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III.

IN THE DOORWAY.

I.

THE swallow has set her six young on the rail,

And looks sea-ward:

The water's in stripes like a snake, olive-pale

To the leeward,

On the weather-side, black, spotted white with the wind. "Good fortune departs, and disaster's behind,"

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Hark, the wind with its wants and its infinite wail!

II.

Our fig-tree, that leaned for the saltness, has furled
Her five fingers,

Each leaf like a hand opened wide to the world
Where there lingers

No glint of the gold, Summer sent for her sake:

How the vines writhe in rows, each impaled on its stake! My heart shrivels up and my spirit shrinks curled.

III.

Yet here are we two; we have love, house enough,
With the field there,

This house of four rooms, that field red and rough,
Though it yield there,

For the rabbit that robs, scarce a blade or a bent;
If a magpie alight now, it seems an event;

And they both will be gone at November's rebuff.

IV.

But why must cold spread? but wherefore bring change To the spirit,

God meant should mate his with an infinite range,

And inherit

His power to put life in the darkness and cold?

Oh, live and love worthily, bear and be bold!

Whom Summer made friends of, let Winter estrange!

IV.

ALONG THE BEACH.

I.

I WILL be quiet and talk with you,
And reason why you are wrong.
You wanted my love is that much true?
And so I did love, so I do :

What has come of it all along?

I took

you

II.

how could I otherwise?

For a world to me, and more;
For all, love greatens and glorifies
Till God's aglow, to the loving eyes,
In what was mere earth before.

Yes, earth

III.

yes, mere ignoble earth!

Now do I mis-state, mistake?

Do I wrong your weakness and call it worth? Expect all harvest, dread no dearth,

Seal my sense up for your sake?

IV.

Oh, Love, Love, no, Love! not so, indeed!
You were just weak earth, I knew:
With much in you waste, with many a weed,
And plenty of passions run to seed,

But a little good grain too.

V.

And such as you were, I took you for mine:
Did not you find me yours,

To watch the olive and wait the vine,
And wonder when rivers of oil and wine
Would flow, as the Book assures?

VI.

Well, and if none of these good things came,
What did the failure prove?

The man was my whole world, all the same,
With his flowers to praise or his weeds to blame,
And, either or both, to love.

VII.

Yet this turns now to a fault - there! there!

That I do love, watch too long,

And wait too well, and weary and wear;
And 't is all an old story, and my despair
Fit subject for some new song:

VIII.

"How the light, light love, he has wings to fly
At suspicion of a bond:

My wisdom has bidden your pleasure good-bye,
Which will turn up next in a laughing eye,
And why should you look beyond?"

V.

ON THE CLIFF.

I.

I LEANED on the turf,

I looked at a rock

Left dry by the surf;

For the turf, to call it grass were to mock:
Dead to the roots, so deep was done

The work of the summer sun.

II.

And the rock lay flat

As an anvil's face :

No iron like that!

Baked dry; of a weed, of a shell, no trace:
Sunshine outside, but ice at the core,

Death's altar by the lone shore.

III.

On the turf, sprang gay
With his films of blue,

No cricket, I'll say,

But a warhorse, barded and chanfroned too,
The gift of a quixote-mage to his knight,

Real fairy, with wings all right.

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The burnt and bare, in themselves; but then
With such a blue and red grace, not theirs,
Love settling unawares !

VI.

READING A BOOK, UNDER THE CLIFF.

I.

"STILL ailing, Wind? Wilt be appeased or no? Which needs the other's office, thou or I? Dost want to be disburdened of a woe,

And can, in truth, my voice untie

Its links, and let it go?

II.

"Art thou a dumb, wronged thing that would be righted, Entrusting thus thy cause to me? Forbear!

No tongue can mend such pleadings; faith, requited With falsehood, love, at last aware

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"We have them; but I know not any tone
So fit as thine to falter forth a sorrow:
Dost think men would go mad without a moan,
If they knew any way to borrow

A pathos like thy own?

IV.

"Which sigh wouldst mock, of all the sighs? The one So long escaping from lips starved and blue, That lasts while on her pallet-bed the nun

Stretches her length; her foot comes through The straw she shivers on;

V.

"You had not thought she was so tall and spent,
Her shrunk lids open, her lean fingers shut
Close, close, their sharp and livid nails indent
The clammy palm; then all is mute:
That way, the spirit went.

VI.

"Or wouldst thou rather that I understand
Thy will to help me?-like the dog I found
Once, pacing sad this solitary strand,

Who would not take

But whined and licked

my food,
my hand."

poor

hound,

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VII.

All this, and more, comes from some young man's pride
Of power to see, - in failure and mistake,
Relinquishment, disgrace, on every side, –
Merely examples for his sake,
Helps to his path untried :

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Make doubly prominent, twice emphasize,

By added touches that reveal

The god in babe's disguise.

IX.

Oh, he knows what defeat means, and the rest!
Himself the undefeated that shall be:

Failure, disgrace, he flings them you to test,
His triumph, in eternity

Too plainly manifest!

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