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A BOOK OF SONNETS.

THREE FRIENDS OF MINE.
I.

When I remember them, those friends of mine,

Who are no longer here, the noble three,

Who half my life were more than friends to me,

And whose discourse was like a generous wine, I most of all remember the divme

Something, that shone in them, and made us see

The archetypal man, and what might be

The amplitude of Nature's first design. In vain I stretch my hands to clasp their hands; I cannot find them. Nothing now is left

But a majestic memory. They meanwhile

Wander together in Elysian lands, Perchance remembering me, who am bereft

Of their dear presence, and, remembering, smile.

II.

In Attica thy birthplace should have been,

Or the Ionian Isles, or where the seas Encircle in their arms the Cyclades, So wholly Greek wast thou in thy serene

And childlike joy of life, O Philhellene!

Around thee would have swarmed the Attic bees;

Homer had been thy friend, or Socrates,

And Plato welcomed thee to his demesne.

For thee old legends breathed historic breath;

Thou sawest Poseidon in the purple sea,

And in the sunset Jason's fleece of gold!

O, what hadst thou to do with cruel Death,

Who wast so full of life, or Death

with thee, That thou shouldst die before thou

hadst grown old!

III.

I STAND again on the familiar shore, And hear the waves of the distracted sea

Piteously calling and lamenting thee, And waiting restless at thy cottage door.

The rocks, the sea-weed on the ocean floor,

The willows in the meadow, and the free

Wild winds of the Atlantic welcome me;

Then why shouldst thou be dead, and come no more? Ah, why shouldst thou be dead, when common men Are busy with their trivial affairs, Having and holding? Why, when thou hadst read Nature's mysterious manuscript, and then

Wast ready to reveal the truth it bears, Why art thou silent? Why shouldst thou be dead?

IV.

Rivee, that stealest with such silent pace

Around the City of the Dead, where lies

A friend who bore thy name, and

whom these eyes Shall see no more in his accustomed

place,

Linger and fold him in thy soft embrace And say good night, for now the

western skies Are red with sunset, and gray mists

arise

Like damps that gather on a dead man's face. Good night! good night! as we so oft have said

Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days

That are no more, and shall no more return.

Thou hast but taken thy lamp and gone to bed;

I stay a little longer, as one stays
To cover up the embers that still burn.

V.

The doors are all wide open; at the gate

The blossomed lilacs counterfeit a blaze,

And seem to warm the air; a dreamy "haze

Hangs o'er the Brighton meadows like a fate, And on their margin, with sea-tides elate,

The flooded Charles, as in the happier days,

Writes the last letter of his name, and stays

His restless steps, as if compelled to wait.

I also wait; but they will come no more,

Those friends of mine, whose presence satisfied

The thirst and hunger of my heart. Ah me!

They have forgotten the pathway to my door!

Something is gone from nature since

they died, And summer is not summer, nor can

be.

CHAUCER.

An old man in a lodge within a park; The chamber walls depicted all around

With portraitures of huntsman, hawk, and hound.

And the hurt deer. He listeneth to the lark,

Whose song comes with the sunshine through the dark Of painted glass in leaden lattice bound;

He listeneth and he laugheth at the sound,

Then writeth in a book like any clerk. He is the poet of the dawn, who wrote The Canterbury Tales, and his old age Made beautiful with song; and as I read

I hear the crowing cock, I hear the note Of lark and linnet, and from every page

Rise odors of ploughed field or flowery mead.

SHAKESPEARE.

A Vision as of crowded city streets, With human life in endless overflow; Thunder of thoroughfares; trumpets

that blow To battle; clamor, in obscure retreats, Of sailors landed from their anchored fleets;

Tolling of bells in turrets, and below
Voices of children, and bright flowers

that throw
O'er garden-walls their intermingled

sweets!

This vision comes to me when I unfold The volume of the Poet paramount, Whom all the Muses loved, not one alone;—

Into his hands they put the lyre of gold. And, crowned with sacred laurel at

their fount, Placed him as Musagetes on their

throne.

MILTON.

I Pace the sounding sea-beach and behold

How the voluminous billows roll and run,

Upheaving and subsiding, while the sun

Shines through their sheeted emerald far unrolled, And the ninth wave, slow gathering fold by fold

All its loose-flowing garments into one,

Plunges upon the shore, and floods the dun

Pale reach of sands, and changes

them to gold. So in majestic cadence rise and fall The mighty undulations of thy song, O sightless bard, England's lIa;oui

des!

And ever and anon, high over all

Uplifted, a ninth wave superb and strong,

Floods all the soul with its melodious

KEATS.

The young Endymion sleeps Endymion's sleep;

The shepherd-boy whose tale was left

half told! The solemn grove uplifts its shield of

gold

To the red rising moon, and loud and deep

The nightingale is singingfrcm the steep; It is midsummer, but the air is cold; Can it be death? Alas, beside the fold A shepherd's pipe lies shattered near his sheep.

Lo! in the moonlight gleams a marble white,

On which I read: "Here lieth one

whose name Was writ in water." And was this 'the meed Of his sweet singing? Rather let me write:

"The smoking flax before it burst to flame

Was quenched by death, and broken the braised reed."

THE GALAXY.

