Celia: By my troth, thou sayest true. For, since the little wit that fools have was silenced, the little foolery that wise men have makes a great show.
Thou Art enough for me
Thou Art Enough For Me
To clear the doubts within,
i chatted with a few wise men,
asked them the most beautiful thing they had seen,
and here is how they came clean.
Some men say that they have seen angels,
others saw Cleopatra's,
some incarnations of Venus.
But i have seen thee and Thou Art Enough For Me.
The mere glance of your hair,
the mere smell of your scent,
enchants my soul,
and scorches me as a whole.
Its not just the way look baby,
its not just the way you make me feel,
its the tingles our bodies gather,
its the sweet sensations when we are together.
Your dazzling smile may make,
even Sirius buy a retirement cake.
your intoxicating eyes might,
give even Mr. Jack Daniels the fright.
Ma'llady please step out of you palace this evening,
and give this night a wondrous meaning,
Because without seeing the brilliance of your light,
the moon might just not come out tonight.
A lad came and said that,
he had found Shangri La,
Other found El Dorado,
and a godsman found heaven,
But i have found thee and Thou Art Enough For Me
Hafbur And Signy
TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH.
King Hafbur & King Siward
They needs must stir up strife,
All about the sweetling Signy
Who was so fair a wife.
O wilt thou win me then,
or as fair a maid as I be?
It was the King’s son Hafbur
Woke up amid the night,
And ’gan to tell of a wondrous dream
In swift words nowise light.
“Me-dreamed I was in Heaven
Amid that fair abode,
And my true-love lay upon mine arm
And we fell from cloud to cloud.”
As there they sat, the dames and maids,
Of his words they took no keep,
Only his mother well-beloved
Heeded his dreamful sleep.
“Go get thee gone to the mountain,
And make no long delay;
To the elve’s eldest daughter
For thy dream’s areding pray.”
So the King’s son, even Hafbur,
Took his sword in his left hand,
And he’s away to the mountain
To get speech of that Lily-wand.
He beat thereon with hand all bare,
With fingers small and fine,
And there she lay, the elve’s daughter,
And well wotted of that sign.
“Bide hail, Elve’s sweetest daughter,
As on skins thou liest fair,
I pray thee by the God of Heaven
My dream arede thou clear.
“Me-dreamed I was in heaven,
Yea amid that fair abode,
And my true-love lay upon mine arm
And we fell from cloud to cloud.”
“Whereas thou dreamed’st thou wert in heaven,
So shalt thou win that may;
Dreamed’st thou of falling through the clouds,
So falls for her thy life away.”
“And if it lieth in my luck
To win to me that may,
In no sorrow’s stead it standeth me
For her to cast my life away.”
Lord Hafbur lets his hair wax long,
And will have the gear of mays,
And he rideth to King Siward’s house
And will well learn weaving ways.
Lord Hafbur all his clothes let shape
In such wise as maidens do,
And thus he rideth over the land
King Siward’s daughter to woo.
Now out amid the castle-garth
He cast his cloak aside,
And goeth forth to the high-bower
Where the dames and damsels abide.
Hail, sit ye there, dames and damsels,
Maids and queens kind and fair,
And chiefest of all to the Dane-King’s daughter
If she abideth here!
“Hail, sittest thou, sweet King’s daughter,
A-spinning the silken twine,
It is King Hafbur sends me hither
To learn the sewing fine.”
Hath Hafbur sent thee here to me?
Then art thou a welcome guest,
And all the sewing that I can
Shall I learn thee at my best.
“And all the sewing that I can
I shall learn thee lovingly,
Out of one bowl shalt thou eat with me,
And by my nurse shalt thou lie.”
King’s children have I eaten with,
And lain down by their side:
Must I lie abed now with a very nurse?
Then woe is me this tide!”
“Nay, let it pass, fair maiden!
Of me gettest thou no harm,
Out of one bowl shalt thou eat with me
And sleep soft upon mine arm.”
There sat they, all the damsels,
And sewed full craftily;
But ever the King’s son Hafbur
With nail in mouth sat he.
They sewed the hart, they sewed the hind,
As they run through the wild-wood green,
Never gat Hafbur so big a bowl
But the bottom soon was seen.
In there came the evil nurse
In the worst tide that might be:
“Never saw I fair maiden
Who could sew less craftily.
“Never saw I fair maiden
Seam worse the linen fine,
Never saw I noble maiden
Who better drank the wine.”
This withal spake the evil nurse,
The nighest that she durst:
“Never saw I yet fair maiden
Of drink so sore athirst.
“So little a seam as ever she sews
Goes the needle into her mouth,
As big a bowl as ever she gets
Out is it drunk forsooth.
“Ne’er saw I yet in maiden’s head
Two eyes so bright and bold,
And those two hands of her withal
Are hard as the iron cold.”
“Hearken, sweet nurse, whereso thou art,
Why wilt thou mock me still?
Never cast I one word at thee,
Went thy sewing well or ill.
“Still wilt thou mock, still wilt thou spy;
Nought such thou hast of me,
Whether mine eyes look out or look in
Nought do they deal with thee.”
O it was Hafbur the King’s son
Began to sew at last;
He sewed the hart, and he sewed the hind,
As they flee from the hound so fast.
He sewed the lily, and he sewed the rose,
And the little fowls of the air;
Then fell the damsels a-marvelling,
For nought had they missed him there.
Day long they sewed till the evening,
And till the long night was deep,
Then up stood dames and maidens
And were fain in their beds to sleep.
So fell on them the evening-tide,
O’er the meads the dew drave down,
And fain was Signy, that sweet thing,
With her folk to bed to be gone.
Therewith asked the King’s son Hafbur,
“And whatten a bed for me?”
“O thou shalt sleep in the bower aloft
And blue shall thy bolster be.”
She went before, sweet Signy,
O’er the high bower’s bridge aright,
And after her went Hafbur
Laughing from heart grown light.
Then kindled folk the waxlights,
That were so closely twined,
And after them the ill nurse went
With an ill thought in her mind.
The lights were quenched, the nurse went forth,
They deemed they were alone:
Lord Hafbur drew off his kirtle red,
Then first his sword outshone.
Lord Hafbur mid his longing sore
Down on the bed he sat:
I tell you of my soothfastness,
His byrny clashed thereat.
Then spake the darling Signy,
Out of her heart she said,
“Never saw I so rough a shirt
Upon so fair a maid.”
She laid her hand on Hafbur’s breast
With the red gold all a-blaze:
“Why wax thy breasts in no such wise
As they wax in other mays?”
“The wont it is in my father’s land
For maids to ride to the Thing,
Therefore my breasts are little of growth
Beneath the byrny-ring.”
And there they lay through the night so long,
The King’s son and the may,
In talk full sweet, but little of sleep,
So much on their minds there lay.
“Hearken, sweet maiden Signy,
As here alone we lie,
Who is thy dearest in the world,
And lieth thine heart most nigh?”
“O there is none in all the world
Who lieth so near to my heart
As doth the bold King Hafbur:
Ne’er in him shall I have a part.
“As doth the bold King Hafbur
That mine eyes shall never know:
Nought but the sound of his gold-wrought horn
As he rides to the Thing and fro.”
“O, is it Hafbur the King’s son
That thy loved heart holdeth dear?
Turn hither, O my well-beloved,
To thy side I lie so near.”
“If thou art the King’s son Hafbur,
Why wilt thou shame me love,
Why ridest thou not to my father’s garth
With hound, and with hawk upon glove?”
“Once was I in thy father’s garth,
With hound and hawk and all;
And with many mocks he said me nay,
In such wise did our meeting fall.”
All the while they talked together
They deemed alone they were,
But the false nurse ever stood close without,
And nought thereof she failed to hear.
O shame befall that evil nurse,
Ill tidings down she drew,
She stole away his goodly sword,
But and his byrny new.
She took to her his goodly sword,
His byrny blue she had away,
And she went her ways to the high bower
Whereas King Siward lay.
“Wake up, wake up, King Siward!
Over long thou sleepest there,
The while the King’s son Hafbur
Lies abed by Signy the fair.”
“No Hafbur is here, and no King’s son.
That thou shouldst speak this word;
He is far away in the east-countries,
Warring with knight and lord.
“Hold thou thy peace, thou evil nurse,
And lay on her no lie,
Or else tomorn ere the sun is up
In the bale-fire shall ye die.”
“O hearken to this, my lord and king,
And trow me nought but true;
Look here upon his bright white sword,
But and his byrny blue!”
Then mad of mind waxed Siward,
Over all the house ’gan he cry,
“Rise up, O mighty men of mine,
For a hardy knight is anigh:
“Take ye sword and shield in hand,
And look that they be true;
For Hafbur the King hath guested with us;
Stiffnecked he is, great deeds to do.”
So there anigh the high-bower door
They stood with spear and glaive;
“Rise up, rise up, Young Hafbur,
Out here we would thee have!”
That heard the goodly Signy
And she wrang her hands full sore:
“Hearken and heed, O Hafbur,
Who stand without by the door!”
Thank and praise to the King’s son Hafbur,
Manly he played and stout!
None might lay hand upon him
While the bed-post yet held out.
But they took him, the King’s son Hafbur,
And set him in bolts new wrought;
Then lightly he rent them asunder,
As though they were leaden and nought.
Out and spake the ancient nurse,
And she gave a rede of ill:
“Bind ye him but in Signy’s hair,
So shall hand and foot lie still.
“Take ye but one of Signy’s hairs
Hafbur’s hands to bind,
Ne’er shall he rend them asunder
His heart to her is so kind.”
Then took they two of Signy’s hairs
Bonds for his hands to be,
Nor might he rive them asunder
So dear to his heart was she.
Then spake the sweetling Signy
As the tears fast down her cheek did fall:
“O rend it asunder, Hafbur,
That gift to thee I give withal.”
Now sat the King’s son Hafbur
Amidst the castle-hall,
And thronged to behold him man and maid,
But the damsels chiefest of all.
They took him, the King’s son Hafbur,
Laid bolts upon him in that place,
And ever went Signy to and fro,
The weary tears fell down apace.
She speaketh to him in sorrowful mood:
“This will I, Hafbur, for thee,
Piteous prayer for thee shall make
My mother’s sisters three.
“For my father’s mind stands fast in this,
To do thee to hang upon the bough
On the topmost oak in the morning-tide
While the sun is yet but low.”
But answered thereto young Hafbur
Out of a wrathful mind:
“Of all heeds I heeded, this was the last,
To be prayed for by womankind.
“But hearken, true-love Signy,
Good heart to my asking turn,
When thou seest me swing on oaken-bough
Then let thy high-bower burn.”
Then answered the noble Signy,
So sore as she must moan,
“God to aid, King’s son Hafbur,
Well will I grant thy boon.”
They followed him, King Hafbur,
Thick thronging from the castle-bent:
And all who saw him needs must greet
And in full piteous wise they went.
But when they came to the fair green mead
Where Hafbur was to die,
He prayed them hold a little while:
For his true-love would he try.
“O hang me up my cloak of red,
That sight or my ending let me see.
Perchance yet may King Siward rue
My hanging on the gallows tree.”
Now of the cloak was Signy ware
And sorely sorrow her heart did rive,
She thought: “The ill tale all is told,
No longer is there need to live.”
Straightway her damsels did she call
As weary as she was of mind:
“Come, let us go to the bower aloft
Game and glee for a while to find.”
Yea and withal spake Signy,
She spake a word of price:
“To-day shall I do myself to death
And meet Hafbur in Paradise.
“And whoso there be in this our house
Lord Hafbur’s death that wrought,
Good reward I give them now
To red embers to be brought.
“So many there are in the King’s garth
Of Hafbur’s death shall be glad;
Good reward for them to lose
The trothplight mays they had.”
She set alight to the bower-aloft
And it burned up speedily,
And her good love and her great heart
Might all with eyen see.
It was the King’s son Hafbur
O’er his shoulder cast his eye,
And beheld how Signy’s house of maids
On a red low stood on high.
“Now take ye down my cloak of red,
Let it lie on the earth a-cold;
Had I ten lives of the world for one,
Nought of them all would I hold.”
King Siward looked out of his window fair,
In fearful mood enow,
For he saw Hafbur hanging on oak
And Signy’s bower on a low.
Out then spake a little page
Was clad in kirtle red:
“Sweet Signy burns in her bower aloft,
With all her mays unwed.”
Therewithal spake King Siward
From rueful heart unfain:
“Ne’er saw I two King’s children erst
Such piteous ending gain.
“But had I wist or heard it told
That love so strong should be,
Ne’er had I held those twain apart
For all Denmark given me.
O hasten and run to Signy’s bower
For the life of that sweet thing;
Hasten and run to the gallows high,
No thief is Hafbur the King.”
But when they came to Signy’s bower
Low it lay in embers red;
And when they came to the gallows tree,
Hafbur was stark and dead.
They took him the King’s son Hafbur,
Swathed him in linen white,
And laid him in the earth of Christ
By Signy his delight.
O wilt thou win me then,
or as fair a maid as I be?
- quotes about nurses
- quotes about Denmark
- quotes about illness
- quotes about red
- quotes about dogs
- quotes about height
- quotes about divine
- quotes about words
Hast Thou A Song For A Flower.
HAST thou a song for a flower,
Such as, if breathed in its ear,
Would waken in beauty's own bower
The spirit most fit to be there?
Then, minstrel, I challenge thy power--
Such song, if thou hast, sing it here!--
Here, where the breeze o'erwearied,
With his travel o'er ocean creeps,
And on the green leaf by her lattice,
Sinks languidly down and sleeps.
For her the sweet music thou bringest
Must in a true spirit be wrought,
And the passion of mine thou singest
Must be pure as the child's first thought.
If none such within thee springest,
Away, for thy presence is naught.
Far better the breeze, at waking,
Should tell her that hopeless I come,
With itself, to the leaf at her lattice,
And laid me down, dreaming but dumb.
True for All
You are try
your life good...
you are cry
Your life bad...
That's true for all
Wilt Thou Take Me For Thy Slave?
Wilt thou take me for thy slave,
With my folly and my love?
Wilt thou take me for the bondsman of thy pride?
Thou who dearer art to me than all the world beside;
For I love thee as no other man can love.
Wilt thou take me to thy soul,
For the truth which thou shalt prove?
Wilt thou clothe me with the riches of thy care?
Thou who dearer art to me than gold and jewels rare;
For I love thee as no other man can love.
Wilt thou take me for thy king,
While the sun and stars shall move?
Wilt thou pay me back the homage I have given?
Oh thou dearer unto me than sun and stars and heaven!
For I love thee as no other man can love.
Dreams Are Coming True For me
Whatever I believe in
Dreams are coming true for me
All I do is be patient and wait
I work hard at it, with little help and support it happen
I'm a chef and a writer at last
Whatever I want to be
All I have to do is
Try my best and put hundred percent into what I do
Don't let people get in my way
I want work so hard to achieve my dreams
Keep trying and trying and it be worthwhile
I can do it and not let anyone get in my way
I'm strong and idependable
I can see myself in ten years
That I achieve my career and I reach my goals
I believe in myself
I don't try to get to excited because
It won't work and be back luck so
Watch out what you say, do or act
Dreams are coming true for me
Dreams are coming true for me
A Curse For A Nation
I heard an angel speak last night,
And he said 'Write!
Write a Nation's curse for me,
And send it over the Western Sea.'
I faltered, taking up the word:
'Not so, my lord!
If curses must be, choose another
To send thy curse against my brother.
'For I am bound by gratitude,
By love and blood,
To brothers of mine across the sea,
Who stretch out kindly hands to me.'
'Therefore,' the voice said, 'shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
From the summits of love a curse is driven,
As lightning is from the tops of heaven.'
'Not so,' I answered. 'Evermore
My heart is sore
For my own land's sins: for little feet
Of children bleeding along the street:
'For parked-up honors that gainsay
The right of way:
For almsgiving through a door that is
Not open enough for two friends to kiss:
'For love of freedom which abates
Beyond the Straits:
For patriot virtue starved to vice on
Self-praise, self-interest, and suspicion:
'For an oligarchic parliament,
And bribes well-meant.
What curse to another land assign,
When heavy-souled for the sins of mine?'
'Therefore,' the voice said, 'shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
Because thou hast strength to see and hate
A foul thing done within thy gate.'
'Not so,' I answered once again.
'To curse, choose men.
For I, a woman, have only known
How the heart melts and the tears run down.'
'Therefore,' the voice said, 'shalt thou write
My curse to-night.
Some women weep and curse, I say
(And no one marvels), night and day.
'And thou shalt take their part to-night,
Weep and write.
A curse from the depths of womanhood
Is very salt, and bitter, and good.'
So thus I wrote, and mourned indeed,
What all may read.
And thus, as was enjoined on me,
I send it over the Western Sea.
Because ye have broken your own chain
With the strain
Of brave men climbing a Nation's height,
Yet thence bear down with brand and thong
On souls of others, -- for this wrong
This is the curse. Write.
Because yourselves are standing straight
In the state
Of Freedom's foremost acolyte,
Yet keep calm footing all the time
On writhing bond-slaves, -- for this crime
This is the curse. Write.
Because ye prosper in God's name,
With a claim
To honor in the old world's sight,
Yet do the fiend's work perfectly
In strangling martyrs, -- for this lie
This is the curse. Write.
Ye shall watch while kings conspire
Round the people's smouldering fire,
And, warm for your part,
Shall never dare -- O shame!
To utter the thought into flame
Which burns at your heart.
This is the curse. Write.
Ye shall watch while nations strive
With the bloodhounds, die or survive,
Drop faint from their jaws,
Or throttle them backward to death;
And only under your breath
Shall favor the cause.
This is the curse. Write.
Ye shall watch while strong men draw
The nets of feudal law
To strangle the weak;
And, counting the sin for a sin,
Your soul shall be sadder within
Than the word ye shall speak.
This is the curse. Write.
When good men are praying erect
That Christ may avenge His elect
And deliver the earth,
The prayer in your ears, said low,
Shall sound like the tramp of a foe
That's driving you forth.
This is the curse. Write.
When wise men give you their praise,
They shall praise in the heat of the phrase,
As if carried too far.
