De Young-A Prophecy
Running for Senator with clumsy pace,
He stooped so low, to win at least a place,
That Fortune, tempted by a mark so droll,
Sprang in an kicked him to the winning pole.
by Ambrose Bierce.
Adoration Of The Holy Prophet
Mohammed-like Sovereign, the world hasn’t seen,
Aware of each divine secret, he has been,
Subtle are the words, regarding the Apostle’s Ascent,
Speak not; all speech here appears but lean.
When The Prophet, A Complacent Fat Man
When the prophet, a complacent fat man,
Arrived at the mountain-top,
He cried: "Woe to my knowledge!
I intended to see good white lands
And bad black lands,
But the scene is grey."
by Stephen Crane.
PROUD word you never spoke, but you will speak
Four not exempt from pride some future day.
Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek,
Over my open volume you will say,
“This man loved me!” then rise and trip away.
Ah, my darling, when over the purple horizon shall loom
The shrouded mother of a new idea, men hide their faces,
Cry out and fend her off, as she seeks her procreant groom,
Wounding themselves against her, denying her fecund embraces.
HE trod upon the heights; the rarer air
Which common people seek, yet cannot bear,
Fed his high soul and kindled in his eye
The fire of one who cries 'I prophesy!'
'Look up!' he said. They looked but could not see.
'Help us!' they cried. He strove, but uselessly--
The very clouds which veiled the heaven they sought
Hid from his eyes the hearts of them he taught!
I shall die hidden in a hut
In the middle of an alder wood,
With the back door blind and bolted shut,
And the front door locked for good.
I shall lie folded like a saint,
Lapped in a scented linen sheet,
On a bedstead striped with bright-blue paint,
Narrow and cold and neat.
The midnight will be glassy black
Behind the panes, with wind about
To set his mouth against a crack
And blow the candle out.
When priestes failen in their saws,
And lordes turne Godde's laws
Against the right;
And lechery is holden as privy solace,
And robbery as free purchase,
Beware then of ill!
Then shall the Land of Albion
Turne to confusion,
As sometime it befell.
Ora pro Anglia Sancta Maria, quod Thomas Cantuaria.
Sweet Jesus, heaven's King,
Fair and best of all thing,
You bring us out of this mourning,
To come to thee at our ending!
by Geoffrey Chaucer.
The Weather Prophet
Ow can it rain.' the old man said, 'with things the way they are?
You've got to learn off ant and bee, and jackaroo and galah;
And no man never saw it rain, for fifty years at least,
Not when the blessed parakeets are flyinn' to the east!'
The weeks went by, the squatter wrote to tell his bank the news.
'It's still as dry as dust,' he said, 'I'm feeding all the ewes;
The overdraft would sink a ship, but make your mind at rest,
It's all right now, the parakeets are flyin' to the west!'
by Banjo Paterson.
I am the Seer: for in you I see
The fair unfolding of a secret flower,
The pomp and pageant of eternal power,
The crown and pride of your high destiny.
I am the Prophet: this your prophecy—
Your deeds and Heaven’s fill the echoing hour,
The Splendour of all splendours for your dower
Is given, a witness of the things to be.
I am the Poet, but I cannot sing
Of your dear worth, or mortal or divine;
No music hidden in any song of mine
Can give you praise; yet the trimmed rod I bring
To you, O Temple, asking, for a sign,
That in the morn it may be blossoming.
Speak, Prophet of the Lord! We may not start
To find thee with us in thine ancient dress,
Haggard and pale from some bleak wilderness,
Empty of all save God and thy loud heart,
Nor with like rugged message quick to dart
Into the hideous fiction mean and base;
But yet, O prophet man, we need not less
But more of earnest, though it is thy part
To deal in other words, if thou wouldst smite
The living Mammon, seated, not as then
In bestial quiescence grimly dight,
robed as priest, and honoured of good men
thrice as much an idol-god as when
He stared at his own feet from morn to night.
by George MacDonald.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
She told the story, and the whole world wept
At wrongs and cruelties it had not known
But for this fearless woman's voice alone.
She spoke to consciences that long had slept:
Her message, Freedom's clear reveille, swept
From heedless hovel to complacent throne.
Command and prophecy were in the tone
And from its sheath the sword of justice leapt.
Around two peoples swelled a fiery wave,
But both came forth transfigured from the flame.
Blest be the hand that dared be strong to save,
And blest be she who in our weakness came--
Prophet and priestess! At one stroke she gave
A race to freedom and herself to fame.
A Prophecy. February 1807
HIGH deeds, O Germans, are to come from you!
Thus in your books the record shall be found,
'A watchword was pronounced, a potent sound--
ARMINIUS!--all the people quaked like dew
Stirred by the breeze; they rose, a Nation, true,
True to herself--the mighty Germany,
She of the Danube and the Northern Sea,
She rose, and off at once the yoke she threw.
All power was given her in the dreadful trance;
Those new-born Kings she withered like a flame.'
--Woe to them all! but heaviest woe and shame
To that Bavarian who could first advance
His banner in accursed league with France,
First open traitor to the German name!
A False Prophecy
Dom Pedro, Emperor of far Brazil
(Whence coffee comes and the three-cornered nut),
They say that you're imperially ill,
And threatened with paralysis. Tut-tut!
Though Emperors are mortal, nothing but
A nimble thunderbolt could catch and kill
A man predestined to depart this life
By the assassin's bullet, bomb or knife.
Sir, once there was a President who freed
Ten million slaves; and once there was a Czar
Who freed five times as many serfs. Sins breed
The means of punishment, and tyrants are
Hurled headlong out of the triumphal car
If faster than the law allows they speed.
Lincoln and Alexander struck a rut;
_You_ freed slaves too. Paralysis-tut-tut!
by Ambrose Bierce.
Bki:Xxv A Prophecy Of Age
Now the young men come less often, violently
beating your shutters, with blow after blow, or
stealing away your sleep, while the door sits tight,
hugging the threshold,
yet was once known to move its hinges, more than
readily. You’ll hear, less and less often now:
‘Are you sleeping, Lydia, while your lover
dies in the long night?’
Old, in your turn, you’ll bemoan coarse adulterers,
as you tremble in some deserted alley,
while the Thracian wind rages, furiously,
through the moonless nights,
while flagrant desire, libidinous passion,
those powers that will spur on a mare in heat,
will storm all around your corrupted heart, ah,
and you’ll complain,
that the youths, filled with laughter, take more delight
in the green ivy, the dark of the myrtle,
leaving the withering leaves to this East wind,
À la grise clarté des brumes hivernales,
La bande des loups noirs, que chassent les vents froids,
Descend, folle, hurlante, effondrant sous son poids
Le sol blanc des forêts sub-septentrionales.
De l'équateur brûlant, au même instant, surgit
La foule des chacals dont le poil roux se dresse ;
Elle monte, envoyant ses clameurs de détresse
Aux horizons perdus que le soleil rougit
Arrivés au Delta, — mystique et triple trace
Du Ciel à l'Océan, de la Mer au Désert,
Du Sable à l'Infini, — se trouvant face à face,
Les sinistres troupeaux s'arrêtent !… L'œil ouvert
Sur le monde idéal s'éteint comme en un songe ;
Le croc du loup s'enfonce aux artères d'où sort
Le sang chaud de la Vie ; et le chacal allonge
Sa dent aux ossements refroidis par la Mort.
Le Verbe que voilaient le tumulte et le râle
Se fait entendre alors. Il domine la Chair ;
Le Rayon éclipsé se rallume plus clair,
Et l'Aube des grands jours se lève rose et pâle.
by Paul Arène.
Longing for spiritual springs,
I dragged myself through desert sands ...
An angel with three pairs of wings
Arrived to me at cross of lands;
With fingers so light and slim
He touched my eyes as in a dream:
And opened my prophetic eyes
Like eyes of eagle in surprise.
He touched my ears in movement, single,
And they were filled with noise and jingle:
I heard a shuddering of heavens,
And angels' flight on azure heights
And creatures' crawl in long sea nights,
And rustle of vines in distant valleys.
And he bent down to my chin,
And he tore off my tongue of sin,
In cheat and idle talks aroused,
And with his hand in bloody specks
He put the sting of wizard snakes
Into my deadly stoned mouth.
With his sharp sword he cleaved my breast,
And plucked my quivering heart out,
And coals flamed with God's behest,
Into my gaping breast were ground.
Like dead I lay on desert sands,
And listened to the God's commands:
'Arise, O prophet, hark and see,
Be filled with utter My demands,
And, going over Land and Sea,
Burn with your Word the humane hearts.'
The Windsor Prophecy
When a holy black Swede, the son of Bob,
With a saint at his chin and a seal at his fob,
Shall not see one New-Years-day in that year,
Then let old England make good cheer:
Windsor and Bristol then shall be
Joined together in the Low-countree.
Then shall the tall black Daventry Bird
Speak against peace right many a word;
And some shall admire his coneying wit,
For many good groats his tongue shall slit.
But spight of the Harpy that crawls on all four,
There shall be peace, pardie, and war no more
But England must cry alack and well-a-day,
If the stick be taken from the dead sea.
And, dear Englond, if ought I understond,
Beware of Carrots from Northumberlond.
Carrots sown Thynne a deep root may get,
If so be they are in Somer set:
Their Conyngs mark thou; for I have been told,
They assassine when younge, and poison when old.
Root out these Carrots, O thou, whose name
is backwards and forwards always the same;
And keep thee close to thee always that name
Which backwards and forwards is almost the same.
And, England, wouldst thou be happy still,
Burn those Carrots under a Hill.
by Jonathan Swift.
The Little Sister Of The Prophet
'If there arise among you a prophet or dreamer. . .'
I HAVE left a basket of dates
In the cool dark room that is under the vine,
Some curds set out in two little crimson plates
And a flask of the amber wine,
And cakes most cunningly beaten
Of savoury herbs, and spice, and the delicate wheaten
Flour that is best,
And all to lighten his spirit and sweeten his rest.
This morning he cried, 'Awake,
And see what the wonderful grace of the Lord hath revealed!'
And we ran for his sake,
But 'twas only the dawn outspread o'er our father's field,
And the house of the potter white in the valley below.
But his hands were upraised to the east and he cried to us, 'So
Ye may ponder and read
The strength and the beauty of God outrolled in a fiery screed !'
Then the little brown mother smiled,
As one does on the words of a well-loved child,
And, 'Son,' she replied, 'have the oxen been watered and fed ?
For work is to do, though the skies be never so red,
And already the first sweet hours of the day are spent.'
And he sighed, and went.
Will he come from the byre
With his head all misty with dreams, and his eyes on fire,
Shaking us all with the weight of the words of his passion ?
I will give him raisins instead of dates,
And wreathe young leaves on the little red plates.
I will put on my new head-tyre,
And braid my hair in a comelier fashion.
Will he note ? Will he mind ?
Will he touch my cheek as he used to, and laugh and be kind ?
Worn and footsore was the Prophet,
When he gained the holy hill;
'God has left the earth,' he murmured,
'Here his presence lingers still.
'God of all the olden prophets,
Wilt thou speak with men no more?
Have I not as truly served thee
As thy chosen ones of yore?
'Hear me, guider of my fathers,
Lo! a humble heart is mine;
By thy mercy I beseech thee
Grant thy servant but a sign!'
Bowing then his head, he listened
For an answer to his prayer;
No loud burst of thunder followed,
Not a murmur stirred the air:
But the tuft of moss before him
Opened while he waited yet,
And, from out the rock's hard bosom,
Sprang a tender violet.
'God! I thank thee,' said the Prophet;
'Hard of heart and blind was I,
Looking to the holy mountain
For the gift of prophecy.
'Still thou speakest with thy children
Freely as in eld sublime;
Humbleness, and love, and patience,
Still give empire over time.
'Had I trusted in my nature,
And had faith in lowly things,
Thou thyself wouldst then have sought me.
And set free my spirit's wings.
'But I looked for signs and wonders,
That o'er men should give me sway;
Thirsting to be more than mortal,
I was even less than clay.
'Ere I entered on my journey,
As I girt my loins to start,
Ran to me my little daughter,
The beloved of my heart;
'In her hand she held a flower,
Like to this as like may be,
Which, beside my very threshold,
She had plucked and brought to me.'
Prophecy Of A Ten Ton Cheese
In presenting this delicate, dainty morsel to the imagination of the people, I believed that it could be realized. I viewed the machine that turned and raised the mamoth cheese, and saw the powerful machine invented by James Ireland at the West Oxford companies factory to turn the great and fine cheese he was making there. This company with but little assistance could produce a ten ton cheese.
Who hath prophetic vision sees
In future times a ten ton cheese,
Several companies could join
To furnish curd for great combine
More honor far than making gun
Of mighty size and many a ton.
Machine it could be made with ease
That could turn this monster cheese,
The greatest honour to our land
Would be this orb of finest brand,
Three hundred curd they would need squeeze
For to make this mammoth cheese.
So British lands could confederate
Three hundred provinces in one state,
When all in harmony agrees
To be pressed in one like this cheese,
Then one skillful hand could acquire
Power to move British empire.
But various curds must be combined
And each factory their curd must grind,
To blend harmonious in one
This great cheese of mighty span,
And uniform in quality
A glorious reality.
