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The interest of my mother was more in the entertainment field. She loved to go to concerts and to the theatre.

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When My Mother Was Away

When my mother was away
She left me without saying goodbye
She left me to great beyond
In this lonely wicked world
How would I survive
The demand of mother earth that asked of much from none
Oh! Mother, my dream of better tomorrow
My care not in worry
For always she is there
To meet the demand of mother nature
Not to worry her word of consolation always
Her remark for the demand of mother earth.
I lost my mood, my care and my future
I lost all a sweet mother could offer her child
My mother left memory of yesterday for my future
Oh! Mother, a paradise lost never to regain.

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John Masefield Was More

John Masefield was more than a man of rhyme
Perhaps the greatest poet of his time
At least that's how I feel about him anyway
Though some may not agree with what I say.

John Masefield he penned many a verse play
And even his longer poems enjoyed and read today
The Everlasting Mercy and The Widow in the Bye Street
As narrative masterpieces would be hard to beat.

John Masefield literary works will live forever more
His fame has spread far beyond England's shore
He was a master of the wordsmith trade
'Tis true that poets are born and not made.

John Masefield was more than a literary man of note
He was indeed a very brilliant poet
A high standard of writing into old age he did attain
And will we ever see his likes again?

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He Was More than a Dog to Me

My dog Bosky
When small
Looked very chubby
Had a big
Burly body
Black coat shining
Long tail wagging
Ready to pounce
On anybody
Intruding
Old and young
Would fear
Very sight of his
Would know
From a distance
If I was coming
Started barking
Moved in the garden
With tremendous
Anxiety
Followed my commands
With full sincerity
At times behaved
Naughty
Won’t listen to me
Ran here and there
Asking me
To play with him
Slept near my bed
Throughout his life
In thick and thin
Always with me
More than a friend
Was a part of the family
Guarded the house
With full responsibility
Sickness brought
Silence to him
Made me look
Helpless and weak
The day he died
It was raining
As if even god was
Crying
Always remains
In my memory
Eyes become watery
When I think of him
He was more than a
Dog to me


(In memory of my pet dog Bosky)

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Rumi

My mother was fortune, my father generosity and bounty

My mother was fortune, my father generosity and bounty; I
am joy, son of joy, son of joy, son of joy.
Behold, the Marquis of Glee has attainted felicity; this city and
plain are filled with soldiers and drums and flags.
If I encounter a wolf, he becomes moonfaced Joseph; if I go
down into a well, it converts into a Garden of Eram.
He whose heart is as iron and stone out of miserliness is now
changed before me into a Hatem of the age in generosity and
bounty.
Dust becomes gold and pure silver in my hand; how then
should the temptation of gold and silver waylay me?
I have an idol such that, were his sweet scent scattered
abroad, even an idol of stone would receive life through joy.
Sorrow has died for joy in him of “may God bind your consolation”;
how should not such a sword strike the neck of sorrow?
By tyranny he seizes the soul of whom he desires; justices are
all slaves of such injustice and tyranny.
What is that mole on that face? Should it manifest itself, out
of desire for it forthwith maternal aunt would be estranged from
paternal [uncle].
I said, “If I am done and send my story, will you finish it and
expound it?” He answered, “Yes.”

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Black Sheep

'Black sheep, black sheep, have you any wool?'
'Yes, sir-yes, sir: three bags full.'

'I don't want any New Thought,' said he,
'Or any Theosophy, for, you see,
The faith I learned at my mother's knee
Is good enough for me.
Of course, I'm a wee bit broader than she,
Hearing one sermon where she heard three,
And I read my paper on Sunday, instead
Of the Bible only. My mother said
I was a black sheep, when she saw
I strayed a trifle away from the law,
And didn't think everyone left in the lurch
Who happened to go to a different church;
But, still, in the main, her creed is mine,
And I don't want anything more divine.'
Yet his mother's mother was more austere;
She taught her children a creed of fear,
And she called them 'black sheep' when, with a shock,
She saw them straying away from the flock,
Just far enough
To get around places they thought too rough,
Like infant damnation and endless hell.


But his mother's mother's mother would tell
How her mother thought it was God's sweet will
To punish and torture a heretic till
They drove out the devil that made him dare
Think for himself in the matter of prayer
And faith and salvation. So we see how it is
If we look back over the centuries-
The creeds men learned at their mother's knee
When Salem witches were hanged to a tree,
And the pious dames flocked thither to see,
Are not deemed Christian or holy to-day;
And the bold black sheep who went straying away
From rut-worn paths in their search for God,
And leaped over the fence into pastures broad,
Are the great trail-makers for mortal souls,
Leading the race up to higher goals
And a larger religion; where man must find
God dwelling ever within his mind,
Christ in his conduct, and heaven in his thought,
And hell but the places where love is not.
A mighty religion that makes this earth
But the cradle that fits us for death's new birth
And the life beyond it, that is so near
Its echoes may reach to the listening ear.

'Black sheep, black sheep, have you any wool?'
'Yes, sir-yes, sir: a whole world full.'

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The Missionary - Canto Third

