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ONORA looketh listlessly adown the garden walk:
‘I am weary, O my mother, of thy tender talk.
I am weary of the trees a-waving to and fro,

Of the stedfast skies above, the running brooks below.

All things are the same but I,-only I am dreary, And, mother, of my dreariness behold me very weary.

'Mother, brother, pull the flowers I planted in the spring

And smiled to think I should smile more upon their gathering.

The bees will find out other flowers--oh, pull them, dearest mine,

And carry them and carry me before St. Agnes' shrine.'

-Whereat they pulled the summer flowers she planted in the spring,

And her and them all mournfully to Agnes' shrine did bring.

She looked up to the pictured saint and gently shook her head

'The picture is too calm for me-too calm for me,' she said:

'The little flowers we brought with us, before it we may lay,

For those are used to look at heaven,-but I must

turn away,

Because no sinner under sun can dare or bear to gaze On God's or angel's holiness, except in Jesu's face.'

She spoke with passion after pause--' And were it wisely done,

If we who cannot gaze above, should walk the earth alone?

If we whose virtue is so weak, should have a will so


And stand blind on the rocks, to choose the right path from the wrong?

To choose perhaps a love-lit hearth, instead of love and Heaven,

A single rose, for a rose-tree, which beareth seven times seven?

A rose that droppeth from the hand, that fadeth in the breast,

Until, in grieving for the worst, we learn what is the best!'

Then breaking into tears,-'Dear God,' she cried, 'and must we see

All blissful things depart from us, or ere we go to THEE?

We cannot guess thee in the wood, or hear thee in wind?

Our cedars must fall round us, ere we see the light behind?

Ay sooth, we feel too strong in weal, to need thee on that road,

But woe being come, the soul is dumb that crieth not on 'God.''

Her mother could not speak for tears; she ever musèd thus,

'The bees will find out other flowers, but what is left for us?'

But her young brother stayed his sobs and knelt beside her knee,

-'Thou sweetest sister in the world, hast never a word for me?'

She passed her hand across his face, she pressed it on his cheek,

So tenderly, so tenderly-she needed not to speak.

The wreath which lay on shrine that day, at vespers bloomed no more.

The woman fair who placed it there, had died an hour before.

Both perished mute, for lack of root, earth's nourishment to reach.

O reader, breathe (the ballad saith) some sweetness out of each!



SEVEN maidens 'neath the midnight
Stand near the river-sea,

Whose water sweepeth white around
The shadow of the tree.

The moon and earth are face to face,
And earth is slumbering deep;

The wave-voice seems the voice of dreams

That wander through her sleep.

The river floweth on.


What bring they 'neath the midnight,
Beside the river-sea?

They bring the human heart wherein
No nightly calm can be,—

That droppeth never with the wind,
Nor drieth with the dew.

Oh, calm it God! thy calm is broad

To cover spirits, too.

The river floweth on.


The maidens lean them over

The waters, side by side,

And shun each other's deepening eyes,

And gaze adown the tide;

For each within a little boat

A little lamp hath put,

And heaped for freight some lily's weight

Or scarlet rose half shut.

The river floweth on.


Of shell of cocoa carven,

Each little boat is made.

Each carries a lamp, and carries a flower, And carries a hope unsaid;

And when the boat hath carried the lamp Unquenched, till out of sight,

The maiden is sure that love will endure,—

But love will fail with light.

The river floweth on.


Why, all the stars are ready
To symbolise the soul,

The stars untroubled by the wind,
Unwearied as they roll;

And yet the soul by instinct sad
Reverts to symbols low-

To that small flame, whose very name

Breathed o'er it, shakes it so!

The river floweth on.


Six boats are on the river,

Seven maidens on the shore,
While still above them stedfastly
The stars shine evermore.
Go, little boats, go soft and safe,
And guard the symbol spark!
The boats aright go safe and bright
Across the waters dark.

The river floweth on.


The maiden Luti watcheth

Where onwardly they float.
That look in her dilating eyes
Might seem to drive her boat!
Her eyes still mark the constant fire,
And kindling unawares

That hopeful while, she lets a smile
Creep silent through her prayers.

The river floweth on.

VOL. I.-20

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