(Bevington Louisa Sarah)

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Louisa Sarah Bevington (1845-1895)


Midnight

THERE are sea and sky about me,
And yet nothing sense can mark;
For a mist fills all the midnight
Adding blindness to its dark.

There is not the faintest echo
From the life of yesterday:
Not the vaguest stir foretelling
Of a morrow on the way.

'Tis negation's hour of triumph
In the absence of the sun;
'Tis the hour of endings, ended,
Of beginnings, unbegun.

Yet the voice of awful silence
Bids my waiting spirit hark;
There is action in the stillness,
There is progress in the dark.

In the drift of things and forces
Comes the better from the worse;
Swings the whole of Nature upward,
Wakes, and thinks--a universe.

There will be more life to-morrow,
And of life, more life that knows;
Though the sum of force be constant
Yet the Living ever grows.

So we sing of evolution,
And step strongly on our ways;
And we live through nights in patience
And we learn the worth of days.

In the silence of murk midnight
Is revealed to me this thing:
Nothing hinders, all enables
Nature's vast awakening.



Loves Ethic
MY love, despise not love in your high thought;
For see what weakness finds the power to do
Here in my failing heart for love of you,
And how my bruisd, feeble hand hath brought
Here to your feet the treasure that you sought,
Warm from the furnace of a passion true;
'Twas perfect love made all my spirit new,
And helped me to accept the task you taught.

Oh, doubt not! all the wisdom of the soul
Grows wiser in love's light, and stronger still
The sweet, fierce strength of high and holy will,
To be and bear and brave the very whole:--
Ay, love doth aid the dauntless to fulfil;
And holds his compass steady to the pole.




Afternoon
PURPLE headland over yonder,
Fleecy, sun-extinguished moon,
I am here alone, and ponder
On the theme of Afternoon.

Past has made a groove for Present,
And what fits it is: no more.
Waves before the wind are weighty;
Strongest sea-beasts shape the shore.

Just what is is just what can be,
And the Possible is free;
'Tis by being, not by effort,
That the firm cliff juts to sea.

With an uncontentious calmness
Drifts the Fact before the "Law;"
So we name the ordered sequence
We, remembering, foresaw.

And a law is mere procession
Of the forcible and fit;
Calm of uncontested Being,
And our thought that comes of it.

In the mellow shining daylight
Lies the Afternoon at ease,
Little willing ripples answer
To a drift of casual breeze.

Purple headland to the westward!
Ebbing tide, and fleecy moon!
In the "line of least resistance,"
Flows the life of Afternoon.




February
NOW are the days of greyness and of gloom;
Now are the heavens expressionless and sad:
Crisp winter has departed, yet the glad
Spring-smile has not yet freshened from the tomb.
There is a gleamy sunrise every day,
It mostly into weeping melts away,
Yet upon every dripping, leafless bough
See how the birds sit, singing in the rain;
Most innocently sure that yet again
Life shall grow lovely: no mysterious "How?"
Troubles with wistfulness and spoils the strain.
We, self-bound, human weaklings!--need a store

Of hardly-garnered, inward hopefulness.
So to translate a present dim distress
To mean "the future shall but shine the more."
'Tis what we know, and what we partly know
Hinders our sight, at times when, dim and grey,
Soulless as death, shrivels the bloom away
From lovely things; and if our hope would go
Further than sight can lead us, 'tis with pain
And strivings of the will that we attain
Such trustfulness as makes the small bird sing
Of sunshine, shaking sky-tears from its wing,
Knowing the gloom must gladden into spring.



One New Year's Eve
Heart! art thou dead within me? Why this calm
To see thy joy die with the dying year?
When more is fact than ever thou didst fear
Of all thou would'st not have of hurt and harm;
When less than thou hadst pictured is of balm
In uttermost surrender; when more dear
Seems that thou hast surrendered, now and here,
Than ever aught before? Why no alarm
To face the blank black morning of to-morrow
With not one partisan for thine own sorrow?
Why canst thou smile, O silly heart! to see
The cold strewn ruin of the life of thee?
Haply yet more than love's dear joy lies dead,--
Thy very self of self that suffered?




Twilight
GREY the sky, and growing dimmer,
And the twilight lulls the sea ;
Half in vagueness, half in glimmer,
Nature shrouds her mystery.

