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3. He comes, scarce knowing what he seeks:
He breaks the hedge: he enters there: The color flies into his cheeks:
He trusts to light on something fair; For all his life the charm did talk
About his path, and hover near With words of promise in his walk,
And whisper'd voices at his ear.
4. More close and close his footsteps wind;
The Magic Music in his heart Beats quick and quicker, till he find
The quiet chamber far apart. His spirit flutters like a lark,
He stoops-to kiss her-on his knee. “Love, if thy tresses be so dark,
How dark those hidden eyes must be !"
3. "O eyes long laid in happy sleep!"
"O happy sleep, that lightly fled !” “O happy kiss, that woke thy sleep !"
“O love, thy kiss would wake the dead And o'er them many a flowing range
of vapor buoy'd the crescent-bark, And, rapt thro' many a rosy change, The twilight died into the dark.
4. "A hundred snmmers! can it be?
And whither goest thou, tell me where ?” “O seek my father's court with me,
For there are greater wonders there." And o'er the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim, Beyond the night, across the day,
Thro' all the world she follow'd him.
1. A touch, a kiss! the charm was snapt.
There rose a noise of striking clocks, And feet that ran, and doors that clapt,
Avd barking dogs, and crowing cocks; A fuller light illumined all,
A breeze thro' all the garden swept, A sudden hubbub shook the hall,
And sixty feet the fountain leapt.
1. So, Lady Flora, take my lay,
And if you find no moral there, Go, look in any glass and say,
What moral is in being fair. O, to what uses shall we put
The wildweed flower that simply blowe! And is there any moral shut
Within the bosom of the rose ?
2. The hedge broke in, the banner hlew,
The butler drank, the steward scrawl'd, The fire shot up, the martin flew,
The parrot scream'd, the peacock squall'd, The maid and page renew'd their strife,
The palace bang'd, and buzz'd, and clackt, And all the long-pent stream of life
Dash'd downward in a cataract.
2. But any man that walks the mead,
In bud or blade, or bloom, may find, According as his humors lead,
A meaning suited to his minde
And liberal applications lie
In Art like Nature, dearest friend; So 't were to cramp its use, if I
Should hook it to some useful end.
Like long-tail'd birds of Paradise,
That float thro' Heaven, and cannot lignt? Or old-world trains, upheld at court
By Cupid-boys of blooming hueBut take it-earnest wed with sport,
And either sacred unto you.
1. You shake your head. A random string
Your tuer female sense offends. Well-were it not a pleasant thing
To fall asleep with all one's friends; To pass with all our social ties
To silence from the paths of men ; And every hundred years to rise
And learn the world, and sleep again; To sleep thro' terms of mighty wars,
And wake on science grown to more, On secrets of the brain, the stars,
As wild as aught of fairy lore;
The Poet-forms of stronger hours,
The Federations and the Powers;
And in the morning of the times.
But it is wild and barren,
And waster than a warren :
It is not bad but good land, And in it is the germ of all
That grows within the woodland.
O had I lived when song was grea:
In days of old Amphion,
Nor cared for seed or scion !
And legs of trees were limber, And ta'eu my fiddle to the gate,
And fiddled in the timber!
So sleeping, so aroused from sleep
Thro' sunny decades new and strange, Or gay quinquenniads would we reap
The flower and quintessence of change.
Ah, yet would I-and would I might!
So much yonr eyes my fancy takeBe still the first to leap to light
That I might kiss those eyes awake! For, am I right or am I wrong,
To choose your own you did not care; You'd have my moral from the song,
And I will take my pleasure there: And, am I right or am I wrong,
My fancy, ranging thro' and thro', To search a meaning for the song,
Perforce will still revert to you; Nor finds a closer truth than this
All-graceful head, so richly enrld, And evermore a costly kiss
The prelude to some brighter world.
'T is said he had a tuneful tongue,
Such happy intonation, Wherever he sat down and sung
He left a small plantation ; Wherever in a lonely grove
He set up his forlorn pipes, The gouty oak began to move,
And flounder into hornpipes. The mountain stirr'd its bushy crown,
And, as tradition teaches, Young ashes pirouetted down
Coquetting with young beeches : And briony-vine and ivy-wreath
Rap forward to his rhyming, And from the valleys underneath
Came little copses climbing.
The birch-trec swang her fragrant hair,
The bramble cast her berry, The gin within the juniper
Began to make him merry, The poplars, in long order due,
With cypress promenaded, The shock-head willows two and two
By rivers gallopaded.
