As treasures that men seek, Deep-buried in sea-sands,
Vanish if they but speak, And elude their eager hands,
So ye escape and slip, O songs, and fade away,
When the word is on my lip To interpret what ye say.
Were it not better, then, To let the treasures rest
Hid from the eyes of men, Locked in their iron chest?
I have but marked the place, But half the secret told,
That, following this slight trace, Others may find the gold.
COPLAS DE MANRIQUE.
O let the soul her slumbers break, Let thought be quickened, and awake; Awake to see
How soon this life is past and gone, And death comes softly stealing on, How silently!
Swiftly our pleasures glide away, Our hearts recall the distant day With many sighs;
The moments that are speeding fast We heed not, but the past,--the past, More highly prize.
Onward its course the present keeps, Onward the constant current sweeps, Till life is done;
And, did we judge of time aright, The past and future in their flight Would be as one.
Let no one fondly dream again, That Hope and all her shadowy train Will not decay;
Fleeting as were the dreams of old, Remembered like a tale that's told, They pass away.
Our lives are rivers, gliding free To that unfathomed, boundless sea, The silent grave!
Thither all earthly pomp and boast Roll, to be swallowed up and lost In one dark wave.
Thither the mighty torrents stray, Thither the brook pursues its way, And tinkling rill,
There all are equal; side by side The poor man and the son of pride Lie calm and still.
I will not here invoke the throng Of orators and sons of song,
The deathless few;
Fiction entices and deceives,
And, sprinkled o'er her fragrant leaves, Lies poisonous dew.
To One alone my thoughts arise, The Eternal Truth, the Good and Wise, To Him I cry,
Who shared on earth our common lot, But the world comprehended not His deity.
This world is but the rugged road Which leads us to the bright abode Of peace above;
So let us choose that narrow way, Which leads no traveller's foot astray From realms of love,
Our cradle is the starting-place, Life is the running of the race, We reach the goal
When, in the mansions of the blest, Death leaves to its eternal rest The weary soul.
Did we but use it as we ought,
This world would school each wandering thought To its high state.
Faith wings the soul beyond the sky,
Up to that better world on high,
For which we wait.
Yes, the glad messenger of love, To guide us to our home above, The Saviour came;
Born amid mortal cares and fears. He suffered in this vale of tears A death of shame.
Behold of what delusive worth The bubbles we pursue on earth, The shapes we chase,
Amid a world of treachery!
They vanish ere death shuts the eye, And leave no trace.
Time steals them from us, chances strange, Disastrous accident, and change,
That come to all;
Even in the most exalted state,
Relentless sweeps the stroke of fate; The strongest fall.
Tell me, the charms that lovers seek In the clear eye and blushing cheek, The hues that play
O'er rosy lip and brow of snow, When hoary age approaches slow, Ah; where are they?
The cunning skill, the curious arts, The glorious strength that youth imparts In life's first stage;
These shall become a heavy weight, When Time swings wide his outward gate To weary age.
The noble blood of Gothic name, Heroes emblazoned high to fame, In long array;
How, in the onward course of time, The landmarks of that race sublime Were swept away!
Some, the degraded slaves of lust, Prostrate and trampled in the dust, Shall rise no more;
Others, by guilt and crime, maintain The scutcheon, that without a stain, Their fathers bore.
Wealth and the high estate of pride, With what untimely speed they glide, How soon depart!
Bid not the shadowy phantoms stay, The vassals of a mistress they, Of fickle heart.
These gifts in Fortune's hands are found; Her swift revolving wheel turns round, And they are gone!
No rest the inconstant goddess knows, But changing, and without repose, Still hurries on.
Even could the hand of avarice save Its gilded baubles till the grave Reclaimed its prey,
Let none on such poor hopes rely; Life, like an empty dream, flits by, And where are they?
Earthly desires and sensual lust Are passions springing from the dust, They fade and die;
But in the life beyond the tomb, They seal the immortal spirits doom Eternally!
The pleasures and delights, which mask In treacherous smiles life's serious task, What are they, all,
But the fleet coursers of the chase, And death an ambush in the race, Wherein we fall?
No foe, no dangerous pass, we heed, Brook no delay, but onward speed With loosened rein;
And, when the fatal snare is near, We strive to check our mad career, But strive in vain.
Could we new charms to age impart, And fashion with a cunning art The human face,
As we can clothe the soul with light, And make the glorious spirit bright With heavenly grace,
How busily each passing hour Should we exert that magic power, What ardor show,
To deck the sensual slave of sin, Yet leave the freeborn soul within, In weeds of woe!
Monarchs, the powerful and the strong, Famous in history and in song
Of olden time,
Saw, by the stern decrees of fate, Their kingdoms lost, and desolate Their race sublime.
Who is the champion? who the strong? Pontiff and priest, and sceptred throng? On these shall fall
As heavily the hand of Death,
As when it stays the shepherd's breath Beside his stall.
I speak not of the Trojan name, Neither its glory nor its shame
Has met our eyes;
Nor of Rome's great and glorious dead, Though we have heard so oft, and read, Their histories.
Little avails it now to know Of ages passed so long ago, Nor how they rolled;
Our theme shall be of yesterday, Which to oblivion sweeps away, Like day's of old.
Where is the King, Don Juan? Where Each royal prince and noble heir Of Aragon ?
Where are the courtly gallantries? The deeds of love and high emprise, In battle done?
Tourney and joust, that charmed the eye, And scarf, and gorgeous panoply,
And nodding plume,
What were they but a pageant scene? What but the garlands, gay and green, That deck the tomb?
Where are the high-born dames, and where Their gay attire, and jewelled hair, And odors sweet?
Where are the gentle knights, that came To kneel, and breathe love's ardent flame, Low at their feet?
Where is the song of Troubadour? Where are the lute and gay tambour They loved of yore?
Where is the mazy dance of old, The flowing robes, inwrought with gold, The dancers wore?
And he who next the sceptre swayed, Henry, whose royal court displayed Such power and pride;
O, in what winning smiles arrayed, The world its various pleasures laid His throne beside!
But O how false and full of guile That world, which wore so soft a smile But to betray!
She, that had been his friend before, Now from the fated monarch tore Her charms away.
The countless gifts, the stately walls, The loyal palaces, and halls
All filled with gold;
Plate with armorial bearings wrought, Chambers with ample treasures fraught Of wealth untold;
The noble steeds, and harness bright, And gallant lord, and stalwart knight, In rich array,
Where shall we seek them now? Alas! Like the bright dewdrops on the grass, They passed away.
His brother, too, whose factious zeal Usurped the sceptre of Castile, Unskilled to reign;
What a gay, brilliant court had he, When all the flower of chivalry Was in his train!
But he was mortal; and the breath, That flamed from the hot forge of Death, Blasted his years;
Judgment of God! that flame by thee, When raging fierce and fearfully,
Was quenched in tears!
Spain's haughty Constable, the true And gallant Master, whom we knew Most loved of all;
Breathe not a whisper of his pride, He on the gloomy scaffold died, Ignoble fall!
The countless treasures of his care, His villages and villas fair,
His mighty power,
What were they all but grief and shame, Tears and a broken heart, when came The parting hour?
His other brothers, proud and high, Masters, who, in prosperity,
Might rival kings;
Who made the bravest and the best The bondsmen of their high behest, Their underlings;
What was their prosperous estate, When high exalted and elate
With power and pride?
What, but a transient gleam of light, A flame, which, glaring at its height, Grew dim and died?
So many a duke of royal name,
Marquis and count of spotless fame, And baron brave,
That might the sword of empire wield, All these, O Death, hast thou concealed In the dark grave!
Their deeds of mercy and of arms, In peaceful days, or war's alarms, When thou dost show.
O Death, thy stern and angry face, One stroke of thy all-powerful mace Can overthrow.
Unnumbered hosts, that threaten nigh, Pennon and standard flaunting high, And flag displayed;
High battlements intrenched around, Bastion, and moated wall, and mound, And palisade,
And covered trench, secure and deep, All these cannot one victim keep, O Death, from thee,
When thou dost battle in thy wrath, And thy strong shafts pursue their path Unerringly.
O World! so few the years we live, Would that the life which thou dost give Were life indeed!
Alas! thy sorrows fall so fast,
Our happiest hour is when at last The soul is freed.
Our days are covered o'er with grief, And sorrows neither few nor brief Veil all in gloom;
Left desolate of real good,
Within this cheerless solitude
No pleasures bloom.
Thy pilgrimage begins in tears, And ends in bitter doubts and fears, Or dark despair;
Midway so many toils appear,
That he who lingers longest here Knows most of care.
Thy goods are bought with many a groan, By the hot sweat of toil alone,
And weary hearts;
Fleet-footed is the approach of woe, But with a lingering step and slow Its form departs.
And he, the good man's shield and shade, To whom all hearts their homage paid, As Virtue's son,
Roderic Manrique, he whose name Is written on the scroll of Fame, Spain's champion;
His signal deeds and prowess high Demand no pompous eulogy. Ye saw his deeds!
Why should their praise in verse be sung? The name, that dwells on every tongue, No minstrel needs.
To friends a friend; how kind to all The vassals of this ancient hall And feudal fief!
To foes how stern a foe was he! And to the valiant and the free How brave a chief!
What prudence with the old and wise: What grace in youthful gayeties; In all how sage!
Benignant to the serf and slave, He showed the base and falsely brave A lion's rage.
His was Octavian's prosperous star, The rush of Caesar's conquering car At battle's call;
His, Scipio's virtue; his, the skill And the indomitable will
His was a Trajan's goodness, his A Titus' noble charities
And righteous laws;
The arm of Hector, and the might Of Tully, to maintain the right In truth's just cause;
The clemency of Antonine, Aurelius' countenance divine, Firm, gentle, still;
The eloquence of Adrian, And Theodosius' love to man, And generous will;
In tented field and bloody fray, An Alexander's vigorous sway And stern command;
The faith of Constantine; ay, more, The fervent love Camillus bore His native land.
He left no well-filled treasury,
He heaped no pile of riches high, Nor massive plate;
He fought the Moors, and, in their fall, City and tower and castled wall
Were his estate.
Upon the hard-fought battle-ground, Brave steeds and gallant riders found A common grave;
And there the warrior's hand did gain The rents, and the long vassal train, That conquest gave.
And if, of old, his halls displayed The honored and exalted grade His worth had gained,
So, in the dark, disastrous hour, Brothers and bondsmen of his power His hand sustained.
After high deeds, not left untold, In the stern warfare, which of old 'T was his to share,
Such noble leagues he made, that more And fairer regions, than before, His guerdon were.
These are the records, half effaced, Which, with the hand of youth, he traced On history's page;
But with fresh victories he drew Each fading character anew
In his old age.
By his unrivalled skill, by great And veteran service to the state, By worth adored,
He stood, in his high dignity, The proudest knight of chivalry, Knight of the Sword.
He found his cities and domains Beneath a tyrant's galling chains And cruel power;
But by fierce battle and blockade, Soon his own banner was displayed From every tower.
By the tried valor of his hand,
His monarch and his native land
Were nobly served;
Let Portugal repeat the story,
And proud Castile, who shared the glory His arms deserved.
And when so oft, for weal or woe, His life upon the fatal throw
Had been cast down;
When he had served, with patriot zeal, Beneath the banner of Castile,
His sovereign's crown;
And done such deeds of valor strong, That neither history nor song Can count them all;
Then, on Ocana's castled rock, Death at his portal came to knock, With sudden call,
Saying, "Good Cavalier, prepare To leave this world of toil and care With joyful mien;
Let thy strong heart of steel this day Put on its armor for the fray,
The closing scene.
"Since thou hast been, in battle-strife, So prodigal of health and life,
For earthly fame,
Let virtue nerve thy heart again; Loud on the last stern battle-plain They call thy name.
"Think not the struggle that draws near Too terrible for man, nor fear
To meet the foe;
Nor let thy noble spirit grieve,
Its life of glorious fame to leave On earth below.
"A life of honor and of worth
Has no eternity on earth,
'T is but a name;
And yet its glory far exceeds
That base and sensual life, which leads To want and shame.
"The eternal life, beyond the sky, Wealth cannot purchase, nor the high And proud estate;
The soul in dalliance laid, the spirit Corrupt with sin, shall not inherit A joy so great.
"But the good monk, in cloistered cell, Shall gain it by his book and bell,
His prayers and tears;
And the brave knight, whose arm endures Fierce battle, and against the Moors His standard rears.
"And thou, brave knight, whose hand has poured The life-blood of the Pagan horde
O'er all the land,
In heaven shalt thou receive, at length, The guerdon of thine earthly strength And dauntless hand.
"Cheered onward by this promise sure, Strong in the faith entire and pure Thou dost profess,
Depart, thy hope is certainty, The third, the better life on high Shalt thou possess."
"O Death, no more, no more delay; My spirit longs to flee away, And be at rest;
The will of Heaven my will shall be, I bow to the divine decree,
To God's behest.
"My soul is ready to depart,
No thought rebels, the obedient heart Breathes forth no sigh;
The wish on earth to linger still
Were vain, when 't is God's sovereign will That we shall die.
"O thou, that for our sins didst take A human form, and humbly make Thy home on earth;
Thou, that to thy divinity
A human nature didst ally
By mortal birth,
"And in that form didst suffer here Torment, and agony, and fear, So patiently;
By thy redeeming grace alone, And not for merits of my own, O, pardon me!"
As thus the dying warrior prayed, Without one gathering mist or shade Upon his mind;
Encircled by his family,
Watched by affection's gentle eye So soft and kind;
His soul to Him, who gave it, rose; God lead it to its long repose, Its glorious rest!
And, though the warrior's sun has set, Its light shall linger round us yet, Bright, radiant, blest.
Shepherd! who with thine amorous, sylvan song
Hast broken the slumber that encompassed me, Who mad'st thy crook from the accursed tree, On which thy powerful arms were stretched so long!
Lead me to mercy's ever-flowing fountains;
For thou my shepherd, guard, and guide shalt be; I will obey thy voice, and wait to see
Thy feet all beautiful upon the mountains.
Hear, Shepherd! thou who for thy flock art dying, O, wash away these scarlet sins, for thou
Rejoicest at the contrite sinner's vow.
O, wait! to thee my weary soul is crying,
Wait for me! Yet why ask it, when I see,
With feet nailed to the cross, thou 'rt waiting still for me!
Lord, what am I, that with unceasing care, Thou didst seek after me, that thou didst wait Wet with unhealthy dews, before my gate, And pass the gloomy nights of winter there?
O strange delusion! that I did not greet Thy blest approach, and O, to Heaven how lost, If my ingratitude's unkindly frost
Has chilled the bleeding wounds upon thy feet.
How oft my guardian angel gently cried,
"Soul, from thy casement look, and thou shalt see How he persists to knock and wait for thee!"
And, O! how often to that voice of sorrow,
"To-morrow we will open," I replied,
And when the morrow came I answered still "To-morrow."
Clear fount of light! my native land on high,
Bright with a glory that shall never fade!
Mansion of truth! without a veil or shade,
Thy holy quiet meets the spirit's eye.
There dwells the soul in its ethereal essence, Gasping no longer for life's feeble breath;
But, sentinelled in heaven, its glorious presence With pitying eye beholds, yet fears not, death.
