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(“OWEN MEREDITH ") INDIAN LOVE-SONG
Where art thou, O my.
With dove's eyes hidden in thy locks ? My body sleeps : my heart awakes. My hair is wet with dews of night.
My lips to breathe thy name are mov'd My feet are torn upon the rocks. In slumber's ear : then slumber breaks ; The cedarn scents, the spices, fail And I am drawn to thee, belov'd.
About me. Strange and stranger seems Thou drawest me, thou drawest me,
There comes a sound of Through sleep, through night. I hear
Above the darkness on the vale.
No trees drop gums; but poison flowers
From rifts and clefts all round me fall ; The vineyards and the villages
The perfumes of thy midnight bowers, Were silent in the vales, the rocks ;
The fragrance of thy chambers, all I follow'd past the myrrhy trees,
Is drawing me, is drawing me. And by the footsteps of the flocks.
Thy baths prepare ; anoint thine hair ; Wild honey, dropp'd from stone to stone, Open the window : meet me there :
Where bees have been, my path suggests. I come to thee, to thee, to thee !
The winds are in the eagles' nests. The moon is hid. I walk alone.
Thy lattices are dark, my own.
Thy doors are still. My love, look out. Thou drawest me, thou drawest me
Arise, my dove with tender tone. Across the glimmering wildernesses, The camphor-clusters all about And drawest me, my love, to thee,
Are whitening. Dawn breaks silently. With dove's eyes hidden in thy tresses. And all my spirit with the dawn The world is many : my love is one ;
Expands; and, slowly, slowly drawn, I find no likeness for my love.
Through mist and darkness moves toward The cinnamons grow in the grove ;
thee. The Golden Tree grows all alone.
O who hath seen her wondrous hair,
Or seen my dove's eyes in the woods ? Or found her voice upon the air,
Her steps along the solitudes ? Or where is beauty like to hers ?
She draweth me, she draweth me.
I sought her by the incense-tree, And in the aloes, and in the firs."
At Paris it was, at the Opera there ;
hair, And the brooch on her breast, so bright.
Of all the operas that Verdi wrote,
The best, to my taste, is the Trovatore ; And Mario can soothe with a tenor note
The souls in Purgatory.
The moon on the tower slept soft as snow : And who was not thrill'd in the strangest
way, As we heard him sing, while the gas burn'd
low, « Non ti scordar di me" ?
Of that muslin dress (for the eve was
hot), And her warm white neck in its golden
chain, And her full, soft hair, just tied in a knot,
And falling loose again ; And the jasmine-flower in her fair young
breast, (O the faint, sweet smell of that jasmine
flower!) And the one bird singing alone to his nest,
And the one star over the tower.
The Emperor there, in his box of state,
Look'd grave, as if he had just then seen The red flag wave from the city-gate
Where his eagles in bronze had been. The Empress, too, had a tear in her eye. You'd have said that her fancy had gone
back again, For one moment, under the old blue sky,
To the old glad life in Spain. Well! there in our front-row box we sat,
Together, my bride-betroth'd and I; My gaze was fix'd on my opera-hat,
And hers on the stage hard by.
I thought of our little quarrels and strife, And the letter that brought me back my
ring And it all seem'd then, in the waste of
life, Such a very little thing !
For I thought of her grave below the hill, Which the sentinel cypress-tree stands
over ; And I thought
were she only living still, How I could forgive her, and love her !”
To my early love, with her eyes downcast,
And over her primrose face the shade (In short from the Future back to the Past),
There was but a step to be made.
That voice rang out from the donjon
Non ti scordar di me!
To my early love from my future bride
THE CHESS-BOARD One moment I look'd. Then I stole to the door,
My little love, do you rem
emember, I travers’d the passage ; and down at her Ere we were grown so sadly wise, side
Those evenings in the bleak December, I was sitting, a moment more.
Curtain'd warm from the snowy weather,
When you and I play'd chess together, My thinking of her, or the music's strain, Checkmated by each other's eyes ? Or something which never will be ex- Ah, still I see your soft white hand prest,
Hovering warm o'er Queen and Knight! Had brought her back from the grave Brave
Pawns in valiant battle stand ; again,
The double Castles guard the wings ; With the jasmine in her breast.
The Bishop, bent on distant things,
Moves, sidling through the fight. She is not dead, and she is not wed!
Our fingers touch ; our glances meet, But she loves me now, and she lov'd me And falter ; falls your golden hair then !
Against my cheek ; your bosom sweet And the very first word that her sweet lips Is heaving. Down the field, your Queen said,
Rides slow her soldiery all between, My heart grew youthful again.
And checks me unaware.
Ah me! the little battle 's done, The Marchioness there, of Carabas,
Dispers'd is all its chivalry ; She is wealthy, and young, and handsome Full many a move, since then, have we still,
'Mid Life's perplexing checkers made, And but for her . . . well, we 'll let that And many a game with Fortune play'd, pass,
What is it we have won ? She may marry whomever she will.
This, this at least — if this alone ;
That never, never, never more,
and I shut out the skies, And the flower in her bosom, I prize it Shut out the world, and wintry weather, above
And, eyes exchanging warmth with eyes, The brooch in my lady's breast.
