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Perhaps not though in writing to a leech
That came and dwelt in flesh on it awhile!
'Sayeth that such an one was born and lived, Taught, healed the sick, broke bread at his own house, Then died, with Lazarus by, for aught I know, And yet was . . . what I said nor choose repeat, And must have so avouched himself, in fact,
In hearing of this very Lazarus
Who saith but why all this of what he saith?
Thy pardon for this long and tedious case,
And awe indeed this man has touched me with.
In this old sleepy town at unaware,
For time this letter wastes, thy time and mine
The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
Thou hast no power nor may'st conceive of mine,
JOHANNES AGRICOLA IN MEDITATION.
THERE's heaven above, and night by night
I look right through its gorgeous roof;
I keep the broods of stars aloof:
For 't is to God I speed so fast,
I lie where I have always lain,
God smiles as he has always smiled;
The heavens, God thought on me his child;
Its circumstances every one
To the minutest; ay, God said
This head this hand should rest upon
Thus, ere he fashioned star or sun.
And having thus created me,
Thus rooted me, he bade me grow,
Guiltless forever, like a tree
That buds and blooms, nor seeks to know
But sure that thought and word and deed
Me, made because that love had need
Pledged solely its content to be.
To drink the mingled venoms up;
The draught to blossoming gladness fast: While sweet dews turn to the gourd's hurt,
And bloat, and while they bloat it, blast,
For as I lie, smiled on, full-fed
The incense-swinging child, — undone
I COULD have painted pictures like that youth's
To outburst on your night with all my gift
Of fires from God: nor would my flesh have shrunk From seconding my soul, with eyes uplift
And wide to heaven, or, straight like thunder, sunk
To the centre, of an instant; or around
Turned calmly and inquisitive, to scan
Each face obedient to its passion's law,
Each passion clear proclaimed without a tongue;
Or Rapture drooped the eyes, as when her brood
And locked the mouth fast, like a castle braved,
What did ye give me that I have not saved? Nor will I say I have not dreamed (how well!) Of going-I, in each new picture forth, As, making new hearts beat and bosoms swell, To Pope or Kaiser, East, West, South, or North, Bound for the calmly satisfied great State,
Or glad aspiring little burgh, it went,
Flowers cast upon the car which bore the freight, Through old streets named afresh from the event, Till it reached home, where learned age should greet My face, and youth, the star not yet distinct Above his hair, lie learning at my feet!
Oh, thus to live, I and my picture, linked With love about, and praise, till life should end, And then not go to heaven, but linger here, Here on my earth, earth's every man my friend, The thought grew frightful, 't was so wildly dear! But a voice changed it. Glimpses of such sights Have scared me, like the revels through a door Of some strange house of idols at its rites!
This world seemed not the world it was before: Mixed with my loving trusting ones, there trooped Who summoned those cold faces that begun To press on me and judge me? Though I stooped Shrinking, as from the soldiery a nun,
They drew me forth, and spite of me
enough! These buy and sell our pictures, take and give,
Count them for garniture and household-stuff,
Partakers of their daily pettiness,
Discussed of, "This I love, or this I hate,
With the same series, Virgin, Babe and Saint,
At least no merchant traffics in my heart; The sanctuary's gloom at least shall ward
Vain tongues from where my pictures stand apart :
Only prayer breaks the silence of the shrine
FRA LIPPO LIPPI.
I AM poor brother Lippo, by your leave!
Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see a monk!
And here you catch me at an alley's end
Do, harry out, if you must show your zeal,
Aha, you know your betters? Then, you'll take
Your hand away that's fiddling on my throat,
Three streets off-he's a certain . . . how d' ye call?
I' the house that caps the corner. Boh! you were best!
But you, sir, it concerns you that your knaves
Zooks, are we pilchards, that they sweep the streets
Just such a face! Why, sir, you make amends.
I'd like his face
His, elbowing on his comrade in the door
With the pike and lantern, for the slave that holds