Beloved country! banished from thy shore,
A stranger in this prison-house of clay,
The exiled spirit weeps and sighs for thee!
Heavenward the bright perfections I adore
Direct, and the sure promise cheers the way, That, whither love aspires, there shall my dwelling be.
O Lord! who seest, from yon starry height, Centred in one the future and the past, Fashioned in thine own image, see how fast The world obscures in me what once was bright!
Eternal Sun! the warmth which thou hast given, To cheer life's flowery April, fast decays; Yet in the hoary winter of my days,
Forever green shall be my trust in Heaven.
Celestial King! O let thy presence pass
Before my spirit, and an image fair
Shall meet that look of mercy from on high,
As the reflected image in a glass
Doth meet the look of him who seeks it there, And owes its being to the gazer's eye.
Laugh of the mountain!--lyre of bird and tree!
Pomp of the meadow! mirror of the morn!
The soul of April, unto whom are born
The rose and jessamine, leaps wild in thee!
Although, where'er thy devious current strays, The lap of earth with gold and silver teems,
To me thy clear proceeding brighter seems
Than golden sands, that charm each shepherd's gaze.
How without guile thy bosom, all transparent
As the pure crystal, lets the curious eye
Thy secrets scan, thy smooth, round pebbles count!
How, without malice murmuring, glides thy current! O sweet simplicity of days gone by!
Thou shun'st the haunts of man, to dwell in limpid fount!
In the chapter with this title in Outre-Mer, besides Illustrations from Byron and Lockhart are the three following examples,
contributed by Mr. Longfellow.
Many a corpse is bathed in thee, Both of Moors and eke of Christians,
Slain with swords most cruelly.
And thy pure and crystal waters Dappled are with crimson gore;
For between the Moors and Christians Long has been the fight and sore.
Dukes and Counts fell bleeding near thee, Lords of high renown were slain,
Perished many a brave hidalgo
Of the noblemen of Spain.
"King Alfonso the Eighth, having exhausted his treasury in war, wishes to lay a tax of five farthings upon each of the Castillan hidalgos, in order to defray the expenses of a journey from Burgos to Cuenca. This proposition of the king was met with disdain by
the noblemen who had been assembled on the occasion."
Don Nuno, Count of Lara,
In anger and in pride,
Forgot all reverence for the king, And thus in wrath replied:
"Our noble ancestors," quoth he, "Ne'er such a tribute paid;
Nor shall the king receive of us What they have once gainsaid.
"The base-born soul who deems it just May here with thee remain;
But follow me, ye cavaliers,
Ye noblemen of Spain."
Forth followed they the noble Count, They marched to Glera's plain;
Out of three thousand gallant knights Did only three remain.
They tied the tribute to their spears, They raised it in the air,
And they sent to tell their lord the king That his tax was ready there.
"He may send and take by force," said they, "This paltry sum of gold;
But the goodly gift of liberty
Cannot be bought and sold."
"One of the finest of the historic ballads is that which describes Bernardo's march to Roncesvalles. He sallies forth 'with three
thousand Leonese and more,' to protect the glory and freedom of his native land. From all sides, the peasantry of the land flock to
the hero's standard."
The peasant leaves his plough afield, The reaper leaves his hook,
And from his hand the shepherd-boy. Lets fall the pastoral crook.
The young set up a shout of joy, The old forget their years,
The feeble man grows stout of heart. No more the craven fears.
All rush to Bernard's standard, And on liberty they call;
They cannot brook to wear the yoke, When threatened by the Gaul.
"Free were we born," 't is thus they cry "And willingly pay we
The duty that we owe our king
By the divine decree.
"Our hearts have not so craven grown, So bloodless all our veins,
So vigorless our brawny arms,
As to submit to chains.
"Has the audacious Frank, forsooth, Subdued these seas and lands?
Shall he a bloodless victory have?
No, not while we have hands.
"He shall learn that the gallant Leonese Can bravely fight and fall,
But that they know not how to yield; They are Castilians all.
"Was it for this the Roman power Of old was made to yield
Unto Numantia's valiant hosts On many a bloody field?
Shall the bold lions that have bathed Their paws in Libyan gore,
Crouch basely to a feebler foe, And dare the strife no more?
"Let the false king sell town and tower, But not his vassals free;
For to subdue the free-born soul No royal power hath he!"
And when the kings were in the field,--their squadrons in array,--
With lance in rest they onward pressed to mingle in the fray; But soon upon the Christians fell a terror of their foes,-- These were a numerous army,--a little handful those. And while the Christian people stood in this uncertainty, Upward to heaven they turned their eyes, and fixed their thoughts on high;
And there two figures they beheld, all beautiful and bright, Even than the pure new-fallen snow their garments were more white.
They rode upon two horses more white than crystal sheen, And arms they bore such as before no mortal man had seen; The one, he held a crosier,--a pontiff's mitre wore; The other held a crucifix,--such man ne'er saw before.
Their faces were angelical, celestial forms had they,-- And downward through the fields of air they urged their rapid way;
They looked upon the Moorish host with fierce and angry look, And in their hands, with dire portent, their naked sabres shook.
The Christian host, beholding this, straightway take heart again; They fall upon their bended knees, all resting on the plain, And each one with his clenched fist to smite his breast begins, And promises to God on high he will forsake his sins.
And when the heavenly knights drew near unto the battle-ground, They dashed among the Moors and dealt unerring blows around; Such deadly havoc there they made the foremost ranks along, A panic terror spread unto the hindmost of the throng.
Together with these two good knights, the champions of the sky, The Christians rallied and began to smite full sore and high; The Moors raised up their voices and by the Koran swore That in their lives such deadly fray they ne'er had seen before.
Down went the misbelievers,--fast sped the bloody fight,-- Some ghastly and dismembered lay, and some half dead with fright: Full sorely they repented that to the field they came,
For they saw that from the battle they should retreat with shame.
Another thing befell them,--they dreamed not of such woes,-- The very arrows that the Moors shot front their twanging bows Turned back against them in their flight and wounded them full sore,
And every blow they dealt the foe was paid in drops of gore.
Now he that bore the crosier, and the papal crown had on, Was the glorified Apostle, the brother of Saint John; And he that held the crucifix, and wore the monkish hood, Was the holy San Millan of Cogolla's neighborhood.SAN MIGUEL, THE CONVENT (SAN MIGUEL DE LA TUMBA) BY GONZALO DE BERCEO
San Miguel de la Tumba is a convent vast and wide; The sea encircles it around, and groans on every side: It is a wild and dangerous place, and many woes betide The monks who in that burial-place in penitence abide.
Within those dark monastic walls, amid the ocean flood, Of pious, fasting monks there dwelt a holy brotherhood; To the Madonna's glory there an altar high was placed, And a rich and costly image the sacred altar graced.
Exalted high upon a throne, the Virgin Mother smiled, And, as the custom is, she held within her arms the Child; The kings and wise men of the East were kneeling by her side; Attended was she like a queen whom God had sanctified.. . . . . . . . .
Descending low before her face a screen of feathers hung,-- A moscader, or fan for flies, 'tis called in vulgar tongue; From the feathers of the peacock's wing 't was fashioned bright and fair,
And glistened like the heaven above when all its stars are there.
It chanced that, for the people's sins, fell the lightning's blasting stroke:
Forth from all four the sacred walls the flames consuming broke; The sacred robes were all consumed, missal and holy book; And hardly with their lives the monks their crumbling walls forsook.
But though the desolating flame raged fearfully and wild, It did not reach the Virgin Queen, it did not reach the Child; It did not reach the feathery screen before her face that shone, Nor injure in a farthing's worth the image or the throne.
The image it did not consume, it did not burn the screen; Even in the value of a hair they were not hurt, I ween; Not even the smoke did reach them, nor injure more the shrine Than the bishop hight Don Tello has been hurt by hand of mine.. . . . . . . . . SONG She is a maid of artless grace, Gentle in form, and fair of face,
Tell me, thou ancient mariner, That sailest on the sea,
If ship, or sail or evening star Be half so fair as she!
Tell me, thou gallant cavalier, Whose shining arms I see,
If steel, or sword, or battle-field Be half so fair as she!
Tell me, thou swain, that gnard'st thy flock Beneath the shadowy tree,
If flock, or vale, or mountain-ridge Be half so fair as she!
BY SANTA TERESA DE AVILA Let nothing disturb thee, Nothing affright thee; All things are passing; God never changeth; Patient endurance
Attaineth to all things; Who God possesseth In nothing is wanting; Alone God sufficeth.
Eyes so tristful, eyes so tristful, Heart so full of care and cumber, I was lapped in rest and slumber, Ye have made me wakeful, wistful!
In this life of labor endless
Who shall comfort my distresses? Querulous my soul and friendless In its sorrow shuns caresses. Ye have made me, ye have made me Querulous of you, that care not, Eyes so tristful, yet I dare not Say to what ye have betrayed me.
BY CRISTOBAL DE GASTILLOJO Some day, some day O troubled breast, Shalt thou find rest.
If Love in thee
To grief give birth, Six feet of earth Can more than he; There calm and free And unoppressed Shalt thou find rest.
In life at last,
When life is passed, Shall all be gained; And no more pained, No more distressed, Shalt thou find rest.
Come, O Death, so silent flying That unheard thy coming be, Lest the sweet delight of dying Bring life back again to me. For thy sure approach perceiving, In my constancy and pain
I new life should win again, Thinking that I am not living. So to me, unconscious lying, All unknown thy coming be, Lest the sweet delight of dying Bring life back again to me. Unto him who finds thee hateful, Death, thou art inhuman pain; But to me, who dying gain,
Life is but a task ungrateful. Come, then, with my wish complying, All unheard thy coming be,
Lest the sweet delight of dying Bring life back again to me.
Glove of black in white hand bare, And about her forehead pale Wound a thin, transparent veil, That doth not conceal her hair; Sovereign attitude and air,
Cheek and neck alike displayed With coquettish charms arrayed, Laughing eyes and fugitive;-- This is killing men that live, 'T is not mourning for the dead.
Three miles extended around the fields of the homestead, on three sides Valleys and mountains and hills, but on the fourth side was the ocean. Birch woods crowned the summits, but down the slope of the hillsides Flourished the golden corn, and man-high was waving the rye-field. Lakes, full many in number, their mirror held up for the mountains, Held for the forests up, in whose depths the high-horned reindeers Had their kingly walk, and drank of a hundred brooklets.
But in the valleys widely around, there fed on the greensward Herds with shining hides and udders that longed for the milk-pail. 'Mid these scattered, now here and now there, were numberless flocks of Sheep with fleeces white, as thou seest the white-looking stray clouds, Flock-wise spread o'er the heavenly vault when it bloweth in springtime. Coursers two times twelve, all mettlesome, fast fettered storm- winds, Stamping stood in the line of stalls, and tugged at their fodder. Knotted with red were their manes, and their hoofs all white with steel shoes.
Th' banquet-hall, a house by itself, was timbered of hard fir. Not five hundred men (at ten times twelve to the hundred)
Filled up the roomy hall, when assembled for drinking, at Yule-tide. Through the hall, as long as it was, went a table of holm-oak, Polished and white, as of steel; the columns twain of the High-seat Stood at the end thereof, two gods carved out of an elm-tree: Odin with lordly look, and Frey with the sun on his frontlet. Lately between the two, on a bear-skin (the skin it was coal-black, Scarlet-red was the throat, but the paws were shodden with silver), Thorsten sat with his friends, Hospitality sitting with Gladness. Oft, when the moon through the cloudrack flew, related the old man Wonders from distant lands he had seen, and cruises of Vikings Far away on the Baltic, and Sea of the West and the White Sea. Hushed sat the listening bench, and their glances hung on the graybeard's Lips, as a bee on the rose; but the Scald was thinking of Brage, Where, with his silver beard, and runes on his tongue, he is seated Under the leafy beech, and tells a tradition by Mimer's
Ever-murmuring wave, himself a living tradition.
Midway the floor (with thatch was it strewn) burned ever the fire-flame Glad on its stone-built hearth; and thorough the wide-mouthed smokeflue
Looked the stars, those heavenly friends, down into the great hall. Round the walls, upon nails of steel, were hanging in order
Breastplate and helmet together, and here and there among them Downward lightened a sword, as in winter evening a star shoots. More than helmets and swords the shields in the hall were resplendent, White as the orb of the sun, or white as the moon's disk of silver. Ever and anon went a maid round the hoard, and filled up the drink-horns, Ever she cast down her eyes and blushed; in the shield her reflection Blushed, too, even as she; this gladdened the drinking champions.
But the steel-shod champion standeth not still, He passeth them by as swift as he will. He carves many runes in the frozen tide, Fair Ingeborg o'er her own name doth glide.III FRITHIOF'S TEMPTATION
Spring is coming, birds are twittering, forests leaf, and smiles the sun, And the loosened torrents downward, singing, to the ocean run; Glowing like the cheek of Freya, peeping rosebuds 'gin to ope, And in human hearts awaken love of life, and joy, and hope.
Now will hunt the ancient monarch, and the queen shall join the sport: Swarming in its gorgeous splendor, is assembled all the Court; Bows ring loud, and quivers rattle, stallions paw the ground alway, And, with hoods upon their eyelids, scream the falcons for their prey.
See, the Queen of the Chase advances! Frithiof, gaze not at the sight! Like a star upon a spring-cloud sits she on her palfrey white. Half of Freya, half of Rota, yet more beauteous than these two, And from her light hat of purple wave aloft the feathers blue.
Gaze not at her eyes' blue heaven, gaze not at her golden hair! Oh beware! her waist is slender, full her bosom is, beware! Look not at the rose and lily on her cheek that shifting play, List not to the voice beloved, whispering like the wind of May.
Now the huntsman's band is ready. Hurrah! over hill and dale! Horns ring, and the hawks right upward to the hall of Odin sail. All the dwellers in the forest seek in fear their cavern homes, But, with spear outstretched before her, after them the Valkyr comes.. . . . . . . . . .
Then threw Frithiof down his mantle, and upon the greensward spread, And the ancient king so trustful laid on Frithiof's knee his head, Slept as calmly as the hero sleepeth, after war's alarm,
On his shield, or as an infant sleeps upon its mother's arm.
As he slumbers, hark! there sings a coal-black bird upon the bough; "Hasten, Frithiof, slay the old man, end your quarrel at a blow: Take his queen, for she is thine, and once the bridal kiss she gave, Now no human eye beholds thee, deep and silent is the grave," Frithiof listens; hark! there sings a snow-white bird upon the bough: "Though no human eye beholds thee, Odin's eye beholds thee now. Coward! wilt thou murder sleep, and a defenceless old man slay! Whatsoe'er thou winn'st, thou canst not win a hero's fame this way."
Thus the two wood-birds did warble: Frithiof took his war-sword good, With a shudder hurled it from him, far into the gloomy wood. Coal-black bird flies down to Nastrand, but on light, unfolded wings, Like the tone of harps, the other, sounding towards the sun, upsprings.
Straight the ancient king awakens. "Sweet has been my sleep," he said; "Pleasantly sleeps one in the shadow, guarded by a brave man's blade. But where is thy sword, O stranger? Lightning's brother, where is he? Who thus parts you, who should never from each other parted be?"
