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A PORTRAIT.

29

And her voice, it murmurs lowly,

As a silver stream may run,
Which yet feels, you feel, the sun.

And her smile, it seems half holy,

As if drawn from thoughts more far
Than our common jestings are.

And if any poet knew her,

He would sing of her with falls
Used in lovely madrigals.

And if any painter drew her,

He would paint her unaware
With a halo round her hair.

And if reader read the poem,

He would whisper, “ You have done a
Consecrated little Una!”

And a dreamer (did you show him

That same picture) would exclaim “ ’T is my angel, with a name !”

And a stranger — when he sees her

In the street even smileth stilly,
Just as you would at a lily.

And all voices that address her,

Soften, sleeken every word,
As if speaking to a bird.

And all fancies yearn to cover

The hard earth whereon she passes,
With the thymy scented grasses.

And all hearts do pray, “ God love her!”

Ay, and certes, in good sooth,
We may all be sure He Doth.

THE MASK.

1.

HAVE a smiling face, she said,

I have a jest for all I meet; I have a garland for my head,

And all its flowers are sweet, And so you call me gay, she said.

II.

Grief taught to me this smile, she said,

And Wrong did teach this jesting bold; These flowers were plucked from garden-bed

While a death-chime was tolled -
And what now will you say? she said.

III.

Behind no prison-grate, she said,

Which slurs the sunshine half a mile, Are captives so uncomforted,

As souls behind a smile. God's pity let us pray, she said.

THE MASK:

31

IV.

I know my face is bright, she said.

Such brightness dying suns diffuse !
I bear upon my forehead shed,

The sign of what I lose,
The ending of my day, she said.

V.

If I dared leave this smile, she said,

And take a moan upon my mouth,
And tie a cypress round my head,

And let my tears run smooth,
It were the happier way, she said.

VI.

And since that must not be, she said,

I fain your bitter world would leave. How calmly, calmly, smile the dead,

Who do not, therefore, grieve ! The

yea of Heaven is yea, she said.

VII.

But in your bitter world, she said,

Face-joy 's a costly mask to wear,
And bought with pangs long nourished

And rounded to despair.
Grief's earnest makes life's play, she said.

A CHILD'S THOUGHT OF GOD.

I.

THEY say that God lives very high !
But, if

you

look above the pines, You cannot see our God. And why?

II.

And, if you dig down in the mines,

You never see Him in the gold,
Though, from Him, all that 's glory, shines.

III.

God is so good, He wears a fold

Of Heaven and earth across His face, Like secrets kept, for love, untold.

IV.

But still I feel that His embrace

Slides down, by thrills, through all things made, Through sight and sound of every place,

V.

As if my tender mother laid
On my

shut lids, her kisses' pressure, Half-waking me at night; and said,

“Who kissed you through the dark, dear guesser?"

THE LADY'S “ YES."

33

THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.

WHAT'S the best thing in the world ?

June-rose, by May dew impearled ;
Sweet south wind, that means no rain;
Truth, not cruel to a friend;
Pleasure, not in haste to end;
Beauty, not self-decked and curled
Till its pride is over-plain;
Light, that never makes you wink;
Memory, that gives no pain ;
Love, when, so, you 're loved again.
What's the best thing in the world ?
- Something out of it, I think.

THE LADY'S “ YES."

“YES!” I answered you last night;

“No!” this morning, Sir, I say: Colors, seen by candle-light,

Will not look the same by day.

When the viols played their best,

Lamps above, and laughs below, Love me sounded like a jest,

Fit for Yes or fit for No.

Call me false, or call me free

Vow, whatever light may shine, No man on your face shall see Any grief for change on mine.

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