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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 6 Than such music on the roads !
66 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
66 When the fire-fly hides its spot,
“ When the garden-voices fail " In the darkness thick and hot,
“ Shall another voice avail, 6. 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
Where I stood—the iron gate
once might have been, once only : We lodged in a street together, You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,
1, 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 !
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 fling 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.