When the Dark Comes Down

When the dark comes down, oh, the wind is on the sea
With lisping laugh and whimper to the red reef's threnody,
The boats are sailing homeward now across the harbor bar
With many a jest and many a shout from fishing grounds afar.
So furl your sails and take your rest, ye fisher folk so brown,
For task and quest are ended when the dark comes down.

When the dark comes down, oh, the landward valleys fill
Like brimming cups of purple, and on every landward hill
There shines a star of twilight that is watching evermore


When Someone Says Alexandria

When someone says: "Alexandria,"
I see the white walls of a house,
a small garden row of gillyflowers,
an autumn evening's pale sunlight
and hear the music of distant flutes.

When someone says: "Alexandria,"
I see stars above the hushed city,
drunken sailors in dark quarters,
a dancing girl performing the "wasp,"
and hear tambourines and the noise of fights.

When someone says "Alexandria,"
I see a pale purple sunset above the green sea,
the flickering of furry stars


What would I give to see his face

247

What would I give to see his face?
I'd give—I'd give my life—of course—
But that is not enough!
Stop just a minute—let me think!
I'd give my biggest Bobolink!
That makes two—Him—and Life!
You know who "June" is—
I'd give her—
Roses a day from Zanzibar—
And Lily tubes—like Wells—
Bees—by the furlong—
Straits of Blue
Navies of Butterflies—sailed thro'—
And dappled Cowslip Dells—

Then I have "shares" in Primrose "Banks"—
Daffodil Dowries—spicy "Stocks"—


What care the Dead, for Chanticleer

592

What care the Dead, for Chanticleer—
What care the Dead for Day?
'Tis late your Sunrise vex their face—
And Purple Ribaldry—of Morning

Pour as blank on them
As on the Tier of Wall
The Mason builded, yesterday,
And equally as cool—

What care the Dead for Summer?
The Solstice had no Sun
Could waste the Snow before their Gate—
And knew One Bird a Tune—

Could thrill their Mortised Ear
Of all the Birds that be—
This One—beloved of Mankind
Henceforward cherished be—


Wait till the Majesty of Death

171

Wait till the Majesty of Death
Invests so mean a brow!
Almost a powdered Footman
Might dare to touch it now!

Wait till in Everlasting Robes
That Democrat is dressed,
Then prate about "Preferment"—
And "Station," and the rest!

Around this quiet Courtier
Obsequious Angels wait!
Full royal is his Retinue!
Full purple is his state!

A Lord, might dare to lift the Hat
To such a Modest Clay
Since that My Lord, "the Lord of Lords"
Receives unblushingly!


VIII

What can I give thee back, O liberal
And princely giver, who hast brought the gold
And purple of thine heart, unstained, untold,
And laid them on the outside of the-wall
For such as I to take or leave withal,
In unexpected largesse ? am I cold,
Ungrateful, that for these most manifold
High gifts, I render nothing back at all ?
Not so; not cold,--but very poor instead.
Ask God who knows. For frequent tears have run
The colors from my life, and left so dead
And pale a stuff, it were not fitly done


Very Like a Whale

One thing that literature would be greatly the better for
Would be a more restricted employment by the authors of simile and
metaphor.
Authors of all races, be they Greeks, Romans, Teutons or Celts,
Can't seem just to say that anything is the thing it is but have to
go out of their way to say that it is like something else.
What does it mean when we are told
That that Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold?
In the first place, George Gordon Byron had enough experience


Verses on a Butterfly

Fair Child of Sun and Summer! we behold
With eager eyes thy wings bedropp'd with gold;
The purple spots that o'er thy mantle spread,
The sapphire's lively blue, the ruby's red,
Ten thousand various blended tints surprise,
Beyond the rainbow's hues or peacock's eyes:
Not Judah's king in eastern pomp array'd,
Whose charms allur'd from far the Sheban maid,
High on his glitt'ring throne, like you could shine
(Nature's completest miniature divine):
For thee the rose her balmy buds renews,


Vers Demode

For one, the amaryllis and the rose;
The poppy, sweet as never lilies are;
The ripen'd vine, that beckons as it blows;
The dancing star.

For one, the trodden rosemary and rue;
The bowl, dipt ever in the purple stream
And, for the other one, a fairer due-
Sleep, and no dream.


Vashti

She leaned her head upon her hand
And heard the King's decree --
"My lords are feasting in my halls;
Bid Vashti come to me.

"I've shown the treasures of my house,
My costly jewels rare,
But with the glory of her eyes
No rubies can compare.

"Adorn'd and crown'd I'd have her come,
With all her queenly grace,
And, 'mid my lords and mighty men,
Unveil her lovely face.

"Each gem that sparkles in my crown,
Or glitters on my throne,
Grows poor and pale when she appears,


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