His face was like a snake's -- wrinkled and loose
And withered--

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Wake The Serpent Not

Wake the serpent not—lest he
Should not know the way to go,--
Let him crawl which yet lies sleeping
Through the deep grass of the meadow!
Not a bee shall hear him creeping,
Not a may-fly shall awaken
From its cradling blue-bell shaken,
Not the starlight as he’s sliding
Through the grass with silent gliding.

by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Little's the good to sit and grieve
Because the serpent tempted Eve.
Better to wipe your eyes and take
A club and go out and kill a snake.

What do you gain by cursing Nick
For playing her such a scurvy trick?
Better go out and some villain find
Who serves the devil, and beat him blind.

But if you prefer, as I suspect,
To philosophize, why, then, reflect:
If the cunning rascal upon the limb
Hadn't tempted her she'd have tempted him.

by Ambrose Bierce.

Anger in its time and place
May assume a kind of grace.
It must have some reason in it,
And not last beyond a minute.
If to further lengths it go,
It does into malice grow.
'Tis the difference that we see
'Twixt the serpent and the bee.
If the latter you provoke,
It inflicts a hasty stroke,
Puts you to some little pain,
But it never stings again.
Close in tufted bush or brake
Lurks the poison-swellëd snake
Nursing up his cherished wrath;
In the purlieux of his path,
In the cold, or in the warm,
Mean him good, or mean him harm,
Whensoever fate may bring you,
The vile snake will always sting you.

by Charles Lamb.

"You talk of snakes," said Jack the Rat,
"But blow me, one hot summer,
I seen a thing that knocked me flat -
Fourteen foot long or more than that,
It was a reg'lar hummer!
Lay right along a sort of bog,
Just like a log!

"The ugly thing was lyin' there
And not a sign o' movin',
Give any man a nasty scare;
Seen nothin' like it anywhere
Since I first started drovin'.
And yet it didn't scare my dog.
Looked like a log!

"I had to cross that bog, yer see,
And bluey I was humpin';
But wonderin' what that thing could be
A-lyin' there in front o' me
I didn't feel like jumpin'.
Yet, though I shivered like a frog,
It seemed a log!

"I takes a leap and lands right on
The back of that there whopper!"
He stopped. We waited. Then Big Mac
Remarked: "Well, then, what happened, Jack?"
"Not much," said Jack, and drained his grog.
"It was a log!"

by William Thomas Goodge.

The Hospitable Caledonian And The Thankless Viper

A Caledonian piper
Who was walking on the wold
Nearly stepped upon a viper
Rendered torpid by the cold;
By the sight of her admonished,
He forbore to plant his boot,
But he showed he was astonished
By the way he muttered 'Hoot!'

Now this simple-minded piper
Such a kindly nature had
That he lifted up the viper
And bestowed her in his plaid.
'Though the Scot is stern, at least he
No unhappy creature spurns,
'Sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,''
Quoth the piper (quoting Burns).

This was unaffected kindness,
But there was, to state the fact,
Just a slight
soupcon
of blindness
In his charitable act.
If you'd watched the piper, shortly
You'd have seen him leap aloft,
As this snake, of ways uncourtly,
Bit him suddenly and oft.

There was really no excuse for
This, the viper's cruel work,
And the piper found a use for
Words he'd never learned at kirk;
But the biting was so thorough
That although the doctors tried,
Not the best in Edinburgh
Could assist him, and he died.

And THE MORAL is: The piper
Of the matter made a botch;
One can hardly blame the viper
If she took a nip of Scotch,
For she only did what he did,
And
his
nippie wasn't small,
Otherwise, you see, he needed
Not have seen the snake at all.

by Guy Wetmore Carryl.

See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis stray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours,
When swains from shearing seek their nightly bow'rs;
When weary reapers quit the sultry field,
And crown'd with corn, their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the serpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew,
But your Alexis knows no sweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken seats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats!
Where-e'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall crowd into a shade,
Where-e'er you tread, the blushing flow'rs shall rise,
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! How I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the muses, and resound your praise;
Your praise the birds shall chant in ev'ry grove,
And winds shall waft it to the pow'rs above.
But wou'd you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wond'ring forests soon shou'd dance again,
The moving mountains hear the pow'rful call,
And headlong streams hang list'ning in their fall!
But see, the shepherds shun the noon-day heat,
The lowing herds to murm'ring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove,
Ye Gods! And is there no relief for Love?
But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends;
On me Love's fiercer flames for ever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.

by Alexander Pope.

The Lake Of The Dismal Swamp

'THEY made her a grave too cold and damp
For a soul so warm and true;
And she's gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp,
Where all night long, by a firefly lamp,
She paddles her white canoe.

And her firefly lamp I soon shall see,
And her paddle I soon shall hear;
Long and moving our life shall be
And I'll hide the maid in a cypress tree,
When the footstep of death is near.'

Away to the Dismal Swamp he speeds, -
His path was rugged and sore,
Through tangled juniper, beds of reeds,
Through many a fen where the serpent feeds,
And man never trod before.

And when on the earth he sank to sleep,
If slumber his eyelids knew,
He lay where the deadly vine doth weep
Its venemous tear, and nightly steep
The flesh with blistering dew!

And near him the she-wolf stirr'd the brake,
And the copper-snake breathed in his ear,
Till he starting cried, from his dream awake,
'Oh when shall I see the dusky Lake,
And the white canoe of my dear?'

He saw the Lake, and a meteor bright
Quick over its surface play'd, -
'Welcome,' he said, 'my dear one's light!'
And the dim shore echo'd for many a night
The name of the death-cold maid.

Till he hollow'd a boat of the birchen bark,
Which carried him off from the shore;
Far, far he follow'd the meteor spark,
The wind was high and the clouds were dark,
And the boat return'd no more.

But oft, from the Indian hunter's camp,
This lover and maid so true
Are seen at the hour of midnight damp
To cross the Lake by a firefly lamp,
And paddle their white canoe!

by Thomas Moore.

Old Snake-Doctor

Once I found an ant-lion's hole
And an ant-lion in it: nippers
Like a pair of rusty clippers.
And I saw a red ant roll
In its pit, and, quick as Ned,
This old ant-lion fanged its head,
Held it till the ant was dead.

II.

And I told my father: he
Smiled and said, 'He beats the dickens,
With his pinchers; even chickens
Have n't his voracity.
Think now what he would have done
Had you been an ant, my son,
Fallen in that pit like one.

III.

'Daniel in the lion's den!
Guess you'd come home good and gory.
But now here's another story:
You should see these ant-lions when
They have wings; and, blue and green,
Ponds and pools they fly between:
Prettiest things I've ever seen.

IV.

'Look just like the dragonflies;
And perhaps they are snake-feeders;
Name you'll never find in Readers
Read at school: but, I surmise,
Dragonflies are not the same
As these old snake-doctors; name
For which I am not to blame.

V.

'Who's to blame then? If it's not
I or, say, the dictionary,
Since we two seem so contráry,
Must be that old ant-lion what
Can't content itself, that's plain,
With its bug-estate; remain
Just a bug in sun and rain.

VI.

'Has to get himself new clothes!
Gauzy wings that shine and glitter;
Something that he thinks is fitter
His profession, I suppose,
Doctoring things, like water-snakes;
Finery that often takes
Eyes of hungry ducks and drakes:

VII.

'And of fishes, too, the fool.
Who his coat so bright and brassy,
Mirrored in the waters glassy,
Leap for, drag into the pool.
Old snake-doctor, flaunt your fill!
Feed the snakes or cure or kill
In the end you pay the bill.'

by Madison Julius Cawein.

The Boy And The Snake

Henry was every morning fed
With a full mess of milk and bread.
One day the boy his breakfast took,
And eat it by a purling brook
Which through his mother's orchard ran.
From that time ever when he can
Escape his mother's eye, he there
Takes his food in th'open air.
Finding the child delight to eat
Abroad, and make the grass his seat,
His mother lets him have his way.
With free leave Henry every day
Thither repairs, until she heard
Him talking of a fine grey bird.
This pretty bird, he said, indeed,
Came every day with him to feed,
And it loved him, and loved his milk,
And it was smooth and soft like silk.
His mother thought she'd go and see
What sort of bird this same might be.
So the next morn she follows Harry,
And carefully she sees him carry
Through the long grass his heaped-up mess.
What was her terror and distress,
When she saw the infant take
His bread and milk close to a snake!
Upon the grass he spreads his feast,
And sits down by his frightful guest,
Who had waited for the treat;
And now they both begin to eat.
Fond mother! shriek not, O beware
The least small noise, O have a care-
The least small noise that may be made,
The wily snake will be afraid-
If he hear the lightest sound,
He will inflict th'envenomed wound.
She speaks not, moves not, scarce does breathe,
As she stands the trees beneath;
No sound she utters; and she soon
Sees the child lift up its spoon,
And tap the snake upon the head,
Fearless of harm; and then he said,
As speaking to familiar mate,
'Keep on your own side, do, Grey Pate:'
The snake then to the other side,
As one rebukëd, seems to glide;
And now again advancing nigh,
Again she hears the infant cry,
Tapping the snake, 'Keep further, do;
Mind, Grey Pate, what I say to you.'
The danger's o'er-she sees the boy
(O what a change from fear to joy!)
Rise and bid the snake 'good-bye;'
Says he, 'Our breakfast's done, and I
Will come again to-morrow day:'
Then, lightly tripping, ran away.

by Charles Lamb.

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Musician's Tale; The Saga Of King Olaf Xiv. -- The Crew Of The Long Serpent

Safe at anchor in Drontheim bay
King Olaf's fleet assembled lay,
And, striped with white and blue,
Downward fluttered sail and banner,
As alights the screaming lanner;
Lustily cheered, in their wild manner,
The Long Serpent's crew.

Her forecastle man was Ulf the Red,
Like a wolf's was his shaggy head,
His teeth as large and white;
His beard, of gray and russet blended,
Round as a swallow's nest descended;
As standard-bearer he defended
Olaf's flag in the fight.

Near him Kolbiorn had his place,
Like the King in garb and face,
So gallant and so hale;
Every cabin-boy and varlet
Wondered at his cloak of scarlet;
Like a river, frozen and star-lit,
Gleamed his coat of mail.

By the bulkhead, tall and dark,
Stood Thrand Rame of Thelemark,
A figure gaunt and grand;
On his hairy arm imprinted
Was an anchor, azure-tinted;
Like Thor's hammer, huge and dinted
Was his brawny hand.

Einar Tamberskelver, bare
To the winds his golden hair,
By the mainmast stood;
Graceful was his form, and slender,
And his eyes were deep and tender
As a woman's, in the splendor
Of her maidenhood.

In the fore-hold Biorn and Bork
Watched the sailors at their work:
Heavens! how they swore!
Thirty men they each commanded,
Iron-sinewed, horny-handed,
Shoulders broad, and chests expanded.
Tugging at the oar.

These, and many more like these,
With King Olaf sailed the seas,
Till the waters vast
Filled them with a vague devotion,
With the freedom and the motion,
With the roll and roar of ocean
And the sounding blast.

When they landed from the fleet,
How they roared through Drontheim's street,
Boisterous as the gale!
How they laughed and stamped and pounded,
Till the tavern roof resounded,
And the host looked on astounded
As they drank the ale!

Never saw the wild North Sea
Such a gallant company
Sail its billows blue!
Never, while they cruised and quarrelled,
Old King Gorm, or Blue-Tooth Harald,
Owned a ship so well apparelled,
Boasted such a crew!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Manfred (Excerpt: Incantation)

When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm in the grass,
And the meteor on the grave,
And the wisp on the morass;
When the falling stars are shooting,
And the answer'd owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the hill,
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.

Though thy slumber may be deep,
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep;
There are shades which will not vanish,
There are thoughts thou canst not banish;
By a power to thee unknown,
Thou canst never be alone;
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud,
Thou art gather'd in a cloud;
And for ever shalt thou dwell
In the spirit of this spell.

Though thou seest me not pass by,
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye
As a thing that, though unseen,
Must be near thee, and hath been;
And when in that secret dread
Thou hast turn'd around thy head,
Thou shalt marvel I am not
As thy shadow on the spot,
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.

And a magic voice and verse
Hath baptiz'd thee with a curse;
And a spirit of the air
Hath begirt thee with a snare;
In the wind there is a voice
Shall forbid thee to rejoice;
And to thee shall night deny
All the quiet of her sky;
And the day shall have a sun,
Which shall make thee wish it done.

From thy false tears I did distil
An essence which hath strength to kill;
From thy own heart I then did wring
The black blood in its blackest spring;
From thy own smile I snatch'd the snake,
For there it coil'd as in a brake;
From thy own lip I drew the charm
Which gave all these their chiefest harm;
In proving every poison known,
I found the strongest was thine own.

By thy cold breast and serpent smile,
By thy unfathom'd gulfs of guile,
By that most seeming virtuous eye,
By thy shut soul's hypocrisy;
By the perfection of thine art
Which pass'd for human thine own heart;
By thy delight in others' pain,
And by thy brotherhood of Cain,
I call upon thee! and compel
Thyself to be thy proper Hell!

And on thy head I pour the vial
Which doth devote thee to this trial;
Nor to slumber, nor to die,
Shall be in thy destiny;
Though thy death shall still seem near
To thy wish, but as a fear;
Lo! the spell now works around thee,
And the clankless chain hath bound thee;
O'er thy heart and brain together
Hath the word been pass'd--now wither!

by George Gordon Byron.

Birth-Day Ode 02

Small is the new-born plant scarce seen
Amid the soft encircling green,
Where yonder budding acorn rears,
Just o'er the waving grass, its tender head:
Slow pass along the train of years,
And on the growing plant, their dews and showers they shed.
Anon it rears aloft its giant form,
And spreads its broad-brown arms to meet the storm.
Beneath its boughs far shadowing o'er the plain,
From summer suns, repair the grateful village train.

Nor BEDFORD will my friend survey
The book of Nature with unheeding eye;
For never beams the rising orb of day,
For never dimly dies the refluent ray,
But as the moralizer marks the sky,
He broods with strange delight upon futurity.

And we must muse my friend! maturer years
Arise, and other Hopes and other Fears,
For we have past the pleasant plains of Youth.
Oh pleasant plains! that we might stray
For ever o'er your faery ground--
For ever roam your vales around,
Nor onward tempt the dangerous way--
For oh--what numerous foes assail
The Traveller, from that chearful vale!

With toil and heaviness opprest
Seek not the flowery bank for rest,
Tho' there the bowering woodbine spread
Its fragrant shelter o'er thy head,
Tho' Zephyr there should linger long
To hear the sky-lark's wildly-warbled song,
There heedless Youth shalt thou awake
The vengeance of the coiling snake!

Tho' fairly smiles the vernal mead
To tempt thy pilgrim feet, proceed
Hold on thy steady course aright,
Else shalt thou wandering o'er the pathless plain,
When damp and dark descends the night
Shivering and shelterless, repent in vain.

And yet--tho' Dangers lurk on every side
Receive not WORLDLY WISDOM for thy guide!
Beneath his care thou wilt not know
The throb of unavailing woe,
No tear shall tremble in thine eye
Thy breast shall struggle with no sigh,
He will security impart,
But he will apathize thy heart!

Ah no!
Fly Fly that fatal foe,
Virtue shall shrink from his torpedo grasp--
For not more fatal thro' the Wretches veins
Benumb'd in Death's cold pains
Creeps the chill poison of the deadly asp.

Serener joys my friend await
Maturer manhood's steady state.
The wild brook bursting from its source
Meanders on its early course,
Delighting there with winding way
Amid the vernal vale to stray,
Emerging thence more widely spread
It foams along its craggy bed,
And shatter'd with the mighty shock
Rushes from the giddy rock--
Hurl'd headlong o'er the dangerous steep
On runs the current to the deep,
And gathering waters as it goes
Serene and calm the river flows,
Diffuses plenty o'er the smiling coast,
Rolls on its stately waves and is in ocean lost.

by Robert Southey.

Tales Of A Wayside Inn : Part 1. The Musician's Tale; The Saga Of King Olaf Xiii. -- The Building Of The Long Serpent

Thorberg Skafting, master-builder,
In his ship-yard by the sea,
Whistling, said, 'It would bewilder
Any man but Thorberg Skafting,
Any man but me!'

Near him lay the Dragon stranded,
Built of old by Raud the Strong,
And King Olaf had commanded
He should build another Dragon,
Twice as large and long.

Therefore whistled Thorberg Skafting,
As he sat with half-closed eyes,
And his head turned sideways, drafting
That new vessel for King Olaf
Twice the Dragon's size.

Round him busily hewed and hammered
Mallet huge and heavy axe;
Workmen laughed and sang and clamored;
Whirred the wheels, that into rigging
Spun the shining flax!

All this tumult heard the master,--
It was music to his ear;
Fancy whispered all the faster,
'Men shall hear of Thorberg Skafting
For a hundred year!'

Workmen sweating at the forges
Fashioned iron bolt and bar,
Like a warlock's midnight orgies
Smoked and bubbled the black caldron
With the boiling tar.

Did the warlocks mingle in it,
Thorberg Skafting, any curse?
Could you not be gone a minute
But some mischief must be doing,
Turning bad to worse?

'T was an ill wind that came wafting,
From his homestead words of woe;
To his farm went Thorberg Skafting,
Oft repeating to his workmen,
Build ye thus and so.

After long delays returning
Came the master back by night;
To his ship-yard longing, yearning,
Hurried he, and did not leave it
Till the morning's light.

'Come and see my ship, my darling!?
On the morrow said the King;
'Finished now from keel to carling;
Never yet was seen in Norway
Such a wondrous thing!'

In the ship-yard, idly talking,
At the ship the workmen stared:
Some one, all their labor balking,
Down her sides had cut deep gashes,
Not a plank was spared!

'Death be to the evil-doer!'
With an oath King Olaf spoke;
'But rewards to his pursuer!?
And with wrath his face grew redder
Than his scarlet cloak.

Straight the master-builder, smiling,
Answered thus the angry King:
'Cease blaspheming and reviling,
Olaf, it was Thorberg Skafting
Who has done this thing!'

Then he chipped and smoothed the planking,
Till the King, delighted, swore,
With much lauding and much thanking,
'Handsomer is now my Dragon
Than she was before!'

Seventy ells and four extended
On the grass the vessel's keel;
High above it, gilt and splendid,
Rose the figure-head ferocious
With its crest of steel.

Then they launched her from the tressels,
In the ship-yard by the sea;
She was the grandest of all vessels,
Never ship was built in Norway
Half so fine as she!

The Long Serpent was she christened,
'Mid the roar of cheer on cheer!
They who to the Saga listened
Heard the name of Thorberg Skafting
For a hundred year!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Virtues Of Sid Hamet The Magician’s Rod

The rod was but a harmless wand,
While Moses held it in his hand;
But, soon as e'er he laid it down,
Twas a devouring serpent grown.
Our great magician, Hamet Sid,
Reverses what the prophet did:
His rod was honest English wood,
That senseless in a corner stood,
Till metamorphos'd by his grasp,
It grew an all-devouring asp;
Would hiss, and sting, and roll, and twist.
By the mere virtue of his fist:
But, when he laid it down, as quick
Resum'd the figure of a stick.
So, to her midnight feasts, the hag
Rides on a broomstick for a nag,
That, rais'd by magic of her breech,
O'er sea and land conveys the witch;
But with the morning dawn resumes
The peaceful state of common brooms.
They tell us something strange and odd,
About a certain magic rod,
That, bending down its top, divines
Whene'er the soil has golden mines;
Where there are none, it stands erect,
Scorning to show the least respect:
As ready was the wand of Sid
To bend where golden mines were hid:
In Scottish hills found precious ore,
Where none e'er look'd for it before;
And by a gentle bow divine
How well a cully's purse was lined;
To a forlorn and broken rake,
Stood without motion like a stake.
The rod of Hermes was renown'd
For charms above and under ground;
To sleep could mortal eyelids fix,
And drive departed souls to Styx.
That rod was a just type of Sid's,
Which o'er a British senate's lids
Could scatter opium full as well,
And drive as many souls to hell.
Sid's rod was slender, white, and tall,
Which oft he used to fish withal;
A PLACE was fasten'd to the hook,
And many score of gudgeons took;
Yet still so happy was his fate,
He caught his fish and sav'd his bait.
Sid's brethren of the conj'ring tribe,
A circle with their rod describe,
Which proves a magical redoubt,
To keep mischievous spirits out.
Sid's rod was of a larger stride,
And made a circle thrice as wide,
Where spirits throng'd with hideous din,
And he stood there to take them in;
But when th'enchanted rod was broke,
They vanish'd in a stinking smoke.
Achilles' sceptre was of wood,
Like Sid's, but nothing near so good;
Though down from ancestors divine
Transmitted to the heroes line;
Thence, thro' a long descent of kings,
Came an HEIRLOOM, as Homer sings.
Though this description looks so big,
That sceptre was a sapless twig,
Which, from the fatal day, when first
It left the forest where 'twas nurs'd,
As Homer tells us o'er and o'er,
Nor leaf, nor fruit, nor blossom bore.
Sid's sceptre, full of juice, did shoot
In golden boughs, and golden fruit;
And he, the dragon never sleeping,
Guarded each fair Hesperian Pippin.
No hobby-horse, with gorgeous top,
The dearest in Charles Mather's shop,
Or glittering tinsel of May Fair,
Could with this rod of Sid compare.
Dear Sid, then why wert thou so mad
To break thy rod like naughty lad?
You should have kiss'd it in your distress,
And then return'd it to your mistress;
Or made it a Newmarket switch,
And not a rod for thine own breech.
But since old Sid has broken this,
His next may be a rod in piss.

by Jonathan Swift.

A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,
To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before
me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Silently.

Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.

And voices in me said, If you were a man
You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.

But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther,
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

The King And The Shepherd

Through ev'ry Age some Tyrant Passion reigns:
Now Love prevails, and now Ambition gains
Reason's lost Throne, and sov'reign Rule maintains.
Tho' beyond Love's, Ambition's Empire goes;
For who feels Love, Ambition also knows,
And proudly still aspires to be possest
Of Her, he thinks superior to the rest.

As cou'd be prov'd, but that our plainer Task
Do's no such Toil, or Definitions ask;
But to be so rehears'd, as first 'twas told,
When such old Stories pleas'd in Days of old.


A King, observing how a Shepherd's Skill
Improv'd his Flocks, and did the Pastures fill,
That equal Care th' assaulted did defend,
And the secur'd and grazing Part attend,
Approves the Conduct, and from Sheep and Curs
Transfers the Sway, and changed his Wool to Furrs.
Lord-Keeper now, as rightly he divides
His just Decrees, and speedily decides;
When his sole Neighbor, whilst he watch'd the Fold,
A Hermit poor, in Contemplation old,
Hastes to his Ear, with safe, but lost Advice,
Tells him such Heights are levell'd in a trice,
Preferments treach'rous, and her Paths of Ice:
And that already sure 't had turn'd his Brain,
Who thought a Prince's Favour to retain.
Nor seem'd unlike, in this mistaken Rank,
The sightless Wretch, who froze upon a Bank
A Serpent found, which for a Staff he took,
And us'd as such (his own but lately broke)
Thanking the Fates, who thus his Loss supply'd,
Nor marking one, that with amazement cry'd,
Throw quickly from thy Hand that sleeping Ill;
A Serpent 'tis, that when awak'd will kill.

A Serpent this! th' uncaution'd Fool replies:
A Staff it feels, nor shall my want of Eyes
Make me believe, I have no Senses left,
And thro' thy Malice be of this bereft;
Which Fortune to my Hand has kindly sent
To guide my Steps, and stumbling to prevent.
No Staff, the Man proceeds; but to thy harm
A Snake 'twill prove: The Viper, now grown warm
Confirm'd it soon, and fasten'd on his Arm.

Thus wilt thou find, Shepherd believe it true,
Some Ill, that shall this seeming Good ensue;
Thousand Distastes, t' allay thy envy'd Gains,
Unthought of, on the parcimonious Plains.
So prov'd the Event, and Whisp'rers now defame
The candid Judge, and his Proceedings blame.
By Wrongs, they say, a Palace he erects,
The Good oppresses, and the Bad protects.
To view this Seat the King himself prepares,
Where no Magnificence or Pomp appears,
But Moderation, free from each Extream,
Whilst Moderation is the Builder's Theme.
Asham'd yet still the Sycophants persist,
That Wealth he had conceal'd within a Chest,
Which but attended some convenient Day,
To face the Sun, and brighter Beams display.
The Chest unbarr'd, no radiant Gems they find,
No secret Sums to foreign Banks design'd,
But humble Marks of an obscure Recess,
Emblems of Care, and Instruments of Peace;
The Hook, the Scrip, and for unblam'd Delight
The merry Bagpipe, which, ere fall of Night,
Cou'd sympathizing Birds to tuneful Notes invite.
Welcome ye Monuments of former Joys!
Welcome! to bless again your Master's Eyes,
And draw from Courts, th' instructed Shepherd cries.
No more dear Relicks! we no more will part,
You shall my Hands employ, who now revive my Heart.
No Emulations, nor corrupted Times
Shall falsely blacken, or seduce to Crimes
Him, whom your honest Industry can please,
Who on the barren Down can sing from inward Ease.


How's this! the Monarch something mov'd rejoins.
With such low Thoughts, and Freedom from Designs,
What made thee leave a Life so fondly priz'd,
To be in Crouds, or envy'd, or despis'd?

Forgive me, Sir, and Humane Frailty see,
The Swain replies, in my past State and Me;
All peaceful that, to which I vow return.
But who alas! (tho' mine at length I mourn)
Was e'er without the Curse of some Ambition born.

by Anne Kingsmill Finch.

The Double-Headed Snake Of Newbury

Far away in the twilight time
Of every people, in every clime,
Dragons and griffins and monsters dire,
Born of water, and air, and fire,
Or nursed, like the Python, in the mud
And ooze of the old Deucalion flood,
Crawl and wriggle and foam with rage,
Through dusk tradition and ballad age.
So from the childhood of Newbury town
And its time of fable the tale comes down
Of a terror which haunted bush and brake,
The Amphisbaena, the Double Snake!

Thou who makest the tale thy mirth,
Consider that strip of Christian earth
On the desolate shore of a sailless sea,
Full of terror and mystery,
Half redeemed from the evil hold
Of the wood so dreary, and dark, and old,
Which drank with its lips of leaves the dew
When Time was young, and the world was new,
And wove its shadows with sun and moon,
Ere the stones of Cheops were squared and hewn.
Think of the sea's dread monotone,
Of the mournful wail from the pine-wood blown,
Of the strange, vast splendors that lit the North,
Of the troubled throes of the quaking earth,
And the dismal tales the Indian told,
Till the settler's heart at his hearth grew cold,
And he shrank from the tawny wizard boasts,
And the hovering shadows seemed full of ghosts,
And above, below, and on every side,
The fear of his creed seemed verified;-
And think, if his lot were now thine own,
To grope with terrors nor named nor known,
How laxer muscle and weaker nerve
And a feebler faith thy need might serve;
And own to thyself the wonder more
That the snake had two heads, and not a score!

Whether he lurked in the Oldtown fen
Or the gray earth-flax of the Devil's Den,
Or swam in the wooded Artichoke,
Or coiled by the Northman's Written Rock,
Nothing on record is left to show;
Only the fact that be lived, we know,
And left the cast of a double head
In the scaly mask which he yearly shed.
For he carried a head where his tail should be,
And the two, of course, could never agree,
But wriggled about with main and might,
Now to the left and now to the right;
Pulling and twisting this way and that,
Neither knew what the other was at.

A snake with two beads, lurking so near!
Judge of the wonder, guess at the fear!
Think what ancient gossips might say,
Shaking their heads in their dreary way,
Between the meetings on Sabbath-day!
How urchins, searching at day's decline
The Common Pasture for sheep or kine,
The terrible double-ganger heard
In leafy rustle or whir of bird!
Think what a zest it gave to the sport,
In berry-time, of the younger sort,
As over pastures blackberry-twined,
Reuben and Dorothy lagged behind,
And closer and closer, for fear of harm,
The maiden clung to her lover's arm;
And how the spark, who was forced to stay,
By his sweetheart's fears, till the break of day,
Thanked the snake for the fond delay.

