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And corded up in a tight olive-frail,
Some lump, ah God, of lapis lazuli,
Big as a Jew's head cut off at the nape,
Blue as a vein o'er the Madonna's breast
Sons, all have I bequeathed you, villas, all,
That brave Frascati villa with its bath,
So, let the blue lump poise between my knees,
Like God the Father's globe on both his hands
Ye worship in the Jesu Church so gay,

For Gandolf shall not choose but see and burst!
Swift as a weaver's shuttle fleet our years:
Man goeth to the grave, and where is he?
Did I say basalt for my slab, sons?

'T was ever antique-black I meant !

How else

Shall ye contrast my frieze to come beneath?
The bass-relief in bronze ye promised me,

Those Pans and Nymphs ye wot of, and perchance
Some tripod, thyrsus, with a vase or so,
The Saviour at his sermon on the mount,
Saint Praxed in a glory, and one Pan

Ready to twitch the Nymph's last garment off,
And Moses with the tables . . . but I know
Ye mark me not! What do they whisper thee,
Child of my bowels, Anselm? Ah, ye hope
To revel down my villas while I gasp
Bricked o'er with beggar's mouldy travertine
Which Gandolf from his tomb-top chuckles at!
Nay, boys, ye love me
all of jasper, then!
'Tis jasper ye stand pledged to, lest I grieve
My bath must needs be left behind, alas!
One block, pure green as a pistachio-nut,
There's plenty jasper somewhere in the world
And have I not Saint Praxed's ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscripts,
And mistresses with great smooth marbly limbs?
That's if ye carve my epitaph aright,
Choice Latin, picked phrase, Tully's every word,
No gaudy ware like Gandolf's second line-
Tully, my masters? Ulpian serves his need
And then how I shall lie through centuries,
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,
And feel the steady candle-flame, and taste
Good strong thick stupefying incense-smoke!
For as I lie here, hours of the dead night,
Dying in state and by such slow degrees,

I fold my arms as if they clasped a crook,

And stretch my feet forth straight as stone can point,
And let the bedclothes, for a mortcloth, drop
Into great laps and folds of sculptor's-work:
And as yon tapers dwindle, and strange thoughts
Grow, with a certain humming in my ears,
About the life before I lived this life,
And this life too, popes, cardinals and priests
Saint Praxed at his sermon on the mount,
Your tall pale mother with her talking eyes,
And new-found agate urns as fresh as day,
And marble's language, Latin pure, discreet,
Aha, ELUCESCEBAT quoth our friend?
No Tully, said I, Ulpian at the best!
Evil and brief hath been my pilgrimage.
All lapis, all, sons! Else I give the Pope
My villas! Will ye ever eat my heart?
Ever your eyes were as a lizard's quick,
They glitter like your mother's for my soul,
Or ye would heighten my impoverished frieze,
Piece out its starved design, and fill my vase
With grapes, and add a visor and a Term,
And to the tripod ye would tie a lynx
That in his struggle throws the thyrsus down,
To comfort me on my entablature

Whereon I am to lie till I must ask

"Do I live, am I dead?" There, leave me, there! For ye have stabbed me with ingratitude

To death

ye wish it

God, ye wish it! Stone-
Gritstone, a-crumble! Clammy squares which sweat
As if the corpse they keep were oozing through —
And no more lapis to delight the world!
Well, go! I bless ye. Fewer tapers there,
But in a row and, going, turn your backs
-Ay, like departing altar-ministrants,

And leave me in my church, the church for peace,
That I may watch at leisure if he leers

Old Gandolf, at me, from his onion-stone,

As still he envied me, so fair she was!


No more wine? then we 'll push back chairs, and talk.

A final glass for me, though: cool, i' faith!

We ought to have our Abbey back, you see.


It's different, preaching in basilicas,
And doing duty in some masterpiece
Like this of brother Pugin's, bless his heart!
I doubt if they 're half baked, those chalk rosettes,
Ciphers and stucco-twiddlings everywhere;
It's just like breathing in a lime-kiln: eh?
These hot long ceremonies of our church

Cost us a little

oh, they pay the price,
You take me — amply pay it! Now, we 'll talk.

So, you despise me, Mr. Gigadibs.
No deprecation, nay, I beg you, sir!
Beside 't is our engagement: don't you know,
I promised, if you'd watch a dinner out,
We'd see truth dawn together? truth that peeps
Over the glass's edge when dinner's done,
And body gets its sop and holds its noise

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And leaves soul free a little. Now's the time: 'Tis break of day! You do despise me then. And if I say, "despise me,'

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never fear!

