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A further force of life
Developed from within, --
When Death lit all the shortness up,
And made the hurry plain.
We wondered at our blindness, --
When nothing was to see
But her Carrara guide-post, --
At our stupidity,
When, duller than our dulness,
The busy darling lay,
So busy was she, finishing,
So leisurely were we!

Until they lock it in the grave,
'T is bliss I cannot weigh,
For though they lock thee in the grave,
Myself can hold the key.
Think of it, lover! I and thee
Permitted face to face to be;
After a life, a death we'll say, --
For death was that, and this is thee.

The dusk kept dropping, dropping still;
No dew upon the grass,
But only on my forehead stopped,
And wandered in my face.
My feet kept drowsing, drowsing still,
My fingers were awake;
Yet why so little sound myself
Unto my seeming make?
How well I knew the light before!
I could not see it now.
'T is dying, I am doing; but
I'm not afraid to know.

And flirt all day with buttercups,
And marry whom I may,
And dwell a little everywhere,
Or better, run away
With no police to follow,
Or chase me if I do,
Till I should jump peninsulas
To get away from you, --
I said, but just to be a bee
Upon a raft of air,
And row in nowhere all day long,
And anchor off the bar,--
What liberty! So captives deem
Who tight in dungeons are.

Next time, to stay!
Next time, the things to see
By ear unheard,
Unscrutinized by eye.
Next time, to tarry,
While the ages steal, --
Slow tramp the centuries,
And the cycles wheel.
Of all the souls that stand create
I have elected one.
When sense from spirit files away,
And subterfuge is done;

It is not of the bird
Who sings the same, unheard,
As unto crowd.
The fashion of the ear
Attireth that it hear
In dun or fair.

Blazing in gold and quenching in purple,
Leaping like leopards to the sky,
Then at the feet of the old horizon
Laying her spotted face, to die;
Stooping as low as the otter's window,
Touching the roof and tinting the barn,
Kissing her bonnet to the meadow, --
And the juggler of day is gone!
Farther in summer than the birds,
Pathetic from the grass,
A minor nation celebrates
Its unobtrusive mass.

Frail little heart!
I would not break thee:
Could'st credit me? Could'st credit me?
Gay little heart!
Like morning glory
Thou'll wilted be; thou'll wilted be!
There is a word
Which bears a sword
Can pierce an armed man.
It hurls its barbed syllables,--
At once is mute again.
But where it fell
The saved will tell
On patriotic day,
Some epauletted brother
Gave his breath away.

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.

The lilacs, bending many a year,
With purple load will hang;
The bees will not forget the tune
Their old forefathers sang.
The rose will redden in the bog,
The aster on the hill
Her everlasting fashion set,
And covenant gentians frill,

There is a shame of nobleness
Confronting sudden pelf, --
A finer shame of ecstasy
Convicted of itself.
A best disgrace a brave man feels,
Acknowledged of the brave, --
One more "Ye Blessed" to be told;
But this involves the grave.

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!
There came a day at summer's full
Entirely for me;
I thought that such were for the saints,
Where revelations be.

But if they only stay
Bolder to fly away,
Riches are sad.
Ashes denote that fire was;
Respect the grayest pile
For the departed creature's sake
That hovered there awhile.

Dear to the moss,
Known by the knoll,
Next to the robin
In every human soul.
Bold little beauty,
Bedecked with thee,
Nature forswears
Antiquity.
The murmur of a bee
A witchcraft yieldeth me.
If any ask me why,
'T were easier to die
Than tell.
The red upon the hill
Taketh away my will;
If anybody sneer,
Take care, for God is here,
That's all.

Experiment to me
Is every one I meet.
If it contain a kernel?
The figure of a nut
Presents upon a tree,
Equally plausibly;
But meat within is requisite,
To squirrels and to me.
My country need not change her gown,
Her triple suit as sweet
As when 't was cut at Lexington,
And first pronounced "a fit."

Some rainbow coming from the fair!
Some vision of the world Cashmere
I confidently see!
Or else a peacock's purple train,
Feather by feather, on the plain
Fritters itself away!
The dreamy butterflies bestir,
Lethargic pools resume the whir
Of last year's sundered tune.
From some old fortress on the sun
Baronial bees march, one by one,
In murmuring platoon!

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands
That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father's house,
Just quartering a tree.

If I may have it when it's dead
I will contented be;
If just as soon as breath is out
It shall belong to me,
Until they lock it in the grave,
'T is bliss I cannot weigh,
For though they lock thee in the grave,
Myself can hold the key.
Think of it, lover! I and thee
Permitted face to face to be;
After a life, a death we'll say, --
For death was that, and this is thee.

The only one forestalling mine,
And that by right that he
Presents a claim invisible,
No wedlock granted me.
I live with him, I hear his voice,
I stand alive to-day
To witness to the certainty
Of immortality

Who never wanted, -- maddest joy
Remains to him unknown:
The banquet of abstemiousness
Surpasses that of wine.
Within its hope, though yet ungrasped
Desire's perfect goal,
No nearer, lest reality
Should disenthrall thy soul.

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