Love In The Summer Hills
Love in the summer hills,
With youth to mock at ills,
And kisses sweet to cheat
Our idle tears away.
What else has Time in store,
Till Life shall close the door?
Still let me sing love's lore,
Come sorrow when it may.
Rain on the weeping hills,
With Death to end our ills,
And only thought unsought
To point our joys' decay.
Oh Life is wounded sore
And Grief's mad waters roar.
Yet will I love once more
To--day as yesterday.
Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet Vii
But where he fared and how, it matters not.
He and his mourning ere a month had run
Were out of mind with all and clean forgot,
Kinsman and friend and foe: save only one,
Only Natalia. She with tightened breath
Heard his name spoken in reproof's vain way
And gave her melancholy soul to death.
Foolish Natalia, who in love's full day
Had spent her grief, had nothing now to give
Of greater woe to her soul's agonies.
Living she yet had hardly dared to live.
She had wept dry the fountains of her eyes,
And never on her sorrow broke a gleam
Of that assuagement tears on others stream.
On A Grave In The Forest
Hush, gentle stranger. Here lies one asleep
In the tall grass whom we must not awaken.
For see, the wildest winds hush here and keep
Silence for her and not a leaf is shaken,
Lest she should wake and find herself forsaken.
Close to my feet aweary did she creep
And slept, and she is sweetly still mistaken
Deeming I stand by her and watch her sleep.
--Hush, gentle stranger! One as gentle lies
In this poor grave, and weep before you go
For one who knew no weeping, yet abode
Among our human sorrows and was wise
With tenderer sympathy than tears can show,
The gentlest kindliest creature made by God.
Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet X
But with full daylight finding no relief,
Though he had spent the newness of his fears
And looked with altered eyes upon his grief,
For sorrow often drowses in its tears,
And men sleep deepest on a wound, he rose
And taking horse made in all haste for Rome,
Thinking if thus he might assuage his woes
By visiting his dead Natalia's tomb
And asking of her dear new--buried lips
What secret thought had been of love and him
When the world left her in its last eclipse.
And still in passionate words he made his theme,
That she was waiting yet to hear his cry:
``O my soul's soul, I did not bid thee die.''
Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Iv
And thus it is. The tale I have to tell
Is such another. He who reads shall find
That which he brings to it of Heaven or Hell
For his best recompense where much is blind,
A jest--book or a sermon or mere wind,--
Each as he may,--for life's least godly mirth
Is mingled strangely here with fate unkind,
And this is a true story of the Earth.
The passionate heart of youth with its desires
Is not all noble, and some baseness clings
For ever mixed with its eternal fires,
Else were it single among human things.
And all life's wisdom learns but this last plan,
To jest at tears and weep Man's mirth and Man.
Natalia’s Resurrection: Sonnet V
Until it happened, as such things will be,
That she, who had a proud man for her spouse
None the less loving that unloved was he,
Must bear a child, the heir to his high house.
Then Adrian left her. It was idle sorrow
Longer to wait a suppliant at her door,
Weeping the promise of a lost to--morrow
Which never could be his nor valued more.
And he was tired of tears and nightly needed
To feed his manhood's strength on stronger meat,
And neither word of hers nor vow he heeded,
Who was thus proved a daughter of deceit;
And he was wrath with her and womanhood,
And with himself, and chiefly wrath with God.
Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Liv
I must not speak of it. Even yet my heart
Is but a feeble thing to fret and cry,
And it might chance to wake and with a start,
When nights were still and stars were in the sky,
Sit up and muse upon its lonely state,
With the same stars to mock at it as then,
And certain chords that touched might touch it yet,
And griefs find issue and tears come again.
I must not venture farther in this mood.
Grief is forsworn to me. I will not grieve,
Nor think too much on Esther's womanhood,
Rather on that which was its make--believe.
And yet awhile she loved me. In this thought
I long found rest when all was come to nought.
Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Lvi
Who has not wept with Manon? Of all tales
That thrill youth's fancy or to tears or mirth
None other is there where such grief prevails,
Such passionate pity for the loves of Earth.
Who has not wept with Manon in her sin,
Wept in her punishment? What angry heart
Has been unmoved in youth to see her win
With those sad archers to the inhuman cart?
Who has not followed her beyond the seas,
And sold his life for her, and bowed his pride,
And sinned all sins to buy her back to ease,
And died all deaths to venge her when she died?
And I, blest boy, who each new happy night
When all was done still lived in her delight!
The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part I: To Manon: Vii
ON HER VANITY
What are these things thou lovest? Vanity.
To see men turn their heads when thou dost pass;
To be the signboard and the looking--glass
Where every idler there may glut his eye;
To hear men speak thy name mysteriously,
Wagging their heads. Is it for this, alas,
That thou hast made a placard of a face
On which the tears of love were hardly dry?
What are these things thou lovest? The applause
Of prostitutes at wit which is not thine;
The sympathy of shop--boys who would weep
Their shilling's worth of woe in any cause,
At any tragedy.--Their tears and mine,
What difference? Oh truly tears are cheap!
A Glory Gone
What is my thought of you, beloved one,
Now you have passed from me and gone your ways?
Glory is gone with you from stars and sun,
And all wise meaning from the nights and days.
There is no colour, no delight, no praise
In the deep forest, where your dear eyes shone,
Nor any dryad face with cheeks ablaze
To paint the glades grown sere as Avalon.
--What is my thought of you? No thought have I
But just to weep the pity of lost things,
Grieve with the wind, and rain tears with the rain.
The sun may smile, who knows, in a blue sky,
To--morrow? But to--day Hope's passionate wings
Are folded and Love waits on only Pain.
A New Pilgrimage: Sonnet Xx
Enough, dear Paris! We have laughed together,
'Tis time that we should part, lest tears should come.
I must fare on from winter and rough weather
And the dark tempests chained within Time's womb.
Southwards I go. Each footstep marks the tomb
Of a dead pleasure. Melun, Fontainebleau,--
How shall I name them with the ghosts that roam
In their deserted streets of long ago?
I will not stop to weep. Before me lie
Lands larger in their purpose, and with dreams
Peopled more purely; and to these I fly
For ever from life's idler stratagems.
France! thy white hand I kiss in suppliant guise,
Too sad to love thee, and alas! too wise.
Tears, idle tears! Ah, who shall bid us weep,
Now that thy lyre, O prophet, is unstrung?
What voice shall rouse the dull world from its sleep
And lead its requiem as when Grief was young,
And thou in thy rapt youth, Time's bards among,
Captured our ears, and we looked up and heard
Spring's sweetest music on thy mourning tongue
And knew thee for Pain's paradisal bird.
We are alone without thee in our tears,
Alone in our mute chauntings. Vows are vain
To tell thee how we loved thee in those years
Nor dream to look upon thy like again.
We know not how to weep without thy aid,
Since all that tears would tell thyself hast said.
Esther, A Sonnet Sequence: Ii
Yes, who shall tell the value of our tears,
Whether we wept aright or idly grieved?
There is a tragedy in unloved years,
And in those passionate hours by love deceived,
In lips unkissed and hopes too soon bereaved,
And youth's high courage which no strength could save,
And manhood's web of fate by folly weaved,
And grey--haired grief brought down into the grave.
Who shall distinguish truly and be wise
'Twixt grief and grief, 'twixt night and night? The sun
Has its own sorrow and a voice that cries
Louder than darkness of its joys undone,
And pleads with that exceeding bitter cry,
``I have tasted honey, and behold, I die!''
The Deeds That Might Have Been
There are wrongs done in the fair face of heaven
Which cry aloud for vengeance, and shall cry;
Loves beautiful in strength whose wit has striven
Vainly with loss and man's inconstancy;
Dead children's faces watched by souls that die;
Pure streams defiled; fair forests idly riven;
A nation suppliant in its agony
Calling on justice, and no help is given.
All these are pitiful. Yet, after tears,
Come rest and sleep and calm forgetfulness,
And God's good providence consoles the years.
Only the coward heart which did not guess,
The dreamer of brave deeds that might have been,
Shall cureless ache with wounds for ever green.
From Caiphas to Pilate I was sent,
Who judged with unwashed hands a crime to me.
Next came the sentence, and the soldiery
Claimed me their prey. Without, the people rent
With weeping voices the loud firmament.
And through the night from town to town passed we
Mid shouts and drums and stones hurled heavily
By angry crowds on love and murder bent.
And last the gaol.--What stillness in these doors!
The silent turnkeys their last bolts have shot,
And their steps die in the long corridors.
I am alone. My tears run fast and hot.
Dear Lord, for Thy grief's sake I kiss these floors
Kneeling; then turn to sleep, dreams trouble not.
Le Roi Est Mort. Vive Le Roi!
Why wait for Arthur? He too long has slept.
He shall not hear you--no, nor heed your moan,
More than the wail of those fair Queens that kept
Their watch for him what months in Avalon!
He shall not wake for any mother's son
Nor mother's daughter of them all in tears,
His knights, his ladies. How then for this one,
You the last blossom of our world's lost years?
--Ah, let him sleep. For see how in the wood,
Under the dead oak, green new saplings spring,
How the thorn blossoms, while birds cry aloud
In scorn of grief. And, Lady, by the rood!
There rides a knight, new--armed and questing proud,
Who shouts, ``The king is dead. Long live the King!''
This is thy day, thy day of all the years.
Ireland! The night of anger and mute gloom,
Where thou didst sit, has vanished with thy tears.
Thou shalt no longer weep in thy lone home
The dead they slew for thee, or nurse thy doom,
Or fan the smoking flax of thy desire
Their hatred could not quench. Thy hour is come;
And these, if they would reap, must reap in fire.
--What shall thy vengeance be? In that long night
Thou hast essayed thy wrath in many ways,
Slaughter and havoc and Hell's deathless spite.
They taught thee vengeance who thus schooled thy days,
Taught all they knew, but not this one divine
Vengeance, to love them. Be that vengeance thine!
The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxxiv
THE MOCKERY OF LIFE
God! What a mockery is this life of ours!
Cast forth in blood and pain from our mother's womb,
Most like an excrement, and weeping showers
Of senseless tears: unreasoning, naked, dumb,
The symbol of all weakness and the sum:
Our very life a sufferance.--Presently,
Grown stronger, we must fight for standing--room
Upon the earth, and the bare liberty
To breathe and move. We crave the right to toil.
We push, we strive, we jostle with the rest.
We learn new courage, stifle our old fears,
Stand with stiff backs, take part in every broil.
It may be that we love, that we are blest.
It may be, for a little space of years,
We conquer fate and half forget our tears.
The Love Sonnets Of Proteus. Part Iii: Gods And False Gods: Lxxvi
THE SAME CONTINUED
And who shall tell what ignominy death
Has yet in store for us; what abject fears
Even for the best of us; what fights for breath;
What sobs, what supplications, what wild tears;
What impotence of soul against despairs
Which blot out reason?--The last trembling thought
Of each poor brain, as dissolution nears,
Is not of fair life lost, of Heaven bought
And glory won. 'Tis not the thought of grief;
Of friends deserted; loving hearts which bleed;
Wives, sisters, children who around us weep.
But only a mad clutching for relief
From physical pain, importunate Nature's need;
The search as for a womb where we may creep
Back from the world, to hide,--perhaps to sleep.
With Eternity Standing By
How shall I bid you good--bye,
Dear, without tears?
Only once in the years,
The idle vanishing years,
We met, with Eternity standing by,
And loved, a little forgotten space,
I for the sake of your beautiful face,
You I hardly know how or why,
Or whether you loved me indeed, alas,
With Eternity standing by.
We played our comedy parts,
Scene after scene.
You were to be my queen,
My dear sweet comedy queen,
I your lover and knave of hearts
Who kissed your hand in the make--believe
And looked for the bee in your royal sleeve,
And stopped, because of the pain that smarts,
The pangs that soften, the sighs that grieve,
And the rest of the tragic parts.
We did not know that we loved,
Not at the first of it.
That, ah that was the worst of it,
The aching sorrowful worst of it,
Not till I saw that your soul was moved
At the sound of my voice, as in tears I read
Of Guinevere and the days long dead,
And the knights and ladies who lived and loved
And went to their graves and were harvested.
Then, ah then, it was proved.
So I dare not bid you good--bye,
Dear, without tears.
Things there are in the years,
The coming ominous years,
All too sad for us not to cry.
Other joys shall forgotten be,
But not the pilgrimage made with me,
The Severn's flood and the angry sky,
And the love we talked of, which could not be
With Eternity standing by.
Couplets In Praise
Poet of love, I sing here my whole soul to you.
Ah, might I all deeds dare, love would I prove to you.
Make I at least your praise, chaplet of sunny verse,
Each dear delight of your told to the universe.
Let me your sweetnesses, O child, enumerate.
All the proud wealth of you Love shall remunerate.
``Glory to God,'' I sigh each time I gaze at you.
Eyes that have wept all night thrill in amaze at you.
Night in your dark hair sleeps, caught in the net of it,
Emblem how dear of dreams pure as the jet of it.
Valiant joy crowns your brow, stainless its ivory.
Incense your sweet lips breathe, rose--red their livery.
Earth has no part in you. Yet do your eyes to--night
Vanquish all Earth for me, wise in their wise delight.
Evening and morning still watch your feet shod with dew,
Answering praise and prayer, fearless, your God with you.
Dare to delight our souls steeped in love's tenderness.
Earn us a wage of joy saved from the wilderness.
Lo, how my heart leaps up new life inheriting.
Armed for the fight am I, all your praise meriting.
Idly if I have lived, now am I glorious,
Daring all deeds for you, yours and victorious.
Empires shall bend and break; kingdoms shall crumble down.
Wise men shall bow the knee; wise ones look humble down.
You are the cause of it. Only your name it is
Nerves me to fight the fight stern with life's vanities.
Die! Ay, to die for you, foremost in rivalry,
Heroes to dig my grave: that were true chivalry.
All lovers there should sing, all who had wit any,
Mourn me and weep with you. Here ends my litany.
Whom The Gods Love
Whom the gods love die young. Ah, do not doubt of it.
Laura did well to die. Our loss was a gain for her,
Ours who so loved her laughter, ours who at thought of it
Shrink from a wound yet tender, wailing in vain for her.
Full was her life, a well--spring, brimmed to the brink of it,
Giving of its abundance alms to humanity.
We, with our life's cup empty, paused there to drink of it,
Rose with our souls ennobled, purged of their vanity.
Which of us all but loved her, knelt to her, prayed to her?
She was our queen, our Soul--saint, first in our Calendar.
``Laura,'' our lips breathed, ``Laura,'' vowing our aid to her,
Each as her fame's proclaimer, champion and challenger.
Which but might deem she loved him? Which, when she smiled on him,
Nursed not for his consoling dreams of felicity?
Which, in her eyes, read no hope, when like a child on him
Turned she those orbs appealing masked in simplicity?
Nay, there was none went wounded, even when ``No'' to him
Came as the last sad answer ending his argument.
``No?'' 'Twas hope's affirmation, boding no woe to him,
Rather a sweet postponing framed for encouragement.
Why should he weep? He wept not. Dear was her way with him.
Had she not given of all things more than he gave to her?
Had not her lips poured plenty, wise words and gay with him?
Why should his farewell falter, fool hands not wave to her?
I too with these essayed love. I too my joy with her
Sought in her wild girl's garden, idly, a censurer,
Learned what the rest had learned there, deemed like a boy with her
I too, that Laura loved me, kneeled my heart's venturer,
Wooed her and went forth weeping, yet with her name for me
Stored as a sweet remembrance deep in the heart of me,
Grieving my day departed; still as high fame for me
Chaunting it, each sad evening, proud as a part of me.
Whom the gods love! Ay truly. Why should we mourn for her
Dowered with all youth for portion, spared our infirmity?
