Part 2 out of 2
Their Margaret cradled near them, wail'd and woke
The mother, and the father suddenly cried,
`A wreck, a wreck!' then turn'd, and groaning said,
`Forgive! How many will say, "forgive," and find
A sort of absolution in the sound
To hate a little longer! No; the sin
That neither God nor man can well forgive,
Hypocrisy, I saw it in him at once.
Is it so true that second thoughts are best?
Not first, and third, which are a riper first?
Too ripe, too late! they come too late for use.
Ah love, there surely lives in man and beast
Something divine to warn them of their foes:
And such a sense, when first I fronted him,
Said, "trust him not;" but after, when I came
To know him more, I lost it, knew him less;
Fought with what seem'd my own uncharity;
Sat at his table; drank his costly wines;
Made more and more allowance for his talk;
Went further, fool! and trusted him with all,
All my poor scrapings from a dozen years
Of dust and deskwork: there is no such mine,
None; but a gulf of ruin, swallowing gold,
Not making. Ruin'd! ruin'd! the sea roars
Ruin: a fearful night!'
`Not fearful; fair,'
Said the good wife, `if every star in heaven
Can make it fair: you do but bear the tide.
Had you ill dreams?'
`O yes,' he said, `I dream'd
Of such a tide swelling toward the land,
And I from out the boundless outer deep
Swept with it to the shore, and enter'd one
Of those dark caves that run beneath the cliffs.
I thought the motion of the boundless deep
Bore through the cave, and I was heaved upon it
In darkness: then I saw one lovely star
Larger and larger. "What a world," I thought,
"To live in!" but in moving I found
Only the landward exit of the cave,
Bright with the sun upon the stream beyond:
And near the light a giant woman sat,
All over earthy, like a piece of earth,
A pickaxe in her hand: then out I slipt
Into a land all of sun and blossom, trees
As high as heaven, and every bird that sings:
And here the night-light flickering in my eyes
`That was then your dream,' she said,
`Not sad, but sweet.'
`So sweet, I lay,' said he,
`And mused upon it, drifting up the stream
In fancy, till I slept again, and pieced
The broken vision; for I dream'd that still
The motion of the great deep bore me on,
And that the woman walk'd upon the brink:
I wonder'd at her strength, and ask'd her of it:
"It came," she said, "by working in the mines:"
O then to ask her of my shares, I thought;
And ask'd; but not a word; she shook her head.
And then the motion of the current ceased,
And there was rolling thunder; and we reach'd
A mountain, like a wall of burs and thorns;
But she with her strong feet up the steep hill
Trod out a path: I follow'd; and at top
She pointed seaward: there a fleet of glass,
That seem'd a fleet of jewels under me,
Sailing along before a gloomy cloud
That not one moment ceased to thunder, past
In sunshine: right across its track there lay,
Down in the water, a long reef of gold,
Or what seem'd gold: and I was glad at first
To think that in our often-ransack'd world
Still so much gold was left; and then I fear'd
Lest the gay navy there should splinter on it,
And fearing waved my arm to warn them off;
An idle signal, for the brittle fleet
(I thought I could have died to save it) near'd,
Touch'd, clink'd, and clash'd, and vanish'd, and I woke,
I heard the clash so clearly. Now I see
My dream was Life; the woman honest Work;
And my poor venture but a fleet of glass
Wreck'd on a reef of visionary gold.'
`Nay,' said the kindly wife to comfort him,
`You raised your arm, you tumbled down and broke
The glass with little Margaret's medicine it it;
And, breaking that, you made and broke your dream:
A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.'
`No trifle,' groan'd the husband; `yesterday
I met him suddenly in the street, and ask'd
That which I ask'd the woman in my dream.
Like her, he shook his head. "Show me the books!"
He dodged me with a long and loose account.
"The books, the books!" but he, he could not wait,
Bound on a matter he of life and death:
When the great Books (see Daniel seven and ten)
Were open'd, I should find he meant me well;
And then began to bloat himself, and ooze
All over with the fat affectionate smile
That makes the widow lean. "My dearest friend,
Have faith, have faith! We live by faith," said he;
"And all things work together for the good
Of those"--it makes me sick to quote him--last
Gript my hand hard, and with God-bless-you went.
I stood like one that had received a blow:
I found a hard friend in his loose accounts,
A loose one in the hard grip of his hand,
A curse in his God-bless-you: then my eyes
Pursued him down the street, and far away,
Among the honest shoulders of the crowd,
Read rascal in the motions of his back,
And scoundrel in the supple-sliding knee.'
`Was he so bound, poor soul?' said the good wife;
`So are we all: but do not call him, love,
Before you prove him, rogue, and proved, forgive.
His gain is loss; for he that wrongs his friend
Wrongs himself more, and ever bears about
A silent court of justice in his breast,
Himself the judge and jury, and himself
The prisoner at the bar, ever condemn'd:
And that drags down his life: then comes what comes
Hereafter: and he meant, he said he meant,
Perhaps he meant, or partly meant, you well.'
