The sun is ever full and bright,
The pale moon waneth night by night.
Why should this be?

My heart that once was full of light
Is but a dying moon to-night.

But when I dream of thee apart,
I would the dawn might lift my heart,
O sun, to thee.

by Confucius.

Holy Ghost! Dispel Our Sadness

Holy Ghost! dispel our sadness;
Pierce the clouds of nature's night.
Come, Thou source of joy and gladness,
Breathe Thy life, and spread Thy light.

Author of our new creation,
Bid us all Thine influence prove;
Make our souls Thy habitation;
Shed abroad the Saviour's love.

by Augustus Montague Toplady.

Poems In Depression, At Wei Village

I hug my pillow and do not speak a word;
In my empty room no sound stirs.
Who knows that, all day a-bed,
I am not ill and am not even asleep?
II
Turned to jade are the boy's rosy cheeks;
To his sick temples the frost of winter clings....
Do not wonder that my body sinks to decay;
Though my limbs are old, my heart is older yet.

by Bai Juyi.

An Apology For Sadness

When, in the miser's eager gaze,
His countless treasures lie,
Then most his coward spirit sinks,
With dread of poverty.

And when I felt within my grasp,
The treasure of thy love;
The insatiate avarice of the heart
Fierce with my spirit strove.

It troubled the clear fountain where
My thirsting soul had quaffed,
And mingled tears of bitterness
With the delicious draft.

by Anne Charlotte Lynch Botta.

The Sadness Gripped My Heart

The sadness gripped my heart - and dimly
Came the remembrance of the old,
When all was going well and simply,
And life - a dream of the real world.

But here the world is lost and fired:
All's topsy-turvy, run and felled, -
In Heaven, Holly God expired,
And Satan croaked in the Hell.

They live, lost any life's intentions,
Elsewhere is grumbling, fight and fraud,
If a bit of love weren't in the question,
Long time ago, I'd leave the world.

by Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev.

There Is No Sadness Here. O That My Heart

There is no sadness here. Oh, that my heart
Were calm and peaceful as these dreamy groves!
That all my hopes and passions, and deep loves,
Could sit in such an atmosphere of peace,
Where no unholy impulses would start
Responsive to the throes that never cease
To keep my spirit in such wild unrest.
'Tis only in the struggling human breast
That the true sorrow lives. Our fruitful joys
Have stony kernels hidden in their core.
Life in a myriad phases passeth here,
And death as various-an equal poise;
Yet all is but a solemn change-no more;
And not a sound save joy pervades the atmosphere.

by Charles Sangster.

The sickness of desire, that in dark days
Looks on the imagination of despair,
Forgetteth man, and stinteth God his praise;
Nor but in sleep findeth a cure for care.
Incertainty that once gave scope to dream
Of laughing enterprise and glory untold,
Is now a blackness that no stars redeem,
A wall of terror in a night of cold.
Fool! thou that hast impossibly desired
And now impatiently despairest, see
How nought is changed: Joy's wisdom is attired
Splendid for others' eyes if not for thee:
Not love or beauty or youth from earth is fled:
If they delite thee not, 'tis thou art dead.

by Robert Seymour Bridges.

Slow figures in some live remorseless frieze,
The approaching days escapeless and unguessed,
With mask and shroud impenetrably dressed;
Time, whose inexorable destinies
Bear down upon us like impending seas;
And the huge presence of the world, at best
A sightless giant wandering without rest,
Aged and mad with many miseries.

The weight and measure of these things who knows?
Resting at times beside life's thought-swept stream,
Sobered and stunned with unexpected blows,
We scarcely hear the uproar; life doth seem,
Save for the certain nearness of its woes,
Vain and phantasmal as a sick man's dream.

by Archibald Lampman.

Ah Who Should Make My Heart Despond?

AH who should make my heart despond,
My heart untroubled pant and bleed?
Queen Cleopatra it would need,
And Melusina, and the blonde
Aglaura whom the Soldan stark
Sailed away with in his bark.

Since Susan comes a-wooing,
Let us go where the wood-doves are cooing.

My warlike heart no pity has;
Ah who should make my heart surrender?
Princess Aurelia the tender,
And Queen Ismene whose cheeks surpass
Upon the snows the tints of rose
The morning on the mountain throws.

Since Alice comes a-wooing,
Let us go where the wood-doves are cooing.

translated by Jethro Bithell

by Jean Moréas.

The Sadness Of The Moon

THE Moon more indolently dreams to-night
Than a fair woman on her couch at rest,
Caressing, with a hand distraught and light,
Before she sleeps, the contour of her breast.

Upon her silken avalanche of down,
Dying she breathes a long and swooning sigh;
And watches the white visions past her flown,
Which rise like blossoms to the azure sky.

And when, at times, wrapped in her languor deep,
Earthward she lets a furtive tear-drop flow,
Some pious poet, enemy of sleep,

Takes in his hollow hand the tear of snow
Whence gleams of iris and of opal start,
And hides it from the Sun, deep in his heart.

by Charles Baudelaire.

Beloved's Lane Is Exactly Like Kashi

Beloved's lane is exactly like (holy city of) Kashi
(My) ascetic heart dwells therein

Due to the sadness of the separation from the beloved
My heart is always immersed in dejection

Your tresses are the waves of Jamuna (river)
(And) the mole next to (the tresses) is the ascetic (on the bank)

Black tresses on your chin's depression
Are like the thirsty cobra on the well

(One) whose speech does not have any taste (beauty)
His eloquence is just like the stale food

O Wali! the garment which is on (your) body
Is (nothing but) an artificial (one) for the lovers

[English Translation by Shah Abdus Salam]

by Wali Mohammed Wali.

The Mood Of Depression

You dark mouth inside me,
You are strong , shape
Composed of autumn cloud,
And golden evening stillness;
In the shadows thrown
By the broken pine trees
A mountain stream turns dark in the green light;
A little town
That piously dies away into brown pictures.
Now the black horses rear
In the foggy pasture.
I think of soldiers!
Down the hill, where the dying sun lumbers,
The laughing blood plunges,
Speechless
Under the oak trees! Oh the hopeless depression
Of an army; a blazing steel helmet
Fell with a clatter from purpled foreheads.
The autumn night comes down so coolly.
With her white habit glittering like the stars
Over the broken human bodies
The convent nurse is silent

by Georg Trakl.

Sadness And Joy

I pray you, Sadness, leave me soon,
In sweet invention thou art poor!
Thy sister, Joy can make ten songs
While thou art making four.

One hour with thee is sweet enough;
But when we find the whole day gone
And no created thing is left --
We mourn the evil done.

Thou art too slow to shape thy thoughts
In stone, on canvas, or in song;
But Joy, being full of active heat,
Must do some deed ere long.

Thy sighs are gentle, sweet thy tears;
But if thou canst not help a man
To prove in substance what he feels --
Then givve me Joy, who can.

Therefore sweet Sadness, leave me soon,
Let thy bright sister, Joy, come more;
For she can make ten lovely songs
While thou art making four.

by William Henry Davies.

Melancholia (Verträumnis)

Jetzt stirbt der Wälder Gott - und wie der schrille
Ton einer Flöte, die des Meisters Hand
Entsank und die ein böser Stümper fand,
Schüttert der Nord durch brauner Wipfel Stille.

Doch morgen ist vielleicht ein Tag, so sommerschön,
Daß du aufhorchend in besonnten Auen
Der Flößer Stimmen hörst, die auf dem blauen
Strom niederfahren von den Höhn.

Da sinnst du schnell auf manchen lieben Gang,
Den du versäumt den Sommer lang,
Und soviel Blumen als vielleicht noch blühn,
Willst du mit eilfertigen Händen pflücken,
Lebloses Glas mit welkem Tand zu schmücken -
Und bliebst daheim, da Leben war und Grün...

Narr deiner selbst, nicht weiser durch die Jahre,
Noch heute stirbt der Wälder großer Gott!
Und du, wie immer noch an jeder Bahre,
Nach Leben suchend in den starren Zügen,
Erkennst in des Besinnens jäher Not:
Armut war deiner Träume Selbstgenügen.

by Anton Wildgans.

Verträumnis (Melancholia)

Jetzt stirbt der Wälder Gott - und wie der schrille
Ton einer Flöte, die des Meisters Hand
Entsank und die ein böser Stümper fand,
Schüttert der Nord durch brauner Wipfel Stille.

Doch morgen ist vielleicht ein Tag, so sommerschön,
Daß du aufhorchend in besonnten Auen
Der Flößer Stimmen hörst, die auf dem blauen
Strom niederfahren von den Höhn.

Da sinnst du schnell auf manchen lieben Gang,
Den du versäumt den Sommer lang,
Und soviel Blumen als vielleicht noch blühn,
Willst du mit eilfertigen Händen pflücken,
Lebloses Glas mit welkem Tand zu schmücken -
Und bliebst daheim, da Leben war und Grün...

Narr deiner selbst, nicht weiser durch die Jahre,
Noch heute stirbt der Wälder großer Gott!
Und du, wie immer noch an jeder Bahre,
Nach Leben suchend in den starren Zügen,
Erkennst in des Besinnens jäher Not:
Armut war deiner Träume Selbstgenügen.


by Anton Wildgans.

The Heart Of Sadness

IT is not, Dear, because I am alone,
For I am lonelier when the rest are near,
But that my place against your heart has grown
Too dear to dream of when you are not here.

I weep because my thoughts no more may roam
To meet, half-way, your longing thoughts of me,
To turn with these and spread glad wings for home,
For the dear haven where I fain would be.

When first we loved, I loved to steal away
To show to solitude what love could do,
To fill the waste space of the night and day
With thousand-wingèd dreams that flew to you;

But now through many tears I am grown wise
To know how mighty and how dear love is;
I dare not turn to him my longing eyes,
Nor even in dreams lean out my face to his,

Because, if once I let my caged heart go
Through dreams to seek you, I should follow too
Through wrong and right, through wisdom and through woe,
Through heaven and hell, until I won to you!

by Edith Nesbit.

Air and sky are swathed in gold
Fold on fold,
Light glows through the trees like wine.
Earth, sun-quickened, swoons for bliss
'Neath his kiss,
Breathless in a trance divine.

Nature pauses from her task,
Just to bask
In these lull'd transfigured hours.
The green leaf nor stays nor goes,
But it grows
Royaler than mid-June's flowers.

Such impassioned silence fills
All the hills
Burning with unflickering fire-
Such a blood-red splendor stains
The leaves' veins,
Life seems one fulfilled desire.

While earth, sea, and heavens shine,
Heart of mine,
Say, what art thou waiting for?
Shall the cup ne'er reach the lip,
But still slip
Till the life-long thirst give o'er?

Shall my soul, no frosts may tame,
Catch new flame
From the incandescent air?
In this nuptial joy apart,
Oh my heart,
Whither shall we lonely fare?

Seek some dusky, twilight spot,
Quite forgot
Of the Autumn's Bacchic fire.
Where soft mists and shadows sleep,
There outweep
Barren longing's vain desire.

by Emma Lazarus.

A Swinburnian Interlude

Short space shall be hereafter
Ere April brings the hour
Of weeping and of laughter,
Of sunshine and of shower,
Of groaning and of gladness,
Of singing and of sadness,
Of melody and madness,
Of all sweet things and sour.

Sweet to the blithe bucolic
Who knows nor cribs nor crams,
Who sees the frisky frolic
Of lanky little lambs;
But sour beyond expression
To one in deep depression
Who sees the closing session
And imminent exams.

He cannot hear the singing
Of birds upon the bents,
Nor watch the wildflowers springing,
Nor smell the April scents.
He gathers grief with grinding,
Foul food of sorrow finding
In books of dreary binding
And drearier contents.

One hope alone sustains him,
And no more hopes beside,
One trust alone restrains him
From shocking suicide;
He will not play nor palter
With hemlock or with halter,
He will not fear nor falter,
Whatever chance betide.

He knows examinations
Like all things else have ends,
And then come vast vacations
And visits to his friends,
And youth with pleasure yoking,
And joyfulness and joking,
And smilingness and smoking,
For grief to make amends.

by Robert Fuller Murray.

I have gone backward in the work,
The labour has not sped,
Drowsy and dark my spirit lies,
Heavy and dull as lead.
How can I rouse my sinking soul
From such a lethargy?
How can I break these iron chains,
And set my spirit free?

There have been times when I have mourned,
In anguish o'er the past;
And raised my suppliant hands on high,
While tears fell thick and fast,

And prayed to have my sins forgiven
With such a fervent zeal,
An earnest grief --- a strong desire
That now I cannot feel!

And vowed to trample on my sins,
And called on Heaven to aid
My spirit in her firm resolves
And hear the vows I made.

And I have felt so full of love,
So strong in spirit then,
As if my heart would never cool
Or wander back again.

And yet, alas! how many times
My feet have gone astray,
How oft have I forgot my God,
How greatly fallen away!

My sins increase, my love grows cold,
And Hope within me dies,
And Faith itself is wavering now,
O how shall I arise!

I cannot weep but I can pray,
Then let me not despair;
Lord Jesus, save me lest I die,
And hear a wretch's prayer.

by Anne Brontë.

SILENTLY without my window,
Tapping gently at the pane,
Falls the rain.
Through the trees sighs the breeze
Like a soul in pain.
Here alone I sit and weep;
Thought hath banished sleep.
Wearily I sit and listen
To the water's ceaseless drip.
To my lip
Fate turns up the bitter cup,
Forcing me to sip;
'Tis a bitter, bitter drink,
Thus I sit and think, —
Thinking things unknown and awful,
Thoughts on wild, uncanny themes,
Waking dreams.
Spectres dark, corpses stark,
Show the gaping seams
Whence the cold and cruel knife
Stole away their life.
Bloodshot eyes all strained and staring,
Gazing ghastly into mine;
Blood like wine
On the brow — clotted now—
Shows death's dreadful sign.
Lonely vigil still I keep;
Would that I might sleep!
Still, oh, still, my brain is whirling!
Still runs on my stream of thought;
I am caught
In the net fate hath set.
Mind and soul are brought
To destruction's very brink;
Yet I can but think!
Eyes that look into the future, —
Peeping forth from out my mind,
They will find
Some new weight, soon or late,
On my soul to bind,
Crushing all its courage out,—
Heavier than doubt.
Dawn, the Eastern monarch's daughter,
Rising from her dewy bed,
Lays her head
'Gainst the clouds' sombre shrouds
Now half fringed with red.
O'er the land she 'gins to peep;
Come, O gentle Sleep!
Hark! the morning cock is crowing;
Dreams, like ghosts, must hie away;
'Tis the day.
Rosy morn now is born;
Dark thoughts may not stay.
Day my brain from foes will keep;
Now, my soul, I sleep.

by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Lines Written In Despondency

Honour and gain may ne'er be mine,
'Tis not for these I live ;
I ask but what the free sunshine
And liberty can give,
To wander out from men afar,
Where solitary waters are.

In mountain-cradled valleys, where
The sun sets sooner than elsewhere,
And gorse and heather clothe the sides,
And silence in the rocks resides ;
Save where the hidden water cool
Softly falls into the pool,
Or from some far sheep-cote rings
The tune that all the country sings.
Where pale primrose, with watching wet,
The wild rose and the violet
Open to salute the day,
With strife and envy far away.
The single pass at either gate
With rocks and cataracts is strait,
And set with stones so sharp and thin,
Hardly could they enter in :
While heavenward 'twixt each craggy wall
Towers the falcon over all,
Like an armed sentinel
Set over an enchanted dell.

There let me live, there let me die,
Far from the vulgar noise
Of cities, and from vanity,
And the laborious toys
Wherewith men strive to while away
Their brief but heavy-footed day.
Where Ellee and where Isole meet,
Where Blavet stays his shining feet,
Where truant Scorff in summer flies,
And rosy trout in Aven rise,
And April Odet, heard from far,
Thunders into Stan ga la;
Or lone Branilis' fane looks down
O'er bilberry, moss, and heather brown,
Where Elez near the old monks' home
Lingers e'er he falls in foam ;—

There let me live, for surely there
Peace may be found if anywhere ;
And peace is all that may be mine,
For happiness I sought
In love, in wisdom, and in wine,
But found it not in aught ;
I found it not, nor any have
Who seek it on this side the grave.

And ye who say that otherwhere,
In worlds as beautiful and fair,
When all this shifting scene is past,
It may be, must be, found at last
By those who 'gainst injustice stood,
The brave, the gentle, and the good ;
Where youth and beauty grow not old,
And true love never waxeth cold,
Nor error's mists deform the air,
And neither death nor change is there.

I know not if my ear is slow,
Or heart is dull with years,
Your words seem uttered long ago
To childhood's hopes and fears—
An echo falling faint and far
To men who lost in deserts are.

by Richard Crawley.

The Southerly Buster

There's a wind that blows out of the South in the drought,
And we pray for the touch of his breath
When siroccos come forth from the North-West and North,
Or in dead calms of fever and death.
With eyes glad and dim we should sing him a hymn,
For depression and death are his foes,
And he gives us new life for the bread-winning strife—
When the glorious Old Southerly blows.
Old Southerly Buster! your forces you muster
Where seldom a wind bloweth twice,
And your ‘white-caps’ have hint of the snow caps, and glint of
The far-away barriers of ice.
No wind the wide sea on can sing such a poean
Or do the great work that you do;
Our own wind and only, from seas wild and lonely—
Old Southerly Buster!—To you!

Oh, the city is baked, and its thirst is unslaked,
Though it swallows iced drinks by the score,
And the blurred sky is low and the air seems aglow
As if breezes would cool it no more.
We are watching all hands where the Post Office stands—
We are watching out hopefully too—
For a red light shall glower from the Post Office tower
When the Southerly Buster is due.

The yachts run away at the end of the day
From the breakers commencing to comb,
For a few he may swamp in the health-giving romp
With the friendly Old Southerly home.
But he never drowns one, for the drowning is done
By the fools, or the reckless in sport;
And the alleys and slums shall be cooled when he comes
With the weary wind-jammers to port.

Oh softly he plays through the city’s hot ways
To the beds where they’re calling ‘Come quick!’
He is gentle and mild round the feverish child,
And he cools the hot brow of the sick.
Clearing drought-hazy skies, up the North Coast he hies
Till the mouths of our rivers are fair—
And along the sea, too, he has good work to do,
For he takes the old timber-tubs there.

’Tis a glorious mission, Old Sydney’s Physician!
Broom, Bucket, and Cloth of the East,
’Tis a breeze and a sprayer that answers our prayer,
And it’s free to the greatest and least.
The red-lamp’s a warning to drought and its scorning—
A sign to the city at large—
Hence! Headache and Worry! Despondency hurry!
Old Southerly Buster’s in charge

Old Southerly Buster! your forces you muster
Where seldom a wind bloweth twice,
And your ‘white-caps’ have hint of the snow caps, and glint of
The far-away barriers of ice.
No wind the wide sea on can sing such a poean
Or do the great work that you do;
Our own wind and only, from seas wild and lonely—
Old Southerly Buster!—To you!

by Henry Lawson.

Despondency -- An Ode

Oppress'd with grief, oppress'd with care,
A burden more than I can bear,
I set me down and sigh:
O life! thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,
To wretches such as I!
Dim backward as I cast my view,
What sick'ning scenes appear!
What sorrows yet may pierce me thro',
Too justly I may fear!
Still caring, despairing,
Must be my bitter doom;
My woes here shall close ne'er
But with the closing tomb!

Happy, ye sons of busy life,
Who, equal to the bustling strife,
No other view regard!
Ev'n when the wished end's denied,
Yet while the busy means are plied,
They bring their own reward:
Whilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight,
Unfitted with an aim,
Meet ev'ry sad returning night,
And joyless morn the same;
You, bustling, and justling,
Forget each grief and pain;
I, listless, yet restless,
Find every prospect vain.

How blest the Solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot,
Within his humble cell,
The cavern wild with tangling roots,
Sits o'er his newly-gather'd fruits,
Beside his crystal well!
Or, haply, to his ev'ning thought,
By unfrequented stream,
The ways of men are distant brought,
A faint collected dream:
While praising, and raising
His thoughts to heav'n on high,
As wand'ring, meand'ring,
He views the solemn sky.

Than I, no lonely hermit plac'd
Where never human footstep trac'd,
Less fit to play the part;
The lucky moment to improve,
And just to stop, and just to move,
With self-respecting art:
But ah! those pleasures, loves, and joys,
Which I too keenly taste,
The Solitary can despise,
Can want, and yet be blest!
He needs not, he heeds not,
Or human love or hate,
Whilst I here must cry here,
At perfidy ingrate!

Oh! enviable, early days,
When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,
To care, to guilt unknown!
How ill exchang'd for riper times,
To feel the follies, or the crimes
Of others, or my own !
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport
Like linnets in the bush,
Ye little know the ills ye court,
When manhood is your wish!
The losses, the crosses,
That active man engage
The fears all, the tears all,
Of dim-declining age!

by Robert Burns.

Faith And Despondency

The winter wind is loud and wild,
Come close to me, my darling child;
Forsake thy books, and mateless play;
And, while the night is gathering grey,
We'll talk its pensive hours away;--

'Ierne, round our sheltered hall
November's gusts unheeded call;
Not one faint breath can enter here
Enough to wave my daughter's hair,
And I am glad to watch the blaze
Glance from her eyes, with mimic rays;
To feel her cheek so softly pressed,
In happy quiet on my breast.

'But, yet, even this tranquillity
Brings bitter, restless thoughts to me;
And, in the red fire's cheerful glow,
I think of deep glens, blocked with snow;
I dream of moor, and misty hill,
Where evening closes dark and chill;
For, lone, among the mountains cold,
Lie those that I have loved of old.
And my heart aches, in hopeless pain
Exhausted with repinings vain,
That I shall greet them ne'er again!'

'Father, in early infancy,
When you were far beyond the sea,
Such thoughts were tyrants over me!
I often sat, for hours together,
Through the long nights of angry weather,
Raised on my pillow, to descry
The dim moon struggling in the sky;

Or, with strained ear, to catch the shock,
Of rock with wave, and wave with rock;
So would I fearful vigil keep,
And, all for listening, never sleep.
But this world's life has much to dread,
Not so, my Father, with the dead.

'Oh! not for them, should we despair,
The grave is drear, but they are not there;
Their dust is mingled with the sod,
Their happy souls are gone to God!
You told me this, and yet you sigh,
And murmur that your friends must die.
Ah! my dear father, tell me why?

For, if your former words were true,
How useless would such sorrow be;
As wise, to mourn the seed which grew
Unnoticed on its parent tree,
Because it fell in fertile earth,
And sprang up to a glorious birth--
Struck deep its root, and lifted high
Its green boughs, in the breezy sky.

'But, I'll not fear, I will not weep
For those whose bodies rest in sleep,--
I know there is a blessed shore,
Opening its ports for me, and mine;
And, gazing Time's wide waters o'er,
I weary for that land divine,
Where we were born, where you and I
Shall meet our Dearest, when we die;
From suffering and corruption free,
Restored into the Deity.'

'Well hast thou spoken, sweet, trustful child!
And wiser than thy sire;
And worldly tempests, raging wild,
Shall strengthen thy desire--
Thy fervent hope, through storm and foam,
Through wind and ocean's roar,
To reach, at last, the eternal home,
The steadfast, changeless, shore!'

by Emily Jane Brontë.

The Jolly Dead March

If I ever be worthy or famous—
Which I’m sadly beginning to doubt—
When the angel whose place ’tis to name us
Shall say to my spirit, ‘Pass out!’
I wish for no sniv’lling about me
(My work was the work of the land),
But I hope that my country will shout me
The price of a decent brass band.
Thump! thump! of the drum and ‘Ta-ra-rit,’
Thump! thump! and the music—it’s grand,
If only in dreams, or in spirit,
To ride or march after the band!
And myself and my mourners go straying,
And strolling and drifting along
With a band in the front of us playing
The tune of an old battle song!

I ask for no ‘turn-out’ to bear me;
I ask not for railings or slabs,
And spare me! my country—oh, spare me!
The hearse and the long string of cabs!
I ask not the baton or ‘starts’ of
The bore with the musical ear,
But the music that’s blown from the hearts of
The men who work hard and drink beer.

And let ’em strike up ‘Annie Laurie,’
And let them burst out with ‘Lang Syne’—
Twin voices of sadness and glory,
That have ever been likings of mine.
And give the French war-hymn deep-throated
The Watch of the Germans between,
And let the last mile be devoted
To ‘Britannia’ and ‘Wearing the Green.’

And if, in the end—more’s the pity—
There is fame more than money to spare—
There’s a van-man I know in the city
Who’ll convey me, right side up with care.
True sons of Australia, and noble,
Have gone from the long dusty way,
While the sole mourner fought down his trouble
With his pipe on the shaft of the dray.
But let them strike up ‘Annie Laurie,’ &c.

And my spirit will join the procession—
Will pause, if it may, on the brink—
Nor feel the least shade of depression
When the mourners drop out for a drink;
It may be a hot day in December,
Or a cold day in June it may be,
And the drink will but help them remember
The good points the world missed in me.
And help ’em to love ‘Annie Laurie,’
And help ’em to raise ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ &c.

‘Unhook the West Port’ for an orphan,
An old digger chorus revive—
If you don’t hear a whoop from the coffin,
I am not being buried alive.
But I’ll go with a spirit less bitter
Than mine own on the earth may have been,
And, perhaps, to save trouble, Saint Peter
Will pass me, two comrades between.

And let them strike up ‘Annie Laurie,’
And let ’em burst out with ‘Lang Syne,’
Twin voices of sadness and glory
That have ever been likings of mine.
Let them swell the French war-hymn deep-throated
(And I’ll not buck at ‘God Save the Queen’),
But let the last mile be devoted
To ‘Britannia’ and ‘Wearing the Green.’

Thump! thump! of the drums we inherit—
War-drums of my dreams! Oh it’s grand,
If only in fancy or spirit,
To ride or march after a band!
And we, the World-Battlers, go straying
And loving and laughing along—
With Hope in the lead of us playing
The tune of a life-battle song!

by Henry Lawson.

Love-Despondency

Devyde my tymes and rate my wretched howres
From days to months, fro months to many yeers,
And than compare my sweetest to my sowres then
And see wich more in equall vewe appeares;
And judge that from my dayes and yeers of care
I have but howrs of comforte to compare.


Just and not muche it were, in thes extreams
To have a touche and torment of ye thought:
For any myghte that any ryght esteems
To yealde so small delyght so deerly bought;
But he that lyues unto his owne despyghte
Is not to fynde his fortune by his ryghte.


The lyfe that styll runs forth his weary wayes
With sowre to sawce the dayntyes of delyght,
And care to choak the pleasures of his dayes
And not regarde the many wronges to quyte;
No blame to houlde such ircksome tymes in hate,
As but to lose prolongs a wretched state.


And still I loathe eve to behoulde the lyghte
That shynes wthout all pleasure to myne eyes
Wth greedy wishe I wayte for wearye nyghte
Yet neither this I fynde that maye suffyse:
Not that I hould the daye for more delyghte
But that alyke I loathe both daye and nyghte.


The daye I se yeelds but increase of cares,
The nyght that should by nature serve for reste,
Agaynst his kynde denyes suche ease to spare
As pytty woulde afforde the soule opprest:
And broken sleeps oft tymes presents in syght
A dreaminge wishe beguylde with false delyghte.


This sleepe, or else what so for sweet appeers,
Is unto me but pleasures in despyghte.
The flower of age, the name of younger yeeres,
Do but usurpe the tytle of delyghte.
But careful thoughts, and Sorrowe sundry ways
Consumes my youthe before my agèd dayes.


The touch, the stynge, the torments of desyre,
To stryue beyond the compase of restraynte,
Kepte from the reache whereto it would aspyre
Geues cause (God knowes) too iust, to my coplainte:
Besydes the wronge wch worketh my distress
My meaninge is, with sylence to suppress.


Oft wth myselfe I enter in deuyse
To reconsylle these wearye thoughtes to peace;
I treate for truce, I flatter and entyce
My wranglynge wytts to work for theyr release;
But all in vayne I seek the means to fynde
That myght appease the discorde of my mynde.


For when I force a faynèd mirth to showe
And would forgett and so beguyll my greefe;
I cannot rydd my selfe of sorrowe so,
Althoughe I feed upon a false beleefe:
For inward touche of discontented mynde
Retournes my cares by course unto theyr kynde.


Wean'd from my will, and thus by tryall taughte
Howe farr to hould all fortune in regarde;
Though here I boaste of knowledge deerely boughte
Yet thys poore gayne I reape for my rewarde;
I knowe hereby to harde and prepare
A ready mynde for all assaults of care.


Whereto as one eve from the cradle borne
And not to look for better to ensue,
I yeald my selfe and wish these tymes outworne
That but remayne my torments to renewe:
And leaue to those these dayes of my despyghte
Whose better hap may lyue to more delyghte.


Finis.

by Sir Edward Dyer.

Resolution And Independence

I

There was a roaring in the wind all night;
The rain came heavily and fell in floods;
But now the sun is rising calm and bright;
The birds are singing in the distant woods;
Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods;
The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters;
And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters.

II

All things that love the sun are out of doors;
The sky rejoices in the morning's birth;
The grass is bright with rain-drops;--on the moors
The hare is running races in her mirth;
And with her feet she from the plashy earth
Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun,
Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run.

III

I was a Traveller then upon the moor,
I saw the hare that raced about with joy;
I heard the woods and distant waters roar;
Or heard them not, as happy as a boy:
The pleasant season did my heart employ:
My old remembrances went from me wholly;
And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy.

IV

But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might
Of joy in minds that can no further go,
As high as we have mounted in delight
In our dejection do we sink as low;
To me that morning did it happen so;
And fears and fancies thick upon me came;
Dim sadness--and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.
V

I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky;
And I bethought me of the playful hare:
Even such a happy Child of earth am I;
Even as these blissful creatures do I fare;
Far from the world I walk, and from all care;
But there may come another day to me--
Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.

VI

My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,
As if life's business were a summer mood;
As if all needful things would come unsought
To genial faith, still rich in genial good;
But how can He expect that others should
Build for him, sow for him, and at his call
Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all?

VII

I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,
The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;
Of Him who walked in glory and in joy
Following his plough, along the mountain-side:
By our own spirits are we deified:
We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;
But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.

VIII

Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,
A leading from above, a something given,
Yet it befell, that, in this lonely place,
When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,
Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven
I saw a Man before me unawares:
The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.

IX

As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie
Couched on the bald top of an eminence;
Wonder to all who do the same espy,
By what means it could thither come, and whence;
So that it seems a thing endued with sense:
Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf
Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself;

X

Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,
Nor all asleep--in his extreme old age:
His body was bent double, feet and head
Coming together in life's pilgrimage;
As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage
Of sickness felt by him in times long past,
A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.

XI

Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face,
Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood:
And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,
Upon the margin of that moorish flood
Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,
That heareth not the loud winds when they call
And moveth all together, if it move at all.

XII

At length, himself unsettling, he the pond
Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look
Upon the muddy water, which he conned,
As if he had been reading in a book:
And now a stranger's privilege I took;
And, drawing to his side, to him did say,
"This morning gives us promise of a glorious day."

XIII

A gentle answer did the old Man make,
In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew:
And him with further words I thus bespake,
"What occupation do you there pursue?
This is a lonesome place for one like you."
Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise
Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes,

XIV

His words came feebly, from a feeble chest,
But each in solemn order followed each,
With something of a lofty utterance drest--
Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach
Of ordinary men; a stately speech;
Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use,
Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.

XV

He told, that to these waters he had come
To gather leeches, being old and poor:
Employment hazardous and wearisome!
And he had many hardships to endure:
From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor;
Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance,
And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.

XVI

The old Man still stood talking by my side;
But now his voice to me was like a stream
Scarce heard; nor word from word could I divide;
And the whole body of the Man did seem
Like one whom I had met with in a dream;
Or like a man from some far region sent,
To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.

XVII

My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;
And hope that is unwilling to be fed;
Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;
And mighty Poets in their misery dead.
--Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,
My question eagerly did I renew,
"How is it that you live, and what is it you do?"

XVIII

He with a smile did then his words repeat;
And said, that, gathering leeches, far and wide
He travelled; stirring thus about his feet
The waters of the pools where they abide.
"Once I could meet with them on every side;
But they have dwindled long by slow decay;
Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may."

XIX

While he was talking thus, the lonely place,
The old Man's shape, and speech--all troubled me:
In my mind's eye I seemed to see him pace
About the weary moors continually,
Wandering about alone and silently.
While I these thoughts within myself pursued,
He, having made a pause, the same discourse renewed.

XX

And soon with this he other matter blended,
Cheerfully uttered, with demeanour kind,
But stately in the main; and when he ended,
I could have laughed myself to scorn to find
In that decrepit Man so firm a mind.
"God," said I, "be my help and stay secure;
I'll think of the Leech-gatherer on the lonely moor!"

by William Wordsworth.

Julian And Maddalo (Excerpt)

I rode one evening with Count Maddalo
Upon the bank of land which breaks the flow
Of Adria towards Venice: a bare strand
Of hillocks, heap'd from ever-shifting sand,
Matted with thistles and amphibious weeds,
Such as from earth's embrace the salt ooze breeds,
Is this; an uninhabited sea-side,
Which the lone fisher, when his nets are dried,
Abandons; and no other object breaks
The waste, but one dwarf tree and some few stakes
Broken and unrepair'd, and the tide makes
A narrow space of level sand thereon,
Where 'twas our wont to ride while day went down.
This ride was my delight. I love all waste
And solitary places; where we taste
The pleasure of believing what we see
Is boundless, as we wish our souls to be:
And such was this wide ocean, and this shore
More barren than its billows; and yet more
Than all, with a remember'd friend I love
To ride as then I rode; for the winds drove
The living spray along the sunny air
Into our faces; the blue heavens were bare,
Stripp'd to their depths by the awakening north;
And, from the waves, sound like delight broke forth
Harmonizing with solitude, and sent
Into our hearts aëreal merriment.
So, as we rode, we talk'd; and the swift thought,
Winging itself with laughter, linger'd not,
But flew from brain to brain--such glee was ours,
Charg'd with light memories of remember'd hours,
None slow enough for sadness: till we came
Homeward, which always makes the spirit tame.
This day had been cheerful but cold, and now
The sun was sinking, and the wind also.
Our talk grew somewhat serious, as may be
Talk interrupted with such raillery
As mocks itself, because it cannot scorn
The thoughts it would extinguish: 'twas forlorn,
Yet pleasing, such as once, so poets tell,
The devils held within the dales of Hell
Concerning God, freewill and destiny:
Of all that earth has been or yet may be,
All that vain men imagine or believe,
Or hope can paint or suffering may achieve,
We descanted, and I (for ever still
Is it not wise to make the best of ill?)
Argu'd against despondency, but pride
Made my companion take the darker side.
The sense that he was greater than his kind
Had struck, methinks, his eagle spirit blind
By gazing on its own exceeding light.
Meanwhile the sun paus'd ere it should alight,
Over the horizon of the mountains--Oh,
How beautiful is sunset, when the glow
Of Heaven descends upon a land like thee,
Thou Paradise of exiles, Italy!
Thy mountains, seas, and vineyards, and the towers
Of cities they encircle! It was ours
To stand on thee, beholding it: and then,
Just where we had dismounted, the Count's men
Were waiting for us with the gondola.
As those who pause on some delightful way
Though bent on pleasant pilgrimage, we stood
Looking upon the evening, and the flood
Which lay between the city and the shore,
Pav'd with the image of the sky.... The hoar
And aëry Alps towards the North appear'd
Through mist, an heaven-sustaining bulwark rear'd
Between the East and West; and half the sky
Was roof'd with clouds of rich emblazonry
Dark purple at the zenith, which still grew
Down the steep West into a wondrous hue
Brighter than burning gold, even to the rent
Where the swift sun yet paus'd in his descent
Among the many-folded hills: they were
Those famous Euganean hills, which bear,
As seen from Lido thro' the harbour piles,
The likeness of a clump of peakèd isles--
And then--as if the Earth and Sea had been
Dissolv'd into one lake of fire, were seen
Those mountains towering as from waves of flame
Around the vaporous sun, from which there came
The inmost purple spirit of light, and made
Their very peaks transparent. "Ere it fade,"
Said my companion, "I will show you soon
A better station"--so, o'er the lagune
We glided; and from that funereal bark
I lean'd, and saw the city, and could mark
How from their many isles, in evening's gleam,
Its temples and its palaces did seem
Like fabrics of enchantment pil'd to Heaven.
I was about to speak, when--"We are even
Now at the point I meant," said Maddalo,
And bade the gondolieri cease to row.
"Look, Julian, on the west, and listen well
If you hear not a deep and heavy bell."
I look'd, and saw between us and the sun
A building on an island; such a one
As age to age might add, for uses vile,
A windowless, deform'd and dreary pile;
And on the top an open tower, where hung
A bell, which in the radiance sway'd and swung;
We could just hear its hoarse and iron tongue:
The broad sun sunk behind it, and it toll'd
In strong and black relief. "What we behold
Shall be the madhouse and its belfry tower,"
Said Maddalo, "and ever at this hour
Those who may cross the water, hear that bell
Which calls the maniacs, each one from his cell,
To vespers." "As much skill as need to pray
In thanks or hope for their dark lot have they
To their stern Maker," I replied. "O ho!
You talk as in years past," said Maddalo.
" 'Tis strange men change not. You were ever still
Among Christ's flock a perilous infidel,
A wolf for the meek lambs--if you can't swim
Beware of Providence." I look'd on him,
But the gay smile had faded in his eye.
"And such," he cried, "is our mortality,
And this must be the emblem and the sign
Of what should be eternal and divine!
And like that black and dreary bell, the soul,
Hung in a heaven-illumin'd tower, must toll
Our thoughts and our desires to meet below
Round the rent heart and pray--as madmen do
For what? they know not--till the night of death,
As sunset that strange vision, severeth
Our memory from itself, and us from all
We sought and yet were baffled." I recall
The sense of what he said, although I mar
The force of his expressions. The broad star
Of day meanwhile had sunk behind the hill,
And the black bell became invisible,
And the red tower look'd gray, and all between
The churches, ships and palaces were seen
Huddled in gloom;--into the purple sea
The orange hues of heaven sunk silently.
We hardly spoke, and soon the gondola
Convey'd me to my lodgings by the way.