I know you do not in a certain sense
Not in my arm-chair, for example: here,
I well imagine you respect my place
(Status, entourage, worldly circumstance)
Quite to its value
very much indeed :
Are up to the protesting eyes of you
In pride at being seated here for once
You'll turn it to such capital account!

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When somebody, through years and years to come,
Hints of the bishop, names me that's enough:

Blougram? I knew him" (into it you slide) "Dined with him once, a Corpus Christi Day,

All alone, we two; he's a clever man :

And after dinner,

why, the wine you know, Oh, there was wine, and good! - what with the wine. 'Faith, we began upon all sorts of talk!

He's no bad fellow, Blougram; he had seen
Something of mine he relished, some review :
He's quite above their humbug in his heart,
Half-said as much, indeed - the thing's his trade.
I warrant, Blougram's sceptical at times:
How otherwise? I liked him, I confess!"
Che che, my dear sir, as we say at Rome,
Don't you protest now! It's fair give and take;
You have had your turn and spoken your home-truths :
The hand's mine now, and here you follow suit.

Thus much conceded, still the first fact stays You do despise me; your ideal of life Is not the bishop's: you would not be I. You would like better to be Goethe, now, Or Buonaparte, or, bless me, lower still, Count D'Orsay, so you did what you preferred, Spoke as you thought, and, as you cannot help, Believed or disbelieved, no matter what, So long as on that point, whate'er it was, You loosed your mind, were whole and sole yourself, That, my ideal never can include,

Upon that element of truth and worth

Never be based! for say they make me Pope (They can'tsuppose it for our argument) Why, there I'm at my tether's end, I've reached My height, and not a height which pleases you: An unbelieving Pope won't do, you say.

It's like those eerie stories nurses tell,

Of how some actor played Death on a stage,

With pasteboard crown, sham orb and tinselled dart,
And called himself the monarch of the world;

Then, going in the tire-room afterward,
Because the play was done, to shift himself,
Got touched upon the sleeve familiarly,
The moment he had shut the closet-door,

By Death himself. Thus God might touch a Pope
At unawares, ask what his baubles mean,
And whose part he presumed to play just now?
Best be yourself, imperial, plain and true!

So, drawing comfortable breath again,
You weigh and find, whatever more or less
I boast of my ideal realized

Is nothing in the balance when opposed
To your ideal, your grand simple life,
Of which you will not realize one jot.

I am much, you are nothing; you would be all,
I would be merely much you beat me there.

No, friend, you do not beat me: hearken why!
The common problem, yours, mine, every one's,
Is not to fancy what were fair in life

Provided it could be, - but, finding first
What may be, then find how to make it fair
Up to our means: a very different thing!
No abstract intellectual plan of life

Quite irrespective of life's plainest laws,

But one, a man, who is man and nothing more,
May lead within a world which (by your leave)
Is Rome or London, not Fool's-paradise.
Embellish Rome, idealize away,

Make paradise of London if you can,
You're welcome, nay, you 're wise.

A simile!

We mortals cross the ocean of this world
Each in his average cabin of a life;

The best's not big, the worst yields elbow-room.
Now for our six-months' voyage
how prepare?

You come on shipboard with a landsman's list

Of things he calls convenient: so they are!
An India screen is pretty furniture,

A pianoforte is a fine resource,

All Balzac's novels occupy one shelf,
The new edition fifty volumes long;

And little Greek books, with the funny type
They get up well at Leipsic, fill the next :
Go on! slabbed marble, what a bath it makes !
And Parma's pride, the Jerome, let us add!
'T were pleasant could Correggio's fleeting glow
Hang full in face of one where'er one roams,
Since he more than the others brings with him
Italy's self, the marvellous Modenese!
Yet was not on your list before, perhaps.

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is't the name

Alas, friend, here's the agent
The captain, or whoever's master here
You see him screw his face up; what's his cry
Ere you set foot on shipboard?
"Six feet square!"

If you won't understand what six feet mean,
Compute and purchase stores accordingly -

And if, in pique because he overhauls

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Your Jerome, piano and bath, you come on board
why, you cut a figure at the first
While sympathetic landsmen see you off;
Not afterward, when long ere half seas over,
You peep up from your utterly naked boards
Into some snug and well-appointed berth,
Like mine for instance (try the cooler jug
Put back the other, but don't jog the ice!)
And mortified you mutter, "Well and good;
He sits enjoying his sea-furniture ;

'Tis stout and proper, and there's store of it:


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