` "With all his conscience and one eye askew"--
Love, let me quote these lines, that you may learn
A man is likewise counsel for himself,
Too often, in that silent court of yours--
"With all his conscience and one eye askew,
So false, he partly took himself for true;
Whose pious talk, when most his heart was dry,
Made wet the crafty crowsfoot round his eye;
Who, never naming God except for gain,
So never took that useful name in vain;
Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his tool,
And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and fool;
Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he forged,
And snakelike slimed his victim ere he gorged;
And oft at Bible meetings, o'er the rest
Arising, did his holy oily best,
Dropping the too rough H in Hell and Heaven,
To spread the Word by which himself had thriven."
How like you this old satire?'
`Nay,' she said
`I loathe it: he had never kindly heart,
Nor ever cared to better his own kind,
Who first wrote satire, with no pity in it.
But will you hear MY dream, for I had one
That altogether went to music? Still
It awed me.'
Then she told it, having dream'd
Of that same coast.
--But round the North, a light,
A belt, it seem'd, of luminous vapor, lay,
And ever in it a low musical note
Swell'd up and died; and, as it swell'd, a ridge
Of breaker issued from the belt, and still
Grew with the growing note, and when the note
Had reach'd a thunderous fullness, on those cliffs
Broke, mixt with awful light (the same as that
Living within the belt) whereby she saw
That all those lines of cliffs were cliffs no more,
But huge cathedral fronts of every age,
Grave, florid, stern, as far as eye could see.
One after one: and then the great ridge drew,
Lessening to the lessening music, back,
And past into the belt and swell'd again
Slowly to music: ever when it broke
The statues, king or saint, or founder fell;
Then from the gaps and chasms of ruin left
Came men and women in dark clusters round,
Some crying, "Set them up! they shall not fall!"
And others "Let them lie, for they have fall'n."
And still they strove and wrangled: and she grieved
In her strange dream, she knew not why, to find
Their wildest wailings never out of tune
With that sweet note; and ever as their shrieks
Ran highest up the gamut, that great wave
Returning, while none mark'd it, on the crowd
Broke, mixt with awful light, and show'd their eyes
Glaring, and passionate looks, and swept away
The men of flesh and blood, and men of stone,
To the waste deeps together.
`Then I fixt
My wistful eyes on two fair images,
Both crown'd with stars and high among the stars,--
The Virgin Mother standing with her child
High up on one of those dark minster-fronts--
Till she began to totter, and the child
Clung to the mother, and sent out a cry
Which mixt with little Margaret's, and I woke,
And my dream awed me:--well--but what are dreams?
Yours came but from the breaking of a glass,
And mine but from the crying of a child.'
`Child? No!' said he, `but this tide's roar, and his,
Our Boanerges with his threats of doom,
And loud-lung'd Antibabylonianisms
(Altho' I grant but little music there)
Went both to make your dream: but if there were
A music harmonizing our wild cries,
Sphere-music such as that you dream'd about,
Why, that would make our passions far too like
The discords dear to the musician. No--
One shriek of hate would jar all the hymns of heaven:
True Devils with no ear, they howl in tune
With nothing but the Devil!'
One of our town, but later by an hour
Here than ourselves, spoke with me on the shore;
While you were running down the sands, and made
The dimpled flounce of the sea-furbelow flap,
Good man, to please the child. She brought strange news.
Why were you silent when I spoke to-night?
I had set my heart on your forgiving him
Before you knew. We MUST forgive the dead.'
`Dead! who is dead?'
`The man your eye pursued.
A little after you had parted with him,
He suddenly dropt dead of heart-disease.'
`Dead? he? of heart-disease? what heart had he
To die of? dead!'
`Ah, dearest, if there be
A devil in man, there is an angel too,
And if he did that wrong you charge him with,
His angel broke his heart. But your rough voice
(You spoke so loud) has roused the child again.
Sleep, little birdie, sleep! will she not sleep
Without her "little birdie?" well then, sleep,
And I will sing you "birdie."'
The woman half turn'd round from him she loved,
Left him one hand, and reaching thro' the night
Her other, found (for it was close beside)
And half embraced the basket cradle-head
With one soft arm, which, like the pliant bough
That moving moves the nest and nestling, sway'd
The cradle, while she sang this baby song.
What does the little birdie say
In her nest at peep of day?
Let me fly, says little birdie,
Mother, let me fly away.
Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.
So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.
What does little baby say,
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says, like little birdie,
Let me rise and fly away.
Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger.
If she sleeps a little longer,
Baby too shall fly away.
`She sleeps: let us too, let all evil, sleep.
He also sleeps--another sleep than ours.
He can do no more wrong: forgive him, dear,
And I shall sleep the sounder!'
Then the man,
`His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to come.
Yet let your sleep for this one night be sound:
I do forgive him!'
`Thanks, my love,' she said,
`Your own will be the sweeter,' and they slept.
