Now, through the crowded amphitheater,
Sounded a herald flourish loud and clear.
A breeze of expectation seemed to stir.
The unkempt sunnyside sent up a cheer.
With wicked-looking horns and sullen mien,
The black bull, Moro, entered on the scene.
This was the bull of which the placards said,
A maiden would subdue his utmost rage,
Unless, in the attempt, her blood were shed.
Did not all Cadiz know the formal page?
And Moro greeted, with a thundrous roar,
The ruthless, living hill he lowered before.
And once by his tormentors he was met:
Capas before him shook their teasing cloth;
Banderillëros in his shoulders set
Their cruel darts; and when he rushed, right wroth,
Upon a yellow challenge waved with jeers,
The picadorës pricked him with their spears.
Against the nearest picador he turned
And lifted horse and rider from the ground.
Thus three good horses had he gored, and spurned
Infuriate, when quietly around
Withdrew the fighters, proud of courage shown,
And left the bull, in his fierce rage, alone.
Then fell a rill of music, pearl on pearl,
And straightway into the arena sprang
A tawny, Andalusian peasant-girl,
Pretty and breathing charm; she sweetly sang,
Advancing toward the bull with fearless joy,
Then, pausing, ceased and cried, 'Moro! Ya voy!'
Of glad Espara she, and she had fed,
Petted and cared for Moro happy years.
But when of late she heard it lightly said
That he must grace th' arena, full of tears
She sought authority and gained the right
To save his life, if in this wise she might.
Amidst the wide, hushed amphitheater,
At the first piping of the bird-like voice,
Moro had quelled his fury, and seeing her,
The girl, his friend, he seemed quite to rejoice.
And when beside him she had come to stand,
With his mute tongue he licked her loving hand.
Her voice and presence soothing every smart,
He knelt before her as she stroked his head.
She, bending over, soon removed each dart,
With tearful pity; then, joy-garlanded,
Her arm around his neck, and all elate,
She, smiling, led him toward the torril's gate.
The Patriot's Courage
When our free land's great captain, Washington,
Was colonel in Virginia, ere the war
He led for Independence had begun,
A passing cloud obscured his rising star:
His sometimes frightful passions woke, and they,
Then unbroke coursers, had their fiery way.
For while between opposing factions there
The bloodless battle by the ballot rolled,
Into one's pride whem he had found unfair
He plunged a speech-wrought weapon, keen and cold;
And the hurt voter, with a blow unmeet,
Stretched his insulter senseless at his feet.
Forth hied the dread news, waxing as it went,
Fed by the food it gave to every tongue;
Uprose, wild-eyed, the wrathful regiment,
And idle swords and flintlocks were unhung,
And marshaled to the drum, whose speedy call
Was like the beating of the hearts of all.
When grief has rage soft pity turns to stone.
These loved their leader as they loved their land;
Aslant, like shining rain, their muskets shone,
And harsh the voice of vengeance pealed command:
'All foully slain our colonel lies, struck down!
On, comrades! Give no quarter! Burn the town!'
Meanwhile, the stricken was made whole again,
And, hurried by the townsfolk, rode to meet
The armed, excited torrent of fierce men
Advancing toward the small, elect'ral street;
And gladly holden in their wond'ring sight,
They pressed around him with unfeigned delight.
But vengeance is so inconsiderate,
Shorn of excuse it yet pursues its prey;
And all the soldiers, filled with gathered hate,
Were willed to leave black ruin on their way.
He charged them, lest the love he bore should cease,
To bate their wrath, and turn again in peace.
So they went back; and slowly he returned,
Chastising his quick passions ruthlessly;
For who, that with a foolish rage has burned,
Knows blame as bitter as his own may be?
But when red morn rolled up its splendid wheel,
Joy followed close on Sorrow's fleeing heel.
For then betimes, a lark-blithe letter flew
Out of a heart where kindness brooded warm;
But to the voter's short and narrow view
It was the white-winged augury of storm;
It asked a meeting only, yet he heard
Of challenge and of duel in the word.
For who could know that one would be so bold
To face and brave the time?-in that it meant
That each his honor on his sword should hold?
The voter straightway to the other went,
And Washington, with courage strong and grand,
Held forth his prudent and heroic hand.