The following morn was rainy, cold and dim:
Ere Maddalo arose, I call'd on him,
And whilst I waited with his child I play'd;
A lovelier toy sweet Nature never made,
A serious, subtle, wild, yet gentle being,
Graceful without design and unforeseeing,
With eyes--Oh speak not of her eyes!--which seem
Twin mirrors of Italian Heaven, yet gleam
With such deep meaning, as we never see
But in the human countenance: with me
She was a special favourite: I had nurs'd
Her fine and feeble limbs when she came first
To this bleak world; and she yet seem'd to know
On second sight her ancient playfellow,
Less chang'd than she was by six months or so;
For after her first shyness was worn out
We sate there, rolling billiard balls about,
When the Count enter'd. Salutations past--
"The word you spoke last night might well have cast
A darkness on my spirit--if man be
The passive thing you say, I should not see
Much harm in the religions and old saws
(Though I may never own such leaden laws)
Which break a teachless nature to the yoke:
Mine is another faith"--thus much I spoke
And noting he replied not, added: "See
This lovely child, blithe, innocent and free;
She spends a happy time with little care,
While we to such sick thoughts subjected are
As came on you last night. It is our will
That thus enchains us to permitted ill.
We might be otherwise. We might be all
We dream of happy, high, majestical.
Where is the love, beauty, and truth we seek
But in our mind? and if we were not weak
Should we be less in deed than in desire?"
"Ay, if we were not weak--and we aspire
How vainly to be strong!" said Maddalo:
"You talk Utopia." "It remains to know,"
I then rejoin'd, "and those who try may find
How strong the chains are which our spirit bind;
Brittle perchance as straw.... We are assur'd
Much may be conquer'd, much may be endur'd,
Of what degrades and crushes us. We know
That we have power over ourselves to do
And suffer--what, we know not till we try;
But something nobler than to live and die:
So taught those kings of old philosophy
Who reign'd, before Religion made men blind;
And those who suffer with their suffering kind
Yet feel their faith, religion." "My dear friend,"
Said Maddalo, "my judgement will not bend
To your opinion, though I think you might
Make such a system refutation-tight
As far as words go. I knew one like you
Who to this city came some months ago,
With whom I argu'd in this sort, and he
Is now gone mad--and so he answer'd me--
Poor fellow! but if you would like to go
We'll visit him, and his wild talk will show
How vain are such aspiring theories."
"I hope to prove the induction otherwise,
And that a want of that true theory, still,
Which seeks a 'soul of goodness' in things ill
Or in himself or others, has thus bow'd
His being. There are some by nature proud,
Who patient in all else demand but this--
To love and be belov'd with gentleness;
And being scorn'd, what wonder if they die
Some living death? this is not destiny
But man's own wilful ill."

As thus I spoke
Servants announc'd the gondola, and we
Through the fast-falling rain and high-wrought sea
Sail'd to the island where the madhouse stands.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The Roll Of The Kettledrum

'You have the Pyrrhic dance as yet,
Where is the Pyrrhic phalanx gone ?
Of two such lessons, why forget
The nobler and the manlier one ?'—Byron.

ONE line of swart profiles, and bearded lips dressing,
One ridge of bright helmets, one crest of fair plumes,
One streak of blue sword-blades all bared for the fleshing,
One row of red nostrils that scent battle-fumes.

Forward ! the trumpets were sounding the charge,
The roll of the kettledrum rapidly ran,
That music, like wild-fire spreading at large,
Madden'd the war-horse as well as the man.

Forward ! still forward ! we thunder'd along,
Steadily yet, for our strength we were nursing ;
Tall Ewart, our sergeant, was humming a song,
Lance-corporal Black Will was blaspheming and cursing.

Open'd their volley of guns on our right,
Puffs of grey smoke, veiling gleams of red flame,
Curling to leeward, were seen on the height,
Where the batteries were posted, as onward we came.

Spreading before us their cavalry lay,
Squadron on squadron, troop upon troop ;
We were so few, and so many were they—
Eagles wait calmly the sparrow-hawk's stoop.

Forward ! still forward ! steed answering steed
Cheerily neigh'd, while the foam flakes were toss'd
From bridle to bridle—the top of our speed
Was gain'd, but the pride of our order was lost.

One was there, leading by nearly a rood,
Though we were racing he kept to the fore,
Still as a rock in his stirrups he stood,
High in the sunlight his sabre he bore.

Suddenly tottering, backwards he crash'd,
Loudly his helm right in front of us rung ;
Iron hoofs thunder'd, and naked steel flash'd
Over him—youngest, where many were young.

Now we were close to them, every horse striding
Madly ;—St. Luce pass'd with never a groan ;—
Sadly my master look'd round—he was riding
On the boy's right, with a line of his own.

Thrusting his hand in his breast or breast pocket,
While from his wrist the sword swung by a chain,
Swiftly he drew out some trinket or locket,
Kiss'd it (I think) and replaced it again.

Burst, while his fingers reclosed on the haft,
Jarring concussion and earth shaking din,
Horse 'counter'd horse, and I reel'd, but he laugh'd,
Down went his man, cloven clean to the chin !

Wedged in the midst of that struggling mass,
After the first shock, where each his foe singled,
Little was seen save a dazzle, like glass
In the sun, with grey smoke and black dust intermingled.

Here and there redden'd a pistol shot, flashing
Through the red sparkle of steel upon steel !
Redder the spark seem'd, and louder the clashing,
Struck from the helm by the iron-shod heel !

Over fallen riders, like wither'd leaves strewing
Uplands in autumn, we sunder'd their ranks ;
Steeds rearing and plunging, men hacking and hewing,
Fierce grinding of sword-blades, sharp goading of flanks.

Short was the crisis of conflict soon over,
Being too good (I suppose) to last long ;
Through them we cut, as the scythe cuts the clover,
Batter'd and stain'd we emerged from their throng.

Some of our saddles were emptied, of course ;
To heaven (or elsewhere) Black Will had been carried !
Ned Sullivan mounted Will's riderless horse,
His mare being hurt, while ten seconds we tarried.

And then we re-formed, and went at them once more,
And ere they had rightly closed up the old track,
We broke through the lane we had open'd before,
And as we went forward e'en so we came back.

Our numbers were few, and our loss far from small,
They could fight, and, besides, they were twenty to one ;
We were clear of them all when we heard the recall,
And thus we returned, but my tale is not done.

For the hand of my rider felt strange on my bit,
He breathed once or twice like one partially choked,
And sway'd in his seat, then I knew he was hit :—
He must have bled fast, for my withers were soak'd,

And scarcely an inch of my housing was dry ;
I slacken'd my speed, yet I never quite stopp'd,
Ere he patted my neck, said, 'Old fellow, good-bye !'
And dropp'd off me gently, and lay where he dropp'd !

Ah, me ! after all, they may call us dumb creatures—
I tried hard to neigh, but the sobs took my breath,
Yet I guess'd, gazing down at those still, quiet features,
He was never more happy in life than in death.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Two years back, at Aldershot, Elrington mentioned
My name to our colonel one field-day. He said,
' 'Count,' 'Steeltrap,' and 'Challenger' ought to be pension'd ;'
'Count' died the same week, and now 'Steeltrap' is dead.

That morning our colonel was riding 'Theresa,'
The filly by 'Teddington' out of 'Mistake' ;
His girls, pretty Alice and fair-haired Louisa,
Were there on the ponies he purchased from Blake.

I remember he pointed me out to his daughters,
Said he, 'In this troop I may fairly take pride,
But I've none left like him in my officers' quarters,
Whose life-blood the mane of old 'Challenger' dyed.'

Where are they ? the war-steeds who shared in our glory,
The 'Lanercost' colt, and the 'Acrobat' mare,
And the Irish division, 'Kate Kearney' and 'Rory,'
And rushing 'Roscommon,' and eager 'Kildare,'

And 'Freeny,' a favourite once with my master,
And 'Warlock,' a sluggard, but honest and true,
And 'Tancred,' as honest as 'Warlock,' but faster,
And 'Blacklock,' and 'Birdlime,' and 'Molly Carew' ?—

All vanish'd, what wonder ! twelve summers have pass'd
Since then, and my comrade lies buried this day,—
Old 'Steeltrap,' the kicker,—and now I'm the last
Of the chargers who shared in that glorious fray.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Come, 'Harlequin,' keep your nose out of my manger,
You'll get your allowance, my boy, and no more ;
Snort ! 'Silvertail,' snort ! when you've seen as much danger
As I have, you won't mind the rats in the straw.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Our gallant old colonel came limping and halting,
The day before yesterday, into my stall ;
Oh ! light to the saddle I've once seen him vaulting,
In full marching order, steel broadsword and all.

And now his left leg than his right is made shorter
Three inches, he stoops, and his chest is unsound ;
He spoke to me gently, and patted my quarter,
I laid my ears back and look'd playfully round.

For that word kindly meant, that caress kindly given,
I thank'd him, though dumb, but my cheerfulness fled ;
More sadness I drew from the face of the living
Than years back I did from the face of the dead.

For the dead face, upturn'd, tranquil, joyous, and fearless,
Look'd straight from green sod to blue fathomless sky
With a smile ; but the living face, gloomy and tearless,
And haggard and harass'd, look'd down with a sigh.

Did he think on the first time he kiss'd Lady Mary ?
On the morning he wing'd Horace Greville the beau ?
On the winner he steer'd in the grand military ?
On the charge that he headed twelve long years ago ?

Did he think on each fresh year, of fresh grief the herald ?
On lids that are sunken, and locks that are grey ?
On Alice, who bolted with Brian Fitzgerald ?
On Rupert, his first-born, dishonour'd by 'play' ?

On Louey, his darling, who sleeps 'neath the cypress,
That shades her and one whose last breath gave her life ?
I saw those strong fingers hard over each eye press—
Oh ! the dead rest in peace when the quick toil in strife !

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Scoff, man ! egotistical, proud, unobservant,
Since I with man's grief dare to sympathize thus ;
Why scoff ?—fellow-creature I am, fellow-servant
Of God, can man fathom God's dealings with us ?

The wide gulf that parts us may yet be no wider
Than that which parts you from some being more blest ;
And there may be more links 'twixt the horse and his rider
Than ever your shallow philosophy guess'd.

You are proud of your power, and vain of your courage,
And your blood, Anglo-Saxon, or Norman, or Celt ;
Though your gifts you extol, and our gifts you disparage,
Your perils, your pleasures, your sorrows we've felt.

We, too, sprung from mares of the prophet of Mecca,
And nursed on the pride that was born with the milk,
And filtered through 'Crucifix,' 'Beeswing,' 'Rebecca,'
We love sheen of scarlet and shimmer of silk.

We, too, sprung from loins of the Ishmaelite stallions,
We glory in daring that dies or prevails ;
From 'counter of squadrons, and crash of battalions,
To rending of blackthorns, and rattle of rails.

In all strife where courage is tested, and power,
From the meet on the hill-side, the horn-blast, the find,
The burst, the long gallop that seems to devour
The champaign, all obstacles flinging behind,

To the cheer and the clarion, the war-music blended
With war-cry, the furious dash at the foe,
The terrible shock, the recoil, and the splendid
Bare sword, flashing blue rising red from the blow.

I've borne one through perils where many have seen us,
No tyrant, a kind friend, a patient instructor,
And I've felt some strange element flashing between us,
Till the saddle seem'd turn'd to a lightning conductor.

Did he see ? could he feel through the faintness, the numbness,
While linger'd the spirit half-loosed from the clay,
Dumb eyes seeking his in their piteous dumbness,
Dumb quivering nostrils, too stricken to neigh ?

And what then ? the colours reversed, the drums muffled,
The black nodding plumes, the dead march, and the pall,
The stern faces, soldier-like, silent, unruffled,
The slow sacred music that floats over all !

Cross carbine and boar-spear, hang bugle and banner,
Spur, sabre, and snaffle, and helm—Is it well ?
Vain 'scutcheon, false trophies of Mars and Diana,—
Can the dead laurel sprout with the live immortelle ?

It may be,—we follow, and though we inherit
Our strength for a season, our pride for a span,
Say ! vanity are they ? vexation of spirit ?
Not so, since they serve for a time horse and man.

They serve for a time, and they make life worth living,
In spite of life's troubles—'tis vain to despond ;
Oh, man ! we at least, we enjoy, with thanksgiving,
God's gifts on this earth, though we look not beyond.

You sin, and you suffer, and we, too, find sorrow,
Perchance through your sin—yet it soon will be o'er ;
We labour to-day, and we slumber to-morrow,
Strong horse and bold rider !—and who knoweth more ?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In our barrack-square shouted Drill-sergeant M'Cluskie,
The roll of the kettledrum rapidly ran,
The colonel wheel'd short, speaking once, dry and husky,
'Would to God I had died with your master, old man !'

by Adam Lindsay Gordon.

Prince Athanase

A Fragment
PART I

There was a youth, who, as with toil and travel,
Had grown quite weak and gray before his time;
Nor any could the restless griefs unravel

Which burned within him, withering up his prime
And goading him, like fiends, from land to land.
Not his the load of any secret crime,

For nought of ill his heart could understand,
But pity and wild sorrow for the same;-
Not his the thirst for glory or command,

Baffled with blast of hope-consuming shame;
Nor evil joys which fire the vulgar breast,
And quench in speedy smoke its feeble flame,

Had left within his soul their dark unrest:
Nor what religion fables of the grave
Feared he,-Philosophy's accepted guest.

For none than he a purer heart could have,
Or that loved good more for itself alone;
Of nought in heaven or earth was he the slave.

What sorrow, strange, and shadowy, and unknown,
Sent him, a hopeless wanderer, through mankind?-
If with a human sadness he did groan,

He had a gentle yet aspiring mind;
Just, innocent, with varied learning fed;
And such a glorious consolation find

In others' joy, when all their own is dead:
He loved, and laboured for his kind in grief,
And yet, unlike all others, it is said

That from such toil he never found relief.
Although a child of fortune and of power,
Of an ancestral name the orphan chief,

His soul had wedded Wisdom, and her dower
Is love and justice, clothed in which he sate
Apart from men, as in a lonely tower,

Pitying the tumult of their dark estate.-
Yet even in youth did he not e'er abuse
The strength of wealth or thought, to consecrate

Those false opinions which the harsh rich use
To blind the world they famish for their pride;
Nor did he hold from any man his dues,

But, like a steward in honest dealings tried,
With those who toiled and wept, the poor and wise,
His riches and his cares he did divide.

Fearless he was, and scorning all disguise,
What he dared do or think, though men might start,
He spoke with mild yet unaverted eyes;

Liberal he was of soul, and frank of heart,
And to his many friends-all loved him well-
Whate'er he knew or felt he would impart,

If words he found those inmost thoughts to tell;
If not, he smiled or wept; and his weak foes
He neither spurned nor hated-though with fell

And mortal hate their thousand voices rose,
They passed like aimless arrows from his ear-
Nor did his heart or mind its portal close

To those, or them, or any, whom life's sphere
May comprehend within its wide array.
What sadness made that vernal spirit sere?-

He knew not. Though his life, day after day,
Was failing like an unreplenished stream,
Though in his eyes a cloud and burthen lay,

Through which his soul, like Vesper's serene beam
Piercing the chasms of ever rising clouds,
Shone, softly burning; though his lips did seem

Like reeds which quiver in impetuous floods;
And through his sleep, and o'er each waking hour,
Thoughts after thoughts, unresting multitudes,

Were driven within him by some secret power,
Which bade them blaze, and live, and roll afar,
Like lights and sounds, from haunted tower to tower

O'er castled mountains borne, when tempest's war
Is levied by the night-contending winds,
And the pale dalesmen watch with eager ear;-

Though such were in his spirit, as the fiends
Which wake and feed an everliving woe,-
What was this grief, which ne'er in other minds

A mirror found,-he knew not-none could know;
But on whoe'er might question him he turned
The light of his frank eyes, as if to show

He knew not of the grief within that burned,
But asked forbearance with a mournful look;
Or spoke in words from which none ever learned

The cause of his disquietude; or shook
With spasms of silent passion; or turned pale:
So that his friends soon rarely undertook

To stir his secret pain without avail;-
For all who knew and loved him then perceived
That there was drawn an adamantine veil

Between his heart and mind,-both unrelieved
Wrought in his brain and bosom separate strife.
Some said that he was mad, others believed

That memories of an antenatal life
Made this, where now he dwelt, a penal hell;
And others said that such mysterious grief

From God's displeasure, like a darkness, fell
On souls like his, which owned no higher law
Than love; love calm, steadfast, invincible

By mortal fear or supernatural awe;
And others,-''Tis the shadow of a dream
Which the veiled eye of Memory never saw,

'But through the soul's abyss, like some dark stream
Through shattered mines and caverns underground,
Rolls, shaking its foundations; and no beam

'Of joy may rise, but it is quenched and drowned
In the dim whirlpools of this dream obscure;
Soon its exhausted waters will have found

'A lair of rest beneath thy spirit pure,
O Athanase!-in one so good and great,
Evil or tumult cannot long endure.'

So spake they: idly of another's state
Babbling vain words and fond philosophy;
This was their consolation; such debate

Men held with one another; nor did he,
Like one who labours with a human woe,
Decline this talk: as if its theme might be

Another, not himself, he to and fro
Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit;
And none but those who loved him best could know

That which he knew not, how it galled and bit
His weary mind, this converse vain and cold;
For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit

Upon his being; a snake which fold by fold
Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend
Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier hold;-
And so his grief remained-let it remain-untold.

PART II

FRAGMENT I

Prince Athanase had one belovèd friend,
An old, old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and blend

With his wise words; and eyes whose arrowy light
Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds.
He was the last whom superstition's blight

Had spared in Greece-the blight that cramps and blinds,-
And in his olive bower at OEnoe
Had sate from earliest youth. Like one who finds

A fertile island in the barren sea,
One mariner who has survived his mates
Many a drear month in a great ship-so he

With soul-sustaining songs, and sweet debates
Of ancient lore, there fed his lonely being:-
'The mind becomes that which it contemplates,'-

And thus Zonoras, by forever seeing
Their bright creations, grew like wisest men;
And when he heard the crash of nations fleeing

A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then,
O sacred Hellas! many weary years
He wandered, till the path of Laian's glen

Was grass-grown-and the unremembered tears
Were dry in Laian for their honoured chief,
Who fell in Byzant, pierced by Moslem spears:-

And as the lady looked with faithful grief
From her high lattice o'er the rugged path,
Where she once saw that horseman toil, with brief

And blighting hope, who with the news of death
Struck body and soul as with a mortal blight,
She saw between the chestnuts, far beneath,

An old man toiling up, a weary wight;
And soon within her hospitable hall
She saw his white hairs glittering in the light

Of the wood fire, and round his shoulders fall;
And his wan visage and his withered mien,
Yet calm and gentle and majestical.

And Athanase, her child, who must have been
Then three years old, sate opposite and gazed
In patient silence.

FRAGMENT II

Such was Zonoras; and as daylight finds
One amaranth glittering on the path of frost,
When autumn nights have nipped all weaker kinds,

Thus through his age, dark, cold, and tempest-tossed,
Shone truth upon Zonoras; and he filled
From fountains pure, nigh overgrown and lost,

The spirit of Prince Athanase, a child,
With soul-sustaining songs of ancient lore
And philosophic wisdom, clear and mild.

And sweet and subtle talk they evermore,
The pupil and the master, shared; until,
Sharing that undiminishable store,

The youth, as shadows on a grassy hill
Outrun the winds that chase them, soon outran
His teacher, and did teach with native skill

Strange truths and new to that experienced man;
Still they were friends, as few have ever been
Who mark the extremes of life's discordant span.

So in the caverns of the forest green,
Or on the rocks of echoing ocean hoar,
Zonoras and Prince Athanase were seen

By summer woodmen; and when winter's roar
Sounded o'er earth and sea its blast of war,
The Balearic fisher, driven from shore,

Hanging upon the peakèd wave afar,
Then saw their lamp from Laian's turret gleam,
Piercing the stormy darkness, like a star

Which pours beyond the sea one steadfast beam,
Whilst all the constellations of the sky
Seemed reeling through the storm . . . They did but seem-

For, lo! the wintry clouds are all gone by,
And bright Arcturus through yon pines is glowing,
And far o'er southern waves, immovably

Belted Orion hangs-warm light is flowing
From the young moon into the sunset's chasm.-
'O, summer eve! with power divine, bestowing

'On thine own bird the sweet enthusiasm
Which overflows in notes of liquid gladness,
Filling the sky like light! How many a spasm

'Of fevered brains, oppressed with grief and madness,
Were lulled by thee, delightful nightingale,-
And these soft waves, murmuring a gentle sadness,-

'And the far sighings of yon piny dale
Made vocal by some wind we feel not here.-
I bear alone what nothing may avail

'To lighten-a strange load!'-No human ear
Heard this lament; but o'er the visage wan
Of Athanase, a ruffling atmosphere

Of dark emotion, a swift shadow, ran,
Like wind upon some forest-bosomed lake,
Glassy and dark.-And that divine old man

Beheld his mystic friend's whole being shake,
Even where its inmost depths were gloomiest-
And with a calm and measured voice he spake,

And, with a soft and equal pressure, pressed
That cold lean hand:-'Dost thou remember yet
When the curved moon then lingering in the west

'Paused, in yon waves her mighty horns to wet,
How in those beams we walked, half resting on the sea?
'Tis just one year-sure thou dost not forget-

'Then Plato's words of light in thee and me
Lingered like moonlight in the moonless east,
For we had just then read-thy memory

'Is faithful now-the story of the feast;
And Agathon and Diotima seemed
From death and dark forgetfulness released '
. . .

FRAGMENT III

And when the old man saw that on the green
Leaves of his opening . . . a blight had lighted
He said: 'My friend, one grief alone can wean

A gentle mind from all that once delighted:-
Thou lovest, and thy secret heart is laden
With feelings which should not be unrequited.'

And Athanase . . . then smiled, as one o'erladen
With iron chains might smile to talk(?) of bands
Twined round her lover's neck by some blithe maiden,
And said . . .

FRAGMENT IV

'Twas at the season when the Earth upsprings
From slumber, as a spherèd angel's child,
Shadowing its eyes with green and golden wings,

Stands up before its mother bright and mild,
Of whose soft voice the air expectant seems-
So stood before the sun, which shone and smiled

To see it rise thus joyous from its dreams,
The fresh and radiant Earth. The hoary grove
Waxed green-and flowers burst forth like starry beams;-

The grass in the warm sun did start and move,
And sea-buds burst under the waves serene:-
How many a one, though none be near to love,

Loves then the shade of his own soul, half seen
In any mirror-or the spring's young minions,
The wingèd leaves amid the copses green;-

How many a spirit then puts on the pinions
Of fancy, and outstrips the lagging blast,
And his own steps-and over wide dominions

Sweeps in his dream-drawn chariot, far and fast,
More fleet than storms-the wide world shrinks below,
When winter and despondency are past.

FRAGMENT V

'Twas at this season that Prince Athanase
Passed the white Alps-those eagle-baffling mountains
Slept in their shrouds of snow;-beside the ways

The waterfalls were voiceless-for their fountains
Were changed to mines of sunless crystal now,
Or by the curdling winds-like brazen wings

Which clanged along the mountain's marble brow-
Warped into adamantine fretwork, hung
And filled with frozen light the chasms below.

Vexed by the blast, the great pines groaned and swung
Under their load of [snow]-. . .
. . .
. . .

Such as the eagle sees, when he dives down
From the gray deserts of wide air, [beheld]
[Prince] Athanase; and o'er his mien(?) was thrown

The shadow of that scene, field after field,
Purple and dim and wide . . .

FRAGMENT VI

Thou art the wine whose drunkenness is all
We can desire, O Love! and happy souls,
Ere from thy vine the leaves of autumn fall,

Catch thee, and feed from their o'erflowing bowls
Thousands who thirst for thine ambrosial dew;-
Thou art the radiance which where ocean rolls

Investeth it; and when the heavens are blue
Thou fillest them; and when the earth is fair
The shadow of thy moving wings imbue

Its deserts and its mountains, till they wear
Beauty like some light robe;-thou ever soarest
Among the towers of men, and as soft air

In spring, which moves the unawakened forest,
Clothing with leaves its branches bare and bleak,
Thou floatest among men; and aye implorest

That which from thee they should implore:-the weak
Alone kneel to thee, offering up the hearts
The strong have broken-yet where shall any seek

A garment whom thou clothest not? the darts
Of the keen winter storm, barbèd with frost,
Which, from the everlasting snow that parts

The Alps from Heaven, pierce some traveller lost
In the wide waved interminable snow
Ungarmented, . . .

ANOTHER FRAGMENT (A)

Yes, often when the eyes are cold and dry,
And the lips calm, the Spirit weeps within
Tears bitterer than the blood of agony

Trembling in drops on the discoloured skin
Of those who love their kind and therefore perish
In ghastly torture-a sweet medicine

Of peace and sleep are tears, and quietly
Them soothe from whose uplifted eyes they fall
But . . .

ANOTHER FRAGMENT

Her hair was brown, her spherèd eyes were brown,
And in their dark and liquid moisture swam,
Like the dim orb of the eclipsèd moon;

Yet when the spirit flashed beneath, there came
The light from them, as when tears of delight
Double the western planet's serene flame.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The Star's Monument

[He thinks.]

If there be memory in the world to come,
If thought recur to Some Things silenced here,
Then shall the deep heart be no longer dumb,
But find expression in that happier sphere;
It shall not be denied their utmost sum
Of love, to speak without or fault or fear,
But utter to the harp with changes sweet
Words that, forbidden still, then heaven were
incomplete.


[He speaks.]


Now let us talk about the ancient days,
And things which happened long before our birth:
It is a pity to lament that praise
Should be no shadow in the train of worth.
What is it, Madam, that your heart dismays?
Why murmur at the course of this vast earth?
Think rather of the work than of the praise;
Come, we will talk about the ancient days.

There was a Poet, Madam, once (said he);
I will relate his story to you now,
While through the branches of this apple-tree
Some spots of sunshine flicker on your brow;
While every flower hath on its breast a bee.
And every bird in stirring doth endow
The grass with falling blooms that smoothly glide,
As ships drop down a river with the tide.

For telling of his tale no fitter place
Than this old orchard, sloping to the west;
Through its pink dome of blossom I can trace
Some overlying azure; for the rest,
These flowery branches round us interlace;
The ground is hollowed like a mossy nest:
Who talks of fame while the religious spring
Offers the incense of her blossoming?

There was a Poet, Madam, once (said he),
Who, while he walked at sundown in a lane,
Took to his heart the hope that destiny
Had singled him this guerdon to obtain,
That by the power of his sweet minstrelsy
Some hearts for truth and goodness he should gain,
And charm some grovellers to uplift their eyes
And suddenly wax conscious of the skies.

'Master, good e'en to ye!' a woodman said,
Who the low hedge was trimming with his shears.
'This hour is fine'—the Poet bowed his head.
'More fine,' he thought, 'O friend! to me appears
The sunset than to you; finer the spread
Of orange lustre through these azure, spheres,
Where little clouds lie still, like flocks of sheep,
Or vessels sailing in God's other deep.

'O finer far! What work so high as mine,
Interpreter betwixt the world and man,
Nature's ungathered pearls to set and shrine,
The mystery she wraps her in to scan;
Her unsyllabic voices to combine,
And serve her with such love as poets can;
With mortal words, her chant of praise to bind,
Then die, and leave the poem to mankind?

'O fair, O fine, O lot to be desired!
Early and late my heart appeals to me,
And says, 'O work, O will —Thou man, be fired
To earn this lot,'—she says, 'I would not be
A worker for mine OWN bread, or one hired
For mine OWN profit. O, I would be free
To work for others; love so earned of them
Should be my wages and my diadem.

' 'Then when I died I should not fall,' says she,
'Like dropping flowers that no man noticeth,
But like a great branch of some stately tree
Rent in a tempest, and flung down to death,
Thick with green leafage—so that piteously
Each passer by that ruin shuddereth,
And saith, The gap this branch hath left is wide;
The loss thereof can never be supplied.' '

But, Madam, while the Poet pondered so,
Toward the leafy hedge he turned his eye,
And saw two slender branches that did grow,
And from it rising spring and flourish high:
Their tops were twined together fast, and, lo,
Their shadow crossed the path as he went by—
The shadow of a wild rose and a briar,
And it was shaped in semblance like a lyre.

In sooth, a lyre! and as the soft air played,
Those branches stirred, but did not disunite.
'O emblem meet for me!' the Poet said;
'Ay, I accept and own thee for my right;
The shadowy lyre across my feet is laid,
Distinct though frail, and clear with crimson light;
Fast is it twined to bear the windy strain,
And, supple, it will bend and rise again.

'This lyre is cast across the dusty way,
The common path that common men pursue;
I crave like blessing for my shadowy lay,
Life's trodden paths with beauty to renew,
And cheer the eve of many a toil-stained day.
Light it, old sun, wet it, thou common dew,
That 'neath men's feet its image still may be
While yet it waves above them, living lyre, like thee!'

But even as the Poet spoke, behold
He lifted up his face toward the sky;
The ruddy sun dipt under the grey wold,
His shadowy lyre was gone; and, passing by,
The woodman lifting up his shears, was bold
Their temper on those branches twain to try,
And all their loveliness and leafage sweet
Fell an the pathway, at the Poet's feet.

'Ah! my fair emblem that I chose,' quoth he,
'That for myself I coveted but now,
Too soon, methinks, thou hast been false to me;
The lyre from pathway fades, the light from brow.'
Then straightway turned he from it hastily,
As dream that waking sense will disallow;
And while the highway heavenward paled apace,
He went on westward to his dwelling-place.

He went on steadily, while far and fast
The summer darkness dropped upon the world,
A gentle air among the cloudlets passed
And fanned away their crimson; then it curled
The yellow poppies in the field, and cast
A dimness on the grasses, for it furled
Their daisies, and swept out the purple stain
That eve had left upon the pastoral plain.

He reached his city. Lo! the darkened street
Where he abode was full of gazing crowds;
He heard the muffled tread of many feet;
A multitude stood gazing at the clouds.
'What mark ye there,' said he, I and wherefore meet?
Only a passing mist the heaven o'ershrouds;
It breaks, it parts, it drifts like scattered spars—
What lies behind it but the nightly stars?'

Then did the gazing crowd to him aver
They sought a lamp in heaven whose light was hid;
For that in sooth an old Astronomer
Down from his roof had rushed into their mid,
Frighted, and fain with others to confer,
That he had cried, 'O sirs!'—and upward bid
Them gaze—'O sirs, a light is quenched afar;
Look up, my masters, we have lost a star!'

The people pointed, and the Poet's eyes
Flew upward, where a gleaming sisterhood
Swam in the dewy heaven. The very skies
Were mutable; for all-amazed he stood
To see that truly not in any wise
He could behold them as of old, nor could
His eyes receive the whole whereof he wot,
But when he told them over, one WAS NOT.

While yet he gazed and pondered reverently,
The fickle folk began to move away.
'It is but one star less for us to see,
And what does one star signify?' quoth they;
'The heavens are full of them.' 'But, ah!' said he,
That star was bright while yet she lasted.' 'Ay!'
They answered: 'praise her, Poet, an' ye will:
Some are now shining that are brighter still.'

'Poor star! to be disparaged so soon
On her withdrawal,' thus the Poet sighed;
'That men should miss, and straight deny her noon
Its brightness!' But the people in their pride
Said, 'How are we beholden? 't was no boon
She gave. Her nature 't was to shine so wide:
She could not choose but shine, nor could we know
Such star had ever dwelt in heaven but so.'

The Poet answered sadly, 'That is true!'
And then he thought upon unthankfulness,
While some went homeward; and the residue,
Reflecting that the stars are numberless,
Mourned that man's daylight hours should be so few,
So short the shining that his path may bless:
To nearer themes then tuned their willing lips,
And thought no more upon the star's eclipse.

But he, the Poet, could not rest content
Till he had found that old Astronomer;
Therefore at midnight to his house he went
And prayed him be his tale's interpreter.
And yet upon the heaven his eyes he bent,
Hearing the marvel; yet he sought for her
That was awanting, in the hope her face
Once more might fill its reft abiding-place.

Then said the old Astronomer: 'My son,
I sat alone upon my roof to-night;
I saw the stars come forth, and scarcely shun
To fringe the edges of the western light;
I marked those ancient clusters one by one,
The same that blessed our old forefather's sight:
For God alone is older—none but He
Can charge the stars with mutability:

'The elders of the night, the steadfast stars,
The old, old stars which God has let us see,
That they might be our soul's auxiliars,
And help us to the truth how young we be—
God's youngest, latest born, as if, some spars
And a little clay being over of them—He
Had made our world and us thereof, yet given,
To humble us, the sight of His great heaven.

'But ah! my son, to-night mine eyes have seen
The death of light, the end of old renown;
A shrinking back of glory that had been,
A dread eclipse before the Eternal's frown.
How soon a little grass will grow between
These eyes and those appointed to look down
Upon a world that was not made on high
Till the last scenes of their long empiry!

'To-night that shining cluster now despoiled
Lay in day's wake a perfect sisterhood;
Sweet was its light to me that long had toiled,
It gleamed and trembled o'er the distant wood;
Blown in a pile the clouds from it recoiled,
Cool twilight up the sky her way made good;
I saw, but not believed—it was so strange—
That one of those game stars had suffered change.

'The darkness gathered, and methought she spread.
Wrapped in a reddish haze that waxed and waned;
But notwithstanding to myself I said—
'The stars are changeless; sure some mote hath stained
Mine eyes, and her fair glory minishèd.'
Of age and failing vision I complained,
And thought 'some vapour in the heavens doth swim,
That makes her look so large and yet so dim.'

'But I gazed round, and all her lustrous peers
In her red presence showed but wan and white;
For like a living coal beheld through tears
She glowed and quivered with a gloomy light:
Methought she trembled, as all sick through fears,
Helpless, appalled, appealing to the night;
Like one who throws his arms up to the sky
And bows down suffering, hopeless of reply.

