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MAHMOOD THE

BREAKER

Luck obeys the downright striker; from

the hollow core, Fifty times the Brahmins' offer deluged

all the floor.

OLD events have modern meanings; only

that survives Of past history which finds kindred in all

hearts and lives.

INVITA MINERVA

Mahmood once, the idol-breaker, spreader

of the Faith, Was at Sumnat tempted sorely, as the

legend saith.

In the great pagoda's centre, monstrous

and abhorred, Granite on a throne of granite, sat the

temple's lord.

THE Bardling came where by a river grew The pennoned reeds, that, as the west

wind blew, Gleamed and sighed plaintively, as if they

knew What music slept enchanted in each stem, Till Pan should choose some happy one of

them, And with wise lips enlife it through and

through. The Bardling thought, “A pipe is all I

need; Once I have sought me out a clear, smooth

reed, And shaped it to my fancy, I proceed To breathe such strains as, yonder mid the

rocks, The strange youth blows, that tends Ad

metus' flocks, And all the maidens shall to me pay heed."

Mahmood paused a moment, silenced by

the silent face That, with eyes of stone unwavering, awed

the ancient place.

Then the Brahmins knelt before him, by

his doubt made bold, Pledging for their idol's ransom countless

gems and gold. Gold was yellow dirt to Mahmood, but of

precious use, Since from it the roots of power suck a

potent juice.

The summer day he spent in questful

round, And many a reed he marred, but never

found A conjuring-spell to free the imprisoned

sound; At last his vainly wearied limbs he laid Beneath a sacred laurel's flickering shade, And sleep about his brain her cobweb

wound.

“ Were yon stone alone in question, this

would please me well,” Mahmood said; “ but, with the block there,

I my truth must sell.

“Wealth and rule slip down with Fortune,

as her wheel turns round; He who keeps his faith, he only cannot be

discrowned.

“Little were a change of station, loss of

life or crown, But the wreck were past retrieving if the

Man fell down."

Then strode the mighty Mother through

his dreams, Saying: “The reeds along a thousand

streams Are mine, and who is he that plots and

schemes To snare the melodies wherewith my breath Sounds through the double pipes of Life

and Death, Atoning what to men mad discord seems ?

So his iron mace he lifted, smote with

might and main, And the idol, on the pavement tumbling,

burst in twain.

“ He seeks not me, but I seek oft in vain For bim who shall my voiceful reeds con

strain,

And make them utter their melodious pain; He flies the immortal gift, for well he

knows His life of life must with its overflows Flood the unthankful pipe, nor come again. • Thou fool, who dost my harmless subjects

wrong, 'T is not the singer's wish that makes the

song: The rhythmic beauty wanders dumb, how

long, Nor stoops to any daintiest instrument, Till, found its mated lips, their sweet con

sent Makes mortal breath than Time and Fate

more strong."

And this fount, its sole daughter,
To the woodland was granted
To pour holy water
And win benediction;
In summer-noon flushes,
When all the wood hushes,
Blue dragon-flies knitting
To and fro in the sun,
With sidelong jerk flitting
Sink down on the rushes,
And, motionless sitting,
Hear it bubble and run,
Hear its low inward singing,
With level wings swinging
On green tasselled rushes,
To dream in the sun.

THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH

This poem, written apparently in the winter of 1849–50, was to have been included in the projected work, The Nooning.

I

'Tis a woodland enchanted !
By no sadder spirit
Than blackbirds and thrushes,
That whistle to cheer it
All day in the bushes,
This woodland is haunted:
And in a small clearing,
Beyond sight or hearing
Of human annoyance,
The little fount gushes,
First smoothly, then dashes
And gurgles and flashes,
To the maples and ashes
Confiding its joyance;
Unconscious confiding,
Then, silent and glossy,
Slips winding and hiding
Through alder-stems mossy,
Through gossamer roots
Fine as nerves,
That tremble, as shoots
Through their magnetized curves
The allurement delicious
Of the water's capricious
Thrills, gushes, and swerves.

