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On fire to the West? or is the Demon-god
Wroth at his fall?" and heard an answer "Wake
Thou deedless dreamer, lazying out a life
Of self-suppression, not of selfless love."
And once a flight of shadowy fighters crost
The disk, and once, he thought, a shape with wings.
Came sweeping by him, and pointed to the West,
And at his ear he heard a whisper "Rome"
And in his heart he cried "The call of God!"
And call'd arose, and, slowly plunging down
Thro' that disastrous glory, set his face
By waste and field and town of alien tongue,
Following a hundred sunsets, and the sphere
Of westward-wheeling stars; and every dawn
Struck from him his own shadow on to Rome.

Foot-sore, way-worn, at length he touch'd his goal, The Christian city. All her splendour fail'd To lure those eyes that only yearn'd to see, Fleeting betwixt her column'd palace-walls, The shape with wings. Anon there past a crowd With shameless laughter, Pagan oath, and jest, Hard Romans brawling of their monstrous games; He, all but deaf thro' age and weariness, And muttering to himself "The call of God" And borne along by that full stream of men, Like some old wreck on some indrawing sea, Gain'd their huge Colosseum. The caged beast Yell'd, as he yell'd of yore for Christian blood. Three slaves were trailing a dead lion away, One, a dead man. He stumbled in, and sat Blinded; but when the momentary gloom, Made by the noonday blaze without, had left His aged eyes, he raised them, and beheld A blood-red awning waver overhead, The dust send up a steam of human blood, The gladiators moving toward their fight,

And eighty thousand Christian faces watch
Man murder man. A sudden strength from heaven,
As some great shock may wake a palsied limb,
Turn'd him again to boy, for up he sprang,
And glided lightly down the stairs, and o'er
The barrier that divided beast from man
Slipt, and ran on, and flung himself between
The gladiatorial swords, and call'd "Forbear
In the great name of Him who died for men,
Christ Jesus!" For one moment afterward
A silence follow'd as of death, and then
A hiss as from a wilderness of snakes,
Then one deep roar as of a breaking sea,
And then a shower of stones that stoned him dead,
And then once more a silence as of death.

His dream became a deed that woke the world, For while the frantic rabble in half-amaze Stared at him dead, thro' all the nobler hearts In that vast Oval ran a shudder of shame. The Baths, the Forum gabbled of his death, And preachers linger'd o'er his dying words, Which would not die, but echo'd on to reach Honorius, till he heard them, and decreed That Rome no more should wallow in this old lust Of Paganism, and make her festal hour Dark with the blood of man who murder'd man.



[Tiresias, and other Poems 1885.]

The years that made the stripling wise
Undo their work again,

And leave him, blind of heart and eyes,
The last and least of men;

Who clings to earth, and once would dare
Hell-heat or Arctic cold,

And now one breath of cooler air
Would loose him from his hold;
His winter chills him to the root,

He withers marrow and mind;
The kernel of the shrivell'd fruit
Is jutting thro' the rind;

The tiger spasms tear his chest,
The palsy wags his head;

The wife, the sons, who love him best
Would fain that he were dead;

The griefs by which he once was wrung Were never worth the while,

The shaft of scorn that once had stung

But wakes a dotard smile.

The statesman's brain that sway'd the past

Is feebler than his knees;

The passive sailor wrecks at last
In ever-silent seas;

The warrior hath forgot his arms,
The Learned all his lore;
The changing market frets or charms
The merchant's hope no more;
The prophet's beacon burn'd in vain,
And now is lost in cloud;
The plowman passes, bent with pain,
To mix with what he plow'd;

The poet whom his Age would quote
As heir of endless fame-

He knows not ev'n the book he wrote,
Not even his own name.

For man has overlived his day,
And, darkening in the light,
Scarce feels the senses break away
To mix with ancient Night.

The years that when my Youth began
Had set the lily and rose

By all my ways where'er they ran,
Have ended mortal foes;

My rose of love for ever gone,
My lily of truth and trust-
They made her lily and rose in one,
And changed her into dust.
O rosetree planted in my grief,
And growing, on her tomb,
Her dust is greening in your leaf,
Her blood is in your bloom.
O slender lily waving there,

And laughing back the light,
In vain you tell me "Earth is fair"
When all is dark as night.

But vain the tears for darken'd years

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As laughter over wine,

And vain the laughter as the tears,
O brother, mine or thine,

For all that laugh, and all that weep
And all that breathe are one
Slight ripple on the boundless deep
That moves, and all is gone.


[Macmillan's Magazine 1885.]

MANY a hearth upon our dark globe sighs after many a vanish'd face,

Many a planet by many a sun may roll with the dust of a vanish'd race.

Raving politics, never at rest-as this poor earth's pale history runs,

What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a million million of suns?

Lies upon this side, lies upon that side, truthless violence mourn'd by the Wise,

Thousands of voices drowning his own in a popular torrent of lies upon lies;

Stately purposes, valour in battle, glorious annals of army and fleet,

Death for the right cause, death for the wrong cause, trumpets of victory, groans of defeat;

Innocence seethed in her mother's milk, and Charity setting the martyr aflame;

Thraldom who walks with the banner of Freedom, and recks not to ruin a realm in her name.

Faith at her zenith, or all but lost in the gloom of doubts that darken the schools;

Craft with a bunch of all-heal in her hand, follow'd up by her vassal legion of fools;

Trade flying over a thousand seas with her spice and her vintage, her silk and her corn;

Desolate offing, sailorless harbours, famishing populace, wharves forlorn;

Star of the morning, Hope in the sunrise; gloom of the evening, Life at a close;

Pleasure who flaunts on her wide down-way with her flying robe and her poison'd rose;

Pain, that has crawl'd from the corpse of Pleasure, a worm which writhes all day, and at night

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