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You Know...(Part 1)

Tried to be your father
Things just made it harder
Sorry if I made you cry

Years turned you against me
Heart was always aching
And I never thought you'd say goodbye

I could have been wrong
You know
I should have been strong
You know

That'll do .... ha ha ha

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Loaded Dice

By dickey betts and warren haynes
(c) 1990 cbs records, inc.
Transcribed by matt dickie
Pocket full of money
Got a big smile all on my face
Boy and I can charm the diamonds
Right off the back of a rattlesnake
But youve got me so confused
Cut me cold as ice
I aint used to losing
Guess Im playing with loaded dice
Well the first time that I saw you
Said youd just dumped your old man
Then the next time you was dealin
Must have dealt me a losing hand
Woman I tried to win your love
Just cant pay the price
Keep throwing in sevens
I keep on playing with loaded dice
Well I thought I was a hustler
But you sent me back to school
Keep playing some new game
Making up your own rules
Must be some kind of crazy
Let you fool me twice
I dont know why
I keep playing with loaded dice
Well, tonight I hit the jackpot
I was shining like a diamond ring
Lady luck was smiling
And the old snake charmer was doing his thing
You saw the tables turn
Man it sure felt nice
Now we see whos laughing
Now we see whos playing with the loaded dice
Girl you aint like nothing
Ive ever seen before
Keep throwing in aces
I keep coming back for more
Guess I should have listened
But you cant give a fool advice
Dont know why I keep playing with loaded dice.

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You Can 'Say' You Have Faith

I've lost everything.
My way of life.
My pride.
My happiness.
Everything!

'Gee.
Well...
At least there is something left you kept! '

And what is that?

'Your ability to show and tell!

You see that woman dragging that mink coat?
She can't say a word!

And look at that dude staggering across the street!
I bet you wouldn't believe this...
But just a few days ago,
They both told me...
I wasn't worth the air I breathe.
Of course...
That was before they were 'Madoff'ed.

Now look at them!
They are speechless!
And here you are...
Still able to speak!
And that is in your possession!

So 'all' is not lost.
Be grateful.
You can 'say' you have faith.
And maybe one day believe it!

Those folks invested in greed.
Now look at them.
They wouldn't know how to use a pot,
To piss in!
Trust me...
You've been blessed.
Just know it! '

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We Could Have It All

Slow day, might rain
I couldn't hear the weather man
Tight fit, don't sit
Even when you loosen it
Your pace, no race
Your kind of just get into it
Was it 'cause we
Never sampled the flavouring?
Chorus:
Someday baby
We could have it all
(you on me, me on you,
smoking 'till we both turn blue)
A steady speed
And we could have it all
(me on you, you on me you're kind
of boring me to sleep)
But we keep falling over everything
When you and me
We could have it all
You're street smart with a big heart
You look like you're having it
Talk fast, words last
When you look like you're diggin' it
But i don't subscribe to the state that we're living it
Was it 'cause we, we could never handle the flavouring?
Chorus
Better things are gonna come our way
You know we're gonna make it
Through this change
We're sitting tight as a tourniquet
Believing we could
Have it all someday

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Your Walk Has Made You a God

A slow and masterly walk has much prison,
And curtains must be draped around you
If you are so sensible and proud of this waking life.
I agree with this way of life, as it grows into a frenzy of achievement.
The higher achievers become like living deities,
As food for the upper gods, the ones with highest nature.

Your walk is sudden in the eyes of the gods and goddesses,
As you appear in front of them in another continent,
Far away it is and lonely you are in the desert.
The God of Fire is angry, for it is called the Sun-God -
A miserable god of frenzy and ferocity, I can not take it!
It has burnt your skin, and sent dragons to destroy yourself.
Poor soul.

Forget the sun's heat and look to the god of understanding,
A man as well who looks at the science of walking and measures
Your soul as one to be like a god.
You have achieved immortality, at best.

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I Could Have Turned Her Into A Toad

when i met her along the way she was so sad
and tears kept flowing from her eyes
and i, as the great magician of my place,
took her inside my room and began to perform
the usual tricks,
how my hands are quicker than her eyes,
i took a rabbit from my blackhat
i made flowers from my long staff
crisp money from newspaper shreds
yet she is still as sad as a child looking for her mother
and her favorite rag doll

and i asked her what she really liked she without hesitation said:

'please make yourself vanish in air! '

of course, what i did was wiser, i vanished her myself.
with all regrets, i could have turned her into a toad.

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Lewis Carroll

Father William

'You are old, father William,' the young man said,
'And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head -
Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

'In my youth,' father William replied to his son,
'I feared it would injure the brain;
But now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.'

'You are old,' said the youth, 'as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door -
Pray, what is the reason of that?'

'In my youth,' said the sage, as he shook his grey locks,
'I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment - one shilling the box -
Allow me to sell you a couple.'

'You are old,' said the youth, 'and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, with the bones and the beak -
Pray, how did you manage to do it?'

'In my youth,' said his father, 'I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.'

'You are old,' said the youth; one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose -
What made you so awfully clever?'

'I have answered three questions, and that is enough,'
Said his father; 'don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!'

'That is not said right,' said the Caterpillar.
'Not quite right, I'm afraid,' said Alice timidly;
'some of the words have got altered.'
'It is wrong from beginning to end,'
said the Caterpillar decidedly, and
there was silence for some minutes.

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I Am Best....

when all of you barely
know i exist,

and you do not acclaim
my work,

when you despise me
and call me
foolish

i do not talk
i have no use of
oral intercourse

i only write
what is given
what is there already

and when my work
is done
my aim is fulfilled
completely

and then
you will say

' I could have
done better
than him in this'

now, i all these
i become
the best.

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Before and Now

With that first glance
Of your face
I couldn't think of anything to say
So I hoped you'll stay

I hope you could understand
Why I was shy
But now I want to hold your hands
and dance under the sky

My hearts stuck on you
It wonders no more
And I never thought
We would adore

It could of been by chance
So I'm going to treasure our romance
and remember this and nothing more
And It will stay my strongest desire

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I Should Have I Could Have I Would Have

I vowed I would not say my father's famous words
'I should have could have I would have '
I do not know if I want to say them now
But somewhere in me is some longing unrealized
Some dream unreached
Some hope untouched-

'I could have done better
I could have worked harder
I should have been more conscientious
I should have tried to make money
I should have found the way to hold it all together once long ago
I should have concentrated on works of thought
I should have found a way in writing which would truly help others
I should have been kinder
I should have had the guts to say what I really think and feel about many things
I should have loved more
I should have taught my children in a better way
I should have been a stronger person'

But all the shoulds and all the coulds and all the woulds
What do they amount to?

I am here now
Who knows how much time left
Let me do the best I can
To help those I love
To try to serve God
in whatever small way I can

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Have You Ever Tried To Share Your Bliss?

Have you ever tried to share your bliss?
And someone questioned,
What you wanted in return for it?
And when you attempted to leave it with them...
A look of suspicion began to settle in.
They would not let you walk away.
An interrogation soon was relayed.

'Why you wanna give me this?
I don't want this mess!
This bliss you give!
Where you from anyway?
Do I look like I'm in need that way?
Do I look like I'm some tormented fool?
And why you lookin' all peaceful?
I didn't just graduate from nursery school.
Get that attitude away from me!
Screw you! '

Have you ever tried to share your bliss?
And someone questioned,
What you wanted in return for it?
And when you attempted to leave it with them...
A look of suspicion began to settle in.
They would not let you walk away.
An interrogation soon was relayed.

And when you left as they requested...
Did the next person you meet,
Look at you and cross the street?
Afraid of your clinched fist and bared teeth...
Was ready to pounce on them,
Ripping them apart like an angry beast?

Sometimes it is best...
To keep a bliss felt,
To oneself!
Some folks will never recognize,
A cheerfulness one has...
That another might despise!

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We Could Have Been

Today at work I overheard a name
I knew it wasnt yours but it touched me just the same
It felt so good to have you in my mind
I guess Im the sentimental kind
I wonder who you became
Did you change the world
Or play the game
We came so close to love back then
We could have been
You were so brave when I was shy
I made you laugh when something made you cry
And I dont think we ever said goodbye
Now Ill always wonder why
I wonder who you became
Did you change the world
Or play the game
We came so close to love back then
We could have been
A time or two
I thought about calling
But something always gets in the way
Maybe Im afraid youd really answer
What would I say to you
I wonder who you became
Did you change the world
Or play the game
We came so close to love back then
We could have been
We could have been

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And All That Could Have Been

Breeze still carries the sound
maybe i'll disappear
tracks will fade in the snow
you won't find me here
Ice is starting to form
ending what had begun
I am locked in my head
with what I've done
I know you tried to rescue me
didn't let anyone get in
left with a trace of all that was
And all that could have been
Please
take this
and run far away
far away from me
I am tainted
the two of us
were never meant to be
all these pieces
and promises and left behinds
if only I could see
In my nothing
You meant everything
everything to me
gone fading everything
And all that could have been
Please
take this
and run far away
far as you can see
I am tainted
and happiness and peace of mind
were never meant for me
all these pices
and promises and left behinds
if only I could see
In my nothing
You meant everything
everything to me

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What made you see your father becoming part of me?

I have never being drunk,
is one of those men
that can drink beer, cider
and whiskey
while the legs of others fold
and still hold my own
comprehensibly
without changing my personality.

In the operating theatre I have
to get a second shot
to make me go unconscious
to give the doctors
a chance to do their work.

What made you see
your father becoming part of me,
what made you doubt
my integrity?

Was it in my poetry
that you found similar words appear
as the lines that he wrote?

Was it because I didn’t cry
when our relations came to an end
and was too shocked and stunned

or my believe that life goes on,
and that you are not the only one
in this great big world,

or talking privately in a different room
on my phone on my birthday
when you came to visit me,

or were you just made that way
never really to trust,
always to check up

even if it is to invade
the privacy of some one else?

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Have You Ever Been In Love

In the morning light
Half awake and half asleep
Have you ever lain there thinking
Was it all in a dream?
But you reach out and she's there
Every moment everywhere
Have you ever been in love?
Have you ever felt how far a heart can fall?
Have you ever stayed up waiting for a telephone call?
Just to hear her say hello
Cos you miss each other so
Have you ever been in love?
Have there been times to laugh
And times you really wanna cry
Finding reasons to believe her
Cos you'd die a little if she lied
When in times of doubt
Have you ever tried to work it out?
But still she leaves you wondering what it's all about
When she's far away, you ever felt the need to stray?
And tried and then discovered it just doesn't pay
And with her you can be true
For with her you can be you
Have you ever been in love?
Have there been times to laugh
And times you really wanna cry
Finding reasons to believe her
Cos you'd die a little if she lied
When in times of doubt
Have you ever tried to work it out?
But still she leaves you wondering what it's all about
And When in times of doubt
Have you ever tried to work it out?
And still she leaves you wondering what it's all about
And when the night comes down
And you call this house a home
Do you dream you're still together
And wake up alone?
Have you ever been in love the way that I'm in love?
Have you ever been in love

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Dear Annaji, End Your Fast Fast

So far so good, you’ve led the movement well!
’Tis time, you thought about your precious life;
A rigid attitude can’t hasten things;
Allow some natural time to get things done.

Getting tougher when people soften stands
Could complicate the problem you fight for;
Please end your fast before your health worsens;
All want a good man like you to live long!

Corruption has been happening for years;
The problem can’t be stalled by just one bill;
You’ve risked your life enough’; so, end your fast;
Your fasting more can’t speed up things from now.

Respect the Parliament and those in it;
They’ve promised you that they will do their best;
Good that you fought for such a noble cause;
India is proud of Anna Hazare.

A beginning is good for anything;
The bill can be made stronger in due course;
Stop your protests; recoup your health, Anna;
‘All well that ends well, ’ the saying goes.

You’ve kindled patriotic feelings in all;
You’ve raised a key issue – corruption;
India can’t stand corruption anymore;
The good work you have done, all Indians know.

Calm down; cool down, Anna Hazareji!
Too much of anything may worsen things;
Your health is wealth of India, you please know;
Bring down the tempo of your protests, Sir.

Give up your fast, allowing time for things;
Procedures take their course quite naturally;
Your half-won victory will bring full success;
We Indian brethren love you, Annaji!

You should not risk your life any longer;
The country needs you hale and hearty, please;
So, end your fast and thank God, Hazare;
Your bill will come through, vijay hamare!

Fondly dedicated to the author of Jan Lokpal Bill,
Sri. Kisan Baburav Anna Hazare!
Copyright by Dr John Celes 24-08-’11

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Have I made you proud? (Revised And Final) ~Story about my real sister

My older sister
Smart she was
She excelled where I failed
English was her very great love.
Always correcting my mistakes
When she lived among us.
She ending up leaving in handcuffs
Being a runaway because you don't care for your family.

Adopted by an Aunt Named Cruelia
Every time I saw her my face turned to a pale yellow.
Never allowing a kid to be a kid.
Stealing the money my sister made
Making her both a slave in heart and the mined.
Upon 18 she was free.
She dropped out of high school
Just to get away.
An evil charade
It was over.

She told me at one time that she would go back and get her g.e.d. if I did mine.
I'm here to tell you my older sister I got it, now where's yours.
You think I got talent
I pale in comparison to her.
Always grammatically correct
Every word written so perfect.
She makes some authors look like chumps.
But she gave up.
Living by other mens proceeds.
Is the way it is now
With two children you have
I have to ask you my older sister
Have I made you proud?

We don't talk no more
You slept with my best friend
His name being Arrogance
You left in a family dispute
With a dog I could never call my own
With cats set free
Good luck to them so it be
Bills unpaid
Debt enslaved
False claims too blame
Anyone but yourself
Come with me you said, I'll give you a place with my friend
Well how did that work out in the end
A built in babysitter
Your ex-husband trained you well
I'm sorry my sister but that is not my hell

We were a pair
Who worked out of pure despair
Watch the kids, and cut down the trees
For a living must be made, even in happiest parade
I thank you for everything
But don't expect me to call on you
For if I'm in trouble
I'll face it alone
Rather then being a slave to the unknown.
A sister who knows no love
With this shelter you offered from above
An unorganized mess
I'm making progress
Slowly conforming to what this society desires from me
So again
Have I made you proud?

