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Fronting her silent in the glass
Summon here," she suddenly said, “ Before the rest of my old self pass,
Him, the Carver, a hand to aid, “ Who fashions the clay no love will change, “ And fixes a beauty never to fade.
“ Let Robbia's craft so apt and strange
“ Arrest the remains of young and fair,
“ And rivet them while the seasons range.
“ Make me a face on the window there,
Waiting as ever, mute the while,
My love to pass below in the square !
“ And let me think that it may beguile
Dreary days which the dead must spend “ Down in their darkness under the aisle,
“ To say, "What matters it at the end ? « I did no more while my heart was warm "" Than does that image, my pale-faced friend.'
“ Where is the use of the lip's red charm,
“ The heaven of hair, the pride of the brow,
“ And the blood that blues the inside arm-
“ Unless we turn, as the soul knows how,
“ The earthly gift to an end divine ?
"A lady of clay is as good, I trow."
But long ere Robbia's cornice, fine
With flowers and fruits which leaves enlace,
Was set where now is the empty shrine-
(And, leaning out of a bright blue space,
As a ghost might lean from a chink of sky,
The passionate pale lady's face-
Eyeing ever, with earnest eye
And quick-turned neck at its breathless stretch,
Some one who ever is passing by-)
The Duke had sighed like the simplest wretch
In Florence, “ Youth—my dream escapes !
“ Will its record stay !” And he bade them fetch
Some subtle moulder of brazen shapes-
“ Can the soul, the will, die out of a man
“ Ere his body finds the grave that gapes ?
“ John of Douay shall effect my plan,
“ Set me on horseback here aloft,
Alive, as the crafty sculptor can,
“ In the very square I have crossed so oft :
“ That men may admire, when future suns
“ Shall touch the eyes to a purpose soft,
“ While the mouth and the brow stay brave in bronze-
“ Admire and say, 'When he was alive
" " How he would take his pleasure once!'
“ And it shall go hard but I contrive
“ To listen the while, and laugh in my tomb
“ At idleness which aspires to strive.”
So! While these wait the trump of doom,
How do their spirits pass, I wonder,
Nights and days in the narrow room?
Still, I suppose, they sit and ponder
What a gift life was, ages ago,
Six steps out of the chapel yonder.
Only they see not God, I know,
Nor all that chivalry of his,
The soldier-saints who, row on row,
Burn upward each to his point of bliss—
Since, the end of life being manifest,
He had burned his way thro' the world to this.
I hear you reproach, “But delay was best, “ For their end was a crime.”—Oh, a crime will do As well, I reply, to serve for a test,
Aș a virtue golden through and through,
Sufficient to vindicate itself
And prove its worth at a moment's view!
Must a game be played for the sake of pelf?
Where a button goes, 't were an epigram
To offer the stamp of the very Guelph.
The true has no value beyond the sham:
As well the counter as coin, I submit,
When your table 's a hat, and your prize, a dram.
Stake your counter as boldly every whit,
Venture as warily, use the same skill,
Do your best, whether winning or losing it,
If you choose to play !is my principle.
Let a man contend to the uttermost
For his life's set prize, be it what it will !
The counter, our lovers staked, was lost
As surely as if it were lawful coin :
And the sin I impute to each frustrate ghost
Is, the unlit lamp and the ungirt loin,
Though the end in sight was a vice, I say.
You of the virtue (we issue join)
How strive you? De te, fabula!
WHERE the quiet-coloured end of evening smiles,
Miles and miles,
On the solitary pastures where our sheep
Tinkle homeward thro' the twilight, stray or stop
As they crop-
Was the site once of a city great and gay,
(So they say)
Of our country's very capital, its prince,
Ages since, Held his court in, gathered councils, wielding far
Peace or war.
Now,—the country does not even boast a tree,
As you see,
To distinguish slopes of verdure, certain rills
From the hills
Intersect and give a name to, (else they run
Where the domed and daring palace shot its spires
Up like fires