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In that great cloister's stillness and seclusion,
By guardian angels led,
She lives, whom we call dead.
Day after day we think what she is doing
In those bright realms of air;
Behold her grown more fair.
Thus do we walk with her, and keep unbroken,
The bond which nature gives, Thinking that our remembrance, though unspoken,
May reach her where she lives.
Not as a child shall we again behold her:
For when with raptures wild
She will not be a child ;
But a fair maiden, in her Father's mansion,
Clothed with celestial grace;
Shall we behold her face.
And though at times, impetuous with emotion
And anguish long suppressed, The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean,
That cannot be at rest,
We will be patient, and assuage the feeling
We may not wholly stay;
All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time; Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show,
Strengthens and supports the rest. For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled; Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between; Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen. In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care, Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere. Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen; Make the house, where gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean. Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time, Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
Shall to-morrow find its place.
To those turrets, where the eye
And one boundless reach of sky.
SAND OF THE DESERT IN AN HOUR-GLASS.
Of Arab deserts brought,
The minister of Thought.
About those deserts blown!
How many histories known !
Trampled and passed it o'er,
His favourite son they bore.
Crushed it beneath their tread;
Scattered it as they sped ;
Held close in her caress,
Illumed the wilderness;
Or anchorites beneath Engaddi's palms
Pacing the Dead Sea beach,
In half-articulate speech;
Or caravans, that from Bassora's gate
With westward steps depart;
And resolute in heart !
These have passed over it, or may have passed !
Now in this crystal tower
It counts the passing hour.
And as I gaze, these narrow walls expand ;
Before my dreamy eye
Its unimpeded sky.
And borne aloft by the sustaining blast,
This little golden thread
A form of fear and dread.
And onward, and across the setting sun,
Across the boundless plain,
Till thought pursues in vain.
The vision vanishes! These walls again
Shut out the lurid sun,
The half-hour's sand is run!
PEGASUS IN POUND.
ONCE into a quiet village,
Without haste and without heed, In the golden prime of morning,
Strayed the poet's winged steed. It was Autumn, and incessant
Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves, And, like living coals, the apples
Burned among the withered leaves. Loud the clamorous bell was ringing
From its belfry gaunt and grim; 'Twas the daily call for labour,
Not a triumph meant for him. Not the less he saw the landscape,
In its gleaming vapour veiled ; Not the less he breathed the odours
That the dying leaves exhaled.
Thus, upon the village common,
By the schoolboys he was found; And the wise men, in their wisdom,
Put him straightway into pound. Then the sombre village crier,
Ringing loud his brazen bell, Wandered down the street proclaiming
There was an estray to sell. And the curious country people,
Rich and poor, and young and old, Came in haste to see this wondrous
Winged steed, with mane of gold.