University of Virginia Library





Children of my happier prime,
When One yet lived with me, and threw
Her rainbow over life and time,
Even Hope, my bride, and mother to you!
O, nurtured in sweet pastoral air,
And fed on flowers and light, and dew
Of morning meadows—spare, Ah, spare
Reproach; spare, and upbraid me not
That, yielding scarce to reckless mood
But jealous of your future lot,
I sealed you in a fate subdued.
Have I not saved you from the drear
Theft and ignoring which need be
The triumph of the insincere
Unanimous Mediocrity?
Rest therefore, free from all despite,
Snugged in the arms of comfortable night.


With wrecks in a garret I'm stranded,
Where, no longer returning a face,
I take to reflections the deeper
On memories far to retrace.
In me have all people confided,
The maiden her charms has displayed,
And truths unrevealed and unuttered
To me have been freely betrayed.


Some truths I might tell of the toilet
Did not tenderness make me forget;
But the glance of proud beauty slow fading
It dies not away from me yet;
Nor the eyes too long ceasing to shine,—
Soliciting, shunning, well knowing that mine
Were too candid to flatter when met.
But pledged unto trueness forever,
My confessional close as the friar's,
How sacred to me are the trusting,
Here nothing for scandal transpires.
But ah, what of all that is perished,
Nor less shall again be, again!
What pangs after parties of pleasure,
What smiles but disclosures of pain!
O, the tears of the hopeless unloved,
O, the start at old age drawing near—
And what shadows of thoughts more tragical far
Like clouds on a lake have been here!
Tho' lone in a loft I must languish
Far from closet and parlor at strife,
Content I escape from the anguish
Of the Real and the Seeming in life.



Madam Mirror, believe we are sorry for you;
But Ah, how console you or cheer!
We are young, we go skipping, but you
Are an old and forlorn garreteer!
'Tis we view the world thro' an arbor,
The bride with the bridegroom appears;
But you, retrospecting thro' tunnels
See but widowers and widows on biers!
To us that is foreign, in no sense will pair
With cake, wine and diamonds, and blossoms in hair!
But age!—Ah, the crow will scarce venture
To tread near the eyes flashing bold;
He's a craven; and youth is immortal;
'Tis the elderly only grow old!
But, Dame, for all misty recurrings
To beacons befogged in the past—
Less dismal they are, dame, than dubious;
Nor joy leaves us time to forecast.
Tho' the battered we hardly would banter,
And never will ridicule use,
Let us say that a twilight of inklings
Is worth scarse the Pope's old shoes.
For the rest, the skeletons meeting glass eyes
Let a parable serve, if by chance it applies.


A brace of green goggles they gabbled, old elves,
Touching my queer spectacles they had descried;
But the queerest of all were the goggles themselves,
Rusty, fusty shagreen of the puckered fish-hide!
But you, Madam Mirror, not here we type you,
Nor twit you for being a glass
With a druggish green blur and a horrible way
Of distorting all objects, alas!
Ourselves, so symmetric, our cavaliers tell,
What, squint us to witches with broomsticks to sell!
Oh yes, we are giddy, we whirl in youth's waltz,
But a fig for Reflections when crookedly false!



The man of bone confirms his throne
In cave where fossils be;
Outdating every mummy known,
Not older Cuvier's mastodon,
Nor older much the sea:
Old as the Glacial Period, he;
And claims he calls to mind the day
When Thule's king, by reindeer drawn,
His sleigh-bells jingling in icy morn,
Slid clean from the Pole to the Wetterhorn
Over frozen waters in May!
Oh, the man of the cave of Engihoul,
With Eld doth he dote and drule?


