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The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Part 29 out of 31

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And the statue?

Perfect in every part, save the right foot
Of Perseus, as I had foretold the Duke.
There was just bronze enough to fill the mould;
Not a drop over, not a drop too little.
I looked upon it as a miracle
Wrought by the hand of God.

And now I see
How you have turned your vices into virtues.

But wherefore do I prate of this? I came
To speak of other things. Duke Cosimo
Through me invites you to return to Florence,
And offers you great honors, even to make you
One of the Forty-Eight, his Senators.

His Senators! That is enough. Since Florence
Was changed by Clement Seventh from a Republic
Into a Dukedom, I no longer wish
To be a Florentine. That dream is ended.
The Grand Duke Cosimo now reigns supreme;
All liberty is dead. Ah, woe is me!
I hoped to see my country rise to heights
Of happiness and freedom yet unreached
By other nations, but the climbing wave
Pauses, lets go its hold, and slides again
Back to the common level, with a hoarse
Death rattle in its throat. I am too old
To hope for better days. I will stay here
And die in Rome. The very weeds, that grow
Among the broken fragments of her ruins,
Are sweeter to me than the garden flowers
Of other cities; and the desolate ring
Of the Campagna round about her walls
Fairer than all the villas that encircle
The towns of Tuscany.

But your old friends!

All dead by violence. Baccio Valori
Has been beheaded; Guicciardini poisoned;
Philippo Strozzi strangled in his prison.
Is Florence then a place for honest men
To flourish in? What is there to prevent
My sharing the same fate?

Why this: if all
Your friends are dead, so are your enemies.

Is Aretino dead?

He lives in Venice,
And not in Florence.

'T is the same to me
This wretched mountebank, whom flatterers
Call the Divine, as if to make the word
Unpleasant in the mouths of those who speak it
And in the ears of those who hear it, sends me
A letter written for the public eye,
And with such subtle and infernal malice,
I wonder at his wickedness. 'T is he
Is the express great devil, and not you.
Some years ago he told me how to paint
The scenes of the Last Judgment.

I remember.

Well, now he writes to me that, as a Christian,
He is ashamed of the unbounded freedom
With which I represent it.


He says I show mankind that I am wanting
In piety and religion, in proportion
As I profess perfection in my art.
Profess perfection? Why, 't is only men
Like Bugiardini who are satisfied
With what they do. I never am content,
But always see the labors of my hand
Fall short of my conception.

I perceive
The malice of this creature. He would taint you
With heresy, and in a time like this!
'T is infamous!

I represent the angels
Without their heavenly glory, and the saints
Without a trace of earthly modesty.

Incredible audacity!

The heathen
Veiled their Diana with some drapery,
And when they represented Venus naked
They made her by her modest attitude,
Appear half clothed. But I, who am a Christian,
Do so subordinate belief to art
That I have made the very violation
Of modesty in martyrs and in virgins
A spectacle at which all men would gaze
With half-averted eyes even in a brothel.

He is at home there, and he ought to know
What men avert their eyes from in such places;
From the Last Judgment chiefly, I imagine.

But divine Providence will never leave
The boldness of my marvellous work unpunished;
And the more marvellous it is, the more
'T is sure to prove the ruin of my fame!
And finally, if in this composition
I had pursued the instructions that he gave me
Concerning heaven and hell and paradise,
In that same letter, known to all the world,
Nature would not be forced, as she is now,
To feel ashamed that she invested me
With such great talent; that I stand myself
A very idol in the world of art.
He taunts me also with the Mausoleum
Of Julius, still unfinished, for the reason
That men persuaded the inane old man
It was of evil augury to build
His tomb while he was living; and he speaks
Of heaps of gold this Pope bequeathed to me,
And calls it robbery;--that is what he says.
What prompted such a letter?

He is a clever writer, and he likes
To draw his pen, and flourish it in the face
Of every honest man, as swordsmen do
Their rapiers on occasion, but to show
How skilfully they do it. Had you followed
The advice he gave, or even thanked him for it,
You would have seen another style of fence.
'T is but his wounded vanity, and the wish
To see his name in print. So give it not
A moment's thought; it soon will be forgotten.

I will not think of it, but let it pass
For a rude speech thrown at me in the street,
As boys threw stones at Dante.

And what answer
Shall I take back to Grand Duke Cosimo?
He does not ask your labor or your service;
Only your presence in the city of Florence,
With such advice upon his work in hand
As he may ask, and you may choose to give.

You have my answer. Nothing he can offer
Shall tempt me to leave Rome. My work is here,
And only here, the building of St. Peter's.
What other things I hitherto have done
Have fallen from me, are no longer mine;
I have passed on beyond them, and have left them
As milestones on the way. What lies before me,
That is still mine, and while it is unfinished
No one shall draw me from it, or persuade me,
By promises of ease, or wealth, or honor,
Till I behold the finished dome uprise
Complete, as now I see it in my thought.

And will you paint no more?

No more.

'T is well.
Sculpture is more divine, and more like Nature,
That fashions all her works in high relief,
And that is sculpture. This vast ball, the Earth,
Was moulded out of clay, and baked in fire;
Men, women, and all animals that breathe
Are statues, and not paintings. Even the plants,
The flowers, the fruits, the grasses, were first sculptured,
And colored later. Painting is a lie,
A shadow merely.

Truly, as you say,
Sculpture is more than painting. It is greater
To raise the dead to life than to create
Phantoms that seem to live. The most majestic
Of the three sister arts is that which builds;
The eldest of them all, to whom the others
Are but the hand-maids and the servitors,
Being but imitation, not creation.
Henceforth I dedicate myself to her.

And no more from the marble hew those forms
That fill us all with wonder?

Many statues
Will there be room for in my work. Their station
Already is assigned them in my mind.
But things move slowly. There are hindrances,
Want of material, want of means, delays
And interruptions, endless interference
Of Cardinal Commissioners, and disputes
And jealousies of artists, that annoy me.
But twill persevere until the work
Is wholly finished, or till I sink down
Surprised by death, that unexpected guest,
Who waits for no man's leisure, but steps in,
Unasked and unannounced, to put a stop
To all our occupations and designs.
And then perhaps I may go back to Florence;
This is my answer to Duke Cosimo.




MICHAEL ANGELO, pausing in his work.
Urbino, thou and I are both old men.
My strength begins to fail me.

