I waked, to find it first awake,
I rose, -- it followed me;
I tried to drop it in the crowd,
To lose it in the sea,
In cups of artificial drowse
To sleep its shape away, --
The grave was finished, but the spade
Remained in memory.
I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.

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."

Given in marriage unto thee,
Oh, thou celestial host!
Bride of the Father and the Son,
Bride of the Holy Ghost!
Other betrothal shall dissolve,
Wedlock of will decay;
Only the keeper of this seal
Conquers mortality.

That bells should joyful ring to tell
A soul had gone to heaven,
Would seem to me the proper way
A good news should be given.
If I may have it when it's dead
I will contented be;
If just as soon as breath is out
It shall belong to me,
Until they lock it in the grave,
'T is bliss I cannot weigh,
For though they lock thee in the grave,
Myself can hold the key.

A something in a summer's day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer's noon, --
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
Transcending ecstasy.
And still within a summer's night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;
Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.

And then together bore away
Upon a shining sea, --
Though never yet, in any port,
Their coming mentioned be.
If spoken by the distant bird,
If met in ether sea
By frigate or by merchantman,
Report was not to me.

I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.
I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.
I wished the grass would hurry,
So when 't was time to see,
He 'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.

Whereas I took the butterfly
Aforetime in my hat,
He sits erect in cabinets,
The clover-bells forgot.
What once was heaven, is zenith now.
Where I proposed to go
When time's brief masquerade was done,
Is mapped, and charted too!
What if the poles should frisk about
And stand upon their heads!
I hope I 'm ready for the worst,
Whatever prank betides!

'T was sooner when the cricket went
Than when the winter came,
Yet that pathetic pendulum
Keeps esoteric time.
These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.
These are the days when skies put on
The old, old sophistries of June, --
A blue and gold mistake.
Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,

Her forehead is of amplest blond;
Her cheek like beryl stone;
Her eye unto the summer dew
The likest I have known.
Her lips of amber never part;
But what must be the smile
Upon her friend she could bestow
Were such her silver will!

'T was a long parting, but the time
For interview had come;
Before the judgment-seat of God,
The last and second time
These fleshless lovers met,
A heaven in a gaze,
A heaven of heavens, the privilege
Of one another's eyes.
No lifetime set on them,
Apparelled as the new
Unborn, except they had beheld,
Born everlasting now.

And then the milliner, and the man
Of the appalling trade,
To take the measure of the house.
There'll be that dark parade
Of tassels and of coaches soon;
It's easy as a sign, --
The intuition of the news
In just a country town.

'T WAS later when the summer went
Than when the cricket came,
And yet we knew that gentle clock
Meant nought but going home.
'T was sooner when the cricket went
Than when the winter came,
Yet that pathetic pendulum
Keeps esoteric time.
These are the days when birds come back,
A very few, a bird or two,
To take a backward look.

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame.
And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me.
So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

The wealth I had contented me;
If 't was a meaner size,
Then I had counted it until
It pleased my narrow eyes
Better than larger values,
However true their show;
This timid life of evidence
Keeps pleading, "I don't know."
There is a shame of nobleness
Confronting sudden pelf, --
A finer shame of ecstasy
Convicted of itself.

Bait it with the balsam,
Seek it with the knife,
Baffle, if it cost you
Everything in life.
Then, if it have burrowed
Out of reach of skill,
Ring the tree and leave it, --
'T is the vermin's will.
'T is sunrise, little maid, hast thou
No station in the day?
'T was not thy wont to hinder so, --
Retrieve thine industry.

And still she plies her spotted brooms,
And still the aprons fly,
Till brooms fade softly into stars --
And then I come away.
Like mighty footlights burned the red
At bases of the trees, --
The far theatricals of day
Exhibiting to these.
'T was universe that did applaud
While, chiefest of the crowd,
Enabled by his royal dress,
Myself distinguished God.

If I couldn't thank you,
Being just asleep,
You will know I'm trying
With my granite lip!
Sleep is supposed to be,
By souls of sanity,
The shutting of the eye.
Sleep is the station grand
Down which on either hand
The hosts of witness stand!
Morn is supposed to be,
By people of degree,
The breaking of the day.

The mushroom is the elf of plants,
At evening it is not;
At morning in a truffled hut
It stops upon a spot
As if it tarried always;
And yet its whole career
Is shorter than a snake's delay,
And fleeter than a tare.
'T is vegetation's juggler,
The germ of alibi;
Doth like a bubble antedate,
And like a bubble hie.

The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.
A precious, mouldering pleasure 't is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,

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