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IS an old dial, dark with many a stain;
In summer crowned with drifting orchard bloom,
And round about its gray, time-eaten brow
Lean letters speak—a worn and shattered row: I am a Shade: a Shadowe too arte thou:
I marke the Time: saye, Gossip, dost thou soe?
Here would the ringdoves linger, head to head;
The tardy shade moved forward to the noon;
That swung a flower, and, smiling, hummed a tune,—
O'er her blue dress an endless blossom strayed;
Like courtiers bowing till the queen be gone.
She leaned upon the slab a little while,
Folded, inscribed, and niched it in the stone.
The shade slipped on, no swifter than the snail;
She, as if listless with a lonely love,
Then, like to one who confirmation found
She bent her fair young forehead on the stone;
The single tear that tear-worn eyes will shed.
The shade slipped onward to the falling gloom;
A ribboned love-lock rippling from his head;
Blue-eyed, frank-faced, with clear and open brow, Scar-seamed a little, as the women love;
So kindly fronted that you marvel how
Who switched at Psyche plunging in the sun;
Uncrowned three lilies with a backward swinge; And standing somewhat widely, like to one More used to "Boot and Saddle” than to cringe
As courtiers do, but gentleman withal,
Took out the note; held it as one who feared The fragile thing he held would slip and fall; Read and re-read, pulling his tawny beard;
Kissed it, I thin and hid it in his breast;
Laughed softly in a flattered happy way, Arranged the broidered baldrick on his chest, And sauntered past, singing a roundelay.
The shade crept forward through the dying glow; There came no more nor dame nor cavalier; But for a little time the brass will show
A small gray spot-the record of a tear.
AN UNFINISHED SONG.
"Cantat Deo qui vivit Deo."
TES, he was well-nigh gone and near his rest, The year could not renew him; nor the cry Of building nightingales about the nest ;
Nor that soft freshness of the May-wind's sigh,
That fell before the garden scents, and died
Between the ampler leafage of the trees :
But death not yet.
Outside a woman talkedHis wife she was—whose clicking needles sped To faded phrases of complaint that balked My rising words of comfort. Overhead,
A cage that hung amid the jasmine stars
"Is it a thrush ?" I asked. "A thrush," she said.
"That was Will's tune.
Will taught him that before
He left the doorway settle for his bed,
"He'd bring his Bible here o' nights, would Will,
"Jack! Jack!" A joyous flutter stirred the cage, Shaking the blossoms down. The bird began ; The woman turned again to want and wage,
And in the inner chamber sighed the man.
How clear the song was! Musing as I heard,
The broken song, the uncompleted life,
That seemed a broken song; and of the two,
My thought a moment deemed the bird more blest, That, when the sun shone, sang the notes it knew, Without desire or knowledge of the rest.
Nay, happier man. For him futurity
Still hides a hope that this his earthly praise Finds heavenly end, for surely will not He, Solver of all, above his Flower of Days,