The Wife

Living, I had no might
To make you hear,
Now, in the inmost night,
I am so near
No whisper, falling light,
Divides us, dear.

Living, I had no claim
On your great hours.
Now the thin candle-flame,
The closing flowers,
Wed summer with my name, --
And these are ours.

Your shadow on the dust,
Strength, and a cry,
Delight, despair, mistrust, --
All these am I.
Dawn, and the far hills thrust
To a far sky.

Living, I had no skill
To stay your tread,


The Weakling

I AM a weakling. God, who made
The still, strong man, made also me.
The God who could the tiger plan,
In his lithe splendour unafraid—
A thing of flame and poetry—
That Puissance made of me—a Man!

The One who reared His vast design—
Star, atom, system, germ, and soul—
Could fashion forth this tremulous
And paltry little heart of mine!
The God who could conceive the Whole,
Himself blasphemed in building thus.


The Voice of the Swamp Oak

Who hath lain him underneath
A lone oak by a lonely stream;
He hath heard an utterance breathe
Sadder than all else may seen.
Up in its dusk boughs out-tressing,
Like the hair of a giant’s head,
Mournful things beyond our guessing
Day and night are uttered.

Even when the waveless air
May only stir the lightest leaf,
A lowly voice keeps moaning there
Wordless oracles of grief.

But when nightly blasts are roaming,
Lowly is that voice no more;


The Valley of the Shadow

There were faces to remember in the Valley of the Shadow,
There were faces unregarded, there were faces to forget;
There were fires of grief and fear that are a few forgotten ashes,
There were sparks of recognition that are not forgotten yet.
For at first, with an amazed and overwhelming indignation
At a measureless malfeasance that obscurely willed it thus,
They were lost and unacquainted—till they found themselves in others,
Who had groped as they were groping where dim ways were perilous.


The Unknown Dead

The rain is plashing on my sill,
But all the winds of Heaven are still;
And so it falls with that dull sound
Which thrills us in the church-yard ground,
When the first spadeful drops like lead
Upon the coffin of the dead.
Beyond my streaming window-pane,
I cannot see the neighboring vane,
Yet from its old familiar tower
The bell comes, muffled, through the shower.
What strange and unsuspected link
Of feeling touched, has made me think --
While with a vacant soul and eye
I watch that gray and stony sky --


The Troops

Dim, gradual thinning of the shapeless gloom
Shudders to drizzling daybreak that reveals
Disconsolate men who stamp their sodden boots
And turn dulled, sunken faces to the sky
Haggard and hopeless. They, who have beaten down
The stale despair of night, must now renew
Their desolation in the truce of dawn,
Murdering the livid hours that grope for peace.

Yet these, who cling to life with stubborn hands,
Can grin through storms of death and find a gap
In the clawed, cruel tangles of his defence.


The Trail Of Ninety-Eight

Gold! We leapt from our benches. Gold! We sprang from our stools.
Gold! We wheeled in the furrow, fired with the faith of fools.
Fearless, unfound, unfitted, far from the night and the cold,
Heard we the clarion summons, followed the master-lure--Gold!

Men from the sands of the Sunland; men from the woods of the West;
Men from the farms and the cities, into the Northland we pressed.
Graybeards and striplings and women, good men and bad men and bold,
Leaving our homes and our loved ones, crying exultantly--"Gold!"


The Task Book II, The Time-Piece excerpts

...


England, with all thy faults, I love thee still--
My country! and, while yet a nook is left
Where English minds and manners may be found,
Shall be constrain'd to love thee. Though thy clime
Be fickle, and thy year most part deform'd
With dripping rains, or wither'd by a frost,
I would not yet exchange thy sullen skies,
And fields without a flow'r, for warmer France
With all her vines; nor for Ausonia's groves
Of golden fruitage, and her myrtle bow'rs.


The Supplanter A Tale

I

He bends his travel-tarnished feet
   To where she wastes in clay:
From day-dawn until eve he fares
   Along the wintry way;
From day-dawn until eve repairs
   Unto her mound to pray.

II

"Are these the gravestone shapes that meet
   My forward-straining view?
Or forms that cross a window-blind
   In circle, knot, and queue:
Gay forms, that cross and whirl and wind
   To music throbbing through?" -

III

"The Keeper of the Field of Tombs


The Tragic Death of the Rev. A.H. Mackonochie

Friends of humanity, of high and low degree,
I pray ye all come listen to me;
And truly I will relate to ye,
The tragic fate of the Rev. Alexander Heriot Mackonochie.

Who was on a visit to the Bishop of Argyle,
For the good of his health, for a short while;
Because for the last three years his memory had been affected,
Which prevented him from getting his thoughts collected.

'Twas on Thursday, the 15th of December, in the year of 1887,
He left the Bishop's house to go and see Loch Leven;


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