Where is thy dwelling-place? Echo of sweetness,
   Seraph of tenderness, where is thy home?
Angel of happiness, herald of fleetness,
   Thou hast the key of the star-blazon'd dome.
   Where lays that never end
   Up to God's throne ascend,
And our fond heart-wishes lovingly throng,
   Soaring with thee above,
   Bearer of truth and love,
Teacher of heaven's tongue -- Spirit of Song!

Euphony, born in the realms of the tearless,
   Mingling thy notes with the voices of Earth;
Wanting thee, all would be dreary and cheerless,
   Weaver of harmony, giver of mirth.
   Comfort of child and sage,
   With us in youth and age,
Soothing the weak and inspiring the strong,
   Illuming the blackest night,
   Making the day more bright,
Oh! thou art dear to us, Spirit of Song!

Oft in the springtime, sweet words of affection
   Are whispered by thee in thy tenderest tone,
And in the winter dark clouds of dejection
   By thee are dispelled till all sorrow has flown.
   Thou'rt with the zephyrs low,
   And with the brooklet's flow,
And with the feathered choir all the year long;
   Happy each child of thine,
   Blest with thy gifts divine,
Charming our senses, sweet Spirit of Song!

I had not thought again to be
A dreamer of such dreams as these.
The springtime is no more for me;
My summer died beyond the seas.
From what untimely source begin
These stirrings of the life within?

I had not thought again to taste
The bitter sweet, the joyous pain.
I dreamed that I had trodden waste,
Beyond the power of sun or rain,
The soil that grew the passion fruit;—
Then, whence this blossom underfoot?
I had not thought again to see
Beyond the homely pale of truth;—
The lights and shapes of witchery,
That glorify the skies of youth,
I only know as perished things;—
Whence, then, this flash of angel wings?

How spend the day, yet save the hours?
I had my day; the hours are fled.
How eat the fruit, yet hold the flowers?
I ate the fruit; the flowers are dead.
Oh, what divine or fiendish art
Hath twined fresh tendrils round my heart?

I said, 'tis good to be alone,
No alien hand to urge or check.
I said, my spirit is my own,
To loose or bind, to save or wreck.
I trod on Love, called Reason lord;—
Lo, whence this subtle silken cord?

Oh, who shall tell if this be strength
Re-risen, or ghost of old defect?
The truth of manhood come at length,
Or weakness born of purpose wrecked?
I only know it is the whole
Arch-craving of a hungry soul.

I only know that all the hordes
Of buried hopes and jealousies

Are risen again and crossing swords,
And that 'twas but an armistice,
A breathing time 'twixt strife and strife,
Which I had deemed a peace for life.

Oh! who can tell where duty lies—
To urge, repress, advance, or stay?
To grasp at Good in Beauty's guise,
Or brush the pretty lure away,
Ere doubtful war of hopes and fears
Consume the hoarded strength of years?

Nigh the cross with sorrow laden,
Weeping stood the Mother-maiden
While her Son in torment hung:
Sadly moaning, deeply wailing,
Now the cruel sword prevailing
Pierced her soul with anguish wrung.

Oh how sad that spirit lowly,
Blessèd Virgin, pure and holy,
Mother of the Only-born.
She with bitter grief and sighing,
Piteous Mother of the dying,
Saw her son with anguish torn.

Who could, tearless, thus behold her,
While such agonies enfold her,
Mother of the Crucified?
Who could see the Christ before him
See his Mother grieving o'er Him,
And unpitying turn aside?

In His torment she beheld Him,
While the cruel scourge compelled Him
Others' sins to expiate,
Saw her Son so meek and tender
Forth His stainless spirit render,
Hers, yet dying desolate.

Mother, fount of all affection,
Let me, bowed in sore dejection,
Share the grief and bear the rod.
Let my soul with ardour glowing,
Hence abound to overflowing
With the love of Christ my God.

Holy Mother, pierce my spirit
With the wounds for my demerit
Borne upon the accursed tree.
Let me, keenly sympathising,
Feel the torment agonising,
Of the cross endured for me.

Tear for tear, thy sorrow bearing,
Be it mine, thine anguish sharing,
While I live to weep with thee,
With thee at the cross abiding,

With thee mournful watch dividing,
This I ask thee tearfully.

Virgin, virgins all excelling,
May my spirit near thee dwelling,
Feel thy bitter grief its own;
Share the Saviour's dark affliction,
Passion, scourge, and crucifixion,
Pang for pang and groan for groan.

Pierce me till my spirit bleedeth,
Pierce me till my sense recedeth,
Blood-enraptured clean away.
Virgin blest when time is ended,
Be my soul by thee defended,
In the dreadful Judgment Day

Christ, when hence my soul is fleeting,
Through thy mother mercy meeting,
Be the palm of victory given.
When this mortal bond shall sever,
Take my spirit home for ever,
To the glorious rest of Heaven.

The Dominion Of Australia

She is not yet; but he whose ear
Thrills to that finer atmosphere
Where footfalls of appointed things,
Reverberant of days to be,
Are heard in forecast echoings,
Like wave-beats from a viewless sea—
Hears in the voiceful tremors of the sky
Auroral heralds whispering, “She is nigh.”

She is not yet; but he whose sight
Foreknows the advent of the light,
Whose soul to morning radiance turns
Ere night her curtain hath withdrawn,
And in its quivering folds discerns
The mute monitions of the dawn,
With urgent sense strained onward to descry
Her distant tokens, starts to find Her nigh.

Not yet her day. How long “not yet?” . . .
There comes the flush of violet!
And heavenward faces, all aflame
With sanguine imminence of morn,
Wait but the sun-kiss to proclaim
The Day of The Dominion born.
Prelusive baptism!—ere the natal hour
Named with the name and prophecy of power.

