And he stretched his arms:
He cried. “Abide with me so, my own!”
But his arms closed in on his hard bare breast;
She had vanished with all he had looked upon
Of her beauty: gone.
He clothed, and drew downstairs,
But she was not in the house, he found;
And he passed out under the leafy pairs
Of the avenue elms, and searched around
To the park-pale bound.
He mounted, and rode till night
To the city to which she had long withdrawn, The vision he bore all day in his sight Being her young self as pondered on
In the dim of dawn.
“—The lady here
long ago —
Is she now here?—young—or such age as she is?” “—She is still here.”—“Thank God. Let her know; She’ll pardon a comer so late as this
Whom she’d fain not miss.”
She received him—an ancient
Who hemmed, with features frozen and numb,
“How strange!—I’d almost forgotten your name! — A call just now—is troublesome;
Why did you come?”
A YOUNG MAN’S EXHORTATION
Call off your eyes from care
By some determined deftness; put forth joys
Dear as excess without the core that cloys,
And charm Life’s lourings fair.
Exalt and crown the hour
That girdles us, and fill it full with glee,
Blind glee, excelling aught could ever be
Were heedfulness in power.
Send up such touching strains
That limitless recruits from Fancy’s pack
Shall rush upon your tongue, and tender back
All that your soul contains.
For what do we know best?
That a fresh love-leaf crumpled soon will dry, And that men moment after moment die,
Of all scope dispossest.
If I have seen one thing
It is the passing preciousness of dreams;
That aspects are within us; and who seems
Most kingly is the King.
1867: Westbourne park Villas.
AT LULWORTH COVE A CENTURY BACK
Had I but lived a hundred years ago
I might have gone, as I have gone this year,
By Warmwell Cross on to a Cove I know,
And Time have placed his finger on me there:
“You see that man?”—I
might have looked, and said,
“O yes: I see him. One that boat has brought
Which dropped down Channel round Saint Alban’s Head.
So commonplace a youth calls not my thought.”
“You see that man?”—“Why
yes; I told you; yes:
Of an idling town-sort; thin; hair brown in hue;
And as the evening light scants less and less
He looks up at a star, as many do.”
“You see that man?”—“Nay,
leave me!” then I plead,
“I have fifteen miles to vamp across the lea,
And it grows dark, and I am weary-kneed:
I have said the third time; yes, that man I see!