Nay, 'twere for her to pity us, the forlorn for her,
Laughing her gay girl's laughter, glad through Eternity.
What woes are there
I would not choose to bear
For thy dear sake?
Curses were blest, the ache
Of sorrow's scourging and grief's crown of care.
All pain were dear to me,
But it must be
A sun grown cold,
Earth wrapped in vaporous fold,
The corn--flowers' head
Robbed of their blue and red,
The buttercups and daisies of their gold.
This could I choose to see,
But it must be
The notes unheard
Of lark and piping bird,
Or else their songs
Replaced by harsher tongues,
No voice to sing to me or speak a word.
This too were joy to me,
But it must be
A life alone,
One left with others gone,
A mourning house,
Where none moves but the mouse
Or knows the secret of its pale guests flown.
Grief's tears were sweet to me,
But it must be
Night without sleep,
Slow hours that halt and creep,
A cheerless bed
Where Love nor lays his head
Nor looks with pity on blind eyes that weep.
Watching were rest to me,
But it must be
Passion, once sure,
With vain expense grown poor,
Cheeks ruddy white
Now crocussed with affright,
And Love the guest all coldly shown the door.
Love's loss were gain to me,
But it must be
The World's praise changed to scorn,
Silence of friends,
Foes gaining all their ends
Through fault of fortune and my sword undrawn.
Hatred were love to me,
But it must be
Life's purpose vast
Turned to base ends and cast
On lines of ill
Which faltering downward still
Shall topple headlong to the gulf at last.
Life's shame were pride to me,
But it must be
A guarded cell,
Where crime and madness dwell,
Where murder creeps
And maniac laughter weeps,
With the undying worm for last farewell.
There let me die, sad me,
But it must be
O Soul of mine!
Thou wert a thing divine,
But made in vain.
Then be thou broke in twain
And spilled upon time's empty sands like wine.
My soul no Heaven would see,
But it must be
Ghost Of The Beautiful Past
Ghost of the beautiful past, of the days long gone, of a queen, of a fair sweet woman.
Ghost with the passionate eyes, how proud, yet not too proud to have wept, to have loved, since to love is human.
Angel in fair white garments, with skirts of lawn, by the autumn wind on the pathway fluttered,
Always close by the castle wall and about to speak. But the whisper dies on her lips unuttered.
Yellow leaves deep strewn on the sward, dead leaves of a far--off glorious summer.
Yea, the leaves of the roses she plucked, petal by petal, with beating heart, for him the delayed loved comer.
Why doth she weep thus year on year? He hath tarried long, ah me, a thousand desolate years.
Why doth she weep? She hath wept enough. For see, dark down in the gardens dim, a lake. It is filled with her tears.
If I should ask her name, her title with men? But I need not ask it. I know it, alas, of old, though of old unspoken.
Is there another name but one for that face divine, for those sad sweet lips, like a bow unbent, like a bent bow broken?
No, it is none but her's, the Queen, the beloved of all, the beloved of one, when the Table Round was set in thy mead, Carleon.
None but hers, who was Guenevere, when the trumpets blew and the knights full clad rode down to joust at noon, with their clamorous shout, ``The Queen!''
Doth she remember all, or is all forgotten, pennon proud and lance in rest, the thunder of hoofs and the light swift tread of the foremost runner?
Dareth she raise her eyes, those passionate eyes, at the crowd that gazed? None of them all might meet her look, save he, her one true passionate knight, who adoring won her.
Surely, surely, she seeth; she knoweth all; she is no lost vision of death.
She hath still a smile deep hidden. She hath a name on her lips. She shall sigh, she shall speak, she shall move, when the light winds breathe from the Western Seas with the Spring that quickeneth.
Oh, she shall laugh and sing, though the shadow of Death be a cloud behind her!
Oh, she shall love! Though the dragon of grief keep watch, he shall sleep when the trees in the mead grow green, and awaking he shall not find her.
Read me a sweeter meaning, O Lady, O thou whom I serve, of this pictured story.
Read. Nay the tale is told. To it's truth I swear, by my sword, by my knightly faith, by the fame of the King and the Table Round, and the souls of the Saints in glory!
My Only Title
My only title to her grace
Is her sad, too silent face;
All my right to call her mine
The twin tears that on it shine,
Tears that tell of griefs long hid
In the shadows of each lid,
And of doubts that wound her sore
Our twin lives shall meet no more.
Nay, my right and title this,
That she gave me one shy kiss
'Twixt the dawning and the day,
Benediction on my way,
When the vain world was asleep
And no ear to hear us weep,
And that once my fingers pressed
The warm treasures of her breast,
Just a moment, and the truth
Learned of her close--hidden youth
With its joys and sweetnesses
Deep beyond all wit to guess,
All but mine, and what might be
Were she wholly joined with me.
Such my title is and treasure,
Such my glory beyond measure,
Such my thought for the new years,
Burdened with what doubts and fears,
Yet one day to claim her mine.
Here, beyond this shadowy Rhine,
Far from her and journeying still,
Feel I her young pulses thrill,
Her warm body nestled close
To my own with all its woes.
And I know that some far hour
I shall call to her with power,
When the sun is fast in prison
And the midnight stars have risen
Clear and kind in a warm sky,
And the shepherd's hour is nigh,
In a language she shall heed,
``Life is fleeting, love hath need.
Time it is tears should not be.
Come, my love, and dwell with me.''
And I know that without stay,
'Twixt the dawning and the day,
When the vain world is asleep
And no ear to hear her weep,
She shall dry her tears and come;
And we too through Christendom
And beyond this shadowy Rhine,
With its fields of corn and wine,
And the snow--clad Alps and Rome,
And the blue sea capped with foam,
And far--famed Constantinople
With its domes of pearl and opal,
And the sea of Marmora,
Where the dolphins sport and play,
And the utmost isles of Greece
Guarding still their golden fleece,
As when Paris to them came
With his Helen all aflame
On their glorious honeymoon;
And so on from noon to noon
Journeying still and still beyond,
Fond as they and yet more fond,
To the ancient tearless East
Shall be borne as to a feast,
And sit down there our lives long,
With Love's silence for our song
And Love's guile for our disguise,
While I teach her to be wise.
And my title to her grace
Shall the smiles be on her face,
Her blue eyes, where no tears be,
Being wholly joined with me.
I had clean forgotten all, her face who had caused my trouble.
Gone was she as a cloud, as a bird which passed in the wind, as a glittering stream--borne bubble,
As a shadow set by a ship on the sea, where the sail looks down on its double.
I had laid her face to the wall, on the shelf where my fancies sleep.
I had laid my pain in its grave, in its rose--leaf passionless grave, with the things I had dared not keep.
I had left it there. I had dried my tears. I had said, ``Ah, why should I weep?''
I will not be fooled by her, by the spell of her fair child's face.
What is its meaning to me, who have seen, who have known, who have loved what miracle forms of grace?
What are its innocent wiles, its smiles, its idle sweet girlishness?
I will not love without love. I despise the ways of a fool.
Let me prevail as of old, as lover, as lord, as king, or have done with Love's tyrant rule.
I was born to command, not serve, not obey. No boy am I in Love's school.
I have fled to the fields, the plains, the desert places of rest,
To the forest's infinite smile, where the cushat calls from the trees and the yaffle has lined her nest,
To the purple hills with the spray of the sea, when the wind blows loud from the west.
I have done with her love and her, the wine--draughts of human pleasure.
The voice of nature is best, the cradle song of the trees which is hymned to Time's stateliest measure,
As once a boy in the woods I heard it and held it an exquisite treasure.
I had clean forgotten all. I had sung to the indolent hills
Songs of joy without grief, since grief is of human things the shadow of human ills.
I sang aloud in my pride of song to the chime of the answering rills.
And, behold, the whole world heard, the dull mad manridden Earth.
And they cried, ``A prophet hath risen, a sage with the heart of a child, a bard of no human birth,
A soul that hath known nor pain, nor sin, a singer of infinite mirth.''
And she too heard it and came. And she knew it was I grown wise.
And she stood from the rest apart, and I watched her with pitying scorn, and then with a sad surprise,
And last with a new sweet passionate joy, for I saw there were tears in her eyes.
And she came and sat at my feet, as in days ere our grief began.
And I saw her a woman grown. And I was a prophet no more, but a desolate voiceless man.
And I clasped her fast in my arms in joy and kissed her tears as they ran.
And I shall not be fooled by her, though her face is fair as a rose.
And I shall not live without love, though the world should forget my songs and I should forget its woes,
And the purple hills should forget the sea and the spray when the west wind blows.
Written At Sea
What is my quarrel with thee, beautiful sea,
That thus I cannot love thy waves or thee,
Or hear thy voice but it tormenteth me?
Why do I hate thee, who art beautiful
Beyond all beauty, when the nights are cool,
And the stars fade because the moon is full?
Why do I hate thee? Thou art new and young,
And life is thine for loving, and thy tongue
Hath tones that I have known and loved and sung.
Thou hast a smile which would my smiling greet;
Thy brave heart beateth as my own doth beat,
And thou hast tears which should be true and sweet.
Thou art a creature, strong and fair and brave,
Such as I might have given the world to have
And love and cherish;--and thou art my slave.
I have my home in thee. Thy arms enfold
Me all night long, and I am rocked and rolled,
And thou art never weary of thy hold.
Thou art a woman in thy constancy,
And worthy better love than mine could be;
And yet, behold, I cannot suffer thee.
If thou wert dumb; if thou wert like the sky,
Which has not learned to speak our misery
In any voice less rude than the wind's cry;
If thou wert wholly young and didst not know
The secret of our ancient human woe,
Or if thou knewest it wholly as I know;
Or yet if thou wert old with all these years;
If thou wert dull to hopes and loves and fears;
If thou wert blind and couldst not see our tears;
If thou wert bounded by some rocky shore,
And hadst not given thyself thus wholly o'er
To our poor single selves with all thy store;
If thou wert not in thy immensity,
A single circle circling with the sky,
Where we must still be centres changelessly;
If thou wert other than thou art; alas,
If thou wert not of water, but a mass
Of formless earth, a waveless plain of grass;
If thou wert shapeless as the mountains are;
If thou wert clad in some discordant wear;
If thou wert not so blue and trim and fair;
If thou wert decked with towns and villages;
If there was heard, across the silent seas,
The music of church bells upon the breeze;
If thou wert this; or if thou wert not near,
But I could only sit apart and hear
The beating of thy waves, and find it drear,
But wild and quite unknown, and far from me;
Sea, if thou couldst no longer be the sea,
Then I could love thee as thou lovest me.
If thou wouldst have me love thee, beautiful sea,
Build up a wall of dark 'twixt thee and me;
Let me not see thee; call the night to thee.
League with the winds; rise up, and send them driven
To roll mad clouds about thy back at even.
Make thee a desolation of the heaven.
Thou shouldst compel me, with thy angry voice,
To choose 'twixt death and thee; and, at the choice,
If my cheek grew not pale, thou might'st rejoice,
And I might love thee, oh thou monstrous sea;
But now I cannot love thy waves or thee,
Or bear thy beauty in my misery.
O Thou enfolded in grief,
Man, with thy mantle of scorn!
Arise and warn!
Unloved prophet of ill
Who sittest clothed in thy grief,
In thy pride of unbelief,
In thy silence of love forsworn!
Speak thy word to the world;
Let it be as a sword to thy will;
Let it be as a spear that is hurled,
A banner of wrath unfurled,
A garment rent and torn.
Speak. They shall listen to thee,
A single voice at their feast.
To the last and least,
They shall hear what they loathe to hear.
In the day of their Jubilee,
Of their coronation feast,
With the wine at their insolent lips,
Though they lend no ear
And their shoutings ring
From the decks of a thousand ships
Acclaiming their new--crowned king
With a coronation cheer,
They shall hear.
Speak, in their jubilant hour,
In the midst of their might and mirth.
Be thy theme the Earth,
The ancient tale of the lands of fame,
Empires of earlier birth,
Which held the world in their lust of power
As their own for dower
And abused their trust.
Make thy theme of the wrath that came,
The smoke that rose, the devouring flame,
The day of glory, the night of shame
And the end of dust.
O thou enrobed in thy tears!
Thou hast heard the children sing,
The children that pass in the street,
The innocent ones with their chauntings proud,
The rhyme of their marching feet.
How their voices sting!
What is the word they say
In their play,
The hymn their young lips fashion?
They have marched through the crowded ways
With flags and glory and shoutings loud
While the sun has looked down ablaze,
Amazed at their joyous passion.
Each one carries a sword,
A wooden sword in his hand,
With ribbon and belt and cord,
And a gun on his shoulder glorious,
Proud each one as a lord.
``Soldiers,'' they shout. ``We are soldiers come
From a battle--field. For, hark, the drum!
From a field of fight victorious.''
``Soldiers! Soldiers! Soldiers!'' Weary am I
Of that word forlorn,
Of the king's command,
Of the children's insolent cry,
A nation's cry whom the nations scorn
For its childish pride.
Better were these unborn!
England! Where is she? Where?
Land of the fortunate free
Which hath ceased to be?
What hath she done with her fame?
The nations that envied her
Turned to her in their care,
Sought her light upon land and sea,
Called as once on her ancient name,
The name of her liberty.
But her ears were shut to their prayer;
Her place was a sepulchre,
She had ceased in her strength to be,
She was no more free.
She fell as a star from its place,
As a bird from its path in the sky,
As a spring run dry,
A fruit in its rottenness,
As a drunken woman prone on her face
While the world went by,
And she knew not her own disgrace.
O thou, who hast seen her fall,
Who hast witnessed her agony,
Who hast looked on the face of the dead!
Lift up thy voice in the night and cry
``The harvest is harvested.
As these shall have made their bed,
So let them lie!''
The Desolate City
DARK to me is the earth. Dark to me are the heavens.
Where is she that I loved, the woman with eyes like stars?
Desolate are the streets. Desolate is the city.
A city taken by storm, where none are left but the slain.
Sadly I rose at dawn, undid the latch of my shutters,
Thinking to let in light, but I only let in love.
Birds in the boughs were awake; I listen'd to their chaunting;
Each one sang to his love; only I was alone.
This, I said in my heart, is the hour of life and of pleasure.
Now each creature on earth has his joy, and lives in the sun,
Each in another's eyes finds light, the light of compassion,
This is the moment of pity, this is the moment of love.
Speak, O desolate city! Speak, O silence in sadness!
Where is she that I loved in my strength, that spoke to my soul?
Where are those passionate eyes that appeal'd to my eyes in passion?
Where is the mouth that kiss'd me, the breast I laid to my own?
Speak, thou soul of my soul, for rage in my heart is kindled.
Tell me, where didst thou flee in the day of destruction and fear?
See, my arms still enfold thee, enfolding thus all heaven,
See, my desire is fulfill'd in thee, for it fills the earth.
Thus in my grief I lamented. Then turn'd I from the window,
Turn'd to the stair, and the open door, and the empty street,
Crying aloud in my grief, for there was none to chide me,
None to mock my weakness, none to behold my tears.
Groping I went, as blind. I sought her house, my beloved's.
There I stopp'd at the silent door, and listen'd and tried the
Love, I cried, dost thou slumber? This is no hour for slumber,
This is the hour of love, and love I bring in my hand.
I knew the house, with its windows barr'd, and its leafless fig-tree,
Climbing round by the doorstep, the only one in the street;
I knew where my hope had climb'd to its goal and there encircled
All that those desolate walls once held, my beloved's heart.
There in my grief she consoled me. She loved me when I loved not.
She put her hand in my hand, and set her lips to my lips.
She told me all her pain and show'd me all her trouble.
I, like a fool, scarce heard, hardly return'd her kiss.
Love, thy eyes were like torches. They changed as I beheld them.