Far and wide the tale was told,
Like a snowball growing while it rolled.
The nurse hushed with it the baby's cry;
And it served, in the worthy minister's eye,
To paint the primitive serpent by.
Cotton Mather came galloping down
All the way to Newbury town,
With his eyes agog and his ears set wide,
And his marvellous inkhorn at his side;
Stirring the while in the shallow pool
Of his brains for the lore he learned at school,
To garnish the story, with here a streak
Of Latin, and there another of Greek
And the tales he heard and the notes he took,
Behold! are they not in his Wonder-Book?

Stories, like dragons, are hard to kill.
If the snake does not, the tale runs still
In Byfield Meadows, on Pipestave Hill.
And still, whenever husband and wife
Publish the shame of their daily strife,
And, with mad cross-purpose, tug and strain
At either end of the marriage-chain,
The gossips say, with a knowing shake
Of their gray heads, 'Look at the Double Snake
One in body and two in will,
The Amphisbaena is living still!'

by John Greenleaf Whittier.

Eclogue The Second Hassan

SCENE, the Desert TIME, Mid-day
10 In silent horror o'er the desert-waste
The driver Hassan with his camels passed.
One cruse of water on his back he bore,
And his light scrip contained a scanty store;
A fan of painted feathers in his hand,
To guard his shaded face from scorching sand.
The sultry sun had gained the middle sky,
And not a tree and not an herb was nigh.
The beasts with pain their dusty way pursue,
Shrill roared the winds and dreary was the view!
20 With desperate sorrow wild, the affrighted man
Thrice sighed, thrice struck his breast, and thus began:
`Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
`Ah! little thought I of the blasting wind,
The thirst or pinching hunger that I find!
Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage,
When fails this cruse, his unrelenting rage?
Soon shall this scrip its precious load resign,
Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine?

30 `Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share!
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crowned fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest or verdant vales bestow.
Here rocks alone and tasteless sands are found,
And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around.
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
40 `Cursed be the gold and silver which persuade
Weak men to follow far-fatiguing trade.
The Lily-Peace outshines the silver store,
And life is dearer than the golden ore.
Yet money tempts us o'er the desert brown,
To every distant mart and wealthy town:
Full oft we tempt the land and oft the sea;
And are we only yet repaid by thee?
Ah! why was ruin so attractive made,
Or why fond man so easily betrayed?
50 Why heed we not, whilst mad we haste along,
The gentle voice of Peace or Pleasure's song?
Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side,
The fountain's murmurs and the valley's pride,
Why think we these less pleasing to behold
Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold?
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
`O cease, my fears! all frantic as I go,
When thought creates unnumbered scenes of woe,

60 What if the lion in his rage I meet!
Oft in the dust I view his printed feet:
And fearful! oft, when Day's declining light
Yields her pale empire to the mourner Night,
By hunger roused, he scours the groaning plain,
Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train:
Before them death with shrieks directs their way,
Fills the wild yell and leads them to their prey.
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!
70 `At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep,
If aught of rest I find, upon my sleep;
Or some swoll'n serpent twist his scales around,
And wake to anguish with a burning wound.
Thrice happy they, the wise contented poor,
From lust of wealth and dread of death secure.
They tempt no deserts and no griefs they find;
Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind.
Sad was the hour and luckless was the day,
When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way.
80 `O hapless youth! for she thy love hath won,
The tender Zara, will be most undone!
Big swelled my heart and owned the powerful maid,
When fast she dropped her tears, as thus she said:
``Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain,
``Whom Zara's breaking heart implored in vain;
``Yet as thou goest, may every blast arise,
``Weak and unfelt as these rejected sighs!
``Safe o'er the wild, no perils mayst thou see,
``No griefs endure, nor weep, false youth, like me.''
O let me safely to the fair return,
Say with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn.
Go teach my heart to lose its painful fears,
Recalled by Wisdom's voice and Zara's tears.'

He said, and called on heaven to bless the day,
When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way.

by William Collins.

HER mouth is fragrant as a vine,
A vine with birds in all its boughs;
Serpent and scarab for a sign
Between the beauty of her brows
And the amorous deep lids divine.

Her great curled hair makes luminous
Her cheeks, her lifted throat and chin.
Shall she not have the hearts of us
To shatter, and the loves therein
To shred between her fingers thus?

Small ruined broken strays of light,
Pearl after pearl she shreds them through
Her long sweet sleepy fingers, white
As any pearl's heart veined with blue,
And soft as dew on a soft night.

As if the very eyes of love
Shone through her shutting lids, and stole
The slow looks of a snake or dove;
As if her lips absorbed the whole
Of love, her soul the soul thereof.

Lost, all the lordly pearls that were
Wrung from the sea's heart, from the green
Coasts of the Indian gulf-river;
Lost, all the loves of the world---so keen
Towards this queen for love of her.

You see against her throat the small
Sharp glittering shadows of them shake;
And through her hair the imperial
Curled likeness of the river snake,
Whose bite shall make an end of all.

Through the scales sheathing him like wings,
Through hieroglyphs of gold and gem,
The strong sense of her beauty stings,
Like a keen pulse of love in them,
A running flame through all his rings.

Under those low large lids of hers
She hath the histories of all time;
The fruit of foliage-stricken years;
The old seasons with their heavy chime
That leaves its rhyme in the world's ears.

She sees the hand of death made bare,
The ravelled riddle of the skies,
The faces faded that were fair,
The mouths made speechless that were wise,
The hollow eyes and dusty hair;

The shape and shadow of mystic things,
Things that fate fashions or forbids;
The staff of time-forgotten Kings
Whose name falls off the Pyramids,
Their coffin-lids and grave-clothings;

Dank dregs, the scum of pool or clod,
God-spawn of lizard-footed clans,
And those dog-headed hulks that trod
Swart necks of the old Egyptians,
Raw draughts of man's beginning God;

The poised hawk, quivering ere he smote,
With plume-like gems on breast and back;
The asps and water-worms afloat
Between the rush-flowers moist and slack;
The cat's warm black bright rising throat.

The purple days of drouth expand
Like a scroll opened out again;
The molten heaven drier than sand,
The hot red heaven without rain,
Sheds iron pain on the empty land.

All Egypt aches in the sun's sight;
The lips of men are harsh for drouth,
The fierce air leaves their cheeks burnt white,
Charred by the bitter blowing south,
Whose dusty mouth is sharp to bite.

All this she dreams of, and her eyes
Are wrought after the sense hereof.
There is no heart in her for sighs;
The face of her is more than love---
A name above the Ptolemies.

Her great grave beauty covers her
As that sleek spoil beneath her feet
Clothed once the anointed soothsayer;
The hallowing is gone forth from it
Now, made unmeet for priests to wear.

She treads on gods and god-like things,
On fate and fear and life and death,
On hate that cleaves and love that clings,
All that is brought forth of man's breath
And perisheth with what it brings.

She holds her future close, her lips
Hold fast the face of things to be;
Actium, and sound of war that dips
Down the blown valleys of the sea,
Far sails that flee, and storms of ships;

The laughing red sweet mouth of wine
At ending of life's festival;
That spice of cerecloths, and the fine
White bitter dust funereal
Sprinkled on all things for a sign;

His face, who was and was not he,
In whom, alive, her life abode;
The end, when she gained heart to see
Those ways of death wherein she trod,
Goddess by god, with Antony.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Born in the garret, in the kitchen bred,
Promoted thence to deck her mistress' head;
Next for some gracious service unexpress'd,
And from its wages only to be guess'd­
Raised from the toilette to the table,­ where
Her wondering betters wait behind her chair.
With eye unmoved, and forehead unabash'd,
She dines from off the plate she lately wash'd.
Quick with the tale, and ready with the lie,
The genial confidante, and general spy,
Who could, ye gods! her next employ­ment guess--
An only infants earliest governess!
She taught the child to read, and taught so well,
That she herself, by teaching, learn'd to spell.
An adept next in penmanship she grows;
As many a nameless slander deftly shows.
What she had made the pupil of her art,
None know--but that high Soul secured the heart,
And panted for the truth it could not hear,
With longing breast and undeluded ear.
Foil'd was perversion by that youthful mind,
Which Flattery fool'd not, Baseness could not blind,
Deceit infect not, near Contagion soil,
Indulgence weaken, nor Example spoil,
Nor master'd Science tempt her to look down
On humbler talents with a pitying frown,
Nor Genius swell, nor Beauty render vain,
Nor Envy ruffle o retaliate pain,
Nor Fortune change, Pride raise, nor Passion bow,
Nor virtue teach austerity-till now.
Serenely purest of her sex that live,
But wanting one sweet weakness--to for­give,
Too shock'd at faults her soul can never know,
She deems that all could be like her be­low:
Foe to all vice, yet hardly Virtue's friend,
For Virtue pardons those she would amend.

But to the theme, now laid aside too long,
The baleful burthen of this honest song,
Though all her former functions are no more,
She rules the circle which she served before.

If mothers--none know why--before her quake;
If daughters dread her for the mothers' sake;
If early habits--those false links, which bind
At times the loftiest to the meanest mind­
Have given her power too deeply to instil
The angry essence of her deadly will;
If like a snake she steal within your walls,
Till the black slime betray her as she crawls;
If like a viper to the heart she wind,
And leave the venom there she did not find;
What marvel that this hag of hatred works
Eternal evil latent as she lurks,
To make a Pandemonium where she dwells,
And reign the Hecate of domestic hells?
Skill'd by a touch to deepen scandal's tints
With all the kind mendacity of hints,
While mingling truth with falsehood, sneers with smiles,
A thread of candour with a web of wiles:
A plain blunt show of briefly--spoken seaming,
To hide her bloodless heart's soul­-harden'd scheming;
A lip of lies; a face form'd to conceal,
And, without feeling, mock at all who feel:
With a vile mask the Gorgon would disown ,
A cheek of parchment, and an eye of stone.
Mark, how the channels of her yellow blood
Ooze to her skin, and stagnate there to mud,
Cased like the centipede in saffron mail,
Or darker greenness of the scorpion's scale--
(For drawn from reptiles only may we trace
Congenial colours in that soul or face)
Look on her features! and behold her mind
As in a mirror of itself defined:
Look on the picture! deem it not o'ercharged
There is no trait which might not be enlarged:
Yet true to 'Nature's journeymen,' who made
This monster when their mistress left off trade--
This female dog-star of her little sky,
Where all beneath her influence droop or die.

Oh! wretch without a tear-without a thought,
Save joy above the ruin thou hast wrought--
The time shall come, nor long remote, when thou
Shalt feel far more than thou inflictest now;
Feel for thy vile self-loving self in vain,
And turn thee howling in unpitied pain.
May the strong curse of crush 'd affections light
Back on thy bosom with reflected blight!
And make thee in thy leprosy of mind
As loathsome to thyself as to mankind!
Till all thy self-thoughts curdle into hate,
Black--as thy will for others would create:
Till thy hard heart be calcined into dust,
And thy soul welter in its hideous crust.
Oh, may thy grave be sleepless as the bed,
The widow'd couch of fire, that thou hast spread!
Then, when thou fain wouldst weary Heaven with prayer,
Look on thine earthly victims--and despair!
Down to the dust!--and, as thou rott'st away,
Even worms shall perish on thy poisonous clay.
But for the love I bore, and still must bear,
To her thy malice from all ties would tear--
Thy name--thy human name--to every eye
The climax of all scorn should hang on high,
Exalted o'er thy less abhorr'd compeers--
And festering in the infamy of years.

by George Gordon Byron.

Johnson’s Antidote

Down along the Snakebite River, where the overlanders camp,
Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most deadly stamp;
Where the station-cook in terror, nearly every time he bakes,
Mixes up among the doughboys half-a-dozen poison-snakes:
Where the wily free-selector walks in armour-plated pants,
And defies the stings of scorpions, and the bites of bull-dog ants:
Where the adder and the viper tear each other by the throat,—
There it was that William Johnson sought his snake-bite antidote.
Johnson was a free-selector, and his brain went rather queer,
For the constant sight of serpents filled him with a deadly fear;
So he tramped his free-selection, morning, afternoon, and night,
Seeking for some great specific that would cure the serpent’s bite.
Till King Billy, of the Mooki, chieftain of the flour-bag head,
Told him, “Spos’n snake bite pfeller, pfeller mostly drop down dead;
Spos’n snake bite old goanna, then you watch a while you see,
Old goanna cure himself with eating little pfeller tree.”
“That’s the cure,” said William Johnson, “point me out this plant sublime,”
But King Billy, feeling lazy, said he’d go another time.
Thus it came to pass that Johnson, having got the tale by rote,
Followed every stray goanna, seeking for the antidote.


. . . . .
Loafing once beside the river, while he thought his heart would break,
There he saw a big goanna fighting with a tiger-snake,
In and out they rolled and wriggled, bit each other, heart and soul,
Till the valiant old goanna swallowed his opponent whole.
Breathless, Johnson sat and watched him, saw him struggle up the bank,
Saw him nibbling at the branches of some bushes, green and rank;
Saw him, happy and contented, lick his lips, as off he crept,
While the bulging in his stomach showed where his opponent slept.
Then a cheer of exultation burst aloud from Johnson’s throat;
“Luck at last,” said he, “I’ve struck it! ’tis the famous antidote.

“Here it is, the Grand Elixir, greatest blessing ever known,—
Twenty thousand men in India die each year of snakes alone.
Think of all the foreign nations, negro, chow, and blackamoor,
Saved from sudden expiration, by my wondrous snakebite cure.
It will bring me fame and fortune! In the happy days to be,
Men of every clime and nation will be round to gaze on me—
Scientific men in thousands, men of mark and men of note,
Rushing down the Mooki River, after Johnson’s antidote.
It will cure delirium tremens, when the patient’s eyeballs stare
At imaginary spiders, snakes which really are not there.
When he thinks he sees them wriggle, when he thinks he sees them bloat,
It will cure him just to think of Johnson’s Snakebite Antidote.”

Then he rushed to the museum, found a scientific man—
“Trot me out a deadly serpent, just the deadliest you can;
I intend to let him bite me, all the risk I will endure,
Just to prove the sterling value of my wondrous snakebite cure.
Even though an adder bit me, back to life again I’d float;
Snakes are out of date, I tell you, since I’ve found the antidote.”
Said the scientific person, “If you really want to die,
Go ahead—but, if you’re doubtful, let your sheep-dog have a try.
Get a pair of dogs and try it, let the snake give both a nip;
Give your dog the snakebite mixture, let the other fellow rip;
If he dies and yours survives him, then it proves the thing is good.
Will you fetch your dog and try it?” Johnson rather thought he would.
So he went and fetched his canine, hauled him forward by the throat.
“Stump, old man,” says he, “we’ll show them we’ve the genwine antidote.”

Both the dogs were duly loaded with the poison-gland’s contents;
Johnson gave his dog the mixture, then sat down to wait events.
“Mark,” he said, “in twenty minutes Stump’ll be a-rushing round,
While the other wretched creature lies a corpse upon the ground.”
But, alas for William Johnson! ere they’d watched a half-hour’s spell
Stumpy was as dead as mutton, t’other dog was live and well.
And the scientific person hurried off with utmost speed,
Tested Johnson’s drug and found it was a deadly poison-weed;
Half a tumbler killed an emu, half a spoonful killed a goat,
All the snakes on earth were harmless to that awful antidote.


. . . . .
Down along the Mooki River, on the overlanders’ camp,
Where the serpents are in millions, all of the most deadly stamp,
Wanders, daily, William Johnson, down among those poisonous hordes,
Shooting every stray goanna, calls them “black and yaller frauds”.
And King Billy, of the Mooki, cadging for the cast-off coat,
Somehow seems to dodge the subject of the snake-bite antidote.

by Banjo Paterson.

She bade me follow to her garden where
The mellow sunlight stood as in a cup
Between the old grey walls; I did not dare
To raise my face, I did not dare look up
Lest her bright eyes like sparrows should fly in
My windows of discovery and shrill 'Sin!'

So with a downcast mien and laughing voice
I followed, followed the swing of her white dress
That rocked in a lilt along: I watched the poise
Of her feet as they flew for a space, then paused to press
The grass deep down with the royal burden of her:
And gladly I'd offered my breast to the tread of her.

'I like to see,' she said, and she crouched her down,
She sunk into my sight like a settling bird;
And her bosom crouched in the confines of her gown
Like heavy birds at rest there, softly stirred
By her measured breaths: 'I like to see,' said she,
'The snap-dragon put out his tongue at me.'

She laughed, she reached her hand out to the flower
Closing its crimson throat: my own throat in her power
Strangled, my heart swelled up so full
As if it would burst its wineskin in my throat,
Choke me in my own crimson; I watched her pull
The gorge of the gaping flower, till the blood did float

        Over my eyes and I was blind --
Her large brown hand stretched over
The windows of my mind,
And in the dark I did discover
Things I was out to find:

My grail, a brown bowl twined
With swollen veins that met in the wrist,
Under whose brown the amethyst
I longed to taste: and I longed to turn
My heart's red measure in her cup,
I longed to feel my hot blood burn
With the lambent amethyst in her cup.

Then suddenly she looked up
And I was blind in a tawny-gold day
Till she took her eyes away. So she came down from above
And emptied my heart of love . . .
So I helf my heart aloft
To the cuckoo that fluttered above,
And she settled soft.

It seemed that I and the morning world
Were pressed cup-shape to take this reiver
Bird who was weary to have furled
Her wings on us,
As we were weary to receive her:

This bird, this rich
Sumptuous central grain,
This mutable witch,
This one refrain,
This laugh in the fight,
This clot of light,
This core of night.

She spoke, and I closed my eyes
To shut hallucinations out.
I echoed with surprise
Hearing my mere lips shout
The answer they did devise.

Again, I saw a brown bird hover
Over the flowers at my feet;
I felt a brown bird hover
Over my heart, and sweet
Its shadow lay on my heart.
I thought I saw on the clover
A brown bee pulling apart
The closed flesh of the clover
And burrowing into its heart.

She moved her hand, and again
I felt the brown bird hover
Over my heart . . . and then
The bird came down on my heart,
As on a nest the rover
Cuckoo comes, and shoves over
The brim each careful part
Of love, takes possession and settles down,
With her wings and her feathers does drown
The nest in a heat of love.

She turned her flushed face to me for the glint
Of a moment. 'See,' she laughed, 'if you also
Can make them yawn.' I put my hand to the dint
In the flower's throat, and the flower gaped wide with woe.
She watched, she went of a sudden intensely still,
She watched my hand, and I let her watch her fill.

I pressed the wretched, throttled flower between
My fingers, till its head lay back, its fangs
Poised at her: like a weapon my hand stood white and keen,
And I held the choked flower-serpent in its pangs
Of mordant anguish till she ceased to laugh,
Until her pride's flag, smitten, cleaved down to the staff.

She hid her face, she murmured between her lips
The low word 'Don't!' I let the flower fall,
But held my hand afloat still towards the slips
Of blossom she fingered, and my crisp fingers all
Put forth to her: she did not move, nor I,
For my hand like a snake watched hers that could not fly.
Then I laughed in the dark of my heart, I did exult
Like a sudden chuckling of music: I bade her eyes
Meet mine, I opened her helpless eyes to consult
Their fear, their shame, their joy that underlies
Defeat in such a battle: in the dark of her eyes
My heart was fierce to make her laughter rise . . .
Till her dark deeps shook with convulsive thrills, and the dark
Of her spirit wavered like water thrilled with light,
And my heart leaped up in longing to plunge its stark
Fervour within the pool of her twilight:
Within her spacious gloom, in the mystery
Of her barbarous soul, to grope with ecstasy.

And I do not care though the large hands of revenge
Shall get my throat at last -- shall get it soon,
If the joy that they are lifted to avenge
Have risen red on my night as a harvest moon,
Which even Death can only put out for me,
And death I know is beter than not-to-be.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

The Bridge: The Dance

The swift red flesh, a winter king—
Who squired the glacier woman down the sky?
She ran the neighing canyons all the spring;
She spouted arms; she rose with maize—to die.

And in the autumn drouth, whose burnished hands
With mineral wariness found out the stone
Where prayers, forgotten, streamed the mesa sands?
He holds the twilight’s dim, perpetual throne,


Mythical brows we saw retiring—loth,
Disturbed and destined, into denser green.
Greeting they sped us, on the arrow’s oath:
Now lie incorrigibly what years between . .


There was a bed of leaves, and broken play
There was a veil upon you, Pocahontas, bride—
O Princess whose brown lap was virgin May;
And bridal flanks and eyes hid tawny pride.


I left the village for dogwood. By the canoe
Tugging below the mill-race, I could see
Your hair’s keen crescent running, and the blue
First moth of evening take wing stealthily.


What laughing chains the water wove and threw.
I learned to catch the trout’s moon whisper; I
Drifted how many hours I never knew,
But, watching, saw that fleet young crescent die,—


And one star, swinging, take its place, alone,
Cupped in the larches of the mountain pass—
Until, immortally, it bled into the dawn.
I left my sleek boat nibbling margin grass . . .


I took the portage climb, then chose
A further valley-shed; I could not stop.
Feet nozzled wat’ry webs of upper flows;
One white veil gusted from the very top.


O Appalachian Spring! I gained the ledge;
Steep, inaccessible smile that eastward bends
And northward reaches in that violet wedge
Of Adirondacks!—wisped of azure wands,


Over how many bluffs, tarns, streams I sped!
—And knew myself within some boding shade:—
Grey tepees-tufting the blue knolls ahead,
Smoke swirling through the yellow chestnut glade . . .


A distant cloud, a thunder-bud—it grew,
That blanket of the skies: the padded foot
Within,—I heard it; ’til its rhythm drew,
—Siphoned the black pool from the heart’s hot root!


A cyclone threshes in the turbine crest,
Swooping in eagle feathers down your back;
Know, Maquokeeta, greeting; know death’s best;
—Fall, Sachem, strictly as the tamarack!


A birch kneels. All her whistling fingers fly.
The oak grove circles in a crash of leaves;
The long moan of a dance is in the sky.
Dance, Maquokeeta: Pocahontas grieves . . .


And every tendon scurries toward the twangs
Of lightning deltaed down your saber hair.
Now snaps the flint in every tooth; red fangs
And splay tongues thinly busy the blue air . . .


Dance, Maquokeeta! snake that lives before,
That casts his pelt, and lives beyond! Sprout, horn!
Spark, tooth! Medicine-man, relent, restore—
Lie to us,—dance us back the tribal morn!


Spears and assemblies: black drums thrusting on—
O yelling battlements,—I, too, was liege
To rainbows currying each pulsant bone:
Surpassed the circumstance, danced out the siege!


And buzzard-circleted, screamed from the stake;
I could not pick the arrows from my side.
Wrapped in that fire, I saw more escorts wake—
Flickering, sprint up the hill groins like a tide.


I heard the hush of lava wrestling your arms,
And stag teeth foam about the raven throat;
Flame cataracts of heaven in seething swarms
Fed down your anklets to the sunset’s moat.


0, like the lizard in the furious noon,
That drops his legs and colors in the sun,
—And laughs, pure serpent, Time itself, and moon
Of his own fate, I saw thy change begun!


And saw thee dive to kiss that destiny
Like one white meteor, sacrosanct and blent
At last with all that’s consummate and free
There, where the first and last gods keep thy tent.


. . . .


Thewed of the levin, thunder-shod and lean,
Lo, through what infinite seasons dost thou gaze—
Across what bivouacs of thine angered slain,
And see’st thy bride immortal in the maize!


Totem and fire-gall, slumbering pyramid—
Though other calendars now stack the sky,
Thy freedom is her largesse, Prince, and hid
On paths thou knewest best to claim her by.


High unto Labrador the sun strikes free
Her speechless dream of snow, and stirred again,
She is the torrent and the singing tree;
And she is virgin to the last of men . . .


West, west and south! winds over Cumberland
And winds across the liana grass resume
Her hair’s warm sibilance. Her breasts are fanned
O stream by slope and vineyard—into bloom!


And when the caribou slant down for salt
Do arrows thirst and leap? Do antlers shine
Alert, star-triggered in the listening vault
Of dusk?—And are her perfect brows to thine?


We danced, 0 Brave, we danced beyond their farms.
In cobalt desert closures made our vows . . .
Now is the strong prayer folded in thine arms,
The serpent with the eagle in the boughs.

by Harold Hart Crane.

It was Lilith the wife of Adam:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Not a drop of her blood was human,
But she was made like a soft sweet woman.
Lilith stood on the skirts of Eden;
(Alas the hour!)
She was the first that thence was driven;
With her was hell and with Eve was heaven.
In the ear of the Snake said Lilith:—
(Sing Eden Bower!)
“To thee I come when the rest is over;
A snake was I when thou wast my lover.
“I was the fairest snake in Eden:
(Alas the hour!)
By the earth's will, new form and feature
Made me a wife for the earth's new creature.
“Take me thou as I come from Adam:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Once again shall my love subdue thee;
The past is past and I am come to thee.
“O but Adam was thrall to Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
All the threads of my hair are golden,
And there in a net his heart was holden.
“O and Lilith was queen of Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
All the day and the night together
My breath could shake his soul like a feather.
“What great joys had Adam and Lilith!—
(Alas the hour!)
Sweet close rings of the serpent's twining,
As heart in heart lay sighing and pining.
“What bright babes had Lilith and Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Shapes that coiled in the woods and waters,
Glittering sons and radiant daughters.
“O thou God, the Lord God of Eden!
(Alas the hour!)
Say, was this fair body for no man,
That of Adam's flesh thou mak'st him a woman?
“O thou Snake, the King-snake of Eden!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
God's strong will our necks are under,
But thou and I may cleave it in sunder.
“Help, sweet Snake, sweet lover of Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
And let God learn how I loved and hated
Man in the image of God created.
“Help me once against Eve and Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Help me once for this one endeavour,
And then my love shall be thine for ever!
“Strong is God, the fell foe of Lilith:
(Alas the hour!)
Nought in heaven or earth may affright Him;
But join thou with me and we will smite Him.
“Strong is God, the great God of Eden:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Over all He made He hath power;
But lend me thou thy shape for an hour!
“Lend thy shape for the love of Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
Look, my mouth and my cheek are ruddy,
And thou art cold, and fire is my body.
“Lend thy shape for the hate of Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
That he may wail my joy that forsook him,
And curse the day when the bride-sleep took him.
“Lend thy shape for the shame of Eden!
(Alas the hour!)
Is not the foe-God weak as the foeman
When love grows hate in the heart of a woman?
“Wouldst thou know the heart's hope of Lilith?
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Then bring thou close thine head till it glisten
Along my breast, and lip me and listen.
“Am I sweet, O sweet Snake of Eden?
(Alas the hour!)
Then ope thine ear to my warm mouth's cooing
And learn what deed remains for our doing.
“Thou didst hear when God said to Adam:—
(Sing Eden Bower!)
‘Of all this wealth I have made thee warden;
Thou'rt free to eat of the trees of the garden:
“‘Only of one tree eat not in Eden:
(Alas the hour!)
All save one I give to thy freewill,—
The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.’
“O my love, come nearer to Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
In thy sweet folds bind me and bend me,
And let me feel the shape thou shalt lend me.
“In thy shape I'll go back to Eden;
(Alas the hour!)
In these coils that Tree will I grapple,
And stretch this crowned head forth by the apple.
“Lo, Eve bends to the breath of Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
O how then shall my heart desire
All her blood as food to its fire!
“Lo, Eve bends to the words of Lilith!—
(Alas the hour!)
‘Nay, this Tree's fruit,—why should ye hate it,
Or Death be born the day that ye ate it?
“‘Nay, but on that great day in Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
By the help that in this wise Tree is,
God knows well ye shall be as He is.’
“Then Eve shall eat and give unto Adam;
(Alas the hour!)
And then they both shall know they are naked,
And their hearts ache as my heart hath achèd.
“Ay, let them hide `mid the trees of Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
As in the cool of the day in the garden
God shall walk without pity or pardon.
“Hear, thou Eve, the man's heart in Adam!
(Alas the hour!)
Of his brave words hark to the bravest:—
‘This the woman gave that thou gavest.’
“Hear Eve speak, yea list to her, Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Feast thine heart with words that shall sate it—
‘This the serpent gave and I ate it.’
“O proud Eve, cling close to thine Adam,
(Alas the hour!)
Driven forth as the beasts of his naming
By the sword that for ever is flaming.
“Know, thy path is known unto Lilith!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
While the blithe birds sang at thy wedding,
There her tears grew thorns for thy treading.
“O my love, thou Love-snake of Eden!
(Alas the hour!)
O to-day and the day to come after!
Loose me, love,—give breath to my laughter.
“O bright Snake, the Death-worm of Adam!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Wreathe thy neck with my hair's bright tether,
And wear my gold and thy gold together!
“On that day on the skirts of Eden,
(Alas the hour!)
In thy shape shall I glide back to thee,
And in my shape for an instant view thee.
“But when thou'rt thou and Lilith is Lilith,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
In what bliss past hearing or seeing
Shall each one drink of the other's being!
“With cries of ‘Eve!’ and ‘Eden!’ and ‘Adam!’
(Alas the hour!)
How shall we mingle our love's caresses,
I in thy coils, and thou in my tresses!
“With those names, ye echoes of Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Fire shall cry from my heart that burneth,—
‘Dust he is and to dust returneth!’
“Yet to-day, thou master of Lilith,—
(Alas the hour!)
Wrap me round in the form I'll borrow
And let me tell thee of sweet to-morrow.
“In the planted garden eastward in Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Where the river goes forth to water the garden,
The springs shall dry and the soil shall harden.
“Yea, where the bride-sleep fell upon Adam,
(Alas the hour!)
None shall hear when the storm-wind whistles
Through roses choked among thorns and thistles.
“Yea, beside the east-gate of Eden,
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Where God joined them and none might sever,
The sword turns this way and that for ever.
“What of Adam cast out of Eden?
(Alas the hour!)
Lo! with care like a shadow shaken,
He tills the hard earth whence he was taken.
“What of Eve too, cast out of Eden?
(Sing Eden Bower!)
Nay, but she, the bride of God's giving,
Must yet be mother of all men living.
“Lo, God's grace, by the grace of Lilith!
(Alas the hour!)
To Eve's womb, from our sweet to-morrow,
God shall greatly multiply sorrow.
“Fold me fast, O God-snake of Eden!
(Sing Eden Bower!)
What more prize than love to impel thee?
Grip and lip my limbs as I tell thee!
“Lo! two babes for Eve and for Adam!
(Alas the hour!)
Lo! sweet Snake, the travail and treasure,—
Two men-children born for their pleasure!
“The first is Cain and the second Abel:
(Sing Eden Bower!)
The soul of one shall be made thy brother,
And thy tongue shall lap the blood of the other.”
(Alas the hour!)

