II WONDER do you feel to-day
As I have felt since, hand in hand,
We sat down on the grass, to stray
In spirit better through the land,
This morn of Rome and May?
IIFor me, I touched a thought, I know,
Has tantalized me many times,
(Like turns of thread the spiders throw
Mocking across our path) for rhymes
To catch at and let go.
IIIHelp me to hold it! First it left
The yellowing fennel, run to seed
There, branching from the brickwork’s cleft,
Some old tomb’s ruin: yonder weed
Took up the floating weft,
IVWhere one small orange cup amassed
Five beetles,—blind and green they grope
Among the honey-meal: and last,
Everywhere on the grassy slope
I traced it. Hold it fast!
VThe champaign with its endless fleece
Of feathery grasses everywhere!
Silence and passion, joy and peace,
An everlasting wash of air—
Rome’s ghost since her decease.
VISuch life here, through such lengths of hours,
Such miracles performed in play,
Such primal naked forms of flowers,
Such letting nature have her way
While heaven looks from its towers!
VIIHow say you? Let us, O my dove,
Let us be unashamed of soul,
As earth lies bare to heaven above!
How is it under our control
To love or not to love?
VIIII would that you were all to me,
You that are just so much, no more.
Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free!
Where does the fault lie? What the core
O’ the wound, since wound must be?
IXI would I could adopt your will,
See with your eyes, and set my heart
Beating by yours, and drink my fill
At your soul’s springs,—your part my part
In life, for good and ill.
XNo. I yearn upward, touch you close,
Then stand away. I kiss your cheek,
Catch your soul’s warmth,—I pluck the rose
And love it more than tongue can speak—
Then the good minute goes.
XIAlready how am I so far
Out of that minute? Must I go
Still like the thistle-ball, no bar,
Onward, whenever light winds blow,
Fixed by no friendly star?
XIIJust when I seemed about to learn!
Where is the thread now? Off again!
The old trick! Only I discern—
Infinite passion, and the pain
Of finite hearts that yearn.