Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

O PRECIOUS evenings! all too swiftly sped!
Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages

Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages,
And giving tongues unto the silent dead!
How our hearts glowed and trembled as she read,
Interpreting by tones the wondrous pages
Of the great poet who foreruns the ages,
Anticipating all that shall be said!
O happy Reader! having for thy text

The magic book, whose Sibylline leaves have caught

The rarest essence of all human thought!
O happy Poet! by no critic vext!
How must thy listening spirit now rejoice
To be interpreted by such a voice!

THE SINGERS.

GOD sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.

SUSPIRIA. THE BLIND GIRL OF CASTÈL-CUILLÈ.

The first, a youth, with soul of fire, Held in his hand a golden lyre;

Through groves he wandered, and by streams, Playing the music of our dreams.

The second, with a bearded face,
Stood singing in the market-place,
And stirred with accents deep and loud
The hearts of all the listening crowd.

A gray old man, the third and last, Sang in cathedrals dim and vast, While the majestic organ rolled Contrition from its mouths of gold.

And those who heard the Singers three
Disputed which the best might be;
For still their music seemed to start
Discordant echoes in each heart.

But the great Master said, "I see
No best in kind, but in degree;
I gave a various gift to each,

To charm, to strengthen, and to teach.

"These are the three great chords of might,

And he whose ear is tuned aright
Will hear no discord in the three,
But the most perfect harmony."

SUSPIRIA.

TAKE them, O Death! and bear away Whatever thou canst call thine own! Thine image, stamped upon this clay,

Doth give thee that, but that alone!

I.

AT the foot of the mountain height
Where is perched Castèl-Cuillè,

When the apple, the plum, and the almond tree
In the plain below were growing white,
This is the song one might perceive
On a Wednesday morn of Saint Joseph's Eve:

"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom,

So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay,
So fair a bride shall pass to-day!"

Take them, O Grave! and let them lie
Folded upon thy narrow shelves,
As garments by the soul laid by,
And precious only to ourselves!

This old Te Deum, rustic rites attending, Seemed from the clouds descending; When lo! a merry company

Of rosy village girls, clean as the eye, Each one with her attendant swain,

[blocks in formation]

THE BLIND GIRL OF CASTEL-CUILLÈ.

FROM THE GASCON OF JASMIN.

Only the Lowland tongue of Scotland might
Rehearse this little tragedy aright;
Let me attempt it with an English quill;
And take, O Reader, for the deed the will.

O holy trust! O endless sense of rest! Like the beloved John

To lay his head upon the Saviour's breast, And thus to journey on!

111

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

It is, that, half-way up the hill,
In yon cottage, by whose walls
Stand the cart-house and the stalls,
Dwelleth the blind orphan still,
Daughter of a veteran old;
And you must know, one year ago,
That Margaret, the young and tender,
Was the village pride and splendor,
And Baptiste her lover bold.
Love, the deceiver, them ensnared ;
For them the altar was prepared;
But alas! the summer's blight,
The dread disease that none can stay,
The pestilence that walks by night,
Took the young bride's sight away.

All at the father's stern command was changed;
Their peace was gone, but not their love es-
tranged.
Wearied at home, erelong the lover fled;
Returned but three short days ago,
The golden chain they round him throw,
He is enticed, and onward led
To marry Angela, and yet

Is thinking ever of Margaret.

Then suddenly a maiden cried,
"Anna, Theresa, Mary, Kate!

Here comes the cripple Jane!" And by a foun

tain's side

A woman, bent and gray with years, Under the mulberry-trees appears,

And all towards her run, as fleet As had they wings upon their feet.

It is that Jane, the cripple Jane, Is a soothsayer, wary and kind. She telleth fortunes, and none complain. She promises one a village swain, Another a happy wedding-day, And the bride a lovely boy straightway. All comes to pass as she avers; She never deceives, she never errs.

But for this once the village seer Wears a countenance severe,

And from beneath her eyebrows thin and white
Her two eyes flash like cannons bright
Aimed at the bridegroom in waistcoat blue,
Who, like a statue, stands in view;
Changing color, as well he might,
When the beldame wrinkled and gray
Takes the young bride by the hand,
And, with the tip of her reedy wand
Making the sign of the cross, doth say :-
"Thoughtless Angela, beware!

Lest, when thou weddest this false bride-
groom,

Thou diggest for thyself a tomb!" And she was silent; and the maidens fair Saw from each eye escape a swollen tear; But on a little streamlet silver-clear,

What are two drops of turbid rain? Saddened a moment, the bridal train Resumed the dance and song again; The bridegroom only was pale with fear ;And down green alleys Of verdurous valleys,

With merry sallies,
They sang the refrain:-

"The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom,

So fair a bride shall leave her home!
Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay,
So fair a bride shall pass to-day!"

IL

AND by suffering worn and weary,
But beautiful as some fair angel yet,
Thus lamented Margaret,
In her cottage lone and dreary :-

"He has arrived! arrived at last!

Yet Jane has named him not these three days

past;

Arrived! yet keeps aloof so far! And knows that of my night he is the star! Knows that long months I wait alone, benighted, And count the moments since he went away! Come! keep the promise of that happier day, That I may keep the faith to thee I plighted! What joy have I without thee? what delight? Grief wastes my life, and makes it misery; Day for the others ever, but for me Forever night! forever night! When he is gone 't is dark! my soul is sad! I suffer! O my God! come, make me glad. When he is near, no thoughts of day intrude; Day has blue heavens, but Baptiste has blue

eyes!

Within them shines for me a heaven of love,
A heaven all happiness, like that above,

No more of grief! no more of lassitude!
Earth I forget,-and heaven, and all distresses,
When seated by my side my hand he presses;
But when alone, remember all!
Where is Baptiste? he hears not when I call!
A branch of ivy, dying on the ground,

I need some bough to twine around!

« PreviousContinue »