A Vow To Venus
Happily I had a sight
Of my dearest dear last night;
Make her this day smile on me,
And I'll roses give to thee!
by Robert Herrick.
A Deep-Sworn Vow
OTHERS because you did not keep
That deep-sworn vow have been friends of mine;
Yet always when I look death in the face,
When I clamber to the heights of sleep,
Or when I grow excited with wine,
Suddenly I meet your face.
A month ago Lysander pray'd
To Jove, to Cupid, and to Venus,
That he might die if he betray'd
A single vow that pass'd between us.
Ah, careless gods, to hear so ill
And cheat a maid on you relying!
For false Lysander's thriving still,
And 'tis Corinna lies a-dying.
His Covenant Or Protestation To Julia
Why dost thou wound and break my heart,
As if we should for ever part?
Hast thou not heard an oath from me,
After a day, or two, or three,
I would come back and live with thee?
Take, if thou dost distrust that vow,
This second protestation now:--
Upon thy cheek that spangled tear,
Which sits as dew of roses there,
That tear shall scarce be dried before
I'll kiss the threshold of thy door;
Then weep not, Sweet, but thus much know,--
I'm half returned before I go.
by Robert Herrick.
Song From Marriage-A-La-Mode
Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now,
When passion is decayed?
We loved, and we loved, as long as we could,
Till our love was loved out in us both;
But our marriage is dead when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.
If I have pleasures for a friend,
And farther love in store,
What wrong has he whose joys did end,
And who could give no more?
'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me,
Or that I should bar him of another;
For all we can gain is to give ourselves pain,
When neither can hinder the other.
by John Dryden.
A Vow To Love Faithfully, Howsoever He Be Rewarded
SET me whereas the sun doth parch the green
Or where his beams do not dissolve the ice ;
In temperate heat, where he is felt and seen ;
In presence prest1 of people, mad, or wise ;
Set me in high, or yet in low degree ;
In longest night, or in the shortest day ;
In clearest sky, or where clouds thickest be ;
In lusty youth, or when my hairs are gray :
Set me in heaven, in earth, or else in hell,
In hill, or dale, or in the foaming flood ;
Thrall, or at large, alive whereso I dwell,
Sick, or in health, in evil fame or good,
Her's will I be ; and only with this thought
Content myself, although my chance be nought.
by Henry Howard.
Sonnet 32 - The First Time That The Sun Rose On Thine Oath
The first time that the sun rose on thine oath
To love me, I looked forward to the moon
To slacken all those bonds which seemed too soon
And quickly tied to make a lasting troth.
Quick-loving hearts, I thought, may quickly loathe;
And, looking on myself, I seemed not one
For such man's love!—more like an out-of-tune
Worn viol, a good singer would be wroth
To spoil his song with, and which, snatched in haste,
Is laid down at the first ill-sounding note.
I did not wrong myself so, but I placed
A wrong on thee. For perfect strains may float
'Neath master-hands, from instruments defaced,—
And great souls, at one stroke, may do and doat.
Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now
When passion is decay'd?
We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,
Till our love was lov'd out in us both:
But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.
If I have pleasures for a friend,
And farther love in store,
What wrong has he whose joys did end,
And who could give no more?
'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me,
Or that I should bar him of another:
For all we can gain is to give our selves pain,
When neither can hinder the other.
by John Dryden.
Why Should A Foolish Marriage Vow
Why should a foolish marriage vow,
Which long ago was made,
Oblige us to each other now
When passion is decay'd?
We lov'd, and we lov'd, as long as we could,
Till our love was lov'd out in us both:
But our marriage is dead, when the pleasure is fled:
'Twas pleasure first made it an oath.
If I have pleasures for a friend,
And farther love in store,
What wrong has he whose joys did end,
And who could give no more?
'Tis a madness that he should be jealous of me,
Or that I should bar him of another:
For all we can gain is to give our selves pain,
When neither can hinder the other.
by John Dryden.
ON a fair Sabbath day, when His banquet is spread,
It is pleasant to feast with my Lord:
His stewards stand robed at the foot and the head
Of the soul-filling, life-giving board.
All the guests here had burthens; but by the King's grant
We left them behind when we came;
The burthen of wealth and the burthen of want,
And even the burthen of shame.
And oh, when we take them again at the gate,
Though still we must bear them awhile,
Much smaller they'll seem in the lane that grows strait,
And much lighter to lift at the stile.
For that which is in us is life to the heart,
Is dew to the soles of the feet,
Fresh strength to the loins, giving ease from their smart,
Warmth in frost, and a breeze in the heat.
No feast where the belly alone hath its fill,—
He gives me His body and blood;
The blood and the body (I'll think of it still)
Of my Lord, which is Christ, which is God.
VVhen first the Magick of thine ey,
Usurpt upon my liberty,
Triumphing in my hearts spoyl, thou
Didst lock up thine in such a vow;
When I prove false, may the bright day
Be govern'd by the Moons pale ray!
(As I too well remember) This
Thou said'st, and seald'st it with a kiss.
O Heavens! and could so soon that Ty
Relent in slack Apostacy?
Could all thy Oaths, and morgag'd trust,
Vanish? like letters form'd in dust
Which the next wind scatters. Take heed,
Take heed Revolter; know this deed
Hath wrong'd the world, which will fare worse
By thy Example then thy Curse.
Hide that false Brow in mists. Thy shame
Ne're see light more, but the dimme flame
Of funeral Lamps. Thus sit and moane,
And learn to keep thy guilt at home.
Give it no vent; for if agen
Thy Love or Vowes betray more men,
At length (I fear) thy perjur'd breath
Will blow out day, and waken Death.
by Henry King.
There's No To-Morrow
Two long had Lov'd, and now the Nymph desir'd,
The Cloak of Wedlock, as the Case requir'd;
Urg'd that, the Day he wrought her to this Sorrow,
He Vow'd, that he wou'd marry her To-Morrow.
Agen he Swears, to shun the present Storm,
That he, To-Morrow, will that Vow perform.
The Morrows in their due Successions came;
Impatient still on Each, the pregnant Dame
Urg'd him to keep his Word, and still he swore the same.
When tir'd at length, and meaning no Redress,
But yet the Lye not caring to confess,
He for his Oath this Salvo chose to borrow,
That he was Free, since there was no To-Morrow;
For when it comes in Place to be employ'd,
'Tis then To-Day; To-Morrow's ne'er enjoy'd.
The Tale's a Jest, the Moral is a Truth;
To-Morrow and To-Morrow, cheat our Youth:
In riper Age, To-Morrow still we cry,
Not thinking, that the present Day we Dye;
Unpractis'd all the Good we had Design'd;
There's No To-Morrow to a Willing Mind.
AND the night was dark and calm,
There was not a breath of air,
The leaves of the grove were still,
As the presence of death were there;
Only a moaning sound
Came from the distant sea,
It was as if, like life,
It had no tranquillity.
A warrior and a child
Pass'd through the sacred wood,
Which, like a mystery,
Around the temple stood.
The warrior's brow was worn
With the weight of casque and plume,
And sun-burnt was his cheek,
And his eye and brow were gloom.
The child was young and fair,
But the forehead large and high,
And the dark eyes' flashing light
Seem'd to feel their destiny.
They enter'd in the temple,
And stood before the shrine,
It stream'd with the victim's blood,
With incense and with wine.
The ground rock'd beneath their feet,
The thunder shook the dome,
But the boy stood firm, and swore
Eternal hate to Rome.
There's a page in history
O'er which tears of blood were wept,
And that page is the record
How that oath of hate was kept.
The Wedding Sermon
'Now, while she's changing,' said the Dean,
'Her bridal for her traveling dress,
I'll preach allegiance to your queen!
Preaching's the thing which I profess;
And one more minute's mine! You know
I've paid my girl a father's debt,
And this last charge is all I owe.
She's yours; but I love more than yet
You can; such fondness only wakes
When time has raised the heart above
The prejudice of youth, which makes
Beauty conditional to love.
Prepare to meet the weak alarms
Of novel nearness; recollect
The eye which magnifies her charms
Is microscopic for defect.
Fear comes at first; but soon, rejoiced,
You'll find your strong and tender loves,
Like holy rocks by Druids poised,
The least force shakes, but none removes.
Her strength is your esteem; beware
Of finding fault; her will's unnerved
By blame; from you 'twould be despair;
But praise that is not quite deserved
Will all her noble nature move
To make your utmost wishes true.
Yet think, while mending thus your Love,
Of matching her ideal too!
The death of nuptial joy is sloth;
To keep your mistress in your wife,
Keep to the very height your oath,
And honor her with arduous life.
Lastly, no personal reverence doff.
Life's all externals unto those
Who pluck the blushing petals off,
To find the secret of the rose. -
How long she's tarrying! Green's Hotel
I'm sure you'll like. The charge is fair,
The wines good. I remember well
I stayed once, with her mother, there.
A tender conscience of her vow
That mother had! She's so like her!'
But Mrs. Fife, much flurried, now
Whispered, 'Miss Honor's ready, sir.'
by Coventry Patmore.
My Beloved Is Mine And I Am His
Even like two little bank-dividing brooks,
That wash the pebbles with their wanton stream,
And having ranged and searched a thousand nook
Meet both at length in silver-breasted Thames
Where in a greater current they conjoin
So I my Best-Beloved's am, so he is mine
Even so we met; and after long pursuit
Even so we joined; we both became entire
No need for either to renew a suit,
For I was flax and he was flames of fire
Our firm united souls did more than
So I my Best-Beloved's am, so he is mine.
If all those glittering monarchs that command
The servile quarters of this earthly ball
Should tender in exchange their shares of land,
I would not change my fortunes for them all:
Their wealth is but a counter to my coin;
The world's but theirs, but my Beloved's mine.
Nay, more: if the fair Thespian ladies all
Should heap together their diviner treasure,
That treasure should be deemed a price too small
To buy a minute's lease of half my pleasure.
'Tis not the sacred wealth of all the Nine
Can buy my heart from him, or his from being mine.
Nor time, nor place, nor chance, nor death can bow
My least desires unto the least remove;
He's firmly mine by oath, I his by vow;
He's mine by faith, and I am his by love;
He's mine by water, I am his by wine;
"Thus I my Best?Beloved's am, thus he is mine.
He is my altar, I his holy place;
I am his guest, and he my living food;
I'm his by penitence, he mine by grace;
I'm his by purchase, he is mine by blood;
He's my supporting elm, and I his vine:
Thus I my Best-Beloved's am, thus he is mine.
He gives me wealth, I give him all my vows;
I give him songs, he gives me length of days;
With wreaths of grace he crowns my conquering brows;
And I his temples with a crown of praise,
Which he accepts as an everlasting sign,
That I my Best-Beloved's am; that he is mine.
by Francis Quarles.
THIS last denial of my faith,
Thou, solemn Priest, hast heard;
And, though upon my bed of death,
I call not back a word.
Point not to thy Madonna, Priest,
Thy sightless saint of stone;
She cannot, from this burning breast,
Wring one repentant moan.
Thou say'st, that when a sinless child,
I duly bent the knee,
And prayed to what in marble smiled
Cold, lifeless, mute, on me.
I did. But listen ! Children spring
Full soon to riper youth;
And, for Love's vow and Wedlock's ring,
I sold my early truth.
'Twas not a grey, bare head, like thine,
Bent o'er me, when I said,
' That land and God and Faith are mine,
For which thy fathers bled.'
I see thee not, my eyes are dim;
But, well I hear thee say,
' O daughter, cease to think of him
Who led thy soul astray.
Between you lies both space and time;
Let leagues and years prevail
To turn thee from the path of crime,
Back to the Church's pale.'
And, did I need that thou shouldst tell
What mighty barriers rise
To part me from that dungeon-cell,
Where my loved Walter lies ?
And, did I need that thou shouldst taunt
My dying hour at last,
By bidding this worn spirit pant
No more for what is past ?
Priestmust I cease to think of him ?
How hollow rings that word !
Can time, can tears, can distance dim
The memory of my lord ?
I said before, I saw not thee,
Because, an hour agone,
Over my eye-balls, heavily,
The lids fell down like stone.
But still my spirit's inward sight
Beholds his image beam
As fixed, as clear, as burning bright,
As some red planet's gleam.
Talk not of thy Last Sacrament,
Tell not thy beads for me;
Both rite and prayer are vainly spent,
As dews upon the sea.
Speak not one word of Heaven above,
Rave not of Hell's alarms;
Give me but back my Walter's love,
Restore me to his arms !
Then will the bliss of Heaven be won;
Then will Hell shrink away,
As I have seen night's terrors shun
The conquering steps of day.
'Tis my religion thus to love,
My creed thus fixed to be;
Not Death shall shake, nor Priestcraft break
My rock-like constancy !
Now go; for at the door there waits
Another stranger guest:
He callsI comemy pulse scarce beats,
My heart fails in my breast.
Again that voicehow far away,
How dreary sounds that tone !
And I, methinks, am gone astray
In trackless wastes and lone.
I fain would rest a little while:
Where can I find a stay,
Till dawn upon the hills shall smile,
And show some trodden way ?
' I come ! I come !' in haste she said,
' 'Twas Walter's voice I heard !'
Then up she sprangbut fell back, dead,
His name her latest word.
by Charlotte Brontë.
To The Same
Though old in ill, the traitor sure should find
Some secret sting transfix his guilty mind.
Though bribes or favour may protect his fame,
Or fear restrain invectives on his name;
None 'quits himself -- his own impartial thought
Condemns -- and conscience shall record the fault.
Yet more, my friend! your happy state may bear
This disappointment, as below your care.
For what you have, return to Heav'n your thanks;
Few share the prizes, many draw the blanks.
Of breach of promise loudly you complain,
Have you then known the world so long in vain?
Worse than the iron age, our impious times
Have learn'd to laugh at most flagitious crimes.
Are you to know that 'tis a jest to find
Unthinking honesty pervade the mind?
At best, they say, the man is strangely odd
Who keeps his oath, and can believe a God.
This was the cant when Edward held the throne,
Before Spinoza wrote, or Hobbes was known;
When the gilt Bible was the king's delight,
When prayer preceded day, and hymns the night.
Now softening eunuchs sing Italian airs,
The dancing dame to midnight ball repairs.
Now, if an honest man (like you) I view,
Contemning interest, and to virtue true,
I deem, he deviates from Nature's rules,
Like burning hills, or petrifying pools.
I stand astonish'd at the strange portent,
And think some revolution the event;
As all grave heads were startled, as they heard
That a new comet in the west appear'd;
When from a human mother rabbits sprung,
And Ward his pills like hand-grenadoes flung;
When gratis scattering cures amidst the crowd --
A miracle! as Charteris swears aloud --
A greater miracle I daily see,
The ancient faith of Pius reign in thee.
Observe the wretch, who has that faith forsook,
How clear his voice, and how assur'd his look!
Like innocence, and as serenely bold,
Conscious protection of almighty gold!
While thus he reasons, to relieve his fears:
"Oft I've deceiv'd, yet still have kept my ears.
I have been threat'ned for a broken vow,
And yet successively have laugh'd till now,
And will laugh on, my fortune's not the worse,
When starving cullies rail, or vainly curse."
Shall then the villain 'scape? such knaves as he
Be rich and safe, and from all vengeance free?
Consider, friend, but coolly, and you'll find
Revenge the frailty of a feeble mind;
Nor think he 'scapes though he should never feel
The pangs of poison, or the force of steel.
There is a time when conscience shakes the soul,
When Toland's tenets cannot fear control,
When secret anguish fills the anxious breast,
Vacant from business, nor compos'd by rest;
Then dreams invade, the injur'd gods appear
All arm'd with thunder, and awake his fear;
The wretch will start at every flash that flies,
Grow pale at the first murmur of the skies;
Then, if a fever fires corrupted blood,
In every fit he feels the hand of God.
Trembling, and sunk into the last despair,
He dares not offer one repenting prayer;
For how can hope with desperate guilt agree?
And the worst beast is worthier life than he;
This, at the best, will be his certain fate,
Or Heav'n may sooner think his crimes complete.
The Vow Of Washington
The sword was sheathed: in April's sun
Lay green the fields by Freedom won;
And severed sections, weary of debates,
Joined hands at last and were United States.
O City sitting by the Sea
How proud the day that dawned on thee,
When the new era, long desired, began,
And, in its need, the hour had found the man!
One thought the cannon salvos spoke,
The resonant bell-tower's vibrant stroke,
The voiceful streets, the plaudit-echoing halls,
And prayer and hymn borne heavenward from St. Paul's!
How felt the land in every part
The strong throb of a nation's heart,
As its great leader gave, with reverent awe,
His pledge to Union, Liberty, and Law.
That pledge the heavens above him heard,
That vow the sleep of centuries stirred;
In world-wide wonder listening peoples bent
Their gaze on Freedom's great experiment.
Could it succeed? Of honor sold
And hopes deceived all history told.
Above the wrecks that strewed the mournful past,
Was the long dream of ages true at last?
Thank God! the people's choice was just,
The one man equal to his trust,
Wise beyond lore, and without weakness good,
Calm in the strength of flawless rectitude.
His rule of justice, order, peace,
Made possible the world's release;
Taught prince and serf that power is but a trust,
And rule, alone, which serves the ruled, is just;
That Freedom generous is, but strong
In hate of fraud and selfish wrong,
Pretence that turns her holy truths to lies,
And lawless license masking in her guise.
Land of his love! with one glad voice
Let thy great sisterhood rejoice;
A century's suns o'er thee have risen and set,
And, God be praised, we are one nation yet.
And still we trust the years to be
Shall prove his hope was destiny,
Leaving our flag, with all its added stars,
Unrent by faction and unstained by wars.
Lo! where with patient toil he nursed
And trained the new-set plant at first,
The widening branches of a stately tree
Stretch from the sunrise to the sunset sea.
And in its broad and sheltering shade,
Sitting with none to make afraid,
Were we now silent, through each mighty limb,
The winds of heaven would sing the praise of him.
Our first and best!--his ashes lie
Beneath his own Virginian sky.
Forgive, forget, O true and just and brave,
The storm that swept above thy sacred grave.
For, ever in the awful strife
And dark hours of the nation's life,
Through the fierce tumult pierced his warning word,
Their father's voice his erring children heard.
The change for which he prayed and sought
In that sharp agony was wrought;
No partial interest draws its alien line
'Twixt North and South, the cypress and the pine!
One people now, all doubt beyond,
His name shall be our Union-bond;
We lift our hands to Heaven, and here and now.
Take on our lips the old Centennial vow.
For rule and trust must needs be ours;
Chooser and chosen both are powers
Equal in service as in rights; the claim
Of Duty rests on each and all the same.
Then let the sovereign millions, where
Our banner floats in sun and air,
From the warm palm-lands to Alaska's cold,
Repeat with us the pledge a century old?
Heaven strews the earth with snow,
That neither friend nor foe
May break the sleep of the fast-dying year;
A world arrayed in white,
Late dawns, and shrouded light,
Attest to us once more that Christmas-tide is here.
And yet, and yet I hear
No strains of pious cheer,
No children singing round the Yule-log fire;
No carol's sacred notes,
Warbled by infant throats,
On brooding mother's lap, or knee of pleasèd sire.
Comes with the hallowed time
No sweet accustomed chime,
No peal of bells athwart the midnight air;
No mimes or jocund waits
Within wide-opened gates,
Loud laughter in the hall, or glee of children fair.
No loving cup sent round?
No footing of the ground?
No sister's kiss under the berried bough?
No chimney's joyous roar,
No hospitable store,
Though it be Christmas-tide, to make us note it now?
No! only human hate,
And fear, and death, and fate,
And fierce hands locked in fratricidal strife;
The distant hearth stripped bare
By the gaunt guest, Despair,
Pale groups of pining babes round lonely-weeping wife.
Can it be Christmas-tide?
The snow with blood is dyed,
From human hearts wrung out by human hands.
Hark! did not sweet bells peal?
No! 'twas the ring of steel,
The clang of armèd men and shock of murderous bands.
Didst Thou, then, really come?-
Silence that dreadful drum!-
Christ! Saviour! Babe, of lowly Virgin born!
If Thou, indeed, Most High,
Didst in a manger lie,
Then be the Prince of Peace, and save us from Hell's scorn.
We weep if men deny
That Thou didst live and die,
Didst ever walk upon this mortal sphere;
Yet of Thy Passion, Lord!
What know these times abhorred,
Save the rude soldier's stripes, sharp sponge, and piercing spear?
Therefore we, Father, plead,
Grant us in this our need
Another Revelation from Thy throne,
That we may surely know
We are not sons of woe,
Forgotten and cast off, but verily Thine own.
Yet if He came anew,
Where, where would shelter due
Be found for load divine and footsteps sore?
Here, not the inns alone,
But fold and stable groan
With sterner guests than drove sad Mary from the door.
And thou, 'mong women blest,
Who laidst, with awe-struck breast,
Thy precious babe upon the lowly straw,
Now for thy new-born Son
Were nook and cradle none,
If not in bloody trench or cannon's smoking jaw.
Round her what alien rites,
What savage sounds and sights-
The plunging war-horse and sulphureous match.
Than such as these, alas!
Better the ox, the ass,
The manger's crib secure and peace-bestowing thatch.
The trumpet's challenge dire
Would hush the angelic choir,
The outpost's oath replace the Shepherd's vow;
No frankincense or myrrh
Would there be brought to her,
For Wise Men kneel no more-Kings are not humble now.
O Lord! O Lord! how long?
Thou that art good, art strong,
Put forth Thy strength, Thy ruling love declare;
Stay Thou the smiting hand,
Invert the flaming brand,
And teach the proud to yield, the omnipotent to spare.
Renew our Christmas-tide!
Let weeping eyes be dried,
Love bloom afresh, bloodshed and frenzy cease!
And at Thy bidding reign,
As in the heavenly strain,
Glory to God on high! on earth perpetual peace!
