A Celebration of Women Writers

The Single Hound; Poems of a Lifetime by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). Introduction by Martha Dickinson Bianchi (1866-1943). Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1914.



[Title Page]







Copyright, 1914,
All rights reserved
Published, September, 1914


[Page v] 


THE romantic friendship of my Aunt Emily Dickinson and her "Sister Sue" extended from girlhood until death. The first poem, dated, was sent in 1848, and probably the last word Aunt Emily ever wrote was her reply to a message from my Mother, "My answer is an unmitigated Yes, Sue." During the last year of my Mother's life she read and re-read these poems, and innumerable letters, with increasing indecision as to the final disposition of her treasury. It eventually devolved upon me to choose between burning them or giving them to the lovers of my Aunt's peculiar genius.

My hesitation was finally influenced by a note written in their early twenties, which I quote.


I like your praise because I know it knows. If I could make you and Austin proud some day a long way off, 'twould give me taller feet.


[Page vi] 

This is my inspiration for a volume, offered as a memorial to the love of these "Dear, dead Women."

Also, it seemed but fitting to reveal a phase of Aunt Emily known only to us who dwelt with her behind the hedge; the fascinating, wilful woman, lightning and fragrance in one.

I am told she is taught in colleges as a rare strange being; a weird recluse, eating her heart out in morbid and unhappy longing, or a victim of unsatisfied passion; I have heard her called "an epigrammatic Walt Whitman" by a noted lecturer, and only recently a distinguished foreign critic pronounced her "the greatest mystic America has produced–second only to Ralph Waldo Emerson."

But to her niece and nephews she was of fairy lineage, akin to the frost on the nursery pane in Winter or the humming bird of Midsummer; the realization of our vivid fancy, the confederate in every contraband desire, the very Spirit of the "Never, Never Land."

She adored us, her three Child-Lovers, talked to us as if we were grown up and our opinions [Page vii]  of importance, our secrets portentous, though always keeping herself our playmate with such art that she remains in my memory as a little girl herself. Once, when my brother Ned, as a child, stood looking up at the evening star, he said wistfully, "I want to go up there, Aunt Emily." "All right," she cried, "Go get your horse and buggy and we'll go tonight!" Often quoting afterward his grave rebuke of her levity–"Aunt Emily,–you can't go up there in a horse and buggy!"

When we were happy she added her crumb, when we were ill all she had was ours, were we grieved, her indignation was hot against whoever or whatever had wounded us. I thought of her as the avenging angel then, her eyes smouldered so gloriously at our wrongs. One other charm was unique to her; her way of flitting, like a shadow upon the hillside, a motion known to no other mortal. In the midst of one of our Eden-hours, she would fly at the sound of an intruder and was not–only the tick of the old clock left for our companioning. I was usually left with her while both families went to church [Page viii]  on Sabbath mornings and well remember being escorted by her down to the cool hoarding cellar, past the wine closet to a mysterious cupboard of her own, where she dealt me such lawless cake and other goodies, that even a child of four knew it for excess, sure to be followed by disaster later in the day. There was an unreal abandon about it all such as thrills the prodigality of dreaming.

As we grew older her wit was our unconscious standard of others, her pitiless directness of thought our revelation, while her sweetness was like nothing but that of her own favorite jasmine flowers. Indeed she resembled the Cape Jasmine more than any mortal being. They two were the whitest Sisters, or flowers, Nature ever bore.

Once let us get to her,–past what Mr. Henry James calls "an archaic Irish servant," past our other faithful but prejudiced Aunt Lavinia, who gave us a plain cookey and advised us to "run home,"–once within the forbidden precincts of the "front part" of the old mansion, we had found our South-West passage and were [Page ix]  transported, obstinate, oblivious. To water her plants with her tiny watering pot, to help her ice a loaf of plum cake for her Father's supper, to watch her check off the rich dark caramels she unfailingly kept on hand for us, to share her wickedness in skirmishing to avoid outsiders, or to connive in her intrigue to outwit the cat of perpetual unpopularity in her esteem,–what other joys could drag us from these?

She put more excitement into the event of a dead fly than her neighbors got from a journey by stage-coach to Boston. If art is "exaggeration apropos," as Mérimée claims, she was an incomparable artist at life.

There was nothing forbidden us by her, in spite of which license we were as shy of troubling her, as gentle in our play with her, as if she had been Hans Andersen's little Snow Maiden and might melt before our eyes if misunderstood.

Fascination was her element. It was my brother Ned, borne home against his will, screaming "I want a rich! I will see my Aunt [Page x]  Emily! I will have a rich!" who provided that dear Villain with a synonym for her own terms with Life. "A rich" was the desire of her heart, "a rich" was her instinctive claim, and she would not compromise.

The poems here included were written on any chance slip of paper, sometimes the old plaid Quadrille, sometimes a gilt-edged sheet with a Paris mark, often a random scrap of commercial note from her Father's law office. Each of these is folded over, addressed merely "Sue," and sent by the first available hand. For though they lived side by side with only a wide green lawn between, days and even weeks slipped by sometimes without their actual meeting. My Mother was blessedly busy in her home and Aunt Emily's light across the snow in the Winter gloaming, or burning late when she remained up all night, to protect her plants from chill, was often a mute greeting between them supplemented only by their written messages. There must have been a lure for the almost cloistered soul in the warmth of her only brother Austin's youthful home, and the radiant atmosphere of [Page xi]  my Mother with her three children growing up about her. "Only Woman in the World," "Avalanche of Sun," "Sister of Ophir," she calls her. In these earlier days Aunt Emily often came over, most frequently in the evening, and always when Mr. Bowles, Mrs. Anthon of London, or some such cherished guest, was here. She played brilliantly upon the piano, and travestied the descriptive pieces popular at that period with as much skill as wit. One improvisation which she called the Devil was, by tradition, unparalleled. She had no idea of the passing of time when at the height of these frolics and not until my revered Grandfather appeared with his lantern, would the revel break off. Him she adored, feared, made fun of, and obeyed. "If Father is asleep on the sofa the house is full, though it were empty otherwise!" was one of her familiar exclamations. It could never be said of her, as she said of a prosaic friend, "He has the facts but not the phosphorescence of learning!" One evening when Dr. and Mrs. Holland had arrived unexpectedly to pass the night, having driven over from North- [Page xii]  hampton in the Autumn dusk, my Grandmother, anxious for their every comfort, offered one solicitous suggestion after another, until Aunt Emily, always exasperated by repetition, cried–"O Mrs. Holland, don't you want to hear me say the Lord's prayer? Should n't you like me to repeat the Declaration of Independence? Shan't I recite the Ten Commandments?"

It was in this mood that she once put four superfluous kittens on the fire-shovel and softly dropped them into the first convenient jar the cellar offered, her family being in church–her chosen time for iniquity. This especial jar happened to be full of pickle brine. The sequel was very awful; occurring when the austere Judge Otis P. Lord of Salem was visiting my Grandfather, and as in all such emergencies of detection she fled to her own room and turned the key; holding reproach at bay until she chose to come out and ignore it. In her innocent love of mystery and intrigue Aunt Emily reminds one of Stevenson. She would have played at "lantern bearers" with him, and given the [Page xiii]  stealthy countersign under her breath, as no other living urchin!