And Willy, my eldest-born, is gone, you say, little
Ruddy and white, and strong on his legs, he looks like
And Willy's wife has written: she never was over-
Never the wife for Willy: he would n't take my
For, Annie, you see, her father was not the man to
Had n't a head to manage, and drank himself into his
Pretty enough, very pretty! but I was against it for
Eh!--but he would n't hear me--and Willy, you say,
Willy, my beauty, my eldest-born, the flower of the
Never a man could fling him: for Willy stood like a
`Here's a leg for a babe of a week!' says doctor; and
he would be bound,
There was not his like that year in twenty parishes
Strong of his hands, and strong on his legs, but still of
I ought to have gone before him: I wonder he went
I cannot cry for him, Annie: I have not long to
Perhaps I shall see him the sooner, for he lived far
Why do you look at me, Annie? you think I am hard
But all my children have gone before me, I am so
I cannot weep for Willy, nor can I weep for the
Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the
For I remember a quarrel I had with your father, my
All for a slanderous story, that cost me many a
I mean your grandfather, Annie: it cost me a world
Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years
For Jenny, my cousin, had come to the place, and I
knew right well
That Jenny had tript in her time: I knew, but I
would not tell.
And she to be coming and slandering me, the base
But the tongue is a fire as you know, my dear, the
tongue is a fire.
And the parson made it his text that week, and he
That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of
That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought
But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to
And Willy had not been down to the farm for a week
and a day;
And all things look'd half-dead, tho' it was the middle
Jenny, to slander me, who knew what Jenny had
But soiling another, Annie, will never make oneself
And I cried myself well-nigh blind, and all of an
I climb'd to the top of the garth, and stood by the
road at the gate.
The moon like a rick on fire was rising over the
And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt
All of a sudden he stopt: there past by the gate of
Willy,--he did n't see me,--and Jenny hung on his
Out into the road I started, and spoke I scarce knew
Ah, there's no fool like the old one--it makes me
Willy stood up like a man, and look'd the thing that
Jenny, the viper, made me a mocking courtesy and
And I said, `Let us part: in a hundred years it'll all
be the same,
You cannot love me at all, if you love not my good
And he turn'd, and I saw his eyes all wet, in the sweet
Sweetheart, I love you so well that your good name
And what do I care for Jane, let her speak of you well
But marry me out of hand: we two shall be happy
`Marry you, Willy!' said I, `but I needs must speak
And I fear you'll listen to tales, be jealous and hard
But he turn'd and claspt me in his arms, and answer'd,
`No, love, no;'
Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years
So Willy and I were wedded: I wore a lilac
And the ringers rang with a will, and he gave the
ringers a crown.
But the first that ever I bare was dead before he was
Shadow and shine is life, little Annie, flower and
That was the first time, too, that ever I thought of
There lay the sweet little body that never had drawn
I had not wept, little Anne, not since I had been a
But I wept like a child that day, for the babe had
fought for his life.
His dear little face was troubled, as if with anger or
I look'd at the still little body--his trouble had all
been in vain.
For Willy I cannot weep, I shall see him another
But I wept like a child for the child that was dead
before he was born.
But he cheer'd me, my good man, for he seldom said me
Kind, like a man, was he; like a man, too, would have
Never jealous--not he: we had many a happy
And he died, and I could not weep--my own time
seem'd so near.
But I wish'd it had been God's will that I, too, then
could have died:
I began to be tired a little, and fain had slept at his
And that was ten years back, or more, if I don't
But as to the children, Annie, they're all about me
Pattering over the boards, my Annie who left me at
Patter she goes, my own little Annie, an Annie like
Pattering over the boards, she comes and goes at her
While Harry is in the five-acre and Charlie ploughing
And Harry and Charlie, I hear them too--they sing
to their team:
Often they come to the door in a pleasant kind of a
They come and sit by my chair, they hover about my
I am not always certain if they be alive or
And yet I know for a truth, there's none of them
For Harry went at sixty, your father at sixty-
And Willy, my eldest born, at nigh threescore and
I knew them all as babies, and now they're elderly
For mine is a time of peace, it is not often I
I am oftener sitting at home in my father's farm
And the neighbors come and laugh and gossip, and
so do I;
I find myself often laughing at things that have long
To be sure the preacher says, our sins should make
But mine is a time of peace, and there is Grace to
And God, not man, is the Judge of us all when life
And in this Book, little Annie, the message is one of
And age is a time of peace, so it be free from
And happy has been my life; but I would not live
I seem to be tired a little, that's all, and long for
Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the
So Willy has gone, my beauty, my eldest-born, my
But how can I weep for Willy, he has but gone for
Gone for a minute, my son, from this room into the
I, too, shall go in a minute. What time have I to
And Willy's wife has written, she never was over-
Get me my glasses, Annie: thank God that I keep
There is but a trifle left you, when I shall have past
But stay with the old woman now: you cannot have
long to stay.
