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by Emily Dickinson
As if some little Arctic flower,
Upon the polar hem,
Went wandering down the latitudes,
Until it puzzled came
To continents of summer,
To firmaments of sun,
To strange, bright crowds of flowers,
And birds of foreign tongue!
I say, as if this little flower
To Eden wandered in –
What then? Why, nothing, only,
Your inference therefrom!


by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home:
Thou art not my friend, and I’m not thine.
Long through thy weary crowds I roam;
A river-ark on the ocean brine,
Long I’ve been tossed like the driven foam:
But now, proud world! I’m going home.

Good-bye to Flattery’s fawning face;
To Grandeur with his wise grimace;
To upstart Wealth’s averted eye;
To supple Office, low and high;
To crowded halls, to court and street;
To frozen hearts and hasting feet;
To those who go, and those who come;
Good-bye, proud world! I’m going home.

I am going to my own hearth-stone,
Bosomed in yon green hills alone,–
secret nook in a pleasant land,
Whose groves the frolic fairies planned;
Where arches green, the livelong day,
Echo the blackbird’s roundelay,
And vulgar feet have never trod
A spot that is sacred to thought and God.

O, when I am safe in my sylvan home,
I tread on the pride of Greece and Rome;
And when I am stretched beneath the pines,
Where the evening star so holy shines,
I laugh at the lore and the pride of man,
At the sophist schools and the learned clan;
For what are they all, in their high conceit,
When man in the bush with God may meet?

To the River

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow
    Of crystal, wandering water,
  Thou art an emblem of the glow
        Of beauty–the unhidden heart–
        The playful maziness of art
    In old Alberto’s daughter;

  But when within thy wave she looks–
    Which glistens then, and trembles–
  Why, then, the prettiest of brooks
    Her worshipper resembles;
  For in his heart, as in thy stream,
    Her image deeply lies–
  His heart which trembles at the beam
    Of her soul-searching eyes.

Miss Billy’s Decision, CHAPTER VII

by Eleanor H. Porter

At ten minutes before six on the afternoon of
Arkwright’s arrival, Billy came into the living-
room to welcome the three Henshaw brothers,
who, as was frequently the case, were dining at

Bertram thought Billy had never looked prettier
than she did this afternoon with the bronze sheen
of her pretty house gown bringing out the bronze
lights in her dark eyes and in the soft waves of
her beautiful hair.  Her countenance, too, carried
a peculiar something that the artist’s eye was quick
to detect, and that the artist’s fingers tingled to
put on canvas.

“Jove! Billy,” he said low in her ear, as he
greeted her, “I wish I had a brush in my hand
this minute.  I’d have a `Face of a Girl’ that
would be worth while!”

Billy laughed and dimpled her appreciation;
but down in her heart she was conscious of a
vague unrest.  Billy wished, sometimes, that she
did not so often seem to Bertram–a picture.

She turned to Cyril with outstretched hand.

“Oh, yes, Marie’s coming,” she smiled in
answer to the quick shifting of Cyril’s eyes to the
hall doorway.  “And Aunt Hannah, too.  They’re

“And Mary Jane?” demanded William, a
little anxiously

“Will’s getting nervous,” volunteered Bertram,
airily.  “He wants to see Mary Jane.  You see
we’ve told him that we shall expect him to see
that she doesn’t bother us four too much, you
know.  He’s expected always to remove her quietly
but effectually, whenever he sees that she is
likely to interrupt a t<e^>te-<a!>-t<e^>te.  Naturally, then,
Will wants to see Mary Jane.”

Billy began to laugh hysterically.  She dropped
into a chair and raised both her hands, palms

“Don’t, don’t–please don’t!” she choked,
“or I shall die.  I’ve had all I can stand, already.”

“All you can stand?”

“What do you mean?”

“Is she so–impossible?”  This last was from
Bertram, spoken softly, and with a hurried glance
toward the hall.

Billy dropped her hands and lifted her head.
By heroic effort she pulled her face into sobriety
–all but her eyes–and announced:

“Mary Jane is–a man.”


“A _man!_”


Three masculine forms sat suddenly erect.

“Yes.  Oh, Uncle William, I know now just
how you felt–I know, I know,” gurgled Billy,
incoherently.  “There he stood with his pink
just as I did–only he had a brown beard, and
he didn’t have Spunk–and I had to telephone
to prepare folks, just as you did.  And the room
–the room!  I fixed the room, too,” she babbled
breathlessly, “only I had curling tongs and hair
pins in it instead of guns and spiders!”

“Child, child! what _are_ you talking about?”
William’s face was red.

“A _man!_–_Mary Jane!_” Cyril was merely

“Billy, what does this mean?” Bertram had
grown a little white.

Billy began to laugh again, yet she was plainly
trying to control herself.

