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“Therefore the Manichæan said

This simple prayer on breaking bread, Lest he with hasty hand or knife Might wound the incarcerated life, The soul in things that we call dead : I did not reap thee, did not bind thee, I did not thrash thee, did not grind thee, Nor did I in the oven bake thee! It was not I, it was another Did these things unto thee, O brother; I only have thee, hold thee, break thee !'"

“That birds have souls I can concede,"

The Poet cried, with glowing cheeks ; 6. The flocks that from their beds of reed Uprising north or southward fly, And flying write upon the sky The biforked letter of the Greeks, As hath been said by Rucellai ; All birds that sing or chirp or cry, Even those migratory bands, The minor poets of the air, The plover, peep, and sanderling, That hardly can be said to sing, But pipe along the barren sands, All these have souls akin to ours; So hath the lovely race of flowers : Thus much I grant, but nothing more. The rusty hinges of a door Are not alive because they creak; This chimney, with its dreary roar, These rattling windows, do not speak!” “ To me they speak,” the Jew replied ;

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And in the sounds that sink and soar,
I hear the voices of a tide
That breaks upon an unknown shore !”

Here the Sicilian interfered: “That was your dream, then, as you dozed A moment since, with eyes half-closed, And murmured something in your beard." The Hebrew smiled, and answered, “Nay; Not that, but something very near ; Like, and yet not the same, may seem The vision of my waking dream ; Before it wholly dies away, Listen to me, and you shall hear.”

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THE SPANISH JEW'S TALE.

AZRAEL.

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Written May 24, 1872. KING SOLOMON, before his palace gate At evening, on the pavement tessellate Was walking with a stranger from the East, Arrayed in rich attire as for a feast, The mighty Runjeet-Sing, a learned man, And Rajah of the realms of Hindostan. And as they walked the guest became aware Of a white figure in the twilight air, Gazing intent, as one who with surprise His form and features seemed to recognize ; And in a whisper to the king he said : “What is yon shape, that, pallid as the dead, Is watching me, as if he sought to trace In the dim light the features of my face ?

:

The king looked, and replied: “I know him well;
It is the Angel men call Azrael,
’T is the Death Angel ; what hast thou to fear?
And the guest answered : “ Lest he should come

near,
And speak to me, and take away my breath!
Save me from Azrael, save me from death!
O king, that hast dominion o'er the wind,
Bid it arise and bear me hence to Ind.”

The king gazed upward at the cloudless sky,
Whispered a word, and raised his hand on high,
And lo! the signet-ring of chrysoprase
On his uplifted finger seemed to blaze
With hidden fire, and rushing from the west
There came a mighty wind, and seized the guest
And lifted him from earth, and on they passed,
His shining garments streaming in the blast,
A silken banner o'er the walls upreared,
A purple cloud, that gleamed and disappeared.
Then said the Angel, smiling: “If this man
Be Rajah Runjeet-Sing of Hindostan,
Thou hast done well in listening to his prayer;

; I was upon my way to seek him there.”

INTERLUDE.

“O EDREHI, forbear to-night
Your ghostly legends of affright,
And let the Talmud rest in peace;
Spare us your dismal tales of death
That almost take away one's breath;
So doing, may your tribe increase.

Thus the Sicilian said ; then went
And on the spinet's rattling keys
Played Marianina, like a breeze

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From Naples and the Southern seas,
That brings us the delicious scent
Of citron and of orange trees,
And memories of soft days of ease
At Capri and Amalfi spent.

“ Not so," the eager Poet said ;
" At least, not so before I tell

The story of my Azrael,
An angel mortal as ourselves,
Which in an ancient tome I found
Upon a convent’s dusty shelves,
Chained with an iron chain, and bound
In parchment, and with clasps of brass,
Lest from its prison, some dark day,
It might be stolen or steal away,
While the good friars were singing mass.

6 It is a tale of Charlemagne,

When like a thunder-cloud, that lowers
And sweeps from mountain-crest to coast,
With lightning flaming through its showers,
He swept across the Lombard plain,
Beleaguering with his warlike train
Pavia, the country's pride and boast,
The City of the Hundred Towers.”

Thus heralded the tale began,
And thus in sober measure ran.

THE POET'S TALE.

CHARLEMAGNE.

Written May 12, 1872.

OLGER the Dane and Desiderio,
King of the Lombards, on a lofty tower
Stood gazing northward o'er the rolling plains,
League after league of harvests, to the foot
Of the snow-crested Alps, and saw approach
A mighty army, thronging all the roads
That led into the city. And the King
Said unto Olger, who had passed his youth
As hostage at the court of France, and knew
The Emperor's form and face: “Is Charlemagne
Among that host ?” And Olger answered: “No."

And still the innumerable multitude
Flowed onward and increased, until the King
Cried in amazement: “Surely Charlemagne
Is coming in the midst of all these knights!”
And Olger answered slowly : “ No; not yet;
He will not come so soon.” Then much disturbed
King Desiderio asked: “ What shall we do,
If he approach with a still greater army?”
And Olger answered : “When he shall appear,
You will behold what manner of man he is ;
But what will then befall us I know not.”

Then came the guard that never knew repose,
The Paladins of France; and at the sight
The Lombard King o'ercome with terror cried:

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