'At length, as if an everlasting Hand
Had taken hold upon her in her place,
And swiftly, like a golden grain of sand,
Through all the deep infinitudes of space
Was drawing her—God's truth as here I stand—
Backward and inward to itself; her face
Fast lessened, lessened, till it looked no more
Than smallest atom on a boundless shore.

'And she that was so fair, I saw her lie,
The smallest thing in God's great firmament,
Till night was at the darkest, and on high
Her sisters glittered, though her light was spent;
I strained, to follow her, each aching eye,
So swiftly at her Maker's will she went;
I looked again—I looked—the star was gone,
And nothing marked in heaven where she had shone.'

'Gone!' said the Poet, 'and about to be
Forgotten: O, how sad a fate is hers!'
'How is it sad, my son?' all reverently
The old man answered; 'though she ministers
No longer with her lamp to me and thee,
She has fulfilled her mission. God transfers
Or dims her ray; yet was she blest as bright,
For all her life was spent in giving light.'

'Her mission she fulfilled assuredly,'
The Poet cried: 'but, O unhappy star!
None praise and few will bear in memory
The name she went by. O, from far, from far
Comes down, methinks, her mournful voice to me.
Full of regrets that men so thankless are.'
So said, he told that old Astronomer
All that the gazing crowd had said of her.

And he went on to speak in bitter wise,
As one who seems to tell another's fate,
But feels that nearer meaning underlies,
And points its sadness to his own estate:
'If such be the reward,' he said with sighs,
'Envy to earn for love, for goodness hate—
If such be thy reward, hard case is thine!
It had been better for thee not to shine.

'If to reflect a light that is divine
Makes that which doth reflect it better seen,
And if to see is to contemn the shrine,
'T were surely better it had never been:
It had been better for her NOT TO SHINE,
And for me NOT TO SING. Better, I ween,
For us to yield no more that radiance bright,
For them, to lack the light than scorn the light.'

Strange words were those from Poet lips (said he);
And then he paused, and sighed, and turned to look
Upon the lady's downcast eyes, and see
How fast the honey bees in settling shook
Those apple blossoms on her from the tree;
He watched her busy fingers as they took
And slipped the knotted thread, and thought
how much
He would have given that hand to hold—to touch.

At length, as suddenly become aware
Of this long pause, she lifted up her face,
And he withdrew his eyes—she looked so fair
And cold, he thought, in her unconscious grace.
'Ah! little dreams she of the restless care,'
He thought, 'that makes my heart to throb apace:
Though we this morning part, the knowledge sends
No thrill to her calm pulse—we are but FRIENDS.'

Ah! turret clock (he thought), I would thy hand
Were hid behind yon towering maple-trees!
Ah! tell-tale shadow, but one moment stand—
Dark shadow—fast advancing to my knees;
Ah! foolish heart (he thought), that vainly planned
By feigning gladness to arrive at ease;
Ah! painful hour, yet pain to think it ends;
I must remember that we are but friends.

And while the knotted thread moved to and fro
In sweet regretful tones that lady said:
'It seemeth that the fame you would forego
The Poet whom you tell of coveted;
But I would fain, methinks, his story know.
And was he loved?' said she, 'or was he wed?
And had he friends?' 'One friend, perhaps,' said he,
'But for the rest, I pray you let it be.'

Ah! little bird (he thought), most patient bird,
Breasting thy speckled eggs the long day through,
By so much as my reason is preferred
Above thine instinct, I my work would do
Better than then dost thine. Thou hast not stirred
This hour thy wing. Ah! russet bird, I sue
For a like patience to wear through these hours—
Bird on thy nest among the apple-flowers.

I will not speak—I will not speak to thee,
My star! and soon to be my lost, lost star.
The sweetest, first, that ever shone on me,
So high above me and beyond so far;
I can forego thee, but not bear to see
My love, like rising mist, thy lustre mar:
That were a base return for thy sweet light.
Shine, though I never more shall see that thou
art bright.

Never! 'T is certain that no hope is—none!
No hope for me, and yet for thee no fear
The hardest part of my hard task is done;
Thy calm assures me that I am not dear;
Though far and fast the rapid moments run,
Thy bosom heaveth not, thine eyes are clear;
Silent; perhaps a little sad at heart
She is. I am her friend, and I depart.

Silent she had been, but she raised her face;
'And will you end,' said she, 'this half-told tale?'
'Yes, it were best,' he answered her. 'The place
Where I left off was where he felt to fail
His courage, Madam, through the fancy base
That they who love, endure, or work, may rail
And cease—if all their love, the works they wrought,
And their endurance, men have set at nought.'

'It had been better for me NOT to sing,'
My Poet said, 'and for her NOT to shine;'
But him the old man answered, sorrowing,
'My son, did God who made her, the Divine
Lighter of suns, when down to yon bright ring
He cast her, like some gleaming almandine,
And set her in her place, begirt with rays,
Say unto her 'Give light,' or say 'Earn praise?'

The Poet said, 'He made her to give light.'
'My son,' the old man answered, 'blest are such;
A blessed lot is theirs; but if each night
Mankind had praised her radiance—inasmuch
As praise had never made it wax more bright,
And cannot now rekindle with its touch
Her lost effulgence, it is nought. I wot
That praise was not her blessing nor her lot.'

'Ay,' said the Poet, 'I my words abjure,
And I repent me that I uttered them;
But by her light and by its forfeiture
She shall not pass without her requiem.
Though my name perish, yet shall hers endure
Though I should be forgotten, she, lost gem,
Shall be remembered; though she sought not fame,
It shall be busy with her beauteous name.

'For I wilt raise in her bright memory,
Lost now on earth, a lasting monument,
And graven on it shall recorded be
That all her rays to light mankind were spent;
And I will sing albeit none heedeth me,
On her exemplar being still intent:
While in men's sight shall stand the record thus—
'So long as she did last she lighted us.' '

So said, he raised, according to his vow,
On the green grass, where oft his townsfolk met,
Under the shadow of a leafy bough
That leaned toward a singing rivulet,
One pure white stone, whereon, like crown on brow,
The image of the vanished star was set;
And this was graven on the pure white stone
In golden letters—'WHILE SHE LIVED SHE SHONE.'

Madam, I cannot give this story well—
My heart is beating to another chime;
My voice must needs a different cadence swell;
It is yon singing bird, which all the time
Wooeth his nested mate, that doth dispel
My thoughts. What, deem you, could a lover's rhyme
The sweetness of that passionate lay excel?
O soft. O low her voice—'I cannot tell.'


[He thinks.]


The old man—aye he spoke, he was not hard;
'She was his joy,' he said, 'his comforter,
But he would trust me. I was not debarred
Whate'er my heart approved to say to her.'
Approved! O torn and tempted and ill-starred
And breaking heart, approve not nor demur;
It is the serpent that beguileth thee
With 'God doth know' beneath this apple-tree.

Yea, God DOTH know, and only God doth know.
Have pity, God, my spirit groans to Thee!
I, bear Thy curse primeval, and I go;
But heavier than on Adam falls on me
My tillage of the wilderness; for lo,
I leave behind the woman, and I see
As 't were the gates of Eden closing o'er
To bide her from my sight for evermore.


[He speaks.]


I am a fool, with sudden start he cried,
To let the song-bird work me such unrest:
If I break off again, I pray you chide,
For morning fleeteth, with my tale at best
Half told. That white stone, Madam, gleamed beside
The little rivulet, and all men pressed
To read the lost one's story traced thereon,
The golden legend—'While she lived she shone.'

And, Madam, when the Poet heard them read,
And children spell the letters softly through,
It may be that he felt at heart some need,
Some craving to be thus remembered too;
It may be that he wondered if indeed
He must die wholly when he passed from view;
It may be, wished when death his eyes made dim,
That some kind hand would raise such stone for him.

But shortly, as there comes to most of us,
There came to him the need to quit his home:
To tell you why were simply hazardous.
What said I. Madam?—men were made to roam
My meaning is. It hath been always thus:
They are athirst for mountains and sea foam;
Heirs of this world, what wonder if perchance
They long to see their grand inheritance?

He left his city, and went forth to teach
Mankind, his peers, the hidden harmony
That underlies God's discords, and to reach
And touch the master-string that like a sigh
Thrills in their souls, as if it would beseech
Some hand to sound it, and to satisfy
Its yearning for expression: but no word
Till poet touch it hath to make its music heard.


[He thinks.]


I know that God is good, though evil dwells
Among us, and doth all things holiest share;
That there is joy in heaven, while yet our knells
Sound for the souls which He has summoned there;
That painful love unsatisfied hath spells
Earned by its smart to soothe its fellow's care:
But yet this atom cannot in the whole
Forget itself—it aches a separate soul.


[He speaks.]


But, Madam, to my Poet I return,
With his sweet cadences of woven words,
He made their rude untutored hearts to burn
And melt like gold refined. No brooding birds
Sing better of the love that doth sojourn
Hid in the nest of home, which softly girds
The beating heart of life; and, strait though it be,
Is straitness better than wide liberty.

He taught them, and they learned, but not the less
Remained unconscious whence that lore they drew,
But dreamed that of their native nobleness
Some lofty thoughts that he had planted, grew;
His glorious maxims in a lowly dress
Like seed sown broadcast sprung in all men's view,
The sower, passing onward, was not known,
And all men reaped the harvest as their own.

It may be, Madam, that those ballads sweet,
Whose rhythmic measures yesterday we sung,
Which time and changes make not obsolete,
But (as a river bears down blossoms flung
Upon its breast) take with them while they fleet—
It may be from his lyre that first they sprung:
But who can tell, since work surviveth fame?—
The rhyme is left, but last the Poet's name.

He worked, and bravely he fulfilled his trust—
So long he wandered sowing worthy seed,
Watering of wayside buds that were adust,
And touching for the common ear his reed—
So long to wear away the cankering rust
That dulls the gold of life—so long to plead
With sweetest music for all souls oppressed,
That he was old ere he had thought of rest.

Old and grey-headed, leaning on a staff;
To that great city of his birth he came,
And at its gates he paused with wondering laugh
To think: how changed were all his thoughts of fame
Since first he carved the golden epitaph
To keep in memory a worthy name,
And thought forgetfulness had been its doom
But for a few bright letters on a tomb.

The old Astronomer had long since died;
The friends of youth were gone and far dispersed;
Strange were the domes that rose on every side;
Strange fountains on his wondering vision burst;
The men of yesterday their business plied;
No face was left that he had known at first;
And in the city gardens, lo, he sees
The saplings that he set are stately trees.

Upon the grass beneath their welcome shade,
Behold! he marks the fair white monument,
And on its face the golden words displayed,
For sixty years their lustre have not spent;
He sitteth by it and is not afraid,
But in its shadow he is well content;
And envies not, though bright their gleamings are,
The golden letters of the vanished star.

He gazeth up; exceeding bright appears
That golden legend to his agèd eyes,
For they are dazzled till they fill with tears,
And his lost Youth doth like a vision rise;
She saith to him, 'In all these toilsome years,
What hast thou won by work or enterprise?
What hast thou won to make amends to thee,
As thou didst swear to do, for loss of me?

'O man! O white-haired man!' the vision said,
'Since we two sat beside this monument
Life's clearest hues are all evanishèd,
The golden wealth thou hadst of me is spent;
The wind hath swept thy flowers, their leaves are shed;
The music is played out that with thee went.'
'Peace, peace!' he cried; 'I lost thee, but, in truth,
There are worse losses than the loss of youth.'

He said not what those losses were—but I—
But I must leave them, for the time draws near.
Some lose not ONLY joy, but memory
Of how it felt: not love that was so dear
Lose only, but the steadfast certainty
That once they had it; doubt comes on, then fear,
And after that despondency. I wis*
The Poet must have meant such loss as this.

But while he sat and pondered, on his youth,
He said, 'It did one deed that doth remain,
For it preserved the memory and the truth
Of her that now doth neither set nor wane,
But shine in all men's thoughts; nor sink forsooth,
And be forgotten like the summer rain.
O, it is good that man should not forget
Or benefits foregone or brightness set!'

He spoke and said, 'My lot contenteth me;
I am right glad for this her worthy fame;
That which was good and great I fain would see
Drawn with a halo round what rests—its name.'
This while the Poet said, behold there came
A workman with his tools anear the tree,
And when he read the words he paused awhile
And pondered on them with a wondering smile.

And then he said, 'I pray you, Sir, what mean
In wonder quoth the Poet, 'Hast thou been
A dweller near at hand, and their intent
Hast neither heard by voice of fame, nor seen
The marble earlier?' 'Ay,' said he, and leant
Upon his spade to hear the tale, then sigh,
And say it was a marvel, and pass by.

Then said the Poet, 'This is strange to me.'
But as he mused, with trouble in his mind,
A band of maids approached him leisurely,
Like vessels sailing with a favouring wind;
And of their rosy lips requested he,
As one that for a doubt would solving find,
The tale, if tale there were, of that white stone,
And those fair letters—'While she lived she shone.'

Then like a fleet that floats becalmed they stay.
'O, Sir,' saith one, 'this monument is old;
But we have heard our virtuous mothers say
That by their mothers thus the tale was told:
A Poet made it; journeying then away,
He left us; and though some the meaning hold
For other than the ancient one, yet we
Receive this legend for a certainty:—

'There was a lily once, most purely white,
Beneath the shadow of these boughs it grew;
Its starry blossom it unclosed by night,
And a young Poet loved its shape and hue.
He watched it nightly, 't was so fair a sight,
Until a stormy wind arose and blew,
And when he came once more his flower to greet,
Its fallen petals drifted to his feet.

'And for his beautiful white lily's sake,
That she might be remembered where her scent
Had been right sweet, he said that he would make
In her dear memory a monument:
For she was purer than a driven flake
Of snow, and in her grace most excellent;
'The loveliest life that death did ever mar,
As beautiful to gaze on as a star.'

'I thank you, maid,' the Poet answered her,
'And I am glad that I have heard your tale.
With that they passed; and as an inlander,
Having heard breakers raging in a gale,
And falling down in thunder, will aver
That still, when far away in grassy vale,
He seems to hear those seething waters bound,
So in his ears the maiden's voice did sound.

He leaned his face upon his hand, and thought
And thought, until a youth came by that way;
And once again of him the Poet sought
The story of the star. But, well-a-day!
He said, 'The meaning with ranch doubt is fraught,
The sense thereof can no man surely say;
For still tradition sways the common ear,
That of a truth a star DID DISAPPEAR.

'But they who look beneath the outer shell
That wraps the 'kernel of the people's lore,'
Hold THAT for superstition; and they tell
That seven lovely sisters dwelt of yore
In this old city, where it so befell
That one a Poet loved; that, furthermore,
As stars above us she was pure and good,
And fairest of that beauteous sisterhood.

'So beautiful they were, those virgins seven,
That all men called them clustered stars in song,
Forgetful that the stars abide in heaven:
But woman bideth not beneath it long;
For O, alas! alas! one fated even,
When stars their azure deeps began to throng,
That virgin's eyes of Poet loved waxed dim,
And all their lustrous shining waned to him.

'In summer dusk she drooped her head and sighed
Until what time the evening star went down,
And all the other stars did shining bide
Clear in the lustre of their old renown,
And then—the virgin laid her down and died:
Forgot her youth, forgot her beauty's crown,
Forgot the sisters whom she loved before,
And broke her Poet's heart for evermore.'

'A mournful tale, in sooth,' the lady saith:
'But did he truly grieve for evermore?'
'It may be you forget,' he answereth,
'That this is but a fable at the core
O' the other fable.' 'Though it be but breath,'
She asketh, 'was it true?' Then he, 'This lore,
Since it is fable, either way may go;
Then, if it please you, think it might be so.'

'Say, but,' she saith, 'if I had told your tale,
The virgin should have lived his home to bless;
Or, must she die, I would have made to fail
His useless love.' 'I tell you not the less,'
He sighs, 'because it was of no avail:
His heart the Poet would not dispossess
Thereof. But let us leave the fable now.
My Poet heard it with an aching brow.

And he made answer thus: 'I thank thee, youth;
Strange is thy story to these agèd ears,
But I bethink me thou hast told a truth
Under the guise of fable. If my tears,
Thou lost belovèd star, lost now, forsooth,
Indeed could bring thee back among thy peers
So new thou shouldst be deemed as newly seen,
For men forget that thou hast ever been.

'There was a morning when I longed for fame,
There was a noontide when I passed it by,
There is an evening when I think not shame
Its substance and its being to deny;
For if men bear in mind great deeds, the name
Of him that wrought them shall they leave to die
Or if his name they shall have deathless writ,
They change the deeds that first ennobled it.

'O golden letters of this monument!
O words to celebrate a loved renown
Lost now or wrested! and to fancies lent,
Or on a fabled forehead set for crown,
For my departed star, I am content,
Though legends dim and years her memory drown:
For what were fame to her, compared and set
By this great truth which ye make lustrous yet?'

'Adieu!' the Poet said, 'my vanished star,
Thy duty and thy happiness were one.
Work is heaven's best; its fame is sublunar:
The fame thou dost not need—the work is done
For thee I am content that these things are;
More than content were I, my race being run,
Might it be true of me, though none thereon
Should muse regretful—'While he lived he shone.'

So said, the Poet rose and went his way,
And that same lot he proved whereof he spake.
Madam, my story is told out; the day
Draws out her shadows, time doth overtake
The morning. That which endeth call a lay,
Sung after pause—a motto in the break
Between two chapters of a tale not new,
Nor joyful—but a common tale. Adieu!

And that same God who made your face so fair,
And gave your woman's heart its tenderness,
So shield the blessing He implanted there,
That it may never turn to your distress,
And never cost you trouble or despair,
Nor granted leave the granter comfortless;
But like a river blest where'er it flows,
Be still receiving while it still bestows.

Adieu, he said, and paused, while she sat mute
In the soft shadow of the apple-tree;
The skylark's song rang like a joyous flute,
The brook went prattling past her restlessly:
She let their tongues be her tongue's substitute;
It was the wind that sighed, it was not she:
And what the lark, the brook, the wind, had said,
We cannot tell, for none interpreted.

Their counsels might be hard to reconcile,
They might not suit the moment or the spot.
She rose, and laid her work aside the while
Down in the sunshine of that grassy plot;
She looked upon him with an almost smile,
And held to him a hand that faltered not.
One moment—bird and brook went warbling on,
And the wind sighed again—and he was gone.

So quietly, as if she heard no more
Or skylark in the azure overhead,
Or water slipping past the cressy shore,
Or wind that rose in sighs, and sighing fled—
So quietly, until the alders hoar
Took him beneath them; till the downward spread
Of planes engulfed him in their leafy seas—
She stood beneath her rose-flushed apple-trees.

And then she stooped toward the mossy grass;
And gathered up her work and went her way;
Straight to that ancient turret she did pass,
And startle back some fawns that were at play.
She did not sigh, she never said 'Alas!'
Although he was her friend: but still that day,
Where elm and hornbeam spread a towering dome,
She crossed the dells to her ancestral home.

And did she love him?—what if she did not?
Then home was still the home of happiest years;
Nor thought was exiled to partake his lot,
Nor heart lost courage through foreboding fears;
Nor echo did against her secret plot,
Nor music her betray to painful tears;
Nor life become a dream, and sunshine dim,
And riches poverty, because of him.

But did she love him?—what and if she did?
Love cannot cool the burning Austral sand,
Nor show the secret waters that lie hid
In arid valleys of that desert land.
Love has no spells can scorching winds forbid,
Or bring the help which tarries near to hand,
Or spread a cloud for curtaining faded eyes
That gaze up dying into alien skies.

by Jean Ingelow.

The Sorcerer: Act I

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, an Elderly Baronet

Alexis, of the Grenadier Guards--His Son

Dr. Daly, Vicar of Ploverleigh

John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers

Lady Sangazure, a Lady of Ancient Lineage

Aline, Her Daughter--betrothed to Alexis

Mrs. Partlet, a Pew-Opener

Constance, her Daughter

Chorus of Villagers


ACT I -- Grounds of Sir Marmaduke's Mansion, Mid-day


SCENE -- Exterior of Sir Marmaduke's Elizabethan Mansion, mid-day.

CHORUS OF VILLAGERS

Ring forth, ye bells,
With clarion sound--
Forget your knells,
For joys abound.
Forget your notes
Of mournful lay,
And from your throats
Pour joy to-day.

For to-day young Alexis--young Alexis Pointdextre
Is betrothed to Aline--to Aline Sangazure,
And that pride of his sex is--of his sex is to be next her
At the feast on the green--on the green, oh, be sure!

Ring forth, ye bells etc.
(Exeunt the men into house.)

(Enter Mrs. Partlet with Constance, her daughter)

RECITATIVE

MRS. P. Constance, my daughter, why this strange depression?
The village rings with seasonable joy,
Because the young and amiable Alexis,
Heir to the great Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre,
Is plighted to Aline, the only daughter
Of Annabella, Lady Sangazure.
You, you alone are sad and out of spirits;
What is the reason? Speak, my daughter, speak!

CONST. Oh, mother, do not ask! If my complexion
From red to white should change in quick succession,
And then from white to red, oh, take no notice!
If my poor limbs should tremble with emotion,
Pay no attention, mother--it is nothing!
If long and deep-drawn sighs I chance to utter,
Oh, heed them not, their cause must ne'er be known!

Mrs. Partlet motions to Chorus to leave her with Constance. Exeunt
ladies of Chorus.

ARIA--CONSTANCE

When he is here,
I sigh with pleasure--
When he is gone,
I sigh with grief.
My hopeless fear
No soul can measure--
His love alone
Can give my aching heart relief!

When he is cold,
I weep for sorrow--
When he is kind,
I weep for joy.
My grief untold
Knows no to-morrow--
My woe can find
No hope, no solace, no alloy!

MRS. P. Come, tell me all about it! Do not fear--
I, too, have loved; but that was long ago!
Who is the object of your young affections?
CONST. Hush, mother! He is here! (Looking off)

Enter Dr. Daly. He is pensive and does not see them

MRS. P. (amazed) Our reverend vicar!
CONST. Oh, pity me, my heart is almost broken!
MRS. P. My child, be comforted. To such an union
I shall not offer any opposition.
Take him--he's yours! May you and he be happy!
CONST. But, mother dear, he is not yours to give!
MRS. P. That's true, indeed!
CONST. He might object!
MRS. P. He might.
But come--take heart--I'll probe him on the subject.
Be comforted--leave this affair to me.
(They withdraw.)

RECITATIVE--DR. DALY

The air is charged with amatory numbers--
Soft madrigals, and dreamy lovers' lays.
Peace, peace, old heart! Why waken from its slumbers
The aching memory of the old, old days?

BALLAD

Time was when Love and I were well acquainted.
Time was when we walked ever hand in hand.
A saintly youth, with worldly thought untainted,
None better-loved than I in all the land!
Time was, when maidens of the noblest station,
Forsaking even military men,
Would gaze upon me, rapt in adoration--
Ah me, I was a fair young curate then!

Had I a headache? sighed the maids assembled;
Had I a cold? welled forth the silent tear;
Did I look pale? then half a parish trembled;
And when I coughed all thought the end was near!
I had no care--no jealous doubts hung o'er me--
For I was loved beyond all other men.
Fled gilded dukes and belted earls before me--
Ah me, I was a pale young curate them!

(At the conclusion of the ballad, Mrs. Partlet comes forward with
Constance.)

MRS. P. Good day, reverend sir.
DR. D. Ah, good Mrs. Partlet, I am glad to see you. And
your little daughter, Constance! Why, she is quite a little
woman, I declare!
CONST. (aside) Oh, mother, I cannot speak to him!
MRS. P. Yes, reverend sir, she is nearly eighteen, and as
good a girl as ever stepped. (Aside to Dr. Daly) Ah, sir, I'm
afraid I shall soon lose her!
DR. D. (aside to Mrs. Partlet) Dear me, you pain me very
much. Is she delicate?
MRS. P. Oh no, sir--I don't mean that--but young girls look
to get married.
DR. D. Oh, I take you. To be sure. But there's plenty of
time for that. Four or five years hence, Mrs. Partlet, four or
five years hence. But when the time does come, I shall have much
pleasure in marrying her myself--
CONST. (aside) Oh, mother!
DR. D. To some strapping young fellow in her own rank of
life.
CONST. (in tears) He does not love me!
MRS. P. I have often wondered, reverend sir (if you'll
excuse the liberty), that you have never married.
DR. D. (aside) Be still, my fluttering heart!
MRS. P. A clergyman's wife does so much good in a village.
Besides that, you are not as young as you were, and before very
long you will want somebody to nurse you, and look after your
little comforts.
DR. D. Mrs. Partlet, there is much truth in what you say.
I am indeed getting on in years, and a helpmate would cheer my
declining days. Time was when it might have been; but I have
left it too long--I am an old fogy, now, am I not, my dear? (to
Constance)--a very old fogy, indeed. Ha! ha! No, Mrs. Partlet,
my mind is quite made up. I shall live and die a solitary old
bachelor.
CONST. Oh, mother, mother! (Sobs on Mrs. Partlet's bosom)
MRS. P. Come, come, dear one, don't fret. At a more
fitting time we will try again--we will try again.
(Exeunt Mrs. Partlet and Constance.)

DR. D. (looking after them) Poor little girl! I'm afraid
she has something on her mind. She is rather comely. Time was
when this old heart would have throbbed in double-time at the
sight of such a fairy form! But tush! I am puling! Here comes
the young Alexis with his proud and happy father. Let me dry
this tell-tale tear!

Enter Sir Marmaduke and Alexis

RECITATIVE

DR. D. Sir Marmaduke--my dear young friend, Alexis--
On this most happy, most auspicious plighting--
Permit me as a true old friend to tender
My best, my very best congratulations!
SIR M. Sir, you are most obleeging!
ALEXIS. Dr. Daly
My dear old tutor, and my valued pastor,
I thank you from the bottom of my heart!
(Spoken through music)
DR. D. May fortune bless you! may the middle distance
Of your young life be pleasant as the foreground--
The joyous foreground! and, when you have reached it,
May that which now is the far-off horizon
(But which will then become the middle distance),
In fruitful promise be exceeded only
By that which will have opened, in the meantime,
Into a new and glorious horizon!
SIR M. Dear Sir, that is an excellent example
Of an old school of stately compliment
To which I have, through life, been much addicted.
Will you obleege me with a copy of it,
In clerkly manuscript, that I myself
May use it on appropriate occasions?
DR. D. Sir, you shall have a fairly-written copy
Ere Sol has sunk into his western slumbers!
(Exit Dr. Daly)

SIR M. (to Alexis, who is in a reverie) Come, come, my
son--your fiancee will be here in five minutes. Rouse yourself
to receive her.
ALEXIS. Oh rapture!
SIR M. Yes, you are a fortunate young fellow, and I will
not disguise from you that this union with the House of Sangazure
realizes my fondest wishes. Aline is rich, and she comes of a
sufficiently old family, for she is the seven thousand and
thirty-seventh in direct descent from Helen of Troy. True, there
was a blot on the escutcheon of that lady--that affair with
Paris--but where is the family, other than my own, in which there
is no flaw? You are a lucky fellow, sir--a very lucky fellow!
ALEXIS. Father, I am welling over with limpid joy! No
sicklying taint of sorrow overlies the lucid lake of liquid love,
upon which, hand in hand, Aline and I are to float into eternity!
SIR M. Alexis, I desire that of your love for this young
lady you do not speak so openly. You are always singing ballads
in praise of her beauty, and you expect the very menials who wait
behind your chair to chorus your ecstasies. It is not delicate.
ALEXIS. Father, a man who loves as I love--
SIR M. Pooh pooh, sir! fifty years ago I madly loved your
future mother-in-law, the Lady Sangazure, and I have reason to
believe that she returned my love. But were we guilty of the
indelicacy of publicly rushing into each other's arms,
exclaiming--

"Oh, my adored one!" "Beloved boy!"
"Ecstatic rapture!" "Unmingled joy!"

which seems to be the modern fashion of love-making? No! it was
"Madam, I trust you are in the enjoyment of good health"--"Sir,
you are vastly polite, I protest I am mighty well"--and so forth.
Much more delicate--much more respectful. But see--Aline
approaches--let us retire, that she may compose herself for the
interesting ceremony in which she is to play so important a part.
(Exeunt Sir Marmaduke and Alexis.)

(Enter Aline on terrace, preceded by Chorus of Girls.)

CHORUS OF GIRLS

With heart and with voice
Let us welcome this mating:
To the youth of her choice,
With a heart palpitating,
Comes the lovely Aline!

May their love never cloy!
May their bliss be unbounded!
With a halo of joy
May their lives be surrounded!
Heaven bless our Aline!

RECITATIVE--ALINE.

My kindly friends, I thank you for this greeting
And as you wish me every earthly joy,
I trust your wishes may have quick fulfillment!

ARIA--ALINE.

Oh, happy young heart!
Comes thy young lord a-wooing
With joy in his eyes,
And pride in his breast--
Make much of thy prize,
For he is the best
That ever came a-suing.
Yet--yet we must part,
Young heart!
Yet--yet we must part!

Oh, merry young heart,
Bright are the days of thy wooing!
But happier far
The days untried--
No sorrow can mar,
When love has tied
The knot there's no undoing.
Then, never to part,
Young heart!
Then, never to part!

Enter Lady Sangazure

RECITATIVE--LADY S.

My child, I join in these congratulations:
Heed not the tear that dims this aged eye!
Old memories crowd upon me. Though I sorrow,
'Tis for myself, Aline, and not for thee!

Enter Alexis, preceded by Chorus of Men

CHORUS OF MEN AND WOMEN

With heart and with voice
Let us welcome this mating;
To the maid of his choice,
With a heart palpitating,
Comes Alexis, the brave!.

(Sir Marmaduke enters. Lady Sangazure and he exhibit signs of strong
emotion at the sight of each other which they endeavor to
repress. Alexis and Aline rush into each other's arms.)

RECITATIVE

ALEXIS. Oh, my adored one!

ALINE. Beloved boy!

ALEXIS. Ecstatic rapture!

ALINE. Unmingled joy!
(They retire up.)

DUET--SIR MARMADUKE and LADY SANGAZURE

SIR M. (with stately courtesy)
Welcome joy, adieu to sadness!
As Aurora gilds the day,
So those eyes, twin orbs of gladness,
Chase the clouds of care away.
Irresistible incentive
Bids me humbly kiss your hand;
I'm your servant most attentive--
Most attentive to command!

(Aside with frantic vehemence)
Wild with adoration!
Mad with fascination!
To indulge my lamentation
No occasion do I miss!
Goaded to distraction
By maddening inaction,
I find some satisfaction
In apostophe like this:
"Sangazure immortal,
"Sangazure divine,
"Welcome to my portal,
"Angel, oh be mine!"

(Aloud with much ceremony)
Irresistible incentive
Bids me humbly kiss your hand;
I'm your servant most attentive--
Most attentive to command!

LADY S. Sir, I thank you most politely
For your grateful courtesee;
Compliment more true and knightly
Never yet was paid to me!
Chivalry is an ingredient
Sadly lacking in our land--
Sir, I am your most obedient,
Most obedient to command!

(Aside and with great vehemence)
Wild with adoration!
Mad with fascination!
To indulge my lamentation
No occasion do I miss!
Goaded to distraction
By maddening inaction,
I find some satisfaction
In apostophe like this:
"Marmaduke immortal,
"Marmaduke divine,
"Take me to thy portal,
"Loved one, oh be mine!"

(Aloud with much ceremony)
Chivalry is an ingredient
Sadly lacking in our land;
Sir, I am your most obedient,
Most obedient to command!

(During this the Notary has entered, with marriage contract.)

RECITATIVE--NOTARY

All is prepared for sealing and for signing,
The contract has been drafted as agreed;
Approach the table, oh, ye lovers pining,
With hand and seal come execute the deed!

(Alexis and Aline advance and sign, Alexis supported by Sir Marmaduke,
Aline by her Mother.)

CHORUS

See they sign, without a quiver, it--
Then to seal proceed.
They deliver it--they deliver it
As their Act and Deed!
ALEXIS. I deliver it--I deliver it
As my Act and Deed!.
ALINE. I deliver it--I deliver it.
As my Act and Deed!

CHORUS. With heart and with voice
Let us welcome this mating;
Leave them here to rejoice,
With true love palpitating,
Alexis the brave,
And the lovely Aline!
(Exeunt all but Alexis and Aline.)

ALEXIS. At last we are alone! My darling, you are now
irrevocably betrothed to me. Are you not very, very happy?
ALINE. Oh, Alexis, can you doubt it? Do I not love you
beyond all on earth, and am I not beloved in return? Is not true
love, faithfully given and faithfully returned, the source of
every earthly joy?
ALEXIS. Of that there can be no doubt. Oh, that the world
could be persuaded of the truth of that maxim! Oh, that the
world would break down the artificial barriers of rank, wealth,
education, age, beauty, habits, taste, and temper, and recognize
the glorious principle, that in marriage alone is to be found the
panacea for every ill!
ALINE. Continue to preach that sweet doctrine, and you will
succeed, oh, evangel of true happiness!
ALEXIS. I hope so, but as yet the cause progresses but
slowly. Still I have made some converts to the principle, that
men and women should be coupled in matrimony without distinction
of rank. I have lectured on the subject at Mechanics'
Institutes, and the mechanics were unanimous in favour of my
views. I have preached in workhouses, beershops, and Lunatic
Asylums, and I have been received with enthusiasm. I have
addressed navvies on the advantages that would accrue to them if
they married wealthy ladies of rank, and not a navvy dissented!
ALINE. Noble fellows! And yet there are those who hold
that the uneducated classes are not open to argument! And what
do the countesses say?
ALEXIS. Why, at present, it can't be denied, the
aristocracy hold aloof.
ALINE. Ah, the working man is the true Intelligence after
all!
ALEXIS. He is a noble creature when he is quite sober.
Yes, Aline, true happiness comes of true love, and true love
should be independent of external influences. It should live
upon itself and by itself--in itself love should live for love
alone!

BALLAD--ALEXIS

Love feeds on many kinds of food, I know,
Some love for rank, some for duty:
Some give their hearts away for empty show,
And others for youth and beauty.
To love for money all the world is prone:
Some love themselves, and live all lonely:
Give me the love that loves for love alone--
I love that love--I love it only!

What man for any other joy can thirst,
Whose loving wife adores him duly?
Want, misery, and care may do their worst,
If loving woman loves you truly.
A lover's thoughts are ever with his own--
None truly loved is ever lonely:
Give me the love that loves for love alone--
I love that love--I love it only!

ALINE. Oh, Alexis, those are noble principles!
ALEXIS. Yes, Aline, and I am going to take a desperate step
in support of them. Have you ever heard of the firm of J. W.
Wells & Co., the old-established Family Sorcerers in St. Mary
Axe?
ALINE. I have seen their advertisement.
ALEXIS. They have invented a philtre, which, if report may
be believed, is simply infallible. I intend to distribute it
through the village, and within half-an-hour of my doing so there
will not be an adult in the place who will not have learnt the
secret of pure and lasting happiness. What do you say to that?
ALINE. Well, dear, of course a filter is a very useful
thing in a house; but still I don't quite see that it is the sort
of thing that places its possessor on the very pinnacle of
earthly joy.
ALEXIS. Aline, you misunderstand me. I didn't say a
filter--I said a philtre.
ALINE (alarmed). You don't mean a love-potion?
ALEXIS. On the contrary--I do mean a love potion.
ALINE. Oh, Alexis! I don't think it would be right. I
don't indeed. And then--a real magician! Oh, it would be
downright wicked.
ALEXIS. Aline, is it, or is it not, a laudable object to
steep the whole village up to its lips in love, and to couple
them in matrimony without distinction of age, rank, or fortune?
ALINE. Unquestionably, but--
ALEXIS. Then unpleasant as it must be to have recourse to
supernatural aid, I must nevertheless pocket my aversion, in
deference to the great and good end I have in view. (Calling)
Hercules.