“I’ll tell you.  I must tell you.  Aunt Hannah
is keeping him up-stairs so I can tell you,” she
panted.  “But it was so funny, when I expected
a girl, you know, to see him with his brown
beard, and he was so tall and big!  And, of course,
it made me think how _I_ came, and was a girl
when you expected a boy; and Mrs. Carleton
had just said to-day that maybe this girl would
even things up.  Oh, it was so funny!”

“Billy, my-my dear,” remonstrated Uncle
William, mildly.

“But what _is_ his name?” demanded Cyril.

“Did the creature sign himself `Mary Jane’?”
exploded Bertram.

“I don’t know his name, except that it’s `M.
J.’–and that’s how he signed the letters.  But
he _is_ called `Mary Jane’ sometimes, and in the
letter he quoted somebody’s speech–I’ve
forgotten just how–but in it he was called `Mary
Jane,’ and, of course, Aunt Hannah took him
for a girl,” explained Billy, grown a little more
coherent now.

“Didn’t he write again?” asked William.


“Well, why didn’t he correct the mistake,
then?” demanded Bertram.

Billy chuckled.

“He didn’t want to, I guess.  He thought it
was too good a joke.”

“Joke!” scoffed Cyril.

“But, see here, Billy, he isn’t going to live here
–now?” Bertram’s voice was almost savage.

“Oh, no, he isn’t going to live here–now,”
interposed smooth tones from the doorway.

“Mr.–Arkwright!” breathed Billy, confusedly.

Three crimson-faced men sprang to their feet.
The situation, for a moment, threatened embarrassed
misery for all concerned; but Arkwright,
with a cheery smile, advanced straight toward
Bertram, and held out a friendly hand.

“The proverbial fate of listeners,” he said
easily; “but I don’t blame you at all.  No,
`he’ isn’t going to live here,” he went on,
grasping each brother’s hand in turn, as Billy
murmured faint introductions; “and what is more,
he hereby asks everybody’s pardon for the annoyance
his little joke has caused.  He might add
that he’s heartily-ashamed of himself, as well;
but if any of you–”  Arkwright turned to the
three tall men still standing by their chairs–
“if any of you had suffered what he has at the
hands of a swarm of youngsters for that name’s
sake, you wouldn’t blame him for being tempted
to get what fun he could out of Mary Jane–if
there ever came a chance!”

Naturally, after this, there could be nothing
stiff or embarrassing.  Billy laughed in relief,
and motioned Mr. Arkwright to a seat near her.
William said “Of course, of course!” and shook
hands again.  Bertram and Cyril laughed
shamefacedly and sat down.  Somebody said:  “But
what does the `M. J.’ stand for, anyhow?”
Nobody answered this, however; perhaps
because Aunt Hannah and Marie appeared just
then in the doorway.

Dinner proved to be a lively meal.  In the
newcomer, Bertram met his match for wit and satire;
and “Mr. Mary Jane,” as he was promptly called
by every one but Aunt Hannah, was found to
be a most entertaining guest.

After dinner somebody suggested music.

Cyril frowned, and got up abruptly.  Still
frowning, he turned to a bookcase near him and
began to take down and examine some of the

Bertram twinkled and glanced at Billy.

“Which is it, Cyril?” he called with cheerful
impertinence; “stool, piano, or audience that is
the matter to-night?”

Only a shrug from Cyril answered.

“You see,” explained Bertram, jauntily, to
Arkwright, whose eyes were slightly puzzled,
“Cyril never plays unless the piano and the pedals
and the weather and your ears and my watch
and his fingers are just right!”

“Nonsense!” scorned Cyril, dropping his book
and walking back to his chair.  “I don’t feel
like playing to-night; that’s all.”

“You see,” nodded Bertram again.

“I see,” bowed Arkwright with quiet amusement.

“I believe–Mr. Mary Jane–sings,” observed
Billy, at this point, demurely.

“Why, yes, of course, ‘ chimed in Aunt Hannah
with some nervousness.  “That’s what she–I
mean he–was coming to Boston for–to study

Everybody laughed.

“Won’t you sing, please?” asked Billy.  “Can
you–without your notes?  I have lots of songs
if you want them.”

For a moment–but only a moment–Arkwright
hesitated; then he rose and went to the

With the easy sureness of the trained musician
his fingers dropped to the keys and slid into
preliminary chords and arpeggios to test the touch of
the piano; then, with a sweetness and purity that
made every listener turn in amazed delight, a
well-trained tenor began the “Thro’ the leaves
the night winds moving,” of Schubert’s Serenade.

Cyril’s chin had lifted at the first tone.  He was
listening now with very obvious pleasure.  Bertram,
too, was showing by his attitude the keenest
appreciation.  William and Aunt Hannah, resting
back in their chairs, were contentedly nodding their
approval to each other.  Marie in her corner was
motionless with rapture.  As to Billy–Billy
was plainly oblivious of everything but the song
and the singer.  She seemed scarcely to move or
to breathe till the song’s completion; then there
came a low “Oh, how beautiful!” through her
parted lips.

Bertram, looking at her, was conscious of a
vague irritation.

