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Upon the gallows hung a wretch,
Too sullied for the hell
To which the law entitled him.
As nature's curtain fell
The one who bore him tottered in,
For this was woman's son.
''T was all I had,' she stricken gasped;
Oh, what a livid boon!
I felt a clearing in my mind
As if my brain had split;
I tried to match it, seam by seam,
But could not make them fit.

I woke and chid my honest fingers, --
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.
What if I say I shall not wait?
What if I burst the fleshly gate
And pass, escaped, to thee?
What if I file this mortal off,
See where it hurt me, -- that 's enough, --
And wade in liberty?

How a small dusk crawls on the village
Till the houses blot;
And the odd flambeaux no men carry
Glimmer on the spot!
Now it is night in nest and kennel,
And where was the wood,
Just a dome of abyss is nodding
Into solitude! --

How warm they were on such a day:
You almost feel the date,
So short way off it seems; and now,
They 're centuries from that.
How pleased they were at what you said;
You try to touch the smile,
And dip your fingers in the frost:
When was it, can you tell,
You asked the company to tea,
Acquaintance, just a few,
And chatted close with this grand thing
That don't remember you?

This is the land the sunset washes,
These are the banks of the Yellow Sea;
Where it rose, or whither it rushes,
These are the western mystery!
Night after night her purple traffic
Strews the landing with opal bales;
Merchantmen poise upon horizons,
Dip, and vanish with fairy sails.
There is a flower that bees prefer,
And butterflies desire;
To gain the purple democrat
The humming-birds aspire.

The thimble weighed too heavy,
The stitches stopped themselves,
And then 't was put among the dust
Upon the closet shelves.
A book I have, a friend gave,
Whose pencil, here and there,
Had notched the place that pleased him, --
At rest his fingers are.
Now, when I read, I read not,
For interrupting tears
Obliterate the etchings
Too costly for repairs.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,
And past my apron and my belt,
And past my bodice too,
And made as he would eat me up
As wholly as a dew
Upon a dandelion's sleeve --
And then I started too.

With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,
Between the light and me;
And then the windows failed, and then
I could not see to see.
Adrift! A little boat adrift!
And night is coming down!
Will no one guide a little boat
Unto the nearest town?

But nature is a stranger yet;
The ones that cite her most
Have never passed her haunted house,
Nor simplified her ghost.
To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.

If town it have, beyond itself,
'T is that I cannot say;
I only sigh, -- no vehicle
Bears me along that way.
A drop fell on the apple tree,
Another on the roof;
A half a dozen kissed the eaves,
And made the gables laugh.

Upon his dateless fame
Our periods may lie,
As stars that drop anonymous
From an abundant sky.
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.

Upon his dateless fame
Our periods may lie,
As stars that drop anonymous
From an abundant sky.
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.

We waited while she passed;
It was a narrow time,
Too jostled were our souls to speak,
At length the notice came.
She mentioned, and forgot;
Then lightly as a reed
Bent to the water, shivered scarce,
Consented, and was dead.

Related somehow they may be, --
The sedge stands next the sea,
Where he is floorless, yet of fear
No evidence gives he.
But nature is a stranger yet;
The ones that cite her most
Have never passed her haunted house,
Nor simplified her ghost.
To pity those that know her not
Is helped by the regret
That those who know her, know her less
The nearer her they get.

To stay the homesick, homesick feet
Upon a foreign shore
Haunted by native lands, the while,
And blue, beloved air --
This is the sovereign anguish,
This, the signal woe!
These are the patient laureates
Whose voices, trained below,

The robin is the one
That speechless from her nest
Submits that home and certainty
And sanctity are best.
From cocoon forth a butterfly
As lady from her door
Emerged -- a summer afternoon --
Repairing everywhere,
Without design, that I could trace,
Except to stray abroad
On miscellaneous enterprise
The clovers understood.

Me! Come! My dazzled face
In such a shining place!
Me! Hear! My foreign ear
The sounds of welcome near!

By what mystic mooring
She is held to-day, --
This is the errand of the eye
Out upon the bay.
Belshazzar had a letter, --
He never had but one;
Belshazzar's correspondent
Concluded and begun
In that immortal copy
The conscience of us all
Can read without its glasses
On revelation's wall.

Our share of night to bear,
Our share of morning,
Our blank in bliss to fill,
Our blank in scorning.
Here a star, and there a star,
Some lose their way.
Here a mist, and there a mist,
Afterwards -- day!

Mirth is the mail of anguish,
In which it cautions arm,
Lest anybody spy the blood
And "You're hurt" exclaim!
The heart asks pleasure first,
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;

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