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

A Story Of Doom: Book Vi.

Night. Now a tent was pitched, and Japhet sat
In the door and watched, for on a litter lay
The father of his love. And he was sick
To death; but daily he would rouse him up,
And stare upon the light, and ever say,
'On, let us journey'; but it came to pass
That night, across their path a river ran,
And they who served the father and the son
Had pitched the tents beside it, and had made
A fire, to scare away the savagery
That roamed in that great forest, for their way
Had led among the trees of God.
The moon
Shone on the river, like a silver road
To lead them over; but when Japhet looked,
He said, 'We shall not cross it. I shall lay
This well-belov餠head low in the leaves,—
Not on the farther side.' From time to time,
The water-snakes would stir its glassy flow
With curling undulations, and would lay
Their heads along the bank, and, subtle-eyed,
Consider those long spirting flames, that danced,
When some red log would break and crumble down;
And show his dark despondent eyes, that watched,
Wearily, even Japhet's. But he cared
Little; and in the dark, that was not dark,
But dimness of confused incertitude,
Would move a-near all silently, and gaze
And breathe, and shape itself, a man餠thing
With eyes; and still he cared not, and the form
Would falter, then recede, and melt again
Into the farther shade. And Japhet said:
'How long? The moon hath grown again in heaven,
After her caving twice, since we did leave
The threshold of our home; and now what 'vails
That far on tumbled mountain snow we toiled,
Hungry, and weary, all the day; by night
Waked with a dreadful trembling underneath,
To look, while every cone smoked, and there ran
Red brooks adown, that licked the forest up,
While in the pale white ashes wading on
We saw no stars?—what 'vails if afterward,
Astonished with great silence, we did move
Over the measureless, unknown desert mead;
While all the day, in rents and crevices,
Would lie the lizard and the serpent kind,
Drowsy; and in the night take fearsome shapes,
And oft-times woman-faced and woman-haired
Would trail their snaky length, and curse and mourn;
Or there would wander up, when we were tired,
Dark troops of evil ones, with eyes morose,
Withstanding us, and staring;—O! what 'vails
That in the dread deep forest we have fought
With following packs of wolves? These men of might,
Even the giants, shall not hear the doom
My father came to tell them of. Ah, me!
If God indeed had sent him, would he lie
(For he is stricken with a sore disease)
Helpless outside their city?'
Then he rose,
And put aside the curtains of the tent,
To look upon his father's face; and lo!
The tent being dark, he thought that somewhat sat
Beside the litter; and he set his eyes
To see it, and saw not; but only marked
Where, fallen away from manhood and from power,
His father lay. Then he came forth again,
Trembling, and crouched beside the dull red fire,
And murmured, 'Now it is the second time:
An old man, as I think (but scarcely saw).
Dreadful of might. Its hair was white as wool:
I dared not look; perhaps I saw not aught,
But only knew that it was there: the same
Which walked beside us once when he did pray.'
And Japhet hid his face between his hands
For fear, and grief of heart, and weariness
Of watching; and he slumbered not, but mourned
To himself, a little moment, as it seemed,
For sake of his loved father: then he lift
His eyes, and day had dawned. Right suddenly
The moon withheld her silver, and she hung
Frail as a cloud. The ruddy flame that played,
By night on dim, dusk trees, and on the flood,
Crept red amongst the logs, and all the world
And all the water blushed and bloomed. The stars
Were gone, and golden shafts came up, and touched
The feathered heads of palms, and green was born
Under the rosy cloud, and purples flew
Like veils across the mountains; and he saw,
Winding athwart them, bathed in blissful peace,
And the sacredness of morn, the battlements
And out-posts of the giants; and there ran
On the other side the river, as it were,
White mounds of marble, tabernacles fair,
And towers below a line of inland cliff:
These were their fastnesses, and here their homes.

In valleys and the forest, all that night,
There had been woe; in every hollow place,
And under walls, like drifted flowers, or snow,
Women lay mourning; for the serpent lodged
That night within the gates, and had decreed,
'I will (or ever I come) that ye drive out
The women, the abhorred of my soul.'
Therefore, more beauteous than all climbing bloom,
Purple and scarlet, cumbering of the boughs,
Or flights of azure doves that lit to drink
The water of the river; or, new born,
The quivering butterflies in companies,
That slowly crept adown the sandy marge,
Like living crocus beds, and also drank,
And rose an orange cloud; their hollowed hands
They dipped between the lilies, or with robes
Full of ripe fruitage, sat and peeled and ate,
Weeping; or comforting their little ones,
And lulling them with sorrowful long hymns
Among the palms.
So went the earlier morn.
Then came a messenger, while Japhet sat
Mournfully, and he said, 'The men of might
Are willing; let thy master, youth, appear.'
And Japhet said, 'So be it'; and he thought,
'Now will I trust in God'; and he went in
And stood before his father, and he said,
'My father'; but the Master answered not,
But gazed upon the curtains of his tent,
Nor knew that one had called him. He was clad
As ready for the journey, and his feet
Were sandalled, and his staff was at his side;
And Japhet took the gown of sacrifice
And spread it on him, and he laid his crown
Upon his knees, and he went forth, and lift
His hand to heaven, and cried, 'My father's God!'
But neither whisper came nor echo fell
When he did listen. Therefore he went on:
'Behold, I have a thing to say to thee.
My father charged thy servant, 'Let not ruth
Prevail with thee, to turn and bear me hence,
For God appointed me my task, to preach
Before the mighty.' I must do my part
(O! let it not displease thee), for he said
But yesternight, 'When they shall send for me,
Take me before them.' And I sware to him.
I pray thee, therefore, count his life and mine
Precious; for I that sware, I will perform.'

Then cried he to his people, 'Let us hence:
Take up the litter.' And they set their feet
Toward the raft whereby men crossed that flood.
And while they journeyed, lo, the giants sat
Within the fairest hall where all were fair,
Each on his carven throne, o'er-canopied
With work of women. And the dragon lay
In a place of honor; and with subtlety
He counselled them, for they did speak by turns;
And they being proud, might nothing master them,
But guile alone: and he did fawn on them;
And when the younger taunted him, submiss
He testified great humbleness, and cried,
'A cruel God, forsooth! but nay, O nay,
I will not think it of Him, that He meant
To threaten these. O, when I look on them,
How doth my soul admire.'

And one stood forth,
The youngest; of his brethren, named 'the Rock.'
'Speak out,' quoth he, 'thou toothless slavering thing,
What is it? thinkest thou that such as we
Should be afraid? What is this goodly doom?'
And Satan laughed upon him. 'Lo,' said he,
'Thou art not fully grown, and every one
I look on, standeth higher by the head,
Yea, and the shoulders, than do other men;
Forsooth, thy servant thought not thou wouldst fear,
Thou and thy fellows.' Then with one accord,
'Speak,' cried they; and with mild persuasive eyes,
And flattering tongue, he spoke.

'Ye mighty ones,
It hath been known to you these many days
How that for piety I am much famed.
I am exceeding pious: if I lie,
As hath been whispered, it is but for sake
Of God, and that ye should not think Him hard,
For I am all for God. Now some have thought
that He hath also (and it, may be so
Or yet may not be so) on me been hard;
Be not ye therefore wroth, for my poor sake;
I am contented to have earned your weal,
Though I must therefore suffer.

'Now to-day
One cometh, yea, an harmless man, a fool,
Who boasts he hath a message from our God,
And lest that you, for bravery of heart
And stoutness, being angered with his prate,
Should lift a hand, and kill him, I am here.'

Then spoke the Leader, 'How now, snake? Thy words
Ring false. Why ever liest thou, snake, to us?
Thou coward! none of us will see thee harmed.
I say thou liest. The land is strewed with slain;
Myself have hewn down companies, and blood
Makes fertile all the field. Thou knowest it well;
And hast thou, driveller, panting sore for age,
Come with a force to bid us spare one fool?'

And Satan answered, 'Nay you! be not wroth;
Yet true it is, and yet not all the truth.
Your servant would have told the rest, if now
(For fulness of your life being fretted sore
At mine infirmities, which God in vain
I supplicate to heal) ye had not caused
My speech to stop.' And he they called 'the Oak'
Made answer, ''Tis a good snake; let him be.
Why would ye fright the poor old craven beast?
Look how his lolling tongue doth foam for fear.
Ye should have mercy, brethren, on the weak.
Speak, dragon, thou hast leave; make stout thy heart.
What! hast thou lied to this great company?
It was, we know it was, for humbleness;
Thou wert not willing to offend with truth.'

'Yea, majesties,' quoth Satan, 'thus it was,'
And lifted up appealing eyes, and groaned;
'O, can it be, compassionate as brave,
And housed in cunning works themselves have reared,
And served in gold, and warmed with minivere,
And ruling nobly,—that He, not content
Unless alone He reigneth, looks to bend
O break them in, like slaves to cry to Him,
'What is Thy will with us, O Master dear?'
Or else to eat of death?

'For my part, lords,
I cannot think it: for my piety
And reason, which I also share with you,
Are my best lights, and ever counsel me,
'Believe not aught against thy God; believe,
Since thou canst never reach to do Him wrong,
That He will never stoop to do thee wrong.
Is He not just and equal, yea, and kind?'
Therefore, O majesties, it is my mind
Concerning him ye wot of, thus to think
The message is not like what I have learned
By reason and experience, of the God.
Therefore no message 'tis. The man is mad.'
Thereat the great Leader laughed for scorn. 'Hold, snake;
If God be just, there SHALL be reckoning days.
We rather would He were a partial God,
And being strong, He sided with the strong.
Turn now thy reason to the other side,
And speak for that; for as to justice, snake,
We would have none of it.'

And Satan fawned:
'My lord is pleased to mock at my poor wit;
Yet in my pious fashion I must talk:
For say that God was wroth with man, and came
And slew him, that should make an empty world,
But not a bettor nation.'

This replied,
'Truth, dragon, yet He is not bound to mean
A better nation; may be, He designs,
If none will turn again, a punishment
Upon an evil one.'
And Satan cried,
'Alas! my heart being full of love for men,
I cannot choose but think of God as like
To me; and yet my piety concludes,
Since He will have your fear, that love alone
Sufficeth not, and I admire, and say,
'Give me, O friends, your love, and give to God
Your fear.'' But they cried out in wrath and rage,
'We are not strong that any we will fear,
Nor specially a foe that means us ill.'

by Jean Ingelow.

A Story Of Doom: Book Vi.

Night. Now a tent was pitched, and Japhet sat
In the door and watched, for on a litter lay
The father of his love. And he was sick
To death; but daily he would rouse him up,
And stare upon the light, and ever say,
'On, let us journey'; but it came to pass
That night, across their path a river ran,
And they who served the father and the son
Had pitched the tents beside it, and had made
A fire, to scare away the savagery
That roamed in that great forest, for their way
Had led among the trees of God.
The moon
Shone on the river, like a silver road
To lead them over; but when Japhet looked,
He said, 'We shall not cross it. I shall lay
This well-belov餠head low in the leaves,—
Not on the farther side.' From time to time,
The water-snakes would stir its glassy flow
With curling undulations, and would lay
Their heads along the bank, and, subtle-eyed,
Consider those long spirting flames, that danced,
When some red log would break and crumble down;
And show his dark despondent eyes, that watched,
Wearily, even Japhet's. But he cared
Little; and in the dark, that was not dark,
But dimness of confused incertitude,
Would move a-near all silently, and gaze
And breathe, and shape itself, a man餠thing
With eyes; and still he cared not, and the form
Would falter, then recede, and melt again
Into the farther shade. And Japhet said:
'How long? The moon hath grown again in heaven,
After her caving twice, since we did leave
The threshold of our home; and now what 'vails
That far on tumbled mountain snow we toiled,
Hungry, and weary, all the day; by night
Waked with a dreadful trembling underneath,
To look, while every cone smoked, and there ran
Red brooks adown, that licked the forest up,
While in the pale white ashes wading on
We saw no stars?—what 'vails if afterward,
Astonished with great silence, we did move
Over the measureless, unknown desert mead;
While all the day, in rents and crevices,
Would lie the lizard and the serpent kind,
Drowsy; and in the night take fearsome shapes,
And oft-times woman-faced and woman-haired
Would trail their snaky length, and curse and mourn;
Or there would wander up, when we were tired,
Dark troops of evil ones, with eyes morose,
Withstanding us, and staring;—O! what 'vails
That in the dread deep forest we have fought
With following packs of wolves? These men of might,
Even the giants, shall not hear the doom
My father came to tell them of. Ah, me!
If God indeed had sent him, would he lie
(For he is stricken with a sore disease)
Helpless outside their city?'
Then he rose,
And put aside the curtains of the tent,
To look upon his father's face; and lo!
The tent being dark, he thought that somewhat sat
Beside the litter; and he set his eyes
To see it, and saw not; but only marked
Where, fallen away from manhood and from power,
His father lay. Then he came forth again,
Trembling, and crouched beside the dull red fire,
And murmured, 'Now it is the second time:
An old man, as I think (but scarcely saw).
Dreadful of might. Its hair was white as wool:
I dared not look; perhaps I saw not aught,
But only knew that it was there: the same
Which walked beside us once when he did pray.'
And Japhet hid his face between his hands
For fear, and grief of heart, and weariness
Of watching; and he slumbered not, but mourned
To himself, a little moment, as it seemed,
For sake of his loved father: then he lift
His eyes, and day had dawned. Right suddenly
The moon withheld her silver, and she hung
Frail as a cloud. The ruddy flame that played,
By night on dim, dusk trees, and on the flood,
Crept red amongst the logs, and all the world
And all the water blushed and bloomed. The stars
Were gone, and golden shafts came up, and touched
The feathered heads of palms, and green was born
Under the rosy cloud, and purples flew
Like veils across the mountains; and he saw,
Winding athwart them, bathed in blissful peace,
And the sacredness of morn, the battlements
And out-posts of the giants; and there ran
On the other side the river, as it were,
White mounds of marble, tabernacles fair,
And towers below a line of inland cliff:
These were their fastnesses, and here their homes.

In valleys and the forest, all that night,
There had been woe; in every hollow place,
And under walls, like drifted flowers, or snow,
Women lay mourning; for the serpent lodged
That night within the gates, and had decreed,
'I will (or ever I come) that ye drive out
The women, the abhorred of my soul.'
Therefore, more beauteous than all climbing bloom,
Purple and scarlet, cumbering of the boughs,
Or flights of azure doves that lit to drink
The water of the river; or, new born,
The quivering butterflies in companies,
That slowly crept adown the sandy marge,
Like living crocus beds, and also drank,
And rose an orange cloud; their hollowed hands
They dipped between the lilies, or with robes
Full of ripe fruitage, sat and peeled and ate,
Weeping; or comforting their little ones,
And lulling them with sorrowful long hymns
Among the palms.
So went the earlier morn.
Then came a messenger, while Japhet sat
Mournfully, and he said, 'The men of might
Are willing; let thy master, youth, appear.'
And Japhet said, 'So be it'; and he thought,
'Now will I trust in God'; and he went in
And stood before his father, and he said,
'My father'; but the Master answered not,
But gazed upon the curtains of his tent,
Nor knew that one had called him. He was clad
As ready for the journey, and his feet
Were sandalled, and his staff was at his side;
And Japhet took the gown of sacrifice
And spread it on him, and he laid his crown
Upon his knees, and he went forth, and lift
His hand to heaven, and cried, 'My father's God!'
But neither whisper came nor echo fell
When he did listen. Therefore he went on:
'Behold, I have a thing to say to thee.
My father charged thy servant, 'Let not ruth
Prevail with thee, to turn and bear me hence,
For God appointed me my task, to preach
Before the mighty.' I must do my part
(O! let it not displease thee), for he said
But yesternight, 'When they shall send for me,
Take me before them.' And I sware to him.
I pray thee, therefore, count his life and mine
Precious; for I that sware, I will perform.'

Then cried he to his people, 'Let us hence:
Take up the litter.' And they set their feet
Toward the raft whereby men crossed that flood.
And while they journeyed, lo, the giants sat
Within the fairest hall where all were fair,
Each on his carven throne, o'er-canopied
With work of women. And the dragon lay
In a place of honor; and with subtlety
He counselled them, for they did speak by turns;
And they being proud, might nothing master them,
But guile alone: and he did fawn on them;
And when the younger taunted him, submiss
He testified great humbleness, and cried,
'A cruel God, forsooth! but nay, O nay,
I will not think it of Him, that He meant
To threaten these. O, when I look on them,
How doth my soul admire.'

And one stood forth,
The youngest; of his brethren, named 'the Rock.'
'Speak out,' quoth he, 'thou toothless slavering thing,
What is it? thinkest thou that such as we
Should be afraid? What is this goodly doom?'
And Satan laughed upon him. 'Lo,' said he,
'Thou art not fully grown, and every one
I look on, standeth higher by the head,
Yea, and the shoulders, than do other men;
Forsooth, thy servant thought not thou wouldst fear,
Thou and thy fellows.' Then with one accord,
'Speak,' cried they; and with mild persuasive eyes,
And flattering tongue, he spoke.

'Ye mighty ones,
It hath been known to you these many days
How that for piety I am much famed.
I am exceeding pious: if I lie,
As hath been whispered, it is but for sake
Of God, and that ye should not think Him hard,
For I am all for God. Now some have thought
that He hath also (and it, may be so
Or yet may not be so) on me been hard;
Be not ye therefore wroth, for my poor sake;
I am contented to have earned your weal,
Though I must therefore suffer.

'Now to-day
One cometh, yea, an harmless man, a fool,
Who boasts he hath a message from our God,
And lest that you, for bravery of heart
And stoutness, being angered with his prate,
Should lift a hand, and kill him, I am here.'

Then spoke the Leader, 'How now, snake? Thy words
Ring false. Why ever liest thou, snake, to us?
Thou coward! none of us will see thee harmed.
I say thou liest. The land is strewed with slain;
Myself have hewn down companies, and blood
Makes fertile all the field. Thou knowest it well;
And hast thou, driveller, panting sore for age,
Come with a force to bid us spare one fool?'

And Satan answered, 'Nay you! be not wroth;
Yet true it is, and yet not all the truth.
Your servant would have told the rest, if now
(For fulness of your life being fretted sore
At mine infirmities, which God in vain
I supplicate to heal) ye had not caused
My speech to stop.' And he they called 'the Oak'
Made answer, ''Tis a good snake; let him be.
Why would ye fright the poor old craven beast?
Look how his lolling tongue doth foam for fear.
Ye should have mercy, brethren, on the weak.
Speak, dragon, thou hast leave; make stout thy heart.
What! hast thou lied to this great company?
It was, we know it was, for humbleness;
Thou wert not willing to offend with truth.'

'Yea, majesties,' quoth Satan, 'thus it was,'
And lifted up appealing eyes, and groaned;
'O, can it be, compassionate as brave,
And housed in cunning works themselves have reared,
And served in gold, and warmed with minivere,
And ruling nobly,—that He, not content
Unless alone He reigneth, looks to bend
O break them in, like slaves to cry to Him,
'What is Thy will with us, O Master dear?'
Or else to eat of death?

'For my part, lords,
I cannot think it: for my piety
And reason, which I also share with you,
Are my best lights, and ever counsel me,
'Believe not aught against thy God; believe,
Since thou canst never reach to do Him wrong,
That He will never stoop to do thee wrong.
Is He not just and equal, yea, and kind?'
Therefore, O majesties, it is my mind
Concerning him ye wot of, thus to think
The message is not like what I have learned
By reason and experience, of the God.
Therefore no message 'tis. The man is mad.'
Thereat the great Leader laughed for scorn. 'Hold, snake;
If God be just, there SHALL be reckoning days.
We rather would He were a partial God,
And being strong, He sided with the strong.
Turn now thy reason to the other side,
And speak for that; for as to justice, snake,
We would have none of it.'

And Satan fawned:
'My lord is pleased to mock at my poor wit;
Yet in my pious fashion I must talk:
For say that God was wroth with man, and came
And slew him, that should make an empty world,
But not a bettor nation.'

This replied,
'Truth, dragon, yet He is not bound to mean
A better nation; may be, He designs,
If none will turn again, a punishment
Upon an evil one.'
And Satan cried,
'Alas! my heart being full of love for men,
I cannot choose but think of God as like
To me; and yet my piety concludes,
Since He will have your fear, that love alone
Sufficeth not, and I admire, and say,
'Give me, O friends, your love, and give to God
Your fear.'' But they cried out in wrath and rage,
'We are not strong that any we will fear,
Nor specially a foe that means us ill.'

by Jean Ingelow.

A Story Of Doom: Book Vi.

Night. Now a tent was pitched, and Japhet sat
In the door and watched, for on a litter lay
The father of his love. And he was sick
To death; but daily he would rouse him up,
And stare upon the light, and ever say,
'On, let us journey'; but it came to pass
That night, across their path a river ran,
And they who served the father and the son
Had pitched the tents beside it, and had made
A fire, to scare away the savagery
That roamed in that great forest, for their way
Had led among the trees of God.
The moon
Shone on the river, like a silver road
To lead them over; but when Japhet looked,
He said, 'We shall not cross it. I shall lay
This well-belov餠head low in the leaves,—
Not on the farther side.' From time to time,
The water-snakes would stir its glassy flow
With curling undulations, and would lay
Their heads along the bank, and, subtle-eyed,
Consider those long spirting flames, that danced,
When some red log would break and crumble down;
And show his dark despondent eyes, that watched,
Wearily, even Japhet's. But he cared
Little; and in the dark, that was not dark,
But dimness of confused incertitude,
Would move a-near all silently, and gaze
And breathe, and shape itself, a man餠thing
With eyes; and still he cared not, and the form
Would falter, then recede, and melt again
Into the farther shade. And Japhet said:
'How long? The moon hath grown again in heaven,
After her caving twice, since we did leave
The threshold of our home; and now what 'vails
That far on tumbled mountain snow we toiled,
Hungry, and weary, all the day; by night
Waked with a dreadful trembling underneath,
To look, while every cone smoked, and there ran
Red brooks adown, that licked the forest up,
While in the pale white ashes wading on
We saw no stars?—what 'vails if afterward,
Astonished with great silence, we did move
Over the measureless, unknown desert mead;
While all the day, in rents and crevices,
Would lie the lizard and the serpent kind,
Drowsy; and in the night take fearsome shapes,
And oft-times woman-faced and woman-haired
Would trail their snaky length, and curse and mourn;
Or there would wander up, when we were tired,
Dark troops of evil ones, with eyes morose,
Withstanding us, and staring;—O! what 'vails
That in the dread deep forest we have fought
With following packs of wolves? These men of might,
Even the giants, shall not hear the doom
My father came to tell them of. Ah, me!
If God indeed had sent him, would he lie
(For he is stricken with a sore disease)
Helpless outside their city?'
Then he rose,
And put aside the curtains of the tent,
To look upon his father's face; and lo!
The tent being dark, he thought that somewhat sat
Beside the litter; and he set his eyes
To see it, and saw not; but only marked
Where, fallen away from manhood and from power,
His father lay. Then he came forth again,
Trembling, and crouched beside the dull red fire,
And murmured, 'Now it is the second time:
An old man, as I think (but scarcely saw).
Dreadful of might. Its hair was white as wool:
I dared not look; perhaps I saw not aught,
But only knew that it was there: the same
Which walked beside us once when he did pray.'
And Japhet hid his face between his hands
For fear, and grief of heart, and weariness
Of watching; and he slumbered not, but mourned
To himself, a little moment, as it seemed,
For sake of his loved father: then he lift
His eyes, and day had dawned. Right suddenly
The moon withheld her silver, and she hung
Frail as a cloud. The ruddy flame that played,
By night on dim, dusk trees, and on the flood,
Crept red amongst the logs, and all the world
And all the water blushed and bloomed. The stars
Were gone, and golden shafts came up, and touched
The feathered heads of palms, and green was born
Under the rosy cloud, and purples flew
Like veils across the mountains; and he saw,
Winding athwart them, bathed in blissful peace,
And the sacredness of morn, the battlements
And out-posts of the giants; and there ran
On the other side the river, as it were,
White mounds of marble, tabernacles fair,
And towers below a line of inland cliff:
These were their fastnesses, and here their homes.

In valleys and the forest, all that night,
There had been woe; in every hollow place,
And under walls, like drifted flowers, or snow,
Women lay mourning; for the serpent lodged
That night within the gates, and had decreed,
'I will (or ever I come) that ye drive out
The women, the abhorred of my soul.'
Therefore, more beauteous than all climbing bloom,
Purple and scarlet, cumbering of the boughs,
Or flights of azure doves that lit to drink
The water of the river; or, new born,
The quivering butterflies in companies,
That slowly crept adown the sandy marge,
Like living crocus beds, and also drank,
And rose an orange cloud; their hollowed hands
They dipped between the lilies, or with robes
Full of ripe fruitage, sat and peeled and ate,
Weeping; or comforting their little ones,
And lulling them with sorrowful long hymns
Among the palms.
So went the earlier morn.
Then came a messenger, while Japhet sat
Mournfully, and he said, 'The men of might
Are willing; let thy master, youth, appear.'
And Japhet said, 'So be it'; and he thought,
'Now will I trust in God'; and he went in
And stood before his father, and he said,
'My father'; but the Master answered not,
But gazed upon the curtains of his tent,
Nor knew that one had called him. He was clad
As ready for the journey, and his feet
Were sandalled, and his staff was at his side;
And Japhet took the gown of sacrifice
And spread it on him, and he laid his crown
Upon his knees, and he went forth, and lift
His hand to heaven, and cried, 'My father's God!'
But neither whisper came nor echo fell
When he did listen. Therefore he went on:
'Behold, I have a thing to say to thee.
My father charged thy servant, 'Let not ruth
Prevail with thee, to turn and bear me hence,
For God appointed me my task, to preach
Before the mighty.' I must do my part
(O! let it not displease thee), for he said
But yesternight, 'When they shall send for me,
Take me before them.' And I sware to him.
I pray thee, therefore, count his life and mine
Precious; for I that sware, I will perform.'