Love, thy lips were like gems, the seal thou settest on my life.
Love, if I loved not then, behold this hour thy vengeance;
This is the fruit of thy love and thee, the unwise grown wise.
Weeping strangled my voice. I call'd out, but none answer'd;
Blindly the windows gazed back at me, dumbly the door;
See whom I love, who loved me, look'd not on my yearning,
Gave me no more her hands to kiss, show'd me no more her soul.
Therefore the earth is dark to me, the sunlight blackness,
Therefore I go in tears and alone, by night and day;
Therefore I find no love in heaven, no light, no beauty,
A heaven taken by storm, where none are left but the slain!
At A Funeral
I loved her too, this woman who is dead.
Look in my face. I have a right to go
And see the place where you have made her bed
Among the snow.
I loved her too whom you are burying.
I have a right to stand beside her bier,
And to my handful of the dust I fling,
That she may hear.
I loved her; and it was not for the eyes
Which you have shut, nor for her yellow hair,
Nor for the face which in your bosom lies.
Let it lie there!
Nor for the wild--birds' music of her voice,
Which we shall hear in dreams till we too sleep;
Nor for the rest, which made the world rejoice,
The angels weep.
It was not for the payment of sweet love,
Though love is often straitened for a kiss,
Nor for the hope of other joys above,
But only this,
That she had laid her hand upon my heart
Once in the summer time when we were young,
And that her finger--tips had left a smart,
And that my tongue
Had spoken words which might not be unspoken
Lest they should make a by--word of love's truth,
And I had sworn that love should be the token
Of my youth.
And so I gave her all, and long ago
The treasure of my youth was put in pawn;
And she was little richer that I know
When that was gone.
But I have lived a beggar since that day
And hide my face it may be from men's eyes;
For often I have seen them shrink away,
As in surprise
That such a loathsome cripple should be found
To walk abroad in daylight with the rest,
And scarce a rag to cover up the wound
Upon his breast.
Yet no man stopped to ask how this might be,
Or I had scared them, and let loose my tongue,
How I had bought myself this misery
When I was young.
Yet I have loved her. This must be my pay,
The pension I have earned me with these tears;
The right to kneel beside her grave to--day,
Despite these years,
With all her kisses burning on my cheek,
As when I left her and our love was dead,
And our lips trembled though they did not speak,
The night I fled;
The right to bid you stand aside, nor be
A witness of our meeting. Did you love
In joy as I have loved in misery?
You did not prove
Your love was stronger than the strength of death,
Or she had never died upon your hand.
I would have fed her breathing with my breath;
I would have fanned
A living wind of Heaven to her lips;
I would have stolen life from Paradise.
And she is dead, and you have seen eclipse
Within those eyes.
If I could know that you had loved her well;
If I could hold it for a certainty
That you had sold your life as I did sell;
If I could see
The blackness of your soul, and with my tongue
Taste the full bitterness of tears unshed;
If I should find your very heart was wrung
And maimed and dead;
If I should feel your hand's grasp crumble mine,
And hug the pain when I should grasp in turn;
If I could dip my fingers in the brine
Of eyes that burn;
If I could hear your voice call back the dead
With such a mighty cry of agony
That she should turn and listen in the bed
Where she doth lie,
And all the heavens should together roll,
Thinking they heard the angel's trumpet tone,
I could forget it that you bought a soul
Which was my own;
I could forget that she forgot her vows,
That aught was bartered for the wealth of love;
I could untell the story of my woes,
Till God above
Should hold her guiltless and condone the wrong
Done to His justice; I could take your hand
And call you brother, as we went along
To take our stand
Before His judgment--seat with her again
Where we are hurrying,--for we could not keep
Our place unchallenged in the ranks of men
Who do not weep.
I cannot tell his story. He was one
To whom the riddle of our human life
Was strangely put, and who, because of that
And that he could not read it, died. But a short hour
Before he passed, the woman who stood by,
Weeping as once she had wept to see him born,
Tired with her watching looked into his face
And saw the heavy eyelids dropping down
Loaded with sleep. And she, for all her tears,
Bent for the hundredth time to ease his bed.
And, as she almost touched him, smoothing out
The ruffled pillows, close into her ear
He whispered, never lifting up his eyes:
``No matter now. I shall be soon asleep.''
And then, as if he would pursue the thought
A little way as once he loved to do,
And yet too weak to catch it, he went on:
``And what a trouble it has been to keep
This pillow smooth! And in a little while
It will not want another touch; and then--
This aching head of mine will have done with thought.
Thought! Thought!'' But loud the aged woman sobbed,
``Poor soul, poor gentleman.'' So they remained
For a brief space, the goodwife standing there
Knotting her wrinkled hands and he hard by
Upon the bed and breathing heavily.
For he seemed sunk again in that dull trance
Through which men often pass away from life,
When death, as the lion does, has shaken his prey
And he lies numb and dumb and powerless.
She listened. He was telling slowly over
The names of those whom he had loved in youth.
Many were strange to her; and then there came
One she knew well. She started at the sound
She had not heard for years, and bending near
Heard him repeat it twice. She whispered hoarsely:
``Have you no word for her?''--yet stopped again
Because his eyes were open. Doubtingly
They wandered to her own and seemed to say
``Who, and what is it that you ask?'' And she
Spoke it again. He seemed to catch the name
And said it after her, but like a child
Which knows not what it speaks; and afterwards:
``Ah! Bridget, I have quite forgot that story,
And now, in half an hour, it is not long,
I shall have clean forgotten the name too.''
She cried, ``Oh Sir, it is a life too late.
Would God you had forgot it long ago!''
The tears stole slowly down her withered cheeks
And fell upon his hands. She did not move
While he went murmuring on: ``'Tis very well
Thus to forget. And what a wonder too
It now is''--and there came a sudden light
Into his eyes--``that one should ever care
To recollect a single day of life.
I used to think and plan and plot and scheme
How I might build my life in such a way
That I should take fine memories to my grave.
And now what a small matter 'tis to know
How the years went, when death in half an hour
Is all that is left of them! No matter now,
But only to sleep sound in any bed
And have no dreams.'' His eyes grew dim again
As he ceased speaking. And the woman knew
That he was dying. ``He is gone,'' she said.
And then she started muttering half aloud
``They cannot pass without the sacraments,
These gentle--folks.'' And so she hurried out.
The dying man smiled. When they came again,
She whispered in his ear, and looking down
Saw him still smiling; so she lit in haste
A candle by the bed and knelt aside.
They put the holy oils upon his hands,
Which closed upon the fingers of the priest.
The priest bent over him and laid his ear
To the half--open mouth and presently,
Thinking he heard some words, gave absolution.
But, when they would have gone on with the rest,
They found that he was dead. They buried him
With some small pomp to comfort the old dame,
Who said her master was a gentleman
And must be followed with a mourning coach
And mutes and weepers. There was no one else.
His name is cut upon a stone. His dreams
Were written on Time's hem; and Time has fled
And taken him and them. The grass is green
Upon his grave. I cannot doubt he sleeps.
There is no thing in all the world but love,
No jubilant thing of sun or shade worth one sad tear.
Why dost thou ask my lips to fashion songs
Other than this, my song of love to thee?
See where I lie and pluck the thorns of grief,
Dust on my head and fire, as one who mourns his slain.
Are they not slain, my treasures of dear peace?
This their red burial is, sand heaped on sand.
Here came I in the morning of my joys.
Before the dawn was born, through the dark downs I rode.
The low stars led me on as with a voice,
Stars of the scorpion's tail in the deep South.
Sighing I came, and scattering wide the sand.
No need had I to urge her speed with hand or heel,
The creature I bestrode. She knew my haste,
And knew the road I sought, the road to thee.
Jangling her bells aloud in wantonness,
And sighing soft, she too, her sighs to my soul's sighs.
Behind us the wind followed thick with scents
Of incense blossoms and the dews of night.
The thorn trees caught at us with their crook'd hands;
The hills in blackness hemmed us in and hid the road;
The spectres of the desert howled and warned;
I heeded nothing of their words of woe.
Thus till the dawn I sped in my desire,
Breasting the ridges, slope on slope, till morning broke;
And lo! the sun revealed to me no sign,
And lo! the day was widowed of my hope.
Where are the tents of pleasure and dear love,
Set in the Vale of Thyme, where winds in Spring are fain?
The highways of the valley, where they stood
Strong in their flocks, are there. But where are they?
The plain was dumb, as emptied of all voice;
No bleat of herds, no camels roaring far below
Told of their presence in the pastures void,
Of the waste places which had been their homes.
I climbed down from my watch--tower of the rocks,
To where the tamarisks grow, and the dwarf palms, alarmed.
I called them with my voice, as the deer calls,
Whose young the wolves have hunted from their place.
I sought them in the foldings of the hill,
In the deep hollows shut with rocks, where no winds blow.
I sought their footstep under the tall cliffs,
Shut from the storms, where the first lambs are born.
The tamarisk boughs had blossomed in the night,
And the white broom which bees had found, the wild bees' brood.
But no dear signal told me of their life,
No spray was torn in all that world of flowers.
Where are the tents of pleasure and dear love,
For which my soul took ease for its delight in Spring,
The black tents of her people beautiful
Beyond the beauty of the sons of kings?
The wind of war has swept them from their place,
Scattering them wide as quails, whom the hawk's hate pursues;
The terror of the sword importunate
Was at their backs, nor spared them as they flew.
The summer wind has passed upon their fields;
The rain has purged their hearth--stones, and made smooth their floors;
Low in the valley lie their broken spears,
And the white bones which are their tale forlorn.
Where are the sons of Saba in the South,
The men of mirth and pride to whom my songs were sung,
The kinsmen of her soul who is my soul,
The brethren of her beauty whom I love?
She mounted her tall camel in the waste,
Loading it high for flight with her most precious things;
She went forth weeping in the wilderness,
Alone with fear on that far night of ill.
She fled mistrusting, as the wild roe flees,
Turning her eyes behind her, while fear fled before;
No other refuge knew she than her speed,
And the black land that lies where night is born.
Under what canopy of sulphurous heaven,
Dark with the thunderclouds unloosing their mad tongues,
Didst thou lie down aweary of thy burden,
In that dread place of silence thou hadst won?
Close to what shelter of what naked rocks,
Carved with what names of terror of what kings of old,
Near to what monstrous shapes unmerciful,
Watching thy death, didst thou give up thy soul?
Or dost thou live by some forgotten well,
Waiting thy day of ransom to return and smile,
As the birds come when Spring is in the heaven,
And dost thou watch me near while I am blind?
Blind in my tears, because I only weep,
Kindling my soul to fire because I mourn my slain,
My kindred slain, and thee, and my dear peace,
Making their burial thus, sand heaped on sand.
For see, there nothing is in all the world
But only love worth any strife or song or tear.
Ask me not then to sing or fashion songs
Other than this, my song of love to thee.
Sancho Sanchez lay a--dying in the house of Mariquita,
For his life ebbed with the ebbing of the red wound in his side.
And he lay there as they left him when he came from the Corrida
In his gold embroidered jacket and his red cloak and his pride.
But at cockcrow in the morning, when the convents of Sevilla
Suddenly rang loud to matins, Sanchez wakened with a cry,
And he called to Mariquita, bade her summon his cuadrilla,
That they all might stand around him in the hour when he should die.
For he thought in his bold bosom, ``I have ventured with them often,
And have led the way to honour upon every ring in Spain.
And now in this the hardest of the fields that I have fought in
I would choose that every face of them were witness of my pain.
``For their stern eyes would upbraid me if I went down to the battle
Without a friend to cheer me, or at least a fool to hiss.
And they hold it all unworthy men should die like fatted cattle
Stricken singly in the darkness at the shambles of Cadiz.''
Then he bade the lamps be lighted, and he made them bring a mirror,
Lest his cheeks should have grown paler in the watches of the night.
For he feared lest his disciples should mistrust his soul of terror,
When they came to look upon him, if they saw his face was white.
Oh, long time in the mirror did he look with awful smiling
At the eyes which gazed out at him, while the women watched him mute.
And he marked how death's white fingers had been clammily defiling
The redness of God's image and had wiped the sunburns out.
Then he spake, ``Go fetch the carmine from the side drawer of the table,
Where Mariquita keeps it.'' But, when it was not found,
``'Tis no matter,'' answered Sanchez, ``we must do what we are able.''
And he painted his cheeks' paleness with the red blood of his wound.
And anon there came a murmur as of voices and a humming
On the staircase, and he knew them by their footsteps at the door.
And he leant up on his pillow that his eyes might see them coming
In their order of the plaza as they strode across the floor.
And when they stood around him, in their stately mantas folded,
With a solemn grief outawing the brute laughter of their eyes,
You had deemed them in the lamplight to be bronzen statues moulded
Of the powers of Nature yielding a brave man in sacrifice.
But the soul of Sanchez quailed not, and he laughed in their sad faces,
Crying loud to Mariquita for the Valdepeñas wine.
``A fair pig--skin, Caballeros, blushes here for your embraces.
And I drink to you your fortune, and I pray you drink to mine.''
Then they filled their leathern flagons, and they held them up together
In a ghastly expectation till their chief should give the sign.
And the red wine in the silence flowed like blood adown the leather.
And the red blood from the pillow trickled drop by drop like wine.
Spake the Master, ``Ere I pledge you, look upon me, men, and hearken,
For I have a thing to utter, and a dying man is wise.
Death is weighing down my eyelids. Silently your faces darken.
But another torch is lighted than the daylight in my eyes.
``Life, I see it now as never I had thought to comprehend it,
Like the lines which old Manola used to write upon the sand,
And we looked on in wonder nor guessed till it was ended
The birds and trees and faces which were growing from her hand.
``Meaning was there from the outset, glorious meaning in our calling,
In the voice of emulation and our boyhood's pride of soul,
From the day when first, the capa from our father's shoulders falling,
We were seized with inspiration and rushed out upon the bull.
``Meaning was there in our courage and the calm of our demeanour,
For there stood a foe before us which had need of all our skill.
And our lives were as the programme, and the world was our arena,
And the wicked beast was death, and the horns of death were hell.
``And the boast of our profession was a bulwark against danger
With its fearless expectation of what good or ill may come,
For the very prince of darkness shall burst forth on us no stranger
When the doors of death fly open to the rolling of the drum.
``As I lay here in the darkness, I beheld a sign from Heaven:
Standing close a golden angel by the footpost of my bed,
And in his hand a letter with the seal and arms engraven
Of the glorious San Fernando which he bade me read and read.
``And the message of his master, the blessed king my patron,
Was to bid me in his honour to hold myself at need
For this very day and morning of his feast and celebration,
And in pledge of his high favour he had sent me his own steed.
``For the lists of Heaven were open, and that day they had decreed it
There should be a special function for the glory of his name.
And the beasts were Sevillanos, and a master's hand was needed
Lest the swords of Heaven should falter and the Saint be put to shame.
``And I heard the potro stamping in the street, and would have risen
But that Mariquita held me and the women and my wound.
And, though the angel left me, it was truth and not a vision,
And I know the Saint has called me, and the place where I am bound.
``I shall fight this day in Heaven, and, though all Hell shall assail me,
I have hope of a good issue, for perhaps I have some skill,
And perhaps, if I should stumble or if my hand should fail me,
There are others in the plaza who have vowed me less than ill.
``And my mantle of salvation is the faith which is our charter,
And the Virgin of the Pillar my protector and reward,
And the hosts of Heaven my witness and each Spanish Saint and Martyr,
And our lord Don Santiago himself has lent the sword.''