(Enter a Page from tent)

PAGE. Yes, sir.
ALEXIS. Is Mr. Wells there?
PAGE. He's in the tent, sir--refreshing.
ALEXIS. Ask him to be so good as to step this way.
PAGE. Yes, sir. (Exit Page)
ALINE. Oh, but, Alexis! A real Sorcerer! Oh, I shall be
frightened to death!
ALEXIS. I trust my Aline will not yield to fear while the
strong right arm of her Alexis is here to protect her.
ALINE. It's nonsense, dear, to talk of your protecting me
with your strong right arm, in face of the fact that this Family
Sorcerer could change me into a guinea-pig before you could turn
round.
ALEXIS. He could change you into a guinea-pig, no doubt,
but it is most unlikely that he would take such a liberty. It's
a most respectable firm, and I am sure he would never be guilty
of so untradesmanlike an act.

(Enter Mr. Wells from tent)

WELLS. Good day, sir. (Aline much terrified.)
ALEXIS. Good day--I believe you are a Sorcerer.
WELLS. Yes, sir, we practice Necromancy in all its
branches. We've a choice assortment of wishing-caps,
divining-rods, amulets, charms, and counter-charms. We can cast
you a nativity at a low figure, and we have a horoscope at
three-and-six that we can guarantee. Our Abudah chests, each
containing a patent Hag who comes out and prophesies disasters,
with spring complete, are strongly recommended. Our Aladdin
lamps are very chaste, and our Prophetic Tablets, foretelling
everything--from a change of Ministry down to a rise in
Unified--are much enquired for. Our penny Curse--one of the
cheapest things in the trade--is considered infallible. We have
some very superior Blessings, too, but they're very little asked
for. We've only sold one since Christmas--to a gentleman who
bought it to send to his mother-in-law--but it turned out that he
was afflicted in the head, and it's been returned on our hands.
But our sale of penny Curses, especially on Saturday nights, is
tremendous. We can't turn 'em out fast enough.

SONG--MR. WELLS

Oh! my name is John Wellington Wells,
I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
In blessings and curses
And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches, and knells.
If you want a proud foe to "make tracks"--
If you'd melt a rich uncle in wax--
You've but to look in
On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

We've a first-class assortment of magic;
And for raising a posthumous shade
With effects that are comic or tragic,
There's no cheaper house in the trade.
Love-philtre--we've quantities of it;
And for knowledge if any one burns,
We keep an extremely small prophet, a prophet
Who brings us unbounded returns:

For he can prophesy
With a wink of his eye,
Peep with security
Into futurity,
Sum up your history,
Clear up a mystery,
Humour proclivity
For a nativity--for a nativity;
With mirrors so magical,
Tetrapods tragical,
Bogies spectacular,
Answers oracular,
Facts astronomical,
Solemn or comical,
And, if you want it, he
Makes a reduction on taking a quantity!
Oh!

If any one anything lacks,
He'll find it all ready in stacks,
If he'll only look in
On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

He can raise you hosts
Of ghosts,
And that without reflectors;
And creepy things
With wings,
And gaunt and grisly spectres.
He can fill you crowds
Of shrouds,
And horrify you vastly;
He can rack your brains
With chains,
And gibberings grim and ghastly.

And then, if you plan it, he
Changes organity,
With an urbanity,
Full of Satanity,
Vexes humanity
With an inanity
Fatal to vanity--
Driving your foes to the verge of insanity!

Barring tautology,
In demonology,
'Lectro-biology,
Mystic nosology,
Spirit philology,
High-class astrology,
Such is his knowledge, he
Isn't the man to require an apology!

Oh!
My name is John Wellington Wells,
I'm a dealer in magic and spells,
In blessings and curses
And ever-filled purses,
In prophecies, witches, and knells.

If any one anything lacks,
He'll find it all ready in stacks,
If he'll only look in
On the resident Djinn,
Number seventy, Simmery Axe!

ALEXIS. I have sent for you to consult you on a very
important matter. I believe you advertise a Patent Oxy-Hydrogen
Love-at-first-sight Philtre?
WELLS. Sir, it is our leading article. (Producing a
phial.)
ALEXIS. Now I want to know if you can confidently guarantee
it as possessing all the qualities you claim for it in your
advertisement?
WELLS. Sir, we are not in the habit of puffing our goods.
Ours is an old-established house with a large family connection,
and every assurance held out in the advertisement is fully
realized. (Hurt)
ALINE. (aside) Oh, Alexis, don't offend him! He'll change
us into something dreadful--I know he will!
ALEXIS. I am anxious from purely philanthropical motives to
distribute this philtre, secretly, among the inhabitants of this
village. I shall of course require a quantity. How do you sell
it?
WELLS. In buying a quantity, sir, we should strongly advise
your taking it in the wood, and drawing it off as you happen to
want it. We have it in four-and-a-half and nine gallon
casks--also in pipes and hogsheads for laying down, and we deduct
10 per cent from prompt cash.
ALEXIS. I should mention that I am a Member of the Army and
Navy Stores.
WELLS. In that case we deduct 25 percent.
ALEXIS. Aline, the villagers will assemble to carouse in a
few minutes. Go and fetch the tea-pot.
ALINE. But, Alexis--
ALEXIS. My dear, you must obey me, if you please. Go and
fetch the teapot.
ALINE (going). I'm sure Dr. Daly would disapprove of it!
(Exit Aline.)
ALEXIS. And how soon does it take effect?
WELLS. In twelve hours. Whoever drinks of it loses
consciousness for that period, and on waking falls in love, as a
matter of course, with the first lady he meets who has also
tasted it, and his affection is at once returned. One trial will
prove the fact.

Enter Aline with large tea-pot

ALEXIS. Good: then, Mr. Wells, I shall feel obliged if you
will at once pour as much philtre into this teapot as will
suffice to affect the whole village.
ALINE. But bless me, Alexis, many of the villagers are
married people!
WELLS. Madam, this philtre is compounded on the strictest
principles. On married people it has no effect whatever. But
are you quite sure that you have nerve enough to carry you
through the fearful ordeal?
ALEXIS. In the good cause I fear nothing.
WELLS. Very good, then, we will proceed at once to the
Incantation.
The stage grows dark.

INCANTATION

WELLS. Sprites of earth and air--
Fiends of flame and fire--
Demon souls,
Come here in shoals,
This dreaded deed inspire!
Appear, appear, appear.

MALE VOICES. Good master, we are here!

WELLS. Noisome hags of night--
Imps of deadly shade--
Pallid ghosts,
Arise in hosts,
And lend me all your aid.
Appear, appear, appear!

FEMALE VOICES. Good master, we are here!

ALEXIS (aside). Hark, they assemble,
These fiends of the night!
ALINE (aside). Oh Alexis, I tremble,
Seek safety in flight!


ARIA - ALINE

Let us fly to a far-off land,
Where peace and plenty dwell--
Where the sigh of the silver strand
Is echoed in every shell
To the joy that land will give,
On the wings of Love we'll fly;
In innocence, there to live--
In innocence there to die!

CHORUS OF SPIRITS.

Too late--too late
It may not be!
That happy fate
Is not for (me/thee)!

ALEXIS, ALINE, and MR. W.

Too late--too late,
That may not be!
That happy fate,
Is not for thee!

MR. WELLS

Now shrivelled hags, with poison bags,
Discharge your loathsome loads!
Spit flame and fire, unholy choir!
Belch forth your venom, toads!
Ye demons fell, with yelp and yell,
Shed curses far afield--
Ye fiends of night, your filthy blight
In noisome plenty yield!

WELLS (pouring phial into tea-pot--flash)
Number One!
CHORUS It is done!
WELLS (same business) Number Two! (flash)
CHORUS One too few!
WELLS Number Three! (flash)
CHORUS Set us free!
Set us free-our work is done
Ha! ha! ha!
Set us free--our course is run!
Ha! ha! ha!

ALINE AND ALEXIS (aside)

Let us fly to a far-off land,
Where peace and plenty dwell--
Where the sigh of the silver strand
Is echoed in every shell.


CHORUS OF FIENDS.

Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!

(Stage grows light. Mr. Wells beckons villagers. Enter villagers
and all the dramatis personae, dancing joyously. Mrs.
Partlet and Mr. Wells then distribute tea-cups.)

CHORUS.

Now to the banquet we press;
Now for the eggs, the ham;
Now for the mustard and cress,
Now for the strawberry jam!

Now for the tea of our host,
Now for the rollicking bun,
Now for the muffin and toast,
Now for the gay Sally Lunn!

WOMEN. The eggs and the ham, and the strawberry jam!

MEN. The rollicking bun, and the gay Sally Lunn!
The rollicking, rollicking bun!

RECITATIVE--SIR MARMADUKE

Be happy all--the feast is spread before ye;
Fear nothing, but enjoy yourselves, I pray!
Eat, aye, and drink--be merry, I implore ye,
For once let thoughtless Folly rule the day.

TEA-CUP BRINDISI

Eat, drink, and be gay,
Banish all worry and sorrow,
Laugh gaily to-day,
Weep, if you're sorry, to-morrow!
Come, pass the cup around--
I will go bail for the liquor;
It's strong, I'll be bound,
For it was brewed by the vicar!

CHORUS.

None so knowing as he
At brewing a jorum of tea,
Ha! ha!
A pretty stiff jorum of tea.

TRIO--WELLS, ALINE, and ALEXIS. (aside)

See--see--they drink--
All thoughts unheeding,
The tea-cups clink,
They are exceeding!
Their hearts will melt
In half-an-hour--
Then will be felt
The potions power!

(During this verse Constance has brought a small tea-pot, kettle,
caddy, and cosy to Dr. Daly. He makes tea scientifically.)

BRINDISI, 2nd Verse--DR. DALY (with the tea-pot)

Pain, trouble, and care,
Misery, heart-ache, and worry,
Quick, out of your lair!
Get you gone in a hurry!
Toil, sorrow, and plot,
Fly away quicker and quicker--
Three spoons in the pot--
That is the brew of your vicar!

CHORUS

None so cunning as he
At brewing a jorum of tea,
Ha! ha!
A pretty stiff jorum of tea!

ENSEMBLE--ALEXIS and ALINE (aside)

Oh love, true love--unworldly, abiding!
Source of all pleasure--true fountain of joy,--
Oh love, true love--divinely confiding,
Exquisite treasure that knows no alloy,--
Oh love, true love, rich harvest of gladness,
Peace-bearing tillage--great garner of bliss,--
Oh love, true love, look down on our sadness --
Dwell in this village--oh, hear us in this!

(It becomes evident by the strange conduct of the characters that
the charm is working. All rub their eyes, and stagger about
the stage as if under the influence of a narcotic.)

TUTTI (aside) ALEXIS, MR. WELLS and ALINE

Oh, marvellous illusion! A marvellous illusion!
Oh, terrible surprise! A terrible surprise
What is this strange confusion Excites a strange confusion
That veils my aching eyes? Within their aching eyes--
I must regain my senses, They must regain their senses,
Restoring Reason's law, Restoring Reason's law,
Or fearful inferences Or fearful inferences
Society will draw! Society will draw!

(Those who have partaken of the philtre struggle in vain against
its effects, and, at the end of the chorus, fall insensible
on the stage.)

by William Schwenck Gilbert.

The Flight Of The Duchess

I.

You're my friend:
I was the man the Duke spoke to;
I helped the Duchess to cast off his yoke, too;
So here's the tale from beginning to end,
My friend!

II.

Ours is a great wild country:
If you climb to our castle's top,
I don't see where your eye can stop;
For when you've passed the cornfield country,
Where vineyards leave off, flocks are packed,
And sheep-range leads to cattle-tract,
And cattle-tract to open-chase,
And open-chase to the very base
Of the mountain where, at a funeral pace,
Round about, solemn and slow,
One by one, row after row,
Up and up the pine-trees go,
So, like black priests up, and so
Down the other side again
To another greater, wilder country,
That's one vast red drear burnt-up plain,
Branched through and through with many a vein
Whence iron's dug, and copper's dealt;
Look right, look left, look straight before,---
Beneath they mine, above they smelt,
Copper-ore and iron-ore,
And forge and furnace mould and melt,
And so on, more and ever more,
Till at the last, for a bounding belt,
Comes the salt sand hoar of the great sea-shore,
---And the whole is our Duke's country.

III.

I was born the day this present Duke was---
(And O, says the song, ere I was old!)
In the castle where the other Duke was---
(When I was happy and young, not old!)
I in the kennel, he in the bower:
We are of like age to an hour.
My father was huntsman in that day;
Who has not heard my father say
That, when a boar was brought to bay,
Three times, four times out of five,
With his huntspear he'd contrive
To get the killing-place transfixed,
And pin him true, both eyes betwixt?
And that's why the old Duke would rather
He lost a salt-pit than my father,
And loved to have him ever in call;
That's why my father stood in the hall
When the old Duke brought his infant out
To show the people, and while they passed
The wondrous bantling round about,
Was first to start at the outside blast
As the Kaiser's courier blew his horn
Just a month after the babe was born.
``And,'' quoth the Kaiser's courier, ``since
``The Duke has got an heir, our Prince
``Needs the Duke's self at his side: ''
The Duke looked down and seemed to wince,
But he thought of wars o'er the world wide,
Castles a-fire, men on their march,
The toppling tower, the crashing arch;
And up he looked, and awhile he eyed
The row of crests and shields and banners
Of all achievements after all manners,
And ``ay,'' said the Duke with a surly pride.
The more was his comfort when he died
At next year's end, in a velvet suit,
With a gilt glove on his hand, his foot
In a silken shoe for a leather boot,
Petticoated like a herald,
In a chamher next to an ante-room,
Where he breathed the breath of page and groom,
What he called stink, and they, perfume:
---They should have set him on red Berold
Mad with pride, like fire to manage!
They should have got his cheek fresh tannage
Such a day as to-day in the merry sunshine!
Had they stuck on his fist a rough-foot merlin!
(Hark, the wind's on the heath at its game!
Oh for a noble falcon-lanner
To flap each broad wing like a banner,
And turn in the wind, and dance like flame!)
Had they broached a white-beer cask from Berlin
---Or if you incline to prescribe mere wine
Put to his lips, when they saw him pine,
A cup of our own Moldavia fine,
Cotnar for instance, green as May sorrel
And ropy with sweet,---we shall not quarrel.

IV.

So, at home, the sick tall yellow Duchess
Was left with the infant in her clutches,
She being the daughter of God knows who:
And now was the time to revisit her tribe.
Abroad and afar they went, the two,
And let our people rail and gibe
At the empty hall and extinguished fire,
As loud as we liked, but ever in vain,
Till after long years we had our desire,
And back came the Duke and his mother again.

V.

And he came back the pertest little ape
That ever affronted human shape;
Full of his travel, struck at himself.
You'd say, he despised our bluff old ways?
---Not he! For in Paris they told the elf
Our rough North land was the Land of Lays,
The one good thing left in evil days;
Since the Mid-Age was the Heroic Time,
And only in wild nooks like ours
Could you taste of it yet as in its prime,
And see true castles, with proper towers,
Young-hearted women, old-minded men,
And manners now as manners were then.
So, all that the old Dukes had been, without knowing it,
This Duke would fain know he was, without being it;
'Twas not for the joy's self, but the joy of his showing it,
Nor for the pride's self, but the pride of our seeing it,
He revived all usages thoroughly worn-out,
The souls of them fumed-forth, the hearts of them torn-out:
And chief in the chase his neck he perilled
On a lathy horse, all legs and length,
With blood for bone, all speed, no strength;
---They should have set him on red Berold
With the red eye slow consuming in fire,
And the thin stiff ear like an abbey-spire!

VI.

Well, such as he was, he must marry, we heard:
And out of a convent, at the word,
Came the lady, in time of spring.
---Oh, old thoughts they cling, they cling!
That day, I know, with a dozen oaths
I clad myself in thick hunting-clothes
Fit for the chase of urochs or buffle
In winter-time when you need to muffle.
But the Duke had a mind we should cut a figure,
And so we saw the lady arrive:
My friend, I have seen a white crane bigger!
She was the smallest lady alive,
Made in a piece of nature's madness,
Too small, almost, for the life and gladness
That over-filled her, as some hive
Out of the bears' reach on the high trees
Is crowded with its safe merry bees:
In truth, she was not hard to please!
Up she looked, down she looked, round at the mead,
Straight at the castle, that's best indeed
To look at from outside the walls:
As for us, styled the ``serfs and thralls,''
She as much thanked me as if she had said it,
(With her eyes, do you understand?)
Because I patted her horse while I led it;
And Max, who rode on her other hand,
Said, no bird flew past but she inquired
What its true name was, nor ever seemed tired---
If that was an eagle she saw hover,
And the green and grey bird on the field was the plover.
When suddenly appeared the Duke:
And as down she sprung, the small foot pointed
On to my hand,---as with a rebuke,
And as if his backbone were not jointed,
The Duke stepped rather aside than forward,
And welcomed her with his grandest smile;
And, mind you, his mother all the while
Chilled in the rear, like a wind to Nor'ward;
And up, like a weary yawn, with its pullies
Went, in a shriek, the rusty portcullis;
And, like a glad sky the north-wind sullies,
The lady's face stopped its play,
As if her first hair had grown grey;
For such things must begin some one day.

VII.

In a day or two she was well again;
As who should say, ``You labour in vain!
``This is all a jest against God, who meant
``I should ever be, as I am, content
`` And glad in his sight; therefore, glad I will be.''
So, smiling as at first went she.

VIII.

She was active, stirring, all fire---
Could not rest, could not tire---
To a stone she might have given life!
(I myself loved once, in my day)
---For a shepherd's, miner's, huntsman's wife,
(I had a wife, I know what I say)
Never in all the world such an one!
And here was plenty to be done,
And she that could do it, great or small,
She was to do nothing at all.
There was already this man in his post,
This in his station, and that in his office,
And the Duke's plan admitted a wife, at most,
To meet his eye, with the other trophies,
Now outside the hall, now in it,
To sit thus, stand thus, see and be seen,
At the proper place in the proper minute,
And die away the life between.
And it was amusing enough, each infraction
Of rule---(but for after-sadness that came)
To hear the consummate self-satisfaction
With which the young Duke and the old dame
Would let her advise, and criticise,
And, being a fool, instruct the wise,
And, child-like, parcel out praise or blame:
They bore it all in complacent guise,
As though an artificer, after contriving
A wheel-work image as if it were living,
Should find with delight it could motion to strike him!
So found the Duke, and his mother like him:
The lady hardly got a rebuff---
That had not been contemptuous enough,
With his cursed smirk, as he nodded applause,
And kept off the old mother-cat's claws.

IX.

So, the little lady grew silent and thin,
Paling and ever paling,
As the way is with a hid chagrin;
And the Duke perceived that she was ailing,
And said in his heart, ``'Tis done to spite me,
``But I shall find in my power to right me!''
Don't swear, friend! The old one, many a year,
Is in hell, and the Duke's self . . . you shall hear.

X.

Well, early in autumn, at first winter-warning,
When the stag had to break with his foot, of a morning,
A drinking-hole out of the fresh tender ice
That covered the pond till the sun, in a trice,
Loosening it, let out a ripple of gold,
And another and another, and faster and faster,
Till, dimpling to blindness, the wide water rolled:
Then it so chanced that the Duke our master
Asked himself what were the pleasures in season,
And found, since the calendar bade him be hearty,
He should do the Middle Age no treason
In resolving on a hunting-party.
Always provided, old books showed the way of it!
What meant old poets by their strictures?
And when old poets had said their say of it,
How taught old painters in their pictures?
We must revert to the proper channels,
Workings in tapestry, paintings on panels,
And gather up woodcraft's authentic traditions:
Here was food for our various ambitions,
As on each case, exactly stated---
To encourage your dog, now, the properest chirrup,
Or best prayer to Saint Hubert on mounting your stirrup---
We of the house hold took thought and debated.
Blessed was he whose back ached with the jerkin
His sire was wont to do forest-work in;
Blesseder he who nobly sunk ``ohs''
And ``ahs'' while he tugged on his grand-sire's trunk-hose;
What signified hats if they had no rims on,
Each slouching before and behind like the scallop,
And able to serve at sea for a shallop,
Loaded with lacquer and looped with crimson?
So that the deer now, to make a short rhyme on't,
What with our Venerers, Prickers and Yerderers,
Might hope for real hunters at length and not murderers,
And oh the Duke's tailor, he had a hot time on't!

XI.

Now you must know that when the first dizziness
Of flap-hats and buff-coats and jack-boots subsided,
The Duke put this question, ``The Duke's part provided,
``Had not the Duchess some share in the business?''
For out of the mouth of two or three witnesses
Did he establish all fit-or-unfitnesses:
And, after much laying of heads together,
Somebody's cap got a notable feather
By the announcement with proper unction
That he had discovered the lady's function;
Since ancient authors gave this tenet,
``When horns wind a mort and the deer is at siege,
``Let the dame of the castle prick forth on her jennet,
``And, with water to wash the hands of her liege
``In a clean ewer with a fair toweling,
`` Let her preside at the disemboweling.''
Now, my friend, if you had so little religion
As to catch a hawk, some falcon-lanner,
And thrust her broad wings like a banner
Into a coop for a vulgar pigeon;
And if day by day and week by week
You cut her claws, and sealed her eyes,
And clipped her wings, and tied her beak,
Would it cause you any great surprise
If, when you decided to give her an airing,
You found she needed a little preparing?
---I say, should you be such a curmudgeon,
If she clung to the perch, as to take it in dudgeon?
Yet when the Duke to his lady signified,
Just a day before, as he judged most dignified,
In what a pleasure she was to participate,---
And, instead of leaping wide in flashes,
Her eyes just lifted their long lashes,
As if pressed by fatigue even he could not dissipate,
And duly acknowledged the Duke's forethought,
But spoke of her health, if her health were worth aught,
Of the weight by day and the watch by night,
And much wrong now that used to be right,
So, thanking him, declined the hunting,---
Was conduct ever more affronting?
With all the ceremony settled---
With the towel ready, and the sewer
Polishing up his oldest ewer,
And the jennet pitched upon, a piebald,
Black-barred, cream-coated and pink eye-balled,---
No wonder if the Duke was nettled
And when she persisted nevertheless,---
Well, I suppose here's the time to confess
That there ran half round our lady's chamber
A balcony none of the hardest to clamber;
And that Jacynth the tire-woman, ready in waiting,
Stayed in call outside, what need of relating?
And since Jacynth was like a June rose, why, a fervent
Adorer of Jacynth of course was your servant;
And if she had the habit to peep through the casement,
How could I keep at any vast distance?
And so, as I say, on the lady's persistence,
The Duke, dumb-stricken with amazement,
Stood for a while in a sultry smother,
And then, with a smile that partook of the awful,
Turned her over to his yellow mother
To learn what was held decorous and lawful;
And the mother smelt blood with a cat-like instinct,
As her cheek quick whitened thro' all its quince-tinct.
Oh, but the lady heard the whole truth at once!
What meant she?--Who was she?---Her duty and station,
The wisdom of age and the folly of youth, at once,
Its decent regard and its fitting relation---
In brief, my friend, set all the devils in hell free
And turn them out to carouse in a belfry
And treat the priests to a fifty-part canon,
And then you may guess how that tongue of hers ran on!
Well, somehow or other it ended at last
And, licking her whiskers, out she passed;
And after her,---making (he hoped) a face
Like Emperor Nero or Sultan Saladin,
Stalked the Duke's self with the austere grace
Of ancient hero or modern paladin,
From door to staircase---oh such a solemn
Unbending of the vertebral column!

XII.

However, at sunrise our company mustered;
And here was the huntsman bidding unkennel,
And there 'neath his bonnet the pricker blustered,
With feather dank as a bough of wet fennel;
For the court-yard walls were filled with fog
You might have cut as an axe chops a log---
Like so much wool for colour and bulkiness;
And out rode the Duke in a perfect sulkiness,
Since, before breakfast, a man feels but queasily,
And a sinking at the lower abdomen
Begins the day with indifferent omen.
And lo, as he looked around uneasily,
The sun ploughed the fog up and drove it asunder
This way and that from the valley under;
And, looking through the court-yard arch,
Down in the valley, what should meet him
But a troop of Gipsies on their march?
No doubt with the annual gifts to greet him.

XIII.

Now, in your land, Gipsies reach you, only
After reaching all lands beside;
North they go, South they go, trooping or lonely,
And still, as they travel far and wide,
Catch they and keep now a trace here, trace there,
That puts you in mind of a place here, a place there.
But with us, I believe they rise out of the ground,
And nowhere else, I take it, are found
With the earth-tint yet so freshly embrowned:
Born, no doubt, like insects which breed on
The very fruit they are meant to feed on.
For the earth---not a use to which they don't turn it,
The ore that grows in the mountain's womb,
Or the sand in the pits like a honeycomb,
They sift and soften it, bake it and burn it---
Whether they weld you, for instance, a snaffle
With side-bars never a brute can baffle;
Or a lock that's a puzzle of wards within wards;
Or, if your colt's fore-foot inclines to curve inwards,
Horseshoes they hammer which turn on a swivel
And won't allow the hoof to shrivel.
Then they cast bells like the shell of the winkle
That keep a stout heart in the ram with their tinkle;
But the sand---they pinch and pound it like otters;
Commend me to Gipsy glass-makers and potters!
Glasses they'll blow you, crystal-clear,
Where just a faint cloud of rose shall appear,
As if in pure water you dropped and let die
A bruised black-blooded mulberry;
And that other sort, their crowning pride,
With long white threads distinct inside,
Like the lake-flower's fibrous roots which dangle
Loose such a length and never tangle,
Where the bold sword-lily cuts the clear waters,
And the cup-lily couches with all the white daughters:
Such are the works they put their hand to,
The uses they turn and twist iron and sand to.
And these made the troop, which our Duke saw sally
Toward his castle from out of the valley,
Men and women, like new-hatched spiders,
Come out with the morning to greet our riders.
And up they wound till they reached the ditch,
Whereat all stopped save one, a witch
That I knew, as she hobbled from the group,
By her gait directly and her stoop,
I, whom Jacynth was used to importune
To let that same witch tell us our fortune.
The oldest Gipsy then above ground;
And, sure as the autumn season came round,
She paid us a visit for profit or pastime,
And every time, as she swore, for the last time.
And presently she was seen to sidle
Up to the Duke till she touched his bridle,
So that the horse of a sudden reared up
As under its nose the old witch peered up
With her worn-out eyes, or rather eye-holes
Of no use now but to gather brine,
And began a kind of level whine
Such as they used to sing to their viols
When their ditties they go grinding
Up and down with nobody minding:
And then, as of old, at the end of the humming
Her usual presents were forthcoming
---A dog-whistle blowing the fiercest of trebles,
(Just a sea-shore stone holding a dozen fine pebbles,)
Or a porcelain mouth-piece to screw on a pipe-end,---
And so she awaited her annual stipend.
But this time, the Duke would scarcely vouchsafe
A word in reply; and in vain she felt
With twitching fingers at her belt
For the purse of sleek pine-martin pelt,
Ready to ptlt what he gave in her pouch safe,---
Till, either to quicken his apprehension,
Or possibly with an after-intention,
She was come, she said, to pay her duty
To the new Duchess, the youthful beauty.
No sooner had she named his lady,
Than a shine lit up the face so shady,
And its smirk returned with a novel meaning---
For it struck him, the babe just wanted weaning;
If one gave her a taste of what life was and sorrow,
She, foolish to-day, would be wiser tomorrow;
And who so fit a teacher of trouble
As this sordid crone bent well-nigh double?
So, glancing at her wolf-skin vesture,
(If such it was, for they grow so hirsute
That their own fleece serves for natural fur-suit)
He was contrasting, 'twas plain from his gesture,
The life of the lady so flower-like and delicate
With the loathsome squalor of this helicat.
I, in brief, was the man the Duke beckoned
From out of the throng, and while I drew near
He told the crone---as I since have reckoned
By the way he bent and spoke into her ear
With circumspection and mystery---
The main of the lady's history,
Her frowardness and ingratitude:
And for all the crone's submissive attitude
I could see round her mouth the loose plaits tightening,
And her brow with assenting intelligence brightening,
As though she engaged with hearty good-will
Whatever he now might enjoin to fulfil,
And promised the lady a thorough frightening.
And so, just giving her a glimpse
Of a purse, with the air of a man who imps
The wing of the hawk that shall fetch the hernshaw,
He bade me take the Gipsy mother
And set her telling some story or other
Of hill or dale, oak-wood or fernshaw,
To wile away a weary hour
For the lady left alone in her bower,
Whose mind and body craved exertion
And yet shrank from all better diversion.

XIV.

Then clapping heel to his horse, the mere curveter,
Out rode the Duke, and after his hollo
Horses and hounds swept, huntsman and servitor,
And back I turned and bade the crone follow.
And what makes me confident what's to be told you
Had all along been of this crone's devising,
Is, that, on looking round sharply, behold you,
There was a novelty quick as surprising:
For first, she had shot up a full head in stature,
And her step kept pace with mine nor faltered,
As if age had foregone its usurpature,
And the ignoble mien was wholly altered,
And the face looked quite of another nature,
And the change reached too, whatever the change meant,
Her shaggy wolf-skin cloak's arrangement:
For where its tatters hung loose like sedges,
Gold coins were glittering on the edges,
Like the band-roll strung with tomans
Which proves the veil a Persian woman's.
And under her brow, like a snail's horns newly
Come out as after the rain he paces,
Two unmistakeable eye-points duly
Live and aware looked out of their places.
So, we went and found Jacynth at the entry
Of the lady's chamber standing sentry;
I told the command and produced my companion,
And Jacynth rejoiced to admit any one,
For since last night, by the same token,
Not a single word had the lady spoken:
They went in both to the presence together,
While I in the balcony watched the weather.

XV.

And now, what took place at the very first of all,
I cannot tell, as I never could learn it:
Jacynth constantly wished a curse to fall
On that little head of hers and burn it
If she knew how she came to drop so soundly
Asleep of a sudden and there continue
The whole time sleeping as profoundly
As one of the boars my father would pin you
'Twixt the eyes where life holds garrison,
---Jacynth forgive me the comparison!
But where I begin asy own narration
Is a little after I took my station
To breathe the fresh air from the balcony,
And, having in those days a falcon eye,
To follow the hunt thro' the open country,
From where the bushes thinlier crested
The hillocks, to a plain where's not one tree.
When, in a moment, my ear was arrested
By---was it singing, or was it saying,
Or a strange musical instrument playing
In the chamber?---and to be certain
I pushed the lattice, pulled the curtain,
And there lay Jacynth asleep,
Yet as if a watch she tried to keep,
In a rosy sleep along the floor
With her head against the door;
While in the midst, on the seat of state,
Was a queen---the Gipsy woman late,
With head and face downbent
On the lady's head and face intent:
For, coiled at her feet like a child at ease,
The lady sat between her knees
And o'er them the lady's clasped hands met,
And on those hands her chin was set,
And her upturned face met the face of the crone
Wherein the eyes had grown and grown
As if she could double and quadruple
At pleasure the play of either pupil
---Very like, by her hands' slow fanning,
As up and down like a gor-crow's flappers
They moved to measure, or bell-clappers.
I said ``Is it blessing, is it banning,
``Do they applaud you or burlesque you---
``Those hands and fingers with no flesh on?''
But, just as I thought to spring in to the rescue,
At once I was stopped by the lady's expression:
For it was life her eyes were drinking
From the crone's wide pair above unwinking,
---Life's pure fire received without shrinking,
Into the heart and breast whose heaving
Told you no single drop they were leaving,
---Life, that filling her, passed redundant
Into her very hair, back swerving
Over each shoulder, loose and abundant,
As her head thrown back showed the white throat curving;
And the very tresses shared in the pleasure,
Moving to the mystic measure,
Bounding as the bosom bounded.
I stopped short, more and more confounded,
As still her cheeks burned and eyes glistened,
As she listened and she listened:
When all at once a hand detained me,
The selfsame contagion gained me,
And I kept time to the wondrous chime,
Making out words and prose and rhyme,
Till it seemed that the music furled
Its wings like a task fulfilled, and dropped
From under the words it first had propped,
And left them midway in the world:
Word took word as hand takes hand,
I could hear at last, and understand,
And when I held the unbroken thread,
The Gipsy said:---

``And so at last we find my tribe.
``And so I set thee in the midst,
``And to one and all of them describe
``What thou saidst and what thou didst,
``Our long and terrible journey through,
``And all thou art ready to say and do
``In the trials that remain:
``I trace them the vein and the other vein
``That meet on thy brow and part again,
``Making our rapid mystic mark;
``And I bid my people prove and probe
``Each eye's profound and glorious globe
``Till they detect the kindred spark
``In those depths so dear and dark,
``Like the spots that snap and burst and flee,
``Circling over the midnight sea.
``And on that round young cheek of thine
``I make them recognize the tinge,
``As when of the costly scarlet wine
``They drip so much as will impinge
``And spread in a thinnest scale afloat
``One thick gold drop from the olive's coat
``Over a silver plate whose sheen
``Still thro' the mixture shall be seen.
``For so I prove thee, to one and all,
``Fit, when my people ope their breast,
``To see the sign, and hear the call,
``And take the vow, and stand the test
``Which adds one more child to the rest---
``When the breast is bare and the arms are wide,
``And the world is left outside.
``For there is probation to decree,
``And many and long must the trials be
``Thou shalt victoriously endure,
``If that brow is true and those eyes are sure;
``Like a jewel-finder's fierce assay
``Of the prize he dug from its mountain-tomb---
``Let once the vindicating ray
``Leap out amid the anxious gloom,
``And steel and fire have done their part
``And the prize falls on its finder's heart;
`'So, trial after trial past,
``Wilt thou fall at the very last
``Breathless, half in trance
``With the thrill of the great deliverance,
``Into our arms for evermore;
``And thou shalt know, those arms once curled
``About thee, what we knew before,
``How love is the only good in the world.
``Henceforth be loved as heart can love,
``Or brain devise, or hand approve!
``Stand up, look below,
``It is our life at thy feet we throw
``To step with into light and joy;
``Not a power of life but we employ
``To satisfy thy nature's want;
``Art thou the tree that props the plant,
``Or the climbing plant that seeks the tree---
``Canst thou help us, must we help thee?
``If any two creatures grew into one,
``They would do more than the world has done.
``Though each apart were never so weak,
``Ye vainly through the world should seek
``For the knowledge and the might
``Which in such union grew their right:
``So, to approach at least that end,
``And blend,---as much as may be, blend
``Thee with us or us with thee,---
``As climbing plant or propping tree,
``Shall some one deck thee, over and down,
``Up and about, with blossoms and leaves?
``Fix his heart's fruit for thy garland crown,
``Cling with his soul as the gourd-vine cleaves,
``Die on thy boughs and disappear
``While not a leaf of thine is sere?
``Or is the other fate in store,
``And art thou fitted to adore,
``To give thy wondrous self away,
``And take a stronger nature's sway?
``I foresee and could foretell
``Thy future portion, sure and well:
``But those passionate eyes speak true, speak true,
``Let them say what thou shalt do!
``Only be sure thy daily life,
``In its peace or in its strife,
``Never shall be unobserved:
``We pursue thy whole career,
``And hope for it, or doubt, or fear,---
``Lo, hast thou kept thy path or swerved,
``We are beside thee in all thy ways,
``With our blame, with our praise,
``Our shame to feel, our pride to show,
``Glad, angry---but indifferent, no!
``Whether it be thy lot to go,
``For the good of us all, where the haters meet
``In the crowded city's horrible street;
``Or thou step alone through the morass
``Where never sound yet was
``Save the dry quick clap of the stork's bill,
``For the air is still, and the water still,
``When the blue breast of the dipping coot
``Dives under, and all is mute.
``So, at the last shall come old age,
``Decrepit as befits that stage;
``How else wouldst thou retire apart
``With the hoarded memories of thy heart,
``And gather all to the very least
``Of the fragments of life's earlier feast,
``Let fall through eagerness to find
``The crowning dainties yet behind?
``Ponder on the entire past
``Laid together thus at last,
``When the twilight helps to fuse
``The first fresh with the faded hues,
``And the outline of the whole,
``As round eve's shades their framework roll,
``Grandly fronts for once thy soul.
``And then as, 'mid the dark, a glean
``Of yet another morning breaks,
``And like the hand which ends a dream,
``Death, with the might of his sunbeam,
``Touches the flesh and the soul awakes,
``Then------''
Ay, then indeed something would happen!
But what? For here her voice changed like a bird's;
There grew more of the music and less of the words;
Had Jacynth only been by me to clap pen
To paper and put you down every syllable
With those clever clerkly fingers,
All I've forgotten as well as what lingers
In this old brain of mine that's but ill able
To give you even this poor version
Of the speech I spoil, as it were, with stammering
---More fault of those who had the hammering
Of prosody into me and syntax,
And did it, not with hobnails but tintacks!
But to return from this excursion,---
Just, do you mark, when the song was sweetest,
The peace most deep and the charm completest,
There came, shall I say, a snap---
And the charm vanished!
And my sense returned, so strangely banished,
And, starting as from a nap,
I knew the crone was bewitching my lady,
With Jacynth asleep; and but one spring made I
Down from the casement, round to the portal,
Another minute and I had entered,---
When the door opened, and more than mortal
Stood, with a face where to my mind centred
All beauties I ever saw or shall see,
The Duchess: I stopped as if struck by palsy.
She was so different, happy and beautiful,
I felt at once that all was best,
And that I had nothing to do, for the rest,
But wait her commands, obey and be dutiful.
Not that, in fact, there was any commanding;
I saw the glory of her eye,
And the brow's height and the breast's expanding,
And I was hers to live or to die.
As for finding what she wanted,
You know God Almighty granted
Such little signs should serve wild creatures
To tell one another all their desires,
So that each knows what his friend requires,
And does its bidding without teachers.
I preceded her; the crone
Followed silent and alone;
I spoke to her, but she merely jabbered
In the old style; both her eyes had slunk
Back to their pits; her stature shrunk;
In short, the soul in its body sunk
Like a blade sent home to its scabbard.
We descended, I preceding;
Crossed the court with nobody heeding,
All the world was at the chase,
The courtyard like a desert-place,
The stable emptied of its small fry;
I saddled myself the very palfrey
I remember patting while it carried her,
The day she arrived and the Duke married her.
And, do you know, though it's easy deceiving
Oneself in such matters, I can't help believing
The lady had not forgotten it either,
And knew the poor devil so much beneath her
Would have been only too glad for her service
To dance on hot ploughshares like a Turk dervise,
But, unable to pay proper duty where owing it,
Was reduced to that pitiful method of showing it:
For though the moment I began setting
His saddle on my own nag of Berold's begetting,
(Not that I meant to be obtrusive)
She stopped me, while his rug was shifting,
By a single rapid finger's lifting,
And, with a gesture kind but conclusive,
And a little shake of the head, refused me,---
I say, although she never used me,
Yet when she was mounted, the Gipsy behind her,
And I ventured to remind her,
I suppose with a voice of less steadiness
Than usual, for my feeling exceeded me,
---Something to the effect that I was in readiness
Whenever God should please she needed me,---
Then, do you know, her face looked down on me
With a look that placed a crown on me,
And she felt in her bosom,---mark, her bosom---
And, as a flower-tree drops its blossom,
Dropped me . . . ah, had it been a purse
Of silver, my friend, or gold that's worse,
Why, you see, as soon as I found myself
So understood,---that a true heart so may gain
Such a reward,---I should have gone home again,
Kissed Jacynth, and soberly drowned myself!
It was a little plait of hair
Such as friends in a convent make
To wear, each for the other's sake,---
This, see, which at my breast I wear,
Ever did (rather to Jacynth's grudgment),
And ever shall, till the Day of Judgment.
And then,---and then,---to cut short,---this is idle,
These are feelings it is not good to foster,---
I pushed the gate wide, she shook the bridle,
And the palfrey bounded,---and so we lost her.