That is impossible. Do I not see you
Attack the marble blocks with the same fury
As twenty years ago?

'T is an old habit.
I must have learned it early from my nurse
At Setignano, the stone-mason's wife;
For the first sounds I heard were of the chisel
chipping away the stone.

At every stroke
You strike fire with your chisel.

Ay, because
The marble is too hard.

It is a block
That Topolino sent you from Carrara.
He is a judge of marble.

I remember.
With it he sent me something of his making,--
A Mercury, with long body and short legs,
As if by any possibility
A messenger of the gods could have short legs.
It was no more like Mercury than you are,
But rather like those little plaster figures
That peddlers hawk about the villages
As images of saints. But luckily
For Topolino, there are many people
Who see no difference between what is best
And what is only good, or not even good;
So that poor artists stand in their esteem
On the same level with the best, or higher.

How Eccellenza laughed!

Poor Topolino!
All men are not born artists, nor will labor
E'er make them artists.

No, no more
Than Emperors, or Popes, or Cardinals.
One must be chosen for it. I have been
Your color-grinder six and twenty years,
And am not yet an artist.

Some have eyes
That see not; but in every block of marble
I see a statue,--see it as distinctly
As if it stood before me shaped and perfect
In attitude and action. I have only
To hew away the stone walls that imprison
The lovely apparition, and reveal it
To other eyes as mine already see it.
But I grow old and weak. What wilt thou do
When I am dead, Urbino?

I must then serve another master.

Bitter is servitude at best. Already
So many years hast thou been serving me;
But rather as a friend than as a servant.
We have grown old together. Dost thou think
So meanly of this Michael Angelo
As to imagine he would let thee serve,
When he is free from service? Take this purse,
Two thousand crowns in gold.

Two thousand crowns!

Ay, it will make thee rich. Thou shalt not die
A beggar in a hospital.

Oh, Master!

I cannot have them with me on the journey
That I am undertaking. The last garment
That men will make for me will have no pockets.

URBINO, kissing the hand of MICHAEL ANGELO.
My generous master!


My Providence!

Not a word more. Go now to bed, old man.
Thou hast served Michael Angelo. Remember,
Henceforward thou shalt serve no other master.



MICHAEL ANGELO, alone in the woods.

How still it is among these ancient oaks!
Surges and undulations of the air
Uplift the leafy boughs, and let them fall
With scarce a sound. Such sylvan quietudes
Become old age. These huge centennial oaks,
That may have heard in infancy the trumpets
Of Barbarossa's cavalry, deride
Man's brief existence, that with all his strength
He cannot stretch beyond the hundredth year.
This little acorn, turbaned like the Turk,
Which with my foot I spurn, may be an oak
Hereafter, feeding with its bitter mast
The fierce wild boar, and tossing in its arms
The cradled nests of birds, when all the men
That now inhabit this vast universe,
They and their children, and their children's children,
Shall be but dust and mould, and nothing more.
Through openings in the trees I see below me
The valley of Clitumnus, with its farms
And snow-white oxen grazing in the shade
Of the tall poplars on the river's brink.
O Nature, gentle mother, tender nurse!
I who have never loved thee as I ought,
But wasted all my years immured in cities,
And breathed the stifling atmosphere of streets,
Now come to thee for refuge. Here is peace.
Yonder I see the little hermitages
Dotting the mountain side with points of light,
And here St. Julian's convent, like a nest
Of curlews, clinging to some windy cliff.
Beyond the broad, illimitable plain
Down sinks the sun, red as Apollo's quoit,
That, by the envious Zephyr blown aside,
Struck Hyacinthus dead, and stained the earth
With his young blood, that blossomed into flowers.
And now, instead of these fair deities
Dread demons haunt the earth; hermits inhabit
The leafy homes of sylvan Hamadryads;
And jovial friars, rotund and rubicund,
Replace the old Silenus with his ass.

Here underneath these venerable oaks,
Wrinkled and brown and gnarled like them with age,
A brother of the monastery sits,
Lost in his meditations. What may be
The questions that perplex, the hopes that cheer him?
Good-evening, holy father.

God be with you.

Pardon a stranger if he interrupt
Your meditations.

It was but a dream,--
The old, old dream, that never will come true;
The dream that all my life I have been dreaming,
And yet is still a dream.

All men have dreams:
I have had mine; but none of them came true;
They were but vanity. Sometimes I think
The happiness of man lies in pursuing,
Not in possessing; for the things possessed
Lose half their value. Tell me of your dream.

The yearning of my heart, my sole desire,
That like the sheaf of Joseph stands up right,
While all the others bend and bow to it;
The passion that torments me, and that breathes
New meaning into the dead forms of prayer,
Is that with mortal eyes I may behold
The Eternal City.


There is but one;
The rest are merely names. I think of it
As the Celestial City, paved with gold,
And sentinelled with angels.

Would it were.
I have just fled from it. It is beleaguered
By Spanish troops, led by the Duke of Alva.

But still for me 't is the Celestial City,
And I would see it once before I die.

Each one must bear his cross.

Were it a cross
That had been laid upon me, I could bear it,
Or fall with it. It is a crucifix;
I am nailed hand and foot, and I am dying!

What would you see in Rome?

His Holiness.

Him that was once the Cardinal Caraffa?
You would but see a man of fourscore years,
With sunken eyes, burning like carbuncles,
Who sits at table with his friends for hours,
Cursing the Spaniards as a race of Jews
And miscreant Moors. And with what soldiery
Think you he now defends the Eternal City?

With legions of bright angels.

So he calls them;
And yet in fact these bright angelic legions
Are only German Lutherans.

MONK, crossing himself.
Heaven protect us?

What further would you see?

The Cardinals,
Going in their gilt coaches to High Mass.

Men do not go to Paradise in coaches.

The catacombs, the convents, and the churches;
The ceremonies of the Holy Week
In all their pomp, or, at the Epiphany,
The Feast of the Santissima Bambino
At Ara Coeli. But I shall not see them.

These pompous ceremonies of the Church
Are but an empty show to him who knows
The actors in them. Stay here in your convent,
For he who goes to Rome may see too much.
What would you further?

I would see the painting
of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.

The smoke of incense and of altar candles
Has blackened it already.

