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Her subtil, warm, and golden breath,
Which mixing with the infant's blood,
Fulfils him with beatitude.
Oh! sure it is a special care
Of God, to fortify from doubt,
To arm in proof, and guard about
With triple-mailed trust, and clear
Delight, the infant's dawning year.

Of ignorance, I should require
A sign! and if a bolt of fire
Would rive the slumbrous summer noon
While I do pray to Thee alone,
Think my belief would stronger grow!
Is not my human pride brought low?
The boastings of my spirit still?
The joy I had in my freewill
Allcold, and dead, and corpse-like grown?
And what is left to me, but Thou,
And faith in Thee? Men pass me by;
Christians with happy countenances-
And children all seem full of Thee!
And women smile with saint-like glances
Like Thine own mother's when she bow'd
Above Thee, on that happy morn
When angels spake to men aloud,
And Thou and peace to earth were born.
Goodwill to me as well as all
I one of them: my brothers they:
Brothers in Christ – a world of peace
And confidence, day after day;
And trust and hope till things should cease,
And then one Heaven receive us all.

How sweet to have a common faith!
To hold a common scorn of death!
And at a burial to hear
The creaking cords which wound and eat
Into my human heart, whene'er
Earth goes to earth, with grief, not fear,
With hopeful grief, were passing sweet!

Would that my gloomed fancy were
As thine, my mother, when with brow:
Propt on thy knees, my hands upheld
In thine, I listen'd to thy vows,
For me outpour’d in holiest prayer
For me unworthy! -- and beheld
Thy mild deep eyes upraised, that knew
The beauty and repose of faith,
And the clear spirit shining thro'.
Oh! wherefore do we grow awry
From roots which strike so deep? why

Paths in the desert? Could not I
Bow myself down, where thou hast knelt
To the earth - until the ice would melt
Here, and I feel as thou hast felt?
What Devil had the heart to scathe
Flowers thou hadst rear'd- to brush the

de From thine own lily, when thy grave Was deep, my mother, in the clay? Myself? Is it thus? Myself? Had I So little love for thee? But why Prevailid not thy pure prayers? Why

pray To one who heeds not, who can save But will not? Great in faith, and strong Against the grief of circumstance Wert thou, and yet unheard. What if Thou pleadest still, and seest me drive Thro' utter dark a full-sail'd skiff, Unpiloted i’ the echoing dance Of reboant whirlwinds, stooping low Unto the death, not sunk! I know At matins and at evensong, That thou, if thou wert yet alive, In deep and daily prayers would'st strive To reconcile me with thy God. Albeit, my hope is gray, and cold At heart, thou wouldest murmur still • Bring this lamb back into Thy fold, My Lord, if so it be Thy will.' Would'st iell me I must brook the rod And chastisement of human pride;

Thrice happy state again to be
The trustful infant on the knee !
Who lets his rosy fingers play
About his mother's neck, and knows
Nothing beyond his mother's eyes.
They comfort him by night and day;
They light his little life alway;
He hath no thought of coming woes;
He hath no care of life or death;
Scarce outward signs of joy arise,
Because the Spirit of happiness
And perfect rest so inward is;
And loveth so his innocent heart,
Her temple and her place of birth,
Where she would ever wish to dwell,
Life of the fountain there, beneath
Its salient springs, and far apart,
Hating to wander out on earth,
Or breathe into the hollow air,
Whose chillness would make visible



That pride, the sin of devils, stood
Betwixt me and the light of God!
That hitherto I had defied
And had rejected God – that grace
Would drop from his o'er-brimming love,
As manna on my wilderness,
If I would pray — that God would move
And strike the hard, hard rock, and

Sweet in their utmost bitterness,
Would issue tears of penitence
Which would keep green hope's life.

I think that pride hath now no place
Vor sojourn in me. I am void,
Dark, formless, utterly destroyed.

