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Leave the grange where the woodman stores his nuts,
Or the wattled cote where the fowlers spread
Their gear on the rock's bare juts.

It has some pretension too, this front,

With its bit of fresco half-moon-wise

Set over the porch, Art's early wont :
'Tis John in the Desert, I surmise,
But has borne the weather's brunt--



Not from the fault of the builder, though,

For a pent-house properly projects

Where three carved beams make a certain show,
Dating-good thought of our architect's-

'Five, six, nine, he lets you know.


And all day long a bird sings there,

And a stray sheep drinks at the pond at times;

The place is silent and aware;

It has had its scenes, its joys and crimes,

But that is its own affair.


My perfect wife, my Leonor,

Oh heart, my own, Oh eyes, mine too,

Whom else could I dare look backward for,
With whom beside should I dare pursue

The path gray heads abhor?

For it leads to a crag's sheer edge with them;
Youth, flowery all the way, there stops-

Not they; age threatens and they contemn,
Till they reach the gulf wherein youth drops,
One inch from our life's safe hem!

98. Aware.-Self-conscious.

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101. My Leonor.-The "perfect wife," with the "great brow" and the "spirit-small hand," can be no other than Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The poem, though in its circumstances purely dramatic and imaginary, is autobiographic in soul. Other beautiful allusions to Mrs. Browning may be found in One Word More, Prospice, and My Star.

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You are wont to answer, prompt as rhyme; And you, too, find without rebuff

Response your soul seeks many a time, Piercing its fine flesh-stuff.

My own, confirm me! If I tread

This path back, is it not in pride

To think how little I dreamed it led
To an age so blest that, by its side,
Youth seems the waste instead?

My own, see where the years conduct!

At first, 'twas something our two souls Should mix as mists do; each is sucked



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Oh I must feel your brain prompt mine,
Your heart anticipate my heart,

You must be just before, in fine,

See and make me see, for your part, New depths of the divine!


But who could have expected this
When we two drew together first
Just for the obvious human bliss,
To satisfy life's daily thirst
With a thing men seldom miss ?


Come back with me to the first of all,

Let us lean and love it over again,

Let us now forget and now recall,
Break the rosary in a pearly rain,
And gather what we let fall!

What did I say?—that a small bird sings
All day long, save when a brown pair

Of hawks from the wood float with wide wings
Strained to a bell : 'gainst noonday glare

You count the streaks and rings.

But at afternoon or almost eve

'Tis better; then the silence grows

To that degree, you half believe



It must get rid of what it knows,

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151. What did I say?-The description is here resumed, which was broken off at 1. 100.

Stoop and kneel on the settle under,

Look through the window's grated square:
Nothing to see! For fear of plunder,

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Then cross the bridge that we crossed before,
Take the path again-but wait!


Oh moment one and infinite!

The water slips o'er stock and stone;

The West is tender, hardly bright :

How gray at once is the evening grown—
One star, its chrysolite!


We two stood there with never a third,

But each by each, as each knew well :

The sights we saw and the sounds we heard,
The lights and the shades made up a spell
Till the trouble grew and stirred.


Oh, the little more, and how much it is!

And the little less, and what worlds away!
How a sound shall quicken content to bliss,

Or a breath suspend the blood's best play,
And life be a proof of this!

Had she willed it, still had stood the screen
So slight, so sure, 'twixt my love and her:
I could fix her face with a guard between,
And find her soul as when friends confer,
Friends—lovers that might have been.



185. Chrysolite.-Greek xpvoos and λívos, gold-stone. Technically, a mineral substance of a pale-green color.

For my heart had a touch of the woodland time,
Wanting to sleep now over its best.
Shake the whole tree in the summer-prime,

But bring to the last leaf no such test! "Hold the last fast!" runs the rhyme.

For a chance to make your little much,
To gain a lover and lose a friend,
Venture the tree and a myriad such,

When nothing you mar but the year can mend:
But a last leaf-fear to touch!

Yet should it unfasten itself and fall

Eddying down till it find your face



At some slight wind-best chance of all!

Be your heart henceforth its dwelling-place You trembled to forestall!


Worth how well, those dark gray eyes,

That hair so dark and dear, how worth

That a man should strive and agonize,

And taste a veriest hell on earth For the hope of such a prize!

You might have turned and tried a man,
Set him a space to weary and wear,
And prove which suited more your plan,
His best of hope or his worst despair,


Yet end as he began.


But you spared me this, like the heart you are,

And filled my empty heart at a word.

If two lives join, there is oft a scar,

They are one and one, with a shadowy third; One near one is too far.


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