You speak of my job as if wasn't one at all
You try to get your boyfriend in by betraying and robbing me
I do have dignity.
I'll turn away
But remember I still love you
Even with indifference that surrounds me
My last thought will of you and others
Tear drops fall when think of all you have done
And what you become
So again
Have I made you proud?

You are jealous
And I don't know even why
With so many questions I look to the sky
My relationship with my mother
You want it
But how can I give somebody else that?
If I could if I would
But it just not the way of things
We have our fights just like everybody else
I think your being a little selfish
But still I ask
Have I made you proud?

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Ambrose Bierce

An Alibi

A famous journalist, who long
Had told the great unheaded throng
Whate'er they thought, by day or night.
Was true as Holy Writ, and right,
Was caught in-well, on second thought,
It is enough that he was caught,
And being thrown in jail became
The fuel of a public flame.

'_Vox populi vox Dei_,' said
The jailer. Inxling bent his head
Without remark: that motto good
In bold-faced type had always stood
Above the columns where his pen
Had rioted in praise of men
And all they said-provided he
Was sure they mostly did agree.
Meanwhile a sharp and bitter strife
To take, or save, the culprit's life
Or liberty (which, I suppose,
Was much the same to him) arose
Outside. The journal that his pen
Adorned denounced his crime-but then
Its editor in secret tried
To have the indictment set aside.
The opposition papers swore
His father was a rogue before,
And all his wife's relations were
Like him and similar to her.
They begged their readers to subscribe
A dollar each to make a bribe
That any Judge would feel was large
Enough to prove the gravest charge
Unless, it might be, the defense
Put up superior evidence.
The law's traditional delay
Was all too short: the trial day
Dawned red and menacing. The Judge
Sat on the Bench and wouldn't budge,
And all the motions counsel made
Could not move _him_-and there he stayed.
'The case must now proceed,' he said,
'While I am just in heart and head,
It happens-as, indeed, it ought-
Both sides with equal sums have bought
My favor: I can try the cause
Impartially.' (Prolonged applause.)

The prisoner was now arraigned
And said that he was greatly pained
To be suspected-_he_, whose pen
Had charged so many other men
With crimes and misdemeanors! 'Why,'
He said, a tear in either eye,
'If men who live by crying out
'Stop thief!' are not themselves from doubt
Of their integrity exempt,
Let all forego the vain attempt
To make a reputation! Sir,
I'm innocent, and I demur.'
Whereat a thousand voices cried
Amain he manifestly lied-
_Vox populi_ as loudly roared
As bull by _picadores_ gored,
In his own coin receiving pay
To make a Spanish holiday.

The jury-twelve good men and true
Were then sworn in to see it through,
And each made solemn oath that he
As any babe unborn was free
From prejudice, opinion, thought,
Respectability, brains-aught
That could disqualify; and some
Explained that they were deaf and dumb.
A better twelve, his Honor said,
Was rare, except among the dead.
The witnesses were called and sworn.
The tales they told made angels mourn,
And the Good Book they'd kissed became
Red with the consciousness of shame.

Whenever one of them approached
The truth, 'That witness wasn't coached,
Your Honor!' cried the lawyers both.
'Strike out his testimony,' quoth
The learned judge: 'This Court denies
Its ear to stories which surprise.
I hold that witnesses exempt
From coaching all are in contempt.'
Both Prosecution and Defense
Applauded the judicial sense,
And the spectators all averred
Such wisdom they had never heard:
'Twas plain the prisoner would be
Found guilty in the first degree.
Meanwhile that wight's pale cheek confessed
The nameless terrors in his breast.
He felt remorseful, too, because
He wasn't half they said he was.
'If I'd been such a rogue,' he mused
On opportunities unused,
'I might have easily become
As wealthy as Methusalum.'
This journalist adorned, alas,
The middle, not the Bible, class.

With equal skill the lawyers' pleas
Attested their divided fees.
Each gave the other one the lie,
Then helped him frame a sharp reply.

Good Lord! it was a bitter fight,
And lasted all the day and night.
When once or oftener the roar
Had silenced the judicial snore
The speaker suffered for the sport
By fining for contempt of court.
Twelve jurors' noses good and true
Unceasing sang the trial through,
And even _vox populi_ was spent
In rattles through a nasal vent.
Clerk, bailiff, constables and all
Heard Morpheus sound the trumpet call
To arms-his arms-and all fell in
Save counsel for the Man of Sin.
That thaumaturgist stood and swayed
The wand their faculties obeyed-
That magic wand which, like a flame.
Leapt, wavered, quivered and became
A wonder-worker-known among
The ignoble vulgar as a Tongue.

How long, O Lord, how long my verse
Runs on for better or for worse
In meter which o'ermasters me,
Octosyllabically free!
A meter which, the poets say,
No power of restraint can stay;
A hard-mouthed meter, suited well
To him who, having naught to tell,
Must hold attention as a trout
Is held, by paying out and out
The slender line which else would break
Should one attempt the fish to take.
Thus tavern guides who've naught to show
But some adjacent curio
By devious trails their patrons lead
And make them think 't is far indeed.
Where was I?

While the lawyer talked
The rogue took up his feet and walked:
While all about him, roaring, slept,
Into the street he calmly stepped.
In very truth, the man who thought
The people's voice from heaven had caught
God's inspiration took a change
Of venue-it was passing strange!
Straight to his editor he went
And that ingenious person sent
A Negro to impersonate
The fugitive. In adequate
Disguise he took his vacant place
And buried in his arms his face.
When all was done the lawyer stopped
And silence like a bombshell dropped
Upon the Court: judge, jury, all
Within that venerable hall
(Except the deaf and dumb, indeed,
And one or two whom death had freed)
Awoke and tried to look as though
Slumber was all they did not know.

And now that tireless lawyer-man
Took breath, and then again began:
'Your Honor, if you did attend
To what I've urged (my learned friend
Nodded concurrence) to support
The motion I have made, this court
May soon adjourn. With your assent
I've shown abundant precedent
For introducing now, though late,
New evidence to exculpate
My client. So, if you'll allow,
I'll prove an _alibi_!' 'What?-how?'
Stammered the judge. 'Well, yes, I can't
Deny your showing, and I grant
The motion. Do I understand
You undertake to prove-good land!-
That when the crime-you mean to show
Your client wasn't _there_?' 'O, no,
I cannot quite do that, I find:
My _alibi's_ another kind
Of _alibi_,-I'll make it clear,
Your Honor, that he isn't _here_.'
The Darky here upreared his head,
Tranquillity affrighted fled
And consternation reigned instead!

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Tale XII

'SQUIRE THOMAS; OR THE PRECIPITATE CHOICE.

'Squire Thomas flatter'd long a wealthy Aunt,
Who left him all that she could give or grant;
Ten years he tried, with all his craft and skill,
To fix the sovereign lady's varying will;
Ten years enduring at her board to sit,
He meekly listen'd to her tales and wit:
He took the meanest office man can take,
And his aunt's vices for her money's sake:
By many a threat'ning hint she waked his fear,
And he was pain'd to see a rival near:
Yet all the taunts of her contemptuous pride
He bore, nor found his grov'ling spirit tried:
Nay, when she wish'd his parents to traduce,
Fawning he smiled, and justice call'd th' abuse:
'They taught you nothing: are you not at best,'
Said the proud Dame, 'a trifler, and a jest?
Confess you are a fool!'--he bow'd and he

confess'd.
This vex'd him much, but could not always last:
The dame is buried, and the trial past.
There was a female, who had courted long
Her cousin's gifts, and deeply felt the wrong;
By a vain boy forbidden to attend
The private councils of her wealthy friend,
She vow'd revenge, nor should that crafty boy
In triumph undisturb'd his spoils enjoy:
He heard, he smiled, and when the Will was read,
Kindly dismiss'd the Kindred of the dead;
'The dear deceased' he call'd her, and the crowd
Moved off with curses deep and threat'nings loud.
The youth retired, and, with a mind at ease,
Found he was rich, and fancied he must please:
He might have pleased, and to his comfort found
The wife he wish'd, if he had sought around,
For there were lasses of his own degree,
With no more hatred to the state than he;
But he had courted spleen and age so long,
His heart refused to woo the fair and young;
So long attended on caprice and whim,
He thought attention now was due to him;
And as his flattery pleased the wealthy Dame,
Heir to the wealth, he might the flattery claim:
But this the fair, with one accord, denied,
Nor waived for man's caprice the sex's pride.
There is a season when to them is due
Worship and awe, and they will claim it too:
'Fathers,' they cry, 'long hold us in their chain,
Nay, tyrant brothers claim a right to reign:
Uncles and guardians we in turn obey,
And husbands rule with ever-during sway;
Short is the time when lovers at the feet
Of beauty kneel, and own the slavery sweet;
And shall we thus our triumph, this the aim
And boast of female power, forbear to claim?
No! we demand that homage, that respect,
Or the proud rebel punish and reject.'
Our Hero, still too indolent, too nice,
To pay for beauty the accustom'd price,
No less forbore t'address the humbler maid,
Who might have yielded with the price unpaid;
But lived, himself to humour and to please,
To count his money, and enjoy his ease.
It pleased a neighbouring 'squire to recommend
A faithful youth as servant to his friend;
Nay, more than servant, whom he praised for parts
Ductile yet strong, and for the best of hearts:
One who might ease him in his small affairs,
With tenants, tradesmen, taxes, and repairs;
Answer his letters, look to all his dues,
And entertain him with discourse and news.
The 'Squire believed, and found the trusted

youth
A very pattern for his care and truth;
Not for his virtues to be praised alone,
But for a modest mien and humble tone;
Assenting always, but as if he meant
Only to strength of reasons to assent:
For was he stubborn, and retain'd his doubt,
Till the more subtle 'Squire had forced it out;
Nay, still was right, but he perceived that strong
And powerful minds could make the right the wrong.
When the 'Squire's thoughts on some fair damsel

dwelt,
The faithful Friend his apprehensions felt;
It would rejoice his faithful heart to find
A lady suited to his master's mind;
But who deserved that master? who would prove
That hers was pure, uninterested love?
Although a servant, he would scorn to take
A countess, till she suffer'd for his sake;
Some tender spirit, humble, faithful, true,
Such, my dear master! must be sought for you.
Six months had pass'd, and not a lady seen,
With just this love, 'twixt fifty and fifteen;
All seem'd his doctrine or his pride to shun,
All would be woo'd before they would be won;
When the chance naming of a race and fair
Our 'Squire disposed to take his pleasure there,
The Friend profess'd, 'although he first began
To hint the thing, it seem'd a thoughtless plan;
The roads, he fear'd, were foul, the days were

short,
The village far, and yet there might be sport.'
'What! you of roads and starless nights afraid?
You think to govern! you to be obey'd!'
Smiling he spoke: the humble Friend declared
His soul's obedience, and to go prepared.
The place was distant, but with great delight
They saw a race, and hail'd the glorious sight:
The 'Squire exulted, and declared the ride
Had amply paid, and he was satisfied.
They gazed, they feasted, and, in happy mood,
Homeward return'd, and hastening as they rode;
For short the day, and sudden was the change
From light to darkness, and the way was strange:
Our hero soon grew peevish, then distress'd;
He dreaded darkness, and he sigh'd for rest:
Going, they pass'd a village; but alas!
Returning saw no village to repass;
The 'Squire remember'd too a noble hall,
Large as a church, and whiter than its wall:
This he had noticed as they rode along,
And justly reason'd that their road was wrong,
George, full of awe, was modest in reply -
'The fault was his, 'twas folly to deny;
And of his master's safety were he sure,
There was no grievance he would not endure.'
This made his peace with the relenting 'Squire,
Whose thoughts yet dwelt on supper and a fire;
When, as they reach'd a long and pleasant green,
Dwellings of men, and next a man, were seen.
'My friend,' said George, 'to travellers astray
Point out an inn, and guide us on the way.'
The man look'd up; 'Surprising! can it be
My master's son? as I'm alive, 'tis he!'
'How! Robin?' George replied, 'and are we near
My father's house? how strangely things appear! -
Dear sir, though wanderers, we at last are right:
Let us proceed, and glad my father's sight:
We shall at least be fairly lodged and fed,
I can ensure a supper and a bed;
Let us this night as one of pleasure date,
And of surprise: it is an act of Fate.'
'Go on,' the 'Squire in happy temper cried;
'I like such blunder! I approve such guide.'
They ride, they halt, the farmer comes in haste,
Then tells his wife how much their house is graced;
They bless the chance, they praise the lucky son.
That caused the error--Nay! it was not one,
But their good fortune: cheerful grew the 'Squire,
Who found dependants, flattery, wine, and fire;
He heard the jack turn round; the busy dame
Produced her damask; and with supper came
The Daughter, dress'd with care, and full of maiden

shame.
Surprised, our hero saw the air and dress,
And strove his admiration to express;
Nay! felt it too--for Harriot was in truth
A tall fair beauty in the bloom of youth;
And from the pleasure and surprise, a grace
Adorn'd the blooming damsel's form and face;
Then, too, such high respect and duty paid
By all--such silent reverence in the maid;
Vent'ring with caution, yet with haste, a glance,
Loth to retire, yet trembling to advance,
Appear'd the nymph, and in her gentle guest
Stirr'd soft emotions till the hour of rest;
Sweet was his sleep, and in the morn again
He felt a mixture of delight and pain:
'How fair, how gentle,' said the 'Squire, 'how

meek,
And yet how sprightly, when disposed to speak!
Nature has bless'd her form, and heaven her mind,
But in her favours Fortune is unkind;
Poor is the maid--nay, poor she cannot prove
Who is enrich'd with beauty, worth, and love.'
The 'Squire arose, with no precise intent
To go or stay--uncertain what he meant:
He moved to part--they begg'd him first to dine;
And who could then escape from Love and Wine?
As came the night, more charming grew the Fair,
And seem'd to watch him with a twofold care:
On the third morn, resolving not to stay,
Though urged by Love, he bravely rode away.
Arrived at home, three pensive days he gave
To feelings fond and meditations grave;
Lovely she was, and, if he did not err,
As fond of him as his fond heart of her;
Still he delay'd, unable to decide,
Which was the master-passion, Love or Pride:
He sometimes wonder'd how his friend could make,
And then exulted in, the night's mistake;
Had she but fortune, 'Doubtless then,' he cried,
'Some happier man had won the wealthy bride.'
While thus he hung in balance, now inclined
To change his state, and then to change his mind,
That careless George dropp'd idly on the ground
A letter, which his crafty master found;
The stupid youth confess'd his fault, and pray'd
The generous 'Squire to spare a gentle maid,
Of whom her tender mother, full of fears,
Had written much--'she caught her oft in tears,
For ever thinking on a youth above
Her humble fortune--still she own'd not love;
Nor can define, dear girl! the cherish'd pain,
But would rejoice to see the cause again:
That neighbouring youth, whom she endured before,
She now rejects, and will behold no more;
Raised by her passion, she no longer stoops
To her own equals, but she pines and droops,
Like to a lily on whose sweets the sun
Has withering gazed--she saw and was undone;
His wealth allured her not--nor was she moved
By his superior state, himself she loved;
So mild, so good, so gracious, so genteel, -
But spare your sister, and her love conceal;
We must the fault forgive, since she the pain must

