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I thought once how Theocritus had sung Of the sweet years, the dear and wished

for years, Who each one in a gracious hand appears To bear a gift for mortals, old or young: And, as I mused it in his antique tongue, 5 I saw, in gradual vision through my tears, The sweet, sad years, the melancholy

years, Those of my own life, who by turns had

Alung A shadow across me. Straightway I was

'ware, So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move Behind me, and drew me backward by the

hair; And a voice said in mastery, while I

strove: "Guess now who holds thee?” — “Death,”

I said. But there, The silver answer rang: “Not Death, but


The face of all the world is changed, I

think, Since first I heard the footsteps of thy

soul Move still, oh, still, beside me; as they

stole Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink Of obvious death; where I, who thought

to sink, Was caught up into love, and taught the

whole Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of dole God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink, And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee

anear. The names

of country, heaven, changed away For where thou art or shalt be, there or

here; And this ... this lute and song, loved

yesterday, (The singing angels know), are only dear Because thy name moves right in what

they say.





Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand Henceforward in thy shadow. Never



If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love's sake only. Do not say, “I love her for her smile, - her look,


her way


Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I for-

bore, Thy touch upon the palm. The widest

land Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in

mine With pulses that beat double. What I



Of speaking gently, — for trick of

thought That falls in well with mine, and certes

brought sense of pleasant ease on such a day": For these things in themselves, Beloved,

may Be changed, or change for thee, - and love

so wrought





May be unwrought so. Neither love me Rustle thy boughs and set thy trunk all for

bare, Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks And let these bands of greenery which dry:

ensphere thee A creature might forget to weep who bore Drop heavily down, - burst, shattered, Thy comfort long, and lose thy love everywhere! thereby!

Because, in this deep joy to see and hear But love me for love's sake, that evermore thee, Thou mayst love on, through love's eter And breathe within thy shadow a new air, nity.

I do not think of thee — I am too near thee.

XLIII When our two souls stand up erect and strong,

How do I love thee? Let me count the Face to face, silent, drawing nigh and ways. nigher,

I love thee to the depth and breadth and Until the lengthening wings break into fire

height At either curvèd point, — what bitter My soul can reach, when feeling out of wrong

sight Can the earth do to us, that we should not For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace. long


I love thee to the level of every day's 5 Be here contented? Think! in mounting Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. higher,

I love thee freely, as

men strive for The angels would press on us, and aspire right; To drop some golden orb of perfect song I love thee purely, as they turn from Into our deep, dear silence. Let us stay

praise. Rather on earth, Beloved, — where the

I love thee with the passion put to use unfit

In my old griefs; and with my childhood's Contrarious moods of men recoil away

faith, And isolate pure spirits, and permit

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose A place to stand and love in for a day, With my lost saints. I love thee with the With darkness and the death-hour round

breath, ing it.

Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God


I shall but love thee better after death. I think of thee! my thoughts do twine

and bud About thee, as wild vines about a tree

SYDNEY DOBELL Put out broad leaves, and soon there's nought to see

(1824-1874) Except the straggling green which hides the wood.

AMERICA Yet, O my palm-tree! be it understood

(1855) I will not have my thoughts instead of

thee Who art dearer, better. Rather, in Men say, Columbia, we shall hear thy stantly

guns. Renew thy presence:

strong tree But in what tongue shall be thy battleshould,

















Not that our sires did love in years gone

COVENTRY PATMORE by, When all the Pilgrim Fathers were little

(1823-1896) In merry homes of England ? Back, and


(From The Angel in the House, 1860: Thy satchelled ancestor! Behold, he

Book Second, Canto XII) To mine; and, clasped, they tread the equal Why, having won her, do I woo? — lea

Because her spirit's vestal grace To the same village-school, where side by Provokes me always to pursue, side

But, spirit-like, eludes embrace; They spell “Our Father.” Hard by, - the Because her womanhood is such

5 twin-pride

That, as on court-days subjects kiss Of that gray hall whose ancient oriel The Queen's hand, yet so near a touch gleams

Affirms no mean familiarness, Through yon baronial pines, — with looks Nay, rather marks more fair the height of light

Which can with safety so neglect Our sister-mothers sit beneath

To dread, as lower ladies might, tree.

That grace could meet with disrespect: Meanwhile our Shakespeare wanders past Thus she with happy favor feeds and dreams

Allegiance from a love so high His Helena and Hermia. Shall That thence no false conceit proceeds fight?

Of difference bridged, or state put by. Because, although in act and word

As lowly as a wife can be, Nor force nor fraud shall sunder us! O Her manners, when they call me lord, ye

Remind me 'tis by courtesy ; Who north or south, on east or western Not with her least consent of will, land,

Which would my proud affection hurt, Native to noble sounds, say truth for But by the noble style that still truth,

Imputes an unattained desert. Freedom for freedom, love for love, and Because her gay and lofty brows, God

When all is won which hope can ask, For God; O ye who in eternal youth Reflect a light of hopeless snows Speak with a living and creative flood

That bright in virgin ether bask; This universal English, and do stand Because, though free of the outer court its breathing book : live worthy of that I am, this Temple keeps its shrine grand,

Sacred to Heaven: because, in short, Heroic utterance,

parted, yet a whole, She's not, and never can be, mine. Far, yet unsevered, children brave and

free Of the great Mother-tongue; and ye shall


(From The Unknown Eros, 1877) Lords of an empire wide as Shakespeare's soul,

My little Son, who looked from thoughtful Sublime as Milton's immemorial theme,

eyes And rich as Chaucer's speech, and fair as And moved and spoke in quiet grown-up Spenser's dream.














Having my law and the seventh time dis

obeyed, I struck him, and dismissed With hard words and unkissed, 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 darkened eyelids, and their lashes

yet From his late sobbing wet. And I, with moan, Kissing away his tears, left others of my

One day we gave the child a colored

sphere Of the wide earth, that she might mark

and know, By tint and outline, all its sea and land. She patted all the world: old empires

peeped Between her baby fingers; her soft hand Was welcome at all frontiers. How she

leaped And laughed and prattled in her world

wide bliss! But when we turned her sweet unlearned

eye On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry, “Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!" And, while she hid all England with a

kiss, Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.








For, on a table drawn beside his head,
He had put, within his reach,
A box of counters, and a red-veined 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,

20 To comfort his sad heart. So when that night I prayed To God, I wept, and said: “Ah, when at last we lie with trancèd

breath, Not vexing Thee in death,

25 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.'"

(From Pendennis, 1848-50: Chapter


Although I enter not,
Yet round about the spot

Ofttimes I hover; And near the sacred gate, With longing eyes I wait,

Expectant of her.



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LETTY'S GLOBE When Letty had scarce passed her third

glad year, And her young, artless words began to

My lady comes at last, Timid, and stepping fast,

And hastening hither,



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