She was "eternally preoccupied with death" as any of Pater's giant Florentines, but though the supernatural had the supreme hold on her imagination and conjecture, every lesser mystery was a panic and an ecstasy. If she could contrive to outwit domestic vigilance and smuggle a box of fresh-laid eggs to my Mother, on the sly, it savored to her of piracy and brigandage. She was averse to surveillance of every description and took pains to elude it in these little traffics of her heart as in the enigmas of her Being. "Give me liberty or give me death–but if you can, give me liberty!" was her frequent cry. She had a keen scent for the meanings hid beneath the goodly outside of diplomacy and watched for developments in home and foreign policies with surprising acumen. The Winter she was at Willard's, during her Father's Congressional career, she is said to have astonished his political friends by her insight and created quite a sensation by her wit, though the only story I recall now was [Page xiv]  of her saying to a prim old Chief Justice of the Supremest sort, when the plum pudding on fire was offered–"Oh Sir, may one eat of hell fire with impunity, here?"

Physically timid at the least approach to a crisis in the day's event, her mind dared earth and heaven. That apocrypha and apocalypse met in her, explains her tendency so often mistaken for blasphemy by the superficial analyst.

The advance and retreat of her thought, her transition from arch to demure, from elfin to angelic, from soaring to drowning, her inescapable sense of tragedy, her inimitable perception of comedy, her breathless reverence and unabashed invasion upon the intimate affairs of Deity and hearsay of the Bible, made her a comrade to mettle inspiration and dazzle rivalry. Unlike the dullard, brilliancy was no effort for her. She revelled in the wings of her mind,–I had almost said the fins too,–so universal was her identification with every form of life and element of being. She usually liked men better than women because they were more stimulating. I can see her yet, stand- [Page xv]  ing in the spacious upper hall a Summer afternoon, finger on lip, and hear her say, as the feminine callers took their departure–"Listen! Hear them kiss, the traitors!" To most women she was a provoking puzzle. To her, in turn, most women were a form of triviality to be escaped when feasible.

But stupidity had no sex with her and I equally well remember her spying down upon a stranger sent to call upon her by a mutual friend, and dismissing him unreceived after one glance from her window, remarking– "His face is as handsome and as meaningless as the full moon." At another time she called me to peep at a new Professor recently come to the college, saying–"Look dear, he is pretty as a cloth Pink!" her mouth curling in derision as she uttered it and one hand motioning as if to throw the flower away. She had a dramatic way of throwing up her hands at the climax of a story or to punctuate one of her own flashes. It was entirely spontaneous, her spirit seemed merely playing through her body as the Aurora borealis through darkness. And since [Page xvi]  there is no portrait of Aunt Emily, may I be pardoned if I try to give an idea of her external likeness? It has been often told that she wore white exclusively. She has said herself, in one of her letters to an inquisitive friend who had never seen her and importuned for a hint of her outward self,–that her eyes were the color of the sherry left in the glass by him to whom she wrote. Her hair was of that same warm bronze-chestnut hue that Titian immortalized, and she wore it parted on her brow and low in her neck, but always half covered by a velvet snood of the same tint; such as the Venetian painters loved to add as a final grace to the portraits of their beloved and beautiful women. Her cheek was like the petal of the jasmine, a velvety white never touched by a hint of color. Her red lips parted over very regular little teeth like the squirrels' and it was the rather long upper lip that gave to the mouth its asceticism, and betrayed the monastic tendency in her, of which she was probably quite unaware.

If this combines nature and art and mys- [Page xvii]  ticism in one, too bewilderingly to reproduce any definite impression, it is the fault of that face,–as animate in my memory as it is still in my dreams.

In spite of an innate austerity of the senses, my Aunt had lovers, like Browning's roses–"all the way"–to the end; men of varied profession and attainment who wrote to her and came to see her, and whose letters she burned with a chivalry not all of them requited in kind. "Sister Sue" was her confidante and ally, from whose lips we heard many a hot or quaint tale when time had made them no perfidy. One of these in which we most delighted was of how Aunt Emily as a young lady, having been decorously driven to a funeral in Hadley, in the family barouche lined with cream-colored broadcloth, ran from the grave with a dashing cousin from Worcester, via a skittish black horse and worldly buggy, capping her infamy by returning through Sunderland and being in her room with the door locked when the family got home.

Nothing would be more delicious to me than [Page xviii]  to repeat by name the list of those whom she bewitched. It included college boys, tutors, law students, the brothers of her girl friends,–several times their affianced bridegrooms even; and then the maturer friendships,–literary, Platonic, Plutonic; passages varying in intensity, and at least one passionate attachment whose tragedy was due to the integrity of the Lovers, who scrupled to take their bliss at another's cost.

She was not daily-bread. She was star-dust. Her solitude made her and was part of her. Taken from her distant sky she must have become a creature as different as fallen meteor from pulsing star. One may ask of the Sphinx, if life would not have been dearer to her, lived as other women lived it? To have been, in essence, more as other women were? Or if, in so doing and so being, she would have missed that inordinate compulsion, that inquisitive comprehension that made her Emily Dickinson? It is to ask again the old riddle of genius against every-day happiness. Had life or love been able to dissuade her from that "eter- [Page xix]  nal preoccupation with death" which thralled her–if she could have chosen–you urge, still unconvinced? But I feel that she could and did, and that nothing could have compensated her for the forfeit of that "single hound," her "own Identity."



[Page xxi] 


One Sister have I in our house 1
I. Adventure most unto itself 3
II. The Soul that hath a Guest 4
III. Except the smaller size, no Lives are round 5
IV. Fame is a fickle food 6
V. The right to perish might be thought 7
VI. Peril as a possession 8
VII. When Etna basks and purrs 9
VIII. Reverse cannot befall that fine Prosperity 10
IX. To be alive is power 11
X. Witchcraft has not a pedigree 12
XI. Exhilaration is the Breeze 13
XII. No romance sold unto 14
XIII. If what we could were what we would 15
XIV. Perception of an Object costs 16
XV. No other can reduce 17
XVI. The blunder is to estimate 18
XVII. My Wheel is in the dark 19
XVIII. There is another Loneliness 20
XIX. So gay a flower bereaved the mind 21
XX. Glory is that bright tragic thing 22

[Page xxii] 
XXI. The missing All prevented me 23
XXII. His mind, of man a secret makes 24
XXIII. The suburbs of a secret 25
XXIV. The difference between despair 26
XXV. There is a solitude of space 27
XXVI. The props assist the house 28
XXVII. The gleam of an heroic act 29
XXVIII. Of Death the sharpest function 30
XXIX. Down Time's quaint stream 31
XXX. I bet with every Wind that blew 32
XXXI. The Future never spoke 33
XXXII. Two lengths has every day 34
XXXIII. The Soul's superior instants 35
XXXIV. Nature is what we see 36
XXXV. Ah, Teneriffe! Retreating Mountain! 37
XXXVI. She died at play 38
XXXVII. "Morning" means "Milking" to the Farmer 39
XXXVIII. A little madness in the Spring 40
XXXIX. I can't tell you, but you feel it 41
XL. Some Days retired from the rest 43
XLI. Like Men and Women shadows walk 44
XLII. The butterfly obtains 45
XLIII. Beauty crowds me till I die 46
XLIV. We spy the Forests and the Hills 47
XLV. I never told the buried gold 48
XLVI. The largest fire ever known 50