When ye boast your own charters kept true,
Ye shall blush; for the thing which ye do
Derides what ye are.
This is the curse. Write.
When fools cast taunts at your gate,
Your scorn ye shall somewhat abate
As ye look o'er the wall;
For your conscience, tradition, and name
Explode with a deadlier blame
Than the worst of them all.
This is the curse. Write.
Go, wherever ill deeds shall be done,
Go, plant your flag in the sun
Beside the ill-doers!
And recoil from clenching the curse
Of God's witnessing Universe
With a curse of yours.
This is the curse. Write.
The Noble Moringer
O, will you hear a knightly tale of old Bohemian day,
It was the noble Moringer in wedlock bed he lay;
He halsed and kiss'd his dearest dame, that was as sweet as May,
And said, 'Now, lady of my heart, attend the words I say.
''Tis I have vow'd a pilgrimage unto a distant shrine,
And I must seek Saint Thomas-land, and leave the land that's mine;
Here shalt thou dwell the while in state, so thou wilt pledge thy fay,
That thou for my return wilt wait seven twelvemonths and a day.'
Then out and spoke that Lady bright, sore troubled in her cheer,
'Now tell me true, thou noble knight, what order takest thou here:
And who shall lead thy vassal band, and hold thy lordly sway,
And be thy lady's guardian true when thou art far away?'
Out spoke the noble Moringer, 'Of that have thou no care,
There's many a valiant gentleman of me holds living fair;
The trustiest shall rule my land, my vassals and my state,
And be a guardian tried and true to thee, my lovely mate.
'As Christian-man, I needs must keep the vow which I have plight,
When I am far in foreign land, remember thy true knight;
And cease, my dearest dame, to grieve, for vain were sorrow now,
But grant thy Moringer his leave, since God hath heard his vow.'
It was the noble Moringer from bed he made him boune,
And met him there his Chamberlain, with ewer and with gown:
He flung the mantle on his back, 'twas furr'd with miniver,
He dipp'd his hand in water cold, and bathed his forehead fair.
'Now hear,' he said, 'Sir Chamberlain, true vassal art thou mine,
And such the trust that I repose in that proved worth of thine,
For seven years shalt thou rule my towers, and lead my vassal train,
And pledge thee for my Lady's faith till I return again.'
The Chamberlain was blunt and true, and sturdily said he,
'Abide, my lord, and rule your own, and take this rede from me;
That woman's faith's a brittle trust - Seven twelve-months didst thou say?
I'll pledge me for no lady's truth beyond the seventh fair day.'
The noble Baron turn'd him round, his heart was full of care,
His gallant Esquire stood him nigh, he was Marstetten's heir,
To whom he spoke right anxiously, 'Thou trusty squire to me,
Wilt thou receive this weighty trust when I am o'er the sea?
'To watch and ward my castle strong, and to protect my land,
And to the hunting or the host to lead my vassal band;
And pledge thee for my Lady's faith till seven long years are gone,
And guard her as Our Lady dear was guarded by Saint John.'
Marstetten's heir was kind and true, but fiery, hot, and young,
And readily he answer made with too presumptuous tongue;
'My noble lord, cast care away, and on your journey wend,
And trust this charge to me until your pilgrimage have end.
'Rely upon my plighted faith, which shall be truly tried,
To guard your lands, and ward your towers, and with your vassals ride;
And for your lovely Lady's faith, so virtuous and so dear,
I'll gage my head it knows no change, be absent thirty year.'
The noble Moringer took cheer when thus he heard him speak,
And doubt forsook his troubled brow, and sorrow left his cheek;
A long adieu he bids to all - hoists topsails, and away,
And wanders in Saint Thomas-land seven twelve-months and a day.
It was the noble Moringer within an orchard slept,
When on the Baron's slumbering sense a boding vision crept;
And whisper'd in his ear a voice, ''Tis time, Sir Knight, to wake,
Thy lady and thy heritage another master take.
'Thy tower another banner knows, thy steeds another rein,
And stoop them to another's will thy gallant vassal train;
And she, the Lady of thy love, so faithful once and fair,
This night within thy fathers' hall she weds Marstetten's heir.'
It is the noble Moringer starts up and tears his beard,
'Oh would that I had ne'er been born! what tidings have I heard!
To lose my lordship and my lands the less would be my care,
But, God! that e'er a squire untrue should wed my Lady fair.
'O good Saint Thomas, hear,' he pray'd, 'my patron Saint art thou,
A traitor robs me of my land even while I pay my vow!
My wife he brings to infamy that was so pure of name,
And I am far in foreign land, and must endure the shame.'
It was the good Saint Thomas, then, who heard his pilgrim's prayer,
And sent a sleep so deep and dead that it o'erpower'd his care;
He waked in fair Bohemian land outstretch'd beside a rill,
High on the right a castle stood, low on the left a mill.
The Moringer he started up as one from spell unbound,
And dizzy with surprise and joy gazed wildly all around;
'I know my fathers' ancient towers, the mill, the stream I know,
Now blessed be my patron Saint who cheer'd his pilgrim's woe!'
He leant upon his pilgrim staff, and to the mill he drew,
So alter'd was his goodly form that none their master knew;
The Baron to the miller said, 'Good friend, for charity,
Tell a poor palmer in your land what tidings may there be?'
The miller answered him again, 'He knew of little news,
Save that the Lady of the land did a new bridegroom choose;
Her husband died in distant land, such is the constant word,
His death sits heavy on our souls, he was a worthy Lord.
'Of him I held the little mill which wins we living free,
God rest the Baron in his grave, he still was kind to me!
And when Saint Martin's tide comes round, and millers take their toll,
The priest that prays for Moringer shall have both cope and stole.'
It was the noble Moringer to climb the hill began,
And stood before the bolted gate a woe and weary man;
'Now help me, every saint in heaven that can compassion take,
To gain the entrance of my hall this woeful match to break.'
His very knock it sounded sad, his call was sad and slow,
For heart and head, and voice and hand, were heavy all with woe;
And to the warder thus he spoke; 'Friend, to thy Lady say,
A pilgrim from Saint Thomas-land craves harbour for a day.
'I've wander'd many a weary step, my strength is wellnigh done,
And if she turn me from her gate I'll see no morrow's sun;
I pray, for sweet Saint Thomas' sake, a pilgrim's bed and dole,
And for the sake of Moringer's, her once-beloved husband's soul.'
It was the stalwart warder then he came his dame before,
'A pilgrim, worn and travel-toil'd, stands at the castle-door;
And prays, for sweet Saint Thomas' sake, for harbour and for dole,
And for the sake of Moringer, thy noble husband's soul.'
The Lady's gentle heart was moved, 'Do up the gate,' she said,
'And bid the wanderer welcome be to banquet and to bed;
And since he names my husband's name, so that he lists to stay,
These towers shall be his harbourage a twelvemonth and a day.'
It was the stalwart warder then undid the portal broad,
It was the noble Moringer that o'er the threshold strode;
'And have thou thanks, kind heaven,' he said, 'though from a man of sin,
That the true lord stands here once more his castle gate within.'
Then up the halls paced Moringer, his step was sad and slow;
It sat full heavy on his heart, none seem'd their Lord to know;
He sat him on a lowly bench, oppress'd with woe and wrong,
Short space he sat, but ne'er to him seem'd little space so long.
Now spent was day, and feasting o'er, and come was evening hour,
The time was nigh when new-made brides retire to nuptial bower;
'Our castle's wont,' a brides-man said, 'hath been both firm and long,
No guest to harbour in our halls till he shall chant a song.'
Then spoke the youthful bridegroom there as he sat by the bride,
'My merry minstrel folk,' quoth he, 'lay shalm and harp aside;
Our pilgrim guest must sing a lay, the castle's rule to hold,
And well his guerdon will I pay with garment and with gold.'-
'Chill flows the lay of frozen age,' 'twas thus the pilgrim sung,
'Nor golden meed nor garment gay, unlocks his heavy tongue;
Once did I sit, thou bridegroom gay, at board as rich as thine,
And by my side as fair a bride with all her charms was mine.
'But time traced furrows on my face, and I grew silver-hair'd,
For locks of brown, and cheeks of youth, she left this brow and beard;
One rich, but now a palmer poor, I tread life's latest stage,
And mingle with your bridal mirth the lay of frozen age.'
It was the noble Lady there this woful lay that hears,
And for the aged pilgrim's grief her eye was dimm'd with tears;
She bade her gallant cupbearer a golden beaker take,
And bear it to the palmer poor to quaff it for her sake.
It was the noble Moringer that dropp'd amid the wine
A bridal ring of burning gold so costly and so fine:
Now listen, gentles, to my song, it tells you but the sooth,
'Twas with that very ring of gold he pledged his bridal truth.
Then to the cupbearer he said, 'Do me one kindly deed,
And should my better days return, full rich shall be thy meed;
Bear back the golden cup again to yonder bride so gay,
And crave her of her courtesy to pledge the palmer grey.'
The cupbearer was courtly bred, nor was the boon denied,
The golden cup he took again, and bore it to the bride;
'Lady,' he said, 'your reverend guest sends this, and bids me pray,
That, in thy noble courtesy, thou pledge the palmer grey.'
The ring hath caught the Lady's eye, she views it close and near,
Then might you hear her shriek aloud, 'The Moringer is here!'
Then might you see her start from seat, while tears in torrents fell,
But whether 'twas for joy or woe, the ladies best can tell.
But loud she utter'd thanks to Heaven, and every saintly power,
That had return'd the Moringer before the midnight hour;
And loud she utter'd vow on vow, that never was there bride,
That had like her preserved her troth, or been so sorely tried.
'Yes, here I claim the praise,' she said, 'to constant matrons due,
Who keep the troth that they have plight, so steadfastly and true;
For count the term howe'er you will, so that you count aright,
Seven twelve-months and a day are out when bells toll twelve to-night.'
It was Marstetten then rose up, his falchion there he drew,
He kneel'd before the Moringer, and down his weapon threw;
'My oath and knightly faith are broke,' these were the words he said,
'Then take, my liege, thy vassal's sword, and take thy vassal's head.'
The noble Moringer he smiled, and then aloud did say,
'He gathers wisdom that hath roam'd seven twelve-months and a day;
My daughter now hath fifteen years, fame speaks her sweet and fair,
I give her for the bride you lose, and name her for my heir.
'The young bridegroom hath youthful bride, the old bridegroom the old,
Whose faith was kept till term and tide so punctually were told;
But blessings on the warder kind that oped my castle gate,
For had I come at morrow tide, I came a day too late.'
The Princess (part 7)
So was their sanctuary violated,
So their fair college turned to hospital;
At first with all confusion: by and by
Sweet order lived again with other laws:
A kindlier influence reigned; and everywhere
Low voices with the ministering hand
Hung round the sick: the maidens came, they talked,
They sang, they read: till she not fair began
To gather light, and she that was, became
Her former beauty treble; and to and fro
With books, with flowers, with Angel offices,
Like creatures native unto gracious act,
And in their own clear element, they moved.
But sadness on the soul of Ida fell,
And hatred of her weakness, blent with shame.
Old studies failed; seldom she spoke: but oft
Clomb to the roofs, and gazed alone for hours
On that disastrous leaguer, swarms of men
Darkening her female field: void was her use,
And she as one that climbs a peak to gaze
O'er land and main, and sees a great black cloud
Drag inward from the deeps, a wall of night,
Blot out the slope of sea from verge to shore,
And suck the blinding splendour from the sand,
And quenching lake by lake and tarn by tarn
Expunge the world: so fared she gazing there;
So blackened all her world in secret, blank
And waste it seemed and vain; till down she came,
And found fair peace once more among the sick.
And twilight dawned; and morn by morn the lark
Shot up and shrilled in flickering gyres, but I
Lay silent in the muffled cage of life:
And twilight gloomed; and broader-grown the bowers
Drew the great night into themselves, and Heaven,
Star after Star, arose and fell; but I,
Deeper than those weird doubts could reach me, lay
Quite sundered from the moving Universe,
Nor knew what eye was on me, nor the hand
That nursed me, more than infants in their sleep.
But Psyche tended Florian: with her oft,
Melissa came; for Blanche had gone, but left
Her child among us, willing she should keep
Court-favour: here and there the small bright head,
A light of healing, glanced about the couch,
Or through the parted silks the tender face
Peeped, shining in upon the wounded man
With blush and smile, a medicine in themselves
To wile the length from languorous hours, and draw
The sting from pain; nor seemed it strange that soon
He rose up whole, and those fair charities
Joined at her side; nor stranger seemed that hears
So gentle, so employed, should close in love,
Than when two dewdrops on the petals shake
To the same sweet air, and tremble deeper down,
And slip at once all-fragrant into one.
Less prosperously the second suit obtained
At first with Psyche. Not though Blanche had sworn
That after that dark night among the fields
She needs must wed him for her own good name;
Not though he built upon the babe restored;
Nor though she liked him, yielded she, but feared
To incense the Head once more; till on a day
When Cyril pleaded, Ida came behind
Seen but of Psyche: on her foot she hung
A moment, and she heard, at which her face
A little flushed, and she past on; but each
Assumed from thence a half-consent involved
In stillness, plighted troth, and were at peace.
Nor only these: Love in the sacred halls
Held carnival at will, and flying struck
With showers of random sweet on maid and man.
Nor did her father cease to press my claim,
Nor did mine own, now reconciled; nor yet
Did those twin-brothers, risen again and whole;
Nor Arac, satiate with his victory.
But I lay still, and with me oft she sat:
Then came a change; for sometimes I would catch
Her hand in wild delirium, gripe it hard,
And fling it like a viper off, and shriek
'You are not Ida;' clasp it once again,
And call her Ida, though I knew her not,
And call her sweet, as if in irony,
And call her hard and cold which seemed a truth:
And still she feared that I should lose my mind,
And often she believed that I should die:
Till out of long frustration of her care,
And pensive tendance in the all-weary noons,
And watches in the dead, the dark, when clocks
Throbbed thunder through the palace floors, or called
On flying Time from all their silver tongues--
And out of memories of her kindlier days,
And sidelong glances at my father's grief,
And at the happy lovers heart in heart--
And out of hauntings of my spoken love,
And lonely listenings to my muttered dream,
And often feeling of the helpless hands,
And wordless broodings on the wasted cheek--
From all a closer interest flourished up,
Tenderness touch by touch, and last, to these,
Love, like an Alpine harebell hung with tears
By some cold morning glacier; frail at first
And feeble, all unconscious of itself,
But such as gathered colour day by day.
Last I woke sane, but well-nigh close to death
For weakness: it was evening: silent light
Slept on the painted walls, wherein were wrought
Two grand designs; for on one side arose
The women up in wild revolt, and stormed
At the Oppian Law. Titanic shapes, they crammed
The forum, and half-crushed among the rest
A dwarf-like Cato cowered. On the other side
Hortensia spoke against the tax; behind,
A train of dames: by axe and eagle sat,
With all their foreheads drawn in Roman scowls,
And half the wolf's-milk curdled in their veins,
The fierce triumvirs; and before them paused
Hortensia pleading: angry was her face.
I saw the forms: I knew not where I was:
They did but look like hollow shows; nor more
Sweet Ida: palm to palm she sat: the dew
Dwelt in her eyes, and softer all her shape
And rounder seemed: I moved: I sighed: a touch
Came round my wrist, and tears upon my hand:
Then all for languor and self-pity ran
Mine down my face, and with what life I had,
And like a flower that cannot all unfold,
So drenched it is with tempest, to the sun,
Yet, as it may, turns toward him, I on her
Fixt my faint eyes, and uttered whisperingly:
'If you be, what I think you, some sweet dream,
I would but ask you to fulfil yourself:
But if you be that Ida whom I knew,
I ask you nothing: only, if a dream,
Sweet dream, be perfect. I shall die tonight.
Stoop down and seem to kiss me ere I die.'
I could no more, but lay like one in trance,
That hears his burial talked of by his friends,
And cannot speak, nor move, nor make one sign,
But lies and dreads his doom. She turned; she paused;
She stooped; and out of languor leapt a cry;
Leapt fiery Passion from the brinks of death;
And I believed that in the living world
My spirit closed with Ida's at the lips;
Till back I fell, and from mine arms she rose
Glowing all over noble shame; and all
Her falser self slipt from her like a robe,
And left her woman, lovelier in her mood
Than in her mould that other, when she came
From barren deeps to conquer all with love;
And down the streaming crystal dropt; and she
Far-fleeted by the purple island-sides,
Naked, a double light in air and wave,
To meet her Graces, where they decked her out
For worship without end; nor end of mine,
Stateliest, for thee! but mute she glided forth,
Nor glanced behind her, and I sank and slept,
Filled through and through with Love, a happy sleep.
Deep in the night I woke: she, near me, held
A volume of the Poets of her land:
There to herself, all in low tones, she read.
'Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font:
The fire-fly wakens: wake thou with me.
Now droops the milkwhite peacock like a ghost,
And like a ghost she glimmers on to me.
Now lies the Earth all Danaë to the stars,
And all thy heart lies open unto me.
Now lies the silent meteor on, and leaves
A shining furrow, as thy thoughts in me.
Now folds the lily all her sweetness up,
And slips into the bosom of the lake:
So fold thyself, my dearest, thou, and slip
Into my bosom and be lost in me.'
I heard her turn the page; she found a small
Sweet Idyl, and once more, as low, she read:
'Come down, O maid, from yonder mountain height:
What pleasure lives in height (the shepherd sang)
In height and cold, the splendour of the hills?
But cease to move so near the Heavens, and cease
To glide a sunbeam by the blasted Pine,
To sit a star upon the sparkling spire;
And come, for love is of the valley, come,
For love is of the valley, come thou down
And find him; by the happy threshold, he,
Or hand in hand with Plenty in the maize,
Or red with spirted purple of the vats,
Or foxlike in the vine; nor cares to walk
With Death and Morning on the silver horns,
Nor wilt thou snare him in the white ravine,
Nor find him dropt upon the firths of ice,
That huddling slant in furrow-cloven falls
To roll the torrent out of dusky doors:
But follow; let the torrent dance thee down
To find him in the valley; let the wild
Lean-headed Eagles yelp alone, and leave
The monstrous ledges there to slope, and spill
Their thousand wreaths of dangling water-smoke,
That like a broken purpose waste in air:
So waste not thou; but come; for all the vales
Await thee; azure pillars of the hearth
Arise to thee; the children call, and I
Thy shepherd pipe, and sweet is every sound,
Sweeter thy voice, but every sound is sweet;
Myriads of rivulets hurrying through the lawn,
The moan of doves in immemorial elms,
And murmuring of innumerable bees.'
