classes ::: media, list, websites, programming,
children :::
branches ::: torrents
see also ::: the_net

Instances - Definitions - Quotes - Chapters - Wordnet - Webgen


object:torrents
alt:streaming
class:media

https://www3.f2movies.to/
https://www1.watch-tvseries.net/
https://moviezap.top

https://www.veoh.com/

--- UNCHECKED
itorrents.org
limetorrents.info
torrentdownloads.me
1337x.to
torrentz2.eu
torrents.me

--- TORRENT SITES LIST - BOOKS BELOW
--- QUICK BAR
  Live Libgen
  Piratebay live proxy mirrors

--- STREAMING
https://m4uhd.tv/watch-movie-level-16-2018-227907.html

--- MOVIES / SHOWS
http://thepiratebay.org
  https://thepiratebay.org/user/ettv/
    /ShAaNiG/ http://shaanig.org/ #down as of 2018-09-17
    /makintos13/
a) https://pirateproxy.live
a) https://pirateproxy.live/user/makintos13/ #up as of 2018-09-17
http://rarbg.to
http://horriblesubs.info/
https://eztv.ag/
https://ettv.tv
https://putlocker.sk
https://seedpeer.eu
https://shaanig.org/
http://bt-scene.cc/indexfull/
https://yts.am/ # YIFY #MOVIES?
https://torrentz2.eu

--- QUOTES ]
  site:https://www.facebook.com/groups/Orderof theGnostics/ manly p hall

--- DND / MAGE / SHADOWRUN ]
  https://mega.nz/#F!2n IH1ChC!3Tk I45GJ3vhbk0zZ8NCOaA

--- ANIME ]
http://kissanime.ru ### STREAMING
https://www.nyaa.si/ ### https://www.nyaa.se/
http://bakabt.me
https://animelon.com/ ### for learning japanese, has perfect subtitles, including kanji
https://www9.gogoanime.io/

--- MANGA DETAILS ]
  https://mangakakalot.com/manga/prism_higashiyama_shou

--- STREAMING ]
https://www.actvid.com/ #2021-03
http://www.watchepisodes4.com/
http://watch-series.is/
http://www.animefreak.tv/  
http://openloadmovies.tv/
https://www6.putlockertv.to/

--- UPLOADING ]
  https://mega.nz/

--- CLOSED LIBRARIES ]
https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/a/

--- NEW BOOK PLACES
  https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/Bibliotik/

--- BOOKS # NOTE, CLEAN DRIVES BEFORE THEY COME DOWN
--- LIBGEN MIRRORS ] [ VIP ]
  http://libgen.io/
  http://libgen.io/libgen/content/
  http://libgen.io/dbdumps/libgen/
  https://libgen.pw/
  http://gen.lib.rus.ec

  http://www.universityofhumanunity.org/biblios/
http://www.ulib.org/ULIBOurCollections.htm

--- INTEGRAL YOGA
  https://www.auro-ebooks.com/authors/ #NICE
  https://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/sriaurobindo/writings.php
  https://www.sriaurobindoashram.org/mother/writings.php
  site:https://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/sa/ pdf
  site:http://www.motherandsriaurobindo.in/ pdf
https://www.aurobindo.ru/workings/disciples_e.htm

--- CHRISTIAN
  http://www.saintsbooks.net/BooksList.html#Featured%20Books

--- UNTAPPED ] # do before they close
[ FREEDOM ]  
    http://index-of.es/ # wget it all plz
  [ OCCULT ]
    https://starlightsanctum.wordpress.com/library/
    http://lib.oto-usa.org/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/esotericknowledgeandoccultscience/files/
  [ GOOGLE DRIVES ]
    [ETERNAL_VEDA]https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0Bw6JgcEAnjX-aUJvRW1GTE5VM1U
    [ETERNAL_FLAME_LIBRARY]https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B-G_iUcPzz9gUXRMVWt5TEVMNGc #VIP
    [THE_ESOTERIC]https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1f0lGvGUIl5wHq1pLn3VWQlAWC27HrPfg #DECENT
    [Facade]https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XPspcpeEqii IxYKyGa IPOhujGqMOC4Gc
    [Maria_Locke]https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=1qQwqvAQKVNhL3YS7Km2p6MImZF8kAxav
    [Boris]https://drive.google.com/open?id=19DW3sdVbWLbssXxT2w2zpA3ROBFb8vWP
    [Autumn_Stormcaller___WITCH_LIBRARY]https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1zlo7Gr8gMXTu-0yaHFNL4N2NVyM180e6?usp=sharing
    [Aletheia's Library]https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1WlQEW0Y29IiHsh4gBz5IzaAlV7qn2LGg?usp=sharing
    [Chaos Magick Archive ]https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByjZOrWyaRqEQldHZDVPa0dsems #looks meh
  [ MEGA.NZ'S ] (https://mega.nz/cmd)
    [Marcus_Dell][40G]https://mega.nz/?fbclid=IwAR3b-Q5XTcHzvLDgnyoPXJVzJktYd IhJ-iQZqlrXbWxOMc_qwhNQPTdt-zQ#F!cLQlyaba!POGP8w8l IIo8DCNaSV4ezw!IDpmyC7I
    [Gnosticism]https://mega.nz/#F!xYpWSZIA!AIJmBr-RrBJeUdGwjt1b3A
    [loopy]https://mega.nz/#!c6J2xRqQ!wljN7A5u6OAo9zKGy4OhndDE4rZKYewe9EywpjKzlOE #one file?
    [Sage]https://mega.nz/#F!lWpRVDza!EYLGEJRgdCTlMIPbryzJCA
    [Deleted User___Historical norse and european texts] https://mega.nz/#F!u3Z2iC6A!hx3LvTezwSPrrYZAk9DeAA
    [Leviathan___The Temple of Soloman the King]https://mega.nz/#F!AE5yj IqB!y7Vdxdb5pbNsi2O3zyq9KQ
    [viper]https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share/ZGRVkFukMr ISpXG6JSqFi9GdUlmMqeygW9HxYH7o4Uu #[looks good, untapped]
    [zaph___occ]https://mega.nz/#F!b3AzmLpR!36o66NWTJGvS5S5V3-sgig #nice #[cleaned enough]
    [Books of Spiritual Knowledge and Wisdom]https://mega.nz/#F!cLQlyaba!POGP8w8l IIo8DCNaSV4ezw #[nice relatively cleaned]
[Books of spiritual wisdom] https://mega.nz/#F!bEdHlQCa!ywRsZKQ19r7c7bR_oa_y Iw!CAsBxC5Q
  [ FORGOTTEN BOOKS 1.2 MIL ]
    https://www.forgottenbooks.com/en
--- RELIGIOUS ]
  http://www.sacred-texts.com
  http://sacred-texts.com/eso/index.htm
  https://www.holybooks.com/

--- TECH
  http://it-ebooks.directory/
  http://it-ebooks.info/
  http://freecomputerbooks.com/
  http://history-computer.com/Library/

--- TORRENTS ]
  https://torrentz2.eu
  https://pirateproxy.live
  https://www.reddit.com/r/TPB/top/?t=all

--- WIDE REACHING? ]
  http://pdfdrive.com # VERY LARGE
  http://b-ok.xyz/ # LIMITED NUMBER OF DOWNLOADS BUT WIDE SELECTION
  http://en.bookfi.net/ # SAME AS B-OK?

--- OLDER? ]
  https://www.gutenberg.org/
  http://archive.org

--- UNSORTED
  https://opentrackers.org/downloading-ebooks-textbooks/ #OooOO
  https://cnx.org/ # open textbooks
  http://files.vsociety.net/data/
  http://files.vsociety.net/data/library/
  http://vsociety.net/wiki/V-Library
  http://vsociety.net/wiki/Spirituality_eBooks
  https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/
  http://www.hermetics.org/ebooks.html
  https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/popular-databases

--- ONION ]
  http://lfbg75wjgi4nzdio.onion/wiki/List_of_Free_Online_Libraries #wiki
  http://lfbg75wjgi4nzdio.onion/f/books#s #raddit

--- MANGA ]
  https://theanimehq.com/category/manga/
  https://www.nyaa.si/ ### https://www.nyaa.se/ #torrents
  https://mangakakalot.com/
  https://kissmanga.com

--- GOOGLE COMMANDS ]
  intitle:index.of pdf "Book title" # very fucking cool, maybe works well with wget
  https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q=inauthor%3A%22Plato%22

--- UNCHECKED
  https://it-eb.com/
  https://edoc.site/search
  https://www.foxebook.net/
  http://www.allitebooks.com/
  https://dlfeb.com/
  http://ebook-dl.com/
  https://anarchalibrary.blogspot.com/
  https://sci-hub.se/
  https://theanarchistlibrary.org/
  http://freeoccultbooks.weebly.com/
  https://starlightsanctum.wordpress.com/library/
  https://www.holtz.org/Library/
  http://ebooks.bharathuniv.ac.in/gdlc1/ #looks pretty huge

--- SMALL BUT UNIQ ]
  http://worrydream.com/refs/

--- THEOSOPHY LIBRARY ]
  http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/theosophypdfs/early_theosophical_publications_authors.htm

--- DEAD


--- FOOTER
class:list
class:websites
class:programming


see also ::: the net






questions, comments, suggestions/feedback, take-down requests, contribute, etc
contact me @ integralyogin@gmail.com or
join the integral discord server (chatrooms)
if the page you visited was empty, it may be noted and I will try to fill it out. cheers


OBJECT INSTANCES [0] - TOPICS - AUTHORS - BOOKS - CHAPTERS - CLASSES - SEE ALSO - SIMILAR TITLES

TOPICS
i2p
i2p
SEE ALSO

the_net

AUTH

BOOKS
Evolution_II
Heart_of_Matter
Liber_157_-_The_Tao_Teh_King
Life_without_Death
Modern_Man_in_Search_of_a_Soul
Process_and_Reality
The_Divine_Milieu
The_Yoga_Sutras

IN CHAPTERS TITLE
1960-07-23_-_The_Flood_and_the_race_-_turning_back_to_guide_and_save_amongst_the_torrents_-_sadhana_vs_tamas_and_destruction_-_power_of_giving_and_offering_-_Japa,_7_lakhs,_140000_per_day,_1_crore_takes_20_years

IN CHAPTERS CLASSNAME

IN CHAPTERS TEXT
05.03_-_Satyavan_and_Savitri
07.03_-_The_Entry_into_the_Inner_Countries
1.01_-_A_NOTE_ON_PROGRESS
1.01_-_Proem
1.02_-_The_Three_European_Worlds
1.03_-_BOOK_THE_THIRD
1.03_-_Tara,_Liberator_from_the_Eight_Dangers
1.04_-_Communion
1.04_-_The_Divine_Mother_-_This_Is_She
1.04_-_The_Silent_Mind
1.05_-_Consciousness
1.05_-_Solitude
1.05_-_The_Magical_Control_of_the_Weather
1.05_-_The_New_Consciousness
1.06_-_LIFE_AND_THE_PLANETS
1.06_-_ON_THE_PALE_CRIMINAL
1.06_-_Quieting_the_Vital
1.06_-_The_Breaking_of_the_Limits
1.06_-_Yun_Men's_Every_Day_is_a_Good_Day
1.07_-_TRUTH
1.08_-_BOOK_THE_EIGHTH
1.08_-_The_Synthesis_of_Movement
11.03_-_Cosmonautics
1.1.04_-_Philosophy
1.10_-_BOOK_THE_TENTH
1.12_-_The_Superconscient
1.13_-_BOOK_THE_THIRTEENTH
1.17_-_The_Transformation
1.23_-_Improvising_a_Temple
1.28_-_The_Killing_of_the_Tree-Spirit
1.34_-_The_Myth_and_Ritual_of_Attis
1.51_-_How_to_Recognise_Masters,_Angels,_etc.,_and_how_they_Work
1914_05_28p
1914_06_01p
1914_08_04p
19.18_-_On_Impurity
1958-07-06
1959-01-14
1960-07-23_-_The_Flood_and_the_race_-_turning_back_to_guide_and_save_amongst_the_torrents_-_sadhana_vs_tamas_and_destruction_-_power_of_giving_and_offering_-_Japa,_7_lakhs,_140000_per_day,_1_crore_takes_20_years
1961-04-29
1962-07-04
1963-01-12
1963-03-23
1963-08-10
1963-10-19
1968-07-20
1969-10-29
1971-10-23
1973-04-07
1973-04-14
1.ami_-_To_the_Saqi_(from_Baal-i-Jibreel)
1.anon_-_The_Epic_of_Gilgamesh_Tablet_XI_The_Story_of_the_Flood
1.anon_-_The_Poem_of_Imru-Ul-Quais
1.anon_-_The_Seven_Evil_Spirits
1f.lovecraft_-_He
1f.lovecraft_-_Medusas_Coil
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Case_of_Charles_Dexter_Ward
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Ghost-Eater
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Green_Meadow
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Haunter_of_the_Dark
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Horror_at_Martins_Beach
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Horror_in_the_Museum
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Last_Test
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Lurking_Fear
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Nameless_City
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Secret_Cave
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Shadow_out_of_Time
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Statement_of_Randolph_Carter
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Thing_on_the_Doorstep
1f.lovecraft_-_The_Tomb
1f.lovecraft_-_The_White_Ship
1.fs_-_Elegy_On_The_Death_Of_A_Young_Man
1.fs_-_Hero_And_Leander
1.fs_-_The_Antique_To_The_Northern_Wanderer
1.fs_-_The_Count_Of_Hapsburg
1.fs_-_The_Driver
1.fs_-_The_Eleusinian_Festival
1.fs_-_The_Hostage
1.fs_-_The_Lay_Of_The_Bell
1.fs_-_The_Pilgrim
1.fs_-_The_Triumph_Of_Love
1.fs_-_The_Walk
1.fs_-_To_My_Friends
1.jk_-_A_Galloway_Song
1.jk_-_Endymion_-_Book_II
1.jk_-_Hyperion._Book_II
1.jk_-_King_Stephen
1.jr_-_Ah,_what_was_there_in_that_light-giving_candle_that_it_set_fire_to_the_heart,_and_snatched_the_heart_away?
1.jr_-_On_Love
1.jr_-_Rise,_Lovers
1.jr_-_The_glow_of_the_light_of_daybreak_is_in_your_emerald_vault,_the_goblet_of_the_blood_of_twilight_is_your_blood-measuring_bowl
1.jwvg_-_The_Godlike
1.jwvg_-_The_Pupil_In_Magic
1.lb_-_Gazing_At_The_Cascade_On_Lu_Mountain
1.lb_-_Visiting_a_Taoist_Master_on_Tai-T'ien_Mountain_by_Li_Po
1.pbs_-_Alastor_-_or,_the_Spirit_of_Solitude
1.pbs_-_Arethusa
1.pbs_-_A_Vision_Of_The_Sea
1.pbs_-_Hellas_-_A_Lyrical_Drama
1.pbs_-_Lines_Written_On_Hearing_The_News_Of_The_Death_Of_Napoleon
1.pbs_-_Love-_Hope,_Desire,_And_Fear
1.pbs_-_Mont_Blanc_-_Lines_Written_In_The_Vale_of_Chamouni
1.pbs_-_On_Keats,_Who_Desired_That_On_His_Tomb_Should_Be_Inscribed--
1.pbs_-_Orpheus
1.pbs_-_Prometheus_Unbound
1.pbs_-_Rosalind_and_Helen_-_a_Modern_Eclogue
1.pbs_-_Scenes_From_The_Faust_Of_Goethe
1.pbs_-_The_Boat_On_The_Serchio
1.pbs_-_The_Cenci_-_A_Tragedy_In_Five_Acts
1.pbs_-_The_Cloud
1.pbs_-_The_Revolt_Of_Islam_-_Canto_I-XII
1.pbs_-_The_Triumph_Of_Life
1.pbs_-_The_Witch_Of_Atlas
1.poe_-_Alone
1.poe_-_Tamerlane
1.rb_-_By_The_Fire-Side
1.rmr_-_Elegy_I
1.rt_-_The_Homecoming
1.rwe_-_Bacchus
1.rwe_-_May-Day
1.rwe_-_Song_of_Nature
1.rwe_-_Wealth
1.whitman_-_Proud_Music_Of_The_Storm
1.whitman_-_Rise,_O_Days
1.whitman_-_Salut_Au_Monde
1.ww_-_Address_To_Kilchurn_Castle,_Upon_Loch_Awe
1.ww_-_An_Evening_Walk
1.ww_-_Book_Fifth-Books
1.ww_-_Book_Fourteenth_[conclusion]
1.ww_-_Book_Seventh_[Residence_in_London]
1.ww_-_Book_Sixth_[Cambridge_and_the_Alps]
1.ww_-_Composed_While_The_Author_Was_Engaged_In_Writing_A_Tract_Occasioned_By_The_Convention_Of_Cintra
1.ww_-_Her_Eyes_Are_Wild
1.ww_-_Hoffer
1.ww_-_Memorials_Of_A_Tour_In_Scotland-_1803
1.ww_-_Song_Of_The_Wandering_Jew
1.ww_-_The_Brothers
1.ww_-_The_Excursion-_II-_Book_First-_The_Wanderer
1.ww_-_The_Excursion-_V-_Book_Fouth-_Despondency_Corrected
1.ww_-_The_Excursion-_VII-_Book_Sixth-_The_Churchyard_Among_the_Mountains
1.ww_-_The_Highland_Broach
1.ww_-_The_Idiot_Boy
1.ww_-_The_Idle_Shepherd_Boys
1.ww_-_The_Longest_Day
1.ww_-_The_Morning_Of_The_Day_Appointed_For_A_General_Thanksgiving._January_18,_1816
1.ww_-_There_Was_A_Boy
1.ww_-_The_Simplon_Pass
1.ww_-_The_Waterfall_And_The_Eglantine
1.ww_-_Thought_Of_A_Briton_On_The_Subjugation_Of_Switzerland
1.ww_-_To_Dora
1.ww_-_To_Sir_George_Howland_Beaumont,_Bart_From_the_South-West_Coast_Or_Cumberland_1811
2.01_-_Mandala_One
2.01_-_The_Path
2.03_-_The_Pyx
2.11_-_WITH_THE_DEVOTEES_AT_DAKSHINEWAR
2.12_-_THE_FESTIVAL_AT_PNIHTI
2.13_-_ON_THOSE_WHO_ARE_SUBLIME
2.13_-_THE_MASTER_AND_M.
2.17_-_M._AT_DAKSHINEWAR
2.20_-_2.29_-_RULES_FOR_HOUSEHOLDERS_AND_MONKS
2.30_-_2.39_-_THE_MASTER_IN_VARIOUS_MOODS
2.40_-_2.49_-_THE_MASTER_AT_THE_HOUSES_OF_BALARM_AND_GIRISH
30.04_-_Intuition_and_Inspiration_in_Art
3.02_-_King_and_Queen
3.02_-_SOL
3.03_-_The_Consummation_of_Mysticism
3.04_-_The_Flowers
3.06_-_Death
38.06_-_Ravana_Vanquished
4.05_-_The_Passion_Of_Love
5.05_-_The_War
5.1.01.6_-_The_Book_of_the_Chieftains
5.1.02_-_Ahana
6.0_-_Conscious,_Unconscious,_and_Individuation
7.11_-_Building_and_Destroying
Aeneid
Appendix_4_-_Priest_Spells
BOOK_II._-_A_review_of_the_calamities_suffered_by_the_Romans_before_the_time_of_Christ,_showing_that_their_gods_had_plunged_them_into_corruption_and_vice
BOOK_III._-_The_external_calamities_of_Rome
BOOK_IV._-_That_empire_was_given_to_Rome_not_by_the_gods,_but_by_the_One_True_God
Book_of_Imaginary_Beings_(text)
BOOK_XV._-_The_progress_of_the_earthly_and_heavenly_cities_traced_by_the_sacred_history
BOOK_XXII._-_Of_the_eternal_happiness_of_the_saints,_the_resurrection_of_the_body,_and_the_miracles_of_the_early_Church
BOOK_XX._-_Of_the_last_judgment,_and_the_declarations_regarding_it_in_the_Old_and_New_Testaments
COSA_-_BOOK_I
COSA_-_BOOK_III
COSA_-_BOOK_VIII
Liber_71_-_The_Voice_of_the_Silence_-_The_Two_Paths_-_The_Seven_Portals
Sayings_of_Sri_Ramakrishna_(text)
The_Act_of_Creation_text
The_Aleph
The_Dwellings_of_the_Philosophers
the_Eternal_Wisdom
The_Garden_of_Forking_Paths_1
The_Garden_of_Forking_Paths_2
The_Immortal
The_Shadow_Out_Of_Time

PRIMARY CLASS

list
media
programming
websites
SIMILAR TITLES
torrents

DEFINITIONS



QUOTES [1 / 1 - 190 / 190]


KEYS (10k)

   1 The Mother

NEW FULL DB (2.4M)

   7 Alfred Austin
   6 Friedrich Schiller
   5 H l ne Cixous
   5 Erasmus Darwin
   4 Vladimir Nabokov
   4 Herman Melville
   4 Charlotte Smith
   4 Charles Sangster
   4 Andre Marie de Chenier
   4 Ambrose Bierce
   4 Alfred Lord Tennyson
   3 John Ashbery
   3 Conrad Potter Aiken
   3 Anthony Doerr
   3 Ada Cambridge
   2 Victor Hugo
   2 Percy Bysshe Shelley
   2 Kim Th y
   2 James Madison
   2 James Joyce

1:O Lord, O eternal Master, grant that all this may not be in vain, grant that the inexhaustible torrents of Thy divine Force may spread over the earth and penetrate its troubled atmosphere, the struggling energies, the violent chaos of battling elements; grant that the pure light of Thy Knowledge and the inexhaustible love of Thy Benediction may fill men's hearts, penetrate their souls, illumine their consciousness and, out of this obscurity, out of this sombre, terrible and potent darkness, bring forth the splendour of Thy majestic Presence!
   ~ The Mother, Prayers And Meditations,

*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***

1:The lamp of war is kindled here, not to be extinguished but by torrents of blood. ~ Thomas Jefferson
2:...beneath torrents of spring rain, buds come to life - and we do too, beneath torments of tears... ~ John Geddes
3:How small these rescued tides appear! Earthly delights flow in torrents. Each object offers paradise. ~ Andr Breton
4:How small these rescued tides appear! Earthly delights flow in torrents. Each object offers paradise. ~ Andre Breton
5:The vessel of Revolution can arrive at port only on a sea reddened by torrents of blood. ~ Louis Antoine de Saint Just
6:He made her think of ruins, of mysterious places in shadow and darkness, of storms and torrents of rain. ~ Diana Palmer
7:I see the cliffs, glaciers, torrents, valleys of Switzerland - I mark the long winters and the isolation. ~ Walt Whitman
8:A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down. ~ Haile Selassie
9:One cannot attain divine knowledge till one gets rid of pride. Water does not stay on the top of a mound; but into low land it flows in torrents from all sides. ~ Sri Ramakrishna
10:and vaulting the rest of the torrents above to be locked behind a glassy firmament, complete with doors that opened for the moon and windows to let out the rain. ~ Rachel Held Evans
11:Torrents of blood have been spilt in the world in vain attempts of the secular arm to extinguish religious discord, by proscribing all differences in religious opinions. ~ James Madison
12:I wish it would rain. Torrents. So hard it would cleanse me of worry and trouble; so hard it would lift the stain of death from me and carry it to the rivers and out the sea. ~ Jeff Zentner
13:But we little know until tried how much of the uncontrollable there is in us, urging across glaciers and torrents, and up dangerous heights, let the judgement forbid as it may. ~ Donald Barthelme
14:Not satisfied with endlessly pulling drowning men from the torrents rushing past, Day went upstream to see who was throwing the poor bastards into the water in the first place—and ~ James Carroll
15:The rain comes down harder as I write. It sheets off the roof in torrents. I wish it would pound against me. Pound the life from my body. The flesh from my bones. The pain from my heart. ~ Jennifer Donnelly
16:The spirit of Greece, passing through and ascending above the world, hath so animated universal nature, that the very rocks and woods, the very torrents and wilds burst forth with it. ~ Walter Savage Landor
17:My haptic suit did its best to simulate the sensation of torrents of falling water striking my body, but it felt more like someone pounding on my head, shoulders, and back with a bundle of sticks. ~ Ernest Cline
18:Revolution does not mean torrents of blood, the taking of the Winter Palace, and so on. Revolution means a radical transformation of society's institutions. In this sense, I certainly am a revolutionary. ~ Cornelius Castoriadis
19:Without shedding of blood there is no anything. Everything, it seems to me, has to be purchased by selfsacrifice. Our race has marked every step of its painful ascent with blood. And now torrents of it must flow again. ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery
20:I was proceeding slowly one afternoon through torrents of rain and kept seeing that red ghost swimming and shivering with lust in my mirror, when presently the deluge dwindled to a patter, and then was suspended altogether. ~ Vladimir Nabokov
21:Images and physical sensations may deluge patients at this point, and the therapist must be familiar with ways to stem torrents of sensation and emotion to prevent them from becoming retraumatized by accessing the past. ~ Bessel A van der Kolk
22:There are some varieties of fiction that I never touch - mystery stories, for instance, which I abhor, and historical novels. I also detest the so-called "powerful" novel - full of commonplace obscenities and torrents of dialog. ~ Vladimir Nabokov
23:A brief note on the legend of Pandora's Box: Ever wondered why bundled in with all the torrents, and suffering of man kind the Gods put hope down there at the bottom, answer because in certain circumstances hope can be the worst torment of them all. ~ Tom Holt
24:Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way! ~ Herman Melville
25:I ... overflow; my desires have invented new desire, my body knows unheard-of-songs. Time and again ... I have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst - burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. ~ H l ne Cixous
26:Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you, At incredible speed, traveling day and night, Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes. But will he know where to find you, Recognize you when he sees you, Give you the thing he has for you? ~ John Ashbery
27:A generation that had gone to school on a horse-drawn streetcar now stood under the open sky in a countryside in which nothing remained unchanged but the clouds, and beneath these clouds, in a field of force of destructive torrents and explosions, was the tiny, fragile human body. ~ Walter Benjamin
28:Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents,
through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you? ~ John Ashbery
29:A few little flowers will spring up briefly in the dry gulley through which torrents of water pass occasionally. But it is steady streams that bring thick and needed crops. In the agriculture of the soul that has to do with nurturing attributes, flash floods are no substitute for regular irrigation. ~ Neal A Maxwell
30:the phantom of the burning house faded, I found myself screaming and struggling madly in the arms of two men, one of whom was the spy who had followed me to the tomb. Rain was pouring down in torrents, and upon the southern horizon were flashes of the lightning that had so lately passed over our heads. My ~ H P Lovecraft
31:It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents, except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. ~ Edward Bulwer Lytton
32:Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm, to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in religious opinion. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assuage the disease. ~ James Madison
33:Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way! ~ Herman Melville
34:That night, the sky poured out such torrents that the city was a drum set, every surface a source of rhythms, pavements and windows and canvas awnings, street signs and parked cars, Dumpsters throbbing like tom-toms, garbage-can lids swishing as the wind swirled bursts of rain in imitation of a drummer brush-stroking the batter head of a snare. ~ Dean Koontz
35:It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents - except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness. ~ Edward Bulwer Lytton 1st Baron Lytton
36:Indeed, Mr. Jefferson, what could be invented to debase the ancient Christianism, which Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and Christian factions, above all the Catholics, have not fraudulently imposed upon the public? Miracles after miracles have rolled down in torrents, wave succeeding wave in the Catholic church, from the Council of Nicea, and long before, to this day. ~ John Adams
37:A house built on granite and strong foundations, not even the onslaught of pouring rain, gushing torrents and strong winds will be able to pull down. Some people have written the story of my life representing as truth what in fact derives from ignorance, error or envy; but they cannot shake the truth from its place, even if they attempt to make others believe it. ~ Haile Selassie
38:I see the regions of snow and ice, I see the sharp-eyed Samoiede and the Finn, I see the seal-seeker in his boat poising his lance, I see the Siberian on his slight-built sledge drawn by dogs, I see the porpoise-hunters, I see the whale-crews of the south Pacific and the north Atlantic, I see the cliffs, glaciers, torrents, valleys of Switzerland - I mark the long winters and the isolation. ~ James Joyce
39:In our hallway, ablaze with welcoming lights, my Lolita peeled off her sweater, shook her gemmed hair, stretched towards me two bare arms, raised one knee:

“Carry me upstairs, please. I feel sort of romantic tonight.”

It may interest physiologists to learn, at this point, that I have the ability - a most singular case, I presume - of shedding torrents of tears throughout the other tempest. ~ Vladimir Nabokov
40:Then the storm came swiftly, first falling from the heavens, then doubly falling in torrents from the mountains and washing loud down the roads and stone ditches; with it came a dark, frightening sky and savage filaments of lightning and world-splitting thunder, while ragged, destroying clouds fled along past the hotel. Mountains and lake disappeared - the hotel crouched amid tumult, chaos and darkness. ~ F Scott Fitzgerald
41:If you look from a distance, you observe a sea of roofs, and have no more knowledge of the dark streams of people than of denizens of some unknown ocean. But the city is always a heaving and restless place, with its own torrents and billows, its foam and spray. The sound of its streets is like the murmur from a sea shell and in the great fogs of the past the citizens believed themselves to be lying on the floor of the ocean. ~ Peter Ackroyd
42:Thou hast crossed over torrents, and swung through wide-spreading ocean,
Over the chain of the Alps dizzily bore thee the bridge,
That thou might'st see me from near, and learn to value my beauty,
Which the voice of renown spreads through the wandering world.
And now before me thou standest,canst touch my altar so holy,
But art thou nearer to me, or am I nearer to thee?

~ Friedrich Schiller, The Antique To The Northern Wanderer

43:Sorrow is God's plowshare that turns up and subsoils the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests. If we had never fallen, or were in a glorified state, then the strong torrents of Divine joy would be the normal force to open up all our souls' capacities; but in a fallen world, sorrow, with despair taken out of it, is the chosen power to reveal ourselves to ourselves. Hence it is sorrow that makes us think deeply, long, and soberly. ~ Lettie Cowman
44:Arthur looked deeply into the boy’s clear blue eyes and scanned the contours of his handsome face. Arthur could hear something, faintly, in the distance. A rushing sound. A crash of water against rock. He wasn’t sure if it was real or not, but he heard it all the same. Torrents of water rushing over a cliff. He tuned his ears to the noise and recognized the tone. He steadied his hand and listened to the sound, from the back of his mind, of the Reichenbach Falls. ~ Graham Moore
45:I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! ~ H l ne Cixous
46:He wanted to write urgent love letters to her all day long and crowd the endless pages with desperate, uninhibited confessions of his humble worship and need with careful instructions for administering artificial respiration. He wanted to pour out to her in torrents of self-pity all his unbearable loneliness and despair and warn her never to leave the boric acid or the aspirin in reach of the children or to cross a street against the traffic light. He did not wish to worry her. ~ Joseph Heller
47:Divorce too often is the bitter fruit of anger. A man and a woman fall in love, as they say; each is wonderful in the sight of the other; they feel romantic affection for no one else; they stretch their finances to buy a diamond ring; they marry. All is bliss-that is, for a season. Then little inconsequential activities lead to criticism. Little flaws are magnified into great torrents of faultfinding; they fall apart, they separate, and then with rancor and bitterness they divorce. ~ Gordon B Hinckley
48:My grandmother, in all weathers, even when the rain was coming down in torrents and Françoise had rushed indoors with the precious wicker armchairs, so that they should not get soaked—you would see my grandmother pacing the deserted garden, lashed by the storm, pushing back her grey hair in disorder so that her brows might be more free to imbibe the life-giving draughts of wind and rain. She would say, “At last one can breathe!” and would run up and down the soaking paths—too straight and symmetrical for her liking. ~ Marcel Proust
49:It was as if the curtains came down on all this, if not entirely obliterated it, when the monsoon rose up in the thunderous clouds from the parched valley below to engulf the hills, invade them with the opaque mist in which a pine tree or a mountain top appeared only intermittently, and then unleashed a downpour that brought Ravi's rambling to a halt and confined him to the house for days at a time, deafened by the rain drumming on the rooftop and cascading down the gutters and through the spouts to rush downhill in torrents. ~ Anita Desai
50:I often joke with my audiences that I make most of my income on a ski pole. People smile but they get my point. You need to make time for your genius to flow. We get our creative bursts, those idea torrents that take our business and personal lives to the next level, while we are skiing or drinking coffee in a Starbucks or walking in the woods or meditation with a sunrise. Those pursuits are not a waste of time. Creativity comes when you are relaxed, happy and enjoying the moment. And when it comes, it brings ideas that rock your world. ~ Robin Sharma
51:The two forces met with a fearful din of spears and bossed shields, clashing in a fierce and furious melees of bronze-breasted fighters. And there the screams of the dying were mingled with cries of triumph s blood flowed over the earth. As when two winter torrents flow down from great mountain springs to mingle their turbulent floods; where the two streams meet and thunder on down a deep gorge, and the shepherd far off in the mountains hears the roar, so now as the two armies clashed in the fury of battle a terrible roar of toil and shouting arose. ~ Homer
52:I shall venture to affirm, that there never was a popular religion, which represented the state of departed souls in such a light,as would render it eligible for human kind, that there should be such a state. These fine models of religion are the mere product of philosophy. For as death lies between the eye and the prospect of futurity, that event is so shocking to nature, that it must throw a gloom on all the regions which lie beyond it; and suggest to the generality of mankind the idea of Cerberus and Furies; devils, and torrents of fire and brimstone. ~ David Hume
53:Yes, great God, these torrents of tears which flow down from my eyes announce thy divine presence in my soul. This heart hitherto so dry, so arid, so hard; this rock which thou hast struck a second time, will not resist thee any longer, for out of it there now gushes healthful waters in abundance. The selfsame voice of God which overturns the mountains, thunders, lightens, and divides the heaven above, now commands the clouds to pour forth showers of blessings, changing the desert of his soul into a field producing a hundredfold; that voice I hear. ~ Jean Baptiste Massillon
54:The night was blustery and raw, with a chill wet wind blowing down the avenues, and when Rose and I met Françoise and her son and a friend at La Lorraine, a glittering brassiere not far from L'Étoile, rain was descending from the heavens in torrents. Someone in the group, sensing my state of mind, apologized for the evil night, but I recall thinking that even if this were one of those warmly scented and passionate evenings for which Paris is celebrated I would respond like the zombie I had become. The weather of depression is unmodulated, its light a brownout. ~ William Styron
55:And it's a preference, a long-held preference, what you might call a 'habit of mind'—putting words into other people's mouths. And those people are played by people whose profession is to pretend to be other people. For which purpose, they adopt gestures, voices, intonations, even sexual attitudes not their own. On stage, they affect to be ravished and amused by someone whom they will, afterwards, run a mile to avoid having dinner with. Likewise, they spit torrents of abuse against an actor who later, later, in the softness of the night, they will share their bed with. ~ David Hare
56:O Lord, O eternal Master, grant that all this may not be in vain, grant that the inexhaustible torrents of Thy divine Force may spread over the earth and penetrate its troubled atmosphere, the struggling energies, the violent chaos of battling elements; grant that the pure light of Thy Knowledge and the inexhaustible love of Thy Benediction may fill men's hearts, penetrate their souls, illumine their consciousness and, out of this obscurity, out of this sombre, terrible and potent darkness, bring forth the splendour of Thy majestic Presence!
   ~ The Mother, Prayers And Meditations,
57:Everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination's orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink - for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder. ~ Honore de Balzac
58:What is necessary beforehand. – A man who is not willing to become master over his wrath, his gall and a vengefulness, and his lust, and who tries to become master in anything else, is as stupid as the farmer who lays out his field beside a torrential stream without protecting himself from it…
This most shortsighted and pernicious way of thinking wants to make the great sources of energy, those wild torrents of the soul that often stream forth so dangerously and overwhelmingly, dry up altogether, instead of taking their power into service and economizing it. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
59:The Founding Fathers of the United States understood the risk of tribal religious conflict very well. George Washington observed, “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing and ought most to be deprecated.” James Madison agreed, noting the “torrents of blood” that result from religious competition. John Adams insisted that “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” America has slipped a bit since then. ~ Edward O Wilson
60:This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army on the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensign to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of wit start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder. ~ Honor de Balzac
61:This coffee falls into your stomach, and straightway there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move like the battalions of the Grand Army of the battlefield, and the battle takes place. Things remembered arrive at full gallop, ensuing to the wind. The light cavalry of comparisons deliver a magnificent deploying charge, the artillery of logic hurry up with their train and ammunition, the shafts of with start up like sharpshooters. Similes arise, the paper is covered with ink; for the struggle commences and is concluded with torrents of black water, just as a battle with powder. ~ Honore de Balzac
62:I turned and held the blade above us all as an ineffective shield.
The bloodstain on the ceiling now spread almost wall to wall; in our corner, a single triangle of clean space remained. Elsewhere torrents of blood fell in curtains, roaring, driving, gusting like rain waves in a thunderstorm. The floor was awash. It pooled between the floorboards and lashed up against the wainscoting. The chandelier dripped with it: the crystals shone red. Now I knew why the chamber was without furniture of any kind, why it had been deserted for so many years. Now I knew why it had the name it did. ~ Jonathan Stroud
63:He must be always on his guard and devote every minute and module of life to the decoding of the undulation of things. The very air he exhales is indexed and filed away. If only the interest he provokes were limited to his immediate surroundings, but, alas, it is not! With distance, the torrents of wild scandal increase in volume and volubility. The silhouettes of his blood corpuscles, magnified a million times, flit over vast plains; and still farther away, great mountains of unbearable solidity and height sum up, in terms of granite and groaning firs, the ultimate truth of his being. ~ Vladimir Nabokov
64:Some children are born seeking God outside themselves, and it is a lifelong quest, but one that can never be fulfilled, so that they are often left, in the end, sitting among the remnants of the things they have accumulated, and love is not one of them.
Yet other children - born in awe of the roaring torrents of their own arteries, the wide deserts of their skins, the uncharted forests of their silken hair, and the craggy mountains of their own knees, knuckles, and toes - sense instinctively from birth that the Creator is within, that in the hidden depths of movement lies the secret of existence. ~ Alan Bradley
65:When You Were Reading Those Tormented Lines
When you were reading those tormented lines
In which the heart's resonant flame sends out glowing streams
And passion's fatal torrents rear up,Didn't you recall a single thing?
I can't believe it! That night on the steppe
When, in the midnight mist a premature dawn,
Transparent, lovely as a miracle,
Broke in the distance before you
And your unwilling eye was to this beauty drawn
To that majestic glow beyond the realm of darkness,How could it be that nothing whispered to you then:
A man has perished in that fire!
~ Afanasy Afanasyevich Fet
66:At Crow's Nest Pass
At Crow's Nest Pass the mountains rend
Themselves apart, the rivers wend
A lawless course about their feet,
And breaking into torrents beat
In useless fury where they blend
At Crow's Nest Pass.
The nesting eagle, wise, discreet,
Wings up the gorge's lone retreat
And makes some barren crag her friend
At Crow's Nest Pass.
Uncertain clouds, half-high, suspend
Their shifting vapours, and contend
With rocks that suffer not defeat;
And snows, and suns, and mad winds meet
To battle where the cliffs defend
At Crow's Nest Pass.
~ Emily Pauline Johnson
67:If a choreographer had been underneath the plastic sheet on a rainy day or night, he would certainly have reproduced the scene: twenty-five people, short and tall, on their feet, each holding a tin can to collect the water that dripped off the roof, sometimes in torrents, sometimes drop by drop. If a musician had been there, he would have heard the orchestration of all that water striking the sides of the tins. If a filmmaker had been there, he would have captured the beauty of the silent and spontaneous complicity between wretched people. But there was only us, standing on a floor that was slowly sinking into the clay. ~ Kim Th y
68:I wished that that woman would write and proclaim this unique empire so that other women, other unacknowledged sovereigns, might exclaim: I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my
mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are
mad! ~ H l ne Cixous
69:No, no, I will not live among the wild scenes of nature, the enemy of all that lives. I will seek the towns—Rome, the capital of the world, the crown of man's achievements. Among its storied streets, hallowed ruins, and stupendous remains of human exertion, I shall not, as here, find every thing forgetful of man; trampling on his memory, defacing his works, proclaiming from hill to hill, and vale to vale,—by the torrents freed from the boundaries which he imposed—by the vegetation liberated from the laws which he enforced—by his habitation abandoned to mildew and weeds, that his power is lost, his race annihilated for ever. ~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
70:He then offered one of the most infamous pronouncements that has ever been made about the Grand Canyon: Ours has been the first, and will doubtless be the last, party of whites to visit this profitless locality. It seems intended by nature that the Colorado River, along the greater portion of its lonely and majestic way, shall be forever unvisited and undisturbed. . . . Excepting when the melting snows send their annual torrents through the avenues to the Colorado, conveying with them sound and motion, these dismal abysses, and the arid table-lands that enclose them, are left as they have been for ages, in unbroken solitude and silence. That ~ Kevin Fedarko
71:At North Farm"

Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?

Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings? ~ John Ashbery
72:Each house looks secure in good weather. But Palestine is known for torrential rains that can turn dry wadis into raging torrents. Only storms reveal the quality of the work of the two builders. The thought reminds us of the parable of the sower, in which the seed sown on rocky ground lasts only a short time, until “trouble or persecution comes because of the word” (13:21). The greatest storm is eschatological (cf. Isa 28:16–17; Eze 13:10–13; see also Pr 12:7). But Jesus’ words about the two houses need not be thus restricted. The point is that the wise man (a repeated term in Matthew; cf. 10:16; 24:45; 25:2, 4, 8–9) builds to withstand anything. ~ D A Carson
73:The Torrent
I found a torrent falling in a glen
Where the sun’s light shone silvered and leaf-split;
The boom, the foam, and the mad flash of it
All made a magic symphony; but when
I thought upon the coming of hard men
To cut those patriarchal trees away,
And turn to gold the silver of that spray,
I shuddered. Yet a gladness now and then
Did wake me to myself till I was glad
In earnest, and was welcoming the time
For screaming saws to sound above the chime
Of idle waters, and for me to know
The jealous visionings that I had had
Were steps to the great place where trees and torrents go.
~ Edwin Arlington Robinson
74:A Dampened Ardor
The Chinatown at Bakersfield
Was blazing bright and high;
The flames to water would not yield,
Though torrents drenched the sky
And drowned the ground for miles around
The houses were so dry.
Then rose an aged preacher man
Whom all did much admire,
Who said: 'To force on you my plan
I truly don't aspire,
But streams, it seems, might quench these beams
If turned upon the fire.'
The fireman said: 'This hoary wight
His folly dares to thrust
On _us_! 'Twere well he felt our might
Nay, he shall feel our must!'
With jet of wet and small regret
They laid that old man's dust.
~ Ambrose Bierce
75:My Heart's In The Highlands



Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Chorus.-My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, &c. ~ Robert Burns
76:There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling. Every summit seems an exaggeration. Climbing wearies. The steepnesses take away one's breath; we slip on the slopes, we are hurt by the sharp points which are its beauty; the foaming torrents betray the precipices, clouds hide the mountain tops; mounting is full of terror, as well as a fall. Hence, there is more dismay than admiration. People have a strange feeling of aversion to anything grand. They see abysses, they do not see sublimity; they see the monster, they do not see the prodigy. ~ Victor Hugo
77:Sonnet Xxvi. To The River Arun
ON thy wild banks, by frequent torrents worn,
No glittering fanes, or marble domes appear,
Yet shall the mournful muse thy course adorn,
And still to her thy rustic waves be dear.
For with the infant Otway, lingering here,
Of early woes she bade her votary dream,
While thy low murmurs sooth'd his pensive ear
And still the poet--consecrates the stream.
Beneath the oak and birch that fringe thy side,
The first-born violets of the year shall spring;
And in thy hazles, bending o'er the tide,
The earliest nightingale delight to sing:
While kindred spirits, pitying, shall relate
Thy Otway's sorrows, and lament his fate.
~ Charlotte Smith
78:I laugh and hoot at ye, ye cricket-players, ye pugilists, ye deaf Burkes and blinded Bendigoes! I will not say as schoolboys do to bullies—Take some one of your own size; don't pommel me! No, ye've knocked me down, and I am up again; but ye have run and hidden. Come forth from behind your cotton bags! I have no long gun to reach ye. Come, Ahab's compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way! ~ Herman Melville
79:First I sink,
Then I trickle,
Then I rush.
I am here; and here; and here. I touch this surface and also that.
I mingle, I quiver with a thousand voices, and all these voices my own. I am a great tumble of motion which torrents all in unison.
And learning and knowing are the same, and I am a mite, and we are all the space allowed to us.
And if I am made of grief, well! Here is joy, and if I am made a fury, here is peace. Rush, rush, we rush, a sparkling stream through rock and moss, deep in the cold stone of the earth. No daylight here, no dying breaths to catch up. We rush young and bright, and ever-widening, and these bitter atoms are lost in new-minted freshness. We hasten, hasten, onward to the boundless sea. ~ Imogen Hermes Gowar
80:Fire!
Your nose ignites,
flameless kerosene
(and, some say, Drano)
laced with ephedrine
you want to cry
powdered demons bite
through cartilage and sinuses,
take dead aim at your
brain, jump inside
want to scream
troops of tapping feet
fall into rhythm,
marking time, right
between your eyes
get the urge to dance
louder, louder, ultra
gray-matter power,
shock waves of energy
mushroom inside your head
you want to let go
detonate,
annihilate barriers,
bring down the walls,
unleashing floodwaters,
freeing long-captive dreams
to ride the current
through
arteries and capillaries,
pulsing, rushing,
raging torrents
pounding against your heart
sweeping you away ~ Ellen Hopkins
81:I hope, too, that you will hear these words within your hearts, for that would be profitable. But if a thousand thieves come from outside, they cannot open the door without some fellow-thief inside who can unlock that door.
Speak a thousand words from the outside, still, so long as there is none to answer from within, the door never opens.
So too with a tree—as long as there is no moist thirst in its roots, even if you poured a thousand torrents of water over it, it would accomplish nothing. First there must be a thirst in its roots for the water to nourish it.
Although the whole world is ablaze with the sun’s light, unless there is that spark of light within the eye, no one can behold that light.
The root of the matter is the receptiveness within Soul. ~ Rumi
82:The Fyghtynge Seventh
It is the gallant Seventh
It fyghteth faste and free!
God wot the where it fyghteth
I ne desyre to be.
The Gonfalon it flyeth,
Seeming a Flayme in Sky;
The Bugel loud yblowen is,
Which sayeth, Doe and dye!
And (O good Saints defende us
Agaynst the Woes of Warr)
Drawn Tongues are flashing deadly
To smyte the Foeman sore!
With divers kinds of Riddance
The smoaking Earth is wet,
And all aflowe to seaward goe
The Torrents wide of Sweat!
The Thunder of the Captens,
And eke the Shouting, mayketh
Such horrid Din the Soule within
The boddy of me quayketh!
Who fyghteth the bold Seventh?
What haughty Power defyes?
Their Colonel 'tis they drubben sore,
And dammen too his Eyes!
~ Ambrose Bierce
83:If a choreographer had been underneath the plastic sheet on a rainy day or night, he would certainly have reproduced the scene: twenty-five people, short and tall, on their feet, each holding a tin can to collect the water that dripped off the roof, sometimes in torrents, sometimes drop by drop. If a musician had been there, he would have heard the orchestration of all that water striking the sides of the tins. If a filmmaker had been there, he would have captured the beauty of the silent and spontaneous complicity between wretched people. But there was only us, standing on a floor that was slowly sinking into the clay. After three months it tilted so severely to one side that we all had to find new positions so sleeping women and children wouldn’t slip onto the plump bellies of their neighbours. ~ Kim Th y
84:Despairingly she looked all round. She was completely encircled by the tremendous ice walls, which were made fluid by explosions of blinding light, so that they moved and changed with a continuous liquid motion, advancing in torrents of ice, avalanches as big as oceans, flooding everywhere over the doomed world. Wherever she looked, she saw the same fearful encirclement, soaring battlements of ice, an over-hanging ring of frigid, fiery, colossal waves about to collapse upon her. Frozen by the deathly cold emanating from the ice, dazzled by the blaze of crystalline ice-light, she felt herself becoming part of the polar vision, her structure becoming one with the ice and snow. As her fate, she accepted the world of ice, shining, shimmering, dead; she resigned herself to the triumph of glaciers and the death of her world. ~ Anna Kavan
85:The Moors
NOT in rich glebe and ripe green garden only
Does Summer weave her sweet resistless spells,
But in high hills, and moorlands waste and lonely,
The vast enchantment of her presence dwells.
Wide sky, and sky-wide waste of thyme and heather,
Perpetual sleepy hum of golden bees-If you and I were only there together,
Free from the weight of all your garden's trees!
The north is mine; though bred by elm and meadow,
Pines, torrents, rocks, and moors my heart loves best;
I love the plover's wail, the cleft hill's shadow,
The sun-browned grass that is the skylark's nest.
Ah, yes! you too I love, dear wistful pleader,
You most I love, dear southern rose, half-blown,
And rather lounge with you beneath your cedar,
Than greet the moor's wide heaven-on-earth alone.
~ Edith Nesbit
86:In Gotama’s time, it was impossible to wander through the countryside of north India during the three months of monsoon because the rivers flooded and the paths and roads became muddy torrents. The Buddha and his followers would settle in a park or grove, dedicating themselves to discussion and contemplation. Inevitably, people became curious as to what this man did during these retreats. “Why,” they may have asked, “did this person known as the ‘Awakened One’ have to practice meditation at all?” Here is the answer Gotama told his followers to give such people: “During the Rains’ residence, friend, the Teacher generally dwells in concentration through mindfulness of breathing. . . . [For] if one could say of anything: ‘this is a noble dwelling, this is a sacred dwelling, this is a tathāgata’s dwelling,’ it is of concentration through mindfulness of breathing that one could truly say this. ~ Stephen Batchelor
87:1I love you, LORD, my strength. 2The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shieldb and the hornc of my salvation, my stronghold. 3I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. 4The cords of death entangled me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. 5The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. 7The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. 8Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. 9He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. 10He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. ~ Anonymous
88:Freedom
Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
The thunders breaking at her feet:
Above her shook the starry lights:
She heard the torrents meet.
There in her place she did rejoice,
Self-gather'd in her prophet-mind,
But fragments of her mighty voice
Came rolling on the wind.
Then stept she down thro' town and field
To mingle with the human race,
And part by part to men reveal'd
The fullness of her face Grave mother of majestic works,
From her isle-alter gazing down,
Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
And, King-like, wears the crown:
Her open eyes desire the truth.
The wisdom of a thousand years
Is in them. May perpetual youth
Keep dry their light from tears;
That her fair form may stand and shine
Make bright our days and light our dreams,
Turning to scorn with lips divine
The falsehood of extremes!
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
89:My uncle asked me in an e-mail for news about sectarian clashes. I said that I felt as if we had been struck with an earthquake which had changed everything. For decades to come, we would be groping our way around in the rubble it left behind. In the past there were streams between Sunnis and Shiites, or this group and that, which could be easily crossed and were even invisible at times. Now, after the earthquake, the earth had all these fissures, and the streams had become rivers. The rivers became torrents filled with blood, and whoever tried to cross, drowned. The images of those on the other side of the river had been inflated and disfigured. And out of these rivers came creatures which were extinct, or so we had thought. Old myths returned to cover the sun with their darkness and to crush it into pieces. Now each sect or group had a sun, moon, and world of its own. Concrete walls rose to seal the tragedy. ~ Sinan Antoon
90:Of Old Sat Freedom On The Heights
Of old sat Freedom on the heights,
The thunders breaking at her feet:
Above her shook the starry lights:
She heard the torrents meet.
There in her place she did rejoice,
Self-gather'd in her prophet-mind,
But fragments of her mighty voice
Came rolling on the wind.
Then stept she down thro' town and field
To mingle with the human race,
And part by part to men reveal'd
The fulness of her face-Grave mother of majestic works,
From her isle-altar gazing down,
Who, God-like, grasps the triple forks,
And, King-like, wears the crown:
Her open eyes desire the truth.
The wisdom of a thousand years
Is in them. May perpetual youth
Keep dry their light from tears;
That her fair form may stand and shine,
Make bright our days and light our dreams,
Turning to scorn with lips divine
The falsehood of extremes!
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
91:Invocation A La Poesie
Nymphe tendre et vermeille, ô jeune Poésie!
Quel bois est aujourd'hui ta retraite choisie?
Quelles fleurs, près d'une onde où s'égarent tes pas,
Se courbent mollement sous tes pieds délicats?
Où te faut-il chercher? Vois la saison nouvelle:
Sur son visage blanc quelle pourpre étincelle!
L'hirondelle a chanté; Zéphir est de retour:
Il revient en dansant; il ramène l'amour.
L'ombre, les prés, les fleurs, c'est sa douce famille,
Et Jupiter se plaît à contempler sa fille,
Cette terre où partout, sous tes doigts gracieux,
S'empressent de germer des vers mélodieux.
Le fleuve qui s'étend dans les vallons humides
Roule pour toi des vers doux, sonores, liquides.
Des vers, s'ouvrant en foule aux regards du soleil,
Sont ce peuple de fleurs au calice vermeil.
Et les monts, en torrents qui blanchissent leurs cimes,
Lancent des vers brillants dans le fond des abîmes.
~ Andre Marie de Chenier
92:Song
Oh! To be a flower
Nodding in the sun,
Bending, then upspringing
As the breezes run;
Holding up
A scent-brimmed cup,
Full of summer's fragrance to the summer sun.
Oh! To be a butterfly
Still, upon a flower,
Winking with its painted wings,
Happy in the hour.
Blossoms hold
Mines of gold
Deep within the farthest heart of each chaliced flower.
Oh! To be a cloud
Blowing through the blue,
Shadowing the mountains,
Rushing loudly through
Valleys deep
Where torrents keep
Always their plunging thunder and their misty arch of blue.
Oh! To be a wave
Splintering on the sand,
Drawing back, but leaving
Lingeringly the land.
Rainbow light
Flashes bright
Telling tales of coral caves half hid in yellow sand.
Soon they die, the flowers;
Insects live a day;
Clouds dissolve in showers;
Only waves at play
Last forever.
Shall endeavor
Make a sea of purpose mightier than we dream to-day?
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~ Amy Lowell
93:Hand
Clouds darken the plain.
From all sides, the mountains of the horizon move forward; the plain shrinks,
crumpled into valleys that grow deeper. The three rivers become torrents that
flow swiftly in their cavernous beds towards those dark spots where they meet:
the cities.
Then the sun again.
The mountains move back to the distant circular
horizon; the valleys disappear, and the three rivers flow placidly in their scarcely
perceptible beds of luminous sands. The cities glisten with their crystal walls and
the hard light is reflected from house to house along the glass streets. Men no
longer drag their dark-blue shadows like long chains that rattled on the opaque
cobble stones. Silence of light: frozen wines of sound. No wind stirs, sleepily
coiled around the towers that are transparent stems bearing the white flowers of
clouds which float, vehicles for our pure thoughts, like water-lilies on the surface
of a stream until they fade into the blue depth of space.
~ Edouard Roditi
94:I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst-burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What's the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient infinite woman who...hasn't been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a ...divine composure), hasn't accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn't thought that she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble. ~ H l ne Cixous
95:. . . In all parts of our globe, fanatics have cut each other's throats, publicly burnt each other, committed without a scruple and even as a duty, the greatest crimes, and shed torrents of blood . . .

Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under divers names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty. We find, in all the religions, 'a God of armies,' a 'jealous God,' an 'avenging God,' a 'destroying God,' a 'God,' who is pleased with carnage, and whom his worshippers consider it a duty to serve. Lambs, bulls, children, men, and women, are sacrificed to him. Zealous servants of this barbarous God think themselves obliged even to offer up themselves as a sacrifice to him. Madmen may everywhere be seen, who, after meditating upon their terrible God, imagine that to please him they must inflict on themselves, the most exquisite torments. The gloomy ideas formed of the deity, far from consoling them, have every where disquieted their minds, and prejudiced follies destructive to happiness. ~ Paul Henri Thiry
96:I can't really remember the days. The light of the sun blurred and annihilated all color. But the nights, I remember them. The blue was more distant than the sky, beyond all depths, covering the bounds of the world. The sky, for me, was the stretch of pure brilliance crossing the blue, that cold coalescence beyond all color. Sometimes, it was in Vinh Long, when my mother was sad she'd order the gig and we'd drive out into the country to see the nighta s it was in the dry season. I had that good fortune- those nights, that mother. The light fell from the sky in cataracts of pure transparency, in torrents of silence and immobility. The air was blue, you could hold it in your hand. Blue. The sky was the continual throbbing of the brilliance of the light. The night lit up everything, all the country on either bank of the river as far as the eye could reach. Every night was different, each one had a name as long as it lasted. Their sound was that of the dogs, the country dogs baying at mystery. They answered on another from village to village, until the time and space of the night were utterly consumed. ~ Marguerite Duras
97:Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst - burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn't open my mouth, I didn't repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What's the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient, infinite woman who, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, hasn't been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a ... divine composure), hasn't accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn't thought she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble. ~ H l ne Cixous
98:Now The Battle Is Against The World
Now the battle is against the world, this world,
with me on one side, on the other your eyes silent, deep;
between us the meandering, dizzying path of this world.
The people of the world stretch out their hands to draw
a red line between us; they divide us with their arms
stretched out like quivering, poisonous snakes.
Before my eyes, your breasts sway like halcyon
dreams; like day-dreams your hair unravels upon
my chest; my heart quivers like a bird
caught in the storm; whom shall we fear?
We know what lies beyond the next bend- it is you- -you and me; then for whom else
shall we have eyes? To my eyes your breasts
are like halcyon dreams; on your breasts
my hands eager, warm; at my touch your breasts
flood over, like the mighty currents of a blind, invisible
river; they wipe away all vestiges of this unruly
world; only the powerful torrents of this huge, dark
river remain, where we are the victors, we are one, you
and I- -how beautiful, how divinely beautiful these words- You, - - you and I.
~ Buddhadeb Bosu
99:We were happy and powerful. But the Europeans came to our country; it was from them that I learned the accomplishments which you appeared to be surprised at my possessing. Our principal acquaintance among the Europeans was a Spanish captain; he promised my father territories far greater than those he now ruled over, treasure, and white women. My father believed him, and gathering his family together, followed him. Brother, he sold us as slaves!” The breast of the negro rose and fell, as he strove to restrain himself; his eyes shot forth sparks of fire; and without seeming to know what he did, he broke in his powerful grasp a fancy medlar-tree that stood beside him. “The master of Kakongo in his turn had a master, and his son toiled as a slave in the furrows of St. Domingo. They tore the young lion from his father that they might the more easily tame him; they separated the wife from the husband, and the little children from the mother who nursed them, and from the father who used to bathe them in the torrents of their native land. In their place they found cruel masters and a sleeping place shared with the dogs! ~ Victor Hugo
100:A Silence
past parentage or gender
beyond sung vocables
the slipped-between
the so infinitesimal
fault line
a limitless
interiority
beyond the woven
unicorn the maiden
(man-carved worm-eaten)
God at her hip
incipient
the untransfigured
cottontail
bluebell and primrose
growing wild a strawberry
chagrin night terrors
past the earthlit
unearthly masquerade
(we shall be changed)
a silence opens
the larval feeder
naked hairy ravenous
inventing from within
itself its own
raw stuffs'
hooked silk-hung
relinquishment
behind the mask
the milkfat shivering
sinew isinglass
uncrumpling transient
10
greed to reinvest
names have been
given (revelation
kif nirvana
syncope) for
whatever gift
unasked
gives birth to
torrents
fixities
reincarnations of
the angels
Joseph Smith
enduring
martyrdom
a cavernous
compunction driving
founder-charlatans
who saw in it
the infinite
love of God
and had
(George Fox
was one)
great openings
~ Amy Clampitt
101:Travel Song
‘COME, before the summer passes
Let us seek the mountain land:’
So they called me, happy playmates,
And we left the dawn-lit strand:
Riding on till later sunbeams slanted
On dark hills and downward-plunging streams,
And the solemn forest softly chanted
Old, old dreams.
From the pass, we saw in glory
Wave on purple wave unrolled
To the cloud-encircled summit
Floating high, alone and cold:
Like that altar-stone, by men of Athens
Dedicated to the unknown God;
Waiting for some fire to touch his holy
White abode.
Then the mellow sunset dying
Passed in rosy fire away,
And the stars and planets journeyed
On their ancient unknown way.
Riders of the illimitable heaven!
Moving on so far beyond our ken,
Do ye scorn the toiling, heavy-hearted
Sons of men?
Ere we slept we heard the torrents
Rushing from that mighty hill
Join in deep melodious singing,
While the forest-land was still.
Music of forgotten wildernesses!
Would that I could hear that song again!
Song of primal Earth’s enchanted sweetness,
Joy and pain.
~ Anne Glenny Wilson
102:Florida is full of long-range, unending road jobs that break the backs, pocketbooks, and hearts of the roadside business. The primitive, inefficient, childlike Mexicans somehow manage to survey, engineer, and complete eighty miles of high-speed divided highway through raw mountains and across raging torrents in six months. But the big highway contractors in Florida take a year and a half turning fifteen miles of two-lane road across absolutely flat country into four-lane divided highway.
The difference is in American know-how. It's know-how in the tax problems, and how to solve them. The State Road Department says a half-year contract will cost the State ten million, and a one-year contract will cost nine, and a year-and-a-half deadline will go for eight. Then Doakes can take on three or four big jobs simultaneously, and lease the equipment from a captive corporation. and listlessly move the equipment from job to job, and spread it out to gain the biggest profit. The only signs of frantic activity can be two or three men with cement brooms who look at first like scarecrows but, when watched carefully, can be perceived to move, much like the minute hand on a clock. ~ John D MacDonald
103:Tired
O For wings! that I might soar
A little way above the floor,
A little way beyond the roar—
A little nearer to the sky!
To the blue hills, lifted high
Out of all our misery.
Where alone is heard the lark,
Warbling in the infinite arc
From the dawning to the dark;
Where the callow eaglets wink
On the bare and breezy brink,
And slow pinions rise and sink.
Where the dim white breakers beat
Under cloud-drifts at our feet,
Singing, singing, low and sweet;
Where we see the glimmering bay
Greyly melting far away,
On the confines of the day;
Where the green larch-fringes sweep
Rocky defiles, still and steep;
Where the tender lichens creep;
Where the gentian-blossoms blow,
Set in crystal stars of snow;
Where the downward torrents flow
To the plains and yellow leas,
Glancing, twinkling through the trees—
Pure, as from celestial seas.
Where the face of heaven has smiled
Aye on freedom, sweet and wild,
Aye on beauty undefiled.
282
Where no sound of human speech,
And no human passions, reach;
Where the angels sit and teach.
Where no troublous foot has trod;
Where is impressed on the sod
Only hand and heart of God!
~ Ada Cambridge
104:Youth's gay springtime scarcely knowing
Went I forth the world to roam
And the dance of youth, the glowing,
Left I in my father's home,
Of my birthright, glad-believing,
Of my world-gear took I none,
Careless as an infant, cleaving
To my pilgrim staff alone.
For I placed my mighty hope in
Dim and holy words of faith,
"Wander forththe way is open,
Ever on the upward path
Till thou gain the golden portal,
Till its gates unclose to thee.
There the earthly and the mortal,
Deathless and divine shall be!"
Night on morning stole, on stealeth,
Never, never stand I still,
And the future yet concealeth,
What I seek, and what I will!
Mount on mount arose before me,
Torrents hemmed me every side,
But I built a bridge that bore me
O'er the roaring tempest-tide.
Towards the east I reached a river,
On its shores I did not rest;
Faith from danger can deliver,
And I trusted to its breast.
Drifted in the whirling motion,
Seas themselves around me roll
Wide and wider spreads the ocean,
Far and farther flies the goal.
While I live is never given
Bridge or wave the goal to near
Earth will never meet the heaven,
Never can the there be here!

~ Friedrich Schiller, The Pilgrim

105:There is, perhaps, no class of men on the face of the earth, says Captain Bonneville, who lead a life of more continued exertion, peril, and excitement, and who are more enamored of their occupations, than the free trappers of the West. No tail, no danger, no privation can turn the trapper from his pursuit. His passionate excitement at times resembles mania. In vain may the most vigilant and cruel savages best his path, in vain may rocks and precipices and wintry torrents oppose his progress, let but a single track of a beaver meet his eye, and he forgets all the dangers and defies all difficulties. At times, he may be seen with his traps on his shoulder, buffeting his way across rapid streams, amidst floating blocks of ice: at other times, he is to be found with his traps swung on his back clambering the most rugged mountains, scaling or descending the most frightful precipices, searching, by routes inaccessible to the horse, and never before trodden by white man, for springs and lakes unknown to his comrades, and where he may meet with his favorite game. Such is the mountaineer, the hardy trapper of the West, and such, as we have slightly sketched it, is the wild, Robin Hood kind of life, with all its strange and motley populace, now existing in full vigor among the Rocky Mountains. ~ Washington Irving
106:A Sultrier Dawn
All morning high up on the eaves
Above your window
A dove kept cooing.
Like shirtsleeves The boughs seemed frayed.
It drizzled. Clouds came low to raid
The dusty marketplace.
My anguish on a peddlar's tray
They rocked;
I was afraid.
I begged the clouds that they should stop.
It seemed that they could hear me.
Dawn was as grey as in the shrub
Grey prisoners' angry murmur.
I pleaded with them to bring near
The hour when I would hear
Tidbits of shattered songs
And your wash-basin's roar and splash
Like mountain torrents' headlong rush,
The heat of cheek and brow
On glass as hot as ice and on
The pier-glass table flow.
My plea could not be heard on high
Because the clouds
Talked much too loud
Behind their flag in powdered quiet
Wet like a heavy army coat,
Like threshed sheaves' dusty rub-a-dub
Or like a quarrel in the shrub.
I pleaded with themDon't torment me!
I can't sleep.
But-it was drizzling; dragging feet,
The clouds marched down the dusty street
Like recruits from the village in the morning.
They dragged themselves along
An hour or an age,
Like prisoners of war,
21
Or like the dying wheeze:
'Nurse please,
Some water.'
~ Boris Pasternak
107:To what a world does the illustrious bard carry me! To wander over pathless wilds, surrounded by impetuous whirlwinds, where, by the feeble light of the moon, we see the spirits of our ancestors; to hear from the mountain-tops, mid the roar of torrents, their plaintive sounds issuing from deep caverns, and the sorrowful lamentations of a maiden who sighs and expires on the mossy tomb of the warrior by whom she was adored. I meet this bard with silver hair; he wanders in the valley; he seeks the footsteps of his fathers, and, alas! he finds only their tombs. Then, contemplating the pale moon, as she sinks beneath the waves of the rolling sea, the memory of bygone days strikes the mind of the hero, days when approaching danger invigorated the brave, and the moon shone upon his bark laden with spoils, and returning in triumph. When I read in his countenance deep sorrow, when I see his dying glory sink exhausted into the grave, as he inhales new and heart-thrilling delight from his approaching union with his beloved, and he casts a look on the cold earth and the tall grass which is so soon to cover him, and then exclaims, "The traveller will come, -- he will come who has seen my beauty, and he will ask, 'Where is the bard, where is the illustrious son of Fingal?' He will walk over my tomb, and will seek me in vain! ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
108:The LORD Is My Rock and My Fortress To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David,  f the servant of the LORD,  g who addressed the words of this  h song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: PSALM 18 I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my  i rock and my  j fortress and my deliverer, my God, my i rock, in k whom I take refuge, my l shield, and m the horn of my salvation, my n stronghold. 3 I call upon the LORD, who is  o worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. 4  p The cords of death encompassed me; q the torrents of destruction assailed me; [1] 5  p the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. 6  r In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his  s temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 7 Then the earth  t reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry. 8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, [2] and devouring  u fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him. 9 He v bowed the heavens and w came down;  x thick darkness was under his feet. 10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on  z the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his  a canopy around him, thick clouds b dark with water. ~ Anonymous
109:The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today.

That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.)

Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species. ~ Daniel Goleman
110:SOMETIMES ON A PORCH in June, a girl begins to plunk her banjo; and after a spell of stillness, while the sound travels down their ear crinkles into their inmost feeling-chambers, the music starts to dance the people passing by. They toss like puppets on a bouncing sheet; like boys without a boat; they swing like weeds in the wind; they leap heptangularly about, dancing eccentric saltarellos, discovering that their springs are not so rusty. For even if you have built masterful aspen castles in your mind, have toppled whole forests to throttle the writhing elements into a liveably serene personal pond; if you have longtime sculled your ingenious fins to withstand the tumble-crazy currents; there is music that will dissolve your anchors, your sanctuaries, floating you off your feet, fetching you away with itself. And then you are a migrant, and then you are amuck; and then you are the music’s toy, juggled into its furious torrents, jostled into its foamy jokes, assuming its sparklyblue or greenweedy or brownmuddy tinges, being driven down to the dirgy bottom where rumble-clacking stones are lit by waterlogged and melancholy sunlight, warping back up to the surface, along with yew leaves and alewives and frog bones and other strange acquisitions snagged and rendered willy-nilly by the current, straggling away on its rambling cadenzas, with ever-changing sights—freckled children on the bank, chicken choirs, brewing thunderclouds, june bugs perched in wild parsley—until it spills you into a place whose dimensions make nonsense of your heretofore extraordinary spatial intelligence. ~ Amy Leach
111:Torrents of text conversations, tides of cell conversations, of television programs, of e-mail, vast networks of fiber and wire interlaced above and beneath the city, passing through buildings, arcing between transmitters in Metro tunnels, between antennas atop buildings, from lampposts with cellular transmitters in them, commercials for Carrefour and Evian and prebaked toaster pastries flashing into space and back to earth again, I’m going to be late and Maybe we should get reservations? and Pick up avocados and What did he say? and ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous, hate mail and appointment reminders and market updates, jewelry ads, coffee ads, furniture ads flying invisibly over the warrens of Paris, over the battlefields and tombs, over the Ardennes, over the Rhine, over Belgium and Denmark, over the scarred and ever-shifting landscapes we call nations. And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths? That her father and Etienne and Madame Manec and the German boy named Werner Pfennig might harry the sky in flocks, like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it. Every hour, she thinks, someone for whom the war was memory falls out of the world. We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs. ~ Anthony Doerr
112:Another way of expressing the history of religion is that faith has hijacked religious spirituality. The prophets and leaders of organized religions, consciously or not, have put spirituality in the service of groups defined by their creation myths. Awe-inspiring ceremonies and sacred rites and rituals and sacrifices are given the deity in return for worldly security and the promise of immortality. As part of the exchange the deity must also make correct moral decisions. Within the Christian faith, among most of the denominational tribes, God is obliged to be against one or more of the following: homosexuality, artificial contraception, female bishops, and evolution. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood the risk of tribal religious conflict very well. George Washington observed, “Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind those which are caused by difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing and ought most to be deprecated.” James Madison agreed, noting the “torrents of blood” that result from religious competition. John Adams insisted that “the government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” America has slipped a bit since then. It has become almost mandatory for political leaders to assure the electorate that they have a faith, even, as for the Mormonism of Mitt Romney, if it looks ridiculous to the great majority. Presidents often listen to the counsel of Christian advisers. The phrase “under God” was introduced into the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954, and today no major political candidate would dare suggest it be removed. ~ Edward O Wilson
113:John Everett Millais
Now let no passing-bell be tolled,
Wail now no dirge of gloom;
Nor around purple pall unfold
The trappings of the tomb!
Dead? No, the Artist doth not die;
Enduring as the air, the sky,
He sees the mortal years roll by,
Indifferent to their doom.
With the abiding He abides,
Eternally the same;
From shore to shore Time's sounding tides
Roll and repeat His name.
Death, the kind pilot, from His home
But speeds Him unto widening foam,
Then leaves Him, sunk from sight, to roam
The ocean of his Fame.
Nor thus himself alone He lives,
But, by the magic known
To His ``so potent art,'' He gives
Life lasting as His own.
See, on the canvas, foiling Fate,
With kindling gaze and flashing gait,
Dead Statesmen still defend the State,
And vindicate the Throne.
Stayed by His hand, the loved, the lost,
Still keep their wonted place;
And, fondly fooled, our hearts accost
The vanished form and face.
Beauty, most frail of earthly shows,
That fades as fleetly as it blows,
By Him arrested, gleams and glows
With never-waning grace.
His, too, the wizard power to bring,
When city-pent we be,
The matron Autumn, maiden Spring,
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Bracken and birchen-tree.
Look, 'twixt gray boulders fringed with fern,
The tawny torrents chafe and churn,
And, lined with light, the amber burn
Goes bounding to the sea.
Toll then for Him no funeral knell,
Nor around aisle and nave
Let sorrow's farewell anthem swell,
Nor solemn symbols wave.
Your very brightest banners bring,
Your gayest flowers! Sing, voices, sing!
And let Fame's lofty joybells ring
Their greeting at His grave!
~ Alfred Austin
114:Song For Canada
Sons of the race whose sires
Aroused the martial flame
That filled with smiles
The triune Isles,
Through all their heights of fame!
With hearts as brave as theirs,
With hopes as strong and high,
We'll ne'er disgrace
The honoured race
Whose deeds can never die.,
Let but the rash intruder dare
To touch our darling strand,
The martial fires
That thrilled our sires
Would flame throughout the land.
Our lakes are deep and wide,
Our fields and forests broad;
With cheerful air
We'll speed the share,
And break the fruitful sod;
Till blest with rural peace,
Proud of our rustic toil,
On hill and plain
True kings we'll reign,
The victors of the soil.
But let the rash intruder dare
To touch our darling strand,
The martial fires
That thrilled our sires
Would light him from the land.
Health smiles with rosy face
Amid our sunny dales,
And torrents strong
Fling hymn and song
Through all the mossy vales;
Our sons are living men,
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Our daughters fond and fair;
A thousand isles
Where Plenty smiles,
Make glad the brow of Care.
But let the rash intruder dare
To touch our darling strand,
The martial fires
That thrilled our sires
Would flame throughout the land.
And if in future years
One wretch should turn and fly,
Let weeping Fame
Blot out his name
From Freedom's hallowed sky;
Or should our sons e'er prove
A coward, traitor race,Just heaven! frown
In thunder down,
T' avenge the foul disgrace!
But let the rash intruder dare
To touch our darling strand,
The martial fires
That thrilled our sires
Would light him from the land.
~ Charles Sangster
115:My name is Claudine, I live in Montigny; I was born there in 1884; I shall probably not die there. My Manual of Departmental Geography expresses itself thus: "Montigny-en-Fresnois, a pretty little town of l, 950 inhabitants, built in tiers above the Thaize; its well-preserved Saracen tower is worthy of note .... "Tome, those descriptions are totally meaningless! To begin with, the Thaize doesn't exist. Of course I know it's supposed to run through the meadows under the level-crossing but you won't find enough water there in any season to give a sparrow a foot-bath. Montigny "built in tiers"? No, that's not how I see it; to my mind, the houses just tumble haphazard from the top of the hill to the bottom of the valley. They rise one above the other, like a staircase, leading up to a big chateau that was rebuilt under Louis XV and is already more dilapidated than the squat, ivy-sheathed Saracen tower that crumbles away from the top a trifle more every day. Montigny is a village, not a town: its streets, thank heaven, are not paved; the showers roll down them in little torrents that dry up in a couple of hours; it is a village, not even a very pretty village, but, all the same, I adore it.
The charm, the delight of this countryside composed of hills and of valleys so narrow that some are ravines, lies in the woods-the deep, encroaching woods that ripple and wave away into the distance as far as you can see .... Green meadows make rifts in them here and there, so do little patches of cultivation. But these do not amount to much, for the magnificent woods devour everything. As a result, this lovely region is atrociously poor and its few scattered farms provide just the requisite number of red roofs to set off the velvety green of the woods.
Dear woods! I know them all; I've scoured them so often.
(...) ~ Colette
116:People walk the paths of the gardens below, and the wind sings anthems in the hedges, and the big old cedars at the entrance to the maze creak. Marie-Laure imagines the electromagnetic waves traveling into and out of Michel’s machine, bending around them, just as Etienne used to describe, except now a thousand times more crisscross the air than when he lived—maybe a million times more. Torrents of text conversations, tides of cell conversations, of television programs, of e-mail, vast networks of fiber and wire interlaced above and beneath the city, passing through buildings, arcing between transmitters in Metro tunnels, between antennas atop buildings, from lampposts with cellular transmitters in them, commercials for Carrefour and Evian and prebaked toaster pastries flashing into space and back to earth again, I’m going to be late and Maybe we should get reservations? and Pick up avocados and What did he say? and ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous, hate mail and appointment reminders and market updates, jewelry ads, coffee ads, furniture ads flying invisibly over the warrens of Paris, over the battlefields and tombs, over the Ardennes, over the Rhine, over Belgium and Denmark, over the scarred and ever-shifting landscapes we call nations. And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths? That her father and Etienne and Madame Manec and the German boy named Werner Pfennig might harry the sky in flocks, like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it. ~ Anthony Doerr
117:Goya
Goya drew a pig on a wall.
The five-year-old hairdresser’s son
Saw, graved on a silver tray,
The lion; and sunsets were begun.
Goya smelt the bull-fight blood.
The pupil of the Carmelite
Gave his hands to a goldsmith, learned
To gild an aureole aright.
Goya saw the Puzzel’s eyes:
Sang in the street (with a guitar)
And climbed the balcony; but Keats
(Under the halyards) wrote ‘Bright star.’
Goya saw the Great Slut pick
The chirping human puppets up,
And laugh, with pendulous mountain lip,
And drown them in a coffee cup;
Or squeeze their little juices out
In arid hands, insensitive,
To make them gibber . . . Goya went
Among the catacombs to live.
He saw gross Ronyons of the air,
Harelipped and goitered, raped in flight
By hairless pimps, umbrella-winged:
Tumult above Madrid at night.
He heard the seconds in his clock
Crack like seeds, divulge, and pour
Abysmal filth of Nothingness
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Between the pendulum and the floor:
Torrents of dead veins, rotted cells,
Tonsils decayed, and fingernails:
Dead hair, dead fur, dead claws, dead skin:
Nostrils and lids; and cauls and veils;
And eyes that still, in death, remained
(Unlidded and unlashed) aware
Of the foul core, and, fouler yet,
The region worm that ravins there.
Stench flowed out of the second’s tick.
And Goya swam with it through Space,
Sweating the fetor from his limbs,
And stared upon the unfeatured face
That did not see, and sheltered naught,
But was, and is. The second gone,
Goya returned, and drew the face;
And scrawled beneath it, ‘This I have known’ . . .
And drew four slatterns, in an attic,
Heavy, with heads on arms, asleep:
And underscribed it, ‘Let them slumber,
Who, if they woke, could only weep’ . . .
~ Conrad Potter Aiken
118:The Letters
Still on the tower stood the vane,
A black yew gloomed the stagnant air,
I peered athwart the chancel pane
And saw the altar cold and bare.
A clog of lead was round my feet,
A band of pain across my brow;
"Cold altar, Heaven and earth shall meet
Before you hear my marriage vow."
I turned and hummed a bitter song
That mocked the wholesome human heart,
And then we met in wrath and wrong,
We met, but only met to part.
Full cold my greeting was and dry;
She faintly smiled, she hardly moved;
I saw with half-unconscious eye
She wore the colours I approved.
She took the little ivory chest,
With half a sigh she turned the key,
Then raised her head with lips comprest,
And gave my letters back to me.
And gave the trinkets and the rings,
My gifts, when gifts of mine could please;
As looks a father on the things
Of his dead son, I looked on these.
She told me all her friends had said;
I raged against the public liar;
She talked as if her love were dead,
But in my words were seeds of fire.
"No more of love; your sex is known:
I never will be twice deceived.
Henceforth I trust the man alone,
The woman cannot be believed.
Through slander, meanest spawn of Hell And woman's slander is the worst,
And you, whom once I loved so well,
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Through you, my life will be accurst."
I spoke with heart, and heat and force,
I shook her breast with vague alarms Like torrents from a mountain's source
We rushed into each other's arms.
We parted: sweetly gleamed the stars,
And sweet the vapour-braided blue,
Low breezes fanned the belfry bars,
As homeward by the church I drew.
The very graves appeared to smile,
So fresh they rose in shadowed swells;
"Dark porch," I said, "and silent aisle,
There comes a sound of marriage bells."
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
119:The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams, ocean, and all the living things that dwell within the daedal earth; lightning, and rain, earthquake, and fiery flood, and hurricane, the torpor of the year when feeble dreams visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep holds every future leaf and flower; the bound with which from that detested trance they leap; the works and ways of man, their death and birth, and that of him and all that his may be; all things that move and breathe with toil and sound are born and die; revolve, subside, and swell. Power dwells apart in its tranquillity, remote, serene, and inaccessible: and this, the naked countenance of earth, on which I gaze, even these primeval mountains teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep like snakes that watch their prey, from their far fountains, slow rolling on; there, many a precipice frost and the sun in scorn of mortal power have pil'd: dome, pyramid, and pinnacle, a city of death, distinct with many a tower and wall impregnable of beaming ice. Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin is there, that from the boundaries of the sky rolls its perpetual stream; vast pines are strewing its destin'd path, or in the mangled soil branchless and shatter'd stand; the rocks, drawn down from yon remotest waste, have overthrown the limits of the dead and living world, never to be reclaim'd. The dwelling-place of insects, beasts, and birds, becomes its spoil; their food and their retreat for ever gone, so much of life and joy is lost. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream, and their place is not known. Below, vast caves shine in the rushing torrents' restless gleam, which from those secret chasms in tumult welling meet in the vale, and one majestic river, the breath and blood of distant lands, for ever rolls its loud waters to the ocean-waves, breathes its swift vapours to the circling air. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
120:March 23 MORNING “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” — Luke 22:44 THE mental pressure arising from our Lord’s struggle with temptation, so forced his frame to an unnatural excitement, that his pores sent forth great drops of blood which fell down to the ground. This proves how tremendous must have been the weight of sin when it was able to crush the Saviour so that he distilled great drops of blood! This demonstrates the mighty power of his love. It is a very pretty observation of old Isaac Ambrose that the gum which exudes from the tree without cutting is always the best. This precious camphire-tree yielded most sweet spices when it was wounded under the knotty whips, and when it was pierced by the nails on the cross; but see, it giveth forth its best spice when there is no whip, no nail, no wound. This sets forth the voluntariness of Christ’s sufferings, since without a lance the blood flowed freely. No need to put on the leech, or apply the knife; it flows spontaneously. No need for the rulers to cry, “Spring up, O well;” of itself it flows in crimson torrents. If men suffer great pain of mind apparently the blood rushes to the heart. The cheeks are pale; a fainting fit comes on; the blood has gone inward as if to nourish the inner man while passing through its trial. But see our Saviour in His agony; He is so utterly oblivious of self, that instead of His agony driving His blood to the heart to nourish himself, it drives it outward to bedew the earth. The agony of Christ, inasmuch as it pours Him out upon the ground, pictures the fulness of the offering which He made for men. Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which He passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon
121:People walk the paths of the gardens below, and the wind sings anthems in the hedges, and the big old cedars at the entrance to the maze creak. Marie-Laure imagines the electromagnetic waves traveling into and out of Michel’s machine, bending around them, just as Etienne used to describe, except now a thousand times more crisscross the air than when he lived - maybe a million times more. Torrents of text conversations, tides of cell conversations, of televisions programs, of e-mails, vast networks of fiber and wire interlaced above and beneath the city, passing through buildings, arcing between transmitters in Metro tunnels, between antennas atop buildings, from lampposts with cellular transmitters in them, commercials for Carrefour and Evian and prebaked toaster pastries flashing into space and back to earth again, I am going to be late and Maybe we should get reservations? and Pick up avocados and What did he say? and ten thousand I miss yous, fifty thousand I love yous, hate mail and appointment reminders and market updates, jewelry ads, coffee ads, furniture ads flying invisibly over the warrens of Paris, over the battlefields and tombs, over the Ardennes, over the Rhine, over Belgium and Denmark, over the scarred and ever-shifting landscape we call nations. And is it so hard to believe that souls might also travel those paths? That her father and Etienne and Madame Manec and the German boy named Werner Pfennig might harry the sky in flocks, like egrets, like terns, like starlings? That great shuttles of souls might fly about, faded but audible if you listen closely enough? They flow above the chimneys, ride the sidewalks, slip through your jacket and shirt and breastbone and lungs, and pass out through the other side, the air a library and the record of every life lived, every sentence spoken, every word transmitted still reverberating within it.

Every hour, she thinks, someone for whom the war was memory falls out of the world.

We rise again in the grass. In the flowers. In songs. ~ Anthony Doerr
122:I really don’t think you should be discussing the role of sensuality in art, for, my friends, sensuality is an art, possibly the most beautiful of all the arts. Up until now, however, very few have cultivated it in that spirit. Imagine trembling with waves of incipient pleasure, with ecstasies of fire, aflame with longing – wouldn’t that be a pleasure to thrill you, so much more intense than the vague frisson of beauty a superb painting or a poem in bronze might afford you? Believe me it would. Of course, you would need to know how to kindle those waves of pleasure, how to provoke them. And that is precisely what no one knows, what no one even considers. So the pleasure of the senses are the same for everyone, they are purely carnal pleasures, mere brute embraces, wet kisses, repellently moist caresses. Ah, but what wonderful, extraordinary works could be created by a truly great artist, who took sensuality as his raw material. At his disposal he would have fire, light, air, water, sound, colour, smells, opiates and silks – all those new and as yet unexplored sensual experiences... I would be proud to be that artist! My dream is to hold a great party in my enchanted palace, where I would overwhelm you all with pleasure... where I would rain down on you the tremulous mysteries of light, of many-coloured fires, so that for the first time your flesh would really feel the fire and the light, the perfumes and the sounds, which, penetrating it, would be scattered, dissolved, destroyed!... Have you never considered the strange voluptuousness of fire, the perversity of water, the sensual subtleties of light? Whenever I plunge my bare legs into the waters of a stream, whenever I gaze upon the incandescent flames of a fire or feel my body lit by electric torrents of light, I must confess I feel real sexual excitement – an excitement in which desire has been ennobled by beauty. Believe me, my friends, however refined, however complicated and however much the artist you all pretend to be, you are, in fact, mere barbarians! ~ M rio de S Carneiro
123:When You Are Not Surprised
When you are not surprised, not surprised,
nor leap in imagination from sunlight into shadow
or from shadow into sunlight
suiting the color of fright or delight
to the bewildering circumstance
when you are no longer surprised
by the quiet or fury of daybreak
the stormy uprush of the sun’s rage
over the edges of torn trees
torrents of living and dying flung
upward and outward inward and downward to space
or else
peace peace peace peace
the wood-thrush speaking his holy holy
far hidden in the forest of the mind
while slowly
the limbs of light unwind
and the world’s surface dreams again of night
as the center dreams of light
when you are not surprised
by breath and breath and breath
the first unconscious morning breath
the tap of the bird’s beak on the pane
and do not cry out come again
blest blest that you are come again
o light o sound o voice of bird o light
and memory too o memory blest
and curst with the debts of yesterday
that would not stay, or stay
when you are not surprised
by death and death and death
death of the bee in the daffodil
death of color in the child’s cheek
on the young mother’s breast
death of sense of touch of sight
death of delight
and the inward death the inward turning night
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when the heart hardens itself with hate and indifference
for hated self and beloved not-self
when you are not surprised
by wheel’s turn or turn of season
the winged and orbed chariot tilt of time
the halcyon pause, the blue caesura of spring
and solar rhyme
woven into the divinely remembered nest
by the dark-eyed love in the oriole’s breast
and the tides of space that ring the heart
while still, while still, the wave of the invisible world
breaks into consciousness in the mind of god
then welcome death and be by death benignly welcomed
and join again in the ceaseless know-nothing
from which you awoke to the first surprise.
~ Conrad Potter Aiken
124:What?' He cried, darting at him a look of fury: 'Dare you still implore the Eternal's mercy? Would you feign penitence, and again act an Hypocrite's part? Villain, resign your hopes of pardon. Thus I secure my prey!'

As He said this, darting his talons into the Monk's shaven crown, He sprang with him from the rock. The Caves and mountains rang with Ambrosio's shrieks. The Daemon continued to soar aloft, till reaching a dreadful height, He released the sufferer. Headlong fell the Monk through the airy waste; The sharp point of a rock received him; and He rolled from precipice to precipice, till bruised and mangled He rested on the river's banks. Life still existed in his miserable frame: He attempted in vain to raise himself; His broken and dislocated limbs refused to perform their office, nor was He able to quit the spot where He had first fallen. The Sun now rose above the horizon; Its scorching beams darted full upon the head of the expiring Sinner. Myriads of insects were called forth by the warmth; They drank the blood which trickled from Ambrosio's wounds; He had no power to drive them from him, and they fastened upon his sores, darted their stings into his body, covered him with their multitudes, and inflicted on him tortures the most exquisite and insupportable. The Eagles of the rock tore his flesh piecemeal, and dug out his eyeballs with their crooked beaks. A burning thirst tormented him; He heard the river's murmur as it rolled beside him, but strove in vain to drag himself towards the sound. Blind, maimed, helpless, and despairing, venting his rage in blasphemy and curses, execrating his existence, yet dreading the arrival of death destined to yield him up to greater torments, six miserable days did the Villain languish. On the Seventh a violent storm arose: The winds in fury rent up rocks and forests: The sky was now black with clouds, now sheeted with fire: The rain fell in torrents; It swelled the stream; The waves overflowed their banks; They reached the spot where Ambrosio lay, and when they abated carried with them into the river the Corse of the despairing Monk. ~ Matthew Lewis
125:BRING me wine, but wine which never grew
In the belly of the grape,
Or grew on vine whose tap-roots, reaching through
Under the Andes to the Cape,
Suffer'd no savour of the earth to 'scape.

Let its grapes the morn salute
From a nocturnal root,
Which feels the acrid juice
Of Styx and Erebus;
And turns the woe of Night,
By its own craft, to a more rich delight.

We buy ashes for bread;
We buy diluted wine;
Give me of the true,
Whose ample leaves and tendrils curl'd
Among the silver hills of heaven
Draw everlasting dew;
Wine of wine,
Blood of the world,
Form of forms, and mould of statures,
That I intoxicated,
And by the draught assimilated,
May float at pleasure through all natures;
The bird-language rightly spell,
And that which roses say so well:

Wine that is shed
Like the torrents of the sun
Up the horizon walls,
Or like the Atlantic streams, which run
When the South Sea calls.

Water and bread,
Food which needs no transmuting,
Rainbow-flowering, wisdom-fruiting,
Wine which is already man,
Food which teach and reason can.

Wine which Music is,
Music and wine are one,
That I, drinking this,
Shall hear far Chaos talk with me;
Kings unborn shall walk with me;
And the poor grass shall plot and plan
What it will do when it is man.
Quicken'd so, will I unlock
Every crypt of every rock.

I thank the joyful juice
For all I know;
Winds of remembering
Of the ancient being blow,
And seeming-solid walls of use
Open and flow.

