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Which, fervently, the last fond sigh
Begs in the hopeful words, "Write soon!"
"Write soon!"-oh! sweet request of truth!
How tenderly its accents come!
We heard it first in early youth,
When mothers watched us leaving home.
And still, amid the trumpet-joys,
That weary us with pomp and show,
We turn from all the brassy noise,
To hear this minor cadence flow.
We part; but carry on our way
Some loved one's plaintive spirit-tune,
That, as we wander, seems to say,
"Affection lives on faith-write soon!"
CCCLXXVIII. REV. C. KINGSLEY, 1819—
Three fishers went sailing out into the west,
Out into the west, as the sun went down;
Each thought on the woman who loved him best,
And the children stood watching them out of the town.
For men inust work and women must weep,
And there's little to earn, and many to keep,
Though the harbour be moaning.
Three wives sat up in the light-house tower,
And they trimmed the lamps as the sun went down;
They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower,
And the night-rack came rolling up ragged and brown.
But men must work and women must weep,
Though storms be sudden and waters deep,
And the harbour be moaning.
Three corpses lay out on the shining sands,
In the morning gleam as the tide went down,
And the women were weeping and wringing their hands,
For those who will never come back to the town.
For men must work and women must weep.
And the sooner its over the sooner to sleep,
And good-bye to the bar and its moaning.
"They looked at the squall, and they looked at the shower."
CCCLXXIX. COVENTRY PATMORE, 1823
Whenever I come where women are,
How sad soever I was before,
Though like a ship frost-bound and far
Withheld in ice from the ocean's roar,
Third-winter'd in that dreadful dock
With stiffen'd cordage, sails decayed,
And crew that care for calm and shock
Alike, too full to be dismayed;
Yet, if I come where women are,
How sad soever I was before,
Then is my sadness banish'd far,
And I am like that ship no more—
Or like that ship if the ice-field splits,
Burst by the sudden polar spring,
And all thank God with their warming wits,
And kiss each other and dance and sing;
And hoist fresh sails, that make the breeze
Blow them along the liquid sea,
Out of the north where life did freeze,
Into the haven where they would be
We who are married, let us own
A bachelor's chief thought in life
Is, or the fool's not worth a groan,
To win a woman for his wife.
I kept the custom. I confess
I never went to Ball or Fête
Or Show, but in pursuit express
Of my predestinated mate;
And thus to me, who had in sight
The happy chance upon the cards,
Each beauty blossom'd in the light
Of tender personal regards.
3. WOMAN'S DRESS.
That nothing here may want its praise,
Know, she who in her dress reveals
A fine and modest taste, displays
More loveliness than she conceals.
4. WOMAN'S MARRIAGE.
Maid, choosing man, remember this:
You take his nature with his name.
Ask, too, what his religion is,
For you will soon be of the same.
Mine is no horse with wings to gain
The region of the spheral clime;
He does but drag a rumbling wain,
Cheered by the silver bells of rhyme;
And if at Fame's bewitching note
My homely Pegasus pricks an ear,
The world's cart collar hugs his throat,
And he's too wise to kick or rear.
The king, he reigns on a throne of gold,
Fenced round by his right divine;
The baron, he sits in his castle old,
Drinking his ripe red wine:
But below, below, in his ragged coat,
The beggar he tuneth a hungry note,
And the spinner is bound to his weary thread,
And the debtor lies down with an aching head.
So the world goes!
Yet there is a fellow whom nobody knows,
Who maketh all free
And forceth the rich like the poor to flee.
The lady lies down in her warm white lawn
And dreams of the pearlèd pride;
The milk-maid sings, to the wild-eyed dawn,
Sad songs on the cold hill-side:
And the bishop smiles, as on high he sits,
On the scholar who writes and starves by fits;