Page images

I brave the worst;" and while we stood like fools Embracing, all at once a score of pugs And poodles yelled within, and out they came, Trustees and aunts and uncles. "What, with him!” "Go" (shrilled the cotton-spinning chorus), “him!” I choked. Again they shrieked the burthen "Him!"

Again with hands of wild rejection, “Go! —
Girl, get you in!" She went,—and in one month
They wedded her to sixty thousand pounds,
To lands in Kent and messuages in York,
And slight Sir Robert with his watery smile
And educated whisker. But for me,
They set an ancient creditor to work:
It seems I broke a close with force and arms;
There came a mystic token from the king
To greet the sheriff, needless courtesy !
I read, and fled by night, and flying turned;
Her taper glimmered in the lake below;

I turned once more, close-buttoned to the storm;
So left the place, left Edwin, nor have seen
Him since, nor heard of her, nor cared to hear.

Nor cared to hear? perhaps; yet long ago
I have pardoned little Letty; not indeed,
It may be, for her own dear sake, but this,
She seems a part of those fresh days to me;
For, in the dust and drouth of London life,
She moves among my visions of the lake,
While the prime swallow dips his wing, or then
While the gold-lily blows, and overhead
The light cloud smoulders on the summer crag.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

"Cursed be he that moves my bones." Shakspeare's Epitaph.

You might have won the Poet's name,
If such be worth the winning now,
And gained a laurel for your brow
Of sounder leaf than I can claim;

But you have made the wiser choice,
A life that moves to gracious ends
Through troops of unrecording friends,
A deedful life, a silent voice;


you have missed the irreverent doom Of those that wear the Poet's crown; Hereafter neither knave nor clown Shall hold their orgies at your tomb.

For now the Poct cannot die,

Nor leave his music as of old,

But round him, ere he scarce be cold, Begins the scandal and the cry :

"Proclaim the faults he would not show;

Break lock and seal; betray the trust;
Keep nothing sacred; 'tis but just
The many-headed beast should know."

Ah, shameless! for he did but sing
A song that pleased us from its worth;
No public life was his on earth,
No blazoned statesman he, nor king.



He gave the people of his best;
His worst he kept, his best he gave.
My Shakspeare's curse on clown and knave
Who will not let his ashes rest!

Who make it seem more sweet to be
The little life of bank and brier,
The bird that pipes his lone desire
And dies unheard within his tree,

Than he that warbles long and loud

And drops at Glory's temple-gates,
For whom the carrion vulture waits
To tear his heart before the crowd!


ILLYRIAN Woodlands, echoing falls
Of water, sheets of summer glass,
The long divine Peneïan pass,
The vast Akrokeraunian walls,

Tomohrit, Athos, all things fair,

With such a pencil, such a pen,
You shadow forth to distant men,
I read and felt that I was there :


And trust me while I turned the
And tracked you still on classic ground,
grew in gladness till I found


My spirits in the golden age.

For me the torrent ever poured

And glistened,-here and there alone
The broad-limbed Gods at random thrown
By fountain-urns; and Naiads oared

A glimmering shoulder under gloom
Of cavern pillars; on the swell
The silver lily heaved and fell;
And many a slope was rich in bloom,

From him that on the mountain lea

By dancing rivulets fed his flocks,
To him who sat upon the rocks,
And fluted to the morning sea.


COME not, when I am dead,

To drop thy foolish tears upon my grave, To trample round my fallen head,

And vex the unhappy dust thou would'st not save. There let the wind sweep and the plover cry; But thou, go by.

Child, if it were thine error or thy crime,
I care no longer, being all unblest;
Wed whom thou wilt, but I am sick of Time,
And I desire to rest.

Pass on, weak heart, and leave me where I lie:
Go by, go by.



HE clasps the crag with hooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.



ONCE more the gate behind me falls;
Once more before my face
I see the mouldered Abbey-walls,
That stand within the chace.


Beyond the lodge the city lies,
Beneath its drift of smoke;
And ah! with what delighted eyes
I turn to yonder oak!


For when my passion first began,
Ere that which in me burned,
The love that makes me thrice a man,
Could hope itself returned;


To yonder oak within the field
I spoke without restraint,
And with a larger faith appealed
Than Papist unto Saint.


For oft I talked with him apart,
And told him of my choice,
Until he plagiarized a heart,

And answered with a voice.


Though what he whispered under Heaven None else could understand;

I found him garrulously given,

A babbler in the land.

« PreviousContinue »