Claribel and Other Poems (5)
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NATURE'S GENTLEMAN
( To James Watson)


He boasts nor wealth nor high descent, yet he may
                claim to be
A gentleman to match the best of any pedigree:
His blood hath run in peasant veins through many a
                noteless year;
Yet, search in every prince's court, you'll rarely find
                his peer.
For he's one of Nature's Gentlemen, the best of every
                time.

He owns, no mansion in the Square, inherits no estate;
He hath no stud, no hounds, no duns, no lacqueys at
                his gate;
He drinks no wine, and wears no gloves, his coat is
                thread-bare worn:
Yet he's a gentleman no less, and he was gentle born
He is one of Nature's Gentlemen, the best of every
                time.

His manners are not polish'd, he has never learn'd to
                bow:
But his heart is gentle,—gentle manner out of it doth
                grow,
Like a flower whose fragrance blesseth all within its
                beauteous reach,
Or the dainty bloom upon a plum, or the softness of a
                peach.
For he's one of Nature's gentle ones, the best of every
                time.

He takes small pains to smoothe his words to fit a
                courtly phrase;
And he would scorn to file his soul for even royal
                praise;
And he has wrath too when the proud the gentle-
                soul'd distress:
He's not the form—gentility, but very gentleness.
Ay! one of Nature's gentle men, the best of every
                time.

As true old Chaucer sang to us, so many years ago,
He is the gentlest man who dares the gentlest deeds to
                do:
However rude his birth or state, however low his
                place,
He is the gentle man whose life right gentle thought
                doth grace.
He is one of Nature's Gentlemen, the best of every
                time.

What though his hand is hard and rough with years
                of honest pains,—
Who ever thought the knight disgraced by honour's
                weather-stains?
What though no Heralds' College in their books his
                line can trace,—
We can see that he is gentle by the smile upon his
                face.
For he's one of Nature's Gentlemen, the best of every
                time.


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THE HAPPY LAND


THE Happy Land!
Studded with cheerful homesteads, fair to see,
With garden grace and household symmetry:
How grand the wide-brow'd peasant's lordly mien,
The matron's smile serene!
                        O happy, happy Land!

The Happy Land!
Half hid in the dewy grass the mower blithe
Sings to the day-star as he whets his scythe;
And to his babes at eventide again
Carols as blithe a strain.
                        O happy, happy Land!

The Happy Land!
Where in the golden sheen of autumn eves
The bright hair'd children play among the sheaves;
Or gather ripest apples all the day,
As ruddy-cheek'd as they.
                        O happy, happy Land!

O Happy Land!
The thin smoke curleth through the frosty air;
The light smiles from the windows: hearken there
To the white grandsire's tale of heroes old,
To flame-eyed listeners told.
                        O happy, happy Land!

O Happy, Happy Land!
The tender-foliaged alders scarcely shade
Yon loitering lover and glad blushing maid.
O happy Land! the spring that quickens thee
Is human liberty.
                        O happy, happy Land!


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PRAYER


LET us pray!   Our prayer be truthful! 
       Fervent and effectual thought
Is a spirit strong and youthful,
       Whose desire in deed is wrought.
                                           Let us pray!

Let us pray! Our hope be daring!
       Prayer is an eternal seed,—
Germ of will, and sure of bearing
       Energetic, zealous deed.
                                           Let us pray!

Let us pray! And prayer is action:
       Prayer! thou art a hero-sword.
Rive the battle; make no paction
       Until Victory own thee lord!
                                           Let us pray!

Let us pray! as prays the sower,—
       Pray we as the soldier prays!
Though our harvest may be slower,
       Though in heaven we reap the bays.
                                           Let us pray!


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TRIUMPH


WORK can never miss its wages.
One wide song rings through the ages:
Ever loss true gain presages.

Not alone that flowers are blowing
Over graves,—that bread is growing
In warm tears from heaven flowing,—

That old Winter Spring-seed hiveth;
Ever Death Creation wiveth,
And God's Love the tempest driveth.

Let the conqueror blush for winning!
Little worth his conquest-sinning;
They who lose are so beginning.

Through the years one chorus ringeth:
The death-chaunt the martyr singeth
Is the root whence victory springeth.

