no next

  ― 177 ―




(Medea, vv. 820–61.) Ere Time grew old,
Life flowed for the Erechthean race
In sands of gold.

Sons of the gods for ever blest,
And banqueting on loftiest lore—
Fruit of the sacred shore
No victor's foot had ever pressed—
They wandered in ethereal grace
Through most pellucid air.note
'Tis there they tell, Harmonia bore—
She of the golden hair—
The Muses nine, in days of yore,
The chaste Pierides.note

And there, they say—
With lip still wet from thy fair stream,
Cephisus!—many a gentle breeze,
With fragrance laden, Cypris breathes
O'er all the land; and as she wreathes
Rose-garlands aye,
To shed their perfume on the gleam
Of sunbright hair,
The Loves she sends
To sit at Wisdom's side, as friends
Of all things good and fair.

How shall the City
Of Sacred Waters,

  ― 178 ―
Welcoming only the harmless of men,
Number thee, then,
In the list of her daughters?—
Thee the unholy, whose red right hand runs
With blood of thy sons!

Whilst still there is time,
Oh, think of the crime
Thou art minded to do!

Spare them! Suppliantly we sue—
At thy knees we suppliant fall,
All ways suppliant, suppliant all!
Heart and hand will fail thee, sure—
Thou canst never do the deed!
Tearless, can thine eyes endure
To behold thy children bleed?

When before thy feet they lie,
When thou hear'st their pleading cry—
Mother! Canst thou that withstand?
Savage as thy heart may be,
In the blood that sprang from thee,
Thou wilt not dip thy murderous hand?



(Idyl xv.) GORGO. Praxinoe, are you within?

PRAXINOE. Why, dear, how late you are!
I marvel much that even now you should have got so far!
Bring her a chair—quick, Eunoe! Look for a cushion, too.

G. Oh, thank you, it does very well.

P. Be seated, then, pray do!

  ― 179 ―
G. I'm half distracted, I declare—the crowd's so great, and then
On all sides there are rattling cars, and booted, mounted men,
The road is such a weary one, and you live so far away,
I really thought, Praxinoe, I'd not get here to-day!

P. Just so—that idiot of mine must come to the world's end,
And take—that I—poor cooped-up thing!—might never see a friend—
A wild beast's den, instead of house—the spiteful, jealous spy!

G. Don't talk so of your husband, love, whilst your little one is by,—
See how he looks, the knowing imp! Tut, tut, pet, your mamma,
My own sweet little Zoppy, isn't talking of dada!

P. By'r Lady,note the child twigs us!

G. —— Pretty papa!

P. Humph! That same pretty gentleman went lately, as we say,
To buy nitre and some cerusenote—'twas but the other day—
And what do you think he brought me?—The stupid blundering fool!
Why salt, just common bay-salt—but man was born to rule!

G. Ay, and my Diocleides is exactly such another,
For squandering money your good man might claim him as a brother;
Seven drachmæ he spent yesterday for fleeces, I'll be sworn,
No sheep upon their backs as wool had ever worn—
Mere dogs' hair, wallet-pluckings, rubbish not worth the water
'Twould take to make them fit for use by any freeman's daughter.
But come, put on your cloak, and buckle-to your kirtle,
And we'll be off to our rich king's, Prince Ptolemy's, my turtle,
To see this year's Adonisnote—I understand the Queen
Intends to give us such an one as ne'er before was seen.

P. No thanks to her, with wealth like hers!

G. But when you've seen the sight,
You can tell others what you've seen. Come, don't stop here all night!

P. You idle folks can talk like that. A towel, Eunoe;
And mind don't put it where Miss Puss can loll so cosily,
You careless slut! Some water, quick! I want the water first.
Look how she brings the soap! With rage I'm like to burst

  ― 180 ―
To see such dawdling; give it here; now, don't pour too much in!
You wasteful, wretched creature! I am wetted to the skin!
And my poor kirtle! Stop! I say. Well, now I think I'll do;
I'm clean enough, I'm certain, for e'en the gods to view.
Now, where's the key? The key, I mean, of the big linen press?
Go for it.

G. O Praxinoe, that is a lovely dress!
What did it cost you?

P. My good friend, more than I like to say,
More than two silver minæ; but it is n't every day
You see such stuff. Ah, how I toiled in working at it, too!

G. 'Twas worth the pains.

P. I think it was. I say, you dawdler, you,
Bring me my parasol and cloak; put it on tastily.
Oh no, don't think it! You'll not go, my boy, along with me.
Black bogey'd get you—horses bite; ah, you may cry away,
But 't wouldn't do to have you lame. We shan't get off to-day;
Phrygian, amuse the little man—don't let him cry so loud;
Call in the dog, and shut the door.
Good gracious! what a crowd!
How shall we ever manage to get through such a throng?
Like ants upon an ant-hill the people swarm along.
Thanks to our good king Ptolemy, since his old father died,
No crafty villain, like a cat, behind one's back can glide,
As once the artful scoundrels whom nothing could ashame—
The worthless scamps! on travellers would play their knavish game.
O, dearest Gorgo, here's a fix for hapless me and you;
Here come the prince's chargers; what ever shall we do?
Don n't ride me down, my dear good man. See how the chesnut rears—
The fiery brute! Fly, Eunoe! How is't you have no fears?
He'll kill the groom!—oh, an't I glad I left my child at home?

G. Courage, my dear Praxinoe! No more they wildly roam,
And we are safe enough behind.

P. I thought I should have died;
Horses and snakes, e'en from a girl, I never could abide.
Let's hasten on, the crowds increase.

G. Come you from court, old dame?

OLD WOMAN. 'Twas from the court, my daughters, your humble servant came,

G. Shall we be able to get in?

  ― 181 ―
O. W. The Greeks, my pretty one,
Took Troy by trying. If you try, sure, all things can be done.

G. How like an oracle she talked!

P. Women know everything—
Even how Zeus obtained his wife.

G. Just look, love, how they cling
About the doors—oh, what a throng!

P. Gorgo, give me your hand;
You, Eunoe, hold Eutychis; hold fast, you understand,
Or you'll be lost. And now we'll all force in our way together,—
Hold tight! O me! The only cloak I had for summer weather
Is torn in two—alas! alas! oh, what a heavy stroke!—
Good God, sir! As you hope for peace, I say keep off my cloak!

STRANGER. I'll try, though—

P. In his neighbour's ribs each man his elbows digs—
The vulgar varlets! How they crowd, and squeeze, and push like pigs!

S. Cheer up, dear madam, we are safe.

P. Be blest throughout life's span
For caring for us as you did—the tender, dear good man!
But there's poor Eunoe struggling yet! Get in? Of course you can.
Push through the crowd, you silly girl!—Well done! We're all inside—note
As the man says on his wedding night, when he shuts in his bride.

G. Praxinoe, this is tapestry—oh, how elegant and fine.
Come here and look! You'll surely say 'tis some goddess's design.

P. Pallas! The girls that worked it must noble spinsters be,
Artists right cunning at their trade to paint so splendidly!
The figures live—they breathe—they move—faith, man, indeed, is wise!
But see, beloved Adonis! On yon silver couch he lies,
With the first down sprouting silken his bloomy cheeks upon,
The beautiful Adonis—loved e'en in Acheron!

SECOND STRANGER. Wretched women! Do be quiet. With your everlasting coo,
And your horrid vile broad accent, I can get no peace for you!

  ― 182 ―
P. My word! My saucy gentleman, where do you come from, pray?
What right have you to interfere, e'en though we talked all day?
You order Syracusans! My good sir, I'd have you know
Our blood is drawn from Corinth—did Bellerophon talk low?
Mayn't Dorians speak Doric, as good as that in Greece?
By'r Lady! In my masters I pray for no increase—
One's quite enough! Sir Impudence, don't dare to lecture me!
I'm not your slave, you puffed-up fool!

G. Hush, hush, Praxinoe!
The Argive woman's daughter, who sings so skilfully,
Who sang the dirge of Sperchis, Adonis now will sing.
She's rising, so do listen—'twill be a glorious thing.

CANTATRICE. Aphrodite, sportful queen,
Clad in robes of golden sheen,
Thou that lov'st Idalium,
Cyprian Golgus, Eryx high!
Now the year its course hath run,
Joy now flashes in thine eye,
For the Hours, with soft bright feet
Like the sunbeams hither come,
Back from gloomy Acheron
Bringing thine Adonis home!
Welcomes ever wait on them,
Lovely, lingering, longed for Hours,
Showering from their rosy hands
Pleasures, like rich, falling flowers!