[Page xxiii] 
XLVII. Bloom upon the Mountain, stated 51
XLVIII. March is the month of expectation 53
XLIX. The Duties of the Wind are few 54
L. The Winds drew off like hungry dogs 55
LI. I think that the root of the Wind is Water 56
LII. So, from the mould 57
LIII. The long sigh of the Frog 58
LIV. A cap of lead across the sky 59
LV. I send two Sunsets 60
LVI. Of this is Day composed 61
LVII. The Hills erect their purple heads 62
LVIII. Lightly stepped a yellow star 63
LIX. The Moon upon her fluent route 64
LX. Like some old fashioned miracle 65
LXI. Glowing is her Bonnet 66
LXII. Forever cherished be the tree 67
LXIII. The Ones that disappeared are back 68
LXIV. Those final Creatures,–who they are 69
LXV. Summer begins to have the look 70
LXVI. A prompt, executive Bird is the Jay 71
LXVII. Like brooms of steel 72
LXVIII. These are the days that Reindeer love 73
LXIX. Follow wise Orion 74
LXX. In Winter, in my room 75
LXXI. Not any sunny tone 77
LXXII. For Death,–or rather 78

[Page xxiv] 
LXXIII. Dropped into the Ether Acre! 79
LXXIV. This quiet Dust was Gentlemen and Ladies 80
LXXV. 'Twas comfort in her dying room 81
LXXVI. Too cold is this 82
LXXVII. I watched her face to see which way 83
LXXVIII. Today or this noon 84
LXXIX. I see thee better in the dark 85
LXXX. Low at my problem bending 86
LXXXI. If pain for peace prepares 87
LXXXII. I fit for them 88
LXXXIII. Not one by Heaven defrauded stay 89
LXXXIV. The feet of people walking home 90
LXXXV. We should not mind so small a flower 92
LXXXVI. To the staunch Dust we safe commit thee 93
LXXXVII. Her "Last Poems" 94
LXXXVIII. Immured in Heaven! What a Cell! 95
LXXXIX. I'm thinking of that other morn 96
XC. The overtakelessness of those 97
XCI. The Look of Thee, what is it like 98
XCII. The Devil, had he fidelity 99
XCIII. Papa above! Regard a Mouse 100
XCIV. Not when we know 101
XCV. Elijah's wagon knew no thill 102
XCVI. "Remember me" implored the Thief 103
XCVII. To this apartment deep 104
XCVIII. "Sown in dishonor?" 105

[Page xxv] 
XCIX. Who is it seeks my pillow nights? 106
C. His Cheek is his Biographer 107
CI. "Heavenly Father," take to thee 108
CII. The sweets of Pillage can be known 109
CIII. A little over Jordan 110
CIV. Dust is the only secret 111
CV. Ambition cannot find him 112
CVI. Eden is that old fashioned House 113
CVII. Candor, my tepid Friend 114
CVIII. Speech is a symptom of affection 115
CIX. Who were "the Father and the Son" 116
CX. That Love is all there is 118
CXI. The luxury to apprehend 119
CXII. The Sea said "Come" to the Brook 120
CXIII. All I may, if small 121
CXIV. Love reckons by itself alone 122
CXV. The inundation of the Spring 123
CXVI. No Autumn's intercepting chill 124
CXVII. Volcanoes be in Sicily 125
CXVIII. Distance is not the realm of Fox 126
CXIX. The treason of an accent 127
CXX. How destitute is he 128
CXXI. Crisis is sweet and, set the Heart 129
CXXII. To tell the beauty would decrease 130
CXXIII. To love thee, year by year 131
CXXIV. I showed her heights she never saw 132

[Page xxvi] 
CXXV. On my volcano grows the grass 133
CXXVI. If I could tell how glad I was 134
CXXVII. Her Grace is all she has 135
CXXVIII. No matter where the Saints abide 136
CXXIX. To see her is a picture 137
CXXX. So set its sun in thee 138
CXXXI. Had this one day not been 139
CXXXII. That she forgot me was the least 140
CXXXIII. The incidents of Love 141
CXXXIV. Just so, Jesus raps–He does not weary 142
CXXXV. Safe Despair it is that raves 143
CXXXVI. The Face we choose to miss 144
CXXXVII. Of so divine a loss 145
CXXXVIII. The healed Heart shows its shallow scar 146
CXXXIX. To pile like Thunder to its close 147
CXL. The Stars are old, that stood for me 148
CXLI. All circumstances are the frame 149
CXLII. I did not reach thee 150


[Page 1] 


ONE Sister have I in our house,
And one a hedge away
There's only one recorded
But both belong to me.

One came the way that I came,
And wore my last year's gown,
The other, as a bird her nest,
Builded our hearts among.

She did not sing as we did,
It was a different tune,
Herself to her a music–
As Bumble-bee of June.

Today is far from childhood,
But up and down the hills
I held her hand the tighter,
Which shortened all the miles.

[Page 2] 

And still her hum the years among
Deceives the Butterfly,
Still in her eye the Violets lie
Mouldered this many May.

I spilt the dew but took the morn,
I chose this single Star
From out the wide night's numbers,


[Page 3] 



ADVENTURE most unto itself
The Soul condemned to be;
Attended by a Single Hound–
Its own Identity.

[Page 4] 


THE Soul that hath a Guest,
Doth seldom go abroad,
Diviner Crowd at home
Obliterate the need,
And courtesy forbid
A Host's departure, when
Upon Himself be visiting
The Emperor of Men!

[Page 5] 


EXCEPT the smaller size, no Lives are round,
These hurry to a sphere, and show, and end.
The larger, slower grow, and later hang–
The Summers of Hesperides are long.

[Page 6] 


FAME is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate,
Whose table once a Guest, but not
The second time, is set.
Whose crumbs the crows inspect,
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the Farmer's corn;
Men eat of it and die.

[Page 7] 


THE right to perish might be thought
An undisputed right,
Attempt it, and the Universe upon the opposite
Will concentrate its officers–
You cannot even die,
But Nature and Mankind must pause
To pay you scrutiny.

[Page 8] 


PERIL as a possession
'Tis good to bear,
Danger disintegrates satiety;
There's Basis there
Begets an awe,
That searches Human Nature's creases
As clean as Fire.

[Page 9] 


WHEN Etna basks and purrs,
Naples is more afraid
Than when she shows her Garnet Tooth;
Security is loud.

[Page 10] 


REVERSE cannot befall that fine Prosperity
Whose sources are interior.
As soon Adversity
A diamond overtake,
In far Bolivian ground;
Misfortune hath no implement
Could mar it, if it found.

