Verses from the Shepherds' Hymn

WE saw Thee in Thy balmy nest,
   Young dawn of our eternal day;
We saw Thine eyes break from the East,
   And chase the trembling shades away:
We saw Thee, and we blest the sight,
We saw Thee by Thine own sweet light.

Poor world, said I, what wilt thou do
   To entertain this starry stranger?
Is this the best thou canst bestow--
   A cold and not too cleanly manger?
Contend, the powers of heaven and earth,
To fit a bed for this huge birth.

Proud world, said I, cease your contest,


Valley Song

Your eyes and the valley are memories.
Your eyes fire and the valley a bowl.
It was here a moonrise crept over the timberline.
It was here we turned the coffee cups upside down.
And your eyes and the moon swept the valley.

I will see you again to-morrow.
I will see you again in a million years.
I will never know your dark eyes again.
These are three ghosts I keep.
These are three sumach-red dogs I run with.

All of it wraps and knots to a riddle:
I have the moon, the timberline, and you.


Venevil

Fair Venevil hastened with tripping feet
Her lover to meet.
He sang, so it rang o'er the church far away:
"Good-day! Good-day!"

And all the little birds sang right merrily their lay:
"Midsummer Day
Brings us laughter and play;
But later know I little, if she twines her wreath so gay!"

She twined him a wreath of the flowers blue:
"My eyes for you!"
He tossed it and caught it and to her did bend:
"Good-by, my friend!"
And loudly he exulted at the field's far distant end:


Variations on the Word Love

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool


Used-Up Joe

I'm de only one left ob de Colony niggers;
How things do meander away!
When dey count my yeahs dey break down on de figgers,--
Fer things will meander away.
I was heah when Columbus discubbered Ohio;
I'm dyin' wid hunger today.
Lock me up in a pantry day's filled wid mince-pie--
Oh! how things would meander away.

Brudder Gabriel, blow! I am ready to go;
I am tired ob dis long delay.
You've de wicked to warn; better look for yer horn,--
Fer things will meander away.


Upon The Nipples Of Julia's Breast

Have ye beheld (with much delight)
A red rose peeping through a white?
Or else a cherry (double graced)
Within a lily? Centre placed?
Or ever marked the pretty beam
A strawberry shows half drowned in cream?
Or seen rich rubies blushing through
A pure smooth pearl, and orient too?
So like to this, nay all the rest,
Is each neat niplet of her breast.


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 A Lowering Of Morning

Well, with the day I see the clouds appear,
And mix the light with darkness everywhere;
This threatening is, to travellers that go
Long journeys, slabby rain they'll have, or snow.
Else, while I gaze, the sun doth with his beams
Belace the clouds, as 'twere with bloody streams;
This done, they suddenly do watery grow,
And weep, and pour their tears out where they go.

Comparison.

Thus 'tis when gospel light doth usher in
To us both sense of grace and sense of sin;


Up North

Oh, Bill and Joe to the north have gone,
A green shirt on their back;
There are not many ewes and lambs
Along Kokoda track.

There are not many ewes and lambs,
But men in single file
Like sheep along a mountain pad
Walk mile on sweating mile;

And each half-hour they change the lead,
Though I have never read
Where any fat bell-whether was
Shot, in the mountains, dead.

The only sheep they muster there
Leap through the mind at night;
'Twould be as red as marking time


Up at a Villa--Down in the City

Had I but plenty of money, money enough and to spare,
The house for me, no doubt, were a house in the city-square;
Ah, such a life, such a life, as one leads at the window there!

Something to see, by Bacchus, something to hear, at least!
There, the whole day long, one's life is a perfect feast;
While up at a villa one lives, I maintain it, no more than a beast.

Well now, look at our villa! stuck like the horn of a bull
Just on a mountain-edge as bare as the creature's skull,


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