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A spider had spun his web across,
And sate in the midst with arms a-kimbo: So, I took pity, for learning's sake,
And, de profundis, accentibus lætis, Cantate! quoth I, as I got a rake,
And up I fished his delectable treatise.
With all the binding all of a blister,
And reddish streaks that wink and glister
Oh, well have the droppings played their tricks! Did he guess how toadstools grow, this fellow?
Here's one stuck in his chapter six!
Tickled and toused and browsed him all over, And worm, slug, eft, with serious features,
Came in, each one, for his right of trover; When the water-beetle with great blind deaf face
Made of her eggs the stately deposit, And the newt borrowed just so much of the preface
As tiled in the top of his black wife's closet. All that life, and fun, and romping,
All that frisking, and twisting, and coupling, While slowly our poor friend's leaves were
swamping, And clasps were cracking, and covers suppling! As if you had carried sour John Knox
To the play-house at Paris, Vienna, or Munich, Fastened him into a front-row box, And danced off the Ballet with trousers and
tunic. Come, old Martyr! What, torment enough is it? Back to my room shall you take your sweet
Good-bye, mother-beetle; husband-eft, sufficit!
See the snug niche I have made on my shelf: A.'s book shall prop you up, B.'s shall cover you,
Here's C. to be grave with, or D. to be gay, And with E. on each side, and F. right over you,
Dry-rot at ease till the Judgment-day!
[Ancien Régime] N OW that I, tying thy glass mask tightly, W May gaze thro’ these faint smokes curling
whitely, As thou pliest thy trade in this devil's-smithyWhich is the poison to poison her, prithee? He is with her; and they know that I know Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears
flow While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the
drear Empty church, to pray God in, for them!—I am here. Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste, Pound at thy powder,- I am not in haste! Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things, Than go where men wait me and dance at the King's. That in the mortar-you call it a gum? Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come! And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue, Sure to taste sweetly,—is that poison too? Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures, What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures! To carry pure death in an earring, a casket, A signet, a fan-mount, a fillagree-basket!
Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give
fall, Shrivelled; she fell not; yet this does it all! Not that I bid you spare her the pain! Let death be felt and the proof remain; Brand, burn up, bite into its graceHe is sure to remember her dying face! Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose, It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close: The delicate droplet, my whole fortune's feeIf it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me? Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill, You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will ! But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings Ere I know it-next moment I dance at the King's!
[Spain] IT is a lie—their Priests, their Pope, I Their Saints, their ... all they fear or hope Are lies, and lies—there! thro' my door And ceiling, there! and walls and floor, There, lies, they lie, shall still be hurled, Till spite of them I reach the world! You think Priests just and holy men! Before they put me in this den, I was a human creature too, With flesh and blood like one of you, A girl that laughed in beauty's pride Like lilies in your world outside. I had a lover—shame avaunt! This poor wrenched body, grim and gaunt, Was kissed all over till it burned, By lips the truest, love e'er turned His heart's own tint: one night they kissed My soul out in a burning mist. So, next day when the accustomed train Of things grew round my sense again, “That is a sin," I said—and slow With downcast eyes to church I go, And pass to the confession-chair, And tell the old mild father there. But when I faulter Beltran's name, “Ha?" quoth the father:“much I blame “The sin; yet wherefore idly grieve ? “Despair not, -strenuously retrieve! “Nay, I will turn this love of thine “To lawful love, almost divine. “For he is young, and led astray, “This Beltran, and he schemes, men say,
“To change the laws of church and state;
“For, when he lies upon thy breast, “Thou mayst demand and be possessed “Of all his plans, and next day steal “To me, and all those plans reveal, “That I and every priest, to purge “His soul, may fast and use the scourge." That father's beard was long and white, With love and truth his brow seemed I went back, all on fire with joy, And, that same evening, bade the boy, Tell me, as lovers should, heart-free, Something to prove his love of me. He told me what he would not tell For hope of heaven or fear of Hell; And I lay listening in such pride, And, soon as he had left my side, Tripped to the church by morning-light To save his soul in his despite. I told the father all his schemes, Who were his comrades, what their dreams; “And now make haste," I said, “to pray “The one spot from his soul away; “To-night he comes, but not the same “Will look!” At night he never came. Nor next night: on the after-morn, I went forth with a strength new-born: The church was empty; something drew My steps into the street; I knew It led me to the market-placeWhere, lo,-on high-the father's face!