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THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS OF HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
(From the PUBLISHER'S NOTE: "The present Household Edition of Mr. Longfellow's Poetical Writings . . . contains all his original verse that he wished to preserve, and all his translations except the Divina Commedia. The poems are printed as nearly as possible in chronological order . . . Boston, Autumn, 1902." Houghton Mifflin Company.)
CONTENTS. VOICES OF THE NIGHT. Prelude Hymn to the Night A Psalm of Life The Reaper and the Flowers The Light of Stars Footsteps of Angels Flowers The Beleaguered City Midnight Mass for the Dying Year EARLIER POEMS. An April Day Autumn Woods in Winter Hymn of the Moravian Nuns of Bethlehem Sunrise on the Hills The Spirit of Poetry Burial of the Minnisink L'Envoi BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS. The Skeleton in Armor The Wreck of the Hesperus The Village Blacksmith Endymion It is not Always May The Rainy Day God's-Acre To the River Charles Blind Bartimeus The Goblet of Life Maidenhood Excelsior POEMS ON SLAVERY. To William E. Channing The Slave's Dream The Good Part, that shall not be taken away The Slave in the Dismal Swamp The Slave singing at Midnight The Witnesses The Quadroon Girl The Warning THE SPANISH STUDENT. THE BELFRY OF BRUGES AND OTHER POEMS. Carillon The Belfry of Bruges A Gleam of Sunshine The Arsenal at Springfield Nuremberg The Norman Baron Rain In Summer To a Child The Occultation of Orion The Bridge To the Driving Cloud SONGS The Day Is done Afternoon in February To an Old Danish Song-Book Walter von der Vogelweid Drinking Song The Old Clock on the Stairs The Arrow and the Song SONNETS Mezzo Cammin The Evening Star Autumn Dante Curfew
EVANGELINE: A TALE OF ACADIE.
THE SEASIDE AND THE FIRESIDE. Dedication BY THE SEASIDE. The Building of the Ship Seaweed Chrysaor The Secret of the Sea Twilight Sir Humphrey Gilbert The Lighthouse The Fire of Drift-Wood BY THE FIRESIDE. Resignation The Builders Sand of the Desert In an Hour-Glass The Open Window King Witlaf's Drinking-Horn Gaspar Becerra Pegasus in Pound Tegner's Drapa Sonnet on Mrs. Kemble's Reading from Shakespeare The Singers Suspiria Hymn for my Brother's Ordination
THE SONG OF HIAWATHA. Introduction I. The Peace-Pipe II. The Four Winds III. Hiawatha's Childhood IV. Hiawatha and Madjekeewis V. Hiawatha's Fasting VI. Hiawatha's Friends VII. Hiawatha's Sailing VIII. Hiawatha's Fishing IX. Hiawatha and the Pearl-Feather X. Hiawatha's Wooing XI. Hiawatha's Wedding-Feast XII. The Son of the Evening Star XIII. Blessing the Cornfields XIV. Picture-Writing XV. Hiawatha's Lamentation XVI. Pau-Puk-Keewis XVII. The Hunting of Pau-Puk-Keewis XVIII. The Death of Kwasind XIX. The Ghosts XX. The Famine XXI. The White Man's Foot XXII. Hiawatha's Departure
THE COURTSHIP OF MILES STANDISH. I. Miles Standish II. Love and Friendship III. The Lover's Errand IV. John Alden V. The Sailing of the May flower VI. Priscilla VII. The March of Miles Standish VIII. The Spinning-Wheel IX. The Wedding-Day
BIRDS OF PASSAGE. FLIGHT THE FIRST. Birds of Passage Prometheus, or the Poet's Forethought Epimetheus, or the Poet's Afterthought The Ladder of St. Augustine The Phantom Ship The Warden of the Cinque Ports Haunted Houses In the Churchyard at Cambridge The Emperor's Bird's-Nest The Two Angels Daylight and Moonlight The Jewish Cemetery at Newport Oliver Basselin Victor Galbraith My Lost Youth The Ropewalk The Golden Mile-Stone Catawba Wine Santa Filomena The Discoverer of the North Cape Daybreak The Fiftieth Birthday of Agassiz Children Sandalphon FLIGHT THE SECOND. The Children's Hour Enceladus The Cumberland Snow-Flakes A Day of Sunshine Something left Undone Weariness
TALES OF A WAYSIDE INN. Part First Prelude The Wayside Inn The Landlord's Tale Paul Revere's Ride Interlude The Student's Tale The Falcon of Ser Federigo Interlude The Spanish Jew's Tale The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levi Interlude The Sicilian's Tale King Robert of Sicily Interlude The Musician's Tale The Saga of King Olaf I. The Challenge of Thor II. King Olaf's Return III. Thorn of Rimol IV. Queen Sigrid the Haughty V. The Skerry of Shrieks VI. The Wraith of Odin VII. Iron-Beard VIII. Gudrun IX. Thangbrand the Priest X. Raud the Strong XI. Bishop Sigurd at Salten Fiord XII. King Olaf's Christmas XIII. The Building of the Long Serpent XIV. The Crew of the Long Serpent XV. A Little Bird in the Air XVI. Queen Thyri and the Angelica Stalks XVII. King Svend of the Forked Beard XVIII. King Olaf and Earl Sigvald XIX. King Olaf's War-Horns XX. Einar Tamberskelver XXI. King Olaf's Death-drink XXII. The Nun of Nidaros Interlude The Theologian's Tale. Torquemada Interlude The Poet's Tale The Birds of Killingworth Finale PART SECOND. Prelude The Sicilian's Tale The Bell of Atri Interlude The Spanish Jew's Tale Kambalu Interlude The Student's Tale The Cobbler of Hagenau Interlude The Musician's Tale The Ballad of Carmilhan Interlude The Poet's Tale Lady Wentworth Interlude The Theologian's Tale The Legend Beautiful Interlude The Student's Second Tale The Baron of St. Castine Finale PART THIRD. Prelude The Spanish Jew's Tale Azrael Interlude The Poet's Tale Charlemagne Interlude The Student's Tale Emma and Eginhard Interlude The Theologian's Tale Elizabeth Interlude The Sicilian's Tale The Monk of Casa-Maggiore Interlude The Spanish Jew's Second Tale Scanderbeg Interlude The Musician's Tale The Mother's Ghost Interlude The Landlord's Tale The Rhyme of Sir Christopher Finale
FLOWER-DE-LUCE. Flower-de-Luce Palingenesis The Bridge of Cloud Hawthorne Christmas Bells The Wind over the Chimney The Bells of Lynn Killed at the Ford Giotto's Tower To-morrow Divina Commedia Noel
BIRDS OF PASSAGE FLIGHT THE THIRD. Fata Morgana The Haunted Chamber The Meeting Vox Populi The Castle-Builder Changed The Challenge The Brook and the Wave Aftermath
THE MASQUE OF PANDORA. I. The Workshop of Hephaestus II. Olympus III. Tower of Prometheus on Mount Caucasus IV. The Air V. The House of Epimetheus VI. In the Garden VII. The House of Epimetheus VIII. In the Garden
THE HANGING OF THE CRANE
A BOOK OF SONNETS. Three Friends of Mine Chaucer Shakespeare Milton Keats The Galaxy The Sound of the Sea A Summer Day by the Sea The Tides A Shadow A Nameless Grave Sleep The Old Bridge at Florence Il Ponte Vecchio di Firenze Nature In the Churchyard at Tarrytown Eliot's Oak The Descent of the Muses Venice The Poets Parker Cleaveland The Harvest Moon To the River Rhone The Three Silences of Molinos The Two Rivers Boston St. John's, Cambridge Moods Woodstock Park The Four Princesses at Wilna Holidays Wapentake The Broken Oar The Cross of Snow
BIRDS OF PASSAGE FLIGHT THE FOURTH. Charles Sumner Travels by the Fireside Cadenabbia Monte Cassino Amalfi The Sermon of St. Francis Belisarius Songo River
BIRDS OF PASSAGE. FLIGHT THE FIFTH. The Herons of Elmwood A Dutch Picture Castles in Spain Vittoria Colonna The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face To the River Yvette The Emperor's Glove A Ballad or the French Fleet The Leap of Roushan Beg Haroun Al Raschid. King Trisanku A Wraith in the Mist The Three Kings Song: "Stay, Stay at Home, my Heart, and Rest." The White Czar Delia
ULTIMA THULE. Dedication Poems Bayard Taylor The Chamber over the Gate From my Arm-Chair Jugurtha The Iron Pen Robert Burns Helen of Tyre Elegiac Old St. David's at Radnor FOLK-SONGS. The Sifting of Peter Maiden and Weathercock The Windmill The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls SONNETS My Cathedral The Burial of the Poet Night L'ENVOI. The Poet and his Songs
IN THE HARBOR. Becalmed The Poet's Calendar Autumn Within The Four Lakes of Madison Victor and Vanquished Moonlight The Children's Crusade Sundown Chimes Four by the Clock Auf Wiedersehen Elegiac Verse The City and the Sea Memories Hermes Trismegistus To the Avon President Garfield My Books Mad River Possibilities Decoration Day A Fragment Loss and Gain Inscription on the Shanklin Fountain The Bells of San Blas
FRAGMENTS. "Neglected record of a mind neglected" "O Faithful, indefatigable tides" "Soft through the silent air" "So from the bosom of darkness"
