What does the little birdie say In her nest at peep of day? Let me fly, says little birdie, Mother, let me fly away. Birdie, rest a little longer, Till the little wings are stronger. So she rests a little longer, Then she flies away.
What does little baby say, In her bed at peep of day? Baby says, like little birdie, Let me rise and fly away. Baby, sleep a little longer, Till the little limbs are stronger. If she sleeps a little longer, Baby too shall fly away.
'She sleeps: let us too, let all evil, sleep. He also sleeps—another sleep than ours. He can do no more wrong: forgive him, dear, And I shall sleep the sounder!'
Then the man, 'His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to come. Yet let your sleep for this one night be sound: I do forgive him!'
'Thanks, my love,' she said, 'Your own will be the sweeter,' and they slept.
THE GRANDMOTHER. ———————
I. And Willy, my eldest-born, is gone, you say, little Anne? Ruddy and white, and strong on his legs, he looks like a man. And Willy's wife has written: she never was over-wise, Never the wife for Willy: he would n't take my advice.
II. For, Annie, you see, her father was not the man to save, Had n't a head to manage, and drank himself into his grave. Pretty enough, very pretty! but I was against it for one. Eh!—but he would n't hear me—and Willy, you say, is gone.
III. Willy, my beauty, my eldest-born, the flower of the flock; Never a man could fling him: for Willy stood like a rock. 'Here's a leg for a babe of a week!' says doctor; and he would be bound, There was not his like that year in twenty parishes round.
IV. Strong of his hands, and strong on his legs, but still of his tongue! I ought to have gone before him: I wonder he went so young. I cannot cry for him, Annie: I have not long to stay; Perhaps I shall see him the sooner, for he lived far away.
V. Why do you look at me, Annie? you think I am hard and cold; But all my children have gone before me, I am so old: I cannot weep for Willy, nor can I weep for the rest; Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the best.
VI. For I remember a quarrel I had with your father, my dear, All for a slanderous story, that cost me many a tear. I mean your grandfather, Annie: it cost me a world of woe, Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.
VII. For Jenny, my cousin, had come to the place, and I knew right well That Jenny had tript in her time: I knew, but I would not tell. And she to be coming and slandering me, the base little liar! But the tongue is a fire as you know, my dear, the tongue is a fire.
VIII. And the parson made it his text that week, and he said likewise, That a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies, That a lie which is all a lie may be met and fought with outright, But a lie which is part a truth is a harder matter to fight.
IX. And Willy had not been down to the farm for a week and a day; And all things look'd half-dead, tho' it was the middle of May. Jenny, to slander me, who knew what Jenny had been! But soiling another, Annie, will never make oneself clean.
X. And I cried myself well-nigh blind, and all of an evening late I climb'd to the top of the garth, and stood by the road at the gate. The moon like a rick on fire was rising over the dale, And whit, whit, whit, in the bush beside me chirrupt the nightingale.
XI. All of a sudden he stopt: there past by the gate of the farm, Willy,—he did n't see me,—and Jenny hung on his arm. Out into the road I started, and spoke I scarce knew how; Ah, there's no fool like the old one—it makes me angry now.
XII. Willy stood up like a man, and look'd the thing that he meant; Jenny, the viper, made me a mocking courtesy and went. And I said, 'Let us part: in a hundred years it'll all be the same, You cannot love me at all, if you love not my good name.'
XIII. And he turn'd, and I saw his eyes all wet, in the sweet moonshine: Sweetheart, I love you so well that your good name is mine. And what do I care for Jane, let her speak of you well of ill; But marry me out of hand: we two shall be happy still.'
XIV. 'Marry you, Willy!' said I, 'but I needs must speak my mind, And I fear you'll listen to tales, be jealous and hard and unkind.' But he turn'd and claspt me in his arms, and answer'd, 'No, love, no;' Seventy years ago, my darling, seventy years ago.
XV. So Willy and I were wedded: I wore a lilac gown; And the ringers rang with a will, and he gave the ringers a crown. But the first that ever I bare was dead before he was born, Shadow and shine is life, little Annie, flower and thorn.
XVI. That was the first time, too, that ever I thought of death. There lay the sweet little body that never had drawn a breath. I had not wept, little Anne, not since I had been a wife; But I wept like a child that day, for the babe had fought for his life.
