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All that is noblest, all that is basest, all

that is filthy with all that is fair?

For ten thousand years

Old and new?

XVII.

What is it all, if we all of us end but in

being our own corpse-coffins at

last, Swallow'd in Vastness, lost in Silence,

drown'd in the deeps of a meaningless Past?

XVIII. What but a murmur of gnats in the

gloom, or a moment's anger of bees in their hive?

Father. And who was he with

love-drunken eyes They made a thousand honey moons.

one?
Miriam. The prophet of his out. -

Hubert - his
The words, and mine the setting.

and Words,' Said Hubert, when I sang the song. ***

bride And bridegroom.' Does it please nos Father.

Mainly, c Because I hear your Mother's voice i

yours. She Why, you shiver tho' the en:

is west With all the warmth of summer.

Miriam. On a sudden I know not what, a brest

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Peace, let it be! for I loved him, and

love him for ever: the dead are not dead but alive.

Well, I

that past

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Dedicated to the Won. J. Russell

Lowell.

THE RING.

MIRIAM AND HER FATHER.

Miriam (singing). MELLOW moon of heaven,

Bright in blue, Moon of married hearts,

Hear me, you!

Twelve times in the year

Bring me bliss, Globing Honey Moons

Bright as this.

With all the cold of winter.
Father (muttering to himself). Em

so. The Ghost in Man, the Ghost that can

was Man, But cannot wholly free itself from Mas Are calling to each other thro' a dawn Stranger than earth has ever seet;

veil Is rending, and the Voices of the day Are heard across the Voices of the de No sudden heaven, nor sudden hell,

man, But thro' the Will of One who ko

and rules And utter knowledge is but utter loreÆonian Evolution, swift or slow, Thro' all the Spheres - an ever operis

height, An ever lessening earth - and she per

haps, My Miriam, breaks her latest earthly is With me to-day. Miriam. You speak so low, wha: 5

it? Your. Miriam breaks'

is making a link Breaking an old one? Father.

No, for we, my chas Have been till now each other's all-in-l

Moon, you fade at times

From the night. Young again you grow

Out of sight.

Silver crescent-curve,

Coming soon, Globe again, and make

Honey Moon.

Shall not my love last,

Moon, with you,

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Miriam. And you the lifelong guar

dian of the child. Father. I, and one other whom you

have not known. Miriam. And who? what other?

Father. Whither are you bound? For Naples which we only left in May? Miriam. No! father, Spain, but

Hubert brings me home With April and the swallow. Wish me

joy! Father. What need to wish when

Hubert weds in you The heart of Love, and you the soul of

Truth In Hubert?

Miriam. Tho' you used to call me

once

The lonely maiden-Princess of the wood, Who meant to sleep her hundred sum

mers out Before a kiss should wake her. Father.

Ay, but now Your fairy Prince has found you, take

this ring Miriam. Io t'amo' - and these dia.

monds - beautiful ! • From Walter,' and for me from you then? Father.

Well, One way for Miriam. Miriam.

Miriam am I not? Father. This ring bequeath'd you by

your mother, child, Was to be given you — such her dying

wish Given on the morning when you came of

age Or on the day you married. Both the

days Now close in one. The ring is doubly

yours. Why do you look so gravely at the tower? Miriam. I never saw it yet so all

ablaze "With creepers crimsoning to the pin

nacles, As if perpetual sunset linger'd there, And all ablaze too in the lake below! And how the birds that circle round the

tower Are cheeping to each other of their fight To summer lands!

Father. And that has made you grave?

Fly - care not. Birds and brides must

leave the nest.
Child, I am happier in your happiness
Than in mine own.

Miriam. It is not that!
Father.

What else?
Miriam. That chamber in the tower.
Father.

What chamber, child? Your nurse is here?

Miriam. My Mother's nurse and mine. She comes to dress me in my bridal veil.

Father. What did she say?

Miriam. She said, that you and I Had been abroad for my poor health so

long She fear'd I had forgotten her, and I

ask'd About my Mother, and she said, “Thy

hair Is golden like thy Mother's, not so fine.'

Father. What then? what more?