CHRISTUS: A MYSTERY. Introitus PART I. THE DIVINE TRAGEDY. The First Passover I. Vox Clamantis II. Mount Quarantania III. The Marriage in Cana IV. In the Cornfields V. Nazareth VI. The Sea of Galilee VII. The Demoniac of Gadara IX. The Tower of Magdala X. The House of Simon the Pharisee The Second Passover I. Before the Gates of Machaerus II. Herod's Banquet-Hall III. Under the Wall of Machaerus IV. Nicodemus at Night V. Blind Bartimeus VI. Jacob's Well VII. The Coasts of Caesarea Philippi VIII. The Young Ruler IX. At Bethany X. Born Blind XI. Simon Magus and Helen of Tyre The Third Passover I. The Entry into Jerusalem II. Solomon's Porch III. Lord, is it I? IV. The Garden of Gethsemane V. The Palace of Caiaphas VI. Pontius Pilate VII. Barabbas in Prison VIII. Ecce Homo IX. Aceldama X. The Three Crosses XI. The Two Maries XII. The Sea of Galilee Epilogue. Symbolum Apostolorum First Interlude. The Abbot Joachim
PART II. THE GOLDEN LEGEND. Prologue: The Spire of Strasburg Cathedral I. The Castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine Courtyard of the Castle II. A Farm in the Odenwald A Room in the Farmhouse Elsie's Chamber The Chamber of Gottlieb and Ursula A Village Church A Room in the Farmhouse In the Garden III. A Street in Strasburg Square in Front of the Cathedral In the Cathedral The Nativity: A Miracle-Play Introitus I. Heaven II. Mary at the Well III. The Angels of the Seven Planets IV. The Wise Men of the East V. The Flight into Egypt VI. The Slaughter of the Innocents VII. Jesus at Play with his Schoolmates VIII. The Village School IX. Crowned with Flowers Epilogue IV. The Road to Hirschau The Convent of Hirschau in the Black Forest The Scriptorium The Cloisters The Chapel The Refectory The Neighboring Nunnery V. A Covered Bridge at Lucerne The Devil's Bridge The St. Gothard Pass At the Foot of the Alps The Inn at Genoa At Sea VI. The School of Salerno The Farm-house in the Odenwald The Castle of Vautsberg on the Rhine Epilogue. The Two Recording Angels Ascending Second Interlude. Martin Luther
PART III. THE NEW ENGLAND TRAGEDIES. John Endicott Giles Corey of the Salem Farms Finale. St. John
JUDAS MACCABAEUS Act I. The Citadel of Antiochus at Jerusalem Act II. The Dungeons in the Citadel Act III. The Battle-field of Beth-Horon Act IV. The Outer Courts of the Temple at Jerusalem Act V. The Mountains of Ecbatana
MICHAEL ANGELO Dedication PART FIRST I. Prologue at Ischia Monologue : The Last Judgment II. San Silvestro III. Cardinal Ippolito IV. Borgo delle Vergine at Naples V. Vittoria Colonna PART SECOND. I. Monologue II. Viterbo III. Michael Angelo and Benvenuto Cellini IV. Fra Sebastiano del Piombo V. Palazzo Belvedere VI. Palazzo Cesarini PART THIRD. I. Monologue II. Vigna di Papa Giulio III. Bindo Altoviti IV. In the Coliseum V. Macello de' Corvi VI. Michael Angelo's Studio VII. The Oaks of Monte Luca VIII. The Dead Christ
TRANSLATIONS. Prelude From the Spanish Coplas de Manrique Sonnets. I. The Good Shepherd II. To-morrow III. The Native Land IV. The Image of God V. The Brook Ancient Spanish Ballads. I. Rio Verde, Rio Verde II. Don Nuno, Count of Lara III. The peasant leaves his plough afield Vida de San Millan San Miguel, the Convent Song: "She is a maid of artless grace" Santa Teresa's Book-Mark From the Cancioneros I. Eyes so tristful, eyes so tristful II. Some day, some day III. Come, O death, so silent flying IV. Glove of black in white hand bare From the Swedish and Danish. Passages from Frithiof's Saga I. Frithiof's Homestead II. A Sledge-Ride on the Ice III. Frithiof's Temptation IV. Frithiof's Farewell The Children of the Lord's Supper King Christian The Elected Knight Childhood From the German. The Happiest Land The Wave The Dead The Bird and the Ship Whither? Beware! Song of the Bell The Castle by the Sea The Black Knight Song of the Silent Land The Luck of Edenhall The Two Locks of Hair The Hemlock Tree Annie of Tharaw The Statue over the Cathedral Door The Legend of the Crossbill The Sea hath its Pearls Poetic Aphorisms Silent Love Blessed are the Dead Wanderer's Night-Songs Remorse Forsaken Allah From the Anglo-Saxon. The Grave Beowulf's Expedition to Heort The Soul's Complaint against the Body From the French Song: Hark! Hark! Song: "And whither goest thou, gentle sigh" The Return of Spring Spring The Child Asleep Death of Archbishop Turpin The Blind Girl of Castel-Cuille A Christmas Carol Consolation To Cardinal Richelieu The Angel and the Child On the Terrace of the Aigalades To my Brooklet Barreges Will ever the dear days come back again? At La Chaudeau A Quiet Life The Wine of Jurancon Friar Lubin Rondel My Secret From the Italian. The Celestial Pilot The Terrestrial Paradise Beatrice To Italy Seven Sonnets and a Canzone I. The Artist II. Fire. III. Youth and Age IV. Old Age V. To Vittoria Colonna VI. To Vittoria Colonna VII. Dante VIII. Canzone The Nature of Love From the Portuguese. Song: If thou art sleeping, maiden From Eastern sources. The Fugitive The Siege of Kazan The Boy and the Brook To the Stork From the Latin. Virgils First Eclogue Ovid in Exile
VOICES OF THE NIGHT
<Greek poem here—Euripides.>
Pleasant it was, when woods were green, And winds were soft and low, To lie amid some sylvan scene. Where, the long drooping boughs between, Shadows dark and sunlight sheen Alternate come and go;
Or where the denser grove receives No sunlight from above, But the dark foliage interweaves In one unbroken roof of leaves, Underneath whose sloping eaves The shadows hardly move.
Beneath some patriarchal tree I lay upon the ground; His hoary arms uplifted he, And all the broad leaves over me Clapped their little hands in glee, With one continuous sound;—
A slumberous sound, a sound that brings The feelings of a dream, As of innumerable wings, As, when a bell no longer swings, Faint the hollow murmur rings O'er meadow, lake, and stream.
And dreams of that which cannot die, Bright visions, came to me, As lapped in thought I used to lie, And gaze into the summer sky, Where the sailing clouds went by, Like ships upon the sea;
Dreams that the soul of youth engage Ere Fancy has been quelled; Old legends of the monkish page, Traditions of the saint and sage, Tales that have the rime of age, And chronicles of Eld.
And, loving still these quaint old themes, Even in the city's throng I feel the freshness of the streams, That, crossed by shades and sunny gleams, Water the green land of dreams, The holy land of song.
Therefore, at Pentecost, which brings The Spring, clothed like a bride, When nestling buds unfold their wings, And bishop's-caps have golden rings, Musing upon many things, I sought the woodlands wide.
The green trees whispered low and mild; It was a sound of joy! They were my playmates when a child, And rocked me in their arms so wild! Still they looked at me and smiled, As if I were a boy;
And ever whispered, mild and low, "Come, be a child once more!" And waved their long arms to and fro, And beckoned solemnly and slow; O, I could not choose but go Into the woodlands hoar,—
Into the blithe and breathing air, Into the solemn wood, Solemn and silent everywhere Nature with folded hands seemed there Kneeling at her evening prayer! Like one in prayer I stood.
Before me rose an avenue Of tall and sombrous pines; Abroad their fan-like branches grew, And, where the sunshine darted through, Spread a vapor soft and blue, In long and sloping lines.
And, falling on my weary brain, Like a fast-falling shower, The dreams of youth came back again, Low lispings of the summer rain, Dropping on the ripened grain, As once upon the flower.
Visions of childhood! Stay, O stay! Ye were so sweet and wild! And distant voices seemed to say, "It cannot be! They pass away! Other themes demand thy lay; Thou art no more a child!
"The land of Song within thee lies, Watered by living springs; The lids of Fancy's sleepless eyes Are gates unto that Paradise, Holy thoughts, like stars, arise, Its clouds are angels' wings.
"Learn, that henceforth thy song shall be, Not mountains capped with snow, Nor forests sounding like the sea, Nor rivers flowing ceaselessly, Where the woodlands bend to see The bending heavens below.
"There is a forest where the din Of iron branches sounds! A mighty river roars between, And whosoever looks therein Sees the heavens all black with sin, Sees not its depths, nor bounds.
"Athwart the swinging branches cast, Soft rays of sunshine pour; Then comes the fearful wintry blast Our hopes, like withered leaves, fail fast; Pallid lips say, 'It is past! We can return no more!,
"Look, then, into thine heart, and write! Yes, into Life's deep stream! All forms of sorrow and delight, All solemn Voices of the Night, That can soothe thee, or affright,— Be these henceforth thy theme."
HYMN TO THE NIGHT.
