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

 

701

A Thought went up my mind today --

That I have had before --

But did not finish -- some way back --

I could not fix the Year --

Nor where it went -- nor why it came

The second time to me --

Nor definitely, what it was --

Have I the Art to say --

But somewhere -- in my Soul -- I know --

I’ve met the Thing before --

It just reminded me -- ‘twas all --

And came my way no more --

 

 

702

A first Mute Coming --

In the Stranger’s House --

A first fair Going --

When the Bells rejoice --

A first Exchange -- of

What hath mingled -- been --

For Lot -- exhibited to

Faith -- alone --

 

 

703

Out of sight? What of that?

See the Bird -- reach it!

Curve by Curve -- Sweep by Sweep --

Round the Steep Air --

Danger! What is that to Her?

Better ‘tis to fail -- there --

Than debate -- here --

Blue is Blue -- the World through --

Amber -- Amber -- Dew -- Dew --

Seek -- Friend -- and see --

Heaven is shy of Earth -- that’s all --

Bashful Heaven -- thy Lovers small --

Hide -- too -- from thee --

 

 

704

No matter -- now -- Sweet --

But when I’m Earl --

Won’t you wish you’d spoken

To that dull Girl?

Trivial a Word -- just --

Trivial -- a Smile --

But won’t you wish you’d spared one

When I’m Earl?

I shan’t need it -- then --

Crests -- will do --

Eagles on my Buckles --

On my Belt -- too --

Ermine -- my familiar Gown --

Say -- Sweet -- then

Won’t you wish you’d smiled -- just --

Me upon?

 

 

705

Suspense -- is Hostiler than Death --

Death -- tho’soever Broad,

Is Just Death, and cannot increase --

Suspense -- does not conclude --

But perishes -- to live anew --

But just anew to die --

Annihilation -- plated fresh

With Immortality --

 

 

706

Life, and Death, and Giants --

Such as These -- are still --

Minor -- Apparatus -- Hopper of the Mill --

Beetle at the Candle --

Or a Fife’s Fame --

Maintain -- by Accident that they proclaim --

 

 

707

The Grace -- Myself -- might not obtain --

Confer upon My flower --

Refracted but a Countenance --

For I -- inhabit Her --

 

 

708

I sometimes drop it, for a Quick --

The Thought to be alive --

Anonymous Delight to know --

And Madder -- to conceive --

Consoles a Woe so monstrous

That did it tear all Day,

Without an instant’s Respite --

‘Twould look too far -- to Die --

 

 

709

Publication -- is the Auction

Of the Mind of Man --

Poverty -- be justifying

For so foul a thing

Possibly -- but We -- would rather

From Our Garret go

White -- Unto the White Creator --

Than invest -- Our Snow --

Thought belong to Him who gave it --

Then -- to Him Who bear

Its Corporeal illustration -- Sell

The Royal Air --

In the Parcel -- Be the Merchant

Of the Heavenly Grace --

But reduce no Human Spirit

To Disgrace of Price --

 

 

710

The Sunrise runs for Both --

The East -- Her Purple Troth

Keeps with the Hill --

The Noon unwinds Her Blue

Till One Breadth cover Two --

Remotest -- still --

Nor does the Night forget

A Lamp for Each -- to set --

Wicks wide away --

The North -- Her blazing Sign

Erects in Iodine --

Till Both -- can see --

The Midnight’s Dusky Arms

Clasp Hemispheres, and Homes

And so

Upon Her Bosom -- One --

And One upon Her Hem --

Both lie --

 

 

711

Strong Draughts of Their Refreshing Minds

To drink -- enables Mine

Through Desert or the Wilderness

As bore it Sealed Wine --

To go elastic -- Or as One

The Camel’s trait -- attained --

How powerful the Stimulus

Of an Hermetic Mind --

 

 

712

Because I could not stop for Death --

He kindly stopped for me --

The Carriage held but just Ourselves --

And Immortality.

We slowly drove -- He knew no haste

And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility --

We passed the School, where Children strove

At Recess -- in the Ring --

We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain --

We passed the Setting Sun --

Or rather -- He passed Us --

The Dews drew quivering and chill --

For only Gossamer, my Gown --

My Tippet -- only Tulle --

We paused before a House that seemed

A Swelling of the Ground --

The Roof was scarcely visible --

The Cornice -- in the Ground --

Since then -- ‘tis Centuries -- and yet

Feels shorter than the Day

I first surmised the Horses’ Heads

Were toward Eternity --

 

 

713

Fame of Myself, to justify,

All other Plaudit be

Superfluous -- An Incense

Beyond Necessity --

Fame of Myself to lack -- Although

My Name be else Supreme --

This were an Honor honorless --

A futile Diadem --

 

 

714

Rest at Night

The Sun from shining,

Nature -- and some Men --

Rest at Noon -- some Men --

While Nature

And the Sun -- go on --

 

 