"It avails not," Frithiof answered; "in the North are other swords: Sharp, O monarch! is the sword's tongue, and it speaks not peaceful words;
Murky spirits dwell in steel blades, spirits from the Niffelhem; Slumber is not safe before them, silver locks but anger them."
No more shall I see
In its upward motion
The smoke of the Northland. Man is a slave: The fates decree.
On the waste of the ocean
There is my fatherland, there is my grave.
Go not to the strand,
Ring, with thy bride,
After the stars spread their light through the sky. Perhaps in the sand,
Washed up by the tide,
The bones of the outlawed Viking may lie.
Then, quoth the king,
"'T is mournful to hear
A man like a whimpering maiden cry. The death-song they sing
Even now in mine ear,
What avails it? He who is born must die."
On the spire of the bell
Decked with a brazen cock, the friendly flames of the Spring-sun Glanced like the tongues of fire, beheld by Apostles aforetime. Clear was the heaven and blue, and May, with her cap crowned with roses, Stood in her holiday dress in the fields, and the wind and the brooklet Murmured gladness and peace, God's-peace! with lips rosy-tinted Whispered the race of the flowers, and merry on balancing branches Birds were singing their carol, a jubilant hymn to the Highest. Swept and clean was the churchyard. Adorned like a leaf-woven arbor Stood its old-fashioned gate; and within upon each cross of iron Hung was a fragrant garland, new twined by the hands of affection. Even the dial, that stood on a mound among the departed,
(There full a hundred years had it stood,) was embellished with blossoms Like to the patriarch hoary, the sage of his kith and the hamlet, Who on his birthday is crowned by children and children's children, So stood the ancient prophet, and mute with his pencil of iron Marked on the tablet of stone, and measured the time and its changes, While all around at his feet, an eternity slumbered in quiet. Also the church within was adorned, for this was the season When the young, their parents' hope, and the loved-ones of heaven, Should at the foot of the altar renew the vows of their baptism. Therefore each nook and corner was swept and cleaned, and the dust was Blown from the walls and ceiling, and from the oil-painted benches. There stood the church like a garden; the Feast of the Leafy Pavilions Saw we in living presentment. From noble arms on the church wall Grew forth a cluster of leaves, and the preacher's pulpit of oak-wood Budded once more anew, as aforetime the rod before Aaron. Wreathed thereon was the Bible with leaves, and the dove, washed with silver
Under its canopy fastened, had on it a necklace of wind- flowers. But in front of the choir, round the altar-piece painted by Horberg, Crept a garland gigantic; and bright-curling tresses of angels Peeped, like the sun from a cloud, from out of the shadowy leaf-work. Likewise the lustre of brass, new-polished, blinked from the ceiling, And for lights there were lilies of Pentecost set in the sockets.
Loud rang the bells already; the thronging crowd was assembled Far from valleys and hills, to list to the holy preaching.
Hark! then roll forth at once the mighty tones of the organ, Hover like voices from God, aloft like invisible spirits.
Like as Elias in heaven, when he cast from off him his mantle, So cast off the soul its garments of earth; and with one voice Chimed in the congregation, and sang an anthem immortal Of the sublime Wallin, of David's harp in the North-land
Tuned to the choral of Luther; the song on its mighty pinions Took every living soul, and lifted it gently to heaven,
And each face did shine like the Holy One's face upon Tabor. Lo! there entered then into the church the Reverend Teacher. Father he hight and he was in the parish; a Christianly plainness Clothed from his head to his feet the old man of seventy winters. Friendly was he to behold, and glad as the heralding angel Walked he among the crowds, but still a contemplative grandeur Lay on his forehead as clear as on moss-covered gravestone a sunbeam. As in his inspiration (an evening twilight that faintly
Gleams in the human soul, even now, from the day of creation) Th' Artist, the friend of heaven, imagines Saint John when in Patmos, Gray, with his eyes uplifted to heaven, so seemed then the old man: Such was the glance of his eye, and such were his tresses of silver. All the congregation arose in the pews that were numbered. But with a cordial look, to the right and the left hand, the old man Nodding all hail and peace, disappeared in the innermost chancel.
Simply and solemnly now proceeded the Christian service, Singing and prayer, and at last an ardent discourse from the old man. Many a moving word and warning, that out of the heart came, Fell like the dew of the morning, like manna on those in the desert. Then, when all was finished, the Teacher re-entered the chancel Followed therein by the young. The boys on the right had their places, Delicate figures, with close-curling hair and cheeks rosy- blooming. But on the left of these there stood the tremulous lilies,
Tinged with the blushing light of the dawn, the diffident maidens,-- Folding their hands in prayer, and their eyes cast down on the pavement Now came, with question and answer, the catechism. In the beginning Answered the children with troubled and faltering voice, but the old man's
Glances of kindness encouraged them soon, and the doctrines eternal Flowed, like the waters of fountains, so clear from lips unpolluted. Each time the answer was closed, and as oft as they named the Redeemer,
Lowly louted the boys, and lowly the maidens all courtesied. Friendly the Teacher stood, like an angel of light there among them. And to the children explained the holy, the highest, in few words, Thorough, yet simple and clear, for sublimity always is simple, Both in sermon and song, a child can seize on its meaning. E'en as the green-growing bud unfolds when Springtide approaches. Leaf by leaf puts forth, and wanued, by the radiant sunshine, Blushes with purple and gold, till at last the perfected blossom Opens its odorous chalice, and rocks with its crown in the breezes, So was unfolded here the Christian lore of salvation,
Line by line from the soul of childhood. The fathers and mothers Stood behind them in tears, and were glad at the well-worded answer.
Now went the old man up to the altar;--and straightway transfigured (So did it seem unto me) was then the affectionate Teacher. Like the Lord's Prophet sublime, and awful as Death and as Judgment Stood he, the God-commissioned, the soul-searcher, earthward descending
Glances, sharp as a sword, into hearts that to him were transparent Shot he; his voice was deep, was low like the thunder afar off. So on a sudden transfigured he stood there, lie spake and he questioned.
" This is the faith of the Fathers, the faith the Apostles delivered, This is moreover the faith whereunto I baptized you, while still ye Lay on your mothers' breasts, and nearer the portals of heaven, Slumbering received you then the Holy Church in its bosom; Wakened from sleep are ye now, and the light in its radiant splendor Downward rains from the heaven;--to-day on the threshold of childhood Kindly she frees you again, to examine and make your election, For she knows naught of compulsion, and only conviction desireth. This is the hour of your trial, the turning-point of existence, Seed for the coming days; without revocation departeth
Now from your lips the confession; Bethink ye, before ye make answer! Think not, O think not with guile to deceive the questioning Teacher. Sharp is his eye to-day, and a curse ever rests upon falsehood. Enter not with a lie on Life's journey; the multitude hears you, Brothers and sisters and parents, what dear upon earth is and holy Standeth before your sight as a witness; the Judge everlasting Looks from the sun down upon you, and angels in waiting beside him Grave your confession in letters of fire upon tablets eternal. Thus, then,--believe ye in God, in the Father who this world created ? Him who redeemed it, the Son, and the Spirit where both are united? Will ye promise me here, (a holy promise!) to cherish
God more than all things earthly, and every man as a brother? Will ye promise me here, to confirm your faith by your living, Th' heavenly faith of affection! to hope, to forgive, and to suffer, Be what it may your condition, and walk before God in uprightness? Will ye promise me this before God and man?"--With a clear voice Answered the young men Yes! and Yes! with lips softly-breathing Answered the maidens eke. Then dissolved from the brow of the Teacher Clouds with the lightnings therein, and lie spake in accents more gentle, Soft as the evening's breath, as harps by Babylon's rivers.
"Hail, then, hail to you all! To the heirdom of heaven be ye welcome! Children no more from this day, but by covenant brothers and sisters! Yet,--for what reason not children? Of such is the kingdom of heaven. Here upon earth an assemblage of children, in heaven one Father, Ruling them all as his household,--forgiving in turn and chastising, That is of human life a picture, as Scripture has taught us. Blest are the pure before God! Upon purity and upon virtue Resteth the Christian Faith: she herself from on high is descended. Strong as a man and pure as a child, is the sum of the doctrine, Which the Divine One taught, and suffered and died on the cross for Oh, as ye wander this day from childhood's sacred asylum Downward and ever downward, and deeper in Age's chill valley, Oh, how soon will ye come,--too soon!--and long to turn backward Up to its hill-tops again, to the sun-illumined, where Judgment Stood like a father before you, and Pardon, clad like a mother, Gave you her hand to kiss, and the loving heart was for given Life was a play and your hands grasped after the roses of heaven! Seventy years have I lived already; the Father eternal
Gave rue gladness and care; but the loveliest hours of existence, When I have steadfastly gazed in their eyes, I have instantly known them,
Known them all again;--the were my childhood's acquaintance. Therefore take from henceforth, as guides in the paths of existence, Prayer, with her eyes raised to heaven, and. Innocence, bride of man's childhood
Innocence, child beloved, is a guest from the world of the blessed, Beautiful, and in her hand a lily; on life's roaring billows
Swings she in safety, she heedeth them not in the ship she is sleeping. Calmly she gazes around in the turmoil of men; in the desert Angels descend and minister unto her; she herself knoweth Naught of her glorious attendance; but follows faithful and humble, Follows so long as she may her friend; oh do not reject her, For she cometh from God and she holdeth the keys of the heavens. Prayer is Innocence' friend; and willingly flieth incessant
'Twixt rhe earth and the sky, the carrier-pigeon of heaven, Son of Eternity, fettered in Time, and an exile, the Spirit Tugs at his chains evermore, and struggles like flame ever upward. Still he recalls with emotion his Father's manifold mansions, Thinks of the land of his fathers, where blossomed more freshly the flowerets,
Shone a more beautiful sun, and he played with the wingM angels. Then grows the earth too narrow, too close; and homesick for heaven Longs the wanderer again; and the Spirit's longings are worship; Worship is called his most beautiful hour, and its tongue is entreaty. Aid when the infinite burden of life descendeth upon us,
Crushes to earth our hope, and, under the earth, in the graveyard, Then it is good to pray unto God; for his sorrowiug children Turns he ne'er from his door, but he heals and helps and consoles them, Yet is it better to pray when all things are prosperous ti ith us, Pray in fortunate days, for life's most beautiful Fortune
Kneels before the Eternal's throne; and with hands interfolded, Praises thankful and moved the only giver of blessings.
Or do ye know, ye children, one blessing that comes not from Heaven? What has mankind forsooth, the poor! that it has not received? Therefore, fall in the dust and pray! The seraphs adoring
Cover with pinions six their face in the glory of him who
Hung his masonry pendent on naught, when the world be created. Earth declareth his might, and the firmament utters his glory. Races blossom and die, and stars fall downward from heaven, Downward like withered leaves; at the last stroke of midnight, millenniums
Lay themselves down at his feet, and he sees them, but counts them as nothing
Who shall stand in his presence? The wrath of the judge is terrific, Casting the insolent down at a glance. When he speaks in his anger Hillocks skip like the kid, and mountains leap like the roebuck. Yet,--why are ye afraid, ye children? This awful avenger,
Ah! is a merciful God! God's voice was not in the earthquake, Not in the fire, nor the storm, but it was in the whispering breezes. Love is the root of creation; God's essence; worlds without number Lie in his bosom like children; he made them for this purpose only. Only to love and to be loved again, he breathed forth his spirit Into the slumbering dust, and upright standing, it laid its
Hand on its heart, and felt it was warm with a flame out of heaven. Quench, oh quench not that flame! It is the breath of your being. Love is life, but hatred is death. Not father, nor mother
Loved you, as God has loved you; for 't was that you may be happy Gave he his only Son. When he bowed down his head in the death- hour Solemnized Love its triumph; the sacrifice then was completed. Lo! then was rent on a sudden the veil of the temple, dividing Earth and heaven apart, and the dead from their sepulchres rising Whispered with pallid lips and low in the ears of each other Th' answer, but dreamed of before, to creation's enigma,-- Atonement! Depths of Love are Atonement's depths, for Love is Atonement. Therefore, child of mortality, love thou the merciful Father; Wish what the Holy One wishes, and not from fear, but affection Fear is the virtue of slaves ; but the heart that loveth is willing Perfect was before God, and perfect is Love, and Love only. Lovest thou God as thou oughtest, then lovest thou likewise thy brethren: One is the sun in heaven, and one, only one, is Love also.
Bears not each human figure the godlike stamp on his forehead Readest thou not in his face thou origin? Is he not sailing
Lost like thyself on an ocean unknown, and is he not guided
By the same stars that guide thee? Why shouldst thou hate then thy brother?
Hateth he thee, forgive! For 't is sweet to stammer one letter Of the Eternal's language;--on earth it is called Forgiveness! Knowest thou Him, who forgave, with the crown of thorns on his temples? Earnestly prayed for his foes, for his murderers? Say, dost thou know him?
Ah! thou confessest his name, so follow likewise his example, Think of thy brother no ill, but throw a veil over his failings, Guide the erring aright; for the good, the heavenly shepherd Took the lost lamb in his arms, and bore it back to its mother. This is the fruit of Love, and it is by its fruits that we know it. Love is the creature's welfare, with God; but Love among mortals Is but an endless sigh! He longs, and endures, and stands waiting, Suffers and yet rejoices, and smiles with tears on his eyelids. Hope,--so is called upon earth, his recompense, Hope, the befriending, Does what she can, for she points evermore up to heaven, and faithful Plunges her anchor's peak in the depths of the grave, and beneath it Paints a more beautiful world, a dim, but a sweet play of shadows! Races, better than we, have leaned on her wavering promise, Having naught else but Hope. Then praise we our Father in heaven, Him, who has given us more; for to us has Hope been transfigured, Groping no longer in night; she is Faith, she is living assurance. Faith is enlightened Hope; she is light, is the eye of affection, Dreams of the longing interprets, and carves their visions in marble. Faith is the sun of life ; and her countenance shines like the Hebrew's, For she has looked upon God; the heaven on its stable foundation Draws she with chains down to earth, and the New Jerusalem sinketh Splendid with portals twelve in golden vapors descending. There enraptured she wanders. and looks at the figures majestic, Fears not the winged crowd, in the midst of them all is her homestead. Therefore love and believe; for works will follow spontaneous Even as day does the sun; the Right from the Good is an offspring, Love in a bodily shape; and Christian works are no more than Animate Love and faith, as flowers are the animate Springtide. Works do follow us all unto God; there stand and bear witness Not what they seemed,--but what they were only. Blessed is he who Hears their confession secure; they are mute upon earth until death's hand
Opens the mouth of the silent. Ye children, does Death e'er alarm you? Death is the brother of Love, twin-brother is he, and is only More austere to behold. With a kiss upon lips that are fading Takes he the soul and departs, and, rocked in the arms of affection, Places the ransomed child, new born, 'fore the face of its father. Sounds of his coming already I hear,--see dimly his pinions, Swart as the night, but with stars strewn upon them! I fear not before him.