Already here to hearts intense,
A spirit-force, transcending sense,
In heights unscaled, in deeps unstirred,
Beneath the calm, above the storm,
She waits the incorporating word
To bid her tremble into form.
Already, like divining-rods, men's souls
Bend down to where the unseen river rolls;—

For even as, from sight concealed,
By never flush of dawn revealed,
Nor e'er illumed by golden noon,
Nor sunset-streaked with crimson bar,
Nor silver-spanned by wake of moon,

Nor visited of any star,
Beneath these lands a river waits to bless
(So men divine) our utmost wilderness,—

Rolls dark, but yet shall know our skies,
Soon as the wisdom of the wise
Conspires with nature to disclose
The blessing prisoned and unseen,
Till round our lessening wastes there glows
A perfect zone of broadening green,—
Till all our land, Australia Felix called,
Become one Continent-Isle of Emerald;

So flows beneath our good and ill
A viewless stream of Common Will,
A gathering force, a present might,
That from its silent depths of gloom
At Wisdom's voice shall leap to light,
And hide our barren feuds in bloom,
Till, all our sundering lines with love o'ergrown,
Our bounds shall be the girdling seas alone.

Adelaide Ironside

Knowest thou now, O Love! Oh pure from the death of thy summer of sweetness!
Seest thou now, O new-born Delight of the Ransomed and Free!
We have gathered the flower for the fruit; we have hastened the hour of thy meetness;
For thou wert sealed unto us, and thine Angel hath waited for thee.

Not in disdain, O Love! O Sweet! of desires that are earthly and mortal,
Not in the scorn of thine Art, whose beginning and end is Divine,
So soon have we borne thee asleep through the glow of the uttermost portal,
But in the ruth of high souls that have travelled with longings like thine.

Nothing is lost, O Love! O mine! and thy seemingly broken endeavour
Here re-appeareth, transfigured as thou; yet the Art of thy youth;
And the light of the Spirit of Beauty is on it for ever and ever;
For Art is the garment of Praise, and the broidered apparel of Truth.

Seest thou now, O Love! how Art, in a way to mortality nameless,
Liveth again, soul-informed, love-sustained, self-completing, for aye?
How thy heart's purpose was good, and the dream of thy maidenhood blameless,—
How thy fair dawn is fulfilled in the light of ineffable day?

Seest thou now, O Love! O Fair! how the high spiritlife is Art regnant—
Art become bliss, and harmonious response to the Infinite Will?
Fused and transfused into Love, with the germs of eternity pregnant—
Crowned as the law of the beauty of Holiness; throned, yet Art still?

Not then in vain, O Love! thy dawn, nor the dream of thy holy ambition;
Never a trace of thy finger hath witnessed for Beauty in vain;
In the bloom of the noon of thine ardour thy soul became fair for fruition;
We have smitten the green into gold but to spare thee the harvest of pain.

Nothing that came from thy hand, O Love, made void, cut off, evanescent,—
From the infantile essay that strove with the weapon of outline alone,
To the Angels thou lovedst to portray with luminous plumes iridescent,
Till thy soul drew so near unto us that we took thee for one of our own.

Now may'st thou trace, O Heart! Sweet Heart! from on high all the way I have led
From the youth of a world in the Seas of the South to unperishing Rome;
For the lure of thy following soul was the sheen of my wings that o'erspread thee,
Flushing with reflex of glory the path of thy pilgrimage—home.

By the way of the age of the world I have chosen to lead thee to glory;
Of the wine of the might of the world have I given thee to drink ere thou slept;
Where the Masters have walked I have laid thee, ensphered with the darlings of
I have waked thee a perfected spirit; matured, yet thine innocence kept.

There, too, I led thee to feed thee with prescience and keen imitation
Of the art-adjuvant Grace that hath given thee, a love-gift, to me;
By the work of my hands did I wake in thee foretaste of Transfiguration,—
For thine Angel once wrought upon earth as thou; and his work thou didst see.

Now is thy spirit, O Love, in mine. In thy heart I behold thou dost know me.
I looked for thy glad recognition; no converse of aliens is this;
Oft when thy longings went upward, thy soul, like a mirror below me,
Caught my own loveliest visions in shapes of Elysian bliss.

Name me not now, O Love! O mine! for the name of my days of wayfaring
Still hath the note of a fevered desire, and an echo of pain.
Come thou, O Gift of long hope, to the home of thine Angel's preparing!
There I shall show thee the mercy of God, and the things that remain.

A Coin Of Trajan In Australia

Through what strange winding ways of circumstance,
Through what conspiracies of time and chance,
By what long chain of hands, from his who pressed
Upon thy disc the Imperial countenance,
Then threw thee, one of many, with the rest—
By what long chain of hands, a living line
Of transfer hast thou come from his to mine?

Could I but trace thee back from mine to his,
Through the long process of the centuries
From touch to touch of hands that took or gave,
And read as current things the destinies
Writ on each palm—of master, matron, slave—
Whereon a moment thou hast lain, I should
Know all that life can hold of ill or good.

How strange to think, nigh two millenniums gone,
While yet thy legend white from mintage shone,
At such an hour of just such day divine,
Some Roman maiden's hand thou layest upon,
Whose living warmth became a moment thine—
That into this thine actual substance stole
The gentle tremors pulsing from her soul!

Nor yet less strange to think of what long space
Thou layest forgot in some forgotten place
While Empire fell, or passed to Pontiff-Kings,
And while the gradual darkening of thy face
Was all thy share in all the change of things,
Till some chance hand thy secret touched at last
And drew thee forth to witness of the past;—

To be, when after lapse of many days
Thy vagrant fate through unrecorded ways
At length had brought thee to this alien clime,
A voice that, heedless all of blame or praise,
Protests the spirit of a regal time
Against a later dispensation, when
No more doth glory sway the souls of men.

