God created me
And gave me life
Blessed me with a sound body, stable mind, health, money, love
Children, parents, friends and feelings
But his greatest gift to me is one
The Ability to Relate
That I can truly connect with people
And I can understand them
And I can feel about them
And I can trust them
And make them trust me
And I can share with them
And let them share with me
Feelings, aspirations, strengths, weaknesses
Without fear or apprehension
Without bias or prejudice
Without judgment or reprimand
My relations are the asset of my life
The essence of my life
The reason for my existence
I am eternally grateful
For such a magnificent gift
- quotes about Thanksgiving
- quotes about abilities
- quotes about health
- quotes about divine
- quotes about sound
- quotes about childhood
- quotes about friendship
- quotes about worry
- quotes about money
God's Greatest Gift Is Love
Upon this special speck in space,
Where each of us has lived...
The Lord bestowed His awesome grace,
His Son, His greatest gift
And from God's grace, salvation came,
To set this world aright,
As if with one eternal flame
To set this world alight!
God's royal pardon, set in stone,
This world His solemn seal,
The sun and moon saw Christ atone,
They witnessed love so real...
The stars surround this glorious globe
To shine by day and night,
Yet none more righteous than the robe
Removed from Christ in spite!
God's Spirit groaned upon that day,
The day Lord Jesus bled...
The day Christ took Man's sins away
When holy blood was shed...
To think, that we, with all our sins,
Do not possess the might
That Jesus Christ, God's precious prince,
Presented in His fight!
God's Son, what kind of Man was He,
To suffer on His cross?
He was the Man of Destiny
And we know Him because
God's love outshines each sinner's guilt,
God's love transforms their plight,
God's love forgives the ones who killed
His Son without insight!
Consider love, with hearts of gold,
Your love just can't compare!
The greatest story ever told
Portrays the Father's prayer...
That we, in Christ, forgive as well!
That we, in Christ, shine bright!
For there's a Heaven and a Hell
And conscience as our guide...
God Created The Lamb And The Tiger Also
When God created the world, called it 'GOOD',
He didn't say some is good, some is bad, but this is our lively hood.
That is how here is only the LAW, where we can choose,
Life or malediction, positive or negative, hope or fear or we loose.
Some was created to follow the law,
Some to play out the law as a flaw,
Everything is just a passing play on the stage,
Go on, face your lessons, get wiser with age.
After many experiences you can figure out your part,
Whatever it is your part, play it with all your heart.
Do not try to be what you are not created,
Just follow your inner feelings, do not complicate, be right spirited.
However, the wise will find the way to fate,
Will choose life and never malediction & never hate,
They will live in perfect harmony,
No matter what goes on in the surrounding irony.
Remember, we cannot force the world for our will,
We can change only ourselves, then will disappear all the ill.
God created world
Alas! God created world
But He remained with different people in different fold
At some place he was Jesus and at some places he was Allah
So the people prayed differently in his honor with hurrah
We were same in his eyes but he created difference
Some one he made rich and some one poor by chance
Some places so hot and some very cold
So the people observed different pattern as was told
It is good to hear in right spirit
But on the name of religion some people may prefer not to greet
Black and white, lower and upper, shall remain for ever
Idealistic people may be praised but may find no shelter
Why then hatred in the name of religion?
He remained with them in different regions
Under different name and with different faith
But with only one fear that was not come as death
Now time has changed and roots have gone deep
No one is able to steer people out and keep
Under one umbrella for humanistic goal
To survive and share as universal gospel
When I worship "Sun" I see only light
I don't know about other people for any reasons to fight
The energy may be one and inspiration also one
Let us remain united for the cause of humane
Neither may we remain in this world
Nor any one can claim permanent fold
We need initiative that must look very much bold
As if taken out as verse and to be told
Such a Magnificent Gift
That which we are,
With dreams to fulfill invented...
Those that seem to be within,
Limitations our minds accept.
Limited they are,
With no greater expectations.
And although complicated,
The naturalness of life seems to be...
We simplify all that surrounds,
With adjustments to gratify...
Lives to set aside for quick cravings to feed.
No one questions what has become commonplace.
Or everyday address with priority,
The defacing that is done...
To a naturalness that sits,
As such a magnificent gift to us presented.
And yet with an impatience,
We create conflicts with attempts to destroy...
Such a magnificent gift,
Given to us that should represent joy.
That which we are,
With dreams to fulfill invented...
Those that seem to be within,
Limitations our minds accept.
Limited they are,
With no greater expectations.
Truly a New Year
With the New Year ahead for all; everyone upon this terrestrial ball,
Twelve more months, another year, for all upon this earthly sphere,
What ahead for you will change, when so much remains the same?
Are more New Year resolutions, in the coming year truly solutions?
With Christmas tidings all behind, do you have any peace of mind?
Or will you have just another year, in a world that lacks Godly fear?
A fear which brings true wisdom, in The Son, who, for all did come,
Christ came not just for a season, but, to give man Eternal Reason.
It is in Christ, God’s Own Son, that a year can be new for everyone,
All who turn to The Father above, and embrace His true gift of love.
God’s Gift that transforms a soul, which can make man truly whole,
By a change that you will find, gives more than just peace of mind.
This New Year is just the start, as God begins to indwell your heart,
As The Holy Spirit dwells within, He’s a new guide in a world of sin,
A New Guide in this life presently, to a New Life with God Eternally,
New earthly life in Jesus Christ, that ends for Believers in Paradise.
It’s change that starts down here, approaching God in reverent fear,
While accepting from our Creator, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior.
So allow the year to be truly new, as you allow God to abide in you,
And begin a New Life Eternally, as a Member of God’s Own Family.
The Recluse - Book First
HOME AT GRASMERE
ONCE to the verge of yon steep barrier came
A roving school-boy; what the adventurer's age
Hath now escaped his memory--but the hour,
One of a golden summer holiday,
He well remembers, though the year be gone--
Alone and devious from afar he came;
And, with a sudden influx overpowered
At sight of this seclusion, he forgot
His haste, for hasty had his footsteps been
As boyish his pursuits; and sighing said,
'What happy fortune were it here to live!
And, if a thought of dying, if a thought
Of mortal separation, could intrude
With paradise before him, here to die!'
No Prophet was he, had not even a hope,
Scarcely a wish, but one bright pleasing thought,
A fancy in the heart of what might be
The lot of others, never could be his.
The station whence he looked was soft and green,
Not giddy yet aerial, with a depth
Of vale below, a height of hills above.
For rest of body perfect was the spot,
All that luxurious nature could desire;
But stirring to the spirit; who could gaze
And not feel motions there? He thought of clouds
That sail on winds: of breezes that delight
To play on water, or in endless chase
Pursue each other through the yielding plain
Of grass or corn, over and through and through,
In billow after billow, evermore
Disporting--nor unmindful was the boy
Of sunbeams, shadows, butterflies and birds;
Of fluttering sylphs and softly-gliding Fays,
Genii, and winged angels that are Lords
Without restraint of all which they behold.
The illusion strengthening as he gazed, he felt
That such unfettered liberty was his,
Such power and joy; but only for this end,
To flit from field to rock, from rock to field,
From shore to island, and from isle to shore,
From open ground to covert, from a bed
Of meadow-flowers into a tuft of wood;
From high to low, from low to high, yet still
Within the bound of this huge concave; here
Must be his home, this valley be his world.
Since that day forth the Place to him--'to me'
(For I who live to register the truth
Was that same young and happy Being) became
As beautiful to thought, as it had been
When present, to the bodily sense; a haunt
Of pure affections, shedding upon joy
A brighter joy; and through such damp and gloom
Of the gay mind, as ofttimes splenetic youth
Mistakes for sorrow, darting beams of light
That no self-cherished sadness could withstand;
And now 'tis mine, perchance for life, dear Vale,
Beloved Grasmere (let the wandering streams
Take up, the cloud-capt hills repeat, the Name)
One of thy lowly Dwellings is my Home.
And was the cost so great? and could it seem
An act of courage, and the thing itself
A conquest? who must bear the blame? Sage man
Thy prudence, thy experience, thy desires,
Thy apprehensions--blush thou for them all.
Yes the realities of life so cold,
So cowardly, so ready to betray,
So stinted in the measure of their grace
As we pronounce them, doing them much wrong,
Have been to me more bountiful than hope,
Less timid than desire--but that is past.
On Nature's invitation do I come,
By Reason sanctioned. Can the choice mislead,
That made the calmest fairest spot of earth
With all its unappropriated good
My own; and not mine only, for with me
Entrenched, say rather peacefully embowered,
Under yon orchard, in yon humble cot,
A younger Orphan of a home extinct,
The only Daughter of my Parents dwells.
Ay, think on that, my heart, and cease to stir,
Pause upon that and let the breathing frame
No longer breathe, but all be satisfied.
--Oh, if such silence be not thanks to God
For what hath been bestowed, then where, where then
Shall gratitude find rest? Mine eyes did ne'er
Fix on a lovely object, nor my mind
Take pleasure in the midst of happy thoughts,
But either She whom now I have, who now
Divides with me this loved abode, was there,
Or not far off. Where'er my footsteps turned,
Her voice was like a hidden Bird that sang,
The thought of her was like a flash of light,
Or an unseen companionship, a breath
Of fragrance independent of the Wind.
In all my goings, in the new and old
Of all my meditations, and in this
Favourite of all, in this the most of all.
--What being, therefore, since the birth of Man
Had ever more abundant cause to speak
Thanks, and if favours of the Heavenly Muse
Make him more thankful, then to call on Verse
To aid him and in song resound his joy?
The boon is absolute; surpassing grace
To me hath been vouchsafed; among the bowers
Of blissful Eden this was neither given
Nor could be given, possession of the good
Which had been sighed for, ancient thought fulfilled,
And dear Imaginations realised,
Up to their highest measure, yea and more.
Embrace me then, ye Hills, and close me in;
Now in the clear and open day I feel
Your guardianship; I take it to my heart;
'Tis like the solemn shelter of the night.
But I would call thee beautiful, for mild,
And soft, and gay, and beautiful thou art
Dear Valley, having in thy face a smile
Though peaceful, full of gladness. Thou art pleased,
Pleased with thy crags and woody steeps, thy Lake,
Its one green island and its winding shores;
The multitude of little rocky hills,
Thy Church and cottages of mountain stone
Clustered like stars some few, but single most,
And lurking dimly in their shy retreats,
Or glancing at each other cheerful looks
Like separated stars with clouds between.
What want we? have we not perpetual streams,
Warm woods, and sunny hills, and fresh green fields,
And mountains not less green, and flocks and herds,
And thickets full of songsters, and the voice
Of lordly birds, an unexpected sound
Heard now and then from morn to latest eve,
Admonishing the man who walks below
Of solitude and silence in the sky?
These have we, and a thousand nooks of earth
Have also these, but nowhere else is found,
Nowhere (or is it fancy?) can be found
The one sensation that is here; 'tis here,
Here as it found its way into my heart
In childhood, here as it abides by day,
By night, here only; or in chosen minds
That take it with them hence, where'er they go.
--'Tis, but I cannot name it, 'tis the sense
Of majesty, and beauty, and repose,
A blended holiness of earth and sky,
Something that makes this individual spot,
This small abiding-place of many men,
A termination, and a last retreat,
A centre, come from wheresoe'er you will,
A whole without dependence or defect,
Made for itself, and happy in itself,
Perfect contentment, Unity entire.
Bleak season was it, turbulent and bleak,
When hitherward we journeyed side by side
Through burst of sunshine and through flying showers;
Paced the long vales--how long they were--and yet
How fast that length of way was left behind,
Wensley's rich Vale, and Sedbergh's naked heights.
The frosty wind, as if to make amends
For its keen breath, was aiding to our steps,
And drove us onward like two ships at sea,
Or like two birds, companions in mid-air,
Parted and reunited by the blast.
Stern was the face of nature; we rejoiced
In that stern countenance, for our souls thence drew
A feeling of their strength. The naked trees,
The icy brooks, as on we passed, appeared
To question us. 'Whence come ye, to what end?'
They seemed to say, 'What would ye,' said the shower,
'Wild Wanderers, whither through my dark domain?'
The sunbeam said, 'Be happy.' When this vale
We entered, bright and solemn was the sky
That faced us with a passionate welcoming,
And led us to our threshold. Daylight failed
Insensibly, and round us gently fell
Composing darkness, with a quiet load
Of full contentment, in a little shed
Disturbed, uneasy in itself as seemed,
And wondering at its new inhabitants.
It loves us now, this Vale so beautiful
Begins to love us! by a sullen storm,
Two months unwearied of severest storm,
It put the temper of our minds to proof,
And found us faithful through the gloom, and heard
The poet mutter his prelusive songs
With cheerful heart, an unknown voice of joy
Among the silence of the woods and hills;
Silent to any gladsomeness of sound
With all their shepherds.
But the gates of Spring
Are opened; churlish winter hath given leave
That she should entertain for this one day,
Perhaps for many genial days to come,
His guests, and make them jocund.--They are pleased,
But most of all the birds that haunt the flood
With the mild summons; inmates though they be
Of Winter's household, they keep festival
This day, who drooped, or seemed to droop, so long;
They show their pleasure, and shall I do less?
Happier of happy though I be, like them
I cannot take possession of the sky,
Mount with a thoughtless impulse, and wheel there
One of a mighty multitude, whose way
Is a perpetual harmony and dance
Magnificent. Behold how with a grace
Of ceaseless motion, that might scarcely seem
Inferior to angelical, they prolong
Their curious pastime, shaping in mid-air,
And sometimes with ambitious wing that soars
High as the level of the mountain tops,
A circuit ampler than the lake beneath,
Their own domain;--but ever, while intent
On tracing and retracing that large round,
Their jubilant activity evolves
Hundreds of curves and circlets, to and fro,
Upwards and downwards; progress intricate
Yet unperplexed, as if one spirit swayed
Their indefatigable flight. 'Tis done,
Ten times and more I fancied it had ceased,
But lo! the vanished company again
Ascending, they approach. I hear their wings
Faint, faint at first; and then an eager sound
Passed in a moment--and as faint again!
They tempt the sun to sport among their plumes;
Tempt the smooth water, or the gleaming ice,
To show them a fair image,--'tis themselves,
Their own fair forms upon the glimmering plain
Painted more soft and fair as they descend,
Almost to touch,--then up again aloft,
Up with a sally and a flash of speed,
As if they scorned both resting-place and rest!
--This day is a thanksgiving, 'tis a day
Of glad emotion and deep quietness;
Not upon me alone hath been bestowed,
Me rich in many onward-looking thoughts,
The penetrating bliss; oh surely these
Have felt it, not the happy choirs of spring,
Her own peculiar family of love
That sport among green leaves, a blither train!
But two are missing, two, a lonely pair
Of milk-white Swans; wherefore are they not seen
Partaking this day's pleasure? From afar
They came, to sojourn here in solitude,
Choosing this Valley, they who had the choice
Of the whole world. We saw them day by day,
Through those two months of unrelenting storm,
Conspicuous at the centre of the Lake
Their safe retreat, we knew them well, I guess
That the whole valley knew them; but to us
They were more dear than may be well believed,
Not only for their beauty, and their still
And placid way of life, and constant love
Inseparable, not for these alone,
But that 'their' state so much resembled ours,
They having also chosen this abode;
They strangers, and we strangers, they a pair,
And we a solitary pair like them.
They should not have departed; many days
Did I look forth in vain, nor on the wing
Could see them, nor in that small open space
Of blue unfrozen water, where they lodged
And lived so long in quiet, side by side.
Shall we behold them consecrated friends,
Faithful companions, yet another year
Surviving, they for us, and we for them,
And neither pair be broken? nay perchance
It is too late already for such hope;
The Dalesmen may have aimed the deadly tube,
And parted them; or haply both are gone
One death, and that were mercy given to both.
Recall, my song, the ungenerous thought; forgive,
Thrice favoured Region, the conjecture harsh
Of such inhospitable penalty
Inflicted upon confidence so pure.
Ah! if I wished to follow where the sight
Of all that is before my eyes, the voice
Which speaks from a presiding spirit here,
Would lead me, I should whisper to myself:
They who are dwellers in this holy place
Must needs themselves be hallowed, they require
No benediction from the stranger's lips,
For they are blessed already; none would give
The greeting 'peace be with you' unto them,
For peace they have; it cannot but be theirs,
And mercy, and forbearance--nay--not these--
'Their' healing offices a pure good-will
Precludes, and charity beyond the bounds
Of charity--an overflowing love;
Not for the creature only, but for all
That is around them; love for everything
Which in their happy Region they behold!
Thus do we soothe ourselves, and when the thought
Is passed, we blame it not for having come.
--What if I floated down a pleasant stream,
And now am landed, and the motion gone,
Shall I reprove myself? Ah no, the stream
Is flowing, and will never cease to flow,
And I shall float upon that stream again.
By such forgetfulness the soul becomes,
Words cannot say how beautiful: then hail,
Hail to the visible Presence, hail to thee,
Delightful Valley, habitation fair!
And to whatever else of outward form
Can give an inward help, can purify,
And elevate, and harmonise, and soothe,
And steal away, and for a while deceive
And lap in pleasing rest, and bear us on
Without desire in full complacency,
Contemplating perfection absolute,
And entertained as in a placid sleep.
But not betrayed by tenderness of mind
That feared, or wholly overlooked the truth,
Did we come hither, with romantic hope
To find in midst of so much loveliness
Love, perfect love: of so much majesty
A like majestic-frame of mind in those
Who here abide, the persons like the place.
Not from such hope, or aught of such belief,
Hath issued any portion of the joy
Which I have felt this day. An awful voice
'Tis true hath in my walks been often heard,
Sent from the mountains or the sheltered fields,
Shout after shout--reiterated whoop,
In manner of a bird that takes delight
In answering to itself: or like a hound
Single at chase among the lonely woods,
His yell repeating; yet it was in truth
A human voice--a spirit of coming night;
How solemn when the sky is dark, and earth
Not dark, nor yet enlightened, but by snow
Made visible, amid a noise of winds
And bleatings manifold of mountain sheep,
Which in that iteration recognise
Their summons, and are gathering round for food,
Devoured with keenness, ere to grove or bank
Or rocky bield with patience they retire.
That very voice, which, in some timid mood
Of superstitious fancy, might have seemed
Awful as ever stray demoniac uttered,
His steps to govern in the wilderness;
Or as the Norman Curfew's regular beat
To hearths when first they darkened at the knell:
That shepherd's voice, it may have reached mine ear
Debased and under profanation, made
The ready organ of articulate sounds
From ribaldry, impiety, or wrath,
Issuing when shame hath ceased to check the brawls
Of some abused Festivity--so be it.
I came not dreaming of unruffled life,
Untainted manners; born among the hills,
Bred also there, I wanted not a scale
To regulate my hopes; pleased with the good
I shrink not from the evil with disgust,
Or with immoderate pain. I look for Man,
The common creature of the brotherhood,
Differing but little from the Man elsewhere,
For selfishness and envy and revenge,
Ill neighbourhood--pity that this should be--
Flattery and double-dealing, strife and wrong.
Yet is it something gained, it is in truth
A mighty gain, that Labour here preserves
His rosy face, a servant only here
Of the fireside or of the open field,
A Freeman therefore sound and unimpaired:
That extreme penury is here unknown,
And cold and hunger's abject wretchedness
Mortal to body and the heaven-born mind:
That they who want are not too great a weight
For those who can relieve; here may the heart
Breathe in the air of fellow-suffering
Dreadless, as in a kind of fresher breeze
Of her own native element, the hand
Be ready and unwearied without plea,
From tasks too frequent or beyond its power,
For languor or indifference or despair.
And as these lofty barriers break the force
Of winds,--this deep Vale, as it doth in part
Conceal us from the storm, so here abides
A power and a protection for the mind,
Dispensed indeed to other solitudes
Favoured by noble privilege like this,
Where kindred independence of estate
Is prevalent, where he who tills the field,
He, happy man! is master of the field,
And treads the mountains which his Fathers trod.
Not less than halfway up yon mountain's side,
Behold a dusky spot, a grove of Firs
That seems still smaller than it is; this grove
Is haunted--by what ghost? a gentle spirit
Of memory faithful to the call of love;
For, as reports the Dame, whose fire sends up
Yon curling smoke from the grey cot below,
The trees (her first-born child being then a babe)
Were planted by her husband and herself,
That ranging o'er the high and houseless ground
Their sheep might neither want from perilous storm
Of winter, nor from summer's sultry heat,
A friendly covert; 'and they knew it well,'
Said she, 'for thither as the trees grew up
We to the patient creatures carried food
In times of heavy snow.' She then began
In fond obedience to her private thoughts
To speak of her dead husband; is there not
An art, a music, and a strain of words
That shall be life, the acknowledged voice of life,
Shall speak of what is done among the fields,
Done truly there, or felt, of solid good
And real evil, yet be sweet withal,
More grateful, more harmonious than the breath,
The idle breath of softest pipe attuned
To pastoral fancies? Is there such a stream
Pure and unsullied flowing from the heart
With motions of true dignity and grace?
Or must we seek that stream where Man is not?
Methinks I could repeat in tuneful verse,
Delicious as the gentlest breeze that sounds
Through that aerial fir-grove--could preserve
Some portion of its human history
As gathered from the Matron's lips, and tell
Of tears that have been shed at sight of it,
And moving dialogues between this Pair
Who in their prime of wedlock, with joint hands
Did plant the grove, now flourishing, while they
No longer flourish, he entirely gone,
She withering in her loneliness. Be this
A task above my skill--the silent mind
Has her own treasures, and I think of these,
Love what I see, and honour humankind.
No, we are not alone, we do not stand,
My sister here misplaced and desolate,
Loving what no one cares for but ourselves,
We shall not scatter through the plains and rocks
Of this fair Vale, and o'er its spacious heights,
Unprofitable kindliness, bestowed
On objects unaccustomed to the gifts
Of feeling, which were cheerless and forlorn
But few weeks past, and would be so again
Were we not here; we do not tend a lamp
Whose lustre we alone participate,
Which shines dependent upon us alone,
Mortal though bright, a dying, dying flame.
Look where we will, some human hand has been
Before us with its offering; not a tree
Sprinkles these little pastures, but the same
Hath furnished matter for a thought; perchance
For some one serves as a familiar friend.
Joy spreads, and sorrow spreads; and this whole Vale,
Home of untutored shepherds as it is,
Swarms with sensation, as with gleams of sunshine,
Shadows or breezes, scents or sounds. Nor deem
These feelings, though subservient more than ours
To every day's demand for daily bread,
And borrowing more their spirit and their shape
From self-respecting interests; deem them not
Unworthy therefore, and unhallowed--no,
They lift the animal being, do themselves
By nature's kind and ever-present aid
Refine the selfishness from which they spring,
Redeem by love the individual sense
Of anxiousness, with which they are combined.