In the Desert sink the Weary,—
Dry their pitcher; angels near ye,—
Ishmael!   Arab empires hear thee.

Joseph by his brethren barter'd
Hath his full revenge: the Martyr'd
Egypt ruled and Israel charter'd.

Round the ark the river gushes,—
All is lost; amid the rushes
Pharaoh's Daughter, dawn-like, blushes.

Calvary's complete surrender
Is of utmost conquest tender,
And its gloom intensest splendour.

What though Ruin cometh faster,
Look thou God-ward through disaster:
'In this sign thou shalt be master!'

Ever hangs 'twixt earth and heaven
Victory's Victor, unforgiven,
Crown'd with thorn and earthquake-riven.

Ever the same chorus ringeth:
From his cross the martyr flingeth
Wide the seed whence victory springeth.

Ever through the book of ages
The same echoes close the pages:
Ever loss true gain presages.


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AFTER A DEFEAT


YET we labour, ever hoping,
         Though misfortune mocks endeavour;
Down disaster's desperate sloping
         Yet we struggle, hoping ever,—
                                          Wearily.

Even as the stream is flowing
         To the sea with ceaseless motion,
Never wave its current knowing,
         Pass our lives to sorrow's ocean,
                                          Ceaselessly.

Weep'st thou, Hope! unhappy mother,
         O'er thy dead child, Misery?
Let us sit by one another,
         And our moan shall echo thee
                                          Drearily.

Yet, though Hope herself be dying
         In despite of Love and Glory,
Our crush'd lives beside her lying
         Should maintain the same high story,
                                          Steadfastly.

Yet, O Hope! thy ghost shall lead us
         Through the graves of Time's commotion,
Till the Eternal Watchers heed us,
         Till they give to our devotion
                                          Victory.


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TRY AGAIN


THE coldest hours are close upon the morn;
            Night ever neareth day:
Up, man! and wrestle yet again with Scorn;
Each footstep is a fall,—move on thy way!
                                                  Try again!

Is baffled beaten?   Will the hero fail
            Flung down beneath a wall?
Another ladder!   Let our comrades scale
The top o'er its piled stair-like as we fall!
                                                  Try again!

O Hope forlornest, masked like Despair!
            Truth must some day succeed.
Thy failure proves——What?—Thy once failing there.
Fail yet again if there be martyr need!
                                                  Try again!


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COURAGE


FROM the martyr-dust before thee,
        From the pinnacles of Fame,
From the heavens bending o'er thee,
        Aye the Voices are the same:
'Courage! we too have borne trial';
        'Courage! if thou would'st aspire';
'Courage! Fate hath no denial,—
        Through her ordeal of fire.'

Courage,—valour active-hearted:
        Like a charmed sword, to be
Never from the hero parted
        Even in last extremity:
Sword that well can shield its master,
        Sword to lead the battle's front,—
Keen to rive the worst disaster,
        Strong to ward despairing brunt.

Patience,—for the sick man's wearing,
        For the spirit-broken slave:
Knightly tool is noble daring,
        Though his threshold be a grave.
Courage: neither fierce nor tardy,
        Lightning-swift if storm must be,
Bold indeed, but not fool-hardy,—
        Feeling, God's sure hand on thee.

Voices from the Martyr Ages,
        Voices from the Heights of Fame,
Heaven and Earth—God's open pages,
        Ever speak to thee the same:
Lone and worn and disappointed,
        Wounded, dying, night and day,
Art thou one of Faith's Anointed,
        Thou shalt echo what they say.


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THE PEARL


BUT one of God's good angels hast thou known:
        Disease.   And would'st thou treat him like
                a churl?
Be wise and thankful!   From disease is grown
                                    The Pearl.


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SAD QUESTIONING


WHY is it so?   O God!
        The old old cry:
As in impatient youth,
So now, our years gone by,
When thy afflictive rod
    Would teach us truth.

Why is it so?   O Power!
        The rocks are bare
With wasting streams; our lives
Are wasted by despair:
In some far vale the flower
    Of the future thrives.

Why is it so?   O God!
        The old vain cry
That asketh thee to spare.
What is it that we die?
Green sod and then green sod
    Thy way prepare.


