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"Three days and nights he has lain abed,
Sister Helen,
And he prays in torment to be dead."
"The thing may chance, if he have prayed,
Little brother!"'

Shall God not
Heaven?)

100

"But he says, till you take back your ban, Sister Helen,

""

His soul would pass, yet never can.
"Nay then, shall I slay a living man,
Little brother?""

(0 Mother, Mary Mother, A living soul, between Hell and Heaven!)

"But he calls for ever on your name,
Sister Helen,
And says that he melts before a flame."
"My heart for his pleasure fared the same,

Little brother."
(0 Mother, Mary Mother,
Fire at the heart, between Hell and Heaven!)

"Here's Keith of Westholm riding fast,
Sister Helen,
For I know the white plume on the blast."'
"The hour, the sweet hour I forecast,
Little brother!''
(0 Mother, Mary Mother,
Is the hour sweet, between Hell and Heaven?)

"Three days ago, on his marriage-morn,
Sister Helen,
He sickened, and lies since then forlorn.'
"For bridegroom's side is the bride a thorn,
Little brother?"
(0 Mother, Mary Mother, Is ever to see you ere he die."
Cold bridal cheer, between Hell and Heaven!)"In all that his soul sees, there am I,
Little brother!"'

What word now
Heaven?)

"He stops to speak, and he stills his horse,
Sister Helen;
But his words are drowned in the wind's

""

course.

90Nay hear, nay hear, you must hear perforce, Little brother!''

120

"Oh he says that Keith of Ewern's cry,
Sister Helen,

The soul's one
Heaven!)

(0 Mother, Mary Mother, heard, between Hell and 140

130

"He sends a ring and a broken coin, (0 Mother, Mary Mother, Sister Helen, If he have prayed, between Hell and Heaven!) And bids you mind the banks of Boyne,'

(0 Mother, Mary Mother, sight, between Hell and

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150

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(0 Mother, Mary Mother, Alas, alas, between Hell and Heaven!)

66

To go with him for the love of God!"
'The way is long to his son's abode,
Little brother."

(0 Mother, Mary Mother,
The way is long, between Hell and Heaven!)
'A lady's here, by a dark steed brought,
Sister Helen,

"He cries to you, kneeling in the road, Sister Helen,

So darkly clad, I saw her not."
"See her now or never see aught,
Little brother!"'

(0 Mother, Mary Mother, What more to see, between Hell and Heaven?) 210

"Her hood falls back, and the moon shines
fair,
Sister Helen,

On the Lady of Ewern's golden hair.''
"Blest hour of my power and her despair,
Little brother!"

Hour blest and
Heaven!)

200

(0 Mother, Mary Mother, banned, between Hell and

19 220

"Pale, pale her cheeks, that in pride did glow,
Sister Helen,
'Neath the bridal-wreath three days ago.
"One morn for pride and three days for woe,
Little brother!
O Mother, Mary Mother,
Three days, three nights, between Hell and
Heaven!)

99

"Oh he prays you, as his heart would rive, 190 Her woe's dumb
Sister Helen,
To save his dear son's soul alive."
"Fire cannot slay it, it shall thrive,
Little brother!"

"Her clasped hands stretch from her bending
head,
Sister Helen;
With the loud wind's wail her sobs are wed."
"What wedding-strains hath her bridal-bed,
Little brother?''
(0 Mother, Mary Mother,
What strain but death's, between Hell and
Heaven?)

229

"She may not speak, she sinks in a swoon,
Sister Helen,
She lifts her lips and gasps on the moon.
"Oh! might I but hear her soul's blithe tune,
Little brother!''
(0 Mother, Mary Mother,
cry, between Hell and

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Heaven!) "They've caught her to Westholm's saddlebow, Sister Helen, And her moonlit hair gleams white in its flow." "Let it turn whiter than winter snow,

240

Little brother!''

(0 Mother, Mary Mother, Woe-withered gold, between Hell and Heaven!)

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Or by what spell they have sped.
Still we say as we go,-

"Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day." What of the heart of hate

That beats in thy breast, O Time?-
Red strife from the furthest prime,
And anguish of fierce debate;

War that shatters her slain,
And peace that grinds them as grain,
And eyes fixed ever in vain
On the pitiless eyes of Fate.

Still we say as we go,—

"Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."

What of the heart of love

That bleeds in thy breast, O Man?
Thy kisses snatched 'neath the ban
Of fangs that mock them above;
Thy bells prolonged unto knells,
Thy hope that a breath dispels,
Thy bitter forlorn farewells
And the empty echoes thereof?

Still we say as we go,

"Strange to think by the way, Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."

The sky leans dumb on the sea,
Aweary with all its wings;
And oh! the song the sea sings
Is dark everlastingly.

Our past is clean forgot,

Our present is and is not,
Our future's a sealed seedplot,
And what betwixt them are we?-
We who say as we go,-
"Strange to think by the way,
Whatever there is to know,

That shall we know one day."

The "house of life" was the first of the twelve divisions of the heavens made by old astrologers in casting the horoscope of a man's destiny. This series of a hundred and one son

nets is a faithful record, drawn from Rossetti's own inward experience, "of the mysterious conjunctions and oppositions wrought by Love, Change, and Fate in the House of Life."-Eng. Lit.. p. 373.

Of its own arduous fulness reverent:
Carve it in ivory or in ebony,

As Day or Night may rule; and let Time see
Its flowering crest impearled and orient.
A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals
The Soul,-its converse, to what Power 'tis
due:-

Whether for tribute to the august appeals
Of Life, or dower in Love's high retinue,
It serve; or 'mid the dark wharf's cavernous
breath,

In Charon's palm it pay the toll to Death.

IV. LOVESIGHT

When do I see thee most, beloved one?
When in the light the spirits of mine eyes
Before thy face, their altar, solemnize
The worship of that Love through thee made
known?

Or when in the dusk hours, (we two alone,)
Close-kissed and eloquent of still replies
Thy twilight-hidden glimmering visage lies,
And my soul only sees thy soul its own?
O love, my love! if I no more should see
Thyself, nor on the earth the shadow of thee,
Nor image of thine eyes in any spring,—
How then should sound upon Life's darkening

slope

The ground-whirl of the perished leaves of
Hope,

The wind of Death's imperishable wing?

XIX. SILENT NOON

Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,
The finger-points look through like rosy blooms;
Your eyes smile peace. The pasture gleams and
glooms

'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass. All round our nest, far as the eye can pass, Are golden kingcup-fields with silver edge Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthornhedge.

'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass. Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:

FROM THE HOUSE OF LIFE*
THE SONNET

A Sonnet is a moment's monument,-
Memorial from the Soul's eternity

So this wing'd hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,

To one dead deathless hour. Look that it be, This close-companioned inarticulate hour
Whether for lustral rite or dire portent,
When twofold silence was the song of love.

XLIX-LII. WILLOW WOOD

I

I sat with Love upon a woodside well,
Leaning across the water, I and he;
Nor ever did he speak nor looked at me,

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