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With anxious softly-stepping haste
(To one, it is ten years of years. Our mother went where Margaret lay,
Yet now, and in this place, Fearing the sounds o'erhead - should
Surely she leaned o'er me her hair they
Fell all about my face. Have broken her long watched-for rest!
Nothing: the autumn fall of leaves.
The whole year sets apace.)
It was the rampart of God's house
The which is Space begun; For my part, I but hid my face,
So high, that looking downward thence And held my breath, and spoke no
She scarce could see the sun.
Of ether, as a bridge.
Beneath the tides of day and night Our mother bowed herself and wept:
With flame and darkness ridge And both my arms fell, and I said, The void, as low as where this earth “God knows I knew that she was Spins like a fretful midge.
dead.” And there, all white, my sister slept. Around her, lovers, newly met
'Mid deathless love's acclaims, Then kneeling, upon Christmas morn Spoke evermore among themselves A little after twelve o'clock
Their heart-remembered names; We said, ere the first quarter struck, And the souls mounting up to God “Christ's blessing on the newly born!" Went by her like thin flames.
A Sonnet is a moment's monument,
WARMED by her hand and shadowed by
her hair As close she leaned and poured her heart
through thee, Whereof the articulate throbs accom
pany The smooth black stream that makes thy
whiteness fair, Sweet Auttering sheet, even of her breath That when, with sorrowing love and rev
erence meek, He stooped o'er sweet Colonna's dying bed, His Muse and dominant Lady, spirit
Oh let thy silent song disclose to me
fond thought, Her bosom to the writing closelier press'd, And her breast's secrets peered into her
breast; When, through eyes raised an instant,
her soul sought My soul, and from the sudden confluence
caught The words that made her love the love
Her hand he kissed, but not her brow or
cheek. O Buonarrotti, - good at Art's fire
her chariot ! — even thus the Soul, Touching at length some sorely-chastened
goal, Earns oftenest but a little: her appeals Were deep and mute, — lowly her claim.
Let be: What holds for her Death's garner?
And for thee?
As when desire, long darkling, dawns,
and first The mother looks upon the new-born
child, Even so my Lady stood at gaze and
smiled When her soul knew at length the Love
it nurs’d. Born with her life, creature of poignant
thirst And exquisite hunger, at her heart Love
lay Quickening in darkness, till a voice that day Cried on him, and the bonds of birth
were burst. Now, shadowed by his wings, our faces
yearn Together, as his fullgrown feet now
range The grove, and his warm hands our
couch prepare : Till to his song our bodiless souls in turn Be born his children, when Death's nup
tial change Leaves us for light the halo of his hair.
SISTER HELEN “Why did you melt your waxen man,
Sister Helen? To-day is the third since you began.” “The time was long, yet the time ran,
(O Mother, Mary Mother, Three days to-day, between Hell and
Heaven!) “But if you have done your work aright,
Sister Helen, You'll let me play, for you said I might.” “Be very still in your play to-night,
(O Mother, Mary Mother, Third night, to-night, between Hell and
Heaven !) “You said it must melt ere vesper-bell,
Sister Helen; If now it be molten, all is well.”
nay, peace! you cannot tell,
(O Mother, Mary Mother, O what is this, between Hell and Heaven?) "Oh the waxen knave was plump to-day,
Sister Helen; How like dead folk he has dropped away!” “Nay now, of the dead what can you say,
(O Mother, Mary Mother, What of the dead, between Hell and
GREAT Michelangelo, with age grown
bleak And uttermost labors, having once o'er
said All grievous memories on his long life
shed, This worst regret to one true heart could
speak : –
“See, see, the sunken pile of wood, “Look, look, do you know them who Sister Helen,
they are, Shines through the thinned wax red as
Little brother?” blood!”
(O Mother, Mary Mother, “Nay now, when looked you yet on blood, Who should they be, between Hell and Little brother?”
Heaven?) (O Mother, Mary Mother, How pale she is, between Hell and Heaven!)
"Oh, it's Keith of Eastholm rides so fast,
Sister Helen, “Now close your eyes, for they're sick For I know the white mane on the blast."
“The hour has come, has come at last, Sister Helen,
Little brother!” And I'll play without the gallery door.”
(O Mother, Mary Mother, “Aye, let me rest, I'll lie on the floor, Her hour at last, between Hell and Heaven!)
(O Mother, Mary Mother, What rest to-night, between Hell and
“He has made a sign and called Halloo !
And he says that he would speak with
you. “Here high up in the balcony,
“Oh tell him I fear the frozen dew, Sister Helen,
Little brother." The moon flies face to face with me.'
(O Mother, Mary Mother, "Aye, look and say whatever you see,
Why laughs she thus, between Hell and
“The wind is loud, but I hear him cry,
That Keith of Ewern's like to die.” “Outside it's merry in the wind's wake, Sister Helen;
“And he and thou, and thou and I,
Little brother.” In the shaken trees the chill stars shake."
(O Mother, Mary Mother, “Hush, heard you a horse-tread as you spake,
And they and we, between Hell and Heaven!) Little brother?”
(O Mother, Mary Mother, “Three days ago, on his marriage-morn, What sound to-night, between Hell and
He sickened, and lies since then forlorn."
“For bridegroom's side is the bride a thorn, “I hear a horse-tread, and I see,
(O Mother, Mary Mother, Three horsemen that ride terribly.”
Cold bridal cheer, between Hell and Heaven!) “Little brother, whence come the three, Little brother?”
“Three days and nights he has laid abed, (O Mother, Mary Mother,
Sister Helen, Whence should they come, between Hell
And he prays in torment to be dead.” and Heaven?)
“The thing may chance, if he have
prayed, "They come by the hill-verge from
(O Mother, Mary Mother, Sister Helen,
If he have prayed, between Hell and And one draws nigh, but two are afar."