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

Ah, 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 mic night 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 band 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.

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 !

FOR AN AUTOGRAPH

THOUGH old the thought and oft exprest,
T is his at last who says it best, -
I'll try my fortune with the rest.

Life is a leaf of paper white
Whereon each one of us may write
His word or two, and then comes night.

“ Lo, time and space enough,” we cry,
“ To write an epic !” so we try
Our nibs upon the edge, and die.
Muse not which way the pen to hold,
Luck hates the slow and loves the bold,
Soon come the darkness and the cold.
Greatly begin I though thou have time
But for a line, be that sublime,
Not failure, but low aim, is crime.

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.

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

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.

Upon these elm-arched solitudes No bum 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-yoiced 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.

The shadows 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 brotber 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 heroes 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

Safe in Oblivion's chambers strong,
One
cup

of recognition true Shall silently be drained to you !

I envy him the ungyved prance

With which his freezing feet he warms, And drag my lady's-chains and dance

The galley-slave of dreary forms.

WITHOUT AND WITHIN Oh, could he have my share of din,

And I his quiet ! - past a doubt “Madrid, January 15, 1879. I wrote some 'T would still be one man bored within, verses thirty odd years ago called Without and And just another bored without. Within, and they originally ended with the author's looking up at the stars through six Nay, when, once paid my mortal fee, feet of earth and feeling dreadfully bored,

Some idler on my beadstone grim while a passer-by deciphers the headstone and

Traces the moss-blurred name, will be envies the supposed sleeper beneath. I was persuaded to leave out this ending as too grim

Think me the happier, or I him ? 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

GODMINSTER CHIMES been common enough, especially with naughty children who get tired of their playthings as WRITTEN IN AID OF A CHIME OF BELLS soon as I do the absurdity being that then

FOR CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE we are not content with smashing the toy which turns out to be finite — but everything

GODMINSTER? Is it Fancy's play?
else into the bargain.” J. R. L. to Miss Grace
Norton. Letters
II. 236.

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

say My coachman, in the moonlight there,

Whether 't was dreamed or heard;
Looks through the side-light of the door; Yet fragrant in my mind it clings .
I hear him with his brethren swear,

As blossoms after rain,
As I could do, – but only more.

And builds of balf-remembered things

This vision in my brain.
Flattening his nose against the pane,
He envies me my brilliant lot,

Through aisles of long-drawn centuries Breathes on his aching fists in vain,

My spirit walks in thought, And dooms me to a place more hot.

And to that symbol lifts its eyes

Which God's own pity wrought; He sees me in to supper go,

From Calvary shines the altar's gleam, A silken wonder by my side,

The Church's East is there, Bare arms, bare shoulders, and a row The Ages one great minster seem, Of flounces, for the door too wide.

That throbs with praise and prayer. He thinks how happy is my arm

And all the way from Calvary down 'Neath its white-gloved and jewelled The carven pavement shows load;

Their graves who won the martyr's crown And wishes me some dreadful harm,

And safe in God repose;
Hearing the merry corks explode. The saints of many a warring creed

Who now in heaven have learned
Meanwhile I inly curse the bore

That all paths to the Father lead
Of hunting still the same old coon,

Where Self the feet have spurned.
And envy him, outside the door,
In golden quiets of the moon.

And, as the mystic aisles I pace,

By aureoled workmen built, The winter wind is not so cold

Lives ending at the Cross I trace As the bright smile he sees me win, Alike through grace and guilt; Nor the host's oldest wine so old

One Mary bathes the blessed feet As our poor gabble sour and thin.

With ointment from her eyes,

With spikenard one, and both are sweet,

For both are sacrifice.

Moravian hymn and Roman chant

In one devotion blend,
To speak the soul's eternal want

Of Him, the inmost friend;
One prayer soars cleansed with martyr

fire,
One choked with sinner's tears,
In heaven both meet in one desire,

And God one music hears.

This slippery globe of life whirls of itself,
Hasting our youth away into the dark;
These senses, quivering with electric heats,
Too soon will show, like nests on wintry

boughs
Obtrusive emptiness, too palpable wreck,
Which whistling north-winds line with

downy snow Sometimes, or fringe with foliaged rime,

in vain, Thither the singing birds no more return."

Whilst thus I dream, the bells clash out

Upon the Sabbath air,
Each seems a hostile faith to shout,

A selfish form of prayer;
My dream is shattered, yet who knows

But in that heaven so near
These discords find harmonious close

In God's atoning ear ?
O chime of sweet Saint Charity,

Peal soon that Easter morn
When Christ for all shall risen be,

And in all hearts new-born !
That Pentecost when utterance clear

To all men shall be given,
When all shall say My Brother here,

And hear My Son in heaven !

