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Crowned Hippolytus Robinson, A. Mary F. (Agnes Mary Frances), 1857-1944 1881

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AND  NEW POEMS By the same Author.
Fcp. 8vo. cloth, price ^s. bd.
"The collection is infinitely superior to most handfuls of lyrical
honeysuckle. Many of the verses are spontaneous; the musical
expression of dreams and delicate fancies. . . . They are so natural
sometimes with their faults and their freshness that they affect one
like voices out of the early years. . . . One may hope that Miss
Robinson will write more lyrics. She has printed one triolet at least
(the last of the series) which has the highest poetical merit, the most
touching lyrical cadence."—A. Lang, in the Academy.
" The ' Rime of True Lovers,' with which this volume opens,
which is said to be 'after Boccaccio,' is a little poem of such sterling
value that we need not go further to be assured of Miss Robinson's
capacities. . . . The simplicity and grace of the whole, the genuine
pathos which makes itself felt under a somewhat conventional form,
and the skill with which a somewhat difficult metre is handled, are
worthy of high praise."—Spectator,
" We do not often meet with a book of verse by a new writer so
full of promise as the little volume to which the author has given the
quaint title of ' A Handful of Honeysuckle.' The poems are nearly
all distinguished by freshness of thought and expression of a genuine
sense of melody. ... A noteworthy feature of her poems is the
author's tendency to value form more than it has been customary for
our poets to do.' —Daily News.
" Altogether fantastic and unreal. . . . Still there are quaint picturesque touches every here and there in these poems which recall
the touches of early poets."—Atheneeum.
London : C. Kegan Paul & Co., i, Paternoster Square. THE
The Crowned Hippolytus of Euripides
The Red Clove
mondzoen    ...
The Gardener of Sinope
Captain Ortis' Booty
Helen in the Wood
Before a Bust of Venus
The Lake of Charlemain
Philumene to Aristides
A Pastoral of Parnassus
London Studies
Under the Trees
During Music
Artist and Lover
A Violin Sonata    ...
...    104
...    126
...    134
...    150
••• 157
... 162
...    166 Vlll
On a Reed Pipe
In una Selva Oscura   ...
Wild Cherry Branches
Two Sisters
A Pisan Jonquil
An Address to the Nightingale
In la sua Voluntade e Nostra Pace
Two Lovers
Love after Death
Lover's Silence
A Child-Musician
The One Certainty
De Profundis   ... */
Mighty am I to men, a goddess known
By many names, nor unrenowned in heaven ;
Of them that in the sun's path see his light,
From Pontus to the Atlantic boundaries,
I honour those in turn that worship me,
And make to fall them that are proud of heart.
For surely even in the race of gods
It is innate to love the praise of men,    ,
And quickly will I show I speak the truth :
The son of Theseus and his Amazon,
The pupil of pure Pittheus, only this
Hippolytus of all Troezenian folk
Says I am born most evil among gods;
And he forswears the couch and will not touch
Marriage, but Phoebus' sister, Artemis,
He worships, deeming her the first of gods. THE CROWNED HIPPOLYTUS
For through the fresh green forest all the day
He roams, his virgin near, and clears the land
Of fierce wild beasts, his swift hounds following him,
And there he hunts in heavenly company.
I bear no grudge towards these gods—what need ?
But on this very day I will avenge
His sins against me on Hippolytus,
With ease; long since I pioneered my path.
For when he went to Athens, leaving home
To learn the holy mysteries and receive
Light and initiation, Theseus' wife,
Phaedra, beheld her stepson, and her heart
Through my behest was caught with strong desire.
So ere she came to Troezen she let build
A temple to me, Cypris, near the rock
Of Pallas, looking hither across the gulf;
She set a statue there, and gave for aye
The votive shrine the name of her beloved.
But when King Theseus left his Attica,
Fearing the shed blood of Pallantides,
And sailing here for penance acquiesced
In a year-lasting strangership from home,
She too came hither, groaning, panic-struck,
Goaded by passion, since which time she pines
Silent, and no one knows her malady.
But all this love must not be loved in vain,
For I will show it clearly to the King,
That so my foe may perish accursed; for once OF EURIPIDES,
The sea-god granted Theseus that three times
Whate'er he cursed or prayed should come to pass.
And Phaedra, though a queen, she too must die,
Whose misery I take not so to heart
That it should cheat me of a just revenge.
But here comes homeward this Hippolytus,
Walking with a great revel at his heels,
Who, having left their hunting, shout aloud
Artemis' praises, honouring her with hymns.
I will away \ he would not sing so loud
Did he but guess how wide hell's portals stand,
Or that the last time now he sees the light.
Come, huntsmen, follow me
Singing to Artemis,
Praising the maid that is
Patron of you and me.
Chorus of Retainers.
All hail, most holy and virgin daughter of Gk)d !
We hallow thee and greet thee
Among all maidens fairest
That walk with thee and meet thee
In thy divine abode;
Thou holiest and dearest
Of all that ever trod
The halls where thou repairest,
The court of thy father, the golden home of God. THE CROWNED HIPPOLYTUS
Welcome to me, 0 fairest
Artemis, loveliest maiden
Of them that walk on Olympus !
I bring for thee a plaited wreath of flowers
From meadow lands untrodden and unmown.
There never shepherd dares to feed his flocks,
Nor iron comes therein; only the bee
Through that unsullied meadow in the spring
Flies on and leaves it pure, and Reverence
Freshens with rivers' dew the tended flowers.
And only they whose virtue is untaught,
They that inherit purity, may pluck
Their bloom and gather it—ho baser man.
Yet, O dear mistress, from this pious hand
Take thou a garland for thy golden hair.
For I, of all men, only am thy friend
To share thy converse and companionship,
Hearing thy voice, whose eyes I never see—
And thus may I live until I reach the goal!
0 prince, for none are masters but the gods,
1 bring a gift of counsel—will you take it ?
Surely I will, who else were lacking wisdom. OF EURIPIDES.
Know'st thou a law that is ordained to man ?
I know it not; but wherefore ask thereof?
To hate reserve and what befriends not all.
Wisely : who is not hated being proud ?
But is there not some grace in courteousness ?
Much, and great gain it wins with little toil.
And think you, then, like laws hold with the gods?
Since from the gods we get the laws we use.
If so, why greetest not one mighty goddess ?
Which ?    But take heed, thy tongue may trip thee up. 8
Cypris I mean; the goddess at thy gates.
Her, too, I greet, but far off, being chaste.
Yet is she feared and famous among men.
Each to his own, whether of gods or men.
Mayst thou fare well, having the sense thou lackest
I love no gods that only shine by night.
What Heaven grants mislike not, noble youth.
Ho ! grooms, retainers, hence away; go home,
Get a meal ready quickly, for full boards
Are pleasant after hunting.    You, rub down
The horses in the chariot; let them take
Their fill of corn, and loose them from the yoke, OF EURIPIDES.
For I will exercise them, having eaten—
And to your Cypris here's a long farewell !
But we at least will shun new-fangled ways,
And think such thoughts as servants dare avow.
For still before thine images we bend
Praying, O Cypris queen; hear and forgive
The idle words of the o'er-strained mood of youth,
Or let them strike on deaf, unheeding ears !
For needs must be gods are more wise than men.
The Chorus.
St. a.
There is a rock dripping with springs out of the very sea,
Sending adown from the tall cliff's crown
Fountains  that   flow, so that  therein  dipped  may the
pitchers be.
I have a friend; thither she went carrying purple gear,
Drenching it through in the river's dew,
Out on the rocks, sunny and broad, letting it dry and
Ant. a.
First from my friend heard I the news how on a fevered
Wasted with pain, hath Phaedra Iain
Sick in  the house, under a veil shrouding her golden
head. 10
This is to-day third of the days since she persists to close,
Foodless, in drouth, her ambrosial mouth;
Death is her choice, on to that goal urged by her secret
St. b.
Hast thou, 0 sister, a god in the breast ?
Is it far-shooting Hecate, fear-bringing Pan ?
Or the swift Corybantes that hunt thee from rest,
Or the mother of mountains that brings thee a ban ?
Or for altars neglected and victims gone free,
Is it hunting Dictynna that brings thee to pine,
And how shalt thou flee her that roams through the sea,
Through the desolate places, the eddying brine ?
Ant. b.
Or haply it may be thy ruler and spouse,
The king of Erechtheus' sons and the head,
Is beguiled by some love hid away in the house,
A secret from marriage, apart from thy bed.
Or the winds may have blown us from over the foam
Some seafaring Cretan to harbourage here,
And he brings to the Queen evil tidings from home,
So she dies of the heartbreak of them that are dear.
And bitter to wives that marriage mates not wholly,
The wretched bewilderment, the hapless, helpless ill
Of child-bearing travail, of vain desire and folly. mi
Ah ! Queen, through our bosoms there shook the selfsame thrill!
But fear not, for ever, as we were near to dying,
Artemis, huntress, the helper of our need,
IJearkened in heaven the clamour of our crying,
Came down and saved us, longed for and loved indeed.
7. -fcf.X.
But the nurse, see, from her room
Carries Phaedra out of doors,
All her brows one cloud of gloom.
Ah! my soul desires, implores,
Longs to know what grief too keen
Wastes the body of the Queen !
Oh, the troubles of mortals !    0 sickness, the worst!
But for thee, O my child, what thing shall I do,
Or what shall I leave undone ?
For the splendours of radiant sunlight are here,
And here is the air, for out to the day
Thou art borne on the bed of unrest,
Away from thy chamber within.
There indeed, to come hither was all of thy wish,
That soon will be eager again to return.
For swiftly art wearied, and nothing is well;
. In the present no pleasure, though dearer to thee
Is the distant as yet unattained.
Yet to suffer is better, be sure, than to watch; 12
The one is but simple, the watcher must join
To her anguish of spirit the labour of hands.
For the whole of the life of man is sorrow,
And from his trouble there is no rest.
But if anything be that is dearer than life,
The darkness surrounding it shrouds it in clouds,
And we fall to infatuate love for existence
That shines out being on earth.
For we never have lived in another world,
And the things that are under the earth are hid,
And so we are vainly carried about
By stories and fabulous myths.
Lift up my body and straighten my head.
The sinews are loosed of my limbs, O maidens,
Raise up my delicate hands.
Heavy, too heavy the veil on my head;
Ah ! take it away and set free on my shoulders
The tendrils and tress of my hair.
Be brave, O my darling, and toss not thy body
Thus in unrest.
For sickness in quiet is better to bear.
A noble spirit be thine;
To endure is the nature of man.
Ah me ! II
Fain would I draw me a draught of clear water
Out of the little, springing well!
Where in the grass of the meadow the poplar
Grows, would I lie and take my rest!
What is thy cry, O my child ?
In a throng of strangers babble not thus,
With madness the mark for thy words.
Oh, send me away to the mountains.    I go
To the wood where the dogs, the hunters,
Tread in the shade of the pines,
Chasing the dappled deer.
By the gods ! how I long to halloo to the hounds
And to hurl from its poise by my golden
Hair the Thessalian lance,
Having the dart in my hand !
O my child, thou art troubled in heart and disquiet,
But wherefore with such things as these ?
For is hunting a practice for thee ?
And indeed dost thou long for a draught of the fountain ?
For close to thy castle a hill is with springs,
And there mayest quench thy thirst. 14
Artemis, lady of sea-bordered Limna
Loud with the tramp of the well-trained horses,
Would I were out on thy plains compelling
Henetian foals to the yoke !
What again are the words that thou hurlest
At hazard, and out of thy mind ?
For a while ago fain of the mountains thou wert,
Setting off in an eager desire for the chase,
And now thou art longing to race on the sands,
Beyond the reach of the waves.
But thy words truly need divination
For checking thy sense, as a horse, with the rein
Thee a god starts aside from the course.
Ah ! unhappy, unhappiest! what have I done ?
And where have I wandered away,
Ah, me ! from peace of mind ?
I was mad and I fell through a god's delusion,
A blindness from heaven.    Alas !
Again, nurse, hide my head.
I am shamed for the words I have spoken.
Oh, hide me! the tears fall away from my eyes
And mine eyes have been turned from shame, 1
For hard is the right after error.
But madness is evil; yet better it were
To perish unknowing the truth.
Lo, the veil; and I hide thee, but when
Wilt thou cover my body, O Death?
For long have I lived, and the length of my life
Hath taught me in manifold ways.
And I know, were we wise, that we mortals should mingle
Our natures in moderate friendship, and not
To the pith and extreme of the soul,
But, easily tied to reject or draw closer,
Should govern the bonds of the heart.
For that rent with the travail of twain
The spirit of one should endure,
As I suffer, beloved, thy pangs in my soul,
Ah, this burden is heavy to bear.
Yet who schemes for his welfare in life too exactly
Finds failure the fruit of his pains, not delight.
And himself is the foe of his ease ;
For nothing extreme, as more fair than excesses,
Not I only praise, but the wise.
Good dame, and faithful servant of the Queen,
We do behold, but dimly, her distress.
To hear you tell her sickness are we fain. i6
I ask of her in vain; she will not speak.
And hast not found the reason of her woes ?
'Tis all as one; of nothing will she speak.
How weak and worn away her body is !
Small marvel; three days now she keeps her fast.
Through madness, or as making proof of death ?
Death : she will starve till the revolt of life.
We hear strange news if these things please the King.
Nay j for she says no word, but hides her grief.
And can he find no witness in her face ? i>rUi|
An oracle has called him far from home.
And dost not probe with words this wound of hers
Making fresh trial of her wandering wits.
All have I tried before and all in vain.
Yet will I gladly make another venture,
That you, being here, may serve for witnesses
How I am faithful to unhappy lords.
Come, child; come, dearest; let us both forget
Harsh words gone by; be pleasant to me now,
Smooth out those gloomy brows and lead thy thoughts
Into an easier way.    It was not well
In me, I own, to speak as then I spoke.
Hear now a kinder voice.    If thou art sick
With some unspeakable and secret ill,
Behold, these ladies, wives, are skilled to help;
But if the thing be such as men may kndw,
Say on no less, but let physicians hear.
What now ?    Still silent ?    Nay, but thou must speak;
E'en though thou do accuse me thou must speak,
Or though to answer reasoned arguments.
Wilt speak ?   Nay, look then.    O too wretched me !
Ladies, you see our labour is in vain,
As wanting as before; my showers of words
c 18
Run off and leave her hard and obdurate.
But, child, know this at least—though thou be grown
As wilful as the sea—remember this :
If thou wilt die thy death betrays thy children,
For they shall have no share in heritage,
Thou being dead, and in their father's house
Nor part nor lot be theirs; nay, mark my words,
The son of that horse-riding Amazon
Shall be their master.    Ay, thou knowest the man,
Born out of wedlock with a true-born heart,
Ah, me!
That touched the quick ?
I am lost, good nurse ! I am lost!   Thou hast undone
By Heaven ! I pray thee, speak not of that man.
Thou seest ?   Consider well; yet mayest thou choose
To save thy life and serve thy children's cause.
They're dear, yet 'tis no mother's love that wracks me. OF EURIPIDES.
O child, at least thy hands are clean from blood ?
Ay, they are clean—it is the soul that's foul.
Some foe charms down a ruin from without.
A friend unwitting slays unwilling me.
Has Theseus sinned some grievous sin against thee ?
Ah ! may I never live to do him harm,
What is this grief, that has no help but death ?
Ah, let me sin; towards thee I have not sinned.
Not of thy will * yet I must fall with thee.
Wilt force an answer with these clinging hands ?
I 20
I will not let thee go nor loose thy knees.
Yet shouldst thou learn my woe 'twere thine as well.
Ah ! what can hurt me worse than loss of thee ?
Death; but for me the thing were honourable.
Why then conceal it, when I kneel to hear ?
I work a noble end from shameful means.
And so the thing were worthier, being told.
For God's sake, take away that pleading hand.
Never, until thou grant the gift I crave.
Tis granted; holy are suppliant hands and praye r. OF EURIPIDES.
■ ■■   . ;•■
Henceforth I keep my peace; be thine the word.
0 suffering mother, what a love was thine !
Is this the Bull thou meanest, or what else ?
Thou poor love-ruined sister, Bacchus' wife !
What ails thee, child, to shame thy kith and kin ?
1 am the third to die in misery.
Now art thou mad; where will thy words run on ?
To reach a cause not new to me or them.
I learn no more of that I wish to hear.
Ah, me !
Couldst thou but say for me what I must tell!
rB"PI 22
I am no prophet to make dark things plain.
What is it, nurse, men think of, saying Love?
The sweetest thing and bitterest 'neath the sun.
We ever knew too well the sour of love.
What news are these ?   Thou lovest, child ?  and whom ?
Him—if there be such—that an Amazon bore.
Thou sayest Hippolytus
Not I.   Thou sayest.
Child, child ! thou hast slain me with thy wicked words.
Ladies, this horror is intolerable. OF EURIPIDES. 23
Not to be borne alive !    O wretched day!
Too wretched I that live to see the light!
I'll tear my flesh; hurl, cast away this body,
Dying get quit of loathed life.    Farewell;
I am no more.    Even the chaste and wise,
It seems, against their will long after sin.
I think that Cypris is no god, for she
Is mightier far, if mightier there be ;
That single-handed slays thee, thine, and me.
f I
■*• I 111
Ah ! for thou utterest, breathest unheard-of woe,
H !M
Crying aloud of a grief that is borne in vain !
Queen, may I perish and die before ever I know
Sorrow as thine is, alas ! or like heartbreak and pain.
O thou whose grief may ne'er be said !
O grief, that is our daily bread !
Alas ! that thou perishest, Queen, of a grief made plain.
Ah ! what a terrible life thou art called to outwear!
Barren and dreadful the hours that* are left thee to
pass !
Strange is the fate thou shalt bring on thy household and
Known to us now and no longer the secret it was.
For none may doubt where in the skies
Thy waning fortune sets and dies.
