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- The House of Life - 4/9 -


Then Love breathes low the sweetest of thy names; And Venus Victrix to my heart doth bring Herself, the Helen of her guerdoning. THE DARK GLASS

Not I myself know all my love for thee: How should I reach so far, who cannot weigh To-morrow's dower by gage of yesterday? Shall birth and death, and all dark names that be As doors and windows bared to some loud sea, Lash deaf mine ears and blind my face with spray; And shall my sense pierce love,--the last relay And ultimate outpost of eternity?

Lo! what am I to Love, the lord of all? One murmuring shell he gathers from the sand,-- One little heart-flame sheltered in his hand. Yet through thine eyes he grants me clearest call And veriest touch of powers primordial That any hour-girt life may understand. THE LAMP'S SHRINE

Sometimes I fain would find in thee some fault, That I might love thee still in spite of it: Yet how should our Lord Love curtail one whit Thy perfect praise whom most he would exalt? Alas! he can but make my heart's low vault Even in men's sight unworthier, being lit By thee, who thereby show'st more exquisite Like fiery chrysoprase in deep basalt.

Yet will I nowise shrink; but at Love's shrine Myself within the beams his brow doth dart Will set the flashing jewel of thy heart In that dull chamber where it deigns to shine: For lo! in honour of thine excellencies My heart takes pride to show how poor it is. LIFE - IN - LOVE

Not in thy body is thy life at all But in this lady's lips and hands and eyes; Through these she yields the life that vivifies What else were sorrow's servant and death's thrall. Look on thyself without her, and recall The waste remembrance and forlorn surmise That lived but in a dead-drawn breath of sighs O'er vanished hours and hours eventual.

Even so much life hath the poor tress of hair Which, stored apart, is all love hath to show For heart-beats and for fire-heats long ago; Even so much life endures unknown, even where, 'Mid change the changeless night environeth, Lies all that golden hair undimmed in death. THE LOVE- MOON

'When that dead face, bowered in the furthest years, Which once was all the life years held for thee, Can now scarce bide the tides of memory Cast on thy soul a little spray of tears,-- How canst thou gaze into these eyes of hers Whom now thy heart delights in, and not see Within each orb Love's philtred euphrasy Make them of buried troth remembrancers?'

'Nay, pitiful Love, nay, loving Pity! Well Thou knowest that in these twain I have confess'd Two very voices of thy summoning bell. Nay, Master, shall not Death make manifest In these the culminant changes which approve The love-moon that must light my soul to Love?' THE MORROW'S MESSAGE

'Thou Ghost,' I said, 'and is thy name To-day?-- Yesterday's son, with such an abject brow!-- And can To-morrow be more pale than thou?' While yet I spoke, the silence answered: 'Yea, Henceforth our issue is all grieved and grey, And each beforehand makes such poor avow As of old leaves beneath the budding bough Or night-drift that the sundawn shreds away.'

Then cried I: 'Mother of many malisons, 0 Earth, receive me to thy dusty bed!' But therewithal the tremulous silence said: 'Lo! Love yet bids thy lady greet thee once:-- Yea, twice,- whereby thy life is still the sun's; And thrice, -- whereby the shadow of death is dead.' SLEEPLESS DREAMS

Girt in dark growths, yet glimmering with one star, 0 night desirous as the nights of youth! Why should my heart within thy spell, forsooth, Now beat, as the bride's finger-pulses are Quickened within the girdling golden bar? What wings are these that fan my pillow smooth? And why does Sleep, waved back by Joy and Ruth, Tread softly round and gaze at me from far?

Nay, night deep-leaved! And would Love feign in thee Some shadowy palpitating grove that bears Rest for man's eyes and music for his ears? 0 lonely night! art thou not known to me, A thicket hung with masks of mockery And watered with the wasteful warmth of tears? SEVERED SELVES

Two separate divided silences, Which, brought together, would find loving voice; Two glances which together would rejoice In love, now lost like stars beyond dark trees; Two hands apart whose touch alone gives ease; Two bosoms which, heart-shrined with mutual flame, Would, meeting in one clasp, be made the same; Two souls, the shores wave-mocked of sundering seas:--

Such are we now. Ah! may our hope forecast Indeed one hour again, when on this stream Of darkened love once more the light shall gleam? An hour how slow to come, how quickly past, Which blooms and fades, and only leaves at last, Faint as shed flowers, the attenuated dream. THROUGH DEATH TO LOVE

Like labour-laden moonclouds faint to flee From winds that sweep the winter-bitten wold,-- Like multiform circumfluence manifold Of night's flood-tide,--like terrors that agree Of hoarse-tongued fire and inarticulate sea,-- Even such, within some glass dimmed by our breath, Our hearts discern wild images of Death, Shadows and shoals that edge eternity.

Howbeit athwart Death's imminent shade doth soar One Power, than flow of stream or flight of dove Sweeter to glide around, to brood above. Tell me, my heart;--what angel-greeted door Or threshold of wing-winnowed threshing-floor Hath guest fire-fledged as thine, whose lord is Love? HOPE OVERTAKEN

I deemed thy garments, 0 my Hope, were grey, So far I viewed thee. Now the space between Is passed at length; and garmented in green Even as in days of yore thou stand'st to-day. Ah God! and but for lingering dull dismay, On all that road our footsteps erst had been Even thus commingled, and our shadows seen Blent on the hedgerows and the water-way.

0 Hope of mine whose eyes are living love, No eyes but hers,--0 Love and Hope the same!-- Lean close to me, for now the sinking sun That warmed our feet scarce gilds our hair above. 0 hers thy voice and very hers thy name! Alas, cling round me, for the day is done! LOVE AND HOPE

Bless love and hope. Full many a withered year Whirled past us, eddying to its chill doomsday; And clasped together where the blown leaves lay, We long have knelt and wept full many a tear. Yet lo! one hour at last, the Spring's compeer, Flutes softly to us from some green byeway:* Those years, those tears are dead, but only they:-- Bless love and hope, true soul; for we are here.

Cling heart to heart; nor of this hour demand Whether in very truth, when we are dead, Our hearts shall wake to know Love's golden head Sole sunshine of the imperishable land; Or but discern, through night's unfeatured scope, Scorn-fired at length the illusive eyes of Hope.

*[sic] CLOUD AND WIND

Love, should I fear death most for you or me? Yet if you die, can I not follow you, Forcing the straits of change? Alas! but who Shall wrest a bond from night's inveteracy, Ere yet my hazardous soul put forth, to be Her warrant against all her haste might rue?-- Ah! in your eyes so reached what dumb adieu, What unsunned gyres of waste eternity?

And if I die the first, shall death be then A lampless watchtower whence I see you weep?-- Or (woe is me!) a bed wherein my sleep Ne'er notes (as death s dear cup at last you drain), The hour when you too learn that all is vain And that Hope sows what Love shall never reap? SECRET PARTING

Because our talk was of the cloud-control And moon-track of the journeying face of Fate, Her tremulous kisses faltered at love's gate And her eyes dreamed against a distant goal: But soon, remembering her how brief the whole Of joy, which its own hours annihilate, Her set gaze gathered, thirstier than of late,


The House of Life - 4/9

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