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Hark! that rustle of a dress,
Writhing in its fiendish bliss; Stiff with lavish costliness!
All night long he sees its eyes Here comes one whose cheek would Flicker with foul ecstasies, flush
As the spirit ebbs away But to have her garment brush
Into the absorbing clay. 'Gainst the girl whose fingers thin Wove the weary broidery in,
Who is he that skulks, afraid Bending backward from her toil, Of the trust he has betrayed, Lest her tears the silk might soil, Shuddering if perchance a gleam And, in midnights chill and murk, | Of old nobleness should stream Stitchel her life into the work,
Through the pent, unwholesome room, Shaping from her bitter thought
Where his shrunk soul cowers in Heart's-ease and forget-me-not,
gloom, Satirizing her despair
Spirit sad beyond the rest With the emblems woven there.
By more instinct for the best? Little doth the wearer heed
'T is a poet who was sent Of the heart-break in the brede; For a bad world's punishment, A hyena by her side
By compelling it to see
By compelling it to hear
Who was sent to be the tongue
Of the weak and spirit-wrung, Who, perhaps, a statue won
Whence the fiery-winged Despair By the ill deeds he had done,
In men's shrinking eyes might fare. By the innocent blood he shed,
'T is our hope doth fashion us By the desolation spread
To base use or glorious : Over happy villages,
He who might have been a lark Blotting out the smile of peace.
Of Truth's morning, from the dark
Raining down melodious hope There walks Judas, he who sold
Of a freer, broader scope, Yesterday his Lord for gold,
Aspirations, prophecies, Sold God's presence in his heart Of the spirit's full sunrise, For a proud step in the mart;
Chose to be a bird of night, He hath dealt in flesh and blood; That, with eyes refusing light, At the bank his name is good;
Hooted from some hollow tree At the bank, and only there,
Of the world's idolatry. 'T is a marketable ware.
'T is his punishment to hear In his eyes that stealthy gleam
Sweep of eager pinions near, Was not learned of sky or stream, And his own vain wings to feel But it has the cold, hard glint
Drooping downward to his heel, Of new dollars from the mint.
All their grace and import lost, Open now your spirit's eyes,
Burdening his weary ghost: Look through that poor clay disguise Ever walking by his side Which has thickened, day by day, He must see his angel guide, Till it keeps all light at bay,
Who at intervals doth turn And his soul in pitchy gloom
Looks on him so sadly stern, Gropes about its narrow tomb,
With such ever-new surprise From whose dank and slimy walls Of hushed anguish in her eyes, Drop by drop the horror falls.
That it seems the light of day Look! a serpent lank and cold
From around him shrinks away,
Or drops blunted from the wall
Then the mountains, whose white peaks
| Turning east their faces lit,
Whence, with footsteps beantiful, In that clear brain, which, day and To the earth, yet din and dull,
night, They the gladsome tidings bring No movement of the heart e'er jostles, Of the sunlight's hastening:
Her friends are ranged on left and Never can these hills of bliss Be o'erclimbed by feet like his ! Here, silex, horublende, sienite ;
There, animal remains and fossils. But enough! 0, do not dare From the next the veil to tear,
And yet, O) subtile analyst, Woven of station, trade, or dress, That canst each property detect More obscene than nakedness,
Of mood or grain, that canst untwist Wherewith plausible culture drapes
Each tangled skein of intellect, Fallen Nature's myriad shapes ! | And with thy scalpel eyes lay bare Let us rather love to mark
Each mental nerve more fine than air, — How the unextinguished spark
O brain exact, that in thy scales Still gleams through the thin disguise Canst weigh the sun and never err, Of our customs, pomps, and lies,
For once thy patient science fails, And, not seldom blown to flame, One problem still defies thy art ;Vindicate its ancient claim.
Thou never canst compute for her
Of any simple human heart.
HEAR him but speak, and you will feel Some sort of heart I know is hers, – The shadows of the Portico
I chanced to feel her pulse one night; Over your tranquil spirit steal, A brain she has that never errs,
To modulate all joy and woe And yet is never nobly right;
To one subdued, subduing glow; It does not leap to great results,
Above our squabbling business-hours, But, in some corner out of sight,
| Like Phidian Jove's, his beauty lowers, Suspects a spot of latent blight, His nature satirizes ours ;
And, o'er the impatient infinite, A form and front of Attic grace, She bargains, haggles, and consults. He shames the higgling market-place,
And dwarfs our more mechanic powers. Her eye, -- it seems a chemic test
And drops upon you like an acid; What throbbing verse can fitly render It bites you with unconscious zest, | That face so pure, so trembling-ten.