Sorrow is sent thee from Cypris, O Cretan, alas ! A
Troezenian women, ye that have your homes
On this last headland-edge of Peloponnese !
Oft have I thought through dragging hours of night
How mortal life is ruined; not, meseems,
Through natural fault of mind in us we err,
For to mean well is common, rather thus—
Men tell us and life teaches us the right,
Yet we ensue it not, for indolence
Lays snares for many; others fall away,
Preferring pleasures, which are manifold,
Long ease for speculation, time to talk,
Leisure a pleasant sin j and there is shame,
Twy-natured with one title—shame being pure,
And shame a curse of homes.    Yet if at first
Their several reasons had been plain to tell,
They were not thus confounded in one word.
Now, when these things were manifest to me,
My mind being firm, I thought it could not fail,
Knowing no philtres turn the right to wrong.
But I will tell you now my whole mind's way :
When Love first wounded me I looked to find
The noblest fashion to endure, untold
And quietly my heart-sickness began,
Since nowise trustworthy I thought the tongue
That lecturing alien sins forgets its own.
In vain; I hoped to bear my folly well
And gain the victory through self-control.
This failed to conquer Cypris ; last of all
T found one noble course remaining—Death.
These three resolves of mine let none gainsay;
For may my good deeds ne'er be lost to sight,
Nor many witnesses behold my shame.
The thought was shame I knew, and shame the deed;
I am a woman also, and therefore scorned,
So on all counts I die.    Perish the wife
That first unloosed in sin her marriage bonds,
And made all women shameful for her sake !
For first from noble houses came this plague
Of wanton women, but when nobles sin
They lead a way the base are sure to follow
And think it fine.    Yet most the seeming pure
I hate, that with chaste words gloss over guilt.
-Sea-ruling Cypris, how can such as they
Look in their husband's faces without fear,
Nor shudder at thought of the assistant dark
Lest the very rooms cry out on them for shame ?
The dread of like disgrace, the very thotfght of it,
Will make me kill myself; for never, friends,
May I live to shame my husband and his sons
Our children; they at least, blameless and free,
Shall flourish in fair Athens-, live to call
Their mother's name a noble heritage.
For men are slaves, however bold at heart,
Who learn their parents' names as words to shun,
•etmm 26
And but one thing, they say, in the world will stand
Life's fret unharmed : a just and holy mind.
For in the end the wicked are revealed
By Time itself, that holds a mirror up,
As to a lovely virgin, to their eyes;—
May I be spared their horror that look therein !
Alas ! alas !
But prudent duty is a charm to suit
AJ1 woes that men inherit;
A noble mind and a well-ordered spirit
Bring always forth good fruit.
Great was my horror, mistress, when I heard
This accident at first, that now indeed
I think on lightly.    Second thoughts are best ;
For surely this is no unheard-of thing,
This passion, but hurled down from heaven on thee.
Thou lovest ?   Well, what wonder ?   So do many.
And wilt thou lose thy life for love ? my troth
It does not pay to love our neighbours then
If we and those to come must die for it I
For Cypris is intolerable, what time
She swoops, full force, and overpowers her prey,
But tranquilly goes in quest of them that yield.
'Tis when she encounters one puffed up with pride, OF EURIPIDES.
And not as other men, that such a heart
She takes and breaks with insults undivined.
For through the air and in the waves of the sea
She wandereth, and all was made through her.
She is the sower that gives the seeds of love,
From which all living things on earth arise,
So ancient paintings say—the scholars too—
Showing how Zeus loved Semele, and know
That Eos carried Cephalus heaven high
All for the sake of Love; but though compelled
To live with gods, poor mortals, made henceforth
Olympian, yet they do not flee away,
But learn to bravely bear their hapless fate
And love in heaven with equanimity.
Wilt thou rebel ?    Thou shouldst have had thy birth
On special terms, with other gods than these
For masters, since their laws content thee not.
How many sensible husbands, dost thou think,
Knowing themselves deceived, look ignorant ?
How many fathers help their sons to sin,
Accomplices of Cypris ?   And the wise    *
Set us this saw : Let foul things slip the sight.
One must not look too curiously at life,
Nor carve and polish the overhanging roof.
But canst thou find no way to 'scape thy fate ?
If on the whole thou hast more good than ill,
Then for a mortal thou art reckoned happy.
Come, dearest, leave these doleful thoughts, leave off *%
These insults, for what insult is more proud
Than to be better than the gods in heaven ?
For passion is God's will; but being sick
Reduce thy fever; there are charms that cure,
Philtres and magic songs.    Some antidote
Must finish thy disease ; such means, indeed,
As men would find out late, but we find first.
Phaedra, she speaks more fitly to the case.
But thee it is I praise—yet rougher sounds
Such praise as points to death than kinder words.
This is the very bane of states and cities,
Ruining all, this love of too fine words—
Giving advice, one should not speak to please,
But words from which a noble deed may spring.
What is this sermon ?   No fine words at all
Thou needest, but the man.    Soon as I may
A plain word of thy passion will I speak,
And let him know the whole.    Yet were the stake
Less than thy very life that hangs on this,
Or thou more capable of self-control,
I would not, only for thy pleasure's sake,
Have led thee to the deed, but now no means
Are to be grudged that yet may save thy life.
Peace, thou blasphemer !   Wilt not hold thy peace,
And vex my ears no more with shameful words ?
Shameful it may be—yet for thee more fit
Than finer ones; better the sin that saves
Than virtue's name making a boast of death.
By Heaven ! I pray thee, say no more; too well
Thou sayest shameful things, and soul-subdued
Am I by passion.    Thy sweet, wicked words
Will tempt me towards the sin I strive to shun.
Thus thinking, shouldst thou not have erred, but now,
Being astray, to obey me were the best.
I do remember certain charms at home,
Philtres I have, that with no harm of soul
Nor hurt of sense will make thy sickness cease.
Thus far obey me.    But of thy beloved
Some token thou must bring, some curl, or fringe
Torn from his garment, to make firm the charm
That blends to one the parted loves of twain.
What is the charm—an ointment or a drug ?
II 1
I know not.    Seek to profit, not to learn.
I tremble lest thou prove too wise for me.
Fear all, if this ; but what affrights thee now ?
Lest thou betray me to Hippolytus.
Peace, trust in me; I will do all things well.
But only thou, sea-ruling Queen of Love,
Be thou my helper !    What I have in mind
'Twill be enough to tell my friends within.
St. a.
O Love ! O Love ! from the eyes of thee
Droppeth desire, and into the soul
That thou conquerest leadest thou sweetness and charm ;
Come not to me bringing sorrow or harm,
And come not in dole,
Nor with measureless passion o'ermaster thou me !
For neither the lightning fire
Nor the bolts of the stars are dire
As the dart hurled forth from the hand of Love,
The Son of God above. OF EURIPIDES.
Ant. a.
For vainly, vainly, and all in vain
Pile we to Phoebus the Pythian shrines;
Vainly by Alpheus heap victims on high;
Vain indeed are the prayers we cry,
If no prayer divines
That Love is the.tyrant and master of men.
Through every fate he errs,
The keeper of bride-chambers,
Nor alike unto all, nor one only way,
He comes to spoil and slay.
St. b.
Think on that Oechalian riven
Away from her home and her country, and driven,
A maiden unwedded, across the seas,
Rushing on Hades in fury, and mad with her wrongs;
For Cypris gave his bride to Herakles
With blood, with smoke, with flame, with murderous
marriage songs.
Ant. b.
O Theban wall I   O mouth of Dirce !
Tell with me how without haste, without mercy,
Into the soul doth Cypris creep;
Witness of Semele wed in a death-bringing hour -
With fire, with thunder, sent to her last sleep,
And of Love, more restless than bees, inspiring all with
his power.
ii- i ih
Hush, women; stop your singing now.    All's lost.
Phaedra, what fearful thing is in thy house ?
Keep quiet; let me learn who speaks within.
Ay, but methinks the prologue's ill begun.
Oh, me ! woe's me !   O heart that breaks with woe !
What is this wailing and what this lament ?
But say what affrights thee, O Queen, bringing madness
on thee ?
I perish.    Go, stand by the gate and hear
What words are these that fall like hail i' the house.
Thou art nearer the gate, and a care unto thee
Is the voice; only tell me—ah! tell me—what evil is
It.is Hippolytus, the Amazon born,
That cries and calls down curses on the nurse.
The tumult I hear, but obscure is the source,
But to thee through the gate comes the sound.    Hark !
it cometh to thee !
Too clearly, evil-hearted matchmaker,
I hear thou hast betrayed me and thy lord.
Alas ! thou'rt betrayed.   Ah ! what help, my beloved ?
The secret is out; by a friend	
She told my sorrow in a hope to heal,
Though shamefully, my wound—and I am lost.
Thou sufferest impossible things; what help ?
D 1)
I know none else but this—straightway to die;
For all this pain Death only knows the cure.
O mother Earth, and rays unfurling light,
How can ye hark to such unspeakable words ?
Hush, hush ! my son, ere any hear thy cry.
How should I hush such horror in my ears ?
Yea, I beseech thee by thy shapely hand.
Wilt thou not loose my hand, let go my cloak?
Oh, by thy knees, destroy me not, I pray.
How ?    For thou sayest no harm lay in thy words.
The speech, O son, suits not the general ear. OF EURIPIDES.
Good words by many heard are better yet.
O son, thou wilt not disregard thine oath ?
The tongue hath sworn, unsworn the mind remains.
O son, what wilt thou *do ? destroy thy friends ?
Friend !    Loathed thought!    No sinner is my friend
Forgive me; it is human, son, to sin.
Oh, what adulterate evil didst thou bring |
To live in the light and settle among men
Devising women, Zeus ?    Didst thou desire
Sons of the race of men, there was no need
Women should bear them—rather had we brought
Gifts to thy temple, gold and iron and brass
Buying for each a child of equal worth,
And lived at home free of this female plague.
But now, intending happiness, we lead 36
A wife to our hearth, a curse that lays it low !
Yea, it is plain how great a curse she is,
Since even he that bred her and begot
Pays for her riddance with a price, being quit
Of mischief, as he knows; but whoso takes
The baneful creature home, rejoices then
And brings his idol jewels, decks her out,
The lovely fatal thing, in trailing robes—
Alas for him !—and thus destroys his wealth.
For he that makes a fair alliance bears
Perforce a bitter marriage, and who weds
An honest wife must take her needy kin
And count the loss against the gain.    For him
Who sets a wife up like a stock or stone
At home, a foolish, useless nobody
Is least annoyance ; for indeed I hate
Your clever woman—may she never come
Into my house, out-thinking women's thoughts.
For most of mischief Cypris plants in the minds
Of clever women, while the simpleton
Is, reft of irfeans, too slow of mind to sin.
But wives must have no confidants, no women.
We should have given them voiceless beasts instead,
With mouths that bite, not talk, to dwell with them.
There were no gossip then, nor talebearing.
But now the intrigues false wives contrive at home
Their maidens carry through for them abroad;
As thou, most evil servant, that with me
m r I
Wouldst make a bargain of my father's honour.
I'll go to the running brooks; their cleansing waves
I'll dash into mine ears.    How should I sin
When, hearing of this crime, I feel unclean ?
Too well thou knowest I take no name in vain,
Thus saved ; for were I not fast caught with oaths
Off guard, thou shouldst not find a means to keep
This secret from the King.    But I will go
From here while he is absent, and no word
Say now, but when he comes I shall behold
What way ye look him in the face, even thou
And she thou servest, and your boldness then
I, having tasted it, shall comprehend.
Out on ye ! I shall never get my fill
Of hating women, even though it is said
I always chide; but they are always vile.
Either let some one teach them virtue then,
Or let me trample on their vice for ever !
Hapless the fate is of women, a lot that we loathe !
What are the arts that remain, or what words are of
Now, having failed, to unloosen the knot of his oath ?
Justice is fallen upon me, alas ! light and earth !
For how shall I outflee my fate ?
1 38
Or how my grief that is so great
Hide out of sight, out of mind, for no day to bring forth ?
Who up in heaven will help me, what God will befriend ?
Who among men be accomplice, and who still stand
What can I look to or pray to when wrong is the end ?
And sorrow I suffer at heart that will last till I die.
Beyond escape now it is here
And coming fresh with every year—
Who among women so fatally fated as I ?
Alas ! thou art lost, dear Queen ; no arts can save
Or turn to right the wrong thy nurse hath done.
O cursed traitress, corruption of thy friends,
How hast thou ruined me !  May Zeus, my sire,
Destroy thee root and branch, blast thee with flame I
Did not I speak before and bid thee hush,
Foreboding this disgrace, commanding thee
To keep my secret ?   This thou wouldst not do,
And therefore must I die inglorious.
Some new means shall be found.    For he that heard,
Framing his thoughts in passion, will declare
Thy crimes to his father, but will call them mine—
Will tell old Pittheus of my shame, and fill OF EURIPIDES,
The kingdom far and wide with my dishonour,
Perish, o'er-zealous fool! and with thee all
That use base means to save unwilling friends.
Mistress, thou hast a right to blame my faults,
For in thy heart the gnawing grief forbids
An accurate judgment; but I too, even I—
Wouldst listen—have some answering words to add
I nursed thee, love thee, and in all good-will
I sought some healing medicine to soothe
Thy sickness.    Had the wish gone well so I
Were reckoned with the wise; since we possess
Our wisdom as results determine it.
So this is satisfaction, this is just,
To add to wounding words vain argument!
We make a coil of words.    I was not wise,
Yet even from this trouble is escape.
I suffer not thy speech; for ill before
Thy counsel was, and sin was thine attempt.
But get thee out of my path, and take a thought
For thine own safety; I will help myself. 4©
But, ye high-born Troezenian daughters, grant
This my request, and bury deep and hide
In silence for a grave what ye have heard.
By holy Artemis, the maid of God,
I swear to keep thy sorrows from the light.
'Tis well; but I have turned my thoughts and found
A remedy for this unhappiness,
That yet may leave my sons a noble life,
And get for me what gain is possible.
As fate has fallen out I would not live
To bring dishonour on my Cretan halls,
Nor face my husband after shameful deeds
Against him, for the sake of one life's worth.
But dost thou plan to do some deadly deed ?
To die; but how, that have I yet to scheme.
You, at least, might rather counsel me.
But Cypris shall I please, since she destroys me ;
For I will set me free of life to-day,
A victim to the bitterness of Love.
Yet to another shall this evil fall,
I dead, that he may look less towering proud
Upon my sorrows; he that shares with me
The infection of my love, he too shall learn
To be more temperate in time to come.
St. a.
Oh, I would that I were in the smooth hollow places of
rocks !
Were I set by a god as a bird in the light-winged flocks
I am eager to wander on wings and to soar
Over-seas to the far Hadriatic shore,
Where the daughters of Helios drop in Eridanus' stream,
Shining tears  of their pity for Phaethon that amberlike
Ant. a.
I would under their orchard-trees hear the Hesperides
sing, %
Till no longer a way for the ship leaves the Ocean-King;
For he guardeth the bourne of the Atlas-held skies
And the place where ambrosial fountains arise
By the halls of the mansion of Zeus, where the gladness
and mirth
Of the gods is more great, being near to the life-giving
-Br 42
St. b.
Ah! snowy-pinioned Cretan boat
That, sea-beset, on surge afloat
Didst carry my Queen from a fortunate home
To a sorrowful marriage across the foam,
Either ill were thine omens from both of the lands, or
from Crete
Came a curse with thee surely to harbour at last,
When thy sailors with cables and cords made thee fast,
And, leaving thee bound, on the mainland again set their
Ant. b.
But she a fatal sickness proves
And passion of unholy loves.
Struck at heart with the strength of desire, tempest-
Overwhelmed in her sorrows, by Fate overborne,
Being weary of life that is burdened and hateful with
Round the white of her throat now a noose she will tie,
And a cord to the bridal-roof, choosing to die,
And forsaking a love that  she  loathes for a glorious
Woe ! woe !
Rush to the rescue, all that are near the house !
The Queen is strangled, hanging, Theseus' wife ! u
Alas ! alas ! no more a wife.   She is dead.
Perished, undone, she hangs in a noose of ropes.
Will ye not hasten ?   Will no one bring me here
An axe to loose the halter from her neck ?
0 friends, what shall we do ?    Enter the house,
And loose the tight-drawn halter from the Queen ?
How now ? are younger servants not within ?
For meddling brings no safety to our lives.
Lay straight this pitiful corpse, and stretch the limbs.
My lord shall find his house but sadly kept.
Unhappy wife ! she has perished, as I hear.
Already must we lay her out for dead.
Ladies, know you what noise is in the house?
1 hear a heavy wailing from the women,
And no one comes to welcome, as is wont,
i if
1 ,<■--
With gates thrown open and with cheerful voice,
The oracle's ambassador.   No harm,
Surely, has come to Pittheus, to my father ?
For he is well in years, yet pain and grief
It were to me should he forsake my house.
Theseus, the fate that harms thee strains not on
To that old man; but mourn a younger death.
Alas ! hath any stolen my children's life ?
They live : but grievously their mother died.
Dead ?   My wife dead ?    How came she by her end ?
Hung in a noose she fastened round her neck.
Stiff with despair or through some accident ?
We know but little, King, for even now
Hither we came as mourners of thy woe. OF EURIPIDES.
Alas !    Oh, misery !    Why have I then
My head wreathed round with plaited leaves, that am
So sad an envoy from the god?    Ho ! maids,
Unbolt the gate, let down the fastening bar,
And let me in to see this bitter sight:
My wife that has destroyed me in her death.
Alas ! and I weep for thy sorrows, O Queen;
For thus thou hast suffered, and wrought
Thus, to confound us with grief.
Woe for thy daring !    A violent death
Was thine in unholy despair,
For thy own hand wrestled with life,
And the triumph was thine; but, alas ! on thy fate
Is a shadow.    By whom is it thrown ?