Play chess, as then we play'd, together! The world is fill’d with folly and sin,
O, FOR the times which were (if any
Time be heroic) heroic indeed! And I think, in the lives of most women When the men were few,
And the deeds to do There's a moment when all would go Were mighty, and many, smooth and even,
And each man in his hand held a noble If only the dead could find out when
deed. back, and be forgiven.
Now the deeds are few,
And the men are many, But 0 the smell of that jasmine-flower!
And each man has, at most, but a noble And O that music! and O the way
THE DINNER HOUR
The taste of stronger food than such light
fare. FROM “LUCILE"
To feed on human flesh he did not dare,
Till many a meaner meal had slowly given O HOUR of all hours, the most blest upon The young destroyer strength to vanquish
earth, Blest hour of our dinners !
His restless rival in destruction, Man. The land of his birth; Meanwhile, on lesser victims he began The face of his first love ; the bills that he To test bis power; and in a cold spring owes ;
night The twaddle of friends, and venom of foes; Two weanling lambs first perish'd from his The sermon he heard when to church he
bite. last went;
The bleatings of their dam at break of day The money he borrow'd, the money he Drew to the spot where her dead lambspent ;
kins lay All of these things a man, I believe, may The other beasts. They, understanding not, forget,
In wistful silence round that fatal spot And not be the worse for forgetting; but yet Stood eyeing the dead lambs with looks Never, never, oh, never ! earth's luckiest
forlorn. sinner Hath unpunish'd forgotten the hour of his Adam, who was upon the march that morn, dinner!
Missing his bodyguard, turn'd back to see Indigestion, that conscience of every bad What they were doing ; and there also he stomach,
Saw the two frozen lambkins lying dead, Shall relentlessly gnaw and pursue him with But understood not. At the last he said, some ache
“ Since the lambs cannot move, methinks Or some pain ; and trouble, remorseless,
't were best
That I should carry them."
So on his breast
He laid their little bodies, and again We
may live without poetry, music, and art ; Set forward, follow'd o'er the frosty plain We may live without conscience, and live By his bewilder'd flocks. And in dismay without heart ;
They held their peace.
That was a silent We may live without friends; we may live day. without books ;
At night he laid the dead lambs on the But civilized man cannot live without cooks.
grass. He may live without books,— what is That night still colder than the other was, knowledge but grieving?
And when the morning broke there were He may live without hope, — what is hope
two more but deceiving ?
Dead lambs to carry. Adam took the four, He may live without love, — what is pas- And in his arms he bore them, no great way, sion but pining ?
Till eventide. That was a sorrowful day. But where is the man that can live without dining?
But, ere the next, two other lambkins died,
To carry them, all six. But the poor sheep THE LEGEND OF THE DEAD Said, “ Nay, we thank thee, Adam. Let LAMBS
Thou canst not carry them. 'T is all in vain. DEATH, though already in the world, as We fear our lambkins will not wake again. yet
And, if they wake, they could not walk Had only tried his timorous tooth to whet On grass and leaves. But he began to grow Their little legs are stiffen'd. Let them Greedier, greater, and resolv'd to know
So Adam left the lambs. And all the
herd Follow'd him sorrowing, and not a word Was spoken. Never until then had they Their own forsaken. That was the worst
The Serpent is a prudent beast ; and right! For we were miserably cold last night, And may to-night be colder; and hard by Those dead lambs in their woolly fleeces
lie, Yet need them not as we do. They are dead. Go fetch them hitber!"
Adam shook his head, But went.
Next morning, to the beasts' surprise, Adam and Eve appear'd before their eyes In woollen fleeces warmly garmented. And all the beasts to one another said, “ How wonderful is Man, who can make
wool As good as sheep's wool, and more beauti
Only the Fox, who sniff’d and grinn'd, had
guess'd Man's unacknowledged theft : and to the
rest He sneer'd, “How wonderful is Woman's
whim ! See, Adam's wife hath made a sheep of
Eve said to Adam, as they went along, “ Adam, last night the cold was bitter
strong Warm fleeces to keep out the freezing wind Have those six lambkins thou hast left
behind; But they will never need them any more. Go, fetch them here ! and I will make, be
fore This day be done, stout garments for us
both, Lest we, too, wake no more.” Said Adam,
loth To do her bidding, “Why dost thou sup
pose Our lambs will nevermore have need of
those Warm fleeces ? They are sleeping." But
Eve said, “They are not sleeping, Adam. They are
dead.” “ Dead ? What is that?” “I know not.
But I know That they no more can feel the north wind
blow, Nor the sun burn. They cannot hear the
bleat Of their own mothers, cannot suffer heat Or cold, or thirst or hunger, weariness Or want, again.” “How dost thou know
all this?” Ask'd Adam. And Eve whisper'd in his
ear, “ The Serpent told me.” “ Is the Serpent
here ? If here he be, why hath he," Adam cried, “No good gift brought me ? " Adam's
wife replied, “ The best of gifts, if rightly understood, He brings thee, and that gift is counsel
SOME clerks aver that as the tree doth
fall Even forever so that tree shall lie, And that Death's act doth make perpetual The last state of the souls of men that die. If this be so, - if this, indeed, were sure, Then not a moment longer would I live ; Who, being now as I would fain endure, If man's last state doth his last hour sur
vive, Should be among the blessed souls ? I fear Life's many changes, not Death's change
lessness. So perfect is this moment's passing cheer, I needs must tremble lest it pass to less. Thus but in fickle love of life I live, Lest fickle life me of my love deprive.