715

The World -- feels Dusty

When We stop to Die --

We want the Dew -- then --

Honors -- taste dry --

Flags -- vex a Dying face --

But the least Fan

Stirred by a friend’s Hand --

Cools -- like the Rain --

Mine be the Ministry

When they Thirst comes --

And Hybla Balms --

Dews of Thessaly, to fetch --

 

 

716

The Day undressed -- Herself --

Her Garter -- was of Gold --

Her Petticoat -- of Purple plain --

Her Dimities -- as old

Exactly -- as the World --

And yet the newest Star --

Enrolled upon the Hemisphere

Be wrinkled -- much as Her --

Too near to God -- to pray --

Too near to Heaven -- to fear --

The Lady of the Occident

Retired without a care --

Her Candle so expire

The flickering be seen

On Ball of Mast in Bosporus --

And Dome -- and Window Pane --

 

 

717

The Beggar Lad -- dies early --

It’s Somewhat in the Cold --

And Somewhat in the Trudging feet --

And haply, in the World --

The Cruel -- smiling -- bowing World --

That took its Cambric Way --

Nor heard the timid cry for "Bread" --

"Sweet Lady -- Charity" --

Among Redeemed Children

If Trudging feet may stand

The Barefoot time forgotten -- so --

The Sleet -- the bitter Wind --

The Childish Hands that teased for Pence

Lifted adoring -- them --

To Him whom never Ragged -- Coat

Did supplicate in vain --

 

 

718

I meant to find Her when I came --

Death -- had the same design --

But the Success -- was His -- it seems --

And the Surrender -- Mine --

I meant to tell Her how I longed

For just this single time --

But Death had told Her so the first --

And she had past, with Him --

To wander -- now -- is my Repose --

To rest -- To rest would be

A privilege of Hurricane

To Memory -- and Me.

 

 

719

A South Wind -- has a pathos

Of individual Voice --

As One detect on Landings

An Emigrant’s address.

A Hint of Ports and Peoples --

And much not understood --

The fairer -- for the farness --

And for the foreignhood.

 

 

720

No Prisoner be --

Where Liberty --

Himself -- abide with Thee --

 

 

721

Behind Me -- dips Eternity --

Before Me -- Immortality --

Myself -- the Term between --

Death but the Drift of Eastern Gray,

Dissolving into Dawn away,

Before the West begin --

‘Tis Kingdoms -- afterward -- they say --

In perfect -- pauseless Monarchy --

Whose Prince -- is Son of None --

Himself -- His Dateless Dynasty --

Himself -- Himself diversify --

In Duplicate divine --

‘Tis Miracle before Me -- then --

‘Tis Miracle behind -- between --

A Crescent in the Sea --

With Midnight to the North of Her --

And Midnight to the South of Her --

And Maelstrom -- in the Sky --

 

 

722

Sweet Mountains -- Ye tell Me no lie --

Never deny Me -- Never fly --

Those same unvarying Eyes

Turn on Me -- when I fail -- or feign,

Or take the Royal names in vain --

Their far -- slow -- Violet Gaze --

My Strong Madonnas -- Cherish still --

The Wayward Nun -- beneath the Hill --

Whose service -- is to You --

Her latest Worship -- When the Day

Fades from the Firmament away --

To lift Her Brows on You --

 

 

723

It tossed -- and tossed --

A little Brig I knew -- o’ertook by Blast --

It spun -- and spun --

And groped delirious, for Morn --

It slipped -- and slipped --

As One that drunken -- stept --

Its white foot tripped --

Then dropped from sight --

Ah, Brig -- Good Night

To Crew and You --

The Ocean’s Heart too smooth -- too Blue --

To break for You --

 

 

724

It’s easy to invent a Life --

God does it -- every Day --

Creation -- but the Gambol

Of His Authority --

It’s easy to efface it --

The thrifty Deity

Could scarce afford Eternity

To Spontaneity --

The Perished Patterns murmur --

But His Perturbless Plan

Proceed -- inserting Here -- a Sun --

There -- leaving out a Man --

 

 

725

Where Thou art -- that -- is Home --

Cashmere -- or Calvary -- the same --

Degree -- or Shame --

I scarce esteem Location’s Name --

So I may Come --

What Thou dost -- is Delight --

Bondage as Play -- be sweet --

Imprisonment -- Content --

And Sentence -- Sacrament --

Just We two -- meet --

Where Thou art not -- is Woe --

Tho’ Bands of Spices -- row --

What Thou dost not -- Despair --

Tho’ Gabriel -- praise me -- Sire --

 

 

726

We thirst at first -- ‘tis Nature’s Act --

And later -- when we die --

A little Water supplicate --

Of fingers going by --

It intimates the finer want --

Whose adequate supply

Is that Great Water in the West --

Termed Immortality --

 

 

727

Precious to Me -- She still shall be --

Though She forget the name I bear --

The fashion of the Gown I wear --

The very Color of My Hair --

So like the Meadows -- now --

I dared to show a Tress of Theirs

If haply -- She might not despise

A Buttercup’s Array --

I know the Whole -- obscures the Part --

The fraction -- that appeased the Heart

Till Number’s Empery --

Remembered -- as the Millner’s flower

When Summer’s Everlasting Dower --

Confronts the dazzled Bee.