So she low-toned; while with shut eyes I lay
Listening; then looked. Pale was the perfect face;
The bosom with long sighs laboured; and meek
Seemed the full lips, and mild the luminous eyes,
And the voice trembled and the hand. She said
Brokenly, that she knew it, she had failed
In sweet humility; had failed in all;
That all her labour was but as a block
Left in the quarry; but she still were loth,
She still were loth to yield herself to one
That wholly scorned to help their equal rights
Against the sons of men, and barbarous laws.
She prayed me not to judge their cause from her
That wronged it, sought far less for truth than power
In knowledge: something wild within her breast,
A greater than all knowledge, beat her down.
And she had nursed me there from week to week:
Much had she learnt in little time. In part
It was ill counsel had misled the girl
To vex true hearts: yet was she but a girl--
'Ah fool, and made myself a Queen of farce!
When comes another such? never, I think,
Till the Sun drop, dead, from the signs.'
choked, and her forehead sank upon her hands,
And her great heart through all the faultful Past
Went sorrowing in a pause I dared not break;
Till notice of a change in the dark world
Was lispt about the acacias, and a bird,
That early woke to feed her little ones,
Sent from a dewy breast a cry for light:
She moved, and at her feet the volume fell.
'Blame not thyself too much,' I said, 'nor blame
Too much the sons of men and barbarous laws;
These were the rough ways of the world till now.
Henceforth thou hast a helper, me, that know
The woman's cause is man's: they rise or sink
Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free:
For she that out of Lethe scales with man
The shining steps of Nature, shares with man
His nights, his days, moves with him to one goal,
Stays all the fair young planet in her hands--
If she be small, slight-natured, miserable,
How shall men grow? but work no more alone!
Our place is much: as far as in us lies
We two will serve them both in aiding her--
Will clear away the parasitic forms
That seem to keep her up but drag her down--
Will leave her space to burgeon out of all
Within her--let her make herself her own
To give or keep, to live and learn and be
All that not harms distinctive womanhood.
For woman is not undevelopt man,
But diverse: could we make her as the man,
Sweet Love were slain: his dearest bond is this,
Not like to like, but like in difference.
Yet in the long years liker must they grow;
The man be more of woman, she of man;
He gain in sweetness and in moral height,
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world;
She mental breadth, nor fail in childward care,
Nor lose the childlike in the larger mind;
Till at the last she set herself to man,
Like perfect music unto noble words;
And so these twain, upon the skirts of Time,
Sit side by side, full-summed in all their powers,
Dispensing harvest, sowing the To-be,
Self-reverent each and reverencing each,
Distinct in individualities,
But like each other even as those who love.
Then comes the statelier Eden back to men:
Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and calm:
Then springs the crowning race of humankind.
May these things be!'
Sighing she spoke 'I fear
They will not.'
'Dear, but let us type them now
In our own lives, and this proud watchword rest
Of equal; seeing either sex alone
Is half itself, and in true marriage lies
Nor equal, nor unequal: each fulfils
Defect in each, and always thought in thought,
Purpose in purpose, will in will, they grow,
The single pure and perfect animal,
The two-celled heart beating, with one full stroke,
And again sighing she spoke: 'A dream
That once was mind! what woman taught you this?'
'Alone,' I said, 'from earlier than I know,
Immersed in rich foreshadowings of the world,
I loved the woman: he, that doth not, lives
A drowning life, besotted in sweet self,
Or pines in sad experience worse than death,
Or keeps his winged affections clipt with crime:
Yet was there one through whom I loved her, one
Not learnèd, save in gracious household ways,
Not perfect, nay, but full of tender wants,
No Angel, but a dearer being, all dipt
In Angel instincts, breathing Paradise,
Interpreter between the Gods and men,
Who looked all native to her place, and yet
On tiptoe seemed to touch upon a sphere
Too gross to tread, and all male minds perforce
Swayed to her from their orbits as they moved,
And girdled her with music. Happy he
With such a mother! faith in womankind
Beats with his blood, and trust in all things high
Comes easy to him, and though he trip and fall
He shall not blind his soul with clay.'
Said Ida, tremulously, 'so all unlike--
It seems you love to cheat yourself with words:
This mother is your model. I have heard
of your strange doubts: they well might be: I seem
A mockery to my own self. Never, Prince;
You cannot love me.'
'Nay but thee' I said
'From yearlong poring on thy pictured eyes,
Ere seen I loved, and loved thee seen, and saw
Thee woman through the crust of iron moods
That masked thee from men's reverence up, and forced
Sweet love on pranks of saucy boyhood: now,
Given back to life, to life indeed, through thee,
Indeed I love: the new day comes, the light
Dearer for night, as dearer thou for faults
Lived over: lift thine eyes; my doubts are dead,
My haunting sense of hollow shows: the change,
This truthful change in thee has killed it. Dear,
Look up, and let thy nature strike on mine,
Like yonder morning on the blind half-world;
Approach and fear not; breathe upon my brows;
In that fine air I tremble, all the past
Melts mist-like into this bright hour, and this
Is morn to more, and all the rich to-come
Reels, as the golden Autumn woodland reels
Athwart the smoke of burning weeds. Forgive me,
I waste my heart in signs: let be. My bride,
My wife, my life. O we will walk this world,
Yoked in all exercise of noble end,
And so through those dark gates across the wild
That no man knows. Indeed I love thee: come,
Yield thyself up: my hopes and thine are one:
Accomplish thou my manhood and thyself;
Lay thy sweet hands in mine and trust to me.'
Queen Guinevere had fled the court, and sat
There in the holy house at Almesbury
Weeping, none with her save a little maid,
A novice: one low light betwixt them burned
Blurred by the creeping mist, for all abroad,
Beneath a moon unseen albeit at full,
The white mist, like a face-cloth to the face,
Clung to the dead earth, and the land was still.
For hither had she fled, her cause of flight
Sir Modred; he that like a subtle beast
Lay couchant with his eyes upon the throne,
Ready to spring, waiting a chance: for this
He chilled the popular praises of the King
With silent smiles of slow disparagement;
And tampered with the Lords of the White Horse,
Heathen, the brood by Hengist left; and sought
To make disruption in the Table Round
Of Arthur, and to splinter it into feuds
Serving his traitorous end; and all his aims
Were sharpened by strong hate for Lancelot.
For thus it chanced one morn when all the court,
Green-suited, but with plumes that mocked the may,
Had been, their wont, a-maying and returned,
That Modred still in green, all ear and eye,
Climbed to the high top of the garden-wall
To spy some secret scandal if he might,
And saw the Queen who sat betwixt her best
Enid, and lissome Vivien, of her court
The wiliest and the worst; and more than this
He saw not, for Sir Lancelot passing by
Spied where he couched, and as the gardener's hand
Picks from the colewort a green caterpillar,
So from the high wall and the flowering grove
Of grasses Lancelot plucked him by the heel,
And cast him as a worm upon the way;
But when he knew the Prince though marred with dust,
He, reverencing king's blood in a bad man,
Made such excuses as he might, and these
Full knightly without scorn; for in those days
No knight of Arthur's noblest dealt in scorn;
But, if a man were halt or hunched, in him
By those whom God had made full-limbed and tall,
Scorn was allowed as part of his defect,
And he was answered softly by the King
And all his Table. So Sir Lancelot holp
To raise the Prince, who rising twice or thrice
Full sharply smote his knees, and smiled, and went:
But, ever after, the small violence done
Rankled in him and ruffled all his heart,
As the sharp wind that ruffles all day long
A little bitter pool about a stone
On the bare coast.
But when Sir Lancelot told
This matter to the Queen, at first she laughed
Lightly, to think of Modred's dusty fall,
Then shuddered, as the village wife who cries
`I shudder, some one steps across my grave;'
Then laughed again, but faintlier, for indeed
She half-foresaw that he, the subtle beast,
Would track her guilt until he found, and hers
Would be for evermore a name of scorn.
Henceforward rarely could she front in hall,
Or elsewhere, Modred's narrow foxy face,
Heart-hiding smile, and gray persistent eye:
Henceforward too, the Powers that tend the soul,
To help it from the death that cannot die,
And save it even in extremes, began
To vex and plague her. Many a time for hours,
Beside the placid breathings of the King,
In the dead night, grim faces came and went
Before her, or a vague spiritual fear--
Like to some doubtful noise of creaking doors,
Heard by the watcher in a haunted house,
That keeps the rust of murder on the walls--
Held her awake: or if she slept, she dreamed
An awful dream; for then she seemed to stand
On some vast plain before a setting sun,
And from the sun there swiftly made at her
A ghastly something, and its shadow flew
Before it, till it touched her, and she turned--
When lo! her own, that broadening from her feet,
And blackening, swallowed all the land, and in it
Far cities burnt, and with a cry she woke.
And all this trouble did not pass but grew;
Till even the clear face of the guileless King,
And trustful courtesies of household life,
Became her bane; and at the last she said,
`O Lancelot, get thee hence to thine own land,
For if thou tarry we shall meet again,
And if we meet again, some evil chance
Will make the smouldering scandal break and blaze
Before the people, and our lord the King.'
And Lancelot ever promised, but remained,
And still they met and met. Again she said,
`O Lancelot, if thou love me get thee hence.'
And then they were agreed upon a night
(When the good King should not be there) to meet
And part for ever. Vivien, lurking, heard.
She told Sir Modred. Passion-pale they met
And greeted. Hands in hands, and eye to eye,
Low on the border of her couch they sat
Stammering and staring. It was their last hour,
A madness of farewells. And Modred brought
His creatures to the basement of the tower
For testimony; and crying with full voice
`Traitor, come out, ye are trapt at last,' aroused
Lancelot, who rushing outward lionlike
Leapt on him, and hurled him headlong, and he fell
Stunned, and his creatures took and bare him off,
And all was still: then she, `The end is come,
And I am shamed for ever;' and he said,
`Mine be the shame; mine was the sin: but rise,
And fly to my strong castle overseas:
There will I hide thee, till my life shall end,
There hold thee with my life against the world.'
She answered, `Lancelot, wilt thou hold me so?
Nay, friend, for we have taken our farewells.
Would God that thou couldst hide me from myself!
Mine is the shame, for I was wife, and thou
Unwedded: yet rise now, and let us fly,
For I will draw me into sanctuary,
And bide my doom.' So Lancelot got her horse,
Set her thereon, and mounted on his own,
And then they rode to the divided way,
There kissed, and parted weeping: for he past,
Love-loyal to the least wish of the Queen,
Back to his land; but she to Almesbury
Fled all night long by glimmering waste and weald,
And heard the Spirits of the waste and weald
Moan as she fled, or thought she heard them moan:
And in herself she moaned `Too late, too late!'
Till in the cold wind that foreruns the morn,
A blot in heaven, the Raven, flying high,
Croaked, and she thought, `He spies a field of death;
For now the Heathen of the Northern Sea,
Lured by the crimes and frailties of the court,
Begin to slay the folk, and spoil the land.'
And when she came to Almesbury she spake
There to the nuns, and said, `Mine enemies
Pursue me, but, O peaceful Sisterhood,
Receive, and yield me sanctuary, nor ask
Her name to whom ye yield it, till her time
To tell you:' and her beauty, grace and power,
Wrought as a charm upon them, and they spared
To ask it.
So the stately Queen abode
For many a week, unknown, among the nuns;
Nor with them mixed, nor told her name, nor sought,
Wrapt in her grief, for housel or for shrift,
But communed only with the little maid,
Who pleased her with a babbling heedlessness
Which often lured her from herself; but now,
This night, a rumour wildly blown about
Came, that Sir Modred had usurped the realm,
And leagued him with the heathen, while the King
Was waging war on Lancelot: then she thought,
`With what a hate the people and the King
Must hate me,' and bowed down upon her hands
Silent, until the little maid, who brooked
No silence, brake it, uttering, `Late! so late!
What hour, I wonder, now?' and when she drew
No answer, by and by began to hum
An air the nuns had taught her; `Late, so late!'
Which when she heard, the Queen looked up, and said,
`O maiden, if indeed ye list to sing,
Sing, and unbind my heart that I may weep.'
Whereat full willingly sang the little maid.
`Late, late, so late! and dark the night and chill!
Late, late, so late! but we can enter still.
Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now.
`No light had we: for that we do repent;
And learning this, the bridegroom will relent.
Too late, too late! ye cannot enter now.
`No light: so late! and dark and chill the night!
O let us in, that we may find the light!
Too late, too late: ye cannot enter now.
`Have we not heard the bridegroom is so sweet?
O let us in, though late, to kiss his feet!
No, no, too late! ye cannot enter now.'
So sang the novice, while full passionately,
Her head upon her hands, remembering
Her thought when first she came, wept the sad Queen.
Then said the little novice prattling to her,
`O pray you, noble lady, weep no more;
But let my words, the words of one so small,
Who knowing nothing knows but to obey,
And if I do not there is penance given--
Comfort your sorrows; for they do not flow
From evil done; right sure am I of that,
Who see your tender grace and stateliness.
But weigh your sorrows with our lord the King's,
And weighing find them less; for gone is he
To wage grim war against Sir Lancelot there,
Round that strong castle where he holds the Queen;
And Modred whom he left in charge of all,
The traitor--Ah sweet lady, the King's grief
For his own self, and his own Queen, and realm,
Must needs be thrice as great as any of ours.
For me, I thank the saints, I am not great.
For if there ever come a grief to me
I cry my cry in silence, and have done.
None knows it, and my tears have brought me good:
But even were the griefs of little ones
As great as those of great ones, yet this grief
Is added to the griefs the great must bear,
That howsoever much they may desire
Silence, they cannot weep behind a cloud:
As even here they talk at Almesbury
About the good King and his wicked Queen,
And were I such a King with such a Queen,
Well might I wish to veil her wickedness,
But were I such a King, it could not be.'
Then to her own sad heart muttered the Queen,
`Will the child kill me with her innocent talk?'
But openly she answered, `Must not I,
If this false traitor have displaced his lord,
Grieve with the common grief of all the realm?'
`Yea,' said the maid, `this is all woman's grief,
That SHE is woman, whose disloyal life
Hath wrought confusion in the Table Round
Which good King Arthur founded, years ago,
With signs and miracles and wonders, there
At Camelot, ere the coming of the Queen.'
Then thought the Queen within herself again,
`Will the child kill me with her foolish prate?'
But openly she spake and said to her,
`O little maid, shut in by nunnery walls,
What canst thou know of Kings and Tables Round,
Or what of signs and wonders, but the signs
And simple miracles of thy nunnery?'
To whom the little novice garrulously,
`Yea, but I know: the land was full of signs
And wonders ere the coming of the Queen.
So said my father, and himself was knight
Of the great Table--at the founding of it;
And rode thereto from Lyonnesse, and he said
That as he rode, an hour or maybe twain
After the sunset, down the coast, he heard
Strange music, and he paused, and turning--there,
All down the lonely coast of Lyonnesse,
Each with a beacon-star upon his head,
And with a wild sea-light about his feet,
He saw them--headland after headland flame
Far on into the rich heart of the west:
And in the light the white mermaiden swam,
And strong man-breasted things stood from the sea,
And sent a deep sea-voice through all the land,
To which the little elves of chasm and cleft
Made answer, sounding like a distant horn.
So said my father--yea, and furthermore,
Next morning, while he past the dim-lit woods,
Himself beheld three spirits mad with joy
Come dashing down on a tall wayside flower,
That shook beneath them, as the thistle shakes
When three gray linnets wrangle for the seed:
And still at evenings on before his horse
The flickering fairy-circle wheeled and broke
Flying, and linked again, and wheeled and broke
Flying, for all the land was full of life.
And when at last he came to Camelot,
A wreath of airy dancers hand-in-hand
Swung round the lighted lantern of the hall;
And in the hall itself was such a feast
As never man had dreamed; for every knight
Had whatsoever meat he longed for served
By hands unseen; and even as he said
Down in the cellars merry bloated things
Shouldered the spigot, straddling on the butts
While the wine ran: so glad were spirits and men
Before the coming of the sinful Queen.'
Then spake the Queen and somewhat bitterly,
`Were they so glad? ill prophets were they all,
Spirits and men: could none of them foresee,
Not even thy wise father with his signs
And wonders, what has fallen upon the realm?'
To whom the novice garrulously again,
`Yea, one, a bard; of whom my father said,
Full many a noble war-song had he sung,
Even in the presence of an enemy's fleet,
Between the steep cliff and the coming wave;
And many a mystic lay of life and death
Had chanted on the smoky mountain-tops,
When round him bent the spirits of the hills
With all their dewy hair blown back like flame:
So said my father--and that night the bard
Sang Arthur's glorious wars, and sang the King
As wellnigh more than man, and railed at those
Who called him the false son of Gorlos:
For there was no man knew from whence he came;
But after tempest, when the long wave broke
All down the thundering shores of Bude and Bos,
There came a day as still as heaven, and then
They found a naked child upon the sands
Of dark Tintagil by the Cornish sea;
And that was Arthur; and they fostered him
Till he by miracle was approven King:
And that his grave should be a mystery
From all men, like his birth; and could he find
A woman in her womanhood as great
As he was in his manhood, then, he sang,
The twain together well might change the world.
But even in the middle of his song
He faltered, and his hand fell from the harp,
And pale he turned, and reeled, and would have fallen,
But that they stayed him up; nor would he tell
His vision; but what doubt that he foresaw
This evil work of Lancelot and the Queen?'
Then thought the Queen, `Lo! they have set her on,
Our simple-seeming Abbess and her nuns,
To play upon me,' and bowed her head nor spake.