Pour, Bacchus! the remembering wine;
Retrieve the loss of me and mine!
Vine for vine be antidote,
And the grape requite the lote!
Haste to cure the old despair;
Reason in Nature's lotus drench'd
The memory of ages quench'd
Give them again to shine;
Let wine repair what this undid;
And where the infection slid,
A dazzling memory revive;
Refresh the faded tints,
Recut the aged prints,
And write my old adventures with the pen
Which on the first day drew,
Upon the tablets blue,
The dancing Pleiads and eternal men.
by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bacchus

126:Then I remembered something else from the 2112 liner notes. I pulled them up and scanned over them again. There was my answer, in the text that preceded Part III—“Discovery”: Behind my beloved waterfall, in the little room that was hidden beneath the cave, I found it. I brushed away the dust of the years, and picked it up, holding it reverently in my hands. I had no idea what it might be, but it was beautiful. I learned to lay my fingers across the wires, and to turn the keys to make them sound differently. As I struck the wires with my other hand, I produced my first harmonious sounds, and soon my own music! I found the waterfall near the southern edge of the city, just inside the curved wall of the atmospheric dome. As soon as I found it, I activated my jet boots and flew over the foaming river below the falls, then passed through the waterfall itself. My haptic suit did its best to simulate the sensation of torrents of falling water striking my body, but it felt more like someone pounding on my head, shoulders, and back with a bundle of sticks. Once I’d passed through the falls to the other side, I found the opening of a cave and went inside. The cave narrowed into a long tunnel, which terminated in a small, cavernous room. I searched the room and discovered that one of the stalagmites protruding from the floor was slightly worn around the tip. I grabbed the stalagmite and pulled it toward me, but it didn’t budge. I tried pushing, and it gave, bending as if on some hidden hinge, like a lever. I heard a rumble of grinding stone behind me, and I turned to see a trapdoor opening in the floor. A hole had also opened in the roof of the cave, casting a brilliant shaft of light down through the open trapdoor, into a tiny hidden chamber below. I took an item out of my inventory, a wand that could detect hidden traps, magical or otherwise. I used it to make sure the area was clear, then jumped down through the trapdoor and landed on the dusty floor of the hidden chamber. It was a tiny cube-shaped room with a large rough-hewn stone standing against the north wall. Embedded in the stone, neck first, was an electric guitar. I recognized its design from the 2112 concert footage I’d watched during the trip here. It was a 1974 Gibson Les Paul, the exact guitar used by Alex Lifeson during the 2112 tour. ~ Ernest Cline
127:Fragment
Descriptive of the miseries of War; from a Poem
called 'The Emigrants,' printed in 1793.
TO a wild mountain, whose bare summit hides
Its broken eminence in clouds; whose steeps
Are dark with woods: where the receding rocks
Are worn with torrents of dissolving snow;
A wretched woman, pale and breathless, flies,
And, gazing round her, listens to the sound
Of hostile footsteps:--No! they die away-Nor noise remains, but of the cataract,
Or surly breeze of night, that mutters low
Among the thickets, where she trembling seeks
A temporary shelter--Clasping close
To her quick throbbing heart her sleeping child,
All she could rescue of the innocent group
That yesterday surrounded her--Escaped
Almost by miracle!--Fear, frantic Fear,
Wing'd her weak feet; yet, half repenting now
Her headlong haste, she wishes she had staid
To die with those affrighted Fancy paints
The lawless soldiers' victims--Hark! again
The driving tempest bears the cry of Death;
And with deep, sudden thunder, the dread sound
Of cannon vibrates on the tremulous earth;
While, bursting in the air, the murderous bomb
Glares o'er her mansion--Where the splinters fall
Like scatter'd comets, its destructive path
Is mark'd by wreaths of flame!--Then, overwhelm'd
Beneath accumulated horror, sinks
The desolate mourner!
The feudal chief, whose gothic battlements
Frown on the plain beneath, returning home
From distant lands, alone, and in disguise,
Gains at the fall of night his castle walls,
But, at the silent gate no porter sits
To wait his lord's admittance!--In the courts
All is drear stillness!--Guessing but too well
The fatal truth, he shudders as he goes
46
Through the mute hall; where, by the blunted light
That the dim moon through painted casement lends,
He sees that devastation has been there;
Then, while each hideous image to his mind
Rises terrific, o'er a bleeding corse
Stumbling he falls; another intercepts
His staggering feet--All, all who used to
With joy to meet him, all his family
Lie murder'd in his way!--And the day dawns
On a wild raving maniac, whom a fate
So sudden and calamitous has robb'd
Of reason; and who round his vacant walls
Screams unregarded, and reproaches Heaven!
~ Charlotte Smith
128:The Peasant Of The Alps
FROM THE NOVEL OF CELESTINA.
WHERE cliffs arise by winter crown'd,
And through dark groves of pine around,
Down the deep chasms the snow-fed torrents foam,
Within some hollow, shelter'd from the storms,
The Peasant of the Alps his cottage forms,
And builds his humble, happy home.
Unenvied is the rich domain,
That far beneath him on the plain
Waves its wide harvests and its olive groves;
More dear to him his hut with plantain thatch'd,
Where long his unambitious heart attach'd,
Finds all he wishes, all he loves.
There dwells the mistress of his heart,
And Love , who teaches every art,
Has bid him dress the spot with fondest care;
When borrowing from the vale its fertile soil,
He climbs the precipice with patient toil,
To plant her favourite flowerets there.
With native shrubs, a hardy race,
There the green myrtle finds a place,
And roses there the dewy leaves decline;
While from the crags abrupt, and tangled steeps,
With bloom and fruit the Alpine berry peeps,
And, blushing, mingles with the vine.
His garden's simple produce stored,
Prepared for him by hands adored,
Is all the little luxury he knows.
And by the same dear hands are softly spread,
The Chamois' velvet spoil that forms the bed,
Where in her arms he finds repose.
But absent from the calm abode,
Dark thunder gathers round his road,
Wild raves the wind, the arrowy lightnings flash,
Returning quick the murmuring rocks among,
His faint heart trembling as he winds along;
Alarm'd--he listens to the crash
Of rifted ice!--Oh, man of woe!
194
O'er his dear cot--a mass of snow,
By the storm sever'd from the cliff above,
Has fallen--and buried in its marble breast,
All that for him--lost wretch--the world possest,
His home, his happiness, his love!
Aghast the heart-struck mourner stands,
Glazed are his eyes--convulsed his hands,
O'erwhelming anguish checks his labouring breath;
Crush'd by despair's intolerable weight,
Frantic he seeks the mountain's giddiest height,
And headlong seeks relief in death.
A fate too similar is mine,
But I--in lingering pain repine,
And still my lost felicity deplore;
Cold, cold to me is that dear breast become
Where this poor heart had fondly fix'd its home,
And love and happiness are mine no more.
~ Charlotte Smith
129:Un exemple de symbolisme, à première vue arbitraire et excessif mais en fin de compte plausible, est le hadîth qui voue les peintres et les sculpteurs au fond de l’enfer. On objectera évidemment que les arts plastiques sont naturels à l’homme, qu’ils existent partout et qu’ils peuvent avoir une fonction sacrale, – c’est là même leur raison d’être la plus profonde, – ce qui est vrai, mais passe à côté de l’intention essentielle du hadîth. C’est-à-dire que le sens littéral de la sentence, par sa violence même, représente une « guerre préventive » contre l’abus ultime de l’intelligence humaine, à savoir le naturalisme sous toutes ses formes : naturalisme artistique d’une part et naturalisme philosophique et scientiste d’autre part ; donc imitation exacte, extériorisante et « accidentalisante » des apparences, et recours à la seule logique, à la seule raison, coupée de ses racines. L’homme est homo sapiens et homo faber : il est un penseur et par là même aussi un producteur, un artisan, un artiste ; or, il est une phase finale de ces développements qui lui est interdite, – elle est préfigurée par le fruit défendu du Paradis, – une phase donc qu’il ne doit jamais atteindre, de même que l’homme peut se faire roi ou empereur mais non pas Dieu ; en anathématisant les créateurs d’images, le Prophète entend prévenir la subversion finale. Selon la conception musulmane, il n’y a qu’un seul péché qui mène au fond de l’enfer, – c’est-à-dire qui ne sera jamais pardonné , – et c’est le fait d’associer d’autres divinités au Dieu unique ; si l’Islam place les dits créateurs dans la géhenne, c’est qu’il semble assimiler fort paradoxalement les arts plastiques à ce même péché gravissime, et cette disproportion prouve précisément qu’il a en vu, non les arts dans leur état normal, – bien qu’il les interdise assurément, – mais la raison pour laquelle il les interdit ; à savoir la subversion naturaliste dont les arts plastiques sont, pour la sensibilité sémitique, les symboles et les préfigurations (1).
Cet exemple, auquel nous nous sommes arrêté un peu longuement, peut montrer comment les formulations excessives peuvent véhiculer des intentions d’autant plus profondes, ce qui nous ramène une fois de plus au principe credo quia absurdum [je le crois parce que c'est absurde].

(1) En condamnant les images, l’Islam – bienheureusement « stérile » – refuse en même temps le « culturisme » qui est la plaie de l’Occident, à savoir les torrents de créations artistiques et littéraires, qui gonflent les âmes et distraient de la « seule chose nécessaire ». ~ Frithjof Schuon
130:Maoriland
MAORILAND, my mother!
Holds the earth so fair another?
O, my land of the moa and Maori ,
Garlanded grand with your forests of kauri ,
Lone you stand, only beauty your dowry ,
Maoriland, my mother!
Older poets sing their frozen
England in her mists enshrouded;
Newer lands my Muse has chosen,
'Neath a Southern sky unclouded;
Set, a solitary gem,
In Pacific's diadem.
Land of rugged white-clad ranges,
Standing proud, impassive, lonely;
Ice and snow, where never change is,
Save the mighty motion only
Where through valleys seared and deep
Slow the serpent glaciers creep.
Land of silent lakes that nestle
Deep as night, girt round with forest;
Water never cut by vessel,
In whose mirror evermore rest
Green-wrapt mountain-side and peak,
Reddened by the sunset's streak.
Land of forests richly sweeping,
By the rata's red fire spangled;
Where at noonday night is sleeping,
Where, beneath the creepers tangled,
Come the tui's liquid calls
And the plash of waterfalls.
Land where fire from Earth's deep centre
Fights for breath in anguish furied,
Till she from the weight that pent her
Flings her flames out fiercely lurid;
Where the geysers hiss and seethe,
And the rocks groan far beneath.
Land of tussocked plain extending
In the distant blue to mingle,
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Where wide rivers sigh unending
Over weary wastes of shingle;
Cold as moonlight is their flow
From the glacier-ice and snow.
Land where torrents pause to dally
'Neath the toi's floating feather,
Where the flax-blades in the valley
Whisper stealthily together,
And within the cabbage-trees
Hides the dying evening breeze.
Land where all winds whisper one word,
“Death!”—though skies are fair above her.
Newer nations white press onward:
Her brown warriors' fight is over—
One by one they yield their place,
Peace-slain chieftains of her race.
Land where faces find no furrow,
With the flush of life elated;
Where no grief is, save the sorrow
Of a pleasure that is sated;
Land of children lithe and slim,
Fresh of face and long of limb.
Land of fair enwreathëd cities,
Wide towns that the green bush merge in;
Land whose history unwrit is—
Memory hath no chaster virgin!
Land that is a starting place
For a newer, nobler race.
Maoriland, my mother!
Holds the Earth so fair another?
O, my land of the moa and Maori ,
Garlanded grand with your rata and kauri ,
Lone you stand, only beauty your dowry ,
Maoriland, my mother!
~ Arthur Henry Adams
131:How Is It That I Am Now So Softly Awakened
How is it that I am now so softly awakened,
My leaves shaken down with music?—
Darling, I love you.
It is not your mouth, for I have known mouths before,—
Though your mouth is more alive than roses,
Roses singing softly
To green leaves after rain.
It is not your eyes, for I have dived often in eyes,—
Though your eyes, even in the yellow glare of footlights,
Are windows into eternal dusk.
Nor is it the live white flashing of your feet,
Nor your gay hands, catching at motes in the spotlight;
Nor the abrupt thick music of your laughter,
When, against the hideous backdrop,
With all its crudities brilliantly lighted,
Suddenly you catch sight of your alarming shadow,
Whirling and contracting.
How is it, then, that I am so keenly aware,
So sensitive to the surges of the wind, or the light,
Heaving silently under blue seas of air?—
Darling, I love you, I am immersed in you.
It is not the unraveled night-time of your hair,—
Though I grow drunk when you press it upon my face:
And though when you gloss its length with a golden brush
I am strings that tremble under a bow.
It was that night I saw you dancing,
The whirl and impalpable float of your garment,
Your throat lifted, your face aglow
(Like waterlilies in moonlight were your knees).
It was that night I heard you singing
In the green-room after your dance was over,
Faint and uneven through the thickness of walls.
(How shall I come to you through the dullness of walls,
Thrusting aside the hands of bitter opinion?)
It was that afternoon, early in June,
When, tired with a sleepless night, and my act performed,
Feeling as stale as streets,
We met under dropping boughs, and you smiled to me:
And we sat by a watery surface of clouds and sky.
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I hear only the susurration of intimate leaves;
The stealthy gliding of branches upon slow air.
I see only the point of your chin in sunlight;
And the sinister blue of sunlight on your hair.
The sunlight settles downward upon us in silence.
Now we thrust up through grass blades and encounter,
Pushing white hands amid the green.
Your face flowers whitely among cold leaves.
Soil clings to you, bark falls from you,
You rouse and stretch upward, exhaling earth, inhaling sky,
I touch you, and we drift off together like moons.
Earth dips from under.
We are alone in an immensity of sunlight,
Specks in an infinite golden radiance,
Whirled and tossed upon silent cataracts and torrents.
Give me your hand darling! We float downward.
~ Conrad Potter Aiken
132:The Little Worn Out Pony
There's a little worn-out pony this side of Hogan's shack
With a snip upon his nuzzle and a mark upon his back;
Just a common little pony is what most people say,
But then of course they've never heard what happened in his day:
I was droving on the Leichhardt with a mob of pikers wild,
When this tibby little pony belonged to Hogan's child.
One night it started raining – we were camping on a rise,
When the wind blew cold and bleakly and thunder shook the skies;
The lightning cut the figure eight around the startled cattle,
Then down there fell torrential rains and then began a battle.
In a fraction of an instant the wild mob became insane,
Careering through the timber helter-skelter for the plain.
The timber fell before them like grass before a scythe,
And heavy rain in torrents poured from the grimly blackened sky;
The mob rushed ever onward through the slippery sodden ground,
While the men and I worked frantically to veer their heads around;
And then arose an awful cry – it came from Jimmy Rild,
For there between two saplings straight ahead was Hogan's child.
I owned not man or devil, I had not prayed since when,
But I called upon the blessed Lord to show His mercy then;
I shut my eyes and ground my teeth, the end I dared not see
Great God! The cattle – a thousand head – were crashing through the trees.
"God pity us bush children in our darkest hour of need,"
Were the words I prayed although I followed neither church or creed.
Then my right-hand 'man was shouting, the faithful Jimmy Rild,
"Did you see it, Harry, see the way he saved that child?"
"Saved! Saved, did you say?" and I shot upright with a bound,
"Yes, saved," he said, "indeed old man, the child is safe and sound.
I was feeling pretty shaky and was gazing up the track,
Just then a pony galloped, the kid hopped on its back.
"A blinding Bash of lightning then the thunder's rolling crack;
With two hands clasped upon his mane he raced towards the shack."
"Good heavens, man," I shouted then, "if that is truly so,
To blazes with the cattle, to the shanty we must go."
38
We reached Bill Hogan's shanty in fifteen minutes' ride,
Then left our horses standing and wildly rushed inside.
The little child was there unhurt but shivering with fear,
And Hogan told us, "Yes, thank God, there's the pony brought her here."
There's a little worn-out pony just this side of Hogan's shack
With a snip upon his nuzzle and a mark upon his back;
Just a common little pony is what most people say,
But I doubt if there's his equal in the pony world today.
~ Anonymous Oceania
133:The cabin; by the stern windows; Ahab sitting alone, and gazing out. I leave a white and turbid wake; pale waters, paler cheeks, where'er I sail. The envious billows sidelong swell to whelm my track; let them; but first I pass. Yonder, by the ever-brimming goblet's rim, the warm waves blush like wine. The gold brow plumbs the blue. The diver sun— slow dived from noon—goes down; my soul mounts up! she wearies with her endless hill. Is, then, the crown too heavy that I wear? this Iron Crown of Lombardy. Yet is it bright with many a gem; I the wearer, see not its far flashings; but darkly feel that I wear that, that dazzlingly confounds. 'Tis iron—that I know—not gold. 'Tis split, too—that I feel; the jagged edge galls me so, my brain seems to beat against the solid metal; aye, steel skull, mine; the sort that needs no helmet in the most brain-battering fight! Dry heat upon my brow? Oh! time was, when as the sunrise nobly spurred me, so the sunset soothed. No more. This lovely light, it lights not me; all loveliness is anguish to me, since I can ne'er enjoy. Gifted with the high perception, I lack the low, enjoying power; damned, most subtly and most malignantly! damned in the midst of Paradise! Good night—good night! (waving his hand, he moves from the window.) 'Twas not so hard a task. I thought to find one stubborn, at the least; but my one cogged circle fits into all their various wheels, and they revolve. Or, if you will, like so many ant-hills of powder, they all stand before me; and I their match. Oh, hard! that to fire others, the match itself must needs be wasting! What I've dared, I've willed; and what I've willed, I'll do! They think me mad— Starbuck does; but I'm demoniac, I am madness maddened! That wild madness that's only calm to comprehend itself! The prophecy was that I should be dismembered; and—Aye! I lost this leg. I now prophesy that I will dismember my dismemberer. Now, then, be the prophet and the fulfiller one. That's more than ye, ye great gods, ever were. I laugh and hoot at ye, ye cricket-players, ye pugilists, ye deaf Burkes and blinded Bendigoes! I will not say as schoolboys do to bullies—Take some one of your own size; don't pommel me! No, ye've knocked me down, and I am up again; but ye have run and hidden. Come forth from behind your cotton bags! I have no long gun to reach ye. Come, Ahab's compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents' beds, unerringly I rush! Naught's an obstacle, naught's an angle to the iron way! CHAPTER ~ Herman Melville
134:In a private room down the hall, a tired but delighted Cecily was watching her husband with his brand-new son. Cecily had thought that the expression on Tate’s face at their wedding would never be duplicated. But when they placed the tiny little boy in his father’s gowned arms in the delivery room, and he saw his child for the first time, the look on his face was indescribable. Tears welled in his eyes. He’d taken the tiny little fist in his big, dark hand and smoothed over the perfect little fingers and then the tiny little face, seeking resemblances.
“Generations of our families,” he said softly, “all there, in that face.” He’d looked down at his wife with unashamedly wet eyes. “In our son’s face.”
She wiped her own tears away with a corner of the sheet and coaxed Tate’s head down so that she could do the same for him where they were, temporarily, by themselves.
Now she was cleaned up, like their baby, and drowsy as she lay on clean white sheets and watched her husband get acquainted with his firstborn. “Isn’t he beautiful?” he murmured, still awed by the child. “Next time, we have to have a little girl,” he said with a tender smile, “so that she can look like you.”
Her heart felt near to bursting as she stared up at that beloved face, above the equally beloved face of their firstborn.
“My heart is happy when I see you,” she whispered in Lakota.
He chuckled, having momentarily forgotten that he’d taught her how to say it. “Mine is equally happy when I see you,” he replied in English.
She reached out and clasped his big hand with her small one. On the table beside her was a bouquet of roses, red and crisp with a delightful soft perfume. Her eyes traced them, and she remembered the first rose he’d ever given her, when she was seventeen: a beautiful red paper rose that he’d brought her from Japan. Now the roses were real, not imitation. Just as her love for him, and his for her, had become real enough to touch.
He frowned slightly at her expression. “What is it?” he asked softly.
“I was remembering the paper rose you brought me from Japan, just after I went to live with Leta.” She shrugged and smiled self-consciously.
He smiled back. “And now you’re covered in real ones,” he discerned.
She nodded, delighted to see that he understood exactly what she was talking about. But, then, they always had seemed to read each others’ thoughts-never more than now, with the baby who was a living, breathing manifestation of their love. “Yes,” she said contentedly. “The roses are real, now.”
Outside the window, rain was coming down in torrents, silver droplets shattering on the bright green leaves of the bushes. In the room, no one noticed. The baby was sleeping and his parents were watching him, their eyes full of warm, soft dreams. ~ Diana Palmer
135:I.
Arethusa arose
From her couch of snows
In the Acroceraunian mountains,--
From cloud and from crag,
With many a jag,
Shepherding her bright fountains.
She leapt down the rocks,
With her rainbow locks
Streaming among the streams;--
Her steps paved with green
The downward ravine
Which slopes to the western gleams;
And gliding and springing
She went, ever singing,
In murmurs as soft as sleep;
The Earth seemed to love her,
And Heaven smiled above her,
As she lingered towards the deep.

II.
Then Alpheus bold,
On his glacier cold,
With his trident the mountains strook;
And opened a chasm
In the rockswith the spasm
All Erymanthus shook.
And the black south wind
It unsealed behind
The urns of the silent snow,
And earthquake and thunder
Did rend in sunder
The bars of the springs below.
And the beard and the hair
Of the River-god were
Seen through the torrents sweep,
As he followed the light
Of the fleet nymphs flight
To the brink of the Dorian deep.

III.
'Oh, save me! Oh, guide me!
And bid the deep hide me,
For he grasps me now by the hair!'
The loud Ocean heard,
To its blue depth stirred,
And divided at her prayer;
And under the water
The Earths white daughter
Fled like a sunny beam;
Behind her descended
Her billows, unblended
With the brackish Dorian stream:
Like a gloomy stain
On the emerald main
Alpheus rushed behind,--
As an eagle pursuing
A dove to its ruin
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.

IV.
Under the bowers
Where the Ocean Powers
Sit on their pearled thrones;
Through the coral woods
Of the weltering floods,
Over heaps of unvalued stones;
Through the dim beams
Which amid the streams
Weave a network of coloured light;
And under the caves,
Where the shadowy waves
Are as green as the forests night:--
Outspeeding the shark,
And the sword-fish dark,
Under the Oceans foam,
And up through the rifts
Of the mountain clifts
They passed to their Dorian home.

V.
And now from their fountains
In Ennas mountains,
Down one vale where the morning basks,
Like friends once parted
Grown single-hearted,
They ply their watery tasks.
At sunrise they leap
From their cradles steep
In the cave of the shelving hill;
At noontide they flow
Through the woods below
And the meadows of asphodel;
And at night they sleep
In the rocking deep
Beneath the Ortygian shore;--
Like spirits that lie
In the azure sky
When they love but live no more.
Published by Mrs. Shelley, Posthumous Poems, 1824, and dated by her 'Pisa, 1820.' There is a fair draft amongst the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian Library.
~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Arethusa

136:L’amerique
FRAGEMENT I
_Il faut mettre ceci dans la bouche du poète (qui n'est pas moi)_:
Le poète divin, tout esprit, tout pensée,
Ne sent point dans un corps son âme embarrassée;
Il va percer le ciel aux murailles d'azur;
De la terre, des mers, le labyrinthe obscur.
Ses vars ont revêtu, prompts et légers Protées,
Les formes tour à tour à ses yeux présentées.
Les torrents, dans ses vers, du droit sommet des monts
Tonnent précipités en des gouffres profonds.
Là, des flancs sulfureux d'une ardente montagne,
Ses vers cherchent les cieux et brûlent les campagnes;
Et là, dans la mêlée aux reflux meurtriers,
Leur clameur sanguinaire échauffe les guerriers,
Puis, d'une aile glacée assemblant les nuages,
Ils volent, troublent l'onde et soufflent les naufrages,
Et répètent au loin et les longs sifflements,
Et la tempête sombre aux noirs mugissements,
Et le feu des éclairs et les cris du tonnerre.
Puis, d'un oeil doux et pur souriant à la terre,
Ils la couvrent de fleurs; ils rassérènent l'air.
Le calme suit leurs pas et s'étend sur la mer.
FRAGMENT II
_Le poète Alonzo d'Ercilla, à la fin d'un repas nocturne en plein air,
prié de chanter, chantera un morceau, astronomique._
'Salut, ô belle nuit, étincelante et sombre,
Consacrée au repos. O silence de l'ombre,
Qui n'entends que la voix de mes vers, et les cris
De la rive aréneuse où se brise Téthys.
Muse, muse nocturne, apporte-moi ma lyre.
Lance-toi dans l'espace; et, pour franchir les airs,
Prends les ailes des vents, les ailes des éclairs,
Les bonds de la comète aux longs cheveux de flamme.
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Mes vers impatients, élancés de mon âme,
Veulent parler aux dieux, et volent où reluit
L'enthousiasme errant, fils de la belle nuit.
Accours, grande nature, ô mère du génie;
Accours, reine du monde, éternelle Uranie.
Soit que tes pas divins sur l'astre du Lion
Ou sur les triples feux du superbe Orion
Marchent, ou soit qu'au loin, fugitive, emportée,
Tu suives les détours de la voie argentée,
Soleils amoncelés dans le céleste azur,
Où le peuple a cru voir les traces d'un lait pur,
Descends; non, porte-moi sur ta route brûlante,
Que je m'élève au ciel comme une flamme ardente.
Déjà ce corps pesant se détache de moi.
Adieu, tombeau de chair, je ne suis plus à toi.
Terre, fuis sous mes pas. L'éther où le ciel nage
M'aspire. Je parcours l'océan sans rivage.
Plus de nuit. Je n'ai plus d'un globe opaque et dur
Entre le jour et moi l'impénétrable mur.
Plus de nuit, et mon oeil et se perd et se mêle
Dans les torrents profonds de lumière éternelle.
Me voici sur les feux que le langage humain
Nomme Cassiopée et l'Ourse et le Dauphin.
Maintenant la Couronne autour de moi s'embrase.
Ici l'Aigle et le Cygne et la Lyre et Pégase.
Et voici que plus loin le Serpent tortueux
Noue autour de mes pas ses anneaux lumineux.
Féconde immensité, les esprits magnanimes
Aiment à se plonger dans tes vivants abîmes,
Abîmes de clartés, où, libre de ses fers,
L'homme siège au conseil qui créa l'univers;
Où l'âme, remontant à sa grande origine,
Sent qu'elle est une part de l'essence divine...'
~ Andre Marie de Chenier
137:What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire?

Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon. ~ James Joyce
138:The Mountains
The Mountains
What ails you, Ocean, that nor near nor far,
Find you a bourne to ease your burdened breast,
But throughout time inexorable are
Never at rest?
With foaming mouth and fluttering crest you leap
Impatiently towards never-shifting beach,
Then wheel, and hurry to some distant deep
Beyond your reach.
Nor golden sands nor sheltering combes can slake
Your fretful longing for some shore unknown,
And through your shrineless pilgrimage you make
Unending moan.
The Sea
Nimbused by sunlight or enwreathed in snow,
Lonely you stand, and loftily you soar,
While I immeasurably ebb and flow
From shore to shore.
I see the palm-dates mellowing in the sun,
I hear the snow-fed torrents bound and brawl,
And if, where'er I range, content with none,
I know them all.
Inward the ice-floes where the walrus whet
Their pendent tusks, I sweep and swirl my way,
Or dally where 'neath dome and minaret
The dolphins play.
Beneath or bountiful or bitter sky
If I myself can never be at rest,
I lullaby the winds until they lie
Husht on my breast.
The Mountains
Till they awake, and from your feeble lap
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Whirl through the air, and in their rage rejoice:
Then you with levin-bolt and thunderclap
Mingle your voice.
But I their vain insanity survey,
And on my silent brow I let them beat.
What is there it is worth my while to say
To storm or sleet?
I hear the thunder rumbling through the rain,
I feel the lightning flicker round my head;
The blizzards buffet me, but I remain
Dumb as the dead!
Urged by the goad of stern taskmaster Time,
The Seasons come and go, the years roll round.
I watch them from my solitude sublime,
Uttering no sound.
For hate and love I have nor love nor hate;
To be alone is not to be forlorn:
The only armour against pitiless Fate
Is pitying scorn.
The Sea
Yet do I sometimes seem to hear afar
A tumult in your dark ravines as though
You weary of your loneliness, and are
Wrestling with woe.
The Mountains
When the white wolves of Winter to their lair
Throng, and yet deep and deeper sleeps the snow,
I loose the avalanche, to shake and scare
The vale below.
And, when its sprouting hopes and brimming glee
Are bound and buried in a death-white shroud,
Then at the thought that I entombed can be,
I laugh aloud.
The Sea
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I grieve with grief, at anguish I repine,
I dirge the keel the hurricane destroys:
For all the sorrows of the world are mine,
And all its joys.
And when there is no space 'twixt surf and sky,
And all the universe seems cloud and wave,
It is the immitigable wind, not I,
That scoops men's grave.
I wonder how the blast can hear them moan
For pity, yet keep deaf unto their prayers.
I have too many sorrows of my own,
Not to feel theirs.
And when the season of sweet joy comes round,
My bosom to their rapture heaves and swells;
And closer still I creep to catch the sound
Of wedding bells.
I see the children digging in the sand,
I hear the sinewy mariners carouse,
And lovers in the moonlight, hand-in-hand,
Whispering their vows.
You in your lofty loneliness disdain
Suffering below and comfort from above.
The sweetest thing in all the world is pain
Consoled by Love.
~ Alfred Austin
139:The Passing Show
I know not if it was a dream. I viewed
A city where the restless multitude,
Between the eastern and the western deep
Had reared gigantic fabrics, strong and rude.
Colossal palaces crowned every height;
Towers from valleys climbed into the light;
O'er dwellings at their feet, great golden domes
Hung in the blue, barbarically bright.
But now, new-glimmering to-east, the day
Touched the black masses with a grace of gray,
Dim spires of temples to the nation's God
Studding high spaces of the wide survey.
Well did the roofs their solemn secret keep
Of life and death stayed by the truce of sleep,
Yet whispered of an hour when sleepers wake,
The fool to hope afresh, the wise to weep.
The gardens greened upon the builded hills
Above the tethered thunders of the mills
With sleeping wheels unstirred to service yet
By the tamed torrents and the quickened rills.
A hewn acclivity, reprieved a space,
Looked on the builder's blocks about his base
And bared his wounded breast in sign to say:
'Strike! 'tis my destiny to lodge your race.
''Twas but a breath ago the mammoth browsed
Upon my slopes, and in my caves I housed
Your shaggy fathers in their nakedness,
While on their foemen's offal they caroused.'
Ships from afar afforested the bay.
Within their huge and chambered bodies lay
The wealth of continents; and merrily sailed
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The hardy argosies to far Cathay.
Beside the city of the living spreadStrange fellowship!-the city of the dead;
And much I wondered what its humble folk,
To see how bravely they were housed, had said.
Noting how firm their habitations stood,
Broad-based and free of perishable woodHow deep in granite and how high in brass
The names were wrought of eminent and good,
I said: 'When gold or power is their aim,
The smile of beauty or the wage of shame,
Men dwell in cities; to this place they fare
When they would conquer an abiding fame.'
From the red East the sun-a solemn riteCrowned with a flame the cross upon a height
Above the dead; and then with all his strength
Struck the great city all aroar with light!
II
I know not if it was a dream. I came
Unto a land where something seemed the same
That I had known as 'twere but yesterday,
But what it was I could not rightly name.
It was a strange and melancholy land,
Silent and desolate. On either hand
Lay waters of a sea that seemed as dead,
And dead above it seemed the hills to stand.
Grayed all with age, those lonely hills-ah me,
How worn and weary they appeared to be!
Between their feet long dusty fissures clove
The plain in aimless windings to the sea.
One hill there was which, parted from the rest,
Stood where the eastern water curved a-west.
Silent and passionless it stood. I thought
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I saw a scar upon its giant breast.
The sun with sullen and portentous gleam
Hung like a menace on the sea's extreme;
Nor the dead waters, nor the far, bleak bars
Of cloud were conscious of his failing beam.
It was a dismal and a dreadful sight,
That desert in its cold, uncanny light;
No soul but I alone to mark the fear
And imminence of everlasting night!
All presages and prophecies of doom
Glimmered and babbled in the ghastly gloom,
And in the midst of that accursèd scene
A wolf sat howling on a broken tomb.
~ Ambrose Bierce
140:The Charge Of The Second Iowa Cavalry
Comrades, many a year and day
Have fled since that glorious 9th of May
When we made the charge at Farmington.
But until our days on earth are done
Our blood will burn and our hearts beat fast
As we tell of the glorious moments we passed,
When we rode on the guns with a mighty shout
And saved Paine’s army from utter rout;
And our children in years to come will tell
How the 2nd rose through the shot and shell
Rode with a cheer on that 9th of May
And held the whole rebel army at bay.
Behind lay the swamp, a dank morass.
A marsh - no horse nor man could pass
Save by one road, one narrow way.
But beyond that road our safety lay,
In front rose the hills which the rebels held
With his howling cannon that raked and shelled
Our troops.
We lay in the centre.
Paine,
Our general saw he must cross again
The narrow road, or his men were lost
The road was narrow. It must be crossed,
And crossed in haste, and the deadly rain
of the rebel guns 'Must be stopped!' said Paine.
Twenty-four cannon thundered and roared!
Twenty-four cannon into us poured.
Twenty-four cannon! A devil’s den
Backed by full fifteen thousand men.
Must be held at bay till our troops could pass
In order over the dank morass.
Up to where the cavalry stand,
Waiting in order the word of command,
Gallops Paine. And his mighty shout
Rings the daring order out 'Take and hold that battery!
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Take it! Whatever the hazards be!'
'Draw sabres!' They flash in the startled air.
'Forward! Gallop! March!' Away
We ride. We must show our steel today!
'Gallop! Charge!' On the rebels ears
Ring the thundering Yankee cheers!
And on, like a wave of maddened sea,
On - Dash the Iowa cavalry!
Into the torrents of shot and shell
That shrieks and screams like the fiends of hell!
Into the torrent of shot that kills!
Into the torrent of shell that stills
The cheer on many a lip, we ride
Like the onward rush of a whirling tide
Up to the cannon’s mouth,
Our cheers
Curdle the blood of the cannoneers
To right and left from his silenced guns
In wild retreat the rebel runs.
And the charge of the Iowa cavalry
Rushes on!
Can you stop the sea
When the storm waves break on the sandy shore
Driving the driftwood awrack? No more
Can the rebel resist the terrible charge
As we ride right up to their army’s marge They waver - the fifteen thousand men,
Waver and rally, and waver, and then
Our work is done.
Paine’s men had crossed
The swamp while our little band was lost
In the smoke and dust of the eager ride,
And are safe at last on the other side.
Then we ride back! We had saved the day
By holding the whole rebel army at bay,
While Paine made a hasty and safe retreat
Over the swamp.
We had conquered defeat!
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Comrades, many a year and day
Have fled since that glorious 9th of May
When we made the charge at Farmington.
And our time on earth is almost run,
But when we are gone our children will tell
How we rode through rebel shots and shell.
How we rode on the guns with a mighty shout,
And saved Paine’s army from utter route.
And carved in the temple of glory will be
The roll of the 2nd Iowa Cavalry.
The brave old 2nd, that never knew
A deed too hard or rash to do.
The dear old 2nd, that would have spurred
Into Hell itself, if Hatch said the word.
~ Ellis Parker Butler
141:Tecumseh
There was a time on this fair continent
When all things throve in spacious peacefulness.
The prosperous forests unmolested stood,
For where the stalwart oak grew there it lived
Long ages, and then died among its kind.
The hoary pines—those ancients of the earth—
Brimful of legends of the early world,
Stood thick on their own mountains unsubdued.
And all things else illumined by the sun,
Inland or by the lifted wave, had rest.
The passionate or calm pageants of the skies
No artist drew; but in the auburn west
Innumerable faces of fair cloud
Vanished in silent darkness with the day.
The prairie realm—vast ocean's paraphraseRich in wild grasses numberless, and flowers
Unnamed save in mute Nature's inventory,
No civilized barbarian trenched for gain.
And all that flowed was sweet and uncorrupt
The rivers and their tributary streams,
Undammed, wound on forever, and gave up
Their lonely torrents to weird gulfs of sea,
And ocean wastes unshadowed by a sail.
And all the wild life of this western world
Knew not the fear of man; yet in those woods,
And by those plenteous streams and mighty lakes,
And on stupendous steppes of peerless plain,
And in the rocky gloom of canyons deep,
Screened by the stony ribs of mountains hoar
Which steeped their snowy peaks in purging cloud,
And down the continent where tropic suns
Warmed to her very heart the mother earth,
And in the congcal'd north where silence self
Ached with intensity of stubborn frost,
There lived a soul more wild than barbarous;
A tameless soul—the sunburnt savage free—
Free, and untainted by the greed of gain:
Great Nature's man content with Nature's food.
LEFROY. I love you better than I love my race;
And could I mass my fondness for my friends,
Augment it with my love of noble brutes,
Tap every spring of reverence and respect,
And all affections bright and beautiful—
Still would my love for you outweigh them all.
IENA. Speak not of love! Speak of the Long-Knife's hate!
Oh, it is pitiful to creep in fear
O'er lands where once our fathers stept in pride!
The Long-Knife strengthens, whilst our race decays,
And falls before him as our forests fall.
First comes his pioneer, the bee, and soon
The mast which plumped the wild deer fats his swine.
His cattle pasture where the bison fed;
His flowers, his very weeds, displace our own—
Aggressive as himself. All, all thrust back!
Destruction follows us, and swift decay.
Oh, I have lain for hours upon the grass,
And gazed into the tenderest blue of heaven—
Cleansed as with dew, so limpid, pure and sweet—
All flecked with silver packs of standing cloud
Most beautiful! But watch them narrowly!
Those clouds will sheer small fleeces from their sides,
Which, melting in our sight as in a dream,
Will vanish all like phantoms in the sky.
So melts our heedless race! Some weaned away,
And wedded to rough-handed pioneers,
Who, fierce as wolves in hatred of our kind,
Yet from their shrill and acid women turn,
Prizing our maidens for their gentleness.
Some by outlandish fevers die, and some—
Caught in the white man's toils and vices mean—
Court death, and find it in the trader's cup.
And all are driven from their heritage,
Far from our fathers' seats and sepulchres,
And girdled with the growing glooms of war;
Resting a moment here, a moment there,
Whilst ever through our plains and forest realms
Bursts the pale spoiler, armed, with eager quest,
And ruinous lust of land. I think of all—
And own Tecumseh right. 'Tis he alone
Can stem this tide of sorrows dark and deep;
So must I bend my feeble will to his,
And, for my people's welfare, banish love
~ Charles Mair
142:Beowulf (Episode 13)
MANY at morning, as men have told me,
warriors gathered the gift-hall round,
folk-leaders faring from far and near,
o'er wide-stretched ways, the wonder to view,
trace of the traitor. Not troublous seemed
the enemy's end to any man
who saw by the gait of the graceless foe
how the weary-hearted, away from thence,
baffled in battle and banned, his steps
death-marked dragged to the devils' mere.
Bloody the billows were boiling there,
turbid the tide of tumbling waves
horribly seething, with sword-blood hot,
by that doomed one dyed, who in den of the moor
laid forlorn his life adown,
his heathen soul, and hell received it.
Home then rode the hoary clansmen
from that merry journey, and many a youth,
on horses white, the hardy warriors,
back from the mere. Then Beowulf's glory
eager they echoed, and all averred
that from sea to sea, or south or north,
there was no other in earth's domain,
under vault of heaven, more valiant found,
of warriors none more worthy to rule!
(On their lord beloved they laid no slight,
gracious Hrothgar: a good king he!)
From time to time, the tried-in-battle
their gray steeds set to gallop amain,
and ran a race when the road seemed fair.
From time to time, a thane of the king,
who had made many vaunts, and was mindful of verses,
stored with sagas and songs of old,
bound word to word in well-knit rime,
welded his lay; this warrior soon
of Beowulf's quest right cleverly sang,
and artfully added an excellent tale,
in well-ranged words, of the warlike deeds
he had heard in saga of Sigemund.
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Strange the story: he said it all, -the Waelsing's wanderings wide, his struggles,
which never were told to tribes of men,
the feuds and the frauds, save to Fitela only,
when of these doings he deigned to speak,
uncle to nephew; as ever the twain
stood side by side in stress of war,
and multitude of the monster kind
they had felled with their swords. Of Sigemund grew,
when he passed from life, no little praise;
for the doughty-in-combat a dragon killed
that herded the hoard: under hoary rock
the atheling dared the deed alone
fearful quest, nor was Fitela there.
Yet so it befell, his falchion pierced
that wondrous worm, -- on the wall it struck,
best blade; the dragon died in its blood.
Thus had the dread-one by daring achieved
over the ring-hoard to rule at will,
himself to pleasure; a sea-boat he loaded,
and bore on its bosom the beaming gold,
son of Waels; the worm was consumed.
He had of all heroes the highest renown
among races of men, this refuge-of-warriors,
for deeds of daring that decked his name
since the hand and heart of Heremod
grew slack in battle. He, swiftly banished
to mingle with monsters at mercy of foes,
to death was betrayed; for torrents of sorrow
had lamed him too long; a load of care
to earls and athelings all he proved.
Oft indeed, in earlier days,
for the warrior's wayfaring wise men mourned,
who had hoped of him help from harm and bale,
and had thought their sovran's son would thrive,
follow his father, his folk protect,
the hoard and the stronghold, heroes' land,
home of Scyldings. -- But here, thanes said,
the kinsman of Hygelac kinder seemed
to all: the other was urged to crime!
And afresh to the race, the fallow roads
by swift steeds measured! The morning sun
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was climbing higher. Clansmen hastened
to the high-built hall, those hardy-minded,
the wonder to witness. Warden of treasure,
crowned with glory, the king himself,
with stately band from the bride-bower strode;
and with him the queen and her crowd of maidens
measured the path to the mead-house fair.
~ Anonymous Olde English
143:They [mountains] are portions of the heart of the earth that have escaped from the dungeon down below, and rushed up and out. For the heart of the earth is a great wallowing mass, not of blood, as in the hearts of men and animals, but of glowing hot melted metals and stones. And as our hearts keep us alive, so that great lump of heat keeps the earth alive: it is a huge power of buried sunlight—that is what it is. Now think: out of that caldron, where all the bubbles would be as big as the Alps if it could get room for its boiling, certain bubbles have bubbled out and escaped—up and away, and there they stand in the cool, cold sky—mountains. Think of the change, and you will no more wonder that there should be something awful about the very look of a mountain: from the darkness—for where the light has nothing to shine upon, it is much the same as darkness—from the heat, from the endless tumult of boiling unrest—up, with a sudden heavenward shoot, into the wind, and the cold, and the starshine, and a cloak of snow that lies like ermine above the blue-green mail of the glaciers; and the great sun, their grandfather, up there in the sky; and their little old cold aunt, the moon, that comes wandering about the house at night; and everlasting stillness, except for the wind that turns the rocks and caverns into a roaring organ for the young archangels that are studying how to let out the pent-up praises of their hearts, and the molten music of the streams, rushing ever from the bosoms of the glaciers fresh-born. Think too of the change in their own substance—no longer molten and soft, heaving and glowing, but hard and shining and cold. Think of the creatures scampering over and burrowing in it, and the birds building their nests upon it, and the trees growing out of its sides, like hair to clothe it, and the lovely grass in the valleys, and the gracious flowers even at the very edge of its armour of ice, like the rich embroidery of the garment below, and the rivers galloping down the valleys in a tumult of white and green! And along with all these, think of the terrible precipices down which the traveller may fall and be lost, and the frightful gulfs of blue air cracked in the glaciers, and the dark profound lakes, covered like little arctic oceans with floating lumps of ice. All this outside the mountain! But the inside, who shall tell what lies there? Caverns of awfullest solitude, their walls miles thick, sparkling with ores of gold or silver, copper or iron, tin or mercury, studded perhaps with precious stones—perhaps a brook, with eyeless fish in it, running, running ceaseless, cold and babbling, through banks crusted with carbuncles and golden topazes, or over a gravel of which some of the stones are rubies and emeralds, perhaps diamonds and sapphires—who can tell?—and whoever can't tell is free to think—all waiting to flash, waiting for millions of ages—ever since the earth flew off from the sun, a great blot of fire, and began to cool. Then there are caverns full of water, numbing cold, fiercely hot—hotter than any boiling water. From some of these the water cannot get out, and from others it runs in channels as the blood in the body: little veins bring it down from the ice above into the great caverns of the mountain's heart, whence the arteries let it out again, gushing in pipes and clefts and ducts of all shapes and kinds, through and through its bulk, until it springs newborn to the light, and rushes down the mountain side in torrents, and down the valleys in rivers—down, down, rejoicing, to the mighty lungs of the world, that is the sea, where it is tossed in storms and cyclones, heaved up in billows, twisted in waterspouts, dashed to mist upon rocks, beaten by millions of tails, and breathed by millions of gills, whence at last, melted into vapour by the sun, it is lifted up pure into the air, and borne by the servant winds back to the mountain tops and the snow, the solid ice, and the molten stream. ~ George MacDonald
144:The Cathedral Of Rheims
He who walks through the meadows of Champagne
At noon in Fall, when leaves like gold appear,
Sees it draw near
Like some great mountain set upon the plain,
From radiant dawn until the close of day,
Nearer it grows
To him who goes
Across the country. When tall towers lay
Their shadowy pall
Upon his way,
He enters, where
The solid stone is hollowed deep by all
Its centuries of beauty and of prayer.
Ancient French temple! thou whose hundred kings
Watch over thee, emblazoned on thy walls,
Tell me, within thy memory-hallowed halls
What chant of triumph, or what war-song rings?
Thou hast known Clovis and his Frankish train,
Whose mighty hand Saint Remy's hand did keep
And in thy spacious vault perhaps may sleep
An echo of the voice of Charlemagne.
For God thou has known fear, when from His side
Men wandered, seeking alien shrines and new,
But still the sky was bountiful and blue
And thou wast crowned with France's love and pride.
Sacred thou art, from pinnacle to base;
And in thy panes of gold and scarlet glass
The setting sun sees thousandfold his face;
Sorrow and joy, in stately silence pass
Across thy walls, the shadow and the light;
Around thy lofty pillars, tapers white
Illuminate, with delicate sharp flames,
The brows of saints with venerable names,
And in the night erect a fiery wall.
A great but silent fervour burns in all
Those simple folk who kneel, pathetic, dumb,
And know that down below, beside the Rhine Cannon, horses, soldiers, flags in line -
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With blare of trumpets, mighty armies come.
Suddenly, each knows fear;
Swift rumours pass, that every one must hear,
The hostile banners blaze against the sky
And by the embassies mobs rage and cry.
Now war has come, and peace is at an end.
On Paris town the German troops descend.
They are turned back, and driven to Champagne.
And now, as to so many weary men,
The glorious temple gives them welcome, when
It meets them at the bottom of the plain.
At once, they set their cannon in its way.
There is no gable now, nor wall
That does not suffer, night and day,
As shot and shell in crushing torrents fall.
The stricken tocsin quivers through the tower;
The triple nave, the apse, the lonely choir
Are circled, hour by hour,
With thundering bands of fire
And Death is scattered broadcast among men.
And then
That which was splendid with baptismal grace;
The stately arches soaring into space,
The transepts, columns, windows gray and gold,
The organ, in whose tones the ocean rolled,
The crypts, of mighty shades the dwelling places,
The Virgin's gentle hands, the Saints' pure faces,
All, even the pardoning hands of Christ the Lord
Were struck and broken by the wanton sword
Of sacrilegious lust.
O beauty slain, O glory in the dust!
Strong walls of faith, most basely overthrown!
The crawling flames, like adders glistening
Ate the white fabric of this lovely thing.
Now from its soul arose a piteous moan,
The soul that always loved the just and fair.
Granite and marble loud their woe confessed,
The silver monstrances that Popes had blessed,
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The chalices and lamps and crosiers rare
Were seared and twisted by a flaming breath;
The horror everywhere did range and swell,
The guardian Saints into this furnace fell,
Their bitter tears and screams were stilled in death.
Around the flames armed hosts are skirmishing,
The burning sun reflects the lurid scene;
The German army, fighting for its life,
Rallies its torn and terrified left wing;
And, as they near this place
The imperial eagles see
Before them in their flight,
Here, in the solemn night,
The old cathedral, to the years to be
Showing, with wounded arms, their own disgrace.
~ Emile Verhaeren
145:The Psoriad
The King of Scotland, years and years ago,
Convened his courtiers in a gallant row
And thus addressed them:
'Gentle sirs, from you
Abundant counsel I have had, and true:
What laws to make to serve the public weal;
What laws of Nature's making to repeal;
What old religion is the only true one,
And what the greater merit of some new one;
What friends of yours my favor have forgot;
Which of your enemies against me plot.
In harvests ample to augment my treasures,
Behold the fruits of your sagacious measures!
The punctual planets, to their periods just,
Attest your wisdom and approve my trust.
Lo! the reward your shining virtues bring:
The grateful placemen bless their useful king!
But while you quaff the nectar of my favor
I mean somewhat to modify its flavor
By just infusing a peculiar dash
Of tonic bitter in the calabash.
And should you, too abstemious, disdain it,
Egad! I'll hold your noses till you drain it!
'You know, you dogs, your master long has felt
A keen distemper in the royal pelt
A testy, superficial irritation,
Brought home, I fancy, from some foreign nation.
For this a thousand simples you've prescribed
Unguents external, draughts to be imbibed.
You've plundered Scotland of its plants, the seas
You've ravished, and despoiled the Hebrides,
To brew me remedies which, in probation,
Were sovereign only in their application.
In vain, and eke in pain, have I applied
Your flattering unctions to my soul and hide:
Physic and hope have been my daily food
I've swallowed treacle by the holy rood!
545
'Your wisdom, which sufficed to guide the year
And tame the seasons in their mad career,
When set to higher purposes has failed me
And added anguish to the ills that ailed me.
Nor that alone, but each ambitious leech
His rivals' skill has labored to impeach
By hints equivocal in secret speech.
For years, to conquer our respective broils,
We've plied each other with pacific oils.
In vain: your turbulence is unallayed,
My flame unquenched; your rioting unstayed;
My life so wretched from your strife to save it
That death were welcome did I dare to brave it.
With zeal inspired by your intemperate pranks,
My subjects muster in contending ranks.
Those fling their banners to the startled breeze
To champion some royal ointment; these
The standard of some royal purge display
And 'neath that ensign wage a wasteful fray!
Brave tongues are thundering from sea to sea,
Torrents of sweat roll reeking o'er the lea!
My people perish in their martial fear,
And rival bagpipes cleave the royal ear!
'Now, caitiffs, tremble, for this very hour
Your injured sovereign shall assert his power!
Behold this lotion, carefully compound
Of all the poisons you for me have found
Of biting washes such as tan the skin,
And drastic drinks to vex the parts within.
What aggravates an ailment will produceI mean to rub you with this dreadful juice!
Divided counsels you no more shall hatch
At last you shall unanimously scratch.
Kneel, villains, kneel, and doff your shirts-God bless us!
They'll seem, when you resume them, robes of Nessus!'
The sovereign ceased, and, sealing what he spoke,
From Arthur's Seat[1] confirming thunders broke.
The conscious culprits, to their fate resigned,
Sank to their knees, all piously inclined.
546
This act, from high Ben Lomond where she floats,
The thrifty goddess, Caledonia, notes.
Glibly as nimble sixpence, down she tilts
Headlong, and ravishes away their kilts,
Tears off each plaid and all their shirts discloses,
Removes each shirt and their broad backs exposes.
The king advanced-then cursing fled amain
Dashing the phial to the stony plain
(Where't straight became a fountain brimming o'er,
Whence Father Tweed derives his liquid store)
For lo! already on each back _sans_ stitch
The red sign manual of the Rosy Witch!
~ Ambrose Bierce
146:Love's Anniversary
Like a bold, adventurous swain,
Just a year ago to-day,
I launched my bark on a radiant main,
And Hymen led the way:
'Breakers ahead! ' he cried,
As he sought to overwhelm
My daring craft in the shrieking tide,
But Love, like a pilot bold and tried,
Sat, watchful, at the helm.
And we passed the treacherous shoals,
Where many a hope lay dead,
And splendid wrecks were piled, like the ghouls
Of joys forever fled.
Once safely over these,
We sped by a fairy realm,
Across the bluest and calmest seas
That were ever kissed by a truant breeze,
With Love still at the helm.
We sailed by sweet, odorous isles,
Where the flowers and trees were one;
Through lakes that vied with the golden smiles
Of heaven's unclouded sun:
Still speeds our merry bark,
Threading life's peaceful realm,
And 'tis ever morn with our marriage-lark,
For the Pilot-Love of our safety-ark
Stands, watchful, at the helm.
II.
A beautiful land is the Land of Dreams,
Green hills and valleys, and deep lagoons,
Swift-rushing torrents and gentle streams,
Glassing a myriad silver moons;
Mirror-like lakelets with lovely isles,
And verdurous headlands looking down
On the Neread shapes, whose smiles
79
Were worth the price of a peaceful crown.
We clutch at the silvery bars
Flung from the motionless stars,
And climb far into space,
Defying the race
Who ride in aërial cars.
We take up the harp of the mind,
And finger its delicate strings;
The notes, soft and light
As a moonbeam's flight,
Departing on viewless wings.
Afar in some fanciful bower,
Some region of exquisite calm,
Where the starlight falls in a gleaming shower,
We sink to repose
On our couch of rose,
Inhaling no mortal balm.
The worlds are no longer unknown,
We pass through the uttermost sky,
Our eyelids are kissed
By a gentle mist,
And we feel the tone
Of a calmer zone,
As if heaven were wondrous nigh.
A fanciful land is the Land of Dreams,
Where earth and heaven are clasping hands;
No heaven - no earth,
But one wide, new birth,
Where Beauty and Goodness, and human worth,
Make earth of heaven and heaven of earth;
And angels are walking on golden strands.
And the pearly gates of the universe
Of mind and fancy, opening
To the touch of the dainty finger-tips
Of elegant Peris with rose-bud lips,
Delicate, weird-like sounds are born
From the amber depths of odorous morn,
And spirits of beauty and light rehearse
80
Such strains as the young immortals sing,
When the souls of the blest
Are borne to their rest,
On luminous pinions of light serene
To the fragrant bowers of evergreen;
O'er the rosy plains, where the dying hours
Are changed by a spell to celestial flowers,
Where the skies have a hue no name can express,
For the tone of their passionate loveliness
Surpasseth all human imagining.
Such was their beautiful Dream of Life;
Each stern reality softened down;
Earth seemed to have ended her age of Strife,
And Harmony reigned, her olive crown
Besting on the Parian brow
Of the fair victor, like the gleam
Of the silvery moon on waves that flow
Thoughtfully down the summer stream.
Such was their earnest Dream of Life!
Was it some angel, with jealous eye,
Seeing such love beneath the sky
As never yet in world or star,
Or spheral height, that reached so far
'Twas never beheld by mortal sight,
Or elsewhere, save in highest heaven,
Was duly earned, or truly given,
That leagued with the usurper, Death,
To quench the light that shone so bright
That in all the earth there was not a breath
So foul as to change their day to night?
Alone! alone! Oh, word of fearful tone!
Well might the moon withhold her light,
The stars withdraw from human sight,
When Love was overthrown.
The Minstrel's heart how changed!
Love's principalities,
O'er which he reigned supreme,
Usurped by earth's realities;
The realm through which he ranged
81
Become a vanished dream!
And yet he sung, as sings
The dying swan that droops its wings
And drifts along the stream:
~ Charles Sangster
147:An Ode To Antares
At dusk, when lowlands where dark waters glide
Robe in gray mist, and through the greening hills
The hoot-owl calls his mate, and whippoorwills
Clamor from every copse and orchard-side,
I watched the red star rising in the East,
And while his fellows of the flaming sign
From prisoning daylight more and more released,
Lift their pale lamps, and, climbing higher, higher,
Out of their locks the waters of the Line
Shaking in clouds of phosphorescent fire,
Rose in the splendor of their curving flight,
Their dolphin leap across the austral night,
From windows southward opening on the sea
What eyes, I wondered, might be watching, too,
Orbed in some blossom-laden balcony.
Where, from the garden to the rail above,
As though a lover's greeting to his love
Should borrow body and form and hue
And tower in torrents of floral flame,
The crimson bougainvillea grew,
What starlit brow uplifted to the same
Majestic regress of the summering sky,
What ultimate thing -- hushed, holy, throned as high
Above the currents that tarnish and profane
As silver summits are whose pure repose
No curious eyes disclose
Nor any footfalls stain,
But round their beauty on azure evenings
Only the oreads go on gauzy wings,
Only the oreads troop with dance and song
And airy beings in rainbow mists who throng
Out of those wonderful worlds that lie afar
Betwixt the outmost cloud and the nearest star.
Like the moon, sanguine in the orient night
Shines the red flower in her beautiful hair.
Her breasts are distant islands of delight
Upon a sea where all is soft and fair.
10
Those robes that make a silken sheath
For each lithe attitude that flows beneath,
Shrouding in scented folds sweet warmths and tumid flowers,
Call them far clouds that half emerge
Beyond a sunset ocean's utmost verge,
Hiding in purple shade and downpour of soft showers
Enchanted isles by mortal foot untrod,
And there in humid dells resplendent orchids nod;
There always from serene horizons blow
Soul-easing gales and there all spice-trees grow
That Phoenix robbed to line his fragrant nest
Each hundred years in Araby the Blest.
Star of the South that now through orient mist
At nightfall off Tampico or Belize
Greetest the sailor rising from those seas
Where first in me, a fond romanticist,
The tropic sunset's bloom on cloudy piles
Cast out industrious cares with dreams of fabulous isles -Thou lamp of the swart lover to his tryst,
O'er planted acres at the jungle's rim
Reeking with orange-flower and tuberose,
Dear to his eyes thy ruddy splendor glows
Among the palms where beauty waits for him;
Bliss too thou bringst to our greening North,
Red scintillant through cherry-blossom rifts,
Herald of summer-heat, and all the gifts
And all the joys a summer can bring forth ----
Be thou my star, for I have made my aim
To follow loveliness till autumn-strown
Sunder the sinews of this flower-like frame
As rose-leaves sunder when the bud is blown.
Ay, sooner spirit and sense disintegrate
Than reconcilement to a common fate
Strip the enchantment from a world so dressed
In hues of high romance. I cannot rest
While aught of beauty in any path untrod
Swells into bloom and spreads sweet charms abroad
Unworshipped of my love. I cannot see
11
In Life's profusion and passionate brevity
How hearts enamored of life can strain too much
In one long tension to hear, to see, to touch.
Now on each rustling night-wind from the South
Far music calls; beyond the harbor mouth
Each outbound argosy with sail unfurled
May point the path through this fortuitous world
That holds the heart from its desire. Away!
Where tinted coast-towns gleam at close of day,
Where squares are sweet with bells, or shores thick set
With bloom and bower, with mosque and minaret.
Blue peaks loom up beyond the coast-plains here,
White roads wind up the dales and disappear,
By silvery waters in the plains afar
Glimmers the inland city like a star,
With gilded gates and sunny spires ablaze
And burnished domes half-seen through luminous haze,
Lo, with what opportunity Earth teems!
How like a fair its ample beauty seems!
Fluttering with flags its proud pavilions rise:
What bright bazaars, what marvelous merchandise,
Down seething alleys what melodious din,
What clamor importuning from every booth!
At Earth's great market where Joy is trafficked in
Buy while thy purse yet swells with golden Youth!
~ Alan Seeger
148:Mournful groans, as when a tempest lowers,
Echo from the dreary house of woe;
Death-notes rise from yonder minster's towers!
Bearing out a youth, they slowly go;
Yes! a youthunripe yet for the bier,
Gathered in the spring-time of his days,
Thrilling yet with pulses strong and clear,
With the flame that in his bright eye plays
Yes, a sonthe idol of his mother,
(Oh, her mournful sigh shows that too well!)
Yes! my bosom-friend,alas my brother!
Up! each man the sad procession swell!

Do ye boast, ye pines, so gray and old,
Storms to brave, with thunderbolts to sport?
And, ye hills, that ye the heavens uphold?
And, ye heavens, that ye the suns support!
Boasts the graybeard, who on haughty deeds
As on billows, seeks perfection's height?
Boasts the hero, whom his prowess leads
Up to future glory's temple bright!
If the gnawing worms the floweret blast,
Who can madly think he'll ne'er decay?
Who above, below, can hope to last,
If the young man's life thus fleets away?

Joyously his days of youth so glad
Danced along, in rosy garb beclad,
And the world, the world was then so sweet!
And how kindly, how enchantingly
Smiled the future,with what golden eye
Did life's paradise his moments greet!
While the tear his mother's eye escaped,
Under him the realm of shadows gaped
And the fates his thread began to sever,
Earth and Heaven then vanished from his sight.
From the grave-thought shrank he in affright
Sweet the world is to the dying ever!

Dumb and deaf 'tis in that narrow place,
Deep the slumbers of the buried one!
Brother! Ah, in ever-slackening race
All thy hopes their circuit cease to run!
Sunbeams oft thy native hill still lave,
But their glow thou never more canst feel;
O'er its flowers the zephyr's pinions wave,
O'er thine ear its murmur ne'er can steal;
Love will never tinge thine eye with gold,
Never wilt thou embrace thy blooming bride,
Not e'en though our tears in torrents rolled
Death must now thine eye forever hide!

Yet 'tis well!for precious is the rest,
In that narrow house the sleep is calm;
There, with rapture sorrow leaves the breast,
Man's afflictions there no longer harm.
Slander now may wildly rave o'er thee,
And temptation vomit poison fell,
O'er the wrangle on the Pharisee,
Murderous bigots banish thee to hell!
Rogues beneath apostle-masks may leer,
And the **** child of justice play,
As it were with dice, with mankind here,
And so on, until the judgment day!

O'er thee fortune still may juggle on,
For her minions blindly look around,
Man now totter on his staggering throne,
And in dreary puddles now be found!
Blest art thou, within thy narrow cell!
To this stir of tragi-comedy,
To these fortune-waves that madly swell,
To this vain and childish lottery,
To this busy crowd effecting naught,
To this rest with labor teeming o'er,
Brother!to this heaven with devilsfraught,
Now thine eyes have closed forevermore.

Fare thee well, oh, thou to memory dear,
By our blessings lulled to slumbers sweet!
Sleep on calmly in thy prison drear,
Sleep on calmly till again we meet!
Till the loud Almighty trumpet sounds,
Echoing through these corpse-encumbered hills,
Till God's storm-wind, bursting through the bounds
Placed by death, with life those corpses fills
Till, impregnate with Jehovah's blast,
Graves bring forth, and at His menace dread,
In the smoke of planets melting fast,
Once again the tombs give up their dead!

Not in worlds, as dreamed of by the wise,
Not in heavens, as sung in poet's song,
Not in e'en the people's paradise
Yet we shall o'ertake thee, and ere long.
Is that true which cheered the pilgrim's gloom?
Is it true that thoughts can yonder be
True, that virtue guides us o'er the tomb?
That 'tis more than empty phantasy?
All these riddles are to thee unveiled!
Truth thy soul ecstatic now drinks up,
Truth in radiance thousandfold exhaled
From the mighty Father's blissful cup.

Dark and silent bearers draw, then, nigh!
To the slayer serve the feast the while!
Cease, ye mourners, cease your wailing cry!
Dust on dust upon the body pile!
Where's the man who God to tempt presumes?
Where the eye that through the gulf can see?
Holy, holy, holy art thou, God of tombs!
We, with awful trembling, worship Thee!
Dust may back to native dust be ground,
From its crumbling house the spirit fly,
And the storm its ashes strew around,
But its love, its love shall never die!

~ Friedrich Schiller, Elegy On The Death Of A Young Man

149:Aux Deux Freres Trudaine
Amis, couple chéri, coeurs formés pour le mien,
Je suis libre. Camille à mes yeux n'est plus rien.
L'éclat de ses yeux noirs n'éblouit plus ma vue;
Mais cette liberté sera bientôt perdue.
Je me connais. Toujours je suis libre et je sers;
Être libre pour moi n'est que changer de fers.
Autant que l'univers a de beautés brillantes,
Autant il a d'objets de mes flammes errantes.
Mes amis, sais-je voir d'un oeil indifférent
Ou l'or des blonds cheveux sur l'albâtre courant,
Ou d'un flanc délicat l'élégante noblesse,
Ou d'un luxe poli la savante richesse?
Sais-je persuader à mes rêves flatteurs
Que les yeux les plus doux peuvent être menteurs?
Qu'une bouche où la rose, où le baiser respire,
Peut cacher un serpent à l'ombre d'un sourire?
Que sous les beaux contours d'un sein délicieux
Peut habiter un coeur faux, parjure, odieux?
Peu fait à soupçonner le mal qu'on dissimule,
Dupe de mes regards, à mes désirs crédule,
Elles trouvent mon coeur toujours prêt à s'ouvrir,
Toujours trahi, toujours je me laisse trahir.
Je leur crois des vertus dès que je les vois belles,
Sourd à tous vos conseils, ô mes amis fidèles!
Relevé d'une chute, une chute m'attend;
De Charybde à Scylla toujours vague et flottant,
Et toujours loin du bord jouet de quelque orage,
Je ne sais que périr de naufrage en naufrage.
Ah! je voudrais n'avoir jamais reçu le jour
Dans ces vaines cités que tourmente l'amour,
Où les jeunes beautés, par une longue étude,
Font un art des serments et de l'ingratitude,
Heureux loin de ces lieux éclatants et trompeurs,
Eh! qu'il eût mieux valu naître un de ces pasteurs
Ignorés dans le sein de leurs Alpes fertiles,
Que nos yeux ont connus fortunés et tranquilles!
Oh! que ne suis-je enfant de ce lac enchanté
Où trois pâtres héros ont à la liberté
31
Rendu tous leurs neveux et l'Helvétie entière!
Faible, dormant encor sur le sein de ma mère,
Oh! que n'ai-je entendu ces bondissantes eaux,
Ces fleuves, ces torrents, qui de leurs froids berceaux
Viennent du bel Hasly nourrir les doux ombrages!
Hasly! frais Élysée! honneur des pâturages!
Lieu qu'avec tant d'amour la nature a formé,
Où l'Aar roule un or pur en son onde semé.
Là, je verrais, assis dans ma grotte profonde,
La génisse traînant sa mamelle féconde,
Prodiguant à ses fils ce trésor indulgent,
A pas lents agiter sa cloche au son d'argent,
Promener près des eaux sa tête nonchalante.
Ou de son large flanc presser l'herbe odorante.
Le soir, lorsque plus loin, s'étend l'ombre des monts,
Ma conque, rappelant mes troupeaux vagabonds,
Leur chanterait cet air si doux à ces campagnes,
Cet air que d'Appenzell répètent les montagnes.
Si septembre, cédant au long mois qui le suit,
Marquait de froids zéphirs l'approche de la nuit,
Dans ses flancs colorés une luisante argile
Garderait sous mon toit un feu lent et tranquille,
Ou, brûlant sur la cendre à la fuite du jour,
Un mélèze odorant attendrait mon retour.
Une rustique épouse et soigneuse et zélée,
Blanche (car sous l'ombrage au sein de la vallée
Les fureurs du soleil n'osent les outrager),
M'offrirait le doux miel, les fruits de mon verger,
Le lait, enfant des sels de ma prairie humide,
Tantôt breuvage pur et tantôt mets solide,
En un globe fondant sous ses mains épaissi,
En disque savoureux à la longue durci;
Et cependant sa voix simple et douce et légère
Me chanterait les airs que lui chantait sa mère.
Hélas! aux lieux amers où je suis enchaîné,
Ce repos à mes jours ne fut point destiné.
J'irai: Je veux jamais ne revoir ce rivage.
Je veux, accompagné de ma muse sauvage,
Revoir le Rhin tomber en des gouffres profonds,
Et le Rhône grondant sous d'immenses glaçons,
Et d'Arve aux flots impurs la nymphe injurieuse.
32
Je vole, je parcours la cime harmonieuse
Où souvent de leurs cieux les anges descendus,
En des nuages d'or mollement suspendus,
Emplissent l'air des sons de leur voix éthérée.
O lac, fils des torrents! ô Thun, onde sacrée!
Salut, monts chevelus, verts et sombres remparts
Qui contenez ses flots pressés de toutes parts!
Salut, de la nature admirables caprices,
Où les bois, les cités, pendent en précipices!
Je veux, je veux courir sur vos sommets touffus;
Je veux, jouet errant de vos sentiers confus,
Foulant de vos rochers la mousse insidieuse,
Suivre de mes chevreaux la trace hasardeuse;
Et toi, grotte escarpée et voisine des cieux,
Qui d'un ami des saints fus l'asile pieux,
Voûte obscure où s'étend et chemine en silence
L'eau qui de roc en roc bientôt fuit et s'élance,
Ah! sous tes murs, sans doute, un coeur trop agité
Retrouvera la joie et la tranquillité!
~ Andre Marie de Chenier
150:Night Song Of A Wandering Shepherd In Asia
What doest thou in heaven, O moon?
Say, silent moon, what doest thou?
Thou risest in the evening; thoughtfully
Thou wanderest o'er the plain,
Then sinkest to thy rest again.
And art thou never satisfied
With going o'er and o'er the selfsame ways?
Art never wearied? Dost thou still
Upon these valleys love to gaze?
How much thy life is like
The shepherd's life, forlorn!
He rises in the early dawn,
He moves his flock along the plain;
The selfsame flocks, and streams, and herbs
He sees again;
Then drops to rest, the day's work o'er;
And hopes for nothing more.
Tell me, O moon, what signifies his life
To him, thy life to thee? Say, whither tend
My weary, short-lived pilgrimage,
Thy course, that knows no end?
And old man, gray, infirm,
Half-clad, and barefoot, he,
Beneath his burden bending wearily,
O'er mountain and o'er vale,
Sharp rocks, and briars, and burning sand,
In wind, and storm, alike in sultry heat
And in the winter's cold,
His constant course doth hold;
On, on, he, panting, goes,
Nor pause, nor rest he knows;
Through rushing torrents, over watery wastes;
He falls, gets up again,
And ever more and more he hastes,
Torn, bleeding, and arrives at last
Where ends the path,
Where all his troubles end;
A vast abyss and horrible,
49
Where plunging headlong, he forgets them all.
Such scene of suffering, and of strife,
O moon, is this our mortal life.
In travail man is born;
His birth too oft the cause of death,
And with his earliest breath
He pain and torment feels: e'en from the first,
His parents fondly strive
To comfort him in his distress;
And if he lives and grows,
They struggle hard, as best they may,
With pleasant words and deeds to cheer him up,
And seek with kindly care,
To strengthen him his cruel lot to bear.
This is the best that they can do
For the poor child, however fond and true.
But wherefore give him life?
Why bring him up at all,
If _this_ be all?
If life is nought but pain and care,
Why, why should we the burden bear?
O spotless moon, such _is_
Our mortal life, indeed;
But thou immortal art,
Nor wilt, perhaps, unto my words give heed.
Yet thou, eternal, lonely wanderer,
Who, thoughtful, lookest on this earthly scene,
Must surely understand
What all our sighs and sufferings mean;
What means this death,
This color from our cheeks that fades,
This passing from the earth, and losing sight
Of every dear, familiar scene.
Well must thou comprehend
The reason of these things; must see
The good the morning and the evening bring:
Thou knowest, thou, what love it is
That brings sweet smiles unto the face of spring;
The meaning of the Summer's glow,
And of the Winter's frost and snow,
And of the silent, endless flight of Time.
50
A thousand things to thee their secrets yield,
That from the simple shepherd are concealed.
Oft as I gaze at thee,
In silence resting o'er the desert plain,
Which in the distance borders on the sky,
Or following me, as I, by slow degrees,
My flocks before me drive;
And when I gaze upon the stars at night,
In thought I ask myself,
'Why all these torches bright?
What mean these depths of air,
This vast, this silent sky,
This nightly solitude? And what am I?'
Thus to myself I talk; and of this grand,
Magnificent expanse,
And its untold inhabitants,
And all this mighty motion, and this stir
Of things above, and things below,
No rest that ever know,
But as they still revolve, must still return
Unto the place from which they came,-Of this, alas, I find nor end nor aim!
But thou, immortal, surely knowest all.
_This_ I well know, and feel;
From these eternal rounds,
And from my being frail,
Others, perchance, may pleasure, profit gain;
To _me_ life is but pain.
My flock, now resting there, how happy thou,
That knowest not, I think, thy misery!
O how I envy thee!
Not only that from suffering
Thou seemingly art free;
That every trouble, every loss,
Each sudden fear, thou canst so soon forget;
But more because thou sufferest
No weariness of mind.
When in the shade, upon the grass reclined,
Thou seemest happy and content,
And great part of the year by thee
In sweet release from care is spent.
51
But when _I_ sit upon the grass
And in the friendly shade, upon my mind
A weight I feel, a sense of weariness,
That, as I sit, doth still increase
And rob me of all rest and peace.
And yet I wish for nought,
And have, till now, no reason to complain.
What joy, how much I cannot say;
But thou _some_ pleasure dost obtain.
My joys are few enough;
But not for that do I lament.
Ah, couldst thou speak, I would inquire:
Tell me, dear flock, the reason why
Each weary breast can rest at ease,
While all things round him seem to please;
And yet, if _I_ lie down to rest,
I am by anxious thoughts oppressed?
Perhaps, if I had wings
Above the clouds to fly,
And could the stars all number, one by one,
Or like the lightning leap from rock to rock,
I might be happier, my dear flock,
I might be happier, gentle moon!
Perhaps my thought still wanders from the truth,
When I at others' fortunes look:
Perhaps in every state beneath the sun,
Or high, or low, in cradle or in stall,
The day of birth is fatal to us all.
~ Count Giacomo Leopardi
151:The tyrant Dionys to seek,
Stern Moerus with his poniard crept;
The watchful guard upon him swept;
The grim king marked his changeless cheek:
"What wouldst thou with thy poniard? Speak!"
"The city from the tyrant free!"
"The death-cross shall thy guerdon be."

"I am prepared for death, nor pray,"
Replied that haughty man, "I to live;
Enough, if thou one grace wilt give
For three brief suns the death delay
To wed my sisterleagues away;
I boast one friend whose life for mine,
If I should fail the cross, is thine."

The tyrant mused,and smiled,and said
With gloomy craft, "So let it be;
Three days I will vouchsafe to thee.
But markif, when the time be sped,
Thou fail'stthy surety dies instead.
His life shall buy thine own release;
Thy guilt atoned, my wrath shall cease."

He sought his friend"The king's decree
Ordains my life the cross upon
Shall pay the deed I would have done;
Yet grants three days' delay to me,
My sister's marriage-rites to see;
If thou, the hostage, wilt remain
Till Iset freereturn again!"

His friend embracedNo word he said,
But silent to the tyrant strode
The other went upon his road.
Ere the third sun in heaven was red,
The rite was o'er, the sister wed;
And back, with anxious heart unquailing,
He hastes to hold the pledge unfailing.

Down the great rains unending bore,
Down from the hills the torrents rushed,
In one broad stream the brooklets gushed.
The wanderer halts beside the shore,
The bridge was swept the tides before
The shattered arches o'er and under
Went the tumultuous waves in thunder.

Dismayed he takes his idle stand
Dismayed, he strays and shouts around;
His voice awakes no answering sound.
No boat will leave the sheltering strand,
To bear him to the wished-for land;
No boatman will Death's pilot be;
The wild stream gathers to a sea!

Sunk by the banks, awhile he weeps,
Then raised his arms to Jove, and cried,
"Stay thou, oh stay the maddening tide;
Midway behold the swift sun sweeps,
And, ere he sinks adown the deeps,
If I should fail, his beams will see
My friend's last anguishslain for me!"

More fierce it runs, more broad it flows,
And wave on wave succeeds and dies
And hour on hour remorseless flies;
Despair at last to daring grows
Amidst the flood his form he throws;
With vigorous arms the roaring waves
Cleavesand a God that pities, saves.

He wins the bankhe scours the strand,
He thanks the God in breathless prayer;
When from the forest's gloomy lair,
With ragged club in ruthless hand,
And breathing murderrushed the band
That find, in woods, their savage den,
And savage prey in wandering men.

"What," cried he, pale with generous fear;
"What think to gain ye by the strife?
All I bear with me is my life
I take it to the king!"and here
He snatched the club from him most near:
And thrice he smote, and thrice his blows
Dealt deathbefore him fly the foes!

The sun is glowing as a brand;
And faint before the parching heat,
The strength forsakes the feeble feet:
"Thou hast saved me from the robbers' hand,
Through wild floods given the blessed land;
And shall the weak limbs fail me now?
And he!Divine one, nerve me, thou!"
Hark! like some gracious murmur by,
Babbles low music, silver-clear
The wanderer holds his breath to hear;
And from the rock, before his eye,
Laughs forth the spring delightedly;
Now the sweet waves he bends him o'er,
And the sweet waves his strength restore.

Through the green boughs the sun gleams dying,
O'er fields that drink the rosy beam,
The trees' huge shadows giant seem.
Two strangers on the road are hieing;
And as they fleet beside him flying,
These muttered words his ear dismay:
"Nownow the cross has claimed its prey!"

Despair his winged path pursues,
The anxious terrors hound him on
There, reddening in the evening sun,
From far, the domes of Syracuse!
When towards him comes Philostratus
(His leal and trusty herdsman he),
And to the master bends his knee.

"Backthou canst aid thy friend no more,
The ****rd time already flown
His life is forfeitsave thine own!
Hour after hour in hope he bore,
Nor might his soul its faith give o'er;
Nor could the tyrant's scorn deriding,
Steal from that faith one thought confiding!"

"Too late! what horror hast thou spoken!
Vain life, since it cannot requite him!
But death with me can yet unite him;
No boast the tyrant's scorn shall make
How friend to friend can faith forsake.
But from the double death shall know,
That truth and love yet live below!"

The sun sinks downthe gate's in view,
The cross looms dismal on the ground
The eager crowd gape murmuring round.
His friend is bound the cross unto. . . .
Crowdguardsall bursts he breathless through:
"Me! Doomsman, me!" he shouts, "alone!
His life is rescuedlo, mine own!"

Amazement seized the circling ring!
Linked in each other's arms the pair
Weeping for joyyet anguish there!
Moist every eye that gazed;they bring
The wondrous tidings to the king
His breast man's heart at last hath known,
And the friends stand before his throne.

Long silent, he, and wondering long,
Gazed on the pair"In peace depart,
Victors, ye have subdued my heart!
Truth is no dream!its power is strong.
Give grace to him who owns his wrong!
'Tis mine your suppliant now to be,
Ah, let the band of lovebe three!"
~ Friedrich Schiller, The Hostage

152:To Ireland
``What ails you, Sister Erin, that your face
Is, like your mountains, still bedewed with tears?
As though some ancient sorrow or disgrace,
Some unforgettable wrong from far-off years,
Done to your name or wreaked upon your race,
Broods in your heart and shadows all your mind;
So that no change of Season, nor the voice
Of hopeful Time, who bids the sad rejoice,
Can lift your gloom, but you, to kind unkind,
Keep moaning with the wave, and wailing with the wind.
``Come let us sit upon yon cliff, we twain,
Whence we may gaze across your soft green Isle,
Girt by the strong immeasurable main,
That, see! looks up, and sweetens to a smile;
And you shall talk to me of all your pain,
Through deep blue eyes and dark unbraided tresses
Hooded by wimple that your own hands weaved
When you and Winter last together grieved,
While far beneath our feet the fast foam presses
Round bluff, and creek, and bay, and seabird-sung-to nesses.''
Then half withholding, yielding half, her gaze,
She smoothed her kirtle under her, and clasped
Her hands about her knees, as one who prays,
Watching the clambering billows as they grasped
At slippery rocks where wild-goats may not graze,
Then fell back foiled, shivered to spray and smoke.
And I could see the warm blood of her race
Crimson beneath her weather-beaten face:
As though her heart would break, her voice would choke,
In accents harsh with hate, and brimmed with sobs, she spoke.
``They came across the sea with greed of spoil,
And drove me hither and thither from fen to foam,
Reaving and burning, till the blackened soil
Waxed bitter-barren as the brine they clomb,
Sterile to seed and thankless unto toil.
Harried and hunted, fleeing through the land,
577
I hid among the caves, the woods, the hills,
Where the mist curdles and the blind gust shrills,
Suckling my hate and sharpening my brand,
My heart against their heart, my hand against their hand.
``And ever as I fled, they ever pursued.
They drove away my cattle and my flocks,
And left me, me a Mother! to claw for food
'Mong ocean-boulders and the brackish rocks
Where sea-hogs wallow and gorged cormorants brood;
Unroofed my hut, set the sere thatch aflame,
Scattered my hearth-fire to the wintry air,
Made what was bare before stretch yet more bare,
I waxing wilder more they strove to tame,
To force and guile alike implacably the same.
``They would not suffer me to weep or pray:
Upon the altar of my Saints they trod;
They banned my Faith, they took my Heaven away,
And tried to rob me of my very God!
And, when I sued them leave me where I lay,
And get them hence, still, still they would not go.
They reft the spindle from my famished hands,
My kith and kin they drove to other lands,
Widowed and orphaned me! And now you know
Why all my face is wet, and all my voice is woe!''
I crept a little nearer, and I laid
My hand on hers, and fondled it with mine;
And, ``Listen, dear Sister Erin,'' soft I said,
``Not to the moaning of the salt-sea brine,
Nor to the melancholy crooning made
By thoughts attuned to Sorrow's ancient song,
But to the music of a mellower day.
Forgive! Forget! lest harsher lips should say,
Like your turf fire, your rancour smoulders long.
Now let Oblivion strew Time's ashes o'er this wrong.
``The robber bands that filled the Isle with groans
Were long since clamped and prisoned in their graves:
The flesh hath dried and shrivelled from their bones,
Their wild war-standards rotted from their staves;
578
Their name is nought. 'Tis thus that Time atones
For all the griefs man fastens on his kind.
The days were dire, his passions swift and fell:
His very Heaven was but a sterner Hell.
His love was thraldom, hatred black and blind,
As headstrong as the wave, as wayward as the wind.
``Nor did alone you suffer. You too dealt
Full many a stroke, too fierce to be subdued
Till you had made the fangs of vengeance felt.
Mercy and truce you spurned, and fed the feud
Of Celt with Saxon, Saxon against Celt,
Till lust enforced whatever law forbade.
Nay! do not linger on that painful dream,
But turn and smile! as when a silvery gleam
Dimples your loughs that whilom seemed so sad,
And runs along the wave, and glistens and is glad!
``We own our fault the greater, so we now
For balance of that wrong would make amends.
Lift the low wimple from your clouded brow,
Give me your gaze, and say that we are friends;
And be your mountains witness of that vow,
Your dewy dingles white with blossoming sloe,
Your tawny torrents tumbling to the sea:
For You are far the fairest of the Three,
And we can never, never, let you go,
Long as your warm heart beats, long as your bright eyes glow.
``The Triune Flag, none now save Tyrants dread,
That with Imperial peace protects the world,
Hath by the sinewy sons you bore and bred
Round the wide globe been carried and unfurled.
Where danger greatest, they it was who led,
And stormed death rather than be backward driven.
Now, gaze no more across the western main,
Whose barren furrows hope still ploughs in vain.
Turn Eastward, where, through clouds by sunrise riven,
England holds out her hand, and craves to be forgiven.
``Live your own life, but ever at our side!
Have your own Heaven, but blend your prayer with ours!
579
Remain your own fair self, to bridegroom bride,
Veiled in your mist and diamonded with showers,
We twain love-linked whom nothing can divide!
Look up! From Slievemore's brow to Dingle's shore,
From Inagh's lake to Innisfallen's Isle
And Garriffe's glen, the land is one green smile!
The dolphins gambol and the laverocks soar:
Lift up your heart and live, enthralled to grief no more!''
~ Alfred Austin
153:The Magic Shoes
IT was stiller, dimmer twilight - amber toornin' into gold,
Like young maidens' hairs get yellow und more dark as dey crow old;
Und dere shtood a high ruine vhere de Donau rooshed along,
All lofely, yet neclected - like an oldt und silent song.
Out shpoke der Ritter Breitmann, 'Ven I hafe not forgot,
Ich kenn an anciendt shtory of dis inderesdin shpot,
Of the Deutscher Middleolter vot de Minnesingers sung,
Ven dot olt ruine oben vas a-bloomin, fair, und yung.
'Vonce dere lifed a noble fraulein - fery peautiful vas she,
More ash twendy dimes goot lookin - it is in de historie;
Und mit more ash forty quarters on her woppenshield, dot men
Might beholdt mitout a discount she vas of de upper ten.
'But dough lofely as an angel, mit eyes of turkos plue,
She vas cruel ash a teufel, und de vorst man efer knew.
Vonce ven a nople young one kneeled down to her mit lofe,
She kicket him mit her slipper und oopset him on de shtove.
'Und said, 'I do refuse you, as you may plainly see;
Und from dis day henseforvart mine refuse you shall pe,
Und when I do run afder you like dogs run afder men,
Den I vill pe your vife, yung man - boot keep avay dill denn!'
'He lishten to her crimly, and no single vort he said,
Boot de bitter dings she spoken poot der teufel in his head;
For she hafe not learned de visdom, vich is alvays safe and sound,
'Don't go to pourin' water on a mouse ven id ist trowned.'
'Vonce, at de end of autoom, ven de vind vos bitter cold,
Dis maiden out a-ridin' met a voman poor and old;
Her feets vere bare and pleedin', and she said, 'Ah! ton't refuse
To gife me, nople lady, yoosht de vorst of your oldt shoes!'
'De lady boorst out laughin', 'Fool here, or fool me dere,
You give to me a couple, I gives to you a pair.'
Denn she rode avay a-laughin'; de old voman says 'I wete,
I'll give you shoes, my lady, dot vill fit your soul and feet!'
164
'Dis voman vas a vitche, an bitter one dere to,
All dot vot she had shpoken she light enough could do;
De Ritter did not know it, but he told her of his love,
And how dot shkornful lady hat oopset him mit de shtove.
'Out spoke de grimme witche, 'She shall pay dee well to boot,
If yo pring to me de measure of dat lady's liddle foot.'
He got it from her shoemaker, and gafe id to de vitch,
Denn she gafe it to de damsel pooty soon as hot as pitch.
'Von morn de lofely lady, on openin' her toor,
Found de nicest pair of gaiter boots she efer saw pefore;
Dey vitted her exoctly - mitouten any doubtBoot, mein Gott! how she vas shrocken ven dey 'gun to valk apout!
'Und ash de poots go valkin', like de buds go mit de stem,
It vollowed dot de lady had to valk apout in dem.
Dey took her out into de street - dey run her on de road,
Bym-by she saw a man ahead vot led her vhere she goed.
'Vhen he vent valkin' longsome denn longsome vas her pace,
Vhen he roon like a greyhound she skompered in a race;
He led her o'er de moundains und cross de lonely plain,
Until de evenin' shadows, ven he took her home again.
'Denn she dink mit hate and fury of dis man she used to skoff,
Und den go at de gaiters - boot she couldn't pull dem off,
She vork mit all de servants, boot 'tvasent any use,
Und so she hafe to go to bett - a-shleepin' in her shoes.
'Next mornin' off dey shtarted, apout de broke of day,
Den he led her to a castle in de woods and far away,
And shpeak to her, 'My lady - I dink at last you see
Dat de dime has come in earnesdt vhen you've cot to vollow me!'
'Oh vat ish female nature? Oh vat ish mortal pride?
How all dot shtands de firmest most quickly shlips aside
De cloudts dot o'er de moundains look shkornful at de plain,
Ere long mit shtormy wetter come toomble down in rain.
'So de storm-cloud of Superbia vhich shweep her soul above,
165
Vas meltet mit his shternness and be-turned into love,
As his words like donner wetter croshed ven de lightnin' flies,
So downward coom de torrents of dear trops from her eyes.
'Und she gry, 'Mit shame I own it, to say de fery least,
I gonfess dat in dis matter I hafe acted like a peast;
Ven I made of you my refuse, I dinked it no account,
But now de pack is on my back it seems a big amount.
''But if you vish to ved me, I vill do vat you require.
He answered, 'Now you're talkin' - dot is yoost vot I tesire,
For I am very willin', and you do not refuse,
Boot remember vot you bromised - send de vitch a pair of shoes!'
'She answered, 'I vill follow verever you may go,
All ofer hills and falleys, in sunshine, rain, or schnow,
All over in der Welt, dear, I'll vander on vith thee,
I do not care how rough de road or dark de path may be!
''Or in de bloomin' meadows, vhere de grass is soft and sweet,
Or in de rocky passes, vhere de stones are under veet,
Or if I vear de shoes, love, vitch you hafe given me,
Or if I moost go barefoot, is all de same to me.'
'He drew away de gaiters. She said, 'As I'm rich
I vill fill dem both mit money, and take dem to de vitch.'
Ja wohl, she saw die Hexe, and takin' her aside,
She danked her for de lesson vot hat dook avay her pride.
'On de vay vhen dey vere married, how vere dey all erstaun
To see a lofely lady come in mit golden crown,
All in a rosy-silken dress vot shined as pright as glass,
Said, 'My dears, I am de vitch dot fetch dis ding to pass.
''You know I look so ogly vonce, und now am peautiful,
Dot ist de vay dot all dings vork ven folks pe dutiful.
Ash de lily toorns to vhitey vot once vas dirty green,
So all ist fair ven virdue ist runnin' de machine.''
Dis is de vondrous shtory vot de Ritter Breitmann told
Besides the rooshin' Danube of de schloss so grey und old,
Vhile a shmokin' of his meerschaum; und till all time pe gone
166
The rustlin' of de vasser tells de tale for ever on.
Dat is an alt legende, und yet 'tis efer new,
Und to efery von dot hears it it fits yoost like a shoe.
Und dis de shinin' moral dot in de oyster liesSome day you may roon after de dings you vonce despise!
~ Charles Godfrey Leland
154:Raging storms, evil gods are they
Ruthless demons, who in heaven's vault were created, are they,
Workers of evil are they,
They lift up the head to evil, every day to evil
Destruction to work.
Of these seven the first is the South wind
The second is a dragon, whose mouth is opened
That none can measure.
The third is a grim leopard, which carries off the young
The fourth is a terrible Shibbu
The fifth is a furious Wolf, who knoweth not to flee,
The sixth is a rampant which marches against god and king.
The seventh is a storm, an evil wind, which takes vengeance,
Seven are they, messengers to King Anu are they,
From city to city darkness work they,
A hurricane, which mightily hunts in the heavens, are they
Thick clouds, that bring darkness in heaven, are they,
Gusts of wind rising, which cast gloom over the bright day, are they,
With the Imkhullu [2] the evil wind, forcing their way, are they,
The overflowing of Adad [3] mighty destroyers, are they,
At the right of Adad stalking, are they,
In the height of heaven, like lightning flashing, are they,
To wreak destruction forward go they ,
In the broad heaven, the home of Anu, the King, evilly do they arise, and none to oppose.
When Enlil heard these tidings, a plan in his heart he pondered,
With Ea, exalted Massu of the gods, be took counsel. Sin, Shamash, and Ishtar, whom he had set to order the vault of heaven,
With Anu he divided the lordship of the whole heaven,
To these three gods, his offspring
Day and night, without ceasing, he ordained to stand,
When the seven evil gods stormed the vault of heaven,
Before the gleaming Sin, they set themselves angrily, [4]
The mighty Shamash, Adad the warrior, they brought on their side,
Ishtar, with Anu the King, moved into a shining dwelling, exercising dominion over the heavens,

[Nearly ten lines here are unreadable.]

Day and night he was dark (i.e., Sin), in the dwelling of his dominion he sat not down,
The evil gods, the messengers of Anu, the King, are they,
Raising their evil heads, in the night shaking themselves, are they,
Evil searching out, are they,
From the heaven, like a wind, over the land rush they.
Enlil saw the darkening of the hero Sin in heaven,
The lord spoke to his minister Nusku,
O My minister Nusku, my message unto the ocean bring,
The tidings of my son Sin, who in heaven has been sadly darkened,
Unto Ea, in the ocean, announce it."
Nusku exalted the word of his lord,
To Ea, in the ocean, he went quickly,
To the prince, the exalted Massu the lord Nudimmud.[5]
Nusku, the word of his lord there announced Ea in the ocean heard that word,
He bit his lip and filled his mouth with wailing;
Ea called his son Marduk, and gave him the message:
"Go, my son Marduk,
Son of a prince, the gleaming Sin has been sadly darkened in heaven,
His darkening is seen in the heavens,
The seven evil gods, death-dealing, fearless are they,
The seven evil gods, like a flood, rush on, the land they fall upon, do they,
Against the land, like a storm, they rise, do they,
Before the gleaming Sin, they set themselves angrily;
The mighty Shamash, Adad the warrior, they brought on their side."

NOTES:
[1] This story is the sixteenth tablet of a series called the "Evil Demon Series," of which we have an Assyrian with a parallel Sumerian text. Presumably, therefore, it was a very ancient legend.
[2] The Imkhullu appears also in the Creation Epic.
[3] Adad is god of storm, Anu of heaven, Enlil of storm, Sin of the Moon, Shamash of the Sun, and Ishtar of love and fruitfulness. The meaning of Massu is unknown; but Ea was long the chief ruler.
[4] The evil gods darken the moon by an eclipse, Shamash helping them by withdrawing his light from the moon, and Adad by sending cloudy weather.
[5] A name for Ea.

DESCRIPTIONS OF "THE SEVEN"

I
Destructive storms and evil winds are they,
A storm of evil, presaging the baneful storm,
A storm of evil, forerunner of the baneful storm.
Mighty children, mightv sons are they,
Messengers of Namtar are they,
Throne-bearers of Ereshkigal. [1]
The flood driving through the land are they.
Seven gods of the wide heavens,
Seven gods of the broad earth,
Seven robber-gods are they.
Seven gods of universal sway,
Seven evil gods,
Seven evil demons,
Seven evil and violent demons,
Seven in heaven, seven on earth.

II
Neither male nor female are they.
Destructive whirlwinds they,
Having neither wife nor offspring.
Compassion and mercy they do not know.
Prayer and supplication they do not hear.
Horses reared in the mountains, Hostile to Ea.
Throne-bearers of the gods are they.
Standing on the highway, befouling the street. Evil are they, evil are they,
Seven they are, seven they are, Twice seven they are.

III
The high enclosures, the broad enclosures like a flood they pass through.
From house to house they dash along.
No door can shut them out,
No bolt can turn them back.
Through the door, like a snake, they glide,
Through the hinge, like the wind, they storm.
Tearing the wife from the embrace of the man,
Snatching the child from the knees of a man,
Driving the freedman from his family home.

[1 ]The mistress of the netherworld, while Namtar is the god of pestilence.