Cypris, fair Dione's daughter,
Berenice thou hast blest;
Poured ambrosia on her bosom,
Made her share the Immortals' rest!
And her darling, Helen's rival,
Beautiful Arsinoe,
Many-named and many-templed,
Offereth grateful gifts to thee:
Heaping on thy loved Adonis
All things rare right bounteously!

Ripest fruits are laid beside him,
And his silver baskets bear
Plants, like him, that spring and wither
Swiftly in the summer air!
Syrian oil in golden caskets,
Honey-cakes of curious mould;

  ― 183 ―
Honey breathing forth the fragrance
Of the crushed flowers with it rolled,
Shaped like birds, and shaped like insects,
With no sparing hand is doled.

Verdant canopies hang o'er him,
Drooping with the tender dill;
Boy Loves flutter in the branches—
As, to try their new-born skill,
Fledgelings flit along the greenwood,
And the shade with twitterings fill.

Oh, the ebony! Oh, the gold!
Oh, the ivory eagles bold,
Bearing unto Cronus' son,
Zeus the mighty, Ganymede!
Sheep of finest, silkiest breed,
Such as the Milesians feed,
Or the Samian shepherds lead,
Gave the wool in purple dyed,
Laid in foldings thick and wide,
Softer than sleep by labour won,note
Where, lying by her husband's side,
Fair Cypris would her blushes hide.

Still in his teens,
A downy kiss
He gives with those
Sweet lips of his!

Leave them now to their delight;
Wish them both a sweet good night.

But ere the dew dries, at dawning we'll come,
And carry him out where the wild waters foam.
We will loose our long hair,
And the fresh morning air
Shall blow on our bosoms so rosy and fair;
For our robes we will slacken, and cheerily there,
As the cool yellow sands we wander along,
We will sing to Adonis this silvery song:
Alone of the demigods,
Demigod dear,
Thou now art in Acheron,
Now thou art here!

  ― 184 ―
Agamemnon, nor Ajax
The fierce and the brave,
Nor Hector the noblest
That Hecuba gave
To his sire, nor Patroclus,
Nor Pyrrhus who fought
So bravely at Troy,
Hath such privilege bought
By the deeds that he did;
And if farther we go,
The Deucalions and Lapiths
Are prisoners below;
Pelops' sons, the Pelasgi,
The eldest of Greece,
Howe'er they may pray
For their bondage to cease,
From their dungeon may issue never, oh, never!
But in darkness abide for ever and ever!
Be propitious, Adonis, to us every year,
For to us, when thou comest, thou always art dear!

G. Now, isn't that a lovely song, I say, Praxinoe?
O happy girl—to know so much, and sing so prettily!
But I must go—'tis dinner time—and, when he wants his dinner,
My old man raves, at best of times a sour and sulky sinner!
Farewell, Adonis best-beloved! Be joyful, for you come
A cause of joy to those with whom you find your summer home.

The Little Heracles.

(Idyl xxiv.) Ten months have rolled o'er Heracles,
And, save a single night,
'Tis now as long since Iphiclus
First issued to the light.
Alcmena Mideatis
Hath held them to her breast,
Hath washed them, and hath laid them
Within a shield to rest;
A brazen shield, a noble shield,
That Pterelaüs bore;
But, smitten by Amphitryon's arm,
He bears that shield no more.

And the mother, smoothing gently
Her children's silken hair,

  ― 185 ―
Spake thus: “Sleep, sleep, my little ones,
The sleep that knows no care!
Sleep, darlings, sleep, my treasures twin,
For ye are watched by me;
Sleep full of peace, and in the morn
Waken as peacefully!”
Then in the big shield-cradle
She rocked her treasures twin,
And Sleep, like noiseless dew, came down,
And softly entered in.

But when unto his setting
Circleth the weary Bear,
And broad Orion watcheth him
As he sinks into his lair:
At midnight, crafty Hera
Sent forth two monsters dire,
Two dragons rolling seablue folds
Bright-bristling in their ire;
Unto the chamber-threshold,
Where the door-posts grant them way,
She sent them, urging them with threats
Young Heracles to slay.

The ravenous pair uncoiling
Flowed swift along the ground,
Their hissing mouths spat poison,
Their eyes rained fire around;
But when, like flame, their forked tongues
Were flickering for the stroke,
Then (for Zeus knoweth all things)
Alcmena's babes awoke:
And a mysterious splendour
Flooded the silent room;
A splendour as of noonday
Had chased the midnight gloom.

When Iphiclus beheld the snakes
Above the hollow shield,
And saw the fangs so pitiless
Their gaping jaws revealed,
He shrieked, and with a hasty kick
Cast off the counterpane,
Striving to flee; but Heracles
Right-boldly grasped the twain,
Seizing each monster by the throat
His cradle arching o'er—

  ― 186 ―
The throat, where venoms foul are brewed
That e'en the gods abhor.

Around the child, the baby-boy,
Born but within the year,
The suckling hero from whose eye
Had never dropt a tear,
They wound themselves in double coils—
Quickly unwound again,
For in his iron grip they writhed
With labour and with pain,
A cry rang in Alcmena's ear,
She started in her bed,
And waking in a wild, vague fear,
Unto her lord she said:

“Amphitryon, rise; arise, I say;
I tremble—dearest, rise!
Wait not to put your sandals on,
List to our infant's cries!
And see, the walls are all a-glow,
Though yet 'tis early night;
All things, though day is distant far,
Are bathed in ruddy light!
Something has happened passing strange
Within the house, I know;
Arise, arise, Amphitryon,,
My dearest husband, go!”

She spake, and from the cedar couch
Darted her willing lord,
Lifting his hand where on its peg
Hung aye his well-wrought sword;
His new-spun belt he strained to reach,
And in the other hand
Lifted his scabbard, gaping wide,
Twined of the lotus-band—
When suddenly deep darkness reigned
Throughout the spacious room;
The awful ruddy light gave place
To still more awful gloom!

Unto his slumbering servants
He shouted, “Instantly
Snatch from the hearth a blazing brand,
And bring it unto me!

  ― 187 ―
The strong bolts force, swing back the doors
Against the chamber walls!
Arise, arise, wake up, my men!
It is your master calls!”
In breathless haste the servants came,
Each with a blazing light,
And crowding pell-mell in the room,
Once more drove back the night.

And when, I ween, they saw the babe,
The suckling Heracles,
And writhing in his tender hands,
The snakes in deadly squeeze;
Smitten with wonder at the sight,
They cheered with loud acclaim,
And clapping hands gave prophecy
Of the boy-hero's fame:
Who held his prey with child-like glee
Up to his marvelling sire—
Then leaping in a victor's dance,
Cast down the monsters dire.

All parched with fear, young Iphiclus,
In passionate distress,
Alcmena soothed upon her breast
With many a fond oaress;
But 'neath the coverlet of wool
He placed his other son
Once more, and straightway to his couch
Went back Amphitryon:
And when the cocks proclaimed the dawn,
Teiresias was called
To interpret the strange prodigy
That had the house appalled.

“And hide thou not,” Alcmena said,
“Whate'er of secret ill
It may portend, but faithfully
Thy prophet's task fulfil.
Wise as thou art, Eueris' son,
I tell thee, soon or late,
I know that man of woman born
Must bow before his fate;
So from no fond concern for me
The coming evil hide!”
Thus spake the queen, and unto her
Teiresias replied:

  ― 188 ―
“Be of good courage, lady, mother of noblest progeny,note
Of Perseus' blood; for, by the light these eyes no more may see,
Many a Grecian woman, with yarn 'twixt hand and knee,
Spinning at eventide, shall sing, O queen, of thee—
Unto the Argive women a glory thou shalt be.

“Star-studded heaven shall be the home of thine heroic son.
O'er men and monsters through the world a victor he shall run;
On the Trachinian pyre consumed—thus is his fate-thread spun—
Amongst the gods he shall recline when his twelve works are done!
E'en she who set these reptiles on shall claim him as her son;
The day will come when from the wolf the kid no more need run.

“But, lady, 'neath the ashes let the red embers glow;
Paliurus, and Aspalathus, and the bramble pile in row,
And eke the brittle wild-pear boughs that the winds wave to and fro;
And at midnight, at the very hour they aimed their murderous blow,
These dragons twain on the blazing logs of the cleft wild-wood throw!