But it will need a powerful press
This cheese queen to caress,
And a large extent of charms
Hoop will encircle in its arms,
And we do not now despair,
But we shall see it at world's fair.
And view the people all agog, so
Excited o'er it in Chicago,
To seek fresh conquests queen of cheese
She may sail across the seas,
Where she would meet reception grand
From the warm hearts in old England.
by James McIntyre.
A Prophecy: To George Keats In America
'Tis the witching hour of night,
Orbed is the moon and bright,
And the stars they glisten, glisten,
Seeming with bright eyes to listen --
For what listen they?
For a song and for a charm,
See they glisten in alarm,
And the moon is waxing warm
To hear what I shall say.
Moon! keep wide thy golden ears --
Hearken, stars! and hearken, spheres! --
Hearken, thou eternal sky!
I sing an infant's lullaby,
A pretty lullaby.
Listen, listen, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Though the rushes that will make
Its cradle still are in the lake --
Though the linen that will be
Its swathe, is on the cotton tree --
Though the woollen that will keep
It warm, is on the silly sheep --
Listen, starlight, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Child, I see thee! Child, I've found thee
Midst of the quiet all around thee!
And thy mother sweet is nigh thee!
But a Poet evermore!
See, see, the lyre, the lyre,
In a flame of fire,
Upon the little cradle's top
Flaring, flaring, flaring,
Past the eyesight's bearing,
Awake it from its sleep,
And see if it can keep
Its eyes upon the blaze --
It stares, it stares, it stares,
It dares what no one dares!
It lifts its little hand into the flame
Unharm'd, and on the strings
Paddles a little tune, and sings,
With dumb endeavour sweetly --
Bard art thou completely!
O' th' western wild,
Bard art thou completely!
Sweetly with dumb endeavour,
A Poet now or never,
O' th' western wild,
A Poet now or never!
by John Keats.
Bki:Xv Nereus’ Prophecy Of Troy
While Paris, the traitorous shepherd, her guest,
bore Helen over the waves, in a ship from Troy,
Nereus, the sea-god, checked the swift breeze
with an unwelcome calm, to tell
their harsh fate: ‘You’re taking a bird of ill-omen,
back home, whom the Greeks, new armed, will look for again,
having sworn to destroy the marriage your planning
and the empire of old Priam.
Ah, what sweated labour for men and for horses
draws near! What disaster you bring for the Trojan
people! Athene’s already prepared her helm,
breastplate, chariot, and fury.
Uselessly daring, through Venus’ protection,
you’ll comb your hair and pluck at the peace-loving lyre,
make the music for songs that please girls: uselessly
you’ll hide, in the depths of your room,
from the heavy spears, from the arrows of Cretan
reeds, and the noise of the battle, and swift-footed
Ajax quick to follow: yet, ah too late, you’ll bathe
your adulterous hair in the dust!
Have you thought of Ulysses, the bane of your race,
have you even considered Pylian Nestor?
Teucer of Salamis presses you fearlessly,
Sthenelus, skilful in warfare,
and if it’s a question of handling the horses
he’s no mean charioteer. And Meriones
you’ll know him too. See fierce Tydides, his father’s
braver, he’s raging to find you.
As the deer sees the wolf there, over the valley,
and forgets its pastures, a coward, you’ll flee him,
breathing hard, as you run, with your head thrown high,
not as you promised your mistress.
The anger of Achilles’ armies may delay
the day of destruction for Troy and its women:
but after so many winters the fires of Greece
will burn the Dardanian houses.’
Praise Of The Prophet
O my master, O Messenger of Allah, take my hand:
I have none besides you, nor will I pause to rely on anyone but you.
For you are the light of guidance in everything that exists
and you are the secret of munificence and the best reliance.
And you are in truth the helper of all creation,
and you are the guide of mortals to Allah, Owner of help.
O you who stand on the Station of Praise, singled out
by the One Who is Single, Who is not begotten and does not beget.
O you from whose fingers rivers burst forth
so that he quenched the thirst of the numerous army.
Verily, if I am faced with harm and fearful injustice
I say: O Master of masters, O my support!
Be my intercessor with the Merciful regarding my mistakes
and grace me with what eludes my heart.
And look upon me always and ever with kind eyes,
and cover with your favor my shortcomings all my life.
Kindly bestow on me encompassing forgiveness
for from you, O my master, I was never separated.
I have sought as my means the elect one, the noblest of any
that ascended the heavens, the secret of the Unique One?
O Lord of beauty! Exalted is Allah Who created him,
for such as him in all creation I have never seen?
The best of creatures, the apex of Messengers,
the treasure of humankind and their guide to integrity!
In him I have taken refuge: perhaps Allah will forgive me.
This is what I count on and firmly believe.
Therefore his tireless praise shall never cease to be my task
and love of him sustains me in the presence of the Lord of the Throne.
Upon him the purest of endless blessings without cease
together with greetings that cannot be stemmed nor counted
And upon his Family and Companions, a glorious folk all,
The ocean of forgiveness, the people of generosity and aid!
The Last Prophecy Of Cassandra
THE sun is fading in the skies,
And evening shades are gathering fast;
Fair city, ere that sun shall rise,
Thy night hath come,-thy day is past!
Ye know not,-but the hour is nigh;
Ye will not heed the warning breath;
No vision strikes your clouded eye,
To break the sleep that wakes in death.
Go, age, and let thy withered cheek
Be wet once more with freezing tears;
And bid thy trembling sorrows speak,
In accents of departed years.
Go, child, and pour thy sinless prayer
Before the everlasting throne;
And He, who sits in glory there,
May stoop to hear thy silver tone.
Go, warrior, in thy glittering steel,
And bow thee at the altar's side;
And bid thy frowning gods reveal
The doom their mystic counsels hide.
Go, maiden, in thy flowing veil,
And bare thy brow, and bend thy knee;
When the last hopes of mercy fail,
Thy God may yet remember thee.
Go, as thou didst in happier hours,
And lay thine incense on the shrine;
And greener leaves, and fairer flowers,
Around the sacred image twine.
I saw them rise, the buried dead,
From marble tomb and grassy mound;
I heard the spirits' printless tread,
And voices not of earthly sound.
I looked upon the quivering stream,
And its cold wave was bright with flame;
And wild, as from a fearful dream,
The wasted forms of battle came.
Ye will not hear, ye will not know,
Ye scorn the maniac's idle song;
Ye care not! but the voice of woe
Shall thunder loud, and echo long.
Blood shall be in your marble halls.
And spears shall glance, and fire shall glow;
Ruin shall sit upon your walls,
But ye shall lie in death below.
Ay, none shall live, to hear the storm
Around their blackened pillars sweep;
To shudder at the reptile's form,
Or scare the wild bird from her sleep.
America, A Prophecy
The shadowy Daughter of Urthona stood before red Orc,
When fourteen suns had faintly journey'd o'er his dark abode:
His food she brought in iron baskets, his drink in cups of iron:
Crown'd with a helmet and dark hair the nameless female stood;
A quiver with its burning stores, a bow like that of night,
When pestilence is shot from heaven: no other arms she need!
Invulnerable though naked, save where clouds roll round her loins
Their awful folds in the dark air: silent she stood as night;
For never from her iron tongue could voice or sound arise,
But dumb till that dread day when Orc assay'd his fierce embrace.
'Dark Virgin,' said the hairy youth, 'thy father stern, abhorr'd,
Rivets my tenfold chains while still on high my spirit soars;
Sometimes an Eagle screaming in the sky, sometimes a Lion
Stalking upon the mountains, and sometimes a Whale, I lash
The raging fathomless abyss; anon a Serpent folding
Around the pillars of Urthona, and round thy dark limbs
On the Canadian wilds I fold; feeble my spirit folds,
For chain'd beneath I rend these caverns: when thou bringest food
I howl my joy, and my red eyes seek to behold thy face--
In vain! these clouds roll to and fro, and hide thee from my sight.'
Silent as despairing love, and strong as jealousy,
The hairy shoulders rend the links; free are the wrists of fire;
Round the terrific loins he seiz'd the panting, struggling womb;
It joy'd: she put aside her clouds and smiled her first-born smile,
As when a black cloud shews its lightnings to the silent deep.
Soon as she saw the terrible boy, then burst the virgin cry:
'I know thee, I have found thee, and I will not let thee go:
Thou art the image of God who dwells in darkness of Africa,
And thou art fall'n to give me life in regions of dark death.
On my American plains I feel the struggling afflictions
Endur'd by roots that writhe their arms into the nether deep.
I see a Serpent in Canada who courts me to his love,
In Mexico an Eagle, and a Lion in Peru;
I see a Whale in the south-sea, drinking my soul away.
O what limb-rending pains I feel! thy fire and my frost
Mingle in howling pains, in furrows by thy lightnings rent.
This is eternal death, and this the torment long foretold.'
by William Blake.
The Wild Rose And The Snowdrop
The Snowdrop is the prophet of the flowers;
It lives and dies upon its bed of snows;
And like a thought of spring it comes and goes,
Hanging its head beside our leafless bowers.
The sun's betrothing kiss it never knows,
Nor all the glowing joy of golden showers;
But ever in a placid, pure repose,
More like a spirit with its look serene,
Droops its pale cheek veined thro' with infant green.
Queen of her sisters is the sweet Wild Rose,
Sprung from the earnest sun and ripe young June;
The year's own darling and the Summer's Queen!
Lustrous as the new-throned crescent moon.
Much of that early prophet look she shows,
Mixed with her fair espoused blush which glows,
As if the ethereal fairy blood were seen;
Like a soft evening over sunset snows,
Half twilight violet shade, half crimson sheen.
Twin-born are both in beauteousness, most fair
In all that glads the eye and charms the air;
In all that wakes emotions in the mind
And sows sweet sympathies for human kind.
Twin-born, albeit their seasons are apart,
They bloom together in the thoughtful heart;
Fair symbols of the marvels of our state,
Mute speakers of the oracles of fate!
For each, fulfilling nature's law, fulfils
Itself and its own aspirations pure;
Living and dying; letting faith ensure
New life when deathless Spring shall touch the hills.
Each perfect in its place; and each content
With that perfection which its being meant:
Divided not by months that intervene,
But linked by all the flowers that bud between.
Forever smiling thro' its season brief,
The one in glory and the one in grief:
Forever painting to our museful sight,
How lowlihead and loveliness unite.
Born from the first blind yearning of the earth
To be a mother and give happy birth,
Ere yet the northern sun such rapture brings,
Lo, from her virgin breast the Snowdrop springs;
And ere the snows have melted from the grass,
And not a strip of greensward doth appear,
Save the faint prophecy its cheeks declare,
Alone, unkissed, unloved, behold it pass!
While in the ripe enthronement of the year,
Whispering the breeze, and wedding the rich air
With her so sweet, delicious bridal breath, -
Odorous and exquisite beyond compare,
And starr'd with dews upon her forehead clear,
Fresh-hearted as a Maiden Queen should be
Who takes the land's devotion as her fee, -
The Wild Rose blooms, all summer for her dower,
Nature's most beautiful and perfect flower.
by George Meredith.
'WHAT can the matter be with the thermometer?
Is it the sun or the moon or the comet, or
Something broke loose in the old earth's pedometer?'
Thus in his study a weather philosopher
Mused — every minute more puzzled and cross over.
Wind-charts and notes he proceeded to toss over.
'Up in this tower, this breezy and barren height,
One should be cool as an elderly Sharonite.
Something is wrong with the scales of my Fahrenheit.
'T was but this morning the wind blowing northerly
Roughened the tops of the ocean waves frothily;
Now it has shifted, and seems to be southerly' —
(These are not rhymes — I am fully aware of it.
But the hot weather — for he had the care of it —
Fully excused him, and I have no share of it.)
Time to this sage was so precious that never he
Ate at regular hour; forever he
Seemed to be lost in a weather-wise reverie.
So a small kitchen the town-folks did make for him
Right underneath, where a servant could bake for him,
Boil for him, cook up a chop or a steak for him,
So that he need n't be starving while measuring
Rain-storms and calms that the heavens were treasuring.
'T was a bright thought which they took a great pleasure in;
For 't was the weather that made the great theme for them.
This was their day-talk and this their night's dream for them.
Here was the man who could skim the sky's cream for them;
Thousands of miles away see a cloud-macula —
Tell what was coming in language oracular —
Translate his science in common vernacular.
Quite independent of housekeeping syndicates
He could pronounce what the weather-glass indicates
Long ere old Boreas had opened his windy gates.
Knew all the signs from the Crab to Aquarius,
Shifting or permanent — single or various;
Bright signs that gladden us, dark signs that weary us,
Versed in the trade-winds and currents could spy a way
How a storm-centre in Texas or Iowa
Might prove a cyclone or peaceably die away.
Skilled in all secrets of meteorology,
Clear in his mind as that H I should follow G.
If he made blunders he made no apology.
He was the boldest of Old Probabilities;
Scorned all assistance and short-hand facilities.
Ah, what a thing to have genius and skill it is!
Pity if he should be forced to take off his eye;
Leave for a dinner his notes to a novice eye!
