Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Introduction to Robert Browning by Hiram Corson

Part 6 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.8 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

since Masaccio; shares with the two Lippis, father and son,
a fondness for introducing subordinate groups which was unknown
to Massaccio." -- Woltmann and Woermann's History of Painting.

24.

Their ghosts still stand, as I said before,
Watching each fresco flaked and rasped,
Blocked up, knocked out, or whitewashed o'er:
-- No getting again what the Church has grasped!
The works on the wall must take their chance;
"Works never conceded to England's thick clime!"
(I hope they prefer their inheritance
Of a bucketful of Italian quicklime.)

25.

When they go at length, with such a shaking
Of heads o'er the old delusion, sadly
Each master his way through the black streets taking,
Where many a lost work breathes though badly --
Why don't they bethink them of who has merited?
Why not reveal, while their pictures dree
Such doom, how a captive might be out-ferreted?
Why is it they never remember me?

--
St. 25. dree: endure (A. S. "dreo'gan").

26.

Not that I expect the great Bigordi,
Nor Sandro to hear me, chivalric, bellicose;
Nor the wronged Lippino; and not a word I
Say of a scrap of Fra Angelico's:
But are you too fine, Taddeo Gaddi,
To grant me a taste of your intonaco,
Some Jerome that seeks the heaven with a sad eye?
Not a churlish saint, Lorenzo Monaco?

--
St. 26. Bigordi: Ghirlandajo; see above. {note to St. 23.}
Sandro: Sandro Filipepi, called Botticelli (1437-1515),
"belonged in feeling, to the older Christian school,
tho' his religious sentiment was not quite strong enough
to resist entirely the paganizing influence of the time" (Heaton);
became a disciple of Savonarola.
Lippino: Filippino Lippi, son of Fra Filippo (1460-1505),
"added to his father's bold naturalism a dramatic talent in composition,
which places his works above the mere realisms of Fra Filippo,
and renders him worthy to be placed next to Masaccio
in the line of progress." -- Heaton.
Fra Angelico: see under the Monologue of Fra Lippo Lippi.
Taddeo Gaddi: "foremost amongst these (`The Giotteschi')
stands the name of T. G. (1300, living in 1366), the son of Gaddo Gaddi,
and godson of Giotto; was an architect as well as painter, and was on
the council of Works of S. Maria del Fiore, after Giotto's death,
and carried out his design for the bell-tower." -- Heaton.
intonaco: rough-casting.
Lorenzo Monaco: see under the Monologue of Fra Lippo Lippi.

27.

Could not the ghost with the close red cap,
My Pollajolo, the twice a craftsman,
Save me a sample, give me the hap
Of a muscular Christ that shows the draughtsman?
No Virgin by him the somewhat petty,
Of finical touch and tempera crumbly --
Could not Alesso Baldovinetti
Contribute so much, I ask him humbly?

--
St. 27. Pollajolo: "Antonio Pollajuolo (ab. 1430-1498)
was a sculptor and goldsmith, more than a painter; . . .his master-work
in pictorial art is the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, in the Nat. Gal.,
painted for the Pucci Chapel in the Church of San Sebastiano de' Servi,
at Florence. `This painting', says Vasari, `has been more extolled
than any other ever executed by Antonio'. It is, however,
unpleasantly hard and obtrusively anatomical. Pollajuolo is said to
have been the first artist who studied anatomy by means of dissection,
and his sole aim in this picture seems to have been to display
his knowledge of muscular action. He was an engraver as well as
goldsmith, sculptor, and painter." -- Heaton.
tempera: see Webster, s. vv. "tempera" and "distemper". {paint types}
Alesso Baldovinetti: Florentine painter, b. 1422, or later, d. 1499;
worked in mosaic, particularly as a restorer of old mosaics,
besides painting; he made many experiments in both branches of art,
and attempted to work fresco `al secco', and varnish it so as to
make it permanent, but in this he failed. His works were distinguished
for extreme minuteness of detail. "In the church of the Annunziata
in Florence, he executed an historical piece in fresco,
but finished `a secco', wherein he represented the Nativity of Christ,
painted with such minuteness of care, that each separate straw
in the roof of a cabin, figured therein, may be counted,
and every knot in these straws distinguished." -- Vasari.
His remaining works are much injured by scaling or the abrasion of
the colors.

28.

Margheritone of Arezzo,
With the grave-clothes garb and swaddling barret
(Why purse up mouth and beak in a pet so,
You bald old saturnine poll-clawed parrot?)
Not a poor glimmering Crucifixion,
Where in the foreground kneels the donor?
If such remain, as is my conviction,
The hoarding it does you but little honor.

--
St. 28. Margheritone: Margaritone; painter, sculptor, and architect,
of Arezzo (1236-1313); the most important of his remaining pictures
is a Madonna, in the London National Gallery, from Church of
St. Margaret, at Arezzo, "said to be a characteristic work,
and mentioned by Vasari, who praises its small figures,
which he says are executed `with more grace and finished with
greater delicacy' than the larger ones. Nothing, however,
can be more unlike nature, than the grim Madonna and the weird
starved Child in her arms (see `Wornum's Catal. Nat. Gal.',
for a description of this painting). Margaritone's favorite subject
was the figure of St. Francis, his style being well suited to depict
the chief ascetic saint. Crucifixions were also much to his taste,
and he represented them in all their repulsive details.
Vasari relates that he died at the age of 77, afflicted and disgusted
at having lived to see the changes that had taken place in art,
and the honors bestowed on the new artists." -- Heaton.
His monument to Pope Gregory X. in the Cathedral of Arezzo,
is ranked among his best works. "Browning possesses the `Crucifixion'
by M. to which he alludes, as also the pictures of Alesso Baldovinetti,
and Taddeo Gaddi, and Pollajuolo described in the poem."
-- Browning Soc. Papers, Pt. II., p. 169.

29.

They pass; for them the panels may thrill,
The tempera grow alive and tinglish;
Their pictures are left to the mercies still
Of dealers and stealers, Jews and the English,
Who, seeing mere money's worth in their prize,
Will sell it to somebody calm as Zeno
At naked High Art, and in ecstasies
Before some clay-cold vile Carlino!

--
St. 29. tempera: see Webster, s.v. {a type of paint}
tinglish: sharp?
Zeno: founder of the Stoic philosophy.
Carlino: some expressionless picture by Carlo, or Carlino, Dolci.
His works show an extreme finish, often with no end beyond itself;
some being, to use Ruskin's words, "polished into inanity".

30.

No matter for these! But Giotto, you,
Have you allowed, as the town-tongues babble it --
Oh, never! it shall not be counted true --
That a certain precious little tablet
Which Buonarroti eyed like a lover,
Was buried so long in oblivion's womb
And, left for another than I to discover,
Turns up at last! and to whom? -- to whom?

--
St. 30. a certain precious little tablet: "The `little tablet' was
a famous `Last Supper', mentioned by Vasari, and gone astray long ago
from the Church of S. Spirito: it turned up, according to report,
in some obscure corner, while I was in Florence, and was
at once acquired by a stranger. I saw it, genuine or no,
a work of great beauty." -- From Poet's Letter to the Editor.
Buonarotti: Michael Angelo (more correctly, Michel Agnolo) Buonarotti,
b. 6th of March, 1475, at Castel Caprese, near Florence;
d. at Rome, 18th of Feb., 1564.
and to whom? -- to whom?: a contemptuous repetition.

31.

I, that have haunted the dim San Spirito,
(Or was it rather the Ognissanti?)
Patient on altar-step planting a weary toe!
Nay, I shall have it yet! Detur amanti!
My Koh-i-noor -- or (if that's a platitude)
Jewel of Giamschid, the Persian Sofi's eye;
So, in anticipative gratitude,
What if I take up my hope and prophesy?

--
St. 31. San Spirito: a church of the 14th century, in Florence.
Ognissanti: i.e., "All Saints", in Florence.
I shall have it yet!: I shall make a happy find yet.
Detur amanti!: let it be given to the loving one.
Koh-i-noor: "Mountain of Light", a celebrated diamond,
"the diamond of the great Mogul", presented to Queen Victoria, in 1850.
See Art. on the Diamond, `N. Brit. Rev.' Vol. 18, p. 186,
and Art., Diamond, `Encycl. Brit.'; used here, by metonymy,
for a great treasure.
Jewel of Giamschid: the `Deria-i-noor', or `the Sea of Light',
one of the largest of known diamonds, belonging to the king of Persia,
is probably referred to. See `N. Brit. Rev.', Vol. 18, p. 217.

32.

When the hour grows ripe, and a certain dotard
Is pitched, no parcel that needs invoicing,
To the worse side of the Mont St. Gothard,
We shall begin by way of rejoicing;
None of that shooting the sky (blank cartridge),
Nor a civic guard, all plumes and lacquer,
Hunting Radetzky's soul like a partridge
Over Morello with squib and cracker.

--
St. 32. a certain dotard: Joseph Wenzel Radetzky, b. Nov. 2, 1766,
d. Jan. 5, 1858, in his 92d year; governed the Austrian possessions
in Italy to Feb. 28, 1857.
Morello: Monte Morello, the highest of the spurs of the Apennines,
to the north of Florence.

33.

