Her fingers fumbled at her work, --
Her needle would not go;
What ailed so smart a little maid
It puzzled me to know,
Till opposite I spied a cheek
That bore another rose;
Just opposite, another speech
That like the drunkard goes;

To know if he was patient, part content,
Was dying as he thought, or different;
Was it a pleasant day to die,
And did the sunshine face his way?
What was his furthest mind, of home, or God,
Or what the distant say
At news that he ceased human nature
On such a day?

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Neither decree
Prohibits him,
Lawful as
Equilibrium.
Frequently the woods are pink,
Frequently are brown;
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see,
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be.
And the earth, they tell me,
On its axis turned, --
Wonderful rotation
By but twelve performed!

Adored with caution, as a brittle heaven,
To reach
Were hopeless as the rainbow's raiment
To touch,
Yet persevered toward, surer for the distance;
How high
Unto the saints' slow diligence
The sky!
Ungained, it may be, by a life's low venture,
But then,
Eternity enables the endeavoring
Again.

Around a pile of mountains,
And, supercilious, peer
In shanties by the sides of roads;
And then a quarry pare
To fit its sides, and crawl between,
Complaining all the while
In horrid, hooting stanza;
Then chase itself down hill

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.

And struggle slacker, but to prove,
As hopelessly as I,
How many the fictitious shores
Before the harbor lie.
Unto my books so good to turn
Far ends of tired days;
It half endears the abstinence,
And pain is missed in praise.
As flavors cheer retarded guests
With banquetings to be,
So spices stimulate the time
Till my small library.

As children bid the guest good-night,
And then reluctant turn,
My flowers raise their pretty lips,
Then put their nightgowns on.
As children caper when they wake,
Merry that it is morn,
My flowers from a hundred cribs
Will peep, and prance again.
Angels in the early morning
May be seen the dews among,
Stooping, plucking, smiling, flying:
Do the buds to them belong?

Except thyself may be
Thine enemy;
Captivity is consciousness,
So's liberty.
I lost a world the other day.
Has anybody found?
You'll know it by the row of stars
Around its forehead bound.
A rich man might not notice it;
Yet to my frugal eye
Of more esteem than ducats.
Oh, find it, sir, for me!
If I shouldn't be alive
When the robins come,
Give the one in red cravat
A memorial crumb.

A vest that, like the bodice, danced
To the immortal tune, --
Till those two troubled little clocks
Ticked softly into one.
In lands I never saw, they say,
Immortal Alps look down,
Whose bonnets touch the firmament,
Whose sandals touch the town, --
Meek at whose everlasting feet
A myriad daisies play.
Which, sir, are you, and which am I,
Upon an August day?

Is bliss, then, such abyss
I must not put my foot amiss
For fear I spoil my shoe?
I'd rather suit my foot
Than save my boot,
For yet to buy another pair
Is possible
At any fair.
But bliss is sold just once;
The patent lost
None buy it any more.
I stepped from plank to plank
So slow and cautiously;
The stars about my head I felt,
About my feet the sea.

The meadows mine, the mountains mine, --
All forests, stintless stars,
As much of noon as I could take
Between my finite eyes.
The motions of the dipping birds,
The lightning's jointed road,
For mine to look at when I liked, --
The news would strike me dead!

These are the visions baffled Guido;
Titian never told;
Domenichino dropped the pencil,
Powerless to unfold.
The murmuring of bees has ceased;
But murmuring of some
Posterior, prophetic,
Has simultaneous come, --
The lower metres of the year,
When nature's laugh is done, --
The Revelations of the book
Whose Genesis is June.

The reticent volcano keeps
His never slumbering plan;
Confided are his projects pink
To no precarious man.
If nature will not tell the tale
Jehovah told to her,
Can human nature not survive
Without a listener?
Admonished by her buckled lips
Let every babbler be.
The only secret people keep
Is Immortality.

Not with a club the heart is broken,
Nor with a stone;
A whip, so small you could not see it.
I've known
To lash the magic creature
Till it fell,
Yet that whip's name too noble
Then to tell.

Simplicity fled from his counterfeit presence
As gold the pyrites would shun.
What confusion would cover the innocent Jesus
To meet so enabled a man!
Good night! which put the candle out?
A jealous zephyr, not a doubt.
Ah! friend, you little knew
How long at that celestial wick
The angels labored diligent;
Extinguished, now, for you!

I thank these kinsmen of the shelf;
Their countenances bland
Enamour in prospective,
And satisfy, obtained.
This merit hath the worst, --
It cannot be again.
When Fate hath taunted last
And thrown her furthest stone,

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.
That I did always love,
I bring thee proof:
That till I loved
I did not love enough.

Looking back is best that is left,
Or if it be before,
Retrospection is prospect's half,
Sometimes almost more.
Sweet hours have perished here;
This is a mighty room;
Within its precincts hopes have played, --
Now shadows in the tomb.
Me! Come! My dazzled face
In such a shining place!
Me! Hear! My foreign ear
The sounds of welcome near!

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