Food was a trifle for one who could prophesy.
So like the prophet of old when tile city he
Left for the woods, and the ravens had pity, he
Found himself served by a black-coat committee.
Now while engrossed in his figures, not dreaming it,
Bridget below in the kitchen was steaming it;
Making the building so hot that ice-cream in it
Melted like butter. Her stove and the range in it
Cooking his dinner — though this may seem strange in it —
Was the sole reason the air had a change in it.
Over his figures his brow getting rigid, he
Kept at his task, never thinking of Bridgety —
Growing each minute more fussy and fidgety.
Up through the speaking-tube rushed the hot air on him,
Bringing the steam of the boiler to bear on him.
So with a mystified sort of despair on him
Soon he proceeded to write and to scratch away,
And by his telegraph sent a despatch away —
(Never before was Old Prob so infatué)
Saying — 'It seems by my Aëroscopical
Great heats with thunder will soon be the topic all —
Weather, in short, most decidedly tropical.
Can it be sun-spots? Volcanic impurities
Caused by a meteor bursting? I'm sure it is
Something abnormal — but very obscure it is!
Possibly something may ail my thermometer;
Possibly 't is the effect of the comet, or
Something broke loose in the old Earth's pedometer.'
Prophets are struck now and then with insanity.
Ever since Adam man's measureless vanity
Thinks his own mood is the mind of humanity.
Anhelli - Chapter 8
And passing further they beheld many men pale and tortured,
whose names are known in the fatherland.
And they came to a subterranean lake,
and proceeded along the shores of the dark water,
which stirred not, but was golden in places from the light of torches.
And the Shaman said : 'Is this the Lake of Gennesaret of the Poles?
And these men, are they fishermen of misfortune?'
Then one of those who sat sorrowfully by the shores of the black water,
with a thoughtful face, answered :
'They allow us to rest, for today is the king's saint's day, and a day of repose.
'Therefore do we sit beside the dark water to think and to meditate and to rest ;
for our hearts are more wearied than our bodies.
'For lo, we lost not long since our prophet,
whose favourite spot this rock was, and these waters were dear to him.
'He was a man pale, with gleaming eyes, gaunt and full of fire.
'And lo, seven years ago there came upon him one night the spirit of prophecy,
and he felt the shock which was in the fatherland,
and related to us through a whole night what he saw, laughing and crying.
'And only in the morning did he become sad, and he cried out :
`Lo, they have risen again, but they cannot roll away the stones from their graves !'
And having said this, he fell dead.
And we set up to him this wooden cross.
'And two years later new exiles told us what had happened,
and, reckoning up the nights, we found that that prophet had told us the truth :
therefore we wished to do him honour, but he was already in the ground.
'Therefore do we honour this cross, no longer saying :
`Lo, the man who lieth under it was mad and crazed, and deserving of laughter.'
What say ye to that?'
And turning, the Shaman said to Anhelli :
'On what dost thou meditate above this black water? Is it of the tears of the people?
Or dost thou ponder on that prophet? Or on thyself?'
As he spoke, there came a great echo from the explosion of a mine,
and it resounded above their heads, ringing like an underground bell.
And the Shaman said : 'Lo, that is the tolling for the dead prophet !
Behold, there is an angel of the Lord for those who see not the sun. Let us pray.'
And raising his eyes, he said :
'God ! God ! We beseech Thee that our torture may be a redemption.
'And we will not supplicate Thee to return the sun to our eyes,
and the air to our breasts,
for we know that Thy judgment hath been passed upon us
but the newborn are guiltless. Have mercy, O God !
'And forgive us that we bear our cross in sorrow and are not joyful like the martyrs;
for Thou hast not said whether our torture shall be reckoned in us as a sacrifice;
but tell us that and we shall rejoice.
'For what is life that we should regret it?
Is it a good angel who abandoneth us in the hour of death?
'The heat of our blood is the fire of the sacrifice, and the sacrifice is our desires.
Happy are those who can consecrate themselves for the people.'
And to that the wretched men said :
'Lo, this man speaketh truth; for more unhappy than ourselves is that woman who followed her husband hither,
and who suffereth for the heart of man.
'Come, and we will show you the damp pit where that martyr dwelleth with her husband.
'She was a great lady and a princess,
and now she is as the handmaiden of a beggar.
'And unworthy of her pity is he whom she loved ;
for, kneeling before the emperor, he pleaded for his life,
and they gave it to him, despising him.'
So saying they came up close to a wall,
and through the grating they beheld that wedded pair.
The woman was kneeling before the man, and in a basin of water was washing his feet ;
for he had returned from his work as a labourer.
And the water in the basin was reddened from his blood,
and the woman did not shudder at the man and the blood,
and she was young and beautiful, like the angels of heaven.
That man and that woman were of the tsar's people.
by Juliusz Slowacki.
A sound of music, from amidst the hills,
Came suddenly, and died; a fitful sound
Of mirth, soon lost in wail.â€“Again it rose,
And sank in mournfulness.â€“There sat a bard,
By a blue stream of Erin, where it swept
Flashing thro' rock and wood; the sunset's light
Was on his wavy, silver-gleaming hair,
And the wind's whisper in the mountain-ash,
Whose clusters droop'd above. His head was bow'd,
His hand was on his harp, yet thence its touch
Had drawn but broken strains; and many stood,
Waiting around, in silent earnestness,
Th' unchaining of his soul, the gush of song,â€“
Many, and graceful forms! yet one alone
Seem'd present to his dream; and she indeed,
With her pale, virgin brow, and changeful cheek,
And the clear starlight of her serious eyes,
Lovely amidst the flowing of dark locks
And pallid braiding flowers, was beautiful,
Ev'n painfully!â€“a creature to behold
With trembling midst our joy, lest aught unseen
Should waft the vision from us, leaving earth
Too dim without its brightness!â€“Did such fear
O'ershadow, in that hour, the gifted one,
By his own rushing stream?â€“Once more he gaz'd
Upon the radiant girl, and yet once more
From the deep chords his wandering hand brought out
A few short festive notes, an opening strain
Of bridal melody, soon dash'd with grief,
As if some wailing spirit in the strings
Met and o'ermaster'd him: but yielding then
To the strong prophet-impulse, mournfully,
Like moaning waters o'er the harp he pour'd
The trouble of his haunted soul, and sangâ€“
Voice of the grave!
I hear thy thrilling call;
It comes in the dash of the foaming wave,
In the sear leaf's trembling fall!
In the shiver of the tree,
I hear thee, O thou voice!
And I would thy warning were but for me,
That my spirit might rejoice.
But thou art sent
For the sad earth's young and fair,
For the graceful heads that have not bent
To the wintry hand of care!
They hear the wind's low sigh,
And the river sweeping free,
And the green reeds murmuring heavily,
And the woodsâ€“but they hear not thee!
Long have I striven
With my deep foreboding soul,
But the full tide now its bounds hath riven,
And darkly on must roll.
There's a young brow smiling near,
With a bridal white-rose wreath,â€“
Unto me it smiles from a flowery bier,
Touch'd solemnly by death!
Fair art thou, Morna!
The sadness of thine eye
Is beautiful as silvery clouds
On the dark-blue summer sky!
And thy voice comes like the sound
Of a sweet and hidden rill,
That makes the dim woods tuneful roundâ€“
But soon it must be still!
Silence and dust
On thy sunny lips must lie,
Make not the strength of love thy trust,
A stronger yet is nigh!
No strain of festal flow
That my hand for thee hath tried,
But into dirge-notes wild and low
Its ringing tones have died.
Young art thou, Morna!
Yet on thy gentle head,
Like heavy dew on the lily's leaves,
A spirit hath been shed!
And the glance is thine which sees
Thro' nature's awful heartâ€“
But bright things go with the summer-breeze,
And thou too, must depart!
Yet shall I weep?
I know that in thy breast
There swells a fount of song too deep,
Too powerful for thy rest!
And the bitterness I know,
And the chill of this world's breathâ€“
Go, all undimm'd, in thy glory go!
Young and crown'd bride of death!
Take hence to heaven
Thy holy thoughts and bright,
And soaring hopes, that were not given
For the touch of mortal blight!
Might we follow in thy track,
This parting should not be!
But the spring shall give us violets back,
And every flower but thee!
There was a burst of tears around the bard:
All wept but one, and she serenely stood,
With her clear brow and dark religious eye,
Rais'd to the first faint star above the hills,
And cloudless; though it might be that her cheek
Was paler than before.â€“So Morna heard
The minstrel's prophecy.
And spring return'd,
Bringing the earth her lovely things again,
All, save the loveliest far! A voice, a smile,
A young sweet spirit gone.
They hear Thee not, O God! nor see;
Beneath Thy rod they mock at Thee;
The princes of our ancient line
Lie drunken with Assyrian wine;
The priests around Thy altar speak
The false words which their hearers seek;
And hymns which Chaldea's wanton maids
Have sung in Dura's idol-shades
Are with the Levites' chant ascending,
With Zion's holiest anthems blending!
On Israel's bleeding bosom set,
The heathen heel is crushing yet;
The towers upon our holy hill
Echo Chaldean footsteps still.
Our wasted shrines,--who weeps for them?
Who mourneth for Jerusalem?
Who turneth from his gains away?
Whose knee with mine is bowed to pray?
Who, leaving feast and purpling cup,
Takes Zion's lamentation up?
A sad and thoughtful youth, I went
With Israel's early banishment;
And where the sullen Chebar crept,
The ritual of my fathers kept.
The water for the trench I drew,
The firstling of the flock I slew,
And, standing at the altar's side,
I shared the Levites' lingering pride,
That still, amidst her mocking foes,
The smoke of Zion's offering rose.
In sudden whirlwind, cloud and flame,
The Spirit of the Highest came!
Before mine eyes a vision passed,
A glory terrible and vast;
With dreadful eyes of living things,
And sounding sweep of angel wings,
With circling light and sapphire throne,
And flame-like form of One thereon,
And voice of that dread Likeness sent
Down from the crystal firmament!
The burden of a prophet's power
Fell on me in that fearful hour;
From off unutterable woes
The curtain of the future rose;
I saw far down the coming time
The fiery chastisement of crime;
With noise of mingling hosts, and jar
Of falling towers and shouts of war,
I saw the nations rise and fall,
Like fire-gleams on my tent's white wall.
In dream and trance, I--saw the slain
Of Egypt heaped like harvest grain.
I saw the walls of sea-born Tyre
Swept over by the spoiler's fire;
And heard the low, expiring moan
Of Edom on his rocky throne;
And, woe is me! the wild lament
From Zion's desolation sent;
And felt within my heart each blow
Which laid her holy places low.
In bonds and sorrow, day by day,
Before the pictured tile I lay;
And there, as in a mirror, saw
The coming of Assyria's war;
Her swarthy lines of spearmen pass
Like locusts through Bethhoron's grass;
I saw them draw their stormy hem
Of battle round Jerusalem;
And, listening, heard the Hebrew wail!
Blend with the victor-trump of Baal!
Who trembled at my warning word?
Who owned the prophet of the Lord?
How mocked the rude, how scoffed the vile,
How stung the Levites' scornful smile,
As o'er my spirit, dark and slow,
The shadow crept of Israel's woe
As if the angel's mournful roll
Had left its record on my soul,
And traced in lines of darkness there
The picture of its great despair!
Yet ever at the hour I feel
My lips in prophecy unseal.
Prince, priest, and Levite gather near,
And Salem's daughters haste to hear,
On Chebar's waste and alien shore,
The harp of Judah swept once more.
They listen, as in Babel's throng
The Chaldeans to the dancer's song,
Or wild sabbeka's nightly play,--
As careless and as vain as they.
. . . . .
And thus, O Prophet-bard of old,
Hast thou thy tale of sorrow told
The same which earth's unwelcome seers
Have felt in all succeeding years.
Sport of the changeful multitude,
Nor calmly heard nor understood,
Their song has seemed a trick of art,
Their warnings but, the actor's part.
With bonds, and scorn, and evil will,
The world requites its prophets still.
So was it when the Holy One
The garments of the flesh put on
Men followed where the Highest led
For common gifts of daily bread,
And gross of ear, of vision dim,
Owned not the Godlike power of Him.
Vain as a dreamer's words to them
His wail above Jerusalem,
And meaningless the watch He kept
Through which His weak disciples slept.
Yet shrink not thou, whoe'er thou art,
For God's great purpose set apart,
Before whose far-discerning eyes,
The Future as the Present lies!
Beyond a narrow-bounded age
Stretches thy prophet-heritage,
Through Heaven's vast spaces angel-trod,
And through the eternal years of God
Thy audience, worlds!--all things to be
The witness of the Truth in thee!
Somewhere or other, 'tis doubtful where,
In the archives of Gosh is a volume rare,
A precious old classic that nobody reads,
And nobody asks for, and nobody heeds;
Which makes it a classic, and famed thro' the land,
As well-informed persons will quite understand.
'Tis a ponderous work, and 'tis written in prose,
For some mystical reason that nobody knows;
And it tells in a style that is terse and correct
Of the rule of the Swanks and its baneful effect
On the commerce of Gosh, on its morals and trade;
And it quotes a grave prophecy somebody made.
