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But a smooth and steadfast mind,
Gentle thoughts and calm desires,
Hearts with equal love combined,
Kindle never-dying fires.
Where these are not, I despise
Lovely cheeks, or lips, or eyes.
LAKE, WITH LAWNY BANKS THAT SLOPE
“I,AKE, with lawny banks that slope
To the water's edge,
Softly rustles the wind thro'
Thy long grass and sedge.
“Thou hadst been a gem of earth
Couched amid these hills,
But some evil water-sprite
Troubles the pure rills
“Whence thy hidden life is drawn.
Why thus fretteth he,
Who should be thy good genie,
Thy tranquillity ?”
Lightly by a ruffling wind
Were the waters pressed,
And a liquid, swaying voice
Issued from their breast.
Be it genie, be it fate,
I know not, — but know
That the waves from yonder stream
Ever turbid flow.
LAKE, WITH LAWNY BANKS THAT SLOPE.
Earth may smile like Eden round,
Heaven may open blue,
Child of sullied parentage
Gives not back their hue.
“Stream, that feed'st the lake, there beams
On thee a living sun ;
Rapid, dark, thou rushest by ;
Wouldst thou doom outrun ?”
Hoarsely thus the hurrying wave
Answered, foaming on,
“Suns may beam, or skies may lower,
I may stay for none.
“I am fed by those that draw
From depths hid from me
Their mysterious energies,
And I am not free.
“Peaceful mission is not mine;
Springs that give me life
Burst from this strange earth, as if
Born with inward strife.”
“Turbid lake, thou must flow on,
There is no redress,
And the river fed by thee
Ignorant, I grieved to see
Nothing could be pure,
All must be as all had been,
While it should endure.
I came again, – a river,
Princely, calm, and clear,
Flowed from out the troubled lake,
Like pure love from fear.
Heaven and earth were showed therein,
The dark source defiled
To the ocean's large embrace
Sent a noble child.
DEEP, DEEP WITHIN THE OCEAN's BREAST.
DEEP, deep within the ocean's breast
A coral isle was shrined,
Round which light, water-swayèd nymphs
Float with white arms entwined.
The centre of this little isle
Was fixed a stony tree;
An outer growth encircled this,
Like foliage, quiveringly.
In rigid pride the coral stone
Surveyed its firm estate,
And said, with gratulating tone,
“I floated, too, of late.
“But now no chance or change can come
To me ; mature in form,
I take my place with things of fate:
I cool no more nor warm.
“Yes, I have been the sport of waves,
And like this mass around
I toiled and felt, — nor knew the rest,
Blest Neptune 1 which I’ve found.
“Come, all of ye Sea-Nymphs, admire
My beautiful repose !” — -
Out gushed the voice of one Sea-Nymph,-
“Give me the form which grows.
* I better please myself to watch
Life than a handsome death,
And, born of a quick element,
Like something which has breath.
“So, I'll just feast my eyes awhile
Un what goes on round you,
And never tire of watching this
Till it grows stony too.”
How in the ocean's deepest depth
Is human life repeated
By coral beds, who 've done with change,
How hardly youth is greeted !
EYEs not down-dropped nor over-bright, but fed
With the clear-pointed flame of chastity, -
Clear, without heat, undying, tended by
Pure vestal thoughts in the translucent fane
Of her still spirit, — locks not wide dispread,
Madonna-wise on either side her head, –
Sweet lips, whereon perpetually did reign
The summer calm of golden charity,
Were fixed shadows of thy fixed mood,
Reveréd Isabel, the crown and head,
The stately flower of female fortitude,
Of perfect wifehood and pure lowlihead.
The intuitive decision of a bright
And thorough-edged intellect, to part
Error from crime, – a prudence to withhold,
The laws of marriage charactered in gold
Upon the blanchèd tablets of her heart, —
A love still burning upward, giving light
To read those laws, – an accent very low
In blandishment, but a most silver flow
Of subtle-pacéd counsel in distress,
Right to the heart and brain, though undescried,
Winning its way with extreme gentleness
Thro' all the outworks of suspicious pride, –
A courage to endure and to obey, -
A hate of gossip parlance, and of sway,
Crowned Isabel, thro' all her placid life,
The queen of marriage, a most perfect wife.
The mellowed reflex of a winter moon, —
A clear stream flowing with a muddy one,
Till in its onward current it absorbs
With swifter movement and in purer light
The vexed eddies of its wayward brother, —
A leaning and upbearing parasite,
Clothing the stem, which else had fallen quite,
With clustered flower-bells and ambrosial orbs
Of rich fruit-bunches leaning on each other,
Shadow forth thee : — the world hath not