“In the morning let thy servant sweep the ashes of the fire,
And bear across the river of the dragons' funeral-pyre
The remnants grey—yea, every whit—gathered right carefully,
And cast them on the rugged rocks beyond the boundary,
And then return with eye ne'er bent on that it should not see!

“But, first with sulphur, then with salt melted in water pure,
And sprinkled with a fresh green branch, to cleanse thy house be sure!
And to guard its peace from foes henceforth for evermore,
To Zeus supreme straight sacrifice the fierce and bristly boar!”

Teiresias spake, and from his seat
Of gleaming ivory
Rose 'neath the burden of his years,
(An old, old man was he!)
And as the budding plant grows up
Beneath the gardener's care,
So bloomed the life of Heracles,
Watched by Alemena fair:
Thus tenderly from day to day
She nursed her darling son,
Proudly acknowledged by her lord,
Argive Amphitryon!

  ― 189 ―
Old Linus brave, Apollo's son,
Taught letters to the boy,
And found in sleepless guardianship
A never-ending joy;
And Eurytus, of acres broad
By long-descended right,
Taught him to bend the stubborn bow,
And speed the arrow's flight;
Philammon's son, Eumolpus,
Taught him the minstrel's skill,
And on a boxwood cithern
Trained his young hands to trill.

And how the men of Argos
Their wrestling rivals throw;
How with the loaded cœstus
To give the heaviest blow;
The crafty tricks that boxers use
In falling as they fight;
He learnt from him of Phanote,
The man of matchless might,
Harpalycus, Dan Hermes' son,
Who e'en at distance awed—
So black a scowl, like thunder-cloud,
Loomed o'er his visage broad!

To drive his steed along the course,
Bent eager o'er the pole,
And, guarding still his axle box,
To sweep around the goal;
All this, with fond, paternal pride,
Amphitryon taught his son,
For oft in Argive chariot-race
Amphitryon had won;
So skilfully he drove his cars,
They still continued sound
E'en when the thongs that first they bore
Lay mouldering on the ground.

Sword-cuts to scorn, and buckler-screened
To hurl the whizzing spear,
The band to form, the snare to spy,
The cavalry to cheer,
Castor, the exile horseman bold—
Wafted o'er ocean foam
To be his teacher—taught the boy;
From Argos forced to roam,

  ― 190 ―
Whose vineclad realm King Tydeus held,
Deipyle's rich dower:
Castor, ere age had sapped his strength,
Of demigods the flower!

Thus with right manly training,
Mellowed by mother's care,
The boy grew up, a hero e'en
In his most manly fare;
Roast meat, and a huge Dorian loaf
(Such as the delvers deal)
He dined upon, and took at eve
A frugal uncooked meal;
Clad in scant homely garments,
He wandered through the day;
At night, on a loved lion-skin,
Beside his sire he lay.

Greek Anthology.


Tossed on a black and troubled sea
The wind blew fiercely on the ark;note
Lone-drifting in her prison-barque,
Awe chilled the blood of Danaë.

Her pale cheek stained with trickling tears,
In closer clasp she pressed her son,
And said: “Alas! my darling one,
My heart is mastered by its fears.

“And yet thou slumberest sweetly there,
Because it is thy mother's breast;
In cheerless brass-bound dungeon blest
With sleep unshadowed by a care!

“Around us spreads the awful night,
Save when the silvery moonlight streams
Upon the waves in flickering gleams,
And sprinkles our sad cell with light.

  ― 191 ―
“The seething water rushes by,
Hoarse o'er the sea the cold winds rave;
But what to thee are blast and wave?
Thy clustering ringlets still are dry!

“Wrapt in thy little purple cloak,
Thou sleepest with that calm, bright face!
Could sorrow in thy heart find place,
Thou to my moans hadst, sure, awoke!

“But sleep; I bid thee, sleep, my child;
And sleep thou, too, wide weltering sea!
Sleep, too, the woes of Danaë—
Bouudless as ocean billows wild!

“O, Father Zeus! confound my foes,
And grant of thy great clemency
(Bold as thy servant's prayer may be)
My Perseus may avenge my woes?”



Chirping, thou hast seized the chirper,
Attic maiden,note honey-fed,
With the twittering cicada,
Twittering, to thy nest hast fled;
Thou the winged, him the winged,
Stranger he, and stranger thou,
Both glad children of the summer—
Surely thou wilt loose him now!
For 'tis wrong, and most unseemly,
That one little songster's cry,
By the beak of sister songstress
Sadly silenced, thus should die!



Why so angry, my Philænis? Wherefore rashly pull your hair?
How is this?—Your drooping eyelids trembling drops of crystal wear!
Surely, you've not seen your lover, faithless to your own sweet charms—
Perjured, infamous deceiver!—clasp a rival in his arms?
Tell me—I've a cure for sorrow—silent?—still with anguish wrung?
'Tis in vain you would dissemble—eyes speak louder than the tongue!


  ― 192 ―


Mortal itself is mortals' wealth,
Our riches pass away;
Or we ourselves must pass from them,
E'en if our treasures stay!



Rhodoclea, I send you a garland of flowers,
The brightest yet dropped by the summer's bright hours;
My own hands wove in it the violet blue,
The rosebud, the wind-flower still wet with the dew,
The narcissus, the lily—that when they are tied
Around your dark locks, they may warn you of pride!
Like these fresh, sunny flow'rets, you now are in bloom,
But they fade—and you, also, must bow to their doom!



Whilst wreathing fragrant posies,
I found love among the roses,
And I caught him by the wings, and I dipped him in the wine;
Then, taking it, I drank it,
So my folly I may thank it,
For the way in which he tickles this troubled heart of mine!

   Julian, the Prefect.


Her eyes, and her hair, and her glittering skin,
No pencil is able to trace;
When the bright-glancing sunbeams the artist can paint,
He may paint my sweet mistress's face!

   Paulus Silentiarius.


No eye, O queenly Rome, shall thy setting glory see,
For Victory has lost her wings and cannot fly from thee!


My life into a rigid stone
Did the Immortals freeze:
The rigid stone again to life
Thaweth Praxiteles!

  ― 193 ―


Summer's darling, how briefly in beauty it blows!
You seek it—the thorn has supplanted the rose.


Hope and Fortune fare ye well!
No more I plough the sea;
Anchored, I leave you now to sport
With those who follow me.


Whether at Athens thou depart, or die at Meroë,
The downward road is straight and plain. Why should it trouble thee
To die in loneliness upon a foreign shore?
From every home of man, the wide world o'er,
To Hades one dread wind blows evermore!


Protè, thou art not dead—but in a happier land!
In the Islands of the Blest thou hast joined the tearless band:
Celestial are their banquets, and flowers for ever blow
On the bright plains Elysian—unvisited by woe.
No winter mars thy year, no sultry noon thy day,
And thou shalt murmur “I am sick”—oh, never more for aye!
Thou hungerest not, thou thirstest not—with calm and guiltless breast,
In Olympus's pure splendour thou shalt for ever rest!note



(Carm. I., 5.) What slim youth, whose love-locks flow
Wet with unguents, courteth thee,
Pyrrha, where the roses blow,
And the rocks cool shadows throw
On the grotto floor below?

Tell me, tell me, who is he
For whom now thou bind'st thine hair—
Hair of gold, so witchingly
With that artful, careless care?

  ― 194 ―
Ah, how oft he shall bewail
Broken vow and gods estranged!—
Unaccustomed to the gale
Blackening the erst sunny sea,—
Marvel that the sea is changed!—

He who now so trustingly
Finds in thee a golden joy,—
Ever lovely, ever free,—
From love of all save him for ever—
Poor silly boy!
Hopes that thou—that thou—wilt be;
And thinketh never
How soon arise
Fiercest storms in fairest skies!

Wretched they, to whom thou seemest
Bright for aye, as now thou gleamest!—
Thou no more hast power o'er me—
Votive slab on sacred wall

Tells how I most gratefully,
To the God who rules the sea,
Hung my dripping garments there;
For he listened to my call,
Ere I sank, he heard my prayer—
I no longer think thee fair!


(Carm. I., 23.) Like a fawn with silly terrors
Of the wood and of the wind,
Seeking o'er the lonely mountains
For its dam, the startled hind;—

When the breeze-tossed vine-leaves shudder,
When the bramble-bushes shake,
Rustled by the swift, green lizards,
Heart and knees are both a-quake;

Thus thou shunn'st me.—Tigers, Chloe,
Afric lions, aim at life;
I would take you from your mother—
Why?—'Tis time you were a wife?

