J 165, Fr 181
A wounded Deer - leaps highest - I've heard the Hunter tell - 'Tis but the extasy of death - And then the Brake is still! The smitten Rock that gushes! The trampled Steel that springs! A Cheek is always redder Just where the Hectic stings! Mirth is the mail of Anguish - In which it cautious Arm, Lest Anybody spy the blood And “you’re hurt” exclaim!
J 152, Fr 182
The Sun kept stooping - stooping - low! The Hills to meet him rose! On his side, what Transaction! On their side, what Repose! Deeper and deeper grew the stain Upon the window pane — Thicker and thicker stood the feet Until the Tyrian Was crowded dense with Armies - So gay, so Brigadier - That I felt martial stirrings Who once the Cockade wore - Charged from my chimney corner - But Nobody was there!
J 166, Fr 183
I met a King this afternoon! He had not on a Crown indeed - A little Palmleaf Hat was all, And he was barefoot, I'm afraid! But sure I am he Ermine wore Beneath his faded Jacket's blue - And sure I am, the crest he bore Within that Jacket’s pocket too! For t’was too stately for an Earl - A Marquis would not go so grand! ’Twas possibly a Czar petite - A Pope, or something of that kind! If I must tell you, of a Horse My freckled Monarch held the rein - Doubtless an estimable Beast, But not at all disposed to run! And such a wagon! While I live Dare I presume to see Another such a vehicle As then transported me! Two other ragged Princes His royal state partook! Doubtless the first excursion These sovereigns ever took! I question if the Royal Coach Round which the Footmen wait Has the significance, on high, Of this Barefoot Estate!
J 167, Fr 178
To learn the Transport by the Pain - As Blind Men learn the sun! To die of thirst - suspecting That Brooks in Meadows run! To stay the homesick - homesick feet Upon a foreign shore - Haunted by native lands, the while - And blue - beloved air! This is the Sovereign Anguish! This - the signal woe! These are the patient "Laureates" Whose voices - trained - below - Ascend in ceaseless Carol - Inaudible, indeed, To us - the duller scholars Of the Mysterious Bard!
J 168, Fr 179
If the foolish, call them “flowers” - Need the wiser, tell? If the Savants “Classify” them It is just as well! Those who read the “Revelations” Must not criticize Those who read the same Edition - With beclouded Eyes! Could we stand with that Old “Moses” - “Canaan” denied - Scan like him, the stately landscape On the other side - Doubtless, we should deem superfluous Many Sciences, Not pursued by learned Angels In scholastic skies! Low amid that glad Belles lettres Grant that we may stand - Stars, amid profound Galaxies - At that grand “Right hand”!
J 169, Fr 180
In Ebon Box, when years have flown To reverently peer - Wiping away the velvet dust Summers have sprinkled there! To hold a letter to the light - Grown Tawny now, with time - To con the faded syllables That quickened us like Wine! Perhaps a Flower’s shrivelled cheek Among its stores to find - Plucked far away, some morning - By gallant - mouldering hand! A curl, perhaps, from foreheads Our Constancy forgot - Perhaps, an Antique trinket — In vanished fashions set! And then to lay them quiet back - And go about its care - As if the little Ebon Box Were none of our affair!
J 170, Fr 174 (Version 1)
Portraits are to daily faces As an Evening West, To a fine, pedantic sunshine - In a satin Vest!
J 171, Fr 169
Wait till the Majesty of Death Invests so mean a brow! Almost a powdered Footman Might dare to touch it now! Wait till in Everlasting Robes That Democrat is dressed - Then prate about “Preferment” - And “Station” - and the rest! Around this quiet Courtier Obsequious Angels wait! Full royal is his Retinue! Full purple is his state! A Lord, might dare to lift the Hat To such a Modest Clay - Since that My Lord, “the Lord of Lords” Receives unblushingly!
J 172, Fr 170
’Tis so much joy! ’Tis so much joy! If I should fail, what poverty! And yet, as poor as I, Have ventured all upon a throw! Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so - This side the Victory! Life is but Life! And Death, but Death! Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath! And if indeed I fail - At least, to know the worst, is sweet! Defeat means nothing but Defeat, No drearier, can befall! And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea! Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be! At first, repeat it slow! For Heaven is a different thing - Conjectured, and waked sudden in - And might extinguish me!