feel.'
'Fault!' said the 'Squire, 'there's coarseness

in the mind
That thus conceives of feelings so refined;
Here end my doubts, nor blame yourself, my friend,
Fate made you careless--here my doubts have end.'
The way is plain before us--there is now
The Lover's visit first, and then the vow,
Mutual and fond, the marriage-rite, the Bride
Brought to her home with all a husband's pride:
The 'Squire receives the prize his merits won,
And the glad parents leave the patron-son.
But in short time he saw, with much surprise,
First gloom, then grief, and then resentment rise,
From proud, commanding frowns, and anger-darting

eyes:
'Is there in Harriot's humble mind this fire,
This fierce impatience?' ask'd the puzzled 'Squire:
'Has marriage changed her? or the mask she wore
Has she thrown by, and is herself once more?'
Hour after hour, when clouds on clouds appear,
Dark and more dark, we know the tempest near;
And thus the frowning brow, the restless form,
And threat'ning glance, forerun domestic storm:
So read the Husband, and, with troubled mind,
Reveal'd his fears--'My Love, I hope you find
All here is pleasant--but I must confess
You seem offended, or in some distress:
Explain the grief you feel, and leave me to

redress.'
'Leave it to you?' replied the Nymph--'indeed!
What to the cause from whence the ills proceed?
Good Heaven! to take me from a place where I
Had every comfort underneath the sky;
And then immure me in a gloomy place,
With the grim monsters of your ugly race,
That from their canvas staring, make me dread
Through the dark chambers, where they hang, to

tread.
No friend nor neighbour comes to give that joy
Which all things here must banish or destroy.
Where is the promised coach? the pleasant ride?
Oh! what a fortune has a Farmer's bride!
Your sordid pride has placed me just above
Your hired domestics--and what pays me? Love!
A selfish fondness I endure each hour,
And share unwitness'd pomp, unenvied power.
I hear your folly, smile at your parade,
And see your favourite dishes duly made;
Then am I richly dress'd for you t'admire,
Such is my duty and my Lord's desire:
Is this a life for youth, for health, for joy?
Are these my duties--this my base employ?
No! to my father's house will I repair,
And make your idle wealth support me there.
Was it your wish to have an humble bride,
For bondage thankful? Curse upon your pride!
Was it a slave you wanted? You shall see,
That, if not happy, I at least am free:
Well, sir! your answer.'--Silent stood the 'Squire,
As looks a miser at his house on fire;
Where all he deems is vanish'd in that flame,
Swept from the earth his substance and his name,
So, lost to every promised joy of life,
Our 'Squire stood gaping at his angry wife; -
His fate, his ruin, where he saw it vain
To hope for peace, pray, threaten, or complain;
And thus, betwixt his wonder at the ill
And his despair, there stood he gaping still.
'Your answer, sir!--Shall I depart a spot
I thus detest?'--'Oh, miserable lot!'
Exclaim'd the man. 'Go, serpent! nor remain
To sharpen woe by insult and disdain;
A nest of harpies was I doom'd to meet;
What plots, what combinations of deceit!
I see it now--all plann'd, design'd, contrived;
Served by that villain--by this fury wived -
What fate is mine! What wisdom, virtue truth,
Can stand if demons set their traps for youth?
He lose his way? vile dog! he cannot lose
The way a villain through his life pursues;
And thou, deceiver! thou afraid to move,
And hiding close the serpent in the dove!
I saw--but, fated to endure disgrace,
Unheeding saw--the fury in thy face,
And call'd it spirit. Oh: I might have found
Fraud and imposture all the kindred round!
A nest of vipers' -
'Sir, I'll not admit
These wild effusions of your angry wit:
Have you that value, that we all should use
Such mighty arts for such important views?
Are you such prize--and is my state so fair,
That they should sell their souls to get me there?
Think you that we alone our thoughts disguise?
When, in pursuit of some contended prize,
Mask we alone the heart, and soothe whom we

despise?
Speak you of craft and subtle schemes, who know
That all your wealth you to deception owe;
Who play'd for ten dull years a scoundrel part,
To worm yourself into a Widow's heart?
Now, when you guarded, with superior skill,
That lady's closet, and preserved her Will,
Blind in your craft, you saw not one of those
Opposed by you might you in turn oppose,
Or watch your motions, and by art obtain
Share of that wealth you gave your peace to gain.
Did conscience never' -
'Cease, tormentor, cease -
Or reach me poison;--let me rest in peace!'
'Agreed--but hear me--let the truth appear.'
'Then state your purpose--I'll be calm and hear.'
'Know then, this wealth, sole object of your care,
I had some right, without your hand, to share;
My mother's claim was just--but soon she saw
Your power, compell'd, insulted, to withdraw:
'Twas then my father, in his anger, swore
You should divide the fortune, or restore.
Long we debated--and you find me now
Heroic victim to a father's vow;
Like Jephtha's daughter, but in different state,
And both decreed to mourn our early fate:
Hence was my brother servant to your pride,
Vengeance made him your slave, and me your bride.
Now all is known--a dreadful price I pay
For our revenge--but still we have our day:
All that you love you must with others share,
Or all you dread from their resentment dare: -
Yet terms I offer--let contention cease;
Divide the spoil, and let us part in peace.'
Our hero trembling heard--he sat, he rose -
Nor could his motions nor his mind compose;
He paced the room--and, stalking to her side,
Gazed on the face of his undaunted bride,
And nothing there but scorn and calm aversion

spied.
He would have vengeance, yet he fear'd the law;
Her friends would threaten, and their power he saw;
'Then let her go:' but, oh! a mighty sum
Would that demand, since he had let her come;
Nor from his sorrows could he find redress,
Save that which led him to a like distress;
And all his ease was in his wife to see
A wretch as anxious and distress'd as he:
Her strongest wish, the fortune to divide,
And part in peace, his avarice denied;
And thus it happen'd, as in all deceit,
The cheater found the evil of the cheat;
The Husband griev'd--nor was the Wife at rest;
Him she could vex, and he could her molest;
She could his passion into frenzy raise,
But, when the fire was kindled, fear'd the blaze;
As much they studied, so in time they found
The easiest way to give the deepest wound;
But then, like fencers, they were equal still, -
Both lost in danger what they gain'd in skill;
Each heart a keener kind of rancour gain'd,
And, paining more, was more severely pain'd,
And thus by both was equal vengeance dealt,
And both the anguish they inflicted felt.

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Thespis: Act II

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

GODS

Jupiter, Aged Diety
Apollo, Aged Diety
Mars, Aged Diety
Diana, Aged Diety
Mercury

THESPIANS

Thespis
Sillimon
TimidonTipseion
Preposteros
Stupidas
Sparkeio n
Nicemis
Pretteia
Daphne
Cymon

ACT II - The same Scene, with the Ruins Restored


SCENE-the same scene as in Act I with the exception that in place
of the ruins that filled the foreground of the stage, the
interior of a magnificent temple is seen showing the background
of the scene of Act I, through the columns of the portico at the
back. High throne. L.U.E. Low seats below it. All the substitute
gods and goddesses [that is to say, Thespians] are discovered
grouped in picturesque attitudes about the stage, eating and
drinking, and smoking and singing the following verses.

CHO. Of all symposia
The best by half
Upon Olympus, here await us.
We eat ambrosia.
And nectar quaff,
It cheers but don't inebriate us.
We know the fallacies,
Of human food
So please to pass Olympian rosy,
We built up palaces,
Where ruins stood,
And find them much more snug and cosy.

SILL. To work and think, my dear,
Up here would be,
The height of conscientious folly.
So eat and drink, my dear,
I like to see,
Young people gay--young people jolly.
Olympian food my love,
I'll lay long odds,
Will please your lips--those rosy portals,
What is the good, my love
Of being gods,
If we must work like common mortals?

CHO. Of all symposia...etc.

[Exeunt all but Nicemis, who is dressed as Diana and Pretteia,
who is dressed as Venus. They take Sillimon's arm and bring him
down]

SILL. Bless their little hearts, I can refuse them nothing. As
the Olympian stage-manager I ought to be strict with them and
make them do their duty, but i can't. Bless their little hearts,
when I see the pretty little craft come sailing up to me with a
wheedling smile on their pretty little figure-heads, I can't turn
my back on 'em. I'm all bow, though I'm sure I try to be stern.

PRET. You certainly are a dear old thing.

SILL. She says I'm a dear old thing. Deputy Venus says I'm a
dear old thing.

NICE. It's her affectionate habit to describe everybody in those
terms. I am more particular, but still even I am bound to admit
that you are certainly a very dear old thing.

SILL. Deputy Venus says I'm a dear old thing, and Deputy Diana
who is much more particular, endorses it. Who could be severe
with such deputy divinities.

PRET. Do you know, I'm going to ask you a favour.

SILL. Venus is going to ask me a favour.

PRET. You see, I am Venus.

SILL. No one who saw your face would doubt it.

NICE. [aside] No one who knew her character would.

PRET. Well Venus, you know, is married to Mars.

SILL. To Vulcan, my dear, to Vulcan. The exact connubial relation
of the different gods and goddesses is a point on which we must
be extremely particular.

PRET. I beg your pardon--Venus is married to Mars.

NICE. If she isn't married to Mars, she ought to be.

SILL. Then that decides it--call it married to Mars.

PRET. Married to Vulcan or married to Mars, what does it signify?

SILL. My dear, it's a matter on which I have no personal feeling
whatever.

PRET. So that she is married to someone.

SILL. Exactly. So that she is married to someone. Call it married
to Mars.

PRET. Now here's my difficulty. Presumptios takes the place of
Mars, and Presumptios is my father.

SILL. Then why object to Vulcan?

PRET. Because Vulcan is my grandfather.

SILL. But, my dear, what an objection. You are playing a part
till the real gods return. That's all. Whether you are supposed
to be married to your father--or your grandfather, what does it
matter? This passion for realism is the curse of the stage.

PRET. That's all very well, but I can't throw myself into a part
that has already lasted a twelvemonth, when I have to make love
to my father. It interferes with my conception of the
characters. It spoils the part.

SILL. Well, well. I'll see what can be done. [Exit Pretteia,
L.U.E.) That's always the way with beginners, they've no
imaginative power. A true artist ought to be superior to such
considerations. [Nicemis comes down R.] Well, Nicemis, I should
say, Diana, what's wrong with you? Don't you like your part?

NICE. Oh, immensely. It's great fun.

SILL. Don't you find it lonely out by yourself all night?

NICE. Oh, but I'm not alone all night.

SILL. But, I don't want to ask any injudicious questions, but who
accompanies you?

NICE. Who? Why Sparkeion, of course.

SILL. Sparkeion? Well, but Sparkeion is Phoebus Apollo [enter
Sparkeion] He's the sun, you know.

NICE. Of course he is. I should catch my death of cold, in the
night air, if he didn't accompany me.

SPAR. My dear Sillimon, it would never do for a young lady to be
out alone all night. It wouldn't be respectable.

SILL. There's a good deal of truth in that. But still--the sun--
at night--I don't like the idea. The original Diana always went
out alone.

NICE. I hope the original Diana is no rule for me. After all,
what does it matter?

SILL. To be sure--what does it matter?

SPAR. The sun at night, or in the daytime.

SILL. So that he shines. That's all that's necessary. [Exit
Nicemis, R.U.E.] But poor Daphne, what will she say to this.

SPAR. Oh, Daphne can console herself; young ladies soon get over
this sort of thing. Did you never hear of the young lady who was
engaged to Cousin Robin?

SILL. Never.

SPAR. Then I'll sing it to you.

Little maid of Arcadee
Sat on Cousin Robin's knee,
Thought in form and face and limb,
Nobody could rival him.
He was brave and she was fair,
Truth they made a pretty paid.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee.

Moments fled as moments will
Happily enough, until
After, say, a month or two,
Robin did as Robins do.
Weary of his lover's play,
Jilted her and went away,
Wretched little maiden, she--
Wretched maid of Arcadee.

To her little home she crept,
There she sat her down and wept,
Maiden wept as maidens will--
Grew so thin and pale--until
Cousin Richard came to woo.
Then again the roses grew.
Happy little maiden she--
Happy maid of Arcadee. [Exit Sparkeion]

SILL. Well Mercury, my boy, you've had a year's experience of us
here. How do we do it? I think we're rather an improvement on the
original gods--don't you?

MER. Well, you see, there's a good deal to be said on both sides
of the question; you are certainly younger than the original
gods, and, therefore, more active. On the other hand, they are
certainly older than you, and have, therefore, more experience.
On the whole I prefer you, because your mistakes amuse me.

Olympus is now in a terrible muddle,
The deputy deities all are at fault
They splutter and splash like a pig in a puddle
And dickens a one of 'em's earning his salt.
For Thespis as Jove is a terrible blunder,
Too nervous and timid--too easy and weak--
Whenever he's called on to lighten or thunder,
The thought of it keeps him awake for a week.

Then mighty Mars hasn't the pluck of a parrot.
When left in the dark he will quiver and quail;
And Vulcan has arms that would snap like a carrot,
Before he could drive in a tenpenny nail.
Then Venus's freckles are very repelling,
And Venus should not have a quint in her eyes;
The learned Minerva is weak in her spelling,
And scatters her h's all over the skies.

Then Pluto in kindhearted tenderness erring,
Can't make up his mind to let anyone die--
The Times has a paragraph ever recurring,
"Remarkable incidence of longevity."
On some it has some as a serious onus,
to others it's quite an advantage--in short,
While ev're life office declares a big bonus,
The poor undertakers are all in the court.