XVII. His dear little face was troubled, as if with anger or pain: I look'd at the still little body—his trouble had all been in vain. For Willy I cannot weep, I shall see him another morn: But I wept like a child for the child that was dead before he was born.
XVIII. But he cheer'd me, my good man, for he seldom said me nay: Kind, like a man, was he; like a man, too, would have his way: Never jealous—not he: we had many a happy year; And he died, and I could not weep—my own time seem'd so near.
XIX. But I wish'd it had been God's will that I, too, then could have died: I began to be tired a little, and fain had slept at his side. And that was ten years back, or more, if I don't forget: But as to the children, Annie, they're all about me yet.
XX. Pattering over the boards, my Annie who left me at two, Patter she goes, my own little Annie, an Annie like you: Pattering over the boards, she comes and goes at her will, While Harry is in the five-acre and Charlie ploughing the hill.
XXI. And Harry and Charlie, I hear them too—they sing to their team: Often they come to the door in a pleasant kind of a dream. They come and sit by my chair, they hover about my bed— I am not always certain if they be alive or dead.
XXII. And yet I know for a truth, there's none of them left alive; For Harry went at sixty, your father at sixty-five: And Willy, my eldest born, at nigh threescore and ten; I knew them all as babies, and now they're elderly men.
XXIII. For mine is a time of peace, it is not often I grieve; I am oftener sitting at home in my father's farm at eve: And the neighbors come and laugh and gossip, and so do I; I find myself often laughing at things that have long gone by.
XXIV. To be sure the preacher says, our sins should make us sad: But mine is a time of peace, and there is Grace to be had; And God, not man, is the Judge of us all when life shall cease; And in this Book, little Annie, the message is one of Peace.
XXV. And age is a time of peace, so it be free from pain, And happy has been my life; but I would not live it again. I seem to be tired a little, that's all, and long for rest; Only at your age, Annie, I could have wept with the best.
XXVI. So Willy has gone, my beauty, my eldest-born, my flower; But how can I weep for Willy, he has but gone for an hour,— Gone for a minute, my son, from this room into the next; I, too, shall go in a minute. What time have I to be vext?
XXVII. And Willy's wife has written, she never was over-wise. Get me my glasses, Annie: thank God that I keep my eyes. There is but a trifle left you, when I shall have past away. But stay with the old woman now: you cannot have long to stay.
NORTHERN FARMER. old style. ———————
I. Wheer 'asta bean saw long and mea liggin' 'ere aloan? Noorse? thoort nowt o' a noorse: whoy, doctor's abean an' agoan: Says that I moant 'a naw moor yaale: but I beant a fool: Git ma my yaale, fur I beant a-gooin' to break my rule.
II. Doctors, they knaws nowt, for a says what's nawways true: Naw soort o' koind o' use to saay the things that a do. I've 'ed my point o' yaale ivry noight sin' I bean 'ere, An' I've 'ed my quart ivry market-noight for foorty year.
III. Parson's a bean loikewoise, an' a sittin' ere o' my bed. 'The amoighty's a taakin o' you to 'issen, my friend,' 'a said, An' a towd ma my sins, an's toithe were due, an' I gied it in hond; I done my duty by un, as I 'a done by the lond.
IV. Larn'd a ma' bea. I reckons I 'annot sa mooch to larn. But a cost oop, thot a did, 'boot Bessy Marris's barn. Thof a knaws I hallus voated wi' Squoire an' choorch an staate, An' i' the woost o' toimes I wur niver agin the raate.
V. An' I hallus comed to 's choorch afoor moy Sally wur dead, An' 'eerd un a bummin' awaay loike a buzzard-clock* ower my yead, An' I niver knaw'd whot a mean'd but I thowt a 'ad summut to saay, An I thowt a said whot a owt to 'a said an' I comed awaay. *Cockchafer.
VI. Bessy Marris's barn! tha knaws she laaid it to mea. Mowt 'a bean, mayhap, for she wur a bad un, shea. 'Siver, I kep un, I kep un, my lass, tha mun under-stond; I done my duty by un as I 'a done by the lond.