Come,--for the sun yet hangs above the bay,--
And whilst our time may brook a brief delay
With other thoughts, and, haply with a tear,
An old man's tale of sorrow thou shalt hear.
I wished not to reveal it;--thoughts that dwell
Deep in the lonely bosom's inmost cell
Unnoticed, and unknown, too painful wake,
And, like a tempest, the dark spirit shake,
When, starting from our slumberous apathy,
We gaze upon the scenes of days gone by.
Yet, if a moment's irritating flush,
Darkens thy cheek, as thoughts conflicting rush,
When I disclose my hidden griefs, the tale
May more than wisdom or reproof prevail.
Oh, may it teach thee, till all trials cease,
To hold thy course, though sorrowing, yet in peace;
Still looking up to Him, the soul's best stay,
Who Faith and Hope shall crown, when worlds are swept away!
Where fair Seville's Morisco turrets gleam
On Guadilquiver's gently-stealing stream;
Whose silent waters, seaward as they glide,
Reflect the wild-rose thickets on its side,
My youth was passed. Oh, days for ever gone!
How touched with Heaven's own light your mornings shone
Even now, when lonely and forlorn I bend,
My weary journey hastening to its end,
A drooping exile on a distant shore,
I mourn the hours of youth that are no more.
The tender thought amid my prayers has part,
And steals, at times, from Heaven my aged heart.
Forgive the cause, O God!--forgive the tear,
That flows, even now, o'er Leonora's bier;
For, 'midst the innocent and lovely, none
More beautiful than Leonora shone.
As by her widowed mother's side she knelt,
A sad and sacred sympathy I felt.
At Easter-tide, when the high mass was sung,
And, fuming high, the silver censer swung;
When rich-hued windows, from the arches' height,
Poured o'er the shrines a soft and yellow light;
From aisle to aisle, amid the service clear,
When 'Adoremus' swelled upon the ear.
(Such as to Heaven thy rapt attention drew
First in the Christian churches of Peru),
She seemed, methought, some spirit of the sky,
Descending to that holy harmony.
But wherefore tell, when life and hope were new,
How by degrees the soul's first passion grew!
I loved her, and I won her virgin heart;
But fortune whispered, we a while must part.
The minster tolled the middle hour of night,
When, waked to agony and wild affright,
I heard those words, words of appalling dread--
'The Holy Inquisition!'--from the bed
I started; snatched my dagger, and my cloak--
Who dare accuse me!--none, in answer, spoke.
The demons seized, in silence, on their prey,
And tore me from my dreams of bliss away.
How frightful was their silence, and their shade,
In torch-light, as their victim they conveyed,
By dark-inscribed, and massy-windowed walls,
Through the dim twilight of terrific halls;
(For thou hast heard me speak of that foul stain
Of pure religion, and the rights of Spain
Whilst the high windows shook to night's cold blast,
And echoed to the foot-fall as we passed!
They left me, faint and breathless with affright,
In a cold cell, to solitude and night;
Oh! think, what horror through the heart must thrill
When the last bolt was barred, and all at once was still!
Nor day nor night was here, but a deep gloom,
Sadder than darkness, wrapped the living tomb.
Some bread and water, nature to sustain,
Duly was brought when eve returned again;
And thus I knew, hoping it were the last,
Another day of lingering life was passed.
Five years immured in that deep den of night,
I never saw the sweet sun's blessed light.
Once as the grate, with sullen sound, was barred,
And to the bolts the inmost cavern jarred,
Methought I heard, as clanged the iron door,
A dull and hollow echo from the floor;
I stamped; the vault, and winding caves around,
Returned a long and melancholy sound.
With patient toil I raised a massy stone,
And looked into a depth of shade unknown;
The murky twilight of the lurid place
Helped me, at length, a secret way to trace:
I entered; step by step explored the road,
In darkness, from my desolate abode;
Till, winding through long passages of night,
I saw, at distance, a dim streak of light:--
It was the sun--the bright, the blessed beam
Of day! I knelt--I wept;--the glittering stream
Rolled on beneath me, as I left the cave,
Concealed in woods above the winding wave.
I rested on a verdant bank a while,
I saw around the summer landscape smile;
I gained a peasant's hut; nor dared to leave,
Till, with slow step, advanced the glimmering eve.
Remembering still affection's fondest hours,
I turned my footsteps to the city towers;
In pilgrim's dress, I traced the streets unknown:
No light in Leonora's lattice shone.
The morning came; the busy tumult swells;
Knolling to church, I heard the minster bells;
Involuntary to that scene I strayed,
Disguised, where first I saw my faithful maid.
I saw her, pallid, at the altar stand,
And yield, half-shrinking, her reluctant hand;
She turned her head; she saw my hollow eyes,
And knew me, wasted, wan, in my disguise;
She shrieked, and fell;--breathless, I left the fane
In agony--nor saw her form again;
And from that day her voice, her look were given,
Her name, her memory, to the winds of heaven.
Far off I bent my melancholy way,
Heart-sick and faint, and, in this gown of gray,
From every human eye my sorrows hid,
Unknown, amidst the tumult of Madrid.
Grief in my heart, despair upon my look,
With no companion save my beads and book,
My morsel with Affliction's sons to share,
To tend the sick and poor, my only care,
Forgotten, thus I lived; till day by day
Had worn nigh thirteen years of grief away.
One winter's night, when I had closed my cell,
And bid the labours of the day farewell,
An aged crone approached, with panting breath,
And bade me hasten to the house of death.
I came. With moving lips intent to pray,
A dying woman on a pallet lay;
Her lifted hands were wasted to the bone,
And ghastly on her look the lamp-light shone;
Beside the bed a pious daughter stands
Silent, and, weeping, kisses her pale hands.
Feebly she spoke, and raised her languid head,
Forgive, forgive!--they told me he was dead!--
But in the sunshine of that dreadful day,
That gave me to another's arms away,
I saw him, like a ghost, with deadly stare;
I saw his wasted eye-balls' ghastly glare;
I saw his lips (oh, hide them, God of love!)
I saw his livid lips, half-muttering, move,
To curse the maid--forgetful of her vow:--
Perhaps he lives to curse--to curse me now!
He lives to bless! I cried; and, drawing nigh,
Held up the crucifix; her heavy eye
She raised, and scarce pronounced--Does he yet live?
Can he his lost, his dying child forgive?
Will God forgive--the Lord who bled--will He?--
Ah, no, there is no mercy left for me!
Words were but vain, and colours all too faint,
That awful moment of despair to paint.
She knew me; her exhausted breath, with pain,
Drawing, she pressed my hand, and spoke again:
By a false guardian's cruel wiles deceived,
The tale of fraudful falsehood I believed,
And thought thee dead; he gave the stern command,
And bade me take the rich Antonio's hand.
I knelt, implored, embraced my guardian's knees;
Ruthless inquisitor, he held the keys
Of the dark torture-house. Trembling for life,
Yes, I became a sad, heart-broken wife!
Yet curse me not; of every human care
Already my full heart has had its share:
Abandoned, left in youth to want and woe,
Oh! let these tears, that agonising flow,
Witness how deep ev'n now my heart is rent!
Yet one is lovely--one is innocent!
Protect, protect, (and faint in death she smiled)
When I am dead, protect my orphan child!
The dreadful prison, that so long detained
My wasting life, her dying words explained.
The wretched priest, who wounded me by stealth,
Bartered her love, her innocence for wealth!
I laid her bones in earth; the chanted hymn
Echoed along the hollow cloister dim;
I heard, far off, the bell funereal toll,
And sorrowing said: Now peace be with her soul!
Far o'er the Western Ocean I conveyed,
And Indiana called the orphan maid;
Beneath my eye she grew, and, day by day,
Seemed, grateful, every kindness to repay.
Renouncing Spain, her cruelties and crimes,
Amid untutored tribes, in distant climes,
'Twas mine to spread the light of truth, or save
From stripes and torture the poor Indian slave.
I saw thee, young and innocent, alone,
Cast on the mercies of a race unknown;
I saw, in dark adversity's cold hour,
Thy virtues blooming, like a winter's flower;
From chains and slavery I redeemed thy youth,
Poured on thy mental sight the beams of truth;
By thy warm heart and mild demeanour won,
Called thee my other child--my age's son.
I need not tell the sequel;--not unmoved
Poor Indiana heard thy tale, and loved;
Some sympathy a kindred fate might claim;
Your years, your fortunes, and your friend the same;
Both early of a parent's care bereft,
Both strangers in a world of sadness left;
I marked each slowly-struggling thought; I shed
A tear of love paternal on each head;
And, while I saw her timid eyes incline,
Blessed the affection that had made her thine!
Here let the murmurs of despondence cease:
There is a God--believe--and part in peace!
Rich hues illumed the track of dying day
As the great sun sank in the western bay,
And only its last light yet lingering shone,
Upon the highest palm-tree's feathery cone;
When at a distance on the dewy plain,
In mingled group appeared an Indian train;
Men, women, children, round Anselmo press,
Farewell! they cried. He raised his hand to bless,
And said: My children, may the God above
Still lead you in the paths of peace and love;
To-morrow, we must part;--when I am gone,
Raise on this spot a cross, and place a stone,
That tribes unborn may some memorial have,
When I far off am mouldering in the grave,
Of that poor messenger, who tidings bore
Of Gospel-mercy to your distant shore.
The crowd retired; along the twilight gray,
The condor kept its solitary way,
The fire-flies shone, when to the hermit's cell
Who hastens but the minstrel Zarinel!
In foreign lands, far from his native home,
'Twas his, a gay, romantic youth, to roam,
With a light cittern o'er his shoulders slung,
Where'er he passed he played, and loved, and sung;
And thus accomplished, late had joined the train
Of gallant soldiers on the southern plain.
Father, he cried, uncertain of the fate
That may to-morrow's toilsome march await,
For long will be the road, I would confess
Some secret thoughts that on my bosom press.
They are of one I left, an Indian maid,
Whose trusting love my careless heart betrayed.
Say, may I speak?
Say on, the father cried,
Nor be to penitence all hope denied.
Then hear, Anselmo! From a very child
I loved all fancies marvellous and wild;
I turned from truth, to listen to the lore
Of many an old and fabling troubadour.
Thus, with impassioned heart, and wayward mind,
To dreams and shapes of shadowy things resigned,
I left my native vales and village home,
Wide o'er the world a minstrel boy to roam.
I never shall forget the day, the hour,
When, all my soul resigned to Fancy's power,
First, from the snowy Pyrenees, I cast
My labouring vision o'er the landscape vast,
And saw beneath my feet long vapours float,
Streams, mountains, woods, and ocean's mist remote.
There once I met a soldier, poor and old,
Who tales of Cortes and Bilboa told,
And this new world; he spoke of Indian maids,
Rivers like seas, and forests whose deep shades
Had never yet been pierced by morning ray,
And how the green bird mocked, and talked all day.
Imagination thus, in colours new,
This distant world presented to my view;
Young, and enchanted with the fancied scene,
I crossed the toiling seas that roared between,
And with ideal images impressed,
Stood on these unknown shores a wondering guest.
Still to romantic phantasies resigned,
I left Callao's crowded port behind,
And climbed the mountains which their shadow threw
Upon the lessening summits of Peru.
Some sheep the armed peasants drove before,
That all our food through the wild passes bore,
Had wandered in the frost-smoke of the morn,
Far from the track; I blew the signal horn--
But echo only answered: 'mid the snows,
Wildered and lost, I saw the evening close.
The sun was setting in the crimson west;
In all the earth I had no home of rest;
The last sad light upon the ice-hills shone;
I seemed forsaken in a world unknown;
How did my cold and sinking heart rejoice,
When, hark! methought I heard a human voice!
It might be some wild Indian's roving troop,
Or the dread echo of their distant whoop;
Still it was human, and I seemed to find
Again some commerce with remote mankind.
The voice comes nearer, rising through the shade--
Is it the song of some rude mountain-maid?
And now I heard the tread of hastening feet,
And, in the western glen, a Llama bleat.
I listened--all is still; but hark! again
Near and more near is heard the welcome strain;
It is a wild maid's carolling, who seeks
Her wandering Llama 'midst the snowy peaks:
Truant, she cried, thy lurking place is found!
With languid touch I waked the cittern's sound,
And soon a maid, by the pale light, I saw
Gaze breathless with astonishment and awe:
What instant terrors to her fancy rose,
Ha! is it not the Spirit of the snows!
But when she saw me, weary, cold, and weak,
Stretch forth my hand (for now I could not speak),
She pitied, raised me from the snows, and led
My faltering footsteps to her father's shed;
The Llama followed with her tinkling bell;
The dwelling rose within a craggy dell,
O'erhung with icy summits. To be brief,
She was the daughter of an aged chief;
He, by her gentle voice to pity won,
Showed mercy, for himself had lost a son.
The father spoke not; by the pine-wood blaze,
The daughter stood, and turned a cake of maize;
And then, as sudden shone the light, I saw
Such features as no artist hand might draw.
Her form, her face, her symmetry, her air,
Father! thy age must such recital spare:--
She saved my life; and kindness, if not love,
Might sure in time the coldest bosom move!
Mine was not cold; she loved to hear me sing,
And sometimes touched with playful hand the string;
And when I waked some melancholy strain,
She wept, and smiled, and bade me sing again.
So many a happy day, in this deep glen,
Far from the noise of life, and sounds of men,
Was passed! Nay, father, the sad sequel hear:
'Twas now the leafy spring-time of the year--
Ambition called me: true, I knew to part
Would break her generous, warm, and trusting heart;
True, I had vowed, but now estranged and cold,
She saw my look, and shuddered to behold:--
She would go with me, leave the lonely glade
Where she grew up, but my stern voice forbade;
She hid her face and wept: Go then away,
(Father, methinks, ev'n now, I hear her say)
Go to thy distant land, forget this tear,
Forget these rocks, forget I once was dear;
Fly to the world, o'er the wide ocean fly,
And leave me unremembered here to die!
Yet to my father should I all relate,
Death, instant death, would be a traitor's fate!
Nor fear, nor pity moved my stubborn mind,
I left her sorrows and the scene behind;
I sought Valdivia on the southern plain,
And joined the careless military train;
Oh! ere I sleep, thus, lowly on my knee,
Father, I absolution crave from thee!
Anselmo spoke, with look and voice severe:
Yes, thoughtless youth, my absolution hear.
First, by deep penitence the wrong atone,
Then absolution ask from God alone!
Yet stay, and to my warning voice attend,
And hear me as a father, and a friend.
Let Truth severe be wayward Fancy's guide,
Let stern-eyed Conscience o'er each thought preside;
The passions, that on noblest natures prey,
Oh! cast them, like corroding bonds, away!
Disdain to act mean falsehood's coward part,
And let religion dignify thine art.
If, by thy bed, thou seest at midnight stand
Pale Conscience, pointing, with terrific hand,
To deeds of darkness done, whilst, like a corse,
To shake thy soul, uprises dire Remorse;
Fly to God's mercy, fly, ere yet too late--
Perhaps one hour marks thy eternal fate;
Let the warm tear of deep contrition flow,
The heart obdurate melt, like softening snow,
The last vain follies of thy youth deplore,
Then go, in secret weep, and sin no more!
The stars innumerous in their watches shone--
Anselmo knelt before the cross alone.
Ten thousand glowing orbs their pomp displayed,
Whilst, looking up, thus silently he prayed:--
Oh! how oppressive to the aching sense,
How fearful were this vast magnificence,
This prodigality of glory, spread
Above a poor and dying emmet's head,
That toiled his transient hour upon the shore
Of mortal life, and then was seen no more;
If man beheld, on his terrific throne,
A dark, cold, distant Deity, alone!
Felt no relating, no endearing tie,
That Hope might upwards raise her glistening eye,
And think, with deep unutterable bliss,
In yonder radiant realm my kingdom is!
More glorious than those orbs that silent roll,
Shines Heaven's redeeming mercy on the soul--
Oh, pure effulgence of unbounded love!
In Thee, I think--I feel--I live--I move;
Yet when, O Thou, whose name is Love and Light,
When will thy Dayspring on these realms of night
Arise! Oh! when shall severed nations raise
One hallelujah of triumphant praise,
Tibet on Fars, Andes on Atlas call,
And 'roll the loud hosannah' round the ball!
Soon may Thy kingdom come, that love, and peace,
And charity, may bid earth's chidings cease!
Meantime, in life or death, through good or ill,
Thy poor and feeble servant, I fulfil,
As best I may, Thy high and holy will,
Till, weary, on the world my eyelids close,
And I enjoy my long and last repose!

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IX. Juris Doctor Johannes-Baptista Bottinius, Fisci et Rev. Cam. Apostol. Advocatus

Had I God's leave, how I would alter things!
If I might read instead of print my speech,—
Ay, and enliven speech with many a flower
Refuses obstinate to blow in print,
As wildings planted in a prim parterre,—
This scurvy room were turned an immense hall;
Opposite, fifty judges in a row;
This side and that of me, for audience—Rome:
And, where yon window is, the Pope should hide—
Watch, curtained, but peep visibly enough.
A buzz of expectation! Through the crowd,
Jingling his chain and stumping with his staff,
Up comes an usher, louts him low, "The Court
"Requires the allocution of the Fisc!"
I rise, I bend, I look about me, pause
O'er the hushed multitude: I count—One, two—

Have ye seen, Judges, have ye, lights of law,—
When it may hap some painter, much in vogue
Throughout our city nutritive of arts,
Ye summon to a task shall test his worth,
And manufacture, as he knows and can,
A work may decorate a palace-wall,
Afford my lords their Holy Family,—
Hath it escaped the acumen of the Court
How such a painter sets himself to paint?
Suppose that Joseph, Mary and her Babe
A-journeying to Egypt, prove the piece:
Why, first he sedulously practiseth,
This painter,—girding loin and lighting lamp,—
On what may nourish eye, make facile hand;
Getteth him studies (styled by draughtsmen so)
From some assistant corpse of Jew or Turk
Or, haply, Molinist, he cuts and carves,—
This Luca or this Carlo or the like.
To him the bones their inmost secret yield,
Each notch and nodule signify their use:
On him the muscles turn, in triple tier,
And pleasantly entreat the entrusted man
"Familiarize thee with our play that lifts
"Thus, and thus lowers again, leg, arm and foot!"
—Ensuring due correctness in the nude.
Which done, is all done? Not a whit, ye know!
He,—to art's surface rising from her depth,—
If some flax-polled soft-bearded sire be found,
May simulate a Joseph, (happy chance!)—
Limneth exact each wrinkle of the brow,
Loseth no involution, cheek or chap,
Till lo, in black and white, the senior lives!
Is it a young and comely peasant-nurse
That poseth? (be the phrase accorded me!)
Each feminine delight of florid lip,
Eyes brimming o'er and brow bowed down with love,
Marmoreal neck and bosom uberous,—
Glad on the paper in a trice they go
To help his notion of the Mother-maid:
Methinks I see it, chalk a little stumped!
Yea and her babe—that flexure of soft limbs,
That budding face imbued with dewy sleep,
Contribute each an excellence to Christ.
Nay, since he humbly lent companionship,
Even the poor ass, unpanniered and elate
Stands, perks an ear up, he a model too;
While clouted shoon, staff, scrip and water-groud,—
Aught may betoken travel, heat and haste,—
No jot nor tittle of these but in its turn
Ministers to perfection of the piece:
Till now, such piece before him, part by part,—
Such prelude ended,—pause our painter may,
Submit his fifty studies one by one,
And in some sort boast "I have served my lords."

But what? And hath he painted once this while?
Or when ye cry "Produce the thing required,
"Show us our picture shall rejoice its niche,
"Thy Journey through the Desert done in oils!"—
What, doth he fall to shuffling 'mid his sheets,
Fumbling for first this, then the other fact
Consigned to paper,—"studies," bear the term!—
And stretch a canvas, mix a pot of paste,
And fasten here a head and there a tail,
(The ass hath one, my Judges!) so dove-tail
Or, rather, ass-tail in, piece sorrily out—
By bits of reproduction of the life—
The picture, the expected Family?
I trow not! do I miss with my conceit
The mark, my lords?—not so my lords were served!
Rather your artist turns abrupt from these,
And preferably buries him and broods
(Quite away from aught vulgar and extern)
On the inner spectrum, filtered through the eye,
His brain-deposit, bred of many a drop,
E pluribus unum: and the wiser he!
For in that brain,—their fancy sees at work,
Could my lords peep indulged,—results alone,
Not processes which nourish such results,
Would they discover and appreciate,—life
Fed by digestion, not raw food itself,
No gobbets but smooth comfortable chyme
Secreted from each snapped-up crudity,—
Less distinct, part by part, but in the whole
Truer to the subject,—the main central truth
And soul o' the picture, would my Judges spy,—
Not those mere fragmentary studied facts
Which answer to the outward frame and flesh—
Not this nose, not that eyebrow, the other fact
Of man's staff, woman's stole or infant's clout,
But lo, a spirit-birth conceived of flesh,
Truth rare and real, not transcripts, fact and false.
The studies—for his pupils and himself!
The picture be for our eximious Rome
And—who knows?—satisfy its Governor,
Whose new wing to the villa he hath bought
(God give him joy of it) by Capena, soon
('T is bruited) shall be glowing with the brush
Of who hath long surpassed the Florentine,
The Urbinate and … what if I dared add,
Even his master, yea the Cortonese,—
I mean the accomplished Ciro Ferri, Sirs!
(—Did not he die? I'll see before I print.)

