WATCHERS OF THE SKY
This volume, while it is complete in itself, is also the first of a trilogy, the scope of which is suggested in the prologue. The story of scientific discovery has its own epic unity—a unity of purpose and endeavour—the single torch passing from hand to hand through the centuries; and the great moments of science when, after long labour, the pioneers saw their accumulated facts falling into a significant order—sometimes in the form of a law that revolutionised the whole world of thought—have an intense human interest, and belong essentially to the creative imagination of poetry. It is with these moments that my poem is chiefly concerned, not with any impossible attempt to cover the whole field or to make a new poetic system, after the Lucretian model, out of modern science.
The theme has been in my mind for a good many years; and the first volume, dealing with the "Watchers of the Sky," began to take definite shape during what was to me an unforgettable experience—the night I was privileged to spend on a summit of the Sierra Madre Mountains, when the first trial was made of the new 100-inch telescope. The prologue to this volume attempts to give a picture of that night, and to elucidate my own purpose.
The first tale in this volume plunges into the middle of things, with the revolution brought about by Copernicus; but, within the tale, partly by means of an incidental lyric, there is an attempt to give a bird's-eye view of what had gone before. The torch then passes to Tycho Brahe, who, driven into exile with his tables of the stars, at the very point of death hands them over to a young man named Kepler. Kepler, with their help, arrives at his own great laws, and corresponds with Galileo—the intensely human drama of whose life I have endeavoured to depict with more historical accuracy than can be attributed to much of the poetic literature that has gathered around his name. Too many writers have succumbed to the temptation of the cry, "e pur si muove!" It is, of course, rejected by every reliable historian, and was first attributed to Galileo a hundred years after his death. M. Ponsard, in his play on the subject, succumbed to the extent of making his final scene end with Galileo "frappant du pied la terre," and crying, "pourtant elle tourne." Galileo's recantation was a far more subtle and tragically complicated affair than that. Even Landor succumbed to the easy method of making him display his entirely legendary scars to Milton. If these familiar pictures are not to be found in my poem, it may be well for me to assure the hasty reader that it is because I have endeavoured to present a more just picture. I have tried to suggest the complications of motive in this section by a series of letters passing between the characters chiefly concerned. There was, of course, a certain poetic significance in the legend of "e pur si muove"; and this significance I have endeavoured to retain without violating historical truth.
In the year of Galileo's death Newton was born, and the subsequent sections carry the story on to the modern observatory again. The form I have adopted is a development from that of an earlier book, "Tales of the Mermaid Tavern" where certain poets and discoverers of another kind were brought together round a central idea, and their stories told in a combination of narrative and lyrical verse. "The Torch-Bearers" flowed all the more naturally into a similar form in view of the fact that Tycho Brahe, Kepler, and many other pioneers of science wrote a considerable number of poems. Those imbedded in the works of Kepler—whose blazing and fantastic genius was, indeed, primarily poetic—are of extraordinary interest. I was helped, too, in the general scheme by those constant meetings between science and poetry, of which the most famous and beautiful are the visit of Sir Henry Wotton to Kepler, and the visit of Milton to Galileo in prison.
Even if science and poetry were as deadly opposites as the shallow often affirm, the method and scheme indicated above would at least make it possible to convey something of the splendour of the long battle for the light in its most human aspect. Poetry has its own precision of expression and, in modern times, it has been seeking more and more for truth, sometimes even at the expense of beauty. It may be possible to carry that quest a stage farther, to the point where, in the great rhythmical laws of the universe revealed by science, truth and beauty are reunited. If poetry can do this, it will not be without some value to science itself, and it will be playing its part in the reconstruction of a shattered world. The passing of the old order of dogmatic religion has left the modern world in a strange chaos, craving for something in which it can unfeignedly believe, and often following will-o'-the-wisps. Forty years ago, Matthew Arnold prophesied that it would be for poetry, "where it is worthy of its high destinies," to help to carry on the purer fire, and to express in new terms those eternal ideas which must ever be the only sure stay of the human race. It is not within the province of science to attempt a post-Copernican justification of the ways of God to man; but, in the laws of nature revealed by science, and in "that grand sequence of events which"—as Darwin affirmed—"the mind refuses to accept as the result of blind chance," poetry may discover its own new grounds for the attempt. It is easy to assume that all hope and faith are shallow. It is even easier to practise a really shallow and devitalising pessimism. The modern annunciation that there is a skeleton an inch beneath the skin of man is neither new nor profound. Neither science nor poetry can rest there; and if, in this poem, an attempt is made to show that spiritual values are not diminished or overwhelmed by the "fifteen hundred universes" that passed in review before the telescope of Herschel, it is only after the opposite argument—so common and so easy to-day—has been faced; and only after poetry has at least endeavoured to follow the torch of science to its own deep-set boundary-mark in that immense darkness of Space and Time.
II. Tycho Brahe
VI. William Herschel Conducts
VII. Sir John Herschel Remembers
At noon, upon the mountain's purple height, Above the pine-woods and the clouds it shone No larger than the small white dome of shell Left by the fledgling wren when wings are born. By night it joined the company of heaven, And, with its constant light, became a star. A needle-point of light, minute, remote, It sent a subtler message through the abyss, Held more significance for the seeing eye Than all the darkness that would blot it out, Yet could not dwarf it. High in heaven it shone, Alive with all the thoughts, and hopes, and dreams Of man's adventurous mind. Up there, I knew The explorers of the sky, the pioneers Of science, now made ready to attack That darkness once again, and win new worlds. To-morrow night they hoped to crown the toil Of twenty years, and turn upon the sky The noblest weapon ever made by man. War had delayed them. They had been drawn away Designing darker weapons. But no gun Could outrange this.
"To-morrow night"—so wrote their chief—"we try Our great new telescope, the hundred-inch. Your Milton's 'optic tube' has grown in power Since Galileo, famous, blind, and old, Talked with him, in that prison, of the sky. We creep to power by inches. Europe trusts Her 'giant forty' still. Even to-night Our own old sixty has its work to do; And now our hundred-inch . . . I hardly dare To think what this new muzzle of ours may find. Come up, and spend that night among the stars Here, on our mountain-top. If all goes well, Then, at the least, my friend, you'll see a moon Stranger, but nearer, many a thousand mile Than earth has ever seen her, even in dreams. As for the stars, if seeing them were all, Three thousand million new-found points of light Is our rough guess. But never speak of this. You know our press. They'd miss the one result To flash 'three thousand millions' round the world." To-morrow night! For more than twenty years, They had thought and planned and worked. Ten years had gone, One-fourth, or more, of man's brief working life, Before they made those solid tons of glass, Their hundred-inch reflector, the clear pool, The polished flawless pool that it must be To hold the perfect image of a star. And, even now, some secret flaw—none knew Until to-morrow's test—might waste it all. Where was the gambler that would stake so much,— Time, patience, treasure, on a single throw? The cost of it,—they'd not find that again, Either in gold or life-stuff! All their youth Was fuel to the flame of this one work. Once in a lifetime to the man of science, Despite what fools believe his ice-cooled blood, There comes this drama. If he fails, he fails Utterly. He at least will have no time For fresh beginnings. Other men, no doubt, Years hence, will use the footholes that he cut In those precipitous cliffs, and reach the height, But he will never see it." So for me, The light words of that letter seemed to hide The passion of a lifetime, and I shared The crowning moment of its hope and fear. Next day, through whispering aisles of palm we rode Up to the foot-hills, dreaming desert-hills That to assuage their own delicious drought Had set each tawny sun-kissed slope ablaze With peach and orange orchards. Up and up, Along the thin white trail that wound and climbed And zig-zagged through the grey-green mountain sage, The car went crawling, till the shining plain Below it, like an airman's map, unrolled. Houses and orchards dwindled to white specks In midget cubes and squares of tufted green. Once, as we rounded one steep curve, that made The head swim at the canyoned gulf below, We saw through thirty miles of lucid air Elvishly small, sharp as a crumpled petal Blown from the stem, a yard away, a sail Lazily drifting on the warm blue sea. Up for nine miles along that spiral trail Slowly we wound to reach the lucid height Above the clouds, where that white dome of shell, No wren's now, but an eagle's, took the flush Of dying day. The sage-brush all died out, And all the southern growths, and round us now, Firs of the north, and strong, storm-rooted pines Exhaled a keener fragrance; till, at last, Reversing all the laws of lesser hills, They towered like giants round us. Darkness fell Before we reached the mountain's naked height.
Over us, like some great cathedral dome, The observatory loomed against the sky; And the dark mountain with its headlong gulfs Had lost all memory of the world below; For all those cloudless throngs of glittering stars And all those glimmerings where the abyss of space Is powdered with a milky dust, each grain A burning sun, and every sun the lord Of its own darkling planets,—all those lights Met, in a darker deep, the lights of earth, Lights on the sea, lights of invisible towns, Trembling and indistinguishable from stars, In those black gulfs around the mountain's feet. Then, into the glimmering dome, with bated breath, We entered, and, above us, in the gloom Saw that majestic weapon of the light Uptowering like the shaft of some huge gun Through one arched rift of sky. Dark at its base With naked arms, the crew that all day long Had sweated to make ready for this night Waited their captain's word. The switchboard shone With elfin lamps of white and red, and keys Whence, at a finger's touch, that monstrous tube Moved like a creature dowered with life and will, To peer from deep to deep. Below it pulsed The clock-machine that slowly, throb by throb, Timed to the pace of the revolving earth, Drove the titanic muzzle on and on, Fixed to the chosen star that else would glide Out of its field of vision. So, set free Balanced against the wheel of time, it swung, Or rested, while, to find new realms of sky The dome that housed it, like a moon revolved, So smoothly that the watchers hardly knew They moved within; till, through the glimmering doors, They saw the dark procession of the pines Like Indian warriors, quietly stealing by.
