Had ghastly doubts its precious life
Was pledged for aye to the wrong wife.
' Could it be else? A youth pursues
A maid, whom chance, not he, did choose,
Till to his strange arms hurries she
In a despair of modesty.
Then simply, and without pretence
Of insight or experience,
They plight their vows. The parents say,
“We cannot speak them yea or nay;
“ The thing proceedeth from the Lord !”
And wisdom still approves their word;
For God created so these two
They match as well as others do
That take more pains, and trust Him less
Who rarely fails, if ask'd, to bless
His children's hopeless ignorance,
And blind election of life's chance.

Verily, choice not matters much, (If but the woman's truly such,

And the young man has led the life
| Without which how shall e'er the wife

Be the one woman in the world ?
Love's sensitive tendrils sicken, curl'd
Round Folly's former stay ; for 'tis
The doom of an unsanction'd bliss
To mock some good that, gain’d, keeps still
The taint of the rejected ill.

Howbeit, tho’ both be true, that she
Of whom the maid was prophecy
As yet lives not, and Love rebels
Against the law of any else;
And as a steed takes blind alarm,
Disowns the rein, and hunts his harm,
So, misdespairing word and act
May now perturb the happiest pact.
The more, indeed, is love, the more
Peril to love is now in store,
Against it, nothing can be done
But only this: leave ill alone!
Who tries to mend his wife succeeds
, As he who knows not what he needs.

He much affronts a worth as high
| As his, and that equality
Of spirits in which abide the grace
And joy of her subjected place;
And does the still growth check and blur
Of contraries, confusing her
Who better knows what he desires
Than he, and to that mark aspires
With perfect zeal, and a deep wit
Which nothing helps but faith in it.

So, handsomely ignoring all
In which love's promise short may fall

Of full performance, honour that,
As won, which aye love worketh at !
It is but as the pedigree
Of perfectness which is to be
That mortal good can honour claim ;
Yet honour here to scant were shame
And robbery ; for it is the mould
Wherein to beauty runs the gold
Of good intention, and the stay
That leads aloft the ivy stray
Of human sensibilities.

Such honour, with a conduct wise
In common things, as, not to steep
The lofty mind of love in sleep
Of overmuch familiarness;
Not to degrade its kind caress
As those do that can feel no more,
So give themselves to pleasures o'er;
Not to let morning-sloth destroy
The evening-flower, domestic joy;
Not by uxoriousness to chill
The frank devotion of her will
Who can but half her love confer
On him that cares for nought but her :
These, and like obvious prudencies
Observed, he's safest that relies,
For the hope she will not always seem,
Caught, but a laurel or a stream,
On time; on her unsearchable
Love-wisdom ; on their work done well,
Discreet with mutual aid ; on might
Of shared affliction and delight;
On much whereof hearts keep account,
Though heads forget; on babes, chief fount
Of union, and for which babes are
No less than this for them, nay far
More, for the bond of man and wife
To the very verge of future life
Strengthens, and yearns for brighter day
While others, with their use, decay,
And, though love-nuptial purpose keeps
Of offspring, as the centre sleeps
Within the wheel, transmitting thence
Fury to the circumference,
Love's self the noblest offspring is
And sanction of the nuptial kiss ;
Lastly, on either's primal curse,
Which help and sympathy reverse
To blessings.

God, who may be well
Jealous of His chief miracle,
Bids sleep the meddling soul of man,

Whereby, from his unweeting side,
The wife's created, and the bride,
That chance one of her strange, sweet sex,
He to his glad life did annex,
Grows, more and more, by day and night,
The one in the whole world opposite
Of him, and in her nature all
So suited and reciprocal
To his especial form of sense,
Affection and intelligence,
That, whereas, in its earlier day,
The least flaw threaten'd love's decay,
No crime could now, on either's part,
Do more than make the other start,
And, full of pity, say, “ It is
“I, somehow I, who have done this ;"
And, whereas love at first had strange
Relapses into taste for change,
It now finds (wondrous this, but true!)
The long-accustom'd only new,
And the untried common; and, whereas
An equal seeming danger was
Of likeness lacking joy and force,
Or difference reaching to divorce,
Now can the finished lover see
Marvel of me most far from me,
Whom, without pride, he may admire,
Without Narcissus' doom, desire,
Serve without selfishness, and love
“ Even as himself,” in sense above
Niggard “as much,” yea, as she is
The only part of him that's his.