Then Cupid, the rascal, forgetting his trade is
To make men and women impartially smart,
Will only shoot at pretty young ladies,
And never takes aim at a bachelor's heart.
The results of this freak--or whatever you term it--
Should cover the wicked young scamp with disgrace,
While ev'ry young man is as shy as a hermit,
Young ladies are popping all over the place.

This wouldn't much matter--for bashful and shymen,
When skillfully handled are certain to fall,
But, alas, that determined young bachelor Hymen
Refuses to wed anybody at all.
He swears that Love's flame is the vilest of arsons,
And looks upon marriage as quite a mistake;
Now what in the world's to become of the parsons,
And what of the artist who sugars the cake?

In short, you will see from the facts that I'm showing,
The state of the case is exceedingly sad;
If Thespis's people go on as they're going,
Olympus will certainly go to the bad.
From Jupiter downward there isn't a dab in it,
All of 'em quibble and shuffle and shirk,
A premier in Downing Street forming a cabinet,
Couldn't find people less fit for their work.

[enter Thespis L.U.E.]

THES. Sillimon, you can retire.

SILL. Sir, I--

THES. Don't pretend you can't when I say you can. I've seen you
do it--go. [exit Sillimon bowing extravagantly. Thespis imitates
him]Well, Mercury, I've been in power one year today.

MER. One year today. How do you like ruling the world?

THES. Like it. Why it's as straightforward as possible. Why
there hasn't been a hitch of any kind since we came up here. Lor'
the airs you gods and goddesses give yourselves are perfectly
sickening. Why it's mere child's play.

MER. Very simple isn't it?

THES. Simple? Why I could do it on my head.

MER. Ah--I darsay you will do it on your head very soon.

THES. What do you mean by that, Mercury?

MER. I mean that when you've turned the world quite topsy-turvy
you won't know whether you're standing on your head or your
heels.

THES. Well, but Mercury, it's all right at present.

MER. Oh yes--as far as we know.

THES. Well, but, you know, we know as much as anybody knows; you
know I believe the world's still going on.

MER. Yes--as far as we can judge--much as usual.

THES. Well, the, give the Father of the Drama his due Mercury.
Don't be envious of the Father of the Drama.

MER. But you see you leave so much to accident.

THES. Well, Mercury, if I do, it's my principle. I am an easy
man, and I like to make things as pleasant as possible. What did
I do the day we took office? Why I called the company together
and I said to them: "Here we are, you know, gods and goddesses,
no mistake about it, the real thing. Well, we have certain duties
to discharge, let's discharge them intelligently. Don't let us be
hampered by routine and red tape and precedent, let's set the
original gods an example, and put a liberal interpretation on our
duties. If it occurs to any one to try an experiment in his own
department, let him try it, if he fails there's no harm done, if
he succeeds it is a distinct gain to society. Don't hurry your
work, do it slowly and well." And here we are after a twelvemonth
and not a single complaint or a single petition has reached me.

MER. No, not yet.

THES. What do you mean by "no,not yet?"

MER. Well, you see, you don't understand things. All the
petitions that are addressed by men to Jupiter pass through my
hands, and its my duty to collect them and present them once a
year.

THES. Oh, only once a year?

MER. Only once a year--

THES. And the year is up?

MER. Today.

THES. Oh, then I suppose there are some complaints?

MER. Yes, there are some.

THES. [Disturbed] Oh, perhaps there are a good many?

MER. There are a good many.

THES. Oh, perhaps there are a thundering lot?

MER. There are a thundering lot.

THES. [very much disturbed] Oh.

MER. You see you've been taking it so very easy--and so have most
of your company.

THES. Oh, who has been taking it easy?

MER. Well, all except those who have been trying experiments.

THES. Well but I suppose the experiment are ingenious?

MER. Yes; they are ingenious, but on the whole ill-judged. But
it's time go and summon your court.

THES. What for.

MER. To hear the complaints. In five minutes they will be here.
[Exit]

THES. [very uneasy] I don't know how it is, but there is
something in that young man's manner that suggests that the
father of the gods has been taking it too easy. Perhaps it would
have been better if I hadn't given my company so much scope. I
wonder what they've been doing. I think I will curtail their
discretion, though none of them appear to have much of the
article. It seems a pity to deprive 'em of what little they
have.

[Enter Daphne, weeping]

THES. Now then, Daphne, what's the matter with you?

DAPH. Well, you know how disgracefully Sparkeion--

THES. [correcting her] Apollo--

DAPH. Apollo, then--has treated me. He promised to marry me years
ago and now he's married to Nicemis.

THES. Now look here. I can't go into that. You're in Olympus now
and must behave accordingly. Drop your Daphne--assume your
Calliope.

DAPH. Quite so. That's it. [mysteriously]

THES. Oh--that is it? [puzzled]

DAPH. That is it. Thespis. I am Calliope, the muse of fame.
Very good. This morning I was in the Olympian library and I took
down the only book there. Here it is.

THES. [taking it] Lempriere's Classical Dictionary. The Olympian
Peerage.

DAPH. Open it at Apollo.

THES. [opens it] It is done.

DAPH. Read.

THES. "Apollo was several times married, among others to Issa,
Bolina, Coronis, Chymene, Cyrene, Chione, Acacallis, and
Calliope."

DAPH. And Calliope.

THES. [musing] Ha. I didn't know he was married to them.

DAPH. [severely] Sir. This is the family edition.

THES. Quite so.

DAPH. You couldn't expect a lady to read any other?

THES. On no consideration. But in the original version--

DAPH. I go by the family edition.

THES. Then by the family edition, Apollo is your husband.

[Enter Nicemis and Sparkeion]

NICE. Apollo your husband? He is my husband.

DAPH. I beg your pardon. He is my husband.

NICE. Apollo is Sparkeion, and he's married to me.

DAPH. Sparkeion is Apollo, and he's married to me.

NICE. He is my husband.

DAPH. He's your brother.

THES. Look here, Apollo, whose husband are you? Don't let's have
any row about it; whose husband are you?

SPAR. Upon my honor I don't know. I'm in a very delicate
position, but I'll fall in with any arrangement Thespis may
propose.

DAPH. I've just found out that he's my husband and yet he goes
out every evening with that "thing."

THES. Perhaps he's trying an experiment.

DAPH. I don't like my husband to make such experiments. The
question is, who are we all and what is our relation to each
other.

SPAR. You're Diana. I'm Apollo
And Calliope is she.

DAPH. He's your brother.

NICE. You're another. He has fairly married me.

DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm his wife and you are not.

SPAR & DAPH. By the rules of this fair spot
I'm/she's his wife and you are not.

NICE. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm his wife, and you're a "thing."

DAPH, NICE, SPAR. By this golden wedding ring,
I'm/She's his wife and you're a "thing."

ALL. Please will someone kindly tell us.
Who are our respective kin?
All of us/them are very jealous
Neither of us/them will give in.

NICE. He's my husband, I declare,
I espoused him properlee.

SPAR. That is true, for I was there,
And I saw her marry me.

DAPH. He's your brother--I'm his wife.
If we go by Lempriere.

SPAR. So she is, upon my life.
Really, that seems very fair.

NICE. You're my husband and no other.

SPAR. That is true enough I swear.

DAPH. I'm his wife, and you're his brother.

SPAR. If we go by Lempriere.

NICE. It will surely be unfair,
To decide by Lempriere. [crying]

DAPH. It will surely be quite fair,
To decide by Lempriere.

SPAR & THES How you settle it I don't care,
Leave it all to Lempriere.
[Spoken] The Verdict
As Sparkeion is Apollo,
Up in this Olympian clime,
Why, Nicemis, it will follow,
He's her husband, for the time. [indicating Daphne]

When Sparkeion turns to mortal
Join once more the sons of men.
He may take you to his portal [indicating Nicemis]
He will be your husband then.
That oh that is my decision,
'Cording to my mental vision,
Put an end to all collision,
My decision, my decision.

ALL. That oh that is his decision. etc.

[Exeunt Thes, Nice., Spar and Daphne, Spar. with Daphne, Nicemis
weeping with Thespis. mysterious music. Enter Jupiter, Apollo
and Mars from below, at the back of stage. All wear cloaks, as
disguise and all are masked]

JUP., AP., MARS. Oh rage and fury, Oh shame and sorrow.
We'll be resuming our ranks tomorrow.
Since from Olympus we have departed,
We've been distracted and brokenhearted,
Oh wicked Thespis. Oh villain scurvy.
Through him Olympus is topsy turvy.
Compelled to silence to grin and bear it.
He's caused our sorrow, and he shall share it.
Where is the monster. Avenge his blunders.
He has awakened Olympian thunders.

[Enter Mercury]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

MER. [in great terror] Please sir, what have I done, sir?

JUP. What did we leave you behind for?

MER. Please sir, that's the question I asked for when you went
away.

JUP. Was it not that Thespis might consult you whenever he was in
a difficulty?

MER. Well, here I've been ready to be consulted, chockful of
reliable information--running over with celestial maxims--advice
gratis ten to four--after twelve ring the night bell in cases of
emergency.

JUP. And hasn't he consulted you?

MER. Not he--he disagrees with me about everything.

JUP. He must have misunderstood me. I told him to consult you
whenever he was in a fix.

MER. He must have though you said in-sult. Why whenever I opened
my mouth he jumps down my throat. It isn't pleasant to have a
fellow constantly jumping down your throat--especially when he
always disagrees with you. It's just the sort of thing I can't
digest.

JUP. [in a rage] Send him here. I'll talk to him.

[enter Thespis. He is much terrified]

JUP. Oh monster.

AP. Oh monster.

MARS. Oh monster.

[Thespis sings in great terror, which he endeavours to conceal]

JUP. Well sir, the year is up today.

AP. And a nice mess you've made of it.

MARS. You've deranged the whole scheme of society.

THES. [aside] There's going to be a row. [aloud and very
familiarly]My dear boy, I do assure you--

JUP. Be respectful.

AP. Be respectful.

MARS. Be respectful.

THES. I don't know what you allude to. With the exception of
getting our scene painter to "run up" this temple, because we
found the ruins draughty, we haven't touched a thing.

JUP. Oh story teller.

AP. Oh story teller.

MARS. Oh story teller.

[Enter thespians]

THES. My dear fellows, you're distressing yourselves
unnecessarily. The court of Olympus is about to assemble to
listen to the complaints of the year, if any. But there are
none, or next to none. Let the Olympians assemble. [Thespis
takes chair. JUP., AP., and MARS sit below him.

Ladies and gentlemen, it seems that it is usual for the gods to
assemble once a year to listen to mortal petitions. It doesn't
seem to me to be a good plan, as work is liable to accumulate;
but as I am particularly anxious not to interfere with Olympian
precedent, but to allow everything to go on as it has always been
accustomed to go--why, we'll say no more about it. [aside] But
how shall I account for your presence?

JUP. Say we are the gentlemen of the press.

THES. That all our proceedings may be perfectly open and above-
board I have communicated with the most influential members of
the Athenian press, and I beg to introduce to your notice three
of its most distinguished members. They bear marks emblematic of
the anonymous character of modern journalism. [Business of
introduction. Thespis is very uneasy] Now then, if you're all
ready we will begin.

MER. [brings tremendous bundle of petitions] Here is the agenda.

THES. What's that? The petitions?

MER. Some of them. [opens one and reads] Ah, I thought there'd be
a row about it.

THES. Why, what's wrong now?

MER. Why, it's been a foggy Friday in November for the last six
months and the Athenians are tired of it.

THES. There's no pleasing some people. This craving for perpetual
change is the curse of the country. Friday's a very nice day.

MER. So it is, but a Friday six months long.--it gets monotonous.

JUP, AP, MARS. [rising] It's perfectly ridiculous.

THES. [calling them] Cymon.

CYM. [as time with the usual attributes] Sir.

THES. [Introducing him to the three gods] Allow me--Father Time--
rather young at present but even time must have a beginning. In
course of time, time will grow older. Now then, Father Time,
what's this about a wet Friday in November for the last six
months.

CYM. Well, the fact is, I've been trying an experiment. Seven
days in the week is an awkward number. It can't be halved. Two;'s
into seven won't go.

THES. [tries it on his fingers] Quite so--quite so.

CYM. So I abolished Saturday.

JUP, AP, MARS. Oh but. [Rising]

THES. Do be quiet. He's a very intelligent young man and knows
what he is about. So you abolished Saturday. And how did you find
it answer?

CYM. Admirably.

THES. You hear? He found it answer admirably.

CYM. Yes, only Sunday refused to take its place.

THES. Sunday refused to take its place?

CYM. Sunday comes after Saturday--Sunday won't go on duty after
Friday. Sunday's principles are very strict. That's where my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why November? Come, why November?

CYM. December can't begin until November has finished. November
can't finish because he's abolished Saturday. There again my
experiment sticks.

THES. Well, but why wet? Come now, why wet?

CYM. Ah, that is your fault. You turned on the rain six months
ago and you forgot to turn it off again.

JUP., AP., MARS. [rising] On this is monstrous.

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Gentlemen, pray be seated. [to the others] The liberty of
the press, one can't help it. [to the three gods] It is easily
settled. Athens has had a wet Friday in November for the last six
months. Let them have a blazing Tuesday in July for the next
twelve.

JUP., AP., MARS. But--

ALL. Order. Order.

THES. Now then, the next article.

MER. Here's a petition from the Peace Society. They complain
because there are no more battles.

MARS. [springing up] What.

THES. Quiet there. Good dog--soho; Timidon.

TIM. [as Mars] Here.

THES. What's this about there being no battles?

TIM. I've abolished battles; it's an experiment.

MARS. [spring up] Oh come, I say--

THES. Quiet then. [to Tim] Abolished battles?

TIM. Yes, you told us on taking office to remember two things. To
try experiments and to take it easy. I found I couldn't take it
easy while there are any battles to attend to, so I tried the
experiment and abolished battles. And then I took it easy. The
Peace Society ought to be very much obliged to me.

THES. Obliged to you. Why, confound it. Since battles have been
abolished, war is universal.

TIM. War is universal?

THES. To b sure it is. Now that nations can't fight, no two of
'em are on speaking terms. The dread of fighting was the only
thing that kept them civil to each other. Let battles be
restored and peace reign supreme.