Whereat the novice crying, with clasped hands,
Shame on her own garrulity garrulously,
Said the good nuns would check her gadding tongue
Full often, `and, sweet lady, if I seem
To vex an ear too sad to listen to me,
Unmannerly, with prattling and the tales
Which my good father told me, check me too
Nor let me shame my father's memory, one
Of noblest manners, though himself would say
Sir Lancelot had the noblest; and he died,
Killed in a tilt, come next, five summers back,
And left me; but of others who remain,
And of the two first-famed for courtesy--
And pray you check me if I ask amiss-
But pray you, which had noblest, while you moved
Among them, Lancelot or our lord the King?'
Then the pale Queen looked up and answered her,
`Sir Lancelot, as became a noble knight,
Was gracious to all ladies, and the same
In open battle or the tilting-field
Forbore his own advantage, and the King
In open battle or the tilting-field
Forbore his own advantage, and these two
Were the most nobly-mannered men of all;
For manners are not idle, but the fruit
Of loyal nature, and of noble mind.'
`Yea,' said the maid, `be manners such fair fruit?'
Then Lancelot's needs must be a thousand-fold
Less noble, being, as all rumour runs,
The most disloyal friend in all the world.'
To which a mournful answer made the Queen:
`O closed about by narrowing nunnery-walls,
What knowest thou of the world, and all its lights
And shadows, all the wealth and all the woe?
If ever Lancelot, that most noble knight,
Were for one hour less noble than himself,
Pray for him that he scape the doom of fire,
And weep for her that drew him to his doom.'
`Yea,' said the little novice, `I pray for both;
But I should all as soon believe that his,
Sir Lancelot's, were as noble as the King's,
As I could think, sweet lady, yours would be
Such as they are, were you the sinful Queen.'
So she, like many another babbler, hurt
Whom she would soothe, and harmed where she would heal;
For here a sudden flush of wrathful heat
Fired all the pale face of the Queen, who cried,
`Such as thou art be never maiden more
For ever! thou their tool, set on to plague
And play upon, and harry me, petty spy
And traitress.' When that storm of anger brake
From Guinevere, aghast the maiden rose,
White as her veil, and stood before the Queen
As tremulously as foam upon the beach
Stands in a wind, ready to break and fly,
And when the Queen had added `Get thee hence,'
Fled frighted. Then that other left alone
Sighed, and began to gather heart again,
Saying in herself, `The simple, fearful child
Meant nothing, but my own too-fearful guilt,
Simpler than any child, betrays itself.
But help me, heaven, for surely I repent.
For what is true repentance but in thought--
Not even in inmost thought to think again
The sins that made the past so pleasant to us:
And I have sworn never to see him more,
To see him more.'
And even in saying this,
Her memory from old habit of the mind
Went slipping back upon the golden days
In which she saw him first, when Lancelot came,
Reputed the best knight and goodliest man,
Ambassador, to lead her to his lord
Arthur, and led her forth, and far ahead
Of his and her retinue moving, they,
Rapt in sweet talk or lively, all on love
And sport and tilts and pleasure, (for the time
Was maytime, and as yet no sin was dreamed,)
Rode under groves that looked a paradise
Of blossom, over sheets of hyacinth
That seemed the heavens upbreaking through the earth,
And on from hill to hill, and every day
Beheld at noon in some delicious dale
The silk pavilions of King Arthur raised
For brief repast or afternoon repose
By couriers gone before; and on again,
Till yet once more ere set of sun they saw
The Dragon of the great Pendragonship,
That crowned the state pavilion of the King,
Blaze by the rushing brook or silent well.
But when the Queen immersed in such a trance,
And moving through the past unconsciously,
Came to that point where first she saw the King
Ride toward her from the city, sighed to find
Her journey done, glanced at him, thought him cold,
High, self-contained, and passionless, not like him,
`Not like my Lancelot'--while she brooded thus
And grew half-guilty in her thoughts again,
There rode an armd warrior to the doors.
A murmuring whisper through the nunnery ran,
Then on a sudden a cry, `The King.' She sat
Stiff-stricken, listening; but when armd feet
Through the long gallery from the outer doors
Rang coming, prone from off her seat she fell,
And grovelled with her face against the floor:
There with her milkwhite arms and shadowy hair
She made her face a darkness from the King:
And in the darkness heard his armd feet
Pause by her; then came silence, then a voice,
Monotonous and hollow like a Ghost's
Denouncing judgment, but though changed, the King's:
`Liest thou here so low, the child of one
I honoured, happy, dead before thy shame?
Well is it that no child is born of thee.
The children born of thee are sword and fire,
Red ruin, and the breaking up of laws,
The craft of kindred and the Godless hosts
Of heathen swarming o'er the Northern Sea;
Whom I, while yet Sir Lancelot, my right arm,
The mightiest of my knights, abode with me,
Have everywhere about this land of Christ
In twelve great battles ruining overthrown.
And knowest thou now from whence I come--from him
From waging bitter war with him: and he,
That did not shun to smite me in worse way,
Had yet that grace of courtesy in him left,
He spared to lift his hand against the King
Who made him knight: but many a knight was slain;
And many more, and all his kith and kin
Clave to him, and abode in his own land.
And many more when Modred raised revolt,
Forgetful of their troth and fealty, clave
To Modred, and a remnant stays with me.
And of this remnant will I leave a part,
True men who love me still, for whom I live,
To guard thee in the wild hour coming on,
Lest but a hair of this low head be harmed.
Fear not: thou shalt be guarded till my death.
Howbeit I know, if ancient prophecies
Have erred not, that I march to meet my doom.
Thou hast not made my life so sweet to me,
That I the King should greatly care to live;
For thou hast spoilt the purpose of my life.
Bear with me for the last time while I show,
Even for thy sake, the sin which thou hast sinned.
For when the Roman left us, and their law
Relaxed its hold upon us, and the ways
Were filled with rapine, here and there a deed
Of prowess done redressed a random wrong.
But I was first of all the kings who drew
The knighthood-errant of this realm and all
The realms together under me, their Head,
In that fair Order of my Table Round,
A glorious company, the flower of men,
To serve as model for the mighty world,
And be the fair beginning of a time.
I made them lay their hands in mine and swear
To reverence the King, as if he were
Their conscience, and their conscience as their King,
To break the heathen and uphold the Christ,
To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,
To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,
To honour his own word as if his God's,
To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,
To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
And worship her by years of noble deeds,
Until they won her; for indeed I knew
Of no more subtle master under heaven
Than is the maiden passion for a maid,
Not only to keep down the base in man,
But teach high thought, and amiable words
And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
And love of truth, and all that makes a man.
And all this throve before I wedded thee,
Believing, "lo mine helpmate, one to feel
My purpose and rejoicing in my joy."
Then came thy shameful sin with Lancelot;
Then came the sin of Tristram and Isolt;
Then others, following these my mightiest knights,
And drawing foul ensample from fair names,
Sinned also, till the loathsome opposite
Of all my heart had destined did obtain,
And all through thee! so that this life of mine
I guard as God's high gift from scathe and wrong,
Not greatly care to lose; but rather think
How sad it were for Arthur, should he live,
To sit once more within his lonely hall,
And miss the wonted number of my knights,
And miss to hear high talk of noble deeds
As in the golden days before thy sin.
For which of us, who might be left, could speak
Of the pure heart, nor seem to glance at thee?
And in thy bowers of Camelot or of Usk
Thy shadow still would glide from room to room,
And I should evermore be vext with thee
In hanging robe or vacant ornament,
Or ghostly footfall echoing on the stair.
For think not, though thou wouldst not love thy lord,
Thy lord hast wholly lost his love for thee.
I am not made of so slight elements.
Yet must I leave thee, woman, to thy shame.
I hold that man the worst of public foes
Who either for his own or children's sake,
To save his blood from scandal, lets the wife
Whom he knows false, abide and rule the house:
For being through his cowardice allowed
Her station, taken everywhere for pure,
She like a new disease, unknown to men,
Creeps, no precaution used, among the crowd,
Makes wicked lightnings of her eyes, and saps
The fealty of our friends, and stirs the pulse
With devil's leaps, and poisons half the young.
Worst of the worst were that man he that reigns!
Better the King's waste hearth and aching heart
Than thou reseated in thy place of light,
The mockery of my people, and their bane.'
He paused, and in the pause she crept an inch
Nearer, and laid her hands about his feet.
Far off a solitary trumpet blew.
Then waiting by the doors the warhorse neighed
At a friend's voice, and he spake again:
`Yet think not that I come to urge thy crimes,
I did not come to curse thee, Guinevere,
I, whose vast pity almost makes me die
To see thee, laying there thy golden head,
My pride in happier summers, at my feet.
The wrath which forced my thoughts on that fierce law,
The doom of treason and the flaming death,
(When first I learnt thee hidden here) is past.
The pang--which while I weighed thy heart with one
Too wholly true to dream untruth in thee,
Made my tears burn--is also past--in part.
And all is past, the sin is sinned, and I,
Lo! I forgive thee, as Eternal God
Forgives: do thou for thine own soul the rest.
But how to take last leave of all I loved?
O golden hair, with which I used to play
Not knowing! O imperial-moulded form,
And beauty such as never woman wore,
Until it became a kingdom's curse with thee--
I cannot touch thy lips, they are not mine,
But Lancelot's: nay, they never were the King's.
I cannot take thy hand: that too is flesh,
And in the flesh thou hast sinned; and mine own flesh,
Here looking down on thine polluted, cries
"I loathe thee:" yet not less, O Guinevere,
For I was ever virgin save for thee,
My love through flesh hath wrought into my life
So far, that my doom is, I love thee still.
Let no man dream but that I love thee still.
Perchance, and so thou purify thy soul,
And so thou lean on our fair father Christ,
Hereafter in that world where all are pure
We two may meet before high God, and thou
Wilt spring to me, and claim me thine, and know
I am thine husband--not a smaller soul,
Nor Lancelot, nor another. Leave me that,
I charge thee, my last hope. Now must I hence.
Through the thick night I hear the trumpet blow:
They summon me their King to lead mine hosts
Far down to that great battle in the west,
Where I must strike against the man they call
My sister's son--no kin of mine, who leagues
With Lords of the White Horse, heathen, and knights,
Traitors--and strike him dead, and meet myself
Death, or I know not what mysterious doom.
And thou remaining here wilt learn the event;
But hither shall I never come again,
Never lie by thy side; see thee no more--
And while she grovelled at his feet,
She felt the King's breath wander o'er her neck,
And in the darkness o'er her fallen head,
Perceived the waving of his hands that blest.
Then, listening till those armd steps were gone,
Rose the pale Queen, and in her anguish found
The casement: `peradventure,' so she thought,
`If I might see his face, and not be seen.'
And lo, he sat on horseback at the door!
And near him the sad nuns with each a light
Stood, and he gave them charge about the Queen,
To guard and foster her for evermore.
And while he spake to these his helm was lowered,
To which for crest the golden dragon clung
Of Britain; so she did not see the face,
Which then was as an angel's, but she saw,
Wet with the mists and smitten by the lights,
The Dragon of the great Pendragonship
Blaze, making all the night a steam of fire.
And even then he turned; and more and more
The moony vapour rolling round the King,
Who seemed the phantom of a Giant in it,
Enwound him fold by fold, and made him gray
And grayer, till himself became as mist
Before her, moving ghostlike to his doom.
Then she stretched out her arms and cried aloud
`Oh Arthur!' there her voice brake suddenly,
Then--as a stream that spouting from a cliff
Fails in mid air, but gathering at the base
Re-makes itself, and flashes down the vale--
Went on in passionate utterance:
Gone through my sin to slay and to be slain!
And he forgave me, and I could not speak.
Farewell? I should have answered his farewell.
His mercy choked me. Gone, my lord the King,
My own true lord! how dare I call him mine?
The shadow of another cleaves to me,
And makes me one pollution: he, the King,
Called me polluted: shall I kill myself?
What help in that? I cannot kill my sin,
If soul be soul; nor can I kill my shame;
No, nor by living can I live it down.
The days will grow to weeks, the weeks to months
The months will add themselves and make the years,
The years will roll into the centuries,
And mine will ever be a name of scorn.
I must not dwell on that defeat of fame.
Let the world be; that is but of the world.
What else? what hope? I think there was a hope,
Except he mocked me when he spake of hope;
His hope he called it; but he never mocks,
For mockery is the fume of little hearts.
And blessd be the King, who hath forgiven
My wickedness to him, and left me hope
That in mine own heart I can live down sin
And be his mate hereafter in the heavens
Before high God. Ah great and gentle lord,
Who wast, as is the conscience of a saint
Among his warring senses, to thy knights--
To whom my false voluptuous pride, that took
Full easily all impressions from below,
Would not look up, or half-despised the height
To which I would not or I could not climb--
I thought I could not breathe in that fine air
That pure severity of perfect light--
I yearned for warmth and colour which I found
In Lancelot--now I see thee what thou art,
Thou art the highest and most human too,
Not Lancelot, nor another. Is there none
Will tell the King I love him though so late?
Now--ere he goes to the great Battle? none:
Myself must tell him in that purer life,
But now it were too daring. Ah my God,
What might I not have made of thy fair world,
Had I but loved thy highest creature here?
It was my duty to have loved the highest:
It surely was my profit had I known:
It would have been my pleasure had I seen.
We needs must love the highest when we see it,
Not Lancelot, nor another.'
Here her hand
Grasped, made her vail her eyes: she looked and saw
The novice, weeping, suppliant, and said to her,
`Yea, little maid, for am I not forgiven?'
Then glancing up beheld the holy nuns
All round her, weeping; and her heart was loosed
Within her, and she wept with these and said,
`Ye know me then, that wicked one, who broke
The vast design and purpose of the King.
O shut me round with narrowing nunnery-walls,
Meek maidens, from the voices crying "shame."
I must not scorn myself: he loves me still.
Let no one dream but that he loves me still.
So let me, if you do not shudder at me,
Nor shun to call me sister, dwell with you;
Wear black and white, and be a nun like you,
Fast with your fasts, not feasting with your feasts;
Grieve with your griefs, not grieving at your joys,
But not rejoicing; mingle with your rites;
Pray and be prayed for; lie before your shrines;
Do each low office of your holy house;
Walk your dim cloister, and distribute dole
To poor sick people, richer in His eyes
Who ransomed us, and haler too than I;
And treat their loathsome hurts and heal mine own;
And so wear out in almsdeed and in prayer
The sombre close of that voluptuous day,
Which wrought the ruin of my lord the King.'
She said: they took her to themselves; and she
Still hoping, fearing `is it yet too late?'
Dwelt with them, till in time their Abbess died.
Then she, for her good deeds and her pure life,
And for the power of ministration in her,
And likewise for the high rank she had borne,
Was chosen Abbess, there, an Abbess, lived
For three brief years, and there, an Abbess, past
To where beyond these voices there is peace.
The Growth of Love
They that in play can do the thing they would,
Having an instinct throned in reason's place,
--And every perfect action hath the grace
Of indolence or thoughtless hardihood--
These are the best: yet be there workmen good
Who lose in earnestness control of face,
Or reckon means, and rapt in effort base
Reach to their end by steps well understood.
Me whom thou sawest of late strive with the pains
Of one who spends his strength to rule his nerve,
--Even as a painter breathlessly who stains
His scarcely moving hand lest it should swerve--
Behold me, now that I have cast my chains,
Master of the art which for thy sake I serve.
For thou art mine: and now I am ashamed
To have uséd means to win so pure acquist,
And of my trembling fear that might have misst
Thro' very care the gold at which I aim'd;
And am as happy but to hear thee named,
As are those gentle souls by angels kisst
In pictures seen leaving their marble cist
To go before the throne of grace unblamed.
Nor surer am I water hath the skill
To quench my thirst, or that my strength is freed
In delicate ordination as I will,
Than that to be myself is all I need
For thee to be most mine: so I stand still,
And save to taste my joy no more take heed.
The whole world now is but the minister
Of thee to me: I see no other scheme
But universal love, from timeless dream
Waking to thee his joy's interpreter.
I walk around and in the fields confer
Of love at large with tree and flower and stream,
And list the lark descant upon my theme,
Heaven's musical accepted worshipper.
Thy smile outfaceth ill: and that old feud
'Twixt things and me is quash'd in our new truce;
And nature now dearly with thee endued
No more in shame ponders her old excuse,
But quite forgets her frowns and antics rude,
So kindly hath she grown to her new use.
The very names of things belov'd are dear,
And sounds will gather beauty from their sense,
As many a face thro' love's long residence
Groweth to fair instead of plain and sere:
But when I say thy name it hath no peer,
And I suppose fortune determined thence
Her dower, that such beauty's excellence
Should have a perfect title for the ear.
Thus may I think the adopting Muses chose
Their sons by name, knowing none would be heard
Or writ so oft in all the world as those,--
Dan Chaucer, mighty Shakespeare, then for third
The classic Milton, and to us arose
Shelley with liquid music in the world.
The poets were good teachers, for they taught
Earth had this joy; but that 'twould ever be
That fortune should be perfected in me,
My heart of hope dared not engage the thought.
So I stood low, and now but to be caught
By any self-styled lords of the age with thee
Vexes my modesty, lest they should see
I hold them owls and peacocks, things of nought.
And when we sit alone, and as I please
I taste thy love's full smile, and can enstate
The pleasure of my kingly heart at ease,
My thought swims like a ship, that with the weight
Of her rich burden sleeps on the infinite seas
Becalm'd, and cannot stir her golden freight.
While yet we wait for spring, and from the dry
And blackening east that so embitters March,
Well-housed must watch grey fields and meadows parch,
And driven dust and withering snowflake fly;
Already in glimpses of the tarnish'd sky
The sun is warm and beckons to the larch,
And where the covert hazels interarch
Their tassell'd twigs, fair beds of primrose lie.
Beneath the crisp and wintry carpet hid
A million buds but stay their blossoming;
And trustful birds have built their nests amid
The shuddering boughs, and only wait to sing
Till one soft shower from the south shall bid,
And hither tempt the pilgrim steps of spring.
