Claribel and Other Poems (3)
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THE CAPTIVE ARAB


THE captive of his bow and of his sword,
    I dwell within his walls and can not leave;
Though ever in the absence of my lord
    Hopes of escape I weave.

But he returns and holds my hands in his,
    My heart to his, and all the hopes are gone;
And I forget my restlessness in bliss
    With that Belovéd One.

Woe, woe is me, a wretched prisoner!
    A fetter'd slave! a bondwoman! a thrall!
Now he unbinds me, yet I can not stir:
    His love binds more than all.

O joy! great joy! my lord comes home again:
    My lord, my loved, my master and my king!
My own Beloved! this one passionate strain
    Amends all suffering.

And—'Dost thou love me well?'   I meet his smile
    With radiant answer: Love makes bondage sweet;
I would not leave thee.   In a little while
    My joy is less complete.

And longings for old Araby return—
    My Araby the Blest.   Love's hearth is dim.
So strong the thoughts with which I can but yearn,
    I scarcely think of Him.

My free wild Arab life!   This place grows dark,—
    This narrowness is dreadful as a tomb.
Ay! in the Temple and before the Ark
    I'd pine for want of room.

My free delightful Araby! my life!
    My roving independent carelessness!
It is a yoke—this destiny of Wife:
    I love thee ne'ertheless.

It is a yoke—O very hard to hear,
    For one who never knew constraint or let.
I am not fit for this.  I can not wear
    Your homely jewels yet.

Though I will try.   Dear Love! I kiss thy lids,
    And draw thee sleeping closer to my heart.
What restless dream another kiss forbids,
    Lest I should ne'er depart?

Lest I of slavery should grow so fond
    As to rejoice in it for thy dear sake?
Never! my wings are crush'd, my hopes despond,
    My heart can only break.

In mine own wilds I was a wilful queen:
    How can I take a menial's place and form?
Love's heaven is high—you tell me, pure, serene.
    The eagle loves the storm.

I must be gone.   His eyes are closed in sleep, 
    Weary with love; I put him from my breast.
One kiss: Love! thou art strong, but canst not keep
    Thy wild bird in its nest.

I must make haste to go before he wakes,
    Before his arms encircle me again
As with a band of iron (my heart aches
    With love and restless pain),

Before his eyes can look their fond reproach,
    Before his waking touch thrills through my heart.
How to keep back these thoughts that will encroach
    Whene'er I would depart?

He woke soon as I turn'd, and I return'd:
    His look was as a chain I could not break.
I tried to bless him in whose fire I burn'd,
    Who tied me to the stake.

And so again some days of plaintive joy,
    Of happiness.   Indeed I love thee well:
Thy love makes present gold of my alloy,
    A heaven of my hell.

But in thy absence!   O, it can not be.
    I will depart now.   I will not be led
Bound to thy triumph, no! not even by thee,
    Not to a bridal bad.

Thou hast unbound me; I take up my bow
    And the old arrows; I halt not to test
The slackness of the string; I leave thee now.
    Yes! leaving thee is best.

Forget me and make merry in thy home
    With one more fit for bondage and delight.
More loving eyes shall look on thee, and some
    Be pleasant in thy sight.

For me—O how I hate this closing wall!
    I must be gone.   My will speeds through thy
        gates.
When thou return'st O Love!   Love!   Love!
        thy thrall
    Upon the threshold waits.


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THE RUINED CITY


SO that great city underwent the curse
    Of silence, till its very life was death:
Until all outer act was but the hearse
    Of its inborne monotony of breath.

The doer went abroad to daily toil;
    Did, and came duly back against the night;
Wearily won and sadly wore the spoil,—
    A woe-worn victim even for all the plight

Of wreathéd victory (that fearful doom
    Had struck out love and joy and worthy pride
And energy): he was as one to whom
    Is given a soul's work, yet the soul denied.

He did, because it seemed right to do;
    He lived, because he had no wish to die;
His life was death; there was no change, he knew,—
    For death seems only life borne silently.

And all the city underwent that spell
    Of burying hope beneath their sealed lips:
As if the sun was gone, and none might tell
    Even his own heart the end of the eclipse.

