Page images

Men, my brothers, men the workers, ever reaping

something new : That which they have done but earnest of the things

that they shall do: For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could

see, Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder

that would be ; Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of

magic sails, Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping down with

costly bales; Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there

rained a ghastly dew From the nations' airy navies grappling in the cen

tral blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind

rushing warm, With the standards of the peoples plunging through

the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbbed no longer, and the

battle-flags were furled In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the

world; There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful

realm in awe, And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal


So I triumphed, ere my passion sweeping through

me left me dry, Left me with the palsied heart, and left me with the

jaundiced eye;

Eye, to which all order festers, all things here are

out of joint, Science

moves, but slowly, slowly, creeping on from

point to point: Slowly comes a hungry people, as a lion, creeping

nigher, Glares at one that nods and winks behind a slowly

dying fire. Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing

purpose runs, And the thoughts of men are widened with the

process of the suns.

What is that to him that reaps not harvest of his

youthful joys, Though the deep heart of existence beat forever

like a boy's ? Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and I linger

on the shore, And the individual withers, and the world is more

and more. Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers, and he bears

a laden breast, Full of sad experience moving toward the stillness

of his rest.

Hark, my merry comrades call me, sounding on the

bugle-horn, They to whom my foolish passion were a target for

their scorn :

Shall it not be scorn to me to harp on such a

mouldered string ? I amr shamed through all my nature to have loved so slight a thing



Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman's

pleasure, woman's painNature made them blinder motions bounded in a

shallower brain :

Woman is the lesser man, and all thy passions,

matched with mine, Are as moonlight unto sunlight, and as water unto


Here at least, where nature sickens, nothing. Ah,

for some retreat Deep in yonder shining Orient, where my life began

to beat;

Where in wild Mahratta-battle fell my father evil.

starred; I was left a trampled orphan, and a selfish uncle's


[ocr errors]

Or to burst all links of habit there to wander far

away, On from island unto island at the gateways of the


Larger constellations burning, mellow moons and

happy skies, Breadths of tropic shade and palms in cluster, knots

of Paradise.

[ocr errors]

Never comes the trader, never floats an European

flag, Slides the bird o'er lustrous woodland, swings the

trailer from the crag; Droops the heavy-blossomed bower, hangs the

heavy-fruited treeSummer isles of Eden lying in dark-purple sphereś

of sea.

There methinks would be enjoyment more than in

this march of mind, In the steamship, in the railway, in the thoughits

that shake mankind.

There the passions, cramped no longer, shall have

scope and breathing-space ; I will take some savage woman, she shall rear my

dusky race. Iron-jointed, supple-sinewed, they shall dive, and

run, Catch the wild goat by the hair, and hurl their

lances in the sun;

they shall

Whistle back the parrot's call, and leap the rain

bows of the brooks, Not with blinded eyesight poring over miserable


Fool, again the dream, the fancy! but I know my

words are wild, But I count the gray barbarian lower than the

Christian child.

I, to herd with narrow foreheads, vacant of our

glorious gains, Like a beast with lower pleasures, like a beast with

lower pains !

Mated with a squalid savage—what to me were sun

or clime? I the heir of all the ages, in the foremost files of


I that rather held it better men should perish one

by one,

Than that earth should stand at gaze like Joshua's

moon in Ajalon!

Not in vain the distance beacons. Forward, for

ward let us range.

Let the great world spin forever down the ringing

grooves of change.

Through the shadow of the globe we sweep into the

younger day : Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay. Mother-age, (for mine I knew not,) help me as

when life begun : Rift the hills, and roll the waters, flash the light

nings, weigh the SunO, I see the crescent promise of my spirit hath not

set. Ancient founts of inspiration well through all my

fancy yet. Howsoever these things be, a long farewell to Locks

ley Hall ! Now for me the woods may wither, now for me the

roof-tree fall.

Comes a vapor froin the margin, blackening over

heath and holt, Cramming all the blast before it, in its breast a


Let it fall on Locksley Hall, with rain or hail, or

fire or snow; For the mighty wind arises, roaring seaward, and I


[ocr errors]


I waited for the train at Coventry;
I hung with grooms and porters on the bridge,

« PreviousContinue »