Remote in ruddy fog Still hear the tiger growl At the lion and striped dog That prowl with rusty throats to taunt and roar and howl;
Whilst other monsters fast The hissing basilisk; The hippopotamus so vast, And the boa with waking appetite made brisk!
The orfrey showing tongue, The fly in stinging mood, The elephant that crushes strong And elastic bamboos an the scorpion's brood;
And the men of the trees With their families fierce, Till there is not one scorching breeze But brings here its venom—its horror to pierce—
Yet, rather there be lone, 'Mid all those horrors there, Than hear the sickly honeyed tone And see the swimming eyes of Noormahal the Fair!
[Footnote 1: Noormahal (Arabic) the light of the house; some of the Orientals deem fair hair and complexion a beauty.]
("Murs, ville et port.")
[XXVIII., Aug. 28, 1828.]
Town, tower, Shore, deep, Where lower Cliff's steep; Waves gray, Where play Winds gay, All sleep.
Hark! a sound, Far and slight, Breathes around On the night High and higher, Nigh and nigher, Like a fire, Roaring, bright.
Now, on 'tis sweeping With rattling beat, Like dwarf imp leaping In gallop fleet He flies, he prances, In frolic fancies, On wave-crest dances With pattering feet.
Hark, the rising swell, With each new burst! Like the tolling bell Of a convent curst; Like the billowy roar On a storm-lashed shore,— Now hushed, but once more Maddening to its worst.
O God! the deadly sound Of the Djinn's fearful cry! Quick, 'neath the spiral round Of the deep staircase fly! See, see our lamplight fade! And of the balustrade Mounts, mounts the circling shade Up to the ceiling high!
'Tis the Djinns' wild streaming swarm Whistling in their tempest flight; Snap the tall yews 'neath the storm, Like a pine flame crackling bright. Swift though heavy, lo! their crowd Through the heavens rushing loud Like a livid thunder-cloud With its bolt of fiery might!
Ho! they are on us, close without! Shut tight the shelter where we lie! With hideous din the monster rout, Dragon and vampire, fill the sky! The loosened rafter overhead Trembles and bends like quivering reed; Shakes the old door with shuddering dread, As from its rusty hinge 'twould fly! Wild cries of hell! voices that howl and shriek! The horrid troop before the tempest tossed— O Heaven!—descends my lowly roof to seek:
Bends the strong wall beneath the furious host. Totters the house as though, like dry leaf shorn From autumn bough and on the mad blast borne, Up from its deep foundations it were torn To join the stormy whirl. Ah! all is lost!
O Prophet! if thy hand but now Save from these hellish things, A pilgrim at thy shrine I'll bow, Laden with pious offerings. Bid their hot breath its fiery rain Stream on the faithful's door in vain; Vainly upon my blackened pane Grate the fierce claws of their dark wings!
They have passed!—and their wild legion Cease to thunder at my door; Fleeting through night's rayless region, Hither they return no more. Clanking chains and sounds of woe Fill the forests as they go; And the tall oaks cower low, Bent their flaming light before.
On! on! the storm of wings Bears far the fiery fear, Till scarce the breeze now brings Dim murmurings to the ear; Like locusts' humming hail, Or thrash of tiny flail Plied by the fitful gale On some old roof-tree sere.
Fainter now are borne Feeble mutterings still; As when Arab horn Swells its magic peal, Shoreward o'er the deep Fairy voices sweep, And the infant's sleep Golden visions fill.
Each deadly Djinn, Dark child of fright, Of death and sin, Speeds in wild flight. Hark, the dull moan, Like the deep tone Of Ocean's groan, Afar, by night!
More and more Fades it slow, As on shore Ripples flow,— As the plaint Far and faint Of a saint Murmured low.
Hark! hist! Around, I list! The bounds Of space All trace Efface Of sound.
JOHN L. O'SULLIVAN.
THE OBDURATE BEAUTY.
("A Juana la Grenadine!")
[XXIX., October, 1843.]
To Juana ever gay, Sultan Achmet spoke one day "Lo, the realms that kneel to own Homage to my sword and crown All I'd freely cast away, Maiden dear, for thee alone."
"Be a Christian, noble king! For it were a grievous thing: Love to seek and find too well In the arms of infidel. Spain with cry of shame would ring, If from honor faithful fell."
"By these pearls whose spotless chain, Oh, my gentle sovereign, Clasps thy neck of ivory, Aught thou askest I will be, If that necklace pure of stain Thou wilt give for rosary."
JOHN L. O'SULLIVAN.
A MOORISH BALLAD.
("Don Roderique est a la chasse.")
[XXX., May, 1828.]
Unto the chase Rodrigo's gone, With neither lance nor buckler; A baleful light his eyes outshone— To pity he's no truckler.
He follows not the royal stag, But, full of fiery hating, Beside the way one sees him lag, Impatient at the waiting.
He longs his nephew's blood to spill, Who 'scaped (the young Mudarra) That trap he made and laid to kill The seven sons of Lara.
Along the road—at last, no balk— A youth looms on a jennet; He rises like a sparrow-hawk About to seize a linnet.
"What ho!" "Who calls?" "Art Christian knight, Or basely born and boorish, Or yet that thing I still more slight— The spawn of some dog Moorish?
"I seek the by-born spawn of one I e'er renounce as brother— Who chose to make his latest son Caress a Moor as mother.
"I've sought that cub in every hole, 'Midland, and coast, and islet, For he's the thief who came and stole Our sheathless jewelled stilet."
"If you well know the poniard worn Without edge-dulling cover— Look on it now—here, plain, upborne! And further be no rover.
"Tis I—as sure as you're abhorred Rodrigo—cruel slayer, 'Tis I am Vengeance, and your lord, Who bids you crouch in prayer!
"I shall not grant the least delay— Use what you have, defending, I'll send you on that darksome way Your victims late were wending.
"And if I wore this, with its crest— Our seal with gems enwreathing— In open air—'twas in your breast To seek its fated sheathing!"
("Tandis que l'etoile inodore.")
While bright but scentless azure stars Be-gem the golden corn, And spangle with their skyey tint The furrows not yet shorn; While still the pure white tufts of May Ape each a snowy ball,— Away, ye merry maids, and haste To gather ere they fall!
Nowhere the sun of Spain outshines Upon a fairer town Than Penafiel, or endows More richly farming clown; Nowhere a broader square reflects Such brilliant mansions, tall,— Away, ye merry maids, etc.
Nowhere a statelier abbey rears Dome huger o'er a shrine, Though seek ye from old Rome itself To even Seville fine. Here countless pilgrims come to pray And promenade the Mall,— Away, ye merry maids, etc.
Where glide the girls more joyfully Than ours who dance at dusk, With roses white upon their brows, With waists that scorn the busk? Mantillas elsewhere hide dull eyes— Compared with these, how small! Away, ye merry maids, etc.
A blossom in a city lane, Alizia was our pride, And oft the blundering bee, deceived, Came buzzing to her side— But, oh! for one that felt the sting, And found, 'neath honey, gall— Away, ye merry maids, etc.
Young, haughty, from still hotter lands, A stranger hither came— Was he a Moor or African, Or Murcian known to fame? None knew—least, she—or false or true, The name by which to call. Away, ye merry maids, etc.
Alizia asked not his degree, She saw him but as Love, And through Xarama's vale they strayed, And tarried in the grove,— Oh! curses on that fatal eve, And on that leafy hall! Away, ye merry maids, etc.
The darkened city breathed no more; The moon was mantled long, Till towers thrust the cloudy cloak Upon the steeples' throng; The crossway Christ, in ivy draped, Shrank, grieving, 'neath the pall,— Away, ye merry maids, etc.
But while, alone, they kept the shade, The other dark-eyed dears Were murmuring on the stifling air Their jealous threats and fears; Alizia was so blamed, that time, Unheeded rang the call: Away, ye merry maids, etc.
Although, above, the hawk describes The circle round the lark, It sleeps, unconscious, and our lass Had eyes but for her spark— A spark?—a sun! 'Twas Juan, King! Who wears our coronal,— Away, ye merry maids, etc.
A love so far above one's state Ends sadly. Came a black And guarded palanquin to bear The girl that ne'er comes back; By royal writ, some nunnery Still shields her from us all Away, ye merry maids, and haste To gather ere they fall!
H. L. WILLIAMS
("Ainsi, lorsqu'un mortel!")
[XXXIV., May, 1828.]
As when a mortal—Genius' prize, alack! Is, living, bound upon thy fatal back, Thou reinless racing steed! In vain he writhes, mere cloud upon a star, Thou bearest him as went Mazeppa, far Out of the flow'ry mead,— So—though thou speed'st implacable, (like him, Spent, pallid, torn, bruised, weary, sore and dim, As if each stride the nearer bring Him to the grave)—when comes the time, After the fall, he rises—KING!
THE DANUBE IN WRATH.
("Quoi! ne pouvez-vous vivre ensemble?")
[XXXV., June, 1828.]
The River Deity upbraids his Daughters, the contributary Streams:—
Ye daughters mine! will naught abate Your fierce interminable hate? Still am I doomed to rue the fate That such unfriendly neighbors made? The while ye might, in peaceful cheer, Mirror upon your waters clear, Semlin! thy Gothic steeples dear, And thy bright minarets, Belgrade!
("J'etais seul pres des flots.")
[XXXVII., September 5, 1828.]
I stood by the waves, while the stars soared in sight, Not a cloud specked the sky, not a sail shimmered bright; Scenes beyond this dim world were revealed to mine eye; And the woods, and the hills, and all nature around, Seem'd to question with moody, mysterious sound, The waves, and the pure stars on high. And the clear constellations, that infinite throng, While thousand rich harmonies swelled in their song, Replying, bowed meekly their diamond-blaze— And the blue waves, which nothing may bind or arrest, Chorus'd forth, as they stooped the white foam of their crest "Creator! we bless thee and praise!"