A people without hope.   Stern Faith awhile
    Held on.   But Faith has sometimes need of Hope.
So Faith's closed lips at last fix'd in a smile
    Of sullen scorn: a smile that might not ope

The low dark room of the sepulchral heart,—
    Wherein one tenant was, the trailing thought
Of many-coiled sorrow, whose fell smart
    Was painless now, and only torpor wrought.

Till even the merest form of life became
    Too burdensome for stoutest will to bear:
One might as well suppose a motionless flame
    As life fed only on a still despair.

The living hopes had made the city great,
    The hero strengths had built its palace pride,
Lay down in the grassy streets, dull-eyed, to wait
    The slow repeats of morn and eventide.

The palace towers crumbled unrepair'd
    The city gates were shut, and none went forth;
Weeds choked the glorious ways, and no man cared;
    None spoke: since Hope forsook the City of Worth.

There in the ruin'd temple once had stood
    Her statue beside Faith.   Hers fell that day
She pass'd out thence.   And now in the solitude
    Beneath the feet of Faith her image lay,

Shatter'd to pieces.   Wherefore this still fate,
    This silence, this, accursed penalty.
The Gods desert us.   We not even wait
    The useless Death: for, living thus, we die.

Faith's statue yet remain'd: a piteous sight:
    Clothed by great spiders, hooded thick with dust,
Worshipp'd by unscared vermin day and night,
    The marble flaw'd, the gold devour'd by rust.

So the long years crawl'd on.   What lived or died
    In the great city matter'd unto none.
Oblivion! be merciful, and hide
    The wasting misery of the overthrown.

One word alone had been the mighty leaven
    Out of this sealed tomb to raise the dead,
To lift despair from hell to highest heaven
    One only word— —that never may be said.


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FIVE SERMONS

FROM ONE TEXT

EVE—THE INDIAN WIDOW—VESTA'S PRIEST
JEPHTHAH'S DAUGHTER—IPHIGENIA AT AULIS


EVE


FLUNG out of Eden, and my child is Cain.
                      Woe, woe is me!
I have pluck'd knowledge, and I find it pain.
Love hath made me accurst: since all the gain
                      Of self is misery.

O fierce desire that would not let me rest!
                      O lovely snake—
Thou subtilest beast, that with thy low behest
Lured me from innocence!—From good to best
                      My way I take.

For innocence is not the best, though good.
                      Thy gates are shut,
Sweet Eden!—I return not if I could.
Better, O Man! hard labour and scant food
                      In this poor hut.

From innocence through sorrow and much wrong
                      Our pathway lies.
Only by suffering doth the soul grow strong.
Leave me the lower creatures, the vile throng
                      Of sense.   Arise!

Forth to the desert!   We will plant out there
                      A garden brave.
This doom of death, this darkness of despair,
Is the shadow of higher Love.   And look thou where
                      He bursts the grave.


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THE INDIAN WIDOW


THROUGH the purifying fire——
Upheap the sandal-wood, and thereupon
         Throw cinnamon,
Rich-scented gums, sweet frankincense, and myrrh;
         And pour the holy oil
         Over the forest spoil
Till the flame enrobeth her!—
                                      'I aspire!'

'Through the purifying fire
'With the dead Belovéd lying at my feet,
         'And music sweet
'Climbing the golden smoke toward the sky;
         'The white flowers in my wreath
         'Crowning me Bride of Death.
'Let the earth pass cloudily!
                                      'I aspire!'

Through the purifying fire——
True Spirit! free thyself from robes of sense;
         Soul! grow intense;
Devotion! climb unto Love's highest throne.
         Behold, O seeking eyes!
         The pile of sacrifice,
And the flame for bridal zone.——
                                      'I aspire!'


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VESTA'S PRIEST


WHITE-ROBED Vesta! to maintain thy flame
                                  I swear.
Bow, proud patrician!   From thy snowy hair,
O Wisdom! take the crown.
Kneel humbly down
Ye warriors! and ye, reverend priests! bend low
Before the Sacred Virgins as they go
Along the public street:
Blessing the way with feet
That tread down shame.

