Puslapio vaizdai


IS an old dial, dark with many a stain;

In summer crowned with drifting orchard bloom, Tricked in the autumn with the yellow rain, And white in winter like a marble tomb;


And round about its gray, time-eaten brow

Lean letters speak-a worn and shattered row: I am a Shade: a Shadowe too arte thou:

I marke the Time: saye, Gossip, dost thou soe?

Here would the ringdoves linger, head to head;
And here the snail a silver course would run,
Beating old Time; and here the peacock spread
His gold-green glory, shutting out the sun.

The tardy shade moved forward to the noon;
Betwixt the paths a dainty Beauty stept,

That swung a flower, and, smiling, hummed a tune,——
Before whose feet a barking spaniel leapt.

O'er her blue dress an endless blossom strayed;
About her tendril-curls the sunlight shone ;
And round her train the tiger-lilies swayed,

Like courtiers bowing till the queen be gone.

She leaned upon the slab a little while,
Then drew a jewelled pencil from her zone,
Scribbled a something with a frolic smile,

Folded, inscribed, and niched it in the stone.

The shade slipped on, no swifter than the snail;
There came a second lady to the place,
Dove-eyed, dove-robed, and something wan and pale—
An inner beauty shining from her face.

She, as if listless with a lonely love,
Straying among the alleys with a book,—
Herrick or Herbert,-watched the circling dove,
And spied the tiny letter in the nook.

Then, like to one who confirmation found

Of some dread secret half-accounted true,-
Who knew what hands and hearts the letter bound,
And argued loving commerce 'twixt the two,

She bent her fair young forehead on the stone;
The dark shade gloomed an instant on her head;
And 'twixt her taper-fingers pearled and shone

The single tear that tear-worn eyes will shed.

The shade slipped onward to the falling gloom;
There came a soldier gallant in her stead,
Swinging a beaver with a swaling plume,

A ribboned love-lock rippling from his head;

Blue-eyed, frank-faced, with clear and open brow, Scar-seamed a little, as the women love;

So kindly fronted that you marvel how
The frequent sword-hilt had so frayed his glove;

Who switched at Psyche plunging in the sun;

Uncrowned three lilies with a backward swinge; And standing somewhat widely, like to one More used to "Boot and Saddle" than to cringe

As courtiers do, but gentleman withal,

Took out the note; held it as one who feared The fragile thing he held would slip and fall; Read and re-read, pulling his tawny beard;

Kissed it, I think, and hid it in his breast;

Laughed softly in a flattered happy way, Arranged the broidered baldrick on his chest, And sauntered past, singing a roundelay.

The shade crept forward through the dying glow; There came no more nor dame nor cavalier; But for a little time the brass will show

A small gray spot-the record of a tear.


"Cantat Deo qui vivit Deo."

VES, he was well-nigh gone and near his rest, The year could not renew him; nor the cry Of building nightingales about the nest ;


Nor that soft freshness of the May-wind's sigh,

That fell before the garden scents, and died
Between the ampler leafage of the trees :
All these he knew not, lying open-eyed,

Deep in a dream that was not pain nor ease,

But death not yet. Outside a woman talked-
His wife she was-whose clicking needles sped
To faded phrases of complaint that balked
My rising words of comfort. Overhead,

A cage that hung amid the jasmine stars
Trembled a little, and a blossom dropped.
Then notes came pouring through the wicker bars,
Climbed half a rapid arc of song, and stopped.

"Is it a thrush?" I asked.
"That was Will's tune.
He left the doorway settle for his bed,
Sick as you see, and could n't teach him more.

"A thrush," she said. Will taught him that before

"He'd bring his Bible here o' nights, would Will,

Following the light, and whiles when it was dark And days were warm, he'd sit there whistling still, Teaching the bird. He whistled like a lark."

"Jack! Jack!" A joyous flutter stirred the cage, Shaking the blossoms down. The bird began ; The woman turned again to want and wage,

And in the inner chamber sighed the man.

How clear the song was! Musing as I heard,
My fancies wandered from the droning wife
To sad comparison of man and bird,—

The broken song, the uncompleted life,

That seemed a broken song; and of the two,

My thought a moment deemed the bird more blest, That, when the sun shone, sang the notes it knew, Without desire or knowledge of the rest.

Nay, happier man. For him futurity

Still hides a hope that this his earthly praise Finds heavenly end, for surely will not He, Solver of all, above his Flower of Days,

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