« ПретходнаНастави »
Then the excitement of the strife,
AN EMBER PICTURE.
How strange are the freaks of memory !
The lessons of life we forget, While a trifle, a trick of colour,
In the wonderful web is set,Set by some mordant of fancy,
And, spite of the wear and tear
Insists on its right to be there.
Our talk was of matters-of-course;
But a short half-hour's resource.
We spoke of French acting and actors,
And their easy, natural way: Of the weather, for it was raining
As we drove home from the play. We debated the social nothings
We bore ourselves so to discuss ; The thunderous rumours of battle
Were silent the while for us.
With a drippingly hurried adieu
Of the oak-darkened avenue,
The candle she held in the door
Flashed fainter, and flashed no more ;--
Before we had passed the wood ; But the light of the face behind it
Went with me and stayed for good. The vision of scarce a moment,
And hardly marked at the time, It comes unbidden to haunt me,
Like a scrap of ballad-rhyme. Had she beauty ? Well, not what they call so;
You may find a thousand as fair ; And yet there's her face in my memory
With no special claim to be there. As I sit sometimes in the twilight,
And call back to life in the coals Old faces and hopes and fancies
Long buried, (good rest to their souls !)
I see her holding the light,
And the sweep of the rain that night. 'Tis a face that can never grow older,
That never can part with its gleam, 'Tis a gracious possession for ever,
For is it not all a dream?
TO H. W. LONGFELLOW.
Where limpid verse to limpid verse succeeds Smooth as our Charles, when, fearing lest he wrong The new moon's mirrored skiff, he slides along,
Full without noise, and whispers in his reeds.
Is blown about the world, but to his friends
To murmur a God bless you! and there ends.
Wherein so much was given, so much was lost, Blessings in both kinds, such as cheapen tears, --But hush! this is not for profaner ears ;
Let them drink molten pearls nor dream the cost. Some suck up poison from a sorrow's core,
As naught but nightshade grew upon earth's ground Love turned all his to heart's-ease, and the more Fate tried his bastions, she but forced a door
Leading to sweeter manhood and more sound. Even as a wind-waved fountain's swaying shade
Seems of mixed race, a gray wraith shot with sun, So through his trial faith translucent rayed Till darkness, half disnatured so, betrayed
A heart of sunshine that would fain o'errun.
And of its purpose cheat the charmed abyss,
And the next age in praise shall double this.
As gracious natures find his song to be ; May Age steal on with softly-cadenced feet Falling in music, as for him were meet
Whose choicest verse is harsher-toned than he !
THE NIGHTINGALE IN THE STUDY. “Come forth !” my catbird calls to me,
“And hear me sing a cavatina
That, in this old familiar tree,
Shall hang a garden of Alcina. “These buttercups shall brim with wine
Beyond all Lesbian juice or Massic ; May not New England be divine ?
My ode to ripening summer classic ? “Or, if to me you will not hark,
By Beaver Brook a thrush is ringing Till all the alder-coverts dark
Seem sunshine-dappled with his singing. “Come out beneath the unmastered sky,
With its emancipating spaces,
Without premeditated graces.
Those withered leaves for ever turning,
A nature mummy-wrapt in learning ? “The leaves wherein true wisdom lies
On living trees the sun are drinking ; Those white clouds, drowsing through the skies,
Grew not so beautiful by thinking. “Come out! with me the oriole cries,
Escape the demon that pursues you !
Still hiding, farther onward wooes you."
Has poured from that syringa thicket
To which I hold a season-ticket, “ A season-ticket cheaply bought
With a dessert of pilfered berries, And who so oft my soul has caught
With morn and evening voluntaries, “Deem me not faithless, if all day
Among my dusty books I linger, No pipe, like thee, for June to play
With fancy-led, half-conscious finger. “A bird is singing in my brain
And bubbling o'er with mingled fancies, Gay, tragic, rapt, right heart of Spain
Fed with the sap of old romances.
“I ask no ampler skies than those
His magic music rears above me, No falser friends, no truer foes,
And does not Doña Clara love me? “Cloaked shapes, a twanging of guitars,
A rush of feet, and rapiers clashing, Then silence deep with breathless stars,
And overhead a white hand flashing. “O music of all moods and climes,
Vengeful, forgiving, sensuous, saintly, Where still, between the Christian chimes,
The moorish cymbal tinkles faintly? “O life borne lightly in the hand,
For friend or foe with grace Castilian ! O valley safe in Fancy's land,
Not tramped to mud yet by the million ! “Bird of to-day, thy songs are stale
To his, my singer of all weathers, My Calderon, my nightingale,
My Arab soul in Spanish feathers. “Ah, friend, these singers dead so long,
And still, God knows, in purgatory, Give its best sweetness to all song,
To Nature's self her better glory.”
IN THE TWILIGHT.
Men say the sullen instrument,
That, from the Master's bow,
With pangs of joy or woe, Feels music's soul through every fibre sent,
Whispers the ravished strings
Old summers in its memory glow ;
And mixes with its mood
Steeped every bough and cone ;