O clear-eyed Vesta!   O neglected flame!—
                                  O Death!—
Close veil her weakness! lead her hence beneath
The all-concealing earth!
Why speak of worth,
Of innocence, of natural loving need?
We hear in vain, we may but heed
The worship and the oath.
Unfaithful to her troth,
We bury Shame.

Divinest Vesta! Mother of the Powers!
                                  Inspire
My heart, and fill me with thy purest fire.
Choose for thy lamp this soul,
To show the goal
Of virtue, only in thy temple gain'd
By lives ungrieved, unstain'd.
Keep me above the earth!
Kindle within me worth
For all the hours!


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JEPHTHAH'S DAUGHTER


GIVE me a little while to mourn my youth!
    This lightning is too swift.   Let me behold—
One instant—if thy vow have so much ruth—
    Hope's violet tints melt in the ruddy gold.

Let me chain back the flood-gates of my tears,
    Harden these quivering lips, hot cheeks make pale;
Let me gaze firmly up the marbled years
    Even to the utmost bleakness I must scale.

It was a wild vow, O my Father!—wild
    As all vows are: rash Will outreaching Right.
Nevertheless I am thine own true child.
    Slay me, since good that seemeth in thy sight.

Kill me for very righteousness, though none
    May know the simple meaning of my doom.
So thou and thy least word may be at one,
    Shadow thy victor helm with this dead bloom.

O beautiful lightning!—all life's rainbow hues
    Tone thy brief splendour: thy far purples,
Love! Joy's roseate glow.   Now, Father! smite: I
        choose
    The clear white sword-gleam.   Smite as I approve.


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IPHIGENIA AT AULIS


I AM ACHILLES.   Thou wast hither brought
    To be my wife, not for a sacrifice.
Greece and her kings may stand aside as nought
    To what Thou art in my expectant eyes.

Or kings or gods.   I too am heaven-born.
    I trample on their auguries and needs.
Where the foreboding dares to front my scorn
    Or break the promise from my heart proceeds?

But thou, Belovéd! smilest down my wrath
    So able to protect thee.   Who should harm
Achilles' Bride?—Thou pointest to the path
    Of sacrifice, yet leaning on my arm.

There is no need of words; from me reply
    As little requisite: Thy lightest hand
Guideth me, as the helm the ship; Thine eye
    Doth more than all the Atridæ could command.

Thou givést life and love for Greece and Right:
    I will stand by thee lest thou shouldst be weak—
Not weak of soul.—I will but hold in sight
    Thy marvelous beauty.——Here is She you seek.


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THE HUNCHBACK


GOD lays his burden on each back:
                            But who
What is within the pack
                            May know?

_________________


All pointed at the Hunchback.   He, they said,
    Was hideous; and their scorn
Doubled the anguish which bow'd down his head,—
    So friendlessly forlorn.

Low bow'd his head, even lower than was need,
    For all his Atlas weight;
Bow'd with men's scorn, and with his own sad heed
    Of what might be the freight

'Neath which so painfully his being creep'd;
    'Was it a heritage,
Growth of his father's sins on him upheap'd?
    Or his own sinful wage?'

Ask'd he of lawgiver and sage and priest,
    Of all the esteem'd and wise;
And gat no answer.   Nay! not even the least
    From worshipp'd Beauty's eyes.

Not that they spake not.   Some said—It was nought,
    There was no hump at all;
And some that—It was nothing which he sought—
    The why such did befall;

Some laugh'd; and some long visages did pull;
    Some knew not what he meant;
But the Belovéd was so pitiful
    He cursed her as he went.

Some bade him quit vain inquest, and delight
    Each sense with pleasant things;
And some swore 'twas the sign that Heaven would
        blight
    His highest imagings;

And some—An operation would remove
    The mere excrescent flesh;
While others—Pruning it would only prove
    How fast 'twould grow afresh.

And some, who cited law and gospel, laid
    New heaviness on his neck:
Let him that hath have ever more, they said,
    And let the wreck'd bear wreck!

Yet after every check, repulse, and scoff,
    He ask'd again, again—
What is this burthen? Can none take it off?
    Is there no end of pain?

