“’Tis vain to call with morning on the
With noon so near,
With Life a dancer in the masque of Spring
And Youth new wedded with a golden ring—
When falls the night and birds have ceased to sing
My heart may hear!
“’Tis vain to pause. Pass, friend,
upon your way!
I may not heed;
Too swift the hours; too sweet, too brief the day:
Only one life, one spring, one perfect May—
I crush each moment, with its sweets to stay
Life’s joyous greed!
“Call not again! The wind is roaming by
Across the heath—
The Wind’s a tell-tale and will bear your sigh
To dim the smiling gladness of the sky
Or kill the spring’s first violets that lie
In purple sheath—
“If you must call, call low! My heart grows
Still as my breath,
Still as your smile, O Ancient One! A chill
Strikes through the sun upon the window-sill—
I know you now—I follow where you will,
O tyrant Death!”
I give you Life, O child, a garden fair;
I give you Love, a rose that blossoms there—
I give a day to pluck it and to wear!
I give you Death, O child—a boon more great—
That, when your Rose has withered and ’tis late,
You may pass out and, smiling, close the gate!
The Town Between
A wall impregnable surrounds
The Town wherein I dwell;
No man may scale it and it has
Two gates that guard it well.
One opened long ago, and I
A vagrant soul, slipped through,
Bewildered and forgetting all
The wider world I knew.
I love the Town, the narrow ways,
The common, yellow sun,
The handclasp and the jesting and
The work that must be done!
I shun the other gate that stands
Beyond the crowded mart—
I need but glance that way to feel
Cold fingers on my heart!
It stands alone and somberly
Within a shaded place,
And every man who turns that way
Has quiet on his face.
And every man must rise and leave
His pleasant homely door
To vanish through this silent gate
And enter in no more—
Yet—once—I saw its opening throw
A brighter light about
And glimpsed strange glory on the brow
Of someone passing out!
I wonder if Outside may be
One fair and great demesne
Where both gates open, careless of
The Town that lies between?
On the Mountain
The top of the world and an empty morning,
Mist sweeping in from the dim Outside,
The door of day just a little bit open—
The wind’s great laugh as he flings it wide!
O wind, here’s one who would travel with you
To the far bourne you alone may know—
There would I seek what some one is hiding,
There would I find where my longings go!