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“Freely I choose too,” said the bride “But alas ! my lady leaves the South; “Your window and its world suffice," Each wind that comes from the Apennine Replied the tongue, while the heart Is a meance to her tender youth: replied

“Nor a way exists, the wise opine, "If I spend the night with that devil If she quits her palace twice this year, twice,

To avert the flower of life's decline."
May his window serve as my loop of hell
Whence a damned soul looks on paradise! Quoth the Duke, “A sage and a kindly fear.

Moreover Petraja is cold this spring:
“I fly to the Duke who loves me well, Be our feast to-night as usual here!”
Sit by his side and laugh at sorrow
Ere I count another ave-bell.

And then to himself — “Which night

shall bring "'Tis only the coat of a page to borrow,

Thy bride to her lover's embraces, fool And tie my hair in a horse-boy's trim,

Or I am the fool, and thou art the king! And I save my soul — but not to-mor

“Yet my passion must wait a night, nor

cool (She checked herself and her eye grew

For to-night the Envoy arrives from

France dim) “My father tarries to bless my state:

Whose heart I unlock with thyself, my tool. I must keep it one day more for him.

“I need thee still and might miss per

chance. “Is one day more so long to wait ? Moreover the Duke rides past, I know;

To-day is not wholly lost, beside, We shall see each other, sure as fate."

With its hope of my lady's countenance:

For I ride · what should I do but ride? She turned on her side and slept. Just so!

And passing her palace, if I list,
So we resolve on a thing and sleep:
So did the lady, ages ago.

May glance at its window -- well betide!”

So said, so done: nor the lady missed That night the Duke said, “Dear or cheap

One ray that broke from the ardent brow, As the cost of this cup of bliss may prove

Nor a curl of the lips where the spirit To body or soul, I will drain it deep.

kissed. And on the morrow, bold with love,

Be sure that each renewed the vow, He beckoned the bridegroom (close on call, No morrow's sun should arise and set As his duty bade, by the Duke's alcove)

And leave them then as it left them now. And smiled " 'Twas a very funeral, But next day passed, and next day yet, Your lady will think, this feast of ours, With still fresh cause to wait one day more A shame to efface whate'er befall !

Ere each leaped over the parapet. “What if we break from the Arno bowers, And still, as love's brief morning wore, And try if Petraja, cool and green,

With a gentle start, half smile, half sigh, Cure last night's faults with this morning's They found love not as it seemed before. flowers?

They thought it would work infallibly, The bridegroom, not a thought to be seen But not in despite of heaven and earth: On his steady brow and quiet mouth, The rose would blow when the storm Said, “Too much favour for me so mean!

passed by.

Meantime they could profit in winter's “Let Robbia's craft so apt and strange dearth

Arrest the remains of young and fair, By store of fruits that supplant the rose : And rivet them while the seasons range. The world and its ways have a certain worth:

“Make me a face on the window there,

Waiting as ever, mute the while, And to press a point while these oppose My love to pass below in the square ! Were simple policy; better wait: We lose no friends and we gain no foes. “And let me think that it may beguile

Dreary days which the dead must spend Meantime, worse fates than a lover's fate, Down in their darkness under the aisle, Who daily may ride and pass and look Where his lady watches behind the grate! “To say, 'What matters it at the end ?

I did no more while my heart was warm And she — she watched the square like a Than does that image, my pale-faced book

friend.' Holding one picture and only one, Which daily to find she undertook:

“Where is the use of the lip's red charm,

The heaven of hair, the pride of the brow, When the picture was reached the book And the blood that blues the inside arm

was done, And she turned from the picture at night “Unless we turn, as the soul knows how, to scheme

The earthly gift to an end divine? Of tearing it out for herself next sun. A lady of clay is as good, I trow."