*********************************** ***********above ready for slurp
by Alfred Austin.
The Female Martyr
'BRING out your dead!' The midnight street
Heard and gave back the hoarse, low call;
Harsh fell the tread of hasty feet,
Glanced through the dark the coarse white sheet,
Her coffin and her pall.
'What--only one!' the brutal hack-man said,
As, with an oath, he spurned away the dead.
How sunk the inmost hearts of all,
As rolled that dead-cart slowly by,
With creaking wheel and harsh hoof-fall!
The dying turned him to the wall,
To hear it and to die!
Onward it rolled; while oft its driver stayed,
And hoarsely clamored, 'Ho! bring out your dead.'
It paused beside the burial-place;
'Toss in your load!' and it was done.
With quick hand and averted face,
Hastily to the grave's embrace
They cast them, one by one,
Stranger and friend, the evil and the just,
Together trodden in the churchyard dust.
And thou, young martyr! thou wast there;
No white-robed sisters round thee trod,
Nor holy hymn, nor funeral prayer
Rose through the damp and noisome air,
Giving thee to thy God;
Nor flower, nor cross, nor hallowed taper gave
Grace to the dead, and beauty to the grave!
Yet, gentle sufferer! there shall be,
In every heart of kindly feeling,
A rite as holy paid to thee
As if beneath the convent-tree
Thy sisterhood were kneeling,
At vesper hours, like sorrowing angels, keeping
Their tearful watch around thy place of sleeping.
For thou wast one in whom the light
Of Heaven's own love was kindled well;
Enduring with a martyr's might,
Through weary day and wakeful night,
Far more than words may tell
Gentle, and meek, and lowly, and unknown,
Thy mercies measured by thy God alone!
Where manly hearts were failing, where
The throngful street grew foul with death,
O high-souled martyr! thou wast there,
Inhaling, from the loathsome air,
Poison with every breath.
Yet shrinking not from offices of dread
For the wrung dying, and the unconscious dead.
And, where the sickly taper shed
Its light through vapors, damp, confined,
Hushed as a seraph's fell thy tread,
A new Electra by the bed
Of suffering human-kind!
Pointing the spirit, in its dark dismay,
To that pure hope which fadeth not away.
Innocent teacher of the high
And holy mysteries of Heaven!
How turned to thee each glazing eye,
In mute and awful sympathy,
As thy low prayers were given;
And the o'er-hovering Spoiler wore, the while,
An angel's features, a deliverer's smile!
A blessed task! and worthy one
Who, turning from the world, as thou,
Before life's pathway had begun
To leave its spring-time flower and sun,
Had sealed her early vow;
Giving to God her beauty and her youth,
Her pure affections and her guileless truth.
Earth may not claim thee. Nothing here
Could be for thee a meet reward;
Thine is a treasure far more dear
Eye hath not seen it, nor the ear
Of living mortal heard
The joys prepared, the promised bliss above,
The holy presence of Eternal Love!
Sleep on in peace. The earth has not
A nobler name than thine shall be.
The deeds by martial manhood wrought,
The lofty energies of thought,
The fire of poesy,
These have but frail and fading honors; thine
Shall Time unto Eternity consign.
Yea, and when thrones shall crumble down,
And human pride and grandeur fall,
The herald's line of long renown,
The mitre and the kingly crown,--
Perishing glories all!
The pure devotion of thy generous heart
Shall live in Heaven, of which it was a part.
THROUGH jewelled windows in the walls
The tempered daylight smiles,
And solemn music swells and falls
Adown these stately aisles;
Beneath that carven chancel- rood
Low murmurs, hushed to silence, brood;
One voice in prayer appeals
For Holy Spirit's quickening grace
To light his now anointed face
Who at the altar kneels.
One hour ago, like us, he trod
Along these cloisters dim —
Now we are bid to reverence God
Made manifest in him;
To mock at our enlightened sense
And dearly won experience,
So far beyond his own;
To take him for our heaven- sent guide
Upon these seas, so wild and wide,
To him as yet unknown.
Unconscious of the coming strife,
Unformed in mind and thought,
Without one ripe idea of life
Save what his school books taught,
An ignorant boy, he vows a vow
To think and feel as he does now
Till his gold locks are grey;
Pledges his word to learn no more —
To add no wisdom to the store
His young mind holds to- day.
How shall he keep this senseless oath
When once a full- grown man?
How shall he check his upward growth
To fit this meagre plan?
Only by ruthless pinching out
Of all the fairest shoots that sprout,
As on a healthy tree,
From his expanding brain and heart —
Defrauding his diviner part
Of its virility.
And thus shall youthful passion pale
In native force and fire;
And thus shall soaring pinions fail,
Bedraggled in the mire;
This tender conscience, now so bright,
Lose its fine sense of wrong and right —
Dulled with a moral rust;
This ardent intellect be damped,
This eager spirit starved and cramped -
Choked in mediaeval dust.
Thus shall the fettered arm grow numb,
And blind the bandaged eye;
Thus shall the silenced voice grow dumb,
As year by year goes by;
Until at last, from long abuse
And lack of free and wholesome use,
All manhood's powers decline;
And, like a lamp unfed, untrimmed,
Intelligence, once bright, is dimmed,
No more to burn and shine.
Then may we see this sanguine youth —
Born for a nobler lot —
Turn traitor to the highest truth
Because he knows it not;
Serving for Mammon, veiled as God,
Cringing for high- born patron's nod,
For social place and gain,
While he mechanically yields
The produce of his fallow fields —
Husks of long- garnered grain.
No more a brave and honest man,
Whose conscience is his own,
But worse than thief and courtesan
To degradation grown;
A cheat and hypocrite, content,
In shelter of base precedent,
The downward path to tread,
Lest he should lose his Esau's bowl,
That bought the birthright of his soul,
And have to earn his bread.
Or, if remorsefully aware
Of his ignoble case,
Owning himself too weak to dare
A brother's hostile face,
Too weak to stand alone and fight
Against the strong world's might with right —
A leader's part to take;
Dying a daily death in life,
At outward peace and inward strife,
For poor convention's sake.
Let organ music swell and peal,
And priests and people pray,
Let those who can at altar kneel —
I have no heart to stay.
I cannot bear to see it done —
This fresh young life, scarce yet begun,
Closed by that iron door;
A free- born spirit gagged and bound,
Tethered to one small plot of ground,
While all the great world spreads around,
And doomed to fly no more.
by Ada Cambridge.
The Spectre Pig
IT was the stalwart butcher man,
That knit his swarthy brow,
And said the gentle Pig must die,
And sealed it with a vow.
And oh! it was the gentle Pig
Lay stretched upon the ground,
And ah! it was the cruel knife
His little heart that found.
They took him then, those wicked men,
They trailed him all along;
They put a stick between his lips,
And through his heels a thong;
And round and round an oaken beam
A hempen cord they flung,
And, like a mighty pendulum,
All solemnly he swung!
Now say thy prayers, thou sinful man,
And think what thou hast done,
And read thy catechism well,
Thou bloody-minded one;
For if his sprite should walk by night,
It better were for thee,
That thou wert mouldering in the ground,
Or bleaching in the sea.
It was the savage butcher then,
That made a mock of sin,
And swore a very wicked oath,
He did not care a pin.
It was the butcher's youngest son,--
His voice was broke with sighs,
And with his pocket-handkerchief
He wiped his little eyes;
All young and ignorant was he,
But innocent and mild,
And, in his soft simplicity,
Out spoke the tender child:--
'Oh, father, father, list to me;
The Pig is deadly sick,
And men have hung him by his heels,
And fed him with a stick.'
It was the bloody butcher then,
That laughed as he would die,
Yet did he soothe the sorrowing child,
And bid him not to cry;--
'Oh, Nathan, Nathan, what's a Pig,
That thou shouldst weep and wail?
Come, bear thee like a butcher's child,
And thou shalt have his tail!'
It was the butcher's daughter then,
So slender and so fair,
That sobbed as it her heart would break,
And tore her yellow hair;
And thus she spoke in thrilling tone,--
Fast fell the tear-drops big:--
'Ah! woe is me! Alas! Alas!
The Pig! The Pig! The Pig!'
Then did her wicked father's lips
Make merry with her woe,
And call her many a naughty name,
Because she whimpered so.
Ye need not weep, ye gentle ones,
In vain your tears are shed,
Ye cannot wash his crimson hand,
Ye cannot soothe the dead.
The bright sun folded on his breast
His robes of rosy flame,
And softly over all the west
The shades of evening came.
He slept, and troops of murdered Pigs
Were busy with his dreams;
Loud rang their wild, unearthly shrieks,
Wide yawned their mortal seams.
The clock struck twelve; the Dead hath heard;
He opened both his eyes,
And sullenly he shook his tail
To lash the feeding flies.
One quiver of the hempen cord,--
One struggle and one bound,--
With stiffened limb and leaden eye,
The Pig was on the ground.
And straight towards the sleeper's house
His fearful way he wended;
And hooting owl and hovering bat
On midnight wing attended.
Back flew the bolt, up rose the latch,
And open swung the door,
And little mincing feet were heard
Pat, pat along the floor.
Two hoofs upon the sanded floor,
And two upon the bed;
And they are breathing side by side,
The living and the dead!
'Now wake, now wake, thou butcher man!
What makes thy cheek so pale?
Take hold! take hold! thou dost not fear
To clasp a spectre's tail?'
Untwisted every winding coil;
The shuddering wretch took hold,
All like an icicle it seemed,
So tapering and so cold.
'Thou com'st with me, thou butcher man!'--
He strives to loose his grasp,
But, faster than the clinging vine,
Those twining spirals clasp;
And open, open swung the door,
And, fleeter than the wind,
The shadowy spectre swept before,
The butcher trailed behind.
Fast fled the darkness of the night,
And morn rose faint and dim;
They called full loud, they knocked full long,
They did not waken him.
Straight, straight towards that oaken beam,
A trampled pathway ran;
A ghastly shape was swinging there,--
It was the butcher man.
The Bar-Room Patriot
Why, 'ow's she goin', Bill, ole sport?
I thort I knoo your dile!
My oath! You look the proper sort!
That khaki soots your style.
I never 'eard you'd joined, yeh know
It makes me feel I want to go.
Must be a year or more, I s'pose,
Since last time we two met!
An' then, to see you in them clothes
Can't realise it yet!
I'm proud to think a friend o' mine
Is off to biff the German swine!
You look slap-up in that rig-out.
We ort to celebrate
I fell it's up to me to shout!
But - can't be done, ole mate!
For I 'ave took a solemn vow
I never shout for soldiers now.
No, Bill; you mustn't take offence;
You'll undertsand, I thnk.
I've come to see there ain't no sense
In buyin' soldiers drink.
I loves me country an' me king;
An' boozin' soldiers ain't the thing.
An' yet it's sich a time ago
Since you an' me 'ave met,
It's sorter 'ard to let you go
Without one little wet.
Say, come in 'ere, an' you can take
A soft'un, jist fer ole time's sake.
Well, Bill - 'ere MIss! Don't you attend
To customers in 'ere?
A lime-an'-soder fer me friend:
And' mine's a long, cool beer.
Ah, Bill, you stick to that soft stuff;
Chuck booze, an' you'll be right enough.
Well, 'ere's a go!...My oath, that's goo!
Bets beer I've 'ad to-day....
Yes, Bill, I 'olds no soldier should
Drink all 'is brains away.
I'm patriotic, that I am;
To fight on beer ain't worth a damn.
Now, Bill, look 'ere, you take my tip
I know that German lot
An', when you meet 'em, let 'er rip.
An' prod 'em in the - wot?
Well, jist one more. Mine's beer thish time.
An' bill, ole frien', you shtick to lime.
'Ere's joy!...Wot was I sayin'? Oh!
Them Germans allush funk
The bay'nit. Take my tip, an' go
Fair for their stummicks - plunk!
Jist stick 'em in the - 'Ere, Miss, 'ere!
Give 'im the soft one! Mine's the beer.
See, Miss, I don't booze sojers now.
They shouldn't drink the stuff!
Me conshuns, Miss, it won't allow
'Right, Bill; don't cut up rough.
I'm proud to let the ole bar 'ear
I wouldn't buy no sojers beer.
I wouldn't buy no cursed drink
Fer any fightin' bloke!
Wot? Torkin' loud? Well, do yeh think
I'm 'shamed o' wot I shpoke?
I stansh on principle, by Gosh!
'Ere, 'ave anurrer lemin squash.
Oh, yesh; I've 'ad a few ter-day.
Thish makes - eighteen er so.
But I don't 'ave to go away
To fight no rotten foe!
Go fer their stummichsk, Bill, ole man!
Jist prod 'em - why, 'ello! 'Ere's Dan!
'Ave one wi' ush, Dan. Yoush a beer?
Yes, mine'sh a - wot-o, Jim!
Lesh innerjooce my cobber 'ere
I'm buyin' squash fer 'im.
'E's sojer....Took a solemn vow:
I don't - (hic) - shoush fer soljersh now.
I jist been tellin' soljer frien'
Them Germans got no - whash?
Orright, Dan: mine's a beer agen.
Me friend 'ere'sh drinkin' sqauash.
Yeh mustn't buy no beer fer 'im
Unpa'ri - (hic) -. Whash you think, Jim?
It 'urts me feelin's, all er same.
Bill'sh 'listed!....Orful sad!....
Pore bill! That fightin'sh rotten game.
Go fer their stummicksh, lad!
Sharge wisher bay'nit, ev'ry time!
An' take my tip - you shtick ter lime!
'Ere'sh to Aushtralier, ev'ry time!
I doesh my lirrle bit
Be buyin' only squash 'n' lime
To keep er soljersh fit.
Fine, pa'ri-otic effort. Wot?
'Ere's to er blockesh wash gettin' shot!
Aw, I kin shtan' annurrer, Jim.
Yesh, mine's a long, wet beer.
But don't you buy no beer fer 'im,
'N' get 'im on 'is ear!
I never shoush fer sojersh now.
Unpari-pari - sholum vow!
Wash sayin', Bill? Wash 'at I 'ear?
Yeh don't want me ter shout?
You been teeto'ler fer a year!
Well, 'ash a fair knock-out!
You mean er shay...lemme buy lime,
Wile you....injoyed it all er time!
You mean er shay you thort it ni-esh
To take yer ole pal in?
You lemme make self-sacrifi'esh,
Wile you stan' there an' grin!
Wash? Goin', ie 'e? let 'im go!
Ni'esh sorter bloke ter fighter foe!
I wouldn't shoush fer sojersh now
Not fer a million poun'!
I bought 'im lemon-squash, ther cow,
And then 'e takesh me down!
Go fer the'r stummiscksh? 'Im? No fear!
Down wish er Kaiser! Mine'sh a beer.
Saturday, The Small-Pox
The wretched FLAVIA on her couch reclin'd,
Thus breath'd the anguish of a wounded mind ;
A glass revers'd in her right hand she bore,
For now she shun'd the face she sought before.
'How am I chang'd ! alas ! how am I grown
'A frightful spectre, to myself unknown !
'Where's my Complexion ? where the radiant Bloom,
'That promis'd happiness for Years to come ?
'Then with what pleasure I this face survey'd !
'To look once more, my visits oft delay'd !
'Charm'd with the view, a fresher red would rise,
'And a new life shot sparkling from my eyes !
'Ah ! faithless glass, my wonted bloom restore;
'Alas ! I rave, that bloom is now no more !
'The greatest good the GODS on men bestow,
'Ev'n youth itself, to me is useless now.
'There was a time, (oh ! that I could forget !)
'When opera-tickets pour'd before my feet ;
'And at the ring, where brightest beauties shine,
'The earliest cherries of the spring were mine.
'Witness, O Lilly ; and thou, Motteux, tell
'How much Japan these eyes have made ye sell.
'With what contempt ye you saw me oft despise
'The humble offer of the raffled prize ;
'For at the raffle still the prize I bore,
'With scorn rejected, or with triumph wore !
' Now beauty's fled, and presents are no more !
'For me the Patriot has the house forsook,
'And left debates to catch a passing look :
'For me the Soldier has soft verses writ ;
'For me the Beau has aim'd to be a Wit.
'For me the Wit to nonsense was betray'd ;
'The Gamester has for me his dun delay'd,
'And overseen the card, I would have play'd.
'The bold and haughty by success made vain,
'Aw'd by my eyes has trembled to complain:
'The bashful 'squire touch'd by a wish unknown,
'Has dar'd to speak with spirit not his own ;
'Fir'd by one wish, all did alike adore ;
'Now beauty's fled, and lovers are no more!
'As round the room I turn my weeping eyes,
'New unaffected scenes of sorrow rise !
'Far from my sight that killing picture bear,
'The face disfigure, and the canvas tear !
'That picture which with pride I us'd to show,
'The lost resemblance but upbraids me now.
'And thou, my toilette! where I oft have sat,
'While hours unheeded pass'd in deep debate,
'How curls should fall, or where a patch to place :
'If blue or scarlet best became my face;
'Now on some happier nymph thy aid bestow ;
'On fairer heads, ye useless jewels glow !
'No borrow'd lustre can my charms restore ;
'Beauty is fled, and dress is now no more !
'Ye meaner beauties, I permit ye shine ;
'Go, triumph in the hearts that once were mine ;
'But midst your triumphs with confusion know,
''Tis to my ruin all your arms ye owe.
'Would pitying Heav'n restore my wonted mien,
'Ye still might move unthought-of and unseen.
'But oh ! how vain, how wretched is the boast
'Of beauty faded, and of empire lost !
'What now is left but weeping, to deplore
'My beauty fled, and empire now no more !
'Ye, cruel Chymists, what with-held your aid !
'Could no pomatums save a trembling maid ?
'How false and trifling is that art you boast ;
'No art can give me back my beauty lost.
'In tears, surrounded by my friends I lay,
'Mask'd o'er and trembled at the sight of day;
'MIRMILLO came my fortune to deplore,
'(A golden headed cane, well carv'd he bore)
'Cordials, he cried, my spirits must restore :
'Beauty is fled, and spirit is no more !
'GALEN, the grave ; officious SQUIRT was there,
'With fruitless grief and unavailing care :
'MACHAON too, the great MACHAON, known
'By his red cloak and his superior frown ;
'And why, he cry'd, this grief and this despair ?
'You shall again be well, again be fair ;
'Believe my oath; (with that an oath he swore)
'False was his oath; my beauty is no more!
'Cease, hapless maid, no more thy tale pursue,
'Forsake mankind, and bid the world adieu !
'Monarchs and beauties rule with equal sway ;
'All strive to serve, and glory to obey :
'Alike unpitied when depos'd they grow ;
'Men mock the idol of their former vow.
'Adieu ! ye parks ! -- in some obscure recess,
'Where gentle streams will weep at my distress,
'Where no false friend will in my grief take part,
'And mourn my ruin with a joyful heart ;
'There let me live in some deserted place,
'There hide in shades this lost inglorious face.
'Ye, operas, circles, I no more must view !
'My toilette, patches, all the world adieu!
To The Muse Of Poetry
EXULT MY MUSE! exult to see
Each envious, waspish, jealous thing,
Around its harmless venom fling,
And dart its powerless fangs at THEE!
Ne'er shalt THOU bend thy radiant wing,
To sweep the dark revengeful string;
Or meanly stoop, to steal a ray,
E'en from RINALDO'S glorious lay,
Tho' his transcendent Verse should twine
About thy heart, each bliss divine.
O MUSE ADOR'D, I woo thee now
From yon bright Heaven, to hear my vow;
From thy blest wing a plume I'll steal,
And with its burning point record
Each firm indissoluble word,
And with my lips the proud oath seal!
I SWEAR;OH, YE, whose souls like mine
Beam with poetic rays divine,
Attend my voice;whate'er my FATE
In this precarious wild'ring state,
Whether the FIENDS with rancorous ire
Strike at my heart's unsullied fire:
While busy ENVY'S recreant guile
Calls from my cheek THE PITYING SMILE;
Or jealous SLANDER mean and vain,
Essays my mind's BEST BOAST to stain;
Should all combine to check my lays,
And tear me from thy fost'ring gaze,
Ne'er will I quit thy burning eye,
'Till my last, eager, gasping sigh,
Shall, from its earthly mansion flown,
Embrace THEE on thy STARRY THRONE.
Sweet soother of the pensive breast,
Come in thy softest splendours dress'd;
Bring with thee, REASON, chastely mild;
And CLASSIC TASTEher loveliest child;
And radiant FANCY'S offspring bright,
Then bid them all their charms unite,
My mind's wild rapture to inspire,
With thy own SACRED, GENUINE FIRE.
I ask no fierce terrific strain,
That rends the breast with tort'ring pain,
No frantic flight, no labour'd art,
To wring the fibres of the heart!
No frenzy'd GUIDE, that madd'ning flies
O'er cloud-wrapp'd hillsthro' burning skies;
That sails upon the midnight blast,
Or on the howling wild wave cast,
Plucks from their dark and rocky bed
The yelling DEMONS of the deep,
Who soaring o'er the COMET'S head,
The bosom of the WELKIN sweep!
Ne'er shall MY hand, at Night's full noon,
Snatch from the tresses of the moon
A sparkling crown of silv'ry hue,
Besprent with studs of frozen dew,
To deck my brow with borrow'd rays,
That feebly imitate the SUN'S RICH BLAZE.
AH lead ME not, dear gentle Maid,
To poison'd bow'r or haunted glade;
Where beck'ning spectres shrieking, glare
Along the black infected air;
While bold "fantastic thunders " leap
Indignant, midst the clam'rous deep,
As envious of its louder tone,
While lightnings shoot, and mountains groan
With close pent fires, that from their base
Hurl them amidst the whelming space;
Where OCEAN'S yawning throat resounds,
And gorg'd with draughts of foamy ire,
Madly o'er-leaps its crystal bounds,
And soars to quench the SUN'S proud fire.