 

 

728

Let Us play Yesterday --

I -- the Girl at school --

You -- and Eternity -- the

Untold Tale --

Easing my famine

At my Lexicon --

Logarithm -- had I -- for Drink --

‘Twas a dry Wine --

Somewhat different -- must be --

Dreams tint the Sleep --

Cunning Reds of Morning

Make the Blind -- leap --

Still at the Egg-life --

Chafing the Shell --

When you troubled the Ellipse --

And the Bird fell --

Manacles be dim -- they say --

To the new Free --

Liberty -- Commoner --

Never could -- to me --

‘Twas my last gratitude

When I slept -- at night --

‘Twas the first Miracle

Let in -- with Light --

Can the Lark resume the Shell --

Easier -- for the Sky --

Wouldn’t Bonds hurt more

Than Yesterday?

Wouldn’t Dungeons sorer frate

On the Man -- free --

Just long enough to taste --

Then -- doomed new --

God of the Manacle

As of the Free --

Take not my Liberty

Away from Me --

 

 

729

Alter! When the Hills do --

Falter! When the Sun

Question if His Glory

Be the Perfect One --

Surfeit! When the Daffodil

Doth of the Dew --

Even as Herself -- Sir --

I will -- of You --

 

 

730

Defrauded I a Butterfly --

The lawful Heir -- for Thee --

 

 

731

"I want" -- it pleaded -- All its life --

I want -- was chief it said

When Skill entreated it -- the last --

And when so newly dead --

I could not deem it late -- to hear

That single -- steadfast sigh --

The lips had placed as with a "Please"

Toward Eternity --

 

 

732

She rose to His Requirement -- dropt

The Playthings of Her Life

To take the honorable Work

Of Woman, and of Wife --

If ought She missed in Her new Day,

Of Amplitude, or Awe --

Or first Prospective -- Or the Gold

In using, wear away,

It lay unmentioned -- as the Sea

Develop Pearl, and Weed,

But only to Himself -- be known

The Fathoms they abide --

 

 

733

The Spirit is the Conscious Ear.

We actually Hear

When We inspect -- that’s audible --

That is admitted -- Here --

For other Services -- as Sound --

There hangs a smaller Ear

Outside the Castle -- that Contain --

The other -- only -- Hear --

 

 

734

If He were living -- dare I ask --

And how if He be dead --

And so around the Words I went --

Of meeting them -- afraid --

I hinted Changes -- Lapse of Time --

The Surfaces of Years --

I touched with Caution -- lest they crack --

And show me to my fears --

Reverted to adjoining Lives --

Adroitly turning out

Wherever I suspected Graves --

‘Twas prudenter -- I thought --

And He -- I pushed -- with sudden force --

In face of the Suspense --

"Was buried" -- "Buried"! "He!"

My Life just holds the Trench --

 

 

735

Upon Concluded Lives

There’s nothing cooler falls --

Than Life’s sweet Calculations --

The mixing Bells and Palls --

Make Lacerating Tune --

To Ears the Dying Side --

‘Tis Coronal -- and Funeral --

Saluting -- in the Road --

 

 

736

Have any like Myself

Investigating March,

New Houses on the Hill descried --

And possibly a Church --

That were not, We are sure --

As lately as the Snow --

And are Today -- if We exist --

Though how may this be so?

Have any like Myself

Conjectured Who may be

The Occupants of the Adobes --

So easy to the Sky --

‘Twould seem that God should be

The nearest Neighbor to --

And Heaven -- a convenient Grace

For Show, or Company --

Have any like Myself

Preserved the Charm secure

By shunning carefully the Place

All Seasons of the Year,

Excepting March -- ‘Tis then

My Villages be seen --

And possibly a Steeple --

Not afterward -- by Men --

 

 

737

The Moon was but a Chin of Gold

A Night or two ago --

And now she turns Her perfect Face

Upon the World below --

Her Forehead is of Amplest Blonde --

Her Cheek -- a Beryl hewn --

Her Eye unto the Summer Dew

The likest I have known --

Her Lips of Amber never part --

But what must be the smile

Upon Her Friend she could confer

Were such Her Silver Will --

And what a privilege to be

But the remotest Star --

For Certainty She take Her Way

Beside Your Palace Door --

Her Bonnet is the Firmament --

The Universe -- Her Shoe --

The Stars -- the Trinkets at Her Belt --

Her Dimities -- of Blue --

 

 

738

You said that I "was Great" -- one Day --

Then "Great" it be -- if that please Thee --

Or Small -- or any size at all --

Nay -- I’m the size suit Thee --

Tall -- like the Stag -- would that?

Or lower -- like the Wren --

Or other heights of Other Ones

I’ve seen?