  ― 195 ―


(Carm. III., 9.) H. As long as you loved me, and no arms but mine
Around your white neck might in ecstasy twine,
My heart felt as wealthy as wealthy could be—
E'en the King of the East seemed a pauper to me!

L. As long as you loved with unflickering flame,
And no Chloe 'twixt you and your Lydia came,
My fame mounted far, far above every other—
I wouldn't have changed e'en with Remus's mother!

H. Pretty Chloe of Crete, my bosom now sways—
Oh, how softly she sings, and how sweetly she plays!
If her bright, sunny life could be saved by my death,
For her I would willingly breathe my last breath!

L. Son of Thurian Ornithus, Calaïs dear,
For thee—burning, also—my love burneth clear;
If the Fates would but spare the sweet, beautiful boy,
Two deaths for my darling I'd reckon a joy?

H. But suppose that Love's Queen, by her son's cunning stroke,
Should bend our stiff necks once again to her yoke,—
What if golden-haired Chloe I eyed with disdain,
And my door were to open to Lydia again?

L. Then, though he is more beautiful e'en than a star,
And you than a floating cork fickler by far,
Than Adria more fierce, when it mounts to the sky—
With you I would live, and with you I would die!



The bird that heralds in the day
Proclaims the nearing morning light;
And Christ who wakeneth the soul
Bids us emerge from sin's deep night.

  ― 196 ―
Ye sick, ye slothful, listless ones,
Shake your dull slumber from your eyes;
Watch henceforth, sober, upright, chaste,
For I am near, our Master cries.

Save when long toil hath robbed the night
Of time to soothe the drooping eye;
'Tis all too late to leave the couch
When the bright sun is in the sky.

That chant the clamorous birds uprear,
As on the rooftree they rejoice,
Just ere the dawning glitters forth,
Is emblem of our Judge's voice.

Buried in bed of indolence
And curtained round with darkness drear,
It bids us leave our quiet rest,
For now, e'en now, the day draws near.

It promises to those who toil
That day again shall chase the night,
When morning's breath hath decked the east
Once more with ruddy, dappled light,

This sleep we take but for a time
Shadows the everlasting death;
Iniquity, like midnight gloom,
Gives to the soul sleep's laboured breath.

But Christ, with voice of warning love,
Calls from the rooftree of the sky
For all to break the bonds of sloth,
Since His Redemption draweth nigh;—

That buried in the tomb of sin,
And heedless of its heavenly Friend,
Man's heart should slumber on no more—
E'en to his sluggish lifetime's end.

They say that fiends that love the night
And roam in its congenial gloom,
By cockcrow scared and scattered, flee
And seek once more the place of doom.

The hated presence of our God,
The world's salvation and its light,
Disperseth, when her veil is rent,
The prowling satellites of night.

  ― 197 ―
They know full well the meaning sign,
That it recalls the promised hope
Through which we ever when we wake,
For Christ's dread advent still look up.

The power that dwells within this bird
The Saviour unto Peter showed,
Foretelling that he would deny
Thrice ere the morning cock had crowed.

Before the herald of the light
Proclaimed the next approaching sun,
And put an end to that day's sin,
The deed predicted had been done.

The false word fallen from his lips
Peter with bitter tears bewailed;
(Although his heart continued pure—
His inmost faith had never failed.)

Never again such treacherous word
Its way from tongue too free could win;
And when the cock's shrill crow was heard,
A saint once more, he ceased from sin.

Therefore (as all of us believe)
At that still time when overhead
The cock exulting greets the morn,
Christ rose triumphant from the dead.

'Twas then he plucked the sting from death,
Then he o'erthrew the throne of hell,
Then that before the stronger day
The power of night grew faint and fell.

Now, now let sins for ever rest,
Now black crime sink in slumbers deep,
Now deadly malice fade away
Consumed by its own wasting sleep.

But let the spirit watching stand,
And, as it watches, labour on
The little space that still remains,
Ere time and toil shall both be gone.

On Jesus let us ever call
With tears, with prayers, and free from sin;
'Tis fervent prayer forbiddeth sleep
The holy heart to enter in.

  ― 198 ―
With lazy limbs coiled up in rest,
With head through which vain visions roll,
Oblivion deep hath long enough
Oppressed, obscured, o'erwhelmed the soul.

For false and frivolous is all
We did for worldly fame or fear—
Mere empty dreams—but let us wake,
For He whose name is Truth is here.

Gold, pleasure, joy, prosperity,
Wealth, honours, whatsoe'er we sought
To fill our hearts with noxious pride;
The morning comes,—and all are nought.

Do thou, O Christ, dispel our sleep,
And burst in twain the bonds of night;
Destroy the sin that still remains,
And flood our breasts with freshened light!



In David's city, Sion blest—
Calm Sion—I would find my rest—
Whose builder is the Lord of Light,
Whose gate once stood on Calv'ry's height,
Whose walls are piled of living stone,
Its guard the King all hearts must own;
Wherein there reigns undying day,
Eternal spring, and peace for aye.
Sweet fragrance fills the sunny air,
And music ever soundeth there!
Unchanging beauty greets the eye,
Defect hath never caused a sigh;
For all reflect their Master's grace,
His faultless form, his radiant face!
O! heavenly city, home of bliss,
Rock-founded world? I gaze from this,
Like seamen o'er the foaming bar,
And hail thy haven from afar:

  ― 199 ―
To thee I look, for thee I long,
With ardent love, with yearning strong!
The triumph of the saints above,
The fulness of their feast of love,
The rapture thrilling ev'ry breast,
The gems with which thy walls are drest—
The jacinth and chalcedony,
They only know who dwell in thee!
Oh! may I join the spotless throng
Wand'ring thy golden streets along,
With Moses and Elias raise
The everlasting song of praise. Amen.

A. W. Schlegel,


Proudly swept Arion's fingers o'er the lyre that owned him lord,
Answering to his touch in music trembling from each quickened chord;
All hearts bowed before the minstrel—harp for sceptre in his hand,
Kingly homage found he ever—welcome—home—in every land,
He hath sailed, with treasure laden, from Tarentum's sunny shore,
Gaily steering unto Hellas—to his own fair Greece once more.

For an old and quenchless longing draws him to his friend again:
Periander, Corinth's master, holds him by a silken chain.
Ere to foreign lands he wandered, risking peace for honour's sake,
Like unto a loving brother, thus his princely patron spake:—
“Rest thee still within my palace: what would'st have that I refuse?
In the fickle game of fortune, he who winneth much may lose!”

But to him Arion answered:—“Nay, my lord, I cannot rest,
For the wand'rer's ilfe of peril pleaseth the free poet's breast.
Shall I hide what God hath given thousand hearts with joy to fill?
I must spread abroad his bounty, sway the world by minstrel skill.
How, when I have won my guerdon, in the far-off future time,
Shall I feast upon my glory, bard-renowned in every clime!”

Lo! the second morn hath risen on his foaming homeward way,
Summer breezes, fragrance-freighted, soft and warm around him play.
“Periander,” he exclaimeth, “thou must own thy boding vain;
Though our parting was for ever, I shall clasp my friend again;
Rich shall be our altar-off' rings, thine for me, and mine for thee,
And, with guests around us crowding, we will hold high jubilee!”

  ― 200 ―
Friendly still are breeze and billow, not a cloud is in the sky,
From a speckless vault of azure gleams the sun's broad golden eye.
Wisely to the waves he trusted—there was truth in their bright smile;
But the men, who smiled as brightly, veiled black villainy with guile;
For he hears the sailors whisper, coveting his hoarded gold.
Soon around the poet circling, thus they speak their treason bold:—

“Minstrel, thou may'st live no longer; would'st thou have on land a grave,
By thine own hand must thou perish: otherwise the yawning wave
Waiteth for thee;” But Arion offereth a pleading prayer:—
“Traitors, can ye thus deceive me—human hearts such rancour bear:—
Take my gold, I give it gladly, if such ransom ye demand.
Spare my life and keep my treasure; let me reach my native land!”

“Nay, the mercy were too costly: minstrel, plainly, thou must die—
Find a tomb beneath the billow, vaulted by the silent sky.
Who could quiet Periander, if we set thee on the shore,
When they tattling tongue had told him how we robbed thee of thy store?
What were e'en thy bursting caskets unto men without a home,
Doomed, with freight of useless treasure, still to wander through the foam?”

