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Tanisha Sethi

Abstract


4  

Tanisha Sethi

Abstract


In Memoriam

In Memoriam

15 mins 205 15 mins 205

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,  Whom we, that have not seen thy face,  By faith, and faith alone, embrace,Believing where we cannot prove; Thine are these orbs of light and shade;  Thou madest Life in man and brute;  Thou madest Death; and lo, thy footIs on the skull which thou hast made. Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:Thou madest man, he knows not why,He thinks he was not made to die;And thou hast made him: thou art just. Thou seemest human and divine,  The highest, holiest manhood, thou.  Our wills are ours, we know not how;Our wills are ours, to make them thine. Our little systems have their day;  They have their day and cease to be:  They are but broken lights of thee,And thou, O Lord, art more than they. We have but faith: we cannot know;  For knowledge is of things we see  And yet we trust it comes from thee,A beam in darkness: let it grow. Let knowledge grow from more to more,  But more of reverence in us dwell;  That mind and soul, according well,May make one music as before, But vaster. We are fools and slight;  We mock thee when we do not fear:  But help thy foolish ones to bear;Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light. Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;  What seem'd my worth since I began;  For merit lives from man to man,And not from man, O Lord, to thee. Forgive my grief for one removed,  Thy creature, whom I found so fair.  I trust he lives in thee, and thereI find him worthier to be loved. Forgive these wild and wandering cries,  Confusions of a wasted youth;  Forgive them where they fail in truth,And in thy wisdom make me wise. II held it truth, with him who sings  To one clear harp in divers tones,  That men may rise on stepping-stonesOf their dead selves to higher things. But who shall so forecast the years  And find in loss a gain to match?  Or reach a hand thro' time to catchThe far-off interest of tears? Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown'd,  Let darkness keep her raven gloss:  Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,To dance with death, to beat the ground, Than that the victor Hours should scorn  The long result of love, and boast,  `Behold the man that loved and lost,But all he was is overworn.' IIOld Yew, which graspest at the stones  That name the under-lying dead,  Thy fibres net the dreamless head,Thy roots are wrapt about the bones. The seasons bring the flower again,  And bring the firstling to the flock;  And in the dusk of thee, the clockBeats out the little lives of men. O, not for thee the glow, the bloom,  Who changest not in any gale,  Nor branding summer suns availTo touch thy thousand years of gloom: And gazing on thee, sullen tree,  Sick for thy stubborn hardihood,  I seem to fail from out my bloodAnd grow incorporate into thee. IIIO Sorrow, cruel fellowship,  O Priestess in the vaults of Death,  O sweet and bitter in a breath,What whispers from thy lying lip? 'The stars,' she whispers, `blindly run;  A web is wov'n across the sky;  From out waste places comes a cry,And murmurs from the dying sun: 'And all the phantom, Nature, stands—  With all the music in her tone,  A hollow echo of my own,—A hollow form with empty hands.' And shall I take a thing so blind,  Embrace her as my natural good;  Or crush her, like a vice of blood,Upon the threshold of the mind? IVTo Sleep I give my powers away;  My will is bondsman to the dark;  I sit within a helmless bark,And with my heart I muse and say: O heart, how fares it with thee now,  That thou should'st fail from thy desire,  Who scarcely darest to inquire,'What is it makes me beat so low?' Something it is which thou hast lost,  Some pleasure from thine early years.  Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears,That grief hath shaken into frost! Such clouds of nameless trouble cross  All night below the darken'd eyes;  With morning wakes the will, and cries, 'Thou shalt not be the fool of loss.' VI sometimes hold it half a sin  To put in words the grief I feel;  For words, like Nature, half revealAnd half conceal the Soul within. But, for the unquiet heart and brain,  A use in measured language lies;  The sad mechanic exercise,Like dull narcotics, numbing pain. In words, like weeds, I'll wrap me o'er,  Like coarsest clothes against the cold:  But that large grief which these enfoldIs given in outline and no more. VIOne writes, that `Other friends remain,'  That `Loss is common to the race'—  And common is the commonplace,And vacant chaff well meant for grain. That loss is common would not make  My own less bitter, rather more:  Too common! Never morning woreTo evening, but some heart did break. O father, wheresoe'er thou be,  Who pledgest now thy gallant son;  A shot, ere half thy draught be done,Hath still'd the life that beat from thee. O mother, praying God will save  Thy sailor,—while thy head is bow'd,  His heavy-shotted hammock-shroudDrops in his vast and