[Page 11] 


TO be alive is power,
Existence in itself,
Without a further function,
Omnipotence enough.

To be alive and Will–
'Tis able as a God!
The Further of ourselves be what–
Such being Finitude?

[Page 12] 


WITCHCRAFT has not a pedigree,
'Tis early as our breath,
And mourners meet it going out
The moment of our death.

[Page 13] 


EXHILARATION is the Breeze
That lifts us from the ground,
And leaves us in another place
Whose statement is not found;
Returns us not, but after time
We soberly descend,
A little newer for the term
Upon enchanted ground.

[Page 14] 


NO romance sold unto,
Could so enthrall a man
As the perusal of
His individual one.
'Tis fiction's, to dilute
To plausibility
Our novel, when 'tis small enough
To credit,–'tis n't true!

[Page 15] 


IF what we could were what we would–
Criterion be small;
It is the Ultimate of talk
The impotence to tell.

[Page 16] 


Object costs
Precise the Object's loss.
Perception in itself a gain
Replying to its price;
The Object Absolute is nought,
Perception sets it fair,
And then upbraids a Perfectness
That situates so far.

[Page 17] 


NO other can reduce
Our mortal consequence,
Like the remembering it be nought
A period from hence.
But contemplation for
Cotemporaneous nought
Our single competition;
Jehovah's estimate.

[Page 18] 


THE blunder is to estimate,–
"Eternity is Then,"
We say, as of a station.
Meanwhile he is so near,
He joins me in my ramble,
Divides abode with me,
No friend have I that so persists
As this Eternity.

[Page 19] 


MY Wheel is in the dark,–
I cannot see a spoke,
Yet know its dripping feet
Go round and round.

My foot is on the tide–
An unfrequented road,
Yet have all roads
A "clearing" at the end.

Some have resigned the Loom,
Some in the busy tomb
Find quaint employ,
Some with new, stately feet
Pass royal through the gate,
Flinging the problem back at you and I.

[Page 20] 


THERE is another Loneliness
That many die without,
Not want or friend occasions it,
Or circumstances or lot.

But nature sometimes, sometimes thought,
And whoso it befall
Is richer than could be divulged
By mortal numeral.

[Page 21] 


SO gay a flower bereaved the mind
As if it were a woe,
Is Beauty an affliction, then?
Tradition ought to know.

[Page 22] 


GLORY is that bright tragic thing,
That for an instant
Means Dominion,
Warms some poor name
That never felt the sun,
Gently replacing
In oblivion.

[Page 23] 


THE missing All prevented me
From missing minor things.
If nothing larger than a World's
Departure from a hinge,
Or Sun's extinction be observed,
'Twas not so large that I
Could lift my forehead from my work
For curiosity.

[Page 24] 


HIS mind, of man a secret makes,
I meet him with a start,
He carries a circumference
In which I have no part,
Or even if I deem I do–
He otherwise may know.
Impregnable to inquest,
However neighborly.

[Page 25] 


THE suburbs of a secret
A strategist should keep,
Better than on a dream intrude
To scrutinize the sleep.

[Page 26] 


THE difference between despair
And fear, is like the one
Between the instant of a wreck,
And when the wreck has been.

The mind is smooth,–no motion–
Contented as the eye
Upon the forehead of a Bust,
That knows it cannot see.

[Page 27] 


THERE is a solitude of space,
A solitude of sea,
A solitude of death, but these
Society shall be,
Compared with that profounder site,
That polar privacy,
A Soul admitted to Itself:
Finite Infinity.

[Page 28] 


THE props assist the house
Until the house is built,
And then the props withdraw–
And adequate, erect,
The house supports itself;
Ceasing to recollect
The auger and the carpenter.
Just such a retrospect
Hath the perfected life,
A past of plank and nail,
And slowness,–then the scaffolds drop–
Affirming it a soul.

[Page 29] 


THE gleam of an heroic act,
Such strange illumination–
The Possible's slow fuse is lit
By the Imagination!

[Page 30] 


OF Death the sharpest function,
That, just as we discern,
The Excellence defies us;
Securest gathered then
The fruit perverse to plucking,
But leaning to the sight
With the ecstatic limit
Of unobtained Delight.

[Page 31] 


DOWN Time's quaint stream
Without an oar,
We are enforced to sail,
Our Port–a secret–
Our Perchance–a gale.
What Skipper would
Incur the risk,
What Buccaneer would ride,
Without a surety from the wind
Or schedule of the tide?

[Page 32] 


I BET with every Wind that blew, till Nature in chagrin
Employed a Fact to visit me and scuttle my Balloon!

[Page 33] 


THE Future never spoke,
Nor will he, like the Dumb,
Reveal by sign or syllable
Of his profound To-come.
But when the news be ripe,
Presents it in the Act–
Forestalling preparation
Escape or substitute.
Indifferent to him
The Dower as the Doom,
His office but to execute
Fate's Telegram to him.

[Page 34] 


TWO lengths has every day,
Its absolute extent–
And area superior
By hope or heaven lent.
Eternity will be
Velocity, or pause,
At fundamental signals
From fundamental laws.
To die, is not to go–
On doom's consummate chart
No territory new is staked,
Remain thou as thou art.

[Page 35] 


THE Soul's superior instants
Occur to Her alone,
When friend and earth's occasion
Have infinite withdrawn.

Or she, Herself, ascended
To too remote a height,
For lower recognition
Than Her Omnipotent.

This mortal abolition
Is seldom, but as fair
As Apparition–subject
To autocratic air.

Eternity's disclosure
To favorites, a few,
Of the Colossal substance
Of immortality.

[Page 36] 


NATURE is what we see,
The Hill, the Afternoon–
Squirrel, Eclipse, the Bumble-bee,
Nay–Nature is Heaven.

Nature is what we hear,
The Bobolink, the Sea–
Thunder, the Cricket–
Nay,–Nature is Harmony.

Nature is what we know
But have no art to say,
So impotent our wisdom is
To Her simplicity.

[Page 38] 


AH, Teneriffe!
              Retreating Mountain!
Purples of Ages pause for you,
Sunset reviews her Sapphire Regiment,
Day drops you her red Adieu!

Still, clad in your mail of ices,
Thigh of granite and thew of steel–
Heedless, alike, of pomp or parting,
Ah, Teneriffe!
              I'm kneeling still.

[Page 38] 


SHE died at play,
Gambolled away
Her lease of spotted hours,
Then sank as gaily as a Turk
Upon a couch of flowers.
Her ghost strolled softly o'er the hill
Yesterday and today,
Her vestments as the silver fleece,
Her countenance as spray.

[Page 39] 


"MORNING" means "Milking" to the Farmer,
Dawn to the Apennines–
Dice to the Maid.
"Morning" means just Chance to the Lover–
Just Revelation to the Beloved.
Epicures date a breakfast by it!
Heroes a battle,
The Miller a flood,
Faint-going eyes their lapse
From sighing,
Faith, the Experiment of our Lord!

[Page 40] 


A LITTLE madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King,
But God be with the Clown,
Who ponders this tremendous scene–
This whole experiment of green,
As if it were his own!