“If no compact can be stricken—if, indeed, my days are o'er—
Grant me, then, one last petition, ere I sink for evermore!
In my death, as in my lifetime, let me play the minstrel's part,
Hear once more my cherished harp strings, dear as children to my heart!
When the song no more resoundeth, when the strain hath ceased to trill,
'Tis my signal for the death-plunge—ye may work your ruthless will!”

Not a sigh of shame or sorrow answered to the minstrel's prayer;
On the wealth, their murder's wages, still with greedy eyes they glare;
But the respite that he asketh e'en their hearts cannot refuse.
Though the pirates slay the singer, song is gift too sweet to lose.
“Will you, then, in silence listen—whilst I robe me, cease to press?—
For Apollo's inspiration I must don my richest dress.”

Bloomy robe of regal purple, streaked with streams of broidered gold,
Round his graceful form he flingeth, drooping in voluptuous fold;
On the sunny deck it traileth, flashing back the morning light;
Armlets, thick with clustered jewels, glance beneath it, fiercely bright.
As upon the swelling billow, sea-bird like, the galley rocks,
Over neck and cheek and forehead float his wreathed and scented locks;

In his right the iv'ry plectrum, in his left the darling lyre.
Eyeballs drinking in the sunshine, beaming back a brighter fire;
Whilst the gang of ruthless robbers circle him in awe-struck band,
Forth he steps, and by the bulwark, proud and fearless, takes his stand,
Watching the deep wine-faced ocean, ruffled by the zephyr's wings—
Hark! a chord runs down the harp-strings—melts in air—Arion sings:—

  ― 201 ―
“Come, gentle sister of my song,
And with me seek the shades below!
What though before the Gate of Woe
Stand Cerberus to work us wrong?

“We need not fear the Hound of Hell,
If thou be faithful to my hand;
Even in Pluto's dreary land
The lyre retains its magic spell.

“Hail, heroes on the Elysian plain,
At peace beyond the gloomy stream!
Beneath the endless noontide's gleam
Ye soon shall hear my greeting strain!

“But is there joy with you for me?—
For, ah! I leave my friend behind,
Though Orpheus came to you to find
His ravished bride, Eurydice.

“But ah! she faded like a dream—
The hard-earned prize his song had won;
And he lived on to curse the sun
That mocked him with its flouting beam.

“Still, I must hence; I will not fear;
The gods are gazing from on high;
Full many a sternly silent eye
Beholds the foul crime acted here.

“Tremble ye men of savage breast,
Who thus an unarmed bard would slay!
There yet shall be a reck'ning day—
Sweet Nereids protect your guest!”

Then into the deep he plunges, and the waves roll o'er his head,
Whilst the pirate barque flies onwards, every inch of canvas spread.
But a dolphin-shoal had followed, listening to his witching song:
Ere he drowneth they surround him, in a friendly, glittering throng,
And, upon their monarch mounted, proud he rides the waters o'er,
Safely through the billows carried, hurrying to the distant shore.

Though the fish's only music be the hoarse voice of the brine,
Dolphins at the sound of harp-strings flock e'en round the fisher's line;
As the strain floats o'er the water, golden gleams the spangled spray—
'Tis the dolphins at their gambols, tumbling in fantastic play;
Nearer, with fond eyes of longing, nearer, nearer yet, they come,
Till the crafty traitor minstrel draws to land his audience dumb.

  ― 202 ―
With a proud and loving rapture the good dolphin bears its load,
Like a warrior's steed curvetting o'er the long and liquid road.
On its arched back sits Arion, holding high his darling lyre,
Sprinkling music as he passeth, blended notes from voice and wire;
And the waves spring up around him, as he plays and as he sings,
Beating time unto his chanting, dancing to his echoing strings.

Where the dolphin laid its burden, safely on the shingled sand,
Molten fish and molten minstrel, telling of the deed, shall stand—
High upon the craggy headland, looking o'er the dimpled sea,
Bronzen chronicle eternal of that fond fidelity!
Now the faithful fish returneth to its ocean home once more,
And Arion's heart runs over thus in thanks upon the shore:—

“I must say farewell, my dolphin, true and trusty friend in need:
Would that I could recompense thee, worthily reward thy deed!
But out paths now lie asunder—thine upon the shining main,
Mine across the swelling mountain, o'er the olive-laden plain.
Fare thee well, sweet Galatea henceforth 'tis thy lot to bear:
She shall bridle thee and tend thee: go and seek thy mistress fair!”

Light of heart Arion wanders as he roamed in foreign lands,
Bearing still his life-long treasure, child-like, in his loving hands.
Soon the haughty towers of Corinth gleam upon him from afar:
O'er the plain with song he speedeth, yon proud fanes his guiding star.
Losses fade now life is given; joy shall yet his bosom thrill.
What although his gold hath vanished? Friend and lyre are left him still.

Straight before that friend appearing, cries he:—“I have come to rest
Henceforth, weary of my wand'ring, on this fond and faithful breast;
For the gift that God had given thousand hearts with joy to fill,
Like a god, my hands have lavished—swayed the world by minstrel skill.
Though false traitors filched my treasure, robbed me of my golden store,
Yet my fame no theft can ravish—bard renowned for evermore!”

Then he tells of his strange rescue when the waves above him rolled.
Periander listens breathless to the tale his lips unfold.
“Crime like this,” the prince exclaimeth, “shall it not be brought to light?
Should it rest without avenger, what were all my boasted might?
Thou must hide thee for a season, thy betrayers to betray,
Lest the rumour of thy coming guilty hearts from home affray.”

When again within the haven to her wharf the galley glides,
When like swan with folded pinions on the tranquil wave she rides,
Straightway all her crew are summoned: “Hail!—your news?—I fain would learn
Tidings of my friend Arion—much I mourn for his return!”
“We beheld him in Tarentum, flourishing in wealth and grace”—
Hark!—a footstep—and Arion stands before them face to face!

  ― 203 ―
Bloomy robe of regal purple, streaked with streams of broidered gold,
Round his graceful form is gathered drooping in voluptuous fold;
On the marble floor it traileth, flashing back the morning light:
Armlets, thick with clustered jewels, glancing beneath it, fiercely bright:
Rich as when the rocking galley waved it in the sunny air,
Over neck and cheek and forehead, falls his wreathed and scented hair:

In his right the iv'ry plectrum, in his left the darling lyre—
At his feet the false band falleth, struck as by the levin's fire.
“Lo! the man whom we would murder, whom the waters bore away,
Stands before us, proudly smiling, clad as on that cursed day!
Minstrel, mortal man no longer—there he smileth like a god—
Would the earth would close above us, ere he blast us by his nod!”

“'Tis Arion stands before you; still the world-famed minstrel lives;
Phœbus to his faithful servant aid in direst danger gives;
And he calleth not for vengeance, scorns to shed your paltry blood,
Would not stain our lovely Hellas with so false and foul a flood;
But depart ye, villains! straightway unto some barbarian shore—
On the sights and sounds of Beauty ye shall feast your hearts no more?”



Into the fields a songster flew,
And, bathing in the sunny blue,
This was his blithe and wondrous song:
“Good-bye! for I have stayed too long—
Away! away!
I'm off to-day.”

I listened to the meadow-strain,
And felt at once both bliss and pain;
Such pleasing sorrow, troubled glee,
Raised, sunk; my soul alternately;
Heart! heart!
Didst break from joy or smart?

I saw the leaves fall slow and sere,
And then I cried: Oh! autumn's here;
The summer-guest, the swallow, flies,
Perchance, thus love and longing hies
Away! away!
With life's short day.

  ― 204 ―
But back the sunlight came again,
The songster sang a cheering strain;
He marked my tearful eyes, and said:
“No winter snows on love are shed—
No! no!
Its spring-flowers ever blow.”



There stood in times long, long ago, a castle high and hoar:
Wide o'er the plain its walls were seen, e'en to the blue-rimmed shore;
And fragrant gardens wreathed it round with coronal of flowers,
'Mid which the crystal fountains played in rainbow-tinted showers.

'Twas there a haughty monarch sat—what warrior like to him?
Upon his throne he sat and frowned, as spectre pale and grim:
He thinks—men quake with terror; he looks—all hold their breath;
For what he speaks is torture, and what he writes is death!

To this proud keep drew near one day a noble minstrel pair,
One with long locks of gleaming gold, and one of snow-white hair;
The old man bore the cherished harp, mounted on gallant steed;
Beside him tripped a blooming boy, riv'lling the palfrey's speed.

The old man spake: “Prepare, my son, our saddest, sweetest song;
In fullest tone let every breath, soul-freighted, float along!
Glee's glowing glance, grief's downcast eye, paint with thy rarest art—
With us it rests to move to-day the stern king's stony heart.”