Woe is me!
Then I would hear Allegri's Miserere,
Sung by the Papal choir.

A dismal dirge!
I am an old, old man, and I have lived
In Rome for thirty years and more, and know
The jarring of the wheels of that great world,
Its jealousies, its discords, and its strife.
Therefore I say to you, remain content
Here in your convent, here among your woods,
Where only there is peace. Go not to Rome.
There was of old a monk of Wittenberg
Who went to Rome; you may have heard of him;
His name was Luther; and you know what followed.

[The convent bell rings.

MONK, rising.
It is the convent bell; it rings for vespers.
Let us go in; we both will pray for peace.



MICHAEL ANGELO'S studio. MICHAEL ANGELO, with a light,
working upon the Dead Christ. Midnight.

O Death, why is it I cannot portray
Thy form and features? Do I stand too near thee?
Or dost thou hold my hand, and draw me back,
As being thy disciple, not thy master?
Let him who knows not what old age is like
Have patience till it comes, and he will know.
I once had skill to fashion Life and Death
And Sleep, which is the counterfeit of Death;
And I remember what Giovanni Strozzi
Wrote underneath my statue of the Night
In San Lorenzo, ah, so long ago!

Grateful to me is sleep! More grateful now
Than it was then; for all my friends are dead;
And she is dead, the noblest of them all.
I saw her face, when the great sculptor Death,
Whom men should call Divine, had at a blow
Stricken her into marble; and I kissed
Her cold white hand. What was it held me back
From kissing her fair forehead, and those lips,
Those dead, dumb lips? Grateful to me is sleep!


Good-evening, or good-morning, for I know not
Which of the two it is.

How came you in?

Why, by the door, as all men do.

Must have forgotten to bolt it.

Am I a spirit, or so like a spirit,
That I could slip through bolted door or window?
As I was passing down the street, I saw
A glimmer of light, and heard the well-known chink
Of chisel upon marble. So I entered,
To see what keeps you from your bed so late.

MICHAEL ANGELO, coming forward with the lamp.
You have been revelling with your boon companions,
Giorgio Vasari, and you come to me
At an untimely hour.

The Pope hath sent me.
His Holiness desires to see again
The drawing you once showed him of the dome
Of the Basilica.

We will look for it.

What is the marble group that glimmers there
Behind you?

Nothing, and yet everything,--
As one may take it. It is my own tomb,
That I am building.

Do not hide it from me.
By our long friendship and the love I bear you,
Refuse me not!

MICHAEL ANGELO, letting fall the lamp.
Life hath become to me
An empty theatre,--its lights extinguished,
The music silent, and the actors gone;
And I alone sit musing on the scenes
That once have been. I am so old that Death
Oft plucks me by the cloak, to come with him
And some day, like this lamp, shall I fall down,
And my last spark of life will be extinguished.
Ah me! ah me! what darkness of despair!
So near to death, and yet so far from God!




As treasures that men seek,
Deep-buried in sea-sands,
Vanish if they but speak,
And elude their eager hands,

So ye escape and slip,
O songs, and fade away,
When the word is on my lip
To interpret what ye say.

Were it not better, then,
To let the treasures rest
Hid from the eyes of men,
Locked in their iron chest?

I have but marked the place,
But half the secret told,
That, following this slight trace,
Others may find the gold.


O let the soul her slumbers break,
Let thought be quickened, and awake;
Awake to see
How soon this life is past and gone,
And death comes softly stealing on,
How silently!

Swiftly our pleasures glide away,
Our hearts recall the distant day
With many sighs;
The moments that are speeding fast
We heed not, but the past,--the past,
More highly prize.

Onward its course the present keeps,
Onward the constant current sweeps,
Till life is done;
And, did we judge of time aright,
The past and future in their flight
Would be as one.

Let no one fondly dream again,
That Hope and all her shadowy train
Will not decay;
Fleeting as were the dreams of old,
Remembered like a tale that's told,
They pass away.

Our lives are rivers, gliding free
To that unfathomed, boundless sea,
The silent grave!
Thither all earthly pomp and boast
Roll, to be swallowed up and lost
In one dark wave.

Thither the mighty torrents stray,
Thither the brook pursues its way,
And tinkling rill,
There all are equal; side by side
The poor man and the son of pride
Lie calm and still.

I will not here invoke the throng
Of orators and sons of song,
The deathless few;
Fiction entices and deceives,
And, sprinkled o'er her fragrant leaves,
Lies poisonous dew.

To One alone my thoughts arise,
The Eternal Truth, the Good and Wise,
To Him I cry,
Who shared on earth our common lot,
But the world comprehended not
His deity.

This world is but the rugged road
Which leads us to the bright abode
Of peace above;
So let us choose that narrow way,
Which leads no traveller's foot astray
From realms of love,

Our cradle is the starting-place,
Life is the running of the race,
We reach the goal
When, in the mansions of the blest,
Death leaves to its eternal rest
The weary soul.

Did we but use it as we ought,
This world would school each wandering thought
To its high state.
Faith wings the soul beyond the sky,
Up to that better world on high,
For which we wait.

Yes, the glad messenger of love,
To guide us to our home above,
The Saviour came;
Born amid mortal cares and fears.
He suffered in this vale of tears
A death of shame.

Behold of what delusive worth
The bubbles we pursue on earth,
The shapes we chase,
Amid a world of treachery!
They vanish ere death shuts the eye,
And leave no trace.

Time steals them from us, chances strange,
Disastrous accident, and change,
That come to all;
Even in the most exalted state,
Relentless sweeps the stroke of fate;
The strongest fall.

Tell me, the charms that lovers seek
In the clear eye and blushing cheek,
The hues that play
O'er rosy lip and brow of snow,
When hoary age approaches slow,
Ah; where are they?

The cunning skill, the curious arts,
The glorious strength that youth imparts
In life's first stage;
These shall become a heavy weight,
When Time swings wide his outward gate
To weary age.

The noble blood of Gothic name,
Heroes emblazoned high to fame,
In long array;
How, in the onward course of time,
The landmarks of that race sublime
Were swept away!

Some, the degraded slaves of lust,
Prostrate and trampled in the dust,
Shall rise no more;
Others, by guilt and crime, maintain
The scutcheon, that without a stain,
Their fathers bore.