Flung back on his own soul, what he inquired
    Was hardly, sadly taught;
With desperate travail he at length acquired
    Something of what he sought.

He found there was a meaning: that was much:
    He trusted God was Good:­—
These thoughts made patience earnest, out of such
    He earn'd some spirit-food.

And grew: for all the evil hump remain'd,
    Like Sindbad's Man o' the Sea.
Only he had no hope to be unchain'd:
    How from himself get free?

At last came Time, who from the chrysalis
    Brings forth the rainbow'd fly;
Of Time he ask'd—What was this weight of his?
    And Time gave full reply.

Time mask'd as Death, yet smiling, did unpack
    The worn man's crushing load:
Two wings sprang forth; high o'er the cloudy wrack
The Angel, whom men call'd That Poor Hunchback,
    Through farthest heavens rode.

So, looking westward yestereve, I knew
    A figure of warm cloud:
A very humpback till his load he threw,
    As Lazarus left his shroud.


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GOD WISH
['Perhaps the notablest Norse God we hear tell of is the God Wunsch or
Wish.'—Carlyle's Hero Worship.]


GOD Wish! if one of modern days
    Might lift to thee a prayer,
What form of worship should he raise
    To claim thy care?

Such words as these?—I would have health;
    I would have strength of limb,
With truth at heart, and wisdom's wealth
    Of eyes ne'er dim;

I would be gentle, pure, and fair,
    As One who loved me prayd;
And bold and firm to do or bear
    In Virtue's aid;

I would have will to prophesy;
    Brave deeds I would achieve,
And on the Future's tapestry
    Grand tissues weave;

My life should journey as a star
    Tow'rd an eternal aim,
And nations worship from afar
    Its track of flame;

I would build up in my own mind
    A temple unto Truth,
And on its shrine an offering bind,—
    My age and youth;

I would have faith of One to whom
    My faith should be a prize;
And love,—if thou couldst ope the tomb
    Wherein One lies;

And children's beauty should bud forth
    Around the parent stem,
And hope behold our scantiest worth
    Fullgrown in them;

I would have means to enrich the poor,
    And power to uplift the low,
And all misfortune's barren moor
    With blessings sow;

And I would win my fellows' love,
    If love may guerdon zeal
That dares their deepest miseries prove
    To surely heal;

And praise should keep my name embalm'd
    In history's choicest cell,
That men might say in years joy-calm'd—
    'He loved us well.'——

Or should I pray in fewer words
    For virtue, love, and fame?
Or ask all joy that earth affords
    In one loved name?

No answer issues from the North;
    The Norsemen's potent God
Sits signless; Doom no more comes forth
    To obey his nod.

God Wish! have I not pray'd aright?
    Yet grant, before I die,
One lightning-flash athwart the fight,
    One glimpse of sky.——

God Wish!—What other God but thou,
    Under some aspect Greek,
Approved his favourites with the vow
    'Have what ye seek!'

They chose 'what best might please the Powers';
    Ere morning did return
The hope of all their youthful hours
    Lay in an urn.


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SONG OF THE STREAMS


WE leap from the rock's sheer edge,
Boisterously:
With a shout and hearty laughter
Fore and after:
Joyously:
Slide we over the mossy ledge,
Lusciously,
Dreaming deliciously:
And an eternal roar rolls with us on our way.

Clear is the young spring day!
The trilling laugh of childish glee
And sobs and bubbling mirth are ours
'Mid the wild flowers,—
The playful hours racing us through the heath,
Down the hill-side racing us out of breath.
O'er us the eternal voice rolls on sonorously.

An organ thunder—the dim melody
Of many instruments—a rushing throng
Of men and voices,—near a charmed song,
Solemn afar, even as the voice of God:
And heaven is children-trod:
Over the many hills the same bright tune
Singing to sun and moon;
High company upon the hills we had;
Were not we glad,
Leaping from crag to crag?

