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135

That thou wert wander'd from the studious walls
To learn strange arts, and join a gipsy-tribe ;

And thou from earth art gone
Long since, and in some quiet churchyard laid

Some country-nook, where o'er thy unknown grave

Tall grasses and white flowering nettles wave, Under a dark, red-fruited yew-tree's shade.

140

- No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of hours ! For what wears out the life of mortal men?

'Tis that from change to change their being rolls ;
'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again,
Exhaust the energy of strongest souls

And numb the elastic powers.
Till having used our nerves with bliss and teen,

And tired upon a thousand schemes our wit,

To the just-pausing Genius we remit
Our worn-out life, and are — what we have been.

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Thou hast not lived, why should'st thou perish, so?
Thou hadst one aim, one business, one desire ;

Else wert thou long since number'd with the dead!
Else hadst thou spent, like other men, thy fire !
The generations of thy peers are fled,

And we ourselves shall go;
But thou possessest an immortal lot,

And we imagine thee exempt from age

And living as thou liv’st on Glanvil's page, Because thou hadst — what we, alas ! have not.

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For early didst thou leave the world, with powers
Fresh, undiverted to the world without,

Firm to their mark, not spent on other things ;
Free from the sick fatigue, the languid doubt,
Which much to have tried, in much been baffled,

brings.

O life unlike to ours !
Who fluctuate idly without term or scope,

Of whom each strives, nor knows for what he strives,

165 And each half lives a hundred different lives; Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, in hope.

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Thou waitest for the spark from heaven! and we,
Light half-believers of our casual creeds,

Who never deeply felt, nor clearly will'd,
Whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds,
Whose vague resolves never have been fulfillid;

For whom each year we see
Breeds new beginnings, disappointments' new;

Who hesitate and falter life away,

And lose to-morrow the ground won to-day — Ah! do not we, wanderer! await it too?

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Yes, we await it ! — but it still delays,
And then we suffer ! and amongst us one,

Who most has suffer'd, takes dejectedly
His seat upon the intellectual throne ;
And all his store of sad experience he

Lays bare of wretched days;
Tells us his misery's birth and growth and signs,

And how the dying spark of hope was fed,

And how the breast was soothed, and how the head, And all his hourly varied anodynes.

190

This for our wisest! and we others pine,
And wish the long unhappy dream would end,

And waive all claim to bliss, and try to bear;
With close-lipp'd patience for our only friend,
Sad patience, too near neighbor to despair

195 But none has hope like thine! Thou through the fields and through the woods dost stray,

Roaming the country-side, a truant boy,

Nursing thy project in unclouded joy,
And every doubt long blown by time away.

200

O born in days when wits were fresh and clear,
And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames;

Before this strange disease of modern life,

205

With its sick hurry, its divided aims,
Its heads o’ertax’d, its palsied hearts, was rife –

Fly hence, our contact fear!
Still fly, plunge deeper in the bowering wood !

Averse, as Dido did with gesture stern

From her false friend's approach in Hades turn, Wave us away, and keep thy solitude !

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Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
Still clutching the inviolable shade,

With a free, onward impulse brushing through,
By night, the silver'd branches of the glade
Far on the forest-skirts, where none pursue,

On some mild pastoral slope
Emerge, and resting on the moonlit pales

Freshen thy flowers as in former years

With dew, or listen with enchanted ears, From the dark dingles, to the nightingales !

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But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly!
For strong the infection of our mental strife,

Which, though it gives no bliss, yet spoils for rest;
And we should win thee from thy own fair life,
Like us distracted, and like us unblest.

Soon, soon thy cheer would die,
Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfix'd thy powers,

And thy clear aims be cross and shifting made ;

And then thy glad perennial youth would fade, Fade, and grow old at last, and die like ours.

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Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and smiles !

- As some grave Tyrian trader, from the sea,

Descried at sunrise an emerging prow
Lifting the cool-hair'd creepers stealthily,
The fringes of a southward-facing brow

Among the Ægæan isles;
And saw the merry Grecian coaster come,

Freighted with amber grapes, and Chian wine,

Green, bursting figs, and tunnies steep'd in brine And knew the intruders on his ancient home,

240

The young light-hearted masters of the waves
And snatch'd his rudder, and shook out more sail ;

And day and night held on indignantly
O’er the blue Midland waters with the gale,
Betwixt the Syrtes and soft Sicily,

245 To where the Atlantic raves Outside the western straits ; and unbent sails

There, where down cloudy cliffs, through sheets of foam,

Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians come; And on the beach undid his corded bales.

250

THE FORSAKEN MERMAN.

COME, dear children, let us away;
Down and away below!
Now my brothers call from the bay,
Now the great winds shoreward blow,
Now the salt tides seaward flow;
Now the wild white horses play,
Champ and chafe and toss in the spray.
Children dear, let us away!
This way, this way!

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15

Call her once before you go –
Call once yet!
In a voice that she will know:

Margaret! Margaret !”
Children's voices should be dear
(Call once more) to a mother's ear;
Children's voices, wild with pain
Surely she will come again!
Call her once and come away ;
This way, this way!

Mother dear, we cannot stay !
The wild white horses foam and fret."
Margaret ! Margaret !

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Come, dear children, come away down;
Call no more !
One last look at the white-wall’d town,
And the little grey church on the windy shore ;
Then come down!
She will not come though you call all day;
Come away, come away!

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Children dear, was it yesterday
We heard the sweet bells over the bay?
In the caverns where we lay,
Through the surf and through the swell,
The far-off sound of a silver bell?
Sand-strewn caverns, cool and deep,
Where the winds are all asleep;
Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
Where the salt weed sways in the stream,
Where the sea-beasts, ranged all round,
Feed in the ooze of their pasture-ground;
Where the sea-snakes coil and twine,
Dry their mail and bask in the brine;
Where great whales come sailing by,
Sail and sail, with unshut eye,
Round the world for ever and aye?
When did music come this way?
Children dear, was it yesterday?

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Children dear, was it yesterday
(Call yet once) that she went away?
Once she sate with you and me,

50
On a red gold throne in the heart of the sea,
And the youngest sate on her knee.
She comb’d its bright hair, and she tended it well,
When down swung the sound of a far-off bell.
She sigh’d, she look'd up through the clear green sea; 55
She said: “I must go, for my kinsfolk pray
In the little grey church on the shore to-day.
'Twill be Easter-time in the world - ah me!
And I lose my poor soul, Merman ! here with thee."

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