Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

Trampled out the light for ever:
Never fear but there's provision
Of the devil's to quench knowledge

Lest we walk the earth in rapture!
-Making those who catch God's secret
Just so much more prize their capture!

Such am I: the secret's mine now!

She has lost me, I have gained her;
Her soul's mine: and thus, grown perfect,
I shall pass my life's remainder.
Life will just hold out the proving
Both our powers, alone and blended:
And then, come next life quickly!

This world's use will have been ended.

MY LAST DUCHESS.

FERRARA.

[Dramatic Lyrics 1842 u. d. Tit. “Italy”.] THAT'S my last Duchess painted on the wall, Looking as if she were alive. I call

That piece a wonder, now: Frà Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will 't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Frà Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Frà Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps

"Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
"Must never hope to reproduce the faint
"Half-flush that dies along her throat:" such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough.
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart-how shall I say?-too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace-all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,-good! but thanked
Somehow I know not how-as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech-(which I have not)—to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
"Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
"Or there exceed the mark"-and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
-E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will 't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed

S*

At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

THE PATRIOT.

AN OLD STORY.

[Men and Women 1855.]

It was roses, roses, all the way,

With myrtle mixed in my path like mad: The house-roofs seemed to heave and sway,

The church-spires flamed, such flags they had, A year ago on this very day.

The air broke into a mist with bells,

The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries. Had I said, "Good folk, mere noise repels

"But give me your sun from yonder skies!" They had answered, "And afterward, what else?"

Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun

To give it my loving friends to keep! Nought man could do, have I left undone: And you see my harvest, what I reap This very day, now a year is run.

There's nobody on the house-tops now

Just a palsied few at the windows set; For the best of the sight is, all allow,

At the Shambles' Gate-or, better yet, By the very scaffold's foot, I trow.

I go in the rain, and, more than needs,
A rope cuts both my wrists behind;
And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
For they fling, whoever has a mind,
Stones at me for my year's misdeeds.

Thus I entered, and thus I go!

In triumphs, people have dropped down dead. "Paid by the world, what dost thou owe "Me?"-God might question; now instead, 'Tis God shall repay: I am safer so.

EVELYN HOPE.

[Men and Women 1855.]

BEAUTIFUL Evelyn Hope is dead!

Sit and watch by her side an hour. That is her book-shelf, this her bed;

She plucked that piece of geranium-flower, Beginning to die too, in the glass;

Little has yet been changed, I think: The shutters are shut, no light may pass Save two long rays thro' the hinge's chink.

Sixteen years old when she died!

Perhaps she had scarcely heard my name; It was not her time to love; beside,

Her life had many a hope and aim, Duties enough and little cares,

And now was quiet, now astir, Till God's hand beckoned unawares,

And the sweet white brow is all of her.

Is it too late then, Evelyn Hope?

What, your soul was pure and true, The good stars met in your horoscope, Made you of spirit, fire and dewAnd, just because I was thrice as old

And our paths in the world diverged so wide, Each was nought to each, must I be told? We were fellow mortals, nought beside?

No, indeed! for God above

Is great to grant, as mighty to make, And creates the love to reward the love:

I claim you still, for my own love's sake!
Delayed it may be for more lives yet,

Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few:
Much is to learn, much to forget
Ere the time be come for taking you.

But the time will come,-at last it will,

When, Evelyn Hope, what meant (I shall say)
In the lower earth, in the years long still,
That body and soul so pure and gay?
Why your hair was amber, I shall divine,

And your mouth of your own geranium's red-
And what you would do with me, in fine,

In the new life come in the old one's stead.

I have lived (I shall say) so much since then,
Given up myself so many times,
Gained me the gains of various men,
Ransacked the ages, spoiled the climes;
Yet one thing, one, in my soul's full scope,
Either I missed or itself missed me:
And I want and find you, Evelyn Hope!
What is the issue? let us see!

I loved you, Evelyn, all the while.

My heart seemed full as it could hold? There was place and to spare for the frank young smile, And the red young mouth, and the hair's young gold.

So, hush, I will give you this leaf to keep:

See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand! There, that is our secret: go to sleep!

You will wake, and remember, and understand.

« AnteriorContinuar »