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- A Lover's Diary, Volume 1. - 3/6 -

Behold, now, I have touched the highest point In my existence. When I turn my eyes Backward to scan my outlived agonies, I feel God's finger touch me, to anoint

With this sweet Present the ungenerous Past, With love the wounds that struck stark in my soul; With hope life's aching restlessness and dole; To show me place to anchor in at last.

Like to a mother bending o'er the bed Where sleeps, death-silent, one that left her side Ere he had reached the flow of manhood's tide,

So stood I by my life whence Life had fled. But Life came back at Love's clear trumpet-call, And at Love's feet I cast the useless pall.


It is enough that in this burdened time The soul sees all its purposes aright. The rest--what does it matter? Soon the night Will come to whelm us, then the morning chime.

What does it matter, if but in the way One hand clasps ours, one heart believes us true; One understands the work we try to do, And strives through Love to teach us what to say?

Between me and the chilly outer air Which blows in from the world, there standeth one Who draws Love's curtains closely everywhere,

As God folds down the banners of the sun. Warm is my place about me, and above Where was the raven, I behold the dove.


I felt her fan my shoulder touch to-night. Soft act, faint touch, no meaning did it bear To any save myself, who felt the air Of a new feeling cross my soul's clear sight.

To me what matter that the players played! They grew upon the instant like the toys Which dance before the sight of idle boys; I could not hear the laughter that they made.

Swept was I on that breath her hand had drawn, Through the dull air, into a mountain-space, Where shafts of the bright sun-god interlace,

Making the promise of a golden dawn. And straightway crying, "O my heart, rejoice!" It found its music in my lady's voice.


Far up the sky the sunset glamour spreads, Far off the city lies in golden mist; The sea grows calm, the waves the sun has kissed Strike white hands softly 'gainst the rocky heads.

So calm the world, so still the city lies, So warm the haze that spreads o'er everything; And yet where, there, Peace sits as Lord and King, Havoc will reign when next the sun shall rise.

The wheels pause only for a little space, And in the pause they gather strength again. 'Tis but the veil drawn over Labour's face,

O'er strife, derision, and the sin of men. My heart with a sweet inner joy o'erflows To nature's peace, and a kind silence knows.


But see: my lady comes. I hear her feet Upon the sward; she standeth by my side. Just such a face Raphael had deified, If in his day they two had chanced to meet.

And I, tossed by the tide of circumstance, Lifting weak hands against a host of swords, Paused suddenly to hear her gentle words Making powerless the lightnings of mischance.

I, who was but a maker of poor songs, That one might sing behind his prison bars, I, who it seemed fate singled out for wrongs--

She smiled on me as smile the nearest stars. From her deep soul I draw my peace, and thus, One wreath of rhyme I weave for both of us.


Were I but as the master souls who move In their high place, immortal on the earth, My song might be a thing to crown her worth,-- 'Tis but a pathway for the feet of Love.

But since she walks where I am fain to sing, Since she has said, "I listen, O my friend!" There is a glory lent the song I send, And I am proud, yes, prouder than a king.

I grow to nobler use beneath her eyes-- Eyes that smile on me so serenely, will They smile a welcome though my best hope dies,

And greet me at the summit of the hill? Will she, for whom my heart has built a shrine, Take from me all that makes this world divine?


Art's use what is it but to touch the springs Of nature? But to hold a torch up for Humanity in Life's large corridor, To guide the feet of peasants and of kings!

What is it but to carry union through Thoughts alien to thoughts kindred, and to merge The lines of colour that should not diverge, And give the sun a window to shine through!

What is it but to make the world have heed For what its dull eyes else would hardly scan, To draw in a stark light a shameless deed,

And show the fashion of a kingly man! To cherish honour, and to smite all shame, To lend hearts voices, and give thoughts a name!


But wherein shall Art work? Shall beauty lead It captive, and set kisses on its mouth? Shall it be strained unto the breast of youth, And in a garden live where grows no weed?

Shall it, in dalliance with the flaunting world, Play but soft airs, sing but sweet-tempered songs? Veer lightly from the stress of all great wrongs, And lisp of peace 'mid battle-flags unfurled?

Shall it but pluck the sleeve of wantonness, And gently chide the folly of our time? But wave its golden wand at sin's duress,

And say, "Ah me! ah me!" to fallow crime? Nay, Art serves Truth, and Truth with Titan blows, Strikes fearless at all evil that it knows.


A Lover's Diary, Volume 1. - 3/6

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