A wizard one, his lore is none
Ye spell with A. B. C.;
But do-do tracks, all up and down
That slate he poreth much upon,
His algebra may be:—
Yea, there he cyphers and sums it free;
To ages ere Indus met ocean's swell
Addeth æons ere Satan or Saturn fell.
His totals of time make an awful schism,
And old Chronos he pitches adown the abysm
Like a pebble down Carisbrook well.
Yea, the man of the cave of Engihoul
From Moses knocks under the stool.
In bas-relief he late has shown
A horrible show, agree—
Megalosaurus, iguanodon,
Palæotherium Glypthæcon,
A Barnum-show raree;
The vomit of slimy and sludgey sea:
Purposeless creatures, odd inchoate things
Which splashed thro' morasses on fleshly wings;
The cubs of Chaos, with eyes askance,
Preposterous griffins that squint at Chance
And Anarch's cracked decree!
Oh the showman who dens in Engihoul,
Would he fright us, or quit us, or fool?
But, needs to own, he takes a tone,
Satiric on nobs, pardee!
“Though in ages whose term is yet to run,
Old Adam a seraph may have for son,


His gran'ther's a crab, d'y'see!
And why cut your kinsman the ape?” adds he:
“Your trick of scratching is borrowed from him,
Grimace and cunning, with many a whim,
Your fidgets and hypoes, and each megrim—
All's traced in the family tree!”
Ha, the wag of the cave of Engihoul:
Buss me, gorilla and ghoul!
Obstreperous grown he'd fain dethrone
Joe Smith, and e'en Jones Three;
Against even Jos and great Mahone
He flings his fossiliffer's stone
And rattles his shanks for glee.
I'll settle these parvenu fellows, he-he!
Diluvian Jove of Ducalion's day—
A parting take to the Phocene clay!
He swears no Ens that takes a name
Commensurate is with the vasty claim
Of the protoplastic Fegee.
O, the spook of the cave of Engihoul
He flogs us and sends us to school.
Hyena of bone! Ah, beat him down,
Great Pope, with Peter's key,
Ere the Grand Pan-Jam be overthrown
With Joe and Jos and great Mahone,
And the firmament mix with the sea;
And then, my masters, where should we be?


But the ogre of bone he snickers alone,
He grins for his godless glee:
“I have flung my stone, my fossil stone,
And your gods, how they scamper,” saith he.
Imp! imp of the cave of Engihoul,
Shall he grin like the Gorgon and rule?



In La Mancha he mopeth,
With beard thin and dusty;
He doteth and mopeth
In library fusty—
'Mong his old folios gropeth:
Cites obsolete saws
Of chivalry's laws—
Be the wronged one's knight:
Die, but do right.
So he rusts and musts,
While each grocer green
Thriveth apace with the fulsome face
Of a fool serene.



Thy aim, thy aim?
'Mid the dust dearth and din,
An exception wouldst win
By some deed shall ignite the acclaim?
Then beware, and prepare thee
Lest Envy ensnare thee,
And yearning be sequelled by shame.
But strive bravely on, yet on and yet on,
Let the goal be won;
Then if, living, you kindle a flame,
Your guerdon will be but a flower,
Only a flower,
The flower of repute,
A flower cut down in an hour.
But repute, if this be too tame,
And, dying, you truly ennoble a name—
Again but a flower!
Only a flower,
A funeral flower,
A blossom of Dis from Proserpine's bower—
The belated funeral flower of fame.



Bewrinkled in shingle and lichened in board,
With sills settling down to the sward,
My old barn it leaneth awry;
It sags, and the wags wag their heads going by.
In March winds it creaks,
Each gaunt timber shrieks
Like ribs of a craft off Cape Horn;
And in midst of the din
The foul weather beats in;
And the grain-chest—'twould mould any corn!
Pull it down, says a neighbor.
Never mine be that labor!
For a Spirit inhabits, a fellowly one,
The like of which never responded to me
From the long hills and hollows that make up the sea,
Hills and hollows where Echo is none.
The site should I clear, and rebuild,
Would that Voice reinhabit?—Self-willed,
Says each pleasing thing
Never Dives can buy,
Let me keep where I cling!
I am touchy as tinder
Yea, quick to take wing,
Nor return if I fly.




