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The Poetical Works of George MacDonald

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This infant world has taken long to make, Nor hast Thou done with it, but mak'st it yet, And wilt be working on when death has set A new mound in some churchyard for my sake. On flow the centuries without a break; Uprise the mountains, ages without let; The lichens suck; the hard rock's breast they fret; Years more than past, the young earth yet will take. But in the dumbness of the rolling time, No veil of silence shall encompass me-- Thou wilt not once forget and let me be; Rather wouldst thou some old chaotic prime Invade, and, moved by tenderness sublime, Unfold a world, that I, thy child, might see.

A. M. D.

Methinks I see thee, lying straight and low, Silent and darkling, in thy earthy bed, The mighty strength in which I trusted, fled, The long arms lying careless of kiss or blow; On thy tall form I see the night-robe flow Down from the pale, composed face--thy head Crowned with its own dark curls: though thou wast dead, They dressed thee as for sleep, and left thee so! My heart, with cares and questionings oppressed, Not oft since thou didst leave us turns to thee; But wait, my brother, till I too am dead, And thou shalt find that heart more true, more free, More ready in thy love to take its rest, Than when we lay together in one bed.


When at Philippi, he who would have freed Great Rome from tyrants, for the season brief That lay 'twixt him and battle, sought relief From painful thoughts, he in a book did read, That so the death of Portia might not breed Unmanful thoughts, and cloud his mind with grief: Brother of Brutus, of high hearts the chief, When thou at length receiv'st thy heavenly meed, And I have found my hoping not in vain, Tell me my book has wiled away one pang That out of some lone sacred memory sprang, Or wrought an hour's forgetfulness of pain, And I shall rise, my heart brimful of gain, And thank my God amid the golden clang.

TO S. F. S.

They say that lonely sorrows do not chance: More gently, I think, sorrows together go; A new one joins the funeral gliding slow With less of jar than when it breaks the dance. Grief swages grief, and joy doth joy enhance; Nature is generous to her children so. And were they quick to spy the flowers that blow, As quick to feel the sharp-edged stones that lance The foot that must walk naked in life's way,-- Blest by the roadside lily, free from fear, Oftener than hurt by dash of flinty spear, They would walk upright, bold, and earnest-gay; And when the soft night closed the weary day, Would sleep like those that far-off music hear.


In that high country whither thou art gone, Right noble friend, thou walkest with thy peers, The gathered great of many a hundred years! Few are left like thee--few, I say, not none, Else were thy England soon a Babylon, A land of outcry, mockery, and tears! Higher than law, a refuge from its fears, Wast thou, in whom embodied Justice shone. The smile that gracious broke on thy grand face Was like the sunrise of a morn serene Among the mountains, making sweet their awe. Thou both the gentle and the strong didst draw; Thee childhood loved, and on thy breast would lean, As, whence thou cam'st, it knew the lofty place.


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