I I wonder do you feel to-day As I have felt since, hand in hand, We sat down on the grass, to stray In spirit better through the land, This morn of Rome and May? II For me, I touched a thought, I know, Has tantalized me many times, (Like turns of thread the spiders throw Mocking across our path) for rhymes To catch at and let go. III Help me to hold it! First it left The yellowing fennel, run to seed There, branching from the brickwork’s cleft, Some old tomb’s ruin: yonder weed Took up the floating weft, IV Where one small orange cup amassed Five beetles,—blind and green they grope Among the honey-meal: and last, Everywhere on the grassy slope I traced it. Hold it fast! V The champaign with its endless fleece Of feathery grasses everywhere! Silence and passion, joy and peace, An everlasting wash of air— Rome’s ghost since her decease. VI Such life here, through such lengths of hours, Such miracles performed in play, Such primal naked forms of flowers, Such letting nature have her way While heaven looks from its towers! VII How say you? Let us, O my dove, Let us be unashamed of soul, As earth lies bare to heaven above! How is it under our control To love or not to love? VIII I would that you were all to me, You that are just so much, no more. Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free! Where does the fault lie? What the core O’ the wound, since wound must be? IX I would I could adopt your will, See with your eyes, and set my heart Beating by yours, and drink my fill At your soul’s springs,—your part my part In life, for good and ill. X No. I yearn upward, touch you close, Then stand away. I kiss your cheek, Catch your soul’s warmth,—I pluck the rose And love it more than tongue can speak— Then the good minute goes. XI Already how am I so far Out of that minute? Must I go Still like the thistle-ball, no bar, Onward, whenever light winds blow, Fixed by no friendly star? XII Just when I seemed about to learn! Where is the thread now? Off again! The old trick! Only I discern— Infinite passion, and the pain Of finite hearts that yearn.
Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister
Gr-r-r--there go, my heart's abhorrence!
Water your damned flower-pots, do!
If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
God's blood, would not mine kill you!
What? your myrtle-bush wants trimming?
Oh, that rose has prior claims--
Needs its leaden vase filled brimming?
Hell dry you up with its flames!
At the meal we sit together;
Salve tibi! I must hear
Wise talk of the kind of weather,
Sort of season, time of year:
Not a plenteous cork crop: scarcely
Dare we hope oak-galls, I doubt;
What's the Latin name for "parsley"?
What's the Greek name for "swine's snout"?
Whew! We'll have our platter burnished,
Laid with care on our own shelf!
With a fire-new spoon we're furnished,
And a goblet for ourself,
Rinsed like something sacrificial
Ere 'tis fit to touch our chaps--
Marked with L. for our initial!
(He-he! There his lily snaps!)
Saint, forsooth! While Brown Dolores
Squats outside the Convent bank
With Sanchicha, telling stories,
Steeping tresses in the tank,
Blue-black, lustrous, thick like horsehairs,
--Can't I see his dead eye glow,
Bright as 'twere a Barbary corsair's?
(That is, if he'd let it show!)
When he finishes refection,
Knife and fork he never lays
Cross-wise, to my recollection,
As do I, in Jesu's praise.
I the Trinity illustrate,
Drinking watered orange pulp--
In three sips the Arian frustrate;
While he drains his at one gulp!
Oh, those melons! if he's able
We're to have a feast; so nice!
One goes to the Abbot's table,
All of us get each a slice.
How go on your flowers? None double?
Not one fruit-sort can you spy?
Strange!--And I, too, at such trouble,
Keep them close-nipped on the sly!
There's a great text in Galatians,
Once you trip on it, entails
Twenty-nine district damnations,
One sure, if another fails;
If I trip him just a-dying,
Sure of heaven as sure can be,
Spin him round and send him flying
Off to hell, a Manichee?
Or, my scrofulous French novel
On grey paper with blunt type!
Simply glance at it, you grovel
Hand and foot in Belial's gripe;
If I double down its pages
At the woeful sixteenth print,
When he gathers his greengages,
Ope a sieve and slip it in't?
Or, there's Satan!--one might venture
Pledge one's soul to him, yet leave
Such a flaw in the indenture
As he'd miss till, past retrieve,
Blasted lay that rose-acacia
We're so proud of! Hy, Zy, Hine...
'St, there's Vespers! Plena gratia
Ave, Virgo! Gr-r-r--you swine!