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Only there sighed from the pine-tops

A music of seas far away.

THE SINGING LEAVES

A BALLAD

I

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Only the pattering aspen

Made a sound of growing rain,

That fell ever faster and faster, “What fairings will ye that I bring ?” Then faltered to silence again.

Said the King to his daughters three; “For I to Vanity Fair am boun,

“Oh, where shall I find a little foot-page Now say what shall they be?”

That would win both hose and shoon,

And will bring to me the Singiug Leaves Then

up and spake the eldest daughter, If they grow under the moon ?That lady tall and grand: “Oh, bring me pearls and diamonds great, Then lightly turned him Walter the page, And gold rings for my hand.”

By the stirrup as he ran:

“Now pledge you me the truesome word Thereafter spake the second daughter, Of a king and gentleman,

That was both white and red: “ For me bring silks that will stand alone, “That you will give me the first, first thing And a gold comb for my head.”

You meet at your castle-gate,

And the Princess shall get the Singing Then came the turn of the least daughter,

Leaves,
That was whiter than thistle-down,

Or mine be a traitor's fate."
And among the gold of her blithesome hair
Dim shone the golden crown.

The King's head dropt upon his breast

A moment, as it might be; “ There came a bird this morning,

'T will be my dog, he thought, and said, And sang 'neath my bower eaves,

“My faith I plight to thee.” Till I dreamed, as his music made me, . Ask thou for the Singing Leaves."" Then Walter took from next his heart

A packet small and thin, Then the brow of the King swelled crimson “Now give you this to the Princess Anne, With a flush of angry scorn:

The Singing Leaves are therein.” “Well have ye spoken, my two eldest, And chosen as ye were born;

III

As the King rode in at his castle-gate, “But she, like a thing of peasant race,

A maiden to meet him ran, That is happy binding the sheaves; And “Welcome, father!” she laughed and Then he saw her dead mother in her face,

cried And said, " Thou shalt have thy leaves." Together, the Princess Anne.

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And the second Leaf sang: “But in the

land That is neither on earth nor sea, My lute and I are lords of more

Than thrice this kingdom's fee."

And the third Leaf sang, “Be mine! Be

mine!” And ever it sang,

« Be mine!” Then sweeter it sang and ever sweeter,

And said, “I am thine, thine, thine!”
At the first Leaf she grew pale enough,

At the second she turned aside,
At the third, 't was as if a lily flushed

With a rose's red heart's tide.

For the same wave that rims the Carib

shore With momentary brede of pearl and gold, Goes hurrying thence to gladden with its

roar Lorn weeds bound fast on rocks of Labra

dor,
By love divine on one sweet errand rolled.
And, though Thy healing waters far with.

draw,
I, too, can wait and feed on hope of Thee
And of the dear recurrence of Thy law,
Sure that the parting grace my morning

saw
Abides its time to come in search of me.

“Good counsel gave the bird,” said she, “I have my hope thrice o'er,

THE FINDING OF THE LYRE For they sing to my very heart,” she said, “And it sings to them evermore.” THERE lay upon the ocean's shore

What once a tortoise served to cover;
She brought to him her beauty and truth, A year and more, with rush and roar,
But and broad earldoms three,

The surf had rolled it over,
And he made her queen of the broader lands Had played with it, and flung it by,
He held of his lute in fee.

As wind and weather might decide it,
Then tossed it high where sand-drifts dry

Cheap burial might provide it.
SEAWEED

It rested there to bleach or tan,
Not always unimpeded can I pray,

The rains had soaked, the suns had burned Nor, pitying saint, thine intercession claim; it; Too closely clings the burden of the day, With many a ban the fisherman And all the mint and anise that I pay Had stumbled o'er and spurned it; But swells my debt and deepens my

self- And there the fisher-girl would stay, blame.