I heard the trailing garments of the Night Sweep through her marble halls! I saw her sable skirts all fringed with light From the celestial walls!
I felt her presence, by its spell of might, Stoop o'er me from above; The calm, majestic presence of the Night, As of the one I love.
I heard the sounds of sorrow and delight, The manifold, soft chimes, That fill the haunted chambers of the Night Like some old poet's rhymes.
From the cool cisterns of the midnight air My spirit drank repose; The fountain of perpetual peace flows there,— From those deep cisterns flows.
O holy Night! from thee I learn to bear What man has borne before! Thou layest thy finger on the lips of Care, And they complain no more.
Peace! Peace! Orestes-like I breathe this prayer! Descend with broad-winged flight, The welcome, the thrice-prayed for, the most fair, The best-beloved Night!
A PSALM OF LIFE. WHAT THE HEART OF THE YOUNG MAN SAID TO THE PSALMIST.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers, Life is but an empty dream! For the soul is dead that slumbers, And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal; Dust thou art, to dust returnest, Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, Is our destined end or way; But to act, that each to-morrow Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting, And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle, In the bivouac of Life, Be not like dumb, driven cattle! Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead Past bury its dead! Act,—act in the living Present! Heart within, and God o'erhead!
Lives of great men all remind us We can make our lives sublime, And, departing, leave behind us Footprints on the sands of time;—
Footprints, that perhaps another, Sailing o'er life's solemn main, A forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.
Let us, then, be up and doing, With a heart for any fate; Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait.
THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.
There is a Reaper, whose name is Death, And, with his sickle keen, He reaps the bearded grain at a breath, And the flowers that grow between.
"Shall I have naught that is fair?" saith he; "Have naught but the bearded grain? Though the breath of these flowers is sweet to me, I will give them all back again."
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes, He kissed their drooping leaves; It was for the Lord of Paradise He bound them in his sheaves.
"My Lord has need of these flowerets gay," The Reaper said, and smiled; "Dear tokens of the earth are they, Where he was once a child.
"They shall all bloom in fields of light, Transplanted by my care, And saints, upon their garments white, These sacred blossoms wear."
And the mother gave, in tears and pain, The flowers she most did love; She knew she should find them all again In the fields of light above.
O, not in cruelty, not in wrath, The Reaper came that day; 'T was an angel visited the green earth, And took the flowers away.
THE LIGHT OF STARS.
The night is come, but not too soon; And sinking silently, All silently, the little moon Drops down behind the sky.
There is no light in earth or heaven But the cold light of stars; And the first watch of night is given To the red planet Mars.
Is it the tender star of love? The star of love and dreams? O no! from that blue tent above, A hero's armor gleams.
And earnest thoughts within me rise, When I behold afar, Suspended in the evening skies, The shield of that red star.
O star of strength! I see thee stand And smile upon my pain; Thou beckonest with thy mailed hand, And I am strong again.
Within my breast there is no light But the cold light of stars; I give the first watch of the night To the red planet Mars.
The star of the unconquered will, He rises in my breast, Serene, and resolute, and still, And calm, and self-possessed.
And thou, too, whosoe'er thou art, That readest this brief psalm, As one by one thy hopes depart, Be resolute and calm.
O fear not in a world like this, And thou shalt know erelong, Know how sublime a thing it is To suffer and be strong.
FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS.
When the hours of Day are numbered, And the voices of the Night Wake the better soul, that slumbered, To a holy, calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted, And, like phantoms grim and tall, Shadows from the fitful firelight Dance upon the parlor wall;
Then the forms of the departed Enter at the open door; The beloved, the true-hearted, Come to visit me once more;
He, the young and strong, who cherished Noble longings for the strife, By the roadside fell and perished, Weary with the march of life!
They, the holy ones and weakly, Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly, Spake with us on earth no more!
And with them the Being Beauteous, Who unto my youth was given, More than all things else to love me, And is now a saint in heaven.
With a slow and noiseless footstep Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me, Lays her gentle hand in mine.
And she sits and gazes at me With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like, Looking downward from the skies.
Uttered not, yet comprehended, Is the spirit's voiceless prayer, Soft rebukes, in blessings ended, Breathing from her lips of air.
Oh, though oft depressed and lonely, All my fears are laid aside, If I but remember only Such as these have lived and died!
Spake full well, in language quaint and olden, One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, When he called the flowers, so blue and golden, Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine.
Stars they are, wherein we read our history, As astrologers and seers of eld; Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery, Like the burning stars, which they beheld.
Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous, God hath written in those stars above; But not less in the bright flowerets under us Stands the revelation of his love.
Bright and glorious is that revelation, Written all over this great world of ours; Making evident our own creation, In these stars of earth, these golden flowers.
And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing, Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part Of the self-same, universal being, Which is throbbing in his brain and heart.
Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining, Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, Tremulous leaves, with soft and silver lining, Buds that open only to decay;
Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues, Flaunting gayly in the golden light; Large desires, with most uncertain issues, Tender wishes, blossoming at night!
These in flowers and men are more than seeming; Workings are they of the self-same powers, Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming, Seeth in himself and in the flowers.
Everywhere about us are they glowing, Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born; Others, their blue eyes with tears o'er-flowing, Stand like Ruth amid the golden corn;
Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing, And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing, In the centre of his brazen shield;
Not alone in meadows and green alleys, On the mountain-top, and by the brink Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys, Where the slaves of nature stoop to drink;
Not alone in her vast dome of glory, Not on graves of bird and beast alone, But in old cathedrals, high and hoary, On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone;
In the cottage of the rudest peasant, In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, Speaking of the Past unto the Present, Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers;
In all places, then, and in all seasons, Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, How akin they are to human things.
And with childlike, credulous affection We behold their tender buds expand; Emblems of our own great resurrection, Emblems of the bright and better land.
THE BELEAGUERED CITY.
I have read, in some old, marvellous tale, Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of spectres pale Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau's rushing stream, With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream, The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward bound, The spectral camp was seen, And, with a sorrowful, deep sound, The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there, No drum, nor sentry's pace; The mist-like banners clasped the air, As clouds with clouds embrace.
But when the old cathedral bell Proclaimed the morning prayer, The white pavilions rose and fell On the alarmed air.
Down the broad valley fast and far The troubled army fled; Up rose the glorious morning star, The ghastly host was dead.
I have read, in the marvellous heart of man, That strange and mystic scroll, That an army of phantoms vast and wan Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life's rushing stream, In Fancy's misty light, Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground The spectral camp is seen, And, with a sorrowful, deep sound, Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice nor sound is there, In the army of the grave; No other challenge breaks the air, But the rushing of Life's wave.
And when the solemn and deep churchbell Entreats the soul to pray, The midnight phantoms feel the spell, The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar The spectral camp is fled; Faith shineth as a morning star, Our ghastly fears are dead.
MIDNIGHT MASS FOR THE DYING YEAR
Yes, the Year is growing old, And his eye is pale and bleared! Death, with frosty hand and cold, Plucks the old man by the beard, Sorely, sorely!
The leaves are falling, falling, Solemnly and slow; Caw! caw! the rooks are calling, It is a sound of woe, A sound of woe!
Through woods and mountain passes The winds, like anthems, roll; They are chanting solemn masses, Singing, "Pray for this poor soul, Pray, pray!"
And the hooded clouds, like friars, Tell their beads in drops of rain, And patter their doleful prayers; But their prayers are all in vain, All in vain!
There he stands in the foul weather, The foolish, fond Old Year, Crowned with wild flowers and with heather, Like weak, despised Lear, A king, a king!
Then comes the summer-like day, Bids the old man rejoice! His joy! his last! O, the man gray Loveth that ever-soft voice, Gentle and low.
To the crimson woods he saith, To the voice gentle and low Of the soft air, like a daughter's breath, "Pray do not mock me so! Do not laugh at me!"
And now the sweet day is dead; Cold in his arms it lies; No stain from its breath is spread Over the glassy skies, No mist or stain!
Then, too, the Old Year dieth, And the forests utter a moan, Like the voice of one who crieth In the wilderness alone, "Vex not his ghost!"
Then comes, with an awful roar, Gathering and sounding on, The storm-wind from Labrador, The wind Euroclydon, The storm-wind!
Howl! howl! and from the forest Sweep the red leaves away! Would, the sins that thou abhorrest, O Soul! could thus decay, And be swept away! For there shall come a mightier blast, There shall be a darker day;
And the stars, from heaven down-cast Like red leaves be swept away! Kyrie, eleyson! Christe, eleyson!
AN APRIL DAY
When the warm sun, that brings Seed-time and harvest, has returned again, 'T is sweet to visit the still wood, where springs The first flower of the plain.
I love the season well, When forest glades are teeming with bright forms, Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell The coming-on of storms.
From the earth's loosened mould The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives; Though stricken to the heart with winter's cold, The drooping tree revives.
The softly-warbled song Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along The forest openings.
When the bright sunset fills The silver woods with light, the green slope throws Its shadows in the hollows of the hills, And wide the upland glows.
And when the eve is born, In the blue lake the sky, o'er-reaching far, Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn, And twinkles many a star.
Inverted in the tide Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw, And the fair trees look over, side by side, And see themselves below.
Sweet April! many a thought Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed; Nor shall they fail, till, to its autumn brought, Life's golden fruit is shed.
