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Younger than spring, without the faintest


Of disappointment, weariness, or tear
Upon the childlike earnestness and grace
Of the waiting face.

Those close-wound ropes of pearl

(Or common beads made precious by their use)

Seem heavy for so slight a throat to wear;
But the low bodice leaves the shoulders bare
And half the glad swell of the breast, for news
That now the woman stirs within the girl.
And yet,

Even so, the loops and globes
Of beaten gold

And jet

Hung, in the stately way of old,
From the ears' drooping lobes

On festivals and Lord's-day of the week,
Show all too matron-sober for the cheek,—
Which, now I look again, is perfect child,
Or no- or no- 't is girlhood's very self,
Moulded by some deep, mischief-ridden elf
So meek, so maiden mild,

But startling the close gazer with the sense
Of passion forest-shy and forest-wild,
And delicate delirious merriments.

As a moth beats sidewise

And up and over, and tries

To skirt the irresistible lure

Of the flame that has him sure,

My spirit, that is none too strong to-day,
Flutters and makes delay,-

Pausing to wonder at the perfect lips,
Lifting to muse upon the low-drawn hair
And each hid radiance there,

But powerless to stem the tide-race bright, The vehement peace which drifts it toward the light

Where soon

ah, now, with cries

Of grief and giving-up unto its gain
It shrinks no longer nor denies,

But dips

Hurriedly home to the exquisite heart of pain,

And all is well, for I have seen them plain,
The unforgettable, the unforgotten eyes!
Across the blinding gush of these good tears
They shine as in the sweet and heavy years
When by her bed and chair

We children gathered jealously to share
The sunlit aura breathing myrrh and thyme,
Where the sore-stricken body made a clime
Gentler than May and pleasanter than rhyme,
Holier and more mystical than prayer.
God, how thy ways are strange!

That this should be, even this,

The patient head

Which suffered years ago the dreary change!

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


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


Out of the to and fro

Of scattering hands where the seedsman

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 "

That this should be

Even she .

God, how with time and change
Thou makest thy footsteps strange!
Ah, now I know

They play upon me, and it is not so
Why, 't is a girl I never saw before,
A little thing to flatter and make weep,
To tease until her heart is sore,

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


Breathes on me sudden ruin and despair.
In any other guise,

With any but this girlish depth of gaze,

Your coming had not so unsealed and


The dusty amphoras where I had stored
The drippings of the winepress of my days.
I think these eyes foresee,

Now in their unawakened virgin time,
Their mother's pride in me,

And dream even now, unconsciously,

Upon each soaring peak and sky-hung lea

You pictured I should climb.

Broken premonitions come,

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