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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.

Where every bird is bold to go,
And bees abashless play,
The foreigner before he knocks
Must thrust the tears away.
The grave my little cottage is,
Where, keeping house for thee,
I make my parlor orderly,
And lay the marble tea,

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!

Her pretty parasol was seen
Contracting in a field
Where men made hay, then struggling hard
With an opposing cloud,
Where parties, phantom as herself,
To Nowhere seemed to go
In purposeless circumference,
As 't were a tropic show.
And notwithstanding bee that worked,
And flower that zealous blew,
This audience of idleness
Disdained them, from the sky,

On stump and stack and stem, --
The summer's empty room,
Acres of seams where harvests were,
Recordless, but for them.
It ruffles wrists of posts,
As ankles of a queen, --
Then stills its artisans like ghosts,
Denying they have been.

The house of supposition,
The glimmering frontier
That skirts the acres of perhaps,
To me shows insecure.
The wealth I had contented me;
If 't was a meaner size,
Then I had counted it until
It pleased my narrow eyes

And what a privilege to be
But the remotest star!
For certainly her way might pass
Beside your twinkling door.
Her bonnet is the firmament,
The universe her shoe,
The stars the trinkets at her belt,
Her dimities of blue.
The bat is dun with wrinkled wings
Like fallow article,
And not a song pervades his lips,
Or none perceptible.

Tie the strings to my life, my Lord,
Then I am ready to go!
Just a look at the horses --
Rapid! That will do!
Put me in on the firmest side,
So I shall never fall;
For we must ride to the Judgment,
And it's partly down hill.
But never I mind the bridges,
And never I mind the sea;
Held fast in everlasting race
By my own choice and thee.

Unto my books so good to turn
Far ends of tired days;
It half endears the abstinence,
And pain is missed in praise.
As flavors cheer retarded guests
With banquetings to be,
So spices stimulate the time
Till my small library.
It may be wilderness without,
Far feet of failing men,
But holiday excludes the night,
And it is bells within.

The sun kept setting, setting still;
No hue of afternoon
Upon the village I perceived, --
From house to house 't was noon.
The dusk kept dropping, dropping still;
No dew upon the grass,
But only on my forehead stopped,
And wandered in my face.

It might have been the lighthouse spark
Some sailor, rowing in the dark,
Had importuned to see!
It might have been the waning lamp
That lit the drummer from the camp
To purer reveille!
When I hoped I feared,
Since I hoped I dared;
Everywhere alone
As a church remain;
Spectre cannot harm,
Serpent cannot charm;
He deposes doom,
Who hath suffered him.

I thought if I could only live
Till that first shout got by,
Not all pianos in the woods
Had power to mangle me.
I dared not meet the daffodils,
For fear their yellow gown
Would pierce me with a fashion
So foreign to my own.

Forbidden fruit a flavor has
That lawful orchards mocks;
How luscious lies the pea within
The pod that Duty locks!
Heaven is what I cannot reach!
The apple on the tree,
Provided it do hopeless hang,
That 'heaven' is, to me.
The color on the cruising cloud,
The interdicted ground
Behind the hill, the house behind, --
There Paradise is found!

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