With what a glory comes and goes the year! The buds of spring, those beautiful harbingers Of sunny skies and cloudless times, enjoy Life's newness, and earth's garniture spread out; And when the silver habit of the clouds Comes down upon the autumn sun, and with A sober gladness the old year takes up His bright inheritance of golden fruits, A pomp and pageant fill the splendid scene.
There is a beautiful spirit breathing now Its mellow richness on the clustered trees, And, from a beaker full of richest dyes, Pouring new glory on the autumn woods, And dipping in warm light the pillared clouds. Morn on the mountain, like a summer bird, Lifts up her purple wing, and in the vales The gentle wind, a sweet and passionate wooer, Kisses the blushing leaf, and stirs up life Within the solemn woods of ash deep-crimsoned, And silver beech, and maple yellow-leaved, Where Autumn, like a faint old man, sits down By the wayside a-weary. Through the trees The golden robin moves. The purple finch, That on wild cherry and red cedar feeds, A winter bird, comes with its plaintive whistle, And pecks by the witch-hazel, whilst aloud From cottage roofs the warbling blue-bird sings, And merrily, with oft-repeated stroke, Sounds from the threshing-floor the busy flail.
O what a glory doth this world put on For him who, with a fervent heart, goes forth Under the bright and glorious sky, and looks On duties well performed, and days well spent! For him the wind, ay, and the yellow leaves, Shall have a voice, and give him eloquent teachings. He shall so hear the solemn hymn that Death Has lifted up for all, that he shall go To his long resting-place without a tear.
WOODS IN WINTER.
When winter winds are piercing chill, And through the hawthorn blows the gale, With solemn feet I tread the hill, That overbrows the lonely vale.
O'er the bare upland, and away Through the long reach of desert woods, The embracing sunbeams chastely play, And gladden these deep solitudes.
Where, twisted round the barren oak, The summer vine in beauty clung, And summer winds the stillness broke, The crystal icicle is hung.
Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs Pour out the river's gradual tide, Shrilly the skater's iron rings, And voices fill the woodland side.
Alas! how changed from the fair scene, When birds sang out their mellow lay, And winds were soft, and woods were green, And the song ceased not with the day!
But still wild music is abroad, Pale, desert woods! within your crowd; And gathering winds, in hoarse accord, Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.
Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear Has grown familiar with your song; I hear it in the opening year, I listen, and it cheers me long.
HYMN OF THE MORAVIAN NUNS OF BETHLEHEM
AT THE CONSECRATION OF PULASKI'S BANNER.
When the dying flame of day Through the chancel shot its ray, Far the glimmering tapers shed Faint light on the cowled head; And the censer burning swung, Where, before the altar, hung The crimson banner, that with prayer Had been consecrated there. And the nuns' sweet hymn was heard the while, Sung low, in the dim, mysterious aisle.
"Take thy banner! May it wave Proudly o'er the good and brave; When the battle's distant wail Breaks the sabbath of our vale. When the clarion's music thrills To the hearts of these lone hills, When the spear in conflict shakes, And the strong lance shivering breaks.
"Take thy banner! and, beneath The battle-cloud's encircling wreath, Guard it, till our homes are free! Guard it! God will prosper thee! In the dark and trying hour, In the breaking forth of power, In the rush of steeds and men, His right hand will shield thee then.
"Take thy banner! But when night Closes round the ghastly fight, If the vanquished warrior bow, Spare him! By our holy vow, By our prayers and many tears, By the mercy that endears, Spare him! he our love hath shared! Spare him! as thou wouldst be spared!
"Take thy banner! and if e'er Thou shouldst press the soldier's bier, And the muffled drum should beat To the tread of mournful feet, Then this crimson flag shall be Martial cloak and shroud for thee."
The warrior took that banner proud, And it was his martial cloak and shroud!
SUNRISE ON THE HILLS
I stood upon the hills, when heaven's wide arch Was glorious with the sun's returning march, And woods were brightened, and soft gales Went forth to kiss the sun-clad vales. The clouds were far beneath me; bathed in light, They gathered mid-way round the wooded height, And, in their fading glory, shone Like hosts in battle overthrown. As many a pinnacle, with shifting glance. Through the gray mist thrust up its shattered lance, And rocking on the cliff was left The dark pine blasted, bare, and cleft. The veil of cloud was lifted, and below Glowed the rich valley, and the river's flow Was darkened by the forest's shade, Or glistened in the white cascade; Where upward, in the mellow blush of day, The noisy bittern wheeled his spiral way.
I heard the distant waters dash, I saw the current whirl and flash, And richly, by the blue lake's silver beach, The woods were bending with a silent reach. Then o'er the vale, with gentle swell, The music of the village bell Came sweetly to the echo-giving hills; And the wild horn, whose voice the woodland fills, Was ringing to the merry shout, That faint and far the glen sent out, Where, answering to the sudden shot, thin smoke, Through thick-leaved branches, from the dingle broke.
If thou art worn and hard beset With sorrows, that thou wouldst forget, If thou wouldst read a lesson, that will keep Thy heart from fainting and thy soul from sleep, Go to the woods and hills! No tears Dim the sweet look that Nature wears.
THE SPIRIT OF POETRY
There is a quiet spirit in these woods, That dwells where'er the gentle south-wind blows; Where, underneath the white-thorn, in the glade, The wild flowers bloom, or, kissing the soft air, The leaves above their sunny palms outspread. With what a tender and impassioned voice It fills the nice and delicate ear of thought, When the fast ushering star of morning comes O'er-riding the gray hills with golden scarf; Or when the cowled and dusky-sandaled Eve, In mourning weeds, from out the western gate, Departs with silent pace! That spirit moves In the green valley, where the silver brook, From its full laver, pours the white cascade; And, babbling low amid the tangled woods, Slips down through moss-grown stones with endless laughter. And frequent, on the everlasting hills, Its feet go forth, when it doth wrap itself In all the dark embroidery of the storm, And shouts the stern, strong wind. And here, amid The silent majesty of these deep woods, Its presence shall uplift thy thoughts from earth, As to the sunshine and the pure, bright air Their tops the green trees lift. Hence gifted bards Have ever loved the calm and quiet shades. For them there was an eloquent voice in all The sylvan pomp of woods, the golden sun, The flowers, the leaves, the river on its way, Blue skies, and silver clouds, and gentle winds, The swelling upland, where the sidelong sun Aslant the wooded slope, at evening, goes, Groves, through whose broken roof the sky looks in, Mountain, and shattered cliff, and sunny vale, The distant lake, fountains, and mighty trees, In many a lazy syllable, repeating Their old poetic legends to the wind.
And this is the sweet spirit, that doth fill The world; and, in these wayward days of youth, My busy fancy oft embodies it, As a bright image of the light and beauty That dwell in nature; of the heavenly forms We worship in our dreams, and the soft hues That stain the wild bird's wing, and flush the clouds When the sun sets. Within her tender eye The heaven of April, with its changing light, And when it wears the blue of May, is hung, And on her lip the rich, red rose. Her hair Is like the summer tresses of the trees, When twilight makes them brown, and on her cheek Blushes the richness of an autumn sky, With ever-shifting beauty. Then her breath, It is so like the gentle air of Spring, As, front the morning's dewy flowers, it comes Full of their fragrance, that it is a joy To have it round us, and her silver voice Is the rich music of a summer bird, Heard in the still night, with its passionate cadence.
BURIAL OF THE MINNISINK
On sunny slope and beechen swell, The shadowed light of evening fell; And, where the maple's leaf was brown, With soft and silent lapse came down, The glory, that the wood receives, At sunset, in its golden leaves.
Far upward in the mellow light Rose the blue hills. One cloud of white, Around a far uplifted cone, In the warm blush of evening shone; An image of the silver lakes, By which the Indian's soul awakes.
But soon a funeral hymn was heard Where the soft breath of evening stirred The tall, gray forest; and a band Of stern in heart, and strong in hand, Came winding down beside the wave, To lay the red chief in his grave.
They sang, that by his native bowers He stood, in the last moon of flowers, And thirty snows had not yet shed Their glory on the warrior's head; But, as the summer fruit decays, So died he in those naked days.
A dark cloak of the roebuck's skin Covered the warrior, and within Its heavy folds the weapons, made For the hard toils of war, were laid; The cuirass, woven of plaited reeds, And the broad belt of shells and beads.
Before, a dark-haired virgin train Chanted the death dirge of the slain; Behind, the long procession came Of hoary men and chiefs of fame, With heavy hearts, and eyes of grief, Leading the war-horse of their chief.
Stripped of his proud and martial dress, Uncurbed, unreined, and riderless, With darting eye, and nostril spread, And heavy and impatient tread, He came; and oft that eye so proud Asked for his rider in the crowd.
They buried the dark chief; they freed Beside the grave his battle steed; And swift an arrow cleaved its way To his stern heart! One piercing neigh Arose, and, on the dead man's plain, The rider grasps his steed again.
Ye voices, that arose After the Evening's close, And whispered to my restless heart repose!
Go, breathe it in the ear Of all who doubt and fear, And say to them, "Be of good cheer!"
Ye sounds, so low and calm, That in the groves of balm Seemed to me like an angel's psalm!
Go, mingle yet once more With the perpetual roar Of the pine forest dark and hoar!
Tongues of the dead, not lost But speaking from deaths frost, Like fiery tongues at Pentecost!
