And get the dimples ready,
And wonder we could care
For that old faded midnight
That frightened but an hour.
Read, sweet, how others strove,
Till we are stouter;
What they renounced,
Till we are less afraid;
How many times they bore
The faithful witness,
Till we are helped,
As if a kingdom cared!

Day rattles, too,
Stealth's slow;
The sun has got as far
As the third sycamore.
Screams chanticleer,
"Who's there?"
And echoes, trains away,
Sneer -- "Where?"
While the old couple, just astir,
Fancy the sunrise left the door ajar!
To fight aloud is very brave,
But gallanter, I know,
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.

The time was scarce profaned by speech;
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at sacrament
The wardrobe of our Lord.
Each was to each the sealed church,
Permitted to commune this time,
Lest we too awkward show
At supper of the Lamb.
The hours slid fast, as hours will,
Clutched tight by greedy hands;
So faces on two decks look back,
Bound to opposing lands.

I like a look of agony,
Because I know it 's true;
Men do not sham convulsion,
Nor simulate a throe.
The eyes glaze once, and that is death.
Impossible to feign
The beads upon the forehead
By homely anguish strung.
That short, potential stir
That each can make but once,
That bustle so illustrious
'T is almost consequence,

I found the phrase to every thought
I ever had, but one;
And that defies me, -- as a hand
Did try to chalk the sun
To races nurtured in the dark; --
How would your own begin?
Can blaze be done in cochineal,
Or noon in mazarin?

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.

A train went through a burial gate,
A bird broke forth and sang,
And trilled, and quivered, and shook his throat
Till all the churchyard rang;
And then adjusted his little notes,
And bowed and sang again.
Doubtless, he thought it meet of him
To say good-by to men.

If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.

Taught me by Time, -- the lower way,
Conviction every day, --
That life like this is endless,
Be judgment what it may.
I envy seas whereon he rides,
I envy spokes of wheels
Of chariots that him convey,
I envy speechless hills
That gaze upon his journey;
How easy all can see
What is forbidden utterly
As heaven, unto me!

And neigh like Boanerges;
Then, punctual as a star,
Stop -- docile and omnipotent --
At its own stable door.
The show is not the show,
But they that go.
Menagerie to me
My neighbor be.
Fair play --
Both went to see.

The skies can't keep their secret!
They tell it to the hills --
The hills just tell the orchards --
And they the daffodils!
A bird, by chance, that goes that way
Soft overheard the whole.
If I should bribe the little bird,
Who knows but she would tell?

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!

Stare vacant into mine
And ask my business there.
My business, -- just a life I left,
Was such still dwelling there?
I fumbled at my nerve,
I scanned the windows near;
The silence like an ocean rolled,
And broke against my ear.

Some things that fly there be, --
Birds, hours, the bumble-bee:
Of these no elegy.
Some things that stay there be, --
Grief, hills, eternity:
Nor this behooveth me.
There are, that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the riddle lies!

Oh, fraud that cannot cheat the bee,
Almost thy plausibility
Induces my belief,
Till ranks of seeds their witness bear,
And softly through the altered air
Hurries a timid leaf!

He will tell me what Peter promised,
And I, for wonder at his woe,
I shall forget the drop of anguish
That scalds me now, that scalds me now.
I never lost as much but twice,
And that was in the sod;
Twice have I stood a beggar
Before the door of God!
Angels, twice descending,
Reimbursed my store.
Burglar, banker, father,
I am poor once more!

I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me,
And frigates in the upper floor
Extended hempen hands,
Presuming me to be a mouse
Aground, upon the sands.

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.
Was bridal e'er like this?
A paradise, the host,
And cherubim and seraphim
The most familiar guest.
I'm wife; I've finished that,
That other state;
I'm Czar, I'm woman now:
It's safer so.

Nor tie to earths to come,
Nor action new,
Except through this extent,
The realm of you.
Your riches taught me poverty.
Myself a millionnaire
In little wealths, -- as girls could boast, --
Till broad as Buenos Ayre,
You drifted your dominions
A different Peru;
And I esteemed all poverty,
For life's estate with you.

Next time, to tarry,
While the ages steal, --
Slow tramp the centuries,
And the cycles wheel.
Of all the souls that stand create
I have elected one.
When sense from spirit files away,
And subterfuge is done;
When that which is and that which was
Apart, intrinsic, stand,
And this brief tragedy of flesh
Is shifted like a sand;

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