A Hidden Life Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Proudly the youth sudden with manhood crownedA
Went walking by his horses the first timeB
That morning to the plough No soldier gayC
Feels at his side the throb of the gold hiltD
Knowing the blue blade hides within its sheathE
As lightning in the cloud with more delightF
When first he belts it on than he that dayC
Heard still the clank of the plough chains againstG
His horses' harnessed sides as to the fieldH
They went to make it fruitful O'er the hillI
The sun looked down baptizing him for toilJ
A farmer's son a farmer's grandson heK
Yea his great grandsire had possessed those fieldsL
Tradition said they had been tilled by menM
Who bore the name long centuries agoN
And married wives and reared a stalwart raceO
And died and went where all had followed themP
Save one old man his daughter and the youthQ
Who ploughs in pride nor ever doubts his toilJ
And death is far from him this sunny mornR
Why should we think of death when life is highS
The earth laughs all the day and sleeps all nightF
The daylight's labour and the night's reposeT
Are very good each better in its timeB
The boy knew little but he read old talesU
Of Scotland's warriors till his blood ran swiftV
As charging knights upon their death careerW
He chanted ancient tunes till the wild bloodX
Was charmed back into its fountain wellY
And tears arose instead That poet's songsZ
Whose music evermore recalls his nameA2
His name of waters babbling as they runB2
Rose from him in the fields among the kineB2
And met the skylark's raining from the cloudsC2
But only as the poet birds he sangD2
From rooted impulse of essential songE2
The earth was fair he knew not it was fairF2
His heart was glad he knew not it was gladG2
He walked as in a twilight of the senseH2
Which this one day shall turn to tender mornB2
Long ere the sun had cleared the feathery topsI2
Of the fir thicket on the eastward hillI
His horses leaned and laboured Each great handJ2
Held rein and plough stilt in one guiding graspK2
No ploughman there would brook a helper ProudL2
With a true ploughman's pride nobler I thinkM2
Than statesman's ay or poet's or painter's prideN2
For little praise will come that he ploughs wellY
He did plough well proud of his work itselfO2
And not of what would follow With sure eyeS
He saw his horses keep the arrow trackP2
He saw the swift share cut the measured sodQ2
He saw the furrow folding to the rightF
Ready with nimble foot to aid at needR2
Turning its secrets upward to the sunB2
And hiding in the dark the sun born grassS2
And daisies dipped in carmine lay the tilthT2
A million graves to nurse the buried seedR2
And send a golden harvest up the airF2
When the steep sun had clomb to his declineB2
And pausing seemed at edge of slow descentU2
Upon the keystone of his airy bridgeV2
They rested likewise half tired man and horseW2
And homeward went for food and courage newB2
Therewith refreshed they turned again to toilJ
And lived in labour all the afternoonB2
Till in the gloaming once again the ploughX2
Lay like a stranded bark upon the leaK
And home with hanging neck the horses wentU2
Walking beside their master force by willI
Then through the lengthening shades a vision cameA2
It was a lady mounted on a horseW2
A slender girl upon a mighty steedR2
That bore her with the pride horses must feelY2
When they submit to women Home she wentU2
Alone or else her groom lagged far behindZ2
Scarce had she bent simple acknowledgmentA3
Of the hand in silent salutation liftedX
To the bowed head when something faithless yieldedX
The saddle slipped the horse stopped and the girlB3
Stood on her feet still holding fast the reinsC3
Three paces bore him bounding to her sideN2
Her radiant beauty almost fixed him thereF2
But with main force as one that grapples fearW
He threw the fascination off and sawD3
The work before him Soon his hand and knifeE3
Had set the saddle firmer than beforeF3
Upon the gentle horse and then he turnedG3
To mount the maiden But bewildermentA3
A moment lasted for he knew not howX2
With stirrup hand and steady arm to throneB2
Elastic on her steed the ascending maidH3
A moment only for while yet she thankedI3
Nor yet had time to teach her further willI
About her waist he put his brawny handsJ3
That all but zoned her round and like a childK3
Lifting her high he set her on the horseW2
Whence like a risen moon she smiled on himL3
Nor turned aside although a radiant blushM3
Shone in her cheek and shadowed in her eyesN3
And he was never sure if from her heartO3
Or from the rosy sunset came the flushM3
Again she thanked him while again he stoodP3
Bewildered in her beauty Not a wordQ3
Answered her words that flowed folded in tonesR3
Round which dissolving lambent music playedH3
Like dropping water in a silver cupS3
Till round the shoulder of the neighbouring hillI
Sudden she disappeared And he awokeT3
And called himself hard names and turned and wentU2
After his horses bending like them his headU3
Ah God when Beauty passes from the doorF3
Although she came not in the house is bareF2
Shut shut the door there's nothing in the houseV3
Why seems it always that she should be oursW3
A secret lies behind which thou dost knowB2
And I can partly guessX3
But think not thenB2
The holder of the plough sighed many sighsN3
Upon his bed that night or other dreamsY3
Than pleasant rose upon his view in sleepZ3
Nor think the airy castles of his brainB2
Had less foundation than the air admitsA4
But read my simple tale scarce worth the nameA2
And answer if he had not from the fairF2
Beauty's best gift and proved her not in soothT2
An angel vision from a higher worldB4
Not much of her I tell Her glittering lifeE3
Where part the waters on the mountain ridgeV2
Ran down the southern side away from hisC4
It was not over blessed for I knowB2
Its tale wiled many sighs one summer eveD4
From her who told and him who in the pinesE4
Walking received it from her loving lipsF4
But now she was as God had made her ereF2
The world had tried to spoil her tried I sayC
And half succeeded failing utterlyK
Fair was she frank and innocent as a childK3
That looks in every eye fearless of illI
Because she knew it not and brave withalI
Because she led a simple country lifeE3
And loved the animals Her father's houseV3
A Scottish laird was he of ancient nameA2
Was distant but two miles among the hillsG4
Yet oft as she had passed his father's farmH4
The youth had never seen her face beforeF3
And should not twice Yet was it not enoughI4
The vision tarried She as the harvest moonB2
That goeth on her way and knoweth notJ4
The fields of corn whose ripening grain she fillsG4
With strength of life and hope and joy for menB2
