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gurthbruins Nov 2015
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.

O WERT thou in the cauld blast,
  On yonder lea, on yonder lea,
My plaidie to the angry airt,
  I’d shelter thee, I’d shelter thee;
Or did Misfortune’s bitter storms         5
  Around thee blaw, around thee blaw,
Thy bield should be my *****,
  To share it a’, to share it a’.

Or were I in the wildest waste,
  Sae black and bare, sae black and bare,         10
The desert were a Paradise,
  If thou wert there, if thou wert there;
Or were I Monarch o’ the globe,
  Wi’ thee to reign, wi’ thee to reign,
The brightest jewel in my Crown         15
  *** be my Queen, *** be my Queen.
gurthbruins Nov 2015

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)

’TIS the middle of night by the castle clock,
And the owls have awakened the crowing ****;
And hark, again! the crowing ****,
How drowsily it crew!         5
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich,
Hath a toothless mastiff *****;
From her kennel beneath the rock
Maketh answer to the clock,
Four for the quarters, and twelve for the hour;         10
Ever and aye, by shine and shower,
Sixteen short howls, not over loud;
Some say, she sees my lady’s shroud.

Is the night chilly and dark?
The night is chilly, but not dark.         15
The thin gray cloud is spread on high,
It covers but not hides the sky.
The moon is behind, and at the full;
And yet she looks both small and dull.
The night is chill, the cloud is gray:         20
’Tis a month before the month of May,
And the Spring comes slowly up this way.

The lovely lady, Christabel,
Whom her father loves so well,
What makes her in the wood so late,         25
A furlong from the castle gate?
She had dreams all yesternight—
Of her own betrothed knight;
And she in the midnight wood will pray
For the weal of her lover that’s far away.         30


The night is chill; the forest bare;
Is it the wind that moaneth bleak?
There is not wind enough in the air         45
To move away the ringlet curl
From the lovely lady’s cheek—
There is not wind enough to twirl
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,         50
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.

Hush, beating heart of Christabel!
Jesu, Maria, shield her well!
She folded her arms beneath her cloak,         55
And stole to the other side of the oak.
  What sees she there?

There she sees a damsel bright
Drest in a silken robe of white,
That shadowy in the moonlight shone:         60
The neck that made that white robe wan,
Her stately neck, and arms were bare;
Her blue-veined feet unsandalled were,
And wildly glittered here and there
The gems entangled in her hair.         65
I guess, ’twas frightful there to see—
A lady so richly clad as she—
  Beautiful exceedingly!

Mary mother, save me now!
(Said Christabel,) And who art thou?         70

The lady strange made answer meet,
And her voice was faint and sweet:—
Have pity on my sore distress,
I scarce can speak for weariness:
Stretch forth thy hand, and have no fear!         75
Said Christabel, How camest thou here?
And the lady, whose voice was faint and sweet,
Did thus pursue her answer meet:—
My sire is of a noble line,
And my name is Geraldine:         80
Five warriors seized me yestermorn,
Me, even me, a maid forlorn:
They choked my cries with force and fright,
And tied me on a palfrey white.
The palfrey was as fleet as wind,         85
And they rode furiously behind.
They spurred amain, their steeds were white:
And once we crossed the shade of night.

As sure as Heaven shall rescue me,
I have no thought what men they be;         90
Nor do I know how long it is
(For I have lain entranced I wis)
Since one, the tallest of the five,
Took me from the palfrey’s back,
A weary woman, scarce alive.         95
Some muttered words his comrades spoke:
He placed me underneath this oak;
He swore they would return with haste;
Whither they went I cannot tell—
I thought I heard, some minutes past,         100
Sounds as of a castle bell.
Stretch forth thy hand (thus ended she),
And help a wretched maid to flee.

Then Christabel stretched forth her hand,
And comforted fair Geraldine:         105
O well, bright dame! may you command
The service of Sir Leoline;
And gladly our stout chivalry
Will he send forth and friends withal
To guide and guard you safe and free         110
Home to your noble father’s hall.

