A breathing sigh—a sigh for answer; A little talking of outward things: The careless beck is a merry dancer, Keeping sweet time to the air she sings.
A little pain when the beck grows wider— "Cross to me now, for her wavelets swell:" "I may not cross" and the voice beside her Faintly reacheth, though heeded well.
No backward path; ah! no returning: No second crossing that ripple's flow: "Come to me now, for the west is burning: Come ere it darkens."—"Ah, no! ah, no!"
Then cries of pain, and arms outreaching— The beck grows wider and swift and deep; Passionate words as of one beseeching— The loud beck drowns them: we walk and weep.
A yellow moon in splendor drooping, A tired queen with her state oppressed, Low by rushes and sword-grass stooping, Lies she soft on the waves at rest.
The desert heavens have felt her sadness; Her earth will weep her some dewy tears; The wild beck ends her tune of gladness, And goeth stilly as soul that fears.
We two walk on in our grassy places, On either marge of the moonlit flood, With the moon's own sadness in our faces, Where joy is withered, blossom and bud.
A shady freshness, chafers whirring, A little piping of leaf-hid birds; A flutter of wings, a fitful stirring, A cloud to the eastward snowy as curds.
Bare grassy slopes, where the kids are tethered, Bound valleys like nests all ferny-lined; Round hills, with fluttering tree-tops feathered, Swell high in their freckled robes behind.
A rose-flush tender, a thrill, a quiver, When golden gleams to the tree-tops glide; A flashing edge for the milk-white river, The beck, a river—with still sleek tide.
Broad and white, and polished as silver, On she goes under fruit-laden trees; Sunk in leafage cooeth the culver, And 'plaineth of love's disloyalties.
Glitters the dew, and shines the river; Up comes the lily and dries her bell; But two are walking apart forever, And wave their hands for a mute farewell.
A braver swell, a swifter sliding; The river hasteth, her banks recede; Wing-like sails on her bosom gliding Bear down the lily, and drown the reed.
Stately prows are rising and bowing— (Shouts of mariners winnow the air)— And level sands for banks endowing The tiny green ribbon that showed so fair.
While, O my heart! as white sails shiver, And crowds are passing, and banks stretch wide, How hard to follow, with lips that quiver, That moving speck on the far-off side!
Farther, farther—I see it—know it— My eyes brim over, it melts away: Only my heart to my heart shall show it, As I walk desolate day by day.
And yet I know past all doubting, truly,— A knowledge greater than grief can dim— I know, as he loved, he will love me duly— Yea, better—e'en better than I love him:
And as I walk by the vast calm river, The awful river so dread to see, I say, "Thy breadth and thy depth forever Are bridged by his thoughts that cross to me."
TO DIANE DE POITIERS.
Farewell! since vain is all my care, Far, in some desert rude, I'll hide my weakness, my despair: And, 'midst my solitude, I'll pray, that, should another move thee, He may as fondly, truly love thee.
Adieu, bright eyes, that were my heaven! Adieu, soft cheek, where summer blooms! Adieu, fair form, earth's pattern given, Which Love inhabits and illumes! Your rays have fallen but coldly on me: One far less fond, perchance, had won ye!
From the French of CLEMENT MAROT. Translation of LOUISE STUART COSTELLO.
The spinner twisted her slender thread As she sat and spun: "The earth and the heavens are mine," she said, "And the moon and sun; Into my web the sunlight goes, And the breath of May, And the crimson life of the new-blown rose That was born to-day."
The spinner sang in the hush of noon And her song was low: "Ah, morning, you pass away too soon, You are swift to go. My heart o'erflows like a brimming cup With its hopes and fears. Love, come and drink the sweetness up Ere it turn to tears."
The spinner looked at the falling sun: "Is it time to rest? My hands are weary,—my work is done, I have wrought my best; I have spun and woven with patient eyes And with fingers fleet. Lo! where the toil of a lifetime lies In a winding-sheet!"
MARY AINGE DE VERE (Madeline Bridges).
TAKE, O, TAKE THOSE LIPS AWAY.
Take, O, take those lips away, That so sweetly were forsworn; And those eyes, like break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn; But my kisses bring again, Seals of love, but sealed in vain.
Hide, O, hide those hills of snow Which thy frozen bosom bears, On whose tops the pinks that grow Are yet of those that April wears! But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee.
SHAKESPEARE and JOHN FLETCHER.
 The first stanza of this song appears in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure," Activ. Sc. I.; the same, with the second, stanza added, is found in Beaumont and Fletcher's "Bloody Brother," Act v. Sc. 2.
I loved thee once, I'll love no more, Thine be the grief as is the blame; Thou art not what thou wast before, What reason I should be the same? He that can love unloved again, Hath better store of love than brain: God sends me love my debts to pay, While unthrifts fool their love away.
Nothing could have my love o'erthrown, If thou hadst still continued mine; Yea, if thou hadst remained thy own, I might perchance have yet been thine. But thou thy freedom didst recall, That if thou might elsewhere inthrall; And then how could I but disdain A captive's captive to remain?
When new desires had conquered thee, And changed the object of thy will, It had been lethargy in me, Not constancy, to love thee still. Yea, it had been a sin to go And prostitute affection so, Since we are taught no prayers to say To such as must to others pray.
Yet do thou glory in thy choice. Thy choice of his good fortune boast; I 'll neither grieve nor yet rejoice, To see him gain what I have lost; The height of my disdain shall be, To laugh at him, to blush for thee; To love thee still, but go no more A begging to a beggar's door.
SIR ROBERT AYTON.
She, who but late in beauty's flower was seen, Proud of her auburn curls and noble mien— Who froze my hopes and triumphed in my fears, Now sheds her graces in the waste of years. Changed to unlovely is that breast of snow, And dimmed her eye, and wrinkled is her brow; And querulous the voice by time repressed, Whose artless music stole me from my rest. Age gives redress to love; and silvery hair And earlier wrinkles brand the haughty fair.
From the Greek of AGATHIAS. Translation of ROBERT BLAND.
Our life is twofold; sleep hath its own world, A boundary between the things misnamed Death and existence: sleep hath its own world, And a wide realm of wild reality, And dreams in their development have breath, And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy; They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts, They take a weight from off our waking toils, They do divide our being; they become A portion of ourselves as of our time, And look like heralds of eternity; They pass like spirits of the past,—they speak Like sibyls of the future; they have power,— The tyranny of pleasure and of pain; They make us what we were not,—what they will, And shake us with the vision that's gone by. The dread of vanished shadows.—Are they so? Is not the past all shadow? What are they? Creations of the mind?—The mind can make Substances, and people planets of its own With beings brighter than have been, and give A breath to forms which can outlive all flesh. I would recall a vision which I dreamed Perchance in sleep,—for in itself a thought, A slumbering thought, is capable of years, And curdles a long life into one hour.
I saw two beings in the hues of youth Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill, Green and of a mild declivity, the last As 't were the cape of a long ridge of such, Save that there was no sea to lave its base, But a most living landscape, and the wave Of woods and cornfields, and the abodes of men Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke Arising from such rustic roofs; the hill Was crowned with a peculiar diadem Of trees, in circular array, so fixed, Not by the sport of nature, but of man: These two, a maiden and a youth, were there Gazing,—the one on all that was beneath Fair as herself,—but the boy gazed on her; And both were young, and one was beautiful; And both were young,—yet not alike in youth. As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge, The maid was on the eve of womanhood; The boy had fewer summers, but his heart Had far outgrown his years, and to his eye There was but one beloved face on earth, And that was shining on him; he had looked Upon it till it could not pass away; He had no breath, no being, but in hers; She was his voice; he did not speak to her, But trembled on her words; she was his sight, For his eye followed hers, and saw with hers, Which colored all his objects;—he had ceased To live with himself: she was his life, The ocean to the river of his thoughts, Which terminated all; upon a tone, A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow, And his cheek change tempestuously;—his heart Unknowing of its cause of agony. But she in these fond feelings had no share: Her sighs were not for him; to her he was Even as a brother,—but no more; 'twas much, For brotherless she was, save in the name Her infant friendship had bestowed on him; Herself the solitary scion left Of a time-honored race. It was a name Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not,—and why? Time taught him a deep answer—when she loved Another; even now she loved another, And on the summit of the hill she stood, Looking afar if yet her lover's steed Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. There was an ancient mansion, and before Its walls there was a steed caparisoned; Within an antique oratory stood The boy of whom I spake;—he was alone, And pale, and pacing to and fro: anon He sate him down, and seized a pen and traced Words which I could not guess of; then he leaned His bowed head on his hands and shook, as 'twere With a convulsion,—then arose again, And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear What he had written, but he shed no tears, And he did calm himself, and fix his brow Into a kind of quiet; as he paused, The lady of his love re-entered there; She was serene and smiling then, and yet She knew she was by him beloved; she knew— For quickly comes such knowledge—that his heart Was darkened with her shadow, and she saw That he was wretched, but she saw not all. He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp He took her hand; a moment o'er his face A tablet of unutterable thoughts Was traced, and then it faded, as it came; He dropped the hand he held, and with slow steps Retired, but not as bidding her adieu, For they did part with mutual smiles; he passed From out the massy gate of that old Hall, And mounting on his steed he went his way; And ne'er repassed that hoary threshold more.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The boy was sprung to manhood; in the wilds Of fiery climes he made himself a home, And his soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt With strange and dusky aspects; he was not Himself like what he had been; on the sea And on the shore he was a wanderer; There was a mass of many images Crowded like waves upon me, but he was A part of all; and in the last he lay Reposing from the noontide sultriness, Couched among fallen columns, in the shade Of ruined walls that had survived the names Of those who reared them; by his sleeping side Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds Were fastened near a fountain; and a man, Clad in a flowing garb, did watch the while, While many of his tribe slumbered around: And they were canopied by the blue sky, So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful, That God alone was to be seen in heaven.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The lady of his love was wed with one Who did not love her better: in her home, A thousand leagues from his,—her native home, She dwelt, begirt with growing infancy, Daughters and sons of beauty,—but behold! Upon her face there was the tint of grief, The settled shadow of an inward strife, And an unquiet drooping of the eye, As if its lids were charged with unshed tears. What could her grief be?—she had all she loved, And he who had so loved her was not there To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish, Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts. What could her grief be?—she had loved him not, Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved, Nor could he be a part of that which preyed Upon her mind—a spectre of the past.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The wanderer was returned.—I saw him stand Before an altar—with a gentle bride; Her face was fair, but was not that which made The starlight of his boyhood;—as he stood Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock That in the antique oratory shook His bosom in its solitude; and then— As in that hour—a moment o'er his face The tablet of unutterable thoughts Was traced,—and then it faded as it came, And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke The fitting vows, but heard not his own words, And all things reeled around him; he could see Not that which was, nor that which should have been,— But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall, And the remembered chambers, and the place, The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade, All things pertaining to that place and hour, And her who was his destiny, came back And thrust themselves between him and the light; What business had they there at such a time?