Glimmer, as funeral lamps, Amid the chills and damps Of the vast plain where Death encamps!
BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS
THE SKELETON IN ARMOR
"Speak! speak I thou fearful guest Who, with thy hollow breast Still in rude armor drest, Comest to daunt me! Wrapt not in Eastern balms, Bat with thy fleshless palms Stretched, as if asking alms, Why dost thou haunt me?"
Then, from those cavernous eyes Pale flashes seemed to rise, As when the Northern skies Gleam in December; And, like the water's flow Under December's snow, Came a dull voice of woe From the heart's chamber.
"I was a Viking old! My deeds, though manifold, No Skald in song has told, No Saga taught thee! Take heed, that in thy verse Thou dost the tale rehearse, Else dread a dead man's curse; For this I sought thee.
"Far in the Northern Land, By the wild Baltic's strand, I, with my childish hand, Tamed the gerfalcon; And, with my skates fast-bound, Skimmed the half-frozen Sound, That the poor whimpering hound Trembled to walk on.
"Oft to his frozen lair Tracked I the grisly bear, While from my path the hare Fled like a shadow; Oft through the forest dark Followed the were-wolf's bark, Until the soaring lark Sang from the meadow.
"But when I older grew, Joining a corsair's crew, O'er the dark sea I flew With the marauders. Wild was the life we led; Many the souls that sped, Many the hearts that bled, By our stern orders.
"Many a wassail-bout Wore the long Winter out; Often our midnight shout Set the cocks crowing, As we the Berserk's tale Measured in cups of ale, Draining the oaken pail, Filled to o'erflowing.
"Once as I told in glee Tales of the stormy sea, Soft eyes did gaze on me, Burning yet tender; And as the white stars shine On the dark Norway pine, On that dark heart of mine Fell their soft splendor.
"I wooed the blue-eyed maid, Yielding, yet half afraid, And in the forest's shade Our vows were plighted. Under its loosened vest Fluttered her little breast Like birds within their nest By the hawk frighted.
"Bright in her father's hall Shields gleamed upon the wall, Loud sang the minstrels all, Chanting his glory; When of old Hildebrand I asked his daughter's hand, Mute did the minstrels stand To hear my story.
"While the brown ale he quaffed, Loud then the champion laughed, And as the wind-gusts waft The sea-foam brightly, So the loud laugh of scorn, Out of those lips unshorn, From the deep drinking-horn Blew the foam lightly.
"She was a Prince's child, I but a Viking wild, And though she blushed and smiled, I was discarded! Should not the dove so white Follow the sea-mew's flight, Why did they leave that night Her nest unguarded?
"Scarce had I put to sea, Bearing the maid with me, Fairest of all was she Among the Norsemen! When on the white sea-strand, Waving his armed hand, Saw we old Hildebrand, With twenty horsemen.
"Then launched they to the blast, Bent like a reed each mast, Yet we were gaining fast, When the wind failed us; And with a sudden flaw Came round the gusty Skaw, So that our foe we saw Laugh as he hailed us.
"And as to catch the gale Round veered the flapping sail, Death I was the helmsman's hail, Death without quarter! Mid-ships with iron keel Struck we her ribs of steel Down her black hulk did reel Through the black water!
"As with his wings aslant, Sails the fierce cormorant, Seeking some rocky haunt With his prey laden, So toward the open main, Beating to sea again, Through the wild hurricane, Bore I the maiden.
"Three weeks we westward bore, And when the storm was o'er, Cloud-like we saw the shore Stretching to leeward; There for my lady's bower Built I the lofty tower, Which, to this very hour, Stands looking seaward.
"There lived we many years; Time dried the maiden's tears She had forgot her fears, She was a mother. Death closed her mild blue eyes, Under that tower she lies; Ne'er shall the sun arise On such another!
"Still grew my bosom then. Still as a stagnant fen! Hateful to me were men, The sunlight hateful! In the vast forest here, Clad in my warlike gear, Fell I upon my spear, O, death was grateful!
"Thus, seamed with many scars, Bursting these prison bars, Up to its native stars My soul ascended! There from the flowing bowl Deep drinks the warrior's soul, Skoal! to the Northland! skoal!" Thus the tale ended.
THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS
It was the schooner Hesperus, That sailed the wintry sea; And the skipper had taken his little daughter, To bear him company.
Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax, Her cheeks like the dawn of day, And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds, That ope in the month of May.
The skipper he stood beside the helm, His pipe was in his month, And he watched how the veering flaw did blow The smoke now West, now South.
Then up and spake an old Sailor, Had sailed to the Spanish Main, "I pray thee, put into yonder port, For I fear a hurricane.
"Last night, the moon had a golden ring, And to-night no moon we see!" The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe, And a scornful laugh laughed he.
Colder and louder blew the wind, A gale from the Northeast. The snow fell hissing in the brine, And the billows frothed like yeast.
Down came the storm, and smote amain The vessel in its strength; She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed, Then leaped her cable's length.
"Come hither! come hither! my little daughter, And do not tremble so; For I can weather the roughest gale That ever wind did blow."
He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat Against the stinging blast; He cut a rope from a broken spar, And bound her to the mast.
"O father! I hear the church-bells ring, O say, what may it be?" "'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"— And he steered for the open sea.
"O father! I hear the sound of guns, O say, what may it be?" "Some ship in distress, that cannot live In such an angry sea!"
"O father! I see a gleaming light O say, what may it be?" But the father answered never a word, A frozen corpse was he.
Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark, With his face turned to the skies, The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow On his fixed and glassy eyes.
Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed That saved she might be; And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave, On the Lake of Galilee.
And fast through the midnight dark and drear, Through the whistling sleet and snow, Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.
And ever the fitful gusts between A sound came from the land; It was the sound of the trampling surf On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.
The breakers were right beneath her bows, She drifted a dreary wreck, And a whooping billow swept the crew Like icicles from her deck.
She struck where the white and fleecy waves Looked soft as carded wool, But the cruel rocks, they gored her side Like the horns of an angry bull.
Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice, With the masts went by the board; Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank, Ho! ho! the breakers roared!
At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach, A fisherman stood aghast, To see the form of a maiden fair, Lashed close to a drifting mast.
The salt sea was frozen on her breast, The salt tears in her eyes; And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed, On the billows fall and rise.
Such was the wreck of the Hesperus, In the midnight and the snow! Christ save us all from a death like this, On the reef of Norman's Woe!
THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH
Under a spreading chestnut-tree The village smithy stands; The smith, a mighty man is he, With large and sinewy hands; And the muscles of his brawny arms Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long, His face is like the tan; His brow is wet with honest sweat, He earns whate'er he can, And looks the whole world in the face, For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night, You can hear his bellows blow; You can hear him swing his heavy sledge, With measured beat and slow, Like a sexton ringing the village bell, When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school Look in at the open door; They love to see the flaming forge, And bear the bellows roar, And catch the burning sparks that fly Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church, And sits among his boys; He hears the parson pray and preach, He hears his daughter's voice, Singing in the village choir, And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice, Singing in Paradise! He needs must think of her once more, How in the grave she lies; And with his hard, rough hand he wipes A tear out of his eyes.
Toiling,—rejoicing,—sorrowing, Onward through life he goes; Each morning sees some task begin, Each evening sees it close Something attempted, something done, Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend, For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped Each burning deed and thought.
The rising moon has hid the stars; Her level rays, like golden bars, Lie on the landscape green, With shadows brown between.
And silver white the river gleams, As if Diana, in her dreams, Had dropt her silver bow Upon the meadows low.
On such a tranquil night as this, She woke Endymion with a kiss, When, sleeping in the grove, He dreamed not of her love.
Like Dian's kiss, unasked, unsought, Love gives itself, but is not bought; Nor voice, nor sound betrays Its deep, impassioned gaze.
It comes,—the beautiful, the free, The crown of all humanity,— In silence and alone To seek the elected one.
It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep Are Life's oblivion, the soul's sleep, And kisses the closed eyes Of him, who slumbering lies.
O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes! O drooping souls, whose destinies Are fraught with fear and pain, Ye shall be loved again!
No one is so accursed by fate, No one so utterly desolate, But some heart, though unknown, Responds unto his own.
Responds,—as if with unseen wings, An angel touched its quivering strings; And whispers, in its song, "'Where hast thou stayed so long?"
IT IS NOT ALWAYS MAY
No hay pajaros en los nidos de antano. Spanish Proverb
The sun is bright,—the air is clear, The darting swallows soar and sing. And from the stately elms I hear The bluebird prophesying Spring.
So blue you winding river flows, It seems an outlet from the sky, Where waiting till the west-wind blows, The freighted clouds at anchor lie.
All things are new;—the buds, the leaves, That gild the elm-tree's nodding crest, And even the nest beneath the eaves;— There are no birds in last year's nest!
All things rejoice in youth and love, The fulness of their first delight! And learn from the soft heavens above The melting tenderness of night.
Maiden, that read'st this simple rhyme, Enjoy thy youth, it will not stay; Enjoy the fragrance of thy prime, For oh, it is not always May!
Enjoy the Spring of Love and Youth, To some good angel leave the rest; For Time will teach thee soon the truth, There are no birds in last year's nest!
THE RAINY DAY
The day is cold, and dark, and dreary It rains, and the wind is never weary; The vine still clings to the mouldering wall, But at every gust the dead leaves fall, And the day is dark and dreary.
