John and Jane

He sees the world as a boisterous place
Where all things bear a laughing face,
And humorous scenes go hourly on,
Does John.

They find the world a pleasant place
Where all is ecstasy and grace,
Where a light has risen that cannot wane,
Do John and Jane.

They see as a palace their cottage-place,
Containing a pearl of the human race,
A hero, maybe, hereafter styled,
Do John and Jane with a baby-child.

They rate the world as a gruesome place,
Where fair looks fade to a skull's grimace, -
As a pilgrimage they would fain get done -
Do John and Jane with their worthless son.

The Problem

Shall we conceal the Case, or tell it -
     We who believe the evidence?
Here and there the watch-towers knell it
     With a sullen significance,
Heard of the few who hearken intently and carry an eagerly upstrained sense.

Hearts that are happiest hold not by it;
     Better we let, then, the old view reign;
Since there is peace in it, why decry it?
     Since there is comfort, why disdain?
Note not the pigment the while that the painting determines humanity's joy and pain!

To Lizbie Browne (excerpt)

Dear Lizbie Browne,
Where are you now?
In sun, in rain? -
Or is your brow
Past joy, past pain,
Dear Lizbie Browne?

Sweet Lizbie Browne
How you could smile,
How you could sing! -
How archly wile
In glance-giving,
Sweet Lizbie Browne!

And, Lizbie Browne,
Who else had hair
Bay-red as yours,
Or flesh so fair
Bred out of doors,
Sweet Lizbie Browne?

The Woman in the Rye

"Why do you stand in the dripping rye,
Cold-lipped, unconscious, wet to the knee,
When there are firesides near?" said I.
"I told him I wished him dead," said she.

"Yea, cried it in my haste to one
Whom I had loved, whom I well loved still;
And die he did. And I hate the sun,
And stand here lonely, aching, chill;

"Stand waiting, waiting under skies
That blow reproach, the while I see
The rooks sheer off to where he lies
Wrapt in a peace withheld from me."

To Carrey Clavel

You turn your back, you turn your back,
     And never your face to me,
Alone you take your homeward track,
     And scorn my company.

What will you do when Charley's seen
     Dewbeating down this way?
- You'll turn your back as now, you mean?
    Nay, Carrey Clavel, nay!

You'll see none's looking; put your lip
     Up like a tulip, so;
And he will coll you, bend, and sip:
     Yes, Carrey, yes; I know!

Autumn in King's Hintock Park

Here by the baring bough
   Raking up leaves,
Often I ponder how
   Springtime deceives, -
I, an old woman now,
   Raking up leaves.

Here in the avenue
   Raking up leaves,
Lords' ladies pass in view,
   Until one heaves
Sighs at life's russet hue,
   Raking up leaves!

Just as my shape you see
   Raking up leaves,
I saw, when fresh and free,
   Those memory weaves
Into grey ghosts by me,
   Raking up leaves.

Yet, Dear, though one may sigh,
   Raking up leaves,
New leaves will dance on high -
   Earth never grieves! -
Will not, when missed am I
   Raking up leaves.


from "The Mother Mourns"

When mid-autumn's moan shook the night-time,
    And sedges were horny,
And summer's green wonderwork faltered
    On leaze and in lane,

I fared Yell'ham-Firs way, where dimly
    Came wheeling around me
Those phantoms obscure and insistent
    That shadows unchain.

Till airs from the needle-thicks brought me
    A low lamentation,
As 'twere of a tree-god disheartened,
    Perplexed, or in pain.

And, heeding, it awed me to gather
    That Nature herself there
Was breathing in aerie accents,
    With dirgeful refrain...

Where they Lived

     Dishevelled leaves creep down
     Upon that bank to-day,
Some green, some yellow, and some pale brown;
     The wet bents bob and sway;
The once warm slippery turf is sodden
     Where we laughingly sat or lay.

     The summerhouse is gone,
     Leaving a weedy space;
The bushes that veiled it once have grown
     Gaunt trees that interlace,
Through whose lank limbs I see too clearly
The nakedness of the place.

     And where were hills of blue,
     Blind drifts of vapour blow,
And the names of former dwellers few,
     If any, people know,
And instead of a voice that called, "Come in, Dears,"
     Time calls, "Pass below!"