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The lady of his love;—O, she was changed, As by the sickness of the soul! her mind Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes, They had not their own lustre, but the look Which is not of the earth; she was become The queen of a fantastic realm; her thoughts Were combinations of disjointed things, And forms impalpable and unperceived Of others' sight familiar were to hers. And this the world calls frenzy; but the wise Have a far deeper madness, and the glance Of melancholy is a fearful gift; What is it but the telescope of truth, Which strips the distance of its fantasies, And brings life near in utter nakedness, Making the cold reality too real!
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. The wanderer was alone as heretofore, The beings which surrounded him were gone, Or were at war with him; he was a mark For blight and desolation, compassed round With hatred and contention; pain was mixed In all which was served up to him, until, Like to the Pontic monarch of old days, He fed on poisons, and they had no power, But were a kind of nutriment; he lived Through that which had been death to many men, And made him friends of mountains: with the stars And the quick Spirit of the universe He held his dialogues; and they did teach To him the magic of their mysteries; To him the book of Night was opened wide, And voices from the deep abyss revealed A marvel and a secret.—Be it so.
My dream was past; it had no further change. It was of a strange order, that the doom Of these two creatures should be thus traced out Almost like a reality,—the one To end in madness—both in misery.
ALAS! HOW LIGHT A CAUSE MAY MOVE.
FROM "THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM."
Alas! how light a cause may move Dissension between hearts that love! Hearts that the world in vain has tried, And sorrow but more closely tied; That stood the storm when waves were rough, Yet in a sunny hour fall off, Like ships that have gone down at sea, When heaven was all tranquillity!
A something light as air,—a look, A word unkind or wrongly taken,— O, love that tempests never shook, A breath, a touch like this has shaken! And ruder words will soon rush in To spread the breach that words begin; And eyes forget the gentle ray They wore in courtship's smiling day; And voices lose the tone that shed A tenderness round all they said; Till fast declining, one by one, The sweetnesses of love are gone, And hearts, so lately mingled, seem Like broken clouds,—or like the stream, That smiling left the mountain's brow, As though its waters ne'er could sever, Yet, ere it reach the plain below, Breaks into floods that part forever.
O you, that have the charge of Love, Keep him in rosy bondage bound, As in the Fields of Bliss above He sits, with flowerets fettered round;— Loose not a tie that round him clings, Nor ever let him use his wings; For even an hour, a minute's flight Will rob the plumes of half their light. Like that celestial bird,—whose nest Is found beneath far Eastern skies,— Whose wings, though radiant when at rest, Lose all their glory when he flies!
Flowers are fresh, and bushes green, Cheerily the linnets sing; Winds are soft, and skies serene; Time, however, soon shall throw Winter's snow O'er the buxom breast of Spring!
Hope, that buds in lover's heart, Lives not through the scorn of years; Time makes love itself depart; Time and scorn congeal the mind,— Looks unkind Freeze affection's warmest tears.
Time shall make the bushes green; Time dissolve the winter snow; Winds be soft, and skies serene; Linnets sing their wonted strain: But again Blighted love shall never blow!
From the Portuguese of LUIS DE CAMOENS. Translation of LORD STRANGFORD.
Look in my face; my name is Might-have-been; I am also called No-more, Too-late, Farewell; Unto thine ear I hold the dead-sea shell Cast up thy Life's foam-fretted feet between; Unto thine eyes the glass where that is seen Which had Life's form and Love's, but by my spell Is now a shaken shadow intolerable, Of ultimate things unuttered the frail screen.
Mark me, how still I am! But should there dart One moment through my soul the soft surprise Of that winged Peace which lulls the breath of sighs,— Then shalt thou see me smile, and turn apart Thy visage to mine ambush at thy heart Sleepless with cold commemorative eyes.
DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI.
Midnight past! Not a sound of aught Through the silent house, but the wind at his prayers. I sat by the dying fire, and thought Of the dear dead woman upstairs.
A night of tears! for the gusty rain Had ceased, but the eaves were dripping yet; And the moon looked forth, as though in pain, With her face all white and wet:
Nobody with me, my watch to keep, But the friend of my bosom, the man I love: And grief had sent him fast to sleep In the chamber up above.
Nobody else, in the country place All round, that knew of my loss beside, But the good young Priest with the Raphael-face, Who confessed her when she died.
That good young Priest is of gentle nerve, And my grief had moved him beyond control; For his lips grew white, as I could observe, When he speeded her parting soul.
I sat by the dreary hearth alone: I thought of the pleasant days of yore: I said, "The staff of my life is gone: The woman I loved is no more.
"On her cold dead bosom my portrait lies, Which next to her heart she used to wear— Haunting it o'er with her tender eyes When my own face was not there.
"It is set all round with rubies red, And pearls which a Peri, might have kept. For each ruby there my heart hath bled: For each pearl my eyes have wept."
And I said—"The thing is precious to me: They will bury her soon in the churchyard clay; It lies on her heart, and lost must be If I do not take it away."
I lighted my lamp at the dying flame, And crept up the stairs that creaked for fright, Till into the chamber of death I came, Where she lay all in white.
The moon shone over her winding-sheet, There stark she lay on her carven bed: Seven burning tapers about her feet, And seven about her head.
As I stretched my hand, I held my breath; I turned as I drew the curtains apart: I dared not look on the face of death: I knew where to find her heart.
I thought at first, as my touch fell there, It had warmed that heart to life, with love; For the thing I touched was warm, I swear, And I could feel it move.
'Twas the hand of a man, that was moving slow O'er the heart of the dead,—from the other side: And at once the sweat broke over my brow. "Who is robbing the corpse?" I cried.
Opposite me by the tapers' light, The friend of my bosom, the man I loved, Stood over the corpse, and all as white, And neither of us moved.
"What do you here, my friend?" ... The man Looked first at me, and then at the dead. "There is a portrait here," he began; "There is. It is mine," I said.
Said the friend of my bosom, "Yours, no doubt, The portrait was, till a month ago, When this suffering angel took that out, And placed mine there, I know."
"This woman, she loved me well," said I. "A month ago," said my friend to me: "And in your throat," I groaned, "you lie!" He answered, ... "Let us see."
"Enough!" I returned, "let the dead decide: And whosesoever the portrait prove, His shall it be, when the cause is tried, Where Death is arraigned by Love."
We found the portrait there, in its place: We opened it by the tapers' shine: The gems were all unchanged: the face Was—neither his nor mine. "One nail drives out another, at least! The face of the portrait there," I cried, "Is our friend's, the Raphael-faced young Priest, Who confessed her when she died."
The setting is all of rubies red, And pearls which a Peri might have kept. For each ruby there my heart hath bled: For each pearl my eyes have wept.
ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON (Owen Meredith).
ONLY A WOMAN.
"She loves with love that cannot tire: And if, ah, woe! she loves alone, Through passionate duty love flames higher, As grass grows taller round a stone."
So, the truth's out. I'll grasp it like a snake,— It will not slay me. My heart shall not break Awhile, if only for the children's sake.
For his, too, somewhat. Let him stand unblamed; None say, he gave me less than honor claimed, Except—one trifle scarcely worth being named—
The heart. That's gone. The corrupt dead might be As easily raised up, breathing,—fair to see, As he could bring his whole heart back to me.
I never sought him in coquettish sport, Or courted him as silly maidens court, And wonder when the longed-for prize falls short.
I only loved him,—any woman would: But shut my love up till he came and sued, Then poured it o'er his dry life like a flood.
I was so happy I could make him blest!— So happy that I was his first and best, As he mine,—when he took me to his breast.
Ah me! if only then he had been true! If for one little year, a month or two, He had given me love for love, as was my due!
Or had he told me, ere the deed was done, He only raised me to his heart's dear throne— Poor substitute—because the queen was gone!
O, had he whispered, when his sweetest kiss Was warm upon my mouth in fancied bliss, He had kissed another woman even as this,—
It were less bitter! Sometimes I could weep To be thus cheated, like a child asleep;— Were not my anguish far too dry and deep.
So I built my house upon another's ground; Mocked with a heart just caught at the rebound,— A cankered thing that looked so firm and sound.
And when that heart grew colder,—colder still, I, ignorant, tried all duties to fulfil, Blaming my foolish pain, exacting will,
All,—anything but him. It was to be The full draught others drink up carelessly Was made this bitter Tantalus-cup for me.
I say again,—he gives me all I claimed, I and my children never shall be shamed: He is a just man,—he will live unblamed.
Only—O God, O God, to cry for bread. And get a stone! Daily to lay my head Upon a bosom where the old love's dead!
Dead?—Fool! It never lived. It only stirred Galvanic, like an hour-cold corpse. None heard: So let me bury it without a word.
He'll keep that other woman from my sight. I know not if her face be foul or bright; I only know that it was his delight—
As his was mine; I only know he stands Pale, at the touch of their long-severed hands, Then to a flickering smile his lips commands,
Lest I should grieve, or jealous anger show. He need not. When the ship's gone down, I trow, We little reck whatever wind may blow.
And so my silent moan begins and ends, No world's laugh or world's taunt, no pity of friends Or sneer of foes, with this my torment blends.
None knows,—none heeds. I have a little pride; Enough to stand up, wifelike, by his side, With the same smile as when I was his bride.
And I shall take his children to my arms; They will not miss these fading, worthless charms; Their kiss—ah! unlike his—all pain disarms.
And haply as the solemn years go by, He will think sometimes, with regretful sigh, The other woman was less true than I.
DINAH MARIA MULOCK CRAIK.
DOROTHY IN THE GARRET.
In the low-raftered garret, stooping Carefully over the creaking boards, Old Maid Dorothy goes a-groping Among its dusty and cobwebbed hoards; Seeking some bundle of patches, hid Far under the eaves, or bunch of sage, Or satchel hung on its nail, amid The heirlooms of a bygone age.