Leaping from crag to crag;
Hiding behind the masses of the rocks;
Deem'd from afar to be the shining flocks
Of God upon the mountains fed,
Everywhere scattered:
Now as a silver thread
Along the deep ravine
The torrent speedeth; and again between
The massed rocks, fall after fall,
With uproar musical,
Bounding from crag to crag, on travel we.

Anon our passage free
A mountain wall hath stopp'd;
And we lie chafing in the fond distress
Of wayward pettishness,
Boiling with childish rage,
Till gentler tones assuage
Impetuosity:
Still, still hold watch and ward!
A postern is unbarr'd:
Through the quick gap our damm'd-up waters
        gush
All eagerly:
And our high song hath dropp'd
Adown the steeps of life, and youthhood's flush
Floweth more steadily.

Continueth our glee
Through the wide meadows, through the long lush
        grass;
Our jocund course between
The great grand trees, who in our changeful glass
Gaze, as a seer into a depth of dreams:
Queenliest trees, proud-form'd, with port serene:
And now our many streams
Are blending, and the mountain alleys,
Merged in one broad road, plunge toward the
        valleys,
While o'er our torrent force the hill-song leaps.

And here and there uppeeps
Through grassy hair the weird and rugged face
Of some grey rock, one of the giant race 
Of our bleak birth-place, grey as the memories,
Of an uncultured world, the asperities
Of our progressive life: and ever keeps
The ancient hill in sight, its head in heaven:
And little rustic homelinesses
Welcome the mountain-born with flower-
        wreathing,
Bright buttercups, primroses quiet-breathing,
Rich-scented chestnut-bloom;
And in the torrent's foam
The sweet May dips her tresses,
Scarcely distinct:— On, on the waves are driven
As o'er us the old mountain voice still hovers.

And every turn discovers
New beauty; other streamlets pour,
Like other minds their flood of thought,
Or other beings influence, brought
From many a distance, hour by hour;
And the stream swells its volume, and the tide
Of power is amplified;
And earth is fertilized, field-glories wave,
And human dwellings stand on either side:
While with melodious stave 
The river saileth through the busy scene,
And o'er it most serene
The hill-song, like a heaven-burden, hovers.

Now, like two eager lovers,
Two fair streams mingle hearts, and our full song
Is the quick panting of voluptuous life
The harvest fields among,
Beneath heaven-arched skies with blithest
        warblings rife
And our sunn'd face is flush'd even as a bride's:
And many a trickling kiss in music glides,
Like molten silver bells, our features o'er—
A chorus liquefied of birds and flowers:
Such ecstacy is ours.
Yet still floats o'er our life the distant roar
Of the far mountain hymn;— God whispers as of
        old.


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CHORUSES

FROM A POLITICAL POEM

1848


THROUGH thy pain, and through the
         languor
Of despair, and from the anger
              Of long-disappointed hope,
Thou, O Human World! redeeming,
The pale phantoms of thy dreaming,
              Shalt have strength with Time to cope.
Though thy weary feet be tender,
Though thy lids bear not the splendour
              Of the Coming of thy Lord,
Yet, fond Hope! shalt thou behold him,
And thy powerful arms enfold him,
              And thou know thyself adored.
Yet shall Love, O Hope pursuing!
On thy heart his life renewing,
              Speed with thee his tireless flight;
And the wake of his star-tresses
O'er earth's untrack'd wildernesses
              Guide Man to the far delight.
Lo! I hear the acclamations
Of the Faith-awaken'd Nations;
              And the sweet low-chaunted song
Of their organized endeavour:
It soars upward ever, ever,
              On the swift wings, angel-strong.

Awake, sad Hope! the tyrants of the earth
Are passing like night-shadows: though some
        clouds
Seek to prolong their reign, those lingering shrouds
Cradle the Morning in its hour of birth.
             Ye 'Dead' come forth!