Then cried he to his people, 'Let us hence:
Take up the litter.' And they set their feet
Toward the raft whereby men crossed that flood.
And while they journeyed, lo, the giants sat
Within the fairest hall where all were fair,
Each on his carven throne, o'er-canopied
With work of women. And the dragon lay
In a place of honor; and with subtlety
He counselled them, for they did speak by turns;
And they being proud, might nothing master them,
But guile alone: and he did fawn on them;
And when the younger taunted him, submiss
He testified great humbleness, and cried,
'A cruel God, forsooth! but nay, O nay,
I will not think it of Him, that He meant
To threaten these. O, when I look on them,
How doth my soul admire.'

And one stood forth,
The youngest; of his brethren, named 'the Rock.'
'Speak out,' quoth he, 'thou toothless slavering thing,
What is it? thinkest thou that such as we
Should be afraid? What is this goodly doom?'
And Satan laughed upon him. 'Lo,' said he,
'Thou art not fully grown, and every one
I look on, standeth higher by the head,
Yea, and the shoulders, than do other men;
Forsooth, thy servant thought not thou wouldst fear,
Thou and thy fellows.' Then with one accord,
'Speak,' cried they; and with mild persuasive eyes,
And flattering tongue, he spoke.

'Ye mighty ones,
It hath been known to you these many days
How that for piety I am much famed.
I am exceeding pious: if I lie,
As hath been whispered, it is but for sake
Of God, and that ye should not think Him hard,
For I am all for God. Now some have thought
that He hath also (and it, may be so
Or yet may not be so) on me been hard;
Be not ye therefore wroth, for my poor sake;
I am contented to have earned your weal,
Though I must therefore suffer.

'Now to-day
One cometh, yea, an harmless man, a fool,
Who boasts he hath a message from our God,
And lest that you, for bravery of heart
And stoutness, being angered with his prate,
Should lift a hand, and kill him, I am here.'

Then spoke the Leader, 'How now, snake? Thy words
Ring false. Why ever liest thou, snake, to us?
Thou coward! none of us will see thee harmed.
I say thou liest. The land is strewed with slain;
Myself have hewn down companies, and blood
Makes fertile all the field. Thou knowest it well;
And hast thou, driveller, panting sore for age,
Come with a force to bid us spare one fool?'

And Satan answered, 'Nay you! be not wroth;
Yet true it is, and yet not all the truth.
Your servant would have told the rest, if now
(For fulness of your life being fretted sore
At mine infirmities, which God in vain
I supplicate to heal) ye had not caused
My speech to stop.' And he they called 'the Oak'
Made answer, ''Tis a good snake; let him be.
Why would ye fright the poor old craven beast?
Look how his lolling tongue doth foam for fear.
Ye should have mercy, brethren, on the weak.
Speak, dragon, thou hast leave; make stout thy heart.
What! hast thou lied to this great company?
It was, we know it was, for humbleness;
Thou wert not willing to offend with truth.'

'Yea, majesties,' quoth Satan, 'thus it was,'
And lifted up appealing eyes, and groaned;
'O, can it be, compassionate as brave,
And housed in cunning works themselves have reared,
And served in gold, and warmed with minivere,
And ruling nobly,—that He, not content
Unless alone He reigneth, looks to bend
O break them in, like slaves to cry to Him,
'What is Thy will with us, O Master dear?'
Or else to eat of death?

'For my part, lords,
I cannot think it: for my piety
And reason, which I also share with you,
Are my best lights, and ever counsel me,
'Believe not aught against thy God; believe,
Since thou canst never reach to do Him wrong,
That He will never stoop to do thee wrong.
Is He not just and equal, yea, and kind?'
Therefore, O majesties, it is my mind
Concerning him ye wot of, thus to think
The message is not like what I have learned
By reason and experience, of the God.
Therefore no message 'tis. The man is mad.'
Thereat the great Leader laughed for scorn. 'Hold, snake;
If God be just, there SHALL be reckoning days.
We rather would He were a partial God,
And being strong, He sided with the strong.
Turn now thy reason to the other side,
And speak for that; for as to justice, snake,
We would have none of it.'

And Satan fawned:
'My lord is pleased to mock at my poor wit;
Yet in my pious fashion I must talk:
For say that God was wroth with man, and came
And slew him, that should make an empty world,
But not a bettor nation.'

This replied,
'Truth, dragon, yet He is not bound to mean
A better nation; may be, He designs,
If none will turn again, a punishment
Upon an evil one.'
And Satan cried,
'Alas! my heart being full of love for men,
I cannot choose but think of God as like
To me; and yet my piety concludes,
Since He will have your fear, that love alone
Sufficeth not, and I admire, and say,
'Give me, O friends, your love, and give to God
Your fear.'' But they cried out in wrath and rage,
'We are not strong that any we will fear,
Nor specially a foe that means us ill.'

by Jean Ingelow.

Jubilate Agno: Fragment A

Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues; give the glory to the Lord, and the Lamb.

Nations, and languages, and every Creature, in which is the breath of Life.

Let man and beast appear before him, and magnify his name together.

Let Noah and his company approach the throne of Grace, and do homage to the Ark of their Salvation.

Let Abraham present a Ram, and worship the God of his Redemption.

Let Isaac, the Bridegroom, kneel with his Camels, and bless the hope of his pilgrimage.

Let Jacob, and his speckled Drove adore the good Shepherd of Israel.

Let Esau offer a scape Goat for his seed, and rejoice in the blessing of God his father.

Let Nimrod, the mighty hunter, bind a Leopard to the altar, and consecrate his spear to the Lord.

Let Ishmael dedicate a Tyger, and give praise for the liberty, in which the Lord has let him at large.

Let Balaam appear with an Ass, and bless the Lord his people and his creatures for a reward eternal.

Let Anah, the son of Zibion, lead a Mule to the temple, and bless God, who amerces the consolation of the creature for the service of Man.

Let Daniel come forth with a Lion, and praise God with all his might through faith in Christ Jesus.

Let Naphthali with an Hind give glory in the goodly words of Thanksgiving.

Let Aaron, the high priest, sanctify a Bull, and let him go free to the Lord and Giver of Life.

Let the Levites of the Lord take the Beavers of the brook alive into the Ark of the Testimony.

Let Eleazar with the Ermine serve the Lord decently and in purity.

Let Ithamar minister with a Chamois, and bless the name of Him, which cloatheth the naked.

Let Gershom with an Pygarg Hart bless the name of Him, who feedeth the hungry.

Let Merari praise the wisdom and power of God with the Coney, who scoopeth the rock, and archeth in the sand.

Let Kohath serve with the Sable, and bless God in the ornaments of the Temple.

Let Jehoida bless God with an Hare, whose mazes are determined for the health of the body and to parry the adversary.

Let Ahitub humble himself with an Ape before Almighty God, who is the maker of variety and pleasantry.

Let Abiathar with a Fox praise the name of the Lord, who ballances craft against strength and skill against number.

Let Moses, the Man of God, bless with a Lizard, in the sweet majesty of good-nature, and the magnanimity of meekness.

Let Joshua praise God with an Unicorn -- the swiftness of the Lord, and the strength of the Lord, and the spear of the Lord mighty in battle.

Let Caleb with an Ounce praise the Lord of the Land of beauty and rejoice in the blessing of his good Report.

Let Othniel praise God with the Rhinoceros, who put on his armour for the reward of beauty in the Lord.

Let Tola bless with the Toad, which is the good creature of God, tho' his virtue is in the secret, and his mention is not made.

Let Barak praise with the Pard -- and great is the might of the faithful and great is the Lord in the nail of Jael and in the sword of the Son of Abinoam.

Let Gideon bless with the Panther -- the Word of the Lord is invincible by him that lappeth from the brook.

Let Jotham praise with the Urchin, who took up his parable and provided himself for the adversary to kick against the pricks.

Let Boaz, the Builder of Judah, bless with the Rat, which dwelleth in hardship and peril, that they may look to themselves and keep their houses in order.

Let Obed-Edom with a Dormouse praise the Name of the Lord God his Guest for increase of his store and for peace.

Let Abishai bless with the Hyaena -- the terror of the Lord, and the fierceness, of his wrath against the foes of the King and of Israel.

Let Ethan praise with the Flea, his coat of mail, his piercer, and his vigour, which wisdom and providence have contrived to attract observation and to escape it.

Let Heman bless with the Spider, his warp and his woof, his subtlety and industry, which are good.

Let Chalcol praise with the Beetle, whose life is precious in the sight of God, tho his appearance is against him.

Let Darda with a Leech bless the Name of the Physician of body and soul.

Let Mahol praise the Maker of Earth and Sea with the Otter, whom God has given to dive and to burrow for his preservation.

Let David bless with the Bear -- The beginning of victory to the Lord -- to the Lord the perfection of excellence -- Hallelujah from the heart of God, and from the hand of the artist inimitable, and from the echo of the heavenly harp in sweetness magnifical and mighty.

Let Solomon praise with the Ant, and give the glory to the Fountain of all Wisdom.

Let Romamti-ezer bless with the Ferret -- The Lord is a rewarder of them, that diligently seek him.

Let Samuel, the Minister from a child, without ceasing praise with the Porcupine, which is the creature of defence and stands upon his arms continually.

Let Nathan with the Badger bless God for his retired fame, and privacy inaccessible to slander.

Let Joseph, who from the abundance of his blessing may spare to him, that lacketh, praise with the Crocodile, which is pleasant and pure, when he is interpreted, tho' his look is of terror and offence.

Let Esdras bless Christ Jesus with the Rose and his people, which is a nation of living sweetness.

Let Mephibosheth with the Cricket praise the God of chearfulness, hospitality, and gratitude.

Let Shallum with the Frog bless God for the meadows of Canaan, the fleece, the milk and the honey.

Let Hilkiah praise with the Weasel, which sneaks for his prey in craft, and dwelleth at ambush.

Let Job bless with the Worm -- the life of the Lord is in Humiliation, the Spirit also and the truth.

Let Elihu bless with the Tortoise, which is food for praise and thanksgiving.

Let Hezekiah praise with the Dromedary -- the zeal for the glory of God is excellence, and to bear his burden is grace.

Let Zadoc worship with the Mole -- before honour is humility, and he that looketh low shall learn.

Let Gad with the Adder bless in the simplicity of the preacher and the wisdom of the creature.

Let Tobias bless Charity with his Dog, who is faithful, vigilant, and a friend in poverty.

Let Anna bless God with the Cat, who is worthy to be presented before the throne of grace, when he has trampled upon the idol in his prank.

Let Benaiah praise with the Asp -- to conquer malice is nobler, than to slay the lion.

Let Barzillai bless with the Snail -- a friend in need is as the balm of Gilead, or as the slime to the wounded bark.

Let Joab with the Horse worship the Lord God of Hosts.

Let Shemaiah bless God with the Caterpiller -- the minister of vengeance is the harbinger of mercy.

Let Ahimelech with the Locust bless God from the tyranny of numbers.

Let Cornelius with the Swine bless God, which purifyeth all things for the poor.

Let Araunah bless with the Squirrel, which is a gift of homage from the poor man to the wealthy and increaseth good will.

Let Bakbakkar bless with the Salamander, which feedeth upon ashes as bread, and whose joy is at the mouth of the furnace.

Let Jabez bless with Tarantula, who maketh his bed in the moss, which he feedeth, that the pilgrim may take heed to his way.

Let Jakim with the Satyr bless God in the dance. --

Let Iddo praise the Lord with the Moth -- the writings of man perish as the garment, but the Book of God endureth for ever.

Let Nebuchadnezzar bless with the Grashopper -- the pomp and vanities of the world are as the herb of the field, but the glory of the Lord increaseth for ever.

Let Naboth bless with the Canker-worm -- envy is cruel and killeth and preyeth upon that which God has given to aspire and bear fruit.

Let Lud bless with the Elk, the strenuous asserter of his liberty, and the maintainer of his ground.

Let Obadiah with the Palmer-worm bless God for the remnant that is left.

Let Agur bless with the Cockatrice -- The consolation of the world is deceitful, and temporal honour the crown of him that creepeth.

Let Ithiel bless with the Baboon, whose motions are regular in the wilderness, and who defendeth himself with a staff against the assailant.

Let Ucal bless with the Cameleon, which feedeth on the Flowers and washeth himself in the dew.

Let Lemuel bless with the Wolf, which is a dog without a master, but the Lord hears his cries and feeds him in the desert.

Let Hananiah bless with the Civet, which is pure from benevolence.

Let Azarias bless with the Reindeer, who runneth upon the waters, and wadeth thro the land in snow.

Let Mishael bless with the Stoat -- the praise of the Lord gives propriety to all things.

Let Savaran bless with the Elephant, who gave his life for his country that he might put on immortality.

Let Nehemiah, the imitator of God, bless with the Monkey, who is work'd down from Man.

Let Manasses bless with the Wild-Ass -- liberty begetteth insolence, but necessity is the mother of prayer.

Let Jebus bless with the Camelopard, which is good to carry and to parry and to kneel.

Let Huz bless with the Polypus -- lively subtlety is acceptable to the Lord.

Let Buz bless with the Jackall -- but the Lord is the Lion's provider.

Let Meshullam bless with the Dragon, who maketh his den in desolation and rejoiceth amongst the ruins.

Let Enoch bless with the Rackoon, who walked with God as by the instinct.

Let Hashbadana bless with the Catamountain, who stood by the Pulpit of God against the dissensions of the Heathen.

Let Ebed-Melech bless with the Mantiger, the blood of the Lord is sufficient to do away the offence of Cain, and reinstate the creature which is amerced.

Let A Little Child with a Serpent bless Him, who ordaineth strength in babes to the confusion of the Adversary.

Let Huldah bless with the Silkworm -- the ornaments of the Proud are from the bowells of their Betters.

Let Susanna bless with the Butterfly -- beauty hath wings, but chastity is the Cherub.

Let Sampson bless with the Bee, to whom the Lord hath given strength to annoy the assailant and wisdom to his strength.

Let Amasiah bless with the Chaffer -- the top of the tree is for the brow of the champion, who has given the glory to God.

Let Hashum bless with the Fly, whose health is the honey of the air, but he feeds upon the thing strangled, and perisheth.

Let Malchiah bless with the Gnat -- it is good for man and beast to mend their pace.

Let Pedaiah bless with the Humble-Bee, who loves himself in solitude and makes his honey alone.

Let Maaseiah bless with the Drone, who with the appearance of a Bee is neither a soldier nor an artist, neither a swordsman nor smith.

Let Urijah bless with the Scorpion, which is a scourge against the murmurers -- the Lord keep it from our coasts.

Let Anaiah bless with the Dragon-fly, who sails over the pond by the wood-side and feedeth on the cressies.

Let Zorobabel bless with the Wasp, who is the Lord's architect, and buildeth his edifice in armour.

Let Jehu bless with the Hornet, who is the soldier of the Lord to extirpate abomination and to prepare the way of peace.

Let Mattithiah bless with the Bat, who inhabiteth the desolations of pride and flieth amongst the tombs.

Let Elias which is the innocency of the Lord rejoice with the Dove.

Let Asaph rejoice with the Nightingale -- The musician of the Lord! and the watchman of the Lord!

Let Shema rejoice with the Glowworm, who is the lamp of the traveller and mead of the musician.

Let Jeduthun rejoice with the Woodlark, who is sweet and various.

Let Chenaniah rejoice with Chloris, in the vivacity of his powers and the beauty of his person.

Let Gideoni rejoice with the Goldfinch, who is shrill and loud, and full withal.

Let Giddalti rejoice with the Mocking-bird, who takes off the notes of the Aviary and reserves his own.

Let Jogli rejoice with the Linnet, who is distinct and of mild delight.

Let Benjamin bless and rejoice with the Redbird, who is soft and soothing.

Let Dan rejoice with the Blackbird, who praises God with all his heart, and biddeth to be of good cheer.

by Christopher Smart.

The Book Of Hours Of Sister Clotilde

The Bell in the convent tower swung.
High overhead the great sun hung,
A navel for the curving sky.
The air was a blue clarity.
Swallows flew,
And a cock crew.

The iron clanging sank through the light air,
Rustled over with blowing branches. A flare
Of spotted green, and a snake had gone
Into the bed where the snowdrops shone
In green new-started,
Their white bells parted.

Two by two, in a long brown line,
The nuns were walking to breathe the fine
Bright April air. They must go in soon
And work at their tasks all the afternoon.
But this time is theirs!
They walk in pairs.

First comes the Abbess, preoccupied
And slow, as a woman often tried,
With her temper in bond. Then the oldest nun.
Then younger and younger, until the last one
Has a laugh on her lips,
And fairly skips.

They wind about the gravel walks
And all the long line buzzes and talks.
They step in time to the ringing bell,
With scarcely a shadow. The sun is well
In the core of a sky
Domed silverly.

Sister Marguerite said: 'The pears will soon bud.'
Sister Angelique said she must get her spud
And free the earth round the jasmine roots.
Sister Veronique said: 'Oh, look at those shoots!
There's a crocus up,
With a purple cup.'

But Sister Clotilde said nothing at all,
She looked up and down the old grey wall
To see if a lizard were basking there.
She looked across the garden to where
A sycamore
Flanked the garden door.

She was restless, although her little feet danced,
And quite unsatisfied, for it chanced
Her morning's work had hung in her mind
And would not take form. She could not find
The beautifulness
For the Virgin's dress.

Should it be of pink, or damasked blue?
Or perhaps lilac with gold shotted through?
Should it be banded with yellow and white
Roses, or sparked like a frosty night?
Or a crimson sheen
Over some sort of green?

But Clotilde's eyes saw nothing new
In all the garden, no single hue
So lovely or so marvellous
That its use would not seem impious.
So on she walked,
And the others talked.

Sister Elisabeth edged away
From what her companion had to say,
For Sister Marthe saw the world in little,
She weighed every grain and recorded each tittle.
She did plain stitching
And worked in the kitchen.

'Sister Radegonde knows the apples won't last,
I told her so this Friday past.
I must speak to her before Compline.'
Her words were like dust motes in slanting sunshine.
The other nun sighed,
With her pleasure quite dried.

Suddenly Sister Berthe cried out:
'The snowdrops are blooming!' They turned about.
The little white cups bent over the ground,
And in among the light stems wound
A crested snake,
With his eyes awake.

His body was green with a metal brightness
Like an emerald set in a kind of whiteness,
And all down his curling length were disks,
Evil vermilion asterisks,
They paled and flooded
As wounds fresh-blooded.

His crest was amber glittered with blue,
And opaque so the sun came shining through.
It seemed a crown with fiery points.
When he quivered all down his scaly joints,
From every slot
The sparkles shot.

The nuns huddled tightly together, fear
Catching their senses. But Clotilde must peer
More closely at the beautiful snake,
She seemed entranced and eased. Could she make
Colours so rare,
The dress were there.

The Abbess shook off her lethargy.
'Sisters, we will walk on,' said she.
Sidling away from the snowdrop bed,
The line curved forwards, the Abbess ahead.
Only Clotilde
Was the last to yield.

When the recreation hour was done
Each went in to her task. Alone
In the library, with its great north light,
Clotilde wrought at an exquisite
Wreath of flowers
For her Book of Hours.

She twined the little crocus blooms
With snowdrops and daffodils, the glooms
Of laurel leaves were interwoven
With Stars-of-Bethlehem, and cloven
Fritillaries,
Whose colour varies.

They framed the picture she had made,
Half-delighted and half-afraid.
In a courtyard with a lozenged floor
The Virgin watched, and through the arched door
The angel came
Like a springing flame.

His wings were dipped in violet fire,
His limbs were strung to holy desire.
He lowered his head and passed under the arch,
And the air seemed beating a solemn march.
The Virgin waited
With eyes dilated.

Her face was quiet and innocent,
And beautiful with her strange assent.
A silver thread about her head
Her halo was poised. But in the stead
Of her gown, there remained
The vellum, unstained.

Clotilde painted the flowers patiently,
Lingering over each tint and dye.
She could spend great pains, now she had seen
That curious, unimagined green.
A colour so strange
It had seemed to change.

She thought it had altered while she gazed.
At first it had been simple green; then glazed
All over with twisting flames, each spot
A molten colour, trembling and hot,
And every eye
Seemed to liquefy.

She had made a plan, and her spirits danced.
After all, she had only glanced
At that wonderful snake, and she must know
Just what hues made the creature throw
Those splashes and sprays
Of prismed rays.

When evening prayers were sung and said,
The nuns lit their tapers and went to bed.
And soon in the convent there was no light,
For the moon did not rise until late that night,
Only the shine
Of the lamp at the shrine.

Clotilde lay still in her trembling sheets.
Her heart shook her body with its beats.
She could not see till the moon should rise,
So she whispered prayers and kept her eyes
On the window-square
Till light should be there.

The faintest shadow of a branch
Fell on the floor. Clotilde, grown staunch
With solemn purpose, softly rose
And fluttered down between the rows
Of sleeping nuns.
She almost runs.

She must go out through the little side door
Lest the nuns who were always praying before
The Virgin's altar should hear her pass.
She pushed the bolts, and over the grass
The red moon's brim
Mounted its rim.

Her shadow crept up the convent wall
As she swiftly left it, over all
The garden lay the level glow
Of a moon coming up, very big and slow.
The gravel glistened.
She stopped and listened.

It was still, and the moonlight was getting clearer.
She laughed a little, but she felt queerer
Than ever before. The snowdrop bed
Was reached and she bent down her head.
On the striped ground
The snake was wound.

For a moment Clotilde paused in alarm,
Then she rolled up her sleeve and stretched out her arm.
She thought she heard steps, she must be quick.
She darted her hand out, and seized the thick
Wriggling slime,
Only just in time.

The old gardener came muttering down the path,
And his shadow fell like a broad, black swath,
And covered Clotilde and the angry snake.
He bit her, but what difference did that make!
The Virgin should dress
In his loveliness.

The gardener was covering his new-set plants
For the night was chilly, and nothing daunts
Your lover of growing things. He spied
Something to do and turned aside,
And the moonlight streamed
On Clotilde, and gleamed.

His business finished the gardener rose.
He shook and swore, for the moonlight shows
A girl with a fire-tongued serpent, she
Grasping him, laughing, while quietly
Her eyes are weeping.
Is he sleeping?

He thinks it is some holy vision,
Brushes that aside and with decision
Jumps -- and hits the snake with his stick,
Crushes his spine, and then with quick,
Urgent command
Takes her hand.

The gardener sucks the poison and spits,
Cursing and praying as befits
A poor old man half out of his wits.
'Whatever possessed you, Sister, it's
Hatched of a devil
And very evil.

It's one of them horrid basilisks
You read about. They say a man risks
His life to touch it, but I guess I've sucked it
Out by now. Lucky I chucked it
Away from you.
I guess you'll do.'

'Oh, no, Francois, this beautiful beast
Was sent to me, to me the least
Worthy in all our convent, so I
Could finish my picture of the Most High
And Holy Queen,
In her dress of green.

He is dead now, but his colours won't fade
At once, and by noon I shall have made
The Virgin's robe. Oh, Francois, see
How kindly the moon shines down on me!
I can't die yet,
For the task was set.'

'You won't die now, for I've sucked it away,'
Grumbled old Francois, 'so have your play.
If the Virgin is set on snake's colours so strong, --'
'Francois, don't say things like that, it is wrong.'
So Clotilde vented
Her creed. He repented.

'He can't do no more harm, Sister,' said he.
'Paint as much as you like.' And gingerly
He picked up the snake with his stick. Clotilde
Thanked him, and begged that he would shield
Her secret, though itching
To talk in the kitchen.

The gardener promised, not very pleased,
And Clotilde, with the strain of adventure eased,
Walked quickly home, while the half-high moon
Made her beautiful snake-skin sparkle, and soon
In her bed she lay
And waited for day.

At dawn's first saffron-spired warning
Clotilde was up. And all that morning,
Except when she went to the chapel to pray,
She painted, and when the April day
Was hot with sun,
Clotilde had done.

Done! She drooped, though her heart beat loud
At the beauty before her, and her spirit bowed
To the Virgin her finely-touched thought had made.
A lady, in excellence arrayed,
And wonder-souled.
Christ's Blessed Mould!

From long fasting Clotilde felt weary and faint,
But her eyes were starred like those of a saint
Enmeshed in Heaven's beatitude.
A sudden clamour hurled its rude
Force to break
Her vision awake.

The door nearly leapt from its hinges, pushed
By the multitude of nuns. They hushed
When they saw Clotilde, in perfect quiet,
Smiling, a little perplexed at the riot.
And all the hive
Buzzed 'She's alive!'

Old Francois had told. He had found the strain
Of silence too great, and preferred the pain
Of a conscience outraged. The news had spread,
And all were convinced Clotilde must be dead.
For Francois, to spite them,
Had not seen fit to right them.

The Abbess, unwontedly trembling and mild,
Put her arms round Clotilde and wept, 'My child,
Has the Holy Mother showed you this grace,
To spare you while you imaged her face?
How could we have guessed
Our convent so blessed!

A miracle! But Oh! My Lamb!
To have you die! And I, who am
A hollow, living shell, the grave
Is empty of me. Holy Mary, I crave
To be taken, Dear Mother,
Instead of this other.'

She dropped on her knees and silently prayed,
With anguished hands and tears delayed
To a painful slowness. The minutes drew
To fractions. Then the west wind blew
The sound of a bell,
On a gusty swell.

It came skipping over the slates of the roof,
And the bright bell-notes seemed a reproof
To grief, in the eye of so fair a day.
The Abbess, comforted, ceased to pray.
And the sun lit the flowers
In Clotilde's Book of Hours.

It glistened the green of the Virgin's dress
And made the red spots, in a flushed excess,
Pulse and start; and the violet wings
Of the angel were colour which shines and sings.
The book seemed a choir
Of rainbow fire.

The Abbess crossed herself, and each nun
Did the same, then one by one,
They filed to the chapel, that incensed prayers
Might plead for the life of this sister of theirs.
Clotilde, the Inspired!

She only felt tired.

* * * * *

The old chronicles say she did not die
Until heavy with years. And that is why
There hangs in the convent church a basket
Of osiered silver, a holy casket,
And treasured therein
A dried snake-skin.

by Amy Lowell.

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry


FLOOD-TIDE below me! I watch you face to face;
Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face
to face.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious
you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning
home, are more curious to me than you suppose;
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to
me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.


The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the
day;
The simple, compact, well-join'd scheme--myself disintegrated, every
one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme:
The similitudes of the past, and those of the future;
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings--on
the walk in the street, and the passage over the river;
The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away; 10
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;
The certainty of others--the life, love, sight, hearing of others.

Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to
shore;
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide;
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the
heights of Brooklyn to the south and east;
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half
an hour high;
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others
will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling
back to the sea of the ebb-tide.


It avails not, neither time or place--distance avails not; 20
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many
generations hence;
I project myself--also I return--I am with you, and know how it is.

Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd;
Just as you are refresh'd by the gladness of the river and the bright
flow, I was refresh'd;
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift
current, I stood, yet was hurried;
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and the thick-
stem'd pipes of steamboats, I look'd.

I too many and many a time cross'd the river, the sun half an hour
high;
I watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls--I saw them high in the air,
floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies, and
left the rest in strong shadow, 30
I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging toward the
south.

I too saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,
Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,
Look'd at the fine centrifugal spokes of light around the shape of my
head in the sun-lit water,
Look'd on the haze on the hills southward and southwestward,
Look'd on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet,
Look'd toward the lower bay to notice the arriving ships,
Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me,
Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops--saw the ships at anchor,
The sailors at work in the rigging, or out astride the spars, 40
The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender
serpentine pennants,
The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilot-
houses,
The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the
wheels,
The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sun-set,
The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the
frolicsome crests and glistening,
The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the
granite store-houses by the docks,
On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank'd on
each side by the barges--the hay-boat, the belated lighter,
On the neighboring shore, the fires from the foundry chimneys burning
high and glaringly into the night,
Casting their flicker of black, contrasted with wild red and yellow
light, over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of
streets.


These, and all else, were to me the same as they are to you; 50
I project myself a moment to tell you--also I return.

I loved well those cities;
I loved well the stately and rapid river;
The men and women I saw were all near to me;
Others the same--others who look back on me, because I look'd forward
to them;
(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)


What is it, then, between us?
What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us?

Whatever it is, it avails not--distance avails not, and place avails
not.


