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Prefatory Poem to My Brother’s Sonnets


         Midnight, June 30, 1879


          I.

      Midnight–in no midsummer tune
      The breakers lash the shores:
      The cuckoo of a joyless June
      Is calling out of doors:

      And thou hast vanish’d from thine own
      To that which looks like rest,
      True brother, only to be known
      By those who love thee best.


          II.

      Midnight–and joyless June gone by,
      And from the deluged park
      The cuckoo of a worse July
      Is calling thro’ the dark:

      But thou art silent underground,
      And o’er thee streams the rain,
      True poet, surely to be found
      When Truth is found again.


          III.

      And now, in these unsummer’d skies
      The summer bird is still,
      Far off a phantom cuckoo cries
      From out a phantom hill;

      And thro’ this midnight breaks the sun
      Of sixty years away,
      The light of days when life begun,
      The days that seem to-day,

      When all my griefs were shared with thee,
      As all my hopes were thine–
      As all thou wert was one with me,
      May all thou art be mine!

       


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