Death is only release, and in mercy is mute. On his bosom
Freer breathes, in its coolness, my breast; and face to face standing Look I on God as he is, a sun unpolluted by vapors;
Look on the light of the ages I loved, the spirits majestic, Nobler, better than I; they stand by the throne all transfigured, Vested in white, and with harps of gold, and are singing an anthem, Writ in the climate of heaven, in the language spoken by angels. You, in like manner, ye children beloved, he one day shall gather, Never forgets he the weary;--then welcome, ye loved ones, hereafter! Meanwhile forget not the keeping of vows, forget not the promise, Wander from holiness onward to holiness; earth shall ye heed not Earth is but dust and heaven is light; I have pledged you to heaven. God of the universe, hear me! thou fountain of Love everlasting, Hark to the voice of thy servant! I send up my prayer to thy heaven! Let me hereafter not miss at thy throne one spirit of all these, Whom thou hast given me here! I have loved them all like a father. May they bear witness for me, that I taught them the way of salvation, Faithful, so far as I knew, of thy word; again may they know me, Fall on their Teacher's breast, and before thy face may I place them, Pure as they now are, but only more tried, and exclaiming with gladness, Father, lo! I am here, and the children, whom thou hast given me!"
Weeping he spake in these words; and now at the beck of the old man Knee against knee they knitted a wreath round the altar's enclosure. Kneeling he read then the prayers of the consecration, and softly With him the children read; at the close, with tremulous accents, Asked he the peace of Heaven, a benediction upon them.
Now should have ended his task for the day; the following Sunday Was for the young appointed to eat of the Lord's holy Supper. Sudden, as struck from the clouds, stood the Teacher silent and laid his Hand on his forehead, and cast his looks upward; while thoughts high and holy,
Flew through the midst of his soul, and his eyes glanced with wonderful brightness.
"On the next Sunday, who knows! perhaps I shall rest in the graveyard! Some one perhaps of yourselves, a lily broken untimely,
Bow down his head to the earth; why delay I? the hour is accomplished, Warm is the heart;--I will! for to-day grows the harvest of heaven. What I began accomplish I now; what failing therein is
I, the old man, will answer to God and the reverend father. Say to me only, ye children, ye denizens new-come in heaven, Are ye ready this day to eat of the bread of Atonement?
What it denoteth, that know ye full well, I have told it you often. Of the new covenant symbol it is, of Atonement a token,
Stablished between earth and heaven. Man by his sins and transgressions Far has wandered from God, from his essence. 'T was in the beginning Fast by the Tree of Knowledge he fell, and it hangs its crown o'er the Fall to this day; in the Thought is the Fall; in the Heart the Atonement. Infinite is the fall,--the Atonement infinite likewise.
See! behind me, as far as the old man remembers, and forward, Far as Hope in her flight can reach with her wearied pinions, Sin and Atonement incessant go through the lifetime of mortals. Sin is brought forth full-grown; but Atonement sleeps in our bosoms Still as the cradled babe; and dreams of heaven and of angels, Cannot awake to sensation; is like the tones in the harp's strings, Spirits imprisoned, that wait evermore the deliverer's finger. Therefore, ye children beloved, descended the Prince of Atonement, Woke the slumberer from sleep, and she stands now with eyes all resplendent.
Bright as the vault of the sky, and battles with Sin and o'ercomes her. Downward to earth he came and, transfigured, thence reascended, Not from the heart in like wise, for there he still lives in the Spirit, Loves and atones evermore. So long as Time is, is Atonement. Therefore with reverence take this day her visible token.
Tokens are dead if the things live not. The light everlasting Unto the blind is not, but is born of the eye that has vision. Neither in bread nor in wine, but in the heart that is hallowed Lieth forgiveness enshrined; the intention alone of amendment Fruits of the earth ennobles to heavenly things, and removes all Sin and the guerdon of sin. Only Love with his arms wide extended, Penitence wee ping and praying; the Will that is tried, and whose gold flows
Purified forth from the flames; in a word, mankind by Atonement Breaketh Atonement's bread, and drinketh Atonement's wine-cup. But he who cometh up hither, unworthy, with hate in his bosom, Scoffing at men and at God, is guilty of Christ's blessed body, And the Redeemer's blood! To himself he eateth and drinketh Death and doom ! And from this, preserve us, thou heavenly Father! Are ye ready, ye children, to eat of the bread of Atonement? Thus with emotion he asked, and together answered the children, "Yes!" with deep sobs interrupted. Then read he the due supplications, Read the Form of Communion, and in chimed the organ and anthem: "O Holy Lamb of God, who takest away our transgressions, Hear us! give us thy peace! have mercy, have mercy upon us!" Th' old man, with trembling hand, and heavenly pearls on his eyelids, Filled now the chalice and paten, and dealt round the mystical symbols. Oh, then seemed it to me as if God, with the broad eye of midday, Clearer looked in at the windows, and all the trees in the church yard Bowed down their summits of green, and the grass on the graves 'gan to shiver
But in the children (I noted it well ; I knew it) there ran a
Tremor of holy rapture along through their ice-cold members. Decked like an altar before them, there stood the green earth, and above it
Heaven opened itself, as of old before Stephen; they saw there Radiant in glory the Father, and on his right hand the Redeemer. Under them hear they the clang of harpstrings, and angels from gold clouds
Beckon to them like brothers, and fan with their pinions of purple.
Closed was the Teacher's task, and with heaven in their hearts and their faces,
Up rose the children all, and each bowed him, weeping full sorely, Downward to kiss that reverend hand, but all of them pressed he Moved to his bosom, and laid, with a prayer, his hands full of blessings, Now on the holy breast, and now on the innocent tresses.
King Christian stood by the lofty mast In mist and smoke;
His sword was hammering so fast,
Through Gothic helm and brain it passed;
Then sank each hostile hulk and mast, In mist and smoke.
"Fly!" shouted they, "fly, he who can!
Who braves of Denmark's Christian The stroke?"
Nils Juel gave heed to the tempest's roar, Now is the hour!
He hoisted his blood-red flag once more,
And smote upon the foe full sore,
And shouted Loud, through the tempest's roar, "Now is the hour!"
"Fly!" shouted they, "for shelter fly!
Of Denmark's Juel who can defy
North Sea! a glimpse of Wessel rent Thy murky sky!
Then champions to thine arms were sent;
Terror and Death glared where he went;
From the waves was heard a wail, that rent
Thy murky sky!
From Denmark, thunders Tordenskiol',
Let each to Heaven commend his soul, And fly!
Path of the Dane to fame and might! Dark-rolling wave!
Receive thy friend, who, scorning flight
Goes to meet danger with despite,
Proudly as thou the tempest's might Dark-rolling wave!
And amid pleasures and alarm;
And war and victory, be thine arms My grave!
Sir Oluf he rideth over the plain,
Full seven miles broad and seven miles wide,
But never, ah never can meet with the man A tilt with him dare ride.
He saw under the hillside
A Knight full well equipped;
His steed was black, his helm was barred; He was riding at full speed.
He wore upon his spurs
Twelve little golden birds;
Anon he spurred his steed with a clang, And there sat all the birds and sang.
He wore before his breast
A lance that was poised in rest;
And it was sharper than diamond-stone, It made Sir Oluf's heart to groan.
He wore upon his helm
A wreath of ruddy gold;
And that gave him the Maidens Three, The youngest was fair to behold.
Sir Oluf questioned the Knight eftsoon If he were come from heaven down;
"Art thou Christ of Heaven," quoth he, "So will I yield me unto thee."
"I am not Christ the Great,
Thou shalt not yield thee yet;
I am an Unknown Knight,
Three modest Maidens have me bedight."
"Art thou a Knight elected,
And have three Maidens thee bedight
So shalt thou ride a tilt this day, For all the Maidens' honor!"
The first tilt they together rode They put their steeds to the test,
The second tilt they together rode, They proved their manhood best.
The third tilt they together rode, Neither of them would yield;
The fourth tilt they together rode, They both fell on the field.
Now lie the lords upon the plain, And their blood runs unto death;
Now sit the Maidens in the high tower, The youngest sorrows till death. CHILDHOOD
There was a time when I was very small, When my whole frame was but an ell in height;
Sweetly, as I recall it, tears do fall,
And therefore I recall it with delight.
I sported in my tender mother's arms, And rode a-horseback on best father's knee;
Alike were sorrows, passions and alarms, And gold, and Greek, and love, unknown to me,
Then seemed to me this world far less in size, Likewise it seemed to me less wicked far;
Like points in heaven, I saw the stars arise, And longed for wings that I might catch a star.
I saw the moon behind the island fade, And thought, "Oh, were I on that island there,
I could find out of what the moon is made, Find out how large it is, how round, how fair!"
Wondering, I saw God's sun, through western skies, Sink in the ocean's golden lap at night,
And yet upon the morrow early rise,
And paint the eastern heaven with crimson light;
And thought of God, the gracious Heavenly Father, Who made me, and that lovely sun on high,
And all those pearls of heaven thick-strung together, Dropped, clustering, from his hand o'er all the sky.
With childish reverence, my young lips did say The prayer my pious mother taught to me:
"O gentle God! oh, let me strive alway Still to be wise, and good, and follow Thee!"
They perished, the blithe days of boyhood perished, And all the gladness, all the peace I knew!
Now have I but their memory, fondly cherished;-- God! may I never lose that too!
The landlord's daughter filled their cups, Around the rustic board
Then sat they all so calm and still, And spake not one rude word.
But, when the maid departed,
A Swabian raised his hand,
And cried, all hot and flushed with wine, "Long live the Swabian land!
"The greatest kingdom upon earth Cannot with that compare
With all the stout and hardy men And the nut-brown maidens there.
And dashed his heard with wine; "I had rather live in Laplaud,
Than that Swabian land of thine!
"The goodliest land on all this earth, It is the Saxon land
There have I as many maidens As fingers on this hand!"
A bold Bohemian cries;
"If there's a heaven upon this earth,
In Bohemia it lies.
"There the tailor blows the flute, And the cobbler blows the horn,
And the miner blows the bugle, Over mountain gorge and bourn."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
And then the landlord's daughter Up to heaven raised her hand,
And said, "Ye may no more contend,-- There lies the happiest land!"
"Whither, thou turbid wave? Whither, with so much haste, As if a thief wert thou?"
"I am the Wave of Life,
Stained with my margin's dust; From the struggle and the strife Of the narrow stream I fly To the Sea's immensity,
To wash from me the slime Of the muddy banks of Time."
How they so softly rest, All they the holy ones,
Unto whose dwelling-place Now doth my soul draw near! How they so softly rest, All in their silent graves, Deep to corruption
And they no longer weep, Here, where complaint is still! And they no longer feel, Here, where all gladness flies! And, by the cypresses
Until the Angel
Calls them, they slumber! THE BIRD AND THE SHIP
"I greet thee, bonny boat! Whither, or whence,
With thy fluttering golden band?"--
"I greet thee, little bird! To the wide sea
I haste from the narrow land.
"High over the sails, high over the mast, Who shall gainsay these joys?
When thy merry companions are still, at last, Thou shalt hear the sound of my voice.
"Thus do I sing my merry song, Wherever the four winds blow;
And this same song, my whole life long, Neither Poet nor Printer may know.'
I know not what came o'er me, Nor who the counsel gave;
But I must hasten downward, All with my pilgrim-stave;
Downward, and ever farther, And ever the brook beside;
And ever fresher murmured, And ever clearer, the tide.
Is this the way I was going? Whither, O brooklet, say I
Thou hast, with thy soft murmur, Murmured my senses away.
What do I say of a murmur?
That can no murmur be;
'T is the water-nymphs, tbat are singing Their roundelays under me.
Let them sing, my friend, let them murmur, And wander merrily near;
The wheels of a mill are going
In every brooklet clear.
I know a maiden fair to see,
She can both false and friendly be, Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!
She has two eyes, so soft and brown, Take care!
She gives a side-glance and looks down, Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!
And she has hair of a golden hue, Take care!
And what she says, it is not true, Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!
She has a bosom as white as snow, Take care!
She knows how much it is best to show, Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!
She gives thee a garland woven fair, Take care!
It is a fool's-cap for thee to wear, Beware! Beware!
Trust her not,
She is fooling thee!
SONG OF THE BELL Bell! thou soundest merrily, When the bridal party
To the church doth hie! Bell! thou soundest solemnly. When, on Sabbath morning,Fields deserted lie! Bell! thou soundest merrily; Tellest thou at evening,
Bed-time draweth nigh! Bell! thou soundest mournfully. Tellest thou the bitterParting hath gone by! Say! how canst thou mourn? How canst thou rejoice?
Thou art but metal dull! And yet all our sorrowings, Arid all our rejoicings,Thou dost feel them all!
God hath wonders many, Which we cannot fathom, Placed within thy form! When the heart is sinking,Thou alone canst raise it, Trembling in the storm! THE CASTLE BY THE SEA BY JOHANN LUDWIG UHLAND "Hast thou seen that lordly castle, That Castle by the Sea? Golden and red above it The clouds float gorgeously. "And fain it would stoop downward To the mirrored wave below; And fain it would soar upward In the evening's crimson glow." "Well have I seen that castle, That Castle by the Sea, And the moon above it standing, And the mist rise solemnly." "The winds and the waves of ocean, Had they a merry chime? Didst thou hear, from those lofty chambers, The harp and the minstrel's rhyme?" "The winds and the waves of ocean, They rested quietly, But I heard on the gale a sound of wail, And tears came to mine eye." "And sawest thou on the turrets The King and his royal bride? And the wave of their crimson mantles? And the golden crown of pride? "Led they not forth, in rapture, A beauteous maiden there? Resplendent as the morning sun, Beaming with golden hair?" "Well saw I the ancient parents, Without the crown of pride; They were moving slow, in weeds of woe, No maiden was by their side!" THE BLACK KNIGHT BY JOHANN LUDWIG UHLAND 'T was Pentecost, the Feast of Gladness, When woods and fields put off all sadness. Thus began the King and spake: "So from the halls
Of ancient hofburg's walls,
A luxuriant Spring shall break."
Drums and trumpets echo loudly, Wave the crimson banners proudly,
From balcony the King looked on; In the play of spears,
Fell all the cavaliers,
"Sir Knight! your name and scutcheon, say!" "Should I speak it here,
Ye would stand aghast with fear;
And the castle 'gan to rock;
At the first blow,
Fell the youth from saddle-bow,
Waves a mighty shadow in;
With manner bland
Doth ask the maiden's hand,
Danced in sable iron sark,
Danced a measure weird and dark, Coldly clasped her limbs around;
'Twixt son and daughter all distraught, With mournful mind
The ancient King reclined,
Gazed at them in silent thought. Pale the children both did look, But the guest a beaker took:
"Golden wine will make you whole! The children drank,
Gave many a courteous thank:
Colorless grow utterly;
Looks the fear-struck father gray,
Take me, too, the joyless father! Spake the grim Guest,
From his hollow, cavernous breast;
Into the Silent Land!
Ah! who shall lead us thither?
Clouds in the evening sky more darkly gather, And shattered wrecks lie thicker on the strand. Who leads us with a gentle hand
Thither, O thither,
Into the Silent Land?
Into the Silent Land!
To you, ye boundless regions
Of all perfection! Tender morning-visions Of beauteous souls! The Future's pledge and band! Who in Life's battle firm doth stand,
Shall bear Hope's tender blossoms
Into the Silent Land!
O Land! O Land!
For all the broken-hearted
The mildest herald by our fate allotted, Beckons, and with inverted torch doth stand To lead us with a gentle hand
To the land of the great Departed,
Into the Silent Land!