So clear and bright, so coldly placid ; der? It holds you quietly aloof,
Sensation glimmers through its rest, It holds, - and yet it does not win It speaks uninanacled by words, you;
As full of motion as a nest It merely puts you to the proof
That palpitates with untledged birds ; And sorts what qualities are in you ; 1 T is likest to Bethesda's stream, It smiles, but never brings you nearer, Forewarned through all its thrilling
It lights, - her nature draws not nigh; springs, "T is but that yours is growing clearer White with the angel's coming gleam, To her assays ; - yes, try and try,
And rippled with his fanning wings. You 'll get no deeper than her eye.
Hear him unfold his plots and plans, There, you are classified : she's gone And larger destinies seem man's ; Far, far away into herself;
You conjure from his glowing face Each with its Latin label on,
The omen of a fairer race ; Your poor components, one by one, With one grand trope ne boldly spans Are laid upon their proper shelf
The gulf wherein so many fall, In her compact and ordered mind, "Twixt possible and actual ; And what of you is left behind
His first swift word, talaria-shod, Is no more to her than the wind; | Exuberant with conscious God,
ON A PORTRAIT OF DANTE. — ON THE DEATH OF A CHILD.
Out of the choir of planets blots ON A PORTRAIT OF DANTE BY GIOTTO. The present earth with all its spots.
Can this be thou who, lean and pale, Himself unshaken as the sky,
With such immitigable eye His words, like whirlwinds, spin on
Didst look upon those writhing souls in high
bale, | And note each vengeance, and pass by
er; Unmoved, save when thy heart by chance "T is strange as to a deaf man's eye,
Cast backward one forbidden glance, While trees uprooted splinter by, The dumb turmoil of stormy weather ; Subdue and mount thy wild-horse knee
And saw Francesca, with child's glee, ·Less of iconoclast than shaper,
And with proud hands control its fiery His spirit, safe behind the reach Of the tornado of his speech,
prance? Burns calmly as a glowworm's ta- With half-drooped lids, and smooth, per.
And eye remote, that inly sees So great in speech, but, ah ! in act Fair Beatrice's spirit wandering now So overrun with vermin troubles,
In some sea-lulled Hesperides, The coarse, sharp-cornered, ugly fact Thou movest through the jarring street,
Of life collapses all his bubbles : Secluded from the noise of feet Had he but lived in Plato's day,
By her gift-blossom in thy hand, He might, unless my fancy errs, | Thy branch of palm from Holy Have shared that golden voice's sway
Land;—. O'er barefooted philosophers. No trace is here of ruin's fiery sleet. Our nipping climate hardly suits The ripening of ideal fruits :
Yet there is something round thy lips His theories vanquish us all summer,
That prophesies the coming doom, But winter makes him dumb and The soft, gray herald-shadow ere the dumber;
eclipse To see him mid life's needful things
Notches the perfect disk with gloom; Is something painfully bewildering;
| A something that would banish thee, He seems an angel with clipt wings
And thine untamed pursuer be, Tied to a mortal wife and children,
From men and their unworthy fates, And by a brother seraph taken
Though Florence had not shut her In the act of eating eggs and bacon. Like a clear fountain, his desire
| And Grief had loosed her clutch and let Exults and leaps toward the light,
thee free. In every drop it says “Aspire !”
Ah! he who follows fearlessly Striving for more ideal height;
The beckonings of a poet-heart And as the fountain, falling thence, Shall wander, and without the world's Crawls baffled through the common decree, gutter,
A banished man in field and mart; So, from his speech's eminence,
Harder than Florence' walls the bar He shrinks into the present tense, Which with deaf sternness holds him Unkinged by foolish bread and butter.
From home and friends, till death's Yet smile not, worldling, for in deeds
release, Not all of life that's brave and wise And makes his only prayer for peace,
Like thine, scarred veteran of a lifelong He strews an ampler future's seeds,
war! 'Tis your fault if no harvest rises; Smooth back the sneer; for is it naught ON THE DEATH OF A FRIEND'S CHILD.
That all he is and has is Beauty's ? By soul the soul's gains must be wrought, DEATH never came so nigh to me before, The Actual claims our coarser thought, Nor showed me his mild face: oft had I The Ideal hath its higher duties.
Of calm and peace and safe forgetful. | Whirl rustling onward, senseless of our ness,
loss. of folded hands, closed eyes, and heart The bee hums on ; around the blossomed at rest,
vine And slumber sound beneath a flowery Whirs the light humming-bird; the turf,
cricket chirps; Of faults forgotten, and an inner place The locust's shrill alarum stings the Kept sacred for us in the heart of car; friends;
Hard by, the cock shouts lustily; from • But these were idle fancies, satisfied
farm to farin, With the mere husk of this great mys- His cheery brothers, telling of the sun, tery,
Answer, till far away the joyance dies: And dwelling in the outward shows of We never knew before how God had
things. Heaven is not mounted to on wings of The summer air with happy living dreams,
sounds; Nor doth the unthankful happiness of All round us seems an overplus of life, youth
And yet the one dear heart lies cold and Aim thitherward, but floats from bloom
still. to bloom,
It is most strange, when the great mirWith earth's warm patch of sunshine acle well content:
Hath for our sakes been done, when we 'Tis sorrow builds the shining ladder up, have had Whose golden rounds are our calamities, Our inwardest experience of God, Whereon our firm feet planting, nearer When with his presence still the room God
expands, The spirit climbs, and hath its eyes un And is awed after him, that naught is sealed.