Then, at a word, the mighty weapon dipped Its muzzle and aimed at one small point of light One seeming insignificant star. The chief, Mounting the ladder, while we held our breath, Looked through the eye-piece. Then we heard him laugh His thanks to God, and hide it in a jest. "A prominence on Jupiter!"— They laughed, "What do you mean?"—"It's moving," cried the chief, They laughed again, and watched his glimmering face High overhead against that moving tower. "Come up and see, then!" One by one they went, And, though each laughed as he returned to earth, Their souls were in their eyes. Then I, too, looked, And saw that insignificant spark of light Touched with new meaning, beautifully reborn, A swimming world, a perfect rounded pearl, Poised in the violet sky; and, as I gazed, I saw a miracle,—right on its upmost edge A tiny mound of white that slowly rose, Then, like an exquisite seed-pearl, swung quite clear And swam in heaven above its parent world To greet its three bright sister-moons. A moon, Of Jupiter, no more, but clearer far Than mortal eyes had seen before from earth, O, beautiful and clear beyond all dreams Was that one silver phrase of the starry tune Which Galileo's "old discoverer" first Dimly revealed, dissolving into clouds The imagined fabric of our universe. "Jupiter stands in heaven and will stand Though all the sycophants bark at him," he cried, Hailing the truth before he, too, went down, Whelmed in the cloudy wreckage of that dream.
So one by one we looked, the men who served Urania, and the men from Vulcan's forge. A beautiful eagerness in the darkness lit The swarthy faces that too long had missed A meaning in the dull mechanic maze Of labour on this blind earth, but found it now. Though only a moment's wandering melody Hopelessly far above, it gave their toil Its only consecration and its joy. There, with dark-smouldering eyes and naked throats, Blue-dungareed, red-shirted, grimed and smeared With engine-grease and sweat, they gathered round The foot of that dim ladder; each muttering low As he came down, his wonder at what he saw To those who waited,—a picture for the brush Of Rembrandt, lighted only by the rift Above them, where the giant muzzle thrust Out through the dim arched roof, and slowly throbbed, Against the slowly moving wheel of the earth, Holding their chosen star. There, like an elf, Perched on the side of that dark slanting tower The Italian mechanician watched the moons, That Italy discovered. One by one, American, English, French, and Dutch, they climbed To see the wonder that their own blind hands Had helped to achieve. At midnight while they paused To adjust the clock-machine, I wandered out Alone, into the silence of the night. The silence? On that lonely height I heard Eternal voices; For, as I looked into the gulf beneath, Whence almost all the lights had vanished now, The whole dark mountain seemed to have lost its earth And to be sailing like a ship through heaven. All round it surged the mighty sea-like sound Of soughing pine-woods, one vast ebb and flow Of absolute peace, aloof from all earth's pain, So calm, so quiet, it seemed the cradle-song, The deep soft breathing of the universe Over its youngest child, the soul of man. And, as I listened, that Aeolian voice Became an invocation and a prayer: O you, that on your loftier mountain dwell And move like light in light among the thoughts Of heaven, translating our mortality Into immortal song, is there not one Among you that can turn to music now This long dark fight for truth? Not one to touch With beauty this long battle for the light, This little victory of the spirit of man Doomed to defeat—for what was all we saw To that which neither eyes nor soul could see?— Doomed to defeat and yet unconquerable, Climbing its nine miles nearer to the stars. Wars we have sung. The blind, blood-boltered kings Move with an epic music to their thrones. Have you no song, then, of that nobler war? Of those who strove for light, but could not dream Even of this victory that they helped to win, Silent discoverers, lonely pioneers, Prisoners and exiles, martyrs of the truth Who handed on the fire, from age to age; Of those who, step by step, drove back the night And struggled, year on year, for one more glimpse Among the stars, of sovran law, their guide; Of those who searching inward, saw the rocks Dissolving into a new abyss, and saw Those planetary systems far within, Atoms, electrons, whirling on their way To build and to unbuild our solid world; Of those who conquered, inch by difficult inch, The freedom of this realm of law for man; Dreamers of dreams, the builders of our hope, The healers and the binders up of wounds, Who, while the dynasts drenched the world with blood, Would in the still small circle of a lamp Wrestle with death like Heracles of old To save one stricken child. Is there no song To touch this moving universe of law With ultimate light, the glimmer of that great dawn Which over our ruined altars yet shall break In purer splendour, and restore mankind From darker dreams than even Lucretius knew To vision of that one Power which guides the world. How should men find it? Only through those doors Which, opening inward, in each separate soul Give each man access to that Soul of all Living within each life, not to be found Or known, till, looking inward, each alone Meets the unknowable and eternal God.
And there was one that moved like light in light Before me there,—Love, human and divine, That can exalt all weakness into power,— Whispering, Take this deathless torch of song... Whispering, but with such faith, that even I Was humbled into thinking this might be Through love, though all the wisdom of the world Account it folly. Let my breast be bared To every shaft, then, so that Love be still My one celestial guide the while I sing Of those who caught the pure Promethean fire One from another, each crying as he went down To one that waited, crowned with youth and joy,— Take thou the splendour, carry it out of sight Into the great new age I must not know, Into the great new realm I must not tread.
The neighbours gossiped idly at the door. Copernicus lay dying overhead. His little throng of friends, with startled eyes, Whispered together, in that dark house of dreams, From which by one dim crevice in the wall He used to watch the stars. "His book has come From Nuremberg at last; but who would dare To let him see it now?"— "They have altered it! Though Rome approved in full, this preface, look, Declares that his discoveries are a dream!"— "He has asked a thousand times if it has come; Could we tear out those pages?"— "He'd suspect."— "What shall be done, then?"— "Hold it back awhile. That was the priest's voice in the room above. He may forget it. Those last sacraments May set his mind at rest, and bring him peace."— Then, stealing quietly to that upper door, They opened it a little, and saw within The lean white deathbed of Copernicus Who made our world a world without an end. There, in that narrow room, they saw his face Grey, seamed with thought, lit by a single lamp; They saw those glorious eyes Closing, that once had looked beyond the spheres And seen our ancient firmaments dissolve Into a boundless night. Beside him knelt Two women, like bowed shadows. At his feet, An old physician watched him. At his head, The cowled Franciscan murmured, while the light Shone faintly on the chalice. All grew still. The fragrance of the wine was like faint flowers, The first breath of those far celestial fields....
Then, like a dying soldier, that must leave His last command to others, while the fight Is yet uncertain, and the victory far, Copernicus whispered, in a fevered dream, "Yes, it is Death. But you must hold him back, There, in the doorway, for a little while, Until I know the work is rightly done. Use all your weapons, doctor. I must live To see and touch one copy of my book. Have they not brought it yet? They promised me It should be here by nightfall. One of you go And hasten it. I can hold back Death till dawn.
Have they not brought it yet?—from Nuremberg. Do not deceive me. I must know it safe, Printed and safe, for other men to use. I could die then. My use would be fulfilled. What has delayed them? Will not some one go And tell them that my strength is running out? Tell them that book would be an angel's hand In mine, an easier pillow for my head, A little lantern in the engulfing dark. You see, I hid its struggling light so long Under too small a bushel, and I fear It may go out forever. In the noon Of life's brief day, I could not see the need As now I see it, when the night shuts down. I was afraid, perhaps, it might confuse The lights that guide us for the souls of men.
But now I see three stages in our life. At first, we bask contented in our sun And take what daylight shows us for the truth. Then we discover, in some midnight grief, How all day long the sunlight blinded us To depths beyond, where all our knowledge dies. That's where men shrink, and lose their way in doubt. Then, last, as death draws nearer, comes a night In whose majestic shadow men see God, Absolute Knowledge, reconciling all. So, all my life I pondered on that scheme Which makes this earth the centre of all worlds, Lighted and wheeled around by sun and moon And that great crystal sphere wherein men thought Myriads of lesser stars were fixed like lamps, Each in its place,—one mighty glittering wheel Revolving round this dark abode of man. Night after night, with even pace they moved. Year after year, not altering by one point, Their order, or their stations, those fixed stars In that revolving firmament. The Plough Still pointed to the Pole. Fixed in their sphere, How else explain that vast unchanging wheel? How, but by thinking all those lesser lights Were huger suns, divided from our earth By so immense a gulf that, if they moved Ten thousand leagues an hour among themselves, It would not seem one hair's-breadth to our eyes. Utterly inconceivable, I know; And yet we daily kneel to boundless Power And build our hope on that Infinitude.
This did not daunt me, then. Indeed, I saw Light upon chaos. Many discordant dreams Began to move in lucid music now. For what could be more baffling than the thought That those enormous heavens must circle earth Diurnally—a journey that would need Swiftness to which the lightning flash would seem A white slug creeping on the walls of night; While, if earth softly on her axle spun One quiet revolution answered all. It was our moving selves that made the sky Seem to revolve. Have not all ages seen A like illusion baffling half mankind In life, thought, art? Men think, at every turn Of their own souls, the very heavens have moved.