OF Edenhall, the youthful Lord
Bids sound the festal trumpet's call; He rises at the banquet board,
And cries, 'mid the drunken revellers all, "Now bring me the Luck of Edenhall!"
The butler hears the words with pain, The house's oldest seneschal,
Takes slow from its silken cloth again The drinking-glass of crystal tall; They call it The Luck of Edenhall.
Then said the Lord: "This glass to praise, Fill with red wine from Portugal!"
The graybeard with trembling hand obeys; A purple light shines over all,
It beams from the Luck of Edenhall.
Then speaks the Lord, and waves it light: "This glass of flashing crystal tall Gave to my sires the Fountain-Sprite; She wrote in it, If this glass doth fall, Farewell then, O Luck of Edenhall!
"'T was right a goblet the Fate should be Of the joyous race of Edenhall!
Deep draughts drink we right willingly: And willingly ring, with merry call, Kling! klang! to the Luck of Edenhall!"
First rings it deep, and full, and mild, Like to the song of a nightingale
Then like the roar of a torrent wild; Then mutters at last like the thunder's fall, The glorious Luck of Edenhall.
"For its keeper takes a race of might, The fragile goblet of crystal tall; It has lasted longer than is right; King! klang!--with a harder blow than all Will I try the Luck of Edenhall!"
As the goblet ringing flies apart,
Suddenly cracks the vaulted hall;
And through the rift, the wild flames start; The guests in dust are scattered all, With the breaking Luck of Edenhall!
In storms the foe, with fire and sword; He in the night had scaled the wall, Slain by the sword lies the youthful Lord, But holds in his hand the crystal tall, The shattered Luck of Edenhall.
On the morrow the butler gropes alone, The graybeard in the desert hall, He seeks his Lord's burnt skeleton, He seeks in the dismal ruin's fall The shards of the Luck of Edenhall.
"The stone wall," saith he, "doth fall aside, Down must the stately columns fall; Glass is this earth's Luck and Pride; In atoms shall fall this earthly ball One day like the Luck of Edenhall!"THE TWO LOCKS OF HAIR BY GUSTAV PFIZER A youth, light-hearted and content,
I wander through the world Here, Arab-like, is pitched my tent
And straight again is furled.
Yet oft I dream, that once a wife Close in my heart was locked,
And in the sweet repose of life A blessed child I rocked.
I wake! Away that dream,--away! Too long did it remain!
So long, that both by night and day It ever comes again.
The end lies ever in my thought; To a grave so cold and deep
The mother beautiful was brought; Then dropt the child asleep.
But now the dream is wholly o'er, I bathe mine eyes and see;
And wander through the world once more, A youth so light and free.
Two locks--and they are wondrous fair-- Left me that vision mild;
The brown is from the mother's hair, The blond is from the child.
And when I see that lock of gold, Pale grows the evening-red;
And when the dark lock I behold, I wish that I were dead.
O hemlock tree! O hemlock tree! how faithful are thy branches! Green not alone in summer time,
But in the winter's frost and rime!
O hemlock tree! O hemlock tree! how faithful are thy branches! O maiden fair! O maiden fair! how faithless is thy bosom! To love me in prosperity,
And leave me in adversity!
The nightingale, the nightingale, thou tak'st for thine example! So long as summer laughs she sings,
But in the autumn spreads her wings.
The meadow brook, the meadow brook, is mirror of thy falsehood! It flows so long as falls the rain,
In drought its springs soon dry again.
Shouldst thou be torn from me to wander alone In a desolate land where the sun is scarce known,-- Through forests I'll follow, and where the sea flows, Through ice, and through iron, through armies of foes,Annie of Tharaw, my light and my sun, The threads of our two lives are woven in one. Whate'er I have bidden thee thou hast obeyed, Whatever forbidden thou hast not gainsaid. How in the turmoil of life can love stand, Where there is not one heart, and one mouth, and one hand? Some seek for dissension, and trouble, and strife; Like a dog and a cat live such man and wife. Annie of Tharaw, such is not our love; Thou art my lambkin, my chick, and my dove. Whate'er my desire is, in thine may be seen; I am king of the household, and thou art its queen. It is this, O my Annie, my heart's sweetest rest, That makes of us twain but one soul in one breast. This turns to a heaven the hut where we dwell; While wrangling soon changes a home to a hell. THE STATUE OVER THE CATHEDRAL DOOR BY JULIUS MOSEN
Forms of saints and kings are standing The cathedral door above;
Yet I saw but one among them
Who hath soothed my soul with love.
In his mantle,--wound about him, As their robes the sowers wind,--
Bore he swallows and their fledglings, Flowers and weeds of every kind.
And so stands he calm and childlike, High in wind and tempest wild;
O, were I like him exalted,
I would be like him, a child!
And my songs,--green leaves and blossoms,-- To the doors of heaven would hear,
Calling even in storm and tempest,
Round me still these birds of air.
On the cross the dying Saviour Heavenward lifts his eyelids calm,
Feels, but scarcely feels, a trembling In his pierced and bleeding palm.
And by all the world forsaken, Sees he how with zealous care
At the ruthless nail of iron A little bird is striving there.
Stained with blood and never tiring, With its beak it doth not cease,
From the cross 't would free the Saviour, Its Creator's Son release.
And the Saviour speaks in mildness: "Blest be thou of all the good!
Bear, as token of this moment, Marks of blood and holy rood!"
And that bird is called the crossbill; Covered all with blood so clear,
In the groves of pine it singeth Songs, like legends, strange to hear.
The sea hath its pearls, The heaven hath its stars;
But my heart, my heart, My heart hath its love.
Great are the sea and the heaven; Yet greater is my heart,
And fairer than pearls and stars Flashes and beams my love.
Thou little, youthful maiden,
Come unto my great heart;
My heart, and the sea, and the heaven Are melting away with love!
Whereunto is money good?
Who has it not wants hardihood, Who has it has much trouble and care, Who once has had it has despair.
Man-like is it to fall into sin, Fiend-like is it to dwell therein, Christ-like is it for sin to grieve, God-like is it all sin to leave.
POVERTY AND BLINDNESS A blind man is a poor man, and blind a poor man is; For the former seeth no man, and the latter no man sees.LAW OF LIFE
Live I, so live I,
To my Lord heartily, To my Prince faithfully, To my Neighbor honestly. Die I, so die I.
Lutheran, Popish, Calvinistic, all these creeds and doctrines three
Extant are; but still the doubt is, where Christianity may be.
A millstone and the human heart are driven ever round; If they have nothing else to grind, they must themselves be ground.CHRISTIAN LOVE Whilom Love was like a tire, and warmth and comfort it bespoke; But, alas! it now is quenched, and only bites us, like the smoke. ART AND TACT Intelligence and courtesy not always are combined; Often in a wooden house a golden room we find. RETRIBUTION
Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience he stands waiting, with exactness grinds he all.
If perhaps these rhymes of mine should sound not well in strangers' ears,
They have only to bethink them that it happens so with theirs; For so long as words, like mortals, call a fatherland their own, They will be most highly valued where they are best and longest known.
Who love would seek, Let him love evermore
And seldom speak;
For in love's domain Silence must reign;
Or it brings the heart Smart
Oh, how blest are ye whose toils are ended! Who, through death, have unto God ascended! Ye have arisen
From the cares which keep us still in prison.
We are still as in a dungeon living,
Still oppressed with sorrow and misgiving; Our undertakings
Are but toils, and troubles, and heart-breakings.
Ye meanwhile, are in your chambers sleeping, Quiet, and set free from all our weeping; No cross nor trial
Hinders your enjoyments with denial.
Christ has wiped away your tears for ever; Ye have that for which we still endeavor. To you are chanted
Songs which yet no mortal ear have haunted.
Ah! who would not, then, depart with gladness, To inherit heaven for earthly sadness? Who here would languish
Longer in bewailing and in anguish?
Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us! Lead us forth, and cast this world behind us! With Thee, the Anointed,
Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.
Thou that from the heavens art, Every pain and sorrow stillest, And the doubly wretched heart Doubly with refreshment fillest, I am weary with contending! Why this rapture and unrest? Peace descending
Come, ah, come into my breast!
O'er all the hill-tops
Is quiet now,
In all the tree-tops
Hardly a breath;
The birds are asleep in the trees: Wait; soon like these
Thou too shalt rest.
Drawn on without rest or reprieval!
The streets, with their watchmen, were lost to my sight,
As I wandered so light
In the night, in the night,
Through the gate with the arch mediaeval.
The mill-brook rushed from the rocky height, I leaned o'er the bridge in my yearning;
Deep under me watched I the waves in their flight, As they glided so light
In the night, in the night,
Yet backward not one was returning.
O'erhead were revolving, so countless and bright, The stars in melodious existence;
And with them the moon, more serenely bedight;-- They sparkled so light
In the night, in the night,
Through the magical, measureless distance.
And upward I gazed in the night, in the night, And again on the waves in their fleeting;
Ah woe! thou hast wasted thy days in delight, Now silence thou light,
In the night, in the night,
The remorse in thy heart that is beating.
Something the heart must have to cherish, Must love and joy and sorrow learn,
Something with passion clasp or perish, And in itself to ashes burn.
So to this child my heart is clinging, And its frank eyes, with look intense,
Me from a world of sin are bringing Back to a world of innocence.
Disdain must thou endure forever; Strong may thy heart in danger be!
Thou shalt not fail! but ah, be never False as thy father was to me.
Never will I forsake thee, faithless, And thou thy mother ne'er forsake,
Until her lips are white and breathless, Until in death her eyes shall break.
Allah gives light in darkness, Allah gives rest in pain,
Cheeks that are white with weeping Allah paints red again.
The flowers and the blossoms wither, Years vanish with flying fleet;
But my heart will live on forever, That here in sadness beat.
Gladly to Allah's dwelling Yonder would I take flight;
There will the darkness vanish, There will my eyes have sight.
For thee was a house built Ere thou wast born,
For thee was a mould meant Ere thou of mother camest. But it is not made ready, Nor its depth measured, Nor is it seen
How long it shall be.
Now I bring thee
Where thou shalt be;
Now I shall measure thee, And the mould afterwards.
Thy house is not
It is unhigh and low; When thou art therein, The heel-ways are low, The side-ways unhigh. The roof is built
Thy breast full nigh, So thou shalt in mould Dwell full cold,
Dimly and dark.
Doorless is that house,
And dark it is within;
There thou art fast detained And Death hath the key.
Loathsome is that earth-house, And grim within to dwell.
There thou shalt dwell,
And worms shall divide thee.
And leavest thy friends Thou hast no friend, Who will come to thee,
Who will ever see
How that house pleaseth thee; Who will ever open
The door for thee,
And descend after thee; For soon thou art loathsome And hateful to see.
Thus then, much care-worn, The son of Healfden
Nor might the prudent hero His woes avert.
The war was too hard,
Too loath and longsome, That on the people came, Dire wrath and grim,
Of night-woes the worst. This from home heard Higelac's Thane,
Good among the Goths, Grendel's deeds.
He was of mankind
In might the strongest, At that day
Of this life,
Noble and stalwart.
He bade him a sea-ship, A goodly one, prepare. Quoth he, the war-king, Over the swan's road,
Seek he would
The mighty monarch,
Since he wanted men.
For him that journey
His prudent fellows
Straight made ready,
Those that loved him.
They excited their souls,
The omen they beheld.
Had the good-man
Of the Gothic people
Of those that keenest
He might find,
Some fifteen men.
The sea-wood sought he.
The warrior showed,
And first went forth.
The ship was on the waves, Boat under the cliffs.
The barons ready
To the prow mounted.
The streams they whirled The sea against the sands. The chieftains bore
On the naked breast
The men shoved off,
Men on their willing way,
The bounden wood.
Then went over the sea-waves, Hurried by the wind,
The ship with foamy neck, Most like a sea-fowl,
Till about one hour
Of the second day
The curved prow
Had passed onward
So that the sailors
The land saw,
The shore-cliffs shining,
And broad sea-noses.
Then was the sea-sailing
Of the Earl at an end.
Then up speedily
The Weather people
On the land went,
The sea-bark moored,
Their mail-sarks shook,
God thanked they,
That to them the sea-journey Easy had been.
Then from the wall beheld The warden of the Scyldings, He who the sea-cliffs
Had in his keeping,
Bear o'er the balks
The bright shields,
The war-weapons speedily. Him the doubt disturbed In his mind's thought,
What these men might be.
Went then to the shore, On his steed riding,
The Thane of Hrothgar.
Before the host he shook His warden's-staff in hand, In measured words demanded:
"What men are ye
Host in harness,
Who thus the brown keel Over the water-street
Hither over the sea?
I these boundaries
As shore-warden hold,
That in the Land of the Danes Nothing loathsome
With a ship-crew
Scathe us might. . . .
Ne'er saw I mightier
Earl upon earth
Than is your own,
Hero in harness.
Not seldom this warrior Is in weapons distinguished; Never his beauty belies him, His peerless countenance! Now would I fain
Your origin know,
Ere ye forth
As false spies
Into the Land of the Danes Farther fare.
Now, ye dwellers afar-off! Ye sailors of the sea!
Listen to my
Quickest is best
To make known
Whence your coming may be."
Much it behoveth
Each one of mortals,
That he his soul's journey In himself ponder,
How deep it may be.
When Death cometh,
The bonds he breaketh By which were united
The soul and the body.
Long it is thenceforth Ere the soul taketh From God himself
Its woe or its weal; As in the world erst, Even in its earth-vessel, It wrought before.
The soul shall come
Wailing with loud voice, After a sennight,
The soul, to find
That it erst dwelt in;-- Three hundred winters, Unless ere that worketh The Eternal Lord,
The Almighty God,
The end of the world.
Crieth then, so care-worn,
With cold utterance,
And speaketh grimly,
The ghost to the dust:
"Dry dust! thou dreary one!
How little didst thou labor for me! In the foulness of earth
Thou all wearest away
Like to the loam!
Little didst thou think
How thy soul's journey
Would be thereafter,
When from the body
It should be led forth."
Little heedest thou my pain!
But if to these longing arms
Pitying Love would yield the charms
Of the fair
With smiling air,
Blithe would beat my heart again.
Little heedest thou my pain! Love may force me still to bear, While he lists, consuming care;
But in anguish
Though I languish,
Faithful shall my heart remain.
Little heedest thou my pain!
Then cease, Love, to torment me so; But rather than all thoughts forego
Of the fair
With flaxen hair,
Give me back her frowns again.
SONG And whither goest thou, gentle sigh, Breathed so softly in my ear?
Say, dost thou bear his fate severe
What secret message bring'st thou here? And whither goest thou, gentle sigh,
Breathed so softly in my ear?
May heaven conduct thee to thy will
And safely speed thee on thy way;
This only I would humbly pray,--
Pierce deep,--but oh! forbear to kill. And whither goest thou, gentle sigh,
Breathed so softly in my ear?
Now Time throws off his cloak again Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain, And clothes him in the embroidery Of glittering sun and clear blue sky. With beast and bird the forest rings, Each in his jargon cries or sings; And Time throws off his cloak again. Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain.
River, and fount, and tinkling brook Wear in their dainty livery
Drops of silver jewelry;
In new-made suit they merry look; And Time throws off his cloak again Of ermined frost, and wind, and rain.
