The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems.

Dreams that are tangled like wild-wood,
  A hint creeping in like a hare;
Visions of innocent childhood,—­
  Glimpses of pleasure and care;
Brave thoughts that flash like a saber,—­
  Cowards that crouch as they come,—­
Thoughts of sweet love and sweet labor
  In the fields at the old cottage-home.

Visions of maize and of meadow,
  Songs of the birds and the brooks,
Glimpses of sunshine and shadow,
  Of hills and the vine-covered nooks;
Dreams that were dreams of a lover,—­
  A face like the blushing of morn,—­
Hum of bees and the sweet scent of clover
  And a bare-headed girl in the corn.

Hopes that went down in the battle,
  Apples that crumbled to dust,—­
Manna for rogues, and the rattle
  Of hail-storms that fall on the just. 
The “shoddy” that lolls in her chariot,—­
  Maud Muller at work in the grass: 
Here a silver-bribed Judas Iscariot,—­
  There—­Leonidas dead in the pass.

Commingled the good and the evil;
  Sown together the wheat and the tares;
In the heart of the wheat is the weevil;
  There is joy in the midst of our cares. 
The past,—­shall we stop to regret it? 
  What is,—­shall we falter and fall? 
If the envious wrong thee, forget it;
  Let thy charity cover them all.

The cock hails the morn, and the rumble
  Of wheels is abroad in the streets,
Still I tumble and mumble and grumble
  At the fleas in my ears and—­the sheets;
Mumble and grumble and tumble
  Till the buzz of the bees is no more;
In a jumble I mumble and drumble
  And tumble off—­into a snore.


[Written at the grave of an old friend.]

Down into the darkness at last, Daniel,—­down into the darkness at last;
Laid in the lap of our Mother, Daniel,—­sleeping the dreamless sleep,—­
Sleeping the sleep of the babe unborn—­the pure and the perfect rest: 
Aye, and is it not better than this fitful fever and pain? 
Aye, and is it not better, if only the dead soul knew?

Joy was there in the spring-time and hope like a blossoming rose,
When the wine-blood of youth ran tingling and throbbing in every vein;
Chirrup of robin and blue-bird in the white-blossomed apple and pear;
Carpets of green on the meadows spangled with dandelions;
Lowing of kine in the valleys, bleating of lambs on the hills;
Babble of brooks and the prattle of fountains that flashed in the sun;
Glad, merry voices, ripples of laughter, snatches of music and song,
And blue-eyed girls in the gardens that blushed like the roses they wore.

And life was a pleasure unvexed, unmingled with sorrow and pain? 
A round of delight from the blink of morn
          till the moon rose laughing at night? 
Nay, there were cares and cankers—­envy and hunger and hate;
Death and disease in the pith of the limbs,
          in the root and the bud and the branch;
Dry-rot, alas, at the heart, and a canker-worm gnawing therein.

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The Feast of the Virgins and Other Poems from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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