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Archive for the ‘Poems of Other Poets’ Category

My little Son, who look’d from thoughtful eyes
And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up wise,
Having my law the seventh time disobey’d,
I struck him, and dismiss’d
With hard words and unkiss’d,
—His Mother, who was patient, being dead.
Then, fearing lest his grief should hinder sleep,
I visited his bed,
But found him slumbering deep,
With darken’d eyelids, and their lashes yet
From his late sobbing wet.
And I, with moan,
Kissing away his tears, left others of my own;
For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters and a red-vein’d stone,
A piece of glass abraded by the beach,
And six or seven shells,
A bottle with bluebells,
And two French copper coins, ranged there with careful art,
To comfort his sad heart.
So when that night I pray’d
To God, I wept, and said:
Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd breath,
Not vexing Thee in death,
And Thou rememberest of what toys
We made our joys,
How weakly understood
Thy great commanded good,
Then, fatherly not less
Than I whom Thou hast moulded from the clay,
Thou’lt leave Thy wrath, and say,
‘I will be sorry for their childishness.’

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Let others cheer the winning man,
There’s one I hold worth while;
‘Tis he who does the best he can
Then loses with a smile.
Beaten he is, but not to stay
Down with the rank and file;
That man will some other day,
Who loses with a smile.

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Let’s contend no more, Love,
Strive nor weep:
All be as before, Love,
—Only sleep!

What so wild as words are?
I and thou
In debate, as birds are,
Hawk on bough!

See the creature stalking
While we speak!
Hush and hide the talking,
Cheek on cheek!

What so false as truth is,
False to thee?
Where the serpent’s tooth is
Shun the tree—

Where the apple reddens
Never pry—
Lest we lose our Edens,
Eve and I.

Be a god and hold me
With a charm!
Be a man and fold me
With thine arm!

Teach me, only teach, Love
As I ought
I will speak thy speech, Love,
Think thy thought—

Meet, if thou require it,
Both demands,
Laying flesh and spirit
In thy hands.

That shall be to-morrow
Not to-night:
I must bury sorrow
Out of sight:

—Must a little weep, Love,
(Foolish me!)
And so fall asleep, Love,
Loved by thee.

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I said, “Let me walk in the fields.”
He said, “No; walk in the town.”
I said, “There are no flowers there.”
He said, “No flowers, but a crown.”

I said, “But the skies are black,
There is nothing but noise and din;”
And he wept as he sent me back;
“There is more,” he said, “there is sin.”

I said, “But the air is thick,
And fogs are veiling the sun.”
He answered, “Yet souls are sick,
And souls in the dark undone.”

I said, “I shall miss the light,
And friends will miss me, they say.”
He answered, “Choose tonight
If I am to miss you, or they.”

I pleaded for time to be given.
He said, “Is it hard to decide?
It will not seem hard in Heaven
To have followed the steps of your Guide.”

I cast one look at the fields,
Then set my face to the town;
He said, “My child, do you yield?
Will you leave the flowers for the crown?”

Then into his hand went mine;
And into my heart came he;
And I walk in a light divine,
The path I had feared to see.

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“Look now abroad–another race has fill’d
Those populous borders–wide the wood recedes,
And town shoots up, and fertile realms are till’d;
The land is full of harvests and green meads.”
The breaking waves dash’d high
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches toss’d;

And the heavy night hung dark,
The hills and waters o’er,
When a band of exiles moor’d their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted, came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear;–
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard and the sea:
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free!

The ocean eagle soar’d
From his nest by the white wave’s foam
And the rocking pines of the forest roar’d–
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:–
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood’s land?

There was woman’s fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love’s truth;
There was manhood’s brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?–
They sought a faith’s pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod.
They have left unstained, what there they found–
Freedom to worship God.

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……….To a young child:

Margaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

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This is the Gospel of Labor –
Ring it, ye bells of the kirk –
The Lord of love came down from above
To live with the men who work.

This is the rose that he planted
Here in the thorn-cursed soil –
Heaven is blessed with perfect rest;
But the blessing of earth is toil.

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The sea was breaking at my feet,
And looking out across the tide,
Where placid waves and heaven meet,
I thought me of the Other Side.

For on the beach on which I stood
Were wastes of sands, and wash, and roar,
Low clouds, and gloom, and solitude,
And wrecks, and ruins – nothing more.

“O, tell me if beyond the sea
A heavenly port there is!” I cried,
And back the echoes laughingly
“There is! there is!” replied.

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How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do;
Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, ’twere all alike
As if we had them not.

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The wreath that star-crowned Shelley gave
Is lying on thy Roman grave,
Yet on its turf young April sets
Her store of slender violets;
Though all the Gods their garlands shower,
I too may bring one purple flower.
Alas! what blossom shall I bring,
That opens in my Northern spring?
The garden beds have all run wild,
So trim when I was yet a child;
Flat plantains and unseemly stalks
Have crept across the gravel walks;
The vines are dead, long, long ago,
The almond buds no longer blow.
No more upon its mound I see
The azure, plume-bound theur-de-lis;
Where once the tulips used to show,
In straggling tufts the passive grow;
The grass has quenched my white-rayed gem,
The flowering “Star of Bethlehem,”
Though its long blade of glossy green
And pallid stripe may still be seen.
Nature, who treads her nobles down,
And gives their birthright to the clown,
Has sown her base-born weedy things
Above the garden’s queens and kings.
Yet one sweet flower of ancient race
Springs in the old familiar place.
When snows were melting down the vale,
And Earth unlaced her icy mail,
And March his stormy trumpet blew,
And tender green came peeping through,
I loved the earliest one to seek
That broke the soil with emerald beak,
And watch the trembling bells so blue
Spread on the column as it grew.
Meek child of earth! thou wilt not shame
The sweet, dead poet’s holy name;
The God of music gave thee birth,
Called from the crimson-spotted earth,
Where, sobbing his young life away,
His own fair Hyacinthus lay.
The hyacinth my garden gave
Shall lie upon that Roman grave.

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