And thus it is that fitly they become
Associates in the joy of purest minds:
They blend therewith congenially: meanwhile
Calmly they breathe their own undying life
Through this their mountain sanctuary; long
Oh long may it remain inviolate,
Diffusing health and sober cheerfulness,
And giving to the moments as they pass
Their little boons of animating thought
That sweeten labour, make it seen and felt
To be no arbitrary weight imposed,
But a glad function natural to man.
Fair proof of this, newcomer though I be,
Already have I gained; the inward frame,
Though slowly opening, opens every day
With process not unlike to that which cheers
A pensive stranger journeying at his leisure
Through some Helvetian Dell; when low-hung mists
Break up and are beginning to recede;
How pleased he is where thin and thinner grows
The veil, or where it parts at once, to spy
The dark pines thrusting forth their spiky heads;
To watch the spreading lawns with cattle grazed;
Then to be greeted by the scattered huts
As they shine out; and 'see' the streams whose murmur
Had soothed his ear while 'they' were hidden; how pleased
To have about him which way e'er he goes
Something on every side concealed from view,
In every quarter something visible
Half seen or wholly, lost and found again,
Alternate progress and impediment,
And yet a growing prospect in the main.
Such pleasure now is mine, albeit forced,
Herein less happy than the Traveller,
To cast from time to time a painful look
Upon unwelcome things which unawares
Reveal themselves, not therefore is my heart
Depressed, nor does it fear what is to come;
But confident, enriched at every glance,
The more I see the more delight my mind
Receives, or by reflection can create:
Truth justifies herself, and as she dwells
With Hope, who would not follow where she leads?
Nor let me pass unheeded other loves
Where no fear is, and humbler sympathies.
Already hath sprung up within my heart
A liking for the small grey horse that bears
The paralytic man, and for the brute
In Scripture sanctified--the patient brute
On which the cripple, in the quarry maimed,
Rides to and fro: I know them and their ways.
The famous sheep-dog, first in all the vale,
Though yet to me a stranger, will not be
A stranger long; nor will the blind man's guide,
Meek and neglected thing, of no renown!
Soon will peep forth the primrose, ere it fades
Friends shall I have at dawn, blackbird and thrush
To rouse me, and a hundred warblers more!
And if those Eagles to their ancient hold
Return, Helvellyn's Eagles! with the Pair
From my own door I shall be free to claim
Acquaintance, as they sweep from cloud to cloud.
The owl that gives the name to Owlet-Crag
Have I heard whooping, and he soon will be
A chosen one of my regards. See there
The heifer in yon little croft belongs
To one who holds it dear; with duteous care
She reared it, and in speaking of her charge
I heard her scatter some endearing words
Domestic, and in spirit motherly,
She being herself a mother; happy Beast,
If the caresses of a human voice
Can make it so, and care of human hands.
And ye as happy under Nature's care,
Strangers to me and all men, or at least
Strangers to all particular amity,
All intercourse of knowledge or of love
That parts the individual from his kind.
Whether in large communities ye keep
From year to year, not shunning man's abode,
A settled residence, or be from far
Wild creatures, and of many homes, that come
The gift of winds, and whom the winds again
Take from us at your pleasure; yet shall ye
Not want for this your own subordinate place
In my affections. Witness the delight
With which erewhile I saw that multitude
Wheel through the sky, and see them now at rest,
Yet not at rest upon the glassy lake:
They 'cannot' rest--they gambol like young whelps;
Active as lambs, and overcome with joy
They try all frolic motions; flutter, plunge,
And beat the passive water with their wings.
Too distant are they for plain view, but lo!
Those little fountains, sparkling in the sun,
Betray their occupation, rising up
First one and then another silver spout,
As one or other takes the fit of glee,
Fountains and spouts, yet somewhat in the guise
Of plaything fireworks, that on festal nights
Sparkle about the feet of wanton boys.
--How vast the compass of this theatre,
Yet nothing to be seen but lovely pomp
And silent majesty; the birch-tree woods
Are hung with thousand thousand diamond drops
Of melted hoar-frost, every tiny knot
In the bare twigs, each little budding-place
Cased with its several beads; what myriads these
Upon one tree, while all the distant grove,
That rises to the summit of the steep,
Shows like a mountain built of silver light:
See yonder the same pageant, and again
Behold the universal imagery
Inverted, all its sun-bright features touched
As with the varnish and the gloss of dreams.
Dreamlike the blending also of the whole
Harmonious landscape: all along the shore
The boundary lost--the line invisible
That parts the image from reality;
And the clear hills, as high as they ascend
Heavenward, so deep piercing the lake below.
Admonished of the days of love to come
The raven croaks, and fills the upper air
With a strange sound of genial harmony;
And in and all about that playful band,
Incapable although they be of rest,
And in their fashion very rioters,
There is a stillness, and they seem to make
Calm revelry in that their calm abode.
Them leaving to their joyous hours I pass,
Pass with a thought the life of the whole year
That is to come: the throng of woodland flowers
And lilies that will dance upon the waves.
Say boldly then that solitude is not
Where these things are: he truly is alone,
He of the multitude whose eyes are doomed
To hold a vacant commerce day by day
With Objects wanting life--repelling love;
He by the vast metropolis immured,
Where pity shrinks from unremitting calls,
Where numbers overwhelm humanity,
And neighbourhood serves rather to divide
Than to unite--what sighs more deep than his,
Whose nobler will hath long been sacrificed;
Who must inhabit under a black sky
A city, where, if indifference to disgust
Yield not to scorn or sorrow, living men
Are ofttimes to their fellow-men no more
Than to the forest Hermit are the leaves
That hang aloft in myriads; nay, far less,
For they protect his walk from sun and shower,
Swell his devotion with their voice in storms,
And whisper while the stars twinkle among them
His lullaby. From crowded streets remote,
Far from the living and dead Wilderness
Of the thronged world, Society is here
A true community--a genuine frame
Of many into one incorporate.
'That' must be looked for here: paternal sway,
One household, under God, for high and low,
One family and one mansion; to themselves
Appropriate, and divided from the world,
As if it were a cave, a multitude
Human and brute, possessors undisturbed
Of this Recess--their legislative Hall,
Their Temple, and their glorious Dwelling-place.
Dismissing therefore all Arcadian dreams,
All golden fancies of the golden age,
The bright array of shadowy thoughts from times
That were before all time, or are to be
Ere time expire, the pageantry that stirs
Or will be stirring, when our eyes are fixed
On lovely objects, and we wish to part
With all remembrance of a jarring world,
--Take we at once this one sufficient hope,
What need of more? that we shall neither droop
Nor pine for want of pleasure in the life
Scattered about us, nor through want of aught
That keeps in health the insatiable mind.
--That we shall have for knowledge and for love
Abundance, and that feeling as we do
How goodly, how exceeding fair, how pure
From all reproach is yon ethereal vault,
And this deep Vale, its earthly counterpart,
By which and under which we are enclosed
To breathe in peace; we shall moreover find
(If sound, and what we ought to be ourselves,
If rightly we observe and justly weigh)
The inmates not unworthy of their home,
The Dwellers of their Dwelling.
And if this
Were otherwise, we have within ourselves
Enough to fill the present day with joy,
And overspread the future years with hope,
Our beautiful and quiet home, enriched
Already with a stranger whom we love
Deeply, a stranger of our Father's house,
A never-resting Pilgrim of the Sea,
Who finds at last an hour to his content
Beneath our roof. And others whom we love
Will seek us also, Sisters of our hearts,
And one, like them, a Brother of our hearts,
Philosopher and Poet, in whose sight
These mountains will rejoice with open joy.
--Such is our wealth! O Vale of Peace we are
And must be, with God's will, a happy Band.
Yet 'tis not to enjoy that we exist,
For that end only; something must be done:
I must not walk in unreproved delight
These narrow bounds, and think of nothing more,
No duty that looks further, and no care.
Each Being has his office, lowly some
And common, yet all worthy if fulfilled
With zeal, acknowledgment that with the gift
Keeps pace a harvest answering to the seed.
Of ill-advised Ambition and of Pride
I would stand clear, but yet to me I feel
That an internal brightness is vouchsafed
That must not die, that must not pass away.
Why does this inward lustre fondly seek
And gladly blend with outward fellowship?
Why do 'they' shine around me whom I love?
Why do they teach me, whom I thus revere?
Strange question, yet it answers not itself.
That humble Roof embowered among the trees,
That calm fireside, it is not even in them,
Blest as they are, to furnish a reply
That satisfies and ends in perfect rest.
Possessions have I that are solely mine,
Something within which yet is shared by none,
Not even the nearest to me and most dear,
Something which power and effort may impart;
I would impart it, I would spread it wide:
Immortal in the world which is to come--
Forgive me if I add another claim--
And would not wholly perish even in this,
Lie down and be forgotten in the dust,
I and the modest Partners of my days
Making a silent company in death;
Love, knowledge, all my manifold delights,
All buried with me without monument
Or profit unto any but ourselves!
It must not be, if I, divinely taught,
Be privileged to speak as I have felt
Of what in man is human or divine.
While yet an innocent little one, with a heart
That doubtless wanted not its tender moods,
I breathed (for this I better recollect)
Among wild appetites and blind desires,
Motions of savage instinct my delight
And exaltation. Nothing at that time
So welcome, no temptation half so dear
As that which urged me to a daring feat,
Deep pools, tall trees, black chasms, and dizzy crags,
And tottering towers: I loved to stand and read
Their looks forbidding, read and disobey,
Sometimes in act and evermore in thought.
With impulses, that scarcely were by these
Surpassed in strength, I heard of danger met
Or sought with courage; enterprise forlorn
By one, sole keeper of his own intent,
Or by a resolute few, who for the sake
Of glory fronted multitudes in arms.
Yea, to this hour I cannot read a Tale
Of two brave vessels matched in deadly fight,
And fighting to the death, but I am pleased
More than a wise man ought to be; I wish,
Fret, burn, and struggle, and in soul am there.
But me hath Nature tamed, and bade to seek
For other agitations, or be calm;
Hath dealt with me as with a turbulent stream,
Some nursling of the mountains which she leads
Through quiet meadows, after he has learnt
His strength, and had his triumph and his joy,
His desperate course of tumult and of glee.
That which in stealth by Nature was performed
Hath Reason sanctioned: her deliberate Voice
Hath said; be mild, and cleave to gentle things,
Thy glory and thy happiness be there.
Nor fear, though thou confide in me, a want
Of aspirations that have been--of foes
To wrestle with, and victory to complete,
Bounds to be leapt, darkness to be explored;
All that inflamed thy infant heart, the love,
The longing, the contempt, the undaunted quest,
All shall survive, though changed their office, all
Shall live, it is not in their power to die.
Then farewell to the Warrior's Schemes, farewell
The forwardness of soul which looks that way
Upon a less incitement than the Cause
Of Liberty endangered, and farewell
That other hope, long mine, the hope to fill
The heroic trumpet with the Muse's breath!
Yet in this peaceful Vale we will not spend
Unheard-of days, though loving peaceful thought,
A voice shall speak, and what will be the theme?
On Man, on Nature, and on Human Life,
Musing in solitude, I oft perceive
Fair trains of imagery before me rise,
Accompanied by feelings of delight
Pure, or with no unpleasing sadness mixed;
And I am conscious of affecting thoughts
And dear remembrances, whose presence soothes
Or elevates the Mind, intent to weigh
The good and evil of our mortal state.
--To these emotions, whencesoe'er they come,
Whether from breath of outward circumstance,
Or from the Soul--an impulse to herself--
I would give utterance in numerous verse.
Of Truth, of Grandeur, Beauty, Love, and Hope,
And melancholy Fear subdued by Faith;
Of blessed consolations in distress;
Of moral strength, and intellectual Power;
Of joy in widest commonalty spread;
Of the individual Mind that keeps her own
Inviolate retirement, subject there
To Conscience only, and the law supreme
Of that Intelligence which governs all--
I sing:--'fit audience let me find though few!'
So prayed, more gaining than he asked, the Bard--
In holiest mood. Urania, I shall need
Thy guidance, or a greater Muse, if such
Descend to earth or dwell in highest heaven!
For I must tread on shadowy ground, must sink
Deep--and, aloft ascending, breathe in worlds
To which the heaven of heavens is but a veil.
All strength--all terror, single or in bands,
That ever was put forth in personal form--
Jehovah--with his thunder, and the choir
Of shouting Angels, and the empyreal thrones--
I pass them unalarmed. Not Chaos, not
The darkest pit of lowest Erebus,
Nor aught of blinder vacancy, scooped out
By help of dreams--can breed such fear and awe
As fall upon us often when we look
Into our Minds, into the Mind of Man--
My haunt, and the main region of my song
--Beauty--a living Presence of the earth,
Surpassing the most fair ideal Forms
Which craft of delicate Spirits hath composed
From earth's materials--waits upon my steps;
Pitches her tents before me as I move,
An hourly neighbour. Paradise, and groves
Elysian, Fortunate Fields--like those of old
Sought in the Atlantic Main--why should they be
A history only of departed things,
Or a mere fiction of what never was?
For the discerning intellect of Man,
When wedded to this goodly universe
In love and holy passion, shall find these
A simple produce of the common day.
--I, long before the blissful hour arrives,
Would chant, in lonely peace, the spousal verse
Of this great consummation:--and, by words
Which speak of nothing more than what we are,
Would I arouse the sensual from their sleep
Of Death, and win the vacant and the vain
To noble raptures; while my voice proclaims
How exquisitely the individual Mind
(And the progressive powers perhaps no less
Of the whole species) to the external World
Is fitted:--and how exquisitely, too--
Theme this but little heard of among men--
The external World is fitted to the Mind;
And the creation (by no lower name
Can it be called) which they with blended might
Accomplish:--this is our high argument.
--Such grateful haunts foregoing, if I oft
Must turn elsewhere--to travel near the tribes
And fellowships of men, and see ill sights
Of madding passions mutually inflamed;
Must hear Humanity in fields and groves
Pipe solitary anguish; or must hang
Brooding above the fierce confederate storm
Of sorrow, barricadoed evermore
Within the walls of cities--may these sounds
Have their authentic comment; that even these
Hearing, I be not downcast or forlorn!--
Descend, prophetic Spirit! that inspir'st
The human Soul of universal earth,
Dreaming on things to come; and dost possess
A metropolitan temple in the hearts
Of mighty Poets; upon me bestow
A gift of genuine insight; that my Song
With star-like virtue in its place may shine,
Shedding benignant influence, and secure
Itself from all malevolent effect
Of those mutations that extend their sway
Throughout the nether sphere!--And if with this
I mix more lowly matter; with the thing
Contemplated, describe the Mind and Man
Contemplating; and who, and what he was--
The transitory Being that beheld
This Vision;--when and where, and how he lived;
Be not this labour useless. If such theme
May sort with highest objects, then--dread Power!
Whose gracious favour is the primal source
Of all illumination--may my Life
Express the image of a better time,
More wise desires, and simpler manners;--nurse
My Heart in genuine freedom:--all pure thoughts
Be with me;--so shall thy unfailing love
Guide, and support, and cheer me to the end!
Unknowing and unknown, the hardy Muse
Boldly defies all mean and partial views;
With honest freedom plays the critic's part,
And praises, as she censures, from the heart.
Roscius deceased, each high aspiring player
Push'd all his interest for the vacant chair.
The buskin'd heroes of the mimic stage
No longer whine in love, and rant in rage;
The monarch quits his throne, and condescends
Humbly to court the favour of his friends;
For pity's sake tells undeserved mishaps,
And, their applause to gain, recounts his claps.
Thus the victorious chiefs of ancient Rome,
To win the mob, a suppliant's form assume;
In pompous strain fight o'er the extinguish'd war,
And show where honour bled in every scar.
But though bare merit might in Rome appear
The strongest plea for favour, 'tis not here;
We form our judgment in another way;
And they will best succeed, who best can pay:
Those who would gain the votes of British tribes,
Must add to force of merit, force of bribes.
What can an actor give? In every age
Cash hath been rudely banish'd from the stage;
Monarchs themselves, to grief of every player,
Appear as often as their image there:
They can't, like candidate for other seat,
Pour seas of wine, and mountains raise of meat.
Wine! they could bribe you with the world as soon,
And of 'Roast Beef,' they only know the tune:
But what they have they give; could Clive do more,
Though for each million he had brought home four?
Shuter keeps open house at Southwark fair,
And hopes the friends of humour will be there;
In Smithfield, Yates prepares the rival treat
For those who laughter love, instead of meat;
Foote, at Old House,--for even Foote will be,
In self-conceit, an actor,--bribes with tea;
Which Wilkinson at second-hand receives,
And at the New, pours water on the leaves.
The town divided, each runs several ways,
As passion, humour, interest, party sways.
Things of no moment, colour of the hair,
Shape of a leg, complexion brown or fair,
A dress well chosen, or a patch misplaced,
Conciliate favour, or create distaste.
From galleries loud peals of laughter roll,
And thunder Shuter's praises; he's so droll.
Embox'd, the ladies must have something smart,
Palmer! oh! Palmer tops the jaunty part.
Seated in pit, the dwarf with aching eyes,
Looks up, and vows that Barry's out of size;
Whilst to six feet the vigorous stripling grown,
Declares that Garrick is another Coan.
When place of judgment is by whim supplied,
And our opinions have their rise in pride;
When, in discoursing on each mimic elf,
We praise and censure with an eye to self;
All must meet friends, and Ackman bids as fair,
In such a court, as Garrick, for the chair.
At length agreed, all squabbles to decide,
By some one judge the cause was to be tried;
But this their squabbles did afresh renew,
Who should be judge in such a trial:--who?
For Johnson some; but Johnson, it was fear'd,
Would be too grave; and Sterne too gay appear'd;
Others for Franklin voted; but 'twas known,
He sicken'd at all triumphs but his own:
For Colman many, but the peevish tongue
Of prudent Age found out that he was young:
For Murphy some few pilfering wits declared,
Whilst Folly clapp'd her hands, and Wisdom stared.
To mischief train'd, e'en from his mother's womb,
Grown old in fraud, though yet in manhood's bloom,
Adopting arts by which gay villains rise,
And reach the heights which honest men despise;
Mute at the bar, and in the senate loud,
Dull 'mongst the dullest, proudest of the proud;
A pert, prim, prater of the northern race,
Guilt in his heart, and famine in his face,
Stood forth,--and thrice he waved his lily hand,
And thrice he twirled his tye, thrice stroked his band:--
At Friendship's call (thus oft, with traitorous aim,
Men void of faith usurp Faith's sacred name)
At Friendship's call I come, by Murphy sent,
Who thus by me develops his intent:
But lest, transfused, the spirit should be lost,
That spirit which, in storms of rhetoric toss'd,
Bounces about, and flies like bottled beer,
In his own words his own intentions hear.
Thanks to my friends; but to vile fortunes born,
No robes of fur these shoulders must adorn.
Vain your applause, no aid from thence I draw;
Vain all my wit, for what is wit in law?
Twice, (cursed remembrance!) twice I strove to gain
Admittance 'mongst the law-instructed train,
Who, in the Temple and Gray's Inn, prepare
For clients' wretched feet the legal snare;
Dead to those arts which polish and refine,
Deaf to all worth, because that worth was mine,
Twice did those blockheads startle at my name,
And foul rejection gave me up to shame.
To laws and lawyers then I bade adieu,
And plans of far more liberal note pursue.
Who will may be a judge--my kindling breast
Burns for that chair which Roscius once possess'd.
Here give your votes, your interest here exert,
And let success for once attend desert.
With sleek appearance, and with ambling pace,
And, type of vacant head, with vacant face,
The Proteus Hill put in his modest plea,--
Let Favour speak for others, Worth for me.--
For who, like him, his various powers could call
Into so many shapes, and shine in all?
Who could so nobly grace the motley list,
Actor, Inspector, Doctor, Botanist?
Knows any one so well--sure no one knows--
At once to play, prescribe, compound, compose?
Who can--but Woodward came,--Hill slipp'd away,
Melting, like ghosts, before the rising day.
With that low cunning, which in fools supplies,
And amply too, the place of being wise,
Which Nature, kind, indulgent parent, gave
To qualify the blockhead for a knave;
With that smooth falsehood, whose appearance charms,
And Reason of each wholesome doubt disarms,
Which to the lowest depths of guile descends,
By vilest means pursues the vilest ends;
Wears Friendship's mask for purposes of spite,
Pawns in the day, and butchers in the night;
With that malignant envy which turns pale,
And sickens, even if a friend prevail,
Which merit and success pursues with hate,
And damns the worth it cannot imitate;
With the cold caution of a coward's spleen,
Which fears not guilt, but always seeks a screen,
Which keeps this maxim ever in her view--
What's basely done, should be done safely too;
With that dull, rooted, callous impudence,
Which, dead to shame and every nicer sense,
Ne'er blush'd, unless, in spreading Vice's snares,
She blunder'd on some virtue unawares;
With all these blessings, which we seldom find
Lavish'd by Nature on one happy mind,
A motley figure, of the Fribble tribe,
Which heart can scarce conceive, or pen describe,
Came simpering on--to ascertain whose sex
Twelve sage impannell'd matrons would perplex.
Nor male, nor female; neither, and yet both;
Of neuter gender, though of Irish growth;
A six-foot suckling, mincing in Its gait;
Affected, peevish, prim, and delicate;
Fearful It seem'd, though of athletic make,
Lest brutal breezes should too roughly shake
Its tender form, and savage motion spread,
O'er Its pale cheeks, the horrid manly red.
Much did It talk, in Its own pretty phrase,
Of genius and of taste, of players and of plays;
Much too of writings, which Itself had wrote,
Of special merit, though of little note;
For Fate, in a strange humour, had decreed
That what It wrote, none but Itself should read;
Much, too, It chatter'd of dramatic laws,
Misjudging critics, and misplaced applause;
Then, with a self-complacent, jutting air,
It smiled, It smirk'd, It wriggled to the chair;
And, with an awkward briskness not Its own,
Looking around, and perking on the throne,
Triumphant seem'd; when that strange savage dame,
Known but to few, or only known by name,
Plain Common-Sense appear'd, by Nature there
Appointed, with plain Truth, to guard the chair,
The pageant saw, and, blasted with her frown,
To Its first state of nothing melted down.
Nor shall the Muse, (for even there the pride
Of this vain nothing shall be mortified)
Nor shall the Muse (should Fate ordain her rhymes,
Fond, pleasing thought! to live in after-times)
With such a trifler's name her pages blot;
Known be the character, the thing forgot:
Let It, to disappoint each future aim,
Live without sex, and die without a name!
Cold-blooded critics, by enervate sires
Scarce hammer'd out, when Nature's feeble fires
Glimmer'd their last; whose sluggish blood, half froze,
Creeps labouring through the veins; whose heart ne'er glows
With fancy-kindled heat;--a servile race,
Who, in mere want of fault, all merit place;
Who blind obedience pay to ancient schools,
Bigots to Greece, and slaves to musty rules;
With solemn consequence declared that none
Could judge that cause but Sophocles alone.
