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I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance

Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses ;
I linger by my shingly bars ;

I loiter round my cresses ;
And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.
Yes, men may come and go; and these are gone,
All gone. My dearest brother, Edmund, sleeps,
Not by the well-known stream and rustic spire,
But unfamiliar Arno, and the dome
Of Brunelleschi; sleeps in peace : and he,
Poor Philip, of all his lavish waste of words
Remains the lean P. W. on his tomb:
I scraped the lichen from it: Katie walks
By the long wash of Australasian seas
Far off, and holds her head to other stars,
And breathes in converse seasons. All are gone.”

So Lawrence Aylmer, seated on a style
In the long hedge, and rolling in his mind
Old waifs of rhyme, and bowing o'er the brook
A tonsured head in middle age forlorn,
Mused, and was mute. On a sudden a low breath
Of tender air made tremble in the hedge
The fragil bindweed-bells and briony rings;
And he look'd up. There stood a maiden near,
Waiting to pass.

In much amaze he stared
On eyes a bashful azure, and on hair
In gloss and hue the chestnut, when the shell
Divides threefold to show the fruit within :
Then, wondering, ask'd her “Are you from the farm ?”
“Yes” answer'd she. “Pray stay a little: pardon me;
What do they call you?”

Katie.” " That were strange. What surname?" “ Willows." “No!”

“That is my name.” "Indeed !” and here he look'd so self-perplext, That Katie laugh’d, and laughing blush'd, till he Laugh'd also, but as one before he wakes, Who feels a glimmering strangeness in his dream. Then looking at her; "Too happy, fresh and fair,

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Idylls and other Poems Too fresh and fair in our sad world's best bloom, To be the ghost of one who bore your name About these meadows, twenty years ago.”

“Have you not heard ?" said Katie, "we came back. We bought the farm we tenanted before. Am I so like her ? so they said on board, Sir, if you knew her in her English days,

, My mother, as it seems you did, the days That most she loves to talk of, come with me. My brother James is in the harvest-field : But she-you will be welcome—0, come in !” (1856)

CXXXII

THE LETTERS

I

Still on the tower stood the vane,

A black yew gloom'd the stagnant air,
I peer'd athwart the chancel pane

And saw the altar cold and bare.
A clog of lead was round my feet,

A band of pain across my brow;
“ Cold altar, Heaven and earth shall meet

Before you hear my marriage vow.”

2

I turn'd and humm'd a bitter song

That mock'd the wholesome human heart,
And then we met in wrath and wrong,

We met, but only meant to part.
Full cold my greeting was and dry;

She faintly smiled, she hardly moved;
I saw with half-unconscious eye
She wore the colours I approved.

3
She took the little ivory chest,

With half a sigh she turn'd the key,
Then raised her head with lips comprest,

And gave my letters back to me.
And gave the trinkets and the rings,

My gifts, when gifts of mine could please;
As looks a father on the things

Of his dead son, I look'd on these.

4
She told me all her friends had said ;

I raged against the public liar;
She talk'd as if her love were dead,

But in my words were seeds of fire.
“No more of love ; your sex is known :

I never will be twice deceived.
Henceforth I trust the man alone,

The woman cannot be believed.

5
“ Thro' slander, meanest spawn of Hell

(And women's slander is the worst),
And you, whom once I loved so well,

Thro' you, my life will be accurst.”
I spoke with heart, and heat and force,
I shook her breast with

vague

alarms
Like torrents from a mountain source
We rush'd into each other's arms.

6
We parted : sweetly gleam'd the stars,

And sweet the vapour-braided blue,
Low breezes fann'd the belfry bars,

As homeward by the church I drew.
The very graves appear'd to smile,

So fresh they rose in shadow'd swells;
“Dark porch” I said “and silent aisle

There comes a sound of marriage bells.” (1856)

CXXXIII

ODE ON THE DEATH OF THE DUKE OF

WELLINGTON

I

Bury the Great Duke

With an empire's lamentation,
Let us bury the Great Duke

To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation,
Mourning when their leaders fall,
Warriors carry the warrior's pall,
And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.

2

Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?
Here, in streaming London's central roar.

Let the sound of those he wrought for,
And the feet of those he fought for,
Echo round his bones for evermore.

3
Lead out the pageant: sad and slow,
As fits an universal woe,
Let the long long procession go,
And let the

sorrowing crowd about it grow, And let the mournful martial music blow; The last great Englishman is low.

4
Mourn, for to us he seems the last,
Remembering all his greatness in the Past.
No more in soldier fashion will he greet
With lifted hand the gazer in the street.
O friends, our chief state-oracle is mute:
Mourn for the man of long-enduring blood,
The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute,
Whole in himself, a common good.
Mourn for the man of amplest influence,
Yet clearest of ambitious crime,
Our greatest yet with least pretence,
Great in council and great in war,
Foremost captain of his time,
Rich in saving common-sense,
And, as the greatest only are,
In his simplicity sublime.
O good gray head which all men knew,
O voice from which their omens all men drew,
O iron nerve to true occasion true,
O fall’n at length that tower of strength
Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew !
Such was he whom we deplore.
The long self-sacrifice of life is o'er.
The great World-victor's victor will be seen no more.

5
All is over and done :
Render thanks to the Giver,
England, for thy son.
Let the bell be toll’d.
Render thanks to the Giver,
And render him to the mould.
Under the cross of gold

ز

That shines over city and river,
There he shall rest for ever
Among the wise and the bold.
Let the bell be toli'd :
And a reverent people behold
The towering car, the sable steeds :
Bright let it be with his blazon'd deeds,
Dark in its funeral fold.
Let the bell be toll'd :
And a deeper knell in the heart be knolld;
And the sound of the sorrowing anthem rolld
Thro' the dome of the golden cross ;
And the volleying cannon thunder his loss;
He knew their voices of old.
For many a time in many a clime
His captain's-ear has heard them boom
Bellowing victory, bellowing doom;
When he with those deep voices wrought,
Guarding realms and kings from shame;
With those deep voices our dead captain taught
The tyrant, and asserts his claim
In that dread sound to the great name,
Which he has worn so pure of blame,
In praise and in dispraise the same,
A man of well-attemper'd frame.
O civic muse, to such a name,
To such a name for ages long,
To such a name,
Preserve a broad approach of fame,
And ever-ringing avenues of song.

6
Who is he that cometh, like an honour'd guest,
With banner and with music, with soldier and with priest,
With a nation weeping, and breaking on my rest?
Mighty seaman, this is he
Was great by land as thou by sea.
Thine island loves thee well, thou famous man,
The greatest sailor since our world began.
Now, to the roll of muffled drums,
To thee the greatest soldier comes;
For this is he
Was great by land as thou by sea ;
His foes were thine; he kept us free;
O give him welcome, this is he,

a

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