Wheer 'asta bean saw long and mea liggin' 'ere
Noorse? thoort nowt o' a noorse: whoy, doctor's abean
Says that I moant 'a naw moor yaale: but I beant a
Git ma my yaale, fur I beant a-gooin' to break my
Doctors, they knaws nowt, for a says what's nawways
Naw soort o' koind o' use to saay the things that
I've 'ed my point o' yaale ivry noight sin' I bean
An' I've 'ed my quart ivry market-noight for foorty
Parson's a bean loikewoise, an' a sittin' ere o' my
`The amoighty's a taakin o' you to 'issen, my friend,'
An' a towd ma my sins, an's toithe were due, an' I gied
it in hond;
I done my duty by un, as I 'a done by the
Larn'd a ma' bea. I reckons I 'annot sa mooch to
But a cost oop, thot a did, 'boot Bessy Marris's
Thof a knaws I hallus voated wi' Squoire an' choorch
An' i' the woost o' toimes I wur niver agin the
An' I hallus comed to 's choorch afoor moy Sally wur
An' 'eerd un a bummin' awaay loike a buzzard-clock*
ower my yead,
An' I niver knaw'd whot a mean'd but I thowt a 'ad
summut to saay,
An I thowt a said whot a owt to 'a said an' I comed
Bessy Marris's barn! tha knaws she laaid it to
Mowt 'a bean, mayhap, for she wur a bad un,
'Siver, I kep un, I kep un, my lass, tha mun under-
I done my duty by un as I 'a done by the
But Parson a comes an' a goos, an' a says it easy an'
`The amoighty's a taakin o' you to 'issen, my friend,'
I weant saay men be loiars, thof summun said it in
But a reads wonn sarmin a weeak, an' I 'a stubb'd
D'ya moind the waaste, my lass? naw, naw, tha was
not born then;
Theer wur a boggle in it, I often 'eerd un
Moast loike a butter-bump,* for I 'eerd un aboot an
But I stubb'd un oop wi' the lot, an' raaved an
rembled un oot.
Keaper's it wur; fo' they fun un theer a laaid on 'is
Doon i' the woild 'enemies* afoor I comed to the
Noaks or Thimbleby--toner 'ed shot un as dead as
Noaks wur 'ang'd for it oop at 'soize--but git ma
Dubbut looak at the waaste: theer warn't not fead
for a cow:
Nowt at all but bracken an' fuzz, an' looak at it
Warn't worth nowt a haacre, an' now theer's lots o'
Fourscore yows upon it an' some on it doon in
Nobbut a bit on it's left, an' I mean'd to 'a stubb'd
it at fall,
Done it ta-year I mean'd, an' runn'd plow thruff it
If godamoighty an' parson 'ud nobbut let ma
Mea, wi' haate oonderd haacre o' Squoire's an' lond
o' my oan.
Do godamoighty knaw what a's doing a-taakin' o'
I beant wonn as saws 'ere a bean an' yonder a
An' Squoire 'ull be sa mad an' all--a' dear a'
And I 'a monaged for Squoire come Michaelmas
A mowt 'a taaken Joanes, as 'ant a 'aapoth o'
Or a mowt a' taaken Robins--a niver mended a
But godamoighty a moost taake mea an' taake ma
Wi 'auf the cows to cauve an' Thornaby holms to
Looak 'ow quoloty smoiles when they sees ma a
Says to thessen naw doot `what a mon a be
For they knaws what I bean to Squoire sin fust a
comed to the 'All;
I done my duty by Squoire an' I done my duty
Squoire's in Lunnon, an' summun I reckons 'ull 'a to
For who's to howd the lond ater mea thot muddles
Sartin-sewer I bea, thot a weant niver give it to
Noither a moant to Robins--a niver rembles the
But summun 'ull come ater mea mayhap wi' 'is kittle
Huzzin' an' maazin' the blessed fealds wi' the Divil's
Gin I mun doy I mun doy, an' loife they says is
But gin I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn abear to
What atta stannin' theer for, an' doesn bring ma the
Doctor's a 'tottler, lass, an a's hallus i' the owd
I weant break rules for Doctor, a knaws naw moor
nor a floy;
Git ma my yaale, I tell tha, an' gin I mun doy I
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,
The vapors weep their burthen to the ground,
Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath,
And after many a summer dies the swan.
Me only cruel immortality
Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms,
Here at the quiet limit of the world,
A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream
The ever-silent spaces of the East,
Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man--
So glorious in his beauty and thy choice,
Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd
To his great heart none other than a God!
I ask'd thee, `Give me immortality.'
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills,
And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me,
And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was, in ashes. Can thy love,
Thy beauty, make amends, tho' even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men,
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes
A glimpse of that dark world where I was born.
Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals
From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure,
And bosom beating with a heart renew'd.
Thy cheek begins to redden thro' the gloom,
Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine,
Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team
Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise,
And shake the darkness from their loosen'd manes,
And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.
Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful
In silence, then before thine answer given
Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.
Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears,
And make me tremble lest a saying learnt,
In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true?
`The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.'
