G H I J K L M 

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And though I come to grieve
Long at a frosty tomb, there still shall be
My happy lyric in the lilac tree.


When they make silly question of my love,
And speak to me of danger and disdain,
And look by fond old argument to move
My wisdom to docility again;
When to my prouder heart they set the pride
Of custom and the gossip of the street,
And show me figures of myself beside
A self diminished at their judgment seat;
Then do I sit as in a drowsy pew
To hear a priest expounding th' heavenly will,
Defiling wonder that he never knew
With stolen words of measured good and ill;
For to the love that knows their counselling,
Out of my love contempt alone I bring.


Not love of you is most that I can bring,
Since what I am to love you is the test,
And should I love you more than any thing
You would but be of idle love possessed,
A mere love wandering in appetite,
Counting your glories and yet bringing none,
Finding in you occasions of delight,
A thief of payment for no service done.
But when of labouring life I make a song
And bring it you, as that were my reward,
To let what most is me to you belong,
Then do I come of high possessions lord,
And loving life more than my love of you
I give you love more excellently true.


What better tale could any lover tell
When age or death his reckoning shall write
Than thus, 'Love taught me only to rebel
Against these things,--the thieving of delight
Without return; the gospellers of fear
Who, loving, yet deny the truth they bear,
Sad-suited lusts with lecherous hands to smear
The cloth of gold they would but dare not wear.
And love gave me great knowledge of the trees,
And singing birds, and earth with all her flowers;
Wisdom I knew and righteousness in these,
I lived in their atonement all my hours;
Love taught me how to beauty's eye alone
The secret of the lying heart is known.'


This then at last; we may be wiser far
Than love, and put his folly to our measure,
Yet shall we learn, poor wizards that we are,
That love chimes not nor motions at our pleasure.
We bid him come, and light an eager fire,
And he goes down the road without debating;
We cast him from the house of our desire,
And when at last we leave he will be waiting.
And in the end there is no folly but this,
To counsel love out of our little learning.
For still he knows where rotten timber is,
And where the boughs for the long winter burning;
And when life needs no more of us at all,
Love's word will be the last that we recall.

* * * * *



I will ask primrose and violet to spend for you
Their smell and hue,
And the bold, trembling anemone awhile to spare
Her flowers starry fair;
Or the flushed wild apple and yet sweeter thorn
Their sweetness to keep
Longer than any fire-bosomed flower born
Between midnight and midnight deep.

And I will take celandine, nettle and parsley, white
In its own green light,
Or milkwort and sorrel, thyme, harebell and meadow-sweet
Lifting at your feet,
And ivy-blossom beloved of soft bees; I will take
The loveliest--
The seeding grasses that bend with the winds, and shake
Though the winds are at rest.

'For me?' you will ask. 'Yes! surely they wave for you
Their smell and hue,
And you away all that is rare were so much less
By your missed happiness.'
Yet I know grass and weed, ivy and apple and thorn
Their whole sweet would keep,
Though in Eden no human spirit on a shining morn
Had awaked from sleep.


Rose-bosom'd and rose-limb'd
With eyes of dazzling bright
Shakes Venus mid the twined boughs of the night;
Rose-limb'd, soft-stepping
From low bough to bough,
Shaking the wide-hung starry fruitage--dimmed
Its bloom of snow
By that sole planetary glow.

Venus, avers the astronomer,
Not thus idly dancing goes
Flushing the eternal orchard with wild rose.
She through ether burns
Outpacing planetary earth,
And ere two years triumphantly returns,
And again wave-like swelling flows,
And again her flashing apparition comes and goes.

This we have not seen,
No heavenly courses set,
No flight unpausing through a void serene:
But when eve clears,
Arises Venus as she first uprose
Stepping the shaken boughs among,
And in her bosom glows
The warm light hidden in sunny snows.

She shakes the clustered stars
Lightly, as she goes
Amid the unseen branches of the night,
Rose-limb'd, rose-bosom'd bright.

She leaps: they shake and pale; she glows--
And who but knows
How the rejoiced heart aches
When Venus all his starry vision shakes;

When through his mind
Tossing with random airs of an unearthly wind,
Rose-bosom'd, rose-limb'd,
The mistress of his starry vision arises,
And the boughs glittering sway
And the stars pale away,
And the enlarging heaven glows
As Venus light-foot mid the twined branches goes.


