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O, sweet nightingale, wait
Till I listen and hear
If a step draweth near,
For my love he is late!

"The skies in the darkness stoop nearer and nearer,
A cluster of stars hangs like fruit in the tree,
The fall of the water comes sweeter, comes clearer:
To what art thou listening, and what dost thou see?
Let the star-clusters grow,
Let the sweet waters flow,
And cross quickly to me.

"You night moths that hover where honey brims over
From sycamore blossoms, or settle or sleep;
You glowworms, shine out, and the pathway discover
To him that comes darkling along the rough steep.
Ah, my sailor, make haste,
For the time runs to waste,
And my love lieth deep--

"Too deep for swift telling; and yet, my one lover,
I 've conned thee an answer, it waits thee to-night."
By the sycamore passed he, and through the white clover,
Then all the sweet speech I had fashioned took flight;
But I 'll love him more, more
Than e'er wife loved before,
Be the days dark or bright.



Sweet is childhood--childhood 's over,
Kiss and part.
Sweet is youth; but youth 's a rover--
So 's my heart.
Sweet is rest; but by all showing
Toil is nigh.
We must go. Alas! the going,
Say "good-bye."






Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon;
Oh the pleasant sight to see
Shires and towns from Airly Beacon,
While my love climbed up to me!

Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon;
Oh the happy hours we lay
Deep in fern on Airly Beacon,
Courting through the summer's day!

Airly Beacon, Airly Beacon;
Oh the weary haunt for me,
All alone on Airly Beacon,
With his baby on my knee!


"Oh, Mary, go and call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home,
And call the cattle home
Across the sands of Dee;"
The western wind was wild and dark with foam,
And all alone went she.

The western tide crept up along the sand,
And o'er and o'er the sand,
And round and round the sand,
As far as eye could see.
The rolling mist came down and hid the land:
And never home came she.

"Oh! is it weed, or fish, or floating hair--
A tress of golden hair,
A drownèd maiden's hair
Above the nets at sea?"
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
Among the stakes on Dee.

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,
The cruel crawling foam,
The cruel hungry foam,
To her grave beside the sea:
But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home
Across the sands of Dee.



Three fishers went sailing away to the West,
Away to the West as the sun went down;
Each thought on the woman who loved him the best,
And the children stood watching them out of the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And there 's little to earn, and many to keep,
Though the harbor bar be moaning.

Three wives sat up in the lighthouse tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work, and women must weep,
Though storms be sudden, and waters deep,
And the harbor bar be moaning.

[Illustration: Full-page Plate]

Three corpses lay out on the shining sands
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women are weeping and wringing their hands
For those who will never come home to the town;
For men must work, and women must weep,
And the sooner it 's over, the sooner to sleep;
And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.



To C. E. G.--1856.

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
No lark could pipe in skies so dull and gray;
Yet, if you will, one quiet hint I 'll leave you,
For every day.

I 'll tell you how to sing a clearer carol
Than lark who hails the dawn of breezy down;
To earn yourself a purer poet's laurel
Than Shakespeare's crown.

Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever;
Do lovely things, not dream them, all day long;
And so make Life, and Death, and that For Ever,
One grand sweet song.





Ah, what avails the sceptered race!
Ah, what the form divine!
What every virtue, every grace!
Rose Aylmer, all were thine.
Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
May weep, but never see,
A night of memories and of sighs
I consecrate to thee.


Often I have heard it said
That her lips are ruby-red.
Little heed I what they say,
I have seen as red as they.
Ere she smiled on other men,
Real rubies were they then.

When she kissed me once in play,
Rubies were less bright than they,
And less bright were those which shone
In the palace of the Sun.
Will they be as bright again?
Not if kissed by other men.



The fault is not mine if I love you too much,
I loved you too little too long,
Such ever your graces, your tenderness such,
And the music the heart gave the tongue.

A time is now coming when Love must be gone,
Tho' he never abandoned me yet.
Acknowledge our friendship, our passion disown,
Our follies (ah can you?) forget.



Under the lindens lately sat
A couple, and no more, in chat;
I wondered what they would be at
Under the lindens.

I saw four eyes and four lips meet,
I heard the words, _"How sweet! how sweet!"_
Had then the Faeries given a treat
Under the lindens?