“Arkwright, you’re a lucky dog,” he declared
almost crossly.  “I wish I could sing like that!”

“I wish I could paint a `Face of a Girl,’ ”
smiled the tenor as he turned from the piano.

“Oh, but, Mr. Arkwright, don’t stop,” objected
Billy, springing to her feet and going to her music
cabinet by the piano.  “There’s a little song
of Nevin’s I want you to sing.  There, here it is.
Just let me play it for you.”  And she slipped into
the place the singer had just left.

It was the beginning of the end.  After Nevin
came De Koven, and after De Koven, Gounod.
Then came Nevin again, Billy still playing the
accompaniment.  Next followed a duet.  Billy
did not consider herself much of a singer, but her
voice was sweet and true, and not without training.
It blended very prettily with the clear, pure

William and Aunt Hannah still smiled contentedly
in their chairs, though Aunt Hannah had
reached for the pink shawl near her–the music
had sent little shivers down her spine.  Cyril,
with Marie, had slipped into the little reception-
room across the hall, ostensibly to look at some
plans for a house, although–as everybody
knew–they were not intending to build for a

Bertram, still sitting stiffly erect in his chair,
was not conscious of a vague irritation now.
He was conscious of a very real, and a very
decided one–an irritation that was directed against
himself, against Billy, and against this man,
Arkwright; but chiefly against music, _#per se_.  He
hated music.  He wished he could sing.  He
wondered how long it took to teach a man to sing,
anyhow; and he wondered if a man could sing–
who never had sung.

At this point the duet came to an end, and Billy
and her guest left the piano.  Almost at once,
after this, Arkwright made his very graceful
adieus, and went off with his suit-case to the hotel
where, as he had informed Aunt Hannah, his room
was already engaged.

William went home then, and Aunt Hannah
went up-stairs.  Cyril and Marie withdrew into
a still more secluded corner to look at their plans,
and Bertram found himself at last alone with
Billy.  He forgot, then, in the blissful hour he
spent with her before the open fire, how he hated
music; though he did say, just before he went
home that night:

“Billy, how long does it take–to learn to

“Why, I don’t know, I’m sure,” replied Billy,
abstractedly; then, with sudden fervor:  “Oh,
Bertram, hasn’t Mr. Mary Jane a beautiful

Bertram wished then he had not asked the
question; but all he said was:

“ `Mr. Mary Jane,’ indeed!  What an absurd

“But doesn’t he sing beautifully?”

“Eh?  Oh, yes, he sings all right,” said
Bertram’s tongue.  Bertram’s manner said:  “Oh,
yes, anybody can sing.”


 by Emily Dickinson
‘T was a long parting, but the time
For interview had come;
Before the judgment-seat of God,
The last and second time

These fleshless lovers met,
A heaven in a gaze,
A heaven of heavens, the privilege
Of one another’s eyes.

No lifetime set on them,
Apparelled as the new
Unborn, except they had beheld,
Born everlasting now.

Was bridal e’er like this?
A paradise, the host,
And cherubim and seraphim
The most familiar guest.



by Walter de la Mare
This ugly old crone–
Every beauty she had
When a maid, when a maid.
Her beautiful eyes,
Too youthful, too wise,
Seemed ever to come
To so lightless a home,
Cold and dull as a stone.
And her cheeks–who would guess
Cheeks cadaverous as this
Once with colours were gay
As the flower on its spray?
Who would ever believe
Aught could bring one to grieve
So much as to make
Lips bent for love’s sake
So thin and so grey?
O Youth, come away!
As she asks in her lone,
This old, desolate crone.
She loves us no more;
She is too old to care
For the charms that of yore
Made her body so fair.
Past repining, past care,
She lives but to bear
One or two fleeting years
Earth’s indifference: her tears
Have lost now their heat;
Her hands and her feet
Now shake but to be
Shed as leaves from a tree;
And her poor heart beats on
Like a sea–the storm gone.

To My Mother

by Edgar Allan Poe
  Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
    The angels, whispering to one another,
  Can find, among their burning terms of love,
    None so devotional as that of “Mother,”
  Therefore by that dear name I long have called you–
    You who are more than mother unto me,
  And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you,
    In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
  My mother–my own mother, who died early,
    Was but the mother of myself; but you
  Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
    And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
  By that infinity with which my wife
    Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.


Harriet R. White

When sporgles spanned the floreate mead
And cogwogs gleet upon the lea,
Uffia gopped to meet her love
Who smeeged upon the equat sea.

Dately she walked aglost the sand;
The boreal wind seet in her face;
The moggling waves yalped at her feet;
Pangwangling was her pace.

A Dark Month

by Algernon Charles Swinburne


A month without sight of the sun
Rising or reigning or setting
Through days without use of the day,
Who calls it the month of May?
The sense of the name is undone
And the sound of it fit for forgetting.

