« PreviousContinue »
Forward, mount the broad hillside
Now they rise quite suddenly
"O MAY I JOIN THE CHOIR INVISIBLE."
Longum illud tempus, quum non ero, magis me movet. quam hoc exiguum.-Cicero, ad Att., xii. 18.
O MAY I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
So to live is heaven: To make undying music in the world, Breathing as beauteous order that controls With growing sway the growing life of man. So we inherit that sweet purity For which we struggled, failed, and agonized With widening retrospect that bred despair. Rebellious flesh that would not be subdued. A vicious parent shaming still its child Poor anxious penitence, is quick dissolved; Its discords, quenched by meeting harmonies, Die in the large and charitable air. And all our rarer, better, truer self, That sobbed religiously in yearning song, That watched to ease the burthen of the world.
Laboriously tracing what must be,
This is life to come,
Which martyred men have made more glorious
BROTHER AND SISTER.
I CANNOT choose but think upon the time
When our two lives grew like two buds that kiss At lightest thrill from the bee's swinging chime, Because the one so near the other is.
He was the elder and a little man
Of forty inches, bound to show no dread, And I the girl that puppy-like now ran, Now lagged behind my brother's larger tread.
I held him wise, and when he talked to me Of snakes and birds, and which God loved the best,
I thought his knowledge marked the boundary Where men grew blind, though angels knew the
If he said "Hush!" I tried to hold my breath; Wherever he said "Come!" I stepped in faith.
Long years have left their writing on my brow,
With rod and line. Our basket held a store
The firmaments of daisies since to me
Have had those mornings in their opening eyes, The bunched cowslip's pale transparency Carries that sunshine of sweet memories,
And wild-rose branches take their finest scent From those blest hours of infantine content.
Our mother bade us keep the trodden ways, Stroked down my tippet, set my brother's frill, Then with the benediction of her gaze
Clung to us lessening, and pursued us still