wandering grave. Ye know no more than I who wrought  At that last hour to please him well;  Who mused on all I had to tell,And something written, something thought; Expecting still his advent home;  And ever met him on his way  With wishes, thinking, `here to-day,'Or `here to-morrow will he come.' O somewhere, meek, unconscious dove,  That sittest ranging golden hair;  And glad to find thyself so fair,Poor child, that waitest for thy love! For now her father's chimney glows  In expectation of a guest;  And thinking `this will please him best,'She takes a riband or a rose; For he will see them on to-night;  And with the thought her colour burns;  And, having left the glass, she turnsOnce more to set a ringlet right; And, even when she turn'd, the curse  Had fallen, and her future Lord  Was drown'd in passing thro' the ford,Or kill'd in falling from his horse. O what to her shall be the end?  And what to me remains of good?  To her, perpetual maidenhood,And unto me no second friend. VIIDark house, by which once more I stand  Here in the long unlovely street,  Doors, where my heart was used to beatSo quickly, waiting for a hand, A hand that can be clasp'd no more—  Behold me, for I cannot sleep,  And like a guilty thing I creepAt earliest morning to the door. He is not here; but far away  The noise of life begins again,  And ghastly thro' the drizzling rainOn the bald street breaks the blank day. VIIIA happy lover who has come  To look on her that loves him well,  Who 'lights and rings the gateway bell,And learns her gone and far from home; He saddens, all the magic light  Dies off at once from bower and hall,  And all the place is dark, and allThe chambers emptied of delight: So find I every pleasant spot  In which we two were wont to meet,  The field, the chamber, and the street,For all is dark where thou art not. Yet as that other, wandering there  In those deserted walks, may find  A flower beat with rain and wind,Which once she foster'd up with care; So seems it in my deep regret,  O my forsaken heart, with thee  And this poor flower of poesyWhich little cared for fades not yet. But since it pleased a vanish'd eye,  I go to plant it on his tomb,  That if it can it there may bloom,Or, dying, there at least may die. IXFair ship, that from the Italian shore  Sailest the placid ocean-plains  With my lost Arthur's loved remains,Spread thy full wings, and waft him o'er. So draw him home to those that mourn  In vain; a favourable speed  Ruffle thy mirror'd mast, and leadThro' prosperous floods his holy urn. All night no ruder air perplex  Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright  As our pure love, thro' early lightShall glimmer on the dewy decks. Sphere all your lights around, above;  Sleep, gentle heavens, before the prow;  Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now,My friend, the brother of my love; My Arthur, whom I shall not see  Till all my widow'd race be run;  Dear as the mother to the son,More than my brothers are to me. XI hear the noise about thy keel;  I hear the bell struck in the night:  I see the cabin-window bright;I see the sailor at the wheel. Thou bring'st the sailor to his wife,  And travell'd men from foreign lands;  And letters unto trembling hands;And, thy dark freight, a vanish'd life. So bring him; we have idle dreams:  This look of quiet flatters thus  Our home-bred fancies. O to us,The fools of habit, sweeter seems To rest beneath the clover sod,  That takes the sunshine and the rains,  Or where the kneeling hamlet drainsThe chalice of the grapes of God; Than if with thee the roaring wells  Should gulf him fathom-deep in brine;  And hands so often clasp'd in mine,Should toss with tangle and with shells. XICalm is the morn without a sound,  Calm as to suit a calmer grief,  And only thro' the faded leafThe chestnut pattering to the ground: Calm and deep peace on this high world,  And on these dews that drench the furze,  And all the silvery gossamersThat twinkle into green and gold: Calm and still light on yon great plain  That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,  And crowded farms and lessening towers,To mingle with the bounding main: Calm and deep peace in this wide air,  These leaves that redden to the fall;  And in my heart, if calm at all,If any calm, a calm despair: Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,  And waves that sway themselves in rest,  And dead calm in that noble breastWhich heaves but with the heaving deep. XIILo, as a dove when up she springs  To bear thro' Heaven a tale of woe,  Some dolorous message knit belowThe wild pulsation of her wings; Like her I go; I cannot stay;  I leave this mortal ark behind,  A weight of nerves without a mind,And leave the cliffs, and haste away O'er ocean-mirrors rounded large,  And reach the glow of southern skies,  And see the sails at distance rise,And linger weeping on the marge, And saying; `Comes he thus, my friend?  Is this the end of all my care?'  