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In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove;
Then her cheek was pale and thinner than should be for one
so young, And her eyes on all my motions with a mute observance hung.
And I said, "My cousin Amy, speak, and speak the truth to me, Trust me, cousin, all the current of my being sets to thee.”
On her pallid cheek and forehead came a color and a light, As I have seen the rosy red flushing in the northern night.
And she turned-her bosom shaken with a sudden storm of
sighs— All the spirit deeply dawning in the dark of hazel eyes
Saying, "I have hid my feelings, fearing they should do me
wrong”; Saying, "Dost thou love me, cousin?” weeping, “I have loved
Love took up the glass of time, and turned it in his glowing
hands; Every moment, lightly shaken, ran itself in golden sands.
Love took up the harp of Life, and smote on all the chords
with might; Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, past in music out of sight.
Many a morning on the moorland did we hear the
copses ring, And her whisper thronged my pulses with the fullness of the
Many an evening by the waters did we watch the stately ships, And our spirits rushed together at the touching of the lips.
O my cousin, shallow-hearted! O my Amy, mine no more! O the dreary, dreary moorland! O the barren, barren shore!
Falser than all fancy fathoms, falser than all songs have sung, Puppet to a father's threat, and servile to a shrewish tongue!
Is it well to wish thee happy?. having known me—to decline On a range of lower feelings and a narrower heart than mine!
Yet it shall be; thou shalt lower to his level day by day, What is fine within thee growing coarse to sympathize with
As the husband is, the wife is; thou art mated with a clown, And the grossness of his nature will have weight to drag thee
He will hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel
force, Something better than his dog, a little dearer than his horse.
What is this? his eyes are heavy; think not they are glazed
with wine. Go to him, it is thy duty; kiss him, take his hand in thine.
It may be my lord is weary, that his brain is overwrought;
He will answer to the purpose, easy things to understandBetter thou wert dead before me, tho' I slew thee with my
Better thou and I were lying, hidden from the heart's disgrace, Rolled in one another's arms, and silent in a last embrace.
Cursed be the social wants that sin against the strength of
youth! Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth!
Cursed be the sickly forms that err from honest Nature's rule! Cursed be the gold that gilds the straitened forehead of the
Well-'tis well that I should bluster!-Hadst thou less
unworthy provedWould to God—for I had loved thee more than ever wife was
Am I mad, that I should cherish that which bears but bitter
I will pluck it from my bosom, tho' my heart be at the root.
Never, tho' my mortal summers to such length of years should
As the many-wintered crow that leads the clanging rookery home.
Where is comfort? in division of the records of the mind? Can I part her from herself, and love her, as I knew her, kind?
I remember one that perished; sweetly did she speak and move; Such a one do I remember, whom to look at was to love.
Can I think of her as dead, and love her for the love she bore? No—she never loved me truly; love is love for evermore.
Comfort? comfort scorned of devils! this is truth the poet
sings, That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier
Drug thy memories, lest thou learn it, lest thy heart be put to
proof, In the dead unhappy night, and when the rain is on the roof.
Like a dog, he hunts in dreams, and thou art staring at the
wall, Where the dying night-lamp flickers, and the shadows rise and
Then a hand shall pass before thee, pointing to his drunken
sleep, To thy widowed marriage-pillows, to the tears that thou wilt
Thou shalt hear the “Never, never,” whispered by the phan
tom years, And a song from out the distance in the ringing of thine ears; And an eye shall vex thee, looking ancient kindness on thy
The passage alluded to may be seen in its con
1 The poet is Dante. text, below, p. 302.
pain. Turn thee, turn thee on thy pillow; get thee to thy rest again.
Nay, but Nature brings thee solace; for a tender voice will cry. 'Tis a purer life than thine, a lip to drain thy trouble dry.
Baby lips will laugh me down; my latest rival brings thee rest. Baby fingers, waxen touches, press me from the mother's breast.
Oh, the child too clothes the father with a dearness not his due. Half is thine and half is his: it will be worthy of the two.
Oh, I see thee old and formal, fitted to thy petty part,
"They were dangerous guides, the feelings—she herself was
not exemptTruly, she herself had suffered”—Perish in thy self-contempt!
Overlive it—lower yet—be happy! wherefore should I care? I myself must mix with action, lest I wither by despair.
What is that which I should turn to, lighting upon days like
these? Every door is barred with gold, and opens but to golden keys.
Every gate is thronged with suitors, all the markets overflow. I have but an angry fancy; what is that which I should do?
I had been content to perish, falling on the foeman's ground, When the ranks are rolled in vapor, and the winds are laid