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MIDWINTER


MIDWINTER comes to-morrow,
            My welcome guest to be:
White-hair'd, wide-winged Sorrow,
            With Christmas gifts for me.
Thy angel, God!—I thank thee still.
Thy will be done——Thy better will!

I thank thee, Lord!—the whiteness
            Of winter on my heart
Shall keep some glint of brightness,
            Till sun and stars depart.
Thou smilést on the snow: Thy will
Is dread and drear, but lovely still.


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GAUDIAMUS IGITUR


AY! the road is very lonesome, very rugged, very
          steep:
              See yon cheerful flowers before us,
              While the summer sun high o'er us
His bright way doth keep:
                                                 Gaudiamus igitur!

In the fierce noon fades the flower; now the storm
          bursts overhead:
              Look, how beautiful the lightning,—
              Like some proud life's courage brightening
In the depths of dread:
                                                 Gaudiamus igitur!

Starless night, the worn wayfarer ploddeth on through
          sleety rain:
              Has thy soul no starry glory?
              Was the lamp of hero story
Given thee in vain?
                                                 Gaudiamus igitur!

Thou art poor, and joy is costly; simplest happiness
          so dear:
              What's a brave smile's market value?
              What laugh-dealer may forestall you?
Never stint thy cheer!
                                                 Gaudiamus igitur!

At the death-bed of thy brother, over the belovéd
          tomb:
              Grief by memory's flash be riven!
              Look on Love star-throned in heaven!
Joy again hath room:
                                                 Gaudiamus igitur!


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TIME'S GIFTS


TIME hath two blessings for mankind: the first
                          Is earthly joy;
He gives the second even to the most accurst,—
                          Rest from annoy.


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CHANGE


O'ER the hills another dawn advances;
        Yesterday is past.   Is Past untrue?
The grave-stones of its changes and its chances
        Are the triumphal pavement of the New.

And To-day toward the western billows
        Passeth even as Yesterday did pass.
Morrow morns will smile on human pillows;
        Morrow evenings gild the churchyard grass

Yet Life overliveth tides and chances;
        Yet Truth groweth stronger and more true.
Reverence shrines the Old, while Faith advances
        Ever on and on from New to New.


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SELF-JUSTIFICATION


SATAN was not the Devil because he fell,
        But for his pride in falling—when he said
Evil! be thou my good: to err is well.
        Self justification is his devilhead.


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THE ADVENT OF PEACE


OVER the red field strode an armed knight:
    Men knew him not; but when the fray did cease,
God's Angel stoop'd to bless Victorious Right,
    And bade the hero's name thenceforth be Peace.


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NARROWNESS


YOU complain that I am narrow—
        Going straightly to my aim:
Will you quarrel with the arrow
                            For the same?

Many a bitter name hast thou,­—
        'Pedant,' 'bigot': hold thy blame
While that sword and nail and plough
                            Are the same.

I would cleave my world-path cleanly—
        With an axe', a razor' edge;
Drive my truth through,—not more meanly
                            Than a wedge.

Far is wide, though force is narrow:
        Look straight to thy aim!
Crystal, bud, and flame, and arrow,
                            Are the same.


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LOVE


'LOVE gives soul and strength to woman, stronger
            man hath Will instead;
Love could but degrade him earthward, so let Genius
            live unwed:'
Words like these, my brow quick flushing, 'neath a
            subtil myth I read.

Love! who wrote these words had never known the
            lover's conscious might,
Nor trite passion whose proud soaring climbeth the
            divinest height,
Nor the holiest uplifting of Love's eloquent delight.

Yet thy prophet eyes are on me; and the splendour of
            thy smile,
Like the dawn from some high mountain reaching over
            many an isle
To the eternal verge of ocean, leads my spirit as ere
            while.

I can answer from Thy teaching:—Love is Genius'
            only ark;
Will is but a blinded athlete, straining God-ward in
            the dark,
Without Love to point endeavour, like an arrow to its
            mark.

Say that love of the unworthy doth degrade to lower
            needs;
Thou art but misusing language.   Love from Beauty
            aye proceeds;
Love is Worship of the Worthy, can have no unworthy
            heeds.

Matters not or man or woman.   Love of Beauty, like
            a flame,
Ever heavenward aspireth,—there is no diviner aim;
Faith, Devotion to the Eternal—Love and these are
            still the same.

