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bear;

This for our wisest: and we others pine, Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfix'd thy And wish, the long unhappy dream would

powers, end,

And thy clear aims be cross and shifting And waive all claim to bliss, and try to

made:

And then thy glad perennial youth would With close-lipp'd Patience for our only

fade,

229 friend,

Fade, and grow old at last and die like ours. Sad Patience, too near neighbour to Despair :

Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and

smiles ! But none has hope like thine. Thou through the fields and through the

As some grave Tyrian trader, from the woods dost stray,

sea,

197 Roaming the country side, a truant boy,

• Descried at sunrise an emerging prow Nursing thy project in unclouded joy,

Lifting the cool-hair'd creepers stealthily, And every doubt long blown by time away.

The fringes of a southward-facing brow

Among the Ægean isles ; O born in days when wits were fresh and clear,

And saw the merry Grecian coaster come, And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames;

Freighted with amber grapes, and Chian Before this strange disease of modern life,

wine, With its sick hurry, its divided aims,

Green bursting figs, and tunnies steep'd Its heads o'ertax'd, its palsied hearts, was

in brine; rife —

And knew the intruders on his ancient Fly hence, our contact fear!

home,

240 Still fly, plunge deeper in the bowering The young light-hearted Masters of the waves; wood!

And snatch'd his rudder, and shook out Averse, as Dido did with gesture stern

more sail, From her false friend's' approach in Hades

And day and night held on indignantly turn,

209

O’er the blue Midland waters with the gale, Wave us away, and keep thy solitude.

Betwixt the Syrtes 4 and soft Sicily,

To where the Atlantic raves Still nursing the unconquerable hope,

Outside the Western Straits;5 and unbent Still clutching the inviolable shade,

sails With a free outward impulse brushing

There, where down cloudy cliffs, through through,

sheets of foam,

248 By night, the silver'd branches of the

Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians come; glade

And on the beach undid his corded bales. Far on the forest skirts, where none pur

sue,
On some mild pastoral slope

THE LAST WORD

216 Emerge, and resting on the moonlit pales,

Creep into thy narrow be Freshen thy flowers, as in former years,

Creep, and let no more be said ! With dew, or listen with enchanted ears,

Vain thy onset ! all stands fast. From the dark dingles,to the nightingales.

Thou thyself must break at last.

4 But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly!

Let the long contention cease ! For strong the infection of our mental strife,

Geese are swans, and swans are geese.
Which, though its gives no bliss, yet spoils

Let them have it how they will !
for rest;
Thou art tired; best be still.

8 And we should win thee from thy own fair life,

1 vines hanging down from a cliff over the sea Like us distracted, and like us unblest. 2 wine of Chios, a Greek island 3 Mediterranean Soon, soon thy cheer would die, * the gulfs of Sidra and Gabes on the north coast

of Africa 5 the Straits of Gibraltar 6 a race in1 Æneas, cf. Æneid, VI, 450–71, or Gayley, habiting the Spanish peninsula and, at this time, p. 348 2 small wooded valleys

parts of the British Islands

2

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A Hair perhaps divides the False and True;
Yes; and a single Alif3 were the clue -
Could you but find it to the Treasure-
house.

LI

Whose secret Presence, through Creation's veins

Running Quicksilver-like eludes your pains; Taking all shapes from Máh to Máhi;1 and They change and perish all - but He remains;

LII

A moment guess'd then back behind the
Fold
Immerst of Darkness round the Drama roll'd
Which, for the Pastime of Eternity,
He doth Himself contrive, enact, behold.

LXVI

I sent my Soul through the Invisible
Some letter of that After-life to spell :
And by and by my Soul return'd to me,
And answer'd, "I Myself am Heav'n and
Hell:"

LXVII

And Hell the Shadow from a Soul on fire,
Heav'n but the Vision of fulfill'd Desire,

Cast on the Darkness into which Ourselves, So late emerg'd from, shall so soon expire. LXVIII

We are no other than a moving row
Of Magic Shadow-shapes.that come and go
Round with the Sun-illumin'd Lantern held
In Midnight by the Master of the Show;

LXIX

But helpless Pieces of the Game He plays Upon this Checker-board of Nights and Days; Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,

And one by one back in the Closet lays.

LXX

And peradventure to THE MASTER too;

1 In the old astronomy Saturn is lord of the seventh sphere or heaven. 2 the individual personalities being absorbed in the absolute One 3 the vowel a, represented by a minute symbol, the presence or absence of which would change the meaning of a word

The Ball no question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;

And He that toss'd you down into the Field, He knows about it all - He knows - HE knows!

1 from fish to moon 2 a crude sort of moving picture show made by a revolving cylinder with figures painted on its translucent sides and a candle at the centre

LXXI

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.

