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Not a twinkle from the fly,

Not a glimmer from the worm.. When the crickets stopped their cry,

When the owls forbore a term, You heard music; that was I.

Earth turned in her sleep with pain,

Sultrily suspired for proof :
In at heaven and out again,

Lightning !-where it broke the roof, Bloodlike, some few drops of rain.


What they could my words expressed,

O my love, my all, my one ! Singing helped the verses best,

And when singing's best was done, To my lute I left the rest.

So wore night; the East was gray,

White the broad-faced hemlock flowers : There would be another day;

Ere its first of heavy hours Found me, I had passed away.

What became of all the hopes,

Words and song and lute as well ?
Say, this struck you : “When life gropes

“Feebly for the path where fell “ Light last on the evening slopes,


“ One friend in that path shall be,

“ To secure my step from wrong ; “ One to count night day for me,

“ Patient through the watches long, “ Serving most with none to see.”


Never say—as something bodes

“So, the worst has yet a worse ! “ When life halts 'neath double loads,

“ Better the task-master's curse “ Than such music on the roads !


“When no moon succeeds the sun,

“ Nor can pierce the midnight's tent “ Any star, the smallest one,

“While some drops, where lightning rent: “ Show the final storm begun


“ When the fire-fly hides its spot,

“ When the garden-voices fail “ In the darkness thick and hot,

“ Shall another voice avail, " That shape be where these are not?


“ Has some plague a longer lease,

“ Proffering its help uncouth? “ Can't one even die in peace?

“ As one shuts one's eye on youth, 6 Is that face the last one sees?"


Oh how dark your villa was,

Windows fast and obdurate !
How the garden grudged me grass

Where I stood—the iron gate
Ground its teeth to let me pass !


It once might have been, once only:

We lodged in a street together,
You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,

I, a lone she-bird of his feather.

Your trade was with sticks and clay,

You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished Then laughed “ They will see, some day, “ Smith made, and Gibson demolished.”


My business was song, song, song ;

I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered, “Kate Brown's on the boards ere long,

“ And Grisi's existence embittered !

• IV I earned no more by a warble

Than you by a sketch in plaster; You wanted a piece of marble,

I needed a music-master.

We studied hard in our styles,

Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos, For air, looked out on the tiles,

For fun, watched each other's windows.


You lounged, like a boy of the South, . Cap and blouse--nay, a bit of beard too ; Or you got it, rubbing your mouth

With fingers the clay adhered to.


And I-soon managed to find

Weak points in the flower-fence facing, Was forced to put up a blind

And be safe in my corset-lacing.


No harm! It was not my fault

If you never turned your eye's tail up As I shook upon E in alt.,

Or ran the chromatic scale up :


For spring bade the sparrows pair,

And the boys and girls gave guesses, And stalls in our street looked rare

With bulrush and watercresses.

Why did not you pinch a ficwer

In a pellet of clay and Aling it?
Why did not I put a power

Of thanks in a look, or sing it?

I did look, sharp as a lynx,

(And yet the memory rankles) When models arrived, some minx

Tripped up stairs, she and her ankles.


But I think I gave you as good!

“That foreign fellow,—who can know “How she pays, in a playful mood,

“For his tuning her that piano ?”


Could you say so, and never say

“Suppose we join hands and fortunes, “And I fetch her from over the way,

“Her, piano, and long tunes and short tunes ?"

No, no : you would not be rash,

Nor I rasher and something over :
You've to settle yet Gibson's hash,

And Grisi yet lives in clover.


But you meet the Prince at the Board,

I’m queen myself at bals-parés, I've married a rich old lord,

And you ’re dubbed knight and an R.A.

Each life's unfulfilled, you see ;

It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,

Starved, feasted, despaired,-been happy.

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