While NATURE'S self shall start aghast,
Amid the desolating blast,
That grasps the sturdy OAK'S firm breast,
And tearing off its shatter'd vest,
Presents its gnarled bosom, bare,
To the hot light'ning's with'ring glare!
TRANSCENDENT MUSE! assert thy right,
Chase from thy pure PARNASSIAN height
Each bold usurper of thy LYRE,
Each phantom of phosphoric fire,
That dares, with wild fantastic flight
The timid child of GENIUS fright;
That dares with pilfer'd glories shine
Along the dazzling frenzy'd line,
Where tinsel splendours cheat the mind,
While REASON, trembling far behind,
Drops from her blushing front thy BAYS,
And scorns to share the wreath of praise.
But when DIVINE RINALDO flings
Soft rapture o'er the bounding strings;
When the bright flame that fills HIS soul,
Bursts thro' the bonds of calm controul,
And on enthusiastic wings
To Heaven's Eternal Mansion springs,
Or darting thro' the yielding skies,
O'er earth's disastrous valley flies;
Forbear his glorious flight to bind;
YET o'er his TRUE POETIC Mind
Expand thy chaste celestial ray,
Nor let fantastic fires diffuse
Deluding lustre round HIS MUSE,
To lead HER glorious steps astray!
AH ! let his matchless HARP prolong
The thrilling Tone, the classic song,
STILL bind his Brow with deathless Bays,
STILL GRANT HIS VERSEA NATION'S PRAISE.
But, if by false persuasion led,
His varying FANCY e'er should tread
The paths of vitiated Taste,
Where folly spreads a "weedy waste;"
OH ! may HE feel no more the genuine fire,
That warms HIS TUNEFUL SOUL, and prompts THY SACRED LYRE.
Town Eclogues: Saturday; The Small-Pox
THE wretched FLAVIA on her couch reclin'd,
Thus breath'd the anguish of a wounded mind ;
A glass revers'd in her right hand she bore,
For now she shun'd the face she sought before.
' How am I chang'd ! alas ! how am I grown
' A frightful spectre, to myself unknown !
' Where's my Complexion ? where the radiant Bloom,
' That promis'd happiness for Years to come ?
' Then with what pleasure I this face survey'd !
' To look once more, my visits oft delay'd !
' Charm'd with the view, a fresher red would rise,
' And a new life shot sparkling from my eyes !
' Ah ! faithless glass, my wonted bloom restore;
' Alas ! I rave, that bloom is now no more !
' The greatest good the GODS on men bestow,
' Ev'n youth itself, to me is useless now.
' There was a time, (oh ! that I could forget !)
' When opera-tickets pour'd before my feet ;
' And at the ring, where brightest beauties shine,
' The earliest cherries of the spring were mine.
' Witness, O Lilly ; and thou, Motteux, tell
' How much Japan these eyes have made ye sell.
' With what contempt ye you saw me oft despise
' The humble offer of the raffled prize ;
' For at the raffle still the prize I bore,
' With scorn rejected, or with triumph wore !
' Now beauty's fled, and presents are no more !
' For me the Patriot has the house forsook,
' And left debates to catch a passing look :
' For me the Soldier has soft verses writ ;
' For me the Beau has aim'd to be a Wit.
' For me the Wit to nonsense was betray'd ;
' The Gamester has for me his dun delay'd,
' And overseen the card, I would have play'd.
' The bold and haughty by success made vain,
' Aw'd by my eyes has trembled to complain:
' The bashful 'squire touch'd by a wish unknown,
' Has dar'd to speak with spirit not his own ;
' Fir'd by one wish, all did alike adore ;
' Now beauty's fled, and lovers are no more!
' As round the room I turn my weeping eyes,
' New unaffected scenes of sorrow rise !
' Far from my sight that killing picture bear,
' The face disfigure, and the canvas tear !
' That picture which with pride I us'd to show,
' The lost resemblance but upbraids me now.
' And thou, my toilette! where I oft have sat,
' While hours unheeded pass'd in deep debate,
' How curls should fall, or where a patch to place :
' If blue or scarlet best became my face;
' Now on some happier nymph thy aid bestow ;
' On fairer heads, ye useless jewels glow !
' No borrow'd lustre can my charms restore ;
' Beauty is fled, and dress is now no more !
' Ye meaner beauties, I permit ye shine ;
' Go, triumph in the hearts that once were mine ;
' But midst your triumphs with confusion know,
' 'Tis to my ruin all your arms ye owe.
' Would pitying Heav'n restore my wonted mien,
' Ye still might move unthought-of and unseen.
' But oh ! how vain, how wretched is the boast
' Of beauty faded, and of empire lost !
' What now is left but weeping, to deplore
' My beauty fled, and empire now no more !
' Ye, cruel Chymists, what with-held your aid !
' Could no pomatums save a trembling maid ?
' How false and trifling is that art you boast ;
' No art can give me back my beauty lost.
' In tears, surrounded by my friends I lay,
' Mask'd o'er and trembled at the sight of day;
' MIRMILLO came my fortune to deplore,
' (A golden headed cane, well carv'd he bore)
' Cordials, he cried, my spirits must restore :
' Beauty is fled, and spirit is no more !
' GALEN, the grave ; officious SQUIRT was there,
' With fruitless grief and unavailing care :
' MACHAON too, the great MACHAON, known
' By his red cloak and his superior frown ;
' And why, he cry'd, this grief and this despair ?
' You shall again be well, again be fair ;
' Believe my oath ; (with that an oath he swore)
' False was his oath ; my beauty is no more !
' Cease, hapless maid, no more thy tale pursue,
' Forsake mankind, and bid the world adieu !
' Monarchs and beauties rule with equal sway ;
' All strive to serve, and glory to obey :
' Alike unpitied when depos'd they grow ;
' Men mock the idol of their former vow.
' Adieu ! ye parks ! -- in some obscure recess,
' Where gentle streams will weep at my distress,
' Where no false friend will in my grief take part,
' And mourn my ruin with a joyful heart ;
' There let me live in some deserted place,
' There hide in shades this lost inglorious face.
' Ye, operas, circles, I no more must view !
' My toilette, patches, all the world adieu!
The Angel In The House. Book Ii. Canto Xi.
I Platonic Love
Right art thou who wouldst rather be
A doorkeeper in Love's fair house,
Than lead the wretched revelry
Where fools at swinish troughs carouse.
But do not boast of being least;
And if to kiss thy Mistress' skirt
Amaze thy brain, scorn not the Priest
Whom greater honours do not hurt.
Stand off and gaze, if more than this
Be more than thou canst understand,
Revering him whose power of bliss,
Angelic, dares to seize her hand,
Or whose seraphic love makes flight
To the apprehension of her lips;
And think, the sun of such delight
From thine own darkness takes eclipse.
And, wouldst thou to the same aspire,
This is the art thou must employ,
Live greatly; so shalt thou acquire
Unknown capacities of joy.
II A Demonstration
Nature, with endless being rife,
Parts each thing into ‘him’ and ‘her,’
And, in the arithmetic of life,
The smallest unit is a pair;
And thus, oh, strange, sweet half of me,
If I confess a loftier flame,
If more I love high Heaven than thee,
I more than love thee, thee I am;
And, if the world's not built of lies,
Nor all a cheat the Gospel tells,
If that which from the dead shall rise
Be I indeed, not something else,
There's no position more secure
In reason or in faith than this,
That those conditions must endure,
Which, wanting, I myself should miss.
III The Symbol
As if I chafed the sparks from glass,
And said, ‘It lightens,’ hitherto
The songs I've made of love may pass
For all but for proportion true;
But likeness and proportion both
Now fail, as if a child in glee,
Catching the flakes of the salt froth,
Cried, ‘Look, my mother, here's the sea.’
Yet, by the help of what's so weak,
But not diverse, to those who know,
And only unto those I speak,
May far-inferring fancy show
Love's living sea by coasts uncurb'd,
Its depth, its mystery, and its might,
Its indignation if disturb'd,
The glittering peace of its delight.
IV Constancy rewarded
I vow'd unvarying faith, and she,
To whom in full I pay that vow,
Rewards me with variety
Which men who change can never know.
Life smitten with a feverish chill,
The brain too tired to understand,
In apathy of heart and will,
I took the woman from the hand
Of him who stood for God, and heard
Of Christ, and of the Church his Bride;
The Feast, by presence of the Lord
And his first Wonder, beautified;
The mystic sense to Christian men;
The bonds in innocency made,
And gravely to be enter'd then
For children, godliness, and aid,
And honour'd, and kept free from smirch;
And how a man must love his wife
No less than Christ did love His Church,
If need be, giving her his life;
And, vowing then the mutual vow,
The tongue spoke, but intention slept.
'Tis well for us Heaven asks not how
We take this oath, but how 'tis kept.
O, bold seal of a bashful bond,
Which makes the marriage-day to be,
To those before it and beyond,
An iceberg in an Indian sea!
‘Now, while she's changing,’ said the Dean,
‘Her bridal for her travelling dress,
‘I'll preach allegiance to your queen!
‘Preaching's the thing which I profess;
‘And one more minute's mine! You know
‘I've paid my girl a father's debt,
‘And this last charge is all I owe.
‘She's your's; but I love more than yet
‘You can; such fondness only wakes
‘When time has raised the heart above
‘The prejudice of youth, which makes
‘Beauty conditional to love.
‘Prepare to meet the weak alarms
‘Of novel nearness: recollect
‘The eye which magnifies her charms
‘Is microscopic for defect.
‘Fear comes at first; but soon, rejoiced,
‘You'll find your strong and tender loves,
‘Like holy rocks by Druids poised,
‘The least force shakes, but none removes.
‘Her strength is your esteem; beware
‘Of finding fault; her will's unnerv'd
‘By blame; from you 'twould be despair;
‘But praise that is not quite deserv'd
‘Will all her noble nature move
‘To make your utmost wishes true.
‘Yet think, while mending thus your Love,
‘Of matching her ideal too!
‘The death of nuptial joy is sloth:
‘To keep your mistress in your wife,
‘Keep to the very height your oath,
‘And honour her with arduous life.
‘Lastly, no personal reverence doff.
‘Life's all externals unto those
‘Who pluck the blushing petals off,
‘To find the secret of the rose.—
‘How long she's tarrying! Green's Hotel
‘I'm sure you'll like. The charge is fair,
‘The wines good. I remember well
‘I stay'd once, with her Mother, there.
‘A tender conscience of her vow
‘That Mother had! She's so like her!’
But Mrs. Fife, much flurried, now
Whisper'd, ‘Miss Honor's ready, Sir.’
Whirl'd off at last, for speech I sought,
To keep shy Love in countenance;
But, whilst I vainly tax'd my thought,
Her voice deliver'd mine from trance:
‘Look, is not this a pretty shawl,
‘Aunt's parting gift.’ ‘She's always kind,’
‘The new wing spoils Sir John's old Hall:
‘You'll see it, if you pull the blind.’
I drew the silk: in heaven the night
Was dawning; lovely Venus shone,
In languishment of tearful light,
Swathed by the red breath of the sun.
by Coventry Patmore.
The Second Hymn Of Callimachus. To Apollo
Hah! how the laurel, great Apollo's tree,
And all the cavern shakes! Far off, far off,
The man that is unhallow'd: for the god,
The god approaches. Hark! he knocks; the gates
Feel the glad impulse, and the sever'd bars
Submissive clink against their brazen portals.
Why do the Delian palms incline their boughs,
Self-moved, and hovering swans, their throats released
From native silence, carol sounds harmonious?
Begin young men the hymn: let all your harps
Break their inglorious silence, and the dance,
In mystic numbers trod, explain the music,
But first by ardent prayer and clear lustration
Purge the contagious spots of human weakness:
Impure no mortal can behold Apollo.
So may ye flourish favour'd by the god,
In youth with happy nuptials, and in age
With silver hairs, and fair descent of children;
So lay foundations for aspiring cities,
And bless your spreading colonies' increase.
Pay sacred reverence to Apollo's song,
Lest wrathful the far-shooting god emit
His fatal arrows. Silent Nature stands,
And seas subside, obedient to the sound
Of Iö, Iö Pean! nor dares Thetis
Longer bewail her loved Achilles' death;
For Phoebus was his foe. Nor must sad Niobe
In fruitless sorrow persevere, or weep
E'en through the Phyrgian marble. Hapless mother!
Whose fondness could compare her mortal offspring
To those which fair Latona bore to Jove.
Iö! again repeat ye, Iö Pean!
Against the Deity 'tis hard to strive.
He that resists the power of Ptolemy
Resists the power of heaven; for power from heaven
Derives, and monarchs rule by gods appointed.
Recite Apollo's praise till night draws on,
The ditty still unfinish'd, and the day
Unequal to the godhead's attributes
Various, and matter copious of your songs.
Sublime at Jove's right hand Apollo sits,
And thence distributes honour, gracious king,
And thence of verse perpetual. From his robe
Flows light ineffable; his harp, his quiver,
And Lictian bow, are gold: with golden sandals
His feet are shod; how rich! how beautiful!
Beneath his steps the yellow mineral rises,
And earth reveals her treasures. Youth and beauty
Eternal deck his cheeks; from his fair head
Perfumes distil their sweets; and cheerful Health,
His duteous handmaid, through the air improved,
With lavish hand diffuses scents ambrosial.
The spearman's arm, by thee, great god, directed,
Sends forth a certain wound. The laurell'd bard,
Inspired by thee, composes verse immortal.
Taught by thy art divine, the sage physician
Eludes the urn, and chains or exiles Death.
Thee, Nomian, we adore, for that from heaven
Descending, thou on fair Amphyrsus' banks
Didst guard Admetus' herds. Sithence the vow
Produced an ampler store of milk; the she-goat,
Not without pain, dragg'd her distended udder;
And ewes, that erst brought forth but single lambs,
Now dropp'd their twofold burdens. Bless'd the cattle
On which Apollo cast his favouring eye!
But, Phoebus, thou to man beneficient
Delight'st in building cities. Bright Diana,
Kind sister to thy infant deity,
New-wean'd, and just arising from the cradle,
Brought hunted wild goats' heads and branching antlers
Of stags, the fruit and honour of her toil;
These with discerning hand thou knew'st to range,
(Young as thou wast) and in the well-framed models,
With emblematic skill and mystic order,
Thou show'dst where towers or battlements should rise,
Where gates should open, or where walls should compass;
While from thy childish pastime, man received
The future strength and ornament of nations.
Battus, our great progentior, now touch'd
The Libyan strand, when the foreboding crow
Flew on the right before the people, marking
The country destined the auspicious seat
Of future kings, and favour of the god,
Whose oath is sure, and promise stands eternal.
Or Boedromian hear'st thou pleased, or Clarian
Phoebus, great king? for different are thy names,
As thy kind hand has founded many cities,
Or dealt benign thy various gifts to man.
Carnean let me call thee, for my country
Calls thee Carnean: the fair colony
Thrice by thy gracious guidance was transported
Ere settled in Cyrene; there we appointed
Thy annual feasts, kind god, and bless'd thy altars,
Smoking with hecatombs of slaughter'd bulls,
As Carnus, thy high priest and favour'd friend,
Had erst ordain'd; and with mysterious rites
Our great forefathers taught their sons to worship,
Iö! Carnean Phoebus! Iö Pean!
The yellow crocus there, and fair narcissus,
Reserve the honours of their winter-store
To deck thy temple, till returning spring
Diffuses Nature's various pride, and flowers
Innumerable, by the soft south-west
Open'd, and gather'd by religious hands,
Rebound their sweets from th' odoriferous pavement.
Perpetual fires shine hallow'd on thy altars,
When annual the Carnean feast is held:
The warlike Libyans clad in armour lead
The dance; with clanging swords and shields they beat
The dreadful measure: in the chorus join
Their women, brown, but beautiful: such rites
To thee well pleasing. Nor had yet thy votaries,
From Greece transplanted, touch'd Cyrene's banks,
And lands determined for their last abodes,
But wander'd through Azilis' horrid forest
Dispersed, when from Myrtusa's craggy brow,
Fond of the maid, auspicious to the city
Which must hereafter bear her favour'd name,
Thou gracious deign'd'st to let the fair one view
Her typic people; thou with pleasure taught'st her
To draw the bow, to slay the shaggy lion,
And stop the spreading ruin of the plains.
Happy the nymph who, honour'd by thy passion,
Was aided by thy power! the monstrous Python
Durst tempt thy wrath in vain; for dead he fell,
To thy great strength and golden arms unequal.
Iö! while thy unerring hand elanced
Another, and another dart, the people
Joyful repeated Iö! Iö Pean!
Elance the dart, Apollo; for the safety
And health of man, gracious, thy mother bore thee.
Envy, thy latest foe, suggested thus:
Like thee I am a power immortal, therefore
To thee dare speak. How canst thou favour partial
Those poets who write little? vast and great
Is what I love: the far extended ocean
To a small rivulet I prefer. Apollo
Spurn'd Envy with his foot, and thus the god:
Daemon, the headlong current of Euphrates,
Assyrian river, copious runs, but muddy,
And carries forward with his stupid force
Polluting dirt, his torrent still augmenting,
His wave still more defiled; meanwhile the nymphs
Melissan, sacred and recluse to Ceres,
Studious to have their offerings well received,
And fit for heavenly use, from little urns
Pour streams select and purity of waters.
Iö! Apollo, mighty king, let Envy,
Ill judging and verbose, from Lethe's lake
Draw tons unmeasurable, while thy favour
Administers to my ambitious thirst
The wholesome draught from Aganippe's spring
Genuine, and with soft murmurs gently rilling
Adown the mountains where thy daughters haunt.
by Matthew Prior.
The Last Rhyme Of True Thomas
The King has called for priest and cup,
The King has taken spur and blade
To dub True Thomas a belted knight,
And all for the sake o' the songs he made.
They have sought him high, they have sought him low,
They have sought him over down and lea;
They have found him by the milk-white thorn
That guards the gates o' Faerie.
'Twas bent beneath and blue above,
Their eyes were held that they might not see
The kine that grazed beneath the knowes,
Oh, they were the Queens o' Faerie!
"Now cease your song," the King he said,
"Oh, cease your song and get you dight
To vow your vow and watch your arms,
For I will dub you a belted knight.
"For I will give you a horse o' pride,
Wi' blazon and spur and page and squire;
Wi' keep and tail and seizin and law,
And land to hold at your desire."
True Thomas smiled above his harp,
And turned his face to the naked sky,
Where, blown before the wastrel wind,
The thistle-down she floated by.
"I ha' vowed my vow in another place,
And bitter oath it was on me,
I ha' watched my arms the lee-long night,
Where five-score fighting men would flee.
"My lance is tipped o' the hammered flame,
My shield is beat o' the moonlight cold;
And I won my spurs in the Middle World,
A thousand fathom beneath the mould.
"And what should I make wi' a horse o' pride,
And what should I make wi' a sword so brown,
But spill the rings o' the Gentle Folk
And flyte my kin in the Fairy Town?
"And what should I make wi' blazon and belt,
Wi' keep and tail and seizin and fee,
And what should I do wi' page and squire
That am a king in my own countrie?
"For I send east and I send west,
And I send far as my will may flee,
By dawn and dusk and the drinking rain,
And syne my Sendings return to me.
"They come wi' news of the groanin' earth,
They come wi' news o' the roarin' sea,
Wi' word of Spirit and Ghost and Flesh,
And man, that's mazed among the three."
The King he bit his nether lip,
And smote his hand upon his knee:
"By the faith o' my soul, True Thomas," he said,
"Ye waste no wit in courtesie!
"As I desire, unto my pride,
Can I make Earls by three and three,
To run before and ride behind
And serve the sons o' my body."
"And what care I for your row-foot earls,
Or all the sons o' your body?
Before they win to the Pride o' Name,
I trow they all ask leave o' me.
"For I make Honour wi' muckle mouth,
As I make Shame wi' mincin' feet,
To sing wi' the priests at the market-cross,
Or run wi' the dogs in the naked street.
"And some they give me the good red gold,
And some they give me the white money,
And some they give me a clout o' meal,
For they be people o' low degree.
"And the song I sing for the counted gold
The same I sing for the white money,
But best I sing for the clout o' meal
That simple people given me."
The King cast down a silver groat,
A silver groat o' Scots money,
"If I come wi' a poor man's dole," he said,
"True Thomas, will ye harp to me?"
"Whenas I harp to the children small,
They press me close on either hand.
And who are you," True Thomas said,
"That you should ride while they must stand?
"Light down, light down from your horse o' pride,
I trow ye talk too loud and hie,
And I will make you a triple word,
And syne, if ye dare, ye shall 'noble me."
He has lighted down from his horse o' pride,
And set his back against the stone.
"Now guard you well," True Thomas said,
"Ere I rax your heart from your breast-bone!"
True Thomas played upon his harp,
The fairy harp that couldna lee,
And the first least word the proud King heard,
It harpit the salt tear out o' his ee.
"Oh, I see the love that I lost long syne,
I touch the hope that I may not see,
And all that I did o' hidden shame,
Like little snakes they hiss at me.
"The sun is lost at noon -- at noon!
The dread o' doom has grippit me.
True Thomas, hide me under your cloak,
God wot, I'm little fit to dee!"
'Twas bent beneath and blue above --
'Twas open field and running flood --
Where, hot on heath and dike and wall,
The high sun warmed the adder's brood.
"Lie down, lie down," True Thomas said.
"The God shall judge when all is done.
But I will bring you a better word
And lift the cloud that I laid on."
True Thomas played upon his harp,
That birled and brattled to his hand,
And the next least word True Thomas made,
It garred the King take horse and brand.
"Oh, I hear the tread o' the fighting men,
I see the sun on splent and spear.
I mark the arrow outen the fern
That flies so low and sings so clear!
