There's something quieter than sleep
Within this inner room!
It wears a sprig upon its breast,
And will not tell its name.
Some touch it and some kiss it,
Some chafe its idle hand;
It has a simple gravity
I do not understand!
While simple-hearted neighbors
Chat of the 'early dead,'
We, prone to periphrasis,
Remark that birds have fled!

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.
But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.
I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too --
And angels know the rest.

Blazing in gold and quenching in purple,
Leaping like leopards to the sky,
Then at the feet of the old horizon
Laying her spotted face, to die;
Stooping as low as the otter's window,
Touching the roof and tinting the barn,
Kissing her bonnet to the meadow, --
And the juggler of day is gone!

From us she wandered now a year,
Her tarrying unknown;
If wilderness prevent her feet,
Or that ethereal zone
No eye hath seen and lived,
We ignorant must be.
We only know what time of year
We took the mystery.
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

At least to pray is left, is left.
O Jesus! in the air
I know not which thy chamber is, --
I 'm knocking everywhere.
Thou stirrest earthquake in the South,
And maelstrom in the sea;
Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
Hast thou no arm for me?
Step lightly on this narrow spot!
The broadest land that grows
Is not so ample as the breast
These emerald seams enclose.

The wind does, working like a hand
Whose fingers brush the sky,
Then quiver down, with tufts of tune
Permitted gods and me.
When winds go round and round in bands,
And thrum upon the door,
And birds take places overhead,
To bear them orchestra,

An anguish at the mention,
Which, when to patience grown,
I 've known permission given
To rejoin its own.
Of tribulation these are they
Denoted by the white;
The spangled gowns, a lesser rank
Of victors designate.

Proud of my broken heart since thou didst break it,
Proud of the pain I did not feel till thee,
Proud of my night since thou with moons dost slake it,
Not to partake thy passion, my humility.
My worthiness is all my doubt,
His merit all my fear,
Contrasting which, my qualities
Do lowlier appear;

But when the south wind stirs the pools
And struggles in the lanes,
Her heart misgives her for her vow,
And she pours soft refrains
Into the lap of adamant,
And spices, and the dew,
That stiffens quietly to quartz,
Upon her amber shoe.

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?

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