Sway me one instant with the glory gone,
One dazzled moment let me gaze upon
What is impossible again to be,
This image and this superscription con
As when in silver glow of novelty

They stood for present Empire, and designed
A god incarnate throned amid mankind!—

* * * * *
Oh, magic disc, responsive to my mood!
I saw him on his dizzy altitude,
Serene, august, the lord of all the world!
Imperial in a space of light he stood,
While round his feet in storm-lit turmoil whirled
A cloud of striving Dignities, that hid
From him all nether woes ill-auguried.

Above distraction, and beyond dispute,
The incommunicable attribute
Of majesty made fiat of his breath;
And when all fain of some imagined suit
I lifted suppliant hands for life or death,
And caught his glance of calm Olympian pride,
I swooned, and, swooning, “Ave Caesar,” cried!

* * * * *
The glory-tissued vision, warp and woof,
Dissolves before the sense of self-reproof.
Ah, foolish-fain of pictured History!
This in the only land beneath heav'n's roof
Where never yet hath manhood bent the knee
To man the one sole continent whose sod
The foot of regnant kinghood ne'er hath trod!

And yet—and yet—though all around us lies
The freest land beneath the o'er-arching skies,
Rich in a polity of common weal,
Is there among us aught that justifies
The scorn of ancient things? Can we repeal
The union 'twixt the present and the past,
And place ourselves as first, whom God made last

Because of that which was is that which is;
We are the children of the centuries;
And if our ancients in excess of awe
To Caesar rendered even more than his,
We reap their legacy in sense of law;
Yea, Freedom conscious grew by stress of thrall
The might of one revealed the strength of all.

A Historical Problem

KING AHASUERUS in his palace at Shu-Shàn
Gave a feast unto his princes, Tarshish, Meres, Memucàn,
And some others whose outlandish names it boots not to rehearse—
You will find them all in “Esther,” chapter First, and fourteenth verse.

And when the feast was at its height, and jest and story flew,
And reverberant laughter shook the hangings, white, and green, and blue,
Ahasuerus hammered with his sceptre on the board,
And at the royal signal silence promptly was restored.

“Great lords, our Privy Councillors,” the mighty monarch said,
“The chiefest of our provinces is now without a head;
“Assyria is vacant; and we ask you, who is he
“Who worthiest is to rule the roost in that great Satrapy?”

Then one named one; another, one; till all had said their say;
But at each name the monarch shook his head and answered “Nay.
“Ye only think,” he cried, “of high degree and princely birth;
“Hen-w―y-nor is the man for Us, whose claim is simply—worth.”

Hen-w―y-nor! At the name there burst so joyful a hurroo
That the palace-hangings swayed in curves of white and green and blue;
And, waving golden goblets, Tarshish, Meres, Memucàn,
Etcetera, shouted “Live the King! Hen-w―y-nor is the man!”

Now, Hen-w―y-nor was a modest chief, who ruled a scanty folk,
And his soul was filled with wonder when the news upon him broke
(Which proves, if proof is wanted, that a man may be alert
And wideawake to everything except his own desert).

The war-worn hero fain had put the glittering prize aside,
But Duty called with trumpet-tone and would not be denied,
And at the old familiar sound his answering spirit leapt,
And his posts were straightway flying with the message “I accept.”

And his people—ah, his people!—they were glad and they were sad:
They were proud and yet cast down: the news was good, the news was bad.
Each felt higher by a cubit, and yet lower by a head,
And they bragged of his promotion, mingling tears with what they said.

But where all sincerely sorrowed, Persian chroniclers agree
That the saddest of the mourners were the Civil Scribery—
A superior class of men, who, these same chroniclers declare,
Were the best of all good fellows in that land—or anywhere.

Now the Scribery had a custom, quite peculiar to this folk,
To give departing friends an apotheosis of smoke;
So they waited on the Satrap, and besought him to submit
To the process on such evening as His Altitude thought fit.

“ 'Tis small honour we can render,” said the scribe who spoke their views;
“We are poor, Sir—devilish poor—with ten per centum off our screws;
“But we'd fain give you a pleasure to remember when you're gone”—
And the kindly Satrap bowed his honour'd head, and said “I'm on.”

But when the deputation had departed, there came near
A stealthy-footed chamberlain who whispered in his ear,
“There s a Farewell Ode included in the pleasure they prepare!”—
And the hero of a hundred fights dropped back into his chair.

Yea, he whose eye had ever in fierce conflict brightest glowed—
He who before had ne'er known fear—now quailed before the Ode!
And he cried, “Is there no outlet from this horrible abyss?
“Chillianwallah, Delhi, Gujerat, were not a patch on this!

“Yet stay!”—for now a happy thought took shape within his brain—
“You cannot Farewell-Ode a man who chooses to remain!”
Oh, blessed inspiration! the solution clear he saw!
And out he rushed, and wired Ahasuerus, “I withdraw!”

* * * * *
Exit Farewell Ode. But synchronously with its exit came
A new problem into history that still preserves his fame,
For historians still dispute the question, each with some fresh lie,
Why Hen-w―y-nor slung Assyria—But we know the reason why.

Spirit And Star

Through the bleak cold voids, through the wilds of space,
Trackless and starless, forgotten of grace,—
Through the dusk that is neither day nor night,
Through the grey that is neither dark nor light—
Through thin chill ethers where dieth speech,
Where the pulse of the music of heaven cannot reach,
Unwarmed by the breath of living thing,
And for ever unswept of angel's wing—
Through the cold, through the void, through the wilds of space,
With never a home or a resting-place,
How far must I wander? Oh God, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

Once on a time unto me was given
The fairest star in the starry heaven—
A little star, to tend and to guide,
To nourish and cherish and love as a bride.
Far from all great bright orbs, alone,
Even to few of the angels known,
It moved; but a sweet pale light on its face
From the sapphire foot of the throne of grace,
That was better than glory and more than might,
Made it a wonder of quiet delight.
Still must I wander? Oh God, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

