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Title: A Selection from the Poems of William Morris
Author: Morris, William, 1834-1896
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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WILLIAM MORRIS***


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[Illustration]


[Illustration: (hand-written letter)

Franz Hueffer who came into the Rossetti circle in the manner indicated
in the following letter (of which the greater part is in the writing of
the late Lucy Rossetti - daughter of Ford Madox Brown) was a
broad-headed, plodding, able German who wrote and spoke English
perfectly enough before his naturalization. He was somewhat heavy in his
enthusiasms; and Gabriel Rossetti laughed at him a good deal. On one
occasion D.G.R. let off the following "nursery rhyme":--

  There's a fluffy-haired German called Huffer
  A loud and pragmatical duffer:
  To stand on a tower
  And shout "Schopenhauer"
  Is reckoned his mission by Huffer.

There was no malice in these rhymes of Rossetti's; but even his dear
friend Morris ("Topsy" as his intimates called him on account of his
shock of black hair) was not exempt from personal sallies of the
kind,--as this, when M. got alarmed about his increasing bulk:--

  There was a young person called Topsy
  Who fancied he suffered from dropsy;
  He shook like a jelly,
  Till the Doctor cried "Belly!"--
  Which angered; but comforted Topsy.

Poor dear Morris! he had cause enough for alarm. Diabetes was only one
among the agencies by which his stalwart frame was disintegrated at the
age of 62.

H.B.F.

7 November 1897.]



[Illustration: (hand-written letter) May 27th/89

5 ENDSLEIGH GARDENS.

N.W.

Dear Forman,

Please excuse a very laconic presentment of the facts. Francis Hueffer,
Musical Critic of the "Times", author of the libretto of "Columba" of a
volume on the "Troubadours" of "Half a century of Music in England" etc
etc, died last Jan 7 aged 43 leaving a widow & three children, & little
indeed.]


       *     *     *     *     *


  EACH VOLUME SOLD SEPARATELY.


  COLLECTION
  OF
  BRITISH AUTHORS

  TAUCHNITZ EDITION.

  VOL. 2378.
  POEMS BY WILLIAM MORRIS
  IN ONE VOLUME.


  LEIPZIG: BERNHARD TAUCHNITZ

  PARIS: C. REINWALD, 15, RUE DES SAINTS PÈRES.

  PARIS: THE GALIGNANI LIBRARY, 224, RUE DE RIVOLI, AND AT NICE, 15, QUAI
    MASSENA.


  _This Collection is published with copyright for Continental
  circulation, but all purchasers are earnestly requested not to introduce
  the volumes into England or into any British Colony._

       *     *     *     *     *



COLLECTION OF BRITISH AUTHORS

TAUCHNITZ EDITION.

VOL. 2378.

POEMS BY WILLIAM MORRIS.

IN ONE VOLUME.



A SELECTION FROM THE POEMS OF WILLIAM MORRIS.

Edited with a Memoir by Francis Hueffer.

Copyright Edition.



Leipzig
Bernhard Tauchnitz
1886.
The Right of Translation is reserved.



MEMOIR

OF

WILLIAM MORRIS.


William Morris, poet, decorative designer and socialist, was born in
1834 at Clay Street, Walthamstow, now almost a suburb of London, at that
time a country village in Essex. He went to school at Marlborough
College and thence to Exeter College, Oxford, where he took his degree
in 1857. During his stay in the University the subsequent mode of his
life was prepared and foreshadowed in two important directions. Like
most poets Morris was not what is called very assiduous "at his book";
the routine of college training was no more an attraction to him than
the ordinary amusements and dissipations of undergraduate existence. But
he was studious all the same, reading the classics in his own somewhat
spasmodic way and exploring with even greater zeal the mysteries of
mediæval lore. His fellow-worker in these studies and his most intimate
friend was and is at the present day Mr. Burne Jones, the famous
painter, at that time a student of divinity. Artistic and literary
pursuits thus went hand in hand, and received additional zest when the
two young men became acquainted with Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Holman Hunt
and other painters of the Pre-Raphaelite school who came to Oxford to
execute the frescoes still dimly visible on the ceiling of the Union
Debating Hall. Of the aims and achievements of the Pre-Raphaelite
Brotherhood, and of the revival of mediæval feeling in art and
literature originally advocated by its members ample account has been
given in the memoir of Rossetti prefixed to his poems in the Tauchnitz
edition. Its influence on Morris's early work, both in matter and form,
will strike every observant reader of the opening ballads of the present
collection. Later on the poet worked out for himself a distinct and
individual phase of the mediæval movement, as will be mentioned by and
by. At one time little was wanting to make Morris follow his friend
Burne Jones's example and leave the pen for the brush. There is indeed
still extant from his hand an unfinished picture evincing a remarkable
sense of colour. He also for a short time became a pupil of the late Mr.
G. E. Street, the architect, to whose genius London owes its finest
modern Gothic building--the Law Courts in the Strand. On second
thoughts, however, Morris came to the conclusion that poetry was his
true field of action. His first literary venture was a monthly
periodical started under his auspices in 1856 and called _The Oxford and
Cambridge Magazine_. It contained, amongst other contributions from
Morris's pen, a prose tale of a highly romantic character, and was, as
regards artistic tendencies, essentially a sequel of _The Germ_, the
organ of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, begun and continued for three
numbers only, six years before. Several of the contributors to the
earlier venture, including Rossetti, also supported its offshoot.
Neither, however, gained popular favour, and after a year's struggling
existence _The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine_ also came to an untimely
end. At present both are eagerly sought for by collectors and fetch high
prices at antiquarian sales. So changeable is the fate of books.

In 1859 Morris married, after having the year before brought out his
first volume of verse entitled _The Defence of Guenevere and Other
Poems_. The book fell dead from the press, and it was not till it was
republished 25 years later that the world recognised in it some of the
freshest and most individual efforts of its author, whose literary
position was by that time established beyond cavil. That position the
poet owed in the first instance to two works published in rapid
succession, _The Life and Death of Jason_, and _The Earthly Paradise_,
the latter a collection of tales in verse filling four stout volumes.
His remaining original works are _Love is enough_, a "morality" in the
mediæval sense of the word, and _The Story of Sigurd the Volsung_, his
longest and, in the opinion of some, his most perfect epic. In addition
to these should be mentioned the translations from the old Norse
undertaken in conjunction with Mr. Magnusson the well-known Icelandic
scholar, and comprising _The Story of Grettir the Strong_ (1869), _The
Volsunga Saga, with certain songs from the Elder Edda_ (1870), and
_Three Northern Love Stories_ (1875); and finally a metrical rendering
of _The Æneids of Virgil_.

For a critical discussion or a detailed analysis of Morris's work this
is not the place. It must be sufficient to indicate briefly the ideas
which underlie that work and give it its literary _cachet_. Two main
currents, derivable perhaps from a common source but running in
different directions can be easily discerned. The subjects of his tales
are almost without exception derived either from Greek myth or from
mediæval folklore. After all that has been said and written of the gulf
that divides the classic from the romantic feeling--_"Barbaren und
Hellenen_", as Heine puts it, such a conjunction might appear
incongruous. But the connecting link has here been found in the poet's
mind. He looks upon his classical subject-matter through a mediæval
atmosphere, in other words he writes about Venus and Cupid and Psyche
and Medea as a poet of Chaucer's age might have done, barring of course
the differences of language, although in this respect also it may be
noted that the archaisms of expression affected by the modern poet
appear indifferently in the Greek and the mediæval tales. The phenomenon
is by no means unique in literature. Let the reader compare Chapman's
Homer with Pope's, or let him open Morris's _Jason_ where the bells of
Colchis "melodiously begin to ring", and the meaning of the
afore-mentioned "mediæval atmosphere" will at once be as palpable to him
as it was to Keats when, reading Chapman's rude verse, after Pope's
polished stanzas, he felt

          like some watcher of the skies
  When a new planet swims into his ken.

It was the romantic chord of Keats's nature, that chord which vibrates
in _La belle Dame sans Merci_, which was harmoniously struck and made
the great master of form overlook the formal imperfection of the
earlier poet. To the same element such stories as _Jason_, or _The Love
of Alcestis_ and the _Bellerophon_ in _The Earthly Paradise_ owe their
charm.

Morris's position towards mediæval subjects did not at first essentially
differ from that of other poets of similar tendency. In his first volume
English and French knights and damsels figure prominently, and the
beautiful and frail wife of King Arthur is the heroine of the chief poem
and has given her name to the book. But in the interval which elapsed
between that volume and the _Earthly Paradise_ a considerable change had
come over the poet's dream. By the aid of Mr. Magnusson he had become
acquainted with the treasure of northern folklore hidden in the
Icelandic sagas, the two Eddas, the story of the Volsungs (of which a
masterly translation is due to the two friends), the Laxdæla saga and
other tales of more or less remote antiquity.

In the _Earthly Paradise_ the double current of the poet's fancy above
alluded to is most strikingly apparent. The very framework in which the
various tales are set seems to have been designed with that view. Guided
probably by a vague tradition of a pre-Columbian discovery of America by
the Vikings, the prologue relates how during a terrible pestilence
certain mariners leave their northern home in search of the land where
old age and death are not and where life is rounded by unbroken
pleasure. Sailing west they come to a fair country. They gaze on
southern sunshine and virgin forest and fertile champaign, but death
meets them at every step, and happiness is farthest from their grasp
when the people worship them as gods and sacrifice at their shrine.
Escaping from this golden thraldom they regain their ship, and after
many dangers and privations are driven by the wind to an island
inhabited by descendants of the ancient Greeks, who have preserved their
old worship and their old freedom. Here the weary wanderers of the main
are hospitably received, and here they resolve to dwell in peace,
forgetful of their vain search for the earthly paradise. At the
beginning and the middle of every month the elders of the people and
their guests meet together to while away the time with song and friendly
converse. The islanders relate the traditions of their Grecian home, the
mariners relate the sagas of the North, and Laurence, a Swabian priest
who had joined the Norsemen in their quest, contributes the legends of
Tannhäuser and of the ring given to Venus by the Roman youth. Here then
there is full scope for the quaint beauty of romantic classicism and for
the weird glamour of northern myth. Without encroaching upon the field
of criticism proper the writer may state that, in his opinion, amongst
the classic tales none is more graceful and finished than "The Golden
Apples", and amongst the northern none more grandly developed and more
epical in the strict sense of the word than _The Lovers of Gudrun_ based
upon the Icelandic Laxdæla saga. The latter, unfortunately, cannot find
a place in this volume for reasons of space.

Every student of old northern literature is aware that amongst its
remains none are more interesting as literary monuments, none more
characteristic of the people from which they sprang than the two Eddas
and the Volsunga Saga. Next to the Siege of Troy and the Arthurian
legends perhaps no story or agglomeration of stories has left so many
and so important traces in international fiction as the tale of Sigurd
or Siegfried and his race, the heroic god-born Volsungs. Considering
indeed the political insignificance and remoteness in which that story
took its earliest surviving form this enormous success--if the modern
term may be applied--seems at first singularly out of proportion. But it
must be remembered that Iceland was little more than the storehouse of
these old traditions which were the common property of the
Teuto-Scandinavian race long before the Norsemen set foot on the
northern isle. Of the two modern versions of the tale which are most
thoroughly inspired by the ancient myth one, that of Wagner in his
tetralogy _Der Ring des Nibelungen_, is dramatic in form, the other,
Morris's _The Story of Sigurd the Volsung_, bears all the
characteristics of the epic. To this difference of artistic aim, the
difference of shape which the tale takes in the hands of the two poets
may be traced. In one point however they agree. Both Wagner and Morris
go back to the old Icelandic sources in preference to the mediæval
German version of the tale embodied in the _Nibelungenlied_. From this
the German poet borrows little more than the localization of his drama
on the banks of the river Rhine, the English poet scarcely anything but
his metre--the _Langzeile_ or long-line with six hightoned, and any
number of unaccentuated syllables.

The ordinary modern reader taking up the Volsunga Saga or either of the
Eddas without preparation would probably see in them little more than a
confused accumulation of impossible adventures and deeds of prowess with
an admixture of incest, fratricide and other horrors. But on looking
closer one discovers a certain plan in this entanglement, a plan much
obscured by the unbridled fancy of the old narrators, and hardly
realised by themselves, but which, if properly sifted, amounts to what
we should call a moral or idea. To "point this moral," to consistently
develop this idea, is the task of the modern poet courageous enough to
grapple with such a subject. Two ways are open to him. Either he may
wholly abandon the sequence of the old tale, and group its _disjecta
membra_ round a leading idea as a centre, or else he may adhere to the
order and essence of the legend as originally told, only emphasising
such points as are essential to the significance of the story, and
omitting or throwing into comparative shade those incidents which by
their nature betray themselves to be arbitrary additions of later date.
Wagner has chosen the former way, Morris the latter. This fact, and the
divergent requirements of the drama and the epic, sufficiently account
for their difference of treatment. The leading idea in both cases
remains the same; it is the fatal curse which attaches to the gold or,
which is the same in a moral sense, to the desire for gold--_auri sacra
fames_.

At first sight the tale of Sigurd, Fafnir's bane, seems to have little
connection with this idea. It is briefly this. Sigurd, the son of
Sigmund the Volsung, is brought up at the court of King Elf, the second
husband of his mother, after Sigmund has been slain in battle. With a
sword, fashioned from the shards of his father's weapon, he slays
Fafnir, a huge worm or dragon, and possesses himself of the treasure
watched by the monster, including a ring and the "helm of aweing," the
latter in the _Nibelungenlied_, converted into the "Tarnkappe", a magic
cap which makes the bearer invisible and endows him with supernatural
strength. Tasting of the blood of the dragon, he understands the
language of birds, and an eagle tells him of a beautiful maiden lying
asleep on a rock called Hindfell, surrounded by a wall of wavering fire.
Through it Sigurd rides and awakes Brynhild the sword maiden, or
Valkyrie, from her magic slumber. Love naturally follows. The pair live
together on Hindfell for a season and Brynhild teaches the youth the
runes of her wisdom, a conception of woman's refining and civilising
mission frequently met with in old Germanic tales. When Sigurd leaves
her to seek new adventures they plight the troth of eternal love, and

  Then he set the ring on her finger, and once if ne'er again
  They kissed and clung together, and their hearts were full and fain.

From Brynhild's rock Sigurd journeys to a realm "south of the Rhine"
where dwell the kingly brothers, Gunnar, Hogni, and Guttorm, the
Niblungs, together with their sister Gudrun, "the fairest of maidens",
and their mother Grimhild, "a wise wife" and a fierce-hearted woman, as
the Volsunga Saga alternately describes her. It is through a
love-philter brewed by her that Sigurd forgets the vows exchanged with
Brynhild, and becomes enamoured of Gudrun, whom he soon after weds. So
powerful is the charm that the very name of his former love has been
wiped from Sigurd's memory, and he willingly undertakes the task to woo
and win Brynhild for his brother Gunnar. For that purpose he, by means
of his magic cap, assumes Gunnar's semblance, and after having once
more crossed the wall of wavering flame compels Brynhild to become his
bride. But, faithful to his promise, he places a drawn sword between
himself and the maid "as they lie on one bed together." On parting from
her he receives back from Brynhild his own ring given to her at Hindfell
in the days of their bliss. Sigurd then returns to Gunnar and resumes
his own form, and all return home, the King leading his unwilling bride
in triumph.

The subsequent events are the outgrowth of the tragic guilt thus
incurred. Sigurd reveals the secret of Brynhild's wooing to his wife,
and allows her to take possession of the fatal ring, which she during a
quarrel shows to Gunnar's wife. Brynhild thus informed of the fraud
practised on her, thinks of vengeance, and incites her husband and his
brothers to kill Sigurd. The deed is done while Sigurd lies asleep in
his chamber with Gudrun, or, according to the more poetic version of the
German epic, while he bends over a brook in the forest to quench his
thirst after a day's hunting. But as soon as her beloved foe is killed
the old passion never quenched rises up again in Brynhild's heart. To be
united with her lover in death she pierces her breast with a sword, and
one pyre consumes both.

With this climax Wagner very properly concludes his drama. But the epic
poet likes to follow the course of events to their ultimate
consequences, and Morris, in accordance with the Volsunga Saga, proceeds
to relate how, after many years of mournful widowhood, Gudrun is married
to Atli, a mighty king, the brother of Brynhild. Eager to become
possessed of Sigurd's treasure he invites the Niblungs, its actual
owners, to his country, and there the kingly brothers and all their
followers are killed by base treachery and after the most heroic
resistance. They refuse sternly to ransom their lives by a discovery of
the hoard which previous to their departure they have hidden at the
bottom of a lake, and which thus is irrecoverably lost to mankind.
Gudrun has incited her husband to the deed and has looked on calmly
while her kinsmen were slain one after the other. But when all are dead
and the murder of Sigurd has been revenged, the feeling of blood
relationship so powerful among Northern nations is reawakened in her.
While Atli and his earls are asleep she sets fire to the kingly hall,
and her wretched husband falls by her own hand. It is characteristic of
the Icelandic epic that after all these fates and horrors Gudrun lives
for a number of years and is yet again married to a third husband. But
to this length even Morris refuses to accompany the tale. In accordance
with the Volsunga Saga his Gudrun throws herself into the sea; but the
waves do not carry her "to the burg of king Imakr, a mighty king and
lord of many folk."

All this is very grand and weird, the reader will say, but where is the
moral, the ideal essence of which these events are but the earthly
reflex? To this essence we gradually ascend by inquiring into the
mythological sources of the tale, by asking who is Sigurd, whence does
he come, on what mission is he sent and by whom? also what is the
significance of the treasure watched by a dragon and coveted by all
mankind? This treasure we then shall find and the curse attaching to it
ever since it was robbed from Andvari, the water-elf, is the keynote of
the whole story. The curse proves fatal to all its successive owners
from Andvari himself and Fafnir, who, for its sake, kills his father,
down to Sigurd and Brynhild and the Niblung brothers. Nay, Odin himself,
the supreme God, becomes subject to the curse of the gold through having
once coveted it, and we dimly discern that the ultimate doom of the
Aesir, the Ragnarök, or dusk of the Gods, of which the Voluspa speaks,
is intimately connected with the same baneful influence. It further
becomes evident that Sigurd the Volsung, the descendant of Odin, is
destined to wrest the treasure and the power derived from it from the
Niblungs, the dark or cloudy people who threaten the bright godworld of
Valhall with destruction. And this leads us back to a still earlier
stage of the myth in which Sigurd himself becomes the symbol of the
celestial luminary conquering night and misty darkness, an idea
repeatedly hinted at by Morris and splendidly illustrated by Wagner,
when Siegfried appears on the stage illumined by the first rays of the
rising sun. In the work of the German poet all this is brought out with
a distinctness of which only dramatic genius of the highest order is
capable. With an astounding grasp of detail and with a continuity of
thought rarely equalled, Wagner has remoulded the confused and complex
argument of the old tale, omitting what seemed unnecessary, and placing
in juxtaposition incidents organically connected but separated by the
obtuseness of later sagamen.

Morris, as has been said before, proceeds on a different principle. His
first object is to tell a tale, and to tell it as nearly as possible in
the spirit and according to the letter of the old Sagas. In this he has
succeeded in a manner at once indicative of his high poetic gifts and of
a deep sympathy with the spirit of the Northern Myth, which breathes in
every line and in every turn of his phraseology. To compare the peculiar
tinge of his language with the ordinary archaisms and euphonisms of
literary poets would be mistaking a field flower for its counterpart in
a milliner's shop window. It is true that he also hints at the larger
philosophic and moral issues of the tale. But when he refers to the end
of the gods brought about by their own guilt or to the redeeming mission
of Sigurd, it is done in the mysterious, not to say half conscious
manner of the saga itself, and the effect is such as from his own point
of view he intended it and could not but intend it to be.

Between the publication of _The Defence of Guenevere_ and that of Jason
ten years elapsed. During most of this time the poet was employed in
artistic pursuits. In 1861 he started in conjunction with a number of
friends the business of decorator and artistic designer which still
bears his name. Growing from very modest beginnings this enterprise was
destined to work an entire change in the external aspect of English
homes. It soon extended its activity to every branch of art-workmanship.
D. G. Rossetti, Madox Brown, and Burne Jones drew cartoons for the
stained glass windows to be seen in many of our churches and colleges.
Morris himself designed wall-papers and the patterns of carpets. The
latter are woven on hand-looms in his factory at Merton Abbey, which
stands on the banks of the river Wandle surrounded by orchards, and
looks as like a medieval workshop as the modern dresses of the workgirls
will allow. Another member of the firm, Philip Webb, was the first
modern architect to build houses of red brick in the style vaguely and
not quite correctly described as "Queen Anne." At present these houses
count by thousands in London and a whole village of them has been built
at Turnham Green. The members of the firm did not confine their
attention to any particular style or age or country. Wherever beautiful
things could be found they collected them and made them popular. Old
china English, and foreign, Japanese fans and screens, Venetian glass
and German pottery were equally welcome to them and through them to the
public generally. It may be said that the "aesthetic" fashion as it came
to be called will like other fashions die out, and that people in the
course of time will grow tired of "living up to" their furniture and
dresses. At the same time the idea thus insisted upon that beauty is an
essential and necessary ingredient of practical modern English life is
not likely to be without beneficial and permanent effect.

It was as artistic worker and employer of skilled labour that Morris
imbibed that profound disgust with our social condition which induced
him to adopt the principles of extreme socialism. For a long time his
views had tended in that direction, and at the end of 1884 he joined the
Socialist League, a body professing the doctrines of international
revolutionary socialism. He is the editor of its official organ, the
_Commonweal_, which contains many contributions from his pen both in
prose and verse. That the poet has not been entirely sunk in the
politician, that longing for beauty is at least the partial cause of
this desire for change at any price, is however proved by such a
sentiment as, "Beauty, which is what is meant by _art_, using the word
in its widest sense, is, I contend, no mere accident of human life which
people can take or have as they choose, but a positive necessity of
life, if we are to live as nature meant us to, that is unless we are
content to be less than men," or by such a vision of a future earthly
paradise as is expressed in the following lines:

  Then a man shall work and bethink him, and rejoice in the deeds of his
    hand,
  Nor yet come home in the even, too faint and weary to stand,

    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

  For that which the worker winneth shall then be his indeed,
  Nor shall half be reaped for nothing by him that sowed no seed.

    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

  Then all _mine_ and _thine_ shall be _ours_, and no more shall any man
    crave
  For riches that serve for nothing but to fetter a friend for a slave.

One may admire the pathetic beauty of such lines, without sharing the
poet's hope, that their import will ever be realised, in a world peopled
by men and not by angels. History teaches and personal experience
confirms that art enjoyment and art creation of the highest type must be
confined to the few, and it is to be feared that social democracy,
whatever it may do for the physical welfare of the many, will care
little about beauty, either in nature or in art. The _Demos_ will never
admire Rossetti's pictures or Keats's poetry, and the first thing the
much-vaunted peasant proprietors, or peasant communes would do would be
to cut down our ancient trees, level every hedgerow and turn parks and
commons into potato plots or it may be turnip fields. One may feel
certain of all this and yet admire the author of _The Earthly
Paradise_, "the idle singer of an empty day" when he preaches universal
brotherhood in the crossways of Hammersmith, and wrestles with
policemen, or wrangles with obtuse magistrates about the freedom of
speech. Conviction thus upheld at the cost of worldly advantage and
personal convenience and taste must command respect even from those who
cannot share it.

  Francis Hueffer.



CONTENTS.

                                                       Page

  From "THE DEFENCE OF GUENEVERE AND OTHER POEMS."

  The Defence of Guenevere                               23
  A Good Knight in Prison                                36
  Shameful Death                                         41
  The Eve of Crecy                                       43
  The Haystack in the Floods                             45
  Riding together                                        51
  Summer Dawn                                            54


  From "THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON." (Book XIV.)

  The Sirens.--The Garden of the Hesperides.--The
  Heroes do Sacrifice at Malea                           55


  From "THE EARTHLY PARADISE."

  An Apology                                             82
  From Prologue--The Wanderers                           84
  Ogier the Dane                                         95
  The golden Apples                                     147
  L'Envoi                                               168


  From "LOVE IS ENOUGH."

  Interludes                                            173


  From "THE STORY OF SIGURD THE VOLSUNG." (Book II.)

  Regin                                                 178



  FROM

  "THE DEFENCE OF GUENEVERE AND OTHER POEMS."

  THE DEFENCE OF GUENEVERE.


  But, knowing now that they would have her speak,
  She threw her wet hair backward from her brow,
  Her hand close to her mouth touching her cheek,

  As though she had had there a shameful blow,
  And feeling it shameful to feel ought but shame,
  All through her heart, yet felt her cheek burned so,

  She must a little touch it; like one lame
  She walked away from Gauwaine, with her head
  Still lifted up; and on her cheek of flame

  The tears dried quick; she stopped at last and said:
 "O knights and lords, it seems but little skill
  To talk of well-known things past now and dead.

 "God wot I ought to say, I have done ill,
  And pray you all forgiveness heartily!
  Because you must be right such great lords--still

 "Listen, suppose your time were come to die,
  And you were quite alone and very weak;
  Yea, laid a dying while very mightily

 "The wind was ruffling up the narrow streak
  Of river through your broad lands running well:
  Suppose a hush should come, then some one speak:

 "'One of these cloths is heaven, and one is hell,
  Now choose one cloth for ever, which they be,
  I will not tell you, you must somehow tell

  "'Of your own strength and mightiness; here, see!'
  Yea, yea, my lord, and you to ope your eyes,
  At foot of your familiar bed to see

 "A great God's angel standing, with such dyes,
  Not known on earth, on his great wings, and hands,
  Held out two ways, light from the inner skies

  "Showing him well, and making his commands
  Seem to be God's commands, moreover, too,
  Holding within his hands the cloths on wands;

 "And one of these strange choosing cloths was blue,
  Wavy and long, and one cut short and red;
  No man could tell the better of the two.

 "'After a shivering half-hour you said,
  'God help! heaven's colour, the blue;' and he said, 'hell.'
  Perhaps you then would roll upon your bed,

 "And cry to all good men that loved you well,
  'Ah Christ! if only I had known, known, known;'
  Launcelot went away, then I could tell,

 "Like wisest man how all things would be, moan,
  And roll and hurt myself, and long to die,
  And yet fear much to die for what was sown.

 "Nevertheless you, O Sir Gauwaine, lie,
  Whatever may have happened through these years,
  God knows I speak truth, saying that you lie."

  Her voice was low at first, being full of tears,
  But as it cleared, it grew full loud and shrill,
  Growing a windy shriek in all men's ears,

  A ringing in their startled brains, until
  She said that Gauwaine lied, then her voice sunk,
  And her great eyes began again to fill,

  Though still she stood right up, and never shrunk,
  But spoke on bravely, glorious lady fair!
  Whatever tears her full lips may have drunk,

  She stood, and seemed to think, and wrung her hair,
  Spoke out at last with no more trace of shame,
  With passionate twisting of her body there:

 "It chanced upon a day Launcelot came
  To dwell at Arthur's Court; at Christmas-time
  This happened; when the heralds sung his name,

 "'Son of King Ban of Benwick,' seemed to chime
  Along with all the bells that rang that day,
  O'er the white roofs, with little change of rhyme.

 "Christmas and whitened winter passed away,
  And over me the April sunshine came,
  Made very awful with black hail-clouds, yea

 "And in the Summer I grew white with flame,
  And bowed my head down--Autumn, and the sick
  Sure knowledge things would never be the same,

 "However often Spring might be most thick
  Of blossoms and buds, smote on me, and I grew
  Careless of most things, let the clock tick, tick,

 "To my unhappy pulse, that beat right through
  My eager body; while I laughed out loud,
  And let my lips curl up at false or true,

 "Seemed cold and shallow without any cloud.
  Behold my judges, then the cloths were brought:
  While I was dizzied thus, old thoughts would crowd,

 "Belonging to the time ere I was bought
  By Arthur's great name and his little love,
  Must I give up for ever then, I thought,

 "That which I deemed would ever round me move
  Glorifying all things; for a little word,
  Scarce ever meant at all, must I now prove

 "Stone-cold for ever? Pray you, does the Lord
  Will that all folks should be quite happy and good?
  I love God now a little, if this cord

 "Were broken, once for all what striving could
  Make me love anything in earth or heaven.
  So day by day it grew, as if one should

 "Slip slowly down some path worn smooth and even,
  Down to a cool sea on a summer day;
  Yet still in slipping there was some small leaven

 "Of stretched hands catching small stones by the way,
  Until one surely reached the sea at last,
  And felt strange new joy as the worn head lay

 "Back, with the hair like sea-weed; yea all past
  Sweat of the forehead, dryness of the lips,
  Washed utterly out by the dear waves o'ercast,

 "In the lone sea, far off from any ships!
  Do I not know now of a day in Spring?
  No minute of that wild day ever slips

 "From out my memory; I hear thrushes sing,
  And wheresoever I may be, straightway
  Thoughts of it all come up with most fresh sting:

 "I was half mad with beauty on that day,
  And went without my ladies all alone,
  In a quiet garden walled round every way;

 "I was right joyful of that wall of stone,
  That shut the flowers and trees up with the sky,
  And trebled all the beauty: to the bone,

 "Yea right through to my heart, grown very shy
  With weary thoughts, it pierced, and made me glad;
  Exceedingly glad, and I knew verily,

 "A little thing just then had made me mad;
  I dared not think, as I was wont to do,
  Sometimes, upon my beauty; If I had

 "Held out my long hand up against the blue,
  And, looking on the tenderly darken'd fingers,
  Thought that by rights one ought to see quite through,

 "There, see you, where the soft still light yet lingers,
  Round by the edges; what should I have done,
  If this had joined with yellow spotted singers,

 "And startling green drawn upward by the sun?
  But shouting, loosed out, see now! all my hair,
  And trancedly stood watching the west wind run

 "With faintest half-heard breathing sound--why there
  I lose my head e'en now in doing this;
  But shortly listen--In that garden fair

 "Came Launcelot walking; this is true, the kiss
  Wherewith we kissed in meeting that spring day,
  I scarce dare talk of the remember'd bliss,

 "When both our mouths went wandering in one way,
  And aching sorely, met among the leaves;
  Our hands being left behind strained far away.

 "Never within a yard of my bright sleeves
  Had Launcelot come before--and now, so nigh!
  After that day why is it Guenevere grieves?

 "Nevertheless you, O Sir Gauwaine, lie,
  Whatever happened on through all those years,
  God knows I speak truth, saying that you lie.

 "Being such a lady could I weep these tears
  If this were true? A great queen such as I
  Having sinn'd this way, straight her conscience sears;

 "And afterwards she liveth hatefully,
  Slaying and poisoning, certes never weeps,--
  Gauwaine be friends now, speak me lovingly.

 "Do I not see how God's dear pity creeps
  All through your frame, and trembles in your mouth?
  Remember in what grave your mother sleeps,

 "Buried in some place far down in the south,
  Men are forgetting as I speak to you;
  By her head sever'd in that awful drouth

 "Of pity that drew Agravaine's fell blow,
  I pray your pity! let me not scream out
  For ever after, when the shrill winds blow

 "Through half your castle-locks! let me not shout
  For ever after in the winter night
  When you ride out alone! in battle-rout

 "Let not my rusting tears make your sword light!
  Ah! God of mercy how he turns away!
  So, ever must I dress me to the fight,

 "So--let God's justice work! Gauwaine, I say,
  See me hew down your proofs: yea all men know
  Even as you said how Mellyagraunce one day,

 "One bitter day in _la Fausse Garde_, for so
  All good knights held it after, saw--
  Yea, sirs, by cursed unknightly outrage; though

 "You, Gauwaine, held his word without a flaw,
  This Mellyagraunce saw blood upon my bed--
  Whose blood then pray you? is there any law

 "To make a queen say why some spots of red
  Lie on her coverlet? or will you say,
  'Your hands are white, lady, as when you wed,

 "'Where did you bleed?' and must I stammer out--'Nay',
  I blush indeed, fair lord, only to rend
  My sleeve up to my shoulder, where there lay

 "'A knife-point last night:' so must I defend
  The honour of the lady Guenevere?
  Not so, fair lords, even if the world should end

 "This very day, and you were judges here
  Instead of God. Did you see Mellyagraunce
  When Launcelot stood by him? what white fear

 "Curdled his blood, and how his teeth did dance,
  His side sink in? as my knight cried and said,
  'Slayer of unarm'd men, here is a chance!

 "'Setter of traps, I pray you guard your head,
  By God I am so glad to fight with you,
  Stripper of ladies, that my hand feels lead

 "'For driving weight; hurrah now! draw and do,
  For all my wounds are moving in my breast,
  And I am getting mad with waiting so.'

 "He struck his hands together o'er the beast,
  Who fell down flat, and grovell'd at his feet,
  And groan'd at being slain so young--'at least.'

 "My knight said, 'Rise you, sir, who are so fleet
  At catching ladies, half-arm'd will I fight,
  My left side all uncover'd!' then I weet,

 "Up sprang Sir Mellyagraunce with great delight
  Upon his knave's face; not until just then
  Did I quite hate him, as I saw my knight

 "Along the lists look to my stake and pen
  With such a joyous smile, it made me sigh
  From agony beneath my waist-chain, when

 "The fight began, and to me they drew nigh;
  Ever Sir Launcelot kept him on the right,
  And traversed warily, and ever high

 "And fast leapt caitiff's sword, until my knight
  Sudden threw up his sword to his left hand,
  Caught it, and swung it; that was all the fight.

 "Except a spout of blood on the hot land;
  For it was hottest summer; and I know
  I wonder'd how the fire, while I should stand,

 "And burn, against the heat, would quiver so,
  Yards above my head; thus these matters went:
  Which things were only warnings of the woe

 "That fell on me. Yet Mellyagraunce was shent,
  For Mellyagraunce had fought against the Lord;
  Therefore, my lords, take heed lest you be blent

 "With all this wickedness; say no rash word
  Against me, being so beautiful; my eyes,
  Wept all away the grey, may bring some sword

 "To drown you in your blood; see my breast rise,
  Like waves of purple sea, as here I stand;
  And how my arms are moved in wonderful wise,

 "Yea also at my full heart's strong command,
  See through my long throat how the words go up
  In ripples to my mouth; how in my hand

 "The shadow lies like wine within a cup
  Of marvellously colour'd gold; yea now
  This little wind is rising, look you up,

 "And wonder how the light is falling so
  Within my moving tresses: will you dare
  When you have looked a little on my brow,

 "To say this thing is vile? or will you care
  For any plausible lies of cunning woof,
  When you can see my face with no lie there

 "For ever? am I not a gracious proof--
  'But in your chamber Launcelot was found'--
  Is there a good knight then would stand aloof,

 "When a queen says with gentle queenly sound:
  'O true as steel come now and talk with me,
  I love to see your step upon the ground

 "'Unwavering, also well I love to see
  That gracious smile light up your face, and hear
  Your wonderful words, that all mean verily

 "'The thing they seem to mean: good friend, so dear
  To me in everything, come here to-night,
  Or else the hours will pass most dull and drear;

 "'If you come not, I fear this time I might
  Get thinking over much of times gone by,
  When I was young, and green hope was in sight:

 "'For no man cares now to know why I sigh;
  And no man comes to sing me pleasant songs,
  Nor any brings me the sweet flowers that lie

 "'So thick in the gardens; therefore one so longs
  To see you, Launcelot; that we may be
  Like children once again, free from all wrongs

 "'Just for one night.' Did he not come to me?
  What thing could keep true Launcelot away
  If I said 'Come?' there was one less than three

 "In my quiet room that night, and we were gay;
  Till sudden I rose up, weak, pale, and sick,
  Because a bawling broke our dream up, yea

 "I looked at Launcelot's face and could not speak,
  For he looked helpless too, for a little while;
  Then I remember how I tried to shriek,

 "And could not, but fell down; from tile to tile
  The stones they threw up rattled o'er my head
  And made me dizzier; till within a while

 "My maids were all about me, and my head
  On Launcelot's breast was being soothed away
  From its white chattering, until Launcelot said--

 "By God! I will not tell you more to-day,
  Judge any way you will--what matters it?
  You know quite well the story of that fray,

 "How Launcelot still'd their bawling, the mad fit
  That caught up Gauwaine--all, all, verily,
  But just that which would save me; these things flit.

 "Nevertheless you, O Sir Gauwaine, lie,
  Whatever may have happen'd these long years,
  God knows I speak truth, saying that you lie!

 "All I have said is truth, by Christ's dear tears."
  She would not speak another word, but stood
  Turn'd sideways; listening, like a man who hears

  His brother's trumpet sounding through the wood
  Of his foe's lances. She lean'd eagerly,
  And gave a slight spring sometimes, as she could

  At last hear something really; joyfully
  Her cheek grew crimson, as the headlong speed
  Of the roan charger drew all men to see,
  The knight who came was Launcelot at good need.



  A GOOD KNIGHT IN PRISON.


  SIR GUY, _being in the court of a Pagan castle_.


  This castle where I dwell, it stands
  A long way off from Christian lands,
  A long way off my lady's hands,
  A long way off the aspen trees,
  And murmur of the lime-tree bees.

  But down the Valley of the Rose
  My lady often hawking goes,
  Heavy of cheer; oft turns behind,
  Leaning towards the western wind,
  Because it bringeth to her mind
  Sad whisperings of happy times,
  The face of him who sings these rhymes.

    King Guilbert rides beside her there,
  Bends low and calls her very fair,
  And strives, by pulling down his hair,
  To hide from my dear lady's ken
  The grisly gash I gave him, when
  I cut him down at Camelot;
  However he strives, he hides it not,
  That tourney will not be forgot,
  Besides, it is King Guilbert's lot,
  Whatever he says she answers not.
  Now tell me, you that are in love,
  From the king's son to the wood-dove,
  Which is the better, he or I?

  For this king means that I should die
  In this lone Pagan castle, where
  The flowers droop in the bad air
  On the September evening.

    Look, now I take mine ease and sing,
  Counting as but a little thing
  The foolish spite of a bad king.

    For these vile things that hem me in,
  These Pagan beasts who live in sin,
  The sickly flowers pale and wan,
  The grim blue-bearded castellan,
  The stanchions half worn-out with rust,
  Whereto their banner vile they trust--
  Why, all these things I hold them just
  Like dragons in a missal book,
  Wherein, whenever we may look,
  We see no horror, yea, delight
  We have, the colours are so bright;
  Likewise we note the specks of white,
  And the great plates of burnish'd gold.

    Just so this Pagan castle old,
  And everything I can see there,
  Sick-pining in the marshland air,
  I note; I will go over now,
  Like one who paints with knitted brow,
  The flowers and all things one by one,
  From the snail on the wall to the setting sun.

    Four great walls, and a little one
  That leads down to the barbican,
  Which walls with many spears they man,
  When news comes to the castellan
  Of Launcelot being in the land.

    And as I sit here, close at hand
  Four spikes of sad sick sunflowers stand,
  The castellan with a long wand
  Cuts down their leaves as he goes by,
  Ponderingly, with screw'd-up eye,
  And fingers twisted in his beard--
  Nay, was it a knight's shout I heard?
  I have a hope makes me afeard:
  It cannot be, but if some dream
  Just for a minute made me deem
  I saw among the flowers there
  My lady's face with long red hair,
  Pale, ivory-colour'd dear face come,
  As I was wont to see her some
  Fading September afternoon,
  And kiss me, saying nothing, soon
  To leave me by myself again;
    Could I get this by longing: vain!

    The castellan is gone: I see
  On one broad yellow flower a bee
  Drunk with much honey--
                              Christ! again,
  Some distant knight's voice brings me pain,
  I thought I had forgot to feel,
  I never heard the blissful steel
  These ten years past; year after year,
  Through all my hopeless sojourn here,
  No Christian pennon has been near;
  Laus Deo! the dragging wind draws on
  Over the marches, battle won,
  Knights' shouts, and axes hammering,
  Yea, quicker now the dint and ring
  Of flying hoofs; ah, castellan,
  When they come back count man for man,
  Say whom you miss.

    The PAGANS, _from the battlements_.

                      Mahmoud to aid!
  Why flee ye so like men dismay'd?

          The PAGANS, _from without_.

  Nay, haste! for here is Launcelot,
  Who follows quick upon us, hot
  And shouting with his men-at-arms.

               SIR GUY.

  Also the Pagans raise alarms,
  And ring the bells for fear; at last
  My prison walls will be well past.

      SIR LAUNCELOT, _from outside_.

  Ho! in the name of the Trinity,
  Let down the drawbridge quick to me,
  And open doors, that I may see
  Guy the good knight.

      The PAGANS, _from the battlements_.

        Nay, Launcelot,
  With mere big words ye win us not.

        SIR LAUNCELOT.

  Bid Miles bring up la perriere,
  And archers clear the vile walls there,
  Bring back the notches to the ear,
  Shoot well together! God to aid!
  These miscreants shall be well paid.

  Hurrah! all goes together; Miles
  Is good to win my lady's smiles
  For his good shooting--Launcelot!
  On knights a-pace! this game is hot!

      SIR GUY _sayeth afterwards_.

  I said, I go to meet her now,
  And saying so, I felt a blow
  From some clench'd hand across my brow,
  And fell down on the sunflowers
  Just as a hammering smote my ears,
  After which this I felt in sooth;
  My bare hands throttling without ruth
  The hairy-throated castellan;
  Then a grim fight with those that ran
  To slay me, while I shouted, "God
  For the Lady Mary!" deep I trod
  That evening in my own red blood;
  Nevertheless so stiff I stood,
  That when the knights burst the old wood
  Of the castle-doors, I was not dead.

    I kiss the Lady Mary's head,
  Her lips, and her hair golden red,
  Because to-day we have been wed.



  SHAMEFUL DEATH.


  There were four of us about that bed;
    The mass-priest knelt at the side,
  I and his mother stood at the head,
    Over his feet lay the bride;
  We were quite sure that he was dead,
    Though his eyes were open wide.

  He did not die in the night,
    He did not die in the day,
  But in the morning twilight
    His spirit pass'd away,
  When neither sun nor moon was bright,
    And the trees were merely grey.

  He was not slain with the sword,
    Knight's axe, or the knightly spear,
  Yet spoke he never a word
    After he came in here;
  I cut away the cord
    From the neck of my brother dear.

  He did not strike one blow,
    For the recreants came behind,
  In a place where the hornbeams grow,
    A path right hard to find,
  For the hornbeam boughs swing so,
    That the twilight makes it blind.

  They lighted a great torch then,
    When his arms were pinion'd fast,
  Sir John the knight of the Fen,
    Sir Guy of the Dolorous Blast,
  With knights threescore and ten,
    Hung brave Lord Hugh at last.

  I am threescore and ten,
    And my hair is all turn'd grey,
  But I met Sir John of the Fen
    Long ago on a summer day,
  And am glad to think of the moment when
    I took his life away.

  I am threescore and ten,
    And my strength is mostly pass'd,
  But long ago I and my men,
    When the sky was overcast,
  And the smoke roll'd over the reeds of the fen,
    Slew Guy of the Dolorous Blast.

  And now, knights all of you,
    I pray you pray for Sir Hugh,
  A good knight and a true,
    And for Alice, his wife, pray too.



