Слике страница


And they who do their souls no wrong,

But keep at eve the faith of morn, Sball daily hear the angel-song,

“ To-day the Prince of Peace is born!”



SILENCIOSO por la puerta
Voy de su casa desierta
Do siempre feliz entré,
Y la encuentro en vano abierta
Cual la boca de una muerta
Despues que el alma se fué.




The Church of the Disciples in Boston was under the ministration of the Reverend James Freeman Clarke. “What means this glory round our feet,” The Magi mused, “more bright than

morn ?And voices chanted clear and sweet,

“ To-day the Prince of Peace is born !”

OFT round my hall of portraiture I gaze, By Memory reared, the artist wise and

holy, From stainless quarries of deep - buried

days. There, as I muse in soothing melancholy, Your faces glow in more than mortal youth, Companions of my prime, now vanished

wholly, The loud, impetuous boy, the low-voiced

maiden, Now for the first time seen in flawless truth. Ah, never master that drew mortal breath Can match thy portraits, just and generous

Death, Whose brush with sweet regretful tints is

laden! Thou paintest that which struggled here

below Half understood, or understood for woe, And with a sweet forewarning Mak'st round the sacred front an aureole

glow Woven of that light that rose on Easter


[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

'T is eighteen hundred years and more

Since those sweet oracles were dumb; We wait for Him, like them of yore;

Alas, He seems so slow to come!

But it was said, in words of gold

No time or sorrow e'er shall dim, That little children might be bold

In perfect trust to come to Him.

PAOLO TO FRANCESCA I was with thee in Heaven: I cannot tell If years or moments, so the sudden bliss, When first we found, then lost, us in a kiss, Abolished Time, abolished Earth and Hell, Left only Heaven. Then from our blue

there fell The dagger's flash, and did not fall amiss, For nothing now can rob my life of this, That once with thee in Heaven, all else is

well. Us, undivided when man's vengeance came, God's half - forgives that doth not here

divide; And, were this bitter whirl-blast fanged

with flame, To me 't were summer, we being side by

side: This granted, I God's mercy will not blame, For, given thy nearness, nothing is denied.

All round about our feet shall shine

A light like that the wise men saw, If we our loving wills incline

To that sweet Life which is the Law.

So shall we learn to understand

The simple faith of shepherds then, And, clasping kindly hand in hand, Sing, “Peace on earth, good - will to

men !”



Yet not to thee belong these painless tears, Land loved ere seen: before my darkened

eyes, From far beyond the waters and the years, Horizons mute that wait their poet rise; The stream before me fades and disappears, And in the Charles the western splendor






The following letter to Mr. Howells, then editor of The Atlantic Monthly, in which this sonnet was printed, is a little out of proportion as a head-note to a poem of fourteen lines, but it is too characteristic and too indicative of Lowell's extreme solicitude over his verse to be omitted. “ There was one verse in the Border sonnet which, when I came to copy it, worried me with its lack of just what I wanted. Only one ? you will say. Yes, all ; but never mind — this one most. Instead of

• Where the shy ballad could its leaves unfold' read 'dared its blooms.' I had liefer 'cup,' but cup is already metaphoric when applied to flowers, and Bottom the Weaver would be sure to ask in one of the many journals he edits — How unfold a cup ? Does he mean one of those pocket drinking-cups — leathern inconveniences that always stick when you try to unfold 'em?' Damn Bottom! We ought not to think of him, but then the Public is made up of him, and I wish him to know that I was thinking of a flower. Besides, the sonnet is, more than any other kind of verse, a deliberate composition, and susceptible of a high polish," as the dendrologists say of the woods of certain trees. Or shall we say 'grew in secret bold'? I write both on the opposite Leaf, that you may choose one to paste over and not get the credit of tinkering my rhymes.