Light upon chaos, light, and yet more light; For—as I watched the planets—Venus, Mars, Appeared to wax and wane from month to month As though they moved, now near, now far, from earth. Earth could not be their centre. Was the sun Their sovran lord then, as Pythagoras held? Was this great earth, so 'stablished, so secure, A planet also? Did it also move Around the sun? If this were true, my friends, No revolution in this world's affairs, Not that blind maelstrom where imperial Rome Went down into the dark, could so engulf All that we thought we knew. We who believed In our own majesty, we who walked with gods As younger sons on this proud central stage, Round which the whole bright firmament revolved For our especial glory, must we creep Like ants upon our midget ball of dust Lost in immensity? I could not take That darkness lightly. I withheld my book For many a year, until I clearly saw, And Rome approved me—have they not brought it yet?— That this tremendous music could not drown The still supernal music of the soul, Or quench the light that shone when Christ was born. For who, if one lost star could lead the kings To God's own Son, would shrink from following these To His eternal throne? This at the least We know, the soul of man can soar through heaven. It is our own wild wings that dwarf the world To nothingness beneath us. Let the soul Take courage, then. If its own thought be true, Not all the immensities of little minds Can ever quench its own celestial fire. No. This new night was needed, that the soul Might conquer its own kingdom and arise To its full stature. So, in face of death, I saw that I must speak the truth I knew.
Have they not brought it? What delays my book? I am afraid. Tell me the truth, my friends. At this last hour, the Church may yet withhold Her sanction. Not the Church, but those who think A little darkness helps her. Were this true, They would do well. If the poor light we win Confuse or blind us, to the Light of lights, Let all our wisdom perish. I affirm A greater Darkness, where the one true Church Shall after all her agonies of loss And many an age of doubt, perhaps, to come, See this processional host of splendours burn Like tapers round her altar. So I speak Not for myself, but for the age unborn. I caught the fire from those who went before, The bearers of the torch who could not see The goal to which they strained. I caught their fire, And carried it, only a little way beyond; But there are those that wait for it, I know, Those who will carry it on to victory. I dare not fail them. Looking back, I see Those others,—fallen, with their arms outstretched Dead, pointing to the future. Far, far back, Before the Egyptians built their pyramids With those dark funnels pointing to the north, Through which the Pharaohs from their desert tombs Gaze all night long upon the Polar Star, Some wandering Arab crept from death to life Led by the Plough across those wastes of pearl....
Long, long ago—have they not brought it yet? My book?—I finished it one summer's night, And felt my blood all beating into song. I meant to print those verses in my book, A prelude, hinting at that deeper night Which darkens all our knowledge. Then I thought The measure moved too lightly. Do you recall Those verses, Elsa? They would pass the time. How happy I was the night I wrote that song!" Then, one of those bowed shadows raised her head And, like a mother crooning to her child, Murmured the words he wrote, so long ago.
In old Cathay, in far Cathay, Before the western world began, They saw the moving fount of day Eclipsed, as by a shadowy fan; They stood upon their Chinese wall. They saw his fire to ashes fade, And felt the deeper slumber fall On domes of pearl and towers of jade.
With slim brown hands, in Araby, They traced, upon the desert sand, Their Rams and Scorpions of the sky, And strove—and failed—to understand. Before their footprints were effaced The shifting sand forgot their rune; Their hieroglyphs were all erased, Their desert naked to the moon.
In Bagdad of the purple nights, Haroun Al Raschid built a tower, Where sages watched a thousand lights And read their legends, for an hour. The tower is down, the Caliph dead, Their astrolabes are wrecked with rust. Orion glitters overhead, Aladdin's lamp is in the dust.
In Babylon, in Babylon, They baked their tablets of the clay; And, year by year, inscribed thereon The dark eclipses of their day; They saw the moving finger write Its Mene, Mene, on their sun. A mightier shadow cloaks their light, And clay is clay in Babylon.
A shadow moved towards him from the door. Copernicus, with a cry, upraised his head. "The book, I cannot see it, let me feel The lettering on the cover. It is here! Put out the lamp, now. Draw those curtains back, And let me die with starlight on my face. An angel's hand in mine . . . yes; I can say My nunc dimittis now . . . light, and more light In that pure realm whose darkness is our peace."
They thought him a magician, Tycho Brahe, Who lived on that strange island in the Sound, Nine miles from Elsinore. His legend reached The Mermaid Inn the year that Shakespeare died. Fynes Moryson had brought his travellers' tales Of Wheen, the heart-shaped isle where Tycho made His great discoveries, and, with Jeppe, his dwarf, And flaxen-haired Christine, the peasant girl, Dreamed his great dreams for five-and-twenty years. For there he lit that lanthorn of the law, Uraniborg; that fortress of the truth, With Pegasus flying above its loftiest tower, While, in its roofs, like wide enchanted eyes Watching, the brightest windows in the world, Opened upon the stars.
Nine miles from Elsinore, with all those ghosts, There's magic enough in that! But white-cliffed Wheen, Six miles in girth, with crowds of hunchback waves Crawling all round it, and those moonstruck windows, Held its own magic, too; for Tycho Brahe By his mysterious alchemy of dreams Had so enriched the soil, that when the king Of England wished to buy it, Denmark asked A price too great for any king on earth. "Give us," they said, "in scarlet cardinal's cloth Enough to cover it, and, at every corner, Of every piece, a right rose-noble too; Then all that kings can buy of Wheen is yours. Only," said they, "a merchant bought it once; And, when he came to claim it, goblins flocked All round him, from its forty goblin farms, And mocked him, bidding him take away the stones That he had bought, for nothing else was his." These things were fables. They were also true. They thought him a magician, Tycho Brahe, The astrologer, who wore the mask of gold. Perhaps he was. There's magic in the truth; And only those who find and follow its laws Can work its miracles. Tycho sought the truth From that strange year in boyhood when he heard The great eclipse foretold; and, on the day Appointed, at the very minute even, Beheld the weirdly punctual shadow creep Across the sun, bewildering all the birds With thoughts of evening. Picture him, on that day, The boy at Copenhagen, with his mane Of thick red hair, thrusting his freckled face Out of his upper window, holding the piece Of glass he blackened above his candle-flame To watch that orange ember in the sky Wane into smouldering ash. He whispered there, "So it is true. By searching in the heavens, Men can foretell the future." In the street Below him, throngs were babbling of the plague That might or might not follow. He resolved To make himself the master of that deep art And know what might be known. He bought the books Of Stadius, with his tables of the stars. Night after night, among the gabled roofs, Climbing and creeping through a world unknown Save to the roosting stork, he learned to find The constellations, Cassiopeia's throne, The Plough still pointing to the Polar Star, The sword-belt of Orion. There he watched The movements of the planets, hours on hours, And wondered at the mystery of it all. All this he did in secret, for his birth Was noble, and such wonderings were a sign Of low estate, when Tycho Brahe was young; And all his kinsmen hoped that Tycho Brahe Would live, serene as they, among his dogs And horses; or, if honour must be won, Let the superfluous glory flow from fields Where blood might still be shed; or from those courts Where statesmen lie. But Tycho sought the truth. So, when they sent him in his tutor's charge To Leipzig, for such studies as they held More worthy of his princely blood, he searched The Almagest; and, while his tutor slept, Measured the delicate angles of the stars, Out of his window, with his compasses, His only instrument. Even with this rude aid He found so many an ancient record wrong That more and more he burned to find the truth.
One night at home, as Tycho searched the sky, Out of his window, compasses in hand, Fixing one point upon a planet, one Upon some loftier star, a ripple of laughter Startled him, from the garden walk below. He lowered his compass, peered into the dark And saw—Christine, the blue-eyed peasant girl, With bare brown feet, standing among the flowers. She held what seemed an apple in her hand; And, in a voice that Aprilled all his blood, The low soft voice of earth, drawing him down From those cold heights to that warm breast of Spring, A natural voice that had not learned to use The false tones of the world, simple and clear As a bird's voice, out of the fragrant darkness called, "I saw it falling from your window-ledge! I thought it was an apple, till it rolled Over my foot. It's heavy. Shall I try To throw it back to you?" Tycho saw a stain Of purple across one small arched glistening foot. "Your foot Is bruised," he cried. "O no," she laughed, And plucked the stain off. "Only a petal, see." She showed it to him. "But this—I wonder now If I can throw it." Twice she tried and failed; Or Tycho failed to catch that slippery sphere. He saw the supple body swaying below, The ripe red lips that parted as she laughed, And those deep eyes where all the stars were drowned.
At the third time he caught it; and she vanished, Waving her hand, a little floating moth, Between the pine-trees, into the warm dark night. He turned into his room, and quickly thrust Under his pillow that forbidden fruit; For the door opened, and the hot red face Of Otto Brahe, his father, glowered at him. "What's this? What's this?" The furious-eyed old man Limped to the bedside, pulled the mystery out, And stared upon the strangest apple of Eve That ever troubled Eden,—heavy as bronze, And delicately enchased with silver stars, The small celestial globe that Tycho bought In Leipzig. Then the storm burst on his head! This moon-struck 'pothecary's-prentice work, These cheap-jack calendar-maker's gypsy tricks Would damn the mother of any Knutsdorp squire, And crown his father like a stag of ten. Quarrel on quarrel followed from that night, Till Tycho sickened of his ancient name; And, wandering through the woods about his home, Found on a hill-top, ringed with fragrant pines, A little open glade of whispering ferns. Thither, at night, he stole to watch the stars; And there he told the oldest tale on earth To one that watched beside him, one whose eyes Shone with true love, more beautiful than the stars, A daughter of earth, the peasant-girl, Christine.