Be it of the Divine or Human, Love pursueth one
            emprize—
One, whate'er the priest, the altar, or the form of
            sacrifice:
Truth is none the less resplendent beaming from a
            woman's eyes.

Never may the world be ransom'd till this Word be
            understood:
Love is Genius' strength and conscience; Love is
            Will's sustaining food,
And his guide across the desert, and his crown upon
            the rood.

Love is holiest gospel ever.—Thy pale beauty, like a
            star,
Lights me to the steps of glory where the restless
            angels are:
As thy radiance, Mother Blessed! led the Magi from
            afar.


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TWO STORIES OF ONE FATE


1


TAKE him,—love him, Sister!—love him dearly
            for my sake.
If your love should ever fail him, O be sure my heart
            would break.
It is not breaking now,—believe me! though my
            tears rain down so fast:
You shall soon have sunshine through them of a joy
            that aye will last.

Yes, indeed I love him dearly.   Could I help it?
            Sister mine!
Who could refuse to love him, so lovely, so divine?
I will not blush for saying—I did yearn for love of
            him.
Is my cheek still burning? dear one!   But my eyes
            no more are dim.
I do, do love him.   Never I deny that holy love.
I love him more than life and joy, all selfish hope
            above.
That I love him is my reason, dear! for laying on
            your heart
My Darling,—since I found his life was of your life
            a part.

You will love him as I love him; with a love too past
            my might,—
For I know through all his silentness your love is his
            delight.
Love's eyes are very keen, Love's heart has little need
            of words:
And I can read your heart and his and all their sweet
            accords.

Love him, love him dearly, Sister! life hath not too
            many days.
Why these tears? And I am smiling.   For my glad
            heart fills with praise
To God, who gives us love's best blessing,—to assure
            the Loved One's bliss—
I with my soul's devotedness, and thou—with
            thy life-kiss.


2


THY hand, my friend!   I claim again the brother's
            trusting hand:
Though if you dared to call her yours I'd slay you
            where you stand.
She is not yours, nor mine; but we are wholly, humbly
            hers,
Her knights, her lieges, her true friends, her trusty
            servitors.

Thou canst not love her more than I.   Is this the only
            right,
For life and death I grapple thee, and mock thy
            utmost might.
Take all the odds of honour that my love of thee e'er
            gave,
I'd overstride thee, wast thou king and I Love's
            meanest slave.

Thou canst not love her more than I.   It is no claim
            at all.
Her own will is our only law, whatever may befall.
Till then upon this worthy field against thee I
            contend—
Hath she spoken so?   God help me!   I will not be
            false, my friend!

And look that thou be loyal, for I love her none the
            less;
See that thy very nobleness her every hope may bless.
Shouldst thou fail her in one tittle——Grasp me
            firmly!   Words are vain.
She loves thee: who could fail upon the very heart of
            gain?

And thou wilt let me love her still, in duteous, lowly
            guise:
Watching before thy happy gate, lest evil may surprize:
Asking no wages but thy trust, and one approving
            glance
From eyes——dear eyes! ——Thy hand, great friend!
            I bless thy happy chance.


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A HOMILY


WHY hath God led thy noble beauty hither?
        To lay upon my heart, a gather'd flower,
Through the brief time of passion; then to wither,
        And drop away upon my coffin'd hour?

Is human life nought but a lusty living,
        A day of pleasure nighted by the grave,
With no hereafter dawning, no forgiving
        Of all the eternal hopes our spirits crave?

Is love the mere lamp of a wanton chamber,
        Whose walls are grave-stones, ne'er so finely hid?
Is all the height where Love and Hope can clamber,
        Alas! no higher than our coffin-lid?

Is Love a fool for all its future-yearning?
        Wise only in the drunkenness of bliss?
Is there no flame divine within us burning?
        Is Hope betray'd so cheaply with a kiss?

Why hath God led thy noble beauty hither?
        Why doth celestial light inform thine eyes?
Is it to guide the lone wayfarer?   Whither?
        The Star of the East hangs not o'er Paradise.