About his hoof. And in the flocks
The lamb rejoiceth in the year,
And raceth freely with his fere,
And answers to his mother's calls
From the flower'd furrow. In a time,
Of which he wots not, run short pains
Thro' his warm heart; and then, from

He knows not, on his light there falls
A shadow; and his native slope,
Where he was wont to leap and climb,
Floats from his sick and filmed eyes,
And something in the darkness draws
His forehead earthward, and he dies.
Shall man live thus, in joy and hope
As a young lamb, who cannot dream,
Living, but that he shall live on?
Shall we not look into the laws
Of life and death, and things that seem,
And things that be, and analyse
Our double nature, and compare
All creeds till we have found the one,
If one there be?' Ay me! I fear
All may not doubt, but everywhere
Some must clasp Idols. Yet, my God,
Whom call I Idol? Let Thy dove
Shadow me over, and my sins
Be unremember'd, and Thy love
Enlighten me. Oh teach me yet
Somewhat before the heavy clod
Weighs on me, and the busy fret
Of that sharp-headed worm begins
In the gross blackness underneath.

Why not believe then? Why not yet
Anchor thy frailty there, where man
Hath moor'd and rested? Ask the sea
At midnight, when the crisp slope waves
After a tempest, rib and fret
The broad-imbased beach, why he
Slumbers not like a mountain tarn?
Wherefore his ridges are not curls
And ripples of an inland mere?
Wherefore he moaneth thus, nor can
Draw down into his vexed pools
Al that blue heaven which hues and

The other? I am too forlorn,
Too shaken: my own weakness fools
My judgment, and my spirit whirls,
Moved from beneath with doubt and fear.

O weary life! O weary death!
O spirit and heart made desolate !
O damned vacillating state!

Yet,' said I, in my morn of youth,
The unsunn'd freshness of my strength,
When I went forth in quest of truth,
It is man's privilege to doubt,
If so be that from doubt at length,
Truth may stand forth unmoved of

An image with profulgent brows,
And perfect limbs, as from the storm
Of running fires and fluid range
Of lawless airs, at last stood out
This excellence and solid form
Of constant beauty. For the Ox
Feeds in the herb, and sleeps, or fills
The horned valleys all about,
And hollows of the fringed hills
In summer heats, with placid lows
Unfearing, till his own blood flows

THE KRAKEN. Below the thunders of the upper deep; Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea, His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep The Kraken sleepeth : faintest sunlights

flee About his shadowy sides : above him swell Huge sponges of millennial growth and

height; And far away into the sickly light, From many a wondrous grot and secret

cell Unnumber'd and enormous polypi

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The streams through many a lilied row

Down-carolling to the crisped sea, Low-tinkled with a bell-like flow

Atween the blossoms, “We are free.'


Eyes not down-dropt nor over-bright,

but fed With the clear-pointed flame of chastity, Clear, without heat, undying, tended by Pure vestal thoughts in the trans

lucent fane Of her still spirit; locks not wide-dispread,

Madonna-wise on either side her

head; Sweet lips whereon perpetually did

reign The summer calm of golden charity, Were fixed shadows of thy fixed mood,

Revered Isabel, the crown and head, The stately lower of female fortitude,

Of perfect wifehood and pure lowli



Airy, fairy Lilian,

Flitting, fairy Lilian, When I ask her if she love me, Claps her tiny hands above me,

Laughing all she can; She'll not tell me if she love me,

Cruel little Lilian.



When my passion seeks

Pleasance in love-sighs, She, looking thro' and thro' me Thoroughly to undo me,

Smiling, never speaks : So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple, From beneath her gathered wimple

Glancing with black-beaded eyes, • Till the lightning laughters dimple

The baby-roses in her cheeks;
Then away she flies.

The intuitive decision of a bright
And thorough-edged intellect to part
Error from crime; a prudence to

The laws of marriage character'd in

gold Upon the blanched tablets of her heart; A love still burning upward, giving light To read those laws; an accent very low In blandishment, but a most silver flow

Of subtle-paced counsel in distress, Right to the heart and brain, tho' unde


Winning its way with extreme gentle. Thro' all the outworks of suspicious




Prythee weep, May Lilian !

Gaiety without eclipse Wearieth me, May Lilian:

She only said, “The night is dreary,

He cometh not,' she said; She said, 'I am aweary, aweary

I would that I were dead!'