Tell which -- it’s dull to guess --

And I must be Rhinoceros

Or Mouse --

At once -- for Thee --

So say -- if Queen it be --

Or Page -- please Thee --

I’m that -- or nought --

Or other thing -- if other thing there be --

With just this Stipulus --

I suit Thee --

 

 

739

I many times thought Peace had come

When Peace was far away --

As Wrecked Men -- deem they sight the Land --

At Centre of the Sea --

And struggle slacker -- but to prove

As hopelessly as I --

How many the fictitious Shores --

Before the Harbor be --

 

 

740

You taught me Waiting with Myself --

Appointment strictly kept --

You taught me fortitude of Fate --

This -- also -- I have learnt --

An Altitude of Death, that could

No bitterer debar

Than Life -- had done -- before it --

Yet -- there is a Science more --

The Heaven you know -- to understand

That you be not ashamed

Of Me -- in Christ’s bright Audience

Upon the further Hand --

 

 

741

Drama’s Vitallest Expression is the Common Day

That arise and set about Us --

Other Tragedy

Perish in the Recitation --

This -- the best enact

When the Audience is scattered

And the Boxes shut --

"Hamlet" to Himself were Hamlet --

Had not Shakespeare wrote --

Though the "Romeo" left no Record

Of his Juliet,

It were infinite enacted

In the Human Heart --

Only Theatre recorded

Owner cannot shut --

 

 

742

Four Trees -- upon a solitary Acre --

Without Design

Or Order, or Apparent Action --

Maintain --

The Sun -- upon a Morning meets them --

The Wind --

No nearer Neighbor -- have they --

But God --

The Acre gives them -- Place --

They -- Him -- Attention of Passer by --

Of Shadow, or of Squirrel, haply --

Or Boy --

What Deed is Theirs unto the General Nature --

What Plan

They severally -- retard -- or further --

Unknown --

 

 

743

The Birds reported from the South --

A News express to Me --

A spicy Charge, My little Posts --

But I am deaf -- Today --

The Flowers -- appealed -- a timid Throng --

I reinforced the Door --

Go blossom for the Bees -- I said --

And trouble Me -- no More --

The Summer Grace, for Notice strove --

Remote -- Her best Array --

The Heart -- to stimulate the Eye

Refused too utterly --

At length, a Mourner, like Myself,

She drew away austere --

Her frosts to ponder -- then it was

I recollected Her --

She suffered Me, for I had mourned --

I offered Her no word --

My Witness -- was the Crape I bore --

Her -- Witness -- was Her Dead --

Thenceforward -- We -- together dwelt --

I never questioned Her --

Our Contract

A Wiser Sympathy

 

 

744

Remorse -- is Memory -- awake --

Her Parties all astir --

A Presence of Departed Acts --

At window -- and at Door --

Its Past -- set down before the Soul

And lighted with a Match --

Perusal -- to facilitate --

And help Belief to stretch --

Remorse is cureless -- the Disease

Not even God -- can heal --

For ‘tis His institution -- and

The Adequate of Hell --

 

 

745

Renunciation -- is a piercing Virtue --

The letting go

A Presence -- for an Expectation --

Not now --

The putting out of Eyes --

Just Sunrise --

Lest Day --

Day’s Great Progenitor --

Outvie

Renunciation -- is the Choosing

Against itself --

Itself to justify

Unto itself --

When larger function --

Make that appear --

Smaller -- that Covered Vision -- Here --

 

 

746

Never for Society

He shall seek in vain --

Who His own acquaintance

Cultivate -- Of Men

Wiser Men may weary --

But the Man within

Never knew Satiety --

Better entertain

Than could Border Ballad --

Or Biscayan Hymn --

Neither introduction

Need You -- unto Him --

 

 

747

It dropped so low -- in my Regard --

I heard it hit the Ground --

And go to pieces on the Stones

At bottom of my Mind --

Yet blamed the Fate that flung it -- less

Than I denounced Myself,

For entertaining Plated Wares

Upon my Silver Shelf --

 

 

748

Autumn -- overlooked my Knitting --

Dyes -- said He -- have I --

Could disparage a Flamingo --

Show Me them -- said I --

Cochineal -- I chose -- for deeming

It resemble Thee --

And the little Border -- Dusker --

For resembling Me --

 

 

749

All but Death, can be Adjusted --

Dynasties repaired --

Systems -- settled in their Sockets --

Citadels -- dissolved --

Wastes of Lives -- resown with Colors

By Succeeding Springs --

Death -- unto itself -- Exception --

Is exempt from Change --

 

 

750

Growth of Man -- like Growth of Nature --

Gravitates within --

Atmosphere, and Sun endorse it --

Bit it stir -- alone --

Each -- its difficult Ideal

Must achieve -- Itself --

Through the solitary prowess

Of a Silent Life --

Effort -- is the sole condition --

Patience of Itself --

Patience of opposing forces --

And intact Belief --

Looking on -- is the Department

Of its Audience --

But Transaction -- is assisted

By no Countenance --

 

 

