I need not go

I need not go
Through sleet and snow
To where I know
She waits for me;
She will wait me there
Till I find it fair,
And have time to spare
From company.

When I've overgot
The world somewhat,
When things cost not
Such stress and strain,
Is soon enough
By cypress sough
To tell my Love
I am come again.

And if some day,
When none cries nay,
I still delay
To seek her side,
(Though ample measure
Of fitting leisure
Await my pleasure)
She will riot chide.

What--not upbraid me
That I delayed me,
Nor ask what stayed me
So long? Ah, no! -
New cares may claim me,
New loves inflame me,
She will not blame me,
But suffer it so.

The Whitewashed Wall

Why does she turn in that shy soft way
   Whenever she stirs the fire,
And kiss to the chimney-corner wall,
   As if entranced to admire
Its whitewashed bareness more than the sight
   Of a rose in richest green?
I have known her long, but this raptured rite
   I never before have seen.

- Well, once when her son cast his shadow there,
   A friend took a pencil and drew him
Upon that flame-lit wall. And the lines
   Had a lifelike semblance to him.
And there long stayed his familiar look;
   But one day, ere she knew,
The whitener came to cleanse the nook,
   And covered the face from view.

"Yes," he said: "My brush goes on with a rush,
   And the draught is buried under;
When you have to whiten old cots and brighten,
   What else can you do, I wonder?"
But she knows he's there. And when she yearns
   For him, deep in the labouring night,
She sees him as close at hand, and turns
   To him under his sheet of white.

from "Her Death and After"

'Twas a death-bed summons, and forth I went
By the way of the Western Wall, so drear
On that winter night, and sought a gate -
         The home, by Fate,
   Of one I had long held dear.

And there, as I paused by her tenement,
And the trees shed on me their rime and hoar,
I thought of the man who had left her lone -
         Him who made her his own
   When I loved her, long before.

In a Museum

[Image: Stuffed Bird from the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter]

Here's the mould of a musical bird long passed from light,
Which over the earth before man came was winging;
There's a contralto voice I heard last night,
That lodges in me still with its sweet singing.

Such a dream is Time that the coo of this ancient bird
Has perished not, but is blent, or will be blending
Mid visionless wilds of space with the voice that I heard,
In the full-fugued song of the universe unending.



Snow-bound in woodland, a mournful word,
Dropt now and then from the bill of a bird,
Reached me on wind-wafts; and thus I heard,
     Wearily waiting:-

"I planned her a nest in a leafless tree,
But the passers eyed and twitted me,
And said: 'How reckless a bird is he,
     Cheerily mating!'

"Fear-filled, I stayed me till summer-tide,
In lewth of leaves to throne her bride;
But alas! her love for me waned and died,
     Wearily waiting.

"Ah, had I been like some I see,
Born to an evergreen nesting-tree,
None had eyed and twitted me,
     Cheerily mating!"


from "To Meet, or Otherwise"

Whether to sally and see thee, girl of my dreams,
     Or whether to stay
And see thee not! How vast the difference seems
     Of Yea from Nay
Just now. Yet this same sun will slant its beams
     At no far day
On our two mounds, and then what will the difference weigh!

Yet I will see thee, maiden dear, and make
     The most I can
Of what remains to us amid this brake Cimmerian
Through which we grope, and from whose thorns we ache,
     While still we scan
Round our frail faltering progress for some path or plan.

A man was drawing near to me

On that gray night of mournful drone,
A part from aught to hear, to see,
I dreamt not that from shires unknown
   In gloom, alone,
   By Halworthy,
A man was drawing near to me.

I'd no concern at anything,
No sense of coming pull-heart play;
Yet, under the silent outspreading
   Of even's wing
   Where Otterham lay,
A man was riding up my way.

I thought of nobody--not of one,
But only of trifles--legends, ghosts--
Though, on the moorland dim and dun
   That travellers shun
   About these coasts,
The man had passed Tresparret Posts.

There was no light at all inland,
Only the seaward pharos-fire,
Nothing to let me understand
   That hard at hand
   By Hennett Byre
The man was getting nigh and nigher.

There was a rumble at the door,
A draught disturbed the drapery,
And but a minute passed before,
   With gaze that bore
   My destiny,
The man revealed himself to me.