Ay me! ay me! with what another heart
In days far-off, and with what other eyes
I used to watch--if I be he that watch'd--
The lucid outline forming round thee; saw
The dim curls kindle into sunny rings;
Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood
Glow with the glow that slowly crimson'd all
Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay,
Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm
With kisses balmier than half-opening buds
Of April, and could hear the lips that kiss'd
Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet,
Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing,
While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.
Yet hold me not for ever in thine East:
How can my nature longer mix with thine?
Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold
Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet
Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam
Floats up from those dim fields about the homes
Of happy men that have the power to die,
And grassy barrows of the happier dead.
Release me, and restore me to the ground;
Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave:
Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn;
I earth in earth forget these empty courts,
And thee returning on thy silver wheels.
We left behind the painted buoy
That tosses at the harbor-mouth;
And madly danced our hearts with joy,
As fast we fleeted to the South:
How fresh was every sight and sound
On open main or winding shore!
We knew the merry world was round,
And we might sail for evermore.
Warm broke the breeze against the brow,
Dry sang the tackle, sang the sail:
The Lady's-head upon the prow
Caught the shrill salt, and sheer'd the gale.
The broad seas swell'd to meet the keel,
And swept behind: so quick the run,
We felt the good ship shake and reel,
We seem'd to sail into the Sun!
How oft we saw the Sun retire,
And burn the threshold of the night,
Fall from his Ocean-lane of fire,
And sleep beneath his pillar'd light!
How oft the purple-skirted robe
Of twilight slowly downward drawn,
As thro' the slumber of the globe
Again we dash'd into the dawn!
New stars all night above the brim
Of waters lighten'd into view;
They climb'd as quickly, for the rim
Changed every moment as we flew.
Far ran the naked moon across
The houseless ocean's heaving field,
Or flying shone, the silver boss
Of her own halo's dusky shield;
The peaky islet shifted shapes,
High towns on hills were dimly seen,
We past long lines of Northern capes
And dewy Northern meadows green.
We came to warmer waves, and deep
Across the boundless east we drove,
Where those long swells of breaker sweep
The nutmeg rocks and isles clove.
By peaks that flamed, or, all in shade,
Gloom'd the low coast and quivering brine
With ashy rains, that spreading made
Fantastic plume or sable pine;
By sands and steaming flats, and floods
Of mighty mouth, we scudded fast,
And hills and scarlet-mingled woods
Glow'd for a moment as we past.
O hundred shores of happy climes,
How swiftly stream'd ye by the bark!
At times the whole sea burn'd, at times
With wakes of fire we tore the dark;
At times a carven craft would shoot
From havens hid in fairy bowers,
With naked limbs and flowers and fruit,
But we nor paused for fruit nor flowers.
For one fair Vision ever fled
Down the waste waters day and night,
And still we follow'd where she led,
In hope to gain upon her flight.
Her face was evermore unseen,
And fixt upon the far sea-line;
But each man murmur'd `O my Queen,
I follow till I make thee mine.'
And now we lost her, now she gleam'd
Like Fancy made of golden air,
Now nearer to the prow she seem'd
Like Virtue firm, like Knowledge fair,
Now high on waves that idly burst
Like Heavenly Hope she crown'd the sea
And now, the bloodless point reversed,
She bore the blade of Liberty.
And only one among us--him
We please not--he was seldom pleased:
He saw not far: his eyes were dim:
But ours he swore were all diseased.
`A ship of fools' he shriek'd in spite,
`A ship of fools' he sneer'd and wept.
And overboard one stormy night
He cast his body, and on we swept.
And never sail of ours was furl'd,
Nor anchor dropt at eve or morn;
We loved the glories of the world,
But laws of nature were our scorn;
For blasts would rise and rave and cease,
But whence were those that drove the sail
Across the whirlwind's heart of peace,
And to and thro' the counter-gale?
Again to colder climes we came,
For still we follow'd where she led:
Now mate is blind and captain lame,
And half the crew are sick or dead.
But blind or lame or sick or sound
We follow that which flies before:
We know the merry world is round,
And we may sail for evermore.
IN THE VALLEY OF CAUTERETZ.
All along the valley, stream that flashest white,
Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night,
All along the valley, where thy waters flow,
I walk'd with one I loved two and thirty years ago.
All along the valley while I walk'd to-day,
The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away;
For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed
Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead,
And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree,
The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.
Once in a golden hour
I cast to earth a seed.
Up there came a flower,
The people said, a weed.
To and fro they went
Thro' my garden-bower,
And muttering discontent
Cursed me and my flower.
Then it grew so tall
It wore a crown of light,
But thieves from o'er the wall
Stole the seed by night.
Sow'd it far and wide
By every town and tower,
Till all the people cried
`Splendid is the flower.'
Read my little fable:
He that runs may read.
Most can raise the flowers now,
For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough,
And some are poor indeed;
And now again the people
Call it but a weed.
Fair is her cottage in its place,
Where yon broad water sweetly slowly glides.
It sees itself from thatch to base
Dream in the sliding tides.
And fairer she, but ah how soon to die!
Her quiet dream of life this hour may cease.