MER. Here's a petition from the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Well, what's wrong with the associated wine merchants of
Mytilene? Are there no grapes this year?

THES. Plenty of grapes. More than usual.

THES. [to the gods] You observe, there is no deception. There are
more than usual.

MER. There are plenty of grapes, only they are full of ginger
beer.

THREE GODS. Oh, come I say [rising they are put down by Thespis.]

THES. Eh? what [much alarmed] Bacchus.

TIPS. [as Bacchus] Here.

THES. There seems to be something unusual with the grapes of
Mytilene. They only grow ginger beer.

TIPS. And a very good thing too.

THES. It's very nice in its way but it is not what one looks for
from grapes.

TIPS. Beloved master, a week before we came up here, you insisted
on my taking the pledge. By so doing you rescued me from my
otherwise inevitable misery. I cannot express my thanks. Embrace
me. [attempts to embrace him.]

THES. Get out, don't be a fool. Look here, you know you're the
god of wine.

TIPS. I am.

THES. [very angry] Well, do you consider it consistent with your
duty as the god of wine to make the grapes yield nothing but
ginger beer?

TIPS. Do you consider it consistent with my duty as a total
abstainer to grow anything stronger than ginger beer?

THES. But your duty as the god of wine--

TIPS. In every respect in which my duty as the god of wine can be
discharged consistently with my duty as a total abstainer, I will
discharge it. But when the functions clash, everything must give
way to the pledge. My preserver. [Attempts to embrace him]

THES. Don't be a confounded fool. This can be arranged. We can't
give over the wine this year, but at least we can improve the
ginger beer. Let all the ginger beer be extracted from it
immediately.

THREE GODS. We can't stand this,
We can't stand this.
It's much too strong.
We can't stand this.
It would be wrong.
Extremely wrong.
If we stood this.

If we stand this
If we stand this
We can't stand this.

DAPH, SPAR, NICE. Great Jove, this interference.
Is more than we can stand;
Of them make a clearance,
With your majestic hand.

JOVE. This cool audacity, it beats us hollow.
I'm Jupiter.

MARS. I'm Mars.

AP. I'm Apollo.

[Enter Diana and all the other gods and goddesses.

ALL. [kneeling with their foreheads on the ground]

Jupiter, Mars, and Apollo
Have quitted the dwellings of men;
The other gods quickly will follow.
And what will become of us then.
Oh pardon us, Jove and Apollo,
Pardon us, Jupiter, Mars:
Oh see us in misery wallow.
Cursing our terrible stars.

[enter other gods.]

ALL THESPIANS: Let us remain, we beg of you pleadingly.

THREE GODS: Let them remain, they beg of us pleadingly.

THES. Life on Olympus suits us exceedingly.

GODS. Life on Olympus suits them exceedingly.

THES. Let us remain, we pray in humility.

GODS. Let 'em remain, they pray in humility.

THES. If we have shown some little ability.

GODS. If they have shown some little ability.
Let us remain, etc...

JUP. Enough, your reign is ended.
Upon this sacred hill.
Let him be apprehended
And learn out awful will.
Away to earth, contemptible comedians,
And hear our curse, before we set you free'
You shall be all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever goes to see.

ALL. We go to earth, contemptible tragedians,
We hear his curse, before he sets us free,
We shall all be eminent tragedians,
Whom no one ever, ever goes to see.

SILL, SPAR, THES. Whom no one
Ever goes to see.

[The thespians are driven away by the gods, who group themselves
in attitudes of triumph.]

THES. Now, here you see the arrant folly
Of doing your best to make things jolly.
I've ruled the world like a chap in his senses,
Observe the terrible consequences.
Great Jupiter, whom nothing pleases,
Splutters and swears, and kicks up breezes,
And sends us home in a mood avengin'
In double quick time, like a railroad engine.
And this he does without compunction,
Because I have discharged with unction
A highly complicated function
Complying with his own injunction,
Fol, lol, lay

CHO. All this he does....etc.

[The gods drive the thespians away. The thespians prepare to
descend the mountain as the curtain falls.]

CURTAIN

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The Victories Of Love. Book II

I
From Jane To Her Mother

Thank Heaven, the burthens on the heart
Are not half known till they depart!
Although I long'd, for many a year,
To love with love that casts out fear,
My Frederick's kindness frighten'd me,
And heaven seem'd less far off than he;
And in my fancy I would trace
A lady with an angel's face,
That made devotion simply debt,
Till sick with envy and regret,
And wicked grief that God should e'er
Make women, and not make them fair.
That he might love me more because
Another in his memory was,
And that my indigence might be
To him what Baby's was to me,
The chief of charms, who could have thought?
But God's wise way is to give nought
Till we with asking it are tired;
And when, indeed, the change desired
Comes, lest we give ourselves the praise,
It comes by Providence, not Grace;
And mostly our thanks for granted pray'rs
Are groans at unexpected cares.
First Baby went to heaven, you know,
And, five weeks after, Grace went, too.
Then he became more talkative,
And, stooping to my heart, would give
Signs of his love, which pleased me more
Than all the proofs he gave before;
And, in that time of our great grief,
We talk'd religion for relief;
For, though we very seldom name
Religion, we now think the same!
Oh, what a bar is thus removed
To loving and to being loved!
For no agreement really is
In anything when none's in this.
Why, Mother, once, if Frederick press'd
His wife against his hearty breast,
The interior difference seem'd to tear
My own, until I could not bear
The trouble. 'Twas a dreadful strife,
And show'd, indeed, that faith is life.
He never felt this. If he did,
I'm sure it could not have been hid;
For wives, I need not say to you,
Can feel just what their husbands do,
Without a word or look; but then
It is not so, you know, with men.

From that time many a Scripture text
Help'd me, which had, before, perplex'd.
Oh, what a wond'rous word seem'd this:
He is my head, as Christ is his!
None ever could have dared to see
In marriage such a dignity
For man, and for his wife, still less,
Such happy, happy lowliness,
Had God Himself not made it plain!
This revelation lays the rein—

If I may speak so—on the neck
Of a wife's love, takes thence the check
Of conscience, and forbids to doubt
Its measure is to be without
All measure, and a fond excess
Is here her rule of godliness.

I took him not for love but fright;
He did but ask a dreadful right.
In this was love, that he loved me
The first, who was mere poverty.
All that I know of love he taught;
And love is all I know of aught.
My merit is so small by his,
That my demerit is my bliss.
My life is hid with him in Christ,
Never thencefrom to be enticed;
And in his strength have I such rest
As when the baby on my breast
Finds what it knows not how to seek,
And, very happy, very weak,
Lies, only knowing all is well,
Pillow'd on kindness palpable.


II
From Lady Clitheroe To Mary Churchill

Dear Saint, I'm still at High-Hurst Park.
The house is fill'd with folks of mark.
Honoria suits a good estate
Much better than I hoped. How fate
Loads her with happiness and pride!
And such a loving lord, beside!
But between us, Sweet, everything
Has limits, and to build a wing
To this old house, when Courtholm stands
Empty upon his Berkshire lands,
And all that Honor might be near
Papa, was buying love too dear.

With twenty others, there are two
Guests here, whose names will startle you:
Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Graham!
I thought he stay'd away for shame.
He and his wife were ask'd, you know,
And would not come, four years ago.
You recollect Miss Smythe found out
Who she had been, and all about
Her people at the Powder-mill;
And how the fine Aunt tried to instil
Haut ton, and how, at last poor Jane
Had got so shy and gauche that, when
The Dockyard gentry came to sup,
She always had to be lock'd up;
And some one wrote to us and said
Her mother was a kitchen-maid.
Dear Mary, you'll be charm'd to know
It must be all a fib. But, oh,
She is the oddest little Pet
On which my eyes were ever set!
She's so outrée and natural
That, when she first arrived, we all
Wonder'd, as when a robin comes
In through the window to eat crumbs
At breakfast with us. She has sense,
Humility, and confidence;
And, save in dressing just a thought
Gayer in colours than she ought,
(To-day she looks a cross between
Gipsy and Fairy, red and green,)
She always happens to do well.
And yet one never quite can tell
What she might do or utter next.
Lord Clitheroe is much perplex'd.
Her husband, every now and then,
Looks nervous; all the other men
Are charm'd. Yet she has neither grace,
Nor one good feature in her face.
Her eyes, indeed, flame in her head,
Like very altar-fires to Fred,
Whose steps she follows everywhere
Like a tame duck, to the despair
Of Colonel Holmes, who does his part
To break her funny little heart.
Honor's enchanted. 'Tis her view
That people, if they're good and true,
And treated well, and let alone,
Will kindly take to what's their own,
And always be original,
Like children. Honor's just like all
The rest of us! But, thinking so,
'Tis well she miss'd Lord Clitheroe,
Who hates originality,
Though he puts up with it in me.

Poor Mrs. Graham has never been
To the Opera! You should have seen
The innocent way she told the Earl
She thought Plays sinful when a girl,
And now she never had a chance!
Frederick's complacent smile and glance
Towards her, show'd me, past a doubt,
Honoria had been quite cut out.
'Tis very strange; for Mrs. Graham,
Though Frederick's fancy none can blame,
Seems the last woman you'd have thought
Her lover would have ever sought.
She never reads, I find, nor goes
Anywhere; so that I suppose
She got at all she ever knew
By growing up, as kittens do.

Talking of kittens, by-the-bye,
You have more influence than I
With dear Honoria. Get her, Dear,
To be a little more severe
With those sweet Children. They've the run
Of all the place. When school was done,
Maud burst in, while the Earl was there,
With ‘Oh, Mama, do be a bear!’

Do you know, Dear, this odd wife of Fred
Adores his old Love in his stead!
She is so nice, yet, I should say,
Not quite the thing for every day.
Wonders are wearying! Felix goes
Next Sunday with her to the Close,
And you will judge.

Honoria asks
All Wiltshire Belles here; Felix basks
Like Puss in fire-shine, when the room
Is thus aflame with female bloom.
But then she smiles when most would pout;
And so his lawless loves go out
With the last brocade. 'Tis not the same,
I fear, with Mrs. Frederick Graham.
Honoria should not have her here,—
And this you might just hint, my Dear,—
For Felix says he never saw
Such proof of what he holds for law,
That ‘beauty is love which can be seen.’
Whatever he by this may mean,
Were it not dreadful if he fell
In love with her on principle!


III
From Jane To Mrs. Graham

Mother, I told you how, at first,
I fear'd this visit to the Hurst.
Fred must, I felt, be so distress'd
By aught in me unlike the rest
Who come here. But I find the place
Delightful; there's such ease, and grace,
And kindness, and all seem to be
On such a high equality.
They have not got to think, you know,
How far to make the money go.
But Frederick says it's less the expense
Of money, than of sound good-sense,
Quickness to care what others feel,
And thoughts with nothing to conceal;
Which I'll teach Johnny. Mrs. Vaughan
Was waiting for us on the Lawn,
And kiss'd and call'd me ‘Cousin.’ Fred
Neglected his old friends, she said.
He laugh'd, and colour'd up at this.
She was, you know, a flame of his;
But I'm not jealous! Luncheon done,
I left him, who had just begun
To talk about the Russian War
With an old Lady, Lady Carr,—
A Countess, but I'm more afraid,
A great deal, of the Lady's Maid,—
And went with Mrs. Vaughan to see
The pictures, which appear'd to be
Of sorts of horses, clowns, and cows
Call'd Wouvermans and Cuyps and Dows.
And then she took me up, to show
Her bedroom, where, long years ago,
A Queen slept. 'Tis all tapestries
Of Cupids, Gods, and Goddesses,
And black, carved oak. A curtain'd door
Leads thence into her soft Boudoir,
Where even her husband may but come
By favour. He, too, has his room,
Kept sacred to his solitude.
Did I not think the plan was good?
She ask'd me; but I said how small
Our house was, and that, after all,
Though Frederick would not say his prayers
At night till I was safe upstairs,
I thought it wrong to be so shy
Of being good when I was by.
‘Oh, you should humour him!’ she said,
With her sweet voice and smile; and led
The way to where the children ate
Their dinner, and Miss Williams sate.
She's only Nursery-Governess,
Yet they consider her no less
Than Lord or Lady Carr, or me.
Just think how happy she must be!
The Ball-Room, with its painted sky
Where heavy angels seem to fly,
Is a dull place; its size and gloom
Make them prefer, for drawing-room,
The Library, all done up new
And comfortable, with a view
Of Salisbury Spire between the boughs.

When she had shown me through the house,
(I wish I could have let her know
That she herself was half the show;
She is so handsome, and so kind!)
She fetch'd the children, who had dined;
And, taking one in either hand,
Show'd me how all the grounds were plann'd.
The lovely garden gently slopes
To where a curious bridge of ropes
Crosses the Avon to the Park.
We rested by the stream, to mark
The brown backs of the hovering trout.
Frank tickled one, and took it out
From under a stone. We saw his owls,
And awkward Cochin-China fowls,
And shaggy pony in the croft;
And then he dragg'd us to a loft,
Where pigeons, as he push'd the door,
Fann'd clear a breadth of dusty floor,
And set us coughing. I confess
I trembled for my nice silk dress.
I cannot think how Mrs. Vaughan
Ventured with that which she had on,—
A mere white wrapper, with a few
Plain trimmings of a quiet blue,
But, oh, so pretty! Then the bell
For dinner rang. I look'd quite well
(‘Quite charming,’ were the words Fred said,)
With the new gown that I've had made.

I am so proud of Frederick.
He's so high-bred and lordly-like
With Mrs. Vaughan! He's not quite so
At home with me; but that, you know,
I can't expect, or wish. 'Twould hurt,
And seem to mock at my desert.
Not but that I'm a duteous wife
To Fred; but, in another life,
Where all are fair that have been true
I hope I shall be graceful too,
Like Mrs. Vaughan. And, now, good-bye!
That happy thought has made me cry,
And feel half sorry that my cough,
In this fine air, is leaving off.


