Слике страница

Had I said that, had I done this,
So might I gain, so might I miss.
Might she have loved me? just as well
She might have hated, who can tell !
Where had I been now if the worst befell?

And here we are riding, she and I.


Fail I alone, in words and deeds ?
Why, all men strive and who succeeds ?
We rode ; it seemed my spirit flew,
Saw other regions, cities new,

As the world rushed by on either side.
I thought,-All labour, yet no less
Bear up beneath their unsuccess.
Look at the end of work, contrast
The petty done, the undone vast,
This present of theirs with the hopeful past !

I hoped she would love me; here we ride.


What hand and brain went ever paired ? What heart alike conceived and dared ? What act proved all its thought had been ? What will but felt the fleshly screen ?

We ride and I see her bosom heave. There 's many a crown for who can reach. Ten lines, a statesman's life in each ! The flag stuck on a heap of bones, A soldier's doing! what atones? They scratch his name on the Abbey-stones.

My riding is better, by their leave.


What does it all mean, poet? Well,
Your brains beat into rhythm, you tell

What we felt only ; you expressed
You hold things beautiful the best,

And pace them in rhyme so, side by side.
'T is something, nay 't is much : but then,
Have you yourself what 's best for men ?
Are you-poor, sick, old ere your time-
Nearer one whit your own sublime
Than we who have never turned a rhyme ?

Sing, riding 's a joy! For me, I ride.


And you, great sculptor-50, you gave
A score of years to Art, her slave,
And that 's your Venus, whence we turn
To yonder girl that fords the burn !

You acquiesce, and shall I repine ?
What, man of music, you grown grey
With notes and nothing else to say,
Is this your sole praise from a friend,

Greatly his opera's strains intend, “ But in music we know how fashions end !”

I gave my youth ; but we ride, in fine.

[ocr errors]

Who knows what 's fit for us? Had fate
Proposed bliss here should sublimate
My being—had I signed the bond-
Still one must lead some life beyond,

Have a bliss to die with, dim-descried.
This foot once planted on the goal,
This glory-garland round my soul,
Could I descry such ? Try and test !
I sink back shuddering from the quest.
Earth being so good, would heaven seem best?

Now, heaven and she are beyond this ride.


And yet-she has not spoke so long! What if heaven be that, fair and strong At life's best, with our eyes upturned Whither life's flower is first discerned,

We, fixed so, ever should so abide ? What if we still ride on, we two, With life for ever old yet new, Changed not in kind but in degree, The instant made eternity,– And heaven just prove that I and she

Ride, ride together, forever ride?

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


And the spider, to serve his ends,

By a sudden thread,

Arms and legs outspread, On the table's midst descends, Comes to find, God knows what friends !

If since eve drew in, I say,

I have sat and brought

(So to speak) my thought To bear on the woman away, Till I felt my hair turn grey


Till I seemed to have and hold,

In the vacancy

'Twixt the wall and me From the hair-plait's chestnut-gold To the foot in its muslin fold

Have and hold, then and there,

Her, from head to foot,

Breathing and mute,
Passive and yet aware,
In the grasp of my steady stare-


Hold and have, there and then,

All her body and soul

That completes my whole,
All that women add to men,
In the clutch of my steady ken-


Having and holding, till

I imprint her fast

On the void at last
As the sun does whom he will
By the calotypist's skill---


Then,-if my heart's strength serve,

And through all and each

Of the veils I reach
To her soul and never swerve,
Knitting an iron nerve-


Command her soul to advance

And inform the shape

Which has made escape And before my countenance Answers me glance for glance


I, still with a gesture fit

Of my hands that best

Do my soul's behest, Pointing the power from it, While myself do steadfast sit


Steadfast and still the same

On my object bent,

While the hands give vent To my ardour and my aim And break into very flame

« ПретходнаНастави »