Oh, me ! me utterly ruined ! for now
Borne is my worst of labours.    O Fate,
How heavily dost impose on me and mine
The unheard-of blight of some avenging fiend,
Keen-edged destruction, unlivable life.
Around me, unhappiest, do I behold
A sea of woes I never shall out swim,
Nor pass beyond the wave of this event. i -•
What are the tidings, and what is the lot
Whelming thee, wife, that is mine as I speak ?
For secret as a bird hast slipped my hand,
Rush'd headlong with a flying leap to hell.
Such sorrow, such sorrow, alas ! I endure,
Back out of the utter remote-lying years
I bring upon my head a fate ordained
Of Heaven to expiate ancestral sin.
To thee alone, O King, came not the grief,
For many men have lost as dear a wife.
Under the earth in the nethermost night
Will I settle in shadows, dying of grief,
Bereaved of thy beloved company;
For more than thou I am ruined in thy death.
Whence is the doom-bringing, ruinous fate
Sent us, that conquered thy heart, as I hear ?
Let some one speak the truth; or does my roof,
Sheltering servants, hide a useless crowd ?
Alas ! for I see there descends on the house
Unspeakable sorrow intolerable,
Sent for thy sake.    I too, I too am lost,
Our children orphaned, desolate our home. OF EURIPIDES.
0 best-beloved of women, thou art gone, art gone,
The noblest and the dearest overlooked by light;
Nor is any other like thee that the sun shines on
Nor the starry moon by night.
Alas ! within thy palaces, O King, what woe !
Mine eyes are wet with tears for thee that fall and flow.
1 feared the offspring of this grief since long ago,
And I shudder in affright
Ah! see, the tablet!    Down from that dear hand
It hangs, betokening tidings.    Was it care
About her marriage or her children's cause
That moved her to these means ?    Ah ! not in vain
Take heart, poor suppliant; no other bride
Shall come to Theseus' home, nor share his rest.
But now, indeed, no more thy golden signet
Delights me as is wont.    Maidens, unloose
The bands below the stamp and let me read.
Woe, woe! for again to our evil succeeds
New evil imposed by a god !
Ah! to me, at least, life is no life
To be lived with this sorrow accomplished to me,
For indeed we are lost, are undone. 48
Alas for the house of my masters !    0 God,
If there be any help, hear my prayer
And make not the house to fall!
For clear as a prophet I see how there nears
A presaging omen of ill.
Oh, me I what grief is this that follows grief!
What speechless and intolerable ill
What thing has come to pass ?   Speak.   Let us know.
Oh, it cries with a voice, the accursed letter.
But where shall I flee from the burthen of grief
That am utterly ruined and lost ?
I have seen, I have listened—what shame! ah ! what
shame !
The words have a tongue, and they cry!
Alas ! thou utterest speech that bodes of woe.
For this I no longer may keep from the door.
Of my lips, this accursed destruction,
Hard though it be to let pass.
Hippolytus hath dared to wrong, by force,
My wife, dishonouring the sight of God.
w i *
But thou, Poseidon, father, take thou one
Of those three curses which thou didst engage me,
And kill my son.    Let not the day go down
On his escape, if truth be in thy words.
King, by the gods ! unpray this prayer again;
Hereafter shall thou learn thine error.    Trust me.
No ; and, moreover, I will banish him
My kingdom.    One of these two fates shall strike him :
Either the sea-god dangs him down to hell
Dying, thus honouring my curse; or cast
Forth from his country shall he wander and stray,
Wasting on alien earth a hateful life.
Now here in season comes this very son
Hippolytus.    Relax thine evil wrath,
King, and the best thing for thy house resolve.
I heard thy cries, and here in haste return,
Father, although the grief that thou bewailest
I know not, but I hope to learn from thee.
Ah ! what is this ?    O father, I behold
Thy wife a corpse—but this bewilders me.
For even now I left her, and not yet
The time is long since she beheld the sun.
I'rt 1
What caused her sickness ?   Speak ! how did she die ?
Father, I would that thou wouldst tell me all.
What! silent ?    Evils get no help from silence,
And souls desiring knowledge of all hearts
Must risk the charge of curiousness in evil.
Speak : from thy friends, ay, from thy more than friends.
Father, it is not right to hide thy woes.
O purposeless and erring race of men,
Why dost thou teach and learn a myriad arts
And every means invent.    Yet to this time
Thou dost not know, hast never gone in search
Of any doctrine teaching fools to think !
A clever sophist this, of whom thou sayest
He should constrain the frivolous to think.
But out of time these quibbles are refined,
Father.    I fear lest grief o'erstrain thy sense.
Oh, would to God there were some certain sign.
Plain fixed in men, their hearts distinguishing,
And which the true and which the seeming friend
Had each a twofold voice, the one sincere,
And one to serve expedience; for thus
We might detect the sin-resolving sound
From honest tones, nor were we then deceived. OF EURIPIDES.
What! has a friend poured slander in thy ears ?
Am I for that distrusted, innocent?
For thou dost 'wilder me ; thy words amaze me,
Rambling at random far away from sense.
Oh, whither shall advance the mind of man ?
What bounds to boldness, to audacity
What limit shall be set ?    Should this increase
And swell with life till each man in excess
Of villany o'erpass the last, the gods
Must make an added world to hold the base
And those whose nature is to sin.   Behold,
This is my son and has dishonoured me,
By her that died made manifest in guilt:
Yet since thou art polluted, dare to look
Thy father in the face.    So : thou art he
Whose company gods love, so rare a man ?
Thou, is it, that art temperate and good ?
I'll ne'er believe it, vaunt it as thou wilt.
I will not think it of the gods, they made
So ignorant a choice.    Go now and boast,
Trade on thy lifeless diet, play the fool
With Orpheus for a master.    Go, revere
The obscurities of many a written text .*
Go, being thus convicted.    But aloud 52
I'll bid men flee away from such as thou,
That hunt for pompous phrases, in their hearts
Planning a shameful end.    Ay, she is dead.
And thinkest thou this shall save thee ?   'Tis the snare
Wherein thy feet are set.    What words, what oaths
Are better proof than her dead body here,
Or quit thee of the charge ?    But wilt thou say
She hated thee, sayest the unlawful son
Is born a foe to children marriage gives ?
Then, by thy words, she drove a sorry trade
In life, that bartered all, her dearest all,
To glut a grudge against thee.    Wilt thou say
This folly is not in men, that women have ?
I have known men as facile and as weak
For all their manliness.    Why do I speak ?
Here's witness, here's her corpse.    Go : depart
Forth from my lands, and let thy flight be swift,
But near not god-built Athens, nor approach
The frontiers of that land my sword o'ersways ;
For should I tamely suffer this from thee,
The Isthmian Sinis would no longer witness,
In hell, I slew him, but I brag in vain,
Nor rocks Scironian herding sea-beside
Confess me a grief and burden to the base.
I know not what, if mortal, to declare
Happy, the house that was so being o'erthrown.
Father, the wrath and rigour of thy soul
Is fearful, yet this charge, though plausible,
Were, being explained, unfair.    I have no stock
In rhetoric, nor know I to harangue
The people; only to the equal few
I speak, yet this rewards me : that, among
The wise, as very triflers show the more
Accomplished artists in mob oratory.
Yet, for all that, being brought to such a pass,
I'll give my tongue the rein.    First, I refute
Thy first suspicion, spoken to destroy me
And deemed unanswerable ; but behold,
Father, the light and look upon the earth.
In these there lives no man more chaste than I,
Howe'er thou mayst deny it.    And indeed
I love the gods and fear them, and I use
No sin-experimentalists for friends,
But them that reverence keeps from speaking wrong,
Them that requite not love with help to crime ;
Nor laugh I at familiars, for I deem
Absent and near the same.    Unstained am I
With this vile deed of which thou wouldst convict me,
Father, for to this day I am pure from lust.
More of the thing I know not than from words
Hearkened or pictures seen, nor of such sight
And hearing am I fain, being virgin-souled. 1
But if my temperance convince thee not,
Show thou at least what way I fell.    Thy wife,
Was she so fair above all other women ?
Or did I hope inheritance from thee
Of kingship with the Queen ?   Then was I mad.
Wilt say that even the pure love power ?   But no :
For kingship mars the mind that it delights.
First in the games, and second in the state,
To prosper, with the noblest for my friends—
Such, rather, were my choice ; so lived I well
Apart from risk, in more than majesty.
One plea remains unvoiced; the rest thou knowest.
Oh that a witness like myself were mine
Now !   Or at least did she behold the sun
And hear me while I urged, then shouldst thou know
The base- and search their works.    But oaths alone
Are left.    I swear by God, by earth I swear,
Father, I never did thee this dishonour,
Nor wished it ever, nor conceived the thought;
And if my oath be false, so may I die
Inglorious, unrenowned, no citizen,
Homeless, a wanderer over alien earth.
May neither land nor ocean take my corpse
If I be born so base !    But if in fear,
Or not, she slew herself, I may not tell
And cannot know.    For more than I discreet
Was she, without discretion in her love;
But I that had it have not used it well.
Thou sayest enough to turn aside the charge.
Forth-bringing oaths to Heaven, a mighty proof.
But is he not some juggling sorcerer,
Howler of incantations, he that trusts
By suave complacence to constrain my soul,
Being my son that has dishonoured me ?
And much I marvel at thee, too, my father,
For I—wert thou my son, were I thy sire—
Would slay thee surely, and not banish thee,
If thou hadst dared to do so foul a wrong.
How fitly spoken !    Yet thou shalt not die
Thus, as thou layest down a law for thee^
Since Hades to the wretched is a rest;
But wandering, cast out from thy fatherland,
On alien earth shalt waste the hateful days.
This is the wages of the ungodly man.
What wilt thou then ?    Leaving not even Time
To stand my witness, wilt thou banish me ?
^J i
Beyond the ocean, past the Atlantic space,
If thus I may, so hateful is thy head.
No pledge, nor oath, nor omens of a seer
Tried, wilt thou cast me unjudged away from home ?
This letter waits for no observing seer
To accuse thee truly; as for birds that fly
Above, to them I bid a long farewell.
O gods, why do not I unlock my lips,
That am by you I worship brought to nought ?
No, they are sealed : nor should I then convince
Wholly, the oath I swore should bind being loosed.
Oh, me! how doth thy sanctity destroy me !
Wilt thou not hasten from thy fatherland ?
Where shall I, wretched, turn?   Me miserable
What host receive, being charged with such a crime ? n
He that delights to welcome who defiles
Women, and them whose house-fellow is Sin.
Alas ! to the heart and by the fount of tears
This goes, to seem so base and so to thee.
Then to have groaned, then to have owned thy guilt
Was fit, when daring to dishonour me.
Hadst thou, O house, a voice !    Ah ! might thy stones
Witness if I be born so base a man !
Dumb witness seekest thou?   Behold this corpse;
This deed, not word, shall testify thy crime.
Alas! alas!
And might I stand as thou and look upon
Myself, how had I wept what I endure.
Thou art,' indeed, more skilled in self-regard
Than to be just towards them that gave thee birth. Xs
O miserable mother !    Hateful birth!
May none I love spring from a lawless bond !
Will ye not drag him hence, slaves ?   Were ye deaf
When long ago I spoke his exile out ?
Yet at his peril that lays hand on me.
Thyself, if so thou wilt, shalt thrust me forth.
That will I, if thou art fixed to disobey;
No grief comes o'er my heart that thou must go.
'Tis settled, as it seems.    Alas ! alas !
For what I know I know not how to tell.
O thou Latona's daughter, dear to me
Above the rest of heaven, in the hunt
Companion, whom I took sweet counsel with!
O Artemis ! I must be banished now
From glorious Athens.    But farewell, farewell,
O city, and farewell, Erechtheus' land.
O plain of Troezen, what delights are thine
To spend a happy youth in ! but farewell.
m ■HVKSi
For the last time behold I thee, that hearest
For the last time my voice.    Come, speak to me,
Youths of my age and country; send me hence
With a kind word at parting; for indeed
You shall not look upon a purer man,
Though thus I show not in my father's thoughts.
St. ct.
Greatly the care of the gods, when I think on it, lessens
my grieving,
But hide I a hope in the heart's depths of comprehending
it then.
I am utterly left at fault, in beholding the works and
The fortunes of mortals; for aimlessly change
In a shifting confusion the lives of men,
Far-wandering ever to range.
Ant. a.
Oh, would that Fate from the heavens would answer my
calling upon her,
Granting me joy with my lot and a spirit unsullied in
A judgment not strained too high, neither basely en-
stamped with dishonour;
For, easily changing the wont of my ways
To the need of the morrow, in peace would I fain
Be happy the length of my days. ft
St. b.
But dim and amazed is my mind, the unlooked-for I see
come to pass;
For, ah me ! I behold, I behold
The clearliest burning star
Of Hellas cast out by a father, alas !
In his anger, to exile afar !
O ye sands of the neighbouring shores, where the water
Breaks into foam!    Forest oaks spreading wide
Where with swift-footed hounds he would rush on the
With Artemis aye at his side I
Ant. b.
The yoke of Henetian foals in the car o'er the Limnan
He shall urge never more, never more,
The steeds held back by his foot;
And the song that was sleepless shall silent remain,
In his home, 'neath the chords of the hite.
And crownless, Dictynna, the glade is thou hauntest
Deep in the forest, ungarlanded, lone.
Hushed is the strife for his hand, and the contest
Of maidens in marriage, for, lo ! he is gone.
But thy sorrows the soul in me sadden;
And fatal the fate is I undergo
In tears for thy sake and in pain. OF EURIPIDES.
Thy son, O mother, is born in vain!
Woe ! woe!
Against the gods I madden!
O Graces ! O goddesses linked in one!
Why must the innocent exile go
Cast out from the halls of his father,-and forth from his
kingdom thrown ?
But lo ! of this man's followers I behold
One reach the house with sorrow in his face.
Second Messenger.
Turning my steps what way shall I o'ertake
The King ?    Speak, ladies, is he in the halls ?
Behold, he comes from out his palaces.
Theseus, I bear a history worth a thought
To thee, to all Athenian citizens,
And these that dwell in Troezen it regards.
Speak: is it any great calamity
That falls upon the neighbouring twain of states ?
The word is this : Hippolytus is no more,
. Though yet for a scale's turn looks he on the light. M
Killed ?   And who slew him ?    Met him any man
In hate, whose wife he, as his father's, wronged ?
His horses and his chariot were his death ;
These, and the curses of thy mouth implored
Of him that is thy sire and rules the seas.
O great Poseidon, how truly art my father
That thus mine imprecation hast fulfilled !
How did he perish ?    Speak : how did he die ?
How did the snares of justice close him in ?
We servants, standing by the wave-met beach,
Curried the horses weeping, since there came
To us a messenger, who said, | No more
Hippolytus shall set returning feet
Upon our earth, being banished by the King."
We wept; and then himself approached and brought
The same sad strain of tears.    Close at his heels
The myriad of his friends and fellow-youth
Followed in thronging companies.    At last
He spoke, forsaking groaning : " O my soul,
Why art thou thus disquieted in me ? ■
My father's law must come to pass.    O slaves,
Yoke now the harnessed horses to the car—
For me this city is no more."   And then
Truly each man was eager to obey.
Swifter than speech we drew the horses up
Caparisoned to his side.    He seized the reins
In both his hands from off the chariot-rail,
Mounting all buskined as he was.    But first
He spoke to God with outstretched palms : "O Zeus,
Let me not live if I be born so vile,
And show my father, when I am dead at least,
If not while yet I look upon the light,
How much he hath misused me ! "    With the word
He spurred at once both horses on, and we
Ran by the reins, and followed him along
The forthright Argive, Epidaurian way;
But as we brought into the desert place
Our convoy—where there is a certain shore
Beyond this country, sloping to the sea
Saronic—thence arose a fearful voice
We shuddered at to hear, so loud it boomed
Like rumbling thunders of the nether Zeus.
The steeds, with stiffened heads and ears pricked up,
Listened, and on us crept a vehement fear
Of whence the voice might come; but, looking out
Towards the shore that roared with waves, we saw
A huge, unnatural billow, whose crest was fast
In heaven, that took away the coasting rocks * If
Of Sciron from our sight, and Isthmus hid,
And Aesculapius' cliff.    Then swelling high,
Dashing much foam about in the sea's swirl,
It neared the strand and towards the chariot moved.
But as the breaker and flood of the huge third wave
Burst on the beach, that billow sent us out
A portent, ay, a fierce and monstrous bull;
And all the country, filled with its uproar,
Voiced back the appalling sounds to us, whose eyes
Refused to look upon our visible fear.
Then on the horses came a mighty dread;
But he who mastered them, knowing well the ways
And nature of the steed, seized on the reins,
Pulling them as a sailor pulls the oar,
Tightening the trace with stress of the backward thrown
Body.    But in their teeth the horses strained
The bit, nor heeded urging from behind
Of steering hand, nor rein, nor wheel.    For when
Our master drove them towards the softer ground
The monster came in front to turn them back,
Maddening the team with fright; but towards the rocks
Bore them their furious mettle, still so far
He silently kept coming close behind,
Until the chariot fell; the horses reared
And threw their driver out; against the crags
The felloe o' the wheel was dashed, and forth there flew
The linch-pins and the axle-boxes up.
All was confusion then.    But he, alas !
Hippolytus, all tangled in the reins,
Bound with indissolublebonds, was dragged
Along, his dear head dashed against the rocks,
His body shattered; and he cried aloud
Most horribly, " Ye whom my mangers fed !
O my own horses ! stop; nor blot me out
Utterly from the. world !    O fatal curse 1
Ah ! who will save a man most innocent ? "
But, fain at heart to help, our laggard feet
Still left us far behind; yet from the reins
At last, I know not how, he loosed himself
And fell, nor long his breath of life endures.
