I. The poet's vow was inly sworn, The poet's vow was told. He shared among his crowding friends The silver and the gold, They clasping bland his gift,—his hand In a somewhat slacker hold. II. They wended forth, the crowding friends, With farewells smooth and kind. They wended forth, the solaced friends, And left but twain behind: One loved him true as brothers do, And one was Rosalind. III. He said, "My friends have wended forth With farewells smooth and kind; Mine oldest friend, my plighted bride, Ye need not stay behind: Friend, wed my fair bride for my sake, And let my lands ancestral make A dower for Rosalind. IV. "And when beside your wa**ail board Ye bless your social lot, I charge you that the giver be In all his gifts forgot, Or alone of all his words recall The last,—Lament me not." V. She looked upon him silently With her large, doubting eyes, Like a child that never knew but love Whom words of wrath surprise, Till the rose did break from either cheek And the sudden tears did rise. VI. She looked upon him mournfully, While her large eyes were grown Yet larger with the steady tears, Till, all his purpose known, She turnèd slow, as she would go— The tears were shaken down. VII. She turnèd slow, as she would go, Then quickly turned again, And gazing in his face to seek Some little touch of pain, "I thought," she said,—but shook her head,— She tried that speech in vain. VIII. "I thought—but I am half a child And very sage art thou— The teachings of the heaven and earth Should keep us soft and low: They have drawn my tears in early years, Or ere I wept—as now. IX. "But now that in thy face I read Their cruel homily, Before their beauty I would fain Untouched, unsoftened be,— If I indeed could look on even The senseless, loveless earth and heaven As thou canst look on me! X. "And couldest thou as coldly view Thy childhood's far abode, Where little feet kept time with thine Along the dewy sod, And thy mother's look from holy book Rose like a thought of God? XI. "O brother,—called so, ere her last Betrothing words were said! O fellow-watcher in her room, With hushèd voice and tread! Rememberest thou how, hand in hand O friend, O lover, we did stand, And knew that she was dead? XII. "I will not live Sir Roland's bride, That dower I will not hold; I tread below my feet that go, These parchments bought and sold: The tears I weep are mine to keep, And worthier than thy gold." XIII. The poet and Sir Roland stood Alone, each turned to each, Till Roland brake the silence left By that soft-throbbing speech— "Poor heart!" he cried, "it vainly tried The distant heart to reach. XIV. "And thou, O distant, sinful heart That climbest up so high To wrap and blind thee with the snows That cause to dream and die, What blessing can, from lips of man, Approach thee with his sigh? XV. "Ay, what from earth—create for man And moaning in his moan? Ay, what from stars—revealed to man And man-named one by one? Ay, more! what blessing can be given Where the Spirits seven do show in heaven A Man upon the throne? XVI. "A man on earth He wandered once, All meek and undefiled, And those who loved Him said 'He wept'— None ever said He smiled; Yet there might have been a smile unseen, When He bowed his holy face, I ween, To bless that happy child. XVII. "And now He pleadeth up in heaven For our humanities, Till the ruddy light on seraphs' wings In pale emotion dies. They can better bear their Godhead's glare Than the pathos of his eyes. XVIII. "I will go pray our God to-day To teach thee how to scan His work divine, for human use Since earth on axle ran,— To teach thee to discern as plain His grief divine, the blood-drop's stain He left there, Man for man. XIX. "So, for the blood's sake shed by Him Whom angels God declare, Tears like it, moist and warm with love, Thy reverent eyes shall wear To see i' the face of Adam's race The nature God doth share." XX. "I heard," the poet said, "thy voice As dimly as thy breath: The sound was like the noise of life To one anear his d**h,— Or of waves that fail to stir the pale Sere leaf they roll beneath. XXI. "And still between the sound and me White creatures like a mist Did interfloat confusedly, Mysterious shapes unwist: Across my heart and across my brow I felt them droop like wreaths of snow, To still the pulse they kist. XXII. "The castle and its lands are thine— The poor's—it shall be done. Go, man, to love! I go to live In Courland hall, alone: The bats along the ceilings cling, The lizards in the floors do run, And storms and years have worn and reft The stain by human builders left In working at the stone."