Page:Aurora Leigh a Poem.djvu/44

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35
AURORA LEIGH.


And live for use. Alas, near all the birds
Will sing at dawn,—and yet we do not take
The chaffering swallow for the holy lark.

In those days, though, I never analysed
Myself even. All analysis comes late.
You catch a sight of Nature, earliest,
In full front sun-face, and your eyelids wink
And drop before the wonder of’t; you miss
The form, through seeing the light. I lived, those days,
And wrote because I lived—unlicensed else:
My heart beat in my brain. Life’s violent flood
Abolished bounds,—and, which my neighbour’s field,
Which mine, what mattered? It is so in youth.
We play at leap-frog over the god Term;
The love within us and the love without
Are mixed, confounded; if we are loved or love,
We scarce distinguish. So, with other power.
Being acted on and acting seem the same:
In that first onrush of life’s chariot-wheels,
We know not if the forests move or we.

And so, like most young poets, in a flush
Of individual life, I poured myself
Along the veins of others, and achieved
Mere lifeless imitations of live verse,
And made the living answer for the dead,
Profaning nature. ‘Touch not, do not taste,
Nor handle,’—we’re too legal, who write young:
We beat the phorminx till we hurt our thumbs,