This time we'll shoot better game and bag 'em hot:
No mere display at the stone of Dante,
But a kind of sober Witanagemot
(Ex: "Casa Guidi", `quod videas ante')
Shall ponder, once Freedom restored to Florence,
How Art may return that departed with her.
Go, hated house, go each trace of the Loraine's,
And bring us the days of Orgagna hither!

--
St. 33. the stone of Dante: see `Casa Guidi Windows', Pt. I,
Sect. XIV., XV.
Witanagemot: A. S. `witena gemo^t': an assembly of wise men,
a parliament.
Casa Guidi: Mrs. Browning's `Casa Guidi Windows', a poem named from
the house in Florence in which she lived, and giving her impressions
of events in Tuscany at the time.
the Loraine's: the "hated house" included the Cardinals of Guise,
or Lorraine, and the Dukes of Guise, a younger branch
of the house of Lorraine.
Orgagna: Andrea di Cione (surnamed Orcagna, or Arcagnolo,
approximate dates of b. and d. 1315-1376), one of the most noted
successors of Giotto, and allied to him in genius; though he owed much
to Giotto, he showed great independence of spirit in his style.

34.

How we shall prologuize, how we shall perorate,
Utter fit things upon art and history,
Feel truth at blood-heat and falsehood at zero rate,
Make of the want of the age no mystery;
Contrast the fructuous and sterile eras,
Show -- monarchy ever its uncouth cub licks
Out of the bear's shape into Chimaera's,
While Pure Art's birth is still the republic's!

35.

Then one shall propose in a speech (curt Tuscan,
Expurgate and sober, with scarcely an "issimo"),
To end now our half-told tale of Cambuscan,
And turn the bell-tower's ALT to ALTISSIMO;
And, fine as the beak of a young beccaccia,
The Campanile, the Duomo's fit ally,
Shall soar up in gold full fifty braccia,
Completing Florence, as Florence, Italy.

--
St. 35. an "issimo": any adjective in the superlative degree.
to end: complete.
our half-told tale of Cambuscan: by metonymy for the unfinished
Campanile of Giotto;

"Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold."
-- Milton's `Il Penseroso'.

An allusion to Chaucer, who left the `Squire's Tale' in
the `Canterbury Tales' unfinished. The poet follows
Milton's accentuation of the word "Cambuscan", on the penult;
it's properly accented on the ultimate.
beccaccia: woodcock.
the Duomo's fit ally: "There is, as far as I know,
only one Gothic building in Europe, the Duomo of Florence,
in which the ornament is so exquisitely finished as to enable us
to imagine what might have been the effect of the perfect workmanship
of the Renaissance, coming out of the hands of men like Verocchio
and Ghiberti, had it been employed on the magnificent framework
of Gothic structure." -- Ruskin in `Stones of Venice'.

36.

Shall I be alive that morning the scaffold
Is broken away, and the long-pent fire,
Like the golden hope of the world, unbaffled
Springs from its sleep, and up goes the spire,
While, "God and the People" plain for its motto,
Thence the new tricolor flaps at the sky?
At least to foresee that glory of Giotto
And Florence together, the first am I!

--
St. 36. and up goes the spire: Giotto's plan included a spire
of 100 feet, but the project was abandoned by Taddeo Gaddi,
who carried on the work after the death of Giotto in 1336.

"The mountains from without
In silence listen for the word said next.
What word will men say, -- here where Giotto planted
His Campanile like an unperplexed
Fine question heaven-ward, touching the things granted
A noble people, who, being greatly vexed
In act, in aspiration keep undaunted?"
-- Mrs. Browning's `Casa Guidi Windows',
Pt. I., vv. 66-72.

Pictor Ignotus.

[Florence, 15--.]

I could have painted pictures like that youth's
Ye praise so. How my soul springs up! No bar
Stayed me -- ah, thought which saddens while it soothes!
-- Never did fate forbid me, star by star,
To outburst on your night, with all my gift
Of fires from God: nor would my flesh have shrunk
From seconding my soul, with eyes uplift
And wide to heaven, or, straight like thunder, sunk
To the centre, of an instant; or around
Turned calmly and inquisitive, to scan [10]
The license and the limit, space and bound,
Allowed to truth made visible in man.
And, like that youth ye praise so, all I saw,
Over the canvas could my hand have flung,
Each face obedient to its passion's law,
Each passion clear proclaimed without a tongue:
Whether Hope rose at once in all the blood,
A-tiptoe for the blessing of embrace,
Or Rapture drooped the eyes, as when her brood
Pull down the nesting dove's heart to its place; [20]
Or Confidence lit swift the forehead up,
And locked the mouth fast, like a castle braved, --
O human faces! hath it spilt, my cup?
What did ye give me that I have not saved?
Nor will I say I have not dreamed (how well!)
Of going -- I, in each new picture, -- forth,
As, making new hearts beat and bosoms swell,
To Pope or Kaiser, East, West, South, or North,
Bound for the calmly satisfied great State,
Or glad aspiring little burgh, it went, [30]
Flowers cast upon the car which bore the freight,
Through old streets named afresh from the event,
Till it reached home, where learned age should greet
My face, and youth, the star not yet distinct
Above his hair, lie learning at my feet! --
Oh, thus to live, I and my picture, linked
With love about, and praise, till life should end,
And then not go to heaven, but linger here,
Here on my earth, earth's every man my friend,
The thought grew frightful, 'twas so wildly dear! [40]
But a voice changed it. Glimpses of such sights
Have scared me, like the revels through a door
Of some strange house of idols at its rites!
This world seemed not the world it was, before:
Mixed with my loving trusting ones, there trooped
. . . Who summoned those cold faces that begun
To press on me and judge me? Though I stooped
Shrinking, as from the soldiery a nun,
They drew me forth, and spite of me. . .enough!
These buy and sell our pictures, take and give, [50]
Count them for garniture and household-stuff,
And where they live needs must our pictures live
And see their faces, listen to their prate,
Partakers of their daily pettiness,
Discussed of, -- "This I love, or this I hate,
This likes me more, and this affects me less!"
Wherefore I chose my portion. If at whiles
My heart sinks, as monotonous I paint
These endless cloisters and eternal aisles
With the same series, Virgin, Babe, and Saint, [60]
With the same cold calm beautiful regard, --
At least no merchant traffics in my heart;
The sanctuary's gloom at least shall ward
Vain tongues from where my pictures stand apart:
Only prayer breaks the silence of the shrine
While, blackening in the daily candle-smoke,
They moulder on the damp wall's travertine,
'Mid echoes the light footstep never woke.
So, die my pictures! surely, gently die!
O youth, men praise so, -- holds their praise its worth? [70]
Blown harshly, keeps the trump its golden cry?
Tastes sweet the water with such specks of earth?

--
3. ah, thought which saddens while it soothes: the thought
saddens him that he has not realized his capabilities,
and soothes him that he has resisted the temptations to earthly fame,
and been true to his soul.

14-22. he could have expressed Hope, Rapture, Confidence,
and all other passions, in the human face, each clear proclaimed
without a tongue.

23. hath it spilt, my cup?: the cup of his memory.

24. What did ye give me that I have not saved?: he has retained
all the impressions he has received from human faces.

25 et seq.: Nor will I say I have not dreamed (how well
I have dreamed!) of going forth in each new picture, as it went
to Pope or Kaiser, etc., making new hearts beat and bosoms swell.

34. the star not yet distinct above his hair: his fame not having yet
shone brightly out; "his" refers to "youth".

35. lie learning: and should lie.

41. But a voice changed it: the voice of his secret soul.

67. travertine: coating of lime; properly a limestone.
Lat., `lapis Tiburtinus', found near Tibur, now Tivoli.

Andrea del Sarto.

[Called "The Faultless Painter".]