  THE EVE OF CRECY.


  Gold on her head, and gold on her feet,
  And gold where the hems of her kirtle meet,
  And a golden girdle round my sweet;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  Margaret's maids are fair to see,
  Freshly dress'd and pleasantly;
  Margaret's hair falls down to her knee;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  If I were rich I would kiss her feet,
  I would kiss the place where the gold hems meet,
  And the golden girdle round my sweet--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  Ah me! I have never touch'd her hand;
  When the arriere-ban goes through the land,
  Six basnets under my pennon stand;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  And many an one grins under his hood:
  "Sir Lambert de Bois, with all his men good,
  Has neither food nor firewood;"--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  If I were rich I would kiss her feet,
  And the golden girdle of my sweet,
  And thereabouts where the gold hems meet;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  Yet even now it is good to think,
  While my few poor varlets grumble and drink
  In my desolate hall where the fires sink;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  Of Margaret sitting glorious there,
  In glory of gold and glory of hair,
  And glory of glorious face most fair;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  Likewise to-night I make good cheer,
  Because this battle draweth near:
  For what have I to lose or fear?--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  For, look you, my horse is good to prance
  A right fair measure in this war-dance,
  Before the eyes of Philip of France;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._

  And sometime it may hap, perdie,
  While my new towers stand up three and three,
  And my hall gets painted fair to see--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._--

  That folks may say: "Times change, by the rood,
  For Lambert, banneret of the wood,
  Has heaps of food and firewood;--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite;_--

  "And wonderful eyes, too, under the hood
  Of a damsel of right noble blood:"
  St. Ives, for Lambert of the wood!--
    _Ah! qu'elle est belle La Marguerite._



  THE HAYSTACK IN THE FLOODS.


  Had she come all the way for this,
  To part at last without a kiss?
  Yea, had she borne the dirt and rain
  That her own eyes might see him slain
  Beside the haystack in the floods?

  Along the dripping leafless woods,
  The stirrup touching either shoe,
  She rode astride as troopers do;
  With kirtle kilted to her knee,
  To which the mud splash'd wretchedly;
  And the wet dripp'd from every tree
  Upon her head and heavy hair,
  And on her eyelids broad and fair;
  The tears and rain ran down her face.

  By fits and starts they rode apace,
  And very often was his place
  Far off from her; he had to ride
  Ahead, to see what might betide
  When the road cross'd; and sometimes, when
  There rose a murmuring from his men,
  Had to turn back with promises;
  Ah me! she had but little ease;
  And often for pure doubt and dread
  She sobb'd, made giddy in the head

  By the swift riding; while, for cold,
  Her slender fingers scarce could hold
  The wet reins; yea, and scarcely, too,
  She felt the foot within her shoe
  Against the stirrup: all for this,
  To part at last without a kiss
  Beside the haystack in the floods.

  For when they near'd that old soak'd hay,
  They saw across the only way
  That Judas, Godmar, and the three
  Red running lions dismally
  Grinn'd from his pennon, under which
  In one straight line along the ditch,
  They counted thirty heads.

                            So then,
  While Robert turn'd round to his men,
  She saw at once the wretched end,
  And, stooping down, tried hard to rend
  Her coif the wrong way from her head,
  And hid her eyes; while Robert said:
  "Nay, love, 'tis scarcely two to one,
  At Poictiers where we made them run
  So fast--why, sweet my love, good cheer,
  The Gascon frontier is so near,
  Nought after this."

                  But, "O," she said,
  "My God! my God! I have to tread
  The long way back without you; then
  The court at Paris; those six men;
  The gratings of the Chatelet;
  The swift Seine on some rainy day
  Like this, and people standing by,
  And laughing, while my weak hands try
  To recollect how strong men swim.
  All this, or else a life with him,
  For which I should be damned at last,
  Would God that this next hour were past!"

  He answer'd not, but cried his cry,
  "St. George for Marny!" cheerily;
  And laid his hand upon her rein.
  Alas! no man of all his train
  Gave back that cheery cry again;
  And, while for rage his thumb beat fast
  Upon his sword-hilt, some one cast
  About his neck a kerchief long,
  And bound him.

                Then they went along
  To Godmar; who said: "Now, Jehane,
  Your lover's life is on the wane
  So fast, that, if this very hour
  You yield not as my paramour,
  He will not see the rain leave off--
  Nay, keep your tongue from gibe and scoff,
  Sir Robert, or I slay you now."

  She laid her hand upon her brow,
  Then gazed upon the palm, as though
  She thought her forehead bled, and--"No,"
  She said, and turn'd her head away,
  As there were nothing else to say,
  And everything were settled: red
  Grew Godmar's face from chin to head:
  "Jehane, on yonder hill there stands
  My castle, guarding well my lands:
  What hinders me from taking you,
  And doing that I list to do
  To your fair wilful body, while
  Your knight lies dead?"

                            A wicked smile
  Wrinkled her face, her lips grew thin,
  A long way out she thrust her chin:
  "You know that I should strangle you
  While you were sleeping; or bite through
  Your throat, by God's help--ah!" she said,
  "Lord Jesus, pity your poor maid!
  For in such wise they hem me in,
  I cannot choose but sin and sin,
  Whatever happens: yet I think
  They could not make me eat or drink,
  And so should I just reach my rest."

  "Nay, if you do not my behest,
  O Jehane! though I love you well,"
  Said Godmar, "would I fail to tell
  All that I know." "Foul lies," she said.
  "Eh? lies, my Jehane? by God's head,
  At Paris folks would deem them true!
  Do you know, Jehane, they cry for you,
  'Jehane the brown! Jehane the brown!
  Give us Jehane to burn or drown!'--
  Eh--gag me, Robert!--sweet my friend,
  This were indeed a piteous end
  For those long fingers, and long feet,
  And long neck, and smooth shoulders sweet;
  An end that few men would forget
  That saw it--So, an hour yet:
  Consider, Jehane, which to take
  Of life or death!"

                    So, scarce awake
  Dismounting, did she leave that place,
  And totter some yards: with her face
  Turn'd upward to the sky she lay,
  Her head on a wet heap of hay,
  And fell asleep: and while she slept,
  And did not dream, the minutes crept
  Round to the twelve again; but she,
  Being waked at last, sigh'd quietly,
  And strangely childlike came, and said:
  "I will not." Straightway Godmar's head,
  As though it hung on strong wires, turn'd
  Most sharply round, and his face burn'd.

  For Robert--both his eyes were dry,
  He could not weep but gloomily
  He seem'd to watch the rain; yea, too,
  His lips were firm; he tried once more
  To touch her lips; she reach'd out, sore
  And vain desire so tortured them,
  The poor grey lips, and now the hem
  Of his sleeve brush'd them.

                            With a start
  Up Godmar rose, thrust them apart;
  From Robert's throat he loosed the bands
  Of silk and mail; with empty hands
  Held out, she stood and gazed, and saw,
  The long bright blade without a flaw
  Glide out from Godmar's sheath, his hand
  In Robert's hair; she saw him bend
  Back Robert's head; she saw him send
  The thin steel down; the blow told well,
  Right backward the knight Robert fell,
  And moan'd as dogs do, being half dead,
  Unwitting, as I deem: so then
  Godmar turn'd grinning to his men,
  Who ran, some five or six, and beat
  His head to pieces at their feet.

  Then Godmar turn'd again and said:
  "So, Jehane, the first fitte is read!
  Take note, my lady, that your way
  Lies backward to the Chatelet!"
  She shook her head and gazed awhile
  At her cold hands with a rueful smile,
  As though this thing had made her mad.
  This was the parting that they had
  Beside the haystack in the floods.



  RIDING TOGETHER.


  For many, many days together
    The wind blew steady from the East;
  For many days hot grew the weather,
    About the time of our Lady's Feast.

  For many days we rode together,
    Yet met we neither friend nor foe;
  Hotter and clearer grew the weather,
    Steadily did the East wind blow.

  We saw the trees in the hot, bright weather,
    Clear-cut, with shadows very black,
  As freely we rode on together
    With helms unlaced and bridles slack.

  And often as we rode together,
    We, looking down the green-bank'd stream,
  Saw flowers in the sunny weather,
    And saw the bubble-making bream.

  And in the night lay down together,
    And hung above our heads the rood,
  Or watch'd night-long in the dewy weather,
    The while the moon did watch the wood.

  Our spears stood bright and thick together,
    Straight out the banners stream'd behind,
  As we gallop'd on in the sunny weather,
    With faces turn'd towards the wind.

  Down sank our threescore spears together,
    As thick we saw the Pagans ride;
  His eager face in the clear fresh weather,
    Shone out that last time by my side.

  Up the sweep of the bridge we dash'd together,
    It rock'd to the crash of the meeting spears,
  Down rain'd the buds of the dear spring weather,
    The elm-tree flowers fell like tears.

  There, as we roll'd and writhed together,
    I threw my arms above my head,
  For close by my side, in the lovely weather,
    I saw him reel and fall back dead.

  I and the slayer met together,
    He waited the death-stroke there in his place,
  With thoughts of death, in the lovely weather,
    Gapingly mazed at my madden'd face.

  Madly I fought as we fought together;
    In vain: the little Christian band
  The pagans drowned, as in stormy weather,
    The river drowns low-lying land.

  They bound my blood-stain'd hands together,
    They bound his corpse to nod by my side:
  Then on we rode, in the bright-March weather,
    With clash of cymbals did we ride.

  We ride no more, no more together;
    My prison-bars are thick and strong,
  I take no heed of any weather,
    The sweet Saints grant I live not long.



  SUMMER DAWN.


  Pray but one prayer for me 'twixt thy closed lips,
    Think but one thought of me up in the stars.
  The summer night waneth, the morning light slips,
    Faint and grey 'twixt the leaves of the aspen, betwixt the cloud-bars,
  That are patiently waiting there for the dawn:
    Patient and colourless, though Heaven's gold
  Waits to float through them along with the sun.
  Far out in the meadows, above the young corn,
    The heavy elms wait, and restless and cold
  The uneasy wind rises; the roses are dun;
  Through the long twilight they pray for the dawn,
  Round the lone house in the midst of the corn.
    Speak but one word to me over the corn,
    Over the tender, bow'd locks of the corn.



  FROM
  "THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON."

  BOOK XIV.

  The Sirens--The Garden of the Hesperides--The Heroes do Sacrifice at
    Malea.


  Across the open sea they drew their wake
  For three long days, and when the fourth 'gan break
  Their eyes beheld the fair Trinacrian shore,
  And there-along they coasted two days more.
  Then first Medea warned them to take heed,
  Lest they should end all memory of their deed
  Where dwell the Sirens on the yellow sand,
  And folk should think some tangled poisonous land
  Had buried them, or some tumultuous sea
  O'er their white bones was tossing angrily;
  Or that some muddy river, far from Greece,
  Drove seaward o'er the ringlets of the Fleece.
    But when the Minyæ hearkened to this word,
  With many a thought their wearied hearts were stirred,
  And longing for the near-gained Grecian land,
  Where in a little while their feet should stand;
  Yet none the less like to a happy dream,
  Now, when they neared it, did their own home seem,
  And like a dream the glory of their quest,
  And therewithal some thought of present rest
  Stole over them, and they were fain to sigh,
  Hearkening the sighing restless wind go by.
    But hard on even of the second day,
  As o'er the gentle waves they took their way,
  The orange-scented land-breeze seemed to bear
  Some other sounds unto the listening ear
  Than all day long they had been hearkening,
  The land-born signs of many a well-known thing.
  Thereat Medea trembled, for she knew
  That nigh the dreadful sands at last they drew,
  For certainly the Sirens' song she heard,
  Though yet her ear could shape it to no word,
  And by their faces could the queen behold
  How sweet it was, although no tale it told,
  To those worn toilers o'er the bitter sea.
    Now, as they sped along, they presently,
  Rounding a headland, reached a little bay
  Walled from the sea by splintered cliffs and grey,
  Capped by the thymy hills' green wind-beat head,
  Where 'mid the whin the burrowing rabbits fed.
  And 'neath the cliff they saw a belt of sand,
  'Twixt Nereus' pasture and the high scarped land,
  Whereon, yet far off, could their eyes behold
  White bodies moving, crowned and girt with gold,
  Wherefrom it seemed that lovely music welled.
    So when all this the grey-eyed queen beheld,
  She said: "O Jason, I have made thee wise
  In this and other things; turn then thine eyes
  Seaward, and note the ripple of the sea,
  Where there is hope as well as fear for thee.
  Nor look upon the death that lurketh there
  'Neath the grey cliff, though sweet it seems and fair;
  For thou art young upon this day to die.
  Take then the helm, and gazing steadily
  Upon the road to Greece, make strong thine hand,
  And steer us toward the lion-haunted land,
  And thou, O Thracian! if thou e'er hast moved
  Men's hearts with stories of the Gods who loved,
  And men who suffered, move them on this day,
  Taking the deadly love of death away,
  That even now is stealing over them,
  While still they gaze upon the ocean's hem,
  Where their undoing is if they but knew."

    But while she spake, still nigher Argo drew
  Unto the yellow edges of the shore,
  And little help she had of ashen oar,
  For as her shielded side rolled through the sea,
  Silent with glittering eyes the Minyæ
  Gazed o'er the surge, for they were nigh enow
  To see the gusty wind of evening blow
  Long locks of hair across those bodies white,
  With golden spray hiding some dear delight;
  Yea, nigh enow to see their red lips smile,
  Wherefrom all song had ceased now for a while,
  As though they deemed the prey was in the net,
  And they no more had need a bait to set,
  But their own bodies, fair beyond man's thought,
  Under the grey cliff, hidden not of aught
  But of such mist of tears as in the eyes
  Of those seafaring men might chance to rise.
    A moment Jason gazed, then through the waist
  Ran swiftly, and with trembling hands made haste
  To trim the sail, then to the tiller ran,
  And thrust aside the skilled Milesian man,
  Who with half-open mouth, and dreamy eyes,
  Stood steering Argo to that land of lies;
  But as he staggered forward, Jason's hand
  Hard on the tiller steered away from land,
  And as her head a little now fell off
  Unto the wide sea, did he shout this scoff
  To Thracian Orpheus: "Minstrel, shall we die,
  Because thou hast forgotten utterly
  What things she taught thee whom men call divine?
  Or will thy measures but lead folk to wine,
  And scented beds, and not to noble deeds?
  Or will they fail as fail the shepherd's reeds
  Before the trumpet, when these sea-witches
  Pipe shrilly to the washing of the seas?
  I am a man, and these but beasts, but thou
  Giving these souls, that all were men ere now,
  Shalt be a very God and not a man!"
    So spake he; but his fingers Orpheus ran
  Over the strings, and sighing turned away
  From that fair ending of the sunny bay;
  But as his well-skilled hands were preluding
  What his heart swelled with, they began to sing
  With pleading voices from the yellow sands,
  Clustered together, with appealing hands
  Reached out to Argo as the great sail drew,
  While o'er their white limbs sharp the spray-shower flew,
  Since they spared not to set white feet among
  The cold waves heedless of their honied song.
    Sweetly they sang, and still the answer came
  Piercing and clear from him, as bursts the flame
  From out the furnace in the moonless night;
  Yet, as their words are no more known aright
  Through lapse of many ages, and no man
  Can any more across the waters wan
  Behold those singing women of the sea,
  Once more I pray you all to pardon me,
  If with my feeble voice and harsh I sing
  From what dim memories yet may chance to cling
  About men's hearts, of lovely things once sung
  Beside the sea, while yet the world was young.

      THE SIRENS.

  O happy seafarers are ye,
    And surely all your ills are past,
  And toil upon the land and sea,
    Since ye are brought to us at last.

  To you the fashion of the world,
    Wide lands laid waste, fair cities burned,
  And plagues, and kings from kingdoms hurled,
    Are nought, since hither ye have turned.

  For as upon this beach we stand,
    And o'er our heads the sea-fowl flit,
  Our eyes behold a glorious land,
    And soon shall ye be kings of it.

      ORPHEUS.

  A little more, a little more,
    O carriers of the Golden Fleece,
  A little labour with the oar,
    Before we reach the land of Greece.

  E'en now perchance faint rumours reach
    Men's ears of this our victory,
  And draw them down unto the beach
    To gaze across the empty sea.

  But since the longed-for day is nigh,
    And scarce a God could stay us now,
  Why do ye hang your heads and sigh,
    Hindering for nought our eager prow?

      THE SIRENS.

  Ah, had ye chanced to reach the home
    On which your fond desires were set,
  Into what troubles had ye come?
    Short love and joy and long regret.

  But now, but now, when ye have lain
    Asleep with us a little while
  Beneath the washing of the main,
    How calm shall be your waking smile!

  For ye shall smile to think of life
    That knows no troublous change or fear,
  No unavailing bitter strife,
    That ere its time brings trouble near.

      ORPHEUS.

  Is there some murmur in your ears,
    That all that we have done is nought,
  And nothing ends our cares and fears,
    Till the last fear on us is brought?

      THE SIRENS.

  Alas! and will ye stop your ears,
    In vain desire to do aught,
  And wish to live 'mid cares and fears,
    Until the last fear makes you nought?

      ORPHEUS.

  Is not the May-time now on earth,
    When close against the city wall
  The folk are singing in their mirth,
    While on their heads the May-flowers fall?

      THE SIRENS.

  Yes, May is come, and its sweet breath
    Shall well-nigh make you weep to-day,
  And pensive with swift-coming death,
    Shall ye be satiate of the May.

      ORPHEUS.

  Shall not July bring fresh delight,
    As underneath green trees ye sit,
  And o'er some damsel's body white
    The noontide shadows change and flit?

      THE SIRENS.

  No new delight July shall bring
    But ancient fear and fresh desire,
  And, spite of every lovely thing,
    Of July surely shall ye tire.

      ORPHEUS.

  And now, when August comes on thee,
    And 'mid the golden sea of corn
  The merry reapers thou mayst see,
    Wilt thou still think the earth forlorn?

      THE SIRENS.

  Set flowers upon thy short-lived head,
    And in thine heart forgetfulness
  Of man's hard toil, and scanty bread,
    And weary of those days no less.

      ORPHEUS.

  Or wilt thou climb the sunny hill,
    In the October afternoon,
  To watch the purple earth's blood fill
    The grey vat to the maiden's tune?

      THE SIRENS.

  When thou beginnest to grow old,
    Bring back remembrance of thy bliss
  With that the shining cup doth hold,
    And weary helplessly of this.

      ORPHEUS.

  Or pleasureless shall we pass by
    The long cold night and leaden day,
  That song, and tale, and minstrelsy
    Shall make as merry as the May?

      THE SIRENS.

  List then, to-night, to some old tale
    Until the tears o'erflow thine eyes;
  But what shall all these things avail,
    When sad to-morrow comes and dies?

      ORPHEUS.

  And when the world is born again,
    And with some fair love, side by side,
  Thou wanderest 'twixt the sun and rain,
    In that fresh love-begetting tide;

  Then, when the world is born again,
    And the sweet year before thee lies,
  Shall thy heart think of coming pain,
    Or vex itself with memories?

      THE SIRENS.

  Ah! then the world is born again
    With burning love unsatisfied,
  And new desires fond and vain,
    And weary days from tide to tide.

  Ah! when the world is born again,
    A little day is soon gone by,
  When thou, unmoved by sun or rain,
    Within a cold straight house shalt lie.

    Therewith they ceased awhile, as languidly
  The head of Argo fell off toward the sea,
  And through the water she began to go,
  For from the land a fitful wind did blow,
  That, dallying with the many-coloured sail,
  Would sometimes swell it out and sometimes fail,
  As nigh the east side of the bay they drew;
  Then o'er the waves again the music flew.

      THE SIRENS.

    Think not of pleasure, short and vain.
  Wherewith, 'mid days of toil and pain,
  With sick and sinking hearts ye strive
  To cheat yourselves that ye may live
  With cold death ever close at hand;
  Think rather of a peaceful land,
  The changeless land where ye may be
  Roofed over by the changeful sea.

      ORPHEUS.

    And is the fair town nothing then,
  The coming of the wandering men
  With that long talked of thing and strange,
  And news of how the kingdoms change;
  The pointed hands, and wondering
  At doers of a desperate thing?
  Push on, for surely this shall be
  Across a narrow strip of sea.

      THE SIRENS.

    Alas! poor souls and timorous,
  Will ye draw nigh to gaze at us
  And see if we are fair indeed,
  For such as we shall be your meed,
  There, where our hearts would have you go.
  And where can the earth-dwellers show
  In any land such loveliness
  As that wherewith your eyes we bless,
  O wanderers of the Minyæ,
  Worn toilers over land and sea?

      ORPHEUS.

    Fair as the lightning thwart the sky,
  As sun-dyed snow upon the high
  Untrodden heaps of threatening stone
  The eagle looks upon alone,
  O fair as the doomed victim's wreath,
  O fair as deadly sleep and death,
  What will ye with them, earthly men,
  To mate your three-score years and ten?
  Toil rather, suffer and be free,
  Betwixt the green earth and the sea.

       THE SIRENS.

    If ye be bold with us to go,
  Things such as happy dreams may show
  Shall your once heavy eyes behold
  About our palaces of gold;
  Where waters 'neath the waters run,
  And from o'erhead a harmless sun
  Gleams through the woods of chrysolite.
  There gardens fairer to the sight
  Than those of the Phæacian king
  Shall ye behold; and, wondering,
  Gaze on the sea-born fruit and flowers,
  And thornless and unchanging bowers,
  Whereof the May-time knoweth nought.
    So to the pillared house being brought,
  Poor souls, ye shall not be alone,
  For o'er the floors of pale blue stone
  All day such feet as ours shall pass,
  And, 'twixt the glimmering walls of glass,
  Such bodies garlanded with gold,
  So faint, so fair, shall ye behold,
  And clean forget the treachery
  Of changing earth and tumbling sea.

      ORPHEUS.

    O the sweet valley of deep grass,
  Where-through the summer stream doth pass,
  In chain of shallow, and still pool,
  From misty morn to evening cool;
  Where the black ivy creeps and twines
  O'er the dark-armed, red-trunkèd pines,
  Whence clattering the pigeon flits,
  Or, brooding o'er her thin eggs, sits,
  And every hollow of the hills
  With echoing song the mavis fills.
  There by the stream, all unafraid,
  Shall stand the happy shepherd maid,
  Alone in first of sunlit hours;
  Behind her, on the dewy flowers,
  Her homespun woollen raiment lies,
  And her white limbs and sweet grey eyes
  Shine from the calm green pool and deep,
  While round about the swallows sweep,
  Not silent; and would God that we,
  Like them, were landed from the sea.

      THE SIRENS.

    Shall we not rise with you at night,
  Up through the shimmering green twilight,
  That maketh there our changeless day,
  Then going through the moonlight grey,
  Shall we not sit upon these sands,
  To think upon the troublous lands
  Long left behind, where once ye were,
  When every day brought change and fear?
  There, with white arms about you twined,
  And shuddering somewhat at the wind
  That ye rejoiced erewhile to meet,
  Be happy, while old stories sweet,
  Half understood, float round your ears,
  And fill your eyes with happy tears.
    Ah! while we sing unto you there,
  As now we sing, with yellow hair
  Blown round about these pearly limbs,
  While underneath the grey sky swims
  The light shell-sailor of the waves,
  And to our song, from sea-filled caves
  Booms out an echoing harmony,
  Shall ye not love the peaceful sea?

      ORPHEUS.

    Nigh the vine-covered hillocks green,
  In days agone, have I not seen
  The brown-clad maidens amorous,
  Below the long rose-trellised house,
  Dance to the querulous pipe and shrill,
  When the grey shadow of the hill
  Was lengthening at the end of day?
  Not shadowy nor pale were they,
  But limbed like those who 'twixt the trees,
  Follow the swift of Goddesses.
  Sunburnt they are somewhat, indeed,
  To where the rough brown woollen weed
  Is drawn across their bosoms sweet,
  Or cast from off their dancing feet;
  But yet the stars, the moonlight grey,
  The water wan, the dawn of day,
  Can see their bodies fair and white
  As Hers, who once, for man's delight,
  Before the world grew hard and old,
  Came o'er the bitter sea and cold;
  And surely those that met me there,
  Her handmaidens and subjects were;
  And shame-faced, half-repressed desire
  Had lit their glorious eyes with fire,
  That maddens eager hearts of men.
  O would that I were with them when
  The new-risen moon is gathering light,
  And yellow from the homestead white
  The windows gleam; but verily
  This waits us o'er a little sea.

      THE SIRENS.

    Come to the land where none grows old,
  And none is rash or over-bold,
  Nor any noise there is nor war,
  Nor rumour from wild lands afar,
  Nor plagues, nor birth and death of kings;
  No vain desire of unknown things
  Shall vex you there, no hope or fear
  Of that which never draweth near;
  But in that lovely land and still
  Ye may remember what ye will,
  And what ye will, forget for aye.
    So while the kingdoms pass away,
  Ye sea-beat hardened toilers erst,
  Unresting, for vain fame athirst,
  Shall be at peace for evermore,
  With hearts fulfilled of Godlike lore,
  And calm, unwavering Godlike love,
  No lapse of time can turn or move.
  There, ages after your fair Fleece
  Is clean forgotten, yea, and Greece
  Is no more counted glorious,
  Alone with us, alone with us,
  Alone with us, dwell happily,
  Beneath our trembling roof of sea.

      ORPHEUS.

    Ah! do ye weary of the strife
  And long to change this eager life
  For shadowy and dull hopelessness,
  Thinking indeed to gain no less
  Than far from this grey light to lie,
  And there to die and not to die,
  To be as if ye ne'er had been,
  Yet keep your memory fresh and green,
  To have no thought of good or ill,
  Yet feed your fill or pleasure still?
  O idle dream! Ah, verily
  If it shall happen unto me
  That I have thought of anything,
  When o'er my bones the sea-fowl sing,
  And I lie dead, how shall I pine
  For those fresh joys that once were mine,
  On this green fount of joy and mirth,
  The ever young and glorious earth;
  Then, helpless, shall I call to mind
  Thoughts of the sweet flower-scented wind,
  The dew, the gentle rain at night,
  The wonder-working snow and white.
  The song of birds, the water's fall,
  The sun that maketh bliss of all;
  Yea, this our toil and victory,
  The tyrannous and conquered sea.

      THE SIRENS.

  Ah, will ye go, and whither then
    Will ye go from us, soon to die,
  To fill your three-score years and ten,
    With many an unnamed misery?

  And this the wretchedest of all,
    That when upon your lonely eyes
  The last faint heaviness shall fall
    Ye shall bethink you of our cries.

  Come back, nor grown old, seek in vain
    To hear us sing across the sea.
  Come back, come back, come back again,
    Come back, O fearful Minyæ!

      ORPHEUS.

  Ah, once again, ah, once again,
    The black prow plunges through the sea,
  Nor yet shall all your toil be vain,
    Nor yet forgot, O Minyæ.

    In such wise sang the Thracian, in such wise
  Out gushed the Sirens' deadly melodies;
  But long before the mingled song was done,
  Back to the oars the Minyæ, one by one,
  Slunk silently; though many an one sighed sore,
  As his strong fingers met the wood once more,
  And from his breast the toilsome breathing came.
    But as they laboured, some for very shame
  Hung down their heads, and yet amongst them some
  Gazed at the place whence that sweet song had come;
  But round the oars and Argo's shielded side
  The sea grew white, and she began to glide
  Swift through the waters of that deadly bay;
  But when a long wake now behind her lay,
  And still the whistle of the wind increased,
  Past shroud and mast, and all the song had ceased,
  Butes rose up, the fair Athenian man,
  And with wild eyes betwixt the rowers ran
  Unto the poop and leapt into the sea;
  Then all men rested on their oars, but he
  Rose to the top, and towards the shore swam fast;
  While all eyes watched him, who had well-nigh past
  The place where sand and water 'gan to meet
  In wreaths and ripples round the ivory feet,
  When sun-burnt swimmer, snow-white glancing limb,
  And yellow sand unto their eyes grew dim,
  Nor did they see their fellow any more.
    But when they once again beheld the shore
  The wind sung o'er the empty beach and bare,
  And by the cliff uprose into the air
  A delicate and glittering little cloud,
  That seemed some many-coloured sun to shroud;
  But as the rugged cliff it drew above
  The wondering Minyæ beheld it move
  Westward, toward Lilybæum and the sun.
    Then once more was their seaward course begun,
  And soon those deadly sands were far astern,
  Nor ever after could the heroes learn
  If Butes lived or died; but old tales tell
  That while the tumbling waves he breasted well,
  Venus beheld him, as unseen she drew
  From sunny Cyprus to the headland blue
  Of Lilybæum, where her temple is;
  She, with a mind his sun-burnt brows to kiss,
  E'en as his feet were dropping nigh the beach,
  And ere his hand the deadly hands could reach,
  Stooped, as the merlin stoops upon the dove,
  And snatched him thence to be awhile her love,
  Betwixt the golden pillars of her shrine,
  That those who pass the Ægades see shine
  From high-raised Lilybæum o'er the sea.

    But far away the sea-beat Minyæ
  Cast forth the foam, as through the growing night
  They laboured ever, having small delight
  In life all empty of that promised bliss,
  In love that scarce can give a dying kiss,
  In pleasure ending sweet songs with a wail,
  In fame that little can dead men avail,
  In vain toil struggling with the fateful stream,
  In hope, the promise of a morning dream.
    Yet as night died, and the cold sea and grey
  Seemed running with them toward the dawn of day,
  Needs must they once again forget their death,
  Needs must they, being alive and drawing breath,
  As men who of no other life can know
  In their own minds again immortal grow.
    But toward the south a little now they bent,
  And for a while o'er landless sea they went,
  But on the third day made another land
  At dawn of day, and thitherward did stand;
  And since the wind blew lightly from the shore,
  Somewhat abeam, they feared not with the oar
  To push across the shallowing sea and green,
  That washed a land the fairest they had seen,
  Whose shell-strewn beach at highest of the tide
  'Twixt sea and flowery shore was nowise wide,
  And drawn a little backward from the sea
  There stood a marble wall wrought cunningly,
  Rosy and white, set thick with images,
  And over-topped with heavy-fruited trees,
  Which by the shore ran, as the bay did bend,
  And to their eyes had neither gap nor end;
  Nor any gate: and looking over this,
  They saw a place not made for earthly bliss,
  Or eyes of dying men, for growing there
  The yellow apple and the painted pear,
  And well-filled golden cups of oranges
  Hung amid groves of pointed cypress trees;
  On grassy slopes the twining vine-boughs grew,
  And hoary olives 'twixt far mountains blue,
  And many-coloured flowers, like as a cloud
  The rugged southern cliffs did softly shroud;
  And many a green-necked bird sung to his mate
  Within the slim-leaved, thorny pomegranate,
  That flung its unstrung rubies on the grass,
  And slowly o'er the place the wind did pass
  Heavy with many odours that it bore
  From thymy hills down to the sea-beat shore,
  Because no flower there is, that all the year,
  From spring to autumn, beareth otherwhere,
  But there it flourished; nor the fruit alone
  From 'twixt the green leaves and the boughs outshone,
  For there each tree was ever flowering.
    Nor was there lacking many a living thing
  Changed of its nature; for the roebuck there
  Walked fearless with the tiger; and the bear
  Rolled sleepily upon the fruit-strawn grass,
  Letting the conies o'er his rough hide pass,
  With blinking eyes, that meant no treachery.
  Careless the partridge passed the red fox by;
  Untouched the serpent left the thrushes brown,
  And as a picture was the lion's frown.
    But in the midst there was a grassy space,
  Raised somewhat over all the flowery place,
  On marble terrace-walls wrought like a dream;
  And round about it ran a clear blue stream,
  Bridged o'er with marble steps, and midmost there
  Grew a green tree, whose smooth grey boughs did bear
  Such fruit as never man elsewhere had seen,
  For 'twixt the sunlight and the shadow green
  Shone out fair apples of red gleaming gold.
  Moreover round the tree, in many a fold,
  Lay coiled a dragon, glittering little less
  Than that which his eternal watchfulness
  Was set to guard; nor yet was he alone,
  For from the daisied grass about him shone
  Gold raiment wrapping round two damsels fair,
  And one upon the steps combed out her hair,
  And with shut eyes sung low as in a dream;
  And one stood naked in the cold blue stream,
  While on the bank her golden raiment lay;
  But on that noontide of the quivering day,
  She only, hearing the seafarers' shout,
  Her lovely golden head had turned about,
  And seen their white sail flapping o'er the wall,
  And as she turned had let her tresses fall,
  Which the thin water rippling round her knee
  Bore outward from her toward the restless sea.
    Not long she stood, but looking seaward yet,
  From out the water made good haste to get,
  And catching up her raiment hastily,
  Ran up the marble stair, and 'gan to cry:
  "Wake, O my sisters, wake, for now are come
  The thieves of Æa to our peaceful home."
    Then at her voice they gat them to their feet,
  And when her raiment all her body sweet
  Once more had hidden, joining hand to hand,
  About the sacred apples did they stand,
  While coiled the dragon closer to the tree,
  And raised his head above them threateningly.

    Meanwhile, from Argo many a sea-beat face
  Gazed longingly upon that lovely place,
  And some their eager hands already laid
  Upon the gangway. Then Medea said:--
  "Get back unto the oars, O Minyæ,
  Nor loiter here, for what have such as we
  To do herein, where, 'mid undying trees,
  Undying watch the wise Hesperides,
  And where the while they watch, scarce can a God
  Set foot upon the fruit-besprinkled sod
  That no snow ever covers? therefore haste,
  Nor yet in wondering your fair lives waste;
  For these are as the Gods, nor think of us,
  Nor to their eyes can aught be glorious
  That son of man can do; would God that I
  Could see far off the misty headland lie,
  Where we the guilt of blood shall wash away,
  For I grow weary of the dashing spray,
  And ceaseless roll of interwoven seas,
  And fain were sitting 'neath the whispering trees
  In homely places, where the children play,
  Who change like me, grow old, and die some day."
    She ceased, and little soothly did they grieve,
  For all its loveliness, that land to leave,
  For now some God had chilled their hardihead,
  And in their hearts had set a sacred dread,
  They knew not why; but on their oars they hung,
  A little longer as the sisters sung.

        "O ye, who to this place have strayed,
      That never for man's eyes was made,
      Depart in haste, as ye have come,
      And bear back to your sea-beat home
      This memory of the age of gold,
      And for your eyes, grown over-bold,
      Your hearts shall pay in sorrowing,
      For want of many a half-seen thing.

        "Lo, such as is this garden green,
      In days past, all the world has been,
      And what we know all people knew,
      Save this, that unto worse all grew.
        "But since the golden age is gone,
      This little place is left alone,
      Unchanged, unchanging, watched of us,
      The daughters of wise Hesperus.
        "Surely the heavenly Messenger
      Full oft is fain to enter here,
      And yet without must he abide;
      Nor longeth less the dark king's bride
      To set red lips unto that fruit
      That erst made nought her mother's suit.
      Here would Diana rest awhile,
      Forgetful of her woodland guile,
      Among these beasts that fear her nought.
      Nor is it less in Pallas' thought,
      Beneath our trees to ponder o'er
      The wide, unfathomed sea of lore;
      And oft-kissed Citheræa, no less
      Weary of love, full fain would press
      These flowers with soft unsandalled feet.

        "But unto us our rest is sweet,
      Neither shall any man or God
      Or lovely Goddess touch the sod
      Where-under old times buried lie,
      Before the world knew misery.
      Nor will we have a slave or king,
      Nor yet will we learn anything
      But that we know, that makes us glad;
      While oft the very Gods are sad
      With knowing what the Fates shall do.
        "Neither from us shall wisdom go
      To fill the hungering hearts of men,
      Lest to them threescore years and ten
      Come but to seem a little day,
      Once given, and taken soon away.
      Nay, rather let them find their life
      Bitter and sweet, fulfilled of strife,
      Restless with hope, vain with regret,
      Trembling with fear, most strangely set
      'Twixt memory and forgetfulness;
      So more shall joy be, troubles less,
      And surely when all this is past,
      They shall not want their rest at last.

        "Let earth and heaven go on their way,
      While still we watch from day to day,
      In this green place left all alone,
      A remnant of the days long gone."

    There in the wind they hung, as word by word
  The clear-voiced singers silently they heard;
  But when the air was barren of their song,
  Anigh the shore they durst not linger long,
  So northward turned forewearied Argo's head,
  And dipping oars, from that fair country sped,
  Fulfilled of new desires and pensive thought,
  Which that day's life unto their hearts had brought.
    Then hard they toiled upon the bitter sea,
  And in two days they did not fail to be
  In sight of land, a headland high and blue
  Which straight Milesian Erginus knew
  To be the fateful place which now they sought,
  Stormy Malea, so thitherward they brought
  The groaning ship, and, casting anchor, lay
  Beneath that headland's lee, within a bay,
  Wherefrom the more part landed, and their feet
  Once more the happy soil of Greece did meet.
    Therewith they failèd not to bring ashore
  Rich robes of price and of fair arms good store,
  And gold and silver, that they there might buy
  What yet they lacked for their solemnity;
  Then, while upon the highest point of land
  Some built an altar, Jason, with a band
  Of all the chiefest of the Minyæ,
  Turned inland from the murmur of the sea.
    Not far they went ere by a little stream
  Down in a valley they could see the gleam
  Of brazen pillars and fair-gilded vanes,
  And, dropping down by dank dark-wooded lanes
  From off the hill-side, reached a house at last
  Where in and out men-slaves and women passed,
  And guests were streaming fast into the hall,
  Where now the oaken boards were laid for all.
  With these the Minyæ went, and soon they were
  Within a pillared hall both great and fair,
  Where folk already sat beside the board,
  And on the dais was an ancient lord.
    But when these saw the fearless Minyæ
  Glittering in arms, they sprang up hastily,
  And each man turned about unto the wall
  To seize his spear or staff: then through the hall
  Jason cried out: "Laconians, fear ye not,
  Nor leave the flesh-meat while it reeketh hot
  For dread of us, for we are men as ye,
  And I am Jason of the Minyæ,
  And come from Æa to the land of Greece,
  And in my ship bear back the Golden Fleece,
  And a fair Colchian queen to fill my bed.
  And now we pray to share your wine and bread,
  And other things we need, and at our hands
  That ye will take fair things of many lands."
    "Sirs," said the ancient lord, "be welcome here,
  Come up and sit by me, and make such cheer
  As here ye can: glad am I that to me
  The first of Grecian men from off the sea
  Ye now are come."
                    Therewith the great hall rang
  With joyful shouts, and as, with clash and clang
  Of well-wrought arms, up to the dais they went,
  All eyes upon the Minyæ were bent,
  Nor could they have enough of wondering
  At this or that sea-tossed victorious king.
    So with the strangers there they held high feast,
  And afterwards the slaves drove many a beast
  Down to the shore, and carried back again
  Great store of precious things in pack and wain;
  Wrought gold and silver, gems, full many a bale
  Of scarlet cloth, and fine silk, fit to veil
  The perfect limbs of dreaded Goddesses;
  Spices fresh-gathered from the outland trees,
  And arms well-wrought, and precious scarce-known wine,
  And carven images well-nigh divine.
    So when all folk with these were satisfied,
  Back went the Minyæ to the water-side,
  And with them that old lord, fain to behold
  Victorious Argo and the Fleece of Gold.
  And so aboard amid the oars he lay
  Throughout the night, and at the dawn of day
  Did all men land, nor spared that day to wear
  The best of all they had of gold-wrought gear,
  And every one, being crowned with olive grey,
  Up to the headland did they take their way,
  Where now already stood the crownèd priests
  About the altars by the gilt-horned beasts.
  There, as the fair sun rose, did Jason break
  Over the altar the thin barley-cake,
  And cast the salt abroad, and there were slain
  The milk-white bulls, and there red wine did rain
  On to the fire from out the ancient jar,
  And high rose up the red flame, seen afar
  From many another headland of that shore:
  But over all its crackling and its roar
  Uprose from time to time a joyous song,
  That on the summer morning lay for long,
  The mighty voices of the Minyæ
  Exulting o'er the tossing conquered sea,
  That far below thrust on by tide and wind
  The crumbling bases of the headland mined.



  FROM

  "THE EARTHLY PARADISE."

  AN APOLOGY.


  Of Heaven or Hell I have no power to sing,
  I cannot ease the burden of your fears,
  Or make quick-coming death a little thing,
  Or bring again the pleasure of past years,
  Nor for my words shall ye forget your tears,
  Or hope again for aught that I can say,
  The idle singer of an empty day.

    But rather, when aweary of your mirth,
  From full hearts still unsatisfied ye sigh,
  And, feeling kindly unto all the earth,
  Grudge every minute as it passes by,
  Made the more mindful that the sweet days die--
  --Remember me a little then I pray,
  The idle singer of an empty day.

    The heavy trouble, the bewildering care
  That weighs us down who live and earn our bread,
  These idle verses have no power to bear;
  So let me sing of names remembered,
  Because they, living not, can ne'er be dead,
  Or long time take their memory quite away
  From us poor singers of an empty day.

    Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time,
  Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?
  Let it suffice me that my murmuring rhyme
  Beats with light wing against the ivory gate,
  Telling a tale not too importunate
  To those who in the sleepy region stay,
  Lulled by the singer of an empty day.

    Folk say, a wizard to a northern king
  At Christmas-tide such wondrous things did show,
  That through one window men beheld the spring,
  And through another saw the summer glow,
  And through a third the fruited vines a-row,
  While still, unheard, but in its wonted way,
  Piped the drear wind of that December day.

    So with this Earthly Paradise it is,
  If ye will read aright, and pardon me,
  Who strive to build a shadowy isle of bliss
  Midmost the beating of the steely sea,
  Where tossed about all hearts of men must be:
  Whose ravening monsters mighty men shall slay,
  Not the poor singer of an empty day.



  FROM

  PROLOGUE--THE WANDERERS.

  ARGUMENT.

Certain gentlemen and mariners of Norway, having considered all that
they had heard of the Earthly Paradise, set sail to find it, and after
many troubles and the lapse of many years came old men to some Western
land, of which they had never before heard: there they died, when they
had dwelt there certain years, much honoured of the strange people.


  Forget six counties overhung with smoke,
  Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke,
  Forget the spreading of the hideous town;
  Think rather of the pack-horse on the down,
  And dream of London, small, and white, and clean,
  The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green;
  Think, that below bridge the green lapping waves
  Smite some few keels that bear Levantine staves,
  Cut from the yew wood on the burnt-up hill,
  And pointed jars that Greek hands toiled to fill,
  And treasured scanty spice from some far sea,
  Florence gold cloth, and Ypres napery,
  And cloth of Bruges, and hogsheads of Guienne;
  While nigh the thronged wharf Geoffrey Chaucer's pen
  Moves over bills of lading--mid such times
  Shall dwell the hollow puppets of my rhymes.

