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[Aus: The Ring and the Book, I. 1868.]

O LYRIC Love, half angel and half bird
And all a wonder and a wild desire,-
Boldest of hearts that ever braved the sun,
Took sanctuary within the holier blue,
And sang a kindred soul out to his face,-
Yet human at the red-ripe of the heart-
When the first summons from the darkling earth
Reached thee amid thy chambers, blanched their blue,
And bared them of the glory--to drop down,
To toil for man, to suffer or to die,-

This is the same voice: can thy soul know change?
Hail then, and hearken from the realms of help!
Never may
I commence my song, my due
To God who best taught song by gift of thee,
Except with bent head and beseeching hand—
That still, despite the distance and the dark,
What was, again may be; some interchange
Of grace, some splendour once thy very thought,
Some benediction anciently thy smile:
-Never conclude, but raising hand and head
Thither where eyes, that cannot reach, yet yearn
For all hope, all sustainment, all reward,
Their utmost up and on,-so blessing back

In those thy realms of help, that heaven thy home, Some whiteness which, I judge, thy face makes proud, Some wanness where, I think, thy foot may fall!

[The Two Poets of Croisic 1878.]

SUCH a starved bank of moss
Till that May-morn,

Blue ran the flash across:
Violets were born!

Sky-what a scowl of cloud
Till, near and far,
Ray on ray split the shroud
Splendid, a star!

World-how it walled about
Life with disgrace

Till God's own smile came out:
That was thy face!


[Jocoseria 1883.]
WANTING is what?
Summer redundant,
Blueness abundant,

-Where is the blot?

Beamy the world, yet a blank all the same,
-Framework which waits for a picture to frame:
What of the leafage, what of the flower?
Roses embowering with nought they embower!
Come then, complete incompletion, O comer,
Pant through the blueness, perfect the summer!
Breathe but one breath
Rose-beauty above,

And all that was death
Grows life, grows love,
Grows love!

[Asolando 1889.]

ALL the breath and the bloom of the year in the bag

of one bee:

All the wonder and wealth of the mine in the heart of one gem:

In the core of one pearl all the shade and the shine of the sea:

Breath and bloom, shade and shine,-wonder, wealth, and-how far above them—

Truth, that's brighter than gem,
Trust, that's purer than pearl,---

Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe-all were

for me

In the kiss of one girl.

[Asolando 1889.]

A SIMPLE ring with a single stone

To the vulgar eye no stone of price:
Whisper the right word, that alone—

Forth starts a sprite, like fire from ice,
And lo, you are lord (says an Eastern scroll)
Of heaven and earth, lord whole and sole
Through the power in a pearl.

A woman ('tis I this time that say)

With little the world counts worthy praise--
Utter the true word-out and away

Escapes her soul: I am wrapt in blaze,
Creation's lord, of heaven and earth
Lord whole and sole-by a minute's birth-
Through the love in a girl!


[Asolando 1889.]

"THE Poet's age is sad: for why?

In youth, the natural world could show

No common object but his eye

At once involved with alien glowHis own soul's iris-bow.

"And now a flower is just a flower: Man, bird, beast are but beast, bird, manSimply themselves, uncinct by dower

Of dyes which, when life's day began, Round each in glory ran."

Friend, did you need an optic glass,

Which were your choice? A lens to drape In ruby, emerald, chrysopras,

Each object-or reveal its shape Clear outlined, past escape,

The naked very thing?-so clear

That, when you had the chance to gaze, You found its inmost self appear

Through outer seeming-truth ablaze, Not falsehood's fancy-haze?

How many a year, my Asolo,

Since-one step just from sea to landI found you, loved yet feared you soFor natural objects seemed to stand Palpably fire-clothed! No

No mastery of mine o'er these!

Terror with beauty, like the Bush Burning but unconsumed. Bend knees,

Drop eyes to earthward! Language? Tush! Silence 'tis awe decrees.

And now? The lambent flame is-where?
Lost from the naked world: earth, sky,
Hill, vale, tree, flower,-Italia's rare
O'er-running beauty crowds the eye-
But flame? The Bush is bare.

Hill, vale, tree, flower-they stand distinct,
Nature to know and name. What then?
A Voice spoke thence which straight unlinked
Fancy from fact: see, all's in ken:
Has once my eyelid winked?

No, for the purged ear apprehends

Earth's import, not the eye late dazed:
The Voice said "Call my works thy friends!
At Nature dost thou shrink amazed?

God is it who transcends."

ASOLO: Sept. 6, 1889.


[Asolando 1889.]

AT the midnight in the silence of the sleep-time,
When you set your fancies free,

Will they pass to where-by death, fools think, imprisoned

Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so, -Pity me?

Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mistaken!
What had I on earth to do

With the slothful, with the mawkish, the unmanly?

Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel


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