Edward Henry Noel (?-1884)

"The late Mr. Edward Noel was one of those men who impress one more by their personality than by anything written. He was a man of true and liberal culture, with a temperament at once romantic and reserved, and with a nature so essentially noble and beautiful that no one could know him without gaining greatly thereby. His memory is a treasured possession with the fortunate few who had his friendship. Until after his death, few, if any, of his friends knew that he had written anything, though a year or two previous he did let fall some hint to me of his poetic work. After his death, Miss Noel published (Eliot Stock, 1884) his collected Poems. They are characterised by deep meditative beauty--not underivative as regards expression, it is true--and a sad yet not despairing melancholy, the result of the great loss Mr Noel sustained in the death of his dearly loved wife, which occurred during his long residence in Greece." (from Sonnets of This Century)

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The Rainbow

The raindrops shimmered down the beamy sky:
"Behold," one sang, "how gloriously bright
The golden garments of the King of light!"--
"Golden! O drop, a beam is in thine eye!"
A second cries: "His robe's of crimson dye."--
"Ye both are blind," another shouts: "my sight
Is clear, and with the purple veil of night
Our monarch is arrayed in mystery.

Thus wrangling, shouting, hopeless to agree
The drops shot swiftly down the headlong steep,
Until at last they fell into the sea.
When they arose from out the cold, dark deep,
The sun sat throned in stainless majesty,
While down a cloud they saw the rainbow sweep.