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And on the green no dancing feet 40
The merry violin stirred.
Why should folk be glum,” said Keezar,
" When nature herself is glad, And the painted woods are laughing
At the faces so sour and sad?”
45 Small heed had the careless cobbler
What sorrow of heart was theirs
And planted a state with prayers,
Hunting of witches and warlocks,
Smiting the heathen horde, -
And one on the soldier's sword!
But give him his ale and cider,
Give him his pipe and song, 55 Little he cared for Church or State,
Or the balance of right and wrong.
“ 'Tis work, work, work,” he muttered,
“ And for rest a snuffle of psalms!” He smote on his leathern apron 60 With his brown and waxen palms.
“Oh for the purple harvests
Of the days when I was young!
And the pleasant songs they sung!
" Oh for the breath of vineyards,
Of apples and nuts and wine!
For an oar to row and a breeze to blow
Down the grand old river Rhine!”
A tear in his blue eye glistened, 70 And dropped on his beard so gray. "Old, old am I,” said Keezar,
" And the Rhine flows far away!”
But a cunning man was the cobbler;
He could call the birds from the trees, 75 Charm the black snake out of the ledges,
And bring back the swarming bees.
All the virtues of herbs and metals,
All the lore of the woods, he knew, And the arts of the Old World mingled 80 With the marvels of the New.
Well he knew the tricks of magic,
And the lapstone on his knee
Or the stone of Doctor Dee.
85 For the mighty master Agrippa
Wrought it with spell and rhyme
In the tower of Nettesheim.
To a cobbler Minnesinger 90
The marvellous stone gave he, 84. Dr. John Dee was a man of vast knowledge, who had an extensive museum, library, and apparatus; he claimed to be an Astrologer, and had acquired the reputation of having dealings with evil spirits, and a mob was raised which destroyed the greater part of his possessions. He professed to raise the dead and had a magic crystal. He died a pauper in 1608.
85. Henry Cornelius Agrippa (1486–15:35) was an alchemist.
And he gave it, in turn, to Keezar,
Who brought it over the sea.
He held up that mystic lapstone,
He held it up like a lens, 95 And he counted the long years coming
By twenties and by tens.
“ One hundred years," quoth Keezar,
“ And fifty have I told: Now open the new before me,
And shut me out the old!”
Like a cloud of mist, the blackness
Rolled from the magic stone,
The unknown and the known.
105 Still ran the stream to the river,
And river and ocean joined;
And cold north hills behind.
But the mighty forest was broken
By many a steepled town,
And many a garner brown.
Turning a score of mill-wheels,
The stream no more ran free; 15 White sails on the winding river,
White sails on the far-off sea.
Below in the noisy village
The flags were floating gay,
Swiftly the rival ploughmen
Turned the brown earth from their shares; Here were the farmer's treasures,
There were the craftsman's wares.
125 Golden the goodwife's butter,
Ruby her currant-wine;
Fat were the beeves and swine.
Yellow and red were the apples, 130 And the ripe pears russet-brown,
And the peaches had stolen blushes
From the girls who shook them down.
And with blooms of hill and wild-wood,
That shame the toil of art, 135 Mingled the gorgeous blossoms
Of the garden's tropic heart.
" What is it I see?” said Keezar:
“ Am I here, or am I there?
Is it a fête at Bingen? 140 Do I look on Frankfort fair?
“ But where are the clowns and puppets,
And imps with horns and tail?
And where is the foaming ale?
145 "Strange things, I know, will happen,
Strange things the Lord permits;
But that droughty folk should be jolly
Puzzles my poor old wits.
“ Here are smiling manly faces, 150
And the maiden's step is gay ;
Nor mopes, nor fools, are they.
“ Here's pleasure without regretting,
And good without abuse, 155 The holiday and the bridal
Of beauty and of use.
“ Here's a priest and there is a Quaker,
Do the cat and dog agree?
Have they burned the stocks for oven-wood ? 160 Have they cut down the gallows-tree ?
“ Would the old folk know their children ?
Would they own the graceless town,
And never a witch to drown?”
165 Loud laughed the cobbler Keezar,
Laughed like a school-boy gay;
The lapstone rolled away.
It rolled down the rugged hillside, 170 It spun like a wheel bewitched,
It plunged through the leaning willows,
And into the river pitched.
There, in the deep, dark water,
The magic stone lies still,