And this is the prophecy, written right bold
On a parchment all tattered and yellow and old;
So old and so tattered that nobody knows
How far into foretime its origin goes.
But this is the writing that set Glugs agog
When 'twas called to their minds by the Mayor of Quog:
When Gosh groaneth bastlie thro Greed and bys plannes
Ye rimer shall mende ye who mendes pottes and pans.
Now, the Mayor of Quog, a small suburb of Gosh,
Was intensely annoyed at the act of King Splosh
In asking the Mayor of Piphel to tea
With himself and the Queen on a Thursday at three;
When the King must have known that the sorriest dog,
If a native of Piphel, was hated in Quog.
An act without precedent! Quog was ignored!
The Mayor and Council and Charity Board,
They met and considered this insult to Quog;
And they said, ' 'Tis the work of the treacherous Og!
'Tis plain the Og influence threatens the Throne;
And the Swanks are all crazed with this trading in stone.'
Said the Mayor of Quog: 'This has long been foretold
In a prophecy penned by the Seer of old.
We must search, if we'd banish the curse of our time,
For a mender of pots who's a maker of rhyme.
'Tis to him we must look when our luck goes amiss.
But, Oh, where in all Gosh is a Glug such as this?'
Then the Mayor and Council and Charity Board
O'er the archival prophecy zealously pored,
With a pursing of lips and a shaking of heads,
With a searching and prying for possible threads
That would lead to discover this versatile Glug
Who modelled a rhyme while he mended a mug.
With a pursing of lips and a shaking of heads,
They gave up the task and went home to their beds,
Where each lay awake while he tortured his brain
For a key to the riddle, but ever in vain . . .
Then, lo, at the Mayor's front door in the morn
A tinker called out, and a Movement was born.
'Kettles and pans! Kettles and pans!
Oh, the stars are the god; but the earth, it is man's.
But a fool is the man who has wants without end,
While the tinker's content with a kettle to mend.
For a tinker owns naught but the earth, which is man's.
Then, bring out your kettles! Ho, kettles and pans!'
From the mayoral bed with unmayoral cries
The magistrate sprang ere he'd opened his eyes.
'Hold him!' he yelled, as he bounced on the floor.
'Oh, who is this tinker that rhymes at my door?
Go get me the name and the title of him 1'
They answered. 'Be calm, sir. 'Tis no one but Sym.
'Tis Sym, the mad tinker, the son of old Joi,
Who ran from his home when a bit of a boy.
He went for a tramp, tho' 'tis common belief,
When folk were not looking he went for a thief;
Then went for a tinker, and rhymes as he goes.
Some say he's crazy, but nobody knows.'
'Twas thus it began, the exalting of Sym,
And the mad Gluggish struggle that raged around him.
For the good Mayor seized him, and clothed him in silk,
And fed him on pumpkins and pasteurised milk,
And praised him in public, and coupled his name
With Gosh's vague prophet of archival fame.
The Press interviewed him a great many times,
And printed his portrait, and published his rhymes;
Till the King and Sir Stodge and the Swanks grew afraid
Of his fame 'mid the Glugs and the trouble it made.
For, wherever Sym went in the city of Gosh,
There were cheers for the tinker, and hoots for King Splosh.
His goings and comings were watched for and cheered;
And a crowd quickly gathered where'er he appeared.
All the folk flocked around him and shouted his praise;
For the Glugs followed fashion, and Sym was a craze.
They sued him for words, which they greeted with cheers,
For the way with a Glug is to tickle his ears.
'0, speak to us, Tinker! Your wisdom we crave!'
They'd cry when they saw him; then Sym would look grave,
And remark, with an air, ''Tis a very fine day.'
'Now ain't he a marvel?' they'd shout. 'Hip, Hooray!'
'To live,' would Sym answer, 'To live is to feel!'
'And ain't he a poet?' a fat Glug would squeal.
Sym had a quaint fancy in phrase and in text;
When he'd fed them with one they would howl for the next.
Thus he'd cry, 'Love is love 1' and the welkin they'd lift
With their shouts of surprise at his wonderful gift.
He would say 'After life, then a Glug must meet death!'
And they'd clamour for more ere he took the next breath.
But Sym grew aweary of this sort of praise,
And he longed to be back with his out-o'-door days,
With his feet in the grass and his back to a tree,
Rhyming and tinkering, fameless and free.
He said so one day to the Mayor of Quog,
And declared he'd as lief live the life of a dog.
But the Mayor was vexed; for the Movement had grown,
And his dreams had of late soared as high as a throne.
'Have a care! What is written is written,' said he.
'And the dullest Glug knows what is written must be.
'Tis the prophet of Gosh who has prophesied it;
And 'tis thus that 'tis written by him who so writ:
''Lo, the Tinker of Gosh he shall make him three rhymes:
One on the errors and aims of his times,
One on the symptoms of sin that he sees,
And the third and the last on whatever he please.
And when the Glugs hear them and mark what they mean
The land shall be purged and the nation made clean.''
So Sym gave a promise to write then and there
Three rhymes to be read in the Great Market Square
To all Glugs assembled on Saturday week.
'And then,' said the Mayor, 'if still you must seek
To return to your tramping, well, just have your fling;
But I'll make you a marquis, or any old thing . . .'
Said Sym, 'I shall tinker, and still be a king.'
The Falls Of The Chaudiere, Ottawa
I have laid my cheek to Nature's, placed my puny hand in hers,
Felt a kindred spirit warming all the life-blood of my face,
Moved amid the very foremost of her truest worshippers,
Studying each curve of beauty, marking every minute grace;
Loved not less the mountain cedar than the flowers at its feet,
Looking skyward from the valley, open-lipped as if in prayer,
Felt a pleasure in the brooklet singing of its wild retreat,
But I knelt before the splendour of the thunderous Chaudiere.
All my manhood waked within me, every nerve had tenfold force,
And my soul stood up rejoicing, looking on with cheerful eyes,
Watching the resistless waters speeding on their downward course,
Titan strength and queenly beauty diademed with rainbow dyes.
Eye and ear, with spirit quickened, mingled with the lovely strife,
Saw the living Genius shrined within her sanctuary fair,
Heard her voice of sweetness singing, peered into her hidden life,
And discerned the tuneful secret of the jubilant Chaudiere:
'Within my pearl-roofed shell,
Whose floor is woven with the iris bright,
Genius and Queen of the Chaudiere I dwell,
As in a world of immaterial light.
My throne, an ancient rock,
Marked by the foot of ages long-departed,
My joy, the cataract's stupendous shock,
Whose roll is music to the grateful-hearted.
I've seen the eras glide
With muffled tread to their eternal dreams,
While I have lived in vale and mountain side,
With leaping torrents and sweet purling streams.
The Red-Man's active life;
His love, pride, passions, courage, and great deeds;
His perfect freedom, and his thirst for strife;
His swift revenge, at which the memory bleeds:
The sanguinary years,
When sullen Terror, like a raging Fate,
Swept down the stately tribes like slaughtered deers,
And war and hatred joined to decimate
The remnants of the race,
And spread decay through centuries of pain-
No more I mark their sure, avenging pace,
And forests wave where war-whoops shook the plain.
Their deeds I envied not.
The royal tyrant on his purple throne,
I, in secluded grove or shady grot,
Had purer joys than he had ever known,
God made the ancient hills,
The valleys and the solemn wildernesses,
The merry-hearted and melodious rills,
And strung with diamond dews the pine-trees' tresses;
But man's hand built the palace,
And he that reigns therein is simply man;
Man turns God's gifts to poison in the chalice
That brimmed with nectar in the primal plan.
Here I abide alone-
The wild Chaudiere's eternal jubilee
Has such sweet divination in its tone,
And utters nature's truest prophecy
In thunderings of zeal!
I've seen the Atheist in terror start,
Awed to contrition by the strong appeal
That waked conviction in his doubting heart:
'Teachers speak throughout all nature,
From the womb of Silence born,
Heed ye not their words, O Scoffer?
Flinging back thy scorn with scorn!
To the desert spring that leapeth,
Pulsing, from the parched sod,
Points the famished trav'ler, saying-
'Brothers, here, indeed, is God!'
From the patriarchal fountains,
Sending forth their tribes of rills,
From the cedar-shadowed lakelets
In the hearts of distant hills,
Whispers softer than the moonbeams
Wisdom's gentle heart have awed,
Till its lips approved the cadence-
'Surely here, indeed, is God!'
Lo! o'er all, the Torrent Prophet,
An inspired Demosthenes,
To the Doubter's soul appealing,
Louder than the preacher-seas:
Dreamer! wouldst have nature spurn thee
For a dumb, insensate clod?
Dare to doubt! and these shall teach thee
Of a truth there lives a God!'
By day and night, for hours,
I watch the cataract's impulsive leap,
Refreshed and gladdened by the cheering showers
Wrung from the passion of the seething deep.
Pleased when the buried waves
Emerge again, like incorporeal hosts
Rising, white-sheeted, from their gloomy graves,
As if the depths had yielded up their ghosts.
And when the midnight storm
Enfolds the welkin in its robe of clouds,
Through the dim vapours of the cauldron swarm
The sheeted spectres in their whitest shrouds,
By the lightning's flash betrayed.
These gather from the insubstantial vapour
The lunar rainbows, which by them are made-
Woven with moonbeams by some starry taper,
To decorate the halls
Of my fair palace, whence I'm pained to see
Thy human brethren watch the waterfalls-
Not with such rev'rence as I've found in thee:
Too many with an eye
To speculation and the worldling's dreams;
Others, who seek from nature no reply,
Nor read the oral language of the streams.
But of the few who loved
The beautiful with grateful heart and soul,
Who looked on nature fondly, and were moved
By one sweet glance, as by the mighty whole:
Of these, the thoughtful few,
Thou wert the first to seek the inner temple,
And stand before the Priestess. Thou wert true
To nature and thyself. Be thy example
The harbinger of times
When the Chaudiere's imposing majesty
Will awe the spirits of the heartless mimes
To worship God in truth, with nature's constancy.'
Still I heard the mellow sweetness of her voice at intervals,
Mingling with the fall of waters, rising with the snowy spray,
Ringing through the sportive current like the joy of waterfalls,
Sending up their hearty vespers at the calmy close of day.
Loath to leave the scene of beauty, lover-like I stayed, and stayed,
Folding to my eager bosom memories beyond compare;
Deeper, stronger, more enduring than my dreams of wood and glade,
Were the eloquent appeals of the magnificent Chaudiere.
E'en the solid bridge is trembling, whence I look my last farewell,
Dizzy with the roar and trampling of the mighty herd of waves,
Speeding past the rocky Island, steadfast as a sentinel,
Towards the loveliest bay that ever mirrored the Algonquin Braves.
Soul of Beauty! Genius! Spirit! Priestess of the lovely strife!
In my heart thy words are shrined, as in a sanctuary fair;
Echoes of thy voice of sweetness, rousing all my better life,
Ever haunt my wildest visions of the jubilant Chaudiere.
by Charles Sangster.
The Prophecy Of St. Oran: Part Iv
It is the night: across the starless waste
Of silent heaven the solitary moon
Flits like a frightened maid who flies in haste,
And wild with terror seems to reel and swoon,
As in her rear the multitudinous clouds
Follow like spectral huntsmen in their shrouds.
And sometimes the wild rout o'ertakes its prey,
And holds her captive in the lowering sky,
But ever and anon she bursts away,
And her white orb floats lustrously on high,
And with its lambent flame transmutes the haze
Into a living halo for her face.
And far o'er black morass and barren moor
The fitful splendour of the moonlight falls,
Its broken eddies sweep across the floor,
And dance in chequered silver on the walls,
And flood the chapel's grave-encircled site
With sudden flashes of unearthly light.
And as the unquiet moonlight comes and flies
Athwart the little roofless house of prayer,
Like some lost spirit strayed from Paradise
Or dæmon-angel of the realms of air,
A pallid shape flits through the open door
And flings itself, low wailing, on the floor;
And wailing, wailing, lay there in its pain,
When suddenly it snatched from the out the sod
Some late-forgotten spade, while tears like rain
Poured from its eyes, enough to melt the clod,
And digging hard the small breach grew apace,
Till the soil lay like molehills round the place.
But through the silence suddenly there swells
Along the gusty breaths of midnight air
The mellow tinkling sound of magic bells,
Such as the pious brethren love to wear,
To keep the fiends and goblins off that prowl
For ever near to catch a tripping soul.
And as the monks, chanting a solemn hymn,
Draw nigh the chapel to perform their rite,
That wailing shape flies far into the dim
Recess behind the altar full of night;
While they with burning torches move in file
To consecrate afresh their sacred pile.
Three days, three nights have fled since in that spot,
Where fiends and dæmons revelled unforbid,
They buried that false monk who was a blot
Upon their rule: but since the earth has hid
His bones accursed, God's sun has shone again,
Nor has fresh ill assailed their prospering fane
Which now they enter, singing hymns of praise,
Columba at their head--when lo, behold
The grave yawns open and a bloodless face,
The face of him they knew, rose from the mould:
Slowly he rose from the incumbent clay
Lifting the white shroud in the moonlight grey.