Dupes to their fancied excellence, the crowd,
Obsequious to the sacred dictate, bow'd.
When, from amidst the throng, a youth stood forth,
Unknown his person, not unknown his worth;
His look bespoke applause; alone he stood,
Alone he stemm'd the mighty critic flood.
He talk'd of ancients, as the man became
Who prized our own, but envied not their fame;
With noble reverence spoke of Greece and Rome,
And scorn'd to tear the laurel from the tomb.
But, more than just to other countries grown,
Must we turn base apostates to our own?
Where do these words of Greece and Rome excel,
That England may not please the ear as well?
What mighty magic's in the place or air,
That all perfection needs must centre there?
In states, let strangers blindly be preferr'd;
In state of letters, merit should be heard.
Genius is of no country; her pure ray
Spreads all abroad, as general as the day;
Foe to restraint, from place to place she flies,
And may hereafter e'en in Holland rise.
May not, (to give a pleasing fancy scope,
And cheer a patriot heart with patriot hope)
May not some great extensive genius raise
The name of Britain 'bove Athenian praise;
And, whilst brave thirst of fame his bosom warms,
Make England great in letters as in arms?
There may--there hath,--and Shakspeare's Muse aspires
Beyond the reach of Greece; with native fires
Mounting aloft, he wings his daring flight,
Whilst Sophocles below stands trembling at his height.
Why should we then abroad for judges roam,
When abler judges we may find at home?
Happy in tragic and in comic powers,
Have we not Shakspeare?--Is not Jonson ours?
For them, your natural judges, Britons, vote;
They'll judge like Britons, who like Britons wrote.
He said, and conquer'd--Sense resumed her sway,
And disappointed pedants stalk'd away.
Shakspeare and Jonson, with deserved applause,
Joint-judges were ordain'd to try the cause.
Meantime the stranger every voice employ'd,
To ask or tell his name. Who is it? Lloyd.
Thus, when the aged friends of Job stood mute,
And, tamely prudent, gave up the dispute,
Elihu, with the decent warmth of youth,
Boldly stood forth the advocate of Truth;
Confuted Falsehood, and disabled Pride,
Whilst baffled Age stood snarling at his side.
The day of trial's fix'd, nor any fear
Lest day of trial should be put off here.
Causes but seldom for delay can call
In courts where forms are few, fees none at all.
The morning came, nor find I that the Sun,
As he on other great events hath done,
Put on a brighter robe than what he wore
To go his journey in, the day before.
Full in the centre of a spacious plain,
On plan entirely new, where nothing vain,
Nothing magnificent appear'd, but Art
With decent modesty perform'd her part,
Rose a tribunal: from no other court
It borrow'd ornament, or sought support:
No juries here were pack'd to kill or clear,
No bribes were taken, nor oaths broken here;
No gownsmen, partial to a client's cause,
To their own purpose turn'd the pliant laws;
Each judge was true and steady to his trust,
As Mansfield wise, and as old Foster just.
In the first seat, in robe of various dyes,
A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
Sat Shakspeare: in one hand a wand he bore,
For mighty wonders famed in days of yore;
The other held a globe, which to his will
Obedient turn'd, and own'd the master's skill:
Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
And look'd through Nature at a single view:
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
Call'd into being scenes unknown before,
And passing Nature's bounds, was something more.
Next Jonson sat, in ancient learning train'd,
His rigid judgment Fancy's flights restrain'd;
Correctly pruned each wild luxuriant thought,
Mark'd out her course, nor spared a glorious fault.
The book of man he read with nicest art,
And ransack'd all the secrets of the heart;
Exerted penetration's utmost force,
And traced each passion to its proper source;
Then, strongly mark'd, in liveliest colours drew,
And brought each foible forth to public view:
The coxcomb felt a lash in every word,
And fools, hung out, their brother fools deterr'd.
His comic humour kept the world in awe,
And Laughter frighten'd Folly more than Law.
But, hark! the trumpet sounds, the crowd gives way,
And the procession comes in just array.
Now should I, in some sweet poetic line,
Offer up incense at Apollo's shrine,
Invoke the Muse to quit her calm abode,
And waken Memory with a sleeping Ode.
For how shall mortal man, in mortal verse,
Their titles, merits, or their names rehearse?
But give, kind Dulness! memory and rhyme,
We 'll put off Genius till another time.
First, Order came,--with solemn step, and slow,
In measured time his feet were taught to go.
Behind, from time to time, he cast his eye,
Lest this should quit his place, that step awry.
Appearances to save his only care;
So things seem right, no matter what they are.
In him his parents saw themselves renew'd,
Begotten by Sir Critic on Saint Prude.
Then came drum, trumpet, hautboy, fiddle, flute;
Next snuffer, sweeper, shifter, soldier, mute:
Legions of angels all in white advance;
Furies, all fire, come forward in a dance;
Pantomime figures then are brought to view,
Fools, hand in hand with fools, go two by two.
Next came the treasurer of either house;
One with full purse, t'other with not a sous.
Behind, a group of figures awe create,
Set off with all the impertinence of state;
By lace and feather consecrate to fame,
Expletive kings, and queens without a name.
Here Havard, all serene, in the same strains,
Loves, hates, and rages, triumphs and complains;
His easy vacant face proclaim'd a heart
Which could not feel emotions, nor impart.
With him came mighty Davies: on my life,
That Davies hath a very pretty wife!
Statesman all over, in plots famous grown,
He mouths a sentence, as curs mouth a bone.
Next Holland came: with truly tragic stalk,
He creeps, he flies,--a hero should not walk.
As if with Heaven he warr'd, his eager eyes
Planted their batteries against the skies;
Attitude, action, air, pause, start, sigh, groan,
He borrow'd, and made use of as his own.
By fortune thrown on any other stage,
He might, perhaps, have pleased an easy age;
But now appears a copy, and no more,
Of something better we have seen before.
The actor who would build a solid fame,
Must Imitation's servile arts disclaim;
Act from himself, on his own bottom stand;
I hate e'en Garrick thus at second-hand.
Behind came King.--Bred up in modest lore,
Bashful and young, he sought Hibernia's shore;
Hibernia, famed, 'bove every other grace,
For matchless intrepidity of face.
From her his features caught the generous flame,
And bid defiance to all sense of shame.
Tutor'd by her all rivals to surpass,
'Mongst Drury's sons he comes, and shines in Brass.
Lo, Yates! Without the least finesse of art
He gets applause--I wish he'd get his part.
When hot Impatience is in full career,
How vilely 'Hark ye! hark ye!' grates the ear;
When active fancy from the brain is sent,
And stands on tip-toe for some wish'd event,
I hate those careless blunders, which recall
Suspended sense, and prove it fiction all.
In characters of low and vulgar mould,
Where Nature's coarsest features we behold;
Where, destitute of every decent grace,
Unmanner'd jests are blurted in your face,
There Yates with justice strict attention draws,
Acts truly from himself, and gains applause.
But when, to please himself or charm his wife,
He aims at something in politer life,
When, blindly thwarting Nature's stubborn plan,
He treads the stage by way of gentleman,
The clown, who no one touch of breeding knows,
Looks like Tom Errand dress'd in Clincher's clothes.
Fond of his dress, fond of his person grown,
Laugh'd at by all, and to himself unknown,
Prom side to side he struts, he smiles, he prates,
And seems to wonder what's become of Yates.
Woodward, endow'd with various tricks of face,
Great master in the science of grimace,
From Ireland ventures, favourite of the town,
Lured by the pleasing prospect of renown;
A speaking harlequin, made up of whim,
He twists, he twines, he tortures every limb;
Plays to the eye with a mere monkey's art,
And leaves to sense the conquest of the heart.
We laugh indeed, but, on reflection's birth,
We wonder at ourselves, and curse our mirth.
His walk of parts he fatally misplaced,
And inclination fondly took for taste;
Hence hath the town so often seen display'd
Beau in burlesque, high life in masquerade.
But when bold wits,--not such as patch up plays,
Cold and correct, in these insipid days,--
Some comic character, strong featured, urge
To probability's extremest verge;
Where modest Judgment her decree suspends,
And, for a time, nor censures, nor commends;
Where critics can't determine on the spot
Whether it is in nature found or not,
There Woodward safely shall his powers exert,
Nor fail of favour where he shows desert;
Hence he in Bobadil such praises bore,
Such worthy praises, Kitely scarce had more.
By turns transform'd into all kind of shapes,
Constant to none, Foote laughs, cries, struts, and scrapes:
Now in the centre, now in van or rear,
The Proteus shifts, bawd, parson, auctioneer.
His strokes of humour, and his bursts of sport,
Are all contain'd in this one word--distort.
Doth a man stutter, look a-squint, or halt?
Mimics draw humour out of Nature's fault,
With personal defects their mirth adorn,
And bang misfortunes out to public scorn.
E'en I, whom Nature cast in hideous mould,
Whom, having made, she trembled to behold,
Beneath the load of mimicry may groan,
And find that Nature's errors are my own.
Shadows behind of Foote and Woodward came;
Wilkinson this, Obrien was that name.
Strange to relate, but wonderfully true,
That even shadows have their shadows too!
With not a single comic power endued,
The first a mere, mere mimic's mimic stood;
The last, by Nature form'd to please, who shows,
In Johnson's Stephen, which way genius grows,
Self quite put off, affects with too much art
To put on Woodward in each mangled part;
Adopts his shrug, his wink, his stare; nay, more,
His voice, and croaks; for Woodward croak'd before.
When a dull copier simple grace neglects,
And rests his imitation in defects,
We readily forgive; but such vile arts
Are double guilt in men of real parts.
By Nature form'd in her perversest mood,
With no one requisite of art endued,
Next Jackson came--Observe that settled glare,
Which better speaks a puppet than a player;
List to that voice--did ever Discord hear
Sounds so well fitted to her untuned ear?
When to enforce some very tender part,
The right hand slips by instinct on the heart,
His soul, of every other thought bereft,
Is anxious only where to place the left;
He sobs and pants to soothe his weeping spouse;
To soothe his weeping mother, turns and bows:
Awkward, embarrass'd, stiff, without the skill
Of moving gracefully, or standing still,
One leg, as if suspicious of his brother,
Desirous seems to run away from t'other.
Some errors, handed down from age to age,
Plead custom's force, and still possess the stage.
That's vile: should we a parent's faults adore,
And err, because our fathers err'd before?
If, inattentive to the author's mind,
Some actors made the jest they could not find;
If by low tricks they marr'd fair Nature's mien,
And blurr'd the graces of the simple scene,
Shall we, if reason rightly is employ'd,
Not see their faults, or seeing, not avoid?
When Falstaff stands detected in a lie,
Why, without meaning, rolls Love's glassy eye?
Why? There's no cause--at least no cause we know--
It was the fashion twenty years ago.
Fashion!--a word which knaves and fools may use,
Their knavery and folly to excuse.
To copy beauties, forfeits all pretence
To fame--to copy faults, is want of sense.
Yet (though in some particulars he fails,
Some few particulars, where mode prevails)
If in these hallow'd times, when, sober, sad,
All gentlemen are melancholy mad;
When 'tis not deem'd so great a crime by half
To violate a vestal as to laugh,
Rude mirth may hope, presumptuous, to engage
An act of toleration for the stage;
And courtiers will, like reasonable creatures,
Suspend vain fashion, and unscrew their features;
Old Falstaff, play'd by Love, shall please once more,
And humour set the audience in a roar.
Actors I've seen, and of no vulgar name,
Who, being from one part possess'd of fame,
Whether they are to laugh, cry, whine, or bawl,
Still introduce that favourite part in all.
Here, Love, be cautious--ne'er be thou betray'd
To call in that wag Falstaff's dangerous aid;
Like Goths of old, howe'er he seems a friend,
He'll seize that throne you wish him to defend.
In a peculiar mould by Humour cast,
For Falstaff framed--himself the first and last--
He stands aloof from all--maintains his state,
And scorns, like Scotsmen, to assimilate.
Vain all disguise--too plain we see the trick,
Though the knight wears the weeds of Dominic;
And Boniface disgraced, betrays the smack,
In _anno Domini_, of Falstaff sack.
Arms cross'd, brows bent, eyes fix'd, feet marching slow,
A band of malcontents with spleen o'erflow;
Wrapt in Conceit's impenetrable fog,
Which Pride, like Phoebus, draws from every bog,
They curse the managers, and curse the town
Whose partial favour keeps such merit down.
But if some man, more hardy than the rest,
Should dare attack these gnatlings in their nest,
At once they rise with impotence of rage,
Whet their small stings, and buzz about the stage:
'Tis breach of privilege! Shall any dare
To arm satiric truth against a player?
Prescriptive rights we plead, time out of mind;
Actors, unlash'd themselves, may lash mankind.
What! shall Opinion then, of nature free,
And liberal as the vagrant air, agree
To rust in chains like these, imposed by things,
Which, less than nothing, ape the pride of kings?
No--though half-poets with half-players join
To curse the freedom of each honest line;
Though rage and malice dim their faded cheek,
What the Muse freely thinks, she'll freely speak;
With just disdain of every paltry sneer,
Stranger alike to flattery and fear,
In purpose fix'd, and to herself a rule,
Public contempt shall wait the public fool.
Austin would always glisten in French silks;
Ackman would Norris be, and Packer, Wilkes:
For who, like Ackman, can with humour please;
Who can, like Packer, charm with sprightly ease?
Higher than all the rest, see Bransby strut:
A mighty Gulliver in Lilliput!
Ludicrous Nature! which at once could show
A man so very high, so very low!
If I forget thee, Blakes, or if I say
Aught hurtful, may I never see thee play.
Let critics, with a supercilious air,
Decry thy various merit, and declare
Frenchman is still at top; but scorn that rage
Which, in attacking thee, attacks the age.
French follies, universally embraced,
At once provoke our mirth, and form our taste.
Long, from a nation ever hardly used,
At random censured, wantonly abused,
Have Britons drawn their sport; with partial view
Form'd general notions from the rascal few;
Condemn'd a people, as for vices known,
Which from their country banish'd, seek our own.
At length, howe'er, the slavish chain is broke,
And Sense, awaken'd, scorns her ancient yoke:
Taught by thee, Moody, we now learn to raise
Mirth from their foibles; from their virtues, praise.
Next came the legion which our summer Bayes,
From alleys, here and there, contrived to raise,
Flush'd with vast hopes, and certain to succeed,
With wits who cannot write, and scarce can read.
Veterans no more support the rotten cause,
No more from Elliot's worth they reap applause;
Each on himself determines to rely;
Be Yates disbanded, and let Elliot fly.
Never did players so well an author fit,
To Nature dead, and foes declared to wit.
So loud each tongue, so empty was each head,
So much they talk'd, so very little said,
So wondrous dull, and yet so wondrous vain,
At once so willing, and unfit to reign,
That Reason swore, nor would the oath recall,
Their mighty master's soul inform'd them all.
As one with various disappointments sad,
Whom dulness only kept from being mad,
Apart from all the rest great Murphy came--
Common to fools and wits, the rage of fame.
What though the sons of Nonsense hail him Sire,
Auditor, Author, Manager, and Squire,
His restless soul's ambition stops not there;
To make his triumphs perfect, dub him Player.
In person tall, a figure form'd to please,
If symmetry could charm deprived of ease;
When motionless he stands, we all approve;
What pity 'tis the thing was made to move.
His voice, in one dull, deep, unvaried sound,
Seems to break forth from caverns under ground;
From hollow chest the low sepulchral note
Unwilling heaves, and struggles in his throat.
Could authors butcher'd give an actor grace,
All must to him resign the foremost place.
When he attempts, in some one favourite part,
To ape the feelings of a manly heart,
His honest features the disguise defy,
And his face loudly gives his tongue the lie.
Still in extremes, he knows no happy mean,
Or raving mad, or stupidly serene.
In cold-wrought scenes, the lifeless actor flags;
In passion, tears the passion into rags.
Can none remember? Yes--I know all must--
When in the Moor he ground his teeth to dust,
When o'er the stage he Folly's standard bore,
Whilst Common-Sense stood trembling at the door.
How few are found with real talents blest!
Fewer with Nature's gifts contented rest.
Man from his sphere eccentric starts astray:
All hunt for fame, but most mistake the way.
Bred at St Omer's to the shuffling trade,
The hopeful youth a Jesuit might have made;
With various readings stored his empty skull,
Learn'd without sense, and venerably dull;
Or, at some banker's desk, like many more,
Content to tell that two and two make four;
His name had stood in City annals fair,
And prudent Dulness mark'd him for a mayor.
What, then, could tempt thee, in a critic age,
Such blooming hopes to forfeit on a stage?
Could it be worth thy wondrous waste of pains
To publish to the world thy lack of brains?
Or might not Reason e'en to thee have shown,
Thy greatest praise had been to live unknown?
Yet let not vanity like thine despair:
Fortune makes Folly her peculiar care.
A vacant throne, high-placed in Smithfield, view.
To sacred Dulness and her first-born due,
Thither with haste in happy hour repair,
Thy birthright claim, nor fear a rival there.
Shuter himself shall own thy juster claim,
And venal Ledgers puff their Murphy's name;
Whilst Vaughan, or Dapper, call him which you will,
Shall blow the trumpet, and give out the bill.
There rule, secure from critics and from sense,
Nor once shall Genius rise to give offence;
Eternal peace shall bless the happy shore,
And little factions break thy rest no more.
From Covent Garden crowds promiscuous go,
Whom the Muse knows not, nor desires to know;
Veterans they seem'd, but knew of arms no more
Than if, till that time, arms they never bore:
Like Westminster militia train'd to fight,
They scarcely knew the left hand from the right.
Ashamed among such troops to show the head,
Their chiefs were scatter'd, and their heroes fled.
Sparks at his glass sat comfortably down
To separate frown from smile, and smile from frown.
Smith, the genteel, the airy, and the smart,
Smith was just gone to school to say his part.
Ross (a misfortune which we often meet)
Was fast asleep at dear Statira's feet;
Statira, with her hero to agree,
Stood on her feet as fast asleep as he.
Macklin, who largely deals in half-form'd sounds,
Who wantonly transgresses Nature's bounds,
Whose acting's hard, affected, and constrain'd,
Whose features, as each other they disdain'd,
At variance set, inflexible and coarse,
Ne'er know the workings of united force,
Ne'er kindly soften to each other's aid,
Nor show the mingled powers of light and shade;
No longer for a thankless stage concern'd,
To worthier thoughts his mighty genius turn'd,
Harangued, gave lectures, made each simple elf
Almost as good a speaker as himself;
Whilst the whole town, mad with mistaken zeal,
An awkward rage for elocution feel;
Dull cits and grave divines his praise proclaim,
And join with Sheridan's their Macklin's name.
Shuter, who never cared a single pin
Whether he left out nonsense, or put in,
Who aim'd at wit, though, levell'd in the dark,
The random arrow seldom hit the mark,
At Islington, all by the placid stream
Where city swains in lap of Dulness dream,
Where quiet as her strains their strains do flow,
That all the patron by the bards may know,
Secret as night, with Rolt's experienced aid,
The plan of future operations laid,
Projected schemes the summer months to cheer,
And spin out happy folly through the year.
But think not, though these dastard chiefs are fled,
That Covent Garden troops shall want a head:
Harlequin comes their chief! See from afar
The hero seated in fantastic car!
Wedded to Novelty, his only arms
Are wooden swords, wands, talismans, and charms;
On one side Folly sits, by some call'd Fun,
And on the other his arch-patron, Lun;
Behind, for liberty athirst in vain,
Sense, helpless captive, drags the galling chain:
Six rude misshapen beasts the chariot draw,
Whom Reason loathes, and Nature never saw,
Monsters with tails of ice, and heads of fire;
'Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.'
Each was bestrode by full as monstrous wight,
Giant, dwarf, genius, elf, hermaphrodite.
The Town, as usual, met him in full cry;
The Town, as usual, knew no reason why:
But Fashion so directs, and Moderns raise
On Fashion's mouldering base their transient praise.
Next, to the field a band of females draw
Their force, for Britain owns no Salique law:
Just to their worth, we female rights admit,
Nor bar their claim to empire or to wit.
First giggling, plotting chambermaids arrive,
Hoydens and romps, led on by General Clive.
In spite of outward blemishes, she shone,
For humour famed, and humour all her own:
Easy, as if at home, the stage she trod,
Nor sought the critic's praise, nor fear'd his rod:
Original in spirit and in ease,
She pleased by hiding all attempts to please:
No comic actress ever yet could raise,
On Humour's base, more merit or more praise.
With all the native vigour of sixteen,
Among the merry troop conspicuous seen,
See lively Pope advance, in jig, and trip
Corinna, Cherry, Honeycomb, and Snip:
Not without art, but yet to nature true,
She charms the town with humour just, yet new:
Cheer'd by her promise, we the less deplore
The fatal time when Olive shall be no more.
Lo! Vincent comes! With simple grace array'd,
She laughs at paltry arts, and scorns parade:
Nature through her is by reflection shown,
Whilst Gay once more knows Polly for his own.
Talk not to me of diffidence and fear--
I see it all, but must forgive it here;
Defects like these, which modest terrors cause,
From Impudence itself extort applause.
Candour and Reason still take Virtue's part;
We love e'en foibles in so good a heart.
Let Tommy Arne,--with usual pomp of style,
Whose chief, whose only merit's to compile;
Who, meanly pilfering here and there a bit,
Deals music out as Murphy deals out wit,--
Publish proposals, laws for taste prescribe,
And chaunt the praise of an Italian tribe;
Let him reverse kind Nature's first decrees,
And teach e'en Brent a method not to please;
But never shall a truly British age
Bear a vile race of eunuchs on the stage;
The boasted work's call'd national in vain,
If one Italian voice pollutes the strain.
Where tyrants rule, and slaves with joy obey,
Let slavish minstrels pour the enervate lay;
To Britons far more noble pleasures spring,
In native notes whilst Beard and Vincent sing.
Might figure give a title unto fame,
What rival should with Yates dispute her claim?
But justice may not partial trophies raise,
Nor sink the actress' in the woman's praise.
Still hand in hand her words and actions go,
And the heart feels more than the features show;
For, through the regions of that beauteous face
We no variety of passions trace;
Dead to the soft emotions of the heart,
No kindred softness can those eyes impart:
The brow, still fix'd in sorrow's sullen frame,
Void of distinction, marks all parts the same.
What's a fine person, or a beauteous face,
Unless deportment gives them decent grace?
Bless'd with all other requisites to please,
Some want the striking elegance of ease;
The curious eye their awkward movement tires;
They seem like puppets led about by wires.
Others, like statues, in one posture still,
Give great ideas of the workman's skill;
Wond'ring, his art we praise the more we view,
And only grieve he gave not motion too.
Weak of themselves are what we beauties call,
It is the manner which gives strength to all;
This teaches every beauty to unite,
And brings them forward in the noblest light;
Happy in this, behold, amidst the throng,
With transient gleam of grace, Hart sweeps along.
