[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

And he struck me, madman, over the face,
Struck me before the languid fool,
Who was gaping and grinning by :
Struck for himself an evil stroke;
Wrought for his house an irredeemable

woe ; For front to front in an hour we stood, And a million horrible bellowing echoes

broke From the red-ribb'd hollow behind the

wood, And thunder'd up into Heaven the Christ

less code, That must have life for a blow. Ever and ever afresh they seem'd to grow. Was it he lay there with a fading eye? • The fault was mine,' he whisper'd, 'fly!' Then glided out of the joyous wood The ghastly Wraith of one that I know; And there rang on a sudden a passionate

cry, A cry for a brother's blood : It will ring in my heart and my ears, till

I die, till I die.


• 1. 'THE fault was mine, the fault was

mine'Why am I sitting here so stunn'd and still, Plucking the harmless wild-flower on the

hill ?It is this guilty hand ! And there rises ever a passionate cry From underneath in the darkening landWhat is it, that has been done? O dawn of Eden bright over earth and sky, The fires of Hell brake out of thy rising



The fires of Hell and of Hate ;
For she, sweet soul, had hardly spoken a

word, When her brother ran in his rage to the

gate, He came with the babe-faced lord ; Heap'd on her terms of disgrace, And while she wept, and I strove to be

cool, He fiercely gave me the lie, Till I with as fierce an anger spoke,

Is it gone? my pulses beat-
What was it? a lying trick of the brain ?
Yet I thought I saw her stand,
A shadow there at my feet,
High over the shadowy land.
It is gone ; and the heavens fall in a

gentle rain, When they should burst and drown with

deluging storms The feeble vassals of wine and anger and

lust, The little hearts that know not how to

forgive : : Arise, my God, and strike, for we hold

Thee just, Strike dead the whole weak race of veno

mous worms,


That sting each other here in the dust ; We are not worthy to live.


A disease, a hard mechanic ghost
That never came from on high
Nor ever arose from below,
But only moves with the moving eye,
Flying along the land and the main-
Why should it look like Maud ?
Am I to be overawed
By what I cannot but know
Is a juggle born of the brain ?


See what a lovely shell,
Small and pure as a pearl,
Lying close to my foot,
Frail, but a work divine,
Made so fairily well
With delicate spire and whorl,
How exquisitely minute,
A miracle of design !

What is it? a learned man
Could give it a clumsy name.
Let him name it who can,
The beauty would be the same.

The tiny cell is forlorn,
Void of the little living will
That made it stir on the shore.
Did he stand at the diamond door
Of his house in a rainbow frill ?
Did he push, when he was uncurl'd,
A golden foot or a fairy horn
Thro' his dim water-world ?

Back from the Breton coast,
Sick of a nameless fear,
Back to the dark sea-line
Looking, thinking of all I have lost;
An old song vexes my ear ;
But that of Lamech is mine.

VII. For years, a measureless ill, For years, for ever, to partBut she, she would love me still ; And as long, O God, as she Have a grain of love for me, So long, no doubt, no doubt, Shall I nurse in my dark heart, However weary, a spark of will Not to be trampled out.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors]

IX. Who knows if he be dead ? Whether I need have fled ? Am I guilty of blood ? However this may be, Comfort her, comfort her, all things good, While I am over the sea ! Let me and my passionate love go by, But speak to her all things holy and high, Whatever happen to me! Me and my harmful love go by ; But come to her waking, find her asleep, Powers of the height, Powers of the deep, And comfort her tho' I die.

It leads me forth at evening,
It lightly winds and steals
In a cold white robe before me,
When all my spirit reels
At the shouts, the leagues of lights,
And the roaring of the wheels.

III. Courage, poor heart of stone ! I will not ask thee why Thou canst not understand That thou art left for ever alone : Courage, poor stupid heart of stone.-Or if I ask thee why, Care not thou to reply : She is but dead, and the time is at hand When thou shalt more than die.

Half the night I waste in sighs,
Half in dreams I sorrow after
The delight of early skies ;
In a wakeful doze I sorrow
For the hand, the lips, the eyes,
For the meeting of the morrow,
The delight of happy laughter,
The delight of low replies.



VI. 'Tis a morning pure and sweet, And a dewy splendour falls On the little flower that cling To the turrets and the walls ; 'Tis a morning pure and sweet, And the light and shadow fleet ; She is walking in the meadow, And the woodland echo rings ; In a moment we shall meet; She is singing in the meadow And the rivulet at her feet Ripples on in light and shadow To the ballad that she sings.

O that 'twere possible
After long grief and pain
To find the arms of my true love
Round me once again !

When I was wont to meet her
In the silent woody places
By the home that gave me birth,
We stood tranced in long embraces
Mixt with kisses sweeter sweeter
Than anything on earth.

A shadow flits before me,
Not thou, but like to thee :

VII. Do I hear her sing as of old, My bird with the shining head, My own dove with the tender eye? But there rings on a sudden a passionate

cry, There is some one dying or dead,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Then I rise, the eavedrops fall, And the yellow vapours choke The great city sounding wide ; The day comes, a dull red ball Wrapt in drifts of lurid smoke On the misty river-tide.

x. Thro' the hubbub of the market I steal, a wasted frame, It crosses here, it crosses there, Thro' all that crowd confused and loud, The shadow still the same; And on my heavy eyelids My anguish hangs like shame.

Dead, long dead,
Long dead !
And my heart is a handful of dust,
And the wheels go over my head,
And my bones are shaken with pain,
For into a shallow grave they are thrust,
Only a yard beneath the street,
And the hoofs of the horses beat, beat,
The hoofs of the horses beat,
Beat into my scalp and my brain,
With never an end to the stream of passing

feet, Driving, hurrying, marrying, burying, Clamour and rumble, and ringing and

clatter, And here beneath it is all as bad, For I thought the dead had peace, but it

is not so ; To have no peace in the grave, is that

[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small]


Wretchedest age, since Time began,
They cannot even bury a man ;
And tho' we paid our tithes in the days

that are gone, Not a bell was rung, not a prayer was

read; It is that which makes us loud in the

world of the dead; There is none that does his work, not

one; A touch of their office might have sufficed, But the churchmen fain would kill their

church, As the churches have killd their Christ.

Not that gray old wolf, for he came not

back From the wilderness, full of wolves, where

he used to lie; He has gather'd the bones for his o'er.

grown whelp to crack ; Crack them now for yourself, and howl, and die.

VI. Prophet, curse me the blabbing lip, And curse me the British vermin, the rat; I know not whether he came in the

Hanover ship, But I know that he lies and listens mute In an ancient mansion's crannies and

holes : Arsenic, arsenic, sure, would do it, Except that now we poison our babes,

poor souls ! It is all used up for that.



See, there is one of us sobbing,
No limit to his distress ;
And another, a lord of all things, praying
To his own great self, as I guess;
And another, a statesman there, betraying
His party-secret, fool, to the press ;
And yonder a vile physician, blabbing
The case of his patient—all for what?
To tickle the maggot born in an empty

head, And wheedle a world that loves him not For it is but a world of the dead.

Tell him now : she is standing here at my

head; Not beautiful now, not even kind ; He may take her now; for she never

speaks her mind, But is ever the one thing silent here. She is not of us, as I divine ; She comes from another stiller world of

the dead, Stiller, not fairer than mine.


IV. Nothing but idiot gabble ! For the prophecy given of old And then not understood, Has come to pass as foretold ; Not let any man think for the public good, But babble, merely for babble. For I never whisper'd a private affair Within the hearing of cat or mouse, No, not to myself in the closet alone, But I heard it shouted at once from the

top of the house ; Everything came to be known Who told him we were there?

But I know where a garden grows,
Fairer than aught in the world beside,
All made up of the lily and rose
That blow by night, when the season is

To the sound of dancing music and Autes :
It is only flowers, they had no fruits,
And I almost fear they are not roses, but


« ElőzőTovább »