End we exordium, Phoebus plucks my ear!
Thus then, just so and no whit otherwise,
Have I,—engaged as I were Ciro's self,
To paint a parallel, a Family,
The patriarch Pietro with his wise old wife
To boot (as if one introduced Saint Anne
By bold conjecture to complete the group)
And juvenile Pompilia with her babe,
Who, seeking safety in the wilderness,
Were all surprised by Herod, while outstretched
In sleep beneath a palm-tree by a spring,
And killed—the very circumstance I paint,
Moving the pity and terror of my lords—
Exactly so have I, a month at least,
Your Fiscal, made me cognizant of facts,
Searched out, pried into, pressed the meaning forth
Of every piece of evidence in point,
How bloody Herod slew these innocents,—
Until the glad result is gained, the group
Demonstrably presented in detail,
Their slumber and his onslaught,—like as life.
Yea and, availing me of help allowed
By law, discreet provision lest my lords
Be too much troubled by effrontery,—
The rack, law plies suspected crime withal—
(Law that hath listened while the lyrist sang
"Lene tormentum ingenio admoves,"
Gently thou joggest by a twinge the wit,
"Plerumque duro," else were slow to blab!)
Through this concession my full cup runs o'er:
The guilty owns his guilt without reserve.
Therefore by part and part I clutch my case
Which, in entirety now,—momentous task,—
My lords demand, so render them I must,
Since, one poor pleading more and I have done.
But shall I ply my papers, play my proofs,
Parade my studies, fifty in a row,
As though the Court were yet in pupilage,
Claimed not the artist's ultimate appeal?
Much rather let me soar the height prescribed
And, bowing low, proffer my picture's self!
No more of proof, disproof,—such virtue was,
Such vice was never in Pompilia, now!
Far better say "Behold Pompilia!"—(for
I leave the family as unmanageable,
And stick to just one portrait, but life-size.)
Hath calumny imputed to the fair
A blemish, mole on cheek or wart on chin,
Much more, blind hidden horrors best unnamed?
Shall I descend to prove you, point by point,
Never was knock-knee known nor splay-foot found
In Phryne? (I must let the portrait go,
Content me with the model, I believe)—
—I prove this? An indignant sweep of hand,
Dash at and doing away with drapery,
And,—use your eyes, Athenians, smooth she smiles!
Or,—since my client can no longer smile,
And more appropriate instances abound,—
What is this Tale of Tarquin, how the slave
Was caught by him, preferred to Collatine?
Thou, even from thy corpse-clothes virginal,
Look'st the lie dead, Lucretia!

Thus at least
I, by the guidance of antiquity,
(Our one infallible guide) now operate,
Sure that the innocence thus shown is safe;
Sure, too, that, while I plead, the echoes cry
(Lend my weak voice thy trump, sonorous Fame!)
"Monstrosity the Phrynean shape shall mar,
"Lucretia's soul comport with Tarquin's lie,
"When thistles grow on vines or thorns yield figs,
"Or oblique sentence leave this judgment-seat!"

A great theme: may my strength be adequate!
For—paint Pompilia, dares my feebleness?
How did I unaware engage so much
—Find myself undertaking to produce
A faultless nature in a flawless form?
What's here? Oh, turn aside nor dare the blaze
Of such a crown, such constellation, say,
As jewels here thy front, Humanity!
First, infancy, pellucid as a pearl;
Then childhood—stone which, dew-drop at the first,
(An old conjecture) sucks, by dint of gaze,
Blue from the sky and turns to sapphire so:
Yet both these gems eclipsed by, last and best,
Womanliness and wifehood opaline,
Its milk-white pallor,—chastity,—suffused
With here and there a tint and hint of flame,—
Desire,—the lapidary loves to find.
Such jewels bind conspicuously thy brow,
Pompilia, infant, child, maid, woman, wife—
Crown the ideal in our earth at last!
What should a faculty like mine do here?
Close eyes, or else, the rashlier hurry hand!
Which is to say,—lose no time but begin!
Sermocinando ne declamem, Sirs,
Ultra clepsydram, as our preachers smile,
Lest I exceed my hour-glass. Whereupon,
As Flaccus prompts, I dare the epic plunge—
Begin at once with marriage, up till when
Little or nothing would arrest your love,
In the easeful life o' the lady; lamb and lamb,
How do they differ? Know one, you know all
Manners of maidenhood: mere maiden she.
And since all lambs are like in more than fleece,
Prepare to find that, lamb-like, she too frisks—
O' the weaker sex, my lords, the weaker sex!
To whom, the Teian teaches us, for gift,
Not strength,—man's dower,—but beauty, nature gave,
"Beauty in lieu of spears, in lieu of shields!"
And what is beauty's sure concomitant,
Nay, intimate essential character,
But melting wiles, deliciousest deceits,
The whole redoubted armoury of love?
Therefore of vernal pranks, dishevellings
O' the hair of youth that dances April in,
And easily-imagined Hebe-slips
O'er sward which May makes over-smooth for foot—
These shall we pry into?—or wiselier wink,
Though numerous and dear they may have been?
For lo, advancing Hymen and his pomp!
Discedunt nunc amores, loves, farewell!
Maneat amor, let love, the sole, remain!
Farewell to dewiness and prime of life!
Remains the rough determined day: dance done,
To work, with plough and harrow! What comes next?
'T is Guido henceforth guides Pompilia's step,
Cries "No more friskings o'er the foodful glebe,
"Else, 'ware the whip!" Accordingly,—first crack
O' the thong,—we hear that his young wife was barred,
Cohibita fuit, from the old free life,
Vitam liberiorem ducere.
Demur we? Nowise: heifer brave the hind?
We seek not there should lapse the natural law,
The proper piety to lord and king
And husband: let the heifer bear the yoke!
Only, I crave he cast not patience off,
This hind; for deem you she endures the whip,
Nor winces at the goad, nay, restive, kicks?
What if the adversary's charge be just,
And all untowardly she pursue her way
With groan and grunt, though hind strike ne'er so hard?
If petulant remonstrance made appeal,
Unseasonable, o'erprotracted,—if
Importunate challenge taxed the public ear
When silence more decorously had served
For protestation,—if Pompilian plaint
Wrought but to aggravate Guidonian ire,—
Why, such mishaps, ungainly though they be,
Ever companion change, are incident
To altered modes and novelty of life:
The philosophic mind expects no less,
Smilingly knows and names the crisis, sits
Waiting till old things go and new arrive.
Therefore, I hold a husband but inept
Who turns impatient at such transit-time,
As if this running from the rod would last!

Since, even while I speak, the end is reached:
Success awaits the soon-disheartened man.
The parents turn their backs and leave the house,
The wife may wail but none shall intervene:
He hath attained his object, groom and bride
Partake the nuptial bower no soul can see,
Old things are passed and all again is new,
Over and gone the obstacles to peace,
Novorum—tenderly the Mantuan turns
The expression, some such purpose in his eye—
Nascitur ordo! Every storm is laid,
And forth from plain each pleasant herb may peep,
Each bloom of wifehood in abeyance late:
(Confer a passage in the Canticles.)
But what if, as 't is wont with plant and wife,
Flowers,—after a suppression to good end,
Still, when they do spring forth,—sprout here, spread there,
Anywhere likelier than beneath the foot
O' the lawful good-man gardener of the ground?
He dug and dibbled, sowed and watered,—still
'T is a chance wayfarer shall pluck the increase.
Just so, respecting persons not too much,
The lady, foes allege, put forth each charm
And proper floweret of feminity
To whosoever had a nose to smell
Or breast to deck: what if the charge be true?
The fault were graver had she looked with choice,
Fastidiously appointed who should grasp,
Who, in the whole town, go without the prize!
To nobody she destined donative,
But, first come was first served, the accuser saith.
Put case her sort ofin this kind … escapes
Were many and oft and indiscriminate—
Impute ye as the action were prepense,
The gift particular, arguing malice so?
Which butterfly of the wide air shall brag
"I was preferred to Guido"—when 't is clear
The cup, he quaffs at, lay with olent breast
Open to gnat, midge, bee and moth as well?
One chalice entertained the company;
And if its peevish lord object the more,
Mistake, misname such bounty in a wife,
Haste we to advertise him—charm of cheek,
Lustre of eye, allowance of the lip,
All womanly components in a spouse,
These are no household-bread each stranger's bite
Leaves by so much diminished for the mouth
O' the master of the house at supper-time:
But rather like a lump of spice they lie,
Morsel of myrrh, which scents the neighbourhood
Yet greets its lord no lighter by a grain.

Nay, even so, he shall be satisfied!
Concede we there was reason in his wrong,
Grant we his grievance and content the man!
For lo, Pompilia, she submits herself;
Ere three revolving years have crowned their course,
Off and away she puts this same reproach
Of lavish bounty, inconsiderate gift
O' the sweets of wifehood stored to other ends:
No longer shall he blame "She none excludes,"
But substitute "She laudably sees all,
"Searches the best out and selects the same."
For who is here, long sought and latest found,
Waiting his turn unmoved amid the whirl,
"Constans in levitate,"—Ha, my lords?
Calm in his levity,—indulge the quip!—
Since 't is a levite bears the bell away,
Parades him henceforth as Pompilia's choice.
'T is no ignoble object, husband! Doubt'st?
When here comes tripping Flaccus with his phrase
"Trust me, no miscreant singled from the mob,
"Crede non illum tibi de scelesta
"Plebe delectum," but a man of mark,
A priest, dost hear? Why then, submit thyself!
Priest, ay and very phoenix of such fowl,
Well-born, of culture, young and vigorous,
Comely too, since precise the precept points—
On the selected levite be there found
Nor mole nor scar nor blemish, lest the mind
Come all uncandid through the thwarting flesh!
Was not the son of Jesse ruddy, sleek,
Pleasant to look on, pleasant every way?
Since well he smote the harp and sweetly sang,
And danced till Abigail came out to see,
And seeing smiled and smiling ministered
The raisin-cluster and the cake of figs,
With ready meal refreshed the gifted youth,
Till Nabal, who was absent shearing sheep,
Felt heart sink, took to bed (discreetly done—
They might have been beforehand with him else)
And died—woudl Guido have behaved as well!
But ah, the faith of early days is gone,
Heu prisca fides! Nothing died in him
Save courtesy, good sense and proper trust,
Which, when they ebb from souls they should o'erflow,
Discover stub, weed, sludge and ugliness.
(The Pope, we know, is Neapolitan
And relishes a sea-side simile.)
Deserted by each charitable wave,
Guido, left high and dry, shows jealous now!
Jealous avouched, paraded: tax the fool
With any peccadillo, he responds
"Truly I beat my wife through jealousy,
"Imprisoned her and punished otherwise,
"Being jealous: now would threaten, sword in hand,
"Now manage to mix poison in her sight,
"And so forth: jealously I dealt, in fine."
Concede thus much, and what remains to prove?
Have I to teach my masters what effect
Hath jealousy, and how, befooling men,
It makes false true, abuses eye and ear,
Turns mere mist adamantine, loads with sound
Silence, and into void and vacancy
Crowds a whole phalanx of conspiring foes?
Therefore who owns "I watched with jealousy
"My wife," adds "for no reason in the world!"
What need that, thus proved madman, he remark
"The thing I thought a serpent proved an eel"?—
Perchance the right Comacchian, six foot length,
And not an inch too long for that rare pie
(Master Arcangeli has heard of such)
Whose succulence makes fasting bearable;
Meant to regale some moody splenetic
Who, pleasing to mistake the donor's gift,
Spying I know not what Lernæan snake
I' the luscious Lenten creature, stamps forsooth
The dainty in the dust.

Enough! Prepare,
Such lunes announced, for downright lunacy!
Insanit homo, threat succeeds to threat,
And blow redoubles blow,—his wife, the block.
But, if a block, shall not she jar the hand
That buffets her? The injurious idle stone
Rebounds and hits the head of him who flung.
Causeless rage breeds, i' the wife now, rageful cause,
Tyranny wakes rebellion from its sleep.
Rebellion, say I?—rather, self-defence,
Laudable wish to live and see good days,
Pricks our Pompilia now to fly the fool
By any means, at any price,—nay, more,
Nay, most of all, i' the very interest
O' the fool that, baffled of his blind desire
At any price, were truliest victor so.
Shall he effect his crime and lose his soul?
No, dictates duty to a loving wife!
Far better that the unconsummate blow,
Adroitly baulked by her, should back again,
Correctively admonish his own pate!