My life is cold, and dark, and dreary; It rains, and the wind is never weary; My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past, But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast, And the days are dark and dreary.
Be still, sad heart! and cease repining; Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; Thy fate is the common fate of all, Into each life some rain must fall, Some days must be dark and dreary.
I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls The burial-ground God's-Acre! It is just; It consecrates each grave within its walls, And breathes a benison o'er the sleeping dust.
God's-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts Comfort to those, who in the grave have sown The seed that they had garnered in their hearts, Their bread of life, alas! no more their own.
Into its furrows shall we all be cast, In the sure faith, that we shall rise again At the great harvest, when the archangel's blast Shall winnow, like a fan, the chaff and grain.
Then shall the good stand in immortal bloom, In the fair gardens of that second birth; And each bright blossom mingle its perfume With that of flowers, which never bloomed on earth.
With thy rude ploughshare, Death, turn up the sod, And spread the furrow for the seed we sow; This is the field and Acre of our God, This is the place where human harvests grow!
TO THE RIVER CHARLES.
River! that in silence windest Through the meadows, bright and free, Till at length thy rest thou findest In the bosom of the sea!
Four long years of mingled feeling, Half in rest, and half in strife, I have seen thy waters stealing Onward, like the stream of life.
Thou hast taught me, Silent River! Many a lesson, deep and long; Thou hast been a generous giver; I can give thee but a song.
Oft in sadness and in illness, I have watched thy current glide, Till the beauty of its stillness Overflowed me, like a tide.
And in better hours and brighter, When I saw thy waters gleam, I have felt my heart beat lighter, And leap onward with thy stream.
Not for this alone I love thee, Nor because thy waves of blue From celestial seas above thee Take their own celestial hue.
Where yon shadowy woodlands hide thee, And thy waters disappear, Friends I love have dwelt beside thee, And have made thy margin dear.
More than this;—thy name reminds me Of three friends, all true and tried; And that name, like magic, binds me Closer, closer to thy side.
Friends my soul with joy remembers! How like quivering flames they start, When I fan the living embers On the hearth-stone of my heart!
'T is for this, thou Silent River! That my spirit leans to thee; Thou hast been a generous giver, Take this idle song from me.
Blind Bartimeus at the gates Of Jericho in darkness waits; He hears the crowd;—he hears a breath Say, "It is Christ of Nazareth!" And calls, in tones of agony,
The thronging multitudes increase; Blind Bartimeus, hold thy peace! But still, above the noisy crowd, The beggar's cry is shrill and loud; Until they say, "He calleth thee!"
Then saith the Christ, as silent stands The crowd, "What wilt thou at my hands?" And he replies, "O give me light! Rabbi, restore the blind man's sight. And Jesus answers, '' !
Ye that have eyes, yet cannot see, In darkness and in misery, Recall those mighty Voices Three, ! ! !
THE GOBLET OF LIFE
Filled is Life's goblet to the brim; And though my eyes with tears are dim, I see its sparkling bubbles swim, And chant a melancholy hymn With solemn voice and slow.
No purple flowers,—no garlands green, Conceal the goblet's shade or sheen, Nor maddening draughts of Hippocrene, Like gleams of sunshine, flash between Thick leaves of mistletoe.
This goblet, wrought with curious art, Is filled with waters, that upstart, When the deep fountains of the heart, By strong convulsions rent apart, Are running all to waste.
And as it mantling passes round, With fennel is it wreathed and crowned, Whose seed and foliage sun-imbrowned Are in its waters steeped and drowned, And give a bitter taste.
Above the lowly plants it towers, The fennel, with its yellow flowers, And in an earlier age than ours Was gifted with the wondrous powers, Lost vision to restore.
It gave new strength, and fearless mood; And gladiators, fierce and rude, Mingled it in their daily food; And he who battled and subdued, A wreath of fennel wore.
Then in Life's goblet freely press, The leaves that give it bitterness, Nor prize the colored waters less, For in thy darkness and distress New light and strength they give!
And he who has not learned to know How false its sparkling bubbles show, How bitter are the drops of woe, With which its brim may overflow, He has not learned to live.
The prayer of Ajax was for light; Through all that dark and desperate fight The blackness of that noonday night He asked but the return of sight, To see his foeman's face.
Let our unceasing, earnest prayer Be, too, for light,—for strength to bear Our portion of the weight of care, That crushes into dumb despair One half the human race.
O suffering, sad humanity! O ye afflicted one; who lie Steeped to the lips in misery, Longing, and yet afraid to die, Patient, though sorely tried!
I pledge you in this cup of grief, Where floats the fennel's bitter leaf! The Battle of our Life is brief The alarm,—the struggle,—the relief, Then sleep we side by side.
Maiden! with the meek, brown eyes, In whose orbs a shadow lies Like the dusk in evening skies!
Thou whose locks outshine the sun, Golden tresses, wreathed in one, As the braided streamlets run!
Standing, with reluctant feet, Where the brook and river meet, Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing, with a timid glance, On the brooklet's swift advance, On the river's broad expanse!
Deep and still, that gliding stream Beautiful to thee must seem, As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision, When bright angels in thy vision Beckon thee to fields Elysian?
Seest thou shadows sailing by, As the dove, with startled eye, Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore, That our ears perceive no more, Deafened by the cataract's roar?
O, thou child of many prayers! Life hath quicksands,—Life hath snares Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune, Morning rises into noon, May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough, where slumbered Birds and blossoms many-numbered;— Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows, When the young heart overflows, To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand; Gates of brass cannot withstand One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth, In thy heart the dew of youth, On thy lips the smile of truth!
O, that dew, like balm, shall steal Into wounds that cannot heal, Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;
And that smile, like sunshine, dart Into many a sunless heart, For a smile of God thou art.
The shades of night were falling fast, As through an Alpine village passed A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, A banner with the strange device, Excelsior!
His brow was sad; his eye beneath, Flashed like a falchion from its sheath, And like a silver clarion rung The accents of that unknown tongue, Excelsior!
In happy homes he saw the light Of household fires gleam warm and bright; Above, the spectral glaciers shone, And from his lips escaped a groan, Excelsior!
"Try not the Pass!" the old man said: "Dark lowers the tempest overhead, The roaring torrent is deep and wide! And loud that clarion voice replied, Excelsior!
"Oh stay," the maiden said, "and rest Thy weary head upon this breast!" A tear stood in his bright blue eye, But still he answered, with a sigh, Excelsior!
"Beware the pine-tree's withered branch! Beware the awful avalanche!" This was the peasant's last Good-night, A voice replied, far up the height, Excelsior!
At break of day, as heavenward The pious monks of Saint Bernard Uttered the oft-repeated prayer, A voice cried through the startled air, Excelsior!
A traveller, by the faithful hound, Half-buried in the snow was found, Still grasping in his hand of ice That banner with the strange device, Excelsior!
There in the twilight cold and gray, Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay, And from the sky, serene and far, A voice fell, like a falling star, Excelsior!
POEMS ON SLAVERY.
[The following poems, with one exception, were written at sea, in the latter part of October, 1842. I had not then heard of Dr. Channing's death. Since that event, the poem addressed to him is no longer appropriate. I have decided, however, to let it remain as it was written, in testimony of my admiration for a great and good man.]
TO WILLIAM E. CHANNING
The pages of thy book I read, And as I closed each one, My heart, responding, ever said, "Servant of God! well done!"
Well done! Thy words are great and bold; At times they seem to me, Like Luther's, in the days of old, Half-battles for the free.
Go on, until this land revokes The old and chartered Lie, The feudal curse, whose whips and yokes Insult humanity.
A voice is ever at thy side Speaking in tones of might, Like the prophetic voice, that cried To John in Patmos, "Write!"
Write! and tell out this bloody tale; Record this dire eclipse, This Day of Wrath, this Endless Wail, This dread Apocalypse!
THE SLAVE'S DREAM
Beside the ungathered rice he lay, His sickle in his hand; His breast was bare, his matted hair Was buried in the sand. Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep, He saw his Native Land.
Wide through the landscape of his dreams The lordly Niger flowed; Beneath the palm-trees on the plain Once more a king he strode; And heard the tinkling caravans Descend the mountain-road.
He saw once more his dark-eyed queen Among her children stand; They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks, They held him by the hand!— A tear burst from the sleeper's lids And fell into the sand.
And then at furious speed he rode Along the Niger's bank; His bridle-reins were golden chains, And, with a martial clank, At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel Smiting his stallion's flank.
Before him, like a blood-red flag, The bright flamingoes flew; From morn till night he followed their flight, O'er plains where the tamarind grew, Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts, And the ocean rose to view.
At night he heard the lion roar, And the hyena scream, And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds Beside some hidden stream; And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums, Through the triumph of his dream.
The forests, with their myriad tongues, Shouted of liberty; And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud, With a voice so wild and free, That he started in his sleep and smiled At their tempestuous glee.
He did not feel the driver's whip, Nor the burning heat of day; For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep, And his lifeless body lay A worn-out fetter, that the soul Had broken and thrown away!
THE GOOD PART
THAT SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY
She dwells by Great Kenhawa's side, In valleys green and cool; And all her hope and all her pride Are in the village school.
Her soul, like the transparent air That robes the hills above, Though not of earth, encircles there All things with arms of love.
