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!