I too lived--Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine; 60
I too walk'd the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the
waters around it;
I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,
In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me,
In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon
me.

I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution;
I too had receiv'd identity by my Body;
That I was, I knew was of my body--and what I should be, I knew I
should be of my body.


It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,
The dark threw patches down upon me also;
The best I had done seem'd to me blank and suspicious; 70
My great thoughts, as I supposed them, were they not in reality
meagre? would not people laugh at me?

It is not you alone who know what it is to be evil;
I am he who knew what it was to be evil;
I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,
Blabb'd, blush'd, resented, lied, stole, grudg'd,
Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,
Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant;
The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,
The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not
wanting,
Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these
wanting. 80


But I was Manhattanese, friendly and proud!
I was call'd by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as
they saw me approaching or passing,
Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of
their flesh against me as I sat,
Saw many I loved in the street, or ferry-boat, or public assembly,
yet never told them a word,
Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing,
sleeping,
Play'd the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,
The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we
like,
Or as small as we like, or both great and small.


Closer yet I approach you;
What thought you have of me, I had as much of you--I laid in my
stores in advance; 90
I consider'd long and seriously of you before you were born.

Who was to know what should come home to me?
Who knows but I am enjoying this?
Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot
see me?

It is not you alone, nor I alone;
Not a few races, nor a few generations, nor a few centuries;
It is that each came, or comes, or shall come, from its due emission,
From the general centre of all, and forming a part of all:
Everything indicates--the smallest does, and the largest does;
A necessary film envelopes all, and envelopes the Soul for a proper
time. 100


Now I am curious what sight can ever be more stately and admirable to
me than my mast-hemm'd Manhattan,
My river and sun-set, and my scallop-edg'd waves of flood-tide,
The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight,
and the belated lighter;
Curious what Gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and
with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest
name as I approach;
Curious what is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or
man that looks in my face,
Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you.

We understand, then, do we not?
What I promis'd without mentioning it, have you not accepted?
What the study could not teach--what the preaching could not
accomplish, is accomplish'd, is it not?
What the push of reading could not start, is started by me
personally, is it not? 110


Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!
Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg'd waves!
Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the
men and women generations after me;
Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!
Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!--stand up, beautiful hills of
Brooklyn!
Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!
Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution!
Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street, or public
assembly!
Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my
nighest name!
Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or
actress! 120
Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one
makes it!

Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be
looking upon you;
Be firm, rail over the river, to support those who lean idly, yet
haste with the hasting current;
Fly on, sea-birds! fly sideways, or wheel in large circles high in
the air;
Receive the summer sky, you water! and faithfully hold it, till all
downcast eyes have time to take it from you;
Diverge, fine spokes of light, from the shape of my head, or any
one's head, in the sun-lit water;
Come on, ships from the lower bay! pass up or down, white-sail'd
schooners, sloops, lighters!
Flaunt away, flags of all nations! be duly lower'd at sunset;
Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys! cast black shadows at
nightfall! cast red and yellow light over the tops of the
houses;
Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are; 130
You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul;
About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung our divinest
aromas;
Thrive, cities! bring your freight, bring your shows, ample and
sufficient rivers;
Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual;
Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting.


We descend upon you and all things--we arrest you all;
We realize the soul only by you, you faithful solids and fluids;
Through you color, form, location, sublimity, ideality;
Through you every proof, comparison, and all the suggestions and
determinations of ourselves.

You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers! you
novices! 140
We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate
henceforward;
Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves
from us;
We use you, and do not cast you aside--we plant you permanently
within us;
We fathom you not--we love you--there is perfection in you also;
You furnish your parts toward eternity;
Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.

by Walt Whitman.

Malcolm's Katie: A Love Story - Part Iv.

From his far wigwam sprang the strong North Wind
And rush'd with war-cry down the steep ravines,
And wrestl'd with the giants of the woods;
And with his ice-club beat the swelling crests.
Of the deep watercourses into death,
And with his chill foot froze the whirling leaves
Of dun and gold and fire in icy banks;
And smote the tall reeds to the harden'd earth;
And sent his whistling arrows o'er the plains,
Scatt'ring the ling'ring herds--and sudden paus'd
When he had frozen all the running streams,
And hunted with his war-cry all the things
That breath'd about the woods, or roam'd the bleak
Bare prairies swelling to the mournful sky.
'White squaw,' he shouted, troubl'd in his soul,
'I slew the dead, wrestl'd with naked chiefs
'Unplum'd before, scalped of their leafy plumes;
'I bound sick rivers in cold thongs of death,
'And shot my arrows over swooning plains,
'Bright with the Paint of death--and lean and bare.
'And all the braves of my loud tribe will mock
'And point at me--when our great chief, the Sun,
'Relights his Council fire in the moon
'Of Budding Leaves.' 'Ugh, ugh! he is a brave!
'He fights with squaws and takes the scalps of babes!
'And the least wind will blow his calumet--
'Fill'd with the breath of smallest flow'rs--across
'The warpaint on my face, and pointing with
'His small, bright pipe, that never moved a spear
'Of bearded rice, cry, 'Ugh! he slays the dead!'
'O, my white squaw, come from thy wigwam grey,
'Spread thy white blanket on the twice-slain dead;
'And hide them, ere the waking of the Sun!'

* * * * *

High grew the snow beneath the low-hung sky,
And all was silent in the Wilderness;
In trance of stillness Nature heard her God
Rebuilding her spent fires, and veil'd her face
While the Great Worker brooded o'er His work.

* * * * *

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree,
What doth thy bold voice promise me?'

* * * * *

'I promise thee all joyous things,
That furnish forth the lives of kings!

* * * * *

'For ev'ry silver ringing blow,
Cities and palaces shall grow!'

* * * * *

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree,
Tell wider prophecies to me.'

* * * * *

'When rust hath gnaw'd me deep and red;
A nation strong shall lift his head!

* * * * *

'His crown the very Heav'ns shall smite,
Aeons shall build him in his might!'

* * * * *

'Bite deep and wide, O Axe, the tree;
Bright Seer, help on thy prophecy!'

* * * * *

Max smote the snow-weigh'd tree and lightly laugh'd.
'See, friend,' he cried to one that look'd and smil'd,
'My axe and I--we do immortal tasks--
We build up nations--this my axe and I!'
'O,' said the other with a cold, short smile,
'Nations are not immortal! is there now
'One nation thron'd upon the sphere of earth,
'That walk'd with the first Gods, and saw
'The budding world unfold its slow-leav'd flow'r?
'Nay; it is hardly theirs to leave behind
'Ruins so eloquent, that the hoary sage
'Can lay his hand upon their stones, and say:
''These once were thrones!' The lean, lank lion peals
'His midnight thunders over lone, red plains,
'Long-ridg'd and crested on their dusty waves,
'With fires from moons red-hearted as the sun;
'And deep re-thunders all the earth to him.
'For, far beneath the flame-fleck'd, shifting sands,
'Below the roots of palms, and under stones
'Of younger ruins, thrones, tow'rs and cities
'Honeycomb the earth. The high, solemn walls
'Of hoary ruins--their foundings all unknown
'(But to the round-ey'd worlds that walk
'In the blank paths of Space and blanker Chance).
'At whose stones young mountains wonder, and the seas'
'New-silv'ring, deep-set valleys pause and gaze;
'Are rear'd upon old shrines, whose very Gods
'Were dreams to the shrine-builders, of a time
'They caught in far-off flashes--as the child
'Half thinks he can remember how one came
'And took him in her hand and shew'd him that
'He thinks, she call'd the sun. Proud ships rear high
'On ancient billows that have torn the roots
'Of cliffs, and bitten at the golden lips
'Of firm, sleek beaches, till they conquer'd all,
'And sow'd the reeling earth with salted waves.
'Wrecks plunge, prow foremost, down still, solemn slopes,
'And bring their dead crews to as dead a quay;
'Some city built before that ocean grew,
'By silver drops from many a floating cloud,
'By icebergs bellowing in their throes of death,
'By lesser seas toss'd from their rocking cups,
'And leaping each to each; by dew-drops flung
'From painted sprays, whose weird leaves and flow'rs
'Are moulded for new dwellers on the earth,
'Printed in hearts of mountains and of mines.
'Nations immortal? where the well-trimm'd lamps
'Of long-past ages, when Time seem'd to pause
'On smooth, dust-blotted graves that, like the tombs
'Of monarchs, held dead bones and sparkling gems?
'She saw no glimmer on the hideous ring
'Of the black clouds; no stream of sharp, clear light
'From those great torches, pass'd into the black
'Of deep oblivion. She seem'd to watch, but she
'Forgot her long-dead nations. When she stirr'd
'Her vast limbs in the dawn that forc'd its fire
'Up the black East, and saw the imperious red
'Burst over virgin dews and budding flow'rs,
'She still forgot her molder'd thrones and kings,
'Her sages and their torches, and their Gods,
'And said, 'This is my birth--my primal day!'
'She dream'd new Gods, and rear'd them other shrines,
'Planted young nations, smote a feeble flame
'From sunless flint, re-lit the torch of mind;
'Again she hung her cities on the hills,
'Built her rich towers, crown'd her kings again,
'And with the sunlight on her awful wings
'Swept round the flow'ry cestus of the earth,
'And said, 'I build for Immortality!'
'Her vast hand rear'd her tow'rs, her shrines, her thrones;
'The ceaseless sweep of her tremendous wings
'Still beat them down and swept their dust abroad;
'Her iron finger wrote on mountain sides
'Her deeds and prowess--and her own soft plume
'Wore down the hills! Again drew darkly on
'A night of deep forgetfulness; once more
'Time seem'd to pause upon forgotten graves--
'Once more a young dawn stole into her eyes--
'Again her broad wings stirr'd, and fresh clear airs,
'Blew the great clouds apart;--again Time said,
''This is my birth--my deeds and handiwork
''Shall be immortal.' Thus and so dream on
'Fool'd nations, and thus dream their dullard sons.
'Naught is immortal save immortal--Death!'
Max paus'd and smil'd: 'O, preach such gospel, friend,
'To all but lovers who most truly love;
'For _them_, their gold-wrought scripture glibly reads
'All else is mortal but immortal--Love!'
'Fools! fools!' his friend said, 'most immortal fools!--
'But pardon, pardon, for, perchance, you love?'
'Yes,' said Max, proudly smiling, 'thus do I
'Possess the world and feel eternity!'
Dark laughter blacken'd in the other's eyes:
'Eternity! why, did such Iris arch
'Ent'ring our worm-bored planet, never liv'd
'One woman true enough such tryst to keep!'
'I'd swear by Kate,' said Max; 'and then, I had
'A mother, and my father swore by her.'
'By Kate? Ah, that were lusty oath, indeed!
'Some other man will look into her eyes,
'And swear me roundly, 'By true Catherine!'
'And Troilus swore by Cressed--so they say.'
'You never knew my Kate,' said Max, and pois'd
His axe again on high, 'But let it pass--
'You are too subtle for me; argument
'Have I none to oppose yours with--but this,
'Get you a Kate, and let her sunny eyes
'Dispel the doubting darkness in your soul.'
'And have not I a Kate? pause, friend, and see.
'She gave me this faint shadow of herself
'The day I slipp'd the watch-star of our loves--
'A ring--upon her hand--she loves me, too;
'Yet tho' her eyes be suns, no Gods are they
'To give me worlds, or make me feel a tide
'Of strong Eternity set towards my soul;
'And tho' she loves me, yet am I content
'To know she loves me by the hour--the year--
'Perchance the second--as all women love.'
The bright axe falter'd in the air, and ripp'd
Down the rough bark, and bit the drifted snow,
For Max's arm fell, wither'd in its strength,
'Long by his side. 'Your Kate,' he said; 'your Kate!'
'Yes, mine, while holds her mind that way, my Kate;
'I sav'd her life, and had her love for thanks;
'Her father is Malcolm Graem--Max, my friend,
'You pale! what sickness seizes on your soul?'
Max laugh'd, and swung his bright axe high again:
'Stand back a pace--a too far reaching blow
'Might level your false head with yon prone trunk--
'Stand back and listen while I say, 'You lie!
'That is my Katie's face upon your breast,
'But 'tis my Katie's love lives in my breast--
'Stand back, I say! my axe is heavy, and
'Might chance to cleave a liar's brittle skull.
'Your Kate! your Kate! your Kate!--hark, how the woods
'Mock at your lie with all their woody tongues,
'O, silence, ye false echoes! not his Kate
'But mine--I'm certain I will have your life!'
All the blue heav'n was dead in Max's eyes;
Doubt-wounded lay Kate's image in his heart,
And could not rise to pluck the sharp spear out.
'Well, strike, mad fool,' said Alfred, somewhat pale;
'I have no weapon but these naked hands.'
'Aye, but,' said Max, 'you smote my naked heart!
'O shall I slay him?--Satan, answer me--
'I cannot call on God for answer here.
'O Kate--!'
A voice from God came thro' the silent woods
And answer'd him--for suddenly a wind
Caught the great tree-tops, coned with high-pil'd snow,
And smote them to and fro, while all the air
Was sudden fill'd with busy drifts, and high
White pillars whirl'd amid the naked trunks,
And harsh, loud groans, and smiting, sapless boughs
Made hellish clamour in the quiet place.
With a shrill shriek of tearing fibres, rock'd
The half-hewn tree above his fated head;
And, tott'ring, asked the sudden blast, 'Which way?'
And, answ'ring its windy arms, crash'd and broke
Thro' other lacing boughs, with one loud roar
Of woody thunder; all its pointed boughs
Pierc'd the deep snow--its round and mighty corpse,
Bark-flay'd and shudd'ring, quiver'd into death.
And Max--as some frail, wither'd reed, the sharp
And piercing branches caught at him,
As hands in a death-throe, and beat him to the earth--
And the dead tree upon its slayer lay.
'Yet hear we much of Gods;--if such there be,
'They play at games of chance with thunderbolts,'
Said Alfred, 'else on me this doom had come.
'This seals my faith in deep and dark unfaith!
'Now Katie, are you mine, for Max is dead--
'Or will be soon, imprison'd by those boughs,
'Wounded and torn, sooth'd by the deadly palms
'Of the white, trait'rous frost; and buried then
'Under the snows that fill those vast, grey clouds,
'Low-sweeping on the fretted forest roof.
'And Katie shall believe you false--not dead;
'False, false!--And I? O, she shall find me true--
'True as a fabl'd devil to the soul
'He longs for with the heat of all hell's fires.
'These myths serve well for simile, I see.
'And yet--Down, Pity! knock not at my breast,
'Nor grope about for that dull stone my heart;
'I'll stone thee with it, Pity! Get thee hence,
'Pity, I'll strangle thee with naked hands;
'For thou dost bear upon thy downy breast
'Remorse, shap'd like a serpent, and her fangs
'Might dart at me and pierce my marrow thro'.
'Hence, beggar, hence--and keep with fools, I say!
'He bleeds and groans! Well, Max, thy God or mine
'Blind Chance, here play'd the butcher--'twas not I.
'Down, hands! ye shall not lift his fall'n head;
'What cords tug at ye? What? Ye'd pluck him up
'And staunch his wounds? There rises in my breast
'A strange, strong giant, throwing wide his arms
'And bursting all the granite of my heart!
'How like to quiv'ring flesh a stone may feel!
'Why, it has pangs! I'll none of them. I know
'Life is too short for anguish and for hearts--
'So I wrestle with thee, giant! and my will
'Turns the thumb, and thou shalt take the knife.
'Well done! I'll turn thee on the arena dust,
'And look on thee--What? thou wert Pity's self,
'Stol'n in my breast; and I have slaughter'd thee--
'But hist--where hast thou hidden thy fell snake,
'Fire-fang'd Remorse? Not in my breast, I know,
'For all again is chill and empty there,
'And hard and cold--the granite knitted up.
'So lie there, Max--poor fond and simple Max,
''Tis well thou diest: earth's children should not call
'Such as thee father--let them ever be
'Father'd by rogues and villains, fit to cope
'With the foul dragon Chance, and the black knaves
'Who swarm'd in loathsome masses in the dust.
'True Max, lie there, and slumber into death.'

* * * * *

by Isabella Valancy Crawford.

In a dim corner of my room for longer than
my fancy thinks
A beautiful and silent Sphinx has watched me
through the shifting gloom.

Inviolate and immobile she does not rise she
does not stir
For silver moons are naught to her and naught
to her the suns that reel.

Red follows grey across the air, the waves of
moonlight ebb and flow
But with the Dawn she does not go and in the
night-time she is there.

Dawn follows Dawn and Nights grow old and
all the while this curious cat
Lies couching on the Chinese mat with eyes of
satin rimmed with gold.

Upon the mat she lies and leers and on the
tawny throat of her
Flutters the soft and silky fur or ripples to her
pointed ears.

Come forth, my lovely seneschal! so somnolent,
so statuesque!
Come forth you exquisite grotesque! half woman
and half animal!

Come forth my lovely languorous Sphinx! and
put your head upon my knee!
And let me stroke your throat and see your
body spotted like the Lynx!

And let me touch those curving claws of yellow
ivory and grasp
The tail that like a monstrous Asp coils round
your heavy velvet paws!


A thousand weary centuries are thine
while I have hardly seen
Some twenty summers cast their green for
Autumn's gaudy liveries.

But you can read the Hieroglyphs on the
great sandstone obelisks,
And you have talked with Basilisks, and you
have looked on Hippogriffs.

O tell me, were you standing by when Isis to
Osiris knelt?
And did you watch the Egyptian melt her union
for Antony

And drink the jewel-drunken wine and bend
her head in mimic awe
To see the huge proconsul draw the salted tunny
from the brine?

And did you mark the Cyprian kiss white Adon
on his catafalque?
And did you follow Amenalk, the God of
Heliopolis?

And did you talk with Thoth, and did you hear
the moon-horned Io weep?
And know the painted kings who sleep beneath
the wedge-shaped Pyramid?


Lift up your large black satin eyes which are
like cushions where one sinks!
Fawn at my feet, fantastic Sphinx! and sing me
all your memories!

Sing to me of the Jewish maid who wandered
with the Holy Child,
And how you led them through the wild, and
how they slept beneath your shade.

Sing to me of that odorous green eve when
crouching by the marge
You heard from Adrian's gilded barge the
laughter of Antinous

And lapped the stream and fed your drouth and
watched with hot and hungry stare
The ivory body of that rare young slave with
his pomegranate mouth!

Sing to me of the Labyrinth in which the twi-
formed bull was stalled!
Sing to me of the night you crawled across the
temple's granite plinth

When through the purple corridors the screaming
scarlet Ibis flew
In terror, and a horrid dew dripped from the
moaning Mandragores,

And the great torpid crocodile within the tank
shed slimy tears,
And tare the jewels from his ears and staggered
back into the Nile,

And the priests cursed you with shrill psalms as
in your claws you seized their snake
And crept away with it to slake your passion by
the shuddering palms.


Who were your lovers? who were they
who wrestled for you in the dust?
Which was the vessel of your Lust? What
Leman had you, every day?

Did giant Lizards come and crouch before you
on the reedy banks?
Did Gryphons with great metal flanks leap on
you in your trampled couch?

Did monstrous hippopotami come sidling toward
you in the mist?
Did gilt-scaled dragons writhe and twist with
passion as you passed them by?

And from the brick-built Lycian tomb what
horrible Chimera came
With fearful heads and fearful flame to breed
new wonders from your womb?


Or had you shameful secret quests and did
you harry to your home
Some Nereid coiled in amber foam with curious
rock crystal breasts?

Or did you treading through the froth call to
the brown Sidonian
For tidings of Leviathan, Leviathan or
Behemoth?

Or did you when the sun was set climb up the
cactus-covered slope
To meet your swarthy Ethiop whose body was
of polished jet?

Or did you while the earthen skiffs dropped
down the grey Nilotic flats
At twilight and the flickering bats flew round
the temple's triple glyphs

Steal to the border of the bar and swim across
the silent lake
And slink into the vault and make the Pyramid
your lupanar

Till from each black sarcophagus rose up the
painted swathed dead?
Or did you lure unto your bed the ivory-horned
Tragelaphos?

Or did you love the god of flies who plagued
the Hebrews and was splashed
With wine unto the waist? or Pasht, who had
green beryls for her eyes?

Or that young god, the Tyrian, who was more
amorous than the dove
Of Ashtaroth? or did you love the god of the
Assyrian

Whose wings, like strange transparent talc, rose
high above his hawk-faced head,
Painted with silver and with red and ribbed with
rods of Oreichalch?

Or did huge Apis from his car leap down and
lay before your feet
Big blossoms of the honey-sweet and honey-
coloured nenuphar?


How subtle-secret is your smile! Did you
love none then? Nay, I know
Great Ammon was your bedfellow! He lay with
you beside the Nile!

The river-horses in the slime trumpeted when
they saw him come
Odorous with Syrian galbanum and smeared with
spikenard and with thyme.

He came along the river bank like some tall
galley argent-sailed,
He strode across the waters, mailed in beauty,
and the waters sank.

He strode across the desert sand: he reached
the valley where you lay:
He waited till the dawn of day: then touched
your black breasts with his hand.

You kissed his mouth with mouths of flame:
you made the horned god your own:
You stood behind him on his throne: you called
him by his secret name.

You whispered monstrous oracles into the
caverns of his ears:
With blood of goats and blood of steers you
taught him monstrous miracles.

White Ammon was your bedfellow! Your
chamber was the steaming Nile!
And with your curved archaic smile you watched
his passion come and go.


With Syrian oils his brows were bright:
and wide-spread as a tent at noon
His marble limbs made pale the moon and lent
the day a larger light.

His long hair was nine cubits' span and coloured
like that yellow gem
Which hidden in their garment's hem the
merchants bring from Kurdistan.

His face was as the must that lies upon a vat of
new-made wine:
The seas could not insapphirine the perfect azure
of his eyes.

His thick soft throat was white as milk and
threaded with thin veins of blue:
And curious pearls like frozen dew were
broidered on his flowing silk.


On pearl and porphyry pedestalled he was
too bright to look upon:
For on his ivory breast there shone the wondrous
ocean-emerald,

That mystic moonlit jewel which some diver of
the Colchian caves
Had found beneath the blackening waves and
carried to the Colchian witch.

Before his gilded galiot ran naked vine-wreathed
corybants,
And lines of swaying elephants knelt down to
draw his chariot,

And lines of swarthy Nubians bare up his litter
as he rode
Down the great granite-paven road between the
nodding peacock-fans.

The merchants brought him steatite from Sidon
in their painted ships:
The meanest cup that touched his lips was
fashioned from a chrysolite.

The merchants brought him cedar chests of rich
apparel bound with cords:
His train was borne by Memphian lords: young
kings were glad to be his guests.

Ten hundred shaven priests did bow to Ammon's
altar day and night,
Ten hundred lamps did wave their light through
Ammon's carven house - and now

Foul snake and speckled adder with their young
ones crawl from stone to stone
For ruined is the house and prone the great
rose-marble monolith!

Wild ass or trotting jackal comes and couches
in the mouldering gates:
Wild satyrs call unto their mates across the
fallen fluted drums.

And on the summit of the pile the blue-faced
ape of Horus sits
And gibbers while the fig-tree splits the pillars
of the peristyle


The god is scattered here and there: deep
hidden in the windy sand
I saw his giant granite hand still clenched in
impotent despair.

And many a wandering caravan of stately
negroes silken-shawled,
Crossing the desert, halts appalled before the
neck that none can span.

And many a bearded Bedouin draws back his
yellow-striped burnous
To gaze upon the Titan thews of him who was
thy paladin.


Go, seek his fragments on the moor and
wash them in the evening dew,
And from their pieces make anew thy mutilated
paramour!

Go, seek them where they lie alone and from
their broken pieces make
Thy bruised bedfellow! And wake mad passions
in the senseless stone!

Charm his dull ear with Syrian hymns! he loved
your body! oh, be kind,
Pour spikenard on his hair, and wind soft rolls
of linen round his limbs!

Wind round his head the figured coins! stain
with red fruits those pallid lips!
Weave purple for his shrunken hips! and purple
for his barren loins!


Away to Egypt! Have no fear. Only one
God has ever died.
Only one God has let His side be wounded by a
soldier's spear.

But these, thy lovers, are not dead. Still by the
hundred-cubit gate
Dog-faced Anubis sits in state with lotus-lilies
for thy head.

Still from his chair of porphyry gaunt Memnon
strains his lidless eyes
Across the empty land, and cries each yellow
morning unto thee.

And Nilus with his broken horn lies in his black
and oozy bed
And till thy coming will not spread his waters on
the withering corn.

Your lovers are not dead, I know. They will
rise up and hear your voice
And clash their cymbals and rejoice and run to
kiss your mouth! And so,

Set wings upon your argosies! Set horses to
your ebon car!
Back to your Nile! Or if you are grown sick of
dead divinities

Follow some roving lion's spoor across the copper-
coloured plain,
Reach out and hale him by the mane and bid
him be your paramour!

Couch by his side upon the grass and set your
white teeth in his throat
And when you hear his dying note lash your
long flanks of polished brass

And take a tiger for your mate, whose amber
sides are flecked with black,
And ride upon his gilded back in triumph
through the Theban gate,

And toy with him in amorous jests, and when
he turns, and snarls, and gnaws,
O smite him with your jasper claws! and bruise
him with your agate breasts!


Why are you tarrying? Get hence! I
weary of your sullen ways,
I weary of your steadfast gaze, your somnolent
magnificence.

Your horrible and heavy breath makes the light
flicker in the lamp,
And on my brow I feel the damp and dreadful
dews of night and death.

Your eyes are like fantastic moons that shiver
in some stagnant lake,
Your tongue is like a scarlet snake that dances
to fantastic tunes,

Your pulse makes poisonous melodies, and your
black throat is like the hole
Left by some torch or burning coal on Saracenic
tapestries.

Away! The sulphur-coloured stars are hurrying
through the Western gate!
Away! Or it may be too late to climb their silent
silver cars!

See, the dawn shivers round the grey gilt-dialled
towers, and the rain
Streams down each diamonded pane and blurs
with tears the wannish day.

What snake-tressed fury fresh from Hell, with
uncouth gestures and unclean,
Stole from the poppy-drowsy queen and led you
to a student's cell?


What songless tongueless ghost of sin crept
through the curtains of the night,
And saw my taper burning bright, and knocked,
and bade you enter in?

Are there not others more accursed, whiter with
leprosies than I?
Are Abana and Pharphar dry that you come here
to slake your thirst?

Get hence, you loathsome mystery! Hideous
animal, get hence!
You wake in me each bestial sense, you make me
what I would not be.

You make my creed a barren sham, you wake
foul dreams of sensual life,
And Atys with his blood-stained knife were
better than the thing I am.

False Sphinx! False Sphinx! By reedy Styx
old Charon, leaning on his oar,
Waits for my coin. Go thou before, and leave
me to my crucifix,

Whose pallid burden, sick with pain, watches
the world with wearied eyes,
And weeps for every soul that dies, and weeps
for every soul in vain.

by Oscar Wilde.

A Story Of Doom: Book Vii.

And while he spoke there was a noise without;
The curtains of the door were flung aside,
And some with heavy feet bare in, and set
A litter on the floor.
The Master lay
Upon it, but his eyes were dimmed and set;
And Japhet, in despairing weariness,
Leaned it beside. He marked the mighty ones,
Silent for pride of heart, and in his place
The jewelled dragon; and the dragon laughed,
And subtly peered at him, till Japhet shook
With rage and fear. The snaky wonder cried,
Hissing, 'Thou brown-haired youth, come up to me;
I fain would have thee for my shrine afar,
To serve among an host as beautiful
As thou: draw near.' It hissed, and Japhet felt
Horrible drawings, and cried out in fear,
'Father! O help, the serpent draweth me!'
And struggled and grew faint, as in the toils
A netted bird. But still his father lay
Unconscious, and the mighty did not speak,
But half in fear and half for wonderment
Beheld. And yet again the dragon laughed,
And leered at him and hissed; and Japhet strove
Vainly to take away his spell-set eyes,
And moved to go to him, till piercingly
Crying out, 'God! forbid it, God in heaven!'
The dragon lowered his head, and shut his eyes
As feigning sleep; and, suddenly released,
He fell back staggering; and at noise of it,
And clash of Japhet's weapons on the floor,
And Japhet's voice crying out, 'I loathe thee, snake!
I hate thee! O, I hate thee!' came again,
The senses of the shipwright; and he, moved,
And looking, as one 'mazed, distressfully
Upon the mighty, said, 'One called on God:
Where is my God? If God have need of me,
Let Him come down and touch my lips with strength,
Or dying I shall die.'