"Advance my standards to that war,
And bid my good knights prick and ride;
The gled shall watch as fierce a fight
As e'er was fought on the Border side!"
'Twas bent beneath and blue above,
'Twas nodding grass and naked sky,
Where, ringing up the wastrel wind,
The eyas stooped upon the pie.
True Thomas sighed above his harp,
And turned the song on the midmost string;
And the last least word True Thomas made,
He harpit his dead youth back to the King.
"Now I am prince, and I do well
To love my love withouten fear;
To walk wi' man in fellowship,
And breathe my horse behind the deer.
"My hounds they bay unto the death,
The buck has couched beyond the burn,
My love she waits at her window
To wash my hands when I return.
"For that I live am I content
(Oh! I have seen my true love's eyes)
To stand wi' Adam in Eden-glade,
And run in the woods o' Paradise!"
'Twas naked sky and nodding grass,
'Twas running flood and wastrel wind,
Where, checked against the open pass,
The red deer belled to call the hind.
True Thomas laid his harp away,
And louted low at the saddle-side;
He has taken stirrup and hauden rein,
And set the King on his horse o' pride.
"Sleep ye or wake," True Thomas said,
"That sit so still, that muse so long;
Sleep ye or wake? -- till the latter sleep
I trow ye'll not forget my song.
"I ha' harpit a shadow out o' the sun
To stand before your face and cry;
I ha' armed the earth beneath your heel,
And over your head I ha' dusked the sky.
"I ha' harpit ye up to the throne o' God,
I ha' harpit your midmost soul in three;
I ha' harpit ye down to the Hinges o' Hell,
And -- ye -- would -- make -- a Knight o' me!"
by Rudyard Kipling.
To fetch clear water out of the spring
The little maid Margaret ran,
From the stream to the castle's western wing
It was but a bowshot span ;
On the sedgy brink where the osiers cling
Lay a dead man, pallid and wan.
The lady Mabel rose from her bed,
And walked in the castle hall,
Where the porch through the western turret led
She met with her handmaid small.
'What aileth thee, Margaret ?' the lady said,
'Hast let thy pitcher fall ?
'Say, what hast thou seen by the streamlet side—
A nymph or a water sprite—
That thou comest with eyes so wild and wide,
And with cheeks so ghostly white ?'
'Nor nymph nor sprite,' the maiden cried,
'But the corpse of a slaughtered knight.'
The lady Mabel summon'd straight
To her presence Sir Hugh de Vere,
Of the guests who tarried within the gate
Of Fauconshawe, most dear
Was he to that lady ; betrothed in state
They had been since many a year.
'Little Margaret sayeth a dead man lies
By the western spring, Sir Hugh ;
I can scarce believe that the maiden lies—
Yet scarce can believe her true.'
And the knight replies, 'Till we test her eyes
Let her words gain credence due.'
Down the rocky path knight and lady led,
While guests and retainers bold
Followed in haste, for like wildfire spread
The news by the maiden told.
They found 'twas even as she had said—
The corpse had some while been cold.
How the spirit had pass'd in the moments last
There was little trace to reveal ;
On the still, calm face lay no imprint ghast,
Save the angel's solemn seal,
Yet the hands were clench'd in a death-grip fast,
And the sods stamp'd down by the heel.
Sir Hugh by the side of the dead man knelt,
Said, 'Full well these features I know,
We have faced each other where blows were dealt,
And he was a stalwart foe ;
I had rather met him hilt to hilt,
Than have found him lying low.'
He turned the body up on its face,
And never a word was spoken,
While he ripp'd the doublet, and tore the lace,
And tugg'd—by the self-same token,—
And strain'd, till he wrench'd it out of its place,
The dagger-blade that was broken.
Then he turned the body over again,
And said, while he rose upright,
'May the brand of Cain, with its withering stain,
On the murderer's forehead light,
For he never was slain on the open plain,
Nor yet in the open fight.'
Solemn and stern were the words he spoke,
And he look'd at his lady's men,
But his speech no answering echoes woke,
All were silent there and then,
Till a clear, cold voice the silence broke :—
Lady Mabel cried, 'Amen.'
His glance met hers, the twain stood hush'd,
With the dead between them there ;
But the blood to her snowy temples rush'd
Till it tinged the roots of her hair,
Then paled, but a thin red streak still flush'd
In the midst of her forehead fair.
Four yeomen raised the corpse from the ground,
At a sign from Sir Hugh de Vere,
It was borne to the western turret round,
And laid on a knightly bier,
With never a sob nor a mourning sound,—
No friend to the dead was near.
Yet that night was neither revel nor dance
In the halls of Fauconshawe ;
Men looked askance with a doubtful glance
At Sir Hugh, for they stood in awe
Of his prowess, but he, like one in a trance,
Regarded naught that he saw.
. . . . . . .
Night black and chill, wind gathering still,
With its wail in the turret tall,
And its headlong blast like a catapult cast
On the crest of the outer wall,
And its hail and rain on the crashing pane,
Till the glassy splinters fall.
A moody knight by the fitful light
Of the great hall fire below ;
A corpse upstairs, and a woman at prayers,
Will they profit her, aye or no ?
By'r lady fain, an she comfort gain,
There is comfort for us also.
The guests were gone, save Sir Hugh alone,
And he watched the gleams that broke
On the pale hearth-stone, and flickered and shone
On the panels of polish'd oak ;
He was 'ware of no presence except his own,
Till the voice of young Margaret spoke :
'I've risen, Sir Hugh, at the mirk midnight,
I cannot sleep in my bed,
Now, unless my tale can be told aright,
I wot it were best unsaid ;
It lies, the blood of yon northern knight,
On my lady's hand and head.'
'Oh ! the wild wind raves and rushes along,
But thy ravings seem more wild—
She never could do so foul a wrong—
Yet I blame thee not, my child,
For the fever'd dreams on thy rest that throng !'—
He frown'd through his speech was mild.
'Let storm winds eddy, and scream, and hurl
Their wrath, they disturb me naught ;
The daughter she of a high-born earl,
No secret of hers I've sought ;
I am but the child of a peasant churl,
Yet look to the proofs I've brought ;
'This dagger snapp'd so close to the hilt—
Dost remember thy token well ?
Will it match with the broken blade that spilt
His life in the western dell ?
Nay ! read her handwriting, an thou wilt,
From her paramour's breast it fell.'
The knight in silence the letter read,
Oh ! the characters well he knew !
And his face might have match'd the face of the dead,
So ashen white was its hue !
Then he tore the parchment shred by shred,
And the strips in the flames he threw.
And he muttered, 'Densely those shadows fall
In the copse where the alders thicken ;
There she bade him come to her, once for all,—
Now, I well may shudder and sicken ;—
Gramercy ! that hand so white and small,
How strongly it must have stricken.'
. . . . . . .
At midnight hour, in the western tower,
Alone with the dead man there,
Lady Mabel kneels, nor heeds nor feels
The shock of the rushing air,
Though the gusts that pass through the riven glass
Have scattered her raven hair.
Across the floor, through the open door,
Where standeth a stately knight,
The lamplight streams, and flickers and gleams,
On his features stern and white—
'Tis Sir Hugh de Vere, and he cometh more near,
And the lady standeth upright.
' 'Tis little,' he said, 'that I know or care
Of the guilt (if guilt there be)
That lies 'twixt thee and yon dead man there,
Nor matters it now to me ;
I thought thee pure, thou art only fair,
And to-morrow I cross the sea.
'He perish'd ! I ask not why or how :
I come to recall my troth ;
Take back, my lady, thy broken vow,
Give back my allegiance oath ;
Let the past be buried between us now
For ever—'tis best for both.
'Yet, Mabel, I could ask, dost thou dare
Lay hand on that corpse's heart,
And call on thy Maker, and boldly swear
That thou hadst in his death no part ?
I ask not, while threescore proofs I share
With one doubt—uncondemn'd thou art.'
Oh ! cold and bleak upon Mabel's cheek
Came the blast of the storm-wind keen,
And her tresses black as the glossy back
Of the raven, glanced between
Her fingers slight, like the ivory white,
As she parted their sable sheen.
Yet with steady lip, and with fearless eye,
And with cheek like the flush of dawn,
Unflinchingly she spoke in reply—
'Go hence with the break of morn,
I will neither confess, nor yet deny,
I will return thee scorn for scorn.'
The knight bow'd low as he turn'd to go ;
He travell'd by land and sea,
But naught of his future fate I know,
And naught of his fair ladye ;—
My story is told as, long ago,
My story was told to me.
The Young Princess -- A Ballad Of Old Laws Of Love
When the South sang like a nightingale
Above a bower in May,
The training of Love's vine of flame
Was writ in laws, for lord and dame
To say their yea and nay.
When the South sang like a nightingale
Across the flowering night,
And lord and dame held gentle sport,
There came a young princess to Court,
A frost of beauty white.
The South sang like a nightingale
To thaw her glittering dream:
No vine of Love her bosom gave,
She drank no wine of Love, but grave
She held them to Love's theme.
The South grew all a nightingale
Beneath a moon unmoved:
Like the banner of war she led them on;
She left them to lie, like the light that has gone
From wine-cups overproved.
When the South was a fervid nightingale,
And she a chilling moon,
'Twas pity to see on the garden swards,
Against Love's laws, those rival lords
As willow-wands lie strewn.
The South had throat of a nightingale
For her, the young princess:
She gave no vine of Love to rear,
Love's wine drank not, yet bent her ear
To themes of Love no less.
The lords of the Court they sighed heart-sick,
Heart-free Lord Dusiote laughed:
I prize her no more than a fling o' the dice,
But, or shame to my manhood, a lady of ice,
We master her by craft!
Heart-sick the lords of joyance yawned,
Lord Dusiote laughed heart-free:
I count her as much as a crack o' my thumb,
But, or shame of my manhood, to me she shall come
Like the bird to roost in the tree!
At dead of night when the palace-guard
Had passed the measured rounds,
The young princess awoke to feel
A shudder of blood at the crackle of steel
Within the garden-bounds.
It ceased, and she thought of whom was need,
The friar or the leech;
When lo, stood her tirewoman breathless by:
Lord Dusiote, madam, to death is nigh,
Of you he would have speech.
He prays you of your gentleness,
To light him to his dark end.
The princess rose, and forth she went,
For charity was her intent,
Devoutly to befriend.
Lord Dusiote hung on his good squire's arm,
The priest beside him knelt:
A weeping handkerchief was pressed
To stay the red flood at his breast,
And bid cold ladies melt.
O lady, though you are ice to men,
All pure to heaven as light
Within the dew within the flower,
Of you 'tis whispered that love has power
When secret is the night.
I have silenced the slanderers, peace to their souls!
Save one was too cunning for me.
I die, whose love is late avowed,
He lives, who boasts the lily has bowed
To the oath of a bended knee.
Lord Dusiote drew breath with pain,
And she with pain drew breath:
On him she looked, on his like above;
She flew in the folds of a marvel of love
Revealed to pass to death.
You are dying, O great-hearted lord,
You are dying for me, she cried;
O take my hand, O take my kiss,
And take of your right for love like this,
The vow that plights me bride.
She bade the priest recite his words
While hand in hand were they,
Lord Dusiote's soul to waft to bliss;
He had her hand, her vow, her kiss,
And his body was borne away.
Lord Dusiote sprang from priest and squire;
He gazed at her lighted room:
The laughter in his heart grew slack;
He knew not the force that pushed him back
From her and the morn in bloom.
Like a drowned man's length on the strong flood-tide,
Like the shade of a bird in the sun,
He fled from his lady whom he might claim
As ghost, and who made the daybeams flame
To scare what he had done.
There was grief at Court for one so gay,
Though he was a lord less keen
For training the vine than at vintage-press;
But in her soul the young princess
Believed that love had been.
Lord Dusiote fled the Court and land,
He crossed the woeful seas,
Till his traitorous doing seemed clearer to burn,
And the lady beloved drew his heart for return,
Like the banner of war in the breeze.
He neared the palace, he spied the Court,
And music he heard, and they told
Of foreign lords arrived to bring
The nuptial gifts of a bridegroom king
To the princess grave and cold.
The masque and the dance were cloud on wave,
And down the masque and the dance
Lord Dusiote stepped from dame to dame,
And to the young princess he came,
With a bow and a burning glance.
Do you take a new husband to-morrow, lady?
She shrank as at prick of steel.
Must the first yield place to the second, he sighed.
Her eyes were like the grave that is wide
For the corpse from head to heel.
My lady, my love, that little hand
Has mine ringed fast in plight:
I bear for your lips a lawful thirst,
And as justly the second should follow the first,
I come to your door this night.
If a ghost should come a ghost will go:
No more the lady said,
Save that ever when he in wrath began
To swear by the faith of a living man,
She answered him, You are dead.
The soft night-wind went laden to death
With smell of the orange in flower;
The light leaves prattled to neighbour ears;
The bird of the passion sang over his tears;
The night named hour by hour.
Sang loud, sang low the rapturous bird
Till the yellow hour was nigh,
Behind the folds of a darker cloud:
He chuckled, he sobbed, alow, aloud;
The voice between earth and sky.
O will you, will you, women are weak;
The proudest are yielding mates
For a forward foot and a tongue of fire:
So thought Lord Dusiote's trusty squire,
At watch by the palace-gates.
The song of the bird was wine in his blood,
And woman the odorous bloom:
His master's great adventure stirred
Within him to mingle the bloom and bird,
And morn ere its coming illume.
Beside him strangely a piece of the dark
Had moved, and the undertones
Of a priest in prayer, like a cavernous wave,
He heard, as were there a soul to save
For urgency now in the groans.
No priest was hired for the play this night:
And the squire tossed head like a deer
At sniff of the tainted wind; he gazed
Where cresset-lamps in a door were raised,
Belike on a passing bier.
All cloaked and masked, with naked blades,
That flashed of a judgement done,
The lords of the Court, from the palace-door,
Came issuing silently, bearers four,
And flat on their shoulders one.
They marched the body to squire and priest,
They lowered it sad to earth:
The priest they gave the burial dole,
Bade wrestle hourly for his soul,
Who was a lord of worth.
One said, farewell to a gallant knight!
And one, but a restless ghost!
'Tis a year and a day since in this place
He died, sped high by a lady of grace
To join the blissful host.
Not vainly on us she charged her cause,
The lady whom we revere
For faith in the mask of a love untrue
To the Love we honour, the Love her due,
The Love we have vowed to rear.
A trap for the sweet tooth, lures for the light,
For the fortress defiant a mine:
Right well! But not in the South, princess,
Shall the lady snared of her nobleness
Ever shamed or a captive pine.
When the South had voice of a nightingale
Above a Maying bower,
On the heights of Love walked radiant peers;
The bird of the passion sang over his tears
To the breeze and the orange-flower.
by George Meredith.
Lightly took she her leave of me, Asmá--u,
went no whit as a guest who outstays a welcome;
Went forgetting our trysts, Burkát Shemmá--u,
all the joys of our love, our love's home, Khalsá--u.
Muhayyátu, she thee forgets, Sifáhu,
thee, Fitákon, Aádibon, thee Wafá--u.
Thee, Riád el Katá, thee, vale of Shérbub,
'Anak, thee, Shobatána, and thee, Ablá--u.
Nay, ye lost are to me with my lost glory;
nay, though tears be my meat, weeping wins no woman.
Yet, a snare to my eyes, afar was kindled
fire by night on the hill. It was Hind's love--beacon.
Blindly now do I watch her from Khezáza;
woe, the warmth of it, woe,--though the hilltops redden!
Woe its blaze from Akík, its flame from Shákhseyn!
woe the signal alight for me, Hind's love--incense!
Out on tears and despair! I go free, sundered;
here stand doors of relief. Who hath fled escapeth.
Mount I light on my nága. No hen ostrich
swift as she, the tall trotter, her brood behind her,
Hearing voices who fled from them, the hunters,
pressing fast on her way from mid--eve to nightfall.
Nay, behold her, my noble one, upheaving
motes and dust on her path, as a cloud pursuing.
All un--shooed are the feet of her, her sandals
strewn how wide on her road by the rough rocks loosened.
Joy thus take I on her, the summer heat through.
All but I had despaired,--like a blinded camel.
O the curse of men's eyes, of their ill--speaking!
Danger deep and a wound did their false lips deal us.
Have not these with their tongues made small things great things,
telling lies of our lives, our kind kin, the Arákim?
Mixing blame with un--blame for us, till flouted
stand we, proven of wrong, with the guilty guiltless.
All, say these, that have run with us the wild ass,
ours are they, our allies, as our own tribe their tribes.
Thus by night did they argue it and plot it,
rose at dawn to their treason and stood forth shouting.
Loud the noise of their wrath. This called, that answered;
great the neighings of steeds and the camel roarings.
Ho, thou weaver of wild words, thou tale--painter!
must it thus be for ever and thus with Amru?
Not that slanders are strange. Their words we heed not;
long ere this have we known them, their lips, the liars.
High above them we live. Hate may not harm us,
fenced in towers of renown, our unstained bright honour.
Long hath anger assailed us, rage, denial;
long hath evil prevailed in the eyes of evil.
Nathless, let them assault. As well may Fortune
hurl its spears at the rocks, at the cloud--robed mountains.
Frowneth wide of it Fear. Fate shall not shake it.
Time's worst hand of distress shall disturb it never.
O thou king Iramíyan! With thee circle
riders keen of their steel to cut off thy foemen.
King art thou, the all--just, of Earth's high walkers
foremost, first in the World, its all--praise surpassing.
If of wrong there be aught untamed, unstraightened,
bring but word to our chiefs; they shall deal out justice
Set thy gaze on the hills, on Mílha, Sákib.
See the slain unavenged, while alive their slayers.
Probe the wounds of our anger, though thou hurt us,
yet shall truth be approved and the falsehood flouted.
Else be thou of us silent, and we silent,
closing lids on our wrong, though the mote lies under.
Yet, refusing the peace, whomso you question,
he shall speak in our praise, shall assign us worship.
O the days of the war, of our free fighting,
raidings made in surprise, the retreats, the shoutings!
How our nágas we scourged from Sâf el Bahreyn,
pressing hard to the end, to our goal El Hása!
Turned had we on Temím before Mohárrem,
taken their daughters for wives, their maids for handmaids.
None might stay us nor strive with us. The stoutest
turned, though turning availed not nor their feet flying,
Nay, nor mountain might hide nor plain protect them;
blackness burnt in the sun, it might bring no succour.
Thou, O King, art the master. Where in all lands
standeth one of thy height? There is none beside thee.
Lo, how stiff was our stand for him, El Móndir.
Say, were we, as were these, Ibn Hind's base herdsmen?
Let the Tághlebi slain in their blood answer,
unavenged where they lie. In the dust we spilled it.
He, the king, when in that high place Maisúna's
tent he builded for her who so loved Ausá--u,
What of turbulent folk did he there gather,
broken men of the tribes, ragged, hungry vultures!
Dates and water to all he gave in bounty.
God's revenge on the guilty they called his soldiers.
You the weight of them proved with your mad challenge,
brought them blind on your back by your idle boasting.
Nay, they gave you no false words, laid no ambush;
broad before you at noon you beheld them marching.
Ho, thou bearer of tales to Amru, babbler!
when of this shall the end be, how soon the silence?
Proofs he hath at our hands, three honest tokens,
each enough for his eyes of our faìth unswerving.
First when came from Shakík at him the war--lords,
all Maád in their tribes, with each clan a banner.
Mail--clad men were there there, their chieftain Káis,
he, the Prince Karathíyan, a rock, a stronghold.
With him sons of the brave, of freeborn ladies;
naught might stand to their shock save alone our swordblades.
Them we drove back with wounds like the out--rushing
streams when goat--skins are pricked; it was thus their blood flowed;
Drove them back to Thahlána its strong places,
scattered, drenched in their gore where the thigh wounds spouted.
Struck we stern at the lives of them; then trembled
deep our spears in their well, like a long--roped bucket.
Only God shall appraise how we misused them;
none hath claimed for their lives the uncounted blood price.
Next with Hójra it was, Ibn om Katáma;
with him rode the Iráni: how red their armour!
Roused, a lion, he chargeth, his feet thudding,
yet as Spring to the poor in their day of hunger.
Chains we struck from the hands of Imr el Káis;
long the days of his grief were, his months of bondage.
We, when Jaun of Aál Beni 'Aus sought us,
rock--strong with him a band of unyielding horsemen,
Nothing feared, though the dust of them around us
swept the plain like a smoke by the war--flame kindled.
Put we swords on his neck, Ghassán, for Móndir,
wrath that less than our right was the blood price counted.
Lastly brought we the nine of the blood royal,
all their wealth in our hands, an unnumbered booty.
Amr a son was of ours Ibn Om Eyyási;
close in kinship he came, when he gave the dowry.
Let this stand to our count, our power in pleading!
land with land are we knit, by the strong ones strengthened.
Hold the tongue of your boasting, your vainglory,
else be yourselves the blind, on yourselves ill--fortune.
O, remember the oath of Thil Majázi,
all that was of old time, the fair words, the pledges.
Flee the evil, the hate! Shall men gainsay it,
that which stands on the skin, for the whim of any?
Think how we with yourselves the fair deed signed there,
did the thing we should do, and no less, our duty.
Faction all and injustice! As well, when feasting,
take, for vow of a sheep, a gazelle in payment!
Was it ours, say, the blame of it all, when Kíndah
took your booths for a spoil, that of us you claim it?
Was it ours that foul deed of him, Eyádi?
are we bound with his rope, like a loaded camel?
Not by us were these done to their death, nor Káis,
nay, nor Jéndal by us, nor he Haddá--u.
Theirs, not ours, were the crimes of Beni Atíkeh;
clean of blame are our hands since you tore the treaties.
Eighty went of Temím: in their right hands lances;
each a sentence of death, when they went against you,
Left your sons where they lay sword--slashed and blood--stained,
brought a tumult of spoil till men's ears were deafened.