And in his love of truth, sublime and glad,
To him who struck him down he made amends:
'If with the satisfaction you have had
You are content, oh, let us then be friends!
For, looking back on our affray with shame,
I feel that I alone have been to blame.'
There lives a creature of a dreamer's brain,
That strove by charms, and with the aid of ghosts,
Of making gold to find the secret out;
That drew a wide ring round his crucible,
And, while the spirits worked at alchemy,
He, to beat back vast, adverse ghosts essayed.
But soon, within the circle he had drawn,
Was set a monstrous Foot, so large, his face
Was level with the instep: all in vain
His puny efforts to drive back the Foot.
Oh, hard for him who, having once let in
On the charm'd circle of the golden good
The first advance of error, strives to oust
The evil, and make clear the round again.
Not often will the giant Foot retreat.
And I behink me him who, in the past,
Before Christ's passion ransom'd man from sin,
And in a land that did not know of God
Forced back the Foot of one remorseful crime,
Walked silently beneath the silent stars,
And gave his heart to cogitation thus:
'Anteia, wife to Proitos, tempted me:
She, in the palace where the fountains are,
Met me at twilight as she walked alone,
Clad with uncinctured robe, adorned with gems,
Perfumed with all the spices of the East.
She made her arms a wreath about my neck,
And, lifting both her small, gold-sandal'd feet,
Hung her full weight on me; her mouth's closed bud,
Thrilled by the ardent summer of desire,
Butst into honey'd flower against my lips.
With warm cheek pressed to mine, she, in my ear,
Exhaled the poison whisper of her love.
'I drew back scornfully surprised, and hissed
Between set teeth a menace at all sin.
She left me thus, and went to him, her liege,
And with the broken fragments of her speech-
Bits of the jar that could not hold her tears-
She let it fall that I had wronged her much.
'In swift, deep wrath the fierce king called for me,
And on a tablet writing fatal words,
With them he sent me forth beyond his realm
To Lykia, to the king thereof, who met,
And, by the stream of Xanthos, welcomed me.
Nine days of feasting passed, and on the tenth
The tablet was unsealed, its purport known-
And its base appetite is gorged today.
'Th' unconquerable Chimaira first I slew.
She was in front a lion, and behind
A serpent, and was in the middle a goat.
Her breath was blazing fire, with which, in rage,
She burned the drought-parched forests in her path.
And her, by winged alliance with the horse,
I slew, indeed, and gave to rigid death.
I overcame the far-famed Solymi,
I smote the man-opposing Amazons,
I turned to naught the well-armed ambuscade,
And made illustrious my bitter name.
'But what if I had yielded to the queen,
And from the king had stolen that which she,
Tho' offering, had yet no right to give?
I hold, the soul is like a piece of cloth
That, being stained, can be made clean no more-
That nothing can erase the stain of sin.
'Picture that I, having passed safely through
The darkness that is seen by dying eyes,
Have reached the light beyond, and see the gods
In synod throned, and hear Zeus speak and say:
''We serve no law, yet bind the steadfast earth
And all the ways of men in chains of law
Harmonious with good and linked thereto.
The blinded mortal lured to break one chain
Makes discord, stains the fabric of his soul,
And brings dire retribution headlong down.'
'Then I, in meek abasement kneeling there
Upon the low, first step of Zeus's throne,
Hold up my shameful soul, a piece of cloth
Through fault of Queen Anteia doubly stained,
''O Zeus, accept this humble gift!
Thou wroughtest it: the texture is as fine
As the loose wool of clouds, or the worm's silk.
These blots and stains are most like roses strewn.'
'His calmness rippled by slight breeze of scorn,
The great cloud-gatherer would answer me:
''O fool! and blind, to mock the mighty gods;
For, on the mystic texture of the soul,
Only a noble deed shows like a flower.'
'Well, whoso wills shall ever have his way,
And what was right, that I had willed to do.
So, haply, I on Pegasus shall scale
White-crowned Olympus to the brazen halls,
If I may keep the path of righteousness
That the strong gods ordained.'
Thus mused he then,
Unmindful that great zeal for any good
Begets a narrowness that leads to ill.
The heaven-sent gad-fly stings the flying horse,
And hurls the rider back to common ground.