VII. But Parson a comes an' a goos, an' a says it easy an' freea 'The amoighty's a taakin o' you to 'issen, my friend,' says 'ea. I weant saay men be loiars, thof summun said it in 'aaste: But a reads wonn sarmin a weeak, an' I 'a stubb'd Thornaby waaste.
VIII. D'ya moind the waaste, my lass? naw, naw, tha was not born then; Theer wur a boggle in it, I often 'eerd un mysen; Moast loike a butter-bump,* for I 'eerd un aboot an aboot, But I stubb'd un oop wi' the lot, an' raaved an rembled un oot. *Bittern.
IX. Keaper's it wur; fo' they fun un theer a laaid on 'is faace Doon i' the woild 'enemies* afoor I comed to the plaace. Noaks or Thimbleby—toner 'ed shot un as dead as a naail. Noaks wur 'ang'd for it oop at 'soize—but git ma my yaale. *Anenomes.
X. Dubbut looak at the waaste: theer warn't not fead for a cow: Nowt at all but bracken an' fuzz, an' looak at it now— Warn't worth nowt a haacre, an' now theer's lots o' fead, Fourscore yows upon it an' some on it doon in sead.
XI. Nobbut a bit on it's left, an' I mean'd to 'a stubb'd it at fall, Done it ta-year I mean'd, an' runn'd plow thruff it an' all, If godamoighty an' parson 'ud nobbut let ma aloan, Mea, wi' haate oonderd haacre o' Squoire's an' lond o' my oan.
XII. Do godamoighty knaw what a's doing a-taakin' o' mea? I beant wonn as saws 'ere a bean an' yonder a pea; An' Squoire 'ull be sa mad an' all—a' dear a' dear! And I 'a monaged for Squoire come Michaelmas thirty year.
XIII. A mowt 'a taaken Joanes, as 'ant a 'aapoth o' sense, Or a mowt a' taaken Robins—a niver mended a fence: But godamoighty a moost taake mea an' taake ma now Wi 'auf the cows to cauve an' Thornaby holms to plow!
XIV. Looak 'ow quoloty smoiles when they sees ma a passin' by, Says to thessen naw doot 'what a mon a be sewer-ly!' For they knaws what I bean to Squoire sin fust a comed to the 'All; I done my duty by Squoire an' I done my duty by all.
XV. Squoire's in Lunnon, an' summun I reckons 'ull 'a to wroite, For who's to howd the lond ater mea thot muddles ma quoit; Sartin-sewer I bea, thot a weant niver give it to Joanes, Noither a moant to Robins—a niver rembles the stoans.
XVI. But summun 'ull come ater mea mayhap wi' 'is kittle o' steam Huzzin' an' maazin' the blessed fealds wi' the Divil's oan team. Gin I mun doy I mun doy, an' loife they says is sweet, But gin I mun doy I mun doy, for I couldn abear to see it.
XVII. What atta stannin' theer for, an' doesn bring ma the yaale? Doctor's a 'tottler, lass, an a's hallus i' the owd taale; I weant break rules for Doctor, a knaws naw moor nor a floy; Git ma my yaale, I tell tha, an' gin I mun doy I mun doy.
The woods decay, the woods decay and fall, The vapors weep their burthen to the ground, Man comes and tills the field and lies beneath, And after many a summer dies the swan. Me only cruel immortality Consumes: I wither slowly in thine arms, Here at the quiet limit of the world, A white-hair'd shadow roaming like a dream The ever-silent spaces of the East, Far-folded mists, and gleaming halls of morn.
Alas! for this gray shadow, once a man— So glorious in his beauty and thy choice, Who madest him thy chosen, that he seem'd To his great heart none other than a God! I ask'd thee, 'Give me immortality.' Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile, Like wealthy men who care not how they give. But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills, And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me, And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd To dwell in presence of immortal youth, Immortal age beside immortal youth, And all I was, in ashes. Can thy love, Thy beauty, make amends, tho' even now, Close over us, the silver star, thy guide, Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift: Why should a man desire in any way To vary from the kindly race of men, Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?