("Toujours lui! lui partout!")
[XL., December, 1828.]
Above all others, everywhere I see His image cold or burning! My brain it thrills, and oftentime sets free The thoughts within me yearning. My quivering lips pour forth the words That cluster in his name of glory— The star gigantic with its rays of swords Whose gleams irradiate all modern story.
I see his finger pointing where the shell Should fall to slay most rabble, And save foul regicides; or strike the knell Of weaklings 'mid the tribunes' babble. A Consul then, o'er young but proud, With midnight poring thinned, and sallow, But dreams of Empire pierce the transient cloud, And round pale face and lank locks form the halo.
And soon the Caesar, with an eye a-flame Whole nations' contact urging To gain his soldiers gold and fame Oh, Sun on high emerging, Whose dazzling lustre fired the hells Embosomed in grim bronze, which, free, arose To change five hundred thousand base-born Tells, Into his host of half-a-million heroes!
What! next a captive? Yea, and caged apart. No weight of arms enfolded Can crush the turmoil in that seething heart Which Nature—not her journeymen—self-moulded. Let sordid jailers vex their prize; But only bends that brow to lightning, As gazing from the seaward rock, his sighs Cleave through the storm and haste where France looms bright'ning.
Alone, but greater! Broke the sceptre, true! Yet lingers still some power— In tears of woe man's metal may renew The temper of high hour; For, bating breath, e'er list the kings The pinions clipped may grow! the Eagle May burst, in frantic thirst for home, the rings And rend the Bulldog, Fox, and Bear, and Beagle!
And, lastly, grandest! 'tween dark sea and here Eternal brightness coming! The eye so weary's freshened with a tear As rises distant drumming, And wailing cheer—they pass the pale His army mourns though still's the end hid; And from his war-stained cloak, he answers "Hail!" And spurns the bed of gloom for throne aye-splendid!
LES FEUILLES D'AUTOMNE.—1831.
THE PATIENCE OF THE PEOPLE.
("Il s'est dit tant de fois.")
[III., May, 1830.]
How often have the people said: "What's power?" Who reigns soon is dethroned? each fleeting hour Has onward borne, as in a fevered dream, Such quick reverses, like a judge supreme— Austere but just, they contemplate the end To which the current of events must tend. Self-confidence has taught them to forbear, And in the vastness of their strength, they spare. Armed with impunity, for one in vain Resists a nation, they let others reign.
DICTATED BEFORE THE RHONE GLACIER.
("Souvent quand mon esprit riche.")
[VII., May 18, 1828.]
When my mind, on the ocean of poesy hurled, Floats on in repose round this wonderful world, Oft the sacred fire from heaven— Mysterious sun, that gives light to the soul— Strikes mine with its ray, and above the pole Its upward course is driven,
Like a wandering cloud, then, my eager thought Capriciously flies, to no guidance brought, With every quarter's wind; It regards from those radiant vaults on high, Earth's cities below, and again doth fly, And leaves but its shadow behind.
In the glistening gold of the morning bright, It shines, detaching some lance of light, Or, as warrior's armor rings; It forages forests that ferment around, Or bathed in the sun-red gleams is found, Where the west its radiance flings.
Or, on mountain peak, that rears its head Where snow-clad Alps around are spread, By furious gale 'tis thrown. From the yawning abyss see the cloud scud away, And the glacier appears, with its multiform ray, The giant mountain's crown!
Like Parnassian pinnacle yet to be scaled, In its form from afar, by the aspirant hailed; On its side the rainbow plays, And at eve, when the shadow sinks sleeping below, The last slanting ray on its crest of snow Makes its cap like a crater to blaze.
In the darkness, its front seems some pale orb of light, The chamois with fear flashes on in its flight, The eagle afar is driven; The deluge but roars in despair to its feet, And scarce dare the eye its aspect to meet, So near doth it rise to heaven.
Alone on these altitudes, feeling no fear, Forgetful of earth, my spirit draws near; On the starry vault to gaze, And nearer, to gaze on those glories of night, On th' horizon high heaving, like arches of light, Till again the sun shall blaze.
For then will the glacier with glory be graced, On its prisms will light streaked with darkness be placed, The morn its echoes greet; Like a torrent it falls on the ocean of life, Like Chaos unformed, with the sea-stormy strife, When waters on waters meet.
As the spirit of poesy touches my thought, It is thus my ideas in a circle are brought, From earth, with the waters of pain. As under a sunbeam a cloud ascends, These fly to the heavens—their course never ends, But descend to the ocean again.
Author of "Critical Essays."
THE POET'S LOVE FOR LIVELINESS.
("Moi, quelque soit le monde.")
[XV., May 11, 1830.]
For me, whate'er my life and lot may show, Years blank with gloom or cheered by mem'ry's glow, Turmoil or peace; never be it mine, I pray, To be a dweller of the peopled earth, Save 'neath a roof alive with children's mirth Loud through the livelong day.
So, if my hap it be to see once more Those scenes my footsteps tottered in before, An infant follower in Napoleon's train: Rodrigo's holds, Valencia and Leon, And both Castiles, and mated Aragon; Ne'er be it mine, O Spain!
To pass thy plains with cities scant between, Thy stately arches flung o'er deep ravine, Thy palaces, of Moor's or Roman's time; Or the swift makings of thy Guadalquiver, Save in those gilded cars, where bells forever Ring their melodious chime.
("Lorsque l'enfant parait.")
[XIX., May 11, 1830.]
The child comes toddling in, and young and old With smiling eyes its smiling eyes behold, And artless, babyish joy; A playful welcome greets it through the room, The saddest brow unfolds its wrinkled gloom, To greet the happy boy.
If June with flowers has spangled all the ground, Or winter bleak the flickering hearth around Draws close the circling seat; The child still sheds a never-failing light; We call; Mamma with mingled joy and fright Watches its tottering feet.
Perhaps at eve as round the fire we draw, We speak of heaven, or poetry, or law, Or politics, or prayer; The child comes in, 'tis now all smiles and play, Farewell to grave discourse and poet's lay, Philosophy and care.
When fancy wakes, but sense in heaviest sleep Lies steeped, and like the sobs of them that weep The dark stream sinks and swells, The dawn, like Pharos gleaming o'er the sea, Bursts forth, and sudden wakes the minstrelsy Of birds and chiming bells;
Thou art my dawn; my soul is as the field, Where sweetest flowers their balmy perfumes yield When breathed upon by thee, Of forest, where thy voice like zephyr plays, And morn pours out its flood of golden rays, When thy sweet smile I see.
Oh, sweetest eyes, like founts of liquid blue; And little hands that evil never knew, Pure as the new-formed snow; Thy feet are still unstained by this world's mire, Thy golden locks like aureole of fire Circle thy cherub brow!
Dove of our ark, thine angel spirit flies On azure wings forth from thy beaming eyes. Though weak thine infant feet, What strange amaze this new and strange world gives To thy sweet virgin soul, that spotless lives In virgin body sweet.
Oh, gentle face, radiant with happy smile, And eager prattling tongue that knows no guile, Quick changing tears and bliss; Thy soul expands to catch this new world's light, Thy mazed eyes to drink each wondrous sight, Thy lips to taste the kiss.
Oh, God! bless me and mine, and these I love, And e'en my foes that still triumphant prove Victors by force or guile; A flowerless summer may we never see, Or nest of bird bereft, or hive of bee, Or home of infant's smile.
HENRY HIGHTON, M.A.
THE WATCHING ANGEL.
("Dans l'alcove sombre.")
[XX., November, 1831.]
In the dusky nook, Near the altar laid, Sleeps the child in shadow Of his mother's bed: Softly he reposes, And his lid of roses, Closed to earth, uncloses On the heaven o'erhead.
Many a dream is with him, Fresh from fairyland, Spangled o'er with diamonds Seems the ocean sand; Suns are flaming there, Troops of ladies fair Souls of infants bear In each charming hand.
Oh, enchanting vision! Lo, a rill upsprings, And from out its bosom Comes a voice that sings Lovelier there appear Sire and sisters dear, While his mother near Plumes her new-born wings.
But a brighter vision Yet his eyes behold; Roses pied and lilies Every path enfold; Lakes delicious sleeping, Silver fishes leaping, Through the wavelets creeping Up to reeds of gold.
Slumber on, sweet infant, Slumber peacefully Thy young soul yet knows not What thy lot may be. Like dead weeds that sweep O'er the dol'rous deep, Thou art borne in sleep. What is all to thee?
Thou canst slumber by the way; Thou hast learnt to borrow Naught from study, naught from care; The cold hand of sorrow On thy brow unwrinkled yet, Where young truth and candor sit, Ne'er with rugged nail hath writ That sad word, "To-morrow!"
Innocent! thou sleepest— See the angelic band, Who foreknow the trials That for man are planned; Seeing him unarmed, Unfearing, unalarmed, With their tears have warmed This unconscious hand.
Still they, hovering o'er him, Kiss him where he lies, Hark, he sees them weeping, "Gabriel!" he cries; "Hush!" the angel says, On his lip he lays One finger, one displays His native skies.
Foreign Quarterly Review
("Le soleil s'est couche")
[XXXV. vi., April, 1829.]
The sun set this evening in masses of cloud, The storm comes to-morrow, then calm be the night, Then the Dawn in her chariot refulgent and proud, Then more nights, and still days, steps of Time in his flight. The days shall pass rapid as swifts on the wing. O'er the face of the hills, o'er the face of the seas, O'er streamlets of silver, and forests that ring With a dirge for the dead, chanted low by the breeze; The face of the waters, the brow of the mounts Deep scarred but not shrivelled, and woods tufted green, Their youth shall renew; and the rocks to the founts Shall yield what these yielded to ocean their queen. But day by day bending still lower my head, Still chilled in the sunlight, soon I shall have cast, At height of the banquet, my lot with the dead, Unmissed by creation aye joyous and vast.