And thus she walks among her girls With praise and mild rebukes; Subduing e'en rude village churls By her angelic looks.
She reads to them at eventide Of One who came to save; To cast the captive's chains aside And liberate the slave.
And oft the blessed time foretells When all men shall be free; And musical, as silver bells, Their falling chains shall be.
And following her beloved Lord, In decent poverty, She makes her life one sweet record And deed of charity.
For she was rich, and gave up all To break the iron bands Of those who waited in her hall, And labored in her lands.
Long since beyond the Southern Sea Their outbound sails have sped, While she, in meek humility, Now earns her daily bread.
It is their prayers, which never cease, That clothe her with such grace; Their blessing is the light of peace That shines upon her face.
THE SLAVE IN THE DISMAL SWAMP
In dark fens of the Dismal Swamp The hunted Negro lay; He saw the fire of the midnight camp, And heard at times a horse's tramp And a bloodhound's distant bay.
Where will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine, In bulrush and in brake; Where waving mosses shroud the pine, And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine Is spotted like the snake;
Where hardly a human foot could pass, Or a human heart would dare, On the quaking turf of the green morass He crouched in the rank and tangled grass, Like a wild beast in his lair.
A poor old slave, infirm and lame; Great scars deformed his face; On his forehead he bore the brand of shame, And the rags, that hid his mangled frame, Were the livery of disgrace.
All things above were bright and fair, All things were glad and free; Lithe squirrels darted here and there, And wild birds filled the echoing air With songs of Liberty!
On him alone was the doom of pain, From the morning of his birth; On him alone the curse of Cain Fell, like a flail on the garnered grain, And struck him to the earth!
THE SLAVE SINGING AT MIDNIGHT
Loud he sang the psalm of David! He, a Negro and enslaved, Sang of Israel's victory, Sang of Zion, bright and free.
In that hour, when night is calmest, Sang he from the Hebrew Psalmist, In a voice so sweet and clear That I could not choose but hear,
Songs of triumph, and ascriptions, Such as reached the swart Egyptians, When upon the Red Sea coast Perished Pharaoh and his host.
And the voice of his devotion Filled my soul with strange emotion; For its tones by turns were glad, Sweetly solemn, wildly sad.
Paul and Silas, in their prison, Sang of Christ, the Lord arisen, And an earthquake's arm of might Broke their dungeon-gates at night.
But, alas! what holy angel Brings the Slave this glad evangel? And what earthquake's arm of might Breaks his dungeon-gates at night?
In Ocean's wide domains, Half buried in the sands, Lie skeletons in chains, With shackled feet and hands.
Beyond the fall of dews, Deeper than plummet lies, Float ships, with all their crews, No more to sink nor rise.
There the black Slave-ship swims, Freighted with human forms, Whose fettered, fleshless limbs Are not the sport of storms.
These are the bones of Slaves; They gleam from the abyss; They cry, from yawning waves, "We are the Witnesses!"
Within Earth's wide domains Are markets for men's lives; Their necks are galled with chains, Their wrists are cramped with gyves.
Dead bodies, that the kite In deserts makes its prey; Murders, that with affright Scare school-boys from their play!
All evil thoughts and deeds; Anger, and lust, and pride; The foulest, rankest weeds, That choke Life's groaning tide!
These are the woes of Slaves; They glare from the abyss; They cry, from unknown graves, "We are the Witnesses!
THE QUADROON GIRL
The Slaver in the broad lagoon Lay moored with idle sail; He waited for the rising moon, And for the evening gale.
Under the shore his boat was tied, And all her listless crew Watched the gray alligator slide Into the still bayou.
Odors of orange-flowers, and spice, Reached them from time to time, Like airs that breathe from Paradise Upon a world of crime.
The Planter, under his roof of thatch, Smoked thoughtfully and slow; The Slaver's thumb was on the latch, He seemed in haste to go.
He said, "My ship at anchor rides In yonder broad lagoon; I only wait the evening tides, And the rising of the moon.
Before them, with her face upraised, In timid attitude, Like one half curious, half amazed, A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her eyes were large, and full of light, Her arms and neck were bare; No garment she wore save a kirtle bright, And her own long, raven hair.
And on her lips there played a smile As holy, meek, and faint, As lights in some cathedral aisle The features of a saint.
"The soil is barren,—the farm is old"; The thoughtful planter said; Then looked upon the Slaver's gold, And then upon the maid.
His heart within him was at strife With such accursed gains: For he knew whose passions gave her life, Whose blood ran in her veins.
But the voice of nature was too weak; He took the glittering gold! Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek, Her hands as icy cold.
The Slaver led her from the door, He led her by the hand, To be his slave and paramour In a strange and distant land!
Beware! The Israelite of old, who tore The lion in his path,—when, poor and blind, He saw the blessed light of heaven no more, Shorn of his noble strength and forced to grind In prison, and at last led forth to be A pander to Philistine revelry,—
Upon the pillars of the temple laid His desperate hands, and in its overthrow Destroyed himself, and with him those who made A cruel mockery of his sightless woe; The poor, blind Slave, the scoff and jest of all, Expired, and thousands perished in the fall!
There is a poor, blind Samson in this land, Shorn of his strength and bound in bonds of steel, Who may, in some grim revel, raise his hand, And shake the pillars of this Commonweal, Till the vast Temple of our liberties. A shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish lies.
THE SPANISH STUDENT
VICTORIAN HYPOLITO Students of Alcala.
THE COUNT OF LARA DON CARLOS Gentlemen of Madrid.
THE ARCHBISHOP OF TOLEDO. A CARDINAL. BELTRAN CRUZADO Count of the Gypsies. BARTOLOME ROMAN A young Gypsy. THE PADRE CURA OF GUADARRAMA. PEDRO CRESPO Alcalde. PANCHO Alguacil. FRANCISCO Lara's Servant. CHISPA Victorian's Servant. BALTASAR Innkeeper. PRECIOSA A Gypsy Girl. ANGELICA A poor Girl. MARTINA The Padre Cura's Niece. DOLORES Preciosa's Maid. Gypsies, Musicians, etc.
SCENE I.—The COUNT OF LARA'S chambers. Night. The COUNT in his dressing-gown, smoking and conversing with DON CARLOS.
Lara. You were not at the play tonight, Don Carlos; How happened it?
Don C. I had engagements elsewhere. Pray who was there?
Lara. Why all the town and court. The house was crowded; and the busy fans Among the gayly dressed and perfumed ladies Fluttered like butterflies among the flowers. There was the Countess of Medina Celi; The Goblin Lady with her Phantom Lover, Her Lindo Don Diego; Dona Sol, And Dona Serafina, and her cousins.
Don C. What was the play?
Lara. It was a dull affair; One of those comedies in which you see, As Lope says, the history of the world Brought down from Genesis to the Day of Judgment. There were three duels fought in the first act, Three gentlemen receiving deadly wounds, Laying their hands upon their hearts, and saying, "O, I am dead!" a lover in a closet, An old hidalgo, and a gay Don Juan, A Dona Inez with a black mantilla, Followed at twilight by an unknown lover, Who looks intently where he knows she is not!
Don C. Of course, the Preciosa danced to-night?
Lara. And never better. Every footstep fell As lightly as a sunbeam on the water. I think the girl extremely beautiful.
Don C. Almost beyond the privilege of woman! I saw her in the Prado yesterday. Her step was royal,—queen-like,—and her face As beautiful as a saint's in Paradise.
Lara. May not a saint fall from her Paradise, And be no more a saint?
Don C. Why do you ask?
Lara. Because I have heard it said this angel fell, And though she is a virgin outwardly, Within she is a sinner; like those panels Of doors and altar-pieces the old monks Painted in convents, with the Virgin Mary On the outside, and on the inside Venus!
Don C. You do her wrong; indeed, you do her wrong! She is as virtuous as she is fair.
Lara. How credulous you are! Why look you, friend, There's not a virtuous woman in Madrid, In this whole city! And would you persuade me That a mere dancing-girl, who shows herself, Nightly, half naked, on the stage, for money, And with voluptuous motions fires the blood Of inconsiderate youth, is to be held A model for her virtue?
Don C. You forget She is a Gypsy girl.
Lara. And therefore won The easier.
Don C. Nay, not to be won at all! The only virtue that a Gypsy prizes Is chastity. That is her only virtue. Dearer than life she holds it. I remember A Gypsy woman, a vile, shameless bawd, Whose craft was to betray the young and fair; And yet this woman was above all bribes. And when a noble lord, touched by her beauty, The wild and wizard beauty of her race, Offered her gold to be what she made others, She turned upon him, with a look of scorn, And smote him in the face!
Lara. And does that prove That Preciosa is above suspicion?
Don C. It proves a nobleman may be repulsed When he thinks conquest easy. I believe That woman, in her deepest degradation, Holds something sacred, something undefiled, Some pledge and keepsake of her higher nature, And, like the diamond in the dark, retains Some quenchless gleam of the celestial light!
Lara. Yet Preciosa would have taken the gold.
Don C. (rising). I do not think so.
Lara. I am sure of it. But why this haste? Stay yet a little longer, And fight the battles of your Dulcinea.
Don C. 'T is late. I must begone, for if I stay You will not be persuaded.
Lara. Yes; persuade me.
Don C. No one so deaf as he who will not hear!
