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POETS OF THE RENAISSANCE
ford mador Brown
FOR THE PICTURE, “THE LAST
O. M. B.
(DIED NOVEMBER, 1874)
As one who strives from some fast steamer's Our homes to seek amid Australian fields,
side Us, not our million-acred island yields To note amid the backward-spinning foam The space to dwell in. Thrust out! Forced And keep in view some separate wreath to hear
therefrom, Low ribaldry from sots, and share rough That cheats him even the while he views it cheer
glide With rudely-nurtur'd men. The hope (Merging in other foam-tracks stretching youth builds
wide), Of fair renown, barter'd for that which So strive we to keep clear that day our shields
home Only the back, and half-form'd lands that First saw you riven a memory thence to
roam, The dust-storm blistering up the grasses
A shatter'd blossom on the eternal tide! wild.
O broken promises that show'd so fair ! There learning skills not, nor the poet's O morning sun of wit set in despair ! dream,
O brows made smooth as with the Muse's Nor anght so lov'd as children shall we see.”
chrism ! She grips his listless hand and clasps her O Oliver ! ourselves Death's cataclysm child,
Must soon o'ertake — but not in vain Through rainbow tears she sees a sunnier not where gleam,
Some vestige of your thought outspans the She cannot see a void, where he will be.
Sir Joseph Noel Paton
From some fount of splendor, far
Beyond or moon or sun or star
And can it be that he is dead ?
Ay! his breast is cold as snow :
Pulse and breath forever fled ; Where in dreamless sleep he lies
If I kiss'd him ever so, Folded palms and sealed eyes
To my kiss he were as lead ; Young Love, within my bosom — dead. If I clipp'd him as of yore
He would answer me no more Young Love that was so fond, so fair,
With lip or hand — for he is dead. With his mouth of rosy red, Argent wing and golden hair,
But breathe no futile sigh ; no tear Ånd those blue eyen, glory-fed
Smirch his pure and lonely bed.
mild, I LOVE my Lady ; she is very fair ; Oft makes me feel as strong wine would a Her brow is wan, and bound by simple hair;
child ; Her spirit sits aloof, and high,
And though her hand be airy light But glances from her tender eye
Of touch, it moves me with its might, In sweetness droopingly.
As would a sudden fright. As a young forest while the wind drives A hawk high pois'd in air, whose nerv'd through,
wing-tips My life is stirr'd when she breaks on my Tremble with might suppress'd, before he view;
dips, Her beauty grants my will no choice In vigilance, scarce more intense But silent awe, till she rejoice
Than I, when her voice holds my sense My longing with her voice.
Contented in suspense.
Her mention of a thing, august or poor, All hope and doubt, all fears, are vain : Makes it far nobler than it was before : The dreams I nurs’d of honoring her are As where the sun strikes life will gush,
past, And what is pale receive a flush,
And will not comfort me again. Rich hues, a richer blush.
I see a lurid sunlight throw its last
Wild gleam athwart the land whose shadMy Lady's name, when I hear strangers ows lengthen fast.
use, Not meaning her, to me sounds lax mis- It does not seem so dreadful now, use ;
The horror stands out naked, stark, and I love none but my Lady's name ; Maud, Grace, Rose, Marian, all the I am quite calm, and wonder how same,
My terror play'd such mad pranks with my Are harsh, or blank and tame.
The north winds fiercely blow, I do not feel My Lady walks as I have watch'd a swan
them chill. Swim where a glory on the water shone :
There ends of willow branches ride, All things must die : somewhere I read Quivering in the flowing tide,
What wise and solemn men pronounce of By the deep river's side.
No sooner born, they say, than dead ; Fresh beauties, howsoe'er she moves, are
The strife of being, but a whirling toy stirr'd :
Humming a weary moan spun by capricious As the sunn'd bosom of a humming bird
boy. At each pant lifts some fiery hue, Fierce gold, bewildering green or blue ; Has my soul reach'd a starry height The same, yet ever new.
Majestically calm ? No monster, drear
And shapeless, glares me faint at night ;
I am not in the sunshine check'd for fear GIVEN OVER
That monstrous, shapeless thing is some
where crouching near ?
The naked horror numbs me to the bone ; Of Death, the roses in her cheeks are In stupor calm its cold, blank eyes
Set hard at mine. I do not fall or groan, To blush so brightly, blooming deeper Our island Gorgon's face has changed me damascene.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti
THE BLESSED DAMOZELI
But a white rose of Mary's gift,
For service meetly worn; THE blessed damozel lean'd out
Her hair that lay along her back
Was yellow like ripe corn.