Crime then,—the Court is with me?—she must crush:
How crush it? By all efficacious means;
And these,—why, what in woman should they be?
"With horns the bull, with teeth the lion fights;
"To woman," quoth the lyrist quoted late,
"Nor teeth, nor horns, but beauty, Nature gave.
Pretty i' the Pagan! Who dares blame the use
Of armoury thus allowed for natural,—
Exclaim against a seeming-dubious play
O' the sole permitted weapon, spear and shield
Alike, resorted to i' the circumstance
By poor Pompilia? Grant she somewhat piled
Arts that allure, the magic nod and wink,
The witchery of gesture, spell of word,
Whereby the likelier to enlist this friend,
Yea stranger, as a champion on her side?
Such man, being but mere man, ('t was all she knew),
Must be made sure by beauty's silken bond,
The weakness that subdues the strong, and bows
Wisdom alike and folly. Grant the tale
O' the husband, which is false, were proved and true
To the letter—or the letters, I should say,
Abominations he professed to find
And fix upon Pompilia and the priest,—
Allow them hers—for though she could not write,
In early days of Eve-like innocence
That plucked no apple from the knowledge-tree,
Yet, at the Serpent's word, Eve plucks and eats
And knows—especially how to read and write:
And so Pompilia,—as the move o' the maw,
Quoth Persius, makes a parrot bid "Good day!"
A crow salute the concave, and a pie
Endeavour at proficiency in speech,—
So she, through hunger after fellowship,
May well have learned, though late, to play the scribe:
As indeed, there's one letter on the list
Explicitly declares did happen here.
"You thought my letters could be none of mine,"
She tells her parents—"mine, who wanted skill;
"But now I have the skill, and write, you see!"
She needed write love-letters, so she learned,
"Negatas artifex sequi voces"—though
This letter nowise 'scapes the common lot,
But lies i' the condemnation of the rest,
Found by the husband's self who forged them all.
Yet, for the sacredness of argument,
For this once an exemption shall it plead—
Anything, anything to let the wheels
Of argument run glibly to their goal!
Concede she wrote (which were preposterous)
This and the other epistle,—what of it?
Where does the figment touch her candid fame?
Being in peril of her life—"my life,
"Not an hour's purchase," as the letter runs,—
And having but one stay in this extreme,
Out of the wide world but a single friend—
What could she other than resort to him,
And how with any hope resort but thus?
Shall modesty dare bid a stranger brave
Danger, disgrace, nay death in her behalf—
Think to entice the sternness of the steel
Yet spare love's loadstone moving manly mind?
—Most of all, when such mind is hampered so
By growth of circumstance athwart the life
O' the natural man, that decency forbids
He stoop and take the common privilege,
Say frank "I love," as all the vulgar do.
A man is wedded to philosophy,
Married to statesmanship; a man is old;
A man is fettered by the foolishness
He took for wisdom and talked ten years since;
A man is, like our friend the Canon here,
A priest, and wicked if he break his vow:
Shall he dare love, who may be Pope one day?
Despite the coil of such encumbrance here,
Suppose this man could love, unhappily,
And would love, dared he only let love show!
In case the woman of his love, speaks first,
From what embarrassment she sets him free!
"'T is I who break reserve, begin appeal,
"Confess that, whether you love me or no,
"I love you!" What an ease to dignity,
What help of pride from the hard high-backed chair
Down to the carpet where the kittens bask,
All under the pretence of gratitude!

From all which, I deduce—the lady here
Was bound to proffer nothing short of love
To the priest whose service was to save her. What?
Shall she propose him lucre, dust o' the mine,
Rubbish o' the rock, some diamond, muckworms prize,
Some pearl secreted by a sickly fish?
Scarcely! She caters for a generous taste.
'T is love shall beckon, beauty bid to breast,
Till all the Samson sink into the snare!
Because, permit the end—permit therewith
Means to the end!

How say you, good my lords?
I hope you heard my adversary ring
The changes on this precept: now, let me
Reverse the peal! Quia dato licito fine,
Ad illum assequendum ordinata
Non sunt damnanda media,—licit end
Enough was found in mere escape from death,
To legalize our means illicit else
Of feigned love, false allurement, fancied fact.
Thus Venus losing Cupid on a day,
(See that Idyllium Moschi) seeking help,
In the anxiety of motherhood,
Allowably promised "Who shall bring report
"Where he is wandered to, my winged babe,
"I give him for reward a nectared kiss;
"But who brings safely back the truant's self,
"His be a super-sweet makes kiss seem cold!"
Are not these things writ for example-sake?

To such permitted motive, then, refer
All those professions, else were hard explain,
Of hope, fear, jealousy, and the rest of love!
He is Myrtillus, Amaryllis she,
She burns, he freezes,—all a mere device
To catch and keep the man, may save her life,
Whom otherwise nor catches she nor keeps!
Worst, once, turns best now: in all faith, she feigns:
Feigning,—the liker innocence to guilt,
The truer to the life in what she feigns!
How if Ulysses,—when, for public good
He sunk particular qualms and played the spy,
Entered Troy's hostile gate in beggar's garb—
How if he first had boggled at this clout,
Grown dainty o'er that clack-dish? Grime is grace
To whoso gropes amid the dung for gold.

Hence, beyond promises, we praise each proof
That promise was not simply made to break,
Mere moonshine-structure meant to fade at dawn:
We praise, as consequent and requisite,
What, enemies allege, were more than words,
Deeds—meetings at the window, twilight-trysts,
Nocturnal entertainments in the dim
Old labyrinthine palace; lies, we know—
Inventions we, long since, turned inside out.
Must such external semblance of intrigue
Demonstrate that intrigue there lurks perdue?
Does every hazel-sheath disclose a nut?
He were a Molinist who dared maintain
That midnight meetings in a screened alcove
Must argue folly in a matron—since
So would he bring a slur on Judith's self,
Commended beyond women, that she lured
The lustful to destruction through his lust.
Pompilia took not Judith's liberty,
No faulchion find you in her hand to smite,
No damsel to convey in dish the head
Of Holophernes,—style the Canon so—
Or is it the Count? If I entangle me
With my similitudes,—if wax wings melt,
And earthward down I drop, not mine the fault:
Blame your beneficence, O Court, O sun,
Whereof the beamy smile affects my flight!
What matter, so Pompilia's fame revive
I' the warmth that proves the bane of Icarus?

Yea, we have shown it lawful, necessary
Pompilia leave her husband, seek the house
O' the parents: and because 'twixt home and home
Lies a long road with many a danger rife,
Lions by the way and serpents in the path,
To rob and ravish,—much behoves she keep
Each shadow of suspicion from fair fame,
For her own sake much, but for his sake more,
The ingrate husband's. Evidence shall be,
Plain witness to the world how white she walks
I' the mire she wanders through ere Rome she reach.
And who so proper witness as a priest?
Gainsay ye? Let me hear who dares gainsay!
I hope we still can punish heretics!
"Give me the man" I say with him of Gath,
"That we may fight together!" None, I think:
The priest is granted me.

Then, if a priest,
One juvenile and potent: else, mayhap,
That dragon, our Saint George would slay, slays him.
And should fair face accompany strong hand,
The more complete equipment: nothing mars
Work, else praiseworthy, like a bodily flaw
I' the worker: as 't is said Saint Paul himself
Deplored the check o' the puny presence, still
Cheating his fulmination of its flash,
Albeit the bolt therein went true to oak.
Therefore the agent, as prescribed, she takes,—
Both juvenile and potent, handsome too,—
In all obedience: "good," you grant again.
Do you? I would you were the husband, lords!
How prompt and facile might departure be!
How boldly would Pompilia and the priest
March out of door, spread flag at beat of drum,
But that inapprehensive Guido grants
Neither premiss nor yet conclusion here,
And, purblind, dreads a bear in every bush!
For his own quietude and comfort, then,
Means must be found for flight in masquerade
At hour when all things sleep.—"Save jealousy!"
Right, Judges! Therefore shall the lady's wit
Supply the boon thwart nature baulks him of,
And do him service with the potent drug
(Helen's nepenthe, as my lords opine)
Which respites blessedly each fretted nerve
O' the much-enduring man: accordingly,
There lies he, duly dosed and sound asleep,
Relieved of woes or real or raved about.
While soft she leaves his side, he shall not wake;
Nor stop who steals away to join her friend,
Nor do him mischief should he catch that friend
Intent on more than friendly office,—nay,
Nor get himself raw head and bones laid bare
In payment of his apparition!

Thus
Would I defend the step,—were the thing true
Which is a fable,—see my former speech,—
That Guido slept (who never slept a wink)
Through treachery, an opiate from his wife,
Who not so much as knew what opiates mean.
Now she may start: or hist,—a stoppage still!
A journey is an enterprise of cost!
As in campaigns, we fight but others pay,
Suis expensis, nemo militat.
'T is Guido's self we guard from accident,
Ensuring safety to Pompilia, versed
Nowise in misadventures by the way,
Hard riding and rough quarters, the rude fare,
The unready host, What magic mitigates
Each plague of travel to the unpractised wife?
Money, sweet Sirs! And were the fiction fact
She helped herself thereto with liberal hand
From out her husband's store,—what fitter use
Was ever husband's money destined to?
With bag and baggage thus did Dido once
Decamp,—for more authority, a queen!

So is she fairly on her route at last,
Prepared for either fortune: nay and if
The priest, now all a-glow with enterprise,
Cool somewhat presently when fades the flush
O' the first adventure, clouded o'er belike
By doubts, misgivings how the day may die,
Though born with such auroral brilliance,—if
The brow seem over pensive and the lip
'Gin lag and lose the prattle lightsome late,—
Vanquished by tedium of a prolonged jaunt
In a close carriage o'er a jolting road,
With only one young female substitute
For seventeen other Canons of ripe age
Were wont to keep him company in church,—
Shall not Pompilia haste to dissipate
The silent cloud that, gathering, bodes her bale?—
Prop the irresoluteness may portend
Suspension of the project, check the flight,
Bring ruin on them both? Use every means,
Since means to the end are lawful! What i' the way
Of wile should have allowance like a kiss
Sagely and sisterly administered,
Sororia saltem oscula? We find
Such was the remedy her wit applied
To each incipient scruple of the priest,
If we believe,—as, while my wit is mine
I cannot,—what the driver testifies,
Borsi, called Venerino, the mere tool
Of Guido and his friend the Governor,—
Avowal I proved wrung from out the wretch,
After long rotting in imprisonment,
As price of liberty and favour: long
They tempted, he at last succumbed, and lo
Counted them out full tale each kiss and more,
"The journey being one long embrace," quoth he.
Still, though we should believe the driver's lie,
Nor even admit as probable excuse,
Right reading of the riddle,—as I urged
In my first argument, with fruit perhaps—
That what the owl-like eyes (at back of head!)
O' the driver, drowsed by driving night and day,
Supposed a vulgar interchange of lips,
This was but innocent jog of head 'gainst head,
Cheek meeting jowl as apple may touch pear
From branch and branch contiguous in the wind,
When Autumn blusters and the orchard rocks:—
That rapid run and the rough road were cause
O' the casual ambiguity, no harm
I' the world to eyes awake and penetrative.
Say,—not to grasp a truth I can release
And safely fight without, yet conquer still,—
Say, she kissed him, say, he kissed her again!
Such osculation was a potent means,
A very efficacious help, no doubt:
Such with a third part of her nectar did
Venus imbue: why should Pompilia fling
The poet's declaration in his teeth?—
Pause to employ what,—since it had success,
And kept the priest her servant to the end,—
We must presume of energy enough,
No whit superfluous, so permissible?
The goal is gained: day, night and yet a day
Have run their round: a long and devious road
Is traversed,—many manners, various men
Passed in view, what cities did they see,
What hamlets mark, what profitable food
For after-meditation cull and store!
Till Rome, that Rome whereof—this voice
Would it might make our Molinists observe,
That she is built upon a rock nor shall
Their powers prevail against her!—Rome, I say,
Is all but reached; one stage more and they stop
Saved: pluck up heart, ye pair, and forward, then!

Ah, Nature—baffled she recurs, alas!
Nature imperiously exacts her due,
Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak:
Pompilia needs must acquiesce and swoon,
Give hopes alike and fears a breathing-while.
The innocent sleep soundly: sound she sleeps,
So let her slumber, then, unguarded save
By her own chastity, a triple mail,
And his good hand whose stalwart arms have borne
The sweet and senseless burthen like a babe
From coach to coach,—the serviceable strength!
Nay, what and if he gazed rewardedly
On the pale beauty prisoned in embrace,
Stooped over, stole a balmy breath perhaps
For more assurance sleep was not decease—
"Ut vidi," "how I saw!" succeeded by
"Ut perii," "how I sudden lost my brains!"
—What harm ensued to her unconscious quite?
For, curiosity—how natural!
Importunateness—what a privilege
In the ardent sex! And why curb ardour here?
How can the priest but pity whom he saved?
And pity is so near to love, and love
So neighbourly to all unreasonableness!
As to love's object, whether love were sage
Or foolish, could Pompilia know or care,
Being still sound asleep, as I premised?
Thus the philosopher absorbed by thought,
Even Archimedes, busy o'er a book
The while besiegers sacked his Syracuse,
Was ignorant of the imminence o' the point
O' the sword till it surprised him: let it stab,
And never knew himself was dead at all.
So sleep thou on, secure whate'er betide!
For thou, too, hast thy problem hard to solve-
How so much beauty is compatible
With so much innocence!