IV
From Frederick To Mrs. Graham

Honoria, trebly fair and mild
With added loves of lord and child,
Is else unalter'd. Years, which wrong
The rest, touch not her beauty, young
With youth which rather seems her clime,
Than aught that's relative to time.
How beyond hope was heard the prayer
I offer'd in my love's despair!
Could any, whilst there's any woe,
Be wholly blest, then she were so.
She is, and is aware of it,
Her husband's endless benefit;
But, though their daily ways reveal
The depth of private joy they feel,
'Tis not their bearing each to each
That does abroad their secret preach,
But such a lovely good-intent
To all within their government
And friendship as, 'tis well discern'd,
Each of the other must have learn'd;
For no mere dues of neighbourhood
Ever begot so blest a mood.

And fair, indeed, should be the few
God dowers with nothing else to do,
And liberal of their light, and free
To show themselves, that all may see!
For alms let poor men poorly give
The meat whereby men's bodies live;
But they of wealth are stewards wise
Whose graces are their charities.

The sunny charm about this home
Makes all to shine who thither come.
My own dear Jane has caught its grace,
And, honour'd, honours too the place.
Across the lawn I lately walk'd
Alone, and watch'd where mov'd and talk'd,
Gentle and goddess-like of air,
Honoria and some Stranger fair.
I chose a path unblest by these;
When one of the two Goddesses,
With my Wife's voice, but softer, said,
‘Will you not walk with us, dear Fred?’

She moves, indeed, the modest peer
Of all the proudest ladies here.
Unawed she talks with men who stand
Among the leaders of the land,
And women beautiful and wise,
With England's greatness in their eyes.
To high, traditional good-sense,
And knowledge ripe without pretence,
And human truth exactly hit
By quiet and conclusive wit,
Listens my little, homely Dove,
Mistakes the points and laughs for love;
And, after, stands and combs her hair,
And calls me much the wittiest there!

With reckless loyalty, dear Wife,
She lays herself about my life!
The joy I might have had of yore
I have not; for 'tis now no more,
With me, the lyric time of youth,
And sweet sensation of the truth.
Yet, past my hope or purpose bless'd,
In my chance choice let be confess'd
The tenderer Providence that rules
The fates of children and of fools!

I kiss'd the kind, warm neck that slept,
And from her side this morning stepp'd,
To bathe my brain from drowsy night
In the sharp air and golden light.
The dew, like frost, was on the pane.
The year begins, though fair, to wane.
There is a fragrance in its breath
Which is not of the flowers, but death;
And green above the ground appear
The lilies of another year.
I wander'd forth, and took my path
Among the bloomless aftermath;
And heard the steadfast robin sing
As if his own warm heart were Spring,
And watch'd him feed where, on the yew,
Hung honey'd drops of crimson dew;
And then return'd, by walls of peach,
And pear-trees bending to my reach,
And rose-beds with the roses gone,
To bright-laid breakfast. Mrs. Vaughan
Was there, none with her. I confess
I love her than of yore no less!
But she alone was loved of old;
Now love is twain, nay, manifold;
For, somehow, he whose daily life
Adjusts itself to one true wife,
Grows to a nuptial, near degree
With all that's fair and womanly.
Therefore, as more than friends, we met,
Without constraint, without regret;
The wedded yoke that each had donn'd
Seeming a sanction, not a bond.


V
From Mrs. Graham

Your love lacks joy, your letter says.
Yes; love requires the focal space
Of recollection or of hope,
Ere it can measure its own scope.
Too soon, too soon comes Death to show
We love more deeply than we know!
The rain, that fell upon the height
Too gently to be call'd delight,
Within the dark vale reappears
As a wild cataract of tears;
And love in life should strive to see
Sometimes what love in death would be!
Easier to love, we so should find,
It is than to be just and kind.

She's gone: shut close the coffin-lid:
What distance for another did
That death has done for her! The good,
Once gazed upon with heedless mood,
Now fills with tears the famish'd eye,
And turns all else to vanity.
'Tis sad to see, with death between,
The good we have pass'd and have not seen!
How strange appear the words of all!
The looks of those that live appal.
They are the ghosts, and check the breath:
There's no reality but death,
And hunger for some signal given
That we shall have our own in heaven.
But this the God of love lets be
A horrible uncertainty.

How great her smallest virtue seems,
How small her greatest fault! Ill dreams
Were those that foil'd with loftier grace
The homely kindness of her face.
'Twas here she sat and work'd, and there
She comb'd and kiss'd the children's hair;
Or, with one baby at her breast,
Another taught, or hush'd to rest.
Praise does the heart no more refuse
To the chief loveliness of use.
Her humblest good is hence most high
In the heavens of fond memory;
And Love says Amen to the word,
A prudent wife is from the Lord.
Her worst gown's kept, ('tis now the best,
As that in which she oftenest dress'd,)
For memory's sake more precious grown
Than she herself was for her own.
Poor child! foolish it seem'd to fly
To sobs instead of dignity,
When she was hurt. Now, more than all,
Heart-rending and angelical
That ignorance of what to do,
Bewilder'd still by wrong from you:
For what man ever yet had grace
Ne'er to abuse his power and place?

No magic of her voice or smile
Suddenly raised a fairy isle,
But fondness for her underwent
An unregarded increment,
Like that which lifts, through centuries,
The coral-reef within the seas,
Till, lo! the land where was the wave,
Alas! 'tis everywhere her grave.


VI
From Jane To Mrs. Graham

Dear Mother, I can surely tell,
Now, that I never shall get well.
Besides the warning in my mind,
All suddenly are grown so kind.
Fred stopp'd the Doctor, yesterday,
Downstairs, and, when he went away,
Came smiling back, and sat with me,
Pale, and conversing cheerfully
About the Spring, and how my cough,
In finer weather, would leave off.
I saw it all, and told him plain
I felt no hope of Spring again.
Then he, after a word of jest,
Burst into tears upon my breast,
And own'd, when he could speak, he knew
There was a little danger, too.
This made me very weak and ill,
And while, last night, I lay quite still,
And, as he fancied, in the deep,
Exhausted rest of my short sleep,
I heard, or dream'd I heard him pray:
‘Oh, Father, take her not away!
‘Let not life's dear assurance lapse
‘Into death's agonised 'Perhaps,'

‘A hope without Thy promise, where
‘Less than assurance is despair!
‘Give me some sign, if go she must,
That death's not worse than dust to dust,
‘Not heaven, on whose oblivious shore
‘Joy I may have, but her no more!
‘The bitterest cross, it seems to me,
‘Of all is infidelity;
And so, if I may choose, I'll miss
‘The kind of heaven which comes to this.
If doom'd, indeed, this fever ceased,
To die out wholly, like a beast,
‘Forgetting all life's ill success
‘In dark and peaceful nothingness,
I could but say, Thy will be done;
‘For, dying thus, I were but one
‘Of seed innumerable which ne'er
‘In all the worlds shall bloom or bear.
I've put life past to so poor use
‘Well may'st Thou life to come refuse;
And justice, which the spirit contents,
‘Shall still in me all vain laments;
‘Nay, pleased, I will, while yet I live,
‘Think Thou my forfeit joy may'st give
To some fresh life, else unelect,
And heaven not feel my poor defect!
‘Only let not Thy method be
To make that life, and call it me;
‘Still less to sever mine in twain,
And tell each half to live again,
And count itself the whole! To die,
‘Is it love's disintegrity?
‘Answer me, 'No,' and I, with grace,
‘Will life's brief desolation face,
‘My ways, as native to the clime,
‘Adjusting to the wintry time,
‘Ev'n with a patient cheer thereof—’

He started up, hearing me cough.
Oh, Mother, now my last doubt's gone!
He likes me more than Mrs. Vaughan;
And death, which takes me from his side,
Shows me, in very deed, his bride!


VII
From Jane To Frederick

I leave this, Dear, for you to read,
For strength and hope, when I am dead.
When Grace died, I was so perplex'd,
I could not find one helpful text;
And when, a little while before,
I saw her sobbing on the floor,
Because I told her that in heaven
She would be as the angels even,
And would not want her doll, 'tis true
A horrible fear within me grew,
That, since the preciousness of love
Went thus for nothing, mine might prove
To be no more, and heaven's bliss
Some dreadful good which is not this.

But being about to die makes clear
Many dark things. I have no fear,
Now, that my love, my grief, my joy
Is but a passion for a toy.
I cannot speak at all, I find,
The shining something in my mind,
That shows so much that, if I took
My thoughts all down, 'twould make a book.
God's Word, which lately seem'd above
The simpleness of human love,
To my death-sharpen'd hearing tells
Of little or of nothing else;
And many things I hoped were true,
When first they came, like songs, from you,
Now rise with witness past the reach
Of doubt, and I to you can teach,
As if with felt authority
And as things seen, what you taught me.

Yet how? I have no words but those
Which every one already knows:
As, ‘No man hath at any time
‘Seen God, but 'tis the love of Him
Made perfect, and He dwells in us,
If we each other love.’ Or thus,
‘My goodness misseth in extent
‘Of Thee, Lord! In the excellent
I know Thee; and the Saints on Earth
‘Make all my love and holy mirth.’
And further, ‘Inasmuch as ye
‘Did it to one of these, to Me
‘Ye did it, though ye nothing thought
‘Nor knew of Me, in that ye wrought.’

What shall I dread? Will God undo
Our bond, which is all others too?
And when I meet you will you say
To my reclaiming looks, ‘Away!
‘A dearer love my bosom warms
‘With higher rights and holier charms.
‘The children, whom thou here may'st see,
‘Neighbours that mingle thee and me,
And gaily on impartial lyres
‘Renounce the foolish filial fires
‘They felt, with 'Praise to God on high,
‘'Goodwill to all else equally;'

‘The trials, duties, service, tears;
‘The many fond, confiding years
‘Of nearness sweet with thee apart;
‘The joy of body, mind, and heart;
‘The love that grew a reckless growth,
‘Unmindful that the marriage-oath
To love in an eternal style
‘Meant—only for a little while:
‘Sever'd are now those bonds earth-wrought:
‘All love, not new, stands here for nought!’

Why, it seems almost wicked, Dear,
Even to utter such a fear!
Are we not ‘heirs,’ as man and wife,
‘Together of eternal life?’
Was Paradise e'er meant to fade,
To make which marriage first was made?
Neither beneath him nor above
Could man in Eden find his Love;
Yet with him in the garden walk'd
His God, and with Him mildly talk'd!
Shall the humble preference offend
In heaven, which God did there commend?
Are ‘honourable and undefiled’
The names of aught from heaven exiled?
And are we not forbid to grieve
As without hope? Does God deceive,
And call that hope which is despair,
Namely, the heaven we should not share?
Image and glory of the man,
As he of God, is woman. Can
This holy, sweet proportion die
Into a dull equality?
Are we not one flesh, yea, so far
More than the babe and mother are,
That sons are bid mothers to leave
And to their wives alone to cleave,
‘For they two are one flesh?’ But 'tis
In the flesh we rise. Our union is,
You know 'tis said, ‘great mystery.’
Great mockery, it appears to me;
Poor image of the spousal bond
Of Christ and Church, if loosed beyond
This life!—'Gainst which, and much more yet,
There's not a single word to set.
The speech to the scoffing Sadducee
Is not in point to you and me;
For how could Christ have taught such clods
That Cæsar's things are also God's?
The sort of Wife the Law could make
Might well be ‘hated’ for Love's sake,
And left, like money, land, or house;
For out of Christ is no true spouse.

I used to think it strange of Him
To make love's after-life so dim,
Or only clear by inference:
But God trusts much to common sense,
And only tells us what, without
His Word, we could not have found out.
On fleshly tables of the heart
He penn'd truth's feeling counterpart
In hopes that come to all: so, Dear,
Trust these, and be of happy cheer,
Nor think that he who has loved well
Is of all men most miserable.

There's much more yet I want to say,
But cannot now. You know my way
Of feeling strong from Twelve till Two
After my wine. I'll write to you
Daily some words, which you shall have
To break the silence of the grave.


VIII
From Jane To Frederick

You think, perhaps, ‘Ah, could she know
How much I loved her!’ Dear, I do!
And you may say, ‘Of this new awe
‘Of heart which makes her fancies law,
‘These watchful duties of despair,
‘She does not dream, she cannot care!’
Frederick, you see how false that is,
Or how could I have written this?
And, should it ever cross your mind
That, now and then, you were unkind,
You never, never were at all!
Remember that! It's natural
For one like Mr. Vaughan to come,
From a morning's useful pastime, home,
And greet, with such a courteous zest,
His handsome wife, still newly dress'd,
As if the Bird of Paradise
Should daily change her plumage thrice.
He's always well, she's always gay.
Of course! But he who toils all day,
And comes home hungry, tired, or cold,
And feels 'twould do him good to scold
His wife a little, let him trust
Her love, and say the things he must,
Till sooth'd in mind by meat and rest.
If, after that, she's well caress'd,
And told how good she is, to bear
His humour, fortune makes it fair.
Women like men to be like men;
That is, at least, just now and then.
Thus, I have nothing to forgive,
But those first years, (how could I live!)
When, though I really did behave
So stupidly, you never gave
One unkind word or look at all:
As if I was some animal
You pitied! Now, in later life,
You used me like a proper Wife.

You feel, Dear, in your present mood,
Your Jane, since she was kind and good,
A child of God, a living soul,
Was not so different, on the whole,
From Her who had a little more
Of God's best gifts: but, oh, be sure,
My dear, dear Love, to take no blame
Because you could not feel the same
Towards me, living, as when dead.
A hungry man must needs think bread
So sweet! and, only at their rise
And setting, blessings, to the eyes,
Like the sun's course, grow visible.
If you are sad, remember well,
Against delusions of despair,
That memory sees things as they were,
And not as they were misenjoy'd,
And would be still, if ought destroy'd
The glory of their hopelessness:
So that, in truth, you had me less
In days when necessary zeal
For my perfection made you feel
My faults the most, than now your love
Forgets but where it can approve.
You gain by loss, if that seem'd small
Possess'd, which, being gone, turns all
Surviving good to vanity.
Oh, Fred, this makes it sweet to die!

Say to yourself: ‘'Tis comfort yet
I made her that which I regret;
And parting might have come to pass
‘In a worse season; as it was,
‘Love an eternal temper took,
‘Dipp'd, glowing, in Death's icy brook!’
Or say, ‘On her poor feeble head
‘This might have fallen: 'tis mine instead!
And so great evil sets me free
‘Henceforward from calamity.
And, in her little children, too,
‘How much for her I yet can do!’
And grieve not for these orphans even;
For central to the love of Heaven
Is each child as each star to space.
This truth my dying love has grace
To trust with a so sure content,
I fear I seem indifferent.

