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He brought a branch of olive

This stranger guest of mine; Could I deny him entrance,

Who bore the peaceful sign?
Ah no! I bade him welcome,

I set him meat and wine ;
But while he drank and feasted,

How laughed his eyes divine !

I took the branch of olive

(The soothest plant that grows), And from the carven ceiling

hung it with the rose. “But why to me this token,

Who never lacked repose ? Why this to me,” I questioned,

Who know nor feud nor foes ?”

He smiled beneath the olive

This strangest stranger guest. A branch from off the thorn-tree

Had told his errand best; For since my house he entered

There's ne'er a heart at rest. To mock me with the olive! But Love doth love his jest.


“For the time being!” How long is that? A space as brief As takes the whirling autumn leaf To reach the sward, the April flake To change to dew, the wave to break,

Now shoreward fleeing ?

“ For the time being ! How long is that? As long, perchance, As while a merry thought doth glance Across the deep of well-loved eyes? As long as term of tears and sighs,

The full heart freeing ?

“ For the time being ! ”
How long is that? (I wait to hear.)
A breathing space, a day, a year?
Till this life's silent bound be won
And other unknown life begun,

Past sound, past seeing ?

“ For the time being !” It is forever, as I think, A ceaseless adding link to link,



A series, as of waves at sea ;
For, tell me, when shall time not be,

In Fate's decreeing ?

“For the time being !”
It is thy word. Thou dost not know
Such promise will not let thee go;
Since time shall never cease to be,
I ask but this, that thou 'lt love me

“ For the time being !”.


In the month of June, when the world is green,
When the dew beads thick on the clover spray,
And the noons are rife with the scent of hay,
And the brook hides under a willow screen ;
When the rose is queen, in Love's demesne,
Then, the time is too sweet and too light to stay :
Whatever the sun and the dial say,

This is the shortest day !

In the month of December, when, naked and keen,
The tree-tops thrust at the snow-cloud gray,
And frozen tears fill the lids of day ;
When only the thorn of the rose is seen,
Then, in heavy teen, each breath between,
We sigh, “Would the winter were well away!”
Whatever the sun and the dial say,
This is the longest day!


LOVE itself cannot bestow,
Heaven bestowed Love long ago.
Sweet the error of thy thought,
If it deem I give thee aught,
Who but render back thine own,
Destined thine from time unknown.
Gladly it reverts to thee,
Casting off my regency:
So the carrier-dove, when freed,
Cannot choose but homeward speed ;
So the flower-lent dewdrop flies
Back unto its native skies;
So the brightness of the wave
But returns what Titan gave ;
So the voice from out the hill
Runneth at the bidder's will ;
So the soul that hidden lies
In the flute, now lives, now dies,
Mastered by a breath and touch.
Only this I marvel much:
Heaven, designing gifts for thee,
Placed them here in trust with me.


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