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The Two Twilights

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The muses ring my bell and run away.I spy you, rogues, behind the evergreen:You, wild Thalia, romper in the hay;And you, Terpsichore, you long-legged quean.When I was young you used to come and stay,But, now that I grow older, 'tis well seenWhat tricks ye put upon me. Well-a-day!How many a summer evening have ye beenSitting about my door-step, fain to singAnd tell old tales, while through the fragrant darkBurned the large planets, throbbed the brooding soundOf crickets and the tree-toads' ceaseless ring;And in the meads the fire-fly lit her sparkWhere from my threshold sank the vale profound.


So late and long the shadows lieUnder the quadrangle wall:From such a narrow strip of skySo scant an hour the sunbeams fall,They hardly come to touch at allThis cool, sequestered corner where,Beside the chapel belfry tall,I cultivate my small parterre.

Poor, sickly blooms of Academe,Recluses of the college close,Whose nun-like pallor would beseemThe violet better than the rose:There's not a bud among you blowsWith scent or hue to lure the bee:Only the thorn that on you grows—Only the thorn grows hardily.

Pale cloisterers, have you lost so soonThe way to blush? Do you forgetHow once, beneath the enamored moon,You climbed against the parapet,To touch the breast of JulietWarm with a kiss, wet with a tear,In gardens of the Capulet,Far south, my flowers, not here—not here?


Whither do ye blow?For now the moon is low.Whence is it that ye come,And where is it ye go?All night the air was still,The crickets' song was shrill;But now there runs a humAnd rustling through the trees.A breath of coolness wakes,As on Canadian lakes,And on Atlantic seas,And each high Alpine lawnBegin the winds of dawn.


I would not beA voyager on the windy seas:More sweet to meThis bank where crickets chirp, and beesBuzz drowsy sunshine minstrelsies.

I would not bideOn lonely heights where shepherds dwell.At twilight tideThe sounds that from the valley swell,Soft breathing lute and herdsman's bell,Are sweeter farThan music of cold mountain rills.The evening starWakes love and song below, but chillsWith mist and breeze the gloomy hills.

I would not wooSome storm-browed Juno, queenly fair.Soft eyes of blueAnd sudden blushes unawareDo net my heart in silken snare.

I do not loveThe eyrie, but low woodland nestOf cushat dove:Not wind, but calm; not toil, but restAnd sleep in grassy meadow's breast.


As I lay yonder in tall grassA drunken bumble-bee went pastDelirious with honey toddy.The golden sash about his bodyCould scarce keep in his swollen bellyDistent with honey-suckle jelly.Rose liquor and the sweet pea wineHad filled his soul with song divine;Deep had he drunk the warm night through:His hairy thighs were wet with dew.Full many an antic he had playedWhile the world went round through sleep and shade.Oft had he lit with thirsty lipSome flower-cup's nectared sweets to sip,When on smooth petals he would slipOr over tangled stamens trip,And headlong in the pollen rolled,Crawl out quite dusted o'er with gold....