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VANITY OF VANITIES.
[Time Flies, 1885.6 August 1858.]
Of all the downfalls in the world,
There lurk a hundred subtle stings
THE hope I dreamed of was a dream,
I hang my harp upon a tree,
A weeping willow in a lake;
I hang my silenced harp there, wrung and snapt
Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;
My silent heart, lie still and break:
Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed For a dream's sake.
[Goblin Market etc. 1862.
PASSING away, saith the World, passing away:
Is the eye waxen dim, is the dark hair changing to grey
31 December 1860.]
I shall clothe myself in Spring and bud in May:
Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my Soul, passing away:
A canker is in thy bud, thy leaf must decay.
At midnight, at cockcrow, at morning, one certain day Lo the Bridegroom shall come and shall not delay; Watch thou and pray.
Then I answered: Yea.
Passing away, saith my God, passing away:
Winter passeth after the long delay:
New grapes on the vine, new figs on the tender spray, Turtle calleth turtle in Heaven's May.
Though I tarry, wait for Me, trust Me, watch and pray:
LIFE AND DEATH.
24 April 1863.]
[The Prince's Progress etc. 1866. LIFE is not sweet. One day it will be sweet To shut our eyes and die;
Nor feel the wild flowers blow, nor birds dart by
Nor grass grow long above our heads and feet,
Nor know who sits in our accustomed seat.
Life is not good. One day it will be good
To sleep meanwhile; so, not to feel the wane
Nor mark the blackened bean-fields, nor, where stood
Only dead refuse stubble clothe the plain:
THE LOWEST PLACE.
[The Prince's Progress etc. 1866. - 25 July 1863.]
GIVE me the lowest place; not that I dare
Thy glory by Thy side.
Give me the lowest place: or if for me
That lowest place too high, make one more low Where I may sit and see
My God and love Thee so.
SOMEWHERE OR OTHER.
[The Prince's Progress etc. 1866. Towards November 1863.]
SOMEWHERE or other there must surely be
The face not seen, the voice not heard,
The heart that not yet-never yet-ah me! Made answer to my word.
Somewhere or other, may be near or far; Past land and sea, clean out of sight; Beyond the wandering moon, beyond the star That tracks her night by night.
Somewhere or other, may be far or near; With just a wall, a hedge, between; With just the last leaves of the dying year Fallen on a turf grown green.
IF I HAD WORDS.
[New Poems 1896. 3 September 1864.]
IF I had words, if I had words
I have no voice wherewith to cry.
I have no heart to lift mine eye,
My soul is crushed and like to die.
My breath is but a broken sigh-
It is far off, it is not nigh.
I yet would seek the land of love
Where fountains run which run not dry:
I would not sift the what and why,
I would make haste to Love, my rest-
Or if I died I could but die.
I WOULD have gone; God bade me stay:
Now I would stay; God bids me go:
I go, Lord, where Thou sendest me;