With that the horses vanished, and no more
We saw the monster in that craggy place.
King, in thy palaces a slave from birth
Am I, yet will I not be made to think
That he, thy son, is evil.    Let the race
Of women all go hang and fill the pines
OT Ida with their writing.    He is pure.
Now of new ills the grief is consummate.
Fate and necessity may no man flee.
Through hatred of this man thy tale of woe
Rejoiced me at the first; but since the gods
I fear, and since he was my son, no more I
Delight nor sorrow moves me for his pain.
But how to please thee then ?   Must we convey
His body here ?   How use this anguished man ?
Consider; but if I might counsel thee,
Thou wert not savage to a suffering son.
Go, bear him hither. Let mine eyes behold
Him that denied his guilt; for I with words
And Heaven's judgment will confute him now.
Thou the unbending mind of the gods and of earthly
ones bendest,
Cypris, and where thou wendest
He whose feathers are bright with a myriad changing
On nimblest pinion flies;
Over the earth and above the brine of the sounding sea
Hovering flutters he.
For Love with maddened heart enchants
Whatever meets his glittering wings—
The wild beast whelps in mountain haunts,
The creatures in the waves,
And on the earth the growing things
That burning Helios looks to see, OF EURIPIDES.
And man; but these are all thy slaves,
And subject, O Cypris, to thee.
Oh, sprung from a noble father, O son
* Of Aegeus, thee bid I hear.
For I am the maid of Latona that speak I
Theseus, unhappiest, wherefore to thee
Is bloodshed and pain a delight ?
For unjustly thy son is destroyed with the curse
Of thee, an unnatural sire.
For thy trust was put in the falsehood of Phaedra
Regarding uncertain invisible things,
But sure is thy ruin and plain.
Oh, how dost not hide out of sight in the nethermost
Chasm of torment and darkness in hell,
Thy body, defiled as thou art ?
Or why dost not take to thee wings and escape
To a changed existence above,
Withdrawing thy foot from the snare of Jhese ills,
That here hast no lot with the good ?
But hearken, Theseus, how thine evils stand,
For, though it vantage nought, I will torment thee;
But to this end I came, to manifest
The just mind of thy son, that he may die
In honour, and of Phaedra's agonized love,
That yet was, in some, sort, a nobleness Lit
To witness.    For that goddess most abhorred
By us, whose pleasure is the virgin life,
Goaded her on to passion for thy child.
But while she strove to gain the victory
Over desire by right, against her will
The scheming nurse destroyed her, that betrayed
Her secret to thy son, binding with oaths.
He, as was just, would not obey nor hear
Her words, nor yet, for all thy calumny,
Took aught of obligation .from his oath,
Having an honourable nature.    Then
Thy wife, afraid a test might show her shame,
Graved the false tablet that destroyed thy son
With subtle guiles, and yet persuaded thee.
Woe's me !
O Theseus, stings the speech?   Be still,
That,  all being heard,  thou   then  mayest  groan  the
Dost not remember how thy father gave thee
Three curses, sure to slay ?    O sinful man,
One sent no foe destruction, but thy son !
The sea-god justly gave thee what was due
According to his vow, but in my sight
And his most base thou showest, for that thou
Proof nor the voice of prophets didst not wait, * II
And soughtest not inquiry, and no time
Didst brood the thought, but swiftlierthan was well
Vented a curse against thy son, and slew him.
0 mistress, let me die !
Mighty and dread
Thy deeds; and yet forgiveness may befall
To even such.    For Cypris willed these things
To satisfy her heart.    So runs the law
For gods : what wills desiring deity
No fellow-god would thwart, each stands aloof
From crossing other's purpose evermore.
Be sure that, stood I not in dread of Zeus,
1 never would have come to such dishonour
As leave to die the man more dear to me
Than all the world beside.   As for thy sin,
The guilt is loosed because thou didst not know,
Since in her death thy wife destroyed the proof
Of questions, and through this beguiled thy mind.
Now most upon thy head this storm is burst,
But me, me too, it strikes.    For at the death
Of pious mortals gods do not rejoice,
That crush the wicked and destroy their race.
t 7o
Ah ! look where he cometh, a dying man,
With tender body and auburn head
Mangled and cruelly rent.
Woe to the palaces, woe! for a ban
Of double sorrow and twofold dread
Upon us from heaven is sent.
Ah, ah !    I suffer !    I die !
Alas, me unhappy !    For thus was I torn
By the unjust answer of God
To the curse of a father unjust!
And spasms of anguish, ah! beat in my brain,
Swift agonies shoot through my head.
Ah ! stop, for I faint; let me rest.
O team- of my chariot, fed at my hand !
It is you that destroyed me, and you are my death,
0 hateful and terrible steeds !
Alas me ! I pray you by Heaven, O slaves,
Touch ye the wounds of my mangled flesh
With tender and quiet hands.
O Zeus, dost behold ? for the servant of God,
1 that am holy and chaste,
Go down to a manifest hell under earth,
Life unto me being lost;
And the work of goodness I wrought to mankind
Is fruitless indeed, and as labour in vain. fill
Alas! alas !
For the anguish, the anguish is come on me now.
Let me alone, slaves.   Wilt thou not come,
O healer, Death?
Destroy me, destroy me ! I long for the sword
Keen with a double edge,
To cleave me asunder, to cut me in twain
And put my life to sleep.
O curse ! the sins of my forefathers now,
The blood-guilt of my kin,
Are burst from the bounds, nor delay on the course,
But upon me—O wherefore ?—are come
That am nowise the cause of the wrong.
Ah ! what shall I say ?
How set me free
From living and suffering pain ?
O black necessity, gate of night!
O Death, wouldst thou hush me to rest!
O sufferer, truly art thou yoked with grief,
Yet by thy nobleness of soul destroyed.
Ah! ah! jf I
O heavenly breath of fragrance, thee I feel
Even in torment, and the pain is passed.
The goddess Artemis is standing by. w
She is, O sufferer, she, thy friend in heaven.
And dost thou, mistress, look upon my woes ?
Yet dare not shed the god-unlawful tear.
Thy huntsman and thy follower is no more.
No more, no more, yet dear to me in death.
Gone is thy horseman, guarder of thy shrines.
Ay, for unscrupulous Cypris schemed the plan.
Alas ! I know what god destroys me now.
Thou, being chaste, wert odious to her fame.
One Cypris, as it seems, destroys us three. OF EURIPIDES.
Thy father, thee, and—for the third—his wife.
Wherefore I also mourn my father's fate.
The goddess blinded him with her deceits,
Father, how art thou wretched in this grief!
I perish, son; I have no joy in life.
Such bitter gifts thy sire the sea-god granted !
Would that the prayer had died within my throat!
But why ?   Thou wouldst have slain me in thy rage.
For Heaven willed my judgment's overthrow.
Ah ! were man's curse on Heaven but as strong! 74
Hush! for not even in the shadowy world
Hereunder shall the shafts of Cypris' rage
Be hurled against thy body unrevenged,
Because thy holiness was not in vain,
Nor vain thy lofty thought; but whoso breathes
Most dear to her shall fall, by might of these
Inevitable arrows of my hand,
Slaughtered in vengeance for thy death.    But thou
Shalt have immortal recompense for pain.
Great are the honours I will give thee here
In this Troezenian city, and for thee
Unmarried girls before their wedding day
Shall shear their yellow tresses; thou shalt reap
For many an age the harvest of their tears,
And evermore thy memory shall remain,
And make a music in their maiden mouths
For ever, nor shall silence hold unsaid
The love that Phaedra bore thee.    But, O king,.
0 son of Aegeus, take within thine arms
Thy child and clasp him to thee, since I know
Thou didst not willingly visit him with death,
And it is natural that men should err
When so the immortals order.    And forgive
Thy sire, Hippolytus.    Thy (Jeath was fate,
And this thou knowest.    But farewell, farewell;
1 may not look upon thy life's decay, OF EURIPIDES.
The dying gasps of men were my pollution;
And no more distant I behold thine end.
Farewell even thou, blest virgin, and depart.
But lightly a long friendship dost thou leave.
Yet for thy sake I loose from all reproach
My father; for indeed since long ago
Thy words have been my rule of life.    Ah, me !
The air grows black before my sight already.
Father, take me, lift me, lift me up.
Thy blessing, son ; how dost thou wring my heart.
I die; and see indeed the gates of hell.
And wilt thou leave my soul defiled with blood ?
No, from this guilt and bloodshed thou art freed.
How sayest thou, my soul is loosed from sin ? THE CROWNED HIPPOLYTUS
Artemis, witness, wielder of the bow.
O best beloved, how noble art thou shown !
Farewell thou also; take my last farewell.
Woe's me, to lose a son so dear and brave !
Pray that thy lawful sons may prove as much.
0 son, forsake me not for death.    Take heart
1 have done with taking heart, father.    I die;
Cover my face and swiftly with the robe.
O Athens' famous frontiers, Pallas' earth,
How shall ye mourn this man !   Alas ! alas !
Cypris, of thy revenge how many things
Shall keep the memory present in my breast! H
Common this sorrow to all in the city
Comes, an unlooked-for guest.
Of many the tears shall gush out in their pity,
And many shall beat the breast.
For the grief of the great there are many to wail,
And long shall the fame of their sorrow prevail.
How deep a chasm is open, how deep and wide,
Between these songs and the first songs I said
With tremulous girlish voice, but half afraid.
Now, as a heart-racked mother, I stand aside
And wait while calmer judges shall decide
If this indeed, this wanderer long delayed,
Be the lost son returned, the one gift prayed
Of Heaven; at last, at last no more denied.
Yet, fearing still to shame her dead son's tomb
With blasphemous welcomes, till their voices drown
The clamour at her heart, she will not stir.
Not pity; truth she craves.    No less than her
I scorn to mock my dearth with spurious bloom,
Or wrong true laurels by a tinsel crown.
I	 •A>'
To Vernon Lee.
I send the tale you told me back to you
Less beautiful than when I heard it first,
For then indeed I thought the clove that grew
So many summers back had verily burst
The prison of its grave, and bloomed anew
With redder flowers than ever Dafhe nursed ;
There was such colour and odour in the air
At twilight on the Uffizj's silent stair.
Some magic of the cool and quiet hour
I thought it then, nor marked the story well.
For little I dreamed with what continuing power
Your words upon my inner ear should swell
In void and distant places, till the flower
They praised I strove to praise and broke the spell.
For I have searched my music all in vain
To find a note that brings your voice again. THE RED CLOVE.
{After the Novella of Messer Giov. Batt Giraldi
Cinthio, 1550.)
When sad Ferrara's palaces forlorn
Were yet unravished of their early pride,
While still the rose was conqueror of the thorn
In all her gardens odorous and wide,
Where whispering poets praised at eve and morn
Lucrezia, who the sight of God defied,
Then every summer flushed the storied clove,
Whose faded flowers keep their scent of love.
But they who loved are dead so long ago
That you shall faintly feel, if you will climb,
Beyond the wayworn places that you know,
So far with me the backward path of time—
But faintly shall you feel the love and woe
Those faded years were red with in their prime;
For when the moon first made their months of light,
Those, that are ghosts to-day, were men of might. -
And none were mightier then, or proudlier known,
Than Ser Cristofano, for wealth and race;
And nothing was beloved in all the town
As slender young Antonio's boyish face,
The only heir to ages of renown;
Nor was there maiden sweet and full of grace
As slender Dafne with her musing eyes,
The daughter of Dei Mazzi blind and wise.
Noble and scholar once were friends, but life
Had,borne on separate currents each from each ;
One sought the praise of courts, the glory of strife,
The other with the muse held quiet speech;
And either found his heart filled full and rife
With centred love that one alone could reach :
Cristofano only loved his orphaned boy,
And Dafne filled her quiet home with joy.
At last the marvellous round of days and nights
That only children know, were nearly passed
For young Antonio.    All the dear delights
Of that sweet time were like to fade at last THE RED CLOVE.
Whereat Cristofano mourned : for shrewdly bites
The tooth of time when children spring so fast
To separate lives !    The lonely father smiled
But sadly, counting twelve years for his child.
So, for Antonio's sake, he sought the house
Of Gian De' Mazzi, a friend too long forgot,
And found him old and blind, with peaceful brows.
For hours they paced the twilit garden plot
(The tender sky branched o'er with laurel boughs),
Talking of many things that now were not,
Until a voice like music pierced the shade.
" Ah, see," said Gian, " my laurels grown a maid.
" My motherless Dafne !   So the neighbours call
My girl, because she leaves youth's ruddy shows
To bind the laurel's sombre coronal.
But she, I say, shall live when no man knows
Their places of forgotten burial;
For she shall pluck the eternal, perfect rose
That blossoms on Parnassus !"   So he ceased,
And in his eyes the inner light increased. i
And then Cristofano, turning, smiled to see
Red-blushing Dafne, marvelling to find
How beautiful she was.    " Alas ! to me,"
Said Gian, " her face is nothing; in my mind
A little maid of nine she seems to be,
For it is now ten years that I am blind."
" So, she is seven years older than my boy,"
Cristofano said; " too old to be so coy."
And smiling, with a promise to return,
He left them then, but heavy was his heart
With sorrow that he knew himself must learn
And teach Antonio too; for they must part.
Since neither prayers nor all desires that yearn
Can bring the past to life, nor any art,
He watched an anxious night, to greet the morrow
That brought his child the earliest touch of sorrow.
But less Antonio grieved ; for all was strange,
And every novel thing a fresh delight;
The narrow house, the rows of books, the change
By day, the welcome-warm return at night, THE RED CLOVE.
The little laurelled plot, more sweet to range
Than lonely gardens, bare to heart and sight,
But most of all the tender love and care
Of Dafne, made him find the new life fair.
He loved to dream himself Hippolytus,
And her white Artemis, the heavenly maid ;
Or, musing on Endymion, feigned that thus
One night she stooped to kiss him in the shade ;
And he would sigh to pass her verdurous
Tall laurel, thinking how in vain were prayed
Apollo's prayers for love he never won.
And in these dreams four circling years sped on.
At last Antonio ailed; he knew not why,
But hollower grew his glance, and pale his cheek,
Heavy his step, and heavier still the sigh
That often broke the words he meant to speak.
He did not care to live, nor wished to die,
Desired, yet knew not what he had to seek,
And, though he felt no sorrow he could say,
He tossed through wakeful nights and dreamed all day 88
Ah ! what despair was then Cristofano's,
To watch the son he lived for pine to death,
And find nor cause nor healing for his woes !
To watch the greatening eyes, the lagging breath,
The changeful spirit never in repose !
To know that life, once spent, nought quickeneth,
And watch it flicker out!   Such heavy fears
Are mists in which despair more vast appears.
So, barely hoping that the country air
Might bring fresh colours in a face too wan,
But rather that no foreign thought or care
Be thrust between him and his dying son,
Cristofano found a pleasant village where
They two might rest, unwatched of any one.
And there he brought Antonio suddenly,
Unknowing if it were to live or die.
But after many days he went alone
Back to Ferrara, for a morning's space,
And told Dei Mazzi all; for yet unknown
To any was Antonio's resting-place. THE RED CLOVE.
Then, even while he spoke, he heard a moan,
And, turning, saw sweet Dafne's paling face,
As in the trellised porch, all white, she stood,
With clove-pinks in her hands and southernwood.
" And is he like to die, my school-fellow,
My poor Antonio ? " heavily she sighed-
Her voice broke off, her white hands, moving slow,
Set from the bitter herbs the flowers aside—
And "Oh," she said, | Messere, when you go
Tell him for sure how bitterly we cried,
And, since he always loved my fragrant clove,
Give him these blossoms and a heart of love."
Cristofano took the flowers, and rode away
Sadly, and in the lengthening evening hours
He reached the homestead where Antonio lay
Half-dead, and entering gave him Dafne's flowers,
And spoke the simple words she bade him say,
Whereat, as from a charm of magic powers,
His fever fled ; he wakened from his pain,
Knowing he loved and was beloved again. w*
• 18.
Yet of his hidden thought he would discover
No treacherous word; but he would lie awake,
And softly in the night say over and over
The name that was so sweet for Dafne's sake.
And since he longed to be her very lover,
His eager will grew strong enough to break
The custom and control of his disease;
Nor long they stayed among the hills and trees.
Nor need I tell, for all who love will know,
How soon with anxious heart he sought the house
Where Dafne lived, or how, afraid and slow
First, and then passionately, he urged his vows.
But evermore in vain Antonio
Pleaded for love to her whose placid brows
And proud, still mouth belied with strenuous art
The throbbing, deafening clamour at her heart.
For she had slept in fairy land, it seemed,
Through all the golden Maytime of her youth,
And woke, too late, to find that she had dreamed
Of visions far less lovely than the truth. !7:I
How cold and sterile now her laurel gleamed !
How red the fragrant roses, scorned in sooth
Till roses bloom no more; and Dafne woke
Too old to answer when Antonio spoke.
Ah, still she loved him—with a quiet stress
Of passionate gratitude and fervour soft
That found an outlet in unselfishness;
And still denied the boon he craved full oft;
And still refused to comfort his distress—
She held her heart, she thought, too high aloft
For him to grasp at—yet it came to this :
Sweet Dafne yielded to her lover's kiss.
O happy noon !    O golden plenitude
Of light and glory never known before !
O passion stilled to calm beatitude
That dares not feel, lest the full cup run o'er !
Sweet, sudden freedom from the solitude
Of separate souls, released for evermore !
O fear of fears, to dread such passion must
Turn, with the hearts it beats through, into dust! ■r*"
And not till eager night surprised that noon
Antonio left the lady of his heart,
Blaming the wayward hours that sped too soon
Then, though such laggards when they lived apart;
Dull common hours, when life was out of tune
And all the glory gone from books and art.
So with the rising sun Antonio woke,
And sought his father and soon his passion spoke.