Conjecturing with her brother

How in their play the poor estray Shall I less patience have than Thou, who Might serve some use or other.

know That Thou revisit'st all who wait for thee, So there it lay, through wet and dry Nor only fill'st the unsounded deeps be- As empty as the last new sonnet, low,

Till by and by came Mercury, But dost refresh with punctual overflow And, having mused upon it, The rifts where unregarded mosses be ? Why, here,” cried be, “the thing of

things The drooping seaweed hears, in night In shape, material, and dimension ! abyssed,

Give it but strings, and, lo, it sings, Far and more far the wave's receding A wonderful inventions”

shocks, Nor doubts, for all the darkness and the So said, so done; the chords he strained, mist,

And, as his fingers o'er them hovered, That the pale shepherdess will keep her The shell disdained a soul had gained, tryst,

The lyre had been discovered. And shoreward lead again her foam-fleeced O empty world that round us lies, flocks.

Dead shell, of soul and thought forsaken,

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Brought we but eyes like Mercury's, In thee what songs should waken!

Ab, with what lofty hope we came ! But we forget it, dream of fame, And scrawl, as I do here, a name.

NEW-YEAR'S EVE, 1850

AL FRESCO

This is the midnight of the century,

hark ! Through aisle and arch of Godminster have

gone Twelve throbs that tolled the zenith of the

dark, And mornward now the starry hands move

on; “ Mornward !” the angelic watchers say, “ Passed is the sorest trial; No plot of man can stay The hand upon the dial; Night is the dark stem of the lily Day." If we, who watched in valleys here below, Toward streaks, misdeemed of morn, our

faces turned When volcan glares set all the east aglow, We are not poorer that we wept and

yearned; Though earth swing wide from God's in

tent,
And though no man nor nation
Will move with full consent
In heavenly gravitation,
Yet by one Sun is every orbit bent.

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THE dandelions and buttercups
Gild all the lawn; the drowsy bee
Stumbles among the clover-tops,
And summer sweetens all but me:
Away, unfruitful lore of books,
For whose vain idiom we reject
The soul's more native dialect,
Aliens among the birds and brooks,
Dull to interpret or conceive
What gospels lost the woods retrieve !
Away, ye critics, city-bred,
Who springes set of thus and so,
And in the first man's footsteps tread,
Like those who toil through drifted snow !
Away, my poets, whose sweet spell
Can make a garden of a cell !
I need ye not, for I to-day
Will make one long sweet verse of play.

Snap, chord of manhood's tenser strain!
To-day I will be a boy again;
The mind's pursuing element,
Like a bow slackened and unbent,
In some dark corner shall be leant.
The robin sings, as of old, from the limb !
The cat-bird croons in the lilac-bush !
Through the dim arbor, himself more dim,
Silently hops the hermit-thrush,
The withered leaves keep dumb for him;
The irreverent buccaneering bee
Hath stormed and rifled the nunnery
Of the lily, and scattered the sacred floor
With haste - dropt gold from shrine to

door;
There, as of yore,
The rich, milk-tingeing buttercup
Its tiny polished urn holds up,
Filled with ripe summer to the edge,
The sun in his own wine to pledge;
And our tall elm, this hundredth year
Doge of our leafy Venice here,
Who, with an annual ring, doth wed
The blue Adriatic overhead,
Shadows with his palatial mass
The deep canals of flowing grass.

O unestrangëd birds and bees !
O face of Nature always true !

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Of some fallen nunnery's mossy sleep,
So, from the ruins of this day
Crumbling in golden dust away,
The soul one gracious block may draw,
Carved with some fragment of the law,
Which, set in life's prosaic wall,
Old benedictions may recall,
And lure some nunlike thoughts to take
Their dwelling here for memory's sake.

MASACCIO

IN THE BRANCACCI CHAPEL

O never-unsympathizing trees !
O never-rejecting roof of blue,
Whose rash disherison never falls
On us unthinking prodigals,
Yet who convictest all our ill,
So grand and unappeasable !
Methinks my heart from each of these
Plucks part of childhood back again,
Long there imprisoned, as the breeze
Doth every hidden odor seize
Of wood and water, hill and plain ;
Once more am I admitted peer
In the upper house of Nature here,
And feel through all my pulses run
The royal blood of wind and sun.

Upon these elm-arched solitudes
No hum of neighbor toil intrudes;
The only hammer that I hear
Is wielded by the woodpecker,
The single noisy calling his
In all our leaf-hid Sybaris;
The good old time, close-hidden here,
Persists, a loyal cavalier,
While Roundheads prim, with point of fox,
Probe wainscot-chink and empty box;
Here no hoarse-voiced iconoclast
Insults thy statues, royal Past;
Myself too prone the axe to wield,
I touch the silver side of the sbield
With lance reversed, and challenge peace,
A willing convert of the trees.