THE UNIVERSAL PRAYER.
("Ma fille, va prier!")
[XXXVII., June, 1830.]
Come, child, to prayer; the busy day is done, A golden star gleams through the dusk of night; The hills are trembling in the rising mist, The rumbling wain looms dim upon the sight; All things wend home to rest; the roadside trees Shake off their dust, stirred by the evening breeze.
The sparkling stars gush forth in sudden blaze, As twilight open flings the doors of night; The fringe of carmine narrows in the west, The rippling waves are tipped with silver light; The bush, the path—all blend in one dull gray; The doubtful traveller gropes his anxious way.
Oh, day! with toil, with wrong, with hatred rife; Oh, blessed night! with sober calmness sweet, The sad winds moaning through the ruined tower, The age-worn hind, the sheep's sad broken bleat— All nature groans opprest with toil and care, And wearied craves for rest, and love, and prayer.
At eve the babes with angels converse hold, While we to our strange pleasures wend our way, Each with its little face upraised to heaven, With folded hands, barefoot kneels down to pray, At selfsame hour with selfsame words they call On God, the common Father of them all.
And then they sleep, and golden dreams anon, Born as the busy day's last murmurs die, In swarms tumultuous flitting through the gloom Their breathing lips and golden locks descry. And as the bees o'er bright flowers joyous roam, Around their curtained cradles clustering come.
Oh, prayer of childhood! simple, innocent; Oh, infant slumbers! peaceful, pure, and light; Oh, happy worship! ever gay with smiles, Meet prelude to the harmonies of night; As birds beneath the wing enfold their head, Nestled in prayer the infant seeks its bed.
HENRY HIGHTON, M.A.
To prayer, my child! and O, be thy first prayer For her who, many nights, with anxious care, Rocked thy first cradle; who took thy infant soul From heaven and gave it to the world; then rife With love, still drank herself the gall of life, And left for thy young lips the honeyed bowl.
And then—I need it more—then pray for me! For she is gentle, artless, true like thee;— She has a guileless heart, brow placid still; Pity she has for all, envy for none; Gentle and wise, she patiently lives on; And she endures, nor knows who does the ill.
In culling flowers, her novice hand has ne'er Touched e'en the outer rind of vice; no snare With smiling show has lured her steps aside: On her the past has left no staining mark; Nor knows she aught of those bad thoughts which, dark Like shade on waters, o'er the spirit glide.
She knows not—nor mayest thou—the miseries In which our spirits mingle: vanities, Remorse, soul-gnawing cares, Pleasure's false show: Passions which float upon the heart like foam, Bitter remembrances which o'er us come, And Shame's red spot spread sudden o'er the brow.
I know life better! when thou'rt older grown I'll tell thee—it is needful to be known— Of the pursuit of wealth—art, power; the cost. That it is folly, nothingness: that shame For glory is oft thrown us in the game Of Fortune; chances where the soul is lost.
The soul will change. Although of everything The cause and end be clear, yet wildering We roam through life (of vice and error full). We wander as we go; we feel the load Of doubt; and to the briars upon the road Man leaves his virtue, as the sheep its wool.
Then go, go pray for me! And as the prayer Gushes in words, be this the form they bear:— "Lord, Lord, our Father! God, my prayer attend; Pardon! Thou art good! Pardon—Thou art great!" Let them go freely forth, fear not their fate! Where thy soul sends them, thitherward they tend.
There's nothing here below which does not find Its tendency. O'er plains the rivers wind, And reach the sea; the bee, by instinct driven, Finds out the honeyed flowers; the eagle flies To seek the sun; the vulture where death lies; The swallow to the spring; the prayer to Heaven!
And when thy voice is raised to God for me, I'm like the slave whom in the vale we see Seated to rest, his heavy load laid by; I feel refreshed—the load of faults and woe Which, groaning, I drag with me as I go, Thy winged prayer bears off rejoicingly!
Pray for thy father! that his dreams be bright With visitings of angel forms of light, And his soul burn as incense flaming wide, Let thy pure breath all his dark sins efface, So that his heart be like that holy place, An altar pavement each eve purified!
C., Tait's Magazine
LES CHANTS DU CREPUSCULE.—1849.
PRELUDE TO "THE SONGS OF TWILIGHT."
("De quel non te nommer?")
[PRELUDE, a, Oct. 20, 1835.]
How shall I note thee, line of troubled years, Which mark existence in our little span? One constant twilight in the heaven appears— One constant twilight in the mind of man!
Creed, hope, anticipation and despair, Are but a mingling, as of day and night; The globe, surrounded by deceptive air, Is all enveloped in the same half-light.
And voice is deadened by the evening breeze, The shepherd's song, or maiden's in her bower, Mix with the rustling of the neighboring trees, Within whose foliage is lulled the power.
Yet all unites! The winding path that leads Thro' fields where verdure meets the trav'ller's eye. The river's margin, blurred with wavy reeds, The muffled anthem, echoing to the sky!
The ivy smothering the armed tower; The dying wind that mocks the pilot's ear; The lordly equipage at midnight hour, Draws into danger in a fog the peer;
The votaries of Satan or of Jove; The wretched mendicant absorbed in woe; The din of multitudes that onward move; The voice of conscience in the heart below;
The waves, which Thou, O Lord, alone canst still; Th' elastic air; the streamlet on its way; And all that man projects, or sovereigns will; Or things inanimate might seem to say;
The strain of gondolier slow streaming by; The lively barks that o'er the waters bound; The trees that shake their foliage to the sky; The wailing voice that fills the cots around;
And man, who studies with an aching heart— For now, when smiles are rarely deemed sincere, In vain the sceptic bids his doubts depart— Those doubts at length will arguments appear!
Hence, reader, know the subject of my song— A mystic age, resembling twilight gloom, Wherein we smile at birth, or bear along, With noiseless steps, a victim to the tomb!
THE LAND OF FABLE.
("L'Orient! qu'y voyez-vous, poetes?")
Now, vot'ries of the Muses, turn your eyes, Unto the East, and say what there appears! "Alas!" the voice of Poesy replies, "Mystic's that light between the hemispheres!"
"Yes, dread's the mystic light in yonder heaven— Dull is the gleam behind the distant hill; Like feeble flashes in the welkin driven, When the far thunder seems as it were still!
"But who can tell if that uncertain glare Be Phoebus' self, adorned with glowing vest; Or, if illusions, pregnant in the air, Have drawn our glances to the radiant west?
"Haply the sunset has deceived the sight— Perchance 'tis evening, while we look for morning; Bewildered in the mazes of twilight, That lucid sunset may appear a dawning!"
THE THREE GLORIOUS DAYS.
("Freres, vous avez vos journees.")
[I., July, 1830.]
Youth of France, sons of the bold, Your oak-leaf victor-wreaths behold! Our civic-laurels—honored dead! So bright your triumphs in life's morn, Your maiden-standards hacked and torn, On Austerlitz might lustre shed.
All that your fathers did re-done— A people's rights all nobly won— Ye tore them living from the shroud! Three glorious days bright July's gift, The Bastiles off our hearts ye lift! Oh! of such deeds be ever proud!
Of patriot sires ye lineage claim, Their souls shone in your eye of flame; Commencing the great work was theirs; On you the task to finish laid Your fruitful mother, France, who bade Flow in one day a hundred years.
E'en chilly Albion admires, The grand example Europe fires; America shall clap her hands, When swiftly o'er the Atlantic wave, Fame sounds the news of how the brave, In three bright days, have burst their bands!
With tyrant dead your fathers traced A circle wide, with battles graced; Victorious garland, red and vast! Which blooming out from home did go To Cadiz, Cairo, Rome, Moscow, From Jemappes to Montmirail passed!
Of warlike Lyceums ye are The favored sons; there, deeds of war Formed e'en your plays, while o'er you shook The battle-flags in air aloft! Passing your lines, Napoleon oft Electrified you with a look!
Eagle of France! whose vivid wing Did in a hundred places fling A bloody feather, till one night The arrow whelmed thee 'neath the wave! Look up—rejoice—for now thy brave And worthy eaglets dare the light.
[Footnote 1: The pupils of the Polytechnic Military School distinguished themselves by their patriotic zeal and military skill, through all the troubles.]
TRIBUTE TO THE VANQUISHED.
("Laissez-moi pleurer sur cette race.")
Oh! let me weep that race whose day is past, By exile given, by exile claimed once more, Thrice swept away upon that fatal blast. Whate'er its blame, escort we to our shore These relics of the monarchy of yore; And to th' outmarching oriflamme be paid War's honors by the flag on Fleurus' field displayed!
ANGEL OR DEMON.
("Tu domines notre age; ange ou demon, qu'importe!")
Angel or demon! thou,—whether of light The minister, or darkness—still dost sway This age of ours; thine eagle's soaring flight Bears us, all breathless, after it away. The eye that from thy presence fain would stray, Shuns thee in vain; thy mighty shadow thrown Rests on all pictures of the living day, And on the threshold of our time alone, Dazzling, yet sombre, stands thy form, Napoleon!
Thus, when the admiring stranger's steps explore The subject-lands that 'neath Vesuvius be, Whether he wind along the enchanting shore To Portici from fair Parthenope, Or, lingering long in dreamy reverie, O'er loveliest Ischia's od'rous isle he stray, Wooed by whose breath the soft and am'rous sea Seems like some languishing sultana's lay, A voice for very sweets that scarce can win its way.