If all the wonders of external grace,
A person finely turn'd, a mould of face,
Where--union rare--expression's lively force
With beauty's softest magic holds discourse,
Attract the eye; if feelings, void of art,
Rouse the quick passions, and inflame the heart;
If music, sweetly breathing from the tongue,
Captives the ear, Bride must not pass unsung.
When fear, which rank ill-nature terms conceit,
By time and custom conquer'd, shall retreat;
When judgment, tutor'd by experience sage,
Shall shoot abroad, and gather strength from age;
When Heaven, in mercy, shall the stage release
From the dull slumbers of a still-life piece;
When some stale flower, disgraceful to the walk,
Which long hath hung, though wither'd, on the stalk,
Shall kindly drop, then Bride shall make her way,
And merit find a passage to the day;
Brought into action, she at once shall raise
Her own renown, and justify our praise.
Form'd for the tragic scene, to grace the stage
With rival excellence of love and rage;
Mistress of each soft art, with matchless skill
To turn and wind the passions as she will;
To melt the heart with sympathetic woe,
Awake the sigh, and teach the tear to flow;
To put on frenzy's wild, distracted glare,
And freeze the soul with horror and despair;
With just desert enroll'd in endless fame,
Conscious of worth superior, Cibber came.
When poor Alicia's madd'ning brains are rack'd,
And strongly imaged griefs her mind distract,
Struck with her grief, I catch the madness too,
My brain turns round, the headless trunk I view!
The roof cracks, shakes, and falls--new horrors rise,
And Reason buried in the ruin lies!
Nobly disdainful of each slavish art,
She makes her first attack upon the heart;
Pleased with the summons, it receives her laws,
And all is silence, sympathy, applause.
But when, by fond ambition drawn aside,
Giddy with praise, and puff'd with female pride,
She quits the tragic scene, and, in pretence
To comic merit, breaks down nature's fence,
I scarcely can believe my ears or eyes,
Or find out Cibber through the dark disguise.
Pritchard, by Nature for the stage design'd,
In person graceful, and in sense refined;
Her art as much as Nature's friend became,
Her voice as free from blemish as her fame,
Who knows so well in majesty to please,
Attemper'd with the graceful charms of ease?
When, Congreve's favoured pantomime to grace,
She comes a captive queen, of Moorish race;
When love, hate, jealousy, despair, and rage
With wildest tumults in her breast engage,
Still equal to herself is Zara seen;
Her passions are the passions of a queen.
When she to murder whets the timorous Thane,
I feel ambition rush through every vein;
Persuasion hangs upon her daring tongue,
My heart grows flint, and every nerve's new strung.
In comedy--Nay, there, cries Critic, hold;
Pritchard's for comedy too fat and old:
Who can, with patience, bear the gray coquette,
Or force a laugh with over-grown Julett?
Her speech, look, action, humour, all are just,
But then, her age and figure give disgust.
Are foibles, then, and graces of the mind,
In real life, to size or age confined?
Do spirits flow, and is good-breeding placed
In any set circumference of waist?
As we grow old, doth affectation cease,
Or gives not age new vigour to caprice?
If in originals these things appear,
Why should we bar them in the copy here?
The nice punctilio-mongers of this age,
The grand minute reformers of the stage,
Slaves to propriety of every kind,
Some standard measure for each part should find,
Which, when the best of actors shall exceed,
Let it devolve to one of smaller breed.
All actors, too, upon the back should bear
Certificate of birth; time, when; place, where;
For how can critics rightly fix their worth,
Unless they know the minute of their birth?
An audience, too, deceived, may find, too late,
That they have clapp'd an actor out of date.
Figure, I own, at first may give offence,
And harshly strike the eye's too curious sense;
But when perfections of the mind break forth,
Humour's chaste sallies, judgment's solid worth;
When the pure genuine flame by Nature taught,
Springs into sense and every action's thought;
Before such merit all objections fly--
Pritchard's genteel, and Garrick's six feet high.
Oft have I, Pritchard, seen thy wondrous skill,
Confess'd thee great, but find thee greater still;
That worth, which shone in scatter'd rays before,
Collected now, breaks forth with double power.
The 'Jealous Wife!' on that thy trophies raise,
Inferior only to the author's praise.
From Dublin, famed in legends of romance
For mighty magic of enchanted lance,
With which her heroes arm'd, victorious prove,
And, like a flood, rush o'er the land of Love,
Mossop and Barry came--names ne'er design'd
By Fate in the same sentence to be join'd.
Raised by the breath of popular acclaim,
They mounted to the pinnacle of fame;
There the weak brain, made giddy with the height,
Spurr'd on the rival chiefs to mortal fight.
Thus sportive boys, around some basin's brim,
Behold the pipe-drawn bladders circling swim;
But if, from lungs more potent, there arise
Two bubbles of a more than common size,
Eager for honour, they for fight prepare,
Bubble meets bubble, and both sink to air.
Mossop attach'd to military plan,
Still kept his eye fix'd on his right-hand man;
Whilst the mouth measures words with seeming skill,
The right hand labours, and the left lies still;
For he, resolved on Scripture grounds to go,
What the right doth, the left-hand shall not know,
With studied impropriety of speech,
He soars beyond the hackney critic's reach;
To epithets allots emphatic state,
Whilst principals, ungraced, like lackeys wait;
In ways first trodden by himself excels,
And stands alone in indeclinables;
Conjunction, preposition, adverb join
To stamp new vigour on the nervous line;
In monosyllables his thunders roll,
He, she, it, and we, ye, they, fright the soul.
In person taller than the common size,
Behold where Barry draws admiring eyes!
When labouring passions, in his bosom pent,
Convulsive rage, and struggling heave for vent;
Spectators, with imagined terrors warm,
Anxious expect the bursting of the storm:
But, all unfit in such a pile to dwell,
His voice comes forth, like Echo from her cell,
To swell the tempest needful aid denies,
And all adown the stage in feeble murmurs dies.
What man, like Barry, with such pains, can err
In elocution, action, character?
What man could give, if Barry was not here,
Such well applauded tenderness to Lear?
Who else can speak so very, very fine,
That sense may kindly end with every line?
Some dozen lines before the ghost is there,
Behold him for the solemn scene prepare:
See how he frames his eyes, poises each limb,
Puts the whole body into proper trim:--
From whence we learn, with no great stretch of art,
Five lines hence comes a ghost, and, ha! a start.
When he appears most perfect, still we find
Something which jars upon and hurts the mind:
Whatever lights upon a part are thrown,
We see too plainly they are not his own:
No flame from Nature ever yet he caught,
Nor knew a feeling which he was not taught:
He raised his trophies on the base of art,
And conn'd his passions, as he conn'd his part.
Quin, from afar, lured by the scent of fame,
A stage leviathan, put in his claim,
Pupil of Betterton and Booth. Alone,
Sullen he walk'd, and deem'd the chair his own:
For how should moderns, mushrooms of the day,
Who ne'er those masters knew, know how to play?
Gray-bearded veterans, who, with partial tongue,
Extol the times when they themselves were young,
Who, having lost all relish for the stage,
See not their own defects, but lash the age,
Received, with joyful murmurs of applause,
Their darling chief, and lined his favourite cause.
Far be it from the candid Muse to tread
Insulting o'er the ashes of the dead:
But, just to living merit, she maintains,
And dares the test, whilst Garrick's genius reigns,
Ancients in vain endeavour to excel,
Happily praised, if they could act as well.
But, though prescription's force we disallow,
Nor to antiquity submissive bow;
Though we deny imaginary grace,
Founded on accidents of time and place,
Yet real worth of every growth shall bear
Due praise; nor must we, Quin, forget thee there.
His words bore sterling weight; nervous and strong,
In manly tides of sense they roll'd along:
Happy in art, he chiefly had pretence
To keep up numbers, yet not forfeit sense;
No actor ever greater heights could reach
In all the labour'd artifice of speech.
Speech! is that all? And shall an actor found
An universal fame on partial ground?
Parrots themselves speak properly by rote,
And, in six months, my dog shall howl by note.
I laugh at those who, when the stage they tread,
Neglect the heart, to compliment the head;
With strict propriety their cares confined
To weigh out words, while passion halts behind:
To syllable-dissectors they appeal,
Allow them accent, cadence,--fools may feel;
But, spite of all the criticising elves,
Those who would make us feel, must feel themselves.
His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll,
Proclaim'd the sullen 'habit of his soul:'
Heavy and phlegmatic he trod the stage,
Too proud for tenderness, too dull for rage.
When Hector's lovely widow shines in tears,
Or Rowe's gay rake dependent virtue jeers,
With the same cast of features he is seen
To chide the libertine, and court the queen.
From the tame scene, which without passion flows,
With just desert his reputation rose;
Nor less he pleased, when, on some surly plan,
He was, at once, the actor and the man.
In Brute he shone unequall'd: all agree
Garrick's not half so great a Brute as he.
When Cato's labour'd scenes are brought to view,
With equal praise the actor labour'd too;
For still you'll find, trace passions to their root,
Small difference 'twixt the Stoic and the Brute.
In fancied scenes, as in life's real plan,
He could not, for a moment, sink the man.
In whate'er cast his character was laid,
Self still, like oil, upon the surface play'd.
Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in:
Horatio, Dorax, Falstaff,--still 'twas Quin.
Next follows Sheridan. A doubtful name,
As yet unsettled in the rank of fame:
This, fondly lavish in his praises grown,
Gives him all merit; that allows him none;
Between them both, we'll steer the middle course,
Nor, loving praise, rob Judgment of her force.
Just his conceptions, natural and great,
His feelings strong, his words enforced with weight.
Was speech-famed Quin himself to hear him speak,
Envy would drive the colour from his cheek;
But step-dame Nature, niggard of her grace,
Denied the social powers of voice and face.
Fix'd in one frame of features, glare of eye,
Passions, like chaos, in confusion lie;
In vain the wonders of his skill are tried
To form distinctions Nature hath denied.
His voice no touch of harmony admits,
Irregularly deep, and shrill by fits.
The two extremes appear like man and wife,
Coupled together for the sake of strife.
His action's always strong, but sometimes such,
That candour must declare he acts too much.
Why must impatience fall three paces back?
Why paces three return to the attack?
Why is the right leg, too, forbid to stir,
Unless in motion semicircular?
Why must the hero with the Nailor vie,
And hurl the close-clench'd fist at nose or eye?
In Royal John, with Philip angry grown,
I thought he would have knock'd poor Davies down.
Inhuman tyrant! was it not a shame
To fright a king so harmless and so tame?
But, spite of all defects, his glories rise,
And art, by judgment form'd, with nature vies.
Behold him sound the depth of Hubert's soul,
Whilst in his own contending passions roll;
View the whole scene, with critic judgment scan,
And then deny him merit, if you can.
Where he falls short, 'tis Nature's fault alone;
Where he succeeds, the merit's all his own.
Last Garrick came. Behind him throng a train
Of snarling critics, ignorant as vain.
One finds out--He's of stature somewhat low--
Your hero always should be tall, you know;
True natural greatness all consists in height.
Produce your voucher, Critic.--Serjeant Kite.
Another can't forgive the paltry arts
By which he makes his way to shallow hearts;
Mere pieces of finesse, traps for applause--
'Avaunt! unnatural start, affected pause!'
For me, by Nature form'd to judge with phlegm,
I can't acquit by wholesale, nor condemn.
The best things carried to excess are wrong;
The start may be too frequent, pause too long:
But, only used in proper time and place,
Severest judgment must allow them grace.
If bunglers, form'd on Imitation's plan,
Just in the way that monkeys mimic man,
Their copied scene with mangled arts disgrace,
And pause and start with the same vacant face,
We join the critic laugh; those tricks we scorn
Which spoil the scenes they mean them to adorn.
But when, from Nature's pure and genuine source,
These strokes of acting flow with generous force,
When in the features all the soul's portray'd,
And passions, such as Garrick's, are display'd,
To me they seem from quickest feelings caught--
Each start is nature, and each pause is thought.
When reason yields to passion's wild alarms,
And the whole state of man is up in arms,
What but a critic could condemn the player
For pausing here, when cool sense pauses there?
Whilst, working from the heart, the fire I trace,
And mark it strongly flaming to the face;
Whilst in each sound I hear the very man,
I can't catch words, and pity those who can.
Let wits, like spiders, from the tortured brain
Fine-draw the critic-web with curious pain;
The gods,--a kindness I with thanks must pay,--
Have form'd me of a coarser kind of clay;
Not stung with envy, nor with spleen diseased,
A poor dull creature, still with Nature pleased:
Hence to thy praises, Garrick, I agree,
And, pleased with Nature, must be pleased with thee.
Now might I tell how silence reign'd throughout,
And deep attention hush'd the rabble rout;
How every claimant, tortured with desire,
Was pale as ashes, or as red as fire;
But loose to fame, the Muse more simply acts,
Rejects all flourish, and relates mere facts.
The judges, as the several parties came,
With temper heard, with judgment weigh'd each claim;
And, in their sentence happily agreed,
In name of both, great Shakspeare thus decreed:--
If manly sense, if Nature link'd with Art;
If thorough knowledge of the human heart;
If powers of acting vast and unconfined;
If fewest faults with greatest beauties join'd;
If strong expression, and strange powers which lie
Within the magic circle of the eye;
If feelings which few hearts like his can know,
And which no face so well as his can show,
Deserve the preference--Garrick! take the chair;
Nor quit it--till thou place an equal there.
- quotes about language
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- quotes about Greece
- quotes about tragedy
- quotes about fashion
- quotes about United Kingdom
- quotes about victory
- quotes about receiving
- quotes about monsters
OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII (Entire)
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,
But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.
I held it truth, with him who sings
To one clear harp in divers tones,
That men may rise on stepping-stones
Of their dead selves to higher things.
But who shall so forecast the years
And find in loss a gain to match?
Or reach a hand thro’ time to catch
The far-off interest of tears?
Let Love clasp Grief lest both be drown’d,
Let darkness keep her raven gloss:
Ah, sweeter to be drunk with loss,
To dance with death, to beat the ground,
Than that the victor Hours should scorn
The long result of love, and boast,
‘Behold the man that loved and lost,
But all he was is overworn.’
Old Yew, which graspest at the stones
That name the under-lying dead,
Thy fibres net the dreamless head,
Thy roots are wrapt about the bones.
The seasons bring the flower again,
And bring the firstling to the flock;
And in the dusk of thee, the clock
Beats out the little lives of men.
O not for thee the glow, the bloom,
Who changest not in any gale,
Nor branding summer suns avail
To touch thy thousand years of gloom:
And gazing on thee, sullen tree,
Sick for thy stubborn hardihood,
I seem to fail from out my blood
And grow incorporate into thee.
O Sorrow, cruel fellowship,
O Priestess in the vaults of Death,
O sweet and bitter in a breath,
What whispers from thy lying lip?
‘The stars,’ she whispers, ‘blindly run;
A web is wov’n across the sky;
From out waste places comes a cry,
And murmurs from the dying sun:
‘And all the phantom, Nature, stands–
With all the music in her tone,
A hollow echo of my own,–
A hollow form with empty hands.’
And shall I take a thing so blind,
Embrace her as my natural good;
Or crush her, like a vice of blood,
Upon the threshold of the mind?
To Sleep I give my powers away;
My will is bondsman to the dark;
I sit within a helmless bark,
And with my heart I muse and say:
O heart, how fares it with thee now,
That thou should’st fail from thy desire,
Who scarcely darest to inquire,
‘What is it makes me beat so low?’
Something it is which thou hast lost,
Some pleasure from thine early years.
Break, thou deep vase of chilling tears,
That grief hath shaken into frost!
Such clouds of nameless trouble cross
All night below the darken’d eyes;
With morning wakes the will, and cries,
‘Thou shalt not be the fool of loss.’
I sometimes hold it half a sin
To put in words the grief I feel;
For words, like Nature, half reveal
And half conceal the Soul within.
But, for the unquiet heart and brain,
A use in measured language lies;
The sad mechanic exercise,
Like dull narcotics, numbing pain.
In words, like weeds, I’ll wrap me o’er,
Like coarsest clothes against the cold:
But that large grief which these enfold
Is given in outline and no more.
One writes, that ‘Other friends remain,’
That ‘Loss is common to the race’–
And common is the commonplace,
And vacant chaff well meant for grain.
That loss is common would not make
My own less bitter, rather more:
Too common! Never morning wore
To evening, but some heart did break.
O father, wheresoe’er thou be,
Who pledgest now thy gallant son;
A shot, ere half thy draught be done,
Hath still’d the life that beat from thee.
O mother, praying God will save
Thy sailor,–while thy head is bow’d,
His heavy-shotted hammock-shroud
Drops in his vast and wandering grave.
Ye know no more than I who wrought
At that last hour to please him well;
Who mused on all I had to tell,
And something written, something thought;
Expecting still his advent home;
And ever met him on his way
With wishes, thinking, ‘here to-day,’
Or ‘here to-morrow will he come.’
O somewhere, meek, unconscious dove,
That sittest ranging golden hair;
And glad to find thyself so fair,
Poor child, that waitest for thy love!
For now her father’s chimney glows
In expectation of a guest;
And thinking ‘this will please him best,’
She takes a riband or a rose;
For he will see them on to-night;
And with the thought her colour burns;
And, having left the glass, she turns
Once more to set a ringlet right;
And, even when she turn’d, the curse
Had fallen, and her future Lord
Was drown’d in passing thro’ the ford,
Or kill’d in falling from his horse.
O what to her shall be the end?
And what to me remains of good?
To her, perpetual maidenhood,
And unto me no second friend.
Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,
A hand that can be clasp’d no more–
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.
He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly thro’ the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.
A happy lover who has come
To look on her that loves him well,
Who ’lights and rings the gateway bell,
And learns her gone and far from home;
He saddens, all the magic light
Dies off at once from bower and hall,
And all the place is dark, and all
The chambers emptied of delight:
So find I every pleasant spot
In which we two were wont to meet,
The field, the chamber and the street,
For all is dark where thou art not.
Yet as that other, wandering there
In those deserted walks, may find
A flower beat with rain and wind,
Which once she foster'd up with care;
So seems it in my deep regret,
O my forsaken heart, with thee
And this poor flower of poesy
Which little cared for fades not yet.
But since it pleased a vanish’d eye,
I go to plant it on his tomb,
That if it can it there may bloom,
Or dying, there at least may die.
Fair ship, that from the Italian shore
Sailest the placid ocean-plains
With my lost Arthur’s loved remains,
Spread thy full wings, and waft him o’er.
So draw him home to those that mourn
In vain; a favourable speed
Ruffle thy mirror’d mast, and lead
Thro’ prosperous floods his holy urn.
All night no ruder air perplex
Thy sliding keel, till Phosphor, bright
As our pure love, thro’ early light
Shall glimmer on the dewy decks.
Sphere all your lights around, above;
Sleep, gentle heavens, before the prow;
Sleep, gentle winds, as he sleeps now,
My friend, the brother of my love;
My Arthur, whom I shall not see
Till all my widow’d race be run;
Dear as the mother to the son,
More than my brothers are to me.
I hear the noise about thy keel;
I hear the bell struck in the night:
I see the cabin-window bright;
I see the sailor at the wheel.
Thou bring’st the sailor to his wife,
And travell’d men from foreign lands;
And letters unto trembling hands;
And, thy dark freight, a vanish’d life.
So bring him: we have idle dreams:
This look of quiet flatters thus
Our home-bred fancies: O to us,
The fools of habit, sweeter seems
To rest beneath the clover sod,
That takes the sunshine and the rains,
Or where the kneeling hamlet drains
The chalice of the grapes of God;
Than if with thee the roaring wells
Should gulf him fathom-deep in brine;
And hands so often clasp’d in mine,
Should toss with tangle and with shells.
Calm is the morn without a sound,
Calm as to suit a calmer grief,
And only thro’ the faded leaf
The chestnut pattering to the ground:
Calm and deep peace on this high wold,
And on these dews that drench the furze,
And all the silvery gossamers
That twinkle into green and gold:
Calm and still light on yon great plain
That sweeps with all its autumn bowers,
And crowded farms and lessening towers,
To mingle with the bounding main:
Calm and deep peace in this wide air,
These leaves that redden to the fall;
And in my heart, if calm at all,
If any calm, a calm despair:
Calm on the seas, and silver sleep,
And waves that sway themselves in rest,
And dead calm in that noble breast
Which heaves but with the heaving deep.
Lo, as a dove when up she springs
To bear thro’ Heaven a tale of woe,
Some dolorous message knit below
The wild pulsation of her wings;
Like her I go; I cannot stay;
I leave this mortal ark behind,
A weight of nerves without a mind,
And leave the cliffs, and haste away
O’er ocean-mirrors rounded large,
And reach the glow of southern skies,
And see the sails at distance rise,
And linger weeping on the marge,
And saying; ‘Comes he thus, my friend?
Is this the end of all my care?’
And circle moaning in the air:
‘Is this the end? Is this the end?’
And forward dart again, and play
About the prow, and back return
To where the body sits, and learn
That I have been an hour away.
Tears of the widower, when he sees
A late-lost form that sleep reveals,
And moves his doubtful arms, and feels
Her place is empty, fall like these;
Which weep a loss for ever new,
A void where heart on heart reposed;
And, where warm hands have prest and closed,
Silence, till I be silent too.
Which weeps the comrade of my choice,
An awful thought, a life removed,
The human-hearted man I loved,
A Spirit, not a breathing voice.
Come Time, and teach me, many years,
I do not suffer in a dream;
For now so strange do these things seem,
Mine eyes have leisure for their tears;
My fancies time to rise on wing,
And glance about the approaching sails,
As tho’ they brought but merchants’ bales,
And not the burthen that they bring.
If one should bring me this report,
That thou hadst touch’d the land to-day,
And I went down unto the quay,
And found thee lying in the port;
And standing, muffled round with woe,
Should see thy passengers in rank
Come stepping lightly down the plank,
And beckoning unto those they know;
And if along with these should come
The man I held as half-divine;
Should strike a sudden hand in mine,
And ask a thousand things of home;
And I should tell him all my pain,
And how my life had droop’d of late,
And he should sorrow o’er my state
And marvel what possess’d my brain;
And I perceived no touch of change,
No hint of death in all his frame,
But found him all in all the same,
I should not feel it to be strange.
To-night the winds begin to rise
And roar from yonder dropping day:
The last red leaf is whirl’d away,
The rooks are blown about the skies;
The forest crack’d, the waters curl’d,
The cattle huddled on the lea;
And wildly dash’d on tower and tree
The sunbeam strikes along the world:
And but for fancies, which aver
That all thy motions gently pass
Athwart a plane of molten glass,
I scarce could brook the strain and stir
That makes the barren branches loud;
And but for fear it is not so,
The wild unrest that lives in woe
Would dote and pore on yonder cloud
That rises upward always higher,
And onward drags a labouring breast,
And topples round the dreary west,
A looming bastion fringed with fire.
