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Answered no less, where no answer needs be : : Off start the Two on their ways.


Straight must a Third interpose,

Volunteer necdlessly help ;
In strikes a Fourth, a Fifth thrusts in his nose,

So the cry 's open, the kennel 's a-yelp,
Argument 's hot to the close.

XIV One dissertates, he is candid;

Two must discept,-has distinguished; Three helps the couple, if ever yet man did;

Four protests; Five makes a dart at the thing wished : Back to One, goes the case bandied.

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One says his say with a difference ;

More of expounding, explaining !..
All now is wrangle, abuse and vociferance ;

Now there's a truce, all's subdued, self-restraining : Five, though, stands out all the stiffer hence.


One is incisive, corrosive ;

Two retorts, nettled, curt, crepitant ;
Three makes rejoinder, expansive, explosive ;

Four overbears them all, strident and strepitant: Five .. 0 Danaides, O Sieve!

Now, they ply axes and crowbars; .

Now, they prick pins at a tissue
Fine as a skein of the casuist Escobar's

Worked on the bone of a lie. To what issue ?
Where is our gain at the Two-bars ?


Est fuga, volvitur rota.

On we drift : where looms the dim port ? One, Two, Three, Four, Five, contribute their quota ;

Something is gained, if one caught but the importShow it us, Hugues of Saxe-Gotha !

XIX What with affirming, denying,

Holding, risposting, subjoining, All 's like .... it's like . . . . for an instance I 'm

trying ... There ! See our roof, its gilt moulding and groining Under those spider-webs lying !

So your fugue broadens and thickens,

Greatens and deepens and lengthens,
Till we exclaim—“ But where 's music, the dickens ?

“Blot ye the gold, while your spider-web strengthens " —Blacked to the stoutest of tickens ? "


I for man's effort am zealous :

Prove me such censure unfounded ! Seems it surprising a lover grows jealous

Hopes 't was for something, his organ pipes sounded Tiring three boys at the bellows ?

Is it your moral of Life?

Such a web, simple and subtle,
Weave we on earth here in impotent strife,

Backward and forward each throwing his shuttle, Death ending all with a knife ?


Over our heads truth and nature

Still our life's zigzags and dodges,
Ins and outs, weaving a new legislature-

God's gold just shining its last where that lodges, Palled beneath man's usurpature.


So we o'ershroud stars and roses,

Cherub and trophy and garland ;
Nothings grow something which quietly closes

Heaven's earnest eye: not a glimpse of the far land Gets through our comments and glozes.

XXV Ah but traditions, inventions,

(Say we and make up a visage) So many men with such various intentions,

Down the past ages, must know more than this age ! Leave we the web its dimensions !


Who thinks Hugues wrote for the deaf,

Proved a mere mountain in labour ? Better submit; try again ; what 's the clef?

'Faith, 't is no trifle for pipe and for taborFour flats, the minor in F.

Friend, your fugue taxes the finger :

Learning it once, who would lose it?
Yet all the while a misgiving will linger,

Truth 's golden o'er us although we refuse itNature, thro' cobwebs we string her.

XXVIII Hugues! I advise meâ pæna

(Counterpoint glares like a Gorgon) Bid One, Two, Three, Four, Five, clear the arena !

Say the word, straight I unstop the full-organ, Blare out the mode Palestrina.

While in the roof, if I 'm right there,

... Lo you, the wick in the socket ! Hallo, you sacristan, show us a light there!

Down it dips, gone like a rocket.
What, you want, do you, to come unawares,
Sweeping the church up for first morning-prayers,
And find a poor devil has ended his cares
At the foot of your rotten-runged rat-riddled stairs ?

Do I carry the moon in my pocket?




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


Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable

Name, And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess

he loved !

Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of

mine, This which my keys in a crowd pressed and impor

tuned 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 awhile 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.

III 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 nightOutlining round and round Rome's dome from space to

spire) Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and the pride of my

soul was in sight.

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