Him, whether Paestum's solemn fane detain, Shrouding his soul with meditation's power; Or at Pozzuoli, to the sprightly strain Of tarantella danced 'neath Tuscan tower, Listening, he while away the evening hour; Or wake the echoes, mournful, lone and deep, Of that sad city, in its dreaming bower By the volcano seized, where mansions keep The likeness which they wore at that last fatal sleep;
Or be his bark at Posillippo laid, While as the swarthy boatman at his side Chants Tasso's lays to Virgil's pleased shade, Ever he sees, throughout that circuit wide, From shaded nook or sunny lawn espied, From rocky headland viewed, or flow'ry shore, From sea, and spreading mead alike descried, The Giant Mount, tow'ring all objects o'er, And black'ning with its breath th' horizon evermore!
THE ERUPTION OF VESUVIUS.
("Quand longtemps a gronde la bouche du Vesuve.")
When huge Vesuvius in its torment long, Threatening has growled its cavernous jaws among, When its hot lava, like the bubbling wine, Foaming doth all its monstrous edge incarnadine, Then is alarm in Naples.
With dismay, Wanton and wild her weeping thousands pour, Convulsive grasp the ground, its rage to stay, Implore the angry Mount—in vain implore! For lo! a column tow'ring more and more, Of smoke and ashes from the burning crest Shoots like a vulture's neck reared from its airy nest.
Sudden a flash, and from th' enormous den Th' eruption's lurid mass bursts forth amain, Bounding in frantic ecstasy. Ah! then Farewell to Grecian fount and Tuscan fane! Sails in the bay imbibe the purpling stain, The while the lava in profusion wide Flings o'er the mountain's neck its showery locks untied.
It comes—it comes! that lava deep and rich, That dower which fertilizes fields and fills New moles upon the waters, bay and beach. Broad sea and clustered isles, one terror thrills As roll the red inexorable rills; While Naples trembles in her palaces, More helpless than the leaves when tempests shake the trees.
Prodigious chaos, streets in ashes lost, Dwellings devoured and vomited again. Roof against neighbor-roof, bewildered, tossed. The waters boiling and the burning plain; While clang the giant steeples as they reel, Unprompted, their own tocsin peal.
Yet 'mid the wreck of cities, and the pride Of the green valleys and the isles laid low, The crash of walls, the tumult waste and wide, O'er sea and land; 'mid all this work of woe, Vesuvius still, though close its crater-glow, Forgetful spares—Heaven wills that it should spare, The lonely cell where kneels an aged priest in prayer.
MARRIAGE AND FEASTS.
("La salle est magnifique.")
[IV. Aug. 23, 1839.]
The hall is gay with limpid lustre bright— The feast to pampered palate gives delight— The sated guests pick at the spicy food, And drink profusely, for the cheer is good; And at that table—where the wise are few— Both sexes and all ages meet the view; The sturdy warrior with a thoughtful face— The am'rous youth, the maid replete with grace, The prattling infant, and the hoary hair Of second childhood's proselytes—are there;— And the most gaudy in that spacious hall, Are e'er the young, or oldest of them all Helmet and banner, ornament and crest, The lion rampant, and the jewelled vest, The silver star that glitters fair and white, The arms that tell of many a nation's might— Heraldic blazonry, ancestral pride, And all mankind invents for pomp beside, The winged leopard, and the eagle wild— All these encircle woman, chief and child; Shine on the carpet burying their feet, Adorn the dishes that contain their meat; And hang upon the drapery, which around Falls from the lofty ceiling to the ground, Till on the floor its waving fringe is spread, As the bird's wing may sweep the roses' bed.—
Thus is the banquet ruled by Noise and Light, Since Light and Noise are foremost on the site.
The chamber echoes to the joy of them Who throng around, each with his diadem— Each seated on proud throne—but, lesson vain! Each sceptre holds its master with a chain! Thus hope of flight were futile from that hall, Where chiefest guest was most enslaved of all! The godlike-making draught that fires the soul The Love—sweet poison-honey—past control, (Formed of the sexual breath—an idle name, Offspring of Fancy and a nervous frame)— Pleasure, mad daughter of the darksome Night, Whose languid eye flames when is fading light— The gallant chases where a man is borne By stalwart charger, to the sounding horn— The sheeny silk, the bed of leaves of rose, Made more to soothe the sight than court repose; The mighty palaces that raise the sneer Of jealous mendicants and wretches near— The spacious parks, from which horizon blue Arches o'er alabaster statues new; Where Superstition still her walk will take, Unto soft music stealing o'er the lake— The innocent modesty by gems undone— The qualms of judges by small brib'ry won— The dread of children, trembling while they play— The bliss of monarchs, potent in their sway— The note of war struck by the culverin, That snakes its brazen neck through battle din— The military millipede That tramples out the guilty seed— The capital all pleasure and delight— And all that like a town or army chokes The gazer with foul dust or sulphur smokes. The budget, prize for which ten thousand bait A subtle hook, that ever, as they wait Catches a weed, and drags them to their fate, While gleamingly its golden scales still spread— Such were the meats by which these guests were fed.
A hundred slaves for lazy master cared, And served each one with what was e'er prepared By him, who in a sombre vault below, Peppered the royal pig with peoples' woe, And grimly glad went laboring till late— The morose alchemist we know as Fate! That ev'ry guest might learn to suit his taste, Behind had Conscience, real or mock'ry, placed; Conscience a guide who every evil spies, But royal nurses early pluck out both his eyes!
Oh! at the table there be all the great, Whose lives are bubbles that best joys inflate! Superb, magnificent of revels—doubt That sagest lose their heads in such a rout! In the long laughter, ceaseless roaming round, Joy, mirth and glee give out a maelstroem's sound; And the astonished gazer casts his care, Where ev'ry eyeball glistens in the flare.
But oh! while yet the singing Hebes pour Forgetfulness of those without the door— At very hour when all are most in joy, And the hid orchestra annuls annoy, Woe—woe! with jollity a-top the heights, With further tapers adding to the lights, And gleaming 'tween the curtains on the street, Where poor folks stare—hark to the heavy feet! Some one smites roundly on the gilded grate, Some one below will be admitted straight, Some one, though not invited, who'll not wait! Close not the door! Your orders are vain breath— That stranger enters to be known as Death— Or merely Exile—clothed in alien guise— Death drags away—with his prey Exile flies!
Death is that sight. He promenades the hall, And casts a gloomy shadow on them all, 'Neath which they bend like willows soft, Ere seizing one—the dumbest monarch oft, And bears him to eternal heat and drouth, While still the toothsome morsel's in his mouth.
THE MORROW OF GRANDEUR.
("Non, l'avenir n'est a personne!")
[V. ii., August, 1832.]
Sire, beware, the future's range Is of God alone the power, Naught below but augurs change, E'en with ev'ry passing hour. Future! mighty mystery! All the earthly goods that be, Fortune, glory, war's renown, King or kaiser's sparkling crown, Victory! with her burning wings, Proud ambition's covetings,— These may our grasp no more detain Than the free bird who doth alight Upon our roof, and takes its flight High into air again.
Nor smile, nor tear, nor haughtiest lord's command, Avails t' unclasp the cold and closed hand. Thy voice to disenthrall, Dumb phantom, shadow ever at our side! Veiled spectre, journeying with us stride for stride, Whom men "To-morrow" call.
Oh, to-morrow! who may dare Its realities to scan? God to-morrow brings to bear What to-day is sown by man. 'Tis the lightning in its shroud, 'Tis the star-concealing cloud, Traitor, 'tis his purpose showing, Engine, lofty tow'rs o'erthrowing, Wand'ring star, its region changing, "Lady of kingdoms," ever ranging. To-morrow! 'Tis the rude display Of the throne's framework, blank and cold, That, rich with velvet, bright with gold, Dazzles the eye to-day.
To-morrow! 'tis the foaming war-horse falling; To-morrow! thy victorious march appalling, 'Tis the red fires from Moscow's tow'rs that wave; 'Tis thine Old Guard strewing the Belgian plain; 'Tis the lone island in th' Atlantic main: To-morrow! 'tis the grave!
Into capitals subdued Thou mayst ride with gallant rein, Cut the knots of civil feud With the trenchant steel in twain; With thine edicts barricade Haughty Thames' o'er-freighted trade; Fickle Victory's self enthrall, Captive to thy trumpet call; Burst the stoutest gates asunder; Leave the names of brightest wonder, Pale and dim, behind thee far; And to exhaustless armies yield Thy glancing spur,—o'er Europe's field A glory-guiding star.
God guards duration, if lends space to thee, Thou mayst o'er-range mundane immensity, Rise high as human head can rise sublime, Snatch Europe from the stamp of Charlemagne, Asia from Mahomet; but never gain Power o'er the Morrow from the Lord of Time!
THE EAGLET MOURNED.
("Encore si ce banni n'eut rien aime sur terre.")
[V, iv., August, 1832.]
Too hard Napoleon's fate! if, lone, No being he had loved, no single one, Less dark that doom had been. But with the heart of might doth ever dwell The heart of love! and in his island cell Two things there were—I ween.
Two things—a portrait and a map there were— Here hung the pictured world, an infant there: That framed his genius, this enshrined his love. And as at eve he glanced round th' alcove, Where jailers watched his very thoughts to spy, What mused he then—what dream of years gone by Stirred 'neath that discrowned brow, and fired that glistening eye?
'Twas not the steps of that heroic tale That from Arcola marched to Montmirail On Glory's red degrees; Nor Cairo-pashas' steel-devouring steeds, Nor the tall shadows of the Pyramids— Ah! Twas not always these;
'Twas not the bursting shell, the iron sleet, The whirlwind rush of battle 'neath his feet, Through twice ten years ago, When at his beck, upon that sea of steel Were launched the rustling banners—there to reel Like masts when tempests blow.
