There's a certain Slant of light 258

There's a certain Slant of light,
Winter Afternoons--
That oppresses, like the Heft
Of Cathedral Tunes--

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us--
We can find no scar,
But internal difference,
Where the Meanings, are--

None may teach it--Any--
'Tis the Seal Despair--
An imperial affliction
Sent us of the air--

When it comes, the Landscape listens--
Shadows--hold their breath--
When it goes, 'tis like the Distance
On the look of Death--


These

are the desolate, dark weeks
when nature in its barrenness
equals the stupidity of man.

The year plunges into night
and the heart plunges
lower than night

to an empty, windswept place
without sun, stars or moon
but a peculiar light as of thought

that spins a dark fire -
whirling upon itself until,
in the cold, it kindles

to make a man aware of nothing
that he knows, not loneliness
itself - Not a ghost but

would be embraced - emptiness
despair - (They


The Womb

Up from the evil day
Of wattle and of woad,
Along man's weary way
Dark Pain has been the goad.
Back from the age of stone,
Within his brutish brain,
What pleasure he has known
Is ease from Pain.

Behold in Pain the force
That haled Man from the Pit,
And set him such a course
No mind can measure it.
To angel from the ape
No human pang was vain
In that divine escape
To joy through Pain.

See Pain with stoic eyes
And patient fortitude,


Theology in Extremis Or a soliloquy that may have been delivered in India, June, 1857

"They would have spared life to any of their English prisoners who should consent to profess Mahometanism, by repeating the usual short formula; but only one half-caste cared to save himself in that way." -- Extract from an Indian newspaper.


MORITURUS LOQUITUR.

Oft in the pleasant summer years,
Reading the tales of days bygone,
I have mused on the story of human tears,
All that man unto man had done,
Massacre, torture, and black despair;
Reading it all in my easy-chair.


Thebais - Book One - part III

Oh race confed’rate into crimes, that prove
Triumphant o’er th’ eluded rage of Jove!
This wearied arm can scarce the bolt sustain,
And unregarded thunder rolls in vain:
Th’ o’erlaboured Cyclops from his task retires,
Th’ Æolian forge exhausted of its fires.
For this, I suffered Phœbus’ steeds to stray,
And the mad ruler to misguide the day;
When the wide earth to heaps of ashes turned,
And heaven itself the wand’ring chariot burned.
For this, my brother of the wat’ry reign


The Wreck of the Steamer Stella

'Twas in the month of March and in the year of 1899,
Which will be remembered for a very long time;
The wreck of the steamer "Stella" that was wrecked on the Casquet Rocks,
By losing her bearings in a fog, and received some terrible shocks.

The "Stella" was bound for the Channel Islands on a holiday trip,
And a number of passengers were resolved not to let the chance slip;
And the hearts of the passengers felt light and gay,
As the "Stella" steamed out of the London Docks without delay.


The Wreck of the Steamer Mohegan

Good people of high and low degree,
I pray ye all to list to me,
And I'll relate a terrible tale of the sea
Concerning the unfortunate steamer, Mohegan,
That against the Manacles Rocks, ran.

'Twas on Friday, the 14th of October, in the year of ninety-eight,
Which alas! must have been a dreadful sight;
She sailed out of the river Thames on Thursday,
While the hearts of the passengers felt light and gay.

And on board there were 133 passengers and crew,
And each one happier than another seemingly to view;


The Wreck of the Columbine

Kind Christians, all pay attention to me,
And Miss Mouat's sufferings I'll relate to ye;
While on board the Columbine, on the merciless sea,
Tossing about in the darkness of night in the storm helplessly.

She left her home (Scatness), on Saturday morning, bound for Lerwick,
Thinking to get cured by a man she knew, as she was very sick;
But for eight days she was tossed about on the stormy main,
By a severe storm of wind, hail, and rain.

The waves washed o'er the little craft, and the wind


The Wife

"Tell Annie I'll be home in time
To help her with her Christmas-tree."
That's what he wrote, and hark! the chime
Of Christmas bells, and where is he?
And how the house is dark and sad,
And Annie's sobbing on my knee!

The page beside the candle-flame
With cruel type was overfilled;
I read and read until a name
Leapt at me and my heart was stilled:
My eye crept up the column -- up
Unto its hateful heading: Killed.

And there was Annie on the stair:
"And will he not be long?" she said.


The Wee Shop

She risked her all, they told me, bravely sinking
The pinched economies of thirty years;
And there the little shop was, meek and shrinking,
The sum of all her dreams and hopes and fears.
Ere it was opened I would see them in it,
The gray-haired dame, the daughter with her crutch;
So fond, so happy, hoarding every minute,
Like artists, for the final tender touch.

The opening day! I'm sure that to their seeming
Was never shop so wonderful as theirs;
With pyramids of jam-jars rubbed to gleaming;


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