A soft air fans the cloud apart; there comes A glimpse of that dark world where I was born. Once more the old mysterious glimmer steals From thy pure brows, and from thy shoulders pure, And bosom beating with a heart renew'd. Thy cheek begins to redden thro' the gloom, Thy sweet eyes brighten slowly close to mine, Ere yet they blind the stars, and the wild team Which love thee, yearning for thy yoke, arise, And shake the darkness from their loosen'd manes, And beat the twilight into flakes of fire.
Lo! ever thus thou growest beautiful In silence, then before thine answer given Departest, and thy tears are on my cheek.
Why wilt thou ever scare me with thy tears, And make me tremble lest a saying learnt, In days far-off, on that dark earth, be true? 'The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts.'
Ay me! ay me! with what another heart In days far-off, and with what other eyes I used to watch—if I be he that watch'd— The lucid outline forming round thee; saw The dim curls kindle into sunny rings; Changed with thy mystic change, and felt my blood Glow with the glow that slowly crimson'd all Thy presence and thy portals, while I lay, Mouth, forehead, eyelids, growing dewy-warm With kisses balmier than half-opening buds Of April, and could hear the lips that kiss'd Whispering I knew not what of wild and sweet, Like that strange song I heard Apollo sing, While Ilion like a mist rose into towers.
Yet hold me not for ever in thine East: How can my nature longer mix with thine? Coldly thy rosy shadows bathe me, cold Are all thy lights, and cold my wrinkled feet Upon thy glimmering thresholds, when the steam Floats up from those dim fields about the homes Of happy men that have the power to die, And grassy barrows of the happier dead. Release me, and restore me to the ground; Thou seest all things, thou wilt see my grave: Thou wilt renew thy beauty morn by morn; I earth in earth forget these empty courts, And thee returning on thy silver wheels.
THE VOYAGE. —————
I. We left behind the painted buoy That tosses at the harbor-mouth; And madly danced our hearts with joy, As fast we fleeted to the South: How fresh was every sight and sound On open main or winding shore! We knew the merry world was round, And we might sail for evermore.
II. Warm broke the breeze against the brow, Dry sang the tackle, sang the sail: The Lady's-head upon the prow Caught the shrill salt, and sheer'd the gale. The broad seas swell'd to meet the keel, And swept behind: so quick the run, We felt the good ship shake and reel, We seem'd to sail into the Sun!
III. How oft we saw the Sun retire, And burn the threshold of the night, Fall from his Ocean-lane of fire, And sleep beneath his pillar'd light! How oft the purple-skirted robe Of twilight slowly downward drawn, As thro' the slumber of the globe Again we dash'd into the dawn!
IV. New stars all night above the brim Of waters lighten'd into view; They climb'd as quickly, for the rim Changed every moment as we flew. Far ran the naked moon across The houseless ocean's heaving field, Or flying shone, the silver boss Of her own halo's dusky shield;
V. The peaky islet shifted shapes, High towns on hills were dimly seen, We past long lines of Northern capes And dewy Northern meadows green. We came to warmer waves, and deep Across the boundless east we drove, Where those long swells of breaker sweep The nutmeg rocks and isles clove.
VI. By peaks that flamed, or, all in shade, Gloom'd the low coast and quivering brine With ashy rains, that spreading made Fantastic plume or sable pine; By sands and steaming flats, and floods Of mighty mouth, we scudded fast, And hills and scarlet-mingled woods Glow'd for a moment as we past.
VII. O hundred shores of happy climes, How swiftly stream'd ye by the bark! At times the whole sea burn'd, at times With wakes of fire we tore the dark; At times a carven craft would shoot From havens hid in fairy bowers, With naked limbs and flowers and fruit, But we nor paused for fruit nor flowers.
VIII. For one fair Vision ever fled Down the waste waters day and night, And still we follow'd where she led, In hope to gain upon her flight. Her face was evermore unseen, And fixt upon the far sea-line; But each man murmur'd 'O my Queen, I follow till I make thee mine.'
IX. And now we lost her, now she gleam'd Like Fancy made of golden air, Now nearer to the prow she seem'd Like Virtue firm, like Knowledge fair, Now high on waves that idly burst Like Heavenly Hope she crown'd the sea And now, the bloodless point reversed, She bore the blade of Liberty.