'Twas not Madrid, nor Kremlin of the Czar, Nor Pharos on Old Egypt's coast afar, Nor shrill reveille's camp-awakening sound, Nor bivouac couch'd its starry fires around, Crested dragoons, grim, veteran grenadiers, Nor the red lancers 'mid their wood of spears Blazing like baleful poppies 'mong the golden ears.
No—'twas an infant's image, fresh and fair, With rosy mouth half oped, as slumbering there. It lay beneath the smile, Of her whose breast, soft-bending o'er its sleep, Lingering upon that little lip doth keep One pendent drop the while.
Then, his sad head upon his hands inclined, He wept; that father-heart all unconfined, Outpoured in love alone. My blessing on thy clay-cold head, poor child. Sole being for whose sake his thoughts, beguiled, Forgot the world's lost throne.
[V, vi., August, 1832.]
Say, Lord! for Thou alone canst tell Where lurks the good invisible Amid the depths of discord's sea— That seem, alas! so dark to me! Oppressive to a mighty state, Contentions, feuds, the people's hate— But who dare question that which fate Has ordered to have been? Haply the earthquake may unfold The resting-place of purest gold, And haply surges up have rolled The pearls that were unseen!
OUTSIDE THE BALL-ROOM.
("Ainsi l'Hotel de Ville illumine.")
[VI., May, 1833.]
Behold the ball-room flashing on the sight, From step to cornice one grand glare of light; The noise of mirth and revelry resounds, Like fairy melody on haunted grounds. But who demands this profuse, wanton glee, These shouts prolonged and wild festivity— Not sure our city—web, more woe than bliss, In any hour, requiring aught but this!
Deaf is the ear of all that jewelled crowd To sorrow's sob, although its call be loud. Better than waste long nights in idle show, To help the indigent and raise the low— To train the wicked to forsake his way, And find th' industrious work from day to day! Better to charity those hours afford, Which now are wasted at the festal board!
And ye, O high-born beauties! in whose soul Virtue resides, and Vice has no control; Ye whom prosperity forbids to sin, So fair without—so chaste, so pure within— Whose honor Want ne'er threatened to betray, Whose eyes are joyous, and whose heart is gay; Around whose modesty a hundred arms, Aided by pride, protect a thousand charms; For you this ball is pregnant with delight; As glitt'ring planets cheer the gloomy night:— But, O, ye wist not, while your souls are glad, How millions wander, homeless, sick and sad! Hazard has placed you in a happy sphere, And like your own to you all lots appear; For blinded by the sun of bliss your eyes Can see no dark horizon to the skies.
Such is the chance of life! Each gallant thane, Prince, peer, and noble, follow in your train;— They praise your loveliness, and in your ear They whisper pleasing things, but insincere; Thus, as the moths enamoured of the light, Ye seek these realms of revelry each night. But as ye travel thither, did ye know What wretches walk the streets through which you go. Sisters, whose gewgaws glitter in the glare Of your great lustre, all expectant there, Watching the passing crowd with avid eye, Till one their love, or lust, or shame may buy; Or, with commingling jealousy and rage, They mark the progress of your equipage; And their deceitful life essays the while To mask their woe beneath a sickly smile!
PRAYER FOR FRANCE.
("O Dieu, si vous avez la France.")
[VII., August, 1832.]
O God! if France be still thy guardian care, Oh! spare these mercenary combats, spare! The thrones that now are reared but to be broke; The rights we render, and anon revoke; The muddy stream of laws, ideas, needs, Flooding our social life as it proceeds; Opposing tribunes, even when seeming one— Soft, yielding plaster put in place of stone; Wave chasing wave in endless ebb and flow; War, darker still and deeper in its woe; One party fall'n, successor scarce preludes, Than, straight, new views their furious feuds; The great man's pressure on the poor for gold, Rumors uncertain, conflicts, crimes untold; Dark systems hatched in secret and in fear, Telling of hate and strife to every ear, That even to midnight sleep no peace is given, For murd'rous cannon through our streets are driven.
TO CANARIS, THE GREEK PATRIOT.
("Canaris! nous t'avons oublie.")
[VIII., October, 1832.]
O Canaris! O Canaris! the poet's song Has blameful left untold thy deeds too long! But when the tragic actor's part is done, When clamor ceases, and the fights are won, When heroes realize what Fate decreed, When chieftains mark no more which thousands bleed; When they have shone, as clouded or as bright, As fitful meteor in the heaven at night, And when the sycophant no more proclaims To gaping crowds the glory of their names,— 'Tis then the mem'ries of warriors die, And fall—alas!—into obscurity, Until the poet, in whose verse alone Exists a world—can make their actions known, And in eternal epic measures, show They are not yet forgotten here below. And yet by us neglected! glory gloomed, Thy name seems sealed apart, entombed, Although our shouts to pigmies rise—no cries To mark thy presence echo to the skies; Farewell to Grecian heroes—silent is the lute, And sets your sun without one Memnon bruit?
There was a time men gave no peace To cheers for Athens, Bozzaris, Leonidas, and Greece! And Canaris' more-worshipped name was found On ev'ry lip, in ev'ry heart around. But now is changed the scene! On hist'ry's page Are writ o'er thine deeds of another age, And thine are not remembered.—Greece, farewell! The world no more thine heroes' deeds will tell.
Not that this matters to a man like thee! To whom is left the dark blue open sea, Thy gallant bark, that o'er the water flies, And the bright planet guiding in clear skies; All these remain, with accident and strife, Hope, and the pleasures of a roving life, Boon Nature's fairest prospects—land and main— The noisy starting, glad return again; The pride of freeman on a bounding deck Which mocks at dangers and despises wreck, And e'en if lightning-pinions cleave the sea, 'Tis all replete with joyousness to thee!
Yes, these remain! blue sky and ocean blue, Thine eagles with one sweep beyond the view— The sun in golden beauty ever pure, The distance where rich warmth doth aye endure— Thy language so mellifluously bland, Mixed with sweet idioms from Italia's strand, As Baya's streams to Samos' waters glide And with them mingle in one placid tide.
Yes, these remain, and, Canaris! thy arms— The sculptured sabre, faithful in alarms— The broidered garb, the yataghan, the vest Expressive of thy rank, to thee still rest! And when thy vessel o'er the foaming sound Is proud past storied coasts to blithely bound, At once the point of beauty may restore Smiles to thy lip, and smoothe thy brow once more.
("Seule au pied de la tour.")
[IX., September, 1833.]
Alone, beneath the tower whence thunder forth The mandates of the Tyrant of the North, Poland's sad genius kneels, absorbed in tears, Bound, vanquished, pallid with her fears— Alas! the crucifix is all that's left To her, of freedom and her sons bereft; And on her royal robe foul marks are seen Where Russian hectors' scornful feet have been. Anon she hears the clank of murd'rous arms,— The swordsmen come once more to spread alarms! And while she weeps against the prison walls, And waves her bleeding arm until it falls, To France she hopeless turns her glazing eyes, And sues her sister's succor ere she dies.
INSULT NOT THE FALLEN.
("Oh! n'insultez jamais une femme qui tombe.")
[XIV., Sept. 6, 1835.]
I tell you, hush! no word of sneering scorn— True, fallen; but God knows how deep her sorrow. Poor girl! too many like her only born To love one day—to sin—and die the morrow. What know you of her struggles or her grief? Or what wild storms of want and woe and pain Tore down her soul from honor? As a leaf From autumn branches, or a drop of rain That hung in frailest splendor from a bough— Bright, glistening in the sunlight of God's day— So had she clung to virtue once. But now— See Heaven's clear pearl polluted with earth's clay! The sin is yours—with your accursed gold— Man's wealth is master—woman's soul the slave! Some purest water still the mire may hold. Is there no hope for her—no power to save? Yea, once again to draw up from the clay The fallen raindrop, till it shine above, Or save a fallen soul, needs but one ray Of Heaven's sunshine, or of human love.
[XX. a, December, 1834.]
Morning glances hither, Now the shade is past; Dream and fog fly thither Where Night goes at last; Open eyes and roses As the darkness closes; And the sound that grows is Nature walking fast.
Murmuring all and singing, Hark! the news is stirred, Roof and creepers clinging, Smoke and nest of bird; Winds to oak-trees bear it, Streams and fountains hear it, Every breath and spirit As a voice is heard.
All takes up its story, Child resumes his play, Hearth its ruddy glory, Lute its lifted lay. Wild or out of senses, Through the world immense is Sound as each commences Schemes of yesterday.
SONG OF LOVE.
("S'il est un charmant gazon.")
[XXII, Feb. 18, 1834.]
If there be a velvet sward By dewdrops pearly drest, Where through all seasons fairies guard Flowers by bees carest, Where one may gather, day and night, Roses, honeysuckle, lily white, I fain would make of it a site For thy foot to rest.
If there be a loving heart Where Honor rules the breast, Loyal and true in every part, That changes ne'er molest, Eager to run its noble race, Intent to do some work of grace, I fain would make of it a place For thy brow to rest.
And if there be of love a dream Rose-scented as the west, Which shows, each time it comes, a gleam,— A something sweet and blest,— A dream of which heaven is the pole, A dream that mingles soul and soul, I fain of it would make the goal Where thy mind should rest.
("L'aube nait et ta porte est close.")
[XXIII., February, 18—.]
Though heaven's gate of light uncloses, Thou stirr'st not—thou'rt laid to rest, Waking are thy sister roses, One only dreamest on thy breast. Hear me, sweet dreamer! Tell me all thy fears, Trembling in song, But to break in tears.