I do not say Love's youth returns ;
Love's youth which so divinely yearns !
But just esteem of present good
Shows all regret such gratitude
As if the sparrow in her nest,
Her woolly young beneath her breast,
Should these despise, and sorrow for
Her five blue eggs that are no more.
Nor say, the fruit has quite the scope
Of the flower's spiritual hope.
Love's best is service, and of this
Howe'er devout, use dulls the bliss.
Though love is all of earth that's dear,
Its home, my children, is not here.
The pathos of eternity
Does in its fullest pleasure sigh.

Be grateful and most glad thereof.
Parting, as 'tis, is pain enough.
If love, by joy, has learn'd to give
Praise with the nature sensitive,
At last, to God, we then possess

And henceforth very well may wait
The unbarring of the golden gate
Wherethrough, already, faith can see
That apter to each wish than we
Is God, and curious to bless
Better than we devise or guess;
Not without condescending craft
To disappoint with joy, and waft
Our vessels frail, when worst He mocks
The sight with breakers and with rocks,
To happiest havens. You have heard
Your bond death-sentenced by His Word.
What if, in heaven, the name be o'er,
Because the thing is so much more?
All are, 'tis writ, as angels there;
Nor male nor female. Each a stair
In the hierarchical ascent
Of active and recipient
Affections; what if all are both
By turn, as they themselves betroth
To adoring what is next above, o
Or serving what's below their love ?

Of this we are certified, that we
Are shaped here for eternity,
So that a careless word will make
Its dint upon the form we take
For ever. If, then, years have wrought
Two strangers to become, in thought,
Will, and affection, but one man
For likeness, as none others can
Without like process, shall this tree,
The king of all the forest, be,
Alas, the only one of all
That shall not lie where it doth fall ?
Shall this most quenchless flame, here nurst
By everything, yea, when revers'd,
Blazing, like torch, the brighter, wink,
Flicker, and into nothing shrink,
When all else burns baleful or brave
In the keen air beyond the grave,
The air love gasps for, sickening here
Out of its native atmosphere ?

It cannot be! The Scriptures tell Only what's inexpressible, And, 'gainst each word, to make it right, Themselves propound the opposite. Beware ; for fiends in triumph laugh O’er him who learns the truth by half !. Beware ; for God will not endure For men to make their hope more pure Than His good promise, or require Another than the five-string'd lyre Which He has vow'd again to the hands

To tune it justly here! Beware
The Powers and Princedoms of the Air,
Which make of none effect man's hope,
Bepraising heaven's etherial cope,
But covering with their cloudy cant
Its counterpoising adamant,
Which strengthens ether for the flight
Of angels, makes and measures height,
And in materiality
Exceeds our Earth's in like degree
As all else Earth exceeds. Do I
Here utter aught that's dark or high ?
Have you not seen a bird's beak slay
Proud Psyche, on a summer's day?
Down fluttering drop the frail wings four,
Wanting the weight that made them soar !
Spirit is heavy Nature's wing,
And is not rightly anything
Without its burthen, whereas this,
Wingless, at least a maggot is,
And, wing'd, is honour and delight
Increasing endlessly with height.




I HAVE said that there were hopeful elements in Imperial France. Far more, no doubt, than any that I had a chance of seeing at work. But of the reality of three I had the means of convincing myself,— the Associations Ouvrières, or manu facturing and trading associations of working men - young French Protestantism-Liberal Roman Catholicism.

Whilst with us the cooperative principle among the working classes has been mainly applied to consumption, or has used consumption as the leverage for production, it has, on the contrary, started in France from production itself. I had visited Paris in 1849, when the “ Working Associations" were numbered by the hundred. I had seen several of them, some of which are defunct, whilst others still subsist. The total number of them is now reduced to

ing among the foremost establishments in their respective trades. There are the patriarchs of French associative labour, the "jewellers in gilt," doing their quiet business of about 8,0001, a year, who date already since 1834. There is the great association of masons, numbering its hundred members, with a number of smaller associations in the building trades following in its wake; it has suffered during the past year through some ill-judged undertakings, but is seeking now how best to avail itself of the lessons of the past. There are the arm-chair makers and the joiners of the Cour St. Joseph, who have weathered all the tricks of their managers, and have never lost their reputation for good work. There are the chair-turners of the Rue Popincourt, with their vast workshops, abundant

« ElőzőTovább »