Miriam. She said — perhaps indeed She wander’d, having wander'd now so

far Beyond the common date of death that

you, When I was smaller than the statuette Of my dear Mother on your bracket

here You took me to that chamber in the

tower, The topmost — :

- a chest there, by which you knelt And there were books and dresses — left

to me, A ring too which you kiss'd, and I, she

said, I babbled, Mother, Mother -- as I used To prattle to her picture — stretch'd my

hands As if I saw her; then a woman came And caught me from my nurse. I hear

her yet —
A sound of anger like a distant storm.

Father. Garrulous old crone.
Miriam.

Poor nurse!
Father.

I bade her keep, Like a seal'd book, all mention of the

ring, For I myself would tell you all to-day. Miriam. “She too might speak to

day,' she mumbled. Still, I scarce have learnt the title of your book,

But you

will turn the pages. Father.

Ay, to-day! I brought you to that chamber on your

third
September birthday with your nurse, and

felt
An icy breath play on me, while I stoopt
To take and kiss the ring.
Miriam.

This very ring
Io t'amo?
Father. Yes, for some wild hope was

mine
That, in the misery of my married life,
Miriam your Mother might appear

to

And one was dark, and both were beat And weird and worn and wizard-like was

he.
ful.

for either bei
Then, for the surface eye, that only in 'Why weird?' I ask'd him; and he said,

The souls
On outward beauty, glancing from the of two repentant Lovers guard the ring;'
To the other, knew not that w. Then with a ribald twinkle in his bleak
pleased it most,

eyes —
The raven ringlet or the gold; but he'And if you give the ring to any maid,

here,
walk
This Terrace - morbid, melancher And bind the maid to love you by the
mine

ring;

And if the ring were stolen from the
field;

maid,
For all that ample woodland whispal The theft were death or madness to the
The brook that feeds this lakelet So sacred those Ghost Lovers hold the

gift.
And in yon arching avenue of old els And then he told their legend:

A hollow laughter!

Miriam, Vile, so near the gh
Himself, to laugh at love in death! E

you?
Father. Well, as the bygone lov

thro' this ring
Had sent his cry for her forgiveness, I
Would call thro' this .lo t'amo' to th

heart
Of Miriam; then I bade the man e

grave
*From Walter' on the ring, and send

And yet not mine the hall, the farm,

- wrote

me.

She came to you, not me.

The storm,

debt,'

thief,

you hear

Name, surname, all as clear as noon, bu

he-
Some younger hand must have engrave

the ring -
His fingers were so stiffen'd by the frost
Of seven and ninety winters, that h

scrawld
A Miriam' that might seem a .Muriel'

Father's fiul

sent

meant

Far-off, is Muriel

- your stepmother's
voice.
Miriam. Vext, that you thought my

Mother came to me?
Or at my crying. Mother'? or to find
My Mother's diamonds hidden from her

there,
Like worldly beauties in the Cell, not

shown To dazzle all that see them? Father.

Wait awhile.
Your Mother and step-mother -- Miriam

Erne
And Muriel Erne- the two were cousins

- lived
With Muriel's mother on the down, that

sees

mur'd'debt,'
Tho' mine, not. mine, I heard the sele

rook
And carrion crow cry' mortgage.!.

Miriam.
Visited on the children!
Father.

Ay, but that and sent it on her birthday. She in
A kinsman, dying, summon'd me
He left me wealth - and while I j His death-day, when, half-frenzied by the

Rome
And saw the world fly by me like He wildly fought a rival suitor, him

ney'd hence,

dream,
And while I communed with my track

self,
I woke to all of truest in
Till, in the gleam of those mid-suntAnd found a corpse and silence, drew the
The form of Muriel faded, and the face From his dead finger, wore it till her

dawns,
Of Miriam grew upon me, till I kner,
And past and future mix'd in Heave Shrined him within the temple of her

and made
The rosy twilight of a perfect day.
Miriam. So glad? no tear for his

who left you wealth,
Your kinsman?

Father. I had seen the man but once.
He loved my name not me; and then I

pass'd
Home, and thro' Venice, where a jewell,
So far gone down, or so far up in life,
That he was nearing his own hundred

sold
This ring to me, then laugh’d, The ring

is weird.'