Torrent of light and river of the air, Along whose bed the glimmering stars .are seen

Like gold and silver sands in some ravine

Where mountain streams have left their channels bare! The Spaniard sees in thee the pathway, where

His patron saint descended in the sheen
Of his celestial armor, on serene
And quiet nights, when all the heavens
were fair.

Not this I see, nor yet the ancient fable Of Phaeton's wild course, that scorched the skies

Where'er the hoofs of his hot coursers trod;

But the white drift of worlds o'er chasms of sable,

The star-dust, that is whirled aloft and flies

From the invisible chariot-wheels of God.

THE SOUND OF THE SEA.

THEseaawokeat midnight from its sleep, And round the pebbly beaches far and wide

I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Push onward with uninterrupted
sweep;

A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain's
side,

Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep. So comes to us at times, from the unknown

And inaccessible solitudes of being, The rushing of thesea-tidesof the soul; And inspirations, that we deem our own, Are some divine foreshadowing and

foreseeing Of things beyond our reason or control.

A SUMMER DAY BY THE SEA.

The sun is set; and in his latest beams Yon little cloud of ashen gray and gold, Slowly upon the amber air unrolled, The falling mantle of the Prophet seems.

From the dim headlands many a lighthouse gleams, The street-lamps of the ocean; and behold,

O'erhead the banners of the night unfold;

The day hath passed into the land of dreams.

O summer day beside the joyous sea!
O summer day so wonderful and white,

So full of gladness and so full of pain! Forever and forever shalt thou be To some the gravestone of a dead delight,

To some the landmark of a new domain.

THE TIDES.

I -saw the long line of the vacant shore, The sea-weed and the shells upon the sand,

And the brown rooks left bare on every hand,

As if the ebbing tide would flow no more.

Then heard I, more distinctly than before, The ocean breathe and its great breast expand,

And hurrying came on the defenceless land

The insurgent waters with tumultuous roar.

All thought and feeling and desire, I said,

Love, laughter, and the exultant joy of song

Have ebbed from me forever! Suddenly o'er me They swept again from their deep ocean bed,

And in a tumult of delight, and strong As youth, and beautiful as youth, upbore me.

A SHADOW.

I Said unto myself, if I were dead, What would befall these children?

What would be Their fate, who now are looking up to

me

For helpand furtherance? Their lives, I said,

Would be a volume wherein I have read But the first chapters, and no longer

see

To read the rest of their dear history, So full of beauty and so full of dread. Be comforted; the world is very old, And generations pass, as they have passed,

A troop of shadows moving with the sun;

Thousands of times has the old tale been told;

The world belongs to those who come the last,

They will find hope and strength as we have done.

A NAMELESS GRAVE.

"AsoLDlERof the Union mustered out," Is the inscription on an unknown grave At Newport News, beside the salt-sea wave,

Nameless and dateless; sentinel or
scout

Shot down in skirmish, or disastrous rout
Of battle, when the loud artillery ih ave
Its iron wedges through the ranks of
brave

And doomed battalions, storming the
redoubt.

Thou unknown hero sleeping by the seaIn thy forgotten grave! with secret shame

I feel my pulses beat, myforehpad burn,
When I remember thou hast given for me
All that thou hadst, thy life, thy very
name,

And I can give thee nothing in return.
SLEEP.

Lull me to sleep, ye winds, whose fitful
sound

Seems from some faint jEolian harp-
string caught;

Seal up the hundred wakeful eyes of
thought

As Hermes with his lyre in sleep pro-
found

The hundred wakeful eyes of Argus bound;

For I am weary, and am overwrought
With too much toil, with too much

care distraught,
And with the iron crown of anguish

crowned.

Lay thy soft hand upon my brow and cheek,

O peaceful Sleep! until from pain re

leased

I breathe again uninterrupted breath! Ah, with what subtile meaning did the

Greek

Call thee the lesser mystery at the feast .
Whereof the greater mystery is death.!

THE OLD BRIDGE AT FLORENCE. | IL PONTE VECCHIO DI FIRENZE.

Taddeo Gaddi built me. I am old, Five centuries old. I plant my foot of stone

Upon the Arno, as St. Michael's own Was planted on the dragon. Fold by fold

Beneath me as it struggles, I behold
Its glistening scales. Twice hath it

overthrown
My kindred and companions. Me

alone

It moveth not, but is by me controlled. I can remember when the Medici

Were driven from Florence; longer still ago

The final wars of Ghibelline and Guelf. Florence adorns me with her jewelry; And when I think that Michael Angelo Hath leaned on me, I glory in myself.

Gaddi mi fece; il Ponte Vecchio sono; Cinquecent' anni già sull' Arno pianto

Il piede, come il suo Michele Santo Piantò sul draco. Mentre eh' io ragiono

Lo vedo torcere con flebil suono

Le rilucenti scaglie. Ha questi affranto

Due volte i miei maggior. Me solo intanto

Neppure muove, ed io non l' abban-
dono.

Io mi rammento quando fur cacciati
I Medici; pur quando Ghibellino
E Guelfo lecer pace mi rammento.

Fiorenza i suoi giojelli m' ha prestati;
E quando penso eh' Agnolo il divino
Su me posava, insuperbir mi sento.

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