XVI.

When the liquor's out why clink the cannikin?
I did think to describe you the panic in
The redoubtable breast of our master the mannikin,
And what was the pitch of his mother's yellowness,
How she turned as a shark to snap the spare-rib
Clean off, sailors say, from a pearl-diving Carib,
When she heard, what she called the flight of the feloness
---But it seems such child's play,
What they said and did with the lady away!
And to dance on, when we've lost the music,
Always made me---and no doubt makes you---sick.
Nay, to my mind, the world's face looked so stern
As that sweet form disappeared through the postern,
She that kept it in constant good humour,
It ought to have stopped; there seemed nothing to do more.
But the world thought otherwise and went on,
And my head's one that its spite was spent on:
Thirty years are fled since that morning,
And with them all my head's adorning.
Nor did the old Duchess die outright,
As you expect, of suppressed spite,
The natural end of every adder
Not suffered to empty its poison-bladder:
But she and her son agreed, I take it,
That no one should touch on the story to wake it,
For the wound in the Duke's pride rankled fiery,
So, they made no search and small inquiry---
And when fresh Gipsies have paid us a visit, I've
Noticed the couple were never inquisitive,
But told them they're folks the Duke don't want here,
And bade them make haste and cross the frontier.
Brief, the Duchess was gone and the Duke was glad of it,
And the old one was in the young one's stead,
And took, in her place, the household's head,
And a blessed time the household had of it!
And were I not, as a man may say, cautious
How I trench, more than needs, on the nauseous,
I could favour you with sundry touches
Of the paint-smutches with which the Duchess
Heightened the mellowness of her cheek's yellowness
(To get on faster) until at last her
Cheek grew to be one master-plaster
Of mucus and focus from mere use of ceruse:
In short, she grew from scalp to udder
Just the object to make you shudder.

XVII.

You're my friend---
What a thing friendship is, world without end!
How it gives the heart and soul a stir-up
As if somebody broached you a glorious runlet,
And poured out, all lovelily, sparklingly, sunlit,
Our green Moldavia, the streaky syrup,
Cotnar as old as the time of the Druids---
Friendship may match with that monarch of fluids;
Each supples a dry brain, fills you its ins-and-outs,
Gives your life's hour-glass a shake when the thin sand doubts
Whether to run on or stop short, and guarantees
Age is not all made of stark sloth and arrant ease.
I have seen my little lady once more,
Jacynth, the Gipsy, Berold, and the rest of it,
For to me spoke the Duke, as I told you before;
I always wanted to make a clean breast of it:
And now it is made---why, my heart's blood, that went trickle,
Trickle, but anon, in such muddy driblets,
Is pumped up brisk now, through the main ventricle,
And genially floats me about the giblets.
I'll tell you what I intend to do:
I must see this fellow his sad life through---
He is our Duke, after all,
And I, as he says, but a serf and thrall.
My father was born here, and I inherit
His fame, a chain he bound his son with;
Could I pay in a lump I should prefer it,
But there's no mine to blow up and get done with:
So, I must stay till the end of the chapter.
For, as to our middle-age-manners-adapter,
Be it a thing to be glad on or sorry on,
Some day or other, his head in a morion
And breast in a hauberk, his heels he'll kick up,
Slain by an onslaught fierce of hiccup.
And then, when red doth the sword of our Duke rust,
And its leathern sheath lie o'ergrown with a blue crust,
Then I shall scrape together my earnings;
For, you see, in the churchyard Jacynth reposes,
And our children all went the way of the roses:
It's a long lane that knows no turnings.
One needs but little tackle to travel in;
So, just one stout cloak shall I indue:
And for a stall, what beats the javelin
With which his boars my father pinned you?
And then, for a purpose you shall hear presently,
Taking some Cotnar, a tight plump skinful,
I shall go journeying, who but I, pleasantly!
Sorrow is vain and despondency sinful.
What's a man's age? He must hurry more, that's all;
Cram in a day, what his youth took a year to hold.
When we mind labour, then only, we're too old---
What age had Methusalem when he begat Saul?
And at last, as its haven some buffeted ship sees,
(Come all the way from the north-parts with sperm oil)
I hope to get safely out of the turmoil
And arrive one day at the land of the Gipsies,
And find my lady, or hear the last news of her
From some old thief and son of Lucifer,
His forehead chapleted green with wreathy hop,
Sunburned all over like an thiop.
And when my Cotnar begins to operate
And the tongue of the rogue to run at a proper rate,
And our wine-skin, tight once, shows each flaccid dent,
I shall drop in with---as if by accident---
``You never knew, then, how it all ended,
``What fortune good or bad attended
``The little lady your Queen befriended?''
---And when that's told me, what's remaining?
This world's too hard for my explaining.
The same wise judge of matters equine
Who still preferred some slim four-year-old
To the big-boned stock of mighty Berold,
And, fur strong Cotnar, drank French weak wine,
He also umst be such a lady's scorner!
Smooth Jacob still rubs homely Esau:
Now up, now down, the world's one see-saw.
---So, I shall find out some snug corner
Under a hedge, like Orson the wood-knight,
Turn myself round and bid the world good night;
And sleep a sound sleep till the trumpet's blowing
Wakes me (unless priests cheat us laymen)
To a world where will be no furtiner throwing
Pearls befare swine that Can't value them. Amen!

by Robert Browning.

Flight Of The Duchess, The

I.

You're my friend:
I was the man the Duke spoke to;
I helped the Duchess to cast off his yoke, too;
So here's the tale from beginning to end,
My friend!

II.

Ours is a great wild country:
If you climb to our castle's top,
I don't see where your eye can stop;
For when you've passed the cornfield country,
Where vineyards leave off, flocks are packed,
And sheep-range leads to cattle-tract,
And cattle-tract to open-chase,
And open-chase to the very base
Of the mountain where, at a funeral pace,
Round about, solemn and slow,
One by one, row after row,
Up and up the pine-trees go,
So, like black priests up, and so
Down the other side again
To another greater, wilder country,
That's one vast red drear burnt-up plain,
Branched through and through with many a vein
Whence iron's dug, and copper's dealt;
Look right, look left, look straight before,---
Beneath they mine, above they smelt,
Copper-ore and iron-ore,
And forge and furnace mould and melt,
And so on, more and ever more,
Till at the last, for a bounding belt,
Comes the salt sand hoar of the great sea-shore,
---And the whole is our Duke's country.

III.

I was born the day this present Duke was---
(And O, says the song, ere I was old!)
In the castle where the other Duke was---
(When I was happy and young, not old!)
I in the kennel, he in the bower:
We are of like age to an hour.
My father was huntsman in that day;
Who has not heard my father say
That, when a boar was brought to bay,
Three times, four times out of five,
With his huntspear he'd contrive
To get the killing-place transfixed,
And pin him true, both eyes betwixt?
And that's why the old Duke would rather
He lost a salt-pit than my father,
And loved to have him ever in call;
That's why my father stood in the hall
When the old Duke brought his infant out
To show the people, and while they passed
The wondrous bantling round about,
Was first to start at the outside blast
As the Kaiser's courier blew his horn
Just a month after the babe was born.
``And,'' quoth the Kaiser's courier, ``since
``The Duke has got an heir, our Prince
``Needs the Duke's self at his side: ''
The Duke looked down and seemed to wince,
But he thought of wars o'er the world wide,
Castles a-fire, men on their march,
The toppling tower, the crashing arch;
And up he looked, and awhile he eyed
The row of crests and shields and banners
Of all achievements after all manners,
And ``ay,'' said the Duke with a surly pride.
The more was his comfort when he died
At next year's end, in a velvet suit,
With a gilt glove on his hand, his foot
In a silken shoe for a leather boot,
Petticoated like a herald,
In a chamher next to an ante-room,
Where he breathed the breath of page and groom,
What he called stink, and they, perfume:
---They should have set him on red Berold
Mad with pride, like fire to manage!
They should have got his cheek fresh tannage
Such a day as to-day in the merry sunshine!
Had they stuck on his fist a rough-foot merlin!
(Hark, the wind's on the heath at its game!
Oh for a noble falcon-lanner
To flap each broad wing like a banner,
And turn in the wind, and dance like flame!)
Had they broached a white-beer cask from Berlin
---Or if you incline to prescribe mere wine
Put to his lips, when they saw him pine,
A cup of our own Moldavia fine,
Cotnar for instance, green as May sorrel
And ropy with sweet,---we shall not quarrel.

IV.

So, at home, the sick tall yellow Duchess
Was left with the infant in her clutches,
She being the daughter of God knows who:
And now was the time to revisit her tribe.
Abroad and afar they went, the two,
And let our people rail and gibe
At the empty hall and extinguished fire,
As loud as we liked, but ever in vain,
Till after long years we had our desire,
And back came the Duke and his mother again.

V.

And he came back the pertest little ape
That ever affronted human shape;
Full of his travel, struck at himself.
You'd say, he despised our bluff old ways?
---Not he! For in Paris they told the elf
Our rough North land was the Land of Lays,
The one good thing left in evil days;
Since the Mid-Age was the Heroic Time,
And only in wild nooks like ours
Could you taste of it yet as in its prime,
And see true castles, with proper towers,
Young-hearted women, old-minded men,
And manners now as manners were then.
So, all that the old Dukes had been, without knowing it,
This Duke would fain know he was, without being it;
'Twas not for the joy's self, but the joy of his showing it,
Nor for the pride's self, but the pride of our seeing it,
He revived all usages thoroughly worn-out,
The souls of them fumed-forth, the hearts of them torn-out:
And chief in the chase his neck he perilled
On a lathy horse, all legs and length,
With blood for bone, all speed, no strength;
---They should have set him on red Berold
With the red eye slow consuming in fire,
And the thin stiff ear like an abbey-spire!

VI.

Well, such as he was, he must marry, we heard:
And out of a convent, at the word,
Came the lady, in time of spring.
---Oh, old thoughts they cling, they cling!
That day, I know, with a dozen oaths
I clad myself in thick hunting-clothes
Fit for the chase of urochs or buffle
In winter-time when you need to muffle.
But the Duke had a mind we should cut a figure,
And so we saw the lady arrive:
My friend, I have seen a white crane bigger!
She was the smallest lady alive,
Made in a piece of nature's madness,
Too small, almost, for the life and gladness
That over-filled her, as some hive
Out of the bears' reach on the high trees
Is crowded with its safe merry bees:
In truth, she was not hard to please!
Up she looked, down she looked, round at the mead,
Straight at the castle, that's best indeed
To look at from outside the walls:
As for us, styled the ``serfs and thralls,''
She as much thanked me as if she had said it,
(With her eyes, do you understand?)
Because I patted her horse while I led it;
And Max, who rode on her other hand,
Said, no bird flew past but she inquired
What its true name was, nor ever seemed tired---
If that was an eagle she saw hover,
And the green and grey bird on the field was the plover.
When suddenly appeared the Duke:
And as down she sprung, the small foot pointed
On to my hand,---as with a rebuke,
And as if his backbone were not jointed,
The Duke stepped rather aside than forward,
And welcomed her with his grandest smile;
And, mind you, his mother all the while
Chilled in the rear, like a wind to Nor'ward;
And up, like a weary yawn, with its pullies
Went, in a shriek, the rusty portcullis;
And, like a glad sky the north-wind sullies,
The lady's face stopped its play,
As if her first hair had grown grey;
For such things must begin some one day.

VII.

In a day or two she was well again;
As who should say, ``You labour in vain!
``This is all a jest against God, who meant
``I should ever be, as I am, content
`` And glad in his sight; therefore, glad I will be.''
So, smiling as at first went she.

VIII.

She was active, stirring, all fire---
Could not rest, could not tire---
To a stone she might have given life!
(I myself loved once, in my day)
---For a shepherd's, miner's, huntsman's wife,
(I had a wife, I know what I say)
Never in all the world such an one!
And here was plenty to be done,
And she that could do it, great or small,
She was to do nothing at all.
There was already this man in his post,
This in his station, and that in his office,
And the Duke's plan admitted a wife, at most,
To meet his eye, with the other trophies,
Now outside the hall, now in it,
To sit thus, stand thus, see and be seen,
At the proper place in the proper minute,
And die away the life between.
And it was amusing enough, each infraction
Of rule---(but for after-sadness that came)
To hear the consummate self-satisfaction
With which the young Duke and the old dame
Would let her advise, and criticise,
And, being a fool, instruct the wise,
And, child-like, parcel out praise or blame:
They bore it all in complacent guise,
As though an artificer, after contriving
A wheel-work image as if it were living,
Should find with delight it could motion to strike him!
So found the Duke, and his mother like him:
The lady hardly got a rebuff---
That had not been contemptuous enough,
With his cursed smirk, as he nodded applause,
And kept off the old mother-cat's claws.

IX.

So, the little lady grew silent and thin,
Paling and ever paling,
As the way is with a hid chagrin;
And the Duke perceived that she was ailing,
And said in his heart, ``'Tis done to spite me,
``But I shall find in my power to right me!''
Don't swear, friend! The old one, many a year,
Is in hell, and the Duke's self . . . you shall hear.

X.

Well, early in autumn, at first winter-warning,
When the stag had to break with his foot, of a morning,
A drinking-hole out of the fresh tender ice
That covered the pond till the sun, in a trice,
Loosening it, let out a ripple of gold,
And another and another, and faster and faster,
Till, dimpling to blindness, the wide water rolled:
Then it so chanced that the Duke our master
Asked himself what were the pleasures in season,
And found, since the calendar bade him be hearty,
He should do the Middle Age no treason
In resolving on a hunting-party.
Always provided, old books showed the way of it!
What meant old poets by their strictures?
And when old poets had said their say of it,
How taught old painters in their pictures?
We must revert to the proper channels,
Workings in tapestry, paintings on panels,
And gather up woodcraft's authentic traditions:
Here was food for our various ambitions,
As on each case, exactly stated---
To encourage your dog, now, the properest chirrup,
Or best prayer to Saint Hubert on mounting your stirrup---
We of the house hold took thought and debated.
Blessed was he whose back ached with the jerkin
His sire was wont to do forest-work in;
Blesseder he who nobly sunk ``ohs''
And ``ahs'' while he tugged on his grand-sire's trunk-hose;
What signified hats if they had no rims on,
Each slouching before and behind like the scallop,
And able to serve at sea for a shallop,
Loaded with lacquer and looped with crimson?
So that the deer now, to make a short rhyme on't,
What with our Venerers, Prickers and Yerderers,
Might hope for real hunters at length and not murderers,
And oh the Duke's tailor, he had a hot time on't!

XI.

Now you must know that when the first dizziness
Of flap-hats and buff-coats and jack-boots subsided,
The Duke put this question, ``The Duke's part provided,
``Had not the Duchess some share in the business?''
For out of the mouth of two or three witnesses
Did he establish all fit-or-unfitnesses:
And, after much laying of heads together,
Somebody's cap got a notable feather
By the announcement with proper unction
That he had discovered the lady's function;
Since ancient authors gave this tenet,
``When horns wind a mort and the deer is at siege,
``Let the dame of the castle prick forth on her jennet,
``And, with water to wash the hands of her liege
``In a clean ewer with a fair toweling,
`` Let her preside at the disemboweling.''
Now, my friend, if you had so little religion
As to catch a hawk, some falcon-lanner,
And thrust her broad wings like a banner
Into a coop for a vulgar pigeon;
And if day by day and week by week
You cut her claws, and sealed her eyes,
And clipped her wings, and tied her beak,
Would it cause you any great surprise
If, when you decided to give her an airing,
You found she needed a little preparing?
---I say, should you be such a curmudgeon,
If she clung to the perch, as to take it in dudgeon?
Yet when the Duke to his lady signified,
Just a day before, as he judged most dignified,
In what a pleasure she was to participate,---
And, instead of leaping wide in flashes,
Her eyes just lifted their long lashes,
As if pressed by fatigue even he could not dissipate,
And duly acknowledged the Duke's forethought,
But spoke of her health, if her health were worth aught,
Of the weight by day and the watch by night,
And much wrong now that used to be right,
So, thanking him, declined the hunting,---
Was conduct ever more affronting?
With all the ceremony settled---
With the towel ready, and the sewer
Polishing up his oldest ewer,
And the jennet pitched upon, a piebald,
Black-barred, cream-coated and pink eye-balled,---
No wonder if the Duke was nettled
And when she persisted nevertheless,---
Well, I suppose here's the time to confess
That there ran half round our lady's chamber
A balcony none of the hardest to clamber;
And that Jacynth the tire-woman, ready in waiting,
Stayed in call outside, what need of relating?
And since Jacynth was like a June rose, why, a fervent
Adorer of Jacynth of course was your servant;
And if she had the habit to peep through the casement,
How could I keep at any vast distance?
And so, as I say, on the lady's persistence,
The Duke, dumb-stricken with amazement,
Stood for a while in a sultry smother,
And then, with a smile that partook of the awful,
Turned her over to his yellow mother
To learn what was held decorous and lawful;
And the mother smelt blood with a cat-like instinct,
As her cheek quick whitened thro' all its quince-tinct.
Oh, but the lady heard the whole truth at once!
What meant she?--Who was she?---Her duty and station,
The wisdom of age and the folly of youth, at once,
Its decent regard and its fitting relation---
In brief, my friend, set all the devils in hell free
And turn them out to carouse in a belfry
And treat the priests to a fifty-part canon,
And then you may guess how that tongue of hers ran on!
Well, somehow or other it ended at last
And, licking her whiskers, out she passed;
And after her,---making (he hoped) a face
Like Emperor Nero or Sultan Saladin,
Stalked the Duke's self with the austere grace
Of ancient hero or modern paladin,
From door to staircase---oh such a solemn
Unbending of the vertebral column!

XII.

However, at sunrise our company mustered;
And here was the huntsman bidding unkennel,
And there 'neath his bonnet the pricker blustered,
With feather dank as a bough of wet fennel;
For the court-yard walls were filled with fog
You might have cut as an axe chops a log---
Like so much wool for colour and bulkiness;
And out rode the Duke in a perfect sulkiness,
Since, before breakfast, a man feels but queasily,
And a sinking at the lower abdomen
Begins the day with indifferent omen.
And lo, as he looked around uneasily,
The sun ploughed the fog up and drove it asunder
This way and that from the valley under;
And, looking through the court-yard arch,
Down in the valley, what should meet him
But a troop of Gipsies on their march?
No doubt with the annual gifts to greet him.

XIII.

Now, in your land, Gipsies reach you, only
After reaching all lands beside;
North they go, South they go, trooping or lonely,
And still, as they travel far and wide,
Catch they and keep now a trace here, trace there,
That puts you in mind of a place here, a place there.
But with us, I believe they rise out of the ground,
And nowhere else, I take it, are found
With the earth-tint yet so freshly embrowned:
Born, no doubt, like insects which breed on
The very fruit they are meant to feed on.
For the earth---not a use to which they don't turn it,
The ore that grows in the mountain's womb,
Or the sand in the pits like a honeycomb,
They sift and soften it, bake it and burn it---
Whether they weld you, for instance, a snaffle
With side-bars never a brute can baffle;
Or a lock that's a puzzle of wards within wards;
Or, if your colt's fore-foot inclines to curve inwards,
Horseshoes they hammer which turn on a swivel
And won't allow the hoof to shrivel.
Then they cast bells like the shell of the winkle
That keep a stout heart in the ram with their tinkle;
But the sand---they pinch and pound it like otters;
Commend me to Gipsy glass-makers and potters!
Glasses they'll blow you, crystal-clear,
Where just a faint cloud of rose shall appear,
As if in pure water you dropped and let die
A bruised black-blooded mulberry;
And that other sort, their crowning pride,
With long white threads distinct inside,
Like the lake-flower's fibrous roots which dangle
Loose such a length and never tangle,
Where the bold sword-lily cuts the clear waters,
And the cup-lily couches with all the white daughters:
Such are the works they put their hand to,
The uses they turn and twist iron and sand to.
And these made the troop, which our Duke saw sally
Toward his castle from out of the valley,
Men and women, like new-hatched spiders,
Come out with the morning to greet our riders.
And up they wound till they reached the ditch,
Whereat all stopped save one, a witch
That I knew, as she hobbled from the group,
By her gait directly and her stoop,
I, whom Jacynth was used to importune
To let that same witch tell us our fortune.
The oldest Gipsy then above ground;
And, sure as the autumn season came round,
She paid us a visit for profit or pastime,
And every time, as she swore, for the last time.
And presently she was seen to sidle
Up to the Duke till she touched his bridle,
So that the horse of a sudden reared up
As under its nose the old witch peered up
With her worn-out eyes, or rather eye-holes
Of no use now but to gather brine,
And began a kind of level whine
Such as they used to sing to their viols
When their ditties they go grinding
Up and down with nobody minding:
And then, as of old, at the end of the humming
Her usual presents were forthcoming
---A dog-whistle blowing the fiercest of trebles,
(Just a sea-shore stone holding a dozen fine pebbles,)
Or a porcelain mouth-piece to screw on a pipe-end,---
And so she awaited her annual stipend.
But this time, the Duke would scarcely vouchsafe
A word in reply; and in vain she felt
With twitching fingers at her belt
For the purse of sleek pine-martin pelt,
Ready to ptlt what he gave in her pouch safe,---
Till, either to quicken his apprehension,
Or possibly with an after-intention,
She was come, she said, to pay her duty
To the new Duchess, the youthful beauty.
No sooner had she named his lady,
Than a shine lit up the face so shady,
And its smirk returned with a novel meaning---
For it struck him, the babe just wanted weaning;
If one gave her a taste of what life was and sorrow,
She, foolish to-day, would be wiser tomorrow;
And who so fit a teacher of trouble
As this sordid crone bent well-nigh double?
So, glancing at her wolf-skin vesture,
(If such it was, for they grow so hirsute
That their own fleece serves for natural fur-suit)
He was contrasting, 'twas plain from his gesture,
The life of the lady so flower-like and delicate
With the loathsome squalor of this helicat.
I, in brief, was the man the Duke beckoned
From out of the throng, and while I drew near
He told the crone---as I since have reckoned
By the way he bent and spoke into her ear
With circumspection and mystery---
The main of the lady's history,
Her frowardness and ingratitude:
And for all the crone's submissive attitude
I could see round her mouth the loose plaits tightening,
And her brow with assenting intelligence brightening,
As though she engaged with hearty good-will
Whatever he now might enjoin to fulfil,
And promised the lady a thorough frightening.
And so, just giving her a glimpse
Of a purse, with the air of a man who imps
The wing of the hawk that shall fetch the hernshaw,
He bade me take the Gipsy mother
And set her telling some story or other
Of hill or dale, oak-wood or fernshaw,
To wile away a weary hour
For the lady left alone in her bower,
Whose mind and body craved exertion
And yet shrank from all better diversion.

XIV.

Then clapping heel to his horse, the mere curveter,
Out rode the Duke, and after his hollo
Horses and hounds swept, huntsman and servitor,
And back I turned and bade the crone follow.
And what makes me confident what's to be told you
Had all along been of this crone's devising,
Is, that, on looking round sharply, behold you,
There was a novelty quick as surprising:
For first, she had shot up a full head in stature,
And her step kept pace with mine nor faltered,
As if age had foregone its usurpature,
And the ignoble mien was wholly altered,
And the face looked quite of another nature,
And the change reached too, whatever the change meant,
Her shaggy wolf-skin cloak's arrangement:
For where its tatters hung loose like sedges,
Gold coins were glittering on the edges,
Like the band-roll strung with tomans
Which proves the veil a Persian woman's.
And under her brow, like a snail's horns newly
Come out as after the rain he paces,
Two unmistakeable eye-points duly
Live and aware looked out of their places.
So, we went and found Jacynth at the entry
Of the lady's chamber standing sentry;
I told the command and produced my companion,
And Jacynth rejoiced to admit any one,
For since last night, by the same token,
Not a single word had the lady spoken:
They went in both to the presence together,
While I in the balcony watched the weather.

XV.

And now, what took place at the very first of all,
I cannot tell, as I never could learn it:
Jacynth constantly wished a curse to fall
On that little head of hers and burn it
If she knew how she came to drop so soundly
Asleep of a sudden and there continue
The whole time sleeping as profoundly
As one of the boars my father would pin you
'Twixt the eyes where life holds garrison,
---Jacynth forgive me the comparison!
But where I begin asy own narration
Is a little after I took my station
To breathe the fresh air from the balcony,
And, having in those days a falcon eye,
To follow the hunt thro' the open country,
From where the bushes thinlier crested
The hillocks, to a plain where's not one tree.
When, in a moment, my ear was arrested
By---was it singing, or was it saying,
Or a strange musical instrument playing
In the chamber?---and to be certain
I pushed the lattice, pulled the curtain,
And there lay Jacynth asleep,
Yet as if a watch she tried to keep,
In a rosy sleep along the floor
With her head against the door;
While in the midst, on the seat of state,
Was a queen---the Gipsy woman late,
With head and face downbent
On the lady's head and face intent:
For, coiled at her feet like a child at ease,
The lady sat between her knees
And o'er them the lady's clasped hands met,
And on those hands her chin was set,
And her upturned face met the face of the crone
Wherein the eyes had grown and grown
As if she could double and quadruple
At pleasure the play of either pupil
---Very like, by her hands' slow fanning,
As up and down like a gor-crow's flappers
They moved to measure, or bell-clappers.
I said ``Is it blessing, is it banning,
``Do they applaud you or burlesque you---
``Those hands and fingers with no flesh on?''
But, just as I thought to spring in to the rescue,
At once I was stopped by the lady's expression:
For it was life her eyes were drinking
From the crone's wide pair above unwinking,
---Life's pure fire received without shrinking,
Into the heart and breast whose heaving
Told you no single drop they were leaving,
---Life, that filling her, passed redundant
Into her very hair, back swerving
Over each shoulder, loose and abundant,
As her head thrown back showed the white throat curving;
And the very tresses shared in the pleasure,
Moving to the mystic measure,
Bounding as the bosom bounded.
I stopped short, more and more confounded,
As still her cheeks burned and eyes glistened,
As she listened and she listened:
When all at once a hand detained me,
The selfsame contagion gained me,
And I kept time to the wondrous chime,
Making out words and prose and rhyme,
Till it seemed that the music furled
Its wings like a task fulfilled, and dropped
From under the words it first had propped,
And left them midway in the world:
Word took word as hand takes hand,
I could hear at last, and understand,
And when I held the unbroken thread,
The Gipsy said:---

``And so at last we find my tribe.
``And so I set thee in the midst,
``And to one and all of them describe
``What thou saidst and what thou didst,
``Our long and terrible journey through,
``And all thou art ready to say and do
``In the trials that remain:
``I trace them the vein and the other vein
``That meet on thy brow and part again,
``Making our rapid mystic mark;
``And I bid my people prove and probe
``Each eye's profound and glorious globe
``Till they detect the kindred spark
``In those depths so dear and dark,
``Like the spots that snap and burst and flee,
``Circling over the midnight sea.
``And on that round young cheek of thine
``I make them recognize the tinge,
``As when of the costly scarlet wine
``They drip so much as will impinge
``And spread in a thinnest scale afloat
``One thick gold drop from the olive's coat
``Over a silver plate whose sheen
``Still thro' the mixture shall be seen.
``For so I prove thee, to one and all,
``Fit, when my people ope their breast,
``To see the sign, and hear the call,
``And take the vow, and stand the test
``Which adds one more child to the rest---
``When the breast is bare and the arms are wide,
``And the world is left outside.
``For there is probation to decree,
``And many and long must the trials be
``Thou shalt victoriously endure,
``If that brow is true and those eyes are sure;
``Like a jewel-finder's fierce assay
``Of the prize he dug from its mountain-tomb---
``Let once the vindicating ray
``Leap out amid the anxious gloom,
``And steel and fire have done their part
``And the prize falls on its finder's heart;
`'So, trial after trial past,
``Wilt thou fall at the very last
``Breathless, half in trance
``With the thrill of the great deliverance,
``Into our arms for evermore;
``And thou shalt know, those arms once curled
``About thee, what we knew before,
``How love is the only good in the world.
``Henceforth be loved as heart can love,
``Or brain devise, or hand approve!
``Stand up, look below,
``It is our life at thy feet we throw
``To step with into light and joy;
``Not a power of life but we employ
``To satisfy thy nature's want;
``Art thou the tree that props the plant,
``Or the climbing plant that seeks the tree---
``Canst thou help us, must we help thee?
``If any two creatures grew into one,
``They would do more than the world has done.
``Though each apart were never so weak,
``Ye vainly through the world should seek
``For the knowledge and the might
``Which in such union grew their right:
``So, to approach at least that end,
``And blend,---as much as may be, blend
``Thee with us or us with thee,---
``As climbing plant or propping tree,
``Shall some one deck thee, over and down,
``Up and about, with blossoms and leaves?
``Fix his heart's fruit for thy garland crown,
``Cling with his soul as the gourd-vine cleaves,
``Die on thy boughs and disappear
``While not a leaf of thine is sere?
``Or is the other fate in store,
``And art thou fitted to adore,
``To give thy wondrous self away,
``And take a stronger nature's sway?
``I foresee and could foretell
``Thy future portion, sure and well:
``But those passionate eyes speak true, speak true,
``Let them say what thou shalt do!
``Only be sure thy daily life,
``In its peace or in its strife,
``Never shall be unobserved:
``We pursue thy whole career,
``And hope for it, or doubt, or fear,---
``Lo, hast thou kept thy path or swerved,
``We are beside thee in all thy ways,
``With our blame, with our praise,
``Our shame to feel, our pride to show,
``Glad, angry---but indifferent, no!
``Whether it be thy lot to go,
``For the good of us all, where the haters meet
``In the crowded city's horrible street;
``Or thou step alone through the morass
``Where never sound yet was
``Save the dry quick clap of the stork's bill,
``For the air is still, and the water still,
``When the blue breast of the dipping coot
``Dives under, and all is mute.
``So, at the last shall come old age,
``Decrepit as befits that stage;
``How else wouldst thou retire apart
``With the hoarded memories of thy heart,
``And gather all to the very least
``Of the fragments of life's earlier feast,
``Let fall through eagerness to find
``The crowning dainties yet behind?
``Ponder on the entire past
``Laid together thus at last,
``When the twilight helps to fuse
``The first fresh with the faded hues,
``And the outline of the whole,
``As round eve's shades their framework roll,
``Grandly fronts for once thy soul.
``And then as, 'mid the dark, a glean
``Of yet another morning breaks,
``And like the hand which ends a dream,
``Death, with the might of his sunbeam,
``Touches the flesh and the soul awakes,
``Then------''
Ay, then indeed something would happen!
But what? For here her voice changed like a bird's;
There grew more of the music and less of the words;
Had Jacynth only been by me to clap pen
To paper and put you down every syllable
With those clever clerkly fingers,
All I've forgotten as well as what lingers
In this old brain of mine that's but ill able
To give you even this poor version
Of the speech I spoil, as it were, with stammering
---More fault of those who had the hammering
Of prosody into me and syntax,
And did it, not with hobnails but tintacks!
But to return from this excursion,---
Just, do you mark, when the song was sweetest,
The peace most deep and the charm completest,
There came, shall I say, a snap---
And the charm vanished!
And my sense returned, so strangely banished,
And, starting as from a nap,
I knew the crone was bewitching my lady,
With Jacynth asleep; and but one spring made I
Down from the casement, round to the portal,
Another minute and I had entered,---
When the door opened, and more than mortal
Stood, with a face where to my mind centred
All beauties I ever saw or shall see,
The Duchess: I stopped as if struck by palsy.
She was so different, happy and beautiful,
I felt at once that all was best,
And that I had nothing to do, for the rest,
But wait her commands, obey and be dutiful.
Not that, in fact, there was any commanding;
I saw the glory of her eye,
And the brow's height and the breast's expanding,
And I was hers to live or to die.
As for finding what she wanted,
You know God Almighty granted
Such little signs should serve wild creatures
To tell one another all their desires,
So that each knows what his friend requires,
And does its bidding without teachers.
I preceded her; the crone
Followed silent and alone;
I spoke to her, but she merely jabbered
In the old style; both her eyes had slunk
Back to their pits; her stature shrunk;
In short, the soul in its body sunk
Like a blade sent home to its scabbard.
We descended, I preceding;
Crossed the court with nobody heeding,
All the world was at the chase,
The courtyard like a desert-place,
The stable emptied of its small fry;
I saddled myself the very palfrey
I remember patting while it carried her,
The day she arrived and the Duke married her.
And, do you know, though it's easy deceiving
Oneself in such matters, I can't help believing
The lady had not forgotten it either,
And knew the poor devil so much beneath her
Would have been only too glad for her service
To dance on hot ploughshares like a Turk dervise,
But, unable to pay proper duty where owing it,
Was reduced to that pitiful method of showing it:
For though the moment I began setting
His saddle on my own nag of Berold's begetting,
(Not that I meant to be obtrusive)
She stopped me, while his rug was shifting,
By a single rapid finger's lifting,
And, with a gesture kind but conclusive,
And a little shake of the head, refused me,---
I say, although she never used me,
Yet when she was mounted, the Gipsy behind her,
And I ventured to remind her,
I suppose with a voice of less steadiness
Than usual, for my feeling exceeded me,
---Something to the effect that I was in readiness
Whenever God should please she needed me,---
Then, do you know, her face looked down on me
With a look that placed a crown on me,
And she felt in her bosom,---mark, her bosom---
And, as a flower-tree drops its blossom,
Dropped me . . . ah, had it been a purse
Of silver, my friend, or gold that's worse,
Why, you see, as soon as I found myself
So understood,---that a true heart so may gain
Such a reward,---I should have gone home again,
Kissed Jacynth, and soberly drowned myself!
It was a little plait of hair
Such as friends in a convent make
To wear, each for the other's sake,---
This, see, which at my breast I wear,
Ever did (rather to Jacynth's grudgment),
And ever shall, till the Day of Judgment.
And then,---and then,---to cut short,---this is idle,
These are feelings it is not good to foster,---
I pushed the gate wide, she shook the bridle,
And the palfrey bounded,---and so we lost her.