What words are these have fall’n from me?
Can calm despair and wild unrest
Be tenants of a single breast,
Or sorrow such a changeling be?
Or doth she only seem to take
The touch of change in calm or storm;
But knows no more of transient form
In her deep self, than some dead lake
That holds the shadow of a lark
Hung in the shadow of a heaven?
Or has the shock, so harshly given,
Confused me like the unhappy bark
That strikes by night a craggy shelf,
And staggers blindly ere she sink?
And stunn’d me from my power to think
And all my knowledge of myself;
And made me that delirious man
Whose fancy fuses old and new,
And flashes into false and true,
And mingles all without a plan?
Thou comest, much wept for: such a breeze
Compell’d thy canvas, and my prayer
Was as the whisper of an air
To breathe thee over lonely seas.
For I in spirit saw thee move
Thro’ circles of the bounding sky,
Week after week: the days go by:
Come quick, thou bringest all I love.
Henceforth, wherever thou may’st roam,
My blessing, like a line of light,
Is on the waters day and night,
And like a beacon guards thee home.
So may whatever tempest mars
Mid-ocean, spare thee, sacred bark;
And balmy drops in summer dark
Slide from the bosom of the stars.
So kind an office hath been done,
Such precious relics brought by thee;
The dust of him I shall not see
Till all my widow’d race be run.
’Tis well; ’tis something; we may stand
Where he in English earth is laid,
And from his ashes may be made
The violet of his native land.
’Tis little; but it looks in truth
As if the quiet bones were blest
Among familiar names to rest
And in the places of his youth.
Come then, pure hands, and bear the head
That sleeps or wears the mask of sleep,
And come, whatever loves to weep,
And hear the ritual of the dead.
Ah yet, ev’n yet, if this might be,
I, falling on his faithful heart,
Would breathing thro’ his lips impart
The life that almost dies in me;
That dies not, but endures with pain,
And slowly forms the the firmer mind,
Treasuring the look it cannot find,
The words that are not heard again.
The Danube to the Severn gave
The darken’d heart that beat no more;
They laid him by the pleasant shore,
And in the hearing of the wave.
There twice a day the Severn fills;
That salt sea-water passes by,
And hushes half the babbling Wye,
And makes a silence in the hills.
The Wye is hush’d nor moved along,
And hush’d my deepest grief of all,
When fill’d with tears that cannot fall,
I brim with sorrow drowning song.
The tide flows down, the wave again
Is vocal in its wooded walls;
My deeper anguish also falls,
And I can speak a little then.
The lesser griefs that may be said,
That breathe a thousand tender vows,
Are but as servants in a house
Where lies the master newly dead;
Who speak their feeling as it is,
And weep the fulness from the mind:
‘It will be hard,’ they say, ‘to find
Another service such as this.’
My lighter moods are like to these,
That out of words a comfort win;
But there are other griefs within,
And tears that at their fountain freeze;
For by the hearth the children sit
Cold in that atmosphere of Death,
And scarce endure to draw the breath,
Or like to noiseless phantoms flit:
But open converse is there none,
So much the vital spirits sink
To see the vacant chair, and think,
‘How good! how kind! and he is gone.’
I sing to him that rests below,
And, since the grasses round me wave,
I take the grasses of the grave,
And make them pipes whereon to blow.
The traveller hears me now and then,
And sometimes harshly will he speak:
‘This fellow would make weakness weak,
And melt the waxen hearts of men.’
Another answers, ‘Let him be,
He loves to make parade of pain,
That with his piping he may gain
The praise that comes to constancy.’
A third is wroth: ‘Is this an hour
For private sorrow’s barren song,
When more and more the people throng
The chairs and thrones of civil power?
‘A time to sicken and to swoon,
When Science reaches forth her arms
To feel from world to world, and charms
Her secret from the latest moon?’
Behold, ye speak an idle thing:
Ye never knew the sacred dust:
I do but sing because I must,
And pipe but as the linnets sing:
And one is glad; her note is gay,
For now her little ones have ranged;
And one is sad; her note is changed,
Because her brood is stol’n away.
The path by which we twain did go,
Which led by tracts that pleased us well,
Thro’ four sweet years arose and fell,
From flower to flower, from snow to snow:
And we with singing cheer’d the way,
And, crown’d with all the season lent,
From April on to April went,
And glad at heart from May to May:
But where the path we walk’d began
To slant the fifth autumnal slope,
As we descended following Hope,
There sat the Shadow fear’d of man;
Who broke our fair companionship,
And spread his mantle dark and cold,
And wrapt thee formless in the fold,
And dull’d the murmur on thy lip,
And bore thee where I could not see
Nor follow, tho’ I walk in haste,
And think, that somewhere in the waste
The Shadow sits and waits for me.
Now, sometimes in my sorrow shut,
Or breaking into song by fits,
Alone, alone, to where he sits,
The Shadow cloak’d from head to foot,
Who keeps the keys of all the creeds,
I wander, often falling lame,
And looking back to whence I came,
Or on to where the pathway leads;
And crying, How changed from where it ran
Thro’ lands where not a leaf was dumb;
But all the lavish hills would hum
The murmur of a happy Pan:
When each by turns was guide to each,
And Fancy light from Fancy caught,
And Thought leapt out to wed with Thought
Ere Thought could wed itself with Speech;
And all we met was fair and good,
And all was good that Time could bring,
And all the secret of the Spring
Moved in the chambers of the blood;
And many an old philosophy
On Argive heights divinely sang,
And round us all the thicket rang
To many a flute of Arcady.
And was the day of my delight
As pure and perfect as I say?
The very source and fount of Day
Is dash’d with wandering isles of night.
If all was good and fair we met,
This earth had been the Paradise
It never look’d to human eyes
Since our first Sun arose and set.
And is it that the haze of grief
Makes former gladness loom so great?
The lowness of the present state,
That sets the past in this relief?
Or that the past will always win
A glory from its being far;
And orb into the perfect star
We saw not, when we moved therein?
I know that this was Life,–the track
Whereon with equal feet we fared;
And then, as now, the day prepared
The daily burden for the back.
But this it was that made me move
As light as carrier-birds in air;
I loved the weight I had to bear,
Because it needed help of Love:
Nor could I weary, heart or limb,
When mighty Love would cleave in twain
The lading of a single pain,
And part it, giving half to him.
Still onward winds the dreary way;
I with it; for I long to prove
No lapse of moons can canker Love,
Whatever fickle tongues may say.
And if that eye which watches guilt
And goodness, and hath power to see
Within the green the moulder’d tree,
And towers fall’n as soon as built–
Oh, if indeed that eye foresee
Or see (in Him is no before)
In more of life true life no more
And Love the indifference to be,
Then might I find, ere yet the morn
Breaks hither over Indian seas,
That Shadow waiting with the keys,
To shroud me from my proper scorn.
I envy not in any moods
The captive void of noble rage,
The linnet born within the cage,
That never knew the summer woods:
I envy not the beast that takes
His license in the field of time,
Unfetter’d by the sense of crime,
To whom a conscience never wakes;
Nor, what may count itself as blest,
The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth;
Nor any want-begotten rest.
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
’Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
The time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.
Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:
Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.
This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:
But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll’d me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.
With such compelling cause to grieve
As daily vexes household peace,
And chains regret to his decease,
How dare we keep our Christmas-eve;
Which brings no more a welcome guest
To enrich the threshold of the night
With shower’d largess of delight
In dance and song and game and jest?
Yet go, and while the holly boughs
Entwine the cold baptismal font,
Make one wreath more for Use and Wont,
That guard the portals of the house;
Old sisters of a day gone by,
Gray nurses, loving nothing new;
Why should they miss their yearly due
Before their time? They too will die.
With trembling fingers did we weave
The holly round the Christmas hearth;
A rainy cloud possess’d the earth,
And sadly fell our Christmas-eve.
At our old pastimes in the hall
We gambol’d, making vain pretence
Of gladness, with an awful sense
Of one mute Shadow watching all.
We paused: the winds were in the beech:
We heard them sweep the winter land;
And in a circle hand-in-hand
Sat silent, looking each at each.
Then echo-like our voices rang;
We sung, tho’ every eye was dim,
A merry song we sang with him
Last year: impetuously we sang:
We ceased: a gentler feeling crept
Upon us: surely rest is meet:
‘They rest,’ we said, ‘their sleep is sweet,’
And silence follow’d, and we wept.
Our voices took a higher range;
Once more we sang: ‘They do not die
Nor lose their mortal sympathy,
Nor change to us, although they change;
‘Rapt from the fickle and the frail
With gather’d power, yet the same,
Pierces the keen seraphic flame
From orb to orb, from veil to veil.’
Rise, happy morn, rise, holy morn,
Draw forth the cheerful day from night:
O Father, touch the east, and light
The light that shone when Hope was born.
When Lazarus left his charnel-cave,
And home to Mary’s house return’d,
Was this demanded–if he yearn’d
To hear her weeping by his grave?
‘Where wert thou, brother, those four days?’
There lives no record of reply,
Which telling what it is to die
Had surely added praise to praise.
From every house the neighbours met,
The streets were fill’d with joyful sound,
A solemn gladness even crown’d
The purple brows of Olivet.
Behold a man raised up by Christ!
The rest remaineth unreveal’d;
He told it not; or something seal’d
The lips of that Evangelist.
Her eyes are homes of silent prayer,
Nor other thought her mind admits
But, he was dead, and there he sits,
And he that brought him back is there.
Then one deep love doth supersede
All other, when her ardent gaze
Roves from the living brother’s face,
And rests upon the Life indeed.
All subtle thought, all curious fears,
Borne down by gladness so complete,
She bows, she bathes the Saviour’s feet
With costly spikenard and with tears.
Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayers,
Whose loves in higher love endure;
What souls possess themselves so pure,
Or is there blessedness like theirs?
O thou that after toil and storm
Mayst seem to have reach’d a purer air,
Whose faith has centre everywhere,
Nor cares to fix itself to form,
Leave thou thy sister when she prays,
Her early Heaven, her happy views;
Nor thou with shadow’d hint confuse
A life that leads melodious days.
Her faith thro’ form is pure as thine,
Her hands are quicker unto good:
Oh, sacred be the flesh and blood
To which she links a truth divine!
See thou, that countest reason ripe
In holding by the law within,
Thou fail not in a world of sin,
And ev’n for want of such a type.
My own dim life should teach me this,
That life shall live for evermore,
Else earth is darkness at the core,
And dust and ashes all that is;
This round of green, this orb of flame,
Fantastic beauty; such as lurks
In some wild Poet, when he works
Without a conscience or an aim.
What then were God to such as I?
’Twere hardly worth my while to choose
Of things all mortal, or to use
A little patience ere I die;
’Twere best at once to sink to peace,
Like birds the charming serpent draws,
To drop head-foremost in the jaws
Of vacant darkness and to cease.
Yet if some voice that man could trust
Should murmur from the narrow house,
‘The cheeks drop in; the body bows;
Man dies: nor is there hope in dust:’
Might I not say? ‘Yet even here,
But for one hour, O Love, I strive
To keep so sweet a thing alive:’
But I should turn mine ears and hear
The moanings of the homeless sea,
The sound of streams that swift or slow
Draw down Æonian hills, and sow
The dust of continents to be;
And Love would answer with a sigh,
‘The sound of that forgetful shore
Will change my sweetness more and more,
Half-dead to know that I shall die.’
O me, what profits it to put
And idle case? If Death were seen
At first as Death, Love had not been,
Or been in narrowest working shut,
Mere fellowship of sluggish moods,
Or in his coarsest Satyr-shape
Had bruised the herb and crush’d the grape,
And bask’d and batten’d in the woods.
Tho’ truths in manhood darkly join,
Deep-seated in our mystic frame,
We yield all blessing to the name
Of Him that made them current coin;
For Wisdom dealt with mortal powers,
Where truth in closest words shall fail,
When truth embodied in a tale
Shall enter in at lowly doors.
And so the Word had breath, and wrought
With human hands the creed of creeds
In loveliness of perfect deeds,
More strong than all poetic thought;
Which he may read that binds the sheaf,
Or builds the house, or digs the grave,
And those wild eyes that watch the wave
In roarings round the coral reef.
Urania speaks with darken’d brow:
‘Thou pratest here where thou art least;
This faith has many a purer priest,
And many an abler voice than thou.
‘Go down beside thy native rill,
On thy Parnassus set thy feet,
And hear thy laurel whisper sweet
About the ledges of the hill.’
And my Melpomene replies,
A touch of shame upon her cheek:
‘I am not worthy ev’n to speak
Of thy prevailing mysteries;
‘For I am but an earthly Muse,
And owning but a little art
To lull with song an aching heart,
And render human love his dues;
‘But brooding on the dear one dead,
And all he said of things divine,
(And dear to me as sacred wine
To dying lips is all he said),
‘I murmur’d, as I came along,
Of comfort clasp’d in truth reveal’d;
And loiter’d in the master’s field,
And darken’d sanctities with song.’
With weary steps I loiter on,
Tho’ always under alter’d skies
The purple from the distance dies,
My prospect and horizon gone.
No joy the blowing season gives,
The herald melodies of spring,
But in the songs I love to sing
A doubtful gleam of solace lives.
If any care for what is here
Survive in spirits render’d free,
Then are these songs I sing of thee
Not all ungrateful to thine ear.
Old warder of these buried bones,
And answering now my random stroke
With fruitful cloud and living smoke,
Dark yew, that graspest at the stones
And dippest toward the dreamless head,
To thee too comes the golden hour
When flower is feeling after flower;
But Sorrow–fixt upon the dead,
And darkening the dark graves of men,–
What whisper’d from her lying lips?
Thy gloom is kindled at the tips,
And passes into gloom again.
Could we forget the widow’d hour
And look on Spirits breathed away,
As on a maiden in the day
When first she wears her orange-flower!
When crown’d with blessing she doth rise
To take her latest leave of home,
And hopes and light regrets that come
Make April of her tender eyes;
And doubtful joys the father move,
And tears are on the mother’s face,
As parting with a long embrace
She enters other realms of love;
Her office there to rear, to teach,
Becoming as is meet and fit
A link among the days, to knit
The generations each with each;
And, doubtless, unto thee is given
A life that bears immortal fruit
In those great offices that suit
The full-grown energies of heaven.
Ay me, the difference I discern!
How often shall her old fireside
Be cheer’d with tidings of the bride,
How often she herself return,
And tell them all they would have told,
And bring her babe, and make her boast,
Till even those that miss’d her most
Shall count new things as dear as old:
But thou and I have shaken hands,
Till growing winters lay me low;
My paths are in the fields I know,
And thine in undiscover’d lands.
The spirit ere our fatal loss
Did ever rise from high to higher;
As mounts the heavenward altar-fire,
As flies the lighter thro’ the gross.
But thou art turn’d to something strange,
And I have lost the links that bound
Thy changes; here upon the ground,
No more partaker of thy change.
Deep folly! yet that this could be–
That I could wing my will with might
To leap the grades of life and light,
And flash at once, my friend, to thee.
For tho’ my nature rarely yields
To that vague fear implied in death;
Nor shudders at the gulfs beneath,
The howlings from forgotten fields;
Yet oft when sundown skirts the moor
An inner trouble I behold,
A spectral doubt which makes me cold,
That I shall be thy mate no more,
Tho’ following with an upward mind
The wonders that have come to thee,
Thro’ all the secular to-be,
But evermore a life behind.
I vex my heart with fancies dim:
He still outstript me in the race;
It was but unity of place
That made me dream I rank’d with him.
And so may Place retain us still,
And he the much-beloved again,
A lord of large experience, train
To riper growth the mind and will:
And what delights can equal those
That stir the spirit’s inner deeps,
When one that loves but knows not, reaps
A truth from one that loves and knows?
If Sleep and Death be truly one,
And every spirit’s folded bloom
Thro’ all its intervital gloom
In some long trance should slumber on;
Unconscious of the sliding hour,
Bare of the body, might it last,
And silent traces of the past
Be all the colour of the flower:
So then were nothing lost to man;
So that still garden of the souls
In many a figured leaf enrolls
The total world since life began;
And love will last as pure and whole
As when he loved me here in Time,
And at the spiritual prime
Rewaken with the dawning soul.
How fares it with the happy dead?
For here the man is more and more;
But he forgets the days before
God shut the doorways of his head.
The days have vanish’d, tone and tint,
And yet perhaps the hoarding sense
Gives out at times (he knows not whence)
A little flash, a mystic hint;
And in the long harmonious years
(If Death so taste Lethean springs),
May some dim touch of earthly things
Surprise thee ranging with thy peers.
If such a dreamy touch should fall,
O turn thee round, resolve the doubt;
My guardian angel will speak out
In that high place, and tell thee all.
The baby new to earth and sky,
What time his tender palm is prest
Against the circle of the breast,
Has never thought that ‘this is I:’
But as he grows he gathers much,
And learns the use of ‘I,’ and ‘me,’
And finds ‘I am not what I see,
And other than the things I touch.’
So rounds he to a separate mind
From whence clear memory may begin,
As thro’ the frame that binds him in
His isolation grows defined.
This use may lie in blood and breath,
Which else were fruitless of their due,
Had man to learn himself anew
Beyond the second birth of Death.
We ranging down this lower track,
The path we came by, thorn and flower,
Is shadow’d by the growing hour,
Lest life should fail in looking back.
So be it: there no shade can last
In that deep dawn behind the tomb,
But clear from marge to marge shall bloom
The eternal landscape of the past;
A lifelong tract of time reveal’d;
The fruitful hours of still increase;
Days order’d in a wealthy peace,
And those five years its richest field.
O Love, thy province were not large,
A bounded field, nor stretching far;
Look also, Love, a brooding star,
A rosy warmth from marge to marge.
That each, who seems a separate whole,
Should move his rounds, and fusing all
The skirts of self again, should fall
Remerging in the general Soul,
Is faith as vague as all unsweet:
Eternal form shall still divide
The eternal soul from all beside;
And I shall know him when we meet:
And we shall sit at endless feast,
Enjoying each the other’s good:
What vaster dream can hit the mood
Of Love on earth? He seeks at least
Upon the last and sharpest height,
Before the spirits fade away,
Some landing-place, to clasp and say,
‘Farewell! We lose ourselves in light.’
If these brief lays, of Sorrow born,
Were taken to be such as closed
Grave doubts and answers here proposed,
Then these were such as men might scorn:
Her care is not to part and prove;
She takes, when harsher moods remit,
What slender shade of doubt may flit,
And makes it vassal unto love:
And hence, indeed, she sports with words,
But better serves a wholesome law,
And holds it sin and shame to draw
The deepest measure from the chords:
Nor dare she trust a larger lay,
But rather loosens from the lip
Short swallow-flights of song, that dip
Their wings in tears, and skim away.
From art, from nature, from the schools,
Let random influences glance,
Like light in many a shiver’d lance
That breaks about the dappled pools:
The lightest wave of thought shall lisp,
The fancy’s tenderest eddy wreathe,
The slightest air of song shall breathe
To make the sullen surface crisp.
And look thy look, and go thy way,
But blame not thou the winds that make
The seeming-wanton ripple break,
The tender-pencil’d shadow play.
Beneath all fancied hopes and fears
Ay me, the sorrow deepens down,
Whose muffled motions blindly drown
The bases of my life in tears.
Be near me when my light is low,
When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.
Be near me when the sensuous frame
Is rack’d with pangs that conquer trust;
And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a Fury slinging flame.
Be near me when my faith is dry,
And men the flies of latter spring,
That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.
Be near me when I fade away,
To point the term of human strife,
And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.
Do we indeed desire the dead
Should still be near us at our side?
Is there no baseness we would hide?
No inner vileness that we dread?
Shall he for whose applause I strove,
I had such reverence for his blame,
See with clear eye some hidden shame
And I be lessen’d in his love?
I wrong the grave with fears untrue:
Shall love be blamed for want of faith?
There must be wisdom with great Death:
The dead shall look me thro’ and thro’.
Be near us when we climb or fall:
Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours
With larger other eyes than ours,
To make allowance for us all.
I cannot love thee as I ought,
For love reflects the thing beloved;
My words are only words, and moved
Upon the topmost froth of thought.
‘Yet blame not thou thy plaintive song,’
The Spirit of true love replied;
‘Thou canst not move me from thy side,
Nor human frailty do me wrong.
‘What keeps a spirit wholly true
To that ideal which he bears?
What record? not the sinless years
That breathed beneath the Syrian blue:
‘So fret not, like an idle girl,
That life is dash’d with flecks of sin.
Abide: thy wealth is gather’d in,
When Time hath sunder’d shell from pearl.’
How many a father have I seen,
A sober man, among his boys,
Whose youth was full of foolish noise,
Who wears his manhood hale and green:
And dare we to this fancy give,
That had the wild oat not been sown,
The soil, left barren, scarce had grown
The grain by which a man may live?
Or, if we held the doctrine sound
For life outliving heats of youth,
Yet who would preach it as a truth
To those that eddy round and round?
Hold thou the good: define it well:
For fear divine Philosophy
Should push beyond her mark, and be
Procuress to the Lords of Hell.
Oh yet we trust that somehow good
Will be the final goal of ill,
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood;
That nothing walks with aimless feet;
That not one life shall be destroy’d,
Or cast as rubbish to the void,
When God hath made the pile complete;
That not a worm is cloven in vain;
That not a moth with vain desire
Is shrivell’d in a fruitless fire,
Or but subserves another’s gain.
Behold, we know not anything;
I can but trust that good shall fall
At last–far off–at last, to all,
And every winter change to spring.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
An infant crying in the night:
An infant crying for the light:
And with no language but a cry.
The wish, that of the living whole
No life may fail beyond the grave,
Derives it not from what we have
The likest God within the soul?
Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life;
That I, considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear,
I falter where I firmly trod,
And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the great world’s altar-stairs
That slope thro’ darkness up to God,
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.
‘So careful of the type?’ but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, ‘A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.
‘Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.’ And he, shall he,
Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,
Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law–
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed–
Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal’d within the iron hills?
No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match’d with him.
O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.
Peace; come away: the song of woe
Is after all an earthly song:
Peace; come away: we do him wrong
To sing so wildly: let us go.
Come; let us go: your cheeks are pale;
But half my life I leave behind:
Methinks my friend is richly shrined;
But I shall pass; my work will fail.
Yet in these ears, till hearing dies,
One set slow bell will seem to toll
The passing of the sweetest soul
That ever look’d with human eyes.
I hear it now, and o’er and o’er,
Eternal greetings to the dead;
And ‘Ave, Ave, Ave,’ said,
‘Adieu, adieu’ for evermore.
In those sad words I took farewell:
Like echoes in sepulchral halls,
As drop by drop the water falls
In vaults and catacombs, they fell;
And, falling, idly broke the peace
Of hearts that beat from day to day,
Half-conscious of their dying clay,
And those cold crypts where they shall cease.