CHARM AGAINST THE SEVEN EVIL SPIRITS

Seven are they, seven are they!
In the channel of the deep seven are they!
In the radiance of heaven seven are they!
In the channel of the deep in a palace grew they up.
Male they are not, female they are not.
In the midst of the deep are their paths.
Wife they have not, son they have not.
Order and kindness know they not.
Prayer and supplication hear they not.
The cavern in the mountain they enter.
Unto Hea are they hostile.
The throne-bearers of the gods are they.
Disturbing the lily in the torrents are they set.
Baleful are they, baleful are they.
Seven are they, seven are they, seven twice again are they.
May the spirits of heaven remember, may the spirits of earth remember.
R.C. Thompson, translator [The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia, London 1903]

~ Anonymous, The Seven Evil Spirits

155:By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

In Pyrrha's rear (so poets sang
In ages past and gone),
The world from rocky fragments sprang
Mankind from lifeless stone.

Their soul was but a thing of night,
Like stone and rock their heart;
The flaming torch of heaven so bright
Its glow could ne'er impart.

Young loves, all gently hovering round,
Their souls as yet had never bound
In soft and rosy chains;
No feeling muse had sought to raise
Their bosoms with ennobling lays,
Or sweet, harmonious strains.

Around each other lovingly
No garlands then entwined;
The sorrowing springs fled toward the sky,
And left the earth behind.

From out the sea Aurora rose
With none to hail her then;
The sun unhailed, at daylight's close,
In ocean sank again.

In forests wild, man went astray,
Misled by Luna's cloudy ray
He bore an iron yoke;
He pined not for the stars on high,
With yearning for a deity
No tears in torrents broke.

..

But see! from out the deep-blue ocean
Fair Venus springs with gentle motion
The graceful Naiad's smiling band
Conveys her to the gladdened strand,

A May-like, youthful, magic power
Entwines, like morning's twilight hour,
Around that form of godlike birth,
The charms of air, sea, heaven, and earth.

The day's sweet eye begins to bloom
Across the forest's midnight gloom;
Narcissuses, their balm distilling,
The path her footstep treads are filling.

A song of love, sweet Philomel,
Soon carolled through the grove;
The streamlet, as it murmuring fell,
Discoursed of naught but love,

Pygmalion! Happy one! Behold!
Life's glow pervades thy marble cold!
Oh, LOVE, thou conqueror all-divine,
Embrace each happy child of thine!

..

By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

..

The gods their days forever spend
In banquets bright that have no end,
In one voluptuous morning-dream,
And quaff the nectar's golden stream.

Enthroned in awful majesty
Kronion wields the bolt on high:
In abject fear Olympus rocks
When wrathfully he shakes his locks.

To other gods he leaves his throne,
And fills, disguised as earth's frail son,
The grove with mournful numbers;
The thunders rest beneath his feet,
And lulled by Leda's kisses sweet,
The Giant-Slayer slumbers.

Through the boundless realms of light
Phoebus' golden reins, so bright,
Guide his horses white as snow,
While his darts lay nations low.
But when love and harmony
Fill his breast, how willingly
Ceases Phoebus then to heed
Rattling dart and snow-white steed!

See! Before Kronion's spouse
Every great immortal bows;
Proudly soar the peacock pair
As her chariot throne they bear,
While she decks with crown of might
Her ambrosial tresses bright,

Beauteous princess, ah! with fear
Quakes before thy splendor, love,
Seeking, as he ventures near,
With his power thy breast to move!
Soon from her immortal throne
Heaven's great queen must fain descend,
And in prayer for beauty's zone,
To the heart-enchainer bend!

..

By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

..

'Tis love illumes the realms of night,
For Orcus dark obeys his might,
And bows before his magic spell
All-kindly looks the king of hell
At Ceres' daughter's smile so bright,
Yeslove illumes the realms of night!

In hell were heard, with heavenly sound,
Holding in chains its warder bound,
Thy lays, O Thracian one!
A gentler doom dread Minos passed,
While down his cheeks the tears coursed fast
And e'en around Megaera's face
The serpents twined in fond embrace,
The lashes' work seemed done.

Driven by Orpheus' lyre away,
The vulture left his giant-prey [8];
With gentler motion rolled along
Dark Lethe and Cocytus' river,
Enraptured Thracian, by thy song,
And love its burden was forever!

By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

..

Wherever Nature's sway extends,
The fragrant balm of love descends,
His golden pinions quiver;
If 'twere not Venus' eye that gleams
Upon me in the moon's soft beams,
In sunlit hill or river,
If 'twere not Venus smiles on me
From yonder bright and starry sea,

Not stars, not sun, not moonbeams sweet,
Could make my heart with rapture beat.
'Tis love alone that smilingly
Peers forth from Nature's blissful eye,
As from a mirror ever!

Love bids the silvery streamlet roll
More gently as it sighs along,
And breathes a living, feeling soul
In Philomel's sweet plaintive song;
'Tis love alone that fills the air
With streams from Nature's lute so fair.

Thou wisdom with the glance of fire,
Thou mighty goddess, now retire,
Love's power thou now must feel!
To victor proud, to monarch high,
Thou ne'er hast knelt in slavery,
To love thou now must kneel!

Who taught thee boldly how to climb
The steep, but starry path sublime,
And reach the seats immortal?
Who rent the mystic veil in twain,
And showed thee the Elysian plain
Beyond death's gloomy portal?
If love had beckoned not from high,
Had we gained immortality?
If love had not inflamed each thought,
Had we the master spirit sought?
'Tis love that guides the soul along
To Nature's Father's heavenly throne

By love are blest the gods on high,
Frail man becomes a deity
When love to him is given;
'Tis love that makes the heavens shine
With hues more radiant, more divine,
And turns dull earth to heaven!

~ Friedrich Schiller, The Triumph Of Love

156:The Falls Of The Chaudiere, Ottawa
I have laid my cheek to Nature's, placed my puny hand in hers,
Felt a kindred spirit warming all the life-blood of my face,
Moved amid the very foremost of her truest worshippers,
Studying each curve of beauty, marking every minute grace;
Loved not less the mountain cedar than the flowers at its feet,
Looking skyward from the valley, open-lipped as if in prayer,
Felt a pleasure in the brooklet singing of its wild retreat,
But I knelt before the splendour of the thunderous Chaudiere.
All my manhood waked within me, every nerve had tenfold force,
And my soul stood up rejoicing, looking on with cheerful eyes,
Watching the resistless waters speeding on their downward course,
Titan strength and queenly beauty diademed with rainbow dyes.
Eye and ear, with spirit quickened, mingled with the lovely strife,
Saw the living Genius shrined within her sanctuary fair,
Heard her voice of sweetness singing, peered into her hidden life,
And discerned the tuneful secret of the jubilant Chaudiere:
'Within my pearl-roofed shell,
Whose floor is woven with the iris bright,
Genius and Queen of the Chaudiere I dwell,
As in a world of immaterial light.
My throne, an ancient rock,
Marked by the foot of ages long-departed,
My joy, the cataract's stupendous shock,
Whose roll is music to the grateful-hearted.
I've seen the eras glide
With muffled tread to their eternal dreams,
While I have lived in vale and mountain side,
With leaping torrents and sweet purling streams.
The Red-Man's active life;
His love, pride, passions, courage, and great deeds;
His perfect freedom, and his thirst for strife;
His swift revenge, at which the memory bleeds:
The sanguinary years,
141
When sullen Terror, like a raging Fate,
Swept down the stately tribes like slaughtered deers,
And war and hatred joined to decimate
The remnants of the race,
And spread decay through centuries of painNo more I mark their sure, avenging pace,
And forests wave where war-whoops shook the plain.
Their deeds I envied not.
The royal tyrant on his purple throne,
I, in secluded grove or shady grot,
Had purer joys than he had ever known,
God made the ancient hills,
The valleys and the solemn wildernesses,
The merry-hearted and melodious rills,
And strung with diamond dews the pine-trees' tresses;
But man's hand built the palace,
And he that reigns therein is simply man;
Man turns God's gifts to poison in the chalice
That brimmed with nectar in the primal plan.
Here I abide aloneThe wild Chaudiere's eternal jubilee
Has such sweet divination in its tone,
And utters nature's truest prophecy
In thunderings of zeal!
I've seen the Atheist in terror start,
Awed to contrition by the strong appeal
That waked conviction in his doubting heart:
'Teachers speak throughout all nature,
From the womb of Silence born,
Heed ye not their words, O Scoffer?
Flinging back thy scorn with scorn!
To the desert spring that leapeth,
Pulsing, from the parched sod,
Points the famished trav'ler, saying'Brothers, here, indeed, is God!'
142
From the patriarchal fountains,
Sending forth their tribes of rills,
From the cedar-shadowed lakelets
In the hearts of distant hills,
Whispers softer than the moonbeams
Wisdom's gentle heart have awed,
Till its lips approved the cadence'Surely here, indeed, is God!'
Lo! o'er all, the Torrent Prophet,
An inspired Demosthenes,
To the Doubter's soul appealing,
Louder than the preacher-seas:
Dreamer! wouldst have nature spurn thee
For a dumb, insensate clod?
Dare to doubt! and these shall teach thee
Of a truth there lives a God!'
By day and night, for hours,
I watch the cataract's impulsive leap,
Refreshed and gladdened by the cheering showers
Wrung from the passion of the seething deep.
Pleased when the buried waves
Emerge again, like incorporeal hosts
Rising, white-sheeted, from their gloomy graves,
As if the depths had yielded up their ghosts.
And when the midnight storm
Enfolds the welkin in its robe of clouds,
Through the dim vapours of the cauldron swarm
The sheeted spectres in their whitest shrouds,
By the lightning's flash betrayed.
These gather from the insubstantial vapour
The lunar rainbows, which by them are madeWoven with moonbeams by some starry taper,
To decorate the halls
Of my fair palace, whence I'm pained to see
Thy human brethren watch the waterfalls-
143
Not with such rev'rence as I've found in thee:
Too many with an eye
To speculation and the worldling's dreams;
Others, who seek from nature no reply,
Nor read the oral language of the streams.
But of the few who loved
The beautiful with grateful heart and soul,
Who looked on nature fondly, and were moved
By one sweet glance, as by the mighty whole:
Of these, the thoughtful few,
Thou wert the first to seek the inner temple,
And stand before the Priestess. Thou wert true
To nature and thyself. Be thy example
The harbinger of times
When the Chaudiere's imposing majesty
Will awe the spirits of the heartless mimes
To worship God in truth, with nature's constancy.'
Still I heard the mellow sweetness of her voice at intervals,
Mingling with the fall of waters, rising with the snowy spray,
Ringing through the sportive current like the joy of waterfalls,
Sending up their hearty vespers at the calmy close of day.
Loath to leave the scene of beauty, lover-like I stayed, and stayed,
Folding to my eager bosom memories beyond compare;
Deeper, stronger, more enduring than my dreams of wood and glade,
Were the eloquent appeals of the magnificent Chaudiere.
E'en the solid bridge is trembling, whence I look my last farewell,
Dizzy with the roar and trampling of the mighty herd of waves,
Speeding past the rocky Island, steadfast as a sentinel,
Towards the loveliest bay that ever mirrored the Algonquin Braves.
Soul of Beauty! Genius! Spirit! Priestess of the lovely strife!
In my heart thy words are shrined, as in a sanctuary fair;
Echoes of thy voice of sweetness, rousing all my better life,
Ever haunt my wildest visions of the jubilant Chaudiere.
~ Charles Sangster
157:Look! What wonders the spring has wrought! The river bank is a paradise! Rose-embowered glades, Blossoming jasmine and hyacinth, And violets, the envy of the skies!. Rainbow colours transformed Into a chorus of rapturous sounds, And the harmony of flowers The hillside is carnation-red; In the languid haze, the air Seems drunk with the beauty of life! The brook, on the heights of the hill, Dances to its own music. The world is dizzy in a pageant of colour! My rosy-cheeked Cup-bearer! The voice of spring is the voice of life! But the spring lasts not for ever; So bring me the cup that tears all veils -- The wine that brightens life -- The wine that intoxicates the world -- The wine in which flows The music of everlasting life, The wine that reveals eternity's secret. Unveil the secrets, O Saqi. Look! The world has changed apace! New are the songs, and new is the music; The West's magic has dissolved; The West's magicians are bewildered; Old politics has lost its game; The world is tired of kings; Gone are the days of the rich; Gone is the jugglery of old; Awake is China's sleeping giant; The Himalayas' torrents are unleashed; Sinai is riven; Moses awaits the light divine. The Muslim says that God is One But his heart is Still a heathen: Culture, sufism, rites and rthetoric, All adore non- Arab idols; The truth was lost in trifles, And the nation was lost in conventions. The speaker's rhetoric is enchanting, But is devoid of passion; It is clothed in logic neat, But lost in a maze of words; The sufi, unique in the love of truth, Unique in the love of God, Was lost in un-Islamic thought; Was lost in the hierarchic quest; The fire of love is extinguished, And a Muslim is a heap of ashes, O Saqi! Give me the old wine again! Let the potent cup go round! Let me soar on the wings of love; Make my dust bright-pinioned; Make wisdom free; And make the young guide the old; Thou it is that nourishest. this nation; Thou it is that canst sustain it; Urge them to move, to stir; Give them Ali's heart; give them Siddiq's passion; Let the same old love pierce their hearts; Awaken in them a burning zeal; Let the stars throw down their spears, And let the earth's dwellers tremble Give the young a passion that consumes; Give them my vision, my love of God; Free my boat from the whirlpool's grip, And make it move forward-, Reveal to me the secrets of life, For thou knowest them all; The treasures of a fakir like me Are suffused, unsleeping eyes, And secret yearnings of the heart-, My anguished sighs at night, My solitude in the world of men, My hopes and my fears, My quest untiring, My nature an arena of thought A mirror of the world. My heart a battlefield of life, With armies of suspicion, And bastions of certitude; With these treasures I am More rich than the richest of all. Let the young join my throng, And let them find an anchor of hope. The sea of life has its ebb and flow-, In every atom's heart is the pulse of life; It manifests itself in the body, As a flame conceals a wave of smoke; Contact with the earth was harsh for it, But it liked the labour; It is in motion, and not in motion; Tired of the elements' shackles; A unity, imprisoned by plurality; But always unique, unequalled. It has made this dome of myriad glass; It has carved this pantheon. It does not repeat its craft For thou art not me, and I am not thou; It has created the world of men, And remains in solitude, Its brightness is seen in the stars, And in the lustre of pearls-, To it belong the wildernesses, The flowers and the thorns; Mountains sometimes are shaken by its might; It captures angels and nymphs; It makes the eagle pounce on a prey, And leave a blood-stained body. Every atom throbs with life; Rest is an illusion; Life's journey pauses not, For every moment is a new glory; Life, thou thinkest, is a mystery; Life is a delight in eternal flight; Life has seen many ups and downs; It loves a journey, not a goal. Movement is life's being; Movement is truth, pause is a mirage. Life's enjoyment is in perils, In facing ups and downs; In the world beyond Life stalked for death, But the impulse to procreate Peopled the world of man and beast. Flowers blossomed and dropped From this tree of life. Fools think life is ephemeral; Life renews itself for ever -- Moving fast as a flash, Moving to eternity in a breath; Time, a chain of days and nights, Is the ebb and flow of breath. This flow of breath is like a sword, Selfhood is its sharpness; Selfhood is the secret of life; It is the world's awakening, Selfhood is solitary, absorbed, An ocean enclosed in a drop; It shines in light and in darkness, Existent in, but away from, thee and me. The dawn of life behind it, eternity before, It has no frontiers before, no frontiers behind. Afloat on the river of time, Bearing the buffets of the waves, Changing the course of its quest, Shifting its glance from time to time; For it a hill is a grain of sand, Mountains are shattered by its blows; A journey is its beginning and end, And this is the secret of its being. It is the moon's beam, the spark in the flint, Colourless itself, though infused with colours, No concern has it with the calculus of space, With linear time's limits, with the finitude of life. It manifested itself in man's essence of dust, After an eternity of a strife to be born. It is in thy heart that Selfhood has an abode, As heaven has its abode in the cornea of thy eye. To one who guards his Selfhood, The living that demeans it, is poison; He accepts only a living, That keeps his self- esteem; Keep away from royal pomp, Keep thy Selfhood free; Thou shouldst bow in prayer, Not bow to a human being. This myriad-coloured world, Under the sentence of death, This world of sight and sound, I Where life means eating and drinking, Is Selfhood's initial stage; It is not thy abode, O traveller! This dust-bowl is not the source of thy fire; The world is for thee, not thou for the world. Demolish this illusion of' time and space; Selfhood is the Tiger of God, the world is its prey; The earth is its prey, the heavens are its prey; Other worlds there are, still awaiting birth, The earth-born are not the centre of all life; They all await thy assault, Thy cataclysmic thought and deed; Days and nights revolve, To reveal thy Selfhood to thee; Thou art the architect of the world. Words fail to convey the truth; Truth is the mirror, words its shade; Though the breath is a burning flame, The flame has limited bounds. 'If now I soar any farther, The vision will sear my wings.'

~ Allama Muhammad Iqbal, To the Saqi (from Baal-i-Jibreel)

158:A Letter From Italy
Lately, when we wished good-bye
Underneath a gloomy sky,
``Bear,'' you said, ``my love in mind,
Leaving me not quite behind;
And across the mountains send
News and greeting to your friend.''
II
Swiftly though we did advance
Through the rich flat fields of France,
Still the eye grew tired to see
Patches of equality.
Nothing wanton, waste, or wild;
Women delving, lonely child
Tending cattle lank and lean;
Not a hedgerow to be seen,
Where the eglantine may ramble,
Or the vagrant unkempt bramble
Might its flowers upon you press
Simple-sweet but profitless:
Jealous ditches, straight and square
Sordid comfort everywhere.
Pollard poplars, stunted vine,
Nowhere happy-pasturing kine
Wandering in untended groups
Through the uncut buttercups.
All things pruned to pile the shelf
Nothing left to be itself:
Neither horn, nor hound, nor stirrup,
Not a carol, not a chirrup;
Every idle sound repressed,
Like a Sabbath without rest.
III
O the sense of freedom when
Kingly mountains rose again!
Congregated, but alone,
Each upon his separate throne;
56
Like to mighty minds that dwell,
Lonely, inaccessible,
High above the human race,
Single and supreme in space:
Soaring higher, higher, higher,
Carrying with them our desire,
Irrepressible if fond,
To push on to worlds beyond!
Many a peak august I saw,
Crowned with mist and girt with awe,
Fertilising, as is fit,
Valleys that look up to it,
With the melted snows down-driven,
Which itself received from Heaven.
Then, to see the torrents flashing,
Leaping, twisting, foaming, crashing,
Like a youth who feels, at length,
Freedom ample as his strength,
Hurrying from the home that bore him,
With the whole of life before him!
IV
As, when summer sunshine gleams,
Glaciers soften into streams,
So to liquid, flowing vowels,
As we pierced the mountains' bowels,
Teuton consonants did melt
When Italian warmth was felt.
Gloomy fir and pine austere,
Unto precipices sheer
Clinging, as one holds one's breath,
Half-way betwixt life and death,
Changed to gently-shelving slope,
Where man tills with faith and hope,
And the tenderest-tendrilled tree
Prospers in security.
Softer outlines, balmier air,
Belfries unto evening prayer
Calling, as the shadows fade,
Halting crone, and hurrying maid,
With her bare black tresses twined
Into massive coils behind,
57
And her snowy-pleated vest
Folded o'er mysterious breast,
Like the dove's wings chastely crossed
At the Feast of Pentecost.
Something, in scent, sight, and sound,
Elsewhere craved for, never found,
Underneath, around, above,
Moves to tenderness and love.
But three nights I halted where
Stands the temple, vowed to prayer,
That surmounts the Lombard plain,
Green with strips of grape and grain.
There, Spiaggiascura's child,
By too hopeful love beguiled,
Yet resolved, save faith should flow
Through his parched heart, to forego
Earthly bliss for heavenly pain,
Prayed for Godfrid, prayed in vain.
VI
How looked Florence? Fair as when
Beatrice was nearly ten:
Nowise altered, just the same
Marble city, mountain frame,
Turbid river, cloudless sky,
As in days when you and I
Roamed its sunny streets, apart,
Ignorant of each other's heart,
Little knowing that our feet
Slow were moving on to meet,
And that we should find, at last,
Kinship in a common Past.
But a shadow falls athwart
All her beauty, all her art.
For alas! I vainly seek
Outstretched hand and kindling cheek,
Such as, in the bygone days,
Sweetened, sanctified, her ways.
When, as evening belfries chime,
I to Bellosguardo climb,
58
Vaguely thinking there to find
Faces that still haunt my mind,
Though the doors stand open wide,
No one waits for me inside;
Not a voice comes forth to greet,
As of old, my nearing feet.
So I stand without, and stare,
Wishing you were here to share
Void too vast alone to bear.
To Ricorboli I wend:
But where now the dear old friend,
Heart as open as his gate,
Song, and jest, and simple state?
They who loved me all are fled;
Some are gone, and some are dead.
So, though young and lovely be
Florence still, it feels to me,
Thinking of the days that were,
Like a marble sepulchre.
VII
Yet, thank Heaven! he liveth still,
Now no more upon the hill
Where was perched his Tuscan home,
But in liberated Rome:
Hale as ever; still his stride
Keeps me panting at his side.
Would that you were here to stray
With me up the Appian Way,
Climb with me the Coelian mount,
With me find Egeria's fount,
See the clear sun sink and set
From the Pincian parapet,
Or from Sant' Onofrio watch
Shaggy Monte Cavo catch
Gloomy glory on its face,
As the red dawn mounts apace.
Twenty years and more have fled
Since I first with youthful tread
Wandered 'mong these wrecks of Fate,
Lonely but not desolate,
Proud to ponder and to brood,
59
Satisfied with solitude.
But as fruit that, hard in Spring,
Tender grows with mellowing,
So one's nature, year by year,
Softens as it ripens, dear,
And youth's selfish strain and stress
Sweeten into tenderness.
Therefore is it that I pine
For a gentle hand in mine,
For a voice to murmur clear
All I know but love to hear,
Crave to feel, think, hear, and see,
Through your lucid sympathy.
VIII
Shortly, shortly, we shall meet.
Southern skies awhile are sweet;
But in whatso land I roam,
Half my heart remains at home.
Tell me, for I long to hear,
Tidings of our English year.
Was the cuckoo soon or late?
Beg the primroses to wait,
That their homely smile may greet
Faithfully returning feet.
Have the apple blossoms burst?
Is the oak or ash the first?
Are there snowballs on the guelder?
Can you scent as yet the elder?
On the bankside that we know,
Is the golden gorse ablow,
Like love's evergreen delight
Never out of season quite,
But most prodigal in Spring,
When the whitethroats pair and sing?
Tell me, tell me, most of all,
When you hear the thrushes call,
When you see soft shadows fleeting
O'er the grass where lambs are bleating.
When the lyric lark, returning
From the mirage of its yearning,Like a fountain that in vain
60
Rises but to fall again,Seeks its nest with drooping wing,
Do you miss me from the Spring?
IX
Quickly then I come. Adieu,
Mouldering arch and ether blue!
For in you I sure shall find
All that here I leave behind:
Steadfastness of Roman rays
In the candour of your gaze;
In your friendship comfort more
Than in warmth of Oscan shore;
In the smiles that light your mouth,
All the sunshine of the South.
~ Alfred Austin
159:A Storm In The Mountains
A lonely boy, far venturing from home
Out on the half-wild herd’s faint tracks I roam;
Mid rock-browned mountains, which with stony frown
Glare into haggard chasms deep adown;
A rude and craggy world, the prospect lies
Bounded in circuit by the bending skies.
Now at some clear pool scooped out by the shocks
Of rain-floods plunging from the upper rocks
Whose liquid disc in its undimpled rest
Glows like a mighty gem brooching the mountain’s breast,
I drink and must, or mark the wide-spread herd,
Or list the thinking of the dingle-bird;
And now towards some wild-hanging shade I stray,
To shun the bright oppression of the day;
For round each crag, and o’er each bosky swell,
The fierce refracted heat flares visible,
Lambently restless, like the dazzling hem
Of some else viewless veil held trembling over them.
Why congregate the swallows in the air,
And northward then in rapid flight repair?
With sudden swelling din, remote yet harsh,
Why roar the bull-frogs in the tea-tree marsh?
Why cease the locusts to throng up in flight
And clap their gay wings in the fervent light?
Why climb they, bodingly demure, instead
The tallest spear-grass to the bending head?
Instinctively, along the sultry sky,
I turn a listless, yet inquiring, eye;
And mark that now with a slow gradual pace
A solemn trance creams northward o’er its face;
Yon clouds that late were labouring past the sun,
Reached by its sure arrest, one after one,
Come to a heavy halt; the airs that played
About the rugged mountains all are laid:
While drawing nearer far-off heights appear,
As in a dream’s wild prospect, strangely near!
Till into wood resolves their robe of blue,
And the grey crags rise bluffly on the view.
Such are the signs and tokens that presage
25
A summer hurricane’s forthcoming rage.
At length the south sends out her cloudy heaps
And up the glens at noontide dimness creeps;
The birds, late warbling in the hanging green
Off steep-set brakes, seek now some safer screen;
The herd, in doubt, no longer wanders wide,
But fast ingathering throngs yon mountain’s side,
Whose echoes, surging to its tramp, might seem
The muttered troubles of some Titan’s dream.
Fast the dim legions of the muttering storm
Throng denser, or protruding columns form;
While splashing forward from their cloudy lair,
Convolving flames, like scouting dragons, glare:
Low thunders follow, labouring up the sky;
And as fore-running blasts go blaring by,
At once the forest, with a mighty stir,
Bows, as in homage to the thunderer!
Hark! From the dingoes blood-polluted dens
In the gloom-hidden chasms of the glens,
Long fitful howls wail up; and in the blast
Strange hissing whispers seem to huddle past;
As if the dread stir had aroused from sleep
Weird spirits, cloistered in yon cavy steep
(On which, in the grim past, some Cain’s offence
Hath haply outraged heaven!) Who rising thence
Wrapped in the boding vapours, laughed again
To wanton in the wild-willed hurricane.
See in the storm’s front, sailing dark and dread,
A wide-winged eagle like a black flag spread!
The clouds aloft flash doom! Short stops his flight!
He seems to shrivel in the blasting light!
The air is shattered with a crashing sound,
And he falls stonelike, lifeless, to the ground.
Now, like a shadow at great nature’s heart,
The turmoil grows. Now wonder, with a start,
Marks where right overhead the storm careers,
Girt with black horrors and wide-flaming fears!
Arriving thunders, mustering on his path,
26
Swell more and more the roarings of his wrath,
As out in widening circles they extend,
And then—at once—in utter silence end.
Portentous silence! Time keeps breathing past,
Yet it continues! May this marvel last?
This wild weird silence in the midst of gloom
So manifestly big with coming doom?
Tingles the boding ear; and up the glens
Instinctive dread comes howling from the wild-dogs dens.
Terrific vision! Heaven’s great ceiling splits,
And a vast globe of writhing fire emits,
Which pouring down in one continuous stream,
Spans the black concave like a burning beam,
A moment;—then from end to end it shakes
With a quick motion—and in thunder breaks!
Peal rolled on peal! While heralding the sound,
As each concussion thrills the solid ground,
Fierce glares coil, snake-like, round the rocky wens
Of the red hills, or hiss into the glens,
Or thick through heaven like flaming falchions swarm,
Cleaving the teeming cisterns of the storm,
From which rain-torrents, searching every gash,
Split by the blast come sheeting with a dash.
On yon grey peak, from rock-encrusted roots,
The mighty patriarch of the wood upshoots,
In whose proud-spreading top’s imperial height,
The mountain-eagle loveth most to light:
Now dimly seen through the tempestuous air,
His form seems harrowed by a mad despair,
As with his ponderous arms uplifted high,
He wrestles with the storm and threshes at the sky!
A swift bolt hurtles through the lurid air,
Another thundering crash! The peak is bare!
Huge hurrying fragments all around are cast,
The wild-winged, mad-limbed monsters of the blast.
The darkness thickens! With despairing cry
From shattering boughs the rain-drenched parrtos fly;
Loose rocks roll rumbling from the mountains round,
27
And half the forest strews the smoking ground;
To the bared crags the blasts now wilder moan,
And the caves labour with a ghostlier groan.
Wide raging torrents down the gorges flow
Swift bearing with them to the vale below
Those sylvan wrecks that littered late the path
Of the loud hurricane s all-trampling wrath.
The storm is past. Yet booming on afar
Is heard the rattling of the thunder-car,
And that low muffled moaning, as of grief,
Which follows with a wood-sigh wide and brief.
The clouds break up; the sun s forth-bursting rays
Clothe the wet landscape with a dazzling blaze;
The birds begin to sing a lively strain,
And merry echoes ring it o’er again;
The clustered herd is spreading out to graze,
Though lessening torrents still a hundred ways
Flash downward, and from many a rock ledge
A mantling gush comes quick and shining o er the edge.
’Tis evening; and the torrent’s furious flow
Runs gentlier now into the lake below,
O’er all the freshened scene no sound is heard,
Save the short twitter of some busied bird,
Or a faint rustle made amongst the trees
By wasting fragments of a broken breeze.
Along the wild and wreck-strewed paths I wind,
Watching earth’s happiness with quiet mind,
And see a beauty all unmarked till now
Flushing each flowery nook and sunny brow;
Wished peace returning like a bird of calm,
Brings to the wounded world its blessed healing balm.
On nerveless, tuneless lines how sadly
Ringing rhymes may wasted be,
While blank verse oft is mere prose madly
Striving to be poetry:
While prose that’s craggy as a mountain
May Apollo’s sun-robe don,
Or hold the well-spring of a fountain
Bright as that in Helicon.
28
~ Charles Harpur
160:When Lincoln Died
ALREADY Appomattox day
Seemed to our hearts an age away,
Although the April-blossomed trees
Were droning with the very bees
That bumbled round the conference
Where Lee resigned his long defence,
And Grant’s new gentleness subdued
The iron Southern fortitude.
From smouldering leaves the smoky smell
Wreathed round Virginian fields a spell
Of homely aromatic haze,
So like New Hampshire springtime days
About the slopes of Moosilauke
It numbed my homesick heart to talk,
And when the bobolinks trilled “Rejoice!”
My comrade could not trust his voice.
We were two cavalrymen assigned
To safeguard Pinckney womankind,
Whose darkies rambled Lord knows where
In some persuasion that they were
Thenceforth, in ease, at public charge
To live as gentlemen at large—
A purpose which, they’d heard, the war
Was made by “Massa Linkum” for.
The pillared mansion, battle-wrecked,
Yet stood with ivied front erect,
Its mossy gables, shell-fire-torn,
Were still in lordliness upborne
Above the neighboring barns, well stored
With war-time’s rich tobacco hoard;
107
But on the place, for food, was naught
Save what our commissary brought
To keep the planter’s folk alive
Till Colonel Pinckney might arrive
Paroled from northward, if his head
Lay not among the prisoner dead.
We’d captured him ten days before,
When Richard Ewell’s veteran corps,
Half-naked, starving, fought amain
To save their dwindling wagon-train.
Since they were weak and we were strong,
The battle was not overlong.
Again I see the prisoners stare
Exultant at the orange glare
Of sunlit flame they saw aspire
Up from the train they gave to fire.
They’d shred apart their hero flags
To share the silk as heart-worn rags.
The trampled field was strewn about
With wreckage of the closing rout—
Their dead, their wounded, rifles broke,
Their mules and horses slain in yoke;
Their torn-up records, widely spread,
Fluttered around the muddy dead—
So bitter did their hearts condemn
To ruin all we took with them.
Ten days before! The war was past,
The Union saved, Peace come at last,
And Father Abraham’s words of balm
Gentling the war-worn States to calm.
Of all the miracles he wrought
That was the sweetest. Men who’d fought
So long they’d learned to think in hate,
And savor blood when bread they ate,
108
And hear their buried comrades wail,
How long, O Lord, doth wrong prevail?
List’ning alike, in blue or gray,
Felt war’s wild passions soothed away.
By homely touches in the air
That morning was so sweet and rare
That Father Abraham’s soul serene
Seemed brooding over all the scene;
And when we found the plough, I guess
We were so tired of idleness
Our farmer fingers yearned to hold
The handles, and to sense the mould
Turning the earth behind the knife.
Jim gladdened as with freshened life;—
“Say, John,” said he, “I’m feeling beat
To know what these good folks will eat
When you and I are gone. Next fall
They’re sure to have no crop at all.
All their tobacco’s confiscate
By Washington—and what a state
Of poverty they’re bound to see!
Say, buddy, what if you and me
Just hitch our cavalry horses now
Up to this blamed Virginia plough,
And run some furrows through the field?
With commissary seed they’d yield
A reasonable crop of corn.”
“They will,” said I, “as sure’s you’re born!”
Quickly we rigged, with rope and straps
And saddle leathers—well, perhaps
The Yankiest harness ever planned
109
95
To haul a plough through farming land.
It made us kind of happy, too,
Feeling like Father Abraham knew.
The Pinckney place stood on a rise,
And when we’d turned an end, our eyes
Would see the mansion war had wrecked,—
Such desolation! I suspect
The women’s hearts were mourning sore;
But not one tear we saw—they bore
Composed the fortune fate had sent—
But, O dear Lord, how still they went!
I’ve seen such quiet in a shroud,
Inscrutably resigned and proud.
Yet, when we’d worked an hour or two,
And plain was what we meant to do,
Mother and daughters came kind-eyed,—
“Soldiers—my soldier husband’s pride
Will be to thank you well—till then
We call you friendly, helpful men—”
It seemed she stopped for fear of tears.
She turned—they went—Oh, long the years
Gone by since that brave lady spoke—
And yet I hear the voice that broke.
We watched them climb the lilac hill,
Again the spring grew strangely still
Ere, far upon the turnpike road,
Across a clattering bridge, where flowed
Through sand the stream of Pinckney Run,
We heard the galloping of one
Who, hidden by the higher ground,
Pounded as fast as horse could pound.
110
Then—all again was still as death—
Till up the slope, with laboring breath,
A white steed rose—his rider gray
Spurring like mad his staggering way.
The man was old and tall and white,
His glooming eyes looked dead to light,
He rode with such a fateful air
I felt a coldness thrill my hair,
He rode as one hard hit rides out
In horror from some battle rout,
Bearing a cry for instant aid—
That aspect made my heart afraid. [Page 63]
The death-like rider drew no rein,
Nor seemed to note us on the plain,
140
Nor seemed to know how weak in stride
His horse strove up the long hillside;
When down it lurched, on foot the man
Up through the fringing lilacs ran,
His left hand clutching empty air
As if his sabre still hung there.
’T was plain as day that human blast
Was Colonel Pinckney home at last,
And we were free, since ordered so
That with his coming we might go;
Yet on we ploughed—the sun swung high,
Quiet the earth and blue the sky—
Silent we wrought, as men who wait
Some half-imagined stroke of fate,
While through the trembling shine came knells
111
Tolling from far-off Lynchburg bells.
The solemn, thrilling sounds of gloom
Bore portents of tremendous doom,
On smoky zephyrs drifted by
Shadows of hosts in charging cry,
In fields where silence ruled profound
Growling musketry echoed round,
Pale phantom ranks did starkly pass
Invisible across the grass,
Flags ghosted wild in powder fume
Till, miracled in memory’s room,
Rang the old regiment’s rousing cheer
For Father Abraham, smiling queer.
’T was when we turned a furrow’s end
We saw a martial form descend
From Mansion Hill the lilac way,
Till in our field the veteran gray
Stood tall and straight as at parade,
And yet as one with soul dismayed.
That living emblem of the South
Faced us unblenching, though his mouth
So quivered with the spoken word
It seemed a tortured heart we heard;—
“Soldiers”—he eyed us nobly when
We stood to “attention”—“Soldiers—men,
For this good work my thanks are due—
But—men—O God—men, if you knew,
Your kindly hands had shunned the plough—
For hell comes up between us now!—
Oh, sweet was peace—but gone is peace—
185
Murder and hate have fresh release!—
112
The deed be on the assassin’s head!—
Men—Abraham Lincoln’s lying dead!”
He steadied then—he told us through
All of the tale that Lynchburg knew,
190
While dumbly raged my anguished heart
With woe from pity wrenched apart,
For, in the fresh red furrow, bled
’Twixt us and him the martyred dead.
That precious crimson ran so fast
195
It merged in tinge with battles past,—
Hatcher’s, Five Forks, The Wilderness,
The Bloody Angle’s maddened stress;
Down Cemetery Hill there poured
Torrents that stormed to Kelly’s Ford,
200
And twice Manassas flung its flood
To swell the four years’ tide of blood,
And Sumter blazed, and Ellsworth fell,
While memory flashed its gleams of hell.
The colonel’s staring eyes declared
205
In visions wild as ours he shared,
Until—dear Christ—with Thine was blent
The death-transfigured President. [Page 65]
Strange—strange—the crown of thorns he wore,
His outspread hands were piercèd sore,
And down his old black coat a tide
Flowed from the javelin-wounded side;
Yet ’t was his homely self there stood,
And gently smiled across the blood,
113
And changed the mystic stream to tears
That swept afar the angry years,
And flung me down as falls a child
Whose heart breaks out in weeping wild.
Yet in that field we ploughed no more,
We shunned the open Southern door,
We saddled up, we rode away,—
It’s that that troubles me to-day.
Full thirty years to dust were turned
Before my pondering soul had learned
The blended vision there was sent
In sign that our Belovèd meant;—
Children who wrought so mild my will,
Plough the long furrow kindly still,
’T is sweet the Father’s work to see
Done for the memory of me.
~ Edward William Thomson
161:I.
  The everlasting universe of things
  Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
  Now darknow glittering--now reflecting gloom--
  Now lending splendour, where from secret springs
  The source of human thought its tribute brings
  Of waters--with a sound but half its own,
  Such as a feeble brook will oft assume,
  In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,
  Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river
Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

II.
Thus thou, Ravine of Arvedark, deep Ravine--
Thou many-colour'd, many-voiced vale,
Over whose pines, and crags, and caverns sail
Fast cloud-shadows and sunbeams: awful scene,
Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down
From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne,
Bursting through these dark mountains like the flame
Of lightning through the tempest;--thou dost lie,
Thy giant brood of pines around thee clinging,
Children of elder time, in whose devotion
The chainless winds still come and ever came
To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging
To hearan old and solemn harmony;
Thine earthly rainbows stretch'd across the sweep
Of the aethereal waterfall, whose veil
Robes some unsculptur'd image; the strange sleep
Which when the voices of the desert fail
Wraps all in its own deep eternity;
Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion,
A loud, lone sound no other sound can tame;
Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,
Thou art the path of that unresting sound
Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee
I seem as in a trance sublime and strange
To muse on my own separate fantasy,
My own, my human mind, which passively
Now renders and receives fast influencings,
Holding an unremitting interchange
With the clear universe of things around;
One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings
Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,
In the still cave of the witch Poesy,
Seeking among the shadows that pass by
Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,
Some phantom, some faint image; till the breast
From which they fled recalls them, thou art there!

III.
Some say that gleams of a remoter world
Visit the soul in sleep, that death is slumber,
And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber
Of those who wake and live.I look on high;
Has some unknown omnipotence unfurl'd
The veil of life and death? or do I lie
In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep
Spread far around and inaccessibly
Its circles? For the very spirit fails,
Driven like a homeless cloud from steep to steep
That vanishes among the viewless gales!
  Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky,
Mont Blanc appearsstill, snowy, and serene;
Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
Pile around it, ice and rock; broad vales between
Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps,
Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread
And wind among the accumulated steeps;
A desert peopled by the storms alone,
Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone,
And the wolf tracks her there--how hideously
Its shapes are heap'd around! rude, bare, and high,
Ghastly, and scarr'd, and riven. --Is this the scene
Where the old Earthquake-daemon taught her young
Ruin? Were these their toys? or did a sea
Of fire envelop once this silent snow?
None can reply -- all seems eternal now.
The wilderness has a mysterious tongue
Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild,
So solemn, so serene, that man may be,
But for such faith, with Nature reconcil'd;
Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood
By all, but which the wise, and great, and good
Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.

IV.
The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams,
Ocean, and all the living things that dwell
Within the daedal earth; lightning, and rain,
Earthquake, and fiery flood, and hurricane,
The torpor of the year when feeble dreams
Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep
Holds every future leaf and flower; the bound
With which from that detested trance they leap;
The works and ways of man, their death and birth,
And that of him and all that his may be;
All things that move and breathe with toil and sound
Are born and die; revolve, subside, and swell.
Power dwells apart in its tranquillity,
Remote, serene, and inaccessible:
And this, the naked countenance of earth,
On which I gaze, even these primeval mountains
Teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep
Like snakes that watch their prey, from their far fountains,
Slow rolling on; there, many a precipice
Frost and the Sun in scorn of mortal power
Have pil'd: dome, pyramid, and pinnacle,
A city of death, distinct with many a tower
And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky
Rolls its perpetual stream; vast pines are strewing
Its destin'd path, or in the mangled soil
Branchless and shatter'd stand; the rocks, drawn down
From yon remotest waste, have overthrown
The limits of the dead and living world,
Never to be reclaim'd. The dwelling-place
Of insects, beasts, and birds, becomes its spoil;
Their food and their retreat for ever gone,
So much of life and joy is lost. The race
Of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling
Vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream,
And their place is not known. Below, vast caves
Shine in the rushing torrents' restless gleam,
Which from those secret chasms in tumult welling
Meet in the vale, and one majestic River,
The breath and blood of distant lands, for ever
Rolls its loud waters to the ocean-waves,
Breathes its swift vapours to the circling air.

V.
Mont Blanc yet gleams on high:--the power is there,
The still and solemn power of many sights,
And many sounds, and much of life and death.
In the calm darkness of the moonless nights,
In the lone glare of day, the snows descend
Upon that Mountain; none beholds them there,
Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun,
Or the star-beams dart through them. Winds contend
Silently there, and heap the snow with breath
Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home
The voiceless lightning in these solitudes
Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods
Over the snow. The secret Strength of things
Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome
Of Heaven is as a law, inhabits thee!
And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,
If to the human mind's imaginings
Silence and solitude were vacancy?
Composed in Switzerland, July, 1816 (see date below). Printed at the end of the History of a Six Weeks' Tour published by Shelley in 1817, and reprinted with Posthumous Poems, 1824. Amongst the Boscombe manuscripts is a draft of this Ode, mainly in pencil, which has been collated by Dr. Garnett.

1.
In the preface of Mary Shelley's History of a Six Weeks Tour
(1817), Shelley writes: "the poem was composed under the immediate impression of the deep and powerful feelings excited by the objects which it attempts to describe\; and, as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to imitate the untamable
wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."
Shelley's prose account of his reaction to the first sight of Mont Blanc is in
a letter written on July 24 to T. L. Peacock.

1-2.
For a prose exposition of what Shelley calls "the intellectual philosophy,"
see his essay On Life: "I confess that I am one of those who am unable
to refuse my assent to the conclusions of those philosophers who assert that
nothing exists but as it is perceived .... The difference is merely nominal
between those two classes of thought which are vulgarly distinguished by
the names of ideas and of external objects. ... The existence of distinct
individual minds ... is likewise found to be a delusion. The words, I,
you, they, are ... merely marks employed to denote the different
modifications of the one mind. ... By the word things is to be
understood any object of thought. ... The relations of things remain
unchanged [in the intellectual philosophy]\; and such is the material of our
knowledge."

53.
Unfurl'd. "Rolled back" or merely "furled" is the meaning required by the
sense of the passage. "Upfurled" has been suggested as the word Shelley intended.

76-83.
For a related argument see Queen Mab, VI, 197-219.

79.
But for such faith. A surviving pencil draft of the poem reads "in such
a faith," which confirms the likelihood that this phrase is intended to mean
"even with such faith alone," rather than "except for such faith."


~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mont Blanc - Lines Written In The Vale of Chamouni

162:See you the towers, that, gray and old,
Frown through the sunlight's liquid gold,
Steep sternly fronting steep?
The Hellespont beneath them swells,
And roaring cleaves the Dardanelles,
The rock-gates of the deep!
Hear you the sea, whose stormy wave,
From Asia, Europe clove in thunder?
That sea which rent a world, cannot
Rend love from love asunder!

In Hero's, in Leander's heart,
Thrills the sweet anguish of the dart
Whose feather flies from love.
All Hebe's bloom in Hero's cheek
And his the hunter's steps that seek
Delight, the hills above!
Between their sires the rival feud
Forbids their plighted hearts to meet;
Love's fruits hang over danger's gulf,
By danger made more sweet.

Alone on Sestos' rocky tower,
Where upward sent in stormy shower,
The whirling waters foam,
Alone the maiden sits, and eyes
The cliffs of fair Abydos rise
Afarher lover's home.
Oh, safely thrown from strand to strand,
No bridge can love to love convey;
No boatman shoots from yonder shore,
Yet Love has found the way.

That love, which could the labyrinth pierce
Which nerves the weak, and curbs the fierce,
And wings with wit the dull;
That love which o'er the furrowed land
Bowedtame beneath young Jason's hand
The fiery-snorting bull!
Yes, Styx itself, that ninefold flows,
Has love, the fearless, ventured o'er,
And back to daylight borne the bride,
From Pluto's dreary shore!

What marvel then that wind and wave,
Leander doth but burn to brave,
When love, that goads him, guides!
Still when the day, with fainter glimmer,
Wanes palehe leaps, the daring swimmer,
Amid the darkening tides;
With lusty arms he cleaves the waves,
And strikes for that dear strand afar;
Where high from Hero's lonely tower
Lone streams the beacon-star.

In vain his blood the wave may chill,
These tender arms can warm it still
And, weary if the way,
By many a sweet embrace, above
All earthly boonscan liberal love
The lover's toil repay,
Until Aurora breaks the dream,
And warns the loiterer to depart
Back to the ocean's icy bed,
Scared from that loving heart.

So thirty suns have sped their flight
Still in that theft of sweet delight
Exult the happy pair;
Caress will never pall caress,
And joys that gods might envy, bless
The single bride-night there.
Ah! never he has rapture known,
Who has not, where the waves are driven
Upon the fearful shores of hell,
Plucked fruits that taste of heaven!

Now changing in their season are,
The morning and the Hesper star;
Nor see those happy eyes
The leaves that withering droop and fall,
Nor hear, when, from its northern hall,
The neighboring winter sighs;
Or, if they see, the shortening days
But seem to them to close in kindness;
For longer joys, in lengthening nights,
They thank the heaven in blindness.

It is the time, when night and day,
In equal scales contend for sway
Lone, on her rocky steep,
Lingers the girl with wistful eyes
That watch the sun-steeds down the skies,
Careering towards the deep.
Lulled lay the smooth and silent sea,
A mirror in translucent calm,
The breeze, along that crystal realm,
Unmurmuring, died in balm.

In wanton swarms and blithe array,
The merry dolphins glide and play
Amid the silver waves.
In gray and dusky troops are seen,
The hosts that serve the ocean-queen,
Upborne from coral caves:
Theyonly theyhave witnessed love
To rapture steal its secret way:
And Hecate [36] seals the only lips
That could the tale betray!

She marks in joy the lulled water,
And Sestos, thus thy tender daughter,
Soft-flattering, woos the sea!
"Fair godand canst thou then betray?
No! falsehood dwells with them that say
That falsehood dwells with thee!
Ah! faithless is the race of man,
And harsh a father's heart can prove;
But thee, the gentle and the mild,
The grief of love can move!"

"Within these hated walls of stone,
Should I, repining, mourn alone,
And fade in ceaseless care,
But thou, though o'er thy giant tide,
Nor bridge may span, nor boat may glide,
Dost safe my lover bear.
And darksome is thy solemn deep,
And fearful is thy roaring wave;
But wave and deep are won by love
Thou smilest on the brave!"

"Nor vainly, sovereign of the sea,
Did Eros send his shafts to thee
What time the rain of gold,
Bright Helle, with her brother bore,
How stirred the waves she wandered o'er,
How stirred thy deeps of old!
Swift, by the maiden's charms subdued,
Thou cam'st from out the gloomy waves,
And in thy mighty arms, she sank
Into thy bridal caves."

"A goddess with a god, to keep
In endless youth, beneath the deep,
Her solemn ocean-court!
And still she smooths thine angry tides,
Tames thy wild heart, and favoring guides
The sailor to the port!
Beautiful Helle, bright one, hear
Thy lone adoring suppliant pray!
And guide, O goddessguide my love
Along the wonted way!"

Now twilight dims the waters' flow,
And from the tower, the beacon's glow
Waves flickering o'er the main.
Ah, where athwart the dismal stream,
Shall shine the beacon's faithful beam
The lover's eyes shall strain!
Hark! sounds moan threatening from afar
From heaven the blessed stars are gone
More darkly swells the rising sea
The tempest labors on!

Along the ocean's boundless plains
Lies nightin torrents rush the rains
From the dark-bosomed cloud
Red lightning skirs the panting air,
And, loosed from out their rocky lair,
Sweep all the storms abroad.
Huge wave on huge wave tumbling o'er,
The yawning gulf is rent asunder,
And shows, as through an opening pall,
Grim earththe ocean under!

Poor maiden! bootless wail or vow
"Have mercy, Jovebe gracious, thou!
Dread prayer was mine before!"
What if the gods have heardand he,
Lone victim of the stormy sea,
Now struggles to the shore!
There's not a sea-bird on the wave
Their hurrying wings the shelter seek;
The stoutest ship the storms have proved,
Takes refuge in the creek.

"Ah, still that heart, which oft has braved
The danger where the daring saved,
Love lureth o'er the sea;
For many a vow at parting morn,
That naught but death should bar return,
Breathed those dear lips to me;
And whirled around, the while I weep,
Amid the storm that rides the wave,
The giant gulf is grasping down
The rash one to the grave!

"False Pontus! and the calm I hailed,
The awaiting murder darkly veiled
The lulled pellucid flow,
The smiles in which thou wert arrayed,
Were but the snares that love betrayed
To thy false realm below!
Now in the midway of the main,
Return relentlessly forbidden,
Thou loosenest on the path beyond
The horrors thou hadst hidden."

Loud and more loud the tempest raves
In thunder break the mountain waves,
White-foaming on the rock
No ship that ever swept the deep
Its ribs of gnarled oak could keep
Unshattered by the shock.
Dies in the blast the guiding torch
To light the struggler to the strand;
'Tis death to battle with the wave,
And death no less to land!

On Venus, daughter of the seas,
She calls the tempest to appease
To each wild-shrieking wind
Along the ocean-desert borne,
She vows a steer with golden horn
Vain vowrelentless wind!
On every goddess of the deep,
On all the gods in heaven that be,
She callsto soothe in calm, awhile
The tempest-laden sea!

"Hearken the anguish of my cries!
From thy green halls, arisearise,
Leucothoe the divine!
Who, in the barren main afar,
Oft on the storm-beat mariner
Dost gently-saving shine.
Oh,reach to him thy mystic veil,
To which the drowning clasp may cling,
And safely from that roaring grave,
To shore my lover bring!"

And now the savage winds are hushing.
And o'er the arched horizon, blushing,
Day's chariot gleams on high!
Back to their wonted channels rolled,
In crystal calm the waves behold
One smile on sea and sky!
All softly breaks the rippling tide,
Low-murmuring on the rocky land,
And playful wavelets gently float
A corpse upon the strand!

'Tis he!who even in death would still
Not fail the sweet vow to fulfil;
She looksseesknows him there!
From her pale lips no sorrow speaks,
No tears glide down her hueless cheeks;
Cold-numbed in her despair
She looked along the silent deep,
She looked upon the brightening heaven,
Till to the marble face the soul
Its light sublime had given!

"Ye solemn powers men shrink to name,
Your might is here, your rights ye claim
Yet think not I repine
Soon closed my course; yet I can bless
The life that brought me happiness
The fairest lot was mine!
Living have I thy temple served,
Thy consecrated priestess been
My last glad offering now receive
Venus, thou mightiest queen!"

Flashed the white robe along the air,
And from the tower that beetled there
She sprang into the wave;
Roused from his throne beneath the waste,
Those holy forms the god embraced
A god himself their grave!
Pleased with his prey, he glides along
More blithe the murmured music seems,
A gush from unexhausted urns
His everlasting streams!

~ Friedrich Schiller, Hero And Leander

163:Corsica
--- A manly race
Of unsubmitting spirit, wise and brave;
Who still through bleeding ages struggled hard
To hold a generous undiminished state;
Too much in vain!
Thomson
Hail, generous Corsica! unconquered isle!
The fort of freedom; that amidst the waves
Stands like a rock of adamant, and dares
The wildest fury of the beating storm.
And are there yet, in this late sickly age,
Unkindly to the towering growths of virtue,
Such bold exalted spirits? Men whose deeds,
To the bright annals of old Greece opposed,
Would throw in shades her yet unrivaled name,
And dim the lustre of her fairest page!
And glows the flame of Liberty so strong
In this lone speck of earth! this spot obscure,
Shaggy with woods, and crusted o'er with rock,
By slaves surrounded, and by slaves oppressed!
What then should Britons feel?—should they not catch
The warm contagion of heroic ardour,
And kindle at a fire so like their own?
Such were the working thoughts which swelled the breast
Of generous Boswel; when with nobler aim
And views beyond the narrow beaten track
By trivial fancy trod, he turned his course
From polished Gallia's soft delicious vales,
From the grey reliques of imperial Rome,
From her long galleries of laureled stone,
Her chiseled heroes and her marble gods,
Whose dumb majestic pomp yet awes the world,
To animated forms of patriot zeal;
Warm in the living majesty of virtue;
Elate with fearless spirit; firm; resolved;
37
By fortune nor subdued, nor awed by power.
How raptured fancy burns, while warm in thought
I trace the pictured landscape; while I kiss
With pilgrim lips devout the sacred soil
Stained with the blood of heroes. Cyrnus, hail!
Hail to thy rocky, deep indented shores,
And pointed cliffs, which hear the chafing deep
Incessant foaming round their shaggy sides.
Hail to thy winding bays, thy sheltering ports
And ample harbours, which inviting stretch
Their hospitable arms to every sail:
Thy numerous streams, that bursting from the cliffs
Down the steep channeled rock impetuous pour
With grateful murmur: on the fearful edge
Of the rude precipice, thy hamlets brown
And straw-roofed cots, which from the level vale
Scarce seen, amongst the craggy hanging cliffs
Seem like an eagle's nest aerial built.
Thy swelling mountains, brown with solemn shade
Of various trees, that wave their giant arms
O'er the rough sons of freedom; lofty pines,
And hardy fir, and ilex ever green,
And spreading chesnut, with each humbler plant,
And shrub of fragrant leaf, that clothes their sides
With living verdure; whence the clustering bee
Extracts her golden dews: the shining box,
And sweet-leaved myrtle, aromatic thyme,
The prickly juniper, and the green leaf
Which feeds the spinning worm; while glowing bright
Beneath the various foliage, wildly spreads
The arbutus, and rears his scarlet fruit
Luxuriant, mantling o'er the craggy steeps;
And thy own native laurel crowns the scene.
Hail to thy savage forests, awful, deep;
Thy tangled thickets, and thy crowded woods,
The haunt of herds untamed; which sullen bound
From rock to rock with fierce unsocial air,
And wilder gaze, as conscious of the power
That loves to reign amid the lonely scenes
Of unquelled nature: precipices huge,
And tumbling torrents; trackless deserts, plains
38
Fenced in with guardian rocks, whose quarries teem
With shining steel, that to the cultured fields
And sunny hills which wave with bearded grain
Defends their homely produce. Liberty,
The mountain Goddess, loves to range at large
Amid such scenes, and on the iron soil
Prints her majestic step. For these she scorns
The green enameled vales, the velvet lap
Of smooth savannahs, where the pillowed head
Of Luxury reposes; balmy gales,
And bowers that breathe of bliss. For these, when first
This isle emerging like a beauteous gem
From the dark bosom of the Tyrrhene main
Reared its fair front, she marked it for her own,
And with her spirit warmed. Her genuine sons,
A broken remnant, from the generous stock
Of ancient Greece, from Sparta's sad remains,
True to their high descent, preserved unquenched
The sacred fire through many a barbarous age:
Whom, nor the iron rod of cruel Carthage,
Nor the dread sceptre of imperial Rome,
Nor bloody Goth, nor grisly Saracen,
Nor the long galling yoke of proud Liguria,
Could crush into subjection. Still unquelled
They rose superior, bursting from their chains,
And claimed man's dearest birthright, liberty:
And long, through many a hard unequal strife
Maintained the glorious conflict; long withstood,
With single arm, the whole collected force
Of haughty Genoa, and ambitious Gaul.
And shall withstand it—Trust the faithful Muse!
It is not in the force of mortal arm,
Scarcely in fate, to bind the struggling soul
That galled by wanton power, indignant swells
Against oppression; breathing great revenge,
Careless of life, determined to be free.
And favouring Heaven approves: for see the Man,
Born to exalt his own, and give mankind
A glimpse of higher natures: just, as great;
The soul of council, and the nerve of war;
Of high unshaken spirit, tempered sweet
With soft urbanity, and polished grace,
39
And attic wit, and gay unstudied smiles:
Whom Heaven in some propitious hour endowed
With every purer virtue: gave him all
That lifts the hero, or adorns the man.
Gave him the eye sublime; the searching glance,
Keen, scanning deep, that smites the guilty soul
As with a beam from heaven; on his brow
Serene, and spacious front, set the broad seal
Of dignity and rule; then smiled benign
On this fair pattern of a God below,
High wrought, and breathed into his swelling breast
The large ambitious wish to save his country.
O beauteous title to immortal fame!
The man devoted to the public, stands
In the bright records of superior worth
A step below the skies: if he succeed,
The first fair lot which earth affords, is his;
And if he falls, he falls above a throne.
When such their leader, can the brave despair?
Freedom the cause, and Paoli the chief!
Success to your fair hopes! A British Muse,
Though weak and powerless, lifts her fervent voice,
And breathes a prayer for your success. O could
She scatter blessings as the morn sheds dews,
To drop upon your heads! But patient hope
Must wait the appointed hour; secure of this,
That never with the indolent and weak
Will Freedom deign to dwell; she must be seized
By that bold arm that wrestles for the blessing:
'Tis Heaven's best prize, and must be bought with blood.
When the storm thickens, when the combat burns,
And pain and death in every horrid shape
That can appal the feeble, prowl around,
Then Virtue triumphs; then her towering form
Dilates with kindling majesty; her mien
Breathes a diviner spirit, and enlarged
Each spreading feature, with an ampler port
And bolder tone, exulting, rides the storm,
And joys amidst the tempest. Then she reaps
Her golden harvest; fruits of nobler growth
And higher relish than meridian suns
40
Can ever ripen; fair, heroic deeds,
And godlike action. 'Tis not meats and drinks,
And balmy airs, and vernal suns and showers,
That feed and ripen minds; 'tis toil and danger;
And wrestling with the stubborn gripe of fate;
And war, and sharp distress, and paths obscure
And dubious. The bold swimmer joys not so
To feel the proud waves under him, and beat
With strong repelling arm the billowy surge;
The generous courser does not so exult
To toss his floating mane against the wind,
And neigh amidst the thunder of the war,
As Virtue to oppose her swelling breast
Like a firm shield against the darts of fate.
And when her sons in that rough school have learned
To smile at danger, then the hand that raised
Shall hush the storm, and lead the shining train
Of peaceful years in bright procession on.
Then shall the shepherd's pipe, the Muse's lyre,
On Cyrnus' shores be heard: her grateful sons
With loud acclaim and hymns of cordial praise
Shall hail their high deliverers; every name
To Virtue dear be from oblivion snatched
And placed among the stars: but chiefly thine,
Thine, Paoli, with sweetest sound shall dwell
On their applauding lips; thy sacred name,
Endeared to long posterity, some Muse,
More worthy of the theme, shall consecrate
To after-ages, and applauding worlds
Shall bless the godlike man who saved his country.
So vainly wished, so fondly hoped the Muse:
Too fondly hoped. The iron fates prevail,
And Cyrnus is no more. Her generous sons,
Less vanquished than o'erwhelmed, by numbers crushed,
Admired, unaided fell. So strives the moon
In dubious battle with the gathering clouds,
And strikes a splendour through them; till at length
Storms rolled on storms involve the face of heaven
And quench her struggling fires. Forgive the zeal
That, too presumptuous, whispered better things,
And read the book of destiny amiss.
41
Not with the purple colouring of success
Is virtue best adorned: the attempt is praise.
There yet remains a freedom, nobler far
Than kings or senates can destroy or give;
Beyond the proud oppressor's cruel grasp
Seated secure, uninjured, undestroyed;
Worthy of Gods:….the freedom of the mind.
~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld
164:Lines In Memory Of Edmund Morris
Dear Morris--here is your letter-Can my answer reach you now?
Fate has left me your debtor,
You will remember how;
For I went away to Nantucket,
And you to the Isle of Orleans,
And when I was dawdling and dreaming
Over the ways and means
Of answering, the power was denied me,
Fate frowned and took her stand;
I have your unanswered letter
Here in my hand.
This--in your famous scribble,
It was ever a cryptic fist,
Cuneiform or Chaldaic
Meanings held in a mist.
Dear Morris, (now I'm inditing
And poring over your script)
I gather from the writing,
The coin that you had flipt,
Turned tails; and so you compel me
To meet you at Touchwood Hills:
Or, mayhap, you are trying to tell me
The sum of a painter's ills:
Is that Phimister Proctor
Or something about a doctor?
Well, nobody knows, but Eddie,
Whatever it is I'm ready.
For our friendship was always fortunate
In its greetings and adieux,
Nothing flat or importunate,
Nothing of the misuse
That comes of the constant grinding
Of one mind on another.
So memory has nothing to smother,
But only a few things captured
On the wing, as it were, and enraptured.
51
Yes, Morris, I am inditing-Answering at last it seems,
How can you read the writing
In the vacancy of dreams?
I would have you look over my shoulder
Ere the long, dark year is colder,
And mark that as memory grows older,
The brighter it pulses and gleams.
And if I should try to render
The tissues of fugitive splendour
That fled down the wind of living,
Will they read it some day in the future,
And be conscious of an awareness
In our old lives, and the bareness
Of theirs, with the newest passions
In the last fad of the fashions?
*****
How often have we risen without daylight
When the day star was hidden in mist,
When the dragon-fly was heavy with dew and sleep,
And viewed the miracle pre-eminent, matchless,
The prelusive light that quickens the morning.
O crystal dawn, how shall we distill your virginal freshness
When you steal upon a land that man has not sullied with his
intrusion,
When the aboriginal shy dwellers in the broad solitudes
Are asleep in their innumerable dens and night haunts
Amid the dry ferns, in the tender nests
Pressed into shape by the breasts of the Mother birds?
How shall we simulate the thrill of announcement
When lake after lake lingering in the starlight
Turn their faces towards you,
And are caressed with the salutation of colour?
How shall we transmit in tendril-like images,
The tenuous tremor in the tissues of ether,
Before the round of colour buds like the dome of a shrine,
The preconscious moment when love has fluttered in the bosom,
Before it begins to ache?
52
How often have we seen the even
Melt into the liquidity of twilight,
With passages of Titian splendour,
Pellucid preludes, exquisitely tender,
Where vanish and revive, thro' veils of the ashes of roses,
The crystal forms the breathless sky discloses.
The new moon a slender thing,
In a snood of virgin light,
She seemed all shy on venturing
Into the vast night.
Her own land and folk were afar,
She must have gone astray,
But the gods had given a silver star,
To be with her on the way.
*****
I can feel the wind on the prairie
And see the bunch-grass wave,
And the sunlights ripple and vary
The hill with Crowfoot's grave,
Where he 'pitched off' for the last time
In sight of the Blackfoot Crossing,
Where in the sun for a pastime
You marked the site of his tepee
With a circle of stones. Old Napiw
Gave you credit for that day.
And well I recall the weirdness
Of that evening at Qu'Appelle,
In the wigwam with old Sakimay,
The keen, acrid smell,
As the kinnikinick was burning;
The planets outside were turning,
And the little splints of poplar
Flared with a thin, gold flame.
He showed us his painted robe
Where in primitive pigments
He had drawn his feats and his forays,
And told us the legend
53
Of the man without a name,
The hated Blackfoot,
How he lured the warriors,
The young men, to the foray
And they never returned.
Only their ghosts
Goaded by the Blackfoot
Mounted on stallions:
In the night time
He drove the stallions
Reeking into the camp;
The women gasped and whispered,
The children cowered and crept,
And the old men shuddered
Where they slept.
When Sakimay looked forth
He saw the Blackfoot,
And the ghosts of the warriors,
And the black stallions
Covered by the night wind
As by a mantle.
*****
I remember well a day,
When the sunlight had free play,
When you worked in happy stress,
While grave Ne-Pah-Pee-Ness
Sat for his portrait there,
In his beaded coat and his bare
Head, with his mottled fan
Of hawk's feathers, A Man!
Ah Morris, those were the times
When you sang your inconsequent rhymes
Sprung from a careless fountain:
'_He met her on the mountain,
He gave her a horn to blow,
And the very last words he said to her
Were, 'Go 'long, Eliza, go.'_'
Foolish,--but life was all,
54
And under the skilful fingers
Contours came at your call-Art grows and time lingers;-But now the song has a change
Into something wistful and strange.
And one asks with a touch of ruth
What became of the youth
And where did Eliza go?
He met her on the mountain,
He gave her a horn to blow,
The horn was a silver whorl
With a mouthpiece of pure pearl,
And the mountain was all one glow,
With gulfs of blue and summits of rosy snow.
The cadence she blew on the silver horn
Was the meaning of life in one phrase caught,
And as soon as the magic notes were born,
She repeated them once in an afterthought.
They heard in the crystal passes,
The cadence, calling, calling,
And faint in the deep crevasses,
The echoes falling, falling.
They stood apart and wondered;
Her lips with a wound were aquiver,
His heart with a sword was sundered,
For life was changed forever
When he gave her the horn to blow:
But a shadow arose from the valley,
Desolate, slow and tender,
It hid the herdsmen's chalet,
Where it hung in the emerald meadow,
(Was death driving the shadow?)
It quenched the tranquil splendour
Of the colour of life on the glow-peaks,
Till at the end of the even,
The last shell-tint on the snow-peaks
Had passed away from the heaven.
And yet, when it passed, victorious,
The stars came out on the mountains,
And the torrents gusty and glorious,
Clamoured in a thousand fountains,
And even far down in the valley,
55
A light re-discovered the chalet.
The scene that was veiled had a meaning,
So deep that none might know;
Was it here in the morn on the mountain,
That he gave her the horn to blow?
*****
Tears are the crushed essence of this world,
The wine of life, and he who treads the press
Is lofty with imperious disregard
Of the burst grapes, the red tears and the murk.
But nay! that is a thought of the old poets,
Who sullied life with the passional bitterness
Of their world-weary hearts. We of the sunrise,
Joined in the breast of God, feel deep the power
That urges all things onward, not to an end,
But in an endless flow, mounting and mounting,
Claiming not overmuch for human life,
Sharing with our brothers of nerve and leaf
The urgence of the one creative breath,-All in the dim twilight--say of morning,
Where the florescence of the light and dew
Haloes and hallows with a crown adorning
The brows of life with love; herein the clue,
The love of life--yea, and the peerless love
Of things not seen, that leads the least of things
To cherish the green sprout, the hardening seed;
Here leans all nature with vast Mother-love,
Above the cradled future with a smile.
Why are there tears for failure, or sighs for weakness,
While life's rhythm beats on? Where is the rule
To measure the distance we have circled and clomb?
Catch up the sands of the sea and count and count
The failures hidden in our sum of conquest.
Persistence is the master of this life;
The master of these little lives of ours;
To the end--effort--even beyond the end.
*****
Here, Morris, on the plains that we have loved,
56
Think of the death of Akoose, fleet of foot,
Who, in his prime, a herd of antelope
From sunrise, without rest, a hundred miles
Drove through rank prairie, loping like a wolf,
Tired them and slew them, ere the sun went down.
Akoose, in his old age, blind from the smoke
Of tepees and the sharp snow light, alone
With his great grandchildren, withered and spent,
Crept in the warm sun along a rope
Stretched for his guidance. Once when sharp autumn
Made membranes of thin ice upon the sloughs,
He caught a pony on a quick return
Of prowess and, all his instincts cleared and quickened,
He mounted, sensed the north and bore away
To the Last Mountain Lake where in his youth
He shot the sand-hill-cranes with his flint arrows.
And for these hours in all the varied pomp
Of pagan fancy and free dreams of foray
And crude adventure, he ranged on entranced,
Until the sun blazed level with the prairie,
Then paused, faltered and slid from off his pony.
In a little bluff of poplars, hid in the bracken,
He lay down; the populace of leaves
In the lithe poplars whispered together and trembled,
Fluttered before a sunset of gold smoke,
With interspaces, green as sea water,
And calm as the deep water of the sea.
There Akoose lay, silent amid the bracken,
Gathered at last with the Algonquin Chieftains.
Then the tenebrous sunset was blown out,
And all the smoky gold turned into cloud wrack.
Akoose slept forever amid the poplars,
Swathed by the wind from the far-off Red Deer
Where dinosaurs sleep, clamped in their rocky tombs.
Who shall count the time that lies between
The sleep of Akoose and the dinosaurs?
Innumerable time, that yet is like the breath
Of the long wind that creeps upon the prairie
And dies away with the shadows at sundown.
*****
57
What we may think, who brood upon the theme,
Is, when the old world, tired of spinning, has fallen
Asleep, and all the forms, that carried the fire
Of life, are cold upon her marble heart-Like ashes on the altar--just as she stops,
That something will escape of soul or essence,-The sum of life, to kindle otherwhere:
Just as the fruit of a high sunny garden,
Grown mellow with autumnal sun and rain,
Shrivelled with ripeness, splits to the rich heart,
And looses a gold kernel to the mould,
So the old world, hanging long in the sun,
And deep enriched with effort and with love,
Shall, in the motions of maturity,
Wither and part, and the kernel of it all
Escape, a lovely wraith of spirit, to latitudes
Where the appearance, throated like a bird,
Winged with fire and bodied all with passion,
Shall flame with presage, not of tears, but joy.
~ Duncan Campbell Scott
165:Julia, Or The Convent Of St. Claire
Stranger, that massy, mouldering pile,
Whose ivied ruins load the ground,
Reechoed once to pious strains
By holy sisters breathed around.
There many a noble virgin came
To bid the world she loved....adieu;
There, victim of parental pride,
To years of hopeless grief withdrew.
Yes, proud St. Claire! thy costly walls
Have witnessed oft the mourner's pain;
And hearts in joyless durance bound,
Which sighed for kindred hearts in vain.
But never more within thy cells
Shall beauty breathe the fruitless sigh,
Nor hid beneath the envious veil
Shall sorrow dim the sparkling eye.
For now, a sight by reason blest,
Thy gloomy dome in ruins falls,
While bats and screechowls harbour there,
Sole tenants of thy crumbling walls.
And soon, blest change! as those dread plains,
Where Etna's burning torrents poured,
Become, when Time its power has shed,
With softly-smiling verdure stored:
So, when thy darkly-frowning towers
The verdant plain no longer load,
These scenes, where sorrow reigned, may prove
Fond, faithful lovers' blest abode.
And they shall pledge the nuptial vow,
Where once far different vows were heard;
And where thy pining virgins mourned,
Shall babes, sweet smiling babes, be reared.
Hail, glorious change, to Nature dear!
Methinks I see the bridal throng;
And hark, where lonely sisters prayed,
How sweetly swells the social song!
But nought, O! nought can her restore
To social life, to happy love,
Who once amidst thy cloistered train
With passion's hopeless sorrow strove.
Lamented maid! my faithful Muse
To pity's ear shall tell thy tale;
Shall tell, at midnight's awful hour
Why groaning ghosts affright the vale.
On Julia's softly dimpled cheek
Just bloom'd to view youth's opening rose,
When, proudly stern, her father bade
St. Claire's dark walls her bloom enclose.
But no reluctance to obey
With tears bedewed her beauteous cheek,
Since love with soft persuasive power
Not yet had taught her heart to speak.
"Yes,....be a nun's vocation mine,
So I my brother's bliss improve;
His be their wealth," sweet Julia cried,
So I may boast my parent's love!"
Proud Clermont blessed his generous child;
Her gentler mother dropped a tear,
As if her boding heart foretold
That love and Julia's woes were near.
For lo! where glows the nuptial feast,
And Clermont's heir leads in his bride,
While Julia, called that feast to grace,
Sits by a blooming baron's side.
Dear, fatal hour! the feast is o'er,
But still in faithful memory charms,
And Julia's conscious heart has learnt
To throb with passion's new alarms.
"Now then I feel the power of love,"
She on her sleepless pillow cried,
"Then must I still my sire obey,
And this warm heart in cloisters hide?
"But hold, fond girl! thy throbbing breast
May be with hopeless fondness fraught;
Yet sure Montrose's speaking eyes
Declared he felt the love he taught."
And well her hopes his glance had read,....
Montrose a mutual passion felt,
Nor long his tender pangs concealed,
But at her feet impassioned knelt.
Her downcast eye, her blush, her smile
To crown her lover's suit conspired,
Who, bold in hope, to Clermont told
The artless wish by fondness fired.
But told in vain--"Away!" he cried;
"O'er me your pleadings boast no power:
Think not my son his rights shall yield,
To swell my pining daughter's dower."
"No:--let his rights still sacred be,"
Montrose with throbbing heart replied,
"Give me but Julia's willing hand,
I ask, I wish for nought beside."
"And darest thou think that Clermont's child
Shall e'er pronounce the nuptial vow
Unless," he said, "I could a dower
Equal to Clermont's rank bestow!
"Away, young lord! entreat no more!
Nor thus with vain complainings mourn;
For, ere tomorrow's sun has set,
My child shall to her cell return."
He spoke, and frown'd.--Alas, Montrose!
In vain thy manly bosom mourned
For, ere tomorrow's sun had set,
Thy Julia to her cell returned.
But changed indeed! Youth's opening rose
Now on her cheek no longer glowed;
And now, with earthly cares opprest,
Before the holy shrine she bowed.
Now to religion's rites no more
Her heart with ready zeal impelled;
No more with genuine fervour warm,
Her voice the holy anthem swelled.
"Whence thy pale cheek? and whence, my child,
Proceeds this change?" the abbess said,
"Why heaves thy breast with deep-drawn sighs,
And wherefore droops thy youthful head?"
"Yes,....you shall know," the sufferer cried,
"And let my fate your pity move!
See Passion's victim! Morn and eve
This struggling soul is lost in love.
"And I yon sacred shrine profane;
The cross with languid zeal I press;
Montrose's image claims the vows
Which my false lips to Heaven address.
"Yes:--while I drop the sacred bead,
His form obtrudes upon my view,
And love's warm tears my rosary wet,
Love claims the sigh devotion's due.
"Inhuman Father! wilt thou risk
My peace on earth, and hopes of heaven?
Tremble, tyrannic parent, think
What love may do to madness driven!"
With pitying heart the abbess heard;
For she an answering pang had known,
And well her gentle soul could mourn
A fate, a grief, so like her own.
"But why despair, my child?" she said,
"Before thy father lowly kneel,
And teach that heart, though fenced by pride,
Compassion's generous throb to feel."
Julia the kind advice obeyed;
And when the haughty Clermont came,
Before his feet she lowly knelt,
And hailed him by a parent's name.
"Think'st thou to wrong thy brother's rights
I e'er can be by thee beguiled?"
"Father!" her trembling lips replied,
"Say, is not Julia too your child?
"For him you bid the nuptial feast,
And all life's dearest blessings glow,
While I, alike your child, you doom
To hopeless love, and lonely woe."
But vain remonstrance, tears, and prayers;
The Count's proud heart could all deride,
For Nature's voice can never melt
The callous bosom fenced by pride.
"Urge me no more," he fiercely said,
"But know, not long these prayers can last;
Reflect, fond girl! at morning's dawn
The year of thy probation's past!"
Pale, pale grew then her youthful cheek,
Heart-piercing seemed her mournful cry:
"Clermont! relent," her mother cried,
"Nor coldly doom thy child to die."
But vain was Julia's piercing shriek;
Nor justice he nor mercy knew:
"Receive," he said, "my last embrace,"....
Then from the mournful scene withdrew.
Loud called the evening bell to prayers,
But still on Julia vainly called,
Who, leaning on her mother's breast,
With desperate words that breast appalled.
"Suppress, suppress thy grief, my child,
Or fear to call dread vengeance down:
Wouldst thou not tremble, impious girl!
Before thy God's avenging frown?"
"Paint not that gracious God in frowns,
Did not for us a Saviour bleed?
In mercy clothe his awful power,
For I shall soon that mercy need."
Dark, cheerless, awful is the night
When tempests load the troubled air;
But darker, gloomier is the mind
Where reigns the ghastly fiend Despair.
Fond mother! in thy Julia's eyes
Canst thou not see his reign is near?
Inhuman father! hark! loud groans
Shall swell the blast;....Beware! beware!
"Mother, the hour commands thee hence,"
Sad Julia cried, "we now must part;
And never may thy bosom know
A grief like that which rends my heart!
"In all thy prayers tonight for me,
The awful throne of Heaven address,
While I with grateful bosom kneel,
And bid its power thy goodness bless."
Speechless the mourning mother heard;
Her tongue denied the word 'farewell!'
At length her quivering lips she pressed,
And Julia hurried to her cell.....
10
Now chill and loud the North wind blew,
Through the long aisles hoarse murmurs ran;
The shuddering sisters' cheeks were pale,
When they their midnight tasks began.
Mock'd by deep groans each anthem seemed,
The vaulted roofs still gloomier grew:
The blast of night was swelled by shrieks,
The bird of night ill-omened flew.
The trembling tapers grew more pale,
While, where their languid radiance fell,
A phantom dimly seemed to glide,
And loud was heard the passing bell.
"Did you not see a phantom flit?
Did you not hear the passing bell?"
Each sister cried; while, pale with dread,
With hurried steps she sought her cell.
At length arose the fatal morn
Decreed to seal sad Julia's doom,
And make the worm of hopeless love
Feed on her beauty's opening bloom.
"Julia, thy bridal vest prepare;
Thy heavenly spouse expects thee; rise!"
The abbess cried.--"Oh, stay awhile,"
Julia with broken tones replies.
"The tapers burn, the altar glows,
Robed are the priests in costly pride,
The organ sounds! Prepare!"--Again
"One moment stay!" the victim cried.
When through the long and echoing aisles
An unknown voice the abbess hears-It seems with wild, impatience fraught-And lo! Montrose himself appears!
"I come," he cries, "to claim my bride;
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A father's frown no more impedes:
His son's no more!--and Julia now
To Clermont's wealth and power succeeds."
Distrest, yet pleased, the abbess heard,
While on to Julia's cell she led,
And, as she went, to pitying Heaven
Her arms in pious homage spread.
"Julia, come forth! come forth, my child!
Unlock thy cell, Montrose's bride!
Now thou art his, a father's frown
No longer will your fates divide.
"Behold him here to snatch thee hence,
And give thee to thy father's sight."
"How! silent still?" Montrose exclaimed;
"Why thus thy lover's soul affright?"
The door with trembling speed he forced....
Ah me! what object meets their eyes!
Stretcht on her bed in death's last pangs,
And bathed in blood, his Julia lies.
Presumptuous girl! when Heaven afflicts
Should we its dread decrees arraign?
Lo! Heaven thy woe with mercy saw,
But thou hast made its mercy vain.
"Behold the work of rash despair!"
In fluttering, feeble words she said:
"Had I been patient still, Montrose,
This day had blessings on me shed.
"Didst thou not say my father's heart
Had deigned at length thy vows to hear?
Too late remorse! but oh, to him
My pardon, and my blessing bear.
"But must I die? and canst not thou
Thy Julia from death's terrors save?
We should have been so blest, Montrose!
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And must I leave thee for the grave?
"Help me! they tear me from thy arms,
Save me, O save thy destin'd bride!
It will not be;....forgive me, Heaven!"
She feebly said, then groaned and died.
Oh! who can paint the lover's woe,
Or childless father's deep remorse,
While, bending o'er the blood-stained bed,
He clasped his daughter's pallid corse!
But from this scene of dreadful woe,
Learn why the village swain turns pale,
When he at midnight wanders near
The mouldering Convent in the vale.
There, faintly heard through whispering trees,
A mournful voice on Julia calls;
There, dimly seen, a blood-stained vest
Streams ghastly o'er the ivied walls.
~ Amelia Opie
166:Grandmother’s Teaching
``Grandmother dear, you do not know; you have lived the old-world life,
Under the twittering eaves of home, sheltered from storm and strife;
Rocking cradles, and covering jams, knitting socks for baby feet,
Or piecing together lavender bags for keeping the linen sweet:
Daughter, wife, and mother in turn, and each with a blameless breast,
Then saying your prayers when the nightfall came, and quietly dropping to rest.
``You must not think, Granny, I speak in scorn, for yours have been well-spent
days,
And none ever paced with more faithful feet the dutiful ancient ways.
Grandfather's gone, but while he lived you clung to him close and true,
And mother's heart, like her eyes, I know, came to her straight from you.
If the good old times, at the good old pace, in the good old grooves would run,
One could not do better, I'm sure of that, than do as you all have done.
``But the world has wondrously changed, Granny, since the days when you were
young;
It thinks quite different thoughts from then, and speaks with a different tongue.
The fences are broken, the cords are snapped, that tethered man's heart to
home;
He ranges free as the wind or the wave, and changes his shore like the foam.
He drives his furrows through fallow seas, he reaps what the breakers sow,
And the flash of his iron flail is seen mid the barns of the barren snow.
``He has lassoed the lightning and led it home, he has yoked it unto his need,
And made it answer the rein and trudge as straight as the steer or steed.
He has bridled the torrents and made them tame, he has bitted the champing
tide,
It toils as his drudge and turns the wheels that spin for his use and pride.
He handles the planets and weighs their dust, he mounts on the comet's car,
And he lifts the veil of the sun, and stares in the eyes of the uttermost star.
``'Tis not the same world you knew, Granny; its fetters have fallen off;
The lowliest now may rise and rule where the proud used to sit and scoff.
No need to boast of a scutcheoned stock, claim rights from an ancient wrong;
All are born with a silver spoon in their mouths whose gums are sound and
strong.
And I mean to be rich and great, Granny; I mean it with heart and soul:
At my feet is the ball, I will roll it on, till it spins through the golden goal.
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``Out on the thought that my copious life should trickle through trivial days,
Myself but a lonelier sort of beast, watching the cattle graze,
Scanning the year's monotonous change, gaping at wind and rain,
Or hanging with meek solicitous eyes on the whims of a creaking vane;
Wretched if ewes drop single lambs, blest so is oilcake cheap,
And growing old in a tedious round of worry, surfeit, and sleep.
``You dear old Granny, how sweet your smile, and how soft your silvery hari!
But all has moved on while you sate still in your cap and easy-chair.
The torch of knowledge is lit for all, it flashes from hand to hand;
The alien tongues of the earth converse, and whisper from strand to strand.
The very churches are changed and boast new hymns, new rites, new truth;
Men worship a wiser and greater God than the halfknown God of your youth.
``What! marry Connie and set up house, and dwell where my fathers dwelt,
Giving the homely feasts they gave and kneeling where they knelt?
She is pretty, and good, and void I am sure of vanity, greed, or guile;
But she has not travelled nor seen the world, and is lacking in air and style.
Women now are as wise and strong as men, and vie with men in renown;
The wife that will help to build my fame was not bred near a country town.
``What a notion! to figure at parish boards, and wrangle o'er cess and rate,
I, who mean to sit for the county yet, and vote on an Empire's fate;
To take the chair at the Farmers' Feast, and tickle their bumpkin ears,
Who must shake a senate before I die, and waken a people's cheers!
In the olden days was no choice, so sons to the roof of their fathers clave:
But now! 'twere to perish before one's time, and to sleep in a living grave.
``I see that you do not understand. How should you? Your memory clings
To the simple music of silenced days and the skirts of vanishing things.
Your fancy wanders round ruined haunts, and dwells upon oft-told tales;
Your eyes discern not the widening dawn, nor your ears catch the rising gales.
But live on, Granny, till I come back, and then perhaps you will own
The dear old Past is an empty nest, and the Present the brood that is flown.''
``And so, my dear, you've come back at last? I always fancied you would.
Well, you see the old home of your childhood's days is standing where it stood.
The roses still clamber from porch to roof, the elder is white at the gate,
And over the long smooth gravel path the peacock still struts in state.
On the gabled lodge, as of old, in the sun, the pigeons sit and coo,
And our hearts, my dear, are no whit more changed, but have kept still warm for
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you.
``You'll find little altered, unless it be me, and that since my last attack;
But so that you only give me time, I can walk to the church and back.
You bade me not die till you returned, and so you see I lived on:
I'm glad that I did now you've really come, but it's almost time I was gone.
I suppose that there isn't room for us all, and the old should depart the first.
That's as it should be. What is sad, is to bury the dead you've nursed.
``Won't you have bit nor sup, my dear? Not even a glass of whey?
The dappled Alderney calved last week, and the baking is fresh to-day.
Have you lost your appetite too in town, or is it you've grown over-nice?
If you'd rather have biscuits and cowslip wine, they'll bring them up in a trice.
But what am I saying? Your coming down has set me all in a maze:
I forgot that you travelled here by train; I was thinking of coaching days.
``There, sit you down, and give me your hand, and tell me about it all,
From the day that you left us, keen to go, to the pride that had a fall.
And all went well at the first? So it does, when we're young and puffed with
hope;
But the foot of the hill is quicker reached the easier seems the slope.
And men thronged round you, and women too! Yes, that I can understand.
When there's gold in the palm, the greedy world is eager to grasp the hand.
``I heard them tell of your smart town house, but I always shook my head.
One doesn't grow rich in a year and a day, in the time of my youth 'twas said.
Men do not reap in the spring, my dear, nor are granaries filled in May,
Save it be with the harvest of former years, stored up for a rainy day.
The seasons will keep their own true time, you can hurry nor furrow nor sod:
It's honest labour and steadfast thrift that alone are blest by God.
``You say you were honest. I trust you were, nor do I judge you, my dear:
I have old-fashioned ways, and it's quite enough to keep one's own conscience
clear.
But still the commandment, ``Thou shalt not steal,'' though a simple and ancient
rule,
Was not made for modern cunning to baulk, nor for any new age to befool;
And if my growing rich unto others brought but penury, chill, and grief,
I should feel, though I never had filched with my hands, I was only a craftier
thief.
``That isn't the way they look at it there? All worshipped the rising sun?
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Most of all the fine lady, in pride of purse you fancied your heart had won.
I don't want to hear of her beauty or birth: I reckon her foul and low;
Far better a steadfast cottage wench than grand loves that come and go.
To cleave to their husbands, through weal, through woe, is all women have to
do:
In growing as clever as men they seem to have matched them in fickleness too.
``But there's one in whose heart has your image still dwelt through many an
absent day,
As the scent of a flower will haunt a closed room, though the flower be taken
away.
Connie's not quite so young as she was, no doubt, but faithfulness never grows
old;
And were beauty the only fuel of love, the warmest hearth soon would grow cold.
Once you thought that she had not travelled, and knew neither the world nor life:
Not to roam, but to deem her own hearth the whole world, that's what a man
wants in a wife.
``I'm sure you'd be happy with Connie, at least if your own heart's in the right
place.
She will bring you nor power, nor station, nor wealth, but she never will bring
you disgrace.
They say that the moon, though she moves round the earth, never turns to him
morning or night
But one face of her sphere, and it must be because she's so true a satellite;
And Connie, if into your orbit once drawn by the sacrament sanctioned above,
Would revolve round you constantly, only to show the one-sided aspect of love.
``You will never grow rich by the land, I own; but if Connie and you should wed,
It will feed your children and household too, as it you and your fathers fed.
The seasons have been unkindly of late; there's a wonderful cut of hay,
But the showers have washed all the goodness out, till it's scarcely worth carting
away.
There's a fairish promise of barley straw, but the ears look rusty and slim:
I suppose God intends to remind us thus that something depends on Him.
``God neither progresses nor changes, dear, as I once heard you rashly say:
Man's schools and philosophies come and go, but His word doth not pass away.
We worship Him here as we did of old, with simple and reverent rite:
In the morning we pray Him to bless our work, to forgive our transgressions at
night.
To keep His commandments, to fear His name, and what should be done, to do,-
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That's the beginning of wisdom still; I suspect 'tis the end of it too.
``You must see the new-fangled machines at work, that harrow, and thresh, and
reap;
They're wonderful quick, there's no mistake, and they say in the end they're
cheap.
But they make such a clatter, and seem to bring the rule of the town to the
fields:
There's something more precious in country life than the balance of wealth it
yields.
But that seems going; I'm sure I hope that I shall be gone before:
Better poor sweet silence of rural toil than the factory's opulent roar.
``They're a mighty saving of labour, though; so at least I hear them tell,
Making fewer hands and fewer mouths, but fewer hearts as well:
They sweep up so close that there's nothing left for widows and bairns to glean;
If machines are growing like men, man seems to be growing a half machine.
There's no friendliness left; the only tie is the wage upon Saturday nights:
Right used to mean duty; you'll find that now there's no duty, but only rights.
``Still stick to your duty, my dear, and then things cannot go much amiss.
What made folks happy in bygone times, will make them happy in this.
There's little that's called amusement, here; but why should the old joys pall?
Has the blackbird ceased to sing loud in spring? Has the cuckoo forgotten to call?
Are bleating voices no longer heard when the cherryblossoms swarm?
And have home, and children, and fireside lost one gleam of their ancient charm?
``Come, let us go round; to the farmyard first, with its litter of fresh-strewn
straw,
Past the ash-tree dell, round whose branching tops the young rooks wheel and
caw;
Through the ten-acre mead that was mown the first, and looks well for
aftermath,
Then round by the beans-I shall tire by then,-and home up the garden-path,
Where the peonies hang their blushing heads, where the larkspur laughs from its
stalkWith my stick and your arm I can manage. But see! There, Connie comes up the
walk.''
~ Alfred Austin
167:The Ginestra,
OR THE FLOWER OF THE WILDERNESS.
Here, on the arid ridge
Of dead Vesuvius,
Exterminator terrible,
That by no other tree or flower is cheered,
Thou scatterest thy lonely leaves around,
O fragrant flower,
With desert wastes content. Thy graceful stems
I in the solitary paths have found,
The city that surround,
That once was mistress of the world;
And of her fallen power,
They seemed with silent eloquence to speak
Unto the thoughtful wanderer.
And now again I see thee on this soil,
Of wretched, world-abandoned spots the friend,
Of ruined fortunes the companion, still.
These fields with barren ashes strown,
And lava, hardened into stone,
Beneath the pilgrim's feet, that hollow sound,
Where by their nests the serpents coiled,
Lie basking in the sun,
And where the conies timidly
To their familiar burrows run,
Were cheerful villages and towns,
With waving fields of golden grain,
And musical with lowing herds;
Were gardens, and were palaces,
That to the leisure of the rich
A grateful shelter gave;
Were famous cities, which the mountain fierce,
Forth-darting torrents from his mouth of flame,
Destroyed, with their inhabitants.
Now all around, one ruin lies,
Where thou dost dwell, O gentle flower,
And, as in pity of another's woe,
A perfume sweet thou dost exhale,
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To heaven an offering,
And consolation to the desert bring.
Here let him come, who hath been used
To chant the praises of our mortal state,
And see the care,
That loving Nature of her children takes!
Here may he justly estimate
The power of mortals, whom
The cruel nurse, when least they fear,
With motion light can in a moment crush
In part, and afterwards, when in the mood,
With motion not so light, can suddenly,
And utterly annihilate.
Here, on these blighted coasts,
May he distinctly trace
'The princely progress of the human race!'
Here look, and in a mirror see thyself,
O proud and foolish age!
That turn'st thy back upon the path,
That thought revived
So clearly indicates to all,
And this, thy movement retrograde,
Dost _Progress_ call.
Thy foolish prattle all the minds,
Whose cruel fate thee for a father gave,
Besmear with flattery,
Although, among themselves, at times,
They laugh at thee.
But I will not to such low arts descend,
Though envy it would be for me,
The rest to imitate,
And, raving, wilfully,
To make my song more pleasing to thy ears:
But I will sooner far reveal,
As clearly as I can, the deep disdain
That I for thee within my bosom feel;
Although I know, oblivion
Awaits the man who holds his age in scorn:
But this misfortune, which I share with thee,
My laughter only moves.
Thou dream'st of liberty,
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And yet thou wouldst anew that thought enslave,
By which alone we are redeemed, in part,
From barbarism; by which alone
True progress is obtained,
And states are guided to a nobler end.
And so the truth of our hard lot,
And of the humble place
Which Nature gave us, pleased thee not;
And like a coward, thou hast turned thy back
Upon the light, which made it evident;
Reviling him who does that light pursue,
And praising him alone
Who, in his folly, or from motives base,
Above the stars exalts the human race.
A man of poor estate, and weak of limb,
But of a generous, truthful soul,
Nor calls, nor deems himself
A Croesus, or a Hercules,
Nor makes himself ridiculous
Before the world with vain pretence
Of vigor or of opulence;
But his infirmities and needs
He lets appear, and without shame,
And speaking frankly, calls each thing
By its right name.
I deem not _him_ magnanimous,
But simply, a great fool,
Who, born to perish, reared in suffering,
Proclaims his lot a happy one,
And with offensive pride
His pages fills, exalted destinies
And joys, unknown in heaven, much less
On earth, absurdly promising to those
Who by a wave of angry sea,
Or breath of tainted air,
Or shaking of the earth beneath,
Are ruined, crushed so utterly,
As scarce to be recalled by memory.
But truly noble, wise is _he_,
Who bids his brethren boldly look
Upon our common misery;
85
Who frankly tells the naked truth,
Acknowledging our frail and wretched state,
And all the ills decreed to us by Fate;
Who shows himself in suffering brave and strong,
Nor adds unto his miseries
Fraternal jealousies and strifes,
The hardest things to bear of all,
Reproaching man with his own grief,
But the true culprit
Who, in our birth, a mother is,
A fierce step-mother in her will.
_Her_ he proclaims the enemy,
And thinking all the human race
Against her armed, as is the case,
E'en from the first, united and arrayed,
All men esteems confederates,
And with true love embraces all,
Prompt and efficient aid bestowing, and
Expecting it, in all the pains
And perils of the common war.
And to resent with arms all injuries,
Or snares and pit-falls for a neighbor lay,
Absurd he deems, as it would be, upon
The field, surrounded by the enemy,
The foe forgetting, bitter war
With one's own friends to wage,
And in the hottest of the fight,
With cruel and misguided sword,
One's fellow soldiers put to flight.
When truths like these are rendered clear,
As once they were, unto the multitude,
And when that fear, which from the first,
All mortals in a social band
Against inhuman Nature joined
Anew shall guided be, in part,
By knowledge true, then social intercourse,
And faith, and hope, and charity
Will a far different foundation have
From that which silly fables give,
By which supported, public truth and good
Must still proceed with an unstable foot,
As all things that in error have their root.
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Oft, on these hills, so desolate,
Which by the hardened flood,
That seems in waves to rise,
Are clad in mourning, do I sit at night,
And o'er the dreary plain behold
The stars above in purest azure shine,
And in the ocean mirrored from afar,
And all the world in brilliant sparks arrayed,
Revolving through the vault serene.
And when my eyes I fasten on those lights,
Which seem to them a point,
And yet are so immense,
That earth and sea, with them compared,
Are but a point indeed;
To whom, not only man,
But this our globe, where man is nothing, is
Unknown; and when I farther gaze upon
Those clustered stars, at distance infinite,
That seem to us like mist, to whom
Not only man and earth, but all our stars
At once, so vast in numbers and in bulk,
The golden sun himself included, are
Unknown, or else appear, as they to earth,
A point of nebulous light, what, then,
Dost _thou_ unto my thought appear,
O race of men?
Remembering thy wretched state below,
Of which the soil I tread, the token bears;
And, on the other hand,
That thou thyself hast deemed
The Lord and end of all the Universe;
How oft thou hast been pleased
The idle tale to tell,
That to this little grain of sand, obscure,
The name of earth that bears,
The Authors of that Universe
Have, at thy call, descended oft,
And pleasant converse with thy children had;
And how, these foolish dreams reviving, e'en
This age its insults heaps upon the wise,
Although it seems all others to excel
In learning, and in arts polite;
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What can I think of thee
Thou wretched race of men?
What thoughts discordant then my heart assail,
In doubt, if scorn or pity should prevail!
As a small apple, falling from a tree
In autumn, by the force
Of its own ripeness, to the ground,
The pleasant homes of a community
Of ants, in the soft clod
With careful labor built,
And all their works, and all the wealth,
Which the industrious citizens
Had in the summer providently stored,
Lays waste, destroys, and in an instant hides;
So, falling from on high,
To heaven forth-darted from
The mountain's groaning womb,
A dark destructive mass
Of ashes, pumice, and of stones,
With boiling streams of lava mixed,
Or, down the mountain's side
Descending, furious, o'er the grass,
A fearful flood
Of melted metals, mixed with burning sand,
Laid waste, destroyed, and in short time concealed
The cities on yon shore, washed by the sea,
Where now the goats
On this side browse, and cities new
Upon the other stand, whose foot-stools are
The buried ones, whose prostrate walls
The lofty mountain tramples under foot.
Nature no more esteems or cares for man,
Than for the ant; and if the race
Is not so oft destroyed,
The reason we may plainly see;
Because the ants more fruitful are than we.
Full eighteen hundred years have passed,
Since, by the force of fire laid waste,
These thriving cities disappeared;
And now, the husbandman,
His vineyards tending, that the arid clod,
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With ashes clogged, with difficulty feeds,
Still raises a suspicious eye
Unto that fatal crest,
That, with a fierceness not to be controlled,
Still stands tremendous, threatens still
Destruction to himself, his children, and
Their little property.
And oft upon the roof
Of his small cottage, the poor man
All night lies sleepless, often springing up,
The course to watch of the dread stream of fire
That from the inexhausted womb doth pour
Along the sandy ridge,
Its lurid light reflected in the bay,
From Mergellina unto Capri's shore.
And if he sees it drawing near,
Or in his well
He hears the boiling water gurgle, wakes
His sons, in haste his wife awakes,
And, with such things as they can snatch,
Escaping, sees from far
His little nest, and the small field,
His sole resource against sharp hunger's pangs,
A prey unto the burning flood,
That crackling comes, and with its hardening crust,
Inexorable, covers all.
Unto the light of day returns,
After its long oblivion,
Pompeii, dead, an unearthed skeleton,
Which avarice or piety
Hath from its grave unto the air restored;
And from its forum desolate,
And through the formal rows
Of mutilated colonnades,
The stranger looks upon the distant, severed peaks,
And on the smoking crest,
That threatens still the ruins scattered round.
And in the horror of the secret night,
Along the empty theatres,
The broken temples, shattered houses, where
The bat her young conceals,
Like flitting torch, that smoking sheds
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A gloom through the deserted halls
Of palaces, the baleful lava glides,
That through the shadows, distant, glares,
And tinges every object round.
Thus, paying unto man no heed,
Or to the ages that he calls antique,
Or to the generations as they pass,
Nature forever young remains,
Or at a pace so slow proceeds,
She stationary seems.
Empires, meanwhile, decline and fall,
And nations pass away, and languages:
She sees it not, or _will_ not see;
And yet man boasts of immortality!
And thou, submissive flower,
That with thy fragrant foliage dost adorn
These desolated plains,
Thou, too, must fall before the cruel power
Of subterranean fire,
Which, to its well-known haunts returning, will
Its fatal border spread
O'er thy soft leaves and branches fine.
And thou wilt bow thy gentle head,
Without a struggle, yielding to thy fate:
But not with vain and abject cowardice,
Wilt thy destroyer supplicate;
Nor wilt, erect with senseless haughtiness,
Look up unto the stars,
Or o'er the wilderness,
Where, not from choice, but Fortune's will,
Thy birthplace thou, and home didst find;
But wiser, far, than man,
And far less weak;
For thou didst ne'er, from Fate, or power of thine,
Immortal life for thy frail children seek.
~ Count Giacomo Leopardi
168:Lucretius
Lucilla, wedded to Lucretius, found
Her master cold; for when the morning flush
Of passion and the first embrace had died
Between them, tho' he loved her none the less,
Yet often when the woman heard his foot
Return from pacings in the field, and ran
To greet him with a kiss, the master took
Small notice, or austerely, for his mind
Half buried in some weightier argument,
Or fancy-borne perhaps upon the rise
And long roll of the hexameter -- he past
To turn and ponder those three hundred scrolls
Left by the Teacher, whom he held divine.
She brook'd it not, but wrathful, petulant
Dreaming some rival, sought and found a witch
Who brew'd the philtre which had power, they said
To lead an errant passion home again.
And this, at times, she mingled with his drink,
And this destroy'd him; for the wicked broth
Confused the chemic labor of the blood,
And tickling the brute brain within the man's
Made havoc among those tender cells, and check'd
His power to shape. He loathed himself, and once
After a tempest woke upon a morn
That mock'd him with returning calm, and cried:
"Storm in the night! for thrice I heard the rain
Rushing; and once the flash of a thunderbolt -Methought I never saw so fierce a fork -Struck out the streaming mountain-side, and show'd
A riotous confluence of watercourses
Blanching and billowing in a hollow of it,
Where all but yester-eve was dusty-dry.
"Storm, and what dreams, ye holy Gods, what dreams!
For thrice I waken'd after dreams. Perchance
We do but recollect the dreams that come
Just ere the waking. Terrible: for it seem'd
A void was made in Nature, all her bonds
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Crack'd; and I saw the flaring atom-streams
And torrents of her myriad universe,
Ruining along the illimitable inane,
Fly on to clash together again, and make
Another and another frame of things
For ever. That was mine, my dream, I knew it -Of and belonging to me, as the dog
With inward yelp and restless forefoot plies
His function of the woodland; but the next!
I thought that all the blood by Sylla shed
Came driving rainlike down again on earth,
And where it dash'd the reddening meadow, sprang
No dragon warriors from Cadmean teeth,
For these I thought my dream would show to me,
But girls, Hetairai, curious in their art,
Hired animalisms, vile as those that made
The mulberry-faced Dictator's orgies worse
Than aught they fable of the quiet Gods.
And hands they mixt, and yell'd and round me drove
In narrowing circles till I yell'd again
Half-suffocated, and sprang up, and saw -Was it the first beam of my latest day?
"Then, then, from utter gloom stood out the
The breasts of Helen, and hoveringly a sword
Now over and now under, now direct,
Pointed itself to pierce, but sank down shamed
At all that beauty; and as I stared, a fire,
The fire that left a roofless Ilion,
Shot out of them, and scorch'd me that I woke.
"Is this thy vengeance, holy Venus, thine,
Because I would not one of thine own doves,
Not even a rose, were offered to thee? thine,
Forgetful how my rich proemion makes
Thy glory fly along the Italian field,
In lays that will outlast thy deity?
"Deity? nay, thy worshippers. My tongue
Trips, or I speak profanely. Which of these
Angers thee most, or angers thee at all?
Not if thou be'st of those who, far aloof
339
From envy, hate and pity, and spite and scorn,
Live the great life which all our greatest fain
Would follow, centred in eternal calm.
"Nay, if thou canst,
Goddess, like ourselves
Touch, and be touch'd, then would I cry to thee
To kiss thy Mavors, roll thy tender arms
Round him, and keep him from the lust of blood
That makes a steaming slaughter-house of Rome.
"Ay, but I meant not thee; I meant riot her
Whom all the pines of Ida shook to see
Slide from that quiet heaven of hers, and tempt
The Trojan, while his neatherds were abroad
Nor her that o'er her wounded hunter wept
Her deity false in human-amorous tears;
Nor whom her beardless apple-arbiter
Decided fairest. Rather, O ye Gods,
Poet-like, as the great Sicilian called
Calliope to grace his golden verse -Ay, and this Kypris also -- did I take
That popular name of thine to shadow forth
The all-generating powers and genial heat
Of Nature, when she strikes thro' the thick blood
Of cattle, and light is large, and lambs are glad
Nosing the mother's udder, and the bird
Makes his heart voice amid the blaze of flowers;
Which things appear the work of mighty Gods.
"The Gods! and if I go my work is left
Unfinish'd -- if I go. The Gods, who haunt
The lucid interspace of world and world,
Where never creeps a cloud, or moves a wind,
Nor ever falls the least white star of mow
Nor ever lowest roll of thunder moans,
Nor sound of human sorrow mounts to mar
Their sacred everlasting calm! and such,
Not all so fine, nor so divine a calm
Not such, nor all unlike it, man may gain
Letting his own life go. The Gods, the Godsl
If all be atoms, how then should the Gods
340
Being atomic not be dissoluble,
Not follow the great law? My master held
That Gods there are, for all men so believe.
I prest my footsteps into his, and meant
Surely to lead my Memmius in a train
Of fiowery clauses onward to the proof
That Gods there are, and deathless. Meant? I meant?
I have forgotten what I meant, my mind
Stumbles, and all my faculties are lamed.
"Look where another of our Gods, the Sun
Apollo, Delius, or of older use
All-seeing Hyperion -- what you will -Has mounted yonder; since he never sware,
Except his wrath were wreak'd on wretched man,
That he would only shine among the dead
Hereafter -- tales! for never yet on earth
Could dead flesh creep, or bits of roasting ox
Moan round the spit -- nor knows he what he sees;
King of the East altho' he seem, and girt
With song and flame and fragrance, slowly lifts
His golden feet on those empurpled stairs
That climb into the windy halls of heaven
And here he glances on an eye new-born,
And gets for greeting but a wail of pain;
And here he stays upon a freezing orb
That fain would gaze upon him to the last;
And here upon a yellow eyelid fallen
And closed by those who mourn a friend in vain,
Not thankful that his troubles are no more.
And me, altho' his fire is on my face
Blinding, he sees not, nor at all can tell
Whether I mean this day to end myself.
Or lend an ear to Plato where he says,
That men like soldiers may not quit the post
Allotted by the Gods. But he that holds
The Gods are careless, wherefore need he care
Greatly for them, nor rather plunge at once,
Being troubled, wholly out of sight, and sink
Past earthquake -- ay, and gout and stone, that break
Body toward death, and palsy, death-in-life,
And wretched age -- and worst disease of all,
341
These prodigies of myriad nakednesses,
And twisted shapes of lust, unspeakable,
Abominable, strangers at my hearth
Not welcome, harpies miring every dish,
The phantom husks of something foully done,
And fleeting thro' the boundless universe,
And blasting the long quiet of my breast
With animal heat and dire insanity?
"How should the mind, except it loved them, clasp
These idols to herself? or do they fly
Now thinner, and now thicker, like the flakes
In a fall of snow, and so press in, perforce
Of multitude, as crowds that in an hour
Of civic tumult jam the doors, and bear
The keepers down, and throng, their rags and the
The basest, far into that council-hall
Where sit the best and stateliest of the land?
³Can I not fling this horror off me again,
Seeing with how great ease Nature can smile
Balmier and nobler from her bath of storm,
At random ravage? and how easily
The mountain there has cast his cloudy slough,
Now towering o'er him in serenest air,
A mountain o'er a mountain, -- ay, and within
All hollow as the hopes and fears of men?
"But who was he that in the garden snared
Picus and Faunus, rustic Gods? a tale
To laugh at -- more to laugh at in myself -For look! what is it? there? yon arbutus
Totters; a noiseless riot underneath
Strikes through the wood, sets all the tops quivering -- ;
The mountain quickens into Nymph and Faun,
And here an Oread -- how the sun delights
To glance and shift about her slippery sides,
And rosy knees and supple roundedness,
And budded bosom-peaks -- who this way runs
Before the rest! -- a satyr, a satyr, see,
Follows; but him I proved impossible
Twy-natured is no nature. Yet he draws
342
Nearer and nearer, and I scan him now
Beastlier than any phantom of his kind
That ever butted his rough brother-brute
For lust or lusty blood or provender.
I hate, abhor, spit, sicken at him; and she
Loathes him as well; such a precipitate heel,
Fledged as it were with Mercury's ankle-wing,
Whirls her to me -- ;but will she fling herself
Shameless upon me? Catch her, goatfoot! nay,
Hide, hide them, million-myrtled wilderness,
And cavern-shadowing laurels, hide! do I wish -What? -- ;that the bush were leafless? or to whelm
All of them in one massacre? O ye Gods
I know you careless, yet, behold, to you
From childly wont and ancient use I call -I thought I lived securely as yourselves -No lewdness, narrowing envy, monkey-spite,
No madness of ambition, avarice, none;
No larger feast than under plane or pine
With neighbors laid along the grass, to take
Only such cups as left us friendly-warm,
Affirming each his own philosophy
Nothing to mar the sober majesties
Of settled, sweet, Epicurean life.
But now it seems some unseen monster lays
His vast and filthy hands upon my will,
Wrenching it backward into his, and spoils
My bliss in being; and it was not great,
For save when shutting reasons up in rhythm,
Or Heliconian honey in living words,
To make a truth less harsh, I often grew
Tired of so much within our little life
Or of so little in our little life -Poor little life that toddles half an hour
Crown'd with a flower or two, and there an end -And since the nobler pleasure seems to fade,
Why should I, beastlike as I find myself,
Not manlike end myself? -- our privilege -- ;
What beast has heart to do it? And what man
What Roman would be dragg'd in triumph thus?
Not I; not he, who bears one name with her
343
Whose death-blow struck the dateless doom of kings,
When, brooking not the Tarquin in her veins,
She made her blood in sight of Collatine
And all his peers, flushing the guiltless air,
Spout from the maiden fountain in her heart.
And from it sprang the Commonwealth, which breaks
As I am breaking now!
"And therefore now
Let her, that is the womb and tomb of all
Great Nature, take, and forcing far apart
Those blind beginnings that have made me man,
Dash them anew together at her will
Thro' all her cycles -- into man once more,
Or beast or bird or fish, or opulent flower.
But till this cosmic order everywhere
Shatter'd into one earthquake m one day
Cracks all to pieces, -- and that hour perhaps
Is not so far when momentary man
Shall seem no more a something to himself,
But he, his hopes and hates, his homes and fanes
And even his bones long laid within the grave,
The very sides of the grave itself shall pass,
Vanishing, atom and void, atom and void,
Into the unseen for ever, -- till that hour,
My golden work in which I told a truth
That stays the rolling Ixionian wheel,
And numbs the Fury's ringlet-snake, and plucks
The mortal soul from out immortal hell
Shall stand. Ay, surely; then it fails at last
And perishes as I must, for O Thou
Passionless bride, divine Tranquillity,
Yearn'd after by the wisest of the wise
Who fail to find thee, being as thou art
Without one pleasure and without one pain,
Howbeit I know thou surely must be mine
Or soon or late, yet out of season, thus
I woo thee roughly, for thou carest not
How roughly men may woo thee so they win -- ;
Thus -- thus -- the soul flies out and dies in the air
With that he drove the knife into his side.
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She heard him raging, heard him fall, ran in,
Beat breast, tore hair, cried out upon herself
As having fail'd in duty to him, shriek'd
That she but meant to win him back, fell on him
Clasp'd, kiss'd him, wail'd. He answer'd, "Care not thou!
Thy duty? What is duty? Fare thee well!"
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
169:The Homecoming
Phatik Chakravorti was ringleader among the boys of the village. A new mischief got into his head. There was a heavy log lying on the mud-flat of the river waiting to be shaped into a mast for a boat. He decided that they should all work together to shift the log by main force from its place and roll it away. The owner of the log would be angry and surprised, and they would all enjoy the fun. Every one seconded the proposal, and it was carried unanimously.

