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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 92 pages of information about Late Lyrics and Earlier .

BEST TIMES

We went a day’s excursion to the stream,
Basked by the bank, and bent to the ripple-gleam,
      And I did not know
      That life would show,
However it might flower, no finer glow.

I walked in the Sunday sunshine by the road
That wound towards the wicket of your abode,
      And I did not think
      That life would shrink
To nothing ere it shed a rosier pink.

Unlooked for I arrived on a rainy night,
And you hailed me at the door by the swaying light,
      And I full forgot
      That life might not
Again be touching that ecstatic height.

And that calm eve when you walked up the stair,
After a gaiety prolonged and rare,
      No thought soever
      That you might never
Walk down again, struck me as I stood there.

Rewritten from an old draft.

THE CASUAL ACQUAINTANCE

While he was here in breath and bone,
   To speak to and to see,
Would I had known—­more clearly known —
   What that man did for me

When the wind scraped a minor lay,
   And the spent west from white
To gray turned tiredly, and from gray
   To broadest bands of night!

But I saw not, and he saw not
   What shining life-tides flowed
To me-ward from his casual jot
   Of service on that road.

He would have said:  “’Twas nothing new;
   We all do what we can;
’Twas only what one man would do
   For any other man.”

Now that I gauge his goodliness
   He’s slipped from human eyes;
And when he passed there’s none can guess,
   Or point out where he lies.

INTRA SEPULCHRUM

   What curious things we said,
   What curious things we did
Up there in the world we walked till dead
   Our kith and kin amid!

   How we played at love,
   And its wildness, weakness, woe;
Yes, played thereat far more than enough
   As it turned out, I trow!

   Played at believing in gods
   And observing the ordinances,
I for your sake in impossible codes
   Right ready to acquiesce.

   Thinking our lives unique,
   Quite quainter than usual kinds,
We held that we could not abide a week
   The tether of typic minds.

  —­Yet people who day by day
   Pass by and look at us
From over the wall in a casual way
   Are of this unconscious.

   And feel, if anything,
   That none can be buried here
Removed from commonest fashioning,
   Or lending note to a bier: 

   No twain who in heart-heaves proved
   Themselves at all adept,
Who more than many laughed and loved,
   Who more than many wept,

   Or were as sprites or elves
   Into blind matter hurled,
Or ever could have been to themselves
   The centre of the world.

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