The earth was green, the sky was blue:
I saw and heard one sunny morn,
A skylark hang between the two,
A singing speck above the corn;
A stage below, in gay accord,
White butterflies danced on the wing,
And still the singing skylark soared,
And silent sank and soared to sing.
The cornfield stretched a tender green
To right and left beside my walks;
I knew he had a nest unseen
Somewhere among the million stalks:
And as I paused to hear his song,
While swift the sunny moments slid,
Perhaps his mate sat listening long,
And listened longer than I did.
The summer nights are short
Where northern days are long:
For hours and hours lark after lark
Trills out his song.
The summer days are short
Where southern nights are long:
Yet short the night when nightingales
Trill out their song.
There is but one May in the year,
And sometimes May is wet and cold;
There is but one May in the year
Before the year grows old.
Yet though it be the chilliest May,
With least of sun and most of showers,
Its wind and dew, its night and day,
Bring up the flowers.
I have a little husband
And he is gone to sea,
The winds that whistle round his ship
Fly home to me.
The winds that sigh about me
Return again to him;
So I would fly, if only I
Were light of limb.
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be—
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
When fishes set umbrellas up
If the rain—drops run,
Lizards will want their parasols
To shade them from the sun.
What will you give me for my pound?
Full twenty shillings round.
What will you give me for my shilling?
Twelve pence to give I’m willing.
What will you give me for my penny?
Four farthings, just so many.
Hear what the mournful linnets say:
‘We built our nest compact and warm,
But cruel boys came round our way
And took our summerhouse by storm.
‘They crushed the eggs so neatly laid;
So now we sit with drooping wing,
And watch the ruin they have made,
Too late to build, too sad to sing.’
It’s a weary life, it is, she said:
Doubly blank in a woman’s lot:
I wish and I wish I were a man:
Or, better then any being, were not:
Were nothing at all in all the world,
Not a body and not a soul:
Not so much as a grain of dust
Or a drop of water from pole to pole.
Still the world would wag on the same,
Still the seasons go and come:
Blossoms bloom as in days of old,
Cherries ripen and wild bees hum.
None would miss me in all the world,
How much less would care or weep:
I should be nothing, while all the rest
Would wake and weary and fall asleep.
The rose with such a bonny blush,
What has the rose to blush about?
If it’s the sun that makes her flush,
What’s in the sun to flush about?
Oh roses for the flush of youth,
And laurel for the perfect prime;
But pluck an ivy branch for me
Grown old before my time.
Oh violets for the grave of youth,
And bay for those dead in their prime;
Give me the withered leaves I chose
Before in the old time.
The splendour of the kindling day,
The splendor of the setting sun,
These move my soul to wend its way,
And have done
With all we grasp and toil amongst and say.
The paling roses of a cloud,
The fading bow that arches space,
These woo my fancy toward my shroud,
Toward the place
Of faces veil’d, and heads discrown’d and bow’d.
The nation of the awful stars,
The wandering star whose blaze is brief,
These make me beat against the bars
Of my grief;
My tedious grief, twin to the life it mars.
O fretted heart toss’d to and fro,
So fain to flee, so fain to rest!
All glories that are high or low,
East or west,
Grow dim to thee who art so fain to go.