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The Habit of Perfection

  • The Habit of Perfection

  • Elected Silence, sing to me
  • And beat upon my whorlèd ear,
  • Pipe me to pastures still and be
  • The music that I care to hear.
  • Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:
  • It is the shut, the curfew sent
  • From there where all surrenders come
  • Which only makes you eloquent.
  • Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark
  • And find the uncreated light:
  • This ruck and reel which you remark
  • Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.
  • Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,
  • Desire not to be rinsed with wine:
  • The can must be so sweet, the crust
  • So fresh that come in fasts divine!
  • Nostrils, your careless breath that spend
  • Upon the stir and keep of pride,
  • What relish shall the censers send
  • Along the sanctuary side?
  • O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet
  • That want the yield of plushy sward,
  • But you shall walk the golden street
  • And you unhouse and house the Lord.
  • And, Poverty, be thou the bride
  • And now the marriage feast begun,
  • And lily-coloured clothes provide
  • Your spouse not laboured-at nor spun.

“To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life”

  • “To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life”

  • To seem the stranger lies my lot, my life
  • Among strangèrs.   Father and mother dear,
  • Brothers and sisters are in Christ not near
  • And he my peace my parting, sword and strife.
  • England, whose honour O all my heart woos, wife
  • To my creating thought, would neither hear
  • Me, were I pleading, plead nor do I: I wear-
  • y of idle a being but by where wars are rife.
  • I am in Ireland now; now I am at a thírd
  • Remove.   Not but in all removes I can
  • Kind love both give and get.   Only what word
  • Wisest my heart breeds dark heaven’s baffling ban
  • Bars or hell’s spell thwarts.   This to hoard unheard,
  • Heard unheeded, leaves me a lonely began.

Tom’s Garland

  • Tom’s Garland

  • upon the Unemployed
  • Tom–garlanded with squat and surly steel
  • Tom; then Tom’s fallowbootfellow piles pick
  • By him and rips out rockfire homeforth–sturdy Dick;
  • Tom Heart-at-ease, Tom Navvy: he is all for his meal
  • Sure, ‘s bed now. Low be it: lustily he his low lot (feel
  • That ne’er need hunger, Tom; Tom seldom sick,
  • Seldomer heartsore; that treads through, prickproof,
  • thick
  • Thousands of thorns, thoughts) swings though. Common-
  • weal
  • Little I reck ho! lacklevel in, if all had bread:
  • What! Country is honour enough in all us–lordly head,
  • With heaven’s lights high hung round, or, mother-ground
  • That mammocks, mighty foot. But no way sped,
  • Nor mind nor mainstrength; gold go garlanded
  • With, perilous, O nó; nor yet plod safe shod sound;
  • Undenizened, beyond bound
  • Of earth’s glory, earth’s ease, all; no one, nowhere,
  • In wide the world’s weal; rare gold, bold steel, bare
  • In both; care, but share care–
  • This, by Despair, bred Hangdog dull; by Rage,
  • Manwolf, worse; and their packs infest the age.

To R.B.

  • To R.B.

  • The fine delight that fathers thought; the strong
  • Spur, live and lancing like the blowpipe flame,
  • Breathes once and, quenchèd faster than it came,
  • Leaves yet the mind a mother of immortal song.
  • Nine months she then, nay years, nine years she long
  • Within her wears, bears, cares and moulds the same:
  • The widow of an insight lost she lives, with aim
  • Now known and hand at work now never wrong.
  • Sweet fire the sire of muse, my soul needs this;
  • I want the one rapture of an inspiration.
  • O then if in my lagging lines you miss
  • The roll, the rise, the carol, the creation,
  • My winter world, that scarcely breathes that bliss
  • Now, yields you, with some sighs, our explanation.