Slowly his arm beneath the winding-sheet
He waved three times, as though to bid them hear;
Then in the moonlight rose he to his feet
Showing his shrunken body, and his sere
Discoloured hair, and smouldering eyes that lie
Sunk in their sockets, glaring hot and dry.
Slowly he raised his voice--once rich in tone
Like sweetest music, now a mournful knell
With dull sepulchral sounds, as of a stone
Cast down into a black unfathomed well--
And murmured, 'Lo, I come back from the grave,--
Behold, there is no God to smite or save.
'Poor fools! wild dreamers! No, there is no God;
Yon heaven is deaf and dumb to prayer and praise;
Lo, no almighty tyrant wields the rod
For evermore above our hapless race;
Nor fashioned us, frail creatures that we be,
To bear the burden of eternity.
'Hear it, self-torturing monks, and cease to wage
Your mad, delirious, suicidal war;
There is no devil who from age to age
Waylays and tempts all souls of men that are;
For ever seeking whom he may devour,
And damn with wine and woman, gold and power.
'Deluded priests, ye think the world a snare,
Denouncing every tender human tie!
Behold, your heaven is unsubstantial air,
Your future bliss a sick brain's phantasy;
There is no room amid the stars which gem
The firmament for your Jerusalem.
'Rejoice, poor sinners, for I come to tell
To you who hardly dare to live for fright;
There is no burning everlasting hell
Where souls shall be tormented day and night:
The fever ye call life ends with your breath;
All weary souls set in the night of death.
'Then let your life on earth be life indeed!
Nor drop the substance, snatching at a shade!
Ye can have Eden here! ye bear the seed
Of all the hells and heavens and gods ye made
Within that mighty world-transforming thought
Which permeates the universe it wrought--
'Wrought out of stones and plants and birds and beasts,
To flower in man, and know itself at last:
Around, about you, see what endless feasts
The spring and summer bountifully cast!
'A vale of tears,' ye cry--'if ye were wise,
The earth itself would change to Paradise.
'The earth itself--the old despisèd earth,
Would render back your love a thousandfold,
Nor yet afflict the sons of men with dearth,
Disease, and misery, and drought and cold;
If you would seek a blessing in her sod,
Instead of crying vainly on your God.
'Cast down the crucifix, take up the plough!
Nor waste your breath which is the life in prayer!
Dare to be men, and break you impious vow,
Nor fly from woman as the devil's snare!
For if within, around, beneath, above
There is a living God, that God is Love.'
'The fool says in his heart, There is no God,'
Cried St. Columba, white with Christian ire
'Seize Oran, re-inter him in the sod
And may his soul awake in endless fire:
Earth on his mouth--the earth he would adore,
That his blaspheming tongue may blab no more.'
Then like swart ravens swooping on their prey
These monks rushed upon Oran; when there came
One gliding towards them in wild disarray
With hair that streamed behind her like a flame
And face dazed with the moon, who shrilly cried,
'Let not death part the bridegroom from his bride.'
But deeming her some fiend in female guise,
They drive her forth with threats, till, crazed with fear,
Across the stones and mounded graves she flies
Towards that lapping, moon-illumined mere;
And like a child seeking its mother's breast
She casts her life thereon, and is at rest.
And while the waves close gurgling o'er her head,
A grave is dug whence he may never stray,
Or come back prophesying from the dead,--
All shouting as they stifle him with clay:
'Earth on his mouth--the earth he would adore,
That his blaspheming tongue may blab no more.'
by Mathilde Blind.
The Prophecy Of Samuel Sewall
Up and down the village streets
Strange are the forms my fancy meets,
For the thoughts and things of to-day are hid,
And through the veil of a closed lid
The ancient worthies I see again
I hear the tap of the elder's cane,
And his awful periwig I see,
And the silver buckles of shoe and knee.
Stately and slow, with thoughtful air,
His black cap hiding his whitened hair,
Walks the Judge of the great Assize,
Samuel Sewall the good and wise.
His face with lines of firmness wrought,
He wears the look of a man unbought,
Who swears to his hurt and changes not;
Yet, touched and softened nevertheless
With the grace of Christian gentleness,
The face that a child would climb to kiss!
True and tender and brave and just,
That man might honor and woman trust.
Touching and sad, a tale is told,
Like a penitent hymn of the Psalmist old,
Of the fast which the good man lifelong kept to
With a haunting sorrow that never slept,
As the circling year brought round the time
Of an error that left the sting of crime,
When he sat on the bench of the witchcraft courts,
With the laws of Moses and Hale's Reports,
And spake, in the name of both, the word
That gave the witch's neck to the cord,
And piled the oaken planks that pressed
The feeble life from the warlock's breast!
All the day long, from dawn to dawn,
His door was bolted, his curtain drawn;
No foot on his silent threshold trod,
No eye looked on him save that of God,
As he baffled the ghosts of the dead with charms
Of penitent tears, and prayers, and psalms,
And, with precious proofs from the sacred word
Of the boundless pity and love of the Lord,
His faith confirmed and his trust renewed
That the sin of his ignorance, sorely rued,
Might be washed away in the mingled flood
Of his human sorrow and Christ's dear blood!
Green forever the memory be
Of the Judge of the old Theocracy,
Whom even his errors glorified,
Like a far-seen, sunlit mountain-side
By the cloudy shadows which o'er it glide I
Honor and praise to the Puritan
Who the halting step of his age outran,
And, seeing the infinite worth of man
In the priceless gift the Father gave,
In the infinite love that stooped to save,
Dared not brand his brother a slave
'Who doth such wrong,' he was wont to say,
In his own quaint, picture-loving way,
'Flings up to Heaven a hand-grenade
Which God shall cast down upon his head!'
Widely as heaven and hell, contrast
That brave old jurist of the past
And the cunning trickster and knave of courts
Who the holy features of Truth distorts,
Ruling as right the will of the strong,
Poverty, crime, and weakness wrong;
Wide-eared to power, to the wronged and weak
Deaf as Egypt's gods of leek;
Scoffing aside at party's nod
Order of nature and law of God;
For whose dabbled ermine respect were waste,
Reverence folly, and awe misplaced;
Justice of whom 't were vain to seek
As from Koordish robber or Syrian Sheik!
Oh, leave the wretch to his bribes and sins;
Let him rot in the web of lies he spins!
To the saintly soul of the early day,
To the Christian judge, let us turn and say
'Praise and thanks for an honest man!-
Glory to God for the Puritan!'
I see, far southward, this quiet day,
The hills of Newbury rolling away,
With the many tints of the season gay,
Dreamily blending in autumn mist
Crimson, and gold, and amethyst.
Long and low, with dwarf trees crowned,
Plum Island lies, like a whale aground,
A stone's toss over the narrow sound.
Inland, as far as the eye can go,
The hills curve round like a bended bow;
A silver arrow from out them sprung,
I see the shine of the Quasycung;
And, round and round, over valley and hill,
Old roads winding, as old roads will,
Here to a ferry, and there to a mill;
And glimpses of chimneys and gabled eaves,
Through green elm arches and maple leaves,-
Old homesteads sacred to all that can
Gladden or sadden the heart of man,
Over whose thresholds of oak and stone
Life and Death have come and gone
There pictured tiles in the fireplace show,
Great beams sag from the ceiling low,
The dresser glitters with polished wares,
The long clock ticks on the foot-worn stairs,
And the low, broad chimney shows the crack
By the earthquake made a century back.
Up from their midst springs the village spire
With the crest of its cock in the sun afire;
Beyond are orchards and planting lands,
And great salt marshes and glimmering sands,
And, where north and south the coast-lines run,
The blink of the sea in breeze and sun!
I see it all like a chart unrolled,
But my thoughts are full of the past and old,
I hear the tales of my boyhood told;
And the shadows and shapes of early days
Flit dimly by in the veiling haze,
With measured movement and rhythmic chime
Weaving like shuttles my web of rhyme.
I think of the old man wise and good
Who once on yon misty hillsides stood,
(A poet who never measured rhyme,
A seer unknown to his dull-eared time,)
And, propped on his staff of age, looked down,
With his boyhood's love, on his native town,
Where, written, as if on its hills and plains,
His burden of prophecy yet remains,
For the voices of wood, and wave, and wind
To read in the ear of the musing mind:-
'As long as Plum Island, to guard the coast
As God appointed, shall keep its post;
As long as a salmon shall haunt the deep
Of Merrimac River, or sturgeon leap;
As long as pickerel swift and slim,
Or red-backed perch, in Crane Pond swim;
As long as the annual sea-fowl know
Their time to come and their time to go;
As long as cattle shall roam at will
The green, grass meadows by Turkey Hill;
As long as sheep shall look from the side
Of Oldtown Hill on marishes wide,
And Parker River, and salt-sea tide;
As long as a wandering pigeon shall search
The fields below from his white-oak perch,
When the barley-harvest is ripe and shorn,
And the dry husks fall from the standing corn;
As long as Nature shall not grow old,
Nor drop her work from her doting hold,
And her care for the Indian corn forget,
And the yellow rows in pairs to set;-
So long shall Christians here be born,
Grow up and ripen as God's sweet corn!-
By the beak of bird, by the breath of frost,
Shall never a holy ear be lost,
But, husked by Death in the Planter's sight,
Be sown again in the fields of light!'
The Island still is purple with plums,
Up the river the salmon comes,
The sturgeon leaps, and the wild-fowl feeds
On hillside berries and marish seeds,-
All the beautiful signs remain,
From spring-time sowing to autumn rain
The good man's vision returns again!
And let us hope, as well we can,
That the Silent Angel who garners man
May find some grain as of old lie found
In the human cornfield ripe and sound,
And the Lord of the Harvest deign to own
The precious seed by the fathers sown!
The Cynic's Bequest
In that fair city, Ispahan,
There dwelt a problematic man,
Whose angel never was released,
Who never once let out his beast,
But kept, through all the seasons' round,
Silence unbroken and profound.
No Prophecy, with ear applied
To key-hole of the future, tried
Successfully to catch a hint
Of what he'd do nor when begin 't;
As sternly did his past defy
Mild Retrospection's backward eye.
Though all admired his silent ways,
The women loudest were in praise:
For ladies love those men the most
Who never, never, never boast-
Who ne'er disclose their aims and ends
To naughty, naughty, naughty friends.
Yet, sooth to say, the fame outran
The merit of this doubtful man,
For taciturnity in him,
Though not a mere caprice or whim,
Was not a virtue, such as truth,
High birth, or beauty, wealth or youth.
'Twas known, indeed, throughout the span
Of Ispahan, of Gulistan
These utmost limits of the earth
Knew that the man was dumb from birth.
Unto the Sun with deep salaams
The Parsee spreads his morning palms
(A beacon blazing on a height
Warms o'er his piety by night.)
The Moslem deprecates the deed,
Cuts off the head that holds the creed,
Then reverently goes to grass,
Muttering thanks to Balaam's Ass
For faith and learning to refute
Idolatry so dissolute!
But should a maniac dash past,
With straws in beard and hands upcast,
To him (through whom, whene'er inclined
To preach a bit to Madmankind,
The Holy Prophet speaks his mind)
Our True Believer lifts his eyes
Devoutly and his prayer applies;
But next to Solyman the Great
Reveres the idiot's sacred state.
Small wonder then, our worthy mute
Was held in popular repute.
Had he been blind as well as mum,
Been lame as well as blind and dumb,
No bard that ever sang or soared
Could say how he had been adored.
More meagerly endowed, he drew
An homage less prodigious. True,
No soul his praises but did utter
All plied him with devotion's butter,
But none had out-'t was to their credit
The proselyting sword to spread it.
I state these truths, exactly why
The reader knows as well as I;
They've nothing in the world to do
With what I hope we're coming to
If Pegasus be good enough
To move when he has stood enough.
Egad! his ribs I would examine
Had I a sharper spur than famine,
Or even with that if 'twould incline
To examine his instead of mine.
Where was I? Ah, that silent man
Who dwelt one time in Ispahan-
He had a name-was known to all
As Meerza Solyman Zingall.
There lived afar in Astrabad,
A man the world agreed was mad,
So wickedly he broke his joke
Upon the heads of duller folk,
So miserly, from day to day,
He gathered up and hid away
In vaults obscure and cellars haunted
What many worthy people wanted,
A stingy man!-the tradesmen's palms
Were spread in vain: 'I give no alms
Without inquiry'-so he'd say,
And beat the needy duns away.
The bastinado did, 'tis true,
Persuade him, now and then, a few
Odd tens of thousands to disburse
To glut the taxman's hungry purse,
But still, so rich he grew, his fear
Was constant that the Shah might hear.
(The Shah had heard it long ago,
And asked the taxman if 'twere so,
Who promptly answered, rather airish,
The man had long been on the parish.)
The more he feared, the more he grew
A cynic and a miser, too,
Until his bitterness and pelf
Made him a terror to himself;
Then, with a razor's neckwise stroke,
He tartly cut his final joke.
So perished, not an hour too soon,
The wicked Muley Ben Maroon.
From Astrabad to Ispahan
At camel speed the rumor ran
That, breaking through tradition hoar,
And throwing all his kinsmen o'er,
The miser'd left his mighty store
Of gold-his palaces and lands-
To needy and deserving hands
(Except a penny here and there
To pay the dervishes for prayer.)