They met there, in the dusk, on his last night At home, before he went to Wittenberg. They stood knee-deep among the whispering ferns, And said good-bye. "I shall return," he said, "And shame them for their folly, who would set Their pride above the stars, Christine, and you. At Wittenberg or Rostoch I shall find More chances and more knowledge. All those worlds Are still to conquer. We know nothing yet; The books are crammed with fables. They foretell Here an eclipse, and there a dawning moon, But most of them were out a month or more On Jupiter and Saturn. There's one way, And only one, to knowledge of the law Whereby the stars are steered, and so to read The future, even perhaps the destinies Of men and nations,—only one sure way, And that's to watch them, watch them, and record The truth we know, and not the lies we dream. Dear, while I watch them, though the hills and sea Divide us, every night our eyes can meet Among those constant glories. Every night Your eyes and mine, upraised to that bright realm, Can, in one moment, speak across the world. I shall come back with knowledge and with power, And you—will wait for me?" She answered him In silence, with the starlight of her eyes.
He watched the skies at Wittenberg. The plague Drove him to Rostoch, and he watched them there; But, even there, the plague of little minds Beset him. At a wedding-feast he met His noble countryman, Manderup, who asked, With mocking courtesy, whether Tycho Brahe Was ready yet to practise his black art At country fairs. The guests, and Tycho, laughed; Whereat the swaggering Junker blandly sneered, "If fortune-telling fail, Christine will dance, Thus—tambourine on hip," he struck a pose. "Her pretty feet will pack that booth of yours." They fought, at midnight, in a wood, with swords. And not a spark of light but those that leapt Blue from the clashing blades. Tycho had lost His moon and stars awhile, almost his life; For, in one furious bout, his enemy's blade Dashed like a scribble of lightning into the face Of Tycho Brahe, and left him spluttering blood, Groping through that dark wood with outstretched hands, To fall in a death-black swoon. They carried him back To Rostoch; and when Tycho saw at last That mirrored patch of mutilated flesh, Seared as by fire, between the frank blue eyes And firm young mouth where, like a living flower Upon some stricken tree, youth lingered still, He'd but one thought, Christine would shrink from him In fear, or worse, in pity. An end had come Worse than old age, to all the glory of youth. Urania would not let her lover stray Into a mortal's arms. He must remain Her own, for ever; and for ever, alone.
Yet, as the days went by, to face the world, He made himself a delicate mask of gold And silver, shaped like those that minstrels wear At carnival in Venice, or when love, Disguising its disguise of mortal flesh, Wooes as a nameless prince from far away. And when this world's day, with its blaze and coil Was ended, and the first white star awoke In that pure realm where all our tumults die, His eyes and hers, meeting on Hesperus, Renewed their troth. He seemed to see Christine, Ringed by the pine-trees on that distant hill, A small white figure, lost in space and time, Yet gazing at the sky, and conquering all, Height, depth, and heaven itself, by the sheer power Of love at one with everlasting laws, A love that shared the constancy of heaven, And spoke to him across, above, the world.
Not till he crossed the Danube did he find Among the fountains and the storied eaves Of Augsburg, one to share his task with him. Paul Hainzel, of that city, greatly loved To talk with Tycho of the strange new dreams Copernicus had kindled. Did this earth Move? Was the sun the centre of our scheme? And Tycho told him, there is but one way To know the truth, and that's to sweep aside All the dark cobwebs of old sophistry, And watch and learn that moving alphabet, Each smallest silver character inscribed Upon the skies themselves, noting them down, Till on a day we find them taking shape In phrases, with a meaning; and, at last, The hard-won beauty of that celestial book With all its epic harmonies unfold Like some great poet's universal song.
He was a great magician, Tycho Brahe. "Hainzel," he said, "we have no magic wand, But what the truth can give us. If we find Even with a compass, through a bedroom window, That half the glittering Almagest is wrong, Think you, what noble conquests might be ours, Had we but nobler instruments." He showed Quivering with eagerness, his first rude plan For that great quadrant,—not the wooden toy Of old Scultetus, but a kingly weapon, Huge as a Roman battering-ram, and fine In its divisions as any goldsmith's work. "It could be built," said Tycho, "but the cost Would buy a dozen culverin for your wars." Then Hainzel, fired by Tycho's burning brain, Answered, "We'll make it We've a war to wage On Chaos, and his kingdoms of the night." They chose the cunningest artists of the town, Clock-makers, jewellers, carpenters, and smiths, And, setting them all afire with Tycho's dream, Within a month his dream was oak and brass. Its beams were fourteen cubits, solid oak, Banded with iron. Its arch was polished brass Whereon five thousand exquisite divisions Were marked to show the minutes of degrees.
So huge and heavy it was, a score of men, Could hardly drag and fix it to its place In Hainzel's garden. Many a shining night, Tycho and Hainzel, out of that maze of flowers, Charted the stars, discovering point by point, How all the records erred, until the fame Of this new master, hovering above the schools Like a strange hawk, threatened the creeping dreams Of all the Aristotelians, and began To set their mouse-holes twittering "Tycho Brahe!"
Then Tycho Brahe came home, to find Christine. Up to that whispering glade of ferns he sped, At the first wink of Hesperus. He stood In shadow, under the darkest pine, to hide The little golden mask upon his face. He wondered, will she shrink from me in fear Or loathing? Will she even come at all? And, as he wondered, like a light she moved Before him. "Is it you?"— "Christine! Christine," He whispered, "It is I, the mountebank, Playing a jest upon you. It's only a mask! Do not be frightened. I am here behind it."
Her red lips parted, and between them shone, The little teeth like white pomegranate seeds. He saw her frightened eyes. Then, with a cry, Her arms went round him, and her eyelids closed. Lying against his heart, she set her lips Against his lips, and claimed him for her own.
One frosty night, as Tycho bent his way Home to the dark old abbey, he upraised His eyes, and saw a portent in the sky. There, in its most familiar patch of blue, Where Cassiopeia's five-fold glory burned, An unknown brilliance quivered, a huge star Unseen before, a strange new visitant To heavens unchangeable, as the world believed, Since the creation. Could new stars be born? Night after night he watched that miracle Growing and changing colour as it grew; White at the first, and large as Jupiter; And, in the third month, yellow, and larger yet; Red in the fifth month, like Aldebaran, And larger even than Lyra. In the seventh, Bluish like Saturn; whence it dulled and dwined Little by little, till after eight months more Into the dark abysmal blue of night, Whence it arose, the wonder died away. But, while it blazed above him, Tycho brought Those delicate records of two hundred nights To Copenhagen. There, in his golden mask, At supper with Pratensis, who believed Only what old books told him, Tycho met Dancey, the French Ambassador, rainbow-gay In satin hose and doublet, supple and thin, Brown-eyed, and bearded with a soft black tuft Neat as a blackbird's wing,—a spirit as keen And swift as France on all the starry trails Of thought. He saw the deep and simple fire, The mystery of all genius in those eyes Above that golden wizard. Tycho raised His wine-cup, brimming—they thought—with purple dreams; And bade them drink to their triumphant Queen Of all the Muses, to their Lady of Light Urania, and the great new star. They laughed, Thinking the young astrologer's golden mask Hid a sardonic jest. "The skies are clear," Said Tycho Brahe, "and we have eyes to see. Put out your candles. Open those windows there!" The colder darkness breathed upon their brows, And Tycho pointed, into the deep blue night. There, in their most immutable height of heaven, In ipso caelo, in the ethereal realm, Beyond all planets, red as Mars it burned, The one impossible glory. "But it's true!" Pratensis gasped; then, clutching the first straw, "Now I recall how Pliny the Elder said, Hipparchus also saw a strange new star, Not where the comets, not where the Rosae bloom And fade, but in that solid crystal sphere Where nothing changes." Tycho smiled, and showed The record of his watchings. "But the world Must know all this," cried Dancey. "You must print it." "Print it?" said Tycho, turning that golden mask On both his friends. "Could I, a noble, print This trafficking with Urania in a book? They'd hound me out of Denmark! This disgrace Of work, with hands or brain, no matter why, No matter how, in one who ought to dwell Fixed to the solid upper sphere, my friends, Would never be forgiven." Dancey stared In mute amazement, but that mask of gold Outstared him, sphinx-like, and inscrutable.
Soon through all Europe, like the blinded moths, Roused by a lantern in old palaces Among the mouldering tapestries of thought, Weird fables woke and fluttered to and fro, And wild-eyed sages hunted them for truth. The Italian, Frangipani, thought the star The lost Electra, that had left her throne Among the Pleiads, and plunged into the night Like a veiled mourner, when Troy town was burned. The German painter, Busch, of Erfurt, wrote, "It was a comet, made of mortal sins; A poisonous mist, touched by the wrath of God To fire; from which there would descend on earth All manner of evil—plagues and sudden death, Frenchmen and famine." Preachers thumped and raved. Theodore Beza in Calvin's pulpit tore His grim black gown, and vowed it was the Star That led the Magi. It had now returned To mark the world's end and the Judgment Day. Then, in this hubbub, Dancey told the king Of Denmark, "There is one who knows the truth— Your subject Tycho Brahe, who, night by night, Watched and recorded all that truth could see. It would bring honour to all Denmark, sire, If Tycho could forget his rank awhile, And print these great discoveries in a book, For all the world to read." So Tycho Brahe Received a letter in the king's own hand, Urging him, "Truth is the one pure fountain-head Of all nobility. Pray forget your rank." His noble kinsmen echoed, "If you wish To please His Majesty and ourselves, forget Your rank." "I will," said Tycho Brahe; "Your reasoning has convinced me. I will print My book, 'De Nova Stella.' And to prove All you have said concerning temporal rank And this eternal truth you love so well, I marry, to-day,"—they foamed, but all their mouths Were stopped and stuffed and sealed with their own words,— "I marry to-day my own true love, Christine."