XVI.

When the liquor's out why clink the cannikin?
I did think to describe you the panic in
The redoubtable breast of our master the mannikin,
And what was the pitch of his mother's yellowness,
How she turned as a shark to snap the spare-rib
Clean off, sailors say, from a pearl-diving Carib,
When she heard, what she called the flight of the feloness
---But it seems such child's play,
What they said and did with the lady away!
And to dance on, when we've lost the music,
Always made me---and no doubt makes you---sick.
Nay, to my mind, the world's face looked so stern
As that sweet form disappeared through the postern,
She that kept it in constant good humour,
It ought to have stopped; there seemed nothing to do more.
But the world thought otherwise and went on,
And my head's one that its spite was spent on:
Thirty years are fled since that morning,
And with them all my head's adorning.
Nor did the old Duchess die outright,
As you expect, of suppressed spite,
The natural end of every adder
Not suffered to empty its poison-bladder:
But she and her son agreed, I take it,
That no one should touch on the story to wake it,
For the wound in the Duke's pride rankled fiery,
So, they made no search and small inquiry---
And when fresh Gipsies have paid us a visit, I've
Noticed the couple were never inquisitive,
But told them they're folks the Duke don't want here,
And bade them make haste and cross the frontier.
Brief, the Duchess was gone and the Duke was glad of it,
And the old one was in the young one's stead,
And took, in her place, the household's head,
And a blessed time the household had of it!
And were I not, as a man may say, cautious
How I trench, more than needs, on the nauseous,
I could favour you with sundry touches
Of the paint-smutches with which the Duchess
Heightened the mellowness of her cheek's yellowness
(To get on faster) until at last her
Cheek grew to be one master-plaster
Of mucus and focus from mere use of ceruse:
In short, she grew from scalp to udder
Just the object to make you shudder.

XVII.

You're my friend---
What a thing friendship is, world without end!
How it gives the heart and soul a stir-up
As if somebody broached you a glorious runlet,
And poured out, all lovelily, sparklingly, sunlit,
Our green Moldavia, the streaky syrup,
Cotnar as old as the time of the Druids---
Friendship may match with that monarch of fluids;
Each supples a dry brain, fills you its ins-and-outs,
Gives your life's hour-glass a shake when the thin sand doubts
Whether to run on or stop short, and guarantees
Age is not all made of stark sloth and arrant ease.
I have seen my little lady once more,
Jacynth, the Gipsy, Berold, and the rest of it,
For to me spoke the Duke, as I told you before;
I always wanted to make a clean breast of it:
And now it is made---why, my heart's blood, that went trickle,
Trickle, but anon, in such muddy driblets,
Is pumped up brisk now, through the main ventricle,
And genially floats me about the giblets.
I'll tell you what I intend to do:
I must see this fellow his sad life through---
He is our Duke, after all,
And I, as he says, but a serf and thrall.
My father was born here, and I inherit
His fame, a chain he bound his son with;
Could I pay in a lump I should prefer it,
But there's no mine to blow up and get done with:
So, I must stay till the end of the chapter.
For, as to our middle-age-manners-adapter,
Be it a thing to be glad on or sorry on,
Some day or other, his head in a morion
And breast in a hauberk, his heels he'll kick up,
Slain by an onslaught fierce of hiccup.
And then, when red doth the sword of our Duke rust,
And its leathern sheath lie o'ergrown with a blue crust,
Then I shall scrape together my earnings;
For, you see, in the churchyard Jacynth reposes,
And our children all went the way of the roses:
It's a long lane that knows no turnings.
One needs but little tackle to travel in;
So, just one stout cloak shall I indue:
And for a stall, what beats the javelin
With which his boars my father pinned you?
And then, for a purpose you shall hear presently,
Taking some Cotnar, a tight plump skinful,
I shall go journeying, who but I, pleasantly!
Sorrow is vain and despondency sinful.
What's a man's age? He must hurry more, that's all;
Cram in a day, what his youth took a year to hold.
When we mind labour, then only, we're too old---
What age had Methusalem when he begat Saul?
And at last, as its haven some buffeted ship sees,
(Come all the way from the north-parts with sperm oil)
I hope to get safely out of the turmoil
And arrive one day at the land of the Gipsies,
And find my lady, or hear the last news of her
From some old thief and son of Lucifer,
His forehead chapleted green with wreathy hop,
Sunburned all over like an thiop.
And when my Cotnar begins to operate
And the tongue of the rogue to run at a proper rate,
And our wine-skin, tight once, shows each flaccid dent,
I shall drop in with---as if by accident---
``You never knew, then, how it all ended,
``What fortune good or bad attended
``The little lady your Queen befriended?''
---And when that's told me, what's remaining?
This world's too hard for my explaining.
The same wise judge of matters equine
Who still preferred some slim four-year-old
To the big-boned stock of mighty Berold,
And, fur strong Cotnar, drank French weak wine,
He also umst be such a lady's scorner!
Smooth Jacob still rubs homely Esau:
Now up, now down, the world's one see-saw.
---So, I shall find out some snug corner
Under a hedge, like Orson the wood-knight,
Turn myself round and bid the world good night;
And sleep a sound sleep till the trumpet's blowing
Wakes me (unless priests cheat us laymen)
To a world where will be no furtiner throwing
Pearls befare swine that Can't value them. Amen!

by Robert Browning.

The Troubadour. Canto 2

THE first, the very first; oh! none
Can feel again as they have done;
In love, in war, in pride, in all
The planets of life's coronal,
However beautiful or bright,--
What can be like their first sweet light?

When will the youth feel as he felt,
When first at beauty's feet he knelt?

As if her least smile could confer
A kingdom on its worshipper;
Or ever care, or ever fear
Had cross'd love's morning hemisphere.
And the young bard, the first time praise
Sheds its spring sunlight o'er his lays,
Though loftier laurel, higher name,
May crown the minstrel's noontide fame,
They will not bring the deep content
Of his lure's first encouragement.
And where the glory that will yield
The flush and glow of his first field
To the young chief? Will RAYMOND ever
Feel as he now is feeling?--Never.

The sun wept down or ere they gain'd
The glen where the chief band remain'd.

It was a lone and secret shade,
As nature form'd an ambuscade
For the bird's nest and the deer's lair,
Though now less quiet guests were there.
On one side like a fortress stood
A mingled pine and chesnut wood;
Autumn was falling, but the pine
Seem'd as it mock'd all change; no sign
Of season on its leaf was seen,
The same dark gloom of changeless green.
But like the gorgeous Persian bands
'Mid the stern race of northern lands,
The chesnut boughs were bright with all
That gilds and mocks the autumn's fall.

Like stragglers from an army's rear
Gradual they grew, near and less near,
Till ample space was left to raise,
Amid the trees, the watch-fire's blaze;
And there, wrapt in their cloaks around,
The soldiers scatter'd o'er the ground.

One was more crowded than the rest,
And to that one was RAYMOND prest;--
There sat the chief: kind greetings came
At the first sound of RAYMOND'S name.
'Am I not proud that this should be,
Thy first field to be fought with me:
Years since thy father's sword and mine
Together dimm'd their maiden shine.
We were sworn brothers; when he fell
'Twas mine to hear his last farewell:
And how revenged I need not say,
Though few were left to tell that day.--

Thy brow is his, and thou wilt wield
A sword like his in battle-field.
Let the day break, and thou shalt ride
Another RAYMOND by my side;
And thou shalt win and I confer,
To-morrow, knightly brand and spur.'

With thoughts of pride, and thoughts of grief,
Sat RAYMOND by that stranger chief,
So proud to hear his father's fame,
So sad to hear that father's name,
And then to think that he had known
That father by his name alone;
And aye his heart within him burn'd
When his eye to DE VALENCE turn'd,
Mark'd his high step, his warlike mien,--
'And such my father would have been!'

A few words of years past away,
A few words of the coming day,
They parted, not that night for sleep;
RAYMOND had thoughts that well might keep
Rest from his pillow,--memory, hope,
In youth's horizon had full scope
To blend and part each varied line
Of cloud and clear, of shade and shine.
--He rose and wander'd round, the light
Of the full moon fell o'er each height;
Leaving the wood behind in shade,
O'er rock, and glen, and rill it play'd.

He follow'd a small stream whose tide
Was bank'd by lilies on each side,
And there, as if secure of rest,
A swan had built her lonely nest;
And spread out was each lifted wing,
Like snow or silver glittering.
Wild flowers grew around the dale,
Sweet children of the sun and gale;
From every crag the wild vine fell,
To all else inaccessible;
And where a dark rock rose behind,
Their shelter from the northern wind,
Grew myrtles with their fragrant leaves,
Veil'd with the web the gossamer weaves,
So pearly fair, so light, so frail,
Like beauty's self more than her veil.--

And first to gaze upon the scene,
Quiet as there had never been
Heavier step than village maid
With flowers for her nuptial braid,
Or louder sound than hermit's prayer,
To crush its grass or load its air.
Then to look on the armed train,
The watch-fire on the wooded plain,
And think how with the morrow's dawn,
Would banner wave, and blade be drawn;
How clash of steel, and trumpet's swell,
Would wake the echoes of each dell.
--And thus it ever is with life,
Peace sleeps upon the breast of Strife,
But to be waken'd from its rest,
Till comes that sleep the last and best.

And RAYMOND paused at last, and laid
Himself beneath a chesnut's shade,
A little way apart from all,
That he might catch the waterfall,
Whose current swept like music round,--
When suddenly another sound
Came on the ear; it was a tone,
Rather a murmur than a song,
As he who breathed deem'd all unknown
The words, thoughts, echo bore along.
Parting the boughs which hung between,
Close, thick, as if a tapestried screen,
RAYMOND caught sight of a white plume
Waving o'er brow and cheek of bloom;
And yet the song was sad and low,
As if the chords it waked were woe.

SONG OF THE YOUNG KNIGHT.

YOUR scarf is bound upon my breast,
Your colours dance upon my crest,--
They have been soil'd by dust and rain,
And they must wear a darker stain.

I mark'd thy tears as fast they fell,
I saw but heard not thy farewell,
I gave my steed the spur and rein,--
I dared not look on thee again.

My cheek is pale, but not with fears,
And I have dash'd aside my tears;
This woman's softness of my breast
Will vanish when my spear's in rest.

I know that farewell was our last,
That life and love from me are past;
For I have heard the fated sign
That speaks the downfall of our line.

I slept the soldier's tired sleep;
But yet I heard the music sweep,
Dim, faint, as when I stood beside
The bed whereon my father died.

Farewell, sweet love! never again
Will thine ear listen to the strain
With which so oft at midnight's hour
I've waked the silence of thy bower.

Farewell! I would not tears should stain
Thy fair cheek with their burning rain:
Tears, sweet! would an ill offering be
To one whose death was worthy thee.

RAYMOND thought on that song next day
When bleeding that young warrior lay,
While his hand, in its death-pang, prest
A bright curl to his wounded breast.

AND waning stars, and brightening sky,
And on the clouds a crimson dye,
And fresher breeze, and opening flowers,
Tell the approach of morning hours.

Oh, how can breath, and light, and bloom,
Herald a day of death and doom!
With knightly pennons, which were spread
Like mirror's for the morning's red,
Gather the ranks, while shout and horn
Are o'er the distant mountains borne.

'Twas a fair sight, that arm'd array
Winding through the deep vale their way,
Helmet and breast-plate gleaming in gold,
Banners waving their crimson fold,
Like clouds of the day-break: hark to the peal
Of the war-cry, answer'd by clanging steel!
The young chief strokes his courser's neck,
The ire himself had provoked to check,
Impatient for that battle plain
He may reach but never leave again;
And with flashing eye and sudden start,
He hears the trumpet's stately tone,
Like the echo of his beating heart,
And meant to rouse his ear alone.
And by his side the warrior grey,
With hair as white as the plumes that play
Over his head, yet spurs he as proud,
As keen as the youngest knight of the crowd:
And glad and glorious on they ride
In strength and beauty, power and pride.
And such the morning, but let day
Close on that gallant fair array,
The moon will see another sight
Than that which met the dawning light.--

Look on that field,--'tis the battle field!
Look on what harvest victory will yield!
There the steed and his rider o'erthrown,
Crouch together, their warfare is done:
The bolt is undrawn, the bow is unbent,
And the archer lies like his arrow spent.
Deep is the banner of crimson dyed,
But not with the red of its morning pride;
Torn and trampled with soil and stain,
When will it float on the breeze again;--
And over the ghastly plain are spread,
Pillow'd together, the dying and dead.

There lay one with an unclosed eye
Set in bright, cold vacancy,
While on its fix'd gaze the moonbeam shone,
Light mocking the eye whose light was gone;
And by his side another lay,
The life-blood ebbing fast away,
But calm his cheek and calm his eye,
As if leant on his mother's bosom to die.
Too weak to move, he feebly eyed
A wolf and a vulture close to his side,
Watching and waiting, himself the prey,
While each one kept the other away.

Little of this the young warrior deems
When, with heart and head all hopes and dreams,
He hastes for the battle:--The trumpet's call
Waken'd RAYMOND the first of all;
His the first step that to stirrup sprung,
His the first banner upwards flung;
And brow and cheek with his spirit glow'd,
When first at DE VALENCE'S side he rode.

The quiet glen is left behind,
The dark wood lost in the blue sky;
When other sounds come on the wind,
And other pennons float on high.
With snow-white plumes and glancing crest,
And standard raised, and spear in rest,
On a small river's farther banks
Wait their approach Sir HERBERT'S ranks.--
One silent gaze, as if each band
Could slaughter both with eye and hand.
Then peals the war-cry! then the dash
Amid the waters! and the crash
Of spears,--the falchion's iron ring,--
The arrow hissing from the string,
Tell they have met. Thus from the height
The torrent rushes in its might.

With the lightning's speed, the thunder's peal,
Flashes the lance, and strikes the steel.
Many a steed to the earth is borne,
Many a banner trampled and torn;
Or ever its brand could strike a blow,
Many a gallant arm lies low;--
Many a scarf, many a crest,
Float with the leaves on the river's breast;
And strange it is to see how around
Buds and flowers strew the ground,
For the banks were cover'd with wild rose trees,
Oh! what should they do amid scenes like these.

In the blue stream, as it hovered o'er,
A hawk was mirror'd, and before
Its wings could reach yon pine, which stands
A bow-shot off from the struggling bands,
The stain of death was on the flood,
And the red waters roll'd dark with blood.--
RAYMOND'S spear was the first that flew,
He the first who dash'd the deep river through;
His step the first on the hostile strand,
And the first that fell was borne down by his hand.

The fight is ended:--the same sun
Has seen the battle lost and won;
The field is cover'd with dying and dead,
With the valiant who stood, and the coward who fled.
And a gallant salute the trumpets sound,
As the warriors gather from victory around.

On a hill that skirted the purple flood,
With his peers around, DE VALENCE stood,
And with bended knee, and forehead bare,
Save its cloud of raven hair,
And beautiful as some wild star
Come in its glory and light from afar,
With his dark eyes flashing stern and bright,
And his cheek o'erflooded with crimson light,
And the foeman's banner over his head,
His first field's trophy proudly spread,
Knelt RAYMOND down his boon to name,--
The knightly spurs he so well might claim:
And a softness stole to DE VALENCE'S eyes,
As he bade the new-made knight arise.--
From his own belt he took the brand,
And gave it into RAYMOND'S hand,
And said it might a memory yield
Of his father's friend, and his own first field.

Pleasant through the darkening night
Shines from Clarin's towers the light.
Home from the battle the warriors ride,
In the soldiers' triumph, and soldiers' pride:
The drawbridge is lower'd, and in they pour,
Like the sudden rush of a summer shower,
While the red torch-light bursts through the gloom,
Over banner and breast-plate, helm and plume.

Sudden a flood of lustre play'd
Over a lofty ballustrade,
Music and perfume swept the air,
Messengers sweet for the spring to prepare;
And like a sunny vision sent
For worship and astonishment,
Aside a radiant ladye flung
The veil that o'er her beauty hung.

With stately grace to those below,
She bent her gem encircled brow,
And bade them welcome in the name
Of her they saved, the castle's dame,
Who had not let another pay
Thanks, greeting to their brave array,--
But she had vow'd the battle night
To fasting, prayer, and holy rite.

On the air the last tones of the music die,
The odour passes away like a sigh,
The torches flash a parting gleam,
And she vanishes as she came, like a dream.
But many an eye dwelt on the shade,
Till fancy again her form display'd,
And still again seem'd many an ear
The softness of her voice to hear.

And many a heart had a vision that night,
Which future years never banish'd quite.

And sign and sound of festival
Are ringing through that castle hall;
Tapers, whose flame send a perfumed cloud,
Flash their light o'er a gorgeous crowd;
With a thousand colours the tapestry falls
Over the carved and gilded walls,
And, between, the polish'd oak pannels hear,
Like dark mirrors, the image of each one there.
At one end the piled up hearth is spread
With sparkling embers of glowing red:
Above the branching antlers have place,
Sign of many a hard won chase;
And beneath, in many a polish'd line,
The arms of the hunter and warrior shine;
And around the fire, like a laurell'd arch,
Raised for some victor's triumphal march,
The wood is fretted with tracery fair,
And green boughs and flowers are waving there.
Lamps, like faery planets shine,
O'er massive cups of the genial wine,
And shed a ray more soft and fair
Than the broad red gleam of the torch's glare;
And, flitting like a rainbow, plays
In beautiful and changing rays,
When from the pictured windows fall
The colour'd shadows o'er the hall;
As every pane some bright hue lent
To vary the lighted element.

The ladye of the festive board
Was ward to the castle's absent lord;
The Ladye ADELINE ,--the same
Bright vision that with their greeting came
Maidens four stood behind her chair,
Each one was young, and each one fair;
Yet they were but as the stars at night
When the mood shines forth in her fullness of light
On the knot of her wreathed hair was set
A blood-red ruby coronet;
But among the midnight cloud of curls
That hung o'er her brow were eastern pearls,
As if to tell their wealth of snow,
How white her forehead could look below.
Around her floated a veil of white,
Like the silvery rack round the star of twilight;
And down to the ground her mantle's fold
Spread its length of purple and gold;
And sparkling gems were around her arm,
That shone like marble, only warm,
With the blue veins wandering tide,
And the hand with its crimson blush inside.
A zone of precious stones embraced
The graceful circle of her waist,
Sparkling as if they were proud
Of the clasp to them allow'd.
But yet there was 'mid this excess
Of soft and dazzling loveliness,
A something in the eye, and hand,
And forehead, speaking of command:
An eye whose dark flash seem'd allied
To even more than beauty's pride,--
A hand as only used to wave
Its sign to worshipper and slave,--
A forehead, but that was too fair
To read of aught but beauty there!

And RAYMOND had the place of pride,
The place so envied by her side,--
The victor's seat,--and overhead
The banner he had won was spread.
His health was pledged!--he only heard
The murmur of one silver word;
The pageant seem'd to fade away,
Vanish'd the board and glad array,
The gorgeous hall around grew dim,
There shone one only light for him,
That radiant form, whose brightness fell
In power upon him like a spell,
Laid in its strength by Love to reign
Despotic over heart and brain.
Silent he stood amid the mirth,
Oh, love is timid in its birth!
Watching her lightest look or stir,
As he but look'd and breathed with her.
Gay words were passing, but he leant
In silence; yet, one quick glance sent,--
His secret is no more his own,
When has woman her power not known?

The feast broke up:--that midnight shade
Heard many a gentle serenade
Beneath the ladye's lattice. One
Breathed after all the rest were gone.

SERENADE.

SLEEP , ladye! for the moonlit hour,
Like peace, is shining on thy bower;
It is so late, the nightingale
Has ended even his love tale.

Sleep, ladye! 'neath thy turret grows,
Cover'd with flowers, one pale white rose;
I envy its sweet sighs, they steep
The perfumed airs that lull thy sleep.

Perchance, around thy chamber floats
The music of my lone lute notes,--
Oh, may they on thine eyelids fall,
And make thy slumbers musical!

Sleep, ladye! to thy rest be given
The gleamings of thy native heaven,
And thoughts of early paradise,
The treasures of thy sleeping eyes.

I NEED not say whose was the song
The sighing night winds bore along.
RAYMOND had left the maiden's side
As one too dizzy with the tide
To breast the stream, or strive, or shrink,
Enough for him to feel, not think;
Enough for him the dim sweet fear,
The twilight of the heart, or ere
Awakening hope has named the name
Of love, or blown its spark to flame.

Restlessness, but as the winds range
From leaf to leaf, from flower to flower;
Changefulness, but as rainbows change,
From colour'd sky to sunlit hour.
Ay, well indeed may minstrel sing,--
What have the heart and year like spring?

Her vow was done: the castle dame
Next day to join the revellers came;
And never had a dame more gay
O'er hall or festival held sway.
And youthful knight, and ladye fair,
And juggler quaint, and minstrel rare,
And mirth, and crowds, and music, all
Of pleasure gather'd at her call.

And RAYMOND moved as in a dream
Of song and odour, bloom and beam,
As he dwelt in a magic bower,
Charm'd from all by fairy power.
--And ADELINE rode out that morn,
With hunting train, and hawk, and horn;
And broider'd rein, and curb of gold,
And housings with their purple fold
Decked the white steed o'er which she leant
Graceful as a young cypress, bent
By the first summer wind: she wore
A cap the heron plume waved o'er,
And round her wrist a golden band,
Which held the falcon on her hand.
The bird's full eye, so clear, so bright,
Match'd not her own's dark flashing light.

And RAYMOND , as he watch'd the dyes
Of her cheek rich with exercise,
Could almost deem her beauty's power
Was now in its most potent hour;
But when at night he saw her glance
The gayest of the meteor dance,
The jewels in her braided hair,
Her neck, her arms of ivory bare,
The silver veil, the broider'd vest,--
Look'd she not then her loveliest?
Ah, every change of beauty's face
And beauty's shape has its own grace!
That night his heart throbb'd when her hand
Met his touch in the saraband:
That night her smile first bade love live
On the sweet life that hope can give.--

Beautiful, but thrice wayward, wild,
Capricious as a petted child,
She was all chance, all change; but now
A smile is on her radiant brow,--
A moment and that smile is fled,
Coldness and scorn are there instead.

Ended the dance, and ADELINE
Flung herself, like an eastern queen,
Upon the cushions which were laid
Amid a niche of that gay hall,
Hid from the lamps; around it play'd
The softness of the moonlight fall.
And there the gorgeous shapes past by
But like a distant pageantry,
In which you have yourself no share,
For all its pride, and pomp, and care.

She pass'd her hand across the chords
Of a lute near, and with soft words
Answer'd; then said, 'no, thou shalt sing
Some legend of the fair and brave.'
To RAYMOND'S hand the lute she gave,
Whose very soul within him burn'd
When her dark eye on his was turn'd:
One moment's pause, it slept not long,--
His spirit pour'd itself in song.

ELENORE.

THE lady sits in her lone bower,
With cheek wan as the white rose flower
That blooms beside, 'tis pale and wet
As that rose with its dew pearls set.

Her cheek burns with a redder dye,
Flashes light from her tearful eye;
She has heard pinions beat the air,
She sees her white dove floating there;
And well she knows its faithful wing,
The treasure of her heart will bring;
And takes the gentle bird its stand
Accustom'd on the maiden's hand,
With glancing eye and throbbing breast,
As if rejoicing in its rest.
She read the scroll,--'dear love, to-night
By the lake, all is there for flight
What time the moon is down;--oh, then
My own life shall we meet again!'
One upward look of thankfulness,
One pause of joy, one fond caress
Of her soft lips, as to reward
The messenger of EGINHARD.

That night in her proud father's hall
She shone the fairest one of all;
For like the cloud of evening came
Over her cheek the sudden flame,
And varying as each moment brought
Some hasty change of secret thought;
As if its colour would confess
The conscious heart's inmost recess.
And the clear depths of her dark eye
Were bright with troubled brilliancy,
Yet the lids droop'd as with the tear
Which might oppress but not appear.
And flatteries, and smile and sigh
Loaded the air as she past by.

It sparkled, but her jewell'd vest
Was crost above a troubled breast:
Her curls, with all their sunny glow,
Were braided o'er an aching brow:
But well she knew how many sought
To gaze upon her secret thought;--
And Love is proud,--she might not brook
That other's on her heart should look.
But there she sate, cold, pale, and high,
Beneath her purple canopy;
And there was many a mutter'd word,
And one low whisper'd name was heard,--
The name of EGINHARD ,--that name
Like some forbidden secret came.

The theme went, that he dared to love
One like a star his state above;
Here to the princess turn'd each eye,--
And it was said, he did not sigh
With love that pales the pining cheek,
And leaves the slighted heart to break.
And then a varying tale was told,
How a page had betray'd for gold;
But all was rumour light and vain,
That all might hear, but none explain.

Like one that seeks a festival,
Early the princess left the hall;
Yet said she, sleep dwelt on her eyes,
That she was worn with revelries.
And hastily her maidens' care
Unbinds the jewels from her hair.
Odours are round her chamber strown,
And ELENORE is left alone.

With throbbing heart, whose pulses beat
Louder than fall her ivory feet,
She rises from her couch of down;
And, hurriedly, a robe is thrown
Around her form, and her own hand
Lets down her tresses golden band.
Another moment she has shred
Those graceful tresses from her head.
There stands a plate of polish'd steel,
She folds her cloak as to conceal
Her strange attire, for she is drest
As a young page in dark green vest.
Softly she steps the balustrade,
Where myrtle, rose, and hyacinth made
A passage to the garden shade.

It was a lovely summer night,
The air was incense-fill'd, the light
Was dim and tremulous, a gleam,
When a star, mirror'd on the stream,
Sent a ray round just to reveal
How gales from flower to flower steal.
'It was on such a night as this,
When even a single breath is bliss,
Such a soft air, such a mild heaven,
My vows to EGINHARD were given.'
Sigh'd ELENORE , 'Oh, might it be
A hope, a happy augury!'

She reach'd the lake,--a blush, a smile,
Contended on her face the while;
And safely in a little cove,
Shelter'd by willow trees above,
An ambuscade from all secured,
Her lover's little boat lay moor'd.--
One greeting word, with muffled oar,
And silent lip, they left that shore.

It was most like a phantom dream
To see that boat flit o'er the stream,
So still, that but yet less and less
It grew, it had seem'd motionless.
And then the silent lake, the trees
Visible only when the breeze
Aside the shadowy branches threw,
And let one single star shine through,
While the faint glimmer scarcely gave
To view the wanderers of the wave.

The breeze has borne the clouds away
That veil'd the blushes of young day;
The lark has sung his morning song;--
Surely the princess slumbers long.
And now it is the accustom'd hour
Her royal father seeks her bower,
When her soft voice and gentle lute,
The snowfall of her fairy foot,
The flowers she has cull'd, with dew
Yet moist upon each rainbow hue;
The fruits with bloom upon their cheek,
Fresh as the morning's first sun streak;
Each, all conspired to wile away
The weariness of royal sway.

But she is gone: there hangs her lute,
And there it may hang lone and mute:
The flowers may fade, for who is there
To triumph now if they are fair:
There are her gems,--oh, let them twine
An offering round some sainted shrine!
For she who wore them may not wear
Again those jewels in her hair.

At first the monarch's rage was wild;
But soon the image of his child,
In tenderness rose on his heart,
How could he bear from it to part?
And anger turn'd to grief: in vain
Ambition had destroy'd the chain
With which love had bound happiness.
In vain remorse, in vain redress,--
Fruitless all search. And years past o'er,
No tidings came of ELENORE,
Although the king would have laid down
His golden sceptre, purple crown,
His pomp, his power, but to have prest
His child one moment to his breast.

And where was ELENORE ? her home
Was now beneath the forest dome;--
A hundred knights had watch'd her hall,
Her guards were now the pine trees tall:
For harps waked with the minstrel tale,
Sang to her sleep the nightingale:
For silver vases, where were blent
Rich perfumes from Arabia sent,
Were odours when the wild thyme flower
Wafted its sweets on gale and shower:
For carpets of the purple loom
The violets spread their cloud of bloom,
Starr'd with primroses; and around
Boughs like green tapestry swept the ground.
--And there they dwelt apart from all
That gilds and mocks ambition's thrall;
Apart from cities, crowds, and care,
Hopes that deceive, and toils that wear;
For they had made themselves a world
Like that or ever man was hurl'd
From his sweet Eden, to begin
His bitter course of grief and sin.--
And they were happy; EGINHARD
Had won the prize for which he dared
Dungeon and death; but what is there
That the young lover will not dare?
And she, though nurtured as a flower,
The favourite bud of a spring bower,

Daughter of palaces, yet made
Her dwelling place in the green shade;
Happy, as she remember'd not
Her royal in her peasant lot,--
With gentle cares, and smiling eyes
As love could feel no sacrifice.
Happy her ivory brow to lave
Without a mirror but the wave,
As one whose sweetness could dispense
With all save its own excellence;--
A fair but gentle creature, meant
For heart, and hearth, and home content.

It was at night the chase was over,
And ELENORE sat by her lover,--
Her lover still, though years had fled
Since their first word of love was said,--

When one sought, at that darksome hour,
The refuge of their lonely bower,
A hunter, who, amid the shade,
Had from his own companions stray'd.
And ELENORE gazed on his face,
And knew her father! In the chase
Often the royal mourner sought
A refuge from his one sad thought.
He knew her not,--the lowly mien,
The simple garb of forest green,
The darken'd brow, which told the spoil
The sun stole from her daily toil,
The cheek where woodland health had shed
The freshness of its morning red,--
All was so changed. She spread the board,
Her hand the sparkling wine cup pour'd;

And then around the hearth they drew,
And cheerfully the woodfire threw
Its light around.--Bent o'er her wheel
Scarcely dared ELENORE to steal
A look, half tenderness, half fear,
Yet seem'd he as he loved to hear
Her voice, as if it had a tone
Breathing of days and feelings gone.

'Ah! surely,' thought she, 'Heaven has sent
My father here, as that it meant,
Our years of absence ended now!'
She gazed upon his soften'd brow;
And the next moment, all revealing,
ELENORE at his feet is kneeling!--
Need I relate that, reconciled,
The father bless'd his truant child.

WHERE is the heart that has not bow'd
A slave, eternal Love, to thee:
Look on the cold, the gay, the proud,
And is there one among them free?
The cold, the proud,--oh! Love has turn'd
The marble till with fire it burn'd;
The gay, the young,--alas that they
Should ever bend beneath thy sway!
Look on the cheek the rose might own,
The smile around like sunshine thrown;
The rose, the smile, alike are thine,
To fade and darken at thy shrine.

And what must love be in a heart
All passion's fiery depths concealing,
Which has in its minutest part
More than another's whole of feeling.

And RAYMOND'S heart; love's morning sun
On fitter altar never shone;
Loving with all the snow-white truth,
That is found but in early youth;
Freshness of feeling as of flower,
That lives not more than spring's first hour;
And loving with that wild devotion,
That deep and passionate emotion,
With which the minstrel soul is thrown
On all that it would make its own.

And RAYMOND loved; the veriest slave
That e'er his life to passion gave:
Upon his ear no murmur came
That seem'd not echoing her name;
The lightest colour on her cheek
Was lovelier than the morning break.
He gazed upon her as he took
His sense of being from her look:--
Sometimes it was idolatry,
Like homage to some lovely star,
Whose beauty though for hope too high,
He yet might worship from afar.
At other times his heart would swell
With tenderness unutterable:
He would have borne her to an isle
Where May and June had left their smile;
And there, heard but by the lone gale,
He would have whisper'd his love tale;
And without change, or cloud, or care,
Have kept his bosom's treasure there.
And then, with all a lover's pride,
He thought it shame such gem to hide:
And imaged he a courtly scene
Of which she was the jewell'd queen,--
The one on whom each glance was bent,
The beauty of the tournament,
The magnet of the festival,
The grace, the joy, the life of all,--
But she, alas for her false smile!
ADELINE loved him not the while.

And is it thus that woman's heart
Can trifle with its dearest part,
Its own pure sympathies?--can fling
The poison'd arrow from the string
In utter heartlessness around,
And mock, or think not of the wound?
And thus can woman barter all
That makes and gilds her gentle thrall,--
The blush which should be like the one
White violets hide from the sun,--
The soft, low sighs, like those which breathe
In secret from a twilight wreath,--
The smile like a bright lamp, whose shine
Is vow'd but only to one shrine;
All these sweet spells,--and can they be
Weapons of reckless vanity?
And woman, in whose gentle heart
From all save its sweet self apart,
Love should dwell with that purity
Which but in woman's love can be:
A sacred fire, whose flame was given
To shed on earth the light of heaven,--
That she can fling her wealth aside
In carelessness, or sport, or pride!

It was not form'd for length of bliss,
A dream so fond, so false as this;
Enough for ADELINE to win
The heart she had no pleasure in,--
Enough that bright eyes turn'd in vain
On him who bow'd beneath her chain:--
Then came the careless word and look,
All the fond soul so ill can brook,
The jealous doubt, the burning pain,
That rack the lover's heart and brain;
The fear that will not own it fear,
The hope that cannot disappear;
Faith clinging to its visions past,
And trust confiding to the last.
And thus it is: ay, let Love throw
Aside his arrows and his bow;
But let him not with one spell part,
The veil that binds his eyes and heart.
Woe for Love when his eyes shall be
Open'd upon reality!

One day a neighbouring baron gave
A revel to the fair and brave,--
And knights upon their gallant steeds,
And ladies on their palfreys gray,
All shining in their gayest weeds,
Held for the festival their way.

A wanderer on far distant shores,
That baron, had brought richest stores
To his own hall, and much of rare
And foreign luxury was there:
Pages, with colour'd feathers, fann'd
The odours of Arabia's land;
The carpets strewn around each room
Were all of Persia's purple loom;
And dark slaves waited on his guests,
Each habited in Moorish vests,
With turbann'd brows, and bands of gold
Around their arms and ancles roll'd.
And gazed the guests o'er many a hoard,
Like Sinbad's, from his travel stored.
They look'd upon the net work dome,
Where found the stranger birds a home,
With rainbow wings and gleaming eyes,
Seen only beneath Indian skies.
At length they stood around the ring,
Where stalk'd, unchain'd, the forest king,
With eyes of fire and mane erect,
As if by human power uncheck'd.

Full ill had RAYMOND'S spirit borne
The wayward mood, the careless scorn,
With which his mistress had that day
Trifled his happiness away.--
His very soul within him burn'd,
When, as in chance, her dark eye turn'd
On him, she spoke in reckless glee,--
''Is there a knight who, for love of me,
Into the court below will spring,
And bear from the lion the glove I fling?'

A shriek!--a pause,--then loud acclaim
Rose to the skies with RAYMOND'S name.
Oh, worthy of a lady's love!
RAYMOND has borne away the glove.
He laid the prize at the maiden's feet,
Then turn'd from the smile he dared not meet:
A moment more he is on the steed,
The spur has urged to its utmost speed,
As that he could fly from himself, and all
The misery of his spirit's thrall.