Wealth and the high estate of pride,
With what untimely speed they glide,
How soon depart!
Bid not the shadowy phantoms stay,
The vassals of a mistress they,
Of fickle heart.

These gifts in Fortune's hands are found;
Her swift revolving wheel turns round,
And they are gone!
No rest the inconstant goddess knows,
But changing, and without repose,
Still hurries on.

Even could the hand of avarice save
Its gilded baubles till the grave
Reclaimed its prey,
Let none on such poor hopes rely;
Life, like an empty dream, flits by,
And where are they?

Earthly desires and sensual lust
Are passions springing from the dust,
They fade and die;
But in the life beyond the tomb,
They seal the immortal spirits doom

The pleasures and delights, which mask
In treacherous smiles life's serious task,
What are they, all,
But the fleet coursers of the chase,
And death an ambush in the race,
Wherein we fall?

No foe, no dangerous pass, we heed,
Brook no delay, but onward speed
With loosened rein;
And, when the fatal snare is near,
We strive to check our mad career,
But strive in vain.

Could we new charms to age impart,
And fashion with a cunning art
The human face,
As we can clothe the soul with light,
And make the glorious spirit bright
With heavenly grace,

How busily each passing hour
Should we exert that magic power,
What ardor show,
To deck the sensual slave of sin,
Yet leave the freeborn soul within,
In weeds of woe!

Monarchs, the powerful and the strong,
Famous in history and in song
Of olden time,
Saw, by the stern decrees of fate,
Their kingdoms lost, and desolate
Their race sublime.

Who is the champion? who the strong?
Pontiff and priest, and sceptred throng?
On these shall fall
As heavily the hand of Death,
As when it stays the shepherd's breath
Beside his stall.

I speak not of the Trojan name,
Neither its glory nor its shame
Has met our eyes;
Nor of Rome's great and glorious dead,
Though we have heard so oft, and read,
Their histories.

Little avails it now to know
Of ages passed so long ago,
Nor how they rolled;
Our theme shall be of yesterday,
Which to oblivion sweeps away,
Like day's of old.

Where is the King, Don Juan? Where
Each royal prince and noble heir
Of Aragon?
Where are the courtly gallantries?
The deeds of love and high emprise,
In battle done?

Tourney and joust, that charmed the eye,
And scarf, and gorgeous panoply,
And nodding plume,
What were they but a pageant scene?
What but the garlands, gay and green,
That deck the tomb?

Where are the high-born dames, and where
Their gay attire, and jewelled hair,
And odors sweet?
Where are the gentle knights, that came
To kneel, and breathe love's ardent flame,
Low at their feet?

Where is the song of Troubadour?
Where are the lute and gay tambour
They loved of yore?
Where is the mazy dance of old,
The flowing robes, inwrought with gold,
The dancers wore?

And he who next the sceptre swayed,
Henry, whose royal court displayed
Such power and pride;
O, in what winning smiles arrayed,
The world its various pleasures laid
His throne beside!

But O how false and full of guile
That world, which wore so soft a smile
But to betray!
She, that had been his friend before,
Now from the fated monarch tore
Her charms away.

The countless gifts, the stately walls,
The loyal palaces, and halls
All filled with gold;
Plate with armorial bearings wrought,
Chambers with ample treasures fraught
Of wealth untold;

The noble steeds, and harness bright,
And gallant lord, and stalwart knight,
In rich array,
Where shall we seek them now? Alas!
Like the bright dewdrops on the grass,
They passed away.

His brother, too, whose factious zeal
Usurped the sceptre of Castile,
Unskilled to reign;
What a gay, brilliant court had he,
When all the flower of chivalry
Was in his train!

But he was mortal; and the breath,
That flamed from the hot forge of Death,
Blasted his years;
Judgment of God! that flame by thee,
When raging fierce and fearfully,
Was quenched in tears!

Spain's haughty Constable, the true
And gallant Master, whom we knew
Most loved of all;
Breathe not a whisper of his pride,
He on the gloomy scaffold died,
Ignoble fall!

The countless treasures of his care,
His villages and villas fair,
His mighty power,
What were they all but grief and shame,
Tears and a broken heart, when came
The parting hour?

His other brothers, proud and high,
Masters, who, in prosperity,
Might rival kings;
Who made the bravest and the best
The bondsmen of their high behest,
Their underlings;

What was their prosperous estate,
When high exalted and elate
With power and pride?
What, but a transient gleam of light,
A flame, which, glaring at its height,
Grew dim and died?

So many a duke of royal name,
Marquis and count of spotless fame,
And baron brave,
That might the sword of empire wield,
All these, O Death, hast thou concealed
In the dark grave!

Their deeds of mercy and of arms,
In peaceful days, or war's alarms,
When thou dost show.
O Death, thy stern and angry face,
One stroke of thy all-powerful mace
Can overthrow.

Unnumbered hosts, that threaten nigh,
Pennon and standard flaunting high,
And flag displayed;
High battlements intrenched around,
Bastion, and moated wall, and mound,
And palisade,

And covered trench, secure and deep,
All these cannot one victim keep,
O Death, from thee,
When thou dost battle in thy wrath,
And thy strong shafts pursue their path

O World! so few the years we live,
Would that the life which thou dost give
Were life indeed!
Alas! thy sorrows fall so fast,
Our happiest hour is when at last
The soul is freed.

Our days are covered o'er with grief,
And sorrows neither few nor brief
Veil all in gloom;
Left desolate of real good,
Within this cheerless solitude
No pleasures bloom.

Thy pilgrimage begins in tears,
And ends in bitter doubts and fears,
Or dark despair;
Midway so many toils appear,
That he who lingers longest here
Knows most of care.

Thy goods are bought with many a groan,
By the hot sweat of toil alone,
And weary hearts;
Fleet-footed is the approach of woe,
But with a lingering step and slow
Its form departs.

And he, the good man's shield and shade,
To whom all hearts their homage paid,
As Virtue's son,
Roderic Manrique, he whose name
Is written on the scroll of Fame,
Spain's champion;

His signal deeds and prowess high
Demand no pompous eulogy.
Ye saw his deeds!
Why should their praise in verse be sung?
The name, that dwells on every tongue,
No minstrel needs.

To friends a friend; how kind to all
The vassals of this ancient hall
And feudal fief!
To foes how stern a foe was he!
And to the valiant and the free
How brave a chief!