Went on her way and knew not of the virtueB2
Gone out of her yea never thought of himL3
Save at such times when all at once old scenesK4
Return uncalled with wonder that they comeL4
Soon was she orphaned of her sheltering hillsG4
And rounded with dead glitter not the shineB2
Of leaves and waters dancing in the sunB2
While he abode in ever breaking dawnsM4
Breathed ever new born winds into his soulI
And saw the aurora of the heavenly dayC
Still climb the hill sides of the heapy worldB4
Again I say no fond romance of loveN4
No argument of possibilitiesO4
If he were some one and she sought his helpP4
Turned his clear brain into a nest of dreamsY3
As soon he had sat down and twisted cordsQ4
To snare and carry home for household helpP4
Some woman angel wandering half seenB2
On moonlight wings o'er withered autumn fieldsL
But when he rose next morn and went abroadR4
The exultation of his new found rankS4
Already settling into dignityK
Behold the earth was beautiful The skyS
Shone with the expectation of the sunB2
Only the daisies grieved him for they fellI
Caught in the furrow with their innocent headsT4
Just out imploring A gray hedgehog ranB2
With tangled mesh of rough laid spikes and faceO
Helplessly innocent across the fieldH
He let it run and blessed it as it ranB2
Returned at noon tide something drew his feetU4
Into the barn entering he gazed and stoodP3
For through the rent roof lighting one sunbeamV4
Blazed on the yellow straw one golden spotJ4
Dulled all the amber heap and sinking farW4
Like flame inverted through the loose piled moundA
Crossed the keen splendour with dark shadow strawsX4
In lines innumerable 'Twas so brightF
His eye was cheated with a spectral smokeT3
That rose as from a fire He had not knownB2
How beautiful the sunlight was not evenB2
Upon the windy fields of morning grassS2
Nor on the river nor the ripening cornB2
As if to catch a wild live thing he creptY4
On tiptoe silent laid him on the heapZ3
And gazing down into the glory gulfZ4
Dreamed as a boy half sleeping by the fire
Half dreaming rose and got his horses out
God and not woman is the heart of allI
But she as priestess of the visible earthT2
Holding the key herself most beautifulI
Had come to him and flung the portals wideN2
He entered every beauty was a glassS2
That gleamed the woman back upon his viewB2
Shall I not rather say each beauty gave
Its own soul up to him who worshipped her
For that his eyes were opened now to seeK
Already in these hours his quickened soulI
Put forth the white tip of a floral budX
Ere long to be a crown like aureole flower
His songs unbidden his joy in ancient talesU
Had hitherto alone betrayed the seedR2
That lay in his heart close hidden even from himL3
Yet not the less mellowing all his spring
Like summer sunshine came the maiden's faceO
And in the youth's glad heart the seed awokeT3
It grew and spread and put forth many flowersW3
Its every flower a living open eyeS
Until his soul was full of eyes withinB2
Each morning now was a fresh boon to himL3
Each wind a spiritual power upon his lifeE3
Each individual animal did shareF2
A common being with him every kindZ2
Of flower from every other was distinct
Uttering that for which alone it was
Its something human wrapt in other veilI
And when the winter came when thick the snowB2
Armed the sad fields from gnawing of the frost
When the low sun but skirted his far realms
And sank in early night he drew his chairF2
Beside the fire and by the feeble lamp
Read book on book and wandered other climes
And lived in other lives and other needs
And grew a larger self by other selves
Ere long the love of knowledge had becomeL4
A hungry passion and a conscious power
And craved for more than reading could supplyS
Then through the night all dark except the moonB2
Shone frosty o'er the heath or the white snowB2
Gave back such motes of light as else had sunk
In the dark earth he bent his plodding wayC
Over the moors to where the little townB2
Lay gathered in the hollow There the studentA3
Who taught from lingering dawn to early dark
Had older scholars in the long fore nightF
For youths who in the shop or in the barnB2
Or at the loom had done their needful work
Came gathering there through starlight fog or snowB2
And found the fire ablaze the candles lit
And him who knew waiting for who would knowB2
Here mathematics wiled him to their heights
And strange consent of lines to form and lawI
Made Euclid a profound romance of truthT2
The master saw with wonder how he seized
How eagerly devoured the offered food
And longed to give him further kinds For Knowledge
Would multiply like Life and two clear souls
That see a truth and turning see at once
Each the other's face glow in that truth's delightF
Are drawn like lovers So the master offeredQ3
To guide the ploughman through the narrow ways
To heights of Roman speech The youth alert
Caught at the offer and for years of nights
The house asleep he groped his twilight wayC
With lexicon and rule through ancient storyK
Or fable fine embalmed in Latin old
Wherein his knowledge of the English tongue
Through reading many books much aided himL3
For best is like in all the hearts and tongues
At length his progress through the master's prideN2
In such a pupil reached the father's ears
Great gladness woke within him and he vowedL2
If caring sparing might accomplish it
He should to college and there have his fillI
Of that same learning
To the plough no moreF3
All day to school he went and ere a yearW
He wore the scarlet gown with the closed sleeves
Awkward at first but with a dignityK
Soon finding fit embodiment in speech
And gesture and address he made his wayC
Unconscious all to the full orbed respect
Of students and professors for whose praise
More than his worth society so called
To its rooms in that great city of the NorthT2
Invited him He entered Dazzled at first
By brilliance of the shining show the lights
The mirrors gems white necks and radiant eyesN3
He stole into a corner and was quiet
Until the vision too had quieter grownB2
Bewildered next by many a sparkling wordQ3
Nor knowing the light play of polished minds
Which like rose diamonds cut in many facets
Catch and reflect the wandering rays of truthT2
As if they were home born and issuing newB2
He held his peace and silent soon beganB2
To see how little fire it needs to shimmer
Hence in the midst of talk his thoughts would wander
Back to the calm divine of homely toilI
While round him still and ever hung an airF2
Of breezy fields and plough and cart and scytheT2
A kind of clumsy grace in which gay girls
Saw but the clumsiness another sort
Saw the grace too yea sometimes when he spokeT3