Restless, restless, craving rest,
Forever must I fan this fire,
Forever in flame on flame aspire?
Yea, for the God demands thy best.
The world with endless beauty teems,
And thought evokes new worlds of dreams:
Then hunt the flying herds of themes.
And fan, yet fan thy fervid fire
Until the crucibled ore shall show
That fire can purge, as well as glow.
In ordered ardor nobly strong,
Flame to the height of ancient song.

Camoens In The Hospital


What now avails the pageant verse,
Trophies and arms with music borne?
Base is the world; and some rehearse
How noblest meet ignoble scorn
Vain now the ardor, vain the fire,
Delirium mere, unsound desire:
Fate's knife hath ripped the chorded lyre.
Exhausted by the exacting lay,
Thou dost but fall a surer prey


To wile and guile ill understood;
While they who work them, fair in face,
Still keep their strength in prudent place,
And claim they worthier run life's race,
Serving high God with useful good.


Hither, Blanche! 'Tis you and I.
Now that not a fool is by
To say we fool it—let us fool!
We, you know, in mind are one,
Alumni of no fagging school;
Superfluous business still we shun;
And ambition we let go,
The while poor dizzards strain and strive,
Rave and slave, drudge and drive,
Chasing ever, to and fro,
After ends that seldom gain
Scant exemption from life's pain.
But preachment proses, and so I.
Blanche, round your furred neck let me tie
This Order, with brave ribbon, see,—
The King he pinned it upon me.
But, hark ye, sweeting—well-a-day!
Forever shall ye purr this way—
Forever comfortable be?
Don't you wish now 'twas for ye,


Our grandiose eternity?
Pish! what fops we humans here,
Won't admit within our sphere
The whitest doe, nor even thee—
We, the spotless humans, we!
Preaching, prosing—scud and run,
Earnestness is far from fun.
Bless me, Blanche; we'll frisk to-night,
Hearts be ours lilt and light—
Gambol, skip, and frolic, play:
Wise ones fool it while they may!


One that I cherished,
Yea, loved as a son—
Up early, up late with,
My promising one:
No use in good nurture,
None, lads, none!
Here on this settle
He wore the true crown,
King of good fellows,
And Fat Jack was one—
Now, Beadle of England
In formal array—
Best fellow alive
On a throne flung away!


Companions and cronies
Keep fast and lament;—
Come drawer, more sack here
To drown discontent;
For now intuitions
Shall wither to codes,
Pragmatical morals
Shall libel the gods.—
One I instructed,
Yea, talked to—alone:
Clean away thrown!
(Sorrow makes thirsty:
Sack, drawer, more sack!—)
One that I prayed for,
I, Honest Jack!—
To bring down these gray hairs—
To cut his old pal!
But, I'll be magnanimous—
Here's to thee, Hal!



MRS. B---

Now churches are leafy,
Now evergreens reign;
'Tis green Burnam wood
Come to gray Dunsinane!
Now the night it is starry
And lavishly go
In a largess of music
The bells thro' the snow.
Now burn the decanters
Like turrets that rise
All garnet in sunset
Of orient skies.
O, snugged in the Valley,
A homestead of hearts!
Love flies like a shuttle,
And knits while it darts.
Brown brothers, fair sisters,
Bright cousins and all,
Keeping Christmas at table,
The large and the small.


But a kinswoman glideth,
Infantile in grace,
Sits down and is silent—
Medallion in place!
O, the hearth is like ruby,
The curtains they glow;
But she who sits sadly
Her story we know:
The blossom of orange
Turned cypress so soon!
Child-bride of the May-time
Child-widow in June!
Snow-white is her raiment;
And sorrow so mild,
An elf-sorrow seemeth,
As she an elf-child.
In patience she sitteth;
Tho' cometh no balm,
She floats, holy lily,
On waters of calm.
Come pass the decanter!
Our hearts let us cheer,
Yea, I wish Merry Christmas
But let her not hear!