The high Muse answer’d: ‘Wherefore grieve
Thy brethren with a fruitless tear?
Abide a little longer here,
And thou shalt take a nobler leave.’
O Sorrow, wilt thou live with me
No casual mistress, but a wife,
My bosom-friend and half of life;
As I confess it needs must be;
O Sorrow, wilt thou rule my blood,
Be sometimes lovely like a bride,
And put thy harsher moods aside,
If thou wilt have me wise and good.
My centred passion cannot move,
Nor will it lessen from to-day;
But I’ll have leave at times to play
As with the creature of my love;
And set thee forth, for thou art mine,
With so much hope for years to come,
That, howsoe’er I know thee, some
Could hardly tell what name were thine.
He past; a soul of nobler tone:
My spirit loved and loves him yet,
Like some poor girl whose heart is set
On one whose rank exceeds her own.
He mixing with his proper sphere,
She finds the baseness of her lot,
Half jealous of she knows not what,
And envying all that meet him there.
The little village looks forlorn;
She sighs amid her narrow days,
Moving about the household ways,
In that dark house where she was born.
The foolish neighbours come and go,
And tease her till the day draws by:
At night she weeps, ‘How vain am I!
How should he love a thing so low?’
If, in thy second state sublime,
Thy ransom’d reason change replies
With all the circle of the wise,
The perfect flower of human time;
And if thou cast thine eyes below,
How dimly character’d and slight,
How dwarf’d a growth of cold and night,
How blanch'd with darkness must I grow!
Yet turn thee to the doubtful shore,
Where thy first form was made a man:
I loved thee, Spirit, and love, nor can
The soul of Shakespeare love thee more.
Tho’ if an eye that’s downward cast
Could make thee somewhat blench or fail,
Then be my love an idle tale,
And fading legend of the past;
And thou, as one that once declined,
When he was little more than boy,
On some unworthy heart with joy,
But lives to wed an equal mind;
And breathes a novel world, the while
His other passion wholly dies,
Or in the light of deeper eyes
Is matter for a flying smile.
Yet pity for a horse o’er-driven,
And love in which my hound has part,
Can hang no weight upon my heart
In its assumptions up to heaven;
And I am so much more than these,
As thou, perchance, art more than I,
And yet I spare them sympathy,
And I would set their pains at ease.
So mayst thou watch me where I weep,
As, unto vaster motions bound,
The circuits of thine orbit round
A higher height, a deeper deep.
Dost thou look back on what hath been,
As some divinely gifted man,
Whose life in low estate began
And on a simple village green;
Who breaks his birth’s invidious bar,
And grasps the skirts of happy chance,
And breasts the blows of circumstance,
And grapples with his evil star;
Who makes by force his merit known
And lives to clutch the golden keys,
To mould a mighty state’s decrees,
And shape the whisper of the throne;
And moving up from high to higher,
Becomes on Fortune’s crowning slope
The pillar of a people’s hope,
The centre of a world’s desire;
Yet feels, as in a pensive dream,
When all his active powers are still,
A distant dearness in the hill,
A secret sweetness in the stream,
The limit of his narrower fate,
While yet beside its vocal springs
He play’d at counsellors and kings,
With one that was his earliest mate;
Who ploughs with pain his native lea
And reaps the labour of his hands,
Or in the furrow musing stands;
‘Does my old friend remember me?’
Sweet soul, do with me as thou wilt;
I lull a fancy trouble-tost
With ‘Love’s too precious to be lost,
A little grain shall not be spilt.’
And in that solace can I sing,
Till out of painful phases wrought
There flutters up a happy thought,
Self-balanced on a lightsome wing:
Since we deserved the name of friends,
And thine effect so lives in me,
A part of mine may live in thee
And move thee on to noble ends.
You thought my heart too far diseased;
You wonder when my fancies play
To find me gay among the gay,
Like one with any trifle pleased.
The shade by which my life was crost,
Which makes a desert in the mind,
Has made me kindly with my kind,
And like to him whose sight is lost;
Whose feet are guided thro’ the land,
Whose jest among his friends is free,
Who takes the children on his knee,
And winds their curls about his hand:
He plays with threads, he beats his chair
For pastime, dreaming of the sky;
His inner day can never die,
His night of loss is always there.
When on my bed the moonlight falls,
I know that in thy place of rest
By that broad water of the west,
There comes a glory on the walls:
Thy marble bright in dark appears,
As slowly steals a silver flame
Along the letters of thy name,
And o’er the number of thy years.
The mystic glory swims away;
From off my bed the moonlight dies;
And closing eaves of wearied eyes
I sleep till dusk is dipt in gray:
And then I know the mist is drawn
A lucid veil from coast to coast,
And in the dark church like a ghost
Thy tablet glimmers to the dawn.
When in the down I sink my head,
Sleep, Death’s twin-brother, times my breath;
Sleep, Death’s twin-brother, knows not Death,
Nor can I dream of thee as dead:
I walk as ere I walk’d forlorn,
When all our path was fresh with dew,
And all the bugle breezes blew
Reveillée to the breaking morn.
But what is this? I turn about,
I find a trouble in thine eye,
Which makes me sad I know not why,
Nor can my dream resolve the doubt:
But ere the lark hath left the lea
I wake, and I discern the truth;
It is the trouble of my youth
That foolish sleep transfers to thee.
I dream’d there would be Spring no more,
That Nature’s ancient power was lost:
The streets were black with smoke and frost,
They chatter’d trifles at the door:
I wander’d from the noisy town,
I found a wood with thorny boughs:
I took the thorns to bind my brows,
I wore them like a civic crown:
I met with scoffs, I met with scorns
From youth and babe and hoary hairs:
They call’d me in the public squares
The fool that wears a crown of thorns:
They call’d me fool, they call’d me child:
I found an angel of the night;
The voice was low, the look was bright;
He look’d upon my crown and smiled:
He reach’d the glory of a hand,
That seem’d to touch it into leaf:
The voice was not the voice of grief,
The words were hard to understand.
I cannot see the features right,
When on the gloom I strive to paint
The face I know; the hues are faint
And mix with hollow masks of night;
Cloud-towers by ghostly masons wrought,
A gulf that ever shuts and gapes,
A hand that points, and palled shapes
In shadowy thoroughfares of thought;
And crowds that stream from yawning doors,
And shoals of pucker’d faces drive;
Dark bulks that tumble half alive,
And lazy lengths on boundless shores;
Till all at once beyond the will
I hear a wizard music roll,
And thro’ a lattice on the soul
Looks thy fair face and makes it still.
Sleep, kinsman thou to death and trance
And madness, thou hast forged at last
A night-long Present of the Past
In which we went thro’ summer France.
Hadst thou such credit with the soul?
Then bring an opiate trebly strong,
Drug down the blindfold sense of wrong
That so my pleasure may be whole;
While now we talk as once we talk’d
Of men and minds, the dust of change,
The days that grow to something strange,
In walking as of old we walk’d
Beside the river’s wooded reach,
The fortress, and the mountain ridge,
The cataract flashing from the bridge,
The breaker breaking on the beach.
Risest thou thus, dim dawn, again,
And howlest, issuing out of night,
With blasts that blow the poplar white,
And lash with storm the streaming pane?
Day, when my crown’d estate begun
To pine in that reverse of doom,
Which sicken’d every living bloom,
And blurr’d the splendour of the sun;
Who usherest in the dolorous hour
With thy quick tears that make the rose
Pull sideways, and the daisy close
Her crimson fringes to the shower;
Who might’st have heaved a windless flame
Up the deep East, or, whispering, play’d
A chequer-work of beam and shade
Along the hills, yet look’d the same.
As wan, as chill, as wild as now;
Day, mark’d as with some hideous crime,
When the dark hand struck down thro’ time,
And cancell’d nature’s best: but thou,
Lift as thou may’st thy burthen’d brows
Thro’ clouds that drench the morning star,
And whirl the ungarner’d sheaf afar,
And sow the sky with flying boughs,
And up thy vault with roaring sound
Climb thy thick noon, disastrous day;
Touch thy dull goal of joyless gray,
And hide thy shame beneath the ground.
So many worlds, so much to do,
So little done, such things to be,
How know I what had need of thee,
For thou wert strong as thou wert true?
The fame is quench’d that I foresaw,
The head hath miss’d an earthly wreath:
I curse not nature, no, nor death;
For nothing is that errs from law.
We pass; the path that each man trod
Is dim, or will be dim, with weeds:
What fame is left for human deeds
In endless age? It rests with God.
O hollow wraith of dying fame,
Fade wholly, while the soul exults,
And self-infolds the large results
Of force that would have forged a name.
As sometimes in a dead man’s face,
To those that watch it more and more,
A likeness, hardly seen before,
Comes out–to some one of his race:
So, dearest, now thy brows are cold,
I see thee what thou art, and know
Thy likeness to the wise below,
Thy kindred with the great of old.
But there is more than I can see,
And what I see I leave unsaid,
Nor speak it, knowing Death has made
His darkness beautiful with thee.
I leave thy praises unexpress’d
In verse that brings myself relief,
And by the measure of my grief
I leave thy greatness to be guess’d;
What practice howsoe’er expert
In fitting aptest words to things,
Or voice the richest-toned that sings,
Hath power to give thee as thou wert?
I care not in these fading days
To raise a cry that lasts not long,
And round thee with the breeze of song
To stir a little dust of praise.
Thy leaf has perish’d in the green,
And, while we breathe beneath the sun,
The world which credits what is done
Is cold to all that might have been.
So here shall silence guard thy fame;
But somewhere, out of human view,
Whate’er thy hands are set to do
Is wrought with tumult of acclaim.
Take wings of fancy, and ascend,
And in a moment set thy face
Where all the starry heavens of space
Are sharpen’d to a needle’s end;
Take wings of foresight; lighten thro’
The secular abyss to come,
And lo, thy deepest lays are dumb
Before the mouldering of a yew;
And if the matin songs, that woke
The darkness of our planet, last,
Thine own shall wither in the vast,
Ere half the lifetime of an oak.
Ere these have clothed their branchy bowers
With fifty Mays, thy songs are vain;
And what are they when these remain
The ruin’d shells of hollow towers?
What hope is here for modern rhyme
To him, who turns a musing eye
On songs, and deeds, and lives, that lie
Foreshorten’d in the tract of time?
These mortal lullabies of pain
May bind a book, may line a box,
May serve to curl a maiden’s locks;
Or when a thousand moons shall wane
A man upon a stall may find,
And, passing, turn the page that tells
A grief, then changed to something else,
Sung by a long-forgotten mind.
But what of that? My darken’d ways
Shall ring with music all the same;
To breathe my loss is more than fame,
To utter love more sweet than praise.
Again at Christmas did we weave
The holly round the Christmas hearth;
The silent snow possess’d the earth,
And calmly fell our Christmas-eve:
The yule-clog sparkled keen with frost,
No wing of wind the region swept,
But over all things brooding slept
The quiet sense of something lost.
As in the winters left behind,
Again our ancient games had place,
The mimic picture’s breathing grace,
And dance and song and hoodman-blind.
Who show’d a token of distress?
No single tear, no mark of pain:
O sorrow, then can sorrow wane?
O grief, can grief be changed to less?
O last regret, regret can die!
No–mixt with all this mystic frame,
Her deep relations are the same,
But with long use her tears are dry.
‘More than my brothers are to me,’–
Let this not vex thee, noble heart!
I know thee of what force thou art
To hold the costliest love in fee.
But thou and I are one in kind,
As moulded like in Nature’s mint;
And hill and wood and field did print
The same sweet forms in either mind.
For us the same cold streamlet curl’d
Thro’ all his eddying coves; the same
All winds that roam the twilight came
In whispers of the beauteous world.
At one dear knee we proffer’d vows,
One lesson from one book we learn’d,
Ere childhood’s flaxen ringlet turn’d
To black and brown
God Created Heaven
God Created Heaven
Beginning Earth Without Form
Void Of Darkness Was The Face
Spirit Of God The Face On Water
Divides The Light From Spirit Form.
Light Of Way
Light Of Day
Dry Land Earth
It Was So.
Gathering Water Seas
Yield Of Land
Abound With Fruit
God Was Good.
As The Stars Made
Signs Of Seasons
Light On Earth
Divide From Night
Divide Of Day
He Made The Stars
Our Likeness Of God Image
His Own Dominion
All Who Host
A Work He'd Done.
When God created us all, We were not left alone
it is true and i agree completely
when God created us all
we were not left alone
he created the rivers and the seas
to tell us that we must flow and be deep
and be wide with compassion
he created the skies that we may always
look up to the wide expanse of this
unfathomable love, this universe
he created the earth where our fellowmen live
so we all become coals hot with cinders
unsegregated from the fires that burn
within us, lest we become cold and nothing
but ash, blown by the wind and then forgotten.
God's Greatest Gift
God's greatest gift-that of being a Father,
Rivaled only by compeer of a Mother;
Each aid formation of precious individuality,
Causal most to evolution in a child's personality-
Created in thine own image, guided by counsel,
Aegis directed lovingly is surely found well!
All careful parental thought made does attest
To your want and need for each, all the best!
Gather from it's import, the duty it imparts,
Guard must be offered it, in your hearts!
Not are each possessory, rather compeers,
Blessed witness to their wonder, through the years!
Treasure and duteously take possession of this,
Lest, if not, surely you would be remiss!
Maurice Harris,26 October 2009
And God Created Woman
In a deep sleep I fell
And the music starts 2 swell
One of my ribs he took and it shall be
Bone of my bones (bone of my bones)
And God created woman
And we were naked and did not care
Theres a time 2 take and a time 2 share
2 in love, all around and all aware
Flesh of my flesh (flesh of my flesh)
And God created woman
Temptation sweet and so much (sweet and so much)
Surely die if neither one of us shall ye touch (shall ye touch)
Then again we could die from the rush (rush)
Heart of my heart (heart of my heart)
And God created woman (woman)
In my darkest hour I find
Many serpents who have lied (lied)
Given half the chance still Id run 2 your side (run 2 your side)
Love of my love (love of my love)
And God created woman (woman)
And if I never see u again
Its alright 4 I am guilty of no sin
They can have u, Ill have your love in the end
Soul of my soul (soul of my soul)
And God created woman
(God created woman)
(God created woman) (woman)
Flesh of my flesh
(God created woman) (soul)
(God created, God created woman)
(God created, God created woman)
(God created woman)
God Created Human Perfection
In the beginning
and it was good
but paradise bites
when free choice
sharp serpent fangs
of cunning deception
innocence lacks experience
even in the Almighty’s
presence light are we lost
is themed in countless
stories unless God’s precise word
is with wisdom obeyed
in adversity saints saved prayed
all mortal souls fall life short
of the undeserved glory of God
salvation granted is not earned
it is undeserved glory from God
our saving graces these themes
have and will continue to be
written upon countless times
defined in affirmation of God
confusion lies in deceptive values
material gain at any cost opposed
to our creator’s religious principles
stone written right and wrong laws.
Religion and God has defined
guidelines to illuminate truth
morality which time and history
has over ages proven repeatedly
we ignore at our own peril lost
perceive hypocritical humanity
through the divine eyes of God
while still retaining human heart
then wonder woe deceitful man
at immense pain human creation
gives our God marvel at God’s
love in offering grace salvation.
Rurally God Created The Loveliest Rose
Rurally God created the loveliest rose
that blooms by itself in the veldt
where the hillocks in the distance touches the horizon.
In her kitchen there are trays full of rusks
where she is working from before sunrise,
that the visitors later claim as booty
and she is busy with her work
until the last tray comes out of the oven.
Rurally God created the loveliest rose
where se sprouts out in the veldt
and when you visit her
where she is working from before sunrise
she almost possessively guards her rusks
and her farm is her own property
where the hillocks in the distance touches the horizon.
The farmstead lies like a rectangle,
she is prepared for almost anything
and when you visit her,
you note that in her Eva’s beauty has come to perfection,
that time and again she astonishes you with her loveliness.
Rurally God created the loveliest rose,
she gives new meaning to attractiveness,
with her teasing she spares no one,
she is prepared for almost anything,
but her mother is miserable like a fire-belching dragon
and you have to be at your wits or she will turn you around her finger
where the hillocks in the distance touches the horizon.
and she’s a vixen and leaves every suitor perplexed
when she sparkles womanly,
with her teasing she spares no one
and sometimes it seems as if she has too many suitors
but still she cannot disguise her feelings.
Rurally God created the loveliest rose
where the hillocks in the distance touches the horizon.
and that little darling has charmed me.
In her kitchen there are trays full of rusks
(when she sparkles womanly)
that the visitors later claim as booty.
In ancient times, young Arthur stood,
Above the stubborn stone
That held a destiny so good,
For one and one alone...
Who held the sword within its power
Would rule the kingdom well
And suddenly, within the hour,
That secret it must tell...
When Arthur pulled and pushed the sword,
He learnt the lesson there,
That strength alone is self-assured,
A King must show a care...
As force is just the start, not all,
It's wisdom that each needs
And blessed are those who hear its call,
Without it, none succeeds...
When Merlin played his magic arts
With potions and dark spells,
His incantations fooled men's hearts
With showmanship that sells,
The kind that seems salvation's friend,
Yet pagan were his ways,
Perhaps until his very end
When he, the Lord, obeys...
Meantime, King Arthur had a dream,
A city built with love,
Where men were noble not extreme,
Still courteous though tough...
If peace could blossom like the rose,
Men had no cause to fight,
No need for men to come to blows,
To prove the best or right...
Thus Arthur chose his noblemen,
His knights who'd won their spurs,
With them, he strove for peace to gain,
No matter what occurs...
While wisdom led him by the hand,
His heart and head were one,
Such that his fame had crossed the land
From dawn to setting sun...
But Fate was working in the courts
Where justice was dispensed,
Such that King Arthur heard reports
And he became incensed...
A rage then festered in his soul
And of his wife he lost control,
Such is the bond 'twixt man and wife,
Let no man come between,
Else fear to lose his very life,
If he should intervene...
When Merlin heard the sorry state,
He mourned for Arthur's loss,
He wept at this, the twist of Fate,
As callous as Christ's cross...
The Queen discovered lust cares not
For commoner or King,
Not even there in Camelot,
Could she escape its sting...
For like a scorpion's deadly kiss,
Was lust the final flaw,
That killed a kingdom's wondrous bliss
And shook it to the core...
Think not, that Camelot was spared
The rumours and the sighs,
Though many noblemen still cared
Despite those that despise...
With heads held low, for shame, for grief,
Their legend tainted thus,
One knight fought on in his belief
The Holy Grail heals us...
And so he journeyed far and wide,
Christ's cup to heal the hurt,
Yet who knows if it was supplied?
Because the legend's blurred...
Some say it was, by grace, in time
And Arthur was restored
And Camelot endured sublime,
Blessed by our Sovereign Lord...
Yet others tell of Arthur's death,
And with the parting of his breath,
Was Arthur's dream now spurned...
But this I know, of all Man's dreams,
God's roses truly grow
Within the hearts that spurn extremes
And yearn for Christ to know...
It's not the chalice that can heal,
Forgive or mend the mind,
It's just God's grace that grants appeal,
Atonement, pure and kind...
A godly knight can journey lands,
His quest may guide him well,
Yet only Jesus understands
How Heaven saves from Hell...
Did Merlin find God's grace at last?
Did Lancelot find peace?
Did Arthur overcome the past?
The legends never cease...
Such legends now are all we've got,
That's why they're highly prized...
Yet Christians wait God's Camelot,
The Golden Age of Christ!
Denis Martindale, copyright, October 2012.
Bible in Poetry: Gospel of St. John (Chapter 8)
To Mount of Olives, Jesus went;
He came to Temple in the morn;
The people flocked to Him at once;
He sat and taught them many things.
The scribes then brought a woman caught
In adultery, and made her stand;
They said to Jesus, ‘O teacher,
This woman is an adulteress,
And got caught in the very act.
As Moses commands us to stone
Such women, so, what do you say? ’
They wanted to test Jesus thus;
So they could charge him in some way;
But Jesus wrote something on ground.
They persisted in asking Him,
So, Jesus said, ‘let one of you
Without a sin, then throw first stone.’
Again, He bent and wrote on ground;
Each one of them then left in turns;
The woman stood near Him alone;
Then Jesus asked her, ‘Where are they?
Has no one condemned you as yet? ’
The woman replied, ‘No one, sir! ’
Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I;
So, go; from now on, do not sin.’
Then Jesus spoke to them again,
‘I am the one light of the world!
Who follows me won’t have darkness;
But will walk in the light of life.’
The Pharisees then said to him,
‘You testify on your behalf;
Your words remain unverified.’
Then Jesus answered and told them,
‘What I speak can be verified,
Because I know from where I come;
I also know to where I go;
But, you know nothing about both!
You judge by looks but I don’t judge!
But if I should, it is valid,
Because I am not all alone;
My Father is with me, who sent; .
But even in your law ’tis writ,
‘Two men’s words can be verified;
I testify on my own stead;
So, does my father who sent me.’
They asked Him, ‘Where is your Father? ’
Then Jesus replied as follows:
‘You neither know me, nor father;
If you knew me, you’ll know Him too.’
He spoke these words in temple ground;
Yet, none did arrest him thus far!
Then He said, ‘I’m going away,
And you will try to look for me;
But you will die in your own sin.
To where I go, you cannot come.’
The Jews asked one another then,
‘Is He going to kill himself?
What did He mean by saying thus:
‘You cannot come to where I go! ’
Then Jesus continued to speak,
‘You belong to what is below;
I belong to what is above;
You belong to this very world;
I don’t belong to mother earth.
If you don’t believe that I AM,
You will then die in your own sins! ’
They asked Him, ‘So, Then, who are you? ’
Then Jesus said, ‘What did I say
From the very beginning then?
I condemn you for things you say,
Because the one who sent is true,
I tell the world what He told me.
They did not know of who He spoke;
He spoke to them of His Father.
‘The one who sent me is with me;
He has not left me all alone;
I always do what pleases Him.’
Many came to believe Jesus.
Jesus said to Jews, who believed,
‘If you remain in words of mine,
You truly will be disciples.
And you will know the truth also;
The truth will set you surely free!
They told him, ‘We’re from Abraham; .
We weren’t enslaved to anyone; .
Why should we then be set afree?
Then Jesus answered all of them,
‘Amen, amen, I say to you.
All sinners are enslaved by sin.
A slave remains not forever;
A son remains in house always!
If son frees you, you’ll truly be! ’
‘I know you come from Abraham
And yet, you try to kill me soon;
My words find no place within you;
I tell you what I’ve heard and seen
My father do in heaven then,
So you may do a similar thing.’
They said, ‘Our father’s Abraham!
Then Jesus told, ‘If Abraham,
His children ought to do his works.
But now, you try to murder me,
A man who heard the truth from God?
Then do you do your father’s works? ’
They said, ‘We aren’t illegitimate!
We have one father, who is God!
Jesus said, ‘If God’s your father,
You would then love me and not kill,
For, I’ve been sent by God to you!