And thou, thou makest the sad heart gay. He sees thee, and calls to his gloomy train, The sleet, and the snow, and the wind, and the rain; And they shrink away, and they flee in fear,
When thy merry step draws near.
Winter giveth the fields and the trees, so old,
Their beards of icicles and snow;
And the rain, it raineth so fast and cold,
We must cower over the embers low;
And, snugly housed from the wind and weather, Mope like birds that are changing feather. But the storm retires, and the sky grows clear,
When thy merry step draws near.
Winter maketh the sun in the gloomy sky
Wrap him round with a mantle of cloud;
But, Heaven be praised, thy step is nigh;
Thou tearest away the mournful shroud, And the earth looks bright, and Winter surly, Who has toiled for naught both late and early, Is banished afar by the new-born year,
When thy merry step draws near.
Sweet babe! true portrait of thy father's face, Sleep on the bosom that thy lips have pressed!
Sleep, little one; and closely, gently place Thy drowsy eyelid on thy mother's breast.
Upon that tender eye, my little friend,
Soft sleep shall come, that cometh not to me!
I watch to see thee, nourish thee, defend; 'T is sweet to watch for thee, alone for thee!
His arms fall down; sleep sits upon his brow; His eye is closed; he sleeps, nor dreams of harm.
Wore not his cheek the apple's ruddy glow, Would you not say he slept on Death's cold arm?
Even at the price of thine, give me repose! Sweet error! he but slept, I breathe again;
Come, gentle dreams, the hour of sleep beguile! O, when shall he, for whom I sigh in vain,
Beside me watch to see thy waking smile?
The Archbishop, whom God loved in high degree,
Beheld his wounds all bleeding fresh and free;
And then his cheek more ghastly grew and wan,
And a faint shudder through his members ran.
Upon the battle-field his knee was bent;
Brave Roland saw, and to his succor went,
Straightway his helmet from his brow unlaced,
And tore the shining hauberk from his breast.
Then raising in his arms the man of God,
Gently he laid him on the verdant sod.
Rest, Sire," he cried,--"for rest thy suffering needs." The priest replied, "Think but of warlike deeds!
The field is ours; well may we boast this strife!
But death steals on,--there is no hope of life;
In paradise, where Almoners live again,
There are our couches spread, there shall we rest from pain.
Sore Roland grieved; nor marvel I, alas!
That thrice he swooned upon the thick green grass. When he revived, with a loud voice cried he, "O Heavenly Father! Holy Saint Marie!
Why lingers death to lay me in my grave!
Beloved France! how have the good and brave Been torn from thee, and left thee weak and poor!" Then thoughts of Aude, his lady-love, came o'er His spirit, and he whispered soft and slow, "My gentle friend!--what parting full of woe! Never so true a liegeman shalt thou see;-- Whate'er my fate, Christ's benison on thee! Christ, who did save from realms of woe beneath, The Hebrew Prophets from the second death." Then to the Paladins, whom well he knew, He went, and one by one unaided drew
To Turpin's side, well skilled in ghostly lore;-- No heart had he to smile, but, weeping sore, He blessed them in God's name, with faith that He Would soon vouchsafe to them a glad eternity.
The Archbishop, then, on whom God's benison rest, Exhausted, bowed his head upon his breast;-- His mouth was full of dust and clotted gore, And many a wound his swollen visage bore.
Slow beats his heart, his panting bosom heaves, Death comes apace,--no hope of cure relieves. Towards heaven he raised his dying hands and prayed That God, who for our sins was mortal made, Born of the Virgin, scorned and crucified,
In paradise would place him by His side.
Then Turpin died in service of Charlon, In battle great and eke great orison;-- 'Gainst Pagan host alway strong champion; God grant to him His holy benison.THE BLIND GIRL OF CASTEL CUILLE BY JACQUES JASMIN
Only the Lowland tongue of Scotland might Rehearse this little tragedy aright; Let me attempt it with an English quill; And take, O Reader, for the deed the will.I At the foot of the mountain height Where is perched Castel Cuille, When the apple, the plum, and the almond tree In the plain below were growing white, This is the song one might perceive On a Wednesday morn of Saint Joseph's Eve:
"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay, So fair a bride shall pass to-day!"
This old Te Deum, rustic rites attending, Seemed from the clouds descending; When lo! a merry company
Of rosy village girls, clean as the eye, Each one with her attendant swain,
Came to the cliff, all singing the same strain;
Resembling there, so near unto the sky,
Rejoicing angels, that kind Heaven has sent
For their delight and our encouragement. Together blending,
And soon descending
The narrow sweep
Of the hillside steep,
They wind aslant
Towards Saint Amant,
Through leafy alleys
Of verdurous valleys
With merry sallies
Singing their chant:
"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay, So fair a bride shall pass to-day!
The sky was blue; without one cloud of gloom, The sun of March was shining brightly,
And to the air the freshening wind gave lightly Its breathings of perfume.
When one beholds the dusky hedges blossom,
A rustic bridal, oh! how sweet it is!
To sounds of joyous melodies,
That touch with tenderness the trembling bosom, A band of maidens
A band of youngsters
With fingers pressing,
Till in the veriest
Madness of mirth, as they dance,
They retreat and advance,
Trying whose laugh shall be loudest and merriest; While the bride, with roguish eyes,
Sporting with them, now escapes and cries: "Those who catch me
This year shall be!"
Meanwhile, whence comes it that among These youthful maidens fresh and fair, So joyous, with such laughing air,
Baptiste stands sighing, with silent tongue? And yet the bride is fair and young!
Is it Saint Joseph would say to us all,
That love, o'er-hasty, precedeth a fall?
O no! for a maiden frail, I trow,
Never bore so lofty a brow!
What lovers! they give not a single caress!
To see them so careless and cold to-day, These are grand people, one would say.
What ails Baptiste? what grief doth him oppress?
It is, that half-way up the hill, In yon cottage, by whose walls Stand the cart-house and the stalls, Dwelleth the blind orphan still, Daughter of a veteran old;
And you must know, one year ago, That Margaret, the young and tender, Was the village pride and splendor, And Baptiste her lover bold.
Love, the deceiver, them ensnared; For them the altar was prepared; But alas! the summer's blight,
The dread disease that none can stay, The pestilence that walks by night, Took the young bride's sight away.
All at the father's stern command was changed; Their peace was gone, but not their love estranged. Wearied at home, erelong the lover fled;
Returned but three short days ago,
The golden chain they round him throw, He is enticed, and onward led
To marry Angela, and yet
Is thinking ever of Margaret.
Here comes the cripple Jane!" And by a fountain's side A woman, bent and gray with years,
Under the mulberry-trees appears,
And all towards her run, as fleet
As had they wings upon their feet.
She telleth fortunes, and none complain. She promises one a village swain, Another a happy wedding-day,
And the bride a lovely boy straightway. All comes to pass as she avers;
She never deceives, she never errs.
And from beneath her eyebrows thin and white Her two eyes flash like cannons bright Aimed at the bridegroom in waistcoat blue, Who, like a statue, stands in view;
Changing color as well he might,
When the beldame wrinkled and gray
Takes the young bride by the hand,
And, with the tip of her reedy wand
Making the sign of the cross, doth say:-- "Thoughtless Angela, beware!
Lest, when thou weddest this false bridegroom, Thou diggest for thyself a tomb!"
And she was silent; and the maidens fair Saw from each eye escape a swollen tear; But on a little streamlet silver-clear,
What are two drops of turbid rain?
Saddened a moment, the bridal train
Resumed the dance and song again;
The bridegroom only was pale with fear;-- And down green alleys
Of verdurous valleys,
With merry sallies,
They sang the refrain:--
"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom, So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay, So fair a bride shall pass to-day!"
And by suffering worn and weary, But beautiful as some fair angel yet, Thus lamented Margaret,
In her cottage lone and dreary;--
"He has arrived! arrived at last!
Yet Jane has named him not these three days past;
Arrived! yet keeps aloof so far!
And knows that of my night he is the star! Knows that long months I wait alone, benighted, And count the moments since he went away! Come! keep the promise of that happier day, That I may keep the faith to thee I plighted! What joy have I without thee? what delight? Grief wastes my life, and makes it misery; Day for the others ever, but for me
Forever night! forever night!
When he is gone 't is dark! my soul is sad! I suffer! O my God! come, make me glad. When he is near, no thoughts of day intrude; Day has blue heavens, but Baptiste has blue eyes! Within them shines for me a heaven of love, A heaven all happiness, like that above,
No more of grief! no more of lassitude! Earth I forget,--and heaven, and all distresses, When seated by my side my hand he presses;
But when alone, remember all!
Where is Baptiste? he hears not when I call! A branch of ivy, dying on the ground,
I need some bough to twine around!
In pity come! be to my suffering kind!
True love, they say, in grief doth more abound!
What then--when one is blind?
"Who knows? perhaps I am forsaken!
Ah! woe is me! then bear me to my grave!
O God! what thoughts within me waken!
Away! he will return! I do but rave!
He will return! I need not fear!
He swore it by our Saviour dear;
He could not come at his own will;
Is weary, or perhaps is ill!
Perhaps his heart, in this disguise,
Prepares for me some sweet surprise!
But some one comes! Though blind, my heart can see! And that deceives me not! 't is he! 't is he!"
And the door ajar is set,
And poor, confiding Margaret
Rises, with outstretched arms, but sightless eyes; 'T is only Paul, her brother, who thus cries:--
"Angela the bride has passed!
I saw the wedding guests go by;
Tell me, my sister, why were we not asked?
For all are there but you and I!"
"Angela married! and not send
To tell her secret unto me!
O, speak! who may the bridegroom be?" "My sister, 't is Baptiste, thy friend!"
A cry the blind girl gave, but nothing said; A milky whiteness spreads upon her cheeks; An icy hand, as heavy as lead,
Descending, as her brother speaks,
Upon her heart, that has ceased to beat, Suspends awhile its life and heat.
She stands beside the boy, now sore distressed,
A wax Madonna as a peasant dressed.
"Hark! the joyous airs are ringing!
Sister, dost thou hear them singing? How merrily they laugh and jest!
Would we were bidden with the rest! I would don my hose of homespun gray, And my doublet of linen striped and gay; Perhaps they will come; for they do not wed Till to-morrow at seven o'clock, it is said!"
"I know it!" answered Margaret; Whom the vision, with aspect black as jet,
Mastered again; and its hand of ice Held her heart crushed, as in a vice!
"Paul, be not sad! 'T is a holiday;
To-morrow put on thy doublet gay!
But leave me now for a while alone."
Away, with a hop and a jump, went Paul,
And, as he whistled along the hall,
Entered Jane, the crippled crone.
I am faint, and weary, and out of breath! But thou art cold,--art chill as death;
My little friend! what ails thee, sweet?"
"Nothing! I heard them singing home the bride; And, as I listened to the song,
I thought my turn would come erelong,
Thou knowest it is at Whitsuntide.
Thy cards forsooth can never lie,
To me such joy they prophesy,
Thy skill shall be vaunted far and wide
When they behold him at my side.
And poor Baptiste, what sayest thou?
It must seem long to him;--methinks I see him now!" Jane, shuddering, her hand doth press: "Thy love I cannot all approve;We must not trust too much to happiness;-- Go, pray to God, that thou mayst love him less!"
"The more I pray, the more I love!
It is no sin, for God is on my side!"
It was enough; and Jane no more replied.
Now to all hope her heart is barred and cold; But to deceive the beldame old
She takes a sweet, contented air;
Speak of foul weather or of fair,
At every word the maiden smiles!
Thus the beguiler she beguiles;
Poor Jane, the cunning sorceress!
Now that thou wouldst, thou art no prophetess! This morning, in the fulness of thy heart,
Now rings the bell, nine times reverberating, And the white daybreak, stealing up the sky, Sees in two cottages two maidens waiting,
Queen of a day, by flatterers caressed, The one puts on her cross and crown, Decks with a huge bouquet her breast, And flaunting, fluttering up and down, Looks at herself, and cannot rest,
The other, blind, within her little room, Has neither crown nor flower's perfume;
But in their stead for something gropes apart, That in a drawer's recess doth lie,
And, 'neath her bodice of bright scarlet dye, Convulsive clasps it to her heart.
The one, fantastic, light as air, 'Mid kisses ringing,
And joyous singing,
The other, with cold drops upon her brow, Joins her two hands, and kneels upon the floor,
And whispers, as her brother opes the door, "O God! forgive me now!"
And then the orphan, young and blind, Conducted by her brother's hand,
Towards the church, through paths unscanned, With tranquil air, her way doth wind.
Odors of laurel, making her faint and pale, Round her at times exhale,
And in the sky as yet no sunny ray,
But brumal vapors gray.
Near that castle, fair to see,
Crowded with sculptures old, in every part,
Marvels of nature and of art,
And proud of its name of high degree,
A little chapel, almost bare
At the base of the rock, is builded there;
All glorious that it lifts aloof,
Above each jealous cottage roof,
Its sacred summit, swept by autumn gales,
And its blackened steeple high in air,
Round which the osprey screams and sails. "Paul, lay thy noisy rattle by!"
Thus Margaret said. "Where are we? we ascend!"
"Yes; seest thou not our journey's end?
Hearest not the osprey from the belfry cry? The hideous bird, that brings ill luck, we know! Dost thou remember when our father said,
The night we watched beside his bed,
'O daughter, I am weak and low;
Take care of Paul; I feel that I am dying!'
And thou, and he, and I, all fell to crying?
Then on the roof the osprey screamed aloud; And here they brought our father in his shroud. There is his grave; there stands the cross we set; Why dost thou clasp me so, dear Margaret?
Come in! The bride will be here soon:
Thou tremblest! O my God! thou art going to swoon!"
She could no more,--the blind girl, weak and weary! A voice seemed crying from that grave so dreary, "What wouldst thou do, my daughter?"--and she started,And quick recoiled, aghast, faint-hearted;
But Paul, impatient, urges evermore
Her steps towards the open door;
And when, beneath her feet, the unhappy maid
Crushes the laurel near the house immortal,
And with her head, as Paul talks on again,
Touches the crown of filigrane
Suspended from the low-arched portal,
No more restrained, no more afraid,
She walks, as for a feast arrayed,
And in the ancient chapel's sombre night
They both are lost to sight.
At length the bell,
With booming sound,
Sends forth, resounding round.
Its hymeneal peal o'er rock and down the dell. It is broad day, with sunshine and with rain; And yet the guests delay not long, For soon arrives the bridal train,
And with it brings the village throng. In sooth, deceit maketh no mortal gay, For lo! Baptiste on this triumphant day, Mute as an idiot, sad as yester-morning, Thinks only of the beldame's words of warning.
And Angela thinks of her cross, I wis;
To be a bride is all! The pretty lisper
Feels her heart swell to hear all round her whisper, "How beautiful! how beautiful she is!".
But she must calm that giddy head,
For already the Mass is said;
At the holy table stands the priest;
The wedding ring is blessed; Baptiste receives it; Ere on the finger of the bride he leaves it,
He must pronounce one word at least!
'T is spoken; and sudden at the grooms-man's side "'T is he!" a well-known voice has cried.