Saw the grace only and began at last
For he sought none to seek him in the crowdL2
And find him unexpected maiden wiseN3
But oftener far they sought him than they foundA
For seldom was he drawn away from toilI
Seldomer stinted time held due to toilI
For if one night his panes were dark the next
They gleamed far into morning And he wonB2
Honours among the first each session's close
Nor think that new familiarityK
With open forms of ill not to be shunned
Where many youths are met endangered much
A mind that had begun to will the pure
Oft when the broad rich humour of a jest
With breezy force drew in its skirts a troop
Of pestilential vapours following
Arose within his sudden silent mindZ2
The maiden face that once blushed down on himL3
That lady face insphered beyond his earthT2
Yet visible as bright particular starW4
A flush of tenderness then glowed across
His bosom shone it clean from passing harmH4
Should that sweet face be banished by rude words
It could not stay what maidens might not hear
He almost wept for shame that face such jest
Should meet in his house To his love he madeH3
Love's only worthy offering purityK
And if the homage that he sometimes met
New to the country lad conveyed in smiles
Assents and silent listenings when he spokeT3
Threatened yet more his life's simplicityK
An antidote of nature ever cameA2
Even Nature's self For in the summer months
His former haunts and boyhood's circumstance
Received him to the bosom of their graceO
And he too noble to despise the past
Too proud to be ashamed of manly toilI
Too wise to fancy that a gulf gaped wideN2
Betwixt the labouring hand and thinking brainB2
Or that a workman was no gentlemanB2
Because a workman clothed himself againB2
In his old garments took the hoe the spadeH3
The sowing sheet or covered in the grainB2
Smoothing with harrows what the plough had ridged
With ever fresher joy he hailed the fieldsL
Returning still with larger powers of sightF
Each time he knew them better than beforeF3
And yet their sweetest aspect was the old
His labour kept him true to life and fact
Casting out worldly judgments false desiresW3
And vain distinctions Ever at his toilI
New thoughts would rise which when God's night awokeT3
He still would seek like stars with instruments
By science or by truth's philosophyK
Bridging the gulf betwixt the new and old
Thus laboured he with hand and brain at once
Nor missed due readiness when Scotland's sons
Met to reap wisdom and the fields were whiteF
His sire was proud of him and most of allI
Because his learning did not make him proudL2
He was too wise to build upon his loreF3
The neighbours asked what he would make his sonB2
I'll make a man of him the old man saidU3
And for the rest just what he likes himselfO2
He is my only son I think he'll keepZ3
The old farm on and I shall go contentU2
Leaving a man behind me as I sayC
So four years long his life swung to and froB2
Alternating the red gown and blue coat
The garret study and the wide floored barnB2
The wintry city and the sunny fieldsL
In every change his mind was well contentU2
For in himself he was the growing sameA2
In no one channel flowed his seeking thoughts
To no profession did he ardent turnB2
He knew his father's wish it was his ownB2
Why should a man he said when knowledge growsT
Leave therefore the old patriarchal lifeE3
And seek distinction in the noise of menB2
He turned his asking face on every sideN2
Went reverent with the anatomist and sawI
The inner form of man laid skilful bareF2
Went with the chymist whose wise questioning handJ2
Made Nature do in little before his eyesN3
And momently what huge for centuriesO4
And in the veil of vastness and lone deepsO4
She labours at bent his inquiring eyeS
On every source whence knowledge flows for menB2
At some he only sipped at others drankS4
At length when he had gained the master's rightF
By custom sacred from of old to sit
With covered head before the awful rankS4
Of black gowned senators and each of thoseO4
Proud of the scholar was ready at a wordQ3
To speed him onward to what goal he wouldP3
He took his books his well worn cap and gownB2
And leaving with a sigh the ancient wallsO4
Crowned with their crown of stone unchanging grayC
In all the blandishments of youthful spring
Chose for his world the lone ancestral farmH4
With simple gladness met him on the road
His gray haired father elder brother nowX2
Few words were spoken little welcome saidU3
But as they walked the more was understoodP3
If with a less delight he brought him home
Than he who met the prodigal returnedG3
It was with more reliance with more peaceO4
For with the leaning pride that old men feelI
In young strong arms that draw their might from themP
He led him to the house His sister thereF2
Whose kisses were not many but whose eyesO4
Were full of watchfulness and hovering loveN4
Set him beside the fire in the old placeO4
And heaped the table with best country fareF2
When the swift night grew deep the father roseO4
And led him wondering why and where they wentU2
Thorough the limpid dark by tortuous pathT2
Between the corn ricks to a loft aboveN4
The stable where the same old horses sleptY4
Which he had guided that eventful mornB2
Entering he saw a change pursuing handJ2
Had been at work The father leading onB2
Across the floor heaped high with store of grainB2
Opened a door An unexpected lightF
Flashed on him cheerful from a fire and lamp
That burned alone as in a fairy taleI
Behold a little room a curtained bedU3
An easy chair bookshelves and writing desk
An old print of a deep Virgilian woodP3
And one of choosing Hercules The youthT2
Gazed and spoke not The old paternal loveN4
Had sought and found an incarnation newB2
For honouring in his son the simple needsO4
Which his own bounty had begot in himL3
He gave him thus a lonely thinking spaceO4
A silent refuge With a quiet good nightF
He left him dumb with love Faintly beneathT2
The horses stamped and drew the lengthening chainB2
Three sliding years with slowly blended change
Drew round their winter summer autumn spring
Fulfilled of work by hands and brain and heartO3
He laboured as before though when he wouldP3
And Nature urged not he with privilege
Would spare from hours of toil read in his room
Or wander through the moorland to the hillsO4
There on the apex of the world would standJ2
As on an altar burning soul and heartO3
Himself the sacrifice of faith and prayerF2
Gaze in the face of the inviting blueB2
That domed him round ask why it should be blueB2
Pray yet again and with love strengthened heartO3
Go down to lower things with lofty caresO4
When Sundays came the father daughter sonB2
Walked to the church across their own loved fieldsO4