Fit place, methinks,
While in this task she rosily is lost,
To treat of and repel objection here
Which,—frivolous, I grant,—my mind misgives,
May somehow still have flitted, gadfly-like,
And teased the Court at times—as if, all said
And done, there seemed, the Court might nearly say,
In a certain acceptation, somewhat more
Of what may pass for insincerity,
Falsehood, throughout the course Pompilia took,
Than befits Christian. Pagans held, we know,
Man always ought to aim at good and truth,
Not always put one thing in the same words:
Non idem semper dicere sed spectare
Debemus. But the Pagan yoke was light;
"Lie not at all," the exacter precept bids:
Each least lie breaks the law,—is sin, we hold.
I humble me, but venture to submit—
What prevents sin, itself is sinless, sure:
And sin, which hinders sin of deeper dye,
Softens itself away by contrast so.
Conceive me! Little sin, by none at all,
Were properly condemned for great: but great,
By greater, dwindles into small again.
Now, what is greatest sin of womanhood?
That which unwomans it, abolishes
The nature of the woman,—impudence.
Who contradicts me here? Concede me, then,
Whatever friendly fault may interpose
To save the sex from self-abolishment
Is three-parts on the way to virtue's rank!
And, what is taxed here as duplicity,
Feint, wile and trick,—admitted for the nonce,—
What worse do one and all than interpose,
Hold, as it were, a deprecating hand,
Statuesquely, in the Medicean mode,
Before some shame which modesty would veil?
Who blames the gesture prettily perverse?
Thus,—lest ye miss a point illustrative,—
Admit the husband's calumny—allow
That the wife, having penned the epistle fraught
With horrors, charge on charge of crime she heaped
O' the head of Pietro and Violante—(still
Presumed her parents)—having despatched the same
To their arch-enemy Paolo, through free choice
And no sort of compulsion in the world—
Put case she next discards simplicity
For craft, denies the voluntary act,
Declares herself a passive instrument
I' the husband's hands; that, duped by knavery,
She traced the characters she could not write,
And took on trust the unread sense which, read,
And recognized were to be spurned at once:
Allow this calumny, I reiterate!
Who is so dull as wonder at the pose
Of our Pompilia in the circumstance?
Who sees not that the too-ingenuous soul,
Repugnant even at a duty done
Which brought beneath too scrutinizing glare
The misdemeanours,—buried in the dark,—
Of the authors of her being, as believed,—
Stung to the quick at her impulsive deed,
And willing to repair what harm it worked,
She—wise in this beyond what Nero proved,
Who when folk urged the candid juvenile
To sign the warrant, doom the guilty dead,
"Would I had never learned to write," quoth he!
—Pompilia rose above the Roman, cried
"To read or write I never learned at all!"
O splendidly mendacious!

But time fleets:
Let us not linger: hurry to the end,
Since flight does end and that, disastrously.
Beware ye blame desert for unsuccess,
Disparage each expedient else to praise,
Call failure folly! Man's best effort fails.
After ten years' resistance Troy succumbed:
Could valour save a town, Troy still had stood.
Pompilia came off halting in no point
Of courage, conduct, her long journey through:
But nature sank exhausted at the close,
And as I said, she swooned and slept all night.
Morn breaks and brings the husband: we assist
At the spectacle. Discovery succeeds.
Ha, how is this? What moonstruck rage is here?
Though we confess to partial frailty now,
To error in a woman and a wife,
Is 't by the rough way she shall be reclaimed?
Who bursts upon her chambered privacy?
What crowd profanes the chaste cubiculum?
What outcries and lewd laughter, scurril gibe
And ribald jest to scare the ministrant
Good angels that commerce with souls in sleep?
Why, had the worst crowned Guido to his wish,
Confirmed his most irrational surmise,
Yet there be bounds to man's emotion, checks
To an immoderate astonishment.
'T is decent horror, regulated wrath,
Befit our dispensation: have we back
The old Pagan license? Shall a Vulcan clap
His net o' the sudden and expose the pair
To the unquenchable universal mirth?
A feat, antiquity saw scandal in
So clearly, that the nauseous tale thereof—
Demodocus his nugatory song—
Hath ever been concluded modern stuff
Impossible to the mouth of the grave Muse,
So, foisted into that Eighth Odyssey
By some impertinent pickthank. O thou fool,
Count Guido Franceschini, what didst gain
By publishing thy secret to the world?
Were all the precepts of the wise a waste—
Bred in thee not one touch of reverence?
Admit thy wife—admonish we the fool,—
Were falseness' self, why chronicle thy shame?
Much rather should thy teeth bite out thy tongue,
Dumb lip consort with desecrated brow,
Silence become historiographer,
And thou—thine own Cornelius Tacitus!
But virtue, barred, still leaps the barrier, lords!
—Still, moon-like, penetrates the encroaching mist
And bursts, all broad and bare, on night, ye know!
Surprised, then, in the garb of truth, perhaps,
Pompilia, thus opposed, breaks obstacle,
Springs to her feet, and stands Thalassian-pure,
Confronts the foe,—nay, catches at his sword
And tries to kill the intruder, he complains.
Why, so she gave her lord his lesson back,
Crowned him, this time, the virtuous woman's way,
With an exact obedience; he brought sword,
She drew the same, since swords are meant to draw.
Tell not me 't is sharp play with tools on edge!
It was the husband chose the weapon here.
Why did not he inaugurate the game
With some gentility of apophthegm
Still pregnant on the philosophic page,
Some captivating cadence still a-lisp
O' the poet's lyre? Such spells subdue the surge,
Make tame the tempest, much more mitigate
The passions of the mind, and probably
Had moved Pompilia to a smiling blush.
No, he must needs prefer the argument
O' the blow: and she obeyed, in duty bound,
Returned him buffet ratiocinative—
Ay, in the reasoner's own interest,
For wife must follow whither husband leads,
Vindicate honour as himself prescribes,
Save him the very way himself bids save!
No question but who jumps into a quag
Should stretch forth hand and pray us "Pull me out
"By the hand!" such were the customary cry:
But Guido pleased to bid "Leave hand alone!
"Join both feet, rather, jump upon my head:
"I extricate myself by the rebound!"
And dutifully as enjoined she jumped—
Drew his own sword and menaced his own life,
Anything to content a wilful spouse.

And so he was contented—one must do
Justice to the expedient which succeeds,
Strange as it seem: at flourish of the blade,
The crowd drew back, stood breathless and abashed,
Then murmured "This should be no wanton wife,
"No conscience-stricken sinner, caught i' the act,
"And patiently awaiting our first stone:
"But a poor hard-pressed all-bewildered thing,
"Has rushed so far, misguidedly perhaps,
"Meaning no more harm than a frightened sheep.
"She sought for aid; and if she made mistake
"I' the man could aid most, why—so mortals do:
"Even the blessed Magdalen mistook
"Far less forgiveably: consult the place—
"Supposing him to be the gardener,
"'Sir,' said she, and so following." Why more words?
Forthwith the wife is pronounced innocent:
What would the husband more than gain his cause,
And find that honour flash in the world's eye,
His apprehension was lest soil had smirched?

So, happily the adventure comes to close
Whereon my fat opponent grounds his charge
Preposterous: at mid-day he groans "How dark!"
Listen to me, thou Archangelic swine!
Where is the ambiguity to blame,
The flaw to find in our Pompilia? Safe
She stands, see! Does thy comment follow quick
"Safe, inasmuch as at the end proposed;
"But thither she picked way by devious path—
"Stands dirtied, no dubiety at all!
"I recognize success, yet, all the same,
"Importunately will suggestion prompt—
"Better Pompilia gained the right to boast
"'No devious path, no doubtful patch was mine,
"'I saved my head nor sacrificed my foot:'
"Why, being in a peril, show mistrust
"Of the angels set to guard the innocent?
"Why rather hold by obvious vulgar help
"Of stratagem and subterfuge, excused
"Somewhat, but still no less a foil, a fault,
"Since low with high, and good with bad is linked?
"Methinks I view some ancient bas-relief.
"There stands Hesione thrust out by Troy,
"Her father's hand has chained her to a crag,
"Her mother's from the virgin plucked the vest,
"At a safe distance both distressful watch,
"While near and nearer comes the snorting orc.
"I look that, white and perfect to the end,
"She wait till Jove despatch some demigod;
"Not that,—impatient of celestial club
"Alcmena's son should brandish at the beast,—
'She daub, disguise her dainty limbs with pitch,
"And so elude the purblind monster! Ay,
"The trick succeeds, but 't is an ugly trick,
"Where needs have been no trick!"

My answer? Faugh;
Nimis incongrue! Too absurdly put!
Sententiam ego teneo contrariam,
Trick, I maintain, had no alternative.
The heavens were bound with brass,—Jove far at feast
(No feast like that thou didst not ask me to,
Arcangeli,—I heard of thy regale!)
With the unblamed Æthiop,—Hercules spun wool
I' the lap of Omphale, while Virtue shrieked—
The brute came paddling all the faster. You
Of Troy, who stood at distance, where's the aid
You offered in the extremity? Most and least,
Gentle and simple, here the Governor,
There the Archbishop, everywhere the friends,
Shook heads and waited for a miracle,
Or went their way, left Virtue to her fate.
Just this one rough and ready man leapt forth!
Was found, sole anti-Fabius (dare I say)
Who restored things, with no delay at all,
Qui haud cunctando rem restituit! He,
He only, Caponsacchi 'mid a crowd,
Caught Virtue up, carried Pompilia off
Through gaping impotence of sympathy
In ranged Arezzo: what you take for pitch,
Is nothing worse, belike, than black and blue,
Mere evanescent proof that hardy hands
Did yeoman's service, cared not where the gripe
Was more than duly energetic: bruised,
She smarts a little, but her bones are saved
A fracture, and her skin will soon show sleek.
How it disgusts when weakness, false-refined,
Censures the honest rude effective strength,—
When sickly dreamers of the impossible
Decry plain sturdiness which does the feat
With eyes wide open!

Did occasion serve,
I could illustrate, if my lords allow;
Quid vetat, what forbids I aptly ask
With Horace, that I give my anger vent,
While I let breathe, no less, and recreate,
The gravity of my Judges, by a tale?
A case in point—what though an apologue
Graced by tradition?—possibly a fact:
Tradition must precede all scripture, words
Serve as our warrant ere our books can be:
So, to tradition back we needs must go
For any fact's authority: and this
Hath lived so far (like jewel hid in muck)
On page of that old lying vanity
Called "Sepher Toldoth Yeschu:" God be praised,
I read no Hebrew,—take the thing on trust:
But I believe the writer meant no good
(Blind as he was to truth in some respects)
To our pestiferous and schismatic … well,
My lords' conjecture be the touchstone, show
The thing for what it is! The author lacks
Discretion, and his zeal exceeds: but zeal,—
How rare in our degenerate day! Enough!
Here is the story: fear not, I shall chop
And change a little, else my Jew would press
All too unmannerly before the Court.

It happened once,—begins this foolish Jew,
Pretending to write Christian history,—
That three, held greatest, best and worst of men,
Peter and John and Judas, spent a day
In toil and travel through the country-side
On some sufficient business—I suspect,
Suppression of some Molinism i' the bud.
Foot-sore and hungry, dropping with fatigue,
They reached by nightfall a poor lonely grange,
Hostel or inn: so, knocked and entered there.
"Your pleasure, great ones?"—"Shelter, rest and food!"
For shelter, there was one bare room above;
For rest therein, three beds of bundled straw:
For food, one wretched starveling fowl, no more
Meat for one mouth, but mockery for three.
"You have my utmost." How should supper serve?
Peter broke silence: "To the spit with fowl!
"And while 't is cooking, sleep!—since beds there be,
"And, so far, satisfaction of a want.
"Sleep we an hour, awake at supper-time,
"Then each of us narrate the dream he had,
"And he whose dream shall prove the happiest, point
"The clearliest out the dreamer as ordained
"Beyond his fellows to receive the fowl,
"Him let our shares be cheerful tribute to,
"His the entire meal, may it do him good!"
Who could dispute so plain a consequence?
So said, so done: each hurried to his straw,
Slept his hour's sleep and dreamed his dream, and woke.
"I," commenced John, "dreamed that I gained the prize
"We all aspire to: the proud place was mine,
"Throughout the earth and to the end of time
"I was the Loved Disciple: mine the meal!"
"But I," proceeded Peter, "dreamed, a word
"Gave me the headship of our company,
"Made me the Vicar and Vice-gerent, gave
"The keys of heaven and hell into my hand,
"And o'er the earth, dominion: mine the meal!"
"While I," submitted in soft under-tone
The Iscariot—sense of his unworthiness
Turning each eye up to the inmost white—
With long-drawn sigh, yet letting both lips smack,
"I have had just the pitifullest dream
"That ever proved man meanest of his mates,
"And born foot-washer and foot-wiper, nay
"Foot-kisser to each comrade of you all!
"I dreamed I dreamed; and in that mimic dream
"(Impalpable to dream as dream to fact)
"Methought I meanly chose to sleep no wink
"But wait until I heard my brethren snore;
"Then stole from couch, slipped noiseless o'er the planks,
"Slid downstairs, furtively approached the hearth,
"Found the fowl duly brown, both back and breast,
"Hissing in harmony with the cricket's chirp,
"Grilled to a point; said no grace but fell to,
"Nor finished till the skeleton lay bare.
"In penitence for which ignoble dream,
"Lo, I renounce my portion cheerfully!
"Fie on the flesh—be mine the ethereal gust,
"And yours the sublunary sustenance!
"See that whate'er be left ye give the poor!"
Down the two scuttled, one on other's heel,
Stung by a fell surmise; and found, alack,
A goodly savour, both the drumstick bones,
And that which henceforth took the appropriate name
O' the Merry-thought, in memory of the fact
That to keep wide awake is man's best dream.