That Nature's face looks unacknowl. True is it that Death's face seems stern edging, and cold,
And the mad world still dances heedless When he is sent to summon those we
After its butterflies, and gives no sign. But all God's angels come to us dis 'T is hard at first to see it all aright: guised;
In vain Faith blows her trump to sum. Sorrow and sickness, poverty and death, mon back One after other lift their frowning Her scattered troop : yet, through the masks,
clouded glass And we behold the seraph's face beneath, of our own bitter tears, we learn to look All radiant with the glory and the calm Undazzled on the kindness of God's Of having looked upon the front of God. face; With every anguish of our earthly part Earth is too dark, and Heaven alone The spirit's sight grows clearer; this was shines through.
meant When Jesus touched the blind man's It is no little thing, when a fresh soul lids with clav.
And a fresh heart, with their unmeas. Life is the jailer, Death the angel sent
ured scope To draw the unwilling bolts and set us For good, not gravitating earthward yet, free.
But circling in diviner periods, He Aings not ope the ivory gate of Are sent into the world, - no little Rest,
thing, Only the fallen spirit knocks at that, - When this unbounded possibility But to benigner regions beckons us, Into the outer silence is withdrawn. To destinies of more rewarded toil. | Ah, in this world, where every guiding In the hushed chamber, sitting by the thread dead,
Ends suddenly in the one sure centre, It grates on us to hear the flood of life | death,
The visionary hand of Might-have-been | Though for its press each grape-bunch had Alone can fill Desire's cup to the brim! The white feet of an Oread.
How changed, dear friend, are thy part Through our coarse art gleam, now and and thy child's !
then, He bends above thy cradle now, or holds The features of angelic men: His warning finger out to be thy guide; 'Neath the lewd Satyr's veiling paint Thou art the nursling now; he watches Glows forth the Sibyl, Muse, or Saint; thee
The dauber's botch no more obscures Slow learning, one by one, the secret The mighty master's portraitures. things
And who can say what luckier beam Which are to him used sights of every The hidden glory shall redeem, day;
For what chance clod the soul may wait He smiles to see thy wondering glances To stumble on its nobler fate, con
Or why, to his unwarned abode, The grass and pebbles of the spirit. Still by surprises comes the God ? world,
Some moment, nailed on sorrow's cross, To thee miraculous; and he will teach May mediate a whole youth's loss, Thy knees their due observances of Some windfall joy, we know not whence, prayer.
Redeem a lifetime's rash expense, Children are God's apostles, day by day And, suddenly wise, the soul may mark, Sent forth to preach of love, and hope, Stripped of their simulated dark, and peace;
Mountains of gold that pierce the sky, Nor hath thy babe his mission left un-Girdling its valleyed poverty.
done. To me, at least, his going hence hath I feel ye, childhood's hopes, return, given
With olden heats my pulses burn, — Serener thoughts and nearer to the skies, Mine be the self-forgetting sweep, And opened a new fountain in my heart The torrent impulse swift and wild, For thee, my friend, and all : and 0, if | Wherewith Taghkanic's rock born child Death
Dares gloriously the dangerous leap, More near approaches meditates, and And, in his sky-descended mood, clasps
Transmutes each drop of sluggish blood, Even now some dearer, more reluctant By touch of bravery's simple wand, hand,
| To amethyst and diamond, God, strengthen thou my faith, that I Proving himself no bastard slip, may see
But the true granite-cradled one, That 't is thine angel, who, with loving Nursed with the rock's primeval drip, haste,
The cloud-embracing mountain's son! Unto the service of the inner shrine, Doth waken thy beloved with a kiss. Prayer breathed in vain ! no wish's sway
Rebuilds the vanished yesterday ;
For plated wares of Sheffield stamp
We gave the old Aladdin's lamp ;'
'T is we are changed ; ah, whither went HEAVEN's cup held down to me I That undesigned abandonment, drain,
That wise, unquestioning content,
Out of a weed's neglected blossom,
branched, A supernaculum of summer:
Could venture for the golden fleece Not, Bacchus, all thy grosser juice | And dragon-watched Hesperides, Could bring enchantment so profuse, Or, from its ripple-shattered fate,