In thee my spring of life hath bid the while
A rose unfold beyond the summer's best,
The mystery of joy made manifest
In love's self-answering and awakening smile;
Whereby the lips in wonder reconcile
Passion with peace, and show desire at rest,--
A grace of silence by the Greek unguesst,
That bloom'd to immortalize the Tuscan style
When first the angel-song that faith hath ken'd
Fancy pourtray'd, above recorded oath
Of Israel's God, or light of poem pen'd;
The very countenance of plighted troth
'Twixt heaven and earth, where in one moment blend
The hope of one and happiness of both.
For beauty being the best of all we know
Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims
Of nature, and on joys whose earthly names
Were never told can form and sense bestow;
And man hath sped his instinct to outgo
The step of science; and against her shames
Imagination stakes out heavenly claims,
Building a tower above the head of woe.
Nor is there fairer work for beauty found
Than that she win in nature her release
From all the woes that in the world abound:
Nay with his sorrow may his love increase,
If from man's greater need beauty redound,
And claim his tears for homage of his peace.
Thus to thy beauty doth my fond heart look,
That late dismay'd her faithless faith forbore;
And wins again her love lost in the lore
Of schools and script of many a learned book:
For thou what ruthless death untimely took
Shalt now in better brotherhood restore,
And save my batter'd ship that far from shore
High on the dismal deep in tempest shook.
So in despite of sorrow lately learn'd
I still hold true to truth since thou art true,
Nor wail the woe which thou to joy hast turn'd
Nor come the heavenly sun and bathing blue
To my life's need more splendid and unearn'd
Than hath thy gift outmatch'd desire and due.
Winter was not unkind because uncouth;
His prison'd time made me a closer guest,
And gave thy graciousness a warmer zest,
Biting all else with keen and angry tooth
And bravelier the triumphant blood of youth
Mantling thy cheek its happy home possest,
And sterner sport by day put strength to test,
And custom's feast at night gave tongue to truth
Or say hath flaunting summer a device
To match our midnight revelry, that rang
With steel and flame along the snow-girt ice?
Or when we hark't to nightingales that sang
On dewy eves in spring, did they entice
To gentler love than winter's icy fang?
There's many a would-be poet at this hour,
Rhymes of a love that he hath never woo'd,
And o'er his lamplit desk in solitude
Deems that he sitteth in the Muses' bower:
And some the flames of earthly love devour,
Who have taken no kiss of Nature, nor renew'd
In the world's wilderness with heavenly food
The sickly body of their perishing power.
So none of all our company, I boast,
But now would mock my penning, could they see
How down the right it maps a jagged coast;
Seeing they hold the manlier praise to be
Strong hand and will, and the heart best when most
'Tis sober, simple, true, and fancy-free.
How could I quarrel or blame you, most dear,
Who all thy virtues gavest and kept back none;
Kindness and gentleness, truth without peer,
And beauty that my fancy fed upon?
Now not my life's contrition for my fault
Can blot that day, nor work me recompence,
Tho' I might worthily thy worth exalt,
Making thee long amends for short offence.
For surely nowhere, love, if not in thee
Are grace and truth and beauty to be found;
And all my praise of these can only be
A praise of thee, howe'er by thee disown'd:
While still thou must be mine tho' far removed,
And I for one offence no more beloved.
Now since to me altho' by thee refused
The world is left, I shall find pleasure still;
The art that most I have loved but little used
Will yield a world of fancies at my will:
And tho' where'er thou goest it is from me,
I where I go thee in my heart must bear;
And what thou wert that wilt thou ever be,
My choice, my best, my loved, and only fair.
Farewell, yet think not such farewell a change
From tenderness, tho' once to meet or part
But on short absence so could sense derange
That tears have graced the greeting of my heart;
They were proud drops and had my leave to fall,
Not on thy pity for my pain to call.
When sometimes in an ancient house where state
From noble ancestry is handed on,
We see but desolation thro' the gate,
And richest heirlooms all to ruin gone;
Because maybe some fancied shame or fear,
Bred of disease or melancholy fate,
Hath driven the owner from his rightful sphere
To wander nameless save to pity or hate:
What is the wreck of all he hath in fief
When he that hath is wrecking? nought is fine
Unto the sick, nor doth it burden grief
That the house perish when the soul doth pine.
Thus I my state despise, slain by a sting
So slight 'twould not have hurt a meaner thing.
Who builds a ship must first lay down the keel
Of health, whereto the ribs of mirth are wed:
And knit, with beams and knees of strength, a bed
For decks of purity, her floor and ceil.
Upon her masts, Adventure, Pride, and Zeal,
To fortune's wind the sails of purpose spread:
And at the prow make figured maidenhead
O'erride the seas and answer to the wheel.
And let him deep in memory's hold have stor'd
Water of Helicon: and let him fit
The needle that doth true with heaven accord:
Then bid her crew, love, diligence and wit
With justice, courage, temperance come aboard,
And at her helm the master reason sit.
This world is unto God a work of art,
Of which the unaccomplish'd heavenly plan
Is hid in life within the creature's heart,
And for perfection looketh unto man.
Ah me! those thousand ages: with what slow
Pains and persistence were his idols made,
Destroy'd and made, ere ever he could know
The mighty mother must be so obey'd.
For lack of knowledge and thro' little skill
His childish mimicry outwent his aim;
His effort shaped the genius of his will;
Till thro' distinction and revolt he came,
True to his simple terms of good and ill,
Seeking the face of Beauty without blame.
Say who be these light-bearded, sunburnt faces
In negligent and travel-stain'd array,
That in the city of Dante come to-day,
Haughtily visiting her holy places?
O these be noble men that hide their graces,
True England's blood, her ancient glory's stay,
By tales of fame diverted on their way
Home from the rule of oriental races.
Life-trifling lions these, of gentle eyes
And motion delicate, but swift to fire
For honour, passionate where duty lies,
Most loved and loving: and they quickly tire
Of Florence, that she one day more denies
The embrace of wife and son, of sister or sire.
Where San Miniato's convent from the sun
At forenoon overlooks the city of flowers
I sat, and gazing on her domes and towers
Call'd up her famous children one by one:
And three who all the rest had far outdone,
Mild Giotto first, who stole the morning hours,
I saw, and god-like Buonarroti's powers,
And Dante, gravest poet, her much-wrong'd son.
Is all this glory, I said, another's praise?
Are these heroic triumphs things of old,
And do I dead upon the living gaze?
Or rather doth the mind, that can behold
The wondrous beauty of the works and days,
Create the image that her thoughts enfold?
Rejoice, ye dead, where'er your spirits dwell,
Rejoice that yet on earth your fame is bright;
And that your names, remember'd day and night,
Live on the lips of those that love you well.
'Tis ye that conquer'd have the powers of hell,
Each with the special grace of your delight:
Ye are the world's creators, and thro' might
Of everlasting love ye did excel.
Now ye are starry names, above the storm
And war of Time and nature's endless wrong
Ye flit, in pictured truth and peaceful form,
Wing'd with bright music and melodious song,--
The flaming flowers of heaven, making May-dance
In dear Imagination's rich pleasance.
The world still goeth about to shew and hide,
Befool'd of all opinion, fond of fame:
But he that can do well taketh no pride,
And see'th his error, undisturb'd by shame:
So poor's the best that longest life can do,
The most so little, diligently done;
So mighty is the beauty that doth woo,
So vast the joy that love from love hath won.
God's love to win is easy, for He loveth
Desire's fair attitude, nor strictly weighs
The broken thing, but all alike approveth
Which love hath aim'd at Him: that is heaven's praise:
And if we look for any praise on earth,
'Tis in man's love: all else is nothing worth.
O flesh and blood, comrade to tragic pain
And clownish merriment whose sense could wake
Sermons in stones, and count death but an ache,
All things as vanity, yet nothing vain:
The world, set in thy heart, thy passionate strain
Reveal'd anew; but thou for man didst make
Nature twice natural, only to shake
Her kingdom with the creatures of thy brain.
Lo, Shakespeare, since thy time nature is loth
To yield to art her fair supremacy;
In conquering one thou hast so enrichèd both.
What shall I say? for God--whose wise decree
Confirmeth all He did by all He doth--
Doubled His whole creation making thee.
I would be a bird, and straight on wings I arise,
And carry purpose up to the ends of the air
In calm and storm my sails I feather, and where
By freezing cliffs the unransom'd wreckage lies:
Or, strutting on hot meridian banks, surprise
The silence: over plains in the moonlight bare
I chase my shadow, and perch where no bird dare
In treetops torn by fiercest winds of the skies.
Poor simple birds, foolish birds! then I cry,
Ye pretty pictures of delight, unstir'd
By the only joy of knowing that ye fly;
Ye are not what ye are, but rather, sum'd in a word,
The alphabet of a god's idea, and I
Who master it, I am the only bird.
O weary pilgrims, chanting of your woe,
That turn your eyes to all the peaks that shine,
Hailing in each the citadel divine
The which ye thought to have enter'd long ago;
Until at length your feeble steps and slow
Falter upon the threshold of the shrine,
And your hearts overhurden'd doubt in fine
Whether it be Jerusalem or no:
Dishearten'd pilgrims, I am one of you;
For, having worshipp'd many a barren face,
I scarce now greet the goal I journey'd to:
I stand a pagan in the holy place;
Beneath the lamp of truth I am found untrue,
And question with the God that I embrace.
Spring hath her own bright days of calm and peace;
Her melting air, at every breath we draw,
Floods heart with love to praise God's gracious law:
But suddenly--so short is pleasure's lease--
The cold returns, the buds from growing cease,
And nature's conquer'd face is full of awe;
As now the trait'rous north with icy flaw
Freezes the dew upon the sick lamb's fleece,
And 'neath the mock sun searching everywhere
Rattles the crispèd leaves with shivering din:
So that the birds are silent with despair
Within the thickets; nor their armour thin
Will gaudy flies adventure in the air,
Nor any lizard sun his spotted skin.
Nothing is joy without thee: I can find
No rapture in the first relays of spring,
In songs of birds, in young buds opening,
Nothing inspiriting and nothing kind;
For lack of thee, who once wert throned behind
All beauty, like a strength where graces cling,--
The jewel and heart of light, which everything
Wrestled in rivalry to hold enshrined.
Ah! since thou'rt fled, and I in each fair sight
The sweet occasion of my joy deplore,
Where shall I seek thee best, or whom invite
Within thy sacred temples and adore?
Who shall fill thought and truth with old delight,
And lead my soul in life as heretofore?
The work is done, and from the fingers fall
The bloodwarm tools that brought the labour thro':
The tasking eye that overrunneth all
Rests, and affirms there is no more to do.
Now the third joy of making, the sweet flower
Of blessed work, bloometh in godlike spirit;
Which whoso plucketh holdeth for an hour
The shrivelling vanity of mortal merit.
And thou, my perfect work, thou'rt of to-day;
To-morrow a poor and alien thing wilt be,
True only should the swift life stand at stay:
Therefore farewell, nor look to bide with me.
Go find thy friends, if there be one to love thee:
Casting thee forth, my child, I rise above thee.
The fabled sea-snake, old Leviathan,
Or else what grisly beast of scaly chine
That champ'd the ocean-wrack and swash'd the brine,
Before the new and milder days of man,
Had never rib nor bray nor swindging fan
Like his iron swimmer of the Clyde or Tyne,
Late-born of golden seed to breed a line
Of offspring swifter and more huge of plan.
Straight is her going, for upon the sun
When once she hath look'd, her path and place are plain;
With tireless speed she smiteth one by one
The shuddering seas and foams along the main;
And her eased breath, when her wild race is run,
Roars thro' her nostrils like a hurricane.
A thousand times hath in my heart's behoof
My tongue been set his passion to impart;
A thousand times hath my too coward heart
My mouth reclosed and fix'd it to the roof;
Then with such cunning hath it held aloof,
A thousand times kept silence with such art
That words could do no more: yet on thy part
Hath silence given a thousand times reproof.
I should be bolder, seeing I commend
Love, that my dilatory purpose primes,
But fear lest with my fears my hope should end:
Nay, I would truth deny and burn my rhymes,
Renew my sorrows rather than offend,
A thousand times, and yet a thousand times.
I travel to thee with the sun's first rays,
That lift the dark west and unwrap the night;
I dwell beside thee when he walks the height,
And fondly toward thee at his setting gaze.
I wait upon thy coming, but always--
Dancing to meet my thoughts if they invite--
Thou hast outrun their longing with delight,
And in my solitude dost mock my praise.
Now doth my drop of time transcend the whole:
I see no fame in Khufu's pyramid,
No history where loveless Nile doth roll.
--This is eternal life, which doth forbid
Mortal detraction to the exalted soul,
And from her inward eye all fate hath hid.
My lady pleases me and I please her;
This know we both, and I besides know well
Wherefore I love her, and I love to tell
My love, as all my loving songs aver.
But what on her part could the passion stir,
Tho' 'tis more difficult for love to spell,
Yet can I dare divine how this befel,
Nor will her lips deny it if I err.
She loves me first because I love her, then
Loves me for knowing why she should be loved,
And that I love to praise her, loves again.
So from her beauty both our loves are moved,
And by her beauty are sustain'd; nor when
The earth falls from the sun is this disproved.
In all things beautiful, I cannot see
Her sit or stand, but love is stir'd anew:
'Tis joy to watch the folds fall as they do,
And all that comes is past expectancy.
If she be silent, silence let it be;
He who would bid her speak might sit and sue
The deep-brow'd Phidian Jove to be untrue
To his two thousand years' solemnity.
Ah, but her launchèd passion, when she sings,
Wins on the hearing like a shapen prow
Borne by the mastery of its urgent wings:
Or if she deign her wisdom, she doth show
She hath the intelligence of heavenly things,
Unsullied by man's mortal overthrow.
Thus to be humbled: 'tis that ranging pride
No refuge hath; that in his castle strong
Brave reason sits beleaguer'd, who so long
Kept field, but now must starve where he doth hide;
That industry, who once the foe defied,
Lies slaughter'd in the trenches; that the throng
Of idle fancies pipe their foolish song,
Where late the puissant captains fought and died.
Thus to be humbled: 'tis to be undone;
A forest fell'd; a city razed to ground;
A cloak unsewn, unwoven and unspun
Till not a thread remains that can be wound.
And yet, O lover, thee, the ruin'd one,
Love who hath humbled thus hath also crown'd.
I care not if I live, tho' life and breath
Have never been to me so dear and sweet.
I care not if I die, for I could meet--
Being so happy--happily my death.
I care not if I love; to-day she saith
She loveth, and love's history is complete.
Nor care I if she love me; at her feet
My spirit bows entranced and worshippeth.
I have no care for what was most my care,
But all around me see fresh beauty born,
And common sights grown lovelier than they were:
I dream of love, and in the light of morn
Tremble, beholding all things very fair
And strong with strength that puts my strength to scorn.
O my goddess divine sometimes I say
Now let this word for ever and all suffice;
Thou art insatiable, and yet not twice
Can even thy lover give his soul away:
And for my acts, that at thy feet I lay;
For never any other, by device
Of wisdom, love or beauty, could entice
My homage to the measure of this day.
I have no more to give thee: lo, I have sold
My life, have emptied out my heart, and spent
Whate'er I had; till like a beggar, bold
With nought to lose, I laugh and am content.
A beggar kisses thee; nay, love, behold,
I fear not: thou too art in beggarment.
All earthly beauty hath one cause and proof,
To lead the pilgrim soul to beauty above:
Yet lieth the greater bliss so far aloof,
That few there be are wean'd from earthly love.
Joy's ladder it is, reaching from home to home,
The best of all the work that all was good;
Whereof 'twas writ the angels aye upclomb,
Down sped, and at the top the Lord God stood.
But I my time abuse, my eyes by day
Center'd on thee, by night my heart on fire--
Letting my number'd moments run away--
Nor e'en 'twixt night and day to heaven aspire:
So true it is that what the eye seeth not
But slow is loved, and loved is soon forgot.
O my life's mischief, once my love's delight,
That drew'st a mortgage on my heart's estate,
Whose baneful clause is never out of date,
Nor can avenging time restore my right:
Whom first to lose sounded that note of spite,
Whereto my doleful days were tuned by fate:
That art the well-loved cause of all my hate,
The sun whose wandering makes my hopeless night:
Thou being in all my lacking all I lack,
It is thy goodness turns my grace to crime,
Thy fleetness from my goal which holds me back;
Wherefore my feet go out of step with time,
My very grasp of life is old and slack,
And even my passion falters in my rhyme.
At times with hurried hoofs and scattering dust
I race by field or highway, and my horse
Spare not, but urge direct in headlong course
Unto some fair far hill that gain I must:
But near arrived the vision soon mistrust,
Rein in, and stand as one who sees the source
Of strong illusion, shaming thought to force
From off his mind the soil of passion's gust.
My brow I bare then, and with slacken'd speed
Can view the country pleasant on all sides,
And to kind salutation give good heed:
I ride as one who for his pleasure rides,
And stroke the neck of my delighted steed,
And seek what cheer the village inn provides.
An idle June day on the sunny Thames,
Floating or rowing as our fancy led,
Now in the high beams basking as we sped,
Now in green shade gliding by mirror'd stems;
By lock and weir and isle, and many a spot
Of memoried pleasure, glad with strength and skill,
Friendship, good wine, and mirth, that serve not ill
The heavenly Muse, tho' she requite them not:
I would have life--thou saidst--all as this day,
Simple enjoyment calm in its excess,
With not a grief to cloud, and not a ray
Of passion overhot my peace to oppress;
With no ambition to reproach delay,
Nor rapture to disturb its happiness.
A man that sees by chance his picture, made
As once a child he was, handling some toy,
Will gaze to find his spirit within the boy,
Yet hath no secret with the soul pourtray'd:
He cannot think the simple thought which play'd
Upon those features then so frank and coy;
'Tis his, yet oh! not his: and o'er the joy
His fatherly pity bends in tears dismay'd.
Proud of his prime maybe he stand at best,
And lightly wear his strength, or aim it high,
In knowledge, skill and courage self-possest:--
Yet in the pictured face a charm doth lie,
The one thing lost more worth than all the rest,
Which seeing, he fears to say This child was I.