Some girl with delicate skin and golden tresses,
        And eyes that float in their voluptuous light,
Holding her boy-adorer in the jesses
        Of her caprice, staying his spirit's flight,

Smoothing his folded pinions with light fingers,
        Kissing his vigour to a pleasant swoon,
Until the God sunk in the Dreamer lingers
        Fondly beside her for the frailest boon,—

Is this the highest end of all thy beauty?
        O noble woman! art thou but a girl?
Hast thou no thought of all the scope of duty?
        No aim beyond the fingering of a curl?

Why hath God made thee beautiful and loving?
        Only to bear the bacchanal cup of life?
Cup-bearing Hebe! seek thou Jove's approving:
        O Beauty! be thou Strength's diviner wife.


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WHAT LOVE IS


THOU bidd'st me tell thee what love really is.
Not the mere toying of a boy and girl,—
She kissing his fair brow, and he a curl:
                                Love is not this.

Thou bidd'st me tell thee what love really is.
Not the mere mingling of most passionate breath:
There are who have the Loved to very death,
                                And yet love miss.

Thou bidd'st me tell thee what love really is.
Not hope nor having: whoso love forget
Love's joy in their great task—to pay love's debt,—
                                Not paid with a kiss.

How shall I tell thee what love really is?
O Love! thy merest trifle is delight;
And passion's hell or heaven is infinite
                                In bale or bliss.

How shall I tell thee what love really is?
O Perfect Beauty! let my worship be
The happiest bloom of thy eternity.
                                True love is this.


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LOVE'S TRINITY


JUSTICE, Love, and Faith are one:
        Love resumeth all the three:
Justice—love for what is done,—
        Love— the present royalty,—
        Faith— the love of what shall be.

Justice vindicates the Past:
        Keeps its truth from dying with
The formal life that could not last;
        Still maintains the central pith
        And the essence of the myth.

Faith is Love of the Unseen,
        Of the Future beyond sight:
Faith, above the sky serene
        Of present Love, with tireless flight
        Cleaves the clouded Infinite.

Love is Truth and Faith in one,—
        Love is life's true harmony:
There was Truth in what is gone,
        Though it seem not; there shall be
        New Truth to eternity.

Justice, Love, and Faith, are One—
        Love, the perfect Trinity:
Love is just to what is gone;
        Love, aye present unto Thee,
        Trusteth to futurity.


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MARRIED


O LIFE, O destiny complete!
       The sunder'd halves come home again.
       So long, so long the yearning twain
Have sought each other: now they meet.

We will not say again our lives:
        It is one life henceforth for aye.
       Though we may wander far away,
It is one soul that hopes and strives.

It is one soul our life informs,—
       It is one life that we shall lead,—
       One hope is ours, one will, one creed:
Ye can not part its, all ye storms!

My life is not where I may be:
       Only a part, removed from her.
       We never can be as we were—
Two lives,—but one: for I am She.

And She and I are one brave whole.
       The soul's two halves for once unite.
       For once: through all the Infinite!
For once: until the farthest goal.


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POETS

1


POETS!—We are too many.   But not one—
Not one of the whole pack deserves the name.
This with his fool-bells plays a jingling game;
That mildly mouths a most mellifluous moan;
A third can fashion heroes without bone;
A fourth flings words like firebrands, without aim;
A fifth—perhaps a sixth——How many grand
Pretentious versifiers, rhymesters, 'bards'!
But none whose venturous eyes dare look towards
The world's great future; never one whose brand
May sear the actual wrong; not one to stand
Upon that height the Unprophetic guards.
True Poet, with the soul and sword of flame,
Come forth, and for our soul-less words atone!


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POETS

2


TRUE POET!—Back, thou Dreamer!   Lay thy
                dreams
In ladies' laps.   And silly girls delight
With thy inane apostrophes to Night,
Moonshine, and Wave, and Cloud!  Thy fancy teems;
Not genius.   Else some high heroic themes
Should from thy brain proceed, as Wisdom's Might
From head of Zeus.   For now great Wrong and Right
Affront each other, and War's trumpet screams,
Giddying the earth with dissonance.   O where
Is He voiced god-like, unto those who dare
To give more daring with the earnest shout
Of a true battle-hymn?   We fight without
The music which should cheer us in our fight,—
While 'poets' learn to pipe like whiffling streams.