We shall not feel if the sun rise,
We shall not care when it sets:
If a nightingale make night’s air
As noontide, why should we care?
Till a light of delight that is done rise,
Extinguishing grey regrets;

Till a child’s face lighten again
On the twilight of older faces;
Till a child’s voice fall as the dew
On furrows with heat parched through
And all but hopeless of grain,
Refreshing the desolate places–

Fall clear on the ears of us hearkening
And hungering for food of the sound
And thirsting for joy of his voice:
Till the hearts in us hear and rejoice,
And the thoughts of them doubting and darkening
Rejoice with a glad thing found.

When the heart of our gladness is gone,
What comfort is left with us after?
When the light of our eyes is away,
What glory remains upon May,
What blessing of song is thereon
If we drink not the light of his laughter?

No small sweet face with the daytime
To welcome, warmer than noon!
No sweet small voice as a bird’s
To bring us the day’s first words!
Mid May for us here is not Maytime:
No summer begins with June.

A whole dead month in the dark,
A dawn in the mists that o’ercome her
Stifled and smothered and sad–
Swift speed to it, barren and bad!
And return to us, voice of the lark,
And remain with us, sunlight of summer.


Alas, what right has the dawn to glimmer,
What right has the wind to do aught but moan?
All the day should be dimmer
Because we are left alone.

Yestermorn like a sunbeam present
Hither and thither a light step smiled,
And made each place for us pleasant
With the sense or the sight of a child.

But the leaves persist as before, and after
Our parting the dull day still bears flowers;
And songs less bright than his laughter
Deride us from birds in the bowers.

Birds, and blossoms, and sunlight only,
As though such folly sufficed for spring!
As though the house were not lonely
For want of the child its king!


Asleep and afar to-night my darling
Lies, and heeds not the night,
If winds be stirring or storms be snarling;
For his sleep is its own sweet light.

I sit where he sat beside me quaffing
The wine of story and song
Poured forth of immortal cups, and laughing
When mirth in the draught grew strong.

I broke the gold of the words, to melt it
For hands but seven years old,
And they caught the tale as a bird, and felt it
More bright than visible gold.

And he drank down deep, with his eyes broad beaming,
Here in this room where I am,
The golden vintage of Shakespeare, gleaming
In the silver vessels of Lamb.

Here by my hearth where he was I listen
For the shade of the sound of a word,
Athirst for the birdlike eyes to glisten,
For the tongue to chirp like a bird.

At the blast of battle, how broad they brightened,
Like fire in the spheres of stars,
And clung to the pictured page, and lightened
As keen as the heart of Mars!

At the touch of laughter, how swift it twittered
The shrillest music on earth;
How the lithe limbs laughed and the whole child glittered
With radiant riot of mirth!

Our Shakespeare now, as a man dumb-stricken,
Stands silent there on the shelf:
And my thoughts, that had song in the heart of them, sicken,
And relish not Shakespeare’s self.

And my mood grows moodier than Hamlet’s even,
And man delights not me,
But only the face that morn and even
My heart leapt only to see.

That my heart made merry within me seeing,
And sang as his laugh kept time:
But song finds now no pleasure in being,
And love no reason in rhyme.


Mild May-blossom and proud sweet bay-flower,
What, for shame, would you have with us here?
It is not the month of the May-flower
This, but the fall of the year.

Flowers open only their lips in derision,
Leaves are as fingers that point in scorn
The shows we see are a vision;
Spring is not verily born.

Yet boughs turn supple and buds grow sappy,
As though the sun were indeed the sun:
And all our woods are happy
With all their birds save one.

But spring is over, but summer is over,
But autumn is over, and winter stands
With his feet sunk deep in the clover
And cowslips cold in his hands.

His hoar grim head has a hawthorn bonnet,
His gnarled gaunt hand has a gay green staff
With new-blown rose-blossom on it:
But his laugh is a dead man’s laugh.

The laugh of spring that the heart seeks after,
The hand that the whole world yearns to kiss,
It rings not here in his laughter,
The sign of it is not this.

There is not strength in it left to splinter
Tall oaks, nor frost in his breath to sting:
Yet it is but a breath as of winter,
And it is not the hand of spring.


Thirty-one pale maidens, clad
All in mourning dresses,
Pass, with lips and eyes more sad
That it seems they should be glad,
Heads discrowned of crowns they had,
Grey for golden tresses.

Grey their girdles too for green,
And their veils dishevelled:
None would say, to see their mien,
That the least of these had been
Born no baser than a queen,
Reared where flower-fays revelled.

Dreams that strive to seem awake,
Ghosts that walk by daytime,
Weary winds the way they take,
Since, for one child’s absent sake,
May knows well, whate’er things make
Sport, it is not Maytime.


A hand at the door taps light
As the hand of my heart’s delight:
It is but a full-grown hand,
Yet the stroke of it seems to start
Hope like a bird in my heart,
Too feeble to soar or to stand.

To start light hope from her cover
Is to raise but a kite for a plover
If her wings be not fledged to soar.
Desire, but in dreams, cannot ope
The door that was shut upon hope
When love went out at the door.

