There came a day at summer's full
Entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints,
Where revelations be.
The sun, as common, went abroad,
The flowers, accustomed, blew,
As if no soul the solstice passed
That maketh all things new.
The time was scarce profaned by speech;
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at sacrament
The wardrobe of our Lord.
Each was to each the sealed church,
Permitted to commune this time,
Lest we too awkward show
At supper of the Lamb.
The hours slid fast, as hours will,
Clutched tight by greedy hands;
So faces on two decks look back,
Bound to opposing lands.
And so, when all the time had failed,
Without external sound,
Each bound the other's crucifix,
We gave no other bond.
Sufficient troth that we shall rise --
Deposed, at length, the grave --
To that new marriage, justified
Through Calvaries of Love!
PSALM OF THE DAY.
A something in a summer's day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer's noon, --
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
And still within a summer's night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;
Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.
The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;
Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,
Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;
Or bees, that thought the summer's name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;
Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint, -- some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;
Or wind's bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before
The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.
I meant to have but modest needs,
Such as content, and heaven;
Within my income these could lie,
And life and I keep even.
But since the last included both,
It would suffice my prayer
But just for one to stipulate,
And grace would grant the pair.
And so, upon this wise I prayed, --
Great Spirit, give to me
A heaven not so large as yours,
But large enough for me.
A smile suffused Jehovah's face;
The cherubim withdrew;
Grave saints stole out to look at me,
And showed their dimples, too.
I left the place with all my might, --
My prayer away I threw;
The quiet ages picked it up,
And Judgment twinkled, too,
That one so honest be extant
As take the tale for true
That "Whatsoever you shall ask,
Itself be given you."
But I, grown shrewder, scan the skies
With a suspicious air, --
As children, swindled for the first,
All swindlers be, infer.
Your riches taught me poverty.
Myself a millionnaire
In little wealths, -- as girls could boast, --
Till broad as Buenos Ayre,
You drifted your dominions
A different Peru;
And I esteemed all poverty,
For life's estate with you.
Of mines I little know, myself,
But just the names of gems, --
The colors of the commonest;
And scarce of diadems
So much that, did I meet the queen,
Her glory I should know:
But this must be a different wealth,
To miss it beggars so.
I 'm sure 't is India all day
To those who look on you
Without a stint, without a blame, --
Might I but be the Jew!
I 'm sure it is Golconda,
Beyond my power to deem, --
To have a smile for mine each day,
How better than a gem!
At least, it solaces to know
That there exists a gold,
Although I prove it just in time
Its distance to behold!
It 's far, far treasure to surmise,
And estimate the pearl
That slipped my simple fingers through
While just a girl at school!
"GOING to him! Happy letter! Tell him --
Tell him the page I didn't write;
Tell him I only said the syntax,
And left the verb and the pronoun out.
Tell him just how the fingers hurried,
Then how they waded, slow, slow, slow;
And then you wished you had eyes in your pages,
So you could see what moved them so.
"Tell him it wasn't a practised writer,
You guessed, from the way the sentence toiled;
You could hear the bodice tug, behind you,
As if it held but the might of a child;
You almost pitied it, you, it worked so.
Tell him -- No, you may quibble there,
For it would split his heart to know it,
And then you and I were silenter.
"Tell him night finished before we finished,
And the old clock kept neighing 'day!'
And you got sleepy and begged to be ended --
What could it hinder so, to say?
Tell him just how she sealed you, cautious,
But if he ask where you are hid
Until to-morrow, -- happy letter!
Gesture, coquette, and shake your head!"
THE SLEEPING FLOWERS.
"Whose are the little beds," I asked,
"Which in the valleys lie?"
Some shook their heads, and others smiled,
And no one made reply.
"Perhaps they did not hear," I said;
"I will inquire again.
Whose are the beds, the tiny beds
So thick upon the plain?"
"'T is daisy in the shortest;
A little farther on,
Nearest the door to wake the first,
"'T is iris, sir, and aster,
Anemone and bell,
Batschia in the blanket red,
And chubby daffodil."
Meanwhile at many cradles
Her busy foot she plied,
Humming the quaintest lullaby
That ever rocked a child.
"Hush! Epigea wakens! --
The crocus stirs her lids,
Rhodora's cheek is crimson, --
She's dreaming of the woods."
Then, turning from them, reverent,
"Their bed-time 't is," she said;
"The bumble-bees will wake them
When April woods are red."
I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I 'm accustomed to him grown, --
He hurts a little, though.
I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.
I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.
I wished the grass would hurry,
So when 't was time to see,
He 'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.
I could not bear the bees should come,
I wished they 'd stay away
In those dim countries where they go:
What word had they for me?
They 're here, though; not a creature failed,
No blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me,
The Queen of Calvary.
Each one salutes me as he goes,
And I my childish plumes
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking drums.
If anybody's friend be dead,
It 's sharpest of the theme
The thinking how they walked alive,
At such and such a time.
Their costume, of a Sunday,
Some manner of the hair, --
A prank nobody knew but them,
Lost, in the sepulchre.
How warm they were on such a day:
You almost feel the date,
So short way off it seems; and now,
They 're centuries from that.
How pleased they were at what you said;
You try to touch the smile,
And dip your fingers in the frost:
When was it, can you tell,
You asked the company to tea,
Acquaintance, just a few,
And chatted close with this grand thing
That don't remember you?
Past bows and invitations,
Past interview, and vow,
Past what ourselves can estimate, --
That makes the quick of woe!
I HAD A GUINEA GOLDEN.
I had a guinea golden;
I lost it in the sand,
And though the sum was simple,
And pounds were in the land,
Still had it such a value
Unto my frugal eye,
That when I could not find it
I sat me down to sigh.
I had a crimson robin
Who sang full many a day,
But when the woods were painted
He, too, did fly away.
Time brought me other robins, --
Their ballads were the same, --
Still for my missing troubadour
I kept the 'house at hame.'
I had a star in heaven;
One Pleiad was its name,
And when I was not heeding
It wandered from the same.
And though the skies are crowded,
And all the night ashine,
I do not care about it,
Since none of them are mine.
My story has a moral:
I have a missing friend, --
Pleiad its name, and robin,
And guinea in the sand, --
And when this mournful ditty,
Accompanied with tear,
Shall meet the eye of traitor
In country far from here,
Grant that repentance solemn
May seize upon his mind,
And he no consolation
Beneath the sun may find.
I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.
I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.
I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.
I wonder if when years have piled --
Some thousands -- on the cause
Of early hurt, if such a lapse
Could give them any pause;
Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.
The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies, --
Death is but one and comes but once,
And only nails the eyes.
There's grief of want, and grief of cold, --
A sort they call 'despair;'
There's banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.
And though I may not guess the kind
Correctly, yet to me
A piercing comfort it affords
In passing Calvary,
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