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XIV. One dissertates, he is candid;

Two must discept,-has distinguished ; Three helps the couple, if ever yet man did ;

Four protests; Five makes a dart at the thing wished: Back to One, goes the case bandied.


says his

One say with a difference;

More of expounding, explaining !
All now is wrangle, abuse and vociferance;

Now there's a truce, all's subdued, self-restraining : Five, though, stands out all the stiffer hence.


One is incisive, corrosive;

Two retorts, nettled, curt, crepitant;
Three makes rejoinder, expansive, explosive ;

Four overbears them all, strident and strepitant :
Five ... O Danaides, O Sieve !


Now, they ply axes, and crowbars;

Now, they prick pins at a tissue
Fine as a skein of the casuist Escobar's

Worked on the bone of a lie. To what issue?
Where is our gain at the Two-bars ?


Est fuga, volvitur rota.

On we drift: where looms the dim port? One, Two, Three, Four, Five, contribute their quota;

Something is gained, if one caught but the importShow it us Hugues of Saxe-Gotha !


What with affirming, denying,

Holding, risposting, subjoining, All's like... it's like ... for an instance I'm trying ...

There ! See our roof, its gilt moulding and groining Under those spider-webs lying !


So your fugue broadens and thickens,

Greatens and deepens and lengthens, Till we exclaim—“But where 's music, the dickens ?

“ Blot ye the gold, while your spider-web strengthens " — Blacked to the stoutest of tickens ?"


I for man's effort am zealous :

Prove me such censure unfounded ! Seems it surprising a lover grows jealous

Hopes 't was for something, his organ pipes sounded, Tiring three boys at the bellows?


Is it your

moral of Life ? Such a web, simple and subtle, Weave we on earth here in impotent strife,

Backward and forward each throwing his shuttle, Death ending all with a knife ?


Over our heads truth and nature

Still our life's zigzags and dodges,
Ins and outs, weaving a new legislature-

God's gold just shining its last where that lodges,
Palled beneath man's usurpature.

So we o'ershroud stars and roses,

Cherub and trophy and garland ;
Nothings grow something which quietly closes

Heaven's earnest eye: not a glimpse of the far land Gets through our comments and glozes.


Ah but traditions, inventions,

(Say we and make up a visage) So many men with such various intentions,

Down the past ages, must know more than this age ! Leave we the web its dimensions !


Who thinks Hugues wrote for the deaf,

Proved a mere mountain in labour ? Better submit; try again ; what 's the clef?

'Faith, 't is no trifle for pipe and for taborFour flats, the minor in F.


Friend, your fugue taxes the finger :

Learning it once, who would lose it ? Yet all the while a misgiving will linger,

Truth 's golden o'er us although we refuse itNature, thro' cobwebs we string her.


Hugues! I advise meå pæna

(Counterpoint glares like a Gorgon) Bid One, Two, Three, Four, Five, clear the arena !

Say the word, straight I unstop the full-organ, Blare out the mode Palestrina.


While in the roof, if I'm right there,

. . Lo you, the wick in the socket ! Hallo, you sacristan, show us a light there !

Down it dips, gone like a rocket. What, you want, do you, to come unawares, Sweeping the church up for first morning-prayers, And find a poor devil has ended his cares At the foot of your rotten-runged rat-riddled stairs ?

Do I carry the moon in my pocket ?






Would that the structure brave, the manifold music I

build, Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to their work, Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as when

Solomon willed Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons that lurk, Man, brute, reptile, fly-alien of end and of aim, Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep

removed, Should rush into sight at once as he named the ineffable

Name, And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the princess

he loved !


Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful building of

mine, This which my keys in a crowd pressed and impor

tuned to raise ! Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart now and

now combine, Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their master his praise !

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