Before I got my eye put out,
I liked as well to see
As other creatures that have eyes,
And know no other way.
But were it told to me, to-day,
That I might have the sky
For mine, I tell you that my heart
Would split, for size of me.
The meadows mine, the mountains mine, --
All forests, stintless stars,
As much of noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes.

Oh, if there may departing be
Any forgot by victory
In her imperial round,
Show them this meek apparelled thing,
That could not stop to be a king,
Doubtful if it be crowned!
Departed to the judgment,
A mighty afternoon;
Great clouds like ushers leaning,
Creation looking on.

Our pace took sudden awe,
Our feet reluctant led.
Before were cities, but between,
The forest of the dead.
Retreat was out of hope, --
Behind, a sealed route,
Eternity's white flag before,
And God at every gate.

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree.
South winds jostle them,
Bumblebees come,
Hover, hesitate,
Drink, and are gone.
Butterflies pause
On their passage Cashmere;
I, softly plucking,
Present them here!
Where ships of purple gently toss
On seas of daffodil,
Fantastic sailors mingle,
And then -- the wharf is still.

Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;
Or bees, that thought the summer's name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;
Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint, -- some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;

Never the treasures in her nest
The cautious grave exposes,
Building where schoolboy dare not look
And sportsman is not bold.
This covert have all the children
Early aged, and often cold, --
Sparrows unnoticed by the Father;
Lambs for whom time had not a fold.
As by the dead we love to sit,
Become so wondrous dear,
As for the lost we grapple,
Though all the rest are here, --

Ascend in ceaseless carol,
Inaudible, indeed,
To us, the duller scholars
Of the mysterious bard!
I years had been from home,
And now, before the door,
I dared not open, lest a face
I never saw before
Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business, -- just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?

None may teach it anything,
' T is the seal, despair, --
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air.
When it comes, the landscape listens,
Shadows hold their breath;
When it goes, 't is like the distance
On the look of death.
One dignity delays for all,
One mitred afternoon.
None can avoid this purple,
None evade this crown.

Dear to the moss,
Known by the knoll,
Next to the robin
In every human soul.
Bold little beauty,
Bedecked with thee,
Nature forswears
Antiquity.
The murmur of a bee
A witchcraft yieldeth me.
If any ask me why,
'T were easier to die
Than tell.
The red upon the hill
Taketh away my will;
If anybody sneer,
Take care, for God is here,
That's all.

To stay the homesick, homesick feet
Upon a foreign shore
Haunted by native lands, the while,
And blue, beloved air --
This is the sovereign anguish,
This, the signal woe!
These are the patient laureates
Whose voices, trained below,
Ascend in ceaseless carol,
Inaudible, indeed,
To us, the duller scholars
Of the mysterious bard!

A careless snatch, a ballad,
A ditty of the street;
Yet to my irritated ear
An anodyne so sweet,
It was as if a bobolink,
Sauntering this way,
Carolled and mused and carolled,
Then bubbled slow away.

On the bleakness of my lot
Bloom I strove to raise.
Late, my acre of a rock
Yielded grape and maize.
Soil of flint if steadfast tilled
Will reward the hand;
Seed of palm by Lybian sun
Fructified in sand.
A door just opened on a street --
I, lost, was passing by --
An instant's width of warmth disclosed,
And wealth, and company.

To stay the homesick, homesick feet
Upon a foreign shore
Haunted by native lands, the while,
And blue, beloved air --
This is the sovereign anguish,
This, the signal woe!
These are the patient laureates
Whose voices, trained below,

A quietness distilled,
As twilight long begun,
Or Nature, spending with herself
Sequestered afternoon.
The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone, --
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
As guest who would be gone.
And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful.

Then they will hasten to the door
To call the little child,
Who cannot thank them, for the ice
That on her lisping piled.
It is an honorable thought,
And makes one lift one's hat,
As one encountered gentlefolk
Upon a daily street,
That we've immortal place,
Though pyramids decay,
And kingdoms, like the orchard,
Flit russetly away.

How a small dusk crawls on the village
Till the houses blot;
And the odd flambeaux no men carry
Glimmer on the spot!
Now it is night in nest and kennel,
And where was the wood,
Just a dome of abyss is nodding
Into solitude! --
These are the visions baffled Guido;
Titian never told;
Domenichino dropped the pencil,
Powerless to unfold.

So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
We never know how high we are
Till we are called to rise;
And then, if we are true to plan,
Our statures touch the skies.

A further force of life
Developed from within, --
When Death lit all the shortness up,
And made the hurry plain.
We wondered at our blindness, --
When nothing was to see
But her Carrara guide-post, --
At our stupidity,
When, duller than our dulness,
The busy darling lay,
So busy was she, finishing,
So leisurely were we!

She sweeps with many-colored brooms,
And leaves the shreds behind;
Oh, housewife in the evening west,
Come back, and dust the pond!
You dropped a purple ravelling in,
You dropped an amber thread;
And now you 've littered all the East
With duds of emerald!

I read my sentence steadily,
Reviewed it with my eyes,
To see that I made no mistake
In its extremest clause, --
The date, and manner of the shame;
And then the pious form
That "God have mercy" on the soul
The jury voted him.
I made my soul familiar
With her extremity,
That at the last it should not be
A novel agony,

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