    A nameless city in a distant sea,
  White as the changing walls of faërie,
  Thronged with much people clad in ancient guise
  I now am fain to set before your eyes;
  There, leave the clear green water and the quays,
  And pass betwixt its marble palaces,
  Until ye come unto the chiefest square;
  A bubbling conduit is set midmost there,
  And round about it now the maidens throng,
  With jest and laughter, and sweet broken song,
  Making but light of labour new begun
  While in their vessels gleams the morning sun.
    On one side of the square a temple stands,
  Wherein the gods worshipped in ancient lands
  Still have their altars, a great market-place
  Upon two other sides fills all the space,
  And thence the busy hum of men comes forth;
  But on the cold side looking toward the north
  A pillared council-house may you behold,
  Within whose porch are images of gold,
  Gods of the nations who dwelt anciently
  About the borders of the Grecian sea.

    Pass now between them, push the brazen door,
  And standing on the polished marble floor
  Leave all the noises of the square behind;
  Most calm that reverent chamber shall ye find,
  Silent at first, but for the noise you made
  When on the brazen door your hand you laid
  To shut it after you--but now behold
  The city rulers on their thrones of gold,
  Clad in most fair attire, and in their hands
  Long carven silver-banded ebony wands;
  Then from the daïs drop your eyes and see
  Soldiers and peasants standing reverently
  Before those elders, round a little band
  Who bear such arms as guard the English land,
  But battered, rent, and rusted sore, and they,
  The men themselves, are shrivelled, bent, and grey;
  And as they lean with pain upon their spears
  Their brows seem furrowed deep with more than years;
  For sorrow dulls their heavy sunken eyes,
  Bent are they less with time than miseries.

    Pondering on them the city grey-beards gaze
  Through kindly eyes, midst thoughts of other days,
  And pity for poor souls, and vague regret
  For all the things that might have happened yet,
  Until, their wonder gathering to a head,
  The wisest man, who long that land has led,
  Breaks the deep silence, unto whom again
  A wanderer answers. Slowly as in pain,
  And with a hollow voice as from a tomb
  At first he tells the story of his doom,
  But as it grows and once more hopes and fears,
  Both measureless, are ringing round his ears,
  His eyes grow bright, his seeming days decrease,
  For grief once told brings somewhat back of peace.

        THE ELDER OF THE CITY.

    From what unheard-of world, in what strange keel,
  Have ye come hither to our commonweal?
  No barbarous race, as these our peasants say,
  But learned in memories of a long-past day,
  Speaking, some few at least, the ancient tongue
  That through the lapse of ages still has clung
  To us, the seed of the Ionian race.
    Speak out and fear not; if ye need a place
  Wherein to pass the end of life away,
  That shall ye gain from us from this same day,
  Unless the enemies of God ye are;
  We fear not you and yours to bear us war,
  And scarce can think that ye will try again
  Across the perils of the shifting plain
  To seek your own land whereso that may be:
  For folk of ours bearing the memory
  Of our old land, in days past oft have striven
  To reach it, unto none of whom was given
  To come again and tell us of the tale,
  Therefore our ships are now content to sail,
  About these happy islands that we know.


      THE WANDERER.

    Masters, I have to tell a tale of woe,
  A tale of folly and of wasted life,
  Hope against hope, the bitter dregs of strife,
  Ending, where all things end, in death at last:
  So if I tell the story of the past,
  Let it be worth some little rest, I pray,
  A little slumber ere the end of day.

    No wonder if the Grecian tongue I know,
  Since at Byzantium many a year ago
  My father bore the twibil valiantly;
  There did he marry, and get me, and die,
  And I went back to Norway to my kin,
  Long ere this beard ye see did first begin
  To shade my mouth, but nathless not before
  Among the Greeks I gathered some small lore,
  And standing midst the Væringers, still heard
  From this or that man many a wondrous word;
  For ye shall know that though we worshipped God,
  And heard mass duly, still of Swithiod
  The Greater, Odin and his house of gold,
  The noble stories ceased not to be told;
  These moved me more than words of mine can say
  E'en while at Micklegarth my folks did stay;
  But when I reached one dying autumn-tide
  My uncle's dwelling near the forest side,
  And saw the land so scanty and so bare,
  And all the hard things men contend with there,
  A little and unworthy land it seemed,
  And yet the more of Asagard I dreamed,
  And worthier seemed the ancient faith of praise.

    But now, but now--when one of all those days
  Like Lazarus' finger on my heart should be
  Breaking the fiery fixed eternity,
  But for one moment--could I see once more
  The grey-roofed sea-port sloping towards the shore,
  Or note the brown boats standing in from sea,
  Or the great dromond swinging from the quay,
  Or in the beech-woods watch the screaming jay
  Shoot up betwixt the tall trunks, smooth and grey--
  Yea, could I see the days before distress
  When very longing was but happiness.

    Within our house there was a Breton squire
  Well learned, who fail'd not to fan the fire
  That evermore unholpen burned in me
  Strange lands and things beyond belief to see;
  Much lore of many lands this Breton knew;
  And for one tale I told, he told me two.
  He, counting Asagard a new-told thing,
  Yet spoke of gardens ever blossoming
  Across the western sea where none grew old,
  E'en as the books at Micklegarth had told,
  And said moreover that an English knight
  Had had the Earthly Paradise in sight,
  And heard the songs of those that dwelt therein.
  But entered not, being hindered by his sin.
  Shortly, so much of this and that he said
  That in my heart the sharp barb entered,
  And like real life would empty stories seem,
  And life from day to day an empty dream.

    Another man there was, a Swabian priest,
  Who knew the maladies of man and beast,
  And what things helped them; he the stone still sought
  Whereby base metal into gold is brought,
  And strove to gain the precious draught, whereby
  Men live midst mortal men yet never die;
  Tales of the Kaiser Redbeard could he tell
  Who neither went to Heaven nor yet to Hell,
  When from that fight upon the Asian plain
  He vanished, but still lives to come again
  Men know not how or when; but I listening
  Unto this tale thought it a certain thing
  That in some hidden vale of Swithiod
  Across the golden pavement still he trod.

    But while our longing for such things so grew,
  And ever more and more we deemed them true,
  Upon the land a pestilence there fell
  Unheard of yet in any chronicle,
  And, as the people died full fast of it,
  With these two men it chanced me once to sit,
  This learned squire whose name was Nicholas,
  And Swabian Laurence, as our manner was;
  For could we help it scarcely did we part
  From dawn to dusk: so heavy, sad at heart,
  We from the castle-yard beheld the bay
  Upon that ne'er-to-be-forgotten day,
  Little we said amidst that dreary mood,
  And certes nought that we could say was good.

    It was a bright September afternoon,
  The parched-up beech-trees would be yellowing soon
  The yellow flowers grown deeper with the sun
  Were letting fall their petals one by one;
  No wind there was, a haze was gathering o'er
  The furthest bound of the faint yellow shore;
  And in the oily waters of the bay
  Scarce moving aught some fisher-cobles lay,
  And all seemed peace; and had been peace indeed
  But that we young men of our life had need,
  And to our listening ears a sound was borne
  That made the sunlight wretched and forlorn--
  --The heavy tolling of the minster bell--
  And nigher yet a tinkling sound did tell
  That through the streets they bore our Saviour Christ
  By dying lips in anguish to be kissed.

    At last spoke Nicholas, "How long shall we
  Abide here, looking forth into the sea
  Expecting when our turn shall come to die?
  Fair fellows, will ye come with me and try
  Now at our worst that long-desired quest,
  Now--when our worst is death, and life our best."
    "Nay, but thou know'st," I said, "that I but wait
  The coming of some man, the turn of fate,
  To make this voyage--but I die meanwhile,
  For I am poor, though my blood be not vile,
  Nor yet for all his lore doth Laurence hold
  Within his crucibles aught like to gold;
  And what hast thou, whose father driven forth
  By Charles of Blois, found shelter in the North?
  But little riches as I needs must deem."
    "Well," said he, "things are better than they seem,
  For 'neath my bed an iron chest I have
  That holdeth things I have made shift to save
  E'en for this end; moreover, hark to this,
  In the next firth a fair long ship there is
  Well victualled, ready even now for sea,
  And I may say it 'longeth unto me;
  Since Marcus Erling, late its owner, lies
  Dead at the end of many miseries,
  And little Kirstin, as thou well mayst know,
  Would be content throughout the world to go
  If I but took her hand, and now still more
  Hath heart to leave this poor death-stricken shore.
  Therefore my gold shall buy us Bordeaux swords
  And Bordeaux wine as we go oceanwards.
    "What say ye, will ye go with me to-night,
  Setting your faces to undreamed delight,
  Turning your backs unto this troublous hell,
  Or is the time too short to say farewell?"

    "Not so," I said, "rather would I depart
  Now while thou speakest, never has my heart
  Been set on anything within this land."
    Then said the Swabian, "Let us now take hand
  And swear to follow evermore this quest
  Till death or life have set our hearts at rest."

    So with joined hands we swore, and Nicholas said,
  "To-night, fair friends, be ye apparelled
  To leave this land, bring all the arms ye can
  And such men as ye trust, my own good man
  Guards the small postern looking towards St. Bride,
  And good it were ye should not be espied,
  Since mayhap freely ye should not go hence,
  Thou Rolf in special, for this pestilence
  Makes all men hard and cruel, nor are they
  Willing that folk should 'scape if they must stay:
  Be wise; I bid you for a while farewell,
  Leave ye this stronghold when St. Peter's bell
  Strikes midnight, all will surely then be still,
  And I will bide you at King Tryggve's hill
  Outside the city gates."
                           Each went his way
  Therewith, and I the remnant of that day
  Gained for the quest three men that I deemed true,
  And did such other things as I must do,
  And still was ever listening for the chime
  Half maddened by the lazy lapse of time,
  Yea, scarce I thought indeed that I should live
  Till the great tower the joyful sound should give
  That set us free: and so the hours went past,
  Till startled by the echoing clang at last
  That told of midnight, armed from head to heel
  Down to the open postern did I steal,
  Bearing small wealth--this sword that yet hangs here
  Worn thin and narrow with so many a year,
  My father's axe that from Byzantium,
  With some few gems my pouch yet held, had come,
  Nought else that shone with silver or with gold.
    But by the postern gate could I behold
  Laurence the priest all armed as if for war,
  From off the town-wall, having some small store
  Of arms and furs and raiment: then once more
  I turned, and saw the autumn moonlight fall
  Upon the new-built bastions of the wall,
  Strange with black shadow and grey flood of light,
  And further off I saw the lead shine bright
  On tower and turret-roof against the sky,
  And looking down I saw the old town lie
  Black in the shade of the o'er-hanging hill,
  Stricken with death, and dreary, but all still
  Until it reached the water of the bay,
  That in the dead night smote against the quay
  Not all unheard, though there was little wind.
  But as I turned to leave the place behind,
  The wind's light sound, the slowly falling swell,
  Were hushed at once by that shrill-tinkling bell,
  That in that stillness jarring on mine ears,
  With sudden jangle checked the rising tears,
  And now the freshness of the open sea
  Seemed ease and joy and very life to me.
    So greeting my new mates with little sound,
  We made good haste to reach King Tryggve's mound,
  And there the Breton Nicholas beheld,
  Who by the hand fair Kirstin Erling held,
  And round about them twenty men there stood,
  Of whom the more part on the holy rood
  Were sworn till death to follow up the quest,
  And Kirstin was the mistress of the rest.
    Again betwixt us was there little speech,
  But swiftly did we set on toward the beach,
  And coming there our keel, the Fighting Man,
  We boarded, and the long oars out we ran,
  And swept from out the firth, and sped so well
  That scarcely could we hear St. Peter's bell
  Toll one, although the light wind blew from land;
  Then hoisting sail southward we 'gan to stand,
  And much I joyed beneath the moon to see
  The lessening land that might have been to me
  A kindly giver of wife, child, and friend,
  And happy life, or at the worser end
  A quiet grave till doomsday rend the earth.

  Night passed, day dawned, and we grew full of mirth
  As with the ever-rising morning wind
  Still further lay our threatened death behind,
  Or so we thought: some eighty men we were,
  Of whom but fifty knew the shipman's gear,
  The rest were uplanders; midst such of these
  As knew not of our quest, with promises
  Went Nicholas dealing florins round about,
  With still a fresh tale for each new man's doubt,
  Till all were fairly won or seemed to be
  To that strange desperate voyage o'er the sea.



  OGIER THE DANE.

  ARGUMENT.

When Ogier was born, six fay ladies came to the cradle where he lay, and
gave him various gifts, as to be brave and happy and the like; but the
sixth gave him to be her love when he should have lived long in the
world: so Ogier grew up and became the greatest of knights, and at last,
after many years, fell into the hands of that fay, and with her, as the
story tells, he lives now, though he returned once to the world, as is
shown in the process of this tale.


  Within some Danish city by the sea,
  Whose name, changed now, is all unknown to me,
  Great mourning was there one fair summer eve,
  Because the angels, bidden to receive
  The fair Queen's lovely soul in Paradise,
  Had done their bidding, and in royal guise
  Her helpless body, once the prize of love,
  Unable now for fear or hope to move,
  Lay underneath the golden canopy;
  And bowed down by unkingly misery
  The King sat by it, and not far away,
  Within the chamber a fair man-child lay,
  His mother's bane, the king that was to be,
  Not witting yet of any royalty,
  Harmless and loved, although so new to life.

    Calm the June evening was, no sign of strife
  The clear sky showed, no storm grew round the sun,
  Unhappy that his day of bliss was done;
  Dumb was the sea, and if the beech-wood stirred,
  'Twas with the nestling of the grey-winged bird
  Midst its thick leaves; and though the nightingale
  Her ancient, hapless sorrow must bewail,
  No more of woe there seemed in her song
  Than such as doth to lovers' words belong,
  Because their love is still unsatisfied.
    But to the King, on that sweet eventide,
  No earth there seemed, no heaven when earth was gone;
  No help, no God! but lonely pain alone;
  And he, midst unreal shadows, seemed to sit
  Himself the very heart and soul of it.
  But round the cradle of the new-born child
  The nurses now the weary time beguiled
  With stories of the just departed Queen;
  And how, amid the heathen folk first seen,
  She had been won to love and godliness;
  And as they spoke, e'en midst his dull distress,
  An eager whisper now and then would smite
  Upon the King's ear, of some past delight,
  Some once familiar name, and he would raise
  His weary head, and on the speaker gaze
  Like one about to speak, but soon again
  Would drop his head and be alone with pain,
  Nor think of these; who, silent in their turn,
  Would sit and watch the waxen tapers burn
  Amidst the dusk of the quick-gathering night,
  Until beneath the high stars' glimmering light,
  The fresh earth lay in colourless repose.
    So passed the night, and now and then one rose
  From out her place to do what might avail
  To still the new-born infant's fretful wail;
  Or through the softly-opened door there came
  Some nurse new waked, who, whispering low the name
  Of her whose turn was come, would take her place;
  Then toward the King would turn about her face
  And to her fellows whisper of the day,
  And tell again of her just past away.

    So passed the night, the moon arose and grew,
  From off the sea a little west-wind blew,
  Rustling the garden-leaves like sudden rain;
  And ere the moon had 'gun to fall again
  The wind grew cold, a change was in the sky,
  And in deep silence did the dawn draw nigh;
  Then from her place a nurse arose to light
  Fresh hallowed lights, for, dying with the night,
  The tapers round about the dead Queen were;
  But the King raised his head and 'gan to stare
  Upon her, as her sweeping gown did glide
  About the floor, that in the stillness cried
  Beneath her careful feet; and now as she
  Had lit the second candle carefully,
  And on its silver spike another one
  Was setting, through her body did there run
  A sudden tremor, and the hand was stayed
  That on the dainty painted wax was laid;
  Her eyelids fell down and she seemed to sleep,
  And o'er the staring King began to creep
  Sweet slumber too; the bitter lines of woe
  That drew his weary face did softer grow,
  His eyelids dropped, his arms fell to his side;
  And moveless in their places did abide
  The nursing women, held by some strong spell,
  E'en as they were, and utter silence fell
  Upon the mournful, glimmering chamber fair.
    But now light footsteps coming up the stair,
  Smote on the deadly stillness, and the sound
  Of silken dresses trailing o'er the ground;
  And heavenly odours through the chamber passed,
  Unlike the scents that rose and lily cast
  Upon the freshness of the dying night;
  Then nigher drew the sound of footsteps light
  Until the door swung open noiselessly--
  A mass of sunlit flowers there seemed to be
  Within the doorway, and but pale and wan
  The flame showed now that serveth mortal man,
  As one by one six seeming ladies passed
  Into the room, and o'er its sorrow cast
  That thoughtless sense of joy bewildering,
  That kisses youthful hearts amidst of spring;
  Crowned were they, in such glorious raiment clad,
  As yet no merchant of the world has had
  Within his coffers; yet those crowns seemed fair
  Only because they kissed their odorous hair,
  And all that flowery raiment was but blessed
  By those fair bodies that its splendour pressed.
    Now to the cradle from that glorious band,
  A woman passed, and laid a tender hand
  Upon the babe, and gently drew aside
  The swathings soft that did his body hide;
  And, seeing him so fair and great, she smiled,
  And stooped, and kissed him, saying, "O noble child,
  Have thou a gift from Gloriande this day;
  For to the time when life shall pass away
  From this dear heart, no fear of death or shame,
  No weariness of good shall foul thy name."
    So saying, to her sisters she returned;
  And one came forth, upon whose brow there burned
  A crown of rubies, and whose heaving breast
  With happy rings a golden hauberk pressed;
  She took the babe, and somewhat frowning said,
  "This gift I give, that till thy limbs are laid
  At rest for ever, to thine honoured life
  There never shall be lacking war and strife,
  That thou a long-enduring name mayst win,
  And by thy deeds, good pardon for thy sin."
    With that another, who, unseen, meanwhile
  Had drawn anigh, said with a joyous smile,
  "And this forgotten gift to thee I give,
  That while amidst the turmoil thou dost live,
  Still shalt thou win the game, and unto thee
  Defeat and shame but idle words shall be."
    Then back they turned, and therewithal, the fourth
  Said, "Take this gift for what it may be worth
  For that is mine to give; lo, thou shalt be
  Gentle of speech, and in all courtesy
  The first of men: a little gift this is,
  After these promises of fame and bliss."
    Then toward the babe the fifth fair woman went;
  Grey-eyed she was, and simple, with eyes bent
  Down on the floor, parted her red lips were,
  And o'er her sweet face marvellously fair
  Oft would the colour spread full suddenly;
  Clad in a dainty gown and thin was she,
  For some green summer of the fay-land dight,
  Tripping she went, and laid her fingers light
  Upon the child, and said, "O little one,
  As long as thou shalt look upon the sun
  Shall women long for thee; take heed to this
  And give them what thou canst of love and bliss."
    Then, blushing for her words, therefrom she past,
  And by the cradle stood the sixth and last,
  The fairest of them all; awhile she gazed
  Down on the child, and then her hand she raised,
  And made the one side of her bosom bare;
  "Ogier," she said, "if this be foul or fair
  Thou know'st not now, but when thine earthly life
  Is drunk out to the dregs, and war and strife
  Have yielded thee whatever joy they may,
  Thine head upon this bosom shalt thou lay;
  And then, despite of knowledge or of God,
  Will we be glad upon the flowery sod
  Within the happy country where I dwell:
  Ogier, my love that is to be, farewell!"

    She turned, and even as they came they passed
  From out the place, and reached the gate at last
  That oped before their feet, and speedily
  They gained the edges of the murmuring sea,
  And as they stood in silence, gazing there
  Out to the west, they vanished into air,
  I know not how, nor whereto they returned.

    But mixed with twilight in the chamber burned
  The flickering candles, and those dreary folk,
  Unlike to sleepers, from their trance awoke,
  But nought of what had happed meanwhile they knew.
  Through the half-opened casements now there blew
  A sweet fresh air, that of the flowers and sea
  Mingled together, smelt deliciously,
  And from the unseen sun the spreading light
  Began to make the fair June blossoms bright,
  And midst their weary woe uprose the sun,
  And thus has Ogier's noble life begun.

       *     *     *     *     *

  Hope is our life, when first our life grows clear;
  Hope and delight, scarce crossed by lines of fear,
  Yet the day comes when fain we would not hope,
  But forasmuch as we with life must cope,
  Struggling with this and that, and who knows why?
  Hope will not give us up to certainty,
  But still must bide with us: and with this man,
  Whose life amid such promises began
  Great things she wrought; but now the time has come
  When he no more on earth may have his home.
    Great things he suffered, great delights he had,
  Unto great kings he gave good deeds for bad;
  He ruled o'er kingdoms where his name no more
  Is had in memory, and on many a shore
  He left his sweat and blood to win a name
  Passing the bounds of earthly creatures' fame.
  A love he won and lost, a well-loved son
  Whose little day of promise soon was done:
  A tender wife he had, that he must leave
  Before his heart her love could well receive;
  Those promised gifts, that on his careless head
  In those first hours of his fair life were shed
  He took unwitting, and unwitting spent,
  Nor gave himself to grief and discontent
  Because he saw the end a-drawing nigh.
    Where is he now? in what land must he die,
  To leave an empty name to us on earth?
  A tale half true, to cast across our mirth
  Some pensive thoughts of life that might have been;
  Where is he now, that all this life has seen?

    Behold, another eve I bid you see
  Than that calm eve of his nativity;
  The sun is setting in the west, the sky
  Is clear and hard, and no clouds come anigh
  The golden orb, but further off they lie,
  Steel-grey and black with edges red as blood,
  And underneath them is the weltering flood
  Of some huge sea, whose tumbling hills, as they
  Turn restless sides about, are black or grey,
  Or green, or glittering with the golden flame;
  The wind has fallen now, but still the same
  The mighty army moves, as if to drown
  This lone, bare rock, whose shear scarped sides of brown
  Cast off the weight of waves in clouds of spray.
    Alas! what ships upon an evil day
  Bent over to the wind in this ill sea?
  What navy, whose rent bones lie wretchedly
  Beneath these cliffs? a mighty one it was,
  A fearful storm to bring such things to pass.

    This is the loadstone rock; no armament
  Of warring nations, in their madness bent
  Their course this way; no merchant wittingly
  Has steered his keel unto this luckless sea;
  Upon no shipman's card its name is writ,
  Though worn-out mariners will speak of it
  Within the ingle on the winter's night,
  When all within is warm and safe and bright,
  And the wind howls without: but 'gainst their will
  Are some folk driven here, and then all skill
  Against this evil rock is vain and nought,
  And unto death the shipmen soon are brought;
  For then the keel, as by a giant's hand,
  Is drawn unto that mockery of a land,
  And presently unto its sides doth cleave;
  When if they 'scape swift death, yet none may leave
  The narrow limits of that barren isle,
  And thus are slain by famine in a while
  Mocked, as they say, by night with images
  Of noble castles among groves of trees,
  By day with sounds of merry minstrelsy.

    The sun sinks now below this hopeless sea,
  The clouds are gone, and all the sky is bright;
  The moon is rising o'er the growing night,
  And by its light may ye behold the bones
  Of generations of these luckless ones
  Scattered about the rock; but nigh the sea
  Sits one alive, who uncomplainingly
  Awaits his death. White-haired is he and old,
  Arrayed in royal raiment, bright with gold,
  But tarnished with the waves and rough salt air;
  Huge is he, of a noble face and fair,
  As for an ancient man, though toil and eld
  Furrow the cheeks that ladies once beheld
  With melting hearts--Nay, listen, for he speaks!
    "God, thou hast made me strong! nigh seven weeks
  Have passed since from the wreck we haled our store,
  And five long days well told, have now passed o'er
  Since my last fellow died, with my last bread
  Between his teeth, and yet I am not dead.
  Yea, but for this I had been strong enow
  In some last bloody field my sword to show.
  What matter? soon will all be past and done,
  Where'er I died I must have died alone:
  Yet, Caraheu, a good death had it been
  Dying, thy face above me to have seen,
  And heard my banner flapping in the wind,
  Then, though my memory had not left thy mind,
  Yet hope and fear would not have vexed thee more
  When thou hadst known that everything was o'er;
  But now thou waitest, still expecting me,
  Whose sail shall never speck thy bright blue sea.
    "And thou, Clarice, the merchants thou mayst call,
  To tell thee tales within thy pictured hall,
  But never shall they tell true tales of me:
  Whatever sails the Kentish hills may see
  Swept by the flood-tide toward thy well-walled town,
  No more on my sails shall they look adown.
    "Get thee another leader, Charlemaine,
  For thou shalt look to see my shield in vain,
  When in the fair fields of the Frankish land,
  Thick as the corn they tread, the heathen stand.
    "What matter? ye shall learn to live your lives;
  Husbands and children, other friends and wives,
  Shall wipe the tablets of your memory clean,
  And all shall be as I had never been.

    "And now, O God, am I alone with Thee;
  A little thing indeed it seems to be
  To give this life up, since it needs must go
  Some time or other; now at last I know
  How foolishly men play upon the earth,
  When unto them a year of life seems worth
  Honour and friends, and these vague hopes and sweet
  That like real things my dying heart do greet,
  Unreal while living on the earth I trod,
  And but myself I knew no other god.
  Behold, I thank Thee that Thou sweet'nest thus
  This end, that I had thought most piteous,
  If of another I had heard it told."

    What man is this, who weak and worn and old,
  Gives up his life within that dreadful isle,
  And on the fearful coming death can smile?
  Alas! this man, so battered and outworn,
  Is none but he, who, on that summer morn,
  Received such promises of glorious life:
  Ogier the Dane this is, to whom all strife
  Was but as wine to stir awhile the blood,
  To whom all life, however hard, was good:
  This is the man, unmatched of heart and limb,
  Ogier the Dane, whose sight has waxed not dim
  For all the years that he on earth has dwelt;
  Ogier the Dane, that never fear has felt,
  Since he knew good from ill; Ogier the Dane,
  The heathen's dread, the evil-doer's bane.

       *     *     *     *     *

  Bright had the moon grown as his words were done,
  And no more was there memory of the sun
  Within the west, and he grew drowsy now,
  And somewhat smoother was his wrinkled brow
  As thought died out beneath the hand of sleep,
  And o'er his soul forgetfulness did creep,
  Hiding the image of swift-coming death;
  Until as peacefully he drew his breath
  As on that day, past for a hundred years,
  When, midst the nurse's quickly-falling tears,
  He fell asleep to his first lullaby.
    The night changed as he slept, white clouds and high
  Began about the lonely moon to close;
  And from the dark west a new wind arose,
  And with the sound of heavy-falling waves
  Mingled its pipe about the loadstone caves;
  But when the twinkling stars were hid away,
  And a faint light and broad, like dawn of day,
  The moon upon that dreary country shed,
  Ogier awoke, and lifting up his head
  And smiling, muttered, "Nay, no more again;
  Rather some pleasure new, some other pain,
  Unthought of both, some other form of strife;"
  For he had waked from dreams of his old life,
  And through St. Omer's archer-guarded gate
  Once more had seemed to pass, and saw the state
  Of that triumphant king; and still, though all
  Seemed changed, and folk by other names did call
  Faces he knew of old, yet none the less
  He seemed the same, and, midst that mightiness,
  Felt his own power, and grew the more athirst
  For coming glory, as of old, when first
  He stood before the face of Charlemaine,
  A helpless hostage with all life to gain.
    But now, awake, his worn face once more sank
  Between his hands, and, murmuring not, he drank
  The draught of death that must that thirst allay.

    But while he sat and waited for the day
  A sudden light across the bare rock streamed,
  Which at the first he noted not, but deemed
  The moon her fleecy veil had broken through;
  But ruddier indeed this new light grew
  Than were the moon's grey beams, and, therewithal,
  Soft far-off music on his ears did fall;
  Yet moved he not, but murmured, "This is death,
  An easy thing like this to yield my breath,
  Awake, yet dreaming, with no sounds of fear,
  No dreadful sights to tell me it is near;
  Yea, God, I thank Thee!" but with that last word
  It seemed to him that he his own name heard
  Whispered, as though the wind had borne it past;
  With that he gat unto his feet at last,
  But still awhile he stood, with sunken head,
  And in a low and trembling voice he said,
  "Lord, I am ready, whither shall I go?
  I pray Thee unto me some token show."
  And, as he said this, round about he turned,
  And in the east beheld a light that burned
  As bright as day; then, though his flesh might fear
  The coming change that he believed so near,
  Yet did his soul rejoice, for now he thought
  Unto the very heaven to be brought:
  And though he felt alive, deemed it might be
  That he in sleep had died full easily.
    Then toward that light did he begin to go,
  And still those strains he heard, far off and low,
  That grew no louder; still that bright light streamed
  Over the rocks, yet nothing brighter seemed,
  But like the light of some unseen bright flame
  Shone round about, until at last he came
  Unto the dreary islet's other shore,
  And then the minstrelsy he heard no more,
  And softer seemed the strange light unto him;
  But yet or ever it had grown quite dim,
  Beneath its waning light could he behold
  A mighty palace set about with gold,
  Above green meads and groves of summer trees
  Far-off across the welter of the seas;
  But, as he gazed, it faded from his sight,
  And the grey hidden moon's diffused soft light,
  Which soothly was but darkness to him now,
  His sea-girt island prison did but show.
    But o'er the sea he still gazed wistfully,
  And said, "Alas! and when will this go by
  And leave my soul in peace? must I still dream
  Of life that once so dear a thing did seem,
  That, when I wake, death may the bitterer be?
  Here will I sit until he come to me,
  And hide mine eyes and think upon my sin,
  That so a little calm I yet may win
  Before I stand within the awful place."
    Then down he sat and covered up his face,
  Yet therewithal his trouble could not hide,
  Nor waiting thus for death could he abide,
  For, though he knew it not, the yearning pain
  Of hope of life had touched his soul again--
  If he could live awhile, if he could live!
  The mighty being, who once was wont to give
  The gift of life to many a trembling man;
  Who did his own will since his life began;
  Who feared not aught, but strong and great and free
  Still cast aside the thought of what might be;
  Must all this then be lost, and with no will,
  Powerless and blind, must he some fate fulfil,
  Nor know what he is doing any more?

    Soon he arose and paced along the shore,
  And gazed out seaward for the blessed light;
  But nought he saw except the old sad sight,
  The ceaseless tumbling of the billows grey,
  The white upspringing of the spurts of spray
  Amidst that mass of timbers, the rent bones
  Of the sea-houses of the hapless ones
  Once cast like him upon this deadly isle.
    He stopped his pacing in a little while,
  And clenched his mighty hands, and set his teeth,
  And gazing at the ruin underneath,
  He swung from off the bare cliff's jagged brow,
  And on some slippery ledge he wavered now,
  Without a hand-hold, and now stoutly clung
  With hands alone, and o'er the welter hung,
  Not caring aught if thus his life should end;
  But safely midst all this did he descend
  The dreadful cliff, and since no beach was there,
  But from the depths the rock rose stark and bare,
  Nor crumbled aught beneath the hammering sea,
  Upon the wrecks he stood unsteadily.

    But now, amid the clamour of the waves,
  And washing to-and-fro of beams and staves,
  Dizzy with hunger, dreamy with distress,
  And all those days of fear and loneliness,
  The ocean's tumult seemed the battle's roar,
  His heart grew hot, as when in days of yore
  He heard the cymbals clash amid the crowd
  Of dusky faces; now he shouted loud,
  And from crushed beam to beam began to leap,
  And yet his footing somehow did he keep
  Amidst their tossing, and indeed the sea
  Was somewhat sunk upon the island's lee.
  So quickly on from wreck to wreck he passed,
  And reached the outer line of wrecks at last,
  And there a moment stood unsteadily,
  Amid the drift of spray that hurried by,
  And drew Courtain his sword from out its sheath,
  And poised himself to meet the coming death,
  Still looking out to sea; but as he gazed,
  And once or twice his doubtful feet he raised
  To take the final plunge, that heavenly strain
  Over the washing waves he heard again,
  And from the dimness something bright he saw
  Across the waste of waters towards him draw;
  And hidden now, now raised aloft, at last
  Unto his very feet a boat was cast,
  Gilded inside and out, and well arrayed
  With cushions soft; far fitter to have weighed
  From some sweet garden on the shallow Seine,
  Or in a reach of green Thames to have lain,
  Than struggle with that huge confusèd sea;
  But Ogier gazed upon it doubtfully
  One moment, and then, sheathing Courtain, said,
  "What tales are these about the newly dead
  The heathen told? what matter, let all pass;
  This moment as one dead indeed I was,
  And this must be what I have got to do,
  I yet perchance may light on something new
  Before I die; though yet perchance this keel
  Unto the wondrous mass of charmed steel
  Is drawn as others." With that word he leapt
  Into the boat, and o'er the cushions crept
  From stem to stern, but found no rudder there,
  Nor any oars, nor were the cushions fair
  Made wet by any dashing of the sea.
    Now while he pondered how these things could be,
  The boat began to move therefrom at last,
  But over him a drowsiness was cast,
  And as o'er tumbling hills the skiff did pass,
  He clean forgot his death and where he was.

    At last he woke up to a sunny day,
  And, looking round, saw that his shallop lay
  Moored at the edge of some fair tideless sea
  Unto an overhanging thick-leaved tree,
  Where in the green waves did the low bank dip
  Its fresh and green grass-covered daisied lip;
  But Ogier looking thence no more could see
  That sad abode of death and misery,
  Nor aught but wide and empty ocean, grey
  With gathering haze, for now it neared midday;
  Then from the golden cushions did he rise,
  And wondering still if this were Paradise
  He stepped ashore, but drew Courtain his sword
  And muttered therewithal a holy word.
    Fair was the place, as though amidst of May,
  Nor did the brown birds fear the sunny day,
  For with their quivering song the air was sweet;
  Thick grew the field-flowers underneath his feet,
  And on his head the blossoms down did rain,
  Yet mid these fair things slowly and with pain
  He 'gan to go, yea, even when his foot
  First touched the flowery sod, to his heart's root
  A coldness seemed to strike, and now each limb
  Was growing stiff, his eyes waxed bleared and dim,
  And all his stored-up memory 'gan to fail,
  Nor yet would his once mighty heart avail
  For lamentations o'er his changed lot;
  Yet urged by some desire, he knew not what,
  Along a little path 'twixt hedges sweet,
  Drawn sword in hand, he dragged his faltering feet,
  For what then seemed to him a weary way,
  Whereon his steps he needs must often stay
  And lean upon the mighty well-worn sword
  That in those hands, grown old, for king or lord
  Had small respect in glorious days long past.

    But still he crept along, and at the last
  Came to a gilded wicket, and through this
  Entered a garden fit for utmost bliss,
  If that might last which needs must soon go by:
  There 'gainst a tree he leaned, and with a sigh
  He said, "O God, a sinner I have been,
  And good it is that I these things have seen
  Before I meet what Thou hast set apart
  To cleanse the earthly folly from my heart;
  But who within this garden now can dwell
  Wherein guilt first upon the world befell?"
    A little further yet he staggered on,
  Till to a fountain-side at last he won,
  O'er which two white-thorns their sweet blossoms shed,
  There he sank down, and laid his weary head
  Beside the mossy roots, and in a while
  He slept, and dreamed himself within the isle;
  That splashing fount the weary sea did seem,
  And in his dream the fair place but a dream;
  But when again to feebleness he woke
  Upon his ears that heavenly music broke,
  Not faint or far as in the isle it was,
  But e'en as though the minstrels now did pass
  Anigh his resting-place; then fallen in doubt,
  E'en as he might, he rose and gazed about,
  Leaning against the hawthorn stem with pain;
  And yet his straining gaze was but in vain,
  Death stole so fast upon him, and no more
  Could he behold the blossoms as before,
  No more the trees seemed rooted to the ground,
  A heavy mist seemed gathering all around,
  And in its heart some bright thing seemed to be,
  And round his head there breathed deliciously
  Sweet odours, and that music never ceased.
  But as the weight of Death's strong hand increased
  Again he sank adown, and Courtain's noise
  Within the scabbard seemed a farewell voice
  Sent from the world he loved so well of old,
  And all his life was as a story told,
  And as he thought thereof he 'gan to smile
  E'en as a child asleep, but in a while
  It was as though he slept, and sleeping dreamed,
  For in his half-closed eyes a glory gleamed,
  As though from some sweet face and golden hair,
  And on his breast were laid soft hands and fair,
  And a sweet voice was ringing in his ears,
  Broken as if with flow of joyous tears;
    "Ogier, sweet friend, hast thou not tarried long?
  Alas! thine hundred years of strife and wrong!"
  Then he found voice to say, "Alas! dear Lord,
  Too long, too long; and yet one little word
  Right many a year agone had brought me here."
  Then to his face that face was drawn anear,
  He felt his head raised up and gently laid
  On some kind knee, again the sweet voice said,
  "Nay, Ogier, nay, not yet, not yet, dear friend!
  Who knoweth when our linked life shall end,
  Since thou art come unto mine arms at last,
  And all the turmoil of the world is past?
  Why do I linger ere I see thy face
  As I desired it in that mourning place
  So many years ago--so many years,
  Thou knewest not thy love and all her fears?"
    "Alas!" he said, "what mockery is this
  That thou wilt speak to me of earthly bliss?
  No longer can I think upon the earth,
  Have I not done with all its grief and mirth?
  Yes, I was Ogier once, but if my love
  Should come once more my dying heart to move,
  Then must she come from 'neath the milk-white walls
  Whereon to-day the hawthorn blossom falls
  Outside St. Omer's--art thou she? her name
  I could remember once mid death and fame
  Is clean forgotten now; but yesterday,
  Meseems, our son, upon her bosom lay:
  Baldwin the fair--what hast thou done with him
  Since Charlot slew him? Ah, mine eyes wax dim;
  Woman, forbear! wilt thou not let me die?
  Did I forget thee in the days gone by?
  Then let me die, that we may meet again!"

    He tried to move from her, but all in vain,
  For life had well-nigh left him, but withal
  He felt a kiss upon his forehead fall,
  And could not speak; he felt slim fingers fair
  Move to his mighty sword-worn hand, and there
  Set on some ring, and still he could not speak,
  And once more sleep weighed down his eyelids weak.

       *     *     *     *     *

  But, ah! what land was this he woke unto?
  What joy was this that filled his heart anew?
  Had he then gained the very Paradise?
  Trembling, he durst not at the first arise,
  Although no more he felt the pain of eld,
  Nor durst he raise his eyes that now beheld
  Beside him the white flowers and blades of grass;
  He durst not speak, lest he some monster was.
    But while he lay and hoped, that gentle voice
  Once more he heard; "Yea, thou mayst well rejoice!
  Thou livest still, my sweet, thou livest still,
  Apart from every earthly fear and ill;
  Wilt thou not love me, who have wrought thee this,
  That I like thee may live in double bliss?"
    Then Ogier rose up, nowise like to one
  Whose span of earthly life is nigh outrun,
  But as he might have risen in old days
  To see the spears cleave the fresh morning haze;
  But, looking round, he saw no change there was
  In the fair place wherethrough he first did pass,
  Though all, grown clear and joyous to his eyes,
  Now looked no worse than very Paradise;
  Behind him were the thorns, the fountain fair
  Still sent its glittering stream forth into air,
  And by its basin a fair woman stood,
  And as their eyes met his renewèd blood
  Rushed to his face; with unused thoughts and sweet
  And hurrying hopes, his heart began to beat.
    The fairest of all creatures did she seem;
  So fresh and delicate you well might deem
  That scarce for eighteen summers had she blessed
  The happy, longing world; yet, for the rest,
  Within her glorious eyes such wisdom dwelt
  A child before her had the wise man felt,
  And with the pleasure of a thousand years
  Her lips were fashioned to move joy or tears
  Among the longing folk where she might dwell,
  To give at last the kiss unspeakable.
    In such wise was she clad as folk may be,
  Who, for no shame of their humanity,
  For no sad changes of the imperfect year,
  Rather for added beauty, raiment wear;
  For, as the heat-foretelling grey-blue haze
  Veils the green flowery morn of late May-days,
  Her raiment veiled her; where the bands did meet
  That bound the sandals to her dainty feet,
  Gems gleamed; a fresh rose-wreath embraced her head,
  And on her breast there lay a ruby red.
    So with a supplicating look she turned
  To meet the flame that in his own eyes burned,
  And held out both her white arms lovingly,
  As though to greet him as he drew anigh.
  Stammering he said, "Who art thou? how am I
  So cured of all my evils suddenly,
  That certainly I felt no mightier, when,
  Amid the backward rush of beaten men,
  About me drooped the axe-torn Oriflamme?
  Alas! I fear that in some dream I am."
    "Ogier," she said, "draw near, perchance it is
  That such a name God gives unto our bliss;
  I know not, but if thou art such an one
  As I must deem, all days beneath the sun
  That thou hast had, shall be but dreams indeed
  To those that I have given thee at thy need.
  For many years ago beside the sea
  When thou wert born, I plighted troth with thee:
  Come near then, and make mirrors of mine eyes,
  That thou mayest see what these my mysteries
  Have wrought in thee; surely but thirty years,
  Passed amidst joy, thy new born body bears,
  Nor while thou art with me, and on this shore
  Art still full-fed of love, shalt thou seem more.
  Nay, love, come nigher, and let me take thine hand,
  The hope and fear of many a warring land,
  And I will show thee wherein lies the spell,
  Whereby this happy change upon thee fell."

    Like a shy youth before some royal love,
  Close up to that fair woman did he move,
  And their hands met; yet to his changed voice
  He dared not trust; nay, scarcely could rejoice
  E'en when her balmy breath he 'gan to feel,
  And felt strange sweetness o'er his spirit steal
  As her light raiment, driven by the wind,
  Swept round him, and, bewildered and half-blind,
  His lips the treasure of her lips did press,
  And round him clung her perfect loveliness.
    For one sweet moment thus they stood, and then
  She drew herself from out his arms again,
  And panting, lovelier for her love, did stand
  Apart awhile, then took her lover's hand,
  And, in a trembling voice, made haste to say,--
    "O Ogier, when thou earnest here to-day,
  I feared indeed, that in my sport with fate,
  I might have seen thee e'en one day too late,
  Before this ring thy finger should embrace;
  Behold it, love, and thy keen eyes may trace
  Faint figures wrought upon the ruddy gold;
  My father dying gave it me, nor told
  The manner of its making, but I know
  That it can make thee e'en as thou art now
  Despite the laws of God--shrink not from me
  Because I give an impious gift to thee--
  Has not God made me also, who do this?
  But I, who longed to share with thee my bliss,
  Am of the fays, and live their changeless life,
  And, like the gods of old, I see the strife
  That moves the world, unmoved if so I will;
  For we the fruit, that teaches good and ill,
  Have never touched like you of Adam's race;
  And while thou dwellest with me in this place
  Thus shalt thou be--ah, and thou deem'st, indeed,
  That thou shalt gain thereby no happy meed
  Reft of the world's joys? nor canst understand
  How thou art come into a happy land?--
  Love, in thy world the priests of heaven still sing,
  And tell thee of it many a joyous thing;
  But think'st thou, bearing the world's joy and pain,
  Thou couldst live there? nay, nay, but born again
  Thus wouldst be happy with the angels' bliss;
  And so with us no otherwise it is,
  Nor hast thou cast thine old life quite away
  Even as yet, though that shall be to-day.
    "But for the love and country thou hast won,
  Know thou, that thou art come to Avallon,
  That is both thine and mine; and as for me,
  Morgan le Fay men call me commonly
  Within the world, but fairer names than this
  I have for thee and me, 'twixt kiss and kiss."

