The Unborn

I rose at night, and visited
   The Cave of the Unborn:
And crowding shapes surrounded me
For tidings of the life to be,
Who long had prayed the silent Head
   To haste its advent morn.

Their eyes were lit with artless trust,
   Hope thrilled their every tone;
"A scene the loveliest, is it not?
A pure delight, a beauty-spot
Where all is gentle, true and just,
   And darkness is unknown?"

My heart was anguished for their sake,
   I could not frame a word;
And they descried my sunken face,
And seemed to read therein, and trace
The news that pity would not break,
   Nor truth leave unaverred.

And as I silently retired
   I turned and watched them still,
And they came helter-skelter out,
Driven forward like a rabble rout
Into the world they had so desired
   By the all-immanent Will.


"I was the Midmost"

I was the midmost of my world
   When first I frisked me free,
For though within its circuit gleamed
   But a small company,
And I was immature, they seemed
   To bend their looks on me.

She was the midmost of my world
   When I went further forth,
And hence it was that, whether I turned
   To south, east, west, or north,
Beams of an all-day Polestar burned
   From that new axe of earth.

Where now is midmost in my world?
   I trace it not at all:
No midmost shows it here, or there,
   When wistful voices call
"We are fain!  We are fain!" from everywhere
   On Earth's bewildering ball!

The Wedding Morning

   Tabitha dressed for her wedding:-
   "Tabby, why look so sad?"
"--O I feel a great gloominess spreading, spreading,
   Instead of supremely glad! . . .

   "I called on Carry last night,
   And he came whilst I was there,
Not knowing I'd called.  So I kept out of sight,
   And I heard what he said to her:

   "'--Ah, I'd far liefer marry
   YOU, Dear, to-morrow!' he said,
'But that cannot be.'--O I'd give him to Carry,
   And willingly see them wed,

   "But how can I do it when
   His baby will soon be born?
After that I hope I may die.  And then
   She can have him.  I shall not mourn!'

At Moonrise and Onwards

      I thought you a fire
   On Heron-Plantation Hill,
Dealing out mischief the most dire
   To the chattels of men of hire
      There in their vill.

      But by and by
   You turned a yellow-green,
Like a large glow-worm in the sky;
   And then I could descry
      Your mood and mien.

      How well I know
   Your furtive feminine shape!
As if reluctantly you show
   You nude of cloud, and but by favour throw
      Aside its drape . . .

     -- How many a year
   Have you kept pace with me,
Wan Woman of the waste up there,
   Behind a hedge, or the bare
      Bough of a tree!

      No novelty are you,
   O Lady of all my time,
Veering unbid into my view
   Whether I near Death's mew,
      Or Life's top cyme!