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O love, of my death my life is fain; (The willows wave on the water-way,) Your cheek and mine are cold in the rain, But warm they'll be when we meet again. (With a wind blown night and day.)

Mists are heaved and cover the sky;
(The willows wail in the waning light,)
O loose your lips, leave space for a sigh,—
They seal my soul, I cannot die.

(With a wind blown day and night.)

Leaves and rain and the days of the year, (Water-willow and wellaway,)

All still fall, and I still give ear,
And she is hence, and I am here.
(With a wind blown night and day.)

SPHERAL CHANGE.

[Ballads and Sonnets 1881.]

In this new shade of Death, the show
Passes me still of form and face;
Some bent, some gazing as they go,

Some swiftly, some at a dull pace,
Not one that speaks in any case.

If only one might speak!-the one
Who never waits till I come near;
But always seated all alone

As listening to the sunken air,
Is gone before I come to her.

O dearest! while we lived and died
A living death in every day,

Some hours we still were side by side,
When where I was you too might stay
And rest and need not go away.

O nearest, furthest! Can there be

At length some hard-earned heart-won home, Where,-exile changed for sanctuary,Our lot may fill indeed its sum, And you may wait and I may come?

ALAS, SO LONG!

[Ballads and Sonnets 1881.]

Ан! dear one, we were young so long,

It seemed that youth would never go,
For skies and trees were ever in song
And water in singing flow

In the days we never again shall know.
Alas, so long!

Ah! then was it all Spring weather?
Nay, but we were young and together.

Ah! dear one, I've been old so long,
It seems that age is loth to part,
Though days and years have never a song,
And oh! have they still the art

That warmed the pulses of heart to heart?
Alas, so long!

Ah! then was it all Spring weather?
Nay, but we were young and together.

Ah! dear one, you've been dead so long,-
How long until we meet again,
Where hours may never lose their song
Nor flowers forget the rain

In glad noonlight that never shall wane?
Alas, so long!

Ah! shall it be then Spring weather,
And ah! shall we be young together?

INSOMNIA.

[Ballads and Sonnets 1881.]

THIN are the night-skirts left behind
By daybreak hours that onward creep,
And thin, alas! the shred of sleep
That wavers with the spirit's wind:
But in half-dreams that shift and roll
And still remember and forget,
My soul this hour has drawn your soul
A little nearer yet.

Our lives, most dear, are never near,
Our thoughts are never far apart,
Though all that draws us heart to heart
Seems fainter now and now more clear.
To-night Love claims his full control,

And with desire and with regret
My soul this hour has drawn your soul
A little nearer yet.

Is there a home where heavy earth

Melts to bright air that breathes no pain, Where water leaves no thirst again And springing fire is Love's new birth? If faith long bound to one true goal

May there at length its hope beget, My soul that hour shall draw your soul For ever nearer yet.

THE HOUSE OF LIFE.

[Von den hier ausgewählten Sonetten erschienen in den Poems von 1870: XXXVI, XXXVIII, XLVI, XLIX-LII, LXIX-LXXIII, LXXXIV, LXXXVI, XCVII, CI; die anderen in den Ballads and Sonnets 1881.

Die Sonette XLIX-LII, LXXXVI, XCVII (nebst anderen hier nicht abgedruckten) erschienen vorher in "The Fortnightly Review" 1869, Sonett XXIV im "Athenæum" 1881.

Son. LXXI-III "must belong to 1847, or perhaps to an early date in 1848." Memoir pg. 108.

Über die vermutliche Reihenfolge, in der die Sonette entstanden sind, vgl. die Tabelle von W. M. Rossetti in den Collected Works I, 517f.]

Part I. YOUTH AND CHANGE.

SONNET XIX.

SILENT NOON.

YOUR hands lie open in the long fresh grass,

The finger-points look through like rosy blooms:

Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms 'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass. All round our nest, far as the eye can pass,

Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge. 'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:-
So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour

When twofold silence was the song of love.

SONNET XXIV.

PRIDE OF YOUTH.

EVEN as a child, of sorrow that we give

The dead, but little in his heart can find,

Since without need of thought to his clear mind Their turn it is to die and his to live:Even so the winged New Love smiles to receive Along his eddying plumes the auroral wind, Nor, forward glorying, casts one look behind Where night-rack shrouds the Old Love fugitive.

There is a change in every hour's recall,

And the last cowslip in the fields we see On the same day with the first corn-poppy. Alas for hourly change! Alas for all

The loves that from his hand proud Youth lets fall, Even as the beads of a told rosary!

SONNET XXVI.

MID-RAPTURE.

THOU lovely and beloved, thou my love;

Whose kiss seems still the first; whose summoning eyes, Even now, as for our love-world's new sunrise, Shed very dawn; whose voice, attuned above All modulation of the deep-bowered dove,

Is like a hand laid softly on the soul;

Whose hand is like a sweet voice to control Those worn tired brows it hath the keeping of:-—

What word can answer to thy word,-what gaze
To thine, which now absorbs within its sphere
My worshipping face, till I am mirrored there
Light-circled in a heaven of deep-drawn rays?
What clasp, what kiss mine inmost heart can prove,
O lovely and beloved, O my love?

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