[Page 41] 


I CAN'T tell you, but you feel it–
Nor can you tell me,
Saints with vanished slate and pencil
Solve our April day.

Sweeter than a vanished Frolic
From a vanished Green!
Swifter than the hoofs of Horsemen
Round a ledge of Dream!

Modest, let us walk among it,
With our "faces veiled,"
As they say polite Archangels
Do, in meeting God.

Not for me to prate about it,
Not for you to say
To some fashionable Lady–
"Charming April Day!"

[Page 42] 

Rather Heaven's "Peter Parley,"
By which, Children–slow–
To sublimer recitations
Are prepared to go!

[Page 43] 


SOME Days retired from the rest
In soft distinction lie,
The Day that a companion came–
Or was obliged to die.

[Page 44] 


LIKE Men and Women shadows walk
Upon the hills today,
With here and there a mighty bow,
Or trailing courtesy
To Neighbors, doubtless, of their own;
Not quickened to perceive
Minuter landscape, as Ourselves
And Boroughs where we live.

[Page 45] 


THE butterfly obtains
But little sympathy,
Though favorably mentioned
In Entomology.
Because he travels freely
And wears a proper coat,
The circumspect are certain
That he is dissolute.
Had he the homely scutcheon of modest Industry,
'Twere fitter certifying for Immortality.

[Page 46] 


BEAUTY crowds me till I die,
Beauty, mercy have on me!
But if I expire today,
Let it be in sight of thee.

[Page 47] 


WE spy the Forests and the Hills,
The tents to Nature's Show,
Mistake the outside for the in
And mention what we saw.

Could Commentators on the sign
Of Nature's Caravan
Obtain "admission," as a child,
Some Wednesday afternoon?

[Page 48] 


I NEVER told the buried gold
Upon the hill that lies,
I saw the sun, his plunder done,
Crouch low to guard his prize.

He stood as near, as stood you here,
A pace had been between–
Did but a snake bisect the brake,
My life had forfeit been.

That was a wondrous booty,
I hope 'twas honest gained–
Those were the finest ingots
That ever kissed the spade.

Whether to keep the secret–
Whether to reveal–
Whether, while I ponder
Kidd may sudden sail–

[Page 49] 

Could a Shrewd advise me
We might e'en divide–
Should a Shrewd betray me–
"Atropos" decide!

[Page 50] 


THE largest fire ever known
Occurs each afternoon,
Discovered is without surprise,
Proceeds without concern:
Consumes, and no report to men,
An Occidental town,
Rebuilt another morning
To be again burned down.

[Page 51] 


BLOOM upon the Mountain, stated,
Blameless of a name.
Efflorescence of a Sunset–
Reproduced, the same.

Seed, had I, my purple sowing
Should endow the Day,
Not a tropic of the twilight
Show itself away.

Who for tilling, to the Mountain
Come, and disappear–
Whose be Her renown, or fading,
Witness, is not here.

While I state–the solemn petals
Far as North and East,
Far as South and West expanding,
Culminate in rest.

[Page 52] 

And the Mountain to the Evening
Fit His countenance,
Indicating by no muscle
The Experience.

[Page 54] 


MARCH is the month of expectation,
The things we do not know,
The Persons of prognostication
Are coming now.
We try to sham becoming firmness,
But pompous joy
Betrays us, as his first betrothal
Betrays a boy.

[Page 54] 


THE Duties of the Wind are few–
To cast the Ships at sea,
Establish March,
The Floods escort,
And usher Liberty.

[Page 55] 


THE Winds drew off
Like hungry dogs
Defeated of a bone.
Through fissures in
Volcanic cloud
The yellow lightning shown.
The trees held up
Their mangled limbs
Like animals in pain,
When Nature falls
Upon herself,
Beware an Austrian!

[Page 56] 


I THINK that the root of the Wind is Water,
It would not sound so deep
Were it a firmamental product,
Airs no Oceans keep–
Mediterranean intonations,
To a Current's ear
There is a maritime conviction
In the atmosphere.

[Page 57] 


SO, from the mould,
Scarlet and gold
Many a Bulb will rise,
Hidden away cunningly
From sagacious eyes.
So, from cocoon
Many a Worm
Leap so Highland gay,
Peasants like me–
Peasants like thee,
Gaze perplexedly.

[Page 58] 


THE long sigh of the Frog
Upon a Summer's day,
Enacts intoxication
Upon the revery.
But his receding swell
Substantiates a peace,
That makes the ear inordinate
For corporal release.

[Page 59] 


A CAP of lead across the sky
Was tight and surly drawn,
We could not find the mighty Face,
The Figure was withdrawn.

A chill came up as from a shaft,
Our noon became a well,
A Thunder storm combines the charms
Of Winter and of Hell.

[Page 60] 


I SEND two Sunsets–
Day and I in competition ran,
I finished two, and several stars,
While He was making one.

His own is ampler–
But, as I was saying to a friend,
Mine is the more convenient
To carry in the hand.

     [Sent with brilliant flowers.]

[Page 61] 


OF this is Day composed–
A morning and a noon,
A Revelry unspeakable
And then a gay Unknown;
Whose Pomps allure and spurn–
And dower and deprive,
And penury for glory
Remedilessly leave.

[Page 62] 


THE Hills erect their purple heads,
The Rivers lean to see–
Yet Man has not, of all the throng,
A curiosity.

[Page 63] 


LIGHTLY stepped a yellow star
To its lofty place,
Loosed the Moon her silver hat
From her lustral face.
All of evening softly lit
As an astral hall–
"Father," I observed to Heaven,
"You are punctual."

[Page 64] 


THE Moon upon her fluent route
Defiant of a road,
The stars Etruscan argument,
Substantiate a God.
If Aims impel these Astral Ones,
The Ones allowed to know,
Know that which makes them as forgot
As Dawn forgets them now.

[Page 65] 


LIKE some old fashioned miracle
When Summertime is done,
Seems Summer's recollection
And the affairs of June.

As infinite tradition
As Cinderella's bays,
Or little John of Lincoln Green,
Or Bluebeard's galleries.

Her Bees have a fictitious hum,
Her Blossoms, like a dream,
Elate–until we almost weep
So plausible they seem.

Her Memories like strains–review–
When Orchestra is dumb,
The Violin in baize replaced
And Ear and Heaven numb.

[Page 66] 


GLOWING is her Bonnet,
Glowing is her Cheek,
Glowing is her Kirtle,
Yet she cannot speak!

Better, as the Daisy
From the Summer hill,
Vanish unrecorded,
Save by tearful Rill,

Save by loving Sunrise
Looking for her face,
Save by feet unnumbered
Pausing at the place!

[Page 67] 


FOREVER cherished be the tree,
Whose apple Winter warm,
Enticed to breakfast from the sky
Two Gabriels yestermorn;
They registered in Nature's book
As Robin–Sire and Son,
But angels have that modest way
To screen them from renown.

