The Eye

It is not true that eyes
Save in the trembling eyelids' fall and rise
No meaning have. Did Eve
Hide in dull orbs the Snake's guile, and deceive
Adam with innocent stare?
When David saw how Bathsheba was fair
Burnt in his eyes no fire?
Marked not the men-at-arms his flushed desire
Sudden and swift upbrim,
That not the falling eyelids' cloud could dim?
And when Prince Absalon
Hung by those fatal locks, and help was none,
Under the nerveless lid
How could his father's agony be hid?
He heard the whisper, heard
The hushing, the renewed whisper, the one word:
And then was seen such gaze
As between madness and first wild grief sways,
Till “Absalon!” and no sound
But “Absalon, my son, my son!” crept round.
It is not true that eyes
No meaning have but in the lids' fall and rise.
I have seen terror leap
Up from the spirit's unfathomable deep,
Through unfixed eyeballs stare,
Then shuddering sink back and lie snake-like there.
I have seen honour look
Swift under candid brows, when all else shook,
Pouring in warm light through
Eyes that from inward vision their seeing drew.
And I know the fluttering look
That first love flashes like a bird o'er a brook …
No lid so quick as to give
Speed to the glances that with lightning live.
And I know how the eyes,
Nameless, look on me out of clear dawn skies
And eve's unshadowy light—
Clear lidless eyes of pure immortal sight,
Sweeping the million dew'd
Hill pastures and reluming the green-caved wood.

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