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POETS OF THE RENAISSANCE

ford mador Brown

66

FOR THE PICTURE, “THE LAST

O. M. B.
OF ENGLAND"

(DIED NOVEMBER, 1874)
“ The last of England ! O'er the sea, my
dear,

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.

abysm !

rear

Sir Joseph Noel Paton
REQUIEM

From some fount of splendor, far

Beyond or moon or sun or star
WITHER'D pansies faint and sweet,

And can it be that he is dead ?
O'er his breast in silence shed,
Faded lilies o'er his feet,

Ay! his breast is cold as snow :
Waning roses round his head,

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.

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Thomas Woolner
MY BEAUTIFUL LADY Her warbling voice, though ever low and

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.

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still ;

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.

will.

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.

joy;

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 men of learning say she must
Soon pass, and be as if she had not been. No; woe is me ! far otherwise :
To gratify the barren lust

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.

into stone.

seen

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
From the gold bar of Heaven ;

Was yellow like ripe corn.
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters still’d at even ;

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.

were seven.

“ 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.
Nothing : the autumn-fall of leaves.

The whole year sets apace.)
It was the rampart of God's house

That she was standing on :
By God built over the sheer depth

The which is Space begun ;
So high, that looking downward thence

She scarce could see the sun.

“When round his head the aureole clings,

And he is cloth'd in white,
I'll take his hand and go with him

To the deep wells of light;
As unto a stream we will step down,

And bathe there in God's sight.

“ We two will stand beside that shrine,

Occult, withheld, untrod,
Whose lamps are stirr'd continually

With prayer sent up to God;
And see our old prayers, granted, melt

Each like a little cloud.

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“ 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.
Beneath, the tides of day and night

With flame and darkness ridge
The void, as low as where this earth

Spins like a fretful midge. Around her, lovers, newly met

'Mid deathless love's acclaims, Spoke evermore among themselves

Their heart-remember'd names;
And the souls mounting up to God

Went by her like thin flames.
And still she bow'd herself and stoop'd

Out of the circling charm ;
Until her bosom must have made

The bar she lean'd on warm,
And the lilies lay as if asleep

Along her bended arm.
From the fix'd place of Heaven she saw

Time like a pulse shake fierce
Through all the worlds. Her gaze still strove

Within the gulf to pierce
Its path ; and now she spoke as when

The stars sang in their spheres.
The sun was gone now; the curl'd moon

Was like a little feather
Fluttering far down the gulf ; and now

She spoke through the still weather.
Her voice was like the voice the stars

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."
(Alas ! we two, we two, thou say'st !

Yea, one wast thou with me
That once of old. But shall God lift

To endless unity
The soul whose likeness with thy soul
Was but its love for thee ?)

“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 ;
Into the fine cloth white like flame

Weaving the golden thread,
To fashion the birth-robes for them

Who are just born, being dead.

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“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
“Herself shall bring us, hand in hand, 'Mid mystic trees, where light falls in
To Him round whom all souls

Hardly at all ; a covert place
Kneel, the clear-ranged unnumber'd heads Where you might think to find a din
Bow'd with their aureoles :

Of doubtful talk, and a live flame
And angels meeting us shall sing

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.
With angels in strong level flight.
Her eyes pray'd, and she smil'd.

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.
THE PORTRAIT

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
Alas! even such the thin-drawn ray And paint this picture. So, 'twixt ease
That makes the prison - depths more Of talk and sweet, long silences,
rude,

She stood among the plants in bloom
The drip of water night and day

At windows of a summer room, Giving a tongue to solitude.

To feign the shadow of the trees.

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