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THE POET-PROPHET


THE POET is the Prophet.   His the task
To herald Truth yet far from common sight,
The germs of the world's work to bring to light,
To lift the resurrection-hope from hell.
Song is a Gospel.   Whoso doth but bask
In poet-glory, who thrusts not the might
Of Wisdom's spear before the ages' fight,
Is not the Poet—sing he ne'er so well.

The Poet is the Prophet.   Would'st thou clip
Isaiah's wings, and mew him in a cage­—
A singing bird—my Lady Lazy's page—­
To soothe dull ears with some luxurious rhyme?
He stands before God's altar; his grand lip
Hath kiss'd the living coal; the prophet-rage
Burneth his heart—and on our darken'd age
Bursts forth, a lava flood of hopes sublime.

The poet is the seer, and sayer too:
Prophet and soothsayer of all mankind.
What though—like the Song-Titan, Homer—blind,
And with no conscience of the future growth,
He sings of Troy the Past?   Yet Troy the New
Comes on the echo.  Is the tempest-wind
Fraught but with battle-shouts?   Some tones thou'lt
        find
Of music yet unknown: past, future,—both.

The Praiser of Admetus' noble Wife
True marriage prophesied: an argument
As close as Milton's, when that seër went
From Freedom's temple down unto his home;
Not less a poet then than by the strife
Angelic standing when high heaven was rent.
He, who best sang of God and Man's Descent,
Sang also of the Paradise to come.

And He who wears the Constellated Crown—
As king of human minds—within the rim
Of his wide realm may see a Brighter dim
The starry point of each haught pyramid.
Brightest the Star whose beams are farthest thrown,
Whereby the storm-confused his sails may trim.
Higher than Hamlet the Promethean Hymn
Of the far future Shelley hath unhid.

The Poet is the Prophet: nothing less.
'Tis he who, lark-like, biddeth Toil aspire;
Or through our wilderness, a pillar'd fire,
Goeth before us.   Though he seem a cloud,
In this broad glare of little-knowingness,
Ere night our Best shall follow and admire.
The Pole-star of Man's Life is in the Lyre.
Stoop not, O Poet! from thy causeway proud.


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THE POET'S MISSION


'Is but prophetic vision:
'To him the daring heart is granted-
'Not the hand.'


Herwegh.


LEARN higher apprehending
            Of the Poet's task!
To him are God and Nature lending
            Ore of mighty thought,
That for such use as the world's need may ask
            Fit iron may be wrought.

The passionate impulse furnaced
            In the Poet's heart
Must weld stern word and action earnest:
            Poet word and deed
In harmony: that he may take God's part,
            And earn a true life's meed.

Clear vision ever lendeth
            Faith to his life:
Then only he his mission comprehendeth
            When he can wield his soul
Or to creative thought or daily strife,
            With artist-like controul.

Not in the purer heaven
            Of his own thought
To dwell, enparadised, to him was given
            The poet-fire:
But that a grander, truer life be wrought,—
            The world exampled higher.

Not only do God's Angels
            Behold him with clear eyes:
But day and night they speed his dread evangels
            Over the world,—
Their seraph-wings of act and sacrifice
            Eternally unfurl'd.


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LABOUR IN VAIN


O NOT 'in vain'!   Even poor rotting weeds
Nourish the roots of fruitfullest fair trees:
So from thy fortune-loathéd hope proceeds
The experience that shall base high victories.
The tree of the good and evil knowledge needs
A rooting place in thoughtful agonies.
Failures of lofty essays are the seeds
Out of whose dryness, when cold night dissolves
Into the dawning Spring, fertilities
Of healthiest promise leap rejoicingly.
Therefore hold on thy way, all undismay'd
At the bent brows of Fate, untiringly!
Knowing this—past all the woe our earth involves
Sooner or later Truth must be obey'd.


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PRINCIPLE AND OPINION


PRINCIPLE and Opinion.   Of the last
I deem but lightly: 'tis a thing of change;
Holds not the earnest man, or holds not fast;
But which he holds, subjected to the range
Of thought and time and chance.   A man can yield
Opinion, hide it, quit it, or defer.
Not so with Principle: he anchors there;
It is his lever; it hath power to wield
His life, to make him ever minister
To its behests; it is his soul, his life;
And whether it shall bring him peace or strife
Is wide o' the mark; it is his sword, his shield,
His dominant chord.   They are thus different:
That Principle is fate, Opinion accident.