There is the ancient family chest, There the ancestral cards and hatchel; Dorothy, sighing, sinks down to rest, Forgetful of patches, sage, and satchel. Ghosts of faces peer from the gloom Of the chimney, where with swifts and reel, And the long-disused, dismantled loom, Stands the old-fashioned spinning-wheel.
She sees it back in the clean-swept kitchen, A part of her girlhood's little world; Her mother is there by the window, stitching; Spindle buzzes, and reel is whirled With many a click: on her little stool She sits, a child, by the open door, Watching, and dabbling her feet in the pool Of sunshine spilled on the gilded floor
Her sisters are spinning all day long; To her wakening sense the first sweet warning Of daylight come is the cheerful song To the hum of the wheel in the early morning. Benjie, the gentle, red-cheeked boy. On his way to school, peeps in at the gate; In neat white pinafore, pleased and coy, She reaches a hand to her bashful mate;
And under the elms, a prattling pair. Together they go, through glimmer and gloom:— It all comes back to her, dreaming there In the low-raftered garret room; The hum of the wheel, and the summer weather. The heart's first trouble, and love's beginning, Are all in her memory linked together; And now it is she herself that is spinning.
With the bloom of youth on cheek and lip. Turning the spokes with the flashing pin, Twisting the thread from the spindle-tip, Stretching it out and winding it in. To and fro, with a blithesome tread, Singing she goes, and her heart is full, And many a long-drawn golden thread Of fancy is spun with the shining wool.
Her father sits in his favorite place, Puffing his pipe by the chimney-side; Through curling clouds his kindly face Glows upon her with love and pride. Lulled by the wheel, in the old arm-chair Her mother is musing, cat in lap, With beautiful drooping head, and hair Whitening under her snow-white cap.
One by one, to the grave, to the bridal, They have followed her sisters from the door; Now they are old, and she is their idol:— It all comes back on her heart once more. In the autumn dusk the hearth gleams brightly, The wheel is set by the shadowy wall,— A hand at the latch,—'tis lifted lightly, And in walks Benjie, manly and tall.
His chair is placed; the old man tips The pitcher, and brings his choicest fruit; Benjie basks in the blaze, and sips, And tells his story, and joints his flute: O, sweet the tunes, the talk, the laughter! They fill the hour with a glowing tide; But sweeter the still, deep moments after, When she is alone by Benjie's side.
But once with angry words they part: O, then the weary, weary days! Ever with restless, wretched heart, Plying her task, she turns to gaze Far up the road; and early and late She harks for a footstep at the door, And starts at the gust that swings the gate, And prays for Benjie, who comes no more.
Her fault? O Benjie, and could you steel Your thoughts towards one who loved you so?— Solace she seeks in the whirling wheel, In duty and love that lighten woe; Striving with labor, not in vain, To drive away the dull day's dreariness,— Blessing the toil that blunts the pain Of a deeper grief in the body's weariness.
Proud and petted and spoiled was she: A word, and all her life is changed! His wavering love too easily In the great, gay city grows estranged: One year: she sits in the old church pew; A rustle, a murmur,—O Dorothy! hide Your face and shut from your soul the view— 'Tis Benjie leading a white-veiled bride!
Now father and mother have long been dead, And the bride sleeps under a churchyard stone, And a bent old man with a grizzled head Walks up the long dim aisle alone. Years blur to a mist; and Dorothy Sits doubting betwixt the ghost she seems, And the phantom of youth, more real than she, That meets her there in that haunt of dreams.
Bright young Dorothy, idolized daughter, Sought by many a youthful adorer, Life, like a new-risen dawn on the water, Shining an endless vista before her! Old Maid Dorothy, wrinkled and gray, Groping under the farm-house eaves,— And life was a brief November day That sets on a world of withered leaves!
Yet faithfulness in the humblest part Is better at last than proud success, And patience and love in a chastened heart Are pearls more precious than happiness; And in that morning when she shall wake To the spring-time freshness of youth again, All trouble will seem but a flying flake, And lifelong sorrow a breath on the pane.
JOHN TOWNSEND TROWBRIDGE.
THE NUN AND HARP.
What memory fired her pallid face, What passion stirred her blood, What tide of sorrow and desire Poured its forgotten flood Upon a heart that ceased to beat, Long since, with thought that life was sweet, When nights were rich with vernal dusk, And the rose burst its bud?
Had not the western glory then Stolen through the latticed room, Her funeral raiment would have shed A more heart-breaking gloom; Had not a dimpled convent-maid Hung in the doorway, half afraid, And left the melancholy place Bright with her blush and bloom!
Beside the gilded harp she stood, And through the singing strings Wound those wan hands of folded prayer In murmurous preludings. Then, like a voice, the harp rang high Its melody, as climb the sky, Melting against the melting blue, Some bird's vibrating wings.
Ah, why, of all the songs that grow Forever tenderer, Chose she that passionate refrain Where lovers 'mid the stir Of wassailers that round them pass Hide their sweet secret? Now, alas, In her nun's habit, coifed and veiled, What meant that song to her!
Slowly the western ray forsook The statue in its shrine; A sense of tears thrilled all the air Along the purpling line. Earth seemed a place of graves that rang To hollow footsteps, while she sang, "Drink to me only with thine eyes. And I will pledge with mine!"
HARRIET PRESCOTT SPOFFORD.
FIDELITY IN DOUBT.
Come, lady, to my song incline, The last that shall assail thine ear. None other cares my strains to hear, And scarce thou feign'st thyself therewith delighted! Nor know I well if I am loved or slighted; But this I know, thou radiant one and sweet, That, loved or spurned, I die before thy feet! Yea, I will yield this life of mine In every deed, if cause appear, Without another boon to cheer. Honor it is to be by thee incited To any deed; and I, when most benighted By doubt, remind me that times change and fleet, And brave men still do their occasion meet.
From the French of GUIRAUD LEROUX. Translation of HARRIET WATERS PRESTON.
Better trust all and be deceived, And weep that trust and that deceiving, Than doubt one heart that, if believed, Had blessed one's life with true believing.
O, in this mocking world too fast The doubting fiend o'ertakes our youth; Better be cheated to the last Than lose the blessed hope of truth.
FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE-BUTLER.
* * * * *
II. PARTING AND ABSENCE
If thou dost bid thy friend farewell, But for one night though that farewell may be, Press thou his hand in thine. How canst thou tell how far from thee Fate or caprice may lead his steps ere that to-morrow comes? Men have been known to lightly turn the corner of a street, And days have grown to months, and months to lagging years, Ere they have looked in loving eyes again. Parting, at best, is underlaid With tears and pain. Therefore, lest sudden death should come between. Or time, or distance, clasp with pressure firm The hand of him who goeth forth; Unseen, Fate goeth too. Yes, find thou always time to say some earnest word Between the idle talk, Lest with thee henceforth, Night and day, regret should walk.
ON GOING TO THE WARS.
Tell me not, sweet, I am unkinde, That from the nunnerie Of thy chaste breast and quiet minde, To warre and armes I flee.
True, a new mistresse now I chase.— The first foe in the field; And with a stronger faith imbrace A sword, a horse, a shield.
Yet this inconstancy is such As you, too, shall adore; I could not love thee, deare, so much, Loved I not honour more.
"Farewell! farewell!" is often heard From the lips of those who part: 'Tis a whispered tone,—'tis a gentle word, But it springs not from the heart. It may serve for the lover's closing lay, To be sung 'neath a summer sky; But give to me the lips that say The honest words, "Good-bye!" "Adieu! adieu!" may greet the ear, In the guise of courtly speech: But when we leave the kind and dear, 'Tis not what the soul would teach. Whene'er we grasp the hands of those We would have forever nigh, The flame of Friendship bursts and glows In the warm, frank words, "Good-bye."
The mother, sending forth her child To meet with cares and strife, Breathes through her tears her doubts and fears For the loved one's future life. No cold "adieu," no "farewell," lives Within her choking sigh, But the deepest sob of anguish gives, "God bless thee, boy! Good-bye!"
Go, watch the pale and dying one, When the glance hast lost its beam; When the brow is cold as the marble stone, And the world a passing dream; And the latest pressure of the hand, The look of the closing eye, Yield what the heart must understand, A long, a last Good-bye.
AE FOND KISS BEFORE WE PART.
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, alas, forever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee; Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. Who shall say that fortune grieves him, While the star of hope she leaves him? Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me; Dark despair around benights me.
I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy— Naething could resist my Nancy: But to see her was to love her, Love but her, and love forever. Had we never loved sae kindly, Had we never loved sae blindly, Never met—or never parted, We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest! Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest! Thine be ilka joy and treasure, Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure! Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, alas, forever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee!
O, MY LUVE'S LIKE A RED, RED ROSE.
O, my Luve's like a red, red rose That's newly sprung in June: O, my Luve's like the melodie That's sweetly played in tune.
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, So deep in luve am I: And I will luve thee still, my dear, Till a' the seas gang dry:
Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear. And the rocks melt wi' the sun: And I will luve thee still, my dear, While the sands o' life shall run.
And fare thee weel, my only Luve! And fare thee weel awhile! And I will come again, my Luve, Tho' it were ten thousand mile.
MAID OF ATHENS, ERE WE PART.
Maid of Athens, ere we part, Give, O, give me back my heart! Or, since that has left my breast, Keep it now, and take the rest! Hear my vow before I go, [Greek: Zoe moy sas hagapo.]
By those tresses unconfined, Wooed by each AEgean wind; By those lids whose jetty fringe Kiss thy soft cheeks' blooming tinge; By those wild eyes like the roe, [Greek: Zoe moy sas hagapo.]
By that lip I long to taste; By that zone-encircled waist; By all the token-flowers that tell What words can never speak so well; By love's alternate joy and woe, [Greek: Zoe moy sas hagapo.]
Maid of Athens! I am gone. Think of me, sweet! when alone. Though I fly to Istambol, Athens holds my heart and soul: Can I cease to love thee? No! [Greek: Zoe moy sas hagapo.]
 Zoe mou, sas agapø; My life. I love thee.
OF THE YOUNG HIGHLANDER SUMMONED FROM HIS BRIDE BY THE "FIERY CROSS OF RODERICK DHU."
FROM "THE LADY OF THE LAKE."