What prudence with the old and wise:
What grace in youthful gayeties;
In all how sage!
Benignant to the serf and slave,
He showed the base and falsely brave
A lion's rage.

His was Octavian's prosperous star,
The rush of Caesar's conquering car
At battle's call;
His, Scipio's virtue; his, the skill
And the indomitable will
Of Hannibal.

His was a Trajan's goodness, his
A Titus' noble charities
And righteous laws;
The arm of Hector, and the might
Of Tully, to maintain the right
In truth's just cause;

The clemency of Antonine,
Aurelius' countenance divine,
Firm, gentle, still;
The eloquence of Adrian,
And Theodosius' love to man,
And generous will;

In tented field and bloody fray,
An Alexander's vigorous sway
And stern command;
The faith of Constantine; ay, more,
The fervent love Camillus bore
His native land.

He left no well-filled treasury,
He heaped no pile of riches high,
Nor massive plate;
He fought the Moors, and, in their fall,
City and tower and castled wall
Were his estate.

Upon the hard-fought battle-ground,
Brave steeds and gallant riders found
A common grave;
And there the warrior's hand did gain
The rents, and the long vassal train,
That conquest gave.

And if, of old, his halls displayed
The honored and exalted grade
His worth had gained,
So, in the dark, disastrous hour,
Brothers and bondsmen of his power
His hand sustained.

After high deeds, not left untold,
In the stern warfare, which of old
'T was his to share,
Such noble leagues he made, that more
And fairer regions, than before,
His guerdon were.

These are the records, half effaced,
Which, with the hand of youth, he traced
On history's page;
But with fresh victories he drew
Each fading character anew
In his old age.

By his unrivalled skill, by great
And veteran service to the state,
By worth adored,
He stood, in his high dignity,
The proudest knight of chivalry,
Knight of the Sword.

He found his cities and domains
Beneath a tyrant's galling chains
And cruel power;
But by fierce battle and blockade,
Soon his own banner was displayed
From every tower.

By the tried valor of his hand,
His monarch and his native land
Were nobly served;
Let Portugal repeat the story,
And proud Castile, who shared the glory
His arms deserved.

And when so oft, for weal or woe,
His life upon the fatal throw
Had been cast down;
When he had served, with patriot zeal,
Beneath the banner of Castile,
His sovereign's crown;

And done such deeds of valor strong,
That neither history nor song
Can count them all;
Then, on Ocana's castled rock,
Death at his portal came to knock,
With sudden call,

Saying, "Good Cavalier, prepare
To leave this world of toil and care
With joyful mien;
Let thy strong heart of steel this day
Put on its armor for the fray,
The closing scene.

"Since thou hast been, in battle-strife,
So prodigal of health and life,
For earthly fame,
Let virtue nerve thy heart again;
Loud on the last stern battle-plain
They call thy name.

"Think not the struggle that draws near
Too terrible for man, nor fear
To meet the foe;
Nor let thy noble spirit grieve,
Its life of glorious fame to leave
On earth below.

"A life of honor and of worth
Has no eternity on earth,
'T is but a name;
And yet its glory far exceeds
That base and sensual life, which leads
To want and shame.

"The eternal life, beyond the sky,
Wealth cannot purchase, nor the high
And proud estate;
The soul in dalliance laid, the spirit
Corrupt with sin, shall not inherit
A joy so great.

"But the good monk, in cloistered cell,
Shall gain it by his book and bell,
His prayers and tears;
And the brave knight, whose arm endures
Fierce battle, and against the Moors
His standard rears.

"And thou, brave knight, whose hand has poured
The life-blood of the Pagan horde
O'er all the land,
In heaven shalt thou receive, at length,
The guerdon of thine earthly strength
And dauntless hand.

"Cheered onward by this promise sure,
Strong in the faith entire and pure
Thou dost profess,
Depart, thy hope is certainty,
The third, the better life on high
Shalt thou possess."

"O Death, no more, no more delay;
My spirit longs to flee away,
And be at rest;
The will of Heaven my will shall be,
I bow to the divine decree,
To God's behest.

"My soul is ready to depart,
No thought rebels, the obedient heart
Breathes forth no sigh;
The wish on earth to linger still
Were vain, when 't is God's sovereign will
That we shall die.

"O thou, that for our sins didst take
A human form, and humbly make
Thy home on earth;
Thou, that to thy divinity
A human nature didst ally
By mortal birth,

"And in that form didst suffer here
Torment, and agony, and fear,
So patiently;
By thy redeeming grace alone,
And not for merits of my own,
O, pardon me!"

As thus the dying warrior prayed,
Without one gathering mist or shade
Upon his mind;
Encircled by his family,
Watched by affection's gentle eye
So soft and kind;

His soul to Him, who gave it, rose;
God lead it to its long repose,
Its glorious rest!
And, though the warrior's sun has set,
Its light shall linger round us yet,
Bright, radiant, blest.






Shepherd! who with thine amorous, sylvan song
Hast broken the slumber that encompassed me,
Who mad'st thy crook from the accursed tree,
On which thy powerful arms were stretched so long!
Lead me to mercy's ever-flowing fountains;
For thou my shepherd, guard, and guide shalt be;
I will obey thy voice, and wait to see
Thy feet all beautiful upon the mountains.
Hear, Shepherd! thou who for thy flock art dying,
O, wash away these scarlet sins, for thou
Rejoicest at the contrite sinner's vow.
O, wait! to thee my weary soul is crying,
Wait for me! Yet why ask it, when I see,
With feet nailed to the cross, thou 'rt waiting still for me!





Lord, what am I, that with unceasing care,
Thou didst seek after me, that thou didst wait
Wet with unhealthy dews, before my gate,
And pass the gloomy nights of winter there?
O strange delusion! that I did not greet
Thy blest approach, and O, to Heaven how lost,
If my ingratitude's unkindly frost
Has chilled the bleeding wounds upon thy feet.
How oft my guardian angel gently cried,
"Soul, from thy casement look, and thou shalt see
How he persists to knock and wait for thee!"
And, O! how often to that voice of sorrow,
"To-morrow we will open," I replied,
And when the morrow came I answered still "To-morrow."





