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Poet Laureate since 1850. Critics somewhat divided as to his merits. Resembles Longfellow; and equally popular at home and abroad. The first of living English poets.
“The May Queen;" "In Memoriam;” “ Locksley Hall;" “ Maud;" “ The Idylls of the King;” The Princess, a Medley;” “Morte d'Arthur;" “Godiva;" « Enoch Arden ;" * The Holy Grail.”
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
And find in loss a gain to match ?
Or reach a hand through time to catch
Let Darkness keep her raven gloss :
Ah! sweeter to be drunk with loss,
The long result of love, and boast,
“ Behold the man that loved and lost!
That name the underlying dead,
And bring the firstling to the flock;
And, in the dusk of thee, the clock
Who changest not in any gale;
To touch thy thousand years of gloom. * A hundred and thirty short poems in memory of the poet's friend, Arthur H. Hallam.
And gazing on thee, sullen tree,
Sick for thy stubborn hardihood,
I seem to fail from out my blood,
O Priestess in the vaults of Death!
O sweet and bitter in a breath! What whispers from thy lying lip? “ The stars," she whispers, “ blindly run;
A web is woven across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry, And murmurs from the dying sun; “ And all the phantom, Nature, stands,
With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own,
Embrace her as my natural good ?
Or crush her, like a vice of blood,
My will is bondsman to the dark :
I sit within a helmless bark ; And with my heart I muse, and
say, “ O heart! how fares it with thee now,
That thou shouldst fail from thy desire, Who scarcely darest to inquire, • What is it makes me beat so low?' “Something it is which thou hast lost;
Some pleasure from thine early years.
Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears, That grief hath shaken into frost !" Such clouds of nameless trouble cross
All night below the darkened eyes : With morning wakes the will, and cries, “ Thou shalt not be the fool of loss."
I SOMETIMES hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel ;
For words, like Nature, half reveal, And half conceal, the soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold;
But that large grief which these intold Is given in outline, and no more.
That “ loss is common to the race;"
And common is the commonplace, And vacant chaff well meant for grain. That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter; rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore To evening, but some heart did break. O father, wheresoe'er thou be,
Who pledgest now thy gallant son !
A shot, ere half thy draught be done, Hath stilled the life that beat from thee. O mother, praying God will save
Thy sailor! 'while thy head is bowed,
His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud Drops in his vast and wandering grave. Ye know no more than I who wrought
At that last hour to please him well;
Who mused on all I had to tell, And something written, something thought: Expecting still his advent home;
And ever met him on his way
With wishes, thinking, " Here to-day,
That sittest ranging golden hair,
And glad to find thyself so fair, Poor child, that waitest for thy love! For now her father's chimney glows
In expectation of a guest;
And thinking, " This will please him best," She takes a ribbon or a rose : For he will see them on to-night;
(And with the thought her color burns :)
And, having left the glass, she turns Once more to set a ringlet right;
And, even when she turned, the curse
Had fallen, and her future lord
Was drowned in passing through the ford, Or killed in falling from his horse.
Oh! what to her shall be the end ?
And what to me remains of good ?
To her, perpetual maidenhood; And unto me, no second friend.
Here in the long, unlovely street;
Doors, where my heart was used to beat So quickly, waiting for a hand, A hand that can be clasped no more,
Behold me! for I can not sleep;
And like a guilty thing I creep At earliest morning to the door. He is not here : but far away
The noise of life begins again;
And ghastly through the drizzling rain On the bald street breaks the blank day.
To look on her that loves him well ;
Who 'lights, and rings the gateway-bell, And learns her gone, and far from home;
He saddens; all the magic light
Dies off at once from bower and hall;
And all the place is dark, and all The chambers emptied of delight: So find I every pleasant spot
In which we two were wont to meet,
The field, the chamber, and the street; For all is dark where thou art not.
Yet as that other, wandering there
In those deserted walks, may find
A flower, beat with rain and wind, Which once she fostered up with care : So seems it in my deep regret,
O my forsaken heart! with thee;
And this poor flower of poesy, Which, little cared for, fades not yet.
But, since it pleased a vanished eye,
I go to plant it on his tomb,
That, if it can, it there may bloom ; Or, dying, there at least may die.
Sailest the placid ocean-plains
With my lost Arthur's loved remains, Spread thy full wings, and waft him o'er. So draw him home to those that mourn
In vain : a favorable speed
Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright
As our pure love, through early light Shall glimmer on the dewy decks. Sphere all your lights around, above! Sleep, gentle heavens! before the prow;
Sleep, gentle winds! as he sleeps now, My friend, the brother of my love; My Arthur, whom I shall not see
Till all my widowed race be run ;
Dear as the mother to the son, More than my brothers are to me.
I HEAR the noise about thy keel ;
I hear the bell struck in the night;
I see the cabin-window bright;
And traveled men from foreign lands,
And letters unto trembling hands, And thy dark freight, a vanished life. So bring him. We have idle dreams :
This look of quiet flatters thus
Our home-bred fancies: oh! to us,
That takes the sunshine and the rains,
Or where the kneeling hamlet drains The chalice of the grapes of God,