But do not let us quarrel any more,
No, my Lucrezia! bear with me for once:
Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.
You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?
I'll work then for your friend's friend, never fear,
Treat his own subject after his own way,
Fix his own time, accept too his own price,
And shut the money into this small hand
When next it takes mine. Will it? tenderly?
Oh, I'll content him, -- but to-morrow, Love! [10]
I often am much wearier than you think,
This evening more than usual: and it seems
As if -- forgive now -- should you let me sit
Here by the window, with your hand in mine,
And look a half hour forth on Fiesole,
Both of one mind, as married people use,
Quietly, quietly the evening through,
I might get up to-morrow to my work
Cheerful and fresh as ever. Let us try.
To-morrow, how you shall be glad for this! [20]
Your soft hand is a woman of itself,
And mine, the man's bared breast she curls inside.
Don't count the time lost, neither; you must serve
For each of the five pictures we require:
It saves a model. So! keep looking so --
My serpentining beauty, rounds on rounds!
-- How could you ever prick those perfect ears,
Even to put the pearl there! oh, so sweet --
My face, my moon, my everybody's moon,
Which everybody looks on and calls his, [30]
And, I suppose, is looked on by in turn,
While she looks -- no one's: very dear, no less.
You smile? why, there's my picture ready made,
That's what we painters call our harmony!
A common grayness silvers every thing, --
All in a twilight, you and I alike
-- You, at the point of your first pride in me
(That's gone, you know) -- but I, at every point;
My youth, my hope, my art, being all toned down
To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole. [40]
There's the bell clinking from the chapel-top;
That length of convent-wall across the way
Holds the trees safer, huddled more inside;
The last monk leaves the garden; days decrease,
And autumn grows, autumn in every thing.
Eh? the whole seems to fall into a shape,
As if I saw alike my work and self
And all that I was born to be and do,
A twilight-piece. Love, we are in God's hand.
How strange now, looks the life he makes us lead; [50]
So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!
I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie!
This chamber, for example -- turn your head --
All that's behind us! You don't understand
Nor care to understand about my art,
But you can hear at least when people speak:
And that cartoon, the second from the door
-- It is the thing, Love! so such things should be:
Behold Madonna! -- I am bold to say.
I can do with my pencil what I know, [60]
What I see, what at bottom of my heart
I wish for, if I ever wish so deep --
Do easily, too -- when I say, perfectly,
I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are judge,
Who listened to the Legate's talk last week;
And just as much they used to say in France.
At any rate 'tis easy, all of it!
No sketches first, no studies, that's long past:
I do what many dream of, all their lives,
-- Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do, [70]
And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive -- you don't know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat, --
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter) -- so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain, [80]
Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to prompt
This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand of mine.
Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know,
Reach many a time a heaven that's shut to me,
Enter and take their place there sure enough,
Though they come back and cannot tell the world.
My works are nearer heaven, but I sit here.
The sudden blood of these men! at a word --
Praise them, it boils, or blame them, it boils too.
I, painting from myself and to myself, [90]
Know what I do, am unmoved by men's blame
Or their praise either. Somebody remarks
Morello's outline there is wrongly traced,
His hue mistaken; what of that? or else,
Rightly traced and well ordered; what of that?
Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for? All is silver-gray,
Placid and perfect with my art: the worse!
I know both what I want and what might gain; [100]
And yet how profitless to know, to sigh
"Had I been two, another and myself,
Our head would have o'erlooked the world!" No doubt.
Yonder's a work now, of that famous youth
The Urbinate who died five years ago.
('Tis copied, George Vasari sent it me.)
Well, I can fancy how he did it all,
Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see,
Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him,
Above and through his art -- for it gives way; [110]
That arm is wrongly put -- and there again --
A fault to pardon in the drawing's lines,
Its body, so to speak: its soul is right,
He means right -- that, a child may understand.
Still, what an arm! and I could alter it:
But all the play, the insight and the stretch --
Out of me, out of me! And wherefore out?
Had you enjoined them on me, given me soul,
We might have risen to Rafael, I and you.
Nay, Love, you did give all I asked, I think -- [120]
More than I merit, yes, by many times.
But had you -- oh, with the same perfect brow,
And perfect eyes, and more than perfect mouth,
And the low voice my soul hears, as a bird
The fowler's pipe, and follows to the snare --
Had you, with these the same, but brought a mind!
Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged
"God and the glory! never care for gain.
The present by the future, what is that?
Live for fame, side by side with Agnolo! [130]
Rafael is waiting: up to God, all three!"
I might have done it for you. So it seems:
Perhaps not. All is as God over-rules.
Beside, incentives come from the soul's self;
The rest avail not. Why do I need you?
What wife had Rafael, or has Agnolo?
In this world, who can do a thing, will not;
And who would do it, cannot, I perceive:
Yet the will's somewhat -- somewhat, too, the power --
And thus we half-men struggle. At the end, [140]
God, I conclude, compensates, punishes.
'Tis safer for me, if the award be strict,
That I am something underrated here,
Poor this long while, despised, to speak the truth.
I dared not, do you know, leave home all day,
For fear of chancing on the Paris lords.
The best is when they pass and look aside;
But they speak sometimes; I must bear it all.
Well may they speak! That Francis, that first time,
And that long festal year at Fontainebleau! [150]
I surely then could sometimes leave the ground,
Put on the glory, Rafael's daily wear,
In that humane great monarch's golden look, --
One finger in his beard or twisted curl
Over his mouth's good mark that made the smile,
One arm about my shoulder, round my neck,
The jingle of his gold chain in my ear,
I painting proudly with his breath on me,
All his court round him, seeing with his eyes,
Such frank French eyes, and such a fire of souls [160]
Profuse, my hand kept plying by those hearts, --
And, best of all, this, this, this face beyond,
This in the background, waiting on my work,
To crown the issue with a last reward!
A good time, was it not, my kingly days?
And had you not grown restless. . .but I know --
'Tis done and past; 'twas right, my instinct said;
Too live the life grew, golden and not gray:
And I'm the weak-eyed bat no sun should tempt
Out of the grange whose four walls make his world. [170]
How could it end in any other way?
You called me, and I came home to your heart.
The triumph was, to have ended there; then, if
I reached it ere the triumph, what is lost?
Let my hands frame your face in your hair's gold,
You beautiful Lucrezia that are mine!
"Rafael did this, Andrea painted that;
The Roman's is the better when you pray,
But still the other's Virgin was his wife" --
Men will excuse me. I am glad to judge [180]
Both pictures in your presence; clearer grows
My better fortune, I resolve to think.
For, do you know, Lucrezia, as God lives,
Said one day Agnolo, his very self,
To Rafael. . .I have known it all these years. . .
(When the young man was flaming out his thoughts
Upon a palace-wall for Rome to see,
Too lifted up in heart because of it)
"Friend, there's a certain sorry little scrub
Goes up and down our Florence, none cares how, [190]
Who, were he set to plan and execute
As you are, pricked on by your popes and kings,
Would bring the sweat into that brow of yours!"
To Rafael's! -- And indeed the arm is wrong.
I hardly dare. . .yet, only you to see,
Give the chalk here -- quick, thus the line should go!
Ay, but the soul! he's Rafael! rub it out!
Still, all I care for, if he spoke the truth,
(What he? why, who but Michel Agnolo?
Do you forget already words like those?) [200]
If really there was such a chance so lost, --
Is, whether you're -- not grateful -- but more pleased.
Well, let me think so. And you smile indeed!
This hour has been an hour! Another smile?
If you would sit thus by me every night
I should work better, do you comprehend?
I mean that I should earn more, give you more.
See, it is settled dusk now; there's a star;
Morello's gone, the watch-lights show the wall,
The cue-owls speak the name we call them by. [210]
Come from the window, love, -- come in, at last,
Inside the melancholy little house
We built to be so gay with. God is just.
King Francis may forgive me: oft at nights
When I look up from painting, eyes tired out,
The walls become illumined, brick from brick
Distinct, instead of mortar, fierce bright gold,
That gold of his I did cement them with!
Let us but love each other. Must you go?
That cousin here again? he waits outside? [220]
Must see you -- you, and not with me? Those loans?
More gaming debts to pay? you smiled for that?
Well, let smiles buy me! have you more to spend?
While hand and eye and something of a heart
Are left me, work's my ware, and what's it worth?
I'll pay my fancy. Only let me sit
The gray remainder of the evening out,
Idle, you call it, and muse perfectly
How I could paint, were I but back in France,
One picture, just one more -- the Virgin's face, [230]
Not your's this time! I want you at my side
To hear them -- that is, Michel Agnolo --
Judge all I do and tell you of its worth.
Will you? To-morrow, satisfy your friend.
I take the subjects for his corridor,
Finish the potrait out of hand -- there, there,
And throw him in another thing or two
If he demurs; the whole should prove enough
To pay for this same cousin's freak. Beside,
What's better and what's all I care about, [240]
Get you the thirteen scudi for the ruff!
Love, does that please you? Ah, but what does he,
The cousin! what does he to please you more?

I am grown peaceful as old age to-night.
I regret little, I would change still less.
Since there my past life lies, why alter it?
The very wrong to Francis! -- it is true
I took his coin, was tempted and complied,
And built this house and sinned, and all is said.
My father and my mother died of want. [250]
Well, had I riches of my own? you see
How one gets rich! Let each one bear his lot.
They were born poor, lived poor, and poor they died:
And I have labored somewhat in my time
And not been paid profusely. Some good son
Paint my two hundred pictures -- let him try!
No doubt, there's something strikes a balance. Yes,
You loved me quite enough, it seems to-night.
This must suffice me here. What would one have?
In heaven, perhaps, new chances, one more chance -- [260]
Four great walls in the New Jerusalem,
Meted on each side by the angel's reed,
For Leonard, Rafael, Agnolo, and me
To cover -- the three first without a wife,
While I have mine! So -- still they overcome
Because there's still Lucrezia, -- as I choose.

Again the cousin's whistle! Go, my love.

--
29. My face, my moon:

"Once, like the moon, I made
The ever-shifting currents of the blood
According to my humor ebb and flow."
-- Cleopatra, in Tennyson's `A Dream of Fair Women'.

"You are the powerful moon of my blood's sea,
To make it ebb or flow into my face
As your looks change."
-- Ford and Decker's `Witch of Edmonton'.

35. A common grayness: Andrea del Sarto was distinguished
for his skill in chiaro-oscuro.

82. low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand: "Andrea del Sarto's was,
after all, but the `low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand',
and therefore his perfect art does not touch our hearts like that
of Fra Bartolommeo, who occupies about the same position with regard to
the great masters of the century as Andrea del Sarto. Fra Bartolommeo
spoke from his heart. He was moved by the spirit, so to speak,
to express his pure and holy thoughts in beautiful language,
and the ideal that presented itself to his mind, and from which he,
equally with Raphael, worked, approached almost as closely as Raphael's
to that abstract beauty after which they both longed. Andrea del Sarto
had no such longing: he was content with the loveliness of earth.
This he could understand and imitate in its fullest perfection,
and therefore he troubled himself but little about
the `wondrous paterne' laid up in heaven. Many of his Madonnas
have greater beauty, strictly speaking, than those of Bartolommeo,
or even of Raphael; but we miss in them that mysterious
spiritual loveliness that gives the latter their chief charm."
-- Heaton's History of Painting.

