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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 ?

VI 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 ?

higher ma


VII What? Those lesser thirds so plaintive, sixths diminished,

sigh on sigh, Told them something? Those suspensions, those solu

tions—“ Must we die ?” Those commiserating sevenths—" Life might last! we

can but try!”


“ 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



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


x 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.

XI 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 thro' every



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



“ 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!


“ 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 ?


“ 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.


I ONLY knew one poet in my life :
And this, or something like it, was his way.

You saw go up and down Valladolid, A man of mark, to know next time you saw. His very serviceable suit of black Was courtly once and conscientious still, And many might have worn it, though none did : The cloak, that somewhat shone and showed the threads, Had purpose, and the ruff, significance. He walked, and tapped the pavement with his cane, Scenting the world, looking it full in face : An old dog, bald and blindish, at his heels. They turned up, now, the alley by the church, That leads no whither; now, they breathed themselves On the main promenade just at the wrong time. You 'd come upon his scrutinizing hat, Making a peaked shade blacker than itself Against the single window spared some house Intact yet with its mouldered Moorish work,

Or else surprise the ferrel of his stick
Trying the mortar's temper 'tween the chinks
Of some new shop a-building, French and fine.
He stood and watched the cobbler at his trade,
The man who slices lemons into drink,
The coffee-roaster's brazier, and the boys
That volunteer to help him turn its winch.
He glanced o'er books on stalls with half an eye,
And fly-leaf ballads on the vendor's string,
And broad-edge bold-print posters by the wall.
He took such cognisance of men and things,
If any beat a horse, you felt he saw;
If any cursed a woman, he took note;
Yet stared at nobody,-you stared at him,
And found, less to your pleasure than surprise,
He seemed to know you and expect as much.
So, next time that a neighbour's tongue was loosed,
It marked the shameful and notorious fact
We had among us, not so much a spy
As a recording chief-inquisitor,
The town's true master if the town but knew !
We merely kept a governor for form,
While this man walked about and took account
Of all thought, said and acted, then went home,
And wrote it fully to our Lord the King
Who has an itch to know things, he knows why,
And reads them in his bed-room of a night.
Oh, you might smile! there wanted not a touch,
A tang of ... well, it was not wholly ease,
As back into your mind the man's look came.
Stricken in years a little, such a brow
His eyes had to live under !-clear as flint
On either side o' the formidable nose
Curved, cut and coloured like an eagle's claw.
Had he to do with A.'s surprising fate?
When altogether old B. disappeared

And young C. got his mistress,—was 't our friend,
His letter to the King, that did it all ?
What paid the bloodless man for so much pains ?
Our Lord the King has favourites manifold,
And shifts his ministry some once a month;
Our city gets new governors at whiles,-
But never word or sign, that I could hear,
Notified, to this man about the streets,
The King's approval of those letters conned
The last thing duly at the dead of night.
Did the man love his office? Frowned our Lord,
Exhorting when none heard—“ Beseech me not !
“ Too far above my people,-beneath me!
“ I set the watch,-how should the people know?
“ Forget them, keep me all the more in mind !”
Was some such understanding 'twixt the two ?

I found no truth in one report at leastThat if you tracked him to his home, down lanes Beyond the Jewry, and as clean to pace, You found he ate his supper in a room Blazing with lights, four Titians on the wall, And twenty naked girls to change his plate ! Poor man, he lived another kind of life In that new stuccoed third house by the bridge, Fresh-painted, rather smart than otherwise ! The whole street might o'erlook him as he sat, Leg crossing leg, one foot on the dog's back. Playing a decent cribbage with his maid (Jacynth, you 're sure her name was) o'er the cheese And fruit, three red halves of starved winter-pears, Or treat of radishes in April. Nine, Ten, struck the church clock, straight to bed went he.

My father, like the man of sense he was, Would point him out to me a dozen times ;

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