II
'T is a woodland enchanted !
I am writing no fiction;

'T is a woodland enchanted !
The great August noonlight!
Through myriad rifts slanted,
Leaf and bole thickly sprinkles
With flickering gold;
There, in warm August gloaming,
With quick, silent brightenings,
From meadow-lands roaming,
The firefly twinkles
His fitful heat-lightnings;
There the magical moonlight
With meek, saintly glory
Steeps summit and wold;
There whippoorwills plain in the soli-

tudes hoary
With lone cries that wander
Now hither, now yonder,
Like souls doomed of old
To a mild purgatory;
But through noonlight and moonlight
The little fount tinkles
Its silver saints’-bells,
That no sprite ill-boding
May make his abode in
Those innocent dells.

IV

'T is a woodland enchanted !
When the phebe scarce whistles
Once an hour to his fellow,
And, where red lilies flaunted,
Balloons from the thistles
Tell summer's disasters,
The butterflies yellow,
As canght in an eddy
Of

silent ocean,

Sink, waver, and steady
O’er goats'-beard and asters,
Like souls of dead flowers,
With aimless emotion
Still lingering unready
To leave their old bowers;
And the fount is no dumber,
But still gleams and flashes,
And gurgles and plashes,
To the measure of summer;
The butterflies hear it,
And spell-bound are holden,
Still balancing near it
O’er the goats’-beard so golden.

And o'er it
A birch hangs delighted,
Dipping, dipping, dipping its tremulous

hair;
Pure as the fountain, once
I came to the place,
(How dare I draw nearer ?)
Ì bent o'er its mirror,
And saw a child's face
Mid locks of bright gold in it;
Yes, pure as this fountain once, -
Since, how much error!
Too holy a mirror
For the man to behold in it
His harsh, bearded countenance!

V

VI

'T is a woodland enchanted!
A vast silver willow,
I know not how planted,
(This wood is enchanted,
Ànd full of surprises,)
Stands stemming a billow,
A motionless billow
Of ankle-deep mosses;
Two great roots it crosses
To make a round basin,
And there the Fount rises;
Ah, too pure a mirror
For one sick of error
To see his sad face in!
No dew-drop is stiller
In its lupin-leaf setting
Than this water moss-bounded;
But a tiny sand-pillar
From the bottom keeps jetting,
And mermaid ne'er sounded
Through the wreaths of a shell,
Down amid crimson dulses
In some cavern of ocean,
A melody sweeter
Than the delicate pulses,
The soft, noiseless metre,
The pause and the swell
Of that musical motion:
I recall it, not see it;
Could vision be clearer ?
Half I'm fain to draw nearer
Half tempted to flee it;
The sleeping Past wake not,
Beware!
One forward step take not,
Ah! break not
That quietude rare!
By my step unaffrighted
A thrush hops before it,

'T is a woodland enchanted! Ah, fly unreturning! Yet stay; 'Tis a woodland enchanted, Where wonderful chances Have sway; Luck flees from the cold one, But leaps to the bold one Half-way; Why should I be daunted ? Still the smooth mirror glances, Still the amber sand dances, One look, — then away! O magical glass! Canst keep in thy bosom Shades of leaf and of blossom When summer days pass, So that when thy wave hardens It shapes as it pleases, Unharmed by the breezes, Its fine hanging gardens ? Hast those in thy keeping, And canst not uncover, Enchantedly sleeping, The old shade of thy lover ? It is there! I have found it! He wakes, the long sleeper! The pool is grown deeper, The sand dance is ending, The white floor sinks, blending With skies that below me Are deepening and bending, And a child's face alone That seems not to know me, With hair that fades golden In the heaven-glow round it, Looks up at my own; Ah, glimpse through the portal

In the fountain of youth
The fleeting reflection
Of some bygone perfection
That still lingers in me?

YUSSOUF

That leads to the throne,
That opes the child's olden
Regions Elysian!
Ah, too holy vision
For thy skirts to be holden
By soiled hand of mortal!
It wavers, it scatters,
T is gone past recalling!
A tear's sudden falling
The magic cup shatters,
Breaks the spell of the waters,
And the sand cone once more,
With a ceaseless renewing,
Its dance is pursuing
On the silvery floor,
O’er and o'er,
With a noiseless and ceaseless renew-

ing.

A STRANGER came one night to Yussouf's

tent, Saying, “ Behold, one outcast and in dread, Against whose life the bow of power is

bent, Who flies, and bath not where to lay his

head; I come to thee for shelter and for food, To Yussouf, called through all our tribes

• The Good.'”

VII

more

“This tent is mine," said Yussouf, “but no 'T is a woodland enchanted! If you ask me, Where is it?

