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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/74

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I sat alone with my conscience,
In a place where time had ceased,
And we talked of my former living
In the land where the years increased.
And I felt I should have to answer
The question it put to me,
And to face the answer and question
Throughout an eternity.
The ghosts of forgotten actions
Come floating before my sight,
And things that I thought were dead things
Were alive with a terrible might.
And the vision of all my past life
Was an awful thing to face, —
Alone with my conscience sitting
In that solemnly silent place.
And I thought of a far-away warning,
Of a sorrow that was to be mine,
In a land that then was the future,
But now is the present time.
And I thought of my former thinking
Of the judgment-day to be,
But sitting alone with my conscience
Seemed judgment enough for me.
And I wondered if there was a future
To this land beyond the grave;
But no one gave me an answer,
And no one came to save.
Then I felt that the future was present,
And the present would never go by,
For it was but the thought of my past life
Grown into eternity.
Then I woke from my timely dreaming,
And the vision passed away,
And I knew the far-away warning
Was a warning of yesterday, —
And I pray that I may not forget it,
In this land before the grave,
That I may not cry in the future,
And no one come to save.
And so I have learnt a lesson
Which I ought to have known before,
And which, though I learnt it dreaming,
I hope to forget no more.
So I sit alone with my conscience
In the place where the years increase,
And I try to remember the future
In the land where time will cease.
And I know of the future judgment,
How dreadful soe'er it be,
That to sit alone with my conscience
Will be judgment enough for me.



(James Lorimer Graham died at Florence,
April 30, 1876.)

Life may give for love to death
Little; what are life's gifts worth
To the dead wrapt round with earth?
Yet from lips of living breath
Sighs or words we are fain to give,
All that yet, while yet we live,
Life may give for love to death.

Dead so long before his day,
Passed out of the Italian sun
To the dark where all is done,
Fallen upon the verge of May,
Here at life's and April's end
How should song salute my friend
Dead so long before his day?

Not a kindlier life or sweeter
Time, that lights and quenches men,
Now may quench or light again,
Mingling with the mystic metre
Woven of all men's lives with his
Not a clearer note than this,
Not a kindlier life or sweeter.

In this heavenliest part of earth
He that living loved the light,
Light and song, may rest aright,
One in death, if strange in birth,
With the deathless dead that make
Life the lovelier for their sake
In this heavenliest part of earth.

Light, and song, and sleep at last —
Struggling hands and suppliant knees
Get no goodlier gift than these.
Song that holds remembrance fast,
Light that lightens death, attend
Round their graves who have to friend
Light, and song, and sleep at last.

A. C. Swineburne.


The bluest grey — the greyest blue,
Where golden gleaming stars are set;
A moon whose glorious yellow waves
Make fair the rippled rivulet.

Night has her curtain over all;
The firs show dark against the sky:
The only sound is in the song
Of a late nightingale close by.

The wooded walks which seemed so sweet
Seen in the morning's faery light,
Now dim and shadowy hold no charm,
Save the mysterious' charm of night,

One swallow stirs, the gold stars fade,
In the cold sky a chill wind wakes;
The grey clouds frighten out the morn,
And thro' pale mist the new day breaks.

Good morn — good night — which is the best?
God grant some day that I may find
Both true: good morn to joy begun,
Good night to sorrows left behind.

Sunday Magazine.