On the starry brow was the peace of the blest,
And bounteous peace on the starry breast;
All beautiful things were blossoming there,
Sighing their loves to the delicate air:
No creature of God such fragrance breathed,
White-rose girdled and white-rose wreathed;
And its motion was music, an undertone,
With a strange sad sweetness all its own,
Dearer to me than the louder hymn
Of the God-enraptured seraphim.—
How far must I wander? Ah Heaven, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

In a round of joy, remote and alone,
Yet ever in sight of the great white throne,
Together we moved, for a love divine
Had blent the life of the star with mine:—
And had all the angels of all the spheres
Forecast my fate and foretold my tears,

The weary wand'ring, the gruesome gloom,
And bruited them forth through the Trump of Doom—
Hiding a smile in my soul, I had moved
Only the nearer to what I loved.
Yet I must wander! Oh God, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

Ah, woe the delusive demon-light
That beckoned me, beckoned me, day and night!
The untwining of heartstrings, the backward glance,
The truce with faith, and the severance!
Ah, woe the unfolding of wayward wings
That bore me away from all joyous things,
To realms of space whence the pale sweet gleam
Looked dim as a dimly-remembered dream—
To farther realms where the faint light spent
Vanished at length from my firmament;
And I seek it in vain—Ah God, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

On sleepless wings I have followed it
Through the star-sown fields of the Infinite;
And where foot of angel hath never trod
I have threaded the golden mazes of God;
I have pierced where the fire-fount of being runs,
I have dashed myself madly on burning suns,
Then downward have swept with shuddering breath
Through the place of the shadows and shapes of death,
Till sick with sorrow and spent with pain
I float and faint in the dim inane!
Must I yet wander? Ah God, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

Oh could I find in uttermost space
A place for hope, and for prayer a place,
Mine were no suit for a glittering prize
In the chosen seats of the upper skies—
No grand ministration, no thronèd height
In the midmost intense of unspeakable light.
What sun-god sphere with all-dazzling beam
Could be unto me as that sweet, sad gleam?
Let me roam through the ages all alone,
If He give me not back my own, my own!
How far must I wander? Oh God, how far?
I have lost my star, I have lost my star!

In the whispers that tremble from sphere to sphere,
Which the ear of a spirit alone can hear,

I have heard it breathed that there cometh a day
When tears from all eyes shall be wiped away,
When faintness of heart and drooping of wings
Shall be told as a tale of olden things,
When toil and trouble and all distress
Shall be lost in the round of Blessedness.
In that day when dividing of loves shall cease,
And all things draw near to the centre of peace,
In the fulness of time, in the ages afar,
God, oh God, shall I find my star?

The Story Of A Soul

Who can say “Thus far, no farther,” to the tide of his own nature?
Who can mould the spirit's fashion to the counsel of his will?
Square his being by enactment—shape his soul to legislature—
Be himself his law of living, his own art of good and ill?

Who can sway the rhythm of breathing? Who can time his own heart beating?
Fix the pitch of all soul music, and imprison it in bars?
Who can pledge the immaterial affinities from meeting?
Who can make him his own orbit unrelated to the stars?

I had marked my path before me, not in flowery lane or by-way,
Unbeguiled of all bird-singing, by no voice of waters won;
And across life's silent glacier I had cut a clear cold highway,
Little recking of the avalanche, or all-dissolving sun.

I had said unto my soul, Be thou the lord of thine own Reason;
Get thee face to face and heart to heart with everlasting Truth;—
Thou art heir of all her beauty if thou dare the lofty treason
To clasp her and to kiss her with the valiant lips of youth.

Not in outer courts of worship, not by darkly-curtained portal,
But within her inmost chamber, in the glory of her shrine,
Shalt thou seek her and commune with her, a mortal made immortal
By the breathing of her presence, by her fervid hand in thine.

With no garment-clinging vassalage, unawed of all tradition,
Alone, alone of mortals shalt thou gaze upon her face;
And the years shall pass unheeded in the wonder of the vision,
And her attributes unfolding make thee free of time and space.

So I left the dewy levels, and with upward-pointing finger
Marked my goal among the snowy peaks o'er pleasure and o'er pain;
And the shining arms of Aphrodité beckoning me to linger
By her side amid her rosy bowers were stretched for me in vain.

And I heard the world pass by me with a far-off dreamy cadence
Of an alien music uninformed with meaning to mine ears;
And all sweet melodious laughter in the voice of men and maidens
Came with distance-saddened undertone, a mockery of tears.
Till alike the throb of pleasure and alike the great o'erflowings
Of the springs of sorrow seemed to be forgotten things of yore;
Till the world passed from beneath me, and the rumour of its goings
Far diffused into the silent ethers reached my soul no more.

And the bodiless and shadowless mute ghosts of contemplation,
Charmed from spells of bookish lore, were my companions on my way;

And their flake-light footfalls cheered me to a dreamy exaltation
Where the soul sat with the godheads, unassailable as they.

I had lost the glow of Nature; and the pride of clearer seeing
Was to me for all elation, for the sunset and the flowers,
For the beauty and the music and the savour of all being,
For the starry thrills of midnight, for the joy of morning hours.

Down the slopes I left behind me fled the creeds of many races,
Fled the gnomes of superstition, fled rebuking fiends of fear,
And I smiled as I beheld them from the calm of my high places
Cast integument and substance, melt in mist and disappear.

So I held my way unwavering in dismal mountainpasses,
Though a voice within my soul was loud, “In vain, and all in vain!”
And I heard the unassuaging streams far down in deep crevasses,
And I stumbled snowblind 'mid the boulders of the long moraine.

Still I said, I will not falter, nor revisit earth for ever,
Who have breathed the breath of deity and lived Olympian hours!
——When the summer smote the glacier, and the ice became a river,
And I found me in the valley clinging wildly to the flowers!

Clinging wildly, clinging fondly, in a mad repentant fashion,
To the blossoms long forsaken, to the graces long foregone,
Paying lavishly in tears and sighs the long arrears of passion,
And re-wedded to the joy of earth by one fair thing thereon!