Her peaceful being slowly passes by
To some more perfect peace.
THE SAILOR BOY.
He rose at dawn and, fired with hope,
Shot o'er the seething harbor-bar,
And reach'd the ship and caught the rope,
And whistled to the morning star.
And while he whistled long and loud
He heard a fierce mermaiden cry,
`O boy, tho' thou art young and proud,
I see the place where thou wilt lie.
`The sands and yeasty surges mix
In caves about the dreary bay,
And on thy ribs the limpet sticks,
And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.'
`Fool,' he answer'd, `death is sure
To those that stay and those that roam,
But I will nevermore endure
To sit with empty hands at home.
`My mother clings about my neck,
My sisters crying "stay for shame;"
My father raves of death and wreck,
They are all to blame, they are all to blame.
`God help me! save I take my part
Of danger in the roaring sea,
A devil rises in my heart,
Far worse than any death to me.'
`Whither O whither love shall we go,
For a score of sweet little summers or so'
The sweet little wife of the singer said,
On the day that follow'd the day she was wed,
`Whither O whither love shall we go?'
And the singer shaking his curly head
Turn'd as he sat, and struck the keys
There at his right with a sudden crash,
Singing, `and shall it be over the seas
With a crew that is neither rude nor rash,
But a bevy of Eroses apple-cheek'd,
In a shallop of crystal ivory-beak'd,
With a satin sail of a ruby glow,
To a sweet little Eden on earth that I know,
A mountain islet pointed and peak'd;
Waves on a diamond shingle dash,
Cataract brooks to the ocean run,
Fairily-delicate palaces shine
Mixt with myrtle and clad with vine,
And overstream'd and silvery-streak'd
With many a rivulet high against the Sun
The facets of the glorious mountain flash
Above the valleys of palm and pine.'
`Thither O thither, love, let us go.'
`No, no, no!
For in all that exquisite isle, my dear,
There is but one bird with a musical throat,
And his compass is but of a single note,
That it makes one weary to hear.'
`Mock me not! mock me not! love, let us go.'
`No, love, no.
For the bud ever breaks into bloom on the tree,
And a storm never wakes on the lonely sea,
And a worm is there in the lonely wood,
That pierces the liver and blackens the blood,
And makes it a sorrow to be.'
`Your ringlets, your ringlets,
That look so golden-gay,
If you will give me one, but one,
To kiss it night and day,
Then never chilling touch of Time
Will turn it silver-gray;
And then shall I know it is all true gold
To flame and sparkle and stream as of old,
Till all the comets in heaven are cold,
And all her stars decay.'
`Then take it, love, and put it by;
This cannot change, nor yet can I.'
`My ringlet, my ringlet,
That art so golden-gay,
Now never chilling touch of Time
Can turn thee silver-gray;
And a lad may wink, and a girl may hint,
And a fool may say his say;
For my doubts and fears were all amiss,
And I swear henceforth by this and this,
That a doubt will only come for a kiss,
And a fear to be kiss'd away.'
`Then kiss it, love, and put it by:
If this can change, why so can I.'
O Ringlet, O Ringlet,
I kiss'd you night and day,
And Ringlet, O Ringlet,
You still are golden-gay,
But Ringlet, O Ringlet,
You should be silver-gray:
For what is this which now I'm told,
I that took you for true gold,
She that gave you's bought and sold,
O Ringlet, O Ringlet,
She blush'd a rosy red,
When Ringlet, O Ringlet,
She clipt you from her head,
And Ringlet, O Ringlet,
She gave you me, and said,
`Come, kiss it, love, and put it by
If this can change, why so can I.'
O fie, you golden nothing, fie
You golden lie.
O Ringlet, O Ringlet,
I count you much to blame,
For Ringlet, O Ringlet,
You put me much to shame,
So Ringlet, O Ringlet,
I doom you to the flame.
For what is this which now I learn,
Has given all my faith a turn?
Burn, you glossy heretic, burn,
A WELCOME TO ALEXANDRA.
March 7, 1863.
Sea-kings' daughter from over the sea,
Saxon and Norman and Dane are we,
But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee,
Welcome her, thunders of fort and of fleet!
Welcome her, thundering cheer of the street!
Welcome her, all things youthful and sweet,
Scatter the blossom under her feet!
Break, happy land, into earlier flowers!
Make music, O bird, in the new-budded bowers!
Blazon your mottos of blessing and prayer!
Welcome her, welcome her, all that is ours!
Warble, O bugle, and trumpet, blare!
Flags, flutter out upon turrets and towers!
Flames, on the windy headland flare!
Utter your jubilee, steeple and spire!
Clash, ye bells, in the merry March air!
Flash, ye cities, in rivers of fire!
Rush to the roof, sudden rocket, and higher
Melt into stars for the land's desire!