93. Morello: the highest of the spurs of the Apennines
to the north of Florence.

96. Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?: it's beyond
their criticism.

105. The Urbinate: Raphael Santi, born 1483, in Urbino.
Andrea sees in Raphael, whose technique was inferior to his own,
his superior, as he reached above and through his art --
for it gives way.

106. George Vasari: see note under St. 9 of `Old Pictures
in Florence'.

120. Nay, Love, you did give all I asked: it must be understood
that his wife has replied with pique, to what he said
in the two preceding lines.

129. by the future: when placed by, in comparison with, the future.

130. Agnolo: Michael Angelo (more correctly, Agnolo) Buonarotti.
See note under St. 30 of `Old Pictures in Florence'.

146. For fear of chancing on the Paris lords: by reason of
his breaking the faith he had pledged to Francis I. of France,
and using for his own purposes, or his wife's, the money with which
the king had entrusted him to purchase works of art in Italy.

149-165. That Francis, that first time: he thinks with regret
of the king and of his honored and inspiring stay at his court.

161. by those hearts: along with, by the aid of.

173. The triumph was. . .there: i.e., in your heart.

174. ere the triumph: in France.

177. Rafael did this, . . .was his wife: a remark ascribed to
some critic.

198. If he spoke the truth: i.e., about himself.

199. What he: do you ask?

202. all I care for. . .is whether you're.

209. Morello's gone: its outlines are lost in the dusk. See v. 93.

218. That gold of his: see note to v. 146.

220. That cousin here again?: one of Lucrezia's gallants
is referred to, to pay whose gaming debts, it appears,
she has obtained money of her husband. It must be understood
that this gallant whistles here. See last verse of the monologue.

263. Leonard: Leonardo da Vinci.

Fra Lippo Lippi.

I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave!
You need not clap your torches to my face.
Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see a monk!
What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the rounds,
And here you catch me at an alley's end
Where sportive ladies leave their doors ajar?
The Carmine's my cloister: hunt it up,
Do, -- harry out, if you must show your zeal,
Whatever rat, there, haps on his wrong hole,
And nip each softling of a wee white mouse, [10]
`Weke, weke', that's crept to keep him company!
Aha! you know your betters? Then, you'll take
Your hand away that's fiddling on my throat,
And please to know me likewise. Who am I?
Why, one, sir, who is lodging with a friend
Three streets off -- he's a certain. . .how d'ye call?
Master -- a. . .Cosimo of the Medici,
I' the house that caps the corner. Boh! you were best!
Remember and tell me, the day you're hanged,
How you affected such a gullet's-gripe! [20]
But you, sir, it concerns you that your knaves
Pick up a manner, nor discredit you:
Zooks, are we pilchards, that they sweep the streets
And count fair prize what comes into their net?
He's Judas to a tittle, that man is!
Just such a face! Why, sir, you make amends.
Lord, I'm not angry! Bid your hangdogs go
Drink out this quarter-florin to the health
Of the munificent House that harbors me
(And many more beside, lads! more beside!) [30]
And all's come square again. I'd like his face --
His, elbowing on his comrade in the door
With the pike and lantern, -- for the slave that holds
John Baptist's head a-dangle by the hair
With one hand ("Look you, now", as who should say)
And his weapon in the other, yet unwiped!
It's not your chance to have a bit of chalk,
A wood-coal or the like? or you should see!
Yes, I'm the painter, since you style me so.
What, brother Lippo's doings, up and down, [40]
You know them, and they take you? like enough!
I saw the proper twinkle in your eye --
'Tell you, I liked your looks at very first.
Let's sit and set things straight now, hip to haunch.
Here's spring come, and the nights one makes up bands
To roam the town and sing out carnival,
And I've been three weeks shut within my mew,
A-painting for the great man, saints and saints
And saints again. I could not paint all night --
Ouf! I leaned out of window for fresh air. [50]
There came a hurry of feet and little feet,
A sweep of lute-strings, laughs, and whifts of song --
`Flower o' the broom,
Take away love, and our earth is a tomb!
Flower o' the quince,
I let Lisa go, and what good in life since?
Flower o' the thyme' -- and so on. Round they went.
Scarce had they turned the corner when a titter
Like the skipping of rabbits by moonlight, -- three slim shapes,
And a face that looked up. . .zooks, sir, flesh and blood, [60]
That's all I'm made of! Into shreds it went,
Curtain and counterpane and coverlet,
All the bed-furniture -- a dozen knots,
There was a ladder! Down I let myself,
Hands and feet, scrambling somehow, and so dropped,
And after them. I came up with the fun
Hard by Saint Lawrence, hail fellow, well met, --
`Flower o' the rose,
If I've been merry, what matter who knows?'
And so, as I was stealing back again, [70]
To get to bed and have a bit of sleep
Ere I rise up to-morrow and go work
On Jerome knocking at his poor old breast
With his great round stone to subdue the flesh,
You snap me of the sudden. Ah, I see!
Though your eye twinkles still, you shake your head --
Mine's shaved -- a monk, you say -- the sting's in that!
If Master Cosimo announced himself,
Mum's the word naturally; but a monk!
Come, what am I a beast for? tell us, now! [80]
I was a baby when my mother died
And father died and left me in the street.
I starved there, God knows how, a year or two
On fig-skins, melon-parings, rinds and shucks,
Refuse and rubbish. One fine frosty day,
My stomach being empty as your hat,
The wind doubled me up and down I went.
Old aunt Lapaccia trussed me with one hand
(Its fellow was a stinger, as I knew),
And so along the wall, over the bridge, [90]
By the straight cut to the convent. Six words there,
While I stood munching my first bread that month:
"So, boy, you're minded," quoth the good fat father
Wiping his own mouth, 'twas refection-time, --
"To quit this very miserable world?
Will you renounce". . ."the mouthful of bread?" thought I;
By no means! Brief, they made a monk of me;
I did renounce the world, its pride and greed,
Palace, farm, villa, shop, and banking-house,
Trash, such as these poor devils of Medici [100]
Have given their hearts to -- all at eight years old.
Well, sir, I found in time, you may be sure,
'Twas not for nothing -- the good bellyful,
The warm serge and the rope that goes all round,
And day-long blessed idleness beside!
"Let's see what the urchin's fit for" -- that came next.
Not overmuch their way, I must confess.
Such a to-do! They tried me with their books:
Lord, they'd have taught me Latin in pure waste!
`Flower o' the clove, [110]
All the Latin I construe is, "Amo" I love!'
But, mind you, when a boy starves in the streets
Eight years together as my fortune was,
Watching folk's faces to know who will fling
The bit of half-stripped grape-bunch he desires,
And who will curse or kick him for his pains, --
Which gentleman processional and fine,
Holding a candle to the Sacrament,
Will wink and let him lift a plate and catch
The droppings of the wax to sell again, [120]
Or holla for the Eight and have him whipped, --
How say I? -- nay, which dog bites, which lets drop
His bone from the heap of offal in the street, --
Why, soul and sense of him grow sharp alike,
He learns the look of things, and none the less
For admonition from the hunger-pinch.
I had a store of such remarks, be sure,
Which, after I found leisure, turned to use:
I drew men's faces on my copy-books,
Scrawled them within the antiphonary's marge, [130]
Joined legs and arms to the long music-notes,
Found eyes and nose and chin for A's and B's,
And made a string of pictures of the world
Betwixt the ins and outs of verb and noun,
On the wall, the bench, the door. The monks looked black.
"Nay," quoth the Prior, "turn him out, d'ye say?
In no wise. Lose a crow and catch a lark.
What if at last we get our man of parts,
We Carmelites, like those Camaldolese
And Preaching Friars, to do our church up fine [140]
And put the front on it that ought to be!"
And hereupon he bade me daub away.
Thank you! my head being crammed, the walls a blank,
Never was such prompt disemburdening.
First every sort of monk, the black and white,
I drew them, fat and lean: then, folks at church,
From good old gossips waiting to confess
Their cribs of barrel-droppings, candle-ends, --
To the breathless fellow at the altar-foot,
Fresh from his murder, safe and sitting there [150]
With the little children round him in a row
Of admiration, half for his beard, and half
For that white anger of his victim's son
Shaking a fist at him with one fierce arm,
Signing himself with the other because of Christ
(Whose sad face on the cross sees only this
After the passion of a thousand years),
Till some poor girl, her apron o'er her head
(Which the intense eyes looked through), came at eve
On tiptoe, said a word, dropped in a loaf, [160]
Her pair of ear-rings and a bunch of flowers
(The brute took growling), prayed, and so was gone.
I painted all, then cried, "'Tis ask and have;
Choose, for more's ready!" -- laid the ladder flat,
And showed my covered bit of cloister-wall.
The monks closed in a circle and praised loud
Till checked, taught what to see and not to see,
Being simple bodies, -- "That's the very man!
Look at the boy who stoops to pat the dog!
That woman's like the Prior's niece who comes [170]
To care about his asthma: it's the life!"
But there my triumph's straw-fire flared and funked;
Their betters took their turn to see and say:
The prior and the learned pulled a face
And stopped all that in no time. "How? what's here?
Quite from the mark of painting, bless us all!
Faces, arms, legs, and bodies like the true
As much as pea and pea! it's devil's game!
Your business is not to catch men with show,
With homage to the perishable clay, [180]
But lift them over it, ignore it all,
Make them forget there's such a thing as flesh.
Your business is to paint the souls of men --
Man's soul, and it's a fire, smoke. . .no, it's not. . .
It's vapor done up like a new-born babe --
(In that shape when you die it leaves your mouth),
It's. . .well, what matters talking, it's the soul!
Give us no more of body than shows soul!
Here's Giotto, with his Saint a-praising God,
That sets us praising, -- why not stop with him? [190]
Why put all thoughts of praise out of our head
With wonder at lines, colors, and what not?
Paint the soul, never mind the legs and arms!
Rub all out, try at it a second time!
Oh, that white smallish female with the breasts,
She's just my niece. . .Herodias, I would say, --
Who went and danced, and got men's heads cut off!
Have it all out!" Now, is this sense, I ask?
A fine way to paint soul, by painting body
So ill, the eye can't stop there, must go further [200]
And can't fare worse! Thus, yellow does for white
When what you put for yellow's simply black,
And any sort of meaning looks intense
When all beside itself means and looks naught.
Why can't a painter lift each foot in turn,
Left foot and right foot, go a double step,
Make his flesh liker and his soul more like,
Both in their order? Take the prettiest face,
The Prior's niece. . .patron-saint -- is it so pretty
You can't discover if it means hope, fear, [210]
Sorrow or joy? won't beauty go with these?
Suppose I've made her eyes all right and blue,
Can't I take breath and try to add life's flash,
And then add soul and heighten them threefold?
Or say there's beauty with no soul at all --
(I never saw it -- put the case the same --)
If you get simple beauty and naught else,
You get about the best thing God invents:
That's somewhat: and you'll find the soul you have missed,
Within yourself, when you return him thanks. [220]
"Rub all out!" Well, well, there's my life, in short,
And so the thing has gone on ever since.
I'm grown a man no doubt, I've broken bounds:
You should not take a fellow eight years old
And make him swear to never kiss the girls.
I'm my own master, paint now as I please --
Having a friend, you see, in the Corner-house!
Lord, it's fast holding by the rings in front --
Those great rings serve more purposes than just
To plant a flag in, or tie up a horse! [230]
And yet the old schooling sticks, the old grave eyes
Are peeping o'er my shoulder as I work,
The heads shake still -- "It's art's decline, my son!
You're not of the true painters, great and old;
Brother Angelico's the man, you'll find;
Brother Lorenzo stands his single peer:
Fag on at flesh, you'll never make the third!"
`Flower o' the pine,
You keep your mistr. . .manners, and I'll stick to mine!'
I'm not the third, then: bless us, they must know! [240]
Don't you think they're the likeliest to know,
They with their Latin? So, I swallow my rage,
Clinch my teeth, suck my lips in tight, and paint
To please them -- sometimes do, and sometimes don't;
For, doing most, there's pretty sure to come
A turn, some warm eve finds me at my saints --
A laugh, a cry, the business of the world --
(`Flower o' the peach,
Death for us all, and his own life for each!')
And my whole soul revolves, the cup runs over, [250]
The world and life's too big to pass for a dream,
And I do these wild things in sheer despite,
And play the fooleries you catch me at,
In pure rage! The old mill-horse, out at grass
After hard years, throws up his stiff heels so,
Although the miller does not preach to him
The only good of grass is to make chaff.
What would men have? Do they like grass or no --
May they or mayn't they? all I want's the thing
Settled forever one way. As it is, [260]
You tell too many lies and hurt yourself:
You don't like what you only like too much,
You do like what, if given you at your word,
You find abundantly detestable.
For me, I think I speak as I was taught;
I always see the garden, and God there
A-making man's wife: and, my lesson learned,
The value and significance of flesh,
I can't unlearn ten minutes afterwards.

