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To lash the magic creature
Till it fell,
Yet that whip's name too noble
Then to tell.
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!

He visited, still flitting;
Then, like a timid man,
Again he tapped -- 't was flurriedly --
And I became alone.
Nature rarer uses yellow
Than another hue;
Saves she all of that for sunsets, --
Prodigal of blue,

Did the harebell loose her girdle
To the lover bee,
Would the bee the harebell hallow
Much as formerly?
Did the paradise, persuaded,
Yield her moat of pearl,
Would the Eden be an Eden,
Or the earl an earl?

So choosing but a gown
And taking but a prayer,
The only raiment I should need,
I struggled, and was there.
If anybody's friend be dead,
It 's sharpest of the theme
The thinking how they walked alive,
At such and such a time.

There came a day at summer's full
Entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints,
Where revelations be.
The sun, as common, went abroad,
The flowers, accustomed, blew,
As if no soul the solstice passed
That maketh all things new.
The time was scarce profaned by speech;
The symbol of a word
Was needless, as at sacrament
The wardrobe of our Lord.

Prayer is the little implement
Through which men reach
Where presence is denied them.
They fling their speech
By means of it in God's ear;
If then He hear,
This sums the apparatus
Comprised in prayer.

My worthiness is all my doubt,
His merit all my fear,
Contrasting which, my qualities
Do lowlier appear;
Lest I should insufficient prove
For his beloved need,
The chiefest apprehension
Within my loving creed.

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus',
That new grace
Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.
They'd judge us -- how?
For you served Heaven, you know,
Or sought to;
I could not,

A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.
I read my sentence steadily,
Reviewed it with my eyes,
To see that I made no mistake
In its extremest clause, --
The date, and manner of the shame;
And then the pious form
That "God have mercy" on the soul
The jury voted him.

A vastness, as a neighbor, came, --
A wisdom without face or name,
A peace, as hemispheres at home, --
And so the night became.
Drab habitation of whom?
Tabernacle or tomb,
Or dome of worm,
Or porch of gnome,
Or some elf's catacomb?

Let me not mar that perfect dream
By an auroral stain,
But so adjust my daily night
That it will come again.
I live with him, I see his face;
I go no more away
For visitor, or sundown;
Death's single privacy,

The breaking of the day
Addeth to my degree;
If any ask me how,
Artist, who drew me so,
Must tell!
Perhaps you'd like to buy a flower?
But I could never sell.
If you would like to borrow
Until the daffodil
Unties her yellow bonnet
Beneath the village door,
Until the bees, from clover rows
Their hock and sherry draw,

Italy stands the other side,
While, like a guard between,
The solemn Alps,
The siren Alps,
Forever intervene!
Remembrance has a rear and front, --
'T is something like a house;
It has a garret also
For refuse and the mouse,

She slept beneath a tree
Remembered but by me.
I touched her cradle mute;
She recognized the foot,
Put on her carmine suit, --
And see!
A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here

Their liquid feet go softly out
Upon a sea of blond;
They spurn the air as 't were too mean
For creatures so renowned.
Their ribbons just beyond the eye,
They struggle some for breath,
And yet the crowd applauds below;
They would not encore death.

A clock stopped -- not the mantel's;
Geneva's farthest skill
Can't put the puppet bowing
That just now dangled still.
An awe came on the trinket!
The figures hunched with pain,
Then quivered out of decimals
Into degreeless noon.

Three weeks passed since I had seen her, --
Some disease had vexed;
'T was with text and village singing
I beheld her next,
And a company -- our pleasure
To discourse alone;
Gracious now to me as any,
Gracious unto none.
Borne, without dissent of either,
To the parish night;
Of the separated people
Which are out of sight?

Wait till the majesty of Death
Invests so mean a brow!
Almost a powdered footman
Might dare to touch it now!
Wait till in everlasting robes
This democrat is dressed,
Then prate about "preferment"
And "station" and the rest!

'T is whiter than an Indian pipe,
'T is dimmer than a lace;
No stature has it, like a fog,
When you approach the place.
Not any voice denotes it here,
Or intimates it there;
A spirit, how doth it accost?
What customs hath the air?
This limitless hyperbole
Each one of us shall be;
'T is drama, if (hypothesis)
It be not tragedy!

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.
And so, when all the time had failed,
Without external sound,
Each bound the other's crucifix,
We gave no other bond.

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