She rose: and forth with steps they passed
That strove to be, and were not, fast.


They crossed the moat, and Christabel
Took the key that fitted well;
A little door she opened straight,         125
All in the middle of the gate,
The gate that was ironed within and without,
Where an army in battle array had marched out,
The lady sank, belike through pain,
And Christabel with might and main         130
Lifted her up, a weary weight,
Over the threshold of the gate:
Then the lady rose again,
And moved, as she were not in pain.


Outside her kennel, the mastiff old         145
Lay fast asleep, in moonshine cold.
The mastiff old did not awake,
Yet she an angry moan did make!
And what can ail the mastiff *****?
Never till now she uttered yell         150
Beneath the eye of Christabel.
Perhaps it is the owlet’s scritch:
For what can ail the mastiff *****?

They passed the hall, that echoes still,
Pass as lightly as you will!         155
The brands were flat, the brands were dying,
Amid their own white ashes lying;
But when the lady passed, there came
A tongue of light, a fit of flame;
And Christabel saw the lady’s eye,         160
And nothing else saw she thereby,
Save the boss of the shield of Sir Leoline tall,
Which hung in a murky old niche in the wall.
O softly tread, said Christabel,
My father seldom sleepeth well.         165

Sweet Christabel her feet doth bare,
And jealous of the listening air
They steal their way from stair to stair,
Now in the glimmer, and now in gloom,
And now they pass the Baron’s room,         170
As still as death, with stifled breath!
And now have reached her chamber door;
And now doth Geraldine press down
The rushes of the chamber floor.

The moon shines dim in the open air,         175
And not a moonbeam enters there.
But they without its light can see
The chamber carved so curiously,
Carved with figures strange and sweet,
All made out of the carver’s brain,         180
For a lady’s chamber meet:
The lamp with twofold silver chain
Is fastened to an angel’s feet.

The silver lamp burns dead and dim;
But Christabel the lamp will trim.         185
She trimmed the lamp, and made it bright,
And left it swinging to and fro,
While Geraldine, in wretched plight,
Sank down upon the floor below.

O weary lady, Geraldine,         190
I pray you, drink this cordial wine!
It is a wine of virtuous powers;
My mother made it of wild flowers.


Again the wild-flower wine she drank:         220
Her fair large eyes ’gan glitter bright,
And from the floor whereon she sank,
The lofty lady stood upright:
She was most beautiful to see,
Like a lady of a far countrée.         225

And thus the lofty lady spake—
‘All they who live in the upper sky,
Do love you, holy Christabel!


Beneath the lamp the lady bowed,         245
And slowly rolled her eyes around;
Then drawing in her breath aloud,
Like one that shuddered, she unbound
The cincture from beneath her breast:
Her silken robe, and inner vest,         250
Dropt to her feet, and full in view,
Behold! her ***** and half her side—
A sight to dream of, not to tell!
O shield her! shield sweet Christabel!


A star hath set, a star hath risen,
O Geraldine! since arms of thine
Have been the lovely lady’s prison.
O Geraldine! one hour was thine—         305
Thou’st had thy will! By tairn and rill,
The night-birds all that hour were still.
But now they are jubilant anew,
From cliff and tower, tu—whoo! tu—whoo!
Tu—whoo! tu—whoo! from wood and fell!         310

And see! the lady Christabel!
Gathers herself from out her trance;
Her limbs relax, her countenance
Grows sad and soft; the smooth thin lids
Close o’er her eyes; and tears she sheds—         315
Large tears that leave the lashes bright!
And oft the while she seems to smile
As infants at a sudden light!

Yea, she doth smile, and she doth weep,
Like a youthful hermitess,         320
Beauteous in a wilderness,
Who, praying always, prays in sleep,
And, if she move unquietly,
Perchance, ’tis but the blood so free
Comes back and tingles in her feet.         325
No doubt, she hath a vision sweet.
What if her guardian spirit ’twere,
What if she knew her mother near?
But this she knows, in joys and woes,
That saints will aid if men will call:         330
For the blue sky bends over all!


