Life

Life our share of night to bear, Our share of morning, Our blank in bliss to fill, Our blank in scorning. Here a star, and there a star, Some lose their way. Here a mist, and there a mist, Afterwards—day! A BOOK HE ate and drank the precious words, His spirit grew robust; He knew no more that he was poor, Nor that his frame was dust. He danced along the dingy days, And this bequest of wings Was but a book. What liberty A loosened spirit brings! UTTERANCE I FOUND the phrase to every thought I ever had, but one; And that defies me,—as a hand Did try to chalk the sun To races nurtured in the dark:— How would your own begin? Can blaze be done in cochineal, Or noon in mazarin? WITH FLOWERS IF recollecting were forgetting, Then I remember not; And if forgetting, recollecting, How near I had forgot! And if to miss were merry, And if to mourn were gay, How very blithe the fingers That gathered these to-day! PARTING MY life closed twice before its close; It yet remains to see If Immortality unveil A third event to me, So huge, so hopeless to conceive, As these that twice befell: Parting is all we know of heaven, And all we need of hell. CALLED BACK JUST lost when I was saved! Just felt the world go by! Just girt me for the onset with eternity, When breath blew back, And on the other side I heard recede the disappointed tide! Therefore, as one returned, I feel, Odd secrets of the line to tell! Some sailor, skirting foreign shores, Some pale reporter from the awful doors Before the seal! Next time, to stay! Next time, the things to see By ear unheard, Unscrutinized by eye. Next time, to tarry, While the ages steal,— Slow tramp the centuries, And the cycles wheel.

1850

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