Lara. No one so blind as he who will not see!
Don C. And so good night. I wish you pleasant dreams, And greater faith in woman. [Exit.
Lara. Greater faith! I have the greatest faith; for I believe Victorian is her lover. I believe That I shall be to-morrow; and thereafter Another, and another, and another, Chasing each other through her zodiac, As Taurus chases Aries.
(Enter FRANCISCO with a casket.)
Well, Francisco, What speed with Preciosa?
Fran. None, my lord. She sends your jewels back, and bids me tell you She is not to be purchased by your gold.
Lara. Then I will try some other way to win her. Pray, dost thou know Victorian?
Fran. Yes, my lord; I saw him at the jeweller's to-day.
Lara. What was he doing there?
Fran. I saw him buy A golden ring, that had a ruby in it.
Lara. Was there another like it?
Fran. One so like it I could not choose between them.
Lara. It is well. To-morrow morning bring that ring to me. Do not forget. Now light me to my bed. [Exeunt.
SCENE II. — A street in Madrid. Enter CHISPA, followed by musicians, with a bagpipe, guitars, and other instruments.
Chispa. Abernuncio Satanas! and a plague on all lovers who ramble about at night, drinking the elements, instead of sleeping quietly in their beds. Every dead man to his cemetery, say I; and every friar to his monastery. Now, here's my master, Victorian, yesterday a cow-keeper, and to-day a gentleman; yesterday a student, and to-day a lover; and I must be up later than the nightingale, for as the abbot sings so must the sacristan respond. God grant he may soon be married, for then shall all this serenading cease. Ay, marry! marry! marry! Mother, what does marry mean? It means to spin, to bear children, and to weep, my daughter! And, of a truth, there is something more in matrimony than the wedding-ring. (To the musicians.) And now, gentlemen, Pax vobiscum! as the ass said to the cabbages. Pray, walk this way; and don't hang down your heads. It is no disgrace to have an old father and a ragged shirt. Now, look you, you are gentlemen who lead the life of crickets; you enjoy hunger by day and noise by night. Yet, I beseech you, for this once be not loud, but pathetic; for it is a serenade to a damsel in bed, and not to the Man in the Moon. Your object is not to arouse and terrify, but to soothe and bring lulling dreams. Therefore, each shall not play upon his instrument as if it were the only one in the universe, but gently, and with a certain modesty, according with the others. Pray, how may I call thy name, friend?
First Mus. Geronimo Gil, at your service.
Chispa. Every tub smells of the wine that is in it. Pray, Geronimo, is not Saturday an unpleasant day with thee?
First Mus. Why so?
Chispa. Because I have heard it said that Saturday is an unpleasant day with those who have but one shirt. Moreover, I have seen thee at the tavern, and if thou canst run as fast as thou canst drink, I should like to hunt hares with thee. What instrument is that?
First Mus. An Aragonese bagpipe.
Chispa. Pray, art thou related to the bagpiper of Bujalance, who asked a maravedi for playing, and ten for leaving off?
First Mus. No, your honor.
Chispa. I am glad of it. What other instruments have we?
Second and Third Musicians. We play the bandurria.
Chispa. A pleasing instrument. And thou?
Fourth Mus. The fife.
Chispa. I like it; it has a cheerful, soul-stirring sound, that soars up to my lady's window like the song of a swallow. And you others?
Other Mus. We are the singers, please your honor.
Chispa. You are too many. Do you think we are going to sing mass in the cathedral of Cordova? Four men can make but little use of one shoe, and I see not how you can all sing in one song. But follow me along the garden wall. That is the way my master climbs to the lady's window, it is by the Vicar's skirts that the Devil climbs into the belfry. Come, follow me, and make no noise. [Exeunt.
SCENE III. — PRECIOSA'S chamber. She stands at the open window.
Prec. How slowly through the lilac-scented air Descends the tranquil moon! Like thistle-down The vapory clouds float in the peaceful sky; And sweetly from yon hollow vaults of shade The nightingales breathe out their souls in song. And hark! what songs of love, what soul-like sounds, Answer them from below!
Stars of the summer night! Far in yon azure deeps, Hide, hide your golden light! She sleeps! My lady sleeps! Sleeps!
Moon of the summer night! Far down yon western steeps, Sink, sink in silver light! She sleeps! My lady sleeps! Sleeps!
Wind of the summer night! Where yonder woodbine creeps, Fold, fold thy pinions light! She sleeps! My lady sleeps! Sleeps!
Dreams of the summer night! Tell her, her lover keeps Watch! while in slumbers light She sleeps My lady sleeps Sleeps!
(Enter VICTORIAN by the balcony.)
Vict. Poor little dove! Thou tremblest like a leaf!
Prec. I am so frightened! 'T is for thee I tremble! I hate to have thee climb that wall by night! Did no one see thee?
Vict. None, my love, but thou.
Prec. 'T is very dangerous; and when thou art gone I chide myself for letting thee come here Thus stealthily by night. Where hast thou been? Since yesterday I have no news from thee.
Vict. Since yesterday I have been in Alcala. Erelong the time will come, sweet Preciosa, When that dull distance shall no more divide us; And I no more shall scale thy wall by night To steal a kiss from thee, as I do now.
Prec. An honest thief, to steal but what thou givest.
Vict. And we shall sit together unmolested, And words of true love pass from tongue to tongue, As singing birds from one bough to another.
Prec. That were a life to make time envious! I knew that thou wouldst come to me to-night. I saw thee at the play.
Vict. Sweet child of air! Never did I behold thee so attired And garmented in beauty as to-night! What hast thou done to make thee look so fair?
Prec. Am I not always fair?
Vict. Ay, and so fair That I am jealous of all eyes that see thee, And wish that they were blind.
Prec. I heed them not; When thou art present, I see none but thee!
Vict. There's nothing fair nor beautiful, but takes Something from thee, that makes it beautiful.
Prec. And yet thou leavest me for those dusty books.
Vict. Thou comest between me and those books too often! I see thy face in everything I see! The paintings in the chapel wear thy looks, The canticles are changed to sarabands, And with the leaned doctors of the schools I see thee dance cachuchas.
Prec. In good sooth, I dance with learned doctors of the schools To-morrow morning.
Vict. And with whom, I pray?
Prec. A grave and reverend Cardinal, and his Grace The Archbishop of Toledo.
Vict. What mad jest Is this?
Prec. It is no jest; indeed it is not.
Vict. Prithee, explain thyself.
Prec. Why, simply thus. Thou knowest the Pope has sent here into Spain To put a stop to dances on the stage.
Vict. I have heard it whispered.
Prec. Now the Cardinal, Who for this purpose comes, would fain behold With his own eyes these dances; and the Archbishop Has sent for me—
Vict. That thou mayst dance before them! Now viva la cachucha! It will breathe The fire of youth into these gray old men! 'T will be thy proudest conquest!
Prec. Saving one. And yet I fear these dances will be stopped, And Preciosa be once more a beggar.
Vict. The sweetest beggar that e'er asked for alms; With such beseeching eyes, that when I saw thee I gave my heart away!
Prec. Dost thou remember When first we met?
Vict. It was at Cordova, In the cathedral garden. Thou wast sitting Under the orange-trees, beside a fountain.
Prec. 'T was Easter-Sunday. The full-blossomed trees Filled all the air with fragrance and with joy. The priests were singing, and the organ sounded, And then anon the great cathedral bell. It was the elevation of the Host. We both of us fell down upon our knees, Under the orange boughs, and prayed together. I never had been happy till that moment.
Vict. Thou blessed angel!
Prec. And when thou wast gone I felt an acting here. I did not speak To any one that day. But from that day Bartolome grew hateful unto me.
Vict. Remember him no more. Let not his shadow Come between thee and me. Sweet Preciosa! I loved thee even then, though I was silent!
Prec. I thought I ne'er should see thy face again. Thy farewell had a sound of sorrow in it.
Vict. That was the first sound in the song of love! Scarce more than silence is, and yet a sound. Hands of invisible spirits touch the strings Of that mysterious instrument, the soul, And play the prelude of our fate. We hear The voice prophetic, and are not alone.
Prec. That is my faith. Dust thou believe these warnings?
Vict. So far as this. Our feelings and our thoughts Tend ever on, and rest not in the Present. As drops of rain fall into some dark well, And from below comes a scarce audible sound, So fall our thoughts into the dark Hereafter, And their mysterious echo reaches us.
Prec. I have felt it so, but found no words to say it! I cannot reason; I can only feel! But thou hast language for all thoughts and feelings. Thou art a scholar; and sometimes I think We cannot walk together in this world! The distance that divides us is too great! Henceforth thy pathway lies among the stars; I must not hold thee back.
Vict. Thou little sceptic! Dost thou still doubt? What I most prize in woman Is her affections, not her intellect! The intellect is finite; but the affections Are infinite, and cannot be exhausted. Compare me with the great men of the earth; What am I? Why, a pygmy among giants! But if thou lovest,—mark me! I say lovest, The greatest of thy sex excels thee not! The world of the affections is thy world, Not that of man's ambition. In that stillness Which most becomes a woman, calm and holy, Thou sittest by the fireside of the heart, Feeding its flame. The element of fire Is pure. It cannot change nor hide its nature, But burns as brightly in a Gypsy camp As in a palace hall. Art thou convinced?