X. And only one among us—him We please not—he was seldom pleased: He saw not far: his eyes were dim: But ours he swore were all diseased. 'A ship of fools' he shriek'd in spite, 'A ship of fools' he sneer'd and wept. And overboard one stormy night He cast his body, and on we swept.
XI. And never sail of ours was furl'd, Nor anchor dropt at eve or morn; We loved the glories of the world, But laws of nature were our scorn; For blasts would rise and rave and cease, But whence were those that drove the sail Across the whirlwind's heart of peace, And to and thro' the counter-gale?
XII. Again to colder climes we came, For still we follow'd where she led: Now mate is blind and captain lame, And half the crew are sick or dead. But blind or lame or sick or sound We follow that which flies before: We know the merry world is round, And we may sail for evermore.
IN THE VALLEY OF CAUTERETZ. —————
All along the valley, stream that flashest white, Deepening thy voice with the deepening of the night, All along the valley, where thy waters flow, I walk'd with one I loved two and thirty years ago. All along the valley while I walk'd to-day, The two and thirty years were a mist that rolls away; For all along the valley, down thy rocky bed Thy living voice to me was as the voice of the dead, And all along the valley, by rock and cave and tree, The voice of the dead was a living voice to me.
THE FLOWER. —————
Once in a golden hour I cast to earth a seed. Up there came a flower, The people said, a weed.
To and fro they went Thro' my garden-bower, And muttering discontent Cursed me and my flower.
Then it grew so tall It wore a crown of light, But thieves from o'er the wall Stole the seed by night.
Sow'd it far and wide By every town and tower, Till all the people cried 'Splendid is the flower.'
Read my little fable: He that runs may read. Most can raise the flowers now, For all have got the seed.
And some are pretty enough, And some are poor indeed; And now again the people Call it but a weed.
Fair is her cottage in its place, Where yon broad water sweetly slowly glides. It sees itself from thatch to base Dream in the sliding tides.
And fairer she, but ah how soon to die! Her quiet dream of life this hour may cease. Her peaceful being slowly passes by To some more perfect peace.
THE SAILOR BOY. ———————
He rose at dawn and, fired with hope, Shot o'er the seething harbor-bar, And reach'd the ship and caught the rope, And whistled to the morning star.
And while he whistled long and loud He heard a fierce mermaiden cry, 'O boy, tho' thou art young and proud, I see the place where thou wilt lie.
'The sands and yeasty surges mix In caves about the dreary bay, And on thy ribs the limpet sticks, And in thy heart the scrawl shall play.'
'Fool,' he answer'd, 'death is sure To those that stay and those that roam, But I will nevermore endure To sit with empty hands at home.
'My mother clings about my neck, My sisters crying "stay for shame;" My father raves of death and wreck, They are all to blame, they are all to blame.
'God help me! save I take my part Of danger in the roaring sea, A devil rises in my heart, Far worse than any death to me.'
THE ISLET. ————
'Whither O whither love shall we go, For a score of sweet little summers or so' The sweet little wife of the singer said, On the day that follow'd the day she was wed, 'Whither O whither love shall we go?' And the singer shaking his curly head Turn'd as he sat, and struck the keys There at his right with a sudden crash, Singing, 'and shall it be over the seas With a crew that is neither rude nor rash, But a bevy of Eroses apple-cheek'd, In a shallop of crystal ivory-beak'd, With a satin sail of a ruby glow, To a sweet little Eden on earth that I know, A mountain islet pointed and peak'd; Waves on a diamond shingle dash, Cataract brooks to the ocean run, Fairily-delicate palaces shine Mixt with myrtle and clad with vine, And overstream'd and silvery-streak'd With many a rivulet high against the Sun The facets of the glorious mountain flash Above the valleys of palm and pine.'
'Thither O thither, love, let us go.'
'No, no, no! For in all that exquisite isle, my dear, There is but one bird with a musical throat, And his compass is but of a single note, That it makes one weary to hear.'
'Mock me not! mock me not! love, let us go.'
'No, love, no. For the bud ever breaks into bloom on the tree, And a storm never wakes on the lonely sea, And a worm is there in the lonely wood, That pierces the liver and blackens the blood, And makes it a sorrow to be.'