Fools and blind are we who think to soar beyond the reach of Nature!
Fools and blind who think to bid the tide of feeling from its flood!
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?
Or compel the summer fervours from the solstice of the blood?

Not “as gods.” Not yet. Our roots are in the earth that heaves beneath me:
With her rhythm we move and tremble, with her starry dance we whirl.
Lo, she laughs when I would fly to where her arms shall not enwreath me,
Draws me back with cords of golden hair, o'erthrows me with a girl!

What was I to deem it duty thus to sunder Truth and Beauty—
Thus to die among the living, and to live among the dead?
Ah, the hands of Truth are boonless, and the lips of Truth are tuneless,
When we sever her from Love, and throne her coldly overhead!

Now I know her drawing nearer in a fairer light and dearer
Than in wastes of icy solitude or page of weary tome—
In the gleam of golden tresses, in the eye that smiles and blesses,
In the glowing hand that presses Love's approved conviction home.

Truth is sphered in sweet communion. Truth is life and love in union.
Hand in hand from spiritual founts we catch the circling thrill.
We are not compact of reasons. There are changes in our seasons;

And the crescent orb of youth has many phases to fulfil.

The Goths In Campania (Placidia, In The Tent Of Adolphus.)


I am not Roman when he looks upon me
With those mild eyes of unaccustomed blue;
Woman, not Roman, when his strong embraces
Crush me with rugged promises of love.
Time was, ere yet the Gothic trump had broken
The dream of that inviolate majesty
Whose very sleep was empire—Rome its pillow—
Its couch, the world—its overhanging, heaven;
Time was, when only words of courtly homage
Brought to mine ear the import of such praise,
As had bestirred Divinity to wonder
That men should deem it of so high account,
When careful speech of long premeditation
Lost grace and aptitude in present awe;
When lips, late ruddy with the blood of Caesars,
Grew white in rash petition for such boons
As gods had smiled at—unrewarding favour,
A word, a look, yea, even indifference,
As if in me the fear of adverse fortune
Had recognized some godhead of caprice.
But when the sun shone in the palace garden,
And May was in the roses and in me,
And all my soul cried out for what it had not,
To crown the life of summer and my own,
Honorius' sister, Theodosius' daughter,
Placidia, I, of Roman maidens first,
Had welcomed fellowship and clasped intrusion;—
Yet no man asked my heart, no man my love.
None to the longing of my life made answer;
None broke the still Imperial solitude
With sweet audacity of hardy wooing;
None wronged the princess by the woman's right.
Such time had been, until this bold Adolphus
With warrior-laugh o'erleaped prerogative,
And caught me for a spoil beneath his buckler,
The princess captive, but the woman free.
A dreary code of law inscribed in purple
Had been the record of Placidia's years,
But that this Goth from out the Boreal lustre

Of his blue eye shed heav'n upon the page,
And wrote in crimson characters of triumph
The story of a glad captivity.
For in restraint of foot I leaped to rescue
From golden chains and regal servitude;
And this my durance is a fond redemption
That makes me free to love, and to be loved.

Yet there are moments, when as now he slumbers
Beside my feet, 'mid these disorder'd spoils
That make my prison-tent a Roman ruin—
Fierce moments of resurgent memory,
Full of rebuke of race and name forsaken,
And peopled with the spirits of the past.
Oh, it doth wrench me when his heedless fingers,
Circling the chalice in Falernian dreams—
The golden chalice that my father drank of,
Enriched with his own emblems, priceless work,
Gazing whereon his well-instructed spirit
Enhanced the vintage with the pride of art—
Relax and glide adown the rare embossment,
Until they touch that laurelled head, whose nod,
More than of Jove, shook not Olympus only,
But Jove himself, and all his kindred gods.
Then, daughter, sister, princess, rise within me,
A trinity abhorrent of itself—
That other self, which, when Adolphus sleepeth,
Sleeps, and, when he awaketh, wakes to him.

Why should the spirit of my father vex me?
Or what allegiance owe I unto him
Who dwells apart, inglorious in Ravenna,
And could not, if he would, renew my state?
I see them not, and wherefore should I deem me
So much beholden to the unbeheld?
I hear them not; shall I be answerable
To irresponsive death and voiceless sloth?
They touch me not; can unembracing shadow
With close assurance compass me about?
Nor eye, nor ear, nor any sense declares them,
Unseen, unechoing, uncomforting:
But eye, and ear, and every sense is captive,
And thrall for ever to the comely Goth.

Why should the spirit of my father vex me?
Behold, I give to him a worthier son!
And though he be barbarian who woos me,
The Roman bride shall wed his heart to Rome.

One thing I owe—beyond all ransom precious—
To father, brother, and Imperial name,
The chastity that makes me worth the winning,
A virgin love unstained of force or guile.
For this I thank thee, Theodosius, father;
For this, Honorius, thy fraternal name;
Nor thee the less, thou sleeping soul of honour,
That no barbarian art in sense of law.
For this, to silk and purple, crowns historic,
Goblets of gold and priceless spoil of pearl—
To all the glories of the cunning workman,
Sculptured or graven, or inlaid with gems—
To all the glittering legacies of triumph,
And hoarded trophies of a thousand years—
To all the wealth of harvest, pasture, vintage,
To corn and cattle, oil, and spice, and wine—
Yea, to the sacred things of God, most welcome!
Since thou hast kept me sacred, even from thee.
The noon consumes me in the thick pavilion,
Yet I am fain of close-drawn solitude,
Lest I should look upon the godless riot,
That, once seen, haunts me like a dream of shame
For all around the large-limbed Goths were lying
Beneath the plane-trees—yet but half-perceived
'Mid soft entanglement of arms and tresses
By captive beauty wreathed around its lords;
The pride of Romans, daughters of great houses,
Hiding their faces from my pitying gaze
In hideous refuge of barbarian bosoms . . .
God pardon them the wrong He hindered not!
God take my thanks for what is more than empire,
And speed the warrior whom no greedy haste
Hath spurred beyond the pace of loyal loving,
The pure caress, and broken utterance
Of mingling tongues half-learnt in march of conquest—
To which the ordered flow of Roman speech
Is feeble—rich in sweetest hesitations,
And wishful voids of tongueless eloquence.
He stirs, and this pavilion's girth becometh
My orb of lands, and hallowed round of love.

