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- The House of Life - 3/9 -


And soft subsidence of the spirit's wing, Then when it feels, in cloud--girt wayfaring, The breath of kindred plumes against its feet? HEART'S HAVEN

Sometimes she is a child within mine arms, Cowering beneath dark wings that love must chase,-- With still tears showering and averted face, Inexplicably filled with faint alarms: And oft from mine own spirit's hurtling harms I crave the refuge of her deep embrace,-- Against all ills the fortified strong place And sweet reserve of sovereign counter-charms.

And Love, our light at night and shade at noon, Lulls us to rest with songs, and turns away All shafts of shelterless tumultuous day. Like the moon's growth, his face gleams through his tune; And as soft waters warble to the moon, Our answering spirits chime one roundelay. LOVE'S BAUBLES

I stood where Love in brimming armfuls bore Slight wanton flowers and foolish toys of fruit: And round him ladies thronged in warm pursuit, Fingered and lipped and proffered the strange store: And from one hand the petal and the core Savoured of sleep; and cluster and curled shoot Seemed from another hand like shame's salute,-- Gifts that I felt my cheek was blushing for.

At last Love bade my Lady give the same: And as I looked, the dew was light thereon; And as I took them, at her touch they shone With inmost heaven-hue of the heart of flame. And then Love said: 'Lo! when the hand is hers, Follies of love are love's true ministers.' PRIDE OF YOUTH

Even as a child, of sorrow that we give The dead, but little in his heart can find, Since without need of thought to his clear mind Their turn it is to die and his to live: Even so the winged New Love smiles to receive Along his eddying plumes the auroral wind, Nor, forward glorying, casts one look behind Where night-rack shrouds the Old Love fugitive.

There is a change in every hour's recall, And the last cowslip in the fields we see On the same day with the first corn-poppy. Alas for hourly change! Alas for all The loves that from his hand proud Youth lets fall, Even as the beads of a told rosary! WINGED HOURS

Each hour until we meet is as a bird That wings from far his gradual way along The rustling covert of my soul,--his song Still loudlier trilled through leaves more deeply stirr'd: But at the hour of meeting, a clear word Is every note he sings, in Love's own tongue; Yet, Love, thou know'st the sweet strain wrong, Through our contending kisses oft unheard.

What of that hour at last, when for her sake No wing may fly to me nor song may flow; When, wandering round my life unleaved, I The bloodied feathers scattered in the brake, And think how she, far from me, with like eyes Sees through the untuneful bough the wingless skies? MID - RAPTURE

Thou lovely and beloved, thou my love; Whose kiss seems still the first; whose summoning eyes, Even now, as for our love-world's new sunrise, Shed very dawn; whose voice, attuned above All modulation of the deep-bowered dove, Is like a hand laid softly on the soul; Whose hand is like a sweet voice to control Those worn tired brows it hath the keeping of:--

What word can answer to thy word,--what gaze To thine, which now absorbs within its sphere My worshipping face, till I am mirrored there Light-circled in a heaven of deep-drawn rays? What clasp, what kiss mine inmost heart can prove, 0 lovely and beloved, 0 my love? HEART'S COMPASS

Sometimes thou seem'st not as thyself alone, But as the meaning of all things that are; A breathless wonder, shadowing forth afar Some heavenly solstice hushed and halcyon; Whose unstirred lips are music's visible tone; Whose eyes the sun-gate of the soul unbar, Being of its furthest fires oracular;-- The evident heart of all life sown and mown.

Even such Love is; and is not thy name Love? Yea, by thy hand the Love-god rends apart All gathering clouds of Night's ambiguous art; Flings them far down, and sets thine eyes above; And simply, as some gage of flower or glove, Stakes with a smile the world against thy heart. SOUL-LIGHT

What other woman could be loved like you, Or how of you should love possess his fill? After the fulness of all rapture, still,-- As at the end of some deep avenue A tender glamour of day,--there comes to view Far in your eyes a yet more hungering thrill,-- Such fire as Love's soul-winnowing hands distil Even from his inmost arc of light and dew.

And as the traveller triumphs with the sun, Glorying in heat's mid-height, yet startide brings Wonder new-born, and still fresh transport springs From limpid lambent hours of day begun;-- Even so, through eyes and voice, your soul doth move My soul with changeful light of infinite love. THE MOONSTAR

Lady, I thank thee for thy loveliness, Because my lady is more lovely still. Glorying I gaze, and yield with glad goodwill To thee thy tribute; by whose sweet-spun dress Of delicate life Love labours to assess My Lady's absolute queendom; saying, 'Lo! How high this beauty is, which yet doth show But as that beauty's sovereign votaress.'

Lady, I saw thee with her, side by side; And as, when night's fair fires their queen surround, An emulous star too near the moon will ride,-- Even so thy rays within her luminous bound Were traced no more; and by the light so drown'd, Lady, not thou but she was glorified. LAST FIRE

Love, through your spirit and mine what summer eve Now glows with glory of all things possess'd, Since this day's sun of rapture filled the west And the light sweetened as the fire took leave? Awhile now softlier let your bosom heave, As in Love's harbour, even that loving breast, All care takes refuge while we sink to rest, And mutual dreams the bygone bliss retrieve.

Many the days that Winter keeps in store, Sunless throughout, or whose brief sun-glimpses Scarce shed the heaped snow through the naked trees. This day at least was Summer's paramour, Sun-coloured to the imperishable core With sweet well-being of love and full heart's ease. HER GIFTS

High grace, the dower of queens; and therewithal Some wood-born wonder's sweet simplicity; A glance like water brimming with the sky Or hyacinth-light where forest-shadows fall; Such thrilling pallor of cheek as doth enthral The heart; a mouth whose passionate forms imply All music and all silence held thereby; Deep golden locks, her sovereign coronal; A round reared neck, meet column of Love's shrine To cling to when the heart takes sanctuary; Hands which for ever at Love's bidding be, And soft-stirred feet still answering to his sign:-- These are her gifts, as tongue may tell them o'er. Breathe low her name, my soul; for that means more. EQUAL TROTH

Not by one measure mayst thou mete our love; For how should I be loved as I love thee?-- I, graceless, joyless, lacking absolutely All gifts that with thy queenship best behove;-- Thou, throned in every heart's elect alcove, And crowned with garlands culled from every tree, Which for no head but thine, by Love's decree, All beauties and all mysteries interwove.

But here thine eyes and lips yield soft rebuke:-- 'Then only,' (say'st thou), 'could I love thee less, When thou couldst doubt my love's equality.' Peace, sweet! If not to sum but worth we look, Thy heart's transcendence, not my heart's excess, Then more a thousandfold thou lov'st than I. VENUS VICTRIX

Could Juno's self more sovereign presence wear Than thou, 'mid other ladies throned in grace?-- Or Pallas, when thou bend'st with soul-stilled face O'er poet's page gold-shadowed in thy hair? Dost thou than Venus seem less heavenly fair When o'er the sea of love's tumultuous trance Hovers thy smile, and mingles with thy glance That sweet voice like the last wave murmuring there?

Before such triune loveliness divine Awestruck I ask, which goddess here most claims The prize that, howsoe'er adjudged, is thine?


The House of Life - 3/9

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