But just as the fun was about to begin, Makhan, Phatiks younger brother, sauntered up, and sat down on the log in front of them all without a word. The boys were puzzled for a moment. He was pushed, rather timidly, by one of the boys and told to get up but he remained quite unconcerned. He appeared like a young philosopher meditating on the futility of games. Phatik was furious. Makhan, he cried, if you dont get down this minute Ill thrash you!

Makhan only moved to a more comfortable position.

Now, if Phatik was to keep his regal dignity before the public, it was clear he ought to carry out his threat. But his courage failed him at the crisis. His fertile brain, however, rapidly seized upon a new maneuver which would discomfit his brother and afford his followers an added amusement. He gave the word of command to roll the log and Makhan over together. Makhan heard the order, and made it a point of honor to stick on. But he overlooked the fact, like those who attempt earthly fame in other matters, that there was peril in it.

The boys began to heave at the log with all their might, calling out, One, two, three, go, At the word go the log went; and with it went Makhans philosophy, glory and all.

All the other boys shouted themselves hoarse with delight. But Phatik was a little frightened. He knew what was coming. And, sure enough, Makhan rose from Mother Earth blind as Fate and screaming like the Furies. He rushed at Phatik and scratched his face and beat him and kicked him, and then went crying home. The first act of the drama was over.

Phatik wiped his face, and sat down on the edge of a sunken barge on the river bank, and began to chew a piece of grass. A boat came up to the landing, and a middle-aged man, with grey hair and dark moustache, stepped on shore. He saw the boy sitting there doing nothing, and asked him where the Chakravortis lived. Phatik went on chewing the grass, and said: Over there, but it was quite impossible to tell where he pointed. The stranger asked him again. He swung his legs to and fro on the side of the barge, and said; Go and find out, and continued to chew the grass as before.

But now a servant came down from the house, and told Phatik his mother wanted him. Phatik refused to move. But the servant was the master on this occasion. He took Phatik up roughly, and carried him, kicking and struggling in impotent rage.

When Phatik came into the house, his mother saw him. She called out angrily: So you have been hitting Makhan again?

Phatik answered indignantly: No, I havent; who told you that?

His mother shouted: Dont tell lies! You have.

Phatik said suddenly: I tell you, I havent. You ask Makhan! But Makhan thought it best to stick to his previous statement. He said: Yes, mother. Phatik did hit me.

Phatiks patience was already exhausted. He could not hear this injustice. He rushed at Makban, and hammered him with blows: Take that he cried, and that, and that, for telling lies.

His mother took Makhans side in a moment, and pulled Phatik away, beating him with her hands. When Phatik pushed her aside, she shouted out: What I you little villain! would you hit your own mother?

It was just at this critical juncture that the grey-haired stranger arrived. He asked what was the matter. Phatik looked sheepish and ashamed.

But when his mother stepped back and looked at the stranger, her anger was changed to surprise. For she recognized her brother, and cried: Why, Dada! Where have you come from? As she said these words, she bowed to the ground and touched his feet. Her brother had gone away soon after she had married, and he had started business in Bombay. His sister had lost her husband while he was In Bombay. Bishamber had now come back to Calcutta, and had at once made enquiries about his sister. He had then hastened to see her as soon as he found out where she was.

The next few days were full of rejoicing. The brother asked after the education of the two boys. He was told by his sister that Phatik was a perpetual nuisance. He was lazy, disobedient, and wild. But Makhan was as good as gold, as quiet as a lamb, and very fond of reading, Bishamber kindly offered to take Phatik off his sisters hands, and educate him with his own children in Calcutta. The widowed mother readily agreed. When his uncle asked Phatik If he would like to go to Calcutta with him, his joy knew no bounds, and he said; Oh, yes, uncle! In a way that made it quite clear that he meant it.

It was an immense relief to the mother to get rid of Phatik. She had a prejudice against the boy, and no love was lost between the two brothers. She was in daily fear that he would either drown Makhan some day in the river, or break his head in a fight, or run him into some danger or other. At the same time she was somewhat distressed to see Phatiks extreme eagerness to get away.

Phatik, as soon as all was settled, kept asking his uncle every minute when they were to start. He was on pins and needles all day long with excitement, and lay awake most of the night. He bequeathed to Makhan, in perpetuity, his fishing-rod, his big kite and his marbles. Indeed, at this time of departure his generosity towards Makhan was unbounded.

When they reached Calcutta, Phatik made the acquaintance of his aunt for the first time. She was by no means pleased with this unnecessary addition to her family. She found her own three boys quite enough to manage without taking any one else. And to bring a village lad of fourteen into their midst was terribly upsetting. Bishamber should really have thought twice before committing such an indiscretion.

In this world of human affairs there is no worse nuisance than a boy at the age of fourteen. He is neither ornamental, nor useful. It is impossible to shower affection on him as on a little boy; and he is always getting in the way. If he talks with a childish lisp he is called a baby, and if he answers in a grown-up way he is called impertinent. In fact any talk at all from him is resented. Then he is at the unattractive, growing age. He grows out of his clothes with indecent haste; his voice grows hoarse and breaks and quavers; his face grows suddenly angular and unsightly. It is easy to excuse the shortcomings of early childhood, but it is hard to tolerate even unavoidable lapses in a boy of fourteen. The lad himself becomes painfully self-conscious. When he talks with elderly people he is either unduly forward, or else so unduly shy that he appears ashamed of his very existence.

Yet it is at this very age when in his heart of hearts a young lad most craves for recognition and love; and he becomes the devoted slave of any one who shows him consideration. But none dare openly love him, for that would be regarded as undue indulgence, and therefore bad for the boy. So, what with scolding and chiding, he becomes very much like a stray dog that has lost his master.

For a boy of fourteen his own home is the only Paradise. To live in a strange house with strange people is little short of torture, while the height of bliss is to receive the kind looks of women, and never to be slighted by them.

It was anguish to Phatik to be the unwelcome guest in his aunts house, despised by this elderly woman, and slighted, on every occasion. If she ever asked him to do anything for her, he would be so overjoyed that he would overdo it; and then she would tell him not to be so stupid, but to get on with his lessons.

The cramped atmosphere of neglect in his aunts house oppressed Phatik so much that he felt that he could hardly breathe. He wanted to go out into the open country and fill his lungs and breathe freely. But there was no open country to go to. Surrounded on all sides by Calcutta houses and walls, be would dream night after night of his village home, and long to be back there. He remembered the glorious meadow where he used to By his kite all day long; the broad river-banks where he would wander about the livelong day singing and shouting for joy; the narrow brook where he could go and dive and swim at any time he liked. He thought of his band of boy companions over whom he was despot; and, above all, the memory of that tyrant mother of his, who had such a prejudice against him, occupied him day and night. A kind of physical love like that of animals; a longing to be in the presence of the one who is loved; an inexpressible wistfulness during absence; a silent cry of the inmost heart for the mother, like the lowing of a calf in the twilight;-this love, which was almost an animal instinct, agitated the shy, nervous, lean, uncouth and ugly boy. No one could understand it, but it preyed upon his mind continually.

There was no more backward boy in the whole school than Phatik. He gaped and remained silent when the teacher asked him a question, and like an overladen **** patiently suffered all the blows that came down on his back. When other boys were out at play, he stood wistfully by the window and gazed at the roofs of the distant houses. And if by chance he espied children playing on the open terrace of any roof, his heart would ache with longing.

One day he summoned up all his courage, and asked his uncle: Uncle, when can I go home?

His uncle answered; Wait till the holidays come. But the holidays would not come till November, and there was a long time still to wait.

One day Phatik lost his lesson-book. Even with the help of books he had found it very difficult indeed to prepare his lesson. Now it was impossible. Day after day the teacher would cane him unmercifully. His condition became so abjectly miserable that even his cousins were ashamed to own him. They began to jeer and insult him more than the other boys. He went to his aunt at last, and told her that he bad lost his book.

His aunt pursed her lips in contempt, and said: You great clumsy, country lout. How can I afford, with all my family, to buy you new books five times a month?

That night, on his way back from school, Phatik had a bad headache with a fit of shivering. He felt he was going to have an attack of malarial fever. His one great fear was that he would be a nuisance to his aunt.

The next morning Phatik was nowhere to be seen. All searches in the neighborhood proved futile. The rain had been pouring in torrents all night, and those who went out in search of the boy got drenched through to the skin. At last Bisbamber asked help from the police.

At the end of the day a police van stopped at the door before the house. It was still raining and the streets were all flooded. Two constables brought out Phatik in their arms and placed him before Bishamber. He was wet through from head to foot, muddy all over, his face and eyes flushed red with fever, and his limbs all trembling. Bishamber carried him in his arms, and took him into the inner apartments. When his wife saw him, she exclaimed; What a heap of trouble this boy has given us. Hadnt you better send him home ?

Phatik heard her words, and sobbed out loud: Uncle, I was just going home; but they dragged me back again,

The fever rose very high, and all that night the boy was delirious. Bishamber brought in a doctor. Phatik opened his eyes flushed with fever, and looked up to the ceiling, and said vacantly: Uncle, have the holidays come yet? May I go home?

Bishamber wiped the tears from his own eyes, and took Phatiks lean and burning hands in his own, and sat by him through the night. The boy began again to mutter. At last his voice became excited: Mother, he cried, dont beat me like that! Mother! I am telling the truth!

The next day Phatik became conscious for a short time. He turned his eyes about the room, as if expecting some one to come. At last, with an air of disappointment, his head sank back on the pillow. He turned his face to the wall with a deep sigh.

Bishamber knew his thoughts, and, bending down his head, whispered: Phatik, I have sent for your mother. The day went by. The doctor said in a troubled voice that the boys condition was very critical.

Phatik began to cry out; By the mark! three fathoms. By the mark four fathoms. By the mark-. He had heard the sailor on the river- steamer calling out the mark on the plumb-line. Now he was himself plumbing an unfathomable sea.

Later in the day Phatiks mother burst into the room like a whirlwind, and began to toss from side to side and moan and cry in a loud voice.

Bishamber tried to calm her agitation, but she flung herself on the bed, and cried: Phatik, my darling, my darling.

Phatik stopped his restless movements for a moment. His hands ceased beating up and down. He said: Eh?

The mother cried again: Phatik, my darling, my darling.

Phatik very slowly turned his head and, without seeing anybody, said: Mother, the holidays have come.

4
~ Rabindranath Tagore, The Homecoming

170:Into The Silent Land
I.
'Oh for a pen of light, a tongue of fire,
That every word might burn in living flame
Upon the age's brow, and leave one name
Engraven on the future! One desire
Fills every nook and cranny of my heart;
One hope-one sorrow-one beloved aim!
She whose pure life was of my life a part,
As light is of the day, could she inspire
My unmelodious muse, or tune the lyre
To diapasons worthy of the theme,
How would her joy put on its robes of light,
And nestle in my bosom once again,
As when life, like an Oriental dream,
Fanned by Arabian airs, glode down the stream
To music whose remembrance is a pain.
The foot of time might trample on my strain,
But could not quench its essence. There was might,
And majesty, and greatness in the love
She blest me with-a blessing without stain,
And that was earthly; since her spirit-sight
Looked through the veil, and learned love's true delight,
Which sainted ministrants alone can prove
Who taste the waters of eternal love:
I pause to think how wonderful has grown
The love that was to me so wondrous here!
Chained as I am to this terrestrial sphere,
Groping my way through darkness, and alone,
Like a blind eaglet soaring towards the sun,
How would her full experience lift and cheer
The heart that never feels its duty done,
And with a girdle of pure light enzone
My flowery world of thought, and make it all her own.'
Thus mused the Minstrel, for his heart was sad.
Death had bereaved him of his bride, while youth,
And looming years of future trust and truth,
60
Knit them together, till their souls were clad
With joy ineffable. Love's great High Priest
Sacrificed in their hearts to Him that doeth
All things well; and such rare, perpetual feast
Of love and truth no mortals ever had,
To keep their memories green, their lives serene and glad,
He sat again within the quiet room,
Where Death had snapped one golden thread of life,
And the pale hand of Sickness, sorrow-rife,
Robbed the plump cheek of childhood of its bloom;
Where she, another Philomena, moved
Like a fond Charity-the coming wife
Ordained to crown his being: And he loved.
The future rose before him, joy and gloom;
For where the sunlight shone, there waved the sable plume.
And yet he failed not, for the coming pain;
The coming bliss would counterbalance all.
The sight prophetic that perceived the pall,
Looked far beyond for the celestial gain.
They do not truly love who cannot yield
The mortal up at the Immortal's call,
Or fail to triumph for the soul that's sealed.
His mind was strung to one harmonious strain:
To give when God should ask, and not resign in vain.
Love was to him life's chiefest victory;
He knew no greater, and he sought no less.
Like a green isle surrounded by the sea
That gives it health and vigour, so was he
The centre of love's sphere of perfectness;
He breathed its heavenly atmosphere; the key
That opened every chamber in love's court
Was in his hand; love's mystery was his sport,
He knelt within love's fane and worshipped thereBut not alone, for one was by his side
Whose love refined his being, filled the air
Of life's irradiated sky with light,
As the sun floods the heavens with a tide
Of renovating freshness, as the night
61
Is mellowed by the ample moon.
And hoping for the recompense
That would be theirs in life's approaching noon,
They built on hope's high eminence
Their airy palaces, whose magnificence
Surpassed the dreams that fancy drew,
So fair the promised land that lay within their view.
And here they lived; just within reach of heaven.
They could put forth their hands and touch the skies
That brooded o'er the walls of chrysolite,
The airy minarets, and golden domes
Of their new home, by Love, the Maker, given,
Steeped in his brightest dyes.
All nature opened up her ponderous tomes,
Whereby they had new knowledge and new sight,
Learned greater truths, and saw the paths of light,
Mosaic-paven, which to Duty led.
And there were secrets written overhead,
In burning hieroglyphs of thought,
From which they gleaned such lessons as are taught
Only to those whom heaven, in graciousness,
Lifts in her arms with a divine caress.
Earth, like a joyous maiden whose pure soul
Is filled with sudden ecstacy, became
A fruitful Eden; and the golden bowl
That held their elixir of life was filled
To overflowing with the rarest draught
Ever by gods or men in rapture quaffed;
Till from the altar of their hearts love's flame
Passed through the veins of the world, and thrilled
The soul of the rejoicing universe,
Which became theirs, and like true neophytes
They drained the sweet nepenthe, and love's rites
Wiped from their hearts all trace of the primeval curse.
The happy months rolled on; each wedded day
A bridal; and each calm and holy eve
Strewed with rare blessings all the sunny way
Through which they passed, with so divine a joy
That in his brain would meditation weave
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Love's roses into garlands of sweet song,
To deck the brow of his devoted wife.
In this their El Dorado, no alloy
Mixed with the coinage of their wedded life;
The workmen in the mint an honest throng.
No wonder, then, that with go fine a bliss
Informing every fibre of his brain,
His thoughts begat impressions such as this;
Linking their lives together with a chain
Of melody as rare as some divine refrain:
Like dew to the thirsty flower,
Like sweets to the hungry bee,
Is love's divinest dower,
Its tenderness and power,
To thee, dear Wife! to thee.
Like light to the darkened spirit,
Like oil to the turbid sea,
Like truthful words to merit,
Are the blessings I inherit
With thee, dear Wife! with thee.
Afar in the distant ages,
Soul-ransomed, and spirit-free,
I'll read all being's pages,
Unread by mortal sages,
With thee, dear Wife! with thee.
None but the happy heart could carol thus;
A feather stolen from Devotion's wing,
To keep as a memento of the time
When earth met heaven, in life's duteous
And prayerful journey towards the shadowy clime;
Ere they descended from their height sublime,
Where at Love's well-filled table, banqueting,
They sat, and watched the first glad year,
Earthlike, revolving round the sun
Of their true life. Within that sphere
Was the new Eden. One by one
63
The precious moments dropped like golden sands,
And formed the solid hours. No perilous strands
Delayed life's blissful current, as it sped
Through flowery realms with blue skies overhead,
To songs and laughter musically sweet,
As if all sorrow had forever fled;
And idylls, sung with cheerful tone,
Haunted the calm, enchanted zone
That hemmed them in,
Where, like a stately queen,
Sate Peace, beatified, serene,
The guardian, heaven-sent, of this their fair demesne:
--LOVE'S ANNIVERSARY.
Like a bold, adventurous swain,
Just a year ago to-day,
I launched my bark on a radiant main,
And Hymen led the way:
'Breakers ahead!' he cried,
As he sought to overwhelm
My daring craft in the shrieking tide,
But Love, like a pilot bold and tried,
Sat, watchful, at the helm.
And we passed the treacherous shoals,
Where many a hope lay dead,
And splendid wrecks were piled, like the ghouls
Of joys forever fled.
Once safely over these,
We sped by a fairy realm,
Across the bluest and calmest seas
That were ever kissed by a truant breeze,
With Love still at the helm.
We sailed by sweet, odorous isles,
Where the flowers and trees were one;
Through lakes that vied with the golden smiles
Of heaven's unclouded sun:
Still speeds our merry bark,
64
Threading life's peaceful realm,
And 'tis ever morn with our marriage-lark,
For the Pilot-Love of our safety-ark
Stands, watchful, at the helm.
II.
A beautiful land is the Land of Dreams,
Green hills and valleys, and deep lagoons,
Swift-rushing torrents and gentle streams,
Glassing a myriad silver moons;
Mirror-like lakelets with lovely isles,
And verdurous headlands looking down
On the Neread shapes, whose smiles
Were worth the price of a peaceful crown.
We clutch at the silvery bars
Flung from the motionless stars,
And climb far into space,
Defying the race
Who ride in aerial cars.
We take up the harp of the mind,
And finger its delicate strings;
The notes, soft and light
As a moonbeam's flight,
Departing on viewless wings.
Afar in some fanciful bower,
Some region of exquisite calm,
Where the starlight falls in a gleaming shower,
We sink to repose
On our couch of rose,
Inhaling no mortal balm.
The worlds are no longer unknown,
We pass through the uttermost sky,
Our eyelids are kissed
By a gentle mist,
And we feel the tone
Of a calmer zone,
As if heaven were wondrous nigh.
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A fanciful land is the Land of Dreams,
Where earth and heaven are clasping hands;
No heaven-no earth,
But one wide, new birth,
Where Beauty and Goodness, and human worth,
Make earth of heaven and heaven of earth;
And angels are walking on golden strands.
And the pearly gates of the universe
Of mind and fancy, opening
To the touch of the dainty finger-tips
Of elegant Peris with rose-bud lips,
Delicate, weird-like sounds are born
From the amber depths of odorous morn,
And spirits of beauty and light rehearse
Such strains as the young immortals sing,
When the souls of the blest
Are borne to their rest,
On luminous pinions of light serene
To the fragrant bowers of evergreen;
O'er the rosy plains, where the dying hours
Are changed by a spell to celestial flowers,
Where the skies have a hue no name can express,
For the tone of their passionate loveliness
Surpasseth all human imagining.
Such was their beautiful Dream of Life;
Each stern reality softened down;
Earth seemed to have ended her age of Strife,
And Harmony reigned, her olive crown
Besting on the Parian brow
Of the fair victor, like the gleam
Of the silvery moon on waves that flow
Thoughtfully down the summer stream.
Such was their earnest Dream of Life!
Was it some angel, with jealous eye,
Seeing such love beneath the sky
As never yet in world or star,
Or spheral height, that reached so far
'Twas never beheld by mortal sight,
Or elsewhere, save in highest heaven,
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Was duly earned, or truly given,
That leagued with the usurper, Death,
To quench the light that shone so bright
That in all the earth there was not a breath
So foul as to change their day to night?
Alone! alone! Oh, word of fearful tone!
Well might the moon withhold her light,
The stars withdraw from human sight,
When Love was overthrown.
The Minstrel's heart how changed!
Love's principalities,
O'er which he reigned supreme,
Usurped by earth's realities;
The realm through which he ranged
Become a vanished dream!
And yet he sung, as sings
The dying swan that droops its wings
And drifts along the stream:
--THE LIGHT IN THE WINDOW PANE.
A joy from my soul's departed,
A bliss from my heart is flown,
As weary, weary-hearted,
I wander alone-alone!
The night wind sadly sigheth
A withering, wild refrain,
And my heart within me dieth
For the light in the window pane.
The stars overhead are shining,
As brightly as e'er they shone,
As heartless-sad-repining,
I wander alone-alone!
A sudden flash comes streaming,
And flickers adown the lane,
But no more for me is gleaming
The light in the window pane.
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The voices that pass are cheerful,
Men laugh as the night winds moan;
They cannot tell how fearful
'Tis to wander alone-alone!
For them, with each night's returning,
Life singeth its tenderest strain,
Where the beacon of love is burningThe light in the window pane.
Oh, sorrow beyond all sorrows
To which human life is prone:
Without thee, through all the morrows,
To wander alone-alone!
Oh, dark, deserted dwelling!
Where Hope like a lamb was slain,
No voice from thy lone walls welling,
No light in thy window pane.
But memory, sainted angel!
Rolls back the sepulchral stone,
And sings like a sweet evangel:
'No-never, never alone!
True grief has its royal palace,
Each loss is a greater gain;
And Sorrow ne'er filled a chalice
That Joy did not wait to drain!
--'Man must be perfected
By suffering,' he said;
'And Death is but the stepping-stone, whereby
We mount towards the gate
Of heaven, soon or late.
Death is the penalty of life; we die,
Because we live; and life
Is but a constant strife
With the immortal Impulse that within
Our bodies seeks controlThe time-abiding Soul,
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That wrestles with us-yet we fain would win.
And what? the victory
Would make us slaves; and we,
Who in our blindness struggle for the prize
Of this illusive state
Called Life, do but frustrate
The higher law-refusing to be wise.'
Rightly he knew, indeed,
Earth's brightest paths but lead
To the true wisdom of that perfect state,
Where Knowledge, heaven-born,
And Love's eternal morn,
Awaiteth those who would be truly great.
With what abiding trust
He rose from out the dust,
As Death's swift chariot passed him by the way;
No visionary dream
Was his-no trifling themeThe Soul's great Mystery before him lay:
--THE SOUL.
All my mind has sat in state,
Pond'ring on the deathless Soul:
What must be the Perfect Whole,
When the atom is so great!
God! I fall in spirit down,
Low as Persian to the sun;
All my senses, one by one,
In the stream of Thought must drown.
On the tide of mystery,
Like a waif, I'm seaward borne,
Ever looking for the morn
That will yet interpret Thee,
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Opening my blinded eyes,
That have strove to look within,
'Whelmed in clouds of doubt and sin,
Sinking where I dared to rise:
Could I trace one Spirit's flight,
Track it to its final goal,
Know that 'Spirit' meant 'the Soul,'
I must perish in the light.
All in vain I search, and cry:
'What, O Soul, and whence art thou?'
Lower than the earth I bow,
Stricken with the grave reply:
'Wouldst thou ope what God has sealedSealed in mercy here below?
What is best for man to know,
Shall most surely be revealed!'
Deep on deep of mystery!
Ask the sage, he knows no more
Of the soul's unspoken lore
Than the child upon his knee!
Cannot tell me whence the thought
That is passing through my mind!
Where the mystic soul is shrined,
Wherewith all my life is fraught?
Knows not how the brain conceives
Images almost divine;
Cannot work my mental mine,
Cannot bind my golden sheaves.
Is he wiser, then, than I,
Seeing he can read the stars?
I have rode in fancy's oars
Leagues beyond his farthest sky!
Some old Rabbi, dreaming o'er
The sweet legends of his race,
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Ask him for some certain trace
Of the far, eternal shore.
No. The Talmud page is dark,
Though it burn with quenchless fire,
And the insight must pierce higher,
That would find the vital spark.
O, my Soul! be firm and wait,
Hoping with the zealous few,
Till the Shekinah of the True
Lead thee through the Golden Gate.
~ Charles Sangster
171:Eighteen Hundred And Eleven
Still the loud death drum, thundering from afar,
O'er the vext nations pours the storm of war:
To the stern call still Britain bends her ear,
Feeds the fierce strife, the' alternate hope and fear;
Bravely, though vainly, dares to strive with Fate,
And seeks by turns to prop each sinking state.
Colossal power with overwhelming force
Bears down each fort of Freedom in its course;
Prostrate she lies beneath the Despot's sway,
While the hushed nations curse him—and obey.
Bounteous in vain, with frantic man at strife,
Glad Nature pours the means—the joys of life;
In vain with orange-blossoms scents the gale,
The hills with olives clothes, with corn the vale;
Man calls to Famine, nor invokes in vain,
Disease and Rapine follow in her train;
The tramp of marching hosts disturbs the plough,
The sword, not sickle, reaps the harvest now,
And where the soldier gleans the scant supply,
The helpless peasant but retires to die;
No laws his hut from licensed outrage shield,
And war's least horror is the' ensanguined field.
Fruitful in vain, the matron counts with pride
The blooming youths that grace her honoured side;
No son returns to press her widowed hand,
Her fallen blossoms strew a foreign strand.
—Fruitful in vain, she boasts her virgin race,
Whom cultured arts adorn and gentlest grace;
Defrauded of its homage, Beauty mourns,
And the rose withers on its virgin thorns.
Frequent, some stream obscure, some uncouth name,
By deeds of blood is lifted into fame;
Oft o'er the daily page some soft one bends
To learn the fate of husband, brothers, friends,
Or the spread map with anxious eye explores,
Its dotted boundaries and penciled shores,
48
Asks where the spot that wrecked her bliss is found,
And learns its name but to detest the sound.
And think'st thou, Britain, still to sit at ease,
An island queen amidst thy subject seas,
While the vext billows, in their distant roar,
But soothe thy slumbers, and but kiss thy shore?
To sport in wars, while danger keeps aloof,
Thy grassy turf unbruised by hostile hoof?
So sing thy flatterers;—but, Britain, know,
Thou who hast shared the guilt must share the woe.
Nor distant is the hour; low murmurs spread,
And whispered fears, creating what they dread;
Ruin, as with an earthquake shock, is here,
There, the heart-witherings of unuttered fear,
And that sad death, whence most affection bleeds,
Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes.
Thy baseless wealth dissolves in air away,
Like mists that melt before the morning ray:
No more on crowded mart or busy street
Friends, meeting friends, with cheerful hurry greet;
Sad, on the ground thy princely merchants bend
Their altered looks, and evil days portend,
And fold their arms, and watch with anxious breast
The tempest blackening in the distant West.
Yes, thou must droop; thy Midas dream is o'er;
The golden tide of Commerce leaves thy shore,
Leaves thee to prove the' alternate ills that haunt
Enfeebling Luxury and ghastly Want;
Leaves thee, perhaps, to visit distant lands,
And deal the gifts of Heaven with equal hands.
Yet, O my Country, name beloved, revered,
By every tie that binds the soul endeared,
Whose image to my infant senses came
Mixt with Religion's light and Freedom's holy flame!
If prayers may not avert, if 'tis thy fate
To rank amongst the names that once were great,
Not like the dim, cold Crescent shalt thou fade,
Thy debt to Science and the Muse unpaid;
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Thine are the laws surrounding states revere,
Thine the full harvest of the mental year,
Thine the bright stars in Glory's sky that shine,
And arts that make it life to live are thine.
If westward streams the light that leaves thy shores,
Still from thy lamp the streaming radiance pours.
Wide spreads thy race from Ganges to the pole,
O'er half the western world thy accents roll:
Nations beyond the Apalachian hills
Thy hand has planted and thy spirit fills:
Soon as their gradual progress shall impart
The finer sense of morals and of art,
Thy stores of knowledge the new states shall know,
And think thy thoughts, and with thy fancy glow;
Thy Lockes, thy Paleys shall instruct their youth,
Thy leading star direct their search for truth;
Beneath the spreading platan's tent-like shade,
Or by Missouri's rushing waters laid,
“Old father Thames” shall be the poet's theme,
Of Hagley's woods the' enamoured virgin dream,
And Milton's tones the raptured ear enthrall,
Mixt with the roaring of Niagara's fall;
In Thomson's glass the' ingenuous youth shall learn
A fairer face of Nature to discern;
Nor of the bards that swept the British lyre
Shall fade one laurel, or one note expire.
Then, loved Joanna, to admiring eyes
Thy storied groups in scenic pomp shall rise;
Their high-souled strains and Shakespear's noble rage
Shall with alternate passion shake the stage.
Some youthful Basil from thy moral lay
With stricter hand his fond desires shall sway;
Some Ethwald, as the fleeting shadows pass,
Start at his likeness in the mystic glass;
The tragic Muse resume her just controul,
With pity and with terror purge the soul,
While wide o'er transatlantic realms thy name
Shall live in light, and gather all its fame.
Where wanders Fancy down the lapse of years
Shedding o'er imaged woes untimely tears?
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Fond moody power! as hopes—as fears prevail,
She longs, or dreads, to lift the awful veil,
On visions of delight now loves to dwell,
Now hears the shriek of woe or Freedom's knell:
Perhaps, she says, long ages past away,
And set in western waves our closing day,
Night, Gothic night, again may shade the plains
Where Power is seated, and where Science reigns;
England, the seat of arts, be only known
By the grey ruin and the mouldering stone;
That Time may tear the garland from her brow,
And Europe sit in dust, as Asia now.
Yet then the' ingenuous youth whom Fancy fires
With pictured glories of illustrious sires,
With duteous zeal their pilgrimage shall take
From the Blue Mountains, or Ontario's lake,
With fond adoring steps to press the sod
By statesmen, sages, poets, heroes trod;
On Isis' banks to draw inspiring air,
From Runnymede to send the patriot's prayer;
In pensive thought, where Cam's slow waters wind,
To meet those shades that ruled the realms of mind;
In silent halls to sculptured marbles bow,
And hang fresh wreaths round Newton's awful brow.
Oft shall they seek some peasant's homely shed,
Who toils, unconscious of the mighty dead,
To ask where Avon's winding waters stray,
And thence a knot of wild flowers bear away;
Anxious inquire where Clarkson, friend of man,
Or all-accomplished Jones his race began;
If of the modest mansion aught remains
Where Heaven and Nature prompted Cowper's strains;
Where Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong
The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,
Led Ceres to the black and barren moor
Where Ceres never gained a wreath before:
With curious search their pilgrim steps shall rove
By many a ruined tower and proud alcove,
Shall listen for those strains that soothed of yore
Thy rock, stern Skiddaw, and thy fall, Lodore;
Feast with Dun Edin's classic brow their sight,
51
And “visit Melross by the pale moonlight.”
But who their mingled feelings shall pursue
When London's faded glories rise to view?
The mighty city, which by every road,
In floods of people poured itself abroad;
Ungirt by walls, irregularly great,
No jealous drawbridge, and no closing gate;
Whose merchants (such the state which commerce brings)
Sent forth their mandates to dependent kings;
Streets, where the turban'd Moslem, bearded Jew,
And woolly Afric, met the brown Hindu;
Where through each vein spontaneous plenty flowed,
Where Wealth enjoyed, and Charity bestowed.
Pensive and thoughtful shall the wanderers greet
Each splendid square, and still, untrodden street;
Or of some crumbling turret, mined by time,
The broken stairs with perilous step shall climb,
Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,
By scattered hamlets trace its ancient bound,
And, choked no more with fleets, fair Thames survey
Through reeds and sedge pursue his idle way.
With throbbing bosoms shall the wanderers tread
The hallowed mansions of the silent dead,
Shall enter the long isle and vaulted dome
Where Genius and where Valour find a home;
Awe-struck, midst chill sepulchral marbles breathe,
Where all above is still, as all beneath;
Bend at each antique shrine, and frequent turn
To clasp with fond delight some sculptured urn,
The ponderous mass of Johnson's form to greet,
Or breathe the prayer at Howard's sainted feet.
Perhaps some Briton, in whose musing mind
Those ages live which Time has cast behind,
To every spot shall lead his wondering guests
On whose known site the beam of glory rests:
Here Chatham's eloquence in thunder broke,
Here Fox persuaded, or here Garrick spoke;
Shall boast how Nelson, fame and death in view,
52
To wonted victory led his ardent crew,
In England's name enforced, with loftiest tone,
Their duty,—and too well fulfilled his own:
How gallant Moore,
as ebbing life dissolved,
But hoped his country had his fame absolved.
Or call up sages whose capacious mind
Left in its course a track of light behind;
Point where mute crowds on Davy's lips reposed,
And Nature's coyest secrets were disclosed;
Join with their Franklin, Priestley's injured name,
Whom, then, each continent shall proudly claim.
Oft shall the strangers turn their eager feet
The rich remains of ancient art to greet,
The pictured walls with critic eye explore,
And Reynolds be what Raphael was before.
On spoils from every clime their eyes shall gaze,
Egyptian granites and the' Etruscan vase;
And when midst fallen London, they survey
The stone where Alexander's ashes lay,
Shall own with humbled pride the lesson just
By Time's slow finger written in the dust.
There walks a Spirit o'er the peopled earth,
Secret his progress is, unknown his birth;
Moody and viewless as the changing wind,
No force arrests his foot, no chains can bind;
Where'er he turns, the human brute awakes,
And, roused to better life, his sordid hut forsakes:
He thinks, he reasons, glows with purer fires,
Feels finer wants, and burns with new desires:
Obedient Nature follows where he leads;
The steaming marsh is changed to fruitful meads;
The beasts retire from man's asserted reign,
And prove his kingdom was not given in vain.
Then from its bed is drawn the ponderous ore,
Then Commerce pours her gifts on every shore,
Then Babel's towers and terraced gardens rise,
And pointed obelisks invade the skies;
The prince commands, in Tyrian purple drest,
53
And Egypt's virgins weave the linen vest.
Then spans the graceful arch the roaring tide,
And stricter bounds the cultured fields divide.
Then kindles Fancy, then expands the heart,
Then blow the flowers of Genius and of Art;
Saints, heroes, sages, who the land adorn,
Seem rather to descend than to be born;
Whilst History, midst the rolls consigned to fame,
With pen of adamant inscribes their name.
The Genius now forsakes the favoured shore,
And hates, capricious, what he loved before;
Then empires fall to dust, then arts decay,
And wasted realms enfeebled despots sway;
Even Nature's changed; without his fostering smile
Ophir no gold, no plenty yields the Nile;
The thirsty sand absorbs the useless rill,
And spotted plagues from putrid fens distill.
In desert solitudes then Tadmor sleeps,
Stern Marius then o'er fallen Carthage weeps;
Then with enthusiast love the pilgrim roves
To seek his footsteps in forsaken groves,
Explores the fractured arch, the ruined tower,
Those limbs disjointed of gigantic power;
Still at each step he dreads the adder's sting,
The Arab's javelin, or the tiger's spring;
With doubtful caution treads the echoing ground,
And asks where Troy or Babylon is found.
And now the vagrant Power no more detains
The vale of Tempe, or Ausonian plains;
Northward he throws the animating ray,
O'er Celtic nations bursts the mental day:
And, as some playful child the mirror turns,
Now here now there the moving lustre burns;
Now o'er his changeful fancy more prevail
Batavia's dykes than Arno's purple vale,
And stinted suns, and rivers bound with frost,
Than Enna's plains or Baia's viny coast;
Venice the Adriatic weds in vain,
And Death sits brooding o'er Campania's plain;
O'er Baltic shores and through Hercynian groves,
54
Stirring the soul, the mighty impulse moves;
Art plies his tools, and Commerce spreads her sail,
And wealth is wafted in each shifting gale.
The sons of Odin tread on Persian looms,
And Odin's daughters breathe distilled perfumes
Loud minstrel bards, in Gothic halls, rehearse
The Runic rhyme, and “build the lofty verse:”
The Muse, whose liquid notes were wont to swell
To the soft breathings of the' Æolian shell,
Submits, reluctant, to the harsher tone,
And scarce believes the altered voice her own.
And now, where Cæsar saw with proud disdain
The wattled hut and skin of azure stain,
Corinthian columns rear their graceful forms,
And light varandas brave the wintry storms,
While British tongues the fading fame prolong
Of Tully's eloquence and Maro's song.
Where once Bonduca whirled the scythed car,
And the fierce matrons raised the shriek of war,
Light forms beneath transparent muslins float,
And tutored voices swell the artful note.
Light-leaved acacias and the shady plane
And spreading cedar grace the woodland reign;
While crystal walls the tenderer plants confine,
The fragrant orange and the nectared pine;
The Syrian grape there hangs her rich festoons,
Nor asks for purer air, or brighter noons:
Science and Art urge on the useful toil,
New mould a climate and create the soil,
Subdue the rigour of the northern Bear,
O'er polar climes shed aromatic air,
On yielding Nature urge their new demands,
And ask not gifts but tribute at her hands.
London exults:—on London Art bestows
Her summer ices and her winter rose;
Gems of the East her mural crown adorn,
And Plenty at her feet pours forth her horn;
While even the exiles her just laws disclaim,
People a continent, and build a name:
August she sits, and with extended hands
Holds forth the book of life to distant lands.
55
But fairest flowers expand but to decay;
The worm is in thy core, thy glories pass away;
Arts, arms and wealth destroy the fruits they bring;
Commerce, like beauty, knows no second spring.
Crime walks thy streets, Fraud earns her unblest bread,
O'er want and woe thy gorgeous robe is spread,
And angel charities in vain oppose:
With grandeur's growth the mass of misery grows.
For see,—to other climes the Genius soars,
He turns from Europe's desolated shores;
And lo, even now, midst mountains wrapt in storm,
On Andes' heights he shrouds his awful form;
On Chimborazo's summits treads sublime,
Measuring in lofty thought the march of Time;
Sudden he calls:—“'Tis now the hour!” he cries,
Spreads his broad hand, and bids the nations rise.
La Plata hears amidst her torrents' roar;
Potosi hears it, as she digs the ore:
Ardent, the Genius fans the noble strife,
And pours through feeble souls a higher life,
Shouts to the mingled tribes from sea to sea,
And swears—Thy world, Columbus, shall be free.
~ Anna Laetitia Barbauld
172:Le Mendiant
C'était quand le printemps a reverdi les prés.
La fille de Lycus, vierge aux cheveux dorés,
Sous les monts Achéens, non loin de Cérynée,
Errait à l'ombre, aux bords du faible et pur Crathis,
Car les eaux du Crathis, sous des berceaux de frêne,
Entouraient de Lycus le fertile domaine.
Soudain, à l'autre bord,
Du fond d'un bois épais, un noir fantôme sort,
Tout pâle, demi-nu, la barbe hérissée:
Il remuait à peine une lèvre glacée,
Des hommes et des dieux implorait le secours,
Et dans la forêt sombre errait depuis deux jours;
Il se traîne, il n'attend qu'une mort douloureuse;
Il succombe. L'enfant, interdite et peureuse,
A ce hideux aspect sorti du fond des bois,
Veut fuir; mais elle entend sa lamentable voix.
Il tend les bras, il tombe à genoux; il lui crie
Qu'au nom de tous les dieux il la conjure, il prie,
Et qu'il n'est point à craindre, et qu'une ardente faim
L'aiguillonne et le tue, et qu'il expire enfin.
'Si, comme je le crois, belle dès ton enfance,
C'est le dieu de ces eaux qui t'a donné naissance,
Nymphe, souvent les voeux des malheureux humains
Ouvrent des immortels les bienfaisantes mains,
Ou si c'est quelque front porteur d'une couronne
Qui te nomme sa fille et te destine au trône,
Souviens-toi, jeune enfant, que le ciel quelquefois
Venge les opprimés sur la tête des rois.
Belle vierge, sans doute enfant d'une déesse,
Crains de laisser périr l'étranger en détresse:
L'étranger qui supplie est envoyé des dieux.'
Elle reste. A le voir, elle enhardit ses yeux,
. . . . . . . . et d'une voix encore
Tremblante: 'Ami, le ciel écoute qui l'implore.
Mais ce soir, quand la nuit descend sur l'horizon,
Passe le pont mobile, entre dans la maison;
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J'aurai soin qu'on te laisse entrer sans méfiance.
Pour la douzième fois célébrant ma naissance,
Mon père doit donner une fête aujourd'hui.
Il m'aime, il n'a que moi: viens t'adresser à lui,
C'est le riche Lycus. Viens ce soir; il est tendre,
Il est humain: il pleure aux pleurs qu'il voit répandre.'
Elle achève ces mots, et, le coeur palpitant,
S'enfuit; car l'étranger sur elle, en l'écoutant,
Fixait de ses yeux creux l'attention avide.
Elle rentre, cherchant dans le palais splendide
L'esclave près de qui toujours ses jeunes ans
Trouvent un doux accueil et des soins complaisants.
Cette sage affranchie avait nourri sa mère;
Maintenant sous des lois de vigilance austère,
Elle et son vieil époux, au devoir rigoureux,
Rangent des serviteurs le cortège nombreux.
Elle la voit de loin dans le fond du portique,
Court, et, posant ses mains sur ce visage antique:
'Indulgente nourrice, écoute: il faut de toi
Que j'obtienne un grand bien. Ma mère, écoute-moi;
Un pauvre, un étranger, dans la misère extrême,
Gémit sur l'autre bord, mourant, affamé, blême...
Ne me décèle point. De mon père aujourd'hui
J'ai promis qu'il pourrait solliciter l'appui.
Fais qu'il entre: et surtout, ô mère de ma mère!
Garde que nul mortel a'insulte à sa misère.
--Oui, ma fille; chacun fera ce que tu veux,
Dit l'esclave en baisant son front et ses cheveux;
Oui, qu'à ton protégé ta fête soit ouverte,
Ta mère, mon élève (inestimable perte!),
Aimait à soulager les faibles abattus;
Tu lui ressembleras autant par tes vertus
Que par tes yeux si doux et tes grâces naïves,'
Mais cependant la nuit assemble les convives:
En habits somptueux, d'essences parfumés,
Ils entrent. Aux lambris d'ivoire et d'or formés
Pend le lin d'Ionie en brillantes courtines;
Le toit s'égaye et rit de mille odeurs divines.
La table au loin circule, et d'apprêts savoureux
Se charge. L'encens vole en longs flots vaporeux:
Sur leurs bases d'argent, des formes animées
Élèvent dans leurs mains des torches enflammées;
112
Les figures, l'onyx, le cristal, les métaux
En vases hérissés d'hommes ou d'animaux,
Partout, sur les buffets, sur la table, étincellent;
Plus d'une lyre est prête; et partout s'amoncellent
Et les rameaux de myrte et les bouquets de fleurs.
On s'étend sur les lits teints de mille couleurs;
Près de Lycus, sa fille, idole de la fête,
Est admise. La rose a couronné sa tête.
Mais, pour que la décence impose un juste frein,
Lui-même est par eux tous élu roi du festin.
Et déjà vins, chansons, joie, entretiens sans nombre,
Lorsque, la double porte ouverte, un spectre sombre
Entre, cherchant des yeux l'autel hospitalier.
La jeune enfant rougit. Il court vers le foyer,
Il embrasse l'autel, s'assied parmi la cendre;
Et tous, l'oeil étonné, se taisent pour l'entendre.
'Lycus, fils d'Évémon, que les dieux et le temps
N'osent jamais troubler tes destins éclatants!
Ta pourpre, tes trésors, ton front noble et tranquille,
Semblent d'un roi puissant, l'idole de sa ville.
A ton riche banquet un peuple convié
T'honore comme un dieu de l'Olympe envoyé.
Regarde un étranger qui meurt dans la poussière,
Si tu ne tends vers lui la main hospitalière.
Inconnu, j'ai franchi le seuil de ton palais:
Trop de pudeur peut nuire à qui vit de bienfaits.
Lycus, par Jupiter, par ta fille innocente
Qui m'a seule indiqué ta porte bienfaisante!...
Je fus riche autrefois: mon banquet opulent
N'a jamais repoussé l'étranger suppliant.
Et pourtant aujourd'hui la faim est mon partage,
La faim qui flétrit l'âme autant que le visage,
Par qui l'homme souvent, importun, odieux,
Est contraint de rougir et de baisser les yeux!
--Étranger, tu dis vrai, le hasard téméraire
Des bons ou des méchants fait le destin prospère.
Mais sois mon hôte. Ici l'on hait plus que l'enfer
Le public ennemi, le riche au coeur de fer,
Enfant de Némésis, dont le dédain barbare
Aux besoins des mortels ferme son coeur avare.
113
Je rends grâce à l'enfant qui t'a conduit ici.
Ma fille, c'est bien fait; poursuis toujours ainsi.
Respecter l'indigence est un devoir suprême.
Souvent les immortels (et Jupiter lui-même)
Sous des haillons poudreux, de seuil en seuil traînés,
Viennent tenter le coeur des humains fortunés.'
D'accueil et de faveur un murmure s'élève.
Lycus descend, accourt, tend la main, le relève:
'Salut, père étranger; et que puissent tes voeux
Trouver le ciel propice à tout ce que tu veux!
Mon hôte, lève-toi. Tu parais noble et sage;
Mais cesse avec ta main de cacher ton visage.
Souvent marchent ensemble indigence et vertu,
Souvent d'un vil manteau le sage revêtu,
Seul, vit avec les dieux et brave un sort inique.
Couvert de chauds tissus, à l'ombre du portique,
Sur de molles toisons, en un calme sommeil,
Tu peux ici, dans l'ombre, attendre le soleil.
Je te ferai revoir tes foyers, ta patrie,
Tes parents, si les dieux ont épargné leur vie.
Car tout mortel errant nourrit un long amour
D'aller revoir le sol qui lui donna le jour.
Mon hôte, tu franchis le seuil de ma famille
A l'heure qui jadis a vu naître ma fille.
Salut! Vois, l'on t'apporte et la table et le pain:
Sieds-toi. Tu vas d'abord rassasier ta faim.
Puis, si nulle raison ne te force au mystère,
Tu nous diras ton nom, ta patrie et ton père!'
Il retourne à sa place après que l'indigent
S'est assis. Sur ses mains, d'une aiguière d'argent,
Par une jeune esclave une eau pure est versée.
Une table de cèdre, où l'éponge est passée,
S'approche, et vient offrir à son avide main
Et les fumantes chairs sur le disque d'airain,
Et l'amphore vineuse, et la coupe aux deux anses.
'Mange et bois, dit Lycus; oublions les souffrances,
Ami! leur lendemain est, dit-on, un beau jour.'
Bientôt Lycus se lève et fait emplir sa coupe,
Et veut que l'échanson verse à toute la troupe:
114
'Pour boire à Jupiter, qui nous daigne envoyer
L'étranger devenu l'hôte de mon foyer.'
Le vin de main en main va coulant à la ronde;
Lycus lui-même emplit une coupe profonde,
L'envoie à l'étranger: 'Salut, mon hôte, bois.
De ta ville bientôt tu reverras les toits,
Fussent-ils par-delà les glaces du Caucase.'
Des mains de l'échanson l'étranger prend le vase,
Se lève et sur eux tous il invoque les dieux.
On boit; il se rassied. Et jusque sur ses yeux
Ses noirs cheveux toujours ombrageant son visage,
De sourire et de plainte il mêle son langage:
'Mon hôte, maintenant que sous tes nobles toits
De l'importun besoin j'ai calmé les abois,
Oserai-je à ma langue abandonner les rênes?
Je n'ai plus ni pays, ni parents, ni domaines.
Mais écoute: le vin, par toi-même versé,
M'ouvre la bouche. Ainsi, puisque j'ai commencé,
Entends ce que peut-être il eût mieux valu taire.
Excuse enfin ma langue, excuse ma prière;
Car du vin, tu le sais, la téméraire ardeur
Souvent à l'excès même enhardit la pudeur.
Meurtri de durs cailloux ou de sables arides,
Déchiré de buissons ou d'insectes avides,
D'un long jeûne flétri, d'un long chemin lassé
Et de plus d'un grand fleuve en nageant traversé,
Je parais énervé, sans vigueur, sans courage;
Mais je suis né robuste et n'ai point passé l'âge.
La force et le travail, que je n'ai point perdus,
Par un peu de repos me vont être rendus.
Emploie alors mes bras à quelques soins rustiques.
Je puis dresser au char tes coursiers olympiques,
Ou, sous les feux du jour, courbé vers le sillon,
Presser deux forts taureaux du piquant aiguillon.
Je puis même, tournant la meule nourricière,
Broyer le pur froment en farine légère.
Je puis, la serpe en main, planter et diriger
Et le cep et la treille, espoir de ton verger.
Je tiendrai la faucille ou la faux recourbée,
Et devant mes pas l'herbe ou la moisson tombée
Viendra remplir ta grange en la belle saison;
115
Afin que nul mortel ne dise en ta maison,
Me regardant d'un oeil insultant et colère:
O vorace étranger, qu'on nourrit à rien faire!
--Vénérable indigent, va, nul mortel chez moi
N'oserait élever sa langue contre toi.
Tu peux ici rester, même oisif et tranquille,
Sans craindre qu'un affront ne trouble ton asile.
--L'indigent se méfie.--Il n'est plus de danger.
--L'homme est né pour souffrir.--Il est né pour changer.
--Il change d'infortune!--Ami, reprends courage:
Toujours un vent glacé ne souffle point l'orage.
Le ciel d'un jour à l'autre est humide ou serein,
Et tel pleure aujourd'hui qui sourira demain.
--Mon hôte, en tes discours préside la sagesse.
Mais quoi! la confiante et paisible richesse
Parle ainsi!... L'indigent espère en vain du sort;
En espérant toujours il arrive à la mort.
Dévoré de besoins, de projets, d'insomnie,
Il vieillit dans l'opprobre et dans l'ignominie.
Rebuté des humains durs, envieux, ingrats,
Il a recours aux dieux qui ne l'entendent pas.
Toutefois ta richesse accueille mes misères;
Et puisque ton coeur s'ouvre à la voix des prières.
Puisqu'il sait, ménageant le faible humilié,
D'indulgence et d'égards tempérer la pitié,
S'il est des dieux du pauvre, ô Lycus! que ta vie
Soit un objet pour tous et d'amour et d'envie!
--Je te le dis encore: espérons, étranger.
Que mon exemple au moins serve à t'encourager
Des changements du sort j'ai fait l'expérience.
Toujours un même éclat n'a point à l'indigence
Fait du riche Lycus envier le destin.
J'ai moi-même été pauvre et j'ai tendu la main.
Cléotas de Larisse, en ses jardins immenses,
Offrit à mon travail de justes récompenses.
'Jeune ami, j'ai trouvé quelques vertus en toi;
Va, sois heureux, dit-il, et te souviens de moi.'
Oui, oui, je m'en souviens: Cléotas fut mon père;
Tu vois le fruit des dons de sa bonté prospère.
116
A tous les malheureux je rendrai désormais
Ce que dans mon malheur je dus à ses bienfaits.
Dieux, l'homme bienfaisant est votre cher ouvrage;
Vous n'avez point ici d'autre visible image;
Il porte votre empreinte, il sortit de vos mains
Pour vous représenter aux regards des humains.
Veillez sur Cléotas! Qu'une fleur éternelle,
Fille d'une âme pure, en ses traits étincelle;
Que nombre de bienfaits, ce sont là ses amours,
Fassent une couronne à chacun de ses jours;
Et quand une mort douce et d'amis entourée
Recevra sans douleur sa vieillesse sacrée,
Qu'il laisse avec ses biens ses vertus pour appui
A des fils, s'il se peut, encor meilleurs que lui.
--Hôte des malheureux, le sort inexorable
Ne prend point les avis de l'homme secourable.
Tous, par sa main de fer en aveugles poussés,
Nous vivons; et tes voeux ne sont point exaucés.
Cléotas est perdu; son injuste patrie
L'a privé de ses biens; elle a proscrit sa vie.
De ses concitoyens dès longtemps envié,
De ses nombreux amis en un jour oublié,
Au lieu de ces tapis qu'avait tissus l'Euphrate,
Au lieu de ces festins brillants d'or et d'agate
Où ses hôtes, parmi les chants harmonieux,
Savouraient jusqu'au jour les vins délicieux,
Seul maintenant, sa faim, visitant les feuillages,
Dépouille les buissons de quelques fruits sauvages;
Ou, chez le riche altier apportant ses douleurs,
Il mange un pain amer tout trempé de ses pleurs.
Errant et fugitif, de ses beaux jours de gloire
Gardant, pour son malheur, la pénible mémoire,
Sous les feux du midi, sous le froid des hivers,
Seul, d'exil en exil, de déserts en déserts,
Pauvre et semblable à moi, languissant et débile,
Sans appui qu'un bâton, sans foyer, sans asile,
Revêtu de ramée ou de quelques lambeaux,
Et sans que nul mortel attendri sur ses maux
D'un souhait de bonheur le flatte et l'encourage;
Les torrents et la mer, l'aquilon et l'orage,
Les corbeaux, et des loups les tristes hurlements
117
Répondant seuls la nuit à ses gémissements;
N'ayant d'autres amis que les bois solitaires,
D'autres consolateurs que ses larmes amères,
Il se traîne; et souvent sur la pierre il s'endort
A la porte d'un temple, en invoquant la mort.
--Que m'as-tu dit? La foudre a tombé sur ma tête.
Dieux! ah! grands dieux! partons. Plus de jeux, plus de fête!
Partons. Il faut vers lui trouver des chemins sûrs;
Partons. Jamais sans lui je ne revois ces murs.
Ah! dieux! quand dans le vin, les festins, l'abondance,
Enivré des vapeurs d'une folle opulence,
Celui qui lui doit tout chante, et s'oublie, et rit,
Lui peut-être il expire, affamé, nu, proscrit,
Maudissant, comme ingrat, son vieil ami qui l'aime.
Parle: était-ce bien lui? le connais-tu toi-même?
En quels lieux était-il? où portait-il ses pas?
Il sait où vit Lycus, pourquoi ne vient-il pas?
Parle: était-ce bien lui? parle, parle, te dis-je;
Où l'as-tu vu?--Mon hôte, à regret je t'afflige.
C'était lui, je l'ai vu ........................
.........................Les douleurs de son âme
Avaient changé ses traits. Ses deux fils et sa femme
A Delphes, confiés au ministre du dieu,
Vivaient de quelques dons offerts dans le saint lieu.
Par des sentiers secrets fuyant l'aspect des villes,
On les avait suivis jusques aux Thermopyles.
Il en gardait encore un douloureux effroi.
Je le connais; je fus son ami comme toi.
D'un même sort jaloux une même injustice
Nous a tous deux plongés au même précipice.
Il me donna jadis (ce bien seul m'est resté)
Sa marque d'alliance et d'hospitalité.
Vois si tu la connais.' De surprise immobile,
Lycus a reconnu son propre sceau d'argile;
Ce sceau, don mutuel d'immortelle amitié,
Jadis à Cléotas par lui-même envoyé.
Il ouvre un oeil avide, et longtemps envisage
L'étranger. Puis enfin sa voix trouve un passage.
'Est-ce toi, Cléotas? toi qu'ainsi je revoi?
Tout ici t'appartient. O mon père! est-ce toi?
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Je rougis que mes yeux aient pu te méconnaître.
Cléotas! ô mon père! ô toi qui fus mon maître,
Viens; je n'ai fait ici que garder ton trésor,
Et ton ancien Lycus veut te servir encor;
J'ai honte à ma fortune en regardant la tienne.'
Et, dépouillant soudain la pourpre tyrienne
Que tient sur son épaule une agrafe d'argent,
Il l'attache lui-même à l'auguste indigent.
Les convives levés l'entourent; l'allégresse
Rayonne en tous les yeux. La famille s'empresse;
On cherche des habits, on réchauffe le bain.
La jeune enfant approche; il rit, lui tend la main:
'Car c'est toi, lui dit-il, c'est toi qui, la première,
Ma fille, m'as ouvert la porte hospitalière.'
~ Andre Marie de Chenier
173:Just at the self-same beat of Time's wide wings
Hyperion slid into the rustled air,
And Saturn gain'd with Thea that sad place
Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn'd.
It was a den where no insulting light
Could glimmer on their tears; where their own groans
They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar
Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse,
Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where.
Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem'd
Ever as if just rising from a sleep,
Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns;
And thus in thousand hugest phantasies
Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe.
Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon,
Couches of rugged stone, and slaty ridge
Stubborn'd with iron. All were not assembled:
Some chain'd in torture, and some wandering.
Caus, and Gyges, and Briareus,
Typhon, and Dolor, and Porphyrion,
With many more, the brawniest in assault,
Were pent in regions of laborious breath;
Dungeon'd in opaque element, to keep
Their clenched teeth still clench'd, and all their limbs
Lock'd up like veins of metal, crampt and screw'd;
Without a motion, save of their big hearts
Heaving in pain, and horribly convuls'd
With sanguine feverous boiling gurge of pulse.
Mnemosyne was straying in the world;
Far from her moon had Phoebe wandered;
And many else were free to roam abroad,
But for the main, here found they covert drear.
Scarce images of life, one here, one there,
Lay vast and edgeways; like a dismal cirque
Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor,
When the chill rain begins at shut of eve,
In dull November, and their chancel vault,
The Heaven itself, is blinded throughout night.
Each one kept shroud, nor to his neighbour gave
Or word, or look, or action of despair.
Creus was one; his ponderous iron mace
Lay by him, and a shatter'd rib of rock
Told of his rage, ere he thus sank and pined.
Iapetus another; in his grasp,
A serpent's plashy neck; its barbed tongue
Squeez'd from the gorge, and all its uncurl'd length
Dead: and because the creature could not spit
Its poison in the eyes of conquering Jove.
Next Cottus: prone he lay, chin uppermost,
As though in pain; for still upon the flint
He ground severe his skull, with open mouth
And eyes at horrid working. Nearest him
Asia, born of most enormous Caf,
Who cost her mother Tellus keener pangs,
Though feminine, than any of her sons:
More thought than woe was in her dusky face,
For she was prophesying of her glory;
And in her wide imagination stood
Palm-shaded temples, and high rival fanes
By Oxus or in Ganges' sacred isles.
Even as Hope upon her anchor leans,
So leant she, not so fair, upon a tusk
Shed from the broadest of her elephants.
Above her, on a crag's uneasy shelve,
Upon his elbow rais'd, all prostrate else,
Shadow'd Enceladus; once tame and mild
As grazing ox unworried in the meads;
Now tiger-passion'd, lion-thoughted, wroth,
He meditated, plotted, and even now
Was hurling mountains in that second war,
Not long delay'd, that scar'd the younger Gods
To hide themselves in forms of beast and bird.
Not far hence Atlas; and beside him prone
Phorcus, the sire of Gorgons. Neighbour'd close
Oceanus, and Tethys, in whose lap
Sobb'd Clymene among her tangled hair.
In midst of all lay Themis, at the feet
Of Ops the queen; all clouded round from sight,
No shape distinguishable, more than when
Thick night confounds the pine-tops with the clouds:
And many else whose names may not be told.
For when the Muse's wings are air-ward spread,
Who shall delay her flight? And she must chaunt
Of Saturn, and his guide, who now had climb'd
With damp and slippery footing from a depth
More horrid still. Above a sombre cliff
Their heads appear'd, and up their stature grew
Till on the level height their steps found ease:
Then Thea spread abroad her trembling arms
Upon the precincts of this nest of pain,
And sidelong fix'd her eye on Saturn's face:
There saw she direst strife; the supreme God
At war with all the frailty of grief,
Of rage, of fear, anxiety, revenge,
Remorse, spleen, hope, but most of all despair.
Against these plagues he strove in vain; for Fate
Had pour'd a mortal oil upon his head,
A disanointing poison: so that Thea,
Affrighted, kept her still, and let him pass
First onwards in, among the fallen tribe.

  As with us mortal men, the laden heart
Is persecuted more, and fever'd more,
When it is nighing to the mournful house
Where other hearts are sick of the same bruise;
So Saturn, as he walk'd into the midst,
Felt faint, and would have sunk among the rest,
But that he met Enceladus's eye,
Whose mightiness, and awe of him, at once
Came like an inspiration; and he shouted,
"Titans, behold your God!" at which some groan'd;
Some started on their feet; some also shouted;
Some wept, some wail'd, all bow'd with reverence;
And Ops, uplifting her black folded veil,
Show'd her pale cheeks, and all her forehead wan,
Her eye-brows thin and jet, and hollow eyes.
There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines
When Winter lifts his voice; there is a noise
Among immortals when a God gives sign,
With hushing finger, how he means to load
His tongue with the filll weight of utterless thought,
With thunder, and with music, and with pomp:
Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines;
Which, when it ceases in this mountain'd world,
No other sound succeeds; but ceasing here,
Among these fallen, Saturn's voice therefrom
Grew up like organ, that begins anew
Its strain, when other harmonies, stopt short,
Leave the dinn'd air vibrating silverly.
Thus grew it up-"Not in my own sad breast,
Which is its own great judge and searcher out,
Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
Not in the legends of the first of days,
Studied from that old spirit-leaved book
Which starry Uranus with finger bright
Sav'd from the shores of darkness, when the waves
Low-ebb'd still hid it up in shallow gloom;-
And the which book ye know I ever kept
For my firm-based footstool:-Ah, infirm!
Not there, nor in sign, symbol, or portent
Of element, earth, water, air, and fire,-
At war, at peace, or inter-quarreling
One against one, or two, or three, or all
Each several one against the other three,
As fire with air loud warring when rain-floods
Drown both, and press them both against earth's face,
Where, finding sulphur, a quadruple wrath
Unhinges the poor world;-not in that strife,
Wherefrom I take strange lore, and read it deep,
Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
No, nowhere can unriddle, though I search,
And pore on Nature's universal scroll
Even to swooning, why ye, Divinities,
The first-born of all shap'd and palpable Gods,
Should cower beneath what, in comparison,
Is untremendous might. Yet ye are here,
O'erwhelm'd, and spurn'd, and batter'd, ye are here!
O Titans, shall I say 'Arise!'-Ye groan:
Shall I say 'Crouch!'-Ye groan. What can I then?
O Heaven wide! O unseen parent dear!
What can I? Tell me, all ye brethren Gods,
How we can war, how engine our great wrath!
O speak your counsel now, for Saturn's ear
Is all a-hunger'd. Thou, Oceanus,
Ponderest high and deep; and in thy face
I see, astonied, that severe content
Which comes of thought and musing: give us help!"

  So ended Saturn; and the God of the sea,
Sophist and sage, from no Athenian grove,
But cogitation in his watery shades,
Arose, with locks not oozy, and began,
In murmurs, which his first-endeavouring tongue
Caught infant-like from the far-foamed sands.
"O ye, whom wrath consumes! who, passion-stung,
Writhe at defeat, and nurse your agonies!
Shut up your senses, stifle up your ears,
My voice is not a bellows unto ire.
Yet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof
How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop:
And in the proof much comfort will I give,
If ye will take that comfort in its truth.
We fall by course of Nature's law, not force
Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou
Hast sifted well the atom-universe;
But for this reason, that thou art the King,
And only blind from sheer supremacy,
One avenue was shaded from thine eyes,
Through which I wandered to eternal truth.
And first, as thou wast not the first of powers,
So art thou not the last; it cannot be:
Thou art not the beginning nor the end.
From Chaos and parental Darkness came
Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil,
That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends
Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came,
And with it Light, and Light, engendering
Upon its own producer, forthwith touch'd
The whole enormous matter into life.
Upon that very hour, our parentage,
The Heavens and the Earth, were manifest:
Then thou first born, and we the giant race,
Found ourselves ruling new and beauteous realms.
Now comes the pain of truth, to whom 'tis pain;
O folly! for to bear all naked truths,
And to envisage circumstance, all calm,
That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well!
As Heaven and Earth are fairer, fairer far
Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs;
And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth
In form and shape compact and beautiful,
In will, in action free, companionship,
And thousand other signs of purer life;
So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
A power more strong in beauty, born of us
And fated to excel us, as we pass
In glory that old Darkness: nor are we
Thereby more conquer'd, than by us the rule
Of shapeless Chaos. Say, doth the dull soil
Quarrel with the proud forests it hath fed,
And feedeth still, more comely than itself?
Can it deny the chiefdom of green groves?
Or shall the tree be envious of the dove
Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings
To wander wherewithal and find its joys?
We are such forest-trees, and our fair boughs
Have bred forth, not pale solitary doves,
But eagles golden-feather'd, who do tower
Above us in their beauty, and must reign
In right thereof; for 'tis the eternal law
That first in beauty should be first in might:
Yea, by that law, another race may drive
Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.
Have ye beheld the young God of the seas,
My dispossessor? Have ye seen his face?
Have ye beheld his chariot, foam'd along
By noble winged creatures he hath made?
I saw him on the calmed waters scud,
With such a glow of beauty in his eyes,
That it enforc'd me to bid sad farewell
To all my empire: farewell sad I took,
And hither came, to see how dolorous fate
Had wrought upon ye; and how I might best
Give consolation in this woe extreme.
Receive the truth, and let it be your balm."

  Whether through pos'd conviction, or disdain,
They guarded silence, when Oceanus
Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell?
But so it was, none answer'd for a space,
Save one whom none regarded, Clymene;
And yet she answer'd not, only complain'd,
With hectic lips, and eyes up-looking mild,
Thus wording timidly among the fierce:
"O Father! I am here the simplest voice,
And all my knowledge is that joy is gone,
And this thing woe crept in among our hearts,
There to remain for ever, as I fear:
I would not bode of evil, if I thought
So weak a creature could turn off the help
Which by just right should come of mighty Gods;
Yet let me tell my sorrow, let me tell
Of what I heard, and how it made me weep,
And know that we had parted from all hope.
I stood upon a shore, a pleasant shore,
Where a sweet clime was breathed from a land
Of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers.
Full of calm joy it was, as I of grief;
Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth;
So that I felt a movement in my heart
To chide, and to reproach that solitude
With songs of misery, music of our woes;
And sat me down, and took a mouthed shell
And murmur'd into it, and made melody-
O melody no more! for while I sang,
And with poor skill let pass into the breeze
The dull shell's echo, from a bowery strand
Just opposite, an island of the sea,
There came enchantment with the shifting wind,
That did both drown and keep alive my ears.
I threw my shell away upon the sand,
And a wave fill'd it, as my sense was fill'd
With that new blissful golden melody.
A living death was in each gush of sounds,
Each family of rapturous hurried notes,
That fell, one after one, yet all at once,
Like pearl beads dropping sudden from their string:
And then another, then another strain,
Each like a dove leaving its olive perch,
With music wing'd instead of silent plumes,
To hover round my head, and make me sick
Of joy and grief at once. Grief overcame,
And I was stopping up my frantic ears,
When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands,
A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune,
And still it cried, 'Apollo! young Apollo!
The morning-bright Apollo! young Apollo!'
I fled, it follow'd me, and cried 'Apollo!'
O Father, and O Brethren, had ye felt
Those pains of mine; O Saturn, hadst thou felt,
Ye would not call this too indulged tongue
Presumptuous, in thus venturing to be heard."

  So far her voice flow'd on, like timorous brook
That, lingering along a pebbled coast,
Doth fear to meet the sea: but sea it met,
And shudder'd; for the overwhelming voice
Of huge Enceladus swallow'd it in wrath:
The ponderous syllables, like sullen waves
In the half-glutted hollows of reef-rocks,
Came booming thus, while still upon his arm
He lean'd; not rising, from supreme contempt.
"Or shall we listen to the over-wise,
Or to the over-foolish, Giant-Gods?
Not thunderbolt on thunderbolt, till all
That rebel Jove's whole armoury were spent,
Not world on world upon these shoulders piled,
Could agonize me more than baby-words
In midst of this dethronement horrible.
Speak! roar! shout! yell! ye sleepy Titans all.
Do ye forget the blows, the buffets vile?
Are ye not smitten by a youngling arm?
Dost thou forget, sham Monarch of the waves,
Thy scalding in the seas? What! have I rous'd
Your spleens with so few simple words as these?
O joy! for now I see ye are not lost:
O joy! for now I see a thousand eyes
Wide-glaring for revenge!"-As this he said,
He lifted up his stature vast, and stood,
Still without intermission speaking thus:
"Now ye are flames, I'll tell you how to burn,
And purge the ether of our enemies;
How to feed fierce the crooked stings of fire,
And singe away the swollen clouds of Jove,
Stifling that puny essence in its tent.
O let him feel the evil he hath done;
For though I scorn Oceanus's lore,
Much pain have I for more than loss of realms:
The days of peace and slumbrous calm are fled;
Those days, all innocent of scathing war,
When all the fair Existences of heaven
Carne open-eyed to guess what we would speak:-
That was before our brows were taught to frown,
Before our lips knew else but solemn sounds;
That was before we knew the winged thing,
Victory, might be lost, or might be won.
And be ye mindful that Hyperion,
Our brightest brother, still is undisgraced-
Hyperion, lo! his radiance is here!"