He wakes, and country is a dream forgotten:
Where thou, Adolphus, art, there is my Rome.

The Angel Of The Doves

The angels stood in the court of the King,
And into the midst, through the open door,
Weeping came one whose broken wing
Piteously trailed on the golden floor.

Angel was she, and woman, and dove:
Dove and angel all womanly blent
With the virginal charm that is worshipped of love
On the hither side of the firmament.

Where a rainbow hideth the holiest place,
Thither she moved, and there she kneeled;
And fain with her wings would have veiled her face,
Ere the bow should be lifted, and God revealed.

'Tis the angels' wont; and afresh she wept,
As with maimèd pinion she strove in vain,
And tremor on tremor convulsively swept
O'er her plumes in a shuddering iris of pain.

And the angels who dwell from sorrow remote
Gazed on her woe as a marvellous thing;
For they wist but of pain from its echoes that float
In the strange new songs that the ransomed sing.

“Sister,” at length said a shining one,
“To whom earth's doves for a care were given,
What hast thou done, or left undone,
That grief through thee should be known in heaven?

“When together for joy the angels sang,
Calling the new-made world to rejoice,
Sweeter than all hosannas that rang
Was the trembling rapture that thrilled thy voice.

“For thine was the grace to minister there—
Oh, favoured child of the heavenly host!—
To the sacred and lovely lives that wear
The mystic shape of the Holy Ghost.
“And we marked thy flight as the flight of a dove,
Till the luminous vapours around thee curled,
And we said, ‘She is glad in her errand of love
To the happy glades of the new-born world.’

“And now thou returnest woe-stricken as one
That hath fallen from grace and is unforgiven.

What hast thou done, or left undone,
That grief through thee should be known in heaven?”

Faint was her voice as an echo heard
From the past by the soul in dreamful mood;
Sweet and sad as the plaint of a bird
Mourning forlorn in solitude.

“I tended my doves,” she said through her tears,
“By day and by night, in storm and calm.
Happily flew the uncounted years
In bowers of myrtle and groves of palm.

“Many, alas, were the beautiful dead,
But the life of the race was always new,
For, ever ere one generation fled,
Out of its love another grew.

“And many a dove for man's sake died,
Noted in heaven with none offence,
Save when the heart of the cruel took pride
In slaying the witness of innocence.

“When countless seasons had come and gone,
Come and gone as a happy dream,
One noon of summer I lingered upon
The eastward marge of a sacred stream.

“And lo, 'mid a crowd on the further side,
That stood in the stream or knelt on the sod,
I saw—though a veil of flesh did hide
The splendour of Godhead—the Son of God.

“And ev'n as I gazed, the azure above
Burst into glory that dimmed the sun;
And the Spirit of God in the form of a dove
I saw descend on the Holy One.

“I deemed that my task was over then;
‘'Tis the dawn,’ I said, ‘of the reign of love;
Henceforth my doves will be safe with men,
Since God hath hallowed the form of the dove.’

“Then I soared aloft, but again returned;
For I said in my heart, ‘I will not cease
From my care, till man from His lips hath learned
That the birds have a share in the Gospel of Peace.’

“And it chanced on a day in the soft springtide,
When birds were joyous and love was sweet,
I saw the Lord on a mountain side,

And with Him were twelve, who sat at His feet.

“And I heard Him say, ‘Not a sparrow doth fall
To the ground but your Father taketh note,’
Then all the air grew musical,
And song awoke in each warbling throat.

“For into bird-music the message passed,
And from choir to choir in melody ran;
And I said, ‘My mission is over at last.
Farewell, my doves. Ye are safe with man.’

“Weeping, yet gladsome, I soared aloft,
Being fain of the glories of other spheres,
Whose beckoning lustre had lured me oft
In starry midnights of bygone years.

“And on seas of ether and isles of light
Through ages of joy I floated or trod,
Till I chanced on an angel in upward flight,
Bearing an infant home to God.

“And a waft of earth from the flowers that lay
On the young dead breast came sweet and faint;
And again, dream-echoed from far away,
I heard in the woodlands the turtle's plaint.

“For memory woke at the flowers' sweet breath,
And my spirit yearned to the earth again,
And I cried, ‘Canst thou tell, oh angel of death,
How fare my doves at the hands of men?’

“ ‘Sad is their lot,’ the angel sighed;
‘For the pleasure of man they suffer pain;
And the heart of the cruel taketh pride
To slay thy doves and to number the slain.’

“I knew no more till the vapours of earth
Clung to my wings, and a pealing sound
Smote on mine ear, and voices of mirth;
And beneath me a dove fell dead to the ground.

“Leave me with God; for ye cannot know
How death takes shape in the human hand,
Nor the subtle devices that work for woe;
But the Lord will hear and will understand.

“And if, as I clove my unseen way
Between my doves and the deadly rain,
It was given unto me to become as they,
To share their wounds and to know their pain—

“Surely the rather will God give ear
To one who knoweth what He hath known;
Surely the rather will Jesus hear,
Who suffered, as I, for love of His own.

“Can it be that the great Lord doth not know
How Christ is needed on earth again?
Rise, lingering curtain! that I may show
The wounds of my doves, and may pray for men.”

* * * * *
Slowly the rainbow rose, parting in twain;
And, lo, in the midst of the throne of love
There stood a Lamb as it had been slain;
And over the throne there brooded a Dove.

