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Louise Imogen Guiney

Of Joan's Youth

I would unto my fair restore
A simple thing:
The flushing cheek she had before!
Out-velveting
No more, no more,
On our sad shore,
The carmine grape, the moth's auroral wing.

Ah, say how winds in flooding grass
Unmoor the rose;
Or guileful ways the salmon pass
To sea, disclose;
For so, alas,
With Love, alas,
With fatal, fatal Love a girlhood goes.

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The Vigil-at-Arms

Keep holy watch with silence, prayer, and fasting
Till morning break, and all the bugles play;
Unto the One aware from everlasting
Dear are the winners: thou art more than they.

Forth from this peace on manhood's way thou goest,
Flushed with resolve, and radiant in mail;
Blessing supreme for men unborn thou sowest,
O knight elect! O soul ordained to fail!

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Pax Paganica

GOOD oars, for Arnold’s sake,
By Laleham lightly bound,
And near the bank, O soft,
Darling swan!
Let not the o’erweary wake
Anew from natal ground,
But where he slumbered oft,
Slumber on.

Be less than boat or bird,
The pensive stream along;
No murmur make, nor gleam,
At his side.
Where was it he had heard
Of warfare and of wrong?—
Not there, in any dream
Since he died.

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Valse Jeune

ARE favoring ladies above thee?
Are there dowries and lands? Do they say
Seven others are fair? But I love thee:
Aultre n’auray!

All the sea is a lawn in our country;
All the morrow, our star of delay.
I am King: let me live on thy bounty!
Aulture n’auray!

To the fingers so light and so rosy
That have pinioned my heart,(welladay!)
Be a kiss, be a ring with this posy:
Aultre n’auray!

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A Song of the Lilac

Above the wall that's broken,
And from the coppice thinned,
So sacred and so sweet
The lilac in the wind!
And when by night the May wind blows
The lilac-blooms apart,
The memory of his first love
Is shaken on his heart.

In tears it long was buried,
And trances wrapt it round;
O how they wake it now,
The fragrance and the sound!
For when by night the May wind blows
The lilac-blooms apart,
The memory of his first love
Is shaken on his heart.

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Nocturne

The sun that hurt his lovers from on high
Is fallen; she more merciful is nigh,
The blessèd one whose beauty's even glow
Gave never wound to any shepherd's eye.
Above our pausing boat in shallows drifted,
Alone her plaintive form ascends the sky.

O sing! the water-golds are deepening now,
A hush is come upon the beechen bough;
She shines the while on thee, as saint to saint
Sweet interchanged adorings may allow:
Sing, dearest, with that lily throat uplifted;
They are so like, the holy Moon and thou!

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Martyr’s Memorial

SUCH natural debts of love our Oxford knows,
So many ancient dues undesecrate,
I marvel how the landmark of a hate
For witness unto future time she chose;
How out of her corroborate ranks arose
The three, in great denial only great,
For Art’s enshrining!… Thus, averted straight,
My soul to seek a holier captain goes:
That sweet adventurer whom Truth befell
When as the synagogues were watching not;
Whose crystal name on royal Oriel
Hangs like a shield; who, to an outland spot
Led hence, beholds his Star, and counts it well
Of all his dear domain to live forgot.

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On First Entering Westminster Abbey

Thabor of England! since my light is short
And faint, O rather by the sun anew
Of timeless passion set my dial true,
That with thy saints and thee I may consort,
And wafted in the calm Chaucerian port
Of poets, seem a little sail long due,
And be as one the call of memory drew
Unto the saddle void since Agincourt!

Not now for secular love's unquiet lease
Receive my soul, who rapt in thee erewhile
Hath broken tryst with transitory things;
But seal with her a marriage and a peace
Eternal, on thine Edward's holy isle,
Above the stormy sea of ending kings.

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In the Reading-Room of the British Museum

Praised be the moon of books! that doth above
A world of men, the fallen Past behold,
And fill the spaces else so void and cold
To make a very heaven again thereof;
As when the sun is set behind a grove,
And faintly unto nether ether rolled,
All night his whiter image and his mould
Grows beautiful with looking on her love.

Thou therefore, moon of so divine a ray,
Lend to our steps both fortitude and light!
Feebly along a venerable way
They climb the infinite, or perish quite;
Nothing are days and deeds to such as they,
While in this liberal house thy face is bright.

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Saint Florent-le-Vieil

The spacious open vale, the vale of doom,
Is full of autumn sunset; blue and strong
The semicirque of water sweeps among
Her lofty acres, each a martyr's tomb;
And slowly, slowly, melt into the gloom
Two little idling clouds, that look for long
Like roseleaf bodies of two babes in song
Correggio left to flush a convent room.

Dear hill deflowered in the frantic war!
In my day, rather, have I seen thee blest
With pastoral roofs to break the darker crest
Of apple-woods by many-islèd Loire,
And fires that still suffuse the lower west,
Blanching the beauty of thine evening star.

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