It came to pass,
While he was speaking, that the curtains swayed;
A rushing wind did move throughout the place,
And all the pillars shook, and on the head
Of Noah the hair was lifted, and there played
A somewhat, as it were a light, upon
His breast; then fell a darkness, and men heard
A whisper as of one that spake. With that,
The daunted mighty ones kept silent watch
Until the wind had ceased and darkness fled.
When it grew light, there curled a cloud of smoke
From many censers where the dragon lay.
It hid him. He had called his ministrants,
And bid them veil him thus, that none might look;
Also the folk who came with Noah had fled.

But Noah was seen, for he stood up erect,
And leaned on Japhet's hand. Then, after pause,
The Leader said, 'My brethren, it were well
(For naught we fear) to let this sorcerer speak.'
And they did reach toward the man their staves,
And cry with loud accord, 'Hail, sorcerer, hail!'

And he made answer, 'Hail! I am a man
That is a shipwright. I was born afar
To Lamech, him that reigns a king, to wit,
Over the land of Jalal. Majesties,
I bring a message,—lay you it to heart;
For there is wrath in heaven: my God is wroth.
'Prepare your houses, or I come,' saith He,
'A Judge.' Now, therefore, say not in your hearts,
'What have we done?' Your dogs may answer that,
To make whom fiercer for the chase, ye feed
With captives whom ye slew not in the war,
But saved alive, and living throw to them
Daily. Your wives may answer that, whose babes
Their firstborn ye do take and offer up
To this abhorred snake, while yet the milk
Is in their innocent mouths,—your maiden babes
Tender. Your slaves may answer that,—the gangs
Whose eyes ye did put out to make them work
By night unwitting (yea, by multitudes
They work upon the wheel in chains). Your friends
May answer that,—(their bleach餠bones cry out.)
For ye did, wickedly, to eat their lands,
Turn on their valleys, in a time of peace,
The rivers, and they, choking in the night,
Died unavenged. But rather (for I leave
To tell of more, the time would be so long
To do it, and your time, O mighty ones,
Is short),—but rather say, 'We sinners know
Why the Judge standeth at the door,' and turn
While yet there may be respite, and repent.

''Or else,' saith He that form餠you, 'I swear,
By all the silence of the times to come,
By the solemnities of death,—yea, more,.
By Mine own power and love which ye have scorned,
That I will come. I will command the clouds,
And raining they shall rain; yea, I will stir
With all my storms the ocean for your sake,
And break for you the boundary of the deep.

''Then shall the mighty mourn.
Should I forbear,
That have been patient? I will not forbear!
For yet,' saith He, 'the weak cry out; for yet
The little ones do languish; and the slave
Lifts up to Me his chain. I therefore, I
Will hear them. I by death will scatter you;
Yea, and by death will draw them to My breast,
And gather them to peace.
''But yet,' saith He,
'Repent, and turn you. Wherefore will ye die?'

'Turn then, O turn, while yet the enemy
Untamed of man fatefully moans afar;
For if ye will not turn, the doom is near.
Then shall the crested wave make sport, and beat
You mighty at your doors. Will ye be wroth?
Will ye forbid it? Monsters of the deep
Shall suckle in your palaces their young,
And swim atween your hangings, all of them
Costly with broidered work, and rare with gold
And white and scarlet (there did ye oppress,—
There did ye make you vile): but ye shall lie
Meekly, and storm and wind shall rage above,
And urge the weltering wave.

''Yet,' saith thy God,
'Son,' ay, to each of you He saith, 'O son,
Made in My image, beautiful and strong,
Why wilt thou die? Thy Father loves thee well.
Repent and turn thee from thine evil ways,
O son! and no more dare the wrath of love.
Live for thy Father's sake that formed thee.
Why wilt thou die?' Here will I make an end.'

Now ever on his dais the dragon lay,
Feigning to sleep; and all the mighty ones
Were wroth, and chided, some against the woe,
And some at whom the sorcerer they had named,—
Some at their fellows, for the younger sort,—
As men the less acquaint with deeds of blood,
And given to learning and the arts of peace
(Their fathers having crushed rebellion out
Before their time)—lent favorable ears.
They said, 'A man, or false or fanatic,
May claim good audience if he fill our ears
With what is strange: and we would hear again.'

The Leader said, 'An audience hath been given.
The man hath spoken, and his words are naught;
A feeble threatener, with a foolish threat,
And it is not our manner that we sit
Beyond the noonday'; then they grandly rose,
A stalwart crowd, and with their Leader moved
To the tones of harping, and the beat of shawms,
And the noise of pipes, away. But some were left
About the Master; and the feigning snake
Couched on his dais.
Then one to Japhet said,
One called 'the Cedar-Tree,' 'Dost thou, too, think
To reign upon our lands when we lie drowned?'
And Japhet said, 'I think not, nor desire,
Nor in my heart consent, but that ye swear
Allegiance to the God, and live.' He cried,
To one surnamed 'the Pine,'—'Brother, behooves
That deep we cut our names in yonder crag.
Else when this youth returns, his sons may ask
Our names, and he may answer, 'Matters not,
For my part I forget them.''
Japhet said,
'They might do worse than that, they might deny
That such as you have ever been.' With that
They answered, 'No, thou dost not think it, no!'
And Japhet, being chafed, replied in heat,
'And wherefore? if ye say of what is sworn,
'He will not do it,' shall it be more hard
For future men, if any talk on it,
To say, 'He did not do it'?' They replied,
With laughter, 'Lo you! he is stout with us.
And yet he cowered before the poor old snake.
Sirrah, when you are saved, we pray you now
To bear our might in mind,—do, sirrah, do;
And likewise tell your sons, ''The Cedar Tree'
Was a good giant, for he struck me not,
Though he was young and full of sport, and though
I taunted him.''
With that they also passed.
But there remained who with the shipwright spoke:
'How wilt thou certify to us thy truth?'
And he related to them all his ways
From the beginning: of the Voice that called;
Moreover, how the ship of doom was built.

And one made answer, 'Shall the mighty God
Talk with a man of wooden beams and bars?
No, thou mad preacher, no. If He, Eterne,
Be ordering of His far infinitudes,
And darkness cloud a world, it is but chance,
As if the shadow of His hand had fallen
On one that He forgot, and troubled it.'
Then said the Master, 'Yet,—who told thee so?'

And from his daﳠthe feigning serpent hissed:
'Preacher, the light within, it was that shined,
And told him so. The pious will have dread
Him to declare such as ye rashly told.
The course of God is one. It likes not us
To think of Him as being acquaint with change:
It were beneath Him. Nay, the finished earth
Is left to her great masters. They must rule;
They do; and I have set myself between,—
A visible thing for worship, sith His face
(For He is hard) He showeth not to men.
Yea, I have set myself 'twixt God and man,
To be interpreter, and teach mankind
A pious lesson by my piety,
He loveth not, nor hateth, nor desires,—
It were beneath Him.'
And the Master said,
'Thou liest. Thou wouldst lie away the world,
If He, whom thou hast dared speak against,
Would suffer it.' 'I may not chide with thee,'
It answered, 'NOW; but if there come such time
As thou hast prophesied, as I now reign
In all men's sight, shall my dominion then
Reach to be mighty in their souls. Thou too
Shalt feel it, prophet.' And he lowered his head.

Then quoth the Leader of the young men: 'Sir,
We scorn you not; speak further; yet our thought
First answer. Not but by a miracle
Can this thing be. The fashion of the world
We heretofore have never known to change;
And will God change it now?'
He then replied:
'What is thy thought? THERE is NO MIRACLE?
There is a great one, which thou hast not read.
And never shalt escape. Thyself, O man,
Thou art the miracle. Lo, if thou sayest,
'I am one, and fashioned like the gracious world,
Red clay is all my make, myself, my whole,
And not my habitation,' then thy sleep
Shall give thee wings to play among the rays
O' the morning. If thy thought be, 'I am one,—
A spirit among spirits,—and the world
A dream my spirit dreameth of, my dream
Being all,' the dominating mountains strong
Shall not for that forbear to take thy breath,
And rage with all their winds, and beat thee back,
And beat thee down when thou wouldst set thy feet
Upon their awful crests. Ay, thou thyself,
Being in the world and of the world, thyself
Hast breathed in breath from Him that made the world.
Thou dost inherit, as thy Maker's son,
That which He is, and that which He hath made:
Thou art thy Father's copy of Himself,—
THOU art thy FATHER'S MIRACLE.
Behold
He buildeth up the stars in companies;
He made for them a law. To man He said,
'Freely I give thee freedom.' What remains?
O, it remains, if thou, the image of God,
Wilt reason well, that thou shalt know His ways;
But first thou must be loyal,—love, O man,
Thy Father,—hearken when He pleads with thee,
For there is something left of Him e'en now,—
A witness for thy Father in thy soul,
Albeit thy better state thou hast foregone.

'Now, then, be still, and think not in thy soul,
'The rivers in their course forever run,
And turn not from it. He is like to them
Who made them,' Think the rather, 'With my foot
I have turned the rivers from their ancient way,
To water grasses that were fading. What!
Is God my Father as the river wave,
That yet descendeth, like the lesser thing
He made, and not like me, a living son,
That changed the watercourse to suit his will?'

'Man is the miracle in nature. God
Is the ONE MIRACLE to man. Behold,
'There is a God,' thou sayest. Thou sayest well:
In that thou sayest all. To Be is more
Of wonderful, than being, to have wrought,
Or reigned, or rested.
Hold then there, content;
Learn that to love is the one way to know,
Or God or man: it is not love received
That maketh man to know the inner life
Of them that love him; his own love bestowed
Shall do it. Love thy Father, and no more
His doings shall be strange. Thou shalt not fret
At any counsel, then, that He will send,—
No, nor rebel, albeit He have with thee
Great reservations. Know, to Be is more
Than to have acted; yea, or after rest
And patience, to have risen and been wroth,
Broken the sequence of an ordered earth,
And troubled nations.'
Then the dragon sighed.
'Poor fanatic,' quoth he, 'thou speakest well.
Would I were like thee, for thy faith is strong,
Albeit thy senses wander. Yea, good sooth,
My masters, let us not despise, but learn
Fresh loyalty from this poor loyal soul.
Let us go forth—(myself will also go
To head you)—and do sacrifice; for that,
We know, is pleasing to the mighty God:
But as for building many arks of wood,
O majesties! when He shall counsel you
HIMSELF, then build. What say you, shall it be
An hundred oxen,—fat, well liking, white?
An hundred? why, a thousand were not much
To such as you.' Then Noah lift up his arms
To heaven, and cried, 'Thou aged shape of sin,
The Lord rebuke thee.'

by Jean Ingelow.

The Two Swans (A Fairy Tale)

I

Immortal Imogen, crown'd queen above
The lilies of thy sex, vouchsafe to hear
A fairy dream in honor of true love—
True above ills, and frailty, and all fear,—
Perchance a shadow of his own career
Whose youth was darkly prison'd and long-twined
By serpent-sorrow, till white Love drew near,
And sweetly sang him free, and round his mind
A bright horizon threw, wherein no grief may wind.


II

I saw a tower builded on a lake,
Mock'd by its inverse shadow, dark and deep—
That seem'd a still intenser night to make,
Wherein the quiet waters sank to sleep,—
And, whatso'er was prison'd in that keep,
A monstrous Snake was warden:—round and round
In sable ringlets I beheld him creep
Blackest amid black shadows to the ground,
Whilst his enormous head, the topmost turret crown'd.


III

From whence he shot fierce light against the stars,
Making the pale moon paler with affright;
And with his ruby eye out-threaten'd Mars—
That blaz'd in the mid-heavens, hot and bright—
Nor slept, nor wink'd, but with a steadfast spite
Watch'd their wan looks and tremblings in the skies;
And that he might not slumber in the night,
The curtain-lids were pluck'd from his large eyes,
So he might never drowse, but watch his secret prize.


IV

Prince or princess in dismal durance pent,
Victims of old Enchantment's love or hate,
Their lives must all in painful sighs be spent,
Watching the lonely waters soon and late,
And clouds that pass and leave them to their fate,
Or company their grief with heavy tears:—
Meanwhile that Hope can spy no golden gate
For sweet escapement, but in darksome fears
They weep and pine away as if immortal years.


V

No gentle bird with gold upon its wing
Will perch upon the grate—the gentle bird
Is safe in leafy dell, and will not bring
Freedom's sweet key-note and commission-word
Learn'd of a fairy's lips, for pity stirr'd—
Lest while he trembling sings, untimely guest!
Watch'd by that cruel Snake and darkly heard,
He leave a widow on her lonely nest,
To press in silent grief the darlings of her breast.


VI

No gallant knight, adventurous, in his bark,
Will seek the fruitful perils of the place,
To rouse with dipping oar the waters dark
That bear that serpent image on their face.
And Love, brave Love! though he attempt the base,
Nerved to his loyal death, he may not win
His captive lady from the strict embrace
Of that foul Serpent, clasping her within
His sable folds—like Eve enthrall'd by the old Sin.


VII

But there is none—no knight in panoply,
Nor Love, intrench'd in his strong steely coat:
No little speck—no sail—no helper nigh,
No sign—no whispering—no plash of boat:—
The distant shores show dimly and remote,
Made of a deeper mist,—serene and gray,—
And slow and mute the cloudy shadows float
Over the gloomy wave, and pass away,
Chased by the silver beams that on their marges play.


VIII

And bright and silvery the willows sleep
Over the shady verge—no mad winds tease
Their hoary heads; but quietly they weep
Their sprinkling leaves—half fountains and half trees:
Their lilies be—and fairer than all these,
A solitary Swan her breast of snow
Launches against the wave that seems to freeze
Into a chaste reflection, still below
Twin shadow of herself wherever she may go.


IX

And forth she paddles in the very noon
Of solemn midnight like an elfin thing,
Charm'd into being by the argent moon—
Whose silver light for love of her fair wing
Goes with her in the shade, still worshipping
Her dainty plumage:—all around her grew
A radiant circlet, like a fairy ring;
And all behind, a tiny little clue
Of light, to guide her back across the waters blue.


X

And sure she is no meaner than a fay,
Redeem'd from sleepy death, for beauty's sake,
By old ordainment:—silent as she lay,
Touched by a moonlight wand I saw her wake,
And cut her leafy slough, and so forsake
The verdant prison of her lily peers,
That slept amidst the stars upon the lake—
A breathing shape—restored to human fears,
And new-born love and grief—self-conscious of her tears.


XI

And now she clasps her wings around her heart,
And near that lonely isle begins to glide,
Pale as her fears, and oft-times with a start
Turns her impatient head from side to side
In universal terrors—all too wide
To watch; and often to that marble keep
Upturns her pearly eyes, as if she spied
Some foe, and crouches in the shadows steep
That in the gloomy wave go diving fathoms deep.


XII

And well she may, to spy that fearful thing
All down the dusky walls in circlets wound;
Alas! for what rare prize, with many a ring
Girding the marble casket round and round?
His folded tail, lost in the gloom profound,
Terribly darkeneth the rocky base;
But on the top his monstrous head is crown'd
With prickly spears, and on his doubtful face
Gleam his unwearied eyes, red watchers of the place.


XIII
Alas! of the hot fires that nightly fall,
No one will scorch him in those orbs of spite,
So he may never see beneath the wall
That timid little creature, all too bright,
That stretches her fair neck, slender and white,
Invoking the pale moon, and vainly tries
Her throbbing throat, as if to charm the night
With song—but, hush—it perishes in sighs,
And there will be no dirge sad-swelling, though she dies!


XIV

She droops—she sinks—she leans upon the lake,
Fainting again into a lifeless flower;
But soon the chilly springs anoint and wake
Her spirit from its death, and with new power
She sheds her stifled sorrows in a shower
Of tender song, timed to her falling tears—
That wins the shady summit of that tower,
And, trembling all the sweeter for its fears,
Fills with imploring moan that cruel monster's ears.


XV

And, lo! the scaly beast is all deprest,
Subdued like Argus by the might of sound—
What time Apollo his sweet lute addrest
To magic converse with the air, and bound
The many monster eyes, all slumber-drown'd:—
So on the turret-top that watchful Snake
Pillows his giant head, and lists profound,
As if his wrathful spite would never wake,
Charm'd into sudden sleep for Love and Beauty's sake!


XVI

His prickly crest lies prone upon his crown,
And thirsty lip from lip disparted flies,
To drink that dainty flood of music down—
His scaly throat is big with pent-up sighs—
And whilst his hollow ear entranced lies,
His looks for envy of the charmed sense
Are fain to listen, till his steadfast eyes,
Stung into pain by their own impotence,
Distil enormous tears into the lake immense.


XVII
Oh, tuneful Swan! oh, melancholy bird!
Sweet was that midnight miracle of song,
Rich with ripe sorrow, needful of no word
To tell of pain, and love, and love's deep wrong—
Hinting a piteous tale—perchance how long
Thy unknown tears were mingled with the lake,
What time disguised thy leafy mates among—
And no eye knew what human love and ache
Dwelt in those dewy leaves, and heart so nigh to break.


XVIII

Therefore no poet will ungently touch
The water-lily, on whose eyelids dew
Trembles like tears; but ever hold it such
As human pain may wander through and through,
Turning the pale leaf paler in its hue—
Wherein life dwells, transfigured, not entomb'd,
By magic spells. Alas! who ever knew
Sorrow in all its shapes, leafy and plumed,
Or in gross husks of brutes eternally inhumed?


XIX

And now the winged song has scaled the height
Of that dark dwelling, builded for despair,
And soon a little casement flashing bright
Widens self-open'd into the cool air—
That music like a bird may enter there
And soothe the captive in his stony cage;
For there is nought of grief, or painful care,
But plaintive song may happily engage
From sense of its own ill, and tenderly assuage.


XX

And forth into the light, small and remote,
A creature, like the fair son of a king,
Draws to the lattice in his jewell'd coat
Against the silver moonlight glistening,
And leans upon his white hand listening
To that sweet music that with tenderer tone
Salutes him, wondering what kindly thing
Is come to soothe him with so tuneful moan,
Singing beneath the walls as if for him alone!


XXI

And while he listens, the mysterious song,
Woven with timid particles of speech.
Twines into passionate words that grieve along
The melancholy notes, and softly teach
The secrets of true love,—that trembling reach
His earnest ear, and through the shadows dun
He missions like replies, and each to each
Their silver voices mingle into one,
Like blended streams that make one music as they run.


XXII

'Ah! Love, my hope is swooning in my heart,—'
'Ay, sweet, my cage is strong and hung full high—'
'Alas! our lips are held so far apart,
Thy words come faint,—they have so far to fly!—'
'If I may only shun that serpent-eye,—'
'Ah me! that serpent-eye doth never sleep;—'
'Then, nearer thee, Love's martyr, I will die!—'
'Alas, alas! that word has made me weep!
For pity's sake remain safe in thy marble keep!'


XXIII

'My marble keep! it is my marble tomb—'
'Nay, sweet! but thou hast there thy living breath—'
'Aye to expend in sighs for this hard doom;—'
'But I will come to thee and sing beneath,'
'And nightly so beguile this serpent wreath;—'
'Nay, I will find a path from these despairs.'
'Ah, needs then thou must tread the back of death,
Making his stony ribs thy stony stairs.—
Behold his ruby eye, how fearfully it glares!'


XXIV

Full sudden at these words, the princely youth
Leaps on the scaly back that slumbers, still
Unconscious of his foot, yet not for ruth,
But numb'd to dulness by the fairy skill
Of that sweet music (all more wild and shrill
For intense fear) that charm'd him as he lay—
Meanwhile the lover nerves his desperate will,
Held some short throbs by natural dismay,
Then down the serpent-track begins his darksome way.


XXV

Now dimly seen—now toiling out of sight,
Eclipsed and cover'd by the envious wall;
Now fair and spangled in the sudden light,
And clinging with wide arms for fear of fall;
Now dark and shelter'd by a kindly pall
Of dusky shadow from his wakeful foe;
Slowly he winds adown—dimly and small,
Watch'd by the gentle Swan that sings below,
Her hope increasing, still, the larger he doth grow.


XXVI

But nine times nine the serpent folds embrace
The marble walls about—which he must tread
Before his anxious foot may touch the base:
Long in the dreary path, and must be sped!
But Love, that holds the mastery of dread,
Braces his spirit, and with constant toil
He wins his way, and now, with arms outspread,
Impatient plunges from the last long coil;
So may all gentle Love ungentle Malice foil!


XXVII

The song is hush'd, the charm is all complete,
And two fair Swans are swimming on the lake:
But scarce their tender bills have time to meet,
When fiercely drops adown that cruel Snake—
His steely scales a fearful rustling make,
Like autumn leaves that tremble and foretell
The sable storm;—the plumy lovers quake—
And feel the troubled waters pant and swell,
Heaved by the giant bulk of their pursuer fell.


XXVIII

His jaws, wide yawning like the gates of Death,
Hiss horrible pursuit—his red eyes glare
The waters into blood—his eager breath
Grows hot upon their plumes:—now, minstrel fair!
She drops her ring into the waves, and there
It widens all around, a fairy ring
Wrought of the silver light—the fearful pair
Swim in the very midst, and pant and cling
The closer for their fears, and tremble wing to wing.


XXIX

Bending their course over the pale gray lake,
Against the pallid East, wherein light play'd
In tender flushes, still the baffled Snake
Circled them round continually, and bay'd
Hoarsely and loud, forbidden to invade
The sanctuary ring—his sable mail
Roll'd darkly through the flood, and writhed and made
A shining track over the waters pale,
Lash'd into boiling foam by his enormous tail.


XXX

And so they sail'd into the distance dim,
Into the very distance—small and white,
Like snowy blossoms of the spring that swim
Over the brooklets—follow'd by the spite
Of that huge Serpent, that with wild affright
Worried them on their course, and sore annoy,
Till on the grassy marge I saw them 'light,
And change, anon, a gentle girl and boy,
Lock'd in embrace of sweet unutterable joy!


XXXI

Then came the Morn, and with her pearly showers
Wept on them, like a mother, in whose eyes
Tears are no grief; and from his rosy bowers
The Oriental sun began to rise,
Chasing the darksome shadows from the skies;
Wherewith that sable Serpent far away
Fled, like a part of night—delicious sighs
From waking blossoms purified the day,
And little birds were singing sweetly from each spray.

by Thomas Hood.

A Ballad Of Fair Ladies In Revolt

I

See the sweet women, friend, that lean beneath
The ever-falling fountain of green leaves
Round the white bending stem, and like a wreath
Of our most blushful flower shine trembling through,
To teach philosophers the thirst of thieves:
Is one for me? is one for you?

II

- Fair sirs, we give you welcome, yield you place,
And you shall choose among us which you will,
Without the idle pastime of the chase,
If to this treaty you can well agree:
To wed our cause, and its high task fulfil.
He who's for us, for him are we!

III

- Most gracious ladies, nigh when light has birth,
A troop of maids, brown as burnt heather-bells,
And rich with life as moss-roots breathe of earth
In the first plucking of them, past us flew
To labour, singing rustic ritornells:
Had they a cause? are they of you?

IV

- Sirs, they are as unthinking armies are
To thoughtful leaders, and our cause is theirs.
When they know men they know the state of war:
But now they dream like sunlight on a sea,
And deem you hold the half of happy pairs.
He who's for us, for him are we!

V

- Ladies, I listened to a ring of dames;
Judicial in the robe and wig; secure
As venerated portraits in their frames;
And they denounced some insurrection new
Against sound laws which keep you good and pure.
Are you of them? are they of you?

VI

- Sirs, they are of us, as their dress denotes,
And by as much: let them together chime:
It is an ancient bell within their throats,
Pulled by an aged ringer; with what glee
Befits the yellow yesterdays of time.
He who's for us, for him are we!

VII

- Sweet ladies, you with beauty, you with wit;
Dowered of all favours and all blessed things
Whereat the ruddy torch of Love is lit;
Wherefore this vain and outworn strife renew,
Which stays the tide no more than eddy-rings?
Who is for love must be for you.

VIII

- The manners of the market, honest sirs,
'Tis hard to quit when you behold the wares.
You flatter us, or perchance our milliners
You flatter; so this vain and outworn She
May still be the charmed snake to your soft airs!
A higher lord than Love claim we.

IX

- One day, dear lady, missing the broad track,
I came on a wood's border, by a mead,
Where golden May ran up to moted black:
And there I saw Queen Beauty hold review,
With Love before her throne in act to plead.
Take him for me, take her for you.

X

- Ingenious gentleman, the tale is known.
Love pleaded sweetly: Beauty would not melt:
She would not melt: he turned in wrath: her throne
The shadow of his back froze witheringly,
And sobbing at his feet Queen Beauty knelt.
O not such slaves of Love are we!

XI

- Love, lady, like the star above that lance
Of radiance flung by sunset on ridged cloud,
Sad as the last line of a brave romance! -
Young Love hung dim, yet quivering round him threw
Beams of fresh fire, while Beauty waned and bowed.
Scorn Love, and dread the doom for you.

XII

- Called she not for her mirror, sir? Forth ran
Her women: I am lost, she cried, when lo,
Love in the form of an admiring man
Once more in adoration bent the knee,
And brought the faded Pagan to full blow:
For which her throne she gave: not we!

XIII

- My version, madam, runs not to that end.
A certain madness of an hour half past,
Caught her like fever; her just lord no friend
She fancied; aimed beyond beauty, and thence grew
The prim acerbity, sweet Love's outcast.
Great heaven ward off that stroke from you!

XIV

- Your prayer to heaven, good sir, is generous:
How generous likewise that you do not name
Offended nature! She from all of us
Couched idle underneath our showering tree,
May quite withhold her most destructive flame;
And then what woeful women we!

XV

- Quite, could not be, fair lady; yet your youth
May run to drought in visionary schemes:
And a late waking to perceive the truth,
When day falls shrouding her supreme adieu,
Shows darker wastes than unaccomplished dreams:
And that may be in store for you.

XVI

- O sir, the truth, the truth! is't in the skies,
Or in the grass, or in this heart of ours?
But O the truth, the truth! the many eyes
That look on it! the diverse things they see,
According to their thirst for fruit or flowers!
Pass on: it is the truth seek we.

XVII

- Lady, there is a truth of settled laws
That down the past burns like a great watch-fire.
Let youth hail changeful mornings; but your cause,
Whetting its edge to cut the race in two,
Is felony: you forfeit the bright lyre,
Much honour and much glory you!

XVIII

- Sir, was it glory, was it honour, pride,
And not as cat and serpent and poor slave,
Wherewith we walked in union by your side?
Spare to false womanliness her delicacy,
Or bid true manliness give ear, we crave:
In our defence thus chained are we.

XIX

- Yours, madam, were the privileges of life
Proper to man's ideal; you were the mark
Of action, and the banner in the strife:
Yea, of your very weakness once you drew
The strength that sounds the wells, outflies the lark:
Wrapped in a robe of flame were you!

XX

- Your friend looks thoughtful. Sir, when we were chill,
You clothed us warmly; all in honour! when
We starved you fed us; all in honour still:
Oh, all in honour, ultra-honourably!
Deep is the gratitude we owe to men,
For privileged indeed were we!

XXI

- You cite exceptions, madam, that are sad,
But come in the red struggle of our growth.
Alas, that I should have to say it! bad
Is two-sexed upon earth: this which you do,
Shows animal impatience, mental sloth:
Man monstrous! pining seraphs you!

XXII

- I fain would ask your friend . . . but I will ask
You, sir, how if in place of numbers vague,
Your sad exceptions were to break that mask
They wear for your cool mind historically,
And blaze like black lists of a PRESENT plague?
But in that light behold them we.

XXIII

- Your spirit breathes a mist upon our world,
Lady, and like a rain to pierce the roof
And drench the bed where toil-tossed man lies curled
In his hard-earned oblivion! You are few,
Scattered, ill-counselled, blinded: for a proof,
I have lived, and have known none like you.

XXIV

- We may be blind to men, sir: we embrace
A future now beyond the fowler's nets.
Though few, we hold a promise for the race
That was not at our rising: you are free
To win brave mates; you lose but marionnettes.
He who's for us, for him are we.