“Dear Richard, come at once;”—so ran her letter;
The letter of a married female friend:
“She likes you both, and really knows no better
Than I myself do, how her choice will end.
Be sure of this, the first who pops will get her.
He's here for Chris——” Whatever else was penned
Dick never knew: nor knows he to this day
How he got drest, and mounted—and away!

Like arrow from the bow, like lightning-streak,
Including thunder following fierce and quick,
By ridge and flat, through scrub and foaming creek
Dick galloped like a very lunatic;
Whipped, jerked, and spurred, but never word did speak,
Although his thoughts rushed furious and thick,
Headed by one he strove in vain to wipe out,
The fear that this same “he” might put his pipe out.

And faster yet, and ever faster grew
The maddening music of the pace, until
The station-roofs gleamed suddenly in view,
Quivering in noon-heat on the vine-clad hill:
When all at once his bridle-rein he drew,
But not from craven fear or flagging will,—
Though, truth to tell, his heart a moment sank
To see the river nearly “bank and bank.”

For Bowstring was the choice of all his stud,
And he at least had no fair bride to win;
And wherefore should he risk him in the flood?—
A question Bowstring also asked within:
For though he was a squatter's horse by blood,
And held the grazing interest more than kin,
He eyed the huge logs wheeling, bobbing, bowling,
As if his soul objected to “log-rolling.”
And by that curious telegraphic force,
Outspeaking half-a-dozen formal speeches,
That works its quick inexplicable course
Through saddle-cloth, pigskin, and buckskin breeches,
Until the dumb opinion of a horse
Its sympathetic rider's spirit reaches—
Dick, feeling under him the strong flanks quiver,
Knew that his thoroughbred would funk the river

A moment more, Dick from his seat had leapt,
Ungirthed, uncurbed, unreined his trembling steed;
Who straightway vanished from his sight, nor kept
The high tradition of a loyal breed,
But quickened by no stimulus except
His own unbridled (and unsaddled) greed,
Before a man had time to reckon two,
Was gorging in fresh fields and pastures new.

Then Dick threw off his boots, undid his belt,
Doffed—here we shirk particulars. In brief,
When nought remained but his primeval pelt,
He tied his garments in his handkerchief;
Then feeling as “the grand old gardener” felt
(After the apple), crouching like a thief,
Down to the stream did this lorn lover slink,
And threw his bundle to the further brink.

Nor longer paused, but plunged him in the tide,
A hero and Leander both in one;
Struck the entangling boughs from either side,
And held his head up bravely to the sun;
Dodged the huge logs, the torrent's strength defied;—
To cut it short, did all that could be done;
Touched land, and uttering a fervent “Thank . . .
—Just then his bundle floated by, and sank.

Take Yarra-bend, take Bedlam, Colney Hatch,
And Woogaroo, and mix them weight for weight,
And stir them well about—you could not match
Dick's madness with the whole conglomerate.
If the Recording Angel did but catch
One half his ravings against Heaven and Fate,
And rising creeks and slippery banks, some day
Poor Dick will have a heavy bill to pay.

Was ever lover in so lorn a case?
Was ever lover in so wild a mood?
He nearly pulled the beard from off his face;
He would have rent his garments, if he could.
How could he woo a dame his suit to grace
Who had no suit, save that wherein he stood?
Oh! what were youth, wealth, station in society,
Without the textile adjuncts of propriety!

When oaths and half-an-hour were spent in vain,
It dawned on Dick that he might slyly crawl
From tree to tree across the wooded plain,
And gain “the hut,” that stood a mile from all

The other buildings—whence some labouring swain,
Unscared by nudity, might come at call,
And lend, for thanks or promissory payment,
Whatever he could spare of decent raiment.

From one variety of Eucalypt
Unto another, blue gum, spotted gum,
Black-butt, etcetera, Dick crawled or skipped,
Bitten and blistered like the newest chum;
Till, marking where the open level dipped,
Distracted with mosquito-martyrdom,
He rushed and plunged—and not a bit too soon—
Into the coolness of a quiet lagoon.

No, not a bit too soon; for something white,
Topped by a parasol of lustrous pink,
At this same perilous moment hove in sight,
And glided gently to the water-brink;
The while in thickest sedge the rueful wight
Hid his diminished head, and scarce did wink—
No more a gallant daringly erotic,
But consciously absurd and idiotic.

'Twas she—his love; and never had he thought
Her face so beautiful, her form so stately;
Ophelia-like she moved, absorbed, distraught;
'Twas plain to Dick she had been weeping lately;
And now and then a weary sigh he caught,
And once a whisper that disturbed him greatly,
Which said, unless his ears played him a trick,
“What in the world can have come over Dick?”

And presently, through his aquatic screen,
His hated rival he beheld advance,
With airy grace and captivating mien,
And all the victor in his countenance:
And too, too late he learned what might have been,
When at her watch he saw the lady glance,
And heard her say, “Here's Fred. The die is cast!
I gave poor Dick till two; 'tis now half-past.”

And then Dick closed his eyes, his ears he stopped;
Yet somehow saw and heard no whit the less,—
Saw that the lover on his knees had dropped,
And heard him all his tale of love confess;
And when the question had been duly popped,
He heard the kiss that sealed the answering “Yes!”—
'Twas rough on Dick: ah me! 'twas mighty rough:
But he remained true blue (though all in buff),—

And never winced, nor uttered word or groan,
But gazed upon the treasure he had lost,
In agony of soul, yet still as stone,
The saddest man since first true love was crossed:
And when at length the mated birds had flown,
He waited yet another hour, then tossed
His modesty unto the winds, and ran
Right for the hut, and found—thank Heaven!—a man.

* * * * *
On that same evening, in his rival's coat,
Waistcoat, and things, Dick sat among the rest
And though he could have cut their owner's throat,
He kept his feelings underneath his vest,
And proved by some mendacious anecdote
That he was there by chance—a passing guest.
One boon at least stern Fate could not refuse:
He stood that evening in his rival's shoes.

