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66

HOME-THOUGHTS FROM THE SEA

35

But the time will come,-at last it will,

When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say)
In the lower earth, in the years long still,

That body and soul so pure and gay?
Why your hair was amber, I shall divine,

And your mouth of your own geranium's red-
And what you would do with me, in fine,

In the new life come in the old one's stead.

40

I have lived (I shall say) so much since then,

Given up myself so many times,
Gained me the gains of various men,

Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;
Yet one thing, one, in my soul's full scope,

Either I missed or itself missed me:
And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope !

What is the issue ? let us see !

45

I loved you, Evelyn, all the while !
My heart seemed full as it could hold;

50 There was place and to spare for the frank young smile,

And the red young mouth, and the hair's young gold.
So, hush, I will give you this leaf to keep:

See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand !
There, that is our secret: go to sleep!

55 You will wake, and remember, and understand.

Home-thoughts from the Sea * Nobly, nobly Cape Saint Vincent to the Northwest died away; Sunset ran, one glorious blood-red, reeking into Cadiz Bay; Bluish 'mid the burning water, full in face Trafalgar lay; In the dimmest Northeast distance dawned Gibraltar grand Here and here did England help me: how can I help England ? "-say,

and gray;

* This poem is an expression of patriotic feeling awakened in the poet by passing the scenes of Nelson's great naval exploits.

5 Whoso turns as I, this evening, turn to God to praise and

pray While Jove's planet rises yonder, silent over Africa.

One Word More

I

THERE they are, my fifty men and women
Naming me the fifty poems finished !
Take them, Love, the book and me together :
Where the heart lies, let the brain lie also.

II

5

1ο

Rafael made a century of sonnets,
Made and wrote them in a certain volume
Dinted with the silver-pointed pencil
Else he only used to draw Madonnas :
These, the world might view—but one, the volume.
Who that one, you ask? Your heart instructs you.
Did she live and love it all her lifetime ?
Did she drop, his lady of the sonnets,
Die, and let it drop beside her pillow
Where it lay in place of Rafael's glory,
Rafael's cheek so duteous and so loving-
Cheek, the world was wont to hail a painter's,
Rafael's cheek, her love had turned a poet's ?

15

III

You and I would rather read that volume,
(Taken to his beating bosom by it)
Lean and list the bosom-beats of Rafael,
Would we not ? than wonder at Madonnas-
Her, San Sisto names, and Her, Foligno,

20

Her, that visits Florence in a vision,
Her, that's left with lilies in the Louvre-
Seen by us and all the world in circle.

25

IV

You and I will never read that volume.
Guido Reni, like his own eye's apple
Guarded long the treasure-book and loved it.
Guido Reni dying, all Bologna
Cried, and the world too, “ Ours, the treasure !"
Suddenly, as rare things will, it vanished.

30

V

35

40

Dante once prepared to paint an angel :
Whom to please ? You whisper “ Beatrice.”
While he mused and traced and retraced it,
(Peradventure with a pen corroded
Still by drops of that hot ink he dipped for,
When, his left hand i' the hair o' the wicked,
Back he held the brow and pricked its stigma,
Bit into the live man's flesh for parchment,
Loosed him, laughed to see the writing rankle,
Let the wretch go festering through Florence)
Dante, who loved well because he hated,
Hated wickedness that hinders loving,
Dante standing, studying his angel,
In there broke the folk of his Inferno.
Says he—“Certain people of importance"
(Such he gave his daily dreadful line to)
“ Entered and would seize, forsooth, the poet."
Says the poet—" Then I stopped my painting."

45

24. Louvre. The great museum in Paris. 25. In circle. This last picture is circular in form. 27. Guido Reni (1575-1642). An Italian painter. 33. Beatrice. Pronounce in four syllables.

VI

50

You and I would rather see that angel,
Painted by the tenderness of Dante,
Would we not ?-than read a fresh Inferno.

VII

You and I will never see that picture.
While he mused on love and Beatrice,
While he softened o'er his outlined angel,
In they broke, those "people of importance :"
We and Bice bear the loss forever.

55

VIII

60

What of Rafael's sonnets, Dante's picture ?
This : no artist lives and loves, that longs not
Once, and only once, and for one only,
(Ah, the prize !) to find his love a language
Fit and fair and simple and sufficient-
Using nature that's an art to others,
Not, this one time, art that's turned his nature.
Ay, of all the artists living, loving,
None but would forego his proper dowry,–
Does he paint ? he fain would write a poem,-
Does he write ? he fain would paint a picture,
Put to proof art alien to the artist's,
Once, and only once, and for one only,
So to be the man and leave the artist,
Gain the man's joy, miss the artist's sorrow.

65

70

IX

Wherefore ? Heaven's gift takes earth's abatement !
He who smites the rock and spreads the water,
Bidding drink and live a crowd beneath him,

75 80

57. Bice.

Pronounce in two syllables. 74. Read Exodus xvii.

85

Even he, the minute makes immortal,
Proves, perchance, but mortal in the minute,
Desecrates, belike, the deed in doing.
While he smites, how can he but remember,
So he smote before, in such a peril,
When they stood and mocked—“Shall smiting help us ?”
When they drank and sneered—“A stroke is easy!”
When they wiped their mouths and went their journey,
Throwing him for thanks—" But drought was pleasant."
Thus old memories mar the actual triumph;
Thus the doing savors of disrelish;
Thus achievement lacks a gracious somewhat;
O'er-importuned brows becloud the mandate,
Carelessness or consciousness—the gesture.
For he bears an ancient wrong about him,
Sees and knows again those phalanxed faces,
Hears, yet one time more, the 'customed prelude-
“ How shouldst thou, of all men, smite, and save us ? ”
Guesses what is like to prove the sequel-
“ Egypt's flesh-pots—nay, the drought was better.”

90

95

х

Oh, the crowd must have emphatic warrant !
Theirs, the Sinai-forehead's cloven brilliance,
Right-arm's rod-sweep, tongue's imperial fiat.
Never dares the man put off the prophet.

XI

IOO

Did he love one face from out the thousands,
(Were she Jethro's daughter, white and wisely,
Were she but the Æthiopian bondslave,)
He would envy yon dumb patient camel,

97. Sinai-forehead. Read Exodus xxiv, xxxii, and xxxiv. 101. Jethro's daughter. Read Exodus ii and iii.

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