'Twas known indeed throughout the span
Of earth, and into Hindostan,
That our beloved mute was the
The people said 'twas very well,
And each man had a tale to tell
Of how he'd had a finger in 't
By dropping many a friendly hint
At Astrabad, you see. But ah,
They feared the news might reach the Shah!
To prove the will the lawyers bore 't
Before the Kadi's awful court,
Who nodded, when he heard it read,
Confirmingly his drowsy head,
Nor thought, his sleepiness so great,
Himself to gobble the estate.
'I give,' the dead had writ, 'my all
To Meerza Solyman Zingall
Of Ispahan. With this estate
I might quite easily create
Ten thousand ingrates, but I shun
Temptation and create but one,
In whom the whole unthankful crew
The rich man's air that ever drew
To fat their pauper lungs I fire
Vicarious with vain desire!
From foul Ingratitude's base rout
I pick this hapless devil out,
Bestowing on him all my lands,
My treasures, camels, slaves and bands
Of wives-I give him all this loot,
And throw my blessing in to boot.
Behold, O man, in this bequest
Philanthropy's long wrongs redressed:
To speak me ill that man I dower
With fiercest will who lacks the power.
Allah il Allah! now let him bloat
With rancor till his heart's afloat,
Unable to discharge the wave
Upon his benefactor's grave!'
Forth in their wrath the people came
And swore it was a sin and shame
To trick their blessed mute; and each
Protested, serious of speech,
That though _he'd_ long foreseen the worst
He'd been against it from the first.
By various means they vainly tried
The testament to set aside,
Each ready with his empty purse
To take upon himself the curse;
For _they_ had powers of invective
Enough to make it ineffective.
The ingrates mustered, every man,
And marched in force to Ispahan
(Which had not quite accommodation)
And held a camp of indignation.
The man, this while, who never spoke-
On whom had fallen this thunder-stroke
Of fortune, gave no feeling vent
Nor dropped a clue to his intent.
Whereas no power to him came
His benefactor to defame,
Some (such a length had slander gone to)
Even whispered that he didn't want to!
But none his secret could divine;
If suffering he made no sign,
Until one night as winter neared
From all his haunts he disappeared
Evanished in a doubtful blank
Like little crayfish in a bank,
Their heads retracting for a spell,
And pulling in their holes as well.
All through the land of Gul, the stout
Young Spring is kicking Winter out.
The grass sneaks in upon the scene,
Defacing it with bottle-green.
The stumbling lamb arrives to ply
His restless tail in every eye,
Eats nasty mint to spoil his meat
And make himself unfit to eat.
Madly his throat the bulbul tears
In every grove blasphemes and swears
As the immodest rose displays
Her shameless charms a dozen ways.
Lo! now, throughout the utmost span
Of Ispahan-of Gulistan-
A big new book's displayed in all
The shops and cumbers every stall.
The price is low-the dealers say 'tis-
And the rich are treated to it gratis.
Engraven on its foremost page
These title-words the eye engage:
'The Life of Muley Ben Maroon,
Of Astrabad-Rogue, Thief, Buffoon
And Miser-Liver by the Sweat
Of Better Men: A Lamponette
Composed in Rhyme and Written all
By Meerza Solyman Zingall!'
by Ambrose Bierce.
The Lady Of The Lake: Canto 5 (Excerpt)
"Have, then, thy wish!"--he whistled shrill,
And he was answer'd from the hill;
Wild as the scream of the curlew,
From crag to crag the signal flew.
Instant, through copse and heath,
Bonnets and spears and bended bows;
On right, on left, above, below,
Sprung up at once the lurking foe;
From shingles gray their lances start,
The bracken bush sends forth the dart,
The rushes and the willow-wand
Are bristling into axe and brand,
And every tuft of broom gives life
To plaided warrior arm'd for strife.
That whistle garrison'd the glen
At once with full five hundred men,
As if the yawning hill to heaven
A subterranean host had given.
Watching their leader's beck and will,
All silent there they stood, and still.
Like the loose crags whose threatening mass
Lay tottering o'er the hollow pass,
As if an infant's touch could urge
Their headlong passage down the verge,
With step and weapon forward flung,
Upon the mountain-side they hung.
The Mountaineer cast glance of pride
Along Benledi's living side,
Then fix'd his eye and sable brow
Full on Fitz-James--"How say'st thou now?
These are Clan-Alpine's warriors true;
And, Saxon,--I am Roderick Dhu!"X
Fitz-James was brave:--Though to his heart
The life-blood thrill'd with sudden start,
He mann'd himself with dauntless air,
Return'd the Chief his haughty stare,
His back against a rock he bore,
And firmly placed his foot before:--
"Come one, come all! this rock shall fly
From its firm base as soon as I."
Sir Roderick mark'd--and in his eyes
Respect was mingled with surprise,
And the stern joy which warriors feel
In foemen worthy of their steel.
Short space he stood, then waved his hand:
Down sunk the disappearing band;
Each warrior vanish'd where he stood,
In broom or bracken, heath or wood;
Sunk brand and spear and bended bow,
In osiers pale and copses low;
It seem'd as if their mother Earth
Had swallow'd up her warlike birth.
The wind's last breath had toss'd in air,
Pennon, and plaid, and plumage fair,--
The next but swept a lone hill-side,
Where heath and fern were waving wide:
The sun's last glance was glinted back,
From spear and glaive, from targe and jack,--
The next, all unreflected, shone
On bracken green, and cold grey stone.XI
Fitz-James look'd round--yet scarce believed
The witness that his sight received;
Such apparition well might seem
Delusion of a dreadful dream.
Sir Roderick in suspense he eyed,
And to his look the Chief replied,
"Fear nought--nay, that I need not say--
But--doubt not aught from mine array.
Thou art my guest;--I pledged my word
As far as Coilantogle ford:
Nor would I call a clansman's brand
For aid against one valiant hand,
Though on our strife lay every vale
Rent by the Saxon from the Gael.
So move we on;--I only meant
To show the reed on which you leant,
Deeming this path you might pursue
Without a pass from Roderick Dhu."
They moved:--I said Fitz-James was brave,
As ever knight that belted glaive;
Yet dare not say, that now his blood
Kept on its wont and temper'd flood,
As, following Roderick's stride, he drew
That seeming lonesome pathway through,
Which yet, by fearful proof, was rife
With lances, that, to take his life,
Waited but signal from a guide,
So late dishonour'd and defied.
Ever, by stealth, his eye sought round
The vanish'd guardians of the ground,
And still, from copse and heather deep,
Fancy saw spear and broadsword peep,
And in the plover's shrilly strain,
The signal-whistle heard again.
Nor breathed he free till far behind
The pass was left; for then they wind
Along a wide and level green,
Where neither tree nor tuft was seen,
Nor rush nor bush of broom was near,
To hide a bonnet or a spear.XII
The Chief in silence strode before,
And reach'd that torrent's sounding shore
Which, daughter of three mighty lakes,
From Vennachar in silver breaks,
Sweeps through the plain, and ceaseless mines
On Bochastle the mouldering lines,
Where Rome, the Empress of the world,
Of yore her eagle wings unfurl'd.
And here his course the Chieftain staid,
Threw down his target and his plaid,
And to the Lowland warrior said:--
"Bold Saxon! to his promise just,
Vich-Alpine has discharged his trust.
This murderous Chief, this ruthless man,
This head of a rebellious clan,
Hath led thee safe, through watch and ward,
Far past Clan-Alpine's outmost guard.
Now man to man, and steel to steel,
A Chieftain's vengeance thou shalt feel.
See here, all vantageless I stand,
Arm'd, like thyself, with single brand:
For this is Coilantogle ford,
And thou must keep thee with thy sword."--XIII
The Saxon paused:--"I ne'er delay'd,
When foeman bade me draw my blade;
Nay more, brave Chief, I vow'd thy death:
Yet sure thy fair and generous faith,
And my deep debt for life preserved,
A better meed have well deserved:
Can nought but blood our feud atone?
Are there no means?"--"No, Stranger, none!
And hear,--to fire thy flagging zeal,--
The Saxon cause rests on thy steel;
For thus spoke Fate, by prophet bred
Between the living and the dead:
'Who spills the foremost foeman's life,
His party conquers in the strife.' "--
"Then, by my word," the Saxon said,
"The riddle is already read.
Seek yonder brake beneath the cliff,--
There lies Red Murdoch, stark and stiff.
Thus Fate has solved her prophecy,
Then yield to Fate, and not to me.
To James, at Stirling, let us go,
When, if thou wilt be still his foe,
Or if the King shall not agree
To grant thee grace and favour free,
I plight mine honour, oath, and word,
That, to thy native strengths restored,
With each advantage shalt thou stand,
That aids thee now to guard thy land."XIV
Dark lightning flash'd from Roderick's eye
"Soars thy presumption, then, so high,
Because a wretched kern ye slew,
Homage to name to Roderick Dhu?
He yields not, he, to man nor Fate!
Thou add'st but fuel to my hate:--
My clansman's blood demands revenge.
Not yet prepared?--By heaven, I change
My thought, and hold thy valour light
As that of some vain carpet knight,
Who ill deserved my courteous care,
And whose best boast is but to wear
A braid of his fair lady's hair."--
--"I thank thee, Roderick, for the word!
It nerves my heart, it steels my sword;
For I have sworn this braid to stain
In the best blood that warms thy vein.
Now, truce, farewell! and, ruth, begone!--
Yet think not that by thee alone,
Proud Chief! can courtesy be shown;
Though not from copse, or heath, or cairn,
Start at my whistle clansmen stern,
On this small horn one feeble blast
Would fearful odds against thee cast.
But fear not--doubt not--which thou wilt--
We try this quarrel hilt to hilt."
Then each at once his falchion drew,
Each on the ground his scabbard threw,
Each look'd to sun, and stream, and plain,
As what they ne'er might see again;
Then foot, and point, and eye opposed,
In dubious strife they darkly closed.XV
Ill fared it then with Roderick Dhu,
That on the field his targe he threw,
Whose brazen studs and tough bull-hide
Had death so often dash'd aside;
For, train'd abroad his arms to wield,
Fitz-James's blade was sword and shield.
He practised every pass and ward,
To thrust, to strike, to feint, to guard;
While less expert, though stronger far,
The Gael maintain'd unequal war.
Three times in closing strife they stood,
And thrice the Saxon blade drank blood;
No stinted draught, no scanty tide,
The gushing flood the tartans dyed.
Fierce Roderick felt the fatal drain,
And shower'd his blows like wintry rain;
And, as firm rock, or castle-roof,
Against the winter shower is proof,
The foe, invulnerable still,
Foil'd his wild rage by steady skill;
Till, at advantage ta'en, his brand
Forced Roderick's weapon from his hand,
And backward borne upon the lea,
Brought the proud Chieftain to his knee.XVI
"Now, yield thee, or by Him who made
The world, thy heart's blood dyes my blade!"--
"Thy threats, thy mercy, I defy!
Let recreant yield, who fears to die."
--Like adder darting from his coil,
Like wolf that dashes through the toil,
Like mountain-cat who guards her young,
Full at Fitz-James's throat he sprung;
Received, but reck'd not of a wound,
And lock'd his arms his foeman round.--
Now, gallant Saxon, hold thine own!
No maiden's hand is round thee thrown!
That desperate grasp thy frame might feel,
Through bars of brass and triple steel!--
They tug, they strain! down, down they go,
The Gael above, Fitz-James below.
The Chieftain's gripe his throat compress'd,
His knee was planted in his breast;
His clotted locks he backward threw,
Across his brow his hand he drew,
From blood and mist to clear his sight,
Then gleam'd aloft his dagger bright!--
--But hate and fury ill supplied
The stream of life's exhausted tide,
And all too late the advantage came,
To turn the odds of deadly game;
For, while the dagger gleam'd on high,
Reel'd soul and sense, reel'd brain and eye.
Down came the blow! but in the heath
The erring blade found bloodless sheath.
The struggling foe may now unclasp
The fainting Chief's relaxing grasp;
Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.
by Sir Walter Scott.
Now leave the Porch, to vision now retreat,
Where the next rapture glows with varying heat;
Now change the time, and change the Temple scene,
The following Seer forewarns a future reign.
To some retirement, where the Prophets sons
Indulge their holy flight, my fancy runs,
Some sacred College built for praise and pray'r
And heav'nly dream, she seeks Habakkuk there.
Perhaps 'tis there he moans the nation's sin,
Hears the word come, or feels the fit within,
Or sees the vision fram'd with Angels hands,
And dreads the judgments of revolted lands,
Or holds a converse if the Lord appear,
And, like Elijah, wraps his face for fear.
This deep recess portends an act of weight,
A message lab'ring with the work of fate.
Methinks the Skies have lost their lovely blue,
A storm rides fiery, thick the clouds ensue.
Fall'n to the ground with prostrate face I lye,
Oh! 'twere the same in this to gaze and dye!
But hark the Prophet's voice: my pray'rs complain
Of labour spent, of Preaching urg'd in vain;
And must, my God, thy sorrowing servant still
Quit my lone joys to walk this world of ill?