So,—as was said once of Thucydides
And his sole joke, "The lion, lo, hath laughed!"—
Just so, the Governor and all that's great
I' the city, never meant that Innocence
Should quite starve while Authority sat at meat;
They meant to fling a bone at banquet's end:
Wished well to our Pompilia—in their dreams,
Nor bore the secular sword in vain—asleep.
Just so the Archbishop and all good like him
Went to bed meaning to pour oil and wine
I' the wounds of her, next day,—but long ere day,
They had burned the one and drunk the other, while
Just so, again, contrariwise, the priest
Sustained poor Nature in extremity
By stuffing barley-bread into her mouth,
Saving Pompilia (grant the parallel)
By the plain homely and straightforward way
Taught him by common sense. Let others shriek
"Oh what refined expedients did we dream
"Proved us the only fit to help the fair!"
He cried "A carriage waits, jump in with me!"

And now, this application pardoned, lords,—
This recreative pause and breathing-while,—
Back to beseemingness and gravity!
For Law steps in: Guido appeals to Law,
Demands she arbitrate,—does well for once.
O Law, of thee how neatly was it said
By that old Sophocles, thou hast thy seat
I' the very breast of Jove, no meanlier throned!
Here is a piece of work now, hitherto
Begun and carried on, concluded near,
Without an eye-glance cast thy sceptre's way;
And, lo the stumbling and discomfiture!
Well may you call them "lawless" means, men take
To extricate themselves through mother-wit
When tangled haply in the toils of life!
Guido would try conclusions with his foe,
Whoe'er the foe was and whate'er the offence;
He would recover certain dowry-dues:
Instead of asking Law to lend a hand,
What pother of sword drawn and pistol cocked,
What peddling with forged letters and paid spies,
Politic circumvention!—all to end
As it began—by loss of the fool's head,
First in a figure, presently in a fact.
It is a lesson to mankind at large.
How other were the end, would men be sage
And bear confidingly each quarrel straight,
O Law, to thy recipient mother-knees!
How would the children light come and prompt go,
This with a red-cheeked apple for reward,
The other, peradventure red-cheeked too
I' the rear, by taste of birch for punishment.
No foolish brawling murder any more!
Peace for the household, practise for the Fisc,
And plenty for the exchequer of my lords!
Too much to hope, in this world: in the next,
Who knows? Since, why should sit the Twelve enthroned
To judge the tribes, unless the tribes be judged?
And 't is impossible but offences come:
So, all's one lawsuit, all one long leet-day!

Forgive me this digression—that I stand
Entranced awhile at Law's first beam, outbreak
O' the business, when the Count's good angel bade
"Put up thy sword, born enemy to the ear,
"And let Law listen to thy difference!"
And Law does listen and compose the strife,
Settle the suit, how wisely and how well!
On our Pompilia, faultless to a fault,
Law bends a brow maternally severe,
Implies the worth of perfect chastity,
By fancying the flaw she cannot find.
Superfluous sifting snow, nor helps nor harms:
'T is safe to censure levity in youth,
Tax womanhood with indiscretion, sure!
Since toys, permissible to-day, become
Follies to-morrow: prattle shocks in church:
And that curt skirt which lets a maiden skip,
The matron changes for a trailing robe.
Mothers may aim a blow with half-shut eyes
Nodding above their spindles by the fire,
And chance to hit some hidden fault, else safe.
Just so, Law hazarded a punishment—
If applicable to the circumstance,
Why, well! if not so apposite, well too.
"Quit the gay range o' the world," I hear her cry,
"Enter, in lieu, the penitential pound:
"Exchange the gauds of pomp for ashes, dust!
"Leave each mollitious haunt of luxury!
"The golden-garnished silken-couched alcove,
"The many-columned terrace that so tempts
"Feminine soul put foot forth, extend ear
"To fluttering joy of lover's serenade,—
"Leave these for cellular seclusion! mask
"And dance no more, but fast and pray! avaunt—
"Be burned, thy wicked townsman's sonnet-book!
"Welcome, mild hymnal by … some better scribe!
"For the warm arms were wont enfold thy flesh,
"Let wire-shirt plough and whipcord discipline!"
If such an exhortation proved, perchance,
Inapplicable, words bestowed in waste,
What harm, since Law has store, can spend nor miss?

And so, our paragon submits herself,
Goes at command into the holy house,
And, also at command, comes out again:
For, could the effect of such obedience prove
Too certain, too immediate? Being healed,
Go blaze abroad the matter, blessed one!
Art thou sound forthwith? Speedily vacate
The step by pool-side, leave Bethesda free
To patients plentifully posted round,
Since the whole need not the physician! Brief,
She may betake her to her parents' place.
Welcome her, father, with wide arms once more,
Motion her, mother, to thy breast again!
For why? Since Law relinquishes the charge,
Grants to your dwelling-place a prison's style,
Rejoice you with Pompilia! golden days,
Redeunt Saturnia regna. Six weeks slip,
And she is domiciled in house and home
As though she thence had never budged at all.
And thither let the husband,—joyous, ay,
But contrite also—quick betake himself,
Proud that his dove which lay among the pots
Hath mued those dingy feathers,—moulted now,
Shows silver bosom clothed with yellow gold!
So shall he tempt her to the perch she fled,
Bid to domestic bliss the truant back.

But let him not delay! Time fleets how fast,
And opportunity, the irrevocable,
Once flown will flout him! Is the furrow traced?
If field with corn ye fail preoccupy,
Darnel for wheat and thistle-beards for grain,
Infelix lolium, carduus horridus,
Will grow apace in combination prompt,
Defraud the husbandman of his desire.
Already—hist—what murmurs 'monish now
The laggard?—doubtful, nay, fantastic bruit
Of such an apparition, such return
Interdum, to anticipate the spouse,
Of Caponsacchi's very self! 'T is said,
When nights are lone and company is rare,
His visitations brighten winter up.
If so they did—which nowise I believe—
(How can I?—proof abounding that the priest,
Once fairly at his relegation-place,
Never once left it) still, admit he stole
A midnight march, would fain see friend again,
Find matter for instruction in the past,
Renew the old adventure in such chat
As cheers a fireside! He was lonely too,
He, too, must need his recreative hour.
Shall it amaze the philosophic mind
If he, long wont the empurpled cup to quaff,
Have feminine society at will,
Being debarred abruptly from all drink
Save at the spring which Adam used for wine,
Dreads harm to just the health he hoped to guard,
And, trying abstinence, gains malady?
Ask Tozzi, now physician to the Pope!
"Little by little break"—(I hear he bids
Master Arcangeli my antagonist,
Who loves good cheer, and may indulge too much:
So I explain the logic of the plea
Wherewith he opened our proceedings late)—
"Little by little break a habit, Don,
"Become necessity to feeble flesh!"
And thus, nocturnal taste of intercourse
(Which never happened,—but, suppose it did)
May have been used to dishabituate
By sip and sip this drainer to the dregs
O' the draught of conversation,—heady stuff,
Brewage which, broached, it took two days and nights
To properly discuss i' the journey, Sirs!
Such power has second-nature, men call use,
That undelightful objects get to charm
Instead of chafe: the daily colocynth
Tickles the palate by repeated dose,
Old sores scratch kindly, the ass makes a push
Although the mill-yoke-wound be smarting yet,
For mill-door bolted on a holiday:
Nor must we marvel here if impulse urge
To talk the old story over now and then,
The hopes and fears, the stoppage and the haste,—
Subjects of colloquy to surfeit once.
"Here did you bid me twine a rosy wreath!"
"And there you paid my lips a compliment!"
"Here you admired the tower could be so tall!"
"And there you likened that of Lebanon
"To the nose of the beloved!" Trifles! still,
"Forsan et hæc olim,"—such trifles serve
To make the minutes pass in winter-time.

Husband, return then, I re-counsel thee!
For, finally, of all glad circumstance
Should make a prompt return imperative,
What in the world awaits thee, dost suppose?
O' the sudden, as good gifts are wont befall,
What is the hap of our unconscious Count?
That which lights bonfire and sets cask a-tilt,
Dissolves the stubborn'st heart in jollity.
O admirable, there is born a babe,
A son, an heir, a Franceschini last
And best o' the stock! Pompilia, thine the palm!
Repaying incredulity with faith,
Ungenerous thrift of each marital debt
With bounty in profuse expenditure,
Pompilia scorns to have the old year end
Without a present shall ring in the new—
Bestows on her too-parsimonious lord
An infant for the apple of his eye,
Core of his heart, and crown completing life,
True summum bonum of the earthly lot!
"We," saith ingeniously the sage, "are born
"Solely that others may be born of us."
So, father, take thy child, for thine that child,
Oh nothing doubt! In wedlock born, law holds
Baseness impossible: since "filius est
"Quem nuptiæ demonstrant," twits the text
Whoever dares to doubt.

Yet doubt he dares!
O faith, where art thou flown from out the world?
Already on what an age of doubt we fall!
Instead of each disputing for the prize,
The babe is bandied here from that to this.
Whose the babe? "Cujum pecus?" Guido's lamb?
"An Meliboei?" Nay, but of the priest!
"Non sed Ægonis!" Someone must be sire:
And who shall say, in such a puzzling strait,
If there were not vouchsafed some miracle
To the wife who had been harassed and abused
More than enough by Guido's family
For non-production of the promised fruit
Of marriage? What if Nature, I demand,
Touched to the quick by taunts upon her sloth,
Had roused herself, put forth recondite power,
Bestowed this birth to vindicate her sway,
Like the strange favour, Maro memorized
As granted Aristæus when his hive
Lay empty of the swarm? not one more bee—
Not one more babe to Franceschini's house!
And lo, a new birth filled the air with joy,
Sprung from the bowels of the generous steer,
A novel son and heir rejoiced the Count!
Spontaneous generation, need I prove
Were facile feat to Nature at a pinch?
Let whoso doubts, steep horsehair certain weeks
In water, there will be produced a snake;
Spontaneous product of the horse, which horse
Happens to be the representative—
Now that I think on't—of Arezzo's self,
The very city our conception blessed:
Is not a prancing horse the City-arms?
What sane eye fails to see coincidence?
Cur ego, boast thou, my Pompilia, then,
Desperem fieri sine conjuge
Mater—how well the Ovidian distich suits!—
Et parere intacto dummodo
Casta viro? Such miracle was wrought!
Note, further, as to mark the prodigy,
The babe in question neither took the name
Of Guido, from the sire presumptive, nor
Giuseppe, from the sire potential, but
Gaetano—last saint of our hierarchy,
And newest namer for a thing so new!
What other motive could have prompted choice?

Therefore be peace again: exult, ye hills!
Ye vales rejoicingly break forth in song!
Incipe, parve puer, begin, small boy,
Risu cognoscere patrem, with a laugh
To recognize thy parent! Nor do thou
Boggle, oh parent, to return the grace!
Nec anceps hære, pater, puero
Cognoscendo—one may well eke out the prayer!
In vain! The perverse Guido doubts his eyes,
Distrusts assurance, lets the devil drive.
Because his house is swept and garnished now,
He, having summoned seven like himself,
Must hurry thither, knock and enter in,
And make the last worse than the first, indeed!
Is he content? We are. No further blame
O' the man and murder! They were stigmatized
Befittingly: the Court heard long ago
My mind o' the matter, which, outpouring full,
Has long since swept like surge, i' the simile
Of Homer, overborne both dyke and dam,
And whelmed alike client and advocate:
His fate is sealed, his life as good as gone,
On him I am not tempted to waste word.
Yet though my purpose holds,—which was and is
And solely shall be to the very end,
To draw the true effigies of a saint,
Do justice to perfection in the sex,—
Yet let not some gross pamperer of the flesh
And niggard in the spirit's nourishment,
Whose feeding hath offuscated his wit
Rather than law,—he never had, to lose—
Let not such advocate object to me
I leave my proper function of attack!
"What 's this to Bacchus?"—(in the classic phrase,
Well used, for once) he hiccups probably.
O Advocate o' the Poor, thou born to make
Their blessing void—beati pauperes!
By painting saintship I depicture sin:
Beside my pearl, I prove how black thy jet,
And, through Pompilia's virtue, Guido's crime.

Back to her, then,—with but one beauty more,
End we our argument,—one crowning grace
Pre-eminent 'mid agony and death.
For to the last Pompilia played her part,
Used the right means to the permissible end,
And, wily as an eel that stirs the mud
Thick overhead, so baffling spearman's thrust,
She, while he stabbed her, simulated death,
Delayed, for his sake, the catastrophe,
Obtained herself a respite, four days' grace,
Whereby she told her story to the world,
Enabled me to make the present speech,
And, by a full confession, saved her soul.

