Two Swimmers

PL Two swimmers wrestled on the spar Until the morning sun, When one turned smiling to the land. O God, the other one! The stray ships passing spied a face Upon the waters borne, With eyes in death still begging raised, And hands beseeching thrown. First print Time and Eternity poem XVI, 26 Johnson poem … Continue reading Two Swimmers

The Chariot

PL Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality. We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I had put away My labor, and my leisure too, For his civility. We passed the school where children played, Their lessons scarcely done; We passed … Continue reading The Chariot

She Went as Quiet as the Dew

PL She went as quiet as the dew From a familiar flower. Not like the dew did she return, At the accustomed hour! She dropt as softly as a star From out my summer’s eve; Less skillful than Le Verrier It ’s sorer to believe! First print Time and Eternity poem XVIII, 28 Johnson 149 … Continue reading She Went as Quiet as the Dew


PL At last to be identified! At last, the lamps upon thy side, The rest of life to see! Past midnight, past the morning star! Past sunrise! Ah! what leagues there are Between our feet and day! First print Time and Eternity poem XIX, 29 Johnson 174 | Franklin 172 The text may be used … Continue reading Resurgam

Except to Heaven, She Is Nought

PL Except to heaven, she is nought; Except for angels, lone; Except to some wide-wandering bee, A flower superfluous blown; Except for winds, provincial; Except by butterflies, Unnoticed as a single dew That on the acre lies. The smallest housewife in the grass, Yet take her from the lawn, And somebody has lost the face … Continue reading Except to Heaven, She Is Nought

Death Is a Dialogue

PL Death is a dialogue between The spirit and the dust. “Dissolve,” says Death. The Spirit, “Sir, I have another trust.” Death doubts it, argues from the ground. The Spirit turns away, Just laying off, for evidence, An overcoat of clay. First print Time and Eternity poem XXXI, 31 Johnson 976 | Franklin 973 The … Continue reading Death Is a Dialogue

It Was Too Late for Man

PL It was too late for man, But early yet for God; Creation impotent to help, But prayer remained our side. How excellent the heaven, When earth cannot be had; How hospitable, then, the face Of our old neighbor, God! First print Time and Eternity poem XXXII, 32 Johnson 623 | Franklin 689 The text … Continue reading It Was Too Late for Man

Along the Potomac

PL When I was small, a woman died. To-day her only boy Went up from the Potomac, His face all victory. To look at her; how slowly The seasons must have turned Till bullets clipt an angle, And he passed quickly round! If pride shall be in Paradise I never can decide; Of their imperial … Continue reading Along the Potomac

The Daisy Follows Soft the Sun

PL The daisy follows soft the sun, And when his golden walk is done, Sits shyly at his feet. He, waking, finds the flower near. “Wherefore, marauder, art thou here?” “Because, sir, love is sweet!” We are the flower, Thou the sun! Forgive us, if as days decline, We nearer steal to Thee, — Enamoured … Continue reading The Daisy Follows Soft the Sun


PL No rack can torture me, My soul’s at liberty Behind this mortal bone There knits a bolder one: You cannot prick with saw, Nor rend with scymitar. Two bodies therefore be; Bind one, and one will flee. The eagle of his nest No easier divest And gain the sky, Than mayest thou; Except thyself … Continue reading Emancipation


PL I lost a world the other day. Has anybody found? You’ll know it by the row of stars Around its forehead bound. A rich man might not notice it; Yet to my frugal eye Of more esteem than ducats. Oh, find it, sir, for me! First print Time and Eternity poem XXXVI, 36 Johnson … Continue reading Lost

If I Shouldn’t Be Alive

PL If I shouldn’t be alive When the robins come, Give the one in red cravat A memorial crumb. If I couldn’t thank you, Being just asleep, You will know I’m trying With my granite lip! First print Time and Eternity poem XXXVII, 37 Johnson poem 182 | Franklin poem 210 The text may be … Continue reading If I Shouldn’t Be Alive

Sleep Is Supposed to Be

PL Sleep is supposed to be, By souls of sanity, The shutting of the eye. Sleep is the station grand Down which on either hand The hosts of witness stand! Morn is supposed to be, By people of degree, The breaking of the day. Morning has not occurred! That shall aurora be East of eternity; … Continue reading Sleep Is Supposed to Be

I Shall Know Why

PL I shall know why, when time is over, And I have ceased to wonder why; Christ will explain each separate anguish In the fair schoolroom of the sky. He will tell me what Peter promised, And I, for wonder at his woe, I shall forget the drop of anguish That scalds me now, that … Continue reading I Shall Know Why

I Never Lost as Much as Twice

PL I never lost as much but twice, And that was in the sod; Twice have I stood a beggar Before the door of God! Angels, twice descending, Reimbursed my store. Burglar, banker, father, I am poor once more! First print Time and Eternity poem XL, 40 Johnson 49 | Franklin 39 The text may … Continue reading I Never Lost as Much as Twice