Thus he spoke, and on his speaking fell a silence and a wonder,
While the eyes of his companions turned in awe from each to each,
And they waited in expectance for the gates to roll asunder
And the voices of the angels to command him to the breach,--
Waited till the sun uprising sent his glory through the chamber,
And the spent lamps paled and flickered on the shame of their dismay,
And the dying man transfigured passed in silence from his slumber,
Like a king to coronation, in the light of his new day.
Only they that stood the closest say the pale lips curved and parted,
And the eyes flashed out in battle, and the fingers sought the sword.
``'Tis the President has called him,'' said Fernandez the true hearted,
``He has thrown his hat behind him for the glory of the Lord!''
There is a God most surely in the heavens,
Who smileth always, though His face be hid.
And young Joy cometh as His messenger
Upon the Earth, like to a rushing wind,
Scattering the dead leaves of our discontent
Ere yet we see him. Then he setteth us
Upon his back and flieth to God's presence,
Till on our faces there is seen the light
Which streameth from His brows for evermore.
There is a God. Ay, by this breath of dawn,
I swear there is a God, even here on Earth.
And see, a blush upon the edge of heaven,
Bearing me witness! There is something changed
About these woods since yesterday; a look
Of shame on Nature's face; a consciousness
In the bent flowers; a troubled tell--tale gleam
On the lake's brim. This morning, as I passed
Over the lawn, there was an instant's hush
Among the trees, and then a whispering
Which woke the birds; and of a sudden, lo!
A thousand voices breathed conspiracy;
And now a silence. There are listening ears
In all these bushes waiting till I speak.
There is a God. I swear it on the truth
Of my new joy, which is not of the Earth,
But grows within my hand, a thing of strength,
A wonder to the Earth, whose old worn heart
Has long been joyless. Listen, while I speak,
Ye autumn woods. Ye ancient forest trees,
Lend me your ears. Thou little brook, be still
Till I have spoken, for I have a tale
For the morning's ear; and O! thou Nature's voice,
Be silent this one day and hear of joy
Newer than thine. You friends whom I have loved,
Listen, and stop me not with word or sign
Till I have poured my heart into your ears,
For if you spoke to me I should not hear,
And if you wept with me I should not see,
And if you mocked me I should not suspect,
Being this day the fool of happiness.
And all my blood is full of dancing motes;
And in my brain are chords of silver tone
Divinely struck to statelier harmonies
Than Heaven's own harping; and my eyes have tears
Which brim and quiver, but they will not fall,
For they are far too happy in my eyes.
Tears,--what of tears? which are but new delights,
New visions of new joys which none have seen,
And which are mine. Such only Solomon
Saw when he sat upon his ivory throne,
And lo! the pageantry of Sheba came,
Bearing its queen upon a sandal bed,
And laid her at his feet. These even I,
Who live and speak with you, have seen to--night.
And mark, how simply wonders come about
And take our hearts by storm, as in the night
Fate creeps upon a city. I had fled
Four months ago, when July nights were young,
Out to the wilderness to be alone.
Four months, four summer months among the hills,
So far from my old life I had forgot
All to my name. None knew me but my dog,
And he was secret. Thus, in pedlar's guise,
With pack and staff, and bartering such small wares
Of pills and ointments as the vulgar love,
And gathering simples, I had worked my way
Through every valley of the Candriote hills.
Four summer months of silence, and the balm
Of the green pastures where the cattle go
In the long droughts; among the giant rocks
Which are the walls of heaven, the ibex' home;
Among the dells where the green lizards lurk,
Waiting for sunrise. Oh, I knew them all,
The speckled birds which live among the stones.
I made new friendship with each grass and weed,
Each moss and lichen. Every flower became
Like a familiar face, and as I passed
The harebell nodded to me from her stem,
The gentian opened wide her sapphire eyes,
And the Alp--roses blushed. But, most of all,
The butterflies were mine. I marked each one,
As he came sailing down upon the wind,
A furlong off. The Argus looked at me
Out of his hundred eyes and did not move.
I could have counted you the purple spots
On great Apollo's wings. The shepherds came,
And brought their sick, that I might heal their woes
With my poor knowledge, and I learned in turn
Much weather--wisdom, and some wisdom too
Fresh from their human hearts 'twas wealth to know.
And thus I lived and dreamed and drank the wind
Which snows had cooled; and often I have stood
On some tall pinnacle above the plain,
And watched the clouds come flying on the breeze
To tear their fleeces on the jagged rocks,
Until they caught and folded me about
In their damp garments; and, when these were gone,
And the sun broke through the rain, my very soul
Laughed with the sun, washed white as a christened child,
And all was clean forgotten but its joy.
Such life was mine the short sweet summer through;
But when the August days were fled away
And nights grew chill, I came to Bannastal
On the Uranian sea, and there my fate
Was waiting for me, though I knew it not.
My fate, and what a fate! Oh, Lytton, now
I see my life transfigured like a seer's.
My eyes are open. I read plain the meaning
Of all that I beheld and heard and knew
Through the past summer, as in words of fire:
The sadness of my soul, my pilgrimage
Among the hills, each flower upon my way,
The sun, the stars, the passionate face of heaven,
The virtue of the earth, which expectation
Peopled for me with signs and prophecies,
All, all foretold the coming of a god.
Nay more, each hope, each fancy, each desire,
Each separate thought which I have thought, each sorrow
Laid on my heart, each unseen accident
Met in my road, each word, each look, each choice,
Each idle dream that I have dreamt in folly,
From my first hour till now, I do acknowledge
As the great forecast of a glorious fate,
Of hope made ecstasy and life made love.
And thus it is I learned the very truth
That God is on this earth. For twenty days
Are come and gone, and twenty nights have been
More sunny than those days, since these things were;
And I still ride upon the back of joy,
Which bears me bravely. Still the flowers blow.
St. Martin's summer has brought back the birds
To sing in these old gardens as in June.
--Listen. I hear one like the nightingale,
But sweeter and less sad, and thus she sings:
Oh fly not, Pleasure, pleasant--hearted Pleasure.
Fold me thy wings, I prithee, yet and stay.
For my heart no measure
Knows nor other treasure
To buy a garland for my love to--day.
And thou too, Sorrow, tender--hearted Sorrow.
Thou grey--eyed mourner, fly not yet away.
For I fain would borrow
Thy sad weeds to--morrow
To make a mourning for love's yesterday.
The voice of Pity, Time's divine dear Pity,
Moved me to tears. I dared not say them nay,
But went forth from the city
Making thus my ditty
Of fair love lost for ever and a day.
Lightly took she her leave of me, Asmá--u,
went no whit as a guest who outstays a welcome;
Went forgetting our trysts, Burkát Shemmá--u,
all the joys of our love, our love's home, Khalsá--u.
Muhayyátu, she thee forgets, Sifáhu,
thee, Fitákon, Aádibon, thee Wafá--u.
Thee, Riád el Katá, thee, vale of Shérbub,
'Anak, thee, Shobatána, and thee, Ablá--u.
Nay, ye lost are to me with my lost glory;
nay, though tears be my meat, weeping wins no woman.
Yet, a snare to my eyes, afar was kindled
fire by night on the hill. It was Hind's love--beacon.
Blindly now do I watch her from Khezáza;
woe, the warmth of it, woe,--though the hilltops redden!
Woe its blaze from Akík, its flame from Shákhseyn!
woe the signal alight for me, Hind's love--incense!
Out on tears and despair! I go free, sundered;
here stand doors of relief. Who hath fled escapeth.
Mount I light on my nága. No hen ostrich
swift as she, the tall trotter, her brood behind her,
Hearing voices who fled from them, the hunters,
pressing fast on her way from mid--eve to nightfall.
Nay, behold her, my noble one, upheaving
motes and dust on her path, as a cloud pursuing.
All un--shooed are the feet of her, her sandals
strewn how wide on her road by the rough rocks loosened.
Joy thus take I on her, the summer heat through.
All but I had despaired,--like a blinded camel.
O the curse of men's eyes, of their ill--speaking!
Danger deep and a wound did their false lips deal us.
Have not these with their tongues made small things great things,
telling lies of our lives, our kind kin, the Arákim?
Mixing blame with un--blame for us, till flouted
stand we, proven of wrong, with the guilty guiltless.
All, say these, that have run with us the wild ass,
ours are they, our allies, as our own tribe their tribes.
Thus by night did they argue it and plot it,
rose at dawn to their treason and stood forth shouting.
Loud the noise of their wrath. This called, that answered;
great the neighings of steeds and the camel roarings.
Ho, thou weaver of wild words, thou tale--painter!
must it thus be for ever and thus with Amru?
Not that slanders are strange. Their words we heed not;
long ere this have we known them, their lips, the liars.
High above them we live. Hate may not harm us,
fenced in towers of renown, our unstained bright honour.
Long hath anger assailed us, rage, denial;
long hath evil prevailed in the eyes of evil.
Nathless, let them assault. As well may Fortune
hurl its spears at the rocks, at the cloud--robed mountains.
Frowneth wide of it Fear. Fate shall not shake it.
Time's worst hand of distress shall disturb it never.
O thou king Iramíyan! With thee circle
riders keen of their steel to cut off thy foemen.
King art thou, the all--just, of Earth's high walkers
foremost, first in the World, its all--praise surpassing.
If of wrong there be aught untamed, unstraightened,
bring but word to our chiefs; they shall deal out justice
Set thy gaze on the hills, on Mílha, Sákib.
See the slain unavenged, while alive their slayers.
Probe the wounds of our anger, though thou hurt us,
yet shall truth be approved and the falsehood flouted.
Else be thou of us silent, and we silent,
closing lids on our wrong, though the mote lies under.
Yet, refusing the peace, whomso you question,
he shall speak in our praise, shall assign us worship.
O the days of the war, of our free fighting,
raidings made in surprise, the retreats, the shoutings!
How our nágas we scourged from Sâf el Bahreyn,
pressing hard to the end, to our goal El Hása!
Turned had we on Temím before Mohárrem,
taken their daughters for wives, their maids for handmaids.
None might stay us nor strive with us. The stoutest
turned, though turning availed not nor their feet flying,
Nay, nor mountain might hide nor plain protect them;
blackness burnt in the sun, it might bring no succour.
Thou, O King, art the master. Where in all lands
standeth one of thy height? There is none beside thee.
Lo, how stiff was our stand for him, El Móndir.
Say, were we, as were these, Ibn Hind's base herdsmen?
Let the Tághlebi slain in their blood answer,
unavenged where they lie. In the dust we spilled it.
He, the king, when in that high place Maisúna's
tent he builded for her who so loved Ausá--u,
What of turbulent folk did he there gather,
broken men of the tribes, ragged, hungry vultures!
Dates and water to all he gave in bounty.
God's revenge on the guilty they called his soldiers.
You the weight of them proved with your mad challenge,
brought them blind on your back by your idle boasting.
Nay, they gave you no false words, laid no ambush;
broad before you at noon you beheld them marching.
Ho, thou bearer of tales to Amru, babbler!
when of this shall the end be, how soon the silence?
Proofs he hath at our hands, three honest tokens,
each enough for his eyes of our faìth unswerving.
First when came from Shakík at him the war--lords,
all Maád in their tribes, with each clan a banner.
Mail--clad men were there there, their chieftain Káis,
he, the Prince Karathíyan, a rock, a stronghold.
With him sons of the brave, of freeborn ladies;
naught might stand to their shock save alone our swordblades.
Them we drove back with wounds like the out--rushing
streams when goat--skins are pricked; it was thus their blood flowed;
Drove them back to Thahlána its strong places,
scattered, drenched in their gore where the thigh wounds spouted.
Struck we stern at the lives of them; then trembled
deep our spears in their well, like a long--roped bucket.
Only God shall appraise how we misused them;
none hath claimed for their lives the uncounted blood price.
Next with Hójra it was, Ibn om Katáma;
with him rode the Iráni: how red their armour!
Roused, a lion, he chargeth, his feet thudding,
yet as Spring to the poor in their day of hunger.
Chains we struck from the hands of Imr el Káis;
long the days of his grief were, his months of bondage.
We, when Jaun of Aál Beni 'Aus sought us,
rock--strong with him a band of unyielding horsemen,
Nothing feared, though the dust of them around us
swept the plain like a smoke by the war--flame kindled.
Put we swords on his neck, Ghassán, for Móndir,
wrath that less than our right was the blood price counted.
Lastly brought we the nine of the blood royal,
all their wealth in our hands, an unnumbered booty.
Amr a son was of ours Ibn Om Eyyási;
close in kinship he came, when he gave the dowry.
Let this stand to our count, our power in pleading!
land with land are we knit, by the strong ones strengthened.
Hold the tongue of your boasting, your vainglory,
else be yourselves the blind, on yourselves ill--fortune.
O, remember the oath of Thil Majázi,
all that was of old time, the fair words, the pledges.
Flee the evil, the hate! Shall men gainsay it,
that which stands on the skin, for the whim of any?
Think how we with yourselves the fair deed signed there,
did the thing we should do, and no less, our duty.
Faction all and injustice! As well, when feasting,
take, for vow of a sheep, a gazelle in payment!
Was it ours, say, the blame of it all, when Kíndah
took your booths for a spoil, that of us you claim it?
Was it ours that foul deed of him, Eyádi?
are we bound with his rope, like a loaded camel?
Not by us were these done to their death, nor Káis,
nay, nor Jéndal by us, nor he Haddá--u.
Theirs, not ours, were the crimes of Beni Atíkeh;
clean of blame are our hands since you tore the treaties.
Eighty went of Temím: in their right hands lances;
each a sentence of death, when they went against you,
Left your sons where they lay sword--slashed and blood--stained,
brought a tumult of spoil till men's ears were deafened.
Is it ours the ill--deed of the man Hanífa?
ours the strife of all time, Earth's arrears of evil?
Ours the wrong of Kodáat? Nay, 'tis all injustice;
not for these and their sins are our hands indicted.
Not for these, nor their raid on the Béni Rázah;
who shall approve their claim in Nitá, in Búrka?
Long they cringed for a spoil, these camel--cravers,
yet not one did we give, not a black nor white one;
Left them bare till they fled with their backs broken,
all unwatered their thirst, unassuaged their vengeance;
Horsemen hard on their track, El Fellak's riders,
pity none in their hand, in their heart no sparing.
Ours it was, the dominion of all these peoples,
ours till El Móndir ruled, the sweet rain of heaven.
Thou, O King, art the master. Thou our witness
stoodst the day of Hayáreyn. Our proof is proven!
How many singers before me! Are there yet songs unsung?
Dost thou, my sad soul, remember where was her dwellingplace?
Tents in Jiwá, the fair wádi, speak ye to me of her.
Fair house of 'Abla my true love, blessing and joy to thee!
Doubting I paused in the pastures, seeking her camel--tracks,
high on my swift--trotting nága tall as a citadel,
Weaving a dream of the past days, days when she dwelt in them,
'Abla, my true love, in Házzen, Sammán, Mutathéllemi.
There on the sand lay the hearth--stones, black in their emptiness,
desolate more for the loved ones fled with Om Héythami,
Fled to the land of the lions, roarers importunate.
Daily my quest of thee darkens, daughter of Mákhrami.
Truly at first sight I loved her, I who had slain her kin,
ay, by the life ofthy father, not in inconstancy.
Love, thou hast taken possession. Deem it not otherwise.
Thou in my heart art the first one, first in nobility.
How shall I win to her people? Far in Anéyzateyn
feed they their flocks in the Spring--time, we in the Gháïlem.
Yet it was thou, my beloved, willed we should sunder thus,
bridled thyself the swift striders, black night encompassing.
Fear in my heart lay a captive, seeing their camel--herds
herded as waiting a burden, close to the tents of them,
Browsing on berries of khímkhim, forty--two milch--camels,
black as the underwing feathers set in the raven's wing.