Each matin bell, the Baron saith,
Knells us back to a world of death.
These words Sir Leoline first said,
When he rose and found his lady dead;         335
These words Sir Leoline will say
Many a morn to his dying day!


‘Sleep you, sweet lady Christabel?
I trust that you have rested well?’

And Christabel awoke and spied         370
The same who lay down by her side—
O rather say, the same whom she
Raised up beneath the old oak tree!
Nay, fairer yet! and yet more fair!
For she belike hath drunken deep         375
Of all the blessedness of sleep!

The Baron rose, and while he prest
His gentle daughter to his breast,
With cheerful wonder in his eyes
The lady Geraldine espies,         400
And gave such welcome to the same,
As might beseem so bright a dame!
But when he heard the lady’s tale,
And when she told her father’s name,
Why waxed Sir Leoline so pale,         405
Murmuring o’er the name again,
Lord Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine?

Alas! they had been friends in youth;
But whispering tongues can poison truth;
And constancy lives in realms above;         410
And life is thorny; and youth is vain;
And to be wroth with one we love
Doth work like madness in the brain.
And thus it chanced, as I divine,
With Roland and Sir Leoline.         415
Each spake words of high disdain
And insult to his heart’s best brother:
They parted—ne’er to meet again!
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining—         420
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder;
A dreary sea now flows between.
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder,
Shall wholly do away, I ween,         425
The marks of that which once hath been.

Sir Leoline, a moment’s space,
Stood gazing on the damsel’s face:
And the youthful Lord of Tryermaine
Came back upon his heart again.         430
O then the Baron forgot his age,
His noble heart swelled high with rage;
He swore by the wounds in Jesu’s side
He would proclaim it far and wide,
With trump and solemn heraldry,         435
That they, who thus had wronged the dame
Were base as spotted infamy!
‘And if they dare deny the same,
My herald shall appoint a week,
And let the recreant traitors seek         440
My tourney court—that there and then
I may dislodge their reptile souls
From the bodies and forms of men!’
He spake: his eye in lightning rolls!
For the lady was ruthlessly seized; and he kenned         445
In the beautiful lady the child of his friend!


Nay, by my soul!’ said Leoline.         485
‘**! Bracy the bard, the charge be thine!
Go thou, with music sweet and loud,
And take two steeds with trappings proud,
And take the youth whom thou lov’st best
To bear thy harp, and learn thy song,         490
And clothe you both in solemn vest,
And over the mountains haste along,
Lest wandering folk, that are abroad
Detain you on the valley road.
‘And when he has crossed the Irthing flood,         495
My merry bard! he hastes, he hastes
Up Knorren Moor, through Halegarth Wood,
And reaches soon that castle good
Which stands and threatens Scotland’s wastes.

‘Bard Bracy! bard Bracy! your horses are fleet,         500
Ye must ride up the hall, your music so sweet,
More loud than your horses’ echoing feet!
And loud and loud to Lord Roland call,
Thy daughter is safe in Langdale hall!
Thy beautiful daughter is safe and free—         505
Sir Leoline greets thee thus through me.
He bids thee come without delay
With all thy numerous array;
And take thy lovely daughter home;
And he will meet thee on the way         510
With all his numerous array
White with their panting palfreys’ foam:
And, by mine honour! I will say,
That I repent me of the day
When I spake words of fierce disdain         515
To Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine!—
—For since that evil hour hath flown,
Many a summer’s sun hath shone;
Yet ne’er found I a friend again
Like Roland de Vaux of Tryermaine.’         520


And thus she stood, in dizzy trance,
Still picturing that look askance         610
With forced unconscious sympathy
Full before her father’s view—
As far as such a look could be
In eyes so innocent and blue!
And when the trance was o’er, the maid         615
Paused awhile, and inly prayed:
Then falling at the Baron’s feet,
‘By my mother’s soul do I entreat
That thou this woman send away!’
She said: and more she could not say:         620
For what she knew she could not tell,
O’er-mastered by the mighty spell.

