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[Men and Women 1855.]

WHERE the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles

On the solitary pastures where our sheep

Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop-

Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)

Of our country's very capital, its prince
Ages since

Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.

Now, the country does not even boast a tree,
As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run
Into one)

Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires Up like fires

O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall

Bounding all,

Made of marble, men might march on nor be pressed, Twelve abreast.

And such plenty and perfection, see, of grass
Never was!

Such a carpet as, this summer-time, o'erspreads
And embeds

Every vestige of the city, guessed alone,

Stock or stone—

Where a multitude of men breathed joy and woe
Long ago;

Lust of glory pricked their hearts up, dread of shame Struck them tame;

And that glory and that shame alike, the gold
Bought and sold.

Now, the single little turret that remains.
On the plains,

By the caper overrooted, by the gourd

While the patching houseleek's head of blossom winks
Through the chinks-

Marks the basement whence a tower in ancient time
Sprang sublime,

And a burning ring, all round, the chariots traced
As they raced,

And the monarch and his minions and his dames
Viewed the games.

And I know, while thus the quiet-coloured eve
Smiles to leave

To their folding, all our many-tinkling fleece
In such peace,
And the slopes and rills in undistinguished grey
Melt away-

That a girl with eager eyes and yellow hair
Waits me there

In the turret whence the charioteers caught soul
For the goal,

When the king looked, where she looks now, breathless, dumb

Till I come.

But he looked upon the city, every side,
Far and wide,

All the mountains topped with temples, all the glades' Colonnades,

All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts, - and then,
All the men!

In one year they sent a million fighters forth
South and North,

And they built

their gods a brazen pillar high
As the sky,
Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full force-
Gold, of course.

Oh heart! oh blood that freezes, blood that burns!
Earth's returns

For whole centuries of folly, noise and sin!
Shut them in,

When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,
Either hand

On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace
Of my face,

Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech
Each on each.

With their triumphs and their glories and the rest! Love is best.

[Men and Women 1855.]

I WONDER do you feel to-day

As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?

For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.

Help me to hold it! First it left

The yellowing fennel, run to seed There, branching from the brickwork's cleft, Some old tomb's ruin: yonder weed Took up the floating weft,

Where one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles,-blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,

Everywhere on the grassy slope I traced it. Hold it fast!

The champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses everywhere!
Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air-
Rome's ghost since her decease.

Such life here, through such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play,
Such primal naked forms of flowers,

Such letting nature have her way While heaven looks from its towers!

How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?

I would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more.
Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!
Where does the fault lie? What the core

O' the wound, since wound must be?

I would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul's springs,-your part my part
In life, for good and ill.

No. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul's warmth, I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak-
Then the good minute goes.

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Already how am I so far

Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,

Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Fixed by no friendly star?

Just when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern-

Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.


[I-IX Dram. Rom. and Lyrics 1845; ganz: Men and Women 1855.]


SAID Abner, "At last thou art come! Ere I tell, ere thou speak,

"Kiss my cheek, wish me well!" Then I wished it, and did kiss his cheek.

And he, "Since the King, O my friend, for thy coun

tenance sent,

"Neither drunken nor eaten have we; nor until from his tent

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