THE RINGLET. —————
'Your ringlets, your ringlets, That look so golden-gay, If you will give me one, but one, To kiss it night and day, Then never chilling touch of Time Will turn it silver-gray; And then shall I know it is all true gold To flame and sparkle and stream as of old, Till all the comets in heaven are cold, And all her stars decay.' 'Then take it, love, and put it by; This cannot change, nor yet can I.'
2. 'My ringlet, my ringlet, That art so golden-gay, Now never chilling touch of Time Can turn thee silver-gray; And a lad may wink, and a girl may hint, And a fool may say his say; For my doubts and fears were all amiss, And I swear henceforth by this and this, That a doubt will only come for a kiss, And a fear to be kiss'd away.' 'Then kiss it, love, and put it by: If this can change, why so can I.'
II. O Ringlet, O Ringlet, I kiss'd you night and day, And Ringlet, O Ringlet, You still are golden-gay, But Ringlet, O Ringlet, You should be silver-gray: For what is this which now I'm told, I that took you for true gold, She that gave you's bought and sold, Sold, sold.
2. O Ringlet, O Ringlet, She blush'd a rosy red, When Ringlet, O Ringlet, She clipt you from her head, And Ringlet, O Ringlet, She gave you me, and said, 'Come, kiss it, love, and put it by If this can change, why so can I.' O fie, you golden nothing, fie You golden lie.
3. O Ringlet, O Ringlet, I count you much to blame, For Ringlet, O Ringlet, You put me much to shame, So Ringlet, O Ringlet, I doom you to the flame. For what is this which now I learn, Has given all my faith a turn? Burn, you glossy heretic, burn, Burn, burn.
A WELCOME TO ALEXANDRA. March 7, 1863. —————
Sea-kings' daughter from over the sea, Alexandra! Saxon and Norman and Dane are we, But all of us Danes in our welcome of thee, Alexandra! Welcome her, thunders of fort and of fleet! Welcome her, thundering cheer of the street! Welcome her, all things youthful and sweet, Scatter the blossom under her feet! Break, happy land, into earlier flowers! Make music, O bird, in the new-budded bowers! Blazon your mottos of blessing and prayer! Welcome her, welcome her, all that is ours! Warble, O bugle, and trumpet, blare! Flags, flutter out upon turrets and towers! Flames, on the windy headland flare! Utter your jubilee, steeple and spire! Clash, ye bells, in the merry March air! Flash, ye cities, in rivers of fire! Rush to the roof, sudden rocket, and higher Melt into stars for the land's desire! Roll and rejoice, jubilant voice, Roll as a ground-swell dash'd on the strand, Roar as the sea when he welcomes the land, And welcome her, welcome the land's desire, The sea-kings' daughter as happy as fair, Blissful bride of a blissful heir, Bride of the heir of the kings of the sea— O joy to the people and joy to the throne, Come to us, love us, and make us your own: For Saxon or Dane or Norman we, Teuton or Celt, or whatever we be, We are each all Dane in our welcome of thee, Alexandra!
ODE SUNG AT THE OPENING OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION. —————
Uplift a thousand voices full and sweet, In this wide hall with earth's inventions stored, And praise th' invisible universal Lord, Who lets once more in peace the nations meet, Where Science, Art, and Labor have outpour'd Their myriad horns of plenty at our feet.
O silent father of our Kings to be Mourn'd in this golden hour of jubilee, For this, for all, we weep our thanks to thee!
The world-compelling plan was thine, And, lo! the long laborious miles Of Palace; lo! the giant aisles, Rich in model and design; Harvest-tool and husbandry, Loom and wheel and engin'ry, Secrets of the sullen mine, Steel and gold, and corn and wine, Fabric rough, or Fairy fine, Sunny tokens of the Line, Polar marvels, and a feast Of wonder, out of West and East, And shapes and hues of Part divine! All of beauty, all of use, That one fair planet can produce. Brought from under every star, Blown from over every main, And mixt, as life is mixt with pain, The works of peace with works of war.
O ye, the wise who think, the wise who reign, From growing commerce loose her latest chain, And let the fair white-winged peacemaker fly To happy havens under all the sky, And mix the seasons and the golden hours, Till each man finds his own in all men's good, And all men work in noble brotherhood, Breaking their mailed fleets and armed towers, And ruling by obeying Nature's powers, And gathering all the fruits of peace and crown'd with all her flowers.
