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Text of Holy Scripture," 1874; "Seek and Find a Double Series of Short Studies of the Benedicite," 1879; "A Pageant and Other Poems," 1881; "Called to be Saints," 1881; "Letter and Spirit," 1883, and "Time Flies, a Reading Diary," 1885. Years ago, when the loving family circle was unbroken, Miss Rossetti was wont to engage in exercises of sonnet-skill with her brothers, Dante Gabriel and William; and the pleasures of this contact and interchange of thought led to a love for the finest of all forms of concise expression which has borne ripe fruit. J. W.
WHERE sunless rivers weep
Led by a single star,
To seek where shadows are
She left the rosy morn,
Through sleep, as through a veil,
Rest, rest, a perfect rest, Shed over brow and breast; Her face is toward the west, The purple land.
She cannot see the grain Ripening on hill and plain, She cannot feel the rain Upon her hand.
Rest, rest, for evermore
Rest, rest at the heart's core
Sleep that no pain shall wake;
Her perfect peace.
THE SIXTEENTH OF MAY.
IF love is not worth loving, then life is not worth
Nor aught is worth remembering but well forgot, For store is not worth storing and gifts are not worth giving,
If love is not;
An idly cold is death-cold, and life-heat idly hot, And vain is any offering and vainer our receiving, And vanity of vanities is all our lot.
Better than life's heaving heart is death's heart unheaving,
Better than the opening leaves are the leaves that rot,
For there is nothing left worth achieving or retrieving,
If love is not.
THE Curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept
And could not hear him; but I heard him say:
"TO-DAY FOR ME."
SHE sitteth still who used to dance, She weepeth sore and more and more; Let us sit with thee weeping sore,
O fair France.
She trembleth as the days advance
Her eyes shine tearful as they glance: "Who shall give back my slaughtered sons? "Bind up," she saith, "my wounded ones." Alas, France!
She struggles in a deathly trance,
Thou people of the lifted lance,
Back from France.
Eye not her loveliness askance, Forge not for her a galling chain; Leave her at peace to bloom again, Vine-clad France.
A time there is for change and chance, A time for passing of the cup; And One abides can yet bind up Broken France.
A time there is for change and chance; Who next shall drink the trembling cup, Wring out its dregs and suck them up, After France?
WHEN I was dead my spirit turned
To seek the much-frequented house; I passed the door, and saw my friends
Feasting beneath green orange boughs. From hand to hand they pushed the wine; They sucked the pulp of plumb and peach; They sang, they jested and they laughed, For each was loved by each.
I listened to their honest chat
We will achieve the eyrie-seat." Said one, "To-morrow shall be like To-day, but much more sweet.” "To-morrow," said they, strong with hope, And dwelt upon the pleasant way: "To-morrow!" cried they, one and all, While no one spoke of yesterday. Their life stood full at blessed noon; I, only I, had passed away. "To-morrow and to-day," they cried; I was of yesterday.
I shivered comfortless, but cast
To stay and yet to part how loth;
WHEN I AM DEAD? WHEN I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me; Plant thou no roses at my head, Nor shady cypress tree.
Be the green grass above me
And if thou wilt, forget.
I shall not see the shadows,
I shall not hear the nightingale
And, dreaming through the twilight,
DOES the road wind up-hill all the way?
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
But is there for the night a resting-place,
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin? May not the darkness hide it from my face? You cannot miss that inn.
Shall I meet other wayfarers at night,
Then, must I knock, or call when just in sight?
Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak? Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek? Yes, beds for all who come.
I WOULD have gone, God bade me stay;
Now I would stay, God bids me go;
Now I would rest, God bids me work. He breaks my heart tossed to and fro; My soul is wrung with doubts that lurk And vex it so!
I go, Lord, where Thou sendest me;
My heart is like a singing bird
Whose nest is in a watered shoot;
My heart is like an apple tree
Whose boughs are bent with thickest fruit;
My heart is like a rainbow shell
That paddles in a halcyon sea; My heart is gladder than all these, Because my love is come to me.
Raise me a dais of silk and down;
Is come, my love is come to me.
By day she woos me, soft, exceeding fair;
And subtle serpents gliding in her hair.
Ripe fruits, sweet flowers, and full satiety;
But through the night, a beast she grins at meA very monster void of love and prayer. By day she stands a lie; by night she stands In all the naked horror of the truth,
With pushing horns and clawed and clutching hands.