Within the pillar'd hall of state the modest minstrels stand
Before the king upon his throne and queen at his right hand:
He direful in his majesty as blood-red Northern Light,
She sweet and mild as moon at full in breezeless autumn night.

The grey-haired harper struck the strings—they owned the master spell—
Richer, still richer on the ear the murm'ring music fell;
And heavenly-clear the youth's pure voice rang out in trumpet tone,
Blent with the old man's hollow bass that moaned as spirits moan.

Of blissful by-gone Golden Age, of Love, of leafy Spring,
Freedom, and Dignity, and Truth, and Holiness they sing;
They sing of all things beautiful, of all that men desire;
They sing of all things worshipful, of all that men admire.

  ― 205 ―
The simpering, circling, courtier-band for once forgot to mock,
And ruffian hearts gushed out in prayer—the rod had struck the rock!
The queen, dissolved in tenderness, in sorrow sweetly sad,
Threw from her breast a blushing rose as guerdon for the lad.

“My court to lead, my wife to lure—is that your treach'rous game?”
The king exclaimed with quiv'ring limbs and awful eyes a-flame;
Then hurled his glittering blade that pierced before its mark could fly—
From breast whence erst welled golden song the blood-jet spouted high.

As storm-swept, all the listening throng fly off in wild alarm,
The youth—death's rattle in his throat—lies on his master's arm,
Who wraps him in his purple cloak, mounts him upon the horse,
And upright on the padded selle bears off the clay-cold corse.

He stops before the castle gates, with eye that sparkles fire,
He dashes on their marble posts his thrice-renowned lyre;
Then cries aloud, in stern calm voice, like destiny, that rings
Through that sweet pleasaunce for the fair, that palace home of kings:—

“Woe unto you, ye haughty halls! Music be heard no more
Within your walls, nor dancer trip upon the blood-stained floor!
No, sighs and groans be yours alone, the footfall of the slave,
Till the Avenger treads you down, and rank weeds o'er you wave!

“Woe unto you, ye gardens green, bright in the light of May,
This dead youth's pale, disfigured face hath blasted you to-day!
Blight wither every dewy flower, drought dry up every well,
And stones be heaped upon your lawns, of this foul deed to tell!

“Woe unto thee, thou dastard fiend! thou curse of minstrelsie!
Thy toils are vain, the crown of fame shall ne'er descend on thee!
Thy name shall rot in endless night, despite thy carking care,
Lost like a dying man's last breath, in empty, viewless air!”

The old man spake—avenging Heaven hath listened to his cry:
Those halls—where are they? E'en their walls in shapeless ruin lie.
One tell-tale column towers alone to mark th' accursed site;
And this, long tottering to its fall, may fall this very night.

For fragrant plots, a dreary waste where no tree casts its shade,
No silvery fountain gurgles up to gladden grassy glade.
The king's name finds no annals, gleams star-like in no verse,
It is sunken and forgotten!—Such was the Minstrel's Curse!

  ― 206 ―


Before his troop Childe Harald rides,
Harald, the fierce and bold;
By the moon's shimmering light they cross
A lone and savage wold.

Full many a foeman's flag they bear
Loud flapping in the breeze;
Full oft the distant hills ring back
Their martial melodies.

What rustles, lurking, in the bush?
What swims, with fitful gleam,
Upon the boughs? and falls from heaven,
And rises from the stream?

Who scatter flowers upon their path?
Who sing that witching song?
Who dance between them, vault behind
And with them ride along?

Who clasp so soft, and kiss so sweet?
Who cling so to the breast?
Who take the sword, and steal the steed,
And leave nor peace nor rest?

The Elfins' light-heeled band are these—
Who can their might withstand?
The victors all are vanquished now—
Captives in Fairy-land.

Harald alone, the flower of knights,
The Elfins fail to harm;
In steel encased from head to foot,
He mocks their subtle charm.

Upon the turf lie sword and shield,
But where their wearers bold?
Curvetting chargers, riderless,
Rush neighing o'er the wold.

And sad at heart proud Harald spurs—
The night winds round him moan;
Through the moist moonlit forest glades
Childe Harold rides alone.

  ― 207 ―
A clear stream trickles from a rock,
He springeth from the selle,
And making cup of plumëd casque,
Drinks of the cooling well.

His thirst is quenched, but foot and hand
No more his will obey;
Upon the stone he sits and nods,
And there must sleep for aye.

With hair and beard as white as snow,
Head drooped upon the breast,
Through countless years he slumbers on
In that mysterious rest.

When lightnings flash, when thunder rolls,
When storms roar through the wold,
Then in his dreams he grasps his sword—
Brave Harald as of old!


In the still cloister garden
There roamed a blighted maid;
The moon shone sad above her,
Tears from her eyelids strayed
As she thought of her dead lover.

“ 'Tis well my faithful darling
Has gone away to rest,
For he in bliss abideth,
And we may love the blest—
My love no longer hideth.”

Where, silvered by the moonlight,
Stood Mary undefiled,
Drew near the trembling maiden:
As mother soothes her child,
She soothed the sorrow-laden;

Who at her feet fell gazing
Upwards in heavenly peace,
Till Death the calm eyes clouded,
The spirit found release—
Her veil the maiden shrouded.

  ― 208 ―


Hast thou the castle seen,
The high keep by the sea?
Of rosy-golden sheen
The clouds that o'er it be.

'Twould stoop to a sweet drowning
In the glass-clear flood below;
'Twould climb to a proud crowning
With the evening sunlight's glow.

“I have the castle seen,
The high keep by the sea;
And the moon above it lean,
And mist spread drearily.”

The breeze and the billows bounding,
Were they blithe as they swept along?
Were the lofty halls resounding
With music and festal song?

“The waves no more rebounded,
The winds, as weary, slept;
With a wail the halls resounded,
I listened—and I wept.”

Didst see on their lieges loyal
The king and the queen look down,—
The wave of the purple royal,
The flash of the golden crown?

Proud led they forth no daughter,
No maiden passing fair
As sunlight on the water,—
Gleaming in golden hair?

“Parents twain—no crown adorning
Brow dark with sorrow's blot—
I beheld, in robes of mourning—
The maiden saw I not.


It chanced that three Burschen went over the Rhine,
And talked with a hostess—“The Chequers” her sign.

“Frau hostess, hast thou good ale and good wine?
And where is that sweet little daughter of thine?”

  ― 209 ―
“My ale and wine are fresh and clear—
My daughter—lies upon her bier.”

And when they entered the inner room,
There lay she—shrouded for the tomb.

The first drew back the veil with a sigh,
And viewed her with a mournful eye:

“Ah, wert thou living, my pretty dove,
Thee henceforth would I only love.”

The second covered up her face,
And turned aside and wept apace:

“Ah, me! that thou art on thy bier—
I've loved thee so for many a year!”

The third once more drew back the veil,
And kissed her on her mouth so pale:

“I loved thee ever, I love thee still
My love eternity shall fill.

Specimens of Persian Poetry:



I sit beside the festal board,
Where once the wine we gaily poured,
And sang the song again;
I sit, but ah! I sit alone,
I hear the mournful night breeze moan—
No echo of the strain!
My friends have drunk their wine, and now
The grave-worm coils round many a brow
Where roses used to twine;
The guests are gone, the revel's o'er,
The man I loved shall never more
Proffer the pledging wine.


The red rose is blooming the nightingale sings,
Drunk, mad, with the rapture her loveliness brings;
'Tis the herald of gladness,
Away with your sadness,
Ye who worship the wine till the tavern roof rings.

  ― 210 ―
We repented—our penitence was but a mock;
Though our good resolutions seemed firm as a rock,
Lo! how soon they are scattered,
This wine-glass hath shattered,
All frail as it is, the proud pile by its shock.
Bring wine—in the life that now is our lot;
What is sultan or sentry, the sage or the sot?
From this inn with two portalsnote
We go—we are mortals;
What matters it, then, what roof it has got?
By tears and by toiling our peace must be won,
There is sorrow in all things under the sun;
Cease then from your wailing,
'Tis all unavailing,
For rest cometh only when labour is done.
But the pomp of proud Asaf,note his courser the wind,
And his host of bird-courtiers flying behind—
Well, then, and what of it?
Pray, whom did it profit?
They have vanished for ever—no trace can you find.
Aspire not to honour; rest ye content;
The life that is humblest, calmest is spent;
The arrow that flieth
So proudly, soon lieth
Thick with rust on the earth, its feathers all rent.