They thought him a magician, Tycho Brahe. Perhaps he was. There's magic all around us In rocks and trees, and in the minds of men, Deep hidden springs of magic. He that strikes The rock aright, may find them where he will.
And Tycho tasted happiness in his hour. There was a prince in Denmark in those days; And, when he heard how other kings desired The secrets of this new astrology, He said, "This man, in after years, will bring Glory to Denmark, honour to her prince. He is a Dane. Give him this isle of Wheen, And let him make his great discoveries there. Let him have gold to buy his instruments, And build his house and his observatory."
So Tycho set this island where he lived Whispering with wizardry; and, in its heart, He lighted that strange lanthorn of the law, And built himself that wonder of the world, Uraniborg, a fortress for the truth, A city of the heavens. Around it ran A mighty rampart twenty-two feet high, And twenty feet in thickness at the base. Its angles pointed north, south, east and west, With gates and turrets; and, within this wall, Were fruitful orchards, apple, and cherry, and pear; And, sheltered in their midst from all but sun, A garden, warm and busy with singing bees. There, many an hour, his flaxen-haired Christine, Sang to her child, her first-born, Magdalen, Or watched her playing, a flower among the flowers. Dark in the centre of that zone of bliss Arose the magic towers of Tycho Brahe. Two of them had great windows in their roofs Opening upon the sky where'er he willed, And under these observatories he made A library of many a golden book; Poets and sages of old Greece and Rome, And many a mellow legend, many a dream Of dawning truth in Egypt, or the dusk Of Araby. Under all of these he made A subterranean crypt for alchemy, With sixteen furnaces; and, under this, He sank a well, so deep, that Jeppe declared He had tapped the central fountains of the world, And drew his magic from those cold clear springs. This was the very well, said Jeppe, the dwarf, Where Truth was hidden; but, by Tycho Brahe And his weird skill, the magic water flowed, Through pipes, uphill, to all the house above: The kitchen where his cooks could broil a trout For sages or prepare a feast for kings; The garrets for the students in the roof; The guest-rooms, and the red room to the north, The study and the blue room to the south; The small octagonal yellow room that held The sunlight like a jewel all day long, And Magdalen, with her happy dreams, at night; Then, facing to the west, one long green room, The ceiling painted like the bower of Eve With flowers and leaves, the windows opening wide Through which Christine and Tycho Brahe at dawn Could see the white sails drifting on the Sound Like petals from their orchard. To the north, He built a printing house for noble books, Poems, and those deep legends of the sky, Still to be born at his Uraniborg. Beyond the rampart to the north arose A workshop for his instruments. To the south A low thatched farm-house rambled round a yard Alive with clucking hens; and, further yet To southward on another hill, he made A great house for his larger instruments, And called it Stiernborg, mountain of the stars.
And, on his towers and turrets, Tycho set Statues with golden verses in the praise Of famous men, the bearers of the torch, From Ptolemy to the new Copernicus. Then, in that storm-proof mountain of the stars, He set in all their splendour of new-made brass His armouries for the assault of heaven,— Circles in azimuth, armillary spheres, Revolving zodiacs with great brazen rings; Quadrants of solid brass, ten cubits broad, Brass parallactic rules, made to revolve In azimuth; clocks with wheels; an astrolabe; And that large globe strengthened by oaken beams He made at Augsburg. All his gold he spent; But Denmark had a prince in those great days; And, in his brain, the dreams of Tycho Brahe Kindled a thirst for glory. So he made Tycho the Lord of sundry lands and rents, And Keeper of the Chapel where the kings Of Oldenburg were buried; for he said "To whom could all these kings entrust their bones More fitly than to him who read the stars, And though a mortal, knew immortal laws; And paced, at night, the silent halls of heaven."
He was a great magician, Tycho Brahe. There, on his island, for a score of years, He watched the skies, recording star on star, For future ages, and, by patient toil, Perfected his great tables of the sun, The moon, the planets. There, too happy far For any history, sons and daughters rose, A little clan of love, around Christine; And Tycho thought, when I am dead, my sons Will rule and work in my Uraniborg. And yet a doubt would trouble him, for he knew The children of Christine would still be held Ignoble, by the world. Disciples came, Young-eyed and swift, the bearers of the torch From many a city to Uraniborg, And Tycho Brahe received them like a king, And bade them light their torches at his fire. The King of Scotland came, with all his court, And dwelt eight days in Tycho Brahe's domain, Asking him many a riddle, deep and dark, Whose answer, none the less, a king should know. What boots it on this earth to be a king, To rule a part of earth, and not to know The worth of his own realm, whether he rule As God's vice-gerent, and his realm be still The centre of the centre of all worlds; Or whether, as Copernicus proclaimed, This earth itself be moving, a lost grain Of dust among the innumerable stars? For this would dwarf all glory but the soul, In king or peasant, that can hail the truth, Though truth should slay it. So to Tycho Brahe, The king became a subject for eight days. But, in the crowded hall, when he had gone, Jeppe raised his matted head, with a chuckle of glee, Quiet as the gurgle of joy in a dark rock-pool, When the first ripple and wash of the first spring-tide Flows bubbling under the dry sun-blackened fringe Of seaweed, setting it all afloat again, In magical colours, like a merman's hair. "Jeppe has a thought," the gay young students cried, Thronging him round, for all believed that Jeppe Was fey, and had strange visions of the truth. "What is the thought, Jeppe?" "I can think no thoughts," Croaked Jeppe. "But I have made myself a song." "Silence," they cried, "for Jeppe the nightingale! Sing, Jeppe!" And, wagging his great head to and fro Before the fire, with deep dark eyes, he crooned:
THE SONG OF JEPPE
"What!" said the king, "Is earth a bird or bee? Can this uncharted boundless realm of ours Drone thro' the sky, with leagues of struggling sea, Forests, and hills, and towns, and palace-towers?" "Ay," said the dwarf, "I have watched from Stiernborg's crown Her far dark rim uplift against the sky; But, while earth soars, men say the stars go down; And, while earth sails, men say the stars go by." An elvish tale! Ask Jeppe, the dwarf! He knows. That's why his eyes look fey; for, chuckling deep, Heels over head amongst the stars he goes, As all men go; but most are sound asleep. King, saint, sage, Even those that count it true, Act as this miracle touched them not at all. They are borne, undizzied, thro' the rushing blue, And build their empires on a sky-tossed ball.
Then said the king, "If earth so lightly move, What of my realm? O, what shall now stand sure?" "Naught," said the dwarf, "in all this world, but love. All else is dream-stuff and shall not endure. 'Tis nearer now! Our universe hath no centre, Our shadowy earth and fleeting heavens no stay, But that deep inward realm which each can enter, Even Jeppe, the dwarf, by his own secret way."
"Where?" said the king, "O, where? I have not found it!" "Here," said the dwarf, and music echoed "here." "This infinite circle hath no line to bound it; Therefore that deep strange centre is everywhere. Let the earth soar thro' heaven, that centre abideth; Or plunge to the pit, His covenant still holds true. In the heart of a dying bird, the Master hideth; In the soul of a king," said the dwarf, "and in my soul, too."
Princes and courtiers came, a few to seek A little knowledge, many more to gape In wonder at Tycho's gold and silver mask; Or when they saw the beauty of his towers, Envy and hate him for them. Thus arose The small grey cloud upon the distant sky, That broke in storm at last. "Beware," croaked Jeppe, Lifting his shaggy head beside the fire, When guests like these had gone, "Master, beware!" And Tycho of the frank blue eyes would laugh. Even when he found Witichius playing him false His anger, like a momentary breeze, Died on the dreaming deep; for Tycho Brahe Turned to a nobler riddle,—"Have you thought," He asked his young disciples, "how the sea Is moved to that strange rhythm we call the tides? He that can answer this shall have his name Honoured among the bearers of the torch While Pegasus flies above Uraniborg. I was delayed three hours or more to-day By the neap-tide. The fishermen on the coast Are never wrong. They time it by the moon. Post hoc, perhaps, not propter hoc; and yet Through all the changes of the sky and sea That old white clock of ours with the battered face Does seem infallible. There's a love-song too, The sailors on the coast of Sweden sing, I have often pondered it. Your courtly poets Upbraid the inconstant moon. But these men know The moon and sea are lovers, and they move In a most constant measure. Hear the words And tell me, if you can, what silver chains Bind them together." Then, in a voice as low And rhythmical as the sea, he spoke that song:
THE SHEPHERDESS OF THE SEA
Reproach not yet our sails' delay; You cannot see the shoaling bay, The banks of sand, the fretful bars, That ebb left naked to the stars. The sea's white shepherdess, the moon, Shall lead us into harbour soon.
Dear, when you see her glory shine Between your fragrant boughs of pine, Know there is but one hour to wait Before her hands unlock the gate, And the full flood of singing foam Follow her lovely footsteps home.
Then waves like flocks of silver sheep Come rustling inland from the deep, And into rambling valleys press Behind their heavenly shepherdess. You cannot see them? Lift your eyes And see their mistress in the skies. She rises with her silver bow.
I feel the tide begin to flow; And every thought and hope and dream Follow her call, and homeward stream. Borne on the universal tide, The wanderer hastens to his bride. The sea's white shepherdess, the moon, Shall lead him into harbour, soon.