It was an ugly church with scarce a signB2
Of what makes English churches venerableI
Likest a crowing cock upon a heapZ3
It stood but let us say St Peter's cock
Lacking not many a holy rousing charmH4
For one with whose known self it was coevalI
Dawning with it from darkness of the unseenB2
And its low mounds of monumental grassO4
Were far more solemn than great marble tombsO4
For flesh is grass its goodliness the flower
Oh lovely is the face of green churchyard
On sunny afternoons The light itselfO2
Nestles amid the grass and the sweet windZ2
Says I am here no more With sun and windZ2
And crowing cocks who can believe in deathT2
He on such days when from the church they CameA2
And through God's ridges took their thoughtful wayC
The last psalm lingering faintly in their heartsO4
Would look inquiring where his ridge would riseO4
But when it gloomed or rained he turned asideN2
What mattered it to himL3
And as they walked
Homeward right well the father loved to hear
The fresh rills pouring from his son's clear wellI
For the old man clung not to the old aloneB2
Nor leaned the young man only to the newB2
They would the best they sought and followed it
The Pastor fills his office well he saidU3
In homely jest the Past alone he heedsO4
Honours those Jewish times as he were a JewB2
And Christ were neither Jew nor northern manB2
He has no ear for this poor Present Hour
Which wanders up and down the centuriesO4
Like beggar boy roaming the wintry streetsO4
With witless hand held out to passers byS
And yet God made the voice of its many criesO4
Mine be the work that comes first to my handJ2
The lever set I grasp and heave withalI
I love where I live and let my labour flowI
Into the hollows of the neighbour needsO4
Perhaps I like it best I would not chooseO4
Another than the ordered circumstanceO4
This farm is God's as much as yonder townB2
These men and maidens kine and horses hisO4
For them his laws must be incarnatedJ2
In act and fact and so their world redeemedJ2
Though thus he spoke at times he spake not oftJ2
Ruled chief by action what he said he didJ2
No grief was suffered there of man or beastJ2
More than was need no creature fled in fearW
All slaying was with generous suddennessO4
Like God's benignant lightning For he saidJ2
God makes the beasts and loves them dearly wellI
Better than any parent loves his childJ2
It may be would he say for still the may beK
Was sacred with him no less than the isO4
In such humility he lived and wroughtJ2
Hence are they sacred Sprung from God as weK
They are our brethren in a lower kindJ2
And in their face we see the human look
If any said Men look like animalsO4
Each has his type set in the lower kindJ2
His answer was The animals are like menB2
Each has his true type set in the higher kindJ2
Though even there only rough hewn as yetJ2
The hell of cruelty will be the ghostsO4
Of the sad beasts their crowding heads will comeL4
And with encircling slow pain patient eyesO4
Stare the ill man to madnessO4
When he spokeT3
His word behind it had the force of deedsO4
Unborn within him ready to be bornB2
But like his race he promised very slowI
His goodness ever went before his wordJ2
Embodying itself unconsciouslyK
In understanding of the need that prayedJ2
And cheerful help that would outrun the prayerF2
When from great cities came the old sad newsO4
Of crime and wretchedness and children soreF3
With hunger and neglect and cruel blowsO4
He would walk sadly all the afternoonB2
With head down bent and pondering footstep slowI
Arriving ever at the same resultJ2
Concluding ever The best that I can doJ2
For the great world is the same best I canB2
For this my world What truth may be thereinB2
Will pass beyond my narrow circumstanceO4
In truth's own right When a philanthropistJ2
Said pompously It is not for your giftsO4
To spend themselves on common labours thusO4
You owe the world far nobler things than such
He answered him The world is in God's handsO4
This part of it in mine My sacred pastJ2
With all its loves inherited has ledJ2
Hither here left me shall I judge arrogantJ2
Primaeval godlike work in earth and airF2
Seed time and harvest offered fellowship
With God in nature unworthy of my handsO4
I know your argument I know with grief
The crowds of men in whom a starving soulI
Cries through the windows of their hollow eyesO4
For bare humanity nay room to growI
Would I could help them But all crowds are madeJ2
Of individuals and their grief and painB2
Their thirst and hunger all are of the oneB2
Not of the many the true the saving power
Enters the individual door and thenceO4
Issues again in thousand influencesO4
Besieging other doors I cannot throwI
A mass of good into the general midstJ2
Whereof each man may seize his private shareF2
And if one could it were of lowest kindJ2
Not reaching to that hunger of the soulI
Now here I labour whole in the same spotJ2
Where they have known me from my childhood upS3
And I know them each individualI
If there is power in me to help my ownB2
Even of itself it flows beyond my willI
Takes shape in commonest of common actsO4
Meets every humble day's necessityK
I would not always consciously do goodJ2
Not always work from full intent of helpP4
Lest I forget the measure heaped and pressedJ2
And running over which they pour for meK
And never reap the too much of returnB2
In smiling trust and beams from kindly eyesO4
But in the city with a few lame wordsO4
And a few wretched coins sore covetedJ2
To mediate 'twixt my cannot and my wouldJ2
My best attempts would never strike a rootJ2
My scattered corn would turn to wind blown chaff
I should grow weak might weary of my kindJ2
Misunderstood the most where almost knownB2
Baffled and beaten by their unbelief
Years could not place me where I stand this dayJ2
High on the vantage ground of confidenceO4
I might for years toil on and reach no manB2
Besides to leave the thing that nearest liesO4
And choose the thing far off more difficultJ2
The act having no touch of God in itJ2
Who seeks the needy for the pure need's sake
Must straightway die choked in its selfishnessO4
Thus he The world wise schemer for the goodJ2
Held his poor peace and went his trackless wayJ2
What of the vision now the vision fairF2
Sent forth to meet him when at eve he wentJ2
Home from his first day's ploughing Oft he dreamedJ2
She passed him smiling on her stately horseO4
But never band or buckle yielded moreF3
Never again his hands enthroned the maidJ2
He only worshipped with his eyes and wokeT3
Nor woke he then with foolish vain regretJ2
But saying I have seen the beautifulI
Smiled with his eyes upon a flower or birdJ2
Or living form whate'er of gentlenessO4
That met him first and all that morn his faceO4