Tears of love, tears of joy and tears of care,
Comforting tears that fell uncomforted,
Tears o'er the new-born, tears beside the dead,
Tears of hope, pride and pity, trust and prayer,
Tears of contrition; all tears whatsoe'er
Of tenderness or kindness had she shed
Who here is pictured, ere upon her head
The fine gold might be turn'd to silver there.
The smile that charm'd the father hath given place
Unto the furrow'd care wrought by the son;
But virtue hath transform'd all change to grace:
So that I praise the artist, who hath done
A portrait, for my worship, of the face
Won by the heart my father's heart that won.
If I could but forget and not recall
So well my time of pleasure and of play,
When ancient nature was all new and gay,
Light as the fashion that doth last enthrall,--
Ah mighty nature, when my heart was small,
Nor dream'd what fearful searchings underlay
The flowers and leafy ecstasy of May,
The breathing summer sloth, the scented fall:
Could I forget, then were the fight not hard,
Press'd in the mêlée of accursed things,
Having such help in love and such reward:
But that 'tis I who once--'tis this that stings--
Once dwelt within the gate that angels guard,
Where yet I'd be had I but heavenly wings.
When I see childhood on the threshold seize
The prize of life from age and likelihood,
I mourn time's change that will not be withstood,
Thinking how Christ said Be like one of these.
For in the forest among many trees
Scarce one in all is found that hath made good
The virgin pattern of its slender wood,
That courtesied in joy to every breeze;
But scath'd, but knotted trunks that raise on high
Their arms in stiff contortion, strain'd and bare
Whose patriarchal crowns in sorrow sigh.
So, little children, ye--nay nay, ye ne'er
From me shall learn how sure the change and nigh,
When ye shall share our strength and mourn to share.
When parch'd with thirst, astray on sultry sand
The traveller faints, upon his closing ear
Steals a fantastic music: he may hear
The babbling fountain of his native land.
Before his eyes the vision seems to stand,
Where at its terraced brink the maids appear,
Who fill their deep urns at its waters clear,
And not refuse the help of lover's hand.
O cruel jest--he cries, as some one flings
The sparkling drops in sport or shew of ire--
O shameless, O contempt of holy things.
But never of their wanton play they tire,
As not athirst they sit beside the springs,
While he must quench in death his lost desire.
The image of thy love, rising on dark
And desperate days over my sullen sea,
Wakens again fresh hope and peace in me,
Gleaming above upon my groaning bark.
Whate'er my sorrow be, I then may hark
A loving voice: whate'er my terror be,
This heavenly comfort still I win from thee,
To shine my lodestar that wert once my mark.
Prodigal nature makes us but to taste
One perfect joy, which given she niggard grows;
And lest her precious gift should run to waste,
Adds to its loss a thousand lesser woes:
So to the memory of the gift that graced
Her hand, her graceless hand more grace bestows.
In this neglected, ruin'd edifice
Of works unperfected and broken schemes,
Where is the promise of my early dreams,
The smile of beauty and the pearl of price?
No charm is left now that could once entice
Wind-wavering fortune from her golden streams,
And full in flight decrepit purpose seems,
Trailing the banner of his old device.
Within the house a frore and numbing air
Has chill'd endeavour: sickly memories reign
In every room, and ghosts are on the stair:
And hope behind the dusty window-pane
Watches the days go by, and bow'd with care
Forecasts her last reproach and mortal stain.
Once I would say, before thy vision came,
My joy, my life, my love, and with some kind
Of knowledge speak, and think I knew my mind
Of heaven and hope, and each word hit its aim.
Whate'er their sounds be, now all mean the same,
Denoting each the fair that none can find;
Or if I say them, 'tis as one long blind
Forgets the sights that he was used to name.
Now if men speak of love, 'tis not my love;
Nor are their hopes nor joys mine, nor their life
Of praise the life that I think honour of:
Nay tho' they turn from house and child and wife
And self, and in the thought of heaven above
Hold, as do I, all mortal things at strife.
Since then 'tis only pity looking back,
Fear looking forward, and the busy mind
Will in one woeful moment more upwind
Than lifelong years unroll of bitter or black;
What is man's privilege, his hoarding knack
Of memory with foreboding so combined,
Whereby he comes to dream he hath of kind
The perpetuity which all things lack?
Which but to hope is doubtful joy, to have
Being a continuance of what, alas,
We mourn, and scarcely hear with to the grave;
Or something so unknown that it o'erpass
The thought of comfort, and the sense that gave
Cannot consider it thro' any glass.
Come gentle sleep, I woo thee: come and take
Not now the child into thine arms, from fright
Composed by drowsy tune and shaded light,
Whom ignorant of thee thou didst nurse and make;
Nor now the boy, who scorn'd thee for the sake
Of growing knowledge or mysterious night,
Tho' with fatigue thou didst his limbs invite,
And heavily weigh the eyes that would not wake;
No, nor the man severe, who from his best
Failing, alert fled to thee, that his breath,
Blood, force and fire should come at morn redrest;
But me; from whom thy comfort tarrieth,
For all my wakeful prayer sent without rest
To thee, O shew and shadow of my death.
The spirit's eager sense for sad or gay
Filleth with what he will our vessel full:
Be joy his bent, he waiteth not joy's day
But like a child at any toy will pull:
If sorrow, he will weep for fancy's sake,
And spoil heaven's plenty with forbidden care.
What fortune most denies we slave to take;
Nor can fate load us more than we can bear.
Since pleasure with the having disappeareth,
He who hath least in hand hath most at heart,
While he keep hope: as he who alway feareth
A grief that never comes hath yet the smart;
And heavier far is our self-wrought distress,
For when God sendeth sorrow, it doth bless.
The world comes not to an end: her city-hives
Swarm with the tokens of a changeless trade,
With rolling wheel, driver and flagging jade,
Rich men and beggars, children, priests and wives.
New homes on old are set, as lives on lives;
Invention with invention overlaid:
But still or tool or toy or book or blade
Shaped for the hand, that holds and toils and strives.
The men to-day toil as their fathers taught,
With little better'd means; for works depend
On works and overlap, and thought on thought:
And thro' all change the smiles of hope amend
The weariest face, the same love changed in nought:
In this thing too the world comes not to an end.
O my uncared-for songs, what are ye worth,
That in my secret book with so much care
I write you, this one here and that one there,
Marking the time and order of your birth?
How, with a fancy so unkind to mirth,
A sense so hard, a style so worn and bare,
Look ye for any welcome anywhere
From any shelf or heart-home on the earth?
Should others ask you this, say then I yearn'd
To write you such as once, when I was young,
Finding I should have loved and thereto turn'd.
'Twere something yet to live again among
The gentle youth beloved, and where I learn'd
My art, be there remember'd for my song.
Who takes the census of the living dead,
Ere the day come when memory shall o'ercrowd
The kingdom of their fame, and for that proud
And airy people find no room nor stead?
Ere hoarding Time, that ever thrusteth back
The fairest treasures of his ancient store,
Better with best confound, so he may pack
His greedy gatherings closer, more and more?
Let the true Muse rewrite her sullied page,
And purge her story of the men of hate,
That they go dirgeless down to Satan's rage
With all else foul, deform'd and miscreate:
She hath full toil to keep the names of love
Honour'd on earth, as they are bright above.
I heard great Hector sounding war's alarms,
Where thro' the listless ghosts chiding he strode,
As tho' the Greeks besieged his last abode,
And he his Troy's hope still, her king-at-arms.
But on those gentle meads, which Lethe charms
With weary oblivion, his passion glow'd
Like the cold night-worm's candle, and only show'd
Such mimic flame as neither heats nor harms.
'Twas plain to read, even by those shadows quaint,
How rude catastrophe had dim'd his day,
And blighted all his cheer with stern complaint:
To arms! to arms! what more the voice would say
Was swallow'd in the valleys, and grew faint
Upon the thin air, as he pass'd away.
Since not the enamour'd sun with glance more fond
Kisses the foliage of his sacred tree,
Than doth my waking thought arise on thee,
Loving none near thee, like thee nor beyond;
Nay, since I am sworn thy slave, and in the bond
Is writ my promise of eternity
Since to such high hope thou'st encouraged me,
That if thou look but from me I despond;
Since thou'rt my all in all, O think of this:
Think of the dedication of my youth:
Think of my loyalty, my joy, my bliss:
Think of my sorrow, my despair and ruth,
My sheer annihilation if I miss:
Think--if thou shouldst be false--think of thy truth.
These meagre rhymes, which a returning mood
Sometimes o'errateth, I as oft despise;
And knowing them illnatured, stiff and rude,
See them as others with contemptuous eyes.
Nay, and I wonder less at God's respect
For man, a minim jot in time and space,
Than at the soaring faith of His elect,
That gift of gifts, the comfort of His grace.
O truth unsearchable, O heavenly love,
Most infinitely tender, so to touch
The work that we can meanly reckon of:
Surely--I say--we are favour'd overmuch.
But of this wonder, what doth most amaze
Is that we know our love is held for praise.
Beauty sat with me all the summer day,
Awaiting the sure triumph of her eye;
Nor mark'd I till we parted, how, hard by,
Love in her train stood ready for his prey.
She, as too proud to join herself the fray,
Trusting too much to her divine ally,
When she saw victory tarry, chid him--"Why
Dost thou not at one stroke this rebel slay?"
Then generous Love, who holds my heart in fee,
Told of our ancient truce: so from the fight
We straight withdrew our forces, all the three.
Baffled but not dishearten'd she took flight
Scheming new tactics: Love came home with me,
And prompts my measured verses as I write.
In autumn moonlight, when the white air wan
Is fragrant in the wake of summer hence,
'Tis sweet to sit entranced, and muse thereon
In melancholy and godlike indolence:
When the proud spirit, lull'd by mortal prime
To fond pretence of immortality,
Vieweth all moments from the birth of time,
All things whate'er have been or yet shall be.
And like the garden, where the year is spent,
The ruin of old life is full of yearning,
Mingling poetic rapture of lament
With flowers and sunshine of spring's sure returning;
Only in visions of the white air wan
By godlike fancy seized and dwelt upon.
When first I saw thee, dearest, if I say
The spells that conjure back the hour and place,
And evermore I look upon thy face,
As in the spring of years long pass'd away;
No fading of thy beauty's rich array,
No detriment of age on thee I trace,
But time's defeat written in spoils of grace,
From rivals robb'd, whom thou didst pity and slay.
So hath thy growth been, thus thy faith is true,
Unchanged in change, still to my growing sense,
To life's desire the same, and nothing new:
But as thou wert in dream and prescience
At love's arising, now thou stand'st to view
In the broad noon of his magnificence.
'Twas on the very day winter took leave
Of those fair fields I love, when to the skies
The fragrant Earth was smiling in surprise
At that her heaven-descended, quick reprieve,
I wander'd forth my sorrow to relieve
Yet walk'd amid sweet pleasure in such wise
As Adam went alone in Paradise,
Before God of His pity fashion'd Eve.
And out of tune with all the joy around
I laid me down beneath a flowering tree,
And o'er my senses crept a sleep profound;
In which it seem'd that thou wert given to me,
Rending my body, where with hurried sound
I feel my heart beat, when I think of thee.
Love that I know, love I am wise in, love,
My strength, my pride, my grace, my skill untaught,
My faith here upon earth, my hope above,
My contemplation and perpetual thought:
The pleasure of my fancy, my heart's fire,
My joy, my peace, my praise, my happy theme,
The aim of all my doing, my desire
Of being, my life by day, by night my dream:
Love, my sweet melancholy, my distress,
My pain, my doubt, my trouble, my despair,
My only folly and unhappiness,
And in my careless moments still my care:
O love, sweet love, earthly love, love difvine,
Say'st thou to-day, O love, that thou art mine?
The dark and serious angel, who so long
Vex'd his immortal strength in charge of me,
Hath smiled for joy and fled in liberty
To take his pastime with the peerless throng.
Oft had I done his noble keeping wrong,
Wounding his heart to wonder what might be
God's purpose in a soul of such degree;
And there he had left me but for mandate strong.
But seeing thee with me now, his task at close
He knoweth, and wherefore he was bid to stay,
And work confusion of so many foes:
The thanks that he doth look for, here I pay,
Yet fear some heavenly envy, as he goes
Unto what great reward I cannot say.
I will be what God made me, nor protest
Against the bent of genius in my time,
That science of my friends robs all the best,
While I love beauty, and was born to rhyme.
Be they our mighty men, and let me dwell
In shadow among the mighty shades of old,
With love's forsaken palace for my cell;
Whence I look forth and all the world behold,
And say, These better days, in best things worse,
This bastardy of time's magnificence,
Will mend in fashion and throw off the curse,
To crown new love with higher excellence.
Curs'd tho' I be to live my life alone,
My toil is for man's joy, his joy my own.
I live on hope and that I think do all
Who come into this world, and since I see
Myself in swim with such good company,
I take my comfort whatsoe'er befall.
I abide and abide, as if more stout and tall
My spirit would grow by waiting like a tree
And, clear of others' toil, it pleaseth me
In dreams their quick ambition to forestall
And if thro' careless eagerness I slide
To some accomplishment, I give my voice
Still to desire, and in desire abide.
I have no stake abroad; if I rejoice
In what is done or doing, I confide
Neither to friend nor foe my secret choice.
Ye blessed saints, that now in heaven enjoy
The purchase of those tears, the world's disdain,
Doth Love still with his war your peace annoy,
Or hath Death freed you from his ancient pain?
Have ye no springtide, and no burst of May
In flowers and leafy trees, when solemn night
Pants with love-music, and the holy day
Breaks on the ear with songs of heavenly light?
What make ye and what strive for? keep ye thought
Of us, or in new excellence divine
Is old forgot? or do ye count for nought
What the Greek did and what the Florentine?
We keep your memories well : O in your store
Live not our best joys treasured evermore?
Ah heavenly joy But who hath ever heard,
Who hath seen joy, or who shall ever find
Joy's language? There is neither speech nor word
Nought but itself to teach it to mankind.
Scarce in our twenty thousand painful days
We may touch something: but there lives--beyond
The best of art, or nature's kindest phase--
The hope whereof our spirit is fain and fond:
The cause of beauty given to man's desires
Writ in the expectancy of starry skies,
The faith which gloweth in our fleeting fires,
The aim of all the good that here we prize;
Which but to love, pursue and pray for well
Maketh earth heaven, and to forget it, hell.
My wearied heart, whenever, after all,
Its loves and yearnings shall be told complete,
When gentle death shall bid it cease to beat,
And from all dear illusions disenthrall:
However then thou shalt appear to call
My fearful heart, since down at others' feet
It bade me kneel so oft, I'll not retreat
From thee, nor fear before thy feet to fall.
And I shall say, "Receive this loving heart
Which err'd in sorrow only; and in sin
Took no delight; but being forced apart
From thee, without thee hoping thee to win,
Most prized what most thou madest as thou art
On earth, till heaven were open to enter in."
Dreary was winter, wet with changeful sting
Of clinging snowfall and fast-flying frost;
And bitterer northwinds then withheld the spring,
That dallied with her promise till 'twas lost.
A sunless and half-hearted summer drown'd
The flowers in needful and unwelcom'd rain;
And Autumn with a sad smile fled uncrown'd
From fruitless orchards and unripen'd grain.
But could the skies of this most desolate year
In its last month learn with our love to glow,
Men yet should rank its cloudless atmosphere
Above the sunsets of five years ago:
Of my great praise too part should be its own,
Now reckon'd peerless for thy love alone
Away now, lovely Muse, roam and be free:
Our commerce ends for aye, thy task is done:
Tho' to win thee I left all else unwon,
Thou, whom I most have won, art not for me.
My first desire, thou too forgone must be,
Thou too, O much lamented now, tho' none
Will turn to pity thy forsaken son,
Nor thy divine sisters will weep for thee.
None will weep for thee : thou return, O Muse,
To thy Sicilian fields I once have been
On thy loved hills, and where thou first didst use
Thy sweetly balanced rhyme, O thankless queen,
Have pluck'd and wreath'd thy flowers; but do thou choose
Some happier brow to wear thy garlands green.
Eternal Father, who didst all create,
In whom we live, and to whose bosom move,
To all men be Thy name known, which is Love,
Till its loud praises sound at heaven's high gate.
Perfect Thy kingdom in our passing state,
That here on earth Thou may'st as well approve
Our service, as Thou ownest theirs above,
Whose joy we echo and in pain await.
Grant body and soul each day their daily bread
And should in spite of grace fresh woe begin,
Even as our anger soon is past and dead
Be Thy remembrance mortal of our sin:
By Thee in paths of peace Thy sheep be led,
And in the vale of terror comforted.
- quotes about Thanksgiving
- quotes about speed
- quotes about nature
- quotes about swimming
- quotes about snow
- quotes about pharaohs
- quotes about birds
- quotes about Greece
Sonnet 17 - My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes
My poet, thou canst touch on all the notes
God set between his After and Before,
And strike up and strike off the general roar
Of the rushing worlds a melody that floats
In a serene air purely. Antidotes
Of medicated music, answering for
Mankind's forlornest uses, thou canst pour
From thence into their ears. God's will devotes
Thine to such ends, and mine to wait on thine.
How, Dearest, wilt thou have me for most use?
A hope, to sing by gladly? or a fine
Sad memory, with thy songs to interfuse?
A shade, in which to sing—of palm or pine?
A grave, on which to rest from singing? Choose.
For An Ocean Park Maintenance
To all the maintenance people…
Around the world…
Who keep Aquarians clean…
You have a hard job…
Making what the public and kids see…
As a dream…
A water world of beauty from the…
Ocean and Sea’s to us the people…
So clean and fresh…
Who cleans’ up the swimming mess…?
Most of us don’t have a clue…
So I am tipping my hat off to you…
I wish to thank you for being there…
Thank you for your love and care…
And that we, the public have a place…
To visit deep down under the Ocean and Sea’s…
To a wonder of wonders of nature in her true form…
Swimming in the cold or the warm…
Thank you my dear maintenance people…
For being so ever true…
For without the likes of you….
Our other worlds would be blue…
Thank you…and God bless…
It could be for C.P Sharma
We search for truth but would we know
if our quest met with success
Perhaps truth changes as we grow.