    Ah, what was this? and was it all in vain,
  That she had brought him here this life to gain?
  For, ere her speech was done, like one turned blind
  He watched the kisses of the wandering wind
  Within her raiment, or as some one sees
  The very best of well-wrought images
  When he is blind with grief, did he behold
  The wandering tresses of her locks of gold
  Upon her shoulders; and no more he pressed
  The hand that in his own hand lay at rest:
  His eyes, grown dull with changing memories,
  Could make no answer to her glorious eyes:
  Cold waxed his heart, and weary and distraught,
  With many a cast-by, hateful, dreary thought,
  Unfinished in the old days; and withal
  He needs must think of what might chance to fall
  In this life new-begun; and good and bad
  Tormented him, because as yet he had
  A worldly heart within his frame made new,
  And to the deeds that he was wont to do
  Did his desires still turn. But she a while
  Stood gazing at him with a doubtful smile,
  And let his hand fall down; but suddenly
  Sounded sweet music from some close nearby,
  And then she spoke again: "Come, love, with me,
  That thou thy new life and delights mayst see."
  And gently with that word she led him thence,
  And though upon him now there fell a sense
  Of dreamy and unreal bewilderment,
  As hand in hand through that green place they went,
  Yet therewithal a strain of tender love
  A little yet his restless heart did move.

       *     *     *     *     *

    So through the whispering trees they came at last
  To where a wondrous house a shadow cast
  Across the flowers, and o'er the daisied grass
  Before it, crowds of lovely folk did pass,
  Playing about in carelessness and mirth,
  Unshadowed by the doubtful deeds of earth;
  And from the midst a band of fair girls came,
  With flowers and music, greeting him by name,
  And praising him; but ever like a dream
  He could not break, did all to Ogier seem,
  And he his old world did the more desire,
  For in his heart still burned unquenched the fire,
  That through the world of old so bright did burn:
  Yet was he fain that kindness to return,
  And from the depth of his full heart he sighed.
    Then toward the house the lovely Queen did guide
  His listless steps, and seemed to take no thought
  Of knitted brow or wandering eyes distraught,
  But still with kind love lighting up her face
  She led him through the door of that fair place,
  While round about them did the damsels press;
  And he was moved by all that loveliness
  As one might be, who, lying half asleep
  In the May morning, notes the light wind sweep
  Over the tulip-beds: no more to him
  Were gleaming eyes, red lips, and bodies slim,
  Amidst that dream, although the first surprise
  Of hurried love wherewith the Queen's sweet eyes
  Had smitten him, still in his heart did stir.

    And so at last he came, led on by her
  Into a hall wherein a fair throne was,
  And hand in hand thereto the twain did pass;
  And there she bade him sit, and when alone
  He took his place upon the double throne,
  She cast herself before him on her knees,
  Embracing his, and greatly did increase
  The shame and love that vexed his troubled heart:
  But now a line of girls the crowd did part,
  Lovelier than all, and Ogier could behold
  One in their midst who bore a crown of gold
  Within her slender hands and delicate;
  She, drawing nigh, beside the throne did wait
  Until the Queen arose and took the crown,
  Who then to Ogier's lips did stoop adown
  And kissed him, and said, "Ogier, what were worth
  Thy miserable days of strife on earth,
  That on their ashes still thine eyes are turned?"
    Then, as she spoke these words, his changed heart burned
  With sudden memories, and thereto had he
  Made answer, but she raised up suddenly
  The crown she held and set it on his head,
  "Ogier," she cried, "those troublous days are dead;
  Thou wert dead with them also, but for me;
  Turn unto her who wrought these things for thee!"
    Then, as he felt her touch, a mighty wave
  Of love swept o'er his soul, as though the grave
  Did really hold his body; from his seat
  He rose to cast himself before her feet;
  But she clung round him, and in close embrace
  The twain were locked amidst that thronging place.

    Thenceforth new life indeed has Ogier won,
  And in the happy land of Avallon
  Quick glide the years o'er his unchanging head;
  There saw he many men the world thought dead,
  Living like him in sweet forgetfulness
  Of all the troubles that did once oppress
  Their vainly-struggling lives--ah, how can I
  Tell of their joy as though I had been nigh?
  Suffice it that no fear of death they knew,
  That there no talk there was of false or true,
  Of right or wrong, for traitors came not there;
  That everything was bright and soft and fair,
  And yet they wearied not for any change,
  Nor unto them did constancy seem strange.
  Love knew they, but its pain they never had,
  But with each other's joy were they made glad;
  Nor were their lives wasted by hidden fire,
  Nor knew they of the unfulfilled desire
  That turns to ashes all the joys of earth,
  Nor knew they yearning love amidst the dearth
  Of kind and loving hearts to spend it on,
  Nor dreamed or discontent when all was won;
  Nor need they struggle after wealth and fame;
  Still was the calm flow of their lives the same,
  And yet, I say, they wearied not of it--
  So did the promised days by Ogier flit.

    Think that a hundred years have now passed by,
  Since ye beheld Ogier lie down to die
  Beside the fountain; think that now ye are
  In France, made dangerous with wasting war;
  In Paris, where about each guarded gate,
  Gathered in knots, the anxious people wait,
  And press around each new-come man to learn
  If Harfleur now the pagan wasters burn,
  Or if the Rouen folk can keep their chain,
  Or Pont de l'Arche unburnt still guards the Seine?
  Or if 'tis true that Andelys succour wants?
  That Vernon's folk are fleeing east to Mantes?
  When will they come? or rather is it true
  That a great band the Constable o'erthrew
  Upon the marshes of the lower Seine,
  And that their long ships, turning back again,
  Caught by the high-raised waters of the bore
  Were driven here and there and cast ashore?
    Such questions did they ask, and, as fresh men
  Came hurrying in, they asked them o'er again,
  And from scared folk, or fools, or ignorant,
  Still got new lies, or tidings very scant.

    But now amidst these men at last came one,
  A little ere the setting of the sun,
  With two stout men behind him, armed right well,
  Who ever as they rode on, sooth to tell,
  With doubtful eyes upon their master stared,
  Or looked about like troubled men and scared.
  And he they served was noteworthy indeed;
  Of ancient fashion were his arms and weed,
  Rich past the wont of men in those sad times;
  His face was bronzed, as though by burning climes,
  But lovely as the image of a god
  Carved in the days before on earth Christ trod;
  But solemn were his eyes, and grey as glass,
  And like to ruddy gold his fine hair was:
  A mighty man he was, and taller far
  Than those who on that day must bear the war
  The pagans waged: he by the warders stayed
  Scarce looked on them, but straight their words obeyed
  And showed his pass; then, asked about his name
  And from what city of the world he came,
  Said, that men called him now the Ancient Knight,
  That he was come midst the king's men to fight
  From St. Omer's; and as he spoke, he gazed
  Down on the thronging street as one amazed,
  And answered no more to the questioning
  Of frightened folk of this or that sad thing;
  But, ere he passed on, turned about at last
  And on the wondering guard a strange look cast,
  And said, "St. Mary! do such men as ye
  Fight with the wasters from across the sea?
  Then, certes, are ye lost, however good
  Your hearts may be; not such were those who stood
  Beside the Hammer-bearer years agone."
    So said he, and as his fair armour shone
  With beauty of a time long passed away,
  So with the music of another day
  His deep voice thrilled the awe-struck, listening folk.

    Yet from the crowd a mocking voice outbroke,
  That cried, "Be merry, masters, fear ye nought,
  Surely good succour to our side is brought;
  For here is Charlemaine come off his tomb
  To save his faithful city from its doom."
    "Yea," said another, "this is certain news,
  Surely ye know how all the carvers use
  To carve the dead man's image at the best,
  That guards the place where he may lie at rest;
  Wherefore this living image looks indeed,
  Spite of his ancient tongue and marvellous weed,
  To have but thirty summers."
                                  At the name
  Of Charlemaine, he turned to whence there came
  The mocking voice, and somewhat knit his brow,
  And seemed as he would speak, but scarce knew how;
  So with a half-sigh soon sank back again
  Into his dream, and shook his well-wrought rein,
  And silently went on upon his way.

    And this was Ogier: on what evil day
  Has he then stumbled, that he needs must come,
  Midst war and ravage, to the ancient home
  Of his desires? did he grow weary then,
  And wish to strive once more with foolish men
  For worthless things? or is fair Avallon
  Sunk in the sea, and all that glory gone?
    Nay, thus it happed--One day she came to him
  And said, "Ogier, thy name is waxen dim
  Upon the world that thou rememberest not;
  The heathen men are thick on many a spot
  Thine eyes have seen, and which I love therefore;
  And God will give His wonted help no more.
  Wilt thou, then, help? canst thou have any mind
  To give thy banner once more to the wind?
  Since greater glory thou shalt win for this
  Than erst thou gatheredst ere thou cam'st to bliss:
  For men are dwindled both in heart and frame,
  Nor holds the fair land any such a name
  As thine, when thou wert living midst thy peers:
  The world is worser for these hundred years."
    From his calm eyes there gleamed a little fire,
  And in his voice was something of desire,
  To see the land where he was used to be,
  As now he answered: "Nay, choose thou for me,
  Thou art the wisest; it is more than well
  Within this peaceful place with thee to dwell:
  Nor ill perchance in that old land to die,
  If, dying, I keep not the memory
  Of this fair life of ours." "Nay, nay," said she,
  "As to thy dying, that shall never be,
  Whiles that thou keep'st my ring--and now, behold,
  I take from thee thy charmed crown of gold,
  And thou wilt be the Ogier that thou wast
  Ere on the loadstone rock thy ship was cast:
  Yet thou shalt have thy youthful body still,
  And I will guard thy life from every ill."

    So was it done, and Ogier, armed right well,
  Sleeping, was borne away by some strong spell,
  And set upon the Flemish coast; and thence
  Turned to St. Omer's, with a doubtful sense
  Of being in some wild dream, the while he knew
  That great delight forgotten was his due,
  That all which there might hap was of small worth.
    So on he went, and sometimes unto mirth
  Did his attire move the country-folk,
  But oftener when strange speeches from him broke
  Concerning men and things for long years dead,
  He filled the listeners with great awe and dread;
  For in such wild times as these people were
  Are men soon moved to wonder and to fear.

    Now through the streets of Paris did he ride,
  And at a certain hostel did abide
  Throughout that night, and ere he went next day
  He saw a book that on a table lay,
  And opening it 'gan read in lazy mood:
  But long before it in that place he stood,
  Noting nought else; for it did chronicle
  The deeds of men of old he knew right well,
  When they were living in the flesh with him:
  Yea, his own deeds he saw, grown strange and dim
  Already, and true stories mixed with lies,
  Until, with many thronging memories
  Of those old days, his heart was so oppressed,
  He 'gan to wish that he might lie at rest,
  Forgetting all things: for indeed by this
  Little remembrance had he of the bliss
  That wrapped his soul in peaceful Avallon.

    But his changed life he needs must carry on;
  For ye shall know the Queen was gathering men
  To send unto the good King, who as then
  In Rouen lay, beset by many a band
  Of those who carried terror through the land,
  And still by messengers for help he prayed:
  Therefore a mighty muster was being made,
  Of weak and strong, and brave and timorous,
  Before the Queen anigh her royal house.
  So thither on this morn did Ogier turn,
  Some certain news about the war to learn;
  And when he came at last into the square,
  And saw the ancient palace great and fair
  Rise up before him as in other days,
  And in the merry morn the bright sun's rays
  Glittering on gathering helms and moving spears,
  He 'gan to feel as in the long-past years,
  And his heart stirred within him. Now the Queen
  Came from within, right royally beseen,
  And took her seat beneath a canopy,
  With lords and captains of the war anigh;
  And as she came a mighty shout arose,
  And round about began the knights to close,
  Their oath of fealty there to swear anew,
  And learn what service they had got to do.
  But so it was, that some their shouts must stay
  To gaze at Ogier as he took his way
  Through the thronged place; and quickly too he gat
  Unto the place whereas the Lady sat,
  For men gave place unto him, fearing him:
  For not alone was he most huge of limb,
  And dangerous, but something in his face,
  As his calm eyes looked o'er the crowded place,
  Struck men with awe; and in the ancient days,
  When men might hope alive on gods to gaze,
  They would have thought, "The gods yet love our town
  And from the heavens have sent a great one down."
    Withal unto the throne he came so near,
  That he the Queen's sweet measured voice could hear;
  And swiftly now within him wrought the change
  That first he felt amid those faces strange;
  And his heart burned to taste the hurrying life
  With such desires, such changing sweetness rife.
  And yet, indeed, how should he live alone,
  Who in the old past days such friends had known?
  Then he began to think of Caraheu,
  Of Bellicent the fair, and once more knew
  The bitter pain of rent and ended love.
  But while with hope and vain regret he strove,
  He found none 'twixt him and the Queen's high seat,
  And, stepping forth, he knelt before her feet
  And took her hand to swear, as was the way
  Of doing fealty in that ancient day,
  And raised his eyes to hers; as fair was she
  As any woman of the world might be
  Full-limbed and tall, dark haired, from her deep eyes,
  The snare of fools, the ruin of the wise,
  Love looked unchecked; and now her dainty hand,
  The well-knit holder of the golden wand,
  Trembled in his, she cast her eyes adown,
  And her sweet brow was knitted to a frown,
  As he, the taker of such oaths of yore,
  Now unto her all due obedience swore,
  Yet gave himself no name; and now the Queen,
  Awed by his voice as other folk had been,
  Yet felt a trembling hope within her rise
  Too sweet to think of, and with love's surprise
  Her cheek grew pale; she said, "Thy style and name
  Thou tellest not, nor what land of thy fame
  Is glad; for, certes, some land must be glad,
  That in its bounds her house thy mother had."
    "Lady," he said, "from what far land I come
  I well might tell thee, but another home
  Have I long dwelt in, and its name have I
  Forgotten now, forgotten utterly
  Who were my fellows, and what deeds they did;
  Therefore, indeed, shall my first name be hid
  And my first country; call me on this day
  The Ancient Knight, and let me go my way."
  He rose withal, for she her fingers fair
  Had drawn aback, and on him 'gan to stare
  As one afeard; for something terrible
  Was in his speech, and that she knew right well,
  Who 'gan to love him, and to fear that she,
  Shut out by some strange deadly mystery,
  Should never gain from him an equal love;
  Yet, as from her high seat he 'gan to move,
  She said, "O Ancient Knight, come presently,
  When we have done this muster, unto me,
  And thou shalt have thy charge and due command
  For freeing from our foes this wretched land!"
    Then Ogier made his reverence and went,
  And somewhat could perceive of her intent;
  For in his heart life grew, and love with life
  Grew, and therewith, 'twixt love and fame, was strife.
    But, as he slowly gat him from the square,
  Gazing at all the people gathered there,
  A squire of the Queen's behind him came,
  And breathless, called him by his new-coined name,
  And bade him turn because the Queen now bade,
  Since by the muster long she might be stayed,
  That to the palace he should bring him straight,
  Midst sport and play her coming back to wait;
  Then Ogier turned, nought loath, and with him went,
  And to a postern-gate his steps he bent,
  That Ogier knew right well in days of old;
  Worn was it now, and the bright hues and gold
  Upon the shields above, with lapse of days,
  Were faded much: but now did Ogier gaze
  Upon the garden where he walked of yore,
  Holding the hands that he should see no more;
  For all was changed except the palace fair,
  That Charlemaine's own eyes had seen built there
  Ere Ogier knew him; there the squire did lead
  The Ancient Knight, who still took little heed
  Of all the things that by the way he said,
  For all his thoughts were on the days long dead.
    There in the painted hall he sat again,
  And 'neath the pictured eyes of Charlemaine
  He ate and drank, and felt it like a dream;
  And midst his growing longings yet might deem
  That he from sleep should wake up presently
  In some fair city on the Syrian sea,
  Or on the brown rocks of the loadstone isle.
  But fain to be alone, within a while
  He gat him to the garden, and there passed
  By wondering squires and damsels, till at last,
  Far from the merry folk who needs must play,
  If on the world were coming its last day,
  He sat him down, and through his mind there ran
  Faint thoughts of that day, when, outworn and wan,
  He lay down by the fountain-side to die.
  But when he strove to gain clear memory
  Of what had happed since on the isle he lay
  Waiting for death, a hopeless castaway,
  Thought failing him, would rather bring again
  His life among the peers of Charlemaine,
  And vex his soul with hapless memories;
  Until at last, worn out by thought of these,
  And hopeless striving to find what was true,
  And pondering on the deeds he had to do
  Ere he returned, whereto he could not tell,
  Sweet sleep upon his wearied spirit fell.
  And on the afternoon of that fair day,
  Forgetting all, beneath the trees he lay.

    Meanwhile the Queen, affairs of state being done,
  Went through the gardens with one dame alone
  Seeking for Ogier, whom at last she found
  Laid sleeping on the daisy-sprinkled ground,
  Dreaming, I know not what, of other days.
  Then on him for a while the Queen did gaze,
  Drawing sweet poison from the lovely sight,
  Then to her fellow turned, "The ancient Knight--
  What means he by this word of his?" she said;
  "He were well mated with some lovely maid
  Just pondering on the late-heard name of love."
    "Softly, my lady, he begins to move,"
  Her fellow said, a woman old and grey;
  "Look now, his arms are of another day;
  None know him or his deeds; thy squire just said
  He asked about the state of men long dead;
  I fear what he may be; look, seest thou not
  That ring that on one finger he has got,
  Where figures strange upon the gold are wrought:
  God grant that he from hell has not been brought
  For our confusion, in this doleful war,
  Who surely in enough of trouble are
  Without such help;" then the Queen turned aside
  Awhile, her drawn and troubled face to hide,
  For lurking dread this speech within her stirred;
  But yet she said, "Thou sayest a foolish word,
  This man is come against our enemies
  To fight for us." Then down upon her knees
  Fell the old woman by the sleeping knight,
  And from his hand she drew with fingers light
  The wondrous ring, and scarce again could rise
  Ere 'neath the trembling Queen's bewildered eyes
  The change began; his golden hair turned white,
  His smooth cheek wrinkled, and his breathing light
  Was turned to troublous struggling for his breath,
  And on his shrunk lips lay the hand of death;
  And, scarce less pale than he, the trembling Queen
  Stood thinking on the beauty she had seen
  And longed for but a little while ago,
  Yet with her terror still her love did grow,
  And she began to weep as though she saw
  Her beauty e'en to such an ending draw.
  And 'neath her tears waking he oped his eyes,
  And strove to speak, but nought but gasping sighs
  His lips could utter; then he tried to reach
  His hand to them, as though he would beseech
  The gift of what was his: but all the while
  The crone gazed on them with an evil smile,
  Then holding toward the Queen that wondrous ring,
  She said, "Why weep'st thou? having this fair thing,
  Thou, losing nought the beauty that thou hast,
  May'st watch the vainly struggling world go past,
  Thyself unchanged." The Queen put forth her hand
  And took the ring, and there awhile did stand
  And strove to think of it, but still in her
  Such all-absorbing longings love did stir,
  So young she was, of death she could not think,
  Or what a cup eld gives to man to drink;
  Yet on her finger had she set the ring
  When now the life that hitherto did cling
  To Ogier's heart seemed fading quite away,
  And scarcely breathing with shut eyes he lay.
  Then, kneeling down, she murmured piteously,
  "Ah, wilt thou love me if I give it thee,
  And thou grow'st young again? what should I do
  If with the eyes thou thus shalt gain anew
  Thou shouldst look scorn on me?" But with that word
  The hedge behind her, by the west wind stirred,
  Cast fear into her heart of some one nigh,
  And therewith on his finger hastily
  She set the ring, then rose and stood apart
  A little way, and in her doubtful heart
  With love and fear was mixed desire of life.
    But standing so, a look with great scorn rife
  The elder woman, turning, cast on her,
  Pointing to Ogier, who began to stir;
  She looked, and all she erst saw now did seem
  To have been nothing but a hideous dream,
  As fair and young he rose from off the ground
  And cast a dazed and puzzled look around,
  Like one just waked from sleep in some strange place;
  But soon his grave eyes rested on her face,
  And turned yet graver seeing her so pale,
  And that her eyes were pregnant with some tale
  Of love and fear; she 'neath his eyes the while
  Forced her pale lips to semblance of a smile,
  And said, "O Ancient Knight, thou sleepest then?
  While through this poor land range the heathen men,
  Unmet of any but my King and Lord:
  Nay, let us see the deeds of thine old sword."
    "Queen," said he, "bid me then unto this work,
  And certes I behind no wall would lurk,
  Nor send for succour, while a scanty folk
  Still followed after me to break the yoke:
  I pray thee grace for sleeping, and were fain
  That I might rather never sleep again
  Than have such wretched dreams as I e'en now
  Have waked from."
                    Lovelier she seemed to grow
  Unto him as he spoke; fresh colour came
  Into her face, as though for some sweet shame,
  While she with tearful eyes beheld him so,
  That somewhat even must his burnt cheek glow,
  His heart beat faster. But again she said,
  "Nay, will dreams burden such a mighty head?
  Then may I too have pardon for a dream:
  Last night in sleep I saw thee, who didst seem
  To be the King of France; and thou and I
  Were sitting at some great festivity
  Within the many-peopled gold-hung place."
    The blush of shame was gone as on his face
  She gazed, and saw him read her meaning clear
  And knew that no cold words she had to fear,
  But rather that for softer speech he yearned.
  Therefore, with love alone her smooth cheek burned;
  Her parted lips were hungry for his kiss,
  She trembled at the near approaching bliss;
    Nathless, she checked her love a little while,
  Because she felt the old dame's curious smile
  Upon her, and she said, "O Ancient Knight,
  If I then read my last night's dream aright,
  Thou art come here our very help to be,
  Perchance to give my husband back to me;
  Come then, if thou this land art fain to save,
  And show the wisdom thou must surely have
  Unto my council; I will give thee then
  What charge I may among my valiant men;
  And certes thou wilt do so well herein,
  That, ere long, something greater shalt thou win:
  Come, then, deliverer of my throne and land,
  And let me touch for once thy mighty hand
  With these weak fingers."
                             As she spoke, she met
  His eager hand, and all things did forget
  But for one moment, for too wise were they
  To cast the coming years of joy away;
  Then with her other hand her gown she raised
  And led him thence, and o'er her shoulder gazed
  At her old follower with a doubtful smile,
  As though to say, "Be wise, I know thy guile!"
    But slowly she behind the lovers walked,
  Muttering, "So be it! thou shalt not be balked
  Of thy desire; be merry! I am wise,
  Nor will I rob thee of thy Paradise
  For any other than myself; and thou
  May'st even happen to have had enow
  Of this new love, before I get the ring,
  And I may work for thee no evil thing."

    Now ye shall know that the old chronicle,
  Wherein I read all this, doth duly tell
  Of all the gallant deeds that Ogier did,
  There may ye read them; nor let me be chid
  If I therefore say little of these things,
  Because the thought of Avallon still clings
  Unto my heart, and scarcely can I bear
  To think of that long, dragging useless year,
  Through which, with dulled and glimmering memory,
  Ogier was grown content to live and die
  Like other men; but this I have to say,
  That in the council chamber on that day
  The Old Knight showed his wisdom well enow,
  While fainter still with love the Queen did grow
  Hearing his words, beholding his grey eyes
  Flashing with fire of warlike memories;
  Yea, at the last he seemed so wise indeed
  That she could give him now the charge, to lead
  One wing of the great army that set out
  From Paris' gates, midst many a wavering shout
  Midst trembling prayers, and unchecked wails and tears,
  And slender hopes and unresisted fears.

    Now ere he went, upon his bed he lay,
  Newly awakened at the dawn of day,
  Gathering perplexed thoughts of many a thing,
  When, midst the carol that the birds did sing
  Unto the coming of the hopeful sun,
  He heard a sudden lovesome song begun
  'Twixt two young voices in the garden green,
  That seemed indeed the farewell of the Queen.


  SONG.

  HÆC.


    _In the white-flowered hawthorn brake,
  Love, be merry for my sake;
  Twine the blossoms in my hair,
  Kiss me where I am most fair--
  Kiss me, love! for who knoweth
  What thing cometh after death?_

  ILLE.

    _Nay, the garlanded gold hair
  Hides thee where thou art most fair;_
  _Hides the rose-tinged hills of snow--
  Ah, sweet love, I have thee now!
  Kiss me, love! for who knoweth
  What thing cometh after death?_

  HÆC.

    _Shall we weep for a dead day,
  Or set Sorrow in our way?
  Hidden by my golden hair,
  Wilt thou weep that sweet days wear?
  Kiss me, love! for who knoweth
  What thing cometh after death?_

  ILLE.

  _Weep, O Love, the days that flit,
    Now, while I can feel thy breath;
  Then may I remember it
    Sad and old, and near my death.
  Kiss me, love! for who knoweth
  What thing cometh after death_?


  Soothed by the pleasure that the music brought
  And sweet desire, and vague and dreamy thought
  Of happiness it seemed to promise him,
  He lay and listened till his eyes grew dim,
  And o'er him 'gan forgetfulness to creep
  Till in the growing light he lay asleep,
  Nor woke until the clanging trumpet-blast
  Had summoned him all thought away to cast:
  Yet one more joy of love indeed he had
  Ere with the battle's noise he was made glad;
  For, as on that May morning forth they rode
  And passed before the Queen's most fair abode,
  There at a window was she waiting them
  In fair attire with gold in every hem,
  And as the ancient Knight beneath her passed
  A wreath of flowering white-thorn down she cast,
  And looked farewell to him, and forth he set
  Thinking of all the pleasure he should get
  From love and war, forgetting Avallon
  And all that lovely life so lightly won;
  Yea, now indeed the earthly life o'erpast
  Ere on the loadstone rock his ship was cast
  Was waxing dim, nor yet at all he learned
  To 'scape the fire that erst his heart had burned.
  And he forgat his deeds, forgat his fame,
  Forgat the letters of his ancient name
  As one waked fully shall forget a dream,
  That once to him a wondrous tale did seem.

    Now I, though writing here no chronicle
  E'en as I said, must nathless shortly tell
  That, ere the army Rouen's gates could gain
  By a broad arrow had the King been slain,
  And helpless now the wretched country lay
  Beneath the yoke, until the glorious day
  When Ogier fell at last upon the foe,
  And scattered them as helplessly as though
  They had been beaten men without a name:
  So when to Paris town once more he came
  Few folk the memory of the King did keep
  Within their hearts, and if the folk did weep
  At his returning, 'twas for joy indeed
  That such a man had risen at their need
  To work for them so great deliverance,
  And loud they called on him for King of France.

    But if the Queen's heart were the more a-flame
  For all that she had heard of his great fame,
  I know not; rather with some hidden dread
  Of coming fate, she heard her lord was dead,
  And her false dream seemed coming true at last,
  For the clear sky of love seemed overcast
  With clouds of God's great judgments, and the fear
  Of hate and final parting drawing near.
    So now when he before her throne did stand
  Amidst the throng as saviour of the land,
  And she her eyes to his kind eyes did raise,
  And there before all her own love must praise;
  Then did she fall a-weeping, and folk said,
  "See, how she sorrows for the newly dead!
  Amidst our joy she needs must think of him;
  Let be, full surely shall her grief wax dim
  And she shall wed again."
                              So passed the year,
  While Ogier set himself the land to clear
  Of broken remnants of the heathen men,
  And at the last, when May-time came again,
  Must he be crowned King of the twice-saved land,
  And at the altar take the fair Queen's hand
  And wed her for his own. And now by this
  Had he forgotten clean the woe and bliss
  Of his old life, and still was he made glad
  As other men; and hopes and fears he had
  As others, and bethought him not at all
  Of what strange days upon him yet should fall
  When he should live and these again be dead.

    Now drew the time round when he should be wed,
  And in his palace on his bed he lay
  Upon the dawning of the very day:
  'Twixt sleep and waking was he, and could hear
  E'en at that hour, through the bright morn and clear,
  The hammering of the folk who toiled to make
  Some well-wrought stages for the pageant's sake,
  Though hardly yet the sparrows had begun
  To twitter o'er the coming of the sun,
  Nor through the palace did a creature move.
    There in the sweet entanglement of love
  Midst languid thoughts of greater bliss he lay,
  Remembering no more of that other day
  Than the hot noon remembereth of the night,
  Than summer thinketh of the winter white.
    In that sweet hour he heard a voice that cried,
  "Ogier, Ogier!" then, opening his eyes wide,
  And rising on his elbow, gazed around,
  And strange to him and empty was the sound
  Of his own name; "Whom callest thou?" he said.
  "For I, the man who lies upon this bed,
  Am Charles of France, and shall be King to-day,
  But in a year that now is past away
  The Ancient Knight they called me: who is this,
  Thou callest Ogier, then, what deeds are his?
  And who art thou?" But at that word a sigh,
  As of one grieved, came from some place anigh
  His bed-side, and a soft voice spake again,
  "This Ogier once was great amongst great men;
  To Italy a helpless hostage led;
  He saved the King when the false Lombard fled,
  Bore forth the Oriflamme and gained the day;
  Charlot he brought back, whom men led away,
  And fought a day-long fight with Caraheu.
  The ravager of Rome his right hand slew;
  Nor did he fear the might of Charlemaine,
  Who for a dreary year beset in vain
  His lonely castle; yet at last caught then,
  And shut in hold, needs must he come again
  To give an unhoped great deliverance
  Unto the burdened helpless land of France:
  Denmark he gained thereafter, and he wore
  The crown of England drawn from trouble sore;
  At Tyre then he reigned, and Babylon
  With mighty deeds he from the foemen won;
  And when scarce aught could give him greater fame,
  He left the world still thinking on his name.
    "These things did Ogier, and these things didst thou,
  Nor will I call thee by a new name now
  Since I have spoken words of love to thee--
  Ogier, Ogier, dost thou remember me,
  E'en if thou hast no thought of that past time
  Before thou earnest to our happy clime?"

    As this was said, his mazed eyes saw indeed
  A lovely woman clad in dainty weed
  Beside his bed, and many a thought was stirred
  Within his heart by that last plaintive word,
  Though nought he said, but waited what should come.
  "Love," said she, "I am here to bring thee home;
  Well hast thou done all that thou cam'st to do,
  And if thou bidest here, for something new
  Will folk begin to cry, and all thy fame
  Shall then avail thee but for greater blame;
  Thy love shall cease to love thee, and the earth
  Thou lovest now shall be of little worth
  While still thou keepest life, abhorring it.
  Behold, in men's lives that so quickly flit
  Thus is it, how then shall it be with thee,
  Who some faint image of eternity
  Hast gained through me?--alas, thou heedest not!
  On all these changing things thine heart is hot--
  Take then this gift that I have brought from far,
  And then may'st thou remember what we are;
  The lover and the loved from long ago."
    He trembled, and more memory seemed to grow
  Within his heart as he beheld her stand,
  Holding a glittering crown in her right hand:
  "Ogier," she said, "arise and do on thee
  The emblems of thy worldly sovereignity,
  For we must pass o'er many a sea this morn."
    He rose, and in the glittering tunic worn
  By Charlemaine he clad himself, and took
  The ivory hand, that Charlemaine once shook
  Over the people's head in days of old;
  Then on his feet he set the shoes of gold,
  And o'er his shoulders threw the mantle fair,
  And set the gold crown on his golden hair:
  Then on the royal chair he sat him down,
  As though he deemed the elders of the town
  Should come to audience; and in all he seemed
  To do these things e'en as a man who dreamed.

    And now adown the Seine the golden sun
  Shone out, as toward him drew that lovely one
  And took from off his head the royal crown,
  And, smiling, on the pillow laid it down
  And said, "Lie there, O crown of Charlemaine,
  Worn by a mighty man, and worn in vain,
  Because he died, and all the things he did
  Were changed before his face by earth was hid;
  A better crown I have for my love's head,
  Whereby he yet shall live, when all are dead
  His hand has helped." Then on his head she set
  The wondrous crown, and said, "Forget, forget!
  Forget these weary things, for thou hast much
  Of happiness to think of."
                             At that touch
  He rose, a happy light gleamed in his eyes;
  And smitten by the rush of memories,
  He stammered out, "O love! how came we here?
  What do we in this land of Death and Fear?
  Have I not been from thee a weary while?
  Let us return--I dreamed about the isle;
  I dreamed of other years of strife and pain,
  Of new years full of struggles long and vain."
    She took him by the hand and said, "Come, love,
  I am not changed;" and therewith did they move
  Unto the door, and through the sleeping place
  Swiftly they went, and still was Ogier's face
  Turned on her beauty, and no thought was his
  Except the dear returning of his bliss.
    But at the threshold of the palace-gate
  That opened to them, she awhile did wait,
  And turned her eyes unto the rippling Seine
  And said, "O love, behold it once again!"
  He turned, and gazed upon the city grey
  Smit by the gold of that sweet morn of May;
  He heard faint noises as of wakening folk
  As on their heads his day of glory broke;
  He heard the changing rush of the swift stream
  Against the bridge-piers. All was grown a dream.
  His work was over, his reward was come,
  Why should he loiter longer from his home?

    A little while she watched him silently,
  Then beckoned him to follow with a sigh,
  And, raising up the raiment from her feet,
  Across the threshold stepped into the street;
  One moment on the twain the low sun shone,
  And then the place was void, and they were gone
  How I know not; but this I know indeed,
  That in whatso great trouble or sore need
  The land of France since that fair day has been,
  No more the sword of Ogier has she seen.

       *     *     *     *     *

  Such was the tale he told of Avallon,
  E'en such an one as in days past had won
  His youthful heart to think upon the quest;
  But to those old hearts nigh in reach of rest,
  Not much to be desired now it seemed--
  Perchance the heart that of such things had dreamed
  Had found no words in this death-laden tongue
  We speak on earth, wherewith they might be sung;
  Perchance the changing years that changed his heart
  E'en in the words of that old tale had part,
  Changing its sweet to bitter, to despair
  The foolish hope that once had glittered there--
  Or think, that in some bay of that far home
  They then had sat, and watched the green waves come
  Up to their feet with many promises;
  Or the light wind midst blossom-laden trees,
  In the sweet Spring had weighted many a word
  Of no worth now, and many a hope had stirred
  Long dead for ever.
                       Howsoe'er that be
  Among strange folk they now sat quietly,
  As though that tale with them had nought to do,
  As though its hopes and fears were something new.
  But though, indeed, the outworn, dwindled band
  Had no tears left for that once longed-for land,
  The very wind must moan for their decay,
  And from the sky, grown dull, and low, and grey,
  Cold tears must fall upon the lonely field,
  That such fair golden hopes erewhile did yield;
  And on the blackening woods, wherein the doves
  Sat silent now, forgetful of their loves.
  Yet, since a little life at least was left,
  They were not yet of every joy bereft,
  For long ago was past the agony,
  Midst which they found that they indeed must die;
  And now well-nigh as much their pain was past
  As though death's veil already had been cast
  Over their heads--so, midst some little mirth,
  They watched the dark night hide the gloomy earth.



  THE GOLDEN APPLES.

This tale tells of the voyage of a ship of Tyre, that, against the will
of the shipmen, bore Hercules to an unknown land of the West, that he
might accomplish a task laid on him by the Fates.


    As many as the leaves fall from the tree,
  From the world's life the years are fallen away
  Since King Eurystheus sat in majesty
  In fair Mycenæ; midmost of whose day
  It once befell that in a quiet bay
  A ship of Tyre was swinging nigh the shore,
  Her folk for sailing handling rope and oar.

    Fresh was the summer morn, a soft wind stole
  Down from the sheep-browsed slopes the cliffs that crowned,
  And ruffled lightly the long gleaming roll
  Of the peaceful sea, and bore along the sound
  Of shepherd-folk and sheep and questing hound,
  For in the first dip of the hillside there
  Lay bosomed 'mid its trees a homestead fair.

    Amid regrets for last night, when the moon,
  Risen on the soft dusk, shone on maidens' feet
  Brushing the gold-heart lilies to the tune
  Of pipes complaining, o'er the grass down-beat
  That mixed with dewy flowers its odour sweet,
  The shipmen laboured, till the sail unfurled
  Swung round the prow to meet another world.

    But ere the anchor had come home, a shout
  Rang from the strand, as though the ship were hailed.
  Whereat the master bade them stay, in doubt
  That they without some needful thing had sailed;
  When, lo! from where the cliff's steep grey sides failed
  Into a ragged stony slip, came twain
  Who seemed in haste the ready keel to gain.

    Soon they drew nigh, and he who first came down
  Unto the surf was a man huge of limb,
  Grey-eyed, with crisp-curled hair 'twixt black and brown,
  Who had a lion's skin cast over him,
  So wrought with gold that the fell showed but dim
  Betwixt the threads, and in his hand he bore
  A mighty club with bands of steel done o'er.

    Panting there followed him a grey old man,
  Bearing a long staff, clad in gown of blue,
  Feeble of aspect, hollow-cheeked and wan,
  Who when unto his fellow's side he drew,
  Said faintly: "Now, do that which thou shouldst do;
  This is the ship." Then in the other's eye
  A smile gleamed, and he spake out merrily:

    "Masters, folk tell me that ye make for Tyre,
  And after that still nearer to the sun;
  And since Fate bids me look to die by fire,
  Fain am I, ere my worldly day be done,
  To know what from earth's hottest can be won;
  And this old man, my kinsman, would with me.
  How say ye, will ye bear us o'er the sea?"

    "What is thy name?" the master said: "And know
  That we are merchants, and for nought give nought;
  What wilt thou pay?--thou seem'st full rich, I trow."
  The old man muttered, stooped adown and caught
  At something in the sand: "E'en so I thought,"
  The younger said, "when I set out from home--
  As to my name, perchance in days to come

    "Thou shalt know that--but have heed, take this toy,
  And call me the Strong Man." And as he spake
  The master's deep-brown eyes 'gan gleam with joy,
  For from his arm a huge ring did he take,
  And cast it on the deck, where it did break
  A water-jar, and in the wet shards lay
  Golden, and gleaming like the end of day.

    But the old man held out a withered hand,
  Wherein there shone two pearls most great and fair,
  And said, "If any nigher I might stand,
  Then might'st thou see the things I give thee here--
  And for a name--a many names I bear,
  But call me Shepherd of the Shore this tide,
  And for more knowledge with a good will bide."

    From one to the other turned the master's eyes;
  The Strong Man laughed as at some hidden jest,
  And wild doubts in the shipman's heart did rise;
  But thinking on the thing, he deemed it best
  To bid them come aboard, and take such rest
  As they might have of the untrusty sea,
  'Mid men who trusty fellows still should be.

    Then no more words the Strong Man made, but straight
  Caught up the elder in his arms, and so,
  Making no whit of all that added weight,
  Strode to the ship, right through the breakers low,
  And catching at the rope that they did throw
  Out toward his hand, swung up into the ship;
  Then did the master let the hawser slip.

    The shapely prow cleft the wet mead and green,
  And wondering drew the shipmen round to gaze
  Upon those limbs, the mightiest ever seen;
  And many deemed it no light thing to face
  The splendour of his eyen, though they did blaze
  With no wrath now, no hate for them to dread,
  As seaward 'twixt the summer isles they sped.

    Freshened the wind, but ever fair it blew
  Unto the south-east; but as failed the land,
  Unto the plunging prow the Strong Man drew,
  And silent, gazing with wide eyes did stand,
  As though his heart found rest; but 'mid the band
  Of shipmen in the stern the old man sat,
  Telling them tales that no man there forgat.

    As one who had beheld, he told them there
  Of the sweet singer, whom, for his song's sake,
  The dolphins back from choking death did bear;
  How in the mid sea did the vine outbreak
  O'er that ill bark when Bacchus 'gan to wake;
  How anigh Cyprus, ruddy with the rose
  The cold sea grew as any June-loved close;

    While on the flowery shore all things alive
  Grew faint with sense of birth of some delight,
  And the nymphs waited trembling there, to give
  Glad welcome to the glory of that sight:
  He paused then, ere he told how, wild and white,
  Rose ocean, breaking o'er a race accurst,
  A world once good, now come unto its worst.

    And then he smiled, and said, "And yet ye won,
  Ye men, and tremble not on days like these,
  Nor think with what a mind Prometheus' son
  Beheld the last of the torn reeling trees
  From high Parnassus: slipping through the seas
  Ye never think, ye men-folk, how ye seem
  From down below through the green waters' gleam."

    Dusk was it now when these last words he said,
  And little of his visage might they see,
  But o'er their hearts stole vague and troublous dread,
  They knew not why; yet ever quietly
  They sailed that night; nor might a morning be
  Fairer than was the next morn; and they went
  Along their due course after their intent.

    The fourth day, about sunrise, from the mast
  The watch cried out he saw Phoenician land;
  Whereat the Strong Man on the elder cast
  A look askance, and he straight took his stand
  Anigh the prow, and gazed beneath his hand
  Upon the low sun and the scarce-seen shore,
  Till cloud-flecks rose, and gathered and drew o'er.

    The morn grown cold; then small rain 'gan to fall,
  And all the wind dropped dead, and hearts of men
  Sank, and their bark seemed helpless now and small;
  Then suddenly the wind 'gan moan again;
  Sails flapped, and ropes beat wild about; and then
  Down came the great east wind; and the ship ran
  Straining, heeled o'er, through seas all changed and wan.

    Westward, scarce knowing night from day, they drave
  Through sea and sky grown one; the Strong Man wrought
  With mighty hands, and seemed a god to save;
  But on the prow, heeding all weather nought,
  The elder stood, nor any prop he sought,
  But swayed to the ship's wallowing, as on wings
  He there were set above the wrack of things.

    And westward still they drave; and if they saw
  Land upon either side, as on they sped,
  'Twas but as faces in a dream may draw
  Anigh, and fade, and leave nought in their stead;
  And in the shipmen's hearts grew heavy dread
  To sick despair; they deemed they should drive on
  Till the world's edge and empty space were won.

    But 'neath the Strong Man's eyes e'en as they might
  They toiled on still; and he sang to the wind,
  And spread his arms to meet the waters white,
  As o'er the deck they tumbled, making blind
  The brine-drenched shipmen; nor with eye unkind
  He gazed up at the lightning; nor would frown
  When o'er the wet waste Jove's bolt rattled down.

    And they, who at the last had come to think
  Their guests were very gods, with all their fear
  Feared nought belike that their good ship would sink
  Amid the storm; but rather looked to hear
  The last moan of the wind that them should bear
  Into the windless stream of ocean grey,
  Where they should float till dead was every day.

    Yet their fear mocked them; for the storm 'gan die
  About the tenth day, though unto the west
  They drave on still; soon fair and quietly
  The morn would break: and though amid their rest
  Nought but long evil wandering seemed the best
  That they might hope for; still, despite their dread,
  Sweet was the quiet sea and goodlihead

    Of the bright sun at last come back again;
  And as the days passed, less and less fear grew,
  If without cause, till faded all their pain;
  And they 'gan turn unto their guests anew,
  Yet durst ask nought of what that evil drew
  Upon their heads; or of returning speak.
  Happy they felt, but listless, spent, and weak.

    And now as at the first the elder was,
  And sat and told them tales of yore agone;
  But ever the Strong Man up and down would pass
  About the deck, or on the prow alone
  Would stand and stare out westward; and still on
  Through a fair summer sea they went, nor thought
  Of what would come when these days turned to nought.