Is it ours the ill--deed of the man Hanífa?
ours the strife of all time, Earth's arrears of evil?
Ours the wrong of Kodáat? Nay, 'tis all injustice;
not for these and their sins are our hands indicted.
Not for these, nor their raid on the Béni Rázah;
who shall approve their claim in Nitá, in Búrka?
Long they cringed for a spoil, these camel--cravers,
yet not one did we give, not a black nor white one;
Left them bare till they fled with their backs broken,
all unwatered their thirst, unassuaged their vengeance;
Horsemen hard on their track, El Fellak's riders,
pity none in their hand, in their heart no sparing.
Ours it was, the dominion of all these peoples,
ours till El Móndir ruled, the sweet rain of heaven.
Thou, O King, art the master. Thou our witness
stoodst the day of Hayáreyn. Our proof is proven!
NAY, let us walk from fire unto fire,
From passionate pain to deadlier delight,--
I am too young to live without desire,
Too young art thou to waste this summer night
Asking those idle questions which of old
Man sought of seer and oracle, and no reply was told.
For, sweet, to feel is better than to know,
And wisdom is a childless heritage,
One pulse of passion--youth's first fiery glow,--
Are worth the hoarded proverbs of the sage:
Vex not thy soul with dead philosophy,
Have we not lips to kiss with, hearts to love, and eyes to see!
Dost thou not hear the murmuring nightingale
Like water bubbling from a silver jar,
So soft she sings the envious moon is pale,
That high in heaven she is hung so far
She cannot hear that love-enraptured tune,--
Mark how she wreathes each horn with mist, yon late and labouring
White lilies, in whose cups the gold bees dream,
The fallen snow of petals where the breeze
Scatters the chestnut blossom, or the gleam
Of boyish limbs in water,--are not these
Enough for thee, dost thou desire more?
Alas! the Gods will give nought else from their eternal store.
For our high Gods have sick and wearied grown
Of all our endless sins, our vain endeavour
For wasted days of youth to make atone
By pain or prayer or priest, and never, never,
Hearken they now to either good or ill,
But send their rain upon the just and the unjust at will.
They sit at ease, our Gods they sit at ease,
Strewing with leaves of rose their scented wine,
They sleep, they sleep, beneath the rocking trees
Where asphodel and yellow lotus twine,
Mourning the old glad days before they knew
What evil things the heart of man could dream, and dreaming do.
And far beneath the brazen floor they see
Like swarming flies the crowd of little men,
The bustle of small lives, then wearily
Back to their lotus-haunts they turn again
Kissing each other's mouths, and mix more deep
The poppy-seeded draught which brings soft purple-lidded sleep.
There all day long the golden-vestured sun,
Their torch-bearer, stands with his torch a-blaze,
And when the gaudy web of noon is spun
By its twelve maidens through the crimson haze
Fresh from Endymion's arms comes forth the moon,
And the immortal Gods in toils of mortal passions swoon.
There walks Queen Juno through some dewy mead
Her grand white feet flecked with the saffron dust
Of wind-stirred lilies, while young Ganymede
Leaps in the hot and amber-foaming must,
His curls all tossed, as when the eagle bare
The frightened boy from Ida through the blue Ionian air.
There in the green heart of some garden close
Queen Venus with the shepherd at her side,
Her warm soft body like the briar rose
Which would be white yet blushes at its pride,
Laughs low for love, till jealous Salmacis
Peers through the myrtle-leaves and sighs for pain of lonely
There never does that dreary north-wind blow
Which leaves our English forests bleak and bare,
Nor ever falls the swift white-feathered snow,
Nor doth the red-toothed lightning ever dare
To wake them in the silver-fretted night
When we lie weeping for some sweet sad sin, some dead delight.
Alas! they know the far Lethæan spring,
The violet-hidden waters well they know,
Where one whose feet with tired wandering
Are faint and broken may take heart and go,
And from those dark depths cool and crystalline
Drink, and draw balm, and sleep for sleepless souls, and anodyne.
But we oppress our natures, God or Fate
Is our enemy, we starve and feed
On vain repentance--O we are born too late!
What balm for us in bruisèd poppy seed
Who crowd into one finite pulse of time
The joy of infinite love and the fierce pain of infinite crime.
O we are wearied of this sense of guilt,
Wearied of pleasure's paramour despair,
Wearied of every temple we have built,
Wearied of every right, unanswered prayer,
For man is weak; God sleeps: and heaven is high:
One fiery-coloured moment: one great love; and lo! we die.
Ah! but no ferry-man with labouring pole
Nears his black shallop to the flowerless strand,
No little coin of bronze can bring the soul
Over Death's river to the sunless land,
Victim and wine and vow are all in vain,
The tomb is sealed; the soldiers watch; the dead rise not again.
We are resolved into the supreme air,
We are made one with what we touch and see,
With our heart's blood each crimson sun is fair,
With our young lives each spring-impassioned tree
Flames into green, the wildest beasts that range
The moor our kinsmen are, all life is one, and all is change.
With beat of systole and of diastole
One grand great life throbs through earth's giant heart,
And mighty waves of single Being roll
From nerve-less germ to man, for we are part
Of every rock and bird and beast and hill,
One with the things that prey on us, and one with what we kill.
From lower cells of waking life we pass
To full perfection; thus the world grows old:
We who are godlike now were once a mass
Of quivering purple flecked with bars of gold,
Unsentient or of joy or misery,
And tossed in terrible tangles of some wild and wind-swept sea.
This hot hard flame with which our bodies burn
Will make some meadow blaze with daffodil,
Ay! and those argent breasts of thine will turn
To water-lilies; the brown fields men till
Will be more fruitful for our love to-night,
Nothing is lost in nature, all things live in Death's despite.
The boy's first kiss, the hyacinth's first bell,
The man's last passion, and the last red spear
That from the lily leaps, the asphodel
Which will not let its blossoms blow for fear
Of too much beauty, and the timid shame
Of the young bride-groom at his lover's eyes,--these with the
One sacrament are consecrate, the earth
Not we alone hath passions hymeneal,
The yellow buttercups that shake for mirth
At daybreak know a pleasure not less real
Than we do, when in some fresh-blossoming wood
We draw the spring into our hearts, and feel that life is good.
So when men bury us beneath the yew
Thy crimson-stainèd mouth a rose will be,
And thy soft eyes lush bluebells dimmed with dew,
And when the white narcissus wantonly
Kisses the wind its playmate, some faint joy
Will thrill our dust, and we will be again fond maid and boy.
And thus without life's conscious torturing pain
In some sweet flower we will feel the sun,
And from the linnet's throat will sing again,
And as two gorgeous-mailèd snakes will run
Over our graves, or as two tigers creep
Through the hot jungle where the yellow-eyed huge lions sleep
And give them battle! How my heart leaps up
To think of that grand living after death
In beast and bird and flower, when this cup,
Being filled too full of spirit, bursts for breath,
And with the pale leaves of some autumn day
The soul earth's earliest conqueror becomes earth's last great prey.
O think of it! We shall inform ourselves
Into all sensuous life, the goat-foot Faun,
The Centaur, or the merry bright-eyed Elves
That leave their dancing rings to spite the dawn
Upon the meadows, shall not be more near
Than you and I to nature's mysteries, for we shall hear
The thrush's heart beat, and the daisies grow,
And the wan snowdrop sighing for the sun
On sunless days in winter, we shall know
By whom the silver gossamer is spun,
Who paints the diapered fritillaries,
On what wide wings from shivering pine to pine the eagle flies.
Ay! had we never loved at all, who knows
If yonder daffodil had lured the bee
Into its gilded womb, or any rose
Had hung with crimson lamps its little tree!
Methinks no leaf would ever bud in spring,
But for the lovers' lips that kiss, the poets' lips that sing.
Is the light vanished from our golden sun,
Or is this dædal-fashioned earth less fair,
That we are nature's heritors, and one
With every pulse of life that beats the air?
Rather new suns across the sky shall pass,
New splendour come unto the flower, new glory to the grass.
And we two lovers shall not sit afar,
Critics of nature, but the joyous sea
Shall be our raiment, and the bearded star
Shoot arrows at our pleasure! We shall be
Part of the mighty universal whole,
And through all æons mix and mingle with the Kosmic Soul!
We shall be notes in that great Symphony
Whose cadence circles through the rhythmic spheres,
And all the live World's throbbing heart shall be
One with our heart, the stealthy creeping years
Have lost their terrors now, we shall not die,
The Universe itself shall be our Immortality!
by Oscar Wilde.
The Hall Of Justice
Take, take away thy barbarous hand,
And let me to thy Master speak;
Remit awhile the harsh command,
And hear me, or my heart will break.
Fond wretch! and what canst thou relate,
But deeds of sorrow, shame, and sin?
Thy crime is proved, thou know'st thy fate;
But come, thy tale!--begin, begin! -
My crime!--This sick'ning child to feed.
I seized the food, your witness saw;
I knew your laws forbade the deed,
But yielded to a stronger law.
Know'st thou, to Nature's great command
All human laws are frail and weak?
Nay! frown not--stay his eager hand,
And hear me, or my heart will break.
In this, th' adopted babe I hold
With anxious fondness to my breast,
My heart's sole comfort I behold,
More dear than life, when life was blest;
I saw her pining, fainting, cold,
I begg'd--but vain was my request.
I saw the tempting food, and seized -
My infant-sufferer found relief;
And in the pilfer'd treasure pleased,
Smiled on my guilt, and hush'd my grief.
But I have griefs of other kind,
Troubles and sorrows more severe;
Give me to ease my tortured mind,
Lend to my woes a patient ear;
And let me--if I may not find
A friend to help--find one to hear.
Yet nameless let me plead--my name
Would only wake the cry of scorn;
A child of sin, conceived in shame,
Brought forth in woe, to misery born.
My mother dead, my father lost,
I wander'd with a vagrant crew;
A common care, a common cost;
Their sorrows and their sins I knew;
With them, by want on error forced,
Like them, I base and guilty grew.
Few are my years, not so my crimes;
The age which these sad looks declare,
Is Sorrow's work, it is not Time's,
And I am old in shame and care.
Taught to believe the world a place
Where every stranger was a foe,
Train'd in the arts that mark our race,
To what new people could I go?
Could I a better life embrace,
Or live as virtue dictates? No! -
So through the land I wandering went,
And little found of grief or joy;
But lost my bosom's sweet content
When first I loved the Gipsy-Boy.
A sturdy youth he was and tall,
His looks would all his soul declare;
His piercing eyes were deep and small,
And strongly curl'd his raven-hair.
Yes, AARON had each manly charm,
All in the May of youthful pride,
He scarcely fear'd his father's arm,
And every other arm defied. -
Oft, when they grew in anger warm,
(Whom will not love and power divide?)
I rose, their wrathful souls to calm,
Not yet in sinful combat tried.
His father was our party's chief,
And dark and dreadful was his look;
His presence fill'd my heart with grief,
Although to me he kindly spoke.
With Aaron I delighted went,
His favour was my bliss and pride;
In growing hope our days we spent,
Love's growing charms in either spied;
It saw them all which Nature lent,
It lent them all which she denied.
Could I the father's kindness prize,
Or grateful looks on him bestow,
Whom I beheld in wrath arise,
When Aaron sunk beneath his blow?
He drove him down with wicked hand,
It was a dreadful sight to see;
Then vex'd him, till he left the land,
And told his cruel love to me;
The clan were all at his command,
Whatever his command might be.
The night was dark, the lanes were deep,
And one by one they took their way;
He bade me lay me down and sleep,
I only wept and wish'd for day.
Accursed be the love he bore,
Accursed was the force he used,
So let him of his God implore
For mercy, and be so refused!
You frown again,--to show my wrong
Can I in gentle language speak?
My woes are deep, my words are strong, -
And hear me, or my heart will break.
I hear thy words, I feel thy pain;
Forbear awhile to speak thy woes;
Receive our aid, and then again
The story of thy life disclose.
For, though seduced and led astray,
Thou'st travell'd far and wander'd long;
Thy God hath seen thee all the way,
And all the turns that led thee wrong.
Come, now again thy woes impart,
Tell all thy sorrows, all thy sin;
We cannot heal the throbbing heart
Till we discern the wounds within.
Compunction weeps our guilt away,
The sinner's safety is his pain;
Such pangs for our offences pay,
And these severer griefs are gain.
The son came back--he found us wed,
Then dreadful was the oath he swore;
His way through Blackburn Forest led, -
His father we beheld no more.
Of all our daring clan not one
Would on the doubtful subject dwell;
For all esteem'd the injured son,
And fear'd the tale which he could tell.
But I had mightier cause for fear,
For slow and mournful round my bed
I saw a dreadful form appear, -
It came when I and Aaron wed.
Yes! we were wed, I know my crime, -
We slept beneath the elmin tree;
But I was grieving all the time,
And Aaron frown'd my tears to see.
For he not yet had felt the pain
That rankles in a wounded breast;
He waked to sin, then slept again,
Forsook his God, yet took his rest.
But I was forced to feign delight,
And joy in mirth and music sought, -
And mem'ry now recalls the night,
With such surprise and horror fraught,
That reason felt a moment's flight,
And left a mind to madness wrought.
When waking, on my heaving breast
I felt a hand as cold as death:
A sudden fear my voice suppress'd,
A chilling terror stopp'd my breath.
I seem'd--no words can utter how!
For there my father-husband stood,
And thus he said: --'Will God allow,
The great Avenger just and Good,
A wife to break her marriage vow?
A son to shed his father's blood?'
I trembled at the dismal sounds,
But vainly strove a word to say;
So, pointing to his bleeding wounds,
The threat'ning spectre stalk'd away.
I brought a lovely daughter forth,
His father's child, in Aaron's bed;
He took her from me in his wrath,
'Where is my child?'--'Thy child is dead.'
'Twas false--we wander'd far and wide,
Through town and country, field and fen,
Till Aaron, fighting, fell and died,
And I became a wife again.
I then was young: --my husband sold
My fancied charms for wicked price;
He gave me oft for sinful gold,
The slave, but not the friend of vice: -
Behold me, Heaven! my pains behold,
And let them for my sins suffice.
The wretch who lent me thus for gain,
Despised me when my youth was fled;
Then came disease, and brought me pain: -
Come, Death, and bear me to the dead!
For though I grieve, my grief is vain,
And fruitless all the tears I shed.
True, I was not to virtue train'd,
Yet well I knew my deeds were ill;
By each offence my heart was pain'd
I wept, but I offended still;
My better thoughts my life disdain'd,
But yet the viler led my will.
My husband died, and now no more
My smile was sought, or ask'd my hand,
A widow'd vagrant, vile and poor,
Beneath a vagrant's vile command.
Ceaseless I roved the country round,
To win my bread by fraudful arts,
And long a poor subsistence found,
By spreading nets for simple hearts.
Though poor, and abject, and despised,
Their fortunes to the crowd I told;
I gave the young the love they prized,
And promised wealth to bless the old.
Schemes for the doubtful I devised,
And charms for the forsaken sold.
At length for arts like these confined
In prison with a lawless crew,
I soon perceived a kindred mind,
And there my long-lost daughter knew;
His father's child, whom Aaron gave
To wander with a distant clan,
The miseries of the world to brave,
And be the slave of vice and man.
She knew my name--we met in pain;
Our parting pangs can I express?
She sail'd a convict o'er the main,
And left an heir to her distress.
This is that heir to shame and pain,
For whom I only could descry
A world of trouble and disdain:
Yet, could I bear to see her die,
Or stretch her feeble hands in vain,
And, weeping, beg of me supply?
No! though the fate thy mother knew
Was shameful! shameful though thy race
Have wander'd all a lawless crew,
Outcasts despised in every place;
Yet as the dark and muddy tide,
When far from its polluted source,
Becomes more pure and purified,
Flows in a clear and happy course;
In thee, dear infant! so may end
Our shame, in thee our sorrows cease,
And thy pure course will then extend,
In floods of joy, o'er vales of peace.
Oh! by the GOD who loves to spare,
Deny me not the boon I crave;
Let this loved child your mercy share,
And let me find a peaceful grave:
Make her yet spotless soul your care,
And let my sins their portion have;
Her for a better fate prepare,
And punish whom 'twere sin to save!
Recall the word, renounce the thought,
Command thy heart and bend thy knee;
There is to all a pardon brought,
A ransom rich, assured and free;
'Tis full when found, 'tis found if sought,
Oh! seek it, till 'tis seal'd to thee.
But how my pardon shall I know?
By feeling dread that 'tis not sent,
By tears for sin that freely flow,
By grief, that all thy tears are spent,
By thoughts on that great debt we owe,
With all the mercy God has lent,
By suffering what thou canst not show,
Yet showing how thine heart is rent,
Till thou canst feel thy bosom glow,
And say, 'MY SAVIOUR, I REPENT!'
by George Crabbe.
The Passionate Pilgrim
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor'd youth,
Unskilful in the world's false forgeries,
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although I know my years be past the best,
I smiling credit her false-speaking tongue,
Outfacing faults in love with love's ill rest.
But wherefore says my love that she is young?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love's best habit is a soothing tongue,
And age, in love, loves not to have years told.
Therefore, I'll lie with love, and love with me,
Since that our faults in love thus smother'd be.
Two loves I have, of comfort and despair,
That like two spirits do suggest me still;
My better angel is a man right fair,
My worser spirit a woman colour'd ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her fair pride.
And whether that my angel be turn'd fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell:
For being both to me, both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another's hell:
The truth I shall not know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.
Did not the heavenly rhetoric of thine eye,
'Gainst whom the world could not hold argument.
Persuade my heart to this false perjury?
Vows for thee broke deserve not punishment.
A woman I forswore; but I will prove,
Thou being a goddess, I forswore not thee:
My vow was earthly, thou a heavenly love:
Thy grace being gain'd cures all disgrace in me.
My vow was breath, and breath a vapour is;
Then, thou fair sun, that on this earth doth shine,
Exhale this vapour vow; in thee it is:
If broken, then it is no fault of mine.
If by me broke, what fool is not so wise
To break an oath, to win a paradise?
Sweet Cytherea, sitting by a brook
With young Adonis, lovely, fresh, and green,
Did court the lad with many a lovely look,
Such looks as none could look but beauty's queen,
She told him stories to delight his ear;
She show'd him favours to allure his eye;
To win his heart, she touch'd him here and there, --
Touches so soft still conquer chastity.
But whether unripe years did want conceit,
Or he refused to take her figured proffer,
The tender nibbler would not touch the bait,
But smile and jest at every gentle offer:
Then fell she on her back, fair queen, and toward:
He rose and ran away; ah, fool too froward!
If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to love?
O never faith could hold, if not to beauty vow'd:
Though to myself forsworn, to thee I'll constant prove;
Those thoughts, to me like oaks, to thee like osiers bow'd.
Study his bias leaves, and make his book thine eyes,
Where all those pleasures live that art can comprehend.
If knowledge be the mark, to know thee shall suffice;
Well learned is that tongue that well can thee commend;
All ignorant that soul that sees thee without wonder;
Which is to me some praise, that I thy parts admire:
Thy eye Jove's lightning seems, thy voice his dreadful thunder,
Which, not to anger bent, is music and sweet fire.
Celestial as thou art, O do not love that wrong,
To sing heaven's praise with such an earthly tongue.
Scarce had the sun dried up the dewy morn,
And scarce the herd gone to the hedge for shade,
When Cytherea, all in love forlorn,
A longing tarriance for Adonis made
Under an osier growing by a brook,
A brook where Adon used to cool his spleen:
Hot was the day; she hotter that did look
For his approach, that often there had been.
Anon he comes, and throws his mantle by,
And stood stark naked on the brook's green brim:
The sun look'd on the world with glorious eye,
Yet not so wistly as this queen on him.
He, spying her, bounced in, whereas he stood:
'O Jove,' quoth she, 'why was not I a flood!'
Fair is my love, but not so fair as fickle;
Mild as a dove, but neither true nor trusty;
Brighter than glass, and yet, as glass is brittle;
Softer than wax, and yet, as iron, rusty:
A lily pale, with damask dye to grace her,
None fairer, nor none falser to deface her.
Her lips to mine how often hath she joined,
Between each kiss her oaths of true love swearing!
How many tales to please me bath she coined,
Dreading my love, the loss thereof still fearing!
Yet in the midst of all her pure protestings,
Her faith, her oaths, her tears, and all were jestings.
She burn'd with love, as straw with fire flameth;
She burn'd out love, as soon as straw outburneth;
She framed the love, and yet she foil'd the framing;
She bade love last, and yet she fell a-turning.
Was this a lover, or a lecher whether?
Bad in the best, though excellent in neither.
If music and sweet poetry agree,
As they must needs, the sister and the brother,
Then must the love be great 'twixt thee and me,
Because thou lovest the one, and I the other.
Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch
Upon the lute doth ravish human sense;
Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such
As, passing all conceit, needs no defence.
Thou lovest to bear the sweet melodious sound
That Phoebus' lute, the queen of music, makes;
And I in deep delight am chiefly drown'd
Whenas himself to singing he betakes.
One god is god of both, as poets feign;
One knight loves both, and both in thee remain.
Fair was the morn when the fair queen of love,
Paler for sorrow than her milk-white dove,
For Adon's sake, a youngster proud and wild;
Her stand she takes upon a steep-up hill:
Anon Adonis comes with horn and hounds;
She, silly queen, with more than love's good will,
Forbade the boy he should not pass those grounds:
'Once,' quoth she, 'did I see a fair sweet youth
Here in these brakes deep-wounded with a boar,
Deep in the thigh, a spectacle of ruth!
See, in my thigh,' quoth she, 'here was the sore.
She showed hers: he saw more wounds than one,
And blushing fled, and left her all alone.