Then was it 'Abla enslaved thee showing her tenderness,
white teeth with lips for the kissing: sweet was the taste of them,
Sweet as the vials of odours sold by the musk sellers,
fragrant the white teeth she showed thee, fragrant the mouth of her.
So is a garden new planted fresh in its greenery,
watered by soft--falling raindrops, treadless, untenanted.
Lo, on it rain--clouds have lighted, soft showers, no hail in them,
leaving each furrow a lakelet bright as a silverling.
Pattering, plashing they fell there, rains at the sunsetting,
wide--spreading runlets of water, streams of fertility,
Mixed with the humming of bees' wings droning the day--light long,
never a pause in their chaunting, gay drinking--choruses.
Blithe iteration of bees' wings, wings struck in harmony,
sharply as steel on the flint--stone, light--handed smithy strokes.
Sweet, thou shalt rest till the morning all the night lightly there,
while I my red horse bestriding ride with the forayers.
Resting--place more than the saddle none have I, none than he
war--horse of might in the rib--bones: deep is the girth of him.
Say, shall a swift Shadaníeh bear me to her I love,
one under ban for the drinker, weaned of the foal of her,
One with the tail carried archwise, long though the march hath been,
one with the firm foot atrample, threading the labyrinths?
Lo, how she spurneth the sand--dunes, like to the ear--less one,
him with the feet set together: round him young ostriches
Troop like the cohorts of Yémen, herded by 'Ajemis,
she--camel cohorts of Yémen, herded by stammerers.
Watching a beacon they follow, led by the crown of him
carried aloft as a howdah, howdah where damsels sit,
Him the small--headed, returning, fur--furnished Ethiop,
black slave, to Thu--el--Ashíra: there lie his eggs in it.
Lo, how my nága hath drunken deeply in Dóhradeyn;
how hath she shrunk back in Déylam, pools of the enemy,
Shrunk from its perilous cisterns, scared by the hunting one,
great--headed shrieker of evening, clutched to the flank of her.
Still to her off--side she shrinketh, deemeth the led--cat there
Clawing the more that she turneth;--thus is her fear of them.
Lo, she hath knelt in Ridá--a, pleased there and murmuring
soft as the sweet--fluting rushes crushed by the weight of her.
Thickly as pitch from the boiling oozeth the sweat of her,
pitch from the cauldron new--lighted, fire at the sides of it,
Oozeth in drops from the ear--roots. Wrathful and bold is she,
proud in her gait as a stallion hearing the battle--cry.
Though thou thy fair face concealest still in thy veil from me,
yet am I he that hath captured horse--riders how many!
Give me the praise of my fair deeds. Lady, thou knowest it,
kindly am I and forbearing, save when wrong presseth me.
Only when evil assaileth, deal I with bitterness;
then am I cruel in vengeance, bitter as colocynth.
Sometime in wine was my solace. Good wine, I drank of it,
suaging the heat ofthe evening, paying in white money,
Quaffing in goblets of saffron, pale--streaked with ivory,
hard at my hand their companion, the flask to the left of me.
Truly thus bibbing I squandered half my inheritance;
yet was my honour a wideword. No man had wounded it.
Since that when sober my dew--fall rained no less generous:
thou too, who knowest my nature, thou too be bountiful!
How many loved of the fair ones have I not buffeted,
youths overthrown! Ha, the blood--streams shrill from the veins of them.
Swift--stroke two--handed I smote him, thrust through the ribs of him;
forth flowed the stream of his life--blood red as anemone.
Ask of the horsemen of Málek, O thou his progeny,
all they have seen of my high deeds. Then shalt thou learn of them
How that I singly among them, clad in war's panoply,
stout on my war--horse theswift one charged at their chivalry.
Lo, how he rusheth, the fierce one, singly in midst of them,
waiting anon for the archers closing in front of us.
They that were nearest in battle, they be my proof to thee
how they have quailed at my war--cry, felt my urbanity.
Many and proud are their heroes, fear--striking warriors,
men who nor flee nor surrender, yielding not easily.
Yet hath my right arm o'erborne them, thrust them aside from me,
laid in their proud backs the long spear: slender the shaft of it.
See, how it splitteth asunder mail--coat and armouring;
not the most valiant arefuge hath from the point of it.
Slain on the ground have I left him, prey to the lion's brood,
feast of the wrists and the fingers. Ha, for the sacrifice!
Heavy his mail--coat, its sutures, lo, I divided them
piercing the joints of the champion; brave was the badge of him.
Quick--handed he with the arrows, cast in the winter--time,
raider of wine--sellers' sign--boards, blamed as a prodigal.
He, when he saw me down riding, making my point at him,
showed me his white teeth in terror, nay, but not smilingly.
All the day long did we joust it. Then were his finger tips
stained as though dipped in the íthlem, dyed with the dragon's blood,
Till with a spear--thrust I pierced him, once and again with it,
last, with a blade of the Indies, fine steel its tempering,
Smote him, the hero of stature, tall as a tamarisk,
kinglike, in sandals of dun hide, noblest of all of them.
Oh, thou, my lamb, the forbidden! prize of competitors,
why did they bid me not love thee? why art thou veiled from me?
Sent I my hand--maiden spy--like: Go thou, I said to her,
bring me the news of my true love, news in veracity.
Go. And she went, and returning: These in unguardedness
sit, and thy fair lambamong them, waiting thy archery.
Then was it turned she towards me, fawn--necked in gentleness,
noble in bearing, gazelle--like, milk--white the lip of it.
Woe for the baseness of 'Amru, lord of ingratitude!
Verily thanklessness turneth souls from humanity.
Close have I kept to the war--words thy father once spoke to me,
how I should deal in the death--play, when lips part and teeth glitter,
When in the thick of the combat heroes unflinchingly
cry in men's ears their defiance, danger forgot by them.
Close have I kept them and stood forth their shield from the enemy,
calling onall with my war--cries, circling and challenging.
There where the horsemen rode strongest I rode out in front of them,
hurled forth my war--shout and charged them; no man thought blame of me.
Antar! they cried; and their lances, well--cords in slenderness,
pressed to the breast of my war--horse still as I pressed on them.
Doggedly strove we and rode we. Ha, the brave stallion!
now is his breast dyed with blood--drops, his star--front with fear of them!
Swerved he, as pierced by the spear--points. Then in his beautiful
eyes stood the tears of appealing, words inarticulate.
If he had learned our man's language, then had he called to me:
if he had known our tongue's secret, then had he cried to me.
Thus to my soul came consoling; grief passed away from it
hearing the heroes applauding, shouting: Ho, Antar, ho!
Deep through the sand--drifts the horsemen charged with teeth grimly set,
urging their war--steeds, the strong--limbed, weight bearers all of them.
Swift the delúls too I urged them, spurred by my eagerness
forward to high deeds of daring, deeds of audacity.
Only I feared lest untimely drear death should shorten me
ere on the dark sons of Démdem vengeance was filled for me.
These are the men that reviled me, struck though I struck them not,
vowed me to bloodshed and evil or ere I troubled them.
Nay, let their hatred o'erbear me! I care not. The sire of them
slain lies for wild beasts and vultures. Ha! for the sacrifice!
The Wanderer’s Return
An old heart's mourning is a hideous thing,
And weeds upon an aged weeper cling
Like night upon a grave. The city there,
Gaunt as a woman who has once been fair,
Lay black with winter, and the silent rain
Fell thro' the heavens darkly, like a stain
Upon her face. The dusky houses rose,
Unlovely shapes laid naked on the ooze,
Grimed with long sooty tears. The night fell down,
And gathered all the highways in its frown.
This was my home. I saw men pass and pass
Nor stop to look into a neighbour's face.
I dared not look in their's because my eyes
Were faint and travel--jarred and would not rise
From the dull earth, and hunger made them dim,
The hunger of a seven years' angry dream
Of love and peace and home unsatisfied.
And now my heart thus grievously denied
Rose, like a caged bird in the nesting time
Who beats against the bars that prison him,
In all its greenness of youth's wounds and pain
And would not cease till these should bleed again.
For I had gone a hunter through the world,
And set my tent in every land, and hurled
My spears at life because my joys were dead;
And many a fair field of the Earth was red
Where I had passed, and many a wind might tell
Of stricken souls that to my arrows fell.
I would not stop to listen to their cries
But went my way and thought that I was wise.
A wanderer's life, whether his lone chase be man
Or only those poor outlaws under ban
The creatures of the field his hand destroys
Through rage of wantonness or need of noise,
Is the fierce solace of its anger given
To a hurt soul which dares not turn to Heaven.
With me it was a vengeance of love lost,
A refuge proved for passions tempest--tossed,
An unguent for despairs that could not kill.
I wandered in the desert and the hill
Seeking dry places, and behold my grief
Fled with my footprints and I found relief.
And it had happened to me, as befalls
Men bred in cities who have left their walls
For gain or pleasure, that the wilderness
Grew lastly wearisome. I loved it less.
And once a desperate chase had led me on
To an unknown land when daylight was near done,
And I sat weary by my slaughtered prey
And watched the cranes which northward fled away
Rank upon rank into the depths of air,
And still the horizon lifeless vast and bare
Stretched wide around, and like a vault of dread
The arch of heaven hemmed me overhead,
And the great eye of the dead beast was set
Upon my own. I felt my cheek was wet.
Oh surely then, for all man's heart be hard,
Though he have taken Nature by the beard
And lived alone as to the manner born,
And though his limbs be strung with toil, and worn
To all Earth's dangers, yet at such a time
His coward soul will overmaster him,
Saying ``Beware, thou child of Earth, even now
Look at the world how wide it is and thou
How small! And thou hast dared to be alone.''
And lo, the last long flight of cranes was gone,
And darkness with its folding pity crept
Over the plain. I hid my face and wept,
Till sleep fell on me. But, when dawn was come,
I turned my steps to what had been my home.
The palace gardens! I had fled aside
From the gaunt streets in easement of my pride
After the lamps were lit, for to my brain
The tumult and the passers--by were pain:
The gardens where in those far summer times
A boy I came to watch the pantomimes
Among a laughing crowd of white--capped bonnes
And red--cheeked children and loud country clowns,
Or where, along the wall in graver sense
And screened from winds in their petite Provence,
With the first chestnut blossoms old men sat
And cheered their melancholy souls with chat,
Thawing like frozen apples in the sun!
The old men and the children all were gone.
The leaves, their canopy, lay torn and dead
And crushed in spongy heaps beneath my tread.
The fountains recreant to their laughter lay
Murk pools of silence shrouded from the day,
As though no doves had ever at their brink
Stooped in full June to plume themselves and drink.
Only the trees stood, witness of the past.
Sad trees, I greeted them. I held them fast
Like a friend's hands. They were as changed and bare
As my own life, but calm in the despair
Of their long winter's martyrdom, and I
A very child in my philosophy!
Till I remembered that no Spring would come
To mock the winter of my own long doom
With any merriment. And ``Trees'' I cried,
``Your hearts within are all too greenly dyed
To match with mine.'' I let their branches go
And sat upon a bench to feed my woe
With memories long hidden out of mind,
But which trooped back that night and rode the wind.
These wooden benches, what sad ghosts of pleasures
Had used them nightly crouching o'er their treasures,
My own long murdered joys, since there we sat
Blind in our love and insolent to Fate!
Each one a witness proved of our lost vows,
Our prayers, our protests, all our souls' carouse;
Each one inscribed through the unheeding years
With letters of a name I wrote in tears.
'Twas here I saw her first, a pure sweet woman
Fair as a goddess but with smile all human,
Her children at her knees who went and came
At each new wayward impulse of their game,
And she reproving with her quiet eyes
Veiling the mirth they could not all disguise.
The echo of her voice with its mute thrill
Lived in these glades and stirred my pulses still,
Though I had lived to hear it in what tone
Of passionate grief and souls' disunion.
She stood, a broken lily, by that tree,
Sunlight and shade for ever changingly
Chequering the robe she wore of virgin white,
When first I touched the goal of my delight
Her woman's hand and hid it in my hands.
Here shone the glory of her countenance
Nobler for tears when weakness for a space
Held full dominion in that heaven her face
And she confessed herself of grief divine
And love grown young, a vintage of new wine,
And I was crowned her king. O silent trees,
You heard it and you know how to the lees
We drained the cup of life and found it good,
Gathering love's manna for our daily food,
In scorn of the vain rest. You heard and knew
What the world only guessed where all was true.
And have you dreamed on in your quiet grove
While seven years were built against our love!
'Twas on this bench I sat that day of June
Thinking of death a whole sweet afternoon,
Till I was sick of sorrow and my tongue
Weary of its long silence (I was young
And the birds sang so loud); and when the night
Came as it now came, and the lamps grew bright
In the long street, lit like a diamond chain,
I rose and said: ``I will not bear the pain.
What is my pride worth that for it this smart
Should harrow up the green things of my heart
For twelve importunate hours in such a sort?
And pleasure is so sweet and life so short.''
And as a martyr, who long time has lain
Frozen in a dungeon, sees amid his pain,
When he has fasted on for many days,
Bright visions of hot feasts and hearths ablaze
With welcome, and who sells his gloomy creed,
And is overcome of pleasure, so my need
Conquered my pride; and I arose and went
Striding, with smiles at my new found intent,
Down these same gravel alleys to the gate
And so beyond, like one inebriate,
Thinking the while of the brave baths and food
Set for the renegade, until I stood
Once more before her door I had forsworn.
I did not stop to question thoughts forlorn,
But knocked as I had knocked a thousand times.
St. Roch's was ringing its last evening chimes,
And I still thought about the martyr's dream.
I saw the light within the threshold gleam
Which opened to me, and the voice I knew
Said in all sweetness, as the door swung to,
``Come. We are just in time. How fortunate
You too like me have happened to be late.''
I swear I said no word of the sad plans
I had plotted on this bench of ignorance.
There have been kings called happy, but not one
As I that night. Ah God! to be alone,
Alone, and never more to hear her voice
Calling me back, blest martyr, to my joys!
I sat there grieving in the cold and rain
Until my heart had half forgot its pain,
And when I rose I scarce could guide my feet,
They were so numb, to the unlovely street.
And yet need was my steps should bear me on
To some mad corner of that Babylon;
And I must feed the gnawings of my soul
With broken meat. ``The seven years may roll,''
I said, ``and men may change and she be dead,
Yet the house stands, God knows how tenanted.''
I leaned my head against the colonnade
Which skirts the square. I think I had not prayed
Through all those years, but now I said a prayer,
And hope in spite of reason seemed to wear
Green buds upon its branches. Who shall know
If 'twas a vision sent me in my woe
To prove the power of prayer? But, when I turned
And looked across the square, the candles burned
In the old upper windows, and, before,
A shadow crossed the curtain, and the door
Opened towards me, and a voice there cried
``Come. You are just in time.'' I put out wide
My arms into the darkness, and I fell.
When I awoke, 'twas as one passed from Hell
Who fears and feels no longer. I was tired.
I scarcely cared to know when I inquired
After the house. The girl who held the glass
To my lips (a flower--girl it seemed she was)
Told me that house and square alike were gone
Swept by new boulevards to oblivion.
Why should I grieve? The new was worth the old.
I listened to the story as 'twas told,
And lingered with her all the evening there
Because she pitied me and she was fair,
And held me with her hand upon the latch.
``Seven years,'' I said, ``it is a long night's watch
For any soul alone upon life's way,
And mine is weary at the break of day.''
Griselda: A Society Novel In Verse - Chapter Iv
How shall I take up this vain parable
And ravel out its issue? Heaven and Hell,
The principles of good and evil thought,
Embodied in our lives, have blindly fought
Too long for empire in my soul to leave
Much for its utterance, much that it can grieve.
A soldier on the battlefield of life,
I have grown callous to the signs of strife,
And feel the wounds of others and my own
With scarce a tremor and without a groan.