751

My Worthiness is all my Doubt --

His Merit -- all my fear --

Contrasting which, my quality

Do lowlier -- appear --

Lest I should insufficient prove

For His beloved Need --

The Chiefest Apprehension

Upon my thronging Mind --

‘Tis true -- that Deity to stoop

Inherently incline --

For nothing higher than Itself

Itself can rest upon --

So I -- the undivine abode

Of His Elect Content --

Conform my Soul -- as ‘twere a Church,

Unto Her Sacrament --

 

 

752

So the Eyes accost -- and sunder

In an Audience --

Stamped -- occasionally -- forever --

So may Countenance

Entertain -- without addressing

Countenance of One

In a Neighboring Horizon --

Gone -- as soon as known --

 

 

753

My Soul -- accused me -- And I quailed --

As Tongue of Diamond had reviled

All else accused me -- and I smiled --

My Soul -- that Morning -- was My friend --

Her favor -- is the best Disdain

Toward Artifice of Time -- or Men --

But Her Disdain -- ‘twere lighter bear

A finger of Enamelled Fire --

 

 

754

My Life had stood -- a Loaded Gun --

In Corners -- till a Day

The Owner passed -- identified --

And carried Me away --

And now We roam in Sovereign Woods --

And now We hunt the Doe --

And every time I speak for Him --

The Mountains straight reply --

And do I smile, such cordial light

Upon the Valley glow --

It is as a Vesuvian face

Had let its pleasure through --

And when at Night -- Our good Day done --

I guard My Master’s Head --

‘Tis better than the Eider-Duck’s

Deep Pillow -- to have shared --

To foe of His -- I’m deadly foe --

None stir the second time --

On whom I lay a Yellow Eye --

Or an emphatic Thumb --

Though I than He -- may longer live

He longer must -- than I --

For I have but the power to kill,

Without -- the power to die --

 

 

755

No Bobolink -- reverse His Singing

When the only Tree

Ever He minded occupying

By the Farmer be --

Clove to the Root --

His Spacious Future --

Best Horizon -- gone --

Whose Music be His

Only Anodyne --

Brave Bobolink --

 

 

756

One Blessing had I than the rest

So larger to my Eyes

That I stopped gauging -- satisfied --

For this enchanted size --

It was the limit of my Dream --

The focus of my Prayer --

A perfect -- paralyzing Bliss --

Contented as Despair --

I knew no more of Want -- or Cold --

Phantasms both become

For this new Value in the Soul --

Supremest Earthly Sum --

The Heaven below the Heaven above --

Obscured with ruddier Blue --

Life’s Latitudes leant over -- full --

The Judgment perished -- too --

Why Bliss so scantily disburse --

Why Paradise defer --

Why Floods be served to Us -- in Bowls --

I speculate no more --

 

 

757

The Mountains -- grow unnoticed --

Their Purple figures rise

Without attempt -- Exhaustion --

Assistance -- or Applause --

In Their Eternal Faces

The Sun -- with just delight

Looks long -- and last -- and golden --

For fellowship -- at night --

 

 

758

These -- saw Visions --

Latch them softly --

These -- held Dimples --

Smooth them slow --

This -- addressed departing accents --

Quick -- Sweet Mouth -- to miss thee so --

This -- We stroked --

Unnumbered Satin --

These -- we held among our own --

Fingers of the Slim Aurora --

Not so arrogant -- this Noon --

These -- adjust -- that ran to meet us --

Pearl -- for Stocking -- Pearl for Shoe --

Paradise -- the only Palace

Fit for Her reception -- now --

 

 

759

He fought like those Who’ve nought to lose --

Bestowed Himself to Balls

As One who for a further Life

Had not a further Use --

Invited Death -- with bold attempt --

But Death was Coy of Him

As Other Men, were Coy of Death --

To Him -- to live -- was Doom --

His Comrades, shifted like the Flakes

When Gusts reverse the Snow --

But He -- was left alive Because

Of Greediness to die --

 

 

760

Most she touched me by her muteness --

Most she won me by the way

She presented her small figure --

Plea itself -- for Charity --

Were a Crumb my whole possession --

Were there famine in the land --

Were it my resource from starving --

Could I such a plea withstand --

Not upon her knee to thank me

Sank this Beggar from the Sky --

But the Crumb partook -- departed --

And returned On High --

I supposed -- when sudden

Such a Praise began

‘Twas as Space sat singing

To herself -- and men --

‘Twas the Winged Beggar --

Afterward I learned

To her Benefactor

Making Gratitude

 

 

761

From Blank to Blank --

A Threadless Way

I pushed Mechanic feet --

To stop -- or perish -- or advance --

Alike indifferent --

If end I gained

It ends beyond

Indefinite disclosed --

I shut my eyes -- and groped as well

‘Twas lighter -- to be Blind --

 

 

762

The Whole of it came not at once --

‘Twas Murder by degrees --

A Thrust -- and then for Life a chance --

The Bliss to cauterize --

The Cat reprieves the Mouse

She eases from her teeth

Just long enough for Hope to tease --

Then mashes it to death --

‘Tis Life’s award -- to die --

Contenteder if once --

Than dying half -- then rallying

For consciouser Eclipse --

 