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THOUGHT AND DEED


GOD thought of his creation and 'twas done:
For in God's nature thought, will, deed, are one.
And he approacheth unto God most near
Whose thoughts in acts their true responses hear.
Action is natural echo of true will.
Thought is the seed, and will the secret growth
Till act bursts into daylight.   Will's an oath
To accomplish thought,—to elaborate, fulfil,
And realize the idea in visible life.
Thought is a prophecy.   He puts the knife
To his own growth whose being ends in thought,
Whose thought hath but the stunted growth of words.
'Tis as if warriors, having forged their swords,
Should dream the fight was won, that forged was fought.


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WORD AND DEED


( To Joseph Mazzini )


I SAID—Whose life is but of thought and word
He is as one who having forged his sword
Sleeps dreaming victory won: for I was wroth,
Seeing how thought and action are divorced
In these dull times, stern principle enforced
To hide in the closet.   I should be most loath
To speak or think irreverently of those—
The Lords of Thought, whose words are warrior-blows
In the world-conflict.   Yet of them the best
Not only spoke, but did; as faith had need
Of utterance poured forth true word or deed.
Witness our Milton, his great heart express'd
In his daily life! and witness thou, my Friend!
Whose aim steps firmly on to the same heroic end.


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JUNE—1849


FOR ROME! for Italy!—Our thoughts, our words
Rush forth impetuously.   Would they might be
Swift-wing'd as angels, with eternal swords
To smite 'God's Unforgiven.'   O to see
Our new Camillus scourge those slaves of Gaul
Home to their infamy!   Ye ruins grand
Of the time-reverenced Coliseum! fall,
And with Saint Peter's and the Vatican
Be one wide undistinguishable heap
Ere over Rome the Accurséd dare to creep.
Freemen of Rome! your ancient heroes man
The eternal ramparts.   Lo, thy martyr band,
Ruffini! leads us.——Build yon batter'd wall
With living men!——O Roman Victory!


( December—1864)


JUNE—1849

FOR ROME! for Italy!—ay! for the world:
It is one quarrel.   True Republican!
Where'er thy banner'd faith may be unfurl'd
There be thy heart.   Thy cause is that of Man,
The cause of the People; and where'er upheld
(Amid Carpathian wilds, or on the steeps
Of Caucasus, above the pride of Eld
Over the Vatican, or midst the heaps
Of England's shameful traffic), thou dost well
To throw thy spirit into danger's van.
For Rome! for Rome!  O that our swords were there.
Thou Land of Brutus and of Raffaelle
And of Mazzini! how could we despair
Of Thee, the Holy and Invincible?


( Ora e sempre )


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OUR COUNTRY


LET us serve our Country!
        Whether times be good,
Or disaster whelm her
        Like a winter flood.
Let us serve our Country:
        Give her life or death;
Give her every action,
        Hope, and breath!

Let us serve our Country!
        Where our Fathers' dust
Makes each acre holy,
        Every field a trust.
Let us serve our Country!
        Where our homesteads are;
Lift her fame to heaven,
        Worth's own star.

Let us serve our Country!
        That beloved land,
Bride-like, proudly beauteous,
        Wonderfully grand.
Let us serve her gladly,
        Serve her even to death,
Worship her with action,
        Hope, and breath!


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BE THYSELF


ENGLAND! be thyself again:
        Lift thy life before the world,
        Like a royal flag unfurl'd
High above the tented plain.

England! be thyself again:
        Think of thy old hero, deeds;
        They were promises and seeds,
Were they pledged and sown in vain?

Raise thy spirit from the mire:
        Peace and plenteous bread are good;
        But true Honour needeth food,
Peace owns Righteousness her sire.

Ne'er so plenteously fed,
        Duty to the world remains
        Shalt thou only count thy gains
While the lands in chains are led?

Doth the clank of prisoners' bonds
        Hurt no more the English ear?
        Is it England knoweth fear?
Cromwell's England that desponds?

Careless of the Captive's moan,
        Fearful of Oppression's strength,
        Doubting if our sword have length,
If the quarrel is our own?—­

England! be again thyself.
        Brave forbearance may be wise:
        This poor craft of Cowardice
Cowering in the hole of Pelf

Saveth neither pence nor toil,
        Gaineth but a shameful hour,
        Wherein Wrong takes breath of power
And so tighteneth the coil.