Well were it if vision could keep
The lids of desire as in sleep
Fast locked, and over his eyes
A dream with the dark soft key
In her hand might hover, and be
Their keeper till morning rise;

The morning that brings after many
Days fled with no light upon any
The small face back which is gone;
When the loved little hands once more
Shall struggle and strain at the door
They beat their summons upon.


If a soul for but seven days were cast out of heaven and its mirth,
They would seem to her fears like as seventy years upon earth.

Even and morrow should seem to her sorrow as long
As the passage of numberless ages in slumberless song.

Dawn, roused by the lark, would be surely as dark in her sight
As her measureless measure of shadowless pleasure was bright.

Noon, gilt but with glory of gold, would be hoary and grey
In her eyes that had gazed on the depths, unamazed with the day.

Night hardly would seem to make darker her dream never done,
When it could but withhold what a man may behold of the sun.

For dreams would perplex, were the days that should vex her but seven,
The sight of her vision, made dark with division from heaven.

Till the light on my lonely way lighten that only now gleams,
I too am divided from heaven and derided of dreams.


A twilight fire-fly may suggest
How flames the fire that feeds the sun:
“A crooked figure may attest
In little space a million.”

But this faint-figured verse, that dresses
With flowers the bones of one bare month,
Of all it would say scarce expresses
In crooked ways a millionth.

A fire-fly tenders to the father
Of fires a tribute something worth:
My verse, a shard-borne beetle rather,
Drones over scarce-illumined earth.

Some inches round me though it brighten
With light of music-making thought,
The dark indeed it may not lighten,
The silence moves not, hearing nought.

Only my heart is eased with hearing,
Only mine eyes are soothed with seeing,
A face brought nigh, a footfall nearing,
Till hopes take form and dreams have being.


As a poor man hungering stands with insatiate eyes and hands
Void of bread
Right in sight of men that feast while his famine with no least
Crumb is fed,

Here across the garden-wall can I hear strange children call,
Watch them play,
From the windowed seat above, whence the goodlier child I love
Is away.

Here the sights we saw together moved his fancy like a feather
To and fro,
Now to wonder, and thereafter to the sunny storm of laughter
Loud and low–

Sights engraven on storied pages where man’s tale of seven
swift ages
All was told–
Seen of eyes yet bright from heaven–for the lips that laughed
were seven
Sweet years old.


Why should May remember
March, if March forget
The days that began with December
The nights that a frost could fret?

All their griefs are done with
Now the bright months bless
Fit souls to rejoice in the sun with,
Fit heads for the wind’s caress;

Souls of children quickening
With the whole world’s mirth,
Heads closelier than field-flowers thickening
That crowd and illuminate earth,

Now that May’s call musters
Files of baby bands
To marshal in joyfuller clusters
Than the flowers that encumber their hands.

Yet morose November
Found them no less gay,
With nought to forget or remember
Less bright than a branch of may.

All the seasons moving
Move their minds alike
Applauding, acclaiming, approving
All hours of the year that strike.

So my heart may fret not,
Wondering if my friend
Remember me not or forget not
Or ever the month find end.

Not that love sows lighter
Seed in children sown,
But that life being lit in them brighter
Moves fleeter than even our own.

May nor yet September
Binds their hearts, that yet
Remember, forget, and remember,
Forget, and recall, and forget.


As light on a lake’s face moving
Between a cloud and a cloud
Till night reclaim it, reproving
The heart that exults too loud,

The heart that watching rejoices
When soft it swims into sight
Applauded of all the voices
And stars of the windy night,

So brief and unsure, but sweeter
Than ever a moondawn smiled,
Moves, measured of no tune’s metre,
The song in the soul of a child;

The song that the sweet soul singing
Half listens, and hardly hears,
Though sweeter than joy-bells ringing
And brighter than joy’s own tears;

The song that remembrance of pleasure
Begins, and forgetfulness ends
With a soft swift change in the measure
That rings in remembrance of friends

As the moon on the lake’s face flashes,
So haply may gleam at whiles
A dream through the dear deep lashes
Whereunder a child’s eye smiles,

And the least of us all that love him
May take for a moment part
With angels around and above him,
And I find place in his heart.


Child, were you kinless and lonely–
Dear, were you kin to me–
My love were compassionate only
Or such as it needs would be.

But eyes of father and mother
Like sunlight shed on you shine:
What need you have heed of another
Such new strange love as is mine?

It is not meet if unruly
Hands take of the children’s bread
And cast it to dogs; but truly
The dogs after all would be fed.

On crumbs from the children’s table
That crumble, dropped from above,
My heart feeds, fed with unstable
Loose waifs of a child’s light love.

Though love in your heart were brittle
As glass that breaks with a touch,
You haply would lend him a little
Who surely would give you much.


Here is a rough
Rude sketch of my friend,
Faint-coloured enough
And unworthily penned.

