Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Make for the city !)
He knew the signal, and stepped on with pride

Over men's pity ;
Left play for work, and grappled with the world

Bent on escaping : “ What 's in the scroll,” quoth he, “thou keepest furled ?

“ Show me their shaping, “ Theirs who most studied man, the bard and sage,

“ Give !"_So, he gowned him,
Straight got by heart that book to its last page :

Learned, we found him.
Yea, but we found him bald too, eyes like lead,

Accents uncertain :
“ Time to taste life," another would have said,

“ Up with the curtain !” This man said rather, “ Actual life comes next?

“ Patience a moment ! “ Grant I have mastered learning's crabbed text,

“ Still there 's the comment. “ Let me know all ! Prate not of most or least,

“ Painful or easy! Even to the crumbs I'd fain eat up the feast,

“Ay, nor feel queasy."
Oh, such a life as he resolved to live,

When he had learned it,
When he had gathered all books had to give !

Sooner, he spurned it.
Image the whole, then execute the parts-

Fancy the fabric
Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from quartz,

Ere mortar dab brick !

(Here's the town-gate reached ; th=re's the market-place

Gaping before us.)
Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace

(Hearten our chorus !)

That before living he 'd learn how to live

No end to learning :
Earn the means first-God surely will contrive

Use for our earning.
Others mistrust and say, “But time escapes !

• Live now or never !” He said, “What's time? Leave Now for dogs and apes !

“ Man has Forever.”
Back to his book then : deeper drooped his head :

Calculus racked him :
Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead :

Tussis attacked him.
• Now, master, take a little rest!”_not he!

(Caution redoubled !
Step two a-breast, the way winds narrowly !)

Not a whit troubled,
Back to his studies, fresher than at first,

Fierce as a dragon
He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst)

Sucked at the flagon.
Oh, if we draw a circle premature,

Heedless of far gain,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure

Bad is our bargain !
Was it not great ? did not he throw on God

(He loves the burthen)-
God's task to make the heavenly period

Perfect the earthen ?
Did not he magnify the mind, show clear

Just what it all meant ?
He would not discount life, as fools do here,

Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing-heaven's success

Found, or earth's failure : “ Wilt thou trust death or not?" He answered “Yes !

“ Hence with life's pale lure !"

That low man seeks a little thing to do,

Sees it and does it :
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,

Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,

His hundred 's soon hit :
This high man, aiming at a million,

Misses an unit.
That, has the world here—should he need the next,

Let the world mind him !
This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed

Seeking shall find him.
So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,

Ground he at grammar;
Still, thro’ the rattle, parts of speech were rife.

While he could stammer
He settled Hoti's business—let it be !

Properly based Oun-
Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,

Dead from the waist down.
Well, here's the platform, here 's the proper place :

Hail to your purlieus,
All ye highfliers of the feathered race,

Swallows and curlews!
Here's the top-peak; the multitude below

Live, for they can, there :
This man decided not to Live but Know-

Bury this man there?
Here—here's his place, where meteors shoot, clouds form,

Lightnings are loosened,
Stars come and go! Let joy break with the storm,

Peace let the dew send !
Lofty designs must ciose in like effects :

Loftily lying,
Leave him-still loftier than the world suspects,

Living and dying

CLEON. " As certain also of your own poets have said" — CLEON the poet, (from the sprinkled isles, Lily on lily, that o'erlace the sea, And laugh their pride when the light wave lisps

“Greece")— To Protus in his Tyranny : much health !

They give thy letter to me, even now : I read and seem as if I heard thee speak. The master of thy galley still unlades Gift after gift ; they block my court at last And pile themselves along its portico Royal with sunset, like a thought of thee; And one white she-slave, from the group dispersed Of black and white slaves, (like the chequer-work Pavement, at once my nation's work and gift, Now covered with this settle-down of doves) One lyric woman, in her crocus vest Woven of sea-wools, with her two white hands Commends to me the strainer and the cup Thy lip hath bettered ere it blesses mine.

Well-counselled, king, in thy munificence !
For so shall men remark, in such an act
Of love for him whose song gives life its joy, .
Thy recognition of the use of life :
Nor call thy spirit barely adequate
To help on life in straight ways, broad enough
For vulgar souls, by ruling and the rest.
Thou, in the daily building of thy tower,–
Whether in fierce and sudden spasms of toil,
Or through dim lulls of unapparent growth,
Or when the general work, ʼmid good acclaim,
Climbed with the eye, to cheer the architect, -

Did'st ne'er engage in work for mere work's sake :
Hadst ever in thy heart the luring hope
Of some eventual rest a-top of it,
Whence, all the tumult of the building hushed,
Thou first of men mightst look out to the East ;
The vulgar saw thy tower, thou sawest the sun.
For this, I promise on thy festival
To pour libation, looking o'er the sea,
Making this slave narrate thy fortunes, speak:

Thy great words and describe thy royal face-
Wishing thee wholly where Zeus lives the most,
Within the eventual element of calm.

Thy letter's first requirement meets me here. It is as thou hast heard : in one short life I, Cleon, have effected all those things Thou wonderingly dost enumerate. That epos on thy hundred plates of gold Is mine, and also mine the little chant So sure to rise from every fishing bark When, lights at prow, the seamen haul their net. The image of the sun-god on the phare, Men turn from the sun's self to see, is mine;

The Pæcile, o'er-storied its whole length, As thou didst hear, with painting, is mine too. I know the true proportions of a man And woman also, not observed before ; And I have written three books on the soul, Proving absurd all written hitherto, And putting us to ignorance again. For music,—why, I have combined the moods, Inventing one. In brief, all arts are mine; Thus much the people know and recognise, Throughout our seventeen islands. Marvel not ! We of these latter days, with greater mind Than our forerunners, since more composite,

« ПретходнаНастави »