The heath this night must be my bed, The bracken curtain for my head, My lullaby the warder's tread, Far, far from love and thee, Mary; To-morrow eve, more stilly laid My couch may be my bloody plaid, My vesper song, thy wail, sweet maid! It will not waken me, Mary!
I may not, dare not, fancy now The grief that clouds thy lovely brow, I dare not think upon thy vow, And all it promised me, Mary. No fond regret must Norman know; When bursts Clan-Alpine on the foe, His heart must be like bended bow, His foot like arrow free, Mary!
A time will come with feeling fraught! For, if I fall in battle fought, Thy hapless lover's dying thought Shall be a thought on thee. Mary. And if returned from conquered foes, How blithely will the evening close, How sweet the linnet sing repose, To my young bride and me, Mary!
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
All in the Downs the fleet was moored, The streamers waving in the wind, When black-eyed Susan came aboard; "O, where shall I my true-love find? Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true If my sweet William sails among the crew."
William, who high upon the yard Rocked with the billow to and fro, Soon as her well-known voice he heard He sighed, and cast his eyes below: The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands, And quick as lightning on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high poised in air, Shuts close his pinions to his breast If chance his mate's shrill call he hear, And drops at once into her nest:— The noblest captain in the British fleet Might envy William's lips those kisses sweet.
"O Susan, Susan, lovely dear, My vows shall ever true remain; Let me kiss off that falling tear; We only part to meet again. Change as ye list, ye winds; my heart shall be The faithful compass that still points to thee.
"Believe not what the landmen say Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind; They'll tell thee, sailors, when away, In every port a mistress find; Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so, For thou art present wheresoe'er I go.
"If to fair India's coast we sail, Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright, Thy breath is Afric's spicy gale, Thy skin is ivory so white. Thus every beauteous object that I view Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
"Though battle call me from thy arms, Let not my pretty Susan mourn; Though cannons roar, yet safe from harms William shall to his dear return. Love turns aside the balls that round me fly, Lest precious tears should drop from Susan's eye." The boatswain gave the dreadful word, The sails their swelling bosom spread; No longer must she stay aboard: They kissed, she sighed, he hung his head. Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land; "Adieu!" she cried; and waved her lily hand.
THE PARTING LOVERS.
She says, "The cock crows,—hark!" He says, "No! still 'tis dark."
She says, "The dawn grows bright," He says, "O no, my Light."
She says, "Stand up and say, Gets not the heaven gray?"
He says, "The morning star Climbs the horizon's bar."
She says, "Then quick depart: Alas! you now must start;
But give the cock a blow Who did begin our woe!"
ANONYMOUS. From the Chinese. Translation of WILLIAM. R. ALGER.
LOCHABER NO MORE.
Farewell to Lochaber! and farewell, my Jean, Where heartsome with thee I hae mony day been; For Lochaber no more, Lochaber no more, We'll maybe return to Lochaber no more! These tears that I shed they are a' for my dear, And no for the dangers attending on wear, Though borne on rough seas to a far bloody shore, Maybe to return to Lochaber no more.
Though hurricanes rise, and rise every wind, They'll ne'er make a tempest like that in my mind; Though loudest of thunder on louder waves roar, That's naething like leaving my love on the shore. To leave thee behind me my heart is sair pained; By ease that's inglorious no fame can be gained; And beauty and love's the reward of the brave, And I must deserve it before I can crave.
Then glory, my Jeany, maun plead my excuse; Since honor commands me, how can I refuse? Without it I ne'er can have merit for thee, And without thy favor I'd better not be. I gae then, my lass, to win honor and fame, And if I should luck to come gloriously hame, I'll bring a heart to thee with love running o'er, And then I'll leave thee and Lochaber no more.
AS SLOW OUR SHIP.
As slow our ship her foamy track Against the wind was cleaving. Her trembling pennant still looked back To that dear isle 'twas leaving. So loath we part from all we love, From all the links that bind us; So turn our hearts, as on we rove, To those we've left behind us!
When, round the bowl, of vanished years We talk with joyous seeming,— With smiles that might as well be tears, So faint, so sad their beaming; While memory brings us back again Each early tie that twined us, O, sweet's the cup that circles then To those we've left behind us!
And when, in other climes, we meet Some isle or vale enchanting, Where all looks flowery, wild, and sweet, And naught but love is wanting; We think how great had been our bliss If Heaven had but assigned us To live and die in scenes like this, With some we've left behind us!
As travellers oft look back at eve When eastward darkly going, To gaze upon that light they leave Still faint behind, them glowing,— So, when the close of pleasure's day To gloom hath near consigned us, We turn to catch one fading ray Of joy that's left behind us.
QUA CURSUM VENTUS.
As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay With canvas drooping, side by side, Two towers of sail at dawn of day Are scarce long leagues apart descried.
When fell the night, up sprang the breeze, And all the darkling hours they plied, Nor dreamt but each the selfsame seas By each was cleaving, side by side:
E'en so,—but why the tale reveal Of those whom, year by year unchanged, Brief absence joined anew to feel, Astounded, soul from soul estranged?
At dead of night their sails were filled, And onward each rejoicing steered;— Ah! neither blame, for neither willed Or wist what first with dawn appeared.
To veer, how vain! On, onward strain, Brave barks! In light, in darkness too, Through winds and tides one compass guides; To that and your own selves be true.
But O blithe breeze! and O great seas! Though ne'er, that earliest parting past, On your wide plain they join again,— Together lead them home at last.
One port, methought, alike they sought,— One purpose hold where'er they fare; O bounding breeze, O rushing seas, At last, at last, unite them there!
ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH.
ADIEU, ADIEU! MY NATIVE SHORE.
Adieu, adieu! my native shore Fades o'er the waters blue; The night-winds sigh, the breakers roar, And shrieks the wild sea-mew. Yon sun that sets upon the sea We follow in his flight; Farewell awhile to him and thee, My native Land—Good Night!
A few short hours, and he will rise To give the morrow birth; And I shall hail the main and skies, But not my mother earth. Deserted is my own good hall, Its hearth is desolate; Wild weeds are gathering on the wall; My dog howls at the gate.
FAREWELL TO HIS WIFE.
Fare thee well! and if forever, Still forever, fare thee well; Even though unforgiving, never 'Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.
Would that breast were bared before thee Where thy head so oft hath lain, While that placid sleep came o'er thee Which thou ne'er canst know again:
Would that breast, by thee glanced over, Every inmost thought could show! Then thou wouldst at last discover 'Twas not well to spurn it so.
Though the world for this commend thee,— Though it smile upon the blow, Even its praises must offend thee, Founded on another's woe:
Though my many faults defaced me, Could no other arm be found Than the one which once embraced me, To inflict a cureless wound?
Yet, O, yet thyself deceived not: Love may sink by slow decay; But by sudden wrench, believe not Hearts can thus be torn away:
Still thy own its life retaineth,— Still must mine, though bleeding, beat; And the undying thought which paineth Is—that we no more may meet.
These are words of deeper sorrow Than the wail above the dead; Both shall live, but every morrow Wake us from a widowed bed.
And when thou wouldst solace gather, When our child's first accents flow, Wilt thou teach her to say "Father!" Though his care she must forego?
When her little hands shall press thee, When her lip to thine is pressed, Think of him whose prayer shall bless thee, Think of him thy love had blessed!
Should her lineaments resemble Those thou nevermore mayst see, Then thy heart will softly tremble With a pulse yet true to me.
All my faults perchance thou knowest, All my madness none can know; All my hopes, where'er thou goest, Wither, yet with thee they go. Every feeling hath been shaken; Pride, which not a world could bow, Bows to thee,—by thee forsaken, Even my soul forsakes me now;
But 't is done; all words are idle,— Words from me are vainer still; But the thoughts we cannot bridle Force their way without the will.
Fare thee well!—thus disunited, Torn from every nearer tie, Seared in heart, and lone, and blighted, More than this I scarce can die.
COME, LET US KISSE AND PARTE.
Since there's no helpe,—come, let us kisse and parte, Nay, I have done,—you get no more of me; And I am glad,—yea, glad with all my hearte, That thus so cleanly I myselfe can free. Shake hands forever!—cancel all our vows; And when we meet at any time againe, Be it not seene in either of our brows, That we one jot of former love retaine.
Now—at the last gaspe of Love's latest breath— When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies; When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death, And Innocence is closing up his eyes, Now! if thou wouldst—when all have given him over— From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.
FAREWELL! THOU ART TOO DEAR.
Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing, And like enough thou know'st thy estimate: The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing; My bonds in thee are all determinate. For how do I hold thee but by thy granting? And for that riches where is my deserving? The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting, And so my patent back again is swerving. Thyself thou gav'st, thy own worth then not knowing? Or me, to whom thou gav'st it, else mistaking; So thy great gift, upon misprision growing, Comes home again, on better judgment making. Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter; In sleep a king, but, waking, no such matter.
Kathleen Mavourneen! the gray dawn is breaking, The horn of the hunter is heard on the hill; The lark from her light wing the bright dew is shaking,— Kathleen Mavourneen! what, slumbering still?
Oh, hast thou forgotten how soon we must sever? Oh! hast thou forgotten this day we must part? It may be for years, and it may be forever! Oh, why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart? Oh! why art thou silent, Kathleen Mavourneen?
Kathleen Mavourneen, awake from thy slumbers! The blue mountains glow in the sun's golden light; Ah, where is the spell that once hung on my numbers? Arise in thy beauty, thou star of my night!
Mavourneen, Mavourneen, my sad tears are falling, To think that from Erin and thee I must part! It may be for years, and it may be forever! Then why art thou silent, thou voice of my heart? Then why art thou silent, Kathleen Mavourneen?
JULIA (OR LOUISA MACARTNEY) CRAWFORD.
WE PARTED IN SILENCE.
We parted in silence, we parted by night, On the banks of that lonely river; Where the fragrant limes their boughs unite, We met—and we parted forever! The night-bird sung, and the stars above Told many a touching story, Of friends long passed to the kingdom of love, Where the soul wears its mantle of glory.
We parted in silence,—our cheeks were wet With the tears that were past controlling; We vowed we would never, no, never forget, And those vows at the time were consoling; But those lips that echoed the sounds of mine Are as cold as that lonely river; And that eye, that beautiful spirit's shrine, Has shrouded its fires forever.
