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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!

His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;
What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty.
And Sophocles a man;

This limitless hyperbole
Each one of us shall be;
'T is drama, if (hypothesis)
It be not tragedy!
She laid her docile crescent down,
And this mechanic stone
Still states, to dates that have forgot,
The news that she is gone.
So constant to its stolid trust,
The shaft that never knew,
It shames the constancy that fled
Before its emblem flew.

Without commander, countless, still,
The regiment of wood and hill
In bright detachment stand.
Behold! Whose multitudes are these?
The children of whose turbaned seas,
Or what Circassian land?
The grass so little has to do, --
A sphere of simple green,
With only butterflies to brood,
And bees to entertain,

A solemn thing it was, I said,
A woman white to be,
And wear, if God should count me fit,
Her hallowed mystery.
A timid thing to drop a life
Into the purple well,
Too plummetless that it come back
Eternity until.

That which sings so, speaks so,
When there's no one here, --
Will the frock I wept in
Answer me to wear?
I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.
The eyes beside had wrung them dry,
And breaths were gathering sure
For that last onset, when the king
Be witnessed in his power.

How excellent the heaven,
When earth cannot be had;
How hospitable, then, the face
Of our old neighbor, God!
When I was small, a woman died.
To-day her only boy
Went up from the Potomac,
His face all victory,

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!
New feet within my garden go,
New fingers stir the sod;
A troubadour upon the elm
Betrays the solitude.

Least village boasts its blacksmith,
Whose anvil's even din
Stands symbol for the finer forge
That soundless tugs within,
Refining these impatient ores
With hammer and with blaze,
Until the designated light
Repudiate the forge.

The smallest housewife in the grass,
Yet take her from the lawn,
And somebody has lost the face
That made existence home!
Death is a dialogue between
The spirit and the dust.
"Dissolve," says Death. The Spirit, "Sir,
I have another trust."

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?

Perhaps the kingdom of Heaven 's changed!
I hope the children there
Won't be new-fashioned when I come,
And laugh at me, and stare!
I hope the father in the skies
Will lift his little girl, --
Old-fashioned, naughty, everything, --
Over the stile of pearl!
An awful tempest mashed the air,
The clouds were gaunt and few;
A black, as of a spectre's cloak,
Hid heaven and earth from view.

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,

Poor little heart!
Did they forget thee?
Then dinna care! Then dinna care!
Proud little heart!
Did they forsake thee?
Be debonair! Be debonair!

The dusk drew earlier in,
The morning foreign shone, --
A courteous, yet harrowing grace,
As guest who would be gone.
And thus, without a wing,
Or service of a keel,
Our summer made her light escape
Into the beautiful.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.
The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

I measure every grief I meet
With analytic eyes;
I wonder if it weighs like mine,
Or has an easier size.
I wonder if they bore it long,
Or did it just begin?
I could not tell the date of mine,
It feels so old a pain.
I wonder if it hurts to live,
And if they have to try,
And whether, could they choose between,
They would not rather die.

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

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

To look at her; how slowly
The seasons must have turned
Till bullets clipt an angle,
And he passed quickly round!
If pride shall be in Paradise
I never can decide;
Of their imperial conduct,
No person testified.
But proud in apparition,
That woman and her boy
Pass back and forth before my brain,
As ever in the sky.

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