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And he -- he followed close behind;
I felt his silver heel
Upon my ankle, -- then my shoes
Would overflow with pearl.
Until we met the solid town,
No man he seemed to know;
And bowing with a mighty look
At me, the sea withdrew.
Arcturus is his other name, --
I'd rather call him star!
It's so unkind of science
To go and interfere!

The vane a little to the east
Scares muslin souls away;
If broadcloth breasts are firmer
Than those of organdy,
Who is to blame? The weaver?
Ah! the bewildering thread!
The tapestries of paradise
So notelessly are made!
Each life converges to some centre
Expressed or still;
Exists in every human nature
A goal,
Admitted scarcely to itself, it may be,
Too fair
For credibility's temerity
To dare.

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.
How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon, --
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down
Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

I reason, earth is short,
And anguish absolute,
And many hurt;
But what of that?
I reason, we could die:
The best vitality
Cannot excel decay;
But what of that?
I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?
Afraid? Of whom am I afraid?
Not death; for who is he?
The porter of my father's lodge
As much abasheth me.

I felt a funeral in my brain,
And mourners, to and fro,
Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
That sense was breaking through.
And when they all were seated,
A service like a drum
Kept beating, beating, till I thought
My mind was going numb.
And then I heard them lift a box,
And creak across my soul
With those same boots of lead, again.
Then space began to toll

The murmuring of bees has ceased;
But murmuring of some
Posterior, prophetic,
Has simultaneous come, --
The lower metres of the year,
When nature's laugh is done, --
The Revelations of the book
Whose Genesis is June.

If anybody's friend be dead,
It 's sharpest of the theme
The thinking how they walked alive,
At such and such a time.
Their costume, of a Sunday,
Some manner of the hair, --
A prank nobody knew but them,
Lost, in the sepulchre.

Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise' yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.
On such a night, or such a night,
Would anybody care
If such a little figure
Slipped quiet from its chair,

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.

The plenty hurt me, 't was so new, --
Myself felt ill and odd,
As berry of a mountain bush
Transplanted to the road.
Nor was I hungry; so I found
That hunger was a way
Of persons outside windows,
The entering takes away.

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.

"'T is daisy in the shortest;
A little farther on,
Nearest the door to wake the first,
Little leontodon.
"'T is iris, sir, and aster,
Anemone and bell,
Batschia in the blanket red,
And chubby daffodil."

If I should stab the patient faith
So sure I 'd come -- so sure I 'd come,
It listening, listening, went to sleep
Telling my tardy name, --
My heart would wish it broke before,
Since breaking then, since breaking then,
Were useless as next morning's sun,
Where midnight frosts had lain!

Heart not so heavy as mine,
Wending late home,
As it passed my window
Whistled itself a tune, --
A careless snatch, a ballad,
A ditty of the street;
Yet to my irritated ear
An anodyne so sweet,
It was as if a bobolink,
Sauntering this way,
Carolled and mused and carolled,
Then bubbled slow away.

The grass divides as with a comb,
A spotted shaft is seen;
And then it closes at your feet
And opens further on.
He likes a boggy acre,
A floor too cool for corn.
Yet when a child, and barefoot,
I more than once, at morn,
Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
Unbraiding in the sun, --
When, stooping to secure it,
It wrinkled, and was gone.

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.

For whom I robbed the dingle,
For whom betrayed the dell,
Many will doubtless ask me,
But I shall never tell!
It makes no difference abroad,
The seasons fit the same,
The mornings blossom into noons,
And split their pods of flame.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches, -- a noted clergyman, --
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I'm going all along!

They 're here, though; not a creature failed,
No blossom stayed away
In gentle deference to me,
The Queen of Calvary.
Each one salutes me as he goes,
And I my childish plumes
Lift, in bereaved acknowledgment
Of their unthinking drums.

For two divided, briefly,
A cycle, it may be,
Till everlasting life unite
In strong society.
This was in the white of the year,
That was in the green,
Drifts were as difficult then to think
As daisies now to be seen.

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