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Who clings to earth, and once would dare

Hell-heat or Arctic cold,
And now one breath of cooler air

Would loose him from his hold;
His winter chills him to the root,

He withers marrow and mind;
The kernel of the shrivell'd fruit

Is jutting thro' the rind;
The tiger spasms tear his chest,

The palsy wags his head;
The wife, the sons, who love him best

Would fain that he were dead;
The griefs by which he once was wrung

Were never worth the while,
The shaft of scorn that once had stung

But wakes a dotard smile.
The statesman's brain that sway'd the past

Is feebler than his knees;
The passive sailor wrecks at last

In ever-silent seas;
The warrior hath forgot his arms,

The Learned all his lore;
The changing market frets or charms

The merchant's hope no more;
The prophet's beacon burn'd in vain,

And now is lost in cloud;
The plowman passes, bent with pain,

To mix with what he plow'd;
The poet whom his Age would quote

As heir of endless fame-
He knows not ev’n the book he wrote,

Not even his own name.
For man has overlived his day,

And, darkening in the light,
Scarce feels the senses break away

To mix with ancient Night.

The years that when my Youth began

Had set the lily and rose
By all my ways where'er they ran,

Have ended mortal foes;
My rose of love for ever gone,

My lily of truth and trust-
They made her lily and rose in one,

And changed her into dust.
O rosetree planted in my grief,

And growing, on her tomb,
Her dust is greening in your leaf,

Her blood is in your bloom.
O slender lily waving there,

And laughing back the light,
In vain you tell me “Earth is fair"

When all is dark as night.
But vain the tears for darken'd years

As laughter over wine,
And vain the laughter as the tears,

O brother, mine or thine,
For all that laugh, and all that weep

And all that breathe are one
Slight ripple on the boundless deep

That moves, and all is gone.

VASTNESS.

[Macmillan's Magazine 1885.] Many a hearth upon our dark globe sighs after many a

vanish'd face, Many a planet by many a sun may roll with the dust

of a vanish'd race.

Raving politics, never at rest—as this poor earth's pale

history runs,

What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a

million million of suns?

Lies upon this side, lies upon that side, truthless violence

mourn'd by the Wise, Thousands of voices drowning his own in a popular

torrent of lies upon lies;

Stately purposes, valour in battle, glorious annals of army

and fleet, Death for the right cause, death for the wrong cause,

trumpets of victory, groans of defeat;

Innocence seethed in her mother's milk, and Charity

setting the martyr aflame; Thraldom who walks with the banner of Freedom, and

recks not to ruin a realm in her name.

Faith at her zenith, or all but lost in the gloom of

doubts that darken the schools; Craft with a bunch of all-heal in her hand, follow'd up

by her vassal legion of fools;

Trade flying over a thousand seas with her spice and

her vintage, her silk and her corn; Desolate offing, sailorless harbours, famishing populace,

wharves forlorn;

Star of the morning, Hope in the sunrise; gloom of the

evening, Life at a close; Pleasure who flaunts on her wide down-way with her

flying robe and her poison'd rose;

Pain, that has crawlid from the corpse of Pleasure, a

worm which writhes all day, and at night

Stirs up again in the heart of the sleeper, and stings

him back to the curse of the light;

Wealth with his wines and his wedded harlots; honest

Poverty, bare to the bone; Opulent Avarice, lean as Poverty; Flattery gilding the

rift in a throne;

Fame blowing out from her golden trumpet a jubilant

challenge to Time and to Fate; Slander, her shadow, sowing the nettle on all the laureld

graves of the Great;

Love for the maiden, crown'd with marriage, no regrets

for aught that has been, Household happiness, gracious children, debtless com

petence, golden mean;

National hatreds of whole generations, and pigmy spites

of the village spire; Vows that will last to the last death-ruckle, and vows

that are snapt in a moment of fire;

He that has lived for the lust of the minute, and died

in the doing it, flesh without mind; He that has nail'd all flesh to the Cross, till Self died

out in the love of his kind;

Spring and Summer and Autumn and Winter, and all

these old revolutions of earth; All new-old revolutions of Empire-change of the tide

- what is all of it worth?

What the philosophies, all the sciences, poesy, varying

voices of prayer? All that is noblest, all that is basest, all that is filthy

with all that is fair? Jiriczek, Englische Dichter.

14

What is it all, if we all of us end but in being our own

corpse-coffins at last, Swallow'd in Vastness, lost in Silence, drown'd in the

deeps of a meaningless Past?

What but a murmur of gnats in the gloom, or a moment's

anger of bees in their hive? –

[blocks in formation]

Peace, let it be! for I loved him, and love him for ever:

the dead are not dead but alive.

THE SILENT VOICES.
[The Death of Oenone etc. 1892.]

WHEN the dumb Hour, clothed in black,
Brings the Dreams about my bed,
Call me not so often back,
Silent Voices of the dead,
Toward the lowland ways behind me,

,
And the sunlight that is gone!
Call me rather, silent voices,
Forward to the starry track
Glimmering up the heights beyond me
On, and always on!

DOUBT AND PRAYER.
[The Death of Oenone etc. 1892.]

Tho' Sin too oft, when smitten by Thy rod,
Rail at "Blind Fate" with many a vain “Alas!"
From sin thro' sorrow into Thee we pass
By that same path our true forefathers trod;

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