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O human faces, hath it spilt, my cup ?
What did ye give me that I have not saved ?
Of going-1, in each new picture,- forth,
To Pope or Kaiser, East, West, South, or North, Bound for the calmly satisfied great State,
Or glad aspiring little burgh, it went,
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, ’t was so wildly dear! 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, 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, 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? Blown harshly, keeps the trump its golden cry? · Tastes sweet the water with such specks of earth?
FRA LIPPO LIPPI.
I AM poor brother Lippo, by your leave!
Three streets off-he's a certain . . . how d' ye call ?
l' the house that caps the corner. Boh! you were best!
Take away love, and our earth is a tomb !
(Its fellow was a stinger, as I knew) And so along the wall, over the bridge, 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, 't was 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 Have given their hearts to—all at eight years old. Well, sir, I found in time, you may be sure, 'T was 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 ò the clove, 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, 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,