Roll and rejoice, jubilant voice,
Roll as a ground-swell dash'd on the strand,
Roar as the sea when he welcomes the land,
And welcome her, welcome the land's desire,
The sea-kings' daughter as happy as fair,
Blissful bride of a blissful heir,
Bride of the heir of the kings of the sea--
O joy to the people and joy to the throne,
Come to us, love us, and make us your own:
For Saxon or Dane or Norman we,
Teuton or Celt, or whatever we be,
We are each all Dane in our welcome of thee,
SUNG AT THE OPENING OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION.
Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet,
In this wide hall with earth's inventions stored,
And praise th' invisible universal Lord,
Who lets once more in peace the nations meet,
Where Science, Art, and Labor have outpour'd
Their myriad horns of plenty at our feet.
O silent father of our Kings to be
Mourn'd in this golden hour of jubilee,
For this, for all, we weep our thanks to thee!
The world-compelling plan was thine,
And, lo! the long laborious miles
Of Palace; lo! the giant aisles,
Rich in model and design;
Harvest-tool and husbandry,
Loom and wheel and engin'ry,
Secrets of the sullen mine,
Steel and gold, and corn and wine,
Fabric rough, or Fairy fine,
Sunny tokens of the Line,
Polar marvels, and a feast
Of wonder, out of West and East,
And shapes and hues of Part divine!
All of beauty, all of use,
That one fair planet can produce.
Brought from under every star,
Blown from over every main,
And mixt, as life is mixt with pain,
The works of peace with works of war.
O ye, the wise who think, the wise who reign,
From growing commerce loose her latest chain,
And let the fair white-winged peacemaker fly
To happy havens under all the sky,
And mix the seasons and the golden hours,
Till each man finds his own in all men's good,
And all men work in noble brotherhood,
Breaking their mailed fleets and armed towers,
And ruling by obeying Nature's powers,
And gathering all the fruits of peace and crown'd with
all her flowers.
Dear, near and true--no truer Time himself
Can prove you, tho' he make you evermore
Dearer and nearer, as the rapid of life
Shoots to the fall--take this, and pray that he,
Who wrote it, honoring your sweet faith in him,
May trust himself; and spite of praise and scorn,
As one who feels the immeasurable world,
Attain the wise indifference of the wise;
And after Autumn past--if left to pass
His autumn into seeming-leafless days--
Draw toward the long frost and longest night,
Wearing his wisdom lightly, like the fruit
Which in our winter woodland looks a flower.*
*The fruit of the Spindle-tree (Euonymus Europaeus).
While about the shore of Mona those Neronian legionaries
Burnt and broke the grove and altar of the Druid and Druidess,
Far in the East Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,
Mad and maddening all that heard her in her fierce volubility,
Girt by half the tribes of Britain, near the colony Camulodune,
Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters o'er a wild confederacy.
`They that scorn the tribes and call us Britain's barbarous populaces,
Did they hear me, would they listen, did they pity me supplicating?
Shall I heed them in their anguish? shall I brook to be supplicated?
Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
Must their ever-ravening eagle's beak and talon annihilate us?
Tear the noble hear of Britain, leave it gorily quivering?
Bark an answer, Britain's raven! bark and blacken innumerable,
Blacken round the Roman carrion, make the carcase a skeleton,
Kite and kestrel, wolf and wolfkin, from the wilderness, wallow in it,
Till the face of Bel be brighten'd, Taranis be propitiated.
Lo their colony half-defended! lo their colony, Camulodune!
There the horde of Roman robbers mock at a barbarous adversary.
There the hive of Roman liars worship a gluttonous emperor-idiot.
Such is Rome, and this her deity: hear it, Spirit of Cassivelaun!
`Hear it, Gods! the Gods have heard it, O Icenian, O Coritanian!
Doubt not ye the Gods have answer'd, Catieuchlanian, Trinobant.
These have told us all their anger in miraculous utterances,
Thunder, a flying fire in heaven, a murmur heard aerially,
Phantom sound of blows descending, moan of an enemy massacred,
Phantom wail of women and children, multitudinous agonies.
Bloodily flow'd the Tamesa rolling phantom bodies of horses and men;
Then a phantom colony smoulder'd on the refluent estuary;
Lastly yonder yester-even, suddenly giddily tottering--
There was one who watch'd and told me--down their statue of Victory fell.
Lo their precious Roman bantling, lo the colony Camulodune,
Shall we teach it a Roman lesson? shall we care to be pitiful?
Shall we deal with it as an infant? shall we dandle it amorously?
`Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
While I roved about the forest, long and bitterly meditating,
There I heard them in the darkness, at the mystical ceremony,
Loosely robed in flying raiment, sang the terrible prophetesses.
"Fear not, isle of blowing woodland, isle of silvery parapets!
Tho' the Roman eagle shadow thee, tho' the gathering enemy narrow thee,
Thou shalt wax and he shall dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty one yet!
Thine the liberty, thine the glory, thine the deeds to be celebrated,
Thine the myriad-rolling ocean, light and shadow illimitable,
Thine the lands of lasting summer, many-blossoming Paradises,
Thine the North and thine the South and thine the battle-thunder of God."
So they chanted: how shall Britain light upon auguries happier?
