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There's a narrow ridge in the graveyard
Would scarce stay a child in his race;
But to me and my thought it is wider
Than the star-sown vague of space.

Your logic, my friend, is perfect,

Your moral's most drearily true;
But since the earth clashed on her coffin,
I keep hearing that, and not you.

Console, if you will; I can bear it ;

'Tis a well-meant alms of breath; But not all the preaching since Adam Has made Death other than Death.

It is pagan: but wait till you feel it,
That jar of our earth, that dull shock,
When the ploughshare of deeper passion
Tears down to our primitive rock.

Communion in spirit! Forgive me,
But I, who am earthly and weak,
Would give all my incomes from dreamland
For her rose-leaf palm on my cheek!

That little shoe in the corner,

So worn and wrinkled and brown

Its emptiness confutes you,

And argues your wisdom down.



The Dead House.

ERE once my step was quickened,

Here beckoned the opening door, And welcome thrilled from the threshold To the foot it had known before.


A glow came forth to meet me

From the flame that laughed in the grate, And shadows a-dance on the ceiling,

Danced blither with mine for a mate.

"I claim you, old friend," yawned the arm-chair; "This corner, you know, is your seat;"

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"Rest your slippers on me,” beamed the fender, "I brighten at touch of your feet."

"We know the practiced finger,"

Said the books, "that seems like brain ;" And the shy page rustled the secret

It had kept till I came again.

Sang the pillow, "My down once quivered
On nightingales' throats that flew
Through moonlit gardens of Hafiz
To gather quaint dreams for you."

Ah me, where the Past sowed heart's-ease,
The Present plucks rue for us men!

I come back that scar unhealing
Was not in the churchyard then.

But, I think, the house is unaltered,
I will go and beg to look

At the rooms that were once familiar
To my life as its bed to a brook.

Unaltered! Alas for the sameness

That makes the change but more! 'Tis a dead man I see in the mirrors, 'Tis his tread that chills the floor!

To learn such a simple lesson,
Need I go to Paris and Rome,
That the many make the household,
But only one the home?


'T was just a womanly presence,

An influence unexpressed,

But a rose she had worn, on my grave-sod
Were more than long life with the rest!

'T was a smile, 't was a garment's rustle,
'T was nothing that I can phrase,
But the whole dumb dwelling grew conscious,
And put on her looks and ways.

Were it mine I would close the shutters,
Like lids when the life is fled,

And the funeral fire should wind it,
This corpse of a home that is dead.

For it died that autumn morning
When she, its soul, was borne

To lie all dark on the hillside

That looks over woodland and corn.



OLD in earth, and the deep snow piled above thee,


Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!

Have I forgot, my only love, to love thee,

Severed at last by time's all severing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains on that northern shore,

Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
Thy noble heart forever, evermore?

Cold in the earth-and fifteen wild Decembers

From those brown hills have melted into spring;
Faithful, indeed, is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering.


Sweet love of youth, forgive, if I forget thee
While the world's tide is bearing me along;
Other desires and other hopes beset me,

Hopes which obscure, but cannot do thee wrong.



No later light has lightened up my heaven,
No second morn has ever shone for me;

All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given;
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.

But when the days of golden dreams had perished,
And even despair was powerless to destroy;
Then did I learn existence could be cherished,
Strengthened and fed without the aid of joy.

Then did I check the tears of useless passion,
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten

Down to that tomb already more than mine.

And even yet I dare not let it languish,

Dare not indulge in memory's rapturous pain; Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish, How could I seek the empty world again?


An Evening Guest.

IF, in the silence of this lonely eve,

With the street-lamp pale flickering on the wall,

An angel were to whisper me, "Believe

It shall be given thee. Call !"—whom should I call '

And then I were to see thee gliding in,

Clad in known garments, that with empty fold

Lie in my keeping, and my fingers, thin

As thine were once, to feel in thy safe hold:


I should fall weeping on thy neck, and say

"I have so suffered since-since."-But my tears Would stop, remembering how thou count'st thy day, A day that is with God a thousand years.

Then what are these sad days, months, years of mine,
To thine eternity of full delight?

What my whole life, when myriad lives divine
May wait, each leading to a higher height?

I lose myself—I faint.

Beloved, best,

Let me still dream thy dear humanity
Sits with me here, thy head upon my breast,
And then I will go back to heaven with thee.



The Passage.

MANY a year is in its grave

Since I crossed this restless wave:

And the evening, fair as ever,
Shines on ruin, rock, and river.

Then in this same boat beside,
Sat two comrades old and tried,-
One with all a father's truth,
One with all the fire of youth.

One on earth in silence wrought,
And his grave in silence sought;
But the younger, brighter form
Passed in battle and in storm.

Lo, whene'er I turn mine eye
Back upon the days gone by,

Saddening thoughts of friends come o'er me,

Friends that closed their course before me.

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