You understand me: I'm a beast, I know. [270]
But see, now -- why, I see as certainly
As that the morning-star's about to shine,
What will hap some day. We've a youngster here
Comes to our convent, studies what I do,
Slouches and stares and lets no atom drop:
His name is Guidi -- he'll not mind the monks --
They call him Hulking Tom, he lets them talk --
He picks my practice up -- he'll paint apace,
I hope so -- though I never live so long,
I know what's sure to follow. You be judge! [280]
You speak no Latin more than I, belike;
However, you're my man, you've seen the world
-- The beauty and the wonder and the power,
The shapes of things, their colors, lights, and shades,
Changes, surprises, -- and God made it all!
-- For what? Do you feel thankful, ay or no,
For this fair town's face, yonder river's line,
The mountain round it and the sky above,
Much more the figures of man, woman, child,
These are the frame to? What's it all about? [290]
To be passed over, despised? or dwelt upon,
Wondered at? oh, this last of course! -- you say.
But why not do as well as say, -- paint these
Just as they are, careless what comes of it?
God's works -- paint any one, and count it crime
To let a truth slip. Don't object, "His works
Are here already; nature is complete:
Suppose you reproduce her -- (which you can't)
There's no advantage! you must beat her, then."
For, don't you mark? we're made so that we love [300]
First when we see them painted, things we have passed
Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see;
And so they are better, painted -- better to us,
Which is the same thing. Art was given for that;
God uses us to help each other so,
Lending our minds out. Have you noticed, now
Your cullion's hanging face? A bit of chalk,
And trust me but you should, though! How much more
If I drew higher things with the same truth!
That were to take the Prior's pulpit-place, [310]
Interpret God to all of you! Oh, oh,
It makes me mad to see what men shall do
And we in our graves! This world's no blot for us,
Nor blank; it means intensely, and means good:
To find its meaning is my meat and drink.
"Ay, but you don't so instigate to prayer!"
Strikes in the Prior: "when your meaning's plain
It does not say to folks -- remember matins,
Or, mind your fast next Friday!" Why, for this
What need of art at all? A skull and bones, [320]
Two bits of stick nailed cross-wise, or, what's best,
A bell to chime the hour with, does as well.
I painted a Saint Laurence six months since
At Prato, splashed the fresco in fine style:
"How looks my painting, now the scaffold's down?"
I ask a brother: "Hugely," he returns --
"Already not one phiz of your three slaves
Who turn the Deacon off his toasted side,
But's scratched and prodded to our heart's content,
The pious people have so eased their own [330]
With coming to say prayers there in a rage:
We get on fast to see the bricks beneath.
Expect another job this time next year,
For pity and religion grow i' the crowd --
Your painting serves its purpose!" Hang the fools!

-- That is -- you'll not mistake an idle word
Spoke in a huff by a poor monk, Got wot,
Tasting the air this spicy night which turns
The unaccustomed head like Chianti wine!
Oh, the church knows! don't misreport me, now! [340]
It's natural a poor monk out of bounds
Should have his apt word to excuse himself:
And hearken how I plot to make amends.
I have bethought me: I shall paint a piece
. . .There's for you! Give me six months, then go, see
Something in Sant' Ambrogio's! Bless the nuns!
They want a cast o' my office. I shall paint
God in the midst, Madonna and her babe,
Ringed by a bowery, flowery angel-brood,
Lilies and vestments and white faces, sweet [350]
As puff on puff of grated orris-root
When ladies crowd to church at midsummer.
And then i' the front, of course a saint or two --
Saint John, because he saves the Florentines,
Saint Ambrose, who puts down in black and white
The convent's friends and gives them a long day,
And Job, I must have him there past mistake,
The man of Uz (and Us without the z,
Painters who need his patience). Well, all these
Secured at their devotion, up shall come [360]
Out of a corner when you least expect,
As one by a dark stair into a great light,
Music and talking, who but Lippo! I! --
Mazed, motionless, and moon-struck -- I'm the man!
Back I shrink -- what is this I see and hear?
I, caught up with my monk's things by mistake,
My old serge gown and rope that goes all round,
I, in this presence, this pure company!
Where's a hole, where's a corner for escape?
Then steps a sweet angelic slip of a thing [370]
Forward, puts out a soft palm -- "Not so fast!"
-- Addresses the celestial presence, "nay --
He made you and devised you, after all,
Though he's none of you! could Saint John there, draw --
His camel-hair make up a painting-brush?
We come to brother Lippo for all that,
Iste perfecit opus!" So, all smile --
I shuffle sideways with my blushing face
Under the cover of a hundred wings
Thrown like a spread of kirtles when you're gay [380]
And play hot cockles, all the doors being shut,
Till, wholly unexpected, in there pops
The hot-head husband! Thus I scuttle off
To some safe bench behind, not letting go
The palm of her, the little lily thing
That spoke the good word for me in the nick,
Like the Prior's niece. . .Saint Lucy, I would say.
And so all's saved for me, and for the church
A pretty picture gained. Go, six months hence!
Your hand, sir, and good-bye: no lights, no lights! [390]
The street's hushed, and I know my own way back,
Don't fear me! There's the gray beginning. Zooks!