Why is thy cheek so wan and wild,
Sir Leoline? Thy only child
Lies at thy feet, thy joy, thy pride.         625
So fair, so innocent, so mild;
gurthbruins Nov 2015
Tiare Tahiti

MAMUA, when our laughter ends,
And hearts and bodies, brown as white,
Are dust about the doors of friends,
Or scent ablowing down the night,
Then, oh! then, the wise agree,
Comes our immortality.
Mamua, there waits a land
Hard for us to understand.
Out of time, beyond the sun,
All are one in Paradise,
You and Pupure are one,
And Tau, and the ungainly wise.
There the Eternals are, and there
The Good, the Lovely, and the True,
And Types, whose earthly copies were
The foolish broken things we knew;
There is the Face, whose ghosts we are;
The real, the never-setting Star;
And the Flower, of which we love
Faint and fading shadows here;
Never a tear, but only Grief;
Dance, but not the limbs that move;
Songs in Song shall disappear;
Instead of lovers, Love shall be;
For hearts, Immutability;
And there, on the Ideal Reef,
Thunders the Everlasting Sea!
And my laughter, and my pain,
Shall home to the Eternal Brain.
And all lovely things, they say,
Meet in Loveliness again;
Miri's laugh, Teipo's feet,
And the hands of Matua,
Stars and sunlight there shall meet,
Coral's hues and rainbows there,
And Teura's braided hair;
And with the starred 'tiare's' white,
And white birds in the dark ravine,
And 'flamboyants' ablaze at night,
And jewels, and evening's after-green,
And dawns of pearl and gold and red,
Mamua, your lovelier head!
And there'll no more be one who dreams
Under the ferns, of crumbling stuff,
Eyes of illusion, mouth that seems,
All time-entangled human love.
And you'll no longer swing and sway
Divinely down the scented shade,
Where feet to Ambulation fade,
And moons are lost in endless Day.
How shall we wind these wreaths of ours,
Where there are neither heads nor flowers?
Oh, Heaven's Heaven! -- - but we'll be missing
The palms, and sunlight, and the south;
And there's an end, I think, of kissing,
When our mouths are one with Mouth. . . .
'Tau here', Mamua,
Crown the hair, and come away!
Hear the calling of the moon,
And the whispering scents that stray
About the idle warm lagoon.
Hasten, hand in human hand,
Down the dark, the flowered way,
Along the whiteness of the sand,
And in the water's soft caress,
Wash the mind of foolishness,
Mamua, until the day.
Spend the glittering moonlight there
Pursuing down the soundless deep
Limbs that gleam and shadowy hair,
Or floating lazy, half-asleep.
Dive and double and follow after,
Snare in flowers, and kiss, and call,
With lips that fade, and human laughter
And faces individual,
Well this side of Paradise! . . .
There's little comfort in the wise.