So weeks grew months, years; gleam by But long ere Robbia's cornice, fine, gleam

With flowers and fruits which leaves enlace, The glory dropped from their youth and Was set where now is the empty shrine

love, And both perceived they had dreamed a (And, leaning out of a bright blue space, dream;

As a ghost might lean from a chink of sky,

The passionate pale lady's face Which hovered as dreams do, still above: But who can take a dream for a truth? Eying ever, with earnest eye Oh, hide our eyes from the next remove ! And quick-turned neck at its breathless

stretch, One day as the lady saw her youth Some one who ever is passing by --) Depart, and the silver thread that streaked Her hair, and, worn by the serpent's tooth, The duke had sighed like the simplest

wretch The brow so puckered, the chin so In Florence, “Youth my dream espeaked,

capes ! And wondered who the woman was, Will its record stay?” And he bade Hollow-eyed and haggard-cheeked,

them fetch

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"Him, the Carver, a hand to aid,

"John of Douay shall effect my plan, Who fashions the clay no love will change, Set me on horseback here aloft, And fixes a beauty never to fade.

Alive, as the crafty sculptor can,

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So! While these wait the trump of doom, How do their spirits pass, I wonder, Nights and days in the narrow room?


Still, I suppose, they sit and ponder

I What a gift life was, ages ago, Six steps out of the chapel yonder.

Only they see not God, I know,
Nor all that chivalry of his,
The soldier-saints who, row on row,
Burn upward each to his point of bliss —
Since, the end of life being manifest,
He had burned his way through the

world to this.

I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave! You need not clap your torches to my face. Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see

a monk ! What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the

rounds, And here you catch me at an alley's end Where sportive ladies leave their doors

ajar? The Carmine's my cloister : hunt it up, Do, - harry out, if you must show your

zeal, Whatever rat, there, haps on his wrong

hole, And nip each softling of a wee white

mouse, Weke, weke, that's crept to keep him

company! Aha, you know your betters! Then,

you'll take Your hand away that's fiddling on my

throat, And please to know me likewise. Who

I hear you reproach, "But delay was best, For their end was a crime." — Oh, a crime

will do As well, I reply, to serve for a test,

As a virtue golden through and through,
Sufficient to vindicate itself
And prove its worth at a moment's view!

am I?


Must a game be played for the sake of

pelf? Where a button goes, 't were an epigram To offer the stamp of the very Guelph. The true has no value beyond the sham; As well the counter as coin, I submit, When your table's a hat, and your prize,

a dram.

Why, one, sir, who is lodging with a

friend Three streets off he's a certain ... how

d'ye call? Master a... Cosimo of the Medici. I’ the house that caps the corner. Boh!

you were best! Remember and tell me, the day you're

hanged, How you affected such a gullet's-gripe ! But you, sir, it concerns you that your


Stake your counter as boldly every whit,
Venture as warily, use the same skill,
Do your best, whether winning or losing it,

a titter


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Pick up a manner nor discredit you: Flower o' the broom, Zooks, are we pilchards, that they sweep Take away love, and our earth is a tomb! the streets

Flower o' the quince, And count fair prize what comes into I let Lisa go, and what good in life since ? their net?

Flower o' the thyme and so on.

Round He's Judas to a tittle, that man is !

they went. Just such a face! Why, sir, you make Scarce had they turned the corner when

amends. Lord, I'm not angry! Bid your hang- Like the skipping of rabbits by moonlight, dogs go

three slim shapes, Drink out this quarter-florin to the And a face that looked up ... zooks, sir, health

flesh and blood, Of the munificent House that harbours That's all I'm made of! Into shreds it

went, (And many

more beside, lads! more Curtain and counterpane and coverlet, beside !)

All the bed-furniture a dozen knots, And all's come square again. I'd like There was a ladder! Down I let myself, his face

Hands and feet, scrambling somehow, and His, elbowing on his comrade in this

so dropped, door

And after them. I came up with the fun With the pike and lantern, — for the Hard by Saint Laurence, hail fellow, well slave that holds

met, John Baptist's head a-dangle by the hair

Flower o' the rose, With one hand (“Look you, now,” as If I've been merry, what matter who knows ? who should say)

And so as I was stealing back again And his weapon in the other, yet un- To get to bed and have a bit of sleep wiped !