We can’t be sure so we must guess.
Maybe there is no absolute
unchanging truth that’s permanent.
So we adopt beliefs to suit
whatever seems convenient
That’s fits in with what we think we know.
Because we fail to recognise
What we’ve been taught my not be so.
Though in due course we realise.
The quest fir truth which we pursue
would seem to be man’s destiny.
Its something we were born to do.
To search for truth continually
Although it seems illogical
I offer you this theory
The truth is something personal.
My truth only applies to me.
Your truth is only true for you.
It’s just another theory
I have no way to prove it true.
although it could be possibly.
http: // blog.myspace.com/poeticpiers
Thou whose spell can raise the dead
Thou whose spell can raise the dead,
Bid the prophet's form appear.
"Samuel, raise thy buried head!
"King, behold the phantom seer!"
Earth yawn'd; he stood the centre of a cloud:
Light changed its hue, retiring from his shroud.
Death stood all glassy in the fixed eye:
His hand was withered, and his veins were dry;
His foot, in bony whiteness, glitter'd there,
Shrunken and sinewless, and ghastly bare;
From lips that moved not and unbreathing frame,
Like cavern'd winds the hollow acccents came.
Saul saw, and fell to earth, as falls the oak,
At once, and blasted by the thunder-stroke.
"Why is my sleep disquieted?
"Who is he that calls the dead?
"Is it thou, Oh King? Behold
"Bloodless are these limbs, and cold:
"Such are mine; and such shall be
"Thine, to-morrow, when with me:
"Ere the coming day is done,
"Such shalt thou be, such thy son.
"Fare thee well, but for a day,
"Then we mix our mouldering clay.
"Thou, thy race, lie pale and low,
"Pierced by shafts of many a bow;
"And the falchion by thy side,
"To thy heart, thy hand shall guide:
"Crownless, breathless, headless fall,
"Son and sire, the house of Saul!"
A MOMENT since, he stood unmoved--alone;
Courage and thought on his resolvēd brow;
But hope is quivering in the broken tone,
Whose bitter anguish seems to shake him now:
Her light foot woke no echo as it came,
The rustling robe her sudden swiftness told;
She pleads for one who dies a death of shame;
She pleads--for agony and love are bold.
'Oh! hear me, thou, who in the sunshine's glare
So calmly waitest till the warning bell
Shall of the closing hour of his despair
In gloomy notes of muffled triumph tell.
Let him not die! Avenging Heaven is just;
Thine, a like fate in after years may be:
Thy forfeit head may gasping bite the dust,
While those thou lovest, plead in vain for thee!
Thou smilest sternly: thou could'st well brave death;
Hast braved it often on the tented field.
So fought my hero on th' ensanguined heath,
With desperate strength, that knew not how to yield:
But oh! the death whose punctual hour is set,
And waited for mid lingering thoughts of pain;
Where no excitement bids the heart forget,
And skill and courage are alike in vain;
Who shall find strength for that?--Oh! man, to whom
Fate, chance, or what thou wilt, hath given this hour--
Upon whose will depends his dreaded doom--
Doth it not awe thee, thinking of thy power?
In the wide battle's hot and furious rage,
Where the mix'd banners flutter to and fro,
Where all alike the desperate combat wage,
One of a thousand swords may pierce him through:
But, now, his life is in thy single hand:
To thee the strange and startling power is given--
And thou shalt answer for this day's command
When ye stand face to face in God's own Heaven.
Bear with me! pardon me this sudden start!
My words are bitter, for my heart is sore;
And oh! dark soldier of the iron heart,
Fain would I learn the speech should touch thee more!
He hath a mother--age hath dimm'd her sight--
But when his quick returning step comes nigh,
She smiles, as though she saw a sudden light,
And turns to bless him with a stifled sigh.
When to her arms a lonely wretch I go,
And she doth ask for him, the true and the brave,
While on her cheek faint smiles of welcome glow,
How shall I answer 'he is in the grave!'
He hath a little son--a mirthful boy,
Whose coral lips with ready smiles are curl'd;
Wilt thou quench all the spring-time of his joy,
And leave him orphan in a friendless world?
Hast thou no children?--Do no visions come,
When the low night-wind through the poplar grieves--
Echoes of farewell voices--sounds of home--
For which thy busy day no leisure leaves?
Some one doth love thee--some one thou dost love--
(For such the blessed lot of all on earth,)
Some one to whom thy thoughts oft fondly rove,
The sharer of thy sorrows and thy mirth;
Who with dim weeping eyes, and thoughts that burn,
Sees thy proud form lead forth th' embattled host;
To whom 'a victory' speaks of thy return--
And 'a defeat' means only thou are lost!
If such there be, (and on thy helm-worn brow
Sternness, not cruelty, doth seem to reign,)
Think it is she, who kneels before thee now,
Her heart which bursts with agony of pain.
'Hark--'T is the warning stroke--his hour is come--
I hear the bell slow clanging on the air--
I hear the beating of the muffled drum--
Thou hast a moment yet to save and spare!
Oh! when returning to thy native land,
Greeted with grateful tears and loud acclaim;
While gazing on thy homeward march they stand,
And smiling children shout thy welcome name:
How wilt thou bear the joyous village chimes,
Whose ringing peals remind thee of to-day--
Will not my image haunt thee at those times?
And my hoarse desperate voice seem yet to pray?
When thy long term of bloody toil is past,
And the hush'd trumpet calls no more to arms--
Will not his death thy tranquil brow o'ercast,
And rob that peaceful hour of half its charms?
When thy child's mother bends thy lip to press,
And her true hand lies clasp'd within thine own--
Will her low voice have perfect power to bless,
Remembering me, the widow'd and the lone?
When they embrace thee--when they welcome thee--
By all my hopes of Heaven, thy brow relents!
Oh! sign the paper--let his life go free--
Give it me quick!'--
'What ho! Raise her--the woman faints!'
As 'tis appointed men should die,
So judgment is the next
That meets them most assuredly;
For so saith holy text.
Wherefore of judgment I shall now
Inform you what I may,
That you may see what 'tis, and how
'Twill be with men that day.
This world it hath a time to stand,
Which time when ended, then
Will issue judgment out of hand
Upon all sorts of men.
The Judge we find, in God's record,
The Son of man, for he
By God's appointment is made Lord
And Judge of all that be.
Wherefore this Son of man shall come
At last to count with all,
And unto them shall give just doom,
Whether they stand or fall.
Behold ye now the majesty
And state that shall attend
This Lord, this Judge, and Justice high
When he doth now descend.
He comes with head as white as snow,
With eyes like flames of fire;
In justice clad from top to toe,
Most glorious in attire.
His face is filled with gravity;
His tongue is like a sword;
His presence awes both stout and high,
The world shakes at his word.
He comes in flaming fire, and
With angels clear and bright,
Each with a trumpet in his hand,
Clothed in shining white.
The trump of God sounds in the air,
The dead do hear his voice;
The living too run here and there,
Who made not him their choice.
Thus to his place he doth repair,
Appointed for his throne,
Where he will sit to judge, and where
He'll count with every one.
Angels attending on his hand
By thousands on a row;
Yea, thousand thousands by him stand,
And at his beck do go.
Thus being set, the books do ope
In which all crimes are writ.
All virtues, too, of faith and hope,
Of love; and every whit
Of all that man hath done or said,
Or did intend to do;
Whether they sinn'd, or were afraid
Evil to come into.
Before this bar each sinner now
In person must appear;
Under his judgment there to bow
With trembling and with fear:
Within whose breast a witness then
Will certainly arise,
That to each charge will say Amen,
While they seek and devise
To shun the sentence which the Lord
Against them then will read,
Out of the books of God's record,
With majesty and dread.
But every heart shall opened be
Before this judge most high;
Yea, every thought to judgment he
Will bring assuredly.
And every word and action, too,
He there will manifest;
Yea, all that ever thou didst do,
Or keep within thy breast,
Shall then be seen and laid before
The world, that then will stand
To see thy judge open ev'ry sore,
And all thy evils scann'd.
Weighing each sin and wickedness
With so much equity,
Proportioning of thy distress
And woful misery.
With so much justice, doing right,
That thou thyself shalt say,
My sins have brought me to this plight,
I threw myself away.
Into that gulph my sins have brought
Me justly to possess,
For which I blame not Christ, I wrought
It out by wickedness.
But O! how willingly would these
That thus in judgment be,
If that they might have help or ease,
Unto the mountains flee.
They would rejoice if that they might
But underneath them creep,
To hide them from revenging right,
For fear of which they weep.
But all in vain, the mountains then
Will all be fled and gone;
No shelter will be found for men
That now are left alone.
For succour they did not regard
When Christ by grace did call
To them, therefore they are not heard,
No mountains on them fall.
Before this Judge no one shall shroud
Himself, under pretence
Of knowledge, which hath made him proud,
Nor seeming penitence.
No high profession here can stand,
Hath been therewith commixed, and
Brought forth simplicity.
No mask nor vizor here can hide
The heart that rotten is;
All cloaks now must be laid aside,
No sinner must have bliss.
Though most approve of thee, and count
Thee upright in thy heart;
Yea, though preferred and made surmount
Most men to act thy part,
In treading where the godly trod,
As to an outward show;
Yet this hold still, the grace of God
Takes hold on but a few,
So as to make them truly such
As then shall stand before
This Judge with gladness; this is much
Yet true for evermore.
The tree of life this paradise
Doth always beautify,
'Cause of our health it is the rise
Here stands the golden throne of grace
From out of which do run
Those crystal streams that make this place
Far brighter than the sun.
Here stands mount Zion with her king.
That holy and delightful thing,
So beautified with love.
That, as a mother succours those
Which of her body be,
So she far more, all such as close
In with her Lord; and she
Her grace, her everlasting doors
Will open wide unto
Them all, with welcome, welcome, poor,
Rich, bond, free, high and low,
Unto the kingdom which our Lord
Appointed hath for all
That hath his name and word ador'd;
Because he did them call
Unto that work, which also they
Sincerely did fulfil,
Not shunning always to obey
His gracious holy will.
Besides, this much doth beautify
This goodly paradise,
That from all quarters, constantly,
Whole thousands as the price
Of precious blood, do here arrive;
As safe escaping all,
Sin, hell, and satan did contrive
To bring them into thrall.
Each telling his deliverance
I' th' open face of heaven;
Still calling to remembrance
How fiercely they were driven
By deadly foe, who did pursue
As swift as eagles fly;
Which if thou have not, down thou must
With those that then shall die
The second death, and be accurs'd
Of God. For certainly,
The truth of grace shall only here
Without a blush be bold
To stand, whilst others quake and fear,
And dare not once behold.
That heart that here was right for God
Shall there be comforted;
But those that evil ways have trod,
Shall then hang down the head.
As sore confounded with the guilt
That now upon them lies,
Because they did delight in filth
And beastly vanities.
Or else because they did deceive
Disguises, their own souls, and leave
Or shun that best of all
Approved word of righteousness,
They were invited to
Embrace, therefore they no access
Now to him have, but woe.
For every one must now receive
According to their ways;
They that unto the Lord did cleave,
The everlasting joys.
Those that did die in wickedness,
To execution sent,
There still to grapple with distress,
Which nothing can prevent.
Of which two states I next shall write,
Wherefore I pray give ear,
And to them bend with all our might
Your heart with filial fear.
The Princes' Ques -Part the Eighth
Now as it chanced, the day was almost spent
When down the lonely mountain-side he went,
The whitehaired man, the Prince that was; and ere
He won the silence of the valley where
The city's many towers uprose, the gate
Was closed against him, for the hour was late.
So even as they that have not wherewithal
To roof them from the rain if it should fall,
Upon the grassy ground this king's son lay,
And slept till nigh the coming of the day.
But while as any vagabond he slept
Or outcast from the homes of men, there crept
Unto him lying in such sorry sort
A something fairer than the kingliest court
In all the peopled world had witness of-
Even the shadow of the throne of Love,
That from a height beyond all height did creep
Along the pavement of the halls of sleep.
O fair and wonderful! that shadow was
The golden dream of dreams that came across
His youth, full half an hundred years before,
And sent him wandering through the world. Once more
In a lone boat that sails and oars had none,
Midmost a land of summer and the sun
Where nothing was that was not fair to see,
Adown a gliding river glided he,
And saw the city that was built thereby,
And saw the chariot of the queen draw nigh,
And gazed upon her in the goodly street;
Whereat he waked and rose upon his feet,
Remembering the Vision of the Seer,
And what the spirit spake unto his ear:
'When in thy wanderings thou shalt dream once more
The fateful dream thou haddest heretofore,
That filled thy veins with longing as with wine
Till all thy being brimm'd over-by that sign
Thou mayest know thyself at last to be
Within the borders of his empery
Who hath the mystic emerald stone, whose gleam
Shall light thee to the country of thy dream.'
Then rose the heart within his heart and said:
'O bitter scornful Fate, in days long dead
I asked and thou denied'st mine asking: now
The boon can no-wise profit me, and thou
Dost mock me with bestowal!' Thereupon
He fell to thinking of his youthhood gone,
And wept. For now the goal, the longtime-sought,
Was even at hand, 'but how shall I,' he thought,
'I that am old and sad and hoary-haired,
Enter the place for youth and love prepared?
For in my veins the wellspring of desire
Hath failed, and in mine heart the golden fire
Burneth no more for ever. I draw near
The night that is about our day, and hear
The sighing of the darkness as I go
Whose ancient secret there is none doth know.'
Ev'n so to his own heart he spake full sad,
And many and bitter were the thoughts he had
Of days that were and days that were to be.
But now the East was big with dawn, and he
Drew nigh the city-gates and entered in,
Ere yet the place remurmured with the din
Of voices and the tread of human feet;
And going up the void and silent street,
All in the chill gleam of the new-lit air,
A Thought found way into his soul, and there
Abode and grew, and in brief while became
Desire, and quickened to a quenchless flame:
And holding converse with himself, he said,
'Though in my heart the heart's desire be dead,
And can no more these time-stilled pulses move;
Though Death were lovelier to these eyes than Love
Yet would these eyes behold, or ere I pass,
The land that mirror'd lay as in a glass
In the deep wells of dream. And her that is
The sunlight of that city of all bliss,
Her would I fain see once with waking eyes
Whom sleep hath rendered unto vision twice.
And having seen her beauty I would go
My way, even to the river which doth flow
From daylight unto darkness and the place
Of silence, where the ghosts are face to face.'
So mused the man, and evermore his thought
Gave him no peace. Wherefore next morn he sought
The palace of the king, but on his way
Tarried till nigh the middle of the day
In talk with certain of the city-folk;
Whereby he learned, if that were true they spoke,
How that the king their lord was nigh distract
With torture of a strange disease that racked
Each day his anguished body more and more,
Setting at naught the leeches and their lore.
Which having heard he went before the king,
Who sat upon his throne, delivering
Judgment, his body pierced the while with pain.
And taking from his neck the charmèd chain
Which he had borne about him ever since
That morn miraculous, the unknown Prince
Upspake and said, 'O king, I hold within
My hand a wonder-working medicine
Of power to make thee whole if thou wilt deign
So to be healèd;' and he held the chain
Aloft, and straightway told unto the king
The passing worth and wonder of the thing.
Then he that heard stretched forth a hand that shook
With sudden fever of half-hope, and took
The chain, and turned it over in his hand
Until his eyes had left no link unscanned.
And on each separate link was character'd
A language that no living ear had heard,
Occult, of secret import, mystic, strange.
Then said the king, 'What would'st thou in exchange
For this the magic metal thou dost bring?'
And the Prince answered him and said, 'O king,
Even the emerald stone which some do call
The Emerald of the Virtues Mystical.'
And they who thronged the hall of judgment were
Astonished at the stranger who could dare
Ask such a boon; and some base mouths did curl
With sneers, churl whispering to his fellow churl,
'Who could have deemed the man so covetous,
So void of shame in his great greed?' For thus
It shall be ever underneath the sun,
Each man believing that high hearts are none
Whose own is as the dust he treads on low.
But the king answered saying, 'Be it so.
To-night this chain of iron shall be worn
About my neck, and on the morrow-morn,
If all the pain have left these limbs of mine,
The guerdon thou demandest shall be thine.
But if this torment still tormenteth me,
Thy head and shoulders shall part company,
And both be cast uncoffin'd to the worms.
Open thy mouth and answer if these terms
Content thee.' And aloud the Prince replied,
'With these conditions I am satisfied:'
Whereafter, rising from his knees, he went
Out from before the king, and was content.
Next morning, when the king awoke, I wis
No heart was lighter in the land than his;
For all the grievous burden of his pains
Had fall'n from off his limbs, and in his veins
Upleapt the glad new life, and the sick soul
Seemed like its body all at once made whole.
But hardly was the king uprisen before
There knock'd and entered at the chamber-door
His chief physician (a right skilful leech,
But given to hollow trickeries of speech,
And artful ways and wiles) who said, 'O king,
Be not deceived, I pray thee. One good thing
Comes of another, like from like. The weed
Beareth not lilies, neither do apes breed
Antelopes. Thou art healed of thy pain
Not by the wearing of an iron chain-
An iron chain forsooth!'-(hereat he laughed
As 'twere a huge rare jest) 'but by the draught
Which I prepared for thee with mine own hands
From certain precious simples grown in lands
It irks me tell how many leagues away:
Which medicine thou tookest yesterday.'
Then said the king, 'O false and jealous man,
Who lovest better thine own praises than
Thy master's welfare! Little 'tis to such
As thou, that I should be made whole; but much
That men should go before thee, trumpeting
''Behold the man that cured our lord the king.''
And he was sore displeased and in no mood
To hearken. But the chief physician stood
Unmoved amid this hail of kingly scorn,
With meek face martyr-like, as who hath borne
Much in the name of Truth, and much can bear.
