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II

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.

III

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.

IV

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.

V

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.

VI

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 -

VII

" 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.”

VIII

66

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 !

IX

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

X

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 ?

XI

“ 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?"

XII

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 !

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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.

II

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.”

III

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.

V

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.

VI

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.

VII

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.

VIII

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 :

IX

For spring bade the sparrows pair,

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

With bulrush and watercresses.

X

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?

XI

I did look, sharp as a lynx,

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

Tripped up stairs, she and her ankles.

XII

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?"

XIII

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 ?

XIV

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.

XV

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.

XVI

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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