Page images
PDF
EPUB

Bask on the pompion-bell above: kills both.
'Sees two black painful beetles roll their ball
On head and tail as if to save their lives:
Moves them the stick away they strive to clear.

Even so, 'would have Him misconceive, suppose
This Caliban strives hard and ails no less,
And always, above all else, envies Him;
Wherefore he mainly dances on dark nights,
Moans in the sun, gets under holes to laugh,
And never speaks his mind save housed as now:
Outside, 'groans, curses. If He caught me here,
O'erheard this speech, and asked "What chucklest at?”
'Would, to appease Him, cut a finger off,
Or of my three kid yearlings burn the best,
Or let the toothsome apples rot on tree,
Or push my tame beast for the orc to taste:
While myself lit a fire, and made a song
And sung it," What I hate, be consecrate
To celebrate Thee and Thy state, no mate
For Thee; what see for envy in poor me?"
Hoping the while, since evils sometimes mend,
Warts rub away and sores are cured with slime,
That some strange day, will either the Quiet catch
And conquer Setebos, or likelier He
Decrepit may doze, doze, as good as die.

[What, what? A curtain o'er the world at once! Crickets stop hissing; not a bird

[ocr errors]

or, yes,

There scuds His raven that hath told Him all!
It was fool's play, this prattling! Ha! The wind
Shoulders the pillared dust, death's house o' the move,
And fast invading fires begin! White blaze

[ocr errors]

A tree's head snaps and there, there, there, there, there, His thunder follows! Fool to gibe at Him! Lo! 'Lieth flat and loveth Setebos! 'Maketh his teeth meet through his upper lip, Will let those quails fly, will not eat this month One little mess of whelks, so he may 'scape!]

CONFESSIONS.

I.

WHAT is he buzzing in my ears?

"Now that I come to die,

Do I view the world as a vale of tears ?"

Ah, reverend sir, not I!

II.

What I viewed there once, what I view again
Where the physic bottles stand

On the table's edge, is a suburb lane,
With a wall to my bedside hand.

III.

That lane sloped, much as the bottles do,
From a house you could descry
O'er the garden-wall: is the curtain blue
Or green to a healthy eye?

IV.

To mine, it serves for the old June weather
Blue above lane and wall;

And that farthest bottle labelled "Ether"
Is the house o'ertopping all.

V.

At a terrace, somewhat near the stopper,
There watched for me, one June,

A girl I know, sir, it's improper,
My poor mind's out of tune.

VI.

Only, there was a way you crept
Close by the side, to dodge

Eyes in the house, two eyes except:

They styled their house "The Lodge."

VII.

What right had a lounger up their lane?

But, by creeping very close,

With the good wall's help, their eyes might strain

[ocr errors]

And stretch themselves to Oes,

VIII.

Yet never catch her and me together,
As she left the attic, there,

By the rim of the bottle labelled "Ether,"
And stole from stair to stair,

IX.

And stood by the rose-wreathed gate. Alas,

[blocks in formation]

I WISH that when you died last May,
Charles, there had died along with you
Three parts of spring's delightful things;
Ay, and, for me, the fourth part too.

II.

A foolish thought, and worse, perhaps !
There must be many a pair of friends
Who, arm in arm, deserve the warm
Moon-births and the long evening-ends.

III.

So, for their sake, be May still May!
Let their new time, as mine of old,

Do all it did for me: I bid

Sweet sights and sounds throng manifold.

IV.

Only, one little sight, one plant,

Woods have in May, that starts up green
Save a sole streak which, so to speak,
Is spring's blood, spilt its leaves between,

V.

That, they might spare; a certain wood Might miss the plant; their loss were small: whene'er the leaf grows there,

But I,

Its drop comes from my heart, that's all.

DEAF AND DUMB.

A GROUP BY WOOLNER.

ONLY the prism's obstruction shows aright
The secret of a sunbeam, breaks its light
Into the jewelled bow from blankest white;
So may a glory from defect arise:
Only by Deafness may the vexed Love wreak
Its insuppressive sense on brow and cheek,
Only by Dumbness adequately speak

As favored mouth could never, through the

eyes.

PROSPICE.

-

FEAR death? - to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face,

When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
I am nearing the place,

The power of the night, the press of the storm,
The post of the foe;

Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
Yet the strong man must go:

For the journey is done and the summit attained,
And the barriers fall,

Though a battle 's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,

The reward of it all.

I was ever a fighter, so

The best and the last!

one fight more,

I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,

And bade me creep past.

No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers

The heroes of old,

Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears

Of pain, darkness and cold.

For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
The black minute 's at end,

And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
Shall dwindle, shall blend,

Shall change, shall become first a peace out of pain,
Then a light, then thy breast,

O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
And with God be the rest!

EURYDICE TO ORPHEUS.

A PICTURE BY LEIGHTON.

BUT give them me, the mouth, the eyes, the brow!
Let them once more absorb me! One look now
Will lap me round forever, not to pass
Out of its light, though darkness lie beyond:
Hold me but safe again within the bond
Of one immortal look! All woe that was,
Forgotten, and all terror that

Defied,

may be, no past is mine, no future: look at me!

YOUTH AND ART.

I.

IT once might have been, once only:
We lodged in a street together,
You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,
I, a lone she-bird of his feather.

II.

Your trade was with sticks and clay,

You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished, Then laughed "They will see some day Smith made, and Gibson demolished."

III.

My business was song, song, song;

I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered, "Kate Brown 's on the boards ere long, And Grisi's existence embittered!

IV.

I earned no more by a warble

Than you by a sketch in plaster; You wanted a piece of marble,

I needed a music-master.

V.

We studied hard in our styles,

Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos,

For air, looked out on the tiles,

For fun, watched each other's windows.

« PreviousContinue »