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A gift of Silence, sweet!

You may not ever hear:

To lay down at your unobservant feet,

Is all the gift I bear.

 

I have no song to sing,

That you should heed to know:

I have no lilies, in full hands, to fling

Across the path you go.

 

I cast my flowers away,

Blossoms unmeet for you!

The garland I have gathered in my day:

my rosemary and rue.

 

I watch you pass and pass,

Serene and cold: I lay

My lips upon your trodden, daisied  grass,

And turn my life away.

 

Yea, for I cast you, sweet!

This one gift, you shall take:

like ointment, on your unobservant feet,

My silence, for your sake.

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O my Luve’s like a red, red rose

That’s newly sprung in June;

O my Luve’s like the melodie

That’s sweetly play’d in tune.

 

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,

So deep in luve am I:

And I will luve thee still, my dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry:

 

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi’ the sun:

I will luve thee still, my dear,

While the sands o’ shall run.

 

And fare thee well, my only Luve

And fare thee well, a while!

And I will come again, my Luve,

Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

Escape me?

Never—

Beloved!

While I am I, and you are you,

So long as the world contains us both,

Me the loving and you the loth

While the one eludes, must the other pursue.

My life is a fault at last, I fear:

It seems too much like a fate, indeed!

Though I do my best I shall scarce succeed.

But what if I fail of my purpose here?

It is but to keep the nerves at strain,

To dry one’s eyes and laugh at a fall,

And, baffled, get up and begin again,—

So the chase takes up one’s life, that’s all.

While, look but once from your farthest bound

At me so deep in the dust and dark,

No sooner the old hope goes to ground

Than a new one, straight to the self-same mark,

I shape me—

Ever

Removed!

Love’s aftermath! I think the time is now

That we must gather in, alone, apart

The saddest crop of all the crops that grow,

Love’s aftermath.

Ah, sweet,–sweet yesterday, the tears that start

Can not put back the dial; this is, I trow,

Our harvesting! thy kisses thy kisses chill my heart,

Our lips are cold; averted eyes avow

The twilight of poor love: we can but part,

Dumbly and sadly, reaping as we sow,

Love’s aftermath.

 

 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight

For the ends Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love with a passion put to use

In my old griefs, and my childhood’s faith.

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

With my lost saints,–I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life!–and, if God, choose,

I shall but love thee better after death.

 

 

 

We have walked in Love’s land a little way,

We have learnt his lesson a little while,

And shall we not part at the end of day,

With a sigh, a smile?

 

A little while in the shine of the sun,

We were twined together, joined lips forgot

How the shadows fall when day is done,

And when Love is not.

 

We have made no vows-there will none be broke,

Our love was free as the wind on the hill,

There was no word said we need wish unspoken,

We have wrought no ill.

 

So shall we not part at the end of day,

Who have loved and lingered a little while,

Join lips for the last time, go our way,

With a sigh, a smile.

Come to me in my dreams, and then

By day I shall be well again!

For so the night will more than pay

The hopeless longing of the day.

 

Come, as thou cam’st a thousand times,

A messenger from radiant climes,

And smile on thy new world, and be

As kind to others as to me!

 

Or, as thou never cam’st sooth,

Come now, and let me dream it truth,

And part my hair, and kiss my brow,

And say, my love why sufferest thou?

 

Come to me in my dreams, and then

By day I shall be well again!

For so the night will more than pay

The hopeless longing of the day.

When June comes dancing o’er the death of May,

With scarlet roses tinting her green breast,

And mating thrushes ushering in her day,

And Earth on tiptoe for her golden guest,

 

I always see the evening when we met—

The first of June baptized in tender rain—

And walked home through the wide streets, gleaming wet,

Arms locked, our warm flesh pulsing with love’s pain.

 

I always see the cheerful little room,

And in the corner, fresh and white, the bed,

Sweet scented with a delicate perfume,

Wherein for one night only we were wed;

 

Where in the starlit stillness we lay mute,

And heard the whispering showers all night long,

And your brown burning body was a lute

Whereon my passion played his fevered song.

 

When June comes dancing o’er the death of May,

With scarlet roses staining her fair feet,

My soul takes leave of me to sing all day

A love so fugitive and so complete.

My mistress’s eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lip’s red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks,

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,

That music hath a far more pleasing sound.

I grant I never so a goddess go;

My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

 

 

Now that we’ve done our best and worst, and parted,

I would fill my mind with thoughts that will not rend.

(O heart, I do not dare go empty-hearted)

I’ll think of Love in books, Love without end;

Women with child, content, and old men sleeping;

And wet strong ploughlands, scarred for certain grain;

And babes that weep, and so forget their weeping,

And the young heavens, forgetful after rain;

And evening hush, broken by honing wings;

And Song’s nobility, and Wisdom holy,

That live, we dead I would think of thousand things,

Lovely and durable, and taste them slowly,

One after one, like tasting a sweet food

I have need to busy my heart with quietude.

 

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