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God be with thee my beloved, God be with thee!
Else alone thou goest forth,
Thy face unto the north,
Moor and pleasance all around thee and beneath thee,
Looking equal in one snow;
While I who try to reach thee,
Vainly follow, vainly follow,
With the farewell and the hollo,
And cannot reach thee so.
Alas I can but teach thee,
God be with thee my beloved, -God be with thee.
Can I teach thee my beloved, --can I teach thee?
If I said, 'Go left or right,'
The counsel would be light,
The wisdom, poor of all that could enrich thee.
My right would show like left,
My raising would depress thee,
My choice of light would blind thee,
Of way, would leave behind thee,
Of end, would leave bereft.
Alas, I can but bless thee !
May God teach thee my beloved,-May God teach thee.
Can I bless thee my beloved, --can I bless thee?
What blessing word can I
From mine own tears keep dry?
What flowers grow in my field wherewith to dress thee!
My good reverts to ill ;
My calmnesses would move thee,
My softnesses would prick thee,
My bindings-up would break thee,
My crownings curse and kill.
Alas, I can but love thee!
May God bless thee my beloved,-may God bless thee.
Can I love thee my beloved, --can I love thee?
And is this like love, to stand
With no help in my hand,
When strong as death I fain would watch above thee?
My love-kiss can deny
No tear that falls beneath it;
Mine oath of love can swear thee
From no ill that comes near thee,
And thou diest while I breathe it,
And I-I can but die !
May God love thee my beloved,-may God love thee.
Eyes which can but ill define
Shapes that rise about and near,
Thro' the far horizon's line
Stretch a vision free and clear;
Memories feeble to retrace
Yesterday's immediate flow,
Find a dear familiar face
In each hour of Long-ago.
As the heart of childhood brings
Something of eternal joy,
From its own unsounded springs,
Such as life can scarce destroy;
So, remindful of the prime,
Spirits wandering to and fro,
Rest upon the resting time
In the peace of Long-ago.
Many a growth of pain and care,
Cumbering all the present hour,
Yields, when once transplanted there,
Healthy fruit or pleasant flower;
Thoughts that hardly flourish here,
Feelings long have ceased to blow,
Breathe a native atmosphere
In the world of Long-ago.
On that deep-retiring shore
Frequent pearls of beauty lie,
Where the passion-waves of yore
Fiercely beat and mounted high;
Sorrows that are sorrows still
Lose the bitter taste of woe;
Nothing's altogether ill
In the griefs of Long-ago.
Tombs where lonely love repines,
Ghastly tenements of tears,
Wear the look of happy shrines
Thro' the golden mist of years ;
Death, to those who trust in good,
Vindicates his hardest blow;
Oh! we would not, if we could,
Wake the sleep of Long-ago!
Tho' the doom of swift decay
Shocks the soul where life is strong,
Tho' for frailer hearts the day
Lingers sad and overlong,
Still the weight will find a leaven,
Still the spoiler's hand is slow,
While the Future has its Heaven,
And the Past its Long-ago.
IN THE VALLEY OF CAUTERETS.
All along the valley, stream that flashest white,
Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,
All along the valley, where thy waters flow,
I walked with one I loved two and thirty years ago.
All along the valley while I walked to-day,
The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;
For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed
Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,
And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,
The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.
Long years have passed, old friend, since we
First met in life's young day;
And friends long loved by thee and me,
Since then have dropped away ;-
But enough remain to cheer us on,
And sweeten, when thus we're met, The glass we fill to the many gone,
And the few who're left us yet.
Our locks, old friend, now thinly grow,
And some hang white and chill;
While some, like flowers 'mid Autumn's snow,
Retain youth's colour still.
And so, in our hearts, though one by one,
Youth's sunny hopes have set.
Thank heaven, not all their light is gone,-
We've some to cheer us yet.
Then here's to thee, old friend, and long
May thou and I thus meet,
To brighten still with talk and song
This short life, ere it fleet.
And still as death comes stealing on,
Let's never, old friend, forget,
Ev'n while we sigh o'er blessings gone,
How many are left us yet.