Yet to the lychgate, where his chariot

stood, Strode from the porch, tall and erect


The slow-worm creeps, and the thin

weasel there Follows the mouse, and all is open field.


But nevermore did either pass the gate Save under pall with bearers. In one

month, Thro' weary and yet ever wearier hours, The childless mother went to seek her

child; And when he felt the silence of his house About him, and the change and not the

change, And those fixt eyes of painted ancestors Staring for ever from their gilded walls On him their last descendant, his own head Began to droop, to fall; the man became Imbecile; his one word was desolate ;' Dead for two years before his death was

A city clerk, but gently born and bred ; His wife, an unknown artist's orphan

child One babe was theirs, a Margaret, three

years old : They, thinking that her clear germander

eye Droopt in the giant-factoried city-gloom, Came, with a month's leave given them,

to the sea : For which his gains were dock’d, however

small : Small were his gains, and hard his work ;

besides, Their slender household fortunes (for the

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But when the second Christmas came,

escaped His keepers, and the silence which he felt, To find a deeper in the narrow gloom By wife and child ; nor wanted at his end The dark retinue reverencing death At golden thresholds; nor from tender

hearts, And those who sorrow'd o'er a vanish'd

race, Pity, the violet on the tyrant's grave. Then the great Hall was wholly broken

down, And the broad woodland parcell'd into

farms; And where the two contrived their

daughter's good, Lies the hawk's cast, the mole has made

his run, The hedgehog underneath the plantain

bores, The rabbit fondles his own harmless face,

Had risk'd his little) like the little thrift, Trembled in perilous places o'er a deep : And oft, when sitting all alone, his face Would darken, as he cursed his credulous

ness, And that one unctuous mouth which lured

him, rogue, To buy strange shares in some Peruvian

mine. Now seaward-bound for health they gain'd

a coast, All sand and cliff and deep-inrunning cave, At close of day; slept, woke, and went

the next, The Sabbath, pious variers from the

church, To chapel ; where a heated pulpiteer, Not preaching simple Christ to simple men, Announced the coming doom, and ful

minated Against the scarlet woman and her creed : Touching, upjetted in spirts of wild sea

smoke, And scaled in sheets of wasteful foam, and

fell In vast sea-cataracts-ever and anon Dead claps of thunder from within the

cliffs Heard thro' the living roar. At this the

babe, Their Margaret cradled near them, wail'd

and woke The mother, and the father suddenly cried, *A wreck, a wreck!' then turn'd, and

groaning said,

For sideways up he swung his arms, and

shriek'd * Thus, thus with violence,' ev'n as if he

held The Apocalyptic millstone, and himself Were that great Angel ; ‘Thus with vio

lence Shall Babylon be cast into the sea ; Then comes the close. The gentle

hearted wife Sat shuddering at the ruin of a world ; He at his own : but when the wordy storm Had ended, forth they came and paced

the shore, Ran in and out the long sea-framing caves, Drank the large air, and saw, but scarce

believed (The sootflake of so many a summer still Clung to their fancies)that they saw, the sea. So now on sand they walk'd, and now on

cliff, Lingering about the thymy promontories, Till all the sails were darken’d in the west, And rosed in the east : then homeward and

to bed : Where she, who kept a tender Christian

hope, Haunting a holy text, and still to that Returning, as the bird returns, at night, Let not the sun go down upon your

wrath,' Said, “ Love, forgive him :' but he did not

speak; And silenced by that silence lay the wife, Remembering her dear Lord who died for

all, And musing on the little lives of men, And how they mar this little by their feuds.

Forgive ! How many will say, "for

give," and find A sort of absolution in the sound To hate a little longer ! No; the sin That neither God nor man can well for

give, Hypocrisy, I saw it in him at once. Is it so true that second thoughts are best? Not first, and third, which are a riper first? Too ripe, too late! they come too late

for use. Ah love, there surely lives in man and

beast Something divine to warn them of their

foes : And such a sense, when first I fronted him, Said, “Trust him not ;” but after, when I

came To know him more, I lost it, knew him

less; Fought with what seem'd my own un

charity; Sat at his table ; drank his costly wines; Made more and more allowance for his

talk; Went further, fool! and trusted him with

all, All my poor scrapings from a dozen years

But while the two were sleeping, a full

tide Rose with ground-swell, which, on the

foremost rocks

Of dust and deskwork : there is no such

mine, None; but a gulf of ruin, swallowing gold, Not making. Ruin'd ! ruin'd! the sea

roars Ruin : a fearful night!'

