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The wild vine slips with the weight of its leaves,

But the berried ivy catches and cleaves
To the limbs that glitter, the feet that scare
The wolf that follows, the fawn that flies. 56

Here, where the world is quiet;

Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds' and spent waves' riot
In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
A sleepy world of streams.

I am tired of tears and laughter, And men that laugh and weep; Of what may come hereafter

For men that sow to reap:

I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep.

Here life has death for neighbour,
And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labour,

Weak ships and spirits steer; They drive adrift, and whither They wot not who make thither; But no such winds blow hither,

And no such things grow here.

No growth of moor or coppice,

No heather-flower or vine, But bloomless buds of poppies, Green grapes of Proserpine,2 Pale beds of blowing rushes, Where no leaf blooms or blushes Save this whereout she crushes For dead men deadly wine.

Pale, without name or number,
In fruitless fields of corn,

They bow themselves and slumber

All night till light is born;

And like a soul belated,

In hell and heaven unmated,





1 the wife of Pluto, god of the infernal regions; she was the daughter of Ceres, goddess of harvests

2 Proserpine, as queen of Hades

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Crowned with calm leaves, she stands Who gathers all things mortal

With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love's who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.

She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,

The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.

There go the loves that wither,

The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,

And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,

Red strays of ruined springs.

We are not sure of sorrow,

And joy was never sure;

To-day will die to-morrow;

Time stoops to no man's lure;

And love, grown faint and fretful,




With lips but half regretful

Sighs, and with eyes forgetful

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Sister, my sister, O soft light swallow, Though all things feast in the spring's guestchamber,

How hast thou heart to be glad thereof

For where thou fliest I shall not follow,
Till life forget and death remember,
Till thou remember and I forget.

1 cf. note on Sidney's The Nightingale


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