Yet hold, even here would malice leer its last,
Gurgle its choked remonstrance: snake, hiss free!
Oh, that 's the objection? And to whom?—not her
But me, forsooth—as, in the very act
Of both confession and (what followed close)
Subsequent talk, chatter and gossipry,
Babble to sympathizing he and she
Whoever chose besiege her dying bed,—
As this were found at variance with my tale,
Falsified all I have adduced for truth,
Admitted not one peccadillo here,
Pretended to perfection, first and last,
O' the whole procedure—perfect in the end,
Perfect i' the means, perfect in everything,
Leaving a lawyer nothing to excuse,
Reason away and show his skill about!
—A flight, impossible to Adamic flesh,
Just to be fancied, scarcely to be wished,
And, anyhow, unpleadable in court!
"How reconcile," gasps Malice, "that with this?"

Your "this," friend, is extraneous to the law,
Comes of men's outside meddling, the unskilled
Interposition of such fools as press
Out of their province. Must I speak my mind?
Far better had Pompilia died o' the spot
Than found a tongue to wag and shame the law,
Shame most of all herself,—could friendship fail
And advocacy lie less on the alert:
But no, they shall protect her to the end!
Do I credit the alleged narration? No!
Lied our Pompilia then, to laud herself?
Still, no! Clear up what seems discrepancy?
The means abound: art 's long, though time is short;
So, keeping me in compass, all I urge
Is—since, confession at the point of death,
Nam in articulo mortis, with the Church
Passes for statement honest and sincere,
Nemo presumitur reus esse,—then,
If sure that all affirmed would be believed,
'T was charity, in her so circumstanced,
To spend the last breath in one effort more
For universal good of friend and foe:
And,—by pretending utter innocence,
Nay, freedom from each foible we forgive,—
Re-integrate—not solely her own fame,
But do the like kind office for the priest
Whom telling the crude truth about might vex,
Haply expose to peril, abbreviate
Indeed the long career of usefulness
Presumably before him: while her lord,
Whose fleeting life is forfeit to the law,—
What mercy to the culprit if, by just
The gift of such a full certificate
Of his immitigable guiltiness,
She stifled in him the absurd conceit
Of murder as it were a mere revenge
—Stopped confirmation of that jealousy
Which, did she but acknowledge the first flaw,
The faintest foible, had emboldened him
To battle with the charge, baulk penitence,
Bar preparation for impending fate!
Whereas, persuade him that he slew a saint
Who sinned not even where she may have sinned,
You urge him all the brisklier to repent
Of most and least and aught and everything!
Still, if this view of mine content you not,
Lords, nor excuse the genial falsehood here,
We come to our Triarii, last resource:
We fall back on the inexpugnable,
Submitting,—she confessed before she talked!
The sacrament obliterates the sin:
What is not,—was not, therefore, in a sense.
Let Molinists distinguish, "Souls washed white
"But red once, still show pinkish to the eye!"
We say, abolishment is nothingness,
And nothingness has neither head nor tail,
End nor beginning! Better estimate
Exorbitantly, than disparage aught
Of the efficacity of the act, I hope!
Solvuntur tabulæ? May we laugh and go?
Well,—not before (in filial gratitude
To Law, who, mighty mother, waves adieu)
We take on us to vindicate Law's self!
For,—yea, Sirs,—curb the start, curtail the stare!—
Remains that we apologize for haste
I' the Law, our lady who here bristles up
"Blame my procedure? Could the Court mistake?
"(Which were indeed a misery to think)
"Did not my sentence in the former stage
"O' the business bear a title plain enough?
"Decretum"—I translate it word for word—
"'Decreed: the priest, for his complicity
"'I' the flight and deviation of the dame,
"'As well as for unlawful intercourse,
"'Is banished three years: crime and penalty,
"Declared alike. If he be taxed with guilt,
"How can you call Pompilia innocent?
"If both be innocent, have I been just?"

Gently, O mother, judge men—whose mistake
Is in the mere misapprehensiveness!
The Titulus a-top of your decree
Was but to ticket there the kind of charge
You in good time would arbitrate upon.
Title is one thing,—arbitration's self,
Probatio, quite another possibly.
Subsistit, there holds good the old response,
Responsio tradita, we must not stick,
Quod non sit attendendus Titulus,
To the Title, sed Probatio, but the Proof,
Resultans ex processu, the result
O' the Trial, and the style of punishment,
Et poena per sententiam imposita.
All is tentative, till the sentence come:
An indication of what men expect,
But nowise an assurance they shall find.
Lords, what if we permissibly relax
The tense bow, as the law-god Phoebus bids,
Relieve our gravity at labour's close?
I traverse Rome, feel thirsty, need a draught,
Look for a wine-shop, find it by the bough
Projecting as to say "Here wine is sold!"
So much I know,—"sold:" but what sort of wine?
Strong, weak, sweet, sour, home-made or foreign drink?
That much must I discover by myself.
"Wine is sold," quoth the bough, "but good or bad,
"Find, and inform us when you smack your lips!"
Exactly so, Law hangs her title forth,
To show she entertains you with such case
About such crime. Come in! she pours, you quaff.
You find the Priest good liquor in the main,
But heady and provocative of brawls:
Remand the residue to flask once more,
Lay it low where it may deposit lees,
I' the cellar: thence produce it presently,
Three years the brighter and the better!

Thus,
Law's son, have I bestowed my filial help,
And thus I end, tenax proposito;
Point to point as I purposed have I drawn
Pompilia, and implied as terribly
Guido: so, gazing, let the world crown Law—
Able once more, despite my impotence,
And helped by the acumen of the Court,
To eliminate, display, make triumph truth!
What other prize than truth were worth the pains?

There's my oration—much exceeds in length
That famed panegyric of Isocrates,
They say it took him fifteen years to pen.
But all those ancients could say anything!
He put in just what rushed into his head:
While I shall have to prune and pare and print.
This comes of being born in modern times
With priests for auditory. Still, it pays.

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More Than Love Loves To Be Loved

Crying in my broken arms,
as I was bringing her,
closer and closer to my heart.
I hope to never forget this feeling,
that makes me love her
more than love loves to be loved.
My face touches her face,
kissed by the pained tears
that come from the hated past.
I whisper
and I hope she listens
for in them I hold
everything that's true and never lies
all that I feel and never dies,
My love-
-for her.

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The Lostness.

Mickey had locked himself
In the house and his mother
Was concerned he’d do something
To harm himself so you went
Around and knocked at the back
Door and called his name and
He said go away I don’t want to
Talk to anyone but you stayed
And persisted and he finally
Opened up and let you in and
You said why this? And he said
I’m so like my old man that I
Hate myself and he stared at
The Van Gogh print on the wall
Above the fireplace with a look
Of deep unhappiness and lostness
On his face. You are what you make
Yourself you said taking in Vincent’s
Sunflowers the way the vibrant
Picture hung there the smell of
Flowers in the late evening air.

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Childhood - 3

Give me back the moment
while nothing was impossible to me
give me back the moment
while i was kissed by all guys

Give me back the moment
when Mom lull to make me asleep
i cannot forget the moment
when i stole spoons of sugar from kitchen
i can not forgo the moment
flying kite to touch the sky

Can I forget when I gazed at the stars
at their twinkling light
when i gazed at the moon
thinking to be a silver dish on the sky
while i was thinking
a deep valley at the end of earth

Give me back my childhood
when i was thinking to fly
like a butterfly.
When i was trying to understand
the language of birds and crow
i weep over the crow
when snatched biscuits from my hand

My childhood was a splendid moment
when the lap of my mother
was more than any heavenly bed
My childhood was the out give of my life

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The Heavens Over Lighthouses

Sounds of your memory—what does
It mean, all of those diseases:
Thinking and thinking of Colorado
Where my mother was born outside of Denver—
In just a little slip of a vale—
In a house next to a house built by a blind man—
Against all of those busied echoes up against
The canyons:
Maybe she was in love with her brother when she
Was in her youngest years:
But she graduated high school, got married
And had children—and her husband—her husband
Is my father:
Man from
Michigan—fat as a hummingbird over the used car
Ports and junk yards—while all of the time
Around his neck a beautiful sun weighing him down like
A jewel—
He was too busied to understand,
Or to truly be in love with her: my mothermy mother
Windmills turn in the heavens—over lighthouses
And libraries—but what is there left to say?

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Doctors

I waited in the lobby as the television blared
While my mother was in surgery
Me wondering how she fared
Where the old ones in their wheelchairs
Pushed by strangers came and went
Wearing dressing gowns of cotton
With their dignity a-vent
And the doctors came to treat them
In their valuable time
Looking down upon these people
Without SEEING them, like mine
With their faces hid by masks
So you won’t know that they don’t care
Wearing paper shoes and paper hats
Such that you’d never dare
To waste their time by asking questions
And risk seeming like a fool
Just by virtue of the fact that they’ve
Had twenty years of school
But the sickly in their wheelchairs
Keep on coming back for more
Hoping they will beat Grim Reaper
As he bangs on deaths dark door
And the doctors with their scissors
And their scalpels cutting neat
Say “To hell with bedside manner
You are just a piece of meat”


Written by Sara Fielder © 2012

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Linley From Dubbo

Though she is only forty four she looks much older
And gray through her shoulder length hair of brown
But twenty years ago she looked a beauty
One of the finest in Dubbo her Hometown.

She married young when she was only twenty
And she was pregnant on her wedding day
She loved her husband and to him was faithful
But her price for loving him too high to pay.

Her angry husband when drunk often beat her
But next morning he'd say I'm sorry dear
I promise you that this again won't happen
Perhaps I ought to give up on the beer.

But his promises to her were quickly broken
The leopard never seems to change his spots how true
He often came home from the pub aggressive
And he often beat poor Linley black and blue.

Till she grew tired of Jack her violent husband
And she took her daughter Jo and headed south
Since that day ten years back she hasn't seen him
And where he now lives she doesn't wish to find out.

Linley from Dubbo is a young grand mother
Her grand daughter will be two years old next may
She won't be going back for to live in Dubbo
In Ferntree Gully she's happy to stay.

Since she left her husband she has had many relationships
But none of them lasted more than a year
But she says soon that she will meet her soul mate
And happy times for her she feels are near.

Despite all she has been through she feels so positive
And she has got a good approach to life
And lovely Linley from Dubbo in her forties
For some lucky man will make a marvellous wife.

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That Film About the Poets

Of the one who lived in paris
& made movies about the art world,
living in the pompadour
of stained glass once seen
in architectural digest.

Or the one whose soul was born
In a concentration camp.
Hitler’s worst nightmare of a jew
Who could out-write the nibelungenlied.

Alas, I am too fresh faced.
I must wrinkle for a very long time.
My wheelchair is not enough.
I must be housed in the walls of wood
& oriental runners whispering chinese
Through the walls more meaningful
Than the proverbs of fortune cookies.

This is the monster I wish to become
Secluded in maui, away from the vengeance of naropa
The quiet contemplative turn away from
The ultimate new york city tragedy

Or maybe I’d be a parisian transplant
With my ivy leagued & fulbrighted self,
Singing a song of ghost friends.

If only I were that man,
or born of that woman,
Born of her yoke, caught in a whirlwind
Of love’s small poetic prophesy

As if her hunger was all this and nothing more.
It is then, that she is burned, her skin marked
And glistening as she cherishes this branding
As I cradle my immense sadness,
Sing to it before mocking it, my stillborn child.

The one whose father had invented the exacto knife
Who lives comfortably cambridged in her silence?

Private peach I impede upon
her furry pit hidden inside
the hard bindings of books.
She says she doesn’t want
The ersatz…

This life already happened to me long ago
with glasses in a coffee shop alone…
Far away where I was read by aliens.
So I disappeared.

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The Making of a Prince II: A King with Too Many Names

Eyes of adamantine admiration,
Eyes of green jealousy,
And like my own of enigma;
Skin of robust splendor,
Skin of soigné plutocracy,
And like my own of harsh grating;
He had a extensive collection
Of these myriad visions

Brands and names,
Epitaphs and banners…
He had too much already
And I cannot endow him
Of a gift, of a name,
But in spite of the perplexity
Of his multitude, I knew him
And the core of his magnitude

A soul, a heart, a thousand words,
An assuaging fix, a destructive machinism,
Triumphs and defeat;
Overwhelming his names—
He was a king, he was a king.

He was a brittle glass of a king
Capable of holding many dishabille
Possessing ice and fire, fire and ice,
For candid tears and for affections
And as he meander in this shriveled globe
In the superfluity of his winding paths
The sun casts his diadem loftily
And the glass that his vessel was
Spewed a vexing prism in prance
Of its thousand shades and inflections
And the affliction was upon him

This king with many a name
Displays his scars too flagrantly
For it was more noble, as he believed,
Than his unutterable bank of grandiosity
And perhaps, in his vain rummaging
In myself: a mirror bijou of slivers
He saw himself, in a dour vantage,
His eviscerations, and faults, and errs -
A little coy prince wilted from a dream

Under the sun's duress, in the fear's chest
Juxtaposed the graves we built and exhumed:
We talked of riddles,
Gambled with death and life,
Shuffled reveries,
Wrote garish words
And slurring veracity,
Survived genocides
And treacle poisons—
In his clandestine dominion
Deeper than his clad loin
I had rubbed myself luster
And before I depart
I saw what he did:
A coy little prince

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At half-mast

You didn't know Billy, did you? Well, Bill was one of the boys,
The greatest fellow you ever seen to racket an' raise a noise,--
An' sing! say, you never heard singing 'nless you heard Billy sing.
I used to say to him, "Billy, that voice that you've got there'd bring
A mighty sight more bank-notes to tuck away in your vest,
If only you'd go on the concert stage instead of a-ranchin' West."
An' Billy he'd jist go laughin', and say as I didn't know
A robin's whistle in springtime from a barnyard rooster's crow.
But Billy could sing, an' I sometimes think that voice lives anyhow,--
That perhaps Bill helps with the music in the place he's gone to now.