  All eyes were on Enceladus's face,
And they beheld, while still Hyperion's name
Flew from his lips up to the vaulted rocks,
A pallid gleam across his features stern:
Not savage, for he saw full many a God
Wroth as himself. He look'd upon them all,
And in each face he saw a gleam of light,
But splendider in Saturn's, whose hoar locks
Shone like the bubbling foam about a keel
When the prow sweeps into a midnight cove.
In pale and silver silence they remain'd,
Till suddenly a splendor, like the morn,
Pervaded all the beetling gloomy steeps,
All the sad spaces of oblivion,
And every gulf, and every chasm old,
And every height, and every sullen depth,
Voiceless, or hoarse with loud tormented streams:
And all the everlasting cataracts,
And all the headlong torrents far and near,
Mantled before in darkness and huge shade,
Now saw the light and made it terrible.
It was Hyperion:-a granite peak
His bright feet touch'd, and there he stay'd to view
The misery his brilliance had betray'd
To the most hateful seeing of itself.
Golden his hair of short Numidian curl,
Regal his shape majestic, a vast shade
In midst of his own brightness, like the bulk
Of Memnon's image at the set of sun
To one who travels from the dusking East:
Sighs, too, as mournful as that Memnon's harp
He utter'd, while his hands contemplative
He press'd together, and in silence stood.
Despondence seiz'd again the fallen Gods
At sight of the dejected King of day,
And many hid their faces from the light:
But fierce Enceladus sent forth his eyes
Among the brotherhood; and, at their glare,
Uprose Iapetus, and Creus too,
And Phorcus, sea-born, and together strode
To where he towered on his eminence.
There those four shouted forth old Saturn's name;
Hyperion from the peak loud answered, "Saturn!"
Saturn sat near the Mother of the Gods,
In whose face was no joy, though all the Gods
Gave from their hollow throats the name of "Saturn!"
by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes

~ John Keats, Hyperion. Book II

174:The Legend Of Lady Gertrude
I.
Fallen the lofty halls, where vassal crowds
Drank in the dawn of Gertrude's natal day.
The dungeon roof an Alpine snow-wreath shrouds,
The strong, wild eagle's eyrie in the clouds—
The robber-baron's nest—is swept away.
II.
Bare is the mountain brow of lordly towers;
Only the sunbeams stay, the moon and stars,
The faithful saxifrage and gentian flowers,
The silvery mist, and soft, white, crystal showers,
And torrents rushing through their rocky bars.
III.
More than three hundred years ago, the flag
Charged with that dread device, an Alpine bear—
By many storm-winds rent—a grim, grey rag—
Floated above the castle on the crag,
Above the last whose heads were shelter'd there.
IV.
He was the proudest of an ancient race,
The fiercest of the robber chieftain's band,
That haughty Freiherr, with the iron face:
And she—his lady-sister, by God's grace—
The sweetest, gentlest maiden in the land.
V.
'Twas a rude nest for such a tender bird,
That lonely fortress, with its warrior-lord.
Aye drunken revels the night-stillness stirred;
From morn till eve the battle-cries were heard,
The sound of jingling spur and clanking sword.
VI.
And Lady Gertrude was both young and fair,
A mark for lawless hearts and roving eyes,—
209
With sweet, grave face, and amber-tinted hair,
And a low voice soft-thrilling through the air,
Filling it full of subtlest melodies.
VII.
But the great baron, proudest of his line,
Fetter'd, with jealous care, his white dove's wing;
Guarded his treasure in an inner shrine,
Till such a day as knightly hands should twine
Her slender fingers with the marriage-ring.
VIII.
From all her household rights was she debarred—
Her chair and place within the castle-hall,
Her palfrey's saddle in the castle-yard,
Her nursing ministries when blows fell hard
In border struggles—she was kept from all.
IX.
A stone-paved chamber, and the parapet
Opening above its winding turret-stair;
The castle-chapel, where few men were met,—
Round these the brother's boundaries were set.
The sweet child-sister was so very fair!
X.
She had her faithful nurse, her doves, her lute,
Her broidery and her distaff, and the hound—
Best prized of all—the grand, half-human brute,
Who aye watched near her, beautiful and mute,
With ears love-quicken'd, listening from the ground.
XI.
But the wild bird, so honourably caged,
Grew sick and sad in its captivity;
Longed—like those hills which time nor storm had aged,
And those deep glens where Danube waters raged—
In God's own wind and sunshine to be free.
XII.
And on a day, when she had seen them ride,
Baron and troopers, on some border raid,
210
Wooed by the glory of the summer tide,
The hound's soft-slouching footstep at her side,
Adown the valley Lady Gertrude stray'd.
XIII.
Adown the crag, whose shadow, still and black,
Lay like the death-sleep on a mountain pool;
Through rocky glen, by silvery torrent's track,
Through forest glade, 'neath wild vines, fluttering back
From softest zephyr kisses, green and cool.
XIV.
E'en till the woods and hamlets down below,
And summer meadows, were all broad and clear;
The river, moving statelily and slow,
A crimson ribbon in the sunset glow—
The dim, white, distant city strangely near.
XV.
She sat her down, a-weary, on the ground,
With tremulous long-drawn breath and wistful eyes;
Caress'd the velvet muzzle of the hound,
And listen'd vainly for some little sound
To come up from her world of mysteries.
XVI.
She had forgotten of the time and place,
When clank of warrior's harness smote her dream.
A growl, a spring, a shadow on her face,
And one strode up, with slow and stately pace,
And stood before her in the soft sun-gleam.
XVII.
An armèd knight, in noblest knightly guise,
From golden spur to golden dragon-crest;
Through open vizor gazing with surprise
Into the fair, flush'd face and startled eyes,
While horse and hound stood watchfully at rest.
XVIII.
The sun went down, and, with long, stealthy stride,
The shadows came, blurring the summer light;
211
And there was none the lady's step to guide
Up the lost pathway on the mountain-side—
None to protect her but this stranger knight!
XIX.
He placed her gently on his dappled grey,
Clothed in his mantle—for the air was chill;
He led her all the long and devious way,
Through glens, where starless night held royal sway,
And vine-tressed woodlands, where the leaves were still:
XX.
Through pathless ravines, where swift waters roll'd;
Up dark crag-ramparts, perilously steep,
Where eagles and a she-bear watch'd the fold;—
Facing the mountain breezes, clear and cold—
In shy, sweet silence, eloquent and deep.
XXI.
Holding his charger by the bridle-rein,
He led her through the robber-chieftain's lands;
Led her, unchallenged by the baron's train,
E'en to the low-brow'd castle-gate again,
And there he humbly knelt to kiss her hands.
XXII.
Brave lips, o'er tender palms bent down so low,
Silent and reverent, as it were to bless—
'Twas e'en a knightly love they did bestow,
Love true as steel and undefiled as snow;
No common courtesy, no light caress.
XXIII.
He rode away; and she to turret-lair
Sped, swift and trembling, like a hunted doe.
But wherefore, on the loopholed winding stair
Knelt she till morning, weeping, watching there?—
Because he was her brother's deadliest foe.
XXIV.
Because the golden dragon's blood had mixt
In all those mountain streams, had dyed the grass
212
Now trodden for her sake; because betwixt
Those two proud barons such a gulf was fixt
As never bridge of peace might overpass.
XXV.
A bitter, passionate feud, that was begun
In ages long forgotten, and bequeath'd
With those rich baronies by sire to son—
A sacred charge, a great work never done,
A sharp and fiery weapon never sheath'd.
XXVI.
Yet, e'er a month slipped by, as summer slips
On noiseless wings, another kiss was laid,
Not on white palms or rosy finger-tips,
But softly on shut eyes and quivering lips;
And vows were sealèd in the forest glade.
XXVII.
The robber baron, who had hedged about
That fairest blossom of the sacred plant,
Saw he the insolent mailèd hand stretch'd out
To break down all his barriers, strong and stout?
Knew he aught of that gracious covenant?
XXVIII.
His pride serenely slept. Nor did it wake
Till, in amaze, he saw his enemy stand
In his own castle, praying him to take
The pledge of peace for Lady Gertrude's sake—
Praying him humbly for the lady's hand.
XXIX.
Slowly the knitted brows grew fierce and black;
Slowly the eagle eyes began to shine.
“Sir knight,” he said, “I pray you get you back.
But one hour—and the Bears are on your track.
There's naught but fire and sword 'twixt mine and thine.”
XXX.
And then the doors were barred on every side
213
Upon the innocent traitor, who had done
Such doubly-shameful despite to his pride.
Mocking, “I'll satisfy your heart,” he cried,
“An' you will have a husband, pretty one!”
XXXI.
Yet did she send a message stealthily,
Spurred by the torture of this ominous threat.
“Thou wilt not suffer it?” she said. And he,
“Fear not. To-morrow will I come for thee,—
At eve to-morrow, when the sun has set.”
XXXII.
And on the morrow, when the autumn light
Of red and gold had faded into grey,
She heard his signal up the echoing height,
Like hoarse owl-whistle, quivering through the night;
And in the dark she softly slipped away.
XXXIII.
Her faithful nurse, with trembling hands, untwined
The new-forged fetters and drew back the bars.
The hound look'd up into her face, and whined,
And scratch'd the door; he would not stay behind.
And so she went—watch'd only by the stars.
XXXIV.
Adown the mountain passes, with wing'd feet
And bright, blank eyes—her hand fast clutch'd around
A ragged slip of myrtle, white and sweet;
The hound beside her, velvet-footed, fleet
And silent, with his muzzle to the ground.
XXXV.
The knight was waiting, with his dappled steed,
Hard by the black brink of the waveless pool.
In his strong, tender arms—now safe indeed—
She cross'd the valley, with the wild bird's speed,
Fanned by the whispering night-wind, clear and cool.
XXXVI.
Away—away—far from the trysting-place—
214
Over the blood-stain'd border-lands at last!
One wandering hind alone beheld the race;
A sudden rush—a shadow on his face—
A glint of golden scales—and she was past.
XXXVII.
She felt the shadow of a mighty wall,
And then the glow of torchlight, and again
The gloom of cloister'd stair and passage, fall
Upon her vacant eyes. She heard a call;
And, in the echoing mountains, its refrain.
XXXVIII.
Then all around her a great silence lay;
She knew not why, nor greatly seem'd to care,
Till, in low tones, she heard the baron say,
“Hast thou confess'd, my little one, to-day?”—
The while he weaved the myrtle in her hair.
XXXIX.
She glanced up suddenly, in blank amaze;
And then remember'd. 'Twas an altar, hung
With silk and rich embroidery, met her gaze;
'Twas perfumed, waxen altar-tapers' blaze
On her chill'd face and troubled spirit flung.
XL.
A holy father, with his open book,
Stood by the threshold of the chapel door.
Slowly, with bated breath and hands that shook,
Soft-clasped together—drawn with but a look—
She went, and knelt down humbly on the floor.
XLI.
The baron left her, lowly crouching there,
Her bright, starred tresses trailing on the stones;
And waited, kneeling on the altar-stair—
Holding his sword-hilt to his lips, in prayer—
The while she pleaded in her tremulous tones.
XLII.
A warning voice upon the still air dwelt,
215
A long, low cry of mingled hope and dread;—
A pause—a solemn silence—and she felt
The sweet absolving whisper as she knelt,
And hands of blessing covering her head.
XLIII.
The knight arose in silence, with a brow
Haughty and pale; and, softly drawing nigh,—
Love, life, and death in the new “I and thou”—
He gave and took each solemn marriage vow,
With all his arm'd retainers standing by.
XLIV.
The soft light fell upon their faces—still,
And calm, and full of rest. None now to part
The golden link between them!—naught to chill
The blest assurance that the father's will
Laid hand in hand, and gather'd heart to heart.
XLV.
And so 'twas done. Each finger now had worn
The rings that aye ring'd in the double life;
From each the pledge had been withdrawn in turn,
As one by one the hallow'd oaths were sworn;
And Lady Gertrude was the baron's wife.
XLVI.
He led her to her chamber, when the glow
Of dawn began to quicken earth and sky;
They watch'd the rosy wine-cup overflow
The pale, cool, silvery track upon the snow
Of Alpine crests, uplifted far and high.
XLVII.
They saw the mountain floodgates open'd wide,
The downward streaming of unfetter'd day;
In blessed stillness, standing side by side—
Stillness that told how they were satisfied,
Those hearts whereon the new-born glamour lay.
XLVIII.
And then, down cloister'd aisle and sculptured stair,
216
Through open courts, all bathed in shining mist,
They pass'd together, knight and lady fair;
She with the matron's coif upon her hair,
Her golden hair by lip and finger kiss'd.
XLIX.
He throned her proudly in his castle hall,
High on the daïs above the festive board,
'Neath shields and pennons drooping from the wall;
And they below the salt rose, one and all,
To greet the bride of their puissant lord.
L.
Loud were the shouts, and fair with smiling grace
The blue eyes of the lady baroness;
And bright and eager was the haughty face
Of her brave husband, towering in his place,
Yet aye low-stooping for a mute caress.
LI.
There came a sudden pause—a thunder-cloud,
Darkening the sunshine of the golden noon—
An ominous stillness in the armèd crowd,
While slowly stiffening lips, all stern and proud,
Shut in the kindly laughter—all too soon!
LII.
“To arms! To arms!” A passionate crimson flush
Rose, sank, and blanched the fair face of the bride.
“To arms!” The cry smote sharply on the hush,
And broke it;—all was one tumultuous rush—
“The Bears have cross'd the border-land!” they cried.
LIII.
But a few hours had Lady Gertrude dwelt
With her dear lord. Sad honours now were hers,
With white, hot hands she clasp'd his silver belt;
She held his dinted shield and sword; and knelt,
Like lowly squire, to don his golden spurs.
LIV.
“Thou wilt not fight with him?—thou wilt forbear
217
For my sake?” So she pleaded, while the sun
Shone on her falling tears—each tear a prayer.
He whisper'd gravely, as he kissed her hair,
“I know not if I can, my little one.”
LV.
She held his hands, with infinite mute desire
To hold him back; then watch'd him to the field
With hungry, feverish eyes that could not tire,
Till sunny space absorb'd the fitful fire
Of the bright dragons on his crest and shield.
LVI.
When he was gone—quite gone—she crept away,
Back to the castle chapel, still and dim;
And knelt where he had knelt but yesterday,
Low on the altar step, to watch and pray—
To pour her heart out for the love of him.
LVII.
Her bower-maidens sat alone and spun
The while she pray'd, the terror-stricken wife.
The long hours slowly wanèd, one by one,
And evening came, and, with the setting sun,
The sudden darkness that eclipsed her life.
LVIII.
She listen'd, and she heard the sound at last,—
The ominous pause, the heavy, clanging tread;
She saw the strange, long shadow weirdly cast
Upon the floor, the red blood streaming fast,
The dear face grey and stiffen'd;—he was dead!
LIX.
“Ay, dead, my lady baroness; and slain
By him you call your brother. Curses light
Upon his caitiff soul! Ah, 'tis in vain
To murmur thus,—he will not hear again—
He cannot heed your whisperings to-night.”
LX.
She lay down on her bridal couch—the stone
218
Whereon he lay in his eternal rest;
They, pitying, pass'd out, leaving her alone,
To kiss the rigid lips, and cry, and moan,
With her white face upon his bleeding breast.
LXI.
'Twas night—wakeful, restless, troubled night,
Both wild and soft—fair;
With clouds fast flying through the domheight,
And shrieking winds, and silvery shining light,
And clear bells piercing the transparent air.
LXII.
Down vale and fell a lonely figure stray'd,—
Now a dark shadow on the moonlit ground,
Now flickering white and ghostly in the shade
Of haunted glen and scented forest-glade—
A woman, watched and followed by a hound.
LXIII.
'Twas Lady Gertrude, widow'd and forlorn,
Returning to the wild birds' mountain nest;
Sent out with smiling insult and with scorn,
And creeping to the home where she was born,
To hide her sorrow, to lie down and rest.
LXIV.
She reach'd the gate and cross'd the castle-yard,
And stood upon the threshold, chill'd with fear.
The baron rose and faced her, breathing hard:
“Troopers,” he thunder'd, “let the doors be barred
And double-barred!—we'll have no traitors here.”
LXV.
Such was her welcome. As she turn'd away,
Groping with sightless eyes and hands outspread,
The hound, unnoticed, slowly made his way
Along the hall, as if in track of prey,
With glistening teeth and stealthy velvet tread.
219
LXVI.
There was no clarion cry, none heard the sound
Of knightly challenge, till the champion rose,
Avenging. Lo! they saw upon the ground
The baron struggling with the savage hound,
And grim death grimly waiting for the close!
LXVII.
'Twas done. He lay there unassoilzied, dead,
Ere scarcely fell'd by the relentless paws.
And the fierce hound, with painful, limping tread,
Was following still where Lady Gertrude led,
His own red life-blood dripping from his jaws.
LXVIII.
'Neath shadowy glades, with moonbeams interlaced,
Through valleys, at day—dawning, soft and dim,
Up mountain steeps at sunrise—uplands paced
By her dead lord in childhood—she retraced
The long miles stretching betwixt her and him.
LXIX.
She reach'd the castle, ere the torches' glare
Had wanèd in the brightness of the sky—
Another lord than hers was feasting there!
She shudder'd at the sounds that fill'd the air,
Of drunken laughter and loud revelry,
LXX.
And softly up the cloister'd stairs she crept,
Back to the lonely chapel, where all sound
Of human life in solemn silence slept.
With weary heart and noiseless feet she stept
Beneath the doorway into hallow'd ground.
LXXI.
Low at the altar, wrapped in slumber sweet
And still and deep, her murder'd lord lay here;
With waxen tapers at his head and feet—
Forcing reluctant darkness to retreat—
And cross-embroider'd pall upon his bier.
220
LXXII.
The blood-hound blindly stumbled, and fell prone
Across the threshold. Something came and prest
His huge head downward, stiffening him to stone.
And Lady Gertrude, passing up alone,
Spread her white arms above the baron's breast.
LXXIII.
The weapons which his lowly coffin bore—
His sword and spurs, his helm and shield and belt—
Like him, to rest from battle evermore,
Whose long-drawn shadows barred the chapel floor,—
She kiss'd them, for his dear sake, as she knelt.
LXXIV.
She laid her cheek upon the velvet pall,
With one long, quivering sigh; and tried to creep
Where the soft shadow of the rood would fall,
'Mid light of sunrise and of tapers tall,
Upon them both, and there she fell asleep.
LXXV.
She woke no more. But where her track had been,
On that last night, became a haunted ground.
And when the wild wind blows upon the sheen
Of summer moonlight, there may still be seen
The phantom of a lady and a hound.
~ Ada Cambridge
175:The Emigrants: Book Ii
Scene, on an Eminence on one of those Downs, which afford to the South a
view of the Sea; to the North of the Weald of Sussex. Time, an Afternoon in
April, 1793.