The horse sank down, and RAYMOND then
Started to see the foaming rein,
The drops that hung on the courser's hide,
And the rowel's red trace on its panting side;
And deep shame mingled with remorse,
As he brought the cool stream to his fallen horse.

The spot where he paused was a little nook,
Like a secret page in nature's book,--
Around were steeps where the wild vine
Hung, wreathed in many a serpentine,
Wearing each the colour'd sign
Of the autumn's pale decline.
Like a lake in the midst was spread
A grassy sweep of softest green,
Smooth, flower-dropt, as no human tread
Upon its growth had ever been.
Limes rose around, but lost each leaf,
Like hopes luxuriant but brief;
And by their side the sycamore
Grew prouder of its scarlet store:
The air was of that cold clear light
That heralds in an autumn night,--
The amber west had just a surge
Of crimson on its utmost verge;
And on the east were piled up banks
Where darkness gather'd with her ranks
Of clouds, and in the midst a zone
Of white with transient brightness shone
From the young moon, who scarcely yet
Had donn'd her lighted coronet.

With look turn'd to the closing day,
As he watch'd every hue decay,
Sat RAYMOND ; and a passer by
Had envied him his reverie;--
But nearer look had scann'd his brow,
And started at its fiery glow,
As if the temples' burning swell
Had made their pulses visible.

Too glazed, too fix'd, his large eyes shone
To see aught that they gazed upon.
Not his the paleness that may streak
The lover's or the minstrel's cheek,
As it had its wan colour caught
From moods of melancholy thought;
'Twas that cold, dark, unearthly shade,
But for a corpse's death look made;
Speaking that desperateness of pain,
As one more pang, and the rack'd brain
Would turn to madness; one more grief,
And the swoln heart breaks for relief.

Oh, misery! to see the tomb
Close over all our world of bloom;
To look our last in the dear eyes
Which made our light of paradise;
To know that silent is the tone
Whose tenderness was all our own;
To kiss the cheek which once had burn'd
At the least glance, and find it turn'd
To marble; and then think of all
Of hope, that memory can recall.
Yes, misery! but even here
There is a somewhat left to cheer,
A gentle treasuring of sweet things
Remembrance gathers from the past,
The pride of faithfulness, which clings
To love kept sacred to the last.
And even if another's love
Has touch'd the heart to us above
The treasures of the east, yet still
There is a solace for the ill.

Those who have known love's utmost spell
Can feel for those who love as well;
Can half forget their own distress,
To share the loved one's happiness.
Oh, but to know our heart has been,
Like the toy of an Indian queen,
Torn, trampled, without thought or care,--
Where is despair like this despair!--

ll night beneath an oak he lay,
Till nature blush'd bright into day;
When, at a trumpet's sudden sound,
Started his courser from the ground:
And his loud neigh waked RAYMOND'S dream,
And, gazing round, he saw the gleam
Of arms upon a neighbouring height,
Where helm and cuirass stream'd in light.

As RAYMOND rose from his unrest
He knew DE VALENCE'S falcon crest;
And the red cross that shone like a glory afar,
Told the warrior was vow'd to the holy war.

Ay, this,' thought RAYMOND , 'is the strife
To make my sacrifice of life;
What is it now to me that fame
Shall brighten over RAYMOND'S name;
There is no gentle heart to bound,
No cheek to mantle at the sound:
Lady's favour no more I wear,--
My heart, my helm--oh! what are there?
A blighted hope, a wither'd rose.
Surely this warfare is for those
Who only of the victory crave
A holy but a nameless grave.'

Short greeting past; DE VALENCE read
All that the pale lip left unsaid;
On the wan brow, in the dimm'd eye,
The whole of youth's despondency,
Which at the first shock it has known
Deems its whole world of hope o'erthrown.
And it was fix'd, that at Marseilles,
Where the fleet waited favouring gales,
RAYMOND should join the warrior train,
Leagued 'gainst the infidels of Spain.

They parted:--Over RAYMOND'S thought
Came sadness mingled too with shame;
When suddenly his memory brought
The long forgotten EVA'S name.
Oh! Love is like the mountain tide,
Sweeping away all things beside,
Till not another trace appears
But its own joys, and griefs, and fears.
He took her cross, he took her chain
From the heart where they still had lain;
And that heart felt as if its fate
Had sudden grown less desolate,
In thus remembering love that still
Would share and sooth in good and ill.

He spurr'd his steed; but the night fall
Had darken'd ere he reach'd the hall;
And gladly chief and vassal train
Welcomed the youthful knight again.
And many praised his stately tread,
His face with darker manhood spread;
But of those crowding round him now,
Who mark'd the paleness of his brow,
But one, who paused till they were past,
Who look'd the first but spoke the last:
Her welcome in its timid fear
Fell almost cold on RAYMOND'S ear;
A single look,--he felt he gazed
Upon a gentle child no more,
The blush that like the lightning blazed,
The cheek then paler than before,
A something of staid maiden grace,
A cloud of thought upon her face;
She who had been, in RAYMOND'S sight,
A plaything, fancy, and delight,--
Was changed: the depth of her blue eye
Spoke to him now of sympathy,
And seem'd her melancholy tone
A very echo of his own;
And that pale forehead, surely care
Has graved an early lesson there.

They roved through many a garden scene,
Where other, happier days had been;
And soon had RAYMOND told his all
Of hopes, like stars but bright to fall;
Of feelings blighted, changed, and driven
Like exiles from their native heaven;
And of an aimless sword, a lute
Whose chords were now uncharm'd and mute.
But EVA'S tender blandishing
Was as the April rays, that fling
A rainbow till the thickest rain
Melts into blue and light again.

There is a feeling in the heart
Of woman which can have no part
In man; a self devotedness,
As victims round their idols press,
And asking nothing, but to show
How far their zeal and faith can go.
Pure as the snow the summer sun
Never at noon hath look'd upon,--
Deep as is the diamond wave,
Hidden in the desart cave,--
Changeless as the greenest leaves
Of the wreath the cypress weaves,--
Hopeless often when most fond,
Without hope or fear beyond
Its own pale fidelity,--
And this woman's love can be!

And RAYMOND although not again
Dreaming of passion's burning chain,
Yet felt that life had still dear things
To which the lingering spirit clings.
More dear, more lovely EVA shone
In thinking of that faithless one;
And read he not upon the cheek
All that the lip might never speak,
All the heart cherish'd yet conceal'd,
Scarce even to itself reveal'd.
And RAYMOND , though with heart so torn
By anger, agony, and scorn,
Might ill bear even with love's name,
Yet felt the maiden's hidden flame
Come like the day-star in the east,
When every other light has ceased;
Sent from the bosom of the night
To harbinger the morning light.

Again they parted: she to brood
O'er dreaming hopes in solitude,
And every pitying saint to pray
For RAYMOND on the battle day.
And he no longer deem'd the field
But death to all his hopes could yield.
To other, softer dreams allied,
He thought upon the warrior's pride.
But as he pass'd the castle gate
He left so wholly desolate,
His throbbing pulse, his burning brain,
The sudden grasp upon the rein,
The breast and lip that gasp'd for air,
Told Love's shaft was still rankling there.

That night, borne o'er the bounding seas,
The vessel swept before the breeze,
Loaded the air, the war-cry's swell,
Woe to the Moorish infidel;
And raising their rich hymn, a band
Of priests were kneeling on the strand,
To bless the parting ship, and song
Came from the maidens ranged along
The sea wall, and who incense gave,
And flowers, like offerings to the wave
That bore the holy and the brave.

And RAYMOND felt his spirit rise,
And burn'd his cheek, and flash'd his eyes
With something of their ancient light,
While plume and pennon met his sight;
While o'er the deep swept the war-cry,
And peal'd the trumpet's voice on high,
While the ship rode the waves as she
Were mistress of their destiny.
And muster'd on the deck the band,
Till died the last shout from the strand;
But when the martial pomp was o'er,
And, like the future, dim the shore
On the horizon hung, again
Closed RAYMOND'S memory, like a chain
The spirit struggles with in vain.

The sky with its delicious blue,
The stars like visions wandering through:
Surely, if Fate had treasured there
Her rolls of life, they must be fair;
The mysteries their glories hide
Must be but of life's brightest side;
It cannot be that Fate would write
Her dark decrees in lines of light.
And RAYMOND mused upon the hour
When, comrade of the star and flower,
He watch'd beside his lady's bower;
He number'd every hope and dream,
Like blooms that threw upon life's stream
Colours of beauty, and then thought
On knowledge, all too dearly bought;
Feelings lit up in waste to burn,
Hopes that seem but shadows fair,
All that the heart so soon must learn,
All that it finds so hard to bear.

The young moon's vestal lamp that hour
Seem'd pale as that it pined for love;
No marvel such a night had power,
So calm below, so fair above,
To wake the spirit's finest chords
Till minstrel thoughts found minstrel words.

THE LAST SONG.

IT is the latest song of mine
That ever breathes thy name,
False idol of a dream-raised shrine,
Thy very thought is shame,--
Shame that I could my sprit bow
To one so very false as thou.

I had past years where the green wood
Makes twilight of the noon,
And I had watch'd the silver flood
Kiss'd by the rising moon;
And gazed upon the clear midnight
In all its luxury of light.

And, thrown where the blue violets dwell,
I would pass hours away,
Musing o'er some old chronicle
Fill'd with a wild love lay;
Till beauty seem'd to me a thing
Made for all nature's worshipping.

saw thee, and the air grew bright
In thy clear eyes' sunshine;
I oft had dream'd of shapes of light,
But not of shape like thine.
My heart bow'd down,--I worshipp'd thee,
A woman and a deity.

I may not say how thy first look
Turn'd my whole soul to flame,
I read it as a glorious book
Fill'd with high deeds of fame;
I felt a hero's spirit rise,
Unknown till lighted at thine eyes.

False look, false hope, and falsest love!
All meteors sent to me
To show how they the heart could move,
And how deceiving be:
They left me, darken'd, crush'd, alone,
My bosom's household gods o'erthrown.

The world itself was changed, and all
That I had loved before
Seem'd as if gone beyond recall,
And I could hope no more;
The sear of fire, the dint of steel,
Are easier than Love's wounds to heal.

But this is past, and I can cope
With what I'd fain forget;
I have a sweet, a gentle hope
That lingers with me yet,--
A hope too fair, too pure to be
Named in the words that speak of thee.

Henceforth within the last recess
Of my heart shall remain
Thy name in all its bitterness,
But never named again;
The only memory of that heart
Will be to think how false thou art.

And yet I fain would name thy name,
My heart's now gentle queen,
E'en as they burn the perfumed flame
Where the plague spot has been;
Methinks that it will cleanse away
The ills that on my spirit prey.

Sweet EVA ! the last time I gazed
Upon thy deep blue eyes,
The cheek whereon my look had raised
A blush's crimson dyes,
I marvell'd, love, this heart of mine
Had worshipp'd at another shrine.

I will think of thee when the star,
That lit our own fair river,
Shines in the blue sky from afar,
As beautiful as ever;
That twilight star, sweet love, shall be
A sign and seal with thee and me!

by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

The Door Of Humility

ENGLAND
We lead the blind by voice and hand,
And not by light they cannot see;
We are not framed to understand
The How and Why of such as He;

But natured only to rejoice
At every sound or sign of hope,
And, guided by the still small voice,
In patience through the darkness grope;

Until our finer sense expands,
And we exchange for holier sight
The earthly help of voice and hands,
And in His light behold the Light.

I

Let there be Light! The self-same Power
That out of formless dark and void
Endued with life's mysterious dower
Planet, and star, and asteroid;

That moved upon the waters' face,
And, breathing on them His intent,
Divided, and assigned their place
To, ocean, air, and firmament;

That bade the land appear, and bring
Forth herb and leaf, both fruit and flower,
Cattle that graze, and birds that sing,
Ordained the sunshine and the shower;

That, moulding man and woman, breathed
In them an active soul at birth
In His own image, and bequeathed
To them dominion over Earth;

That, by whatever is, decreed
His Will and Word shall be obeyed,
From loftiest star to lowliest seed;-
The worm and me He also made.

And when, for nuptials of the Spring
With Summer, on the vestal thorn
The bridal veil hung flowering,
A cry was heard, and I was born.

II

To be by blood and long descent
A member of a mighty State,
Whose greatness, sea-girt, but unpent
By ocean, makes the world more great;

That, ranging limitless, hath won
A Rule more wide than that of Rome,
And, journeying onward with the sun,
In every zone hath found a home;

That, keeping old traditions fast,
Still hails the things that are to be,
And, firmly rooted in the Past,
On Law hath grafted Liberty;-

That is a birthright nobler far
Than princely claim or Right Divine
From far-off rapine, wanton war,
And I could feel this birthright mine.

And not the lowliest hand that drives
Or share or loom, if so it be
Of British strain, but thence derives
A patent of nobility.

III

The guiding of the infant years
Onward to good, away from guile,
A mother's humanising tears,
A father's philosophic smile;

Refining beauty, gentle ways,
The admonitions of the wise,
The love that watches, helps, and prays,
And pities, but doth ne'er despise;

An ancient Faith, abiding hope,
The charity that suffers long,
But flames with sacred zeal to cope
With man's injustice, nature's wrong;

Melodious leisure, learnëd shelf,
Discourse of earnest, temperate mind,
The playful wit that of itself
Flashes, but leaves no wound behind;

The knowledge gleaned from Greece and Rome,
From studious Teuton, sprightly Gaul,
The lettered page, the mellow tome,
And poets' wisdom more than all;-

These, when no lips severe upbraid,
But counsel rather than control,
In budding boyhood lend their aid
To sensibility of soul.

IV

But, more than mentor, mother, sire,
Can lend to shape the future man
With help of learning or of lyre,
Of ancient rule, or modern plan,

Is that which with our breath we bring
Into the world, we know not whence,
That needs nor care nor fostering,
Because an instinct and a sense.

And days and years are all forgot
When Nature's aspect, growth, and grace,
And veering moods, to me were not
The features of the Loved One's face.

The cloud whose shadow skims the lake,
The shimmering haze of summer noon,
The voice of April in the brake,
The silence of the mounting moon,

Swaying of bracken on the hill,
The murmur of the vagrant stream,
These motions of some unseen Will,
These babblings of some heavenly dream,

Seemed tokens of divine desire
To hold discourse with me, and so
To touch my lips with hallowed fire,
And tell me things I ought to know.

I gazed and listened, all intent,
As to the face and voice of Fate,
But what they said, or what they meant,
I could surmise not, nor translate.

They did but lure me to unrest,
Unanswered questioning, longings vain,
As when one scans some palimpsest
No erudition can explain;

But left me with a deep distaste
For common speech, that still did seem
More meaningless than mountain waste,
Less human than the far-off stream.

So that a stranger in the land
Wherein I moved, where'er I went,
I dwelt, whom none could understand,
Or exorcise my discontent.

And I to them, and they to me
Seemed from two different planets come,
And, save to flower and wild-bird's glee,
My heart was deaf, my soul was dumb.

V

But slowly dawned a happier time
When I began to apprehend,
And catch, as in some poet's rhyme,
The intimations of a friend;

When Nature spake no unknown tongue,
But language kindred to my thought,
Till everything She said, I sung,
In notes unforced, in words unsought.

And I to Her so closely drew,
The seasons round, in mind and mood,
I felt at length as if we knew
Self-same affection, self-same feud:

That both alike scorned worldly aim,
Profit, applause, parade, and pride,
Whereby the love of generous fame
And worthy deeds grows petrified.

I did as yet not understand
Nature is far more vast than I,
Deep as the ocean, wide as land,
And overarching as the sky;

And but responded to my call,
And only felt and fed my need,
Because She doth the same for all
Who to her pity turn and plead.

VI

Shall man have mind, and Nature none,
Shall I, not she, have soul and heart?
Nay, rather, if we be not one,
Each is of each the counterpart.

She too may have within her breast
A conscience, if not like to yours,
A sense of rightness ill at rest,
Long as her waywardness endures.

And hence her thunder, earthquakes, hail,
Her levin bolts, her clouds' discharge:
She sins upon a larger scale,
Because She is herself more large.

Hence, too, when She hath pierced with pain
The heart of man, and wrecked his years,
The pity of the April rain,
And late repentance of her tears.

She is no better, worse, than we;
We can but say she seems more great,
That half her will, like ours, is free,
And half of it is locked in Fate.

Nor need we fear that we should err
Beyond our scope in reasoning thus,-
That there must be a God for Her,
If that there be a God for us.

VII

The chiming of the Sabbath bell,
The silence of the Sabbath fields,
Over the hamlet cast a spell
To which the gracious spirit yields.

Sound is there none of wheel or wain,
Husht stands the anvil, husht the forge,
No shout is heard in rustic lane,
No axe resounds in timbered gorge.

No flail beats time on granary floor,
The windmill's rushing wings are stayed,
And children's glee rings out no more
From hedgerow bank or primrose glade.

The big-boned team that firm and slow
Draw yoked, are free to couch or stray;
The basking covey seem to know
None will invade their peace to-day.

And speckless swains, and maidens neat,
Through rustic porch, down cottage stair,
Demurely up the village street
Stream onward to the House of Prayer.

They kneel as they were taught to kneel
In childhood, and demand not why,
But, as they chant or answer, feel
A vague communion with the sky.

VIII

But when the impetuous mind is spurred
To range through epochs great but gone,
And, heedless of dogmatic word,
With fearless ardour presses on,

Confronting pulpit, sceptre, shrine,
With point by Logic beaten out,
And, questioning tenets deemed divine
With human challenge, human doubt,

Hoists Reason's sail, and for the haze
Of ocean quits Tradition's shore,
Awhile he comes, and kneels, and prays,
Then comes and kneels, but prays no more;

And only for the love he bears
To those who love him, and who reared
His frame to genuflexion, shares
In ritual, vain, if still revered.

His Gods are many or are none,
Saturn and Mithra, Christ and Jove,
Consorting, as the Ages run,
With Vestal choir or Pagan drove.

Abiding still by Northern shores,
He sees far off on Grecian coast
Veiled Aphrodite, but adores
Minerva and Apollo most.

Beauty of vision, voice, and mind,
Enthrall him so, that unto him
All Creeds seem true, if he but find
Siren, or saint, or seraphim.

And thus once more he dwells apart,
His inward self enswathed in mist,
Blending with poet's pious heart
The dreams of pagan Hedonist.

IX

If Beauty be the Spirit's quest,
Its adoration, creed, and shrine,
Wherein its restlessness finds rest,
And earthly type of the Divine,

Must there for such not somewhere be
A blending of all beauteous things
In some one form wherein we see
The sum of our imaginings?

The smile on mountain's musing brow,
Sunrise and sunset, moon and star,
Wavelets around the cygnet's prow,
Glamour anear and charm afar;

The silence of the silvery pool,
Autumn's reserve and Summer's fire,
Slow vanishings of Winter's rule
To free full voice of April's choir;-

The worshippers of Beauty find
In maiden form, and face, and tress;
Faint intimations of her mind
And undulating loveliness.

X

Bound, runnels, bound, bound on, and flow!
Sing, merle and mavis, pair and sing!
Gone is the Winter, fled the snow,
And all that lives is flushed with Spring.

Harry the woods, young truant folk,
For flowers to deck your cottage sills,
And, underneath my orchard oak,
Cluster, ye golden daffodils!

Unfettered by domestic vow,
Cuckoo, proclaim your vagrant loves,
And coo upon the self-same bough,
Inseparable turtle-doves.

Soar, laverock, soar on song to sky,
And with the choir of Heaven rejoice!
You cannot be more glad than I,
Who feel Her gaze, and hear Her voice:

Who see Her cheek more crimson glow,
And through Her veins love's current stream,
And feel a fear She doth but know
Is kin to joy and dawning dream.

Bound, rivulets, bound, bound on, and flow!
Sing, merle and mavis, pair and sing!
Gone from the world are want and woe,
And I myself am one with Spring.

XI

They err who say that Love is blind,
Or, if it be, 'tis but in part,
And that, if for fair face it find
No counterpart in mind and heart,

It dwells on that which it beholds,
Fair fleshly vision void of soul,
Deeming, illusioned, this enfolds,
Longing's fulfilment, end, and whole.

Were such my hapless carnal lot,
I too might evanescent bliss
Embrace, fierce-fancied, fast forgot,
Then leave for some fresh loveliness.

But April gaze, and Summer tress,
With something of Autumnal thought,
In Her seem blent to crown and bless
A bond I long in dreams have sought.

She looks as though She came to grace
The earth, from world less soiled than this,
Around her head and virgin face
Halo of heavenly holiness.

XII

He who hath roamed through various lands,
And, wheresoe'er his steps are set,
The kindred meaning understands
Of spire, and dome, and minaret;

By Roman river, Stamboul's sea,
In Peter's or Sophia's shrine,
Acknowledges with reverent knee
The presence of the One Divine;

Who, to the land he loves so well
Returning, towards the sunset hour
Wends homeward, feels yet stronger spell
In lichened roof and grey church-tower;

Round whose foundations, side by side,
Sleep hamlet wit and village sage,
While loud the blackbird cheers his bride
Deep in umbrageous Vicarage.

XIII

Was it that sense which some aver
Foreshadows Fate it doth not see,
That gave unwittingly to Her
The name, for ever dear to me,

Borne by that tearful Mother whom,
Nigh unto Ostia's shelving sand,
Augustine laid in lonely tomb,
Ere sailing for his Afric land?

But I at least should have foreseen,
When Monica to me had grown
Familiar word, that names may mean
More than by word and name is shown;

That nought can keep two lives apart
More than divorce 'twixt mind and mind,
Even though heart be one with heart;-
Alas! Alas! Yes, Love is blind.

XIV

How could I think of jarring Creeds,
And riddles that unread remain,
Or ask if Heaven's indulgence heeds
Broils born of man's polemic brain,

And pause because my venturous mind
Had roamed through tracks of polar thought,
Whence mightiest spirits turn back blind,
Since finding not the thing they sought,

When Love, with luring gifts in hand,
Beauty, refinement, smile, caress,
Heart to surmise and understand,
And crowning grace of holiness,

Stood there before me, and, with gaze
I had been purblind not to see,
Said, ``I to you will, all my days,
Give what you yearn to give to me''?

Must both then sorrow, while we live,
Because, rejoicing, I forgot
Something there was I could not give,
Because, alas! I had it not.

XV

She comes from Vicarage Garden, see!
Radiant as morning, lithe and tall,
Fresh lilies in her hand, but She
The loveliest lily of them all.

The thrushes in their fluting pause,
The bees float humming round her head,
Earth, air, and heaven shine out because
They hear her voice, and feel her tread.

Up in the fretted grey church-tower,
That rustic gaze for miles can see,
The belfry strikes the silvery hour,
Announcing her propinquity.

And I who, fearful to be late,
Passed long since through the deerpark pale,
And loitered by the churchyard gate,
Once more exclaim, ``Hail! loved one! hail!''

We pass within, and up the nave,
Husht, because Heaven seems always there,
Wend choirward, where, devoutly grave,
She kneels, to breathe a silent prayer.

She takes the flowers I too have brought,
Blending them deftly with her own,
And ranges them, as quick as thought,
Around the white-draped altar-throne.

How could she know my gaze was not
On things unseen, but fixed on Her,
That, as She prayed, I all forgot
The worship in the worshipper?-

While She beheld, as in a glass,
The Light Divine, that I but sought
Sight of her soul?-Alas! Alas!
Love is yet blinder than I thought.

XVI

Who hath not seen a little cloud
Up from the clear horizon steal,
And, mounting lurid, mutter loud
Premonitory thunder-peal?

Husht grows the grove, the summer leaf
Trembles and writhes, as if in pain,
And then the sky, o'ercharged with grief,
Bursts into drenching tears of rain.

I through the years had sought to hide
My darkening doubts from simple sight.
'Tis sacrilegious to deride
Faith of unquestioning neophyte.

And what, methought, is Doubt at best?
A sterile wind through seeded sedge
Blowing for nought, an empty nest
That lingers in a leafless hedge.

Pain, too, there is we should not share
With others lest it mar their joy;
There is a quiet bliss in prayer
None but the heartless would destroy.

But just as Love is quick divined
From heightened glow or visage pale,
The meditations of the Mind
Disclose themselves through densest veil.

And 'tis the unloving and least wise
Who through life's inmost precincts press,
And with unsympathetic eyes
Outrage our sacred loneliness.

Then, when their sacrilegious gaze
The mournful void hath half surmised,
To some more tender soul they raise
The veil of ignorance it prized.

XVII

`What though I write farewell I could
Not utter, lest your gaze should chide,
'Twill by your love be understood
My love is still, dear, at your side.

``Nor must we meet to speak goodbye,
Lest that my Will should lose its choice,
And conscience waver, for then I
Should see your face and hear your voice.

``But, when you find yourself once more,
Come back, come back and look for me,
Beside the little lowly door,
The Doorway of Humility.''

XVIII

There! Peace at last! The far-off roar
Of human passion dies away.
``Welcome to our broad shade once more,''
The waning woodlands seem to say:

The music of the vagrant wind,
That wandered aimlessly, is stilled;
The songless branches all remind
That Summer's glory is fulfilled.

The fluttering of the falling leaves
Dimples the leaden pool awhile;
So Age impassively receives
Youth's tale of troubles with a smile.

Thus, as the seasons steal away,
How much is schemed, how little done,
What splendid plans at break of day!
What void regrets at set of sun!

The world goes round, for you, for me,
For him who sleeps, for him who strives,
And the cold Fates indifferent see
Crowning or failure of our lives.

Then fall, ye leaves, fade, summer breeze!
Grow, sedges, sere on every pool!
Let each old glowing impulse freeze,
Let each old generous project cool!

It is not wisdom, wit, nor worth,
Self-sacrifice nor friendship true,
Makes venal devotees of earth
Prostrate themselves and worship you.

The consciousness of sovran powers,
The stubborn purpose, steadfast will,
Have ever, in this world of ours,
Achieved success, achieve it still.

Farewell, ye woods! No more I sit;
Great voices in the distance call.
If this be peace, enough of it!
I go. Fall, unseen foliage, fall!

XIX

Nay, but repress rebellious woe!
In grief 'tis not that febrile fool,
Passion, that can but overthrow,
But Resignation, that should rule.

In patient sadness lurks a gift
To purify the life it stings,
And, as the days move onward, lift
The lonely heart to loftier things;

Bringing within one's ripening reach
The sceptre of majestic Thought,
Wherefrom one slowly learns to teach
The Wisdom to oneself it taught.

And unto what can man aspire,
On earth, more worth the striving for,
Than to be Reason's loftier lyre,
And reconciling monitor;

To strike a more resounding string
And deeper notes of joy and pain,
Than such as but lamenting sing,
Or warble but a sensuous strain:

So, when my days are nearly sped,
And my last harvest labours done,
That I may have around my head
The halo of a setting sun.

Yet even if be heard above
Such selfish hope, presumptuous claim,
Better one hour of perfect love
Than an eternity of Fame!

XX

Where then for grief seek out the cure?
What scenes will bid my smart to cease?
High peaks should teach one to endure,
And lakes secluded bring one peace.

Farewell awhile, then, village bells,
Autumnal wood and harvest wain!
And welcome, as it sinks or swells,
The music of the mighty main,

That seems to say, now loud, now low,
Rising or falling, sweet or shrill,
``I pace, a sentry, to and fro,
To guard your Island fortress still.''

The roses falter on their stalk,
The late peach reddens on the wall,
The flowers along the garden walk
Unheeded fade, unheeded fall.

My gates unopened drip with rain,
The wolf-hound wends from floor to floor,
And, listening for my voice in vain,
Waileth along the corridor.

Within the old accustomed place
Where we so oft were wont to be,
Kneeling She prays, while down her face
The fruitless tears fall silently.


SWITZERLAND

XXI
Rain, wind, and rain. The writhing lake
Scuds to and fro to scape their stroke:
The mountains veil their heads, and make
Of cloud and mist a wintry cloak.

Through where the arching pinewoods make
Dusk cloisters down the mountain side,
The loosened avalanches take
Valeward their way, with death for guide,

And toss their shaggy manes and fling
To air their foam and tawny froth,
From ledge and precipice bound and spring,
With hungry roar and deepening wrath;

Till, hamlet homes and orchards crushed,
And, rage for further ravin stayed,
They slumber, satiated, husht,
Upon the ruins they have made.

I rise from larch-log hearth, and, lone,
Gaze on the spears of serried rain,
That faster, nigher, still are blown,
Then stream adown the window pane.

The peasant's goatskin garments drip,
As home he wends with lowered head,
Shakes off the drops from lid and lip,
Then slinks within his châlet shed.

The cattle bells sound dull and hoarse,
The boats rock idly by the shore;
Only the swollen torrents course
With faster feet and fuller roar.

Mournful, I shape a mournful song,
And ask the heavens, but ask in vain,
``How long, how long?'' Ah! not so long
As, in my heart, rain, wind, and rain.

XXII

I ask the dark, the dawn, the sun,
The domeward-pointing peaks of snow,
Lofty and low alike, but none
Will tell me what I crave to know.

My mind demands, ``Whence, Whither, Why?''
From mountain slope and green defile,
And wait the answer. The reply-
A far-off irresponsive smile.

I ask the stars, when mortals sleep,
The pensive moon, the lonely winds;
But, haply if they know, they keep
The secret of secluded minds.

Shall I in vain, then, strive to find,
Straining towards merely fancied goal?
Where in the lily lurks the mind,
Where in the rose discern the soul?

More mindless still, stream, pasture, lake,
The mountains yet more heartless seem,
And life's unceasing quest and ache
Only a dream within a dream.

We know no more, though racked with thought
Than he who, in yon châlet born,
Gives not the riddle, Life, a thought,
But lays him down and sleeps till morn.

Sometimes he kneels; I cannot kneel,
So suffer from a wider curse
Than Eden's outcasts, for I feel
An exile in the universe.

The rudeness of his birth enures
His limbs to every season's stings,
And, never probing, so endures
The sadness at the heart of things.

When lauwine growls, and thunder swells,
Their far-off clamour sounds to me
But as the noise of clanging bells
Above a silent sanctuary.

It is their silence that appals,
Their aspect motionless that awes,
When searching spirit vainly calls
On the effect to bare the Cause.

I get no answer, near or far;
The mountains, though they soar so high,
And scale the pathless ether, are
No nearer unto God than I.

There dwells nor mystery nor veil
Round the clear peaks no foot hath trod;
I, gazing on their frontage pale,
See but the waning ghost of God.

Is Faith then but a drug for sleep,
And Hope a fondly soothing friend
That bids us, when it sees us weep,
Wait for the End that hath no end?

Then do I hear voice unforgot
Wailing across the distance dim,
``Think, dear! If God existeth not,
Why are you always seeking Him?''

XXIII

Like glowing furnace of the forge,
How the winds rise and roar, as they
Up twisting valley, craggy gorge,
Seek, and still seek, to storm their way;

Then, baffled, up the open slope
With quickening pulses scale and pant,
Indomitably bent to cope
With bristling fronts of adamant.

All through the day resounds the strife,
Then doth at sunset hour subside:
So the fierce passions of our life
Slowly expire at eventide.

By Nature we are ne'er misled;
We see most truly when we dream.
A singer wise was he who said,
``Follow the gleam! Follow the gleam!''

XXIV

I dreamed, last night, again I stood,
Silent, without the village shrine,
While She in modest maidenhood
Left, fondly clasped, her hand in mine.

And, with a face as cerecloth white,
And tears like those that by the bier
Of loved one lost make dim the sight,
She poured her sorrows in mine ear.

``I love your voice, I love your gaze,
But there is something dearer still,
The faith that kneels, the hope that prays,
And bows before the Heavenly Will.

``Not where hills rise, or torrents roll,
Seek Him, nor yet alone, apart;
He dwells within the troubled soul,
His home is in the human heart.

``Withal, the peaceful mountains may
'Twixt doubt and yearning end the strife:
So ponder, though you cannot pray,
And think some meaning into life:

``Nor like to those that cross the main
To wander witless through strange land,
Hearing unmastered tongues, disdain
The speech they do not understand.

``Firm stands my faith that they who sound
The depths of doubt Faith yet will save:
They are like children playing round
A still remembered mother's grave;

``Not knowing, when they wax more old,
And somewhat can her vision share,
She will the winding-sheet unfold,
And beckon them to evening prayer.''

Then, with my hand betwixt her hands,
She laid her lips upon my brow,
And, as to one who understands,
Said, ``Take once more my vestal vow.

``No other gaze makes mine to glow,
No other footstep stirs my heart,
To me you only dearer grow,
Dearer and nearer, more apart.

``Whene'er you come with humble mind,
The little Door stands open wide,
And, bending low, you still will find
Me waiting on the other side.''

Her silence woke me. . . . To your breast
Fold me, O sleep! and seal mine ears;
That She may roam through my unrest
Till all my dreams are drenched with tears!

XXV

Why linger longer, subject, here,
Where Nature sits and reigns alone,
Inspiring love not, only fear,
Upon her autocratic throne?

Her edicts are the rigid snow,
The wayward winds, the swaying branch;
She hath no pity to bestow,
Her law the lawless avalanche.

Though soon cascades will bound and sing,
That now but drip with tears of ice,
And upland meadows touched by Spring
Blue gentian blend with edelweiss,

Hence to the Land of youthful dreams,
The Land that taught me all I know.
Farewell, lone mountain-peaks and streams;
Yet take my thanks before I go.

You gave me shelter when I fled,
But sternly bade me stem my tears,
Nor aimless roam with rustling tread
'Mong fallen leaves of fruitless years.

ITALY

XXVI

Upon the topmost wheel-track steep,
The parting of two nations' ways,
Athwart stone cross engraven deep,
The name ``Italia'' greets the gaze!

I trembled, when I saw it first,
With joy, my boyish longings fed,
The headspring of my constant thirst,
The altar of my pilgrim tread.

Now once again the magic word,
So faintly borne to Northern home,
Sounds like a silvery trumpet heard
Beneath some universal dome.

The forests soften to a smile,
A smile the very mountains wear,
Through mossy gorge and grassed defile
Torrents race glad and debonair.

From casement, balcony and door,
Hang golden gourds, droops tear-tipped vine,
And sun-bronzed faces bask before
Thin straw-swathed flasks of last year's wine.

Unyoked, the patient sleek-skinned steers
Take, like their lords, no heed of time.
Hark! now the evening star appears,
Ave Maria belfries chime.

The maidens knit, and glance, and sing,
With glowing gaze 'neath ebon tress,
And, like to copse-buds sunned by Spring,
Seem burgeoning into tenderness.

On waveless lake where willows weep,
The Borromean Islands rest
As motionless as babe asleep
Upon a slumbering Mother's breast.

O Land of sunshine, song, and Love!
Whether thy children reap or sow,
Of Love they chant on hills above,
Of Love they sing in vale below.

But what avail the love-linked hands,
And love-lit eyes, to them that roam
Passionless through impassioned lands,
Since they have left their heart at home!

XXVII

Among my dreams, now known as dreams
In this my reawakened life,
I thought that by historic streams,
Apart from stress, aloof from strife,

By rugged paths that twist and twine
Through olive slope and chesnut wood
Upward to mediaeval shrine,
Or high conventual brotherhood,

Along the mountain-curtained track
Round peaceful lake where wintry bands
Halt briefly but to bivouac
Ere blustering on to Northern lands;-

Through these, through all I first did see,
With me to share my raptures none,
That nuptialled Monica would be
My novice and companion:

That we should float from mere to mere,
And sleep within some windless cove,
With nightingales to lull the ear,
From ilex wood and orange grove;

Linger at hamlets lost to fame,
That still wise-wandering feet beguile,
To gaze on frescoed wall or frame
Lit by Luini's gracious smile.

Now, but companioned by my pain,
Among each well-remembered scene
I can but let my Fancy feign
The happiness that might have been;

Imagine that I hear her voice,
Imagine that I feel her hand,
And I, enamoured guide, rejoice
To see her swift to understand.