Clear fount of light! my native land on high,
Bright with a glory that shall never fade!
Mansion of truth! without a veil or shade,
Thy holy quiet meets the spirit's eye.
There dwells the soul in its ethereal essence,
Gasping no longer for life's feeble breath;
But, sentinelled in heaven, its glorious presence
With pitying eye beholds, yet fears not, death.
Beloved country! banished from thy shore,
A stranger in this prison-house of clay,
The exiled spirit weeps and sighs for thee!
Heavenward the bright perfections I adore
Direct, and the sure promise cheers the way,
That, whither love aspires, there shall my dwelling be.





O Lord! who seest, from yon starry height,
Centred in one the future and the past,
Fashioned in thine own image, see how fast
The world obscures in me what once was bright!
Eternal Sun! the warmth which thou hast given,
To cheer life's flowery April, fast decays;
Yet in the hoary winter of my days,
Forever green shall be my trust in Heaven.
Celestial King! O let thy presence pass
Before my spirit, and an image fair
Shall meet that look of mercy from on high,
As the reflected image in a glass
Doth meet the look of him who seeks it there,
And owes its being to the gazer's eye.





Laugh of the mountain!--lyre of bird and tree!
Pomp of the meadow! mirror of the morn!
The soul of April, unto whom are born
The rose and jessamine, leaps wild in thee!
Although, where'er thy devious current strays,
The lap of earth with gold and silver teems,
To me thy clear proceeding brighter seems
Than golden sands, that charm each shepherd's gaze.
How without guile thy bosom, all transparent
As the pure crystal, lets the curious eye
Thy secrets scan, thy smooth, round pebbles count!
How, without malice murmuring, glides thy current!
O sweet simplicity of days gone by!
Thou shun'st the haunts of man, to dwell in limpid fount!


In the chapter with this title in Outre-Mer, besides Illustrations
from Byron and Lockhart are the three following examples,
contributed by Mr. Longfellow.


Rio Verde, Rio Verde!
Many a corpse is bathed in thee,
Both of Moors and eke of Christians,
Slain with swords most cruelly.

And thy pure and crystal waters
Dappled are with crimson gore;
For between the Moors and Christians
Long has been the fight and sore.

Dukes and Counts fell bleeding near thee,
Lords of high renown were slain,
Perished many a brave hidalgo
Of the noblemen of Spain.


"King Alfonso the Eighth, having exhausted his treasury in war,
wishes to lay a tax of five farthings upon each of the Castillan
hidalgos, in order to defray the expenses of a journey from
Burgos to Cuenca. This proposition of the king was met with
disdain by the noblemen who had been assembled on the occasion."

Don Nuno, Count of Lara,
In anger and in pride,
Forgot all reverence for the king,
And thus in wrath replied:

"Our noble ancestors," quoth he,
"Ne'er such a tribute paid;
Nor shall the king receive of us
What they have once gainsaid.

"The base-born soul who deems it just
May here with thee remain;
But follow me, ye cavaliers,
Ye noblemen of Spain."

Forth followed they the noble Count,
They marched to Glera's plain;
Out of three thousand gallant knights
Did only three remain.

They tied the tribute to their spears,
They raised it in the air,
And they sent to tell their lord the king
That his tax was ready there.

"He may send and take by force," said they,
"This paltry sum of gold;
But the goodly gift of liberty
Cannot be bought and sold."


"One of the finest of the historic ballads is that which describes
Bernardo's march to Roncesvalles. He sallies forth 'with three
thousand Leonese and more,' to protect the glory and freedom of
his native land. From all sides, the peasantry of the land flock
to the hero's standard."

The peasant leaves his plough afield,
The reaper leaves his hook,
And from his hand the shepherd-boy.
Lets fall the pastoral crook.

The young set up a shout of joy,
The old forget their years,
The feeble man grows stout of heart.
No more the craven fears.

All rush to Bernard's standard,
And on liberty they call;
They cannot brook to wear the yoke,
When threatened by the Gaul.

"Free were we born," 't is thus they cry
"And willingly pay we
The duty that we owe our king
By the divine decree.

"But God forbid that we obey
The laws of foreign knaves,
Tarnish the glory of our sires,
And make our children slaves.

"Our hearts have not so craven grown,
So bloodless all our veins,
So vigorless our brawny arms,
As to submit to chains.

"Has the audacious Frank, forsooth,
Subdued these seas and lands?
Shall he a bloodless victory have?
No, not while we have hands.

"He shall learn that the gallant Leonese
Can bravely fight and fall,
But that they know not how to yield;
They are Castilians all.

"Was it for this the Roman power
Of old was made to yield
Unto Numantia's valiant hosts
On many a bloody field?

"Shall the bold lions that have bathed
Their paws in Libyan gore,
Crouch basely to a feebler foe,
And dare the strife no more?

"Let the false king sell town and tower,
But not his vassals free;
For to subdue the free-born soul
No royal power hath he!"



And when the kings were in the field,--their squadrons in array,--
With lance in rest they onward pressed to mingle in the fray;
But soon upon the Christians fell a terror of their foes,--
These were a numerous army,--a little handful those.

And while the Christian people stood in this uncertainty,
Upward to heaven they turned their eyes, and fixed their thoughts on high;
And there two figures they beheld, all beautiful and bright,
Even than the pure new-fallen snow their garments were more white.

They rode upon two horses more white than crystal sheen,
And arms they bore such as before no mortal man had seen;
The one, he held a crosier,--a pontiff's mitre wore;
The other held a crucifix,--such man ne'er saw before.

Their faces were angelical, celestial forms had they,--
And downward through the fields of air they urged their rapid way;
They looked upon the Moorish host with fierce and angry look,
And in their hands, with dire portent, their naked sabres shook.

The Christian host, beholding this, straightway take heart again;
They fall upon their bended knees, all resting on the plain,
And each one with his clenched fist to smite his breast begins,
And promises to God on high he will forsake his sins.

And when the heavenly knights drew near unto the battle-ground,
They dashed among the Moors and dealt unerring blows around;
Such deadly havoc there they made the foremost ranks along,
A panic terror spread unto the hindmost of the throng.

Together with these two good knights, the champions of the sky,
The Christians rallied and began to smite full sore and high;
The Moors raised up their voices and by the Koran swore
That in their lives such deadly fray they ne'er had seen before.

Down went the misbelievers,--fast sped the bloody fight,--
Some ghastly and dismembered lay, and some half dead with fright:
Full sorely they repented that to the field they came,
For they saw that from the battle they should retreat with shame.