Lo! to greet thee, spirits pressing, Soft music brings the gentle dove, And fair light falleth like a blessing, While my poor heart can bring thee only love. Worship thee, angels love thee, sweet woman? Yes; for that love perfects my soul. None the less of heaven that my heart is human, Blent in one exquisite, harmonious whole.
[Footnote 1: Set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan.]
MORE STRONG THAN TIME.
("Puisque j'ai mis ma levre a ta coupe.")
[XXV., Jan. 1, 1835.]
Since I have set my lips to your full cup, my sweet, Since I my pallid face between your hands have laid, Since I have known your soul, and all the bloom of it, And all the perfume rare, now buried in the shade;
Since it was given to me to hear one happy while, The words wherein your heart spoke all its mysteries, Since I have seen you weep, and since I have seen you smile, Your lips upon my lips, and your gaze upon my eyes;
Since I have known upon my forehead glance and gleam, A ray, a single ray, of your star, veiled always, Since I have felt the fall upon my lifetime's stream, Of one rose-petal plucked from the roses of your days;
I now am bold to say to the swift-changing hours, Pass—pass upon your way, for I grow never old. Flee to the dark abysm with all your fading flowers, One rose that none may pluck, within my heart I hold.
Your flying wings may smite, but they can never spill The cup fulfilled of love, from which my lips are wet. My heart has far more fire than you have frost to chill, My soul more love than you can make my love forget.
ROSES AND BUTTERFLIES.
("Roses et Papillons.")
[XXVII., Dec. 7, 1834.]
The grave receives us all: Ye butterflies and roses gay and sweet Why do ye linger, say? Will ye not dwell together as is meet? Somewhere high in the air Would thy wing seek a home 'mid sunny skies, In mead or mossy dell— If there thy odors longest, sweetest rise.
Have where ye will your dwelling, Or breath or tint whose praise we sing; Butterfly shining bright, Full-blown or bursting rosebud, flow'r or wing. Dwell together ye fair, 'Tis a boon to the loveliest given; Perchance ye then may choose your home On the earth or in heaven.
("Soyez comme l'oiseau.")
Thou art like the bird That alights and sings Though the frail spray bends— For he knows he has wings.
FANNY KEMBLE (BUTLER)
THE POET TO HIS WIFE.
("A toi, toujours a toi.")
To thee, all time to thee, My lyre a voice shall be! Above all earthly fashion, Above mere mundane rage, Your mind made it my passion To write for noblest stage.
Whoe'er you be, send blessings to her—she Was sister of my soul immortal, free! My pride, my hope, my shelter, my resource, When green hoped not to gray to run its course; She was enthroned Virtue under heaven's dome, My idol in the shrine of curtained home.
LES VOIX INTERIEURES.—1840.
THE BLINDED BOURBONS.
("Qui leur eut dit l'austere destinee?")
[II. v., November, 1836.]
Who then, to them had told the Future's story? Or said that France, low bowed before their glory, One day would mindful be Of them and of their mournful fate no more, Than of the wrecks its waters have swept o'er The unremembering sea?
That their old Tuileries should see the fall Of blazons from its high heraldic hall, Dismantled, crumbling, prone; Or that, o'er yon dark Louvre's architrave A Corsican, as yet unborn, should grave An eagle, then unknown?
That gay St. Cloud another lord awaited, Or that in scenes Le Notre's art created For princely sport and ease, Crimean steeds, trampling the velvet glade, Should browse the bark beneath the stately shade Of the great Louis' trees?
[Footnote 1: The young princes, afterwards Louis XVIII. and Charles X.]
[Footnote 2: The Tuileries, several times stormed by mobs, was so irreparably injured by the Communists that, in 1882, the Paris Town Council decided that the ruins should be cleared away.]
[Footnote 3: After the Eagle and the Bee superseded the Lily-flowers, the Third Napoleon's initial "N" flourished for two decades, but has been excised or plastered over, the words "National Property" or "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" being cut in the stone profusely.]
TO ALBERT DUeRER.
("Dans les vieilles forets.")
[X., April 20, 1837.]
Through ancient forests—where like flowing tide The rising sap shoots vigor far and wide, Mounting the column of the alder dark And silv'ring o'er the birch's shining bark— Hast thou not often, Albert Duerer, strayed Pond'ring, awe-stricken—through the half-lit glade, Pallid and trembling—glancing not behind From mystic fear that did thy senses bind, Yet made thee hasten with unsteady pace? Oh, Master grave! whose musings lone we trace Throughout thy works we look on reverently. Amidst the gloomy umbrage thy mind's eye Saw clearly, 'mong the shadows soft yet deep, The web-toed faun, and Pan the green-eyed peep, Who deck'd with flowers the cave where thou might'st rest, Leaf-laden dryads, too, in verdure drest. A strange weird world such forest was to thee, Where mingled truth and dreams in mystery; There leaned old ruminating pines, and there The giant elms, whose boughs deformed and bare A hundred rough and crooked elbows made; And in this sombre group the wind had swayed, Nor life—nor death—but life in death seemed found. The cresses drink—the water flows—and round Upon the slopes the mountain rowans meet, And 'neath the brushwood plant their gnarled feet, Intwining slowly where the creepers twine. There, too, the lakes as mirrors brightly shine, And show the swan-necked flowers, each line by line. Chimeras roused take stranger shapes for thee, The glittering scales of mailed throat we see, And claws tight pressed on huge old knotted tree; While from a cavern dim the bright eyes glare. Oh, vegetation! Spirit! Do we dare Question of matter, and of forces found 'Neath a rude skin-in living verdure bound. Oh, Master—I, like thee, have wandered oft Where mighty trees made arches high aloft, But ever with a consciousness of strife, A surging struggle of the inner life. Ever the trembling of the grass I say, And the boughs rocking as the breezes play, Have stirred deep thoughts in a bewild'ring way. Oh, God! alone Great Witness of all deeds, Of thoughts and acts, and all our human needs, God only knows how often in such scenes Of savage beauty under leafy screens, I've felt the mighty oaks had spirit dower— Like me knew mirth and sorrow—sentient power, And whisp'ring each to each in twilight dim, Had hearts that beat—and owned a soul from Him!
MRS. NEWTON CROSLAND
TO HIS MUSE.
("Puisqu'ici-bas tout ame.")
[XL, May 19, 1836.]
Since everything below, Doth, in this mortal state, Its tone, its fragrance, or its glow Communicate;
Since all that lives and moves Upon the earth, bestows On what it seeks and what it loves Its thorn or rose;
Since April to the trees Gives a bewitching sound, And sombre night to grief gives ease, And peace profound;
Since day-spring on the flower A fresh'ning drop confers, And the fresh air on branch and bower Its choristers;
Since the dark wave bestows A soft caress, imprest On the green bank to which it goes Seeking its rest;
I give thee at this hour, Thus fondly bent o'er thee, The best of all the things in dow'r That in me be.
Receive,-poor gift, 'tis true, Which grief, not joy, endears,— My thoughts, that like a shower of dew, Reach thee in tears.
My vows untold receive, All pure before thee laid; Receive of all the days I live The light or shade!
My hours with rapture fill'd, Which no suspicion wrongs; And all the blandishments distill'd From all my songs.
My spirit, whose essay Flies fearless, wild, and free, And hath, and seeks, to guide its way No star but thee.
No pensive, dreamy Muse, Who, though all else should smile, Oft as thou weep'st, with thee would choose, To weep the while.
Oh, sweetest mine! this gift Receive;—'tis throe alone;— My heart, of which there's nothing left When Love is gone!
("Devant la blanche ferme.")
[XV., May, 1837.]
Before the farm where, o'er the porch, festoon Wild creepers red, and gaffer sits at noon, Whilst strutting fowl display their varied crests, And the old watchdog slumberously rests, They half-attentive to the clarion of their king, Resplendent in the sunshine op'ning wing— There stood a cow, with neck-bell jingling light, Superb, enormous, dappled red and white— Soft, gentle, patient as a hind unto its young, Letting the children swarm until they hung Around her, under—rustics with their teeth Whiter than marble their ripe lips beneath, And bushy hair fresh and more brown Than mossy walls at old gates of a town, Calling to one another with loud cries For younger imps to be in at the prize; Stealing without concern but tremulous with fear They glance around lest Doll the maid appear;— Their jolly lips—that haply cause some pain, And all those busy fingers, pressing now and 'gain, The teeming udders whose small, thousand pores Gush out the nectar 'mid their laughing roars, While she, good mother, gives and gives in heaps, And never moves. Anon there creeps A vague soft shiver o'er the hide unmarred, As sharp they pull, she seems of stone most hard. Dreamy of large eye, seeks she no release, And shrinks not while there's one still to appease. Thus Nature—refuge 'gainst the slings of fate! Mother of all, indulgent as she's great! Lets us, the hungered of each age and rank, Shadow and milk seek in the eternal flank; Mystic and carnal, foolish, wise, repair, The souls retiring and those that dare, Sages with halos, poets laurel-crowned, All creep beneath or cluster close around, And with unending greed and joyous cries, From sources full, draw need's supplies, Quench hearty thirst, obtain what must eftsoon Form blood and mind, in freest boon, Respire at length thy sacred flaming light, From all that greets our ears, touch, scent or sight— Brown leaves, blue mountains, yellow gleams, green sod— Thou undistracted still dost dream of God.
("Regardez: les enfants.")
[XX., June, 1884.]
See all the children gathered there, Their mother near; so young, so fair, An eider sister she might be, And yet she hears, amid their games, The shaking of their unknown names In the dark urn of destiny.
She wakes their smiles, she soothes their cares, On that pure heart so like to theirs, Her spirit with such life is rife That in its golden rays we see, Touched into graceful poesy, The dull cold commonplace of life.