England! be thyself again:
        Ask not what may serve the time;
        See where standeth Truth sublime,
Ask her will, and be thou fain.

If her bidding must be war,
        Gird thy sword upon thy thigh;
        Shout to the heavens thy battle-cry;
Let thy voice be heard afar,

Heralding the sunny gleam
        Of thy swift and steady blade,
        Leaping through the realms dismay'd,
As the daylight cleaves a dream.


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1854


TELL the Tzar of England's glories,
        Let him learn the deeds of yore!
Tell him how we fought at Florez,
        How we won at Azincour!
Tell him of the great Armada
        Wreck'd upon our English shore!

Say, for all our peaceful bearing,
        England yet hath noble blood;
Dwarf'd we may be, yet our daring
        Mocks his height in field or flood:
We have men whose hearts are higher
        Than the ebb of Cheapside mud.

Tell him Thor's unerring hammer
        Fitteth yet an English hand;
Say, at our first battle-clamour
        Arthur comes from fairy-land;
Alfred fronteth the invader,
        Drake hath his far-reaching brand.

Mind him of our Portland glory,
        Of the Nile and Trafalgar
Say, such is the unfinish'd story
        Of the Book of English War;
Copenhagen unto Cronstadt,
        Tell him, is not overfar.

Tell him, our unwaning glories
        Ruin's self could never dim,
Though all England lay at Florez,
        Though all Europe bay'd with him;
He might then beware his triumph,—
        Grenville's look is very grim.


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HEART AND WILL


OUR England's heart is sound as oak;
        Our English will is firm;
And through our actions Freedom spoke,
        In History's proudest term:
When Blake was lord from shore to shore,
        And Cromwell ruled the land,
And Milton's words were shields of power
        To stay the oppressor's hand.

Our England's heart is yet as sound,
        As firm our English will;
And tyrants, be they cowl'd or crown'd,
        Shall find us fearless still.
And though our Vane be in his tomb,
        Though Hampden's blood is cold,
Their spirits live to lead our doom
        As in the days of old.

Our England's heart is stout as oak;
        Our English will as brave
As when indignant Freedom spoke
        From Eliot's prison grave.
And closing yet again with Wrong,
        A world in arms shall see
Our England foremost of the Strong
        And first among the Free.


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A NATIONAL HYMN


O GOD! our England save.
God! who o'er land and wave
                Didst lead our sires—
Lead us, through glorious deeds,
Wherever Truth proceeds,
And crown each day with meeds
                Of high desires.

O God! who rulést right­—
O God! whose word is might—
                That word fulfil:
Teach us to do and dare,
Make England's life a prayer,
Her hope a zealous care
                To work thy will.

Let our Republic stand
Ever at Fame's right hand,
                Stalwart and free:
Give us heroic health:
So we, despising stealth,
May make our Commonwealth
                Worthy of thee.

O Truth! our England bless:
So we through every stress
                Shall proudly march:
Gird thou our sheathless sword;
Speak thou our charging word;
Welcome the battle's lord
                Under thy arch.

Honour! be thou our guide:
Lead thou our holy pride
                Over the earth:
Till all the nations be,
Even as England, free;
Till the last tyrant flee
                Before our worth.


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PRAYER FOR ENGLAND


( Sicilian Mariners' Hymn )


POWER that mouldest
        Virtue's boldest!
Make our England choicest earth:
        Give us daring,
        With true caring
Both for freedom and for worth.


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A PRAYER FOR TRUTH


O GOD! the Giver of all which men call good
Or ill, the Origin and Soul of Power!
I pray to Thee as all must in their hour
Of need, for solace, medicine, or food,
Whether aloud, or secretly—understood
No less by Thee.   I pray: but not for fame,
Nor love's best happiness, nor place, nor wealth.
I ask Thee only for that spiritual health
Which is perception of the True—the same
As in Thy Nature: so to know, and aim
Tow'rd Thee my thought, my word, my whole of life.
Then matters little whether care, or strife,
Hot sun, or cloud, o'erpass this earthly day:
Night cometh, and my star climbeth Thy Heaven-way.




THE END.

 



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