He was a great magician, Tycho Brahe, But not so great that he could read the heart Or rule the hand of princes. When his friend King Frederick died, the young Prince Christian reigned; And, round him, fool and knave made common cause Against the magic that could pour their gold Into a gulf of stars. This Tycho Brahe Had grown too proud. He held them in contempt, So they believed; for, when he spoke, their thoughts Crept at his feet like spaniels. Junkerdom Felt it was foolish, for he towered above it, And so it hated him. Did he not spend Gold that a fool could spend as quickly as he? Were there not great estates bestowed upon him In wisdom's name, that from the dawn of time Had been the natural right of Junkerdom? And would he not bequeath them to his heirs, The children of Christine, an unfree woman? "Why you, sire, even you," they told the king, "He has made a laughing-stock. That horoscope He read for you, the night when you were born, Printed, and bound it in green velvet, too,— Read it The whole world laughs at it. He said That Venus was the star that ruled your fate, And Venus would destroy you. Tycho Brahe Inspired your royal father with the fear That kept your youth so long in leading-strings, The fear that every pretty hedgerow flower Would be your Circe. So he thought to avenge Our mockery of this peasant-girl Christine, To whom, indeed, he plays the faithful swine, Knowing full well his gold and silver nose Would never win another." Thus the sky Darkened above Uraniborg, and those Who dwelt within it, till one evil day, One seeming happy day, when Tycho marked The seven-hundredth star upon his chart, Two pompous officers from Walchendorp, The chancellor, knocked at Tycho's eastern gate. "We are sent," they said, "to see and to report What use you make of these estates of yours. Your alchemy has turned more gold to lead Than Denmark can approve. The uses now! Show us the uses of this work of yours." Then Tycho showed his tables of the stars, Seven hundred stars, each noted in its place With exquisite precision, the result Of watching heaven for five-and-twenty years. "And is this all?" they said. They sought to invent Some ground for damning him. The truth alone Would serve them, as it seemed. For these were men Who could not understand. "Not all, I hope," Said Tycho, "for I think, before I die, I shall have marked a thousand." "To what end? When shall we reap the fruits of all this toil? Show us its uses." "In the time to come," Said Tycho Brahe, "perhaps a hundred years, Perhaps a thousand, when our own poor names Are quite forgotten, and our kingdoms dust, On one sure certain day, the torch-bearers Will, at some point of contact, see a light Moving upon this chaos. Though our eyes Be shut for ever in an iron sleep, Their eyes shall see the kingdom of the law, Our undiscovered cosmos. They shall see it— A new creation rising from the deep, Beautiful, whole. We are like men that hear Disjointed notes of some supernal choir. Year after year, we patiently record All we can gather. In that far-off time, A people that we have not known shall hear them, Moving like music to a single end."
They could not understand: this life that sought Only to bear the torch and hand it on; And so they made report that all the dreams Of Tycho Brahe were fruitless; perilous, too, Since he avowed that any fruit they bore Would fall, in distant years, to alien hands.
Little by little, Walchendorp withdrew His rents from Tycho Brahe, accusing him Of gross neglects. The Chapel at Roskilde Was falling into ruin. Tycho Brahe Was Keeper of the Bones of Oldenburg. He must rebuild the Chapel. All the gifts That Frederick gave to help him in his task, Were turned to stumbling-blocks; till, one dark day, He called his young disciples round him there, And in that mellow library of dreams, Lit by the dying sunset, poured his heart And mind before them, bidding them farewell. Through the wide-open windows as he spoke They heard the sorrowful whisper of the sea Ebbing and flowing around Uraniborg. "An end has come," he said, "to all we planned. Uraniborg has drained her treasury dry. Your Alma Mater now must close her gates On you, her guests; on me; and, worst of all, On one most dear, who made this place my home. For you are young, your homes are all to win, And you would all have gone your separate ways In a brief while; and, though I think you love Your college of the skies, it could not mean All that it meant to those who called it 'home.'
You that have worked with me, for one brief year, Will never quite forget Uraniborg. This room, the sunset gilding all those books, The star-charts and that old celestial globe, The long bright evenings by the winter fire, Of Tycho Brahe were fruitless; perilous The talk that opened heaven, the songs you sung, Yes, even, I think, the tricks you played with Jeppe, Will somehow, when yourselves are growing old, Be hallowed into beauty, touched with tears, For you will wish they might be yours again.
These have been mine for five-and-twenty years, And more than these,—the work, the dreams I shared With you, and others here. My heart will break To leave them. But the appointed time has come As it must come to all men. You and I Have watched too many constant stars to dream That heaven or earth, the destinies of men Or nations, are the sport of chance. An end Comes to us all through blindness, age, or death. If mine must come in exile, it stall find me Bearing the torch as far as I can bear it, Until I fall at the feet of the young runner, Who takes it from me, and carries it out of sight, Into the great new age I shall not know, Into the great new realms I must not tread. Come, then, swift-footed, let me see you stand Waiting before me, crowned with youth and joy, At the next turning. Take it from my hand, For I am almost ready now to fall.
Something I have achieved, yes, though I say it, I have not loitered on that fiery way. And if I front the judgment of the wise In centuries to come, with more of dread Than my destroyers, it is because this work Will be of use, remembered and appraised, When all their hate is dead. I say the work, Not the blind rumour, the glory or fame of it. These observations of seven hundred stars Are little enough in sight of those great hosts Which nightly wheel around us, though I hope, Yes, I still hope, in some more generous land To make my thousand up before I die. Little enough, I know,—a midget's work! The men that follow me, with more delicate art May add their tens of thousands; yet my sum Will save them just that five-and-twenty years Of patience, bring them sooner to their goal, That kingdom of the law I shall not see. We are on the verge of great discoveries. I feel them as a dreamer feels the dawn Before his eyes are opened. Many of you Will see them. In that day you will recall This, our last meeting at Uraniborg, And how I told you that this work of ours Would lead to victories for the coming age. The victors may forget us. What of that? Theirs be the palms, the shouting, and the praise. Ours be the fathers' glory in the sons. Ours the delight of giving, the deep joy Of labouring, on the cliff's face, all night long, Cutting them foot-holes in the solid rock, Whereby they climb so gaily to the heights, And gaze upon their new-discovered worlds. You will not find me there. When you descend, Look for me in the darkness at the foot Of those high cliffs, under the drifted leaves. That's where we hide at last, we pioneers, For we are very proud, and must be sought Before the world can find us, in our graves. There have been compensations. I have seen In darkness, more perhaps than eyes can see When sunlight blinds them on the mountain-tops; Guessed at a glory past our mortal range, And only mine because the night was mine.
Of those three systems of the universe, The Ptolemaic, held by all the schools, May yet be proven false. We yet may find This earth of ours is not the sovran lord Of all those wheeling spheres. Ourselves have marked Movements among the planets that forbid Acceptance of it wholly. Some of these Are moving round the sun, if we can trust Our years of watching. There are stranger dreams. This radical, Copernicus, the priest, Of whom I often talked with you, declares Ail of these movements can be reconciled, If—a hypothesis only—we should take The sun itself for centre, and assume That this huge earth, so 'stablished, so secure In its foundations, is a planet also, And moves around the sun. I cannot think it. This leap of thought is yet too great for me. I have no doubt that Ptolemy was wrong. Some of his planets move around the sun. Copernicus is nearer to the truth In some things. But the planets we have watched Still wander from the course that he assigned. Therefore, my system, which includes the best Of both, I hold may yet be proven true. This earth of ours, as Jeppe declared one day, So simply that we laughed, is 'much too big To move,' so let it be the centre still, And let the planets move around their sun; But let the sun with all its planets move Around our central earth. This at the least Accords with all we know, and saves mankind From that enormous plunge into the night; Saves them from voyaging for ten thousand years Through boundless darkness without sight of land; Saves them from all that agony of loss, As one by one the beacon-fires of faith Are drowned in blackness. I beseech you, then, Let me be proven wrong, before you take That darkness lightly. If at last you find The proven facts against me, take the plunge. Launch out into that darkness. Let the lamps Of heaven, the glowing hearth-fires that we knew Die out behind you, while the freshening wind Blows on your brows, and overhead you see The stars of truth that lead you from your home.
I love this island,—every little glen, Hazel-wood, brook, and fish-pond; every bough And blossom in that garden; and I hoped To die here. But it is not chance, I know, That sends me wandering through the world again. My use perhaps is ended; and the power That made me, breaks me." As he spoke, they saw The tears upon his face. He bowed his head And left them silent in the darkened room. They saw his face no more. The self-same hour, Tycho, Christine, and all their children, left Their island-home for even In their ship They took a few of the smaller instruments, And that most precious record of the stars, His legacy to the future. Into the night They vanished, leaving on the ghostly cliffs Only one dark, distorted, dog-like shape To watch them, sobbing, under its matted hair, "Master, have you forgotten Jeppe, your dwarf?"
He was a great magician, Tycho Brahe, And yet his magic, under changing skies, Could never change his heart, or touch the hills Of those far countries with the tints of home. And, after many a month of wandering, He came to Prague; and, though with open hands Rodolphe received him, like an exiled king, A new Aeneas, exiled for the truth (For so they called him), none could heal the wounds That bled within, or lull his grief to sleep With that familiar whisper of the waves, Ebbing and flowing around Uraniborg.