Ere I rise up to-morrow and go work It's not your chance to have a bit of On Jerome knocking at his poor old breast chalk,

With his great round stone to subdue the A wood-coal or the like? or you should see !

flesh, Yes, I'm the painter, since you style me so. You snap me of the sudden. Ah, I see! What, brother Lippo's doings, up and Though your eye twinkles still, you shake

down You know them and they take you? Mine's shaved a monk, you say

the like enough!

sting's in that! I saw the proper twinkle in your eye If Master Cosimo announced himself, 'Tell you, I liked your looks at very first. Mum's the word naturally; but a monk! Let's sit and set things straight now, hip Come, what am I a beast for? tell us, now! to haunch.

I was a baby when my mother died Here's spring come, and the nights one And father died and left me in the street. makes up bands

I starved there, God knows how, a year To roam the town and sing our carnival,

or two And I've been three weeks shut within On fig-skins, melon-parings, rinds and my mew,

shucks, A-painting for the great man, saints and Refuse and rubbish. One fine frosty saints

day, And saints again. I could not paint all My stomach being empty as your hat, night

The wind doubled me up and down I went. Ouf! I leaned out of window for fresh air. Old Aunt Lapaccia trussed me with one There came a hurry of feet and little feet,

hand, A sweep of lute strings, laughs, and (Its fellow was a stinger as I knew) whifts of song,

And so along the wall, over the bridge,

your head

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of me;

years old.

By the straight cut to the convent. Six His bone from the heap of offal in the words there,

street, While I stood munching my first bread Why, soul and sense of him grow sharp that month :

alike, “So, boy, you're minded,” quoth the He learns the look of things, and none good fat father,

the less Wiping his own mouth, 'twas refection- For admonition from the hunger-pinch. time,

I had a store of such remarks, be sure, "To quit this very miserable world? Which, after I found leisure, turned to use. Will you renounce”... “the mouthful I drew men's faces on my copy-books, of bread?” thought I;

Scrawled them within the antiphonary's By no means! Brief, they made a monk


Joined legs and arms to the long musicI did renounce the world, its pride and

notes, greed,

Found eyes and nose and chin for A's Palace, farm, villa, shop, and banking

and B's, house,

And made a string of pictures of the world Trash, such as these poor devils of Medici Betwixt the ins and outs of verb and noun, Have given their hearts to — all at eight On the wall, the bench, the door. The

monks looked black. Well, sir, I found in time, you may be sure, “Nay," quoth the Prior, “turn him out, 'Twas not for nothing - the good bellyful, d'ye say? The warm serge and the rope that goes In no wise. Lose a crow and catch a lark. all round,

What if at last we get our man of parts, And day-long blessed idleness beside! We Carmelites, like those Camaldolese “Let's see

what the urchin's fit for" And Preaching Friars, to do our church up that came next.

fine Not overmuch their way, I must confess. And put the front on it that ought to be!” Such a to-do! They tried me with their And hereupon he bade me daub away. books;

Thank you! my head being crammed, Lord, they'd have taught me Latin in the walls a blank,

Never was such prompt disemburdening. Flower o' the clove,

First, every sort of monk, the black and All the Latin I construe is amo,I love !

white, But, mind you, when a boy starves in the I drew them, fat and lean: then, folk streets

at church, Eight years together, as my fortune was, From good old gossips waiting to confess Watching folk's faces to know who will Their cribs of barrel-droppings, candlefling

ends, The bit of half-stripped grape-bunch he To the breathless fellow at the altar-foot, desires,

Fresh from his murder, safe and sitting And who will curse or kick him for his

there pains,

With the little children round him in a row Which gentleman processional and fine, Of admiration, half for his beard and half Holding a candle to the Sacrament, For that white anger of his victim's son Will wink and let him lift a plate and Shaking a fist at him with one fierce arm, catch

Signing himself with the other because of The droppings of the wax to sell again,

Christ Or holla for the Eight and have him (Whose sad face on the cross sees only this whipped, ,

After the passion of a thousand years) How say I? nay, which dog bites, Till some poor girl, her apron o'er her which lets drop


pure waste!

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