I have seen many perish in their sins,
Known much of frailty and inconsequence,
And if I laughed once, now I dare not be
Other than sad at man's insanity.
Therefore, in all humility of years,
Colder and wiser for hopes drowned in tears,
And seeking no more quarries for my mirth,
Who most need pity of the sons of earth,
I dip in kindlier ink my chastened pen,
And fill of my lost tale what leaves remain.
Years passed. Griselda from my wandering sight
Had waned and vanished, like a meteor bright,
Leaving no pathway in my manhood's heaven
Save only memories vaguely unforgiven
Of something fair and sad, which for a day
Had lit its zenith and had gone its way.
Rome and the Prince, the tale that I had heard,
Griselda's beauty--all that once had stirred
My curious thought to wonder and regret,
In the vexed problem of her woman's fate,
Had yielded place to the world's work--day cares,
The wealth it covets and the toil it dares.
I was no more a boy, when idle chance
And that light favour which attends romance
Brought me once more within the transient spell
Of other days, and dreams of Lady L.
'Twas in September--(I have always found
That month in my life's record dangerous ground,
Whether it be due to some unreasoned stress
Of the mad stars which dog our happiness,
Or whether, since in truth most things are due
To natural causes, if our blindness knew,
To the strong law of Nature's first decay,
Warning betimes of time that cannot stay,
And summer perishing, and hours to come,
Lit by less hope in the year's martyrdom;
And so we needs must seize at any cost
Fleet pleasure's hem lest all our day be lost)--
'Twas in September, at a country house
In the Midland shires, where I had come, God knows,
Without a fancy but of such light sort
As manhood ventures in the realms of sport
With that dear god of slaughter England's sons
Adore with incense--smoke and roar of guns,
That this new chapter opens. Who had guessed
So rare a phoenix housed in such a nest?
For we, in truth, were no wise company,
Men strong and joyous, keen of hand and eye,
And shrewd for pleasure, but whose subtlest wit
Was still to jest at life while using it,
And jest at love, as at a fruit low hung
To all men's lips, no matter whence it sprung.
A fool's philosophy, yet dear to youth
Bred without knowledge of the nobler truth,
And seeming wisdom, till the bitter taste
Of grief has come to cure its overhaste.
Naught was there, in the scene nor in the parts
Played by the actors, worthy serious hearts,
Or worthy her whose passion trod a stage
High o'er the frailties of our prurient age,
Griselda and her unattained fair dream
Of noble deeds and griefs unknown to them.
How came she there? Our hostess was a woman
Less famed for wisdom than a heart all human
Rich in life's gifts, a wealthy generous soul,
But still too fair and still too bountiful.
The rest, mad hoydens of the world, whose worth
Lay mired with folly, earthiest of the earth.
How came she there? When I, unconscious all
Of such high presence at our festival,
Heard her name bandied in the general hum
Of hungry tongues, which told the guests had come,
And saw in converse with our host the form,
Familiar once in sunshine and in storm,
Of her who was to me the type and sign
Of all things noble, not to say Divine,
Breathing the atmosphere of that vain house,
My heart stopped beating. Half incredulous,
I looked and questioned in my neighbours' eyes,
Seeking the sense of this supreme surprise.
My thought took words, as at the table set
Men's lips were loosed, discoursing while they ate,
And each to each. Beside me, of the crew
Of gilded youths who swelled the retinue
Of our fair hostess in her daily lot
Of hunting laughter when field sports were not,
Sat one, a joyous boy, whom fashion's freak,
A mad--cap purse--string and a beardless cheek,
Had set pre--eminent in pleasure's school
To play the hero and to play the fool
For those few years which are the summer's day
Of fashion's foils ere they are cast away.
Young Jerry Manton! Happy fortune's son!
What heights of vanity your creed had won,
Creed of adventure, and untiring words
And songs and loves as brainless as a bird's.
Who would not envy you your lack of sense,
Your lawless jibes, your wealth of insolence,
The glory of your triumphs unconcealed
In pleasure's inmost and most sacred field?
Who would not share the sunshine of your mirth,
Your god--like smile, your consciousness of worth,
The keenness of your wit in the world's ways,
Your heart so callous to its blame or praise?
Him I addressed, in pursuance of my doubt
How such a prodigy had come about.
Young Manton eyed me. ``Every road,'' he said,
``Leads--well--to Rome.'' He laughed and shook his head,
As if in censure of a thought less sage.
``My lady's thirty is a dangerous age,
And of the three where most misfortunes come
Is the worst strewn with wrecks in Christendom.''
``You see,'' he added, ``we are not all wise
In all dilemmas and all companies,
And there are times and seasons when the best
Has need of an hour's frolic with the rest,
If only to set free the importunate load
Of trouble pressing on an uphill road.
Women's first snare is vanity. At twenty
Praises are pleasant, be they ne'er so plenty;
And some, the foolish ones, are thus soon caught
Seeking to justify the flattery taught.
These are the spendthrifts, dear ingenuous souls,
Whose names emblazoned stand on pleasure's rolls,
Manning the hosts of mirth. Apart from them,
More serious or less eager in their aim,
The wise ones wait like birds that hold aloof,
Conscious of danger and the cloven hoof.
Yet there are times.'' He paused awhile and sighed.
``The second snare,'' said he ``is set less wide;
It stands midway between the dawn of youth
And beauty's sunset, with its naked truth,
A danger hidden cunningly in flowers
And the wild drowsing of the noontide hours.
Here fall the elect, the chosen virtuous few,
Who have outlived the worst the storm could do,
But faint when it is over, through mere stress
Of their mortality's first weariness.
'Tis hard to see youth perish, even when
Ourselves to the mad warrant have set pen;
And for the wisest there are days of grief
And secret doubts and hours of unbelief
In all things but the one forbidden bliss
Churchmen forbid and poets call a kiss.
Why should we wonder? 'Tis a kindlier fate
At least than that, the last, which comes too late,
The old fool's folly nursed at forty--five.
Griselda is an angel, but alive,
Believe me, to her wings.'' A fatuous flush
Mantled his face, not quite perhaps a blush,
But something conscious, as of one who knows.
``Virtue and pleasure are not always foes,''
He sighed. ``And much depends upon the man.''
I turned impatient. There, behind her fan,
At the far table's end, Griselda's eyes
Were watching us, half hid by its disguise,
But conscious too, as if a secret string
Had vibrated 'twixt her and that vain thing.
The cynic boy, whose word was in my ear,
Dishonouring to me and him and her.
Our eyes met, and hers fell; a sudden pain
Touched me of memory, and in every vein
Ran jealous anger at young Manton's wit,
While, half aloud, I flung my curse on it.
Later, I found Griselda gravely gay,
And glad to see me in the accustomed way
Of half affection my long zeal had won,
Her face no older, though the years had spun
Some threads unnoticed in her fair brown hair
Of lighter hue than I remembered there,
Less silver streaked than gold. All else had grown
Fairer with time, and tenderer in its tone,
As when in August woods a second burst
Of leaves is seen more golden than the first.
A woman truly to be loved--but loving?
There was the riddle wit despaired of proving,
For who can read the stars? I sat with her
The evening through, and rose up happier.
In all that crowd there was no single face
Worthy her notice, not to say her grace,
And once again her charm was on my soul.
``If she love any''--this was still the goal
Of my night thoughts in argument with fear--
``Say what they will, the lover is not here.''
Not here! And yet, at parting, she had pressed
Manton's sole hand, and nodded to the rest.
Four days I lived in my fool's paradise,
Importuning Griselda's changing eyes
With idle flattery. I found her mood
Softer than once in her young womanhood,
Yet restless and uncertain. There were hours
Of a wild gaiety, when all the powers
Of her keen mind were in revolt with folly,
Others bedimmed with wordless melancholy.
Once too or twice she shocked me with a phrase
Of doubtful sense, revealing thoughts and ways
New to her past, an echo of the noise
Of that mad world we lived in and its joys:
Such things were sacrilege. I could not see
Unmoved my angel smirched with vanity,
Even though, it seemed at moments, for my sake.
Her laughter, when she laughed, made my heart ache,
And I had spared some pain to see her sad
Rather than thus unseasonably glad.
Who would have dreamed it? Each new idle day,
When, tired with sport, we rested from the fray,
Five jovial shooters, jaded by the sun,
Seeking refreshment at the stroke of noon,--
There, with the luncheon carts all trimly dight,
Stood Lady L., to the fool crowd's delight.
You would have thought her life had always been
Passed in the stubbles, as, with questions keen,
She eyed the bags and parleyed with the ``guns'';
Rome's matron she with us the Goths and Huns.
Young Manton proudly spread for her his coat
Under a hedge, and she resented not.
Resented! Why resent? Nay, smiles were there,
And a swift look of pleasure, still more rare,
Pleasure and gratitude, as though the act
Had been of chivalry in form and fact
Transcending Raleigh's. Ay, indeed! Resent!
That eye were blind which doubted what it meant.
And still I doubted. Vanity dies hard.
And love, however starving of reward,
And youth's creed of belief. It seemed a thing
Monstrous, impossible, bewildering,
As tales of dwarfs and giants gravely told
By men of science, and transmuted gold,
And magic potions turning men to beasts,
And lewd witch Sabbaths danced by unfrocked priests.
Griselda! Manton! In what mood or tense
Could folly conjugate such dreams to sense,
Or draw the contract not in terms absurd
Of such a friendship or of act or word?
Where was the common thought between the two--
Even of partridges--the other knew?
Manton--Griselda! Nay 'twere fabulous,
A mere profanity, to argue thus;
Only I watched them closer when they strayed
To gather blackberries, as boy and maid
In a first courting, and her eager eyes
Turned as he spoke, and laughter came unwise
Before she answered, and an hour was flown,
Before he joined the rest and she was gone.
O Love! what an absurdity thou art,
How heedless of proportion, whole or part!
Time, place, occasion, what are they to thee?
Thou playest the wanton with Solemnity,
The prince with Poverty, the rogue with Worth,
The fool with all the Wisdoms of the Earth.
Thou art a leveller, more renowned than Death,
For he, when in his rage he stops our breath,
Leaves us at least the harvest of our years,
The right to be heroic in our tears.
But thou dost only mock. Thou art a king
Dealing with slaves, who waits no questioning
But gives--to this a province and a crown,
To that a beggar's staff and spangled gown;
And when some weep their undeserved disgrace,
Plucks at their cheeks and smites them in the face.
Thou hast no reverence, no respect for right.
Virtue to thee is a lewd appetite,
Remorse a pastime, modesty a lure,
And love, the malady, love's only cure.
Griselda, in her love at thirty--three
Was the supreme fool of felicity.
Reason and she had taken separate roads,
A spectacle of mirth for men and gods.
And the world laughed--discreetly in its sleeves--
At her poor artless shifts and make--believes.
For it was true, true to the very text,
This whispered thing that had my soul perplexed,
Manton was her beloved--by what art,
What mute equation of the human heart,
What blind jibe of dame Fortune, who shall say?
The road of passion is no king's highway,
Mapped out with finger--posts for all to see,
But each soul journeys on it separately,
And only those who have walked its mazes through
Remember on what paths the wild flowers grew.
Ay, who shall say? Nor had the truth been sung,
Save for the incontinence of Manton's tongue,
Wagging in argument on certain themes,
With boast of craft in pleasure's stratagems.
``For Love'' ('twas thus he made his parable
In cynic phrase, as hero of his tale,
One evening when the others were abed,
And we two sat on smoking, head to head,
Discoursing in that tone of men scarce friends,
Who prate philosophy to candle ends),
``Love, though its laws have not as yet been written
By any Balzac for our modern Britain,
And though perhaps there is no strategy
Youth can quite count upon or argue by,
Is none the less an art, with some few rules
Wise men observe, who would outrun the fools.
Now, for myself'' (here Manton spread his hands
With professorial wave in white wrist--bands)
``I hold it as a maxim always wise
In making love to deal with contraries.
Colours, books tell us, to be strongly blent,
Need opposite colours for their complement,
And so too women whose ill--reasoning mind
Requires some contradiction to be kind.
It is not enough in this late year of grace
To answer fools with their own foolishness--
Rather with your best wisdom. You will need
Your folly to perplex some wiser head.
And so my maxim is, whatever least
Women expect, that thing will serve you best.
Thus, with young souls in their first unfledged years,
Ask their opinion as philosophers:
Consult their knowledge in the ways of life.
The repute of sin will please a too chaste wife.
Your deference keep for harlots: these you touch
Best by your modesty, which makes them blush.
With a proud beauty deal out insolence,
And bear her fence down with a stronger fence.
She will be angry, but a softer cheek
Turn to the smiter who has proved her weak.
And so with wisdom: meet it with surprise,
Laugh at it idly gazing in its eyes,
Leave it no solid ground for its fair feet,
And lead it lightly where love's waters meet.
Even virtue--virtue of the noblest type,
The fair sad woman, whose romance is ripe,
Needs but a little knowledge to be led,
Perhaps less than the rest if truth be said.
You must not parley with her. Words are vain,
And you might wake some half forgotten pain.
Avoid her soul. It is a place too strong
For your assaulting, and a siege were long.
Others have failed before it. Touch it not,
But march beyond, nor fire a single shot.
The fields of pleasure less defended lie:
These are your vantage--ground for victory.
Strike boldly for possession and command;
An hour may win it, if you hold her hand.
I knew one once:'' . . . I would have stopped him here
But for the shame which held me prisoner;
And his undaunted reassuring smile,
Commanding confidence. ``I knew once on a while,''
He said, ``a woman whom the world called proud,
A saintly soul, untouched by the vain crowd,
Who had survived all battle, siege, and sack,
Love ever led with armies at his back,
Yet fell at last to the mere accident
Of a chance meeting, for another meant,
Her lover had not dared it, had he known,
But faces in the dark are all as one.
You know the rhyme.'' But at this point I rose,
Fearing what worse his folly might disclose,
And having learned my lesson of romance,
A sadder man and wiser for the chance,
Bade him good night: (it was in truth good--bye,
For pretexting next morning some small lie
Of business calling me in haste to town,
I fled the house). He looked me up and down,
Yawned, rose to light his candle at the lamp,
Pressed with warm hand my own hand which was damp,
And as he sauntered cheerily to bed,
I heard him sing--they linger in my head--
The first staves of a ballad, then the fashion
With the young bloods who shape their love and passion
At the music--halls of the Metropolis;
What I remember of the song was this:
But, no, I cannot write it. There are things
Too bitter in their taste, and this one stings
My soul to a mad anger even yet.
I seem to hear the voices of the pit
Lewdly discoursing of incestuous scenes,
Bottom the weaver's and the enamoured queen's.
Alas, Titania! thou poor soul, alas!
How art thou fallen, and to what an ass!
Griselda: A Society Novel In Verse - Chapter I
An idle story with an idle moral!
Why do I tell it, at the risk of quarrel
With nobler themes? The world, alas! is so,
And who would gather truth must bend him low,
Nor fear to soil his knees with graveyard ground,
If haply there some flower of truth be found.
For human nature is an earthy fruit,
Mired at the stem and fleshy at the root,
And thrives with folly's mixon best o'erlaid,
Nor less divinely so, when all is said.
Brave lives are lived, and worthy deeds are done
Each virtuous day, 'neath the all--pitying sun;
But these are not the most, perhaps not even
The surest road to our soul's modern Heaven.
The best of us are creatures of God's chance
(Call it His grace), which works deliverance;
The rest mere pendulums 'twixt good and ill,
Like soldiers marking time while standing still.
'Tis all their strategy, who have lost faith
In things Divine beyond Man's life and death,
Pleasure and pain. Of Heaven what know we
Save as unfit for angels' company,
Say rather Hell's? We cling to sins confessed,
And say our prayers still hoping for the best.