Doggedly still he laboured; point by point, Crept on, with aching heart and burning brain, Until his table of the stars had reached The thousand that he hoped, to crown his toil. But Christine heard him murmuring in the night, "The work, the work! Not to have lived in vain! Into whose hands can I entrust it all? I thought to find him standing by the way, Waiting to seize the splendour from my hand, The swift, young-eyed runner with the torch. Let me not live in vain, let me not fall Before I yield it to the appointed soul." And yet the Power that made and broke him heard: For, on a certain day, to Tycho came Another exile, guided through the dark Of Europe by the starlight in his eyes, Or that invisible hand which guides the world. He asked him, as the runner with the torch Alone could ask, asked as a natural right For Tycho's hard-won life-work, those results, His tables of the stars. He gave his name Almost as one who told him, It is I; And yet unconscious that he told; a name Not famous yet, though truth had marked him out Already, by his exile, as her own,— The name of Johann Kepler. "It was strange," Wrote Kepler, not long after, "for I asked Unheard-of things, and yet he gave them to me As if I were his son. When first I saw him, We seemed to have known each other years ago In some forgotten world. I could not guess That Tycho Brahe was dying. He was quick Of temper, and we quarrelled now and then, Only to find ourselves more closely bound Than ever. I believe that Tycho died Simply of heartache for his native land. For though he always met me with a smile, Or jest upon his lips, he could not sleep Or work, and often unawares I caught Odd little whispered phrases on his lips As if he talked to himself, in a kind of dream. Yet I believe the clouds dispersed a little Around his death-bed, and with that strange joy Which comes in death, he saw the unchanging stars. Christine was there. She held him in her arms. I think, too, that he knew his work was safe. An hour before he died, he smiled at me, And whispered,—what he meant I hardly know— Perhaps a broken echo from the past, A fragment of some old familiar thought, And yet I seemed to know. It haunts me still: 'Come then, swift-footed, let me see you stand, Waiting before me, crowned with youth and joy; This is the turning. Take it from my hand. For I am ready, ready now, to fall.'"
John Kepler, from the chimney corner, watched His wife Susannah, with her sleeves rolled back Making a salad in a big blue bowl. The thick tufts of his black rebellious hair Brushed into sleek submission; his trim beard Snug as the soft round body of a thrush Between the white wings of his fan-shaped ruff (His best, with the fine lace border) spoke of guests Expected; and his quick grey humorous eyes, His firm red whimsical pleasure-loving mouth, And all those elvish twinklings of his face, Were lit with eagerness. Only between his brows, Perplexed beneath that subtle load of dreams, Two delicate shadows brooded. "What does it mean? Sir Henry Wotton's letter breathed a hint That Italy is prohibiting my book," He muttered. "Then, if Austria damns it too, Susannah mine, we may be forced to choose Between the truth and exile. When he comes, He'll tell me more. Ambassadors, I suppose, Can only write in cipher, while our world Is steered to heaven by murderers and thieves; But, if he'd wrapped his friendly warnings up In a verse or two, I might have done more work These last three days, eh, Sue?" "Look, John," said she, "What beautiful hearts of lettuce! Tell me now How shall I mix it? Will your English guest Turn up his nose at dandelion leaves As crisp and young as these? They've just the tang Of bitterness in their milk that gives a relish And makes all sweet; and that's philosophy, John. Now—these spring onions! Would his Excellency Like sugared rose-leaves better?" "He's a poet, Not an ambassador only, so I think He'll like a cottage salad." "A poet, John! I hate their arrogant little insect ways! I'll put a toadstool in." "Poets, dear heart, Can be divided into two clear kinds,— One that, by virtue of a half-grown brain, Lives in a silly world of his own making, A bubble, blown by himself, in which he flits And dizzily bombinates, chanting 'I, I, I,' For there is nothing in the heavens above Or the earth, or hell beneath, but goes to swell His personal pronoun. Bring him some dreadful news His dearest friend is burned to death,—You'll see The monstrous insect strike an attitude And shape himself into one capital I, A rubric, with red eyes. You'll see him use The coffin for his pedestal, hear him mouth His 'I, I, I' instructing haggard grief Concerning his odd ego. Does he chirp Of love, it's 'I, I, I' Narcissus, love, Myself, Narcissus, imaged in those eyes; For all the love-notes that he sounds are made After the fashion of passionate grasshoppers, By grating one hind-leg across another. Nor does he learn to sound that mellower 'You,' Until his bubble bursts and leaves him drowned, An insect in a soap-sud. But there's another kind, whose mind still moves In vital concord with the soul of things; So that it thinks in music, and its thoughts Pulse into natural song. A separate voice, And yet caught up by the surrounding choirs, There, in the harmonies of the Universe, Losing himself, he saves his soul alive." "John, I'm afraid!"— "Afraid of what, Susannah?"— "Afraid to put those Ducklings on to roast. Your friend may miss his road; and, if he's late, My little part of the music will be spoiled."— "He won't, Susannah. Bad poets are always late. Good poets, at times, delay a note or two; But all the great are punctual as the sun. What's that? He's early! That's his knock, I think!"— "The Lord have mercy, John, there's nothing ready! Take him into your study and talk to him, Talk hard. He's come an hour before his time; And I've to change my dress. I'll into the kitchen!"
Then, in a moment, all the cottage rang With greetings; hand grasped hand; his Excellency Forgot the careful prologue he'd prepared, And made an end of mystery. He had brought A message from his wisdom-loving king Who, hearing of new menaces to the light In Europe, urged the illustrious Kepler now To make his home in England. There, his thought And speech would both be free. "My friend," said Wotton, "I have moved in those old strongholds of the night, And heard strange mutterings. It is not many years Since Bruno burned. There's trouble brewing too, For one you know, I think,—the Florentine Who made that curious optic tube."— "You mean The man at Padua, Galileo?"— "Yes." "They will not dare or need. Proof or disproof Rests with their eyes."— "Kepler, have you not heard Of those who, fifteen hundred years ago, Had eyes and would not see? Eyes quickly close When souls prefer the dark."— "So be it. Other and younger eyes will see. Perhaps that's why God gave the young a spice Of devilry. They'll go look, while elders gasp; And, when the Devil and Truth go hand in hand, God help their enemies. You will send my thanks, My grateful thanks, Sir Henry, to your king. To-day I cannot answer you. I must think. It would be very difficult My wife Would find it hard to leave her native land. Say nothing yet before her." Then, to hide Their secret from Susannah, Kepler poured His mind out, and the world's dead branches bloomed. For, when he talked, another spring began To which our May was winter; and, in the boughs Of his delicious thoughts, like feathered choirs, Bits of old rhyme, scraps from the Sabine farm, Celestial phrases from the Shepherd King, And fluttering morsels from Catullus sang. Much was fantastic. All was touched with light That only genius knows to steal from heaven. He spoke of poetry, as the "flowering time Of knowledge," called it "thought in passionate tune With those great rhythms that steer the moon and sun; Thought in such concord with the soul of things That it can only move, like tides and stars, And man's own beating heart, and the wings of birds, In law, whose service only sets them free." Therefore it often leaps to the truth we seek, Clasping it, as a lover clasps his bride In darkness, ere the sage can light his lamp. And so, in music, men might find the road To truth, at many a point, where sages grope. One day, a greater Plato would arise To write a new philosophy, he said, Showing how music is the golden clue To all the windings of the world's dark maze. Himself had used it, partly proved it, too, In his own book,—the Harmonies of the World. 'All that the years discover points one way To this great ordered harmony," he said, "Revealed on earth by music. Planets move In subtle accord like notes of one great song Audible only to the Artificer, The Eternal Artist. There's no grief, no pain, But music—follow it simply as a clue, A microcosmic pattern of the whole— Can show you, somewhere in its golden scheme, The use of all such discords; and, at last, Their exquisite solution. Then darkness breaks Into diviner light, love's agony climbs Through death to life, and evil builds up heaven. Have you not heard, in some great symphony, Those golden mathematics making clear The victory of the soul? Have you not heard The very heavens opening? Do those fools Who thought me an infidel then, still smile at me For trying to read the stars in terms of song, Discern their orbits, measure their distances, By musical proportions? Let them smile, My folly at least revealed those three great laws; Gave me the golden vases of the Egyptians, To set in the great new temple of my God Beyond the bounds of Egypt. They will forget My methods, doubtless, as the years go by, And the world's wisdom shuts its music out. The dust will gather on all my harmonies; Or scholars turn my pages listlessly, Glance at the musical phrases, and pass on, Not troubling even to read one Latin page. Yet they'll accept those great results as mine. I call them mine. How can I help exulting, Who climbed my ladder of music to the skies And found, by accident, let them call it so, Or by the inspiration of that Power Which built His world of music, those three laws:— First, how the speed of planets round the sun Bears a proportion, beautifully precise As music, to their silver distances; Next, that although they seem to swerve aside From those plain circles of old Copernicus Their paths were not less rhythmical and exact, But followed always that most exquisite curve In its most perfect form, the pure ellipse; Third, that although their speed from point to point Appeared to change, their radii always moved Through equal fields of space in equal times. Was this my infidelity, was this Less full of beauty, less divine in truth, Than their dull chaos? You, the poet will know How, as those dark perplexities grew clear, And old anomalous discords changed to song, My whole soul bowed and cried, Almighty God These are Thy thoughts, I am thinking after Thee! I hope that Tycho knows. I owed so much To Tycho Brahe; for it was he who built The towers from which I hailed those three great laws. How strange and far away it all seems now. The thistles grow upon that little isle Where Tycho's great Uraniborg once was. Yet, for a few sad years, before it fell Into decay and ruin, there was one Who crept about its crumbling corridors, And lit the fire of memory on its hearth."— Wotton looked quickly up, "I think I have heard Something of that. You mean poor Jeppe, his dwarf. Fynes Moryson, at the Mermaid Inn one night Showed a most curious manuscript, a scrawl On yellow parchment, crusted here and there With sea-salt, or the salt of those thick tears Creatures like Jeppe, the crooked dwarf, could weep. It had been found, clasped in a crooked hand, Under the cliffs of Wheen, a crooked hand That many a time had beckoned to passing ships, Hoping to find some voyager who would take A letter to its master. The sailors laughed And jeered at him, till Jeppe threw stones at them. And now Jeppe, too, was dead, and one who knew Fynes Moryson, had found him, and brought home That curious crooked scrawl. Fynes Englished it Out of its barbarous Danish. Thus it ran: 'Master, have you forgotten Jeppe, your dwarf, Who used to lie beside the big log-fire And feed from your own hand? The hall is dark, There are no voices now,—only the wind And the sea-gulls crying round Uraniborg. I too am crying, Master, even I, Because there is no fire upon the hearth, No light in any window. It is night, And all the faces that I knew are gone.