Long wintry months are past; the Moon that now
Lights her pale crescent even at noon, has made
Four times her revolution; since with step,
Mournful and slow, along the wave-worn cliff,
Pensive I took my solitary way,
Lost in despondence, while contemplating
Not my own wayward destiny alone,
(Hard as it is, and difficult to bear!)
But in beholding the unhappy lot
Of the lorn Exiles; who, amid the storms
Of wild disastrous Anarchy, are thrown,
Like shipwreck'd sufferers, on England's coast,
To see, perhaps, no more their native land,
Where Desolation riots: They, like me,
From fairer hopes and happier prospects driven,
Shrink from the future, and regret the past.
But on this Upland scene, while April comes,
With fragrant airs, to fan my throbbing breast,
Fain would I snatch an interval from Care,
That weighs my wearied spirit down to earth;
Courting, once more, the influence of Hope
(For "Hope" still waits upon the flowery prime)
As here I mark Spring's humid hand unfold
The early leaves that fear capricious winds,
While, even on shelter'd banks, the timid flowers
Give, half reluctantly, their warmer hues
To mingle with the primroses' pale stars.
No shade the leafless copses yet afford,
Nor hide the mossy labours of the Thrush,
That, startled, darts across the narrow path;
But quickly re-assur'd, resumes his talk,
Or adds his louder notes to those that rise
From yonder tufted brake; where the white buds
Of the first thorn are mingled with the leaves
164
Of that which blossoms on the brow of May.
Ah! 'twill not be:---- So many years have pass'd,
Since, on my native hills, I learn'd to gaze
On these delightful landscapes; and those years
Have taught me so much sorrow, that my soul
Feels not the joy reviving Nature brings;
But, in dark retrospect, dejected dwells
On human follies, and on human woes.---What is the promise of the infant year,
The lively verdure, or the bursting blooms,
To those, who shrink from horrors such as War
Spreads o'er the affrighted world? With swimming eye,
Back on the past they throw their mournful looks,
And see the Temple, which they fondly hop'd
Reason would raise to Liberty, destroy'd
By ruffian hands; while, on the ruin'd mass,
Flush'd with hot blood, the Fiend of Discord sits
In savage triumph; mocking every plea
Of policy and justice, as she shews
The headless corse of one, whose only crime
Was being born a Monarch--Mercy turns,
From spectacle so dire, her swol'n eyes;
And Liberty, with calm, unruffled brow
Magnanimous, as conscious of her strength
In Reason's panoply, scorns to distain
Her righteous cause with carnage, and resigns
To Fraud and Anarchy the infuriate crowd.---What is the promise of the infant year
To those, who (while the poor but peaceful hind
Pens, unmolested, the encreasing flock
Of his rich master in this sea-fenc'd isle)
Survey, in neighbouring countries, scenes that make
The sick heart shudder; and the Man, who thinks,
Blush for his species? There the trumpet's voice
Drowns the soft warbling of the woodland choir;
And violets, lurking in their turfy beds
Beneath the flow'ring thorn, are stain'd with blood.
There fall, at once, the spoiler and the spoil'd;
While War, wide-ravaging, annihilates
The hope of cultivation; gives to Fiends,
The meagre, ghastly Fiends of Want and Woe,
The blasted land--There, taunting in the van
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Of vengeance-breathing armies, Insult stalks;
And, in the ranks, "1 Famine, and Sword, and Fire,
"Crouch for employment."--Lo! the suffering world,
Torn by the fearful conflict, shrinks, amaz'd,
From Freedom's name, usurp'd and misapplied,
And, cow'ring to the purple Tyrant's rod,
Deems that the lesser ill--Deluded Men!
Ere ye prophane her ever-glorious name,
Or catalogue the thousands that have bled
Resisting her; or those, who greatly died
Martyrs to Liberty --revert awhile
To the black scroll, that tells of regal crimes
Committed to destroy her; rather count
The hecatombs of victims, who have fallen
Beneath a single despot; or who gave
Their wasted lives for some disputed claim
Between anointed robbers: 2 Monsters both!
"3 Oh! Polish'd perturbation--golden care!"
So strangely coveted by feeble Man
To lift him o'er his fellows;--Toy, for which
Such showers of blood have drench'd th' affrighted earth-Unfortunate his lot, whose luckless head
Thy jewel'd circlet, lin'd with thorns, has bound;
And who, by custom's laws, obtains from thee
Hereditary right to rule, uncheck'd,
Submissive myriads: for untemper'd power,
Like steel ill form'd, injures the hand
It promis'd to protect--Unhappy France!
If e'er thy lilies, trampled now in dust,
And blood-bespotted, shall again revive
In silver splendour, may the wreath be wov'n
By voluntary hands; and Freemen, such
As England's self might boast, unite to place
The guarded diadem on his fair brow,
Where Loyalty may join with Liberty
To fix it firmly.--In the rugged school
Of stern Adversity so early train'd,
His future life, perchance, may emulate
That of the brave Bernois 4 , so justly call'd
The darling of his people; who rever'd
The Warrior less, than they ador'd the Man!
But ne'er may Party Rage, perverse and blind,
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And base Venality, prevail to raise
To public trust, a wretch, whose private vice
Makes even the wildest profligate recoil;
And who, with hireling ruffians leagu'd, has burst
The laws of Nature and Humanity!
Wading, beneath the Patriot's specious mask,
And in Equality's illusive name,
To empire thro' a stream of kindred blood-Innocent prisoner!--most unhappy heir
Of fatal greatness, who art suffering now
For all the crimes and follies of thy race;
Better for thee, if o'er thy baby brow
The regal mischief never had been held:
Then, in an humble sphere, perhaps content,
Thou hadst been free and joyous on the heights
Of Pyrennean mountains, shagg'd with woods
Of chesnut, pine, and oak: as on these hills
Is yonder little thoughtless shepherd lad,
Who, on the slope abrupt of downy turf
Reclin'd in playful indolence, sends off
The chalky ball, quick bounding far below;
While, half forgetful of his simple task,
Hardly his length'ning shadow, or the bells'
Slow tinkling of his flock, that supping tend
To the brown fallows in the vale beneath,
Where nightly it is folded, from his sport
Recal the happy idler.--While I gaze
On his gay vacant countenance, my thoughts
Compare with his obscure, laborious lot,
Thine, most unfortunate, imperial Boy!
Who round thy sullen prison daily hear'st
The savage howl of Murder, as it seeks
Thy unoffending life: while sad within
Thy wretched Mother, petrified with grief,
Views thee with stony eyes, and cannot weep!-Ah! much I mourn thy sorrows, hapless Queen!
And deem thy expiation made to Heaven
For every fault, to which Prosperity
Betray'd thee, when it plac'd thee on a throne
Where boundless power was thine, and thou wert rais'd
High (as it seem'd) above the envious reach
Of destiny! Whate'er thy errors were,
167
Be they no more remember'd; tho' the rage
Of Party swell'd them to such crimes, as bade
Compassion stifle every sigh that rose
For thy disastrous lot--More than enough
Thou hast endur'd; and every English heart,
Ev'n those, that highest beat in Freedom's cause,
Disclaim as base, and of that cause unworthy,
The Vengeance, or the Fear, that makes thee still
A miserable prisoner!--Ah! who knows,
From sad experience, more than I, to feel
For thy desponding spirit, as it sinks
Beneath procrastinated fears for those
More dear to thee than life! But eminence
Of misery is thine, as once of joy;
And, as we view the strange vicissitude,
We ask anew, where happiness is found?-----Alas! in rural life, where youthful dreams
See the Arcadia that Romance describes,
Not even Content resides!--In yon low hut
Of clay and thatch, where rises the grey smoke
Of smold'ring turf, cut from the adjoining moor,
The labourer, its inhabitant, who toils
From the first dawn of twilight, till the Sun
Sinks in the rosy waters of the West,
Finds that with poverty it cannot dwell;
For bread, and scanty bread, is all he earns
For him and for his household--Should Disease,
Born of chill wintry rains, arrest his arm,
Then, thro' his patch'd and straw-stuff'd casement, peeps
The squalid figure of extremest Want;
And from the Parish the reluctant dole,
Dealt by th' unfeeling farmer, hardly saves
The ling'ring spark of life from cold extinction:
Then the bright Sun of Spring, that smiling bids
All other animals rejoice, beholds,
Crept from his pallet, the emaciate wretch
Attempt, with feeble effort, to resume
Some heavy task, above his wasted strength,
Turning his wistful looks (how much in vain!)
To the deserted mansion, where no more
The owner (gone to gayer scenes) resides,
Who made even luxury, Virtue; while he gave
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The scatter'd crumbs to honest Poverty.-But, tho' the landscape be too oft deform'd
By figures such as these, yet Peace is here,
And o'er our vallies, cloath'd with springing corn,
No hostile hoof shall trample, nor fierce flames
Wither the wood's young verdure, ere it form
Gradual the laughing May's luxuriant shade;
For, by the rude sea guarded, we are safe,
And feel not evils such as with deep sighs
The Emigrants deplore, as, they recal
The Summer past, when Nature seem'd to lose
Her course in wild distemperature, and aid,
With seasons all revers'd, destructive War.
Shuddering, I view the pictures they have drawn
Of desolated countries, where the ground,
Stripp'd of its unripe produce, was thick strewn
With various Death--the war-horse falling there
By famine, and his rider by the sword.
The moping clouds sail'd heavy charg'd with rain,
And bursting o'er the mountains misty brow,
Deluged, as with an inland sea, the vales 5 ;
Where, thro' the sullen evening's lurid gloom,
Rising, like columns of volcanic fire,
The flames of burning villages illum'd
The waste of water; and the wind, that howl'd
Along its troubled surface, brought the groans
Of plunder'd peasants, and the frantic shrieks
Of mothers for their children; while the brave,
To pity still alive, listen'd aghast
To these dire echoes, hopeless to prevent
The evils they beheld, or check the rage,
Which ever, as the people of one land
Meet in contention, fires the human heart
With savage thirst of kindred blood, and makes
Man lose his nature; rendering him more fierce
Than the gaunt monsters of the howling waste.
Oft have I heard the melancholy tale,
Which, all their native gaiety forgot,
These Exiles tell--How Hope impell'd them on,
Reckless of tempest, hunger, or the sword,
Till order'd to retreat, they knew not why,
From all their flattering prospects, they became
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The prey of dark suspicion and regret 6 :
Then, in despondence, sunk the unnerv'd arm
Of gallant Loyalty--At every turn
Shame and disgrace appear'd, and seem'd to mock
Their scatter'd squadrons; which the warlike youth,
Unable to endure, often implor'd,
As the last act of friendship, from the hand
Of some brave comrade, to receive the blow
That freed the indignant spirit from its pain.
To a wild mountain, whose bare summit hides
Its broken eminence in clouds; whose steeps
Are dark with woods; where the receding rocks
Are worn by torrents of dissolving snow,
A wretched Woman, pale and breathless, flies!
And, gazing round her, listens to the sound
Of hostile footsteps---- No! it dies away:
Nor noise remains, but of the cataract,
Or surly breeze of night, that mutters low
Among the thickets, where she trembling seeks
A temporary shelter--clasping close
To her hard-heaving heart, her sleeping child,
All she could rescue of the innocent groupe
That yesterday surrounded her--Escap'd
Almost by miracle! Fear, frantic Fear,
Wing'd her weak feet: yet, half repentant now
Her headlong haste, she wishes she had staid
To die with those affrighted Fancy paints
The lawless soldier's victims--Hark! again
The driving tempest bears the cry of Death,
And, with deep sudden thunder, the dread sound
Of cannon vibrates on the tremulous earth;
While, bursting in the air, the murderous bomb
Glares o'er her mansion. Where the splinters fall,
Like scatter'd comets, its destructive path
Is mark'd by wreaths of flame!--Then, overwhelm'd
Beneath accumulated horror, sinks
The desolate mourner; yet, in Death itself,
True to maternal tenderness, she tries
To save the unconscious infant from the storm
In which she perishes; and to protect
This last dear object of her ruin'd hopes
From prowling monsters, that from other hills,
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More inaccessible, and wilder wastes,
Lur'd by the scent of slaughter, follow fierce
Contending hosts, and to polluted fields
Add dire increase of horrors--But alas!
The Mother and the Infant perish both!-The feudal Chief, whose Gothic battlements
Frown on the plain beneath, returning home
From distant lands, alone and in disguise,
Gains at the fall of night his Castle walls,
But, at the vacant gate, no Porter sits
To wait his Lord's admittance!--In the courts
All is drear silence!--Guessing but too well
The fatal truth, he shudders as he goes
Thro' the mute hall; where, by the blunted light
That the dim moon thro' painted casements lends,
He sees that devastation has been there:
Then, while each hideous image to his mind
Rises terrific, o'er a bleeding corse
Stumbling he falls; another interrupts
His staggering feet--all, all who us'd to rush
With joy to meet him--all his family
Lie murder'd in his way!--And the day dawns
On a wild raving Maniac, whom a fate
So sudden and calamitous has robb'd
Of reason; and who round his vacant walls
Screams unregarded, and reproaches Heaven!-Such are thy dreadful trophies, savage War!
And evils such as these, or yet more dire,
Which the pain'd mind recoils from, all are thine-The purple Pestilence, that to the grave
Sends whom the sword has spar'd, is thine; and thine
The Widow's anguish and the Orphan's tears!-Woes such as these does Man inflict on Man;
And by the closet murderers, whom we style
Wise Politicians; are the schemes prepar'd,
Which, to keep Europe's wavering balance even,
Depopulate her kingdoms, and consign
To tears and anguish half a bleeding world!-Oh! could the time return, when thoughts like these
Spoil'd not that gay delight, which vernal Suns,
Illuminating hills, and woods, and fields,
Gave to my infant spirits--Memory come!
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And from distracting cares, that now deprive
Such scenes of all their beauty, kindly bear
My fancy to those hours of simple joy,
When, on the banks of Arun, which I see
Make its irriguous course thro' yonder meads,
I play'd; unconscious then of future ill!
There (where, from hollows fring'd with yellow broom,
The birch with silver rind, and fairy leaf,
Aslant the low stream trembles) I have stood,
And meditated how to venture best
Into the shallow current, to procure
The willow herb of glowing purple spikes,
Or flags, whose sword-like leaves conceal'd the tide,
Startling the timid reed-bird from her nest,
As with aquatic flowers I wove the wreath,
Such as, collected by the shepherd girls,
Deck in the villages the turfy shrine,
And mark the arrival of propitious May.-How little dream'd I then the time would come,
When the bright Sun of that delicious month
Should, from disturb'd and artificial sleep,
Awaken me to never-ending toil,
To terror and to tears!--Attempting still,
With feeble hands and cold desponding heart,
To save my children from the o'erwhelming wrongs,
That have for ten long years been heap'd on me!-The fearful spectres of chicane and fraud
Have, Proteus like, still chang'd their hideous forms
(As the Law lent its plausible disguise),
Pursuing my faint steps; and I have seen
Friendship's sweet bonds (which were so early form'd,)
And once I fondly thought of amaranth
Inwove with silver seven times tried) give way,
And fail; as these green fan-like leaves of fern
Will wither at the touch of Autumn's frost.
Yet there are those , whose patient pity still
Hears my long murmurs; who, unwearied, try
With lenient hands to bind up every wound
My wearied spirit feels, and bid me go
"Right onward 7 "--a calm votary of the Nymph,
Who, from her adamantine rock, points out
To conscious rectitude the rugged path,
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That leads at length to Peace!--Ah! yes, my friends
Peace will at last be mine; for in the Grave
Is Peace--and pass a few short years, perchance
A few short months, and all the various pain
I now endure shall be forgotten there,
And no memorial shall remain of me,
Save in your bosoms; while even your regret
Shall lose its poignancy, as ye reflect
What complicated woes that grave conceals!
But, if the little praise, that may await
The Mother's efforts, should provoke the spleen
Of Priest or Levite; and they then arraign
The dust that cannot hear them; be it yours
To vindicate my humble fame; to say,
That, not in selfish sufferings absorb'd,
"I gave to misery all I had, my tears 8 ."
And if, where regulated sanctity
Pours her long orisons to Heaven, my voice
Was seldom heard, that yet my prayer was made
To him who hears even silence; not in domes
Of human architecture, fill'd with crowds,
But on these hills, where boundless, yet distinct,
Even as a map, beneath are spread the fields
His bounty cloaths; divided here by woods,
And there by commons rude, or winding brooks,
While I might breathe the air perfum'd with flowers,
Or the fresh odours of the mountain turf;
And gaze on clouds above me, as they sail'd
Majestic: or remark the reddening north,
When bickering arrows of electric fire
Flash on the evening sky--I made my prayer
In unison with murmuring waves that now
Swell with dark tempests, now are mild and blue,
As the bright arch above; for all to me
Declare omniscient goodness; nor need I
Declamatory essays to incite
My wonder or my praise, when every leaf
That Spring unfolds, and every simple bud,
More forcibly impresses on my heart
His power and wisdom--Ah! while I adore
That goodness, which design'd to all that lives
Some taste of happiness, my soul is pain'd
173
By the variety of woes that Man
For Man creates--his blessings often turn'd
To plagues and curses: Saint-like Piety,
Misled by Superstition, has destroy'd
More than Ambition; and the sacred flame
Of Liberty becomes a raging fire,
When Licence and Confusion bid it blaze.
From thy high throne, above yon radiant stars,
O Power Omnipotent! with mercy view
This suffering globe, and cause thy creatures cease,
With savage fangs, to tear her bleeding breast:
Refrain that rage for power, that bids a Man,
Himself a worm, desire unbounded rule
O'er beings like himself: Teach the hard hearts
Of rulers, that the poorest hind, who dies
For their unrighteous quarrels, in thy sight
Is equal to the imperious Lord, that leads
His disciplin'd destroyers to the field.---May lovely Freedom, in her genuine charms,
Aided by stern but equal Justice, drive
From the ensanguin'd earth the hell-born fiends
Of Pride, Oppression, Avarice, and Revenge,
That ruin what thy mercy made so fair!
Then shall these ill-starr'd wanderers, whose sad fate
These desultory lines lament, regain
Their native country; private vengeance then
To public virtue yield; and the fierce feuds,
That long have torn their desolated land,
May (even as storms, that agitate the air,
Drive noxious vapours from the blighted earth)
Serve, all tremendous as they are, to fix
The reign of Reason, Liberty, and Peace!
~ Charlotte Smith
176:The Kalevala - Rune Xvii
WAINAMOINEN FINDS THE LOST-WORD.
Wainamoinen, old and truthful,
Did not learn the words of magic
In Tuoni's gloomy regions,
In the kingdom of Manala.
Thereupon he long debated,
Well considered, long reflected,
Where to find the magic sayings;
When a shepherd came to meet him,
Speaking thus to Wainamoinen:
'Thou canst find of words a hundred,
Find a thousand wisdom-sayings,
In the mouth of wise Wipunen,
In the body of the hero;
To the spot I know the foot-path,
To his tomb the magic highway,
Trodden by a host of heroes;
Long the distance thou must travel,
On the sharpened points of needles;
Then a long way thou must journey
On the edges of the broadswords;
Thirdly thou must travel farther
On the edges of the hatchets.'
Wainamoinen, old and trustful,
Well considered all these journeys,
Travelled to the forge and smithy,
Thus addressed the metal-worker:
'Ilmarinen, worthy blacksmith,
Make a shoe for me of iron,
Forge me gloves of burnished copper,
Mold a staff of strongest metal,
Lay the steel upon the inside,
Forge within the might of magic;
I am going on a journey
To procure the magic sayings,
Find the lost-words of the Master,
From the mouth of the magician,
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From the tongue of wise Wipunen.'
Spake the artist, Ilmarinen:
'Long ago died wise Wipunen,
Disappeared these many ages,
Lays no more his snares of copper,
Sets no longer traps of iron,
Cannot learn from him the wisdom,
Cannot find in him the lost-words.'
Wainamoinen, old and hopeful,
Little heeding, not discouraged,
In his metal shoes and armor,
Hastens forward on his journey,
Runs the first day fleetly onward,
On the sharpened points of needles;
'Wearily he strides the second,
On the edges of the broadswords
Swings himself the third day forward,
On the edges of the hatchets.
Wise Wipunen, wisdom-singer,
Ancient bard, and great magician,
With his magic songs lay yonder,
Stretched beside him, lay his sayings,
On his shoulder grew the aspen,
On each temple grew the birch-tree,
On his mighty chin the alder,
From his beard grew willow-bushes,
From his mouth the dark green fir-tree,
And the oak-tree from his forehead.
Wainamoinen, coming closer,
Draws his sword, lays bare his hatchet
From his magic leathern scabbard,
Fells the aspen from his shoulder,
Fells the birch-tree from his temples,
From his chin he fells the alder,
From his beard, the branching willows,
From his mouth the dark-green fir-tree,
Fells the oak-tree from his forehead.
Now he thrusts his staff of iron
Through the mouth of wise Wipunen,
Pries his mighty jaws asunder,
Speaks these words of master-magic:
'Rise, thou master of magicians,
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From the sleep of Tuonela,
From thine everlasting slumber!'
Wise Wipunen, ancient singer,
Quickly wakens from his sleeping,
Keenly feels the pangs of torture,
From the cruel staff of iron;
Bites with mighty force the metal,
Bites in twain the softer iron,
Cannot bite the steel asunder,
Opens wide his mouth in anguish.
Wainamoinen of Wainola,
In his iron-shoes and armor,
Careless walking, headlong stumbles
In the spacious mouth and fauces
Of the magic bard, Wipunen.
Wise Wipunen, full of song-charms,
Opens wide his mouth and swallows
Wainamoinen and his magic,
Shoes, and staff, and iron armor.
Then outspeaks the wise Wipunen:
'Many things before I've eaten,
Dined on goat, and sheep, and reindeer,
Bear, and ox, and wolf, and wild-boar,
Never in my recollection,
Have I tasted sweeter morsels!'
Spake the ancient Wainamoinen:
'Now I see the evil symbols,
See misfortune hanging o'er me,
In the darksome Hisi-hurdles,
In the catacombs of Kalma.'
Wainamoinen long considered
How to live and how to prosper,
How to conquer this condition.
In his belt he wore a poniard,
With a handle hewn from birch-wood,
From the handle builds a vessel,
Builds a boat through magic science;
In this vessel rows he swiftly
Through the entrails of the hero,
Rows through every gland and vessel
Of the wisest of magicians.
Old Wipunen, master-singer,
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Barely feels the hero's presence,
Gives no heed to Wainamoinen.
Then the artist of Wainola
Straightway sets himself to forging,
Sets at work to hammer metals;
Makes a smithy from his armor,
Of his sleeves he makes the bellows,
Makes the air-valve from his fur-coat,
From his stockings, makes the muzzle,
Uses knees instead of anvil,
Makes a hammer of his fore-arm;
Like the storm-wind roars the bellows,
Like the thunder rings the anvil;
Forges one day, then a second,
Forges till the third day closes,
In the body of Wipunen,
In the sorcerer's abdomen.
Old Wipunen, full of magic,
Speaks these words in wonder, guessing:
'Who art thou of ancient heroes,
Who of all the host of heroes?
Many heroes I have eaten,
And of men a countless number,
Have not eaten such as thou art;
Smoke arises from my nostrils,
From my mouth the fire is streaming,
In my throat are iron-clinkers.
'Go, thou monster, hence to wander,
Flee this place, thou plague of Northland,
Ere I go to seek thy mother,
Tell the ancient dame thy mischief;
She shall bear thine evil conduct,
Great the burden she shall carry;
Great a mother's pain and anguish,
When her child runs wild and lawless;
Cannot comprehend the meaning,
Nor this mystery unravel,
Why thou camest here, O monster,
Camest here to give me torture.
Art thou Hisi sent from heaven,
Some calamity from Ukko?
Art, perchance, some new creation,
306
Ordered here to do me evil?
If thou art some evil genius,
Some calamity from Ukko,
Sent to me by my Creator,
Then am I resigned to suffer
God does not forsake the worthy,
Does not ruin those that trust him,
Never are the good forsaken.
If by man thou wert created,
If some hero sent thee hither,
I shall learn thy race of evil,
Shall destroy thy wicked tribe-folk.
'Thence arose the violation,
Thence arose the first destruction,
Thence came all the evil-doings:
From the neighborhood of wizards,
From the homes of the magicians,
From the eaves of vicious spirits,
From the haunts of fortune-tellers,
From the cabins of the witches,
From the castles of Tuoni,
From the bottom of Manala,
From the ground with envy swollen,
From Ingratitude's dominions,
From the rocky shoals and quicksands,
From the marshes filled with danger,
From the cataract's commotion,
From the bear-caves in the mountains,
From the wolves within the thickets,
From the roarings of the pine-tree,
From the burrows of the fox-dog,
From the woodlands of the reindeer,
From the eaves and Hisi-hurdles,
From the battles of the giants,
From uncultivated pastures,
From the billows of the oceans,
From the streams of boiling waters,
From the waterfalls of Rutya,
From the limits of the storm-clouds,
From the pathways of the thunders,
From the flashings of the lightnings,
From the distant plains of Pohya,
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From the fatal stream and whirlpool,
From the birthplace of Tuoni.
'Art thou coming from these places?
Hast thou, evil, hastened hither,
To the heart of sinless hero,
To devour my guiltless body,
To destroy this wisdom-singer?
Get thee hence, thou dog of Lempo,
Leave, thou monster from Manala,
Flee from mine immortal body,
Leave my liver, thing of evil,
In my body cease thy forging,
Cease this torture of my vitals,
Let me rest in peace and slumber.
'Should I want in means efficient,
Should I lack the magic power
To outroot thine evil genius,
I shall call a better hero,
Call upon a higher power,
To remove this dire misfortune,
To annihilate this monster.
I shall call the will of woman,
From the fields, the old-time heroes?
Mounted heroes from the sand-hills,
Thus to rescue me from danger,
From these pains and ceaseless tortures.
'If this force prove inefficient,
Should not drive thee from my body,
Come, thou forest, with thy heroes,
Come, ye junipers and pine-trees,
With your messengers of power,
Come, ye mountains, with your wood-nymphs,
Come, ye lakes, with all your mermaids,
Come, ye hundred ocean-spearmen,
Come, torment this son of Hisi,
Come and kill this evil monster.
'If this call is inefficient,
Does not drive thee from my vitals,
Rise, thou ancient water-mother,
With thy blue-cap from the ocean,
From the seas, the lakes, the rivers,
Bring protection to thy hero,
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Comfort bring and full assistance,
That I guiltless may not suffer,
May not perish prematurely.
'Shouldst thou brave this invocation,
Kapè, daughter of Creation,
Come, thou beauteous, golden maiden,
Oldest of the race of women,
Come and witness my misfortunes,
Come and turn away this evil,
Come, remove this biting torment,
Take away this plague of Piru.
'If this call be disregarded,
If thou wilt not leave me guiltless,
Ukko, on the arch of heaven,
In the thunder-cloud dominions,
Come thou quickly, thou art needed,
Come, protect thy tortured hero,
Drive away this magic demon,
Banish ever his enchantment,
With his sword and flaming furnace,
With his fire-enkindling bellows.
'Go, thou demon, hence to wander,
Flee, thou plague of Northland heroes;
Never come again for shelter,
Nevermore build thou thy dwelling
In the body of Wipunen;
Take at once thy habitation
To the regions of thy kindred,
To thy distant fields and firesides;
When thy journey thou hast ended,
Gained the borders of thy country,
Gained the meads of thy Creator,
Give a signal of thy coming,
Rumble like the peals of thunder,
Glisten like the gleam of lightning,
Knock upon the outer portals,
Enter through the open windows,
Glide about the many chambers,
Seize the host and seize the hostess,
Knock their evil beads together,
Wring their necks and hurl their bodies
To the black-dogs of the forest.
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'Should this prove of little value,
Hover like the bird of battle,
O'er the dwellings of the master,
Scare the horses from the mangers,
From the troughs affright the cattle,
Twist their tails, and horns, and forelocks,
Hurl their carcasses to Lempo.
'If some scourge the winds have sent me,
Sent me on the air of spring-tide,
Brought me by the frosts of winter,
Quickly journey whence thou camest,
On the air-path of the heavens,
Perching not upon some aspen,
Resting not upon the birch-tree;
Fly away to copper mountains,
That the copper-winds may nurse thee,
Waves of ether, thy protection.
'Didst those come from high Jumala,
From the hems of ragged snow-clouds,
Quick ascend beyond the cloud-space,
Quickly journey whence thou camest,
To the snow-clouds, crystal-sprinkled,
To the twinkling stars of heaven
There thy fire may burn forever,
There may flash thy forked lightnings,
In the Sun's undying furnace.
'Wert thou sent here by the spring-floods,
Driven here by river-torrents?
Quickly journey whence thou camest,
Quickly hasten to the waters,
To the borders of the rivers,
To the ancient water-mountain,
That the floods again may rock thee,
And thy water-mother nurse thee.
'Didst thou come from Kalma's kingdom,
From the castles of the death-land?
Haste thou back to thine own country,
To the Kalma-halls and castles,
To the fields with envy swollen,
Where contending armies perish.
'Art thou from the Hisi-woodlands,
From ravines in Lempo's forest,
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From the thickets of the pine-wood,
From the dwellings of the fir-glen?
Quick retrace thine evil footsteps
To the dwellings of thy master,
To the thickets of thy kindred;
There thou mayest dwell at pleasure,
Till thy house decays about thee,
Till thy walls shall mould and crumble.
Evil genius, thee I banish,
Got thee hence, thou horrid monster,
To the caverns of the white-bear,
To the deep abysm of serpents,
To the vales, and swamps, and fenlands,
To the ever-silent waters,
To the hot-springs of the mountains,
To the dead-seas of the Northland,
To the lifeless lakes and rivers,
To the sacred stream and whirlpool.
'Shouldst thou find no place of resting,
I will banish thee still farther,
To the Northland's distant borders,
To the broad expanse of Lapland,
To the ever-lifeless deserts,
To the unproductive prairies,
Sunless, moonless, starless, lifeless,
In the dark abyss of Northland;
This for thee, a place befitting,
Pitch thy tents and feast forever
On the dead plains of Pohyola.
'Shouldst thou find no means of living,
I will banish thee still farther,
To the cataract of Rutya,
To the fire-emitting whirlpool,
Where the firs are ever falling,
To the windfalls of the forest;
Swim hereafter in the waters
Of the fire-emitting whirlpool,
Whirl thou ever in the current
Of the cataract's commotion,
In its foam and boiling waters.
Should this place be unbefitting,
I will drive thee farther onward,
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To Tuoni's coal-black river,
To the endless stream of Mana,
Where thou shalt forever linger;
Thou canst never leave Manala,
Should I not thy head deliver,
Should I never pay thy ransom;
Thou canst never safely journey
Through nine brother-rams abutting,
Through nine brother-bulls opposing
Through nine brother-stallions thwarting,
Thou canst not re-cross Death-river
Thickly set with iron netting,
Interlaced with threads of copper.
'Shouldst thou ask for steeds for saddle,
Shouldst thou need a fleet-foot courser,
I will give thee worthy racers,
I will give thee saddle-horses;
Evil Hisi has a charger,
Crimson mane, and tail, and foretop,
Fire emitting from his nostrils,
As he prances through his pastures;
Hoofs are made of strongest iron,
Legs are made of steel and copper,
Quickly scales the highest mountains,
Darts like lightning through the valleys,
When a skilful master rides him.
'Should this steed be insufficient,
I will give thee Lempo's snow-shoes,
Give thee Hisi's shoes of elm-wood,
Give to thee the staff of Piru,
That with these thou mayest journey
Into Hisi's courts and castles,
To the woods and fields of Juutas;
If the rocks should rise before thee,
Dash the flinty rocks in pieces,
Hurl the fragments to the heavens;
If the branches cross thy pathway,
Make them turn aside in greeting;
If some mighty hero hail thee,
Hurl him headlong to the woodlands.
'Hasten hence, thou thing of evil,
Heinous monster, leave my body,
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Ere the breaking of the morning
Ere the Sun awakes from slumber,
Ere the sinning of the cuckoo;
Haste away, thou plague of Northland,
Haste along the track of' moonbeams,
Wander hence, forever wander,
To the darksome fields or Pohya.
'If at once thou dost not leave me,
I will send the eagle's talons,
Send to thee the beaks of vultures,
To devour thine evil body,
Hurl thy skeleton to Hisi.
Much more quickly cruel Lempo
Left my vitals when commanded,
When I called the aid of Ukko,
Called the help of my Creator.
Flee, thou motherless offendant,
Flee, thou fiend of Sariola,
Flee, thou hound without a master,
Ere the morning sun arises,
Ere the Moon withdraws to slumber!'
Wainamoinen, ancient hero,
Speaks at last to old Wipunen:
'Satisfied am I to linger
In these old and spacious caverns,
Pleasant here my home and dwelling;
For my meat I have thy tissues,
Have thy heart, and spleen, and liver,
For my drink the blood of ages,
Goodly home for Wainamoinen.
'I shall set my forge and bellows
Deeper, deeper in thy vitals;
I shall swing my heavy hammer,
Swing it with a greater power
On thy heart, and lungs, and liver;
I shall never, never leave thee
Till I learn thine incantations,
Learn thy many wisdom-sayings,
Learn the lost-words of the Master;
Never must these words be bidden,
Earth must never lose this wisdom,
Though the wisdom-singers perish.'
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Old Wipunen, wise magician,
Ancient prophet, filled with power,
Opens fall his store of knowledge,
Lifts the covers from his cases,
Filled with old-time incantations,
Filled with songs of times primeval,
Filled with ancient wit and wisdom;
Sings the very oldest folk-songs,
Sings the origin of witchcraft,
Sings of Earth and its beginning
Sings the first of all creations,
Sings the source of good and evil
Sung alas! by youth no longer,
Only sung in part by heroes
In these days of sin and sorrow.
Evil days our land befallen.
Sings the orders of enchantment.
How, upon the will of Ukko,
By command of the Creator,
How the air was first divided,
How the water came from ether,
How the earth arose from water,
How from earth came vegetation,
Fish, and fowl, and man, and hero.
Sings again the wise Wipunen,
How the Moon was first created,
How the Sun was set in heaven,
Whence the colors of the rainbow,
Whence the ether's crystal pillars,
How the skies with stars were sprinkled.
Then again sings wise Wipunen,
Sings in miracles of concord,
Sings in magic tones of wisdom,
Never was there heard such singing;
Songs he sings in countless numbers,
Swift his notes as tongues of serpents,
All the distant hills re-echo;
Sings one day, and then a second,
Sings a third from dawn till evening,
Sings from evening till the morning;
Listen all the stars of heaven,
And the Moon stands still and listens
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Fall the waves upon the deep-sea,
In the bay the tides cease rising,
Stop the rivers in their courses,
Stops the waterfall of Rutya,
Even Jordan ceases flowing,
And the Wuoksen stops and listens.
When the ancient Wainamoinen
Well had learned the magic sayings,
Learned the ancient songs and legends,
Learned the words of ancient wisdom,
Learned the lost-words of the Master,
Well had learned the secret doctrine,
He prepared to leave the body
Of the wisdom-bard, Wipunen,
Leave the bosom of the master,
Leave the wonderful enchanter.
Spake the hero, Wainamoinen:
'O, thou Antero Wipunen,
Open wide thy mouth and fauces,
I have found the magic lost-words,
I will leave thee now forever,
Leave thee and thy wondrous singing,
Will return to Kalevala,
To Wainola's fields and firesides.'
Thus Wipunen spake in answer:
'Many are the things I've eaten,
Eaten bear, and elk, and reindeer,
Eaten ox, and wolf, and wild-boar,
Eaten man, and eaten hero,
Never, never have I eaten
Such a thing as Wainamoinen;
Thou hast found what thou desirest,
Found the three words of the Master;
Go in peace, and ne'er returning,
Take my blessing on thy going.'
Thereupon the bard Wipunen
Opens wide his mouth, and wider;
And the good, old Wainamoinen
Straightway leaves the wise enchanter,
Leaves Wipunen's great abdomen;
From the mouth he glides and journeys
O'er the hills and vales of Northland,
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Swift as red-deer or the forest,
Swift as yellow-breasted marten,
To the firesides of Wainola,
To the plains of Kalevala.
Straightway hastes he to the smithy
Of his brother, Ilmarinen,
Thus the iron-artist greets him:
Hast thou found the long-lost wisdom,
Hast thou heard the secret doctrine,
Hast thou learned the master magic,
How to fasten in the ledges,
How the stern should be completed,
How complete the ship's forecastle?
Wainamoinen thus made answer:
'I have learned of words a hundred,
Learned a thousand incantations,
Hidden deep for many ages,
Learned the words of ancient wisdom,
Found the keys of secret doctrine,
Found the lost-words of the Master.'
Wainamoinen, magic-builder,
Straightway journeys to his vessel,
To the spot of magic labor,
Quickly fastens in the ledges,
Firmly binds the stern together
And completes the boat's forecastle.
Thus the ancient Wainamoinen
Built the boat with magic only,
And with magic launched his vessel,
Using not the hand to touch it,
Using not the foot to move it,
Using not the knee to turn it,
Using nothing to propel it.
Thus the third task was completed,
For the hostess of Pohyola,
Dowry for the Maid of Beauty
Sitting on the arch of heaven,
On the bow of many colors.
~ Elias Lönnrot
177:The Botanic Garden (Part Vii)
THE LOVES OF THE PLANTS.
CANTO III.
And now the Goddess founds her silver shell,
And shakes with deeper tones the inchanted dell;
Pale, round her grassy throne, bedew'd with tears,
Flit the thin forms of Sorrows, and of Fears;
Soft Sighs responsive whisper to the chords,
And Indignations half-unsheath their swords.
'Thrice round the grave CIRCÆA prints her tread,
And chaunts the numbers, which disturb the dead;
Shakes o'er the holy earth her sable plume,
Waves her dread wand, and strikes the echoing tomb!
-Pale shoot the stars across the troubled night,
The timorous moon withholds her conscious light;
Shrill scream the famish'd bats, and shivering owls,
And loud and long the dog of midnight howls!-Then yawns the bursting ground!- two imps obscene
Rise on broad wings, and hail the baleful queen;
Each with dire grin salutes the potent wand,
And leads the sorceress with his sooty hand;
Onward they glide, where sheds the sickly yew
O'er many a mouldering bone its nightly dew;
The ponderous portals of the church unbar,Hoarse on their hinge the ponderous portals jar;
As through the colour'd glass the moon-beam falls,
Huge shapeless spectres quiver on the walls;
Low murmurs creep along the hollow ground,
And to each step the pealing ailes resound;
By glimmering lamps, protecting saints among,
The shrines all tremble as they pass along,
O'er the still choir with hideous laugh they move,
(Fiends yell below, and angels weep above!)
Their impious march to God's high altar bend,
With feet impure the sacred steps ascend;
With wine unbless'd the holy chalice stain,
Assume the mitre, and the cope profane;
To heaven their eyes in mock devotion throw,
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And to the cross with horrid mummery bow;
Adjure by mimic rites the powers above,
And plite alternate their Satanic love.
Avaunt, ye Vulgar! from her sacred groves
With maniac step the Pythian LAURA moves;
Full of the God her labouring bosom sighs,
Foam on her lips, and fury in her eyes,
Strong writhe her limbs, her wild dishevell'd hair
Starts from her laurel-wreath, and swims in air.While twenty Priests the gorgeous shrine surround
Cinctur'd with ephods, and with garlands crown'd,
Contending hosts and trembling nations wait
The firm immutable behests of Fate;
-She speaks in thunder from her golden throne
With words unwill'd , and wisdom not her own.
So on his NIGHTMARE through the evening fog
Flits the squab Fiend o'er fen, and lake, and bog;
Seeks some love-wilder'd Maid with sleep oppress'd,
Alights, and grinning fits upon her breast.
-Such as of late amid the murky sky
Was mark'd by FUSELI'S poetic eye;
Whose daring tints, with SHAKESPEAR'S happiest grace,
Gave to the airy phantom form and place.Back o'er her pillow sinks her blushing head,
Her snow-white limbs hang helpless from the bed;
While with quick sighs, and suffocative breath,
Her interrupted heart-pulse swims in death.
-Then shrieks of captured towns, and widows' tears,
Pale lovers stretch'd upon their blood-stain'd biers,
The headlong precipice that thwarts her flight,
The trackless desert, the cold starless night,
And stern-eye'd Murder with his knife behind,
In dread succession agonize her mind.
O'er her fair limbs convulsive tremors fleet,
Start in her hands, and struggle in her feet;
In vain to scream with quivering lips she tries,
And strains in palsy'd lids her tremulous eyes;
In vain she wills to run, fly, swim, walk, creep;
The WILL presides not in the bower of SLEEP.
-On her fair bosom sits the Demon-Ape
Erect, and balances his bloated shape;
Rolls in their marble orbs his Gorgon-eyes,
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And drinks with leathern ears her tender cries.
Arm'd with her ivory beak, and talon-hands,
Descending FICA dives into the sands;
Chamber'd in earth with cold oblivion lies;
Nor heeds, ye Suitor-train , your amorous sighs;
Erewhile with renovated beauty blooms,
Mounts into air, and moves her leafy plumes.
-Where HAMPS and MANIFOLD, their cliffs among,
Each in his flinty channel winds along;
With lucid lines the dusky Moor divides,
Hurrying to intermix their sister tides.
Where still their silver-bosom'd Nymphs abhor,
The blood-smear'd mansion of gigantic THOR,-Erst, fires volcanic in the marble womb
Of cloud-wrapp'd WETTON raised the massy dome;
Rocks rear'd on rocks in huge disjointed piles
Form the tall turrets, and the lengthen'd ailes;
Broad ponderous piers sustain the roof, and wide
Branch the vast rain-bow ribs from side to side.
While from above descends in milky streams
One scanty pencil of illusive beams,
Suspended crags and gaping gulphs illumes,
And gilds the horrors of the deepen'd glooms.
-Here oft the Naiads, as they chanced to play
Near the dread Fane on THOR'S returning day,
Saw from red altars streams of guiltless blood
Stain their green reed-beds, and pollute their flood;
Heard dying babes in wicker prisons wail,
And shrieks of matrons thrill the affrighted Gale;
While from dark caves infernal Echoes mock,
And Fiends triumphant shout from every rock!
--So still the Nymphs emerging lift in air
Their snow-white shoulders and their azure hair;
Sail with sweet grace the dimpling streams along,
Listening the Shepherd's or the Miner's song;
But, when afar they view the giant-cave,
On timorous fins they circle on the wave,
With streaming eyes and throbbing hearts recoil,
Plunge their fair forms, and dive beneath the soil.Closed round their heads reluctant eddies sink,
And wider rings successive dash the brink.Three thousand steps in sparry clefts they stray,
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Or seek through sullen mines their gloomy way;
On beds of Lava sleep in coral cells,
Or sigh o'er jasper fish, and agate shells.
Till, where famed ILAM leads his boiling floods
Through flowery meadows and impending woods,
Pleased with light spring they leave the dreary night,
And 'mid circumfluent surges rise to light;
Shake their bright locks, the widening vale pursue,
Their sea-green mantles fringed with pearly dew;
In playful groups by towering THORP they move,
Bound o'er the foaming wears, and rush into the Dove.
With fierce distracted eye IMPATIENS stands,
Swells her pale cheeks, and brandishes her hands,
With rage and hate the astonish'd groves alarms,
And hurls her infants from her frantic arms.
-So when MEDÆA left her native soil
Unaw'd by danger, unsubdued by toil;
Her weeping sire and beckoning friends withstood,
And launch'd enamour'd on the boiling flood;
One ruddy boy her gentle lips caress'd,
And one fair girl was pillow'd on her breast;
While high in air the golden treasure burns,
And Love and Glory guide the prow by turns.
But, when Thessalia's inauspicious plain
Received the matron-heroine from the main;
While horns of triumph sound, and altars burn,
And shouting nations hail their Chief's return:
Aghaft, She saw new-deck'd the nuptial bed,
And proud CREUSA to the temple led;
Saw her in JASON'S mercenary arms
Deride her virtues, and insult her charms;
Saw her dear babes from fame and empire torn,
In foreign realms deserted and forlorn;
Her love rejected, and her vengeance braved,
By Him her beauties won, her virtues saved.With stern regard she eyed the traitor-king,
And felt, Ingratitude! thy keenest sting;
'Nor Heaven,' She cried, 'nor Earth, nor Hell can hold
'A Heart abandon'd to the thirst of Gold!'
Stamp'd with wild foot, and shook her horrent brow,
And call'd the furies from their dens below.
-Slow out of earth, before the festive crowds,
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On wheels of fire, amid a night of clouds,
Drawn by fierce fiends arose a magic car,
Received the Queen, and hovering flamed in air.As with raised hands the suppliant traitors kneel
And fear the vengeance they deserve to feel,
Thrice with parch'd lips her guiltless babes she press'd,
And thrice she clasp'd them to her tortur'd breast;
Awhile with white uplifted eyes she stood,
Then plung'd her trembling poniards in their blood.
'Go, kiss your sire! go, share the bridal mirth!'
She cry'd, and hurl'd their quivering limbs on earth.
Rebellowing thunders rock the marble towers,
And red-tongued lightnings shoot their arrowy showers;
Earth yawns!-the crashing ruin sinks!-o'er all
Death with black hands extends his mighty Pall;
Their mingling gore the Fiends of Vengeance quaff,
And Hell receives them with convulsive laugh.
Round the vex'd isles where fierce tornados roar,
Or tropic breezes sooth the sultry shore;
What time the eve her gauze pellucid spreads
O'er the dim flowers, and veils the misty meads;
Slow, o'er the twilight sands or leafy walks,
With gloomy dignity DICTAMNA stalks;
In sulphurous eddies round the weird dame
Plays the light gas, or kindles into flame.
If rests the traveller his weary head,
Grim MANCINELLA haunts the mossy bed,
Brews her black hebenon, and, stealing near,
Pours the curst venom in his tortured ear.Wide o'er the mad'ning throng URTICA flings
Her barbed shafts, and darts her poison'd stings.
And fell LOBELIA'S suffocating breath
Loads the dank pinion of the gale with death.With fear and hate they blast the affrighted groves,
Yet own with tender care their kindred Loves! So, where PALMIRA 'mid her wasted plains,
Her shatter'd aqueducts, and prostrate sanes,
(As the bright orb of breezy midnight pours
Long threads of silver through her gaping towers,
O'er mouldering tombs, and tottering columns gleams,
And frosts her deserts with diffusive beams),
Sad o'er the mighty wreck in silence bends,
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Lifts her wet eyes, her tremulous hands extends.If from lone cliffs a bursting rill expands
Its transient course, and sinks into the sands;
O'er the moist rock the fell Hyæna prowls,
The Leopard hisses, and the Panther growls;
On quivering wing the famish'd Vulture screams,
Dips his dry beak, and sweeps the gushing streams;
With foamy jaws, beneath, and sanguine tongue,
Laps the lean Wolf, and pants, and runs along;
Stern stalks the Lion, on the rustling brinks
Hears the dread Snake, and trembles as he drinks;
Quick darts the scaly Monster o'er the plain,
Fold after fold, his undulating train;
And, bending o'er the lake his crested brow,
Starts at the Crocodile, that gapes below.
Where seas of glass with gay reflections smile
Round the green coasts of Java's palmy isle;
A spacious plain extends its upland scene,
Rocks rise on rocks, and fountains gush between;
Soft zephyrs blow, eternal summers reign,
And showers prolific bless the soil,-in vain!
-No spicy nutmeg scents the vernal gales,
Nor towering plaintain shades the mid-day vales;
No grassy mantle hides the sable hills,
No flowery chaplet crowns the trickling rills;
Nor tufted moss, nor leathery lichen creeps
In russet tapestry o'er the crumbling steeps.
-No step retreating, on the sand impress'd,
Invites the visit of a second guest;
No refluent fin the unpeopled stream divides,
No revolant pinion cleaves the airy tides;
Nor handed moles, nor beaked worms return,
That mining pass the irremeable bourn.Fierce in dread silence on the blasted heath
Fell UPAS sits, the HYDRA-TREE of death.
Lo! from one root, the envenom'd soil below,
A thousand vegetative serpents grow;
In shining rays the scaly monster spreads
O'er ten square leagues his far-diverging heads;
Or in one trunk entwists his tangled form,
Looks o'er the clouds, and hisses in the storm.
Steep'd in fell poison, as his sharp teeth part,
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A thousand tongues in quick vibration dart;
Snatch the proud Eagle towering o'er the heath,
Or pounce the Lion, as he stalks beneath;
Or strew, as marshall'd hosts contend in vain,
With human skeletons the whiten'd plain.
-Chain'd at his root two scion-demons dwell,
Breathe the faint hiss, or try the shriller yell;
Rise, fluttering in the air on callow wings,
And aim at insect-prey their little stings.
So Time's strong arms with sweeping scythe erase
Art's cumberous works, and empires, from their base;
While each young Hour its sickle fine employs,
And crops the sweet buds of domestic joys!
With blushes bright as morn fair ORCHIS charms,
And lulls her infant in her fondling arms;
Soft play Affection round her bosom's throne,
And guards his life, forgetful of her own.
So wings the wounded Deer her headlong flight,
Pierced by some ambush'd archer of the night,
Shoots to the woodlands with her bounding fawn,
And drops of blood bedew the conscious lawn;
There hid in shades she shuns the cheerful day,
Hangs o'er her young, and weeps her life away.
So stood Eliza on the wood-crown'd height,
O'er Minden's plain, spectatress of the sight,
Sought with bold eye amid the bloody strife
Her dearer self, the partner of her life;
From hill to hill the rushing host pursued,
And view'd his banner, or believed she view'd.
Pleased with the distant roar, with quicker tread
Fast by his hand one lisping boy she led;
And one fair girl amid the loud alarm
Slept on her kerchief, cradled by her arm;
While round her brows bright beams of Honour dart,
And Love's warm eddies circle round her heart
-Near and more near the intrepid Beauty press'd,
Saw through the driving smoke his dancing crest,
Heard the exulting shout, 'they run! they run!'
'Great GOD!' she cried, 'He's safe! the battle's won!'
-A ball now hisses through the airy tides,
(Some Fury wing'd it, and some Demon guides!)
Parts the fine locks, her graceful head that deck,
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Wounds her fair ear, and sinks into her neck;
The red stream, issuing from her azure veins,
Dyes her white veil, her ivory bosom stains.-'Ah me!' she cried, and, sinking on the ground,
Kiss'd her dear babes, regardless of the wound;
'Oh, cease not yet to beat, thou Vital Urn!
'Wait, gushing Life, oh, wait my Love's return!'Hoarse barks the wolf, the vulture screams from far!
'The angel, Pity, shuns the walks of war!-'Oh, spare ye War-hounds, spare their tender age!'On me, on me,' she cried, 'exhaust your rage!'Then with weak arms her weeping babes caress'd,
And sighing bid them in her blood-stain'd vest.
From tent to tent the impatient warrior flies,
Fear in his heart, and frenzy in his eyes;
Eliza's name along the camp he calls,
Eliza echoes through the canvas walls;
Quick through the murmuring gloom his footsteps tread,
O'er groaning heaps, the dying and the dead,
Vault o'er the plain, and in the tangled wood,
Lo! dead Eliza weltering in her blood!-Soon hears his listening son the welcome sounds,
With open arms and sparkling eyes he bounds:'Speak low,' he cries, and gives his little hand,
'Eliza sleeps upon the dew-cold sand;
'Poor weeping Babe with bloody fingers press'd,
'And tried with pouting lips her milkless breast;
'Alas! we both with cold and hunger quake'Why do you weep?-Mama will soon awake.'
-'She'll wake no more!' the hopeless mourner cried
Upturn'd his eyes, and clasp'd his hands, and sigh'd;
Stretch'd on the ground awhile entranc'd he lay,
And press'd warm kisses on the lifeless clay;
And then unsprung with wild convulsive start,
And all the Father kindled in his heart;
'Oh, Heavens!' he cried, 'my first rash vow forgive!
'These bind to earth, for these I pray to live!'Round his chill babes he wrapp'd his crimson vest,
And clasp'd them sobbing to his aching breast.
Two Harlot-Nymphs, the fair CUSCUTAS, please
With labour'd negligence, and studied ease;
In the meek garb of modest worth disguised,
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The eye averted, and the smile chastised,
With sly approach they spread their dangerous charms,
And round their victim wind their wiry arms.
So by Scamander when LAOCOON stood,
Where Troy's proud turrets glitter'd in the flood,
Raised high his arm, and with prophetic call
To shrinking realms announced her fatal fall;
Whirl'd his fierce spear with more than mortal force,
And pierced the thick ribs of the echoing horse;
Two Serpent-forms incumbent on the main,
Lashing the white waves with redundant train,
Arch'd their blue necks, and (hook their towering crests,
And plough'd their foamy way with speckled breasts;
Then darting fierce amid the affrighted throngs,
Roll'd their red eyes, and shot their forked tongues,-Two daring Youths to guard the hoary fire
Thwart their dread progress, and provoke their ire.
Round sire and sons the scaly monsters roll'd,
Ring above ring, in many a tangled fold,
Close and more close their writhing limbs surround,
And fix with foamy teeth the envenom'd wound.
-With brow upturn'd to heaven the holy Sage
In silent agony sustains their rage;
While each fond Youth, in vain, with piercing cries
Bends on the tortured Sire his dying eyes.
'Drink deep, sweet youths' seductive VITIS cries,
The maudlin tear-drop glittering in her eyes;
Green leaves and purple clusters crown her head,
And the tall Thyrsus stays her tottering tread.
- Five hapless swains with soft assuasive smiles
The harlot meshes in her deathful toils;
'Drink deep,' she carols, as she waves in air
The mantling goblet, 'and forget your care.'O'er the dread feast malignant Chemia scowls,
And mingles poison in the nectar'd bowls;
Fell Gout peeps grinning through the flimsy scene,
And bloated Dropsy pants behind unseen;
Wrapp'd in his robe white Lepra hides his stains,
And silent Frenzy writhing bites his chains.
So when PROMETHEUS braved the Thunderer's ire,
Stole from his blazing throne etherial fire,
And, lantern'd in his breast, from realms of day
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Bore the bright treasure to his Man of clay;High on cold Caucasus by VULCAN bound,
The lean impatient Vulture fluttering round,
His writhing limbs in vain he twists and strains
To break or loose the adamantine chains.
The gluttonous bird, exulting in his pangs,
Tears his swoln liver with remorseless fangs.
The gentle CYCLAMEN with dewy eye
Breathes o'er her lifeless babe the parting sigh;
And, bending low to earth, with pious hands
Inhumes her dear Departed in the sands.
'Sweet Nursling! withering in thy tender hour,
'Oh, sleep,' She cries, 'and rise a fairer flower!'
-So when the Plague o'er London's gasping crowds
Shook her dank wing, and steer'd her murky clouds;
When o'er the friendless bier no rites were read,
No dirge slow-chanted, and no pall out-spread;
While Death and Night piled up the naked throng,
And Silence drove their ebon cars along;
Six lovely daughters, and their father, swept
To the throng'd grave CLEONE saw, and wept;
Her tender mind, with meek Religion fraught,
Drank all-resigned Affliction's bitter draught;
Alive and listening to the whisper'd groan
Of others' woes, unconscious of her own!One smiling boy, her last sweet hope, she warms
Hushed on her bosom, circled in her arms,Daughter of woe! ere morn, in vain caress'd,
Clung the cold Babe upon thy milkless breast,
With feeble cries thy last sad aid required,
Stretch'd its stiff limbs, and on thy lap expired!-Long with wide eye-lids on her Child she gazed,
And long to heaven their tearless orbs she raised;
Then with quick foot and throbbing heart she found
Where Chartreuse open'd deep his holy ground;
Bore her last treasure through the midnight gloom,
And kneeling dropp'd it in the mighty tomb;
'I follow next!' the frantic mourner said,
And living plunged amid the festering dead.
Where vast Ontario rolls his brineless tides,
And feeds the trackless forests on his sides,
Fair CASSIA trembling hears the howling woods,
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And trusts her tawny children to the floods.Cinctured with gold while ten fond brothers stand,
And guard the beauty on her native land,
Soft breathes the gale, the current gently moves,
And bears to Norway's coasts her infant-loves.
-So the sad mother at the noon of night
From bloody Memphis stole her silent flight;
Wrapp'd her dear babe beneath her folded vest,
And clasp'd the treasure to her throbbing breast,
With soothing whispers hushed its feeble cry,
Pressed the soft kiss, and breathed the secret sigh.-With dauntless step she seeks the winding shore,
Hears unappall'd the glimmering torrents roar;
With Paper-flags a floating cradle weaves,
And hides the smiling boy in Lotus-leaves;
Gives her white bosom to his eager lips,
The salt tears mingling with the milk he sips;
Waits on the reed-crown'd brink with pious guile,
And trusts the scaly monsters of the Nile.-Erewhile majestic from his lone abode,
Embassador of Heaven, the Prophet trod;
Wrench'd the red Scourge from proud Oppression's hands,
And broke, curst Slavery! thy iron bands.
Hark! heard ye not that piercing cry,
Which shook the waves and rent the sky!E'en now, e'en now, on yonder Western shores
Weeps pale Despair, and writhing Anguish roars:
E'en now in Afric's groves with hideous yell
Fierce SLAVERY stalks, and slips the dogs of hell;
From vale to vale the gathering cries rebound,
And sable nations tremble at the sound!-YE BANDS OF SENATORS! whose suffrage sways
Britannia's realms, whom either Ind obeys;
Who right the injured, and reward the brave,
Stretch your strong arm, for ye have power to save!
Throned in the vaulted heart, his dread resort,
Inexorable CONSCIENCE holds his court;
With still small voice the plots of Guilt alarms,
Bares his mask'd brow, his lifted hand disarms;
But, wrapp'd in night with terrors all his own,
He speaks in thunder, when the deed is done.
Hear him ye Senates! hear this truth sublime,
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'HE, WHO ALLOWS OPPRESSION, SHARES THE CRIME.'
No radiant pearl, which crested Fortune wears,
No gem, that twinkling hangs from Beauty's ears,
Not the bright stars, which Night's blue arch adorn,
Nor rising suns that gild the vernal morn,
Shine with such lustre as the tear, that breaks
For other's woe down Virtue's manly cheeks.'
Here ceased the MUSE, and dropp'd her tuneful shell,
Tumultuous woes her panting bosom swell,
O'er her flush'd cheek her gauzy veil she throws,
Folds her white arms, and bends her laurel'd brows;
For human guilt awhile the Goddess sighs,
And human sorrows dim celestial eyes.
~ Erasmus Darwin
178:The Old Manor House
AN old house, crumbling half away, all barnacled and lichen-grown,
Of saddest, mellowest, softest grey,—with a grand history of its own—
Grand with the work and strife and tears of more than half a thousand years.
Such delicate, tender, russet tones of colour on its gables slept,
With streaks of gold betwixt the stones, where wind-sown flowers and mosses
crept:
Wild grasses waved in sun and shade o'er terrace slab and balustrade.
Around the clustered chimneys clung the ivy's wreathed and braided threads,
And dappled lights and shadows flung across the sombre browns and reds;
Where'er the graver's hand had been, it spread its tendrils bright and green.
Far-stretching branches shadowed deep the blazoned windows and broad eaves,
And rocked the faithful rooks asleep, and strewed the terraces with leaves.
A broken dial marked the hours amid damp lawns and garden bowers.
An old house, silent, sad, forlorn, yet proud and stately to the last;
Of all its power and splendour shorn, but rich with memories of the past;
And pitying, from its own decay, the gilded piles of yesterday.
Pitying the new race that passed by, with slighting note of its grey walls,—
And entertaining tenderly the shades of dead knights in its halls,
Whose blood, that soaked these hallowed sods, came down from Scandinavian
gods.
I saw it first in summer-time. The warm air hummed and buzzed with bees,
Where now the pale green hop-vines climb about the sere trunks of the trees,
And waves of roses on the ground scented the tangled glades around.
Some long fern-plumes drooped there—below; the heaven above was still and
blue;
Just here—between the gloom and glow—a cedar and an aged yew
Parted their dusky arms, to let the glory fall on Margaret.
She leaned on that old balustrade, her white dress tinged with golden air,
Her small hands loosely clasped, and laid amongst the moss and maidenhair:
I watched her, hearing, as I stood, a turtle cooing in the wood—
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Hearing a mavis far away, piping his dreamy interludes,
While gusts of soft wind, sweet with hay, swept through those garden
solitudes,—
And thinking she was lovelier e'en than my young ideal love had been.
Tall, with that subtle, sensitive grace, which made so plainly manifest
That she was born of noble race,—a cool, hushed presence, bringing rest,
Of one who felt and understood the dignity of womanhood.
Tall, with a slow, proud step and air; with skin half marble and half milk;
With twisted coils of raven hair, blue-tinged, and fine and soft as silk;
With haughty, clear-cut chin and cheek, and broad brows exquisitely Greek;
With still, calm mouth, whose dreamy smile possessed me like a haunting pain,
So rare, so sweet, so free from guile, with that slight accent of disdain;
With level, liquid tones that fell like chimings of a vesper bell;
With large, grave stag-eyes, soft, yet keen with slumbering passion, hazelbrown,
Long-lashed and dark, whose limpid sheen my thirsty spirit swallowed down;—
O poor, pale words, wherewith to paint my queen, my goddess, and my saint!
You see that oriel, ivy-grown, with the blurred sculpture underneath?
Her sweet head, like the Clytie's own, with a white stephanotis wreath
Inwoven with its coiling hair, first bent to me in greeting there.
I shall remember till I die that night when we were introduced!
The great Sir Hildebrand stood by—her cousin— scowling as he used
To scowl if e'en a poor dumb cur ventured to lift his eyes to her.
I cared not. Well I knew her grace was not for him. I watched them dance,
And knew it by her locked-up face, and her slow, haughty utterance.
I knew he chafed and raged to see how kind and sweet she was to me.
O dear old window!—nevermore the red and purple lights, that stray
Through your dim panes upon the floor on sunny summer-night, will lay
Soft rainbows on her glossy hair and the white dress she used to wear!
Those panes the ivy used to scratch—I hear it now when I'm alone!
A pair of martlets used to hatch their young ones in the sculptured stone;
Those warm slabs were the bloodhound's bed, with fine yew-needles carpeted.
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The missel-thrushes used to search there for the berries as they fell;
On that high twig, at morn, would perch a shy and shivering locustelle,—
From yon low sweep of furzy brake, we used to watch it thrill and shake.
The banksia roses twined a wreath all round that ancient coat and crest,
And trailed the time-worn steps beneath, and almost touched the martin's nest;
The honey bees swam in and out, and little lizards flashed about.
And when we flung the casement wide, the wind would play about her brow,
As she sat, etching, by my side,—I see the bright locks lifted now!
And such a view would meet our eyes of crimson woods and azure skies!
'Twas there, when fell the twilight hush, I used to feed her wistful ears,
And make her cheek and forehead flush, and her dark eyes fill full of tears,
With tales of my wild, fighting life—our bitter, brave Crimean strife.
We had, too, little concerts in that dear recess,—I used to play
Accompaniments on my violin, and she would sing “Old Robin Gray,”
And simple, tender Scottish songs of loyal love and royal wrongs.
My violin is dead for me, the dust lies thick upon the case;
And she is dead,—yet I can see e'en now the rapt and listening face;
And all about the garden floats the echo of those crying notes!
'Tis a sweet garden, is it not? So wild and tangled, nothing prim;
No quaint-cut bed, no shaven plot, no stunted bushes, stiff and trim;
Its flowers and shrubs all overblown, its long paths moss and lichen-grown.
'Twas on that terrace that we read the “Idylls,” sauntering up and down
With gentle, musing, measured tread, while leaves kept falling, gold and brown,
And mists kept rising, silver-grey, one still and peaceful autumn-day.
In those long glades we roamed apart, and studied Spanish, and the tales
Of Chaucer,—there we talked of art, and listened to the nightingales;
E'en now, when summer daylight dies, I hear their bubbling melodies.
You see that bower, half-hidden, made by the low-branching willow-tree?
We used to lounge there in the shade, and laugh, and gossip, and drink tea:
I wreathed her head with ferns, one night, and little rose-buds sweet and white.
It grew my habit, by-and-by, to gather all the flowers she wore;
She used to take them silently, or I would leave them at her door,—
And wait about till she was drest, to see them nestling on her breast.
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In that green nook she used to sit, and I would watch her as she worked.
Her face had such a spell in it, and such a subtle glamour lurked
In even the motion of her hand!—why, I could never understand.
'Twas there I tied the little strap that held her netting down, one day,
And kissed the soft palm in her lap, which she so gently drew away.
Ay me, we held our tongues for hours! and I plucked off and ate the flowers.
She would not look at me at first—I recollect it all so well!
Her delicate, downcast features, erst so pale, were tinted like a shell—
Then like the petals that enclose the inmost heart of a moss rose.
The others came and chatted round, but we could laugh and chat no more;
I propped my elbow on the ground, and watched her count her stitches o'er;
Their talk I did not comprehend,—she was too busy to attend.
The days passed on, and still we sat in our old place; but things were changed.
We were so silent after that!—so oddly formal—so estranged!
No more we met to worship art,—our little pathways branched apart.
All day I kept her face in view—scarce one low tone I failed to hear;
And, though she would not see, I knew she felt when I was far or near.
Yet brief and seldom was the chance that gave me word, or smile, or glance.
One night I came home in the gloom. The other guests were mostly gone.
A light was burning in her room, and from the lawn it shone upon
I plucked a flower for her to wear—a white rose, fringed with maidenhair.
I passed through that long corridor—those are its windows, to the west—
That I might leave it at her door,—and saw her cross her threshold, drest.
No lamps were lit,—the twilight shed a grey mist on her shiny head.
Her garments swept the oaken stairs; I stood below her, hushed and dumb;
She started, seeing me unawares, and stopped. “Come down,” I whispered;
“come!”
She waited, but I waited too;—and she had nothing else to do.
She came down, slowly, haughtily, with sweet pretence of carelessness.
I watched each step as she drew nigh, each brighter gleam on her white dress.
I did not speak, I did not stir, but all my heart went out to her.
She would have passed me, shy and still,—she would not suffer herself to mark
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That I was grown so bold, until I took her dear hands in the dark.
And then—and then—Well! she was good and patient, and she understood.
My arms were strong, and rude, and rough—because my love was so intense;
She knew the reason well enough, and so she would not take offence;
Though 'twas by force I made her stay, she did not try to get away.
Ah, then we had some happy hours—some blessed days of peace and rest!
This garden, full of shady bowers and lonely pathways, from whose breast
A thousand blending perfumes rise, became a very Paradise.
'Twas fair as the first Eden, then; and Adam had no fairer mate!
Nor grieved he more than I grieved, when the angel drove him from the gate.
When God cursed him from His high throne, He did not cast him out alone!
'Twas on that broken step we sat, where the yew branch is fall'n and bent,
And read the Colonel's letter, that recalled me to my regiment.
'Twas there, on such a night as this, I stood to give my parting kiss.
'Twas there I hugged the small Greek head upon my bosom, damp with dew;
'Twas there she soothed my grief, and said, “But I shall still belong to you.”
O my sweet Eve, with your pure eyes!—you're mine now, in God's Paradise.
I sailed, you know, within a week, en route for Malta's heat and blaze;
And tender letters came, to speak of love, and comfort, and bright days.
I tried to think it was not hard—of what was coming afterward.
I used to dream, and dream, and dream, from night till morn, from morn till
night;
My future life just then did seem so full, so beautiful, so bright!
I could not see, I could not feel, the sorrow dogging at my heel.
At length it touched me. By-and-by the letters ceased. I looked in vain;
I roamed the streets dejectedly, and gnawed my long moustache in pain.
I wrote twice—thrice; no answer still. Surely, I thought, she must be ill.
Until one evening Eyre came in, to lounge and gossip, drink and smoke,
I gave him leisure to begin; and, when his pipe was lit, he spoke,
Through curling vapour, soft and blue—“Guy, I've a piece of news for you.
“One of the girls you met last year at that poor tumble-down old place—
The dark-haired one—she with the clear white skin and sweet Madonna face,—
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She's married now, I understand, to her rich cousin Hildebrand.”
I felt my limbs grow stark and stiff; I felt my heart grow cold as lead;
I heard Eyre's quiet, musing whiff—the noise swam round and round my head.
I veiled my eyes, lest he should see their passionate, mute misery.
“I only heard,” he said, “to-day. It's out in all the papers, though.
She did not care for him, they say. But the old house was falling low—
Her father's name and fame at stake. She would do anything for his sake.
“Some mortgages foreclosed—the price of years and centuries of debt;
The manor doomed for sacrifice—or else the Lady Margaret.
Doubtless for Hildebrand's red gold the rare Madonna face was sold.
“I fancy that's the history,” he ended, in a bitter tone.
“It's not a new one, by-the-bye.” And when he went, I sat alone,
And tried to ease me with a prayer, but ground my teeth in my despair.
Then I grew stupid, numb, and tired. A fever crept through all my veins,
And wearied out my heart, and fired my dazed, tumultuous, teeming brains.
I hung suspended by a breath, for weeks and months, 'twixt life and death.
Then I recovered, and had leave to go to England— where she dwelt;
In my home climate to retrieve my broken health and strength. I felt
Twice ten years older than before. I knew I should come back no more.
Soon as I touched my native land, my feet turned toward the manor house.
They told me that Sir Hildebrand was in the Highlands, shooting grouse;
That she was in her father's care. That night I found her, sitting there,
On that third step, just where the trees cast down their greenest, coolest shade;
Her weary hands about her knees, her head against the balustrade;
And such dumb woe in her sweet eyes, uplifted to the fading skies.
She did not see me till I burst through the rose-thickets round about.
She sprang up with a cry at first—and then her arms were half stretched out—
And then caught backward, for his sake. I felt as if my heart would break.
I knew the truth. I did not care. I did not think. I flung me down,
And kissed her hands, her wrists, her hair, the very fringes of her gown;
While she sat cowering in a heap, and moaned, and shook, but could not weep.
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It was soon over. O good God, forgive me!—I was sorely tried.
'Twas a dark pathway that I trod; I could not see Thee at my side.
It was soon over. “I shall die,” she whispered, “if you stay here, Guy!
“O Guy! Guy! you were kind to me in our old days,—be kinder now,—
Be kind, and go, and let me be!” And then I felt on my hot brow
The brush of her cold finger-tips—the last soft contact of her lips.
And I obeyed her will and went, and vowed to tempt her nevermore.
I tried hard, too, to be content, and think of that which lay before.
I knew my dream of love was past, yet strove to serve her to the last.
I left my comrades—I had lost all taste for glory and for mirth—
And, without hopes or aims, I cross'd the seas and wander'd o'er the earth.
Without a light, without a guide, I drifted with the wind and tide.
My heart was broken when 'twas struck that bitter blow, and joy ran out!
Only a few stray treasures stuck—a few gleams flickered round about.
My old art-love still lingered there,—I think that kept me from despair.
With strange companions did I dwell, one scorching summer, on the heights
Of Tangiers' Moorish citadel, and mused away the days and nights.
With loose white garments and long gun, I roamed the deserts in the sun.
I painted Atlas, capped with snow, and lifted, cool, and still, and fair,
Out of the burning heat and glow, into the solemn upper air;
And Tetuan's gleaming walls I drew on fields of Mediterranean blue.
I haunted Cairo's crowded ways, and sketched carved doors and gilded grates,
Mosque-domes and minarets ablaze, and sweet dark heads with shining plaits;
And now a grave old Arab sheikh, and then a slim, straight-featured Greek.
In a swift wing-sailed boat I slid across the stream where Libya looms,
And from King Cheop's pyramid saw Pharaoh-cities, Pharaoh-tombs;
And, stretching off for many a mile, the sacred waters of the Nile.
I saw the graves of mighty states,—I saw Thebes' temple, overturned—
The City of the Hundred Gates, where Moses and Greek sages learned,
Where hungry lions prowl at noon, and hyaenas snarl at the bright moon.
I roamed through Nubian desert flats, where vultures sailed o'er burning seas;
And forests where the yellow bats hung, cloaked and hooded, from the trees;
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And marshy wastes, where crocodiles slept on the shores of sandy isles.
I followed, through long days and nights, where, with their little ones and flocks,
Had passed the wandering Israelites; I read the writing on the rocks;
And e'en these restless feet of mine tracked holy feet in Palestine.
Roaming through India's burning plains, I chased wild boars and antelopes;
Swam brawling nullahs in the rains, and haunted dew-wet mango-topes;
Shot bears and tigers in the gloom of the dense forests of Beerbhoom.
Through swathing-nets I watched at night the clear moon gild a palm-tree ledge;
And, through the flood of silver light, heard jackals at the compound-hedge;
While punkahs waved above my head, and faint airs hovered round my bed.
I mused by many a sacred tank, where lonely temples fell away,
Where the fat alligators drank, and scarlet lotus-flowers lay;
Smoked curling pipes 'neath roof and tree, the while dark nautch-girls danced to
me.
I trod the creeper-netted ground of deadly, beautiful, bright woods,
Where birds and monkeys chattered round, and serpents reared their crimson
hoods.
I dwelt 'neath breathless desert-glows, and Simla's Himalayan snows.
From the hot glades of garden reach, I wandered upward to Cabool—
From the bright Hooghly's flowering beach to the wild mountains, calm and cool.
I wept at Cawnpore's fatal well, and where our heroes fought and fell.
I roamed through Lucknow's battered gate—thick-thronged with memories so
intense!
And Delhi's ruins of wild state and old Mogul magnificence.
I pressed the rank, blood-nurtured grass that creeps along the Khyber Pass.
I sailed the Irrawaddy's stream, 'mid dense teak forests; saw the moon
Light up with broad and glittering gleam the golden Dagun of Rangoon—
The delicate, fretted temple-shells, whose roofs were rimmed with swaying bells.
In his gold palace, all alone, with square, hard face and eyes aslant,
I saw upon his royal throne the Lord of the White Elephant.
I mixed in wild, barbaric feasts with Buddha's yellow-robèd priests.
I crept with curious feet within imperial China's sacred bounds;
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I saw the Palace of Pekin, and all its fairy garden-grounds;
The green rice-fields, the tremulous rills, the white azaleas on the hills;
The tea-groves climbing mountain backs; the girls' rich robes of blue and white;
The cattle 'neath the paddy-stacks; the gilt pagodas, tall and bright;—
And in a merchant-junk I ran across the waters to Japan.
I saw, where silk-fringed mats were spread, within his laquered, bare saloon,
With his curled roofs above his head, on muffled heels, the great Tycoon.
Familiar things they were to me—the pipes, and betelnuts, and tea.
I dug in Californian ground, at Sacramento's golden brim,
With hunger, murder, all around, and fever shaking every limb;
Saw, in lush forests and rude sheds, the Dyaks roast ing pirates' heads.
I shot white condors on the brows of snowy Andes; and I chased
Wild horses, and wild bulls and cows, o'er the wide Pampas' jungle-waste;
And saw, while wandering to and fro, the silver mines of Mexico.
In Caffre waggons I was drawn up lone Cape gorges, green and steep,
And camped by river-grove and lawn, where nightly tryst the wild things keep;
Where glaring eyes without the line of circling watch-fires used to shine.
I chased o'er sandy plains and shot the ostrich,—at the reedy brink
Of pools, the lion, on the slot of antelopes that came to drink;
Giraffes, that held their heads aloof'neath the mimosa's matted roof;
And brindled gnus, and cowardly, striped shard-wolves, and, 'mid water-plants
And flags, black hippopotami, and snakes, and shrieking elephants.
From courted sickness, hunger, strife, God spared my weary, reckless life.
In the bright South Seas did I toss through wild blue nights and fainting days,
With the snow-plumaged albatross. I saw Tahiti's peaks ablaze;
And still, palm-fringed lagoons asleep o'er coral grottoes, cool and deep.
I built an Australian hut of logs, and lived alone— with just a noose,
A trap, a gun, my horse and dogs; I hunted long-legged kangaroos;
And oft I spent the calm night-hours beneath the gum-trees' forest-bowers.
I threaded miles and miles and miles, where Lena's sad, slow waters flow,
'Mid silent rocks, and woods, and isles, and drear Siberian steppes of snow;
Where pines and larches, set alight, blaze in the dark and windless night.
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I shot a wild fowl on the shore of a still, lonely mountain lake,
And, o'er the sheer white torrents' roar, heard long-drawn, plaintive echoes
wake;
Caught squirrels in their leafy huts, munching the little cedar-nuts.
I trapped the small, soft sables, stripped the bloomy fur from off their backs,
And hunted grey wolves as they slipped and snuffed and snarled down reindeer
tracks;
I brought the brown, bald eagle down from the white sea-hill's rugged crown.
I saw the oil-lamp shining through the small and dim ice window-pane;
And the near sky, so deeply blue, spangled with sparks, like golden rain;
While dogs lay tethered, left and right, howling across the arctic night.
I saw when, in my flying sledge, I swept the frozen tundra-slopes,
The white bears on some craggy ledge, far-off, where ocean blindly gropes
In her dim caves—where bones lie furled, the tokens of a vanished world.
I saw across the dread blue sky, spanning blue ice and bluer mist
(That shows where open waters lie), the bright Aurora keep her tryst,—
That arch of tinted flame—so fair! lighting the crystals in the air.
Then, all at once—I know not why—I felt I could no longer roam;
A voice seemed calling to my heart—Return to England and thy home;
I found my thoughts were yearning yet, for one more glimpse of Margaret.
So on a sudden I returned. I reached the village in the night.
At one small inn a candle burned with feeble, pale, unsteady light:
The hostess curtseyed, grave and strange. She did not know me for the change.
My broad white brows were bronzed, and scarred with lines of trouble, thought,
and
care;
My young bright eyes were dim and hard—the sunshine was no longer there;
My brown moustache was hid away in a great beard of iron-grey.
“The Manor House is habited,” to my brief question she replied.
“To-night my lady lies there dead. She's long been ailing, and she died
At noon. A happy thing for her! Were you acquainted with her, sir?
“A sweeter lady never walked! So kind and good to all the poor!
She ne'er disdained us when she talked—ne'er turned a beggar from her door.
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Ah, sir, but we may look in vain; we ne'er shall see her likes again.
“I heard the squire's great bloodhound's bark; I woke, and shook, and held my
breath.
My man, he stirred too in the dark. Said he to me, ‘My lady's death
Is not far off. Another night she'll never see.’ And he was right.
“'Twas over in twelve hours or less. She lies there, on the golden bed,
In her old confirmation dress, with the small white cap on her head
Which bore the bishop's blessing hand,—she asked that of Sir Hildebrand.”
You see that window in the shade of those old beeches? 'Twas that room
Wherein my dear dead love was laid. I climbed the ivy in the gloom
And silence—just once more to see the face that had belonged to me.
I stood beside her. No one heard. On the great rajah's bed, alone
She lay. The night-breeze softly stirred the Cashmere curtains, and the moan
Of my wild kisses seemed to thrill the solitude. All else was still.
In the pale yellow taper light, I gazed upon her till the morn.
I see her now—so sweet and white! the fair, pure face so trouble-worn!
The thin hands folded on her breast, in peace at last, and perfect rest!
~ Ada Cambridge
179:The Botanic Garden (Part Viii)
THE LOVES OF THE PLANTS
CANTO IV.
Now the broad Sun his golden orb unshrouds,
Flames in the west, and paints the parted clouds;
O'er heaven's wide arch refracted lustres flow,
And bend in air the many-colour'd bow.-The tuneful Goddess on the glowing sky
Fix'd in mute extacy her glistening eye;
And then her lute to sweeter tones she strung,
And swell'd with softer chords the Paphian song.
Long ailes of Oaks return'd the silver sound,
And amorous Echoes talk'd along the ground;
Pleas'd Lichfield listen'd from her sacred bowers,
Bow'd her tall groves, and shook her stately towers.
'Nymph! not for thee the radiant day returns,
Nymph! not for thee the golden solstice burns,
Refulgent CEREA!-at the dusky hour
She seeks with pensive step the mountain-bower,
Bright as the blush of rising morn, and warms
The dull cold eye of Midnight with her charms.
There to the skies she lifts her pencill'd brows,
Opes her fair lips, and breathes her virgin vows;
Eyes the white zenyth; counts the suns, that roll
Their distant fires, and blaze around the Pole;
Or marks where Jove directs his glittering car
O'er Heaven's blue vault,-Herself a brighter star.
-There as soft Zephyrs sweep with pausing airs
Thy snowy neck, and part thy shadowy hairs,
Sweet Maid of Night! to Cynthia's sober beams
Glows thy warm cheek, thy polish'd bosom gleams.
In crowds
around thee gaze the admiring swains,
And guard in silence the enchanted plains;
Drop the still tear, or breathe the impassion'd sigh,
And drink inebriate rapture from thine eye.
Thus, when old Needwood's hoary scenes the Night
66
Paints with blue shadow, and with milky light;
Where MUNDY pour'd, the listening nymphs among,
Loud to the echoing vales his parting song;
With measured step the Fairy Sovereign treads,
Shakes her high plume, and glitters o'er the meads;
Round each green holly leads her sportive train,
And little footsteps mark the circled plain;
Each haunted rill with silver voices rings,
And Night's sweet bird in livelier accents sings.
Ere the bright star, which leads the morning sky,
Hangs o'er the blushing east his diamond eye,
The chaste TROPAEO leaves her secret bed;
A saint-like glory trembles round her head;
Eight
watchful swains along the lawns of night
With amorous steps pursue the virgin light;
O'er her fair form the electric lustre plays,
And cold she moves amid the lambent blaze.
So shines the glow-fly, when the sun retires,
And gems the night-air with phosphoric fires;
Thus o'er the marsh aërial lights betray,
And charm the unwary wanderer from his way.
So when thy King, Assyria, fierce and proud,
Three human victims to his idol vow'd;
Rear'd a vast pyre before the golden shrine
Of sulphurous coal, and pitch-exsuding pine;-Loud roar the flames, the iron nostrils breathe,
And the huge bellows pant and heave beneath;
Bright and more bright the blazing deluge flows,
And white with seven-fold heat the furnace glows.
And now the Monarch fix'd with dread surprize
Deep in the burning vault his dazzled eyes.
'Lo! Three unbound amid the frightful glare,
Unscorch'd their sandals, and unsing'd their hair!
And now a fourth with seraph-beauty bright
Descends, accosts them, and outshines the light!
Fierce flames innocuous, as they step, retire!
And slow they move amid a world of fire!'
He spoke,-to Heaven his arms repentant spread,
And kneeling bow'd his gem-incircled head.
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Two
Sister-Nymphs, the fair AVENAS, lead
Their fleecy squadrons on the lawns of Tweed;
Pass with light step his wave-worn banks along,
And wake his Echoes with their silver tongue;
Or touch the reed, as gentle Love inspires,
In notes accordant to their chaste desires.
I.
'Sweet ECHO! sleeps thy vocal shell,
'Where this high arch o'erhangs the dell;
'While Tweed with sun-reflecting streams
'Chequers thy rocks with dancing beams?-
II.
'Here may no clamours harsh intrude,
No brawling hound or clarion rude;
Here no fell beast of midnight prowl,
And teach thy tortured cliffs to howl!
III.
'Be thine to pour these vales along
Some artless Shepherd's evening song;
While Night's sweet bird, from yon high spray
Responsive, listens to his lay.
IV.
'And if, like me, some love-lorn maid
'Should sing her sorrows to thy shade,
'Oh, sooth her breast, ye rocks around!
'With softest sympathy of sound.'
From ozier bowers the brooding Halcyons peep,
The Swans pursuing cleave the glassy deep,
On hovering wings the wondering Reed-larks play,
And silent Bitterns listen to the lay.-
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Three
shepherd-swains beneath the beechen shades
Twine rival garlands for the tuneful maids;
On each smooth bark the mystic love-knot frame,
Or on white sands inscribe the favour'd name.
From Time's remotest dawn where China brings
In proud succession all her Patriot-Kings;
O'er desert-sands, deep gulfs, and hills sublime,
Extends her massy wall from clime to clime;
With bells and dragons crests her Pagod-bowers,
Her silken palaces, and porcelain towers;
With long canals a thousand nations laves;
Plants all her wilds, and peoples all her waves;
Slow treads fair CANNABIS the breezy strand,
The distaff streams dishevell'd in her hand;
Now to the left her ivory neck inclines,
And leads in Paphian curves its azure lines;
Dark waves the fringed lid, the warm cheek glows,
And the fair ear the parting locks disclose;
Now to the right with airy sweep she bends,
Quick join the threads, the dancing spole depends.
Five
Swains attracted guard the Nymph, by turns
Her grace inchants them, and her beauty burns;
To each She bows with sweet assuasive smile,
Hears his soft vows, and turns her spole the while.
So when with light and shade, concordant strife!
Stern CLOTHO weaves the chequer'd thread of life;
Hour after hour the growing line extends,
The cradle and the coffin bound its ends;
Soft cords of silk the whirling spoles reveal,
If smiling Fortune turn the giddy wheel;
But if sweet Love with baby-fingers twines,
And wets with dewy lips the lengthening lines,
Skein after skein celestial tints unfold,
And all the silken tissue shines with gold.
Warm with sweet blushes bright GALANTHA glows,
And prints with frolic step the melting snows;
O'er silent floods, white hills, and glittering meads
Six
69
rival swains the playful beauty leads,
Chides with her dulcet voice the tardy Spring,
Bids slumbering Zephyr stretch his folded wing,
Wakes the hoarse Cuckoo in his gloomy cave,
And calls the wondering Dormouse from his grave,
Bids the mute Redbreast cheer the budding grove,
And plaintive Ringdove tune her notes to love.
Spring! with thy own sweet smile, and tuneful tongue,
Delighted BELLIS calls her infant throng.
Each on his reed astride, the Cherub-train
Watch her kind looks, and circle o'er the plain;
Now with young wonder touch the siding snail,
Admire his eye-tipp'd horns, and painted mail;
Chase with quick step, and eager arms outspread,
The pausing Butterfly from mead to mead;
Or twine green oziers with the fragrant gale,
The azure harebel, and the primrose pale,
Join hand in hand, and in procession gay
Adorn with votive wreaths the shrine of May.
-So moves the Goddess to the Idalian groves,
And leads her gold-hair'd family of Loves.
These, from the flaming furnace, strong and bold
Pour the red steel into the sandy mould;
On tinkling anvils (with Vulcanian art),
Turn with hot tongs, and forge the dreadful dart;
The barbed head on whirling jaspers grind,
And dip the point in poison for the mind;
Each polish'd shaft with snow-white plumage wing,
Or strain the bow reluctant to its string.
Those on light pinion twine with busy hands,
Or stretch from bough to bough the flowery bands;
Scare the dark beetle, as he wheels on high,
Or catch in silken nets the gilded fly;
Call the young Zephyrs to their fragrant bowers,
And stay with kisses sweet the Vernal Hours.
Where, as proud Maffon rises rude and bleak,
And with mishapen turrets crests the Peak,
Old Matlock gapes with marble jaws, beneath,
And o'er fear'd Derwent bends his flinty teeth;
Deep in wide caves below the dangerous soil
Blue sulphurs flame, imprison'd waters boil.
Impetuous steams in spiral colums rise
70
Through rifted rocks, impatient for the skies;
Or o'er bright seas of bubbling lavas blow,
As heave and toss the billowy fires below;
Condensed on high, in wandering rills they glide
From Maffon's dome, and burst his sparry side;
Round his grey towers, and down his fringed walls,
From cliff to cliff, the liquid treasure falls;
In beds of stalactite, bright ores among,
O'er corals, shells, and crystals, winds along;
Crusts the green mosses, and the tangled wood,
And sparkling plunges to its parent flood.
-O'er the warm wave a smiling youth presides,
Attunes its murmurs, its meanders guides,
(The blooming FUCUS), in her sparry coves
To amorous Echo sings his
secret
loves,
Bathes his fair forehead in the misty stream,
And with sweet breath perfumes the rising steam.
-So, erst, an Angel o'er Bethesda's springs,
Each morn descending, shook his dewy wings;
And as his bright translucent form He laves,
Salubrious powers enrich the troubled waves.
Amphibious Nymph, from Nile's prolific bed
Emerging TRAPA lifts her pearly head;
Fair glows her virgin cheek and modest breast,
A panoply of scales deforms the rest;
Her quivering fins and panting gills she hides
But spreads her silver arms upon the tides;
Slow as she sails, her ivory neck she laves,
And shakes her golden tresses o'er the waves.
Charm'd round the Nymph, in circling gambols glide
Four
Nereid-forms, or shoot along the tide;
Now all as one they rise with frolic spring,
And beat the wondering air on humid wing;
Now all descending plunge beneath the main,
And lash the foam with undulating train;
Above, below, they wheel, retreat, advance,
In air and ocean weave the mazy dance;
Bow their quick heads, and point their diamond eyes,
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And twinkle to the sun with ever-changing dyes.
Where Andes, crested with volcanic beams,
Sheds a long line of light on Plata's streams;
Opes all his springs, unlocks his golden caves,
And feeds and freights the immeasurable waves;
Delighted OCYMA at twilight hours
Calls her light car, and leaves the sultry bowers;Love's rising ray, and Youth's seductive dye,
Bloom'd on her cheek, and brighten'd in her eye;
Chaste, pure, and white, a zone of silver graced
Her tender breast, as white, as pure, as chaste;-By
four
fond swains in playful circles drawn,
On glowing wheels she tracks the moon-bright lawn,
Mounts the rude cliff, unveils her blushing charms,
And calls the panting zephyrs to her arms.
Emerged from ocean springs the vaporous air,
Bathes her light limbs, uncurls her amber hair,
Incrusts her beamy form with films saline,
And Beauty blazes through the crystal shrine.So with pellucid studs the ice-flower gems
Her rimy foliage, and her candied stems.
So from his glassy horns, and pearly eyes,
The diamond-beetle darts a thousand dyes;
Mounts with enamel'd wings the vesper gale,
And wheeling shines in adamantine mail.
Thus when loud thunders o'er Gomorrah burst,
And heaving earthquakes shook his realms accurst,
An Angel-guest led forth the trembling Fair
With shadowy hand, and warn'd the guiltless pair;
'Haste from these lands of sin, ye Righteous! fly,
Speed the quick step, nor turn the lingering eye!'-Such the command, as fabling Bards indite,
When Orpheus charm'd the grisly King of Night;
Sooth'd the pale phantoms with his plaintive lay,
And led the fair Assurgent into day.Wide yawn'd the earth, the fiery tempest flash'd,
And towns and towers in one vast ruin crash'd;Onward they move,--loud horror roars behind,
And shrieks of Anguish bellow in the wind.
With many a sob, amid a thousand fears,
72
The beauteous wanderer pours her gushing tears;
Each soft connection rends her troubled breast,
-She turns, unconscious of the stern behest!'I faint!-I fall!-ah, me!-sensations chill
Shoot through my bones, my shuddering bosom thrill!
I freeze! I freeze! just Heaven regards my fault,
Numbs my cold limbs, and hardens into salt!Not yet, not yet, your dying Love resign!This last, last kiss receive!-no longer thine!'She said, and ceased,-her stiffen'd form He press'd,
And strain'd the briny column to his breast;
Printed with quivering lips the lifeless snow,
And wept, and gazed the monument of woe.So when Aeneas through the flames of Troy
Bore his pale fire, and led his lovely boy;
With loitering step the fair Creusa stay'd,
And Death involved her in eternal shade.Oft the lone Pilgrim that his road forsakes,
Marks the wide ruins, and the sulphur'd lakes;
On mouldering piles amid asphaltic mud
Hears the hoarse bittern, where Gomorrah stood;
Recalls the unhappy Pair with lifted eye,
Leans on the crystal tomb, and breathes the silent sigh..
With net-wove sash and glittering gorget dress'd,
And scarlet robe lapell'd upon her breast,
Stern ARA frowns, the measured march assumes,
Trails her long lance, and nods her shadowy plumes;
While Love's soft beams illume her treacherous eyes,
And Beauty lightens through the thin disguise.
So erst, when HERCULES, untamed by toil,
Own'd the soft power of DEJANIRA'S smile;His lion-spoils the laughing Fair demands,
And gives the distaff to his awkward hands;
O'er her white neck the bristly mane she throws,
And binds the gaping whiskers on her brows;
Plaits round her slender waist the shaggy vest,
And clasps the velvet paws across her breast.
Next with soft hands the knotted club she rears,
Heaves up from earth, and on her shoulder bears.
Onward with loftier step the Beauty treads,
And trails the brinded ermine o'er the meads;
Wolves, bears, and bards, forsake the affrighted groves,
73
And grinning Satyrs tremble, as she moves.
CARYO'S sweet smile DIANTHUS proud admires,
And gazing burns with unallow'd desires;
With sighs and sorrows her compassion moves,
And wins the damsel to illicit loves.
The Monster-offspring heirs the father's pride,
Mask'd in the damask beauties of the bride.
So, when the Nightingale in eastern bowers
On quivering pinion woos the Queen of flowers;
Inhales her fragrance, as he hangs in air,
And melts with melody the blushing fair;
Half-rose, half-bird, a beauteous Monster springs,
Waves his thin leaves, and claps his glossy wings;
Long horrent thorns his mossy legs surround,
And tendril-talons root him to the ground;
Green films of rind his wrinkled neck o'espread,
And crimson petals crest his curled head;
Soft-warbling beaks in each bright blossom move,
And vocal Rosebuds thrill the enchanted grove!Admiring Evening stays her beamy star,
And still Night listens from his ebon ear;
While on white wings descending Houries throng,
And drink the floods of odour and of song.
When from his golden urn the Solstice pours
O'er Afric's sable sons the sultry hours;
When not a gale flits o'er her tawny hills,
Save where the dry Harmattan breathes and kills;
-Fair CHUNDA smiles amid the burning waste,
Her brow unturban'd, and her zone unbrac'd;
Ten
brother-youths with light umbrella's shade,
Or fan with busy hands the panting maid;
Loose wave her locks, disclosing, as they break,
The rising bosom and averted cheek;
Clasp'd round her ivory neck with studs of gold
Flows her thin vest in many a gauzy fold;
O'er her light limbs the dim transparence plays,
And the fair form, it seems to hide, betrays.
Where leads the northern Star his lucid train
High o'er the snow-clad earth, and icy main,
With milky light the white horizon streams,
74
And to the moon each sparkling mountain gleams.Slow o'er the printed snows with silent walk
Huge shaggy forms across the twilight stalk;
And ever and anon with hideous sound
Burst the thick ribs of ice, and thunder round.There, as old Winter slaps his hoary wing,
And lingering leaves his empire to the Spring,
Pierced with quick shafts of silver-shooting light
Fly in dark troops the dazzled imps of night'Awake, my Love!' enamour'd MUSCHUS cries,
'Stretch thy fair limbs, resulgent Maid! arise;
Ope thy sweet eye-lids to the rising ray,
And hail with ruby lips returning day.
Down the white hills dissolving torrents pour,
Green springs the turf, and purple blows the flower;
His torpid wing the Rail exulting tries,
Mounts the soft gale, and wantons in the skies;
Rise, let us mark how bloom the awaken'd groves,
And 'mid the banks of roses
hide
our loves.'
Night's tinsel beams on smooth Lock-lomond dance,
Impatient ÆGA views the bright expanse;In vain her eyes the parting floods explore,
Wave after wave rolls freightless to the shore.
-Now dim amid the distant foam she spies
A rising speck,-''tis he! 'tis he!' She cries;
As with firm arms he beats the streams aside,
And cleaves with rising chest the tossing tide,
With bended knee she prints the humid sands,
Up-turns her glistening eyes, and spreads her hands;
-''Tis he, 'tis he!-My Lord, my life, my love!Slumber, ye winds; ye billows, cease to move!
beneath his arms your buoyant plumage spread,
Ye Swans! ye Halcyons! hover round his head!'-With eager step the boiling surf she braves,
And meets her refluent lover in the waves;
Loose o'er the flood her azure mantle swims,
And the clear stream betrays her snowy limbs.
So on her sea-girt tower fair HERO stood
At parting day, and mark'd the dashing flood;
While high in air, the glimmering rocks above,
75
Shone the bright lamp, the pilot-star of Love.
-With robe outspread the wavering flame behind
She kneels, and guards it from the shifting wind;
Breathes to her Goddess all her vows, and guides
Her bold LEANDER o'er the dusky tides;
Wrings his wet hair, his briny bosom warms,
And clasps her panting lover in her arms.
Deep, in wide caverns and their shadowy ailes,
Daughter of Earth, the chaste TRUFFELIA smiles;
On silvery beds, of soft asbestus wove,
Meets her Gnome-husband, and avows her love.
High
o'er her couch impending diamonds blaze,
And branching gold the crystal roof inlays;
With verdant light the modest emeralds glow,
Blue sapphires glare, and rubies blush,
below
Light piers of lazuli the dome surround,
And pictured mochoes tesselate the ground;
In glittering threads along reflective walls
The warm rill murmuring twinkles, as it falls;
Now sink the Eolian strings, and now they swell,
And Echoes woo in every vaulted cell;
While on white wings delighted Cupids play,
Shake their bright lamps, and shed celestial day.
Closed in an azure fig by fairy spells,
Bosom'd in down, fair CAPRI-FICA dwells;So sleeps in silence the Curculio, shut
In the dark chambers of the cavern'd nut,
Erodes with ivory beak the vaulted shell,
And quits on filmy wings its narrow cell.
So the pleased Linnet in the moss-wove nest,
Waked into life beneath its parent's breast,
Chirps in the gaping shell, bursts forth erelong,
Shakes its new plumes, and tries its tender song.-And now the talisman she strikes, that charms
Her husband-Sylph,-and calls him to her arms.Quick, the light Gnat her airy Lord bestrides,
With cobweb reins the flying courser guides,
From crystal steeps of viewless ether springs,
76
Cleaves the soft air on still expanded wings;
Darts like a sunbeam o'er the boundless wave,
And seeks the beauty in her
secret
cave.
So with quick impulse through all nature's frame
Shoots the electric air its subtle flame.
So turns the impatient needle to the pole,
Tho' mountains rise between, and oceans roll.
Where round the Orcades white torrents roar,
Scooping with ceaseless rage the incumbent shore,
Wide o'er the deep a dusky cavern bends
Its marble arms, and high in air impends;
Basaltic piers the ponderous roof sustain,
And steep their massy sandals in the main;
Round the dim walls, and through the whispering ailes
Hoarse breathes the wind, the glittering water boils.
Here the charm'd BYSSUS with his blooming bride
Spreads his green sails, and braves the foaming tide;
The star of Venus gilds the twilight wave,
And lights her votaries to the
secret
cave;
Light Cupids flutter round the nuptial bed,
And each coy sea-maid hides her blushing head.
Where cool'd by rills, and curtain'd round by woods,
Slopes the green dell to meet the briny floods,
The sparkling noon-beams trembling on the tide,
The PROTEUS-LOVER woos his playful bride,
To win the fair he tries a thousand forms,
Basks on the sands, or gambols in the storms.
A Dolphin now, his scaly sides he laves,
And bears the sportive damsel on the waves;
She strikes the cymbal as he moves along,
And wondering Ocean listens to the song.
-And now a spotted Pard the lover stalks,
Plays round her steps, and guards her favour'd walks;
As with white teeth he prints her hand, caress'd,
And lays his velvet paw upon her breast,
O'er his round face her snowy fingers strain
The silken knots, and fit the ribbon-rein.
-And now a Swan, he spreads his plumy sails,
77
And proudly glides before the fanning gales;
Pleas'd on the flowery brink with graceful hand
She waves her floating lover to the land;
Bright shines his sinuous neck, with crimson beak
He prints fond kisses on her glowing cheek,
Spreads his broad wings, elates his ebon crest,
And clasps the beauty to his downy breast.
hundred
virgins join a
hundred
swains,
And fond ADONIS leads the sprightly trains;
Pair after pair, along his sacred groves
To Hymen's fane the bright procession moves;
Each smiling youth a myrtle garland shades,
And wreaths of roses veil the blushing maids;
Light joys on twinkling feet attend the throng,
Weave the gay dance, or raise the frolic song;
-Thick, as they pass, exulting Cupids fling
Promiscuous arrows from the sounding string;
On wings of gossamer soft Whispers fly,
And the sly Glance steals side-long from the eye.
-As round his shrine the gaudy circles bow,
And seal with muttering lips the faithless vow,
Licentious Hymen joins their mingled hands,
And loosely twines the meretricious bands.Thus where pleased VENUS, in the southern main,
Sheds all her smiles on Otaheite's plain,
Wide o'er the isle her silken net she draws,
And the Loves laugh at all, but Nature's laws.'
Here ceased the Goddess,-o'er the silent strings
Applauding Zephyrs swept their fluttering wings;
Enraptur'd Sylphs arose in murmuring crowds
To air-wove canopies and pillowy clouds;
Each Gnome reluctant sought his earthy cell,
And each bright Floret clos'd her velvet bell.
Then, on soft tiptoe, NIGHT approaching near
Hung o'er the tuneless lyre his sable ear;
Gem'd with bright stars the still etherial plain,
And bad his Nightingales repeat the strain.
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~ Erasmus Darwin
180:The Princess (Part 5)
Now, scarce three paces measured from the mound,
We stumbled on a stationary voice,
And 'Stand, who goes?' 'Two from the palace' I.
'The second two: they wait,' he said, 'pass on;
His Highness wakes:' and one, that clashed in arms,
By glimmering lanes and walls of canvas led
Threading the soldier-city, till we heard
The drowsy folds of our great ensign shake
From blazoned lions o'er the imperial tent
Whispers of war.
Entering, the sudden light
Dazed me half-blind: I stood and seemed to hear,
As in a poplar grove when a light wind wakes
A lisping of the innumerous leaf and dies,
Each hissing in his neighbour's ear; and then
A strangled titter, out of which there brake
On all sides, clamouring etiquette to death,
Unmeasured mirth; while now the two old kings
Began to wag their baldness up and down,
The fresh young captains flashed their glittering teeth,
The huge bush-bearded Barons heaved and blew,
And slain with laughter rolled the gilded Squire.
At length my Sire, his rough cheek wet with tears,
Panted from weary sides 'King, you are free!
We did but keep you surety for our son,
If this be he,--or a dragged mawkin, thou,
That tends to her bristled grunters in the sludge:'
For I was drenched with ooze, and torn with briers,
More crumpled than a poppy from the sheath,
And all one rag, disprinced from head to heel.
Then some one sent beneath his vaulted palm
A whispered jest to some one near him, 'Look,
He has been among his shadows.' 'Satan take
The old women and their shadows! (thus the King
Roared) make yourself a man to fight with men.
Go: Cyril told us all.'
As boys that slink
From ferule and the trespass-chiding eye,
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Away we stole, and transient in a trice
From what was left of faded woman-slough
To sheathing splendours and the golden scale
Of harness, issued in the sun, that now
Leapt from the dewy shoulders of the Earth,
And hit the Northern hills. Here Cyril met us.
A little shy at first, but by and by
We twain, with mutual pardon asked and given
For stroke and song, resoldered peace, whereon
Followed his tale. Amazed he fled away
Through the dark land, and later in the night
Had come on Psyche weeping: 'then we fell
Into your father's hand, and there she lies,
But will not speak, or stir.'
He showed a tent
A stone-shot off: we entered in, and there
Among piled arms and rough accoutrements,
Pitiful sight, wrapped in a soldier's cloak,
Like some sweet sculpture draped from head to foot,
And pushed by rude hands from its pedestal,
All her fair length upon the ground she lay:
And at her head a follower of the camp,
A charred and wrinkled piece of womanhood,
Sat watching like the watcher by the dead.
Then Florian knelt, and 'Come' he whispered to her,
'Lift up your head, sweet sister: lie not thus.
What have you done but right? you could not slay
Me, nor your prince: look up: be comforted:
Sweet is it to have done the thing one ought,
When fallen in darker ways.' And likewise I:
'Be comforted: have I not lost her too,
In whose least act abides the nameless charm
That none has else for me?' She heard, she moved,
She moaned, a folded voice; and up she sat,
And raised the cloak from brows as pale and smooth
As those that mourn half-shrouded over death
In deathless marble. 'Her,' she said, 'my friend-Parted from her--betrayed her cause and mine-Where shall I breathe? why kept ye not your faith?
O base and bad! what comfort? none for me!'
To whom remorseful Cyril, 'Yet I pray
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Take comfort: live, dear lady, for your child!'
At which she lifted up her voice and cried.
'Ah me, my babe, my blossom, ah, my child,
My one sweet child, whom I shall see no more!
For now will cruel Ida keep her back;
And either she will die from want of care,
Or sicken with ill-usage, when they say
The child is hers--for every little fault,
The child is hers; and they will beat my girl
Remembering her mother: O my flower!
Or they will take her, they will make her hard,
And she will pass me by in after-life
With some cold reverence worse than were she dead.
Ill mother that I was to leave her there,
To lag behind, scared by the cry they made,
The horror of the shame among them all:
But I will go and sit beside the doors,
And make a wild petition night and day,
Until they hate to hear me like a wind
Wailing for ever, till they open to me,
And lay my little blossom at my feet,
My babe, my sweet Aglaïa, my one child:
And I will take her up and go my way,
And satisfy my soul with kissing her:
Ah! what might that man not deserve of me
Who gave me back my child?' 'Be comforted,'
Said Cyril, 'you shall have it:' but again
She veiled her brows, and prone she sank, and so
Like tender things that being caught feign death,
Spoke not, nor stirred.
By this a murmur ran
Through all the camp and inward raced the scouts
With rumour of Prince Arab hard at hand.
We left her by the woman, and without
Found the gray kings at parle: and 'Look you' cried
My father 'that our compact be fulfilled:
You have spoilt this child; she laughs at you and man:
She wrongs herself, her sex, and me, and him:
But red-faced war has rods of steel and fire;
She yields, or war.'
Then Gama turned to me:
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'We fear, indeed, you spent a stormy time
With our strange girl: and yet they say that still
You love her. Give us, then, your mind at large:
How say you, war or not?'
'Not war, if possible,
O king,' I said, 'lest from the abuse of war,
The desecrated shrine, the trampled year,
The smouldering homestead, and the household flower
Torn from the lintel--all the common wrong-A smoke go up through which I loom to her
Three times a monster: now she lightens scorn
At him that mars her plan, but then would hate
(And every voice she talked with ratify it,
And every face she looked on justify it)
The general foe. More soluble is this knot,
By gentleness than war. I want her love.
What were I nigher this although we dashed
Your cities into shards with catapults,
She would not love;--or brought her chained, a slave,
The lifting of whose eyelash is my lord,
Not ever would she love; but brooding turn
The book of scorn, till all my flitting chance
Were caught within the record of her wrongs,
And crushed to death: and rather, Sire, than this
I would the old God of war himself were dead,
Forgotten, rusting on his iron hills,
Rotting on some wild shore with ribs of wreck,
Or like an old-world mammoth bulked in ice,
Not to be molten out.'
And roughly spake
My father, 'Tut, you know them not, the girls.
Boy, when I hear you prate I almost think
That idiot legend credible. Look you, Sir!
Man is the hunter; woman is his game:
The sleek and shining creatures of the chase,
We hunt them for the beauty of their skins;
They love us for it, and we ride them down.
Wheedling and siding with them! Out! for shame!
Boy, there's no rose that's half so dear to them
As he that does the thing they dare not do,
Breathing and sounding beauteous battle, comes
With the air of the trumpet round him, and leaps in
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Among the women, snares them by the score
Flattered and flustered, wins, though dashed with death
He reddens what he kisses: thus I won
You mother, a good mother, a good wife,
Worth winning; but this firebrand--gentleness
To such as her! if Cyril spake her true,
To catch a dragon in a cherry net,
To trip a tigress with a gossamer
Were wisdom to it.'
'Yea but Sire,' I cried,
'Wild natures need wise curbs. The soldier? No:
What dares not Ida do that she should prize
The soldier? I beheld her, when she rose
The yesternight, and storming in extremes,
Stood for her cause, and flung defiance down
Gagelike to man, and had not shunned the death,
No, not the soldier's: yet I hold her, king,
True woman: you clash them all in one,
That have as many differences as we.
The violet varies from the lily as far
As oak from elm: one loves the soldier, one
The silken priest of peace, one this, one that,
And some unworthily; their sinless faith,
A maiden moon that sparkles on a sty,
Glorifying clown and satyr; whence they need
More breadth of culture: is not Ida right?
They worth it? truer to the law within?
Severer in the logic of a life?
Twice as magnetic to sweet influences
Of earth and heaven? and she of whom you speak,
My mother, looks as whole as some serene
Creation minted in the golden moods
Of sovereign artists; not a thought, a touch,
But pure as lines of green that streak the white
Of the first snowdrop's inner leaves; I say,
Not like the piebald miscellany, man,
Bursts of great heart and slips in sensual mire,
But whole and one: and take them all-in-all,
Were we ourselves but half as good, as kind,
As truthful, much that Ida claims as right
Had ne'er been mooted, but as frankly theirs
As dues of Nature. To our point: not war:
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Lest I lose all.'
'Nay, nay, you spake but sense'
Said Gama. 'We remember love ourself
In our sweet youth; we did not rate him then
This red-hot iron to be shaped with blows.
You talk almost like Ida: ~she~ can talk;
And there is something in it as you say:
But you talk kindlier: we esteem you for it.-He seems a gracious and a gallant Prince,
I would he had our daughter: for the rest,
Our own detention, why, the causes weighed,
Fatherly fears--you used us courteously-We would do much to gratify your Prince-We pardon it; and for your ingress here
Upon the skirt and fringe of our fair land,
you did but come as goblins in the night,
Nor in the furrow broke the ploughman's head,
Nor burnt the grange, nor bussed the milking-maid,
Nor robbed the farmer of his bowl of cream:
But let your Prince (our royal word upon it,
He comes back safe) ride with us to our lines,
And speak with Arac: Arac's word is thrice
As ours with Ida: something may be done-I know not what--and ours shall see us friends.
You, likewise, our late guests, if so you will,
Follow us: who knows? we four may build some plan
Foursquare to opposition.'
Here he reached
White hands of farewell to my sire, who growled
An answer which, half-muffled in his beard,
Let so much out as gave us leave to go.
Then rode we with the old king across the lawns
Beneath huge trees, a thousand rings of Spring
In every bole, a song on every spray
Of birds that piped their Valentines, and woke
Desire in me to infuse my tale of love
In the old king's ears, who promised help, and oozed
All o'er with honeyed answer as we rode
And blossom-fragrant slipt the heavy dews
Gathered by night and peace, with each light air
On our mailed heads: but other thoughts than Peace
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Burnt in us, when we saw the embattled squares,
And squadrons of the Prince, trampling the flowers
With clamour: for among them rose a cry
As if to greet the king; they made a halt;
The horses yelled; they clashed their arms; the drum
Beat; merrily-blowing shrilled the martial fife;
And in the blast and bray of the long horn
And serpent-throated bugle, undulated
The banner: anon to meet us lightly pranced
Three captains out; nor ever had I seen
Such thews of men: the midmost and the highest
Was Arac: all about his motion clung
The shadow of his sister, as the beam
Of the East, that played upon them, made them glance
Like those three stars of the airy Giant's zone,
That glitter burnished by the frosty dark;
And as the fiery Sirius alters hue,
And bickers into red and emerald, shone
Their morions, washed with morning, as they came.
And I that prated peace, when first I heard
War-music, felt the blind wildbeast of force,
Whose home is in the sinews of a man,
Stir in me as to strike: then took the king
His three broad sons; with now a wandering hand
And now a pointed finger, told them all:
A common light of smiles at our disguise
Broke from their lips, and, ere the windy jest
Had laboured down within his ample lungs,
The genial giant, Arac, rolled himself
Thrice in the saddle, then burst out in words.
'Our land invaded, 'sdeath! and he himself
Your captive, yet my father wills not war:
And, 'sdeath! myself, what care I, war or no?
but then this question of your troth remains:
And there's a downright honest meaning in her;
She flies too high, she flies too high! and yet
She asked but space and fairplay for her scheme;
She prest and prest it on me--I myself,
What know I of these things? but, life and soul!
I thought her half-right talking of her wrongs;
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I say she flies too high, 'sdeath! what of that?
I take her for the flower of womankind,
And so I often told her, right or wrong,
And, Prince, she can be sweet to those she loves,
And, right or wrong, I care not: this is all,
I stand upon her side: she made me swear it-'Sdeath--and with solemn rites by candle-light-Swear by St something--I forget her name-Her that talked down the fifty wisest men;
~She~ was a princess too; and so I swore.
Come, this is all; she will not: waive your claim:
If not, the foughten field, what else, at once
Decides it, 'sdeath! against my father's will.'
I lagged in answer loth to render up
My precontract, and loth by brainless war
To cleave the rift of difference deeper yet;
Till one of those two brothers, half aside
And fingering at the hair about his lip,
To prick us on to combat 'Like to like!
The woman's garment hid the woman's heart.'
A taunt that clenched his purpose like a blow!
For fiery-short was Cyril's counter-scoff,
And sharp I answered, touched upon the point
Where idle boys are cowards to their shame,
'Decide it here: why not? we are three to three.'
Then spake the third 'But three to three? no more?
No more, and in our noble sister's cause?
More, more, for honour: every captain waits
Hungry for honour, angry for his king.
More, more some fifty on a side, that each
May breathe himself, and quick! by overthrow
Of these or those, the question settled die.'
'Yea,' answered I, 'for this wreath of air,
This flake of rainbow flying on the highest
Foam of men's deeds--this honour, if ye will.
It needs must be for honour if at all:
Since, what decision? if we fail, we fail,
And if we win, we fail: she would not keep
Her compact.' ''Sdeath! but we will send to her,'
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Said Arac, 'worthy reasons why she should
Bide by this issue: let our missive through,
And you shall have her answer by the word.'
'Boys!' shrieked the old king, but vainlier than a hen
To her false daughters in the pool; for none
Regarded; neither seemed there more to say:
Back rode we to my father's camp, and found
He thrice had sent a herald to the gates,
To learn if Ida yet would cede our claim,
Or by denial flush her babbling wells
With her own people's life: three times he went:
The first, he blew and blew, but none appeared:
He battered at the doors; none came: the next,
An awful voice within had warned him thence:
The third, and those eight daughters of the plough
Came sallying through the gates, and caught his hair,
And so belaboured him on rib and cheek
They made him wild: not less one glance he caught
Through open doors of Ida stationed there
Unshaken, clinging to her purpose, firm
Though compassed by two armies and the noise
Of arms; and standing like a stately Pine
Set in a cataract on an island-crag,
When storm is on the heights, and right and left
Sucked from the dark heart of the long hills roll
The torrents, dashed to the vale: and yet her will
Bred will in me to overcome it or fall.
But when I told the king that I was pledged
To fight in tourney for my bride, he clashed
His iron palms together with a cry;
Himself would tilt it out among the lads:
But overborne by all his bearded lords
With reasons drawn from age and state, perforce
He yielded, wroth and red, with fierce demur:
And many a bold knight started up in heat,
And sware to combat for my claim till death.
All on this side the palace ran the field
Flat to the garden-wall: and likewise here,
Above the garden's glowing blossom-belts,
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A columned entry shone and marble stairs,
And great bronze valves, embossed with Tomyris
And what she did to Cyrus after fight,
But now fast barred: so here upon the flat
All that long morn the lists were hammered up,
And all that morn the heralds to and fro,
With message and defiance, went and came;
Last, Ida's answer, in a royal hand,
But shaken here and there, and rolling words
Oration-like. I kissed it and I read.
'O brother, you have known the pangs we felt,
What heats of indignation when we heard
Of those that iron-cramped their women's feet;
Of lands in which at the altar the poor bride
Gives her harsh groom for bridal-gift a scourge;
Of living hearts that crack within the fire
Where smoulder their dead despots; and of those,-Mothers,--that, with all prophetic pity, fling
Their pretty maids in the running flood, and swoops
The vulture, beak and talon, at the heart
Made for all noble motion: and I saw
That equal baseness lived in sleeker times
With smoother men: the old leaven leavened all:
Millions of throats would bawl for civil rights,
No woman named: therefore I set my face
Against all men, and lived but for mine own.
Far off from men I built a fold for them:
I stored it full of rich memorial:
I fenced it round with gallant institutes,
And biting laws to scare the beasts of prey
And prospered; till a rout of saucy boys
Brake on us at our books, and marred our peace,
Masked like our maids, blustering I know not what
Of insolence and love, some pretext held
Of baby troth, invalid, since my will
Sealed not the bond--the striplings! for their sport!-I tamed my leopards: shall I not tame these?
Or you? or I? for since you think me touched
In honour--what, I would not aught of false-Is not our case pure? and whereas I know
Your prowess, Arac, and what mother's blood
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You draw from, fight; you failing, I abide
What end soever: fail you will not. Still
Take not his life: he risked it for my own;
His mother lives: yet whatsoe'er you do,
Fight and fight well; strike and strike him. O dear
Brothers, the woman's Angel guards you, you
The sole men to be mingled with our cause,
The sole men we shall prize in the after-time,
Your very armour hallowed, and your statues
Reared, sung to, when, this gad-fly brushed aside,
We plant a solid foot into the Time,
And mould a generation strong to move
With claim on claim from right to right, till she
Whose name is yoked with children's, know herself;
And Knowledge in our own land make her free,
And, ever following those two crownèd twins,
Commerce and conquest, shower the fiery grain
Of freedom broadcast over all the orbs
Between the Northern and the Southern morn.'
Then came a postscript dashed across the rest.
See that there be no traitors in your camp:
We seem a nest of traitors--none to trust
Since our arms failed--this Egypt-plague of men!
Almost our maids were better at their homes,
Than thus man-girdled here: indeed I think
Our chiefest comfort is the little child
Of one unworthy mother; which she left:
She shall not have it back: the child shall grow
To prize the authentic mother of her mind.
I took it for an hour in mine own bed
This morning: there the tender orphan hands
Felt at my heart, and seemed to charm from thence
The wrath I nursed against the world: farewell.'
I ceased; he said, 'Stubborn, but she may sit
Upon a king's right hand in thunder-storms,
And breed up warriors! See now, though yourself
Be dazzled by the wildfire Love to sloughs
That swallow common sense, the spindling king,
This Gama swamped in lazy tolerance.
When the man wants weight, the woman takes it up,
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And topples down the scales; but this is fixt
As are the roots of earth and base of all;
Man for the field and woman for the hearth:
Man for the sword and for the needle she:
Man with the head and woman with the heart:
Man to command and woman to obey;
All else confusion. Look you! the gray mare
Is ill to live with, when her whinny shrills
From tile to scullery, and her small goodman
Shrinks in his arm-chair while the fires of Hell
Mix with his hearth: but you--she's yet a colt-Take, break her: strongly groomed and straitly curbed
She might not rank with those detestable
That let the bantling scald at home, and brawl
Their rights and wrongs like potherbs in the street.
They say she's comely; there's the fairer chance:
~I~ like her none the less for rating at her!
Besides, the woman wed is not as we,
But suffers change of frame. A lusty brace
Of twins may weed her of her folly. Boy,
The bearing and the training of a child
Is woman's wisdom.'
Thus the hard old king:
I took my leave, for it was nearly noon:
I pored upon her letter which I held,
And on the little clause 'take not his life:'
I mused on that wild morning in the woods,
And on the 'Follow, follow, thou shalt win:'
I thought on all the wrathful king had said,
And how the strange betrothment was to end:
Then I remembered that burnt sorcerer's curse
That one should fight with shadows and should fall;
And like a flash the weird affection came:
King, camp and college turned to hollow shows;
I seemed to move in old memorial tilts,
And doing battle with forgotten ghosts,
To dream myself the shadow of a dream:
And ere I woke it was the point of noon,
The lists were ready. Empanoplied and plumed
We entered in, and waited, fifty there
Opposed to fifty, till the trumpet blared
At the barrier like a wild horn in a land
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Of echoes, and a moment, and once more
The trumpet, and again: at which the storm
Of galloping hoofs bare on the ridge of spears
And riders front to front, until they closed
In conflict with the crash of shivering points,
And thunder. Yet it seemed a dream, I dreamed
Of fighting. On his haunches rose the steed,
And into fiery splinters leapt the lance,
And out of stricken helmets sprang the fire.
Part sat like rocks: part reeled but kept their seats:
Part rolled on the earth and rose again and drew:
Part stumbled mixt with floundering horses. Down
From those two bulks at Arac's side, and down
From Arac's arm, as from a giant's flail,
The large blows rained, as here and everywhere
He rode the mellay, lord of the ringing lists,
And all the plain,--brand, mace, and shaft, and shield-Shocked, like an iron-clanging anvil banged
With hammers; till I thought, can this be he
From Gama's dwarfish loins? if this be so,
The mother makes us most--and in my dream
I glanced aside, and saw the palace-front
Alive with fluttering scarfs and ladies' eyes,
And highest, among the statues, statuelike,
Between a cymballed Miriam and a Jael,
With Psyche's babe, was Ida watching us,
A single band of gold about her hair,
Like a Saint's glory up in heaven: but she
No saint--inexorable--no tenderness-Too hard, too cruel: yet she sees me fight,
Yea, let her see me fall! and with that I drave
Among the thickest and bore down a Prince,
And Cyril, one. Yea, let me make my dream
All that I would. But that large-moulded man,
His visage all agrin as at a wake,
Made at me through the press, and, staggering back
With stroke on stroke the horse and horseman, came
As comes a pillar of electric cloud,
Flaying the roofs and sucking up the drains,
And shadowing down the champaign till it strikes
On a wood, and takes, and breaks, and cracks, and splits,
And twists the grain with such a roar that Earth
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Reels, and the herdsmen cry; for everything
Game way before him: only Florian, he
That loved me closer than his own right eye,
Thrust in between; but Arac rode him down:
And Cyril seeing it, pushed against the Prince,
With Psyche's colour round his helmet, tough,
Strong, supple, sinew-corded, apt at arms;
But tougher, heavier, stronger, he that smote
And threw him: last I spurred; I felt my veins
Stretch with fierce heat; a moment hand to hand,
And sword to sword, and horse to horse we hung,
Till I struck out and shouted; the blade glanced,
I did but shear a feather, and dream and truth
Flowed from me; darkness closed me; and I fell.
Home they brought her warrior dead:
She nor swooned, nor uttered cry:
All her maidens, watching, said,
'She must weep or she will die.'
Then they praised him, soft and low,
Called him worthy to be loved,
Truest friend and noblest foe;
Yet she neither spoke nor moved.
Stole a maiden from her place,
Lightly to the warrior stept,
Took the face-cloth from the face;
Yet she neither moved nor wept.
Rose a nurse of ninety years,
Set his child upon her knee-Like summer tempest came her tears-'Sweet my child, I live for thee.'
~ Alfred Lord Tennyson
181:The Botanic Garden( Part Iii)
The Economy Of Vegetation
Canto III
AGAIN the GODDESS speaks!-glad Echo swells
The tuneful tones along her shadowy dells,
Her wrinkling founts with soft vibration shakes,
Curls her deep wells, and rimples all her lakes,
Thrills each wide stream, Britannia's isle that laves,
Her headlong cataracts, and circumfluent waves.
-Thick as the dews, which deck the morning flowers,
Or rain-drops twinkling in the sun-bright showers,
Fair Nymphs, emerging in pellucid bands,
Rise, as she turns, and whiten all the lands.
I. 'YOUR buoyant troops on dimpling ocean tread,
Wafting the moist air from his oozy bed,
AQUATIC NYMPHS!-YOU lead with viewless march
The winged vapours up the aerial arch,
On each broad cloud a thousand sails expand,
And steer the shadowy treasure o'er the land,
Through vernal skies the gathering drops diffuse,
Plunge in soft rains, or sink in silver dews.YOUR lucid bands condense with fingers chill
The blue mist hovering round the gelid hill;
In clay-form'd beds the trickling streams collect,
Strain through white sands, through pebbly veins direct;
Or point in rifted rocks their dubious way,
And in each bubbling fountain rise to day.
'NYMPHS! YOU then guide, attendant from their source,
The associate rills along their sinuous course;
Float in bright squadrons by the willowy brink,
Or circling slow in limpid eddies sink;
Call from her crystal cave the Naiad-Nymph,
Who hides her fine form in the passing lymph,
And, as below she braids her hyaline hair,
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Eyes her soft smiles reflected in the air;
Or sport in groups with River-Boys, that lave
Their silken limbs amid the dashing wave;
Pluck the pale primrose bending from its edge,
Or tittering dance amid the whispering sedge.'Onward YOU pass, the pine-capt hills divide,
Or feed the golden harvests on their side;
The wide-ribb'd arch with hurrying torrents fill,
Shove the slow barge, or whirl the foaming mill.
OR lead with beckoning hand the sparkling train
Of refluent water to its parent main,
And pleased revisit in their sea-moss vales
Blue Nereid-forms array'd in shining scales,
Shapes, whose broad oar the torpid wave impels,
And Tritons bellowing through their twisted shells.
'So from the heart the sanguine stream distils,
O'er Beauty's radiant shrine in vermil rills,
Feeds each fine nerve, each slender hair pervades,
The skins bright snow with living purple shades,
Each dimpling cheek with warmer blushes dyes,
Laughs on the lips, and lightens in the eyes.
-Erewhile absorb'd, the vagrant globules swim
From each fair feature, and proportion'd limb,
Join'd in one trunk with deeper tint return
To the warm concave of the vital urn.
II. 1.'AQUATIC MAIDS! YOU sway the mighty realms
Of scale and shell, which Ocean overwhelms;
As Night's pale Queen her rising orb reveals,
And climbs the zenith with refulgent wheels,
Car'd on the foam your glimmering legion rides,
Your little tridents heave the dashing tides,
Urge on the sounding shores their crystal course,
Restrain their fury, or direct their force.
2.'NYMPHS! YOU adorn, in glossy volumes roll'd,
The gaudy conch with azure, green, and gold.
You round Echinus ray his arrowy mail,
Give the keel'd Nautilus his oar and sail;
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Firm to his rock with silver cords suspend
The anchor'd Pinna, and his Cancer-friend;
With worm-like beard his toothless lips array,
And teach the unwieldy Sturgeon to betray.Ambush'd in weeds, or sepulcher'd in sands,
In dread repose He waits the scaly bands,
Waves in red spires the living lures, and draws
The unwary plunderers to his circling jaws,
Eyes with grim joy the twinkling shoals beset,
And clasps the quick inextricable net.
You chase the warrior Shark, and cumberous Whale,
And guard the Mermaid in her briny vale;
Feed the live petals of her insect-flowers,
Her shell-wrack gardens, and her sea-fan bowers;
With ores and gems adorn her coral cell,
And drop a pearl in every gaping shell.
3. 'YOUR myriad trains o'er stagnant ocean's tow,
Harness'd with gossamer, the loitering prow;
Or with fine films, suspended o'er the deep,
Of oil effusive lull the waves to sleep.
You stay the flying bark, conceal'd beneath,
Where living rocks of worm-built coral breathe;
Meet fell TEREDO, as he mines the keel
With beaked head, and break his lips of steel;
Turn the broad helm, the fluttering canvas urge
From MAELSTROME'S fierce innavigable surge.
-'Mid the lorn isles of Norway's stormy main,
As sweeps o'er many a league his eddying train,
Vast watery walls in rapid circles spin,
And deep-ingulph'd the Demon dwells within;
Springs o'er the fear-froze crew with Harpy-claws,
Down his deep den the whirling vessel draws;
Churns with his bloody mouth the dread repast,
The booming waters murmuring o'er the mast.
III. 'Where with chill frown enormous ALPS alarms
A thousand realms, horizon'd in his arms;
While cloudless suns meridian glories shed
From skies of silver round his hoary head,
Tall rocks of ice refract the coloured rays,
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And Frost sits throned amid the lambent blaze;
NYMPHS! YOUR thin forms pervade his glittering piles,
His roofs of chrystal, and his glasy ailes;
Where in cold caves imprisoned Naiads sleep,
Or chain'd on mossy couches wake and weep;
Where round dark crags indignant waters bend
Through rifted ice, in ivory veins descend,
Seek through unfathom'd snows their devious track,
Heave the vast spars, the ribbed granites crack,
Rush into day, in foamy torrents shine,
And swell the imperial Danube or the Rhine.Or feed the murmuring TIBER, as he laves
His realms inglorious with diminish'd waves,
Hears his lorn Forum sound with Eunuch-strains,
Sees dancing slaves insult his martial plains;
Parts with chill stream the dim religious bower,
Time-mouldered bastion, and dismantled tower;
By alter'd fanes and nameless villas glides,
And classic domes, that tremble on his sides;
Sighs o'er each broken urn, and yawning tomb,
And mourns the fall of LIBERTY and ROME.
IV. 'Sailing in air, when dark MONSOON inshrouds
His tropic mountains in a night of clouds;
Or drawn by whirlwinds from the Line returns,
And showers o'er Afric all his thousand urns;
High o'er his head the beams of SIRIUS glow,
And, Dog of Nile, ANUBIS barks below.
NYMPHS! YOU from cliff to cliff attendant guide
In headlong cataracts the impetuous tide;
Or lead o'er wastes of Abyssinian sands
The bright expanse to EGYPT'S shower-less lands.
-Her long canals the sacred waters fill,
And edge with silver every peopled hill;
Gigantic SPHINX in circling waves admire;
And MEMNON bending o'er his broken lyre;
O'er furrow'd glebes and green savannas sweep,
And towns and temples laugh amid the deep.
V. 1. 'High in the frozen North where HECCLA glows,
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And melts in torrents his coeval snows;
O'er isles and oceans sheds a sanguine light,
Or shoots red stars amid the ebon night;
When, at his base intomb'd, with bellowing sound
Fell GIESAR roar'd, and struggling shook the ground;
Pour'd from red nostrils, with her scalding breath,
A boiling deluge o'er the blasted heath;
And, wide in air, in misty volumes hurl'd
Contagious atoms o'er the alarmed world;
NYMPHS! YOUR bold myriads broke the infernal spell,
And crush'd the Sorceress in her flinty cell.
2. 'Where with soft fires in unextinguish'd urns,
Cauldron'd in rock, innocuous Lava burns;
On the bright lake YOUR gelid hands distil
In pearly mowers the parsimonious rill;
And, as aloft the curling vapours rise
Through the cleft roof, ambitious for the skies,
In vaulted hills condense the tepid steams,
And pour to HEALTH the medicated streams.
-So in green vales amid her mountains bleak
BUXTONIA smiles, the Goddess-Nymyh of Peak;
Deep in warm waves, and pebbly baths she dwells,
And calls HYGEIA to her sainted wells.
'Hither in sportive bands bright DEVON leads
Graces and Loves from Chatsworth's flowery meads.Charm'd round the NYMPH, they climb the rifted rocks;
And steep in mountain-mist their golden locks;
On venturous step her sparry caves explore,
And light with radiant eyes her realms of ore;
-Oft by her bubbling founts, and shadowy domes,
In gay undress the fairy legion roams,
Their dripping palms in playful malice fill,
Or taste with ruby lip the sparkling rill;
Croud round her baths, and, bending o'er the side,
Unclasp'd their sandals, and their zones untied,
Dip with gay fear the shuddering foot undress'd,
And quick retract it to the fringed vest;
Or cleave with brandish'd arms the lucid stream,
And sob, their blue eyes twinkling in the steam.
-High o'er the chequer'd vault with transient glow
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Bright lustres dart, as dash the waves below;
And Echo's sweet responsive voice prolongs
The dulcet tumult of their silver tongues.O'er their flush'd cheeks uncurling tresses flow,
And dew-drops glitter on their necks of snow;
Round each fair Nymph her dropping mantle clings,
And Loves emerging shake their showery wings.
'Here oft her LORD surveys the rude domain,
Fair arts of Greece triumphant in his train;
LO! as he steps, the column'd pile ascends,
The blue roof closes, or the crescent bends;
New woods aspiring clothe their hills with green,
Smooth slope the lawns, the grey rock peeps between;
Relenting Nature gives her hand to Taste,
And Health and Beauty crown the laughing waste.
VI. 'NYMPHS! YOUR bright squadrons watch with chemic eyes
The cold-elastic vapours, as they rise;
With playful force arrest them as they pass,
And to
pure
AIR betroth the
flaming
GAS.
Round their translucent forms at once they fling
Their rapturous arms, with silver bosoms cling;
In fleecy clouds their fluttering wings extend,
Or from the skies in lucid showers descend;
Whence rills and rivers owe their secret birth,
And Ocean's hundred arms infold the earth.
'So, robed by Beauty's Queen, with softer charms
SATURNIA woo'd the Thunderer to her arms;
O'er her fair limbs a veil of light she spread,
And bound a starry diadem on her head;
Long braids of pearl her golden tresses grac'd,
And the charm'd CESTUS sparkled round her waist.
-Raised o'er the woof, by Beauty's hand inwrought,
Breathes the soft Sigh, and glows the enamour'd Thought;
Vows on light wings succeed, and quiver'd Wiles,
Assuasive Accents, and seductive Smiles.
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-Slow rolls the Cyprian car in purple pride,
And, steer'd by LOVE, ascends admiring Ide;
Climbs the green slopes, the nodding woods pervades,
Burns round the rocks, or gleams amid the shades.
-Glad ZEPHYR leads the train, and waves above
The barbed darts, and blazing torch of Love;
Reverts his smiling face, and pausing flings
Soft showers of roses from aurelian wings.
Delighted Fawns, in wreathes of flowers array'd,
With tiptoe Wood-Boys beat the chequer'd glade;
Alarmed Naiads, rising into air,
Lift o'er their silver urns their leafy hair;
Each to her oak the bashful Dryads shrink,
And azure eyes are seen through every chink.
-LOVE culls a flaming shaft of broadest wing,
And rests the fork upon the quivering string;
Points his arch eye aloft, with fingers strong
Draws to his curled ear the silken thong;
Loud twangs the steel, the golden arrow flies,
Trails a long line of lustre through the skies;
''Tis done!' he shouts, 'the mighty Monarch feels!'
And with loud laughter shakes the silver wheels;
Bends o'er the car, and whirling, as it moves,
His loosen'd bowstring, drives the rising doves.
-Pierced on his throne the slarting Thunderer turns,
Melts with soft sighs, with kindling rapture burns;
Clasps her fair hand, and eyes in fond amaze
The bright Intruder with enamour'd gaze.
'And leaves my Goddess, like a blooming bride,
'The fanes of Argos for the rocks of Ide?
'Her gorgeous palaces, and amaranth bowers,
'For cliff-top'd mountains, and aerial towers?'
He said; and, leading from her ivory seat
The blushing Beauty to his lone retreat,
Curtain'd with night the couch imperial shrouds,
And rests the crimson cushions upon clouds.Earth feels the grateful influence from above,
Sighs the soft Air, and Ocean murmurs love;
Etherial Warmth expands his brooding wing,
And in still showers descends the genial Spring.
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VII. 'NYMPHS OF AQUATIC TASTE! whose placid smile
Breathes sweet enchantment o'er BRITANNIA'S isle;
Whose sportive touch in showers resplendent flings
Her lucid cataracts, and her bubbling springs;
Through peopled vales the liquid silver guides,
And swells in bright expanse her freighted tides.
YOU with nice ear, in tiptoe trains, pervade
Dim walks of morn or evening's silent shade;
Join the lone Nightingale, her woods among,
And roll your rills symphonious to her song;
Through fount-full dells, and wave-worn valleys move,
And tune their echoing waterfalls to love;
Or catch, attentive to the distant roar,
The pausing murmurs of the dashing shore;
Or, as aloud she pours her liquid strain,
Pursue the NEREID on the twilight main.
-Her playful Sea-horse woos her soft commands,
Turns his quick ears, his webbed claws expands,
His watery way with waving volutes wins,
Or listening librates on unmoving fins.
The Nymph emerging mounts her scaly seat,
Hangs o'er his glossy sides her silver feet,
With snow-white hands her arching veil detains,
Gives to his slimy lips the slacken'd reins,
Lifts to the star of Eve her eye serene,
And chaunts the birth of Beauty's radiant Queen.O'er her fair brow her pearly comb unfurls
Her beryl locks, and parts the waving curls,
Each tangled braid with glistening teeth unbinds
And with the floating treasure musks the winds.Thrill'd by the dulcet accents, as she sings,
The rippling wave in widening circles rings;
Night's shadowy forms along the margin gleam
With pointed ears, or dance upon the stream;
The Moon transported stays her bright career,
And maddening Stars shoot headlong from the sphere.
VIII. 'NYMPHS! whose fair eyes with vivid lustres glow
For human weal, and melt at human woe;
Late as YOU floated on your silver shells,
Sorrowing and slow by DERWENT'S willowy dells;
Where by tall groves his foamy flood he steers
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Through ponderous arches o'er impetuous wears,
By DERBY'S shadowy towers reflective sweeps,
And gothic grandeur chills his dusky deeps;
You pearl'd with Pity's drops his velvet sides,
Sigh'd in his gales, and murmur'd in his tides,
Waved o'er his fringed brink a deeper gloom,
And bow'd his alders o'er MILCENA'S tomb.
'Oft with sweet voice She led her infant-train,
Printing with graceful step his spangled plain,
Explored his twinkling swarms, that swim or fly,
And mark'd his florets with botanic eye.'Sweet bud of Spring! how frail thy transient bloom,
'Fine film,' she cried, 'of Nature's fairest loom!
'Soon Beauty fades upon its damask throne!'-Unconscious of the worm, that mined her own!-Pale are those lips, where soft caresses hung,
Wan the warm cheek, and mute the tender tongue,
Cold rests that feeling heart on Derwent's shore,
And those love-lighted eye-balls roll no more!
-HERE her sad Consort, stealing through the gloom
Of
Hangs in mute anguish o'er the scutcheon'd hearse,
Or graves with trembling style the votive verse.
'Sexton! oh, lay beneath this sacred shrine,
When Time's cold hand shall close my aching eyes,
Oh, gently lay this wearied earth of mine,
Where wrap'd in night my loved MILCENA lies.
'So shall with purer joy my spirit move,
When the last trumpet thrills the caves of Death,
Catch the first whispers of my waking love,
And drink with holy kiss her kindling breath.
'The spotless Fair, with blush ethereal warm,
Shall hail with sweeter smile returning day,
Rise from her marble bed a brighter form,
And win on buoyant step her airy way.
'Shall bend approved, where beckoning hosts invite,
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On clouds of silver her adoring knee,
Approach with Seraphim the throne of light,
-And BEAUTY plead with angel-tongue for Me!'
IX. 'YOUR virgin trains on BRINDLEY'S cradle smiled,
And nursed with fairy-love the unletter'd child,
Spread round his pillow all your secret spells,
Pierced all your springs, and open'd all your wells.As now on grass, with glossy folds reveal'd,
Glides the bright serpent, now in flowers conceal'd;
Far shine the scales, that gild his sinuous back,
And lucid undulations mark his track;
So with strong arm immortal BRINDLEY leads
His long canals, and parts the velvet meads;
Winding in lucid lines, the watery mass
Mines the firm rock, or loads the deep morass,
With rising locks a thousand hills alarms,
Flings o'er a thousand streams its silver arms,
Feeds the long vale, the nodding woodland laves,
And Plenty, Arts, and Commerce freight the waves.
-NYMPHS! who erewhile round BRINDLEY'S early bier
On show-white bosoms shower'd the incessant tear,
Adorn his tomb!-oh, raise the marble bust,
Proclaim his honours, and protect his dust!
With urns inverted, round the sacred shrine
Their ozier wreaths let weeping Naiads twine;
While on the top MECHANIC GENIUS stands,
Counts the fleet waves, and balances the lands.
X. 'NYMPHS! YOU first taught to pierce the secret caves
Of humid earth, and lift her ponderous waves;
Bade with quick stroke the sliding piston bear
The viewless columns of incumbent air;Press'd by the incumbent air the floods below,
Through opening valves in foaming torrents flow,
Foot after foot with lessen'd impulse move,
And rising seek the vacancy above.So when the Mother, bending o'er his charms,
Clasps her fair nurseling in delighted arms;
Throws the thin kerchief from her neck of snow,
And half unveils the pearly orbs below;
With sparkling eye the blameless Plunderer owns
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Her soft embraces, and endearing tones,
Seeks the salubrious fount with opening lips,
Spreads his inquiring hands, and smiles, and sips.
'CONNUBIAL FAIR! whom no fond transport warms
To lull your infant in maternal arms;
Who, bless'd in vain with tumid bosoms, hear
His tender wailings with unfeeling ear;
The soothing kiss and milky rill deny
To the sweet pouting lip, and glistening eye!Ah! what avails the cradle's damask roof,
The eider bolster, and embroider'd woof!Oft hears the gilded couch unpity'd plains,
And many a tear the tassel'd cushion stains!
No voice so sweet attunes his cares to rest,
So soft no pillow, as his Mother's breast!-Thus charm'd to sweet repose, when twilight hours
Shed their soft influence on celestial bowers,
The Cherub, Innocence, with smile divine
Shuts his white wings, and sleeps on Beauty's shrine.
XI. 'From dome to dome when flames infuriate climb,
Sweep the long street, invest the tower sublime;
Gild the tall vanes amid the astonish'd night,
And reddening heaven returns the sanguine light;
While with vast strides and bristling hair aloof
Pale Danger glides along the falling roof;
And Giant Terror howling in amaze
Moves his dark limbs across the lurid blaze.
NYMPHS! you first taught the gelid wave to rise
Hurl'd in resplendent arches to the skies;
In iron cells condensed the airy spring,
And imp'd the torrent with unfailing wing;
-On the fierce flames the shower impetuous falls,
And sudden darkness shrouds the shatter'd walls;
Steam, smoak, and dust in blended volumes roll,
And Night and Silence repossess the Pole.'Where were ye, NYMPHS! in those disasterous hours,
Which wrap'd in flames AUGUSTA'S sinking towers?
Why did ye linger in your wells and groves,
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When sad WOODMASON mourn'd her infant loves?
When thy fair Daughters with unheeded screams,
Ill-fated MOLESWORTH! call'd the loitering streams?The trembling Nymph on bloodless fingers hung
Eyes from the tottering wall the distant throng,
With ceaseless shrieks her sleeping friends alarms,
Drops with singed hair into her lover's arms.The illumin'd Mother seeks with footsteps fleet,
Where hangs the safe balcony o'er the street,
Wrap'd in her sheet her youngest hope suspends,
And panting lowers it to her tiptoe friends;
Again she hurries on affection's wings,
And now a third, and now a fourth, she brings;
Safe all her babes, she smooths her horrent brow,
And bursts through bickering flames, unscorch'd, below.
So, by her Son arraign'd, with feet unshod
O'er burning bars indignant Emma trod.
'E'en on the day when Youth with Beauty wed,
The flames surprized them in their nuptial bed;Seen at the opening sash with bosom bare,
With wringing hands, and dark dishevel'd hair,
The blushing Beauty with disorder'd charms
Round her fond lover winds her ivory arms;
Beat, as they clasp, their throbbing hearts with fear,
And many a kiss is mix'd with many a tear;Ah me! in vain the labouring engines pour
Round their pale limbs the ineffectual shower!-Then crash'd the floor, while shrinking crouds retire,
And Love and Virtue sunk amid the fire!With piercing screams afflicted strangers mourn,
And their white ashes mingle in their urn.
XII. 'PELLUCID FORMS! whose crystal bosoms show
The shine of welfare, or the shade of woe;
Who with soft lips salute returning Spring,
And hail the Zephyr quivering on his wing;
Or watch, untired, the wintery clouds, and share
With streaming eyes my vegetable care;
Go, shove the dim mist from the mountain's brow,
Chase the white fog, which floods the vale below;
Melt the thick snows, that linger on the lands,
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And catch the hailstones in your little hands;
Guard the coy blossom from the pelting shower,
And dash the rimy spangles from the bower;
From each chill leaf the silvery drops repel,
And close the timorous floret's golden bell.
'So should young SYMPATHY, in female form,
Climb the tall rock, spectatress of the storm;
Life's sinking wrecks with secret sighs deplore,
And bleed for others' woes, Herself on shore;
To friendless Virtue, gasping on the strand,
Bare her warm heart, her virgin arms expand,
Charm with kind looks, with tender accents cheer,
And pour the sweet consolatory tear;
Grief's cureless wounds with lenient balms asswage,
Or prop with firmer staff the steps of Age;
The lifted arm of mute Despair arrest,
And snatch the dagger pointed to his breast;
Or lull to slumber Envy's haggard mien,
And rob her quiver'd shafts with hand unseen.
-Sound, NYMPHS OF HELICON! the trump of Fame,
And teach Hibernian echoes JONES'S name;
Bind round her polish'd brow the civic bay,
And drag the fair Philanthropist to day.So from secluded springs, and secret caves,
Her Liffy pours his bright meandering waves,
Cools the parch'd vale, the sultry mead divides,
And towns and temples star his shadowy sides.
XIII. 'CALL YOUR light legions, tread the swampy heath,
Pierce with sharp spades the tremulous peat beneath;
With colters bright the rushy sward bisect,
And in new veins the gushing rills direct;So flowers shall rise in purple light array'd,
And blossom'd orchards stretch their silver shade;
Admiring glebes their amber ears unfold,
And Labour sleep amid the waving gold.
'Thus when young HERCULES with firm disdain
Braved the soft smiles of Pleasure's harlot train;
To valiant toils his forceful limbs assign'd,
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And gave to Virtue all his mighty mind,
Fierce ACHELOUS rush'd from mountain-caves,
O'er sad Etolia pour'd his wasteful waves,
O'er lowing vales and bleating pastures roll'd,
Swept her red vineyards, and her glebes of gold,
Mined all her towns, uptore her rooted woods,
And Famine danced upon the shining floods.
The youthful Hero seized his curled crest,
And dash'd with lifted club the watery Pest;
With waving arm the billowy tumult quell'd,
And to his course the bellowing Fiend repell'd.
'Then to a Snake the finny Demon turn'd
His lengthen'd form, with scales of silver burn'd;
Lash'd with restless sweep his dragon-train,
And shot meandering o'er the affrighted plain.
The Hero-God, with giant fingers clasp'd
Firm round his neck, the hissing monster grasp'd;
With starting eyes, wide throat, and gaping teeth,
Curl his redundant folds, and writhe in death.
'And now a Bull, amid the flying throng
The grisly Demon foam'd, and roar'd along;
With silver hoofs the flowery meadows spurn'd,
Roll'd his red eye, his threatening antlers turn'd.
Dragg'd down to earth, the Warrior's victor-hands
Press'd his deep dewlap on the imprinted sands;
Then with quick bound his bended knee he fix'd
High on his neck, the branching horns betwixt,
Strain'd his strong arms, his sinewy shoulders bent,
And from his curled brow the twisted terror rent.
-Pleased Fawns and Nymphs with dancing step applaud,
And hang their chaplets round the resting God;
Link their soft hands, and rear with pausing toil
The golden trophy on the furrow'd soil;
Fill with ripe fruits, with wreathed flowers adorn,
And give to PLENTY her prolific horn.
XIV. 'On Spring's fair lap, CERULEAN SISTERS! pour
From airy urns the sun-illumined shower,
Feed with the dulcet drops my tender broods,
Mellifluous flowers, and aromatic buds;
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Hang from each bending grass and horrent thorn
The tremulous pearl, that glitters to the morn;
Or where cold dews their secret channels lave,
And Earth's dark chambers hide the stagnant wave,
O, pierce, YE NYMPHS! her marble veins, and lead
Her gushing fountains to the thirsty mead;
Wide o'er the shining vales, and trickling hills
Spread the bright treasure in a thousand rills.
So shall my peopled realms of Leaf and Flower
Exult, inebriate with the genial shower;
Dip their long tresses from the mossy brink,
With tufted roots the glassy currents drink;
Shade your cool mansions from meridian beams,
And view their waving honours in your streams.
'Thus where the veins their confluent branches bend,
And milky eddies with the purple blend;
The Chyle's white trunk, diverging from its source,
Seeks through the vital mass its shining course;
O'er each red cell, and tissued membrane spreads
In living net-work all its branching threads;
Maze within maze its tortuous path pursues,
Winds into glands, inextricable clues;
Steals through the stomach's velvet sides, and sips
The silver surges with a thousand lips;
Fills each fine pore, pervades each slender hair,
And drinks salubrious dew-drops from the air.
'Thus when to kneel in Mecca's awful gloom,
Or press with pious kiss Medina's tomb,
League after league, through many a lingering day,
Steer the swart Caravans their sultry way;
O'er sandy wastes on gasping camels toil,
Or print with pilgrim-steps the burning soil;
If from lone rocks a sparkling rill descend,
O'er the green brink the kneeling nations bend,
Bathe the parch'd lip, and cool the feverish tongue,
And the clear lake reflects the mingled throng.'
The Goddess paused,-the listening bands awhile
Still seem to hear, and dwell upon her smile;
Then with soft murmur sweep in lucid trains
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Down the green slopes, and o'er the pebbly plains,
To each bright stream on silver sandals glide,
Reflective fountain, and tumultuous tide.
So shoot the Spider-broods at breezy dawn
Their glittering net-work o'er the autumnal lawn;
From blade to blade connect with cordage fine
The unbending grass, and live along the line;
Or bathe unwet their oily forms, and dwell
With feet repulsive on the dimpling well.
So when the North congeals his watery mass,
Piles high his snows, and floors his seas with glass;
While many a Month, unknown to warmer rays,
Marks its slow chronicle by lunar days;
Stout youths and ruddy damsels, sportive train,
Leave the white soil, and rush upon the main;
From isle to isle the moon-bright squadrons stray,
And win in easy curves their graceful way;
On step alternate borne, with balance nice
Hang o'er the gliding steel, and hiss along the ice.
~ Erasmus Darwin
182:The Botanic Garden( Part I)
The Economy Of Vegetation
Canto I
STAY YOUR RUDE STEPS! whose throbbing breasts infold
The legion-fiends of Glory, or of Gold!
Stay! whose false lips seductive simpers part,
While Cunning nestles in the harlot-heart!For you no Dryads dress the roseate bower,
For you no Nymphs their sparkling vases pour;
Unmark'd by you, light Graces swim the green,
And hovering Cupids aim their shafts, unseen.
'But THOU! whose mind the well-attemper'd ray
Of Taste and Virtue lights with purer day;
Whose finer sense each soft vibration owns
With sweet responsive sympathy of tones;
So the fair flower expands it's lucid form
To meet the sun, and shuts it to the storm;For thee my borders nurse the fragrant wreath,
My fountains murmur, and my zephyrs breathe;
Slow slides the painted snail, the gilded fly
Smooths his fine down, to charm thy curious eye;
On twinkling fins my pearly nations play,
Or win with sinuous train their trackless way;
My plumy pairs in gay embroidery dress'd
Form with ingenious bill the pensile nest,
To Love's sweet notes attune the listening dell,
And Echo sounds her soft symphonious shell.
'And, if with Thee some hapless Maid should stray,
Disasterous Love companion of her way,
Oh, lead her timid steps to yonder glade,
Whose arching cliffs depending alders shade;
There, as meek Evening wakes her temperate breeze,
And moon-beams glimmer through the trembling trees,
The rills, that gurgle round, shall soothe her ear,
The weeping rocks shall number tear for tear;
There as sad Philomel, alike forlorn,
Sings to the Night from her accustomed thorn;
While at sweet intervals each falling note
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Sighs in the gale, and whispers round the grot;
The sister-woe shall calm her aching breast,
And softer slumbers steal her cares to rest.'Winds of the North! restrain your icy gales,
Nor chill the bosom of these happy vales!
Hence in dark heaps, ye gathering Clouds, revolve!
Disperse, ye Lightnings! and, ye Mists, dissolve!
-Hither, emerging from yon orient skies,
BOTANIC GODDESS! bend thy radiant eyes;
O'er these soft scenes assume thy gentle reign,
Pomona, Ceres, Flora in thy train;
O'er the still dawn thy placid smile effuse,
And with thy silver sandals print the dews;
In noon's bright blaze thy vermil vest unfold,
And wave thy emerald banner star'd with gold.'
Thus spoke the GENIUS, as He stept along,
And bade these lawns to Peace and Truth belong;
Down the steep slopes He led with modest skill
The willing pathway, and the truant rill,
Stretch'd o'er the marshy vale yon willowy mound,
Where shines the lake amid the tufted ground,
Raised the young woodland, smooth'd the wavy green,
And gave to Beauty all the quiet scene.She comes!-the GODDESS!-through the whispering air,
Bright as the morn, descends her blushing car;
Each circling wheel a wreath of flowers intwines,
And gem'd with flowers the silken harness shines;
The golden bits with flowery studs are deck'd,
And knots of flowers the crimson reins connect.And now on earth the silver axle rings,
And the shell sinks upon its slender springs;
Light from her airy seat the Goddess bounds,
And steps celestial press the pansied grounds.
Fair Spring advancing calls her feather'd quire,
And tunes to softer notes her laughing lyre;
Bids her gay hours on purple pinions move,
And arms her Zephyrs with the shafts of Love,
Pleased GNOMES, ascending from their earthy beds,
Play round her graceful footsteps, as she treads;
Gay SYLPHS attendant beat the fragrant air
On winnowing wings, and waft her golden hair;
Blue NYMPHS emerging leave their sparkling streams,
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And FIERY FORMS alight from orient beams;
Musk'd in the rose's lap fresh dews they shed,
Or breathe celestial lustres round her head.
First the fine Forms her dulcet voice requires,
Which bathe or bask in elemental fires;
From each bright gem of Day's refulgent car,
From the pale sphere of every twinkling star,
From each nice pore of ocean, earth, and air,
With eye of flame the sparkling hosts repair,
Mix their gay hues, in changeful circles play,
Like motes, that tenant the meridian ray.So the clear Lens collects with magic power
The countless glories of the midnight hour;
Stars after stars with quivering lustre fall,
And twinkling glide along the whiten'd wall.Pleased, as they pass, she counts the glittering bands,
And stills their murmur with her waving hands;
Each listening tribe with fond expectance burns,
And now to these, and now to those, she turns.
I. 'NYMPHS OF PRIMEVAL FIRE! YOUR vestal train
Hung with gold-tresses o'er the vast inane,
Pierced with your silver shafts the throne of Night,
And charm'd young Nature's opening eyes with light;
When LOVE DIVINE, with brooding wings unfurl'd,
Call'd from the rude abyss the living world.
'-LET THERE BE LIGHT!' proclaim'd the ALMIGHTY LORD,
Astonish'd Chaos heard the potent word;Through all his realms the kindling Ether runs,
And the mass starts into a million suns;
Earths round each sun with quick explosions burst,
And second planets issue from the first;
Bend, as they journey with projectile force,
In bright ellipses their reluctant course;
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centres centres roll,
And form, self-balanced, one revolving Whole.
-Onward they move amid their bright abode,
Space without bound, THE BOSOM OF THEIR GOD!
II. 'ETHEREAL POWERS! YOU chase the shooting stars,
Or yoke the vollied lightenings to your cars,
Cling round the aërial bow with prisms bright,
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And pleased untwist the sevenfold threads of light;
Eve's silken couch with gorgeous tints adorn,
And fire the arrowy throne of rising Morn.
-OR, plum'd with flame, in gay battalion's spring
To brighter regions borne on broader wing;
Where lighter gases, circumfused on high,
Form the vast concave of exterior sky;
With airy lens the scatter'd rays assault,
And bend the twilight round the dusky vault;
Ride, with broad eye and scintillating hair,
The rapid Fire-ball through the midnight air;
Dart from the North on pale electric streams,
Fringing Night's sable robe with transient beams.
-OR rein the Planets in their swift careers,
Gilding with borrow'd light their twinkling spheres;
Alarm with comet-blaze the sapphire plain,
The wan stars glimmering through its silver train;
Gem the bright Zodiac, stud the glowing pole,
Or give the Sun's phlogistic orb to roll.
III. NYMPHS! YOUR fine forms with steps impassive mock
Earth's vaulted roofs of adamantine rock;
Round her still centre tread the burning soil,
And watch the billowy Lavas, as they boil;
Where, in basaltic caves imprison'd deep,
Reluctant fires in dread suspension sleep;
Or sphere on sphere in widening waves expand,
And glad with genial warmth the incumbent land.
So when the Mother-bird selects their food
With curious bill, and feeds her callow brood;
Warmth from her tender heart eternal springs,
And pleased she clasps them with extended wings.
'YOU from deep cauldrons and unmeasured caves
Blow flaming airs, or pour vitrescent waves;
O'er shining oceans ray volcanic light,
Or hurl innocuous embers to the night.While with loud shouts to Etna Heccla calls,
And Andes answers from his beacon'd walls;
Sea-wilder'd crews the mountain-stars admire,
And Beauty beams amid tremendous fire.
'Thus when of old, as mystic bards presume,
Huge CYCLOPS dwelt in Etna's rocky womb,
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On thundering anvils rung their loud alarms,
And leagued with VULCAN forged immortal arms;
Descending VENUS sought the dark abode,
And sooth'd the labours of the grisly God.While frowning Loves the threatening falchion wield,
And tittering Graces peep behind the shield,
With jointed mail their fairy limbs o'erwhelm,
Or nod with pausing step the plumed helm;
With radiant eye She view'd the boiling ore,
Heard undismay'd the breathing bellows roar,
Admired their sinewy arms, and shoulders bare,
And ponderous hammers lifted high in air,
With smiles celestial bless'd their dazzled sight,
And Beauty blazed amid infernal night.
IV. 'EFFULGENT MAIDS! YOU round deciduous day,
Tressed with soft beams, your glittering bands array;
On Earth's cold bosom, as the Sun retires,
Confine with folds of air the lingering fires;
O'er Eve's pale forms diffuse phosphoric light,
And deck with lambent flames the shrine of Night.
So, warm'd and kindled by meridian skies,
And view'd in darkness with dilated eyes,
BOLOGNA'S chalks with faint ignition blaze,
BECCARI'S shells emit prismatic rays.
So to the sacred Sun in MEMNON's fane,
Spontaneous concords quired the matin strain;
-Touch'd by his orient beam, responsive rings
The living lyre, and vibrates all it's strings;
Accordant ailes the tender tones prolong,
And holy echoes swell the adoring song.
'YOU with light Gas the lamps nocturnal feed,
Which dance and glimmer o'er the marshy mead;
Shine round Calendula at twilight hours,
And tip with silver all her saffron flowers;
Warm on her mossy couch the radiant Worm,
Guard from cold dews her love-illumin'd form,
From leaf to leaf conduct the virgin light,
Star of the earth, and diamond of the night.
You bid in air the tropic Beetle burn,
And fill with golden flame his winged urn;
Or gild the surge with insect-sparks, that swarm
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Round the bright oar, the kindling prow alarm;
Or arm in waves, electric in his ire,
The dread Gymnotus with ethereal fire.Onward his course with waving tail he helms,
And mimic lightenings scare the watery realms,
So, when with bristling plumes the Bird of JOVE
Vindictive leaves the argent fields above,
Borne on broad wings the guilty world he awes,
And grasps the lightening in his shining claws.
V. 1. 'NYMPHS! Your soft smiles uncultur'd man subdued,
And charm'd the Savage from his native wood;
You, while amazed his hurrying Hords retire
From the fell havoc of devouring FIRE,
Taught, the first Art! with piny rods to raise
By quick attrition the domestic blaze,
Fan with soft breath, with kindling leaves provide,
And lift the dread Destroyer on his side.
So, with bright wreath of serpent-tresses crown'd,
Severe in beauty, young MEDUSA frown'd;
Erewhile subdued, round WISDOM'S Aegis roll'd
Hiss'd the dread snakes, and flam'd in burnish'd gold;
Flash'd on her brandish'd arm the immortal shield,
And Terror lighten'd o'er the dazzled field.
2. NYMPHS! YOU disjoin, unite, condense, expand,
And give new wonders to the Chemist's hand;
On tepid clouds of rising steam aspire,
Or fix in sulphur all it's solid fire;
With boundless spring elastic airs unfold,
Or fill the fine vacuities of gold;
With sudden flash vitrescent sparks reveal,
By fierce collision from the flint and steel;
Or mark with shining letter KUNKEL's name
In the pale Phosphor's self-consuming flame.
So the chaste heart of some enchanted Maid
Shines with insidious light, by Love betray'd;
Round her pale bosom plays the young Desire,
And slow she wastes by self-consuming fire.
3. 'YOU taught mysterious BACON to explore
Metallic veins, and part the dross from ore;
With sylvan coal in whirling mills combine
The crystal'd nitre, and the sulphurous mine;
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Through wiry nets the black diffusion strain,
And close an airy ocean in a grain.Pent in dark chambers of cylindric brass
Slumbers in grim repose the sooty mass;
Lit by the brilliant spark, from grain to grain
Runs the quick fire along the kindling train;
On the pain'd ear-drum bursts the sudden crash,
Starts the red flame, and Death pursues the flash.Fear's feeble hand directs the fiery darts,
And Strength and Courage yield to chemic arts;
Guilt with pale brow the mimic thunder owns,
And Tyrants tremble on their blood-stain'd thrones.
VI. NYMPHS! You erewhile on simmering cauldrons play'd,
And call'd delighted SAVERY to your aid;
Bade round the youth explosive STEAM aspire
In gathering clouds, and wing'd the wave with fire;
Bade with cold streams the quick expansion stop,
And sunk the immense of vapour to a drop.Press'd by the ponderous air the Piston falls
Resistless, sliding through it's iron walls;
Quick moves the balanced beam, of giant-birth,
Wields his large limbs, and nodding shakes the earth.
'The Giant-Power from earth's remotest caves
Lifts with strong arm her dark reluctant waves;
Each cavern'd rock, and hidden den explores,
Drags her dark coals, and digs her shining ores.Next, in close cells of ribbed oak confined,
Gale after gale, He crowds the struggling wind;
The imprison'd storms through brazen nostrils roar,
Fan the white flame, and fuse the sparkling ore.
Here high in air the rising stream He pours
To clay-built cisterns, or to lead-lined towers;
Fresh through a thousand pipes the wave distils,
And thirsty cities drink the exuberant rills.There the vast mill-stone with inebriate whirl
On trembling floors his forceful fingers twirl.
Whose flinty teeth the golden harvests grind,
Feast without blood! and nourish human-kind.
'Now his hard hands on Mona's rifted crest,
Bosom'd in rock, her azure ores arrest;
With iron lips his rapid rollers seize
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The lengthening bars, in thin expansion squeeze;
Descending screws with ponderous fly-wheels wound
The tawny plates, the new medallions round;
Hard dyes of steel the cupreous circles cramp,
And with quick fall his massy hammers stamp.
The Harp, the Lily and the Lion join,
And GEORGE and BRITAIN guard the sterling coin.
'Soon shall thy arm, UNCONQUER'D STEAM! afar
Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car;
Or on wide-waving wings expanded bear
The flying-chariot through the fields of air.
-Fair crews triumphant, leaning from above,
Shall wave their fluttering kerchiefs as they move;
Or warrior-bands alarm the gaping crowd,
And armies shrink beneath the shadowy cloud.
'So mighty HERCULES o'er many a clime
Waved his vast mace in Virtue's cause sublime,
Unmeasured strength with early art combined,
Awed, served, protected, and amazed mankind.First two dread Snakes at JUNO'S vengeful nod
Climb'd round the cradle of the sleeping God;
Waked by the shrilling hiss, and rustling sound,
And shrieks of fair attendants trembling round,
Their gasping throats with clenching hands he holds;
And Death untwists their convoluted folds.
Next in red torrents from her sevenfold heads
Fell HYDRA'S blood on Lerna's lake he sheds;
Grasps ACHELOUS with resistless force,
And drags the roaring River to his course;
Binds with loud bellowing and with hideous yell
The monster Bull, and threefold Dog of Hell.
'Then, where Nemea's howling forests wave,
He drives the Lion to his dusky cave;
Seized by the throat the growling fiend disarms,
And tears his gaping jaws with sinewy arms;
Lifts proud ANTEUS from his mother-plains,
And with strong grasp the struggling Giant strains;
Back falls his fainting head, and clammy hair,
Writhe his weak limbs, and flits his life in air;By steps reverted o'er the blood-dropp'd fen
He tracks huge CACUS to his murderous den;
Where breathing flames through brazen lips he fled,
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And shakes the rock-roof'd cavern o'er his head.
'Last with wide arms the solid earth He tears,
Piles rock on rock, on mountain mountain rears;
Heaves up huge ABYLA on Afric's sand,
Crowns with high CALPÈ Europe's saliant strand,
Crests with opposing towers the splendid scene,
And pours from urns immense the sea between.-Loud o'er her whirling flood Charybdis roars,
Affrighted Scylla bellows round his shores,
Vesuvio groans through all his echoing caves,
And Etna thunders o'er the insurgent waves.
VII. 1. NYMPHS! YOUR fine hands ethereal floods amass
From the warm cushion, and the whirling glass;
Beard the bright cylinder with golden wire,
And circumfuse the gravitating fire.
Cold from each point cerulean lustres gleam,
Or shoot in air the scintillating stream.
So, borne on brazen talons, watch'd of old
The sleepless dragon o'er his fruits of gold;
Bright beam'd his scales, his eye-balls blazed with ire,
And his wide nostrils breath'd inchanted fire.
'YOU bid gold-leaves, in crystal lantherns held,
Approach attracted, and recede repel'd;
While paper-nymphs instinct with motion rife,
And dancing fauns the admiring Sage surprize.
OR, if on wax some fearless Beauty stand,
And touch the sparkling rod with graceful hand;
Through her fine limbs the mimic lightnings dart,
And flames innocuous eddy round her heart;
O'er her fair brow the kindling lustres glare,
Blue rays diverging from her bristling hair;
While some fond Youth the kiss ethereal sips.
And soft fires issue from their meeting lips.
So round the virgin Saint in silver streams
The holy Halo shoots it's arrowy beams.
'YOU crowd in coated jars the denser fire,
Pierce the thin glass, and fuse the blazing wire;
Or dart the red flash through the circling band
Of youths and timorous damsels, hand in hand.
-Starts the quick Ether through the fibre-trains
Of dancing arteries, and of tingling veins,
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Goads each fine nerve, with new sensation thrill'd,
Bends the reluctant limbs with power unwill'd;
Palsy's cold hands the fierce concussion own,
And Life clings trembling on her tottering throne.So from dark clouds the playful lightning springs,
Rives the firm oak, or prints the Fairy-rings.
2. NYMPHS! on that day YE shed from lucid eyes.
Celestial tears, and breathed ethereal sighs!
When RICHMAN rear'd, by fearless haste betrayed,
The wiry rod in Nieva's fatal shade;Clouds o'er the Sage, with fringed skirts succeed,
Flash follows flash, the warning corks recede;
Near and more near He ey'd with fond amaze
The silver streams, and watch'd the saphire blaze;
Then burst the steel, the dart electric sped,
And the bold Sage lay number'd with the dead!NYMPHS! on that day YE shed from lucid eyes
Celestial tears, and breathed ethereal sighs!
3. 'YOU led your FRANKLIN to your glazed retreats,
Your air-built castles, and your silken seats;
Bade his bold arm invade the lowering sky,
And seize the tiptoe lightnings, ere they fly;
O'er the young Sage your mystic mantle spread,
And wreath'd the crown electric round his head.Thus when on wanton wing intrepid LOVE
Snatch'd the raised lightning from the arm of JOVE;
Quick o'er his knee the triple bolt He bent,
The cluster'd darts and forky arrows rent,
Snapp'd with illumin'd hands each flaming shaft,
His tingling fingers shook, and stamp'd, and laugh'd;
Bright o'er the floor the scatter'd fragments blaz'd,
And Gods retreating trembled as they gaz'd;
The immortal Sire, indulgent to his child,
Bow'd his ambrosial locks, and Heaven relenting smiled.
VIII. 'When Air's pure essence joins the vital flood,
And with phosphoric Acid dyes the blood,
YOUR VIRGIN TRAINS the transient HEAT dispart,
And lead the soft combustion round the heart;
Life's holy lamp with fires successive feed,
From the crown'd forehead to the prostrate weed,
From Earth's proud realms to all that swim or sweep
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The yielding ether or tumultuous deep.
You swell the bulb beneath the heaving lawn,
Brood the live seed, unfold the bursting spawn;
Nurse with soft lap, and warm with fragrant breath
The embryon panting in the arms of Death;
Youth's vivid eye with living light adorn,
And fire the rising blush of Beauty's golden morn.
'Thus when the Egg of Night, on Chaos hurl'd,
Burst, and disclosed the cradle of the world;
First from the gaping shell refulgent sprung
IMMORTAL LOVE, his bow celestial strung;O'er the wide waste his gaudy wings unfold,
Beam his soft smiles, and wave his curls of gold;With silver darts He pierced the kindling frame,
And lit with torch divine the ever-living flame.'
IX. The GODDESS paused, admired with conscious pride
The effulgent legions marshal'd by her side,
Forms sphered in fire with trembling light array'd,
Ens without weight, and substance without shade;
And, while tumultuous joy her bosom warms,
Waves her white hand, and calls her hosts to arms,
'Unite, ILLUSTRIOUS NYMPHS! your radiant powers,
Call from their long repose the VERNAL HOURS.
Wake with soft touch, with rosy hands unbind
The struggling pinions of the WESTERN WIND;
Chafe his wan cheeks, his ruffled plumes repair,
And wring the rain-drops from his tangled hair.
Blaze round each frosted rill, or stagnant wave,
And charm the NAIAD from her silent cave;
Where, shrined in ice, like NIOBE she mourns,
And clasps with hoary arms her empty urns.
Call your bright myriads, trooping from afar,
With beamy helms, and glittering shafts of war;
In phalanx firm the FIEND OF FROST assail,
Break his white towers, and pierce his crystal mail;
To Zembla's moon-bright coasts the Tyrant bear,
And chain him howling to the Northern Bear.
'So when enormous GRAMPUS, issuing forth
From the pale regions of the icy North;
Waves his broad tail, and opes his ribbed mouth,
And seeks on winnowing fin the breezy South;
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From towns deserted rush the breathless hosts,
Swarm round the hills, and darken all the coasts;
Boats follow boats along the shouting tides,
And spears and javelins pierce his blubbery sides;
Now the bold Sailor, raised on pointed toe,
Whirls the wing'd harpoon on the slimy foe;
Quick sinks the monster in his oozy bed,
The blood-stain'd surges circling o'er his head,
Steers to the frozen pole his wonted track,
And bears the iron tempest on his back.
X. 'On wings of flame, ETHEREAL VIRGINS! sweep
O'er Earth's fair bosom, and complacent deep;
Where dwell my vegetative realms benumb'd,
In buds imprison'd, or in bulbs intomb'd,
Pervade, PELLUCID FORMS! their cold retreat,
Ray from bright urns your viewless floods of
heat
From earth's deep wastes
electric
torrents pour,
Or shed from heaven the scintillating shower;
Pierce the dull root, relax its fibre-trains,
Thaw the thick blood, which lingers in its veins;
Melt with warm breath the fragrant gums, that bind
The expanding foliage in its scaly rind;
And as in air the laughing leaflets play,
And turn their shining bosoms to the ray,
NYMPHS! with sweet smile each opening glower invite,
And on its damask eyelids pour the
light
'So shall my pines, Canadian wilds that shade,
Where no bold step has pierc'd the tangled glade,
High-towering palms, that part the Southern flood
With shadowy isles and continents of wood,
Oaks, whose broad antlers crest Britannia's plain,
Or bear her thunders o'er the conquer'd main,
Shout, as you pass, inhale the genial skies,
And bask and brighten in your beamy eyes;
Bow their white heads, admire the changing clime,
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Shake from their candied trunks the tinkling rime;
With bursting buds their wrinkled barks adorn,
And wed the timorous floret to her thorn;
Deep strike their roots, their lengthening tops revive,
And all my world of foliage wave, alive.
'Thus with Hermetic art the ADEPT combines
The royal acid with cobaltic mines;
Marks with quick pen, in lines unseen portrayed,
The blushing mead, green dell, and dusky glade;
Shades with pellucid clouds the tintless field,
And all the future Group exists conceal'd;
Till waked by fire the dawning tablet glows,
Green springs the herb, the purple floret blows,
Hills vales and woods in bright succession rise,
And all the living landscape charms his eyes.
XI. 'With crest of gold should sultry SIRIUS glare,
And with his kindling tresses scorch the air;
With points of flame the shafts of Summer arm,
And burn the beauties he designs to warm;-So erst when JOVE his oath extorted mourn'd,
And clad in glory to the Fair return'd;
While Loves at forky bolts their torches light,
And resting lightnings gild the car of Night;
His blazing form the dazzled Maid admir'd,
Met with fond lips, and in his arms expir'd;NYMPHS! on light pinion lead your banner'd hosts
High o'er the cliffs of ORKNEY'S gulphy coasts;
Leave on your left the red volcanic light,
Which HECCLA lifts amid the dusky night;
Mark on the right the DOFRINE'S snow-capt brow,
Where whirling MAELSTROME roars and foams below;
Watch with unmoving eye, where CEPHEUS bends
His triple crown, his scepter'd hand extends;
Where studs CASSIOPE with stars unknown
Her golden chair, and gems her sapphire zone;
Where with vast convolution DRACO holds
The ecliptic axis in his scaly folds,
O'er half the skies his neck enormous rears,
And with immense meanders parts the BEARS;
Onward, the kindred BEARS with footstep rude
Dance round the Pole, pursuing and pursued.
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'There in her azure coif and starry stole,
Grey TWILIGHT sits, and rules the slumbering Pole;
Bends the pale moon-beams round the sparkling coast,
And strews with livid hands eternal frost.
There, NYMPHS! alight, array your dazzling powers,
With sudden march alarm the torpid Hours;
On ice-built isles expand a thousand sails,
Hinge the strong helms, and catch the frozen gales;
The winged rocks to feverish climates guide,
Where fainting Zephyrs pant upon the tide;
Pass, where to CEUTA CALPE'S thunder roars,
And answering echoes shake the kindred shores;
Pass, where with palmy plumes CANARY smiles,
And in her silver girdle binds her isles;
Onward, where NIGER'S dusky Naiad laves
A thousand kingdoms with prolific waves,
Or leads o'er golden sands her threefold train
In steamy channels to the fervid main,
While swarthy nations croud the sultry coast,
Drink the fresh breeze, and hail the floating Frost,
NYMPHS! veil'd in mist, the melting treasures steer,
And cool with arctic snows the tropic year.
So from the burning Line by Monsoons driven
Clouds sail in squadrons o'er the darken'd heaven;
Wide wastes of sand the gelid gales pervade,
And ocean cools beneath the moving shade.
XII. Should SOLSTICE, stalking through the sickening bowers,
Suck the warm dew-drops, lap the falling showers;
Kneel with parch'd lip, and bending from it's brink
From dripping palm the scanty river drink;
NYMPHS! o'er the soil ten thousand points erect,
And high in air the electric flame collect.
Soon shall dark mists with self-attraction shroud
The blazing day, and sail in wilds of cloud;
Each silvery Flower the streams aerial quaff,
Bow her sweet head, and infant Harvest laugh.
'Thus when ELIJA mark'd from Carmel's brow
In bright expanse the briny flood below;
Roll'd his red eyes amid the scorching air,
Smote his firm breast, and breathed his ardent prayer;
High in the midst a massy altar stood,
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And slaughter'd offerings press'd the piles of wood;
While ISRAEL'S chiefs the sacred hill surround,
And famish'd armies crowd the dusty ground;
While proud Idolatry was leagued with dearth,
And wither'd famine swept the desert earth.'OH, MIGHTY LORD! thy woe-worn servant hear,
'Who calls thy name in agony of prayer;
'Thy fanes dishonour'd, and thy prophets slain,
'Lo! I alone survive of all thy train!'Oh send from heaven thy sacred fire,-and pour
'O'er the parch'd land the salutary shower,'So shall thy Priest thy erring flock recal,'And speak in thunder, 'THOU ART LORD OF ALL.'He cried, and kneeling on the mountain-sands,
Stretch'd high in air his supplicating hands.
-Descending flames the dusky shrine illume;
Fire the wet wood, the sacred bull consume;
Wing'd from the sea the gathering mists arise,
And floating waters darken all the skies;
The King with shifted reins his chariot bends,
And wide o'er earth the airy flood descends;
With mingling cries dispersing hosts applaud,
And shouting nations own THE LIVING GOD.'
The GODDESS ceased,-the exulting tribes obey,
Start from the soil, and win their airy way;
The vaulted skies with streams of transient rays
Shine, as they pass, and earth and ocean blaze.
So from fierce wars when lawless Monarch's cease,
Or Liberty returns with laurel'd Peace;
Bright fly the sparks, the colour'd lustres burn,
Flash follows f
Blue serpents sweep along the dusky air,
Imp'd by long trains of scintillating hair;
Red rockets rise, loud cracks are heard on high,
And showers of stars rush headlong from the sky,
Burst, as in silver lines they hiss along,
And the quick flash unfolds the gazing throng.
~ Erasmus Darwin
183: Book VI: The Book of the Chieftains