And now on the midnight sky I look, And my heart grows full of weeping; Each star is to me a sealed book, Some tale of that loved one keeping. We parted in silence,—we parted in tears, On the banks of that lonely river: But the odor and bloom of those bygone years Shall hang o'er its waters forever.
JULIA (OR LOUISA MACARTNEY) CRAWFORD.
The little gate was reached at last, Half hid in lilacs down the lane; She pushed it wide, and, as she past, A wistful look she backward cast, And said,—"Auf wiedersehen!" With hand on latch, a vision white Lingered reluctant, and again Half doubting if she did aright, Soft as the dews that fell that night, She said,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
The lamp's clear gleam flits up the stair; I linger in delicious pain; Ah, in that chamber, whose rich air To breathe in thought I scarcely dare, Thinks she,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
'Tis thirteen years; once more I press The turf that silences the lane; I hear the rustle of her dress, I smell the lilacs, and—ah, yes, I hear,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
Sweet piece of bashful maiden art! The English words had seemed too fain, But these—they drew us heart to heart, Yet held us tenderly apart; She said,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Still thirteen years: 't is autumn now On field and hill, in heart and brain; The naked trees at evening sough; The leaf to the forsaken bough Sighs not,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
Two watched yon oriole's pendent dome, That now is void, and dank with rain, And one,—oh, hope more frail than foam! The bird to his deserted home Sings not,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
The loath gate swings with rusty creak; Once, parting there, we played at pain; There came a parting, when the weak And fading lips essayed to speak Vainly,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
Somewhere is comfort, somewhere faith, Though thou in outer dark remain; One sweet sad voice ennobles death, And still, for eighteen centuries saith Softly,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
If earth another grave must bear, Yet heaven hath won a sweeter strain, And something whispers my despair, That, from an orient chamber there, Floats down,—"Auf wiedersehen!"
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
Farewell!—but whenever you welcome the hour That awakens the night-song of mirth in your bower. Then think of the friend that once welcomed it too. And forgot his own griefs, to be happy with you. His griefs may return—not a hope may remain Of the few that have brightened his pathway of pain— But he ne'er can forget the short vision that threw Its enchantment around him while lingering with you!
And still on that evening when Pleasure fills up To the highest top sparkle each heart and each cup, Where'er my path lies, be it gloomy or bright, My soul, happy friends! will be with you that night; Shall join in your revels, your sports, and your wiles, And return to me, beaming all o'er with your smiles— Too blest if it tell me that, 'mid the gay cheer, Some kind voice has murmured, "I wish he were here!"
Let Fate do her worst, there are relics of joy, Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy; Which come in the night-time of sorrow and care, And bring back the features which joy used to wear. Long, long be my heart with such memories filled! Like the vase in which roses have once been distilled— You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will, But the scent of the roses will hang round it still.
PARTING OF HECTOR AND ANDROMACHE.
FROM "THE ILIAD," BOOK VI.
"Too daring prince! ah whither dost thou run? Ah too forgetful of thy wife and son! And think'st thou not how wretched we shall be, A widow I, a helpless orphan he! For sure such courage length of life denies, And thou must fall, thy virtue's sacrifice. Greece in her single heroes strove in vain; Now hosts oppose thee, and thou must be slain! Oh grant me, gods! ere Hector meets his doom, All I can ask of heaven, an early tomb! So shall my days in one sad tenor run, And end with sorrows as they first begun. No parent now remains, my griefs to share, No father's aid, no mother's tender care. The fierce Achilles wrapt our walls in fire, Laid Thebe waste, and slew my warlike sire! His fate compassion in the victor bred; Stern as he was, he yet revered the dead, His radiant arms preserved from hostile spoil, And laid him decent on the funeral pile; Then raised a mountain where his bones were burned; The mountain nymphs the rural tomb adorned; Jove's sylvan daughters bade their elms bestow A barren shade, and in his honor grow.
"Yet while my Hector still survives, I see My father, mother, brethren, all, in thee. Alas! my parents, brothers, kindred, all, Once more will perish if my Hector fall. Thy wife, thy infant, in thy danger share; Oh prove a husband's and a father's care! That quarter most the skillful Greeks annoy, Where yon wild fig-trees join the wall of Troy: Thou, from this tower defend th'important post; There Agamemnon points his dreadful host, That pass Tydides, Ajax, strive to gain, And there the vengeful Spartan fires his train. Thrice our bold foes the fierce attack have given, Or led by hopes, or dictated from heaven. Let others in the field their arms employ, But stay my Hector here, and guard his Troy."
The chief replied: "That post shall be my care, Nor that alone, but all the works of war. [How would the sons of Troy, in arms renowned, And Troy's proud dames, whose garments sweep the ground, Attaint the lustre of my former name, Should Hector basely quit the field of fame? My early youth was bred to martial pains, My soul impels me to th'embattled plains: Let me be foremost to defend the throne, And guard my father's glories, and my own. Yet come it will, the day decreed by fates; (How my heart trembles while my tongue relates) The day when thou, imperial Troy! must bend, And see thy warriors fall, thy glories end. And yet no dire presage so wounds my mind, My mother's death, the ruin of my kind, Not Priam's hoary hairs denied with gore, Not all my brothers gasping on the shore; As thine, Andromache! thy griefs I dread; I see thee trembling, weeping, captive led!] In Argive looms our battles to design, And woes of which so large a part was thine! To bear the victor's hard commands or bring The weight of waters from Hyperia's spring. There, while you groan beneath the load of life, They cry, Behold the mighty Hector's wife! Some haughty Greek, who lives thy tears to see, Embitters all thy woes by naming me. The thoughts of glory past, and present shame, A thousand griefs, shall waken at the name! May I lie cold before that dreadful day, Pressed with a load of monumental clay! Thy Hector, wrapped in everlasting sleep, Shall neither hear thee sigh, nor see thee weep."
Thus having spoke, th' illustrious chief of Troy Stretched his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy. The babe clung crying to his nurse's breast, Scared at the dazzling helm, and nodding crest. With secret pleasure each fond parent smiled, And Hector hasted to relieve his child; The glittering terrors from his brows unbound, And placed the beaming helmet on the ground. Then kissed the child, and, lifting high in air, Thus to the gods preferred a father's prayer:
"O thou whose glory fills th' ethereal throne, And all ye deathless powers! protect my son! Grant him, like me, to purchase just renown, To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown, Against his country's foes the war to wage, And rise the Hector of the future age! So when, triumphant from successful toils, Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils, Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim, And say, This chief transcends his father's fame: While pleased, amidst the general shouts of Troy, His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy."
He spoke, and fondly gazing on her charms Restored the pleasing burden to her arms; Soft on her fragrant breast the babe she laid, Hushed to repose, and with a smile surveyed. The troubled pleasure soon chastised by fear, She mingled with the smile a tender tear. The softened chief with kind compassion viewed, And dried the falling drops, and thus pursued:
"Andromache! my soul's far better part, Why with untimely sorrows heaves thy heart? No hostile hand can antedate my doom, Till fate condemns me to the silent tomb. Fixed is the term to all the race of earth, And such the hard condition of our birth. No force can then resist, no flight can save; All sink alike, the fearful and the brave. No more—but hasten to thy tasks at home, There guide the spindle, and direct the loom: Me glory summons to the martial scene, The field of combat is the sphere for men. Where heroes war, the foremost place I claim, The first in danger as the first in fame."
Thus having said, the glorious chief resumes His towery helmet, black with shading plumes. His princess parts with a prophetic sigh, Unwilling parts, and oft reverts her eye, That streamed at every look: then, moving slow, Sought her own palace, and indulged her woe. There, while her tears deplored the godlike man, Through all her train the soft infection ran; The pious maids their mingled sorrows shed, And mourn the living Hector as the dead.
From the Greek of HOMER. Translation of ALEXANDER POPE.
HECTOR TO HIS WIFE.
FROM THE ILIAD, BOOK VI.
[The following extract is given as showing a more modern style of translation. It embraces the bracketed portion of the foregoing from Pope's version.]
I too have thought of all this, dear wife, but I fear the reproaches Both of the Trojan youths and the long-robed maidens of Troja, If like a cowardly churl I should keep me aloof from the combat: Nor would my spirit permit; for well I have learnt to be valiant, Fighting aye 'mong the first of the Trojans marshalled in battle, Striving to keep the renown of my sire and my own unattainted. Well, too well, do I know,—both my mind and my spirit agreeing, That there will be a day when sacred Troja shall perish. Priam will perish too, and the people of Priam, the spear-armed. Still, I have not such care for the Trojans doomed to destruction, No, nor for Hecuba's self, nor for Priam, the monarch, my father, Nor for my brothers' fate, who, though they be many and valiant, All in the dust may lie low by the hostile spears of Achaia, As for thee, when some youth of the brazen-mailed Achaeans Weeping shall bear thee away, and bereave thee forever of freedom.
Translation of E.C. HAWTREY.
If to be absent were to be Away from thee; Or that, when I am gone, You or I were alone; Then, my Lucasta, might I crave Pity from blustering wind or swallowing wave.
But I'll not sigh one blast or gale To swell my sail, Or pay a tear to 'suage The foaming blue-god's rage; For, whether he will let me pass Or no, I'm still as happy as I was.
Though seas and lands be 'twixt us both, Our faith and troth, Like separated souls, All time and space controls: Above the highest sphere we meet, Unseen, unknown; and greet as angels greet.
So, then, we do anticipate Our after-fate, And are alive i' the skies, If thus our lips and eyes Can speak like spirits unconfined In heaven,—their earthly bodies left behind.
TO HER ABSENT SAILOR.
FROM "THE TENT ON THE BEACH."
Her window opens to the bay, On glistening light or misty gray, And there at dawn and set of day In prayer she kneels: "Dear Lord!" she saith, "to many a home From wind and wave the wanderers come; I only see the tossing foam Of stranger keels.
"Blown out and in by summer gales, The stately ships, with crowded sails, And sailors leaning o'er their rails, Before me glide; They come, they go, but nevermore, Spice-laden from the Indian shore, I see his swift-winged Isidore The waves divide.
"O Thou! with whom the night is day And one the near and far away, Look out on yon gray waste, and say Where lingers he. Alive, perchance, on some lone beach Or thirsty isle beyond the reach Of man, he hears the mocking speech Of wind and sea.