Still following, watching, whether burn The Christmas log in winter stern, While merry plays go round; Or streamlets laugh to breeze of May That shakes the leaf to break away— A shadow falling to the ground.
If some poor man with hungry eyes Her baby's coral bauble spies, She marks his look with famine wild, For Christ's dear sake she makes with joy An alms-gift of the silver toy— A smiling angel of the child.
Dublin University Magazine
TO SOME BIRDS FLOWN AWAY.
("Enfants! Oh! revenez!")
[XXII, April, 1837]
Children, come back—come back, I say— You whom my folly chased away A moment since, from this my room, With bristling wrath and words of doom! What had you done, you bandits small, With lips as red as roses all? What crime?—what wild and hapless deed? What porcelain vase by you was split To thousand pieces? Did you need For pastime, as you handled it, Some Gothic missal to enrich With your designs fantastical? Or did your tearing fingers fall On some old picture? Which, oh, which Your dreadful fault? Not one of these; Only when left yourselves to please This morning but a moment here 'Mid papers tinted by my mind You took some embryo verses near— Half formed, but fully well designed To open out. Your hearts desire Was but to throw them on the fire, Then watch the tinder, for the sight Of shining sparks that twinkle bright As little boats that sail at night, Or like the window lights that spring From out the dark at evening.
'Twas all, and you were well content. Fine loss was this for anger's vent— A strophe ill made midst your play, Sweet sound that chased the words away In stormy flight. An ode quite new, With rhymes inflated—stanzas, too, That panted, moving lazily, And heavy Alexandrine lines That seemed to jostle bodily, Like children full of play designs That spring at once from schoolroom's form. Instead of all this angry storm, Another might have thanked you well For saving prey from that grim cell, That hollowed den 'neath journals great, Where editors who poets flout With their demoniac laughter shout. And I have scolded you! What fate For charming dwarfs who never meant To anger Hercules! And I Have frightened you!—My chair I sent Back to the wall, and then let fly A shower of words the envious use— "Get out," I said, with hard abuse, "Leave me alone—alone I say." Poor man alone! Ah, well-a-day, What fine result—what triumph rare! As one turns from the coffin'd dead So left you me:—I could but stare Upon the door through which you fled— I proud and grave—but punished quite. And what care you for this my plight!— You have recovered liberty, Fresh air and lovely scenery, The spacious park and wished-for grass; The running stream, where you can throw A blade to watch what comes to pass; Blue sky, and all the spring can show; Nature, serenely fair to see; The book of birds and spirits free, God's poem, worth much more than mine, Where flowers for perfect stanzas shine— Flowers that a child may pluck in play, No harsh voice frightening it away. And I'm alone—all pleasure o'er— Alone with pedant called "Ennui," For since the morning at my door Ennui has waited patiently. That docto-r-London born, you mark, One Sunday in December dark, Poor little ones—he loved you not, And waited till the chance he got To enter as you passed away, And in the very corner where You played with frolic laughter gay, He sighs and yawns with weary air.
What can I do? Shall I read books, Or write more verse—or turn fond looks Upon enamels blue, sea-green, And white—on insects rare as seen Upon my Dresden china ware? Or shall I touch the globe, and care To make the heavens turn upon Its axis? No, not one—not one Of all these things care I to do; All wearies me—I think of you. In truth with you my sunshine fled, And gayety with your light tread— Glad noise that set me dreaming still. 'Twas my delight to watch your will, And mark you point with finger-tips To help your spelling out a word; To see the pearls between your lips When I your joyous laughter heard; Your honest brows that looked so true, And said "Oh, yes!" to each intent; Your great bright eyes, that loved to view With admiration innocent My fine old Sevres; the eager thought That every kind of knowledge sought; The elbow push with "Come and see!"
Oh, certes! spirits, sylphs, there be, And fays the wind blows often here; The gnomes that squat the ceiling near, In corners made by old books dim; The long-backed dwarfs, those goblins grim That seem at home 'mong vases rare, And chat to them with friendly air— Oh, how the joyous demon throng Must all have laughed with laughter long To see you on my rough drafts fall, My bald hexameters, and all The mournful, miserable band, And drag them with relentless hand From out their box, with true delight To set them each and all a-light, And then with clapping hands to lean Above the stove and watch the scene, How to the mass deformed there came A soul that showed itself in flame!
Bright tricksy children—oh, I pray Come back and sing and dance away, And chatter too—sometimes you may, A giddy group, a big book seize— Or sometimes, if it so you please, With nimble step you'll run to me And push the arm that holds the pen, Till on my finished verse will be A stroke that's like a steeple when Seen suddenly upon a plain. My soul longs for your breath again To warm it. Oh, return—come here With laugh and babble—and no fear When with your shadow you obscure The book I read, for I am sure, Oh, madcaps terrible and dear, That you were right and I was wrong. But who has ne'er with scolding tongue Blamed out of season. Pardon me! You must forgive—for sad are we.
The young should not be hard and cold And unforgiving to the old. Children each morn your souls ope out Like windows to the shining day, Oh, miracle that comes about, The miracle that children gay Have happiness and goodness too, Caressed by destiny are you, Charming you are, if you but play. But we with living overwrought, And full of grave and sombre thought, Are snappish oft: dear little men, We have ill-tempered days, and then, Are quite unjust and full of care; It rained this morning and the air Was chill; but clouds that dimm'd the sky Have passed. Things spited me, and why? But now my heart repents. Behold What 'twas that made me cross, and scold! All by-and-by you'll understand, When brows are mark'd by Time's stern hand; Then you will comprehend, be sure, When older—that's to say, less pure.
The fault I freely own was mine. But oh, for pardon now I pine! Enough my punishment to meet, You must forgive, I do entreat With clasped hands praying—oh, come back, Make peace, and you shall nothing lack. See now my pencils—paper—here, And pointless compasses, and dear Old lacquer-work; and stoneware clear Through glass protecting; all man's toys So coveted by girls and boys. Great China monsters—bodies much Like cucumbers—you all shall touch. I yield up all! my picture rare Found beneath antique rubbish heap, My great and tapestried oak chair I will from you no longer keep. You shall about my table climb, And dance, or drag, without a cry From me as if it were a crime. Even I'll look on patiently If you your jagged toys all throw Upon my carved bench, till it show The wood is torn; and freely too, I'll leave in your own hands to view, My pictured Bible—oft desired— But which to touch your fear inspired— With God in emperor's robes attired.
Then if to see my verses burn, Should seem to you a pleasant turn, Take them to freely tear away Or burn. But, oh! not so I'd say, If this were Mery's room to-day. That noble poet! Happy town, Marseilles the Greek, that him doth own! Daughter of Homer, fair to see, Of Virgil's son the mother she. To you I'd say, Hold, children all, Let but your eyes on his work fall; These papers are the sacred nest In which his crooning fancies rest; To-morrow winged to Heaven they'll soar, For new-born verse imprisoned still In manuscript may suffer sore At your small hands and childish will, Without a thought of bad intent, Of cruelty quite innocent. You wound their feet, and bruise their wings, And make them suffer those ill things That children's play to young birds brings.
But mine! no matter what you do, My poetry is all in you; You are my inspiration bright That gives my verse its purest light. Children whose life is made of hope, Whose joy, within its mystic scope, Owes all to ignorance of ill, You have not suffered, and you still Know not what gloomy thoughts weigh down The poet-writer weary grown. What warmth is shed by your sweet smile! How much he needs to gaze awhile Upon your shining placid brow, When his own brow its ache doth know; With what delight he loves to hear Your frolic play 'neath tree that's near, Your joyous voices mixing well With his own song's all-mournful swell! Come back then, children! come to me, If you wish not that I should be As lonely now that you're afar As fisherman of Etretat, Who listless on his elbow leans Through all the weary winter scenes, As tired of thought—as on Time flies— And watching only rainy skies!
MRS. NEWTON CROSLAND.
MY THOUGHTS OF YE.
("A quoi je songe?")
[XXIIL, July, 1836.]
What do I dream of? Far from the low roof, Where now ye are, children, I dream of you; Of your young heads that are the hope and crown Of my full summer, ripening to its fall. Branches whose shadow grows along my wall, Sweet souls scarce open to the breath of day, Still dazzled with the brightness of your dawn. I dream of those two little ones at play, Making the threshold vocal with their cries, Half tears, half laughter, mingled sport and strife, Like two flowers knocked together by the wind. Or of the elder two—more anxious thought— Breasting already broader waves of life, A conscious innocence on either face, My pensive daughter and my curious boy. Thus do I dream, while the light sailors sing, At even moored beneath some steepy shore, While the waves opening all their nostrils breathe A thousand sea-scents to the wandering wind, And the whole air is full of wondrous sounds, From sea to strand, from land to sea, given back Alone and sad, thus do I dream of you. Children, and house and home, the table set, The glowing hearth, and all the pious care Of tender mother, and of grandsire kind; And while before me, spotted with white sails, The limpid ocean mirrors all the stars, And while the pilot, from the infinite main, Looks with calm eye into the infinite heaven, I dreaming of you only, seek to scan And fathom all my soul's deep love for you— Love sweet, and powerful, and everlasting— And find that the great sea is small beside it.
Dublin University Magazine.
THE BEACON IN THE STORM.
("Quels sont ces bruits sourds?")
[XXIV., July 17, 1836.]
Hark to that solemn sound! It steals towards the strand.— Whose is that voice profound Which mourns the swallowed land, With moans, Or groans, New threats of ruin close at hand? It is Triton—the storm to scorn Who doth wind his sonorous horn.
How thick the rain to-night! And all along the coast The sky shows naught of light Is it a storm, my host? Too soon The boon Of pleasant weather will be lost Yes, 'tis Triton, etc.