Sweet rose, fair flower, untimely pluck'd, soon vaded,
Pluck'd in the bud, and vaded in the spring!
Bright orient pearl, alack, too timely shaded!
Fair creature, kill'd too soon by death's sharp sting!
Like a green plum that hangs upon a tree,
And falls, through wind, before the fall should he.
I weep for thee, and yet no cause I have;
For why thou left'st me nothing in thy will:
And yet thou left'st me more than I did crave;
For why I craved nothing of thee still:
O yes, dear friend, I pardon crave of thee,
Thy discontent thou didst bequeath to me.
Venus, with young Adonis sitting by her
Under a myrtle shade, began to woo him:
She told the youngling how god Mars did try her,
And as he fell to her, so fell she to him.
'Even thus,' quoth she, 'the warlike god embraced me,'
And then she clipp'd Adonis in her arms;
'Even thus,' quoth she, 'the warlike god unlaced me,'
As if the boy should use like loving charms;
'Even thus,' quoth she, 'he seized on my lips
And with her lips on his did act the seizure
And as she fetched breath, away he skips,
And would not take her meaning nor her pleasure.
Ah, that I had my lady at this bay,
To kiss and clip me till I run away!
Crabbed age and youth cannot live together
Youth is full of pleasance, age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn, age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave, age like winter bare;
Youth is full of sport, age's breath is short;
Youth is nimble, age is lame;
Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold;
Youth is wild, and age is tame.
Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee;
O, my love, my love is young!
Age, I do defy thee: O, sweet shepherd, hie thee,
For methinks thou stay'st too long.
Beauty is but a vain and doubtful good;
A shining gloss that vadeth suddenly;
A flower that dies when first it gins to bud;
A brittle glass that's broken presently:
A doubtful good, a gloss, a glass, a flower,
Lost, vaded, broken, dead within an hour.
And as goods lost are seld or never found,
As vaded gloss no rubbing will refresh,
As flowers dead lie wither'd on the ground,
As broken glass no cement can redress,
So beauty blemish'd once's for ever lost,
In spite of physic, painting, pain and cost.
Good night, good rest. Ah, neither be my share:
She bade good night that kept my rest away;
And daff'd me to a cabin hang'd with care,
To descant on the doubts of my decay.
'Farewell,' quoth she, 'and come again tomorrow:
Fare well I could not, for I supp'd with sorrow.
Yet at my parting sweetly did she smile,
In scorn or friendship, nill I construe whether:
'T may be, she joy'd to jest at my exile,
'T may be, again to make me wander thither:
'Wander,' a word for shadows like myself,
As take the pain, but cannot pluck the pelf.
Lord, how mine eyes throw gazes to the east!
My heart doth charge the watch; the morning rise
Doth cite each moving sense from idle rest.
Not daring trust the office of mine eyes,
While Philomela sits and sings, I sit and mark,
And wish her lays were tuned like the lark;
For she doth welcome daylight with her ditty,
And drives away dark dismal-dreaming night:
The night so pack'd, I post unto my pretty;
Heart hath his hope, and eyes their wished sight;
Sorrow changed to solace, solace mix'd with sorrow;
For why, she sigh'd and bade me come tomorrow.
Were I with her, the night would post too soon;
But now are minutes added to the hours;
To spite me now, each minute seems a moon;
Yet not for me, shine sun to succour flowers!
Pack night, peep day; good day, of night now borrow:
Short, night, to-night, and length thyself tomorrow.
The White Ship Henry I. Of England.—25th November 1120
By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)
King Henry held it as life's whole gain
That after his death his son should reign.
`Twas so in my youth I heard men say,
And my old age calls it back to-day.
King Henry of England's realm was he,
And Henry Duke of Normandy.
The times had changed when on either coast
“Clerkly Harry” was all his boast.
Of ruthless strokes full many an one
He had struck to crown himself and his son;
And his elder brother's eyes were gone.
And when to the chase his court would crowd,
The poor flung ploughshares on his road,
And shrieked: “Our cry is from King to God!”
But all the chiefs of the English land
Had knelt and kissed the Prince's hand.
And next with his son he sailed to France
To claim the Norman allegiance:
And every baron in Normandy
Had taken the oath of fealty.
'Twas sworn and sealed, and the day had come
When the King and the Prince might journey home:
For Christmas cheer is to home hearts dear,
And Christmas now was drawing near.
Stout Fitz-Stephen came to the King,—
A pilot famous in seafaring;
And he held to the King, in all men's sight,
A mark of gold for his tribute's right.
“Liege Lord! my father guided the ship
From whose boat your father's foot did slip
When he caught the English soil in his grip,
“And cried: ‘By this clasp I claim command
O'er every rood of English land!’
“He was borne to the realm you rule o'er now
In that ship with the archer carved at her prow:
“And thither I'll bear, an it be my due,
Your father's son and his grandson too.
“The famed White Ship is mine in the bay;
From Harfleur's harbour she sails to-day,
“With masts fair-pennoned as Norman spears
And with fifty well-tried mariners.”
Quoth the King: “My ships are chosen each one,
But I'll not say nay to Stephen's son.
“My son and daughter and fellowship
Shall cross the water in the White Ship.”
The King set sail with the eve's south wind,
And soon he left that coast behind.
The Prince and all his, a princely show,
Remained in the good White Ship to go.
With noble knights and with ladies fair,
With courtiers and sailors gathered there,
Three hundred living souls we were:
And I Berold was the meanest hind
In all that train to the Prince assign'd.
The Prince was a lawless shameless youth;
From his father's loins he sprang without ruth:
Eighteen years till then he had seen,
And the devil's dues in him were eighteen.
And now he cried: “Bring wine from below;
Let the sailors revel ere yet they row:
“Our speed shall o'ertake my father's flight
Though we sail from the harbour at midnight.”
The rowers made good cheer without check;
The lords and ladies obeyed his beck;
The night was light, and they danced on the deck.
But at midnight's stroke they cleared the bay,
And the White Ship furrowed the water-way.
The sails were set, and the oars kept tune
To the double flight of the ship and the moon:
Swifter and swifter the White Ship sped
Till she flew as the spirit flies from the dead:
As white as a lily glimmered she
Like a ship's fair ghost upon the sea.
And the Prince cried, “Friends, 'tis the hour to sing!
Is a songbird's course so swift on the wing?”
And under the winter stars' still throng,
From brown throats, white throats, merry and strong,
The knights and the ladies raised a song.
A song,—nay, a shriek that rent the sky,
That leaped o'er the deep!—the grievous cry
Of three hundred living that now must die.
An instant shriek that sprang to the shock
As the ship's keel felt the sunken rock.
'Tis said that afar—a shrill strange sigh—
The King's ships heard it and knew not why.
Pale Fitz-Stephen stood by the helm
'Mid all those folk that the waves must whelm.
A great King's heir for the waves to whelm,
And the helpless pilot pale at the helm!
The ship was eager and sucked athirst,
By the stealthy stab of the sharp reef pierc'd:
And like the moil round a sinking cup
The waters against her crowded up.
A moment the pilot's senses spin,—
The next he snatched the Prince 'mid the din,
Cut the boat loose, and the youth leaped in.
A few friends leaped with him, standing near.
“Row! the sea's smooth and the night is clear!”
“What! none to be saved but these and I?”
“Row, row as you'd live! All here must die!”
Out of the churn of the choking ship,
Which the gulf grapples and the waves strip,
They struck with the strained oars' flash and dip.
'Twas then o'er the splitting bulwarks' brim
The Prince's sister screamed to him.
He gazed aloft, still rowing apace,
And through the whirled surf he knew her face.
To the toppling decks clave one and all
As a fly cleaves to a chamber-wall.
I Berold was clinging anear;
I prayed for myself and quaked with fear,
But I saw his eyes as he looked at her.
He knew her face and he heard her cry,
And he said, “Put back! she must not die!”
And back with the current's force they reel
Like a leaf that's drawn to a water-wheel.
'Neath the ship's travail they scarce might float,
But he rose and stood in the rocking boat.
Low the poor ship leaned on the tide:
O'er the naked keel as she best might slide,
The sister toiled to the brother's side.
He reached an oar to her from below,
And stiffened his arms to clutch her so.
But now from the ship some spied the boat,
And “Saved!” was the cry from many a throat.
And down to the boat they leaped and fell:
It turned as a bucket turns in a well,
And nothing was there but the surge and swell.
The Prince that was and the King to come,
There in an instant gone to his doom,
Despite of all England's bended knee
And maugre the Norman fealty!
He was a Prince of lust and pride;
He showed no grace till the hour he died.
When he should be King, he oft would vow,
He'd yoke the peasant to his own plough.
O'er him the ships score their furrows now.
God only knows where his soul did wake,
But I saw him die for his sister's sake.
By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)
And now the end came o'er the waters' womb
Like the last great Day that's yet to come.
With prayers in vain and curses in vain,
The White Ship sundered on the mid-main:
And what were men and what was a ship
Were toys and splinters in the sea's grip.
I Berold was down in the sea;
And passing strange though the thing may be,
Of dreams then known I remember me.
Blithe is the shout on Harfleur's strand
When morning lights the sails to land:
And blithe is Honfleur's echoing gloam
When mothers call the children home:
And high do the bells of Rouen beat
When the Body of Christ goes down the street.
These things and the like were heard and shown
In a moment's trance 'neath the sea alone;
And when I rose, 'twas the sea did seem,
And not these things, to be all a dream.
The ship was gone and the crowd was gone,
And the deep shuddered and the moon shone,
And in a strait grasp my arms did span
The mainyard rent from the mast where it ran;
And on it with me was another man.
Where lands were none 'neath the dim sea-sky,
We told our names, that man and I.
“O I am Godefroy de l'Aigle hight,
And son I am to a belted knight.”
“And I am Berold the butcher's son
Who slays the beasts in Rouen town.”
Then cried we upon God's name, as we
Did drift on the bitter winter sea.
But lo! a third man rose o'er the wave,
And we said, “Thank God! us three may He save!”
He clutched to the yard with panting stare,
And we looked and knew Fitz-Stephen there.
He clung, and “What of the Prince?” quoth he.
“Lost, lost!” we cried. He cried, “Woe on me!”
And loosed his hold and sank through the sea.
And soul with soul again in that space
We two were together face to face:
And each knew each, as the moments sped,
Less for one living than for one dead:
And every still star overhead
Seemed an eye that knew we were but dead.
And the hours passed; till the noble's son
Sighed, “God be thy help! my strength's foredone!
“O farewell, friend, for I can no more!”
“Christ take thee!” I moaned; and his life was o'er.
Three hundred souls were all lost but one,
And I drifted over the sea alone.
At last the morning rose on the sea
Like an angel's wing that beat tow'rds me.
Sore numbed I was in my sheepskin coat;
Half dead I hung, and might nothing note,
Till I woke sun-warmed in a fisher-boat.
The sun was high o'er the eastern brim
As I praised God and gave thanks to Him.
That day I told my tale to a priest,
Who charged me, till the shrift were releas'd,
That I should keep it in mine own breast.
And with the priest I thence did fare
To King Henry's court at Winchester.
We spoke with the King's high chamberlain,
And he wept and mourned again and again,
As if his own son had been slain:
And round us ever there crowded fast
Great men with faces all aghast:
And who so bold that might tell the thing
Which now they knew to their lord the King?
Much woe I learnt in their communing.
The King had watched with a heart sore stirred
For two whole days, and this was the third:
And still to all his court would he say,
“What keeps my son so long away?”
And they said: “The ports lie far and wide
That skirt the swell of the English tide;
“And England's cliffs are not more white
Than her women are, and scarce so light
Her skies as their eyes are blue and bright;
“And in some port that he reached from France
The Prince has lingered for his pleasaùnce.”
But once the King asked: “What distant cry
Was that we heard 'twixt the sea and sky?”
And one said: “With suchlike shouts, pardie!
Do the fishers fling their nets at sea.”
And one: “Who knows not the shrieking quest
When the sea-mew misses its young from the nest?”
'Twas thus till now they had soothed his dread,
Albeit they knew not what they said:
But who should speak to-day of the thing
That all knew there except the King?
Then pondering much they found a way,
And met round the King's high seat that day:
And the King sat with a heart sore stirred,
And seldom he spoke and seldom heard.
'Twas then through the hall the King was 'ware
Of a little boy with golden hair,
As bright as the golden poppy is
That the beach breeds for the surf to kiss:
Yet pale his cheek as the thorn in Spring,
And his garb black like the raven's wing.
Nothing heard but his foot through the hall,
For now the lords were silent all.
And the King wondered, and said, “Alack!
Who sends me a fair boy dressed in black?
“Why, sweet heart, do you pace through the hall
As though my court were a funeral?”
Then lowly knelt the child at the dais,
And looked up weeping in the King's face.
“O wherefore black, O King, ye may say,
For white is the hue of death to-day.
“Your son and all his fellowship
Lie low in the sea with the White Ship.”
King Henry fell as a man struck dead;
And speechless still he stared from his bed
When to him next day my rede I read.
There's many an hour must needs beguile
A King's high heart that he should smile,—
Full many a lordly hour, full fain
Of his realm's rule and pride of his reign:—
But this King never smiled again.
By none but me can the tale be told,
The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
(Lands are swayed by a King on a throne.)
'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
(The sea hath no King but God alone.)
The Youth Of England To Garibaldi's Legend
O ye who by the gaping earth
Where, faint with resurrection, lay
An empire struggling into birth,
Her storm-strown beauty cold with clay,
The free winds round her flowery head,
Her feet still rooted with the dead,
Leaned on the unconquered arms that clave
Her tomb like Judgment, and foreknew
The life for which you rent the grave,
Would rise to breathe, beam, beat for you,
In every pulse of passionate mood,
A people's glorious gratitude,-
But heard, far off, the mobled woe
Of some new plaintiff for the light;
And leave your dear reward, and go
In haste, yet once again to smite
The hills, and, like a flood, unlock
Another nation from the rock;
Oh ye who, sure of nought but God
And death, go forth to turn the page
Of life, and in your heart's best blood
Date anew the chaptered age;
Ye o'er whom, as the abyss
O'er Curtius, sundered worlds shall kiss,
Do ye dream what ye have done?
What ye are and shall be? Nay,
Comets rushing to the sun,
And dyeing the tremendous way
With glory, look not back, nor know
How they blind the earth below.
From wave to wave our race rolls on,
In seas that rise, and fall, and rise;
Our tide of Man beneath the moon
Sets from the verge to yonder skies;
Throb after throb the ancient might
In such a thousand hills renews the earliest height.
'Tis something, o'er that moving vast,
To look across the centuries
Which heave the purple of a past
That was, and is not, and yet is,
And in that awful light to see
The crest of far Thermopylæ,
And, as a fisher draws his fly
Ripple by ripple, from shore to shore,
To draw our floating gaze, and try
The more by less, the less by more,
And find a peer to that sublime
Old height in the last surge of time.
'Tis something: yet great Clio's reed,
Greek with the sap of Castaly,
In her most glorious word midway
Begins to weep and bleed;
And Clio, lest she burn the line
Hides her blushing face divine,
While that maternal muse, so white
And lean with trying to forget,
Moves her mute lips, and, at the sight,
As if all suns that ever set
Slanted on a mortal ear
What man can feel but cannot hear,
We know, and know not how we know,
That when heroic Greece uprist,
Sicilia broke a daughter's vow,
And failed the inexorable tryst,-
We know that when those Spartans drew
Their swords-too many and too few!-
A presage blanched the Olympian hill
To moonlight: the old Thunderer nods;
But all the sullen air is chill
With rising Fates and younger gods.
Jove saw his peril and spake: one blind
Pale coward touched them with mankind.
What, then, on that Sicanian ground
Which soured the blood of Greece to shame,
To make the voice of praise resound
A triumph that, if Grecian fame
Blew it on her clarion old,
Had warmed the silver trump to gold!
What, then, brothers! to brim o'er
The measure Greece could scarcely brim,
And, calling Victory from the dim
Of that remote Thessalian shore,
Make his naked limbs repeat
What in the harness of defeat
He did of old; and, at the head
Of modern men, renewing thus
Thermopylæ, with Xerxes fled
And every Greek Leonidas,
Untitle the proud Past and crown
The heroic ages in our own!
Oh ye, whom they who cry 'how long'
See, and-as nestlings in the nest
Sink silent-sink into their rest;
Oh ye, in whom the Right and Wrong
That this old world of Day and Night
Crops upon its black and white,
Shall strike, and, in the last extremes
Of final best and worst, complete
The circuit of your light and heat;
Oh ye who walk upon our dreams,
And live, unknowing how or why
The vision and the prophecy,
In every tabernacled tent-
Eat shew-bread from the altar, and wot
Not of it-drink a sacrament
At every draught and know it not-
Breathe a nobler year whose least
Worst day is as the fast and feast
Of men-and, with such steps as chime
To nothing lower than the ears
Can hear to whom the marching spheres
Beat the universal time
Thro' our Life's perplexity,
March the land and sail the sea,
O'er those fields where Hate hath led
So oft the hosts of Crime and Pain-
March to break the captive's chain,
To heal the sick, to raise the dead,
And, where the last deadliest rout
Of furies cavern, to cast out
Those Dæmons,-ay, to meet the fell
Foul belch of swarming Satan hot
From Ætna, and down Ætna's throat
Drench that vomit back to hell-
In the east your star doth burn;
The tide of Fate is on the turn;
The thrown powers that mar or make
Man's good lie shed upon the sands,
Or on the wave about to break
Are flotsam that nor swims nor stands;
Earth is cold and pale, a-swoon
With fear; to the watch-tower of noon
The sun climbs sick and sorrowful,
Or, like clouded Cæsar, doth fold
His falling greatness to behold
Some crescent evil near the full.
Hell flickers; and the sudden reel
Of fortune, stopping in mid-wheel
Till the shifted current blows,
Clacks the knocking balls of chance
And the metred world's advance
Pauses at the rhythmic close;
One stave is ended, and the next
Chords its discords on the vext
And tuning Time: this is the hour
When weak Nature's need should be
The Hero's opportunity,
And heart and hand are Right and Power,
And he who will not serve may reign,
And who dares well dares nought in vain.
Behind you History stands a-gape;
On either side the incarnadine
Hot nations in whom war's wild wine
Burns like vintage thro' the grape,
See you, ruddy with the morn
Of Freedom, see you, and for scorn
As on that old day of wrath
The hosts drew off in hope and doubt,
And the shepherd-boy stept out
To sling Judæa upon Gath,
Furl in two, and, still as stone,
Like a red sea let you on.
On! ay tho' at war's alarms
That sea should flood into a foe!
On! the horns of Jericho
Blow when Virtue blows to arms.
Numberless or numbered-on!
Men are millions, God is one.
On! who waits for favouring gales?
What hap can ground your Argosy?
A nation's blessings fill your sails,
And tho' her wrongs scorched ocean dry,
Yet ah! her blood and tears could roll
Another sea from pole to pole.
On! day round ye, summer bloom
Beneath, in your young veins the bliss
Of youth! Who asks more? Ask but this,
-And ask as One will ask at Doom-
If lead be true, if steel be keen?
If hearts be pure, if hands be clean?
On! night round ye, the worst roak
Of Fortune poisoning all youth's bliss;
Each grass a sword, each Delphic oak
An omen! Who dreads? Dread but this,-
Blunted steel and lead unsure,
Hands unclean and hearts impure!
Full of love to God and man
As girt Martha's wageless toil;
Gracious as the wine and oil
Of the good Samaritan;
Healing to our wrongs and us
As Abraham's breast to Lazarus;
Piteous as the cheek that gave
Its patience to the smiter, still
Rendering nought but good for ill,
Tho' the greatest good ye have
Be iron, and your love and ruth
Speak but from the cannon's mouth-
On! you servants of the Lord,
In the right of servitude
Reap the life He sowed, and blood
His frenzied people with the sword,
And the blessing shall be yours,
That falls upon the peacemakers!
Ay, tho' trump and clarion blare,
Tho' your charging legions rock
Earth's bulwarks, tho' the slaughtered air
Be carrion, and the encountered shock
Of your clashing battles jar
The rung heav'ns, this is Peace, not War
With that two-edged sword that cleaves
Crowned insolence to awe,
And whose backward lightning leaves
Licence stricken into law,
Fill, till slaves and tyrants cease,
The sacred panurgy of peace!
Peace, as outraged peace can rise
When her eye that watched and prayed
Sees upon the favouring skies
The great sign, so long delayed,
And from hoofed and trampled sod
She leaps transfigured to a god,
Meets amid her smoking land
The chariot of careering War,
Locks the whirlwind of his car,
Wrests the thunder from his hand,
And, with his own bolt down-hurl'd,
Brains the monster from the world!
Hark! he comes! His nostrils cast
Like chaff before him flocks and men.
Oh proud, proud day, in yonder glen
Look on your heroes! Look your last,
Your last: and draw in with the passionate eye
Of love's last look the sights that paint eternity.
He comes-a tempest hides their place!
'Tis morn. The long day wanes. The loud
Storm lulls. Some march out of the cloud,
The princes of their age and race;
And some the mother earth that bore
Such sons hath loved too well to let them leave her more.
But oh, when joy-bells ring
For the living that return,
And the fires of victory burn,
And the dancing kingdoms sing,
And beauty takes the brave
To the breast he bled to save,
Will no faithful mourner weep
Where the battle-grass is gory,
And deep the soldier's sleep
In his martial cloak of glory,
Sleeps the dear dead buried low?
Shall they be forgotten? Lo,
On beyond that vale of fire
This babe must travel ere the child
Of yonder tall and bearded sire
His father's image hath fulfilled,
He shall see in that far day
A race of maidens pale and grey.
Theirs shall be nor cross nor hood,
Common rite nor convent roof,
Bead nor bell shall put to proof
A sister of that sisterhood;
But by noonday or by night
In her eyes there shall be light.
