Bereavement

Nay, weep not, dearest, though the child be dead;

He lives again in Heaven’s unclouded life,

With other angels that have early fled

From these dark scenes of sorrow, sin, and strife.

Nay, weep not, dearest, though thy yearning love

Would fondly keep for earth its fairest flowers,

And e’en deny to brighter realms above

The few that deck this dreary world of ours:

Though much it seems a wonder and a woe

That one so loved should be so early lost,

And hallowed tears may unforbidden flow

To mourn the blossom that we cherished most,

Yet all is well; God’s good design I see,

That where our treasure is, our hearts may be!

Bereavement
The Voyage

But the real travelers are those who leave for leaving’s sake;

Their hearts are light as balloons,

They never diverge from the path of their fate

And, without knowing why, always say, ‘Let’s go.’

They are the ones whose desires have the shape of clouds,

And who dream as a new recruit dreams of cannon fire,

Of limitless pleasures, ever-changing, unknown,

Which the human mind has never been able to name.

The Voyage
The Slave’s Dream

The forests, with their myriad tongues,

Shouted of liberty;

And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,

With a voice so wild and free,

That he started in his sleep and smiled

At their tempestuous glee.

He did not feel the driver’s whip,

Nor the burning heat of day;

For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,

And his lifeless body lay

A worn-out fetter, that the soul

Had broken and thrown away!

The Slave’s Dream
Mimnermus in Church

You promise heavens free from strife,

Pure truth, and perfect change of will;

But sweet, sweet is this human life,

So sweet, I fain would breathe it still:

Your chilly stars I can forego,

This warm kind world is all I know.

You say there is no substance here,

One great reality above:

Back from that void I shrink in fear,

And child-like hide myself in love:

Show me what angels feel. Till then,

I cling, a mere weak man, to men.

You bid me lift my mean desires

From faltering lips and fitful veins

To sexless souls, ideal quires,

Unwearied voices, wordless strains:

My mind with fonder welcome owns

One dear dead friend’s remembered tones.

Forsooth the present we must give

To that which cannot pass away;

All beauteous things for which we live

By laws of time and space decay.

But oh, the very reason why

I clasp them, is because they die.

Mimnermus in Church
Dirge of Love

Come away, come away, death,

And in sad cypres let me be laid;

Fly away, fly away, breath;

I am slain by a fair cruel maid.

My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,

O prepare it!

My part of death, no one so true

Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,

On my black coffin let there be strown;

Not a friend, not a friend greet

My poor corse, where my bones shall be thrown:

A thousand thousand sighs to save,

Lay me, O, where

Sad true lover never find my grave

To weep there!

Dirge of Love
By the Sea

The clouds have gathered soon to-night,

They hang above the quiet sea,

And through the air a muffled sound

Is borne to me

From that dim island where the souls

Of all the Ages lie at rest;

It beats upon my throbbing brain

And troubled breast.

If thou wert standing on the shore

Beside me now, and held my hand,

I think that I should hear it plain

And understand

For there is one note in it all,

Which loud and clear has come to me,

And I have caught it in my heart

To tell to thee.

“Eyes steadfast from the watch of worlds,

Hearts big with secrets of the spheres,

We have no power to move you now

With hopes or fears.”

“No power,” thy soul has filled my soul,

Thy life has rounded all of mine,

Thy love has girt me with a strength

Which is divine.

And when that sound perchance one day

Comes to us with a mighty roll,

We two shall stand unmoved, and hear

And learn the whole.

By the Sea
Drum-Taps

Aroused and angry,

I thought to beat the alarum, and urge relentless war;

But soon my fingers fail’d me, my face droop’d, and I resign’d myself,

To sit by the wounded and soothe them, or silently watch the dead.

Drum-Taps
Departure

My true love from her pillow rose

And wandered down the summer lane.

She left her house to the wind’s carouse,

And her chamber wide to the rain.

She did not stop to don her coat,

She did not stop to smooth her bed—

But out she went in glad content

There where the bright path led.

She did not feel the beating storm,

But fled like a sunbeam, white and frail,

To the sea, to the air, somewhere, somewhere—

I have not found her trail.

Departure
Above the Clouds

’Mid white Sierras, that slope to the sea,

Lie turbulent lands.

Go dwell in the skies,

And the thundering tongues of Yosemitè

Shall persuade you to silence, and you shall be wise.

I but sing for the love of song and the few

Who loved me first and shall love me last;

And the storm shall pass as the storms have passed,

For never were clouds but the sun came through.

Above the Clouds
Strange Fits of Passion

Strange fits of passion have I known:

And I will dare to tell,

But in the lover's ear alone,

What once to me befell.

When she I loved looked every day

Fresh as a rose in June,

I to her cottage bent my way,

Beneath an evening-moon.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,

All over the wide lea;

With quickening pace my horse drew nigh

Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot;

And, as we climbed the hill,

The sinking moon to Lucy's cot

Came near, and nearer still.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept,

Kind Nature's gentlest boon!

And all the while my eye I kept

On the descending moon.

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof

He raised, and never stopped:

When down behind the cottage roof,

At once, the bright moon dropped.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide

Into a Lover's head!

"O mercy!" to myself I cried,

"If Lucy should be dead!"

Strange Fits of Passion