Then, when the story of his love was done,
He lifted up his love-expectant eyes
And saw his father white and set, as one
Who feels the fang of mortal agonies ;
New doubts and tremors made him turn as wan
With fear, and the first wrench of heart-knit ties.
At last, in accents suddenly thin and tense,
Cristofano's voice broke through the strained suspense.
" Was it for this, my son, for this," he cried,
" That I have made thee only, from thy birth,
The very star and centre of my pride ?
Last of thy name, and wilt thou bring to the earth THE RED CLOVE.
The honour of thy house, taking a bride
Old and impoverished, sickly, mean in her birth,
The daughter of a scribe ?   Far better thou
Hadst died than lived to such dishonour now.
I Too clearly I see the sorrow thou shalt bring
Upon us, burdened with a sick, old wife
While thou shalt yet be scarcely past thy spring.
Antonio, I have loved thee all thy life—
Wilt thou forsake me for so slight a thing ?
For a fair face turn all our peace to strife,
And break the loving'st heart son ever knew ? "
He ceased; Antonio sighed; the silence grew.
At last, "Antonio !" moaned the father's voice;
And then Antonio answered, " Fatjier, take
The life thou gavest.    If it be thy choice
That I should mourn, I'll mourn; ay, and forsake
The dearest woman that did e'er rejoice
The earth with treading on't.    Though my heart break
In the act, it does thy bidding.    Only know,
All woman's love with Dafne's I forego." 94
Happy the father who from such a son
Such love may claim !   Cristofano blessed with tears
His child, who yielded up the warmth and sun
Of fruitful love out of his early years ;
And yet he had no doubt this love would run
To sudden change; he had no doubt, nor fears.
Nor dare we blame him, who misjudge full oft
Their strength whose love for us is tender and soft.
So while Antonio sank to death again,
Sick of the sun, his father sought the maid
Dafne, and long implored her, nor in vain,
To loose Antonio.    She, alas ! afraid
To trust for him the augur of her pain,
By love made false to love, no word gainsaid,
But tore the heart and passion from her life
Mutely, and made herself a stranger's wife.
Then for a little while she paid her price,
Though dizzily conscious of some dreadful change,
As one contented with her sacrifice.
And evermore she prayed this soulless, strange THE RED CLOVE.
Wifehood of hers might for her heart suffice;
Stifling the treacherous love that still would range
Towards memories betrayed; and this dull woe
Endured until she saw Antonio.
But then such sudden passion pierced the mist
Of self-deceit and torpor round her soul,
That neither of earth, nor life, nor time she wist;
Only she heard his voice, sad as a toll,
And lived but in the trembling hand he kissed.
Yet his despair recovered her control;
So, for his sake, she feigned to look unmoved,
Bidding him leave her sight if yet he loved.
Saying, " I love thee still, Antonio.
I have not such a heart as time can move.
But now I love thee, even as long ago,
With undesirous, sweet, familiar love,
Even as in old days we used to know,
Even as when I plucked for thee the clove
That brought them to an end; but if it be
Thou canst not feel such brother's love for me, 96
" Go hence a while, and look on other things
Whose shapes are free from haunting memories;
Go northward, where the arrowy swallow wings
Her summer flight to forest greeneries.
Go hence; because the loss of honour brings
A worse despair than love's death-agonies;
If thou hast loved me, go."   Antonio went,
Alone and sad, to dreary banishment.
He waited long; in vain.    Still memory held
A broken heart, that every comfort spurned.
He waited till such stern desire impelled
His feet towards home that he perforce returned.
And as he neared the city, lo ! there knelled
From every tower a toll; yet still he yearned
With uncontrollable love for Dafne's face,
Her voice, her touch, and hastened towards the place.
He found a world of graves.    In all the streets
Wide, hideous trenches gaped, wherefrom a sigh
Of fcetid pestilence filled the summer heats;
And by the sides lay sufferers doomed to die, Wrapping themselves in their own winding-sheets.
And as he spoke or walked, one passing by
Would swerve, and fall down dead into the trench;
Where darkness buried him, and the sick stench.
Antonio left them with an aching heart
That drove him swiftly on where Dafne was ;
For in that year, that desolate year apart,
He could not tell what ills had come to pass;
And plague was in the place, plague that no art
Can cure, no litanies exorcise.    Alas
Ghastly, uncovered death !    Antonio sped
Past his own empty home, whence all were fled.
Until he reached his married Dafne's house,
Dark and deserted now, and thought her gone
To some sweet refuge full of winds and boughs.
Then, as he turned aside, he heard a moan,
And saw her withered nurse, with furrowed brows
Weeping : " My dove, and shalt thou die alone,
So young, so fair, forsaken utterly,
With none to go in the shadow of death with thee ? " 98
Then from an upper window came a voice
That, even through the horror of that hour,
Made all his veins tumultuously rejoice.
The words fell weak and fast, like a May shower,
As hurrying to be done: " 'Tis Heaven's choice,
And shall I murmur if the cup be sour ?
Nay! but 'tis sweet to die, 'tis sweet!" she said,
And leaned into the light her weary head.
Out of the dark square of the window frame,
Sweet as an angel's shone her yearning face ;
Her hair played round her like a living flame.
She leaned towards the safe and sheltered place,
Where wept the nurse and prayed, but never came
To closer help than sighing, % Hail, Mary of grace !'
'Twas thus Antonio saw her and she him,
While, for a little space, their sight grew dim.
She spoke at length : " My love, I knew full well,
Though all have left me here, that thou wouldst come.
I heard thy voice far off, and I could teU
How swiftly thou wert hastening to my tomb. THE RED CLOVE.
Now am I glad, who was most miserable
Of all forsaken women in my doom.
Nay, weep not, love; for this was sure to be,
Seeing I wedded another man, not thee.
" More than a marriage-ring or chains of gold
It takes to bind a woman to a man,
For him to love her when his pride is old;
When sickness comes, to make her beauty wan.
It is my fault that I was ever cold.
Why should he brave for me the crudest ban
Of pitiless Heaven ?   Alas ! I loved him not ! "
And here her speech in weeping was forgot.
" Open and let me in ! " Antonio cried,
" Open ! thou shalt not sink into the grave,
My sister Dafne ! Dafne, my stolen bride !
I have such love that I am sure to save."
Then, as she heard his voice, the trouble died
Out of her face, like a receding wave.
I Go in," she said; " wait by the lowest stair—
I will not meet thee in this deathly air." THE RED  CLOVE.
Even as she spoke she rose, and forth she moved
Heavily towards the winding stair of wood;
And holding out his arms to her he loved,
Mute, stone-still, at the foot Antonio stood;
For scarcely he believed that now he proved
A sober truth, his dream in solitude.
So as a man entranced, with wide, strained eyes,
He watched the opening of his paradise.
At last, at last, so long desired and late,
Love held in reach his dearest coronal.
At last he watched her coming, and loved to wait;
But as she neared the lowest step of all
She swayed a little sideways, then stood straight,
And stumbled, with a sudden, helpless fall,
Into his outspread arms.    He felt her head
Fall back against his shoulder.   She was dead.
Dead, even as she lay upon his heart;.
Dead, lost beyond all valour to retrieve;
Dead in his arms who lived so long apart;
Dead; lost!   Ah 1 yet again she seemed to live; THE RED  CLOVE.
For, watching her dim eyes, he saw them start
To life, and plead for help he could not give,
In one long miserable look of pain.
And then she sighed, nor ever moved again.
Hour after hour he held her on his breast,
Leaning against the wall; for still he thought
She yet might waken from her tranced rest.
But when the night no dawn of waking brought,
He laid her in her carven bridal-chest,
With angel wings and faces overwrought;
He clad her in sweet-smelling linen fair,
And strewed a rain of spices on her hair.
And long he watched; but when the noon was high
He stooped and kissed the ^miet of her brow,
He shut the oaken lid, and sorrowfully
Bore to her grave beneath a laurel-bough
The weight and earth of her who was so nigh
Yesterday, and all heaven beyond him now.
And as he sang her chant of burial,
He saw a clove-pink growing in the wall THE RED  CLOVE.
"Ah, me!" he sighed, "to think this soulless flower
Outlives the love she meant to last for aye !
How dare it flourish in such a terrible hour ?
How can it bear to live when Love must die ?
Love dies; but ah ! if Love might overpower
The dark of death and last eternally,
There were no grief.   Sweet dream! too sweet to save
As soon this clove shall blossom in her grave."
49-   •
Out of the shadow of death it seemed to grow
As fresh and fragrant as the breath of love,
And as he gathered it, Antonio
Remembered Dafne's earliest gift of clove.
He plucked the crimson flower and laid it low,
Where nevermore her heart should beat, nor move;
Where nevermore might any memory stir
Beneath the heavy earth that covered her.
For long she lay alone below the shade
Of laurel trees that yet her memory keep;
Since never again her husband came, nor made
Atonement for a woe too grave and deep. THE RED  CLOVE.
She lay alone till mourning lovers laid
Her true Antonio in her tomb to sleep;
And they that buried him beside his love
Found, on the shapeless dust, a blossoming clove. 'f-te
(To A. Vander Ouderaa.)
Florent van Ravesteen.
Long Rod, chief officer of the Hamman.
Pedro de Garcia, Prior of Mary's Church, and arbiter fot
Van Ravesteen.
Hugo de Braeckeleer, arbiter for his ward
Agnes de Braeckeleer.
Sheriffs and Officers.
Place—St. Mary's Church, Antwerp.
Long Rod (speaks).
Florent van Ravesteen, free Lord of Gheys,
Stand forth accused of murder, foully done
Upon the person of De Braeckeleer,
Count of the realm and Lord of Meulenveldt,
Who made a shameful end in Antwerp, struck
Home from behind with your unreckoned knife
That moonless night of the third noon of March,
Gone past a week to-day.    Stand forth accused,
Found guilty, and condemned by the judge
To pay with blood the price of bloodshedding
Before this sun shall set.   Yet, having friends At Court, in Church, and being young and brave,
Authority, that hates your punishment,
Though just, worse than the crime it cannot cure,
Hath brought again an ancient law to light,
A long-abeyant Antwerp privilege—
Mondzoen.    Whereby it is set forth and shown
That if the murderer repent and make
Such sign of penitence as wrings a tear
Even from eyes that mourn a murdered man,
Then he and they whose father, brother, son,
Or husband he hath slain shall meet in church
Before the sheriffs, Long Rod, and a priest,
And, minding them of Christ's forgiveness, shall
Give ear to him aforesaid, who barefoot,
Clad only in a shirt, bareheaded, shorn,
A straw-wisp in his supplicating hands
That reach out sword-forsaken, kneels on stones
Crying on God and them to lend their ears
Favourably; then, if their hearts be turned
Towards mercy, one among them, man or maid,
Nearest of kin and heir to him whose blood
Their sable mourning-garments sorrow for,
Shall rise and kiss his murderer on the mouth,
And bid him go in peace and sin no more,
Being saved; and this is Mondzoen.
Ho ! arise,
Pedro de Garcia, prior of Mary's Church,
Arbiter of the cause of Ravesteen ! io6
Arise, come forth, Hugo de Braeckeleer!
To-day the mouth-piece of thy cousin's will,
Judge of her interests and umpire named
By this young Countess Agnes, since last week
An orphan and thy ward !   Hear now the plea !
Hugo de Braeckeleer, the foulest wrong
That man can do to man, you mourn to-day.
I will not urge for Lord van Ravesteen
One other plea than penitence.    For you,
I know that rightly you may seek revenge;
I own that justly you can cry for blood.
I will not call your sorrow any name
To mock its vastness with some fair excuse
For him that wrought it wilfully; I say
Man can wrong man no worse; but man to God
Wrought deadlier injury and God forgave :
Be then divine, De Braeckeleer, and forgive !
Uncurl that scornful lip.    You well may doubt
The penitence of him whose chance of life
Hangs but on your forgiveness, yet give ear;
He who before you kneels on bended knees,
Haggard of face and lean with fear, whose eyes
Stare out at unseen horrors—this young man,
Who, if you choose, shall die the death to-night,
Or, if you choose, may live to save his soul,
Doth not with lip-assurance sue for peace,
For reconciliation, life, and heaven,
But to lose all in this world's lust and rust.
He from these stones shall rise a beggared man.
For, urged by deep repentance, as a sign
And pledge of his remorse he willeth all
His lands and houses by the city gate,
His town and castle of Van Ravesteen,
His fruitful plains of Gheys, with all he hath
Of personal possession and display
(The whole being else Crown forfeiture), to swell
The heritage of him whose death we mourn.
Ail save two farms and some few thousand crowns
Scarce missed, the which he grants in legacy
To Mary's Church, a gift to her whose grace
May free his feet yet from the snares of hell.
My Lord de Braeckeleer, consider long
Before you judge this matter; it is much.
This pardon saves a sinner's soul and shines
A special grace in yours ; and for the rest
Your heritage is doubled; this poor child,
Whose guardian you are, indemnified
By heavenly favour and terrestrial gain
For what she misses in a father's care,
For which revenge were a lean substitute.
Be great, my lord, and pardon; so you earn
The love of Heaven, the gratitude of man,
The prayers and safe protection of the Church
(Much in these troublous times), be wise, my lord. MONDZOEN.
Gold is a better cure for grief than blood
And hath no soil for taking hands.    Think well.
May God be with you now and turn your heart!
Long Rod.
Hugo de Braeckeleer, stand forth and speak!
Lord prior and father in God,*you speak wise words.
What's done is done, and no revenge on earth,
Nor justice, as this were, can bring the breath
Back to dead nostrils.    Since my kinsman's slain
Methinks the fairest retribution were
To make provision for his orphan girl,
Who must not trust to me, a childed man.
This mercy does, so I choose mercy.    Though
I mourn the dead man that I loved, I find
My tears a scanty portion for his child;
So I declare for Mondzoen.    I have said.
I am no Latined priest, nor officer
With words that flow like watered wine : so speak.
Call Agnes forth and let her kiss the man.
Long Rod.
The prisoner must crave himself his boon.
Stand forth, Van Ravesteen !
Ay, let me see her. MONDZOEN.
Out of the light! Great God ! how changed she is!
Agnes !   And I have done it.    Pale and still
And lifeless as a nun.    I am glad I did it.
Speak to me; look at me.    Forgive me, Agnes.
How shall I die if thou will not forgive me !
It was for thee I struck, it was for thee;
And it was best, believe me.    Agnes, speak.
Nay, look not at me with thy father's eyes
As thou wert struck to death.    O haunting face !
Thou'lt hunt me to perdition.    Who would think
Dead men could keep so cruel ?
See, his mind wanders.
Long Rod.
Now, for the love of Christ, be pitiful.
Stand forth, sweet lady, for the love of Christ,
And kiss this penitent sinner on the mouth,
In token of forgiveness granted.
Nay, good lord, remember how her mind N
Is quite distraught with grief; she did not hear
Our talk of tenures and bequeathment.    See
The incessant, aimless twitching of her hands.
Our law-terms have bewildered her.
But now
Give ear a moment, daughter; at thy feet
A penitent sinner kneels, and at thy hands
Craves life for his imperilled soul.    Judge not,
Lest God judge thee exactly.    Know that crime
Must not be measured by its consequence ;
The deed that leaves thee desolate, the sin
That years of tears can hardly wash away,
Was but a moment's work, a hasty thought
Too rashly mated with its act.    I speak
A foreign tongue to thee; thy pure young heart
Recks nought of evil passion ; yet more pure,
More innocent than thou is the good God
Who evermore forgives continual sin.
But seat thee, daughter ; thou art strangely pale.
Speak first one word of pardon.
Obstinate girl!   Out of my sheltering house
This night thou goest; no protecting arm
To fight for thee and shield thine honour.    Go, »i
Go with thy virtue to the Antwerp streets,
Till hunger, infamy, and outrage break
That stony heart.    What! not one word to hold
My love and service ?
Think again,
Daughter.    There have been rumours set afloat,
Hints, vague suspicions that a breath may fan
Into a flame to light the market up,
When damnable heretics foretaste their hell
And make a bonfire on our holidays.
'Tis whispered that the Countess Agnes leans
To Luther and his crew (Christ curse them all!).
Methinks it were betimes to show thyself
The Church's friend by such a deed as this
Of Catholic mercy.    'Twere an act of faith
More easy than some others.    It is said
That Mother Church, to save her children's souls,
Spares not the rod of fleshly agony.
I have heard tales of dungeons.    Think again—
Two lives hang on the balance.    Nay, take time.
Have mercy.
Never! Pedro.
Peace to thy parrot cry
Will nothing shake that stubborn will ?    Beware !
For walls have eyes and ears and priests know all.
I think those lips that clench so coldly now
Knew once to make no hardship of a kiss
To him whose life hangs on them.
What, thou prude,
Wilt slay thy lover ?
Father, no word more !
I loved him.    Florent loved me.    All was well.
Then the good hour went by.    My father swore
We twain should meet no more.    A month dragged on
I thought no worse could come to those dull days,
Until one night I woke at tramp of feet,
Went down, and through the voices and the crowd
I found my father's face—dead, dead, stone dead,
With never a word or kiss for me,—and knew
I loved him more than all the world beside.
The rest was but a dream.    Somewhere I saw
My lover's longed-for face; for the last time
Florent    This man that took my father's life
I hate	
Agnes! Agnes.
Now let him die.
Take care.
Ay, let me die : no other sword than this
Can bite so shrewdly.    But all dying men
Have one brief moment granted them to make
Their peace with Heaven.    Thou art my heaven, love.
Be merciful.    I will not try thee long.
I will die quickly, hearken but one word.
That hateful night (nay, thou must hear me now)
I met De Braeckeleer in the street, he came
At midnight home from roystering company,
When I, 'wildered with watching, stopt him, cried,
" For God's sake, give me news of Agnes!'    Then
He laughed a little, and leaned, and spoke a word—
I killed him.    I am glad on't.    Though in dreams
So fierce his lamping eyes strike through the dark
That I am sure there's no night in the grave
Shall blot them into shadow, still I am glad.