Like the tide--knocking at the hollowed cliff
And running into each green cave as if
In the cave's night to keep
Eternal motion grave and deep--

That, even while each broken wave repeats
Its answered knocking and with bruised hand beats
Again, again, again,
Tossed between ecstasy and pain;

Still in the folded hollow darkness swells,
Sinks, swells, and every green-hung hollow fills,
Till there's no room for sound
Save that old anger rolled around;

So into every hollow cliff of life,
Into this heart's deep cave so loud with strife,
In tunnels I knew not,
In lightless labyrinths of thought,

The unresting tide has run and the dark filled,
Even the vibration of old strife is stilled;
The wave returning bears
Muted those time-breathing airs.

--How shall the million-footed tide still tread
These hollows and in each cold void cave spread?
How shall Love here keep
Eternal motion grave and deep?


Falls from her heaven the Moon, and stars sink burning
Into the sea where blackness rims the sea,
Silently quenched. Faint light that the waves hold
Is only light remaining; yet still gleam
The sands where those now-sleeping young moon-bathers
Came dripping out of the sea and from their arms
Shook flakes of light, dancing on the foamy edge
Of quiet waves. They were all things of light
Tossed from the sea to dance under the Moon--
Her nuns, dancing within her dying round,
Clear limbs and breasts silvered with Moon and waves
And quick with windlike mood and body's joy,
Withdrawn from alien vows, by wave and wind
Lightly absolved and lightly all forgetting.

An hour ago they left. Remains the gleam
Of their late motion on the salt sea-meadow,
As loveliest hues linger when the sun's gone
And float in the heavens and die in reedy pools--
So slowly, who shall say when light is gone?


In those old days you were called beautiful,
But I have worn the beauty from your face;
The flowerlike bloom has withered on your cheek
With the harsh years, and the fire in your eyes
Burns darker now and deeper, feeding on
Beauty and the remembrance of things gone.
Even your voice is altered when you speak,
Or is grown mute with old anxiety
For me.

Even as a fire leaps into flame and burns
Leaping and laughing in its lovely flight,
And then under the flame a glowing dome
Deepens slowly into blood-like light:--
So did you flame and in flame take delight,
So are you hollow'd now with aching fire.
But I still warm me and make there my home,
Still beauty and youth burn there invisibly
For me.

Now my lips falling on your silver'd skull,
My fingers in the valleys of your cheeks,
Or my hands in your thin strong hands fast caught,
Your body clutched to mine, mine bent to yours:
Now love undying feeds on love beautiful,
Now, now I am but thought kissing your thought ...
--And can it be in your heart's music speaks
A deeper rhythm hearing mine: can it be
Indeed for me?


Of caterpillars Fabre tells how day after day
Around the rim of a vast earth pot they crawled,
Tricked thither as they filed shuffling out one morn
Head to tail when the common hunger called.

Head to tail in a heaving ring day after day,
Night after slow night, the starving mommets crept,
Each following each, head to tail, day after day,
An unbroken ring of hunger--then it was snapt.

I thought of you, long-heaving, horned green caterpillars,
As I lay awake. My thoughts crawled each after each,
Crawling at night each after each on the same nerve,
An unbroken ring of thoughts too sore for speech.

Over and over and over and over again
The same hungry thoughts and the hopeless same regrets,
Over and over the same truths, again and again
In a heaving ring returning the same regrets.


I am that creature and creator who
Loosens and reins the waters of the sea,
Forming the rocky marge anon anew.
I stir the cold breasts of antiquity,
And in the soft stone of the pyramid
Move wormlike; and I flutter all those sands
Whereunder lost and soundless time is hid.
I shape the hills and valleys with these hands,
And darken forests on their naked sides,
And call the rivers from the vexing springs,
And lead the blind winds into deserts strange.
And in firm human bones the ill that hides
Is mine, the fear that cries, the hope that sings.
I am that creature and creator, Change.

* * * * *



In each black tile a mimic fire's aglow,
And in the hearthlight old mahogany,
Ripe with stored sunshine that in Mexico
Poured like gold wine into the living tree
Summer on summer through a century,
Burns like a crater in the heart of night:
And all familiar things in the ingle-light
Glow with a secret strange intensity.

And I remember hidden fires that burst
Suddenly from the midnight while men slept,
Long-smouldering rages in the darkness nursed
That to an instant ravening fury leapt,
And the old terror menacing evermore
A crumbling world with fiery molten core.


Stephen, wake up! There's some one at the gate.
Quick, to the window ...

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Keywords: caterpillars, dancing, rose-bosom'd, though, delight, eternal, thoughts, lightly, hollow, midnight
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