To Rinaldo

SOFT is the balmy breath of May,
When from the op'ning lids of day
Meek twilight steals; and from its wings
Translucent pearls of ether flings.
MILD is the chaste Moon's languid eye,
When gliding down the dappled sky
She feebly lifts her spangled bow,
Around her glitt'ring darts to throw.­
SWEET are the aromatic bowers,
When Night sends forth refreshing showers
O'er every thirsty fainting bud,
That drinks with joy the grateful flood.
Yet, can the deeply wounded Mind,


Zermatt to the Matterhorn

Thirty-two years since, up against the sun,
Seven shapes, thin atomies to lower sight,
Labouringly leapt and gained thy gabled height,
And four lives paid for what the seven had won.

They were the first by whom the deed was done,
And when I look at thee, my mind takes flight
To that day's tragic feat of manly might,
As though, till then, of history thou hadst none.

Yet ages ere men topped thee, late and soon
Thou watch'dst each night the planets lift and lower;


Zermat To the Matterhorn June-July, 1897

Thirty-two years since, up against the sun,
Seven shapes, thin atomies to lower sight,
Labouringly leapt and gained thy gabled height,
And four lives paid for what the seven had won.

They were the first by whom the deed was done,
And when I look at thee, my mind takes flight
To that day's tragic feat of manly might,
As though, till then, of history thou hadst none.

Yet ages ere men topped thee, late and soon
Thou watch'dst each night the planets lift and lower;


Yarrow Revisited

. The gallant Youth, who may have gained,
Or seeks, a "winsome Marrow,"
Was but an Infant in the lap
When first I looked on Yarrow;
Once more, by Newark's Castle-gate
Long left without a warder,
I stood, looked, listened, and with Thee,
Great Minstrel of the Border!
Grave thoughts ruled wide on that sweet day,
Their dignity installing
In gentle bosoms, while sere leaves
Were on the bough, or falling;
But breezes played, and sunshine gleamed-
The forest to embolden;


Your Richestaught mePoverty

299

Your Riches—taught me—Poverty.
Myself—a Millionaire
In little Wealths, as Girls could boast
Till broad as Buenos Ayre—

You drifted your Dominions—
A Different Peru—
And I esteemed All Poverty
For Life's Estate with you—

Of Mines, I little know—myself—
But just the names, of Gems—
The Colors of the Commonest—
And scarce of Diadems—

So much, that did I meet the Queen—
Her Glory I should know—
But this, must be a different Wealth—
To miss it—beggars so—


Youth And Manhood

Another year! a short one, if it flow
Like that just past,
And I shall stand -- if years can make me so --
A man at last.

Yet, while the hours permit me, I would pause
And contemplate
The lot whereto unalterable laws
Have bound my fate.

Yet, from the starry regions of my youth,
The empyreal height
Where dreams are happiness, and feeling truth,
And life delight --

From that ethereal and serene abode
My soul would gaze
Downward upon the wide and winding road,
Where manhood plays;


Your Book

Strangers came into the apartment
walked right to the bookshelf
to spill beer on your book.

Your book on a hook dangling off the roof
attracted a white horse to the door.

Your book emitted physical waves
into the air, drying my hair.

You climbed a tree to write
your book where you wouldn't be seen.
There was no tree there
until you made it.

The shimmering leaves seemed to be powered by light.
The tree shuffled this light onto strings.
The strings hung from the air.


You, Darkness

You, darkness, that I come from
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes a circle of light for everyone
and then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything-
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! -
powers and people-

and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.


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,


Worldly Wisdom

If it were in my dead Past’s power
To let my Present bask
In some lost pleasure for an hour,
This is the boon I’d ask:

Re-pedestal from out the dust
Where long ago ‘twas hurled,
My beautiful incautious trust
In this unworthy world.

The symbol of my souls own truth –
I saw it go with tears –
The sweet unwisdom of my youth –
That vanished with the years.

Since knowledge brings us only grief,
I would return again
To happy ignorance and belief
In motives and in men.


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