Would oftener dawn into a blossomy smileI
And ever when he read a lofty taleI
Or when the storied leaf or ballad oldJ2
Or spake or sang of woman very fairF2
Or wondrous good he saw her face aloneB2
The tale was told the song was sung of her
He did not turn aside from other maidsO4
But loved their faces pure and faithful eyesO4
He may have thought One day I wed a maidJ2
And make her mine but never came the maidJ2
Or never came the hour he walked aloneB2
Meantime how fared the lady She had wedJ2
One of the common crowd there must be oreF3
For the gold grains to lie in virgin goldJ2
Lies in the rock enriching not the stoneB2
She was not one who of herself could beK
And she had found no heart which tuned with hersO4
Would beat in rhythm growing into rimeK
She read phantasmagoric tales sans saltJ2
Sans hope sans growth or listlessly conversedJ2
With phantom visitors ladies not friendsO4
Mere spectral forms from fashion's concave glassO4
She haunted gay assemblies ill contentJ2
Witched woods to hide in from her better self
And danced and sang and ached What had she feltJ2
If called up by the ordered sounds and motionsO4
A vision had arisen as once of oldJ2
The minstrel's art laid bare the seer's eyeS
And showed him plenteous waters in the wasteJ2
If the gay dance had vanished from her sightJ2
And she beheld her ploughman lover goI
With his great stride across a lonely fieldJ2
Under the dark blue vault ablaze with starsO4
Lifting his full eyes to the radiant roof
Live with our future or had she beheldJ2
Him studious with space compelling mindJ2
Bent on his slate pursue some planet's courseO4
Or reading justify the poet's wrathT2
Or sage's slow conclusion If a voiceO4
Had whispered then This man in many a dreamK
And many a waking moment of keen joy
Blesses you for the look that woke his heartJ2
That smiled him into life and still undimmedJ2
Lies lamping in the cabinet of his soulI
Would her sad eyes have beamed with sudden lightJ2
Would not her soul half dead with nothingnessO4
Have risen from the couch of its unrestJ2
And looked to heaven again again believedJ2
In God and life courage and duty and love
Would not her soul have sung to its lone self
I have a friend a ploughman who is wiseO4
He knows what God and goodness and fair faithT2
Mean in the words and books of mighty menB2
He nothing heeds the show of worldly thingsO4
But worships the unconquerable truthT2
This man is humble and loves me I willI
Be proud and very humble If he knew meK
Would he go on and love me till we meetJ2
In the third year a heavy harvest fellI
Full filled before the reaping hook and scytheT2
The heat was scorching but the men and maidsO4
Lightened their toil with merry jest and songE2
Rested at mid day and from brimming bowlI
Drank the brown ale and white abundant milk
The last ear fell and spiky stubble stoodJ2
Where waved the forests of dry murmuring cornB2
And sheaves rose piled in shocks like ranged tentsO4
Of an encamping army tent by tentJ2
To stand there while the moon should have her willI
The grain was ripe The harvest carts went outJ2
Broad platformed bearing back the towering loadJ2
With frequent passage 'twixt homeyard and fieldJ2
And half the oats already hid their topsO4
Their ringing rustling wind responsive spraysO4
In the still darkness of the towering stackP2
When in the north low billowy clouds appearedJ2
Blue based white crested in the afternoonB2
And westward darker masses plashed with blueJ2
And outlined vague in misty steep and dellI
Clomb o'er the hill tops thunder was at handJ2
The air was sultry But the upper skyS
Was clear and radiantJ2
Downward went the sunB2
Below the sullen clouds that walled the westJ2
Below the hills below the shadowed worldJ2
The moon looked over the clear eastern wallI
And slanting rose and looked rose looked againB2
And searched for silence in her yellow fieldsO4
But found it not For there the staggering cartsO4
Like overladen beasts crawled homeward stillI
Sped fieldward light and low The laugh broke yetJ2
That lightning of the soul's unclouded skiesO4
Though not so frequent now that toil forgotJ2
Its natural hour Still on the labour wentJ2
Straining to beat the welkin climbing heave
Of the huge rain clouds heavy with their floodsO4
Sleep old enchantress sided with the cloudsO4
The hoisting clouds and cast benumbing spellsO4
On man and horse One youth who walked besideJ2
A ponderous load of sheaves higher than wontJ2
Which dared the lurking levin overheadJ2
Woke with a start falling against the wheelI
That circled slow after the slumbering horseO4
Yet none would yield to soft suggesting sleepZ3
And quit the last few shocks for the wild stormK
Would catch thereby the skirts of Harvest homeK
And hold her lingering half way in the rainB2
The scholar laboured with his men all nightJ2
He did not favour such prone headlong raceO4
With Nature To himself he said The nightJ2
Is sent for sleep we ought to sleep in the nightJ2
And leave the clouds to God Not every stormK
That climbeth heavenward overwhelms the earthT2
And when God wills 'tis better he should willI
What he takes from us never can be lostJ2
But the father so had ordered and the sonB2
Went manful to his work and held his peaceO4
When the dawn blotted pale the clouded eastJ2
The first drops overgrown and helpless fellI
On the last home bound cart oppressed with sheavesO4
And by its side the last in the retreatJ2
The scholar walked slow bringing up the rearW
Half the still lengthening journey he had goneB2
When on opposing strength of upper windsO4
Tumultuous borne at last the labouring racksO4
Met in the zenith and the silence ceasedJ2
The lightning brake and flooded all the worldJ2
Its roar of airy billows following itJ2
The darkness drank the lightning and againB2
Lay more unslaked But ere the darkness cameK
In the full revelation of the flash
Met by some stranger flash from cloudy brainB2
He saw the lady borne upon her horseO4
Careless of thunder as when years agoneB2
He saw her once to see for evermoreF3
Ah ha he said my dreams are come for meK
Now shall they have me For all through the nightJ2
There had been growing trouble in his frameK
An overshadowing of something dire
Arrived at home the weary man and horseO4
Forsook their load the one went to his stallI
The other sought the haven of his bedJ2
There slept and moaned cried out and woke and sleptJ2
Through all the netted labyrinth of his brainB2
The fever shot its pent malignant fire
'Twas evening when to passing consciousnessO4
He woke and saw his father by his sideJ2
His guardian form in every vision drear
That followed watching shone and the healing faceO4
Of his true sister gleamed through all his painB2