Then as from common hills great Pelion rises to heaven
So from the throng uprearing a brow that no crown could ennoble,
Male and kingly of front like a lion conscious of puissance
Rose a form august, the monarch great Agamemnon.
Wroth he rose yet throwing a rein on the voice of his passion,
Governing the beast and the demon within by the god who is mighty.
Happy thy life and my fame that thou comst with the aegis of heaven
Shadowing thy hoary brows, thou herald of pride and of insult.
Well is it too for his days who sent thee that other and nobler
Heaven made my heart than his who insults and a voice of the immortals
Cries to my soul forbidding its passions. O hardness of virtue,
Thus to be seized and controlled as in fetters by Zeus and Athene.
Free is the peasant to smite in the pastures the mouth that has wronged him,
Chained in his soul is Atrides. Bound by their debt to the fathers,
Curbed by the god in them painfully move the lives of the noble,
Forced to obey the eye that watches within in their bosoms.
Ever since Zeus Cronion turned in our will towards the waters,
Scourged by the heavens in my dearest, wronged by men and their clamours,
Griefs untold I have borne in Argos and Aulis and Troas,
Yoked to this sacred toil of the Greeks for their children and country,
Bound by the gods to a task that is heavy, a load that is bitter.
Seeing the faces of foes in the mask of friends I was silent.
Hateful I hold him who sworn to a cause that is holy and common
Broods upon private wrongs or serving his lonely ambition
Studies to reap his gain from the labour and woe of his fellows.
Mire is the man who hears not the gods when they cry to his bosom.
Grief and wrath I coerced nor carried my heart to its record
All that has hurt its chords and wounded the wings of my spirit.
Nobler must kings be than natures of earth on whom Zeus lays no burden.
Other is Peleus son than the race of his Aeacid fathers,
Nor like his sire of the wise-still heart far-sighted and patient
Bearing the awful rein of the gods, but hastes to his longings,
Dire in his wrath and pursued by the band of his giant ambitions.
Measure and virtue forsake him as Ate grows in his bosom.
Yet not for tyrant wrong nor to serve as a sword for our passions
Zeus created our strength, but that earth might have help from her children.
Not of our moulding its gifts to our soul nor were formed by our labour!
When did we make them, where were they forged, in what workshop or furnace?
Found in what aeon of Time, that pride should bewilder the mortal?
Bowed to our will are the folk and our prowess dreadful and godlike?
Shadows are these of the gods which the deep heavens cast on our spirits.
Transient, we made not ourselves, but at birth from the first we were fashioned
Valiant or fearful and as was our birth by the gods and their thinkings
Formed, so already enacted and fixed by their wills are our fortunes.
What were the strength of Atrides and what were the craft of Odysseus
Save for their triumphing gods? They would fail and be helpless as infants.
Stronger a woman, wiser a child were favoured by Heaven.
Ceased not Sarpedon slain who was son of Zeus and unconquered?
Not to Achilles he fell, but Fate and the gods were his slayers.
Kings, to the arrogant shaft that was launched, the unbearable insult,
Armoured wisdoms oppose, let not Ate seize on your passions.
Be not as common souls, O you who are Greece and her fortunes,
Nor of your spirits of wrath take counsel but of Athene.
Merit the burden laid by Zeus, his demand from your natures
Suffer, O hearts of his seed, O souls who are chosen and mighty,
All forgetting but Greece and her good; resolve what is noble.
I will not speak nor advise, for tis known we are rivals and foemen.
Calmed by his words and his will he sat down mighty and kinglike;
But Menelaus arose, the Spartan, the husb and of Helen,
Atreus younger son from a lesser womb, in his brilliance
Dwarfed by the others port, yet tall was he, gracile and splendid,
As if a panther might hunt by a lions side in the forest.
Smiting his thigh with his firm-clenched hand he spoke mid the Argives:
Woe to me, shameless, born to my country a cause of affliction,
Since for my sake all wrongs must be borne and all shames be encountered;
And for my sake you have spun through the years down the grooves of disaster
Bearing the shocks of the Trojans and ravaged by Zeus and by Hector,
Slaughtered by Rhesus and Memnon, Sarpedon and Penthesilea;
Or by the Archer pierced, the hostile dreadful Apollo,
Evilly end the days of the Greeks remote from their kindred
Slain on an alien soil by Asian Xanthus and Ida.
Doomed to the pyre we have toiled for a woman ungracious who left us
Passing serenely my portals to joy in the chambers of Troya.
Here let it cease, O my brother! how much wilt thou bear for this graceless
Child of thy sire, cause still of thy griefs and never of blessing?
Easily Zeus afflicts who trouble their hearts for a woman;
But in our ships that sailed close-fraught with this dolorous Ate
Worse was the bane they bore which King Peleus begot on white Thetis.
Evil ever was sown by the embrace of the gods with a mortal!
Alien a portent is born and a breaker of men and their labours,
One who afflicts with his light or his force mortalitys weakness
Stripping for falsehoods their verities, shaking the walls they erected.
Hostile all things the scourge divine overbears or, if helpful,
Neither without him his fellows can prosper, nor will his spirit
Fit in the frame of things earthly but shatters their rhythm and order
Rending the measures just that the wise have decreed for our growing.
So have our mortal plannings broken on this fateful Achilles
And with our blood and our anguish Heaven has fostered his greatness.
It is enough; let the dire gods choose between Greece and their offspring.
Even as he bids us, aloof let our hosts twixt the ships and the Xanthus
Stand from the shock and the cry where Hellene meets with Eoan,
Troy and Phthia locked, Achilles and Penthesilea,
Nor any more than watchers care who line an arena;
Calm like the impartial gods, approve the bravest and swiftest.
Sole let him fight! The fates shall preserve him he vaunts of or gather,
Even as death shall gather us all for memorys clusters,
All in their day who were great or were little, heroes or cowards.
So shall he slay or be slain, a boon to mankind and his country.
Since if he mow down this flower of bale, this sickle by Hades
Whirled if he break,for the high gods ride on the hiss of his spear-shaft,
Ours is the gain who shall break rejoicing through obdurate portals
Praising Pallas alone and Hera daughter of Heaven.
But if he sink in this last of his fights, as they say it is fated,
Nor do I deem that the man has been born in Asia or Hellas
Who in the dreadful field can prevail against Penthesilea,
If to their tents the Myrmidons fleeing cumber the meadows
Slain by a girl in her speed and leaving the corpse of their leader,
Ours is the gain, we are rid of a shame and a hate and a danger.
True is it, Troy shall exultant live on in the shadow of Ida,
Yet shall our hearts be light because earth is void of Achilles.
And for the rest of the infinite loss, what we hoped, what we suffered,
Let it all go, let the salt floods swallow it, fate and oblivion
Bury it out in the night; let us sail oer the waves to our country
Leaving Helen in Troy since the gods are the friends of transgressors.
So Menelaus in anger and grief miscounselled the Argives.
Great Idomeneus next, the haughty king of the Cretans,
Raised his brow of pride in the lofty Argive assembly.
Tall like a pine that stands up on the slope of Thessalian mountains
Overpeering a cascades edge and is seen from the valleys,
Such he seemed to their eyes who remembered Greece and her waters,
Heard in their souls the torrents leap and the wind on the hill-tops.
Oft have I marvelled, O Greeks, to behold in this levy of heroes
Armies so many, chieftains so warlike suffer in silence
Pride of a single man when he thunders and lightens in Troas.
Doubtless the nations that follow his cry are many and valiant,
Doubtless the winds of the north have made him a runner and spearman.
Shall not then force be the King? is not strength the seal of the Godhead?
This my soul replies, Agamemnon the Atreid only
Choosing for leader and king I have come to the toil and the warfare.
Wisdom and greatness he owns and the wealth and renown of his fathers.
But for this whelp of the northlands, nursling of rocks and the sea-cliff
Who with his bleak and rough-hewn Myrmidons hastes to the carnage,
Leader of wolves to their prey, not the king of a humanised nation,
Not to such head of the cold-drifting mist and the gloom-vigilled Chaos,
Crude to our culture and light and void of our noble fulfilments
Minos shall bend his knee nor Crete, a barbarians vassal,
Stain her old glories. Oh, but he boasts of a goddess for mother
Born in the senseless seas mid the erring wastes of the Ocean,
White and swift and foam-footed, vast Oceanus daughter.
Gods we adore enough in the heavens, and if from us Hades
Claim one more of this breed, we can bear that excess of his glories,
Not upon earth these new-born deities huge-passioned, sateless
Who with their mouth as of Orcus and stride of the ruinous Ocean
Sole would be seen mid her sons and devour all lifes joy and its greatness.
Millions must empty their lives that a man may oershadow the nations,
Numberless homes must weep, but his hunger of glory is sated!
Troy shall descend to the shadow; gods and men have condemned her,
Weary, hating her fame. Her dreams, her grandeur, her beauty,
All her greatness and deeds that now end in miserable ashes,
Ceasing shall fade and be as a tale that was forged by the poets.
Only a name shall go down from her past and the woe of her ending
Naked to hatred and rapine and punished with rape and with slaughter.
Never again must marble pride high-domed on her hill-top
Look forth dominion and menace over the crested Aegean
Shadowing Achaia. Fire shall abolish the fame of her ramparts,
Earth her foundations forget. Shall she stand affronting the azure?
Dire in our path like a lioness once again must we meet her,
Leap and roar of her led by the spear of Achilles, not Hector?
Asia by Peleus guided shall stride on us after Antenor?
Though one should plan in the night of his thoughts where no eye can pursue him,
Instincts of men discover their foe and like hounds in the darkness
Bay at a danger hid. No silence of servitude trembling
Trains to bondage sons of the race of whom Aeolus father
Storm-voiced was and free, nor like other groupings of mortals
Moulded we were by Zeus, but supremely were sifted and fashioned.
Other are Danaus sons and other the lofty Achaians:
Chainless like Natures tribes in their many-voiced colonies founded
They their god-given impulse shall keep and their natures of freedom.
Only themselves shall rule them, only their equal spirits
Bowed to the voice of a law that is just, obeying their leaders,
Awed by the gods. So with order and balance and harmony noble
Life shall move golden, free in its steps and just in its measure,
Glad of a manhood complete, by excess and defect untormented.
Freedom is life to the Argive soul, to Aeolias peoples.
Dulled by a yoke our nations would perish, or live but as shadows,
Changed into phantoms of men with the name of a Greek for a byword.
Not like the East and her sons is our race, they who bow to a mortal.
Gods there may be in this flesh that suffers and dies; Achaia
Knows them not. Need if he feels of a world to endure and adore him,
Hearts let him seek that are friends with the dust, overpowered by their heavens,
Here in these Asian vastnesses, here where the heats and the perfumes
Sicken the soul and the sense and a soil of indolent plenty
Breeds like the corn in its multitudes natures accustomed to thraldom.
Here let the northern Achilles seek for his slaves and adorers,
Not in the sea-ringed isles and not in the mountains Achaian.
Ten long years of the shock and the war-cry twixt rampart and ocean
Hurting our hearts we have toiled; shall they reap not their ease in the vengeance?
Troas is sown with the lives of our friends and with ashes remembered;
Shall not Meriones slain be reckoned in blood and in treasure?
Cretan Idomeneus girt with the strength of his iron retainers
Slaying and burning will stride through the city of music and pleasure,
Babes of her blood borne high on the spears at the head of my column,
Wives of her princes dragged through her streets in its pomp to their passion,
Gold of Troy stream richly past in the gaze of Achilles.
Then let him threaten my days, then rally the might of his triumphs,
Yet shall a Cretan spear make search in his heart for his godhead.
Limbs of this god can be pierced; not alone shall I fleet down to Hades.
After him rose from the throng the Locrian, swift-footed Ajax.
Kings of the Greeks, throw a veil on your griefs, lay a curb on your anger.
Moved mans tongue in its wrath looses speech that is hard to be pardoned,
Afterwards stilled we regret, we forgive. If all were resented,
None could live on this earth that is thick with our stumblings. Always
This is the burden of man that he acts from his heart and his passions,
Stung by the goads of the gods he hews at the ties that are dearest.
Lust was the guide they sent us, wrath was a whip for his coursers,
Madness they made the hearts comrade, repentance they gave for its scourger.
This too our hearts demand that we bear with our friend when he chides us.
Insult forgive from the noble embittered soul of Achilles!
When with the scorn and the wrath of a lover our depths are tormented,
Who shall forbid the cry and who shall measure the anguish?
Sharper the pain that looses the taunt than theirs who endure it.
Rage has wept in my blood as I lived through the flight oer the pastures,
Shame coils a snake in my back when thought whispers of Penthesilea.
Bright shine his morns if he mows down this hell-bitch armed by the Furies!
But for this shaft of his pity it came from a lesser Pelides,
Not from the slayer of Hector, not from the doom of Sarpedon,
Memnons mighty oerthrower, the blood-stained splendid Achilles.
These are the Trojan snares and the fateful smile of a woman!
This thing the soul of a man shall not bear that blood of his labour
Vainly has brought him victory leaving life to the hated;
This is a wound to our race that a Greek should whisper of mercy.
Who can pardon a foe though a god should descend to persuade him?
Justice is first of the gods, but for Pity twas spawned by a mortal,
Pity that only disturbs Gods measures and false and unrighteous
Holds man back from the joy he might win and troubles his bosom.
Troy has a debt to our hearts; she shall pay it all down to the obol,
Blood of the fall and anguish of flight when the heroes are slaughtered,
Days without joy while we labour and see not the eyes of our parents,
Toil of the war-cry, nights that drag past upon alien beaches,
Helen ravished, Paris triumphant, endless the items
Crowd on a wrath in the memory, kept as in bronze the credit
Stretches out long and blood-stained and savage. Most for the terror
Graved in the hearts of our fathers that still by our youth is remembered,
Hellas waiting and crouching, dreading the spear of the Trojan,
Flattering, sending gifts and pale in her mortal anguish,
Agony long of a race at the mercy of iron invaders,
This she shall pay most, the city of pride, the insolent nation,
Pay with her temples charred and her golden mansions in ruins,
Pay with the shrieks of her ravished virgins, the groans of the aged
Burned in their burning homes for our holiday. Music and dancing
Shall be in Troy of another sort than she loved in her greatness
Merry with conquered gold and insulting the world with her flutings.
All that she boasted of, statue and picture, all shall be shattered;
Out of our shame she chiselled them, rich with our blood they were coloured.
This not the gods from Olympus crowding, this not Achilles,
This not your will, O ye Greeks, shall deny to the Locrian Ajax.
Even though Pallas divine with her aegis counselling mercy
Cumbered my path, I would push her aside to leap on my victims.
Learn shall all men on that day how a warrior deals with his foemen.
Darting flames from his eyes the barbarian sate, and there rose up
Frowning Tydeus son, the Tirynthian, strong Diomedes.
Ajax Oileus, thy words are foam on the lips of a madman.
Cretan Idomeneus, silence the vaunt that thy strength can fulfil not.
Strong art thou, fearless in battle, but not by thy spear-point, O hero,
Hector fell, nor Sarpedon, nor Troilus leading the war-cry.
These were Achilles deeds which a god might have done out of heaven.
Him we upbraid who saved, nor would any now who revile him
Still have a living tongue for ingratitude but for the hero.
Much to the man forgive who has saved his race and his country:
Him shall the termless centuries praise when we are forgotten.
Curb then your speech, crush down in your hearts the grief and the choler;
Has not Atrides curbed who is greatest of all in our nations
Wrath in the heart and the words that are winged for our bale from our bosoms?
For as a load to be borne were these passions given to mortals.
Honour Achilles, conquer Troy by his god-given valour.
Now of our discords and griefs debate not for joy of our foemen!
First over Priams corpse stand victors in Ilions ramparts;
Discord then let arise or concord solder our nations.
Rugged words and few as fit for the soul that he harboured
Great Tydides spoke and ceased; and there rose up impatient
Tall from the spears of the north the hero king Prothonor,
Prince in Cadmeian Thebes who with Leitus led on his thousands.
Loudly thou vauntest thy freedom Ionian Minos recalling,
Lord of thy southern isles who gildst with tri bute Mycenae.
We have not bowed our neck to Pelops line, at Argos
Iron heel have not crouched, nor clasped like thy time-wearied nations,
Python-befriended, gripped in the coils of an iron protection,
Bondage soothed by a name and destruction masked as a helper.
We are the young and lofty and free-souled sons of the Northland.
Nobly Peleus, the Aeacid, seer of a vaster Achaia,
Pride of his strength and his deeds renouncing for joy of that vision,
Yielded his hoary right to the sapling stock of Atrides.
Noble, we gave to that nobleness freely our grandiose approval.
Not as a foe then, O King, who angered sharpens his arrows,
Fits his wrath and hate to the bow and aims at the heart-strings
But from the Truth that is seated within me compelling my accents,
Taught by my fathers stern not to lie nor to hide what I harbour,
Truth the goddess I speak, nor constrain the voice in my bosom.
Monarch, I own thee first of the Greeks save in valour and counsel,
Brave, but less than Achilles, wise, but not as Odysseus,
First still in greatness and calm and majesty. Yet, Agamemnon,
Love of thy house and thy tribe disfigures the king in thy nature;
Thou thy brother preferrest, thy friends and thy nations unjustly,
Even as a common man whose heart is untaught by Athene,
Beastlike favours his brood forgetting the law of the noble.
Therefore Ajax grew wroth and Teucer sailing abandoned
Over the angry seas this fierce-locked toil of the nations;
Therefore Achilles has turned in his soul and gazed towards the Orient.
Yet are we fixed in our truth like hills in heaven, Atrides;
Greece and her safety and good our passions strive to remember.
Not of this stamp was thy brothers speech; such words Lacedaemon
Hearing may praise in her kings; we speak not in Thebes what is shameful.
Shamefuller thoughts have never escaped from lips that were high-born.
We will not send forth earths greatest to die in a friendless battle,
Nor will forsake the daughter of Zeus and white glory of Hellas,
Helen the golden-haired Tyndarid, left for the joy of our foemen,
Chained to Paris delight, earths goddess the slave of the Phrygian,
Though Menelaus the Spartan abandon his wife to the Trojans
And from the field where he lavished the unvalued blood of his people
Flee to a hearth dishonoured. Not the Atreids sullied grandeurs,
Greece to defend we have toiled through the summers and lingering autumns
Blind with our blood; for our country we bleed repelling her foemen.
Dear is that loss to our veins and still that expense we would lavish
Claiming its price from the heavens, though thou sail with thy brother and cohorts.
Weakling, flee! take thy southern ships, take thy Spartan levies.
Still will the Greeks fight on in the Troad helped by thy absence.
For though the beaches vast grow empty, the tents can be numbered
Standing friendless and few on the huge and hostile champaign,
Always a few will be left whom the threatenings of Fate cannot conquer,
Always souls are born whose courage waits not on fortune;
Hellas heart will be firm confronting the threat of the victor,
Sthenelus war and Tydides, Odysseus and Locrian Ajax,
Thebes unconquered sons and the hero chiefs of the northland.
Stern and persistent as Time or the seas and as deaf to affliction
We will clash on in the fight unsatisfied, fain of the war-cry,
Helped by the gods and our cause through the dawns and the blood-haunted evenings,
Rising in armour with morn and outstaying the red of the sunset,
Till in her ashes Troy forgets that she lusted for empire
Or in our own the honour and valour of Greece are extinguished.
So Prothonor spoke nor pleased with his words Agamemnon;
But to the northern kings they were summer rain on the visage.
Last Laertes son, the Ithacan, war-wise Odysseus,
Rose up wide-acclaimed; like an oak was he stunted in stature,
Broad-shouldered, firm-necked, lone and sufficient, as on some island
Regnant one peak whose genial streams flow down to the valley,
Dusk on its slopes are the olives, the storms butt in vain at its shoulders,
Such he stood and pressed the earth with his feet like one vanquished,
Striving, but held to his will. So Atlas might seem were he mortal,
Atlas whose vastness free from impatience suffers the heavens,
Suffering spares the earth, the thought-haunted motionless Titan,
Bearer of worlds. In those jarring tribes no man was his hater;
For as the Master of all guides humanity, so this Odysseus
Dealt with men and helped and guided them, careful and selfless,
Crafty, tender and wise,like the Master who bends oer His creatures,
Suffers their sins and their errors and guides them screening the guidance;
Each through his nature He leads and the world by the lure of His wisdom.
Princes of Argolis, chiefs of the Locrians, spears of the northland,
Warriors vowed to a sacred hate and a vengeance thats holy,
Sateless still is that hate, that vengeance cries for its victims,
Still is the altar unladen, the priest yet waits with the death-knife.
Who while the rites are unfinished, the god unsatisfied, impious
Turns in his heart to the feuds of his house and his strife with his equals?
None will approve the evil that fell from the younger Atrides;
But it was anger and sorrow that spoke, it was not Menelaus.
Who would return from Troy and arrive with his war-wasted legions
Back to his home in populous city or orcharded island;
There from his ships disembarked look round upon eyes that grow joyless
Seeking a father or husb and slain, a brother heart-treasured,
Mothers in tears for their children, and when he is asked, O our chieftain,
What dost thou bring back in place of our dead to fill hearts that are empty?
Who then will say, I bring back my shame and the shame of my nation;
Troy yet stands confronting her skies and Helen in Troya?
Not for such foil will I go back to Ithaca or to Laertes,
Rather far would I sail in my ships past southern Cythera,
Turning away in silence from waters where on some headland
Gazing south oer the waves my father waits for my coming,
Leaving Sicilys shores and on through the pillars of Gades.
Far I would sail whence sound of me never should come to Achaia
Out into tossing worlds and weltering reaches of tempest
Dwarfing the swell of the wide-wayed Aegean,Oceans unbounded
Either by cliff or by sandy margin, only the heavens
Ever receding before my keel as it ploughs on for ever
Frail and alone in a world of waves. Even there would I venture
Seeking some island unknown, not return with shame to my fathers.
Well might they wonder how souls like theirs begot us for their offspring.
Fighters war-afflicted, champions banded by heaven,
Wounds and defeat you have borne; bear too their errors who lead you.
Mortals are kings and have hearts; our leaders too have their passions.
Then if they err, yet still obey lest anarchy fostered,
Discord and deaf rebellion that speed like a poison through kingdoms,
Break all this army in pieces while Ate mocking at mortals
Trails to a shameful end this lofty essay of the nations.
Who among men has not thoughts that he holds for the wisest, though foolish?
Who, though feeble and nought, esteems not his strength oer his fellows?
Therefore the wisest and strongest choose out a king and a leader,
Not as a perfect arbiter armed with impossible virtues
Far oer our heads and our ken like a god high-judging his creatures,
But as a man among men who is valiant, wise and far-seeing,
One of ourselves and the knot of our wills and the sword of our action.
Him they advise and obey and cover his errors with silence.
Not Agamemnon the Atreid, Greeks, we obey in this mortal;
Greece we obey; for she walks in his gait and commands by his gestures.
Evil he works then who loosens this living knot of Achaia;
Falling apart from his nation who, wed to a solitary virtue,
Deeming he does but right, renounces the yoke of his fellows,
Errs more than hearts of the mire that in blindness and weakness go stumbling.
Man when he spurns his kind, when he equals himself with the deathless,
Even in his virtues sins and, erring, calls up Ate:
For among men we were born, not as wild-beasts sole in a fastness.
Oft with a name are misled the passionate hearts of the noble;
Chasing highly some image of good they trample its substance.
Evil is worked, not justice, when into the mould of our thinkings
God we would force and enchain to the throb of our hearts the immortals,
Justice and Virtue, her sister,for where is justice mid creatures
Perfectly? Even the gods are betrayed by our clay to a semblance.
Evil not good he sows who lifted too high for his fellows,
Dreams by his light or his force to compel this deity earth-born,
Evil though his wisdom exceeded the gathered light of the millions,
Evil though his single fate were vaster than Troy and Achaia.
Less is our gain from gods upon earth than from men in our image;
Just is the slow and common march, not a lonely swiftness
Far from our human reach that is vowed to impossible strivings.
Better the stumbling leader of men than inimitable paces.
If he be Peleus son and his name the Phthian Achilles,
Worse is the bane: lo, the Ilian battlefield strewn with his errors!
Yet, O ye Greeks, if the heart returns that was loved, though it wandered,
Though with some pride it return and reproaching the friends that it fled from,
Be not less fond than heart-satisfied parents who yearn oer that coming,
Smile at its pride and accept the wanderer. Happier music
Never has beat on my grief-vexed ears than the steps of Achilles
Turning back to this Greece and the cry of his strength in its rising.
Zeus is awake in this man who his dreadful world-slaying puissance
Gave in an hour of portentous birth to the single Achilles.
Taken today are Ilions towers, a dead man is Priam.
Cross not the heros will in his hour, Agamemnon Atrides,
Cross not the man whom the gods have chosen to work out their purpose
Then when he rises; his hour is his, though thine be all morrows.
First in the chambers of Paris delight let us stable our horses,
Afterwards bale that is best shall be done persuading Achilles;
Doubt not the gods decisions, awful, immutable, ruthless.
Flame shall lick Troys towers and the limbs of her old men and infants.
O not today nor now remember the faults of the hero!
Follow him rather bravely and blindly as children their leader,
Guide your fate through the war-surge loud in the wake of his exploits.
Rise, O ye kings of the Greeks! leave debate for the voices of battle.
Peal forth the war-shout, pour forth the spear-sleet, surge towards Troya.
Ilion falls today; we shall turn in our ships to our children.
So Odysseus spoke and the Achaians heard him applauding;
Ever the pack by the voice of the mighty is seized and attracted!
Then from his seat Agamemnon arising his staff to the herald
Gave and around him arose the Kings of the west and its leaders,
Loud their assembly broke with a stern and martial rumour.
***
~ Sri Aurobindo, 6 - The Book of the Chieftains

