"'T is iris, sir, and aster,
Anemone and bell,
Batschia in the blanket red,
And chubby daffodil."
Meanwhile at many cradles
Her busy foot she plied,
Humming the quaintest lullaby
That ever rocked a child.
"Hush! Epigea wakens! --
The crocus stirs her lids,
Rhodora's cheek is crimson, --
She's dreaming of the woods."

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.
And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!

To hang our head ostensibly,
And subsequent to find
That such was not the posture
Of our immortal mind,
Affords the sly presumption
That, in so dense a fuzz,
You, too, take cobweb attitudes
Upon a plane of gauze!

'T is vegetation's juggler,
The germ of alibi;
Doth like a bubble antedate,
And like a bubble hie.
I feel as if the grass were pleased
To have it intermit;
The surreptitious scion
Of summer's circumspect.

For chanticleer to wake it, --
Or stirring house below,
Or giddy bird in orchard,
Or early task to do?
There was a little figure plump
For every little knoll,
Busy needles, and spools of thread,
And trudging feet from school.
Playmates, and holidays, and nuts,
And visions vast and small.
Strange that the feet so precious charged
Should reach so small a goal!

Magnanimous of bird
By boy descried,
To sing unto the stone
Of which it died.
My friend must be a bird,
Because it flies!
Mortal my friend must be,
Because it dies!
Barbs has it, like a bee.
Ah, curious friend,
Thou puzzlest me!

I wish I knew that woman's name,
So, when she comes this way,
To hold my life, and hold my ears,
For fear I hear her say
She's 'sorry I am dead,' again,
Just when the grave and I
Have sobbed ourselves almost to sleep, --
Our only lullaby.

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?

But peers beyond her mesh,
And wishes, and denies, --
Lest interview annul a want
That image satisfies.
The rose did caper on her cheek,
Her bodice rose and fell,
Her pretty speech, like drunken men,
Did stagger pitiful.
Her fingers fumbled at her work, --
Her needle would not go;
What ailed so smart a little maid
It puzzled me to know,

I looked at sunrise once,
And then I looked at them,
And wishfulness in me arose
For circumstance the same.
'T was such an ample peace,
It could not hold a sigh, --
'T was Sabbath with the bells divorced,
'T was sunset all the day.
So choosing but a gown
And taking but a prayer,
The only raiment I should need,
I struggled, and was there.

Such dimity convictions,
A horror so refined
Of freckled human nature,
Of Deity ashamed, --
It's such a common glory,
A fisherman's degree!
Redemption, brittle lady,
Be so, ashamed of thee.

It lay unmentioned, as the sea
Develops pearl and weed,
But only to himself is known
The fathoms they abide.
Come slowly, Eden!
Lips unused to thee,
Bashful, sip thy jasmines,
As the fainting bee,
Reaching late his flower,
Round her chamber hums,
Counts his nectars -- enters,
And is lost in balms!

I woke and chid my honest fingers, --
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.
What if I say I shall not wait?
What if I burst the fleshly gate
And pass, escaped, to thee?
What if I file this mortal off,
See where it hurt me, -- that 's enough, --
And wade in liberty?

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.

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.

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! --

Our journey had advanced;
Our feet were almost come
To that odd fork in Being's road,
Eternity by term.
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.

Me! Hear! My foreign ear
The sounds of welcome near!
The saints shall meet
Our bashful feet.
My holiday shall be
That they remember me;

Did the paradise, persuaded,
Yield her moat of pearl,
Would the Eden be an Eden,
Or the earl an earl?
A charm invests a face
Imperfectly beheld, --
The lady dare not lift her veil
For fear it be dispelled.
But peers beyond her mesh,
And wishes, and denies, --
Lest interview annul a want
That image satisfies.

Or would they go on aching still
Through centuries above,
Enlightened to a larger pain
By contrast with the love.
The grieved are many, I am told;
The reason deeper lies, --
Death is but one and comes but once,
And only nails the eyes.
There's grief of want, and grief of cold, --
A sort they call 'despair;'
There's banishment from native eyes,
In sight of native air.

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