Rupert Brooke, Papeete, February 1914

. The Great Lover

I HAVE been so great a lover: filled my days
So proudly with the splendour of Love's praise,
The pain, the calm, and the astonishment,
Desire illimitable, and still content,
And all dear names men use, to cheat despair,
For the perplexed and viewless streams that bear
Our hearts at random down the dark of life.
Now, ere the unthinking silence on that strife
Steals down, I would cheat drowsy Death so far,
My night shall be remembered for a star
That outshone all the suns of all men's days.
Shall I not crown them with immortal praise
Whom I have loved, who have given me, dared with me
High secrets, and in darkness knelt to see
The inenarrable godhead of delight?
Love is a flame; -- - we have beaconed the world's night.
A city: -- - and we have built it, these and I.
An emperor: -- - we have taught the world to die.
So, for their sakes I loved, ere I go hence,
And the high cause of Love's magnificence,
And to keep loyalties young, I'll write those names
Golden for ever, eagles, crying flames,
And set them as a banner, that men may know,
To dare the generations, burn, and blow
Out on the wind of Time, shining and streaming. . . .
These I have loved:
                            White plates and cups, clean-gleaming,
Ringed with blue lines; and feathery, færy dust;
Wet roofs, beneath the lamp-light; the strong crust
Of friendly bread; and many-tasting food;
Rainbows; and the blue bitter smoke of wood;
And radiant raindrops couching in cool flowers;
And flowers themselves, that sway through sunny hours,
Dreaming of moths that drink them under the moon;
Then, the cool kindliness of sheets, that soon
Smooth away trouble; and the rough male kiss
Of blankets; grainy wood; live hair that is
Shining and free; blue-massing clouds; the keen
Unpassioned beauty of a great machine;
The benison of hot water; furs to touch;
The good smell of old clothes; and other such -- -
The comfortable smell of friendly fingers,
Hair's fragrance, and the musty reek that lingers
About dead leaves and last year's ferns. . . .
                            Dear names,
And thousand other throng to me! Royal flames;
Sweet water's dimpling laugh from tap or spring;
Holes in the ground; and voices that do sing;
Voices in laughter, too; and body's pain,
Soon turned to peace; and the deep-panting train;
Firm sands; the little dulling edge of foam
That browns and dwindles as the wave goes home;
And washen stones, gay for an hour; the cold
Graveness of iron; moist black earthen mould;
Sleep; and high places; footprints in the dew;
And oaks; and brown horse-chestnuts, glossy-new;
And new-peeled sticks; and shining pools on grass; -- -
All these have been my loves. And these shall pass,
Whatever passes not, in the great hour,
Nor all my passion, all my prayers, have power
To hold them with me through the gate of Death.
They'll play deserter, turn with the traitor breath,
Break the high bond we made, and sell Love's trust
And sacramented covenant to the dust.
---- Oh, never a doubt but, somewhere, I shall wake,
And give what's left of love again, and make
New friends, now strangers. . . .
                            But the best I've known,
Stays here, and changes, breaks, grows old, is blown
About the winds of the world, and fades from brains
Of living men, and dies.
                            Nothing remains.
O dear my loves, O faithless, once again
This one last gift I give: that after men
Shall know, and later lovers, far-removed,
Praise you, "All these were lovely"; say, "He loved."

Rupert Brooke, Mataiea, 1914

. Heaven

FISH (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! -- - Death eddies near -- -
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.

. There's Wisdom in Women

"OH LOVE is fair, and love is rare;" my dear one she said,
"But love goes lightly over." I bowed her foolish head,
And kissed her hair and laughed at her. Such a child was she;
So new to love, so true to love, and she spoke so bitterly.
But there's wisdom in women, of more than they have known,
And thoughts go blowing through them, are wiser than their own,
Or how should my dear one, being ignorant and young,
Have cried on love so bitterly, with so true a tongue?

. A Memory (From a sonnet-sequence)

SOMEWHILE before the dawn I rose, and stept
Softly along the dim way to your room,
And found you sleeping in the quiet gloom,
And holiness about you as you slept.
I knelt there; till your waking fingers crept
About my head, and held it. I had rest
Unhoped this side of Heaven, beneath your breast.
I knelt a long time, still; nor even wept.
It was great wrong you did me; and for gain
Of that poor moment's kindliness, and ease,
And sleepy mother-comfort!
                            Child, you know
How easily love leaps out to dreams like these,
Who has seen them true. And love that's wakened so
Takes all too long to lay asleep again.

Rupert Brooke, Waikiki, October 1913

. One Day

TODAY I have been happy. All the day
I held the memory of you, and wove
Its laughter with the dancing light o' the spray,
And sowed the sky with tiny clouds of love,
And sent you following the white waves of sea,
And crowned your head with fancies, nothing worth,
Stray buds from that old dust of misery,
Being glad with a new foolish quiet mirth.
So lightly I played with those dark memories,
Just as a child, beneath the summer skies,
Plays hour by hour with a strange shining stone,
For which (he knows not) towns were fire of old,
And love has been betrayed, and ****** done,
And great kings turned to a little bitter mould.

