Sidor som bilder
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Ho! Eve, my gray carrion wife,

When we have supped on king's marrow, Where shall we drink and make merry our life?

15

Our nest it is Queen Cleopatra's skull,

'Tis cloven and cracked,
And battered and hacked,

21

But with tears of blue eyes it is full:
Let us drink then, my raven of Cairo.
Is that the wind dying? O no;
It's only two devils, that blow
Through a murderer's bones, to and

fro,

In the ghosts' moonshine.

(1850)

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15

(1809-1883)

FROM THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR KHAYYAM

5

Why, if the Soul, can fling the dust aside,
And naked on the air of Heaven ride,
Wer 't not a shame wer't not a shame
for him

In this clay carcase crippled to abide?

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Would not we shatter it to bits - and then Re-mold it nearer to the heart's desire!

40

** *

(1859; 1872)

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SONNETS FROM THE PORTUGUESE

I thought once how Theocritus had sung Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,

Who each one in a gracious hand appears To bear a gift for mo old or young: And, as I mused it in his antique tongue, 5 I saw in gradual vision through my tears, The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years, Those of my own life, who by turns had flung

A shadow across me. Straightway I was 'ware,

So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;

II

And a voice said in mastery while I strove, Guess now who holds thee?'-'Death!' I said. But there,

The silver answer rang: 'Not Death, but Love.'

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I

V

I lift my heavy heart up solemnly,
As once Electra her sepulchral urn,
And looking in thine eyes, I overturn
The ashes at thy feet. Behold and see
What a great heap of grief lay hid in me, 5
And how the red wild sparkles dimly burn
Through the ashen grayness. If thy foot in

scorn

Could tread them out to darkness utterly, It might be well perhaps. But if instead Thou wait beside me for the wind to blow The gray dust up, those laurels on thine head,

II

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XIII

And wilt thou have me fashion into speech The love I bear thee, finding words enough, And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough,

Between our faces, to cast light on each?
I drop it at thy feet. I cannot teach
My hand to hold my spirit so far off
From myself - me that I should bring
thee proof

In words, of love hid in me out of reach.
Nay, let the silence of my womanhood
Commend my woman-love to thy belief,— 10
Seeing that I stand unwon, however wooed,
And rend the garment of my life, in brief,
By a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,
Lest one touch of this heart convey its
grief.

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5

XIV

If thou must love me, let it be for nought Except for love's sake only. Do not say 'I love her for her smile - her look- her

way

Of speaking gently,- for a trick of thought That falls in well with mine, and certes

brought

5

Be changed, or change for thee,- and love, so wrought,

May be unwrought so.
Thine own dear pity's

A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'
For these things in themselves, Beloved,

may

dry,

IO

A creature might forget to weep, who bore Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!

But love me for love's sake, that ever

more

Neither love me for wiping my cheeks

Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.

XX

Beloved, my Beloved, when I think That thou wast in the world a year ago, What time I sat alone here in the snow And saw no footprint, heard the silence sink

No moment at thy voice, but, link by link, Went counting all my chains as if that so They never could fall off at any blow

Struck by thy possible hand,-why, thus I drink

Of life's great cup of wonder! Wonderful,

Never to feel thee thrill the day or night 10 With personal act or speech,- nor ever cull Some prescience of thee with the blossoms white

Thou sawest growing! Atheists are as dull, Who cannot guess God's presence out of sight.

XXXV

If I leave all for thee, wilt thou exchange
And be all to me? Shall I never miss
Home-talk and blessing and the common
kiss

That comes to each in turn, nor count it strange,

5

When I look up, to drop on a new range
Of walls and floors, another home than

this?

Nay, wilt thou fill that place by me which is Filled by dead eyes too tender to know change? That's hardest. If to conquer love, has tried,

To conquer grief, tries more, as all things prove;

For grief indeed is love and grief beside.

Alas, I have grieved so I am hard to love. Yet love me wilt thou? Open thine heart wide,

And fold within the wet wings of thy dove.

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