dared its blooms

grew in secret bold. Perhaps, after all, it is the buzzing of that b in blooms and bold, answering his brother l in ballads that b-witched me, and merely changing could' to 'dared' is all that is wanted. The sentiment of this sonnet pleases me.” As sinks the sun behind yon alien hills Whose heather-purpled slopes, in glory

rolled, Flush all my thought with momentary

gold, What

pang of vague regret my fancy

thrills? Here 't is enchanted ground the peasant

tills, Where the shy ballad dared its blooms un

fold, And memory's glamour makes new sights

seem old, As when our life some vanished dream


AMID these fragments of heroic days
When thought met deed with mutual pas-

sion's leap, There sits a Fame whose silent trump makes

cheap What short-lived rumor of ourselves we

raise. They had far other estimate of praise Who stamped the signet of their souls so

deep In art and action, and whose memories

keep Their height like stars above our misty

ways: In this grave presence to record my name Something within me hangs the head and

shrinks. Dull were the soul without some joy in

fame; Yet here to claim remembrance were, me

thinks, Like him who, in the desert's awful frame, Notches his cockney initials on the Sphinx.


Far over Elf-land poets stretch their sway, And win their dearest crowns beyond the

goal Of their own conscious purpose; they con

trol With gossamer

threads wide-flown our fancy's play, And so our action. On my walk to-day, A wallowing bear begged clumsily his toll, When straight a vision rose of Atta Troll, And scenes ideal witched mine eyes away. “ Merci, Mossieu ! the astonished bear

ward cried, Grateful for thrice his hope to me, the


Of partial memory, seeing at his side
A bear immortal. The glad dole I gave
Was none of inine; poor Heine o'er the

Atlantic welter stretched it from his grave.

With snow instead of birds, and all things

freeze. How much of all my past is dumb with

her, And of my future, too, for with her went Half of that world I ever cared to please !


DEATH OF QUEEN MERCEDES The Maple puts her corals on in May, While loitering frosts about the lowlands In a letter to his daughter from Madrid, cling,

July 26, 1878, Lowell wrote of Queen MerTo be in tune with what the robins sing,

cedes : Anything more tragic than the cirPlastering new log-huts 'mid her branches cumstances of her death it would be hard to

imagine. She was actually receiving extreme gray; But when the Autumn southward turns

unction while the guns were firing in honor of

her eighteenth birthday, and four days later away,

we saw her dragged to her dreary tomb at the Then in her veins burns most the blood of

Escorial, followed by the coach and its eight Spring,

white horses in which she had driven in triAnd every leaf, intensely blossoming, umph from the church to the palace on the Makes the year's sunset pale the set of day of her wedding. The poor brutes tossed day.

their snowy plumes as haughtily now as then. O Youth unprescient, were it only so

Her death is really a great public loss. She With trees you plant, and in whose shade

was amiable, intelligent, and simple — not reclined,

beautiful but good-looking — and was already

becoming popular.” Thinking their drifting blooms Fate's coldest snow,

HERS all that Earth could promise or beYou carve dear names upon the faithful

stow, rind,

Youth, Beauty, Love, a crown, the beckonNor in that vernal stem the cross fore

ing years, know

Lids never wet, unless with joyous tears, That Age shall bear, silent, yet unre

A life remote from every sordid woe,
signed !

And by a nation's swelled to lordlier flow.
What lurking-place, thought we, for doubts

or fears,

When, the day's swan, she swam along the

cheers WHILE the slow clock, as they were miser's Of the Alcalá, five happy months ago ? gold,

The guns were shouting Io Hymen then Counts and recounts the mornward steps of That, on her birthday, now denounce her Time,

doom; The darkness thrills with conscience of The same white steeds that tossed their each crime

scorn of men By Death committed, daily grown more To-day as proudly drag her to the tomb. bold.