And circle moaning in the air:'Is this the end? Is this the end?' And forward dart again, and play  About the prow, and back return  To where the body sits, and learnThat I have been an hour away. XIIITears of the widower, when he sees  A late-lost form that sleep reveals,  And moves his doubtful arms, and feelsHer place is empty, fall like these; Which weep a loss for ever new,  A void where heart on heart reposed;  And, where warm hands have prest and closed,Silence, till I be silent too. Which weep the comrade of my choice,  An awful thought, a life removed,  The human-hearted man I loved,A Spirit, not a breathing voice. Come, Time, and teach me, many years,  I do not suffer in a dream;  For now so strange do these things seem,Mine eyes have leisure for their tears; My fancies time to rise on wing,  And glance about the approaching sails,  As tho' they brought but merchants' bales,And not the burthen that they bring. XIVIf one should bring me this report,  That thou hadst touch'd the land to-day,  And I went down unto the quay,And found thee lying in the port; And standing, muffled round with woe,  Should see thy passengers in rank  Come stepping lightly down the plank,And beckoning unto those they know; And if along with these should come  The man I held as half-divine;  Should strike a sudden hand in mine,And ask a thousand things of home; And I should tell him all my pain,  And how my life had droop'd of late,  And he should sorrow o'er my stateAnd marvel what possess'd my brain; And I perceived no touch of change,  No hint of death in all his frame,  But found him all in all the same,I should not feel it to be strange. XVTo-night the winds begin to rise  And roar from yonder dropping day:  The last red leaf is whirl'd away,The rooks are blown about the skies; The forest crack'd, the waters curl'd,  The cattle huddled on the lea;  And wildly dash'd on tower and treeThe sunbeam strikes along the world: And but for fancies, which aver  That all thy motions gently pass  Athwart a plane of molten glass,I scarce could brook the strain and stir That makes the barren branches loud;  And but for fear it is not so,  The wild unrest that lives in woeWould dote and pore on yonder cloud That rises upward always higher,  And onward drags a labouring breast,  And topples round the dreary west,A looming bastion fringed with fire. XVIWhat words are these have falle'n from me?  Can calm despair and wild unrest  Be tenants of a single breast,Or sorrow such a changeling be? Or cloth she only seem to take  The touch of change in calm or storm;  But knows no more of transient formIn her deep self, than some dead lake That holds the shadow of a lark  Hung in the shadow of a heaven?  Or has the shock, so harshly given,Confused me like the unhappy bark That strikes by night a craggy shelf,  And staggers blindly ere she sink?  And stunn'd me from my power to thinkAnd all my knowledge of myself; And made me that delirious man  Whose fancy fuses old and new,  And flashes into false and true,And mingles all without a plan? XVIIThou comest, much wept for: such a breeze  Compell'd thy canvas, and my prayer  Was as the whisper of an airTo breathe thee over lonely seas. For I in spirit saw thee move  Thro' circles of the bounding sky,  Week after week: the days go by:Come quick, thou bringest all I love. Henceforth, wherever thou may'st roam,  My blessing, like a line of light,  Is on the waters day and night,And like a beacon guards thee home. So may whatever tempest mars  Mid-ocean, spare thee, sacred bark;  And balmy drops in summer darkSlide from the bosom of the stars. So kind an office hath been done,  Such precious relics brought by thee;  The dust of him I shall not seeTill all my widow'd race be run. XVIII'Tis well; 'tis something; we may stand  Where he in English earth is laid,  And from his ashes may be madeThe violet of his native land. 'Tis little; but it looks in truth  As if the quiet bones were blest  Among familiar names to restAnd in the places of his youth. Come then, pure hands, and bear the head  That sleeps or wears the mask of sleep,  And come, whatever loves to weep,And hear the ritual of the dead. Ah yet, ev'n yet, if this might be,  I, falling on his faithful heart,  Would breathing thro' his lips impartThe life that almost dies in me; That dies not, but endures with pain,  And slowly forms the firmer mind,  Treasuring the look it cannot find,The words that are not heard again. XIXThe Danube to the Severn gave  The darken'd heart that beat no more;  They laid him by the pleasant shore,And in the hearing of the wave. There twice a day the Severn fills;  The salt sea-water passes by,  And hushes half the babbling Wye,And makes a silence in the hills. The Wye is hush'd nor moved along,  And hush'd my deepest grief of all,  When fill'd with tears that cannot fall,I brim with sorrow drowning song. The tide flows down, the wave again  Is vocal in its wooded walls;  My deeper anguish also falls,And I can speak a little then. XXThe lesser griefs that may be said,  That breathe a thousand tender vows,  Are but as servants in a houseWhere lies the master newly dead; Who speak their feeling as it is,  And weep the fulness from the mind:  `It will be hard,' they say, `to findAnother