Amid the company
Of frozen ones on earth,
There walked a living heart, and he,
Dying beneath the dreary dearth
Of world, where no high thought had birth,
No loving word was said,
Went down to seek society
Among the dead.

Weary of living homes
Empty of living life,
Their barren joy, their noisy strife,
He shunned, and lingered by the quiet tombs;
Reading the records that fond memory
Had traced upon the stones,
And hearing in their silent tones
Voices from the far-off Eternity.

  ― 211 ―
He fled from the world's calumny,
Like deer that seeks the shade and dew,
When angry deep-mouthed hounds pursue;
And sought that peaceful home and last,
The covert where the shade is cast
By nearing immortality.

A man in this world's wisdom wise,
With sneering lip and scoffing eyes,
Drew near, and raised his drooping head,
And asked him wherefore thus he fled
From life's rich glee,
And with the dead
Dwelt drearily.

He answered: “Nature's noblest sons
Are in their graves;
Over our mother's purest ones
The long grass waves.
The dead! The dead are still on earth,
With hearts where no high thought hath birth,
Hearts which love for aye hath fled.
“Why should I live among the dead?”
E'en thou thyself but now hast said.
Life dieth, face to face with death;
The frozen freeze that nobler breath,
The spirit's life;
I leave the spectres to their strife:
Earth's joy! I render them the whole,
And come and dwell among the just,
Not dead—though buried in the dust,—
Alive in soul.
My heart was dead ere I came here;
For every ‘How?’ and every “Why?’
Could rack my breast with doubt and fear;
But here I ceased to die.

This solemn hush hath lulled to rest the sounds of earthly strife,
And that dead dust hath proved the soil of everlasting life!

  ― 212 ―

Specimens of Northern Poetry.




Nurslings of our noble land,
Proudly sweep the solemn lyre,—
Gathered in heroic band,
Norway chant in words of fire!
At the name our sires arise,
At the name our hearts rebound,
Fiercely sparkle Norsemen's eyes
At that sweet and sacred sound!

When we think of days gone by,
Golden gleams our country's fame;
Forth, where Dovre meets the sky,
As to feast, the fighters came;
Fearless rovers crossed the seas,
Norse barks moored on foreign shores;
Home and heirloom liberties
Still had guards in countless scores.

Whilst the steel-clad warriors fought,
Whilst the martial clarion rung,
Hoary sage in silence thought,
Scald sublime in safety sung;
Clement monarchs, kings by right,
Ruled in wisdom, power, divine,—
Through the ages' murky night
Still their 'scutcheons stainless shine.

Time of glory—gone for aye!
But the Norsemen are the same;
In each brave heart burns to-day,
Pure as ever, freedom's flame;
When their fathers' deeds they sing,
Their hearts fill with joy and pride;
Nought seems sweetest southern spring,
By our icy Norway's side.

  ― 213 ―
Freedom's temple proudly towers,
Built by Norway's stalwart breed;
Freest thought of all is ours,
Freest word and freest deed;
Wildest woodbird, wildest wave—
They are not more free than we;
We obey the laws we gave—
Honest is our loyalty!

Darling land, of cloudclapt height,
Fertile valley, swarming shore,
Faith and love to thee we plight,—
Fain for thee our blood would pour;
Ever be our well-loved home,
Free as is thy moaning sea—
Whilst the billows round thee foam,
Wax in might and majesty!



Whither tends that troubled sigh?
What, my heart, thy suppliant cry?
Quenchless longing wasteth me
For a home beyond the sea;
Lonely on an alien strand,
I would find the unknown land.

Long enough my path has lain
Now in pleasure, now in pain;
Life is weary, for I know
How the days unvaried flow,
As the breaking billows moan
Evermore the same dull tone.

I have heard the laugh of glee,
And the wail of misery;
And of each I know the range—
Neither holdeth hope of change:
Modulate them as we may,
Sameness over both bears sway.

  ― 214 ―
Earth, in summer crowned a bride,
Widow's weeds in winter hide!
In the fall she weepeth wild,
Smiles in spring like soothed child:
'Tis but what has been before—
What, too, shall be evermore.

Peace and war, like shadow cast,
O'er this trembling globe have passed;
Sages in set terms have told
Of the free, pure Age of Gold;
Kings, war-weary, wisdom learn,
Make, on parchment, peace eterne.

That which they said yesterday,
Lo! 'tis what again they say;
Swear they as before they swore—
Round the world rolls evermore;
Footing ne'er in that swift round
Peace and Golden Age have found.

Changing seasons, palled, I view—
'Neath the sun there's nothing new;
Though a hundred forms there be,
'Tis disguised identity;
Earth, though she may mask her face,
Ever runs the same dull race.

Well I know how here on earth
Death awaiteth ev'ry birth:
How like gnats that come and go
In the evening sunlight's glow,
So we flit and fuss, till night
Ends the friendship and the fight.

I'm not as my fathers were,
Still unfrosted is my hair;
But life's weariness I've seen,—
All that is, is what has been:
Unto this drear end I'm brought,—
This is all that life has taught!

Pilgrim's staff I now let fall,
Unto you for rest I call,
Star-sown ocean—peaceful isles
Raining down your golden smiles,—
Ye who guard the light of day
Long since passed from us away!

  ― 215 ―
Let me follow your bright light,
Let me say to earth “good night!”
Nought again my soul can warm
In this world of dull, dark storm:
Lonely on an alien strand,
I would find mine unknown land.


They are flying slowly, sadly, moaning softly as they fly,
As the outcast leaves the hearthstone, so they leave our northern sky;
Forth to foreign shores they wander, and their melancholy wail
Lends a tone of wilder pathos to the melancholy gale:
“Whither, O our God,” they murmur, “dost thou bid thy children roam?
On the bank of what strange river henceforth must we find a home?

“We remember, and would linger still in Scandinavian land,
Here we first beheld the sunshine, here we grew, a happy band;
'Mid the blossom-laden lindens here we each have built a nest,
Here the summer breeze has lulled us on the fragrant boughs to rest;
But the homes that whilom knew us now shall know us nevermore,—
We have left them, sadly trooping to a distant, unknown shore.

“In the forests, oh! how lovely was the brief, calm, summer night,—
Roses in the thickets nodding, heavens raining golden light;
'Twas a night too fair for slumber—with a merry, twitt'ring song,
Each kept to his neighbour calling all the dewy night-time long;
Each with his own loving nestmate toyed in fond, fantastic play,
Till our sparkling eyes were dazzled by the glowing eye of day.

“Then the oak was thick with verdure, sprinkling in a fresh'ning shower
Pearls upon the spiky grass-tufts, brilliants on the blushing flower:
Now the wide oak standeth lonely, with bare branches round him spread,
Like the gaunt arms of a spectre; now the grass and flowers are dead;
Now the zephyr breathes no longer, now the bitter storm-winds blow—
Now the smiling May lies buried in a spotless shroud of snow.

What then lureth us to loiter in these kingdoms of the North?
Ev'ry day the sky-line narrows, dimmer the sad sun comes forth;
Song would sound more drear than wailing, echoing in this growing gloom;
Life is fading, Death is coming—lo! the land is but a tomb!
Therefore were our pinions given, far away through space to sail—
We salute thee, heaving ocean! Foaming billows, hail! all hail!”

Thus they sing, as forth they wander. Soon to softer clime they glide;
Vines are drooping from the elm-tops, crystal streams 'midst myrtles hide.
Then, my soul, when through thy life-tree autumn breezes roughly blow,
With'ring, scattering, thy pleasures, sink not 'neath thy load of woe:
If upon the bird of passage smiles a home beyond the sea,
Everlasting rest remaineth safe beyond the tomb for thee!

  ― 216 ―

14. Odds and Ends.

Did you ever trace back a reverie, reach by reach, to its source—toilsomely ascend the stream, running now in sun and now in shade, with waters of ever-varying purity and depth, down which your mind had floated seemingly at its “own sweet will?” The links of such a Seiris are curiously conjoined. The logical nexus is of the airiest. And yet there is a nexus. Despite the wild caprice of Fancy roaming hither and thither, like a truant schoolboy or a mountain kid, it is possible to track the associations of thought and word that give the secret of the daydream's genesis. It often, however, requires a red man's eye to mark the trail; and only in the case of some Plato or Coleridge, I think, would the fruit of the toil be worth the trouble.

A translation, however faithful, when compared with the original, is but as sickly attar, contrasted with the dewy fragrance of the living rose.

