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Four Years

1069

TOO LATE

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"DOWGLAS, DOWGLAS, TENDIR AND TREU”
Could ye come back to me, Douglas, Douglas,

In the old likeness that I knew,
I would be so faithful, so loving, Douglas,

Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.
Never a scornful word should grieve ye,

I'd smile on ye sweet as the angels do:
Sweet as your smile on me shone ever,

Douglas, Douglas, tender and true.
Oh, to call back the days that are not!

My eyes were blinded, your words were few:
Do you know the truth now, up in heaven,

Douglas, Douglas, tender and true?

1

I never was worthy of you, Douglas;

Not half worthy the like of you:
Now all men beside seem to me like shadows

I love you, Douglas, tender and true.

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Stretch out your hand to me, Douglas, Douglas,

Drop forgiveness from heaven like dew;
As I lay my heart on your dead heart, Douglas,
Douglas, Douglas, tender and true!

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826–1887)

FOUR YEARS
At the Midsummer, when the hay was down,
Said I mournful-Though my life be in its prime,
Bare lie my meadows all shorn before their time,
O'er my sere woodlands the leaves are turning brown;

It is the hot Midsummer, when the hay is down.
At the Midsummer, when the hay was down,
Stood she by the brooklet, young and very fair,
With the first white bindweed twisted in her hair-
Hair that drooped like birch-boughs, all in her simple gown-

That eve in high Midsummer, when the hay was down.

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At the Midsummer, when the hay was down,
Crept she a willing bride close into my breast;
Low-piled the thunder-clouds had sunk into the west,
Red-eyed the sun out-glared like knight from leaguered town;

It was the high Midsummer, and the sun was down.
It is Midsummer-all the hay is down,
Close to her forehead press I dying eyes,
Praying God shield her till we meet in Paradise,
Bless her in love's name who was my joy and crown,
And I go at Midsummer, when the hay is down.
Ι

Dinah Maria Mulock Craik (1826-1887)

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BARBARA
On the Sabbath-day,
Through the churchyard old and gray,
Over the crisp and yellow leaves, I held my rustling way;
And amid the words of mercy, falling on my soul like balms;
'Mid the gorgeous storms of music in the mellow organ-

calms,
'Mid the upward streaming prayers, and the rich and solemn

psalms,
I stood careless, Barbara.
My heart was otherwhere
While the organ shook the air,
And the priest, with outspread hands, blessed the people

with a prayer;
But, when rising to go homeward, with a mild and saint-like

shine Gleamed a face of airy beauty with its heavenly eyes on

mineGleamed and vanished in a moment that face was surely

thine Out of heaven, Barbara! O pallid, pallid face! () earnest eyes of grace! When last I saw thee, dearest, it was in another place. You came running forth to meet me with my love-gift on

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The flutter of a long white dress, then all was lost in mist---
A purple stain of agony was on the mouth I kissed,

That wild morning, Barbara!

I searched in my despair,
Sunny noon and midnight air;
I could not drive away the thought that you were lingering

there,
O many and many a winter night I sat when you were gone,
My worn face buried in my hands, beside the fire alone.
Within the dripping churchyard, the rain plashing on your

stone,
You were sleeping, Barbara.

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'Mong angels, do you think
Of the precious golden link
I clasped around your happy arm while sitting by yon

brink?
Or when that night of gliding dance, of laughter and guitars,
Was emptied of its music, and we watched, through lattice-

bars, The silent midnight heaven creeping o'er us with its stars,

Till the day broke, Barbara?

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In the years I've changed;
Wild and far my heart has ranged,
And many sins and errors now have been on me avenged;
But to you I have been faithful, whatsoever good I lacked:
I loved you, and above my life still hangs that love intact-
Your love the trembling rainbow, I the reckless cataract.

Still I love you, Barbara!

Yet, love, I am unblest;
With many doubts oppressed,
I wander like a desert wind, without a place of rest.
Could I but win you for an hour from off that starry shore,
The hunger of my soul were stilled, for Death hath told you

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more

Than the melancholy world doth know; things deeper than

all lore Will you teach me, Barbara?

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In vain, in vain, in vain!
You will never come again.
There droops upon the dreary hills a mourntut fringe of rain;
The gloaming closes slowly round, loud winds are in the tree,
Round selfish shores for ever moans the hurt and wounded

sea, There is no rest upon the earth, peace is with Death and thee, Barbara!

Alexander Smith (1830-1867)

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I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;
I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:
And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,
Haply I may remember

Ι
And haply may forget.

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830-1894)

TOO LATE

From “The Prince's Progress"

Too late for love, too late for joy,

Too late, too late!
You loitered on the road too long,

You trifled at the gate.

Too Late

1073

The enchanted dove upon her branch

Died without a mate;
The enchanted princess in her tower

Slept, died, behind the grate;
Her heart was starving all this while

You made it wait.

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Ten years ago, five years ago,

One year ago,
Even then you had arrived in time,

Though somewhat slow;
Then
you

had known her living face
Which now you cannot know;
The frozen fountain would have leaped,

The buds gone on to blow,
The warm south wind would have awaked

To melt the snow.

Is she fair now as she lies?

Once she was fair;
Meet queen for any kingly king,

With gold-dust on her hair.
Now there are poppies in her locks,

White poppies she must wear;
Must wear a veil to shroud her face

And the want graven there: Or is the hunger fed at length,

Cast off the care?

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We never saw her with a smile

Or with a frown;
Her bed seemed never soft to her,

Though tossed of down;
She little heeded what she wore

Kirtle, or wreath, or gown;
We think her white brows often ached

Beneath her crown,
Till silvery hairs showed in her locks

That used to be so brown.

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