A DEDICATION. —————
Dear, near and true—no truer Time himself Can prove you, tho' he make you evermore Dearer and nearer, as the rapid of life Shoots to the fall—take this, and pray that he, Who wrote it, honoring your sweet faith in him, May trust himself; and spite of praise and scorn, As one who feels the immeasurable world, Attain the wise indifference of the wise; And after Autumn past—if left to pass His autumn into seeming-leafless days— Draw toward the long frost and longest night, Wearing his wisdom lightly, like the fruit Which in our winter woodland looks a flower.*
*The fruit of the Spindle-tree (Euonymus Europaeus).
While about the shore of Mona those Neronian legionaries Burnt and broke the grove and altar of the Druid and Druidess, Far in the East Boadicea, standing loftily charioted, Mad and maddening all that heard her in her fierce volubility, Girt by half the tribes of Britain, near the colony Camulodune, Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters o'er a wild confederacy.
'They that scorn the tribes and call us Britain's barbarous populaces, Did they hear me, would they listen, did they pity me supplicating? Shall I heed them in their anguish? shall I brook to be supplicated? Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant! Must their ever-ravening eagle's beak and talon annihilate us? Tear the noble hear of Britain, leave it gorily quivering? Bark an answer, Britain's raven! bark and blacken innumerable, Blacken round the Roman carrion, make the carcase a skeleton, Kite and kestrel, wolf and wolfkin, from the wilderness, wallow in it, Till the face of Bel be brighten'd, Taranis be propitiated. Lo their colony half-defended! lo their colony, Camulodune! There the horde of Roman robbers mock at a barbarous adversary. There the hive of Roman liars worship a gluttonous emperor-idiot. Such is Rome, and this her deity: hear it, Spirit of Cassivelaun!
'Hear it, Gods! the Gods have heard it, O Icenian, O Coritanian! Doubt not ye the Gods have answer'd, Catieuchlanian, Trinobant. These have told us all their anger in miraculous utterances, Thunder, a flying fire in heaven, a murmur heard aerially, Phantom sound of blows descending, moan of an enemy massacred, Phantom wail of women and children, multitudinous agonies. Bloodily flow'd the Tamesa rolling phantom bodies of horses and men; Then a phantom colony smoulder'd on the refluent estuary; Lastly yonder yester-even, suddenly giddily tottering— There was one who watch'd and told me—down their statue of Victory fell. Lo their precious Roman bantling, lo the colony Camulodune, Shall we teach it a Roman lesson? shall we care to be pitiful? Shall we deal with it as an infant? shall we dandle it amorously?
'Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant! While I roved about the forest, long and bitterly meditating, There I heard them in the darkness, at the mystical ceremony, Loosely robed in flying raiment, sang the terrible prophetesses. "Fear not, isle of blowing woodland, isle of silvery parapets! Tho' the Roman eagle shadow thee, tho' the gathering enemy narrow thee, Thou shalt wax and he shall dwindle, thou shalt be the mighty one yet! Thine the liberty, thine the glory, thine the deeds to be celebrated, Thine the myriad-rolling ocean, light and shadow illimitable, Thine the lands of lasting summer, many-blossoming Paradises, Thine the North and thine the South and thine the battle-thunder of God." So they chanted: how shall Britain light upon auguries happier? So they chanted in the darkness, and there cometh a victory now.
