He fumbles at your spirit
As players at the keys
Before they drop full music on;
He stuns you by degrees,
Prepares your brittle substance
For the ethereal blow,
By fainter hammers, further heard,
Then nearer, then so slow
Your breath has time to straighten,
Your brain to bubble cool, --
Deals one imperial thunderbolt
That scalps your naked soul.

Are friends delight or pain?
Could bounty but remain
Riches were good.
But if they only stay
Bolder to fly away,
Riches are sad.
Ashes denote that fire was;
Respect the grayest pile
For the departed creature's sake
That hovered there awhile.

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;

Of life? 'T were odd I fear a thing
That comprehendeth me
In one or more existences
At Deity's decree.
Of resurrection? Is the east
Afraid to trust the morn
With her fastidious forehead?
As soon impeach my crown!
The sun kept setting, setting still;
No hue of afternoon
Upon the village I perceived, --
From house to house 't was noon.

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!
Oh, sacrament of summer days,
Oh, last communion in the haze,
Permit a child to join,

It is an honorable thought,
And makes one lift one's hat,
As one encountered gentlefolk
Upon a daily street,
That we've immortal place,
Though pyramids decay,
And kingdoms, like the orchard,
Flit russetly away.
The distance that the dead have gone
Does not at first appear;
Their coming back seems possible
For many an ardent year.

Coach it insures, and footmen,
Chamber and state and throng;
Bells, also, in the village,
As we ride grand along.
What dignified attendants,
What service when we pause!
How loyally at parting
Their hundred hats they raise!
How pomp surpassing ermine,
When simple you and I
Present our meek escutcheon,
And claim the rank to die!

So proud she was to die
It made us all ashamed
That what we cherished, so unknown
To her desire seemed.
So satisfied to go
Where none of us should be,
Immediately, that anguish stooped
Almost to jealousy.

The sky is low, the clouds are mean,
A travelling flake of snow
Across a barn or through a rut
Debates if it will go.
A narrow wind complains all day
How some one treated him;
Nature, like us, is sometimes caught
Without her diadem.
I think the hemlock likes to stand
Upon a marge of snow;
It suits his own austerity,
And satisfies an awe

It has no future but itself,
Its infinite realms contain
Its past, enlightened to perceive
New periods of pain.
I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an alcohol!

Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
Of cordiality;
But never met this fellow,
Attended or alone,
Without a tighter breathing,
And zero at the bone.
The mushroom is the elf of plants,
At evening it is not;
At morning in a truffled hut
It stops upon a spot

What mystery pervades a well!
The water lives so far,
Like neighbor from another world
Residing in a jar.
The grass does not appear afraid;
I often wonder he
Can stand so close and look so bold
At what is dread to me.

When landlords turn the drunken bee
Out of the foxglove's door,
When butterflies renounce their drams,
I shall but drink the more!
Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
And saints to windows run,
To see the little tippler
Leaning against the sun!

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!
The saints shall meet
Our bashful feet.

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,

I'll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks, --
Say, sea,
Take me!
I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf
The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup

I've got an arrow here;
Loving the hand that sent it,
I the dart revere.
Fell, they will say, in 'skirmish'!
Vanquished, my soul will know,
By but a simple arrow
Sped by an archer's bow.

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.

A hurrying home of little men
To houses unperceived, --
All this, and more, if I should tell,
Would never be believed.
Of robins in the trundle bed
How many I espy
Whose nightgowns could not hide the wings,
Although I heard them try!

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?
I think I won't, however,
It's finer not to know;
If summer were an axiom,
What sorcery had snow?
So keep your secret, Father!
I would not, if I could,
Know what the sapphire fellows do,
In your new-fashioned world!

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