Verses

Verses

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PRELUDE.

  Poems are heavenly things,  And only souls with wings  May reach them where they grow,  May pluck and bear below,  Feeding the nations thus  With food all glorious.

  Verses are not of these;  They bloom on earthly trees,  Poised on a low-hung stem,  And those may gather them  Who cannot fly to where  The heavenly gardens are.

  So I by devious ways  Have pulled some easy sprays  From the down-dropping bough  Which all may reach, and now  I knot them, bud and leaf,  Into a rhymed sheaf.

  Not mine the pinion strong  To win the nobler song;  I only cull and bring  A hedge-row offering  Of berry, flower, and brake,  If haply some may take.

VERSES. COMMISSIONED.

"Do their errands; enter into the sacrifice with them; be a link yourself in the divine chain, and feel the joy and life of it."—ADELINE D. T. WHITNEY

  What can I do for thee, Beloved,    Whose feet so little while ago    Trod the same way-side dust with mine,  And now up paths I do not know    Speed, without sound or sign?

  What can I do? The perfect life    All fresh and fair and beautiful    Has opened its wide arms to thee;  Thy cup is over-brimmed and full;    Nothing remains for me.

  I used to do so many things,—    Love thee and chide thee and caress;    Brush little straws from off thy way,  Tempering with my poor tenderness    The heat of thy short day.

  Not much, but very sweet to give;    And it is grief of griefs to bear    That all these ministries are o'er,  And thou, so happy, Love, elsewhere,    Never can need me more:—

  And I can do for thee but this    (Working on blindly, knowing not    If I may give thee pleasure so):  Out of my own dull, burdened lot    I can arise, and go

  To sadder lives and darker homes,    A messenger, dear heart, from thee    Who wast on earth a comforter,  And say to those who welcome me,    I am sent forth by her.

  Feeling the while how good it is    To do thy errands thus, and think    It may be, in the blue, far space,  Thou watchest from the heaven's brink,—    A smile upon my face.

  And when the day's work ends with day,    And star-eyed evening, stealing in,    Waves a cool hand to flying noon,  And restless, surging thoughts begin,    Like sad bells out of tune,

  I'll pray: "Dear Lord, to whose great love    Nor bound nor limit line is set,    Give to my darling, I implore,  Some new sweet joy not tasted yet,    For I can give no more."

  And with the words my thoughts shall climb    With following feet the heavenly stair    Up which thy steps so lately sped,  And, seeing thee so happy there,    Come back half comforted.

THE CRADLE TOMB IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY.

  A little, rudely sculptured bed,    With shadowing folds of marble lace,  And quilt of marble, primly spread    And folded round a baby's face....