"O dread and cruel deep, reveal The secret which thy waves conceal, And, ye wild sea-birds, hither wheel And tell your tale. Let winds that tossed his raven hair A message from my lost one bear,— Some thought of me, a last fond prayer Or dying wail!
"Come, with your dreariest truth shut out The fears that haunt me round about; O God! I cannot bear this doubt That stifles breath. The worst is better than the dread; Give me but leave to mourn my dead Asleep in trust and hope, instead Of life in death!"
It might have been the evening breeze That whispered in the garden trees, It might have been the sound of seas That rose and fell; But, with her heart, if not her ear, The old loved voice she seemed to hear: "I wait to meet thee: be of cheer, For all is well!"
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
I LOVE MY JEAN.
Of a' the airts the wind can blaw, I dearly like the west; For there the bonnie lassie lives, The lassie I lo'e best. There wild woods grow, and rivers row, And monie a hill's between; But day and night my fancy's flight Is ever wi' my Jean.
I see her in the dewy flowers, I see her sweet and fair; I hear her in the tunefu' birds, I hear her charm the air; There's not a bonnie flower that springs By fountain, shaw, or green; There's not a bonnie bird that sings, But minds me of my Jean.
 The points of the compass.
I've wandered east, I've wandered west, Through mony a weary way; But never, never can forget The luve o' life's young day! The fire that's blawn on Beltane e'en May weel be black gin Yule; But blacker fa' awaits the heart Where first fond luve grows cule.
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison, The thochts o' bygane years Still fling their shadows ower my path, And blind my een wi' tears: They blind my een wi' saut, saut tears, And sair and sick I pine, As memory idly summons up The blithe blinks o' langsyne.
'Twas then we luvit ilk ither weel, 'Twas then we twa did part; Sweet time—sad time! twa bairns at scule, Twa bairns, and but ae heart! 'Twas then we sat on ae laigh bink, To leir ilk ither lear; And tones and looks and smiles were shed, Remembered evermair.
I wonder, Jeanie, aften yet, When sitting on that bink, Cheek touchin' cheek, loof locked in loof, What our wee heads could think. When baith bent doun ower ae braid page, Wi' ae buik on our knee, Thy lips were on thy lesson, but My lesson was in thee.
O, mind ye how we hung our heads, How cheeks brent red wi' shame, Whene'er the scule-weans, laughin', said We cleeked thegither hame? And mind ye o' the Saturdays, (The scule then skail't at noon,) When we ran off to speel the braes,— The broomy braes o' June?
My head rins round and round about,— My heart flows like a sea, As ane by ane the thochts rush back O' scule-time, and o' thee. O mornin' life! O mornin' luve! O lichtsome days and lang, When hinnied hopes around our hearts Like simmer blossoms sprang!
O, mind ye, luve, how aft we left The deavin', dinsome toun, To wander by the green burnside, And hear its waters croon? The simmer leaves hung ower our heads, The flowers burst round our feet, And in the gloamin' o' the wood The throssil whusslit sweet;
The throssil whusslit in the woods, The burn sang to the trees,— And we, with nature's heart in tune, Concerted harmonies; And on the knowe abune the burn, For hours thegither sat In the silentness o' joy, till baith Wi' very gladness grat.
Ay, ay, dear Jeanie Morrison, Tears trickled doun your cheek Like dew-beads on a rose, yet nane Had ony power to speak! That was a time, a blessed time, When hearts were fresh and young, When freely gushed all feelings forth, Unsyllabled—unsung!
I marvel, Jeanie Morrison, Gin I hae been to thee As closely twined wi' earliest thochts As ye hae been to me? O, tell me gin their music fills Thine ear as it does mine! O, say gin e'er your heart grows grit Wi' dreamings o' langsyne?
I've wandered east, I've wandered west, I've borne a weary lot; But in my wanderings, far or near, Ye never were forgot. The fount that first burst frae this heart Still travels on its way; And channels deeper, as it rins, The luve o' life's young day.
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison, Since we were sindered young I've never seen your face nor heard The music o' your tongue; But I could hug all wretchedness, And happy could I dee, Did I but ken your heart still dreamed O' bygane days and me!
O, SAW YE BONNIE LESLIE?
O, saw ye bonnie Leslie As she gaed o'er the border? She's gane, like Alexander, To spread her conquests farther.
To see her is to love her, And love but her forever; For nature made her what she is, And ne'er made sic anither!
Thou art a queen, fair Leslie, Thy subjects we, before thee; Thou art divine, fair Leslie, The hearts o' men adore thee.
The deil he could na scaith thee, Or aught that wad belang thee; He'd look into thy bonnie face, And say, "I canna wrang thee!"
The Powers aboon will tent thee; Misfortune sha' na steer thee; Thou'rt like themselves sae lovely That ill they 'll ne'er let near thee.
Return again, fair Leslie, Return to Caledonie! That we may brag we hae a lass There's nane again sae bonnie.
THE RUSTIC LAD'S LAMENT IN THE TOWN.
O, wad that my time were owre but, Wi' this wintry sleet and snaw, That I might see our house again, I' the bonnie birken shaw! For this is no my ain life, And I peak and pine away Wi' the thochts o' hame and the young flowers, In the glad green month of May.
I used to wauk in the morning Wi' the loud sang o' the lark, And the whistling o' the ploughman lads, As they gaed to their wark; I used to wear the bit young lambs Frae the tod and the roaring stream; But the warld is changed, and a' thing now To me seems like a dream.
There are busy crowds around me, On ilka lang dull street; Yet, though sae mony surround me, I ken na are I meet: And I think o' kind kent faces, And o' blithe an' cheery days, When I wandered out wi' our ain folk, Out owre the simmer braes.
Waes me, for my heart is breaking! I think o' my brither sma', And on my sister greeting, When I cam frae hame awa. And O, how my mither sobbit, As she shook me by the hand, When I left the door o' our auld house, To come to this stranger land.
There's nae hame like our ain hame— O, I wush that I were there! There's nae hame like our ain hame To be met wi' onywhere; And O that I were back again, To our farm and fields sae green; And heard the tongues o' my ain folk, And were what I hae been!
DAVID MACBETH MOIR.
What shall I do with all the days and hours That must be counted ere I see thy face? How shall I charm the interval that lowers Between this time and that sweet time of grace?
Shall I in slumber steep each weary sense, Weary with longing?—shall I flee away Into past days, and with some fond pretence Cheat myself to forget the present day?
Shall love for thee lay on my soul the sin Of casting from me God's great gift of time? Shall I, these mists of memory locked within, Leave and forget life's purposes sublime?
O, how or by what means may I contrive To bring the hour that brings thee back more near? How may I teach my drooping hope to live Until that blessed time, and thou art here?
I'll tell thee; for thy sake I will lay hold Of all good aims, and consecrate to thee,
In worthy deeds, each moment that is told While thou, beloved one! art far from me.
For thee I will arouse my thoughts to try All heavenward flights, all high and holy strains; For thy dear sake I will walk patiently Through these long hours, nor call their minutes pains.
I will this dreary blank of absence make A noble task-time; and will therein strive To follow excellence, and to o'ertake More good than I have won since yet I live.
So may this doomed time build up in me A thousand graces, which shall thus be thine; So may my love and longing hallowed be, And thy dear thought an influence divine.
FRANCES ANNE KEMBLE.
What's this dull town to me? Robin's not near,— He whom I wished to see, Wished for to hear; Where's all the joy and mirth Made life a heaven on earth, O, they're all fled with thee, Robin Adair!
What made the assembly shine? Robin Adair: What made the ball so fine? Robin was there: What, when the play was o'er, What made my heart so sore? O, it was parting with Robin Adair!
But now thou art far from me, Robin Adair; But now I never see Robin Adair; Yet him I loved so well Still in my heart shall dwell; O, I can ne'er forget Robin Adair!
Welcome on shore again, Robin Adair! Welcome once more again, Robin Adair! I feel thy trembling hand; Tears in thy eyelids stand, To greet thy native land, Robin Adair!
Long I ne'er saw thee, love, Robin Adair; Still I prayed for thee, love, Robin Adair; When thou wert far at sea, Many made love to me, But still I thought on thee, Robin Adair.
Come to my heart again, Robin Adair; Never to part again, Robin Adair; And if thou still art true, I will be constant too, And will wed none but you, Robin Adair!
LADY CAROLINE KEPPEL.
Where the thistle lifts a purple crown Six foot out of the turf, And the harebell shakes on the windy hill— O the breath of the distant surf!—
The hills look over on the South, And southward dreams the sea; And, with the sea-breeze hand in hand, Came innocence and she.
Where 'mid the gorse the raspberry Red for the gatherer springs, Two children did we stray and talk Wise, idle, childish things.
She listened with big-lipped surprise, Breast-deep mid flower and spine: Her skin was like a grape, whose veins Run snow instead of wine.
She knew not those sweet words she spake. Nor knew her own sweet way; But there's never a bird, so sweet a song Thronged in whose throat that day!
Oh, there were flowers in Storrington On the turf and on the sprays; But the sweetest flower on Sussex hills Was the Daisy-flower that day!
Her beauty smoothed earth's furrowed face! She gave me tokens three:— A look, a word of her winsome mouth, And a wild raspberry.
A berry red, a guileless look, A still word,—strings of sand! And yet they made my wild, wild heart Fly down to her little hand.
For standing artless as the air, And candid as the skies, She took the berries with her hand, And the love with her sweet eyes.
The fairest things have fleetest end: Their scent survives their close, But the rose's scent is bitterness To him that loved the rose!
She looked a little wistfully, Then went her sunshine way:— The sea's eye had a mist on it, And the leaves fell from the day.
She went her unremembering way, She went and left in me The pang of all the partings gone, And partings yet to be.
She left me marvelling why my soul Was sad that she was glad; At all the sadness in the sweet, The sweetness in the sad.
Still, still I seemed to see her, still Look up with soft replies, And take the berries with her hand, And the love with her lovely eyes.
Nothing begins, and nothing ends, That is not paid with moan; For we are born in others' pain, And perish in our own.
SONG OF EGLA.
Day, in melting purple dying; Blossoms, all around me sighing; Fragrance, from the lilies straying; Zephyr, with my ringlets playing; Ye but waken my distress; I am sick of loneliness!
Thou, to whom I love to hearken, Come, ere night around me darken; Though thy softness but deceive me, Say thou'rt true, and I'll believe thee; Veil, if ill, thy soul's intent, Let me think it innocent!