--
17. Cosimo of the Medici: Cosimo, or Cosmo, de' Medici,
surnamed the Elder, a celebrated Florentine statesman,
and a patron of learning and the arts; b. 1389, d. 1464.

23. pilchards: a kind of fish.

34. John Baptist's head: an imaginary picture.

67. Saint Lawrence: church of San Lorenzo, in Florence, famous for
the tombs of the Medici, adorned with Michel Angelo's Day and Night,
Morning and Evening, etc. See `Hawthorne's Italian Note-Books'.

88. Old aunt Lapaccia: Mona Lapaccia, his father's sister.

121. the Eight: `gli Otto di guerra', surnamed `i Santi', the Saints;
a magistracy composed of Eight citizens, instituted by the Florentines,
during their war with the Church, in 1376, for the administration
of the city government. Two were chosen from the `Signori',
three, from the `Mediocri' (Middle Classes), and three,
from the `Bassi' (Lower Classes). For their subsequent history,
see `Le Istorie Fiorentine di Niccolo Machiavelli'.

122. How say I?: -- nay, worse than that, which dog bites, etc.

127. remarks: observations.

139. Camaldolese: monks of the celebrated convent of Camaldoli.

143. Thank you!: there's a remark interposed here by one of the men,
perhaps "YOU'RE no dauber", to which he replies, "Thank you".

145 et seq. The realistic painter, who disdains nothing, is shown here.

189. Giotto di Bondone (1266-1337): a pupil of Cimabue, and regarded
as the principal reviver of art in Italy. He was a personal friend
of Dante. See note under `Old Pictures in Florence', St. 2.

223. I'm grown a man no doubt, I've broken bounds: all the editions
are so punctuated; but it seems the comma should be after "man",
connecting "no doubt" with "I've broken bounds".

235. "Giovanni da Fiesole, better known as Fra Angelico (1387-1455).
Angelico was incomparably the greatest of the distinctively
mediaeval school, whose `dicta' the Prior in the poem has all at
his tongue's end. To `paint the souls of men', to `make them forget
there's such a thing as flesh', was the end of his art. And,
side by side with Angelico, Masaccio painted. His short life
taught him a different lesson -- `the value and significance of flesh'.
He would paint by preference the BODIES of men, and would give us
NO MORE OF SOUL than the body can reveal. So he `laboured',
saith the chronicler, `in nakeds', and his frescoes mark
an epoch in art." -- Ernest Bradford (B. S. Illustrations).

"One artist in the seclusion of his cloister, remained true
to the traditions and mode of expression of the middle ages, into which,
nevertheless, the incomparable beauty and feeling of his nature
breathed fresh life. Fra Giovanni Angelico, called da Fiesole
from the place of his birth, occupies an entirely exceptional position.
He is the late-blooming flower of an almost by-gone time
amid the pulsations of a new life. Never, in the whole range
of pictorial art, have the inspired fervor of Christian feeling,
the angelic beauty and purity of which the soul is capable, been so
gloriously interpreted as in his works. The exquisite atmosphere
of an almost supernaturally ideal life surrounds his pictures,
irradiates the rosy features of his youthful faces, or greets us,
like the peace of God, in the dignified figures of his devout old men.
His prevailing themes are the humility of soul of those who
have joyfully accepted the will of God, and the tranquil Sabbath calm
of those who are lovingly consecrated to the service of the Highest.
The movement and the changing course of life, the energy of passion
and action concern him not." -- `Outlines of the History of Art'.
By Dr. Wilh. Luebke.

236. Lorenzo Monaco: a monk of the order of Camaldoli;
a conservative artist of the time, who adhered to the manner
of Taddeo Gaddi and his disciples, but Fra Angelico appears likewise
to have influenced him.

238. Flower o' the pine, etc.: this snatch of song applies
to what he has just been talking about: you have your own notions
of art, and I have mine.

276. Tommaso Guidi (1401-1428), better known as Masaccio,
i.e., Tommasaccio, Slovenly or Hulking Tom. "From his time,
and forward," says Mr. Ernest Radford (B. S. Illustrations),
"religious painting in the old sense was at an end. Painters no longer
attempted to transcend nature, but to copy her, and to copy her
in her loveliest aspects. The breach between the old order and the new
was complete." The poet makes him learn of Lippi, not,
as Vasari states, Lippi of him.

"When Browning wrote this poem, he knew that the mastership or pupilship
of Fra Lippo to Masaccio (called `Guidi' in the poem), and vice versa,
was a moot point; but in making Fra Lippi the master,
he followed the best authority he had access to, the last edition
of Vasari, as he stated in a Letter to the `Pall Mall' at the time,
in answer to M. Etienne [a writer in the `Revue des deux Mondes'.]
Since then, he finds that the latest enquirer into the subject,
Morelli, believes the fact is the other way, and that Fra Lippo
was the pupil." -- B. Soc. Papers, Pt. II, p. 160.

The letter to the `Pall Mall Gazette' I have not seen.
M. Etienne's Article is in Tome 85, pp. 704-735, of the `Revue des
Deux Mondes', 1870, and the letter probably appeared soon after
its publication. What edition of Vasari is referred to,
in the above note, as the last, is uncertain; but in Vasari's
own editions of 1550 and 1568, and in Mrs. Foster's translation, 1855,
Lippi is made the pupil, and not the master, of Masaccio.

323. Saint Laurence: suffered martyrdom in the reign of
the Emperor Valerian, A.D. 258. He was broiled to death on a gridiron.

327. Already not one phiz of your three slaves. . .but's scratched:
the people are so indignant at what they are doing,
in the life-like picture.

336. That is --: he fears he has spoken too plainly,
and will be reported.

339. Chianti: a wine named from the part of Italy so called.

345. There's for you: he tips them.

346. Sant' Ambrogio's: a convent in Florence.

354. Saint John: John the Baptist is meant; see v. 375.

355. Saint Ambrose: born about 340; made archbishop of Milan in 374;
died 397; instituted the `Ambrosian Chant'.

377. Iste perfecit opus!: this is on a scroll, in the picture,
held by the "sweet angelic slip of a thing".

389. The picture referred to is `The Coronation of the Virgin',
in the `Accademia delle Belle Arti', in Florence. There is a photograph
of it in `Illustrations to Browning's Poems', Part I., published by
the Browning Society, with an interesting description of the picture,
by Mr. Ernest Radford. There's no "babe" in the picture.

392. Zooks!: it's high time I was back and in bed,
that my night-larking be not known.

A Face.

If one could have that little head of hers
Painted upon a background of pale gold,
Such as the Tuscan's early art prefers!
No shade encroaching on the matchless mould
Of those two lips, which should be opening soft
In the pure profile; not as when she laughs,
For that spoils all: but rather as if aloft
Yon hyacinth, she loves so, leaned its staff's
Burthen of honey-colored buds, to kiss
And capture 'twixt the lips apart for this. [10]
Then her lithe neck, three fingers might surround,
How it should waver, on the pale gold ground,
Up to the fruit-shaped, perfect chin it lifts!
I know, Correggio loves to mass, in rifts
Of heaven, his angel faces, orb on orb
Breaking its outline, burning shades absorb:
But these are only massed there, I should think,
Waiting to see some wonder momently
Grow out, stand full, fade slow against the sky
(That's the pale ground you'd see this sweet face by), [20]
All heaven, meanwhile, condensed into one eye
Which fears to lose the wonder, should it wink.

--
1. If one could have: Oh, if one could only have, etc.

9, 10. to kiss and capture: gerundives: to be kissed and captured.

14. Correggio: Antonio Allegri da Correggio, born 1494, died 1534.
"He was the first master -- the Venetians notwithstanding --
to take a scheme of color and chiaro-scuro as the `raison d'etre'
of a complete composition, and his brush, responding to the idea,
blends light and shade in delicious harmony." -- Woltmann and Woermann's
`History of Painting'.

The Bishop orders his Tomb.

[Rome, 15--.]