service such as this.' My lighter moods are like to these,  That out of words a comfort win;  But there are other griefs within,And tears that at their fountain freeze; For by the hearth the children sit  Cold in that atmosphere of Death,  And scarce endure to draw the breath,Or like to noiseless phantoms flit; But open converse is there none,  So much the vital spirits sink  To see the vacant chair, and think,'How good! how kind! and he is gone.' XXII sing to him that rests below,  And, since the grasses round me wave,  I take the grasses of the grave,And make them pipes whereon to blow. The traveller hears me now and then,  And sometimes harshly will he speak:  `This fellow would make weakness weak,And melt the waxen hearts of men.' Another answers, `Let him be,  He loves to make parade of pain  That with his piping he may gainThe praise that comes to constancy.' A third is wroth: `Is this an hour  For private sorrow's barren song,  When more and more the people throngThe chairs and thrones of civil power? 'A time to sicken and to swoon,  When Science reaches forth her arms  To feel from world to world, and charmsHer secret from the latest moon?' Behold, ye speak an idle thing:  Ye never knew the sacred dust:  I do but sing because I must,And pipe but as the linnets sing: And one is glad; her note is gay,  For now her little ones have ranged;  And one is sad; her note is changed,Because her brood is stol'n away. XXIIThe path by which we twain did go,  Which led by tracts that pleased us well,  Thro' four sweet years arose and fell,From flower to flower, from snow to snow: And we with singing cheer'd the way,  And, crown'd with all the season lent,  From April on to April went,And glad at heart from May to May: But where the path we walk'd began  To slant the fifth autumnal slope,  As we descended following Hope,There sat the Shadow fear'd of man; Who broke our fair companionship,  And spread his mantle dark and cold,  And wrapt thee formless in the fold,And dull'd the murmur on thy lip, And bore thee where I could not see  Nor follow, tho' I walk in haste,  And think, that somewhere in the wasteThe Shadow sits and waits for me. XXIIINow, sometimes in my sorrow shut,  Or breaking into song by fits,  Alone, alone, to where he sits,The Shadow cloak'd from head to foot, Who keeps the keys of all the creeds,  I wander, often falling lame,  And looking back to whence I came,Or on to where the pathway leads; And crying, How changed from where it ran  Thro' lands where not a leaf was dumb;  But all the lavish hills would humThe murmur of a happy Pan: When each by turns was guide to each,  And Fancy light from Fancy caught,  And Thought leapt out to wed with ThoughtEre Thought could wed itself with Speech; And all we met was fair and good,  And all was good that Time could bring,  And all the secret of the SpringMoved in the chambers of the blood; And many an old philosophy  On Argive heights divinely sang,  And round us all the thicket rangTo many a flute of Arcady. XXIVAnd was the day of my delight  As pure and perfect as I say?  The very source and fount of DayIs dash'd with wandering isles of night. If all was good and fair we met,  This earth had been the Paradise  It never look'd to human eyesSince our first Sun arose and set. And is it that the haze of grief  Makes former gladness loom so great?  The lowness of the present state,That sets the past in this relief? Or that the past will always win  A glory from its being far;  And orb into the perfect starWe saw not, when we moved therein? XXVI know that this was Life,—the track  Whereon with equal feet we fared;  And then, as now, the day preparedThe daily burden for the back. But this it was that made me move  As light as carrier-birds in air;  I loved the weight I had to bear,Because it needed help of Love: Nor could I weary, heart or limb,  When mighty Love would cleave in twain  The lading of a single pain,And part it, giving half to him. XXVIStill onward winds the dreary way;  I with it; for I long to prove  No lapse of moons can canker Love,Whatever fickle tongues may say. And if that eye which watches guilt  And goodness, and hath power to see  Within the green the moulder'd tree,And towers fall'n as soon as built— Oh, if indeed that eye foresee  Or see (in Him is no before)  In more of life true life no moreAnd Love the indifference to be, Then might I find, ere yet the morn  Breaks hither over Indian seas,  That Shadow waiting with the keys,To shroud me from my proper scorn. XXVIII envy not in any moods  The captive void of noble rage,  The linnet born within the cage,That never knew the summer woods: I envy not the beast that takes  His license in the field of time,  Unfetter'd by the sense of crime,To whom a conscience never wakes; Nor, what may count itself as blest,  The heart that never plighted troth  But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;Nor any want-begotten rest. I hold it true, whate'er befall;  I feel it, when I sorrow most;  'Tis better to have loved and lostThan never to have loved at all


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