And while the wedding guests all hold their breath, Opes the confessional, and the blind girl, see! "Baptiste," she said, "since thou hast wished my death, As holy water be my blood for thee!"
And calmly in the air a knife suspended!
Doubtless her guardian angel near attended,
At eve instead of bridal verse, The De Profundis filled the air; Decked with flowers a simple hearse To the churchyard forth they bear; Village girls in robes of snow
Follow, weeping as they go;
Nowhere was a smile that day,
"The road should mourn and be veiled in gloom, So fair a corpse shall leave its home!
Should mourn and should weep, ah, well-away! So fair a corpse shall pass to-day!"
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
I hear along our street
Pass the minstrel throngs; Hark! they play so sweet,
On their hautboys, Christmas songs! Let us by the fire
In December ring
Every day the chimes;
Loud the gleemen sing
In the streets their merry rhymes. Let us by the fire
Shepherds at the grange, Where the Babe was born, Sang, with many a change,
Christmas carols until morn. Let us by the fire
These good people sang
Songs devout and sweet;
While the rafters rang,
There they stood with freezing feet. Let us by the fire
Nuns in frigid veils
At this holy tide,
For want of something else,
To the sound they beat, Sing by rivers cold,
With uncovered heads and feet. Let us by the fire
Who by the fireside stands Stamps his feet and sings; But he who blows his hands
Not so gay a carol brings. Let us by the fire
Will then, Duperrier, thy sorrow be eternal? And shall the sad discourse
Whispered within thy heart, by tenderness paternal, Only augment its force?
Thy daughter's mournful fate, into the tomb descending By death's frequented ways,
Has it become to thee a labyrinth never ending, Where thy lost reason strays?
I know the charms that made her youth a benediction: Nor should I be content,
As a censorious friend, to solace thine affliction By her disparagement.
Death has his rigorous laws, unparalleled, unfeeling; All prayers to him are vain;
Cruel, he stops his ears, and, deaf to our appealing, He leaves us to complain.
The poor man in his hut, with only thatch for cover, Unto these laws must bend;
The sentinel that guards the barriers of the Louvre Cannot our kings defend.
To murmur against death, in petulant defiance, Is never for the best;
To will what God doth will, that is the only science That gives us any rest.
Thou mighty Prince of Church and State, Richelieu! until the hour of death, Whatever road man chooses, Fate Still holds him subject to her breath. Spun of all silks, our days and nights Have sorrows woven with delights; And of this intermingled shade
Our various destiny appears,
Even as one sees the course of years Of summers and of winters made.
Sometimes the soft, deceitful hours Let us enjoy the halcyon wave; Sometimes impending peril lowers Beyond the seaman's skill to save, The Wisdom, infinitely wise,
That gives to human destinies Their foreordained necessity, Has made no law more fixed below, Than the alternate ebb and flow Of Fortune and Adversity.
An angel with a radiant face,
Above a cradle bent to look,
Seemed his own image there to trace, As in the waters of a brook.
"Dear child! who me resemblest so," It whispered, "come, O come with me!
Happy together let us go,
The earth unworthy is of thee!
"Here none to perfect bliss attain; The soul in pleasure suffering lies;
Joy hath an undertone of pain,
And even the happiest hours their sighs.
"Fear doth at every portal knock; Never a day serene and pure
From the o'ershadowing tempest's shock Hath made the morrow's dawn secure.
"What then, shall sorrows and shall fears Come to disturb so pure a brow?
And with the bitterness of tears These eyes of azure troubled grow?
"Ah no! into the fields of space, Away shalt thou escape with me;
And Providence will grant thee grace Of all the days that were to be.
"Let no one in thy dwelling cower, In sombre vestments draped and veiled;
But let them welcome thy last hour, As thy first moments once they hailed.
"Without a cloud be there each brow; There let the grave no shadow cast;
When one is pure as thou art now, The fairest day is still the last."
And waving wide his wings of white, The angel, at these words, had sped
Towards the eternal realms of light!-- Poor mother! see, thy son is dead!
From this high portal, where upsprings The rose to touch our hands in play, We at a glance behold three things-- The Sea, the Town, and the Highway.
And the Sea says: My shipwrecks fear; I drown my best friends in the deep; And those who braved icy tempests, here Among my sea-weeds lie asleep!
The Town says: I am filled and fraught With tumult and with smoke and care; My days with toil are overwrought, And in my nights I gasp for air.
The Highway says: My wheel-tracks guide To the pale climates of the North; Where my last milestone stands abide The people to their death gone forth.
Here, in the shade, this life of ours, Full of delicious air, glides by Amid a multitude of flowers
As countless as the stars on high;
These red-tiled roofs, this fruitful soil, Bathed with an azure all divine,
Where springs the tree that gives us oil, The grape that giveth us the wine; Beneath these mountains stripped of trees, Whose tops with flowers are covered o'er, Where springtime of the Hesperides Begins, but endeth nevermore;
Under these leafy vaults and walls, That unto gentle sleep persuade; This rainbow of the waterfalls, Of mingled mist and sunshine made;
Upon these shores, where all invites, We live our languid life apart; This air is that of life's delights, The festival of sense and heart;
This limpid space of time prolong, Forget to-morrow in to-day,
And leave unto the passing throng The Sea, the Town, and the Highway.
Thou brooklet, all unknown to song, Hid in the covert of the wood! Ah, yes, like thee I fear the throng, Like thee I love the solitude.
O brooklet, let my sorrows past Lie all forgotten in their graves, Till in my thoughts remain at last Only thy peace, thy flowers, thy waves.
The lily by thy margin waits;-- The nightingale, the marguerite; In shadow here he meditates His nest, his love, his music sweet.
Near thee the self-collected soul Knows naught of error or of crime; Thy waters, murmuring as they roll, Transform his musings into rhyme. Ah, when, on bright autumnal eves, Pursuing still thy course, shall I Lisp the soft shudder of the leaves, And hear the lapwing's plaintive cry?BARREGES BY LEFRANC DE POMPIGNAN
I leave you, ye cold mountain chains, Dwelling of warriors stark and frore! You, may these eyes behold no more, Rave on the horizon of our plains.
Vanish, ye frightful, gloomy views! Ye rocks that mount up to the clouds! Of skies, enwrapped in misty shrouds, Impracticable avenues!
Ye torrents, that with might and main Break pathways through the rocky walls, With your terrific waterfalls
Fatigue no more my weary brain!
Arise, ye landscapes full of charms, Arise, ye pictures of delight!
Ye brooks, that water in your flight The flowers and harvests of our farms!
You I perceive, ye meadows green, Where the Garonne the lowland fills, Not far from that long chain of hills, With intermingled vales between.
You wreath of smoke, that mounts so high, Methinks from my own hearth must come; With speed, to that beloved home, Fly, ye too lazy coursers, fly!
And bear me thither, where the soul In quiet may itself possess,
Where all things soothe the mind's distress, Where all things teach me and console.
Will ever the dear days come back again, Those days of June, when lilacs were in bloom, And bluebirds sang their sonnets in the gloom Of leaves that roofed them in from sun or rain?
I know not; but a presence will remain
Forever and forever in this room,
Formless, diffused in air, like a perfume,-- A phantom of the heart, and not the brain.
Delicious days! when every spoken word Was like a foot-fall nearer and more near, And a mysterious knocking at the gate
Of the heart's secret places, and we heard In the sweet tumult of delight and fear A voice that whispered, "Open, I cannot wait!"AT LA CHAUDEAU BY XAVIER MARMIER
At La Chaudeau,--'t is long since then: I was young,--my years twice ten; All things smiled on the happy boy, Dreams of love and songs of joy, Azure of heaven and wave below,At La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau I come back old: My head is gray, my blood is cold; Seeking along the meadow ooze, Seeking beside the river Seymouse, The days of my spring-time of long agoAt La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau nor heart nor brain Ever grows old with grief and pain; A sweet remembrance keeps off age; A tender friendship doth still assuage The burden of sorrow that one may knowAt La Chaudeau.
At La Chaudeau, had fate decreed
To limit the wandering life I lead,
Peradventure I still, forsooth,
Should have preserved my fresh green youth, Under the shadows the hill-tops throw
At La Chaudeau, live on, my friends, Happy to be where God intends; And sometimes, by the evening fire, Think of him whose sole desire Is again to sit in the old chateauAt La Chaudeau. A QUIET LIFE.
Let him who will, by force or fraud innate, Of courtly grandeurs gain the slippery height; I, leaving not the home of my delight, Far from the world and noise will meditate.
Then, without pomps or perils of the great, I shall behold the day succeed the night; Behold the alternate seasons take their flight, And in serene repose old age await.
And so, whenever Death shall come to close The happy moments that my days compose, I, full of years, shall die, obscure, alone!
How wretched is the man, with honors crowned, Who, having not the one thing needful found, Dies, known to all, but to himself unknown.THE WINE OF JURANCON BY CHARLES CORAN Little sweet wine of Jurancon, You are dear to my memory still! With mine host and his merry song, Under the rose-tree I drank my fill.
Twenty years after, passing that way, Under the trellis I found again
Mine host, still sitting there au frais, And singing still the same refrain.
The Jurancon, so fresh and bold, Treats me as one it used to know;
Souvenirs of the days of old Already from the bottle flow,
With glass in hand our glances met; We pledge, we drink. How sour it is
Never Argenteuil piquette
Was to my palate sour as this!
And yet the vintage was good, in sooth; The self-same juice, the self-same cask!
It was you, O gayety of my youth, That failed in the autumnal flask!
To gallop off to town post-haste, So oft, the times I cannot tell;
To do vile deed, nor feel disgraced,-- Friar Lubin will do it well.
But a sober life to lead,
To honor virtue, and pursue it,
That's a pious, Christian deed,-Friar Lubin can not do it.
The goods of others with his own, And leave you without cross or pile,
Friar Lubin stands alone.
To say 't is yours is all in vain,
If once he lays his finger to it; For as to giving back again,
Friar Lubin cannot do it.
With flattering words and gentle tone, To woo and win some guileless maid,
Cunning pander need you none,-- Friar Lubin knows the trade.
Loud preacheth he sobriety,
But as for water, doth eschew it;
Your dog may drink it,--but not he; Friar Lubin cannot do it.
When an evil deed 's to do
Friar Lubin is stout and true;
Glimmers a ray of goodness through it, Friar Lubin cannot do it.
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine? Naught see I fixed or sure in thee!
I do not know thee,--nor what deeds are thine:
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine? Naught see I fixed or sure in thee!
Shall I be mute, or vows with prayers combine? Ye who are blessed in loving, tell it me:
Love, love, what wilt thou with this heart of mine? Naught see I permanent or sure in thee!
My soul its secret has, my life too has its mystery, A love eternal in a moment's space conceived; Hopeless the evil is, I have not told its history, And she who was the cause nor knew it nor believed. Alas! I shall have passed close by her unperceived, Forever at her side, and yet forever lonely,
I shall unto the end have made life's journey, only Daring to ask for naught, and having naught received. For her, though God has made her gentle and endearing, She will go on her way distraught and without hearing These murmurings of love that round her steps ascend, Piously faithful still unto her austere duty,
Will say, when she shall read these lines full of her beauty, "Who can this woman be?" and will not comprehend.
And now, behold! as at the approach of morning, Through the gross vapors, Mars grows fiery red Down in the west upon the ocean floor
Appeared to me,--may I again behold it!
A light along the sea, so swiftly coming,
Its motion by no flight of wing is equalled.
And when therefrom I had withdrawn a little Mine eyes, that I might question my conductor, Again I saw it brighter grown and larger.
Thereafter, on all sides of it, appeared
I knew not what of white, and underneath, Little by little, there came forth another.
My master yet had uttered not a word,
While the first whiteness into wings unfolded; But, when he clearly recognized the pilot,
He cried aloud: "Quick, quick, and bow the knee! Behold the Angel of God! fold up thy hands! Henceforward shalt thou see such officers!
See, how he scorns all human arguments,
So that no oar he wants, nor other sail
Than his own wings, between so distant shores!
See, how he holds them, pointed straight to heaven, Fanning the air with the eternal pinions, That do not moult themselves like mortal hair!"
And then, as nearer and more near us came The Bird of Heaven, more glorious he appeared, So that the eye could not sustain his presence,
But down I cast it; and he came to shore
With a small vessel, gliding swift and light, So that the water swallowed naught thereof.
Upon the stern stood the Celestial Pilot!
Beatitude seemed written in his face!
And more than a hundred spirits sat within.
With whatso in that Psalm is after written. Then made he sign of holy rood upon them,
Whereat all cast themselves upon the shore,
And he departed swiftly as he came.
Longing already to search in and round
The heavenly forest, dense and living-green, Which tempered to the eyes the newborn day,
Withouten more delay I left the bank,
Crossing the level country slowly, slowly,
Over the soil, that everywhere breathed fragrance.
A gently-breathing air, that no mutation
Had in itself, smote me upon the forehead, No heavier blow, than of a pleasant breeze,
Whereat the tremulous branches readily
Did all of them bow downward towards that side Where its first shadow casts the Holy Mountain;
Yet not from their upright direction bent
So that the little birds upon their tops
Should cease the practice of their tuneful art;
But with full-throated joy, the hours of prime Singing received they in the midst of foliage That made monotonous burden to their rhymes,
Even as from branch to branch it gathering swells, Through the pine forests on the shore of Chiassi, When Aeolus unlooses the Sirocco.
Already my slow steps had led me on
Into the ancient wood so far, that I
Could see no more the place where I had entered.
And lo! my further course cut off a river,
Which, tow'rds the left hand, with its little waves, Bent down the grass, that on its margin sprang.
All waters that on earth most limpid are,
Would seem to have within themselves some mixture, Compared with that, which nothing doth conceal,
Although it moves on with a brown, brown current, Under the shade perpetual, that never
Ray of the sun lets in, nor of the moon.
Even as the Blessed, at the final summons, Shall rise up quickened, each one from his grave, Wearing again the garments of the flesh,
So, upon that celestial chariot,
A hundred rose ad vocem tanti senis,
Ministers and messengers of life eternal.
They all were saying, "Benedictus qui venis," And scattering flowers above and round about, "Manibus o date lilia plenis."
Oft have I seen, at the approach of day,
The orient sky all stained with roseate hues, And the other heaven with light serene adorned,
And the sun's face uprising, overshadowed, So that, by temperate influence of vapors, The eye sustained his aspect for long while;
Thus in the bosom of a cloud of flowers,
Which from those hands angelic were thrown up, And down descended inside and without,
With crown of olive o'er a snow-white veil, Appeared a lady, under a green mantle,
Vested in colors of the living flame.
. . . . . .
Even as the snow, among the living rafters Upon the back of ltaly, congeals,
Blown on and beaten by Sclavonian winds,
And then, dissolving, filters through itself, Whene'er the land, that loses shadow, breathes, Like as a taper melts before a fire,
Even such I was, without a sigh or tear,
Before the song of those who chime forever After the chiming of the eternal spheres;
But, when I heard in those sweet melodies Compassion for me, more than had they said, "O wherefore, lady, dost thou thus consume him?"The ice, that was about my heart congealed, To air and water changed, and, in my anguish, Through lips and eyes came gushing from my breast. . . . . . .
Confusion and dismay, together mingled,
Forced such a feeble "Yes!" out of my mouth, To understand it one had need of sight.