Master, I watched you leaving us. I saw The white sails dwindling into sea-gull's wings, Then melting into foam, and all was dark. I lay among the wild flowers on the cliff And dug my nails into the stiff white chalk And called you, Tycho Brahe. You did not hear; But gulls and jackdaws, wheeling round my head, Mocked me with Tycho Brahe, and Tycho Brahe!
You were a great magician, Tycho Brahe; And, now that they have driven you away, I, that am only Jeppe,—the crooked dwarf, You used to laugh at for his matted hair, And head too big and heavy—take your pen Here in your study. I will write it down And send it by a sailor to the King Of Scotland, and who knows, the mouse that gnawed The lion free, may save you, Tycho Brahe.'" "He is free now," said Kepler, "had he lived He would have sent for Jeppe to join him there At Prague. But death forestalled him, and your King. The years in which he watched that planet Mars, His patient notes and records, all were mine; And, mark you, had he clipped or trimmed one fact By even a hair's-breadth, so that his results Made a pure circle of that planet's path It might have baffled us for an age and drowned All our new light in darkness. But he held To what he saw. He might so easily, So comfortably have said, 'My instruments Are crude and fallible. In so fine a point Eyes may have erred, too. Why not acquiesce? Why mar the tune, why dislocate a world, For one slight clash of seeming fact with faith?' But no, though stars might swerve, he held his course, Recording only what his eyes could see Until death closed them. Then, to his results, I added mine and saw, in one wild gleam, Strange as the light of day to one born blind, A subtler concord ruling them and heard Profounder tones of harmony resolve Those broken melodies into song again."— "Faintly and far away, I, too, have seen In music, and in verse, that golden clue Whereof you speak," said Wotton. "In all true song, There is a hidden logic. Even the rhyme That, in bad poets, wrings the neck of thought, Is like a subtle calculus to the true, An instrument of discovery. It reveals New harmonies, new analogies. It links Far things and near, not in unnatural chains, But in those true accords which still escape The plodding reason, yet unify the world. I caught some glimpses of this mystic power In verses of your own, that elegy On Tycho, and that great quatrain of yours— I cannot quite recall the Latin words, But made it roughly mine in words like these:
'I know that I am dust, and daily die; Yet, as I trace those rhythmic spheres at night, I stand before the Thunderer's throne on high And feast on nectar in the halls of light.'
My version lacks the glory of your lines But..." "Mine too was a version," Kepler laughed, "Turned into Latin from old Ptolemy's Greek; For, even in verse, half of the joy, I think, Is just to pass the torch from hand to hand An undimmed splendour. But, last night, I tried Some music all my own. I had a dream That I was wandering in some distant world. I have often dreamed it Once it was the moon. I wrote that down in prose. When I am dead, It may be printed. This was a fairer dream: For I was walking in a far-off spring Upon the planet, Venus. Only verse Could spread true wings for that delicious world; And so I wrote it—for no eyes but mine, Or 'twould be seized on, doubtless, as fresh proof Of poor old Kepler's madness."— "Let me hear, Madman to madman; for I, too, write verse." Then Kepler, in a rhythmic murmur, breathed His rich enchanted memories of that dream:
"Beauty burned before me Swinging a lanthorn through that fragrant night. I followed a distant singing, And a dreaming light How she led me, I cannot tell To that strange world afar, Nor how I walked, in that wild glen Upon the sunset star.
Winged creatures floated Under those rose-red boughs of violet bloom, With delicate forms unknown on Earth 'Twixt irised plume and plume; Human-hearted, angel-eyed, And crowned with unknown flowers; For nothing in that enchanted world Followed the way of ours.
Only I saw that Beauty, On Hesper, as on earth, still held command; And though, as one in slumber, I roamed that radiant land, With all these earth-born senses sealed To what the Hesperians knew, The faithful lanthorn of her law Was mine on Hesper too.
Then, half at home with wonder, I saw strange flocks of flowers like birds take flight; Great trees that burned like opals To lure their loves at night; Dark beings that could move in realms No dream of ours has known. Till these became as common things As men account their own.
Yet, when that lanthorn led me Back to the world where once I thought me wise; I saw, on this my planet, What souls, with awful eyes. Hardly I dared to walk her fields As in that strange re-birth I looked on those wild miracles The birds and flowers of earth."
Silence a moment held them, loth to break The spell of that strange dream, "One proof the more" Said Wotton at last, "that songs can mount and fly To truth; for this fantastic vision of yours Of life in other spheres, awakes in me, Either that slumbering knowledge of Socrates, Or some strange premonition that the years Will prove it true. This music leads us far From all our creeds, except that faith in law. Your quest for knowledge—how it rests on that! How sure the soul is that if truth destroy The temple, in three days the truth will build A nobler temple; and that order reigns In all things. Even your atheist builds his doubt On that strange faith; destroys his heaven and God In absolute faith that his own thought is true To law, God's lanthorn to our stumbling feet; And so, despite himself, he worships God, For where true souls are, there are God and heaven."—
"It is an ancient wisdom. Long ago," Said Kepler, "under the glittering Eastern sky, The shepherd king looked up at those great stars, Those ordered hosts, and cried Caeli narrant Gloriam Dei! Though there be some to-day Who'd ape Lucretius, and believe themselves Epicureans, little they know of him Who, even in utter darkness, bowed his head, To something nobler than the gods of Rome Reigning beyond the darkness. They accept The law, the music of these ordered worlds; And straight deny the law's first postulate, That out of nothingness nothing can be born, Nor greater things from less. Can music rise By chance from chaos, as they said that star In Serpentarius rose? I told them, then, That when I was a boy, with time to spare, I played at anagrams. Out of my Latin name Johannes Keplerus came that sinister phrase Serpens in akuleo. Struck by this, I tried again, but trusted it to chance. I took some playing cards, and wrote on each One letter of my name. Then I began To shuffle them; and, at every shuffle, I read The letters, in their order, as they came, To see what meaning chance might give to them. Wotton, the gods and goddesses must have laughed To see the weeks I lost in studying chance; For had I scattered those cards into the black Epicurean eternity, I'll swear They'd still be playing at leap-frog in the dark, And show no glimmer of sense. And yet—to hear Those wittols talk, you'd think you'd but to mix A bushel of good Greek letters in a sack And shake them roundly for an age or so, To pour the Odyssey out. At last, I told, Those disputants what my wife had said. One night When I was tired and all my mind a-dust With pondering on their atoms, I was called To supper, and she placed before me there A most delicious salad. 'It would appear,' I thought aloud, 'that if these pewter dishes, Green hearts of lettuce, tarragon, slips of thyme, Slices of hard boiled egg, and grains of salt. With drops of water, vinegar and oil, Had in a bottomless gulf been flying about From all eternity, one sure certain day The sweet invisible hand of Happy Chance Would serve them as a salad.' 'Likely enough,' My wife replied, 'but not so good as mine, Nor so well dressed.'" They laughed. Susannah's voice Broke in, "I've made a better one. The receipt Came from the Golden Lion. I have dished Ducklings and peas and all. Come, John, say grace."
(Celeste, in the Convent at Arcetri, writes to her old lover at Rome.)
My friend, my dearest friend, my own dear love, I, who am dead to love, and see around me The funeral tapers lighted, send this cry Out of my heart to yours, before the end. You told me once you would endure the rack To save my heart one pang. O, save it now! Last night there came a dreadful word from Rome For my dear lord and father, summoning him Before the inquisitors there, to take his trial At threescore years and ten. There is a threat Of torture, if his lips will not deny The truth his eyes have seen. You know my father, You know me, too. You never will believe That he and I are enemies of the faith. Could I, who put away all earthly love, Deny the Cross to which I nailed this flesh? Could he, who, on the night when all those heavens Opened above us, with their circling worlds, Knelt with me, crushed beneath that weight of glory, Forget the Maker of that glory now? You'll not believe it. Neither would the Church, Had not his enemies poisoned all the springs And fountain-heads of truth. It is not Rome That summons him, but Magini, Sizy, Scheiner, Lorini, all the blind, pedantic crew That envy him his fame, and hate his works For dwarfing theirs. Must such things always be When truth is born? Only five nights ago we walked together, My father and I, here in the Convent garden; And, as the dusk turned everything to dreams, We dreamed together of his work well done And happiness to be. We did not dream That even then, muttering above his book, His enemies, those enemies whom the truth Stings into hate, were plotting to destroy him. Yet something shadowed him. I recall his words— "The grapes are ripening. See, Celeste, how black And heavy. We shall have good wine this year,"— "Yes, all grows ripe," I said, "your life-work, too, Dear father. Are you happy now to know Your book is printed, and the new world born?" He shook his head, a little sadly, I thought. "Autumn's too full of endings. Fruits grow ripe And fall, and then comes winter." "Not for you! Never,"