Fearlessly fair
And triumphant he stands,
And holds unaware
Friends’ hearts in his hands;

Stalwart and straight
As an oak that should bring
Forth gallant and great
Fresh roses in spring.

On the paths of his pleasure
All graces that wait
What metre shall measure
What rhyme shall relate

Each action, each motion,
Each feature, each limb,
Demands a devotion
In honour of him:

Head that the hand
Of a god might have blest,
Laid lustrous and bland
On the curve of its crest:

Mouth sweeter than cherries,
Keen eyes as of Mars,
Browner than berries
And brighter than stars.

Nor colour nor wordy
Weak song can declare
The stature how sturdy,
How stalwart his air.

As a king in his bright
Presence-chamber may be,
So seems he in height–
Twice higher than your knee.

As a warrior sedate
With reserve of his power,
So seems he in state–
As tall as a flower:

As a rose overtowering
The ranks of the rest
That beneath it lie cowering,
Less bright than their best.

And his hands are as sunny
As ruddy ripe corn
Or the browner-hued honey
From heather-bells borne.

When summer sits proudest,
Fulfilled with its mirth,
And rapture is loudest
In air and on earth,

The suns of all hours
That have ripened the roots
Bring forth not such flowers
And beget not such fruits.

And well though I know it,
As fain would I write,
Child, never a poet
Could praise you aright.

I bless you? the blessing
Were less than a jest
Too poor for expressing;
I come to be blest,

With humble and dutiful
Heart, from above:
Bless me, O my beautiful
Innocent love!

This rhyme in your praise
With a smile was begun;
But the goal of his ways
Is uncovered to none,

Nor pervious till after
The limit impend;
It is not in laughter
These rhymes of you end.


Spring, and fall, and summer, and winter,
Which may Earth love least of them all,
Whose arms embrace as their signs imprint her,
Summer, or winter, or spring, or fall?

The clear-eyed spring with the wood-birds mating,
The rose-red summer with eyes aglow,
The yellow fall with serene eyes waiting,
The wild-eyed winter with hair all snow?

Spring’s eyes are soft, but if frosts benumb her
As winter’s own will her shrewd breath sting:
Storms may rend the raiment of summer,
And fall grow bitter as harsh-lipped spring.

One sign for summer and winter guides me,
One for spring, and the like for fall:
Whichever from sight of my friend divides me,
That is the worst ill season of all.


Worse than winter is spring
If I come not to sight of my king:
But then what a spring will it be
When my king takes homage of me!

I send his grace from afar
Homage, as though to a star;
As a shepherd whose flock takes flight
May worship a star by night.

As a flock that a wolf is upon
My songs take flight and are gone:
No heart is in any to sing
Aught but the praise of my king.

Fain would I once and again
Sing deeds and passions of men:
But ever a child’s head gleams
Between my work and my dreams.

Between my hand and my eyes
The lines of a small face rise,
And the lines I trace and retrace
Are none but those of the face.


Till the tale of all this flock of days alike
All be done,
Weary days of waiting till the month’s hand strike
Till the clock’s hand of the month break off, and end
With the clock,
Till the last and whitest sheep at last be penned
Of the flock,
I their shepherd keep the count of night and day
With my song,
Though my song be, like this month which once was May,
All too long.


The incarnate sun, a tall strong youth,
On old Greek eyes in sculpture smiled:
But trulier had it given the truth
To shape him like a child.

No face full-grown of all our dearest
So lightens all our darkness, none
Most loved of all our hearts hold nearest
To far outshines the sun,

As when with sly shy smiles that feign
Doubt if the hour be clear, the time
Fit to break off my work again
Or sport of prose or rhyme,

My friend peers in on me with merry
Wise face, and though the sky stay dim
The very light of day, the very
Sun’s self comes in with him.


Out of sight,
Out of mind!
Could the light
Prove unkind?

Can the sun
Quite forget
What was done
Ere he set?

Does the moon
When she wanes
Leave no tune
That remains

In the void
Shell of night
With her light?

Must the shore
At low tide
Feel no more
Hope or pride,

No intense
Joy to be,
In the sense
Of the sea–

In the pulses
Of her shocks
It repulses,
When its rocks

Thrill and ring
As with glee?
Has my king
Cast off me,

Whom no bird
Flying south
Brings one word
From his mouth?

Not the ghost
Of a word.
Riding post
Have I heard,

Since the day
When my king
Took away
With him spring,

And the cup
Of each flower
Shrivelled up
That same hour,

With no light
Left behind.
Out of sight,
Out of mind!


Because I adore you
And fall
On the knees of my spirit before you–
After all,

You need not insult,
My king,
With neglect, though your spirit exult
In the spring,

Even me, though not worth,
God knows,
One word of you sent me in mirth,
Or one rose

Out of all in your garden
That grow
Where the frost and the wind never harden
Flakes of snow,

Nor ever is rain
At all,
But the roses rejoice to remain
Fair and tall–

The roses of love,
More sweet
Than blossoms that rain from above
Round our feet,

When under high bowers
We pass,
Where the west wind freckles with flowers
All the grass.

