An hour before the dawn,
You lit your waiting bedside-lamp,
Your breakfast-fire anon,
And outing into the dark and damp
You saddled, and set on.
Thuswise, before the day,
You sought her on her surfy shore,
To fetch her thence away
Unto your own new-builded door
For a staunch lifelong stay.
You said: “It seems
That I were bringing to my place
The pure brine breeze, the sea,
The mews—all her old sky and space,
In bringing her with me!”
—But time is prompt to
Such magic-minted conjurings:
The brought breeze fainted soon,
And then the sense of seamews’ wings,
And the shore’s sibilant tune.
So, it had been more due,
Perhaps, had you not pulled this flower
From the craggy nook it knew,
And set it in an alien bower;
But left it where it grew!
“COULD I BUT WILL” (SONG: Verses 1, 3, key major; verse 2, key minor)
Could I but will,
Will to my bent,
I’d have afar ones near me still,
And music of rare ravishment,
In strains that move the toes and heels!
And when the sweethearts sat for rest
The unbetrothed should foot with zest
Could I be head,
Head-god, “Come, now,
Dear girl,” I’d say, “whose flame is fled,
Who liest with linen-banded brow,
Stirred but by shakes from Earth’s deep core—”
I’d say to her: “Unshroud and meet
That Love who kissed and called thee Sweet! —
Yea, come once more!”
In spinning dooms
Had I, this frozen scene should flower,
And sand-swept plains and Arctic glooms
Should green them gay with waving leaves,
Mid which old friends and I would walk
With weightless feet and magic talk
I have come to the church and chancel,
Where all’s the same!
- Brighter and larger in my dreams
Truly it shaped than now, meseems,
Is its substantial frame.
But, anyhow, I made my vow,
Whether for praise or blame,
Here in this church and chancel
Where all’s the same.
Where touched the check-floored chancel
My knees and his?
The step looks shyly at the sun,
And says, “’Twas here the thing was done,
For bale or else for bliss!”
Of all those there I least was ware
Would it be that or this
When touched the check-floored chancel
My knees and his!
Here in this fateful chancel
Where all’s the same,
I thought the culminant crest of life
Was reached when I went forth the wife
I was not when I came.
Each commonplace one of my race,
Some say, has such an aim —
To go from a fateful chancel
As not the same.