Are seamen on that speck Afar in deepening dark? Is that a splitting deck Of some ill-fated bark? Fend harm! Send calm! O Venus! show thy starry spark! Though 'tis Triton, etc.
The thousand-toothed gale,— Adventurers too bold!— Rips up your toughest sail And tears your anchor-hold. You forge Through surge, To be in rending breakers rolled. While old Triton, etc.
Do sailors stare this way, Cramped on the Needle's sheaf, To hail the sudden ray Which promises relief? Then, bright; Shine, light! Of hope upon the beacon reef! Though 'tis Triton, etc.
LOVE'S TREACHEROUS POOL
("Jeune fille, l'amour c'est un miroir.")
[XXVI., February, 1835.]
Young maiden, true love is a pool all mirroring clear, Where coquettish girls come to linger in long delight, For it banishes afar from the face all the clouds that besmear The soul truly bright; But tempts you to ruffle its surface; drawing your foot To subtilest sinking! and farther and farther the brink That vainly you snatch—for repentance, 'tis weed without root,— And struggling, you sink!
THE ROSE AND THE GRAVE.
("La tombe dit a la rose.")
[XXXI., June 3, 1837]
The Grave said to the rose "What of the dews of dawn, Love's flower, what end is theirs?" "And what of spirits flown, The souls whereon doth close The tomb's mouth unawares?" The Rose said to the Grave.
The Rose said: "In the shade From the dawn's tears is made A perfume faint and strange, Amber and honey sweet." "And all the spirits fleet Do suffer a sky-change, More strangely than the dew, To God's own angels new," The Grave said to the Rose.
LES RAYONS ET LES OMBRES.—1840.
("O palais, sois benie.")
[II., June, 1839.]
Palace and ruin, bless thee evermore! Grateful we bow thy gloomy tow'rs before; For the old King of France hath found in thee That melancholy hospitality Which in their royal fortune's evil day, Stuarts and Bourbons to each other pay.
[Footnote 1: King Charles X.]
THE HUMBLE HOME.
("L'eglise est vaste et haute.")
[IV., June 29, 1839.]
The Church is vast; its towering pride, its steeples loom on high; The bristling stones with leaf and flower are sculptured wondrously; The portal glows resplendent with its "rose," And 'neath the vault immense at evening swarm Figures of angel, saint, or demon's form, As oft a fearful world our dreams disclose. But not the huge Cathedral's height, nor yet its vault sublime, Nor porch, nor glass, nor streaks of light, nor shadows deep with time; Nor massy towers, that fascinate mine eyes; No, 'tis that spot—the mind's tranquillity— Chamber wherefrom the song mounts cheerily, Placed like a joyful nest well nigh the skies.
Yea! glorious is the Church, I ween, but Meekness dwelleth here; Less do I love the lofty oak than mossy nest it bear; More dear is meadow breath than stormy wind: And when my mind for meditation's meant, The seaweed is preferred to the shore's extent,— The swallow to the main it leaves behind.
Author of "Critical Essays."
[Footnote 1: The Cathedral Notre Dame of Paris, which is the scene of the author's romance, "Notre Dame."]
THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
("O dix-huitieme siecle!")
O Eighteenth Century! by Heaven chastised! Godless thou livedst, by God thy doom was fixed. Thou in one ruin sword and sceptre mixed, Then outraged love, and pity's claim despised. Thy life a banquet—but its board a scaffold at the close, Where far from Christ's beatic reign, Satanic deeds arose! Thy writers, like thyself, by good men scorned— Yet, from thy crimes, renown has decked thy name, As the smoke emplumes the furnace flame, A revolution's deeds have thine adorned!
Author of "Critical Essays."
STILL BE A CHILD.
("O vous que votre age defende")
[IX., February, 1840.]
In youthful spirits wild, Smile, for all beams on thee; Sport, sing, be still the child, The flower, the honey-bee.
Bring not the future near, For Joy too soon declines— What is man's mission here? Toil, where no sunlight shines!
Our lot is hard, we know; From eyes so gayly beaming, Whence rays of beauty flow, Salt tears most oft are streaming.
Free from emotions past, All joy and hope possessing, With mind in pureness cast, Sweet ignorance confessing.
Plant, safe from winds and showers, Heart with soft visions glowing, In childhood's happy hours A mother's rapture showing.
Loved by each anxious friend, No carking care within— When summer gambols end, My winter sports begin.
Sweet poesy from heaven Around thy form is placed, A mother's beauty given, By father's thought is graced!
Seize, then, each blissful second, Live, for joy sinks in night, And those whose tale is reckoned, Have had their days of light.
Then, oh! before we part, The poet's blessing take, Ere bleeds that aged heart, Or child the woman make.
Dublin University Magazine.
THE POOL AND THE SOUL.
("Comme dans les etangs.")
[X., May, 1839.]
As in some stagnant pool by forest-side, In human souls two things are oft descried; The sky,—which tints the surface of the pool With all its rays, and all its shadows cool; The basin next,—where gloomy, dark and deep, Through slime and mud black reptiles vaguely creep.
YE MARINERS WHO SPREAD YOUR SAILS.
("Matelots, vous deploirez les voiles.")
[XVI., May 5, 1839.]
Ye mariners! ye mariners! each sail to the breeze unfurled, In joy or sorrow still pursue your course around the world; And when the stars next sunset shine, ye anxiously will gaze Upon the shore, a friend or foe, as the windy quarter lays.
Ye envious souls, with spiteful tooth, the statue's base will bite; Ye birds will sing, ye bending boughs with verdure glad the sight; The ivy root in the stone entwined, will cause old gates to fall; The church-bell sound to work or rest the villagers will call.
Ye glorious oaks will still increase in solitude profound, Where the far west in distance lies as evening veils around; Ye willows, to the earth your arms in mournful trail will bend, And back again your mirror'd forms the water's surface send.
Ye nests will oscillate beneath the youthful progeny; Embraced in furrows of the earth the germing grain will lie; Ye lightning-torches still your streams will cast into the air, Which like a troubled spirit's course float wildly here and there.
Ye thunder-peals will God proclaim, as doth the ocean wave; Ye violets will nourish still the flower that April gave; Upon your ambient tides will be man's sternest shadow cast; Your waters ever will roll on when man himself is past.
All things that are, or being have, or those that mutely lie, Have each its course to follow out, or object to descry; Contributing its little share to that stupendous whole, Where with man's teeming race combined creation's wonders roll.
The poet, too, will contemplate th' Almighty Father's love, Who to our restless minds, with light and darkness from above, Hath given the heavens that glorious urn of tranquil majesty, Whence in unceasing stores we draw calm and serenity.
Author of "Critical Essays."
ON A FLEMISH WINDOW-PANE.
("J'aime le carillon dans tes cites antiques.")
[XVIII., August, 1837.]
Within thy cities of the olden time Dearly I love to list the ringing chime, Thou faithful guardian of domestic worth, Noble old Flanders! where the rigid North A flush of rich meridian glow doth feel, Caught from reflected suns of bright Castile. The chime, the clinking chime! To Fancy's eye— Prompt her affections to personify— It is the fresh and frolic hour, arrayed In guise of Andalusian dancing maid, Appealing by a crevice fine and rare, As of a door oped in "th' incorporal air." She comes! o'er drowsy roofs, inert and dull, Shaking her lap, of silv'ry music full, Rousing without remorse the drones abed, Tripping like joyous bird with tiniest tread, Quiv'ring like dart that trembles in the targe, By a frail crystal stair, whose viewless marge Bears her slight footfall, tim'rous half, yet free, In innocent extravagance of glee The graceful elf alights from out the spheres, While the quick spirit—thing of eyes and ears— As now she goes, now comes, mounts, and anon Descends, those delicate degrees upon, Hears her melodious spirit from step to step run on.
("Homme chauve et noir.")
[XIX., May, 1839.]
A gruesome man, bald, clad in black, Who kept us youthful drudges in the track, Thinking it good for them to leave home care, And for a while a harsher yoke to bear; Surrender all the careless ease of home, And be forbid from schoolyard bounds to roam; For this with blandest smiles he softly asks That they with him will prosecute their tasks; Receives them in his solemn chilly lair, The rigid lot of discipline to share. At dingy desks they toil by day; at night To gloomy chambers go uncheered by light, Where pillars rudely grayed by rusty nail Of heavy hours reveal the weary tale; Where spiteful ushers grin, all pleased to make Long scribbled lines the price of each mistake. By four unpitying walls environed there The homesick students pace the pavements bare.
("Gastibelza, l'homme a la carabine.")
[XXII., March, 1837.]
Gastibelza, with gun the measure beating, Would often sing: "Has one o' ye with sweet Sabine been meeting, As, gay, ye bring Your songs and steps which, by the music, Are reconciled— Oh! this chill wind across the mountain rushing Will drive me wild!
"You stare as though you hardly knew my lady— Sabine's her name! Her dam inhabits yonder cavern shady, A witch of shame, Who shrieks o' nights upon the Haunted Tower, With horrors piled— Oh! this chill wind, etc.
"Sing on and leap—enjoying all the favors Good heaven sends; She, too, was young—her lips had peachy savors With honey blends; Give to that hag—not always old—a penny, Though crime-defiled— Oh! this chill wind, etc.
"The queen beside her looked a wench uncomely, When, near to-night, She proudly stalked a-past the maids so homely, In bodice tight And collar old as reign of wicked Julian, By fiend beguiled— Oh! this chill wind, etc.
"The king himself proclaimed her peerless beauty Before the court, And held it were to win a kiss his duty To give a fort, Or, more, to sign away all bright Dorado, Tho' gold-plate tiled— Oh! this chill wind, etc.