Soothing and strengthening with cloudy hope
Till at the weary last of many daysO4
He woke to sweet quiescent consciousnessO4
Enfeebled much but with a new born life
His soul a summer evening after rainB2
Slow with the passing weeks he gathered strengthT2
And ere the winter came seemed half restoredJ2
And hope was busy But a fire too keenB2
Burned in his larger eyes and in his cheek
Too ready came the blood at faintest callI
Glowing a fair quick fading sunset hueJ2
Before its hour a biting frost set inB2
It gnawed with icy fangs his shrinking life
And that disease bemoaned throughout the landJ2
The smiling hoping wasting radiant deathT2
Was born of outer cold and inner heatJ2
One morn his sister entering while he sleptJ2
Spied in his listless hand a handkerchief
Spotted with red Cold with dismay she stoodJ2
Scared motionless But catching in the glassO4
The sudden glimpse of a white ghostly faceO4
She started at herself and he awokeT3
He understood and said with smile unsure
Bright red was evermore my master hueJ2
And see I have it in me that is whyS
She shuddered and he saw nor jested more
But smiled again and looked Death in the faceO4
When first he saw the red blood outward leapZ3
As if it sought again the fountain heartJ2
Whence it had flowed to fill the golden bowlI
No terror seized an exaltation swelledJ2
His spirit now the pondered mystery
Would fling its portals wide and take him inB2
One of the awful dead Them fools conceive
As ghosts that fleet and pine bereft of weightJ2
And half their valued lives he otherwiseO4
Hoped now and now expected and againB2
Said only I await the thing to comeK
So waits a child the lingering curtain's riseO4
While yet the panting lamps restrained burnB2
At half height and the theatre is fullI
But as the days went by they brought sad hoursO4
When he would sit his hands upon his kneesO4
Drooping and longing for the wine of life
For when the ninefold crystal spheres through which
The outer light sinks in are cracked and brokenB2
Yet able to keep in the 'piring life
Distressing shadows cross the chequered soulI
Poor Psyche trims her irresponsive lamp
And anxious visits oft her store of oilI
And still the shadows fall she must go pray
And God who speaks to man at door and latticeO4
Glorious in stars and winds and flowers and wavesO4
Not seldom shuts the door and dims the paneB2
That isled in calm his still small voice may soundJ2
The clearer by the hearth in the inner roomK
Sound on until the soul fulfilled of hope
Look undismayed on that which cannot killI
And saying in the dark I will the lightJ2
Glow in the gloom the present will of GodJ2
Then melt the shadows of her shaken houseO4
He when his lamp shot up a spiring flameK
Would thus break forth and climb the heaven of prayer
Do with us what thou wilt all glorious heartJ2
Thou God of them that are not yet but grow
We trust thee for the thing we shall be yetJ2
We too are ill content with what we are
And when the flame sank and the darkness fellI
He lived by faith which is the soul of sightJ2
Yet in the frequent pauses of the lightJ2
When all was dreary as a drizzling thawI
When sleep came not although he prayed for sleepZ3
And wakeful weary on his bed he lay
Like frozen lake that has no heaven withinB2
Then then the sleeping horror woke and stirredJ2
And with the tooth of unsure thought beganB2
To gnaw the roots of life What if there were
No truth in beauty What if lovelinessO4
Were but the invention of a happier moodJ2
For if my mind can dim or slay the Fair
Why should it not enhance or make the Fair
Nay Psyche answered for a tired manB2
May drop his eyelids on the visible worldJ2
To whom no dreams when fancy flieth free
Will bring the sunny excellence of day
'Tis easy to destroy God only makesO4
Could my invention sweep the lucid wavesO4
With purple shadows next create the joy
With which my life beholds them Wherefore shouldJ2
One meet the other without thought of mineB2
If God did not mean beauty in them and me
But dropped them helpless shadows from his sunB2
There were no God his image not being mineB2
And I should seek in vain for any blissO4
Oh lack and doubt and fear can only comeK
Because of plenty confidence and love
Those are the shadow forms about the feetJ2
Of these because they are not crystal clear
To the all searching sun in which they live
Dread of its loss is Beauty's certain sealI
Thus reasoned mourning Psyche Suddenly
The sun would rise and vanish Psyche's lamp
Absorbed in light not swallowed in the dark
It was a wintry time with sunny daysO4
With visitings of April airs and scentsO4
That came with sudden presence unforetoldJ2
As brushed from off the outer spheres of spring
In the great world where all is old and newJ2
Strange longings he had never known till nowB2
Awoke within him flowers of rooted hope
For a whole silent hour he would sit and gazeO4
Upon the distant hills whose dazzling snow
Starred the dim blue or down their dark ravinesO4
Crept vaporous until the fancy roseO4
That on the other side those rampart wallsO4
A mighty woman sat with waiting faceO4
Calm as that life whose rapt intensityJ2
Borders on death silent waiting for himK
To make him grand for ever with a kissO4
And send him silent through the toning worldsO4
The father saw him waning The proud sire
Beheld his pride go drooping in the coldJ2
Like snowdrop on its grave and sighed deep thanksO4
That he was old But evermore the sonB2
Looked up and smiled as he had heard strange newsO4
Across the waste of tree buds and primrosesO4
Then all at once the other mood would comeK
And like a troubled child he would seek his father
For father comfort which fathers all can give
Sure there is one great Father in the worldJ2
Since every word of good from fathers' lipsO4
Falleth with such authority although
They are but men as we This trembling sonB2
Who saw the unknown death draw hourly nigher
Sought solace in his father's tendernessO4
And made him strong to dieJ2
One shining dayJ2
Shining with sun and snow he came and saidJ2
What think you father is death very sore
My boy the father answered we will tryJ2
To make it easy with the present GodJ2
But as I judge though more by hope than sightJ2
It seems much harder to the lookers onB2
Than to the man who dies Each panting breathT2
We call a gasp may be in him the cryJ2
Of infant eagerness or at worst the sob
With which the unclothed spirit step by step
Wades forth into the cool eternal seaJ2
I think my boy death has two sides to itJ2
One sunny and one dark as this round earthT2
Is every day half sunny and half dark
We on the dark side call the mystery deathT2
They on the other looking down in lightJ2
Wait the glad birth with other tears than oursO4