Ferrier insinuates that the brutes are “incarnate absurdities, gazing on unredeemed contradiction.” The son-in-law of the owner of Brontë ought to be ashamed of himself for having even hinted such a slander. With what scorn would Miss Brontë—patting the bullet head of her sister's keeper—have scouted the libel. The dog, at all events, has an ego as self-conscious and creative as any man's. Watch a dog's eye—you will see thoughts floating, rising, flashing, and timidly hurrying back in it, like fishes in a clear, deep rock-pool.

The little that I have read of Göethe has sadly tantalised me. Truth plays bo-peep with you throughout his pages. You can never catch all that he means to say. Most modern books, however, are such squeezed oranges when you have once perused them, that it is pleasant, after all, to have an author that you cannot exhaust—that you can milk daily like a cow.

I read Emerson as I eat a strawberry ice: I read Carlyle for the same reason that I drink brandy. The one, with his calm, unpractical transcendentalism, cools me when fevered by the flurry of the world; the other, with his fiery objurgations, stimulates me to work. Who ever got a rule of life from Emerson? Who ever got even a definite idea? Thoughts shimmer through the haze of his beautiful language half revealed, like snowy sails emerging for a moment, and but for a moment, from sunlit mist. Ask Emerson's most intelligent admirer what it is that he finds so admirable in his favourite author, and what kind of answer do you get? A Persian apologue aptly typifies my experiences in this line: “A holy

  ― 217 ―
man bowed his head on the bosom of contemplation, and was immersed in the ocean of mystic reverie. When he recovered from his vision, one of his friends said to him, ‘From that garden, where you have been, what gift have you brought for us?’ He answered, ‘I purposed in my heart, that, when I reached the rosebush, I would fill my lap with the flowers, and bring them as a present to my friends; but when I came there, the scent of the rose so intoxicated me, that my garment slipped from my hands.’ ”

Fame, fame, thou art to me
But as a virgin in a eunuch's arms:
I fiercely long, but when I drink thy breath,
A cruel scorn forth flashes from thine eyes;
“Unhand me, impotent!” I hear thee cry,
And, sunk in shame, more fiercely long for death!

Love at first sight is lust! 'Tis only this
Should dare to deck it with that holy name:
The feeling that, like flower in forest nook,
Grows daily with a gentle, unseen growth;
Silently nourished by the dew of deeds,
The soft spring breezes of pure, playful words,
And smiles that are its sunshine, till, at length,
We marvel to behold the full-blown rose.

Certain barbarians smear their captive foes with honey, and then expose them to the torment of the creeping things the luscious unction has been laid on to lure. Extravagant eulogists—however kindly their praises may be meant—are guilty of a like cruelty to their friends.

Quiet people remind me of the tranquil waters that deposited the chalk group. Silently they showered down the impalpable powder that was to bury, without bruising, fragile shells for ages. Folks who go through the world like cats upon carpet, have a very similar knack of locking up frailties. You've forgotten all about the peccadilloes of your youth, but a kind friend has treasured them, and the due season for the apocalypse having arrived, the mnemosynal chalk tomb opens, and you see your misdeeds perfect to a spine. With my blackest hate do I detest these bland, unfussy busybodies; these amateur Recording Angels.

Old wine is the richest,
And old friends are best;
O'er a fresh heart we flutter,
The tried is our nest.

Some friends perform their function; then
Cry “off,” when trouble comes agen.
Give me the man whose love lives on,—
What e'er the chance, for ever ready
With arm for mate to lean upon,
Or stout or frail, so it be steady;

  ― 218 ―
A friend like Myrtilus's shield
That screened him in the battle-field,
And when he fell into the sea,
Still bore him up triumphantly.

On a green mountain-top in Wales—propped upon splinters of lichen-spotted granite—stands Arthur's Stone. Beneath it lie the cool, clear waters of a well, of power to heal—no matter how dire their diseases—all who may dip therein. The sole physician's fee—gaily given by departing gratitude—is a pebble, to be dropt upon the ring of pebbles that, thickening generation after generation, circles the gray, solitary stone.

There are men as stern in outward seeming as that lonely rock, who have hearts as pure and beneficent as its spring. They, too, are generally lonely, but the sick and the sorrowful find them out, and ere the pilgrims take up their staves again, they gird their soothers and saviours with a cordon of grateful prayers.

The Fairy of the Flowers should use the Arum for her correspondence. The pure petal is an ivory tablet ready to her hand, and let her pluck the pistil for her golden style. Dew for her ink, and pollen for her pounce, the rhetoric of her periods must needs be appropriately florid.

Young Quakeresses, like iodine, when they become volatile, drop their grey and put on purple.

A gifted Tory is a Cancer fulgens.

Jeremy Taylor says that those who made gods of garlick and a quartan ague still never stooped so low as to deify money. We Christian English have made ample amends for their imperfect Paganism. How we bow down to Cash! There really is a dash of the sublime in the unselfish mammon-worship with which, though hopeless of obtaining any favour from the wealthy, still do we toady them. Speaking for myself, individually, I must confess that it is a feeling I cannot comprehend. I would as soon reverence a pig for getting fat as a man simply for getting rich. In the latter case, as well as in the former, it is often, I imagine, merely the “nature of the beast;” and my stock of admiration is too scanty for me to squander any of it on such meagre marvels.

No man can be a moral ambidexter. When you can use your ethical left hand as well as your right, you can use it a great deal better.

The hand grows hard with toil,
And foul with earthy soil:
The strife without works change within;
The soul, too, takes a thicker skin,
And stains defile its purity—
Ah me, that ever this should be!

Some memories are anaglyphic, others diaglyphs. The cameo is carved by Joy, the intaglio by Grief.

  ― 219 ―

The Goldsmith's Little Daughter.

With pearl and precious stone around,
He stood beneath his sign:
“The richest treasure I have found,”
The goldsmith cried, “is Helen,
Dear little daughter mine!”

A brave knight bowed his plumëd head:
“Good morrow, maiden fair,
Good morrow, goldsmith, too,” he said,
“Make me a costly coronal
For my sweet bride's bright hair.”

And when the coronal was made
And flashed its dazzling sheen,
Helen its massy brilliance weighed,
When no eye saw her lift it,—
A mournful maid, I ween.

“Ah, wondrous happy is the bride
Whose this fine crown shall be!
Ah, would the dear knight give,” she sighed,
“To me a rose-wreath only,
How he would bless poor me!”

Again the brave night bowed his head,
And viewed the glittering band:
“Oh, set me, goldsmith,” now he said,
A ring of richest diamonds
For my sweet bride's white hand.

And when the diamond ring was made
And flashed its dewy sheen,
A finger half within it strayed,
When no eye saw the trial,—
A mournful maid's I ween.

“Ah, wondrous happy is the bride
Whose this fine ring shall be!
Ah, would the dear night give,” she sighed,
“To me a dark curl only,
How he would bless poor me!”

Again the brave night bowed his head,
To viewed the ring he hied:
“Right well O goldsmith,” now he said,
“Thou'st made the ring and coronal
I mean for my sweet bride.

  ― 220 ―
“Still that the bravery may be tried,
Upon thy hand and brow,
Fair maid, what's meant for my loved bride
I'll place for proof—step hither!
She is as fair as thou.”

The early Sunday sunlight sbone;
Therefore, the maiden fair
Her Sunday raiment had put on
To go to church to Matins—
With an especial care.

With glowing blush, and eyes cast down,
She stept and took her stand;
He placed on her the golden crown,
The ring of richest diamonds,
Then clasped her trembling hand.

“My Helen sweet, my Helen dear,
The jest is ended now;
The bride I talked of standeth here,—
'Tis thou must wear the diamonds,
The crown is for thy brow.

“Gold, pearls, and stones of precious sheen
Have ever gleamed round thee;
This must to thee a sign have been
That unto lordly honour
Thou would'st soar at last with me.”


Fare thee well, fare thee well, my love,
This day our hearts must sever;
One more kiss, one more kiss, my love,
I leave thee—and for ever.
Pluck a flower, pluck a flower, my love,
From the dear old garden tree;
For no fruit, for no fruit, my love,
Shall it bear again for me.

  ― 221 ―

15. Errata


At page 91, line 10, for “transmitted” read “transmuted.”

At page 92, line 21, for “fundatory” read “laudatory.”

At page 95, line 14, for “range” read “rage.”

At page 172, first line of quotation from Horace, insert “ligna” before “super.”

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