What have all the hours been spent for ?
Why the on and on of things ?
Why eternity's procession
Of the days and evenings ?

Hours of sunshine, hours of gloaming,
Wing their unexplaining flight,
With a measured punctuation
Of unconsciousness, at night.

Just at sunset was translucence,
When the west was all aflame ;
So I asked the sea a question,
And an answer nearly came.

Is there nothing but Occurrence ?
Though each detail seem an Act,
Is that whole we deem so pregnant
But unemphasizd Fact ?

Or, when dusk is in the hollows
Of the hill-side and the wave,
Are things just so much in earnest
That they cannot but be grave ?

Nay, the lesson of the Twilight
Is as simple as 'tis deep ;
Acquiescence, acquiescence,
And the coming on of sleep.




Am I to Lose You?
Am I to lose you now? The words were light;
You spoke them, hardly seeking a reply,
That day I bid you quietly Good-bye,
And sought to hide my soul away from sight.
The question echoes, dear, through many a night, --
My question, not your own most wistfully;
Am I to lose him? asked my heart of me;
Am I to lose him now, and lose him quite?

And only you can tell me. Do you care
That sometimes we in quietness should stand
As fellow-solitudes, hand firm in hand,
And thought with thought and hope with hope compare?
What is your answer? Mine must ever be,
I greatly need your friendship: leave it me.



Hope Deferred
I'VE closed my book of hope, love,
And folded down the page;
I'll read no more therein, love,
Until some quiet age
When paler dreams than these, love,
My chastened heart engage.

I'm going far away, love,
Where no vain wish may thrive;
Where hope may lie quite still, love,
Deep buried, yet alive!
And there I'll live alone, love,
Till serer years arrive.

If then I should return, love,
From yon forgotten strand,
And--your dear form all bent, love,--
You greet me, hand to hand;
If then our eyes should meet, love,
I think you'll understand.




Bees In Clover
A SONG.

UP the dewy slopes of morning
Follow me;
Every smoky spy-glass scorning,
Look and see, look and see
How the simple sun is rising,
Not approving nor despising
You and me.
Hear not those who bid you wait
Till they find the sun's birth-date,
Preaching children, savage sages,
To their mouldy, blood-stuck pages
And the quarrelling of ages,
Leave them all; and come and see
Just the little honied clover,

As the winging music-bees
Come in busy twos and threes
Humming over!
All without a theory
Quite successfully, you see;
Little priests that wed the flowers,
Little preachers in their way,
Through the sunny working day
With their quite unconscious powers
How they say their simple say.

What? a church-bell in the valley?
What? a wife-shriek in the alley?
Tune the bell a little better,
Help the woman bear her fetter.
All in time! all in time!
If you will but take your fill
Of the dawn-light on the hill,
And behold the dew-gems glisten,--
If you turn your soul to listen
To the bees among the thyme,
There may chance a notion to you
To encourage and renew you,
For the doing and the speaking,
Ere the jarring of the chime,

And the mad despair of shrieking
Call you downward to the mending
Of a folly, and the ending
Of a crime.

On the dewy hill at morning
Do you ask?--do you ask?
How to tune the bells that jangle?
How to still the hearts that wrangle?--
For a task?
When the bell shall suit the ears
Of the strong man's hopes and fears,
As the bee-wing suits the clover
And the clover suits the bee,
Then the din shall all be over,
And the woman shall be free,
And the bell ring melody,
Do you see?--do you see?
There are bees upon the hill,
And the sun is climbing still,
To his noon;
Shall it not be pretty soon
That the wife she shall be well,
And the jarring of the bell
Falls in tune?



"Egoisme A Deux"
WHEN the great universe hung nebulous
Betwixt the unprevented and the need,
Was it foreseen that you and I should be?--
Was it decreed?

While time leaned onward through eternities,
Unrippled by a breath and undistraught,
Lay there at leisure Will that we should breathe?--
Waited a Thought?

When the warm swirl of chaos-elements
Fashioned the chance that woke to sentient strife,
Did there a Longing seek, and hasten on
Our mutual life?

That flux of many accidents but now
That brought you near and linked your hand in mine,--
That fused our souls in love's most final faith,--
Was it divine?




 

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