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your winning that fadeless laurel, which you deserve, and which will one day surely be yours, can never heighten my judgment of you, so nothing that is not in your own control will ever lower it, and that I shall think as simply of you when the World's opinion has overtaken my own, as now.

As the swiftly diverging channels of Life bear wider and wider apart from us the friends who hoisted sail with us as fellow-mariners, when we cast off for the voyage, and as some,

even, who are yet side by side with us, no
longer send back to us an answering cheer, we
are drawn the more closely to those that re-
main, and I would fain hope that this joining
of our names will always be one of our not
least happy memories.
And so, with all best wishes,
Í remain always your friend,

J. R. LOWELL.
CAMBRIDGE, December 15, 1843.

III

A LEGEND OF BRITTANY As one may see a dream dissolve and

break Lowell was in high spirits when he was at Out of his grasp when he to tell it stirs, work on A Legend oj Brittany. I am now Like that sad Dryad doomed no more to at work,” he writes to G. B. Loring, under

bless date of June 15, 1843, on a still longer poem The mortal who revealed her loveliness. (than Prometheus) in the ottava rima, to be the first in my forthcoming volume. I feel more and more assured every day that I shall yet do something that will keep my name (and per

She dwelt forever in a region bright, haps my body) alive. My wings were never so

Peopled with living fancies of her own, light and strong as now.'

Where naught could come but visions of A Legend of Brittany and most of the other delight, poems in the volume which it opened belong Far, far aloof from earth's eternal moan: in the category referred to by him in his Prefa- A summer cloud thrilled througb with rosy tory Note, of pieces which he “would gladly

light, suppress or put into the Coventry of smaller

Floating beneath the blue sky all alone, print in an appendix.” Their value is chiefly

Her spirit wandered by itself, and won in the record they contain of his poetic development and his temperament.

A golden edge from some unsetting sun.

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Not far from Margaret's cottage dwelt a He had been noble, but some great deceit knight

Had turned his better instinct to a vice: Of the proud Templars, a sworn celibate, He strove to think the world was all a Whose heart in secret fed upon the light

cheat, And dew of her ripe beauty, through the That power and fame were cheap at any grate

price, Of his close vow catching what gleams he That the sure way of being shortly great might

Was even to play life's game with loaded Of the free heaven, and cursing all too late

dice, The cruel faith whose black walls hemmed Since he had tried the honest play and him in

found And turned life's crowning bliss to deadly That vice and virtue differed but in sound.

sin.

XIX

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Fair as an angel, who yet inly wore
A wrinkled heart foreboding his near

fall;
Who saw him alway wished to know him

more, As if he were some fate's defiant thrall And nursed a dreaded secret at his core;

Little he loved, but power the most of all, And that he seemed to scorn, as one who

knew By what foul paths men choose to crawl

thereto.

Deep in the forest was a little dell

High overarched with the leafy sweep Of a broad oak, through whose gnarled

roots there fell A slender rill that sung itself to sleep, Where its continuous toil had scooped a well

To please the fairy folk; breathlessly deep The stillness was, save when the dreaming

brook From its small urn a drizzly murmur shook.

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But Nature hath her will; even as the That she loved him, and not a pulse could bees,

stir Blithe go-betweens, fly singing to and fro In her whole frame but quivered through With the fruit-quickening pollen; -hard and through if these

With this glad thought, and was a minister Found not some all unthought-of way to To do him fealty and service true, show

Like golden ripples hasting to the land Their secret each to each; and so they did, To wreck their freight of sunshine on the And one heart's flower-dust into the other

strand. slid.

XXXIV

XXX

XXXV

XXXI

O dewy dawn of love! O hopes that are Young hearts are free; the selfish world it Hung high, like the cliff-swallow's perilis

ous nest, That turns them miserly and cold as Most like to fall when fullest, and that stone,

jar And makes them clutch their fingers on

With every heavier billow! O unrest the bliss

Than balmiest deeps of quiet sweeter far! Which but in giving truly is their How did ye triumph now in Margaret's own;

breast, She had no dreams of barter, asked not Making it readier to shrink and start his,

Than quivering gold of the pond - lily's But gave hers freely as she would have

heart ! thrown A rose to him, or as that rose gives forth Its generous fragrance, thoughtless of its Here let us pause: oh, would the soul worth.

might ever
Achieve its immortality in youth,

When nothing yet hath damped its high Her summer nature felt a need to bless,

endeavor And a like longing to be blest again; After the starry energy of truth ! So, from her sky-like spirit, gentleness Here let us pause, and for a moment sever

Dropt ever like a sunlit fall of rain, This gleam of sunshine from the sad And his beneath drank in the bright caress

unruth As thirstily as would a parched plain, That sometime comes to all, for it is good That long hath watched the showers of To lengthen to the last a sunny mood.

sloping gray
For ever, ever, falling far away.

XXXII
How should she dream of ill ? the heart

filled quite With sunshine, like the shepherd's-clock As one who, from the sunshine and the at noon,

green, Closes its leaves around its warm delight;

Enters the solid darkness of a cave, Whate'er in life is harsh or out of tune Nor knows what precipice or pit unseen Is all shut out, no boding shade of blight May yawn before him with its sudden Can pierce the opiate ether of its swoon:

grave, Love is bnt blind as thoughtful justice is, And, with hushed breath, doth often forBut naught can be so wanton-blind as bliss. ward lean,

Dreaming he hears the plashing of a XXXIII All beauty and all life he was to her; Dimly below, or feels a damper air She questioned not his love, she only From out some dreary chasm, he knows knew

PART SECOND

1

not where;

wave

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