Herseem'd she scarce had been a day She had three lilies in her hand,
One of God's choristers ; And the stars in her ha
The wonder was not yet quite gone
From that still look of hers; Her robe, ungirt from clasp to hem, Albeit, to them she left, her day No wrought flowers did adorn,
Had counted as ten years. 1 Written in his 19th year, 1846-47.
“ I wish that he were come to me,
For he will come,” she said. “Have I not pray'd in Heaven? on earth,
Lord, Lord, has he not pray'd ? Are not two prayers a perfect strength ?
And shall I feel afraid ?
(To one, it is ten years of years.
Yet now, and in this place, Surely she lean'd o'er me her hair
Fell all about my face.
The whole year sets apace.)
That she was standing on :
The which is Space begun ;
She scarce could see the sun.
“When round his head the aureole clings,
And he is cloth'd in white,
To the deep wells of light;
And bathe there in God's sight.
“ We two will stand beside that shrine,
Occult, withheld, untrod,
With prayer sent up to God;
Each like a little cloud.
“ We two will lie i' the shadow of
That living mystic tree Within whose secret growth the Dove
Is sometimes felt to be, While
every leaf that His plumes touch Saith His Name audibly.
It lies in Heaven, across the flood
Of ether, as a bridge.
With flame and darkness ridge
Spins like a fretful midge. Around her, lovers, newly met
'Mid deathless love's acclaims, Spoke evermore among themselves
Their heart-remember'd names;
Went by her like thin flames.
Out of the circling charm ;
The bar she lean'd on warm,
Along her bended arm.
Time like a pulse shake fierce
Within the gulf to pierce
The stars sang in their spheres.
Was like a little feather
She spoke through the still weather.
Had when they sang together. (Ah sweet! Even now, in that bird's song,
Strove not her accents there, Fain to be hearken'd? When those bells
Possess'd the mid-day air, Strove not her steps to reach my
side Down all the echoing stair ?)
“ And I myself will teach to him,
I myself, lying so, The songs I sing here ; which his voice
Shall pause in, hush'd and slow, And find some knowledge at each pause,
Or some new thing to know."
Yea, one wast thou with me
To endless unity
“We two," she said, “will seek the groves
Where the lady Mary is, With her five handmaidens, whose names
Are five sweet symphonies, Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen,
Margaret and Rosalys.
“Circlewise sit they, with bound locks
And foreheads garlanded ;
Weaving the golden thread,
Who are just born, being dead.
“He shall fear, haply, and be dumb : Yet only this, of love's whole prize Then will I lay my cheek
Remains ; save what, in mournful guise, To his, and tell about our love,
Takes counsel with my soul alone, Not once abash'd or weak :
Save what is secret and unknown, And the dear Mother will approve
Below the earth, above the skies. My pride, and let me speak.
In painting her I shrin'd her face
Hardly at all ; a covert place
Of doubtful talk, and a live flame
Wandering, and many a shape whose name To their citherns and citoles.
Not itself knoweth, and old dew,
And your own footsteps meeting you, “There will I ask of Christ the Lord And all things going as they came.
Thus much for him and me :Only to live as once on earth
A deep, dim wood ; and there she stands With Love, — only to be,
As in that wood that day : for so As then awhile, forever now
Was the still movement of her hands, Together, I and he."
And such the pure line's gracious flow.
And passing fair the type must seem, She gazed and listen’d and then said, Unknown the presence and the dream. Less sad of speech than mild, –
'Tis she : though of herself, alas ! “ All this is when he comes." She ceas'd. Less than her shadow on the grass,
The light thrillid towards her, fill'd Or than her image in the stream.
That day we met there, I and she,
One with the other all alone ; (I saw her smile.) But soon their path And we were blithe ; yet memory Was vague in distant spheres :
Saddens those hours, as when the moon And then she cast her arms along
Looks upon daylight. And with her The golden barriers,
I stoop'd to drink the spring-water, And laid her face between her hands,
Athirst where other waters sprang : And wept. (I heard her tears.)
And where the echo is, she sang,
My soul another echo there.
But when that hour my soul won strength
For words whose silence wastes and kills, This is her picture as she was :
Dull raindrops smote us, and at length It seems a thing to wonder on,
Thunder'd the heat within the hills. As though mine image in the glass
That eve I spoke those words again Should tarry when myself am gone.
Beside the pelted window-pane ; I gaze until she seems to stir,
And there she hearken'd what I said, Until mine eyes almost aver
With under-glances that survey'd That now, even now, the sweet lips | The empty pastures blind with rain.
part To breathe the words of the sweet Next day the memories of these things, heart :
Like leaves through which a bird has flown, And yet the earth is over her.
Still vibrated with Love's warm wings;
Till I must make them all my own
She stood among the plants in bloom
At windows of a summer room, Giving a tongue to solitude.
To feign the shadow of the trees.