              Upon the broad firm ground
              Base ye the templéd round
Of human Right, where Men as Gods shall be!
              O ye Republic Nations!
              Lay wide the deep foundations
Both of your own and Man's Equality!—
              Uproar the varied columns
              In their own ample volumes,—
Upbear the sacred roof of Country, ye
              Who know what Freedom meaneth!
              When each on other leaneth,
Best power of service is real Liberty.—
              Devote upon that shrine
              Your lives to the Divine,—
Render to Heaven the worship of the Free!
              The Heaven of sure progression,
              Whose harmonized expression
Is thy perpetual song, Humanity!
              From the depth of night
              I have taken flight
Into the dawn of a pure delight;
              And my song upsprings
              Upon mighty wings,
To the light of thy smile's imaginings;—
              Into the Heaven
              Where Faith was driven
When Earth by the winter storm was riven;
              From the rock and chain
              Of a hopeless pain
Up to thy Heaven I soar again;—
              From the lowliest grave
              That Truth dared brave,
Seeking even Death, to redeem the Slave;
              Like an angel's psalm,
              To the realms of calm,
Where Love is heal'd with immortal balm;—
              To the azure sky
              Of Faith's visions high
Of a serene Eternity,—
              Where Toil is blest,
              And where Hope may rest
To gaze in the eyes of the Loveliest.


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DEFINITIONS


VALOUR

REALIZED earnestness, in every game
Flung, like Thor's hammer, always at an aim.


COURAGE

Heart-action, valour's heart-felt cheerfulness,
Making the firm lips smile in grief's worst stress.


HONESTY

Due keeping, though none witness, claim, or force,
Whatever bond thy conscience doth endorse.


RIGHT

What conscience warrants thee thy right shall be:
RIGHT is the secret of Eternity.


WISDOM

The perfect sight of duty; thought that moulds
A rounded life, and all its aim beholds.


DUTY

The debt of Life.   To what?   Unto the whole
Of Life,—unto the Universal Soul.


LIFE

The soul's due exercize, by will impell'd:
The courser of a chariot, driven and held.


TRUTH

Healthfullest life of thought, look, word, and deed:
Of endless worth the never failing seed.


DEATH

Inaction: the soul's sleep: God doth not die,
Needing no rest in his eternity.


HEALTH

The child of Exercize and Truth, whom Mirth
Nursed from the very moment of its birth.


FAITH

Trust in the Beautiful.   Undoubting Youth!
Thy Mistress is not truer than God's Truth.


RELIGION

The baluster of life, whose stairs are creeds
Whereon the eternal soul tow'rd God proceeds.


REVERENCE

Obeisance unto Greatness understood:
The first step of a human life toward Good.


SACRIFICE

An offering unto God, a gift of worth;
The halcyon of the storms that toss our earth.


CHEERFULNESS

The thankful smile that lights the martyr's pyre;
The highest Jubilate of God's choir.


ASPIRATION

Elijah's chariot of winged fire:
We journey heavenward when we aspire.


SELFISHNESS

Grazing, he looks on earth: how can he see
The opening heavens and God's eternity?


SERVICE

Think what God doth for man: so mayst thou know
How god-like service is, and serve also.


WORK

Life, health, worth, worship,—rest itself no more
Than labour the tired labourer to restore.


INTEGRITY

The perfectly rounded wholeness of a life
Whose core is truth, whose hours are ne'er at strife.


VIRTUE

Virtue is Manhood.   Male and female He
Created Man, and said—Live manfully!


SELF-POSSESSION

The user of virtuous qualities; the hand
That grasps and guides and forward thrusts the brand.


PRINCIPLE

A life's beginning: ay! the very ground
Where best expedients flourish and abound.


BEGINNING

Begun, or promised: it is all the same.
False is the arrow falls short of its aim.


WILL

The parent of an act, the seed of worth:
Life's threshold.   Pilgrim! halt not, but go forth.


WILLING

Who wills says—'I will do; at least I try,' 
'I will' is a bond, an oath, a prophecy.


EXPEDIENCY

Ex pede: building, hastening, foot by foot.
Building foundation needs, as growth needs root.


FEAR

Paralysis of will; torpedo doubt,
Changing the accomplish'd knight to helpless lout.


DESPAIR

The shadow of a slave who turns his back
On the light, and cries—The universe is black.


DARING

Some fear to dare not; some 'dare' when none see;
Some are blind-bold: none dare of all these three.


DOUBT

The mountain's image trembles in the lake:
Lake Doubt.   Perhaps the mountain does not quake.


