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PASSING AND GLASSING
All things that pass
Are woman's looking-glass ; They show her how her bloom must fade, And she herself be laid With wither'd roses in the shade;
With wither'd roses and the fallen peach, Unlovely, out of reach
Of summer joy that was.
IF I could trust mine own self with your
fate, Shall I not rather trust it in God's
hand ? Without whose will one lily doth not
stand, Nor sparrow fall at his appointed date ; Who numbereth the innumerable sand, Who weighs the wind and water with a
weight, To whom the world is neither small nor
great, Whose knowledge foreknew every plan we
plann'd. Searching my heart for all that touches
you, I find there only love and love's good
All things that pass
Are woman's tiring-glass ;
The dried-up violets and dried lavender
Nor need she cry Alas !
All things that pass
Are wisdom's looking-glass ; Being full of hope and fear, and still Brimful of good or ill, According to our work and will ;
For there is nothing new beneath the sun ; Our doings have been done,
And that which shall be was.
THE THREAD OF LIFE
STAR Sirius and the Pole Star dwell afar Beyond the drawings each of other's
strength: One blazes through the brief bright sum
mer's length Lavishing life-heat from a flaming car; While one unchangeable upon a throne Broods o'er the frozen heart of earth
alone, Content to reign the bright particular star Of some who wander or of some who
groan. They own no drawings each of other's
strength, Nor vibrate in a visible sympathy, Nor veer along their courses each toward
each : Yet are their orbits pitch'd in harmony Of one dear heaven, across whose depth
and length Mayhap they talk together without speech.
THE irresponsive silence of the land,
band Of inner solitude ; we bind not thee ; But who from thy self-chain shall set thee
free? What heart shall touch thy heart? what
hand thy hand ? And I am sometimes proud and sometimes
meek, And sometimes I remember days of old When fellowship seem'd not so far to seek And all the world and I seem'd much less
cold, And at the rainbow's foot lay surely gold, And hope felt strong and life itself not
Two gaz'd into a pool, he gaz'd and she, Not hand in hand, yet heart in heart, I
think, Pale and reluctant on the water's brink, As on the brink of parting which must be. Each eyed the other's aspect, she and he, Each felt one hungering heart leap up and
sink, Each tasted bitterness which both must
drink, There on the brink of life's dividing sea. Lilies upon the surface, deep below Two wistful faces craving each for each, Resolute and reluctant without speech :A sudden ripple made the faces flow One moment join'd, to vanish out of reach : So these hearts join'd, and ah! were parted
We lack, yet cannot fix upon the lack :
rack, Hopes that were never ours yet seem'd to
For which we steer'd on life's salt stormy
TWIST ME A CROWN
Braving the sunstroke and the frozen pack.
main, Straining dim eyes to catch the invisible
sight, And strong to bear ourselves in patient
Twist me a crown of wind-flowers;
That I may fly away
And players at their play.
Of all the operas that Verdi wrote,
The best, to my taste, is the Trovatore ; And Mario can soothe with a tenor note
The souls in Purgatory.
The moon on the tower slept soft as snow : And who was not thrill’d in the strangest
way, As we heard him sing, while the gas
Of that muslin dress (for the eve was
hot), And her warm white neck in its golden
chain, And her full, soft hair, just tied in a knot,
And falling loose again ; And the jasmine-flower in her fair young
breast, (O the faint, sweet smell of that jasmine
flower!) And the one bird singing alone to his nest,
And the one star over the tower.
“ Non ti scordar di me”?
The Emperor there, in his box of state,
Look'd grave, as if he had just then seen The red flag wave from the city-gate
Where his eagles in bronze had been. The Empress, too, had a tear in her eye. You'd have said that her fancy had gone
back again, For one moment, under the old blue sky,
To the old glad life in Spain.
Well ! there in our front-row box we sat,
Together, my bride-betroth'd and I; My gaze was fix'd on my opera-hat,
And hers on the stage hard by.
I thought of our little quarrels and strife, And the letter that brought me back my
ring. And it all seem'd then, in the waste of
life, Such a very little thing ! For I thought of her grave below the hill, Which the sentinel cypress-tree stands
over ; And I thought ... “were she only living
still, How I could forgive her, and love her !” And I swear, as I thought of her thus, in
that hour, And of how, after all, old things were
best, That I smelt the smell of that jasmine
flower Which she used to wear in her breast.
It smelt so faint, and it smelt so sweet,
It made me creep, and it made me cold ! Like the scent that steals from the crum
bling sheet Where a mummy is half unroll’d.
I have not a doubt she was thinking then
Of her former lord, good soul that he was ! Who died the richest and roundest of men,
The Marquis of Carabas. I hope that, to get to the kingdom of heaven,
Through a needle's eye he had not to pass. I wish him well, for the jointure given
To my lady of Carabas. Meanwhile, I was thinking of my first love, As I had not been thinking of aught for
years, Till over my eyes there began to move
Something that felt like tears. I thought of the dress that she wore last time, When we stood, 'neath the cypress-trees,
together, In that lost land, in that soft clime,
In the crimson evening weather;
And I turn'd, and look’d. She was sitting
there In a dim box, over the stage ; and dress'd In that muslin dress with that full soft
hair, And that jasmine in her breast !
I was here ; and she was there ;
tween : From my bride-betroth'd, with her raven
hair, And her sumptuous scornful mien,