Where spoiling rages, strife and wrong command,
And the slack'd laws no longer curb the land?
At this a strange and more than human sound
Thus breaks the cloud and daunts the trembling ground.
Behold the Gentiles, wond'ring all behold,
What scarce ye credit tho' the work be told,
For lo the proud Chaldean troops I raise,
To march the breadth and all the region seize,
Fierce as the proling wolves at close of day,
And swift as eagles in pursuit of prey.
As eastern winds to blast the season blow,
For blood and rapine flies the dreadful foe;
Leads the sad captives countless as the sand,
Derides the princes and destroys the land.
Yet these triumphant grown offend me more,
And only thank the Gods they chose before.
Art thou not holiest, here the prophet cries,
Supream, Eternal, of the purest eyes?
And shall those eyes the wicked realms regard,
Their crimes be great yet vict'ry their reward?
Shall these still ravage more and more to reign,
Draw the full net, and cast to fill again?
As watch-men silent sit, I wait to see
How solves my doubt, what speaks the Lord to me.
Then go, the Lord replys, suspend thy fears,
And write the vision for a term of years.
Thy foes will feel their turn when those are past,
Wait tho' it tarry, sure it comes at last.
'Tis for their rapine, lusts and thirst of blood
And all their unprotecting Gods of wood.
The Lord is present on his sacred hill,
Cease thy weak doubts, and let the world be still.
Here terrour leaves me with exalted head,
I breath fine air, and find the vision fled,
The Seer withdrawn, inspir'd, and urg'd to write,
By the warm influence of the sacred sight.
His writing finish'd, Prophet-like array'd,
He brings the burthen on the region laid;
His hands a tablet and a volume bear,
The tablet threatnings, and the volume pray'r,
Both for the temple, where to shun decay,
Enroll'd the works of inspiration lay.
And awful oft he stops, or marches slow,
While the dull'd nation hears him preach their woe.
Arriv'd at length, with grave concern for all,
He fix'd his table on the sacred wall.
'Twas large inscrib'd that those who run might read,
'Habakkuk's burthen by the Lord decreed,
'For Judah's sins, her empire is no more,
'The fierce Chaldeans bath her ralm in gore'.
Next to the priest his volume he resign'd,
'Twas pray'r with praises mix'd to raise the mind,
'Twas facts recounted which their fathers knew,
'Twas pow'r in wonders manifest to view.
'Twas comfort rais'd on love already past,
And hope that former love returns at last.
The priests within the prophecy convey'd,
The singers tunes to join his anthem made.
Here and attend the words. And holy thou
That help'd the prophet, help the Poet now.
O Lord who rules the world, with mortal ear
I've heard thy judgments, and I shake for fear.
O Lord by whom their number'd years we find,
E'en in the midst receive the drooping mind;
E'en in the midst thou canst—then make it known
Thy love, thy will, thy power, to save thine own.
Remember mercy tho' thine anger burn,
And soon to Salem bid thy flock return.
O Lord who gav'st it with an outstretch'd hand,
We well remember how thou gav'st the land.
God came from Teman, southward sprung the flame,
From Paron-mount the one that's Holy came,
A glitt'ring glory made the desart blaze,
High Heav'n was cover'd, earth was fill'd with praise.
Dazzling the brightness, not the sun so bright,
'Twas here the pure substantial Fount of Light
Shot from his hand and side in golden streams,
Came forward effluent horny-pointed beams:
Thus shone his coming, as sublimely fair
As bounded nature has been fram'd to bear,
But all his further marks of grandeur hid,
Nor what he cou'd was known, but what he did.
Dire plagues before him ran at his command,
To waste the nations in the promis'd land.
A scorching flame went forth where'er he trod,
And burning Fevers were the coals of God.
Fix'd on the mount he stood, his meas'ring reed
Marks the rich realms for Jacob's seed decreed:
He looks with anger and the nations fly
From the fierce sparklings of his dreadful eye.
He turns, the mountain shakes its awful brow,
Awful he turns, and hills eternal bow.
How glory there, how terrour here, displays
His great unknown yet everlasting ways.
I see the Sable tents along the strand
Where Cushan wander'd, desolately stand,
And Midian's high pavilions shake with dread,
While the tam'd seas thy rescu'd nation tread.
What burst the path? what made the Lord engage?
Cou'd waters anger? seas incite thy rage?
That thus thine horses force the foaming tide
And all the chariots of salvation ride.
Thy bow was bare for what thy mercy swore,
Those oaths, that promise Israel had before.
The rock that felt thee cleav'd, the rivers flow,
The wond'ring desart lends them beds below.
Thy Might the mountain's heaving shocks confess'd,
High shatter'd Horeb trembled o'er the rest.
Great Jordan pass'd its nether waters by,
Its upper waters rais'd the voice on high,
Safe in the deep we went, the liquid wall
Curling arose, and had no leave to fall.
The sun effulgent and the moon serene,
Stop'd by thy will, their heav'nly course refrain;
The voice was Man's, yet both the voice obey,
'Till wars compleated close the lengthen'd day.
Thy glitt'ring spears, thy ratling darts prevail,
Thy spears of lightning and thy darts of hail.
'Twas thou that march'd against their heathen band,
Rage in thy visage, and thy flail in hand;
'Twas thou that went before to wound their head,
The captain follow'd where the Saviour led;
Torn from their earth they feel the desp'rate wound,
And pow'r unfounded fails for want of ground.
With village-war thy tribes where'er they go
Distress the remnant of the scatter'd foe;
Yet mad they rush'd, as whirling wind descends,
And deem'd for friendless those the Lord befriends.
Thy trampling horse from sea to sea subdue,
The bounding ocean left no more to do.
O when I heard what thou vouchsaf'st to win
With works of wonder, must be lost for sin,
I quak'd thro' fear, the voice forsook my tongue,
Or at my lips with quiv'ring accent hung;
Dry leanness ent'ring to my marrow came,
And ev'ry loos'ning nerve unstrung my frame.
How shall I rest, in what protecting shade,
When the day comes, and hostile troops invade?
Tho' neither blossoms on the Fig appear,
Nor vines with clusters deck the purpling year,
Tho' all our labours olive-trees belie,
Tho' fields the substance of the bread deny,
Tho' flocks are sever'd from the silent Fold,
And the rais'd stalls no lowing cattle hold,
Yet shall my soul be glad, in God rejoice,
Yet to my Saviour will I lift my voice,
Yet to my Saviour still my temper sings,
What David set to instruments of strings:
The Lord's my strength, like Hinds he makes my feet,
Yon mount's my refuge, as I safely fleet,
Or (if the song's apply'd) he makes me still
Expect returning to Moriah's hill.
In all this hymn what daring grandeur shines,
What darting glory rays among the lines,
What mountains, earthquakes, clouds, and smokes are seen,
What ambient fires conceal the Lord within,
What working wonders give the promis'd place
And load the conduct of a stubborn race!
In all the work a lively fancy flows,
O'er all the work sincere affection glows,
While Truth's firm Rein the course of fancy guides
And o'er affection Zeal divine presides.
Borne on the prophet's wings, methinks I fly
Amongst eternal Attributes on high,
And here I touch at love supremely fair,
And now at pow'r, anon at mercy there;
So like a warbling bird my tunes I raise
On those green boughs the Tree of life displays,
Whose twelve fair fruits each month by turns receives
And for the nations healing ope their leaves.
Then be the nations heal'd, for this I sing
Descending softly from the prophet's wing.
Thou world attend, the case of Israel see,
'Twill thus at large refer to God and thee.
If love be shewn thee, turn thine eyes above
And pay the duties relative to love;
If pow'r be shewn, and wonderfully so,
Wonder and thank, adore and bow below.
If pow'r that led thee now no longer lead,
But brow-bent Justice draws the flaming blade,
When love is scorn'd, when sin the sword provokes,
Let tears and pray'rs avert or heal the strokes;
If justice leaves to wound, and thou to groan
Beneath new Lords in countries not thine own,
Know this for Mercy's act, and let your lays
Grateful in all, recount the cause of praise:
Then love returns, and while no sins divide
The firm alliance, pow'r will shield thy side.
See the grand round of providence's care,
See realms assisted here, and punish'd there,
O'er the just circle cast thy wond'ring eyes,
Thank while you gaze, and study to be wise.
by Thomas Parnell.
The Prophecy Of Capys
A Lay Sung at the Banquet in the Capitol, on the Day Whereon Manius Curius Dentatus, a Second Time Consul, Triumphed Over King Pyrrhus and the Tarentines, in the Year of the City CCCCLXXIX.
Now slain is King Amulius,
Of the great Sylvian line,
Who reigned in Alba Longa,
On the throne of Aventine.
Slain is the Ponfiff Camers,
Who spake the words of doom:
'The children to the Tiber,
The mother to the tomb.'
In Alba's lake no fisher
His net to-day is flinging;
On the dark rind of Alba's oaks
To-day no axe is ringing;
The yoke hangs o'er the manger;
The scythe lies in the hay:
Through all the Alban villages
No work is done to-day.
And every Alban burgher
Hath donned his whitest gown;
And every head in Alba
Weareth a poplar crown;
And every Alban door-post
With boughs and flowers is gay,
For to-day the dead are living,
The lost are found to-day.
They were doomed by a bloody king,
They were doomed by a lying priest,
They were cast on the raging flood,
They were tracked by the raging beast;
Raging beast and raging flood
Alike have spared the prey;
And to-day the dead are living,
The lost are found to-day.
The troubled river knew them,
And smoothed his yellow foam,
And gently rocked the cradle
That bore the fate of Rome.
The ravening she-wolf knew them,
And licked them o'er and o'er,
And gave them of her own fierce milk,
Rich with raw flesh and gore.
Twenty winters, twenty springs,
Since then have rolled away;
And to-day the dead are living:
The lost are found to-day.
Blithe it was to see the twins,
Right goodly youths and tall,
Marching from Alba Longa
To their old grandsire's hall.
Along their path fresh garlands
Are hung from tree to tree:
Before them stride the pipers,
Piping a note of glee.
On the right goes Romulus,
With arms to the elbows red,
And in his hand a broadsword,
And on the blade a head-
A head in an iron helmet,
With horse-hair hanging down,
A shaggy head, a swarthy head,
Fixed in a ghastly frown-
The head of King Amulius
Of the great Sylvian line,
Who reigned in Alba Longa,
On the throne of Aventine.
On the left side goes Remus,
With wrists and fingers red,
And in his hand a boar-spear,
And on the point a head-
A wrinkled head and aged,
With silver beard and hair,
And holy fillets round it,
Such as the pontiffs wear-
The head of ancient Camers,
Who spake the words of doom:
'The children to the Tiber;
The mother to the tomb.'
Two and two behind the twins
Their trusty comrades go,
Four and forty valiant men,
With club, and axe, and bow.
On each side every hamlet
Pours forth its joyous crowd,
Shouting lads and baying dogs,
And children laughing loud,
And old men weeping fondly
As Rhea's boys go by,
And maids who shriek to see the heads,
Yet, shrieking, press more nigh.
So marched they along the lake;
They marched by fold and stall,
By cornfield and by vineyard,
Unto the old man's hall.
In the hall-gate sat Capys,
Capys, the sightless seer;
From head to foot he trembled
As Romulus drew near.
And up stood stiff his thin white hair,
And his blind eyes flashed fire:
'Hail! foster child of the wondrous nurse!
Hail! son of the wondrous sire!'
'But thou-what dost thou here
In the old man's peaceful hall?
What doth the eagle in the coop,
The bison in the stall?
Our corn fills many a garner;
Our vines clasp many a tree;
Our flocks are white on many a hill:
But these are not for thee.
'For thee no treasure ripens
In the Tartessian mine;
For thee no ship brings precious bales
Across the Libyan brine;
Thou shalt not drink from amber;
Thou shalt not rest on down;
Arabia shall not steep thy locks,
Nor Sidon tinge thy gown.
'Leave gold and myrrh and jewels,
Rich table and soft bed,
To them who of man's seed are born,
Whom woman's milk have fed.
Thou wast not made for lucre,
For pleasure, nor for rest;
Thou, that art sprung from the War-god's loins,
And hast tugged at the she-wolf's breast.
'From sunrise unto sunset
All earth shall hear thy fame:
A glorious city thou shalt build,
And name it by thy name:
And there, unquenched through ages,
Like Vesta's sacred fire,
Shall live the spirit of thy nurse,
The spirit of thy sire.
'The ox toils through the furrow,
Obedient to the goad;
The patient ass, up flinty paths,
Plods with his weary load:
With whine and bound the spaniel
His master's whistle hears;
And the sheep yields her patiently
To the loud-clashing shears.
'But thy nurse will hear no master,
Thy nurse will bear no load;
And woe to them that shear her,
And woe to them that goad!
When all the pack, loud baying,
Her bloody lair surrounds,
She dies in silence, biting hard,
Amidst the dying hounds.
Pomona loves the orchard;
And Liber loves the vine;
And Pales loves the straw-built shed
Warm with the breath of kine;
And Venus loves the whispers
Of plighted youth and maid,
In April's ivory moonlight
Beneath the chestnut shade.
