Prefatory Poem To My Brother’s Sonnets


Midnight June 30 1879


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.


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.


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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