And from the mouth of him false words and fair
So cunningly flowed that in a little while
The royal frown became a royal smile,
And the king hearkened to the leech and was
Persuaded. So that morn it came to pass
That when the Prince appeared before the throne
To claim his rightful meed, the emerald stone,
The king denied his title to receive
The jewel, saying, 'Think'st thou I believe
Yon jingling chain hath healed my body? Nay;
For whatsoever such as thou may say
I am not found so easy to beguile:
As for the gem thou wouldest, this good while
It hath adorned the crown I wear, nor shall
The stone be parted from the coronal.'
Scarce had the false king spoken when behold
Through the high ceiling's goodly fretted gold
A sudden shaft of lightning downward sped
And smote the golden crown upon his head,
Yea, melted ev'n as wax the golden crown.
And from the molten metal there fell down
A grassgreen Splendour, and the Emerald Stone
Tumbled from step to step before the throne,
And lay all moveless at the Prince's feet!
And the king sat upon his royal seat
A dead king, marble-mute: but no man stirred
Or spake: and only silence might be heard.
Then he before whose feet the gem did lie
Said not a word to any man thereby,
But stooped and lifted it from off the floor,
And passing outward from the open door
Put the mysterious jewel in his breast
And went his way, none daring to molest
The stranger. For the whisper rose and ran,
'Is not the lightning leaguèd with this man?'
For All The Seers And Seekers Out There
For all the seers and seekers out there,
all you bright seeds on a blind wind
looking for a vision of life you can root in
and express yourselves like willows in the moonlight
to the night creek nearby that listens
when you cry out in mystical bliss
at the surprise of waterlilies gathered at your feet
to catch a taste of the same essence that makes you weep,
deep inside, inside, inside, look there for paradise,
where the stars are dazzled by your eyes
that don't fade away in the blazing like Venus at dusk.
Looking for the spirit with the spirit
like a breathless wind looking for the wind
to give it mouth to mouth resuscitation
is a snake with its tail in its mouth
enchained to its own liberation.
Is a candle in the sun living on borrowed light
when it's already well-provisioned with its own shining
for the long nights in the heart
of an unknown radiance within?
Long nights on the high slopes
of the world mountain you're sitting on alone
like a pauper with kingly second thoughts
about abdicating the ancestral throne of your ego.
For you who are not stuck
like a false idol the size of your thumb
through a three and a half pound brain of starmud.
For you who are not voidbound by your freedom,
or cower in the shadows of your solitude
afraid to read the messages that flower under your doorsill
from anonymous admirers passing in the hall.
For those of you who learned to read and write
in an alphabet of loveletters waiting for a reply
that could answer them all like a return address on the silence.
For you who have taken the splinters of a shattered mirror
out of your eye and replaced them with stars
that have gone on giving light long after
the chandeliers of light-winged sorrows
have stopped waltzing in three four time with their
club-footed candles for the night.
Follow this goat bell up the high dangerous trails
where even overcoming your fear of heights
isn't enough courage to guarantee your footing
and I'll show you the jewelled hoofs of the wild horses
kicking up the dust of stars on the open plains
of an inconceivable spiritual vastness where wishes are horses
and beggars do ride and you can hear the jingling
of constellations like the wind-chimes of Spanish spurs
that get under your skin where the spiritual junkies shoot up
like selflessly motivated thorns of starlight
potent enough to keep them high for the rest of the lives
on the antidote they derive like the milk of human kindness
even from the toxic serums of the most dangerous mystical snakes
that have ever poled danced like a winged caduceus
around the axis of the most habitable planet you've ever been inclined to.
Whether you're a blissed-out gardenia of God
or just another double agent doing espionage for the Devil
to see when the next whirlwind of revelation
is going to sweep you up like a chimney spark
into a maelstrom of cosmic events against your will,
look at how the radiance shining out
from the clear void of an unknown light source deep within you
illuminates heaven like the moon in your window
as surely and truly as it does the prophetic skulls of hell.
And this is the point I've been missing
and trying to make simultaneously throughout this poem
like a tattoo starred on my forehead
that leads me like a lantern into deeper and darker spaces
than any abandoned shrine in a sacred wood
I've ever existed in before like a swallow
among the quake-proof columns of the trees.
We're all three-winged songbirds under the leaf-cluttered eaves
of the temples we brought with us like spiritual refugees
overstepping the bounds and borders of ourselves
like prodigal sons and daughters on the thresholds of exile.
And each of us weaves, after our own fashion,
on a loom of lunar wavelengths of shadows and light,
a crown of thorns we leave with wings
like the mangers of the earthbound killdeer and English skylarks
after we've cracked the koans
of the cosmic eggs we were born from.
We fly away home like ladybirds and dragonflies
whose house is on fire and kids are alone
to have it burned into us like a prison tattoo
that enlightenment is just as white
on the dark side, as it is black on the light.
And though you were to look like billions of fireflies
for millions of lightyears, you'll never find enlightenment
up ahead of you because it will never be found
anywhere other than behind and beside you
where it's always been from the beginningless beginning
like a shadow that's been following you
on the blind side of your third eye that set out
the moment it first opened up to you like a flower to the stars
to look for the other two like a shepherd
looking for lost goats on the altars
of the unblooded sacrificial mountains of the moon.
You just have to look at the stars
and feel them staring back at you on the inside
with the same inconceivable wonder at why and what you are
as you return the light that was given to you back to them
realizing every insight into the nature of life,
every word, every star, every bird, firefly, every
lighthouse and clocktower of the moon
is a sign of mutual greeting that can't be ignored.
For those of you who cry for the earth that is moved
by the same agony you are, as if you were born
to be its tears, its wounds, its scars,
to suffer like flowers for the beauty you aspire to.
For those of you whose seeing
will become the substance of the world tomorrow
though you should lose your eyes for it today
like apple-bloom, for the sake of the root of the light within.
For those of you who are always seeking
the things that belong to all of us, the dreams
the visions, the insights, the perfect expression
of what we have to say to the silence
that's always listening to us
talking to ourselves like a sleepwalking stream
or a wild grapevine putting out tendrils
like Korans of Kufic script and Books of harvest Kells.
May your labour come to love you like a bad habit
that's grown fond of you over the years
because you made an art of your life
that brought the merciless desert to tears
to see how even a delusion or a mirage
with a big enough heart and a taste for compassion
that gives it an eye for how sublime beauty really is
as deep as the watershed at the bottom of a wishing well
it turned into the moment it cried on behalf
of everyone's efforts to make themselves
in all the glory of their schemes, dreams and delusions
streaming out behind them in victory parades
put on by their own minds
like the emperor's non-existent clothes
for knowing how to turn a defeat into a celebration,
come true to life. The seeking life. The seeing life.
The just life like dry oak on a good fire.
The life of thought that eventually forgets
what there is to think about. The wasted life
whose gifts were mistaken for flaws in its character,
The anonymous life of a spiritual blood donor
that sent a single red rose to a dead child
and restored her back to life. Life returning to life
like crocuses and killer whales through the ice,
seeking itself out in every corner of our lives,
and under the stones of our own starmud minds
lodged in the earth like meteorites
that once flashed across the sky like insight
from an unknown radiant i
in the eye sockets of prophetic skulls
as if strange new life forms were going on in there
it knew nothing about and was dying to see.
And who knows? Maybe even something
unspeakably precious it thought was lost for good.
And most especially a life that feels life
has shapeshifted it into the dupe of its own ideals,
that all its disguises and deathmasks were removed
like painful tattoos only to reveal a rodeo clown
dressed in a barrel with a red poppy for a cape in its hat
to draw the bull away from the rider that's down.
To feel like a clown in all your actions
to judge by the crowd's reactions,
but to put your life on the line anyway
as a funny kind of sacrifice that saves the hero
you risked as much to rescue, as he did
to put you in harm's way when he faltered.
And you embodied the human condition with compassion,
running away as a way of coming to the rescue,
without realizing, as you laughed at yourself,
it doesn't get anymore divine than that.
Trying to get a smile out of the bull
you're running before on someone else's behalf
in a funny hat with an artificial flower
is a sublime act of devotion
and the truest form of worship
from the human divinity in each of us to another.
Because getting up after life's been struck to its knees,
is how everything grows, even when its roots
are watered by delusions and its butt gets kicked up
into the grandstands of the amused demons and angels,
that funny little dejected flower in a rodeo clown's hat
that steals the show like the Buddha's purse
to buy the Buddha a horse to get back up on,
regardless of what you, the bull, the Buddha,
his purse, the horse or the thrown rider feel,
still blossoms from the heart it's rooted in for real.
On the Bill Which Was Passed in England For Regulating the Slave-Trade
The hollow winds of night no more
In wild, unequal cadence pour,
On musing fancy's wakeful ear,
The groan of agony severe
From yon dark vessel, which contains
The wretch new bound in hopeless chains!
Whose soul with keener anguish bleeds,
As AFRIC'S less'ning shore recedes--
No more where Ocean's unseen bound
Leaves a drear world of waters round,
Between the howling gust, shall rise
The stifled captive's latest sighs!--
No more shall suffocating death
Seize the pent victim's sinking breath;
The pang of that convulsive hour,
Reproaching man's insatiate power;
Man! who to AFRIC'S shore has past,
Relentless, as the annual blast
That sweeps the Western Isles, and flings
Destruction from its furious wings!--
And woman, she, too weak to bear
The galling chain, the tainted air,--
Of mind too feeble to sustain
The vast, accumulated pain,--
No more, in desperation wild,
Shall madly strain her gasping child;
With all the mother at her soul,
With eyes where tears have ceas'd to roll,
Shall catch the livid infant's breath,
Then sink in agonizing death!
BRITAIN! the noble, blest decree
That soothes despair, is fram'd by thee!
Thy powerful arm has interpos'd,
And one dire scene for ever clos'd;
Its horror shall no more belong
To that foul drama, deep with wrong.
O, first of EUROPE'S polish'd lands
To ease the captive's iron bands;
Long, as thy glorious annals shine,
This proud distinction shall be thine!
Not first alone when valour leads
To rush on danger's noblest deeds;
When mercy calls thee to explore
A gloomy path, untrod before,
Thy ardent spirit springs to heal,
And, greatly gen'rous, dares to feel!--
Valour is like the meteor's light,
Whose partial flash leaves deeper night;
While Mercy, like the lunar ray,
Gilds the thick shade with softer day.
Blest deed! that met consenting minds
In all but those whom av'rice binds,--
Who creep in interest's crooked ways,
Nor ever pass her narrow maze;
Or those whom hard indiff'rence steels
To every pang another feels.
For them has fortune round their bowers
Twin'd, partial nymph! her lavish flowers;
For them , from unsunn'd caves, she brings
Her summer ice; for them she springs
To climes where hotter suns produce
The richer fruit's delicious juice;
While they , whom wasted blessings tire,
Nor leave one want to feed desire,
With cool, insulting ease demand
Why, for yon hopeless, captive band,
Is ask'd, to mitigate despair,
The mercy of the common air?
The boon of larger space to breathe,
While coop'd that hollow deck beneath?
A lengthen'd plank, on which to throw
Their shackled limbs, while fiercely glow
The beams direct, that on each head
The fury of contagion shed?--
And dare presumptuous, guilty man,
Load with offence his fleeting span?
Deform creation with the gloom
Of crimes that blot its cheerful bloom?
Darken a work so perfect made,
And cast the universe in shade?--
Alas! to AFRIC'S fetter'd race
Creation wears no form of grace!
To them earth's pleasant vales are found
A blasted waste, a sterile bound;
Where the poor wand'rer must sustain
The load of unremitted pain;
A region in whose ample scope
His eye discerns no gleam of hope;
Where thought no kind asylum knows
On which its anguish may repose;
But death, that to the ravag'd breast
Comes not in shapes of terror drest;
Points to green hills where freedom roves,
And minds renew their former loves;
Or, hov'ring in the troubled air,
Hangs the fierce spectre of Despair;
Whose soul abhors the gift of life,
Who stedfast grasps the reeking knife,
Bids the charg'd heart in torrents bleed,
And smiles in frenzy at the deed!
Ye noble minds! who o'er a sky
Where clouds are roll'd, and tempests fly,
Have bid the lambent lustre play
Of one pure, lovely, azure ray;
O, far diffuse its op'ning bloom,
And the wide Hemisphere illume!
Ye, who one bitter drop have drain'd
From slav'ry's cup, with horror stain'd,
O, let no fatal dregs be found,
But dash her chalice on the ground,
While still she links her impious chain,
And calculates the price of pain;
Weighs agony in sordid scales,
And marks if death or life prevails;
Decides how near the mangling scourge
May to the grave its victim urge,--
Yet for awhile, with prudent care,
The half-worn wretch, if useful, spare;
And speculates, with skill refin'd,
How deep a wound will stab the mind;
How far the spirit can endure
Calamity, that hopes no cure!--
Ye! who can selfish cares forego,
To pity those which others know,--
As light that from its centre strays
To glad all nature with its rays,--
O, ease the pangs ye stoop to share,
And rescue millions from despair!--
For you, while morn in graces gay
Wakes the fresh bloom of op'ning day,
Gilds with her purple light your dome,
Renewing all the joys of home,--
Of that dear shed which first ye knew,
Where first the sweet affections grew;
Whose charm alike the heart can draw,
If form'd of marble or of straw;
Whether the voice of pleasure calls,
And gladness echoes through its walls,
Or to its hallow'd roof we fly
With those we love to pour the sigh;
The load of mingled pain to bear,
And soften every pang we share!--
Ah, think how desolate his state,
How he the cheerful light must hate,
Whom, sever'd from his native soil,
The morning wakes to fruitless toil
To labours hope shall never cheer,
Or fond domestic joy endear!
Poor wretch! on whose despairing eyes
His cherish'd home shall never rise!
Condemn'd, severe extreme, to live
When all is fled that life can give:--
And ah, the blessings valued most
By human minds, are blessings lost!
Unlike the objects of the eye,
Enlarging as we bring them nigh;
Our joys at distance strike the breast,
And seem diminish'd when possest.
Who from his far-divided shore
The half-expiring captive bore?
Those whom the traffic of their race
Has robb'd of every human grace;
Whose harden'd souls no more retain
Impressions nature stamp'd in vain:
As streams that once the landscape gave
Reflected on the trembling wave,
Their substance change when lock'd in frost,
And rest in dead contraction lost;
Who view, unmoved, the look that tells
The pang that in the bosom dwells;
Heed not the nerves that terror shakes,
The heart convulsive anguish breaks;
The shriek that would their crimes upbraid,
But deem despair a part of trade.
Such only for detested gain
The barb'rous commerce would maintain;
The gen'rous sailor, he who dares
All forms of danger, while he bears
The British flag o'er sultry seas,
And spreads it on the Polar breeze;
He to whose guardian arm we owe
Each blessing that the happy know;
Whatever charms the soften'd heart,
Each cultur'd grace, each finer art,
E'en thine, most lovely of the train!
Sweet Poetry, thy heav'n-taught strain,
His breast, where nobler passions burn,
In honest poverty, would spurn
The wealth oppression can bestow,
And scorn to wound a fetter'd foe!
True courage in the unconquered soul
Yields to Compassion's mild control;
As, the resisting frame of steel
The magnet's secret force can feel.
When borne at length to Western lands,
Chain'd on the beach the captive stands,
Where Man, dire merchandize! is sold,
And barter'd life is paid for gold!
In mute affliction, see him try
To read his new possessor's eye;
If one blest glance of mercy there,
One half-form'd tear may check despair!
Ah, if that eye with sorrow sees
His languid look, his quiv'ring knees,
Those limbs which scarce their load sustain,
That form consum'd in wasting pain,
Such sorrow fills his ruthless eye
Who sees the lamb he doom'd to die;
In pining sickness yield his life,
And thus elude the sharpen'd knife.
Or if where savage habit steels
The vulgar mind, one bosom feels
The sacred claim of helpless woe--
If pity in that soil can grow!
Yet why on one poor chance must rest
The int'rest of a kindred breast?
Why yield to passion's wayward laws
Humanity's devoted cause?--
Ah ye, who one fix'd purpose own,
Whose untir'd aim is self alone;
Who think in gold the essence lies
From which extracted bliss shall rise;
Does fleeting life proportion bear
To all the wealth ye heap with care?
When soon your days in rapid flight
Shall sink in death's terrific night,
Then seize the moments in your power,
To Mercy consecrate the hour!
Risk something in her cause at last,
And thus atone for all the past.
Does avarice, your god, delight
With agony to feast his sight?
Does he require that victims slain,
And human blood his altars stain?--
Ah, not alone of power possest
To check each virtue of the breast:
As when the numbing frosts arise
The charm of vegetation dies;
His sway the harden'd bosom leads
To cruelty's remorseless deeds;
Like the blue lightning, when it springs
With fury on its livid wings,
Darts to its goal with baleful force,
Nor heeds that ruin marks its course!
O, Eloquence! prevailing art!
Whose force can chain the list'ning heart;
The throb of sympathy inspire,
And kindle every great desire;
With magic energy control,
And reign the sov'reign of the soul!
That dreams, while all its passions swell,
It shares the power it feels so well:
As visual objects seem possest
Of those clear hues by light imprest.
O, skill'd in every grace to charm,
To soften, to appal, to warm,--
Fill with thy noblest rage the breast,
Bid on those lips thy spirit rest,
That shall, in Britain's Senate, trace
The wrongs of AFRIC'S captive race!--
But Fancy o'er the tale of woe
In vain one heighten'd tint would throw;
For ah, the truth is all we guess
Of anguish in its last excess!
Fancy may dress in deeper shade
The storm that hangs along the glade;
Spreads o'er the ruffled stream its wing,
And chills awhile the flowers of spring;
But where the wint'ry tempests sweep
In madness o'er the darken'd deep,--
Where the wild surge, the raging wave,
Point to the hopeless wretch a grave;
And death surrounds the threat'ning shore--
Can fancy add one horror more?--
Lov'd BRITAIN ! whose protecting hand,
Stretch'd o'er the globe, on AFRIC'S strand
The honour'd base of freedom lays,
Soon, soon the finish'd fabric raise!
And when surrounding realms would frame,
Touch'd with a spark of gen'rous flame,
Some pure, ennobling, great design,
Some lofty act, almost divine,
Which earth may hail with rapture high,
And heav'n may view with fav'ring eye,--
Teach them to make all nature free,
And shine by emulating thee!