from "A Commonplace Day"

       Nothing of tiniest worth
Have I wrought, pondered, planned; no one thing asking blame or
     Since the pale corpse-like birth
Of this diurnal unit, bearing blanks in all its rays -
     Dullest of dull-hued Days!

     Wanly upon the panes
The rain slides as have slid since morn my colourless thoughts; and
     Here, while Day's presence wanes,
And over him the sepulchre-lid is slowly lowered and set,
     He wakens my regret.

On a fine morning

Whence comes Solace? -- Not from seeing
What is doing, suffering, being,
Not from noting Life's conditions,
Nor from heeding Time's monitions;
    But in cleaving to the Dream,
    And in gazing at the gleam
    Whereby gray things golden seem.

Thus do I this heyday, holding
Shadows but as lights unfolding,
As no specious show this moment
With its irised embowment;
    But as nothing other than
    Part of a benignant plan;
    Proof that earth was made for man.

February 1899.

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.


Regret not Me

      Regret not me;
   Beneath the sunny tree
I lie uncaring, slumbering peacefully.

      Swift as the light
   I flew my faery flight;
Ecstatically I moved, and feared no night.

      I did not know
   That heydays fade and go,
But deemed that what was would be always so.

      I skipped at morn
   Between the yellowing corn,
Thinking it good and glorious to be born.

      I ran at eves
   Among the piled-up sheaves,
Dreaming, "I grieve not, therefore nothing grieves."

      Now soon will come
   The apple, pear, and plum
And hinds will sing, and autumn insects hum.

     Again you will fare
   To cider-makings rare,
And junketings; but I shall not be there.

      Yet gaily sing
   Until the pewter ring
Those songs we sang when we went gipsying.

      And lightly dance
   Some triple-timed romance
In coupled figures, and forget mischance;

      And mourn not me
   Beneath the yellowing tree;
For I shall mind not, slumbering peacefully.

The Chimes Play "Life's a Bumper"

"Awake! I'm off to cities far away,"
I said; and rose, on peradventures bent.
The chimes played "Life's a Bumper!" on that day
To the measure of my walking as I went:
Their sweetness frisked and floated on the lea,
As they played out "Life's a Bumper!" there to me.

"Awake!" I said. "I go to take a bride!"
--The sun arose behind me ruby-red
As I journeyed townwards from the countryside,
The chiming bells saluting near ahead.
Their sweetness swelled in tripping tings of glee
As they played out "Life's a Bumper!" there to me.

"Again arise." I seek a turfy slope,
And go forth slowly on an autumn noon,
And there I lay her who has been my hope,
And think, "O may I follow hither soon!"
While on the wind the chimes come cheerily,
Playing out "Life's a Bumper!" there to me.


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.

The Marble-Streeted Town

[Image: Schoolgirls on the Hoe (1900)]

I reach the marble-streeted town,
   Whose "Sound" outbreathes its air
      Of sharp sea-salts;
I see the movement up and down
      As when she was there.
Ships of all countries come and go,
   The bandsmen boom in the sun
      A throbbing waltz;
The schoolgirls laugh along the Hoe
      As when she was one.

I move away as the music rolls:
   The place seems not to mind
      That she--of old
The brightest of its native souls -
      Left it behind!
Over this green aforedays she
   On light treads went and came,
      Yea, times untold;
Yet none here knows her history -
      Has heard her name.

PLYMOUTH (1914?).

An Autumn Rain Scene

There trudges one to a merry-making
      With a sturdy swing,
   On whom the rain comes down.

To fetch the saving medicament
      Is another bent,
   On whom the rain comes down.

One slowly drives his herd to the stall
      Ere ill befall,
   On whom the rain comes down.

This bears his missives of life and death
      With quickening breath,
   On whom the rain comes down.

One watches for signals of wreck or war
      From the hill afar,
   On whom the rain comes down.

No care if he gain a shelter or none,
      Unhired moves one,
   On whom the rain comes down.

And another knows nought of its chilling fall
      Upon him at all,
   On whom the rain comes down.

October 1904.