Poetry and Prose
What is the true difference ’twixt Prose and Rhyme,
Since both may be beautiful, both be sublime?
Nor in subject, nor treatment, nor passion it ’bides—
But breathes through a certain rich something besides.
Downward, Through The Blooming Roofage
Downward, through the blooming roofage
Of a lonely forest bower,
Come the yellow sunbeams,—falling
Like a burning shower:
So through heaven’s starry ceiling
To the hermit soul’s abode,
Comes the Holy Spirit,—earthward
Raying down from God.
Could we as Mortals
Could we as mortals but our end foresee,
How little in our minds the world would be;
Could we as spirits but this life renew,
And be again incarnate as we were,
How little might be done like what we do,
How little cared for that which now is most our care
How I hate those modern Poems
Vaguer, looser than a dream!
Pointless things that look like poems
Only, to some held-back theme!
Wild unequal, agitated,
As by steam ill-regulated -
And if (in fine) not super-lyrical,
Then vapid, almost to a miracle.
Like Him Who Great reports Of Tilth Rejects
Like him who great reports of tilth rejects,
Because his own is a most barren field,
Is he who man’s divinity suspects,
Because his own soul doth so little yield.
Better is one who through himself can see
How good, how lovely, all mankind might be,
Though mere experience give his faith the lie,
And all his hopes breathe the world’s breath—to die!
Change and Death
We build but for change and for death,
To whom a like homage pay glory and shame;
For something must pass to give being to both.
All things are rounded by change, and are perishing—
Even the God-builded frame of the world.
The glories of life, as they shine,
But illumine a path to the gloom of the grave,
And the winter of shame is soon over and gone!
Of all we inherit, behold the inheritors!
Throned on the endless successions of Time.
A STREAMLET is a bright and beauteous creature
In some wide desert, where it keeps apart
Of each wayfarer’s heart:
The Star of Evening is a gracious feature,
Instinct as ’twere with all the love that eyes
Have looked through at the skies.
And hence one emblems in its beauteous being
The memory of a Joy that in my heart
Flowed gratefully apart;
The other, to my spiritual seeing,
The perpetuity of Love’s white grace
Yet in some heavenly place.
The Past is flowing through my thoughts—
Flowing like a sea;
With all its billows dancing bright
Over what?—an undermight
Of darkling loss and destiny.
Still it floweth through my thoughts—
Floweth like a sea;
While of worn hope I ask alway,
Like an unsought cast-astray—
What can the future bring to me?
And hope herself admits: To thee
But a darkening scene—
Only slow days of care and doubt,
Only a dreary lengthening out,
Of what this later past hath been.
Words are deeds. The words we hear
May revolutionize or rear
A mighty state. The words we read
May be a spiritual deed
Excelling any fleshly one,
As much as the celestial sun
Transcends a bonfire, made to throw
A light upon some raree-show.
A simple proverb tagged with rhyme
May colour half the course of time;
The pregnant saying of a sage
May influence every coming age;
A song in its effects may be
More glorious than Thermopylae,
And many a lay that schoolboys scan
A nobler feat than Inkerman.
A Genius caged in niceties of art;
A full-souled Bard that should have thought apart,
Creatively peculiar—not as taught
By models which (though rare and richly wrought,
As polished jewels set in chastened gold)
Have lost at length their birth-fire, and are cold.
Yet how shot through with beauty are the Lays
His nice hand fashioned for the after days!
Painting and Sculpture in his verse combine
With Poesy; and breathing through each line
In harmonised transfusion, they dispense
The spirit of a triune excellence.