For since the time when Adam first
Embraced his Eve in bappy hour, And every bird of Eden burst
In carol, every bud to flower, What eyes, like thine, have waken'd hopes ?
What lips, like thine, so sweetly join'd! Where on the double rosebud droops
The fulness of the pensive mind; Which all too dearly self-involved,
Yet sleeps a dreamless sleep to me; A sleep by kisses undissolved,
That lets thee neither hear nor see: But break it. In the name of wife,
And in the rights that name may give, Are clasp'd the moral of thy life,
And that for which I care to live.
Came wet-shot alder from the wave,
Came yews, a dismal coterie;
Poussetting with a sloe-tree:
The vine stream'd ont to follow,
From many a cloudy hollow.
When, ere his song was ended,
The country-side descended ;
Look'd down, half-pleased, half-frighten As dash'd abont the drunken leaves
The random sunshine lighten'd!
EPILOGUE. Sn, Lady Flora, take my lay,
And, if you find a meaning there, O whisper to your glass, and say,
“What wonder, if he thinks me fair pu* What wonder I was all unwise,
To shape the song for your delight,
0, nature first was fresh to men,
And wanton without measure; So youthful and so flexile then,
You moved her at your pleasure.
Twang out, my fiddle ! shake the twigs !
And make her dance attendance ; Blow, fute, and stir the stiff-set sprigs,
And scirrhous roots and tendons.
"Tis vain ! in such a brassy age
I could not move a thistle ;
Scarce answer to my whistle;
With strumming and with scraping,
The passive oxen gaping.
Like sleepy counsel pleading:
The modern Muses reading.
And Works on Gardening through there, And Methods of transplanting trees,
To look as if they grew there.
O'er books of travellid seamen,
From England to Van Diemen.
And alleys, faded places,
Aud warm'd in crystal cases.
Until the charm have power to make
New lifeblood warm the bosom,
In full and kindly blossom.
Of all I felt and feel.
And phantom hopes assemble ;
Begins to move and tremble.
By many pleasant ways,
The current of my days :
The gas-light wavers dimmer:
My college friendships glimmer.
Which vexes public men,
For that which all deny them,Who sweep the crossings, wet or dry,
And all the world go by them.
Where long and largely we carouse,
As who shall say me nay:
We drink defying trouble,
And then we drank it double,
Whether the vintage, yet unkept,
Had relish tiery-new,
As old as Waterloo ;
In musty bins and chambers, Had cast upon its crusty side
The gloom of ten Decembers.
Half fearful that, with self at strife,
I take myself to task;
I leave an empty flask:
To prove myself a poet;
Is gray before I know it.
Till they be gather'd up;
Will haunt the vacant cnp: And others' follies teach us not,
Nor much their wisdom teaches ; And most, of sterling worth, is what
Our own experience preaches.
We know not what we know.
'Tis gone, and let it go. 'Tis gone: a thousand such have slipt
Away from my embraces, And fall'n into the dusty crypt
or darken'd forms and faces.
The Muse, the jolly Muse, it is!
She answer'd to my call, She changes with that mood or this,
Is all-in-all to all: She lit the spark within my throat,
To make my blood run quicker, Used all her tiery will, and smote
Her life into the liquor.
And hence this halo lives about
The waiter's hands, that reach To each his perfect pint of stout,
His proper chop to each.
That with the wapkin dally;
From some delightful valley.
Than modern poultry drop, Stept forward on a firmer leg,
And cramm'd a plumper crop; Upon an ampler dunghill trod,
Crow'd lustier late and early, Sipt wine from silver, praising God,
And raked w golden barley.
Go, therefore, thou ! thy betters went
Long since, and came no more:
From many a tavern-door,
From misty men of letters;
Thine elders and thy betters.
Had yet their native glow:
Had made him talk for show:
He flash'd his random speeches;
His literary leeches.
Like all good things on earth!
At half thy real worth? I hold it good, good things should pass:
With time I will not quarrel: It is but yonder empty glass
That makes me maudlin-moral.
A private life was all his joy,
Till in a court he saw
That knuckled at the taw:
Flew over roof and casement: His brothers of the weather stood
Stock-still for sheer amazement.
But he, by farmstead, thorpe, and spire,
And follow'd with acclaims,
Came crowing over Thames.
Till, where the street grows straiter, One fix'd forever at the door,
And one became head-waiter.
But whither would my fancy go?
How out of place she makes The violet of a legend blow
Among the chops and steaks ! 'Tis but a steward of the can,
One shade more plump than common; As just and mere a serving.man
As any, born of woman.
