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“ For I go, weak from suffering here;
Naked I go, and void of cheer:
What is it that I may not fear ?"

“ Consider well,” the voice replied,
“ His face, that two hours since hath died;
Wilt thou find passion, pain or pride ?

“ Will he obey when one commands ?

answer should one press his hands ? He answers not, nor understands.

“ His palms are folded on his breast :
There is no other thing expressed
But long disquiet merged in rest.
“ His lips are very mild and meek:
Though one should smite him on the cheek,
And on the mouth, he will not speak.

" His little daughter, whose sweet face He kissed, taking his last embrace, Becomes dishonor to her race

“His sons grow up that bear his name, Some grow to honor, some to shame,But he is chill to praise or blame. “ He will not hear the north-wind rave, Nor, moaning, household shelter crave Froin winter rains that beat his grave. * High up the vapors fold and swim: About him broods the twilight dim : The place he knew forgetteth him.” “ If all be dark, vague voice,” I said, These things are wrapped in doubt and dread, Nor canst thou show the dead are dead,


66 The


dries the plant declines. A deeper tale my heart divines. Know I not Death ? the outward signs ?

“I found him when my years were few; A shadow on the graves I knew, And darkness in the village yew. “From grave to grave the shadow crept: In her still place the morning wept: Touched by his feet the daisy slept.

“ The simple senses crowned his head:
Omega ! thou art Lord,' they said,
• We find no motion in the dead."

“Why, if man rot in dreamless ease, Should that plain fact, as taught by these, Not make him sure that he shall cease ?

“ Who forged that other influence,
That heat of inward evidence,
By which he doubts against the sense ?
“ He owns the fatal gift of eyes,
That read his spirit blindly wise,
Not simple as a thing that dies.
“ Here sits he shaping wings to fly;
His heart forebodes a mystery :
He names the name Eternity.

"That type of Perfect in his mind In Nature can he nowhere find, He sows himself on every wind.

s. He seems to hear a Heavenly Friend, And through thick veils to apprehend A labor working to an end.

“ The end and the beginning vex His reason : many things perplex, With motions, checks, and counter-checks.

“ He knows a baseness in his blood At such strange war with something good, He may not do the thing he would. “ Heaven opens inward, chasms yawn. Vast images in glimmering dawn, Half shown, are broken and withdrawn.

6 Ah! sure within him and without, Could his dark wisdom find it out, There must be answer to his doubt.

“ But thou canst answer not again. With thine own weapon art thou slain, Or thou wilt answer but in vain.

“ The doubt would rest, I dare not solve. In the same circle we revolve. Assurance only breeds resolve.”

As when a billow, blown against,
Falls back, the voice with which I fenced
A little ceased, but recommenced.

“ Where wert thou when thy father played In his free field, and pastime made, A merry boy in sun and shade ? “A merry boy they called him then. He sat upon the knees of men In days that never come again. “ Before the little ducts began To feed thy bones with lime, and ran Their course, till thou wert also man:



“ Who took a wife, who reared his race, Whose wrinkles gathered on his face, Whose troubles number with his days:

“ A life of nothings, nothing-worth, From that first nothing ere his birth To that last nothing under earth !” “ These words,” I said, “are like the rest, No certain clearness, but at best A vague suspicion of the breast : “ But if I grant, thou might'st defend The thesis which thy words intendThat to begin implies to end;

“ Yet how should I for certain hold, Because my memory is so cold, That I first was in human mould ?

“ I cannot make this matter plain, But I would shoot, howe'er in vain, A random arrow from the brain.

“ It may be that no life is found, Which only to one engine bound Falls off, but cycles always round. " As old mythologies relate, Some draught of Lethe might await The slipping through from state to state.

As here we find in trances, men Forget the dream that happens then, Until they fall in trance again.

“ So might we, if our state were such As one before, remember much, For those two likes might meet and touch. “ But, if I lapsed from nobler place, Some legend of a fallen race Alone might hint of my disgrace; “ Some vague emotion of delight In gazing up an Alpine height, Some yearning toward the lamps of night. “ Or if through lower lives I cameThough all experience past became Consolidate in mind and frame

“ I might forget my weaker lot ; For is not our first year forgot ? The haunts of memory echo not.

“ And men, whose reason long was blind, From cells of madness unconfined, Oft lose whole years of darker mind.

“Much more, if first I floated free, As naked essence, must I be Incompetent of memory :

“For memory dealing but with time, And he with matter, could she climb Beyond her own material prime ?


Moreover, something is or seems, That touches me with mystic gleams, Like glimpses of forgotten dreams"Of something felt, like something here; Of something done, I know not where; Such as no language may declare.” The still voice laughed. “I talk,” said be, “ Not with thy dreams. Suffice it thee Thy pain is a reality.”

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