    And now when twenty days were well passed o'er
  They made a new land; cloudy mountains high
  Rose from the sea at first; then a green shore
  Spread fair below them: as they drew anigh
  No sloping, stony strand could they espy,
  And no surf breaking; the green sea and wide
  Wherethrough they slipped was driven by no tide.

    Dark fell ere they might set their eager feet
  Upon the shore; but night-long their ship lay
  As in a deep stream, by the blossoms sweet
  That flecked the grass whence flowers ne'er passed away.
  But when the cloud-barred east brought back the day,
  And turned the western mountain-tops to gold,
  Fresh fear the shipmen in their bark did hold.

    For as a dream seemed all; too fair for those
  Who needs must die; moreover they could see,
  A furlong off, 'twixt apple-tree and rose,
  A brazen wall that gleamed out wondrously
  In the young sun, and seemed right long to be;
  And memory of all marvels lay upon
  Their shrinking hearts now this sweet place was won.

    But when unto the nameless guests they turned,
  Who stood together nigh the plank shot out
  Shoreward, within the Strong Man's eyes there burned
  A wild light, as the other one in doubt
  He eyed a moment; then with a great shout
  Leaped into the blossomed grass; the echoes rolled
  Back from the hills, harsh still and over-bold.

    Slowly the old man followed him, and still
  The crew held back: they knew now they were brought
  Over the sea the purpose to fulfil
  Of these strange men; and in their hearts they thought,
  "Perchance we yet shall live, if, meddling nought
  With dreams, we bide here till these twain come back;
  But prying eyes the fire-blast seldom lack."

    Yet 'mongst them were two fellows bold and young,
  Who, looking each upon the other's face,
  Their hearts to meet the unknown danger strung,
  And went ashore, and at a gentle pace
  Followed the strangers, who unto the place
  Where the wall gleamed had turned; peace and desire
  Mingled together in their hearts, as nigher

    They drew unto that wall, and dulled their fear:
  Fair wrought it was, as though with bricks of brass;
  And images upon its face there were,
  Stories of things a long while come to pass:
  Nor that alone--as looking in a glass
  Its maker knew the tales of what should be,
  And wrought them there for bird and beast to see.

    So on they went; the many birds sang sweet
  Through all that blossomed thicket from above,
  And unknown flowers bent down before their feet;
  The very air, cleft by the grey-winged dove,
  Throbbed with sweet scent, and smote their souls with love.
  Slowly they went till those twain stayed before
  A strangely-wrought and iron-covered door.

    They stayed, too, till o'er noise of wind, and bird,
  And falling flower, there rang a mighty shout
  As the Strong Man his steel-bound club upreared,
  And drave it 'gainst the hammered iron stout,
  Where 'neath his blows flew bolt and rivet out,
  Till shattered on the ground the great door lay,
  And into the guarded place bright poured the day.

    The Strong Man entered, but his fellow stayed,
  Leaning against a tree-trunk as they deemed.
  They faltered now, and yet all things being weighed
  Went on again; and thought they must have dreamed
  Of the old man, for now the sunlight streamed
  Full on the tree he had been leaning on,
  And him they saw not go, yet was he gone:

    Only a slim green lizard flitted there
  Amidst the dry leaves; him they noted nought,
  But trembling, through the doorway 'gan to peer,
  And still of strange and dreadful saw not aught,
  Only a garden fair beyond all thought.
  And there, 'twixt sun and shade, the Strong Man went
  On some long-sought-for end belike intent.

    They 'gan to follow down a narrow way
  Of green-sward that the lilies trembled o'er,
  And whereon thick the scattered rose-leaves lay;
  But a great wonder weighed upon them sore,
  And well they thought they should return no more,
  Yet scarce a pain that seemed; they looked to meet
  Before they died things strange and fair and sweet.

    So still to right and left the Strong Man thrust
  The blossomed boughs, and passed on steadily,
  As though his hardy heart he well did trust,
  Till in a while he gave a joyous cry,
  And hastened on, as though the end drew nigh;
  And women's voices then they deemed they heard,
  Mixed with a noise that made desire afeard.

    Yet through sweet scents and sounds on did they bear
  Their panting hearts, till the path ended now
  In a wide space of green, a streamlet clear
  From out a marble basin there did flow,
  And close by that a slim-trunked tree did grow,
  And on a bough low o'er the water cold
  There hung three apples of red-gleaming gold.

    About the tree, new risen e'en now to meet
  The shining presence of that mighty one,
  Three damsels stood, naked from head to feet
  Save for the glory of their hair, where sun
  And shadow flickered, while the wind did run
  Through the grey leaves o'erhead, and shook the grass
  Where nigh their feet the wandering bee did pass.

    But 'midst their delicate limbs and all around
  The tree-roots, gleaming blue black could they see
  The spires of a great serpent, that, enwound
  About the smooth bole, looked forth threateningly,
  With glittering eyes and raised crest, o'er the three
  Fair heads fresh crowned, and hissed above the speech
  Wherewith they murmured softly each to each.

    Now the Strong Man amid the green space stayed,
  And leaning on his club, with eager eyes
  But brow yet smooth, in voice yet friendly said:
  "O daughters of old Hesperus the Wise,
  Well have ye held your guard here; but time tries
  The very will of gods, and to my hand
  Must give this day the gold fruit of your land."

    Then spake the first maid--sweet as the west wind
  Amidst of summer noon her sweet voice was:
  "Ah, me! what knows this place of changing mind
  Of men or gods; here shall long ages pass,
  And clean forget thy feet upon the grass,
  Thy hapless bones amid the fruitful mould;
  Look at thy death envenomed swift and cold!"

    Hiding new flowers, the dull coils, as she spake,
  Moved near her limbs: but then the second one,
  In such a voice as when the morn doth wake
  To song of birds, said, "When the world foredone
  Has moaned its last, still shall we dwell alone
  Beneath this bough, and have no tales to tell
  Of things deemed great that on the earth befell."

    Then spake the third, in voice as of the flute
  That wakes the maiden to her wedding morn:
  "If any god should gain our golden fruit,
  Its curse would make his deathless life forlorn.
  Lament thou, then, that ever thou wert born;
  Yet all things, changed by joy or loss or pain,
  To what they were shall change and change again."

    "So be it," he said, "the Fates that drive me on
  Shall slay me or shall save; blessing or curse
  That followeth after when the thing is won
  Shall make my work no better now nor worse;
  And if it be that the world's heart must nurse
  Hatred against me, how then shall I choose
  To leave or take?--let your dread servant loose!"

    E'en therewith, like a pillar of black smoke,
  Swift, shifting ever, drave the worm at him;
  In deadly silence now that nothing broke,
  Its folds were writhing round him trunk and limb,
  Until his glittering gear was nought but dim
  E'en in that sunshine, while his head and side
  And breast the fork-tongued, pointed muzzle tried.

    Closer the coils drew, quicker all about
  The forked tongue darted, and yet stiff he stood,
  E'en as an oak that sees the straw flare out
  And lick its ancient bole for little good:
  Until the godlike fury of his mood
  Burst from his heart in one great shattering cry,
  And rattling down the loosened coils did lie;

    And from the torn throat and crushed dreadful head
  Forth flowed a stream of blood along the grass;
  Bright in the sun he stood above the dead,
  Panting with fury; yet as ever was
  The wont of him, soon did his anger pass,
  And with a happy smile at last he turned
  To where the apples o'er the water burned.

    Silent and moveless ever stood the three;
  No change came o'er their faces, as his hand
  Was stretched aloft unto the sacred tree;
  Nor shrank they aught aback, though he did stand
  So close that tresses of their bright hair, fanned
  By the sweet garden breeze, lay light on him,
  And his gold fell brushed by them breast and limb.

    He drew adown the wind-stirred bough, and took
  The apples thence; then let it spring away,
  And from his brow the dark hair backward shook,
  And said: "O sweet, O fair, and shall this day
  A curse upon my life henceforward lay--
  This day alone? Methinks of coming life
  Somewhat I know, with all its loss and strife.

    "But this I know, at least: the world shall wend
  Upon its way, and, gathering joy and grief
  And deeds done, bear them with it to the end;
  So shall it, though I lie as last year's leaf
  Lies 'neath a summer tree, at least receive
  My life gone by, and store it, with the gain
  That men alive call striving, wrong, and pain.

    "So for my part I rather bless than curse,
  And bless this fateful land; good be with it;
  Nor for this deadly thing's death is it worse,
  Nor for the lack of gold; still shall ye sit
  Watching the swallow o'er the daisies flit;
  Still shall your wandering limbs ere day is done
  Make dawn desired by the sinking sun.

    "And now, behold! in memory of all this
  Take ye this girdle that shall waste and fade
  As fadeth not your fairness and your bliss,
  That when hereafter 'mid the blossoms laid
  Ye talk of days and men now nothing made,
  Ye may remember how the Theban man,
  The son of Jove, came o'er the waters wan."

    Their faces changed not aught for all they heard;
  As though all things now fully told out were,
  They gazed upon him without any word:
  Ah! craving kindness, hope, or loving care,
  Their fairness scarcely could have made more fair,
  As with the apples folded in his fell
  He went, to do more deeds for folk to tell.

    Now as the girdle on the ground was cast
  Those fellows turned and hurried toward the door,
  And as across its broken leaves they passed
  The old man saw they not, e'en as before;
  But an unearthed blind mole bewildered sore
  Was wandering there in fruitless, aimless wise,
  That got small heed from their full-sated eyes.

    Swift gat they to their anxious folk; nor had
  More time than just to say, "Be of good cheer,
  For in our own land may we yet be glad,"
  When they beheld the guests a-drawing near;
  And much bewildered the two fellows were
  To see the old man, and must even deem
  That they should see things stranger than a dream.

    But when they were aboard the elder cried,
  "Up sails, my masters, fair now is the wind;
  Nor good it is too long here to abide,
  Lest what ye may not loose your souls should bind."
  And as he spake, the tall trees left behind
  Stirred with the rising land-wind, and the crew,
  Joyous thereat, the hawsers shipward drew.

    Swift sped the ship, and glad at heart were all,
  And the Strong Man was merry with the rest,
  And from the elder's lips no word did fall
  That did not seem to promise all the best;
  Yet with a certain awe were men oppressed,
  And felt as if their inmost hearts were bare,
  And each man's secret babbled through the air.

    Still oft the old man sat with them and told
  Tales of past time, as on the outward way;
  And now would they the face of him behold
  And deem it changed; the years that on him lay
  Seemed to grow nought, and no more wan and grey
  He looked, but ever glorious, wise and strong,
  As though no lapse of time for him were long.

    At last, when six days through the kindly sea
  Their keel had slipped, he said: "Come hearken now,
  For so it is that things fare wondrously
  E'en in these days; and I a tale can show
  That, told by you unto your sons shall grow
  A marvel of the days that are to come:
  Take heed and tell it when ye reach your home.

    "Yet living in the world a man there is
  Men call the Theban King Amphitryon's son,
  Although perchance a greater sire was his;
  But certainly his lips have hung upon
  Alcmena's breasts: great deeds this man hath won
  Already, for his name is Hercules,
  And e'en ye Asian folk have heard of these.

    "Now ere the moon, this eve in his last wane,
  Was born, this Hercules, the fated thrall
  Of King Eurystheus, was straight bid to gain
  Gifts from a land whereon no foot doth fall
  Of mortal man, beyond the misty wall
  Of unknown waters; pensively he went
  Along the sea on his hard life intent.

    "And at the dawn he came into a bay
  Where the sea, ebbed far down, left wastes of sand,
  Walled from the green earth by great cliffs and grey;
  Then he looked up, and wondering there did stand,
  For strange things lay in slumber on the strand;
  Strange counterparts of what the firm earth hath
  Lay scattered all about his weary path:

    "Sea-lions and sea-horses and sea-kine,
  Sea-boars, sea-men strange-skinned, of wondrous hair;
  And in their midst a man who seemed divine
  For changeless eld, and round him women fair,
  Clad in the sea-webs glassy green and clear
  With gems on head and girdle, limb and breast,
  Such as earth knoweth not among her best.

    "A moment at the fair and wondrous sight
  He stared, then, since the heart in him was good,
  He went about with careful steps and light
  Till o'er the sleeping sea-god now he stood;
  And if the white-foot maids had stirred his blood
  As he passed by, now other thoughts had place
  Within his heart when he beheld that face.

    "For Nereus now he knew, who knows all things;
  And to himself he said, 'If I prevail,
  Better than by some god-wrought eagle-wings
  Shall I be holpen;' then he cried out: 'Hail,
  O Nereus! lord of shifting hill and dale!
  Arise and wrestle; I am Hercules!
  Not soon now shalt thou meet the ridgy seas.'

    "And mightily he cast himself on him;
  And Nereus cried out shrilly; and straightway
  That sleeping crowd, fair maid with half-hid limb,
  Strange man and green-haired beast, made no delay,
  But glided down into the billows grey,
  And, by the lovely sea embraced, were gone,
  While they two wrestled on the sea strand lone.

    "Soon found the sea-god that his bodily might
  Was nought in dealing with Jove's dear one there;
  And soon he 'gan to use his magic sleight:
  Into a lithe leopard, and a hugging bear
  He turned him; then the smallest fowl of air
  The straining arms of Hercules must hold,
  And then a mud-born wriggling eel and cold.

    "Then as the firm hands mastered this, forth brake
  A sudden rush of waters all around,
  Blinding and choking: then a thin green snake
  With golden eyes; then o'er the shell-strewn ground
  Forth stole a fly the least that may be found;
  Then earth and heaven seemed wrapped in one huge flame,
  But from the midst thereof a voice there came:

    "'Kinsman and stout-heart, thou hast won the day,
  Nor to my grief: what wouldst thou have of me?'
  And therewith to an old man small and grey
  Faded the roaring flame, who wearily
  Sat down upon the sand and said, 'Let be!
  I know thy tale; worthy of help thou art;
  Come now, a short way hence will there depart

    "'A ship of Tyre for the warm southern seas,
  Come we a-board; according to my will
  Her way shall be.' Then up rose Hercules,
  Merry of face, though hot and panting still;
  But the fair summer day his heart did fill
  With all delight; and so forth went the twain,
  And found those men desirous of all gain.

    "Ah, for these gainful men--somewhat indeed
  Their sails are rent, their bark beat; kin and friend
  Are wearying for them; yet a friend in need
  They yet shall gain, if at their journey's end,
  Upon the last ness where the wild goats wend
  To lick the salt-washed stones, a house they raise
  Bedight with gold in kindly Nereus' praise."

    Breathless they waited for these latest words,
  That like the soft wind of the gathering night
  Were grown to be: about the mast flew birds
  Making their moan, hovering long-winged and white;
  And now before their straining anxious sight
  The old man faded out into the air,
  And from his place flew forth a sea-mew fair.

    Then to the Mighty Man, Alcmena's son,
  With yearning hearts they turned till he should speak,
  And he spake softly: "Nought ill have ye done
  In helping me to find what I did seek:
  The world made better by me knows if weak
  My hand and heart are: but now, light the fire
  Upon the prow and worship the grey sire."

    So did they; and such gifts as there they had
  Gave unto Nereus; yea, and sooth to say,
  Amid the tumult of their hearts made glad,
  Had honoured Hercules in e'en such way;
  But he laughed out amid them, and said, "Nay,
  Not yet the end is come; nor have I yet
  Bowed down before vain longing and regret.

    "It may be--who shall tell, when I go back
  There whence I came, and looking down behold
  The place that my once eager heart shall lack,
  And all my dead desires a-lying cold,
  But I may have the might then to enfold
  The hopes of brave men in my heart?--but long
  Life lies before first with its change and wrong."

    So fair along the watery ways they sped
  In happy wise, nor failed of their return;
  Nor failed in ancient Tyre the ways to tread,
  Teaching their tale to whomsoever would learn,
  Nor failed at last the flesh of beasts to burn
  In Nereus' house, turned toward the bright day's end
  On the last ness, round which the wild goats wend.



  L'ENVOI.


    Here are we for the last time face to face,
  Thou and I, Book, before I bid thee speed
  Upon thy perilous journey to that place
  For which I have done on thee pilgrim's weed,
  Striving to get thee all things for thy need--
  --I love thee, whatso time or men may say
  Of the poor singer of an empty day.

    Good reason why I love thee, e'en if thou
  Be mocked or clean forgot as time wears on;
  For ever as thy fashioning did grow,
  Kind word and praise because of thee I won
  From those without whom were my world all gone,
  My hope fallen dead, my singing cast away,
  And I set soothly in an empty day.

    I love thee; yet this last time must it be,
  That thou must hold thy peace and I must speak,
  Lest if thou babble I begin to see
  Thy gear too thin, thy limbs and heart too weak,
  To find the land thou goest forth to seek--
  --Though what harm if thou die upon the way,
  Thou idle singer of an empty day?

    But though this land desired thou never reach,
  Yet folk who know it mayst thou meet or death;
  Therefore a word unto thee would I teach
  To answer these, who, noting thy weak breath,
  Thy wandering eyes, thy heart of little faith,
  May make thy fond desire a sport and play,
  Mocking the singer of an empty day.

    That land's name, say'st thou? and the road thereto?
  Nay, Book, thou mockest, saying thou know'st it not;
  Surely no book of verse I ever knew
  But ever was the heart within him hot
  To gain the Land of Matters Unforgot--
  --There, now we both laugh--as the whole world may,
  At us poor singers of an empty day.

    Nay, let it pass, and hearken! Hast thou heard
  That therein I believe I have a friend,
  Of whom for love I may not be afeard?
  It is to him indeed I bid thee wend;
  Yea, he perchance may meet thee ere thou end,
  Dying so far off from the hedge of bay,
  Thou idle singer of an empty day!

    Well, think of him, I bid thee, on the road,
  And if it hap that midst of thy defeat,
  Fainting beneath thy follies' heavy load,
  My Master, Geoffrey Chaucer, thou do meet,
  Then shalt thou win a space of rest full sweet;
  Then be thou bold, and speak the words I say,
  The idle singer of an empty day!

    "O Master, O thou great of heart and tongue,
  Thou well mayst ask me why I wander here,
  In raiment rent of stories oft besung!
  But of thy gentleness draw thou anear,
  And then the heart of one who held thee dear
  Mayst thou behold! So near as that I lay
  Unto the singer of an empty day.

    "For this he ever said, who sent me forth
  To seek a place amid thy company;
  That howsoever little was my worth,
  Yet was he worth e'en just so much as I;
  He said that rhyme hath little skill to lie:
  Nor feigned to cast his worser part away
  In idle singing for an empty day.

    "I have beheld him tremble oft enough
  At things he could not choose but trust to me,
  Although he knew the world was wise and rough:
  And never did he fail to let me see
  His love,--his folly and faithlessness, may be;
  And still in turn I gave him voice to pray
  Such prayers as cling about an empty day.

    "Thou, keen-eyed, reading me, mayst read him through,
  For surely little is there left behind;
  No power great deeds unnameable to do;
  No knowledge for which words he may not find,
  No love of things as vague as autumn wind--
  --Earth of the earth lies hidden by my clay,
  The idle singer of an empty day!

    "Children we twain are, saith he, late made wise
  In love, but in all else most childish still,
  And seeking still the pleasure of our eyes,
  And what our ears with sweetest sounds may fill;
  Not fearing Love, lest these things he should kill;
  Howe'er his pain by pleasure doth he lay,
  Making a strange tale of an empty day.

    "Death have we hated, knowing not what it meant;
  Life have we loved, through green leaf and through sere,
  Though still the less we knew of its intent:
  The Earth and Heaven through countless year on year,
  Slow changing, were to us but curtains fair,
  Hung round about a little room, where play
  Weeping and laughter of man's empty day.

    "O Master, if thine heart could love us yet,
  Spite of things left undone, and wrongly done,
  Some place in loving hearts then should we get,
  For thou, sweet-souled, didst never stand alone,
  But knew'st the joy and woe of many an one--
  --By lovers dead, who live through thee we pray,
  Help thou us singers of an empty day!"

    Fearest thou, Book, what answer thou mayst gain
  Lest he should scorn thee, and thereof thou die?
  Nay, it shall not be.--Thou mayst toil in vain,
  And never draw the House of Fame anigh;
  Yet he and his shall know whereof we cry,
  Shall call it not ill done to strive to lay
  The ghosts that crowd about life's empty day.

    Then let the others go! and if indeed
  In some old garden thou and I have wrought,
  And made fresh flowers spring up from hoarded seed,
  And fragrance of old days and deeds have brought
  Back to folk weary; all was not for nought.
  --No little part it was for me to play--
  The idle singer of an empty day.



  FROM "LOVE IS ENOUGH."

  INTERLUDES.


  1.

  Love is enough; though the World be a-waning
  And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
    Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
  The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
  Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder,
    And this day draw a veil over all deeds, passed over,
  Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
  The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
    These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.


  2.

  Love is enough: it grew up without heeding
    In the days when ye knew not its name nor its measure,
    And its leaflets untrodden by the light feet of pleasure
  Had no boast of the blossom, no sign of the seeding,
    As the morning and evening passed over its treasure.

  And what do ye say then?--that Spring long departed
    Has brought forth no child to the softness and showers;
    --That we slept and we dreamed through the Summer of flowers;
  We dreamed of the Winter, and waking dead-hearted
    Found Winter upon us and waste of dull hours.

  Nay, Spring was o'er happy and knew not the reason,
    And Summer dreamed sadly, for she thought all was ended
    In her fulness of wealth that might not be amended;
  But this is the harvest and the garnering season,
    And the leaf and the blossom in the ripe fruit are blended.

  It sprang without sowing, it grew without heeding,
    Ye knew not its name and ye knew not its measure,
    Ye noted it not mid your hope and your pleasure;
  There was pain in its blossom, despair in its seeding,
    But daylong your bosom now nurseth its treasure.


  3.

  Love is enough: draw near and behold me
    Ye who pass by the way to your rest and your laughter,
    And are full of the hope of the dawn coming after
  For the strong of the world have bought me and sold me
    And my house is all wasted from threshold to rafter.
      --Pass by me, and hearken, and think of me not!

  Cry out and come near; for my ears may not hearken,
    And my eyes are grown dim as the eyes of the dying.
    Is this the grey rack o'er the sun's face a-flying?
  Or is it your faces his brightness that darken?
    Comes a wind from the sea, or is it your sighing?
      --Pass by me and hearken, and pity me not!

  Ye know not how void is your hope and your living:
    Depart with your helping lest yet ye undo me!
    Ye know not that at nightfall she draweth near to me,
  There is soft speech between us and words of forgiving
    Till in dead of the midnight her kisses thrill through me.
      --Pass by me and hearken, and waken me not!

  Wherewith will ye buy it, ye rich who behold me?
    Draw out from your coffers your rest and your laughter,
    And the fair gilded hope of the dawn coming after!
  Nay this I sell not,--though ye bought me and sold me,--
    For your house stored with such things from threshold to rafter.
      --Pass by me, I hearken, and think of you not!


  4.

  Love is enough: ho ye who seek saving,
    Go no further; come hither; there have been who have found it,
  And these know the House of Fulfilment of Craving;
    These know the Cup with the roses around it;
    These know the World's Wound and the balm that hath bound it:
  Cry out, the World heedeth not, "Love, lead us home!"

  He leadeth, He hearkeneth, He cometh to you-ward;
    Set your faces as steel to the fears that assemble
  Round his goad for the faint, and his scourge for the froward:
    Lo! his lips, how with tales of last kisses they tremble!
    Lo! his eyes of all sorrow that may not dissemble!
  Cry out, for he heedeth, "O Love, lead us home!"

  O hearken the words of his voice of compassion:
    "Come cling round about me, ye faithful who sicken
  Of the weary unrest and the world's passing fashion!
    As the rain in mid-morning your troubles shall thicken,
    But surely within you some Godhead doth quicken,
  As ye cry to me heeding, and leading you home.

  "Come--pain ye shall have, and be blind to the ending!
    Come--fear ye shall have, mid the sky's overcasting!
  Come--change ye shall have, for far are ye wending!
    Come--no crown ye shall have for your thirst and your fasting,
    But the kissed lips of Love and fair life everlasting!
  Cry out, for one heedeth, who leadeth you home!"

  Is he gone? was he with us?--ho ye who seek saving,
    Go no further; come hither; for have we not found it?
  Here is the House of Fulfilment of Craving;
    Here is the Cup with the roses around it;
    The World's Wound well healed, and the balm that hath bound it:
  Cry out! for he heedeth, fair Love that led home.



  FROM

  "THE STORY OF SIGURD THE VOLSUNG."

  BOOK II.

  R E G I N.


Now this is the first book of the life and death of Sigurd the Volsung,
and therein is told of the birth of him, and of his dealings with Regin
the master of masters, and of his deeds in the waste places of the
earth.

  _Of the birth of Sigurd the son of Sigmund._

  Peace lay on the land of the Helper and the house of Elf his son;
  There merry men went bedward when their tide of toil was done,
  And glad was the dawn's awakening, and the noontide fair and glad:
  There no great store had the franklin, and enough the hireling had;
  And a child might go unguarded the length and breadth of the land
  With a purse of gold at his girdle and gold rings on his hand.
  'Twas a country of cunning craftsmen, and many a thing they wrought,
  That the lands of storm desired, and the homes of warfare sought.
  But men deemed it o'er-well warded by more than its stems of fight,
  And told how its earth-born watchers yet lived of plenteous might.
  So hidden was that country, and few men sailed its sea,
  And none came o'er its mountains of men-folk's company.
  But fair-fruited, many-peopled, it lies a goodly strip,
  'Twixt the mountains cloudy-headed and the sea-flood's surging lip,
  And a perilous flood is its ocean, and its mountains, who shall tell
  What things in their dales deserted and their wind-swept heaths may dwell.
  Now a man of the Kings, called Gripir, in this land of peace abode:
  The son of the Helper's father, though never lay his load
  In the womb of the mother of Kings that the Helper's brethren bore;
  But of Giant kin was his mother, of the folk that are seen no more;
  Though whiles as ye ride some fell-road across the heath there comes
  The voice of their lone lamenting o'er their changed and conquered homes.
  A long way off from the sea-strand and beneath the mountains' feet
  Is the high-built hall of Gripir, where the waste and the tillage meet;
  A noble and plentiful house, that a little men-folk fear,
  But beloved of the crag-dwelling eagles and the kin of the woodland deer.
  A man of few words was Gripir, but he knew of all deeds that had been,
  And times there came upon him, when the deeds to be were seen:
  No sword had he held in his hand since his father fell to field,
  And against the life of the slayer he bore undinted shield:
  Yet no fear in his heart abided, nor desired he aught at all,
  But he noted the deeds that had been, and looked for what should befall.

  Again, in the house of the Helper there dwelt a certain man
  Beardless and low of stature, of visage pinched and wan:
  So exceeding old was Regin, that no son of man could tell
  In what year of the days passed over he came to that land to dwell;
  But the youth of King Elf had he fostered, and the Helper's youth thereto,
  Yes and his father's father's: the lore of all men he knew,
  And was deft in every cunning, save the dealings of the sword:
  So sweet was his tongue-speech fashioned, that men trowed his every word;
  His hand with the harp-strings blended was the mingler of delight
  With the latter days of sorrow; all tales he told aright;
  The Master of the Masters in the smithying craft was he;
  And he dealt with the wind and the weather and the stilling of the sea;
  Nor might any learn him leech-craft, for before that race was made,
  And that man-folk's generation, all their life-days had he weighed.

  In this land abideth Hiordis amid all people's praise
  Till cometh the time appointed: in the fulness of the days
  Through the dark and the dusk she travailed, till at last in the dawning
    hour
  Have the deeds of the Volsungs blossomed, and born their latest flower;
  In the bed there lieth a man child, and his eyes look straight on the sun,
  And lo, the hope of the people, and the days of a king are begun.

  Men say of the serving-women, when they cried on the joy of the morn,
  When they handled the linen raiment, and washed the king new-born,
  When they bore him back unto Hiordis, and the weary and happy breast,
  And bade her be glad to behold it, how the best was sprung from the best,
  Yet they shrank in their rejoicing before the eyes of the child,
  So bright and dreadful were they; yea though the spring morn smiled,
  And a thousand birds were singing round the fair familiar home,
  And still as on other mornings they saw folk go and come,
  Yet the hour seemed awful to them, and the hearts within them burned
  As though of fateful matters their souls were newly learned.

  But Hiordis looked on the Volsung, on her grief and her fond desire,
  And the hope of her heart was quickened, and her joy was a living fire;
  And she said: "Now one of the earthly on the eyes of my child hath gazed
  Nor shrunk before their glory, nor stayed her love amazed:
  I behold thee as Sigmund beholdeth,--and I was the home of thine heart--
  Woe's me for the day when thou wert not, and the hour when we shall part!"

  Then she held him a little season on her weary and happy breast
  And she told him of Sigmund and Volsung and the best sprung forth from
    the best:
  She spake to the new-born baby as one who might understand,
  And told him of Sigmund's battle, and the dead by the sea-flood's strand,
  And of all the wars passed over, and the light with darkness blent.

  So she spake, and the sun rose higher, and her speech at last was spent,
  And she gave him back to the women to bear forth to the people's kings,
  That they too may rejoice in her glory and her day of happy things.

  But there sat the Helper of Men with King Elf and Earls in the hall,
  And they spake of the deeds that had been, and told of the times to
    befall,
  And they hearkened and heard sweet voices and the sound of harps draw
    nigh,
  Till their hearts were exceeding merry and they knew not wherefore or
    why:
  Then, lo, in the hall white raiment, as thither the damsels came,
  And amid the hands of the foremost was the woven gold aflame.

  "O daughters of earls," said the Helper, "what tidings then do ye bear?
  Is it grief in the merry morning, or joy or wonder or fear?"

  Quoth the first: "It is grief for the foemen that the Masters of God-home
    would grieve."

  Said the next: "'Tis a wonder of wonders, that the hearkening world shall
    believe."

  "A fear of all fears," said the third, "for the sword is uplifted on men."

  "A joy of all joys," said the fourth, "once come, it comes not again!"

  "Lo, son," said the ancient Helper, "glad sit the earls and the lords!
  Lookst thou not for a token of tidings to follow such-like words?"

  Saith King Elf: "Great words of women! or great hath our dwelling become."

  Said the women: "Words shall be greater, when all folk shall praise our
    home."

  "What then hath betid," said King Elf, "do the high Gods stand in our
    gate?"

  "Nay," said they, "else were we silent, and they should be telling of
    fate."

  "Is the bidding come," said the Helper, "that we wend the Gods to see?"

  "Many summers and winters," they said, "ye shall live on the earth, it
    may be."

  Said a young man: "Will ye be telling that all we shall die no more?"

  "Nay," they answered, "nay, who knoweth but the change may be hard at
    the door?"

  "Come ships from the sea," said an elder, "with all gifts of the
    Eastland gold?"

  "Was there less than enough," said the women, "when last our treasure
    was told?"

  "Speak then," said the ancient Helper, "let the worst and the best be
    said."

  Quoth they: "'Tis the Queen of the Isle-folk, she is weary-sick on her
    bed."

  Said King Elf: "Yet ye come rejoicing; what more lieth under the tongue?"

  They said: "The earth is weary; but the tender blade hath sprung,
  That shall wax till beneath its branches fair bloom the meadows green;
  For the Gods and they that were mighty were glad erewhile with the Queen."

  Said King Elf: "How say ye, women? Of a King new-born do ye tell
  By a God of the Heavens begotten in our fathers' house to dwell?"

  "By a God of the Earth," they answered; "but greater yet is the son,
  Though long were the days of Sigmund, and great are the deeds he hath
    done."

  Then she with the golden burden to the kingly high-seat stepped
  And away from the new-born baby the purple cloths she swept,
  And cried: "O King of the people, long mayst thou live in bliss,
  As our hearts to-day are happy! Queen Hiordis sends thee this,
  And she saith that the world shall call it by the name that thou shalt
    name;
  Now the gift to thee is given, and to thee is brought the fame."

       *     *     *     *     *

  Then e'en as a man astonied King Elf the Volsung took,
  While his feast-hall's ancient timbers with the cry of the earl-folk
    shook;
  For the eyes of the child gleamed on him till he was as one who sees
  The very Gods arising mid their carven images:
  To his ears there came a murmur of far seas beneath the wind
  And the tramp of fierce-eyed warriors through the outland forest blind;
  The sound of hosts of battle, cries round the hoisted shield,
  Low talk of the gathered wise-ones in the Goth-folk's holy field:
  So the thought in a little moment through King Elf the Mighty ran
  Of the years and their building and burden, and toil of the sons of man,
  The joy of folk and their sorrow, and the hope of deeds to do:
  With the love of many peoples was the wise king smitten through,
  As he hung o'er the new-born Volsung: but at last he raised his head,
  And looked forth kind o'er his people, and spake aloud and said:

  "O Sigmund King of Battle; O man of many days,
  Whom I saw mid the shields of the fallen and the dead men's silent praise,
  Lo, how hath the dark tide perished and the dawn of day begun!
  And now, O mighty Sigmund, wherewith shall we name thy son?"

  But there rose up a man most ancient, and he cried: "Hail Dawn of the Day!
  How many things shalt thou quicken, how many shalt thou slay!
  How many things shalt thou waken, how many lull to sleep!
  How many things shalt thou scatter, how many gather and keep!
  O me, how thy love shall cherish, how thine hate shall wither and burn!
  How the hope shall be sped from thy right hand, nor the fear to thy left
    return!
  O thy deeds that men shall sing of! O thy deeds that the Gods shall see!
  O SIGURD, Son of the Volsungs, O Victory yet to be!"

  Men heard the name and they knew it, and they caught it up in the air,
  And it went abroad by the windows and the doors of the feast-hall fair,
  It went through street and market; o'er meadow and acre it went,
  And over the wind-stirred forest and the dearth of the sea-beat bent,
  And over the sea-flood's welter, till the folk of the fishers heard,
  And the hearts of the isle-abiders on the sun-scorched rocks were stirred.

  But the Queen in her golden chamber, the name she hearkened and knew;
  And she heard the flock of the women, as back to the chamber they drew,
  And the name of Sigurd entered, and the body of Sigurd was come,
  And it was as if Sigmund were living and she still in her lovely home;
  Of all folk of the world was she well, and a soul fulfilled of rest
  As alone in the chamber she wakened and Sigurd cherished her breast.

  But men feast in the merry noontide, and glad is the April green
  That a Volsung looks on the sunlight and the night and the darkness have
    been.
  Earls think of marvellous stories, and along the golden strings
  Flit words of banded brethren and names of war-fain Kings:
  All the days of the deeds of Sigmund who was born so long ago;
  All deeds of the glorious Signy, and her tarrying-tide of woe;
  Men tell of the years of Volsung, and how long agone it was
  That he changed his life in battle, and brought the tale to pass:
  Then goeth the word of the Giants, and the world seems waxen old
  For the dimness of King Rerir and the tale of his warfare told:
  Yet unhushed are the singers' voices, nor yet the harp-strings cease
  While yet is left a rumour of the mirk-wood's broken peace,
  And of Sigi the very ancient, and the unnamed Sons of God,
  Of the days when the Lords of Heaven full oft the world-ways trod.

  So stilleth the wind in the even and the sun sinks down in the sea,
  And men abide the morrow and the Victory yet to be.


    _Sigurd getteth to him the horse that is called Greyfell._

  Now waxeth the son of Sigmund in might and goodliness,
  And soft the days win over, and all men his beauty bless.
  But amidst the summer season was the Isle-queen Hiordis wed
  To King Elf the son of the Helper, and fair their life-days sped.
  Peace lay on the land for ever, and the fields gave good increase,
  And there was Sigurd waxing mid the plenty and the peace.

  Now hath the child grown greater, and is keen and eager of wit
  And full of understanding, and oft hath the joy to sit
  Amid talk of weighty matters when the wise men meet for speech;
  And joyous he is moreover and blithe and kind with each.
  But Regin the wise craftsmaster heedeth the youngling well,
  And before the Kings he cometh, and saith such words to tell.

  "I have fostered thy youth, King Elf, and thine O Helper of men,
  And ye wot that such a master no king shall see again;
  And now would I foster Sigurd; for, though he be none of thy blood,
  Mine heart of his days that shall be speaketh abundant good."

  Then spake the Helper of men-folk: "Yea, do herein thy will:
  For thou art the Master of Masters, and hast learned me all my skill:
  But think how bright is this youngling, and thy guile from him withhold;
  For this craft of thine hath shown me that thy heart is grim and cold,
  Though three men's lives thrice over thy wisdom might not learn;
  And I love this son of Sigmund, and mine heart to him doth yearn."

  Then Regin laughed, and answered: "I doled out cunning to thee;
  But nought with him will I measure: yet no cold-heart shall he be,
  Nor grim, nor evil-natured: for whate'er my will might frame,
  Gone forth is the word of the Norns, that abideth ever the same.
  And now, despite my cunning, how deem ye I shall die?"

  And they said he would live as he listed, and at last in peace should lie
  When he listed to live no longer; so mighty and wise he was.
  But again he laughed and answered: "One day it shall come to pass,
  That a beardless youth shall slay me: I know the fateful doom;
  But nought may I withstand it, as it heaves up dim through the gloom."

  So is Sigurd now with Regin, and he learns him many things;
  Yea, all save the craft of battle, that men learned the sons of kings:
  The smithying sword and war-coat; the carving runes aright;
  The tongues of many countries, and soft speech for men's delight;
  The dealing with the harp-strings, and the winding ways of song.
  So wise of heart waxed Sigurd, and of body wondrous strong:
  And he chased the deer of the forest, and many a wood-wolf slew,
  And many a bull of the mountains: and the desert dales he knew,
  And the heaths that the wind sweeps over; and seaward would he fare,
  Far out from the outer skerries, and alone the sea-wights dare.

  On a day he sat with Regin amidst the unfashioned gold,
  And the silver grey from the furnace; and Regin spake and told
  Sweet tales of the days that have been, and the Kings of the bold and
    wise;
  Till the lad's heart swelled with longing and lit his sunbright eyes.

  Then Regin looked upon him: "Thou too shalt one day ride
  As the Volsung Kings went faring through the noble world and wide.
  For this land is nought and narrow, and Kings of the carles are these,
  And their earls are acre-biders, and their hearts are dull with peace."

  But Sigurd knit his brows, and in wrathful wise he said:
  "Ill words of those thou speakest that my youth have cherished,
  And the friends that have made me merry, and the land that is fair and
    good."

  Then Regin laughed and answered: "Nay, well I see by thy mood
  That wide wilt thou ride in the world like thy kin of the earlier days:
  And wilt thou be wroth with thy master that he longs for thy winning the
    praise?
  And now if the sooth thou sayest, that these King-folk cherish thee well,
  Then let them give thee a gift whereof the world shall tell:
  Yea hearken to this my counsel, and crave for a battle-steed."

  Yet wroth was the lad and answered: "I have many a horse to my need,
  And all that the heart desireth, and what wouldst thou wish me more?"

  Then Regin answered and said: "Thy kin of the Kings of yore
  Were the noblest men of men-folk; and their hearts would never rest
  Whatso of good they had gotten, if their hands held not the best.
  Now do thou after my counsel, and crave of thy fosterers here
  That thou choose of the horses of Gripir whichso thine heart holds dear."

  He spake and his harp was with him, and he smote the strings full sweet,
  And sang of the host of the Valkyrs, how they ride the battle to meet,
  And the dew from the dear manes drippeth as they ride in the first of
    the sun,
  And the tree-boughs open to meet it when the wind of the dawning is done:
  And the deep dales drink its sweetness and spring into blossoming grass,
  And the earth groweth fruitful of men, and bringeth their glory to pass.

  Then the wrath ran off from Sigurd, and he left the smithying stead
  While the song yet rang in the doorway: and that eve to the Kings he said:
  "Will ye do so much for mine asking as to give me a horse to my will?
  For belike the days shall come, that shall all my heart fulfill,
  And teach me the deeds of a king."
                    Then answered King Elf and spake:
  "The stalls of the Kings are before thee to set aside or to take,
  And nought we begrudge thee the best."
                           Yet answered Sigurd again;
  For his heart of the mountains aloft and the windy drift was fain:
  "Fair seats for the knees of Kings! but now do I ask for a gift
  Such as all the world shall be praising, the best of the strong and
    the swift.
  Ye shall give me a token for Gripir, and bid him to let me choose
  From out of the noble stud-beasts that run in his meadow loose.
  But if overmuch I have asked you, forget this prayer of mine,
  And deem the word unspoken, and get ye to the wine."

  Then smiled King Elf, and answered: "A long way wilt thou ride,
  To where unpeace and troubles and the griefs of the soul abide,
  Yea unto the death at the last: yet surely shalt thou win
  The praise of many a people: so have thy way herein.
  Forsooth no more may we hold thee than the hazel copse may hold
  The sun of the early dawning, that turneth it all unto gold."

  Then sweetly Sigurd thanked them; and through the night he lay
  Mid dreams of many a matter till the dawn was on the way;
  Then he shook the sleep from off him, and that dwelling of Kings he left
  And wended his ways unto Gripir. On a crag from the mountain reft
  Was the house of the old King builded; and a mighty house it was,
  Though few were the sons of men that over its threshold would pass:
  But the wild ernes cried about it, and the vultures toward it flew,
  And the winds from the heart of the mountains searched every chamber
    through,
  And about were meads wide-spreading; and many a beast thereon,
  Yea some that are men-folk's terror, their sport and pasture won.
  So into the hall went Sigurd; and amidst was Gripir set
  In a chair of the sea-beast's tooth; and his sweeping beard nigh met
  The floor that was green as the ocean, and his gown was of mountain-gold
  And the kingly staff in his hand was knobbed with the crystal cold.

  Now the first of the twain spake Gripir: "Hail King with the eyen bright!
  Nought needest thou show the token, for I know of thy life and thy light.
  And no need to tell of thy message; it was wafted here on the wind,
  That thou wouldst be coming to-day a horse in my meadow to find:
  And strong must he be for the bearing of those deeds of thine that shall
    be.
  Now choose thou of all the way-wearers that are running loose in my lea,
  And be glad as thine heart will have thee and the fate that leadeth thee
    on,
  And I bid thee again come hither when the sword of worth is won,
  And thy loins are girt for thy going on the road that before thee lies;
  For a glimmering over its darkness is come before mine eyes."

  Then again gat Sigurd outward, and adown the steep he ran
  And unto the horse-fed meadow: but lo, a grey-clad man,
  One-eyed and seeming-ancient, there met him by the way:
  And he spake: "Thou hastest, Sigurd; yet tarry till I say
  A word that shall well bestead thee: for I know of these mountains well
  And all the lea of Gripir, and the beasts that thereon dwell."

  "Wouldst thou have red gold for thy tidings? art thou Gripir's horse-herd
    then?
  Nay sure, for thy face is shining like battle-eager men
  My master Regin tells of: and I love thy cloud-grey gown
  And thy visage gleams above it like a thing my dreams have known."

  "Nay whiles have I heeded the horse-kind," then spake that elder of days,
  "And sooth do the sages say, when the beasts of my breeding they praise.
  There is one thereof in the meadow, and, wouldst thou cull him out,
  Thou shalt follow an elder's counsel, who hath brought strange things
    about,
  Who hath known thy father aforetime, and other kings of thy kin."