You must not think a child's small heart
Cold, because it and grief soon part.
Fanny will keep them all away,
Lest you should hear them laugh and play,
Before the funeral's over. Then
I hope you'll be yourself again,
And glad, with all your soul, to find
How God thus to the sharpest wind
Suits the shorn lambs. Instruct them, Dear,
For my sake, in His love and fear.
And show how, till their journey's done,
Not to be weary they must run.

Strive not to dissipate your grief
By any lightness. True relief
Of sorrow is by sorrow brought.
And yet for sorrow's sake, you ought
To grieve with measure. Do not spend
So good a power to no good end!
Would you, indeed, have memory stay
In the heart, lock up and put away
Relics and likenesses and all
Musings, which waste what they recall.
True comfort, and the only thing
To soothe without diminishing
A prized regret, is to match here,
By a strict life, God's love severe.
Yet, after all, by nature's course,
Feeling must lose its edge and force.
Again you'll reach the desert tracts
Where only sin or duty acts.
But, if love always lit our path,
Where were the trial of our faith?

Oh, should the mournful honeymoon
Of death be over strangely soon,
And life-long resolutions, made
In grievous haste, as quickly fade,
Seeming the truth of grief to mock,
Think, Dearest, 'tis not by the clock
That sorrow goes! A month of tears
Is more than many, many years
Of common time. Shun, if you can,
However, any passionate plan.
Grieve with the heart; let not the head
Grieve on, when grief of heart is dead;
For all the powers of life defy
A superstitious constancy.

The only bond I hold you to
Is that which nothing can undo.
A man is not a young man twice;
And if, of his young years, he lies
A faithful score in one wife's breast,
She need not mind who has the rest.
In this do what you will, dear Love,
And feel quite sure that I approve.
And, should it chance as it may be,
Give her my wedding-ring from me;
And never dream that you can err
T'wards me by being good to her;
Nor let remorseful thoughts destroy
In you the kindly flowering joy
And pleasure of the natural life.

But don't forget your fond, dead Wife.
And, Frederick, should you ever be
Tempted to think your love of me
All fancy, since it drew its breath
So much more sweetly after death,
Remember that I never did
A single thing you once forbid;
All poor folk liked me; and, at the end,
Your Cousin call'd me ‘Dearest Friend!’

And, now, 'twill calm your grief to know,—
You, who once loved Honoria so,—
There's kindness, that's look'd kindly on,
Between her Emily and John.
Thus, in your children, you will wed!
And John seems so much comforted,
(Like Isaac when his mother died
And fair Rebekah was his bride),
By his new hope, for losing me!
So all is happiness, you see.
And that reminds me how, last night,
I dreamt of heaven, with great delight.
A strange, kind Lady watch'd my face,
Kiss'd me, and cried, ‘His hope found grace!’
She bade me then, in the crystal floor,
Look at myself, myself no more;
And bright within the mirror shone
Honoria's smile, and yet my own!
And, when you talk, I hear,’ she sigh'd,
‘How much he loved her! Many a bride
‘In heaven such countersemblance wears
‘Through what Love deem'd rejected prayers.’
She would have spoken still; but, lo,
One of a glorious troop, aglow
From some great work, towards her came,
And she so laugh'd, 'twas such a flame,
Aaron's twelve jewels seem'd to mix
With the lights of the Seven Candlesticks.


IX
From Lady Clitheroe To Mrs. Graham

My dearest Aunt, the Wedding-day,
But for Jane's loss, and you away,
Was all a Bride from heaven could beg!
Skies bluer than the sparrow's egg,
And clearer than the cuckoo's call;
And such a sun! the flowers all
With double ardour seem'd to blow!
The very daisies were a show,
Expanded with uncommon pride,
Like little pictures of the Bride.

Your Great-Niece and your Grandson were
Perfection of a pretty pair.
How well Honoria's girls turn out,
Although they never go about!
Dear me, what trouble and expense
It took to teach mine confidence!
Hers greet mankind as I've heard say
That wild things do, where beasts of prey
Were never known, nor any men
Have met their fearless eyes till then.
Their grave, inquiring trust to find
All creatures of their simple kind
Quite disconcerts bold coxcombry,
And makes less perfect candour shy.
Ah, Mrs. Graham! people may scoff,
But how your home-kept girls go off!
How Hymen hastens to unband
The waist that ne'er felt waltzer's hand!
At last I see my Sister's right,
And I've told Maud this very night,
(But, oh, my daughters have such wills!)
To knit, and only dance quadrilles.

You say Fred never writes to you
Frankly, as once he used to do,
About himself; and you complain
He shared with none his grief for Jane.
It all comes of the foolish fright
Men feel at the word, hypocrite.
Although, when first in love, sometimes
They rave in letters, talk, and rhymes,
When once they find, as find they must.
How hard 'tis to be hourly just
To those they love, they are dumb for shame,
Where we, you see, talk on the same.

Honoria, to whose heart alone
He seems to open all his own,
At times has tears in her kind eyes,
After their private colloquies.
He's her most favour'd guest, and moves
My spleen by his impartial loves.
His pleasure has some inner spring
Depending not on anything.
Petting our Polly, none e'er smiled
More fondly on his favourite child;
Yet, playing with his own, it is
Somehow as if it were not his.
He means to go again to sea,
Now that the wedding's over. He
Will leave to Emily and John
The little ones to practise on;
And Major-domo, Mrs. Rouse,
A deal old soul from Wilton House,
Will scold the housemaids and the cook,
Till Emily has learn'd to look
A little braver than a lamb
Surprised by dogs without its dam!

Do, dear Aunt, use your influence,
And try to teach some plain good sense
To Mary. 'Tis not yet too late
To make her change her chosen state
Of single silliness. In truth,
I fancy that, with fading youth,
Her will now wavers. Yesterday,
Though, till the Bride was gone away,
Joy shone from Mary's loving heart,
I found her afterwards apart,
Hysterically sobbing. I
Knew much too well to ask her why.
This marrying of Nieces daunts
The bravest souls of maiden Aunts.
Though Sisters' children often blend
Sweetly the bonds of child and friend,
They are but reeds to rest upon.
When Emily comes back with John,
Her right to go downstairs before
Aunt Mary will but be the more
Observed if kindly waived, and how
Shall these be as they were, when now
Niece has her John, and Aunt the sense
Of her superior innocence?
Somehow, all loves, however fond,
Prove lieges of the nuptial bond;
And she who dares at this to scoff,
Finds all the rest in time drop off;
While marriage, like a mushroom-ring,
Spreads its sure circle every Spring.

She twice refused George Vane, you know;
Yet, when he died three years ago
In the Indian war, she put on gray,
And wears no colours to this day.
And she it is who charges me,
Dear Aunt, with ‘inconsistency!’


X
From Frederick To Honoria

Cousin, my thoughts no longer try
To cast the fashion of the sky.
Imagination can extend
Scarcely in part to comprehend
The sweetness of our common food
Ambrosial, which ingratitude
And impious inadvertence waste,
Studious to eat but not to taste.
And who can tell what's yet in store
There, but that earthly things have more
Of all that makes their inmost bliss,
And life's an image still of this,
But haply such a glorious one
As is the rainbow of the sun?
Sweet are your words, but, after all
Their mere reversal may befall
The partners of His glories who
Daily is crucified anew:
Splendid privations, martyrdoms
To which no weak remission comes,
Perpetual passion for the good
Of them that feel no gratitude,
Far circlings, as of planets' fires,
Round never-to-be-reach'd desires,
Whatever rapturously sighs
That life is love, love sacrifice.
All I am sure of heaven is this:
Howe'er the mode, I shall not miss
One true delight which I have known.
Not on the changeful earth alone
Shall loyalty remain unmoved
T'wards everything I ever loved.
So Heaven's voice calls, like Rachel's voice
To Jacob in the field, ‘Rejoice!
‘Serve on some seven more sordid years,
‘Too short for weariness or tears;
‘Serve on; then, oh, Beloved, well-tried,
‘Take me for ever as thy Bride!’


XI
From Mary Churchill To The Dean

Charles does me honour, but 'twere vain
To reconsider now again,
And so to doubt the clear-shown truth
I sought for, and received, when youth,
Being fair, and woo'd by one whose love
Was lovely, fail'd my mind to move.
God bids them by their own will go,
Who ask again the things they know!
I grieve for my infirmity,
And ignorance of how to be
Faithful, at once, to the heavenly life,
And the fond duties of a wife.
Narrow am I and want the art
To love two things with all my heart.
Occupied singly in His search,
Who, in the Mysteries of the Church,
Returns, and calls them Clouds of Heaven,
I tread a road, straight, hard, and even;
But fear to wander all confused,
By two-fold fealty abused.
Either should I the one forget,
Or scantly pay the other's debt.

You bid me, Father, count the cost.
I have; and all that must be lost
I feel as only woman can.
To make the heart's wealth of some man,
And through the untender world to move,
Wrapt safe in his superior love,
How sweet! How sweet the household round
Of duties, and their narrow bound,
So plain, that to transgress were hard,
Yet full of manifest reward!
The charities not marr'd, like mine,
With chance of thwarting laws divine;
The world's regards and just delight
In one that's clearly, kindly right,
How sweet! Dear Father, I endure,
Not without sharp regret, be sure,
To give up such glad certainty,
For what, perhaps, may never be.
For nothing of my state I know,
But that t'ward heaven I seem to go,
As one who fondly landward hies
Along a deck that seaward flies.
With every year, meantime, some grace
Of earthly happiness gives place
To humbling ills, the very charms
Of youth being counted, henceforth, harms:
To blush already seems absurd;
Nor know I whether I should herd
With girls or wives, or sadlier balk
Maids' merriment or matrons' talk.

But strait's the gate of life! O'er late,
Besides, 'twere now to change my fate:
For flowers and fruit of love to form,
It must be Spring as well as warm.
The world's delight my soul dejects,
Revenging all my disrespects
Of old, with incapacity
To chime with even its harmless glee,
Which sounds, from fields beyond my range,
Like fairies' music, thin and strange.
With something like remorse, I grant
The world has beauty which I want;
And if, instead of judging it,
I at its Council chance to sit,
Or at its gay and order'd Feast,
My place seems lower than the least.
The conscience of the life to be
Smites me with inefficiency,
And makes me all unfit to bless
With comfortable earthliness
The rest-desiring brain of man.
Finally, then, I fix my plan
To dwell with Him that dwells apart
In the highest heaven and lowliest heart;
Nor will I, to my utter loss,
Look to pluck roses from the Cross.
As for the good of human love,
'Twere countercheck almost enough
To think that one must die before
The other; and perhaps 'tis more
In love's last interest to do
Nought the least contrary thereto,
Than to be blest, and be unjust,
Or suffer injustice; as they must,
Without a miracle, whose pact
Compels to mutual life and act,
Whether love shines, or darkness sleeps
Cold on the spirit's changeful deeps.

Enough if, to my earthly share,
Fall gleams that keep me from despair.
Happy the things we here discern;
More happy those for which we yearn;
But measurelessly happy above
All else are those we guess not of!


XII
From Felix To Honoria

Dearest, my Love and Wife, 'tis long
Ago I closed the unfinish'd song
Which never could be finish'd; nor
Will ever Poet utter more
Of love than I did, watching well
To lure to speech the unspeakable!
‘Why, having won her, do I woo?’
That final strain to the last height flew
Of written joy, which wants the smile
And voice that are, indeed, the while
They last, the very things you speak,
Honoria, who mak'st music weak
With ways that say, ‘Shall I not be
‘As kind to all as Heaven to me?’
And yet, ah, twenty-fold my Bride!
Rising, this twentieth festal-tide,
You still soft sleeping, on this day
Of days, some words I long to say,
Some words superfluously sweet
Of fresh assurance, thus to greet
Your waking eyes, which never grow
Weary of telling what I know
So well, yet only well enough
To wish for further news thereof.

Here, in this early autumn dawn,
By windows opening on the lawn,
Where sunshine seems asleep, though bright,
And shadows yet are sharp with night,
And, further on, the wealthy wheat
Bends in a golden drowse, how sweet
To sit and cast my careless looks
Around my walls of well-read books,
Wherein is all that stands redeem'd
From time's huge wreck, all men have dream'd
Of truth, and all by poets known
Of feeling, and in weak sort shown,
And, turning to my heart again,
To find I have what makes them vain,
The thanksgiving mind, which wisdom sums,
And you, whereby it freshly comes
As on that morning, (can there be
Twenty-two years 'twixt it and me?)
When, thrill'd with hopeful love I rose
And came in haste to Sarum Close,
Past many a homestead slumbering white
In lonely and pathetic light,
Merely to fancy which drawn blind
Of thirteen had my Love behind,
And in her sacred neighbourhood
To feel that sweet scorn of all good
But her, which let the wise forfend
When wisdom learns to comprehend!

Dearest, as each returning May
I see the season new and gay
With new joy and astonishment,
And Nature's infinite ostent
Of lovely flowers in wood and mead,
That weet not whether any heed,
So see I, daily wondering, you,
And worship with a passion new
The Heaven that visibly allows
Its grace to go about my house,
The partial Heaven, that, though I err
And mortal am, gave all to her
Who gave herself to me. Yet I
Boldly thank Heaven, (and so defy
The beggarly soul'd humbleness
Which fears God's bounty to confess,)
That I was fashion'd with a mind
Seeming for this great gift design'd,
So naturally it moved above
All sordid contraries of love,
Strengthen'd in youth with discipline
Of light, to follow the divine
Vision, (which ever to the dark
Is such a plague as was the ark
In Ashdod, Gath, and Ekron,) still
Discerning with the docile will
Which comes of full persuaded thought,
That intimacy in love is nought
Without pure reverence, whereas this,
In tearfullest banishment, is bliss.

And so, dearest Honoria, I
Have never learn'd the weary sigh
Of those that to their love-feasts went,
Fed, and forgot the Sacrament;
And not a trifle now occurs
But sweet initiation stirs
Of new-discover'd joy, and lends
To feeling change that never ends;
And duties, which the many irk,
Are made all wages and no work.