He came to Florence long ago,
And painted here these walls, that shone
For Raphael and for Angelo,
With secrets deeper than his own,
Then shrank into the dark again,
And died, we know not how or when.
The sbadows deepened, and I turned
Half sadly from the fresco grand;
“ And is this,” mused I, “all ye earned,
High-vaulted brain and cunning hand,
That ye to greater men could teach
The skill yourselves could never reach ?”
“And who were they,” I mused, “ that

wrought
Through pathless wilds, with labor long,
The highways of our daily thought ?
Who reared those towers of earliest song
That lift us from the crowd to peace
Remote in sunny silences ?”

How chanced it that so long I tost A cable's length from this rich coast, With foolish anchors bugging close The beckoning weeds and lazy ooze, Nor had the wit to wreck before On this enchanted island's shore, Whither the current of the sea, With wiser drift, persuaded me ?

Out clanged the Ave Mary bells,
And to my heart this message came:
Each clamorous throat among them tells
What strong-souled martys died in flame
To make it possible that thou
Shouldst here with brother sinners bow.

Thoughts that great hearts once broke for,

we

Oh, might we but of such rare days Build up the spirit's dwelling-place ! A temple of so Parian stone Would brook a marble god alone, The statue of a perfect life, Far-shrined from earth's bestaining strife. Alas! though such felicity In our vext world here may not be, Yet, as sometimes the peasant's hut Shows stones which old religion cut With text inspired, or mystic sign Of the Eternal and Divine, Torn from the consecration deep

Breathe cheaply in the common air ;
The dust we trample heedlessly
Throbbed once in saints and beroes rare,
Who perished, opening for their race
New pathways to the commonplace.
Henceforth, when rings the health to those
Who live in story and in song,
O nameless dead, that now repose

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Oh, could he have my share of din,

And I his quiet ! - past a doubt 'T would still be one man bored within,

And just another bored without.

Nay, when, once paid my mortal fee,

Some idler on my headstone grim Traces the moss-blurred name, will be

Think me the happier, or I him ?

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“Madrid, January 15, 1879. I wrote some verses thirty odd years ago called Without and Within, and they originally ended with the author's looking up at the stars through six feet of earth and feeling dreadfully bored, while a passer-by deciphers the headstone and envies the supposed sleeper beneath. I was persuaded to leave out this ending as too grim but I often think of it. They have a fine name for this kind of feeling nowadays, and would fain make out pessimism to be a monstrous birth of our century. I suspect it has always been common enough, especially with naughty children who get tired of their playthings as soon as I do — the absurdity being that

then we are not content with smashing the toy which turns out to be finite — but everything else into the bargain.' J. R. L. to Miss Grace Norton. Letters II. 236.

GODMINSTER CHIMES

WRITTEN IN AID OF A CHIME OF BELLS

FOR CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE

My coachman, in the moonlight there,

Looks through the side-light of the door; I hear him with his brethren swear,

As I could do, – but only more.

Flattening his nose against the pane,

He envies me my brilliant lot, Breathes on his aching fists in vain,

And dooms me to a place more hot.

He sees me in to supper go,

A silken wonder by my side, Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row

Of flounces, for the door too wide.

GODMINSTER? Is it Fancy's play ?

I know not, but the word Sings in my heart, nor can I say

Whether 't was dreamed or heard;
Yet fragrant in my mind it clings .

As blossoms after rain,
And builds of balf-remembered things

This vision in my brain.
Through aisles of long-drawn centuries

My spirit walks in thought,
And to that symbol lifts its eyes

Which God's own pity wrought;
From Calvary shines the altar's gleam,

The Church's East is there,
The Ages one great minster seem,

That throbs with praise and prayer.
And all the way from Calvary down

The carven pavement shows
Their graves who won the martyr's crown

And safe in God repose;
The saints of many a warring creed

Who now in beaven have learned
That all paths to the Father lead

Where Self the feet have spurned.

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And, as the mystic aisles I pace,

By aureoled workmen built, Lives ending at the Cross I trace

Alike through grace and guilt; One Mary bathes the blessed feet

With ointment from her eyes,

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