  So Sigurd said, "I am ready; and what is the deed to win?"

  He said: "We shall drive the horses adown to the water-side,
  That cometh forth from the mountains, and note what next shall betide."

  Then the twain sped on together, and they drave the horses on
  Till they came to a rushing river a water wide and wan;
  And the white mews hovered o'er it; but none might hear their cry
  For the rush and the rattle of waters, as the downlong flood swept by.
  So the whole herd took the river and strove the stream to stem,
  And many a brave steed was there; but the flood o'ermastered them:
  And some, it swept them down-ward, and some won back to bank,
  Some, caught by the net of the eddies, in the swirling hubbub sank;
  But one of all swam over, and they saw his mane of grey
  Toss over the flowery meadows, a bright thing far away:
  Wide then he wheeled about them, then took the stream again
  And with the waves' white horses mingled his cloudy mane.

  Then spake the elder of days: "Hearken now, Sigurd, and hear;
  Time was when I gave thy father a gift thou shalt yet deem dear,
  And this horse is a gift of my giving:--heed nought where thou mayst ride:
  For I have seen thy fathers in a shining house abide,
  And on earth they thought of its threshold, and the gifts I had to give;
  Nor prayed for a little longer, and a little longer to live."

  Then forth he strode to the mountains, and fain was Sigurd now
  To ask him many a matter: but dim did his bright shape grow,
  As a man from the litten doorway fades into the dusk of night;
  And the sun in the high-noon shone, and the world was exceeding bright.

  So Sigurd turned to the river and stood by the wave-wet strand,
  And the grey horse swims to his feet and lightly leaps aland,
  And the youngling looks upon him, and deems none beside him good.
  And indeed, as tells the story, he was come of Sleipnir's blood,
  The tireless horse of Odin: cloud-grey he was of hue,
  And it seemed as Sigurd backed him that Sigmund's son he knew,
  So glad he went beneath him. Then the youngling's song arose
  As he brushed through the noon-tide blossoms of Gripir's mighty close,
  Then he singeth the song of Greyfell, the horse that Odin gave,
  Who swam through the sweeping river, and back through the toppling wave.


    _Regin telleth Sigurd of his kindred, and of the Gold that was
      accursed from ancient days._

  Now yet the days pass over, and more than words may tell
  Grows Sigurd strong and lovely, and all children love him well.
  But oft he looks on the mountains and many a time is fain
  To know of what lies beyond them, and learn of the wide world's gain.
  And he saith: "I dwell in a land that is ruled by none of my blood;
  And my mother's sons are waxing, and fair kings shall they be and good;
  And their servant or their betrayer--not one of these will I be.
  Yet needs must I wait for a little till Odin calls for me."

  Now again it happed on a day that he sat in Regin's hall
  And hearkened many tidings of what had chanced to fall,
  And of kings that sought their kingdoms o'er many a waste and wild,
  And at last saith the crafty master:
                         "Thou art King Sigmund's child:
  Wilt thou wait till these kings of the carles shall die in a little land,
  Or wilt thou serve their sons and carry the cup to their hand;
  Or abide in vain for the day that never shall come about,
  When their banners shall dance in the wind and shake to the war-gods'
    shout?"

  Then Sigurd answered and said: "Nought such do I look to be.
  But thou, a deedless man, too much thou eggest me:
  And these folk are good and trusty, and the land is lovely and sweet,
  And in rest and in peace it lieth as the floor of Odin's feet:
  Yet I know that the world is wide, and filled with deeds unwrought;
  And for e'en such work was I fashioned, lest the song-craft come to
    nought,
  When the harps of God-home tinkle, and the Gods are at stretch to
    hearken;
  Lest the hosts of the Gods be scanty when their day hath begun to darken,
  When the bonds of the Wolf wax thin, and Loki fretteth his chain.
  And sure for the house of my fathers full oft my heart is fain,
  And meseemeth I hear them talking of the day when I shall come,
  And of all the burden of deeds, that my hand shall bear them home.
  And so when the deed is ready, nowise the man shall lack:
  But the wary foot is the surest, and the hasty oft turns back."

  Then answered Regin the guileful: "The deed is ready to hand,
  Yet holding my peace is the best, for well thou lovest the land;
  And thou lovest thy life moreover, and the peace of thy youthful days,
  And why should the full-fed feaster his hand to the rye-bread raise?
  Yet they say that Sigmund begat thee and he looked to fashion a man.
  Fear nought; he lieth quiet in his mound by the sea-waves wan."

  So shone the eyes of Sigurd, that the shield against him hung
  Cast back their light as the sunbeams; but his voice to the roof-tree
    rung:
  "Tell me, thou Master of Masters, what deed is the deed I shall do?
  Nor mock thou the son of Sigmund lest the day of his birth thou rue."

  Then answered the Master of Sleight: "The deed is the righting of wrong,
  And the quelling a bale and a sorrow that the world hath endured o'erlong,
  And the winning a treasure untold, that shall make thee more than the
    kings;
  Thereof is the Helm of Aweing, the wonder of earthly things,
  And thereof is its very fellow, the War-coat all of gold,
  That has not its like in the heavens, nor has earth of its fellow told."

  Then answered Sigurd the Volsung: "How long hereof hast thou known?
  And what unto thee is this treasure, that thou seemest to give as thine
    own?"

  "Alas!" quoth the smithying master, "it is mine, yet none of mine
  Since my heart herein avails not, and my hand is frail and fine--
  It is long since I first came hither to seek a man for my need;
  For I saw by a glimmering light that hence would spring the deed,
  And many a deed of the world: but the generations passed,
  And the first of the days was as near to the end that I sought as the
    last;
  Till I looked on thine eyes in the cradle: and now I deem through thee,
  That the end of my days of waiting, and the end of my woes shall be."

  Then Sigurd awhile was silent; but at last he answered and said:
  "Thou shalt have thy will and the treasure, and shalt take the curse on
    thine head
  If a curse the gold enwrappeth: but the deed will I surely do,
  For to-day the dreams of my childhood have bloomed in my heart anew:
  And I long to look on the world and the glory of the earth
  And to deal in the dealings of men, and garner the harvest of worth.
  But tell me, thou Master of Masters, where lieth this measureless wealth;
  Is it guarded by swords of the earl-folk, or kept by cunning and stealth?
  Is it over the main sea's darkness, or beyond the mountain wall?
  Or e'en in these peaceful acres anigh to the hands of all?"

  Then Regin answered sweetly: "Hereof must a tale be told:
  Bide sitting, thou son of Sigmund, on the heap of unwrought gold,
  And hearken of wondrous matters, and of things unheard, unsaid,
  And deeds of my beholding ere the first of Kings was made.

  "And first ye shall know of a sooth, that I never was born of the race
  Which the masters of God-home have made to cover the fair earth's face;
  But I come of the Dwarfs departed; and fair was the earth whileome
  Ere the short-lived thralls of the Gods amidst its dales were come:--
  And how were we worse than the Gods, though maybe we lived not as long?
  Yet no weight of memory maimed us; nor aught we knew of wrong.
  What felt our souls of shaming, what knew our hearts of love?
  We did and undid at pleasure, and repented nought thereof.
  --Yea we were exceeding mighty--bear with me yet, my son;
  For whiles can I scarcely think it that our days are wholly done.
  And trust not thy life in my hands in the day when most I seem
  Like the Dwarfs that are long departed, and most of my kindred I dream.

  "So as we dwelt came tidings that the Gods amongst us were,
  And the people come from Asgard: then rose up hope and fear,
  And strange shapes of things went flitting betwixt the night and the eve,
  And our sons waxed wild and wrathful, and our daughters learned to grieve.
  Then we fell to the working of metal, and the deeps of the earth would
    know,
  And we dealt with venom and leechcraft, and we fashioned spear and bow,
  And we set the ribs to the oak-keel, and looked on the landless sea;
  And the world began to be such-like as the Gods would have it to be.
  In the womb of the woeful Earth had they quickened the grief and the gold.

  "It was Reidmar the Ancient begat me; and now was he waxen old,
  And a covetous man and a king; and he bade, and I built him a hall,
  And a golden glorious house; and thereto his sons did he call,
  And he bade them be evil and wise, that his will through them might be
    wrought.
  Then he gave unto Fafnir my brother the soul that feareth nought,
  And the brow of the hardened iron, and the hand that may never fail,
  And the greedy heart of a king, and the ear that hears no wail.

  "But next unto Otter my brother he gave the snare and the net
  And the longing to wend through the wild-wood, and wade the highways wet:
  And the foot that never resteth, while aught be left alive
  That hath cunning to match man's cunning or might with his might to
    strive.

  "And to me, the least and the youngest, what gift for the slaying of ease?
  Save the grief that remembers the past, and the fear that the future sees;
  And the hammer and fashioning-iron, and the living coal of fire;
  And the craft that createth a semblance, and fails of the heart's desire;
  And the toil that each dawning quickens and the task that is never done,
  And the heart that longeth ever, nor will look to the deed that is won.

  "Thus gave my father the gifts that might never be taken again;
  Far worse were we now than the Gods, and but little better than men.
  But yet of our ancient might one thing had we left us still:
  We had craft to change our semblance, and could shift us at our will
  Into bodies of the beast-kind, or fowl, or fishes cold;
  For belike no fixed semblance we had in the days of old,
  Till the Gods were waxen busy, and all things their form must take
  That knew of good and evil, and longed to gather and make.

       *     *     *     *     *

  "So dwelt we, brethren and father; and Fafnir my brother fared
  As the scourge and compeller of all things, and left no wrong undared;
  But for me, I toiled and I toiled; and fair grew my father's house;
  But writhen and foul were the hands that had made it glorious;
  And the love of women left me, and the fame of sword and shield:
  And the sun and the winds of heaven, and the fowl and the grass of the
    field
  Were grown as the tools of my smithy; and all the world I knew,
  And the glories that lie beyond it, and whitherward all things drew;
  And myself a little fragment amidst it all I saw,
  Grim, cold-heart, and unmighty as the tempest-driven straw.
  --Let be.--For Otter my brother saw seldom field or fold,
  And he oftenest used that custom, whereof e'en now I told,
  And would shift his shape with the wood-beasts and the things of land
    and sea;
  And he knew what joy their hearts had, and what they longed to be,
  And their dim-eyed understanding, and his wood-craft waxed so great,
  That he seemed the king of the creatures and their very mortal fate.

  "Now as the years won over three folk of the heavenly halls
  Grew aweary of sleepless sloth, and the day that nought befalls;
  And they fain would look on the earth, and their latest handiwork,
  And turn the fine gold over, lest a flaw therein should lurk.
  And the three were the heart-wise Odin, the Father of the Slain,
  And Loki, the World's Begrudger, who maketh all labour vain,
  And Hænir, the Utter-Blameless, who wrought the hope of man,
  And his heart and inmost yearnings, when first the work began;--
  --The God that was aforetime, and hereafter yet shall be
  When the new light yet undreamed of shall shine o'er earth and sea.

  "Thus about the world they wended and deemed it fair and good,
  And they loved their life-days dearly: so came they to the wood,
  And the lea without a shepherd and the dwellings of the deer,
  And unto a mighty water that ran from a fathomless mere.
  Now that flood my brother Otter had haunted many a day
  For its plenteous fruit of fishes; and there on the bank he lay
  As the Gods came wandering thither; and he slept, and in his dreams
  He saw the downlong river, and its fishy-peopled streams,
  And the swift smooth heads of its forces, and its swirling wells and deep,
  Where hang the poisèd fishes, and their watch in the rock-halls keep.
  And so, as he thought of it all, and its deeds and its wanderings,
  Whereby it ran to the sea down the road of scaly things,
  His body was changed with his thought, as yet was the wont of our kind,
  And he grew but an Otter indeed; and his eyes were sleeping and blind
  The while he devoured the prey, a golden red-flecked trout.
  Then passed by Odin and Hænir, nor cumbered their souls with doubt;
  But Loki lingered a little, and guile in his heart arose,
  And he saw through the shape of the Otter, and beheld a chief of his foes,
  A king of the free and the careless: so he called up his baleful might,
  And gathered his godhead together, and tore a shard outright
  From the rock-wall of the river, and across its green wells cast;
  And roaring over the waters that bolt of evil passed,
  And smote my brother Otter that his heart's life fled away,
  And bore his man's shape with it, and beast-like there he lay,
  Stark dead on the sun-lit blossoms: but the Evil God rejoiced,
  And because of the sound of his singing the wild grew many-voiced.

  "Then the three Gods waded the river, and no word Hænir spake,
  For his thoughts were set on God-home, and the day that is ever awake.
  But Odin laughed in his wrath, and murmured: 'Ah, how long,
  Till the iron shall ring on the anvil for the shackles of thy wrong!'

  "Then Loki takes up the quarry, and is e'en as a man again;
  And the three wend on through the wild-wood till they come to a grassy
    plain
  Beneath the untrodden mountains; and lo! a noble house,
  And a hall with great craft fashioned, and made full glorious;
  But night on the earth was falling; so scantly might they see
  The wealth of its smooth-wrought stonework and its world of imagery:
  Then Loki bade turn thither since day was at an end,
  And into that noble dwelling the lords of God-home wend;
  And the porch was fair and mighty, and so smooth-wrought was its gold,
  That the mirrored stars of heaven therein might ye behold:
  But the hall, what words shall tell it, how fair it rose aloft,
  And the marvels of its windows, and its golden hangings soft,
  And the forest of its pillars! and each like the wave's heart shone
  And the mirrored boughs of the garden were dancing fair thereon.
  --Long years agone was it builded, and where are its wonders now?

  "Now the men of God-home marvelled, and gazed through the golden glow,
  And a man like a covetous king amidst of the hall they saw;
  And his chair was the tooth of the whale, wrought smooth with never a
    flaw;
  And his gown was the sea-born purple, and he bore a crown on his head,
  But never a sword was before him: kind-seeming words he said,
  And bade rest to the weary feet that had worn the wild so long.
  So they sat, and were men by seeming; and there rose up music and song,
  And they ate and drank and were merry: but amidst the glee of the cup
  They felt themselves tangled and caught, as when the net cometh up
  Before the folk of the 'firth, and the main sea lieth far off;
  And the laughter of lips they hearkened, and that hall-abider's scoff,
  As his face and his mocking eyes anigh to their faces drew,
  And their godhead was caught in the net, and no shift of creation they
    knew
  To escape from their man-like bodies; so great that day was the Earth.

  "Then spake the hall-abider: 'Where then is thy guileful mirth,
  And thy hall-glee gone, O Loki? Come, Hænir, fashion now
  My heart for love and for hope, that the fear in my body may grow,
  That I may grieve and be sorry, that the ruth may arise in me,
  As thou dealtst with the first of men-folk, when a master-smith thou
    wouldst be.
  And thou, Allfather Odin, hast thou come on a bastard brood?
  Or hadst thou belike a brother, thy twin for evil and good,
  That waked amidst thy slumber, and slumbered midst thy work?
  Nay, Wise-one, art thou silent as a child amidst the mirk?
  Ah, I know ye are called the Gods, and are mighty men at home,
  But now with a guilt on your heads to no feeble folk are ye come,
  To a folk that need you nothing: time was when we knew you not:
  Yet e'en then fresh was the winter, and the summer sun was hot,
  And the wood-meats stayed our hunger, and the water quenched our thirst,
  Ere the good and the evil wedded and begat the best and the worst.
  And how if to-day I undo it, that work of your fashioning,
  If the web of the world run backward, and the high heavens lack a King?
  --Woe's me! for your ancient mastery shall help you at your need:
  If ye fill up the gulf of my longing and my empty heart of greed,
  And slake the flame ye have quickened, then may ye go your ways
  And get ye back to your kingship and the driving on of the days
  To the day of the gathered war-hosts, and the tide of your Fateful Gloom.
  Now nought may ye gainsay it that my mouth must speak the doom,
  For ye wot well I am Reidmar, and that there ye lie red-hand
  From the slaughtering of my offspring, and the spoiling of my land;
  For his death of my wold hath bereft me and every highway wet.
  --Nay, Loki, naught avails it, well-fashioned is the net.
  Come forth, my son, my war-god, and show the Gods their work,
  And thou who mightst learn e'en Loki, if need were to lie or lurk!'

  "And there was I, I Regin, the smithier of the snare,
  And high up Fafnir towered with the brow that knew no fear,
  With the wrathful and pitiless heart that was born of my father's will,
  And the greed that the Gods had fashioned the fate of the earth to
    fulfill.

  "Then spake the Father of Men: 'We have wrought thee wrong indeed,
  And, wouldst thou amend it with wrong, thine errand must we speed;
  For I know of thine heart's desire, and the gold thou shalt nowise lack,
  --Nor all the works of the gold. But best were thy word drawn back,
  If indeed the doom of the Norns be not utterly now gone forth.'

  "Then Reidmar laughed and answered: 'So much is thy word of worth!
  And they call thee Odin for this, and stretch forth hands in vain,
  And pray for the gifts of a God who giveth and taketh again!
  It was better in times past over, when we prayed for nought at all,
  When no love taught us beseeching, and we had no troth to recall.
  Ye have changed the world, and it bindeth with the right and the wrong
    ye have made,
  Nor may ye be Gods henceforward save the rightful ransom be paid.
  But perchance ye are weary of kingship, and will deal no more with the
    earth?
  Then curse the world, and depart, and sit in your changeless mirth;
  And there shall be no more kings, and battle and murder shall fail,
  And the world shall laugh and long not, nor weep, nor fashion the tale.'

  "So spake Reidmar the Wise; but the wrath burned through his word,
  And wasted his heart of wisdom; and there was Fafnir the Lord,
  And there was Regin the Wright, and they raged at their father's back:
  And all these cried out together with the voice of the sea-storm's wrack;
  'O hearken, Gods of the Goths! ye shall die, and we shall be Gods,
  And rule your men belovèd with bitter-heavy rods,
  And make them beasts beneath us, save to-day ye do our will,
  And pay us the ransom of blood, and our hearts with the gold fulfill.'

  "But Odin spake in answer, and his voice was awful and cold:
  'Give righteous doom, O Reidmar! say what ye will of the Gold!'

  "Then Reidmar laughed in his heart, and his wrath and his wisdom fled,
  And nought but his greed abided; and he spake from his throne and said:

  "'Now hearken the doom I shall speak! Ye stranger-folk shall be free
  When ye give me the Flame of the Waters, the gathered Gold of the Sea,
  That Andvari hideth rejoicing in the wan realm pale as the grave;
  And the Master of Sleight shall fetch it, and the hand that never gave,
  And the heart that begrudgeth for ever shall gather and give and rue.
  --Lo! this is the doom of the wise, and no doom shall be spoken anew.'

  "Then Odin spake: 'It is well; the Curser shall seek for the curse;
  And the Greedy shall cherish the evil--and the seed of the Great they
    shall nurse.'

  "No word spake Reidmar the great, for the eyes of his heart were turned
  To the edge of the outer desert, so sore for the gold he yearned.
  But Loki I loosed from the toils, and he goeth his ways abroad;
  And the heart of Odin he knoweth, and where he shall seek the Hoard.

  "There is a desert of dread in the uttermost part of the world,
  Where over a wall of mountains is a mighty water hurled,
  Whose hidden head none knoweth, nor where it meeteth the sea;
  And that force is the Force of Andvari, and an Elf of the Dark is he.
  In the cloud and the desert he dwelleth amid that land alone;
  And his work is the storing of treasure within his house of stone.
  Time was when he knew of wisdom, and had many a tale to tell
  Of the days before the Dwarf-age, and of what in that world befell:
  And he knew of the stars and the sun, and the worlds that come and go
  On the nether rim of heaven, and whence the wind doth blow,
  And how the sea hangs balanced betwixt the curving lands,
  And how all drew together for the first Gods' fashioning hands.
  But now is all gone from him, save the craft of gathering gold,
  And he heedeth nought of the summer, nor knoweth the winter cold,
  Nor looks to the sun nor the snowfall, nor ever dreams of the sea,
  Nor hath heard of the making of men-folk, nor of where the high Gods be:
  But ever he gripeth and gathereth, and he toileth hour by hour
  Nor knoweth the noon from the midnight as he looks on his stony bower,
  And saith: 'It is short, it is narrow for all I shall gather and get;
  For the world is but newly fashioned, and long shall its years be yet.'

  "There Loki fareth, and seeth in a land of nothing good,
  Far off o'er the empty desert, the reek of the falling flood
  Go up to the floor of heaven, and thither turn his feet
  As he weaveth the unseen meshes and the snare of strong deceit;
  So he cometh his ways to the water, where the glittering foam-bow glows,
  And the huge flood leaps the rock-wall and a green arch over it throws.
  There under the roof of water he treads the quivering floor,
  And the hush of the desert is felt amid the water's roar,
  And the bleak sun lighteth the wave-vault, and tells of the fruitless
    plain,
  And the showers that nourish nothing, and the summer come in vain.

  "There did the great Guile-master his toils and his tangles set,
  And as wide as was the water, so wide was woven the net;
  And as dim as the Elf's remembrance did the meshes of it show;
  And he had no thought of sorrow, nor spared to come and go
  On his errands of griping and getting till he felt himself tangled and
    caught:
  Then back to his blinded soul was his ancient wisdom brought,
  And he saw his fall and his ruin, as a man by the lightning's flame
  Sees the garth all flooded by foemen; and again he remembered his name;
  And e'en as a book well written the tale of the Gods he knew,
  And the tale of the making of men, and much of the deeds they should do.

  "But Loki took his man-shape, and laughed aloud and cried:
  'What fish of the ends of the earth is so strong and so feeble-eyed,
  That he draweth the pouch of my net on his road to the dwelling of Hell?
  What Elf that hath heard the gold growing, but hath heard not the light
    winds tell
  That the Gods with the world have been dealing and have fashioned men
    for the earth?
  Where is he that hath ridden the cloud-horse and measured the ocean's
    girth,
  But seen nought of the building of God-home nor the forging of the sword:
  Where then is the maker of nothing, the earless and eyeless lord?
  In the pouch of my net he lieth, with his head on the threshold of Hell!'

  "Then the Elf lamented, and said: 'Thou knowst of my name full well:
  Andvari begotten of Oinn, whom the Dwarf-kind called the Wise,
  By the worst of the Gods is taken, the forge and the father of lies.'

  "Said Loki: 'How of the Elf-kind, do they love their latter life,
  When their weal is all departed, and they lie alow in the strife?'

  "Then Andvari groaned and answered: 'I know what thou wouldst have,
  The wealth mine own hands gathered, the gold that no man gave.'

  "'Come forth,' said Loki, 'and give it, and dwell in peace henceforth--
  Or die in the toils if thou listest, if thy life be nothing worth.'

  "Full sore the Elf lamented, but he came before the God
  And the twain went into the rock-house and on fine gold they trod,
  And the walls shone bright, and brighter than the sun of the upper air.
  How great was that treasure of treasures: and the Helm of Dread was there;
  The world but in dreams had seen it; and there was the hauberk of gold;
  None other is in the heavens, nor has earth of its fellow told.

  "Then Loki bade the Elf-king bring all to the upper day,
  And he dight himself with his Godhead to bear the treasure away:
  So there in the dim grey desert, before the God of Guile,
  Great heaps of the hid-world's treasure the weary Elf must pile,
  And Loki looked on laughing: but, when it all was done,
  And the Elf was hurrying homeward, his finger gleamed in the sun:
  Then Loki cried: 'Thou art guileful: thou hast not learned the tale
  Of the wisdom that Gods have gotten and their might of all avail.
  Hither to me! that I learn thee of a many things to come;
  Or despite of all wilt thou journey to the dead man's deedless home.
  Come hither again to thy master, and give the ring to me;
  For meseems it is Loki's portion, and the Bale of Men shall it be.'

  "Then the Elf drew off the gold-ring and stood with empty hand
  E'en where the flood fell over 'twixt the water and the land,
  And he gazed on the great Guile-master, and huge and grim he grew;
  And his anguish swelled within him, and the word of the Norns he knew;
  How that gold was the seed of gold to the wise and the shapers of things,
  The hoarders of hidden treasure, and the unseen glory of rings;
  But the seed of woe to the world and the foolish wasters of men,
  And grief to the generations that die and spring again:
  Then he cried:
                 'There farest thou, Loki, and might I load thee worse
  Than with what thine ill heart beareth, then shouldst thou bear my curse:
  But for men a curse thou bearest: entangled in my gold,
  Amid my woe abideth another woe untold.
  Two brethren and a father, eight kings my grief shall slay;
  And the hearts of queens shall be broken, and their eyes shall loathe
    the day.
  Lo, how the wilderness blossoms! Lo, how the lonely lands
  Are waving with the harvest that fell from my gathering hands!'

  "But Loki laughed in silence, and swift in Godhead went,
  To the golden hall of Reidmar and the house of our content.
  But when that world of treasure was laid within our hall
  'Twas as if the sun were minded to live 'twixt wall and wall,
  And all we stood by and panted. Then Odin spake and said:

  "'O Kings, O folk of the Dwarf-kind, lo, the ransom duly paid!
  Will ye have this sun of the ocean, and reap the fruitful field,
  And garner up the harvest that earth therefrom shall yield?'

  "So he spake; but a little season nought answered Reidmar the wise
  But turned his face from the Treasure, and peered with eager eyes
  Endlong the hall and athwart it, as a man may chase about
  A ray of the sun of the morning that a naked sword throws out;
  And lo! from Loki's right-hand came the flash of the fruitful ring,
  And at last spake Reidmar scowling:
                            'Ye wait for my yea-saying
  That your feet may go free on the earth, and the fear of my toils may
    be done;
  That then ye may say in your laughter: The fools of the time agone!
  The purblind eyes of the Dwarf-kind! they have gotten the garnered sheaf
  And have let their Masters depart with the Seed of Gold and of Grief:
  O Loki, friend of Allfather, cast down Andvari's Ring,
  Or the world shall yet turn backward and the high heavens lack a king.'

  "Then Loki drew off the Elf-ring and cast it down on the heap,
  And forth as the gold met gold did the light of its glory leap:
  But he spake: 'It rejoiceth my heart that no whit of all ye shall lack,
  Lest the curse of the Elf-king cleave not, and ye 'scape the utter wrack.'

  "Then laughed and answered Reidmar: 'I shall have it while I live,
  And that shall be long, meseemeth: for who is there may strive
  With my sword, the war-wise Fafnir, and my shield that is Regin the Smith?
  But if indeed I should die, then let men-folk deal therewith,
  And ride to the golden glitter through evil deeds and good.
  I will have my heart's desire, and do as the high Gods would.'

  "Then I loosed the Gods from their shackles, and great they grew on
    the floor
  And into the night they gat them; but Odin turned by the door,
  And we looked not, little we heeded, for we grudged his mastery;
  Then he spake, and his voice was waxen as the voice of the winter sea:

  "'O Kings, O folk of the Dwarfs, why then will ye covet and rue?
  I have seen your fathers' fathers and the dust wherefrom they grew;
  But who hath heard of my father or the land where first I sprung?
  Who knoweth my day of repentance, or the year when I was young?
  Who hath learned the names of the Wise-one or measured out his will?
  Who hath gone before to teach him, and the doom of days fulfill?
  Lo, I look on the Curse of the Gold, and wrong amended by wrong,
  And love by love confounded, and the strong abased by the strong;
  And I order it all and amend it, and the deeds that are done I see,
  And none other beholdeth or knoweth; and who shall be wise unto me?
  For myself to myself I offered, that all wisdom I might know,
  And fruitful I waxed of works, and good and fair did they grow;
  And I knew, and I wrought and fore-ordered; and evil sat by my side,
  And myself by myself hath been doomed, and I look for the fateful tide;
  And I deal with the generations, and the men mine hand hath made,
  And myself by myself shall be grieved, lest the world and its fashioning
    fade.'

  "They went and the Gold abided: but the words Allfather spake,
  I call them back full often for that golden even's sake,
  Yet little that hour I heard them, save as wind across the lea;
  For the gold shone up on Reidmar and on Fafnir's face and on me.
  And sore I loved that treasure: so I wrapped my heart in guile,
  And sleeked my tongue with sweetness, and set my face in a smile,
  And I bade my father keep it, the more part of the gold,
  Yet give good store to Fafnir for his goodly help and bold,
  And deal me a little handful for my smithying-help that day.
  But no little I desired, though for little I might pray;
  And prayed I for much or for little, he answered me no more
  Than the shepherd answers the wood-wolf who howls at the yule-tide door:
  But good he ever deemed it to sit on his ivory throne,
  And stare on the red rings' glory, and deem he was ever alone:
  And never a word spake Fafnir, but his eyes waxed red and grim
  As he looked upon our father, and noted the ways of him.

  "The night waned into the morning, and still above the Hoard
  Sat Reidmar clad in purple; but Fafnir took his sword,
  And I took my smithying-hammer, and apart in the world we went;
  But I came aback in the even, and my heart was heavy and spent;
  And I longed, but fear was upon me and I durst not go to the Gold;
  So I lay in the house of my toil mid the things I had fashioned of old;
  And methought as I lay in my bed 'twixt waking and slumber of night
  That I heard the tinkling metal and beheld the hall alight,
  But I slept and dreamed of the Gods, and the things that never have slept,
  Till I woke to a cry and a clashing and forth from the bed I leapt,
  And there by the heaped-up Elf-gold my brother Fafnir stood,
  And there at his feet lay Reidmar and reddened the Treasure with blood;
  And e'en as I looked on his eyen they glazed and whitened with death,
  And forth on the torch-litten hall he shed his latest breath.

  "But I looked on Fafnir and trembled for he wore the Helm of Dread,
  And his sword was bare in his hand, and the sword and the hand were red
  With the blood of our father Reidmar, and his body was wrapped in gold,
  With the ruddy-gleaming mailcoat of whose fellow hath nought been told,
  And it seemed as I looked upon him that he grew beneath mine eyes:
  And then in the mid-hall's silence did his dreadful voice arise:

  "'I have slain my father Reidmar, that I alone might keep
  The Gold of the darksome places, the Candle of the Deep.
  I am such as the Gods have made me, lest the Dwarf-kind people the earth,
  Or mingle their ancient wisdom with its short-lived latest birth.
  I shall dwell alone henceforward, and the Gold and its waxing curse,
  I shall brood on them both together, let my life grow better or worse.
  And I am a King henceforward and long shall be my life,
  And the Gold shall grow with my longing, for I shall hide it from strife,
  And hoard up the Ring of Andvari in the house thine hand hath built.
  O thou, wilt thou tarry and tarry, till I cast thy blood on the guilt?
  Lo, I am a King for ever, and alone on the Gold shall I dwell
  And do no deed to repent of and leave no tale to tell.'

  "More awful grew his visage as he spake the word of dread
  And no more durst I behold him, but with heart a-cold I fled;
  I fled from the glorious house my hands had made so fair,
  As poor as the new-born baby with nought of raiment or gear:
  I fled from the heaps of gold, and my goods were the eager will,
  And the heart that remembereth all, and the hand that may never be still.

  "Then unto this land I came, and that was long ago
  As men-folk count the years; and I taught them to reap and to sow,
  And a famous man I became: but that generation died,
  And they said that Frey had taught them, and a God my name did hide.
  Then I taught them the craft of metals, and the sailing of the sea,
  And the taming of the horse-kind, and the yoke-beasts' husbandry,
  And the building up of houses; and that race of men went by,
  And they said that Thor had taught them; and a smithying-carle was I.
  Then I gave their maidens the needle and I bade them hold the rock,
  And the shuttle-race gaped for them as they sat at the weaving-stock.
  But by then these were waxen crones to sit dim-eyed by the door,
  It was Freyia had come among them to teach the weaving-lore.

  "Then I taught them the tales of old, and fair songs fashioned and true,
  And their speech grew into music of measured time and due,
  And they smote the harp to my bidding, and the land grew soft and sweet:
  But ere the grass of their grave-mounds rose up above my feet,
  It was Bragi had made them sweet-mouthed, and I was the wandering scald;
  Yet green did my cunning flourish by whatso name I was called,
  And I grew the master of masters--Think thou how strange it is
  That the sword in the hands of a stripling shall one day end all this!

  "Yet oft mid all my wisdom did I long for my brother's part,
  And Fafnir's mighty kingship weighed heavy on my heart
  When the Kings of the earthly kingdoms would give me golden gifts
  From out of their scanty treasures, due pay for my cunning shifts.
  And once--didst thou number the years thou wouldst think it long ago--
  I wandered away to the country from whence our stem did grow.
  There methought the fells grown greater, but waste did the meadows lie
  And the house was rent and ragged and open to the sky.
  But lo, when I came to the doorway, great silence brooded there,
  Nor bat nor owl would haunt it, nor the wood-wolves drew anear.
  Then I went to the pillared hall-stead, and lo, huge heaps of gold,
  And to and fro amidst them a mighty Serpent rolled:
  Then my heart grew chill with terror, for I thought on the wont of our
    race,
  And I, who had lost their cunning, was a man in a deadly place,
  A feeble man and a swordless in the lone destroyer's fold;
  For I knew that the Worm was Fafnir, the Wallower on the Gold.

  "So I gathered my strength and fled, and hid my shame again
  Mid the foolish sons of men-folk; and the more my hope was vain,
  The more I longed for the Treasure, and deliv'rance from the yoke:
  And yet passed the generations, and I dwelt with the short-lived folk.

  "Long years, and long years after the tale of men-folk told
  How up on the Glittering Heath was the house and the dwelling of gold,
  And within that house was the Serpent, and the Lord of the Fearful Face:
  Then I wondered sore of the desert; for I thought of the golden place
  My hands of old had builded; for I knew by many a sign
  That the Fearful Face was my brother, that the blood
  of the Worm was mine.

  "This was ages long ago, and yet in that desert he dwells,
  Betwixt him and men death lieth, and no man of his semblance tells;
  But the tale of the great Gold-wallower is never the more outworn.
  Then came thy kin, O Sigurd, and thy father's father was born,
  And I fell to the dreaming of dreams, and I saw thine eyes therein,
  And I looked and beheld thy glory and all that thy sword should win;
  And I thought that thou shouldst be he, who should bring my heart its
    rest,
  That of all the gifts of the Kings thy sword should give me the best.

  "Ah, I fell to the dreaming of dreams; and oft the gold I saw,
  And the golden-fashioned Hauberk, clean-wrought without a flaw,
  And the Helm that aweth the world; and I knew of Fafnir's heart
  That his wisdom was greater than mine, because he had held him apart,
  Nor spilt on the sons of men-folk our knowledge of ancient days,
  Nor bartered one whit for their love, nor craved for the people's praise.

  "And some day I shall have it all, his gold and his craft and his heart
  And the gathered and garnered wisdom he guards in the mountains apart.
  And then when my hand is upon it, my hand shall be as the spring
  To thaw his winter away and the fruitful tide to bring.
  It shall grow, it shall grow into summer, and I shall be he that wrought,
  And my deeds shall be remembered, and my name that once was nought;
  Yea I shall be Frey, and Thor, and Freyia, and Bragi in one:
  Yea the God of all that is,--and no deed in the wide world done,
  But the deed that my heart would fashion: and the songs of the freed
    from the yoke
  Shall bear to my house in the heavens the love and the longing of folk;
  And there shall be no more dying, and the sea shall be as the land,
  And the world for ever and ever shall be young beneath my hand."

  Then his eyelids fell, and he slumbered, and it seemed as Sigurd gazed
  That the flames leapt up in the stithy and about the Master blazed,
  And his hand in the harp-strings wandered and the sweetness from them
    poured.
  Then unto his feet leapt Sigurd and drew his stripling's sword,
  And he cried: "Awake, O Master, for, lo, the day goes by,
  And this too is an ancient story, that the sons of men-folk die,
  And all save fame departeth. Awake! for the day grows late,
  And deeds by the door are passing, nor the Norns will have them wait."

  Then Regin groaned and wakened, sad-eyed and heavy-browed,
  And weary and worn was he waxen, as a man by a burden bowed:
  And he spake: "Hast thou hearkened, Sigurd, wilt thou help a man that
    is old
  To avenge him for his father? Wilt thou win that Treasure of Gold
  And be more than the Kings of the earth? Wilt thou rid the earth of a
    wrong
  And heal the woe and the sorrow my heart hath endured o'erlong?"

  Then Sigurd looked upon him with steadfast eyes and clear,
  And Regin drooped and trembled as he stood the doom to hear:
  But the bright child spake as aforetime, and answered the Master and said:
  "Thou shalt have thy will, and the Treasure, and take the curse on
    thine head."


    _Of the forging of the Sword that is called The Wrath of Sigurd._

  Now again came Sigurd to Regin, and said: "Thou hast taught me a task
  Whereof none knoweth the ending: and a gift at thine hands I ask."

  Then answered Regin the Master: "The world must be wide indeed
  If my hand may not reach across it for aught thine heart may need."

  "Yea wide is the world," said Sigurd, "and soon spoken is thy word;
  But this gift thou shalt nought gainsay me: for I bid thee forge me a
    sword."

  Then spake the Master of Masters, and his voice was sweet and soft,
  "Look forth abroad, O Sigurd, and note in the heavens aloft
  How the dim white moon of the daylight hangs round as the Goth-God's
    shield:
  Now for thee first rang mine anvil when she walked the heavenly field
  A slim and lovely lady, and the old moon lay on her arm:
  Lo, here is a sword I have wrought thee with many a spell and charm
  And all the craft of the Dwarf-kind; be glad thereof and sure;
  Mid many a storm of battle full well shall it endure."

  Then Sigurd looked on the slayer, and never a word would speak:
  Gemmed were the hilts and golden, and the blade was blue and bleak,
  And runes of the Dwarf-kind's cunning each side the trench were scored:
  But soft and sweet spake Regin: "How likest thou the sword?"

  Then Sigurd laughed and answered: "The work is proved by the deed;
  See now if this be a traitor to fail me in my need."

  Then Regin trembled and shrank, so bright his eyes outshone
  As he turned about to the anvil, and smote the sword thereon;
  But the shards fell shivering earthward, and Sigurd's heart grew wroth
  As the steel-flakes tinkled about him: "Lo, there the right-hand's troth!
  Lo, there the golden glitter, and the word that soon is spilt."
  And down amongst the ashes he cast the glittering hilt,
  And turned his back on Regin and strode out through the door
  And for many a day of spring-tide came back again no more.
  But at last he came to the stithy and again took up the word:
  "What hast thou done, O Master, in the forging of the sword?"

  Then sweetly Regin answered: "Hard task-master art thou,
  But lo, a blade of battle that shall surely please thee now!
  Two moons are clean departed since thou lookedst toward the sky
  And sawest the dim white circle amid the cloud-flecks lie;
  And night and day have I laboured; and the cunning of old days
  Hath surely left my right-hand if this sword thou shalt not praise."

  And indeed the hilts gleamed glorious with many a dear-bought stone,
  And down the fallow edges the light of battle shone;
  Yet Sigurd's eyes shone brighter, nor yet might Regin face
  Those eyes of the heart of the Volsungs; but trembled in his place
  As Sigurd cried: "O Regin, thy kin of the days of old
  Were an evil and treacherous folk, and they lied and murdered for gold;
  And now if thou wouldst bewray me, of the ancient curse beware,
  And set thy face as the flint the bale and the shame to bear:
  For he that would win to the heavens, and be as the Gods on high
  Must tremble nought at the road, and the place where men-folk die."

  White leaps the blade in his hand and gleams in the gear of the wall,
  And he smites, and the oft-smitten edges on the beaten anvil fall:
  But the life of the sword departed, and dull and broken it lay
  On the ashes and flaked-off iron, and no word did Sigurd say,
  But strode off through the door of the stithy and went to the Hall of
    Kings,
  And was merry and blithe that even mid all imaginings.

  But when the morrow was come he went to his mother and spake:
  "The shards, the shards of the sword, that thou gleanedst for my sake
  In the night on the field of slaughter, in the tide when my father fell,
  Hast thou kept them through sorrow and joyance? hast thou warded them
    trusty and well?
  Where hast thou laid them, my mother?"
                  Then she looked upon him and said:
  "Art thou wroth, O Sigurd my son, that such eyes are in thine head?
  And wilt thou be wroth with thy mother? do I withstand thee at all?"

  "Nay," said he, "nought am I wrathful, but the days rise up like a wall
  Betwixt my soul and the deeds, and I strive to rend them through.
  And why wilt thou fear mine eyen? as the sword lies baleful and blue
  E'en 'twixt the lips of lovers, when they swear their troth thereon,
  So keen are the eyes ye have fashioned, ye folk of the days agone;
  For therein is the light of battle, though whiles it lieth asleep.
  Now give me the sword, my mother, that Sigmund gave thee to keep."

  She said: "I shall give it thee gladly, for fain shall I be of thy praise
  When thou knowest my careful keeping of that hope of the earlier days."

  So she took his hand in her hand, and they went their ways, they twain,
  Till they came to the treasure of queen-folk, the guarded chamber of gain:
  They were all alone with its riches, and she turned the key in the gold,
  And lifted the sea-born purple, and the silken web unrolled,
  And lo, 'twixt her hands and her bosom the shards of Sigmund's sword;
  No rust-fleck stained its edges, and the gems of the ocean's hoard
  Were as bright in the hilts and glorious, as when in the Volsungs' hall
  It shone in the eyes of the earl-folk and flashed from the shielded wall.

  But Sigurd smiled upon it, and he said: "O Mother of Kings,
  Well hast thou warded the war-glaive for a mirror of many things,
  And a hope of much fulfilment: well hast thou given to me
  The message of my fathers, and the word of things to be:
  Trusty hath been thy warding, but its hour is over now:
  These shards shall be knit together, and shall hear the war-wind blow.
  They shall shine through the rain of Odin, as the sun come back to the
    world,
  When the heaviest bolt of the thunder amidst the storm is hurled:
  They shall shake the thrones of Kings, and shear the walls of war,
  And undo the knot of treason when the world is darkening o'er.
  They have shone in the dusk and the night-tide, they shall shine in the
    dawn and the day;
  They have gathered the storm together, they shall chase the clouds away;
  They have sheared red gold asunder, they shall gleam o'er the garnered
    gold;
  They have ended many a story, they shall fashion a tale to be told:
  They have lived in the wrack of the people; they shall live in the glory
    of folk:
  They have stricken the Gods in battle, for the Gods shall they strike
    the stroke."

  Then she felt his hands about her as he took the fateful sword,
  And he kissed her soft and sweetly; but she answered never a word:
  So great and fair was he waxen, so glorious was his face,
  So young, as the deathless Gods are, that long in the golden place
  She stood when he was departed: as some for-travailed one
  Comes over the dark fell-ridges on the birth-tide of the sun,
  And his gathering sleep falls from him mid the glory and the blaze;
  And he sees the world grow merry and looks on the lightened ways,
  While the ruddy streaks are melting in the day-flood broad and white;
  Then the morn-dusk he forgetteth, and the moon-lit waste of night,
  And the hall whence he departed with its yellow candles' flare:
  So stood the Isle-king's daughter in that treasure-chamber fair.