But a child’s thoughts bear
More bright
Sweet visions by day, and more fair
Dreams by night,

Than summer’s whole treasure
Can be:
What am I that his thought should take pleasure,
Then, in me?

I am only my love’s
True lover,
With a nestful of songs, like doves
Under cover,

That I bring in my cap
Fresh caught,
To be laid on my small king’s lap–
Worth just nought.

Yet it haply may hap
That he,
When the mirth in his veins is as sap
In a tree,

Will remember me too
Some day
Ere the transit be thoroughly through
Of this May–

Or perchance, if such grace
May be,
Some night when I dream of his face.
Dream of me.

Or if this be too high
A hope
For me to prefigure in my

He may dream of the place
Where we
Basked once in the light of his face,
Who now see

Nought brighter, not one
Thing bright,
Than the stars and the moon and the sun,
Day nor night.


Day by darkling day,
Overpassing, bears away
Somewhat of the burden of this weary May.

Night by numbered night,
Waning, brings more near in sight
Hope that grows to vision of my heart’s delight.

Nearer seems to burn
In the dawn’s rekindling urn
Flame of fragrant incense, hailing his return.

Louder seems each bird
In the brightening branches heard
Still to speak some ever more delightful word.

All the mists that swim
Round the dawns that grow less dim
Still wax brighter and more bright with hope of him.

All the suns that rise
Bring that day more near our eyes
When the sight of him shall clear our clouded skies.

All the winds that roam
Fruitful fields or fruitless foam
Blow the bright hour near that brings his bright face home.


I hear of two far hence
In a garden met,
And the fragrance blown from thence
Fades not yet.

The one is seven years old,
And my friend is he:
But the years of the other have told

To hear these twain converse
Or to see them greet
Were sweeter than softest verse
May be sweet.

The hoar old gardener there
With an eye more mild
Perchance than his mild white hair
Meets the child.

I had rather hear the words
That the twain exchange
Than the songs of all the birds
There that range,

Call, chirp, and twitter there
Through the garden-beds
Where the sun alike sees fair
Those two heads,

And which may holier be
Held in heaven of those
Or more worth heart’s thanks to see
No man knows.


Of such is the kingdom of heaven,
No glory that ever was shed
From the crowning star of the seven
That crown the north world’s head,

No word that ever was spoken
Of human or godlike tongue,
Gave ever such godlike token
Since human harps were strung.

No sign that ever was given
To faithful or faithless eyes
Showed ever beyond clouds riven
So clear a Paradise.

Earth’s creeds may be seventy times seven
And blood have defiled each creed:
If of such be the kingdom of heaven,
It must be heaven indeed.


The wind on the downs is bright
As though from the sea:
And morning and night
Take comfort again with me.

He is nearer to-day,
Each night to each morning saith,
Whose return shall revive dead May
With the balm of his breath.

The sunset says to the moon,
He is nearer to-night
Whose coming in June
Is looked for more than the light.

Bird answers to bird,
Hour passes the sign on to hour,
And for joy of the bright news heard
Flower murmurs to flower.

The ways that were glad of his feet
In the woods that he knew
Grow softer to meet
The sense of his footfall anew.

He is near now as day,
Says hope to the new-born light:
He is near now as June is to May,
Says love to the night.


Good things I keep to console me
For lack of the best of all,
A child to command and control me,
Bid come and remain at his call.

Sun, wind, and woodland and highland,
Give all that ever they gave:
But my world is a cultureless island,
My spirit a masterless slave.

And friends are about me, and better
At summons of no man stand:
But I pine for the touch of a fetter,
The curb of a strong king’s hand.

Each hour of the day in her season
Is mine to be served as I will:
And for no more exquisite reason
Are all served idly and ill.

By slavery my sense is corrupted,
My soul not fit to be free:
I would fain be controlled, interrupted,
Compelled as a thrall may be.

For fault of spur and of bridle
I tire of my stall to death:
My sail flaps joyless and idle
For want of a small child’s breath.


Whiter and whiter
The dark lines grow,
And broader opens and brighter
The sense of the text below.

Nightfall and morrow
Bring nigher the boy
Whom wanting we want not sorrow,
Whom having we want no joy.

Clearer and clearer
The sweet sense grows
Of the word which hath summer for hearer,
The word on the lips of the rose.

Duskily dwindles
Each deathlike day,
Till June rearising rekindles
The depth of the darkness of May.


“In his bright radiance and collateral light
Must I be comforted, not in his sphere.”

Stars in heaven are many,
Suns in heaven but one:
Nor for man may any
Star supplant the sun.

Many a child as joyous
As our far-off king
Meets as though to annoy us
In the paths of spring.

Sure as spring gives warning,
All things dance in tune:
Sun on Easter morning,
Cloud and windy moon,

Stars between the tossing
Boughs of tuneful trees,
Sails of ships recrossing
Leagues of dancing seas;

Best, in all this playtime,
Best of all in tune,
Girls more glad than Maytime,
Boys more bright than June;

Mixed with all those dances,
Far through field and street
Sing their silent glances,
Ring their radiant feet.