Save thy toiling, spare thy treasure; All I ask is friendship's pleasure; Let the shining ore lie darkling,— Bring no gem in lustre sparkling; Gifts and gold are naught to me, I would only look on thee!
Tell to thee the high-wrought feeling, Ecstasy but in revealing; Paint to thee the deep sensation, Rapture in participation; Yet but torture, if comprest In a lone, unfriended breast.
Absent still! Ah! come and bless me! Let these eyes again caress thee. Once in caution, I could fly thee; Now, I nothing could deny thee. In a look if death there be, Come, and I will gaze on thee!
MARIA GOWEN BROOKS (Maria del Occidente).
WHAT AILS THIS HEART O' MINE?
What ails this heart o' mine? What ails this watery ee? What gars me a' turn pale as death When I take leave o' thee? Whea thou art far awa', Thou'lt dearer grow to me; But change o' place and change o' folk May gar thy fancy jee.
When I gae out at e'en, Or walk at morning air, Ilk rustling bush will seem to say I used to meet thee there: Then I'll sit down and cry, And live aneath the tree, And when a leaf fa's i' my lap, I'll ca't a word frae thee.
I'll hie me to the bower That thou wi' roses tied, And where wi' mony a blushing bud I strove myself to hide. I'll doat on ilka spot Where I ha'e been wi' thee; And ca' to mind some kindly word By ilka burn and tree.
FROM "ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL," ACT I. SC. I.
I am undone: there is no living, none, If Bertram be away. It were all one, That I should love a bright particular star, And think to wed it, he is so above me: In his bright radiance and collateral light Must I be comforted, not in his sphere. The ambition in my love thus plagues itself: The hind that would be mated by the lion Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a plague, To see him every hour; to sit and draw His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls, In our heart's table,—heart too capable Of every line and trick of his sweet favor: But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy Must sanctify his relics.
When I think on the happy days I spent wi' you, my dearie; And now what lands between us lie, How can I be but eerie!
How slow ye move, ye heavy hours, As ye were wae and weary! It was na sae ye glinted by When I was wi' my dearie.
Oh thinkin' long's the weary work! It breaks my heart from dawn Till all the wee, wee, friendly stars Come out at dayli'gone. An' thinkin' long's the weary work, When I must spin and spin, To drive the fearsome fancies out, An' hold the hopeful in!
Ah, sure my lad is far away! My lad who left our glen When from the soul of Ireland came A call for fightin' men; I miss his gray eyes glancin' bright, I miss his liltin' song, And that is why, the lonesome day, I'm always thinkin' long.
May God's kind angels guard him When the fray is fierce and grim, And blunt the point of every sword That turns its hate on him. Where round the torn yet dear green flag The brave and lovin' throng— But the lasses of Glenwherry smile At me for thinkin' long.
ANNA MAC MANUS (Ethna Carbery).
"TEARS, IDLE TEARS."
FROM "THE PRINCESS."
Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean, Tears from the depth of some divine despair Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, In looking on the happy autumn fields, And thinking of the days that are no more. Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail, That brings our friends up from the under world; Sad as the last which reddens over one That sinks with all we love below the verge,— So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns The earliest pipe of half-awakened birds To dying ears, when unto dying eyes The casement slowly grows a glimmering square; So sad, so strange, the days that are no more.
Dear as remembered kisses after death, And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feigned On lips that are for others; deep as love, Deep as first love and wild with all regret,— O Death in Life, the days that are no more.
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON.
THE OLD FAMILIAR FACES.
I have had playmates, I have had companions, In my days of childhood, in my joyful school-days; All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.
I have been laughing, I have been carousing, Drinking late, sitting late, with my bosom cronies; All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.
I loved a Love once, fairest among women: Closed are her doors on me, I must not see her,— All, all are gone, the old familiar faces. I have a friend, a kinder friend has no man: Like an ingrate, I left my friend abruptly; Left him, to muse on the old familiar faces.
Ghost-like I paced round the haunts of my childhood, Earth seemed a desert I was bound to traverse, Seeking to find the old familiar faces.
Friend of my bosom, thou more than a brother, Why wert not thou born in my father's dwelling? So might we talk of the old familiar faces.
How some they have died, and some they have left me, And some are taken from me; all are departed; All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.
COME TO ME, DEAREST.
Come to me, dearest, I'm lonely without thee, Daytime and night-time, I'm thinking about thee; Night-time and daytime, in dreams I behold thee; Unwelcome the waking which ceases to fold thee. Come to me, darling, my sorrows to lighten, Come in thy beauty to bless and to brighten; Come in thy womanhood, meekly and lowly, Come in thy lovingness, queenly and holy.
Swallows will flit round the desolate ruin, Telling of spring and its joyous renewing; And thoughts of thy love, and its manifold treasure, Are circling my heart with a promise of pleasure. O Spring of my spirit, O May of my bosom, Shine out on my soul, till it bourgeon and blossom; The waste of my life has a rose-root within it, And thy fondness alone to the sunshine can win it.
Figure that moves like a song through the even; Features lit up by a reflex of heaven; Eyes like the skies of poor Erin, our mother, Where shadow and sunshine are chasing each other; Smiles coming seldom, but childlike and simple, Planting in each rosy cheek a sweet dimple;— thanks to the Saviour, that even thy seeming Is left to the exile to brighten his dreaming.
You have been glad when you knew I was gladdened; Dear, are you sad now to hear I am saddened? Our hearts ever answer in tune and in time, love, As octave to octave, and rhyme unto rhyme, love: I cannot weep but your tears will be flowing, You cannot smile but my cheek will be glowing; I would not die without you at my side, love, You will not linger when I shall have died, love.
Come to me, dear, ere I die of my sorrow, Rise on my gloom like the sun of to-morrow; Strong, swift, and fond as the words which I speak, love, With a song on your lip and a smile on your cheek, love. Come, for my heart in your absence is weary,— Haste, for my spirit is sickened and dreary,— Come to the arms which alone should caress thee. Come to the heart that is throbbing to press thee!
THE WIFE TO HER HUSBAND.
Linger not long. Home is not home without thee: Its dearest tokens do but make me mourn. O, let its memory, like a chain about thee, Gently compel and hasten thy return!
Linger not long. Though crowds should woo thy staying, Bethink thee, can the mirth of thy friends, though dear, Compensate for the grief thy long delaying Costs the fond heart that sighs to have thee here?
Linger not long. How shall I watch thy coming, As evening shadows stretch o'er moor and dell; When the wild bee hath ceased her busy humming, And silence hangs on all things like a spell!
How shall I watch for thee, when fears grow stronger, As night grows dark and darker on the hill! How shall I weep, when I can watch no longer! Ah! art thou absent, art thou absent still?
Yet I shall grieve not, though the eye that seeth me Gazeth through tears that makes its splendor dull; For oh! I sometimes fear when thou art with me, My cup of happiness is all too full.
Haste, haste thee home unto thy mountain dwelling, Haste, as a bird unto its peaceful nest! Haste, as a skiff, through tempests wide and swelling, Flies to its haven of securest rest!
MY OLD KENTUCKY HOME.
The sun shines bright on our old Kentucky home; 'Tis summer, the darkeys are gay; The corn top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom, While the birds make music all the day; The young folks roll on the little cabin floor, All merry, all happy, all bright; By'm by hard times comes a knockin' at the door,— Then, my old Kentucky home, good night!
Weep no more, my lady; O, weep no more to-day! We'll sing one song for the old Kentucky home, For our old Kentucky home far away.
They hunt no more for the possum and the coon, On the meadow, the hill, and the shore; They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon, On the bench by the old cabin door; The day goes by, like the shadow o'er the heart, With sorrow where all was delight; The time has come, when the darkeys have to part, Then, my old Kentucky home, good night!
Weep no more, my lady, etc.
The head must bow, and the back will have to bend, Wherever the darkey may go; A few more days, and the troubles all will end, In the field where the sugar-canes grow; A few more days to tote the weary load, No matter, it will never be light; A few more days till we totter on the road, Then, my old Kentucky home, good night!
Weep no more, my lady; O, weep no more to-day! We'll sing one song for the old Kentucky home, For our old Kentucky home far away.
STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER.
OLD FOLKS AT HOME.
Way down upon de Swanee Ribber, Far, far away, Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber, Dere's wha de old folks stay. All up and down de whole creation Sadly I roam, Still longing for de old plantation, And for de old folks at home.
All de world am sad and dreary, Ebery where I roam; Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary, Far from de old folks at home!
All round de little farm I wandered When I was young, Den many happy days I squandered, Many de songs I sung. When I was playing wid my brudder Happy was I; Oh, take me to my kind old mudder! Dere let me live and die.
One little hut among de bushes, One dat I love, Still sadly to my memory rushes, No matter where I rove. When will I see de bees a-humming All round de comb? When will I hear de banjo tumming, Down in my good old home?
All de world am sad and dreary, Ebery where I roam; Oh, darkeys, how my heart grows weary, Far from de old folks at home!
STEPHEN COLLINS FOSTER.
THE PRESENT GOOD.
FROM "THE TASK," BOOK VI.
Not to understand a treasure's worth Till time has stol'n away the slighted good, Is cause of half the poverty we feel, And makes the world the wilderness it is.
* * * * *
In his own image the Creator made, His own pure sunbeam quickened thee, O man! Thou breathing dial! since the day began The present hour was ever marked with shade!
WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.
The World's a bubble, and the Life of Man Less than a span: In his conception wretched, from the womb, So to the tomb; Curst from his cradle, and brought up to years With cares and fears. Who then to frail mortality shall trust, But limns on water, or but writes in dust.
Yet whilst with sorrow here we live opprest, What life is best? Courts are but only superficial schools To dandle fools: The rural parts are turned into a den Of savage men: And where's a city from foul vice so free, But may be termed the worst of all the three?
Domestic cares afflict the husband's bed, Or pains his head: Those that live single, take it for a curse, Or do things worse: Some would have children: those that have them, moan Or wish them gone: What is it, then, to have or have no wife, But single thraldom, or a double strife?
Our own affection still at home to please Is a disease: To cross the seas to any foreign soil, Peril and toil: Wars with their noise affright us; when they cease, We are worse in peace;— What then remains, but that we still should cry For being born, or, being born, to die?
FRANCIS, LORD BACON.
MOAN, MOAN, YE DYING GALES.
