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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 basd me my palace well,
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 enroll'd : festal nightOutlining round and round Rome's dome But here is the finger of God, a flash of the from space to spire)
will that can, Up, the pinnacled glory reach'd, and Existent behind all laws: that made the pride of my soul was in sight.
them, and, lo, they are !
in the ear ;
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 ;
hear it by and by.
And what is our failure here but a tri-
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
we musicians know.
Well, it is earth wit me ; silence resumes
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 rollid 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,
try to sleep.
Fear death ? — to feel the fog in my throat,
The mist in my face, All we have willid 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'D the Laird on the Lord : "So, redthat rave,
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,
Who trespasses - 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 :
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 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, mouse-fashion
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. 81.
Soon week came to end, and, from Hole's
door set wide, Out he march’d, and there waited the
lassie : “Yon gallows, or Muckle-mouth Meg for
a bride! Consider! Sky's blue and turf 's grassy: “Life's sweet ; shall I say ye wed Muckle
mouth Meg?” “Not I,” quoth the stout heart : “ too
eerie The mouth that can swallow a bubblyjock's
Shall I let it munch mine? Never,
Oh to love so, be so lov'd, yet so mis
taken ! What had I on earth to do With the slothful, with the mawkish, the
unmanly ? Like the aimless, helpless, hopeless did I
- Being who? One who never turn'd his back but march'd
breast forward, Never doubted clouds would break, Never dream’d, though right were worsted,
wrong would triumph, Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight
Sleep to wake. No, at noonday in the bustle of man's
work-time Greet the unseen with a cheer ! Bid him forward, breast and back as either
should be, “ Strive and thrive!” cry “Speed, — fight
on, fare ever
There as here !"
HOW'S MY BOY?
“Ho, Sailor of the sea ! How's my boy - my boy ?” “What's your boy's name, good wife, And in what good ship sail'd he ?”
“My boy John -
She sings no song of love's despair,
lute-strings laid :
“ You come back from sea,
The murmur of the mourning ghost
That keeps the shadowy kine “Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
The sorrows of thy line !” Ravelston, Ravelston,
The merry path that leads Down the golden morning hill,
And thro' the silver meads ;
my John ?"
A NUPTIAL EVE
His henchmen sing, his hawk-bells ring,
His belted jewels shine ! Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
The sorrows of thy line !
Year after year, where Andrew came,
Comes evening down the glade, And still there sits a moonshine ghost
Where sat the sunshine maid.
Oh, happy, happy maid,
blowing flower, Moves from her moving lips in many a
Her misty hair is faint and fair,
She keeps the shadowy kine ; Oh, Keith of Ravelston,
The sorrows of thy line !
The stile is lone and cold,