FULL many a glorious morning have I seen Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye, Kissing with golden face the meadows green, Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy; Anon permit the basest clouds to ride With ugly rack on his celestial face, And from the forlorn world his visage hide, Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace: Even so my sun one early morn did shine, With all-triumphant splendour on my brow; But, out! alack! he was but one hour mine, The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now. Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth; Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.
I THOUGHT once how Theocritus had sung Of the sweet years, the dear and wish’d-for years, Who each one in a gracious hand appears To bear a gift for mortals old or young: And, as I mused it in his antique tongue, I saw in gradual vision through my tears The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years— Those of my own life, who by turns had flung A shadow across me. Straightway I was ‘ware, So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair; And a voice said in mastery, while I strove, ‘Guess now who holds thee?’— ‘Death,’ I said. But there The silver answer rang— ‘Not Death, but Love.’
— Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese: i
collage including video by Anatwell-Group via Pixabay (edited)
Another expedition took him to Cambridge, the first return since undergraduate days twelve years previously, where the young men all looked just the same in the university pubs and “the only alteration” was in himself…
Ian Livesey, “Rainy rainy Manchester” (detail) (2015)
On Margate Sands I can’t stop connecting everything with everything the present with the past the broken fingernails of dirty hands. To Carthage I came, once, many years ago burning now dull roots with spring rain stirring
I stand amid the roar Of a surf-tormented shore, And I hold within my hand Grains of the golden sand — How few! yet how they creep Through my fingers to the deep, While I weep — while I weep! O God! Can I not grasp Them with a tighter clasp? O God! can I not save One from the pitiless wave? Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?
–Edgar Allan Poe, A Dream Within a Dream (excerpt)