--
* The tomb is imaginary; though it is said to be pointed out to visitors
to Saint Praxed's who desire particularly to see it.
--

Vanity, saith the preacher, vanity!
Draw round my bed: is Anselm keeping back?
Nephews -- sons mine. . .ah God, I know not! Well --
She, men would have to be your mother once,
Old Gandolf envied me, so fair she was!
What's done is done, and she is dead beside,
Dead long ago, and I am Bishop since,
And as she died so must we die ourselves,
And thence ye may perceive the world's a dream.
Life, how and what is it? As here I lie [10]
In this state-chamber, dying by degrees,
Hours and long hours in the dead night, I ask
"Do I live, am I dead?" Peace, peace seems all.
Saint Praxed's ever was the church for peace;
And so, about this tomb of mine. I fought
With tooth and nail to save my niche, ye know:
-- Old Gandolf cozened me, despite my care;
Shrewd was that snatch from out the corner South
He graced his carrion with, God curse the same!
Yet still my niche is not so cramped but thence [20]
One sees the pulpit on the epistle-side,
And somewhat of the choir, those silent seats,
And up into the aery dome where live
The angels, and a sunbeam's sure to lurk;
And I shall fill my slab of basalt there,
And 'neath my tabernacle take my rest,
With those nine columns round me, two and two,
The odd one at my feet where Anselm stands:
Peach-blossom marble all, the rare, the ripe
As fresh-poured red wine of a mighty pulse. [30]
-- Old Gandolf with his paltry onion-stone,
Put me where I may look at him! True peach,
Rosy and flawless: how I earned the prize!
Draw close: that conflagration of my church
-- What then? So much was saved if aught were missed!
My sons, ye would not be my death? Go dig
The white-grape vineyard where the oil-press stood,
Drop water gently till the surface sink,
And if ye find. . . Ah God, I know not, I! . . .
Bedded in store of rotten fig-leaves soft, [40]
And corded up in a tight olive-frail,
Some lump, ah God, of lapis lazuli,
Big as a Jew's head cut off at the nape,
Blue as a vein o'er the Madonna's breast. . .
Sons, all have I bequeathed you, villas, all,
That brave Frascati villa with its bath,
So, let the blue lump poise between my knees,
Like God the Father's globe on both his hands
Ye worship in the Jesu Church so gay,
For Gandolf shall not choose but see and burst! [50]
Swift as a weaver's shuttle fleet our years:
Man goeth to the grave, and where is he?
Did I say, basalt for my slab, sons? Black --
'Twas ever antique-black I meant! How else
Shall ye contrast my frieze to come beneath?
The bas-relief in bronze ye promised me,
Those Pans and Nymphs ye wot of, and perchance
Some tripod, thyrsus, with a vase or so,
The Saviour at his sermon on the mount,
Saint Praxed in a glory, and one Pan [60]
Ready to twitch the Nymph's last garment off,
And Moses with the tables. . .but I know
Ye mark me not! What do they whisper thee,
Child of my bowels, Anselm? Ah, ye hope
To revel down my villas while I gasp
Bricked o'er with beggar's mouldy travertine
Which Gandolf from his tomb-top chuckles at!
Nay, boys, ye love me -- all of jasper, then!
'Tis jasper ye stand pledged to, lest I grieve
My bath must needs be left behind, alas! [70]
One block, pure green as a pistachio-nut,
There's plenty jasper somewhere in the world --
And have I not Saint Praxed's ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscripts,
And mistresses with great smooth marbly limbs?
-- That's if ye carve my epitaph aright,
Choice Latin, picked phrase, Tully's every word,
No gaudy ware like Gandolf's second line --
Tully, my masters? Ulpian serves his need!
And then how I shall lie through centuries, [80]
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,
And feel the steady candle-flame, and taste
Good strong thick stupefying incense-smoke!
For as I lie here, hours of the dead night,
Dying in state and by such slow degrees,
I fold my arms as if they clasped a crook,
And stretch my feet forth straight as stone can point,
And let the bedclothes, for a mortcloth, drop
Into great laps and folds of sculptor's work: [90]
And as yon tapers dwindle, and strange thoughts
Grow, with a certain humming in my ears,
About the life before I lived this life,
And this life too, popes, cardinals, and priests,
Saint Praxed at his sermon on the mount,
Your tall pale mother with her talking eyes,
And new-found agate urns as fresh as day,
And marble's language, Latin pure, discreet,
-- Aha, ELUCESCEBAT quoth our friend?
No Tully, said I, Ulpian at the best! [100]
Evil and brief hath been my pilgrimage.
All lapis, all, sons! Else I give the Pope
My villas! Will ye ever eat my heart?
Ever your eyes were as a lizard's quick,
They glitter like your mother's for my soul,
Or ye would heighten my impoverished frieze,
Piece out its starved design, and fill my vase
With grapes, and add a visor and a Term,
And to the tripod ye would tie a lynx
That in his struggle throws the thyrsus down, [110]
To comfort me on my entablature
Whereon I am to lie till I must ask
"Do I live, am I dead?" There, leave me, there!
For ye have stabbed me with ingratitude
To death: ye wish it -- God, ye wish it! Stone --
Gritstone, a-crumble! Clammy squares which sweat
As if the corpse they keep were oozing through --
And no more lapis to delight the world!
Well go! I bless ye. Fewer tapers there,
But in a row: and, going, turn your backs [120]
-- Ay, like departing altar-ministrants,
And leave me in my church, the church for peace,
That I may watch at leisure if he leers --
Old Gandolf, at me, from his onion-stone,
As still he envied me, so fair she was!

--
1. Vanity, saith the preacher, vanity!: "The Bishop on his death-bed
has reached Solomon's conclusion that `all is vanity'. So he proceeds
to specify his particular vanity in the choice of a tombstone."
-- N. Brit. Rev. 34, p. 367. "In `The Palace of Art', Mr. Tennyson
has shown the despair and isolation of a soul surrounded by
all luxuries of beauty, and living in and for them; but in the end
the soul is redeemed and converted to the simple humanities of earth.
Mr. Browning has shown that such a sense of isolation and such despair
are by no means inevitable; there is a death in life which consists in
tranquil satisfaction, a calm pride in the soul's dwelling among
the world's gathered treasures of stateliness and beauty. . . .
So the unbelieving and worldly spirit of the dying Bishop, who orders
his tomb at Saint Praxed's, his sense of the vanity of the world
simply because the world is passing out of his reach,
the regretful memory of the pleasures of his youth, the envious spite
towards Gandolf, who robbed him of the best position for a tomb,
and the dread lest his reputed sons should play him false and fail
to carry out his designs, are united with a perfect appreciation of
Renaissance art, and a luxurious satisfaction, which even a death-bed
cannot destroy, in the splendor of voluptuous form and color."
-- Edward Dowden.

46. Frascati: a town of central Italy, near the site of
the ancient Tusculum, ten or twelve miles S. E. of Rome;
it has many fine old villas.

53. Did I say, basalt for my slab, sons?: Note how all things else,
even such reflections as are expressed in the two preceding verses,
are incidental with the Bishop; his poor, art-besotted mind turns
abruptly to the black basalt which he craves for the slab of his tomb;
and see vv. 101, 102.

66. travertine: see note to v. 67 of `Pictor Ignotus'.

71. pistachio-nut: or, green almond.

79. Ulpian: Domitius Ulpianus, one of the greatest of Roman jurists,
and chief adviser of the emperor, Alexander Severus; born about 170,
died 228; belongs to the Brazen age of Roman literature.

95. Saint Praxed at his sermon on the mount: the poor dying Bishop,
in the disorder of his mind, makes a `lapsus linguae' here; see v. 59.

99. elucescebat: "he was beginning to shine forth"; a late Latin word
not found in the Ciceronian vocabulary, and therefore condemned
by the Bishop; this word is, perhaps, what is meant by the "gaudy ware"
in the second line of Gandolf's epitaph, referred to in v. 78.

A Toccata of Galuppi's.

1.

Oh Galuppi, Baldassaro, this is very sad to find!
I can hardly misconceive you; it would prove me deaf and blind;
But, although I take your meaning, 'tis with such a heavy mind!

--
St. 1. Galuppi, Baldassaro (rather Baldassare): b. 1703, in Burano,
an island near Venice, and thence called Buranello; d. 1785;
a distinguished composer, whose operas, about fifty in number,
and mostly comic, were at one time the most popular in Italy;
Galuppi is regarded as the father of the Italian comic opera.

2.

Here you come with your old music, and here's all the good it brings.
What, they lived once thus at Venice where the merchants were the kings,
Where Saint Mark's is, where the Doges used to wed the sea with rings?

--
St. 2. Saint Mark's: see Ruskin's description of this
glorious basilica, in `The Stones of Venice'.

3.

Ay, because the sea's the street there; and 'tis arched by. . .
what you call
. . .Shylock's bridge with houses on it, where they kept the carnival:
I was never out of England -- it's as if I saw it all.

4.

Did young people take their pleasure when the sea was warm in May?
Balls and masks begun at midnight, burning ever to mid-day,
When they made up fresh adventures for the morrow, do you say?

5.

Was a lady such a lady, cheeks so round and lips so red, --
On her neck the small face buoyant, like a bell-flower on its bed,
O'er the breast's superb abundance where a man might base his head?

6.

Well, and it was graceful of them: they'd break talk off and afford
-- She, to bite her mask's black velvet, he, to finger on his sword,
While you sat and played Toccatas, stately at the clavichord?

--
St. 6. Toccatas: the Toccata was a form of musical composition
for the organ or harpsichord, somewhat in the free and brilliant style
of the modern fantasia or capriccio;
clavichord: "a keyed stringed instrument, now superseded by
the pianoforte {now called a piano}." -- Webster.

7.

What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths diminished, sigh on sigh,
Told them something? Those suspensions, those solutions -- "Must we die?"
Those commiserating sevenths -- "Life might last! we can but try!"

--
St. 7. The musical technicalities used in this stanza,
any musician can explain and illustrate.

8.

"Were you happy?" -- "Yes." -- "And are you still as happy?" -- "Yes.
And you?"
-- "Then, more kisses!" -- "Did I stop them, when a million seemed so few?"
Hark, the dominant's persistence till it must be answered to!

--
St. 8. The questions in this stanza must be supposed to be caused
by the effect upon the revellers of the "plaintive lesser thirds",
the "diminished sixths", the "commiserating sevenths", etc.,
of the preceding stanza.

9.