J 173, Fr 171
A fuzzy fellow, without feet, Yet doth exceeding run! Of velvet, is his Countenance - And his Complexion, dun! Sometime, he dwelleth in the grass! Sometime, upon a bough, From which he doth descend in plush Upon the Passer-by! All this in summer - But when winds alarm the Forest Folk, He taketh Damask Residence - And struts in sewing silk! Then, finer than a Lady, Emerges in the spring! A Feather on each shoulder! You’d scarce recognize him! By Men, yclept Caterpillar! By me! But who am I, To tell the pretty secret Of the Butterfly!
J 174, Fr 172
At last, to be identified! At last, the lamps upon thy side The rest of Life to see! Past Midnight! Past the Morning Star! Past Sunrise! Ah' What leagues there were Between our feet, and Day!
J 175, Fr 165
I have never seen “Volcanoes” - But, when Travellers tell How those old - phlegmatic mountains Usually so still - Bear within - appalling Ordnance, Fire, and smoke, and gun - Taking Villages for breakfast, And appalling Men - If the stillness is Volcanic In the human face When upon a pain Titanic Features keep their place - If at length the smouldering anguish Will not overcome - And the palpitating Vineyard In the dust, be thrown? If some loving Antiquary, On Resumption Morn, Will not cry with joy - “Pompeii”! To the Hills return!
J 153, Fr 166
Dust is the only Secret - Death, the only One You cannot find out all about In his “native town.” Nobody know “his Father” - Never was a Boy - Had’nt any playmates, Or “Early history” - Industrious! Laconic! Punctual! Sedate! Bold as a Brigand! Stiller than a Fleet! Builds, like a Bird, too! Christ robs the Nest - Robin after Robin Smuggled to Rest!
J 176, Fr 167
I’m the little “Heart's Ease”! I don't care for pouting skies! If the Butterfly delay Can I, therefore, stay away? If the Coward Bumble Bee In his chimney corner stay, I, must resoluter be! Who'll apologize for me? Dear, Old fashioned, little flower! Eden is old fashioned, too! Birds are antiquated fellows! Heaven does not change her blue. Nor will I, the little Heart’s Ease - Ever be induced to do!
J 177, Fr 168
Ah' Necromancy Sweet! Ah' Wizard erudite! Teach me the skill, That I instil the pain Surgeons assuage in vain, Nor Herb of all the plain Can heal!
J 154, Fr 173
Except to Heaven, she is nought. Except for Angels - lone. Except to some wide-wandering Bee A flower superfluous blown. Except for winds - provincial. Except by Butterflies Unnoticed as a single dew That on the Acre lies. The smallest Housewife in the grass, Yet take her from the Lawn And somebody has lost the face That made Existence - Home!
J 170, Fr 174 (Version 2)
Pictures are to daily faces As an Evening West To a fine - pedantic sunshine In a satin Vest!
J 178, Fr 175
I cautious, scanned my little life - I winnowed what would fade From what would last till Heads like mine Should be a-dreaming laid. I put the latter in a Barn - The former, blew away. I went one winter morning And lo - my priceless Hay Was not upon the “Scaffold” - Was not upon the “Beam” - And from a thriving Farmer - A Cynic, I became. Whether a Thief did it - Whether it was the wind - Whether Deity’s guiltless - My business is, to find! So I begin to ransack! How is it Hearts, with Thee? Art thou within the little Barn Love provided Thee?
J 179, Fr 176
If I could bribe them by a Rose I’d bring them every flower that grows From Amherst to Cashmere! I would not stop for night, or storm - Or frost, or death, or anyone - My business were so dear! If they would linger for a Bird My Tambourin were soonest heard Among the April Woods! Unwearied, all the summer long, Only to break in wilder song When Winter shook the boughs! What if they hear me! Who shall say That such an importunity May not at last avail? That, weary of this Beggar’s face - They may not finally say, Yes - To drive her from the Hall?
J 180, Fr 177
As if some little Arctic flower Upon the polar hem - Went wandering down the Latitudes Until it puzzled came To continents of summer - To firmaments of sun - To strange, bright Crowds of flowers - And birds, of foreign tongue! I say, As if this little flower To Eden, wandered in - What then? Why nothing, Only, your inference therefrom!