XXV

- Ah! madam, were they puppets who withstood
Youth's cravings for adventure to preserve
The dedicated ways of womanhood?
The light which leads us from the paths of rue,
That light above us, never seen to swerve,
Should be the home-lamp trimmed by you.

XXVI

- Ah! sir, our worshipped posture we perchance
Shall not abandon, though we see not how,
Being to that lamp-post fixed, we may advance
Beside our lords in any real degree,
Unless we move: and to advance is now
A sovereign need, think more than we.

XXVII

- So push you out of harbour in small craft,
With little seamanship; and comes a gale,
The world will laugh, the world has often laughed,
Lady, to see how bold when skies are blue,
When black winds churn the deeps how panic-pale,
How swift to the old nest fly you!

XXVIII

- What thinks your friend, kind sir? We have escaped
But partly that old half-tamed wild beast's paw
Whereunder woman, the weak thing, was shaped:
Men, too, have known the cramping enemy
In grim brute force, whom force of brain shall awe:
Him our deliverer, await we!

XXIX

- Delusions are with eloquence endowed,
And yours might pluck an angel from the spheres
To play in this revolt whereto you are vowed,
Deliverer, lady! but like summer dew
O'er fields that crack for rain your friends drop tears,
Who see the awakening for you.

XXX

- Is he our friend, there silent? he weeps not.
O sir, delusion mounting like a sun
On a mind blank as the white wife of Lot,
Giving it warmth and movement! if this be
Delusion, think of what thereby was won
For men, and dream of what win we.

XXXI

- Lady, the destiny of minor powers,
Who would recast us, is but to convulse:
You enter on a strife that frets and sours;
You can but win sick disappointment's hue;
And simply an accelerated pulse,
Some tonic you have drunk moves you.

XXXII

- Thinks your friend so? Good sir, your wit is bright;
But wit that strives to speak the popular voice,
Puts on its nightcap and puts out its light.
Curfew, would seem your conqueror's decree
To women likewise: and we have no choice
Save darkness or rebellion, we!

XXXIII

- A plain safe intermediate way is cleft
By reason foiling passion: you that rave
Of mad alternatives to right and left
Echo the tempter, madam: and 'tis due
Unto your sex to shun it as the grave,
This later apple offered you.

XXXIV

- This apple is not ripe, it is not sweet;
Nor rosy, sir, nor golden: eye and mouth
Are little wooed by it; yet we would eat.
We are somewhat tired of Eden, is our plea.
We have thirsted long; this apple suits our drouth:
'Tis good for men to halve, think we.

XXXV

- But say, what seek you, madam? 'Tis enough
That you should have dominion o'er the springs
Domestic and man's heart: those ways, how rough,
How vile, outside the stately avenue
Where you walk sheltered by your angel's wings,
Are happily unknown to you.

XXXVI

- We hear women's shrieks on them. We like your phrase,
Dominion domestic! And that roar,
'What seek you?' is of tyrants in all days.
Sir, get you something of our purity
And we will of your strength: we ask no more.
That is the sum of what seek we.

XXXVII

- O for an image, madam, in one word,
To show you as the lightning night reveals,
Your error and your perils: you have erred
In mind only, and the perils that ensue
Swift heels may soften; wherefore to swift heels
Address your hopes of safety you!

XXXVIII

- To err in mind, sir . . . your friend smiles: he may!
To err in mind, if err in mind we can,
Is grievous error you do well to stay.
But O how different from reality
Men's fiction is! how like you in the plan,
Is woman, knew you her as we!

XXXIX

- Look, lady, where yon river winds its line
Toward sunset, and receives on breast and face
The splendour of fair life: to be divine,
'Tis nature bids you be to nature true,
Flowing with beauty, lending earth your grace,
Reflecting heaven in clearness you.

XL

- Sir, you speak well: your friend no word vouchsafes.
To flow with beauty, breeding fools and worse,
Cowards and worse: at such fair life she chafes,
Who is not wholly of the nursery,
Nor of your schools: we share the primal curse;
Together shake it off, say we!

XLI

- Hear, then, my friend, madam! Tongue-restrained he stands
Till words are thoughts, and thoughts, like swords enriched
With traceries of the artificer's hands,
Are fire-proved steel to cut, fair flowers to view. -
Do I hear him? Oh, he is bewitched, bewitched!
Heed him not! Traitress beauties you!

XLII

- We have won a champion, sisters, and a sage!
- Ladies, you win a guest to a good feast!
- Sir spokesman, sneers are weakness veiling rage.
- Of weakness, and wise men, you have the key.
- Then are there fresher mornings mounting East
Than ever yet have dawned, sing we!

XLIII

- False ends as false began, madam, be sure!
- What lure there is the pure cause purifies!
- Who purifies the victim of the lure?
- That soul which bids us our high light pursue.
- Some heights are measured down: the wary wise
Shun Reason in the masque with you!

XLIV

- Sir, for the friend you bring us, take our thanks.
Yes, Beauty was of old this barren goal;
A thing with claws; and brute-like in her pranks!
But could she give more loyal guarantee
Than wooing Wisdom, that in her a soul
Has risen? Adieu: content are we!

XLV

Those ladies led their captive to the flood's
Green edge. He floating with them seemed the most
Fool-flushed old noddy ever crowned with buds.
Happier than I! Then, why not wiser too?
For he that lives with Beauty, he may boast
His comrade over me and you.

XLVI

Have women nursed some dream since Helen sailed
Over the sea of blood the blushing star,
That beauty, whom frail man as Goddess hailed,
When not possessing her (for such is he!),
Might in a wondering season seen afar,
Be tamed to say not 'I,' but 'we'?

XLVII

And shall they make of Beauty their estate,
The fortress and the weapon of their sex?
Shall she in her frost-brilliancy dictate,
More queenly than of old, how we must woo,
Ere she will melt? The halter's on our necks,
Kick as it likes us, I and you.

XLVIII

Certain it is, if Beauty has disdained
Her ancient conquests, with an aim thus high:
If this, if that, if more, the fight is gained.
But can she keep her followers without fee?
Yet ah! to hear anew those ladies cry,
He who's for us, for him are we!

by George Meredith.

Caliban Upon Setebos Or, Natural Theology In The Island

"Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself."
(David, Psalms 50.21)
['Will sprawl, now that the heat of day is best,
Flat on his belly in the pit's much mire,
With elbows wide, fists clenched to prop his chin.
And, while he kicks both feet in the cool slush,
And feels about his spine small eft-things course,
Run in and out each arm, and make him laugh:
And while above his head a pompion-plant,
Coating the cave-top as a brow its eye,
Creeps down to touch and tickle hair and beard,
And now a flower drops with a bee inside,
And now a fruit to snap at, catch and crunch,--
He looks out o'er yon sea which sunbeams cross
And recross till they weave a spider-web
(Meshes of fire, some great fish breaks at times)
And talks to his own self, howe'er he please,
Touching that other, whom his dam called God.
Because to talk about Him, vexes--ha,
Could He but know! and time to vex is now,
When talk is safer than in winter-time.
Moreover Prosper and Miranda sleep
In confidence he drudges at their task,
And it is good to cheat the pair, and gibe,
Letting the rank tongue blossom into speech.]

Setebos, Setebos, and Setebos!
'Thinketh, He dwelleth i' the cold o' the moon.

'Thinketh He made it, with the sun to match,
But not the stars; the stars came otherwise;
Only made clouds, winds, meteors, such as that:
Also this isle, what lives and grows thereon,
And snaky sea which rounds and ends the same.

'Thinketh, it came of being ill at ease:
He hated that He cannot change His cold,
Nor cure its ache. 'Hath spied an icy fish
That longed to 'scape the rock-stream where she lived,
And thaw herself within the lukewarm brine
O' the lazy sea her stream thrusts far amid,
A crystal spike 'twixt two warm walls of wave;
Only, she ever sickened, found repulse
At the other kind of water, not her life,
(Green-dense and dim-delicious, bred o' the sun)
Flounced back from bliss she was not born to breathe,
And in her old bounds buried her despair,
Hating and loving warmth alike: so He.

'Thinketh, He made thereat the sun, this isle,
Trees and the fowls here, beast and creeping thing.
Yon otter, sleek-wet, black, lithe as a leech;
Yon auk, one fire-eye in a ball of foam,
That floats and feeds; a certain badger brown
He hath watched hunt with that slant white-wedge eye
By moonlight; and the pie with the long tongue
That pricks deep into oak warts for a worm,
And says a plain word when she finds her prize,
But will not eat the ants; the ants themselves
That build a wall of seeds and settled stalks
About their hole--He made all these and more,
Made all we see, and us, in spite: how else?
He could not, Himself, make a second self
To be His mate; as well have made Himself:
He would not make what He mislikes or slights,
An eyesore to Him, or not worth His pains:
But did, in envy, listlessness or sport,
Make what Himself would fain, in a manner, be--
Weaker in most points, stronger in a few,
Worthy, and yet mere playthings all the while,
Things He admires and mocks too,--that is it.
Because, so brave, so better though they be,
It nothing skills if He begin to plague.
Look, now, I melt a gourd-fruit into mash,
Add honeycomb and pods, I have perceived,
Which bite like finches when they bill and kiss,--
Then, when froth rises bladdery, drink up all,
Quick, quick, till maggots scamper through my brain;
Last, throw me on my back i' the seeded thyme,
And wanton, wishing I were born a bird.
Put case, unable to be what I wish,
I yet could make a live bird out of clay:
Would not I take clay, pinch my Caliban
Able to fly?--for, there, see, he hath wings,
And great comb like the hoopoe's to admire,
And there, a sting to do his foes offence,
There, and I will that he begin to live,
Fly to yon rock-top, nip me off the horns
Of grigs high up that make the merry din,
Saucy through their veined wings, and mind me not.
In which feat, if his leg snapped, brittle clay,
And he lay stupid-like,--why, I should laugh;
And if he, spying me, should fall to weep,
Beseech me to be good, repair his wrong,
Bid his poor leg smart less or grow again,--
Well, as the chance were, this might take or else
Not take my fancy: I might hear his cry,
And give the mankin three sound legs for one,
Or pluck the other off, leave him like an egg
And lessoned he was mine and merely clay.
Were this no pleasure, lying in the thyme,
Drinking the mash, with brain become alive,
Making and marring clay at will? So He.

'Thinketh, such shows nor right nor wrong in Him,
Nor kind, nor cruel: He is strong and Lord.
'Am strong myself compared to yonder crabs
That march now from the mountain to the sea;
'Let twenty pass, and stone the twenty-first,
Loving not, hating not, just choosing so.
'Say, the first straggler that boasts purple spots
Shall join the file, one pincer twisted off;
'Say, this bruised fellow shall receive a worm,
And two worms he whose nippers end in red;
As it likes me each time, I do: so He.


Well then, 'supposeth He is good i' the main,
Placable if His mind and ways were guessed,
But rougher than His handiwork, be sure!
Oh, He hath made things worthier than Himself,
And envieth that, so helped, such things do more
Than He who made them! What consoles but this?
That they, unless through Him, do nought at all,
And must submit: what other use in things?
'Hath cut a pipe of pithless elder-joint
That, blown through, gives exact the scream o' the jay
When from her wing you twitch the feathers blue:
Sound this, and little birds that hate the jay
Flock within stone's throw, glad their foe is hurt:
Put case such pipe could prattle and boast forsooth
"I catch the birds, I am the crafty thing,
I make the cry my maker cannot make
With his great round mouth; he must blow through mine!'
Would not I smash it with my foot? So He.


But wherefore rough, why cold and ill at ease?
Aha, that is a question! Ask, for that,
What knows,--the something over Setebos
That made Him, or He, may be, found and fought,
Worsted, drove off and did to nothing, perchance.
There may be something quiet o'er His head,
Out of His reach, that feels nor joy nor grief,
Since both derive from weakness in some way.
I joy because the quails come; would not joy
Could I bring quails here when I have a mind:
This Quiet, all it hath a mind to, doth.
'Esteemeth stars the outposts of its couch,
But never spends much thought nor care that way.
It may look up, work up,--the worse for those
It works on! 'Careth but for Setebos
The many-handed as a cuttle-fish,
Who, making Himself feared through what He does,
Looks up, first, and perceives he cannot soar
To what is quiet and hath happy life;
Next looks down here, and out of very spite
Makes this a bauble-world to ape yon real,
These good things to match those as hips do grapes.
'Tis solace making baubles, ay, and sport.
Himself peeped late, eyed Prosper at his books
Careless and lofty, lord now of the isle:
Vexed, 'stitched a book of broad leaves, arrow-shaped,
Wrote thereon, he knows what, prodigious words;
Has peeled a wand and called it by a name;
Weareth at whiles for an enchanter's robe
The eyed skin of a supple oncelot;
And hath an ounce sleeker than youngling mole,
A four-legged serpent he makes cower and couch,
Now snarl, now hold its breath and mind his eye,
And saith she is Miranda and my wife:
'Keeps for his Ariel a tall pouch-bill crane
He bids go wade for fish and straight disgorge;
Also a sea-beast, lumpish, which he snared,
Blinded the eyes of, and brought somewhat tame,
And split its toe-webs, and now pens the drudge
In a hole o' the rock and calls him Caliban;
A bitter heart that bides its time and bites.
'Plays thus at being Prosper in a way,
Taketh his mirth with make-believes: so He.
His dam held that the Quiet made all things
Which Setebos vexed only: 'holds not so.
Who made them weak, meant weakness He might vex.
Had He meant other, while His hand was in,
Why not make horny eyes no thorn could prick,
Or plate my scalp with bone against the snow,
Or overscale my flesh 'neath joint and joint
Like an orc's armour? Ay,--so spoil His sport!
He is the One now: only He doth all.


'Saith, He may like, perchance, what profits Him.
Ay, himself loves what does him good; but why?
'Gets good no otherwise. This blinded beast
Loves whoso places flesh-meat on his nose,
But, had he eyes, would want no help, but hate
Or love, just as it liked him: He hath eyes.
Also it pleaseth Setebos to work,
Use all His hands, and exercise much craft,
By no means for the love of what is worked.
'Tasteth, himself, no finer good i' the world
When all goes right, in this safe summer-time,
And he wants little, hungers, aches not much,
Than trying what to do with wit and strength.
'Falls to make something: 'piled yon pile of turfs,
And squared and stuck there squares of soft white chalk,
And, with a fish-tooth, scratched a moon on each,
And set up endwise certain spikes of tree,
And crowned the whole with a sloth's skull a-top,
Found dead i' the woods, too hard for one to kill.
No use at all i' the work, for work's sole sake;
'Shall some day knock it down again: so He.


'Saith He is terrible: watch His feats in proof!
One hurricane will spoil six good months' hope.
He hath a spite against me, that I know,
Just as He favours Prosper, who knows why?
So it is, all the same, as well I find.
'Wove wattles half the winter, fenced them firm
With stone and stake to stop she-tortoises
Crawling to lay their eggs here: well, one wave,
Feeling the foot of Him upon its neck,
Gaped as a snake does, lolled out its large tongue,
And licked the whole labour flat: so much for spite.
'Saw a ball flame down late (yonder it lies)
Where, half an hour before, I slept i' the shade:
Often they scatter sparkles: there is force!
'Dug up a newt He may have envied once
And turned to stone, shut up Inside a stone.
Please Him and hinder this?--What Prosper does?
Aha, if He would tell me how! Not He!
There is the sport: discover how or die!
All need not die, for of the things o' the isle
Some flee afar, some dive, some run up trees;
Those at His mercy,--why, they please Him most
When . . . when . . . well, never try the same way twice!
Repeat what act has pleased, He may grow wroth.
You must not know His ways, and play Him off,
Sure of the issue. 'Doth the like himself:
'Spareth a squirrel that it nothing fears
But steals the nut from underneath my thumb,
And when I threat, bites stoutly in defence:
'Spareth an urchin that contrariwise,
Curls up into a ball, pretending death
For fright at my approach: the two ways please.
But what would move my choler more than this,
That either creature counted on its life
To-morrow and next day and all days to come,
Saying, forsooth, in the inmost of its heart,
"Because he did so yesterday with me,
And otherwise with such another brute,
So must he do henceforth and always."--Ay?
Would teach the reasoning couple what "must" means!
'Doth as he likes, or wherefore Lord? So He.


'Conceiveth all things will continue thus,
And we shall have to live in fear of Him
So long as He lives, keeps His strength: no change,
If He have done His best, make no new world
To please Him more, so leave off watching this,--
If He surprise not even the Quiet's self
Some strange day,--or, suppose, grow into it
As grubs grow butterflies: else, here are we,
And there is He, and nowhere help at all.


'Believeth with the life, the pain shall stop.
His dam held different, that after death
He both plagued enemies and feasted friends:
Idly! He doth His worst in this our life,
Giving just respite lest we die through pain,
Saving last pain for worst,--with which, an end.
Meanwhile, the best way to escape His ire
Is, not to seem too happy. 'Sees, himself,
Yonder two flies, with purple films and pink,
Bask on the pompion-bell above: kills both.
'Sees two black painful beetles roll their ball
On head and tail as if to save their lives:
Moves them the stick away they strive to clear.


Even so, 'would have Him misconceive, suppose
This Caliban strives hard and ails no less,
And always, above all else, envies Him;
Wherefore he mainly dances on dark nights,
Moans in the sun, gets under holes to laugh,
And never speaks his mind save housed as now:
Outside, 'groans, curses. If He caught me here,
O'erheard this speech, and asked "What chucklest at?"
'Would, to appease Him, cut a finger off,
Or of my three kid yearlings burn the best,
Or let the toothsome apples rot on tree,
Or push my tame beast for the orc to taste:
While myself lit a fire, and made a song
And sung it, "What I hate, be consecrate
To celebrate Thee and Thy state, no mate
For Thee; what see for envy in poor me?"
Hoping the while, since evils sometimes mend,
Warts rub away and sores are cured with slime,
That some strange day, will either the Quiet catch
And conquer Setebos, or likelier He
Decrepit may doze, doze, as good as die.

by Robert Browning.

MY LIFE is bitter with thy love; thine eyes
Blind me, thy tresses burn me, thy sharp sighs
Divide my flesh and spirit with soft sound,
And my blood strengthens, and my veins abound.
I pray thee sigh not, speak not, draw not breath;
Let life burn down, and dream it is not death.
I would the sea had hidden us, the fire
(Wilt thou fear that, and fear not my desire?)
Severed the bones that bleach, the flesh that cleaves,
And let our sifted ashes drop like leaves.
I feel thy blood against my blood: my pain
Pains thee, and lips bruise lips, and vein stings vein.
Let fruit be crushed on fruit, let flower on flower,
Breast kindle breast, and either burn one hour.
Why wilt thou follow lesser loves? are thine
Too weak to bear these hands and lips of mine?
I charge thee for my life’s sake, O too sweet
To crush love with thy cruel faultless feet,
I charge thee keep thy lips from hers or his,
Sweetest, till theirs be sweeter than my kiss:
Lest I too lure, a swallow for a dove,
Erotion or Erinna to my love.
I would my love could kill thee; I am satiated
With seeing thee live, and fain would have thee dead.
I would earth had thy body as fruit to eat,
And no mouth but some serpent’s found thee sweet.
I would find grievous ways to have thee slain,
Intense device, and superflux of pain;
Vex thee with amorous agonies, and shake
Life at thy lips, and leave it there to ache;
Strain out thy soul with pangs too soft to kill,
Intolerable interludes, and infinite ill;
Relapse and reluctation of the breath,
Dumb tunes and shuddering semitones of death.
I am weary of all thy words and soft strange ways,
Of all love’s fiery nights and all his days,
And all the broken kisses salt as brine
That shuddering lips make moist with waterish wine,
And eyes the bluer for all those hidden hours
That pleasure fills with tears and feeds from flowers,
Fierce at the heart with fire that half comes through,
But all the flower-like white stained round with blue;
The fervent underlid, and that above
Lifted with laughter or abashed with love;
Thine amorous girdle, full of thee and fair,
And leavings of the lilies in thine hair.
Yea, all sweet words of thine and all thy ways,
And all the fruit of nights and flower of days,
And stinging lips wherein the hot sweet brine
That Love was born of burns and foams like wine,
And eyes insatiable of amorous hours,
Fervent as fire and delicate as flowers,
Coloured like night at heart, but cloven through
Like night with flame, dyed round like night with blue,
Clothed with deep eyelids under and above—
Yea, all thy beauty sickens me with love;
Thy girdle empty of thee and now not fair,
And ruinous lilies in thy languid hair.
Ah, take no thought for Love’s sake; shall this be,
And she who loves thy lover not love thee?
Sweet soul, sweet mouth of all that laughs and lives,
Mine is she, very mine; and she forgives.
For I beheld in sleep the light that is
In her high place in Paphos, heard the kiss
Of body and soul that mix with eager tears
And laughter stinging through the eyes and ears;
Saw Love, as burning flame from crown to feet,
Imperishable, upon her storied seat;
Clear eyelids lifted toward the north and south,
A mind of many colours, and a mouth
Of many tunes and kisses; and she bowed,
With all her subtle face laughing aloud,
Bowed down upon me, saying, ‘Who doth thee wrong,
Sappho?’ but thou—thy body is the song,
Thy mouth the music; thou art more than I,
Though my voice die not till the whole world die;
Though men that hear it madden; though love weep,
Though nature change, though shame be charmed to sleep.
Ah, wilt thou slay me lest I kiss thee dead?
Yet the queen laughed from her sweet heart and said:
‘Even she that flies shall follow for thy sake,
And she shall give thee gifts that would not take,
Shall kiss that would not kiss thee’ (yea, kiss me)
‘When thou wouldst not’—when I would not kiss thee!
Ah, more to me than all men as thou art,
Shall not my songs assuage her at the heart?
Ah, sweet to me as life seems sweet to death,
Why should her wrath fill thee with fearful breath?
Nay, sweet, for is she God alone? hath she
Made earth and all the centuries of the sea,
Taught the sun ways to travel, woven most fine
The moonbeams, shed the starbeams forth as wine,
Bound with her myrtles, beaten with her rods,
The young men and the maidens and the gods?
Have we not lips to love with, eyes for tears,
And summer and flower of women and of years?
Stars for the foot of morning, and for noon
Sunlight, and exaltation of the moon;
Waters that answer waters, fields that wear
Lilies, and languor of the Lesbian air?
Beyond those flying feet of fluttered doves,
Are there not other gods for other loves?
Yea, though she scourge thee, sweetest, for my sake,
Blossom not thorns and flowers not blood should break.
Ah that my lips were tuneless lips, but pressed
To the bruised blossom of thy scourged white breast!
Ah that my mouth for Muses’ milk were fed
On the sweet blood thy sweet small wounds had bled!
That with my tongue I felt them, and could taste
The faint flakes from thy bosom to the waist!
That I could drink thy veins as wine, and eat
Thy breasts like honey! that from face to feet
Thy body were abolished and consumed,
And in my flesh thy very flesh entombed!
Ah, ah, thy beauty! like a beast it bites,
Stings like an adder, like an arrow smites.
Ah sweet, and sweet again, and seven times sweet,
The paces and the pauses of thy feet!
Ah sweeter than all sleep or summer air
The fallen fillets fragrant from thine hair!
Yea, though their alien kisses do me wrong,
Sweeter thy lips than mine with all their song;
Thy shoulders whiter than a fleece of white,
And flower-sweet fingers, good to bruise or bite
As honeycomb of the inmost honey-cells,
With almond-shaped and roseleaf-coloured shells
And blood like purple blossom at the tips
Quivering; and pain made perfect in thy lips
For my sake when I hurt thee; O that I
Durst crush thee out of life with love, and die,
Die of thy pain and my delight, and be
Mixed with thy blood and molten into thee!
Would I not plague thee dying overmuch?
Would I not hurt thee perfectly? not touch
Thy pores of sense with torture, and make bright
Thine eyes with bloodlike tears and grievous light?
Strike pang from pang as note is struck from note,
Catch the sob’s middle music in thy throat,
Take thy limbs living, and new-mould with these
A lyre of many faultless agonies?
Feed thee with fever and famine and fine drouth,
With perfect pangs convulse thy perfect mouth,
Make thy life shudder in thee and burn afresh,
And wring thy very spirit through the flesh?
Cruel? but love makes all that love him well
As wise as heaven and crueller than hell.
Me hath love made more bitter toward thee
Than death toward man; but were I made as he
Who hath made all things to break them one by one,
If my feet trod upon the stars and sun
And souls of men as his have alway trod,
God knows I might be crueller than God.
For who shall change with prayers or thanksgivings
The mystery of the cruelty of things?
Or say what God above all gods and years
With offering and blood-sacrifice of tears,
With lamentation from strange lands, from graves
Where the snake pastures, from scarred mouths of slaves,
From prison, and from plunging prows of ships
Through flamelike foam of the sea’s closing lips—
With thwartings of strange signs, and wind-blown hair
Of comets, desolating the dim air,
When darkness is made fast with seals and bars,
And fierce reluctance of disastrous stars,
Eclipse, and sound of shaken hills, and wings
Darkening, and blind inexpiable things—
With sorrow of labouring moons, and altering light
And travail of the planets of the night,
And weeping of the weary Pleiads seven,
Feeds the mute melancholy lust of heaven?
Is not his incense bitterness, his meat
Murder? his hidden face and iron feet
Hath not man known, and felt them on their way
Threaten and trample all things and every day?
Hath he not sent us hunger? who hath cursed
Spirit and flesh with longing? filled with thirst
Their lips who cried unto him? who bade exceed
The fervid will, fall short the feeble deed,
Bade sink the spirit and the flesh aspire,
Pain animate the dust of dead desire,
And life yield up her flower to violent fate?
Him would I reach, him smite, him desecrate,
Pierce the cold lips of God with human breath,
And mix his immortality with death.
Why hath he made us? what had all we done
That we should live and loathe the sterile sun,
And with the moon wax paler as she wanes,
And pulse by pulse feel time grow through our veins?
Thee too the years shall cover; thou shalt be
As the rose born of one same blood with thee,
As a song sung, as a word said, and fall
Flower-wise, and be not any more at all,
Nor any memory of thee anywhere;
For never Muse has bound above thine hair
The high Pierian flower whose graft outgrows
All summer kinship of the mortal rose
And colour of deciduous days, nor shed
Reflex and flush of heaven about thine head,
Nor reddened brows made pale by floral grief
With splendid shadow from that lordlier leaf.
Yea, thou shalt be forgotten like spilt wine,
Except these kisses of my lips on thine
Brand them with immortality; but me—
Men shall not see bright fire nor hear the sea,
Nor mix their hearts with music, nor behold
Cast forth of heaven with feet of awful gold
And plumeless wings that make the bright air blind,
Lightning, with thunder for a hound behind
Hunting through fields unfurrowed and unsown—
But in the light and laughter, in the moan
And music, and in grasp of lip and hand
And shudder of water that makes felt on land
The immeasurable tremor of all the sea,
Memories shall mix and metaphors of me.
Like me shall be the shuddering calm of night,
When all the winds of the world for pure delight
Close lips that quiver and fold up wings that ache;
When nightingales are louder for love’s sake,
And leaves tremble like lute-strings or like fire;
Like me the one star swooning with desire
Even at the cold lips of the sleepless moon,
As I at thine; like me the waste white noon,
Burnt through with barren sunlight; and like me
The land-stream and the tide-stream in the sea.
I am sick with time as these with ebb and flow,
And by the yearning in my veins I know
The yearning sound of waters; and mine eyes
Burn as that beamless fire which fills the skies
With troubled stars and travailing things of flame;
And in my heart the grief consuming them
Labours, and in my veins the thirst of these,
And all the summer travail of the trees
And all the winter sickness; and the earth,
Filled full with deadly works of death and birth,
Sore spent with hungry lusts of birth and death,
Has pain like mine in her divided breath;
Her spring of leaves is barren, and her fruit
Ashes; her boughs are burdened, and her root
Fibrous and gnarled with poison; underneath
Serpents have gnawn it through with tortuous teeth
Made sharp upon the bones of all the dead,
And wild birds rend her branches overhead.
These, woven as raiment for his word and thought,
These hath God made, and me as these, and wrought
Song, and hath lit it at my lips; and me
Earth shall not gather though she feed on thee.
As a shed tear shalt thou be shed; but I—
Lo, earth may labour, men live long and die,
Years change and stars, and the high God devise
New things, and old things wane before his eyes
Who wields and wrecks them, being more strong than they—
But, having made me, me he shall not slay.
Nor slay nor satiate, like those herds of his
Who laugh and live a little, and their kiss
Contents them, and their loves are swift and sweet,
And sure death grasps and gains them with slow feet,
Love they or hate they, strive or bow their knees—
And all these end; he hath his will of these.
Yea, but albeit he slay me, hating me—
Albeit he hide me in the deep dear sea
And cover me with cool wan foam, and ease
This soul of mine as any soul of these,
And give me water and great sweet waves, and make
The very sea’s name lordlier for my sake,
The whole sea sweeter—albeit I die indeed
And hide myself and sleep and no man heed,
Of me the high God hath not all his will.
Blossom of branches, and on each high hill
Clear air and wind, and under in clamorous vales
Fierce noises of the fiery nightingales,
Buds burning in the sudden spring like fire,
The wan washed sand and the waves’ vain desire,
Sails seen like blown white flowers at sea, and words
That bring tears swiftest, and long notes of birds
Violently singing till the whole world sings—
I Sappho shall be one with all these things,
With all high things for ever; and my face
Seen once, my songs once heard in a strange place,
Cleave to men’s lives, and waste the days thereof
With gladness and much sadness and long love.
Yea, they shall say, earth’s womb has borne in vain
New things, and never this best thing again;
Borne days and men, borne fruits and wars and wine,
Seasons and songs, but no song more like mine.
And they shall know me as ye who have known me here,
Last year when I loved Atthis, and this year
When I love thee; and they shall praise me, and say
‘She hath all time as all we have our day,
Shall she not live and have her will’—even I?
Yea, though thou diest, I say I shall not die.
For these shall give me of their souls, shall give
Life, and the days and loves wherewith I live,
Shall quicken me with loving, fill with breath,
Save me and serve me, strive for me with death.
Alas, that neither moon nor snow nor dew
Nor all cold things can purge me wholly through,
Assuage me nor allay me nor appease,
Till supreme sleep shall bring me bloodless ease;
Till time wax faint in all his periods;
Till fate undo the bondage of the gods,
And lay, to slake and satiate me all through,
Lotus and Lethe on my lips like dew,
And shed around and over and under me
Thick darkness and the insuperable sea.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

The Permian Beds of Texas

In Texas, where the Wichita
Enrodes a gash, both deep and raw,
Formed by a fault in this old earth,
Before humanity had birth,
Here Permian clays of Indian red,
And sandstones interlacing beds.
Time himself has bared the graves
Of Permian life, where mesquite waves
Its feathery leaflets in the air;
While short grass, with flowers so rare,
Carpets the red soil with its green,
Or rootlets, with their mesh, are seen
To circle bones in their embrace.
Or here and there an open space
Where grinning skull, or bones so white,
Lie helpless there, so sad their plight:
All that remains of giants who
In old lagoon or bayou grew,
Who once ruled over land and sea,
Leave speaking bones for you and me;
Who tell the story of the past,
Of victories won, at rest at last.
So God engraves in mouldering land
The works of His almighty hand.
Not Moses' tablets graved by God
Seem more wondrous than the word
He left recorded in the earth,
When rocky strata had their birth.