Alack! Imagination might
As lief with rustic Virgil roam,
Reverent, or, welcomed guest, alight
At Pliny's philosophic home;

Hear one majestically trace
Rome's world-wide sway from wattled wall,
And read upon the other's face
The omens of an Empire's fall.

XXVIII

Like moonlight seen through forest leaves,
She shines upon me from afar,
What time men reap the ripened sheaves,
And Heaven rains many a falling star.

I gaze up to her lofty height,
And feel how far we dwell apart:
O if I could, this night, this night,
Fold her full radiance to my heart!

But She in Heaven, and I on earth,
Still journey on, but each alone;
She, maiden Queen of sacred birth,
Who with no consort shares her throne.

XXIX

What if She ever thought She saw
The self within myself prefer
Communion with the silent awe
Of far-off mountains more than Her;

That Nature hath the mobile grace
To make life with our moods agree,
And so had grown the Loved One's face,
Since it nor checked nor chided me;

Or from the tasks that irk and tire
I sought for comfort from the Muse,
Because it grants the mind's desire
All that familiar things refuse.

How vain such thought! The face, the form,
Of mountain summits but express,
Clouded or clear, in sun or storm,
Feebly Her spirit's loftiness.

Did I explore from pole to pole,
In Nature's aspect I should find
But faint reflections of Her soul,
Dim adumbrations of Her mind.

O come and test with lake, with stream,
With mountain, which the stronger be,
Thou, my divinest dearest dream,
My Muse, and more than Muse, to me!

XXX

They tell me that Jehovah speaks
In silent grove, on lonely strand,
And summit of the mountain peaks;
Yet there I do not understand.

The stars, disdainful of my thought,
Majestic march toward their goal,
And to my nightly watch have brought
No explanation to my soul.

The truth I seek I cannot find,
In air or sky, on land or sea;
If the hills have their secret mind,
They will not yield it up to me:

Like one who lost mid lonely hills
Still seeks but cannot find his way,
Since guide is none save winding rills,
That seem themselves, too, gone astray.

And so from rise to set of sun,
At glimmering dawn, in twilight haze,
I but behold the face of One
Who veils her face, and weeps, and prays.

What know I that She doth not know?
What I know not, She understands:
With heavenly gifts She overflows,
While I have only empty hands.

O weary wanderer! Best forego
This questioning of wind and wave.
For you the sunshine and the snow,
The womb, the cradle, and the grave.


XXXI

How blest, when organ concords swell,
And anthems are intoned, are they
Who neither reason nor rebel,
But meekly bow their heads and pray.

And such the peasants mountain-bred,
Who hail to-day with blithe accord
Her Feast Who to the Angel said,
``Behold the Handmaid of the Lord!''

Downward they wind from pastoral height,
Or hamlet grouped round shattered towers,
To wend to shrine more richly dight,
And bring their gift of wilding flowers;

Their gifts, their griefs, their daily needs,
And lay these at Her statue's base,
Who never, deem they, intercedes
Vainly before the Throne of Grace.

Shall I, because I stand apart,
A stranger to their pious vows,
Scorn their humility of heart
That pleads before the Virgin Spouse,

Confiding that the Son will ne'er,
If in His justice wroth with them,
Refuse to harken to Her prayer
Who suckled Him in Bethlehem?

Of all the intercessors born
By man's celestial fancy, none
Hath helped the sorrowing, the forlorn,
Lowly and lone, as She hath done.

The maiden faithful to Her shrine
Bids demons of temptation flee,
And mothers fruitful as the vine
Retain their vestal purity.

Too trustful love, by lust betrayed,
And by cold worldlings unforgiven,
Unto Her having wept and prayed,
Faces its fate, consoled and shriven.

The restless, fiercely probing mind
No honey gleans, though still it stings.
What comfort doth the spirit find
In Reason's endless reasonings?

They have no solace for my grief,
Compassion none for all my pain:
They toss me like the fluttering leaf,
And leave me to the wind and rain.


XXXII

If Conscience be God's Law to Man,
Then Conscience must perforce arraign
Whatever falls beneath the ban
Of that allotted Suzerain.

And He, who bids us not to swerve,
Whither the wayward passions draw,
From its stern sanctions, must observe
The limits of the self-same Law.

Yet, if obedient Conscience scan
The sum of wrongs endured and done
Neither by act nor fault of Man,
They rouse it to rebellion.

Life seems of life by life bereft
Through some immitigable curse,
And Man sole moral being left
In a non-moral Universe.

My Conscience would my Will withstand,
Did Will project a world like this:
Better Eternal vacuum still,
Than murder, lust, and heartlessness!

If Man makes Conscience, then being good
Is only being worldly wise,
And universal brotherhood
A comfortable compromise.

O smoke of War! O blood-steeped sod!
O groans of fratricidal strife!
Who will explain the ways of God,
That I may be at peace with life!

The moral riddle 'tis that haunts,
Primeval and unending curse,
Racking the mind when pulpit vaunts
A Heaven-created Universe.

Yet whence came Life, and how begin?
Rolleth the globe by choice or chance?
Dear Lord! Why longer shut me in
This prison-house of ignorance!


FLORENCE


XXXIII< br>
City acclaimed ere Dante's days
Fair, and baptized in field of flowers,
Once more I scan with tender gaze
Your glistening domes, your storied towers.

I feel as if long years had flown
Since first with eager heart I came,
And, girdled by your mountain zone,
Found you yet fairer than your fame.

It was the season purple-sweet
When figs are plump, and grapes are pressed,
And all your sons with following feet
Bore a dead Poet to final rest.

You seemed to fling your gates ajar,
And softly lead me by the hand,
Saying, ``Behold! henceforth you are
No stranger in the Tuscan land.''

And though no love my love can wean
From native crag and cradling sea,
Yet Florence from that hour hath been
More than a foster-nurse to me.

When mount I terraced slopes arrayed
In bridal bloom of peach and pear,
While under olive's phantom shade
Lupine and beanflower scent the air,

The wild-bees hum round golden bay,
The green frog sings on fig-tree bole,
And, see! down daisy-whitened way
Come the slow steers and swaying pole.

The fresh-pruned vine-stems, curving, bend
Over the peaceful wheaten spears,
And with the glittering sunshine blend
Their transitory April tears.

O'er wall and trellis trailed and wound,
Hang roses blushing, roses pale;
And, hark! what was that silvery sound?
The first note of the nightingale.

Curtained, I close my lids and dream
Of Beauty seen not but surmised,
And, lulled by scent and song, I seem
Immortally imparadised.

When from the deep sweet swoon I wake
And gaze past slopes of grape and grain,
Where Arno, like some lonely lake,
Silvers the far-off seaward plain,

I see celestial sunset fires
That lift us from this earthly leaven,
And darkly silent cypress spires
Pointing the way from hill to Heaven.

Then something more than mortal steals
Over the wavering twilight air,
And, messenger of nightfall, peals
From each crowned peak a call to prayer.

And now the last meek prayer is said,
And, in the hallowed hush, there is
Only a starry dome o'erhead,
Propped by columnar cypresses.


XXXIV

Re-roaming through this palaced town,
I suddenly, 'neath grim-barred pile,
Catch sight of Dante's awful frown,
Or Leonardo's mystic smile;

Then, swayed by memory's fancy, stroll
To where from May-day's flaming pyre
Savonarola's austere soul
Went up to Heaven in tongues of fire;

Or Buonarroti's plastic hand
Made marble block from Massa's steep
Dawn into Day at his command,
Then plunged it into Night and Sleep.

No later wanderings can dispel
The glamour of the bygone years;
And, through the streets I know so well,
I scarce can see my way for tears.


XXXV

A sombre shadow seems to fall
On comely altar, transept fair;
The saints are still on frescoed wall,
But who comes thither now for prayer?

Men throng from far-off stranger land,
To stare, to wonder, not to kneel,
With map and guide-book in their hand
To tell them what to think and feel.

They scan, they prate, they marvel why
The figures still expressive glow,
Oblivious they were painted by
Adoring Frà Angelico.

Did Dante from his tomb afar
Return, his wrongs redressed at last,
And see you, Florence, as you are,
Half alien to your gracious Past,

Finding no Donatello now,
No reverent Giotto 'mong the quick,
To glorify ascetic vow
Of Francis or of Dominic;

Self-exiled by yet sterner fate
Than erst, he would from wandering cease,
And, ringing at monastic gate,
Plead, ``I am one who craves for peace.''

And what he sought but ne'er could find,
Shall I, less worthy, hope to gain,
The freedom of the tranquil mind,
The lordship over loss and pain?

More than such peace I found when I
Did first, in unbound youth, repair
To Tuscan shrine, Ausonian sky.
I found it, for I brought it there.


XXXVI

Yet Art brings peace, itself is Peace,
And, as I on these frescoes gaze,
I feel all fretful tumults cease
And harvest calm of mellower days.

For Soul too hath its seasons. Time,
That leads Spring, Summer, Autumn, round,
Makes our ephemeral passions chime
With something permanent and profound.

And, as in Nature, April oft
Strives to revert to wintry hours,
But shortly upon garth and croft
Re-sheds warm smiles and moistening showers,

Or, for one day, will Autumn wear
The gayer garments of the Spring,
And then athwart the wheatfields bare
Again her graver shadows fling;

So, though the Soul hath moods that veer,
And seem to hold no Rule in awe,
Like the procession of the year,
It too obeys the sovran Law.

Nor Art itself brings settled peace,
Until the mind is schooled to know
That gusts subside and tumults cease
Only in sunset's afterglow.

Life's contradictions vanish then,
Husht thought replacing clashing talk
Among the windy ways of men.
'Tis in the twilight Angels walk.


ROME


XXXVII

The last warm gleams of sunset fade
From cypress spire and stonepine dome,
And, in the twilight's deepening shade,
Lingering, I scan the wrecks of Rome.

Husht the Madonna's Evening Bell;
The steers lie loosed from wain and plough;
The vagrant monk is in his cell,
The meek nun-novice cloistered now.

Pedant's presumptuous voice no more
Vexes the spot where Caesar trod,
And o'er the pavement's soundless floor
Come banished priest and exiled God.

The lank-ribbed she-wolf, couched among
The regal hillside's tangled scrubs,
With doting gaze and fondling tongue
Suckles the Vestal's twin-born cubs.

Yet once again Evander leads
Æneas to his wattled home,
And, throned on Tiber's fresh-cut reeds,
Talks of burnt Troy and rising Rome.

From out the tawny dusk one hears
The half-feigned scream of Sabine maids,
The rush to arms, then swift the tears
That separate the clashing blades.

The Lictors with their fasces throng
To quell the Commons' rising roar,
As Tullia's chariot flames along,
Splashed with her murdered father's gore.

Her tresses free from band or comb,
Love-dimpled Venus, lithe and tall,
And fresh as Fiumicino's foam,
Mounts her pentelic pedestal.

With languid lids, and lips apart,
And curving limbs like wave half-furled,
Unarmed she dominates the heart,
And without sceptre sways the world.

Nerved by her smile, avenging Mars
Stalks through the Forum's fallen fanes,
Or, changed of mien and healed of scars,
Threads sylvan slopes and vineyard plains.

With waves of song from wakening lyre
Apollo routs the wavering night,
While, parsley-crowned, the white-robed choir
Wind chanting up the Sacred Height,

Where Jove, with thunder-garlands wreathed,
And crisp locks frayed like fretted foam,
Sits with his lightnings half unsheathed,
And frowns against the foes of Rome.

You cannot kill the Gods. They still
Reclaim the thrones where once they reigned,
Rehaunt the grove, remount the rill,
And renovate their rites profaned.

Diana's hounds still lead the chase,
Still Neptune's Trident crests the sea,
And still man's spirit soars through space
On feathered heels of Mercury.

No flood can quench the Vestals' Fire;
The Flamen's robes are still as white
As ere the Salii's armoured choir
Were drowned by droning anchorite.

The saint may seize the siren's seat,
The shaveling frown where frisked the Faun;
Ne'er will, though all beside should fleet,
The Olympian Presence be withdrawn.

Here, even in the noontide glare,
The Gods, recumbent, take their ease;
Go look, and you will find them there,
Slumbering behind some fallen frieze.

But most, when sunset glow hath paled,
And come, as now, the twilight hour,
In vesper vagueness dimly veiled
I feel their presence and their power.

What though their temples strew the ground,
And to the ruin owls repair,
Their home, their haunt, is all around;
They drive the cloud, they ride the air.

And, when the planets wend their way
Along the never-ageing skies,
``Revere the Gods'' I hear them say;
``The Gods are old, the Gods are wise.''

Build as man may, Time gnaws and peers
Through marble fissures, granite rents;
Only Imagination rears
Imperishable monuments.

Let Gaul and Goth pollute the shrine,
Level the altar, fire the fane:
There is no razing the Divine;
The Gods return, the Gods remain.


XXXVIII

Christ is arisen. The place wherein
They laid Him shows but cerements furled,
And belfry answers belfry's din
To ring the tidings round the world.

Grave Hierarchs come, an endless band,
In jewelled mitre, cope embossed,
Who bear Rome's will to every land
In all the tongues of Pentecost.

Majestic, along marble floor,
Walk Cardinals in blood-red robe,
Martyrs for Faith and Christ no more,
Who gaze as though they ruled the globe.

With halberds bare and doublets slashed,
Emblems that war will never cease,
Come martial guardians, unabashed,
And march afront the Prince of Peace.

Then, in his gestatorial Chair
See Christ's vicegerent, bland, benign,
To crowds all prostrate as in prayer
Lean low, and make the Holy Sign.

Then trumpets shrill, and organ peals,
Throughout the mighty marble pile,
Whileas a myriad concourse kneels
In dense-packed nave and crowded aisle.

Hark to the sudden hush! Aloft
From unseen source in empty dome
Swells prayerful music silvery-soft,
Borne from far-off celestial Home.

Then, when the solemn rite is done,
The worshippers stream out to where
Dance fountains glittering in the sun,
While expectation fills the air.

Now on high balcony He stands,
And-save for the Colonna curse,-
Blesses with high-uplifted hands
The City and the Universe.

Christ is arisen! But scarce as when,
On the third day of death and gloom,
Came ever-loving Magdalen
With tears and spices to His tomb.


XXXIX

The Tiber winds its sluggish way
Through niggard tracts whence Rome's command
Once cast the shadow of her sway,
O'er Asian city, Afric sand.

Nor even yet doth She resign
Her sceptre. Still the spell is hers,
Though she may seem a rifled shrine
'Mid circumjacent sepulchres.

One after one, they came, they come,
Gaul, Goth, Savoy, to work their will;
She answers, when She most seems dumb,
``I wore the Crown, I wear it still.

``From Jove I first received the gift,
I from Jehovah wear it now,
Nor shall profane invader lift
The diadem from off my brow.

``The Past is mine, and on the Past
The Future builds; and Time will rear
The next strong structure on the last,
Where men behold but shattered tier.

``The Teuton hither hies to teach,
To prove, disprove, to delve and probe.
Fool! Pedant! Does he think to reach
The deep foundations of the globe?''

For me, I am content to tread
On Sabine dust and Gothic foe.
Leave me to deepening silent dread
Of vanished Empire's afterglow.

In this Imperial wilderness
Why rashly babble and explore?
O, let me know a little less,
So I may feel a little more!


XL

For upward of one thousand years,
Here men and women prayed to Jove,
With smiles and incense, gifts and tears,
In secret shrine, or civic grove;

And, when Jove did not seem to heed,
Sought Juno's mediatorial power,
Or begged fair Venus intercede
And melt him in his amorous hour.

Sages invoked Minerva's might;
The Poet, ere he struck the lyre,
Prayed to the God of Song and Light
To touch the strings with hallowed fire.

With flaming herbs were altars smoked
Sprinkled with blood and perfumed must,
And gods and goddesses invoked
To second love or sanction lust.

And did they hear and heed the prayer,
Or, through that long Olympian reign,
Were they divinities of air
Begot of man's fantastic brain?

In Roman halls their statues still
Serenely stand, but no one now
Ascends the Capitolian Hill,
To render thanks, or urge the vow.

Through now long centuries hath Rome
Throned other God, preached other Creed,
That here still have their central home,
And feed man's hope, content his need.

Against these, too, will Time prevail?
No! Let whatever gestates, be,
Secure will last the tender tale
From Bethlehem to Calvary.

Throughout this world of pain and loss,
Man ne'er will cease to bend his knee
To Crown of Thorns, to Spear, to Cross,
And Doorway of Humility.


XLI

If Reason be the sole safe guide
In man implanted from above,
Why crave we for one only face,
Why consecrate the name of Love?

Faces there are no whit less fair,
Yet ruddier lip, more radiant eye,
Same rippling smile, same auburn hair,
But not for us. Say, Reason, why.

Why bound our hearts when April pied
Comes singing, or when hawthorn blows?
Doth logic in the lily hide,
And where's the reason in the rose?

Why weld our keels and launch our ships,
If Reason urge some wiser part,
Kiss England's Flag with dying lips
And fold its glories to the heart?

In this gross world we touch and see,
If Reason be no trusty guide,
For world unseen why should it be
The sole explorer justified?

The homing swallow knows its nest,
Sure curves the comet to its goal,
Instinct leads Autumn to its rest,
And why not Faith the homing soul?

Is Reason so aloof, aloft,
It doth not 'gainst itself rebel,
And are not Reason's reasonings oft
By Reason proved unreasonable?

He is perplexed no more, who prays,
``Hail, Mary Mother, full of grace!''
O drag me from Doubt's endless maze,
And let me see my Loved One's face!


XLII

``Upon this rock!'' Yet even here
Where Christian God ousts Pagan wraith,
Rebellious Reason whets its spear,
And smites upon the shield of Faith.

On sacred mount, down seven-hilled slopes,
Fearless it faces foe and friend,
Saying to man's immortal hopes,
``Whatso began, perforce must end.''

Not men alone, but gods too, die;
Fanes are, like hearths, left bare and lone;
This earth will into fragments fly,
And Heaven itself be overthrown.

Why then should Man immortal be?
He is but fleeting form, to fade,
Like momentary cloud, or sea
Of waves dispersed as soon as made.

Yet if 'tis Force, not Form, survives,
Meseems therein that one may find
Some comfort for distressful lives;
For, if Force ends not, why should Mind?

Is Doubt more forceful than Belief?
The doctor's cap than friar's cowl?
O ripeness of the falling leaf!
O wisdom of the moping owl!

Man's Mind will ever stand apart
From Science, save this have for goal
The evolution of the heart,
And sure survival of the Soul.


XLIII

The Umbilicum lonely stands
Where once rose porch and vanished dome;
But he discerns who understands
That every road may lead to Rome.

Enthroned in Peter's peaceful Chair,
The spiritual Caesar sways
A wider Realm of earth and air
Than trembled at Octavian's gaze.

His universal arms embrace
The saint, the sinner, and the sage,
And proffer refuge, comfort, grace
To tribulation's pilgrimage.

Here scientific searchers find
Precursors for two thousand years,
Who in a drouthy world divined
Fresh springs for human doubts and fears.

Here fair chaste Agnes veils her face
From prowlers of the sensual den,
And pity, pardon, and embrace
Await repentant Magdalen.

Princess and peasant-mother wend
To self-same altar, self-same shrine,
And Cardinal and Patriarch bend
Where lepers kneel, and beggars whine.

And is there then, in my distress,
No road, no gate, no shrine, for me?
The answer comes, ``Yes, surely, yes!
The Doorway of Humility.''

O rival Faiths! O clamorous Creeds!
Would you but hush your strife in prayer,
And raise one Temple for our needs,
Then, then, we all might worship there.

But dogma new with dogma old
Clashes to soothe the spirit's grief,
And offer to the unconsoled
Polyglot Babel of Belief!


XLIV

The billows roll, and rise, and break,
Around me; fixedly shine the stars
In clear dome overhead, and take
Their course, unheeding earthly jars.

Yet if one's upward gaze could be
But stationed where the planets are,
The star were restless as the sea,
The sea be tranquil as the star.

Hollowed like cradle, then like grave,
Now smoothly curved, now shapeless spray,
Withal the undirected wave
Forms, and reforms, and knows its way.

Then, waters, bear me on where He,
Ere death absolved at Christian font,
Removed Rome's menaced majesty
Eastward beyond the Hellespont.

Foreseeing not what Fate concealed,
But Time's caprice would there beget,
That Cross would unto Crescent yield,
Caesar and Christ to Mahomet.

Is it then man's predestined state
To search for, ne'er to find, the Light?
Arise, my Star, illuminate
These empty spaces of the Night!


XLV

Last night I heard the cuckoo call
Among the moist green glades of home,
And in the Chase around the Hall
Saw the May hawthorn flower and foam.

Deep in the wood where primrose stars
Paled before bluebell's dazzling reign,
The nightingale's sad sobbing bars
Rebuked the merle's too joyful strain.

The kine streamed forth from stall and byre,
The foal frisked round its mother staid,
The meads, by sunshine warmed, took fire,
And lambs in pasture, bleating, played.

The uncurbed rivulets raced to where
The statelier river curled and wound,
And trout, of human step aware,
Shot through the wave without a sound.

Adown the village street, as clear
As in one's wakeful mid-day hours,
Beheld I Monica drawing near,
Her vestal lap one crib of flowers.

Lending no look to me, she passed
By the stone path, as oft before,
Between old mounds Spring newly grassed,
And entered through the Little Door.

Led by her feet, I hastened on,
But, ere my feverish steps could get
To the low porch, lo! Morning shone
On Moslem dome and minaret!


CONSTANTINOPLE

XLVI

Now Vesper brings the sunset hour,
And, where crusading Knighthood trod,
Muezzin from his minaret tower
Proclaims, ``There is no God but God!''

Male God who shares his godhead with
No Virgin Mother's sacred tear,
But finds on earth congenial kith
In wielders of the sword and spear:

Male God who on male lust bestows
The ruddy lip, the rounded limb,
And promises, at battle's close,
Houri, not saint nor seraphim.

Swift through the doubly-guarded stream,
Shoots the caïque 'neath oarsmen brisk,
While from its cushioned cradle gleam
The eyes of yashmaked odalisque.

Unchanged adown the changing years,
Here where the Judas blossoms blaze,
Against Sophia's marble piers
The scowling Muslim lean and gaze;

And still at sunset's solemn hour,
Where Christ's devout Crusader trod,
Defiant from the minaret's tower
Proclaim, ``There is no God but God!''


XLVII

Three rival Rituals. One revered
In that loved English hamlet where,
With flowers in Vicarage garden reared,
She decks the altar set for prayer:

Another, where majestic Rome,
With fearless Faith and flag unfurled
'Gainst Doubt's ephemeral wave and foam,
Demands obedience from the world.

The third, where now I stand, and where
Two hoary Continents have met,
And Islam guards from taint and tare
Monistic Creed of Mahomet.

Yet older than all three, but banned
To suffer still the exile's doom
From shrine where Turkish sentries stand,
And Christians wrangle round Christ's tomb.

Where then find Creed, divine or dead,
All may embrace, and none contemn?-
Remember Who it was that said,
``Not here, nor at Jerusalem!''


ATHENS


XLVIII< br>
To Acrocorinth's brow I climb,
And, lulled in retrospective bliss,
Descry, as through the mists of time,
Faintly the far Acropolis.

Below me, rivers, mountains, vales,
Wide stretch of ancient Hellas lies:
Symbol of Song that never fails,
Parnassus communes with the skies.

I linger, dream-bound by the Past,
Till sundown joins time's deep abyss,
Then skirt, through shadows moonlight-cast,
Lone strand of sailless Salamis,

Until Eleusis gleams through dawn,
Where, though a suppliant soul I come,
The veil remains still unwithdrawn,
And all the Oracles are dumb.

So onward to the clear white Light,
Where, though the worshippers be gone,
Abides on unmysterious height
The calm unquestioning Parthenon.

Find I, now there I stand at last,
That naked Beauty, undraped Truth,
Can satisfy our yearnings vast,
The doubts of age, the dreams of youth;

That, while we ask, in futile strife,
From altar, tripod, fount, or well,
Form is the secret soul of life,
And Art the only Oracle;

That Hera and Athena, linked
With Aphrodite, hush distress,
And, in their several gifts distinct,
Withal are Triune Goddesses?

That mortal wiser then was He
Who gave the prize to Beauty's smile,
Divides his gifts among the Three,
And thuswise baffles Discord's guile?

But who is wise? The nobler twain,
Who the restraining girdle wear,
Contend too often all in vain
With sinuous curve and frolic hair.

Just as one sees in marble, still,
Pan o'er Apollo's shoulder lean,
Suggesting to the poet's quill
The sensual note, the hint obscene.

Doth then the pure white Light grow dim,
And must it be for ever thus?
Listen! I hear a far-off Hymn,
Veni, Creator, Spiritus!


XLIX

The harvest of Hymettus drips
As sweet as when the Attic bees
Swarmed round the honey-laden lips
Of heavenly-human Sophocles.

The olives are as green in grove
As in the days the poets bless,
When Pallas with Poseidon strove
To be the City's Patroness.

The wine-hued main, white marble frieze,
Dome of blue ether over all,
One still beholds, but nowhere sees
Panathenaic Festival.

O'erhead, no Zeus or frowns or nods,
Olympus none in air or skies;
Below, a sepulchre of Gods,
And tombs of dead Divinities.

Yet, are they dead? Still stricken blind,
Tiresiaslike, are they that see,
With bold uncompromising mind,
Wisdom in utter nudity;

Experiencing a kindred fate
With the First Parents of us all,
Jehovah thrust through Eden's Gate,
When Knowledge brought about their Fall.

Hath Aphrodite into foam,
Whence She first flowered, sunk back once more,
And doth She nowhere find a home,
Or worship, upon Christian shore?

Her shrine is in the human breast,
To find her none need soar or dive.
Goodness or Loveliness our quest,
The ever-helpful Gods survive.

Hellas retorts, when Hebrew gibes
At Gods of levity and lust,
``God of Judaea's wandering tribes
Was jealous, cruel, and unjust.''

Godhead, withal, remains the same,
And Art embalms its symbols still;
As Poets, when athirst for Fame,
Still dream of Aganippe's rill.


L

Why still pursue a bootless quest,
And wander heartsore farther East,
Because unanswered, south or west,
By Pagan seer or Christian priest?

Brahma and Buddha, what have they
To offer to my shoreless search?
``Let Contemplation be,'' they say,
``Your ritual, Nothingness your Church.

``Passion and purpose both forsake,
Echoes from non-existent wall;
We do but dream we are awake,
Ourselves the deepest dream of all.

``We dream we think, feel, touch, and see,
And what these are, still dreaming, guess,
Though there is no Reality
Behind their fleeting semblances.''

Thus the East answers my appeal,
Denies, and so illudes, my want.
Alas! Could I but cease to feel,
Brahma should be my Hierophant.

But, hampered by my Western mind,
I cannot set the Spirit free
From Matter, but Illusion find,
Of all, the most illusory.


DELPHI


LI

The morning mists that hid the bay
And curtained mountains fast asleep,
Begin to feel the touch of day,
And roll from off both wave and steep.

In floating folds they curve and rise,
Then slowly melt and merge in air,
Till high above me glow the skies,
And cloudless sunshine everywhere.

Parnassus wears nor veil nor frown,
Windless the eagle wings his way,
As I from Delphi gaze adown
On Salona and Amphissa.

It was the sovran Sun that drew
Aloft and scattered morning haze,
And now fills all the spacious blue
With its own glorifying rays.

And, no less sovran than the sun,
Imagination brings relief
Of morning light to shadows dun,
To heart's distress, and spirit's grief.

Parnassus boasts no loftier peak
Than Poet's heavenward song; which, though
Harbouring among the sad and weak,
Lifteth aloft man's griefs below.

Though sun-bronzed Phocian maidens lave
Their kerchiefs in Castalia's spring,
The Muses linger round its wave,
And aid the pilgrim sent to sing.

And, listening there, I seem to hear
The unseen Oracle say, ``Be strong:
Subdue the sigh, repress the tear,
And let not sorrow silence Song.

``You now have learnt enough from pain;
And, if worse anguish lurk behind,
Breathe in it some unselfish strain,
And with grief's wisdom aid your kind.

``Who but of his own suffering sings,
Is like an eagle, robbed, distressed,
That vainly shrieks and beats its wings,
Because it cannot find its nest.

``Let male Imagination wed
The orphan, Sorrow, to console
Its virgin loneness, whence are bred
Serenity and self-control.

``Hence let the classic breezes blow
You to your Land beyond the sea,
That you may make, for others' woe,
Your own a healing melody;

``To wintry woe no more a slave,
But, having dried your April tears,
Behold a helpful harvest wave
From ridges of the fallow years.''


LII

Rebuked thus by the stately Past,
Whose solemn choruses endure
Through voices new and visions vast,
And centuries of sepulture,

Because, serene, it never blinked
At sheen or shadow of the sun,
But Hades and Olympus linked
With Salamis and Marathon;

Which held despondency at bay
And, while revering Fate's decree,
Reconciled with majestic lay
Man to the Human Tragedy;

To Gods of every land I vowed,
Judaea, Hellas, Mecca, Rome,
No more to live by sorrow bowed,
But, wending backward to my home,

Thenceforth to muse on woe more wide
Than individual distress,
The loftier Muses for my guide,
Minerva for my monitress;

Nor yet to scorn the tender aid
Of Christian martyr, virgin, sage,
And, meekly pondering in the shade,
Proffer ripe counsel to my Age.

And, haply, since 'tis Song alone
Can baffle death, and conquer time,
Maiden unborn in days unknown,
Under the leaves of fragrant lime,

Scanning the verse that here is writ,
While cherishing some secret smart
Of love or loss, may glean from it
Some comfort for her weary heart;

And, gently warned, grave minds may own
The world hath more to bear than they,
And, while I dream 'neath mossy stone,
Repeat my name, and love my lay.


LIII

Scarce to the all-indwelling Power
That vow was uttered, ere there came
A messenger in boyhood's flower,
Winged with his search, his face aflame.

From Amphissa he straight had clomb,
Thridding that devious mountain land,
With letter from my far-off home,
And written by my Loved One's hand.

``Come to me where I drooping lie.
None yet have died of Love, they say:
Withal, I sometimes think that I
Have prayed and sighed my life away.

``I want your absolution, dear,
For whatso wrong I may have done;
My conscience waneth less severe,
In softness of the setting sun.

``'Twas I, 'twas I, far more than you,
That stood in need, as now I see,
Stooping, to enter meekly through
The Doorway of Humility.

``In vain I turn to Throne of Grace,
Where sorrows cease, and tears are dry;
I fain once more would see your face,
And hear your voice, before I die.''


ENGLAND


LIV

T he oak logs smoulder on my hearth,
Though round them hums no household talk;
The roses in the garden-garth
Hang mournfully on curving stalk.

My wolf-hound round me leaps and bays,
That wailed lost footsteps when I went:
He little knows the grief that weighs
On my return from banishment.

Half Autumn now, half Summer yet,
For Nature hath a human heart,
It seems as though they, having met,
To take farewell, are loth to part.

The splendour of the Year's decline
Hath not yet come. One still can see
Late honeysuckle intertwine
With Maiden's-Bower and briony.

The bracken-fronds, fast yellowing, tower
From out sere needles of the pine;
Now hawkweed blooms where foxgloves flower,
And bramble where once eglantine.

And, as I wend with hurrying feet
Across the park, along the lane
That leads unto the hamlet street,
And cradle of my bliss and bane,

In cottage plots on either side,
O'er mignonette and fragrant stock
Soar tiger-lilies lithe and tall,
And homely-sheltered hollyhock.

And when I reach the low grey wall
That skirts God's-acre on the hill,
I see, awaiting my recall,
The Little Door stand open still.

A dip, a slight descent, and then
Into the Vicarage Walk I passed;
It seemed as though the tongues of men
Had left it since I saw it last.

Round garden-plot, in westering sun,
Her agëd parents slowly stepped:
Her Mother had the face of one
Who oft hath prayed, and oft hath wept.

She wore the silent plaintive grace
Of Autumn just before its close,
And on her slowly fading face
The pathos of November rose.

With pitying gaze and accents kind,
``Go in,'' she said, ``and mount the stair;
And you through open door will find
That Monica awaits you there.''


LV

I mounted. At half-open door
Pausing, I softly called her name,
As one would pause and halt before
Heaven's Gateway. But no answer came.

She lies, methought, in Sleep's caress,
So, passing in, I seemed to see,
So saintly white the vision, less
A chamber than a Sanctuary.

Vestured in white, on snow-white bed,
She lay, as dreaming something sweet,
Madonna lilies at her head,
Madonna lilies at her feet.

A thought, I did not dare to speak,-
``Is this the sleep of life or death?''
And, with my cheek against her cheek,
Listening, I seemed to hear her breath.

'Twas Love's last blindness not to see
Her sinless soul had taken wing
Unto the Land, if such there be,
Where saints adore, and Seraphs sing.

And yet I felt within my heart,
Though lids were closed and lips were dumb,
That, for Love's sake, her soul in part
Had lingered here, till I should come.

I kissed her irresponsive hand,
I laid my lips on her cold brow,
That She, like me, should understand
'Twas thus I sealed our nuptial vow.

And then I saw upon her breast
A something writ, she fain had said
Had I been near, to me addressed,
Which, kneeling down, I took and read.


LVI

``I prayed I might prolong my years
Till you could come and hush my sighs,
And dry my penitential tears;
But Heaven hath willed it otherwise:

``That I may expiate the wrong
By me inflicted on us both,
When, yet Love's novice, feebly strong,
I sinned against Love's sovran troth.

``Now Death, the mirror unto Life,
Shows me that nought should keep apart
Those who, though sore perplexed by strife
'Twixt Faith and Doubt, are one in heart.

``For Doubt is one with Faith when they,
Who doubt, for Truth's sake suffering live;
And Faith meanwhile should hope and pray,
Withholding not what Love can give.

``We lead the blind by voice and hand,
And not by light they cannot see;
We are not framed to understand
The How and Why of such as He,

``But natured only to rejoice
At every sound or sign of hope,
And, guided by the still small voice,
In patience through the darkness grope;

``Until our finer sense expands,
And we exchange for holier sight
The earthly help of voice and hands,
And in His light behold the Light.

``Had my poor Love but been more wise,
I should have ta'en you to my breast,
Striving to hush your plaintive cries,
And rock your Reason back to rest.

``But, though alone you now must tread
Where we together should have trod,
In loneliness you may be led,
Through faith in me, to Faith in God.

``With tranquil purpose, fervent mind,
Foster, while you abide on earth,
And humbly proffer to your kind,
The gift assigned to you at birth.

``As in the far-off boyish year
When did your singing voice awake,
Disinterestedly revere
And love it for its own great sake.

``And when life takes autumnal hues,
With fervent reminiscence woo
All the affections of the Muse,
And write the poem lived by you.

``And should, until your days shall end,
You still the lyric voice retain,
With its seductive music blend
A graver note, a loftier strain.

``While buoyant youth and manhood strong
Follow where Siren sounds entice,
The Deities of Love and Song,
Rapture and loveliness, suffice.

``But when decay, and pain, and loss,
Remind one of the Goal forgot,
And we in turn must bear the Cross,
The Pagan Gods can help us not.

``Nor need you then seek, far and near,
More sumptuous shrines on alien strand,
But with domestic mind revere
The Ritual of your native Land.

``The Little Door stands open wide,
And, if you meekly pass therethrough,
Though I no longer kneel inside,
I shall be hovering near to you.

``Farewell! till you shall learn the whole
Of what we here but see in part.
Now I to God commend my soul,
And unto you I leave my heart.''


LVII

I wended up the slope once more
To where the Church stands lone and still,
And passed beneath the Little Door,
My will the subject of Her will.

The sunset rays through pictured pane
Fell, fretted into weft and woof,
On transept, nave, and aisle, to wane
On column cold and vaulted roof.

Within the carven altar screen
Were lilies tall, and white, and fair,
So like to those I late had seen,
It seemed She must be sleeping there.

Mutely I knelt, with bended brow
And shaded eyes, but heart intent,
To learn, should any teach me now,
What Life, and Love, and Sorrow meant.

And there remained until the shroud
Of dusk foretold the coming night;
And then I rose, and prayed aloud,
``Let there be Light! Let there be Light!''

by Alfred Austin.