“Your friend, O other me, is dead;
You know not what you say.”
- “That do I! And at his green-grassed door
By night’s bright galaxy
I bend a knee.”
- The yew-plumes moved like mockers’ beards,
Though only boughs were they,
And I seemed to go; yet still was there,
And am, and there haunt we
There was a singing woman
Came riding across the mead
At the time of the mild May weather,
This song she sung: “I am fair, I am young!”
And many turned to heed.
And the same singing woman
Sat crooning in her need
At the time of the winter weather;
She sang this song: “Life, thou’rt too long!”
And there was none to heed.
WITHOUT, NOT WITHIN HER
It was what you bore with you, Woman,
Not inly were,
That throned you from all else human,
It was that strange freshness you carried
Into a soul
Whereon no thought of yours tarried
Two moments at all.
And out from his spirit flew death,
And bale, and ban,
Like the corn-chaff under the breath
Of the winnowing-fan.
“O I won’t lead a homely life As father’s Jack and mother’s Jill, But I will be a fiddler’s wife, With music mine at will! Just a little tune, Another one soon, As I merrily fling my fill!”
And she became a fiddler’s Dear,
And merry all day she strove to be;
And he played and played afar and near,
But never at home played he
Any little tune
Or late or soon;
And sunk and sad was she!
I lay in my bed and fiddled
With a dreamland viol and bow,
And the tunes flew back to my fingers
I had melodied years ago.
It was two or three in the morning
When I fancy-fiddled so
Long reels and country-dances,
And hornpipes swift and slow.
And soon anon came crossing
The chamber in the gray
Figures of jigging fieldfolk —
Saviours of corn and hay —
To the air of “Haste to the Wedding,”
As after a wedding-day;
Yea, up and down the middle
In windless whirls went they!
There danced the bride and bridegroom,
And couples in a train,
Gay partners time and travail
Had longwhiles stilled amain! . . .
It seemed a thing for weeping
To find, at slumber’s wane
And morning’s sly increeping,
That Now, not Then, held reign.
Creak, little wood thing, creak,
When I touch you with elbow or knee;
That is the way you speak
Of one who gave you to me!