Ay, though thy curses drag me down to hell
For worms and fire to feed upon, I am glad,
Since this I choose, and not that thou shouldst live,
Heartsick, the Spanish tyrant's paramour,
And then grow stale in a nunnery	 Speak, love.    Forgive
Great God!
Nay, thou art safe, sweet.    Listen.    Yet I think
There is no more to tell thee.    Yesterday
They came and whispered they would save my life
By Mondzoen.    And I smiled, but meant to die—
Die, with thy kisses on my lips.    'Twas heaven !
Now—'tis but hell for me.    Adieu ! [Stabs himself.
[Kisses him.
She kissed him first.
Long Rod.
I do declare Florent van Ravesteen
Free of the guilt of murder, being saved
By Mondzoen.   And I furthermore declare
Agnes de Braeckeleer, Count Hugo's ward,
Heir of the goods of Ravesteen: except
The farms of Rylak and their revenues,
The which St Mary's Church shall hold in fee.
All this by act of Mondzoen. MONDZOEN.
Agnes, rise!
Leave this sad place ; come home and mourn with me.
What, weeping still ?    Nay, smile; thou'rt wealthy, girl.
Take all, all.    Leave me but some hole to hide
Me, and the breaking of my heart, until
The comfortable darkness cover me.
Dark ? dark ? all's dark, I think, and whirling night,
Cold, and remembered faces.   Father!      [Falls fainting.
Do all things work together for the good
Of Holy Church !    Here, from the earth, I lift
The bride of Christ
Hugo (to Officers).
Take up that corpse.    All's lost. THE  GARDENER OF  SINOPE.
Where loud the Pontine billows roar,
Lashing the Paphlagonian shore;
Where first the yellow stretch of sands
Breaks into green and waving sheen
Of growing corn and meadow lands ;
There, nestling grass and sea between,
The little town Sinope stands.
A mile beyond the western gate,
One garden broke the desolate
Waste reach of wind-swept, briny shore—
A garden always green and fair
With companies of.roses there,
And lilies maiden-white and tall.
And in that place there dwelt of yore
Phocas, an aged gardener.
He had his house within the wall,
And rarely left the garden space,
Saving to do some deed of grace
Little he spoke, and, if at all,
Mere words of greeting and farewell; THE GARDENER  OF SINOPE,
Yet any looking on his face
Would need no second glance to tell
How great a soul lay secret there;
And in his voice there rang a spell
Of consolation and of prayer.
So that air people loved him well.
The people loved him.    But the hearts
Of tyrants have no pulse for love—
Their natures keep no sense thereof.
Yet they have passions in their blood—
Sharp fears, strange hatreds, and the smarts
Of pride misprised, and keen small darts
Of envy, and petty malices;
And mean revenges, born of these,
Rankle in them, a deathly brood.
So when it chanced the governor
Of all those Paphlagonian lands,
And all the produce that they bore,
Heard how old Phocas took his ease
At home, on feasts and holidays,
Heeding no gods or goddesses,
And giving neither blame nor praise
To priests or monarchs, but instead
Worked in his garden, prayed or read,
Tended the sick, buried the dead, H
And, though he never sacrificed
To any god in heaven or hell,
Made his whole life acceptable
To one dead man, a criminal, Christ—
The governor, hearing of these things,
Hated this gardener; for a life
With love and prayer for soaring wings,
And scented through with innocent flowers,
Was sore rebuke to his own hours,
A pestilent swarm of hate and strife.
So, having found where Phocas dwelt,
The lowliest of Christ's followers,
He hired two privy murderers,
Who often in such times as these
Had rid him of his enemies ;
And, having bade them go, he felt
Merry, and supped and slept at ease.
The two hired murderers went their way
That night, towards the quiet place
Where Phocas dwelt    Yet had not they
Gone half a furlong from the gate,
Along the woody, desolate,
Wild country, when the open space
Grew thick with storm and white with hail
And rain that the wind rent as a veil;
And all the sky grew wild and bright
With lightning, and the thunder drowned M
Their voices, crying as they found
The flooding sea at their feet.    Aghast
They stumbled, harried by the blast,
Torn by the hail, half blind with fire,
Weary with baffling waves that higher
And colder crept at their knees.   And still
The storm raged on and did not tire,
The storm raged on and knew no law.
At last, half dead with fear, they saw
Far off, dim shining in the night,
A light that was no levin-light,
Steadier far and far less bright;
And, carrying it, an ancient man
Walked slowly towards them.    As he came
The spent storm slackened, and the flame
Faded.    " 'Tis Zeus, our guardian 1"
Said one ; the other said, | All hail,
Poseidon, ruler of seas !"    But he
They spoke to merely smiled, and said
Half sighing, " Much these* gods avail!
Come to my house, for verily
Ye have great need of rest and bread."
And, turning up the hill with them,
He led them through a pleasant field
Of yellowing corn, until they came
To a wide garden full of grass
And flowering shrubs, and trees that yield THE  GARDENER  OF SINOPE.
Sweet fruit for eating, and many a plot
Of summer flowers.    These three did pass
Right through this garden to a cot,
Wattled and small, that stood thereby,
And, entering in, the weary men
Sank on the threshold, like to die;
But Phocas strewed fresh rushes then,
And let them on the rushes lie,
And with spring-water bathed their feet,
And gave them honey and fruit to eat,
And wine for drinking, clear and sweet.
But when his guests had sunk to sleep
Heavy and dreamless, sound and deep,
Phocas rose up and left the house,
And stood beneath his apple trees,
And watched the stars burn in their boughs
Like heavenly fruit, and felt the breeze
Breathe on his brow, and fiery bright
The flowers flamed where his slow feet trod
Along the grass; all round the night
Compassed him like the love of God.
Then Phocas slept not, but he dreamed ;
All round him was a stir of wings
And raiment and soft feet, it seemed ;
A shine and music of heavenly things,
A light of faces and shimmer of hair
Of heavenly maidens round him there. ffl
Dorothy, crowned with roses, stooped
To pluck a rose from his red-rose tree,
And white-rose Cecily, where there drooped
A snowy rosebud, tenderly
Laid it inside her music book.
Then Agnes took an olive bough
And bound it crown-wise round her brow;
But Margaret all the rest forsook,
For daisies in the grass to look.
Our Lady Mary herself came down
To gather lilies for a crown,
And Gabriel went, her messenger,
Where Phocas, all bewildered, was.
Thus spake he to the gardener :
" All the flowers your garden has
That are chiefly sweet and fair,
• Gather them and make a wreath,
Many a fragrant wreath and rare
To bring with thee to Paradise."
Then all they vanished from his eyes,
And Phocas felt the dark like'death.
Thereupon he took his spade,
And underneath the pleasant shade
Of apple trees a grave he made.
When his grave-making was done
There was some time till rise of sun.
Till then he walked among his flowers, THE  GARDENER  OF SINOPE.
The friends of many summer hours,
And bade farewell to every one.
And from all his flowers he chose
Bluest violet, reddest rose,
Peonies and Aaron-rod,
Pinks and wallflowers, columbines,
Ferns and tendrils of wild vines,
And lilies for the mother of God.
And having chosen and woven them
To many a wreath and anadem,
He laid them in the grave, and went
Back to his house, at peace, content.
But when he entered at the door
A pang ran through his heart, because
He knew so well the roof, the floor,
The walls he had made, the little flaws
In workmanship, the friendly air
Of the lifeless things that made him there
A home more dear than palaces;
For the last time he saw all these.
He checked the sigh; spread on the board
Of meat and wine his slender hoard,
And roused his sleeping guests, who lay
Still on the floor at break of day.
They, being aroused, fell to and eat
Hungrily and drank thirstily
,r**mm mm
All that there was before them set.
Then Phocas went and brought them fruit,
Honey, and cakes of corn to boot;
And when more slow their feasting grew,
He said, " I fain would ask of you
What errand brought you on the road
That only leads to my abode ? "
I O friend," replied the youngest man,
" Not to seek, such as you we came,
But some foul gardening Christian.
A curse upon the brood of them ! "
| Nay," said the elder, | we but bore
A message from the governor
To one named Phocas; know you him ? "
Then before Phocas day grew dim
And the waves of death surged in his ears,
Because the worst of all his fears
Grew plain before him.    Quietly
He rose and answered, " I am he."
" By Zeus, the god of strangers, then,"
Shouted the younger of the'men,
" Get hence, and quickly, I pray you, fly !"
The elder said, " What, overbold
And rash, know'st thou not thou and I
Must answer for him ?   Let him die;
Better he than us, he being old."
Whereat the younger said, " Outside THE GARDENER OF SINOPE.
Last night in the cold we had surely died.
But that this gardener succoured us.
I will not slay him."
"Yet for us"
(The elder spake) " the dreadful night
And cruel storm and lightning bright
Were safer than our ruler's hate."
Here Phocas answered, " Do not wait,
But make an end, and quickly.    I
Have God's sure warrant I shall die.
Slay me and fear not.    Know that death
Gives all life only promiseth;
No Christian fears to die.    But this
I ask you : lay me in the grave
Outside, where the apple-orchard is.
Now make an end; I pardon you.
O Christ, my Saviour, I pray Thee, save
These men that know not what they do."
Then Phocas led them to the shade
Of apple boughs, and on the sward
Praying he knelt    The younger prayed
And wept; the elder drew his sword,
Struck at the reverent, bowed head
Once, twice, and Phocas lay there dead.
They two laid him in the grave
Where the flowers were, wreath on wreath, THE GARDENER  OF SINOPE.
And hid the corpse with wave on wave
Of colour and odour; and thereon
They placed fresh earth, and last a stone;
Then went, and left him there with Death.
One brought back the bloody sword;
Two claimed a murderer's reward. CAPTAIN  ORTIS'  BOOTY.
A  ballad.
Captain Ortis (the tale I tell
Petit told in his chronicle)
Gained from Alva, for service and duty
At Antwerp's capture, the strangest booty.
Then each captain chose, as I hear,
That for guerdon he held most dear,
Craved what in chief he set heart of his on:
Out strode Ortis, and claimed . . . the prison !
Such a tumult! for, be assured,
Greatly the judges and priests demurred;
No mere criminals alone in that Stygian
Darkness died, but the foes of religion. *
There lay heretics by the score,
Anabaptists, and many more
Hard to catch; but let loose, when caught, your
Timid squirrels, forego the torture—
Never 1   Suddenly sank the noise.
Alva spoke in his steely voice :
" He's my soldier, sans flaw or blemish;
Let him burn as he likes these Flemish."
I Sire, as you please," the governor said,
" Only King Philip's edict read "
" Alva spoke!    What is king or Cortes ?
Open the portals," cried Captain Ortis.
" Loose the prisoners, set them free.
Only—each pays a ransom-fee k"
Out, be sure, poured the gold in buckets,
Piles on piles of broad Flanders ducats.
Ay, and there followed not gold alone;
Men and women and children, thrown
In chains to perish, came out forgiven—
Saw light, friends' faces, and thought it heaven. 128
Out they staggered, so halt and blind
From rack and darkness, they scarce could find
The blessed gate where daughter and mother,
Father and brother, all found each other.
Freedom !   Our darlings!    Let God be praised ! "
So cried all; then said one, amazed,
" Who is he under heaven that gave us
Thought and pity ? who cared to save us ? "
" Captain Ortis " (the answer ran),
" The Spanish Lancer; here's the man.
Ay, but don't kill him with too much caressing;
Death's sour salad with sweetest dressing."
Danger, indeed; for never hath been
In brave old Antwerp such a scene.
Boldest patriot, fairest woman,
Blessing him, knelt to the Spanish foeman.
Ortis looted his prize of gold,
And yet, I think, if the truth be told,
He found, when the ducats were gone with the pleasure,
That heretic blessing a lasting treasure. CAPTAIN ORTIS1 BOOTY.
Yet my captain, to certain eyes,
Seems war-hardened and worldly-wise.
"'Twere for a hero," you say, "more handsome
To give the freedom, nor take the ransom."
True : but think of this hero's lot.
No Quixote he, nor Sir Launcelot,
But a needy soldier, half starved, remember,
With cold and hunger that northern December;
Just such an one as Parma meant .
When he wrote to Philip in discontent-
| Antwerp must yield to our men ere much longer,
Unless you leave us to die of hunger.
" Wages, clothing, they do without,
Wine, fire even; they'll learn, no doubt,
To live without meat for their mouths—they're zealous,
Only they die first as yet, poor fellows."
Yes, and I praise him, for my part,
This man war-beaten and tough of heart,
Who, scheming a booty, no doubt, yet planned it
More like a saint, as I think, than a bandit.
What, my friend is too coarse for you ?
Will nought less than a Galahad do ?
Well; far nobler, no doubt, your sort is,
But I—I declare for bold Captain Ortis ! HELEN IN THE WOOD.
I left the yew-tree shadow, thrown
Slantwise across the graves, and grown
So long I knew the day waxed late,
And opened wide the churchyard gate.
Paused there; for from the church behind
Voices of women thrilled the wind,
And organ music rose and rang.
I heard the village choir that sang.
But I, that had no heart for song,
Sighed, shut the gate, and went along
The lane (where rows of elms, wind-vexed,
Nodded fantastic heads perplexed
At winter's dimly boded woes)*
Until the trees grew thick and close.
The rain was over, but the copse
Shook down at whiles some after-drops,
Though sunshine, through wet branches seen,
Flickered in living flakes of green,
And where below ground-ivy grew,
A fallen heaven lay darkly blue.
• I
So soon!  The tempest scarce was done,
And all the wet world sang and shone
Lovelier yet    I think the place
Found but in grief an added grace ;
While I—the tears fell, and I sighed;
It was a year since Helen died.
At last I raised my eyes.    Behold,
The branches' green, the brackens' gold,
Gained a new meaning in my sight,
That found the centre of their light
For down the dim wood arches came—
Was it a star ?   Was it a flame ?
No; there my Helen went, all white.
To shield her from the branches' harms
She lifted up her lovely arms;
Just as of old, above the large
Sweet eyes, her hair made golden marge;
Through tangled fern, through grass still wet,
Her feet went firmly on; and yet
I knew, although no word was said,
She did not live, she was not dead.
At last she neared my watching-place.
She paused and looked me in the face,
Smiled once her smile that understood,
Passed;—and how lonely was the wood ! HELEN IN THE   WOOD.
I trod the way I went before;
I passed the church's open door.
The hymn went pealing up the sky:
| O love, how deep ! how broad 1 how high!" BEFORE A BUST OF VENUS.
(found in a greek vineyard, a.d. 900.)
Ah ! God, how beautiful!
Gaze, gaze, mine eyes,
And learn by heart this wonder of surprise.
Yet 'tis a snare, some old Greek friend, alas !
What's this ? Is Aphrodite on the plinth ?
Why did I never hear how fair she was ?
Yet 'tis a vanity; the straight white brow
Set in thick hair curled like a hyacinth.
Our saints have no such foreheads, wide and low,
Nor such clear wondering eyes of amethyst.
Not bent down, gravewards, like the eyes of a nun,
Nor lifted like Our Lady's, as though nought
Should stand 'twixt them and her enthroned Son;
These eyes look forward, claiming as they list
Homage or fear from all men, North or South,
Unless they share it with the perfect mouth
Which (Heaven assoil me for so foul a thought!)
It were enough of Heaven to have kissed.
And ah ! the shapely shoulder broken short BEFORE A BUST OF VENUS.
Where my spade struck as   though  mere  stone  were
there !
The grace of neck and throat and snow-white breast
Shown through dark earth-stains how divinely rare !
Women enough I have seen, yet never guessed
Beneath their scapulars they are so fair!
O lovely rounded throat and parted lips
Still sweet with some unuttered speech or song !
To think the word that you have kept so long,
Should you now speak it, were my soul's eclipse !
To think your beauty is but the slave of Dis,
But a rich garment for a fiend to wear,
Tempting the gazer to unholy bliss!
Our black Madonna no one longs to kiss,
Nor ever praised, alas ! as I praise this
Most beautiful white devil, Satan's snare !
And yet, since heaven is beautiful, they say,
In the other world, and hell sheer ugliness,
Why is the beauty round us night and day
Only a sense to shame us, not to bless ?
O Maker of beauty, who yet madest me
And gave me sense all lovely things to see,
Why must Thy creature, whom Thou callest good,
By men be vilified, misunderstood ?
Once to the cloister garden, long ago,
Our monks sent me to fetch the herbs they eat; n6
But when I came there, 'mid the lowly roots
I saw a tall sweet-smelling bramble grow,
With open-hearted blossoms, red and sweet,
Set in green leaves and dainty rosy shoots;
Then home, forgetting radish roots, I ran.
But when I reached the cloister, rose in hand,
The hungry monks were angered to a man ;
Only old Father Ambrose made a stand
Against their wrath, and thus admonished me :
" Child, thou art right," he said, " the rose is fair.
Though worldly beauties are but fleeting shows,
And of small worth the painted blossoms be,
Saving as types of beauty otherwhere;
Still, God made roses red, not grey or black,
To light for a moment's space the upward track.
But if our Father makes His weeds so rare,
What must His flowers be ?
Child, thou art God's rose:
Whom yet thy will can change to briar or tare,
Or make more sweet than any flower that grows.
Hadst thou this morning done thy duty right
Thou wert beyond all roses in God's sight"
He was no judge of beauty; yet again,
After so many years, his voice comes back
Witli the break and shake in it and sharp thin strain:
" God made His roses red, not grey or black,
To light for a moment's space the upward track." BEFORE A BUST OF VENUS.
Like them this face, soulless and sweetly vain,
Was made to yield a transient delight,
Not more, lest satisfied with finite gain
We lose perception of the infinite.
This is no fiend's face surely; sweet and round
'Tis, of its kind, complete in womanhood,
Youthful and fair; but once the ideal found,
The comely mask shows something missed or lost.
Its mere perfection of accomplishment
Shows the worst failure of the soul: content.
That artist felt no fire of Pentecost!
Yet, O fair face, I will gaze on thee now;
In time to come I shall have no delight
From those sweet eyes and that low, placid brow.
Let us enjoy the starshine through the night;
At daybreak we shall look for it no more.
So when my soul, that I send on before,
Finds God, my body, left a while on earth,
Shall deem mere worldly things of little worth.
O Thou, true Light, true Beauty, that I adore !
O everlasting Music, heavenly Dew
My parched soul sighs for till my lips sigh too !
Come down and fill me, thy poor chalice cup,
That nothing but Thy glory shall fill up.
And when at last, her earthly service done,
With all her senses pure and unabused, 138
My singing soul shall find her wings and fly
Beyond the stars and higher and yet more high,
Beyond the holy moon, beyond the sun,
Through worlds in heaven with sound and light suffused-
Then all the souls I shall have saved shall meet me
And with exceeding gladness greet me;
Then we will wander to and fro
Where the living waters glow,
And watch the angels come and go
Through all the fields of that fair land,
And all together we shall stand
In shining ranks at God's right hand.
For in a dream I saw the same.
Towards me the singing spirits leant,
All bowing when they spoke His name,
And with their heads their haloes bent.
With them shall I stand side by side,
And hear their music evermore;
I shall behold my God, my guide,
And see His face that I adore.
I shall be satisfied.
Think, O my soul, in that diviner bliss,
How wouldst thou sorrow to have stayed at this !
And yet—O Heaven, how beautiful she is !
Never has there come again
Such a glorious rule to France,
As when first King Charlemain
Held the land's allegiance.
It is he of whom I sing;
Never was so good a king.
Musing welfare to the State,
He went gravely day and night,
That his people might be great.
Their delight was his delight,
Since he lived for them alone,
Holding nothing as his own. ml 11
But since Love, unconquered yet
By the uttermost strength of man,
Lets none 'scape his final net,
Though he triumph for a span,
Once the King in riding past
Saw a woman and loved at last;
Turned, and looked again, and knew
How he loved her.    As a door,
Opening suddenly, lets to view
That we did not see before,
So this passion's instant birth
Showed the King new heavens, new earth.
For the aims of life were turned,
What to scorn and what to prize ;
Hope and power and passion burned
In his newly wakened eyes;
Neither of war nor peace he wot,
And his country he forgot THE LAKE  OF CHARLEMAIN.
Then was laughter in the Court,
Where 'twas held a merry thing
That so mere and slight a sport
Should engross so great a king.
All the keener was their smile
Who esteemed the woman vile.
This she was not, but unknown,
Lowly, and nowise fair of face.
Yet the King loved her alone.
Longer grew each laugher's face,
As their monarch year by year
Found this woman doubly dear.
Till the people murmured, changed
Was the ruling of the land
Once well-ordered, and estranged
Now the governing heart and hand ;
Then the brooding councillors said,
" It, were well if she were dead." THE LAKE OF CHARLEMAIN.
That an evil wish unwrought
Be of power to reach its end
By the sheer constraint of thought,
This I say not—yet contend,
Howsoe'er ye may decide,
It is sure the woman died.
Then the sun in vain, the moon
Vainly, rose upon the King,
Who sat silent night and noon,
Gazing on the soulless thing
Which still held his living soul
In an unrelaxed control.
And, as though about him rose,
Triple, a viewless, bodiless wall,
Neither speech nor looks of those
Urging, reached his grief at all;
Set beyond their furthest cries,
Staring in his centred eyes. THE LAKE  OF CHARLEMAIN.
Only once he moved—the night
That her limbs were laid in balm;
And before the dawn was bright
Sought again the cruel calm
Of her silence.    " Peace," they aaid;
" Who can love a woman dead ? "
This man did.    No stress of time
Made his passion quieter.
Ne'er was known in prose or rhyme
Such a love as his for her,
Whose remembrance was more keen
Than things present, heard and seen.
Then Despair with sunken eyes,
Wanton Strife and furtive Debt,
Discontent ash-wan with sighs,
In that ruined land were met,
While who once was Charlemain
Heard her cry for help in vain. —
But one heard ; a nameless priest
Rose in answer to that cry;
Rose and left the sacred feast,
Laid the illumined missal by,
Left the chant unfinished, rose
To retrieve his country's woes.
And, since Heaven had other cares
Than the sorrows of the land,
He cast off his fruitless prayers,
And set out to seek the banned
Evil help that wizards dole
As the price of a living soul.
Till, being come by night so far
As the mouth of hell, he heard
(As it seemed) from heaven a star
Take a voice and speak a word,
Saying, " The magic of the charm
Lies in the gold ring on her arm." THE LAKE  OF CHARLEMAIN,
Home he went to watch and wait
The fulfilment of desire,
Dreaming, scheming early and late,
With a will no time could tire.
Long he waited, but at last
To the chamber of death he passed;
Hid his face, and with his hands
Felt in darkness for the ring;
Found it, broke the slender bands,
Loosed it, bore the accursed thing
Swiftly, eagerly, far away;
Till, upon the skirts of day,
He espied a marshy lake
Desolate, unknown, and drear,
Set in hills where starts awake
Never a flower the livelong year-
Sterile mounds of whitish sand,
Bald and low, a lifeless land.
-M 1
By this lonely marish pond
Paused he, with the hills behind
Barren, and as bare beyond.
Sure," he thought, "one could not find
Such another burial-place,
Deep, unused, and lost to trace."
High he lifted and swung his arm,
Threw with all his might and main
In the middle lake the charm
That had ruined Charlemain ;
Threw therewith, beyond reprise,
All his hopes of Paradise.
Yet he turned towards the town
Gladly, for the land was freed
From the curse that weighed it down,
And his king was king indeed
As of old; and so he went
Quietly on in safe content. THE LAKE  OF CHARLEMAIN.
As he neared the northern gate
Of the city, he met a man
Wandering through the desolate
Country restlessly, with wan
Eager features and sharp glance
Seeking—and saw the King of France.
Then this priest, struck dumb with dread,
Turned on him he had hoped to save ;
But with pauseless step and head
Sunk, as looking for a grave,
Straight as a winter wolf, the King
Hastening sought the buried ring.
On he went, Straight on, until
Nigh he came to the stagnant lake,
Which shall never flow, nor will
Thirst nor any fever slake
With its bitter, deathly brine,
Till the dawn of judgment shine.
And upon the bare, grey ground
Of that sandy shore he sank,
Looking in the lake.    A mound
Fringed with grasses scarce and rank
Hid from sight the unrecked-of friend,
Dreading, waiting for the end.
Yet not then, not then, alas !
Nor till many a year was gone,
Came the retarded end to pass.
But unfriended, lost, alone,
Heeding neither good nor ill,
Lived this king bereft of will.
Crouching by the marshy shore
Of those waters green and vile,
Sat he, speechless evermore,
Vaguely dreaming, with a smile
On those lips which once had made
France a glory, the world afraid. THE LAKE  OF CHARLEMAIN, 149
So he died; but ye who live,
Who that last despair have known,
When a mined life can give
Nought but the memory of things gone,
Dread, beyond all living pain,
Such a lake of Charlemain.
Master, for love's sake, thank me not for this
That I am dying for thee, who should miss
My crown of life and reason of my days
Did not I spend them for thee; thanks or praise
I covet not for such a little thing.
Only when in the tenderness of spring
Thou wanderest afterwards where woods are fair,
Then, noting clearer colour in the air,
Or new unusual sweetness in the song
Of lark or linnet, or amid the throng
Of delicate flowers one whose hue hath caught
The secret hope wherewith the spring is fraught,
Think then, " These are a message sent to me
From the dear angel of my memory."
So being yet remembered of you, I
Shall live, who in thy death must surely die.
For often as I watch and weep and moan,
Praying for thee through all the night alone,
A sudden terror catches at my heart;
Lightnings of anguish through the torpor dart;
A fire burns in,my feet and through my palms; PHILUMENE  TO ARISTIDES,
My wet eyes lose their heavy-lidded calms,
Ache, and burn dry their sorrows, and I moan
For very weariness, I cry out alone
Vain prayers for help, and strive in vexed unrest
Some fresh way to endure and none is best;
Till suddenly a spirit makes it plain
That through my fever thou art free of pain,
Thou sleepest safe while I outwear for thee
What is no anguish more, but rest to me.
Then for sheer joy such laughter in me wakes,
That with caught breath my straining throat nigh breaks.
No more I sorrow until my pains decrease;
But my soul, knowing the peace of thine must cease,
Weeps then for rest regained, and prays in vain
Her ending torture may begin again.
Likewise when I make merry among my friends,
In song or laughter, soon my pleasure ends.
My soul is shaken with a wind of fears ;
An anxious presage strains mine eyes to tears ;
I faint and yearn with unexplained regret
For some prenatal blessing that I forget.
Unless indeed so close our natures be
That pain of thine, untold, is pain to me,
So with thy joy of life, remote, untold,
I in the shadow of death shall be consoled.
Lo, now it were no marvellous thing should I
Long, for my own sake, in thy stead to die.
■saw irill
For am not I the prey of all thy pains ?
Doth not thy fever burn and surge in my veins ?
Verily now I cannot even tell
If those being dead, my life were possible.
But thou, O master and lord I O soul of me !
Hast no such doubled sense; my life to thee
Is needless, unrequired, save as a price,
Readily paid though poor, which shall suffice •
To cheat the envious darkness of thy days.
But I to all the gods in heaven give praise
That I, a woman, none remembereth,
I, even I, shall turn aside thy death;
My lips shall taste the black and bitter wine
Faint ghosts in Hades press even now for thine,
And I shall mix with the earth, but thou go whole,
Since for thy soul I render up my soul.
Shall not I thank the gods and sing, being glad
That in their eyes my prayers such favour had ?
For thou shalt live, triumphant over death;
The sharp, last agony, the catch in the breath,
The ache of the starting eyes, the red, blind night,
The fruitless search of hands that grasp at light,
And, worst of all, the horror of what may be,
Thou shalt not know, but I, but I, for thee.
" Ma io perche venirvi ?   O chi '1 concede ? r
At morning dawn I left my sheep
And sought the mountains all aglow;
The shepherds said, " The way is steep :
Ah, do not go !"
I left my pastures fresh with rain,
My water-courses edged with bloom,
A larger breathing space to gain
And singing room.
Then of a reed I wrought a flute,
And as I went I sang and played.
But though I sang, my heart was mute
And sore afraid, H
II 9
Because the great hill and the sky
Were full of glooms and glorious
Beyond all light or dark that I
Had visioned thus.
My sense grew pure through love and fear;
I saw God burn in every briar.
Then sudden voices, strong and clear,
Flashed up like fire.
And turning where that music rang
I saw aloft, half out of sight,
The watching poets; and they sang
Through day and night.
And some with faces to the morn
Sang heralding the coming ray;
Some sang of bygone Muse or Norn,
Some of to-day.
And some in quaintly ordered speech
Sang of the south and years gone past;
All sang of Love, and sweetly each:
No first nor last.
And very sweet—ah, sweet indeed—
Their voices sounded high and deep.
I blew an echo on my reed
As one asleep.
I heard.    My heart grew cold with dread,
For what would happen if they heard ?
Would not these nightingales strike dead
Their mocking-bird ?    ♦
Then from the mountain's steepest crown,
Where white cliffs pierce the tender grass,
I saw an arm reach slowly down,
Heard some word pass. I
" The end is come," I thought, " and still
I am more happy, come what may,
To die upon Parnassus hill
Than live away."
Then hands and faces luminous
And holy voices grew one flame—
" Come up, poor singer, and sing with us !"
They sang, I came.
So ended all my wandering;
This is the end and this is sweet, -
AU night, all day, to listen and sing
Below their feet. I
I.—A Square in November.
Down the street the wind looks black;
Underfoot the leaves are shed
Spoiled and dead; overhead
All the sky is dark with rack.
Winter-ruined leaves exhale
Chilly vapours thin and blue.
Looming through, lurk a few
Trees that look unreal and frail.
How they reach their branches out!
Groping in the lifeless air
Blind and bare, for some fair
Long-since-vanished May, no doubt.
So my life, as bare and blind,
Towards some beauty unattained,
Lost or waned, stretches strained
Helpless aims that never find. LONDON STUDIES.
II.—Outside the Museum.
All day it rained, but now the air
Is clear and fine.
The sunset glow has fallen where
The wet streets shine ;
They take the colours of the west,
The gold and rose;
Yet over head, I think, is best,
Where softly glows
A space of luminous tender blue
But flaked with fire,
As though the perfect peace there knew
A pure desire.
Beneath the fluted columns rise,
With grey, broad frieze;
And every dove that coos and flies
Is grey as these.
III.—After the Storm in March.
Hark ! how the wind sighs out of sight
Sorrow and warning.
It raged and wrestled in pain all night,
It sighs at morning. LONDON STUDIES.
The very trees where the wind did wreak
The wrongs of the city,
Groan and creak as they fain would speak
Pardon and pity.
Heart, keep silence; forebode no more
Warning and sorrow.
Who knows, the heavens may hold in store
Spring for to-morrow.
I lay full length near lonely trees
Heart-full of sighing silences;
So far as eyes could see all round
There was no life, no stir, no sound.
I thought no more down in the grass
Of all that must be or that was ;
My weary brain forgot to ache,
My heart was still and did not break.
So close I lay to earth's large breast
I could have dreamed myself at rest,
Only that then the grass must be
Above instead of under me.
Wherefore, I thought, should I regain
My anxious life that is so vain ?
Here will I lie, forgetting strife,
Till death shall end this death-in-life. UNDER  THE  TREES.
Ah, no : because, O coward will,
Thy destined work thou must fulfil;
Because no soul, be it great or small,
Can rise alone or lonely fall.
Therefore the old war must not cease,
The hard old inner war of peace,
With heart and body and mind and soul
Each striving for a different goal.
Therefore I will arise and bear
The burden all men everywhere
Have borne and must bear, and bear yet,
Till the end come when we forget.
Hark ! what rapturous vital air of music,
What strong harmony utters things unuttered,
Lifelong crying of spirits sick with longing,
Pain, power, passion of earth and peace of heaven,
Perfect beauty we, seeking, never find here.
Thou, O world that I knew, become a marvel,
Art some miracle tremulous with music;
Sun, moon, stars in the heaven change to music;
Yea, all people are nothing now but music
Faint, estranged, and a dream whereon to wonder.
Hark! how urgently rise the viol-voices ;
Sounds grown wild with the secret of existence
Leap like flames at my throat and catch my breathing,
Blind mine eyes with a shine of light unvisioned,
Pierce my hearing with agonized vibrations.
Lo, some god in the soul rebels at prison,
Stung by furious vain desire for heaven,
Strained through stir of his wings my heart is breaking, DURING MUSIC.
Cease, ah 1 cease, for behold and pity, Music,
I am dying, unknowing what I die for.
Ah ! deliver and loose me from thy clutches,
Thou fierce-flying and upward-soaring eagle !
For so far as afar from friendly pastures
Eagles carry the helpless bleating weanlings,
Thou hast borne me beyond the soul's horizon.
Nay, no eagle; a restless mountain torrent
Irresistible, pitiless, tumultuous,
Onward whirling the soul, we know not whither;
So, rain-swollen, the rivers whirl in autumn
Fallen leaflets and things of no endurance.
Thou, perpetual element of Beauty,
Thou, whose memory music is, oh hear me;
Flesh, sense, soul of me yearns to Thee and feels Thee;
Now content me with truth and secret meanings
Vast, harmonic, for which we grope in music. ARTIST AND  LOVER.
This hour so long by day and night desired,
In every prayer required;
This hour which should redeem my wasted past,
For which mine eyes have rained, my breath suspired-
Is it then come, at last ?
Now is she here beside me; on my head
Her slender hands are spread,
Her eyes look kindly on me and atone
For grief gone by, and even my lips are red
With kisses from her own.
Beside her feet I kneel; mine arms surround
Her body, and the sound
Of her recurrent long-remembered voice
Tells me of peace I never yet have found
And bids my heart rejoice.. ARTIST AND LOVER.
Ah ! yet even now my heart cries, even now,
" This, this is not thou,
This is not thou, my Love, my perfect soul;"
Much have I found and praise.    Ah ! God, avow
That this is not the whole !
Here in my arms I clasp thee, but not here
Is that I held most dear;
For still, beyond thy words that comfort me,
Mine own soul crying through the dark I hear,
As sea to unseen sea.
What foreign languor in the heat
And fragrance of this English June
Brings back the well-known Paris street,
The voice, the face I lost too soon ?
Brings back, instead of elms arow,
The many-storied, peopled house,
While music they could never know
Breathes in the rustle of their boughs.
For now this branched country gloom,
This lonely haunt of wind and bird,
Turns to the long, low, unlit room
Where you were playing while I heard. A   VIOLIN SONATA.
The moonlight fell along the floor
And made a glory where you stood;
Your white hand, with the bow it bore,
Flashed on the violin's darkened wood.
There, like a saint, you stood, all white,
With earnest face and shining eyes;
Your heavenly music through the night
Streamed, and remembered Paradise.
I, listening in the twilit space,
Gathering music in my heart,
Asked for myself nor gift nor grace;
To hear unheard should be my part.
Was I not right ?   For, could I find
That musical clear soul again
And my lost, innocent peace of mind
Ail would I give I have since then.
• Scherzo.
I wish I were the violin
You make your music on;
For we would quit the city's din
And find, to make our music in,
A world for us alone.
The brooks should teach us, ford and linn,
The wonder of their tone;
The leaves, their rustle when winds begin,
Rain-plash and tempest-moan.