184:The Botanic Garden( Part Ii)
The Economy Of Vegetation
Canto II
AND NOW THE GODDESS with attention sweet
Turns to the GNOMES, that circle round her feet;
Orb within orb approach the marshal'd trains,
And pigmy legions darken all the plains;
Thrice shout with silver tones the applauding bands,
Bow, ere She speaks, and clap their fairy hands.
So the tall grass, when noon-tide zephyr blows,
Bends it's green blades in undulating rows;
Wide o'er the fields the billowy tumult spreads,
And rustling harvests bow their golden heads.
I. 'GNOMES! YOUR bright forms, presiding at her birth,
Clung in fond squadrons round the new-born EARTH;
When high in ether, with explosion dire,
From the deep craters of his realms of fire,
The whirling Sun this ponderous planet hurl'd,
And gave the astonish'd void another world.
When from it's vaporous air, condensed by cold,
Descending torrents into oceans roll'd;
And fierce attraction with relentless force
Bent the reluctant wanderer to it's course.
'Where yet the Bull with diamond-eye adorns
The Spring's fair forehead, and with golden horns;
Where yet the Lion climbs the ethereal plain,
And shakes the Summer from his radiant mane;
Where Libra lifts her airy arm, and weighs,
Poised in her silver ballance, nights and days;
With paler lustres where Aquarius burns,
And showers the still snow from his hoary urns;
YOUR ardent troops pursued the flying sphere,
Circling the starry girdle of the year;
While sweet vicissitudes of day and clime
Mark'd the new annals of enascent Time.
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II. 'You trod with printless step Earth's tender globe,
While Ocean wrap'd it in his azure robe;
Beneath his waves her hardening strata spread,
Raised her PRIMEVAL ISLANDS from his bed,
Stretch'd her wide lawns, and sunk her winding dells,
And deck'd her shores with corals, pearls, and shells.
'O'er those blest isles no ice-crown'd mountains tower'd,
No lightnings darted, and no tempests lower'd;
Soft fell the vesper-drops, condensed below,
Or bent in air the rain-refracted bow;
Sweet breathed the zephyrs, just perceiv'd and lost;
And brineless billows only kiss'd the coast;
Round the bright zodiac danced the vernal hours,
And Peace, the Cherub, dwelt in mortal bowers!
'So young DIONE, nursed beneath the waves,
And rock'd by Nereids in their coral caves,
Charm'd the blue sisterhood with playful wiles,
Lisp'd her sweet tones, and tried her tender smiles.
Then, on her beryl throne by Triton's borne,
Bright rose the Goddess like the Star of morn;
When with soft fires the milky dawn He leads,
And wakes to life and love the laughing meads;With rosy fingers, as uncurl'd they hung
Round her fair brow, her golden locks she wrung;
O'er the smooth surge on silver sandals flood,
And look'd enchantment on the dazzled flood.The bright drops, rolling from her lifted arms,
In slow meanders wander o'er her charms,
Seek round her snowy neck their lucid track,
Pearl her white shoulders, gem her ivory back,
Round her fine waist and swelling bosom swim,
And star with glittering brine each crystal limb.-The immortal form enamour'd Nature hail'd,
And Beauty blazed to heaven and earth, unvail'd.
III. 'You! who then, kindling after many an age,
Saw with new fires the first VOLCANO rage,
O'er smouldering heaps of livid sulphur swell
At Earth's firm centre, and distend her shell,
Saw at each opening cleft the furnace glow,
And seas rush headlong on the gulphs below.-
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GNOMES! how you shriek'd! when through the troubled air
Roar'd the fierce din of elemental war;
When rose the continents, and sunk the main,
And Earth's huge sphere exploding burst in twain.GNOMES! how you gazed! when from her wounded side
Where now the South-Sea heaves its waste of tide,
Rose on swift wheels the MOON'S refulgent car,
Circling the solar orb; a sister-star,
Dimpled with vales, with shining hills emboss'd,
And roll'd round Earth her airless realms of frost.
'GNOMES! how you trembled! with the dreadful force
When Earth recoiling stagger'd from her course;
When, as her Line in slower circles spun,
And her shock'd axis nodded from the sun,
With dreadful march the accumulated main
Swept her vast wrecks of mountain, vale, and plain;
And, while new tides their shouting floods unite,
And hail their Queen, fair Regent of the night;
Chain'd to one centre whirl'd the kindred spheres,
And mark'd with lunar cycles solar years.
IV. 'GNOMES! you then bade dissolving SHELLS distil
From the loose summits of each shatter'd hill,
To each fine pore and dark interstice flow,
And fill with liquid chalk the mass below.
Whence sparry forms in dusky caverns gleam
With borrow'd light, and twice refract the beam;
While in white beds congealing rocks beneath
Court the nice chissel, and desire to breathe.'Hence wearied HERCULES in marble rears
His languid limbs, and rests a thousand years;
Still, as he leans, shall young ANTINOUS please
With careless grace, and unaffected ease;
Onward with loftier step APOLLO spring,
And launch the unerring arrow from the string;
In Beauty's bashful form, the veil unfurl'd,
Ideal VENUS win the gazing world.
Hence on ROUBILIAC'S tomb shall Fame sublime
Wave her triumphant wings, and conquer Time;
Long with soft touch shall DAMER'S chissel charm,
With grace delight us, and with beauty warm;
FOSTER'S fine form shall hearts unborn engage,
97
And MELBOURN's smile enchant another age.
V. GNOMES! you then taught transuding dews to pass
Through time-fall'n woods, and root-inwove morass
Age after age; and with filtration fine
Dispart, from earths and sulphurs, the saline.
1. 'HENCE with diffusive SALT old Ocean steeps
His emerald shallows, and his sapphire deeps.
Oft in wide lakes, around their warmer brim
In hollow pyramids the crystals swim;
Or, fused by earth-born fires, in cubic blocks
Shoot their white forms, and harden into rocks.
'Thus, cavern'd round in CRACOW'S mighty mines,
With crystal walls a gorgeous city shines;
Scoop'd in the briny rock long streets extend
Their hoary course, and glittering domes ascend;
Down the bright steeps, emerging into day,
Impetuous fountains burst their headlong way,
O'er milk-white vales in ivory channels spread,
And wondering seek their subterraneous bed.
Form'd in pellucid salt with chissel nice,
The pale lamp glimmering through the sculptured ice,
With wild reverted eyes fair LOTTA stands,
And spreads to Heaven, in vain, her glassy hands;
Cold dews condense upon her pearly breast,
And the big tear rolls lucid down her vest.
Far gleaming o'er the town transparent fanes
Rear their white towers, and wave their golden vanes;
Long lines of lustres pour their trembling rays,
And the bright vault returns the mingled blaze.
2. 'HENCE orient NITRE owes it's sparkling birth,
And with prismatic crystals gems the earth,
O'er tottering domes in filmy foliage crawls,
Or frosts with branching plumes the mouldering walls.
As woos Azotic Gas the virgin Air,
And veils in crimson clouds the yielding Fair,
Indignant Fire the treacherous courtship flies,
Waves his light wing, and mingles with the skies.
'So Beauty's GODDESS, warm with new desire,
Left, on her silver wheels, the GOD of Fire;
Her faithless charms to fiercer MARS resign'd,
Met with fond lips, with wanton arms intwin'd.
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-Indignant VULCAN eyed the parting Fair,
And watch'd with jealous step the guilty pair;
O'er his broad neck a wiry net he flung,
Quick as he strode, the tinkling meshes rung;
Fine as the spider's flimsy thread He wove
The immortal toil to lime illicit love;
Steel were the knots, and steel the twisted thong,
Ring link'd in ring, indissolubly strong;
On viewless hooks along the fretted roof
He hung, unseen, the inextricable woof.-Quick start the springs, the webs pellucid spread,
And lock the embracing Lovers on their bed;
Fierce with loud taunts vindictive VULCAN springs,
Tries all the bolts, and tightens all the strings,
Shakes with incessant shouts the bright abodes,
Claps his rude hands, and calls the festive Gods.-With spreading palms the alarmed Goddess tries
To veil her beauties from celestial eyes,
Writhes her fair limbs, the slender ringlets strains,
And bids her Loves untie the obdurate chains;
Soft swells her panting bosom, as she turns,
And her flush'd cheek with brighter blushes burns.
Majestic grief the Queen of Heaven avows,
And chaste Minerva hides her helmed brows;
Attendant Nymphs with bashful eyes askance
Steal of intangled MARS a transient glance;
Surrounding Gods the circling nectar quaff,
Gaze on the Fair, and envy as they laugh.
3. 'HENCE dusky IRON sleeps in dark abodes,
And ferny foliage nestles in the nodes;
Till with wide lungs the panting bellows blow,
And waked by fire the glittering torrents flow;
-Quick whirls the wheel, the ponderous hammer falls,
Loud anvils ring amid the trembling walls,
Strokes follow strokes, the sparkling ingot shines,
Flows the red slag, the lengthening bar refines;
Cold waves, immersed, the glowing mass congeal,
And turn to adamant the hissing Steel.
'Last MICHELL'S hands with touch of potent charm
The polish'd rods with powers magnetic arm;
With points directed to the polar stars
In one long line extend the temper'd bars;
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Then thrice and thrice with steady eye he guides,
And o'er the adhesive train the magnet slides;
The obedient Steel with living instinct moves,
And veers for ever to the pole it loves.
'Hail, adamantine STEEL! magnetic Lord!
King of the prow, the plowshare, and the sword!
True to the pole, by thee the pilot guides
His steady helm amid the struggling tides,
Braves with broad sail the immeasurable sea,
Cleaves the dark air, and asks no star but Thee.By thee the plowshare rends the matted plain,
Inhumes in level rows the living grain;
Intrusive forests quit the cultured ground,
And Ceres laughs with golden fillets crown'd.O'er restless realms when scowling Discord flings
Her snakes, and loud the din of battle rings;
Expiring Strength, and vanquish'd Courage feel
Thy arm resistless, adamantine STEEL!
4. 'HENCE in fine streams diffusive ACIDS flow,
Or wing'd with fire o'er Earth's fair bosom blow;
Transmute to glittering Flints her chalky lands,
Or sink on Ocean's bed in countless Sands.
Hence silvery Selenite her chrystal moulds,
And soft Asbestus smooths his silky folds;
His cubic forms phosphoric Fluor prints,
Or rays in spheres his amethystine tints.
Soft cobweb clouds transparent Onyx spreads,
And playful Agates weave their colour'd threads;
Gay pictured Mochoes glow with landscape-dyes,
And changeful Opals roll their lucid eyes;
Blue lambent light around the Sapphire plays,
Bright Rubies blush, and living Diamonds blaze.
'Thus, for attractive earth, inconstant JOVE
Mask'd in new shapes forsook his realms above.First her sweet eyes his Eagle-form beguiles,
And HEBE feeds him with ambrosial smiles;
Next the chang'd God a Cygnet's down assumes,
And playful LEDA smooths his glossy plumes;
Then glides a silver Serpent, treacherous guest!
And fair OLYMPIA folds him in her breast;
Now lows a milk-white Bull on Afric's strand,
And crops with dancing head the daisy'd land.-
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With rosy wreathes EUROPA'S hand adorns
His fringed forehead, and his pearly horns;
Light on his back the sportive Damsel bounds,
And pleased he moves along the flowery grounds;
Bears with slow step his beauteous prize aloof,
Dips in the lucid flood his ivory hoof;
Then wets his velvet knees, and wading laves
His silky sides amid the dimpling waves.
While her fond train with beckoning hands deplore,
Strain their blue eyes, and shriek along the shore;
Beneath her robe she draws her snowy feet,
And, half-reclining on her ermine seat,
Round his raised neck her radiant arms she throws,
And rests her fair cheek on his curled brows;
Her yellow tresses wave on wanton gales,
And high in air her azure mantle sails.
-Onward He moves, applauding Cupids guide,
And skim on shooting wing the shining tide;
Emerging Triton's leave their coral caves,
Sound their loud conchs, and smooth the circling waves,
Surround the timorous Beauty, as she swims,
And gaze enamour'd on her silver limbs.
-Now Europe's shadowy shores with loud acclaim
Hail the fair fugitive, and shout her name;
Soft echoes warble, whispering forests nod,
And conscious Nature owns the present God.
-Changed from the Bull, the rapturous God assumes
Immortal youth, with glow celestial blooms,
With lenient words her virgin fears disarms,
And clasps the yielding Beauty in his arms;
Whence Kings and Heroes own illustrious birth,
Guards of mankind, and demigods on earth.
VI. 'GNOMES! as you pass'd beneath the labouring soil,
The guards and guides of Nature's chemic toil,
YOU saw, deep-sepulchred in dusky realms,
Which Earth's rock-ribbed ponderous vault o'erwhelms,
With self-born fires the mass fermenting glow,
And flame-wing'd sulphurs quit the earths below.
1. 'HENCE ductile CLAYS in wide expansion spread,
Soft as the Cygnet's down, their snow-white bed;
With yielding flakes successive forms reveal,
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And change obedient to the whirling wheel.
-First CHINA'S sons, with early art elate,
Form'd the gay tea-pot, and the pictured plate;
Saw with illumin'd brow and dazzled eyes
In the red stove vitrescent colours rise;
Speck'd her tall beakers with enamel'd stars,
Her monster-josses, and gigantic jars;
Smear'd her huge dragons with metallic hues,
With golden purples, and cobaltic blues;
Bade on wide hills her porcelain castles glare,
And glazed Pagodas tremble in the air.
'ETRURIA! next beneath thy magic hands
Glides the quick wheel, the plaistic clay expands,
Nerved with fine touch, thy fingers (as it turns)
Mark the nice bounds of vases, ewers, and urns;
Round each fair form in lines immortal trace
Uncopied Beauty, and ideal Grace.
'GNOMES! as you now dissect with hammers fine
The granite-rock, the nodul'd flint calcine;
Grind with strong arm, the circling chertz betwixt,
Your pure Ka-o-lins and Pe-tun-tses mixt;
O'er each red saggars burning cave preside,
The keen-eyed Fire-Nymphs blazing by your side;
And pleased on WEDGWOOD ray your partial smile,
A new Etruria decks Britannia's isle.Charm'd by your touch, the flint liquescent pours
Through finer sieves, and falls in whiter showers;
Charm'd by your touch, the kneaded clay refines,
The biscuit hardens, the enamel shines;
Each nicer mould a softer feature drinks,
The bold Cameo speaks, the soft Intaglio thinks.
'To call the pearly drops from Pity's eye,
Or stay Despair's disanimating sigh,
Whether, O Friend of art! the gem you mould
Rich with new taste, with antient virtue bold;
Form the poor fetter'd SLAVE on bended knee
From Britain's sons imploring to be free;
Or with fair HOPE the brightening scenes improve,
And cheer the dreary wastes at Sydney-cove;
Or bid Mortality rejoice and mourn
O'er the fine forms on PORTLAND'S mystic urn.'
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Here
by fall'n columns and disjoin'd arcades,
On mouldering stones, beneath deciduous shades,
Sits HUMANKIND in hieroglyphic state,
Serious, and pondering on their changeful state;
While with inverted torch, and swimming eyes,
Sinks the fair shade of MORTAL LIFE, and dies.
There
the pale GHOST through Death's wide portal bends
His timid feet, the dusky steep descends;
With smiles assuasive LOVE DIVINE invites,
Guides on broad wing, with torch uplifted lights;
IMMORTAL LIFE, her hand extending, courts
The lingering form, his tottering step supports;
Leads on to Pluto's realms the dreary way,
And gives him trembling to Elysian day.
Beneath
in sacred robes the PRIESTESS dress'd,
The coif close-hooded, and the fluttering vest,
With pointing finger guides the initiate youth,
Unweaves the many-colour'd veil of Truth,
Drives the profane from Mystery's bolted door,
And Silence guards the Eleusinian lore.'Whether, O Friend of Art! your gems derive
Fine forms from Greece, and fabled Gods revive;
Or bid from modern life the Portrait breathe,
And bind round Honour's brow the laurel wreath;
Buoyant shall sail, with Fame's historic page,
Each fair medallion o'er the wrecks of age;
Nor Time shall mar; nor steel, nor fire, nor rust
Touch the hard polish of the immortal bust.
2. 'HENCE sable COAL his massy couch extends,
And stars of gold the sparkling Pyrite blends;
Hence dull-eyed Naphtha pours his pitchy streams,
And Jet uncolour'd drinks the solar beams,
Bright Amber shines on his electric throne,
And adds ethereal lustres to his own.
-Led by the phosphor-light, with daring tread
Immortal FRANKLIN sought the fiery bed;
Where, nursed in night, incumbent Tempest shrouds
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The seeds of Thunder in circumfluent clouds,
Besieged with iron points his airy cell,
And pierced the monster slumbering in the shell.
'So, born on sounding pinions to the WEST,
When Tyrant-Power had built his eagle nest;
While from his eyry shriek'd the famish'd brood,
Clenched their sharp claws, and champ'd their beaks for blood,
Immortal FRANKLIN watch'd the callow crew,
And stabb'd the struggling Vampires, ere they flew.
-The patriot-flame with quick contagion ran,
Hill lighted hill, and man electrised man;
Her heroes slain awhile COLUMBIA mourn'd,
And crown'd with laurels LIBERTY return'd.
'The Warrior, LIBERTY, with bending sails
Helm'd his bold course to fair HIBERNIA'S vales;Firm as he steps, along the shouting lands,
Lo! Truth and Virtue range their radiant bands;
Sad Superstition wails her empire torn,
Art plies his oar, and Commerce pours her horn.
'Long had the Giant-form on GALLIA'S plains
Inglorious slept, unconscious of his chains;
Round his large limbs were wound a thousand strings
By the weak hands of Confessors and Kings;
O'er his closed eyes a triple veil was bound,
And steely rivets lock'd him to the ground;
While stern Bastile with iron cage inthralls
His folded limbs, and hems in marble walls.
-Touch'd by the patriot-flame, he rent amazed
The flimsy bonds, and round and round him gazed;
Starts up from earth, above the admiring throng
Lifts his Colossal form, and towers along;
High o'er his foes his hundred arms He rears,
Plowshares his swords, and pruning hooks his spears;
Calls to the Good and Brave with voice, that rolls
Like Heaven's own thunder round the echoing poles;
Gives to the winds his banner broad unfurl'd,
And gathers in its shade the living world!
VII. 'GNOMES! YOU then taught volcanic airs to force
Through bubbling Lavas their resistless course,
O'er the broad walls of rifted Granite climb,
And pierce the rent roof of incumbent Lime,
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Round sparry caves metallic lustres fling,
And bear phlogiston on their tepid wing.
'HENCE glows, refulgent Tin! thy chrystal grains,
And tawny Copper shoots her azure veins;
Zinc lines his fretted vault with sable ore,
And dull Galena tessellates the floor;
On vermil beds in Idria's mighty caves
The living Silver rolls its ponderous waves;
With gay refractions bright Platina shines,
And studs with squander'd stars his dusky mines;
Long threads of netted gold, and silvery darts,
Inlay the Lazuli, and pierce the Quartz;-Whence roof'd with silver beam'd PERU, of old,
And hapless MEXICO was paved with gold.
'Heavens! on my sight what sanguine colours blaze!
Spain's deathless shame! the crimes of modern days!
When Avarice, shrouded in Religion's robe,
Sail'd to the West, and slaughter'd half the globe;
While Superstition, stalking by his side,
Mock'd the loud groans, and lap'd the bloody tide;
For sacred truths announced her frenzied dreams,
And turn'd to night the sun's meridian beams.Hear, oh, BRITANNIA! potent Queen of isles,
On whom fair Art, and meek Religion smiles,
Now AFRIC'S coasts thy craftier sons invade
With murder, rapine, theft,-and call it Trade!
-The SLAVE, in chains, on supplicating knee,
Spreads his wide arms, and lifts his eyes to Thee;
With hunger pale, with wounds and toil oppress'd,
'ARE WE NOT BRETHREN?' sorrow choaks the rest;-AIR! bear to heaven upon thy azure flood
Their innocent cries!-EARTH! cover not their blood!
VIII. 'When Heaven's dread justice smites in crimes o'ergrown
The blood-nursed Tyrant on his purple throne,
GNOMES! YOUR bold forms unnumber'd arms outstretch,
And urge the vengeance o'er the guilty wretch.Thus when CAMBYSES led his barbarous hosts
From Persia's rocks to Egypt's trembling coasts,
Defiled each hallowed fane, and sacred wood,
And, drunk with fury, swell'd the Nile with blood;
Waved his proud banner o'er the Theban states,
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And pour'd destruction through her hundred gates;
In dread divisions march'd the marshal'd bands,
And swarming armies blacken'd all the lands,
By Memphis these to ETHIOP'S sultry plains,
And those to HAMMON'S sand-incircled fanes.Slow as they pass'd, the indignant temples frown'd,
Low curses muttering from the vaulted ground;
Long ailes of Cypress waved their deepen'd glooms,
And quivering spectres grinn'd amid the tombs;
Prophetic whispers breathed from S
And MEMNON'S lyre with hollow murmurs rung;
Burst from each pyramid expiring groans,
And darker shadows stretch'd their lengthen'd cones.Day after day their deathful rout They steer,
Lust in the van, and rapine in the rear.
'GNOMES! as they march'd, You hid the gathered fruits,
The bladed grass, sweet grains, and mealy roots;
Scared the tired quails, that journey'd o'er their heads,
Retain'd the locusts in their earthy beds;
Bade on your sands no night-born dews distil,
Stay'd with vindictive hands the scanty rill.Loud o'er the camp the Fiend of Famine shrieks,
Calls all her brood, and champs her hundred beaks;
O'er ten square leagues her pennons broad expand,
And twilight swims upon the shuddering sand;
Perch'd on her crest the Griffin Discord clings,
And Giant Murder rides between her wings;
Blood from each clotted hair, and horny quill,
And showers of tears in blended streams distil;
High-poised in air her spiry neck she bends,
Rolls her keen eye, her Dragon-claws extends,
Darts from above, and tears at each fell swoop
With iron fangs the decimated troop.
'Now o'er their head the whizzing whirlwinds breathe,
And the live desert pants, and heaves beneath;
Tinged by the crimson sun, vast columns rise
Of eddying sands, and war amid the skies,
In red arcades the billowy plain surround,
And stalking turrets dance upon the ground.
-Long ranks in vain their shining blades extend,
To Demon-Gods their knees unhallow'd bend,
Wheel in wide circle, form in hollow square,
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And now they front, and now they fly the war,
Pierce the deaf tempest with lamenting cries,
Press their parch'd lips, and close their blood-shot eyes.
-GNOMES! o'er the waste YOU led your myriad powers,
Climb'd on the whirls, and aim'd the flinty showers!Onward resistless rolls the infuriate surge,
Clouds follow clouds, and mountains mountains urge;
Wave over wave the driving desert swims,
Bursts o'er their heads, inhumes their struggling limbs;
Man mounts on man, on camels camels rush,
Hosts march o'er hosts, and nations nations crush,Wheeling in air the winged islands fall,
And one great earthy Ocean covers all!Then ceased the storm,-NIGHT bow'd his Ethiop brow
To earth, and listen'd to the groans below,Grim HORROR shook,-awhile the living hill
Heaved with convulsive throes,-and all was still!
IX. 'GNOMES! whose fine forms, impassive as the air,
Shrink with soft sympathy for human care;
Who glide unseen, on printless slippers borne,
Beneath the waving grass, and nodding corn;
Or lay your tiny limbs, when noon-tide warms,
Where shadowy cowslips stretch their golden arms,So mark'd on orreries in lucid signs,
Star'd with bright points the mimic zodiac shines;
Borne on fine wires amid the pictured skies
With ivory orbs the planets set and rise;
Round the dwarf earth the pearly moon is roll'd,
And the sun twinkling whirls his rays of gold.Call your bright myriads, march your mailed hosts,
With spears and helmets glittering round the coasts;
Thick as the hairs, which rear the Lion's mane,
Or fringe the Boar, that bays the hunter-train;
Watch, where proud Surges break their treacherous mounds,
And sweep resistless o'er the cultured grounds;
Such as erewhile, impell'd o'er Belgia's plain,
Roll'd her rich ruins to the insatiate main;
With piles and piers the ruffian waves engage,
And bid indignant Ocean stay his rage.
'Where, girt with clouds, the rifted mountain yawns,
And chills with length of shade the gelid lawns,
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Climb the rude steeps, the granite-cliffs surround,
Pierce with steel points, with wooden wedges wound;
Break into clays the soft volcanic slaggs,
Or melt with acid airs the marble craggs;
Crown the green summits with adventurous flocks,
And charm with novel flowers the wondering rocks.
-So when proud Rome the Afric Warrior braved,
And high on Alps his crimson banner waved;
While rocks on rocks their beetling brows oppose
With piny forests, and unfathomed snows;
Onward he march'd, to Latium's velvet ground
With fires and acids burst the obdurate bound,
Wide o'er her weeping vales destruction hurl'd,
And shook the rising empire of the world.
X. 'Go, gentle GNOMES! resume your vernal toil,
Seek my chill tribes, which sleep beneath the soil;
On grey-moss banks, green meads, or furrow'd lands
Spread the dark mould, white lime, and crumbling sands;
Each bursting bud with healthier juices feed,
Emerging scion, or awaken'd seed.
So, in descending streams, the silver Chyle
Streaks with white clouds the golden floods of bile;
Through each nice valve the mingling currents glide,
Join their fine rills, and swell the sanguine tide;
Each countless cell, and viewless fibre seek,
Nerve the strong arm, and tinge the blushing cheek.
'Oh, watch, where bosom'd in the teeming earth,
Green swells the germ, impatient for its birth;
Guard from rapacious worms its tender shoots,
And drive the mining beetle from its roots;
With ceaseless efforts rend the obdurate clay,
And give my vegetable babes to day!
-Thus when an Angel-form, in light array'd,
Like HOWARD pierced the prison's noisome shade;
Where chain'd to earth, with eyes to heaven upturn'd,
The kneeling Saint in holy anguish mourn'd;Ray'd from his lucid vest, and halo'd brow
O'er the dark roof celestial lustres glow,
'PETER, arise!' with cheering voice He calls,
And sounds seraphic echo round the walls;
Locks, bolts, and chains his potent touch obey,
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And pleased he leads the dazzled Sage to day.
XI. 'YOU! whose fine fingers fill the organic cells,
With virgin earth, of woods and bones and shells;
Mould with retractile glue their spongy beds,
And stretch and strengthen all their fibre-threads.Late when the mass obeys its changeful doom,
And sinks to earth, its cradle and its tomb,
GNOMES! with nice eye the slow solution watch,
With fostering hand the parting atoms catch,
Join in new forms, combine with life and sense,
And guide and guard the transmigrating Ens.
'So when on Lebanon's sequester'd hight
The fair ADONIS left the realms of light,
Bow'd his bright locks, and, fated from his birth
To change eternal, mingled with the earth;With darker horror shook the conscious wood,
Groan'd the sad gales, and rivers blush'd with blood;
On cypress-boughs the Loves their quivers hung,
Their arrows scatter'd, and their bows unstrung;
And BEAUTY'S GODDESS, bending o'er his bier,
Breathed the soft sigh, and pour'd the tender tear.Admiring PROSERPINE through dusky glades
Led the fair phantom to Elysian shades,
Clad with new form, with finer sense combined,
And lit with purer flame the ethereal mind.
-Erewhile, emerging from infernal night,
The bright Assurgent rises into light,
Leaves the drear chambers of the insatiate tomb,
And shines and charms with renovated bloom.While wondering Loves the bursting grave surround,
And edge with meeting wings the yawning ground,
Stretch their fair necks, and leaning o'er the brink
View the pale regions of the dead, and shrink;
Long with broad eyes ecstatic BEAUTY stands,
Heaves her white bosom, spreads her waxen hands;
Then with loud shriek the panting Youth alarms,
'My Life! my Love!' and springs into his arms.'
The GODDESS ceased,-the delegated throng
O'er the wide plains delighted rush along;
In dusky squadrons, and in shining groups,
Hosts follow hosts, and troops succeed to troops;
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Scarce bears the bending grass the moving freight,
And nodding florets bow beneath their weight.
So when light clouds on airy pinions sail,
Flit the soft shadows o'er the waving vale;
Shade follows shade, as laughing Zephyrs drive,
And all the chequer'd landscape seems alive.
~ Erasmus Darwin
185:The Bush
I wonder if the spell, the mystery,
That like a haze about your silence clings,
Moulding your void until we seem to see
Tangible Presences of Deathless Things,
Patterned but little to our spirits' woof,
Yet from our love or hate not all aloof,
Can. be the matrix where are forming slowly
Troy tales of Old Australia, to refine
Eras to come of ordered melancholy
'Neath lily-pale Perfection's anodyne.
For Troy hath ever been, and Homer sang
Its younger story for a lodging's fee,
While o'er Scamander settlers' axes rang
Amid the Bush where Ilium was to be.
For Cretan Art, dim centuries before,
Minoan Dream-times some Briseis bore.
Sumerian Phoebus by a willowed water
Song-built a Troy for far Chaldea, where
The sons of God, beholding Leda's daughter,
Bartered eternal thrones for love of her.
Across each terraced aeon Time hath sowed
With green tautology of vanished years,
Gaping aghast or webbed with shining lode,
Achilles' anger's earthquake-rift appears.
The towers that Phoebus builds can never fall:
Desire that Helen lights can never pall:
Yea, wounded Love hath still but gods to fly to,
When lust of war inflames Diomedes:
Must some Australian Hector vainly die, too?
Captives in ships? (0 change that omen, Trees!)
Yea, Mother Bush, in your deep dreams abide
Cupids alert for man and maid unborn,
Apprentice Pucks amid your saplings hide,
And wistful gorges wait a Roland horn:
Wallet of Sigurd shall this swag replace,
And centaurs curvet where those brumbies race.
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That drover's tale of love shall greaten duly
Through magic prisms of a myriad years,
Till bums Isolde to Tristram's fervour newly,
Or Launcelot to golden Guinevere's.
The miner cradling washdirt by the creek,
Or pulled through darkness dripping to the plat:
The navvy boring tunnels through the peak:
The farmer grubbing box-trees on the flat:
The hawker camping by the roadside spring:
The hodman on the giddy scaffolding:
Moths that around the fashion windows flutter:
The racecourse spider and the betting fly:
The children romping by the city gutter,
While baby crows to every passer-byFrom these rough blocks strewn o'er our ancient stream
Sculptors shall chisel brownie, fairy, faun,
Any myrmidons of some Homeric dream
From Melbourne mob and Sydney push be drawn.
The humdrum lives that now we tire of, then
Romance shall be, and 'we heroic men
Treading the vestibule of Golden Ages,
The Isthmus of the Land of Heart's Desire:
For lo! the Sybil's final volume's pages
Ope with our Advent, close when we expire.
Forgetful Change in one 'antiquity'
Boreal gleams shall drown, and southern glows;
Out of some singing woman's heart-break plea
Australia's dawn shall flush with Sappho's rose:
Strong Shirlow's hand shall trace Mantegna's line,
And Soma foam from Victor Daley's wine:
Scholars to be our prehistoric drama
From Esson's 'Woman Tamer' shall restore,
Or find in Gilbert's 'Lotus Stream and Lama'
An Austral Nile and Buddhas we adore.
The sunlit Satyrs follow Hugh McCrae,
Quinn spans the ocean with a Celtic ford,
And Williamson the Pan-pipe learns to play
From magpie-songs our schoolboy ears ignored:
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A sweeter woe no keen of Erin gave
Than Kendall sings o'er Araluen's grave:
Tasmanian Wordsworth to his chapel riding
The Burning Bush and Ardath mead shall pass,
Or, from the sea-coast of Bohemia gliding
On craft of dream, behold a shepherd lass.
Jessie Mackay on Southern Highlands sees
The elves deploy in kem and gallowglass:
Our Gilbert Murray writes 'Euripides':
Pirani merges in Pythagoras:
Marsyas plunges into Lethe, flayed,
From Rhadamanthine Stephens' steady blade:
While Benvenuto Morton, drunk with singing,
Sees salamanders in a bush-fire's bed,
And Spencer sails from Alcheringa bringing
Intaglios, totems and Books of the Dead.
On Southern fiords shall Brady's Long Snakes hiss,
Heavy with brides he wins to Viking troth:
O'Reilly's Sydney shall be Sybaris,
While Melbourne's Muses sup their Spartan broth:
Murdoch, Zenobia's counsellor, in time,
Redacts from Burke his book on The Sublime:
By Way was Homer into Greek translated:
And Shakespeare's self is Sophocles so plain
They know the kerb whereon the Furies waited
Outside the Mermaid Inn in Brogan's Lane.
Vane shall divide with Vern Eureka's fame;
Tillett and Mann are Tyler then and Cade:
Dowie's entwines with Cagliostro's name,
And in Tarpeia's, lo, those fair forms fade
Who drug the poor, for social bread and wine,
And lift the furtive latch to Catiline:
There, where the Longmore-featured Gracchi hurry,
And Greek-browed Higinbotham walks, anon,
The 'wealthy lower orders' leap the Murray
Before the stockwhip cracks of Jardine Don.
Cleons in 'Windsor dress at Syracuse
Their thin plebeians' promised meal delay;
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And Archibald begets Australia's Muse
Upon an undine red of Chowder Bay:
Paterson's swan draws Amphitrite's car,
And Sidon learns from Young what purples are:
Rose Scott refutes dogmatic Cyril gaily,
Hypatia turns the anti-suffrage flank,
And Herod's daughter sools her 'morning daily'
On John the Baptist by the Yarra Bank.
Yon regal bustard, fading hence ere long,
Shall seem the guide we followed to the Grail;
This lyre-bird on his dancing-mound of song
Our mystagogue of some Bacchantic vale,
Where feathered Pan guffaws 'Evoe!' above,
And Maenad curlews shriek their midnight love:
That trailing flight of distant swans is bearing
Sarpedon's soul to its eternal joy:
This ibis, from the very Nile, despairing,
Memnon our own would warn from fatal Troy.
Primeval gnomes distilled the golden bribes
That have impregnated your musing waste with men;
But shall the spell of your pathetic tribes
Curl round, in time, our fairer limbs again?
Through that long tunnel of your gloom, I see
Gardens of a metropolis to be!
Out of the depths the mountain ash is soaring
To embryon gods of what unsounded space?
Out of the heights what influence is pouring
Thin desolation on your haunted face?
Many there are who see no higher lot
For all your writhing centuries of toil
Than that the avaricious plough should blot
Their wilding burgeon, and the red brand spoil
Your cyclopean garniture, to sow
The cheap parterres of Europe on your woe.
They weave all sorceries but yours, and borrow
The tinkling spells of alien winds and seas
To drown the chord of purifying sorrow,
Bom ere the world, that pulses through your trees.
42
For, save when we, in not o'er-subtle mood,
Hear magpies warbling soft November in,
Or, hand in hand with Love, a dreaming wood
Or bouldered crest of crisper April win,
Your harps, unblurred by glozing strings, intone
The dirges that behind Creation moan'Where, riding reinless billows, new lives dash on
The souring beach of yesterday's decay,
Where Love's chord leaps from mandrake shrieks of passion,
And groping gods mould man from quivering clay.
(Is Nature deaf and blind and dumb? A cruse
Unfilled of wine? Clay for an unbreathed soul?
Alien to man, till his desires transfuse
Their flames through wind and water, leaf and bole,
And each crude fane elaborately fit
With oracles that echo all his wit?
The living wilds of Greece saw death returning
When Pan that men had made fell from his throne:
Till through her sap our very blood is churning
The Bush her lonely alien woe shall moan!
Or is she reticent but to be kind?
Whispers she not beneath her mask of clods'Who asks he shall receive, who seeks shall find,
Who knocks shall open every door of God's?'
Dumb Faith's, blind Hope's eternal consort she,
Gravid with all that is on earth to be;
Corn, wine and oil in hungry granite hiding,
All Beauty under sober wings of clay,
All life beneath her dead heart long abiding,
Yea, all the gods her sons and she obey!)
What sin's wan expiation strewed your Vast
With mounded pillage of what conquering fire?
Slumbering throes of what prodigious Past
Exhale these lingering ghosts of its desire?
Sunshine that bleached corruption out, that glare?
Desolate blue of Purgatory, there?
Flagellant winds through guilty Eden scouring?
Sahara drowning Prester John's domain?
Satumian dam her progeny devouring?
Hath dawn-time Hun these footprints left? Hath Cain?
43
Even the human wave, that shall at length
To man's endurance key your strident surge,
Sings in your poignant tones and sombre strength,
And makes, as yet, its own your primal dirge:
A gun-shot startles dawn back from the sky,
And mourning tea-trees echo Gordon's sigh:
Nardoo with Burke's faint sweat is dank for ever:
Spectral a tribe round poisoned rations shrieks:
Till doomday Leichhardt walks die Never Never:
Pensive, of Boake, the circling stock-whip speaks.
The wraiths unseen of roadside crimes unnamed
About that old-time shanty's ruins roam:
This squatter's fenceless acres hide ashamed
The hearth and battered zinc of Naboth's home:
Deserted 'yam-holes' pit your harmonies
With sloughing pock-marks of the gold-disease:
The sludgy creek 'mid hungry rushes rambles,
Where teal once dived and lowan raised her mound:
That tree, with crows, o'erlooks the township shambles:
These paddocks, ordure-smeared, the city bound.
0 yield not all to factory and farm!
For we, who drew a milk no stranger knows
From her scant paps, yearn for the acrid charm
That gossamers the Bush Where No Tree Grows.
And we have ritual moments when we crave
For worship in some messmate-pillared nave,
Where contrite 'bears' for woodland sins are kneeling,
And, 'mid the censers of the mountain musk,
Acolyte bell-birds the Angelus are pealing,
And boobooks moan lone vespers in the dusk,
And you have Children of the Dreaming Star,
Who care but little for the crowded ways
Where meagre spirits' vapid prizes are,
Or for the paddocked ease of dreamless days
And hedges clipped of every sunny growth
That plights the soul to God in daily troth:
Their wayward love prefers your desolation,
Or (where the human trail hath seared its charm)
44
The briar-rose on some abandoned 'station',
To all the tilled obedience of the farm.
Vineyards that purblind thrift shall never glean
The weedy waste and thistly gully hold:
No mint shall melt to currency unclean
Yon river-rounded hillock's Cape-broom gold:
The onion-grass upon that dark green slope
Returns our gaze from eyes of heliotrope:
But more we seek your underflowered expanses
Of scrub monotonous, or, where, O Bush,
The craters of your fiery noon's romances,
Like great firm bosoms, through the bare plains push.
As many. Mother, are your moods and forms
As all the sons who love you. Here, you mow
Careering grounds for every brood of storms
The wild sea-mares to desert stallions throw;
Anon, up through a sea of sand you glance
With green ephemeral exuberance,
And then quick seeds dive deep to years of slumber
From hot-hoofed drought's precipitate return:
There, league on league, the snow's cold fingers number
The shrinking nerves of supple-jack and fern.
To other eyes and ears you are a great
Pillared cathedral tremulously green,
An odorous and hospitable gate
To genial mystery, the happy screen
Of truants or of lovers rambling there
'Neath sun-shot boughs o'er miles of maidenhair.
Wee rubies dot the leaflets of the cherries,
The wooing wagtails hop from log to bough,
The bronzewing comes from Queensland for the berries,
The bell-bird by the creek is calling now.
And you can ride, an Eastern queen, they say,
By living creatures sumptuously borne,
With all barbaric equipages gay,
Beneath the torrid blue of Capricorn.
That native lotus is the very womb
That was the Hindoo goddess' earthly tomb.
45
The gang-gang screams o'er cactus wildernesses,
Palm trees are there, and swampy widths of rice,
Unguents and odours ooze from green recesses,
The jungles blaze with birds of Paradise.
But I, in city exile, hear you sing
Of saplinged hill and box-tree dotted plain,
Or silver-grass that prays the North Wind's wing
Convey its sigh to the loitering rain:
And Spring is half distraught with wintry gusts,
Summer the daily spoil of tropic lusts
The sun and she too fiercely shared together
Lingering thro' voluptuous Hindoo woods,
But o'er my windless, soft autumnal weather
The peace that passes understanding broods.
When, now, they say 'The Bush!', I see the top
Delicate amber leanings of the gum
Flutter, or flocks of screaming green leeks drop
Silent, where in the shining morning hum
The gleaning bees for honey-scented hours
'Mid labyrinthine leaves and white gum flowers.
Cantering midnight hoofs are nearing, nearing,
The straining bullocks flick the harpy flies,
The 'hatter' weeds his melancholy clearing,
The distant cow-bell tinkles o'er the rise.
You are the brooding comrade of our way,
Whispering rumour of a new Unknown,
Moulding us white ideals to obey,
Steeping whate'er we learn in lore your own,
And freshening with unpolluted light
The squalid city's day and pallid night,
Till we become ourselves distinct, Australian,
(Your native lightning charging blood and nerve),
Stripped to the soul of borrowed garments, alien
To that approaching Shape of God you serve.
Brooding, brooding, your whispers murmur plain
That searching for the clue to mystery
In grottos of decrepitude is vain,
That never shall the eye of prophet see
46
In crooked Trade's tumultuous streets the plan
Of templed cities adequate to man.
Brooding, brooding, you make us Brahmins waiting
(While uninspired pass on the hurtling years),
Faithful to dreams your spirit is creating,
Till Great Australia, born of you, appears.
For Great Australia is not yet: She waits
(Where o'er the Bush prophetic auras play)
The passing of these temporary States,
Flaunting their tawdry flags of far decay.
Her aureole above the alien mists
Beacons our filial eyes to mountain trysts:
'Mid homely trees with all ideals fruited,
She shelters us till Trade's Simoom goes by,
And slakes our thirst from cisterns unpolluted .
For ages cold in brooding deeps of sky.
We love our brothers, and to heal their woe
Pluck simples from the known old gardens still:
We love our kindred over seas, and grow
Their symbols tenderly o'er plain and hill;
We feel their blood rebounding in our hearts,
And speak as they would speak our daily parts:
But under all we know, we know that only
A virgin womb unsoiled by ancient fear
Can Saviours bear. So, we, your Brahmins, lonely,
Deaf to the barren tumult, wait your Year.
The Great Year's quivering dawn pencils the Night
To be the morning of our children's prime,
And weave from rays of yet ungathered Light
A richer noon than e'er apparelled Time.
If it must be, as Tuscan wisdom knew,
Babylon's seer, and wistful Egypt too,
That mellow afternoon shall pensive guide us
Down somnolent Decay's ravine to rest,
Then you, reborn, 0 Mother Bush, shall hide us
All the long night at your dream-laden breast.
Australian eyes that heed your lessons know
Another world than older pilgrims may:
47
Prometheus chained in Kosciusko's snow
Sees later gods than Zeus in turn decay:
Boundless plateaux expand the spirit's sight,
Resilient gales uphold her steeper flight:
And your close beating heart, 0 savage Mother,
Throbs secret words of joy and starker pain
Than reach the ears all old deceptions smother
In Lebanon, or e'en in Westermain.
We marvel not, who hear your undersong,
And catch a glimpse in rare exalted hours
Of something like a Being gleam along
Festooned arcades of flossie creeper flowers,
Or, toward the mirk, seem privileged to share
The silent rapture of the trees at prayerWe marvel not that seers in other ages,
With eyes unstrained by peering logic, saw
The desolation glow with Koran pages,
Or Sinai stones with Tables of the Law.
Homers are waiting in the gum trees now,
Far driven from the tarnished Cyclades:
More Druids to your green enchantment bow
Than 'neath unfaithful Mona's vanished trees:
A wind hath spirited from ageing France
To our fresh hills the carpet of Romance:
Heroes and maids of old with young blood tingling
In ampler gardens grow their roses new:
And races long apart their manas mingling
Prepare the cradle of an Advent due.
And those who dig the mounded eld for runes
To read Religion's tangled cipher, here,
Where all Illusion haunts the fainting noons
Of days hysteric with the tireless leer
Of ravenous enamoured suns, shall find
How May a flings her mantle o'er the mind,
Till sober sand to shining water changes,
Dodona whispers from the she-oak groves,
Afreets upon the tempest cross the ranges,
And Fafnir through the bunyip marshes roves.
48
Once, when Uranian Love appeared to glow
Through that abysmal Night that bounds our reignLove that a man may scarcely feel and know i
Quite the same world as other men againWith earthward-streaming frontier wraiths distraught,
Your oracles, 0 Mother Bush, I sought:
But found, dismayed, that eerie light revealing
Those wraiths already in your depths on sleuth,
Termagant Scorns along your hillsides stealing,
Remorse unbaring slow her barbed tooth.
My own thoughts first from far dispersion flew
Back to their sad creator, with the crops
Of woes in flower and all the harvests due
Till tiring Time the fearful seeding stops:
In pigmy forms of friends and foes, anon
In my own image, they came, stung, were gone:
And then I heard the voice of Him Who Questions,
Knowing the faltered answer ere it came,
Chilling the soul by hovering suggestions
Of wan damnation at a wince of blame.
And all your leaves in symbols were arranged,
Despairs long dead would leap from bough to bough,
A gum-tree buttress to a goblin changed
Grinning the warmth of some old broken vow:
Furtive desires for scarce-remembered maids
Glanced in a fearful bo-peep from your shades:
Till you became a purgatory cleansing
With rosy flakes in form of manikins,
To fiercer shame within my soul condensing,
The dim pollution of forgotten sins.
And She, the human symbol of that Love,
Would, as my cleansed eyes forgot their fear,
Comrade beside me. Comforter above,
With sunny smile ubiquitous appear:
Run on before me to the nooks we knew,
Walk hand in hand as glad young lovers do,
Gravely reprove me toying with temptation,
Show me the eyes and ears in roots and clods,
Bend with me o'er some blossom's revelation,
49
Or read from clouds the judgments of the gods.
My old ideals She would tune until
The grating note of self no longer rang:
She drove the birds of gloom and evil will
Out of the cote wherein my poems sang.
Time at Her wand annulled his calendar,
And Space his fallacy of Near and Far,
For through my Bush along with me She glided,
And crowded days of Beauty made more fair,
Though lagging weeks and ocean widths divided
Her mortal casing from Her Presence there.
Her wetted finger oped my shuttered eyes
To boyhood's scership of the Real again:
Upon the Bush descended from the skies
The rapt-up Eden of primordial men:
August Dominions through the vistas strode:
On white-maned clouds the smiling cherubs rode:
Maltreated Faith restored my jangled hearing
Till little seraphs sang from chip and clod:
And prayers were radiant children that, unfearing,
Floated as kisses to the lips of God.
It matters not that for some purpose wise
Myopic Reason censored long ago
The revelations of that Paradise,
When, back of all I feel or will or know,
Its silent angels beacon through the Dark
And point to harbours new my drifted ark.
Nor need we dread the fogs that round us thicken
Questing the Bush for Grails decreed for man,
When Powers our fathers saw unseen still quicken
Eyes that were ours before the world began.
'Twas then I saw the Vision of the Ways,
And 'mid their gloom and glory seemed to live,
Threaded the coverts of the Dark Road's maze,
Toiled up, with tears, the Track Retributive,
And, on the Path of Grace, beheld aglow
The love-lit Nave of all that wheeled below.
And She who flowered, my Mystic Rose, in Heaven,
50
And lit the Purging Mount, my Guiding Star,
Trudged o'er the marl, my mate, through Hell's wan levin,
Nor shrank, like lonely Dante's love, afar.
High towered a cloud over one leafy wild,
And to a bridged volcano grew. Above,
A great Greek group of father, mother, child,
Illumed a narrow round with radiant love.
Below, a smoke-pool thick with faces swirled,
The mutinous omen. of an Under-world,
Defeated, plundered, blackened, but preparing,
E'en though that calm, white dominance fell down,
To overflow the rim, and, sunward faring,
Shape myriad perfect groups from slave and clown.
Or thus I read the symbol, though 'twas sent
To hound compunction on my wincing pride,
That dreamed of raceless brotherhood, content
Though all old Charm dissolved and Glory died.
For often signs will yield their deeper signs,
Virginal Bush, in your untrodden shrines,
Than where the craven ages' human clamour
Distorts the boldest oracle with fear,
Or where dissolving wizards dew with glamour
Arden, Broceliande, or Windermere.
Once while my mother by a spreading tree
Our church's sober rubric bade me con,
My vagrant eyes among the boughs would see
Forbidden wings and •wizard aprons on
Father's 'wee people' from their Irish glades
Brighten and darken with your lights and shades.
And I would only read again those stern leaves
For whispered bribe that, when their tale I told,
We would go and look for fairies in the fern-leaves
And red-capped leprechauns with crocks of gold.
Anon, my boyhood saw how Sunbursts flamed
Or filmy hinds lured on a pale Oisin,
Where lithe indignant saplings crowding claimed
The digger's ravage for their plundered queen:
And heard within yon lichened 'mullock-heap'
51
Lord Edward's waiting horsemen moan in sleep:
Or flew the fragrant path of swans consoling
Lir's exiled daughter wandering with me,
And traced below the Wattle River rolling
Exuberant and golden toward the sea.
Here, would the •wavering wings of heat uplift
Some promontory till the tree-crowned pile
Above a phantom sea would swooning drift,
St. Brendan's vision of the Winged Isle:
Anon, the isle divides again, again,
Till archipelagos poise o'er the main.
There, lazy fingers of a breeze have scattered
The distant blur of factory chimney smoke
hi poignant groups of all the young lives shattered
To feed the ravin of a piston-stroke!
Or when I read the tale of what you were
Beyond these hungry eyes' home-keeping view,
I peopled petrel rocks with Sirens fair,
In Maid Mirage the Fairy Morgan knew,
Steered Quetzalcoatl's skiff to coral coasts,
On Chambers' Pillar throned the Olympian hosts,
Heard in white sulphur-crested parrots' screeches
Remorseful Peris vent their hopeless rage,
Atlantis' borders traced on sunken beaches,
m Alcheringa found the Golden Age.
Sibyl and Siren, with alternate breaths
You read our foetal nation's boon and bane,
And lure to trysts of orgiastic Deaths
Adventurous love that listens to your strain:
Pelsarts and Vanderdeckens of the world
Circle your charms or at your feet are hurled:
And, Southern witch, whose glamour drew De Quiros
O'er half the earth for one unyielded kiss,
Were yours the arms that healed the scalded Eros
When Psyche's curious lamp darkened their bliss?
Ye, who would challenge when we claim to see
The bush alive with Northern wealth of wings,
Forget that at a common mother's knee
52
We learned, with you, the lore of Silent Things.
There is no New that is not older far
Than swirling cradle of the first-born star:
Our youngest hearts prolong the far pulsation
And churn the brine of the primordial sea:
The foetus writes the précis of Creation:
Australia is the whole world's legatee.
Imagination built her throne in us
Before your present bodies saw the sky:
Your myths were counters of our abacus,
And in your brain developed long our eye:
We from the misty folk have also sprung
Who saw the gnomes and heard the Ever Young:
Do Southern skies the fancy disinherit
Of moly flower and Deva-laden breeze?
Do nerves attuned by old defect and merit
Their timbre lose by crossing tropic seas?
All mysteries ye claim as yours alone
Have wafted secrets over oceans here:
Our living soil Antiquity hath sown
With just the corn and tares ye love and fear:
Romance and song enthral us just as you,
Nor change of zenith changes spirit too:
Our necks as yours are sore with feudal halters:
To the Pole ye know our compasses are set;
And shivering years that huddled round your altars
Beneath our stars auspicious tremble yet.
Who fenced the nymphs in European vales?
Or Pan tabooed from all but Oxford dreams?
Warned Shakespeare off from foreign Plutarch's tales?
Or tethered Virgil to Italian themes?
And when the body sailed from your control
Think ye we left behind in bond the soul?
Whate'er was yours is ours in equal measure,
The Temple was not built for you alone,
Altho' 'tis ours to grace the common treasure
With Lares and Penates of our own!
Ye stole yourselves from gardens fragrant long
53
The sprouting seed-pods of your choicest blooms,
And wove the splendid garments of your song
From Viking foam on grave Hebraic looms:
'Twas Roman nerve and rich Hellenic lymph
Changed your pale pixie to a nubile nymph:
Yea, breathed at dawn around Atlantis' islands,
Wind-home o'er some Hesperidean road,
The morning clouds on dim Accadian highlands
Spring-fed the Nile that over Hellas flowed!
As large-eyed Greek amid Sicilian dews
Saw Dis, as ne'er before, pursue the Maid,
Or, safe 'neath screening billows, Arethuse
Alpheus' rugged sleuth unsoiled evade:
We shall complete the tale ye left half-told,
Under the ocean lead your fountains old,
To slake our sceptic thirst with haunted water,
And tame our torrents with a wedding kiss,
Shall loose, mayhap, the spell on Ceres' daughter,
And show, unclouded, God in very Dis.
(Yet, there are moods and mornings when I hear,
Above the music of the Bush's breath,
The rush of alien breezes far and near
Drowning her oracles to very death:
Exotic battle-cries the silence mar,
Seductive perfumes drive the gum-scent far;
And organ-tones august a moment show me
Miltonic billows and Homeric gales
Until I feel the older worlds below me,
And all her wonder trembles, thins and fails.)
Yea, you are all that we may be, and yet
In us is all you are to be for aye!
The Giver of the gifts that we shall get?
An empty womb that waits the wedding day?
Thus drifting sense by age-long habit buoyed
Plays round the thought that knows all nature void!
And so, my song alternate would believe her
Idiot Bush and Daughter of the Sun,
A worthless gift apart from the receiver,
An empty womb, but in a Deathless One.
54
To shapes we would of Freedom, Truth and Joy
Shall we your willing plasm mould for man:
Afresh rebuild the world, and thus destroy
What only Ragnarok in Europe can:
There is no Light but in your dark blendes sleeps,
Drops from your stars or through your ether leaps:
Yea, you are Nature, Chaos since Creation,
Waiting what human Word to chord in song?
Matrix inert of what auspicious nation?
For what far bees your nectar hiving long?
Exhausted manas of the conquering North
Shall rise refreshed to vivid life again
At your approach, and in your lap pour forth
Grateful the gleanings of his mighty reign:
As, when a tropic heat-king southward crawls,
Blistering the ranges, till he hears the calls
Of some cold high-browed bride, her streaming tresses,
Sprinkled with rose-buds, make his wild eyes thrill
To such desire for her superb caresses
He yields his fiery treasures to her will.
'Where is Australia, singer, do you know?
These sordid farms and joyless factories,
Mephitic mines and lanes of pallid woe?
Those ugly towns and cities such as these
With incense sick to all unworthy power,
And all old sin in full malignant flower?
No! to her bourn her children still are faring:
She is a Temple that we are to build:
For her the ages have been long preparing:
She is a prophecy to be fulfilled!
All that we love in olden lands and lore
Was signal of her coming long ago!
Bacon foresaw her, Campanella, More
And Plato's eyes were with her star aglow!
Who toiled for Truth, whate'er their countries were,
Who fought for Liberty, they yearned for her!
No corsair's gathering ground, or tryst for schemers,
55
No chapman Carthage to a huckster Tyre,
She is the Eldorado of old dreamers,
The Sleeping Beauty of the world's desire!
She is the scroll on which we are to write
Mythologies our own and epics new:
She is the port of our propitious flight
From Ur idolatrous and Pharaoh's crew.
She is our own, unstained, if worthy we,
By dream, or god, or star we would not see:
Her crystal beams all but the eagle dazzle;
Her wind-wide ways none but the strong-winged sail:
She is Eutopia, she is Hy-Brasil,
The watchers on the tower of morning hail I
Yet she shall be as we, the Potter, mould:
Altar or tomb, as we aspire, despair:
What wine we bring shall she, the chalice, hold:
What word we write shall she, the script, declare:
Bandage our eyes, she shall be Memphis, Spain:
Barter our souls, she shall be Tyre again:
And if we pour on her the red oblation
All o'er the world shall Asshur's buzzards throng:
Love-lit, her Chaos shall become Creation:
And dewed with dream, her silence flower in song.
~ Bernard O'Dowd
186:Gotham - Book Ii
How much mistaken are the men who think
That all who will, without restraint may drink,
May largely drink, e'en till their bowels burst,
Pleading no right but merely that of thirst,
At the pure waters of the living well,
Beside whose streams the Muses love to dwell!
Verse is with them a knack, an idle toy,
A rattle gilded o'er, on which a boy
May play untaught, whilst, without art or force,
Make it but jingle, music comes of course.
Little do such men know the toil, the pains,
The daily, nightly racking of the brains,
To range the thoughts, the matter to digest,
To cull fit phrases, and reject the rest;
To know the times when Humour on the cheek
Of Mirth may hold her sports; when Wit should speak,
And when be silent; when to use the powers
Of ornament, and how to place the flowers,
So that they neither give a tawdry glare,
'Nor waste their sweetness in the desert air;'
To form, (which few can do, and scarcely one,
One critic in an age, can find when done)
To form a plan, to strike a grand outline,
To fill it up, and make the picture shine
A full and perfect piece; to make coy Rhyme
Renounce her follies, and with Sense keep time;
To make proud Sense against her nature bend,
And wear the chains of Rhyme, yet call her friend.
Some fops there are, amongst the scribbling tribe,
Who make it all their business to describe,
No matter whether in or out of place;
Studious of finery, and fond of lace,
Alike they trim, as coxcomb Fancy brings,
The rags of beggars, and the robes of kings.
Let dull Propriety in state preside
O'er her dull children, Nature is their guide;
Wild Nature, who at random breaks the fence
Of those tame drudges, Judgment, Taste, and Sense,
Nor would forgive herself the mighty crime
38
Of keeping terms with Person, Place, and Time.
Let liquid gold emblaze the sun at noon,
With borrow'd beams let silver pale the moon;
Let surges hoarse lash the resounding shore,
Let streams meander, and let torrents roar;
Let them breed up the melancholy breeze,
To sigh with sighing, sob with sobbing trees;
Let vales embroidery wear; let flowers be tinged
With various tints; let clouds be laced or fringed,
They have their wish; like idle monarch boys,
Neglecting things of weight, they sigh for toys;
Give them the crown, the sceptre, and the robe,
Who will may take the power, and rule the globe.
Others there are, who, in one solemn pace,
With as much zeal as Quakers rail at lace,
Railing at needful ornament, depend
On Sense to bring them to their journey's end:
They would not (Heaven forbid!) their course delay,
Nor for a moment step out of the way,
To make the barren road those graces wear
Which Nature would, if pleased, have planted there.
Vain men! who, blindly thwarting Nature's plan,
Ne'er find a passage to the heart of man;
Who, bred 'mongst fogs in academic land,
Scorn every thing they do not understand;
Who, destitute of humour, wit, and taste,
Let all their little knowledge run to waste,
And frustrate each good purpose, whilst they wear
The robes of Learning with a sloven's air.
Though solid reasoning arms each sterling line,
Though Truth declares aloud, 'This work is mine,'
Vice, whilst from page to page dull morals creep,
Throws by the book, and Virtue falls asleep.
Sense, mere dull, formal Sense, in this gay town,
Must have some vehicle to pass her down;
Nor can she for an hour insure her reign,
Unless she brings fair Pleasure in her train.
Let her from day to day, from year to year,
In all her grave solemnities appear,
And with the voice of trumpets, through the streets,
Deal lectures out to every one she meets;
Half who pass by are deaf, and t' other half
39
Can hear indeed, but only hear to laugh.
Quit then, ye graver sons of letter'd Pride!
Taking for once Experience as a guide,
Quit this grand error, this dull college mode;
Be your pursuits the same, but change the road;
Write, or at least appear to write, with ease,
'And if you mean to profit, learn to please.'
In vain for such mistakes they pardon claim,
Because they wield the pen in Virtue's name:
Thrice sacred is that name, thrice bless'd the man
Who thinks, speaks, writes, and lives on such a plan!
This, in himself, himself of course must bless,
But cannot with the world promote success.
He may be strong, but, with effect to speak,
Should recollect his readers may be weak;
Plain, rigid truths, which saints with comfort bear,
Will make the sinner tremble and despair.
True Virtue acts from love, and the great end
At which she nobly aims is to amend.
How then do those mistake who arm her laws
With rigour not their own, and hurt the cause
They mean to help, whilst with a zealot rage
They make that goddess, whom they'd have engage
Our dearest love, in hideous terror rise!
Such may be honest, but they can't be wise.
In her own full and perfect blaze of light,
Virtue breaks forth too strong for human sight;
The dazzled eye, that nice but weaker sense,
Shuts herself up in darkness for defence:
But to make strong conviction deeper sink,
To make the callous feel, the thoughtless think,
Like God, made man, she lays her glory by,
And beams mild comfort on the ravish'd eye:
In earnest most, when most she seems in jest,
She worms into, and winds around, the breast,
To conquer Vice, of Vice appears the friend,
And seems unlike herself to gain her end.
The sons of Sin, to while away the time
Which lingers on their hands, of each black crime
To hush the painful memory, and keep
The tyrant Conscience in delusive sleep,
Read on at random, nor suspect the dart
40
Until they find it rooted in their heart.
'Gainst vice they give their vote, nor know at first
That, cursing that, themselves too they have cursed;
They see not, till they fall into the snares,
Deluded into virtue unawares.
Thus the shrewd doctor, in the spleen-struck mind,
When pregnant horror sits, and broods o'er wind,
Discarding drugs, and striving how to please,
Lures on insensibly, by slow degrees,
The patient to those manly sports which bind
The slacken'd sinews, and relieve the mind;
The patient feels a change as wrought by stealth,
And wonders on demand to find it health.
Some few, whom Fate ordain'd to deal in rhymes
In other lands, and here, in other times,
Whom, waiting at their birth, the midwife Muse
Sprinkled all over with Castalian dews,
To whom true Genius gave his magic pen,
Whom Art by just degrees led up to men;
Some few, extremes well shunn'd, have steer'd between
These dangerous rocks, and held the golden mean;
Sense in their works maintains her proper state,
But never sleeps, or labours with her weight;
Grace makes the whole look elegant and gay,
But never dares from Sense to run astray:
So nice the master's touch, so great his care,
The colours boldly glow, not idly glare;
Mutually giving and receiving aid,
They set each other off, like light and shade,
And, as by stealth, with so much softness blend,
'Tis hard to say where they begin or end:
Both give us charms, and neither gives offence;
Sense perfects Grace, and Grace enlivens Sense.
Peace to the men who these high honours claim,
Health to their souls, and to their memories fame!
Be it my task, and no mean task, to teach
A reverence for that worth I cannot reach:
Let me at distance, with a steady eye,
Observe and mark their passage to the sky;
From envy free, applaud such rising worth,
And praise their heaven, though pinion'd down to earth!
Had I the power, I could not have the time,
41
Whilst spirits flow, and life is in her prime,
Without a sin 'gainst Pleasure, to design
A plan, to methodise each thought, each line
Highly to finish, and make every grace,
In itself charming, take new charms from place.
Nothing of books, and little known of men,
When the mad fit comes on, I seize the pen,
Rough as they run, the rapid thoughts set down.
Rough as they run, discharge them on the town.
Hence rude, unfinish'd brats, before their time,
Are born into this idle world of Rhyme,
And the poor slattern Muse is brought to bed
'With all her imperfections on her head.'
Some, as no life appears, no pulses play
Through the dull dubious mass, no breath makes way,
Doubt, greatly doubt, till for a glass they call,
Whether the child can be baptized at all;
Others, on other grounds, objections frame,
And, granting that the child may have a name,
Doubt, as the sex might well a midwife pose,
Whether they should baptize it Verse or Prose.
E'en what my masters please; bards, mild, meek men,
In love to critics, stumble now and then.
Something I do myself, and something too,
If they can do it, leave for them to do.
In the small compass of my careless page
Critics may find employment for an age:
Without my blunders, they were all undone;
I twenty feed, where Mason can feed one.
When Satire stoops, unmindful of her state,
To praise the man I love, curse him I hate;
When Sense, in tides of passion borne along,
Sinking to prose, degrades the name of song,
The censor smiles, and, whilst my credit bleeds,
With as high relish on the carrion feeds
As the proud earl fed at a turtle feast,
Who, turn'd by gluttony to worse than beast,
Ate till his bowels gush'd upon the floor,
Yet still ate on, and dying call'd for more.
When loose Digression, like a colt unbroke,
Spurning Connexion and her formal yoke,
Bounds through the forest, wanders far astray
42
From the known path, and loves to lose her way,
'Tis a full feast to all the mongrel pack
To run the rambler down, and bring her back.
When gay Description, Fancy's fairy child,
Wild without art, and yet with pleasure wild,
Waking with Nature at the morning hour
To the lark's call, walks o'er the opening flower
Which largely drank all night of heaven's fresh dew,
And, like a mountain nymph of Dian's crew,
So lightly walks, she not one mark imprints,
Nor brushes off the dews, nor soils the tints;
When thus Description sports, even at the time
That drums should beat, and cannons roar in rhyme,
Critics can live on such a fault as that
From one month to the other, and grow fat.
Ye mighty Monthly Judges! in a dearth
Of letter'd blockheads, conscious of the worth
Of my materials, which against your will
Oft you've confess'd, and shall confess it still;
Materials rich, though rude, inflamed with thought,
Though more by Fancy than by Judgment wrought
Take, use them as your own, a work begin
Which suits your genius well, and weave them in,
Framed for the critic loom, with critic art,
Till, thread on thread depending, part on part,
Colour with colour mingling, light with shade,
To your dull taste a formal work is made,
And, having wrought them into one grand piece,
Swear it surpasses Rome, and rivals Greece.
Nor think this much, for at one single word,
Soon as the mighty critic fiat's heard,
Science attends their call; their power is own'd;
Order takes place, and Genius is dethroned:
Letters dance into books, defiance hurl'd
At means, as atoms danced into a world.
Me higher business calls, a greater plan,
Worthy man's whole employ, the good of man,
The good of man committed to my charge:
If idle Fancy rambles forth at large,
Careless of such a trust, these harmless lays
May Friendship envy, and may Folly praise.
The crown of Gotham may some Scot assume,
43
And vagrant Stuarts reign in Churchill's room!
O my poor People! O thou wretched Earth!
To whose dear love, though not engaged by birth,
My heart is fix'd, my service deeply sworn,
How, (by thy father can that thought be borne?-For monarchs, would they all but think like me,
Are only fathers in the best degree)
How must thy glories fade, in every land
Thy name be laugh'd to scorn, thy mighty hand
Be shorten'd, and thy zeal, by foes confess'd,
Bless'd in thyself, to make thy neighbours bless'd,
Be robb'd of vigour; how must Freedom's pile,
The boast of ages, which adorns the isle
And makes it great and glorious, fear'd abroad,
Happy at home, secure from force and fraud;
How must that pile, by ancient Wisdom raised
On a firm rock, by friends admired and praised,
Envied by foes, and wonder'd at by all,
In one short moment into ruins fall,
Should any slip of Stuart's tyrant race,
Or bastard or legitimate, disgrace
Thy royal seat of empire! But what care,
What sorrow must be mine, what deep despair
And self-reproaches, should that hated line
Admittance gain through any fault of mine!
Cursed be the cause whence Gotham's evils spring,
Though that cursed cause be found in Gotham's king.
Let War, with all his needy ruffian band,
In pomp of horror stalk through Gotham's land
Knee-deep in blood; let all her stately towers
Sink in the dust; that court which now is ours
Become a den, where beasts may, if they can,
A lodging find, nor fear rebuke from man;
Where yellow harvests rise, be brambles found;
Where vines now creep, let thistles curse the ground;
Dry in her thousand valleys be the rills;
Barren the cattle on her thousand hills;
Where Power is placed, let tigers prowl for prey;
Where Justice lodges, let wild asses bray;
Let cormorants in churches make their nest,
And on the sails of Commerce bitterns rest;
Be all, though princes in the earth before,
44
Her merchants bankrupts, and her marts no more;
Much rather would I, might the will of Fate
Give me to choose, see Gotham's ruin'd state
By ills on ills thus to the earth weigh'd down,
Than live to see a Stuart wear a crown.
Let Heaven in vengeance arm all Nature's host,
Those servants who their Maker know, who boast
Obedience as their glory, and fulfil,
Unquestion'd, their great Master's sacred will;
Let raging winds root up the boiling deep,
And, with Destruction big, o'er Gotham sweep;
Let rains rush down, till Faith, with doubtful eye,
Looks for the sign of mercy in the sky;
Let Pestilence in all her horrors rise;
Where'er I turn, let Famine blast my eyes;
Let the earth yawn, and, ere they've time to think,
In the deep gulf let all my subjects sink
Before my eyes, whilst on the verge I reel;
Feeling, but as a monarch ought to feel,
Not for myself, but them, I'll kiss the rod,
And, having own'd the justice of my God,
Myself with firmness to the ruin give,
And die with those for whom I wish to live.
This, (but may Heaven's more merciful decrees
Ne'er tempt his servant with such ills as these!)
This, or my soul deceives me, I could bear;
But that the Stuart race my crown should wear,
That crown, where, highly cherish'd, Freedom shone
Bright as the glories of the midday sun;
Born and bred slaves, that they, with proud misrule,
Should make brave freeborn men, like boys at school,
To the whip crouch and tremble--Oh, that thought!
The labouring brain is e'en to madness brought
By the dread vision; at the mere surmise
The thronging spirits, as in tumult, rise;
My heart, as for a passage, loudly beats,
And, turn me where I will, distraction meets.
O my brave fellows! great in arts and arms,
The wonder of the earth, whom glory warms
To high achievements; can your spirits bend,
Through base control (ye never can descend
So low by choice) to wear a tyrant's chain,
45
Or let, in Freedom's seat, a Stuart reign?
If Fame, who hath for ages, far and wide,
Spread in all realms the cowardice, the pride,
The tyranny and falsehood of those lords,
Contents you not, search England's fair records;
England, where first the breath of life I drew,
Where, next to Gotham, my best love is due;
There once they ruled, though crush'd by William's hand,
They rule no more, to curse that happy land.
The first, who, from his native soil removed,
Held England's sceptre, a tame tyrant proved:
Virtue he lack'd, cursed with those thoughts which spring
In souls of vulgar stamp, to be a king;
Spirit he had not, though he laugh'd at laws.
To play the bold-faced tyrant with applause;
On practices most mean he raised his pride,
And Craft oft gave what Wisdom oft denied.
Ne'er could he feel how truly man is blest
In blessing those around him; in his breast,
Crowded with follies, Honour found no room;
Mark'd for a coward in his mother's womb,
He was too proud without affronts to live,
Too timorous to punish or forgive.
To gain a crown which had, in course of time,
By fair descent, been his without a crime,
He bore a mother's exile; to secure
A greater crown, he basely could endure
The spilling of her blood by foreign knife,
Nor dared revenge her death who gave him life:
Nay, by fond Pear, and fond Ambition led,
Struck hands with those by whom her blood was shed.
Call'd up to power, scarce warm on England's throne,
He fill'd her court with beggars from his own:
Turn where you would, the eye with Scots was caught,
Or English knaves, who would be Scotsmen thought.
To vain expense unbounded loose he gave,
The dupe of minions, and of slaves the slave;
On false pretences mighty sums he raised,
And damn'd those senates rich, whom poor he praised;
From empire thrown, and doom'd to beg her bread,
On foreign bounty whilst a daughter fed,
He lavish'd sums, for her received, on men
46
Whose names would fix dishonour on my pen.
Lies were his playthings, parliaments his sport;
Book-worms and catamites engross'd the court:
Vain of the scholar, like all Scotsmen since,
The pedant scholar, he forgot the prince;
And having with some trifles stored his brain,
Ne'er learn'd, nor wish'd to learn, the art to reign.
Enough he knew, to make him vain and proud,
Mock'd by the wise, the wonder of the crowd;
False friend, false son, false father, and false king,
False wit, false statesman, and false everything,
When he should act, he idly chose to prate,
And pamphlets wrote, when he should save the state.
Religious, if religion holds in whim;
To talk with all, he let all talk with him;
Not on God's honour, but his own intent,
Not for religion's sake, but argument;
More vain if some sly, artful High-Dutch slave,
Or, from the Jesuit school, some precious knave
Conviction feign'd, than if, to peace restored
By his full soldiership, worlds hail'd him lord.
Power was his wish, unbounded as his will,
The power, without control, of doing ill;
But what he wish'd, what he made bishops preach,
And statesmen warrant, hung within his reach
He dared not seize; Fear gave, to gall his pride,
That freedom to the realm his will denied.
Of treaties fond, o'erweening of his parts,
In every treaty of his own mean arts
He fell the dupe; peace was his coward care,
E'en at a time when Justice call'd for war:
His pen he'd draw to prove his lack of wit,
But rather than unsheath the sword, submit.
Truth fairly must record; and, pleased to live
In league with Mercy, Justice may forgive
Kingdoms betray'd, and worlds resign'd to Spain,
But never can forgive a Raleigh slain.
At length, (with white let Freedom mark that year)
Not fear'd by those whom most he wish'd to fear,
Not loved by those whom most he wish'd to love,
He went to answer for his faults above;
To answer to that God, from whom alone
47
He claim'd to hold, and to abuse the throne;
Leaving behind, a curse to all his line,
The bloody legacy of Right Divine.
With many virtues which a radiance fling
Round private men; with few which grace a king,
And speak the monarch; at that time of life
When Passion holds with Reason doubtful strife,
Succeeded Charles, by a mean sire undone,
Who envied virtue even in a son.
His youth was froward, turbulent, and wild;
He took the Man up ere he left the Child;
His soul was eager for imperial sway,
Ere he had learn'd the lesson to obey.
Surrounded by a fawning, flattering throng,
Judgment each day grew weak, and humour strong;
Wisdom was treated as a noisome weed,
And all his follies left to run to seed.
What ills from such beginnings needs must spring!
What ills to such a land from such a king!
What could she hope! what had she not to fear!
Base Buckingham possess'd his youthful ear;
Strafford and Laud, when mounted on the throne,
Engross'd his love, and made him all their own;
Strafford and Laud, who boldly dared avow
The traitorous doctrine taught by Tories now;
Each strove to undo him in his turn and hour,
The first with pleasure, and the last with power.
Thinking (vain thought, disgraceful to the throne!)
That all mankind were made for kings alone;
That subjects were but slaves; and what was whim,
Or worse, in common men, was law in him;
Drunk with Prerogative, which Fate decreed
To guard good kings, and tyrants to mislead;
Which in a fair proportion to deny
Allegiance dares not; which to hold too high,
No good can wish, no coward king can dare,
And, held too high, no English subject bear;
Besieged by men of deep and subtle arts,
Men void of principle, and damn'd with parts,
Who saw his weakness, made their king their tool,
Then most a slave, when most he seem'd to rule;
Taking all public steps for private ends,
48
Deceived by favourites, whom he called friends,
He had not strength enough of soul to find
That monarchs, meant as blessings to mankind,
Sink their great state, and stamp their fame undone,
When what was meant for all, they give to one.
Listening uxorious whilst a woman's prate
Modell'd the church, and parcell'd out the state,
Whilst (in the state not more than women read)
High-churchmen preach'd, and turn'd his pious head;
Tutor'd to see with ministerial eyes;
Forbid to hear a loyal nation's cries;
Made to believe (what can't a favourite do?)
He heard a nation, hearing one or two;
Taught by state-quacks himself secure to think,
And out of danger e'en on danger's brink;
Whilst power was daily crumbling from his hand,
Whilst murmurs ran through an insulted land,
As if to sanction tyrants Heaven was bound,
He proudly sought the ruin which he found.
Twelve years, twelve tedious and inglorious years,
Did England, crush'd by power, and awed by fears,
Whilst proud Oppression struck at Freedom's root,
Lament her senates lost, her Hampden mute.
Illegal taxes and oppressive loans,
In spite of all her pride, call'd forth her groans;
Patience was heard her griefs aloud to tell,
And Loyalty was tempted to rebel.
Each day new acts of outrage shook the state,
New courts were raised to give new doctrines weight;
State inquisitions kept the realm in awe,
And cursed Star-Chambers made or ruled the law;
Juries were pack'd, and judges were unsound;
Through the whole kingdom not one Pratt was found.
From the first moments of his giddy youth
He hated senates, for they told him truth.
At length, against his will compell'd to treat,
Those whom he could not fright, he strove to cheat;
With base dissembling every grievance heard,
And, often giving, often broke his word.
Oh, where shall hapless Truth for refuge fly,
If kings, who should protect her, dare to lie?
Those who, the general good their real aim,
49
Sought in their country's good their monarch's fame;
Those who were anxious for his safety; those
Who were induced by duty to oppose,
Their truth suspected, and their worth unknown,
He held as foes and traitors to his throne;
Nor found his fatal error till the hour
Of saving him was gone and past; till power
Had shifted hands, to blast his hapless reign,
Making their faith and his repentance vain.
Hence (be that curse confined to Gotham's foes!)
War, dread to mention, Civil War arose;
All acts of outrage, and all acts of shame,
Stalk'd forth at large, disguised with Honour's name;
Rebellion, raising high her bloody hand,
Spread universal havoc through the land;
With zeal for party, and with passion drunk,
In public rage all private love was sunk;
Friend against friend, brother 'gainst brother stood,
And the son's weapon drank the father's blood;
Nature, aghast, and fearful lest her reign
Should last no longer, bled in every vein.
Unhappy Stuart! harshly though that name
Grates on my ear, I should have died with shame
To see my king before his subjects stand,
And at their bar hold up his royal hand;
At their commands to hear the monarch plead,
By their decrees to see that monarch bleed.
What though thy faults were many and were great?
What though they shook the basis of the state?
In royalty secure thy person stood,
And sacred was the fountain of thy blood.
Vile ministers, who dared abuse their trust,
Who dared seduce a king to be unjust,
Vengeance, with Justice leagued, with Power made strong,
Had nobly crush'd--'The king could do no wrong.'
Yet grieve not, Charles! nor thy hard fortunes blame;
They took thy life, but they secured thy fame.
Their greatest crimes made thine like specks appear,
From which the sun in glory is not clear.
Hadst thou in peace and years resign'd thy breath
At Nature's call; hadst thou laid down in death
As in a sleep, thy name, by Justice borne
50
On the four winds, had been in pieces torn.
Pity, the virtue of a generous soul,
Sometimes the vice, hath made thy memory whole.
Misfortunes gave what Virtue could not give,
And bade, the tyrant slain, the martyr live.
Ye Princes of the earth! ye mighty few!
Who, worlds subduing, can't yourselves subdue;
Who, goodness scorn'd, wish only to be great;
Whose breath is blasting, and whose voice is fate;
Who own no law, no reason, but your will,
And scorn restraint, though 'tis from doing ill;
Who of all passions groan beneath the worst,
Then only bless'd when they make others cursed;
Think not, for wrongs like these, unscourged to live;
Long may ye sin, and long may Heaven forgive;
But when ye least expect, in sorrow's day,
Vengeance shall fall more heavy for delay;
Nor think that vengeance heap'd on you alone
Shall (poor amends!) for injured worlds atone;
No, like some base distemper, which remains,
Transmitted from the tainted father's veins,
In the son's blood, such broad and general crimes
Shall call down vengeance e'en to latest times,
Call vengeance down on all who bear your name,
And make their portion bitterness and shame.
From land to land for years compell'd to roam,
Whilst Usurpation lorded it at home,
Of majesty unmindful, forced to fly,
Not daring, like a king, to reign or die,
Recall'd to repossess his lawful throne,
More at his people's seeking than his own,
Another Charles succeeded. In the school
Of Travel he had learn'd to play the fool;
And, like pert pupils with dull tutors sent
To shame their country on the Continent,
From love of England by long absence wean'd,
From every court he every folly glean'd,
And was--so close do evil habits cling-Till crown'd, a beggar; and when crown'd, no king.
Those grand and general powers, which Heaven design'd,
An instance of his mercy to mankind,
Were lost, in storms of dissipation hurl'd,
51
Nor would he give one hour to bless a world;
Lighter than levity which strides the blast,
And, of the present fond, forgets the past,
He changed and changed, but, every hope to curse,
Changed only from one folly to a worse:
State he resign'd to those whom state could please;
Careless of majesty, his wish was ease;
Pleasure, and pleasure only, was his aim;
Kings of less wit might hunt the bubble Fame;
Dignity through his reign was made a sport,
Nor dared Decorum show her face at court;
Morality was held a standing jest,
And Faith a necessary fraud at best.
Courtiers, their monarch ever in their view,
Possess'd great talents, and abused them too;
Whate'er was light, impertinent, and vain,
Whate'er was loose, indecent, and profane,
(So ripe was Folly, Folly to acquit)
Stood all absolved in that poor bauble, Wit.
In gratitude, alas! but little read,
He let his father's servants beg their bread-His father's faithful servants, and his own,
To place the foes of both around his throne.
Bad counsels he embraced through indolence,
Through love of ease, and not through want of sense;
He saw them wrong, but rather let them go
As right, than take the pains to make them so.
Women ruled all, and ministers of state
Were for commands at toilets forced to wait:
Women, who have, as monarchs, graced the land,
But never govern'd well at second-hand.
To make all other errors slight appear,
In memory fix'd, stand Dunkirk and Tangier;
In memory fix'd so deep, that Time in vain
Shall strive to wipe those records from the brain,
Amboyna stands--Gods! that a king could hold
In such high estimate vile paltry gold,
And of his duty be so careless found,
That when the blood of subjects from the ground
For vengeance call'd, he should reject their cry,
And, bribed from honour, lay his thunders by,
Give Holland peace, whilst English victims groan'd,
52
And butcher'd subjects wander'd unatoned!
Oh, dear, deep injury to England's fame,
To them, to us, to all! to him deep shame!
Of all the passions which from frailty spring,
Avarice is that which least becomes a king.
To crown the whole, scorning the public good,
Which through his reign he little understood,
Or little heeded, with too narrow aim
He reassumed a bigot brother's claim,
And having made time-serving senates bow,
Suddenly died--that brother best knew how.
No matter how--he slept amongst the dead,
And James his brother reigned in his stead:
But such a reign--so glaring an offence
In every step 'gainst freedom, law, and sense,
'Gainst all the rights of Nature's general plan,
'Gainst all which constitutes an Englishman,
That the relation would mere fiction seem,
The mock creation of a poet's dream;
And the poor bards would, in this sceptic age,
Appear as false as _their_ historian's page.
Ambitious Folly seized the seat of Wit,
Christians were forced by bigots to submit;
Pride without sense, without religion Zeal,
Made daring inroads on the Commonweal;
Stern Persecution raised her iron rod,
And call'd the pride of kings, the power of God;
Conscience and Fame were sacrificed to Rome,
And England wept at Freedom's sacred tomb.
Her laws despised, her constitution wrench'd
From its due natural frame, her rights retrench'd
Beyond a coward's sufferance, conscience forced,
And healing Justice from the Crown divorced,
Each moment pregnant with vile acts of power,
Her patriot Bishops sentenced to the Tower,
Her Oxford (who yet loves the Stuart name)
Branded with arbitrary marks of shame,
She wept--but wept not long: to arms she flew,
At Honour's call the avenging sword she drew,
Turn'd all her terrors on the tyrant's head,
And sent him in despair to beg his bread;
Whilst she, (may every State in such distress
53
Dare with such zeal, and meet with such success!)
Whilst she, (may Gotham, should my abject mind
Choose to enslave rather than free mankind,
Pursue her steps, tear the proud tyrant down,
Nor let me wear if I abuse the crown!)
Whilst she, (through every age, in every land,
Written in gold, let Revolution stand!)
Whilst she, secured in liberty and law,
Found what she sought, a saviour in Nassau.
~ Charles Churchill
187:The White Cliffs
I have loved England, dearly and deeply,
Since that first morning, shining and pure,
The white cliffs of Dover I saw rising steeply
Out of the sea that once made her secure.
I had no thought then of husband or lover,
I was a traveller, the guest of a week;
Yet when they pointed 'the white cliffs of Dover',
Startled I found there were tears on my cheek.
I have loved England, and still as a stranger,
Here is my home and I still am alone.
Now in her hour of trial and danger,
Only the English are really her own.
II
It happened the first evening I was there.
Some one was giving a ball in Belgrave Square.
At Belgrave Square, that most Victorian spot.—
Lives there a novel-reader who has not
At some time wept for those delightful girls,
Daughters of dukes, prime ministers and earls,
In bonnets, berthas, bustles, buttoned basques,
Hiding behind their pure Victorian masks
Hearts just as hot - hotter perhaps than those
Whose owners now abandon hats and hose?
Who has not wept for Lady Joan or Jill
Loving against her noble parent's will
A handsome guardsman, who to her alarm
Feels her hand kissed behind a potted palm
At Lady Ivry's ball the dreadful night
Before his regiment goes off to fight;
And see him the next morning, in the park,
Complete in busbee, marching to embark.
I had read freely, even as a child,
Not only Meredith and Oscar Wilde
But many novels of an earlier day—
Ravenshoe, Can You Forgive Her?, Vivien Grey,
Ouida, The Duchess, Broughton's Red As a Rose,
Guy Livingstone, Whyte-Melville— Heaven knows
74
What others. Now, I thought, I was to see
Their habitat, though like the Miller of Dee,
I cared for none and no one cared for me.
III
A light blue carpet on the stair
And tall young footmen everywhere,
Tall young men with English faces
Standing rigidly in their places,
Rows and rows of them stiff and staid
In powder and breeches and bright gold braid;
And high above them on the wall
Hung other English faces-all
Part of the pattern of English life—
General Sir Charles, and his pretty wife,
Admirals, Lords-Lieutenant of Shires,
Men who were served by these footmen's sires
At their great parties-none of them knowing
How soon or late they would all be going
In plainer dress to a sterner strifeAnother pattern of English life.
I went up the stairs between them all,
Strange and frightened and shy and small,
And as I entered the ballroom door,
Saw something I had never seen before
Except in portraits— a stout old guest
With a broad blue ribbon across his breast—
That blue as deep as the southern sea,
Bluer than skies can ever be—
The Countess of Salisbury—Edward the Third—
No damn merit— the Duke— I heard
My own voice saying; 'Upon my word,
The garter!' and clapped my hands like a child.
Some one beside me turned and smiled,
And looking down at me said: 'I fancy,
You're Bertie's Australian cousin Nancy.
He toId me to tell you that he'd be late
At the Foreign Office and not to wait
Supper for him, but to go with me,
75
And try to behave as if I were he.'
I should have told him on the spot
That I had no cousin—that I was not
Australian Nancy—that my name
Was Susan Dunne, and that I came
From a small white town on a deep-cut bay
In the smallest state in the U.S.A.
I meant to tell him, but changed my mind—
I needed a friend, and he seemed kind;
So I put my gloved hand into his glove,
And we danced together— and fell in love.
IV
Young and in love-how magical the phrase!
How magical the fact! Who has not yearned
Over young lovers when to their amaze
They fall in love and find their love returned,
And the lights brighten, and their eyes are clear
To see God's image in their common clay.
Is it the music of the spheres they hear?
Is it the prelude to that noble play,
The drama of Joined Lives? Ah, they forget
They cannot write their parts; the bell has rung,
The curtain rises and the stage is set
For tragedy-they were in love and young.
We went to the Tower,
We went to the Zoo,
We saw every flower
In the gardens at Kew.
We saw King Charles a-prancing
On his long-tailed horse,
And thought him more entrancing
Than better kings, of course.
At a strange early hour,
In St. James's palace yard,
We watched in a shower
The changing of the guard.
And I said, what a pity,
To have just a week to spend,
When London is a city
76
Whose beauties never end!
VI
When the sun shines on England, it atones
For low-hung leaden skies, and rain and dim
Moist fogs that paint the verdure on her stones
And fill her gentle rivers to the brim.
When the sun shines on England, shafts of light
Fall on far towers and hills and dark old trees,
And hedge-bound meadows of a green as bright—
As bright as is the blue of tropic seas.
When the sun shines, it is as if the face
Of some proud man relaxed his haughty stare,
And smiled upon us with a sudden grace,
Flattering because its coming is so rare.
VII
The English are frosty
When you're no kith or kin
Of theirs, but how they alter
When once they take you in!
The kindest, the truest,
The best friends ever known,
It's hard to remember
How they froze you to a bone.
They showed me all London,
Johnnie and his friends;
They took me to the country
For long week-ends;
I never was so happy,
I never had such fun,
I stayed many weeks in England
Instead of just one.
VIII
John had one of those English faces
That always were and will always be
Found in the cream of English places
Till England herself sink into the sea—
A blond, bowed face with prominent eyes
A little bit bluer than English skies.
You see it in ruffs and suits of armour,
77
You see it in wigs of many styles,
Soldier and sailor, judge and farmer—
That face has governed the British Isles,
By the power, for good or ill bestowed,
Only on those who live by code.
Oh, that inflexible code of living,
That seems so easy and unconstrained,
The Englishman's code of taking and giving
Rights and privileges pre-ordained,
Based since English life began
On the prime importance of being a man.
IX
And what a voice he had-gentle, profound,
Clear masculine!—I melted at the sound.
Oh, English voices, are there any words
Those tones to tell, those cadences to teach!
As song of thrushes is to other birds,
So English voices are to other speech;
Those pure round 'o's '—those lovely liquid 'l's'
Ring in the ears like sound of Sabbath bells.
Yet I have loathed those voices when the sense
Of what they said seemed to me insolence,
As if the dominance of the whole nation
Lay in that clear correct enunciation.
Many years later, I remember when
One evening I overheard two men
In Claridge's— white waistcoats, coats I know
Were built in Bond Street or in Savile Row—
So calm, so confident, so finely bred—
Young gods in tails— and this is what they said:
'Not your first visit to the States?' 'Oh no,
I'd been to Canada two years ago.'
Good God, I thought, have they not heard that we
Were those queer colonists who would be free,
Who took our desperate chance, and fought and won
Under a colonist called Washington?
One does not lose one's birthright, it appears.
78
I had been English then for many years.
We went down to Cambridge,
Cambridge in the spring.
In a brick court at twilight
We heard the thrushes sing,
And we went to evening service
In the chapel of the King.
The library of Trinity,
The quadrangle of Clare,
John bought a pipe from Bacon,
And I acquired there
The Anecdotes of Painting
From a handcart in the square.
The Playing fields at sunset
Were vivid emerald green,
The elms were tall and mighty,
And many youths were seen,
Carefree young gentlemen
In the Spring of 'Fourteen.
XI
London, just before dawn-immense and dark—
Smell of wet earth and growth from the empty Park,
Pall Mall vacant-Whitehall deserted. Johnnie and I
Strolling together, averse to saying good-bye—
Strolling away from some party in silence profound,
Only far off in Mayfair, piercing, the sound
Of a footman's whistle—the rhythm of hoofs on wood,
Further and further away. . . . And now we stood
On a bridge, where a poet came to keep
Vigil while all the city lay asleep—
Westminster Bridge, and soon the sun would rise,
And I should see it with my very eyes!
Yes, now it came— a broad and awful glow
Out of the violet mists of dawn. 'Ah, no',
I said. 'Earth has not anything to show
More fair— changed though it is— than this.'
A curious background surely for a kiss—
Our first— Westminster Bridge at break of day—
79
Settings by Wordsworth, as John used to say.
XII
Why do we fall in love? I do believe
That virtue is the magnet, the small vein
Of ore, the spark, the torch that we receive
At birth, and that we render back again.
That drop of godhood, like a precious stone,
May shine the brightest in the tiniest flake.
Lavished on saints, to sinners not unknown;
In harlot, nun, philanthropist, and rake,
It shines for those who love; none else discern
Evil from good; Men's fall did not bestow
That threatened wisdom; blindly still we yearn
After a virtue that we do not know,
Until our thirst and longing rise above
The barriers of reason—and we love.
XIII
And still I did not see my life was changed,
Utterly different—by this love estranged
For ever and ever from my native land;
That I was now of that unhappy band
Who lose the old, and cannot gain the new
However loving and however true
To their new duties. I could never be
An English woman, there was that in me
Puritan, stubborn that would not agree
To English standards, though I did not see
The truth, because I thought them, good or ill,
So great a people—and I think so still.
But a day came when I was forced to face
Facts. I was taken down to see the place,
The family place in Devon— and John's mother.
'Of course, you understand,' he said, 'my brother
Will have the place.' He smiled; he was so sure
The world was better for primogeniture.
And yet he loved that place, as Englishmen
Do love their native countryside, and when
The day should be as it was sure to be—
When this was home no more to him— when he
80
Could go there only when his brother's wife
Should ask him—to a room not his— his life
Would shrink and lose its meaning. How unjust,
I thought. Why do they feel it must
Go to that idle, insolent eldest son?
Well, in the end it went to neither one.
XIV
A red brick manor-house in Devon,
In a beechwood of old grey trees,
Ivy climbing to the clustered chimneys,
Rustling in the wet south breeze.
Gardens trampled down by Cromwell's army,
Orchards of apple-trees and pears,
Casements that had looked for the Armada,
And a ghost on the stairs.
XV
Johnnie's mother, the Lady Jean,
Child of a penniless Scottish peer,
Was handsome, worn high-coloured, lean,
With eyes like Johnnie's—more blue and clear—
Like bubbles of glass in her fine tanned face.
Quiet, she was, and so at ease,
So perfectly sure of her rightful place
In the world that she felt no need to please.
I did not like her—she made me feel
Talkative, restless, unsure, as if
I were a cross between parrot and eel.
I thought her blank and cold and stiff.
XVI
And presently she said as they
Sooner or later always say:
'You're an American, Miss Dunne?
Really you do not speak like one.'
She seemed to think she'd said a thing
Both courteous and flattering.
I answered though my wrist were weak
With anger: 'Not at all, I speak—
At least I've always thought this true—
As educated people do
81
In any country-even mine.'
'Really?' I saw her head incline,
I saw her ready to assert
Americans are easily hurt.
XVII
Strange to look back to the days
So long ago
When a friend was almost a foe,
When you hurried to find a phrase
For your easy light dispraise
Of a spirit you did not know,
A nature you could not plumb
In the moment of meeting,
Not guessing a day would come
When your heart would ache to hear
Other men's tongues repeating
Those same light phrases that jest and jeer
At a friend now grown so dear— so dear.
Strange to remember long ago
When a friend was almost a foe.
XVIII
I saw the house with its oaken stair,
And the Tudor Rose on the newel post,
The panelled upper gallery where
They told me you heard the family ghost—
'A gentle unhappy ghost who sighs
Outside one's door on the night one dies.'
'Not,' Lady Jean explained, 'at all
Like the ghost at my father's place, St. Kitts,
That clanks and screams in the great West Hall
And frightens strangers out of their wits.'
I smiled politely, not thinking I
Would hear one midnight that long sad sigh.
I saw the gardens, after our tea
(Crumpets and marmalade, toast and cake)
And Drake's Walk, leading down to the sea;
Lady Jean was startled I'd heard of Drake,
For the English always find it a mystery
That Americans study English history.
82
I saw the picture of every son—
Percy, the eldest, and John; and Bill
In Chinese Customs, and the youngest one
Peter, the sailor, at Osborne still;
And the daughter, Enid, married, alas,
To a civil servant in far Madras.
A little thing happened, just before
We left— the evening papers came;
John, flicking them over to find a score,
Spoke for the first time a certain name—
The name of a town in a distant land
Etched on our hearts by a murderer's hand.
Mother and son exchanged a glance,
A curious glance of strength and dread.
I thought: what matter to them if Franz
Ferdinand dies? One of them said:
This might be serious.' 'Yes, you're right.'
The other answered, 'It really might.'
XIX
Dear John: I'm going home. I write to say
Goodbye. My boat-train leaves at break of day;
It will be gone when this is in your hands.
I've had enough of lovely foreign lands,
Sightseeing, strangers, holiday and play;
I'm going home to those who think the way
I think, and speak as I do. Will you try
To understand that this must be good-bye?
We both rooted deeply in the soil
Of our own countries. But I could not spoil
Our happy memories with the stress and strain
Of parting; if we never meet again
Be sure I shall remember till I die
Your love, your laugh, your kindness. But—goodbye.
Please do not hate me; give the devil his due,
This is an act of courage. Always, Sue.
XX
The boat-train rattling
83
Through the green country-side;
A girl within it battling
With her tears and pride.
The Southampton landing,
Porters, neat and quick,
And a young man standing,
Leaning on his stick.
'Oh, John, John, you shouldn't
Have come this long way. . .
'Did you really think I wouldn't
Be here to make you stay?'
I can't remember whether
There was much stress and strain,
But presently, together,
We were travelling back again.
XXI
The English love their country with a love
Steady, and simple, wordless, dignified;
I think it sets their patriotism above
All others. We Americans have pride—
We glory in our country's short romance.
We boast of it and love it. Frenchmen when
The ultimate menace comes, will die for France
Logically as they lived. But Englishmen
Will serve day after day, obey the law,
And do dull tasks that keep a nation strong.
Once I remember in London how I saw
Pale shabby people standing in a long
Line in the twilight and the misty rain
To pay their tax. I then saw England plain.
XXII
Johnnie and I were married. England then
Had been a week at war, and all the men
Wore uniform, as English people can,
Unconscious of it. Percy, the best man,
As thin as paper and as smart as paint,
Bade us good-by with admirable restraint,
Went from the church to catch his train to hell;
And died-saving his batman from a shell.
84
XXIII
We went down to Devon,
In a warm summer rain,
Knowing that our happiness
Might never come again;
I, not forgetting,
'Till death us do part,'
Was outrageously happy
With death in my heart.
Lovers in peacetime
With fifty years to live,
Have time to tease and quarrel
And question what to give;
But lovers in wartime
Better understand
The fullness of living,
With death close at hand.
XXIV
My father wrote me a letter—
My father, scholarly, indolent, strong,
Teaching Greek better
Than high-school students repay—
Teaching Greek in the winter, but all summer long
Sailing a yawl in Narragansett Bay;
Happier perhaps when I was away,
Free of an anxious daughter,
He could sail blue water
Day after day,
Beyond Brenton Reef Lightship, and Beavertail,
Past Cuttyhunk to catch a gale
Off the Cape, while he thought of Hellas and Troy,
Chanting with joy
Greek choruses— those lines that he said
Must be written some day on a stone at his head:
'But who can know
As the long years go
That to live is happy, has found his heaven.'
My father, so far away—
I thought of him, in Devon,
Anchoring in a blind fog in Booth Bay.
85
XXV
'So, Susan, my dear,' the letter began,
'You've fallen in love with an Englishman.
Well, they're a manly, attractive lot,
If you happen to like them, which I do not.
I am a Yankee through and through,
And I don't like them, or the things they do.
Whenever it's come to a knock-down fight
With us, they were wrong, and we right;
If you don't believe me, cast your mind
Back over history, what do you find?
They certainly had no justification
For that maddening plan to impose taxation
Without any form of representation.
Your man may be all that a man should be,
Only don't you bring him back to me
Saying he can't get decent tea—
He could have got his tea all right
In Boston Harbour a certain night,
When your great-great-grandmother— also a Sue—
Shook enough tea from her husband's shoe
To supply her house for a week or two.
The war of 1812 seems to me
About as just as a war could be.
How could we help but come to grips
With a nation that stopped and searched our ships,
And took off our seamen for no other reason
Except that they needed crews that season.
I can get angry still at the tale
Of their letting the Alabama sail,
And Palmerston being insolent
To Lincoln and Seward over the Trent.
All very long ago, you'll say,
But whenever I go up Boston-way,
I drive through Concord—that neck of the wood,
Where once the embattled farmers stood,
And I think of Revere, and the old South Steeple,
And I say, by heck, we're the only people
Who licked them not only once, but twice.
Never forget it-that's my advice.
They have their points—they're honest and brave,
Loyal and sure—as sure as the grave;
86
They make other nations seem pale and flighty,
But they do think England is god almighty,
And you must remind them now and then
That other countries breed other men.
From all of which you will think me rather
Unjust. I am. Your devoted Father.
XXVI
I read, and saw my home with sudden yearning—
The small white wooden house, the grass-green door,
My father's study with the fire burning,
And books piled on the floor.
I saw the moon-faced clock that told the hours,
The crimson Turkey carpet, worn and frayed,
The heavy dishes—gold with birds and flowers—
Fruits of the China trade.
I saw the jack o' lanterns, friendly, frightening,
Shine from our gateposts every Hallow-e'en;
I saw the oak tree, shattered once by lightning,
Twisted, stripped clean.
I saw the Dioscuri— two black kittens,
Stalking relentlessly an empty spool;
I saw a little girl in scarlet mittens
Trudging through snow to school.
XXVII
John read the letter with his lovely smile.
'Your father has a vigorous English style,
And what he says is true, upon my word;
But what's this war of which I never heard?
We didn't fight in 1812.' 'Yes, John,
That was the time when you burnt Washington.'
'We couldn't have, my dear. . .' 'I mean the city.'
'We burnt it?' 'Yes, you did.' 'What a pity!
No wonder people hate us. But, I say,
I'll make your father like me yet, some day.'
XXVIII
I settled down in Devon,
When Johnnie went to France.
Such a tame ending
87
To a great romance—
Two lonely women
With nothing much to do
But get to know each other;
She did and I did, too.
Mornings at the rectory
Learning how to roll
Bandages, and always
Saving light and coal.
Oh, that house was bitter
As winter closed in,
In spite of heavy stockings
And woollen next the skin.
I was cold and wretched,
And never unaware
Of John more cold and wretched
In a trench out there.
XXIX
All that long winter I wanted so much to complain,
But my mother-in-Iaw, as far as I could see,
Felt no such impulse, though she was always in pain,
An, as the winter fogs grew thick,
Took to walking with a stick,
Heavily.
Those bubble-like eyes grew black
Whenever she rose from a chair—
Rose and fell back,
Unable to bear
The sure agonizing
Torture of rising.
Her hands, those competent bony hands,
Grew gnarled and old,
But never ceased to obey the commands
Of her will— only finding new hold
Of bandage and needle and pen.
And not for the blinking
Of an eye did she ever stop thinking
Of the suffering of Englishmen
And her two sons in the trenches. Now and then
I could forget for an instant in a book or a letter,
But she never, never forgot— either one—
88
Percy and John—though I knew she loved one better—
Percy, the wastrel, the gambler, the eldest son.
I think I shall always remember
Until I die
Her face that day in December,
When in a hospital ward together, she and I
Were writing letters for wounded men and dying,
Writing and crying
Over their words, so silly and simple and loving,
Suddenly, looking up, I saw the old Vicar moving
Like fate down the hospital ward, until
He stood still
Beside her, where she sat at a bed.
'Dear friend, come home. I have tragic news,' he said
She looked straight at him without a spasm of fear,
Her face not stern or masked—
'Is it Percy or John?' she asked.
'Percy.' She dropped her eyes. 'I am needed here.
Surely you know
I cannot go
Until every letter is written. The dead
Must wait on the living,' she said.
'This is my work. I must stay.'
And she did— the whole long day.
XXX
Out of the dark, and dearth
Of happiness on earth,
Out of a world inured to death and pain;
On a fair spring mom
To me a son was born,
And hope was born-the future lived again.
To me a son was born,
The lonely hard forlorn
Travail was, as the Bible tells, forgot.
How old, how commonplace
To look upon the face
Of your first-born, and glory in your lot.
To look upon his face
And understand your place
Among the unknown dead in churchyards lying,
89
To see the reason why
You lived and why you die—
Even to find a certain grace in dying.
To know the reason why
Buds blow and blossoms die,
Why beauty fades, and genius is undone,
And how unjustified
Is any human pride
In all creation— save in this common one.
XXXI
Maternity is common, but not so
It seemed to me. Motherless, I did not know—
I was all unprepared to feel this glow,
Holy as a Madonna's, and as crude
As any animal's beatitude—
Crude as my own black cat's, who used to bring
Her newest litter to me every spring,
And say, with green eyes shining in the sun:
'Behold this miracle that I have done.'
And John came home on leave, and all was joy
And thankfulness to me, because my boy
Was not a baby only, but the heir—
Heir to the Devon acres and a name
As old as England. Somehow I became
Almost an English woman, almost at one
With all they ever did— all they had done.
XXXII
'I want him called John after you, or if not that I'd rather—'
'But the eldest son is always called Percy, dear.'
'I don't ask to call him Hiram, after my father—'
'But the eldest son is always called Percy, dear.'
'But I hate the name Percy. I like Richard or Ronald,
Or Peter like your brother, or Ian or Noel or Donald—'
'But the eldest is always called Percy, dear.'
So the Vicar christened him Percy; and Lady Jean
Gave to the child and me the empty place
In hr heart. Poor Lady, it was as if she had seen
The world destroyed— the extinction of her race,
Her country, her class, her name— and now she saw
90
Them live again. And I would hear her say:
'No. I admire Americans; my daughter-in-law
Was an American.' Thus she would well repay
The debt, and I was grateful— the English made
Life hard for those who did not come to her aid.
XXXIII
'They must come in in the spring.'
'Don't they care sixpence who's right?'
'What a ridiculous thing—
Saying they're too proud to fight.'
'Saying they're too proud to fight.'
'Wilson's pro-German, I'm told.'
'No, it's financial.' 'Oh, quite,
All that they care for is gold.'
'All that they care for is gold.'
'Seem to like writing a note.'
'Yes, as a penman, he's bold.'
'No. It's the Irish vote.'
'Oh, it's the Irish vote.'
'What if the Germans some night
Sink an American boat?'
'Darling, they're too proud to fight.'
XXXIV
What could I do, but ache and long
That my country, peaceful, rich, and strong,
Should come and do battle for England's sake.
What could I do, but long and ache.
And my father's letters I hid away
Lest some one should know the things he'd say.
'You ask me whether we're coming in—
We are. The English are clever as sin,
Silently, subtly they inspire
Most of youth with a holy fire
To shed their blood for the British Empire
We'll come in— we'll fight and die
Humbly to help them, and by and by,
England will do us in the eye.
They'll get colonies, gold and fame,
And we'll get nothing at all but blame.
91
Blame for not having come before,
Blame for not having sent them more
Money and men and war supplies,
Blame if we venture to criticise.
We're so damn simple— our skins so thin
We'll get nothing whatever, but we'll come in.'
XXXV
And at last—at last—like the dawn of a calm, fair day
After a night of terror and storm, they came—
My young light-hearted countrymen, tall and gay,
Looking the world over in search of fun and fame,
Marching through London to the beat of a boastful air,
Seeing for the first time Piccadilly and Leicester Square,
All the bands playing: 'Over There, Over There,
Send the word, send the word to beware—'
And as the American flag went fluttering by
Englishmen uncovered, and I began to cry.
XXXVI
'We're here to end it, by jingo.'
'We'll lick the Heinies okay.'
'I can't get on to the lingo.'
'Dumb-they don't get what we say.'
'Call that stuff coffee? You oughter
Know better. Gee, take it away.'
'Oh, for a drink of ice water! '
'They think nut-sundae's a day.'
'Say, is this chicken feed money?'
'Say, does it rain every day?'
'Say, Lady, isn't it funny
Every one drives the wrong way?'
XXXVII
How beautiful upon the mountains,
How beautiful upon the downs,
How beautiful in the village post-office,
On the pavements of towns—
How beautiful in the huge print of newspapers,
Beautiful while telegraph wires hum,
While telephone bells wildly jingle,
92
The news that peace has come—
That peace has come at last—that all wars cease.
How beautiful upon the mountains are the footsteps
Of the messengers of peace!
XXXVIII
In the depth of the night betwixt midnight and morning,
In the darkness and silence forerunning the dawn,
The throb of my heart was a drum-beat of warning,
My ears were a-strain and my breath was undrawn.
In the depth of the night, when the old house was sleeping,
I lying alone in a desolate bed,
Heard soft on the staircase a slow footstep creeping—
The ear of the living—the step of the dead.
In the depth of the night betwixt midnight and morning
A step drawing near on the old oaken floor—
On the stair— in the gallery— the ghost that gives warning
Of death, by that heartbreaking sigh at my door.
XXXIX
Bad news is not broken,
By kind tactful word;
The message is spoken
Ere the word can be heard.
The eye and the bearing,
The breath make it clear,
And the heart is despairing
Before the ears hear.
I do not remember
The words that they said:
'Killed—Douai—November—'
I knew John was dead.
All done and over—
That day long ago—
The while cliffs of Dover—
Little did I know.
XL
As I grow older, looking back, I see
Not those the longest planted in the heart
Are the most missed. Some unions seem to be
Too close for even death to tear apart.
93
Those who have lived together many years,
And deeply learnt to read each other's mind,
Vanities, tempers, virtues, hopes, and fears—
One cannot go—nor is one left behind.
Alas, with John and me this was not so;
I was defrauded even of the past.
Our days had been so pitifully few,
Fight as I would, I found the dead go fast.
I had lost all—had lost not love alone,
But the bright knowledge it had been my own.
XLI
Oh, sad people, buy not your past too dearly,
Live not in dreams of the past, for understand,
If you remember too much, too long, too clearly,
If you grasp memory with too heavy a hand,
You will destroy memory in all its glory
For the sake of the dreams of your head upon your bed.
You will be left with only the worn dead story
You told yourself of the dead.
XLII
Nanny brought up my son, as his father before him,
Austere on questions of habits, manners, and food.
Nobly yielding a mother's right to adore him,
Thinking that mothers never did sons much good.
A Scot from Lady Jean's own native passes,
With a head as smooth and round as a silver bowl,
A crooked nose, and eyes behind her glasses
Grey and bright and wise—a great soul !
Ready to lay down her life for her charge, and ready
To administer discipline without consulting me:
'Is that the way for you to answer my leddy?
I think you'll get no sweet tonight to your tea.'
Bringing him up better than I could do it,
Teaching him to be civil and manly and cool
In the face of danger. And then before I knew it
The time came for him to go off to school.
Off to school to be free of women's teaching,
Into a world of men— at seven years old;
94
Into a world where a mother's hands vainly reaching
Will never again caress and comfort and hold.
XLIII
My father came over now and then
To look at the boy and talk to me,
Never staying long,
For the urge was strong
To get back to his yawl and the summer sea.
He came like a nomad passing by,
Hands in his pockets, hat over one eye,
Teasing every one great and small
With a blank straight face and a Yankee drawl;
Teasing the Vicar on Apostolic Succession
And what the Thirty-Nine Articles really meant to convey,
Teasing Nanny, though he did not
Make much impression
On that imperturbable Scot.
Teasing our local grandee, a noble peer,
Who firmly believed the Ten Lost Tribes
Of Israel had settled here—
A theory my father had at his fingers' ends—
Only one person was always safe from his jibes—
My mother-in-law, for they were really friends.
XLIV
Oh, to come home to your country
After long years away,
To see the tall shining towers
Rise over the rim of the bay,
To feel the west wind steadily blowing
And the sunshine golden and hot,
To speak to each man as an equal,
Whether he is or not.
XLV
Was this America—this my home?
Prohibition and Teapot Dome—
Speakeasies, night-clubs, illicit stills,
Dark faces peering behind dark grills,
Hold-ups, kidnappings, hootch or booze—
Every one gambling—you just can't lose,
95
Was this my country? Even the bay
At home was altered, strange ships lay
At anchor, deserted day after day,
Old yachts in a rusty dim decay—
Like ladies going the primrose way—
At anchor, until when the moon was black,
They sailed, and often never came back.
Even my father's Puritan drawl
Told me shyly he'd sold his yawl
For a fabulous price to the constable's son—
My childhood's playmate, thought to be one
Of a criminal gang, rum-runners all,
Such clever fellows with so much money—
Even the constable found it funny,
Until one morning his son was found,
Floating dead in Long Island Sound.
Was this my country? It seemed like heaven
To get back, dull and secure, to Devon,
Loyally hiding from Lady Jean
And my English friends the horrors I'd seen.
XLVI
That year she died, my nearest, dearest friend;
Lady Jean died, heroic to the end.
The family stood about her grave, but none
Mourned her as I did. After, one by one,
They slipped away—Peter and Bill—my son
Went back to school. I hardly was aware
Of Percy's lovely widow, sitting there
In the old room, in Lady Jean's own chair.
An English beauty glacially fair
Was Percy's widow Rosamund, her hair
Was silver gilt, and smooth as silk, and fine,
Her eyes, sea-green, slanted away from mine,
From any one's, as if to meet the gaze
Of others was too intimate a phase
For one as cool and beautiful as she.
We were not friends or foes. She seemed to be
Always a little irked— fretted to find
That other women lived among mankind.
96
Now for the first time after years of meeting,
Never exchanging more than formal greeting,
She spoke to me— that sharp determined way
People will speak when they have things to say.
XLVII
ROSAMUND: Susan, go home with your offspring. Fly.
Live in America. SUSAN: Rosamund, why?
ROSAMUND: Why, my dear girl, haven't you seen
What English country life can mean
With too small an income to keep the place
Going? Already I think I trace
A change in you, you no longer care
So much how you look or what you wear.
That coat and skirt you have on, you know
You wouldn't have worn them ten years ago.
Those thick warm stockings— they make me sad,
Your ankles were ankles to drive men mad.
Look at your hair— you need a wave.
Get out— go home— be hard— be brave,
Or else, believe me, you'll be a slave.
There's something in you— dutiful— meek—
You'll be saving your pin-money every week
To mend the roof. Well, let it leak.
Why should you care? SUSAN: But I do care,
John loved this place and my boy's the heir.
ROSAMUND: The heir to what? To a tiresome life
Drinking tea with the vicar's wife,
Opening bazaars, and taking the chair
At meetings for causes that you don't care
Sixpence about and never will;
Breaking your heart over every bill.
I've been in the States, where everyone,
Even the poor, have a little fun.
Don't condemn your son to be
A penniless country squire. He
Would be happier driving a tram over there
Than mouldering his life away as heir.
SUSAN: Rosamund dear, this may all be true.
I'm an American through and through.
97
I don't see things as the English do,
But it's clearly my duty, it seems to me,
To bring up John's son, like him, to be
A country squire—poor alas,
But true to that English upper class
That does not change and does not pass.
ROSAMUND: Nonsense; it's come to an absolute stop.
Twenty years since we sat on top
Of the world, amusing ourselves and sneering
At other manners and customs, jeering
At other nations, living in clover—
Not any more. That's done and over.
No one nowadays cares a button
For the upper classes— they're dead as mutton.
Go home. SUSAN: I notice that you don't go.
ROSAMUND: My dear, that shows how little you know.
I'm escaping the fate of my peers,
Marrying one of the profiteers,
Who hasn't an 'aitch' where an 'aitch' should be,
But millions and millions to spend on me.
Not much fun— but there wasn't any
Other way out. I haven't a penny.
But with you it's different. You can go away,
And oh, what a fool you'd be to stay.
XLVIII
Rabbits in the park,
Scuttling as we pass,
Little white tails
Against the green grass.
'Next time, Mother,
I must really bring a gun,
I know you don't like shooting,
But—!' John's own son,
That blond bowed face,
Those clear steady eyes,
Hard to be certain
That the dead don't rise.
Jogging on his pony
Through the autumn day,
98
'Bad year for fruit, Mother,
But good salt hay.'
Bowling for the village
As his father had before;
Coming home at evening
To read the cricket score,
Back to the old house
Where all his race belong,
Tired and contented—
Rosamund was wrong.
XLIX
If some immortal strangers walked our land
And heard of death, how could they understand
That we—doomed creatures—draw our meted breath
Light-heartedly—all unconcerned with death.
So in these years between the wars did men
From happier continents look on us when
They brought us sympathy, and saw us stand
Like the proverbial ostrich-head in sand—
While youth passed resolutions not to fight,
And statesmen muttered everything was right—
Germany, a kindly, much ill-treated nation—
Russia was working out her own salvation
Within her borders. As for Spain, ah, Spain
Would buy from England when peace came again!
I listened and believed— believed through sheer
Terror. I could not look whither my fear
Pointed— that agony that I had known.
I closed my eyes, and was not alone.
Later than many, earlier than some,
I knew the die was cast— that war must come;
That war must come. Night after night I lay
Steeling a broken heart to face the day
When he, my son— would tread the very same
Path that his father trod. When the day came
I was not steeled— not ready. Foolish, wild
Words issued from my lips— 'My child, my child,
Why should you die for England too?' He smiled:
'Is she not worth it, if I must?' he said.
99
John would have answered yes— but John was dead.
Is she worth dying for? My love, my one
And only love had died, and now his son
Asks me, his alien mother, to assay
The worth of England to mankind today—
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war;
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea—
Ah, no, not that—not Shakespeare—I must be
A sterner critic. I must weigh the ill
Against the good, must strike the balance, till
I know the answer— true for me alone—
What is she worth— this country— not my own?
I thought of my father's deep traditional wrath
Against England— the redcoat bully— the ancient foe—
That second reaping of hate, that aftermath
Of a ruler's folly and ignorance long ago—
Long, long ago— yet who can honestly say
England is utterly changed— not I— not I.
Arrogance, ignorance, folly are here today,
And for these my son must die?
I thought of these years, these last dark terrible years
When the leaders of England bade the English believe
Lies at the price of peace, lies and fears,
Lies that corrupt, and fears that sap and deceive.
I though of the bars dividing man from man,
Invisible bars that the humble may not pass,
And how no pride is uglier, crueller than
The pride unchecked of class.
Oh, those invisible bars of manners and speech,
Ways that the proud man will not teach
The humble lest they too reach
Those splendid heights where a little band
Have always stood and will always stand
Ruling the fate of this small green land,
Rulers of England—for them must I
Send out my only son to die?
100
LI
And then, and then,
I thought of Elizabeth stepping down
Over the stones of Plymouth town
To welcome her sailors, common men,
She herself, as she used to say,
Being' mere English' as much as they—
Seafaring men who sailed away
From rocky inlet and wooded bay,
Free men, undisciplined, uncontrolled,
Some of them pirates and all of them bold,
Feeling their fate was England's fate,
Coming to save it a little late,
Much too late for the easy way,
Much too late, and yet never quite
Too late to win in that last worst fight.
And I thought of Hampden and men like him,
St John and Eliot, Cromwell and Pym,
Standing firm through the dreadful years,
When the chasm was opening, widening,
Between the Commons and the King;
I thought of the Commons in tears— in tears,
When Black Rod knocked at Parliament's door,
And they saw Rebellion straight before—
Weeping, and yet as hard as stone,
Knowing what the English have always known
Since then— and perhaps have known alone—
Something that none can teach or tell—
The moment when God's voice says; 'Rebel.'
Not to rise up in sudden gust
Of passion— not, though the cause be just;
Not to submit so long that hate,
Lava torrents break out and spill
Over the land in a fiery spate;
Not to submit for ever, until
The will of the country is one man's will,
And every soul in the whole land shrinks
From thinking—except as his neighbour thinks.
Men who have governed England know
101
That dreadful line that they may not pass
And live. Elizabeth long ago
Honoured and loved, and bold as brass,
Daring and subtle, arrogant, clever,
English, too, to her stiff backbone,
Somewhat a bully, like her own
Father— yet even Elizabeth never
Dared to oppose the sullen might
Of the English, standing upon a right.
LII
And were they not English, our forefathers, never more
English than when they shook the dust of her sod
From their feet for ever, angrily seeking a shore
Where in his own way a man might worship his God.
Never more English than when they dared to be
Rebels against her-that stern intractable sense
Of that which no man can stomach and still be free,
Writing: 'When in the course of human events. . .'
Writing it out so all the world could see
Whence come the powers of all just governments.
The tree of Liberty grew and changed and spread,
But the seed was English.
I am American bred,
I have seen much to hate here— much to forgive,
But in a world where England is finished and dead,
I do not wish to live.
~ Alice Duer Miller
188:The Golden Age
Long ere the Muse the strenuous chords had swept,
And the first lay as yet in silence slept,
A Time there was which since has stirred the lyre
To notes of wail and accents warm with fire;
Moved the soft Mantuan to his silvery strain,
And him who sobbed in pentametric pain;
To which the World, waxed desolate and old,
Fondly reverts, and calls the Age of Gold.
Then, without toil, by vale and mountain side,
Men found their few and simple wants supplied;
Plenty, like dew, dropped subtle from the air,
And Earth's fair gifts rose prodigal as prayer.
Love, with no charms except its own to lure,
Was swiftly answered by a love as pure.
No need for wealth; each glittering fruit and flower,
Each star, each streamlet, made the maiden's dower.
Far in the future lurked maternal throes,
And children blossomed painless as the rose.
No harrowing question `why,' no torturing `how,'
Bent the lithe frame or knit the youthful brow.
The growing mind had naught to seek or shun;
Like the plump fig it ripened in the sun.
From dawn to dark Man's life was steeped in joy,
And the gray sire was happy as the boy.
Nature with Man yet waged no troublous strife,
And Death was almost easier than Life.
Safe on its native mountains throve the oak,
Nor ever groaned 'neath greed's relentless stroke.
No fear of loss, no restlessness for more,
Drove the poor mariner from shore to shore.
No distant mines, by penury divined,
Made him the sport of fickle wave or wind.
Rich for secure, he checked each wish to roam,
And hugged the safe felicity of home.
Those days are long gone by; but who shall say
Why, like a dream, passed Saturn's Reign away?
Over its rise, its ruin, hangs a veil,
486
And naught remains except a Golden Tale.
Whether 'twas sin or hazard that dissolved
That happy scheme by kindly Gods evolved;
Whether Man fell by lucklessness or pride,Let jarring sects, and not the Muse, decide.
But when that cruel Fiat smote the earth,
Primeval Joy was poisoned at its birth.
In sorrow stole the infant from the womb,
The agëd crept in sorrow to the tomb.
The ground, so bounteous once, refused to bear
More than was wrung by sower, seed, and share.
Ofttimes would ruthless winds or torrents raze
The ripening fruit of toilsome nights and days.
Each one in turn grew jealous of his own,
And fenced his patch with ditch and churlish stone.
As greed uprose, and greed engendered strife,
Contention raged coincident with life.
Man against man, maid against maiden turned,
And the soft breast with envious passions burned.
The loss of one was hailed as others' gain,
And pleasure took unnatural birth from pain.
Goaded by woe, and through tradition's lore
Mindful of all the blissfulness of yore,
The Human Race, its sorrows to assuage,
Dreamed afar off a second Golden Age;
Not in the dim irrevocable Past,
But in a Future just as vague and vast.
The prophet's lips, the poet's flattering pen,
Revelled in forecasts of that golden Then.
The days should come when grief would be no more,
And Peace and Plenty rule from shore to shore;
All men alike enjoy what none did earn,
And even more than Saturn's Reign return.
As years rolled on, as centuries went by,
And still that Promised Time seemed no more nigh,
Mankind at length, outwearied with delays,
Gave up all hope of those seductive days.
Then other prophets, other scribes arose,
A nearer, surer Eden to disclose.
`O, long-befooled!' they said, `awake, and deem
The Past a tale, the Future but a dream.
487
Here, in the living Present, act your part,
Straining its vulgar blessings to your heart.
Let hand with hand and brain with brain contend,
And each one labour to some selfish end.
In wealth and riot, luxury and power,
Baffle the mockery of the transient hour.
If thousands fall, if tens of thousands bleed,
Will not a hundred, or a score, succeed?
Let those who cannot yield to those who canFate has its piles of victims; why not Man?
Better a furious fight where some one wins,
Than sluggish life which ends as it begins.
Vain was the bard who, whilst the World was new,
'Twixt men and beasts the fond distinction drew,
That these confine their downward gaze to earth,
Whilst man looks up, enamoured of his birth.
Not in the skies, but deep beneath the soil,
There will you find your happiness and spoil.
Enough for brutes its simple face to know,
But godlike man must pierce and delve below.
Deep in its bowels seek the shining ore,
And at its touch shall Saturn reign once more.
For him whose thews are sound, whose vision clear,
Whose purpose firm, the Golden Age is here.'
Never from cave or tripod, mount or glade,
Issued a voice so welcomed, so obeyed.
From zone to zone the Golden Gospel flew,
And in its train mankind obedient drew.
See from their seats the ancient Gods dethroned,
Altars upset, and oracles disown'd.
The Muses, scared, conceal the smothered lyre;
No longer prized, the Graces swift retire;
Virtue, a butt for ribalds, seeks her shroud,
And even Venus veils herself in cloud.
Religion, Ethics, all men erst adored,
Hymned on the harp, or fought for with the sword,
All lofty scopes, all ends esteemed of old,
Dissolve like mist before the rage for gold.
The priest for gold makes traffic of his robe;
For gold the soldier desolates the globe;
The poet shapes for gold his venal lays;
488
Through gold Vice stalks caparisoned with praise.
Tempted by gold, the virgin sells her charms,
Though no Immortal slips into her arms.
Saddled with gold, the adventurer can buy
Titles, precedence, place, and dignity.
High, middle, low, the young, the ripe, the old,
Man, woman, child, live, die, are damned for Gold.
Soon as the youthful mind begins to ope,
It searches Life's significance and scope;
And, fed by generous impulse year by year,
Dreams for itself some glorious career.
Its shall it be, instructed by the Muse,
Truth to abet, and beauty to diffuse;
With full-blown sail, and genius at the helm,
To steer men's thoughts to a serener realm.
Perhaps the ingenuous boy would fain recall
Tintoret's canvas, Memmi's fresco'd wall;
With godlike pencil purify the mart,
And life ennoble with the breath of Art.
Maybe he burns, by Plato's failure fired,
To scale the heights which every wing have tired,
Seize first each part, then comprehend the whole,
And solve the eternal problem of the Soul.
Be these his aims, or, nobler still, to train
His kind to mutiny till Virtue reign,
Soon doth he learn to count his lovely schemes
A host of bubbles in a world of dreams.
Experience whispers early, Have a care!
Who with the Muse would live must live on air.
The tempting maid is but a poet's lie,
`Who gave to song what gold could never buy.'
Confront the world, take counsel with the throng;
Their verdict what? `The thing's not worth a song.'
Are you content you now have learnt your price?
Come, sink the Muse, and don't be quite so nice.
Start a new Company, and float the shares,
Then lunch with Ministers and dine with Mayors.
Pimp for a Party, praise a Premier's heart,
Head a subscription, and then shine-a Bart.
Return your income fifty thousand clearThe devil's in it, or you'll die a peer.
489
Success so great is never done by halves'Tis only virtue, when 'tis greatest, starves.
Perhaps his breast, untutored yet to serve,
Spurns the base counsel with a proud reserve;
For Youth is stubborn, and when Nature draws,
In vain a parent's warning, wisdom's saws.
Let cravens straight their impotence confess,
And sell their birthright for a filthy mess;
In flowers see, bee-like, nought but stuff for hives,
And for foul lucre prostitute their lives;
They have not failed who never once have tried,
Or, if they failed, they failed for want of pride.
He, he at least his soul will ne'er demean,
But 'mong the foul will keep his honour clean.
O touching sight, to witness day by day
His splendid generous day-dreams fade away!
His sire reproaches, and his brothers scoff,
His mother doubts, his sisters e'en fall off.
The neighbours pity, strangers deem him mad;
Girls, smiling, whisper, What a foolish lad!
Meanwhile his compeers, started in the race,
Are swiftly marching on to power and place.
One makes a coup, and weds a wife of rank;
Another's junior partner in a bank.
A third in sugar with unscriptural hand,
Traffics, and builds a lasting house on sand.
A fourth, for beer and piety renowned,
Owns all the publics in the country round;
Its drink adulterates with face demure,
But burns with zeal to keep opinion pure;
Cares not one jot for bodies drunk or sick,
But scans your soul like a new Dominick.
The fifth, the patron of a new balloon,
Projects a Company to reach the moon;
Baits his prospectus with a batch of peers,
And vows nought pays like money in the Spheres.
Shares in the moon advanced-advancing still.
Then comes a crash-stock guaranteed at nil.
But sure, the man is ruined? Not at all;
He scarce can tumble who has sense to crawl.
490
Your modern Icarus is much too wise
On his own pinions to attempt the skiesOn others' soaring follies doth he rise.
Long ere the bubble burst his shares were sold;
Just at that moment he had need of gold.
Singed wings, you know, are but for simple folk;
He, with his peers, 'scapes safe from flame and smoke,
And buys a borough with the happy stroke.
Few are the souls who die for Cato's creed:
To fail seems base, when all around succeed.
Foiled in his purpose, both by foe and friend,
Through noble means to reach a noble end,
The baffled boy forswears his cherished dream,
And learns to swim, like others, with the stream.
Keen to recover precious moments lost,
And taught by bitter tasks what Virtue cost,
He midst the rush, whilst others rise and fall,
Swims on, the most unscrupulous of all.
Let others chouse with care, he cheats with pluck,
And millions stake their all upon his luck.
His daring overawes the small, the great,
And whilst he plunders they but peculate.
He lures the easy, makes the fat his spoil,
Pares the lean wage of proletarian toil;
Swindles the widow of her hoarded mite,
Drags the poor pensioner once more to fight;
Robs age of rest, and youth of prospects fair,
Plunges the sanguine bridegroom in despair;
Severs the ties made sacred long by home,
And sends the son from sire across the foam;
Dashes the faith of plighted swain and maid,
And helps alone the cynic sexton's spade:
Does all that well beseems a Fallen StarIt needs a Lucifer to fall so far!
Sometimes will Fortune on the traitor scowl,
And e'en with gold not pay a deed so foul.
He who was born a glittering child of light,
Trenchant as Raphael, as Ithuriel bright,
Yet sells his soul a vulgar prize to reap,
And for brute guerdons holds his honour cheap,
491
Too often finds that he who, grovelling, flies
From unrewarded reverie in the skies,
And seeks in venal efforts to employ
The gifts God formed for beauty and for joy,
Makes but a barren barter of his birth,
And Heaven foregoes, without securing earth.
See how he sinks! The more he strains to clutch
Terrestrial spoil, unworthy of his touch,
It seems, for him, to take elusive shapes,
And like a shadow from his grasp escapes.
As baser wax his aims, more mean his scope,
More and still more he sprawls-the sport of Hope.
Still as he tries to suffocate his soul,
Farther beyond him seems the carnal goal.
In vain he turns to catch the favouring gale;
Becalmed he lies-he labours but to fail.
Poor and despised, he now would fain retrace
His erring steps to his first dwelling-place,
But finds, alas! baseness hath borne its fruit;
Wings long unused have withered at the root.
He who in vain has crawled in vain would fly,
And rots abandoned both by earth and sky.
Meaner his end than that poor tradesman's doom,
Who, asked what words of honour on his tomb
His friends should place, with cynic touch replied,
`Here lies who, born a man, a grocer died!'
Whom doth this foe of human virtue spare?
Look round! More sweet its victims, the more fair.
Its natural slaves, who, spawned from wealth, are born
To Traffic's tricks they lack the soul to scorn,
Whose lust for lucre is their proper lot,
It just as oft impoverishes as not.
'Tis those in whom the Unseen God inspires
The restless leaven of divine desires;
Who, from the moment that they lisp, betray
An alien spirit housed within their clay;
Whose fretful youth life's narrow limits chafe,
And yearns for worlds more spacious, if less safe;
Striving to reach, despite its fleshly thrall,
That larger Something which surrounds us all;These, these the souls-and not that baser band-
492
To whom Gold loves to stretch a helping hand;
With early smiles their generous aims to bless,
And lead them, blind, to ruinous success.
When Lelius chanted first his fragrant lays,
Men praised, and he was amply paid with praise.
Not salons' sycophant, nor Fashion's bard,
No glittering heaps did his sweet notes reward.
He was content with audience fit, though few,
When to his side the cunning demon drew.
`Your pen's worth gold; you need but blunt its point;
Come, cut the Muse; the times are out of joint.
Fame's well enough, but comfort has its laws;
You'll make a damned poor supper off applause.
Sing, be select, and starve. Prose is the thingThe thing that pays. The Million now is King.
Write gossip, scandal, slander-what you will;
A well-filled purse awaits a ready quill.'
The curst insidious demon has his way,
And Grub-street swallows Lelius for aye.
Turn from the pen, and for a while survey
The wide domains which brush and canvas sway.
Enter those realms, and what do we behold?
Art, heavenly Art, the slave and pimp of gold!
Time was when its poor votaries were too proud
To sate the itch of a vain-glorious crowd,
Serve the mean aims of narrow personal pelf,
And swell the ignoble retinue of Self.
Only the State, which merges private ends,
Or sacred Church, which lifts them and extends,
Might then presume the artist's craft to claim,
And paid him, happy, with immortal Fame.
Here, Friendship's guest, where fairest Florence lies,
A dream in stone, stretched out before mine eyes,
I think of all the treasures there enshrined,
And what small dole nurtured each master mind;
Or led by memory o'er the classic chain
Which Umbrian slope divides from Tuscan plain,
I all the priceless unbought gems recall
That link with heaven Assisi's frescoed wall;
Then, borne on wings of weakness, I repair
To mine own land, and groan to think that there,
493
Debased by Fashion to a venal trade,
Art counts its triumphs by its fortunes made;
Spurned by the State, and by the Church unsought,
Works but for wealth, and by the base is bought;
Stranger to altars, palaces, or domes,
Pampers the pomp of ostentatious homes.
How changed the days since Duccio's hand of old
On Saints and Virgins lavished costly gold;
But for himself asked but a few poor crowns,
Less than we give to harlequins and clowns.
Now do our mercenary tricksters grudge
Almost the very canvas that they smudge;
Yet scan with greedy eyes the glittering heap
That opulent folly holds, for once, so cheap.
See, too, how Genius, when its touch was true,
On humble walls its lasting fancies drew;
Whose modern apes, ridiculously bold,
Hang their ephemeral daubs in frames of gold.
In vain doth Heaven, while Gold thus rules the earth,
With generous instincts sow the soul at birth.
Swift in the genial soil the seed takes root,
Then seeks the sun with many a venturous shoot.
But, ah, how soon the cruel outer air
Checks the brave growth and nips its promise fair!
Warmed by the glow of Tasso's splendid lay,
Or borne by Dante to the gates of Day;
Softly seduced by Scott's romantic strain
To deem all ends, excepting honour, vain;
Or nobly trained by Shelley's burning song
To cherish an eternal feud with wrong,The simple girl constructs a future fair,
Rears a whole world of castles in the air,
And nowhere warned, or deaf to warning, deems
That life will clothe and justify her dreams.
As year by year the maiden grows apace,
And half the woman mantles in her face,
With sickening sense, sad eye, and sinking heart,
She sees her forecasts one by one depart.
Slowly, but, ah, too surely doth she find
That poets' tales no longer rule mankind;
That Peace is homeless as the hunted hare,
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And Love far less a shelter than a snare;
That godlike Valour meets a demon's doom,
Whilst Prudence prospers even from the tomb;
That Youth, save schooled in Mammon's miry ways,
Groans o'er the lapse of unrequited days;
That Beauty, Genius, all are vain and cold,
Till foully touched and fertilised by Gold.
Soon as the time so dear to mother's vows
Draws nigh, to find the maid some fitting spouse,
Then most of all she learns what leading part
Is played by Gold in dramas of the heart.
Chance to young Hylas, beautiful as Dawn,
And sweet as fair, she feels her fancy drawn.
Are you a nymph? one whispers. Let him pass.
He doth but gather daisies in the grass.
Where your cool wave, hidden from human eyes,
In which to lure and love him till he dies?
Bid him rejoin his Hercules, and seize
The golden apples of the Hesperides;
And then perchance, should none more rich than he
Engage your love, you may his Hera be.
Alas, poor Hylas! worse than Mysian fate
Doth his meandering flowery feet await.
If that a Solon, versed in every art
Of song and science, touch the maiden's heart,
The neighbours softly whisper, Have a care;
Can Erudition keep a chaise and pair?
Pundits, alas, like fools, must pay their bills,
And Knowledge figures sorrily in wills.
For single life learning is well enough,
But marriage should be made of sterner stuff.
Should Cato's fame her pious soul attract,
The whole world cries, The woman must be cracked.
What! wed with Virtue! Is the girl awake?
Sure, she confounds the altar with the stake.
Send for the doctor. Try a change of air.
Swear Cato drinks. In war and love all's fair.
Bring Croesus to the front. At four he's freeThere's no one left to swindle after three.
In one brief hour behold him curled and drest,
And borne on wings of fashion to the West!
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What though to regions fondly deemed refined,
He brings his City manners, City mind,
And cynics titter?-he laughs best who wins,A Greenwhich dinner covers many sins.
What! dine with Croesus? Surely. Is a feast
One jot the worse because the host's a beast?
He's worse than that-a snob-a cad. Agreed;
But then his goblets smack of Ganymede?
Do some strange freaks his conversation mar?
He stops your censure with a prime cigar.
A Norway stream, a shooting-lodge in Perth,
In practice look uncommonly like worth.
The Town to hear some new soprano flocks.
You long to go? Well, Croesus has a box.
How at this hour are tickets to be got
For the Regatta? Croesus has a yacht.
Goodwood is here. Your hopes begin to flag.
One chance awaits you: Croesus has a drag.
You doat on Flower-shows: Croesus has a bone.
Be friends with Croesus, and the World's your own.
Who could resist seductions such as these?
Or what could charm, if Croesus failed to please?
Blinded and bribed, the critical are cured,
And loud extol whom late they scarce endured.
Caressed and courted, Croesus grows the rage,
The type and glory of our Golden Age;
And Cato, Hylas, Solon, shoved aside,
Our heavenly maid is hailed as Croesus' bride.
Shade of Lucretius! if thy lyre waxed wild
With sacred rage for Clytemnestra's child,
And nought could hold thee as thy soul surveyed
The cursëd ills Religion can persuade,
How would thy verse impetuously shower
Sonorous scorn on Gold's atrocious power;
Embalm its victims with a touch divine,
And damn the monster in one sounding line!
Can honeyed forms or stereotyped applause
Alter the scope of Heaven's eternal laws?
What though with gifts should massive sideboards groan,
And every heart be glad except her own,
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And troops of blooming girls behold with pride,
Perchance with envy, this resplendent bride;
Though vieing voices hail her Fashion's queen,
And even a Bishop's blessing crown the scene,
No rites, no rings, no altars, can avail
To make a sacred contract of a sale,
Stir the far depths of the reluctant mind,
Or join the hearts which love hath failed to bind.
If soul stands passive whilst the flesh is sold,
Is there no foul aroma in the gold?
Is the base barter covered by the price,
And do huge figures make the nasty nice?
The nameless outcast, prowling for her prey,
Renews her filthy bargain day by day;
Let Croesus give her what he gave his wife,
She's virtuous too-at least, she's his for life.
Croesus-but hold! Let Charity presume
That Croesus' wife but dimly knew her doom.
The luckless maid, since knowledge comes too late,
In splendour seeks oblivion of her fate;
Of every tender pious aim bereft,
Hugs in despair the only idol left;
In alien worship seeks to be consoled,
And builds her hopes of happiness on Gold.
Gold rules her steps, determines her desiresMere puppet she, whilst Mammon jerks the wires.
Futile to ask if London suits her healthWould you consult her doctor, not her wealth?
You soon are answered: Whether ill or well,
A house in Town is indispensable.
Where shall it be? On gravel or on clay?
Wherever tenants have the most to pay.
Price is the thing, not soil. If Fashion's camp
Be pitched just here, what matter dry or damp?
But, health apart, 'tis known that Croesus' wife,
If left to choose, prefers a country life.
Well, she shall have it when the Parks are brown,
And Fashion, wearied, hath dispersed the Town.
But whilst the woods are leafy, and the lanes
With lush wild-flowers rob life of half its pains;
While sweetest scents and softest sounds combine
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To make existence, did they last, divine;
Not for the world must Croesus' wife be missed
From fetid streets, foul rooms, and Fashion's list;
And only thence to rural refuge flies
As, self-exhausted, pleasant Summer dies.
Say, shall we marvel, amid scenes like these,
With all to dazzle, but with nought to please,
If links of simple gold should fail to cleave,
And tempters prompt their webs not vainly weave?
See, Plutus, first in each ignoble strife,
Battered and bored, bethinks him of a wife.
The happy tidings, spreading through the West,
Fires each maternal mercenary breast.
The soaring dames parade their daughters' charms,
To lure the hug of Plutus' palsied arms;
And as brave Eld for one fair woman fought,
For one foul man our world to rage is wrought.
At last, opining he might chance do worse,
Plutus to proud Olympia flings his purse.
Olympia lifts it with triumphant smile,
Whilst round her crowds congratulating guile,
Escorts her to the altar, decks her brows
With orange-buds, then leaves her with her spouse,
Who, though his suit by golden showers throve,
Can grasp his Danaë with no thews of Jove.
O, who shall tell Olympia's tale aright,
Each splendid day, each miserable night;
Her thirst divine by human draughts but slaked,
Her smiling face whilst the heart sorely ached,
Or note the edge whence one we loved so well
To sweet, seductive, base perdition fell?
I cast no stone, but half by rage consoled,
I snatch the lyre and curse this fiendish Gold.
Though Beauty's fame oft spreads through all the land,
Splendour is far more curiously scanned;
And they who once upon Olympia threw
A passing glance, since she was fair to view,
Now gilded pomp and Ostentation's choir
Attend her path, of gazing never tire;
Suck up her speech, translate her silent eyes,
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Each movement, look, and posture scrutinise,
Stalk all her steps, as matron, friend, and wife,
And feed in greedy gossip on her life.
Not mine to follow to the noisome den
Where woman's frailty stands the gaze of men,
And well-coached menials, limed with gold, detail
The piteous scenes that pass behind the veil.
Enough to know that, thanks to wealth, once more
Plutus can woo, e'en richer than before.
The tottering cuckold leaves the court consoled;
Considerate juries tip his horns with Gold!
Sure some malicious demon in the brain
It needs must be, drives men reputed sane
To spurn the joys adjacent to their feet,
In the fond chase of this receding cheat?
Say, when the Stoic on his tranquil height,
And swinish crowd, sweating in miry fight,
In every age a like conclusion reach,
And sage and simple one same sermon preachThat whether Heaven hath made one serf or king,
Reason alone true happiness can bringCan we but stand astounded as we scan
This race untaught, unteachable, called Man?
Would you be truly rich, how small the heap
Your aims require, the price how passing cheap!
A modest house, from urban jars removed,
By thrist selected, yet by taste approved;
Whose walls are gay with every sweet that blows,
Whose windows scented by the blushing rose;
Whose chambers few to no fine airs pretend,
Yet never are too full to greet a friend;
A garden plot, whither unbidden come
Bird's idle pipe and bee's laborious hum;
Smooth-shaven lawn, whereon in pastime's hours
The mallet rings within a belt of flowers;
A leafy nook where to enjoy at will
Gibbon's rich prose or Shakespeare's wizard quill;
A neighbouring copse wherein the stock-doves coo,
And a wild stream unchecked sings all day through;
Two clean bright stalls, where midday, night, and morn,
Two good stout roadsters champ their well-earned corn;
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A few learned shelves from modern rubbish free,
Yet always, Mill, with just a place for Thee;
Head ne'er at dawn by clownish bouts obscured,
And limbs by temperate exercise inured;
A few firm friendships made in early life,
Yet doubly fastened by a pleasant wife;
A wholesome board, a draught of honest wine;This is true wealth; and this, thank Heaven, is mine!
And though you ransacked worlds from shore to shore,
From sea to sky, you could not give me more.
And if, all these beyond, I still should crave
Something impossible this side the grave,
Let humbler souls my soaring hopes forgiveAfter my life still in my verse to live.
Well would it be if Mammon's feverish rage
Did but the vulgar and the base engage;
If those alone whose undistinguished name,
Haply if fouled, would shed no slur on Fame,
Sought in this sordid, despicable strife,
To find the good and snatch the crown of life.
But in the mire of venal fight embroiled,
Have we not seen the noblest scutcheons soiled?
Not the proud thought that many a splendid fray,
When crowns obeyed the fortunes of the day,
To stalwart arms its pregnant issue owed,
Whose glorious blood in their own body flowed;
Not the remembrance that their sires did share
The toils that made this England great and fair;
Not their resplendent pedigree, nor all
The line of haught fierce faces on the wall,
That tells the tale of their ancestral hall,
Have yet availed, in days like these, to hold
Men, thus seduced, from the coarse race for Gold.
Have we not seen the generous beast, whose sires
Once bore their fathers into battle's fires,
By titled gamblers' mercenary taste
His once stout loins to nimble flanks debased,
Made for curst gold to sweat through all his pores,
The panting pet of blacklegs, lords, and whores?
On such a course what dismal woes await,
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Let the world learn by young Lucullus' fate.
Whilst yet the bloom of boyhood matched his cheek,
And all his duty was to master Greek.
Make a long score, bound o'er the running brook,
Cleave the clear wave, Lucullus had a book.
No glorious volume was't, whose subtle page
The wisdom breathed of many a studious age.
No wealth of wit, no Learning's garnered sheaves
Lay, like a treasure, lurking in its leaves.
But, in their place, crabbed Calculation scrawled
Symbols which shocked and figures that appalled.
Not for sweet Fancy, nor the simple stake
Of generous sports, did he his tasks forsake.
Ere sentiment could move, or sense control,
Adventurous Greed had swallowed up his soul.
If Gold Acrisius' Tower of Brass could flout,
How will the playground shut the monster out?
Thus by his own base instincts first betrayed,
The race of harpies lend their shameful aid,
With evil eye his smiling lands behold,
And smooth his path to infamy with gold.
At length behold him grown to man's estate,
Rich, noble, noted, lord of his own fate.
Here Duty beckons, Honour there incites,
And Love entices to its saving rites.
He heeds them not; he joins the madding crowd,
King of the base, the vulgar, and the loud;
Builds his most precious friendships on a bet,
And through the gutter trails his coronet.
Vain fool! inflamed by flattery and conceit,
He marks no pitfalls yawning at his feet;
But, winning, deems the cunning snare his luck,
And losing, pays, to plume him on his pluck;
Accepts each challenge, doubles every stake,
While tipsy plaudits follow in his wake.
But what avails, if Fortune quits his side?
Curse on the jade, he cries, she always lied!
Well, now's an end! . . . A comrade plucks his gown:
An end as yet, man! cut the timber down.
The luck will turn; you lost for want of skill;
Come, play again-you'll win. . . . By G-, I will!
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Done soon as said. The swift sure axe resounds
Through the green stretch of his ancestral grounds.
The soaring elm, whose topmost boughs defied
The scaling valour of his boyish pride;
The umbrageous beech, beneath whose courtly shade
The loves that issued in his life were made;
The lordly oak, young when his line was young,
To which with pride inherited had clung
His sires and they from whom his sires were sprung;
Behold them now, around the naked hall,
One after one in fell succession fall.
Lo, the wide woods which centuries had seen
By frosts unmoved, mid thunder-fugues serene,
By thousand suns, by tens of thousand showers,
Fostered and fed, one greedy day devours.
And all in vain! Lured by the severed spoil,
The foul fierce harpies fasten on the soil.
`My lands on luck.' We take you. Clear the course;
Twenty to one upon Lucullus' horse!
One minute more, and poor Lucullus flies,
The beggared heir of all the centuries.
Then scoffed, and scourged, and stripped of all his wealth,
His last friends leave him-energy and health.
Anxiety and fierce Excitement's flame
Have scorched his blood and shrivelled up his frame.
`Plum to a pony!' hear the cripple call;
`Ere six months pass, the grave will end it all.'
Lucky at last, he wins his bootless bet,
And dies of drink, debauchery, and debt.
Gone are the times indeed when savage Might
Usurped the throne and claimed the wage of Right.
No longer now the tiller of the soil
Sees his fair fields the lusty robber's spoil;
No timid burgher now grows rich by stealth,
Lest some rude noble swoop upon his wealth;
The quiet citizen no longer fears
A raid upon his money or his ears,
That local turmoil or imperial strife
Will wreck his home or leave him bare for life.
But say, is Force the only fearful foe,
502
Or the keen Sword worst source of human woe?
Wielding base weapons Violence disdained,
Cunning prevails where once Compulsion reigned.
The tyrant's lance, Oppression's piercing shaft,
Torment no more, but abdicate to Craft.
Could feudal despot swooping on his prey,
Could bandit burning for the unequal fray,
Could fire, sword, famine, spread more wreck abroad,
Than marks the path of Greed allied with Fraud;
Or waits on life, where no rude signs portend
When the dread bolt of Ruin will descend?
See the poor father, who for years has toiled,
At one fell stroke of all his store despoiled.
His was the pious wish, by daily care
And safe degrees to make his hearth more fair;
His the ambition-far too meek to roamTo swell the simple luxuries of home;
By loving thrift to deck his comely spouse
With some poor gem, the summit of her vows;
To instruct his boys in every generous art
Which trains the man to act a shining part;
By culture's aid to see his daughters armed
With each fair grace that in their mother charmed;
Year after year, as strength and vigour waned,
To find his fondest forecasts all attained;
And then, since faithful to the final stage,
Doff the hard harness from the back of age.
But watchful Greed with jealous eye beheld
Day after day his little earnings swelled;
Studied the tender workings of his mind,
Marked the fond aims to which his heart inclined;
With specious lips his trusting senses stole,
And with false visions fired his prudent soul.
Poor wretch! but yesterday in modest state
He lived, secure from every bolt of Fate.
To-day, he wanders feverish and depressed,
As though whole Andes weighed upon his breast.
To-morrow, back unto his home he crawls,
A beggared man, and at the threshold falls.
Now will no more his trustful wife behold
The gladsome face returning as of old,
503
And read in sparkling eye and smiling cheek
The day's good tidings e'en before he speak;
Never again in hastening footsteps guess
Some pretty love-gift, token of success.
Their blooming boys, for whom parental hope
So oft had cast the fairest horoscope,
And seen with fond anticipating eyes
Each proud successive civic honour rise,
Torn from their noble studies, have to crave
From base pursuits the pittance of a slave,
Pour the soul's wine into the body's sieve,
And grand life lose in mean attempts to live.
Perchance, at home their humble wants denied,
Gaunt Hunger drives them from their mother's side;
Leaves her to weep alone o'er what hath been,
And places ocean, pitiless, between.
The tender girls, their father's pride and joy,
Whose dreams a fiend had scrupled to destroy;
From childhood's earliest days whose only care
Was to be gracious, virtuous, and fair,
And who from Heaven could nothing else implore
Save to be all their mother was before;
Who pictured as their perfect scheme of life
A clinging daughter and a helpful wife,At one rude flash behold the world enlarge,
And stand, pale victims, trembling on the marge.
Little, alas, now boots it where they roam,
Since they must leave the tranquil shores of home.
Whether, poor slaves, they crawl with aching feet
Hour after hour from dreary street to street,
Or, as in mockery of home, alas!
Beneath the stranger's icy portal pass,
And thankless task and miserable wage
Their exiled cheerless energies engage,
Their youth, their life, is blasted at the core,
And Hope's sweet sap will mount their veins no more.
Should every door their humble prayers repel,
Scorning to buy what Hunger kneels to sell,
And they, half thankful that the strangers spurn,
To their own roof be driven to return,
How strange the scene that meets their wearied gaze!
How changed the hearth, the home, of other days!
504
Contracting Care usurps the mother's face,
Whose smiles of old spread sunshine through the place.
Alone she weeps; but should she chance to hear
Her husband's steps, she hides the furtive tear;
Follows his movements with an anxious dread,
Studies his brow, and scans his restless tread;
Assails his woe with every female wile,
Prattles of hope, and simulates a smile.
He, broken man, wrapt in perpetual gloom,
Wanders anon from vacant room to room;
Then, creeping back, the image of despair,
With a deep sigh he sinks into his chair.
He seldom speaks; and when his voice is heard,
Peevish its tone, and querulous his word;
And vain laments and childish tears attest
The lamp of life is dying in his breast.
Perhaps his death some timely pittance frees,
Secured by prudence in their days of ease;
And, O the pity! posthumous relief
Stanches love's wounds, and blunts the edge of grief.
Unless, indeed-for this too hath been knownAll-grasping Greed hath made that mite its own,
Filched from the widow her last hopes of bread,
And whom it ruined living, plunders dead!
These are thy triumphs, Gold! thy trophies these,
To nurture fraud, and rob the world of ease,
Faith to befool, young genius to seduce,
And blight at once its beauty and its use.
Thine is the bait, as loveless hearths avouch,
Which drags fresh victims to the venal couch;
Thine the foul traps wherewith our ways are rife,
That lure them first, then close upon their life;
Thine, thine the springes, set in regions fair,
Whose unseen nooses strangle whom they snare;
The cynic glory thine to lie in wait
To make men little who had else been great,
Frustrate our plenty, aggravate our dearth,
And keep eternal feud 'twixt Heaven and Earth!
Lo, where huge London, huger day by day,
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O'er six fair counties spreads its hideous sway,
A tract there lies by Fortune's favours blest,
And at Fame's font yclept the happy West.
There, as by wizard touch, for miles on miles,
Rise squares, streets, crescents of palatial piles.
In the brave days when England's trusty voice
Made grappling rivals tremble or rejoice;
When, foremost shield of Weakness or of Right,
She scorned to warn unless resolved to smite;
When, few but firm, her stalwart children bore
The terror of her Flag from shore to shore,
Purged Christ's dear tomb from sacrilege and shame,
And made the Moslem quake at Richard's name;
Taught the vain Gaul, though gallant, still to kneel,
And Spain's proud sons the weight of northern steel;Then were her best in no such splendour nursed
As now awaits her basest and her worst.
No kingly Harry glittering with renown,
No Edward radiant in a peaceful crown,
Was housed as now, at turn of Fortune's wrist,
Some lucky navvy turned capitalist,
Some convict's bastard who a-sudden shines
In the bright splendour of Australian mines,
Or subtle Greek, who, skilled in Eastern ways,
Exposes all Golconda to our gaze.
These, as to Pomp's pretentious peaks they rush,
Heed not the crowds their sordid conquests crush:
Secure in glaring opulence, they scan
With placid eyes the miseries of man;
Fat units, watch the leanness of the whole,
And gag remonstrance with a paltry dole:
Mid harrowing want, with conscience unafraid,
Die on the golden dirt-heaps they have made.
Here Plenty gorges gifts from every zone,
There thankful Hunger gnaws its meagre bone;
Profusion here melts more than pearls in wine,
There craves gaunt Penury some shucks from swine;
And whilst rich rogues quaff deep round roaring fires,
At Dives' portal Lazarus expires!
Betwixt these fierce extremes of wealth and woe,
A crowd of strugglers hustles to and fro,
506
Whose one sole aim and only hope in life
Are just to wrench subsistence from the strife.
To what base shifts these hideous straits compel
The straining wretches, let our records tell.
Victims of greedy Competition's craft,
We drain cheap poison in each sparkling draught,
Purchase a lie in every vaunted ware,
And swallow filth in the most frugal fare.
Building a refuge for our age, we find
The crumbling mortar lets in wet and wind;
Face the rude waves, by science freed from awe,
To sink, poor dupes, on life-belts made of straw!
Nor this the worst! When ripened Shame would hide
Fruits of that hour when Passion conquered Pride,
There are not wanting in this Christian land
The breast remorseless and the Thuggish hand,
To advertise the dens where Death is sold,
And quench the breath of baby-life for gold!
Nor man alone, case-hardened man, surveys
These shocking contrasts with a careless gaze.
Fair melting woman of the tender breast
Here finds no room for pity as her guest.
Unsexed, she strains to Ostentation's goal,
While Splendour's dreams demoralise her soul;
Drains, like a goddess, hecatombs of lives,
Nor heeds who lags, provided she arrives.
See Claribel, by every gift designed
Mid anguish keen to be an angel kind,
Once plunged in rival factions' golden fight,
Turned to a demon in her own despite.
Behold, to-morrow in the Royal smile
Will bask the birth and wealth of all the Isle.
She, long abroad, received the summons late.
What's to be done? Nor time nor tide will wait.
She turns her wardrobe over, racks her brain;
Nothing will do. She wants a dress and train.
Drive to the modiste's. Not a finger free.
There's only Clara. Clara let it be.
But Clara's sick and sorry. Give her gold;
Her aches will cease, her sorrows be consoled.
507
It must be done. Sure Lilian there will glow
In gorgeous newness decked from top to toe;
Shall it be said that Claribel did less?
To-morrow, then, in time the train and dress.
So Clara drags her weary limbs from bed,
O'er the brave finery hangs her throbbing head;
Still as her senses swim sews on and on,
Till day dies out and twilight pale is gone.
Then, by the taper's soft and silent light,
Like a pale flower that opens most by night,
Her pace she quickens, and the needle moves
Subtler and swifter through the gauzy grooves;
But as the dawn on guttering sockets gains,
Her tired lids drop, and sleep arrests her pains.
But sleep how short! She feels her shoulder clutched:
`Clara, awake! the train's not even touched!
Day strides apace. See, there's the morning sun,
And ere again he sinks, 't must all be done.'
Again, again, the shooting thread she plies,
In silent agony of smothered sighs.
She seems to breathe her breath into the gown,
To give it life the while she lays hers down.
Fast as the task advances set by pride,
So fast within her ebbs the vital tide.
The daylight goes, and softly comes the moon's,
And then poor Clara over the last stitch swoons.
Meanwhile, the panting Claribel awaits
The precious gown within her golden gates.
It comes-it comes. Now who shall shine her down?
Not Lilian, surely? No, not the entire Town.
She not for worlds had lost this courtly chance;
And Clara dies that Claribel may dance!
If private worth, thus languishing, expires,
Will public Virtue keep alive her fires?
The slaves of wealth, in Britain as in Rome,
Bring to the Forum vices formed at home.
First the community, and then the State,
Falls to their fangs, which naught can satiate.
Not born nor bred to rule, of culture void,
508
And by no wave of young ambition buoyed,
Anxious on heights conspicuous to flaunt
Nought but the tawdry trophies they can vaunt,
They woo the grasping crowd with golden guile,
And spread Corruption's canker through the Isle.
You want a seat? Then boldly sate your itch.
Be very radical, and very rich.
Sell your opinions first to please the pure,
Then buy the sordid, and your triumph's sure.
Do all, in brief, that honest men abhor,
And England hails another Senator.
See the vain Tribune who, in lust of power,
Bows to the base exactions of the hour,
And, fooled by sycophants, stands forth at last
A devotee turned sworn iconoclast!
Behind him sit dense rows of golden mutes,
Deaf to whate'er demonstrates or refutes,
Ready to vote, rescind, obey in all
The whip demands, as hounds the huntsman's call.
They neither know nor reck what helpful deeds
In this grave hour their perilled Country needs.
They want to see their daughters nobly wed,
Their wives at Court, their own names trumpeted,
Their private Bills advanced another stage,
Their schemes of plunder foisted on the age.
Leave them but these, the gamblers come to call,
Nor heed an Empire nodding to its fall!
When Power is built on props like these, how vain
The hope that Law the giddy will restrain!
Spoilt by tw