How sing of such things save to her,
Love's self, so love's interpreter?
How the supreme rewards confess
Which crown the austere voluptuousness
Of heart, that earns, in midst of wealth,
The appetite of want and health,
Relinquishes the pomp of life
And beauty to the pleasant Wife
At home, and does all joy despise
As out of place but in her eyes?
How praise the years and gravity
That make each favour seem to be
A lovelier weakness for her lord?
And, ah, how find the tender word
To tell aright of love that glows
The fairer for the fading rose?
Of frailty which can weight the arm
To lean with thrice its girlish charm?
Of grace which, like this autumn day,
Is not the sad one of decay,
Yet one whose pale brow pondereth
The far-off majesty of death?
How tell the crowd, whom passion rends,
That love grows mild as it ascends?
That joy's most high and distant mood
Is lost, not found in dancing blood;
Albeit kind acts and smiling eyes,
And all those fond realities
Which are love's words, in us mean more
Delight than twenty years before?

How, Dearest, finish, without wrong
To the speechless heart, the unfinish'd song,
Its high, eventful passages
Consisting, say, of things like these:—

One morning, contrary to law,
Which, for the most, we held in awe,
Commanding either not to intrude
On the other's place of solitude
Or solitary mind, for fear
Of coming there when God was near,
And finding so what should be known
To Him who is merciful alone,
And views the working ferment base
Of waking flesh and sleeping grace,
Not as we view, our kindness check'd
By likeness of our own defect,
I, venturing to her room, because
(Mark the excuse!) my Birthday 'twas,
Saw, here across a careless chair,
A ball-dress flung, as light as air,
And, here, beside a silken couch,
Pillows which did the pressure vouch
Of pious knees, (sweet piety!
Of goodness made and charity,
If gay looks told the heart's glad sense,
Much rather than of penitence,)
And, on the couch, an open book,
And written list—I did not look,
Yet just in her clear writing caught:—
‘Habitual faults of life and thought
‘Which most I need deliverance from.’
I turn'd aside, and saw her come
Adown the filbert-shaded way,
Beautified with her usual gay
Hypocrisy of perfectness,
Which made her heart, and mine no less,
So happy! And she cried to me,
You lose by breaking rules, you see!
Your Birthday treat is now half-gone
‘Of seeing my new ball-dress on.’
And, meeting so my lovely Wife,
A passing pang, to think that life
Was mortal, when I saw her laugh,
Shaped in my mind this epitaph:
‘Faults had she, child of Adam's stem,
‘But only Heaven knew of them.’

Or thus:

For many a dreadful day,
In sea-side lodgings sick she lay,
Noteless of love, nor seem'd to hear
The sea, on one side, thundering near,
Nor, on the other, the loud Ball
Held nightly in the public hall;
Nor vex'd they my short slumbers, though
I woke up if she breathed too low.
Thus, for three months, with terrors rife,
The pending of her precious life
I watch'd o'er; and the danger, at last,
The kind Physician said, was past.
Howbeit, for seven harsh weeks the East
Breathed witheringly, and Spring's growth ceased,
And so she only did not die;
Until the bright and blighting sky
Changed into cloud, and the sick flowers
Remember'd their perfumes, and showers
Of warm, small rain refreshing flew
Before the South, and the Park grew,
In three nights, thick with green. Then she
Revived, no less than flower and tree,
In the mild air, and, the fourth day,
Look'd supernaturally gay
With large, thanksgiving eyes, that shone,
The while I tied her bonnet on,
So that I led her to the glass,
And bade her see how fair she was,
And how love visibly could shine.
Profuse of hers, desiring mine,
And mindful I had loved her most
When beauty seem'd a vanish'd boast,
She laugh'd. I press'd her then to me,
Nothing but soft humility;
Nor e'er enhanced she with such charms
Her acquiescence in my arms.
And, by her sweet love-weakness made
Courageous, powerful, and glad,
In a clear illustration high
Of heavenly affection, I
Perceived that utter love is all
The same as to be rational,
And that the mind and heart of love,
Which think they cannot do enough,
Are truly the everlasting doors
Wherethrough, all unpetition'd, pours
The eternal pleasance. Wherefore we
Had innermost tranquillity,
And breathed one life with such a sense
Of friendship and of confidence,
That, recollecting the sure word:
If two of you are in accord,
‘On earth, as touching any boon
‘Which ye shall ask, it shall be done
‘In heaven,’ we ask'd that heaven's bliss
Might ne'er be any less than this;
And, for that hour, we seem'd to have
The secret of the joy we gave.

How sing of such things, save to her,
Love's self, so love's interpreter?
How read from such a homely page
In the ear of this unhomely age?
'Tis now as when the Prophet cried:
‘The nation hast Thou multiplied,
‘But Thou hast not increased the joy!’
And yet, ere wrath or rot destroy
Of England's state the ruin fair,
Oh, might I so its charm declare,
That, in new Lands, in far-off years,
Delighted he should cry that hears:
‘Great is the Land that somewhat best
‘Works, to the wonder of the rest!
‘We, in our day, have better done
‘This thing or that than any one;
And who but, still admiring, sees
‘How excellent for images
Was Greece, for laws how wise was Rome;
‘But read this Poet, and say if home
And private love did e'er so smile
‘As in that ancient English isle!’


XIII
From Lady Clitheroe To Emily Graham

My dearest Niece, I'm charm'd to hear
The scenery's fine at Windermere,
And glad a six-weeks' wife defers
In the least to wisdom not yet hers.
But, Child, I've no advice to give!
Rules only make it hard to live.
And where's the good of having been
Well taught from seven to seventeen,
If, married, you may not leave off,
And say, at last, ‘I'm good enough!’
Weeding out folly, still leave some.
It gives both lightness and aplomb.
We know, however wise by rule,
Woman is still by nature fool;
And men have sense to like her all
The more when she is natural.
'Tis true that, if we choose, we can
Mock to a miracle the man;
But iron in the fire red hot,
Though 'tis the heat, the fire 'tis not:
And who, for such a feint, would pledge
The babe's and woman's privilege,
No duties and a thousand rights?
Besides, defect love's flow incites,
As water in a well will run
Only the while 'tis drawn upon.

‘Point de culte sans mystère,’ you say,
And what if that should die away?’
Child, never fear that either could
Pull from Saint Cupid's face the hood.
The follies natural to each
Surpass the other's moral reach.
Just think how men, with sword and gun,
Will really fight, and never run;
And all in sport: they would have died,
For sixpence more, on the other side!
A woman's heart must ever warm
At such odd ways: and so we charm
By strangeness which, the more they mark,
The more men get into the dark.
The marvel, by familiar life,
Grows, and attaches to the wife
By whom it grows. Thus, silly Girl,
To John you'll always be the pearl
In the oyster of the universe;
And, though in time he'll treat you worse,
He'll love you more, you need not doubt,
And never, never find you out!

My Dear, I know that dreadful thought
That you've been kinder than you ought.
It almost makes you hate him! Yet
'Tis wonderful how men forget,
And how a merciful Providence
Deprives our husbands of all sense
Of kindness past, and makes them deem
We always were what now we seem.
For their own good we must, you know,
However plain the way we go,
Still make it strange with stratagem;
And instinct tells us that, to them,
'Tis always right to bate their price.
Yet I must say they're rather nice,
And, oh, so easily taken in
To cheat them almost seems a sin!
And, Dearest, 'twould be most unfair
To John your feelings to compare
With his, or any man's; for she
Who loves at all loves always; he,
Who loves far more, loves yet by fits,
And when the wayward wind remits
To blow, his feelings faint and drop
Like forge-flames when the bellows stop.
Such things don't trouble you at all
When once you know they're natural.

My love to John; and, pray, my Dear,
Don't let me see you for a year;
Unless, indeed, ere then you've learn'd
That Beauties wed are blossoms turn'd
To unripe codlings, meant to dwell
In modest shadow hidden well,
Till this green stage again permute
To glow of flowers with good of fruit.
I will not have my patience tried
By your absurd new-married pride,
That scorns the world's slow-gather'd sense,
Ties up the hands of Providence,
Rules babes, before there's hope of one,
Better than mothers e'er have done,
And, for your poor particular,
Neglects delights and graces far
Beyond your crude and thin conceit.
Age has romance almost as sweet
And much more generous than this
Of yours and John's. With all the bliss
Of the evenings when you coo'd with him,
And upset home for your sole whim,
You might have envied, were you wise,
The tears within your Mother's eyes,
Which, I dare say, you did not see.
But let that pass! Yours yet will be,
I hope, as happy, kind, and true
As lives which now seem void to you.
Have you not seen shop-painters paste
Their gold in sheets, then rub to waste
Full half, and, lo, you read the name?
Well, Time, my Dear, does much the same
With this unmeaning glare of love.

But, though you yet may much improve,
In marriage, be it still confess'd,
There's little merit at the best.
Some half-a-dozen lives, indeed,
Which else would not have had the need,
Get food and nurture, as the price
Of antedated Paradise;
But what's that to the varied want
Succour'd by Mary, your dear Aunt,
Who put the bridal crown thrice by,
For that of which virginity,
So used, has hope? She sends her love,
As usual with a proof thereof—
Papa's discourse, which you, no doubt,
Heard none of, neatly copied out
Whilst we were dancing. All are well,
Adieu, for there's the Luncheon Bell.


The Wedding Sermon

I
The truths of Love are like the sea
For clearness and for mystery.
Of that sweet love which, startling, wakes
Maiden and Youth, and mostly breaks
The word of promise to the ear,
But keeps it, after many a year,
To the full spirit, how shall I speak?
My memory with age is weak,
And I for hopes do oft suspect
The things I seem to recollect.
Yet who but must remember well
'Twas this made heaven intelligible
As motive, though 'twas small the power
The heart might have, for even an hour,
To hold possession of the height
Of nameless pathos and delight!


II
In Godhead rise, thither flow back
All loves, which, as they keep or lack,
In their return, the course assign'd,
Are virtue or sin. Love's every kind,
Lofty or low, of spirit or sense,
Desire is, or benevolence.
He who is fairer, better, higher
Than all His works, claims all desire,
And in His Poor, His Proxies, asks
Our whole benevolence: He tasks,
Howbeit, His People by their powers;
And if, my Children, you, for hours,
Daily, untortur'd in the heart,
Can worship, and time's other part
Give, without rough recoils of sense,
To the claims ingrate of indigence,
Happy are you, and fit to be
Wrought to rare heights of sanctity,
For the humble to grow humbler at.
But if the flying spirit falls flat,
After the modest spell of prayer
That saves the day from sin and care,
And the upward eye a void descries,
And praises are hypocrisies,
And, in the soul, o'erstrain'd for grace,
A godless anguish grows apace;
Or, if impartial charity
Seems, in the act, a sordid lie,
Do not infer you cannot please
God, or that He His promises
Postpones, but be content to love
No more than He accounts enough.
Account them poor enough who want
Any good thing which you can grant;
And fathom well the depths of life
In loves of Husband and of Wife,
Child, Mother, Father; simple keys
To what cold faith calls mysteries.

III
The love of marriage claims, above
All other kinds, the name of love,
As perfectest, though not so high
As love which Heaven with single eye
Considers. Equal and entire,
Therein benevolence, desire,
Elsewhere ill-join'd or found apart,
Become the pulses of one heart,
Which now contracts, and now dilates,
And, both to the height exalting, mates
Self-seeking to self-sacrifice.
Nay, in its subtle paradise
(When purest) this one love unites
All modes of these two opposites,
All balanced in accord so rich
Who may determine which is which?
Chiefly God's Love does in it live,
And nowhere else so sensitive;
For each is all that the other's eye,
In the vague vast of Deity,
Can comprehend and so contain
As still to touch and ne'er to strain
The fragile nerves of joy. And then
'Tis such a wise goodwill to men
And politic economy
As in a prosperous State we see,
Where every plot of common land
Is yielded to some private hand
To fence about and cultivate.
Does narrowness its praise abate?
Nay, the infinite of man is found
But in the beating of its bound,
And, if a brook its banks o'erpass,
'Tis not a sea, but a morass.

IV
No giddiest hope, no wildest guess
Of Love's most innocent loftiness
Had dared to dream of its own worth,
Till Heaven's bold sun-gleam lit the earth.
Christ's marriage with the Church is more,
My Children, than a metaphor.
The heaven of heavens is symbol'd where
The torch of Psyche flash'd despair.

But here I speak of heights, and heights
Are hardly scaled. The best delights
Of even this homeliest passion, are
In the most perfect souls so rare,
That they who feel them are as men
Sailing the Southern ocean, when,
At midnight, they look up, and eye
The starry Cross, and a strange sky
Of brighter stars; and sad thoughts come
To each how far he is from home.

V
Love's inmost nuptial sweetness see
In the doctrine of virginity!
Could lovers, at their dear wish, blend,
'Twould kill the bliss which they intend;
For joy is love's obedience
Against the law of natural sense;
And those perpetual yearnings sweet
Of lives which dream that they can meet
Are given that lovers never may
Be without sacrifice to lay
On the high altar of true love,
With tears of vestal joy. To move
Frantic, like comets to our bliss,
Forgetting that we always miss,
And so to seek and fly the sun,
By turns, around which love should run,
Perverts the ineffable delight
Of service guerdon'd with full sight
And pathos of a hopeless want,
To an unreal victory's vaunt,
And plaint of an unreal defeat.
Yet no less dangerous misconceit
May also be of the virgin will,
Whose goal is nuptial blessing still,
And whose true being doth subsist,
There where the outward forms are miss'd,
In those who learn and keep the sense
Divine of ‘due benevolence,’
Seeking for aye, without alloy
Of selfish thought, another's joy,
And finding in degrees unknown
That which in act they shunn'd, their own.
For all delights of earthly love
Are shadows of the heavens, and move
As other shadows do; they flee
From him that follows them; and he
Who flies, for ever finds his feet
Embraced by their pursuings sweet.

VI
Then, even in love humane, do I
Not counsel aspirations high,
So much as sweet and regular
Use of the good in which we are.
As when a man along the ways
Walks, and a sudden music plays,
His step unchanged, he steps in time,
So let your Grace with Nature chime.
Her primal forces burst, like straws,
The bonds of uncongenial laws.
Right life is glad as well as just,
And, rooted strong in ‘This I must,’
It bears aloft the blossom gay
And zephyr-toss'd, of ‘This I may;’
Whereby the complex heavens rejoice
In fruits of uncommanded cho

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