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Thomas Bailey Aldrich

A Dedication

Take these rhymes into thy grace,
Since they are of thy begetting,
Lady, that dost make each place
Where thou art a jewel's setting.

Some such glamour lend this Book;
Let it be thy poet's wages
That henceforth thy gracious look
Lies reflected on its pages.

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Appreciation

TO the sea-shell’s spiral round
’T is your heart that brings the sound:
The soft sea-murmurs that you hear
Within, are captured from your ear.

You do poets and their song
A grievous wrong,
If your own soul does not bring
To their high imagining
As much beauty as they sing.

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I'll Not Confer With Sorrow

I'll not confer with Sorrow
Till to-morrow;
But Joy shall have her way
This very day.

Ho, eglantine and cresses
For her tresses!--
Let Care, the beggar, wait
Outside the gate.

Tears if you will--but after
Mirth and laughter;
Then, folded hands on breast
And endless rest.

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Pillared Arch and Sculptured Tower

Pillared arch and sculptured tower
Of Ilium have had their hour;
The dust of many a king is blown
On the winds from zone to zone;
Many a warrior sleeps unknown.
Time and Death each hold in thrall,
Yet is Love the lord of all;
Still does Helen's beauty stir
Because a poet sang of her!

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Identity

SOMEWHERE--in desolate wind-swept space--
In Twilight-land--in No-man's land--
Two hurrying Shapes met face to face,
And bade each other stand.

"And who are you?" cried one a-gape,
Shuddering in the gloaming light.
"I know not," said the second Shape,
"I only died last night!"

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Sestet

SENT TO A FRIEND WITH A VOLUME OF TENNYSON

Wouldst thou know the knightly clash of steel on steel?
Or list the throstle singing loud and clear?
Or walk at twilight by some haunted mere
In Surrey; or in throbbing London feel
Life's pulse at highest--hark, the minster's peal! . . .
Turn but the page, that various world is here!

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A Petition

To spring belongs the violet, and the blown
Spice of the roses let the summer own.
Grant me this favor, Muse--all else withhold--
That I may not write verse when I am old.

And yet I pray you, Muse, delay the time!
Be not too ready to deny me rhyme;
And when the hour strikes, as it must, dear Muse,
I beg you very gently break the news.

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Memory

My mind lets go a thousand things
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour--
'T was noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue noon in May--
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then, pausing here, set down its load
Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

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A Mood

A blight, a gloom, I know not what, has crept upon my gladness--
Some vague, remote ancestral touch of sorrow, or of madness;
A fear that is not fear, a pain that has not pain's insistence;
A sense of longing, or of loss, in some foregone exsistence;
A subtle hurt that never pen has writ nor tongue has spoken--
Such hurt perchance as Nature feels wen a blossomed bough is broken.

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Like Crusoe, Walking by the Lonely Strand

Like Crusoe, walking by the lonely strand
And seeing a human footprint on the sand,
Have I this day been startled, finding here,
Set in brown mould, and delicately clear,
Spring's footprint--the first crocus of the year!
O sweet invasion! Farewell solitude!
Soon shall wild creatures of the field and wood
Flock from all sides with much ado and stir,
And make of me most willing prisoner!

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