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A PICTURE AT FANO.
That child, when thou hast done with him, for ine! Let me sit all the day here, that when eve
Shall find performed thy special ministry
Another still, to quiet and retrieve.
Then I shall feel thee step one step, no more,
From where thou standest now, to where I gaze, And suddenly my head be covered o'er
With those wings, white above the child who prays Now on that tomb, — and I shall feel thee guarding Me, out of all the world; for me, discarding
Yon heaven thy home, that waits and opes its door!
I would not look up thither past thy head
Because the door opes, like that child, I know,
Thou bird of God! And wilt thou bend me low
Me, as thy lamb there, with thy garment's spread ?
If this was ever granted, I would rest
My head beneath thine, while thy healing hands Close-covered both my eyes beside thy breast,
Pressing the brain, which too much thought expands, Back to its proper size again, and smoothing Distortion down till every nerve had soothing,
And all lay quiet, happy, and supprest.
How soon all worldly wrong would be repaired !
I think how I should view the earth and skies And sea, when once again my brow was bared
After thy healing, with such different eyes. O world, as God has made it! all is beauty : And knowing this, is love, and love is duty.
What further may be sought for or declared ?
Guercino drew this angel I saw teach
(Alfred, dear friend,) — that little child to pray, Holding the little hands up, each to each
Pressed gently, — with his own head turned away Over the earth where so much lay before him Of work to do, though heaven was opening o'er him,
And he was left at Fano by the beach.
We were at Fano, and three times we went
To sit and see him in his chapel there, And drink his beauty to our soul's content,
– My angel with me too: and since I care For dear Guercino's fame, (to which in power And glory comes this picture for a dower,
Fraught with a pathos so magnificent,)
And since he did not work so earnestly
At all times, and has else endured some wrong, I took one thought his picture struck from me,
And spread it out, translating it to song. My Love is here. Where are you, dear old friend? How rolls the Wairoa at your world's far end ?
This is Ancona, yonder is the sea.
TWO IN THE CAMPAGNA.
WONDER do you feel to-day
As I have felt, since, hand in hand, We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land, This morn of Rome and May ?
For me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
The yellowing fennel, run to seed
Some old tomb's ruin : yonder weed
Five beetles, – blind and green they grope Among the honey-meal, — and last
Everywhere on the grassy slope I traced it. Hold it fast!
The champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses everywhere! Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air, Rome's ghost since her decease. Such life there, through such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play, Such primal naked forms of flowers,
Such letting Nature have her way While Heaven looks from its towers.
How say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul, As earth lies bare to heaven above.
How is it under our control To love or not to love ?
I would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more,
Where does the fault lie? what the core
See with your eyes, and set my heart
At your soul's springs, – your part, my part In life, for good and ill.
No. I yearn upward, - touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek, Catch your soul's warmth, - I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak, – Then the good minute goes.
Already how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,
Onward, whenever light winds blow, Fixed by no friendly star?
Just when I seemed about to learn !
Where is the thread now? Off again! The old trick! Only I discern
Infinite passion and the pain Of finite hearts that yearn.
AN OLD STORY.
T was roses, roses, all the way,
With myrtle mixed in my path like mad. The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,
The church-spires flamed, such flags they had, A year ago on this very day!
The air broke into a mist with bells,
The old walls rocked with the crowds and cries. Had I said, “Good folks, mere noise repels,
But give me your sun from yonder skies !” They had answered, “ And afterward, what else?”
Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun,
To give it my loving friends to keep. Naught man could do, have I left undone,
And you see my harvest, what I reap This very day, now a year is run.
There's nobody on the house-tops now,
Just a palsied few at the windows set, For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles' Gate, - or, better yet, By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.
I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,