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Redeemed it from the charge of nothingness
Or else we loved the man, and prized his work ;
I know not: but we sitting, as I said,
The cock crew loud : as at that time of year
The lusty bird takes every hour for dawn:
Then Francis, muttering, like a man ill-used,
" There now—that's nothing!” drew a little back,
And drove his heel into the smouldered log,
That sent a blast of sparkles up the flue:
And so to bed; where yet in sleep I seemed
To sail with Arthur under looming shores,
Point after point, till on to dawn, when dreams
Begin to feel the truth and stir of day,
To me, methought, who waited with a crowd,
There came a bark that, blowing forward, bore
King Arthur, like a modern gentleman
Of stateliest port; and all the people cried,
" Arthur is come again : he cannot die.”
Then those that stood upon the hills behind
Repeated—“ Come again, and thrice as fair;”
And, further inland, voices echoed—“Come
With all good things, and war shall be no more.”
At this a hundred bells began to peal,
That with the sound I woke, and heard indeed
The clear church-bells ring in the Christmas morn.

THE GARDENER'S DAUGHTER;

OR,

THE PICTURES.

This morning is the morning of the day
When I and Eustace from the city went
To see the Gardener's Daughter; I and he,
Brothers in Art; a friendship so complete
Portioned in halves between us, that we grew
The fable of the city where we dwelt.

My Eustace might have sat for Hercules ; So muscular he spread, so broad a breast. He, by some law that holds in love, and draws The greater to the lesser, long desired A certain miracle of symmetry, A miniature of loveliness, all grace Summed up and closed in little ;-Juliet, she So light of foot, so light of spirit-oh, she To me myself, for some three careless moons, The summer pilot of an empty heart Unto the shores of nothing ! Know you not Such touches are but embassies of love, To tamper with the feelings, ere he found Empire for life ? but Eustace painted her, And said to me, she sitting with us then, “When will you paint like this ? ” and I replied, (My words were half in earnest, half in jest,) 6 "T'is not your work, but Love's. Love unper

ceived. A more ideal Artist he than all, Came, drew your pencil from you, made those eyes Darker than darkest pansies, and that hair More black than ashbuds in the front of March." And Juliet answered laughing, “ Go and see The Gardener's daughter: trust me, after that, You scarce can fail to match his masterpiece.” And up we rose, and on the spur we went.

Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite Beyond it, blooms the garden that I love. News from the humming city comes to it In sound of funeral or of marriage bells; And, sitting muffled in dark leaves, you hear The windy clanging of the minster clock; Although between it and the garden lies A league of grass, washed by a slow broad stream, That, stirred with languid pulses of the oar, Waves all its lazy lilies, and creeps on, Barge-laden, to three arches of a bridge Crowned with the minster-towers.

he,

The fields between Are dewy-fresh, browsed by deep-uddered kine, And all about the large lime feathers low, The lime a summer home of murmurous wings.

In that still place she, hoarded in herself, Grew, seldom seen : not less among us lived Her

fame from lip to lip. Who had not heard Of Rose, the Gardener's daughter? Where was So blunt in memory, so old at heart, At such a distance from his youth in grief, That, having seen, forgot? The common mouth, So gross to express delight, in praise of her Grew oratory. Such a lord is Love, And Beauty such a mistress of the world.

And if I said that Fancy, led by Love, Would play with flying forms and images, Yet this is also true, that, long before I looked upon her, when I heard her name My heart was like a prophet to my heart, And told me I should love. A crowd of hopes, That sought to sow themselves like winged seeds, Born out of every thing I heard and saw, Fluttered about my senses and my soul ; And vague desires, like fitful blasts of balm To one that travels quickly, made the air Of Life delicious, and all kinds of thought, That verged upon them, sweeter than the dream Dreamed by a happy man, when the dark East, Unseen, is brightening to his bridal morn.

And sure this orbit of the memory folds Forever in itself the day we went To see her. All the land in flowery squares, Beneath a broad and equal-blowing wind, Smelt of the coming summer, as one large cloud Drew downward: but all else of Heaven was pure Up to the Sun, and May from verge to verge, And May with me from head to heel. And now, As though 'twere yesterday, as though it were

The hour just flown, that morn with all its sound,
(For those old Mays had thrice the life of these,)
Rings in mine ears. The steer forgot to graze,
And, where the hedge-row cuts the pathway, stool,
Leaning his horns into the neighbor field,
And lowing to his fellows. From the woods
Came voices of the well-contented doves.
The lark could scarce get out his notes for joy,
But shook his song together as he neared
His happy home, the ground. To left and right,
The cuckoo told his name to all the hills;
The mellow ouzel fluted in the elm;
The redcap whistled; and the nightingale
Sang loud, as though he were the bird of day.

And Eustace turned, and smiling said to me, “ Hear how the bushes echo! by my life, These birds have joyful thoughts. Think you they

sing
Like poets, from the vanity of song ?
Or have they any sense of why they sing?
And would they praise the heavens for what they

have ?”
And I made answer, “ Were there nothing else
For which to praise the heavens but only love,
That only love were cause enough for praise.”

Lightly he laughed, as one that read my thought,
And on we went; but ere an hour had passed,
We reached a meadow slanting to the North ;
Down which a well-worn pathway courted us
To one green wicket in a privet hedge;
This, yielding, gave into a grassy walk
Through crowded lilac-ambush trimly pruned;
And one warm gust, full-fed with perfume, blew
Beyond us, as we entered in the cool.
The garden stretches southward. In the midst
A cedar spread his dark-green layers of shade.
The garden-glasses shone, and momently
The twinkling laurel scattered silver lights.

Eustace,” I said, “ this wonder keeps the house."

66

He nodded, but a moment afterwards
He cried, “ Look! look !” Before he ceased I

turned,
And, ere a star can wink, beheld her there.

For up the porch there grew an Eastern rose, That, flowering high, the last night's gale had caught, And blown across the walk. One arm aloftGowned in pure white, that fitted to the shapeHolding the bush, to fix it back, she stood. A single stream of all her soft brown hair Poured on one side : the shadow of the flowers Stole all the golden gloss, and, wavering, Lovingly lower, trembled on her waistAh, happy shade !—and still went wavering down, But, ere it touched a foot that might have danced The greensward into greener circles, dipt, And mixed with shadows of the common ground! But the full day dwelt on her brows, and sunned Her violet eyes, and all her Ilebe-bloom, And doubled his own warmth against her lips, And on the bounteous wave of such a breast As never pencil drew. Half light, half shade, She stood, a sight to make an old man young:

So rapt, we neared the house ; but she, a Rose In roses, mingled with her fragrant toil

, Nor heard us come, nor from her tendance turned Into the world without; till close at hand, And almost ere I knew mine own intent, This murmur broke the stillness of that air Which brooded round about her:

“Ah, one rose, One rose, but one, by those fair fingers culled, Were worth a hundred kisses pressed on lips Less exquisite than thine!”

She looked: but all Suffused with blushes-neither self-possessed Nor startled, but betwixt this mood and that, Divided in a graceful quiet-paused, And dropt the branch she held, and turning, wound

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