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When You are Old
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look your eyes had once,
and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
He Wishes For The Colths Of Heaven
Had I the heavens embroidered cloths,
inwrought with golden and silver light.
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths of night,
and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet;
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.
Down By the Salley Gardens
Down by the Salley Gardens, my love and I did meet.
She passed the Salley Gardens, with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree.
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river, my love and I did stand.
And on my leaning shoulder, she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs.
But I was young and foolish, and now I m full of tears.
Love your life
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults in paradise.
Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling glorious hours, even in a poor house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring.
I do not see, but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there and have as cheering thoughts. As in a palace, the town s poor seem to me often to live the most independent lives of any.
Maybe they are simply great enough to receive without misgiving. Most think that they are above being supported by the town, but it often happens that they are not above supporting themselves by dishonest means, which should be more disreputable.
Cultivate poverty like a garden herb, like sage. Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends. Turn the old, return to them. Things do not change. We change. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.
As I walked out one evening
As I walked out one evening.
Walking down Bristol Street,
the crowds upon the pavement were fields of harvest wheat.
And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing under an arch of the railway:
Love has no ending. I’ll love you, dear, I’ll love you
Till China and Africa meet, and the river jumps over the mountain,
and the salmon sing in the street.
I’ll love you till the ocean is folded and hung up to dry,
and the seven stars go squawking like geese about the sky.
The years shall run like rabbits,
for in my arms I hold the flower of the ages,
and the first love of the world.
But all the clocks in the city began to whirr and chime:
“O let not Time deceive you, you cannot conquer time.’
In the burrows of the nightmare where justice naked is,
time watches from the shadow and coughs when you would kiss.
In headaches and in worry vaguely life leaks away,
and time will have his fancy tomorrow or today.
Into many a green valley drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances and the diver s brilliant bow.
“O plunge your hands in water; Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin and wonder what you’ve missed.’
The glacier knocks in the cupboard, The desert sighs in the bed.
And the crack in the tea-cup opens a lane to the land of the dead.
Where the beggars raffle the banknotes and the giant is enchanting to Jack.
And the Lily-white boy is a roarer, and Jill goes down on her back.
O look, look in the mirror, O look in your distress;
Life remains a blessing although you cannot bless.
O stand, stand at the window as the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour with your crooked heart.’
It was late, late in the evening. The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming, and the deep river ran on.
She Walks in Beauty
She walks in beauty,
like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
meet in her aspect and her eyes,
thus mellowed to that tender light
which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
had half impaired the namelessgrace.
which waves in every raven tress,
or softly lightens o’er her face.
where thoughts serenely sweet express
how pure, how dear their dwelling place.
And on that cheek, and o er that brow, so soft,
so calm, yet eloquent.
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent.
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art
not in lone splendour hung aloft the night and watching,
with eternal lids apart.
Like nature s patient, sleepless Eremite.
The moving waters at their priestlike task of pure ablution round earth’s human shores.
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask of snow upon the mountains and the moors
no—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable.
Pillow’d upon my fair love s ripening breast,
to feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
awake for ever in a sweet unrest.
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoonto death.
Love after Love
The time will come:
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving at your own door,
in your own mirror，
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself,
to the stranger who has loved you all your life,
whom you ignored for another,
who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
So we’ll Go No More A-Roving
So we’ll go no more a-roving,
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.
For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul outwears the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.
Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving.
By the light of the moon.
From The Princess
Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The firefly wakens: waken thou with me.
Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
and like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danae to the stars,
and all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now slides the silent meteor on, and leaves a shining furrow,
as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up, and slips into the bosom of the lake:
so fold thyself, my dearest thou, and slip into my bosom and be lost in me.