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That these so dewy lips should be the same As those I stooped to kiss
And heard my harrowing half-spoken name, A little ere the one who bowed above her, Our father and her very constant lover, Rose stoical, and we knew that she was dead. Then I, who could not understand or share His antique nobleness,
Being unapt to bear
The insults which time flings us for our proof,
Fled from the horrible roof
Into the alien sunshine merciless,
The shrill satiric fields ghastly with day Raging to front God in his pride of sway And hurl across the lifted swords of fate That ringed Him where He sat
My puny gage of scorn and desolate hate Which somehow should undo Him, after all!
That this girl face, expectant, virginal,
Which gazes out at me
Boon as a sweetheart, as if nothing loth
(Save for the eyes, with other presage stored)
To pledge me troth,
And in the kingdom where the heart is lord Take sail on the terrible gladness of the
Whose winds the gray Norns keep,
That this should be indeed
The flesh which caught my soul, a flying seed,
Out of the to and fro
Of scattering hands where the seedsman Mage,
Stooping from star to star and age to age Sings as he sows!
That underneath this breast
Nine moons I fed
Deep of divine unrest,
While over and over in the dark she said, "Blessed! but not as happier children blessed"
God, how with time and change
They play upon me, and it is not so
Then kiss and clear the score;
A gypsy run-the-fields,
A little liberal daughter of the earth, Good for what hour of truancy and mirth The careless season yields
Hither-side the flood of the year and yonder
of the neap;
Then thank you, thanks again, and twenty light good-byes,
O shrined above the skies,
Frown not, clear brow,
Darken not, holy eyes!!
Thou knowest well I know that it is thou
Only to save from such memories
As would unman me quite,
Here in this web of strangeness caught
And prey to troubled thought
Do I devise
These foolish shifts and slight;
Only to shield me from the afflicting sense Of some waste influence
Which from this morning face and lustrous hair
Breathes on me sudden ruin and despair.
With any but this girlish depth of gaze,
Your coming had not so unsealed and
The dusty amphoras where I had stored
Now in their unawakened virgin time,
And dream even now, unconsciously,
Upon each soaring peak and sky-hung lea
You pictured I should climb.
Broken premonitions come,
Shapes, gestures visionary,
Not as once to maiden Mary
The manifest angel with fresh lilies came
But vanishingly, dumb,
Thwarted and bright and wild,
As heralding a sin-defiled,
Earth-encumbered, blood-begotten, passionate man-child,
Who yet should be a trump of mighty call Blown in the gates of evil kings
To make them fall;
Who yet should be a sword of flame before
To beat away the clang of hellish wings;
Of high unquenchable desire
Trod by my hot soul from the pulp of self,
And set upon the shelf
In sullen pride
The Vineyard-master's tasting to abideO mother mine!
Are these the bringings-in, the doings fine
Emptied and overthrown
These, for their flavor duly nursed,
A pinch of mouldy dust,
Sole leavings of the amber-mantling must;
But flasking up the liquor dearest won,
With watchings and with wrestlings and with grief,
Even of these, of these in chief,
The stale breath sickens reeking from the shard.
Nothing is left. Aye, how much less than naught!
What shall be said or thought
Of the slack hours and waste imaginings,
Known to the froward, that unreckoning
Whereof this brewage was the precious part, Treasured and set away with furtive boast? O dear and cruel ghost,
Be merciful, be just!
See, I was yours and I am in the dust.
Then look not so, as if all things were well! Take your eyes from me, leave me to my
Or else, if gaze they must,