Page images

But love may haunt the grave of love,
And watch the mould in vain.
O clasp me, sweet, whilst thou art mine,
And do not take my tears amiss;
For tears must flow to wash away
A thought that shows so stern as this :
Forgive, if somewhile I forget,
In woe to come, the present bliss.
As frighted Proserpine let fall
Her flowers at the sight of Dis,
Even so the dark and bright will kiss.
The sunniest things throw sternest shade,
And there is even a happiness
That makes the heart afraid !
Now let us with a spell invoke
The full-orbed moon to grieve our eyes ;
Not bright, not bright, but, with a cloud
Lapped all about her, let her rise
All pale and dim, as if from rest
The ghost of the late buried sun
Had crept into the skies.
The moon! she is the source of sighs,
The very face to make us sad;
If but to think in other times
The same calm quiet look she had,
As if the world held nothing base,
Of vile and mean, of fierce and bad;
The same fair light that shone in streams,
The fairy lamp that charmed the lad;
For so it is, with spent delights
She taunts men's brains, and makes them mad.
All things are touched with melancholy,
Born of the secret soul's mistrust,

To feel her fair ethereal wings
Weighed down with vile degraded dust;
Even the bright extremes of joy
Bring on conclusions of disgust,
Like the sweet blossoms of the May,
Whose fragrance ends in must.
0, give her, then, her tribute just,
Her sighs and tears, and musings holy !
There is no music in the life
That sounds with idiot laughter solely;
There's not a string attuned to mirth,
But has its chord in Melancholy.



How bravely Autumn paints upon the sky
The gorgeous fame of Summer which is fled !
Hues of all flowers that in their ashes lie,
Trophied in that fair light whereon they fed,
Tulip, and hyacinth, and sweet rose red, -
Like exhalations from the leafy mould,
Look here how honor glorifies the dead,
And warms their scutcheons with a glance of gold! –
Such is the memory of poets old,
Who on Parnassus' hill have bloomed elate;
Now they are laid under their marbles cold,
And turned to clay, whereof they were create;
But god Apollo hath them all enrolled,
And blazoned on the very clouds of fate !

Most delicate Ariel ! submissive thing,
Won by the mind's high magic to its hest,-
Invisible embassy, or secret guest, —
Weighing the light air on a lighter wing; —
Whether into the midnight moon, to bring
Illuminate visions to the eye of rest, —
Or rich romances from the florid West,-
Or to the sea, for mystic whispering, -
Still by thy charmed allegiance to the will
The fruitful wishes prosper in the brain,
As by the fingering of fairy skill, —
Moonlight, and waters, and soft music's strain,
Odors, and blooms, and my Miranda's smile,
Making this dull world an enchanted isle.

TO AN ENTHUSIAST. Young ardent soul, graced with fair Nature's truth, Spring warmth of heart, and fervency of mind, And still a large late love of all thy kind, Spite of the world's cold practice and Time's tooth, For all these gifts, I know not, in fair sooth, Whether to give thee joy, or bid thee blind Thine eyes with tears,— that thou hast not resigned The passionate fire and freshness of thy youth : For as the current of thy life shall flow, Gilded by shine of sun or shadow-stained, Through flowery valley or unwholesome fen, Thrice blessed in thy joy, or in thy woe Thrice cursed of thy race,- thou art ordained To share beyond the lot of common men.

It is not death, that sometime in a sigh
This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight;
That sometime these bright stars, that now reply
In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night;
That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite,
And all life's ruddy springs forget to flow;
That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal spright
Be lapped in alien clay and laid below;
It is not death to know this,— but to know
That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves
In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go
So duly and so oft,— and when grass waves
Over the past-away, there may be then
No resurrection in the minds of men.

By every sweet tradition of true hearts,
Graven by Time, in love with his own lore;
By all old martyrdoms and antique smarts,
Wherein Love died to be alive the more;
Yea, by the sad impression on the shore
Left by the drowned Leander, to endear
That coast forever, where the billows' roar
Moaneth for pity in the poet's ear;
By Hero's faith, and the foreboding tear
That quenched her brand's last twinkle in its fall;
By Sappho's leap, and the low rustling fear
That sighed around her flight; I swear by all,
The world shall find such pattern in my act,
As if Love's great examples still were lacked.

ON RECEIVING A GIFT. Look how the golden ocean shines above Its pebbly stones, and magnifies their girth ; So does the bright and blessed light of love Its own things glorify, and raise their worth. As weeds seem flowers beneath the flattering brine, And stones like gems, and gems as gems indeed, Even so our tokens shine; nay, they outshine Pebbles and pearls, and gems and coral weed; For where be ocean waves but half so clear, So calmly constant, and so kindly warm, As Love's most mild and glowing atmosphere, That hath no dregs to be upturned by storm ? Thus, sweet, thy gracious gifts are gifts of price, And more than gold to doting Avarice.

SILENCE. THERE is a silence where hath been no sound, There is a silence where no sound may be, In the cold grave — under the deep, deep sea, Or in wide desert where no life is found, Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound No voice is hushed — no life treads silently, But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free, That never spoke, over the idle ground: But in green ruins, in the desolate walls Of antique palaces, where Man hath been, Though the dun fox, or wild hyena, calls, And owls, that flit continually between, Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan, There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone.

« PreviousContinue »