 

763

He told a homely tale

And spotted it with tears --

Upon his infant face was set

The Cicatrice of years --

All crumpled was the cheek

No other kiss had known

Than flake of snow, divided with

The Redbreast of the Barn --

If Mother -- in the Grave --

Or Father -- on the Sea --

Or Father in the Firmament --

Or Brethren, had he --

If Commonwealth below,

Or Commonwealth above

Have missed a Barefoot Citizen --

I’ve ransomed it -- alive --

 

 

764

Presentiment -- is that long Shadow -- on the Lawn --

Indicatives that Suns go down --

The Notice to the startled Grass

That Darkness -- is about to pass --

 

 

765

You constituted Time --

I deemed Eternity

A Revelation of Yourself --

‘Twas therefore Deity

The Absolute -- removed

The Relative away --

That I unto Himself adjust

My slow idolatry --

 

 

766

My Faith is larger than the Hills --

So when the Hills decay --

My Faith must take the Purple Wheel

To show the Sun the way --

‘Tis first He steps upon the Vane --

And then -- upon the Hill --

And then abroad the World He go

To do His Golden Will --

And if His Yellow feet should miss --

The Bird would not arise --

The Flowers would slumber on their Stems --

No Bells have Paradise --

How dare I, therefore, stint a faith

On which so vast depends --

Lest Firmament should fail for me --

The Rivet in the Bands

 

 

767

To offer brave assistance

To Lives that stand alone --

When One has failed to stop them --

Is Human -- but Divine

To lend an Ample Sinew

Unto a Nameless Man --

Whose Homely Benediction

No other -- stopped to earn --

 

 

768

When I hoped, I recollect

Just the place I stood --

At a Window facing West --

Roughest Air -- was good --

Not a Sleet could bite me --

Not a frost could cool --

Hope it was that kept me warm --

Not Merino shawl --

When I feared -- I recollect

Just the Day it was --

Worlds were lying out to Sun --

Yet how Nature froze --

Icicles upon my soul

Prickled Blue and Cool --

Bird went praising everywhere --

Only Me -- was still --

And the Day that I despaired --

This -- if I forget

Nature will -- that it be Night

After Sun has set --

Darkness intersect her face --

And put out her eye --

Nature hesitate -- before

Memory and I --

 

 

769

One and One -- are One --

Two -- be finished using --

Well enough for Schools --

But for Minor Choosing --

Life -- just -- or Death --

Or the Everlasting --

More -- would be too vast

For the Soul’s Comprising --

 

 

770

I lived on Dread --

To Those who know

The Stimulus there is

In Danger -- Other impetus

Is numb -- and Vitalless --

As ‘twere a Spur -- upon the Soul --

A Fear will urge it where

To go without the Sceptre’s aid

Were Challenging Despair.

 

 

771

None can experience sting

Who Bounty -- have not known --

The fact of Famine -- could not be

Except for Fact of Corn --

Want -- is a meagre Art

Acquired by Reverse --

The Poverty that was not Wealth --

Cannot be Indigence.

 

 

772

The hallowing of Pain

Like hallowing of Heaven,

Obtains at a corporeal cost --

The Summit is not given

To Him who strives severe

At middle of the Hill --

But He who has achieved the Top --

All -- is the price of All --

 

 

773

Deprived of other Banquet,

I entertained Myself --

At first -- a scant nutrition --

An insufficient Loaf --

But grown by slender addings

To so esteemed a size

‘Tis sumptuous enough for me --

And almost to suffice

A Robin’s famine able --

Red Pilgrim, He and I --

A Berry from our table

Reserve -- for charity --

 

 

774

It is a lonesome Glee --

Yet sanctifies the Mind --

With fair association --

Afar upon the Wind

A Bird to overhear

Delight without a Cause --

Arrestless as invisible --

A matter of the Skies.

 

 

775

If Blame be my side -- forfeit Me --

But doom me not to forfeit Thee --

To forfeit Thee? The very name

Is sentence from Belief -- and House --

 

 

776

The Color of a Queen, is this --

The Color of a Sun

At setting -- this and Amber --

Beryl -- and this, at Noon --

And when at night -- Auroran widths

Fling suddenly on men --

‘Tis this -- and Witchcraft -- nature keeps

A Rank -- for Iodine --

 

 

777

The Loneliness One dare not sound --

And would as soon surmise

As in its Grave go plumbing

To ascertain the size --

The Loneliness whose worst alarm

Is lest itself should see --

And perish from before itself

For just a scrutiny --

The Horror not to be surveyed --

But skirted in the Dark --

With Consciousness suspended --

And Being under Lock --

I fear me this -- is Loneliness --

The Maker of the soul

Its Caverns and its Corridors

Illuminate -- or seal --

 

 

