Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day

In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
are postmarked with angels and lambs.

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned
in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow,
sketched light arch within arch
delicate as fingernail moons.


Visitation And Communion Of The Sick

O Youth and Joy, your airy tread
Too lightly springs by Sorrow's bed,
Your keen eye-glances are too bright,
Too restless for a sick man's sight.
Farewell; for one short life we part:
I rather woo the soothing art,
Which only souls in sufferings tried
Bear to their suffering brethren's side.

Where may we learn that gentle spell?
Mother of Martyrs, thou canst tell!
Thou, who didst watch thy dying Spouse
With pierced hands and bleeding brows,
Whose tears from age to age are shed


Verses Wrote on Her Death-Bed at Bath, to Her Husband in London

Thou, who dost all my worldly thoughts employ,
Thou pleasing source of all my earthly joy:
Thou tend'rest husband, and thou best of friends,
To thee this first, this last adieu I send.
At length the conqu'ror death asserts his right,
And will for ever veil me from thy sight.
He wooes me to him with a chearful grace;
And not one terror clouds his meagre face.
He promises a lasting rest from pain;
And shews that all life's fleeting joys are vain.
Th' eternal scenes of heav'n he sets in view,


Verses Written in a Garden

See how the pair of billing doves
With open murmurs own their loves;
And, heedless of censorious eyes,
Pursue their unpolluted joys;
No fears of future want molest
The downy quiet of their nest:
No int'rest join'd the happy pair,
Securely blest in Nature's care,
While her dictates they pursue;
For constancy is Nature too.
Can all the doctrine of the schools,
Our maxims, our religious rules,
Can learning to our lives ensure,
Virtue so bright, or bliss so pure?


Vanity of the World

God gives his mercies to be spent;
Your hoard will do your soul no good.
Gold is a blessing only lent,
Repaid by giving others food.

The world's esteem is but a bribe,
To buy their peace you sell your own;
The slave of a vainglorious tribe,
Who hate you while they make you known.

The joy that vain amusements give,
Oh! sad conclusion that it brings!
The honey of a crowded hive,
Defended by a thousand stings.

'Tis thus the world rewards the fools


Verse For a Certain Dog

Such glorious faith as fills your limpid eyes,
Dear little friend of mine, I never knew.
All-innocent are you, and yet all-wise.
(For Heaven's sake, stop worrying that shoe!)
You look about, and all you see is fair;
This mighty globe was made for you alone.
Of all the thunderous ages, you're the heir.
(Get off the pillow with that dirty bone!)

A skeptic world you face with steady gaze;
High in young pride you hold your noble head,
Gayly you meet the rush of roaring days.
(Must you eat puppy biscuit on the bed?)


Variations of an Air

Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul
And a merry old soul was he
He called for his pipe
and he called for his bowl
and he called for his fiddlers three


after Lord Tennyson


Cole, that unwearied prince of Colchester,
Growing more gay with age and with long days
Deeper in laughter and desire of life
As that Virginian climber on our walls
Flames scarlet with the fading of the year;
Called for his wassail and that other weed
Virginian also, from the western woods


Vanitas Vanitatum Vanitas

My trust in nothing now is placed,

Hurrah!
So in the world true joy I taste,

Hurrah!
Then he who would be a comrade of mine
Must rattle his glass, and in chorus combine,
Over these dregs of wine.

I placed my trust in gold and wealth,

Hurrah!
But then I lost all joy and health,

Lack-a-day!
Both here and there the money roll'd,
And when I had it here, behold,
From there had fled the gold!

I placed my trust in women next,

Hurrah!
But there in truth was sorely vex'd,


UPON MRS ELIZ. WHEELER, UNDER THE NAME OFAMARILLIS

Sweet Amarillis, by a spring's
Soft and soul-melting murmurings,
Slept; and thus sleeping, thither flew
A Robin-red-breast; who at view,
Not seeing her at all to stir,
Brought leaves and moss to cover her:
But while he, perking, there did pry
About the arch of either eye,
The lid began to let out day,--
At which poor Robin flew away;
And seeing her not dead, but all disleaved,
He chirpt for joy, to see himself deceived.


Upon Watts' Picture Sic Transit

"What I spent I had; what I saved, I lost; what I gave, I have."

But yesterday the tourney, all the eager joy of life,
The waving of the banners, and the rattle of the spears,
The clash of sword and harness, and the madness of the strife;
To-night begin the silence and the peace of endless years.

( One sings within.)

But yesterday the glory and the prize,
And best of all, to lay it at her feet,
To find my guerdon in her speaking eyes:
I grudge them not, -- - they pass, albeit sweet.


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