Why don’t you understand my words?
Is it you cannot bear to hear? ’
‘Your father is the devil then;
You carry out his desires;
He was a killer from the start
And loves to hide the truth by lies;
He has no truth in him at all.’
‘He is the father of all lies;
He is a liar by nature;
I speak the truth, you don’t believe;
Can anyone charge me with sin?
So, believe me, I speak but truth;
Whoev’r belongs to God, hears Him.’
The Jews answered and said to him,
‘Are we not right in saying that
You’re a possessed Samaritan?
Then Jesus said, ‘I’m not possessed;
I honor my loving Father;
I do not seek my own glory;
Amen, amen, I say to you:
Who keeps my words, will not meet death’
The Jews said, ‘you’re surely possessed;
Abraham died like all prophets;
Yet, you say we will not taste death?
Are you greater than Abraham?
Are you greater than all prophets?
Who do you think, you want to be? ’
Then Jesus told, ‘My glory’s worth
Nothing if I self-glorify;
But glorifies me, my Father,
Of whom you say, ‘He is our God! ’
You do not know Him; I know Him;
If I say otherwise, ’tis lies.
I know Him well and keep His word;
Abraham rejoiced to see me;
He saw my day and was so glad.’
The Jews then said, ‘You aren’t fifty
And you have seen old Abraham?
Then Jesus said to them, “Amen,
Amen, I say to you; before
Abraham came to be, I AM! ”
They picked up stones to throw at Him;
But Jesus out of temple slid.
Copyright by Dr John Celes 5-23-2007
L'Homme Moyen Sensuel
‘Tis of my country that I would endite,
In hope to set some misconceptions right.
My country? I love it well, and those good fellows
Who, since their wit's unknown, escape the gallows.
But you stuffed coats who're neither tepid nor distinctly boreal,
Pimping, conceited, placid, editorial,
Could I but speak as 'twere in the 'Restoration'
I would articulate your perdamnation.
This year perforce I must with circumspection
For Mencken states somewhere, in this connection:
‘It is a moral nation we infest.'
Despite such reins and checks I'll do my best,
An art! You all respect the arts, from that infant tick
Who's now the editor of The Altantic,
From Comstock's self, down to the meanest resident,
Till up again, right up, we reach the president,
Who shows his taste in his ambassadors:
A novelist, a publisher, to pay old scores,
A novelist, a publisher and a preacher,
That's sent to Holland, a most particular feature,
Henry Van Dyke, who thinks to charm the Muse you pack her in
A sort of stinking deliquescent saccharine.
The constitution of our land, O Socrates,
Was made to incubate such mediocrities,
These and a state in books that's grown perennial
And antedates the Philadelphia centennial.
Still I'd respect you more if you could bury
Mabie, and Lyman Abbot and George Woodberry,
For minds so wholly founded upon quotations
Are not the best of pulse for infant nations.
Dulness herself, that abject spirit, chortles
To see your forty self-baptized immortals,
And holds her sides where swelling laughter cracks 'em
Before the 6Ars Poetica' of Hiram Maxim.
All one can say of this refining medium
Is cZut! Cinque lettres!' a banished gallic idiom,
Their doddering ignorance is waxed so notable
'Tis time that it was capped with something quotable.
Here Radway grew, the fruit of pantosocracy,
The very fairest flower of their gynocracy.
Radway ? My hero, for it will be more inspiring
If I set forth a bawdy plot like Byron
Than if I treat the nation as a whole.
Radway grew up. These forces shaped his soul;
These, and yet God, and Dr. Parkhurst's god, the N.Y. Journal
(Which pays him more per week than The Supernal).
These and another godlet of that day, your day
(You feed a hen on grease, perhaps she'll lay
The sterile egg that is still eatable:
'Prolific Noyes' with output undefeatable).
From these he (Radway) learnt, from provosts and from editors unyielding
And innocent of Stendhal, Flaubert, Maupassant and Fielding.
They set their mind (it's still in that condition)
May we repeat; the Centennial Exposition
At Philadelphia, 1876?
What it knew then, it knows, and there it sticks.
And yet another, a 'charming man', ‘sweet nature,' but was Gilder,
De mortuis verum, truly the master builder?
From these he learnt. Poe, Whitman, Whistler, men, their recognition
Was got abroad, what better luck do you wish 'em,
When writing well has not yet been forgiven
In Boston, to Henry James, the greatest whom we've seen living.
And timorous love of the innocuous
Brought from Gt. Britain and dumped down a'top of us,
Till you may take your choice: to feel the edge of satire or
Read Bennett or some other flaccid flatterer.
Despite it all, despite your Red Bloods, febrile concupiscence
Whose blubbering yowls you take for passion's essence;
Despite it all, your compound predilection
For ignorance, its growth and its protection
(Vide the tariff), I will hang simple facts
Upon a tale, to combat other tracts,
'Message to Garcia,' Mosher's propagandas
That are the nation's botts, collicks and glanders.
Or from the feats of Sumner cull it? Think,
Could Freud or Jung'unfathom such a sink?
My hero, Radway, I have named, in truth,
Some forces among those which 'formed' his youth:
These heavy weights, these dodgers and these preachers,
Crusaders, lecturers and secret lechers,
Who wrought about his 'soul' their stale infection.
These are the high-brows, and to this collection
The social itch, the almost, all but, not quite, fascinating,
Piquante, delicious, luscious, captivating:
Puffed satin, and silk stockings, where the knee
Clings to the skirt in strict (vide: 'Vogue') propriety.
Three thousand chorus girls and all unkissed,
state sans song, sans home-grown wine, sans realist!
'Tell me not in mournful wish-wash
Life's a sort of sugared dish-wash!'
Radway had read the various evening papers
And yearned to imitate the Waldorf capers
As held before him in that unsullied mirror
The daily press, and monthlies nine cents dearer.
They held the very marrow of the ideals
That fed his spirit; were his mental meals.
Also, he'd read of Christian virtues in
That canting rag called Everybody's Magazine,
And heard a clergy that tries on more wheezes
Than e'er were heard of by Our Lord Ch . . . . J
So he 'faced life' with rather mixed intentions,
He had attended country Christian Endeavour Conventions,
Where one gets more chances
Than Spanish ladies had in old romances.
(Let him rebuke who ne'er has known the pure Platonic grapple,
Or hugged two girls at once behind a chapel.)
Such practices diluted rural boredom
Though some approved of them, and some deplored 'em.
Such was he when he got his mother's letter
And would not think a thing that could upset her. . . .
Yet saw an ad.' To-night, THE HUDSON SAIL,
With forty queens, and music to regale
The select company: beauties you all would know
By name, if named.' So it was phrased, or rather somewhat so
I have mislaid the ‘ad.', but note the touch,
Note, reader, note the sentimental touch:
His mother's birthday gift. (How pitiful
That only sentimental stuff will sell!)
Yet Radway went. A circumspectious prig!
And then that woman like a guinea-pig
Accosted, that's the word, accosted him,
Thereon the amorous calor slightly frosted him.
(I burn, I freeze, I sweat, said the fair Greek,
I speak in contradictions, so to speak.)
I've told his training, he was never bashful,
And his pockets by ma's aid, that night with cash full,
The invitation had no need of fine aesthetic,
Nor did disgust prove such a strong emetic
That we, with Masefield's vein, in the next sentence
Record ‘Odd's blood! Ouch! Ouch!' a prayer, his swift repentance.
No, no, they danced. The music grew much louder
As he inhaled the 'still fumes of rice-powder.
Then there came other nights, came slow but certain
And were such nights that we should 'draw the curtain'
In writing fiction on uncertain chances
Of publication; 'Circumstances,'
As the editor of The Century says in print,
'Compel a certain silence and restraint.'
Still we will bring our 'fiction as near to fact' as
The Sunday school brings virtues into practice.
Soon our hero could manage once a week,
Not that his pay had risen, and no leak
Was found in his employer's cash. He learned the lay of cheaper places,
And then Radway began to go the paces:
A rosy path, a sort of vernal ingress,
And Truth should here be careful of her thin dress
Though males of seventy, who fear truths naked harm us,
Must think Truth looks as they do in wool pyjamas.
(My country, I've said your morals and your thoughts are stale ones,
But surely the worst of your old-women are the male ones.)
Why paint these days? An insurance inspector
For fires and odd risks, could in this sector
Furnish more data for a compilation
Than I can from this distant land and station,
Unless perhaps I should have recourse to
One of those firm-faced inspecting women, who
Find pretty Irish girls in Chinese laundries,
Up stairs, the third floor up, and have such quandaries
As to how and why and whereby they got in
And for what earthly reason they remain. . . .
Alas, eheu, one question that sorely vexes
The serious social folk is ‘just what sex is'.
Though it will, of course, pass off with social science
In which their mentors place such wide reliance . .
De Gourmont says that fifty grunts are all that will be prized.
Of langauge, by men wholly socialized,
With signs as many, that shall represent 'em
When thoroughly socialized printers want to print 'em.
‘As free of mobs as kings'? I'd have men free of that invidious,
Lurking, serpentine, amphibious and insidious
Power that compels 'em
To be so much alike that every dog that smells 'em,
Thinks one identity is
Smeared o'er the lot in equal quantities.
Still we look toward the day when man, with unction,
Will long only to be a social function,
And even Zeus' wild lightning fear to strike
Lest it should fail to treat all men alike.
And I can hear an old man saying: ‘Oh, the rub!’
I see them sitting in the Harvard Club,
'And rate 'em up at just so much per head,
'Till I have viewed straw hats and their habitual clothing
'All the same style, same cut, with perfect loathing.'
So Radway walked, quite like the other men,
Out into the crepuscular half-light, now and then;
Saw what the city offered, cast an eye
Upon Manhattan's gorgeous panoply,
The flood of limbs upon Eighth Avenue
To beat Prague, Budapesth, Vienna or Moscow,
Such animal invigorating carriage
As nothing can restrain or much disparage. . . .
Still he was not given up to brute enjoyment,
An anxious sentiment was his employment,
For memory of the first warm night still cast a haze o'er
The mind of Radway, whene'er he found a pair of purple stays or
Some other quaint reminder of the occasion
That first made him believe in immoral suasion.
A temperate man, a thin potationist, each day
A silent hunter off the Great White Way,
He read The Century and thought it nice
To be not too well known in haunts of vice
The prominent haunts, where one might recognize him,
And in his daily walks duly capsize him.
Thus he eschewed the bright red-walled cafes and
Was never one of whom one speaks as ‘brazen'd'.
Some men will live as prudes in their own village
And make the tour abroad for their wild tillage
I knew a tourist agent, one whose art is
To run such tours. He calls 'em. . . . house parties.
But Radway was a patriot whose venality
Was purer in its love of one locality,
A home-industrious worker to perfection,
A sensational jobber for protection,
Especially on books, lest knowledge break in
Upon the national brains and set 'em achin'.
'Tis an anomaly in our large land of freedom,
You can not get cheap books, even if you need 'em.)
Radway was ignorant as an editor,
And, heavenly, holy gods! I can't say more,
Though I know one, a very base detractor,
Who has the phrase ‘As ignorant as an actor,'
But turn to Radway: the first night on the river,
Running so close to ‘hell’ it sends a shiver
Down Rodyheaver's prophylactic spine,
Let me return to this bold theme of mine,
Of Radway. O clap hand ye moralists!
And meditate upon the Lord's conquests.
When last I met him, he was a pillar in
An organization for the suppression of sin. . . .
Not that he'd changed his tastes, nor yet his habits,
(Such changes don't occur in men, or rabbits).
Not that he was a saint, nor was top-loftical
In spiritual aspirations, but he found it profitable,
For as Ben Franklin said, with such urbanity:
'Nothing will pay thee, friend, like Christianity.'
And in our day thus saith the Evangelist:
'Tent preachin' is the kind that pays the best.'
'Twas as a business asset pure an’ simple
That Radway joined the Baptist Broadway Temple.
I find no moral for a peroration,
He is the prototype of half the nation.
A Defence Of English Spring
Unnamed, unknown, but surely bred
Where Thames, once silver, now runs lead,
Whose journeys daily ebb and flow
'Twixt Tyburn and the bells of Bow,
You late in learnëd prose have told
How, for the happy bards of old,
Spring burst upon Sicilian seas,
Or blossomed in the Cyclades,
But never yet hath deigned to smile
On poets of this shivering isle,
Who, when to vernal strains they melt,
Discourse of joys they never felt,
And, pilfering from each other's page,
Pass on the lie from age to age.
Well, now in turn give ear to me,
Who, with your leave, friend, claim to be,
Degenerate, but withal allied,
At least on mother Nature's side,
To Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, all,
Foremost or hindmost, great or small,
My kindred, and whose numbers ring
With woodnotes of the English Spring:
Leave for awhile your polished town,
Unto my rural home come down,
Where you shall find such bed and board
As rude bucolic roofs afford,
And judge, with your own ear and eye,
If Spring exists, or poets lie.
Welcome! Now plunge at once with me
Into the nearest copse you see.
The boles are brown, the branches gray,
Yet green buds live on every spray.
But 'tis the ground most wins your gaze,
And makes you question, with amaze,
What these are! Shells flung far and wide
By Winter's now fast-ebbing tide,
In language called, for him who sees
But grossly, wood-anemones.
Those, too? Nay, pluck not. You will find
That they maintain a silent mind.
You do not understand? I meant
They will not talk to you in scent.
Sweet violets you know; but these
Have their own rustic way to please.
Their charm is in their look, their free
Unfrightened gaze of gaiety.
Are they not everywhere? Their eyes
Glance up to the cerulean skies,
And challenge them to match the glow
Of their own bluer heaven below.
Anon the trunks and boughs fall back,
And along winding track on track,
Lo! wheresoe'er you onward press,
Shine milky ways of primroses;
So thick, there are, when these have birth,
Far fewer stars in heaven than earth.
You know them, for their face one meets
Still smiling in your London streets;
And one I loved, but who with Fame
Sleeps quiet now, hath made their name,
Even for those, alas! who share
No fellowship with woodlands fair,
Wherever English speech is heard,
A meaning sound, a grateful word.
Yet unto me they seem, when there,
Like young things that should be elsewhere,
In lanes, in dells, in rustic air.
But looked on here, where they have space
To peep from every sheltered place,
Their simple, open faces seem-
Or doth again a poet dream?-
The wondering soul of child-like Spring,
Inquisitive of everything.
Now frowns the sky, the air bites bleak,
The young boughs rock, the old trunks creak,
And fast before the following gale
Come slanting drops, then slashing hail,
As keen as sword, as thick as shot.
Nay, do not cower, but heed them not!
For these one neither flies nor stirs;
They are but April skirmishers,
Thrown out to cover the advance
Of gleaming spear and glittering lance,
With which the sunshine scours amain
Heaven, earth, and air, and routs the rain.
See how the sparkling branches sway,
And, laughing, shake the drops away,
While, glimmering through, the meads beyond
Are emerald and diamond.
And hark! behind baptismal shower,
Whose drops, new-poured on leaf and flower,
Unto their infant faces cling,
The cuckoo, sponsor of the Spring,
Breaks in, and strives, with loud acclaim,
To christen it with his own name.
Now he begins, he will not cease,
Nor leave the woodlands any peace,
That have to listen all day long
To him reciting his one song.
And oft you may, when all is still,
And night lies smooth on vale and hill,
Hear him call ``Cuckoo!'' in his dream,
Still haunted by the egoist theme.
Out of the wood now, and we gain,
The freedom of the winding lane:
Push through the open gap, and leap;
What! have you tumbled all aheap?
Only a scratch. See! ditch and bank
With the same flowers are lush and rank,
With more beside. As yet but single,
The bluebells with the grasses mingle;
But soon their azure will be scrolled
Upon the primrose cloth-of-gold.
Yes, those are early ladysmocks,
The children crumple in their frocks,
And carry many a zigzag mile,
O'er meadow, footpath, gate, and stile,
To stick in pots and jugs to dress
Their cottage sills and lattices.
As yet they only fleck the grass;
But again hither shortly pass,
And with them knolls that now are bare
Will be a blaze of lavender.
What lends yon dingle such a sheen?
How! Buttercups? No, celandine.
Complete in its own self, each one
A looking-glass is for the sun,
Soon as his waking hours begin,
To see his own effulgence in.
Crave you for brighter still, behold
Yon clusters of marsh-marigold.
This is our rustic wealth, and found
Not under, but above the ground;
Mines that bring wealth without its sting,
Enrich without impoverishing.
Yes, Cuckoo! cuckoo! cuckoo, still!
Do you not feel an impulse thrill
Your vernal blood to do the same,
And, boylike, shout him back his name?
But though he loudest, longest sings,
Music is shook from myriad wings.
Hear you the lark advancing now,
Through seas of air, with rippling prow?
They say that from the poet's tears
Spring sweetest songs for unseen ears;
And, from its moist and lowly bed,
The lark mounts up aloft to shed,
In heavenly fields beyond our view,
Music still drenched with earthly dew.
The robin, that in winter cheers
With his lone voice our lonelier ears,
Though warbling still on neighbouring bough,
Sings all unheard, unnoticed now.
Chatter the jays, the starlings flute,
There's not a single throat that's mute.
From tree to tree the finches flit,
Nor once their carols intermit.
The willow-warbler mounts, then drops,
And in his silvery solo stops
Just as it bubbles to the brim,
To hark if any answer him.
High on a bare conspicuous spray,
That none may doubt who chants the lay,
Proud of his undisputed skill
To breast whatever note he will,
The thrush runs revelling all along
The spacious gamut of his song;
Varies, inverts, repeats the strain,
Then sings it different again.
The blackbird, less expert than he,
Coaxes and scolds alternately;
Then, with a sudden scream and rush,
Is off into another bush,
Feigning to fear for life and limb,
Though none have interfered with him.
But listen! ne'er on urban bough
Was perched the note you caught just now.
Hush! move a little down the lane;
When we have passed, he'll start again.
There! Did you ever hear a strain
Of such apotheosized pain,
Such sadness almost sung to bliss,
Blending of woe and joy like this?
Yes, he descants all day, despite
The name he borrows from the night.
Though then perchance the wails increase,
When doth true anguish ever cease?
He is the poet-bird that sings
Through joy, through sorrow, through all things.
'Tis only we that do not hark
Until our own bright days grow dark.
Now, think you that I gleaned all this,
This mite of wisdom, wealth of bliss,
In dusty shelf and yellowing tome?
Is it not rather that I roam,
From dawn to noon, from noon till eve,
Ready to gladden or to grieve
With every aspect, impulse, mood,
Of Nature's active solitude?
Ah! if you knew the hours on hours
One lives with birds, one spends with flowers;
How many a time one's eyes grow wet
By gazing on the violet;
How often all one has to show
For days that come, and days that go,
Are woodland nosegays all ablow;
You then, I think, would scarcely deem
One's songs of Spring a borrowed theme,
But own that English poets learn,
In every hour, at every turn,
From Nature's page, from Nature's speech,
What neither book nor bard can teach.
Nor deem this pride. I am to her
A student and interpreter,
Loving to read what lessons lurk
In her unlettered handiwork,
To find the helpful meanings writ
In waves that break, in clouds that flit,
Some balm extract for weeping eyes
From rain that falls, from dew that dries;
Infer from her uncertain text
A hopeful creed for souls perplexed,
To them her busy calm impart,
And harmonise the human heart.
Halt we a little here, and gaze.
Gambol the lambs, their mothers graze,
While cloudland shadows o'er the grass
In noiseless billows break and pass.
Beholding these, would you not say
The world was born but yesterday?
And while the years such scenes unfold
Afresh, it never can grow old.
Yon yeanlings, by their dam's warm fleece,
Fixed image of ephemeral peace,
How cunningly and snug they cower
From driving gust and drenching shower.
One symbol more, for me at least,
Who, let the world blow north or east,
By mother Nature once reclined,
Am sheltered from each bitter wind.
Yet deeper lessons may we read
In this unacademic mead:
The wisdom of untutored sense,
Sagacity of reverence.
See! the lambs kneel, that they may drain
From life's sweet source a deeper strain.
And if from Nature's lavish breast
We would imbibe the fullest, best,
All that she is so prompt to give,
That we may learn, that we may live,
Howe'er you proud town-sceptics view it,
We too must bend our knees to do it.
Confess this is not bookish lore;
'Tis feeling only, and no more.
Poets lack what you learning call,
And rustic poets, most of all.
Why from the plain truth should I shrink?
In woods men feel; in towns they think.
Yet, which is best? Thought, stumbling, plods
Past fallen temples, vanished gods,
Altars unincensed, fanes undecked,
Eternal systems flown or wrecked;
Through trackless centuries that grant
To the poor trudge refreshment scant,
Age after age, pants on to find
A melting mirage of the mind.
But feeling never wanders far,
Content to fare with things that are,
The same old track, the same loved face,
Familiar genius of the place;
From nature's simples to distil
Homely receipt for homely ill;
And finds, betwixt the sky and ground,
The sunshine of its daily round.
So swallows, though awhile they range
In quest of joy, in chase of change,
Once tenderer instincts flood their breast,
And twittering voices brim the nest,
Grown far too wise and well to roam,
Keep circling round the roof of home.
Now understand you, friend, why here
I linger passive all the year,
And let old thoughts and feelings gain
Their growth, like lichen, on my brain?-
Why the loud gusts of blame and praise,
That blow about your London ways,
To me are but as wind that shrills
About my orchard daffodils,
Only to make them shake their scent
Unto a wider continent!
But ere you go, if go you must,
Take this from me, at least, on trust.
In that fair tract 'twixt hill and main,
I sang of in my earliest strain,
Where fades not flower, nor falls the leaf,
And Godfrid brought Olympia grief,
Oft have I heard, as Spring comes round,
The snow-fed streams begin to sound;
Oft have I seen the almonds bloom
Round Dante's cradle, Petrarch's tomb;
Been there when banksia roses fall
In cataracts over Tuscan wall;
Oft watched Rome's dead Campagna break
To asphodels for April's sake;
Smelt the green myrtle browsed and left
By clambering goats in Ischian cleft;
Gathered the cistus-blooms that lay,
Like flecks of fresh unmelted spray,
Round Paleocastrizza's bay;
Drunk of the nectar wafted o'er
The wave from Zante's perfumed shore;
Plucked Delphi's flowering bays that twine
No garlands now for brows divine;
Stretched me on Acro-Corinth's brow,
Just when the year was young as now;
Have half-way up Hymettus heard
In Attic grove the Attic bird;
Sailed past the crimson Judas-trees
That flame o'er Stamboul's narrow seas,
And marked the cuckoo, from the shore,
Bid wintry Danube thaw once more.
But none of these, nor all, can match,
At least for him who loves to watch
The wild-flowers come, hear wild birds sing,
The rapture of an English Spring.
With us it loiters more than where
It comes, it goes, half unaware;
Makes winter short, makes summer long,
In autumn half renews its song,
Nor even then doth hence depart,
But hybernates within my heart.