Then glowed to me a maiden from the

left, With bosom half disclosed, and naked

arms More white and undulant than necks of

swans; And all before her steps an influence ran Warm as the whispering South that opens

buds And swells the laggard sails of Northern

May. “I am called Pleasure, come with me!”

she said,
Then laughed, and shook out sunshine from

her hair,
Nor only that, but, so it seemed, shook out
All memory too, and all the moonlit past,
Old loves, old aspirations, and old dreams,
More beautiful for being old and gone.

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS So we two went together; downward

sloped Who hath not been a poet? Who hath not, The path through yellow meads, or so I With life's new quiver full of wingëd

dreamed,

Yellow with sunshine and young green, years, Shot at a venture, and then, following on,

but I Stood doubtful at the Parting of the Ways ? Saw naught nor heard, shut up in one close

joy; There once I stood in dream, and as I I only felt the hand within my own, paused,

Transmuting all my blood to golden fire, Looking this way and that, came forth Dissolving all my brain in throbbing mist.

to me The figure of a woman veiled, that said, Suddenly shrank the hand; suddenly burst

My name is Duty, turn and follow me;' A cry that split the torpor of my brain, Something there was that chilled me in And as the first sharp thrust of lightning her voice;

loosens I felt Youth's hand grow slack and cold in From the heaped cloud its rain, loosened mine,

my sense: As if to be withdrawn, and I exclaimed: “ Save me !” it thrilled; "ob, hide me ! “Oh, leave the hot wild heart within my

there is Death! breast !

Death the divider, the unmerciful, Duty comes soon enough, too soon comes That digs his pitfalls under Love and Death;

Youth,

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soon !"

And covers Beauty up in the cold ground; The heart grows hardened with perpetual Horrible Death ! bringer of endless dark;

wont,
Let him not see me! bide me in thy And palters with a feigned necessity,
breast !”

Bargaining with itself to be content;
Thereat I strove to clasp her, but my arms Let me bebold thy face.”
Met only what slipped crumbling down,

The Form replied: and fell,

“ Men follow Duty, never overtake; A handful of gray ashes, at my feet. Duty nor lifts her veil nor looks behind.”

But, as she spake, a loosened lock of hair I would have fled, I would have followed Slipped from beneath her hood, and I, who back

looked That pleasant path we came, but all was To see it gray and thin, saw amplest gold; changed;

Not that dull metal dug from sordid earth, Rocky the way, abrupt, and hard to find; But such as the retiring sunset flood Yet I toiled on, and, toiling on, I thought, Leaves heaped on bays and capes of island “That way lies Youth, and Wisdom, and

cloud. all Good;

“O Guide divine,” I prayed," although not For only by unlearning Wisdom comes

yet And climbing backward to diviner Youth; I may repair the virtue which I feel What the world teaches profits to the Gone out at touch of untuned things and world,

foul What the soul teaches profits to the soul, With draughts of Beauty, yet declare how Which then first stands erect with God

ward face, When she lets fall her pack of withered “ Faithless and faint of heart," the voice facts,

returned, The gleanings of the outward eye and “Thou seest no beauty save thou make it ear,

first; And looks and listens with her finer sense; Man, Woman, Nature each is but a glass Nor Truth nor Knowledge cometh from Where the soul sees the image of herself,

Visible echoes, offsprings of herself.

But, since thou need’st assurance of how After long, weary days I stood again

soon, And waited at the Parting of the Ways; Wait till that angel comes who opens all, Again the figure of a woman veiled

The reconciler, he who lifts the veil, Stood forth and beckoned, and I followed The reuniter, the rest-bringer, Death." Down to no bower of roses led the path, I waited, and methought he came; but But through the streets of towns where

how, chattering Cold

Or in what shape, I doubted, for no sign, Hewed wood for fires whose glow was By touch or mark, he gave me as he owned and fenced,

passed: Where Nakedness wove garments of warm Only I knew a lily that I held wool

Snapt short below the head and shrivelled Not for itself; — or through the fields it

up; led

Then turned my Guide and looked at me Where Hunger reaped the unattainable unveiled, grain,

And I beheld no face of matron stern, Where idleness enforced saw idle lands, But that enchantment I had followed erst, Leagues of unpeopled soil, the common Only more fair, more clear to eye and brain, earth,

Heightened and chastened by a household Walled round with paper against God and charm; Man.

She smiled, and “Which is fairer," said “ I cannot look," I groaned, “at only these;

“ The hag's unreal Florimel or mine ?”

without."

now:

her eyes,

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