Late Lyrics and Earlier : with Many Other Verses eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 130 pages of information about Late Lyrics and Earlier .


I hear the bell-rope sawing,
And the oil-less axle grind,
As I sit alone here drawing
What some Gothic brain designed;
And I catch the toll that follows
   From the lagging bell,
Ere it spreads to hills and hollows
Where the parish people dwell.

I ask not whom it tolls for,
Incurious who he be;
So, some morrow, when those knolls for
One unguessed, sound out for me,
A stranger, loitering under
   In nave or choir,
May think, too, “Whose, I wonder?”
But care not to inquire.


Yes; since she knows not need,
   Nor walks in blindness,
I may without unkindness
   A true thing tell: 

Which would be truth, indeed,
   Though worse in speaking,
Were her poor footsteps seeking
   A pauper’s cell.

I judge, then, better far
   She now have sorrow,
Than gladness that to-morrow
   Might know its knell. —

It may be men there are
   Could make of union
A lifelong sweet communion —
   A passioned spell;

But I, to save her name
   And bring salvation
By altar-affirmation
   And bridal bell;

I, by whose rash unshame
   These tears come to her:-
My faith would more undo her
   Than my farewell!

Chained to me, year by year
   My moody madness
Would wither her old gladness
   Like famine fell.

She’ll take the ill that’s near,
   And bear the blaming. 
’Twill pass.  Full soon her shaming
   They’ll cease to yell.

Our unborn, first her moan,
   Will grow her guerdon,
Until from blot and burden
   A joyance swell;

In that therein she’ll own
   My good part wholly,
My evil staining solely
   My own vile vell.

Of the disgrace, may be
   “He shunned to share it,
Being false,” they’ll say.  I’ll bear it;
   Time will dispel

The calumny, and prove
   This much about me,
That she lives best without me
   Who would live well.

That, this once, not self-love
   But good intention
Pleads that against convention
   We two rebel.

For, is one moonlight dance,
   One midnight passion,
A rock whereon to fashion
   Life’s citadel?

Prove they their power to prance
   Life’s miles together
From upper slope to nether
   Who trip an ell?

- Years hence, or now apace,
   May tongues be calling
News of my further falling
   Sinward pell-mell: 

Then this great good will grace
   Our lives’ division,
She’s saved from more misprision
   Though I plumb hell.


The colour
(The following lines are partly made up, partly remembered from a
Wessex folk-rhyme)

Project Gutenberg
Late Lyrics and Earlier : with Many Other Verses from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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