Hear Icenian, Catieuchlanian, hear Coritanian, Trinobant! Me the wife of rich Prasutagus, me the lover of liberty, Me they seized and me they tortured, me they lash'd and humiliated, Me the sport of ribald Veterans, mine of ruffian violators! See they sit, they hide their faces, miserable in ignominy! Wherefore in me burns an anger, not by blood to be satiated. Lo the palaces and the temple, lo the colony Camulodune! There they ruled, and thence they wasted all the flourishing territory, Thither at their will they haled the yellow-ringleted Britoness— Bloodily, bloodily fall the battle-axe, unexhausted, inexorable. Shout Icenian, Catieuchlanian, shout Coritanian, Trinobant, Till the victim hear within and yearn to hurry precipitously Like the leaf in a roaring whirlwind, like the smoke in a hurricane whirl'd. Lo the colony, there they rioted in the city of Cunobeline! There they drank in cups of emerald, there at tables of ebony lay, Rolling on their purple couches in their tender effeminacy. There they dwelt and there they rioted; there—there—they dwell no more. Burst the gates, and burn the palaces, break the works of the statuary, Take the hoary Roman head and shatter it, hold it abominable, Cut the Roman boy to pieces in his lust and voluptuousness, Lash the maiden into swooning, me they lash'd and humiliated, Chop the breasts from off the mother, dash the brains of the little one out, Up my Britons, on my chariot, on my chargers, trample them under us.'
So the Queen Boadicea, standing loftily charioted, Brandishing in her hand a dart and rolling glances lioness-like, Yell'd and shriek'd between her daughters in her fierce volubility. Till her people all around the royal chariot agitated, Madly dash'd the darts together, writhing barbarous lineaments, Made the noise of frosty woodlands, when they shiver in January, Roar'd as when the rolling breakers boom and blanch on the precipices, Yell'd as when the winds of winter tear an oak on a promontory. So the silent colony hearing her tumultuous adversaries Clash the darts and on the buckler beat with rapid unanimous hand, Thought on all her evil tyrannies, all her pitiless avarice, Till she felt the heart within her fall and flutter tremulously, Then her pulses at the clamoring of her enemy fainted away. Out of evil evil flourishes, out of tyranny tyranny buds. Ran the land with Roman slaughter, multitudinous agonies. Perish'd many a maid and matron, many a valorous legionary. Fell the colony, city, and citadel, London, Verulam, Camulodune.
IN QUANTITY. —————
O mighty-mouth'd inventor of harmonies, O skill'd to sing of Time or Eternity, God-gifted organ-voice of England, Milton, a name to resound for ages; Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel, Starr'd from Jehovah's gorgeous armouries, Tower, as the deep-domed empyrean Rings to the roar of an angel onset— Me rather all that bowery loneliness, The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring, And bloom profuse and cedar arches Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean, Where some refulgent sunset of India Streams o'er a rich ambrosial ocean isle, And crimson-hued the stately palmwoods Whisper in odorous heights of even.
O you chorus of indolent reviewers, Irresponsible, indolent reviewers, Look, I come to the test, a tiny poem All composed in a metre of Catullus, All in quantity, careful of my motion, Like the skater on ice that hardly bears him, Lest I fall unawares before the people, Waking laughter in indolent reviewers. Should I flounder awhile without a tumble Thro' this metrification of Catullus, They should speak to me not without a welcome, All that chorus of indolent reviewers. Hard, hard, hard is it, only not to tumble, So fantastical is the dainty metre. Wherefore slight me not wholly, nor believe me Too presumptuous, indolent reviewers. O blatant Magazines, regard me rather— Since I blush to belaud myself a moment— As some rare little rose, a piece of inmost Horticultural art, or half coquette-like Maiden, not to be greeted unbenignly.
SPECIMEN OF A TRANSLATION OF THE ILIAD IN BLANK VERSE.
So Hector said, and sea-like roar'd his host; Then loosed their sweating horses from the yoke, And each beside his chariot bound his own; And oxen from the city, and goodly sheep In haste they drove, and honey-hearted wine And bread from out the houses brought, and heap'd Their firewood, and the winds from off the plain Roll'd the rich vapor far into the heaven. And these all night upon the bridge of war Sat glorying; many a fire before them blazed: As when in heaven the stars about the moon Look beautiful, when all the winds are laid, And every height comes out, and jutting peak And valley, and the immeasurable heavens Break open to their highest, and all the stars Shine, and the Shepherd gladdens in his heart: So many a fire between the ships and stream Of Xanthus blazed before the towers of Troy, A thousand on the plain; and close by each Sat fifty in the blaze of burning fire; And champing golden grain, the horses stood Hard by their chariots, waiting for the dawn. Iliad VIII. 542-561.
 Or, ridge.
 Or more literally—
And eating hoary grain and pulse the steeds Stood by their cars, waiting the throned morn.