778

This that would greet -- an hour ago --

Is quaintest Distance -- now --

Had it a Guest from Paradise --

Nor glow, would it, nor bow --

Had it a notice from the Noon

Nor beam would it nor warm --

Match me the Silver Reticence --

Match me the Solid Calm --

 

 

779

The Service without Hope --

Is tenderest, I think --

Because ‘tis unsustained

By stint -- Rewarded Work --

Has impetus of Gain --

And impetus of Goal --

There is no Diligence like that

That knows not an Until --

 

 

780

The Truth -- is stirless --

Other force -- may be presumed to move --

This -- then -- is best for confidence --

When oldest Cedars swerve --

And Oaks untwist their fists --

And Mountains -- feeble -- lean --

How excellent a Body, that

Stands without a Bone --

How vigorous a Force

That holds without a Prop --

Truth stays Herself -- and every man

That trusts Her -- boldly up --

 

 

781

To wait an Hour -- is long --

If Love be just beyond --

To wait Eternity -- is short --

If Love reward the end --

 

 

782

There is an arid Pleasure --

As different from Joy --

As Frost is different from Dew --

Like element -- are they --

Yet one -- rejoices Flowers --

And one -- the Flowers abhor --

The finest Honey -- curdled --

Is worthless -- to the Bee --

 

 

783

The Birds begun at Four o’clock --

Their period for Dawn --

A Music numerous as space --

But neighboring as Noon --

I could not count their Force --

Their Voices did expend

As Brook by Brook bestows itself

To multiply the Pond.

Their Witnesses were not --

Except occasional man --

In homely industry arrayed --

To overtake the Morn --

Nor was it for applause --

That I could ascertain --

But independent Ecstasy

Of Deity and Men --

By Six, the Flood had done --

No Tumult there had been

Of Dressing, or Departure --

And yet the Band was gone --

The Sun engrossed the East --

The Day controlled the World --

The Miracle that introduced

Forgotten, as fulfilled.

 

 

784

Bereaved of all, I went abroad --

No less bereaved was I

Upon a New Peninsula --

The Grave preceded me --

Obtained my Lodgings, ere myself --

And when I sought my Bed --

The Grave it was reposed upon

The Pillow for my Head --

I waked to find it first awake --

I rose -- It followed me --

I tried to drop it in the Crowd --

To lose it in the Sea --

In Cups of artificial Drowse

To steep its shape away --

The Grave -- was finished -- but the Spade

Remained in Memory --

 

 

785

They have a little Odor -- that to me

Is metre -- nay -- ‘tis melody --

And spiciest at fading -- indicate --

A Habit -- of a Laureate --

 

 

786

Severer Service of myself

I -- hastened to demand

To fill the awful Vacuum

Your life had left behind --

I worried Nature with my Wheels

When Hers had ceased to run --

When she had put away Her Work

My own had just begun.

I strove to weary Brain and Bone --

To harass to fatigue

The glittering Retinue of nerves --

Vitality to clog

To some dull comfort Those obtain

Who put a Head away

They knew the Hair to --

And forget the color of the Day --

Affliction would not be appeased --

The Darkness braced as firm

As all my stratagem had been

The Midnight to confirm --

No Drug for Consciousness -- can be --

Alternative to die

Is Nature’s only Pharmacy

For Being’s Malady --

 

 

787

Such is the Force of Happiness --

The Least -- can lift a Ton

Assisted by its stimulus --

Who Misery -- sustain --

No Sinew can afford --

The Cargo of Themselves --

Too infinite for Consciousness’

Slow capabilities.

 

 

788

Joy to have merited the Pain --

To merit the Release --

Joy to have perished every step --

To Compass Paradise --

Pardon -- to look upon thy face --

With these old fashioned Eyes --

Better than new -- could be -- for that --

Though bought in Paradise --

Because they looked on thee before --

And thou hast looked on them --

Prove Me -- My Hazel Witnesses

The features are the same --

So fleet thou wert, when present --

So infinite -- when gone --

An Orient’s Apparition --

Remanded of the Morn --

The Height I recollect --

‘Twas even with the Hills --

The Depth upon my Soul was notched --

As Floods -- on Whites of Wheels --

To Haunt -- till Time have dropped

His last Decade away,

And Haunting actualize -- to last

At least -- Eternity --

 

 

789

On a Columnar Self --

How ample to rely

In Tumult -- or Extremity --

How good the Certainty

That Lever cannot pry --

And Wedge cannot divide

Conviction -- That Granitic Base --

Though None be on our Side --

Suffice Us -- for a Crowd --

Ourself -- and Rectitude --

And that Assembly -- not far off

From furthest Spirit -- God --

 

 

790

Nature -- the Gentlest Mother is,

Impatient of no Child --

The feeblest -- or the waywardest --

Her Admonition mild --

In Forest -- and the Hill --

By Traveller -- be heard --

Restraining Rampant Squirrel --

Or too impetuous Bird --

How fair Her Conversation --

A Summer Afternoon --

Her Household -- Her Assembly --

And when the Sung go down --

Her Voice among the Aisles

Incite the timid prayer

Of the minutest Cricket --

The most unworthy Flower --

When all the Children sleep --

She turns as long away

As will suffice to light Her lamps --

Then bending from the Sky --

With infinite Affection --

And infiniter Care --

Her Golden finger on Her lip --

Wills Silence -- Everywhere --

 

