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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.
One say with a difference;
More of expounding, explaining !
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;
Four overbears them all, strident and strepitant :
Now, they ply axes, and crowbars;
Now, they prick pins at a tissue
Worked on the bone of a lie. To what issue?
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,
God's gold just shining its last where that lodges,
Cherub and trophy and garland ;
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 ?
(AFTER HE HAS BEEN EXTEMPORIZING UPON THE
MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF HIS INVENTION.)
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 !