IMPOSSIBILITIES

Folly's unproveable assertions; lies
Given credence to by credulous cowardice.


DISAPPOINTMENT

I worshipp'd Truth and Justice: wherefore I
Had Disappointment for my enemy.


PATIENCE

Baffled and helpless Valour laid in bonds,
That bideth God's delay, and ne'er desponds.


FORTITUDE

Unchain me, Strength! from this Caucasian fell:
For I have acted and endured as well.


DEFEAT

One of the stairs to heaven.   Halt not to count
What you have trampled on!   Look up, and mount!


FAILURE

Who knows?   Each year, as every wheat-seed, dies:
And so God harvests his eternities.


TRIUMPH

Christ on his Cross, Prometheus vulture-riven:
A sacrificial flame that reaches heaven.


SUCCESS

The harvest of a worshipful essay.
The sower waits the season: God his stay.


GLORY

Lo where some dunghill cock 'mid rotting sheaves
Crows—'I am laurel-crown'd': but who believes?


HONOUR

A saintly glory: ay! a starry crown
Bright in the night-time of Oblivion's frown.


FREEDOM

The opportunity for healthy growth;
No liar's licence, but a virtuous oath.


VICE

Blasphemy 'gainst thy self: a making foul
The Holy of Holies even in thine own soul.


SIN

Inquire of God! of thine own soul! or——Stay!
In yon field hangs a scarecrow: will he say?


SHAME

The wage of Baseness; and the shadow of Wrong:
However lofty or however strong.


PLEASURE

A flower on the highway-side.   Enjoy its grace;
But turn not from thy road, nor slacken pace!


PAIN

One of God's words to thee.   Is it a curse?
Contempt and even pleasure might be worse.


LOVE

Pure worship of the Beautiful—the True—
Under whatever form it comes to you.


BEAUTY

A vision, or an image, or a look,
Of the Eternal in Time's rippling brook.


PURITY

'To the pure all things pure' does not include
Practice or knowledge of the impure and lewd.


PASSION

Beasts have their appetites and instincts; men
The passion of love: live differently, then!


CHASTITY

A temple's vestal guardian, who maintains
Even the marbled avenue pure from stains.


MARRIAGE

The wedding of the twin halves of the soul:
Making one perfect and productive whole.


FRIENDSHIP

Hand-linking of two sympathetic lives;
A double bloom that in mid-winter thrives.


HAPPINESS

The sunshine arid the starlight of the soul:
God's smile on Courage nearing Virtue's goal.


PROSPERITY

A bloom that groweth not on every flower:
But only on Beauty in some fortunate hour.


RESIGNATION

Resign is re-assign.   To God resign!
But man gave nought: contend while life is thine.


HOPE

The cup-bearer of life: a water-wraith:
In heaven the bride of Strength: Gods call her Faith.


CHARITY

More real than Hope and far even Faith above
Is Charity: when Charity is Love.


FALSEHOOD

A coward's arrow aim'd with the feather first;
The vile begetter of a race accurst.


LOYALTY

Holding with Evil, flunkeying a Lie,—
This is Thieves' Honour, but not Loyalty.


PATRIOTISM

Not the mere holding a great flag unfurl'd,—
But making it the goodliest in the world.


PEACE

Victory's good angel, not a corse 'mong worms:
The shepherd's dog scorns peace on wolfish terms.


NON-INTERVENTION

Cain's cowardliest son, whose yet more insolent word
Is—I am not my brother's keeper, Lord!


TRADE

Real Trade is the honest interchange of wealth.
The eyeless-needle-seller's name was Stealth.


WEALTH

Cornelia's jewels; blind old Milton's thought;
Job's patience; and the lesson Lazarus taught.


POVERTY

Can Wealth be envious?   Dives!   Dives! thou
For all thy wealth dost envy Lazarus now.


CONTENT

The oil on a slave's chain; the ease of beasts;
Sometimes brave Strength despising common, feasts.


ENVY

The swinish greed which of all good would make
Merely a pool its own vile thirst to slake.


JEALOUSY

Be jealous of evil, but make way for good!
True Jealousy! act not as Envy would!