Another thing befell them,--they dreamed not of such woes,--
The very arrows that the Moors shot front their twanging bows
Turned back against them in their flight and wounded them full sore,
And every blow they dealt the foe was paid in drops of gore.

. . . . . . . . .

Now he that bore the crosier, and the papal crown had on,
Was the glorified Apostle, the brother of Saint John;
And he that held the crucifix, and wore the monkish hood,
Was the holy San Millan of Cogolla's neighborhood.




San Miguel de la Tumba is a convent vast and wide;
The sea encircles it around, and groans on every side:
It is a wild and dangerous place, and many woes betide
The monks who in that burial-place in penitence abide.

Within those dark monastic walls, amid the ocean flood,
Of pious, fasting monks there dwelt a holy brotherhood;
To the Madonna's glory there an altar high was placed,
And a rich and costly image the sacred altar graced.

Exalted high upon a throne, the Virgin Mother smiled,
And, as the custom is, she held within her arms the Child;
The kings and wise men of the East were kneeling by her side;
Attended was she like a queen whom God had sanctified.

. . . . . . . . .

Descending low before her face a screen of feathers hung,--
A moscader, or fan for flies, 'tis called in vulgar tongue;
From the feathers of the peacock's wing 't was fashioned bright and fair,
And glistened like the heaven above when all its stars are there.

It chanced that, for the people's sins, fell the lightning's blasting stroke:
Forth from all four the sacred walls the flames consuming broke;
The sacred robes were all consumed, missal and holy book;
And hardly with their lives the monks their crumbling walls forsook.

. . . . . . . . .

But though the desolating flame raged fearfully and wild,
It did not reach the Virgin Queen, it did not reach the Child;
It did not reach the feathery screen before her face that shone,
Nor injure in a farthing's worth the image or the throne.

The image it did not consume, it did not burn the screen;
Even in the value of a hair they were not hurt, I ween;
Not even the smoke did reach them, nor injure more the shrine
Than the bishop hight Don Tello has been hurt by hand of mine.

. . . . . . . . .


She is a maid of artless grace,
Gentle in form, and fair of face,

Tell me, thou ancient mariner,
That sailest on the sea,
If ship, or sail or evening star
Be half so fair as she!

Tell me, thou gallant cavalier,
Whose shining arms I see,
If steel, or sword, or battle-field
Be half so fair as she!

Tell me, thou swain, that guard'st thy flock
Beneath the shadowy tree,
If flock, or vale, or mountain-ridge
Be half so fair as she!




Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things;
Who God possesseth
In nothing is wanting;
Alone God sufficeth.






Eyes so tristful, eyes so tristful,
Heart so full of care and cumber,
I was lapped in rest and slumber,
Ye have made me wakeful, wistful!

In this life of labor endless
Who shall comfort my distresses?
Querulous my soul and friendless
In its sorrow shuns caresses.
Ye have made me, ye have made me
Querulous of you, that care not,
Eyes so tristful, yet I dare not
Say to what ye have betrayed me.





Some day, some day
O troubled breast,
Shalt thou find rest.

If Love in thee
To grief give birth,
Six feet of earth
Can more than he;
There calm and free
And unoppressed
Shalt thou find rest.

The unattained
In life at last,
When life is passed,
Shall all be gained;
And no more pained,
No more distressed,
Shalt thou find rest.





Come, O Death, so silent flying
That unheard thy coming be,
Lest the sweet delight of dying
Bring life back again to me.
For thy sure approach perceiving,
In my constancy and pain
I new life should win again,
Thinking that I am not living.
So to me, unconscious lying,
All unknown thy coming be,
Lest the sweet delight of dying
Bring life back again to me.
Unto him who finds thee hateful,
Death, thou art inhuman pain;
But to me, who dying gain,
Life is but a task ungrateful.
Come, then, with my wish complying,
All unheard thy coming be,
Lest the sweet delight of dying
Bring life back again to me.



Glove of black in white hand bare,
And about her forehead pale
Wound a thin, transparent veil,
That doth not conceal her hair;
Sovereign attitude and air,
Cheek and neck alike displayed
With coquettish charms arrayed,
Laughing eyes and fugitive;--
This is killing men that live,
'T is not mourning for the dead.






Three miles extended around the fields of the homestead, on three sides
Valleys and mountains and hills, but on the fourth side was the ocean.
Birch woods crowned the summits, but down the slope of the hillsides
Flourished the golden corn, and man-high was waving the rye-field.
Lakes, full many in number, their mirror held up for the mountains,
Held for the forests up, in whose depths the high-horned reindeers
Had their kingly walk, and drank of a hundred brooklets.
But in the valleys widely around, there fed on the greensward
Herds with shining hides and udders that longed for the milk-pail.
'Mid these scattered, now here and now there, were numberless flocks of
Sheep with fleeces white, as thou seest the white-looking stray clouds,
Flock-wise spread o'er the heavenly vault when it bloweth in springtime.
Coursers two times twelve, all mettlesome, fast fettered storm-winds,
Stamping stood in the line of stalls, and tugged at their fodder.
Knotted with red were their manes, and their hoofs all white with steel shoes.
Th' banquet-hall, a house by itself, was timbered of hard fir.
Not five hundred men (at ten times twelve to the hundred)
Filled up the roomy hall, when assembled for drinking, at Yule-tide.
Through the hall, as long as it was, went a table of holm-oak,
Polished and white, as of steel; the columns twain of the High-seat
Stood at the end thereof, two gods carved out of an elm-tree:
Odin with lordly look, and Frey with the sun on his frontlet.
Lately between the two, on a bear-skin (the skin it was coal-black,
Scarlet-red was the throat, but the paws were shodden with silver),
Thorsten sat with his friends, Hospitality sitting with Gladness.
Oft, when the moon through the cloudrack flew, related the old man
Wonders from distant lands he had seen, and cruises of Vikings
Far away on the Baltic, and Sea of the West and the White Sea.
Hushed sat the listening bench, and their glances hung on the graybeard's
Lips, as a bee on the rose; but the Scald was thinking of Brage,
Where, with his silver beard, and runes on his tongue, he is seated
Under the leafy beech, and tells a tradition by Mimer's
Ever-murmuring wave, himself a living tradition.
Midway the floor (with thatch was it strewn) burned ever the fire-flame
Glad on its stone-built hearth; and thorough the wide-mouthed smoke-flue
Looked the stars, those heavenly friends, down into the great hall.
Round the walls, upon nails of steel, were hanging in order
Breastplate and helmet together, and here and there among them
Downward lightened a sword, as in winter evening a star shoots.
More than helmets and swords the shields in the hall were resplendent,
White as the orb of the sun, or white as the moon's disk of silver.
Ever and anon went a maid round the hoard, and filled up the drink-horns,
Ever she cast down her eyes and blushed; in the shield her reflection
Blushed, too, even as she; this gladdened the drinking champions.