Rupert Brooke, The Pacific, October 1913

. Waikiki

WARM perfumes like a breath from vine and tree
      Drift down the darkness. Plangent, hidden from eyes
      Somewhere an 'eukaleli' thrills and cries
And stabs with pain the night's brown savagery.
And dark scents whisper; and dim waves creep to me,
      Gleam like a woman's hair, stretch out, and rise;
      And new stars burn into the ancient skies,
Over the murmurous soft Hawaian sea.
And I recall, lose, grasp, forget again,
      And still remember, a tale I have heard, or known,
An empty tale, of idleness and pain,
      Of two that loved -- - or did not love -- - and one
Whose perplexed heart did evil, foolishly,
A long while since, and by some other sea.

Rupert Brooke, Waikiki, 1913


The Busy Heart

NOW that we've done our best and worst, and parted,
      I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend.
(O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted)
      I'll think of Love in books, Love without end;
Women with child, content; and old men sleeping;
      And wet strong ploughlands, scarred for certain grain;
And babes that weep, and so forget their weeping;
      And the young heavens, forgetful after rain;
And evening hush, broken by homing wings;
      And Song's nobility, and Wisdom holy,
That live, we dead. I would think of a thousand things,
      Lovely and durable, and taste them slowly,
One after one, like tasting a sweet food.
I have need to busy my heart with quietude.

. Love

LOVE is a breach in the walls, a broken gate,
      Where that comes in that shall not go again;
Love sells the proud heart's citadel to Fate.
      They have known shame, who love unloved. Even then,
When two mouths, thirsty each for each, find slaking,
      And agony's forgot, and hushed the crying
Of credulous hearts, in heaven -- - such are but taking
      Their own poor dreams within their arms, and lying
Each in his lonely night, each with a ghost.
      Some share that night. But they know love grows colder,
Grows false and dull, that was sweet lies at most.
      Astonishment is no more in hand or shoulder,
But darkens, and dies out from kiss to kiss.
All this is love; and all love is but this.

. Unfortunate

HEART, you are restless as a paper scrap
      That's tossed down dusty pavements by the wind;
      Saying, "She is most wise, patient and kind.
Between the small hands folded in her lap
Surely a shamed head may bow down at length,
      And find forgiveness where the shadows stir
About her lips, and wisdom in her strength,
      Peace in her peace. Come to her, come to her!" . . .
She will not care. She'll smile to see me come,
      So that I think all Heaven in flower to fold me.
      She'll give me all I ask, kiss me and hold me,
           And open wide upon that holy air
The gates of peace, and take my tiredness home,
           Kinder than God. But, heart, she will not care.

. The Chilterns

YOUR hands, my dear, adorable,
      Your lips of tenderness
-- Oh, I've loved you faithfully and well,
      Three years, or a bit less.
      It wasn't a success.
Thank God, that's done! and I'll take the road,
      Quit of my youth and you,
The Roman road to Wendover
      By Tring and Lilley Hoo,
      As a free man may do.
For youth goes over, the joys that fly,
      The tears that follow fast;
And the dirtiest things we do must lie
      Forgotten at the last;
      Even Love goes past.
What's left behind I shall not find,
      The splendour and the pain;
The splash of sun, the shouting wind,
      And the brave sting of rain,
      I may not meet again.
But the years, that take the best away,
      Give something in the end;
And a better friend than love have they,
      For none to mar or mend,
      That have themselves to friend.
I shall desire and I shall find
      The best of my desires;
The autumn road, the mellow wind
      That soothes the darkening shires.
      And laughter, and inn-fires.
White mist about the black hedgerows,
      The slumbering Midland plain,
The silence where the clover grows,
      And the dead leaves in the lane,
      Certainly, these remain.
And I shall find some girl perhaps,
      And a better one than you,
With eyes as wise, but kindlier,
      And lips as soft, but true.
      And I daresay she will do.