So, an octave struck the answer. Oh, they praised you, I dare say!
"Brave Galuppi! that was music! good alike at grave and gay!
I can always leave off talking when I hear a master play!"

10.

Then they left you for their pleasure: till in due time, one by one,
Some with lives that came to nothing, some with deeds as well undone,
Death stepped tacitly, and took them where they never see the sun.

11.

But when I sit down to reason, think to take my stand nor swerve,
While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from nature's close reserve,
In you come with your cold music till I creep through every nerve.

--
St. 11. While I triumph o'er a secret wrung from nature's
close reserve: the secret of the soul's immortality.

12.

Yes, you, like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house was burned:
"Dust and ashes, dead and done with, Venice spent what Venice earned.
The soul, doubtless, is immortal -- where a soul can be discerned.

13.

"Yours for instance: you know physics, something of geology,
Mathematics are your pastime; souls shall rise in their degree;
Butterflies may dread extinction, -- you'll not die, it cannot be!

--
St. 13. The idea is involved in this stanza that the soul's
continued existence is dependent on its development in this life;
the ironic character of the stanza is indicated by the merely
intellectual subjects named, physics, geology, mathematics,
which do not of themselves, necessarily, contribute to
SOUL-development. All from the 2d verse of the 12th stanza
down to "Dust and ashes" in the 15th, is what the music,
"like a ghostly cricket, creaking where a house was burned",
says to the speaker, in the monologue, of the men and women for whom
life meant simply a butterfly enjoyment.

14.

"As for Venice and her people, merely born to bloom and drop,
Here on earth they bore their fruitage, mirth and folly were the crop:
What of soul was left, I wonder, when the kissing had to stop?

15.

"Dust and ashes!" So you creak it, and I want the heart to scold.
Dear dead women, with such hair, too -- what's become of all the gold
Used to hang and brush their bosoms? I feel chilly and grown old.

Abt Vogler.

(After he has been extemporizing upon the Musical Instrument
of his Invention.)

1.

Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I build,
Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work,
Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when Solomon willed
Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk,
Man, brute, reptile, fly, -- alien of end and of aim,
Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep removed, --
Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable Name,
And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess he loved!

--
St. 1. The leading sentence, "Would that the structure brave", etc.,
is interrupted by the comparison, "as when Solomon willed", etc.,
and continued in the 2d stanza, "Would it might tarry like his", etc.;
the construction of the comparison is, "as when Solomon willed
that armies of angels, legions of devils, etc., should rush into sight
and pile him a palace straight"; the reference is to the legends
of the Koran in regard to Solomon's magical powers.

2.

Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of mine,
This which my keys in a crowd pressed and importuned to raise!
Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart now and now combine,
Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their master his praise!
And one would bury his brow with a blind plunge down to hell,
Burrow a while and build, broad on the roots of things,
Then up again swim into sight, having based me my palace well,
Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the nether springs.

--
St. 2. the beautiful building of mine: "Of all our senses,
hearing seems to be the most poetical; and because it requires
most imagination. We do not simply listen to sounds,
but whether they be articulate or inarticulate, we are constantly
translating them into the language of sight, with which we are
better acquainted; and this is a work of the imaginative faculty."
-- `Poetics: an Essay on Poetry'. By E. S. Dallas.

The idea expressed in the above extract is beautifully embodied
in the following lines from Coleridge's `Kubla Khan': --

"It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome, with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who HEARD should SEE them there", etc.

3.

And another would mount and march, like the excellent minion he was,
Ay, another and yet another, one crowd but with many a crest,
Raising my rampired walls of gold as transparent as glass,
Eager to do and die, yield each his place to the rest:
For higher still and higher (as a runner tips with fire,
When a great illumination surprises a festal night --
Outlining round and round Rome's dome from space to spire)
Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and the pride of my soul was in sight.

4.

In sight? Not half! for it seemed, it was certain, to match man's birth,
Nature in turn conceived, obeying an impulse as I;
And the emulous heaven yearned down, made effort to reach the earth,
As the earth had done her best, in my passion, to scale the sky:
Novel splendors burst forth, grew familiar and dwelt with mine,
Not a point nor peak but found, but fixed its wandering star;
Meteor-moons, balls of blaze: and they did not pale nor pine,
For earth had attained to heaven, there was no more near nor far.

5.

Nay more; for there wanted not who walked in the glare and glow,
Presences plain in the place; or, fresh from the Protoplast,
Furnished for ages to come, when a kindlier wind should blow,
Lured now to begin and live, in a house to their liking at last;
Or else the wonderful Dead who have passed through the body and gone,
But were back once more to breathe in an old world worth their new:
What never had been, was now; what was, as it shall be anon;
And what is, -- shall I say, matched both? for I was made perfect too.

6.

All through my keys that gave their sounds to a wish of my soul,
All through my soul that praised as its wish flowed visibly forth,
All through music and me! For think, had I painted the whole,
Why, there it had stood, to see, nor the process so wonder-worth.
Had I written the same, made verse -- still, effect proceeds from cause,
Ye know why the forms are fair, ye hear how the tale is told;
It is all triumphant art, but art in obedience to laws,
Painter and poet are proud, in the artist-list enrolled: --

7.

But here is the finger of God, a flash of the will that can,
Existent behind all laws: that made them, and, lo, they are!
And I know not if, save in this, such gift be allowed to man,
That out of three sounds he frame, not a fourth sound, but a star.
Consider it well: each tone of our scale in itself is naught;
It is everywhere in the world -- loud, soft, and all is said:
Give it to me to use! I mix it with two in my thought,
And, there! Ye have heard and seen: consider and bow the head!

8.

Well, it is gone at last, the palace of music I reared;
Gone! and the good tears start, the praises that come too slow;
For one is assured at first, one scarce can say that he feared,
That he even gave it a thought, the gone thing was to go.
Never to be again! But many more of the kind
As good, nay, better perchance: is this your comfort to me?
To me, who must be saved because I cling with my mind
To the same, same self, same love, same God: ay, what was, shall be.

9.

Therefore to whom turn I but to thee, the ineffable Name?
Builder and maker, thou, of houses not made with hands!
What, have fear of change from thee who art ever the same?
Doubt that thy power can fill the heart that thy power expands?
There shall never be one lost good! What was, shall live as before;
The evil is null, is naught, is silence implying sound;
What was good, shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round.

10.

All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good, shall exist;
Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor good, nor power
Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives for the melodist,
When eternity affirms the conception of an hour.
The high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too hard,
The passion that left the ground to lose itself in the sky,
Are music sent up to God by the lover and the bard;
Enough that he heard it once: we shall hear it by-and-by.

11.

And what is our failure here but a triumph's evidence
For the fulness of the days? Have we withered or agonized?
Why else was the pause prolonged but that singing might issue thence?
Why rushed the discords in, but that harmony should be prized?
Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear,
Each sufferer says his say, his scheme of the weal and woe:
But God has a few of us whom he whispers in the ear;
The rest may reason and welcome; 'tis we musicians know.

--
St. 11. And what is our failure here: "As long as effort
is directed to the highest, that aim, though it is out of reach,
is the standard of hope. The existence of a capacity,
cherished and quickened, is a pledge that it will find scope.
The punishment of the man who has fixed all his thoughts upon earth,
a punishment felt on reflection to be overwhelming in view of
possibilities of humanity, is the completest gratification of desires
unworthily limited: --

"`Thou art shut
Out of the heaven of spirit; glut
Thy sense upon the world: 'tis thine
For ever -- take it!' (`Easter Day', xx.).

On the other hand, the soul which has found in success not rest
but a starting-point, which refuses to see in the first-fruits
of a partial victory the fulness of its rightful triumph,
has ever before it a sustaining and elevating vision: --

"`What stops my despair?
This: -- 'tis not what man Does which exalts him, but what man
Would do!' (`Saul', 18).

"`What I aspired to be,
And was not, comforts me;
A brute I might have been, but would not sink i' the scale.'"
(`Rabbi Ben Ezra', 7). -- Rev. Prof. Westcott on Browning's
View of Life (`Browning Soc. Papers', iv., 405, 406).

12.

Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes her reign:
I will be patient and proud, and soberly acquiesce.
Give me the keys. I feel for the common chord again,
Sliding by semitones, till I sink to the minor, -- yes,
And I blunt it into a ninth, and I stand on alien ground,
Surveying a while the heights I rolled from into the deep;
Which, hark, I have dared and done, for my resting-place is found,
The C Major of this life: so, now I will try to sleep.

"Touch him ne'er so lightly."

[Epilogue to Dramatic Idyls. Second Series.]

--
* See `Pages from an Album', in `The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine'
(Scribner's), for November 1882, pp. 159, 160, where is given
a fac-simile of the poet's Ms. of these verses and of the ten verses
he afterwards added, in response, it seems, to a carping critic.
--

"Touch him ne'er so lightly, into song he broke:
Soil so quick-receptive, -- not one feather-seed,
Not one flower dust fell but straight its fall awoke
Vitalizing virtue: song would song succeed
Sudden as spontaneous -- prove a poet-soul!"
Indeed?
Rock's the song-soil rather, surface hard and bare:
Sun and dew their mildness, storm and frost their rage
Vainly both expend, -- few flowers awaken there:
Quiet in its cleft broods -- what the after age
Knows and names a pine, a nation's heritage.

Memorabilia.

1.

Book of the day: