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But huge cathedral fronts of every age, Grave, florid, stern, as far as eye could see, One after one : and then the great ridge
Who, never naming God except for gain, So never took that useful name in vain, Made Him his catspaw and the Cross his
tool, And Christ the bait to trap his dupe and
fool; Nor deeds of gift, but gifts of grace he
forged, And snake-like slimed his victim ere he
gorged; And oft at Bible meetings, o'er the rest Arising, did his holy oily best, Dropping the too rough H in Hell and
Heaven, To spread the Word by which himself
had thriven." How like you this old satire?'
“Nay,' she said, 'I loathe it : he had never kindly heart, Nor ever cared to better his own kind, Who first wrote satire, with no pity in it. But will you hear my dream, for I had one That altogether went to music? Still It awed me.
Lessening to the lessening music, back, And past into the belt and swelld again Slowly to music : ever when it broke The statues, king or saint, or founder fell ; Then from the gaps and chasms of ruin
left Came men and women in dark clusters
round, Some crying, “Set them up! they shall
not fall !” And others “Let them lie, for they have
fall'n.” And still they strove and wrangled : and
she grieved In her strange dream, she knew not why,
to find Their wildest wailings never out of tune With that sweet note; and ever as their
shrieks Ran highest up the gamut, that great wave Returning, while none mark'd it, on the
crowd Broke, mixt with awful light, and show'd
their eyes Glaring, and passionate looks, and swept
away The men of flesh and blood, and men of
stone, To the waste deeps together.
Then she told it, having dream'd Of that same coast.
'- But round the North, a light, A belt, it seem'd, of luminous vapour, lay, And ever in it a low musical note Swell’d up and died; and, as it swell’d, a
ridge Of breaker issued from the belt, and still Grew with the growing note, and when
the note Had reach'd a thunderous fullness, on
those cliffs Broke, mixt with awful light (the same as
that Living within the belt) whereby she saw That all those lines of cliffs were cliffs
Then I fixi My wistful eyes on two fair images, Both crown'd with stars and high among
the stars, – The Virgin Mother standing with her
child High up on one of those dark minster.
frontsTill she began to totter, and the child
"Child? No!' said he, “but this tide's
roar, and his, Our Boanerges with his threats of doom, And loud-lung'd Antibabylonianisms (Altho' I grant but little music there) Went both to make your dream : but if
there were A music harmonizing our wild cries, Sphere-music such as that you dream'd
about, Why, that would make our passions far
too like The discords dear to the musician. No-One shriek of hate would jar all the hymns
of heaven : True Devils with no ear, they howl in
tune With nothing but the Devil !'
* Ah, dearest, if there be A devil in man, there is an angel too, And if he did that wrong you charge him
with, His angel broke his heart. But your
rough voice (You spoke so loud) has roused the child
again. Sleep, little birdie, sleep! will she not sleep Without her little birdie?” well then,
sleep, And I will sing you “birdie.”'
Saying this, The woman half turn'd round from him
she loved, Left him one hand, and reaching thro'
the night Her other, found (for it was close beside) And half embraced the basket cradle-head With one soft arm, which, like the pliant
bough That moving moves the nest and nestling,
sway'd The cradle, while she sang this baby song.
""True” indeed! One of our town, but later by an hour Here than ourselves, spoke with me on
the shore ; While you were running down the sands,
and made The dimpled flounce of the sea-furbelow
flap, Good man, to please the child. She
brought strange news. Why were you silent when I spoke to
night? I had set my heart on your forgiving him Before you knew. We must forgive the
What does little birdie say
What does little baby say,
Those marriage-bells, echoing in ear and
heartBut cast a parting glance at me, you saw, As who should say 'Continue.' Well, he
had One golden hour--of triumph shall I say? Solace at least-before he left his home.
'She sleeps : let us too, let all evil,
sleep. He also sleeps-another sleep than ours. He can do no more wrong : forgive him,
dear, And I shall sleep the sounder !'
Would you had seen him in that hour
of his ! He moved thro' all of it majesticallyRestrain'd himself quite to the close--but
Then the man, His deeds yet live, the worst is yet to
come. Yet let your sleep for this one night be
sound : I do forgive him !
*Thanks, my love,' she said, "Your own will be the sweeter,' and they
Whether they were his lady's marriage
bells, Or prophets of them in his fantasy, I never ask'd : but Lionel and the girl Were wedded, and our Julian came again Back to his mother's house among the
pines. But these, their gloom, the mountains and
the Bay, The whole land weigh’d him down as
Ætna does The Giant of Mythology: he would go, Would leave the land for ever, and had
gone Surely, but for a whisper, 'Go not yet,' Some warning, and divinely as it seem'd By that which follow'd—but of this I deem As of the visions that he told--the event Glanced back upon them in his after lise, And partly made them--tho' he knew it
THE GOLDEN SUPPER.
