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- The House of Life - 2/9 -


O Lord of all compassionate control, 0 Love! let this my lady's picture glow Under my hand to praise her name, and show Even of her inner self the perfect whole: That he who seeks her beauty's furthest goal, Beyond the light that the sweet glances throw And refluent wave of the sweet smile, may know The very sky and sea-line of her soul.

Lo! it is done. Above the long lithe throat The mouth's mould testifies of voice and kiss, The shadowed eyes remember and foresee. Her face is made her shrine. Let all men note That in all years (0 Love, thy gift is this!) They that would look on her must come to me. THE LOVE-LETTER

Warmed by her hand and shadowed by her hair As close she leaned and poured her heart through thee, Whereof the articulate throbs accompany The smooth black stream that makes thy whiteness fair,-- Sweet fluttering sheet, even of her breath aware,-- Oh let thy silent song disclose to me That soul wherewith her lips and eyes agree Like married music in Love's answering air.

Fain had I watched her when, at some fond thought, Her bosom to the writing closelier press'd, And her breast's secrets peered into her breast; When, through eyes raised an instant, her soul sought My soul, and from the sudden confluence caught The words that made her love the loveliest. THE LOVERS' WALK

Sweet twining hedgeflowers wind-stirred in no wise On this June day; and hand that clings in hand:-- Still glades; and meeting faces scarcely fann'd:-- An osier-odoured stream that draws the skies Deep to its heart; and mirrored eyes in eyes:-- Fresh hourly wonder o'er the Summer land Of light and cloud; and two souls softly spann'd With one o'erarching heaven of smiles and sighs:--

Even such their path, whose bodies lean unto Each other's visible sweetness amorously,-- Whose passionate hearts lean by Love's high decree Together on his heart for ever true, As the cloud-foaming firmamental blue Rests on the blue line of a foamless sea. ANTIPHONY

'I love you, sweet: how can you ever learn How much I love you?' 'You I love even so, And so I learn it.' 'Sweet, you cannot know How fair you are.' 'If fair enough to earn Your love, so much is all my love's concern.' 'My love grows hourly, sweet.' ' Mine too doth grow, Yet love seemed full so many hours ago!' Thus lovers speak, till kisses claim their turn.

Ah! happy they to whom such words as these In youth have served for speech the whole day long, Hour after hour, remote from the world's throng, Work, contest, fame, all life's confederate pleas,-- What while Love breathed in sighs and silences Through two blent souls one rapturous undersong. YOUTH'S SPRING-TRIBUTE

On this sweet bank your head thrice sweet and dear I lay, and spread your hair on either side, And see the newborn wood flowers bashful-eyed Look through the golden tresses here and there. On these debateable* borders of the year Spring's foot half falters; scarce she yet may know The leafless blackthorn-blossom from the snow; And through her bowers the wind's way still is clear.

But April's sun strikes down the glades to-day; So shut your eyes upturned, and feel my kiss Creep, as the Spring now thrills through every spray, Up your warm throat to your warm lips: for this Is even the hour of Love's sworn suitservice, With whom cold hearts are counted castaway.

*[sic] THE BIRTH-BOND

Havw you not noted, in some family Where two were born of a first marriage-bed, How still they own their gracious bond, though fed And nursed on the forgotten breast and knee?-- How to their father's children they shall be In act and thought of one goodwill; but each Shall for the other have, in silence speech, And in a word complete community?

Even so, when first I saw you, seemed it, love, That among souls allied to mine was yet One nearer kindred than life hinted of. 0 born with me somewhere that men forget, And though in years of sight and sound unmet, Known for my soul's birth-partner well enough! A DAY OF LOVE

Those envied places which do know her well, And are so scornful of this lonely place, Even now for once are emptied of her grace: Nowhere but here she is: and while Love's spell From his predominant presence doth compel All alien hours, an outworn populace, The hours of Love fill full the echoing space With sweet confederate music favourable.

Now many memories make solicitous The delicate love-lines of her mouth, till, lit With quivering fire, the words take wing from it; As here between our kisses we sit thus Speaking of things remembered, and so sit Speechless while things forgotten call to us. BEAUTY'S PAGEANT

What dawn-pulse at the heart of heaven, or last Incarnate flower of culminating day,-- What marshalled marvels on the skirts of May, Or song full-quired, sweet June's encomiast; What glory of change by nature's hand amass'd Can vie with all those moods of varying grace Which o'er one loveliest woman's form and face Within this hour, within this room, have pass'd?

Love's very vesture and elect disguise Was each fine movement,--wonder new-begot Of lily or swan or swan-stemmed galiot; Joy to his sight who now the sadlier sighs, Parted again; and sorrow yet for eyes Unborn that read these words and saw her not. GENIUS IN BEAUTY

Beauty like hers is genius. Not the call Of Homer's or of Dante's heart sublime,-- Not Michael's hand furrowing the zones of time,-- Is more with compassed mysteries musical; Nay, not in Spring's or Summer's sweet footfall More gathered gifts exuberant Life bequeathes* Than doth this sovereign face, whose love-spell breathes Even from its shadowed contour on the wall.

As many men are poets in their youth, But for one sweet-strung soul the wires prolong Even through all change the indomitable song; So in likewise the envenomed years, whose tooth Rends shallower grace with ruin void of ruth, Upon this beauty's power shall wreak no wrong.

*[sic] SILENT NOON

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,-- The finger-points look through the rosy blooms: Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and glooms 'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass. All round our nest, far as the eye can pass, Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge. 'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky: So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above. Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower, This close-companioned inarticulate hour When twofold silence was the song of love. GRACIOUS MOONLIGHT

Even as the moon grows queenlier in mid-space When the sky darkens, and her cloud-rapt car Thrills with intenser radiance from afar,-- So lambent, lady, beams thy sovereign grace When the drear soul desires thee. Of that face What shall be said,--which, like a governing star, Gathers and garners from all things that are Their silent penetrative loveliness?

O'er water-daisies and wild waifs of Spring, There where the iris rears its gold-crowned sheaf With flowering rush and sceptred arrow-leaf, So have I marked Queen Dian, in bright ring Of cloud above and wave below, take wing And chase night's gloom, as thou the spirit's grief. LOVE-SWEETNESS

Sweet dimness of her loosened hair's downfall About thy face; her sweet hands round thy head In gracious fostering union garlanded, Her tremulous smiles, her glances' sweet recall Of love; her murmuring sighs memorial; Her mouth's culled sweetness by thy kisses shed On cheeks and neck and eyelids, and so led Back to her mouth which answers there for all:--

What sweeter than these things, except the thing In lacking which all these would lose their sweet:-- The confident heart's still fervour: the swift beat


The House of Life - 2/9

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