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And the reader droned from the pu.pit,
Like the murmur of many bees, The legend of good Saint Guthlac,
And Saint Basil's homilies ;
Till the great bells of the convent,
From their prison in the tower, Guthlac and Bartholomæus,
Proclaimed the midnight hour.
And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney,
And the Abbot bowed his head,
But the Abbot was stark and dead.
Yet still in his pallid fingers
He clutched the golden bowl, In which, like a pearl dissolving,
Had sunk and dissolved his soul.
But not for this their revels
The jovial monks forbore,
We must drink to one Saint more!"
By his evening fire the artist
Pondered o'er his secret shame; Baffled, weary, and disheartened,
Still he mused, and dreamed of fame.
'T was an image of the Virgin
That had tasked his utmost skil. But alas ! his fair ideal
Vanished and escaped him still.
From a distant Eastern island
Had the precious wood been brought; Day and night the anxious master
Åt his toil untiring wrought;
Till, discouraged and desponding,
Sat he now in shadows deep, And the day's humiliation
Found oblivion in sleep.
Then a voice cried, “ Rise, O master!
From the burning brand of oak Shape the thought that stirs within thee!”
And the startled artist woke,
Woke, and from the smoking embers
Seized and quenched the glowing wood; And therefrom he carved an image,
And he saw that it was good.
O thou sculptor, painter, poet!
Take this lesson to thy heart: That is best which lieth nearest;
Shape from that thy work of art.
PEGASUS IN POUND.
ONCE into a quiet village,
Without haste and without heed, In the golden prime of morning,
Strayed the poet's winged steed.
It was Autumn, and incessant
Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves, And, like living coals, the apples
Burned among the withering leaves.
Loud the clamorous bell was ringing
From its belfry gaunt and grim; 'T was the daily call to labor,
Not a triumph meant for him.
Not the less he saw the landscape,
In its gleaming vapor veiled; Not the less he breathed the odors
That the dying leaves exhaled.
Thus, upon the village common,
By the school-boys he was found; And the wise men, in their wisdom,
Put him straightway into pound.
Then the sombre village crier,
Ringing loud his brazen bell, Wandered down the street proclaiming
There was an estray to sell.
And the curious country people,
Rich and poor, and young and old. Came in haste to see this wondrous
Winged steed, with mane of gold.
Thus the day passed, and the evening
Fell, with vapors cold and dim; But it brought no food nor shelter,
Brought no straw nor stall, for him.
Patiently, and still expectant,
Looked he through the wooden bars, Saw the moon rise o'er the landscape,
Saw the tranquil, patient stars;
Till at length the bell at midnight
Sounded from its dark abode, And, from out a neighbouring farm-yard
Loud the cock Alectryon crowed.
Then, with nostrils wide distended,
Breaking from his iron chain, And unfolding far his pinions,
To those stars he soared again.
On the morrow, when the village
Woke to all its toil and care,
And they knew not when nor where.
But they found, upon the greensward
Where his struggling hoofs had trod, Pure and bright, a fountain flowing
From the hoof-marks in the sod.
From that hour, the fount unfailing
Gladdens the whole region round, iStrengthening all who drink its waters,
While it soothes them with its sound.
I HEARD a voice, that cried,
I saw the pallid corpse
And the voice forever cried,
Balder the Beautiful,
All things in earth and air
Hæder, the blind old God,
They laid him in his ship,
They launched the burning ship!