Long ago
Two lovers parted by a scurrilous tale
Had quarrell’d, till the man repenting And Muriel claim'd and open'd what
This ring " Io t'amo" to his best beloved, For Miriam, took the ring, and faunted

it
wrath

Before that other whom I loved and love. that A mountain stay'd me here, a minsten

there, ring,

A galleried palace, or a battlefield,

Where stood the shear of Peace: but-
The causer of that scandal, fought and

coming home -
fell;

And on your Mother's birthday — all but
And she that came to part them all too

yours -
late,

A week betwixt- and when the tower as
ring

Was all ablaze with crimson to the roof,
And all ablaze too plunging in the lake
Head-foremost — who were those that

stood between
heart,

The tower and that rich phantom of the
Made every moment of her after life

tower?

Muriel and Miriam, each in white, and
And dying rose, and rear'd her arms, and

like
cried

May-blossoms in mid autumn - was it
"I

see him, lo t'amo, lo t'amo."
Miriam. Legend or true? so tender

they?
A light shot upward on them from the

lake.
Father,

What sparkled there? whose hand was

Ay!
But that half skeleton, like a barren So close together. I am not keen of

that? they stood
ghost
From out the fleshless world of spirits. But coming nearer – Muriel had the

sight,
laugh’d:

now

A thousand squares of corn and meadow,

far As the gray deep, a landscape which

your eyes Have many a time ranged over when a

babe.
Miriam. I climb'd the hill with

Hubert yesterday,
And from the thousand squares, one

silent voice
Came on the wind, and seem'd to say

*Again.'
We saw far off an old forsaken house,
Then home, and past the ruin'd mill.
Father.

And there
I found these cousins often by the brook,
For Miriam sketch'd and Muriel threw

the fly; The girls of equal age, but one was fair,

death,

A virgin victim to his memory,

should be true!
Did he believe it? did you ask him?

ring

And weird and worn and wizard-like was

he. - Why weird?' I ask'd him; and he said,

• The souls Of two repentant Lovers guard the ring;' Then with a ribald twinkle in his bleak

eyes — And if you give the ring to any maid, They still remember what it cost them

here, And bind the maid to love you by the

ring; And if the ring were stolen from the

maid, The theft were death or madness to the

thief,
So sacred those Ghost Lovers hold the

gist.'
And then he told their legend :

• Long ago Two lovers parted by a scurrilous tale Had quarrell’d, till the man repenting

sent This ring “ Io t'amo" to his best beloved, And sent it on her birthday. She in

wrath Return'd it on her birthday, and that day His death-day, when, half-frenzied by the

ring, He wildly fought a rival suitor, him The causer of that scandal, fought and

fell; And she that came to part them all too

late, And found a corpse and silence, drew the

ring From his dead finger, wore it till her

death,
Shrined him within the temple of her

heart,
Made every moment of her after life
A virgin victim to his memory,
And dying rose, and rear'd her arms, and

cried
"I see him, Io t'amo, Io t'amo.">
Miriam. Legend or true? so tender

should be true!
Did he believe it? did you ask him?
Father,

Ay!
But that half skeleton, like a barren

ghost From out the fleshless world of spirits,

laugh'd :

A hollow laughter !

Miriam. Vile, so near the ghost Himself, to laugh at love in death! But

you? Father. Well, as the bygone lover

thro’ this ring Had sent his cry for her forgiveness, I Would call thro' this “lo t'amo' to the

heart Of Miriam; then I bade the man en

grave From Walter' on the ring, and send it

- wrote Name, surname, all as clear as noon, but

heSome younger hand must have engraven

the ring His fingers were so stiffen'd by the frost Of seven and ninety winters, that he

scrawl'd A ‘Miriam' that might seem a Muriel'; And Muriel claim'd and open'd what I

meant For Miriam, took the ring, and flaunted

it Before that other whom I loved and love. A mountain stay'd me here, a minster

there, A galleried palace, or a battlefield, Where stood the sheaf of Peace: but

coming home -And on your Mother's birthday — all but

yours — A week betwixt - and when the tower as

now

Was all ablaze with crimson to the roof, And all ablaze too plunging in the lake Head-foremost who were those that

stood between The tower and that rich phantom of the

tower? Muriel and Miriam, each in white, and

like May-blossoms in mid autumn - was it

they? A light shot upward on them from the

lake. What sparkled there? whose hand was

that? they stood So close together. I am not keen of

sight, But coming nearer - Muriel had the

ring

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