Time and Eternity

Too late delayed till she had ceased to know, Delayed till in its vest of snow Her loving bosom lay: An hour behind the fleeting breath, Later by just an hour than death,— Oh, lagging yesterday! Could she have guessed that it would be; Could but a crier of the glee Have climbed the distant hill; Had not the bliss so slow a pace,— Who knows but this surrendered face Were undefeated still? Oh, if there may departing be Any forgot by victory In her imperial round, Show them this meek apparelled thing, That could not stop to be a king, Doubtful if it be crowned! CHARTLESS I NEVER saw a moor, I never saw the sea; Yet know I how the heather looks, And what a wave must be. I never spoke with God, Nor visited in heaven; Yet certain am I of the spot As if the chart were given. THE BATTLE-FIELD THEY dropped like flakes, they dropped like stars, Like petals from a rose, When suddenly across the June A wind with finger goes. They perished in the seamless grass,— No eye could find the place; But God on his repealless list Can summon every face. VANISHED SHE died,—this was the way she died; And when her breath was done, Took up her simple wardrobe And started for the sun. Her little figure at the gate The angels must have spied, Since I could never find her Upon the mortal side. THAT SUCH HAVE DIED THAT such have died enables us The tranquiller to die; That such have lived, certificate For immortality. THE SECRET I HAVE not told my garden yet, Lest that should conquer me; I have not quite the strength now To break it to the bee. I will not name it in the street, For shops would stare, that I, So shy, so very ignorant, Should have the face to die. The hillsides must not know it, Where I have rambled so, Nor tell the loving forests The day that I shall go, Nor lisp it at the table, Nor heedless by the way Hint that within the riddle One will walk to-day! ETERNITY ON this wondrous sea, Sailing silently, Ho! pilot, ho! Knowest thou the shore Where no breakers roar, Where the storm is o’er? In the silent west Many sails at rest, Their anchors fast; Thither I pilot thee,— Land, ho! Eternity! Ashore at last!

1850

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