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When I sewed or drew,

I recall
How he looked as if I sang,

— Sweetly too. If I spoke a word,

First of all
Up his cheek the color sprang,

Then he heard.

Sitting by my side,

At my feet,
So he breathed the air I breathed,

Satisfied !
I, too, at love's brim

Touched the sweet :
I would die if death bequeathed

Sweet to him.

Speak, I love thee best !”

He exclaimed. “Let thy love my own foretell,”

I confessed :
“ Clasp my heart on thine

Now unblamed,
Since upon thy soul as well

Hangeth mine!
Was it wrong to own,

Being truth?
Why should all the giving prove

His alone?
I had wealth and ease,

Beauty, youth,
Since my lover gave me love,

I gave these.

That was all I meant,

To be just,
And the passion I had raised

To content.

Since he chose to change

Gold for dust,
If I gave him what he praised

Was it strange?

Would he loved me yet,

On and on, While I found some way undreamed

- Paid my debt! Gave more life and more,

Till, all gone, He should smile, “She never seemed

Mine before.

“ What, — she felt the while,

Must I think?
Love's so different with us men,"

He should smile.
Dying for my sake, -

White and pink!
Can't we touch these bubbles then

But they break?

Dear, the pang is brief.

Do thy part,
Have thy pleasure. How perplext

Grows belief!
Well, this cold clay clod

Was man's heart.
Crumble it, - and what comes next?

Is it God?

“DE GUSTIBUS - "

YOUR

OUR ghost will walk, you

lover of trees, (If loves remain)

In an English lane,
By a cornfield-side a-flutter with poppies.
Hark, those two in the hazel coppice,
A boy and a girl, if the good fates please,

Making love, say,

The happier they!
Draw yourself up from the light of the moon,
And let them pass, as they will too soon,

With the bean-flowers' boon,
And the blackbird's tune,
And May, and June !

What I love best in all the world,
Is, a castle, precipice-encurled,
In a gash of the wind-grieved Apennine.
Or look for me, old fellow of mine
(If I get my head from out the mouth
O'the grave, and loose my spirit's bands,
And come again to the land of lands), –
In a seaside house to the farther south,
Where the baked cicalas die of drouth,
And one sharp tree ('t is a cypress) stands,
By the many hundred years red-rusted,
Rough iron-spiked, ripe fruit-o'ercrusted,
My sentinel to guard the sands
To the water's edge. For, what expands
Without the house, but the great opaque
Blue breadth of sca, and not a break?
While, in the house, forever crumbles
Some fragment of the frescoed walls,
From blisters where a scorpion sprawls.
A girl barefooted brings and tumbles

Down on the pavement, green-flesh melons,
And says there's news to-day, — the king
Was shot at, touched in the liver-wing,
Goes with his Bourbon arm in a sling.
- She hopes they have not caught the felons.

Italy, my Italy !
Queen Mary's saying serves for me,

(When fortune's malice

Lost her, Calais.)
Open my heart and you will see
Graved inside of it, “ Italy.”
Such lovers old are I and she;
So it always was, so it still shall be !

[blocks in formation]

Round and round, like a dance of snow
In a dazzling drift, as its guardians, go
Floating the women faded for ages,
Sculptured in stone, on the poet's pages.
Then follow the women fresh and gay,
Living and loving and loved to-day.
Last, in the rear, flee the multitude of maidens,
Beauties unborn. And all, to one cadence,
They circle their rose on my rose-tree.

Dear rose, thy term is reached,
Thy leaf hangs loose and bleached :
Bees pass it unimpeached.

Stay then, stoop, since I cannot climb,
You, great shapes of the antique time!
How shall I fix you, fire you, freeze you,
Break my heart at your feet to please you?
O to possess, and be possessed !
Hearts that beat 'neath each pallid breast !
But once of love, the poesy, the passion,
Drink once and die ! - In vain, the same fashion,
They circle their rose on my rose-tree.

Dear rose, thy joy 's undimmed;
Thy cup is ruby-rimmed,
Thy cap's heart nectar-brim med.

Deep as drops from a statue's plinth
The bee sucked in by the hyacinth,
So will I bury me while burning,
Quench like him at a plunge my yearning,
Eyes in your eyes, lips on your lips !
Fold me fast where the cincture slips,
Prison all my soul in eternities of pleasure !
Girdle me once! But no, - in their old measure
They circle their rose on my rose-tree.

Dear rose without a thorn,
Thy bud 's the babe unborn,
First streak of a new morn.

Wings, lend wings for the cold, the clear!
What's far conquers what is near.
Roses will bloom nor want beholders,
Sprung from the dust where our own flesh moulders.
What shall arrive with the cycle's change?
A novel grace and a beauty strange.
I will make an Eve, be the artist that began her,
Shaped her to his mind ! — Alas! in like manner
They circle their rose on my rose-tree.

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