Page images
PDF
EPUB

His art he placed the ring that's there,
Still by fancy's eye descried,

In token of a marriage rare :
For him on earth, his art's despair,
For him in heaven, his soul's fit bride.

50

бо

3. Little girl with the poor coarse hand

I turned from to a cold clay cast I have my lesson, understand

The worth of flesh and blood at last ! Nothing but beauty in a Hand ?

Because he could not change the hie,

Mend the lines and make them true
To this which met his soul's demand,

Would Da Vinci turn from you?
I hear him laugh my woes to scorn-
“ The fool forsooth is all forlorn
Because the beauty, she thinks best,
Lived long ago or was never born,
Because no beauty bears the test
In this rough peasant Hand! Confessed
'Art is null and study void !'
So sayest thou? So said not I,
Who threw the faulty pencil by,
And years instead of hours employed,
Learning the veritable use
Of flesh and bone and nerve beneath
Lines and hue of the outer sheath,
If haply I might reproduce
One motive of the mechanism,
Flesh and bone and nerve that make
The poorest coarsest human hand
An object worthy to be scanned
A whole life long for their sole sake,

70 80

Shall earth and the cramped moment-space
Yield the heavenly crowning grace?
Now the parts and then the whole !
Who art thou, with stinted soul
And stunted body, thus to cry
'I love, - shall that be life's strait dole?
I must live beloved or die !'
This peasant hand that spins the wool
And bakes the bread, why lives it on,
Poor and coarse with beauty gone,
What use survives the beauty? Fool ! "
Go, little girl with the poor coarse hand !
I have my lesson, shall understand.

IX. ON DECK.

I.

THERE is nothing to remember in me,

Nothing I ever said with a grace,
Nothing I did that you care to see,

Nothing I was that deserves a place
In your mind, now I leave you, set you free.

2.

Conceded ! In turn, concede to me,

Such things have been as a mutual flame.
Your soul's locked fast; but, love for a key,

You might let it loose, till I grew the same
In your eyes, as in mine you stand : strange plea !

3.
For then, then, what would it matter to me

That I was the harsh, ill-favored one?
St. 1. Nothing I did that you care to see : refers to her art-work.

We both should be like as pea and

pea; It was ever so since the world begun : So, let me proceed with my reverie.

had all me,

4.
How strange it were if you

As I have all you in my heart and brain,
You, whose least word brought gloom or glee,

Who never lifted the hand in vain
Will hold mine yet, from over the sea !

5.
Strange, if a face, when you thought of me,

Rose like your own face present now,
With eyes as dear in their due degree,

Much such a mouth, and as bright a brow,
Till you saw yourself, while you cried “'Tis She !

6.
Well, you may, you must, set down to me

Love that was life, life that was love;
A tenure of breath at your lips' decree,

A passion to stand as your thoughts approve,
A rapture to fall where your foot might be.

7.
But did one touch of such love for me

Come in a word or å look of yours,
Whose words and looks will, circling, flee

Round me and round while life endures,-
Could I fancy “ As I feel, thus feels He;'

St. 3. Here it is indicated that she had not the personal charms which were needed to maintain her husband's interest. A pretty face was more to him than a deep loving soul.

St. 6. vv. 3-5 express the entire devotion and submissiveness of her love.

And your

8. Why, fade you might to a thing like me,

hair

grow these coarse hanks of hair, Your skin, this bark of a gnarled tree,

You might turn myself ! — should I know or care, When I should be dead of joy, James Lee?

A TALE.

EPILOGUE TO THE Two POETS OF CROISIC."

I.

WHAT a pretty tale you told me

Once upon a time - Said

you

found it somewhere (scold me !)
Was it prose or was it rhyme,
Greek or Latin? Greek, you said,
While your shoulder propped my head.

2.

Anyhow there's no forgetting

This much if no more,
That a poet (pray, no petting !)

Yes, a bard, sir, famed of yore,
Went where suchlike used to go,
Singing for a prize, you know.

3. Well, he had to sing, nor merely

Sing but play the lyre ; Playing was important clearly

Quite as singing: I desire, Sir, you keep the fact in mind For a purpose that's behind.

4.

There stood he, while deep attention

Held the judges round,
— Judges able, I should mention,

To detect the slightest sound
Sung or played amiss : such ears
Had old judges, it appears !

5.
None the less he sang out boldly,

Played in time and tune,
Till the judges, weighing coldly

Each note's worth, seemed, late or soon,
Sure to smile “ In vain one tries
Picking faults out : take the prize !"

6.

When, a mischief! Were they seven

Strings the lyre possessed ?
Oh, and afterwards eleven,

Thank you! Well, sir, — who had guessed
Such ill luck in store ? - - it happed
One of those same seven strings snapped.

7.

All was lost, then ! No! a cricket

(What “ cicada”? Pooh!)
- Some mad thing that left its thicket

For mere love of music — flew
With its little heart on fire,
Lighted on the crippled lyre.

St. 7.

“Cicada," do you say? Pooh! that's bringing the mysterious little thing down to the plane of entomology.

« PreviousContinue »