We fear old age and ugliness and pain,
And love our lives, nor look to live again.
I do but parable the crowd I know,
The human cattle grazing as they go,
Unheedful of the heavens. Here and there
Some prouder, may be, or less hungry steer
Lifting his face an instant to the sky,
And left behind as the bent herd goes by,
Or stung to a short madness, tossing wild
His horns aloft, and charging the gay field,
Till the fence stops him, and he vanquished too,
Turns to his browsing--lost his Waterloo.
The moral of my tale I leave to others
More bold, who point the finger at their brothers,
And surer know than I which way is best
To virtue's goal, where all of us find rest,
Whether in stern denial of things sweet,
Or yielding timely, lest life lose its feet
And fall the further. A plain tale is mine
Of naked fact, unconscious of design,
Told of the world in this last century
Of Man's (not God's) disgrace, the XIXth. We
Have made it all a little as it is
In our own images and likenesses,
And need the more forgiveness for our sin.
Therefore, my Muse, impatient to begin,
I bid thee fearless forward on thy road.
Steer thou thy honest course 'twixt bad and good:
Know this, in art that thing alone is evil
Which shuns the one plain word that shames the Devil.
Tell truth without preamble or excuse,
And all shall be forgiven thee--all, my Muse!
In London then not many years ago
There lived a lady of high fashion, who
For her friends' sake, if any still there be
Who hold her virtues green in memory,
Shall not be further named in this true tale
Than as Griselda or the Lady L.
Such, if I err not, was the second name
Her parents gave when to the font she came,
And such the initial letter bravely set
On her coach door, beneath the coronet
Which bore her and her fortunes--bore, alas!
For, as in this sad world all things must pass,
However great and nobly framed and fair:
Griselda, too, is of the things that were.
But while she lived Griselda had no need
Of the world's pity. She was proudly bred
And proudly nurtured. Plenty her full horn
Had fairly emptied out when she was born,
And dowered her with all bounties. She was fair
As only children of the noblest are,
And brave and strong and opulent of health,
Which made her take full pleasure of her wealth.
She had a pitying scorn of little souls
And little bodies, levying heavy tolls
On all the world which was less strong than she.
She used her natural strength most naturally,
And yet with due discretion, so that all
Stood equally in bondage to her thrall.
She was of that high godlike shape and size
Which has authority in all men's eyes:
Her hair was brown, her colour white and red,
Nor idly moved to blush. She held her head
Straight with her back. Her body, from the knee
Tall and clean shaped, like some well--nurtured tree,
Rose finely finished to the finger tips.
She had a noble carriage of the hips,
And that proportionate waist which only art
Dares to divine, harmonious part with part.
But of this more anon, or rather never.
All that the world could vaunt for its endeavour
Was the fair promise of her ankles set
Upon a pair of small high--instepped feet,
In whose behalf, though modestly, God wot,
As any nun, she raised her petticoat
One little inch more high than reason meet
Was for one crossing a well--besomed street.
This was the only tribute she allowed
To human folly and the envious crowd;
Nor for my part would I be found her judge
For her one weakness, nor appear to grudge
What in myself, as surely in the rest,
Bred strange sweet fancies such as feet suggest.
We owe her all too much. This point apart,
Griselda, modesty's own counterpart,
Moved in the sphere of folly like a star,
Aloof and bright and most particular.
By girlish choice and whim of her first will
She had espoused the amiable Lord L.,
A worthy nobleman, in high repute
For wealth and virtue, and her kin to boot;
A silent man, well mannered and well dressed,
Courteous, deliberate, kind, sublimely blessed
With fortune's favours, but without pretence,
Whom manners almost made a man of sense.
In early life he had aspired to fame
In the world of letters by the stratagem
Of a new issue, from his private press,
Of classic bards in senatorial dress,
``In usum Marchionis.'' He had spent
Much of his youth upon the Continent,
Purchasing marbles, bronzes, pictures, gems,
In every town from Tiber unto Thames,
And gaining store of curious knowledge too
On divers subjects that the world least knew:
Knowledge uncatalogued, and overlaid
With dust and lumber somewhere in his head.
A slumberous man, in whom the lamp of life
Had never quite been lighted for the strife
And turmoil of the world, but flickered down,
In an uncertain twilight of its own,
With an occasional flash, that only made
A deeper shadow for its world of shade.
When he returned to England, all admired
The taste of his collections, and inquired
To whose fair fortunate head the lot should fall
To wear these gems and jewels after all.
But years went by, and still unclaimed they shone,
A snare and stumbling--block to more than one,
Till in his fiftieth year 'twas vaguely said,
Lord L. already had too long delayed.
Be it as it may, he abdicated life
The day he took Griselda to his wife.
And then Griselda loved him. All agreed,
The world's chief sponsors for its social creed,
That, whether poor Lord L. was or was not
The very fool some said and idiot,
Or whether under cloak of dulness crass,
He veiled that sense best suited to his case,
Sparing his wit, as housewives spare their light,
For curtain eloquence and dead of night;
And spite of whispered tales obscurely spread,
Doubting the fortunes of her nuptial bed,
Here at this word all sides agreed to rest:
Griselda did her duty with the best.
Yet, poor Griselda! When in lusty youth
A love--sick boy I stood unformed, uncouth,
And watched with sad and ever jealous eye
The vision of your beauty passing by,
Why was it that that brow inviolate,
That virginal courage yet unscared by fate,
That look the immortal queen and huntress wore
To frightened shepherds' eyes in days of yore
Consoled me thus, and soothed unconsciously,
And stilled my jealous fears I knew not why?
How shall I tell the secret of your soul
Which then I blindly guessed, or how cajole
My boyhood's ancient folly to declare
Now in my wisdom the dear maid you were,
Though such the truth? Griselda's early days
Of married life were not that fitful maze
Of tears and laughter which betoken aught,
Changed or exchanged, of pain with pleasure bought,
Of maiden freedom conquered and subdued,
Of hopes new born and fears of womanhood.
Those who then saw Griselda saw a child
Well pleased and happy, thoughtlessly beguiled
By every simplest pleasure of her age,
Gay as a bird just issued from its cage,
When every flower is sweet. No eye could trace
Doubt or disquiet written on her face,
Where none there was. And, if the truth be told,
Griselda grieved not that Lord L. was old.
She found it well that her sweet seventeen
Should live at peace with fifty, and was seen
Just as she felt, contented with her lot,
Pleased with what was and pleased with what was not
She held her husband the more dear that he
Was kind within the bounds of courtesy,
And love was not as yet within her plan,
And life was fair, and wisdom led the van.
For she was wise--oh, wise! She rose at eight
And played her scales till breakfast, and then sat
The morning through with staid and serious looks,
Counting the columns of her household books,
Her daily labour, or with puzzled head
Bent over languages alive and dead,
Wise as alas! in life those only are
Who have not yet beheld a twentieth year.
Wealth had its duties, time its proper use,
Youth and her marriage should be no excuse;
Her education must be made complete!
Lord L. looked on and quite approved of it.
The afternoons, in sense of duty done,
Went by more idly than the rest had gone.
If in the country, which Lord L. preferred,
She had her horse, her dogs, her favourite bird,
Her own rose--garden, which she loved to rake,
Her fish to feed with bread crumbs in the lake,
Her schools, old women, poor and almshouses,
Her sick to visit, or her church to dress.
Lord L. was pleased to see her bountiful:
They hardly found the time to find it dull.
In London, where they spent their second year,
Came occupations suited to the sphere
In which they lived; and to the just pretence
Of our Griselda's high--born consequence,
New duties to the world which no excuse
Admitted. She was mistress of L. House
And heir to its traditions. These must be
Observed by her in due solemnity.
Her natural taste, I think, repelled the noise,
The rush, and dust, and crush of London joys;
But habit, which becomes a second sense,
Had reconciled her to its influence
Even in girlhood, and she long had known
That life in crowds may still be life alone,
While mere timidity and want of ease
She never ranked among youth's miseries.
She had her parents too, who made demand
Upon her thoughts and time, and close at hand
Sisters and friends. With these her days were spent
In simple joys and girlish merriment.
She would not own that being called a wife
Should make a difference in her daily life.
Then London lacks not of attractions fit
For serious minds, and treasures infinite
Of art and science for ingenious eyes,
And learning for such wits as would be wise,
Lectures in classes, galleries, schools of art:
In each Griselda played conspicuous part--
Pupil and patron, ay, and patron--saint
To no few poor who live by pens and paint.
The world admired and flattered as a friend,
And only wondered what would be the end.
And so the days went by. Griselda's face,
Calm in its outline, of romantic grace,
Became a type even to the vulgar mind
Of all that beauty means when most refined,
The visible symbol of a soul within,
Conceived immaculate of human sin,
And only clothed in our humanity
That we may learn to praise and better be.
Where'er she went, instinctively the crowd
Made way before her, and ungrudging bowed
To one so fair as to a Queen of Earth,
Ruling by right of conquest and of birth.
And thus I first beheld her, standing calm
In the swayed crowd upon her husband's arm,
One opera night, the centre of all eyes,
So proud she seemed, so fair, so sweet, so wise.
Some one behind me whispered ``Lady L.!
His Lordship too! and thereby hangs a tale.''
His Lordship! I beheld a placid man,
With gentle deep--set eyes, and rather wan,
And rather withered, yet on whose smooth face
Time seemed to have been in doubt what lines to trace
Of youth or age, and so had left it bare,
As it had left its colour to his hair.
An old young man perhaps, or really old,
Which of the two could never quite be told.
I judged him younger than his years gave right,
His looks betrayed him least by candlelight.
Yet, young or old, that night he seemed to me
Sublime, the priest of her divinity
At whose new shrine I worshipped. But enough
Of me and my concerns! More pertinent stuff
My tale requires than this first boyish love,
Which never found the hour its fate to prove.
My Lady smiling motions with her hand;
The crowd falls back; his Lordship, gravely bland,
Leads down the steps to where his footmen stay
In state. Griselda's carriage stops the way!
And was Griselda happy? Happy?--Yes,
In her first year of marriage, and no less
Perhaps, too, in her second and her third.
For youth is proud, nor cares its last sad word
To ask of fate, and not unwilling clings
To what the present hour in triumph brings.
It was enough, as I have said, for her
That she was young and fortunate and fair.
The world that loved her was a lovely world,
The rest she knew not of. Fate had not hurled
A single spear as yet against her life.
She would not argue as 'twixt maid and wife,
Where both were Woman, Human Nature, Man,
Which held the nobler place in the world's plan.
Her soul at least was single, and must be
Unmated still through its eternity.
And, even here in life, what reason yet
To doubt or question or despair of Fate?
Her youth, an ample web, before her shone
For hope to weave its subtlest fancies on,
If she had cared to dream. Her lot was good
Beyond the common lot of womanhood,
And she would prove her fortune best in this,
That she would not repine at happiness.
Thus to her soul she argued as the Spring
Brought back its joy to each begotten thing--
Begotten and begetting. Who shall say
Which had the better reason, she or they?
In the fourth year a half acknowledged grief
Made its appearance in Griselda's life.
Her sisters married, younger both than she,
Mere children she had thought, and happily.
Each went her way engrossed by her new bliss,
Too gay to guess Griselda's dumb distress.
Her home was broken. In their pride they wrote
Things that like swords against her bosom smote,
The detail of their hopes, and loves, and fears.
Griselda read, and scarce restrained her tears.
Her mother too, the latest fledgling flown,
Had vanished from the world. She was alone.
When she returned to London, earlier
Than was her custom, in the following year,
She found her home a desert, dark and gaunt;
L. House looked emptier, gloomier than its wont.
Griselda sighed, for on the table lay
Two letters, which announced each in its way
The expected tidings of her sisters' joy.
Either was brought to bed--and with a boy.
Her generous heart leaped forth to these in vain,
It could not cheat a first sharp touch of pain,
But yielded to its sorrow. That same night,
Lord L., whose sleep was neither vexed nor light,
And who for many years had ceased to dream,
Beheld a vision. Slowly he became
Aware of a strange light which in his eyes
Shone to his vast discomfort and surprise;
And, while perplexed with vague mistrusts and fears,
He saw a face, Griselda's face, in tears
Before him. She was standing by his bed
Holding a candle. It was cold, she said,
And shivered. And he saw her wrap her shawl
About her shoulders closely like a pall.
Why was she there? Why weeping? Why this light,
Burning so brightly in the dead of night?
These riddles poor Lord L.'s half--wakened brain
Tried dimly to resolve, but tried in vain.
``I cannot sleep to--night,'' went on the voice,
``The streets disturb me strangely with their noise,
The cabs, the striking clocks.'' Lord L.'s distress
Struggled with sleep. He thought he answered ``Yes.''
``What can I do to make me sleep? I am ill,
Unnerv'd to--night. This house is like a well.
Do I disturb you here, and shall I go?''
Lord L. was moved. He thought he answered ``No.''
``If you would speak, perhaps my tears would stop.
Speak! only speak!'' Lord L. here felt a drop
Upon his hand. She had put down the light,
And sat upon his bed forlornly white
And pale and trembling. Her dark hair unbound
Lay on her knees. Her lips moved, but their sound
Came strangely to his ears and half--unheard.
He only could remember the last word:
``I am unhappy--listen L.!--alone.''
She touched his shoulder and he gave a groan.
``This is too much. You do not hear me. See,
I cannot stop these tears. Too much!'' And he
Now well awake, looked round him. He could catch
A gleam of light just vanished, and the latch
Seemed hardly silent. This was all he knew.
He sat some moments doubting what to do,
Rose, went out, shivered, hearing nothing, crept
Back to his pillow where the vision wept
Or seemed to weep awhile ago, and then
With some disquiet went to sleep again.
Next morning, thinking of his dream, Lord L.
Went down to breakfast in intent to tell
The story of his vision. But he met
With little sympathy. His wife was late,
And in a hurry for her school of art.
His lordship needed time to make a start
On any topic, and no time she gave.
Griselda had appointments she must save,
And could not stop to hear of rhyme or reason--
The dream must wait a more convenient season.
And so it was not told. Alas, alas!
Who shall foretell what wars shall come to pass,
What woes be wrought, what fates accomplishèd,
What new dreams dreamt, what new tears vainly shed,
What doubts, what anguish, what remorse, what fears
Begotten in the womb of what new years!--
And all because of this, that poor Lord L.
Was slow of speech, or that he slept too well!
The Stealing Of The Mare - I
In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate! He who narrateth this tale is Abu Obeyd, and he saith:
When I took note and perceived that the souls of men were in pleasure to hear good stories, and that their ears were comforted and that they made good cheer in the listening, then called I to mind the tale of the Agheyli Jaber and his mare, and of all that befell him and his people. For this is a story of wonderful adventure and marvellous stratagems, and a tale which when one heareth he desireth to have it evermore in remembrance as a delight tasted once by him and not forgotten.