Is this a friend, indeed, that I should sell My soul to her, give her my life and youth Till my feet, cloven too, take hold on hell?
REMEMBER me when I am gone away,
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for awhile And afterwards remember, do not grieve; For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
VANITY OF VANITIES.
Aн, woe is me for pleasure that is vain,
Bending beneath their weight of heaviness;
O EARTH, lie heavily upon her eyes;
Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching, Earth; Lie close around her; leave no room for mirth With its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs. She hath no questions, she hath no replies;
Hushed in and curtained with a blessed dearth
Her rest shall not begin nor end, but be;
LOVE LIES BLEEDING.
But felt my quickened heart leap in its place, Caught afterglow thrown back from long set days,
Caught echoes of all music passed away.
Was this indeed to meet? I mind me yet, In youth we met when hope and love were quick, We parted with hope dead, but love alive;
I mind me how we parted when heart sick, Remembering, loving, hopeless, weak to strive; Was this to meet? Not so, we have not met.
AN APPLE GATHERING.
I PLUCKED pink apple blossoms from mine apple
And wore them all that evening in my hair;
Then in due season when I went to see,
I found no apples there.
'Mid the rattle of blocks and the tramp of the crew, Hisses the rain of the rushing squall;
The sails are aback from clew to clew,
And now is the moment for "MAIN-SAIL, HAUL!" And the heavy yards, like a baby's toy, By fifty strong arms are swiftly swung; She holds her way, and I look with joy
For the first white spray o'er the bulwarks flung. "LET GO AND HAUL!" "T is the last command, And the head-sails fill to the blast once more; Astern and to leeward lies the land,
With its breakers white on the shingly shore. What matters the reef, or the rain, or the squall? I steady the helm for the open sea; The first mate clamors, "BELAY THERE, ALL!" And the captain's breath once more comes free. And so off-shore let the good ship fly;
Little care I how the gusts may blow,
In my fo'castle bunk in a jacket dry,
Eight bells have struck, and my watch is below. WALTER MITCHELL.
NEW ENGLAND'S CHEVY CHASE.
'T was the dead of the night. By the pine-knot's red light
Brooks lay, half asleep, when he heard the alarm, Only this, and no more, from a voice at the door: "The Red Coats are out and have passed Phipps's farm!"
Brooks was booted and spurred; he said never a word;
Took his horn from its peg, and his gun from the rack;
To the cold midnight air he led out his white mare, Strapped the girths and the bridle and sprang to
Up the North Country Road at her full pace she strode,
Till Brooks reined her up at John Tarbell's to say:
"We have got the alarm-they have left Phipps's farm;
You rouse the East Precinct and I'll go this way."
John called his hired man, and they harnessed the span;
They roused Abram Garfield, and Garfield called
"Turn out right away, let no minute-man stayThe Red Coats have landed at Phipps's!" says
By the Powder-House Green seven others fell in; At Nahum's the men from the saw mill came down;
So that when Jabez Bland gave the word of command,
And said, "Forward, March!" there marched forward the town.
Parson Wilderspin stood by the side of the road, And he took off his hat, and he said, "Let us pray!
O Lord, God of Might, let thine Angels of Light Lead thy children to-night to the Glories of Day! And let Thy Stars fight all the Foes of the Right, As the Stars fought of old against Sisera.”
And from heaven's high arch those stars blessed our march,
Till the last of them faded in twilight away, And with morning's bright beam, by the bank of the stream,
Half the country marched in, and we heard Davis say:
"On the King's own highway I may travel all day, And no man hath warrant to stop me," says he. "I've no man that's afraid, and I'll march at their head;
Then he turned to the boys-"Forward, March! Follow me."
And we marched as he said, and the fifer, he played
The old "White Cockade," and he played it
We saw Davis fall dead, but no man was afraidThat bridge we'd have had, though a thousand men fell.
This opened the play, and it lasted all day, We made Concord too hot for the Red Coats to stay;
Down the Lexington way we stormed-black, white, and gray;
We were first at the feast, and were last in the fray.
They would turn in dismay, as red wolves turn at bay,
They leveled, they fired, they charged up the road;
Cephas Willard fell dead; he was shot in the head As he knelt by Aunt Prudence's well-sweep to