Into the common day?
Which I shall huve to pay ?
Nor wholly comfortable,
And thrumming on the table :
Head-waiter of the chop-house here,
To which I most resort,
For this good pint of port.
Marrow of mirth and laughter: And, wheresoe'er thou move, good luck
Shall fling her old shoe after.
The sphere thy fate allots :
Go down among the pots :
In haunts of hungry singers,
or thirty thousand dinners. We fret, we fume, would shift our skins,
Wonld quarrel with our lot:
To serve the hot-and-hot;
Returning like the pewit,
That trifle with the cruet.
Live long, ere from thy topmost head
The thick-set hazel dies;
The corners of thine eyes:
Our changeful equinoxes,
Shall call thee from the boxes.
To pace the gritted floor,
or life, shalt earn no more: No carved cross-bones, the types of Death,
Shall show thee past to Heaven:
A pint-pot, neatly graven.
They two will wed the morrow morn:
God's blessing on the day! “He does not love me for my birth,
Nor for my lands so broad and fair: He loves me for my own true worth,
And that is well," said Lady Clare. In there came old Alice the nurse,
Said, “Who was this that went from theem “It was my cousin," said Lady Clare:
"To-morrow he weds with me."
"O God be thank'd !" said Alice the nurse,
“That all comes round so just and fair: Lord Ronald is heir of all your lands,
And you are not the Lady Clare."
AFTER READING A LIFE AND LETTERS.
Shakespeare's Epitaph. You might have won the Poet's name,
If such be worth the winning now,
And gain'd a laurel for your brow Of sounder leaf than I can claim;
"Are ye out of your mind, my nurse, my nurse ?"
Said Lady Clare, " that ye speak so wild ?" " As God 's above," said Alice the nurse,
“I speak the truth : you are my child. “The old Earl's daughter died at my breast ;
I speak the truth, as I live by bread! I buried her like my own sweet child,
And put my child in her stead." "Falsely, falsely have ye donc,
O mother," she said, “if this be true, To keep the best man under the sun
So many years from his due.” “Nay now, my child," said Alice the nurse,
“ But keep the secret for your life, And all you have will be Lord Ronald's,
When you are man and wife."
“If I'm a beggar born," she said,
"I will speak out, for I dare not lie. Pull off, pull off, the broach of gold,
And fling the diamond necklace by." "Nay now, my child,” said Alice the nurse,
“But keep the secret all ye can." She said “Not so: but I will know
If there be any faith in man."
But yon have made the wiser choice,
A life that moves to gracious ends
Thro' troops of unrecording friends,
or those that wear the Poet's crown:
Hereafter, neither knave nor clown Shall hold their orgies at your tomb. For now the Poet cannot die
Nor leave his music as of old,
But round him ere he scarce be cold Begins the scandal and the cry: “ Proclaim the faults he would not show:
Break lock and seal : betray the trust:
Keep nothing sacred : 't is but just The many-headed beast should know." Ah shameless! for he did but sing
A song that pleased us from its worth;
No public life was his on earth, No blazon'd statesman he, nor king. He gave the people of his best :
His worst he kept, his best he gave.
My Shakespeare's curse on clown and knave Who will not let his ashes rest! Who make it seem more sweet to be
The little life of bank and brier,
The bird that pipes his love desire And dies unheard within his tree, Than he that warbles long and loud
And drops at Glory's temple-gates,
For whom the carrion vulture waits To tear his heart before the crowd !
“Nay now, what faith ?" said Alice the nurse,
"The man will cleave unto his right." " And he shall have it," the lady replied,
"Tho' I should die to-night." “Yet give one kiss to your mother dear!
Alas, my child, I sino'd for thee." “O mother, mother, mother," she said,
“So strange it seems to me. “ Yet here's a kiss for my mother dear,
My mother dear, if this be so, And lay your hand upon my head,
And bless me, mother, ere I go."
She was no longer Lady Clare:.
With a single rose in her hair.
Leapt up from where she lay,
And followed her all the way.
"O Lady Clare, you shame your worth! Why come you drest like a village maid,
That are the flower of the earth."
LADY CLARE. It was the time when lilies blow,
And clouds are highest up in air, Lord Ronald brought a lily-white doe
To give his cousin, Lady Clare.
Lovers long-betroth'd were they:
"If I come drest like a village maid,
I am but as my fortunes are: I am a beggar born," she said,
“And not the Lady Clare."