Grim jest of fate! Yet who dare call it Once more the list of all my wrongs is blind, told,

Knowing what life is, what our humanAnd ghostly hands stretch to me from my

kind ? prime Helpless farewells, as from an alien clime;

PRISON OF CERVANTES For each new loss redoubles all the old. This morn 't was May; the blossoms were Seat of all woes ? Though Nature's firm astir

decree With southern wind; but now the boughs The narrowing soul with narrowing dun

are bent

geon bind,

time gone;

Yet was his free of motion as the wind, Than that what pleased him earliest still And held both worlds, of spirit and sense,

should please: in fee.

And who bath incomes safe from chance as In charmed communion with his dual mind

these, He wandered Spain, himself both knight Gone in a moment, yet for life his own ? and hind,

All other gold is slave of earthward laws; Redressing wrongs he knew must ever be. This to the deeps of ether takes its flight, His humor wise could see life's long de- And on the topmost leaves makes glorious ceit,

pause Man's baffled aims, nor therefore both de- Of parting pathos ere it yield to night: spise;

So linger, as from me earth's light withHis knightly nature could ill fortune greet

draws, Like an old friend. Whose ever such kind Dear touch of Nature, tremulously bright!

eyes That pierced so deep, such scope, save his whose feet

PESSIMOPTIMISM By Avon ceased 'neath the same April's skies ?

Ye little think wbat toil it was to build

A world of men imperfect even as this, TO A LADY PLAYING ON THE

Where we conceive of Good by what we CITHERN


Of Ill by that wherewith best days are So dreamy-soft the notes, so far away

filled; They seem to fall, the horns of Oberon A world whose every atom is self-willed, Blow their faint Hunt's-up from the good- Whose corner-stone is propt on artifice,

Whose joy is shorter-lived than woman's Or, on a morning of long-withered May,

kiss, Larks tinkle unseen o'er Claudian arches Whose wisdom hoarded is but to be gray,

spilled. That Romeward crawl from Dreamland; | Yet this is better than a life of caves, and anon

Whose highest art was scratching on My fancy flings her cloak of Darkness on,

bone, To vanish from the dungeon of To-day. Or chipping toilsome arrowheads of Aint; In happier times and scenes I seem to Better, though doomed to hear while Cleon

be, And, as her fingers flutter o'er the strings, To see wit's want eterned in paint or The days return when I was young as she,

stone, And my fledged thoughts began to feel And wade the drain-drenched shoals of their wings

daily print. With all Heaven's blue before them:

Or Music is it such enchantment sings ?


What countless years and wealth of brain THE EYE'S TREASURY

were spent

To bring us hither from our caves and Gold of the reddening sunset, backward huts, thrown

And trace through pathless wilds the deepIn largess on my tall paternal trees,

worn ruts Thou with false hope or fear didst never Of faith and habit, by whose deep intease

dent His heart that hoards thee; nor is child- Prudence may guide if genius be not lent, hood flown

Genius, not always happy when it shuts From him whose life no fairer boon bath Its ears against the plodder's ifs and known



[blocks in formation]

Time away


not gray,

Drag their funereal steps with muffled

head ? Through thee, meseems, the very rose is

red, From thee the violet steals its breath in

May, From thee draw life all things that grow And by thy force the happy stars are sped. Thou near, the hope of thee to overflow Fills all my earth and heaven, as when in Ere April come, the birds and blossoms

know, And grasses brighten round her feet to

cling; Nay, and this hope delights all nature so That the dumb turf I tread on seems to


DAPHNIS waiting “ O DRYAD feet, Be doubly fleet, Timed to my heart's expectant beat While I await her! At four,' vowed she; 'T is scarcely three, Yet by my time it seems to be A good hour later !"

CHLOE “ Bid me not stay! Hear reason, pray

! 'T is striking six ! Sure never day Was short as this is !”


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

DAPHNIS “ Reason nor rhyme

Is in the chime !
It can't be five ; I've scarce bad time
To beg two kisses !

Early or late,
When lovers wait,
And Love's watch gains, if Time a gait
So snail-like chooses,
Why should his feet
Become more fleet
Than cowards' are, when lovers meet
And Love's watch loses ?

« ПретходнаНастави »