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And fast invading fires begin! White

blazeA tree's head snaps and there, there,

there, there, there, His thunder follows! Fool to gibe at

Him! Lo! 'Lieth flat and loveth Setebos ! 'Maketh his teeth meet through his upper

lip, Will let those quails Aly, will not eat this

month One little mess of whelks, so he may 'scape!]


as now:




What is he buzzing in my ears?

"Now that I come to die Do I view the world as a vale of tears?"

Ah, reverend sir, not I!

Outside, 'groans, 'curses. If He caught

me here, O’erheard this speech, and asked, "What

chucklest at?" 'Would, to appease Him, cut a finger

off, Or of my three kid yearlings burn the

best, Or let the toothsome apples rot on tree, Or push my tame beast for the orc to

taste, While myself lit a fire, and made a song

275 And sung it: What I hate, be consecrate, To celebrate Thee and Thy state, no mate For Thee; what see for envy in poor

me?" Hoping the while, since evils sometimes

mend, Warts rub away and sores are cured with

slime, That, some strange day, will either the

Quiet catch

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Or green, to a healthy eye?






To mine, it serves for the old June Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a weather

visible form: Blue above lane and wall;

Yet the strong man must go. And that farthest


labelled For the journey is done and the summit "Ether,"

attained, Is the house o'ertopping all.

And the barriers fall;

Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon At a terrace, somewhere near the stopper,

be gained, There watched for me, one June,

The reward of it all. A girl — I know, sir, it's improper,

I was ever a fighter, so one fight more, My poor mind's out of tune

The best and the last!
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes,

and forbore, Only, there was a way

you crept

And bade me creep past. Close by the side, to dodge

No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like
Eyes in the house, two eyes except –
They styled their house "The Lodge":

my peers
The heroes of old,

Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's What right had a lounger up their lane ? 25

arrears But, by creeping very close,

Of pain, darkness, and cold. With the good wall's help, — their eyes

For sudden the worst turns the best, to the might strain

brave: And stretch themselves to Oes,

The black minute's at end,

And the elements' rage, the fiend-voice's Yet never catch her and me together: As she left the attic, — there,

Shall dwindle, shall blend, By the rim of the bottle labelled Shall change, shall become first a peace out "Ether”,

of pain,

25 And stole from stair to stair,

Then a light, then thy breast,

O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp And stood by the rose-wreathed gate.

thee again; Alas,

And with God be the rest!
We loved, sir, - used to meet:
How sad and bad and mad it was

Songs from JAMES LEE'S WIFE But, then, how it was sweet!



Ah, Love, but a day (1861)

And the world has changed!

The sun's away, Fear death? - to feel the fog in my

And the bird estranged; throat,

The wind has dropped, The mist in my face;

And the sky's deranged: When the snows begin, and the blasts

Summer has stopped. denote I am nearing the place,

Look in my eyes! The power of the night, the press of the

Wilt thou change too? storm,

Should I fear surprise? The post of the foe;

Shall I find aught new

that rave,








And sang


In the old and dear,

Hold me but safe again within the bond In the good and true,

Of one immortal look! All woe that With the changing year?


Forgotten; and all terror that may be, Thou art a man,

Defied no past is mine, no future: look But I am thy love.

at me! For the lake, its swan;

For the dell, its dove:
And for thee — (oh, haste!) -

Me, to bend above,

20 Me, to hold embraced.

(From The Ring and the Book, 1868: con

clusion of Book First) (SECTION VII) Oh, good gigantic smile o' the brown old O lyric Love, half angel and half bird, earth,

And all a wonder and a wild desire, This autumn morning! How he sets

Boldest of hearts that ever braved the sun, his bones

Took sanctuary within the holier blue, To bask i’ the sun, and thrusts out knees

a kindred soul out to his and feet

face; For the ripple to run over in its mirth; Yet human at the red-ripe of the heart, Listening the while, where on the heap When the first summons from the darkling of stones


earth The white breast of the sea-lark twitters Reached thee amid thy chambers, blanched sweet.

their blue,

And bared them of the glory, — to drop That is the doctrine, simple, ancient, true;

down, Such is life's trial, as old earth smiles To toil for man, to suffer, or to die: and knows. —

This is the same voice, can thy soul know If you loved only what were worth your change? love,

Hail, then, and hearken from the realms of Love were clear gain, and wholly well for


Never may I commence my song, my due you: Make the low nature better by your

To God who best taught song by gift of throes!

thee, Give earth yourself, go up for gain Except with bent head and beseeching above!

hand, That still, despite the distance and the


What was, again may be,

some inter


Of grace, some splendor once thy very (1864)

thought, But give them me, the mouth, the eyes, Some benediction anciently thy smile; the brow!

- Never conclude but raising hand and Let them once more absorb me! One look head

Thither where eyes, that cannot reach, yet Will lap me round forever, not to pass

yearn Out of its light, though darkness lie be For all hope, all sustainment, all reward, yond:

Their utmost up and on; so blessing back






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Art that breaks bounds, gets soaring- | Who, then, dares hold, emancipated thus,

His fellow shall continue bound? Not I,

Who live, love, labor freely, nor discuss I shall pray: "Fugitive as precious,

A brother's right to freedom. — That is Minutes which passed, return,

"Why.” main! Let earth's old life once more enmesh us, You with old pleasure, me, old pain:

EPILOGUE So we but meet nor part again!"


(From Asolando, 1889)

At the midnight in the silence of the sleep

time, When you set your fancies free, Will they pass to where, — by death, fools

think, imprisoned, Low he lies who once so loved you, whom you loved so Pity me?



(1889) All the brea and the bloom of the year in

the bag of one bee; All the wonder and wealth of the mine

in the heart of one gem; In the core of one pearl, all the shade and

the shine of the sea! Breath and bloom, shade and shine,

wonder, wealth, — and, how far above them,

Truth, that's brighter than gem, 5

Trust, that's purer than pearl-
Brightest truth, purest trust in the uni-

all were for me
In the kiss of one girl.

Oh to love so, be so loved, yet so mis

taken! What had I, on earth, to do With the slothful, with the mawkish, the

unmanly? Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless, did I drivel,

Being - who?



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