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I was ever a fighter, so—one fight more,

The best and the last !
I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,

And bade me creep past.
No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers

The heroes of old,
Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life’s arrears

Of pain, darkness and cold.
For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,

The black minute 's at end,
And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,

Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Shall change, shall become first a peace, then a joy,

Then a light, then thy breast,
O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,

And with God be the rest !

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It once might have been, once only:

We lodged in a street together,
You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,

I, a lone she-bird of his feather.

Your trade was with sticks and clay,

You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished, Then laughed “ They will see some day

Smith made, and Gibson demolished.”


My business was song, song, song ;

I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered, “ Kate Brown 's on the boards ere long,

And Grisi’s existence embittered !"

I earned no more by a warble

Than you by a sketch in plaster ; You wanted a piece of marble,

I needed a music-master.


We studied hard in our styles,

Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos, For air, looked out on the tiles,

For fun, watched each other's windows.

You lounged, like a boy of the South,

Cap and blouse-nay, a bit of beard too ; Or you got it, rubbing your mouth

With fingers the clay adhered to.

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