Be near me father when I die he saidJ2
I will my boy until a better Father
Draws your hand out of mine Be near in turnB2
When my time comes you in the light beyondJ2
And knowing well the country I in the dark
The days went by until the tender greenB2
Shone through the snow in patches Then the hope
Of life reviving faintly stirred his heartJ2
For the spring drew him warm soft budding spring
With promises and he went forth to meet her
But he who once had strode a king on the fieldsO4
Walked softly now lay on the daisied grassO4
And sighed sometimes in secret that so soonB2
The earth with all its suns and harvests fair
Must lie far off an old forsaken thing
But though I lingering listen to the oldJ2
Ere yet I strike new chords that seize the oldJ2
And lift their lost souls up the music stair
Think not he was too fearful faint of heartJ2
To look the blank unknown full in the voidJ2
For he had hope in God the growth of yearsO4
Of ponderings of childish aspirationsO4
Of prayers and readings and repentancesO4
For something in him had ever sought the peaceO4
Of other something deeper in him stillI
A faint sound sighing for a harmonyJ2
With other fainter sounds that softly drew
Nearer and nearer from the unknown depthsO4
Where the Individual goeth out in GodJ2
The something in him heard and hearing listenedJ2
And sought the way by which the music cameK
Hoping at last to find the face of himK
To whom Saint John said Lord with holy awe
And on his bosom fearless leaned the whileI
As his slow spring came on the swelling life
The new creation inside of the oldJ2
Pressed up in buds toward the invisibleI
And burst the crumbling mould wherein it layJ2
Not once he thought of that still churchyard nowB2
He looked away from earth and loved the skyJ2
One earthly notion only clung to himK
He thanked God that he died not in the coldJ2
For said he I would rather go abroadJ2
When the sun shines and birds are singing blithe ItJ2
may be that we know not aught of placeO4
Or any sense and only live in thoughtJ2
But knowing not I cling to warmth and lightJ2
I may pass forth into the sea of air
That swings its massy waves around the earthT2
And I would rather go when it is fullI
Of light and blue and larks than when gray fog
Dulls it with steams of old earth winter sick
Now in the dawn of summer I shall dieJ2
Sinking asleep ere sunset I will hope
And going with the light And when they sayJ2
'He's dead he rests at last his face is changed '-
I shall be saying Yet yet I live I love '-
The weary nights did much to humble himK
They made the good he knew seem all ill knownB2
He would go by and by to school againB2
Father he said I am nothing but Thou artJ2
Like half asleep whole dreaming child he wasO4
Who longing for his mother has forgotJ2
The arms about him holding him to her heartJ2
Mother he murmuring moans she wakes him upS3
That he may see her face and sleep indeedJ2
Father we need thy winter as thy spring
We need thy earthquakes as thy summer showersO4
But through them all thy strong arms carry usO4
Thy strong heart bearing large share in our grief
Because thou lovest goodness more than joy
In them thou lovest thou dost let them grieve
We must not vex thee with our peevish criesO4
But look into thy face and hold thee fastJ2
And say O Father Father when the painB2
Seems overstrong Remember our poor heartsO4
We never grasp the zenith of the timeK
We have no spring except in winter prayersO4
But we believe alas we only hope ThatJ2
one day we shall thank thee perfectlyJ2
For every disappointment pang and shameK
That drove us to the bosom of thy love
One night as oft he lay and could not sleepZ3
His spirit was a chamber empty dark
Through which bright pictures passed of the outer worldJ2
The regnant Will gazed passive on the show
The magic tube through which the shadows cameK
Witch Memory turned and stayed In ones and troopsO4
Glided across the field the things that were
Silent and sorrowful like all things oldJ2
Even old rose leaves have a mournful scentJ2
And old brown letters are more sad than gravesO4
At length as ever in such vision hoursO4
Came the bright maiden high upon her horseO4
Will started all awake passive no more
And necromantic sage the apparitionB2
That came unbid commanded to abideJ2
Gathered around her form his brooding thoughtsO4
How had she fared spinning her historyJ2
Into a psyche cradle With what wingsO4
Would she come forth to greet the aeonian summer
Glistening with feathery dust of silver or
Dull red and seared with spots of black ingrainedJ2
I know he said some women fail of life
The rose hath shed her leaves is she a roseO4
The fount of possibilities beganB2
To gurgle threatful underneath the thoughtJ2
Anon the geyser column raging roseO4
For purest souls sometimes have direst fearsO4
In ghost hours when the shadow of the earthT2
Is cast on half her children and the sunB2
Is busy giving daylight to the restJ2
Oh God he cried if she be such as thoseO4
Angels in the eyes of poet boys who stillI
Fancy the wavings of invisible wingsO4
But in their own familiar chamber thoughtsO4
Common as clay and of the trodden earthT2
It cannot cannot be She is of GodJ2
And yet things lovely perish higher life
Gives deeper death fair gifts make fouler faultsO4
Women themselves I dare not think the restJ2
Such thoughts went walking up and down his soulI
But found at last a spot wherein to restJ2
Building a resolution for the dayJ2
The next day and the next he was too wornB2
To clothe intent in body of a deedJ2
A cold dry wind blew from the unkindly eastJ2
Making him feel as he had come to the earthT2
Before God's spirit moved on the water's faceO4
To make it ready for himK
But the thirdJ2
Morning rose radiant A genial windJ2
Rippled the blue air 'neath the golden sunB2
And brought glad summer tidings from the southT2
He lay now in his father's room for there
The southern sun poured all the warmth he hadJ2
His rays fell on the fire alive with flamesO4
And turned it ghostly pale and would have slainB2
Even as the sunshine of the higher life
Quenching the glow of this leaves but a coalI
He rose and sat him down 'twixt sun and fire
Two lives fought in him for the masteryJ2
And half from each forth flowed the written streamK
Lady I owe thee much Stay not to look
Upon my name I write it but I dateJ2
From the churchyard where it shall lie in peaceO4
Thou reading it Thou know'st me not at allI
Nor dared I write but death is crowning meJ2
Thy equal If my boldness yet offendJ2
Lo pure in my intent I am with the ghostsO4
Where when thou comest thou hast already knownB2
God equal makes at first and Death at lastJ2
But pardon lady Ere I had begunB2
My thoughts moved toward thee with a gentle flow