The last time that I seen him was the day he rode away;
He was goin' acrost the plain to catch the train for the East next day.
'Twas the only time I ever seen poor Bill that he didn't laugh
Or sing, an' kick up a rumpus an' racket around, and chaff,
For he'd got a letter from his folks that said for to hurry home,
For his mother was dyin' away down East an' she wanted Bill to come.
Say, but the feller took it hard, but he saddled up right away,
An' started across the plains to take the train for the East, next day.
Sometimes I lie awake a-nights jist a-thinkin' of the rest,
For that was the great big blizzard day, when the wind come down from west,
An' the snow piled up like mountains an' we couldn't put foot outside,
But jist set into the shack an' talked of Bill on his lonely ride.
We talked of the laugh he threw us as he went at the break o' day,
An' we talked of the poor old woman dyin' a thousand mile away.

Well, Dan O'Connell an' I went out to search at the end of the week,
Fer all of us fellers thought a lot,--a lot that we darsn't speak.
We'd been up the trail about forty mile, an' was talkin' of turnin' back,
But Dan, well, he wouldn't give in, so we kep' right on to the railroad track.
As soon as we sighted them telegraph wires says Dan, "Say, bless my soul!
Ain't that there Bill's red handkerchief tied half way up that pole?"
Yes, sir, there she was, with her ends a-flippin' an' flyin' in the wind,
An' underneath was the envelope of Bill's letter tightly pinned.
"Why, he must a-boarded the train right here," says Dan, but I kinder knew
That underneath them snowdrifts we would find a thing or two;
Fer he'd writ on that there paper, "Been lost fer hours,--all hope is past.
You'll find me, boys, where my handkerchief is flyin' at half-mast."

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The Tragedy Wrought To An Innocent Boy

When she longed to do a P.G. course,
Along with her friends in a Deemed Varsity,
Her parents thwarted her plan
and arranged to betrothe her to a boy,
working abroad, promising some jewellery.
Fate brought the groom back home
but the marriage was solemnized,
as he was capable of finding a job in the Gulf.
For what purpose, she convinced her hubby
to use safety covers to nix conceiving,
she and her parents alone knew.

In the first week of connubial life,
She got the bracelet from him for wearing
and told him it was misplaced at her father’s house.
The groom and his parents ignored it.
Then she made a row urging her in-laws
to spend for her higher studies.
When the nod was not given,
she started ructions with her mother-in-law.
In a month, she roused her husband
to blame his parents for not sending him
to a foreign university for higher studies.
Her cryptic words about her brief life with him
never alerted or sparked off a doubt in them.

When the boy was not warring with his parents,
She defied him to get some lakhs from them
for visiting London to hunt for a job.
As she failed to make his hackles up,
she kicked up a brawl to fetch him out
and live somewhere afar.
“ We can live in separation in our house”,
the groom said with guts;
sensing dangers in the coming days.
“ Live in my father’s house as a tenant,
go abroad and send your ‘dinars’ to my father’s account”,
she dictated in the presence of some mediators,
who came often to get justice for her.

Her plot to amputate him from his parents
and to get his share of wealth from them
was miscarried and she lost her patience.
Fate threw light on her meager quantity of jewels
than what was promised. Some fake gold was also found.
She went berserk and rushed back to her father’s house
with a warning to pay heed to what she says.
The poor boy became sleepless and so were all.
He was invited for Diwali festival and snubbed
For not being at least a sentinel at the IT Park.
When the boy was awaiting her in his house,
she preferred a complaint of cheating
and harassment for dowry.
That heinous act alarmed the groom’s parents
who were public servants, to lose some lakhs and flee.
Fate flew him out at once to work in the Gulf
and rise again from a life crashed.
He married again after a few years and has a boy.
She was waiting for a call from her boyfriend
with newly bought jewels and a lumpsome,
given as life-time maintenance.
Now she is casting her net to catch a boy unwary.
May her tribe increase to dazzle and fizzle the poor boys!

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The Devil and Demon Park

The girl that captured my heart, I knew
As Angela Dupree,
She stood at the centre of every group
At the university,
The comb in her hair was tortoiseshell,
Her necklace, crosses and beads
And silver bangles jangled her wrists
While her dress trailed lace at the knees.

The hair that fell at her shoulders was
More silvery then, than grey,
She said: ‘It's a strange genetic thing
That came from my grandma's way! '
We went to the self-same English tute
But she barely spared me a glance,
She favoured the sweatier, sporting type
So I didn't stand much of a chance!

I'd watch her in the refectory
As she sipped her herbal teas,
But glanced away from the leering mob,
From their ribald jokes, and pleas,
As each of them tried to seize her hand
And vie for her every smile;
While soaking in their adoring spin
She basked in their wit, and guile!

They'd form a huddle beside the quad
With Angela at the core,
And pass the tokes with their feeble jokes
But kept their eyes on the door,
She came to the tutes all glassy-eyed,
And dreamed, not saying a word,
‘Til the tutor noticed, took her aside,
But I doubt if she even heard.

She failed a paper on Rupert Brooke,
I saw the look of alarm,
She'd never failed an assignment yet
But I saw the tracks in her arm,
Her face grew troubled, her brow was dark
With the slide, already begun,
Down to the Devil and Demon Park
And on to oblivion!

I found her sitting alone one day
And sat right down by her side,
‘Your ‘friends' will take you to hell and back
But they're just along for the ride! '
She looked at me and she curled her lip:
‘So why would you even care? '
But she saw the love-light shine in my eyes,
As I caught the scent of her hair!

She wept, and muttered: ‘It's far too late,
I'm weak, and sick as can be!
All I can think is - how can I score?
Get rid of this devil in me! '
‘There isn't an easy path, ' I said,
‘But start by taking my arm,
I'll see you clear, though the demons jeer,
And I'll keep you free from harm! '

I spent a week in her unit there
As she twisted, turned, perspired,
I mopped her brow and I gave her strength
Though she swore, and cursed, and cried.
There were times that she said she hated me,
There were times that she lay and wept,
She would suffer the fits of pain and cramps,
But there at the end, she slept!

I'd like to say that it all worked out
That we fell in love in the end,
But once recovered, she kissed me, said:
‘I will treasure you, as a friend! '
I was there when she married a banker's son,
Was feeling a tear begin,
But she saw me then, and she whispered, ‘Hush!
An Angel has just come in! '

3 August,2012

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The Virgin's last breath

It is a morning calm and still
On the valley covered in lush green
The sun is creeping over the hill
The lilies of the valley in their full sheen
Scattered around in this picturque scene
Are yellow maringold and blossom white
And wild flowers fighting to be seen
Praising heaven for another daylight

Underneath a tall rainforest tree
Sit i quietly taking inventory
Of a brand new day so gay to see
But there is a hidden history
Six seasons rainfall cannot wash
Nor could six seasons wind sweep
Six years now, i will tell it afresh
For heaven still look down on men and weep

Here, not far, i swear, about six feet
Is the footpath to the village stream
Not far still, from where three roads meet
To the stream, to the farm, the last you wouldnt dare dream
Was the story of this virgin ever told
By them who saw her that faithful day
Here, on this valley, six seasons old
I will be telling it again today

'A sweet hapless innocent miss
So fresh in her maiden bloom
With swelling breasts, a delight to kiss
Had met her fated doom
What vile act of man, what shame!
What unspeakable evil, what dishonor!
Are the hearts of men so untame
In their arrogance and lustful nature'


With her earthen pot, on that lonely path
She made her way to the village stream
And the cold intuition of death
Was scarce in her wildest dream
But evil trailed her, with eyes unseen
And observed her close and carefully
Vile men looking rough and mean
Yet the sweet thoughted virgin sang cheerfully

Not beyond this familiar path
Did she take a step away
For upon this worn brown earth
She had trodden day to day
Anon, on that flowery field she did espice
Broken petals, trodden and bare
And softly to herself did she sigh
As she gathered them with tender care

'O crude fate! ' She began, 'unfair nature
O that what is done can be undone
What beauty is there if it cannot restore
What glows now, the next moment gone? '
Saying thus, to the broken petals intended
She watered them with her tears
But soon same fate upon her attended
Her tears gave way to thousand fears

As a beast circles round his hapless prey
They, in number-four upon her came
And the maiden's legs gave way
She stood transfixed and deadly lame
Her face turned cloudy white
Her heart pounding in a thousand fear
As one who beholdeth a ghostly sprite
She felt the sting of death looming near

She wished the earth would swallow her
She conjured the trees to be her guardian
She prayed the heavens to rescue her
To save her from this brutish men
But the earth made the bed for her woes
The heaven did not heed her distress call
The trees heard her painful groans
Yet saved her not from that virgin fall

O! foul dishonor to a virgin's grace
The rape of innocence, the death of purity
Which man covert with his evil face
Coverting thus, pluck with sheer impunity
Now, again and again, and again
The men voilated her, a virgin pure
Once filled, they began again
Ravaging her, once a - too many more

As the Grecian lords had vaquished troy
And scaled that wall, that gate so tall
These brutes upon the maiden employ
Breaching that chaste virgin wall
There On the field of blosom white
Were her sweat, tears and virgin blood
There, on that bright morning light
Her torn body laid so pale and cold


Is there a thing as tender men?
But civility in pretex man's ingenuity
At heart is man a selfish and jelous being
And brutish when it comes to feminity
'O! Broken petal, damaged rose, ' sorrowed she
'On this valley of shaddow of death
I become to man, a utility'
Anon! she heaved her virgin last breath!

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My Mother

Mother, mother, most beloved mother!
Oh, my heart's dearest mother!
Will there ever be another
One to replace you in one way or the other?

To dwell on you, even a little,
Makes my heart so very brittle;
Emotions gush and flood the mind,
The sluice of eyes, let the waters behind.

Such a splendid mother!
Such a wonderful mother!
A mother so lovely, neat,
A mother so honey sweet,

Is but hard to find,
As she is of a rare kind.
She'd shower love and affection,
But was a strict disciplinarian!

My darling mother was begotten
After a long penance, certain
Of my grand-parents'devotion,
And Lord Eshwara's benediction.

She was christened after Goddess Parvathi,
But being the apple of the eye,
She was aptly named 'Kannammal'
And was called 'Kannu'by all.

Though not complete in schooling,
She tread through life ever learning;
She'd nicely cook, read a book and sew;
And she was adept at many chores too!

At nineteen—a maiden, charming and coy,
She entered my father's house with joy;
But lo! There at the city of Secunderabad,
Her experience with her in-laws was sad!

Then one after one, like an acorn,
The four of us were born;
Three sweet girls and a bonny boy-
Her dancing dolls of endless joy.

My mother bubbled with happiness,
And was a milk of kindness;
She was service personified,
And a spirit of duty deified.

She taught us serene cleanliness,
And said it was next to Godliness;
Education to our raw minds, she did fetch,
And culture to carve in us, she did etch.

She cared for us proudly swell,
And she reared us extremely well;
She egged us on to truth and obedience,
And urged us to tread the path of perseverance.

Mother was a devout devotee,
Of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi;
She performed sacred poojas daily,
And would not eat before did her deity.

With father constantly shored
At the office of the Cantonment Board,
She was the captain to surely steer,
The ship of home to waters clear.

She proved to be an affectionate sister above
Her dear brothers and sisters in love;
To each one of them she was wonderful,
For she arranged their marriages, heartful! .

She was a true friend, in need
To ‘Mami'of Marredpalli indeed,
Both of them were ever so close
For one without the other was so morose.

One by one, with blissful marriage intent,
We were off to our homes in places distant;
Yet our lovely bondage was ever intact,
For the love was abiding in its impact.

Close on heels—one after another,
Grand children were born to mother;
It was her lot ne'er to herself bother,
For at thirty-eight she was a proud grandmother!

‘Aachi! ' ‘Aachi! 'With affection they'd call,
And she to them was their first pal;
To each one of the ten of them,
She was sure a pure love gem.

Happy days bounced there for mother,
At sister's house in ‘Sanjeeva Reddy Nagar';
With a fond family around her, so dear,
Interspersed with visits of people from far and near.
Lo! A dark cloud of head-ache, true,
Then descended on her sky of blue;
With throbbing pain, she suffered much,
Many a doctor offering little relief, as such.

Alas! It was not to be a passing cloud,
For the mantle of death did her shroud
In the small hours of a day-too soon—
In 1976-to be exact-on the fifteenth of June.

Though stepping into the youth of age,
Providence tore from His Book, her life's page;
All that was love and kind; good and glory,
Was pitted to dust and transformed to a story!

Mummy! Oh Mummy! Dear, my dear!
Your corporal frame has flown from here,
Your soul to rise to the Great Spirit above,
In harmony to mingle with Divine Love.

We, your darling children below,
Your foot-steps, we ardently strive to follow,
And pray to the Great Power Merciful
To rest your good soul in peace bountiful.

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