And with less force the arrow hits the mark; So I gave way beneath this heavy burden,
Gushing forth into bitter tears and sighs,
And the voice, fainting, flagged upon its passage.
Italy! Italy! thou who'rt doomed to wear
The fatal gift of beauty, and possess
The dower funest of infinite wretchedness Written upon thy forehead by despair;
Ah! would that thou wert stronger, or less fair. That they might fear thee more, or love thee less, Who in the splendor of thy loveliness
Seem wasting, yet to mortal combat dare!
Then from the Alps I should not see descending Such torrents of armed men, nor Gallic horde Drinking the wave of Po, distained with gore,
Nor should I see thee girded with a sword Not thine, and with the stranger's arm contending, Victor or vanquished, slave forever more.
SEVEN SONNETS AND A CANZONE
[The following translations are from the poems of Michael Angelo as revised by his nephew Michael Angelo the Younger, and were made before the publication of the original text by Guasti.]
THE ARTIST Nothing the greatest artist can conceive That every marble block doth not confine Within itself; and only its design
The hand that follows intellect can achieve.
The ill I flee, the good that I believe,
In thee, fair lady, lofty and divine,
Thus hidden lie; and so that death be mine Art, of desired success, doth me bereave.
Love is not guilty, then, nor thy fair face, Nor fortune, cruelty, nor great disdain, Of my disgrace, nor chance, nor destiny,
If in thy heart both death and love find place At the same time, and if my humble brain, Burning, can nothing draw but death from thee.II FIRE
Not without fire can any workman mould
The iron to his preconceived design,
Nor can the artist without fire refine
And purify from all its dross the gold;
Nor can revive the phoenix, we are told,
Except by fire. Hence if such death be mine I hope to rise again with the divine,
Whom death augments, and time cannot make old.
O sweet, sweet death! O fortunate fire that burns Within me still to renovate my days,
Though I am almost numbered with the dead!
If by its nature unto heaven returns
This element, me, kindled in its blaze,
Will it bear upward when my life is fled.
Oh give me back the days when loose and free To my blind passion were the curb and rein, Oh give me back the angelic face again, With which all virtue buried seems to be!
Oh give my panting footsteps back to me, That are in age so slow and fraught with pain, And fire and moisture in the heart and brain, If thou wouldst have me burn and weep for thee!
If it be true thou livest alone, Amor,
On the sweet-bitter tears of human hearts, In an old man thou canst not wake desire;
Souls that have almost reached the other shore Of a diviner love should feel the darts, And be as tinder to a holier fire.IV OLD AGE
The course of my long life hath reached at last, In fragile bark o'er a tempestuous sea,
The common harbor, where must rendered be Account of all the actions of the past.
The impassioned phantasy, that, vague and vast, Made art an idol and a king to me,
Was an illusion, and but vanity
Were the desires that lured me and harassed.
The dreams of love, that were so sweet of yore, What are they now, when two deaths may be mine,-- One sure, and one forecasting its alarms?
Painting and sculpture satisfy no more
The soul now turning to the Love Divine,
That oped, to embrace us, on the cross its arms.
Lady, how can it chance--yet this we see In long experience--that will longer last A living image carved from quarries vast Than its own maker, who dies presently?
Cause yieldeth to effect if this so be, And even Nature is by Art at surpassed; This know I, who to Art have given the past, But see that Time is breaking faith with me.
Perhaps on both of us long life can I
Either in color or in stone bestow,
By now portraying each in look and mien;
So that a thousand years after we die, How fair thou wast, and I how full of woe, And wherefore I so loved thee, may be seen.VI TO VITTORIA COLONNA
When the prime mover of my many sighs
Heaven took through death from out her earthly place, Nature, that never made so fair a face,
Remained ashamed, and tears were in all eyes.
O fate, unheeding my impassioned cries!
O hopes fallacious! O thou spirit of grace,
Where art thou now? Earth holds in its embrace Thy lovely limbs, thy holy thoughts the skies.
Vainly did cruel death attempt to stay
The rumor of thy virtuous renown,
That Lethe's waters could not wash away!
A thousand leaves, since he hath stricken thee down, Speak of thee, nor to thee could Heaven convey, Except through death, a refuge and a crown.VII DANTE
What should be said of him cannot be said; By too great splendor is his name attended; To blame is easier those who him offended, Than reach the faintest glory round him shed.
This man descended to the doomed and dead For our instruction; then to God ascended; Heaven opened wide to him its portals splendid, Who from his country's, closed against him, fled.
Ungrateful land! To its own prejudice
Nurse of his fortunes; and this showeth well, That the most perfect most of grief shall see.
Among a thousand proofs let one suffice, That as his exile hath no parallel,
Ne'er walked the earth a greater man than he.
Ah me! ah me! when thinking of the years, The vanished years, alas, I do not find
Among them all one day that was my own! Fallacious hope; desires of the unknown,
Lamenting, loving, burning, and in tears
(For human passions all have stirred my mind), Have held me, now I feel and know, confined Both from the true and good still far away. I perish day by day;
The sunshine fails, the shadows grow more dreary, And I am near to fail, infirm and weary.
To noble heart Love doth for shelter fly,
As seeks the bird the forest's leafy shade; Love was not felt till noble heart beat high, Nor before love the noble heart was made.
Soon as the sun's broad flame
Was formed, so soon the clear light filled the air;
Yet was not till he came:
So love springs up in noble breasts, and there
Has its appointed space,
As heat in the bright flames finds its allotted place. Kindles in noble heart the fire of love,
As hidden virtue in the precious stone:
This virtue comes not from the stars above, Till round it the ennobling sun has shone;
But when his powerful blaze
Has drawn forth what was vile, the stars impart
Strange virtue in their rays;
And thus when Nature doth create the heart
Noble and pure and high,
Like virtue from the star, love comes from woman's eye.
If thou art sleeping, maiden,
Awake and open thy door,
'T is the break of day, and we must away, O'er meadow, and mount, and moor.
Wait not to find thy slippers,
But come with thy naked feet;
We shall have to pass through the dewy grass, And waters wide and fleet.
"He is gone to the desert land I can see the shining mane Of his horse on the distant plain, As he rides with his Kossak band!
"Come back, rebellious one! Let thy proud heart relent; Come back to my tall, white tent, Come back, my only son!
"Thy hand in freedom shall
Cast thy hawks, when morning breaks, On the swans of the Seven Lakes, On the lakes of Karajal.
"I will give thee leave to stray And pasture thy hunting steeds In the long grass and the reeds Of the meadows of Karaday.
"I will give thee my coat of mail, Of softest leather made,
With choicest steel inlaid; Will not all this prevail?"
"This hand no longer shall
Cast my hawks, when morning breaks, On the swans of the Seven Lakes, On the lakes of Karajal.
And pasture my hunting steeds In the long grass and the reeds Of the meadows of Karaday.
"Though thou give me thy coat of mall, Of softest leather made,
With choicest steel inlaid,
All this cannot prevail.
"What right hast thou, O Khan, To me, who am mine own,
Who am slave to God alone, And not to any man?
"God will appoint the day
When I again shall be
By the blue, shallow sea,
Where the steel-bright sturgeons play.
"God, who doth care for me, In the barren wilderness, On unknown hills, no less Will my companion be.
"When I wander lonely and lost In the wind; when I watch at night Like a hungry wolf, and am white And covered with hoar-frost;
"Yea, wheresoever I be,
In the yellow desert sands, In mountains or unknown lands, Allah will care for me!"
Then Sobra, the old, old man,-- Three hundred and sixty years Had he lived in this land of tears, Bowed down and said, "O Khan!"If you bid me, I will speak.
There's no sap in dry grass, No marrow in dry bones! Alas, The mind of old men is weak!
"I am old, I am very old:
I have seen the primeval man, I have seen the great Gengis Khan, Arrayed in his robes of gold.
"What I say to you is the truth; And I say to you, O Khan,
Pursue not the star-white man, Pursue not the beautiful youth.
"Him the Almighty made,
And brought him forth of the light, At the verge and end of the night, When men on the mountain prayed.
"He was born at the break of day, When abroad the angels walk; He hath listened to their talk, And he knoweth what they say.
"Gifted with Allah's grace,
Like the moon of Ramazan
When it shines in the skies, O Khan, Is the light of his beautiful face.
"When first on earth he trod, The first words that he said
Were these, as he stood and prayed, There is no God but God!
"And he shall be king of men, For Allah hath heard his prayer, And the Archangel in the air, Gabriel, hath said, Amen!"THE SIEGE OF KAZAN Black are the moors before Kazan, And their stagnant waters smell of blood: I said in my heart, with horse and man, I will swim across this shallow flood.
Under the feet of Argamack,
Like new moons were the shoes he bare,
Silken trappings hung on his back, In a talisman on his neck, a prayer.
My warriors, thought I, are following me; But when I looked behind, alas!
Not one of all the band could I see, All had sunk in the black morass!
Where are our shallow fords? and where The power of Kazan with its fourfold gates?
From the prison windows our maidens fair Talk of us still through the iron grates.
We cannot hear them; for horse and man Lie buried deep in the dark abyss!
Ah! the black day hath come down on Kazan! Ah! was ever a grief like this?
Down from yon distant mountain height The brooklet flows through the village street;
A boy comes forth to wash his hands,
Washing, yes washing, there he stands, In the water cool and sweet.
Brook, from what mountain dost thou come, O my brooklet cool and sweet!
I come from yon mountain high and cold,
Where lieth the new snow on the old, And melts in the summer heat.
Brook, to what river dost thou go? O my brooklet cool and sweet!
I go to the river there below
Where in bunches the violets grow, And sun and shadow meet.
Brook, to what garden dost thou go? O my brooklet cool and sweet!
I go to the garden in the vale
Where all night long the nightingale Her love-song doth repeat.
Brook, to what fountain dost thou go? O my brooklet cool and sweet!
I go to the fountain at whose brink
The maid that loves thee comes to drink,
And whenever she looks therein,
I rise to meet her, and kiss her chin, And my joy is then complete.
Welcome, O Stork! that dost wing Thy flight from the far-away!
Thou hast brought us the signs of Spring, Thou hast made our sad hearts gay.
Descend, O Stork! descend Upon our roof to rest;
In our ash-tree, O my friend, My darling, make thy nest.
To thee, O Stork, I complain, O Stork, to thee I impart
The thousand sorrows, the pain And aching of my heart.
Away from this tree of ours, The withering winds did blow,
And dried up all the flowers.
Dark grew the brilliant sky,
Cloudy and dark and drear;
They were breaking the snow on high, And winter was drawing near.
From Varaca's rocky wall,
From the rock of Varaca unrolled,
the snow came and covered all, And the green meadow was cold.
O Stork, our garden with snow Was hidden away and lost,
Mid the rose-trees that in it grow Were withered by snow and frost.
Tityrus, thou in the shade of a spreading beech-tree reclining, Meditatest, with slender pipe, the Muse of the woodlands. We our country's bounds and pleasant pastures relinquish, We our country fly; thou, Tityrus, stretched in the shadow, Teachest the woods to resound with the name of the fair Amaryllis.
O Meliboeus, a god for us this leisure created,
For he will be unto me a god forever; his altar
Oftentimes shall imbue a tender lamb from our sheepfolds. He, my heifers to wander at large, and myself, as thou seest, On my rustic reed to play what I will, hath permitted.
Truly I envy not, I marvel rather; on all sides
In all the fields is such trouble. Behold, my goats I am driving, Heartsick, further away; this one scarce, Tityrus, lead I; For having here yeaned twins just now among the dense hazels, Hope of the flock, ah me! on the naked flint she hath left them. Often this evil to me, if my mind had not been insensate, Oak-trees stricken by heaven predicted, as now I remember; Often the sinister crow from the hollow ilex predicted, Nevertheless, who this god may be, O Tityrus, tell me.
O Meliboeus, the city that they call Rome, I imagined, Foolish I! to be like this of ours, where often we shepherds Wonted are to drive down of our ewes the delicate offspring. Thus whelps like unto dogs had I known, and kids to their mothers, Thus to compare great things with small had I been accustomed. But this among other cities its head as far hath exalted As the cypresses do among the lissome viburnums.
And what so great occasion of seeing Rome hath possessed thee? TITYRUS.
Liberty, which, though late, looked upon me in my inertness, After the time when my beard fell whiter front me in shaving,-- Yet she looked upon me, and came to me after a long while, Since Amaryllis possesses and Galatea hath left me. For I will even confess that while Galatea possessed me Neither care of my flock nor hope of liberty was there. Though from my wattled folds there went forth many a victim, And the unctuous cheese was pressed for the city ungrateful, Never did my right hand return home heavy with money.
I have wondered why sad thou invokedst the gods, Amaryllis, And for whom thou didst suffer the apples to hang on the branches! Tityrus hence was absent! Thee, Tityrus, even the pine-trees, Thee, the very fountains, the very copses were calling.
What could I do? No power had I to escape from my bondage, Nor had I power elsewhere to recognize gods so propitious. Here I beheld that youth, to whom each year, Meliboeus, During twice six days ascends the smoke of our altars. Here first gave he response to me soliciting favor:
"Feed as before your heifers, ye boys, and yoke up your bullocks."
Fortunate old man! So then thy fields will be left thee, And large enough for thee, though naked stone and the marish All thy pasture-lands with the dreggy rush may encompass. No unaccustomed food thy gravid ewes shall endanger, Nor of the neighboring flock the dire contagion inject them. Fortunate old man! Here among familiar rivers,
And these sacred founts, shalt thou take the shadowy coolness. On this side, a hedge along the neighboring cross-road, Where Hyblaean bees ever feed on the flower of the willow, Often with gentle susurrus to fall asleep shall persuade thee. Yonder, beneath the high rock, the pruner shall sing to the breezes, Nor meanwhile shalt thy heart's delight, the hoarse wood-pigeons, Nor the turtle-dove cease to mourn from aerial elm-trees.
Therefore the agile stags shall sooner feed in the ether, And the billows leave the fishes bare on the sea-shore. Sooner, the border-lands of both overpassed, shall the exiled Parthian drink of the Soane, or the German drink of the Tigris, Than the face of him shall glide away from my bosom!
But we hence shall go, a part to the thirsty Afries,
Part to Scythia come, and the rapid Cretan Oaxes,
And to the Britons from all the universe utterly sundered. Ah, shall I ever, a long time hence, the bounds of my country And the roof of my lowly cottage covered with greensward Seeing, with wonder behold,--my kingdoms, a handful of wheat-ears! Shall an impious soldier possess these lands newly cultured, And these fields of corn a barbarian? Lo, whither dicord Us wretched people hath brought! for whom our fields we have planted! Graft, Meliboeus, thy pear-trees now, put in order thy vine-yards. Go, my goats, go hence, my flocks so happy aforetime.
Never again henceforth outstretched in my verdurous cavern Shall I behold you afar from the bushy precipice hanging. Songs no more shall I sing; not with me, ye goats, as your shepherd, Shall ye browse on the bitter willow or blooming laburnum.
Nevertheless, this night together with me canst thou rest thee Here on the verdant leaves; for us there are mellowing apples, Chestnuts soft to the touch, and clouted cream in abundance; And the high roofs now of the villages smoke in the distance, And from the lofty mountains are falling larger the shadows.