I pondered long and could not tell
What dainty pleased them both so well:
Bees! bees! was it your hydromel
Under the lindens?



In Clementina's artless mien
Lucilla asks me what I see,--
And are the roses of sixteen
Enough for me?

Lucilla asks, if that be all,
Have I not culled as sweet before?
Ah yes, Lucilla! and their fall
I still deplore.

I now behold another scene,
Where Pleasure beams with heaven's own light,--
More pure, more constant, more serene,
And not less bright:

Faith, on whose breast the Loves repose,
Whose chain of flowers no force can sever,
And Modesty, who, when she goes,
Is gone forever!


Thank Heaven, Ianthe, once again
Our hands and ardent lips shall meet,
And Pleasure, to assert his reign,
Scatter ten thousand kisses sweet:
Then cease repeating while you mourn,
"I wonder when he will return."

Ah wherefore should you so admire
The flowing words that fill my song,
Why call them artless, yet require
"Some promise from that tuneful tongue?"
I doubt if heaven itself could part
A tuneful tongue and tender heart.


[Illustration: Full-page Plate]


One lovely name adorns my song,
And, dwelling in the heart,
For ever falters at the tongue,
And trembles to depart.


Mother, I can not mind my wheel;
My fingers ache, my lips are dry;
Oh! if you felt the pain I feel!
But oh, who ever felt as I!
No longer could I doubt him true,
All other men may use deceit;
He always said my eyes were blue,
And often swore my lips were sweet.





The flow of life is yet a rill
That laughs, and leaps, and glistens;
And still the woodland rings, and still
The old Damoetas listens.

We have loiter'd and laugh'd in the flowery croft,
We have met under wintry skies;
Her voice is the dearest voice, and soft
Is the light in her gentle eyes;
It is bliss in the silent woods, among
Gay crowds, or in any place
To hear her voice, to gaze on her young
Confiding face.

For ever may roses divinely blow,
And wine-dark pansies charm
By the prim box path where I felt the glow
Of her dimpled, trusting arm,
And the sweep of her silk as she turned and smiled
A smile as pure as her pearls;
The breeze was in love with the darling Child,
As it moved her curls.

She showed me her ferns and woodbine-sprays,
Foxglove and jasmine stars,
A mist of blue in the beds, a blaze
Of red in the celadon jars:
And velvety bees in convolvulus bells,
And roses of bountiful June--
Oh, who would think their summer spells
Could die so soon!

For a glad song came from the milking shed,
On a wind of the summer south,
And the green was golden above her head,
And a sunbeam kiss'd her mouth;
Sweet were the lips where that sunbeam dwelt;
And the wings of Time were fleet
As I gazed; and neither spoke, for we felt
Life was so sweet!

And the odorous limes were dim above
As we leant on a drooping bough;
And the darkling air was a breath of love,
And a witching thrush sang "Now!"
For the sun dropt low, and the twilight grew
As we listen'd and sigh'd, and leant;
That day was the sweetest day--and we knew
What the sweetness meant.



We heard it calling, clear and low,
That tender April morn; we stood
And listened in the quiet wood,
We heard it, ay, long years ago.

It came, and with a strange, sweet cry,
A friend, but from a far-off land;
We stood and listened, hand in hand,
And heart to heart, my Love and I.

In dreamland then we found our joy,
And so it seemed as 't were the Bird
That Helen in old times had heard
At noon beneath the oaks of Troy.

O time far off, and yet so near!
It came to her in that hush'd grove,
It warbled while the wooing throve,
It sang the song she loved to hear.

And now I hear its voice again,
And still its message is of peace,
It sings of love that will not cease--
For me it never sings in vain.



As Gertrude skipt from babe to girl,
Her Necklace lengthen'd, pearl by pearl;
Year after year it grew, and grew,
For every birthday gave her two.
Her neck is lovely,--soft and fair,
And now her Necklace glimmers there.

So cradled, let it fall and rise,
And all her graces symbolize.
Perchance this pearl, without a speck,
Once was as warm on Sappho's neck;
Where are the happy, twilight pearls
That braided Beatrice's curls?

Is Gerty loved?

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