Universally Respected

Biggs was missing: Biggs had vanished; all the town was in a ferment;
For if ever man was looked to for an edifying end,
With due mortuary outfit, and a popular interment,
It was Biggs, the universal guide, philosopher, and friend.

But the man had simply vanished; speculation wove no tissue
That would hold a drop of water; each new theoryfell flat.
It was most unsatisfactory, and hanging on the issue
Were a thousand wagers, ranging from a “pony” to a hat.

Not a trace could search discover in the township or without it,
And the river had been dragged from morn till night with no avail.
His continuity had ceased, and that was all about it,
And there wasn't even a grease-spot left behind to tell the tale.
That so staid a man as Biggs was should be swallowed up in mystery
Lent an increment to wonder—he who trod no doubtful paths,
But stood square to his surroundings, with no cloud upon his history,
As the much-respected lessee of the Corporation Baths.

His affairs were all in order: since the year the alligator
With a startled river bather made attempt to coalesce,
The resulting wave of decency had greater grown and greater,
And the Corporation Baths had been a marvellous success.

Nor could trouble in the household solve the riddle of his clearance,
For his bride was now in heaven, and the issue of the match
Was a patient drudge whose virtues were as plain as her appearance—
Just the sort whereto no scandal could conceivably attach.

So the Whither and the Why alike mysterious were counted;
And as Faith steps in to aid where baffled Reason must retire,
There were those averred so good a man as Biggs might well have mounted
Up to glory like Elijah in a chariot of fire!

For indeed he was a good man; when he sat beside the portal
Of the Bath-house at his pigeon-hole, a saint within a frame,
We used to think his face was as the face of an immortal,
As he handed us our tickets, and took payment for the same.

And, oh, the sweet advice with which he made of such occasion
A duplicate detergent for our morals and our limbs—
For he taught us that decorum was the essence of salvation,
And that cleanliness and godliness were merely synonyms;

But that open-air ablution in the river was a treason
To the purer instincts, fit for dogs and aborigines,
And that wrath at such misconduct was the providential reason
For the jaws of alligators and the tails of stingarees.

But, alas, our friend was gone, our guide, philosopher, and tutor,
And we doubled our potations, just to clear the inner view;
But we only saw the darklier through the bottom of the pewter,
And the mystery seemed likewise to be multiplied by two.

And the worst was that our failure to unriddle the enigma
In the “rags” of rival towns was made a by-word and a scoff,
Till each soul in the community felt branded with the stigma
Of the unexplained damnation of poor Biggs's taking off.

So a dozen of us rose and swore this thing should be no longer:
Though the means that Nature furnished had been tried without result,
There were forces supersensual that higher were and stronger,
And with consentaneous clamour we pronounced for the occult.

Then Joe Thomson slung a tenner, and Jack Robinson a tanner,
And each according to his means respectively disbursed;
And a letter in your humble servant's most seductive manner
Was despatched to Sludge the Medium, recently of Darlinghurst.

“I am Biggs,” the spirit said ('t was through the medium's lips he said it;
But the voice that spoke, the accent, too, were Biggs's very own,
Be it, therefore, not set down to our unmerited discredit
That collectively we sickened as we recognized the tone).
“From a saurian interior, Christian friends, I now address you”—
(And “Oh heaven!” or its correlative, groaned shudderingly we)—
“While there yet remains a scrap of my identity, for, bless you,
This ungodly alligator's fast assimilating me.

“For although through nine abysmal days I've fought with his digestion,
Being hostile to his processes and loth to pulpify,
It is rapidly becoming a most complicated question
How much of me is crocodile, how much of him is I.

“And, oh, my friends, 'tis sorrow's crown of sorrow to remember
That this sacrilegious reptile owed me nought but gratitude,
For I bought him from a showman twenty years since come November,
And I dropped him in the river for his own and others' good.

“It had grieved me that the spouses of our townsmen, and their daughters,
Should be shocked by river bathers and their indecorous ways
So I cast my bread—that is, my alligator—on the waters,

And I found it, in a credit balance, after many days.

“Years I waited, but at last there came the rumour long expected,
And the out-of-door ablutionists forsook their wicked paths,
And the issues of my handiwork divinely were directed
In a constant flow of custom to the Corporation Baths.

‘'Twas a weakling when I bought it; 'twas so young that you could pet it;
But with all its disadvantages I reckoned it would do;
And it did: Oh, lay the moral well to heart and don't forget it—
Put decorum first, and all things shall be added unto you.

“Lies! all lies! I've done with virtue. Why should I be interested
In the cause of moral progress that I served so long in vain,
When the fifteen hundred odd I've so judiciously invested
Will but go to pay the debts of some young rip who marries Jane?

“But the reptile overcomes me; my identity is sinking;
Let me hasten to the finish; let my words be few and fit.
I was walking by the river in the starry silence, thinking
Of what Providence had done for me, and I had done for it;

“I had reached the saurian's rumoured haunt, where oft in fatal folly
I had dropped garotted dogs to keep his carnal craving up”
(Said Joe Thomson, in a whisper, “That explains my Highland collie!”
Said Bob Williams, sotto voce, “That explains my Dandy pup!”)

“I had passed to moral questions, and found comfort in the notion
That fools are none the worse for things not being what they seem,
When, behold, a seeming log became instinct with life and motion,
And with sudden curvature of tail upset me in the stream.

“Then my leg, as in a vice”—But here the revelation faltered,
And the medium rose and shook himself, remarking with a smile
That the requisite conditions were irrevocably altered,
For the personality of Biggs was lost in crocodile.

* * * * *
Now, whether Sludge's story would succeed in holding water
Is more, perhaps, than one has any business to expect;
But I know that on the strength of it I married Biggs's daughter,
And I found a certain portion of the narrative correct.