Moan, moan, ye dying gales! The saddest of your tales Is not so sad as life; Nor have you e'er began A theme so wild as man, Or with such sorrow rife.
Fall, fall, thou withered leaf! Autumn sears not like grief, Nor kills such lovely flowers; More terrible the storm, More mournful the deform, When dark misfortune lowers.
Hush! hush! thou trembling lyre, Silence, ye vocal choir, And thou, mellifluous lute, For man soon breathes his last, And all his hope is past, And all his music mute.
Then, when the gale is sighing, And when the leaves are dying, And when the song is o'er, O, let us think of those Whose lives are lost in woes, Whose cup of grief runs o'er.
THE VANITY OF THE WORLD.
False world, thou ly'st: thou canst not lend The least delight: Thy favors cannot gain a friend, They are so slight: Thy morning pleasures make an end To please at night: Poor are the wants that thou supply'st, And yet thou vaunt'st, and yet thou vy'st With heaven: fond earth, thou boasts; false world, thou ly'st.
Thy babbling tongue tells golden tales Of endless treasure; Thy bounty offers easy sales Of lasting pleasure; Thou ask'st the conscience what she ails, And swear'st to ease her; There's none can want where thou supply'st; There's none can give where thou deny'st. Alas! fond world, thou boasts; false world, thou ly'st.
What well-advised ear regards What earth can say? Thy words are gold, but thy regards Are painted clay: Thy cunning can but pack the cards, Thou canst not play: Thy game at weakest, still thou vy'st; If seen, and then revy'd, deny'st: Thou art not what thou seem'st; false world, thou ly'st.
Thy tinsel bosom seems a mint Of new-coined treasure; A paradise, that has no stint, No change, no measure; A painted cask, but nothing in 't, Nor wealth, nor pleasure: Vain earth! that falsely thus comply'st With man; vain man! that thou rely'st On earth; vain man, thou dot'st; vain earth, thou ly'st.
What mean dull souls, in this high measure, To haberdash In earth's base wares, whose greatest treasure Is dross and trash? The height of whose enchanting pleasure Is but a flash? Are these the goods that thou supply'st Us mortals with? Are these the high'st? Can these bring cordial peace? false world, thou ly'st.
BLOW, BLOW, THOU WINTER WIND.
FROM "AS YOU LIKE IT," ACT II. SC. 7.
Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind As man's ingratitude; Thy tooth is not so keen, Because thou art not seen, Although thy breath be rude. Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly; Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then, heigh-ho, the holly! This life is most jolly!
Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky, Thou dost not bite so nigh As benefits forgot: Though thou the waters warp, Thy sting is not so sharp As friend remembered not. Heigh-ho! sing heigh-ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly: Then, heigh-ho, the holly! This life is most jolly!
THE WAIL OF PROMETHEUS BOUND.
O holy AEther, and swift-winged Winds, And River-wells, and laughter innumerous Of yon Sea-waves! Earth, mother of us all, And all-viewing cyclic Sun, I cry on you,— Behold me a god, what I endure from gods! Behold, with throe on throe, How, wasted by this woe, I wrestle down the myriad years of Time! Behold, how fast around me The new King of the happy ones sublime Has flung the chain he forged, has shamed and bound me! Woe, woe! to-day's woe and the coming morrow's I cover with one groan. And where is found me A limit to these sorrows? And yet what word do I say? I have fore-known Clearly all things that should be; nothing done Comes sudden to my soul—and I must bear What is ordained with patience, being aware Necessity doth front the universe With an invincible gesture. Yet this curse Which strikes me now, I find it hard to brave In silence or in speech. Because I gave Honor to mortals, I have yoked my soul To this compelling fate. Because I stole The secret fount of fire, whose bubbles went Over the ferrule's brim, and manward sent Art's mighty means and perfect rudiment, That sin I expiate in this agony, Hung here in fetters, 'neath the blanching sky. Ah, ah me! what a sound, What a fragrance sweeps up from a pinion unseen Of a god, or a mortal, or nature between, Sweeping up to this rock where the earth has her bound, To have sight of my pangs, or some guerdon obtain— Lo, a god in the anguish, a god in the chain! The god Zeus hateth sore, And his gods hate again, As many as tread on his glorified floor, Because I loved mortals too much evermore. Alas me! what a murmur and motion I hear, As of birds flying near! And the air undersings The light stroke of their wings— And all life that approaches I wait for in fear.
From the Greek of AESCHYLUS. Translation of ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
SAMSON ON HIS BLINDNESS.
FROM "SAMSON AGONISTES."
O loss of sight, of thee I must complain! Blind among enemies, O, worse than chains, Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age! Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, And all her various objects of delight Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased. Inferior to the vilest now become Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me: They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, Within doors or without, still as a fool, In power of others, never in my own; Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of moon, Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse, Without all hope of day!
[Written in the Tower, the night before his probably unjust execution for treason.]
My prime of youth is but a frost of cares, My feast of joy is but a dish of pain, My crop of corn is but a field of tares, And all my goodes is but vain hope of gain. The day is fled, and yet I saw no sun; And now I live, and now my life is done!
My spring is past, and yet it hath not sprung, The fruit is dead, and yet the leaves are green, My youth is past, and yet I am but young, I saw the world, and yet I was not seen. My thread is cut, and yet it is not spun; And now I live, and now my life is done!
I sought for death and found it in the wombe, I lookt for life, and yet it was a shade, I trade the ground, and knew it was my tombe, And now I die, and now I am but made. The glass is full, and yet my glass is run;
And now I live, and now my life is done!
HENCE, ALL YE VAIN DELIGHTS.
FROM "THE NICE VALOUR," ACT III. SC. 3.
Hence, all ye vain delights, As short as are the nights Wherein you spend your folly! There's naught in this life sweet, If man were wise to see't But only melancholy, O, sweetest melancholy!
Welcome, folded arms, and fixed eyes, A sigh that piercing mortifies, A look that's fastened to the ground, A tongue chained up without a sound!
Fountain-heads and pathless groves, Places which pale passion loves! Moonlight walks, when all the fowls Are warmly housed save bats and owls! A midnight bell, a parting groan! These are the sounds we feed upon; Then stretch our bones in a still gloomy valley: Nothing's so dainty sweet as lovely melancholy.
THE FALL OF CARDINAL WOLSEY.
FROM "KING HENRY VIII.," ACT III. SC. 2.
Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me, Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman. Let's dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell; And—when I am forgotten, as I shall be, And sleep in dull, cold marble, where no mention Of me more must be heard of—say, I taught thee, Say, Wolsey—that once trod the ways of glory, And sounded all the depths and shoals of honor— Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in; A sure and safe one, though thy master missed it. Mark but my fall, and that that ruined me. Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition: By that sin fell the angels; how can man, then, The image of his Maker, hope to win by 't? Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee: Corruption wins not more than honesty. Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace, To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not: Let all the ends thou aim'st at be thy country's, Thy God's, and truth's; then if thou fall'st, O Cromwell! Thou fall'st a blessed martyr. Serve the king; and—pr'ythee, lead me in: There take an inventory of all I have, To the last penny; 'tis the king's: my robe, And my integrity to heaven, is all I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell! Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my king, he would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies!
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Farewell, a long farewell, to all my greatness! This is the state of man: to-day he puts forth The tender leaves of hope; to-morrow blossoms, And bears his blushing honors thick upon him: The third day comes a frost, a killing frost; And—when he thinks, good easy man, full surely His greatness is a ripening—nips his root, And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured, Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders, This many summers in a sea of glory; But far beyond my depth: my high-blown pride At length broke under me; and now has left me, Weary and old with service, to the mercy Of a rude stream, that must forever hide me. Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye: I feel my heart new opened. O, how wretched Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors! There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to, That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin, More pangs and fears than wars or women have: And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer, Never to hope again.
THE APPROACH OF AGE.
FROM "TALES OF THE HALL."
Six years had passed, and forty ere the six, When Time began to play his usual tricks: The locks once comely in a virgin's sight, Locks of pure brown, displayed the encroaching white; The blood, once fervid, now to cool began, And Time's strong pressure to subdue the man. I rode or walked as I was wont before, But now the bounding spirit was no more; A moderate pace would now my body heat, A walk of moderate length distress my feet. I showed my stranger guest those hills sublime, But said, "The view is poor, we need not climb." At a friend's mansion I began to dread The cold neat parlor and the gay glazed bed; At home I felt a more decided taste, And must have all things in my order placed. I ceased to hunt; my horses pleased me less,— My dinner more; I learned to play at chess. I took my dog and gun, but saw the brute Was disappointed that I did not shoot. My morning walks I now could bear to lose, And blessed the shower that gave me not to choose. In fact, I felt a languor stealing on; The active arm, the agile hand, were gone; Small daily actions into habits grew, And new dislike to forms and fashions new. I loved my trees in order to dispose; I numbered peaches, looked how stocks arose; Told the same story oft,—in short, began to prose.
WRITTEN IN DEJECTION NEAR NAPLES.
The sun is warm, the sky is clear, The waves are dancing fast and bright, Blue isles and snowy mountains wear The purple noon's transparent light: The breath of the moist air is light Around its unexpanded buds; Like many a voice of one delight,— The winds', the birds', the ocean-floods',— The City's voice itself is soft like Solitude's.
I see the Deep's untrampled floor With green and purple sea-weeds strown; I see the waves upon the shore Like light dissolved in star-showers thrown: I sit upon the sands alone; The lightning of the noontide ocean Is flashing round me, and a tone Arises from its measured motion,— How sweet, did any heart now share in my emotion!
Alas! I have nor hope nor health, Nor peace within nor calm around, Nor that Content surpassing wealth The sage in meditation found, And walked with inward glory crowned,— Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure. Others I see whom these surround; Smiling they live, and call life pleasure; To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.
Yet now despair itself is mild Even as the winds and waters are; I could lie down like a tired child, And weep away the life of care Which I have borne, and yet must bear, Till death like sleep might steal on me, And I might feel in the warm air My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.
Some might lament that I were cold, As I, when this sweet day is gone, Which my lost heart, too soon grown old, Insults with this untimely moan; They might lament,—for I am one Whom men love not,—and yet regret, Unlike this day, which, when the sun Shall on its stainless glory set, Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
[Written in the spring of 1819, when suffering from physical depression, the precursor of his death, which happened soon after.]
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thy happiness,— That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of Summer in full-throated ease.