The Temporary the All (I of III)

Change and chancefulness in my flowering youthtime,
Set me sun by sun near to one unchosen;
Wrought us fellow-like, and despite divergence,
Friends interlinked us.

"Cherish him can I while the true one forthcome -
Come the rich fulfiller of my prevision;
Life is roomy yet, and the odds unbounded."
So self-communed I.

To an Actress

I read your name when you were strange to me,
Where it stood blazoned bold with many more;
I passed it vacantly, and did not see
Any great glory in the shape it wore.

O cruelty, the insight barred me then!
Why did I not possess me with its sound,
And in its cadence catch and catch again
Your nature's essence floating therearound?

Could THAT man be this I, unknowing you,
When now the knowing you is all of me,
And the old world of then is now a new,
And purpose no more what it used to be -
A thing of formal journeywork, but due
To springs that then were sealed up utterly?


A Spot

[Image: Ford Madox Brown – ‘The Last of England’ (1855)]

In years defaced and lost,
Two sat here, transport-tossed,
Lit by a living love
The wilted world knew nothing of:
Scared momently
By gaingivings,
Then hoping things
That could not be.

Of love and us no trace
Abides upon the place;
The sun and shadows wheel,
Season and season sereward steal;
Foul days and fair
Here, too, prevail,
And gust and gale
As everywhere.

But lonely shepherd souls
Who bask amid these knolls
May catch a faery sound
On sleepy noontides from the ground:
"O not again
Till Earth outwears
Shall love like theirs
Suffuse this glen!"

Song of Hope

O sweet To-morrow! -
After to-day
There will away
This sense of sorrow.
Then let us borrow
Hope, for a gleaming
Soon will be streaming,
Dimmed by no gray -
No gray!

While the winds wing us
Sighs from The Gone,
Nearer to dawn
Minute-beats bring us;
When there will sing us
Larks of a glory
Waiting our story
Further anon -

Doff the black token,
Don the red shoon,
Right and retune
Viol-strings broken;
Null the words spoken
In speeches of rueing,
The night cloud is hueing,
To-morrow shines soon -
Shines soon!

You on the Tower


"You on the tower of my factory -
What do you see up there?
Do you see Enjoyment with wide wings
Advancing to reach me here?"
- "Yea; I see Enjoyment with wide wings
Advancing to reach you here."


"Good. Soon I'll come and ask you
To tell me again thereon . . .
Well, what is he doing now? Hoi, there!"
--"He still is flying on."
"Ah, waiting till I have full-finished.
Good. Tell me again anon . . .


Hoi, Watchman! I'm here. When comes he?
Between my sweats I am chill."
--"Oh, you there, working still?
Why, surely he reached you a time back,
And took you miles from your mill?
He duly came in his winging,
And now he has passed out of view.
How can it be that you missed him?
He brushed you by as he flew."

The Little Old Table

Creak, little wood thing, creak,
When I touch you with elbow or knee;
That is the way you speak
Of one who gave you to me!

You, little table, she brought -
Brought me with her own hand,
As she looked at me with a thought
That I did not understand.

- Whoever owns it anon,
And hears it, will never know
What a history hangs upon
This creak from long ago.

Drawing Details in an Old Church

I hear the bell-rope sawing,
And the oil-less axle grind,
As I sit alone here drawing
What some Gothic brain designed;
And I catch the toll that follows
From the lagging bell,
Ere it spreads to hills and hollows
Where the parish people dwell.

I ask not whom it tolls for,
Incurious who he be;
So, some morrow, when those knolls for
One unguessed, sound out for me,
A stranger, loitering under
In nave or choir,
May think, too, "Whose, I wonder?"
But care not to inquire.