Let us all take to singing
Who feel the life-thong;
Let us all take to singing,
And this be the song—
Nothing like singing
When blue-devils throng!
Along, come along:
Nothing like singing
(The rhyme keep a' ringing)
Just nothing like singing,
No, nothing for sorrow but song!


With jeweled tusks and damask housings
August the elephants appear:
Grandees, trumpets, banners, soldiers—
One flame from van to rear!
Bid by India's King they travel
In solemn embassage to-day,
To meet the Diamond from Golconda,
The Great Find of Cathay.
O the honor, O the homage!
But, methinks, 'twere nice,
Would they say but How-de-do?
To the Little Pearl of Price.



She dens in a garret
As void as a drum;
In lieu of plum-pudding—
She paints the plum!
No use in my grieving,
The shops I must suit:
Broken hearts are but potsherds—
Paint flowers and fruit!
How whistles her garret,
A seine for the snows:
She hums Si fortuna,
And—paints the rose!
December is howling,
But feign it a flute:
Help on the deceiving—
Paint flowers and fruit!



Since seriousness in many a face,
Open or latent, you may trace—
The ground-expression, wherein close
All smiles at last; and ever still
The revelation of repose;


Which sums the life, and tells the mood
Of inmost self in solitude—
Then wherefore, World, of bards complain
Whose verse the years and fate imbue
With reveries where no glosings reign—
An even unelated strain
In candor grave, to nature due?


Time's Long Ago! Nor coral isles
In the blue South Sea more serene
When the lagoons unruffled show.
There, Fates and Furies change their mien.
Though strewn with wreckage be the shore
The halcyon haunts it; all is green
And wins the heart that hope can lure no more.



If genius, turned to sordid ends
Ye count to glory lost,
How with mankind that flouts the aims
Time's Attic years engrossed?


Waxes the world so rich and old?
Richer and narrower, age's way?
But, primal fervors all displaced
Our arts but serve the clay.
This plaint the sibyls unconsoled renew:
Man fell from Eden, fall from Athens too.


Gold in the mountain
And gold in the glen,
And greed in the heart,
Heaven having no part,
And unsatisfied men.



In the jovial age of old
Named from gold,
Gold was none for Danæ's shower;
While forever silvery fell
Down in dell
Bridal blossoms from love's bower.


A Spirit appeared to me, and said
“Where now would you choose to dwell?
In the Paradise of the Fool,
Or in wise Solomon's hell?”
Never he asked me twice:
“Give me the fool's Paradise.”



Give me the nerve
That never will swerve
Running out on life's ledges of danger;
Mine, mine be the nerve
That in peril will serve,
Since life is to safety a stranger.
When roaring below
The cataracts go,
And tempests are over me scudding;
Give, give me the calm
That is better than balm,
And the courage that keepeth new-budding.


My jacket old, with narrow seam—
When the dull day's work is done
I dust it, and of Asia dream,
Old Asia of the sun!
There other garbs prevail;
Yea, lingering there, free robe and vest
Edenic Leisure's age attest
Ere Work, alack, came in with Wail.




Dead of night, dead of night,
Living souls are a'bed;
Dead of night, dead of night,
And I sit with the dead.
He laughs in white sheet,
And I, I laugh too,
'Tis Shakespeare—good fellow—
And Falstaff in view.

TO ---

Ah, wherefore, lonely, to and fro
Flittest like the shades that go
Pale wandering by the weedy stream?
We, like they, are but a dream:
Then dreams, and less, our miseries be;
Yea, fear and sorrow, pain, despair
Are but phantoms. But what plea
Avails here? phantoms having power
To make the heart quake and the spirit cower.



Three mounted buglers laced in gold,
Sidelong veering, light in seat,
High on the crest of battle rolled
Ere yet the surge is downward beat,
The pennoned trumpets lightly hold—
Mark how they snatch the swift occasion
To thrill their rearward invocation—
While the sabres, never coy,
Ring responses as they ride;
And, like breakers of the tide,
All the mad plumes dance for joy!