Flowers wherewith May crowned us
Fall ere June be crowned:
Children blossom round us
All the whole year round.

Is the garland worthless
For one rose the less,
And the feast made mirthless?
Love, at least, says yes.

Strange it were, with many
Stars enkindling air,
Should but one find any
Welcome: strange it were,

Had one star alone won
Praise for light from far:
Nay, love needs his own one
Bright particular star.

Hope and recollection
Only lead him right
In its bright reflection
And collateral light.

Find as yet we may not
Comfort in its sphere:
Yet these days will weigh not
When it warms us here;

When full-orbed it rises,
Now divined afar:
None in all the skies is
Half so good a star;

None that seers importune
Till a sign be won:
Star of our good fortune,
Rise and reign, our sun!


I pass by the small room now forlorn
Where once each night as I passed I knew
A child’s bright sleep from even to morn
Made sweet the whole night through.

As a soundless shell, as a songless nest,
Seems now the room that was radiant then
And fragrant with his happier rest
Than that of slumbering men.

The day therein is less than the day,
The night is indeed night now therein:
Heavier the dark seems there to weigh,
And slower the dawns begin.

As a nest fulfilled with birds, as a shell
Fulfilled with breath of a god’s own hymn,
Again shall be this bare blank cell,
Made sweet again with him.


Spring darkens before us,
A flame going down,
With chant from the chorus
Of days without crown–
Cloud, rain, and sonorous
Soft wind on the down.

She is wearier not of us
Than we of the dream
That spring was to love us
And joy was to gleam
Through the shadows above us
That shift as they stream.

Half dark and half hoary,
Float far on the loud
Mild wind, as a glory
Half pale and half proud
From the twilight of story,
Her tresses of cloud;

Like phantoms that glimmer
Of glories of old
With ever yet dimmer
Pale circlets of gold
As darkness grows grimmer
And memory more cold.

Like hope growing clearer
With wane of the moon,
Shines toward us the nearer
Gold frontlet of June,
And a face with it dearer
Than midsummer noon.


You send me your love in a letter,
I send you my love in a song:
Ah child, your gift is the better,
Mine does you but wrong.

No fame, were the best less brittle,
No praise, were it wide as earth,
Is worth so much as a little
Child’s love may be worth.

We see the children above us
As they might angels above:
Come back to us, child, if you love us,
And bring us your love.


No time for books or for letters:
What time should there be?
No room for tasks and their fetters:
Full room to be free.

The wind and the sun and the Maytime
Had never a guest
More worthy the most that his playtime
Could give of its best.

If rain should come on, peradventure,
(But sunshine forbid!)
Vain hope in us haply might venture
To dream as it did.

But never may come, of all comers
Least welcome, the rain,
To mix with his servant the summer’s
Rose-garlanded train!

He would write, but his hours are as busy
As bees in the sun,
And the jubilant whirl of their dizzy
Dance never is done.

The message is more than a letter,
Let love understand,
And the thought of his joys even better
Than sight of his hand.


Wind, high-souled, full-hearted
South-west wind of the spring!
Ere April and earth had parted,
Skies, bright with thy forward wing,
Grew dark in an hour with the shadow behind it, that bade not a
bird dare sing.

Wind whose feet are sunny,
Wind whose wings are cloud,
With lips more sweet than honey
Still, speak they low or loud,
Rejoice now again in the strength of thine heart: let the depth of
thy soul wax proud.

We hear thee singing or sighing,
Just not given to sight,
All but visibly flying
Between the clouds and the light,
And the light in our hearts is enkindled, the shadow therein of the
clouds put to flight.

From the gift of thine hands we gather
The core of the flowers therein,
Keen glad heart of heather,
Hot sweet heart of whin,
Twin breaths in thy godlike breath close blended of wild spring’s
wildest of kin.

All but visibly beating
We feel thy wings in the far
Clear waste, and the plumes of them fleeting,
Soft as swan’s plumes are,
And strong as a wild swan’s pinions, and swift as the flash of the
flight of a star.

As the flight of a planet enkindled
Seems thy far soft flight
Now May’s reign has dwindled
And the crescent of June takes light
And the presence of summer is here, and the hope of a welcomer
presence in sight.

Wind, sweet-souled, great-hearted
Southwest wind on the wold!
From us is a glory departed
That now shall return as of old,
Borne back on thy wings as an eagle’s expanding, and crowned with
the sundawn’s gold.

There is not a flower but rejoices,
There is not a leaf but has heard:
All the fields find voices,
All the woods are stirred:
There is not a nest but is brighter because of the coming of one
bright bird.

Out of dawn and morning,
Noon and afternoon,
The sun to the world gives warning
Of news that brightens the moon;
And the stars all night exult with us, hearing of joy that shall
come with June.

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