'But thy father loves the clashing
Of broadsword and of shield:
He loves to drink the steam that reeks
From the fresh battlefield:
He smiles a smile more dreadful
Than his own dreadful frown,
When he sees the thick black cloud of smoke
Go up from the conquered town.
'And such as is the War-god,
The author of thy line,
And such as she who suckled thee,
Even such be thou and thine.
Leave to the soft Campanian
His baths and his perfumes;
Leave to the sordid race of Tyre
Their dyeing-vats and looms;
Leave to the sons of Carthage
The rudder and the oar;
Leave to the Greek his marble Nymphs
And scrolls of wordy lore.
'Thine, Roman, is the pilum:
Roman, the sword is thine,
The even trench, the bristling mound,
The legion's ordered line;
And thine the wheels of triumph,
Which with their laurelled train
Move slowly up the shouting streets
To Jove's eternal flame.
Beneath thy yoke the Volscian
Shall vail his lofty brow;
Soft Capua's curled revellers
Before thy chairs shall bow:
The Lucumoes of Arnus
Shall quake thy rods to see;
And the proud Samnite's heart of steel
Shall yield to only thee.
'The Gaul shall come against thee
From the land of snow and night;
Thou shalt give his fair-haired armies
To the raven and the kite.
'The Greek shall come against thee,
The conqueror of the East.
Beside him stalks to battle
The huge earth-shaking beast,
The beast on whom the castle
With all its guards doth stand,
The beast who hath between his eyes
The serpent for a hand.
First march the bold Epirotes,
Wedged close with shield and spear
And the ranks of false Tarentum
Are glittering in the rear.
The ranks of false Tarentum
Like hunted sheep shall fly:
In vain the bold Epirotes
Shall round their standards die:
And Apennine's gray vultures
Shall have a noble feast
On the fat and the eyes
Of the the huge earth-shaking beast.
'Hurrah! for the good weapons
That keep the War-god's land.
Hurrah! for Rome's stout pilum
In a stout Roman hand.
Hurrah! for Rome's short broadsword
That through the thick array
Of levelled spears and serried shields
Hews deep its gory way.
'Hurrah! for the great triumph
That stretches many a mile.
Hurrah! for the wan captives
That pass in endless file.
Ho! bold Epirotes, whither
Hath the Red King taken flight?
Ho! dogs of false Tarentum,
Is not the gown washed white?
'Hurrah! for the great triumph
That stretches many a mile.
Hurrah! for the rich dye of Tyre,
And the fine web of Nile,
The helmets gay with plumage
Torn from the pheasant's wings,
The belts set thick with starry gem
That shone on Indian kings,
The urns of massy silver,
The goblets rough with gold,
The many-colored tablets bright
With loves and wars of old,
The stone that breathes and struggles,
The brass that seems to speak;-
Such cunning they who dwell on high
Have given unto the Greek.
'Hurrah! for Manius Curius,
The bravest son of Rome,
Thrice in utmost need sent forth,
Thrice drawn in triumph home.
Weave, weave, for Manius Curius
The third embroidered gown:
Make ready the third lofty car,
And twine the third green crown;
And yoke the steeds of Rosea
With necks like a bended bow,
And deck the bull, Mevania's bull,
The bull as white as snow.
'Blest and thrice blest the Roman
Who sees Rome's brightest day,
Who sees that long victorious pomp
Wind down the Sacred Way,
And through the bellowing Forum,
And round the Suppliant's Grove,
Up to the everlasting gates
Of Capitolian Jove.
'Then where, o'er two bright havens,
The towers of Corinth frown;
Where the gigantic King of Day
On his own Rhodes looks down;
Where oft Orontes murmurs
Beneath the laurel shades;
Where Nile reflects the endless length
Of dark red colonnades;
Where in the still deep water,
Sheltered from waves and blasts,
Bristles the dusky forest
Of Byrsa's thousand masts;
Where fur-clad hunters wander
Amidst the northern ice;
Where through the sand of morning-land
The camel bears the spice;
Where Atlas flings his shadow
Far o'er the western foam,
Shall be great fear on all who hear
The mighty name of Rome.'
The south-wind brings
Life, sunshine, and desire,
And on every mount and meadow
Breathes aromatic fire,
But over the dead he has no power,
The lost, the lost he cannot restore,
And, looking over the hills, I mourn
The darling who shall not return.
I see my empty house,
I see my trees repair their boughs,
And he, —the wondrous child,
Whose silver warble wild
Outvalued every pulsing sound
Within the air's cerulean round,
The hyacinthine boy, for whom
Morn well might break, and April bloom,
The gracious boy, who did adorn
The world whereinto he was born,
And by his countenance repay
The favor of the loving Day,
Has disappeared from the Day's eye;
Far and wide she cannot find him,
My hopes pursue, they cannot bind him.
Returned this day the south-wind searches
And finds young pines and budding birches,
But finds not the budding man;
Nature who lost him, cannot remake him;
Fate let him fall, Fate can't retake him;
Nature, Fate, men, him seek in vain.
And whither now, my truant wise and sweet,
Oh, whither tend thy feet?
I had the right, few days ago,
Thy steps to watch, thy place to know;
How have I forfeited the right?
Hast thou forgot me in a new delight?
I hearken for thy household cheer,
O eloquent child!
Whose voice, an equal messenger,
Conveyed thy meaning mild.
What though the pains and joys
Whereof it spoke were toys
Fitting his age and ken;—
Yet fairest dames and bearded men,
Who heard the sweet request
So gentle, wise, and grave,
Bended with joy to his behest,
And let the world's affairs go by,
Awhile to share his cordial game,
Or mend his wicker wagon frame,
Still plotting how their hungry ear
That winsome voice again might hear,
For his lips could well pronounce
Words that were persuasions.
Gentlest guardians marked serene
His early hope, his liberal mien,
Took counsel from his guiding eyes
To make this wisdom earthly wise.
Ah! vainly do these eyes recall
The school-march, each day's festival,
When every morn my bosom glowed
To watch the convoy on the road;—
The babe in willow wagon closed,
With rolling eyes and face composed,
With children forward and behind,
Like Cupids studiously inclined,
And he, the Chieftain, paced beside,
The centre of the troop allied,
With sunny face of sweet repose,
To guard the babe from fancied foes,
The little Captain innocent
Took the eye with him as he went,
Each village senior paused to scan
And speak the lovely caravan.
From the window I look out
To mark thy beautiful parade
Stately marching in cap and coat
To some tune by fairies played;
A music heard by thee alone
To works as noble led thee on.
Now love and pride, alas, in vain,
Up and down their glances strain.
The painted sled stands where it stood,
The kennel by the corded wood,
The gathered sticks to stanch the wall
Of the snow-tower, when snow should fall,
The ominous hole he dug in the sand,
And childhood's castles built or planned.
His daily haunts I well discern,
The poultry yard, the shed, the barn,
And every inch of garden ground
Paced by the blessed feet around,
From the road-side to the brook;
Whereinto he loved to look.
Step the meek birds where erst they ranged,
The wintry garden lies unchanged,
The brook into the stream runs on,
But the deep-eyed Boy is gone.
On that shaded day,
Dark with more clouds than tempests are,
When thou didst yield thy innocent breath
In bird-like heavings unto death,
Night came, and Nature had not thee,—
I said, we are mates in misery.
The morrow dawned with needless glow,
Each snow-bird chirped, each fowl must crow,
Each tramper started,— but the feet
Of the most beautiful and sweet
Of human youth had left the hill
And garden,—they were bound and still,
There's not a sparrow or a wren,
There's not a blade of autumn grain,
Which the four seasons do not tend,
And tides of life and increase lend,
And every chick of every bird,
And weed and rock-moss is preferred.
O ostriches' forgetfulness!
O loss of larger in the less!
Was there no star that could be sent,
No watcher in the firmament,
No angel from the countless host,
That loiters round the crystal coast,
Could stoop to heal that only child,
Nature's sweet marvel undefiled,
And keep the blossom of the earth,
Which all her harvests were not worth?
Not mine, I never called thee mine,
But nature's heir,— if I repine,
And, seeing rashly torn and moved,
Not what I made, but what I loved.
Grow early old with grief that then
Must to the wastes of nature go,—
'Tis because a general hope
Was quenched, and all must doubt and grope
For flattering planets seemed to say,
This child should ills of ages stay,—
By wondrous tongue and guided pen
Bring the flown muses back to men. —
Perchance, not he, but nature ailed,
The world, and not the infant failed,
It was not ripe yet, to sustain
A genius of so fine a strain,
Who gazed upon the sun and moon
As if he came unto his own,
And pregnant with his grander thought,
Brought the old order into doubt.
Awhile his beauty their beauty tried,
They could not feed him, and he died,
And wandered backward as in scorn
To wait an Æon to be born.
Ill day which made this beauty waste;
Plight broken, this high face defaced!
Some went and came about the dead,
And some in books of solace read,
Some to their friends the tidings say,
Some went to write, some went to pray,
One tarried here, there hurried one,
But their heart abode with none.
Covetous death bereaved us all
To aggrandize one funeral.
The eager Fate which carried thee
Took the largest part of me.
For this losing is true dying,
This is lordly man's down-lying,
This is slow but sure reclining,
Star by star his world resigning.
O child of Paradise!
Boy who made dear his father's home
In whose deep eyes
Men read the welfare of the times to come;
I am too much bereft;
The world dishonored thou hast left;
O truths and natures costly lie;
O trusted, broken prophecy!
O richest fortune sourly crossed;
Born for the future, to the future lost!
The deep Heart answered, Weepest thou?
Worthier cause for passion wild,
If I had not taken the child.
And deemest thou as those who pore
With aged eyes short way before?
Think'st Beauty vanished from the coast
Of matter, and thy darling lost?
Taught he not thee, — the man of eld,
Whose eyes within his eyes beheld
Heaven's numerous hierarchy span
The mystic gulf from God to man?
To be alone wilt thou begin,
When worlds of lovers hem thee in?
To-morrow, when the masks shall fall
That dizen nature's carnival,
The pure shall see, by their own will,
Which overflowing love shall fill,—
'Tis not within the force of Fate
The fate-conjoined to separate.
But thou, my votary, weepest thou?
I gave thee sight, where is it now?
I taught thy heart beyond the reach
Of ritual, Bible, or of speech;
Wrote in thy mind's transparent table
As far as the incommunicable;
Taught thee each private sign to raise
Lit by the supersolar blaze.
Past utterance and past belief,
And past the blasphemy of grief,
The mysteries of nature's heart,—
And though no muse can these impart,
Throb thine with nature's throbbing breast,
And all is clear from east to west.
I came to thee as to a friend,
Dearest, to thee I did not send
Tutors, but a joyful eye,
Innocence that matched the sky,
Lovely locks a form of wonder,
Laughter rich as woodland thunder;
That thou might'st entertain apart
The richest flowering of all art;
And, as the great all-loving Day
Through smallest chambers takes its way,
That thou might'st break thy daily bread
With Prophet, Saviour, and head;
That thou might'st cherish for thine own
The riches of sweet Mary's Son,
Boy-Rabbi, Israel's Paragon:
And thoughtest thou such guest
Would in thy hall take up his rest?
Would rushing life forget its laws,
Fate's glowing revolution pause?
High omens ask diviner guess,
Not to be conned to tediousness.
And know, my higher gifts unbind
The zone that girds the incarnate mind,
When the scanty shores are full
With Thought's perilous whirling pool,
When frail Nature can no more,—
Then the spirit strikes the hour,
My servant Death with solving rite
Pours finite into infinite.
Wilt thou freeze love's tidal flow,
Whose streams through nature circling go?
Nail the star struggling to its track
On the half-climbed Zodiack?
Light is light which radiates,
Blood is blood which circulates,
Life is life which generates,
And many-seeming life is one,—
Wilt thou transfix and make it none,
Its onward stream too starkly pent
In figure, bone, and lineament?
Wilt thou uncalled interrogate
Talker! the unreplying fate?
Nor see the Genius of the whole
Ascendant in the private soul,
Beckon it when to go and come,
Self-announced its hour of doom.
Fair the soul's recess and shrine,
Magic-built, to last a season,
Masterpiece of love benign!
Fairer than expansive reason
Whose omen 'tis, and sign.
Wilt thou not ope this heart to know
What rainbows teach and sunsets show,
Verdict which accumulates
From lengthened scroll of human fates,
Voice of earth to earth returned,
Prayers of heart that inly burned;
Saying, what is excellent,
As God lives, is permanent
Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain,
Heart's love will meet thee again.
Revere the Maker; fetch thine eye
Up to His style, and manners of the sky.
Not of adamant and gold
Built He heaven stark and cold,
No, but a nest of bending reeds,
Flowering grass and scented weeds,
Or like a traveller's fleeting tent,
Or bow above the tempest pent,
Built of tears and sacred flames,
And virtue reaching to its aims;
Built of furtherance and pursuing,
Not of spent deeds, but of doing.
Silent rushes the swift Lord
Through ruined systems still restored,
Broad-sowing, bleak and void to bless,
Plants with worlds the wilderness,
Waters with tears of ancient sorrow
Apples of Eden ripe to-morrow;
House and tenant go to ground,
Lost in God, in Godhead found.