Army Of Northern Virginia
Army of Northern Virginia, army of legend,
Who were your captains that you could trust them so surely?
Who were your battle-flags?
Call the shapes from the mist,
Call the dead men out of the mist and watch them ride.
Tall the first rider, tall with a laughing mouth,
His long black beard is combed like a beauty's hair,
His slouch hat plumed with a curled black ostrich-feather,
He wears gold spurs and sits his horse with the seat
Of a horseman born.
It is Stuart of Laurel Hill,
'Beauty' Stuart, the genius of cavalry,
Reckless, merry, religious, theatrical,
Lover of gesture, lover of panache,
With all the actor's grace and the quick, light charm
That makes the women adore him-a wild cavalier
Who worships as sober a God as Stonewall Jackson,
A Rupert who seldom drinks, very often prays,
Loves his children, singing, fighting spurs, and his wife.
Sweeney his banjo-player follows him.
And after them troop the young Virginia counties,
Horses and men, Botetort, Halifax,
Dinwiddie, Prince Edward, Cumberland, Nottoway,
Mecklenburg, Berkeley, Augusta, the Marylanders,
The horsemen never matched till Sheridan came.
Now the phantom guns creak by. They are Pelham's guns.
That quiet boy with the veteran mouth is Pelham.
He is twenty-two. He is to fight sixty battles
And never lose a gun.
The cannon roll past,
The endless lines of the infantry begin.
A. P. Hill leads the van. He is small and spare,
His short, clipped beard is red as his battleshirt,
Jackson and Lee are to call him in their death-hours.
Dutch Longstreet follows, slow, pugnacious and stubborn,
Hard to beat and just as hard to convince,
Fine corps commander, good bulldog for holding on,
But dangerous when he tries to think for himself,
He thinks for himself too much at Gettysburg,
But before and after he grips with tenacious jaws.
There is D. H. Hill-there is Early and Fitzhugh Lee-
Yellow-haired Hood with his wounds and his empty sleeve,
Leading his Texans, a Viking shape of a man,
With the thrust and lack of craft of a berserk sword,
All lion, none of the fox.
When he supersedes
Joe Johnston, he is lost, and his army with him,
But he could lead forlorn hopes with the ghost of Ney.
His bigboned Texans follow him into the mist.
Who follows them?
These are the Virginia faces,
The Virginia speech. It is Jackson's footcavalry,
The Army of the Valley,
It is the Stonewall Brigade, it is the streams
Of the Shenandoah, marching.
Ewell goes by,
The little woodpecker, bald and quaint of speech
With his wooden leg stuck stiffly out from his saddle,
He is muttering, 'Sir, I'm a nervous Major-General,
And whenever an aide rides up from General Jackson
I fully expect an order to storm the North Pole.'
He chuckles and passes, full of crotchets and courage,
Living on frumenty for imagined dyspepsia,
And ready to storm the North Pole at a Jackson phrase.
Then the staff-then little Sorrel-and the plain
Presbyterian figure in the flat cap,
Throwing his left hand out in the awkward gesture
That caught the bullet out of the air at Bull Run,
Awkward, rugged and dour, the belated Ironside
With the curious, brilliant streak of the cavalier
That made him quote Mercutio in staff instructions,
Love lancet windows, the color of passion-flowers,
Mexican sun and all fierce, tautlooking fine creatures;
Stonewall Jackson, wrapped in his beard and his silence,
Cromwell-eyed and ready with Cromwell's short
Bleak remedy for doubters and fools and enemies,
Hard on his followers, harder on his foes,
An iron sabre vowed to an iron Lord,
And yet the only man of those men who pass
With a strange, secretive grain of harsh poetry
Hidden so deep in the stony sides of his heart
That it shines by flashes only and then is gone.
It glitters in his last words.
He is deeply ambitious,
The skilled man, utterly sure of his own skill
And taking no nonsense about it from the unskilled,
But God is the giver of victory and defeat,
And Lee, on earth, vicegerent under the Lord.
Sometimes he differs about the mortal plans
But once the order is given, it is obeyed.
We know what he thought about God. One would like to know
What he thought of the two together, if he so mingled them.
He said two things about Lee it is well to recall.
When he first beheld the man that he served so well,
'I have never seen such a fine-looking human creature.'
Then, afterwards, at the height of his own fame,
The skilled man talking of skill, and something more.
'General Lee is a phenomenon,
He is the only man I would follow blindfold.'
Think of those two remarks and the man who made them
When you picture Lee as the rigid image in marble.
No man ever knew his own skill better than Jackson
Or was more ready to shatter an empty fame.
He passes now in his dusty uniform.
The Bible jostles a book of Napoleon's Maxims
And a magic lemon deep in his saddlebags.
And now at last,
Comes Traveller and his master. Look at them well.
The horse is an iron-grey, sixteen hands high,
Short back, deep chest, strong haunch, flat legs, small head,
Delicate ear, quick eye, black mane and tail,
Wise brain, obedient mouth.
Such horses are
The jewels of the horseman's hands and thighs,
They go by the word and hardly need the rein.
They bred such horses in Virginia then,
Horses that were remembered after death
And buried not so far from Christian ground
That if their sleeping riders should arise
They could not witch them from the earth again
And ride a printless course along the grass
With the old manage and light ease of hand.
The rider, now.
He too, is iron-grey,
Though the thick hair and thick, blunt-pointed beard
Have frost in them.
Straight-nosed, sweet-mouthed, firmlipped, head cleanly set,
He and his horse are matches for the strong
Grace of proportion that inhabits both.
They carry nothing that is in excess
And nothing that is less than symmetry,
The strength of Jackson is a hammered strength,
Bearing the tool marks still. This strength was shaped
By as hard arts but does not show the toil
Except as justness, though the toil was there.
-And so we get the marble man again,
The head on the Greek coin, the idol image,
The shape who stands at Washington's left hand,
Worshipped, uncomprehended and aloof,
A figure lost to flesh and blood and bones,
Frozen into a legend out of life,
A blank-verse statue-
How to humanize
That solitary gentleness and strength
Hidden behind the deadly oratory
Of twenty thousand Lee Memorial days,
How show, in spite of all the rhetoric,
All the sick honey of the speechifiers,
Proportion, not as something calm congealed
From lack of fire, but ruling such a fire
As only such proportion could contain?
The man was loved, the man was idolized,
The man had every just and noble gift.
He took great burdens and he bore them well,
Believed in God but did not preach too much,
Believed and followed duty first and last
With marvellous consistency and force,
Was a great victor, in defeat as great,
No more, no less, always himself in both,
Could make men die for him but saved his men
Whenever he could save them-was most kind
But-was not disobeyed-was a good father,
A loving husband, a considerate friend:
Had litle humor, but enough to play
Mild jokes that never wounded but had charm,
Did not seek intimates, yet drew men to him,
Did not seek fame, did not protest against it,
Knew his own value without pomp or jealousy
And died as he preferred to live-sans praise,
With commonsense, tenacity and courage,
A Greek proportion-and a riddle unread.
And everything that we have said is true
And nothing helps us yet to read the man,
Nor will he help us while he has the strength
To keep his heart his own.
For he will smile
And give you, with unflinching courtesy,
Prayers, trappings, letters, uniforms and orders,
Photographs, kindness, valor and advice,
And do it with such grace and gentleness
That you will know you have the whole of him
Pinned down, mapped out, easy to understand-
And so you have.
All things except the heart
The heart he kept himself, that answers all.
For here was someone who lived all his life
In the most fierce and open light of the sun,
Wrote letters freely, did not guard his speech,
Listened and talked with every sort of man,
And kept his heart a secret to the end
From all the picklocks of biographers.
He was a man, and as a man he knew
Love, separation, sorrow, joy and death.
He was a master of the tricks of war,
He gave great strokes and warded strokes as great.
He was the prop and pillar of a State,
The incarnation of a national dream,
And when the State fell and the dream dissolved
He must have lived with bitterness itself-
But what his sorrow was and what his joy,
And how he felt in the expense of strength,
And how his heart contained its bitterness,
He will not tell us.
We can lie about him,
Dress up a dummy in his uniform
And put our words into the dummy's mouth,
Say 'Here Lee must have thought,' and 'There, no doubt,
By what we know of him, we may suppose
He felt-this pang or that-' but he remains
Beyond our stagecraft, reticent as ice,
Reticent as the fire within the stone.
Yet-look at the face again-look at it well-
This man was not repose, this man was act.
This man who murmured 'It is well that war
Should be so terrible, if it were not
We might become too fond of it-' and showed
Himself, for once, completely as he lived
In the laconic balance of that phrase;
This man could reason, but he was a fighter,
Skilful in every weapon of defence
But never defending when he could assault,
Taking enormous risks again and again,
Never retreating while he still could strike,
Dividing a weak force on dangerous ground
And joining it again to beat a strong,
Mocking at chance and all the odds of war
With acts that looked like hairbread'th recklessness -
We do not call them reckless, since they won.
We do not see him reckless for the calm
Proportion that controlled the recklessness-
But that attacking quality was there.
He was not mild with life or drugged with justice,
He gripped life like a wrestler with a bull,
Impetuously. It did not come to him
While he stood waiting in a famous cloud,
He went to it and took it by both horns
And threw it down.
Oh, he could bear the shifts
Of time and play the bitter loser's game,
The slow, unflinching chess of fortitude,
But while he had an opening for attack
He would attack with every ounce of strength.
His heart was not a stone but trumpet-shaped
And a long challenge blew an anger through it
That was more dread for being musical
First, last, and to the end.
Again he said
A curious thing to life.
'I'm always wanting something.'
The brief phrase
Slides past us, hardly grasped in the smooth flow
Of the well-balanced, mildly-humorous prose
That goes along to talk of cats and duties,
Maxims of conduct, farming and poor bachelors,
But for a second there, the marble cracked
And a strange man we never saw before
Showed us the face he never showed the world
And wanted something-not the general
Who wanted shoes and food for ragged men,
Not the good father wanting for his children,
The patriot wanting victory-all the Lees
Whom all the world could see and recognize
And hang with gilded laurels-but the man
Who had, you'd say, all things that life can give
Except the last success-and had, for that,
Such glamor as can wear sheer triumph out,
Proportion's son and Duty's eldest sword
And the calm mask who-wanted something still,
Somewhere, somehow and always.
What could he want that he had never had?
He only said it once-the marble closed-
There was a man enclosed within that image.
There was a force that tried Proportion's rule
And died without a legend or a cue
To bring it back. The shadow-Lees still live.
But the first-person and the singular Lee?
The ant finds kingdoms in a foot of ground
But earth's too small for something in our earth,
We'll make a new earth from the summer's cloud,
From the pure summer's cloud.
It was not that,
It was not God or love or mortal fame.
It was not anything he left undone.
-What does Proportion want that it can lack?
-What does the ultimate hunger of the flesh
Want from the sky more than a sky of air?
He wanted something. That must be enough.
Now he rides Traveller back into the mist.
The tent lines these of Kháula in stone--stricken Tháhmadi.
See where the fire has touched them, dyed dark as the hands of her.
'Twas here thy friends consoled thee that day with thee comforting,
cried; Not of grief, thou faint--heart! Men die not thus easily.
Ay, here the howdahs passed thee at day--dawn, how royally!
stood for the Dédi pastures: a white fleet they seemed to thee,
Ships tall--rigged from Adáuli--of Yámin the build of them--
wandering wide the night through, to meet at the sunrising.
Thus climbed they the long wave--lines, their prows set how loftily!
ploughing the drifted ridges, sand heaped by the sandseers.
Alas for the dark--lipped one, the maid of the topazes,
hardly yet grown a woman, sweet fruit--picking loiterer!
A girl, a fawn still fawnless, which browses the thorn--bushes,
close to the doe--herd feeding, aloof in the long valleys.
I see her mouth--slit smiling, her teeth,--nay, a camomile
white on the white sand blooming and moist with the night--showers.
Sun--steeped it is, pure argent, white all but the lips of her,
these are too darkly painted to shrink from the sunburning.
The face of her how joyous, the day's robe enfolding her,
clean as a thing fresh fashioned, untouched by sad time--fingers.
Enough! New joys now claim me. Ay, mount and away from her!
Here on my swift--foot camel I laugh at love's bitterness.
Ship--strong is she, my nága, my stout--timbered road--goer,
footing the long--lined path--way--a striped cloak--in front of us.
Steel tempered are her sinews. She runs like an ostrich--hen,
one which has fled defying the ash--plumed proud lord of her.
Out--paces she the best--born, shank still on shank following,
threading the mazes lightly. Ah, what foot shall follow her?
The spring--long on Kufféyn she has wandered, her kind with her,
pastured in pleasant places, the rain--watered thyme--valleys,
Has turned to her herd's calling, aloft in wrath brandishing,
scared by the thick--furred red thief, that proud tuft the tail of her.
Her tail sways this and that way--a falcon, the wings of him
bating her flanks impatient: erect stands the bone of it--
So lasheth she in anger anon her croup--rider's knee,
then her own shrunken udder, a drought--withered water--skin.
Note well her limbs' perfection, her thighs like the elbow--worn
jambs of a city gateway, two smooth shafts of porphyry.
Her barrel, a stone well--mouth, like bent bows the curves of it,
caved where the neck--shaft enters, ends in an arched hollow.
Deep dens are her two arm--pits, a tree--trunk with cavities.
Bows are her rib--bones bended, her spine the hands holding them.
Her elbows are twin buckets, the pails of a water--man
wide--set, the neck between them the strong man who carries them.
Bridge--like, and Roman--builded! How swore he its architect
none should leave work or loiter, its key--stone unlaid by them!
Red chestnut is her chin--tuft, a vast vault the back of her.
Swift--step her hind--feet follow the path of her fore--footing.
Her legs are a cord twisted. Towards them the arms of her
slant from the shoulders outward, a tent--roof the slope of them.
So sways she, the strong--skulled one, and lightly her shoulder blades
rise from her spine alternate, arhyme with the march of her.
Like rain--pools in the smooth rock, so, flecking the sides of her,
white stand the girth--marks, witness once of the sores on them.
Her neck, how tall, how proud--set! Behold her! She raises it
high as in ships of Díjleh the point of a stern--rudder.
Her head--piece a stout anvil, and, joined to it hardily
sharp as a file the neck--ridge, fixed as a vice to it.
Her jowl a Syrian parchment, clean vellum the lip of her,
smooth as a hide of Yémen, no skin--crease nor fold in it.
Her eyes two mirrors shining, her bent brows the shade of them, pitted with deep--set hollows, as rock--holes for rain--water.
Eyes dark--rimmed, pure of dust--stains. You gaze in the depths of them as in a wild cow's wide eyes, scared for the calf of her.
Ears fearful of the night--sounds, the whispers, the murmurings
caught in the darkness passing--night--day: they can rest never.
Their thorn--tips tell her lineage, a wild bull's of Háumala
raging alone forsaken; her breeding you read in them.
Heart watchful of strange dangers, yet stout in the face of them.
Firm as a test--stone standing where cleft lie the base pebbles.
Lip slit, nose pierced for nose--ring, how slender its cartilage!
Nobly she lowers it running and stretched to the front of her.
I strike at her, my nága: I force her: I hurry her,
while in our path the false--lights lure us to follow them.
The gait of her how rhythmic! She sways like a dancing--girl,
one with the white skirts trailing, who bends to the lord of her.
Obedient to your riding, she slackens her outrunning,
watches the hide--thong twisted, the speed that you need of her.
Her head by your hand close held, your knee--crutch how near to it!
Then with her fore--arms swimming, an ostrich, she flies with you.
Thus rode I, and thus spake he, the friend of my tear--sheddings:
O for the wit to cure thee, but and my own sorrows!
His soul within him trembled; it seemed to his hardihood
death and a sure destruction, though far we from roadfarers.
For which of us is valiant? When men speak of true valour,
I feel my own the name named. Straight am I roused by it.
No recreant I, my tent--ridge I hide from no enemy.
Nor in the far hills build it who bring men a swift succour.
The hand that seeks shall find me. I stand at the gatherings.
Ay, where men tap the wine--skin, 'tis there they shall speak with me.
What day the tribes assemble, behold me conspicuous,
sitting as fits my lineage, nor go I in fear of them.
Beside me my companions, bright stars of nobility.
Dyed is her robe with saffron the girl who pours out to us.
O sweet is her shirt's neck--slit, set wide to the eyes of us.
Soft is the thing it hides there. We bade her: Now, sing to us.
Ay sing to us: we prayed her. And she, with monotony
striking a low note slowly, chaunted unchangingly.
O strange it was that cadence: it came back the wail of it,
grave as a mother's grieving the one son new--slain from her.
Thus sang she. And I spared not the full cups of revelry,
not till my spoil was wasted, my whole wealth's inheritance.
Then left me they that loved me. Then shunned me my tribe--fellows.
Sat I alone forsaken, a mange--stricken male camel.
Nathless the poor showed pity, the sons of Earth's particles,
these and the alien tent--lords, the far chiefs befriended me.
You only did revile me. Yet, say, ye philosophers,
was that same wealth eternal I squandered in feasting you?
Could all you my fate hinder? Friends, run we ahead of it,
rather our lives enjoying, since Time will not wait for us.
And, truly, but for three things in youth's day of vanity,
fain would I see them round me the friends at my deathbedding,
As first: to outstrip the sour ones, be first at the winebibbing,
ay, at the blink of day--dawn when mixed the cup foams for me;
And next, to ride their champion, who none have to succour them,
fierce on my steed, the led one, a wolf roused and thirst--stricken;
And third, to lie the day--long, while wild clouds are wildering,
close in her tent of goat's hair, the dearest beloved of me.
O noble she, a tree--stem unpruned in her maidenhood,
tall as a branch of Khírwa, where men hang their ornaments.
'Tis thus I slake my soul's rage, the life--thirst so wild in me.
If we two died to--morrow, think, which would go thirstier?
For lo, his grave the miser's! Lo, next it the prodigal's!
Both are alike, scant favour to hoarder or squanderer.
'Neath mounds of earth the twain lie, a low stone atop of them,
heavy and broad and shapeless, with new slabs o'erlaying it.
Death is no subtle chooser. He takes all, the free--givers,
ay, and the rogues close--fisted, the fast--handed goldhiders.
And life's heap lies unguarded. The night--thieves make spoil of it.
All that these leave the day--thieves straightway come plundering.
Nay, by thy life--I swear it, though fast fly the heels of him,
Death has a lead--rope round him, loose though it seem to you.
Ha! How is this? My kinsman? my fool--cousin Máleki?
Daily, as I draw near him, he turns his mad back on me.
He frowns I know not wherefore. He flouts me, as once with them
Kurt, in the face of all men, flouted and jibed at me.
His help he has denied me; and, truly, our brotherhood
tried in the fire of asking lies dead in love's sepulchre.
My word his words discredit. Yet all I for Mábadi
asked was a poor assistance to gather his lost camels,
I who hold fast to kinship. I swear by the luck of thee,
when they shall want hard riding, that day they shall fawn on me,
What day their tribes need succour, when loudly their womenfolk
cry from his hand the oppressor's to hands that are mightier.
Be but their honour tainted, I straight will pour out for them
death as from brimming cisterns, nor ask for an argument.
They rail at and revile me, who know me no ill--doer;
me, who have borne their burdens, cast would they out from them.
Yet, had my friend been other, this Málek of larger soul,
long had my pain been ended, a respiting found for me.
Shame on him for his baseness. His black hand would strangle me,
whether I thanked or sued him, or turned but my back on him.
O cruel is the sword--stroke: it bites with an Indian edge:
yet is their temper keener, the clowns I call kin to me.
Then leave me to my own ways, my tent set in Dárghadi,
far from the eyes of all men, and earn thee my gratitude.
Had he, the Lord, so willed it, my name had been Khálidi,
or had he willed it Ámer, or Káis, or Márthadi.
Wealth had been mine and increase, ay, all that men most covet,
sons as a gift of heaven, a proud--lined posterity.
Yet see me a man subtle, one lithe--souled and lithe--bodied,
quick as a snake for wounding, whose head is a hurt to them.
The oath my tongue has sworn to is this, to keep close to me
ever my sword--blade loosened; of Indies the edge of it.
Such blade, if I take vengeance and rise up and smite with it,
needs not a second down--stroke; I wield me no wood--chopper.
My sword is my true brother. It grudges no blood--spilling.
Called on to spare, it answers: My lord alone holdeth me.
Thus was I when men armed them and rushed to the battle--field:
grasped I my sword--hilt foremost, nor feared what fate doomed for me.
Herds knelt, their necks stretched earth--long. How scared them the eyes of me,
me with my sword drawn marching, its sheath cast away from me.
There passed a strong fair nága, a full--uddered milch--camel,
joy of her lord, the gray--beard, a hot man, though time--troubled.
He shouted when she fell there, her stout sinews houghed by me:
Man, art thou blind who seest not thy sword hath done robbery?
He spake, and to his friends turned: Behold him, this wine--bibber!
What is his rage against us, his wild words, his drinkfolly?
Yet paused: Nay, give him wide room and leave it to profit him: herd
we the scared ones rather, lest more he should slay of them.
Then fell the maids aroasting its fair flesh the foal of her,
nor of the fat denied us, the whole hump our prize of it.
We cast the arrows gaily, the dun shafts, the fire--hardened:
each time the holder held them, straightway I won with them.
When I am dead, speak kindly, thou daughter of Mábadi:
rend for my sake thy garments as one worth the love of thee.
Nor count me with the lewd folk, the night--knaves, the roysterers,
men with nor wit nor wisdom nor will to do weightily,
Men slow to deeds of virtue, men swift but in ill--doing,
men by the brave held lightly, with spread palms and brow--knitting.
For, had I been a weakling, know well, their mad hate of me
long had been my destruction, their blind wrath my butchery.
Only it wards me from them the fear of my hand's valour,
this, and my faith untainted, my fame too of ancestry.
Once on a time I bound me with vows, on the battlefield
ever to guard the weak posts, points where the foe threatened,
Points where the bravest faltered, where pale men stood panic--struck,
where they the strong--hearts trembled, faint through the fear in them.
Nay, by thy life, I fear not. I hold not time weariness;
neither hath day distressed me, nor night what it brought to me.
Because I see Death spares none. It smites with an even hand,
bows not to names exalted, nor knows it men's dignities;
Because with Death behind me, my flight can avail me not,
neither can I outwit him, he lying in wait for me.
Because if one be proved vain by those who seek aid of him,
helpless to hurt the harmful, better he perishèd.
The days to come, what are they? A handful, a borrowing:
vain is the thing thou fearest. To--day is the life of thee.
And death is as a well--spring; to it men pass and pass:
near them is each to--morrow; near them was yesterday.
Only shall Age, the slow--foot, arraign thee of ignorance:
only shall One bring tidings, when least thou desirest him,
One who is hard to deal with, of whom thou art ransomer
neither for pay nor raiment, nor madest thou tryst with him.