Слике страница
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

And through the sod hears throbbing slow

The muffled marches.
O Duty, am I dead to thee
In this my cloistered ecstasy,
In this lone shallop on the sea

That drifts tow'rd Silence ?
And are those visioned shores I see

But sirens' islands?
My Dante frowns with lip-locked mien,
As who would say, “ 'Tis those, I ween,
Whom lifelong armour-chafe makes lean

That win the laurel ;'
But where is Truth? What does it mean,

The world-old quarrel ?
Such questionings are idle air :
Leave what to do and what to spare
To the inspiring moment's care,

Nor ask for payment
Of fame or gold, but just to wear

Unspotted raiment.



Fit for an Abbot of Theleme,

For the whole Cardinal's College or
The Pope himself to see in dream
Before his lenten vision gleam,

He lies there, the sogdologer !
His precious flanks with stars besprent,

Worthy to swim in Castaly !
The friend by whom such gifts are sent,
For him shall bumpers full be spent,

His health ! be Luck his fast ally!
I see him trace the wayward brook

Amid the forest mysteries,
Where at their shades shy aspens look,
Or where, with many a gurgling crook,

It croons its woodland histories.
I see leaf-shade and sunfleck lend

Their tremulous, sweet vicissitude To smooth, dark pool, to crinkling berd,

(O, stew him, Ann, as't were your friend,

With amorous solicitude !)
I see him step with caution due,

Soft as if shod with moccasins,
Grave as in church, for who plies yoil,
Sweet craft, is safe as in a pew

From all our common stock o'sins. The unerring fly I see him cast,

That as a rose-leaf falls as soft, A flash ! a whirl ! he has him fast ! We tyros, how that struggle last

Confuses and appalls us oft. Unfluttered he : calm as the sky

Looks on our tragi-comedies, This way and that he lets him fly, A sunbeam-shuttle, then to die

Lands him, with cool aplomb, at ease. The friend who gave our board such gust,

Life's care may he o'erstep it half, And, when Death hooks him, as he must, He'll do it handsomely, I trust,

And John H- write his epitaph!
O, born beneath the Fishes' sign,

Of constellations happiest,
May he somewhere with Walton dine,
May Horace send him Massic wine,

And Burns Scotch drink, the nappiest ! And when they come his deeds to weigh,

And how he used the talents his, One trout-scale in the scales he'll lay (If trout had scales), and 'twill outsway

The wrong side of the balances.


SPIRIT, that rarely comest now

And only to contrast my gloom,

Like rainbow-feathered birds that bloom A moment on some autumn bough That, with the spurn of their farewell, Sheds its last leaves,-thou once did'st dwell

With me year-long, and make intense To boyhood's wisely vacant days

Their fleet but all-sufficing grace

Of trustful inexperience,

While soul could still transfigure sense,
And thrill, as with love's first caress,
At life's mere unexpectedness.
Days when


blood would leap and run As full of sunshine as a breeze,

Or spray tossed up by Summer seas

That doubts if it be sea or sun ! Days that flew swiftly like the band

That played in Grecian games at strife, And passed from eager hand to hand

The onward-dancing torch of life! Wing-footed ! thou abid'st with him

Who asks it not; but he who hath

Watched o'er the waves thy waning path, Shall nevermore behold returning Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward yearning! Thou first reveal'st to us thy face îured o'er the shoulder's parting grace,

A moment glimpsed, then seen no more, — Thou whose swift footsteps we can trace

Away from every mortal door. Nymph of the unreturning feet,

How may I win thee back? But no,

I do thee wrong to call thee so;
'Tis I am changed, not thou art fleet :
The man thy presence feels again,
Not in the blood, but in the brain,
Spirit, that lov'st the upper air
Serene and passionless and rare,

Such as on mountain heights we find

And wide-viewed uplands of the mind ;
Or such as scorns to coil and sing
Round any but the eagle's wing

Of souls that with long upward beat

Have won an undisturbed retreat Where, poised like winged victories, They mirror in relentless eyes

The life broad-basking 'neath their feet,Man ever with his Now at strise,

Pained with first gasps of earthly air,

Then praying Death the last to spare,
Still fearful of the ampler life.
Not unto them dost thou consent

Who, passionless, can lead at ease

A life of unalloyed content

A life like that of land-locked seas,
That feel no elemental gush
Of tidal forces, no flerce rush

Of storm deep-grasping scarcely spent

'Twixt continent and continent. Such quiet souls have never known

Thy truer inspirations, thou

Who lov’st to feel upon thy brow Spray from the plunging vessel thrown

Grazing the tusked lee shore, the cliff That o'er the abrupt gorge holds its breathi,

Where the frail hair-breadth of an if Is all that sunders life and death : These, too, are cared-for, and round these Bends her mild crook thy sister Peace ;

These in unvexed dependence lie,

Each 'neath his strip of household sky; O'er these clouds wander, and the blue Hangs motionless the whole day through :

Stars rise for them, and moons grow largo And lessen in such tranquil wise As joys and sorrows do that rise

Within their nature's sheltered marge ; Their hours into each other flit

Like the leaf-shadows of the vine And fig-tree under which they sit,

And their still lives to heaven incline With an unconscious habitude,

Unhistoried as smokes that rise From happy hearths and sight elude

In kindred blue of morning skies.

Wayward ! when once we feel thy lack,
'Tis worse than vain to woo thee back!

Yet there is one who seems to be
Thine elder sister, in whose eyes
A saint far northern light will rise

Sometimes, and bring a dream of thee;
She is not that for which youth hoped,

But she hath blessings all her own,
Thoughts pure as lilies newly oped,

And faith to sorrow given alone ;
Almost I deem that it is thou !
Come back with graver matron brow,

With deepened eyes and bated breath,
Like one that somewhere hath met Death,
But “No," she answers, “I am she
Whom the gods love, Tranquillity :

That other whom you seek forlorn

Half earthly was ; but I am born
Of the immortals, and our race
Wear still some sadness on our face :

He wins me late, but keeps me long, Who, dowered with every gift of passion, In that fierce flame can forge and fashion

Of sin and self the anchor strong ;
Can thence compel the driving force
Of daily life's mechanic course,
Nor less the nobler energies
Of needful toil and culture wise ;
Whose soul is worth the tempter's lure
Who can renounce, and yet endure,
To him I come, not lightly wooer,
But won by silent fortitude."


WAIT a little : do we not wait?
Louis Napoleon is not Fate,
Francis Joseph is not Time;
There's One hath swifter feet than Crime ;
Cannon-parliaments settle naught;
Venice is Austria's,—whose is Thought?
Minié is good, but, spite of change,
Gutenberg's gun has the longest range.

Spin, spin, Clotho, spin !
Lachesis, twist ! and Atropos, sever !
In the shadow, year out, year in,

The silent headsman waits for ever.
Wait, we say : our years are long;
Men are weak, but Man is strong ;
Since the stars first curved their rings,
We have looked on many things;
Great wars come and great wars go,
Wolf-tracks light on polar snow;
We shall see him come and gone,
This second-hand Napoleon.

Spin, Clotho, spin !
Lachesis, twist ! and Atropos, sever !
In the shadow, year out, year in,
The silent headsman waits for ever.

« ПретходнаНастави »