Not fearful ; fair,' Said the good wife, if every star in

heaven Can make it fair : you do but hear the tide. Had you ill dreams ?'

O yes,' he said, I dream'd Of such a tide swelling toward the land, And I from out the boundless outer deep Swept with it to the shore, and enter'd one Of those dark caves that run beneath the

cliffs. I thought the motion of the boundless deep Bore thro’ the cave, and I was heaved

upon it In darkness : then I saw one lovely star Larger and larger. “What a world,” I

thought, “To live in !” but in moving on I found Only the landward exit of the cave, Bright with the sun upon the stream

beyond : And near the light a giant woman sat, All over earthy, like a piece of earth, A pickaxe in her hand : then out I slipt Into a land all sun and blossom, trees As high as heaven,and every bird that sings: And here the night-light flickering in my

eyes Awoke me.'

In fancy, till I slept again, and pieced
The broken vision; for I dream'd that still
The motion of the great deep bore me on,
And that the woman walk'd upon the

brink :
I wonder'd at her strength, and ask'd her

of it : . It came,” she said, “by working in the

mines :" O then to ask her of my shares, I thought ; And ask'd; but not a word ; she shook

her head. And then the motion of the current ceased, And there was rolling thunder ; and we

reach'd A mountain, like a wall of burs and

thorns ; But she with her strong feet up the steep

hill Trod out a path : I follow'd ; and at top She pointed seaward : there a fleet of

glass, That seem'd a fleet of jewels under me, Sailing along before a gloomy cloud That not one moment ceased to thunder,

past In sunshine : right across its track there


Down in the water, a long reef o gold, Or what seem'd gold : and I was glad at

first To think that in our often-ransack'd world Still so much gold was left ; and then I

fear'd Lest the gay navy there should splinter

on it, And fearing waved my arm to warn them

off ; An idle signal, for the brittle fleet (I thought I could have died to save it)

neard, Touch’d, clink’d, and clash’d, and

vanish’d, and I woke,

• That was then your dream,' she said, Not sad, but sweet.'

'So sweet, I lay,' said he, • And mused upon it, drifting up the


I heard the clash so clearly. Now I see My dream was Life; the woman honest

Work ; And my poor venture but a fleet of glass Wreck'd on a reef of visionary gold.'

I stood like one that had received a blow: I found a hard friend in his loose accounts, A loose one in the hard grip of his hand, A curse in his God-bless-you : then my

eyes Pursued him down the street, and far away, Among the honest shoulders of the crowd, Read rascal in the motions of his back, And scoundrel in the supple-sliding knee.'

Nay,' said the kindly wife to comfort

him, • You raised your arm, you tumbled down

and broke The glass with little Margaret's medicine

in it ; And, breaking that, you made and broke

your dream: A trifle makes a dream, a trifle breaks.'

• Was he so bound, poor soul ?' said

the good wife ; “Soare we all : but do not call him, love, Before you prove him, rogue, and proved,

forgive. His gain is loss; for he that wrongs his

friend Wrongs himself more, and ever bears

about A silent court of justice in his breast, Himself the judge and jury, and him

self The prisoner at the bar, ever condemn'd: And that drags down his life : then comes

what comes Hereafter : and he meant, he said he

meant, Perhaps he meant, or partly meant, you

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No trifle,' groan'd the husband ;

'yesterday I met him suddenly in the street, and ask'd That which I ask'd the woman in my

dream. Like her, he shook his head. “Show me

the books !” He dodged me with a long and loose ac

count. “The books, the books !” but he, he could

not wait, bound on a matter he of life and death : When the great Books (see Daniel seven

and ten) Were open'd, I should find he meant me

well ; And then began to bloat himself, and ooze All over with the fat affectionate smile That makes the widow lean. “My dearest

friend, Ilave faith, have faith! We live by faith,”

said he; “And all things work together for the good Of those”-it makes me sick to quote him

- last Gript my hand hard, and with God-bless

6“With all his conscience and one eye

askew"Love, let me quote these lines, that you

may learn A man is likewise counsel for himself, Too often, in that silent court of yours“ With all his conscience and one eye

askew, So false, he partly took himself for true ; Whose pious talk, when most his heart

was dry, Made wet the crafty crowsfoot round his

eye ;

you went.

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