- its Sovereign -- of itself

The Soul should stand in Awe --

 

 

684

Best Gains -- must have the Losses’ Test --

To constitute them -- Gains --

 

 

685

Not "Revelation" -- ‘tis -- that waits,

But our unfurnished eyes --

 

 

686

They say that "Time assuages" --

Time never did assuage --

An actual suffering strengthens

As Sinews do, with age --

Time is a Test of Trouble --

But not a Remedy --

If such it prove, it prove too

There was no Malady --

 

 

687

I’ll send the feather from my Hat!

Who knows -- but at the sight of that

My Sovereign will relent?

As trinket -- worn by faded Child --

Confronting eyes long -- comforted --

Blisters the Adamant!

 

 

688

"Speech" -- is a prank of Parliament --

"Tears" -- is a trick of the nerve --

But the Heart with the heaviest freight on --

Doesn’t -- always -- move --

 

 

689

The Zeroes -- taught us -- Phosphorous --

We learned to like the Fire

By playing Glaciers -- when a Boy --

And Tinder -- guessed -- by power

Of Opposite -- to balance Odd --

If White -- a Red -- must be!

Paralysis -- our Primer -- dumb --

Unto Vitality!

 

 

690

Victory comes late --

And is held low to freezing lips --

Too rapt with frost

To take it --

How sweet it would have tasted --

Just a Drop --

Was God so economical?

His Table’s spread too high for Us --

Unless We dine on tiptoe --

Crumbs -- fit such little mouths --

Cherries -- suit Robbins --

The Eagle’s Golden Breakfast strangles -- Them --

God keep His Oath to Sparrows --

Who of little Love -- know how to starve --

 

 

691

Would you like summer? Taste of ours.

Spices? Buy here!

Ill! We have berries, for the parching!

Weary! Furloughs of down!

Perplexed! Estates of violet trouble ne’er looked on!

Captive! We bring reprieve of roses!

Fainting! Flasks of air!

Even for Death, a fairy medicine.

But, which is it, sir?

 

 

692

The Sun kept setting -- setting -- still

No Hue of Afternoon --

Upon the Village I perceived

From House to House ‘twas Noon --

The Dusk kept dropping -- dropping -- still

No Dew upon the Grass --

But only on my Forehead stopped --

And wandered in my Face --

My Feet kept drowsing -- drowsing -- still

My fingers were awake --

Yet why so little sound -- Myself

Unto my Seeming -- make?

How well I knew the Light before --

I could see it now --

‘Tis Dying -- I am doing -- but

I’m not afraid to know --

 

 

693

Shells from the Coast mistaking --

I cherished them for All --

Happening in After Ages

To entertain a Pearl --

Wherefore so late -- I murmured --

My need of Thee -- be done --

Therefore -- the Pearl responded --

My Period begin

 

 

694

The Heaven vests for Each

In that small Deity

It craved the grace to worship

Some bashful Summer’s Day --

Half shrinking from the Glory

It importuned to see

Till these faint Tabernacles drop

In full Eternity --

How imminent the Venture --

As one should sue a Star --

For His mean sake to leave the Row

And entertain Despair --

A Clemency so common --

We almost cease to fear --

Enabling the minutest --

And furthest -- to adore --

 

 

695

As if the Sea should part

And show a further Sea --

And that -- a further -- and the Three

But a presumption be --

Of Periods of Seas --

Unvisited of Shores --

Themselves the Verge of Seas to be --

Eternity -- is Those --

 

 

696

Their Height in Heaven comforts not --

Their Glory -- nought to me --

‘Twas best imperfect -- as it was --

I’m finite -- I can’t see --

The House of Supposition --

The Glimmering Frontier that

Skirts the Acres of Perhaps --

To Me -- shows insecure --

The Wealth I had -- contented me --

If ‘twas a meaner size --

Then I had counted it until

It pleased my narrow Eyes --

Better than larger values --

That show however true --

This timid life of Evidence

Keeps pleading -- "I don’t know."

 

 

697

I could bring You Jewels -- had I a mind to --

But You have enough -- of those --

I could bring You Odors from St. Domingo --

Colors -- from Vera Cruz --

Berries of the Bahamas -- have I --

But this little Blaze

Flickering to itself -- in the Meadow --

Suits Me -- more than those --

Never a Fellow matched this Topaz --

And his Emerald Swing --

Dower itself -- for Bobadilo --

Better -- Could I bring?

 

 

698

Life -- is what we make of it --

Death -- we do not know --

Christ’s acquaintance with Him

Justify Him -- though --

He -- would trust no stranger --

Other -- could betray --

Just His own endorsement --

That -- sufficeth Me --

All the other Distance

He hath traversed first --

No New Mile remaineth --

Far as Paradise --

His sure foot preceding --

Tender Pioneer --

Base must be the Coward

Dare not venture -- now --

 

 

699

The Judge is like the Owl --

I’ve heard my Father tell --

And Owls do build in Oaks --

So here’s an Amber Sill --

That slanted in my Path --

When going to the Barn --

And if it serve You for a House --

Itself is not in vain --

About the price -- ‘tis small --

I only ask a Tune

At Midnight -- Let the Owl select

His favorite Refrain.

 

 

700

You’ve seen Balloons set -- Haven’t You?

So stately they ascend --

It is as Swans -- discarded You,

For Duties Diamond --

Their Liquid Feet go softly out

Upon a Sea of Blonde --

They spurn the Air, as t’were too mean

For Creatures so renowned --

Their Ribbons just beyond the eye --

They struggle -- some -- for Breath --

And yet the Crowd applaud, below --

They would not encore -- Death --

The Gilded Creature strains -- and spins --

Trips frantic in a Tree --

Tears open her imperial Veins --

And tumbles in the Sea --

The Crowd -- retire with an Oath --

The Dust in Streets -- go down --

And Clerks in Counting Rooms

Observe -- "‘Twas only a Balloon" --

 

 

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