King Ring with his queen to the banquet did fare,
On the lake stood the ice so mirror-clear,

"Fare not o'er the ice," the stranger cries;
"It will burst, and full deep the cold bath lies."

"The king drowns not easily," Ring outspake;
"He who's afraid may go round the lake."

Threatening and dark looked the stranger round,
His steel shoes with haste on his feet he bound,

The sledge-horse starts forth strong and free;
He snorteth flames, so glad is he.

"Strike out," screamed the king, "my trotter good,
Let us see if thou art of Sleipner's blood."

They go as a storm goes over the lake.
No heed to his queen doth the old man take.

But the steel-shod champion standeth not still,
He passeth them by as swift as he will.

He carves many runes in the frozen tide,
Fair Ingeborg o'er her own name doth glide.



Spring is coming, birds are twittering, forests leaf, and smiles the sun,
And the loosened torrents downward, singing, to the ocean run;
Glowing like the cheek of Freya, peeping rosebuds 'gin to ope,
And in human hearts awaken love of life, and joy, and hope.

Now will hunt the ancient monarch, and the queen shall join the sport:
Swarming in its gorgeous splendor, is assembled all the Court;
Bows ring loud, and quivers rattle, stallions paw the ground alway,
And, with hoods upon their eyelids, scream the falcons for their prey.

See, the Queen of the Chase advances! Frithiof, gaze not at the sight!
Like a star upon a spring-cloud sits she on her palfrey white.
Half of Freya, half of Rota, yet more beauteous than these two,
And from her light hat of purple wave aloft the feathers blue.

Gaze not at her eyes' blue heaven, gaze not at her golden hair!
Oh beware! her waist is slender, full her bosom is, beware!
Look not at the rose and lily on her cheek that shifting play,
List not to the voice beloved, whispering like the wind of May.

Now the huntsman's band is ready. Hurrah! over hill and dale!
Horns ring, and the hawks right upward to the hall of Odin sail.
All the dwellers in the forest seek in fear their cavern homes,
But, with spear outstretched before her, after them the Valkyr comes.

. . . . . . . . . .

Then threw Frithiof down his mantle, and upon the greensward spread,
And the ancient king so trustful laid on Frithiof's knee his head,
Slept as calmly as the hero sleepeth, after war's alarm,
On his shield, or as an infant sleeps upon its mother's arm.

As he slumbers, hark! there sings a coal-black bird upon the bough;
"Hasten, Frithiof, slay the old man, end your quarrel at a blow:
Take his queen, for she is thine, and once the bridal kiss she gave,
Now no human eye beholds thee, deep and silent is the grave,"

Frithiof listens; hark! there sings a snow-white bird upon the bough:
"Though no human eye beholds thee, Odin's eye beholds thee now.
Coward! wilt thou murder sleep, and a defenceless old man slay!
Whatsoe'er thou winn'st, thou canst not win a hero's fame this way."

Thus the two wood-birds did warble: Frithiof took his war-sword good,
With a shudder hurled it from him, far into the gloomy wood.
Coal-black bird flies down to Nastrand, but on light, unfolded wings,
Like the tone of harps, the other, sounding towards the sun, upsprings.

Straight the ancient king awakens. "Sweet has been my sleep," he said;
"Pleasantly sleeps one in the shadow, guarded by a brave man's blade.
But where is thy sword, O stranger? Lightning's brother, where is he?
Who thus parts you, who should never from each other parted be?"

"It avails not," Frithiof answered; "in the North are other swords:
Sharp, O monarch! is the sword's tongue, and it speaks not peaceful words;
Murky spirits dwell in steel blades, spirits from the Niffelhem;
Slumber is not safe before them, silver locks but anger them."



No more shall I see
In its upward motion
The smoke of the Northland. Man is a slave:
The fates decree.
On the waste of the ocean
There is my fatherland, there is my grave.

Go not to the strand,
Ring, with thy bride,
After the stars spread their light through the sky.
Perhaps in the sand,
Washed up by the tide,
The bones of the outlawed Viking may lie.

Then, quoth the king,
"'T is mournful to hear
A man like a whimpering maiden cry.
The death-song they sing
Even now in mine ear,
What avails it? He who is born must die."




Pentecost, day of rejoicing, had come. The church of the village
Gleaming stood in the morning's sheen.
On the spire of the bell
Decked with a brazen cock, the friendly flames of the Spring-sun
Glanced like the tongues of fire, beheld by Apostles aforetime.
Clear was the heaven and blue, and May, with her cap crowned with roses,
Stood in her holiday dress in the fields, and the wind and the brooklet
Murmured gladness and peace, God's-peace! with lips rosy-tinted
Whispered the race of the flowers, and merry on balancing branches
Birds were singing their carol, a jubilant hymn to the Highest.
Swept and clean was the churchyard. Adorned like a leaf-woven arbor
Stood its old-fashioned gate; and within upon each cross of iron
Hung was a fragrant garland, new twined by the hands of affection.
Even the dial, that stood on a mound among the departed,
(There full a hundred years had it stood,) was embellished with blossoms
Like to the patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the hamlet,
Who on his birthday is crowned by children and children's children,
So stood the ancient prophet, and mute with his pencil of iron
Marked on the tablet of stone, and measured the time and its changes,
While all around at his feet, an eternity slumbered in quiet.
Also the church within was adorned, for this was the season
When the young, their parents' hope, and the loved-ones of heaven,
Should at the foot of the altar renew the vows of their baptism.
Therefore each nook and corner was swept and cleaned, and the dust was
Blown from the walls and ceiling, and from the oil-painted benches.
There stood the church like a garden; the Feast of the Leafy Pavilions

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