[Page 68] 


THE Ones that disappeared are back,
The Phoebe and the Crow,
Precisely as in March is heard
The curtness of the Jay–
Be this an Autumn or a Spring?
My wisdom loses way,
One side of me the nuts are ripe–
The other side is May.

[Page 69] 


THOSE final Creatures,–who they are–
That, faithful to the close,
Administer her ecstasy,
But just the Summer knows.

[Page 70] 


SUMMER begins to have the look,
Peruser of enchanting Book
Reluctantly, but sure, perceives–
A gain upon the backward leaves.

Autumn begins to be inferred
By millinery of the cloud,
Or deeper color in the shawl
That wraps the everlasting hill.

The eye begins its avarice,
A meditation chastens speech,
Some Dyer of a distant tree
Resumes his gaudy industry.

Conclusion is the course of all,
Almost to be perennial,
And then elude stability
Recalls to immortality.

[Page 71] 


A PROMPT, executive Bird is the Jay,
Bold as a Bailiff's hymn,
Brittle and brief in quality–
Warrant in every line;
Sitting a bough like a Brigadier,
Confident and straight,
Much is the mien
Of him in March
As a Magistrate.

[Page 72] 


LIKE brooms of steel
The Snow and Wind
Had swept the Winter Street,
The House was hooked,
The Sun sent out
Faint Deputies of heat–
Where rode the Bird
The Silence tied
His ample, plodding Steed,
The Apple in the cellar snug
Was all the one that played.

[Page 73] 


THESE are the days that Reindeer love
And pranks the Northern star,
This is the Sun's objective
And Finland of the year.

[Page 1] 


FOLLOW wise Orion
Till you lose your eye,
Dazzlingly decamping
He is just as high.

[Page 75] 


IN Winter, in my room,
I came upon a worm,
Pink, lank, and warm.
But as he was a worm
And worms presume,
Not quite with him at home–
Secured him by a string
To something neighboring,
And went along.

A trifle afterward
A thing occurred,
I'd not believe it if I heard–
But state with creeping blood;
A snake, with mottles rare,
Surveyed my chamber floor,
In feature as the worm before,
But ringed with power.
The very string

[Page 76] 

With which I tied him, too,
When he was mean and new,
That string was there.

I shrank–"How fair you are!"
Propitiation's claw–
"Afraid," he hissed,
"Of me?"
"No cordiality?"
He fathomed me.

Then, to a rhythm slim
Secreted in his form,
As patterns swim,
Projected him.

That time I flew,
Both eyes his way,
Lest he pursue–
Nor ever ceased to run,
Till, in a distant town,
Towns on from mine–
I sat me down;
This was a dream.

[Page 77] 


NOT any sunny tone
From any fervent zone
Finds entrance there.
Better a grave of Balm
Toward human nature's home,
And Robins near,
Than a stupendous Tomb
Proclaiming to the gloom
How dead we are.

[Page 78] 


FOR Death,–or rather
For the things 'twill buy,
These put away
Life's opportunity.
The things that Death will buy
Are Room,–Escape
From Circumstances,
And a Name.
How gifts of Life
With Death's gifts will compare,
We know not–
For the rates stop Here.

[Page 79] 


DROPPED into the
Ether Acre!
Wearing the sod gown–
Bonnet of Everlasting laces–
Brooch frozen on!
Horses of blonde–
And coach of silver,
Baggage a strapped Pearl!
Journey of Down
And whip of Diamond–
Riding to meet the Earl!

[Page 80] 


THIS quiet Dust was Gentlemen and Ladies,
         And Lads and Girls;
Was laughter and ability and sighing,
         And frocks and curls.
This passive place a Summer's nimble mansion,
         Where Bloom and Bees
Fulfilled their Oriental Circuit,
         Then ceased like these.

[Page 81] 


'TWAS comfort in her dying room
To hear the living clock,
A short relief to have the wind
Walk boldly up and knock,
Diversion from the dying theme
To hear the children play,
But wrong, the mere
That these could live,–
And This of ours must die!

[Page 82] 


TOO cold is this
To warm with sun,
Too stiff to bended be,
To joint this agate were a feat
Outstaring masonry.
How went the agile kernel out–
Contusion of the husk,
Nor rip, nor wrinkle indicate,–
But just an Asterisk.

[Page 83] 


I WATCHED her face to see which way
She took the awful news,
Whether she died before she heard–
Or in protracted bruise
Remained a few short years with us,
Each heavier than the last–
A further afternoon to fail,
As Flower at fall of Frost.

[Page 84] 


TODAY or this noon
She dwelt so close,
I almost touched her;
Tonight she lies
Past neighborhood–
And bough and steeple–
Now past surmise.

[Page 85] 


I SEE thee better in the dark,
I do not need a light.
The love of thee a prism be
Excelling violet.

I see thee better for the years
That hunch themselves between,
The miner's lamp sufficient be
To nullify the mine.

And in the grave I see thee best–
Its little panels be
A-glow, all ruddy with the light
I held so high for thee!

What need of day to those whose dark
Hath so surpassing sun,
It seem it be continually
At the meridian?

[Page 86] 


LOW at my problem bending,
Another problem comes,
Larger than mine, serener,
Involving statelier sums;
I check my busy pencil,
My ciphers slip away,
Wherefore, my baffled fingers,
Time Eternity?

[Page 87] 


IF pain for peace prepares,
Lo the "Augustan" years
Our feet await!

If Springs from Winter rise,
Can the Anemone's
Be reckoned up?

If night stands first, then noon,
To gird us for the sun,
What gaze–

When, from a thousand skies,
On our developed eyes
Noons blaze!

[Page 88] 


I FIT for them,
I seek the dark till I am thorough fit.
The labor is a solemn one,
With this sufficient sweet–
That abstinence as mine produce
A purer good for them,
If I succeed,–
If not, I had
The transport of the Aim.

[Page 89] 


NOT one by Heaven defrauded stay,
Although He seem to steal,
He restitutes in some sweet way.
Secreted in His will.

[Page 90] 


THE feet of people walking home
In gayer sandals go,
The Crocus, till she rises,
The Vassal of the Snow–
The lips at Hallelujah!
Long years of practice bore,
Till bye and bye these Bargemen
Walked singing on the shore.

Pearls are the Diver's farthings
Extorted from the Sea,
Pinions the Seraph's wagon,
Pedestrians once, as we–
Night is the morning's canvas,
Larceny, legacy,
Death but our rapt attention
To immortality.

[Page 91] 

My figures fail to tell me
How far the village lies,
Whose Peasants are the angels,
Whose Cantons dot the skies,
My Classics veil their faces,
My Faith that dark adores,
Which from its solemn Abbeys
Such resurrection pours!

[Page 92] 


WE should not mind so small a flower,
Except it quiet bring
Our little garden that we lost
Back to the lawn again.
So spicy her Carnations red,
So drunken reel her Bees,
So silver steal a hundred Flutes
From out a hundred trees,
That whoso sees this little flower,
By faith may clear behold
The Bobolinks around the throne,
And Dandelions gold.

[Page 93] 


TO the staunch Dust we safe commit thee;
Tongue if it hath, inviolate to thee–
Silence denote and Sanctity enforce thee,
Passenger of Infinity!

[Page 94] 


HER "Last Poems"–
Poets ended,
Silver perished with her tongue,
Not on record bubbled other
Flute, or Woman, so divine;
Not unto its Summer morning
Robin uttered half the tune–
Gushed too free for the adoring,
From the Anglo-Florentine.
Late the praise–
'Tis dull conferring
On a Head too high to crown,
Diadem or Ducal showing,
Be its Grave sufficient sign.
Yet if we, no Poet's kinsman,
Suffocate with easy woe,
What and if ourself a Bridegroom,
Put Her down, in Italy?

[Written after the death of Mrs. Browning in 1861.]

[Page 95] 


IMMURED in Heaven! What a Cell!
Let every bondage be,
Thou Sweetest of the Universe,
Like that which ravished thee!

[Page 96] 


I'M thinking of that other morn,
When Cerements let go,
And Creatures clad in Victory
Go up in two by two!

[Page 97] 


THE overtakelessness of those
Who have accomplished Death,
Majestic is to me beyond
The majesties of Earth.

The soul her "not at Home"
Inscribes upon the flesh,
And takes her fair aerial gait
Beyond the hope of touch.

[Page 98] 


THE Look of Thee, what is it like?
Hast thou a hand or foot,
Or mansion of Identity,
And what is thy Pursuit?

Thy fellows,–are they Realms or Themes?
Hast thou Delight or Fear
Or Longing,–and is that for us
Or values more severe?

Let change transfuse all other traits,
Enact all other blame,
But deign this least certificate–
That thou shalt be the same.

[Page 99] 


THE Devil, had he fidelity,
Would be the finest friend–
Because he has ability,
But Devils cannot mend.
Perfidy is the virtue
That would he but resign,–
The Devil, so amended,
Were durably divine.

[Page 100] 


PAPA above!
              Regard a Mouse
O'erpowered by the Cat;
Reserve within thy kingdom
A "mansion" for the Rat!

Snug in seraphic cupboards
To nibble all the day,
While unsuspecting cycles
Wheel pompously away.

[Page 102] 


NOT when we know
The Power accosts,
The garment of Surprise
Was all our timid Mother wore
At Home, in Paradise.

[Page 102] 


ELIJAH'S wagon knew no thill,
Was innocent of wheel,
Elijah's horses as unique
As was his vehicle.
Elijah's journey to portray,
Expire with him the skill,
Who justified Elijah,
In feats inscrutable.

[Page 103] 


"REMEMBER me," implored the Thief–
Oh magnanimity!
"My Visitor in Paradise
I give thee Guaranty."

That courtesy will fair remain,
When the delight is dust,
With which we cite this mightiest case
Of compensated Trust.

Of All, we are allowed to hope,
But Affidavit stands
That this was due, where some, we fear,
Are unexpected friends.

[Page 104] 


TO this apartment deep
No ribaldry may creep;
Untroubled this abode
By any man but God.

[Page 105] 


"SOWN in dishonor?"
Ah! Indeed!
May this dishonor be?
If I were half so fine myself,
I'd notice nobody!

"Sown in corruption?"
By no means!
Apostle is askew;
Corinthians 1. 15, narrates
A circumstance or two!

[Page 106] 


WHO is it seeks my pillow nights?
With plain inspecting face,
"Did you, or did you not?" to ask,
'Tis Conscience, childhood's nurse.

With martial hand she strokes the hair
Upon my wincing head,
"All rogues shall have their part in"–
      The Phosphorus of God.

[Page 107] 


HIS Cheek is his Biographer–
As long as he can blush,
Perdition is Opprobrium;
Past that, he sins in peace.

[Page 108] 


"HEAVENLY Father," take to thee
The supreme iniquity,
Fashioned by thy candid hand
In a moment contraband.
Though to trust us seem to us
More respectful–"we are dust."
We apologize to Thee
For Thine own Duplicity.

[Page 109] 


THE sweets of Pillage can be known
To no one but the Thief,
Compassion for Integrity
Is his divinest Grief.

[Page 110] 


A LITTLE over Jordan,
As Genesis record,
An Angel and a Wrestler
Did wrestle long and hard.

Till, morning touching mountain,
And Jacob waxing strong,
The Angel begged permission
To breakfast and return.

Not so, quoth wily Jacob
And girt his loins anew,
"Until thou bless me, stranger!"
The which acceded to:

Light swung the silver fleeces
Peniel hills among,
And the astonished Wrestler
Found he had worsted God!

[Page 111] 


DUST is the only secret,
Death the only one
You cannot find out all about
In his native town:
Nobody knew his father,
Never was a boy,
Hadn't any playmates
Or early history.

Industrious, laconic,
Punctual, sedate,
Bolder than a Brigand,
Swifter than a Fleet,
Builds like a bird too,
Christ robs the nest–
Robin after robin
Smuggled to rest!

[Page 112] 


AMBITION cannot find him,
Affection doesn't know
How many leagues of Nowhere
Lie between them now.
Yesterday undistinguished–
Eminent today,
For our mutual honor–

[Page 113] 


EDEN is that old fashioned House
We dwell in every day,
Without suspecting our abode
Until we drive away.
How fair, on looking back, the Day
We sauntered from the door,
Unconscious our returning
Discover it no more.

[Page 114] 


CANDOR, my tepid Friend,
Come not to play with me!
The Myrrhs and Mochas of the Mind
Are its Iniquity.

[Page 115] 


SPEECH is a symptom of affection,
And Silence one,
The perfectest communication
Is heard of none–
Exists and its endorsement
Is had within–
Behold! said the Apostle,
Yet had not seen.

[Page 116] 


WHO were "the Father and the Son"–
We pondered when a child,
And what had they to do with us–
And when portentous told
With inference appalling,
By Childhood fortified,
We thought, "at least they are no worse
Than they have been described."

Who are "the Father and the Son"–
Did we demand today,
"The Father and the Son" himself
Would doubtless specify,
But had they the felicity
When we desired to know,
We better Friends had been, perhaps,
Than time ensue to be.

We start, to learn that we believe
But once, entirely–

[Page 117] 

Belief, it does not fit so well
When altered frequently.
We blush, that Heaven if we achieve,
Event ineffable–
We shall have shunned, until ashamed
To own the Miracle.

[Page 118] 


THAT Love is all there is,
Is all we know of Love;
It is enough, the freight should be
Proportioned to the groove.

[Page 119] 


THE luxury to apprehend
The luxury 'twould be
To look at thee a single time,
An Epicure of me,
In whatsoever Presence, makes,
Till, for a further food
I scarcely recollect to starve,
So first am I supplied.
The luxury to meditate
The luxury it was
To banquet on thy Countenance,
A sumptuousness bestows
On plainer days,
Whose table, far as
Certainty can see,
Is laden with a single crumb–
The consciousness of Thee.

[Page 120] 


THE Sea said "Come" to the Brook,
The Brook said "Let me grow!"
The Sea said "Then you will be a Sea–
I want a brook, Come now!"

[Page 121] 


ALL I may, if small,
Do it not display
Larger for its Totalness?
'Tis economy
To bestow a world
And withhold a star,
Utmost is munificence;
Less, though larger, Poor.

[Page 122] 


LOVE reckons by itself alone,
"As large as I" relate the Sun
To one who never felt it blaze,
Itself is all the like it has.

[Page 123] 


THE inundation of the Spring
Submerges every soul,
It sweeps the tenement away
But leaves the water whole.
In which the Soul, at first alarmed,
Seeks furtive for its shore,
But acclimated, gropes no more
For that Peninsular.

[Page 124] 


NO Autumn's intercepting chill
Appalls this Tropic Breast,
But African exuberance
And Asiatic rest.

[Page 125] 


VOLCANOES be in Sicily
And South America,
I judge from my geography.
Volcanoes nearer here,
A lava step, at any time,
Am I inclined to climb,
A crater I may contemplate,
Vesuvius at home.

[Page 126] 


DISTANCE is not the realm of Fox,
Nor by relay as Bird;
Abated, Distance is until
Thyself, Beloved!

[Page 127] 


THE treason of an accent
Might vilify the Joy–
To breathe,–corrode the rapture
Of Sanctity to be.

[Page 128] 


HOW destitute is he
Whose Gold is firm,
Who finds it every time,
The small stale sum–
When Love, with but a pence
Will so display,
As is a disrespect to India!

[Page 129] 


CRISIS is sweet and, set the Heart
Upon the hither side,
Has dowers of prospective
Surrendered by the Tried.
Inquire of the closing Rose
Which Rapture she preferred,
And she will tell you, sighing,
The transport of the Bud.

[Page 130] 


TO tell the beauty would decrease,
To state the Spell demean,
There is a syllableless sea
Of which it is the sign.

My will endeavours for its word
And fails, but entertains
A rapture as of legacies–
Of introspective mines.

[Page 131] 


TO love thee, year by year,
May less appear
Than sacrifice and cease.
However, Dear,
Forever might be short
I thought, to show,
And so I pieced it with a flower now.

[Page 132] 


I SHOWED her heights she never saw–
"Would'st climb?" I said,
She said "Not so"–
"With me?" I said, "With me?"
I showed her secrets
Morning's nest,
The rope that Nights were put across–
And now, "Would'st have me for a Guest?"
She could not find her yes–
And then, I brake my life, and Lo!
A light for her, did solemn glow,
The larger, as her face withdrew–
And could she, further, "No?"

[Page 133] 


ON my volcano grows the grass,–
A meditative spot,
An area for a bird to choose
Would be the general thought.

How red the fire reeks below,
How insecure the sod–
Did I disclose, would populate
With awe my solitude.

[Page 134] 


IF I could tell how glad I was,
I should not be so glad,
But when I cannot make the Force
Nor mould it into word,
I know it is a sign
That new Dilemma be
From mathematics further off,
Than from Eternity.

[Page 135] 


HER Grace is all she has,
And that, so vast displays,
One Art, to recognize, must be,
Another Art to praise.

[Page 136] 


NO matter where the Saints abide,
They make their circuit fair;
Behold how great a Firmament
Accompanies a star!

[Page 137] 


TO see her is a picture,
To hear her is a tune,
To know her an intemperance
As innocent as June;
By which to be undone
Is dearer than Redemption–
Which never to receive,
Makes mockery of melody
It might have been to live.

[Page 138] 


SO set its sun in thee,
What day is dark to me–
What distance far,
So I the ships may see
That touch how seldomly
Thy shore?

[Page 139] 


HAD this one day not been,
Or could it cease to be–
How smitten, how superfluous
Were every other day!

Lest Love should value less
What Loss would value more,
Had it the stricken privilege–
It cherishes before.

[Page 140] 


THAT she forgot me was the least,
I felt it second pain,
That I was worthy to forget
Was most I thought upon.

Faithful, was all that I could boast,
But Constancy became,
To her, by her innominate,
A something like a shame.

[Page 141] 


THE incidents of Love
Are more than its Events,
Investments best expositor
Is the minute per cents.

[Page 142] 


JUST so, Jesus raps–He does not weary–
Last at the knocker and first at the bell,
Then on divinest tiptoe standing
Might He out-spy the lady's soul.
When He retires, chilled and weary–
It will be ample time for me;
Patient, upon the steps, until then–
Heart, I am knocking low at Thee!

[Page 143] 


SAFE Despair it is that raves,
Agony is frugal,
Puts itself severe away
For its own perusal.

Garrisoned no Soul can be
In the front of Trouble,
Love is one, not aggregate,
Nor is Dying double.

[Page 144] 


THE Face we choose to miss,
Be it but for a day–
As absent as a hundred years
When it has rode away.

[Page 145] 


OF so divine a loss
We enter but the gain,
Indemnity for loneliness
That such a bliss has been.

[Page 146] 


THE healed Heart shows its shallow scar
With confidential moan,
Not mended by Mortality
Are fabrics truly torn.
To go its convalescent way
So shameless is to see,
More genuine were Perfidy
Than such Fidelity.

[Page 147] 


TO pile like Thunder to its close,
Then crumble grand away,
While everything created hid–
This would be Poetry:
Or Love,–the two coeval came–
We both and neither prove,
Experience either, and consume–
For none see God and live.

[Page 148] 


THE Stars are old, that stood for me–
The West a little worn,
Yet newer glows the only Gold
I ever cared to earn–
Presuming on that lone result
Her infinite disdain,
But vanquished her with my defeat,
'Twas Victory was slain.

[Page 149] 


ALL circumstances are the frame
In which His Face is set,
All Latitudes exist for His
Sufficient continent.

The light His Action and the dark
The Leisure of His Will,
In Him Existence serve, or set
A force illegible.

[Page 150] 


I DID not reach thee,
But my feet slip nearer every day;
Three Rivers and a Hill to cross,
One Desert and a Sea–
I shall not count the journey one
When I am telling thee.

Two deserts–but the year is cold
So that will help the sand–
One desert crossed, the second one
Will feel as cool as land.
Sahara is too little price
To pay for thy Right hand!

The sea comes last. Step merry, feet!
So short have we to go
To play together we are prone,
But we must labor now,

[Page 151] 

The last shall be the lightest load
That we have had to draw.

The Sun goes crooked–that is night–
Before he makes the bend
We must have passed the middle sea,
Almost we wish the end
Were further off–too great it seems
So near the Whole to stand.

We step like plush, we stand like snow–
The waters murmur now,
Three rivers and the hill are passed,
Two deserts and the sea!
Now Death usurps my premium
And gets the look at Thee.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Provenance of the Text.

The copytext for this on-line edition of Emily Dickinson's The single hound; poems of a lifetime. With an introduction by her niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi. is the Boston: Little, Brown, 1914 first edition. A copy of this edition can be found in the rare book room of the Hunt Library, at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. Page breaks have been placed at the beginning of each page, indicated through the use of text as [Page xx].

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This book has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the Celebration of Women Writers through the combined work of: Steven van Leeuwen and Mary Mark Ockerbloom.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom