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We and Bice bear the loss forever.
“ How shouldst thon, of all men, smite, What of Rafael's sonnets, Dante's picture ?
and save us ?"
Guesses what is like to prove the sequel This : no artist lives and loves that longs “ Egypt's flesh-pots —nay, the drought was not
better." Once, and only once, and for One only, (Ah, the prize!) to find his love a language Oh, the crowd must have emphatic warFit and fair and simple and sufficient
rant ! Using nature that 's an art to others, Theirs, the Sinai-forehead's cloven brilNot, this one time, art that's turn'd his
Right-arm's rod-sweep, tongue's imperial Ay, of all the artists living, loving,
fiat. None but would forego his proper dowry, – Never dares the man put off the prophet. Does he paint ? he fain would write a poem,
Did he love one face from out the thouDoes he write ? he fain would paint a pic
(Were she Jethro's daughter, white and Put to proof art alien to the artist's,
wifely, Once, and only once, and for One only, Were she but the Æthiopian bondslave,) So to be the man and leave the artist, He would envy yon dumb patient camel, Save the man's joy, miss the artist's sorrow. Keeping a reserve of scanty water
Meant to save his own life in the desert ; Wherefore ? Heaven's gift takes earth's Ready in the desert to deliver abatement !
(Kneeling down to let his breast be open'd) He who smites the rock and spreads the Hoard and life together for his mistress.
water Bidding drink and live a crowd beneath I shall never, in the years remaining, him,
Paint you pictures, no, nor carve you Even he, the minute makes immortal,
statues, Proves, perchance, his mortal in the minute, Make you music that should all-express me; Desecrates, belike, the deed in doing, So it seems : I stand on my attainment. While he smites, how can he but remem- This of verse alone, one life allows me ; ber,
Verse and nothing else have I to give you. So he smote before, in such a peril,
Other heights in other lives, God willing When they stood and mock'd
6 Shall All the gifts from all the heights, your own, smiting help us?”
Love! When they drank and sneer'd -“A stroke is easy!”
Yet a semblance of resource avails us When they wip'd their mouths and went Shade so finely touchd, love's sense must their journey,
seize it. Throwing him for thanks
“ But drought Take these lines, look lovingly and nearly, was pleasant.
Lines I write the first time and the last
time. Thus old memories mar the actual tri- He who works in fresco, steals a hair-brush, umph ;
Curbs the liberal hand, subservient proudly, Thus the doing savors of disrelish ; Cramps his spirit, crowds its all in little, Thus achievement lacks a gracious some- Makes a strange art of an art familiar, what ;
Fills his lady's missal-marge with flowerets. O’er-importun'd brows becloud the man- He who blows thro' bronze, may breathe date,
thro' silver, Carelessness or consciousness, the gesture. Fitly serenade a slumbrous princess. for he bears an ancient wrong about him, He who writes, may write for once, as I do. Sees and knows again those phalanx'd faces, Hears, yet one time more, the 'custom'd Love, you saw me gather men and women, prelude -
Live or dead or fashion d by my fancy,
Enter each and all, and use their service, Proves she like some portent of an iceSpeak from every mouth, — the speech, a berg poem.
Swimming full upon the ship it founders, Hardly shall I tell my joys and sorrows, Hungry with huge teeth of splinter'd crysHopes and fears, belief and disbelieving :
tals ? I am mine and yours the rest be all Proves she as the pay’d-work of a sapphire men's,
Seen by Moses when he climb’d the mounKarshook, Cleon, Norbert and the fifty.
tain ? Let me speak this once in my true person, Moses, Aaron, Nabad and Abihu Not as Lippo, Roland or Andrea,
Climb'd and saw the very God, the HighThough the fruit of speech be just this
Stand upon the pav'd-work of a sapphire. Pray you, look on these my men and wo- Like the bodied heaven in his clearness men,
Shone the stone, the sapphire of that pav'dTake and keep my fifty poems finish'd ;
work, Where my heart lies, let my brain lie When they ate and drank and saw God also !
also ! Poor the speech ; be how I speak, for all
What were seen ? None knows, none ever
shall know. Not but that you know me! Lo, the Only this is sure - the sight were other, moon's self !
Not the moon's same side, born late in Here in London, yonder late in Florence,
Florence, Still we find her face, the thrice trans- Dying now impoverish'd here in London. figur'd.
God be thank'd, the meanest of his creaCurving on a sky imbrued with color,
tures Drifted over Fiesole by twilight,
Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world Came she, our new crescent of a hair's
One to show a woman when he loves Full she flar'd it, lamping Samminiato,
her. Rounder 'twixt the cypresses, and rounder, Perfect till the nightingales applauded,
of me, but think of you, Love! Now, a piece of her old self, impoverish’d, This to you — yourself my moon of poets ! Hard to greet, she traverses the house- Ah, but that's the world's side — there's roofs,
the wonder Hurries with unbandsome thrift of silver, Thus they see you, praise you, think they Goes dispiritedly, — glad to finish. What, there's nothing in the moon note- There in turn I stand with them and praise worthy ?
you, Nay – for if that moon could love a Out of my own self, I dare to phrase it. mortal,
But the best is when I glide from out Use, to charm him (so to fit a fancy)
them, All her magic ('t is the old sweet mythos) Cross a step or two of dubious twilight, She would turn a new side to her mortal, Come out on the other side, the novel Side unseen of herdsman, huntsman, steers- Silent silver lights and darks undream'd
of, Blank to Zoroaster on his terrace,
Where I hush and bless myself with siBlind to Galileo on his turret,
lence. Dumb to Homer, dumb to Keats — him, even !
Oh, their Rafael of the dear Madonnas, Think, the wonder of the moonstruck mor- Oh, their Dante of the dread Inferno, tal
Wrote one song -- and in my brain I sing When she turns round, comes again in
Drew one angel — borne, see, on my Opens out anew for worse or better?
In sight? Not half! for it seem'd it was
certain, to match man's birth, (AFTER HE HAS BEEN EXTEMPORIZING UPON Nature in turn conceiv'd, obeying an THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF HIS INVEN
impulse as I; TION)
And the emulous heaven yearn’d down, Would that the structure brave, the mani
made effort to reach the earth, fold music I build,
As the earth had done her best, in my Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys passion, to scale the sky : to their work,
Novel splendors burst forth, grew familiar Claiming each slave of the sound, at a
and dwelt with mine, touch, as when Solomon will'd
Not a point nor peak but found, but fix'd Armies of angels that soar, legions of its wandering star ; demons that lurk,
Meteor-moons, balls of blaze : and they did Man, brute, reptile, fly, — alien of end and not pale nor pine, of aim,
For earth had attain’d to heaven, there Adverse, each from the other heaven
was no more near nor far. high, hell-deep remov'd, Should rush into sight at once as he nam'd Nay more ; for there wanted not who walk'd the ineffable Name,
in the glare and glow, And pile him a palace straight, to pleas- Presences plain in the place ; or, fresh ure the princess he lov'd !
from the Protoplast,
Furnish'd for ages to come, when a kindlier Would it might tarry like his, the beauti- wind should blow, ful building of mine,
Lur'd now to begin and live, in a house This which my keys in a crowd press'd to their liking at last ; and importun’d to raise !
Or else the wonderful Dead who have Ah, one and all, how they help'd, would pass'd through the body and gone, dispart now and now combine,
But were back once more to breathe in Zealous to hasten the work, heighten
an old world worth their new : their master his praise !
What never had been, was now ; what was And one would bury his brow with a blind
as it shall be anon ; plunge down to hell,
And what is, — shall I say, match'd Burrow awhile and build, broad on the both ? for I was made perfect too.
roots of things, Then up again swim into sight, having All through my keys that gave their sounds
to a wish of my soul, Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the All through my soul that prais'd as its nether springs.
wish How'd visibly forth,
All through music and me! For think, had And another would mount and march, like I painted the whole, the excellent minion he was,
Why, there it had stood, to see, nor Ay, another and yet another, one crowd the process so wonder-worth. but with many a crest,
Had I written the same, made verse Raising my rampir'd walls of gold as trans- still, effect proceeds from cause, parent as glass,
Ye know why the forms are fair, ye hear Eager to do and die, yield each his place how the tale is told ; to the rest :
It is all triumphant art, but art in obedience For higher still and higher (as a runner tips
to laws, with fire,
Painter and poet are proud, in the artistWhen a great illumination surprises a
list enrollid :festal night — Outlining round and round Rome's dome Bu ere the finger of God, a flash of the from space to spire)
will that can, Up, the pinnacled glory reachd, and Existent behind all laws : that made the pride of my soul was in sight.
them, and, lo, they are !
And I know not if, save in this, such gift The high that prov'd too high, the heroic for be allow'd to man,
earth too hard, That out of three sounds he frame, not a The passion that left the ground to lose fourth sound, but a star.
itself in the sky, Consider it well : each tone of our scale in Are music sent up to God by the lover and itself is nought ;
the bard ; It is everywhere in the world — loud, Enough that he heard it once : we shall soft, and all is said :
hear it by and by. Give it to me to use! I mix it with two in my thought,
And what is our failure here but a triAnd, there! Ye have heard and seen : umph's evidence consider and bow the head !
For the fulness of the days ? Have we
wither'd or agoniz'd ? Well, it is gone at last, the palace of music Why else was the pause prolong'd but that I rear'd;
singing might issue thence ? Gone! and the good tears start, the Why rush'd the discords in, but that praises that come too slow;
harmony should be priz'd ? For one is assur'd at first, one scarce can Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to say that he fear'd,
clear, That he even gave it a thought, the gone Each sufferer says his say, his scheme of thing was to go.
the weal and woe : Never to be again! But many more of the But God has a few of us whom he whispers kind
in the ear ; As good, nay, better perchance : is this The rest may reason and welcome ; 't is your comfort to me ?
we musicians know. To me, who must be sav'd because I cling with my mind
Well, it is earth with me ; silence resumes To the same, same self, same love, same
her reign : God : ay, what was, shall be.
I will be patient and proud, and soberly
acquiesce. Therefore to whom turn I but to Thee, the Give me the keys. I feel for the common ineffable Name ?
chord again, Builder and maker, thou, of houses not Sliding by semitones, till I sink to the made with hands!
minor, — yes, What, have fear of change from thee who And I blunt it into a ninth, and I stand on art ever the same ?
alien ground, Doubt that thy power can fill the heart Surveying awhile the heights I rolld from that thy power expands ?
into the deep : There shall never be one lost good! What Which, hark, I have dar'd and done, for was, shall live as before ;
my resting-place is found, The evil is null, is nought, is silence im- The C Major of this life : so, now I will plying sound;
try to sleep. What was good, shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more ;
PROSPICE On the earth the broken arcs ; in the heaven, a perfect round.
FEAR death ? — to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face, All we have will’d or hop'd or dream'd of When the snows begin, and the blasts denote good, shall exist;
I am nearing the place, Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, The power of the night, the press of the nor good, nor power
storm, Whose voice has gone forth, but each sur- The post of the foe; vives for the melodist,
Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a When eternity affirms the conception of visible form, an hour.
Yet the strong man must go :
INSCRIBED ON A ROCK ABOVE THE GRAVE OF
For the journey is done and the summit
LEVI LINCOLN THAXTER, APRIL, 1885. be gain'd, The reward of it all.
THOU whom these eyes saw never, say I was a fighter, so one fight
friends true, more,
Who say my soul, help'd onward by my The best and the last!
song, I would hate that death bandaged my eyes, Though all unwittingly, has help'd thee and forbore,
too? And bade me creep past.
I gave but of the little that I knew : No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like How were the gift requited, while along my peers
Life's path I pace, couldst thou make The heroes of old,
weakness strong, Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's Help me with knowledge — for Life's old.
Death 's new ! Of pain, darkness and cold. For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
MUCKLE-MOUTH MEG 1 The black minute's at end, And the elements’ rage, the fiend-voices Frown't the Laird on the Lord : “So, red
handed I catch thee ? Shall dwindle, shall blend,
Death-doom'd by our Law of the Border! Shall change, shall become first a peace out We've a gallows outside and a chiel to disof pain.
patch thee : Then a light, then thy breast,
hangs : all 's in order." O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
He met frown with smile, did the young And with God be the rest !
English gallant :
I beg !
He's comely : be merciful! Grace for the
callant This is a spray the bird clung to,
- If he marries our Muckle-mouth Making it blossom with pleasure,
“No mile-wide-mouth'd monster of yours Oh, what a hope beyond measure
do I marry : Was the poor spray's, which the flying feet Grant rather the gallows !” laugh'd he. hung to,
“Foul fare kith and kin of you — why do So to be singled out, built in, and sung to!
“To tame your fierce temper!” quoth
she. This is a heart the queen leant on, Thrill'd in a minute erratic,
“Shove him quick in the Hole, shut him Ere the true bosom she bent on,
fast for a week : Meet for love's regal dalmatic.
Cold, darkness, and hunger work wonOh, what a fancy ecstatic
ders : Was the poor heart's, ere the wanderer Who lion-like roars now,
will squeak, Love to be sav'd for it, proffer'd to, spent And it rains' soon succeed to it thun
you tarry ?”
1 Compare J. Ballantine, p. 84.