And the telling of it is this:
The Emir Abu Zeyd the Helali Salameh was sitting one morning in his tent with the Arabs of the Beni Helal and the Lords of the tribe. And lo, there appeared before them in the desert the figure of one wandering to and fro alone. And this was Ghanimeh. And the Emir Abu Zeyd said to his slave Abul Komsan, ``Go forth thou, and read me the errand of this fair Lady and bring me word again.'' And Abul Komsan went forth as he was bidden, and presently returned to them with a smiling countenance, and he said, ``O my Lord, there is the best of news for thee, for this is one that hath come a guest to thee, and she desireth something of thee, for fate hath oppressed her and troubles sore are on her head. And she hath told me all her story and the reason of her coming, and that it is from her great sorrow of mind; for she had once an husband, and his name was Dagher abul Jud, a great one of the Arabs. And to them was born a son named Amer ibn el Keram, and the boy's uncle's name was En Naaman. And when the father died, then the uncle possessed himself of all the inheritance, and he drove forth the widow from the tribe; and he hath kept the boy as a herder of his camels; and this for seven years. And Ghanimeh all that time was in longing for her son. But at the end of the seventh year she returned to seek the boy. Then Naaman struck her and drove her forth. And Amer, too, the boy, his nephew, is in trouble, for Naaman will not now yield to the boy that he should marry his daughter, though she was promised to him, and he hath betrothed her to another. And when Amer begged him for the girl (for the great ones of the tribe pitied the boy, and there had interceded for him fifty--and--five of the princes), he answered, `Nay, that may not be, not though in denying it I should taste of the cup of evil things. But, if he be truly desirous of the girl and would share all things with me in my good fortune, then let him bring me the mare of the Agheyli Jaber,--and the warriors be witness of my word thereto.' But when the men of the tribe heard this talk, they said to one another: `There is none able to do this thing but only Abu Zeyd.' And thus hath this lady come to thee. And I entreat thee, my lord, look into her business and do for her what is needful.''
And when Abu Zeyd heard this word of his slave Abul Komsan he rejoiced exceedingly, and his heart waxed big within him, and he threw his cloak as a gift to Abul Komsan, and he bade him go to the Lady Ghanimeh and treat her with all honour, for, ``I needs,'' said he, ``must see to her affairs and quiet her mind.'' So Abul Komsan returned to her, and he built for her a tent, and did all that was needed. And Abu Zeyd bade him attend upon her and bring her dresses of honour and all things meet for her service.
Then began the Narrator to sing:
Saith the hero Abu Zeyd the Helali Salameh:
(Woe is me, my heart is a fire, a fire that burneth!)
On a Friday morning once, I sat with three companions,
I in my tent, the fourth of four, with the sons of Amer.
Sudden I raised my eyes and gazed at the breadth of the desert,
Searching the void afar, the empty hills and the valleys;
Lo, in the midmost waste a form, where the rainways sundered,
Wandering uncertain round in doubt, with steps of a stranger.
Turned I to Abul Komsan, my slave, and straightway I bade him,
``Ho, thou master of signs, expound to us this new comer.''
Abul Komsan arose and went, and anon returning,
``Fortune fair,'' said he, ``I bring and a noble token.
O my Lord Abu Zeyd,'' he cried, and his lips were smiling,
``Here is a guest of renown for thee, a stranger, a lady,
One for the wounding of hearts, a dame of illustrious lineage,
One whose heart is on fire with grief, and sorely afflicted.''
The dark one threw off his cloak to Abul Komsan in guerdon,
Even I, Abu Zeyd Salameh, the while my companions
Rose with me all as I rose in my place, we four rejoicing,
Hassan and Abu Kheyl Diab, and the Kadi Faïd.
And first of them Hassan spake and said, ``Is my name not Hassan?
Sultan and chief and lord am I of the lords of the Bedu.
Shall not my tent stand free to all, to each guest that cometh?
So God send her to me, be they hers, two thousand camels.''
And Abu Kheyl uprose, and with him the Kadi Faïd.
``And I,'' said he, ``no less will give to this dame two thousand.''
Nor was the Kadi slow to speak: ``Though this pen and paper
All my poor fortune be,'' said he, ``I will name her thirty.''
But I, Salameh, said, ``By my faith, these gifts were little;
Mine be a larger vow.'' And I swore an oath and I promised
All that she would to bring, nay, all her soul demanded,
Even a service of fear, a thing from the land of danger.
And thus they sat in discourse till the hour of noon was upon them,
And the caller called to prayer, and the great ones prayed assembled;
And these too in their place, and they stood in prayer together.
And when they had made an end of praises and prostrations,
Back to the tent came they, and still behold the lady
Wandering in doubt uncertain there with steps of a stranger.
Then to the desert went I forth, and I called and I shouted,
``Marhaba, welcome to thee,'' I cried, ``thou illustrious lady,
Welcomes as many be to thee as the leagues thou hast wandered.''
And she, ``I seek the hero, the Knight of Helal ibn Amer,
Bring me to him, the renowned of might, the hero of Amer.''
And I, ``I hear and obey, though I am not of the great ones.
Raise thy eyes and behold him here, the Sultan Hassan,
And with him Abu Musa Diab, the light of Zoghbat,
Best of the swordsmen he, and our learned Kadi Faïd,
The reader of the word, the learnedest of the learned,
And with them Aziz ed Din and El Hajin and Amer,
Fifty and five of the best, Fulano and Fulano.
These be men of their word; asking thou shalt obtain it:
Ask thou all that thou wilt, even all thy soul desireth.''
But she, ``Nay, thou dost mock, thou slave and idle talker,
Not of these would I hear nor of other than Salameh,
Salameh Abu Zeyd, Chief of Helal ibn Amer.
Why art thou mute of him for whom my soul is kindled?''
And I, ``Myself am he, the Helali Salameh,
Welcome to thee, and welcome as wide as thou hast wandered.''
And she prayed, ``O Abu Zeyd, behold me here thy stranger.
A boon I ask, O dark one, a mighty deed of daring.
Thy suppliant am I, thou son of Risk Salameh,
From the distress of time behold my tears are flowing.
For this one boon behold me pleading here before thee.
I have tasted Fortune's change. I plead by the day of judgment.''
And I, ``What is thy want, O Lady, that I grant it?
All, to the cord, I give, so thy tears cease from flowing.''
And she, ``O man admired! A great one was my husband,
A knight, a prince of lineage, Abul Jud Dagher,
A man of mighty wealth, stored up in many houses,
Wealth whose sole catalogue were a library of volumes.
He dying left behind with me our one son Amer,
To me and to the hate of an ill--minded uncle.
For when that Abul Jud was gathered to his fathers,
And sent from his loved home to death's unjoyful dwellings,
Behold this Naaman, this man he called his brother,
In arms against our house, he with his evil--doers,
Raiding all our wealth and making Amer captive.
Thus weeping did I flee, and seven long years an exile
Bore I his heart with me like a bird ever flying.
And then, the seven years done, to the dear place forbidden
Turned I in my love and my sweet son's remembrance.
And when he saw me near he called to me, `O mother,
Behold me in what straits I lie through men of evil
(And these may God requite!). Seven years behold me outcast,
Herding the flocks afar each day in the lone desert,
And in my uncle's tent nightly a guest unwelcome.
Yet was there one with me, his daughter fair, Betina,
Whom I, as of little count, might wander with unquestioned
Until but few days since. But now another suitor
Asking her hand hath come, and with him brave companions.
And for this suitor's sake am I forbid her presence.
And what then, O my mother, shall I do, my mother,
Who have neither riches, though my soul is generous,
Nor wile nor stratagem in my life's little wisdom?
How shall I win to her, this fair child of my uncle?
How shall I answer her, her greetings night and morning?
Thus spake he, and I heard, and with a heart of anger
Went I forth with him my son, and to the tribesmen
Pleaded in every tent his cause, we two as suppliants,
Calling on all their chiefs to give the hand of succour.
And fifty and five of them were those who lent agreement,
This one and that with joy, Fulano and Fulano.
And with them Selman was, Abul Jud el Aser.
And Jafferi was there, Khalifa ibn Nasser,
And many more of note. And they rose and went assembled
To the council of the king, and found him there in judgment
Set with his valiant men, and meting out obedience.
And when En Naaman saw them he cried to them in welcome:
`Sit ye, O chiefs, with me,' and made their place beside him,
And when he found them mute and of their manner bashful,
`Ye have come,' said he, `to speak of him, my brother's orphan.'
And they, `Ay, of a truth. We ask for him Betina.'
And he, `Be short of words. From me ye shall get no lying.
Nasser hath come for her, and with him a brave dowry.
This one, what hath he (speak) beside his beggar's portion?'
And they, `But we will give. So be thy mind unburdened,
And his, too, of the doubt. We stand to thee his guarants.'
And Selman spake, `Behold it, to the last coin, his dowry.'
And Jafferi, `Nor less, things needed for the wedding.
All that thou wilt we bring, a gift to thee and Amer.'
Then answered them the hero, En Naaman, the chieftain:
`List to my word, O chiefs, O generous--minded princes.
Let him but bring one thing, the thing my soul desireth,
So shall I stand content, nor ask a further dowry,
Necklace, nor chain, nor ring, nor ornament of silver,
Nor silk, nor broidered robe, and, lo, my word is on it.
He shall be to me a son, and I will love him truly,
More than a brother's son, in all things first and foremost.
But come he empty--handed, the girl shall be another's.'
And so with a pious phrase the hero left them wondering.
And straightway questioned all, `And what is this, O Naaman?'
Laughing he made reply, `The mare of Agheyli Jaber.'
Then on the chiefs assembled there fell as it were a tremor,
And each man looked at each, nor made they further pleading,
Only with whispered looks the thought passed round in silence,
`This thing can no man bring, nor he were a Jinn in cunning,
Not though on wings he flew.' But Amer in his longing,
Swore he the deed would do for sake of her, Betina.
And when I learned it all, how it had fared in council,
From my poor head the wits, O Sheykh Salameh, wandered.
And since that day of trouble (listen, O Helali!)
Around the world of men have I in anguish wandered,
Seeking of kings and chiefs and princes of the Arabs
Which one shall help our case, and all in turn have answered,
`This is a deed of deeds meet only for Salameh.
There is but one thy help, he of Helal ibn Amer.'
Thus have I come to thee on my soul's faith, Salameh,
Thee the champion proved of all whose hearts are doubting,
Thee the doer of right, the scourge of the oppressor,
Thee the breeze in autumn, thee the winter's coolness,
Thee the morning's warmth after a night of watching,
Thee the wanderer's joy, well of the living water,
Thee to thy foeman's lips as colocynth of the desert,
Thee the river Nile, in the full day of his flooding,
When he hath mounted high and covereth the islands.
Behold me thus for thee clothed in the robes of amber.
Beyond thee there is none save the sole Lord of pity.
Thou art my last appeal, O Helali Salameh,
Glory of the Arabs, beauty of all beholders.''
Thus then spoke Ghanimeh, and Abu Zeyd made answer,
``Nay, but a thousand welcomes, O thou mother of Amer,
Welcomes as many be as the leagues thy feet have wandered.
Fear thou nought at our hand, nay, only but fair dealing.''
And the hero Abu Zeyd called to his servant loudly:
``Forth, O Abul Komsan, nor let thy footsteps linger.''
And the slave said, ``Yes and yes, O thou beloved of the Arabs.''
And he, ``Go with this lady and build her a pavilion,
With breadths of perfumed silk, and bid prepare all dainties
That she may eat of the best, and serve her in due honour.
For well it is in life to be of all things generous,
Ere we are called away to death's unjoyful dwellings,
Even of the shoulder meat, that the guests may rise up praising.''
And Abul Komsan went and all things set in order,
Even as he was bid, at the word of his lord Salameh.
Said the Narrator:
And, when the lady had made an end of talking, then agreed the Emir Abu Zeyd to all her desires, and he delivered her into the hand of Abul Komsan, and bade him to do her honour and to serve her in his own person, and not through the persons of others, and he gave him his commands, saying: ``Take charge of her thus and thus, the while I go forth and see diligently to her affairs.'' And Abul Komsan did as he was commanded.
And immediately the Emir Abu Zeyd arose and went into his own tent and took out a herdsman's wallet and a lute, and went forth in disguise as a singer, of the singers of ballads. And thus travestied he came to the Assembly that he might take his leave of the Sultan Hassan and of the rest. And Hassan said to him, ``O Mukheymer, whither goest thou, and what is thy design?'' And Abu Zeyd made answer, ``I am of a mind to journey abroad, even to the land of the Agheyli Jaber.'' And so he disclosed to him all his plan, both what was without and what was within, the manifest and the hidden. And as he spoke behold the Sultan's countenance changed, and he grew pale, and ``Goest thou,'' said he, ``to the land of our enemy, and takest thou from us the light of thy countenance? Leave now this adventure, and we will determine all things as is best for the fair lady.'' But Abu Zeyd said: ``Nay, for the like of me that were a disgrace and a shame, and need is that I go: ay, though I were given to drink of the cup of confusion, yet must I go forward.'' And Diab said, ``May no such disgrace befall thee, nor confusion, for this would be to us all a sign that thou lackedst understanding.'' And Abu Zeyd said, ``Lengthen not thy words.'' And the Kadi calling to the others, said, ``My mind is that you should prevent him, even if it were by force, from his purpose, nor let him go.'' But when Abu Zeyd heard that word of the Kadi his wrath flamed forth, and he said, ``How! would ye deal with me in this wise, with me, the Emir Abu Zeyd?''
Now the ears of the tribe were filled with these sayings, and their mouths with the noise of them. But none was able to turn Abu Zeyd from his way. And his sister Rih came to dissuade him. Yet he listened not to her words, but soothed and consoled her only, and bade her farewell. And he departed on his quest, going by the desolate valleys of the desert.
Then once more the Narrator singeth:
Saith the hero, Abu Zeyd Salameh Mukheymer:
``Needs must I haste abroad to the wide breadths of desert,
What though I fare afar to death's unjoyful dwellings?
Constrained of my guest I go to do her pleasure's bidding.''
And speaking thus he turned and went to his pavilion,
And clothed himself anew in his most cheerful raiment,
Lengthening his kaftan's sleeves and rolling broad his turban,
Till in disguise he stood, a singer of the singers,
With wallet in his hand and lute for his sole armour,
But in his head what store of strategy and cunning!
And thus to the Divan, wherein the chiefs assembled
Crowded all the floor as it were the market of Amer.
And when the Sultan Hassan beheld him at the tent ropes,
Loudly he cried to him, ``Thou goest forth? And whither?
Tell us, O Abu Zeyd, what meaneth this thy venture?''
And I, Salameh, said, ``It is a thing of honour.
A lady came to me, O Hassan, one a stranger,
To ask a deed of me, and my own tongue hath bound me.
For when I cried to her, `What is thy need, O lady?'
She answered, `This I need, the mare of Agheyli Jaber.'''
And the Sultan Hassan hearing, struck his two palms together,
And he cried, ``O Abu Helal, thine is a case of evil.
How hast thou staked thy life? Nay, rather leave this daring.
Thine shall the camels be--ay, even the two thousand.''
And I, ``Alas, for shame! Such failure were unseemly.
Or will I bring the mare or stand no more among ye,
Nay, though my way be death.'' Then answered Abu Musa,
``Madman thou art and fool. This is beyond thy winning,
Not though thy back grew wings.'' And I, ``Forbear vain pleadings.
Base surely were the man less prompt to do than promise.''
But next the Kadi came and fingered at his turban,
And with him Rih my sister, and she called to him, ``Helali,
Wilt thou not stay this champion?'' And I, ``Nay, hold thy clamour
Lest I should cut thee short, even with this sword, my sister.''
And the Kadi: ``Hear, O people. This warrior is foolhardy.
Bring forth the brazen fetters to bind this Father of Patience.''
And hearing, Abu Zeyd was wrath with wrath exceeding,
And his hand set to his sword and ``Ho,'' said he, ``ye mad ones!
Talk ye to lay in fetter me who am named Salameh,
Me, the strength of Helal, who clothed the tribe in glory?
Nay, were it not for shame I would hew ye all in pieces.''
And Rih cried, ``Woe is me, the burning of my trouble!
How shall I quench this flame? Yet shall he take our blessing.''
And I, ``The word farewell is but a wound to the goer.
Cease, therefore, from thy tears.'' And weeping thus she left me.
But I my camel mounted and went my way in silence,
Going by paths unknown in the wide, trackless desert,
Nor turned my head again when they had turned back silent.
Thus was our parting done. Shame rest with the gainsayer.