 

791

God gave a Loaf to every Bird --

But just a Crumb -- to Me --

I dare not eat it -- tho’ I starve --

My poignant luxury --

To own it -- touch it --

Prove the feat -- that made the Pellet mine --

Too happy -- for my Sparrow’s chance --

For Ampler Coveting --

It might be Famine -- all around --

I could not miss an Ear --

Such Plenty smiles upon my Board --

My Garner shows so fair --

I wonder how the Rich -- may feel --

An Indiaman -- An Earl --

I deem that I -- with but a Crumb --

Am Sovereign of them all --

 

 

792

Through the strait pass of suffering --

The Martyrs -- even -- trod.

Their feet -- upon Temptations --

Their faces -- upon God --

A stately -- shriven -- Company --

Convulsion -- playing round --

Harmless -- as streaks of Meteor --

Upon a Planet’s Bond --

Their faith -- the everlasting troth --

Their Expectation -- fair --

The Needle -- to the North Degree --

Wades -- so -- thro’ polar Air!

 

 

793

Grief is a Mouse --

And chooses Wainscot in the Breast

For His Shy House --

And baffles quest --

Grief is a Thief -- quick startled --

Pricks His Ear -- report to hear

Of that Vast Dark --

That swept His Being -- back --

Grief is a Juggler -- boldest at the Play --

Lest if He flinch -- the eye that way

Pounce on His Bruises -- One -- say -- or Three --

Grief is a Gourmand -- spare His luxury --

Best Grief is Tongueless -- before He’ll tell --

Burn Him in the Public Square --

His Ashes -- will

Possibly -- if they refuse -- How then know --

Since a Rack couldn’t coax a syllable -- now.

 

 

794

A Drop Fell on the Apple Tree --

Another -- on the Roof --

A Half a Dozen kissed the Eaves --

And made the Gables laugh --

A few went out to help the Brook

That went to help the Sea --

Myself Conjectured were they Pearls --

What Necklace could be --

The Dust replaced, in Hoisted Roads --

The Birds jocoser sung --

The Sunshine threw his Hat away --

The Bushes -- spangles flung --

The Breezes brought dejected Lutes --

And bathed them in the Glee --

Then Orient showed a single Flag,

And signed the Fete away --

 

 

795

Her final Summer was it --

And yet We guessed it not --

If tenderer industriousness

Pervaded Her, We thought

A further force of life

Developed from within --

When Death lit all the shortness up

It made the hurry plain --

We wondered at our blindness

When nothing was to see

But Her Carrara Guide post --

At Our Stupidity --

When duller than our dullness

The Busy Darling lay --

So busy was she -- finishing --

So leisurely -- were We --

 

 

796

Who Giants know, with lesser Men

Are incomplete, and shy --

For Greatness, that is ill at ease

In minor Company --

A Smaller, could not be perturbed --

The Summer Gnat displays --

Unconscious that his single Fleet

Do not comprise the skies --

 

 

797

By my Window have I for Scenery

Just a Sea -- with a Stem --

If the Bird and the Farmer -- deem it a "Pine" --

The Opinion will serve -- for them --

It has no Port, nor a "Line" -- but the Jays --

That split their route to the Sky --

Or a Squirrel, whose giddy Peninsula

May be easier reached -- this way --

For Inlands -- the Earth is the under side --

And the upper side -- is the Sun --

And its Commerce -- if Commerce it have --

Of Spice -- I infer from the Odors borne --

Of its Voice -- to affirm -- when the Wind is within --

Can the Dumb -- define the Divine?

The Definition of Melody -- is --

That Definition is none --

It -- suggests to our Faith --

They -- suggest to our Sight --

When the latter -- is put away

I shall meet with Conviction I somewhere met

That Immortality --

Was the Pine at my Window a "Fellow

Of the Royal" Infinity?

Apprehensions -- are God’s introductions --

To be hallowed -- accordingly --

 

 

798

She staked her Feathers -- Gained an Arc --

Debated -- Rose again --

This time -- beyond the estimate

Of Envy, or of Men --

And now, among Circumference --

Her steady Boat be seen --

At home -- among the Billows -- As

The Bough where she was born --

 

 

799

Despair’s advantage is achieved

By suffering -- Despair --

To be assisted of Reverse

One must Reverse have bore --

The Worthiness of Suffering like

The Worthiness of Death

Is ascertained by tasting --

As can no other Mouth

Of Savors -- make us conscious --

As did ourselves partake --

Affliction feels impalpable

Until Ourselves are struck --

 

 

800

Two -- were immortal twice --

The privilege of few --

Eternity -- obtained -- in Time --

Reversed Divinity --

That our ignoble Eyes

The quality conceive

Of Paradise superlative --

Through their Comparative.

 

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