And music when the grasses spring,
Unheard of any one;
This I would play and you would sing,
Till nightingales should, listening,
Think little of their own.
But, ah ! too vain my fancies bin,
The thing can ne'er be done!
Your love that I can never win
Were far more lightly won,
Than I could turn the violin
You make your music on. A   VIOLIN SONATA.
Adagio cantabile.
Child, do you know all the wonder of your music,
Rising and dying,
Pleading, beseeching, and still the boon refusing ?
Mine is the secret it sighs—do you divine it?
Down in your heart are the yearning notes repeated ;
Or is all Beauty
Sprung from the meeting of souls, the one perceiving
Splendour the other creates ?    How rushed the music
Out of your nature too fresh and clear for feeling
All that it told of?
Passion, a part of my soul unfit to speak it,
Voiced by a soul that it never yet was known to.
Say, have our spirits so intimate a kinship
Each knows the other
Needing no words ?    Or the music that I listen
Is it the same that you play to me, I wonder ?
Or may it chance that my spirit wakes a moment,
Stirred by your music—
Wakes and remembers and sees again the holy
Vision and knows, as before, the source of Beauty ? ON A REED PIPE.
KaAajjiO€cr(ra mxyci.
For your sovereign sake, my friend,
All my lovers are estranged,
Shadow lovers without end;
But last night they were avenged.
On the middle of the night
One by one I saw them rise,
Passing in the ghostly light,
Silent, with averted eyes.
First, my master from the south
With the laurels round his brow,
And the bitter-smiling mouth,
Left me—without smiling now. ON A REED PIPE.
Maiden saints as pure as pearls,
Beautiful, divine, austere;
Sweeter-voiced ^Eolian girls,
Left their friend of many a year.
But my earliest friend and best,
My Beethoven, this was hard ;
You should leave me with the rest,
Pass without one last regard.
For all went and left me there,
Sighing as they passed me by;
Ah, how sad their voices were !
I shall hear them when I die.
" Fare thee well," they said; " we go
Scorned as shades and dreams.    Adieu
Love thine earthly friend, but know
Shadows still thou dost pursue."
II.    «
I have but little strength to blow
The reed that is my flute,
And all my faults of voice you know
Who yet your praises did bestow
On lips that else were mute;
But you who bade the blossom grow,
You must not scorn the fruit. III.
Out here the day is bright;
The cloudless heavens and the clear
Wide circles of air are sweet out here,
And sweet the warmth and light—
But with my friend is night.
Soul, fly to him afar ;
Thou (soul) that art no sun at noon
To hunt the clouds, no glorious moon
To shine where shadows are,
Be some small friendly star.
Shine till the dark be done,
Burn with the light of certain hearts
(Too near to feel the world that parts
One from the other one),
Outlasting moon or sun.
Yet if thy mission end
Vainly, I will not thence debar    •
Thy choice from aU delights that are,
But till the heavens rend,
Never another friend! ON A REED PIPE.
Across the lands, across the perilous sea,
My soul, with eyes that strain,
And reaching out her impotent arms to thee,
Cries out for help in vain -
Again, again.
Why shouldst thou leave thy fireside glimmering bright
With many a flame and spark,
Unbar to the winds thy door, and search in the night
Where I (thou wilt not hark)
Die in the dark ?
O Thou whose stars in heaven
Praise Thee in spheric speech,
And keep their order given,
Answering each to each!
Should not the hearts of friends,
Like fashioned to Thine ends,
Make music sweet to Thee
As starry concords be ?
—But loving hearts are riven
Where'er mistrust can reach. ON A REED PIPE.
O God, whose perished roses
With every spring renew,
Whose blossom aye uncloses
Still red, not green or blue I
Why should true hearts mistrust
That what hath been yet must—
That friendship of past hours,
And love, revive like flowers ?
—But such a heart that knows is
No flower of earthly dew.
O'er the white Alps of thought you roam,
Pure, cold, remote;
Down in the valley lies my home
Where mists and vapours float.
I, from my lowly sombre place,
Look up on high;
The light that flashes from your face
Is sunshine in my sky. SONG.
Oh for the wings of a dove,
To fly far away from my own soul,
Reach and be merged in the vast whole
Heaven of infinite Love !
Oh that I were as the rain
To fall and be lost in the great sea,
One with the waves, till the drowned me
Might not be severed again !
Infinite arms of the air,
Surrounding the stars and without strife
Blending our life with their large life,
Lift me and carry me there ! IN UNA SELVA OSCURA,
Black darkness like a pall is over me,
And underneath the weed-choked, desolate swamp
Restrains the foot in horror from the damp
Green oozes of the ground;
Escape is taken away; alas ! I see
No road to light and life, for all around
Stretch tyrannous trees whose gnarled boughs endure
An agony obscure,
Whose lowering shadows people and confound
The wood's dim coverture,
And break with mastering arms the flight of Hope.
Yet on I grope,
With puny valour labouring to uproot
These evils, stem and fruit;
Wounded and blind, I press a passage through,
Yet still confuse the false things with the true.
Elate, by confidence upborne,
I fight the air, or struck to death I groan
Full on some truth I thought a falsehood thrown, IN UNA SELVA   OSCURA.
And oft with strife outworn
I lean my strength against some shadowy bole,
To fall unholpen down, deceived and torn,
And in my soul
The poisonous nettle festers and the thorn.
But thou on high
Dost sail, O moon, through all the heavenly space
And shining vastness. of the unmeasured sky,
Divinely calm and bright,
Yet patient if a cloud affront thy face
To leave a little while-the world in night,
And fill the hidden heaven with glory and grace.
Sometimes the branches part
And I behold thee, moon, and learn thy look
Of pitying, mild rebuke
For all the haste of my in quiet heart.
For lo, the kingdoms of the earth are thine;
O'er all their mountains dost thou move and shine ;
The perils of the sea
Are open to thy gaze.    How vain to thee
Must seem this ignorant agony of mine !
But I am low and small.
Beyond this gloom I cannot see at all,
For lonely I war with shadows and fight my way
As though they shut the world from light away,
And fall and fight again and fall.
Thou, moon, hast heavenly refuge from the clouds,
And thee no partial shades affright,
But me the darkness shrouds.
Arise, appear and shine upon my dreams.
Ah ! give me light!
Flood all my dangers with thy radiant beams,
And drive aside the night. WILD CHERRY BRANCHES.
Lithe sprays of freshness and faint perfume,
You are strange in a London room;
Sweet foreigners come to the dull, close city,
Your flowers are memories, clear in the gloom,
That sigh with regret and are fragrant with pity.
Flowers, a week since your long, sweet branches
Swayed, hardly seen, in the dusk overhead;
(We live, but the bloom on our living is dead).
Ah ! look, where the white moon launches ■
Her skiff in the skies where the roof-tops spread
Like rocks on her course.    But she rose not so
Through your wavering sprays when the April weather
Smelt only of flowers a week ago—
On your stems, in my heart, did such blossoms blow!
Let us sigh all together. if
Your sigh is, perchance, for the neighbouring bushes,
With soft, yellow palms, or the song of the thrushes \
But mine for none of the birds that sing,
No flower of the spring,
But for two distant eyes and a voice that hushes.
Such light and music, O blossom,
Was ours when I plucked you one moonrise, and you
Remember in fragrance her smile that you knew,
As you lived in her hand, as you lay on her bosom
Once, for a moment, and blossomed anew.
As I took you I looked, half in awe, where my friend
Crowned with completeness
All heaven's peace and the whole earth's sweetness;
So does her soul all souls transcend,
So, in my love for her, all loves blend.
For more than the vast everlasting heaven
Declares in its infinite mute appeal
To hearts that feel,
More than the secret and peace of dim even
Knows of God, may a love reveal. WILD CHERRY BRANCHES.
For then indeed it was clear to my soul
That in loving the one I loved the whole,
Fulfilled all aims, attained every goal,
And God was with me, eternity round me,
Though Life still bound me.
Past is that hour, but the heart's trouble lessens
Because it has been.
When I die, when free of its selfish screen
The god in me soars to the Godhead, the presence
May seem to it first as the love once seen.
We, flowers, have lived to our blossoming hour,
And not in vain did we rise from the root,
Whether we perish or ripen to power;
We know what sweetness it is to flower,
Let life or death be the fruit. TWO SISTERS.
birthday verses.
And must I welcome in the day,
Mabel, that wrongs us two :
Taking your childish years away
And burying mine anew ?
The churlish day ! I would not give
A quatrain to it, as I live,
But that it gave us you.
Wherefore, O day, I will forget
As best I can the wrong,
And strive in verses neatly set,
Smooth lines and ordered song,
To sing (as truly as who sings
The praise of other ruling kings)
A welcome loud and long.
But first of all be deaf a space
While I call back (in vain)
The presence and the dearer face
Of her whose closing reign TWO SISTERS*
You triumph over.    Ah ! farewell
Dear childhood, listen while I tell
Your beauties o'er again.
Dear banished childhood ! now to us
You seem a rarer thing
Than all of good or glorious
The riper years can bring.
Take back these older selves again,
Bring Mab and Nannie in the lane
Playing at queen and king !
For you were Louis (Mabel) then,
And I was Antoinette;
You, tall and strong, a king of men,
I, less—but don't forget
I always showed at hint of fear
yvvaiKos av$poj3ov\ov Krjp
When your eyes would be wet.
Do you remember how we left
The shelter of the shed,
Dream-hunted thence, and sense bereft,
Down to the duck-pond fled ?
You shrank ; " Fly, Louis," I cried, " for best
Is honour "—green waves heard the rest
Gurgling above my head.
But you were first at climbing trees,
At vaulting o'er the gate,
And you were not afraid of bees,
You rode the pony straight,
And once you took the fence, and then,
Laughing, you leapt it back again ;
An Amazon of eight!
And you were kinder too than I,
For often when we played,
My taste for violent tragedy
Would make your soul afraid.
Your children never stole a sash,
Your blackamoors would always wash
As white as any maid.
And often when I was not well
You'd bring, to give me ease,
Such tempting gifts ! a crab-apple,
Some unripe pods of peas,
Nasturtium berries, heavy bread
That you had made yourself, you said,
And gum from damson trees !
How sorrowful you used to look,
And mind much more than I,
When grown-up people showered rebuke
On sins that made you cry. TWO SISTERS.
Ah ! you were good and I was not:
What made you weep would make me plot
Revenge and Tragedy.
You used to think me very wise,
I thought you very fair,
For each seemed in the other'sjeyes
A creature strange and rare.
All that I read I told to you,
And rhymed you strings of verses too
About your golden hair
Verses more eloquent by far
Than these I write to-day,
Your either eye was then a star,
Your cheek the bloom of May.
I twined flower-fancies round your name—
Yet those and these both mean the same
Though writ another way.
They mean a love no chance or change
Can shadow with mistrust,
No distance weaken or estrange,
No years decay or rust.
Love that made childhood sweet and good,
And growing up to womanhood,
Hath grown with that and must. •
In the Pisan Campo Santo.
Out of the place of death,
Out of the cypress shadow,
Out of sepulchral earth,
Dust that Calvary gave,
Sprang, as fragrant of breath
As any flower of the meadow,
This, with death in its birth,
Sent like speech from the grave.
So, in a world of doubt,
Love—like a flower—
Blossoms suddenly white,
Suddenly sweet and pure,
Shedding a breath about
Of new mysterious power,
Lifting a hope in the night,
Not to^be told, but sure.
(From Aristophanes.)
O dear one, with tawny wings,
Dearest of singing things,
Whose hymns my company have been,
Thou art come, thou art come, thou art seen !
Bid, with the music of thy voice,
Sweet-sounding rustler, the heart rejoice ;
Ah ! louder, louder, louder sing,
Flute out the language of the spring;
Nay, let those low notes rest,
my nightingale, nightingale, trill out thy anapaest
Come, my companion, cease from thy slumbers,
Pour out thy holy and musical numbers,
Sing and lament with a sweet throat divine,
Itys of many tears, thy son and mine;
Cry out, and quiver, and shake, dusky throat,
Throb with the thrill of thy liquidest note.
Through the wide country and mournfully through
Leafy-haired branches and boughs of the yew, -^B—
Widens and rises the echo until
Even the throne-room of God it shall fill.
Then, when Apollo the bright-locked hath heard,
Lo, he shall answer thine elegy, bird,
Playing his ivory seven-stringed lyre,
Standing a god in the high gods' quire.
Ay, and not he alone.
Hark ! from immortal throats arise
Diviner threnodies,
Sounding together in a heavenly moan,
And answering thine own.
O patient-eyed and tender saint,
Too far from thee I stand,
With vain desires perplexed and faint,
Reach out thy helping hand.
No fire is on the holy hill,
No voice on Sinai now;
But, in our gloom and darkness still
Abiding, help me thou.
They move on whom thy light is shed
Through lives of larger scope;
For them beneath the false and dead
There stirs a quickening hope.
So on some gusty morn we mark
The reddening tops of trees,
And hear in carols of the lark
Thespesian promises.
" For in the will of God we have our peace,"
Sang the dim saint of the moon; the echo yet
Goes pealing down a world that would forget,
Over the clash of strife, unjust increase,
Revolt, indifference, hatred, calumnies,
And though the voices of the world be met
To drown its soft insistence and regret,
The echo of that song shall never cease.
Peace from ourselves He gives us, from desire,
From the large claims of youth, from palsying doubt;
Let this suffice; for while the foes of the good
Are mighty upon the earth, within, without,
While yet there last a wrong to be withstood,
Another rest than this must none require. TWO LOVERS.
I love my lover; on the heights above me
He mocks my poor attainment with a frown.
I, looking up as he is looking down,
By his displeasure guess he still doth love me ;
For his ambitious love would ever prove me
More excellent than I as yet am shown,
So,, straining for some good ungrasped, unknown,
I vainly would become his image of me.
And, reaching through the dreadful gulfs that sever
Our souls, I strive with darkness* nights and days,
Till my perfected work towards him I raise,
Who laughs thereat, and scorns me more than ever;
Yet his upbraiding is beyond all praise.
This lover that I love I call: Endeavour. II.
I have another lover loving me,
Himself beloved of all men, fair and true.
He would not have me change although I grew
Perfect as Light, because more tenderly
He loves myself than loves what I might be.
Low at my feet he sings the winter through,
And, never won, I love to hear him woo.
For in my heaven both sun and moon is he,
To my bare life a fruitful-flooding Nile,
His voice like April airs that in our isle
Wake sap in trees that slept since autumn went
His words are all caresses, and his smile
The relic of some Eden ravishment;
And he that loves me so I call: Content LOVE AFTER DEATH.
Where eddying shocks of air and whirling light
Beat all their broken waves to mist, and fall
About the unseen impenetrable wall
That girdles heaven round, there strains in flight
One tempest-baffled soul, whose eager sight
Would pierce the upper sky, whose pinions small
Quiver to answer some imagined call,
But cannot free them from the wind and night.
And far away, along the spiral track
Whereup, having passed their mortal period,
Flash perfect souls to lose themselves in God,
One stops and cries for freedom (looking back
To lier whose chaining love forbids him rise)
With ineffectual flight and darkening eyes.
o '«*
When she wh^se love is even my air of life
Enters, delay being past, to bless my home,
And ousts her phantom from its place, being come
Herself to fill it; when the importunate strife
Of absence with desire is stilled, and rife
With heaven is earth ; why am I stricken dumb,
Abashed, confounded, awed of heart and numb,
Waking no triumph of song, no welcoming fife ?
Be thine own answer, soul, who long ago
Didst see the awful light of Beauty shine,
Silent; and silently rememberest yet
That glory which no spirit may forget,
Nor utter save in love a thought too fine
For souls to ignore, or'mortal sense to know. A CHILD-MUSICIAN.
A simple child, that lives and learns
As others do, and spends his days
In unconsidered homely ways,—
This is one life; but God discerns
How round me, through me, in me, burns
His flaming passion that outweighs
The burden of man's blame or praise—
A soul with fiery wings, that yearns
For perfect Love ; till, lost and thin,
Self fades away and God is found.
I see all heaven from within,
Divine and plain in all around,
In every sense and sight and sound,
Light in the dark and pure through sin. THE ONE CERTAINTY.
Lightly I hold my life, with little dread
And little hope for what may spring therefrom,
But live like one that builds his summer's home,
For coolness, on a dried-up river-bed,
And takes no thought for frescoed blue and red
To paint the walls, and plans no golden dome,
Knowing the flood, when autumn rains are come,
Shall roll its ruining waters overhead.
And wherefore should I plant my ground and sow ?
—Since, though I reck not of the day or hour,
The conqueror comes at last, the alien foe
Shall come to my defenceless place in power,
With force, with arms, with strenuous overthrow,
Taking the goods I gathered for his dower. DE PROFUNDIS.
To thee, 0 God, I cry from this profound
Horror of gloomi and vast tempestuous night,
Which blinds the eyes that vainly seek for light,
And answers all my anguish with the sound
Of rising waters that destroy the ground
Where fail my feet and stumble.    Yet Thy might,
O Lord, can shelter me, and still Thy sight
Beholds as day the dreadful darkness round.
Help me, O God, none is my help but Thou,
Ah, none but Thou; and even in my prayer
My voice gives way, frozen with chilly doubt
If there be God or justice anywhere.
For fast in prison am I and all men now,
Darkness within and foes and death without. ~ae—'
About my head with all thy storms combine,
O thou tempestuous world, yet shalt not thou
Strike off Hope's luminous glory from my brow,
Nor shake from purposed paths these feet of mine.
Now hast thou spent thy fury; I resign
My prayers that helped me once for useless now,
But with a soul left fatherless to bow
Inrgreater faith before the untold Divine.
For what, unreasoning tempest, canst thou prove
With all thy passion, but thy passionate will,
The which I never doubted ?   Point thy dart
With friendship cooled and false religion, still
Beyond thy lie lives God, and perfect love
Unfound and distant justifies my heart.


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