. Home

I CAME back late and tired last night
      Into my little room,
To the long chair and the firelight
      And comfortable gloom.
But as I entered softly in
      I saw a woman there,
The line of neck and cheek and chin,
      The darkness of her hair,
The form of one I did not know
      Sitting in my chair.
I stood a moment fierce and still,
      Watching her neck and hair.
I made a step to her; and saw
      That there was no one there.
It was some trick of the firelight
      That made me see her there.
It was a chance of shade and light
      And the cushion in the chair.
Oh, all you happy over the earth,
      That night, how could I sleep?
I lay and watched the lonely gloom;
      And watched the moonlight creep
From wall to basin, round the room,
      All night I could not sleep.

. Beauty and Beauty

WHEN Beauty and Beauty meet
      All naked, fair to fair,
The earth is crying-sweet,
      And scattering-bright the air,
Eddying, dizzying, closing round,
      With soft and drunken laughter;
Veiling all that may befall
      After -- - after -- -
Where Beauty and Beauty met,
      Earth's still a-tremble there,
And winds are scented yet,
      And memory-soft the air,
Bosoming, folding glints of light,
      And shreds of shadowy laughter;
Not the tears that fill the years
      After -- - after -- -

. The Way That Lovers Use

THE way that lovers use is this;
      They bow, catch hands, with never a word,
And their lips meet, and they do kiss,
      -- - So I have heard.
They queerly find some healing so,
      And strange attainment in the touch;
There is a secret lovers know,
      -- - I have read as much.
And theirs no longer joy nor smart,
      Changing or ending, night or day;
But mouth to mouth, and heart on heart,
      -- - So lovers say.

1908 - 1911

Sonnet: "Oh! Death will find me, long before I tire"

OH! DEATH will find me, long before I tire
Of watching you; and swing me suddenly
Into the shade and loneliness and mire
Of the last land! There, waiting patiently,
One day, I think, I'll feel a cool wind blowing,
See a slow light across the Stygian tide,
And hear the Dead about me stir, unknowing,
And tremble. And I shall know that you have died,
And watch you, a broad-browed and smiling dream,
Pass, light as ever, through the lightless host,
Quietly ponder, start, and sway, and gleam -- -
Most individual and bewildering ghost! -- -
And turn, and toss your brown delightful head
Amusedly, among the ancient Dead.

. Sonnet: "I said I splendidly loved you; it's not true"

I SAID I splendidly loved you; it's not true.
Such long swift tides stir not a land-locked sea.
On gods or fools the high risk falls -- - on you -- -
The clean clear bitter-sweet that's not for me.
Love soars from earth to ecstasies unwist.
Love is flung Lucifer-like from Heaven to Hell.
But -- - there are wanderers in the middle mist,
Who cry for sh
gurthbruins Nov 2015
ONCE did she hold the gorgeous East in fee;
  And was the safeguard of the West: the worth
  Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.
She was a maiden City, bright and free;          5
  No guile seduced, no force could violate;
  And, when she took unto herself a mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea.
And what if she had seen those glories fade,
  Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;   10
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid
  When her long life hath reach'd its final day:
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade
  Of that which once was great is pass'd away.

- William Wordsworth
gurthbruins Nov 2015
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
       From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
       In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
       The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
       As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
       And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
       And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
       And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
       While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
       Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
       It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
       This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
       In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
       Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
       The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
       Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
       And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
       When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
       Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
       In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
       Its ardors of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
       From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
       As still as a brooding dove.

That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
       Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
       By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
       Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
       The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
       Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
       Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
       Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
       And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
       When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
       Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,--
       The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
       With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
       Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
       While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
       And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
       I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
       The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
       Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
       And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
       I arise and unbuild it again.
gurthbruins Nov 2015
My soul, wandering across the world,
Found one of whom it dreamt
In a faraway corner of the earth,
And returning, hoped for aid and kindness.

I dreamt of her again,
Yet dreamt I of the long-past She -
A vision that seemed wonderful to me,
Brave it was and sensitive exceedingly.

O dream of evil purpose,
Thou hast dwelt upon the dubious past,
And shut thine eyes to the starry signs
That should have led thee!
gurthbruins Nov 2015
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alternations finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks at tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken,
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hour and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
    I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
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