Than it is God's; come in and be at peace; I can but make answer,

Freely shalt thou partake of all my store “ 'T is past my disclosing;”.

As I of His who buildeth over these Not to choice is it granted

Our tents his glorious roof of night and By sure paths to visit

day, The still pool enclosing

And at whose door none ever yet heard Its blithe little dancer;

Nay.”
But in some day, the rarest
Of many Septembers,

So Yussouf entertained his guest that night, When the pulses of air rest,

And, waking him ere day, said: “Here is And all things lie dreaming

gold; In drowsy haze steaming

My swiftest horse is saddled for thy flight; From the wood's glowing embers, Départ before the prying day grow bold.” Then, sometimes, unheeding,

As one lamp lights another, nor grows And asking not whither,

less, By a sweet inward leading

So nobleness enkindleth nobleness. My feet are drawn thither, And, looking with awe in the magical That inward light the stranger's face made mirror,

grand, I see through my tears,

Which shines from all self-conquest; kneelHalf doubtful of seeing,

ing low, The face unperverted,

He bowed his forehead upon Yussouf's The warm golden being

hand, Of a child of five years;

Sobbing: “O Sheik, I cannot leave thee And spite of the mists and the error,

so; And the days overcast,

I will repay thee; all this thou hast done Can feel that I walk undeserted, Unto that İbrahim who slew thy son!” But forever attended By the glad heavens that bended “Take thrice the gold,” said Yussouf, " for O'er the innocent past;

with thee Toward fancy or truth

Into the desert, never to return, Doth the sweet vision win me ? My one black thought shall ride away from Dare I think that I cast

me ;

peace !”

First-born, for whom by day and night I yearn,

WHAT RABBI JEHOSHA SAID Balanced and just are all of God's decrees;

Originally written for a Fair in St. Louis. Thou art avenged, my first-born, sleep in

RABBI JEHOSHA used to say
That God made angels every day,

Perfect as Michael and the rest
THE DARKENED MIND First brooded in creation's nest,

Whose only office was to cry
The fire is burning clear and blithely, Hosanna! once, and then to die;
Pleasantly whistles the winter wind; Or rather, with Life's essence blent,
We are about thee, thy friends and kin- To be led home from banishment.

dred,
On us all flickers the firelight kind;

Rabbi Jehosha had the skill There thou sittest in thy wonted corner To know that Heaven is in God's will; Lone and awful in thy darkened mind. And doing that, though for a space

One heart-beat long, may win a grace There thou sittest; now and then thou As full of grandeur and of glow moanest;

As Princes of the Chariot know.
Thou dost talk with what we cannot see,
Lookest at us with an eye so doubtful, 'T were glorious, no doubt, to be
It doth put us very far from thee;

One of the strong-winged Hierarchy, There thou sittest; we would fain be nigh To burn with Seraphs, or to shine thee,

With Cherubs, deathlessly divine; But we know that it can never be.

Yet I, perhaps, poor earthly clod,

Could I forget myself in God, We can touch thee, still we are no nearer; Could I but find my nature's clue Gather round thee, still thou art alone; Simply as birds and blossoms do, The wide chasm of reason is between us; And but for one rapt moment know Thou confutest kindness with a moan; 'T is Heaven must come, not we must We can speak to thee, and thou canst an

go, swer,

Shonld win my place as near the throne Like two prisoners through a wall of stone. As the pearl-angel of its zone,

And God would listen mid the throng
Hardest heart would call it very awful For my one breath of perfect song,
When thou look’st at us and seest — oh, That, in its simple human way,
what?

Said all the Host of Heaven could say.
If we move away, thou sittest gazing
With those vague eyes at the selfsame
spot,

ALL-SAINTS And thou mutterest, thy hands thou wringest,

ONE feast, of holy days the crest, Seeing something, — us thou seest not. I, though no Churchman, love to keep,

All-Saints, - the unknown good that rest Strange it is that, in this open bright- In God's still memory folded deep; ness,

The bravely dumb that did their deed, Thou shouldst sit in such a narrow cell;

And scorned to blot it with a name, Strange it is that thou shouldst be so lone- Men of the plain heroic breed,

That loved Heaven's silence more than Where those are who love thee all so

fame. well; Not so much of thee is left among us

Such lived not in the past alone, As the hum outliving the bushed bell.

But thread to-day the unheeding street,

some

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