10

a

XCVI

20

Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the

Rose ! That Youth'ssweet-scented manuscript should

close ! The Nightingale that in the branches sang, Ah whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

XCVII Would but the Desert of the Fountain yield One glimpse -- if dimly, yet indeed, reveal'd, To which the fainting Traveller might

spring, As springs the trampled herbage of the field !

And round her happy footsteps blow

The authentic airs of Paradise. For joy of her he cannot sleep,

Her beauty haunts him all the night; It melts his heart, it makes him weep

For wonder, worship, and delight. 0, paradox of love, he longs,

Most humble when he most aspires, To suffer scorn and cruel wrongs

15 From her he honours and desires. Her graces make him rich, and ask

No guerdon; this imperial style Affronts him; he disdains to bask,

The pensioner of her priceless smile. He prays for some hard thing to do,

Some work of fame and labour immense, To stretch the languid bulk and thew

Of love's fresh-born magnipotence. No smallest boon were bought too dear, 25

Though bartered for his love-sick life; Yet trusts he, with undaunted cheer,

To vanquish heaven, and call her Wife. He notes how queens of sweetness still

Neglect their crowns, and stoop to mate; How, self-consign'd with lavish will,

31 They ask but love proportionate; How swift pursuit by small degrees,

Love's tactic, works like miracle; How valour, clothed in courtesies,

35 Brings down the loftiest citadel; And therefore, though he merits not

To kiss the braid upon her skirt, His hope discouraged ne'er a jot,

Out-soars all possible desert.

XCVIII

Would but some winged Angel ere too late Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,

And make the stern Recorder otherwise Enregister, or quite obliterate!

XCIX

40

Ah Love! could you and I with Him conspire To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,

Would not we shatter it to bits — and then Re-mould it nearer to the Heart's desire !

BOOK I, CANTO VIII. PRELUDES

I. LIFE OF LIFE

COVENTRY PATMORE

(1823-1896)

FROM THE ANGEL IN THE HOUSE

What's that, which, ere I spake, was gone:

So joyful and intense a spark
That, whilst o'erhead the wonder shone,

The day, before but dull, grew dark?
I do not know; but this I know,

5 That, had the splendour lived a year, The truth that I some heavenly show

Did see, could not be now more clear. This know I too: might mortal breath

Express the passion then inspired, Evil would die a natural death,

And nothing transient be desired; And error from the soul would pass,

And leave the senses pure and strong As sunbeams. But the best, alas,

15 Has neither memory nor tongue !

BOOK I, CANTO III. PRELUDES

I. THE LOVER He meets, by heavenly chance express,

The destined maid; some hidden hand Unveils to him that loveliness

Which others cannot understand. His merits in her presence grow,

To match the promise in her eyes,

IO

5

II. THE REVELATION

20

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An idle poet, here and there,

Looks round him; but, for all the rest, The world, unfathomably fair,

Is duller than a witling's jest. Love wakes men, once a life-time each; 5

They lift their heavy lids and look ; And, lo, what one sweet page can teach,

They read with joy, then shut the book. And some give thanks, and some blaspheme,

And most forget; but, either way, That and the Child's unheeded dream

Is all the light of all their day.

And two French copper coins, ranged there

with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray'd
To God, I wept, and said:

Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath, Not vexing Thee in death,

25 And Thou rememberest of what toys We made our joys, How weakly understood Thy great commanded good, Then, fatherly not less

30 Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the

clay, Thou'lt leave Thy wrath, and say, 'I will be sorry for their childishness.'

IO

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III. THE SPIRIT'S EPOCHS Not in the crises of events,

Of compass'd hopes, or fears fulfillid, Or acts of gravest consequence,

Are life's delight and depth reveal’d. The day of days was not the day;

That went before, or was postponed; The night Death took our lamp away

Was not the night on which we groaned. I drew my bride, beneath the moon,

Across my threshold; happy hour! But, ah, the walk that afternoon

We saw the water-flags in flower!

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FROM THE UNKNOWN EROS

THE TOYS

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My little Son, who look'd from thoughtful

eyes And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise, Having my law the seventh time disobey’d, I struck him, and dismiss'd With hard words and unkiss'd,

5 His Mother, who was patient, being dead. Then, fearing lest his grief shoud hinder sleep, I visited his bed, But found him slumbering deep, With darken'd eyelids, and their lashes yet 10 From his late sobbing wet. And I, with moan, Kissing away his tears, left others of my own; For, on a table drawn beside his head, He had put, within his reach,

15 A box of counters and a red-vein'd stone, A piece of glass abraded by the beach, And six or seven shells, A bottle of bluebells,

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2 It seemed to her

1 lady

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