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For Stephanie sprained last night her wrist,
Ankle or something. 66

Pooh," cry you?

At any rate she danced, all say,

Vilely; her vogue has had its day. Here comes my husband from his whist.



HERE was I with my arm and heart
And brain, all yours for a word, a want
Put into a look—just a look, your part,

While mine, to repay it. . . vainest vaunt,
Were the woman, that 's dead, alive to hear,
Had her lover, that's lost, love's proof to show!
But I cannot show it; you cannot speak

From the churchyard neither, miles removed,
Though I feel by a pulse within my cheek,

Which stabs and stops, that the woman I loved Needs help in her grave and finds none near, Wants warmth from the heart which sends it


Did I speak once angrily, all the drear days
You lived, you woman I loved so well,
Who married the other? Blame or praise,
Where was the use then? Time would tell,
And the end declare what man for you,
What woman for me was the choice of God.
But, Edith dead! no doubting more!

I used to sit and look at my life

As it rippled and ran till, right before,
A great stone stopped it: oh, the strife
Of waves at the stone some devil threw
In my life's midcurrent, thwarting God!


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But either I thought, "They may churn and chide
Awhile, my waves which came for their joy
And found this horrible stone full-tide :
Yet I see just a thread escape, deploy
Through the evening-country, silent and safe,

And it suffers no more till it finds the sea." Or else I would think, "Perhaps some night When new things happen, a meteor-ball May slip through the sky in a line of light,

And earth breathe hard, and landmarks fall, And my waves no longer champ nor chafe,

Since a stone will have rolled from its place: let be!"


But, dead! All's done with: wait who may,
Watch and wear and wonder who will.

Oh, my whole life that ends to-day!

Oh, my soul's sentence, sounding still,

"The woman is dead, that was none of his ;

And the man, that was none of hers, may go!" There's only the past left worry that!

Wreak, like a bull, on the empty coat,

Rage, its late wearer is laughing at !

Tear the collar to rags, having missed his throat; Strike stupidly on "This, this and this,

Where I would that a bosom received the blow!"


I ought to have done more once my speech,
And once your answer, and there, the end,
And Edith was henceforth out of reach!

Why, men do more to deserve a friend,
Be rid of a foe, get rich, grow wise,

Nor, folding their arms, stare fate in the face.
Why, better even have burst like a thief

And borne you away to a rock for us two,
In a moment's horror, bright, bloody and brief,
Then changed to myself again-"I slew
Myself in that moment; a ruffian lies

Somewhere your slave, see, born in his place!

What did the other do?

Look at us, Edith!


You be judge!
Here are we both!

Give him his six whole years: I grudge
None of the life with you, nay, I loathe
Myself that I grudged his start in advance
Of me who could overtake and pass.

But, as if he loved you! No, not he,
Nor any one else in the world, 't is plain :

Who ever heard that another, free

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As I, young, prosperous, sound and sane, Poured life out, proffered it "Half a glance Of those eyes of yours and I drop the glass!"


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Handsome, were you? 'T is more than they held, More than they said; I was 'ware and watched : I was the scapegrace, this rat belled

The cat, this fool got his whiskers scratched: The others? No head that was turned, no heart Broken, my lady, assure yourself!

Each soon made his mind up; so and so
Married a dancer, such and such
Stole his friend's wife, stagnated slow,

Or maundered, unable to do as much,
And muttered of peace where he had no part :
While, hid in the closet, laid on the shelf,


On the whole, you were let alone, I think!
So, you looked to the other, who acquiesced;
My rival, the proud man, - prize your pink
Of poets! A poet he was! I've guessed:
He rhymed you his rubbish nobody read,

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Loved you and doved you - did not I laugh! There was a prize! But we both were tried.

Oh, heart of mine, marked broad with her mark, Tekel, found wanting, set aside,

Scorned! See, I bleed these tears in the dark Till comfort come and the last be bled: He? He is tagging your epitaph.


If it would only come over again!

Time to be patient with me, and probe This heart till you punctured the proper vein, Just to learn what blood is: twitch the robe From that blank lay-figure your fancy draped, Prick the leathern heart till the verses spirt! And late it was easy; late, you walked Where a friend might meet you; Edith's name Arose to one's lip if one laughed or talked ;

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If I heard good news, you heard the same; When I woke, I knew that your breath escaped; I could bide my time, keep alive, alert.


will see!

And alive I shall keep and long, you
I knew a man, was kicked like a dog
From gutter to cesspool; what cared he
So long as he picked from the filth his
He saw youth, beauty and genius die,


And jollily lived to his hundredth year. But I will live otherwise: none of such life! At once I begin as I mean to end.

Go on with the world, get gold in its strife,

Give your spouse the slip and betray your friend! There are two who decline, a woman and I, And enjoy our death in the darkness here.


I liked that way you had with your curls

Wound to a ball in a net behind:
Your cheek was chaste as a Quaker-girl's,

And your mouth—there was never, to my mind, Such a funny mouth, for it would not shut;

And the dented chin too what a chin!

There were certain ways when you spoke, some words That you know you never could pronounce:

You were thin, however; like a bird's

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The world was right when it called you thin.


But I turn my back on the world: I take
Your hand, and kneel, and lay to my lips.
Bid me live, Edith! Let me slake

Thirst at your presence! Fear no slips!
'T is your slave shall pay, while his soul endures,
Full due, love's whole debt, summum jus.
My queen shall have high observance, planned
Courtship made perfect, no least line
Crossed without warrant. There you stand,
Warm too, and white too: would this wine
Had washed all over that body of yours,

Ere I drank it, and you down with it, thus!




WOULD that the structure brave, the manifold music I build, Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work, Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when Solomon willed

Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk, Man, brute, reptile, fly, - alien of end and of aim,

Adverse, each from the other heaven - high, hell-deep removed,

Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable Name, And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess he loved!


Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of mine, This which my keys in a crowd pressed and importuned to raise!

Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart now and now combine,

Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their master his praise ! And one would bury his brow with a blind plunge down to hell, Burrow awhile and build, broad on the roots of things, Then up again swim into sight, having based me my palace well,

Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the nether springs.


And another would mount and march, like the excellent minion

he was,

Ay, another and yet another, one crowd but with many a


Raising my rampired walls of gold as transparent as glass,
Eager to do and die, yield each his place to the rest:

For higher still and higher (as a runner tips with fire,

When a great illumination surprises a festal night— Outlining round and round Rome's dome from space to spire) Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and the pride of my soul was in sight.

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