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Best Famous Thomas Edward Brown Poems

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by Thomas Edward Brown |

Ibant Obscur?

 To-night I saw three maidens on the beach,
Dark-robed descending to the sea,
So slow, so silent of all speech,
And visible to me
Only by that strange drift-light, dim, forlorn,
Of the sun's wreck and clashing surges born.

Each after other went,
And they were gathered to his breast--
It seemed to me a sacrament
Of some stern creed unblest:
As when to rocks, that cheerless girt the bay,
They bound thy holy limbs, Andromeda.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

I bended unto me a Bough

 I bended unto me a bough of May,
That I might see and smell:
It bore it in a sort of way,
It bore it very well.
But, when I let it backward sway,
Then it were hard to tell
With what a toss, with what a swing,
The dainty thing
Resumed its proper level,
And sent me to the devil.
I know it did--you doubt it?
I turned, and saw them whispering about it.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

Jessie

 WHEN Jessie comes with her soft breast, 
 And yields the golden keys, 
Then is it as if God caress'd 
 Twin babes upon His knees-- 
Twin babes that, each to other press'd, 
Just feel the Father's arms, wherewith they both are bless'd. 

But when I think if we must part, 
 And all this personal dream be fled-- 
O then my heart! O then my useless heart! 
 Would God that thou wert dead-- 
A clod insensible to joys and ills-- 
A stone remote in some bleak gully of the hills!


by Thomas Edward Brown |

Dora

 SHE knelt upon her brother's grave, 
 My little girl of six years old-- 
He used to be so good and brave, 
 The sweetest lamb of all our fold; 
He used to shout, he used to sing, 
Of all our tribe the little king-- 
And so unto the turf her ear she laid, 
To hark if still in that dark place he play'd. 
 No sound! no sound! 
 Death's silence was profound; 
 And horror crept 
 Into her aching heart, and Dora wept. 
 If this is as it ought to be, 
 My God, I leave it unto Thee.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

Disguises

 High stretched upon the swinging yard, 
I gather in the sheet; 
But it is hard 
And stiff, and one cries haste. 
Then He that is most dear in my regard 
Of all the crew gives aidance meet; 
But from His hands, and from His feet, 
A glory spreads wherewith the night is starred: 
Moreover of a cup most bitter-sweet 
With fragrance as of nard, 
And myrrh, and cassia spiced, 
He proffers me to taste. 
Then I to Him:—‘Art Thou the Christ?’ 
He saith—‘Thou say’st.’ 

Like to an ox 
That staggers ’neath the mortal blow, 
She grinds upon the rocks:— 
Then straight and low 
Leaps forth the levelled line, and in our quarter locks 
The cradle’s rigged; with swerving of the blast 
We go, 
Our Captain last— 
Demands 
‘Who fired that shot?’ Each silent stands— 
Ah, sweet perplexity! 
This too was He. 

I have an arbour wherein came a toad 
Most hideous to see— 
Immediate, seizing staff or goad, 
I smote it cruelly. 
Then all the place with subtle radiance glowed— 
I looked, and it was He!


by Thomas Edward Brown |

Land Ho!

 I know ’tis but a loom of land, 
Yet is it land, and so I will rejoice, 
I know I cannot hear His voice 
Upon the shore, nor see Him stand; 
Yet is it land, ho! land. 

The land! the land! the lovely land! 
‘Far off,’ dost say? Far off—ah, bless?d home! 
Farewell! farewell! thou salt sea-foam! 
Ah, keel upon the silver sand— 
Land, ho! land. 

You cannot see the land, my land, 
You cannot see, and yet the land is there— 
My land, my land, through murky air— 
I did not say ’twas close at hand— 
But—land, ho! land. 

Dost hear the bells of my sweet land, 
Dost hear the kine, dost hear the merry birds? 
No voice, ’tis true, no spoken words, 
No tongue that thou may’st understand— 
Yet is it land, ho! land. 

It’s clad in purple mist, my land, 
In regal robe it is apparell?d, 
A crown is set upon its head, 
And on its breast a golden band— 
Land, ho! land. 

Dost wonder that I long for land? 
My land is not a land as others are— 
Upon its crest there beams a star, 
And lilies grow upon the strand— 
Land, ho! land. 

Give me the helm! there is the land! 
Ha! lusty mariners, she takes the breeze! 
And what my spirit sees it sees— 
Leap, bark, as leaps the thunderbrand— 
Land, ho! land.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

My Garden

 A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!
Rose plot,
Fringed pool,
Ferned grot--
The veriest school
Of peace; and yet the fool
Contends that God is not--
Not God! in gardens! when the eve is cool?
Nay, but I have a sign;
'Tis very sure God walks in mine.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

Pain

 The Man that hath great griefs I pity not; 
’Tis something to be great 
In any wise, and hint the larger state, 
Though but in shadow of a shade, God wot! 

Moreover, while we wait the possible, 
This man has touched the fact, 
And probed till he has felt the core, where, packed 
In pulpy folds, resides the ironic ill. 

And while we others sip the obvious sweet— 
Lip-licking after-taste 
Of glutinous rind, lo! this man hath made haste, 
And pressed the sting that holds the central seat. 

For thus it is God stings us into life, 
Provoking actual souls 
From bodily systems, giving us the poles 
That are His own, not merely balanced strife. 

Nay, the great passions are His veriest thought, 
Which whoso can absorb, 
Nor, querulous halting, violate their orb, 
In him the mind of God is fullest wrought. 

Thrice happy such an one! Far other he 
Who dallies on the edge 
Of the great vortex, clinging to a sedge 
Of patent good, a timorous Manichee; 

Who takes the impact of a long-breathed force, 
And fritters it away 
In eddies of disgust, that else might stay 
His nerveless heart, and fix it to the course. 

For there is threefold oneness with the One; 
And he is one, who keeps 
The homely laws of life; who, if he sleeps, 
Or wakes, in his true flesh God’s will is done. 

And he is one, who takes the deathless forms, 
Who schools himself to think 
With the All-thinking, holding fast the link, 
God-riveted, that bridges casual storms. 

But tenfold one is he, who feels all pains 
Not partial, knowing them 
As ripples parted from the gold-beaked stem, 
Wherewith God’s galley onward ever strains. 

To him the sorrows are the tension-thrills 
Of that serene endeavour, 
Which yields to God for ever and for ever 
The joy that is more ancient than the hills.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

Specula

 When He appoints to meet thee, go thou forth— 
It matters not 
If south or north, 
Bleak waste or sunny plot. 
Nor think, if haply He thou seek’st be late, 
He does thee wrong. 
To stile or gate 
Lean thou thy head, and long! 
It may be that to spy thee He is mounting 
Upon a tower, 
Or in thy counting 
Thou hast mista’en the hour. 
But, if He comes not, neither do thou go 
Till Vesper chime. 
Belike thou then shalt know 
He hath been with thee all the time.


by Thomas Edward Brown |

If Thou Couldst Empty All Thyself Of Self

 If thou could'st empty all thyself of self, 
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf, 
And say, "This is not dead,"
And fill thee with Himself instead.

But thou are all replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes He says, "This is enow
Unto itself - 'twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for me."