       *     *     *     *     *

  But swift on his ways went Sigurd, and to Regin's house he came,
  Where the Master stood in the doorway and behind him leapt the flame,
  And dark he looked and little: no more his speech was sweet,
  No words on his lip were gathered the Volsung child to greet,
  Till he took the sword from Sigurd and the shards of the days of old;
  Then he spake:
                 "Will nothing serve thee save this blue steel and cold,
  The bane of thy father's father, the fate of all his kin,
  The baleful blade I fashioned, the Wrath that the Gods would win?"

       *     *     *     *     *

  Then answered the eye-bright Sigurd: "If thou thy craft wilt do
  Nought save these battle-gleanings shall be my helper true:
  And what if thou begrudgest, and my battle-blade be dull,
  Yet the hand of the Norns is lifted and the cup is over-full.
  Repentst thou ne'er so sorely that thy kin must lie alow,
  How much soe'er thou longest the world to overthrow,
  And, doubting the gold and the wisdom, wouldst even now appease
  Blind hate and eyeless murder, and win the world with these;
  O'er-late is the time for repenting the word thy lips have said:
  Thou shalt have the Gold and the wisdom and take its curse on thine head.
  I say that thy lips have spoken, and no more with thee it lies
  To do the deed or leave it: since thou hast shown mine eyes
  The world that was aforetime, I see the world to be;
  And woe to the tangling thicket, or the wall that hindereth me!
  And short is the space I will tarry; for how if the Worm should die
  Ere the first of my strokes be stricken? Wilt thou get to thy mastery
  And knit these shards together that once in the Branstock stood?
  But if not and a smith's hands fail me, a king's hand yet shall be good;
  And the Norns have doomed thy brother. And yet I deem this sword
  Is the slayer of the Serpent, and the scatterer of the Hoard."

  Great waxed the gloom of Regin, and he said: "Thou sayest sooth
  For none may turn him backward: the sword of a very youth
  Shall one day end my cunning, as the Gods my joyance slew,
  When nought thereof they were deeming, and another thing would do.
  But this sword shall slay the Serpent; and do another deed,
  And many an one thereafter till it fail thee in thy need.
  But as fair and great as thou standest, yet get thee from mine house,
  For in me too might ariseth, and the place is perilous
  With the craft that was aforetime, and shall never be again,
  When the hands that have taught thee cunning have failed from the world
    of men.
  Thou art wroth; but thy wrath must slumber till fate its blossom bear;
  Not thus were the eyes of Odin when I held him in the snare.
  Depart! lest the end overtake us ere thy work and mine be done,
  But come again in the night-tide and the slumber of the sun,
  When the sharded moon of April hangs round in the undark May."

  Hither and thither a while did the heart of Sigurd sway
  For he feared no craft of the Dwarf-kind, nor heeded the ways of Fate,
  But his hand wrought e'en as his heart would: and now was he weary with
    hate
  Of the hatred and scorn of the Gods, and the greed of gold and of gain,
  And the weaponless hands of the stripling of the wrath and the rending
    were fain,
  But there stood Regin the Master, and his eyes were on Sigurd's eyes,
  Though nought belike they beheld him, and his brow was sad and wise;
  And the greed died out of his visage and he stood like an image of old.

  So the Norns drew Sigurd away, and the tide was an even of gold,
  And sweet in the April even were the fowl-kind singing their best;
  And the light of life smote Sigurd, and the joy that knows no rest,
  And the fond unnamed desire, and the hope of hidden things;
  And he wended fair and lovely to the house of the feasting Kings.

  But now when the moon was at full and the undark May begun,
  Went Sigurd unto Regin mid the slumber of the sun,
  And amidst the fire-hall's pavement the King of the Dwarf-kind stood
  Like an image of deeds departed and days that once were good;
  And he seemed but faint and weary, and his eyes were dim and dazed
  As they met the glory of Sigurd where the fitful candles blazed.
  Then he spake:
    "Hail, Son of the Volsungs, the corner-stone is laid,
  I have toiled and thou hast desired, and, lo, the fateful blade!"

  Then Sigurd saw it lying on the ashes slaked and pale
  Like the sun and the lightning mingled mid the even's cloudy bale;
  For ruddy and great were the hilts, and the edges fine and wan,
  And all adown to the blood-point a very flame there ran
  That swallowed the runes of wisdom wherewith its sides were scored.
  No sound did Sigurd utter as he stooped adown for his sword,
  But it seemed as his lips were moving with speech of strong desire.
  White leapt the blade o'er his head, and he stood in the ring of its fire
  As hither and thither it played, till it fell on the anvil's strength,
  And he cried aloud in his glory, and held out the sword full length,
  As one who would show it the world; for the edges were dulled no whit,
  And the anvil was cleft to the pavement with the dreadful dint of it.

  But Regin cried to his harp-strings: "Before the days of men
  I smithied the Wrath of Sigurd, and now is it smithied again:
  And my hand alone hath done it, and my heart alone hath dared
  To bid that man to the mountain, and behold his glory bared.
  Ah, if the son of Sigmund might wot of the thing I would,
  Then how were the ages bettered, and the world all waxen good!
  Then how were the past forgotten and the weary days of yore,
  And the hope of man that dieth and the waste that never bore!
  How should this one live through the winter and know of all increase!
  How should that one spring to the sunlight and bear the blossom of peace!
  No more should the long-lived wisdom o'er the waste of the wilderness
    stray;
  Nor the clear-eyed hero hasten to the deedless ending of day.
  And what if the hearts of the Volsungs for this deed of deeds were born,
  How then were their life-days evil and the end of their lives forlorn?"

  There stood Sigurd the Volsung, and heard how the harp-strings rang,
  But of other things they told him than the hope that the Master sang;
  And his world lay far away from the Dwarf-king's eyeless realm
  And the road that leadeth nowhere, and the ship without a helm:
  But he spake: "How oft shall I say it, that I shall work thy will?
  If my father hath made me mighty, thine heart shall I fulfill
  With the wisdom and gold thou wouldest, before I wend on my ways;
  For now hast thou failed me nought, and the sword is the wonder of days."

  No word for a while spake Regin; but he hung his head adown
  As a man that pondereth sorely, and his voice once more was grown
  As the voice of the smithying-master as he spake: "This Wrath of thine
  Hath cleft the hard and the heavy; it shall shear the soft and the fine:
  Come forth to the night and prove it."
                       So they twain went forth abroad,
  And the moon lay white on the river and lit the sleepless ford,
  And down to its pools they wended, and the stream was swift and full;
  Then Regin cast against it a lock of fine-spun wool,
  And it whirled about on the eddy till it met the edges bared,
  And as clean as the careless water the laboured fleece was sheared.

  Then Regin spake: "It is good, what the smithying-carle hath wrought:
  Now the work of the King beginneth, and the end that my soul hath sought.
  Thou shalt toil and I shall desire, and the deed shall be surely done:
  For thy Wrath is alive and awake and the story of bale is begun."

  Therewith was the Wrath of Sigurd laid soft in a golden sheath
  And the peace-strings knit around it; for that blade was fain of death;
  And 'tis ill to show such edges to the broad blue light of day,
  Or to let the hall-glare light them, if ye list not play the play.


    _Of Gripir's Foretelling._

  Now Sigurd backeth Greyfell on the first of the morrow morn,
  And he rideth fair and softly through the acres of the corn;
  The Wrath to his side is girded, but hid are the edges blue,
  As he wendeth his ways to the mountains, and rideth the horse-mead
    through.
  His wide grey eyes are happy, and his voice is sweet and soft,
  As amid the mead-lark's singing he casteth song aloft:
  Lo, lo, the horse and the rider! So once maybe it was,
  When over the Earth unpeopled the youngest God would pass;
  But never again meseemeth shall such a sight betide,
  Till over a world unwrongful new-born shall Baldur ride.

  So he comes to that ness of the mountains, and Gripir's garden steep,
  That bravely Greyfell breasteth, and adown by the door doth he leap
  And his war-gear rattleth upon him; there is none to ask or forbid
  As he wendeth the house clear-lighted, where no mote of the dust is hid,
  Though the sunlight hath not entered: the walls are clear and bright,
  For they cast back each to other the golden Sigurd's light;
  Through the echoing ways of the house bright-eyed he wendeth along,
  And the mountain-wind is with him, and the hovering eagles' song;
  But no sound of the children of men may the ears of the Volsung hear,
  And no sign of their ways in the world, or their will, or their hope
    or their fear.

  So he comes to the hall of Gripir, and gleaming-green is it built
  As the house of under-ocean where the wealth of the greedy is spilt;
  Gleaming and green as the sea, and rich as its rock-strewn floor,
  And fresh as the autumn morning when the burning of summer is o'er.
  There he looks and beholdeth the high-seat, and he sees it strangely
    wrought,
  Of the tooth of the sea-beast fashioned ere the Dwarf-kind came to
    nought;
  And he looks, and thereon is Gripir, the King exceeding old,
  With the sword of his fathers girded, and his raiment wrought of gold;
  With the ivory rod in his right-hand, with his left on the crystal laid,
  That is round as the world of men-folk, and after its image made,
  And clear is it wrought to the eyen that may read therein of Fate
  Though little indeed be its sea, and its earth not wondrous great.

  There Sigurd stands in the hall, on the sheathed Wrath doth he lean,
  All his golden light is mirrored in the gleaming floor and green;
  But the smile in his face upriseth as he looks on the ancient King,
  And their glad eyes meet and their laughter, and sweet is the welcoming:
  And Gripir saith: "Hail Sigurd! for my bidding hast thou done,
  And here in the mountain-dwelling are two Kings of men alone."

  But Sigurd spake: "Hail father! I am girt with the fateful sword
  And my face is set to the highway, and I come for thy latest word."

  Said Gripir: "What wouldst thou hearken ere we sit and drink the wine?"

  "Thy word and the Norns'," said Sigurd, "but never a word of mine."

  "What sights wouldst thou see," said Gripir, "ere mine hand shall take
    thine hand?"

  "As the Gods would I see," said Sigurd, "though Death light up the land."

  "What hope wouldst thou hope, O Sigurd, ere we kiss, we twain, and
    depart?"

  "Thy hope and the Gods'," said Sigurd, "though the grief lie hard on
    my heart."

  Nought answered the ancient wise-one, and not a whit had he stirred
  Since the clash of Sigurd's raiment in his mountain-hall he heard;
  But the ball that imaged the earth was set in his hand grown old;
  And belike it was to his vision, as the wide-world's ocean rolled,
  And the forests waved with the wind, and the corn was gay with the lark,
  And the gold in its nether places grew up in the dusk and the dark,
  And its children built and departed, and its King-folk conquered and went,
  As over the crystal image his all-wise face was bent:
  For all his desire was dead, and he lived as a God shall live,
  Who the prayers of the world hath forgotten, and to whom no hand may give.

  But there stood the mighty Volsung, and leaned on the hidden Wrath;
  As the earliest sun's uprising o'er the sea-plain draws a path
  Whereby men sail to the Eastward and the dawn of another day,
  So the image of King Sigurd on the gleaming pavement lay.

  Then great in the hall fair-pillared the voice of Gripir arose,
  And it ran through the glimmering house-ways, and forth to the sunny
    close;
  There mid the birds' rejoicing went the voice of an o'er-wise King
  Like a wind of midmost winter come back to talk with spring.

  But the voice cried: "Sigurd, Sigurd! O great, O early born!
  O hope of the Kings first fashioned! O blossom of the morn!
  Short day and long remembrance, fair summer of the North!
  One day shall the worn world wonder how first thou wentest forth!

  "Arise, O Sigurd, Sigurd! in the night arise and go,
  Thou shalt smite when the day-dawn glimmers through the folds of
    God-home's foe:

  "There the child in the noon-tide smiteth; the young King rendeth apart,
  The old guile by the guile encompassed, the heart made wise by the heart.

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd; bind up to cast abroad!
  That the earth may laugh before thee rejoiced by the Waters' Hoard.

  "Ride on, O Sigurd, Sigurd! for God's word goes forth on the wind,
  And he speaketh not twice over; nor shall they loose that bind:
  But the Day and the Day shall loosen, and the Day shall awake and arise,
  And the Day shall rejoice with the Dawning, and the wise heart learn of
    the wise.

  "O fair, O fearless, O mighty, how green are the garths of Kings,
  How soft are the ways before thee to the heart of their war-farings!

  "How green are the garths of King-folk, how fair is the lily and rose
  In the house of the Cloudy People, 'neath the towers of kings and foes!

  "Smite now, smite now in the noontide! ride on through the hosts of men!
  Lest the dear remembrance perish, and today come not again.

  "Is it day?--But the house is darkling--But the hand would gather and
    hold,
  And the lips have kissed the cloud-wreath, and a cloud the arms enfold.

  "In the dusk hath the Sower arisen; in the dark hath he cast the seed,
  And the ear is the sorrow of Odin and the wrong, and the nameless need!

  "Ah the hand hath gathered and garnered, and empty is the hand,
  Though the day be full and fruitful mid the drift of the Cloudy Land!

  "Look, look on the drift of the clouds, how the day and the even doth
    grow
  As the long-forgotten dawning that was a while ago!

  "Dawn, dawn, O mighty of men! and why wilt thou never awake,
  When the holy field of the Goth-folk cries out for thy love and thy sake?

  "Dawn, now; but the house is silent, and dark is the purple blood
  On the breast of the Queen fair-fashioned; and it riseth up as a flood
  Round the posts of the door belovèd; and a deed there lieth therein:
  The last of the deeds of Sigurd; the worst of the Cloudy Kin--
  The slayer slain by the slain within the door and without.
  --O dawn as the eve of the birth-day! O dark world cumbered with doubt!

  "Shall it never be day any more, nor the sun's uprising and growth?
  Shall the kings of earth lie sleeping and the war-dukes wander in sloth
  Through the last of the winter twilight? is the word of the wise-ones said
  Till the five-fold winter be ended and the trumpet waken the dead?

  "Short day and long remembrance! great glory for the earth!
  O deeds of the Day triumphant! O word of Sigurd's worth!
  It is done, and who shall undo it of all who were ever alive?
  May the Gods or the high Gods' masters 'gainst the tale of the righteous
    strive,
  And the deeds to follow after, and all their deeds increase,
  Till the uttermost field is foughten, and Baldur riseth in peace!

  "Cry out, O waste, before him! O rocks of the wilderness, cry!
  For to-morn shalt thou see the glory, and the man not made to die!
  Cry out, O upper heavens! O clouds beneath the lift
  For the golden King shall be riding high-headed midst the drift:
  The mountain waits and the fire; there waiteth the heart of the wise
  Till the earthly toil is accomplished, and again shall the fire arise;
  And none shall be nigh in the ending and none by his heart shall be laid,
  Save the world that he cherished and quickened, and the Day that he
    wakened and made."

  So died the voice of Gripir from amidst the sunny close,
  And the sound of hastening eagles from the mountain's feet arose,
  But the hall was silent a little, for still stood Sigmund's son,
  And he heard the words and remembered, and knew them one by one.
  Then he turned on the ancient Gripir with eyes that knew no guile
  And smiled on the wise of King-folk as the first of men might smile
  On the God that hath fashioned him happy; and he spake:
                     "Hast thou spoken and known
  How there standeth a child before thee and a stripling scarcely grown?
  Or hast thou told of the Volsungs, and the gathered heart of these,
  And their still unquenched desire for garnering fame's increase?
  E'en so do I hearken thy words: for I wot how they deem it long
  Till a man from their seed be arisen to deal with the cumber and wrong.
  Bid me therefore to sit by thy side, for behold I wend on my way,
  And the gates swing to behind me, and each day of mine is a day
  With deeds in the eve and the morning, nor deeds shall the noontide lack;
  To the right and the left none calleth, and no voice crieth aback."

  "Come, kin of the Gods," said Gripir, "come up and sit by my side
  That we twain may be glad as the fearless, and they that have nothing
    to hide:
  I have wrought out my will and abide it, and I sit ungrieved and alone,
  I look upon men and I help not; to me are the deeds long done
  As those of to-day and to-morrow: for these and for those am I glad;
  But the Gods and men are the framers, and the days of my life I have had."

  Then Sigurd came unto Gripir, and he kissed the wise-one's face,
  And they sat in the high-seat together, the child and the elder of days;
  And they drank of the wine of King-folk, and were joyful each of each,
  And spake for a while of matters that are meet for King-folk's speech;
  The deeds of men that have been and Kin of the Kings of the earth;
  And Gripir told of the outlands, and the mid-world's billowy girth,
  And tales of the upper heaven were mingled with his talk,
  And the halls where the Sea-Queen's kindred o'er the gem-strewn pavement
    walk,
  And the innermost parts of the earth, where they lie, the green and the
    blue,
  And the red and the glittering gem-stones that of old the Dwarf-kind knew.

  Long Sigurd sat and marvelled at the mouth that might not lie,
  And the eyes no God had blinded, and the lone heart raised on high,
  Then he rose from the gleaming high-seat, and the rings of battle rang
  And the sheathèd Wrath was hearkening and a song of war it sang,
  But Sigurd spake unto Gripir:
                    "Long and lovely are thy days,
  And thy years fulfilled of wisdom, and thy feet on the unhid ways,
  And the guileless heart of the great that knoweth not anger nor pain:
  So once hath a man been fashioned and shall not be again.
  But for me hath been foaled the war-horse, the grey steed swift as the
    cloud,
  And for me were the edges smithied, and the Wrath cries out aloud;
  And a voice hath called from the darkness, and I ride to the Glittering
    Heath;
  To smite on the door of Destruction, and waken the warder of Death."

  So they kissed, the wise and the wise, and the child from the elder
    turned;
  And again in the glimmering house-ways the golden Sigurd burned;
  He stood outside in the sunlight, and tarried never a deal,
  But leapt on the cloudy Greyfell with the clank of gold and steel,
  And he rode through the sinking day to the walls of the kingly stead,
  And came to Regin's dwelling when the wind was fallen dead,
  And the great sun just departing: then blood-red grew the west,
  And the fowl flew home from the sea-mead, and all things sank to rest.


    _Sigurd rideth to the Glittering Heath._

  Again on the morrow morning doth Sigurd the Volsung ride,
  And Regin, the Master of Masters, is faring by his side,
  And they leave the dwelling of kings and ride the summer land,
  Until at the eve of the day the hills are on either hand:
  Then they wend up higher and higher, and over the heaths they fare
  Till the moon shines broad on the midnight, and they sleep 'neath the
    heavens bare;
  And they waken and look behind them, and lo, the dawning of day
  And the little land of the Helper and its valley far away;
  But the mountains rise before them, a wall exceeding great.

  Then spake the Master of Masters: "We have come to the garth and the gate:
  There is youth and rest behind thee and many a thing to do,
  There is many a fond desire, and each day born anew;
  And the land of the Volsungs to conquer, and many a people's praise:
  And for me there is rest it maybe, and the peaceful end of days.
  We have come to the garth and the gate; to the hall-door now shall we win,
  Shall we go to look on the high-seat and see what sitteth therein?"

  "Yea and what else?" said Sigurd, "was thy tale but mockeries
  And have I been drifted hither on a wind of empty lies?"

  "It was sooth, it was sooth," said Regin, "and more might I have told
  Had I heart and space to remember the deeds of the days of old."

  And he hung down his head as he spake it, and was silent a little space;
  And when it was lifted again there was fear in the Dwarf-king's face.
  And he said: "Thou knowest my thought, and wise-hearted art thou grown:
  It were well if thine eyes were blinder, and we each were faring alone,
  And I with my eld and my wisdom, and thou with thy youth and thy might;
  Yet whiles I dream I have wrought thee, a beam of the morning bright,
  A fatherless motherless glory, to work out my desire;
  Then high my hope ariseth, and my heart is all afire
  For the world I behold from afar, and the day that yet shall be;
  Then I wake and all things I remember and a youth of the Kings I see--
  --The child of the Wood-abider, the seed of a conquered King,
  The sword that the Gods have fashioned, the fate that men shall sing:--
  Ah might the world run backward to the days of the Dwarfs of old,
  When I hewed out the pillars of crystal, and smoothed the walls of gold!"

  Nought answered the Son of Sigmund; nay he heard him nought at all,
  Save as though the wind were speaking in the bights of the mountain-hall:
  But he leapt aback of Greyfell, and the glorious sun rose up,
  And the heavens glowed above him like the bowl of Baldur's cup,
  And a golden man was he waxen; as the heart of the sun he seemed,
  While over the feet of the mountains like blood the new light streamed;
  Then Sigurd cried to Greyfell and swift for the pass he rode
  And Regin followed after as a man bowed down by a load.

  Day-long they fared through the mountains, and that highway's fashioner
  Forsooth was a fearful craftsman, and his hands the waters were,
  And the heaped-up ice was his mattock, and the fire-blast was his man,
  And never a whit he heeded though his walls were waste and wan,
  And the guest-halls of that wayside great heaps of the ashes spent.
  But, each as a man alone, through the sun-bright day they went,
  And they rode till the moon rose upward, and the stars were small and
    fair,
  Then they slept on the long-slaked ashes beneath the heavens bare;
  And the cold dawn came and they wakened, and the King of the Dwarf-kind
    seemed
  As a thing of that wan land fashioned; but Sigurd glowed and gleamed
  Amid the shadowless twilight by Greyfell's cloudy flank,
  As a little space they abided while the latest star-world shrank;
  On the backward road looked Regin and heard how Sigurd drew
  The girths of Greyfell's saddle, and the voice of his sword he knew
  And he feared to look on the Volsung, as thus he fell to speak:

  "I have seen the Dwarf-folk mighty, I have seen the God-folk weak;
  And now, though our might be minished, yet have we gifts to give.
  When men desire and conquer, most sweet is their life to live;
  When men are young and lovely there is many a thing to do,
  And sweet is their fond desire and the dawn that springs anew."

  "This gift," said the Son of Sigmund, "the Norns shall give me yet,
  And no blossom slain by the sunshine while the leaves with dew are wet."

  Then Regin turned and beheld him: "Thou shalt deem it hard and strange,
  When the hand hath encompassed it all, and yet thy life must change.
  Ah, long were the lives of men-folk, if betwixt the Gods and them
  Were mighty warders watching mid the earth's and the heaven's hem!
  Is there any man so mighty he would cast this gift away,--
  The heart's desire accomplished, and life so long a day,
  That the dawn should be forgotten ere the even was begun?"

  Then Sigurd laughed and answered: "Fare forth, O glorious sun;
  Bright end from bright beginning, and the mid-way good to tell,
  And death, and deeds accomplished, and all remembered well!
  Shall the day go past and leave us, and we be left with night,
  To tread the endless circle, and strive in vain to smite?
  But thou--wilt thou still look backward? thou sayst I know thy thought:
  Thou hast whetted the sword for the slaying, it shall turn aside for
    nought.
  Fear not! with the Gold and the wisdom thou shalt deem thee God alone,
  And mayst do and undo at pleasure, nor be bound by right nor wrong:
  And then, if no God I be waxen, I shall be the weak with the strong."

  And his war-gear clanged and tinkled as he leapt to the saddle-stead:
  And the sun rose up at their backs and the grey world changed to red.
  And away to the west went Sigurd by the glory wreathed about,
  But little and black was Regin as a fire that dieth out.
  Day-long they rode the mountains by the crags exceeding old,
  And the ash that the first of the Dwarf-kind found dull and quenched
    and cold.
  Then the moon in the mid-sky swam, and the stars were fair and pale,
  And beneath the naked heaven they slept in an ash-grey dale;
  And again at the dawn-dusk's ending they stood upon their feet,
  And Sigurd donned his war-gear nor his eyes would Regin meet.

  A clear streak widened in heaven low down above the earth;
  And above it lay the cloud-flecks, and the sun, anigh its birth,
  Unseen, their hosts was staining with the very hue of blood,
  And ruddy by Greyfell's shoulder the Son of Sigmund stood.

  Then spake the Master of Masters: "What is thine hope this morn
  That thou dightest thee, O Sigurd, to ride this world forlorn?"

  "What needeth hope," said Sigurd, "when the heart of the Volsungs turns
  To the light of the Glittering Heath, and the house where the Waster
    burns?
  I shall slay the Foe of the Gods, as thou badst me a while agone,
  And then with the Gold and its wisdom shalt thou be left alone."

  "O Child," said the King of the Dwarf-kind, "when the day at last
    comes round
  For the dread and the Dusk of the Gods, and the kin of the Wolf is
    unbound,
  When thy sword shall hew the fire, and the wildfire beateth thy shield,
  Shalt thou praise the wages of hope and the Gods that pitched the field?"

  "O Foe of the Gods," said Sigurd, "wouldst thou hide the evil thing,
  And the curse that is greater than thou, lest death end thy labouring,
  Lest the night should come upon thee amidst thy toil for nought?
  It is me, it is me that thou fearest, if indeed I know thy thought;
  Yea me, who would utterly light the face of all good and ill,
  If not with the fruitful beams that the summer shall fulfill,
  Then at least with the world a-blazing, and the glare of the grinded
    sword."

  And he sprang aloft to the saddle as he spake the latest word,
  And the Wrath sang loud in the sheath as it ne'er had sung before,
  And the cloudy flecks were scattered like flames on the heaven's floor,
  And all was kindled at once, and that trench of the mountains grey
  Was filled with the living light as the low sun lit the way:
  But Regin turned from the glory with blinded eyes and dazed,
  And lo, on the cloudy war-steed how another light there blazed,
  And a great voice came from amidst it:
                           "O Regin, in good sooth,
  I have hearkened not nor heeded the words of thy fear and thy ruth:
  Thou hast told thy tale and thy longing, and thereto I hearkened well:--
  Let it lead thee up to heaven, let it lead thee down to hell,
  The deed shall be done to-morrow: thou shalt have that measureless Gold,
  And devour the garnered wisdom that blessed thy realm of old,
  That hath lain unspent and begrudged in the very heart of hate:
  With the blood and the might of thy brother thine hunger shalt thou sate;
  And this deed shall be mine and thine; but take heed for what followeth
    then!
  Let each do after his kind! I shall do the deeds of men;
  I shall harvest the field of their sowing, in the bed of their strewing
    shall sleep;
  To them shall I give my life-days, to the Gods my glory to keep.
  But thou with the wealth and the wisdom that the best of the Gods might
    praise,
  If thou shalt indeed excel them and become the hope of the days,
  Then me in turn hast thou conquered, and I shall be in turn
  Thy fashioned brand of the battle through good and evil to burn,
  Or the flame that sleeps in thy stithy for the gathered winds to blow,
  When thou listest to do and undo and thine uttermost cunning to show.
  But indeed I wot full surely that thou shalt follow thy kind;
  And for all that cometh after, the Norns shall loose and bind."

  Then his bridle-reins rang sweetly, and the warding-walls of death,
  And Regin drew up to him, and the Wrath sang loud in the sheath,
  And forth from that trench in the mountains by the westward way they ride;
  And little and black goes Regin by the golden Volsung's side;
  But no more his head is drooping, for he seeth the Elf-king's Gold;
  The garnered might and the wisdom e'en now his eyes behold.

  So up and up they journeyed, and ever as they went
  About the cold-slaked forges, o'er many a cloud-swept bent,
  Betwixt the walls of blackness, by shores of the fishless meres,
  And the fathomless desert waters, did Regin cast his fears,
  And wrap him in desire; and all alone he seemed
  As a God to his heirship wending, and forgotten and undreamed
  Was all the tale of Sigurd, and the folk he had toiled among,
  And the Volsungs, Odin's children, and the men-folk fair and young.

       *     *     *     *     *

  So on they ride to the westward, and huge were the mountains grown
  And the floor of heaven was mingled with that tossing world of stone:
  And they rode till the noon was forgotten and the sun was waxen low,
  And they tarried not, though he perished, and the world grew dark below.
  Then they rode a mighty desert, a glimmering place and wide,
  And into a narrow pass high-walled on either side
  By the blackness of the mountains, and barred aback and in face
  By the empty night of the shadow; a windless silent place:
  But the white moon shone o'erhead mid the small sharp stars and pale,
  And each as a man alone they rode on the highway of bale.

       *     *     *     *     *

  So ever they wended upward, and the midnight hour was o'er,
  And the stars grew pale and paler, and failed from the heaven's floor,
  And the moon was a long while dead, but there was the promise of day,
  No change came over the darkness, no streak of the dawning grey;
  No sound of the wind's uprising adown the night there ran:
  It was blind as the Gaping Gulf ere the first of the worlds began.

  Then athwart and athwart rode Sigurd and sought the walls of the pass,
  But found no wall before him; and the road rang hard as brass
  Beneath the hoofs of Greyfell, as up and up he trod:
  --Was it the daylight of Hell, or the night of the doorways of God?

  But lo, at the last a glimmer, and a light from the west there came,
  And another and another, like points of far-off flame;
  And they grew and brightened and gathered; and whiles together they ran
  Like the moonwake over the waters; and whiles they were scant and wan,
  Some greater and some lesser, like the boats of fishers laid
  About the sea of midnight; and a dusky dawn they made,
  A faint and glimmering twilight: So Sigurd strains his eyes,
  And he sees how a land deserted all round about him lies
  More changeless than mid-ocean, as fruitless as its floor:
  Then the heart leaps up within him, for he knows that his journey is o'er,
  And there he draweth bridle on the first of the Glittering Heath:
  And the Wrath is waxen merry and sings in the golden sheath
  As he leaps adown from Greyfell, and stands upon his feet,
  And wends his ways through the twilight the Foe of the Gods to meet.


    _Sigurd slayeth Fafnir the Serpent_.

  Nought Sigurd seeth of Regin, and nought he heeds of him,
  As in watchful might and glory he strides the desert dim,
  And behind him paceth Greyfell; but he deems the time o'erlong
  Till he meet the great gold-warden, the over-lord of wrong.

  So he wendeth midst the silence through the measureless desert place,
  And beholds the countless glitter with wise and steadfast face,
  Till him-seems in a little season that the flames grow somewhat wan,
  And a grey thing glimmers before him, and becomes a mighty man,
  One-eyed and ancient-seeming, in cloud-grey raiment clad;
  A friendly man and glorious, and of visage smiling-glad:
  Then content in Sigurd groweth because of his majesty,
  And he heareth him speak in the desert as the wind of the winter sea:

  "Hail Sigurd! Give me thy greeting ere thy ways alone thou wend!"

  Said Sigurd: "Hail! I greet thee, my friend and my fathers' friend."

  "Now whither away," said the elder, "with the Steed and the ancient
    Sword?"

  "To the greedy house," said Sigurd, "and the King of the Heavy Hoard."

  "Wilt thou smite, O Sigurd, Sigurd?" said the ancient mighty-one.

  "Yea, yea, I shall smite," said the Volsung, "save the Gods have slain
    the sun."

  "What wise wilt thou smite," said the elder, "lest the dark devour thy
    day?"

  "Thou hast praised the sword," said the child, "and the sword shall find
    a way."

  "Be learned of me," said the Wise-one, "for I was the first of thy folk."

  Said the child: "I shall do thy bidding, and for thee shall I strike the
    stroke."

  Spake the Wise-one: "Thus shalt thou do when thou wendest hence alone:
  Thou shalt find a path in the desert, and a road in the world of stone;
  It is smooth and deep and hollow, but the rain hath riven it not,
  And the wild wind hath not worn it, for it is but Fafnir's slot,
  Whereby he wends to the water and the fathomless pool of old,
  When his heart in the dawn is weary, and he loathes the Ancient Gold:
  There think of the great and the fathers, and bare the whetted Wrath,
  And dig a pit in the highway, and a grave in the Serpent's path:
  Lie thou therein, O Sigurd, and thine hope from the glooming hide,
  And be as the dead for a season, and the living light abide!
  And so shall thine heart avail thee, and thy mighty fateful hand,
  And the Light that lay in the Branstock, the well belovèd brand."

  Said the child: "I shall do thy bidding, and for thee shall I strike the
    stroke;
  For I love thee, friend of my fathers, Wise Heart of the holy folk."

  So spake the Son of Sigmund, and beheld no man anear,
  And again was the night the midnight, and the twinkling flames shone clear
  In the hush of the Glittering Heath; and alone went Sigmund's son
  Till he came to the road of Fafnir, and the highway worn by one,
  By the drift of the rain unfurrowed, by the windy years unrent,
  And forth from the dark it came, and into the dark it went.

  Great then was the heart of Sigurd, for there in the midmost he stayed,
  And thought of the ancient fathers, and bared the bright blue blade,
  That shone as a fleck of the day-light, and the night was all around.
  Fair then was the Son of Sigmund as he toiled and laboured the ground;
  Great, mighty he was in his working, and the Glittering Heath he clave,
  And the sword shone blue before him as he dug the pit and the grave:
  There he hid his hope from the night-tide and lay like one of the dead,
  And wise and wary he bided; and the heavens hung over his head.

  Now the night wanes over Sigurd, and the ruddy rings he sees,
  And his war-gear's fair adornment, and the God-folk's images;
  But a voice in the desert ariseth, a sound in the waste has birth,
  A changing tinkle and clatter, as of gold dragged over the earth:
  O'er Sigurd widens the day-light, and the sound is drawing close,
  And speedier than the trample of speedy feet it goes;
  But ever deemeth Sigurd that the sun brings back the day,
  For the grave grows lighter and lighter and heaven o'erhead is grey.

  But now, how the rattling waxeth till he may not heed nor hark!
  And the day and the heavens are hidden, and o'er Sigurd rolls the dark,
  As the flood of a pitchy river, and heavy-thick is the air
  With the venom of hate long hoarded, and lies once fashioned fair:
  Then a wan face comes from the darkness, and is wrought in manlike wise,
  And the lips are writhed with laughter and bleared are the blinded eyes;
  And it wandereth hither and thither, and searcheth through the grave
  And departeth, leaving nothing, save the dark, rolled wave on wave
  O'er the golden head of Sigurd and the edges of the sword,
  And the world weighs heavy on Sigurd, and the weary curse of the Hoard:
  Him-seemed the grave grew straiter, and his hope of life grew chill,
  And his heart by the Worm was enfolded, and the bonds of the Ancient Ill.

  Then was Sigurd stirred by his glory, and he strove with the swaddling
    of Death;
  He turned in the pit on the highway, and the grave of the Glittering
    Heath;
  He laughed and smote with the laughter and thrust up over his head,
  And smote the venom asunder, and clave the heart of Dread;
  Then he leapt from the pit and the grave, and the rushing river of blood,
  And fulfilled with the joy of the War-God on the face of earth he stood
  With red sword high uplifted, with wrathful glittering eyes;
  And he laughed at the heavens above him for he saw the sun arise,
  And Sigurd gleamed on the desert, and shone in the new-born light,
  And the wind in his raiment wavered, and all the world was bright.

  But there was the ancient Fafnir, and the Face of Terror lay
  On the huddled folds of the Serpent, that were black and ashen-grey
  In the desert lit by the sun; and those twain looked each on each,
  And forth from the Face of Terror went a sound of dreadful speech:

  "Child, child, who art thou that hast smitten? bright child, of whence
    is thy birth?"

  "I am called the Wild-thing Glorious, and alone I wend on the earth."

  "Fierce child, and who was thy father?--Thou hast cleft the heart of the
    Foe!"

  "Am I like to the sons of men-folk, that my father I should know?"

  "Wert thou born of a nameless wonder? shall the lies to my death-day
    cling?"

  "How lieth Sigurd the Volsung, and the Son of Sigmund the King?"

  "O bitter father of Sigurd!--thou hast cleft mine heart atwain!"

  "I arose, and I wondered and wended, and I smote, and I smote not in
    vain."

  "What master hath taught thee of murder?--Thou hast wasted Fafnir's day."

  "I, Sigurd, knew and desired, and the bright sword learned the way."

  "Thee, thee shall the rattling Gold and the red rings bring to the bane."

  "Yet mine hand shall cast them abroad, and the earth shall gather again."

  "I see thee great in thine anger, and the Norns thou heedest not."

  "O Fafnir, speak of the Norns and the wisdom unforgot!"

  "Let the death-doomed flee from the ocean, him the wind and the weather
    shall drown."

  "O Fafnir, tell of the Norns ere thy life thou layest adown!"

  "O manifold is their kindred, and who shall tell them all?
  There are they that rule o'er men-folk and the stars that rise and fall:
  --I knew of the folk of the Dwarfs, and I knew their Norns of old;
  And I fought, and I fell in the morning, and I die afar from the gold:
  --I have seen the Gods of heaven, and their Norns withal I know:
  They love and withhold their helping, they hate and refrain the blow;
  They curse and they may not sunder, they bless and they shall not blend;
  They have fashioned the good and the evil; they abide the change and the
    end."

  "O Fafnir, what of the Isle, and what hast thou known of its name,
  Where the Gods shall mingle edges with Surt and the Sons of Flame?"

  "O child, O Strong Compeller? Unshapen is its hight;
  There the fallow blades shall be shaken and the Dark and the Day shall
    smite,
  When the Bridge of the Gods is broken, and their white steeds swim the
    sea,
  And the uttermost field is stricken, last strife of thee and me."

  "What then shall endure, O Fafnir, the tale of the battle to tell?"

  "I am blind, O Strong Compeller, in the bonds of Death and Hell.
  But thee shall the rattling Gold and the red rings bring unto bane."

  "Yet the rings mine hand shall scatter, and the earth shall gather again."

  "Woe, woe! in the days passed over I bore the Helm of Dread,
  I reared the Face of Terror, and the hoarded hate of the Dead:
  I overcame and was mighty; I was wise and cherished my heart
  In the waste where no man wandered, and the high house builded apart:
  Till I met thine hand, O Sigurd, and thy might ordained from of old;
  And I fought and fell in the morning, and I die far off from the Gold."

  Then Sigurd leaned on his sword, and a dreadful voice went by
  Like the wail of a God departing and the War-God's misery;
  And strong words of ancient wisdom went by on the desert wind,
  The words that mar and fashion, the words that loose and bind;
  And sounds of a strange lamenting, and such strange things bewailed,
  That words to tell their meaning the tongue of man hath failed.

  Then all sank into silence, and the Son of Sigmund stood
  On the torn and furrowed desert by the pool of Fafnir's blood,
  And the Serpent lay before him, dead, chilly, dull, and grey;
  And over the Glittering Heath fair shone the sun and the day,
  And a light wind followed the sun and breathed o'er the fateful place,
  As fresh as it furrows the sea-plain or bows the acres' face.


    _Sigurd slayeth Regin the Master of Masters on the Glittering Heath_.

  There standeth Sigurd the Volsung, and leaneth on his sword,
  And beside him now is Greyfell and looks on his golden lord,
  And the world is awake and living; and whither now shall they wend,
  Who have come to the Glittering Heath, and wrought that deed to its end?
  For hither comes Regin the Master from the skirts of the field of death,
  And he shadeth his eyes from the sunlight as afoot he goeth and saith:
  "Ah, let me live for a while! for a while and all shall be well,
  When passed is the house of murder and I creep from the prison of hell."

  Afoot he went o'er the desert, and he came unto Sigurd and stared
  At the golden gear of the man, and the Wrath yet bloody and bared,
  And the light locks raised by the wind, and the eyes beginning to smile,
  And the lovely lips of the Volsung, and the brow that knew no guile;
  And he murmured under his breath while his eyes grew white with wrath:

  "O who art thou, and wherefore, and why art thou in the path?"
  Then he turned to the ash-grey Serpent, and grovelled low on the ground,
  And he drank of that pool of the blood where the stones of the wild were
    drowned,
  And long he lapped as a dog; but when he arose again,
  Lo, a flock of the mountain-eagles that drew to the feastful plain;
  And he turned and looked on Sigurd, as bright in the sun he stood,
  A stripling fair and slender, and wiped the Wrath of the blood.

  But Regin cried: "O Dwarf-kind, O many-shifting folk,
  O shapes of might and wonder, am I too freed from the yoke,
  That binds my soul to my body a withered thing forlorn,
  While the short-lived fools of man-folk so fair and oft are born?
  Now swift in the air shall I be, and young in the concourse of kings,
  If my heart shall come to desire the gain of earthly things."

  And he looked and saw how Sigurd was sheathing the Flame of War,
  And the eagles screamed in the wind, but their voice came faint from afar:
  Then he scowled, and crouched and darkened, and came to Sigurd and spake:
  "O child, thou hast slain my brother, and the Wrath is alive and awake."

  "Thou sayest sooth," said Sigurd, "thy deed and mine is done:
  But now our ways shall sunder, for here, meseemeth, the sun
  Hath but little of deeds to do, and no love to win aback."

  Then Regin crouched before him, and he spake: "Fare on to the wrack!
  Fare on to the murder of men, and the deeds of thy kindred of old!
  And surely of thee as of them shall the tale be speedily told.
  Thou hast slain thy Master's brother, and what wouldst thou say thereto,
  Were the judges met for the judging and the doom-ring hallowed due?"

  Then Sigurd spake as aforetime: "Thy deed and mine it was,
  And now our ways shall sunder, and into the world will I pass."

  But Regin darkened before him, and exceeding grim was he grown,
  And he spake: "Thou hast slain my brother, and wherewith wilt thou atone?"

  "Stand up, O Master," said Sigurd, "O Singer of ancient days,
  And take the wealth I have won thee, ere we wend on the sundering ways.
  I have toiled and thou hast desired, and the Treasure is surely anear,
  And thou hast wisdom to find it, and I have slain thy fear."

  But Regin crouched and darkened: "Thou hast slain my brother," he said.

  "Take thou the Gold," quoth Sigurd, "for the ransom of my head!"

  Then Regin crouched and darkened, and over the earth he hung;
  And he said: "Thou hast slain my brother, and the Gods are yet but young."

  Bright Sigurd towered above him, and the Wrath cried out in the sheath,
  And Regin writhed against it as the adder turns on death;
  And he spake: "Thou hast slain my brother, and to-day shalt thou be my
    thrall:
  Yea a King shall be my cook-boy and this heath my cooking-hall."

  Then he crept to the ash-grey coils where the life of his brother had
    lain,
  And he drew a glaive from his side and smote the smitten and slain,
  And tore the heart from Fafnir, while the eagles cried o'erhead,
  And sharp and shrill was their voice o'er the entrails of the dead.

  Then Regin spake to Sigurd: "Of this slaying wilt thou be free?
  Then gather thou fire together and roast the heart for me,
  That I may eat it and live, and be thy master and more;
  For therein was might and wisdom, and the grudged and hoarded lore:--
  --Or else, depart on thy ways afraid from the Glittering Heath."

  Then he fell abackward and slept, nor set his sword in the sheath,
  But his hand was red on the hilts and blue were the edges bared,
  Ash-grey was his visage waxen, and with open eyes he stared
  On the height of heaven above him, and a fearful thing he seemed,
  As his soul went wide in the world, and of rule and kingship he dreamed.

  But Sigurd took the Heart, and wood on the waste he found,
  The wood that grew and died, as it crept on the niggard ground,
  And grew and died again, and lay like whitened bones;
  And the ernes cried over his head, as he builded his hearth of stones,
  And kindled the fire for cooking, and sat and sang o'er the roast
  The song of his fathers of old, and the Wolflings' gathering host:
  So there on the Glittering Heath rose up the little flame,
  And the dry sticks crackled amidst it, and alow the eagles came,
  And seven they were by tale, and they pitched all round about
  The cooking-fire of Sigurd, and sent their song-speech out:
  But nought he knoweth its wisdom, or the word that they would speak:
  And hot grew the Heart of Fafnir and sang amid the reek.