Yes! distant was the Permian time,
As man keeps record, line on line,
But through Jehovah's mighty reign,
Today and yesterday the same.
A day in His almighty sight
Is like a vision of the night,
Or like a shadow on the lake,
Or ruffled flood, in steamer's wake;
To man, who measures three score ten,
How few his years, how short his ken!
He ever feels the God within
Would be more God-like but for sin.
God gave us minds to see the past
Or on the future visions cast;
So with that God-like power He's given
That's less of earth and more of heaven.

I sail down on the Tide of Time,
My oar-boats keeping gentle rhyme;
I enter lakes with wooded shore,
And hear the trumpet sound once more,
As when, in childhood's happy day,
I went to see the circus play.
There in a lovely sheltered glade
A trunkéd throng stand in the shade;
While horses gallop on the sand,
And herds of swine root up the land.
Here birds of every color shine-
Make melody almost divine.
Their music flits on passing breeze
As graceful forms dart through the trees,
For beauty here is not a sin.
Their feathers are not used to trim
The headgear of a barbarous sex
With borrowed plumes, or some pretext,
They hope to rival sisters fair,
While pluméd heads toss in the air:
Man's will is not the master here,
No rifled guns have they to fear.
I pass great herds of buffalo,
No Winchester to lay them low;
The duck leads out upon the lake
With brood of ducklings in her wake.
The wild goat climbs the steepest hill,
The wolf laps water from the rill.
Full half the forms that grace our land
Here live in peace on every hand,
Save for the fight that all must wage
For daily bread, their arts engage.
But man's destructive power's not known,
None 'wade through blood to reach a throne.'

And now fresh scenes break on my sight,
That fill my soul with fresh delight:
Flora and fauna now are new,
And quickly break on eager view,
As through the jungled rush and reed
My faithful boat is gaining speed.
The Mastodon, with tusks below,
Tear lily pads, where dense they grow;
Rhinoceroses plow the mire,
While three-toed horses never tire
Of testing moss beneath their feet.
There is no need of limbs to fleet;
If they can reach the swampy brink
Or some deep pool, they'll safely drink,
Saber toothed tiger stands at bay
And fears to try the watery way.
From glades or parks as I ride past,
The timid llama's glance is cast;
They gaze in wonder as I float
Before them in my birch-bark boat.
The trees and flowers I notice, too,
Are not like those that Kansas grew
When last I saw her shining shore
And bent my sinews to the oar.
I'm in the middle dawn, I see,
Of mammals and of greenwood tree,
Called Miocene by savant grave.
The palm and fig trees gently wave
Their crowning branches in the air.
Ah, see that serpent hanging there!
His glistening coils let me beware.
This is the age when mammals reign,
They fill the land and salty main;
As bats they fly from darkened tree;
Great whales are spouting out at sea;
While dolphins, seals and walrus fierce,
And Norwal, with drawn sword to pierce
His enemies who dare to brave
In mortal combat on the wave.
All the rich life of this rich age
Is graven on the rocky page.
And still my boat glides swiftly down
To early dawn, where mammals crown
The thickening ranks of life that's past:
We've reached the Eocene at last.
And now strange forms come into view,
None living like them now, 'tis true.
Great, lumbering beasts on every hand,
Five mighty toes are pressed to land.
They're plantigrade, like bear or man;
At least a foot their footsteps span;
And when your tale of horns is done,
I'll point out Loxolophodon.
Watch him there, at any rate,
And see those horns that are so great.
Three pairs adorn his mighty head,
On the great meadows he is fed;
His well fed body fat and sleek;
His re-curved tusks are quite unique.
I saw the type in Cope's old home,
When from Montana I had come.
Now lemurs swing among the trees,
Their fur is ruffled by the breeze;
While others stem the rising flood
That winds among the neighboring wood.
They catch the fish that swim around,
While crocodiles bask on the ground
Along the shore, on either side,
With open jaws extended wide.
Countless turtles now appear
On every side; they have no fear.
How beautiful their sculptured shell,
Grooved there, or pitted, marked so well
With patterns rare of many a form!
Some look like beads so often worn
To ornament a lovely throat.
Watch them dive beside the boat.
But see, out in that open part,
A Phaenocodus swiftly dart!
He drags a lengthening tail behind,
And flies as on the wings of wind.
I wonder what has made him run.
I see- a huge Corophodon.
But ere they come to mortal fight,
My boat takes me far out of sight.
Most all the beasts I see on shore
Have five toes, behind, before.
But now comes one that walks on three,
Though rudimental ones I see,
Like dew-claws on a recent dog,
My bark-glides in the rising fog,
And when the flood and plain are clear,
I've left the mammals in the rear.

I cross the wondrous border line,
The greatest landmark left by Time,
Between the age of Mammals and
The one where Reptiles ruled the land:
They swam and floated in the air.
The puny mammals that were there
Were small and primitive, indeed;
To notice them there'll be no need.
I'm floating in a bayou wide,
With palmettos on either side,
While here and there a fig tree full
Of luscious fruit;- toward one I pull
And load my boat, whose gunwales sink
Quite closely to the water's brink.
But see that mass of foam so white!
A swimming Reptile heaves in sight,
While two strong arms the waters churn.
A duck-billed head, whose eyeballs burn,
A great, broad body like a boat,
In which air chambers help to float;
While mighty limbs, eight feet in length,
And fifteen feet of tail, show strength;
Vibrating like a mighty screw,
As through the waves our saurian flew.
On shore a troop comes down to drink,
On solid sand that reached the brink;
Their faces armed with three great horns,
Far larger than the unicorn's;
While monstrous head, seven feet in length,
Is a sure symbol of their strength.
On pillared limbs their weight is borne,
Deep footprints in the earth are worn.
But on we glide, while reptiles strange
On every side our thoughts engage.
While from this old Cretaceous shore
The Jura stretches out before.
Great plesiosaurs, of mighty limb,
Out in the ocean safely swim;
While ammonites, with painted sail,
Are wafted by the passing gale.

I've left fresh water in my wake,
My course through deep blue waters take.
But ere I leave the jungled shore,
I hear the earth resound once more
'Neath tread of thunder-lizard dread.
But on my boat has swiftly sped,
The flora changes on the land
And tree ferns lift their pillars grand.
Lepidodendrons' bushy crests
Wave back and forth, together pressed;
While sponge-moss hangs in festoons gay
Across the thickly planted way,
Or covers ground with carpets rare,
On which I trace my steps with care.
Yes! a landing I have made
Beside a lovely Permian glade.
A score of million years are fled
Since my imagination led
To go into my birch-bark boat,
And on Time's Tide to gently float
Far down the stream to Permian day,
And cast my anchor in the bay.
The Angiosperms have not appeared,
But rush and reed great trunks have reared;
Conifers, that are growing here,
Bring back my thoughts to recent year.
The reptiles are of lowly mien,
While salamanders large are seen,
And Cope himself gave one name:
Eryops now is known to fame.
He drags his form through mossy clay,
And toward the water makes his way,
For he can live in watery home
Or through the heated jungle roam;
For gills and lungs his heritage,
On water, land, his battles wage.
Amphibians, monarchs of the earth
They reigned, ere higher life had birth.
One leaves a deep trail in his wake,
Then plunges in the nearby lake.
See waters part, and a strange band
Now leave the flood to come on land;
Their heads shaped like a quarter moon,
While two great horns provide the room;
For while on shore their course they take,
A pathway through the moss they break
With their strong horns of solid bone,
Re-curving from their heads have grown.
Their eyes lie far down in the face-
A character of all their race;
While condyles placed behind,
With two on atlas, you will find.

See now along this mossy bank
Are hundreds of another rank.
A foot they span in length, or more;
I've seen these creatures oft before.
Their little heads could enter in
A woman's silver thimble's rim.
Their snake-like forms seem free of feet,
So slender, and so lithe and neat.
The time has come, so they will make
A nest in which to hibernate.
'Neath the bright moss in softest clay,
Slow and sure they cut their way,
And after much incessant toil,
In their small homes they quickly coil.
Alas! they never more will race
Along the shore's steep, mossy face;
I'll dig their bones in nodules round
Near Coffee Creak, in the red ground.
Batrachians, or Amphibians, strange
Have here attained their highest range.
I see these creatures everywhere,
And not to step on them use care.
In recent years they shun the light
And hide in caves or wells from sight.
But here, in densely wooded land,
Along the bayou's shining strand,
Or mossy swamps that spread around,
Or sullen streams that here abound,
These ancient forms rule everywhere:
A race now helpless, then would dare
To battle e'en with reptiles rare,
Who then began their great career,
And later on would know no fear.
I need not here in covert lie,
For no beast fears the human eye.
Through the bright wood's flowery face
A form breaks through- one of this race.
Now a strange reptile I will con,
It is Cope's great Dimetrodon.
His spines abnormally rise high
In crescent form- I wonder why.
In center they're three feet or more-
Have any seen such spines before?
He moves along with agile grace,
As he's engaged upon the chase
Of Labidosaurus;- what a race!
And though this reptile small may be,
He is a running mystery.
Broad archéd bones project behind,
And rounder eyes midway are found,
While muzzle pinched to narrowest space
Presents a most peculiar face.
Four shining teeth in front, so trim,
Give to the face a constant grin.
While jaws below, armed just the same,
Pass like two knives held in a frame,
And shear his food to finest shred,
When on rich mosses he has fed.

Alas! these scenes are fading fast.
I have returned to camp at last.
My tent is pitched at Willow Spring,
And here my labors will begin.
Some years ago, in ninety-two,
When Coffee Creak came into view,
Along the Vernon county road
Some cheerful farmers then abode.
Galyean, if I remember right,
With pleasant home and children bright,
Was settled just south of the bridge,
(While other homes were on the ridge.)
A little store before their door,
And post-office, brought all once more
In closer touch with the great world
Where stars and stripes lie all unfurled.
A schoolhouse, where the children, too,
Learned how to read, like me or you.
And where my humble tents now stand
Were the McBrides, another band
Who came to dress and till the land.
Through these farms the Chisolm trail
Gave echoes of the awful tale,
When countless feet of every age
Performed their fearful Pilgrimage.
This trail to them then had no end,
While further north their footsteps bend.
From furthest south to northern line,
From the great gulf's broad, watery brine,
From the warm air and sunny day,
Where rifted snow-bank coldly lay:
Shall I forget, on Kansas plain,
This trail baptized with blood and pain!
A mighty drove- I see it still;
No water since the Smoky Hill
Was crossed, some twenty miles behind.
A cloud of dust raised by the wind
And tread of countless weary feet.
Their ponies' sides the cowboys beat,
To reach the water on ahead
Before the cattle rile its bed.
With hats in hand, they hope to dip
Some water for their parching lip.
Too late! for the stampeded band
Force out the cowboys on the land,
And they, ere coveted drink can gain,
Forced out by others, just the same;
Last of the herd's sore-footed crew,
'Round precious stream their ranks they drew.
Along that trail I saw next day
Full forty calves that dying lay
From the hot sun or lack of food-
An awful death! Thy pity, Lord!
To man, dominion has been given
O'er all the beasts beneath Thy heaven;
Yet how unworthy of the trust!
They're sacrificed for money's lust.
And man is treated just the same:
When last to Permian brakes I came,
The farm McBride grubbed out with care
Shows not his labors anywhere,
Save, where his pleasant home had stood,
Foundation stones and rotting wood;
And where full twenty homes, or more,
Paid tribute to the little store,
Not one is left of all the score.
One cattleman has power to wield
O'er thousand sections in one field,
While Texas' countless farmless men
Give up their homes for cattle pen.
Hundreds of fossil forms I've found
In this rich field of Permian ground-
The ones I showed you in my dream,
While many others I have seen.
In 'Munich all thy banners wave'
Above the old red Permian grave;
On this side the Atlantic shore,
In 'Cope's Collection,' what a store!
American Museum's stately pile
These wondrous records keeps on file.

by Charles Hazelius Sternberg.

I

Not yet had History's Aetna smoked the skies,
And low the Gallic Giantess lay enchained,
While overhead in ordered set and rise
Her kingly crowns immutably defiled;
Effulgent on funereal piled
Across the vacant heavens, and distrained
Her body, mutely, even as earth, to bear;
Despoiled the tomb of hope, her mouth of air.

II

Through marching scores of winters racked she lay,
Beneath a hoar-frost's brilliant crust,
Whereon the jewelled flies that drained
Her breasts disported in a glistering spray;
She, the land's fount of fruits, enclosed with dust;
By good and evil angels fed, sustained
In part to curse, in part to pray,
Sucking the dubious rumours, till men saw
The throbs of her charged heart before the Just,
So worn the harrowed surface had become:
And still they deemed the dance above was Law,
Amort all passion in a rebel dumb.

III

Then, on the unanticipated day,
Earth heaved, and rose a veinous mound
To roar of the underfloods; and off it sprang,
Ravishing as red wine in woman's form,
A splendid Maenad, she of the delirious laugh,
Her body twisted flames with the smoke-cap crowned;
She of the Bacchic foot; the challenger to the fray,
Bewitchment for the embrace; who sang, who sang
Intoxication to her swarm,
Revolved them, hair, voice, feet, in her carmagnole,
As with a stroke she snapped the Royal staff,
Dealt the awaited blow on gilt decay
(O ripeness of the time! O Retribution sure,
If but our vital lamp illume us to endure!)
And, like a glad releasing of her soul,
Sent the word Liberty up to meet the midway blue,
Her bridegroom in descent to her; and they joined,
In the face of men they joined: attest it true,
The million witnesses, that she,
For ages lying beside the mole,
Was on the unanticipated miracle day
Upraised to midway heaven and, as to her goal,
Enfolded, ere the Immaculate knew
What Lucifer of the Mint had coined
His bride's adulterate currency
Of burning love corrupt of an infuriate hate;
She worthy, she unworthy; that one day his mate:
His mate for that one day of the unwritten deed.
Read backward on the hoar-frost's brilliant crust;
Beneath it read.
Athirst to kiss, athirst to slay, she stood,
A radiance fringed with grim affright;
For them that hungered, she was nourishing food,
For those who sparkled, Night.
Read in her heart, and how before the Just
Her doings, her misdoings, plead.

IV

Down on her leap for him the young Angelical broke
To husband a resurgent France:
From whom, with her dethroning stroke,
Dishonour passed; the dalliance,
That is occasion's yea or nay,
In issues for the soul to pay,
Discarded; and the cleft 'twixt deed and word,
The sinuous lie which warbles the sweet bird,
Wherein we see old Darkness peer,
Cold Dissolution beck, she had flung hence;
And hence the talons and the beak of prey;
Hence all the lures to silken swine
Thronging the troughs of indolence;
With every sleek convolvement serpentine;
The pride in elfin arts to veil an evil leer,
And bid a goatfoot trip it like a fay.
He clasped in this revived, uprisen France,
A valorous dame, of countenance
The lightning's upon cloud: unlit as yet
On brows and lips the lurid shine
Of seas in the night-wind's whirl; unstirred
Her pouch of the centuries' injuries compressed;
The shriek that tore the world as yet unheard:
Earth's animate full flower she looked, intense
For worship, wholly given him, fair
Adoring or desiring; in her bright jet,
Earth's crystal spring to sky: Earth's warrior Best
To win Heaven's Pure up that midway
We vision for new ground, where sense
And spirit are one for the further flight; breast-bare,
Bare-limbed; nor graceless gleamed her disarray
In scorn of the seductive insincere,
But martially nude for hot Bellona's play,
And amorous of the loftiest in her view.

V

She sprang from dust to drink of earth's cool dew,
The breath of swaying grasses share,
Mankind embrace, their weaklings rear,
At wrestle with the tyrannic strong;
Her forehead clear to her mate, virgin anew,
As immortals may be in the mortal sphere.
Read through her launching heart, who had lain long
With Earth and heard till it became her own
Our good Great Mother's eve and matin song:
The humming burden of Earth's toil to feed
Her creatures all, her task to speed their growth,
Her aim to lead them up her pathways, shown
Between the Pains and Pleasures; warned of both,
Of either aided on their hard ascent.
Now when she looked, with love's benign delight
After great ecstasy, along the plains,
What foulest impregnation of her sight
Transformed the scene to multitudinous troops
Of human sketches, quaver-figures, bent,
As were they winter sedges, broken hoops,
Dry udder, vineless poles, worm-eaten posts,
With features like the flowers defaced by deluge rains?
Recked she that some perverting devil had limned
Earth's proudest to spout scorn of the Maker's hand,
Who could a day behold these deathly hosts,
And see, decked, graced, and delicately trimmed,
A ribanded and gemmed elected few,
Sanctioned, of milk and honey starve the land:-
Like melody in flesh, its pleasant game
Olympianwise perform, cloak but the shame:
Beautiful statures; hideous,
By Christian contrast; pranked with golden chains,
And flexile where is manhood straight;
Mortuaries where warm should beat
The brotherhood that keeps blood sweet:
Who dared in cantique impious
Proclaim the Just, to whom was due
Cathedral gratitude in the pomp of state,
For that on those lean outcasts hung the sucker Pains,
On these elect the swelling Pleasures grew.
Surely a devil's land when that meant death for each!
Fresh from the breast of Earth, not thus,
With all the body's life to plump the leech,
Is Nature's way, she knew. The abominable scene
Spat at the skies; and through her veins,
To cloud celestially sown,
Ran venom of what nourishment
Her dark sustainer subterrene
Supplied her, stretched supine on the rack,
Alive in the shrewd nerves, the seething brains,
Under derisive revels, prone
As one clamped fast, with the interminable senseless blent.

VI

Now was her face white waves in the tempest's sharp flame-blink;
Her skies shot black.
Now was it visioned infamy to drink
Of earth's cool dew, and through the vines
Frolic in pearly laughter with her young,
Watching the healthful, natural, happy signs
Where hands of lads and maids like tendrils clung,
After their sly shy ventures from the leaf,
And promised bunches. Now it seemed
The world was one malarious mire,
Crying for purification: chief
This land of France. It seemed
A duteous desire
To drink of life's hot flood, and the crimson streamed.

VII

She drank what makes man demon at the draught.
Her skies lowered black,
Her lover flew,
There swept a shudder over men.
Her heavenly lover fled her, and she laughed,
For laughter was her spirit's weapon then.
The Infernal rose uncalled, he with his crew.

VIII

As mighty thews burst manacles, she went mad:
Her heart a flaring torch usurped her wits.
Such enemies of her next-drawn breath she had!
To tread her down in her live grave beneath
Their dancing floor sunned blind by the Royal wreath,
They ringed her steps with crafty prison pits.
Without they girdled her, made nest within.
There ramped the lion, here entrailed the snake.
They forced the cup to her lips when she drank blood;
Believing it, in the mother's mind at strain,
In the mother's fears, and in young Liberty's wail
Alarmed, for her encompassed children's sake,
The sole sure way to save her priceless bud.
Wherewith, when power had gifted her to prevail,
Vengeance appeared as logically akin.
Insanely rational they; she rationally insane;
And in compute of sin, was hers the appealing sin.

IX

Amid the plash of scarlet mud
Stained at the mouth, drunk with our common air,
Not lack of love was her defect;
The Fury mourned and raged and bled for France
Breathing from exultation to despair
At every wild-winged hope struck by mischance
Soaring at each faint gleam o'er her abyss.
Heard still, to be heard while France shall stand erect,
The frontier march she piped her sons, for where
Her crouching outer enemy camped,
Attendant on the deadlier inner's hiss.
She piped her sons the frontier march, the wine
Of martial music, History's cherished tune;
And they, the saintliest labourers that aye
Dropped sweat on soil for bread, took arms and tramped;
High-breasted to match men or elements,
Or Fortune, harsh schoolmistress with the undrilled:
War's ragged pupils; many a wavering line,
Torn from the dear fat soil of champaigns hopefully tilled,
Torn from the motherly bowl, the homely spoon,
To jest at famine, ply
The novel scythe, and stand to it on the field;
Lie in the furrows, rain-clouds for their tents;
Fronting the red artillery straighten spine;
Buckle the shiver at sight of comrades strewn;
Over an empty platter affect the merrily filled;
Die, if the multiple hazards around said die;
Downward measure a foeman mightily sized;
Laugh at the legs that would run for a life despised;
Lyrical on into death's red roaring jaw-gape, steeled
Gaily to take of the foe his lesson, and give reply.
Cheerful apprentices, they shall be masters soon!

X

Lo, where hurricane flocks of the North-wind rattle their thunder
Loud through a night, and at dawn comes change to the great South-
west,
Hounds are the hounded in clouds, waves, forests, inverted the race:
Lo, in the day's young beams the colossal invading pursuers
Burst upon rocks and were foam;
Ridged up a torrent crest;
Crumbled to ruin, still gazing a glacial wonder;
Turned shamed feet toe to heel on their track at a panic pace.
Yesterday's clarion cock scudded hen of the invalid comb;
They, the triumphant tonant towering upper, were under;
They, violators of home, dared hope an inviolate home;
They that had stood for the stroke were the vigorous hewers;
Quick as the trick of the wrist with the rapier, they the pursuers.
Heavens and men amazed heard the arrogant crying for grace;
Saw the once hearth-reek rabble the scourge of an army dispieced;
Saw such a shift of the hunt as when Titan Olympus clomb.
Fly! was the sportsman's word; and the note of the quarry rang,
Chase!

XI

Banners from South, from East,
Sheaves of pale banners drooping hole and shred;
The captive brides of valour, Sabine Wives
Plucked from the foeman's blushful bed,
For glorious muted battle-tongues
Of deeds along the horizon's red,
At cost of unreluctant lives;
Her toilful heroes homeward poured,
To give their fevered mother air of the lungs.
She breathed, and in the breathing craved.
Environed as she was, at bay,
Safety she kissed on her drawn sword,
And waved for victory, for fresh victory waved:
She craved for victory as her daily bread;
For victory as her daily banquet raved.

XII

Now had her glut of vengeance left her grey
Of blood, who in her entrails fiercely tore
To clutch and squeeze her snakes; herself the more
Devitalizing: red washer Auroral ray;
Desired if but to paint her pallid hue.
The passion for that young horizon red,
Which dowered her with the flags, the blazing fame,
Like dotage of the past-meridian dame
For some bright Sungod adolescent, swelled
Insatiate, to the voracious grew,
The glutton's inward raveners bred;
Till she, mankind's most dreaded, most abhorred,
Witless in her demands on Fortune, asked,
As by the weaving Fates impelled,
To have the thing most loathed, the iron lord,
Controller and chastiser, under Victory masked.

XIII

Banners from East, from South,
She hugged him in them, feared the scourge they meant,
Yet blindly hugged, and hungering built his throne.
So may you see the village innocent,
With curtsey of shut lids and open mouth,
In act to beg for sweets expect a loathly stone:
See furthermore the Just in his measures weigh
Her sufferings and her sins, dispense her meed.
False to her bridegroom lord of the miracle day,
She fell: from his ethereal home observed
Through love, grown alien love, not moved to plead
Against the season's fruit for deadly Seed,
But marking how she had aimed, and where she swerved,
Why suffered, with a sad consenting thought.
Nor would he shun her sullen look, nor monstrous hold
The doer of the monstrous; she aroused,
She, the long tortured, suddenly freed, distraught,
More strongly the divine in him than when
Joy of her as she sprang from mould
Drew him the midway heavens adown
To clasp her in his arms espoused
Before the sight of wondering men,
And put upon the day a deathless crown.
The veins and arteries of her, fold in fold,
His alien love laid open, to divide
The martyred creature from her crimes; he knew
What cowardice in her valour could reside;
What strength her weakness covered; what abased
Sublimity so illumining, and what raised
This wallower in old slime to noblest heights,
Up to the union on the midway blue:-
Day that the celestial grave Recorder hangs
Among dark History's nocturnal lights,
With vivid beams indicative to the quick
Of all who have felt the vaulted body's pangs
Beneath a mind in hopeless soaring sick.
She had forgot how, long enslaved, she yearned
To the one helping hand above;
Forgot her faith in the Great Undiscerned,
Whereof she sprang aloft to her Angelical love
That day: and he, the bright day's husband, still with love,
Though alien, though to an upper seat retired,
Behold a wrangling heart, as 'twere her soul
On eddies of wild waters cast;
In wilderness division; fired
For domination, freedom, lust,
The Pleasures; lo, a witch's snaky bowl
Set at her lips; the blood-drinker's madness fast
Upon her; and therewith mistrust,
Most of herself: a mouth of guile.
Compassionately could he smile,
To hear the mouth disclaiming God,
And clamouring for the Just!
Her thousand impulses, like torches, coursed
City and field; and pushed abroad
O'er hungry waves to thirsty sands,
Flaring at further; she had grown to be
The headless with the fearful hands;
To slaughter, else to suicide, enforced.
But he, remembering how his love began,
And of what creature, pitied when was plain
Another measure of captivity:
The need for strap and rod;
The penitential prayers again;
Again the bitter bowing down to dust;
The burden on the flesh for who disclaims the God,
The answer when is call upon the Just.
Whence her lost virtue had found refuge strode
Her master, saying, 'I only; I who can!'
And echoed round her army, now her chain.
So learns the nation, closing Anarch's reign,
That she had been in travail of a Man.

by George Meredith.

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