A courage to endure and to obey;
A hate of gossip parlance, and of sway,
Crown'd Isabel, thro' all her placid life,
The queen of marriage, a most perfect

The mellow'd reflex of a winter moon;
A clear stream flowing with a muddy one,
Till in its onward current it absorbs
With swifter movement and in purer

light The vexed eddies of its wayward

brother: A leaning and upbearing parasite, Clothing the stem, which else had

fallen quite With cluster'd flower-bells and am

brosial orbs Of rich fruit-bunches leaning on

each other — Shadow forth thee:- the world hath

not another (Tho' all her fairest forms are types of

thee, And thou of God in thy great charity) Of such a finish'd chasten'd purity.

Upon the middle of the night,

Waking she heard the night-fowl crow: The cock sung out an hour ere light:

From the dark fen the oxen's low Came to her : without hope of change,

In sleep she seem'd to walk forlorn,

Till cold winds woke the gray-eyed morn About the lonely moated grange.

She only said, “ The day is dreary,

He cometh not,' she said;
She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead!'

About a stone-cast from the wall

A sluice with blacken'd waters slept, And o'er it many, round and small,

The cluster'd marish-mosses crept. Hard by a poplar shook alway,

All silver-green with gnarled bark:

For leagues no other tree did mark The level waste, the rounding gray.

She only said, “ My life is dreary,

He cometh not,' she said;
She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead!'

Mariana in the moated grange.'

Measure for Measure. With blackest moss the flower-plots

Were thickly crusted, one and all: The rusted nails fell from the knots

That held the pear to the gable-wall. The broken sheds look'd sad and strange:

Unlifted was the clinking latch;

Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
Upon the lonely moated grange.
She only said, 'My life is dreary,

He cometh not,' she said;
She said, 'I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead!'

And ever when the moon was low,

And the shrill winds were up and away, In the white curtain, to and fro,

She saw the gusty shadow sway. But when the moon was very low,

And wild winds bound within their cell,

The shadow of the poplar fell Upon her bed, across her brow.

She only said, “The night is dreary,

He cometh not,' she said;
She said, I am aweary, aweary,

I would that I were dead!'

Her tears fell with the dews at even;

Her tears fell ere the dews were dried; She could not look on the sweet heaven,

Either at morn or eventide. After the fitting of the bats,

When thickest dark did trance the sky,

She drew her casement curtain by, And glanced athwart the glooming flats.

All day within the dreamy house,

The doors upon their hinges creak'd; The blue fly sung in the pane; the mouse Behind the mouldering wainscot

shriek'd, Or from the crevice peer'd about.

Old faces glimmer'd thro' the doors,

Old footsteps trod the upper floors, Old voices called her from without.

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CLEAR-HEADED friend, whose joyful scorn, Edged with sharp laughter, cuts atwain

The knots that tangle human creeds, The wounding cords that bind and

strain · The heart until it bleeds, Ray-fringed eyelids of the morn

Roof not a glance so keen as thine :

If aught of prophecy be mine, Thou wilt not live in vain.

Smiling, frowning, evermore,
Thou art perfect in love-lore.
Revealings deep and clear are thine
Of wealthy smiles : but who may know
Whether smile or frown be feeter?
Whether smile or frown be sweeter,

Who may know?
Frowns perfect-sweet along the brow
Light-glooming over eyes divine,
Like little ciouds sun-fringed, are thine,

Ever varying Madeline.
Thy smile and frown are not aloof

From one another,

Each to each is dearest brother;
Hues of the silken sheeny woof
Momently shot into each other.

All the mystery is thine;
Smiling, frowning, evermore,
Thou art perfect in love-lore,

Ever varying Madeline.


Low-cowering shall the Sophist sit;

Falsehood shall bare her plaited brow:

Fair-fronted Truth shall droop not now With shrilling shafts of subtle wit. Nor martyr-flames, nor trenchant swords,

Can do away that ancient lie;

A gentler death shall Falsehood die, Shot thro' and thro' with cunning words.



Weak Truth a-leaning on her crutch,

Wan, wasted Truth in her utmost need, Thy kingly intellect shall feed,

Until she be an athlete bold, And weary with a finger's touch

Those writhed limbs of lightning speed; Like that strange angel which of old,

Until the breaking of the light,

A subtle, sudden flame,
By veering passion fann'd,

About thee breaks and dances:
When I would kiss thy hand,
The flush of anger'd shame

O’erflows thy calmer glances,
And o'er black brows drops down
A sudden-curved frown:
But when I turn away,
Thou, willing me to stay,

Wooest not, nor vainly wranglest;

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