[This poem is founded upon a story in Boccaccio.
A young lover, Julian, whose cousin and foster-sister, Camilla, has been wedded to his friend and rival, Lionel, endeavours to narrate the story of his own love for her, and the strange sequel of it. He speaks of having been haunted in delirium by visions and the sound of bells, sometimes tolling for a funeral, and at last ringing for a marriage ; but he breaks away, overcome, as he approaches the Event, and a witness to it completes the tale.)
He flies the event : he leaves the event
to me : Poor Julian-how he rush'd away; the
And thus he stay'd and would not look
at her No not for months: but, when the eleventh
moon After their marriage lit the lover's Bay, Heard yet once more the tolling bell, and
Of black and bands of silver, which the
moon Struck from an open grating overhead High in the wall, and all the rest of her Drown'd in the gloom and horror of the
Would you could toll me out of life, but
foundAll sostly as his mother broke it to himA crueller reason than a crazy ear, For that low knell tolling his lady deadDead—and had lain three days without a
pulse : All that look'd on her had pronounced
her dead. And so they bore her (for in Julian's land They never nail a dumb head up in elm), Bore her free-faced to the free airs of
heaven, And laid her in the vault of her own kin.
It was my wish,' he said, 'to pass, to
sleep, To rest, to be with her—till the great day Peal'd on us with that music which rights
What did he then ? not die : he is here
and haleNot plunge headforemost from the moun
tain there, And leave the name of Lover's Leap: not
he : He knew the meaning of the whisper
now, Thought that he knew it. This, I
stay'd for this ; O love, I have not seen you for so long. Now, now, will I go down into the grave, I will be all alone with all I love, And kiss her on the lips. She is his no
more : The dead returns to me, and I go down To kiss the dead.'
And raised us hand in hand.' And kneel
ing there Down in the dreadful dust that once was
man, Dust, as he said, that once was loving
hearts, Hearts that had beat with such a love as
mineNot such as mine, no, nor for such as
her-He softly put his arm about her neck And kiss'd her more than once, till help
less death And silence made him bold—nay, but I
wrong him, He reverenced his dear lady even in death; But, placing his true hand upon her heart, O, you warm heart,' he moan'd, not
even death Can chill you all at once :' then starting,
thought His dreams had come again. “Do I
wake or sleep? Or am I made immortal, or my love Mortal once more?' It beat--the heart
-it beat : Faint—but it beat : at which his own began To pulse with such a vehemence that it
drown's The feebler motion underneath his hand. But when at last his doubts were satisfied,
The fancy stirr'd him so He rose and went, and entering the dim
vault, And, making there a sudden light, beheld All round about him that which all will
be. The light was but a flash, and went again. Then at the far end of the vault he saw His lady with the moonlight on her face; Her breast as in a shadow-prison, bars
He raised her softly from the sepulchre, And, wrapping her all over with the
cloak Hecame in, and now striding fast, and now Sitting awhile to rest, but evermore Holding his golden burthen in his arms, So bore her thro' the solitary land Back to the mother's house where she was
And you shall give me back when he
returns. *Stay then a little,' answer'd Julian, 'here, And keep yourself, none knowing, to
yourself ; And I will do your will. I may not stay, No, not an hour ; but send me notice of
him When he returns, and then will I return, And I will make a solemn offering of you To him you love.' And faintly she
replied, * And I will do your will, and none shall
There the good mother's kindly minis
tering, With half a night's appliances, recalld Her fluttering life : she rais'd an eye that
ask'd •Where?' till the things familiar to her
youth Had made a silent answer : then she spoke Here ! and how came I here?' and
learning it (They told her somewhat rashly as I think) At once began to wander and to wail, 'Ay, but you know that you must give
me back : Send ! bid him come ;' but Lionel was
awayStung by his loss had vanish'd, none knew
where. He casts me out,' she wept, 'and goes'
--a wail That seeming something, yet was nothing,
born Not from believing mind, but shatter'd
nerve, Yet haunting Julian, as her own reproof At some precipitance in her burial. Then, when her own true spirit had re
turn'd, O yes, and you,' she said, “and none but
you.' For you have given me life and love again, And none but you yourself shall tell him
Not know? with such a secret to be
known. But all their house was old and loved
them both, And all the house had known the loves
of both; Had died almost to serve them any way, And all the land was waste and solitary : And then he rode away ; but after this, An hour or two, Camilla's travail came Upon her, and that day a boy was born, Heir of his face and land, to Lionel.
And thus our lonely lover rode away, And pausing at a hostel in a marsh, There fever seized upon him : myself was
then Travelling that land, and meant to rest
an hour ; And sitting down to such a base repast, It makes me angry yet to speak of it— : I heard a groaning overhead, and climb'd The moulder'd stairs (for everything was
vile) And in a loft, with none to wait on him, Found, as it seem'd, a skeleton alone, Raving of dead men's dust and beating