Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Carved with some fragment of the law,
Which, set in life's uneven 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. 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 labour long, The highways of our daily thought ? Who reared those towers of earliest song That lift us from the throng to peace Remote in sunny silences ? Out clanged the Ave Mary bells, And to my heart this message came : Each clamourous throat among them tells What strong-souled martyrs died in flame To make it possible that thou Shouldst here with brother sinners bow. Thoughts that great hearts once broke for, we 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. llenceforth, when rings the health to those Who live in story and in song, O nameless dead, who now repose

Safe in Oblivion's chambers strong,
One cup of recognition true
Shall silently be drained to you !

WITHOUT AND WITHIN.

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.
He thinks how happy is my arm

’Neath its white-gloved and jewelled load ; And wishes me some dreadful harm,

Hearing the merry corks explode. Meanwhile I inly curse the bore

Of hunting still the same old coon, And envy him, outside the door,

In golden quiets of the moon. The winter wind is not so cold

As the bright smile he sees me win, Nor the host's oldest wine so old

As our poor gabble sour and thin. I envy him the ungyved prance

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

The galley-slave of dreary forms. O, could he have my share of din,

And I his quiet !- past a doubt 'Twould still be one man bored within,

And just another bored without,

GODMINSTER CHIMES.
WRITTEN IN AID OF A CHIME OF BELLS FOR

CHRIST CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE.
GODMINSTER? Is it Fancy's play?

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

Whether 'twas dreamed or heard.
Yet fragrant in my mind it clings

As blossoms after rain,
And builds of half 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 heaven have learned
That all paths to the Father lead

Where Self the feet have spurned.
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,
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.
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 here My Son in heaven !

THE PARTING OF THE WAYS. Who hath not been a poet ? Who hath not, With life's new quiver full of winged years, Shot at a venture, and then, following on, Stood doubtful at the Parting of the Ways ? There once I stood in dream, and as I paused, Looking this way and that, came forth to me

figure of a woman veiled, that said, “My name is Duty, turn and follow me; Something there was that chilled me in her voice ; I felt Youth's hand grow slack and cold in mine, As if to be withdrawn, and I replied : O, leave the hot wild heart within my breast ! Duty comes soon enough, too soon comes Death : 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 bouglıs 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." 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,
Not only that, but, so it seeemed, shook out
All memory too, and all the moonlit past,
Old loves, old aspirations, and old dreams,
More beautiful for being old and gone.
So we too went together ; downward sloped
The path through yellow meads, or so I dreamed,
Yellow with sunshine and young green, but I
Saw naught nor heard, shut up in one close joy ;
I only felt the hand within my own,
Transmuting all my blood to golden fire,
Dissolving all my brain in throbbing mist.
Suddenly shrank the hand; suddenly burst
A cry that split the torpor of my brain,
And as the first sharp thrust of lightning loosens
From the heaped cloud its rain, loosened my sense :
“ Save me !" it thrilled : “O, hide me! there is Death !
Death the divider, the unmerciful,
That digs his pitfalls under Love and Youth
And covers Beauty up in the cold ground ;
Horrible Death ! bringer of endless dark ;
Let him not see me ! hide me in thy breast !”
Thereat I strove to clasp her, but my arms
Met only what slipped crumbling down, and fell,
A handful of gray ashes, at my feet.
I would have fled, I would have followed back
That pleasant path we came, but all was changed ;
Rocky the way, abrupt, and hard to find ;
Yet I toiled on, and, toiling on, I thought,
“That way lies Youth, and Wisdom, and all Good ;
For only by unlearning Wisdom comes
And climbing backward to diviner Youth :
What the world teaches profits to the world,
What the soul teaches profits to the soul,
Which then first stands erect with Godward face,
When she lets fall her pack of withered facts,
The gleanings of the outward eye and ear,
And looks and listens with her finer sense :
Nor Truth nor Knowledge cometh from without.”
After long weary days I stood again

« ПретходнаНастави »