Old Age in his ailing
At youth will be railing
It scorns youth's regaling
Pooh-pooh it does, silly dream;
But me, the fool, save
From waxing so grave
As, reduced to skimmed milk, to slander the cream.



Pity, if true,
What the pewterer said—
Hearts-of-gold be few.
Howbeit, when snug in my bed,
And the fire-light flickers and yellows,
I dream of the hearts-of-gold sped—
The Falernian fellows—
Hafiz and Horace,
And Beranger—all
Dexterous tumblers eluding the Fall,
Fled? can be sped?
But the marygold's morris
Is danced o'er their head;
And their memory mellows,
Embalmed and becharmed,
Hearts-of-gold and good fellows!


Crowning a bluff where gleams the lake below,
Some pillared pines in well-spaced order stand
And like an open temple show.
And here in best of seasons bland,
Autumnal noon-tide, I look out
From dusk arcades on sunshine all about.
Beyond the Lake, in upland cheer
Fields, pastoral fields and barns appear,


They skirt the hills where lonely roads
Revealed in links thro' tiers of woods
Wind up to indistinct abodes
And faery-peopled neighborhoods;
While further fainter mountains keep
Hazed in romance impenetrably deep.
Look, corn in stacks, on many a farm,
And orchards ripe in languorous charm,
As dreamy Nature, feeling sure
Of all her genial labor done,
And the last mellow fruitage won,
Would idle out her term mature;
Reposing like a thing reclined
In kinship with man's meditative mind.
For me, within the brown arcade—
Rich life, methought; sweet here in shade
And pleasant abroad in air!—But, nay,
A counter thought intrusive played,
A thought as old as thought itself,
And who shall lay it on the shelf!—
I felt the beauty bless the day
In opulence of autumn's dower;
But evanescence will not stay!
A year ago was such an hour,
As this, which but foreruns the blast
Shall sweep these live leaves to the dead leaves past.
All dies!—


I stood in revery long.
Then, to forget death's ancient wrong,
I turned me in the deep arcade,
And there by chance in lateral glade
I saw low tawny mounds in lines
Relics of trunks of stately pines
Ranked erst in colonnades where, lo!
Erect succeeding pillars show!
All dies! and not alone
The aspiring trees and men and grass;
The poet's forms of beauty pass,
And noblest deeds they are undone
Even truth itself decays, and lo,
From truth's sad ashes fraud and falsehood grow.
All dies!
The workman dies, and after him, the work;
Like to these pines whose graves I trace,
Statue and statuary fall upon their face:
In very amaranths the worm doth lurk,
Even stars, Chaldæans say, have left their place.
Andes and Apalachee tell
Of havoc ere our Adam fell,
And present Nature as a moss doth show
On the ruins of the Nature of the æons of long ago.
But look—and hark!


Adown the glade,
Where light and shadow sport at will,
Who cometh vocal, and arrayed
As in the first pale tints of morn—
So pure, rose-clear, and fresh and chill!
Some ground-pine sprigs her brow adorn,
The earthy rootlets tangled clinging.
Over tufts of moss which dead things made,
Under vital twigs which danced or swayed,
Along she floats, and lightly singing:
“Dies, all dies!
The grass it dies, but in vernal rain
Up it springs and it lives again;
Over and over, again and again
It lives, it dies and it lives again.
Who sighs that all dies?
Summer and winter, and pleasure and pain
And everything everywhere in God's reign,
They end, and anon they begin again:
Wane and wax, wax and wane:
Over and over and over amain
End, ever end, and begin again—
End, ever end, and forever and ever begin again!”
She ceased, and nearer slid, and hung
In dewy guise; then softlier sung:


“Since light and shade are equal set
And all revolves, nor more ye know;
Ah, why should tears the pale cheek fret
For aught that waneth here below.
Let go, let go!”
With that, her warm lips thrilled me through,
She kissed me, while her chaplet cold
Its rootlets brushed against my brow,
With all their humid clinging mould.
She vanished, leaving fragrant breath
And warmth and chill of wedded life and death.