That night he groped without a lamp

To find a cloak, a book,

And on the vexing portrait

By moonrise chanced to look.

The color-scheme was out of key,

The maiden rose-smile faint,

But through the blessed darkness

She gleamed, his friendly saint.

The comrade, white, immortal,

His bride, and more than bride --

The citizen, the sage of mind,

For whom he lived and died.

V. The Encyclopaedia

"If I could set the moon upon

This table," said my friend,

"Among the standard poets

And brochures without end,

And noble prints of old Japan,

How empty they would seem,

By that encyclopaedia

Of whim and glittering dream."

VI. What the Miner in the Desert Said

The moon's a brass-hooped water-keg,

A wondrous water-feast.

If I could climb the ridge and drink

And give drink to my beast;

If I could drain that keg, the flies

Would not be biting so,

My burning feet be spry again,

My mule no longer slow.

And I could rise and dig for ore,

And reach my fatherland,

And not be food for ants and hawks

And perish in the sand.

VII. What the Coal-heaver Said

The moon's an open furnace door

Where all can see the blast,

We shovel in our blackest griefs,

Upon that grate are cast

Our aching burdens, loves and fears

And underneath them wait

Paper and tar and pitch and pine

Called strife and blood and hate.

Out of it all there comes a flame,

A splendid widening light.

Sorrow is turned to mystery

And Death into delight.

VIII. What the Moon Saw

Two statesmen met by moonlight.

Their ease was partly feigned.

They glanced about the prairie.

Their faces were constrained.

In various ways aforetime

They had misled the state,

Yet did it so politely

Their henchmen thought them great.

They sat beneath a hedge and spake

No word, but had a smoke.

A satchel passed from hand to hand.

Next day, the deadlock broke.

IX. What Semiramis Said

The moon's a steaming chalice

Of honey and venom-wine.

A little of it sipped by night

Makes the long hours divine.

But oh, my reckless lovers,

They drain the cup and wail,

Die at my feet with shaking limbs

And tender lips all pale.

Above them in the sky it bends

Empty and gray and dread.

To-morrow night 'tis full again,

Golden, and foaming red.

X. What the Ghost of the Gambler Said

Where now the huts are empty,

Where never a camp-fire glows,

In an abandoned canyon,

A Gambler's Ghost arose.

He muttered there, "The moon's a sack

Of dust." His voice rose thin:

"I wish I knew the miner-man.

I'd play, and play to win.

In every game in Cripple-creek

Of old, when stakes were high,

I held my own. Now I would play

For that sack in the sky.

The sport would not be ended there.

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