That bore a depth of waters when I took
My pen to write they rushed into a gulf
Precipitate and foamy Can it beJ2
That Death who humbles all hath made me proudJ2
Lady thy loveliness hath walked my brainB2
As if I were thy heritage bequeathedJ2
From many sires yet only from afar
I have worshipped thee content to know the visionB2
Had lifted me above myself who sawO4
And ta'en my angel nigh thee in thy heavenB2
Thy beauty lady hath overflowed and madeJ2
Another being beautiful besideJ2
With virtue to aspire and be itself
Afar as angels or the sainted deadJ2
Yet near as loveliness can haunt a manB2
Thy form hath put on each revealing dressO4
Of circumstance and history high or low
In which from any tale of selfless life
Essential womanhood hath shone on meJ2
Ten years have passed away since the first timeK
Which was the last I saw thee What have theseO4
Made or unmade in thee I ask myself
O lovely in my memory art thouB2
As lovely in thyself Thy glory thenB2
Was what God made thee art thou such indeedJ2
Forgive my boldness lady I am deadJ2
The dead may cry their voices are so smallI
I have a prayer to make thee hear the deadJ2
Lady for God's sake be as beautifulI
As that white form that dwelleth in my heartJ2
Yea better still as that ideal Pure
That waketh in thee when thou prayest GodJ2
Or helpest thy poor neighbour For myself
I pray For if I die and find that sheJ2
My woman glory lives in common air
Is not so very radiant after allI
My sad face will afflict the calm eyed ghostsO4
Unused to see such rooted sorrow there
With palm to palm my kneeling ghost imploresO4
Thee living lady justify my faithT2
In womanhood's white handed noblenessO4
And thee its revelation unto meJ2
But I bethink me If thou turn thy thoughtsO4
Upon thyself even for that great sake
Of purity and conscious whiteness' self
Thou wilt but half succeed The other half
Is to forget the former yea thyself
Quenching thy moonlight in the blaze of dayJ2
Turning thy being full unto thy GodJ2
Be thou in him a pure twice holy childJ2
Doing the right with sweet unconsciousnessO4
Having God in thee thy completing soulI
Lady I die the Father holds me upS3
It is not much to thee that I should dieJ2
It may be much to know he holds me upS3
I thank thee lady for the gentle look
Which crowned me from thine eyes ten years ago
Ere clothed in nimbus of the setting sunB2
Thee from my dazzled eyes thy horse did bear
Proud of his burden My dull tongue was muteJ2
I was a fool before thee but my silenceO4
Was the sole homage possible to me thenB2
That now I speak and fear not is thy giftJ2
The same sweet look be possible to theeJ2
For evermore I bless thee with thine ownB2
And say farewell and go into my grave
No to the sapphire heaven of all my hopesO4
Followed his name in full and then the nameK
Of the green churchyard where his form should lieJ2
Back to his couch he crept weary and saidJ2
O God I am but an attempt at life
Sleep falls again ere I am full awake
Light goeth from me in the morning hour
I have seen nothing clearly felt no thrillI
Of pure emotion save in dreams ah dreamsO4
The high Truth has but flickered in my soulI
Even at such times in wide blue midnight hoursO4
When dawning sudden on my inner worldJ2
New stars came forth revealing unknown depthsO4
New heights of silence quelling all my seaJ2
And for a moment I saw formless factJ2
And knew myself a living lonely thoughtJ2
Isled in the hyaline of Truth alway
I have not reaped earth's harvest O my GodJ2
Have gathered but a few poor wayside flowersO4
Harebells red poppies daisies eyebrights blue
Gathered them by the way for comforting
Have I aimed proudly therefore aimed too low
Striving for something visible in my thoughtJ2
And not the unseen thing hid far in thineB2
Make me content to be a primrose flower
Among thy nations so the fair truth hidJ2
In the sweet primrose come awake in meJ2
And I rejoice an individual soulI
Reflecting thee as truly then divineB2
As if I towered the angel of the sunB2
Once in a southern eve a glowing wormK
Gave me a keener joy than the heaven of starsO4
Thou camest in the worm nearer me thenB2
Nor do I think were I that green delightJ2
I would change to be the shadowy evening star
Ah make me Father anything thou wiltJ2
So be thou will it I am safe with theeJ2
I laugh exulting Make me something GodJ2
Clear sunny veritable purityJ2
Of mere existence in thyself contentJ2
And seeking no compare Sure I have reapedJ2
Earth's harvest if I find this holy deathT2
Now I am ready take me when thou wiltJ2
He laid the letter in his desk with sealI
And superscription When his sister cameK
He told her where to find it afterwardsO4
As the slow eve through paler darker shadesO4
Insensibly declines until at lastJ2
The lordly day is but a memoryJ2
So died he In the hush of noon he diedJ2
The sun shone on why should he not shine onB2
Glad summer noises rose from all the landJ2
The love of God lay warm on hill and plainB2
'Tis well to die in summer
When the breathT2
After a hopeless pause returned no more
The father fell upon his knees and saidJ2
O God I thank thee it is over nowB2
Through the sore time thy hand has led him wellI
Lord let me follow soon and be at restJ2
Therewith he rose and comforted the maidJ2
Who in her brother had lost the pride of life
And wept as all her heaven were only rainB2
Of the loved lady little more I know
I know not if when she had read his wordsO4
She rose in haste and to her chamber wentJ2
And shut the door nor if when she came forthT2
A dawn of holier purpose gleamed acrossO4
The sadness of her brow But this I know
That on a warm autumnal afternoonB2
When headstone shadows crossed three neighbour gravesO4
And like an ended prayer the empty church
Stood in the sunshine or a cenotaph
A little boy who watched a cow near byJ2
Gather her milk where alms of clover fieldsO4
Lay scattered on the sides of silent roadsO4
All sudden saw nor knew whence she had comeK
A lady veiled alone and very stillI
Seated upon a grave Long time she satJ2
And moved not weeping sore the watcher saidJ2
Though how he knew she wept were hard to tellI
At length slow leaning on her elbow downB2
She hid her face a while in the short grassO4
And pulled a something small from off the moundJ2
A blade of grass it must have been he thoughtJ2
For nothing else was there not even a daisyJ2
And put it in a letter Then she roseO4
And glided silent forth over the wallI
Where the two steps on this side and on thatJ2
Shorten the path from westward to the church
The clang of hoofs and sound of light swift wheelsO4
Arose and died upon the listener's ear

George Macdonald


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