And as a temple organ, set
To its best stop by hands long gone,
Gives new ears the olden tone
And speaks the buried master yet,
Her lightest accents have the key
Of ancient love and victory.
And, as some hind, whom his o'erthrown
And dying king o'er hill and flood
Sends laden with the fallen crown,
Breathes the great trust into his blood
Till all his conscious forehead wears
The splendid secret that he bears,
For ever, everywhere the same,
Thro' every changing time and scene,
In widow's weeds and lowly name
She stands a bride, she moves a queen;
The flowering land her footstep knows;
The people bless her as she goes,
Whether upon your sacred days
She peers the mightiest and the best,
Or whether, by the common ways,
The babe leans from the peasant's breast,
While humble eyelids proudly fill,
And momentary Sabbaths still
The hand that spins, the foot that delves,
And all our sorrow and delight
Behold the seraph of themselves
In that pure face where woe grown bright
Seems rapture chastened to the mild
And equal light of smiles unsmiled.
And if perchance some wandering king,
Enamoured of her virgin reign,
Should sue the hand whose only ring
Is the last link of that first chain,
Forged by no departed hours, and seen
But in the daylight that hath been,
She pauses ere her heart can speak,
And, from below the source of tears,
The girlhood to her faded cheek
Goes slowly up thro' twenty years,
And, like the shadow in her eyes,
Slowly the living Past replies,
In tones of such serene eclipse
As if the voices of Death and Life
Came married by her mortal lips
To more than Life or Death-'A wife
Thou wooest; on yonder field he died
Who lives in all the world beside.'
Oh, ye who, in the favouring smile
Of Heaven, at one great stroke shall win
The gleaming guerdons that beguile
Glory's grey-haired Paladin
Thro' all his threescore jousts and ten,
-Love of women, and praise of men,
The spurs, the bays, the palm, the crown,-
Who, from your mountain-peak among
Mountains, thenceforth may look along
The shining tops of deeds undone,
And take them thro' the level air
As angels walk from star to star,
We from our isle-the ripest spot
Of the round green globe-where all
The rays of God most kindly fall,
And warm us to that temperate lot
Of seasoned change that slowly brings
Fruition to the orb of things,
We from this calm in chaos, where
Matter running into plan
And Reason solid in a man
Mediate the earth and air,
See ye winging yon far gloom,
Oh, ministering spirits! as some
Blest soul above that, all too late,
From his subaltern seat in heaven
Looks round and measures fate with fate,
And thro' the clouds below him driven
Beholds from that calm world of bliss
The toil and agony of this,
And, warming with the scene rehearst,
Bemoans the realms where all is won,
And sees the last that shall be first,
And spurns his secondary throne,
And envies from his changeless sphere
The life that strives and conquers here.
But ere toward fields so old and new
We leap from joys that shine in vain,
And rain our passion down the blue
Serene-once more-once more-to drain
Life's dreadful ecstasy, and sell
Our birthright for that oxymel
Whose stab and unction still keep quick
The wound for ever lost and found,
Lo, o'erhead, a cherubic
And legendary lyre, that round
The eddying spaces turns a dream
Of ancient war! And at the theme
Harps to answering harps, on high,
Call, recall, that but a strait
Of storm divides our happy state
From that pale sleepless Mystery
Who pines to sit upon the throne
He served ere falling to his own.
The Borough. Letter Xxiii: Prisons
'TIS well--that Man to all the varying states
Of good and ill his mind accommodates;
He not alone progressive grief sustains,
But soon submits to unexperienced pains:
Change after change, all climes his body bears;
His mind repeated shocks of changing cares:
Faith and fair Virtue arm the nobler breast;
Hope and mere want of feeling aid the rest.
Or who could bear to lose the balmy air
Of summer's breath, from all things fresh and fair,
With all that man admires or loves below;
All earth and water, wood and vale bestow,
Where rosy pleasures smile, whence real blessings
With sight and sound of every kind that lives,
And crowning all with joy that freedom gives?
Who could from these, in some unhappy day,
Bear to be drawn by ruthless arms away,
To the vile nuisance of a noisome room,
Where only insolence and misery come?
(Save that the curious will by chance appear,
Or some in pity drop a fruitless tear);
To a damp Prison, where the very sight
Of the warm sun is favour and not right;
Where all we hear or see the feelings shock,
The oath and groan, the fetter and the lock?
Who could bear this and live?--Oh! many a year
All this is borne, and miseries more severe;
And some there are, familiar with the scene,
Who live in mirth, though few become serene.
Far as I might the inward man perceive,
There was a constant effort--not to grieve:
Not to despair, for better days would come,
And the freed debtor smile again at home:
Subdued his habits, he may peace regain,
And bless the woes that were not sent in vain.
Thus might we class the Debtors here confined,
The more deceived, the more deceitful kind;
Here are the guilty race, who mean to live
On credit, that credulity will give;
Who purchase, conscious they can never pay;
Who know their fate, and traffic to betray;
On whom no pity, fear, remorse, prevail.
Their aim a statute, their resource a jail; -
These are the public spoilers we regard,
No dun so harsh, no creditor so hard.
A second kind are they, who truly strive
To keep their sinking credit long alive;
Success, nay prudence, they may want, but yet
They would be solvent, and deplore a debt;
All means they use, to all expedients run,
And are by slow, sad steps, at last undone:
Justly, perhaps, you blame their want of skill,
But mourn their feelings and absolve their will.
There is a Debtor, who his trifling all
Spreads in a shop; it would not fill a stall:
There at one window his temptation lays,
And in new modes disposes and displays:
Above the door you shall his name behold,
And what he vends in ample letters told,
The words 'Repository,' 'Warehouse,' all
He uses to enlarge concerns so small:
He to his goods assigns some beauty's name,
Then in her reign, and hopes they'll share her
And talks of credit, commerce, traffic, trade,
As one important by their profit made;
But who can paint the vacancy, the gloom,
And spare dimensions of one backward room?
Wherein he dines, if so 'tis fit to speak
Of one day's herring and the morrow's steak:
An anchorite in diet, all his care
Is to display his stock and vend his ware.
Long waiting hopeless, then he tries to meet
A kinder fortune in a distant street;
There he again displays, increasing yet
Corroding sorrow and consuming debt:
Alas! he wants the requisites to rise -
The true connections, the availing ties:
They who proceed on certainties advance,
These are not times when men prevail by chance;
But still he tries, till, after years of pain,
He finds, with anguish, he has tried in vain.
Debtors are these on whom 'tis hard to press,
'Tis base, impolitic, and merciless.
To these we add a miscellaneous kind,
By pleasure, pride, and indolence confined;
Those whom no calls, no warnings could divert,
The unexperienced, and the inexpert;
The builder, idler, schemer, gamester, sot, -
The follies different, but the same their lot;
Victims of horses, lasses, drinking, dice,
Of every passion, humour, whim, and vice.
See! that sad Merchant, who but yesterday
Had a vast household in command and pay;
He now entreats permission to employ
A boy he needs, and then entreats the boy.
And there sits one improvident but kind,
Bound for a friend, whom honour could not bind;
Sighing, he speaks to any who appear,
'A treach'rous friend--'twas that which sent me
I was too kind,--I thought I could depend
On his bare word--he was a treach'rous friend.'
A Female too!--it is to her a home,
She came before--and she again will come:
Her friends have pity; when their anger drops,
They take her home;--she's tried her schools and
Plan after plan;--but fortune would not mend,
She to herself was still the treach'rous friend;
And wheresoe'er began, all here was sure to end:
And there she sits, as thoughtless and as gay
As if she'd means, or not a debt to pay -
Or knew to-morrow she'd be call'd away -
Or felt a shilling and could dine to-day.
While thus observing, I began to trace
The sober'd features of a well-known face -
Looks once familiar, manners form'd to please,
And all illumined by a heart at ease:
But fraud and flattery ever claim'd a part
(Still unresisted) of that easy heart;
But he at length beholds me--'Ah! my friend!
'And have thy pleasures this unlucky end?'
'Too sure,' he said, and smiling as he sigh'd;
'I went astray, though Prudence seem'd my guide;
All she proposed I in my heart approved,
And she was honour'd, but my pleasure loved -
Pleasure, the mistress to whose arms I fled,
From wife-like lectures angry Prudence read.
'Why speak the madness of a life like mine,
The powers of beauty, novelty, and wine?
Why paint the wanton smile, the venal vow,
Or friends whose worth I can appreciate now;
Oft I perceived my fate, and then could say,
I'll think to-morrow, I must live to-day:
So am I here--I own the laws are just -
And here, where thought is painful, think I must:
But speech is pleasant; this discourse with thee
Brings to my mind the sweets of liberty,
Breaks on the sameness of the place, and gives
The doubtful heart conviction that it lives.
'Let me describe my anguish in the hour
When law detain'd me and I felt its power.
'When, in that shipwreck, this I found my shore,
And join'd the wretched, who were wreck'd before;
When I perceived each feature in the face,
Pinch'd through neglect or turbid by disgrace;
When in these wasting forms affliction stood
In my afiiicted view, it chill'd my blood; -
And forth I rush'd, a quick retreat to make,
Till a loud laugh proclaim'd the dire mistake:
But when the groan had settled to a sigh,
When gloom became familiar to the eye,
When I perceive how others seem to rest,
With every evil rankling in my breast, -
Led by example, I put on the man,
Sing off my sighs, and trifle as I can.
'Homer! nay Pope! (for never will I seek
Applause for learning--nought have I with Greek)
Gives us the secrets of his pagan hell,
Where ghost with ghost in sad communion dwell;
Where shade meets shade, and round the gloomy meads
They glide, and speak of old heroic deeds, -
What fields they conquer'd, and what foes they
And sent to join the melancholy crew.
When a new spirit in that world was found,
A thousand shadowy forms came flitting round:
Those who had known him, fond inquiries made, -
'Of all we left, inform us, gentle shade,
Now as we lead thee in our realms to dwell,
Our twilight groves, and meads of asphodel.'
'What paints the poet, is our station here,
Where we like ghosts and flitting shades appear:
This is the hell he sings, and here we meet,
And former deeds to new-made friends repeat;
Heroic deeds, which here obtain us fame,
And are in fact the causes why we came:
Yes! this dim region is old Homer's hell,
Abate but groves and meads of asphodel.
Here, when a stranger from your world we spy,
We gather round him and for news apply;
He hears unheeding, nor can speech endure,
But shivering gazes on the vast obscure:
We smiling pity, and by kindness show
We felt his feelings and his terrors know;
Then speak of comfort--time will give him sight,
Where now 'tis dark; where now 'tis woe--delight.
'Have hope,' we say, 'and soon the place to thee
Shall not a prison but a castle be:
When to the wretch whom care and guilt confound,
The world's a prison, with a wider bound;
Go where he may, he feels himself confined,
And wears the fetters of an abject mind.'
'But now adieu! those giant-keys appear,
Thou art not worthy to be inmate here:
Go to thy world, and to the young declare
What we, our spirits and employments, are;
Tell them how we the ills of life endure,
Our empire stable, and our state secure;
Our dress, our diet, for their use describe,
And bid them haste to join the gen'rous tribe:
Go to thy world, and leave us here to dwell,
Who to its joys and comforts bid farewell.'
Farewell to these; but other scenes I view,
And other griefs, and guilt of deeper hue;
Where Conscience gives to outward ills her pain,
Gloom to the night, and pressure to the chain:
Here separate cells awhile in misery keep
Two doom'd to suffer: there they strive for sleep;
By day indulged, in larger space they range,
Their bondage certain, but their bounds have
One was a female, who had grievous ill
Wrought in revenge, and she enjoy'd it still:
With death before her, and her fate in view,
Unsated vengeance in her bosom grew:
Sullen she was and threat'ning; in her eye
Glared the stern triumph that she dared to die:
But first a being in the world must leave -
'Twas once reproach; 'twas now a short reprieve.
She was a pauper bound, who early gave
Her mind to vice and doubly was a slave:
Upbraided, beaten, held by rough control,
Revenge sustain'd, inspired, and fill'd her soul:
She fired a full-stored barn, confess'd the fact,
And laugh'd at law and justified the act:
Our gentle Vicar tried his powers in vain,
She answer'd not, or answer'd with disdain;
Th' approaching fate she heard without a sigh,
And neither cared to live nor fear'd to die.
Not so he felt, who with her was to pay
The forfeit, life--with dread he view'd the day,
And that short space which yet for him remain'd,
Till with his limbs his faculties were chain'd:
He paced his narrow bounds some ease to find,
But found it not,--no comfort reach'd his mind:
Each sense was palsied; when he tasted food,
He sigh'd and said, 'Enough--'tis very good.'
Since his dread sentence, nothing seem'd to be
As once it was--he seeing could not see,
Nor hearing, hear aright;--when first I came
Within his view, I fancied there was shame,
I judged resentment; I mistook the air, -
These fainter passions live not with despair;
Or but exist and die: --Hope, fear, and love,
Joy, doubt, and hate, may other spirits move,
But touch not his, who every waking hour
Has one fix'd dread, and always feels its power.
'But will not mercy?'--No! she cannot plead
For such an outrage;--'twas a cruel deed:
He stopp'd a timid traveller;--to his breast,
With oaths and curses, was the danger press'd: -
No! he must suffer: pity we may find
For one man's pangs, but must not wrong mankind.
Still I behold him, every thought employ'd
On one dire view!--all others are destroy'd;
This makes his features ghastly, gives the tone
Of his few words resemblance to a groan;
He takes his tasteless food, and when 'tis done,
Counts up his meals, now lessen'd by that one;
For expectation is on time intent,
Whether he brings us joy or punishment.
Yes! e'en in sleep the impressions all remain,
He hears the sentence and he feels the chain;
He sees the judge and jury, when he shakes,
And loudly cries, 'Not guilty,' and awakes:
Then chilling tremblings o'er his body creep,
Till worn-out nature is compell'd to sleep.
Now comes the dream again: it shows each scene,
With each small circumstance that comes between -
The call to suffering and the very deed -
There crowds go with him, follow, and precede;
Some heartless shout, some pity, all condemn,
While he in fancied envy looks at them:
He seems the place for that sad act to see,
And dreams the very thirst which then will be:
A priest attends--it seems, the one he knew
In his best days, beneath whose care he grew.
At this his terrors take a sudden flight,
He sees his native village with delight;
The house, the chamber, where he once array'd
His youthful person; where he knelt and pray'd:
Then too the comforts he enjoy'd at home,
The days of joy; the joys themselves are come; -
The hours of innocence;--the timid look
Of his loved maid, when first her hand he took,
And told his hope; her trembling joy appears,
Her forced reserve and his retreating fears.
All now is present;--'tis a moment's gleam
Of former sunshine--stay, delightful dream!
Let him within his pleasant garden walk,
Give him her arm, of blessings let them talk.
Yes! all are with him now, and all the while
Life's early prospects and his Fanny's smile:
Then come his sister and his village-friend,
And he will now the sweetest moments spend
Life has to yield;--No! never will he find
Again on earth such pleasure in his mind:
He goes through shrubby walks these friends among,
Love in their looks and honour on the tongue:
Nay, there's a charm beyond what nature shows,
The bloom is softer and more sweetly glows; -
Pierced by no crime, and urged by no desire
For more than true and honest hearts require,
They feel the calm delight, and thus proceed
Through the green lane,--then linger in the mead, -
Stray o'er the heath in all its purple bloom, -
And pluck the blossom where the wild bees hum;
Then through the broomy bound with ease they pass,
And press the sandy sheep-walk's slender grass,
Where dwarfish flowers among the gorse are spread,
And the lamb browses by the linnet's bed;
Then 'cross the bounding brook they make their way
O'er its rough bridge--and there behold the bay! -
The ocean smiling to the fervid sun -
The waves that faintly fall and slowly run -
The ships at distance and the boats at hand;
And now they walk upon the sea-side sand,
Counting the number and what kind they be,
Ships softly sinking in the sleepy sea:
Now arm in arm, now parted, they behold
The glitt'ring waters on the shingles roll'd:
The timid girls, half dreading their design,
Dip the small foot in the retarded brine,
And search for crimson weeds, which spreading flow,
Or lie like pictures on the sand below;
With all those bright red pebbles, that the sun
Through the small waves so softly shines upon;
And those live lucid jellies which the eye
Delights to trace as they swim glittering by:
Pearl-shells and rubied star-fish they admire,
And will arrange above the parlour fire, -
Tokens of bliss!--'Oh! horrible! a wave
Roars as it rises--save me, Edward! save!'
She cries: --Alas! the watchman on his way
Calls, and lets in--truth, terror, and the day!
by George Crabbe.
Tristram lies sick to death;
Dulled is his kingly eye,
Listless his famed right arm: earth--weary breath
Hath force alone to sigh
The one name that re--kindles life's low flame,
Isoult!--And thou, fair moon of Tristram's eve,
Who with that many--memoried name didst take
A glory for the sake
Of her who shone the sole light of his days and deeds,
Thou canst no more relieve
This heart that inly bleeds
With all thy love, with all thy tender lore,
No, nor thy white hands soothe him any more.
Still, the day long, she hears
Kind words that are more sharp to her than spears.
Ah, loved he more, he had not been so kind!
And still with pricking tears
She watches him, and still must seem resigned;
Though well she knows what face his eyes require,
And jealous pangs, like coiled snakes in her mind,
Cling tighter, as that voice more earnestly
Asks heavy with desire
From out that passionate past which is not hers,
``Sweet wife, is there no sail upon the sea?''
Tenderest hearts by pain grow oft the bitterest,
And haste to wound the thing they love the best.
At evening, at sun--set, to Tristram's bed
News on her lips she brings!
She comes with eyes bright in divining dread,
Hardening her anguished heart she bends above his head.
``O Tristram!''--How her low voice strangely rings!--
``There comes a ship, ah, rise not, turn not pale.
I know not what this means, it is a sail
Black, black as night!'' She shot her word, and fled.
But Tristram cried
With a great cry, and rose upon his side.
``It cannot be, it cannot, shall not be!
I will not die until mine own eyes see.''
Despair, more strong than hope, lifts his weak limbs;
He stands and draws deep effort from his breath,
He trembles, his gaze swims,
He gropes his steps in pain,
Nigh fainting, till he gain
Salt air and brightness from the outer door
That opens on the cliff--built bastion floor
And the wide ocean gleaming far beneath.
He gazes, his lips part,
And all the blood pours back upon his heart.
Close thine eyes, Tristram, lest joy blind thee quite!
So swift a splendour burns away thy doubt.
Nay, Tristram, gaze, gaze, lest bright Truth go out
Ere she hath briefly shone.
White, dazzling white,
A sail swells onward, filling all his sight
With snowy light!
As on a gull's sure wing the ship comes on;
She towers upon the wave, she speeds for home.
Tristram on either doorpost must sustain
His arms for strength to gaze his fill again.
She shivers off the wind; the shining foam
Bursts from her pitching prow,
The sail drops as she nears,
Poised on the joyous swell; and Tristram sees
The mariners upon the deck; he hears
Their eager cries: the breeze
Blows a blue cloak; and now
Like magic brought to his divining ears,
A voice, that empties all the earth and sky,
Comes clear across the water, ``It is I!''
Isoult is come! Victorious saints above,
Who suffered anguish ere to bliss you died,
Have pity on him whom Love so sore hath tried,
Who sinned yet greatly suffered for his love.
That dear renouncèd love when now he sees,
Heavy with joy, he sinks upon his knees.
O had she wings to lift her to his side!
But she is far below
Where the spray breaks upon the rusted rail
And rock--hewn steps, and there
Stands gazing up, and lo!
Tristram, how faint and pale!
A pity overcomes her like despair.
How shall her strength avail
To conquer that steep stair,
Dark, terrible, and ignorant as Time,
Up which her feet must climb
To Tristram? His outstretching arms are fain
To help her, yet are helpless; and his pain
Is hers, and her pain Tristram's; with long sighs
She mounts, then halts again,
Till she have drawn strength from his love--dimmed eyes:
But when that wasted face anew she sees,
Despair anew subdues her knees:
She fails, yet still she mounts by sad degrees,
With all her soul into her gaze upcast,
Until at last, at last...
What tears are like the wondering tears
Of that entranced embrace,
When out of desolate and divided years
Face meets belovèd face?
What cry most exquisite of grief or bliss
The too full heart shall tell,
When the new--recovered kiss
Is the kiss of last farewell?
O Tristram, is this true?
Is it thou I see
With my own eyes, clasp in my arms? I knew,
I knew that this must be.
Thou couldst not suffer so,
And I not feel the smart,
Far, far away. But oh,
How pale, my love, thou art!
'Tis I, Isoult, 'tis I
That thee enfold.
I have seen thee, my own life, and yet I die.
O for my strength of old!
O that thy love could heal
This wound that conquers me!
But the night is come, I feel,
And the last sun set for me.
Tristram, 'twas I that healed thy hurt,
That old, fierce wound of Morolt's poisoned sword.
Stricken to death, pale, pale as now thou wert:
Yet was thy strength restored.
Have I forgot my skill?
This wound shall yet be healed.
Love shall be master still,
And Death again shall yield!
Isoult, if Time could bring me back
That eve, that first eve, and that Irish shore,
Then should I fear not, no nor nothing lack,
And life were mine once more.
But now too late thou art come;
Too long we have dwelt apart;
I have pined in an alien home:
This new joy bursts my heart.
Hark, Tristram, to the breaking sea!
So sounded the dim waves, at such an hour
On such an eve, when thy voice came to me
First in my father's tower.
I heard thy sad harp from the shore beneath,
It stirred my soul from sleep.
Then it was bliss to breathe;
But now, but now, I weep.
Shipwrecked, without hope, without friend, alone
On a strange shore, stricken with pang on pang,
I stood sad--hearted by that tower unknown,
Yet soon for joy I sang.
For could I see thee and on death believe?
Ah, glad would I die to attain
The beat of my heart, that eve,
And the song in my mouth again!
Young was I then and fair,
Thou too wast fair and young;
How comely the brown hair
Down on thy shoulder hung!
O Tristram, all grows dark as then it grew,
But still I see thee on that surge--beat shore;
Thou camest, and all was new
And changed for evermore.
Isoult, dost thou regret?
Behold my wasted cheek.
With salt tears it is wet,
My arms how faint, how weak!
And thou, since that far day, what hast thou seen
Save strife, and tears, and failure, and dismay?
Had that hour never been,
Peace had been thine, this day.
Look, Tristram, in my eyes!
My own love, I could feed
Life well with miseries
So thou wert mine indeed.
Proud were the tears I wept;
That day, that hour I bless,
Nor would for peace accept
One single pain the less.
Isoult, my heart is rent.
What pangs our bliss hath bought!
Only joy we meant,
Yet woe and wrong we have wrought.
I vowed a vow in the dark,
And thee, who wert mine, I gave
For a word's sake, to King Mark!
Words, words have digged our grave.
Tristram, despite thy love,
King Mark had yet thine oath.
Ah, surely thy heart strove
How to be true to both.
Blame not thyself! for woe
'Twixt us was doomed to be.
One only thing I know;
Thou hast been true to me.
Accurst be still that day,
When lightly I vowed the king
Whatever he might pray
Home to his hands I'd bring!
Thee, thee he asked! And I
Who never feared man's sword,
Yielded my life to a lie,
To save the truth of a word.
Think not of that day, think
Of the day when our lips desired,
Unknowing, that cup to drink!
The cup with a charm was fired
From thee to beguile my love:
But now in my soul it shall burn
For ever, nor turn, nor remove,
Till the sun in his course shall turn.
Or ever that draught we drank,
Thy heart, Isoult, was mine,
My heart was thine. I thank
God's grace, no wizard wine,
No stealth of a drop distilled
By a spell in the night, no art,
No charm, could have ever filled
With aught but thee my heart.
When last we said farewell,
Remember how we dreamed
Wild love to have learned to quell;
Our hearts grown wise we deemed.
Tender, parted friends
We vowed to be; but the will
Of Love meant other ends.
Words fool us, Tristram, still.
Not now, Isoult, not now!
I am thine while I have breath.
Words part us not, nor vow--
No, nor King Mark, but death.
I hold thee to my breast.
Our sins, our woes are past;
Thy lips were the first I prest,
Thou art mine, thou art mine at the last!
O Tristram, all grows old,
Enfold me closer yet!
The night grows vast and cold,
And the dew on thy hair falls wet.
And never shall Time rebuild
The places of our delight;
Those towers and gardens are filled
With emptiness now, and night!
Isoult, let it all be a dream,
The days and the deeds, let them be
As the bough that I cast on the stream
And that lived but to bring thee to me;
As the leaves that I broke from the bough
To float by thy window, and say
That I waited thy coming--O now
Thou art come, let the world be as they!
How dark is the strong waves' sound!
Tristram, they fill me with fear!
We two are but spent waves, drowned
In the coming of year upon year.
Long dead are our friends and our foes,
Old Rual, Brangian, all
That helped us, or wrought us woes;
And we, the last, we fall.
God and his great saints guard
True friends that loved us well,
And all false foes be barred
In the fiery gates of hell.
But broken be all those towers,
And sunken be all those ships!
Shut out those old, dead hours;
Life, life, is on thy lips!
Tristram, my soul is afraid!
Isoult, Isoult, thy kiss!
To sorrow though I was made,
I die in bliss, in bliss.
Tristram, my heart must break.
O leave me not in the grave
Of the dark world! Me too take!
Save me, O Tristram, save!
Calm, calm the moving waters all the night
On to that shore roll slow,
Fade into foam against the cliff's dim height,
And fall in a soft thunder, and upsurge
For ever out of unexhausted might,
Lifting their voice below
Tuned to no human dirge;
Nor from their majesty of music bend
To wail for beauty's end
Or towering spirit's most fiery overthrow;
Nor tarrieth the dawn, though she unveil
To weeping eyes their woe,
The dawn that doth not know
What the dark night hath wrought,
And over the far wave comes pacing pale,
Of all that she reveals regarding nought.--
But ere the dawn there comes a faltering tread;
Isoult, the young wife, stealing from her bed,
Sleepless with dread,
Creeps by still wall and blinded corridor,
Till from afar the salt scent of the air
Blows on her brow; and now
In that pale space beyond the open door
What mute, clasped shadow dulls her to despair
By keen degrees aware
That with the dawn her widowhood is there?
Is it wild envy or remorseful fear
Transfixes her young heart, unused to woe,
Crying to meet wrath, hatred, any foe,
Not silence drear!
Not to be vanquished so
By silence on the lips that were so dear!
Ah, sharpest stab! it is another face
That leans to Tristram's piteous embrace,
Another face she knows not, yet knows well,
Whose hands are clasped about his helpless head,
Propping it where it fell
In a vain tenderness,
But dead,--her great dream--hated rival dead,
Dead as her love, and cold,
And on her heart a grief heavy as stone is rolled.
She bows down, stricken in accusing pain,
And love, long--baffled, surges back again
Over her heart; she wails a shuddering cry,
While the tears blindly rain,
``I, I have killed him, I that loved him, I
That for his dear sake had been glad to die.
I loved him not enough, I could not keep
His heart, and yet I loved him, O how deep!
I cannot touch him. Will none set him free
From those, those other arms and give him me?
Alas, I may not vex him from that sleep.
He is thine in the end, thou proud one, he is thine,
Not mine, not mine!
I loved him not enough, I could not hold
My tongue from stabbing, and forsook him there.
I had not any care
To keep him from the darkness and the cold.
O all my wretched servants, where were ye?
Hath none in my house tended him but she?
Where are ye now? Can ye not hear my call?
Come hither, laggards all!
Nay, hush not so affrighted, nor so stare
Upon your lord; 'tis he!
Put out your torches, for the dawn grows clear.
And set me out within the hall a bier,
And wedding robes, the costliest that are
In all my house, prepare,
And lay upon the silks these princely dead,
And bid the sailors take that funeral bed
And set it in the ship, and put to sea,
And north to Cornwall steer.
Farewell, my lord, thy home is far from here.
Farewell, my great love, dead and doubly dear!
Carry him hence, proud queen, for he is thine,
Not mine, not mine, not mine!''
Within Tintagel walls King Mark awaits his queen.
The south wind blows, surely she comes to--day!
No light hath his eye seen
Since she is gone, no pleasure; he grows gray;
His knights apart make merry and wassail,
With dice and chessboard, hound at knee, they play;
But he sits solitary all the day,
Thinking of what hath been.
And now through all the castle rings a wail;
The king arises; all his knights are dumb;
The queen, the queen is come.
Not as she came of old,
Sweeping with gesture proud
To meet her wronged lord, royally arrayed,
And music ushered her, and tongues were stayed,
And all hearts beat, her beauty to behold;
But mute she comes and cold,
Borne on a bier, apparelled in a shroud,
Daisies about her sprinkled; and now bowed
Is her lord's head; and hushing upon all
Thoughts of sorrow fall,
As the snow softly, without any word;
And every breast is stirred
With wonder in its weeping;
For by her sleeping side,
In that long sleep no morning shall divide,
Is Tristram sleeping;
Tristram who wept farewell, and fled, and swore
That he would clasp his dear love never more,
And sailed far over sea
Far from his bliss and shame,
And dreamed to die at peace in Brittany
And to uncloud at last the glory of his name.
Yet lo, with fingers clasping both are come,
Come again home
In all men's sight, as when of old they came,
And Tristram led Isoult, another's bride,
True to his vow, but to his heart untrue,
And silver trumpets blew
To greet them stepping o'er the flower--strewn floor,
And King Mark smiled upon them, and men cried
On Tristram's name anew,
Tristram, the king's strong champion and great pride.
Silently gazing long
On them that wrought him wrong,
Still stands the stricken king, and to his eyes
Such tears as old men weep, yet shed not, rise:
Lifting his head at last, as from a trance, he sighs.
``Beautiful ever, O Isoult, wast thou,
And beautiful art thou now,
Though never again shall I, reproaching thee,
Make thy proud head more beautiful to me;
But this is the last reproach, and this the last
Forgiveness that thou hast.
Lost is the lost, Isoult, and past the past!
O Tristram, no more shalt thou need to hide
Thy thought from my thought, sitting at my side,
Nor need to wrestle sore
With thy great love and with thy fixèd oath,
For now Death leaves thee loyal unto both,
Even as thou wouldst have been, for evermore.
Now, after all thy pain, thy brow looks glad;
But I lack all things that I ever had,
My wife, my friend, yea, even my jealous rage;
And empty is the house of my old age.
Behold, I have laboured all my days to part
These two, that were the dearest to my heart.
Isoult, I would have fenced thee from men's sight,
My treasure, that I found so very fair,
The treasure I had taken with a snare:
To keep thee mine, this was my life's delight.
And now the end is come, alone I stand,
And the hand that lies in thine is not my hand.''
A Lover's Complaint
FROM off a hill whose concave womb reworded
A plaintful story from a sistering vale,
My spirits to attend this double voice accorded,
And down I laid to list the sad-tuned tale;
Ere long espied a fickle maid full pale,
Tearing of papers, breaking rings a-twain,
Storming her world with sorrow's wind and rain.
Upon her head a platted hive of straw,
Which fortified her visage from the sun,
Whereon the thought might think sometime it saw
The carcass of beauty spent and done:
Time had not scythed all that youth begun,
Nor youth all quit; but, spite of heaven's fell rage,
Some beauty peep'd through lattice of sear'd age.
Oft did she heave her napkin to her eyne,
Which on it had conceited characters,
Laundering the silken figures in the brine
That season'd woe had pelleted in tears,
And often reading what contents it bears;
As often shrieking undistinguish'd woe,
In clamours of all size, both high and low.
Sometimes her levell'd eyes their carriage ride,
As they did battery to the spheres intend;
Sometime diverted their poor balls are tied
To the orbed earth; sometimes they do extend
Their view right on; anon their gazes lend
To every place at once, and, nowhere fix'd,
The mind and sight distractedly commix'd.
Her hair, nor loose nor tied in formal plat,
Proclaim'd in her a careless hand of pride
For some, untuck'd, descended her sheaved hat,
Hanging her pale and pined cheek beside;
Some in her threaden fillet still did bide,
And true to bondage would not break from thence,
Though slackly braided in loose negligence.
A thousand favours from a maund she drew
Of amber, crystal, and of beaded jet,
Which one by one she in a river threw,
Upon whose weeping margent she was set;
Like usury, applying wet to wet,
Or monarch's hands that let not bounty fall
Where want cries some, but where excess begs all.
Of folded schedules had she many a one,
Which she perused, sigh'd, tore, and gave the flood;
Crack'd many a ring of posied gold and bone
Bidding them find their sepulchres in mud;
Found yet moe letters sadly penn'd in blood,
With sleided silk feat and affectedly
Enswathed, and seal'd to curious secrecy.
These often bathed she in her fluxive eyes,
And often kiss'd, and often 'gan to tear:
Cried 'O false blood, thou register of lies,
What unapproved witness dost thou bear!
Ink would have seem'd more black and damned here!'
This said, in top of rage the lines she rents,
Big discontent so breaking their contents.
A reverend man that grazed his cattle nigh--
Sometime a blusterer, that the ruffle knew
Of court, of city, and had let go by
The swiftest hours, observed as they flew--
Towards this afflicted fancy fastly drew,
And, privileged by age, desires to know
In brief the grounds and motives of her woe.
So slides he down upon his grained bat,
And comely-distant sits he by her side;
When he again desires her, being sat,
Her grievance with his hearing to divide:
If that from him there may be aught applied
Which may her suffering ecstasy assuage,
'Tis promised in the charity of age.
'Father,' she says, 'though in me you behold
The injury of many a blasting hour,
Let it not tell your judgment I am old;
Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power:
I might as yet have been a spreading flower,
Fresh to myself, If I had self-applied
Love to myself and to no love beside.
'But, woe is me! too early I attended
A youthful suit--it was to gain my grace--
Of one by nature's outwards so commended,
That maidens' eyes stuck over all his face:
Love lack'd a dwelling, and made him her place;
And when in his fair parts she did abide,
She was new lodged and newly deified.
'His browny locks did hang in crooked curls;
And every light occasion of the wind
Upon his lips their silken parcels hurls.
What's sweet to do, to do will aptly find:
Each eye that saw him did enchant the mind,
For on his visage was in little drawn
What largeness thinks in Paradise was sawn.
'Small show of man was yet upon his chin;
His phoenix down began but to appear
Like unshorn velvet on that termless skin
Whose bare out-bragg'd the web it seem'd to wear:
Yet show'd his visage by that cost more dear;
And nice affections wavering stood in doubt
If best were as it was, or best without.
'His qualities were beauteous as his form,
For maiden-tongued he was, and thereof free;
Yet, if men moved him, was he such a storm
As oft 'twixt May and April is to see,
When winds breathe sweet, untidy though they be.
His rudeness so with his authorized youth
Did livery falseness in a pride of truth.
'Well could he ride, and often men would say
'That horse his mettle from his rider takes:
Proud of subjection, noble by the sway,
What rounds, what bounds, what course, what stop
And controversy hence a question takes,
Whether the horse by him became his deed,
Or he his manage by the well-doing steed.
'But quickly on this side the verdict went:
His real habitude gave life and grace
To appertainings and to ornament,
Accomplish'd in himself, not in his case:
All aids, themselves made fairer by their place,
Came for additions; yet their purposed trim
Pieced not his grace, but were all graced by him.
'So on the tip of his subduing tongue
All kinds of arguments and question deep,
All replication prompt, and reason strong,
For his advantage still did wake and sleep:
To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep,
He had the dialect and different skill,
Catching all passions in his craft of will:
'That he did in the general bosom reign
Of young, of old; and sexes both enchanted,
To dwell with him in thoughts, or to remain
In personal duty, following where he haunted:
Consents bewitch'd, ere he desire, have granted;
And dialogued for him what he would say,
Ask'd their own wills, and made their wills obey.
'Many there were that did his picture get,
To serve their eyes, and in it put their mind;
Like fools that in th' imagination set
The goodly objects which abroad they find
Of lands and mansions, theirs in thought assign'd;
And labouring in moe pleasures to bestow them
Than the true gouty landlord which doth owe them:
'So many have, that never touch'd his hand,
Sweetly supposed them mistress of his heart.
My woeful self, that did in freedom stand,
And was my own fee-simple, not in part,
What with his art in youth, and youth in art,
Threw my affections in his charmed power,
Reserved the stalk and gave him all my flower.
'Yet did I not, as some my equals did,
Demand of him, nor being desired yielded;
Finding myself in honour so forbid,
With safest distance I mine honour shielded:
Experience for me many bulwarks builded
Of proofs new-bleeding, which remain'd the foil
Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil.
'But, ah, who ever shunn'd by precedent
The destined ill she must herself assay?
Or forced examples, 'gainst her own content,
To put the by-past perils in her way?
Counsel may stop awhile what will not stay;
For when we rage, advice is often seen
By blunting us to make our wits more keen.
'Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,
That we must curb it upon others' proof;
To be forbod the sweets that seem so good,
For fear of harms that preach in our behoof.
O appetite, from judgment stand aloof!
The one a palate hath that needs will taste,
Though Reason weep, and cry, 'It is thy last.'
'For further I could say 'This man's untrue,'
And knew the patterns of his foul beguiling;
Heard where his plants in others' orchards grew,
Saw how deceits were gilded in his smiling;
Knew vows were ever brokers to defiling;
Thought characters and words merely but art,
And bastards of his foul adulterate heart.
'And long upon these terms I held my city,
Till thus he gan besiege me: 'Gentle maid,
Have of my suffering youth some feeling pity,
And be not of my holy vows afraid:
That's to ye sworn to none was ever said;
For feasts of love I have been call'd unto,
Till now did ne'er invite, nor never woo.
''All my offences that abroad you see
Are errors of the blood, none of the mind;
Love made them not: with acture they may be,
Where neither party is nor true nor kind:
They sought their shame that so their shame did find;
And so much less of shame in me remains,
By how much of me their reproach contains.
''Among the many that mine eyes have seen,
Not one whose flame my heart so much as warm'd,
Or my affection put to the smallest teen,
Or any of my leisures ever charm'd:
Harm have I done to them, but ne'er was harm'd;
Kept hearts in liveries, but mine own was free,
And reign'd, commanding in his monarchy.
''Look here, what tributes wounded fancies sent me,
Of paled pearls and rubies red as blood;
Figuring that they their passions likewise lent me
Of grief and blushes, aptly understood
In bloodless white and the encrimson'd mood;
Effects of terror and dear modesty,
Encamp'd in hearts, but fighting outwardly.
''And, lo, behold these talents of their hair,
With twisted metal amorously impleach'd,
I have received from many a several fair,
Their kind acceptance weepingly beseech'd,
With the annexions of fair gems enrich'd,
And deep-brain'd sonnets that did amplify
Each stone's dear nature, worth, and quality.
''The diamond,--why, 'twas beautiful and hard,
Whereto his invised properties did tend;
The deep-green emerald, in whose fresh regard
Weak sights their sickly radiance do amend;
The heaven-hued sapphire and the opal blend
With objects manifold: each several stone,
With wit well blazon'd, smiled or made some moan.
''Lo, all these trophies of affections hot,
Of pensived and subdued desires the tender,
Nature hath charged me that I hoard them not,
But yield them up where I myself must render,
That is, to you, my origin and ender;
For these, of force, must your oblations be,
Since I their altar, you enpatron me.
''O, then, advance of yours that phraseless hand,
Whose white weighs down the airy scale of praise;
Take all these similes to your own command,
Hallow'd with sighs that burning lungs did raise;
What me your minister, for you obeys,
Works under you; and to your audit comes
Their distract parcels in combined sums.
''Lo, this device was sent me from a nun,
Or sister sanctified, of holiest note;
Which late her noble suit in court did shun,
Whose rarest havings made the blossoms dote;
For she was sought by spirits of richest coat,
But kept cold distance, and did thence remove,
To spend her living in eternal love.
''But, O my sweet, what labour is't to leave
The thing we have not, mastering what not strives,
Playing the place which did no form receive,
Playing patient sports in unconstrained gyves?
She that her fame so to herself contrives,
The scars of battle 'scapeth by the flight,
And makes her absence valiant, not her might.
''O, pardon me, in that my boast is true:
The accident which brought me to her eye
Upon the moment did her force subdue,
And now she would the caged cloister fly:
Religious love put out Religion's eye:
Not to be tempted, would she be immured,
And now, to tempt, all liberty procured.
''How mighty then you are, O, hear me tell!
The broken bosoms that to me belong
Have emptied all their fountains in my well,
And mine I pour your ocean all among:
I strong o'er them, and you o'er me being strong,
Must for your victory us all congest,
As compound love to physic your cold breast.
''My parts had power to charm a sacred nun,
Who, disciplined, ay, dieted in grace,
Believed her eyes when they to assail begun,
All vows and consecrations giving place:
O most potential love! vow, bond, nor space,
In thee hath neither sting, knot, nor confine,
For thou art all, and all things else are thine.
''When thou impressest, what are precepts worth
Of stale example? When thou wilt inflame,
How coldly those impediments stand forth
Of wealth, of filial fear, law, kindred, fame!
Love's arms are peace, 'gainst rule, 'gainst sense,
And sweetens, in the suffering pangs it bears,
The aloes of all forces, shocks, and fears.
''Now all these hearts that do on mine depend,
Feeling it break, with bleeding groans they pine;
And supplicant their sighs to you extend,
To leave the battery that you make 'gainst mine,
Lending soft audience to my sweet design,
And credent soul to that strong-bonded oath
That shall prefer and undertake my troth.'
'This said, his watery eyes he did dismount,
Whose sights till then were levell'd on my face;
Each cheek a river running from a fount
With brinish current downward flow'd apace:
O, how the channel to the stream gave grace!
Who glazed with crystal gate the glowing roses
That flame through water which their hue encloses.
'O father, what a hell of witchcraft lies
In the small orb of one particular tear!
But with the inundation of the eyes
What rocky heart to water will not wear?
What breast so cold that is not warmed here?
O cleft effect! cold modesty, hot wrath,
Both fire from hence and chill extincture hath.
'For, lo, his passion, but an art of craft,
Even there resolved my reason into tears;
There my white stole of chastity I daff'd,
Shook off my sober guards and civil fears;
Appear to him, as he to me appears,
All melting; though our drops this difference bore,
His poison'd me, and mine did him restore.
'In him a plenitude of subtle matter,
Applied to cautels, all strange forms receives,
Of burning blushes, or of weeping water,
Or swooning paleness; and he takes and leaves,
In either's aptness, as it best deceives,
To blush at speeches rank to weep at woes,
Or to turn white and swoon at tragic shows.
'That not a heart which in his level came
Could 'scape the hail of his all-hurting aim,
Showing fair nature is both kind and tame;
And, veil'd in them, did win whom he would maim:
Against the thing he sought he would exclaim;
When he most burn'd in heart-wish'd luxury,
He preach'd pure maid, and praised cold chastity.
'Thus merely with the garment of a Grace
The naked and concealed fiend he cover'd;
That th' unexperient gave the tempter place,
Which like a cherubin above them hover'd.
Who, young and simple, would not be so lover'd?
Ay me! I fell; and yet do question make
What I should do again for such a sake.
'O, that infected moisture of his eye,
O, that false fire which in his cheek so glow'd,
O, that forced thunder from his heart did fly,
O, that sad breath his spongy lungs bestow'd,
O, all that borrow'd motion seeming owed,
Would yet again betray the fore-betray'd,
And new pervert a reconciled maid!'