EQUALITY

Procrustes' bed?   No!   Justice' equal beam:
Which weigheth all, both what they are and seem.


CONSISTENCY

Last night I wore a cloak; this morning not.
Last night was cold; this morning it was hot.


NARROWNESS

Be narrow!—as the bud, the flame, the dart:
But narrow in thy aim, not at thy heart.


JUSTICE

The sightless Angel by God's Throne, who hears
The falling of the Wrong'd One's lightest tears.


MERCY

Twin genii of life prepare G'od's path:
The fair one Mercy call'd, the dark one Wrath.


WRATH

The thunder-burst that clears the stagnant air;
A divine fury; Truth with horrent hair.


VENGEANCE

God's sentence upon Wrong: or lightning swift,
Or slowly gathering like a winter drift.


VINDICTIVENESS

When God names thee his Thunder-bearer—— Then
Spare to revenge thyself on erring men.


REVENGE

Evening the scale of life down-drawn by ill:
Not heaping on wrong done more wrongful will.


FORGIVENESS

The condonation of a wrong.   What then?
Are not wrong-doers mostly brother men?


PITY

The tears that left undimm'd the Angel's eyes
When he thrust Adam forth from Paradise.


TOLERANCE

Serve thou Truth first, albeit Tolerance wait!
Falsehood is more intolerable than hate.


KINDNESS

Ask the physician if he seeks to please!
How shall we name the kind Austerities?


FRANKNESS

Sincerity of speech: the temperate breeze
That gives the convalescing health and ease.


LIBERALITY

True liberality gives of its own:
And charity for vice and crime has none.


GENEROSITY

The giving grandly.   Giving never asks
For gratitude; nor barters; nor sets tasks.


BENEVOLENCE

Well-wishing.   Well! at best but an intent,
May not a poor man be benevolent?


USURY

Who giveth to the Poor lends to the Lord:
The usurer trusts to the securest word.


DISINTERESTEDNESS

Selling for glory? lending to the Lord?
I will not ask even Conscience for reward.


ROYALTY

Reality: no ape in a lion's skin,
But Crowned Strength that worthily doth win.


GENTILITY

His Grace's scullion, housed at Beulah Spa,
Keeping a gig; Vulgarity's Mamma.


GENTLENESS

The grace and delicate manner of a flower;
The expression of a heart of genial power.


COURTESY

A royalest grace; the womanly bending down
From queenliest state to even the lowliest clown.


PRIDE

Due reverence toward thyself.   Doth God come there?
Make thou the house well worthy his repair.


HUMILITY

Self, seen in a puddle: lift thee toward the sky,
And proudly thank God for Eternity!


OBSTINACY

A mule with blinkers.   Ay! he goes quite straight;
Runs at the gate-post and will miss the gate.


PRUDENCE

The saddle-girth of valour.   Thou art wise
To gird it well, but not around thine eyes.


COMPROMISE

Twice two is four, but three and two is five:
Shall Five and Four or compromise or strive?


ABSTINENCE.

Shirking the battle.   Every morn doth sound
God's trumpet-call: where then shouldst thou be
        found?


ENDEAVOUR

Earth gave Antaeus, oft as thrown, new force:
Yet Hercules held in the air his corse.


[Top of page]

_______________________

REAL AND TRUE


ONLY the Beautiful is real!
All things of which our life is full,
            All mysteries that life enwreathe,
            Birth, life, and death,
All that we dread or darkly feel;—
All are but shadows, and the Beautiful
            Alone is real.

Nothing but Love is true!
Earth's many lies, whirl'd upon Time's swift wheel,
            Shift and repeat their state,—
            Birth, life, and death,
            And all that they bequeath
            Of hope or memory, thus do alternate
                              Continually:

Love doth anneal,
Doth beauteously imbue,
The wine-caps of the archetypal Fate.

Love, Truth, and Beauty,—all are one!
            If life may expiate
The wilderings of its dimness, death be known
            But as the mighty ever-living gate
Into the Beautiful ———
                                            All things flow on
Into one Heart, into one Melody,
            Eternally.



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