So they chanted in the darkness, and there cometh a victory now.
Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant!
Me the wife of rich Prasutagus, me the lover of liberty,
Me they seized and me they tortured, me they lash'd and humiliated,
Me the sport of ribald Veterans, mine of ruffian violators!
See they sit, they hide their faces, miserable in ignominy!
Wherefore in me burns an anger, not by blood to be satiated.
Lo the palaces and the temple, lo the colony Camulodune!
There they ruled, and thence they wasted all the flourishing territory,
Thither at their will they haled the yellow-ringleted Britoness--
Bloodily, bloodily fall the battle-axe, unexhausted, inexorable.
Shout Icenian, Catieuchlanian, shout Coritanian, Trinobant,
Till the victim hear within and yearn to hurry precipitously
Like the leaf in a roaring whirlwind, like the smoke in a hurricane whirl'd.
Lo the colony, there they rioted in the city of Cunobeline!
There they drank in cups of emerald, there at tables of ebony lay,
Rolling on their purple couches in their tender effeminacy.
There they dwelt and there they rioted; there--there--they dwell no more.
Burst the gates, and burn the palaces, break the works of the statuary,
Take the hoary Roman head and shatter it, hold it abominable,
Cut the Roman boy to pieces in his lust and voluptuousness,
Lash the maiden into swooning, me they lash'd and humiliated,
Chop the breasts from off the mother, dash the brains of the little one out,
Up my Britons, on my chariot, on my chargers, trample them under us.'
So the Queen Boadicea, standing loftily charioted,
Brandishing in her hand a dart and rolling glances lioness-like,
Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters in her fierce volubility.
Till her people all around the royal chariot agitated,
Madly dash'd the darts together, writhing barbarous lineaments,
Made the noise of frosty woodlands, when they shiver in January,
Roar'd as when the rolling breakers boom and blanch on the precipices,
Yell'd as when the winds of winter tear an oak on a promontory.
So the silent colony hearing her tumultuous adversaries
Clash the darts and on the buckler beat with rapid unanimous hand,
Thought on all her evil tyrannies, all her pitiless avarice,
Till she felt the heart within her fall and flutter tremulously,
Then her pulses at the clamoring of her enemy fainted away.
Out of evil evil flourishes, out of tyranny tyranny buds.
Ran the land with Roman slaughter, multitudinous agonies.
Perish'd many a maid and matron, many a valorous legionary.
Fell the colony, city, and citadel, London, Verulam, Camulodune.
O mighty-mouth'd inventor of harmonies,
O skill'd to sing of Time or Eternity,
God-gifted organ-voice of England,
Milton, a name to resound for ages;
Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,
Starr'd from Jehovah's gorgeous armouries,
Tower, as the deep-domed empyrean
Rings to the roar of an angel onset--
Me rather all that bowery loneliness,
The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,
And bloom profuse and cedar arches
Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean,
Where some refulgent sunset of India
Streams o'er a rich ambrosial ocean isle,
And crimson-hued the stately palmwoods
Whisper in odorous heights of even.
O you chorus of indolent reviewers,
Irresponsible, indolent reviewers,
Look, I come to the test, a tiny poem
All composed in a metre of Catullus,
All in quantity, careful of my motion,
Like the skater on ice that hardly bears him,
Lest I fall unawares before the people,
Waking laughter in indolent reviewers.
Should I flounder awhile without a tumble
Thro' this metrification of Catullus,
They should speak to me not without a welcome,
All that chorus of indolent reviewers.
Hard, hard, hard is it, only not to tumble,
So fantastical is the dainty metre.
Wherefore slight me not wholly, nor believe me
Too presumptuous, indolent reviewers.
O blatant Magazines, regard me rather--
Since I blush to belaud myself a moment--
As some rare little rose, a piece of inmost
Horticultural art, or half coquette-like
Maiden, not to be greeted unbenignly.
SPECIMEN OF A TRANSLATION OF THE ILIAD
IN BLANK VERSE.
So Hector said, and sea-like roar'd his host;
Then loosed their sweating horses from the yoke,
And each beside his chariot bound his own;
And oxen from the city, and goodly sheep
In haste they drove, and honey-hearted wine
And bread from out the houses brought, and heap'd
Their firewood, and the winds from off the plain
Roll'd the rich vapor far into the heaven.
And these all night upon the bridge of war
Sat glorying; many a fire before them blazed:
As when in heaven the stars about the moon
Look beautiful, when all the winds are laid,
And every height comes out, and jutting peak
And valley, and the immeasurable heavens
Break open to their highest, and all the stars
Shine, and the Shepherd gladdens in his heart:
So many a fire between the ships and stream
Of Xanthus blazed before the towers of Troy,
A thousand on the plain; and close by each
Sat fifty in the blaze of burning fire;
And champing golden grain, the horses stood
Hard by their chariots, waiting for the dawn.
Iliad VIII. 542-561.
 Or, ridge.
 Or more literally--
And eating hoary grain and pulse the steeds
Stood by their cars, waiting the throned morn.