You Smile Upon Your Friend To-Day

You smile upon your friend to-day,
To-day his ills are over;
You hearken to the lover's say,
And happy is the lover.

'Tis late to hearken, late to smile,
But better late than never;
I shall have lived a little while
Before I die for ever.


You Should at Times Go Out

You should at times go out
from where the faithful kneel,
visit the slums of doubt
and feel what the lost feel;

you should at times walk on,
away from your friends' ways,
go where the scorned have gone,
pass beyond blame and praise;

and at times you should quit
(ah yes) your sunny home,
sadly awhile should sit,
even, in wrong's dark room,

or ever, suddenly,
by simple bliss betrayed,
you shall be forced to flee,
unloved, alone, afraid.


You Ask Me, Why, Tho' Ill at Ease

You ask me, why, tho' ill at ease,
Within this region I subsist,
Whose spirits falter in the mist,
And languish for the purple seas.
It is the land that freemen till,
That sober-suited Freedom chose,
The land, where girt with friends or foes
A man may speak the thing he will;
A land of settled government,
A land of just and old renown,
Where Freedom slowly broadens down
From precedent to precedent:

Where faction seldom gathers head,


Yesterday

My friend says I was not a good son
you understand
I say yes I understand

he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know

even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes

he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father

he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room


XXVIII

My letters ! all dead paper, mute and white !
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which loose the string
And let them drop down on my knee to-night.
This said,--he wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend: this fixed a day in spring
To come and touch my hand . . . a simple thing,
Yet I wept for it !--this, . . . the paper's light . . .
Said, Dear, I love thee; and I sank and quailed
As if God's future thundered on my past.
This said, I am thine--and so its ink has paled


Wounded

Is it not strange? A year ago to-day,
With scarce a thought beyond the hum-drum round,
I did my decent job and earned my pay;
Was averagely happy, I'll be bound.
Ay, in my little groove I was content,
Seeing my life run smoothly to the end,
With prosy days in stolid labour spent,
And jolly nights, a pipe, a glass, a friend.
In God's good time a hearth fire's cosy gleam,
A wife and kids, and all a fellow needs;
When presto! like a bubble goes my dream:
I leap upon the Stage of Splendid Deeds.


Written in Northampton County Asylum

I am! yet what I am who cares, or knows?
My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am—I live—though I am toss’d

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that’s dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange—nay, they are stranger than the rest.


Written in London. September, 1802

. O Friend! I know not which way I must look
For comfort, being, as I am, opprest,
To think that now our life is only drest
For show; mean handy-work of craftsman, cook,
Or groom! -- We must run glittering like a brook
In the open sunshine, or we are unblest:
The wealthiest man among us is the best:
No grandeur now in nature or in book
Delights us. Rapine, avarice, expense,
This is idolatry; and these we adore:
Plain living and high thinking are no more:


XII. Written at a Convent

IF chance some pensive stranger, hither led,
His bosom glowing from majestic views,
The gorgeous dome, or the proud landscape's hues,
Should ask who sleeps beneath this lowly bed --
'Tis poor Matilda! To the cloister'd scene,
A mourner, beauteous and unknown, she came,
To shed her tears unseen; and quench the flame
Of fruitless love: yet was her look serene
As the pale midnight on the moon-light isle --
Her voice was soft, which e'en a charm could lend,
Like that which spoke of a departed friend,


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