Poem – To A Dead Poet

I knew not if to laugh or weep;
They sat and talked of you–

“‘Twas here he sat; ’twas this he said!

‘Twas that he used to do. 
“Here is the book wherein he read,

The room wherein he dwelt;

And he” (they said) “was such a man,

Such things he thought and felt.”
I sat and sat, I did not stir;

They talked and talked away.

I was as mute as any stone,

I had no word to say.
They talked and talked; like to a stone

My heart grew in my breast–

I, who had never seen your face

Perhaps I knew you best. 

Poem – To Clementina Black 

More blest than was of old Diogenes,
I have not held my lantern up in vain.

Not mine, at least, this evil–to complain:

“There is none honest among all of these.”
Our hopes go down that sailed before the breeze;

Our creeds upon the rock are rent in twain;

Something it is, if at the last remain

One floating spar cast up by hungry seas.
The secret of our being, who can tell?

To praise the gods and Fate is not my part;

Evil I see, and pain ; within my heart

There is no voice that whispers: “All is well.”
Yet fair are days in summer; and more fair

The growths of human goodness here and there. 

Poem – To E 

The mountains in fantastic lines
Sweep, blue-white, to the sky, which shines

Blue as blue gems; athwart the pines

The lake gleams blue.
We three were here, three years gone by;

Our Poet, with fine-frenzied eye,

You, stepped in learned lore, and I,

A poet too.
Our Poet brought us books and flowers,

He read us Faust; he talked for hours

Philosophy (sad Schopenhauer’s),

Beneath the trees:
And do you mind that sunny day,

When he, as on the sward he lay,

Told of Lassalle who bore away

The false Louise?
Thrice-favoured bard! to him alone

That green and snug retreat was shown,

Where to the vulgar herd unknown,

Our pens we plied.
(For, in those distant days, it seems,

We cherished sundry idle dreams,

And with our flowing foolscap reams

The Fates defied.)
And after, when the day was gone,

And the hushed, silver night came on,

He showed us where the glow-worm shone;–

We stooped to see.
There, too, by yonder moon we swore

Platonic friendship o’er and o’er;

No folk, we deemed, had been before

So wise and free.

And do I sigh or smile to-day?

Dead love or dead ambition, say,

Which mourn we most? Not much we weigh

Platonic friends.
On you the sun is shining free;

Our Poet sleeps in Italy,

Beneath an alien sod; on me

The cloud descends. 

Poem – To Lallie

UP those Museum steps you came, 
And straightway all my blood was flame,

O Lallie, Lallie !

The world (I had been feeling low)

In one short moment’s space did grow

A happy valley.

There was a friend, my friend, with you;

A meagre dame in peacock blue

Apparelled quaintly:

This poet-heart went pit-a-pat;

I bowed and smiled and raised my hat;

You nodded–faintly.

My heart was full as full could be;

You had not got a word for me,

Not one short greeting;

That nonchalant small nod you gave

(The tyrant’s motion to the slave)

Sole mark’d our meeting.

Is it so long ? Do you forget

That first and last time that we met?

The time was summer.

The trees were green; the sky was blue;

Our host presented me to you–

A tardy comer.

You look’d demure, but when you spoke

You made a little, funny joke,

Yet half pathetic.

Your gown was grey, I recollect,

I think you patronized the sect

They call “æsthetic.”

I brought you strawberries and cream,

And plied you long about a stream

With duckweed laden ;

We solemnly discussed the — heat.

I found you shy and very sweet,

A rosebud maiden.

Ah me, to-day! You passed inside

To where the marble gods abide:

Hermes, Apollo,

Sweet Aphrodite, Pan; and where,

For aye reclined, a headless fair

Beats all fairs hollow.

And I, I went upon my way,

Well — rather sadder, let us say;

The world looked flatter.

I had been sad enough before,

A little less, a little more,

What does it matter? 

Poem – To Sylvia 

“O love, lean thou thy cheek to mine,

And let the tears together flow”–

Such was the song you sang to me

Once, long ago.
Such was the song you sang; and yet

(O be not wroth!) I scarcely knew

What sounds flow’d forth; I only felt

That you were you.
I scarcely knew your hair was gold,

Nor of the heavens’ own blue your eyes.

Sylvia and song, divinely mixt,

Made Paradise.
These things I scarcely knew; to-day,

When love is lost and hope is fled,

The song you sang so long ago

Rings in my head.
Clear comes each note and true; to-day,

As in a picture I behold

Your tur’d-up chin, and small, sweet head

Misty with gold.
I see how your dear eyes grew deep,

How your lithe body thrilled and swayed,

And how were whiter than the keys

Your hands that played. . .
Ah, sweetest! cruel have you been,

And robbed my life of many things.

I will not chide; ere this I knew

That Love had wings.
You’ve robbed my life of many things–

Of love and hope, of fame and pow’r.

So be it, sweet. You cannot steal

One golden hour.