  Then Sigurd looketh on Regin, and he deemeth it overlong
  That he dighteth the dear-bought morsel, and the might for the Master
    of wrong,
  So he reacheth his hand to the roast to see if the cooking be o'er;
  But the blood and the fat seethed from it and scalded his finger sore,
  And he set his hand to his mouth to quench the fleshly smart,
  And he tasted the flesh of the Serpent and the blood of Fafnir's Heart:
  Then there came a change upon him, for the speech of fowl he knew,
  And wise in the ways of the beast-kind as the Dwarfs of old he grew;
  And he knitted his brows and hearkened, and wrath in his heart arose;
  For he felt beset of evil in a world of many foes.
  But the hilt of the Wrath he handled, and Regin's heart he saw,
  And how that the Foe of the Gods the net of death would draw;
  And his bright eyes flashed and sparkled, and his mouth grew set and
    stern
  As he hearkened the voice of the eagles, and their song began to learn.

  For the first cried out in the desert: "O mighty Sigmund's son,
  How long wilt thou sit and tarry now the dear-bought roast is done?"

  And the second: "Volsung, arise! for the horns blow up to the hall,
  And dight are the purple hangings, and the King to the feasting should
    fall."

  And the third: "How great is the feast if the eater eat aright
  The Heart of the wisdom of old and the after-world's delight!"

  And the fourth: "Yea what of Regin? shall he scatter wrack o'er the world?
  Shall the father be slain by the son, and the brother 'gainst brother be
    hurled?"

  And the fifth: "He hath taught a stripling the gifts of a God to give:
  He hath reared up a King for the slaying, that he alone might live."

  And the sixth: "He shall waken mighty as a God that scorneth a truth;
  He hath drunk of the blood of the Serpent, and drowned all hope and ruth."

  And the seventh: "Arise, O Sigurd, lest the hour be overlate!
  For the sun in the mid-noon shineth, and swift is the hand of Fate:
  Arise! lest the world run backward and the blind heart have its will,
  And once again be tangled the sundered good and ill;
  Lest love and hatred perish, lest the world forget its tale,
  And the Gods sit deedless, dreaming, in the high-walled heavenly vale."

  Then swift ariseth Sigurd, and the Wrath in his hand is bare,
  And he looketh, and Regin sleepeth, and his eyes wide-open glare;
  But his lips smile false in his dreaming, and his hand is on the sword;
  For he dreams himself the Master and the new world's fashioning-lord.
  And his dream hath forgotten Sigurd, and the King's life lies in the pit;
  He is nought; Death gnaweth upon him, while the Dwarfs in mastery sit.

  But lo, how the eyes of Sigurd the heart of the guileful behold,
  And great is Allfather Odin, and upriseth the Curse of the Gold,
  And the Branstock bloometh to heaven from the ancient wondrous root;
  The summer hath shone on its blossoms, and Sigurd's Wrath is the fruit:
  Dread then he cried in the desert: "Guile-master, lo thy deed!
  Hast thou nurst my life for destruction, and my death to serve thy need?
  Hast thou kept me here for the net and the death that tame things die?
  Hast thou feared me overmuch, thou Foe of the Gods on high?
  Lest the sword thine hand was wielding should turn about and cleave
  The tangled web of nothing thou hadst wearied thyself to weave.
  Lo here the sword and the stroke! judge the Norns betwixt us twain!
  But for me, I will live and die not, nor shall all my hope be vain."
  Then his second stroke struck Sigurd, for the Wrath flashed thin and white,
  And 'twixt head and trunk of Regin fierce ran the fateful light;
  And there lay brother by brother a faded thing and wan.
  But Sigurd cried in the desert: "So far have I wended on!
  Dead are the foes of God-home that would blend the good and the ill;
  And the World shall yet be famous, and the Gods shall have their will.
  Nor shall I be dead and forgotten, while the earth grows worse and worse,
  With the blind heart king o'er the people, and binding curse with curse."


    _How Sigurd took to him the Treasure of the Elf Andvari._

  Now Sigurd eats of the heart that once in the Dwarf-king lay,
  The hoard of the wisdom begrudged, the might of the earlier day.
  Then wise of heart was he waxen, but longing in him grew
  To sow the seed he had gotten, and till the field he knew.
  So he leapeth aback of Greyfell, and rideth the desert bare,
  And the hollow slot of Fafnir, that led to the Serpent's lair.
  Then long he rode adown it, and the ernes flew overhead,
  And tidings great and glorious of that Treasure of old they said.
  So far o'er the waste he wended, and when the night was come
  He saw the earth-old dwelling, the dread Gold-wallower's home:
  On the skirts of the Heath it was builded by a tumbled stony bent;
  High went that house to the heavens, down 'neath the earth it went,
  Of unwrought iron fashioned for the heart of a greedy king:
  'Twas a mountain, blind without, and within was its plenishing
  But the Hoard of Andvari the ancient, and the sleeping Curse unseen,
  The Gold of the Gods that spared not and the greedy that have been.
  Through the door strode Sigurd the Volsung, and the grey moon and the
    sword
  Fell in on the tawny gold-heaps of the ancient hapless Hoard:
  Gold gear of hosts unburied, and the coin of cities dead,
  Great spoil of the ages of battle, lay there on the Serpent's bed:
  Huge blocks from mid-earth quarried, where none but the Dwarfs have mined,
  Wide sands of the golden rivers no foot of man may find
  Lay 'neath the spoils of the mighty and the ruddy rings of yore:
  But amidst was the Helm of Aweing that the Fear of earth-folk bore,
  And there gleamed a wonder beside it, the Hauberk all of gold,
  Whose like is not in the heavens nor has earth of its fellow told:
  There Sigurd seeth moreover Andvari's Ring of Gain,
  The hope of Loki's finger, the Ransom's utmost grain;
  For it shone on the midmost gold-heap like the first star set in the sky
  In the yellow space of even when moon-rise draweth anigh.
  Then laughed the Son of Sigmund, and stooped to the golden land,
  And gathered that first of the harvest and set it on his hand;
  And he did on the Helm of Aweing, and the Hauberk all of gold,
  Whose like is not in the heavens nor has earth of its fellow told:
  Then he praised the day of the Volsungs amid the yellow light,
  And he set his hand to the labour and put forth his kingly might;
  He dragged forth gold to the moon, on the desert's face he laid
  The innermost earth's adornment, and rings for the nameless made;
  He toiled and loaded Greyfell, and the cloudy war-steed shone
  And the gear of Sigurd rattled in the flood of moonlight wan;
  There he toiled and loaded Greyfell, and the Volsung's armour rang
  Mid the yellow bed of the Serpent: but without the eagles sang:

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd! let the gold shine free and clear!
  For what hath the Son of the Volsungs the ancient Curse to fear?"

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd! for thy tale is well begun,
  And the world shall be good and gladdened by the Gold lit up by the sun."

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd, and gladden all thine heart!
  For the world shall make thee merry ere thou and she depart."

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd! for the ways go green below,
  Go green to the dwelling of Kings, and the halls that the Queen-folk
    know."

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd! for what is there bides by the way,
  Save the joy of folk to awaken, and the dawn of the merry day?"

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd! for the strife awaits thine hand,
  And a plenteous war-field's reaping, and the praise of many a land."

  "Bind the red rings, O Sigurd! But how shall store-house hold
  That glory of thy winning and the tidings to be told?"

  Now the moon was dead, and the star-worlds were great on the heavenly
    plain,
  When the steed was fully laden; then Sigurd taketh the rein
  And turns to the ruined rock-wall that the lair was built beneath,
  For there he deemed was the gate and the door of the Glittering Heath,
  But not a whit moved Greyfell for aught that the King might do;
  Then Sigurd pondered a while, till the heart of the beast he knew,
  And clad in all his war-gear he leaped to the saddle-stead,
  And with pride and mirth neighed Greyfell and tossed aloft his head,
  And sprang unspurred o'er the waste, and light and swift he went,
  And breasted the broken rampart, the stony tumbled bent;
  And over the brow he clomb, and there beyond was the world,
  A place of many mountains and great crags together hurled.
  So down to the west he wendeth, and goeth swift and light,
  And the stars are beginning to wane, and the day is mingled with night;
  For full fain was the sun to arise and look on the Gold set free,
  And the Dwarf-wrought rings of the Treasure and the gifts from the floor
    of the sea.


    _How Sigurd awoke Brynhild upon Hindfell._

  By long roads rideth Sigurd amidst that world of stone,
  And somewhat south he turneth; for he would not be alone,
  But longs for the dwellings of man-folk, and the kingly people's speech,
  And the days of the glee and the joyance, where men laugh each to each.
  But still the desert endureth, and afar must Greyfell fare
  From the wrack of the Glittering Heath, and Fafnir's golden lair.
  Long Sigurd rideth the waste, when, lo, on a morning of day
  From out of the tangled crag-walls, amidst the cloud-land grey
  Comes up a mighty mountain, and it is as though there burns
  A torch amidst of its cloud-wreath; so thither Sigurd turns,
  For he deems indeed from its topmost to look on the best of the earth;
  And Greyfell neigheth beneath him, and his heart is full of mirth.

  So he rideth higher and higher, and the light grows great and strange,
  And forth from the clouds it flickers, till at noon they gather and
    change,
  And settle thick on the mountain, and hide its head from sight;
  But the winds in a while are awakened, and day bettereth ere the night,
  And, lifted a measureless mass o'er the desert crag-walls high,
  Cloudless the mountain riseth against the sunset sky,
  The sea of the sun grown golden, as it ebbs from the day's desire;
  And the light that afar was a torch is grown a river of fire,
  And the mountain is black above it, and below is it dark and dun;
  And there is the head of Hindfell as an island in the sun.

  Night falls, but yet rides Sigurd, and hath no thought of rest,
  For he longs to climb that rock-world and behold the earth at its best;
  But now mid the maze of the foot-hills he seeth the light no more,
  And the stars are lovely and gleaming on the lightless heavenly floor.
  So up and up he wendeth till the night is wearing thin;
  And he rideth a rift of the mountain, and all is dark therein,
  Till the stars are dimmed by dawning and the wakening world is cold;
  Then afar in the upper rock-wall a breach doth he behold,
  And a flood of light poured inward the doubtful dawning blinds:
  So swift he rideth thither and the mouth of the breach he finds,
  And sitteth awhile on Greyfell on the marvellous thing to gaze:
  For lo, the side of Hindfell enwrapped by the fervent blaze,
  And nought 'twixt earth and heaven save a world of flickering flame,
  And a hurrying shifting tangle, where the dark rents went and came.

  Great groweth the heart of Sigurd with uttermost desire,
  And he crieth kind to Greyfell, and they hasten up, and nigher,
  Till he draweth rein in the dawning on the face of Hindfell's steep:
  But who shall heed the dawning where the tongues of that wildfire leap?
  For they weave a wavering wall, that driveth over the heaven
  The wind that is born within it; nor ever aside is it driven
  By the mightiest wind of the waste, and the rain-flood amidst it is
    nought;
  And no wayfarer's door and no window the hand of its builder hath wrought.
  But thereon is the Volsung smiling as its breath uplifteth his hair,
  And his eyes shine bright with its image, and his mail gleams white and
    fair,
  And his war-helm pictures the heavens and the waning stars behind:
  But his neck is Greyfell stretching to snuff at the flame-wall blind,
  And his cloudy flank upheaveth, and tinkleth the knitted mail,
  And the gold of the uttermost waters is waxen wan and pale.

  Now Sigurd turns in his saddle, and the hilt of the Wrath he shifts,
  And draws a girth the tighter; then the gathered reins he lifts,
  And crieth aloud to Greyfell, and rides at the wildfire's heart;
  But the white wall wavers before him and the flame-flood rusheth apart,
  And high o'er his head it riseth, and wide and wild is its roar
  As it beareth the mighty tidings to the very heavenly floor:
  But he rideth through its roaring as the warrior rides the rye,
  When it bows with the wind of the summer and the hid spears draw anigh;
  The white flame licks his raiment and sweeps through Greyfell's mane,
  And bathes both hands of Sigurd and the hilts of Fafnir's bane,
  And winds about his war-helm and mingles with his hair,
  But nought his raiment dusketh or dims his glittering gear;
  Then it fails and fades and darkens till all seems left behind,
  And dawn and the blaze is swallowed in mid-mirk stark and blind.

       *     *     *     *     *

  But forth a little further and a little further on
  And all is calm about him, and he sees the scorched earth wan
  Beneath a glimmering twilight, and he turns his conquering eyes,
  And a ring of pale slaked ashes on the side of Hindfell lies;
  And the world of the waste is beyond it; and all is hushed and grey,
  And the new-risen moon is a-paleing, and the stars grow faint with day.
  Then Sigurd looked before him and a Shield-burg there he saw,
  A wall of the tiles of Odin wrought clear without a flaw,
  The gold by the silver gleaming, and the ruddy by the white;
  And the blazonings of their glory were done upon them bright,
  As of dear things wrought for the war-lords new come to Odin's hall.
  Piled high aloft to the heavens uprose that battle-wall,
  And far o'er the topmost shield-rim for a banner of fame there hung
  A glorious golden buckler; and against the staff it rung
  As the earliest wind of dawning uprose on Hindfell's face
  And the light from the yellowing east beamed soft on the shielded place.

  But the Wrath cried out in answer as Sigurd leapt adown
  To the wasted soil of the desert by that rampart of renown;
  He looked but little beneath it, and the dwelling of God it seemed,
  As against its gleaming silence the eager Sigurd gleamed:
  He draweth not sword from scabbard, as the wall he wendeth around,
  And it is but the wind and Sigurd that wakeneth any sound:
  But, lo, to the gate he cometh, and the doors are open wide,
  And no warder the way withstandeth, and no earls by the threshold abide;
  So he stands awhile and marvels; then the baleful light of the Wrath
  Gleams bare in his ready hand as he wendeth the inward path:
  For he doubteth some guile of the Gods, or perchance some Dwarf-king's
    snare,
  Or a mock of the Giant people that shall fade in the morning air:
  But he getteth him in and gazeth; and a wall doth he behold,
  And the ruddy set by the white, and the silver by the gold;
  But within the garth that it girdeth no work of man is set,
  But the utmost head of Hindfell ariseth higher yet;
  And below in the very midmost is a Giant-fashioned mound,
  Piled high as the rims of the Shield-burg above the level ground;
  And there, on that mound of the Giants, o'er the wilderness forlorn,
  A pale grey image lieth, and gleameth in the morn.

  So there was Sigurd alone; and he went from the shielded door,
  And aloft in the desert of wonder the Light of the Branstock he bore;
  And he set his face to the earth-mound, and beheld the image wan,
  And the dawn was growing about it; and, lo, the shape of a man
  Set forth to the eyeless desert on the tower-top of the world,
  High over the cloud-wrought castle whence the windy bolts are hurled.

       *     *     *     *     *

  Now he comes to the mound and climbs it, and will see if the man be dead;
  Some King of the days forgotten laid there with crownèd head,
  Or the frame of a God, it may be, that in heaven hath changed his life,
  Or some glorious heart belovèd, God-rapt from the earthly strife:
  Now over the body he standeth, and seeth it shapen fair,
  And clad from head to foot-sole in pale grey-glittering gear,
  In a hauberk wrought as straitly as though to the flesh it were grown:
  But a great helm hideth the head and is girt with a glittering crown.

  So thereby he stoopeth and kneeleth, for he deems it were good indeed
  If the breath of life abide there and the speech to help at need;
  And as sweet as the summer wind from a garden under the sun
  Cometh forth on the topmost Hindfell the breath of that sleeping-one.
  Then he saith he will look on the face, if it bear him love or hate,
  Or the bonds for his life's constraining, or the sundering doom of fate.
  So he draweth the helm from the head, and, lo, the brow snow-white,
  And the smooth unfurrowed cheeks, and the wise lips breathing light;
  And the face of a woman it is, and the fairest that ever was born,
  Shown forth to the empty heavens and the desert world forlorn:
  But he looketh, and loveth her sore, and he longeth her spirit to move,
  And awaken her heart to the world, that she may behold him and love.
  And he toucheth her breast and her hands, and he loveth her passing sore;
  And he saith: "Awake! I am Sigurd;" but she moveth never the more.

  Then he looked on his bare bright blade, and he said: "Thou--what wilt
    thou do?
  For indeed as I came by the war-garth thy voice of desire I knew."
  Bright burnt the pale blue edges for the sunrise drew anear,
  And the rims of the Shield-burg glittered, and the east was exceeding
    clear:
  So the eager edges he setteth to the Dwarf-wrought battle-coat
  Where the hammered ring-knit collar constraineth the woman's throat;
  But the sharp Wrath biteth and rendeth, and before it fail the rings,
  And, lo, the gleam of the linen, and the light of golden things:
  Then he driveth the blue steel onward, and through the skirt, and out,
  Till nought but the rippling linen is wrapping her about;
  Then he deems her breath comes quicker and her breast begins to heave,
  So he turns about the War-Flame and rends down either sleeve,
  Till her arms lie white in her raiment, and a river of sun-bright hair
  Flows free o'er bosom and shoulder and floods the desert bare.

  Then a flush cometh over her visage and a sigh upheaveth her breast,
  And her eyelids quiver and open, and she wakeneth into rest;
  Wide-eyed on the dawning she gazeth, too glad to change or smile,
  And but little moveth her body, nor speaketh she yet for a while;
  And yet kneels Sigurd moveless her wakening speech to heed,
  While soft the waves of the daylight o'er the starless heavens speed,
  And the gleaming rims of the Shield-burg yet bright and brighter grow,
  And the thin moon hangeth her horns dead-white in the golden glow.
  Then she turned and gazed on Sigurd, and her eyes met the Volsung's eyes.
  And mighty and measureless now did the tide of his love arise,
  For their longing had met and mingled, and he knew of her heart that she
    loved,
  As she spake unto nothing but him and her lips with the speech-flood
    moved:

  "O, what is the thing so mighty that my weary sleep hath torn,
  And rent the fallow bondage, and the wan woe over-worn?"

  He said: "The hand of Sigurd and the Sword of Sigmund's son,
  And the heart that the Volsungs fashioned this deed for thee have done."

  But she said: "Where then is Odin that laid me here alow?
  Long lasteth the grief of the world, and man-folk's tangled woe!"

  "He dwelleth above," said Sigurd, "but I on the earth abide,
  And I came from the Glittering Heath the waves of thy fire to ride."

  But therewith the sun rose upward and lightened all the earth,
  And the light flashed up to the heavens from the rims of the glorious
    girth;
  But they twain arose together, and with both her palms outspread,
  And bathed in the light returning, she cried aloud and said:

  "All hail O Day and thy Sons, and thy kin of the coloured things!
  Hail, following Night, and thy Daughter that leadeth thy wavering wings!
  Look down with unangry eyes on us to-day alive,
  And give us the hearts victorious, and the gain for which we strive!
  All hail, ye Lords of God-home, and ye Queens of the House of Gold!
  Hail thou dear Earth that bearest, and thou Wealth of field and fold!
  Give us, your noble children, the glory of wisdom and speech,
  And the hearts and the hands of healing, and the mouths and hands that
    teach!"

  Then they turned and were knit together; and oft and o'er again
  They craved, and kissed rejoicing, and their hearts were full and fain.

  Then Sigurd looketh upon her, and the words from his heart arise:
  "Thou art the fairest of earth, and the wisest of the wise;
  O who art thou that lovest? I am Sigurd, e'en as I told;
  I have slain the Foe of the Gods, and gotten the Ancient Gold;
  And great were the gain of thy love, and the gift of mine earthly days,
  If we twain should never sunder as we wend on the changing ways.
  O who art thou that lovest, thou fairest of all things born?
  And what meaneth thy sleep and thy slumber in the wilderness forlorn?"

  She said: "I am she that loveth: I was born of the earthly folk,
  But of old Allfather took me from the Kings and their wedding yoke:
  And he called me the Victory-Wafter, and I went and came as he would,
  And I chose the slain for his war-host, and the days were glorious and
    good,
  Till the thoughts of my heart overcame me, and the pride of my wisdom
    and speech,
  And I scorned the earth-folk's Framer and the Lord of the world I must
    teach:
  For the death-doomed I caught from the sword, and the fated life I slew,
  And I deemed that my deeds were goodly, and that long I should do and
    undo.
  But Allfather came against me and the God in his wrath arose;
  And he cried: 'Thou hast thought in thy folly that the Gods have friends
    and foes,
  That they wake, and the world wends onward, that they sleep, and the
    world slips back,
  That they laugh, and the world's weal waxeth, that they frown and
    fashion the wrack:
  Thou hast cast up the curse against me; it shall fall aback on thine
    head;
  Go back to the sons of repentance, with the children of sorrow wed!
  For the Gods are great unholpen, and their grief is seldom seen,
  And the wrong that they will and must be is soon as it hath not been.'

  "Yet I thought: 'Shall I wed in the world, shall I gather grief on the
    earth?
  Then the fearless heart shall I wed, and bring the best to birth,
  And fashion such tales for the telling, that Earth shall be holpen at
    least,
  If the Gods think scorn of its fairness, as they sit at the changeless
    feast.'

  "Then somewhat smiled Allfather; and he spake: 'So let it be!
  The doom thereof abideth; the doom of me and thee.
  Yet long shall the time pass over ere thy waking-day be born:
  Fare forth, and forget and be weary 'neath the Sting of the Sleepful
    Thorn!'

  "So I came to the head of Hindfell and the ruddy shields and white,
  And the wall of the wildfire wavering around the isle of night;
  And there the Sleep-thorn pierced me, and the slumber on me fell,
  And the night of nameless sorrows that hath no tale to tell.
  Now I am she that loveth; and the day is nigh at hand
  When I, who have ridden the sea-realm and the regions of the land,
  And dwelt in the measureless mountains and the forge of stormy days,
  Shall dwell in the house of my fathers and the land of the people's
    praise;
  And there shall hand meet hand, and heart by heart shall beat,
  And the lying-down shall be joyous, and the morn's uprising sweet.
  Lo now, I look on thine heart and behold of thine inmost will,
  That thou of the days wouldst hearken that our portion shall fulfill;
  But O, be wise of man-folk, and the hope of thine heart refrain!
  As oft in the battle's beginning ye vex the steed with the rein,
  Lest at last in its latter ending, when the sword hath hushed the horn,
  His limbs should be weary and fail, and his might be over-worn.
  O be wise, lest thy love constrain me, and my vision wax o'er-clear,
  And thou ask of the thing that thou shouldst not, and the thing that
    thou wouldst not hear.

  "Know thou, most mighty of men, that the Norns shall order all,
  And yet without thine helping shall no whit of their will befall;
  Be wise! 'tis a marvel of words, and a mock for the fool and the blind;
  But I saw it writ in the heavens, and its fashioning there did I find:
  And the night of the Norns and their slumber, and the tide when the world
    runs back,
  And the way of the sun is tangled, it is wrought of the dastard's lack.
  But the day when the fair earth blossoms, and the sun is bright above,
  Of the daring deeds is it fashioned and the eager hearts of love.

  "Be wise, and cherish thine hope in the freshness of the days,
  And scatter its seed from thine hand in the field of the people's praise;
  Then fair shall it fall in the furrow, and some the earth shall speed,
  And the sons of men shall marvel at the blossom of the deed:
  But some the earth shall speed not; nay rather, the wind of the heaven
  Shall waft it away from thy longing--and a gift to the Gods hast thou
    given,
  And a tree for the roof and the wall in the house of the hope that
    shall be,
  Though it seemeth our very sorrow, and the grief of thee and me.

  "Strive not with the fools of man-folk: for belike thou shalt overcome;
  And what then is the gain of thine hunting when thou bearest the quarry
    home?
  Or else shall the fool overcome thee, and what deed thereof shall grow?
  Nay, strive with the wise man rather, and increase thy woe and his woe;
  Yet thereof a gain hast thou gotten; and the half of thine heart hast
    thou won
  If thou mayst prevail against him, and his deeds are the deeds thou hast
    done:
  Yea, and if thou fall before him, in him shalt thou live again,
  And thy deeds in his hand shall blossom, and his heart of thine heart
    shall be fain.

  "When thou hearest the fool rejoicing, and he saith, 'It is over and past,
  And the wrong was better than right, and hate turns into love at the last,
  And we strove for nothing at all, and the Gods are fallen asleep;
  For so good is the world a growing that the evil good shall reap:'
  Then loosen thy sword in the scabbard and settle the helm on thine head,
  For men betrayed are mighty, and great are the wrongfully dead.

  "Wilt thou do the deed and repent it? thou hadst better never been born:
  Wilt thou do the deed and exalt it? then thy fame shall be outworn:
  Thou shalt do the deed and abide it, and sit on thy throne on high,
  And look on to-day and to-morrow as those that never die.

  "Love thou the Gods--and withstand them, lest thy fame should fail in
    the end,
  And thou be but their thrall and their bondsman, who wert born for their
    very friend:
  For few things from the Gods are hidden, and the hearts of men they know,
  And how that none rejoiceth to quail and crouch alow.

  "I have spoken the words, belovèd, to thy matchless glory and worth;
  But thy heart to my heart hath been speaking, though my tongue hath set
    it forth:
  For I am she that loveth, and I know what thou wouldst teach
  From the heart of thine unlearned wisdom, and I needs must speak thy
    speech."

  Then words were weary and silent, but oft and o'er again
  They craved and kissed rejoicing, and their hearts were full and fain.

  Then spake the Son of Sigmund: "Fairest, and most of worth,
  Hast thou seen the ways of man-folk and the regions of the earth?
  Then speak yet more of wisdom; for most meet meseems it is
  That my soul to thy soul be shapen, and that I should know thy bliss."

  So she took his right hand meekly, nor any word would say,
  Not e'en of love or praising, his longing to delay;
  And they sat on the side of Hindfell, and their fain eyes looked and
    loved,
  As she told of the hidden matters whereby the world is moved:
  And she told of the framing of all things, and the houses of the heaven;
  And she told of the star-worlds' courses, and how the winds be driven;
  And she told of the Norns and their names, and the fate that abideth
    the earth;
  And she told of the ways of King-folk in their anger and their mirth;
  And she spake of the love of women, and told of the flame that burns,
  And the fall of mighty houses, and the friend that falters and turns,
  And the lurking blinded vengeance, and the wrong that amendeth wrong,
  And the hand that repenteth its stroke, and the grief that endureth for
    long;
  And how man shall bear and forbear, and be master of all that is;
  And how man shall measure it all, the wrath, and the grief, and the bliss.

  "I saw the body of Wisdom, and of shifting guise was she wrought,
  And I stretched out my hands to hold her, and a mote of the dust they
    caught;
  And I prayed her to come for my teaching, and she came in the midnight
    dream--
  And I woke and might not remember, nor betwixt her tangle deem:
  She spake, and how might I hearken; I heard, and how might I know;
  I knew, and how might I fashion, or her hidden glory show?
  All things I have told thee of Wisdom are but fleeting images
  Of her hosts that abide in the Heavens, and her light that Allfather sees:
  Yet wise is the sower that sows, and wise is the reaper that reaps,
  And wise is the smith in his smiting, and wise is the warder that keeps:
  And wise shalt thou be to deliver, and I shall be wise to desire;
  --And lo, the tale that is told, and the sword and the wakening fire!
  Lo now, I am she that loveth, and hark how Greyfell neighs,
  And Fafnir's Bed is gleaming, and green go the downward ways.
  The road to the children of men and the deeds that thou shalt do
  In the joy of thy life-days' morning, when thine hope is fashioned anew.
  Come now, O Bane of the Serpent, for now is the high-noon come,
  And the sun hangeth over Hindfell and looks on the earth-folk's home;
  But the soul is so great within thee, and so glorious are thine eyes,
  And me so love constraineth, and mine heart that was called the wise,
  That we twain may see men's dwellings and the house where we shall dwell,
  And the place of our life's beginning, where the tale shall be to tell."

  So they climb the burg of Hindfell, and hand in hand they fare,
  Till all about and above them is nought but the sunlit air,
  And there close they cling together rejoicing in their mirth;
  For far away beneath them lie the kingdoms of the earth,
  And the garths of men-folk's dwellings and the streams that water them,
  And the rich and plenteous acres, and the silver ocean's hem,
  And the woodland wastes and the mountains, and all that holdeth all;
  The house and the ship and the island, the loom and the mine and the
    stall,
  The beds of bane and healing, the crafts that slay and save,
  The temple of God and the Doom-ring, the cradle and the grave.

  Then spake the Victory-Wafter: "O King of the Earthly Age,
  As a God thou beholdest the treasure and the joy of thine heritage,
  And where on the wings of his hope is the spirit of Sigurd borne?
  Yet I bid thee hover awhile as a lark alow on the corn;
  Yet I bid thee look on the land 'twixt the wood and the silver sea
  In the bight of the swirling river, and the house that cherished me!
  There dwelleth mine earthly sister and the king that she hath wed;
  There morn by morn aforetime I woke on the golden bed;
  There eve by eve I tarried mid the speech and the lays of kings;
  There noon by noon I wandered and plucked the blossoming things;
  The little land of Lymdale by the swirling river's side,
  Where Brynhild once was I called in the days ere my father died;
  The little land of Lymdale 'twixt the woodland and the sea,
  Where on thee mine eyes shall brighten and thine eyes shall beam on me."

  "I shall seek thee there," said Sigurd, "when the day-spring is begun,
  Ere we wend the world together in the season of the sun."

  "I shall bide thee there," said Brynhild, "till the fullness of the days,
  And the time for the glory appointed, and the springing-tide of praise."

  From his hand then draweth Sigurd Andvari's ancient Gold;
  There is nought but the sky above them as the ring together they hold,
  The shapen ancient token, that hath no change nor end,
  No change, and no beginning, no flaw for God to mend:
  Then Sigurd cries: "O Brynhild, now hearken while I swear,
  That the sun shall die in the heavens and the day no more be fair,
  If I seek not love in Lymdale and the house that fostered thee,
  And the land where thou awakedst 'twixt the woodland and the sea!"

  And she cried: "O Sigurd, Sigurd, now hearken while I swear
  That the day shall die for ever and the sun to blackness wear,
  Ere I forget thee, Sigurd, as I lie 'twixt wood and sea
  In the little land of Lymdale and the house that fostered me!"

  Then he set the ring on her finger and once, if ne'er again,
  They kissed and clung together, and their hearts were full and fain.

  So the day grew old about them and the joy of their desire,
  And eve and the sunset came, and faint grew the sunset fire,
  And the shadowless death of the day was sweet in the golden tide;
  But the stars shone forth on the world, and the twilight changed and
    died;
  And sure if the first of man-folk had been born to that starry night,
  And had heard no tale of the sunrise, he had never longed for the light:
  But Earth longed amidst her slumber, as 'neath the night she lay,
  And fresh and all abundant abode the deeds of Day.


  THE END.



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  Contents:

  Collection of British Authors, vol. 1-2377      _Page_ 2-13.

  Collection of German Authors, vol. 1-47            "     14.

  Series for the Young, vol. 1-30                    "     15.

  Manuals of Conversation                            "     15.

  Dictionaries                                       "     16.


  Latest Volumes:

  The Heir Presumptive. By _Florence Marryat_, 2 vols.

  Othmar. By _Ouida_, 3 vols.

  The Luck of the Darrells. By _James Payn_, 2 vols.

  A Girton Girl. By Mrs. _Annie Edwardes_, 2 vols.

  Murder or Manslaughter? By _Helen Mathers_, 1 v.

  Andromeda. By _George Fleming_, 2 vols.

  Maruja. By _Bret Harte_, 1 vol.

  A Second Life. By Mrs. _Alexander_, 3 vols.

  Colonel Enderby's Wife. By _Lucas Malet_, 2 vols.

  A Family Affair. By _Hugh Conway_, 2 vols.



  Collection of British Authors.


  Rev. W. Adams:
    Sacred Allegories 1 v.

  Miss Aguilar:
    Home Influence 2 v.
    The Mother's Recompense 2 v.

  Hamilton Aïdé:
    Rita 1 v.
    Carr of Carrlyon 2 v.
    The Marstons 2 v.
    In that State of Life 1 v.
    Morals and Mysteries 1 v.
    Penruddocke 2 v.
    "A nine Days' Wonder" 1 v.
    Poet and Peer 2 v.
    Introduced to Society 1 v.

  W. Harrison Ainsworth:
    Windsor Castle 1 v.
    Saint James's 1 v.
    Jack Sheppard (w. portrait) 1 v.
    The Lancashire Witches 2 v.
    The Star-Chamber 2 v.
    The Flitch of Bacon 1 v.
    The Spendthrift 1 v.
    Mervyn Clitheroe 2 v.
    Ovingdean Grange 1 v.
    The Constable of the Tower 1 v.
    The Lord Mayor of London 2 v.
    Cardinal Pole 2 v.
    John Law 2 v.
    The Spanish Match 2 v.
    The Constable de Bourbon 2 v.
    Old Court 2 v.
    Myddleton Pomfret 2 v.
    The South-Sea Bubble 2 v.
    Hilary St. Ives 2 v.
    Talbot Harland 1 v.
    Tower Hill 1 v.
    Boscobel; or, the Royal Oak 2 v.
    The Good Old Times 2 v.
    Merry England 2 v.
    The Goldsmith's Wife 2 v.
    Preston Fight 2 v.
    Chetwynd Calverley 2 v.
    The Leaguer of Lathom 2 v.
    The Fall of Somerset 2 v.
    Beatrice Tyldesley 2 v.
    Beau Nash 2 v.
    Stanley Brereton 2 v.

  L. M. Alcott:
    Little Women 2 v.
    Little Men 1 v.
    An Old-Fashioned Girl 1 v.

  Mrs. Alexander:
    A Second Life 3 v.

  Alice, Grand Duchess of Hesse (with Portrait) 2 v.

  "All for Greed," Author of--
    All for Greed 1 v.
    Love the Avenger 2 v.

  Thomas Bailey Aldrich:
    Marjorie Daw and other Tales 1 v.
    The Stillwater Tragedy 1 v.

  L. Alldridge:
    By Love and Law 2 v.
    The World she Awoke in 2 v.

  F. Anstey:
    The Giant's Robe 2 v.

  Miss Austen:
    Sense and Sensibility 1 v.
    Mansfield Park 1 v.
    Pride and Prejudice 1 v.
    Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion 1 v.
    Emma 1 v.

  Lady Barker:
    Station Life in New Zealand 1 v.
    Station Amusements in New Zealand 1 v.
    A Year's Housekeeping in South Africa 1 v.
    Letters to Guy & A Distant Shore--Rodrigues 1 v.

  Rev. R. H. Baynes:
    Lyra Anglicana, Hymns & Sacred Songs 1 v.

  Lord Beaconsfield:
    _vide_ Disraeli.

  Averil Beaumont:
    Thornicroft's Model 2 v.

  Currer Bell (Charlotte Brontë):
    Jane Eyre 2 v.
    Shirley 2 v.
    Villette 2 v.
    The Professor 1 v.

  Ellis & Acton Bell:
    Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey 2 v.

  Frank Lee Benedict:
    St. Simon's Niece 2 v.

  Walter Besant:
    The Revolt of Man 1 v.
    The Golden Butterfly by Besant and Rice 2 v.
    Ready-Money Mortiboy by Besant and Rice 2 v.
    Dorothy Forster 2 v.

  W. Black:
    A Daughter of Heth 2 v.
    In Silk Attire 2 v.
    The strange Adventures of a Phaeton 2 v.
    A Princess of Thule 2 v.
    Kilmeny 1 v.
    The Maid of Killeena 1 v.
    Three Feathers 2 v.
    Lady Silverdale's Sweetheart 1 v.
    Madcap Violet 2 v.
    Green Pastures and Piccadilly 2 v.
    Macleod of Dare 2 v.
    White Wings 2 v.
    Sunrise 2 v.
    The Beautiful Wretch 1 v.
    Mr. Pisistratus Brown, M.P., etc. 1 v.
    Shandon Bells (w. portrait) 2 v.
    Judith Shakespeare 2 v.
    The Wise Women of Inverness 1 v.

  R. D. Blackmore:
    Alice Lorraine 2 v.
    Mary Anerley 3 v.
    Christowell 2 v.
    Tommy Upmore 2 v.

  "Blackwood."
    Tales from-- 1 v.
    _Second Series_ 1 v.

  Isa Blagden:
    The Woman I loved, and the Woman who loved me; A Tuscan Wedding 1 v.

  Lady Blessington:
    Meredith 1 v.
    Strathern 2 v.
    Memoirs of a Femme de Chambre 1 v.
    Marmaduke Herbert 2 v.
    Country Quarters (w. portrait) 2 v.

  Baroness Bloomfield:
    Reminiscences of Court and Diplomatic Life (w. Portrait of Her Majesty
      the Queen) 2 v.

  Miss Braddon:
    Lady Audley's Secret 2 v.
    Aurora Floyd 2 v.
    Eleanor's Victory 2 v.
    John Marchmont's Legacy 2 v.
    Henry Dunbar 2 v.
    The Doctor's Wife 2 v.
    Only a Clod 2 v.
    Sir Jasper's Tenant 2 v.
    The Lady's Mile 2 v.
    Rupert Godwin 2 v.
    Dead-Sea Fruit 2 v.
    Run to Earth 2 v.
    Fenton's Quest 2 v.
    The Lovels of Arden 2 v.
    Strangers and Pilgrims 2 v.
    Lucius Davoren 3 v.
    Taken at the Flood 3 v.
    Lost for Love 2 v.
    A Strange World 2 v.
    Hostages to Fortune 2 v.
    Dead Men's Shoes 2 v.
    Joshua Haggard's Daughter 2 v.
    Weavers and Weft 1 v.
    In Great Waters 1 v.
    An Open Verdict 3 v.
    Vixen 3 v.
    The Cloven Foot 3 v.
    The Story of Barbara 2 v.
    Just as I am 2 v.
    Asphodel 3 v.
    Mount Royal 2 v.
    The Golden Calf 2 v.
    Flower and Weed 1 v.
    Phantom Fortune 3 v.
    Under the Red Flag 1 v.
    Ishmael 3 v.
    Wyllard's Weird 3 v.

  Lady Brassey:
    A Voyage in the "Sunbeam" 2 v.
    Sunshine and Storm in the East 2 v.
    In the Trades, the Tropics, and the Roaring Forties 2 v.

  The Bread-Winners 1 v.

  Shirley Brooks:
    The Silver Cord 3 v.
    Sooner or Later 3 v.

  Miss Rhoda Broughton:
    Cometh up as a Flower 1 v.
    Not wisely, but too well 2 v.
    Red as a Rose is She 2 v.
    Tales for Christmas Eve 1 v.
    Nancy 2 v. Joan 2 v.
    Second Thoughts 2 v.
    Belinda 2 v.

  John Brown:
    Rab and his Friends, and other Tales 1 v.

  Eliz. Barrett Browning:
    A Selection from her Poetry (w. portrait) 1 v.
    Aurora Leigh 1 v.

  Robert Browning:
    Poetical Works (with portrait) 4 v.

  Bulwer (Lord Lytton):
    Pelham (with portrait) 1 v.
    Eugene Aram 1 v.
    Paul Clifford 1 v.
    Zanoni 1 v.
    The Last Days of Pompeii 1 v.
    The Disowned 1 v.
    Ernest Maltravers 1 v.
    Alice 1 v.
    Eva, and the Pilgrims of the Rhine 1 v.
    Devereux 1 v.
    Godolphin, and Falkland 1 v.
    Rienzi 1 v.
    Night and Morning 1 v.
    The Last of the Barons 2 v.
    Athens 2 v.
    The Poems and Ballads of Schiller 1 v.
    Lucretia 2 v.
    Harold 2 v.
    King Arthur 2 v.
    The new Timon; St Stephen's 1 v.
    The Caxtons 2 v.
    My Novel 4 v.
    What will he do with it? 4 v.
    The Dramatic Works 2 v.
    A Strange Story 2 v.
    Caxtoniana 2 v.
    The Lost Tales of Miletus 1 v.
    Miscellaneous Prose Works 4 v.
    The Odes and Epodes of Horace 2 v.
    Kenelm Chillingly 4 v.
    The Coming Race 1 v.
    The Parisians 4 v.
    Pausanias 1 v.

  Henry Lytton Bulwer (Lord Dalling):
    Historical Characters 2 v.
    The Life of Henry John Temple,
    Viscount Palmerston 3 v.

  John Bunyan:
    The Pilgrim's Progress 1 v.

  Buried Alone 1 v.

  F. H. Burnett:
    Through one Administration 2 v.

  Miss Burney: Evelina 1 v.

  Robert Burns:
    Poetical Works (w. portrait) 1 v.

  Richard F. Burton:
    Mecca and Medina 3 v.

  Mrs. B. H. Buxton:
    "Jennie of 'the Prince's'" 2 v.
    Won! 2 v.
    Great Grenfell Gardens 2 v.
    Nell--on and off the Stage 2 v.
    From the Wings 2 v.

  Lord Byron:
    Poetical Works (w. portrait) 5 v.

  Cameron:
    Across Africa 2 v.

  Thomas Carlyle:
    The French Revolution 3 v.
    Frederick the Great 13 v.
    Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches 4 v.
    The Life of Friedrich Schiller 1 v.

  Alaric Carr:
    Treherne's Temptation 2 v.

  Maria Louisa Charlesworth:
    Oliver of the Mill 1 v.

  "Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family," Author of--
    Chronicles of the Schönberg-Cotta Family 2 v.
    The Draytons and the Davenants 2 v.
    On Both Sides of the Sea 2 v.
    Winifred Bertram 1 v.
    Diary of Mrs. Kitty Trevylyan 1 v.
    The Victory of the Vanquished 1 v.
    The Cottage by the Cathedral 1 v.
    Against the Stream 2 v.
    The Bertram Family 2 v.
    Conquering and to Conquer 1 v.
    Lapsed, but not Lost 1 v.

  Frances Power Cobbe:
    Re-Echoes 1 v.

  Coleridge:
    The Poems 1 v.

  C. R. Coleridge:
    An English Squire 2 v.

  Chas. A. Collins:
    A Cruise upon Wheels 2 v.

  Mortimer Collins:
    Sweet and Twenty 2 v.
    A Fight with Fortune 2 v.

  Wilkie Collins:
    After Dark 1 v.
    Hide and Seek 2 v.
    A Plot in Private Life 1 v.
    The Woman in White 2 v.
    Basil 1 v.
    No Name 3 v.
    The Dead Secret 2 v.
    Antonina 2 v.
    Armadale 3 v.
    The Moonstone 2 v.
    Man and Wife 3 v.
    Poor Miss Finch 2 v.
    Miss or Mrs.? 1 v.
    The New Magdalen 2 v.
    The Frozen Deep 1 v.
    The Law and the Lady 2 v.
    The Two Destinies 1 v.
    My Lady's Money & Percy and the Prophet 1 v.
    The Haunted Hotel 1 v.
    Fallen Leaves 2 v.
    Jezebel's Daughter 2 v.
    The Black Robe 2 v.
    Heart and Science 2 v.
    "I say no" 2 v.

  "Cometh up as a Flower," Author of--
    _vide_ Broughton.

  Hugh Conway:
    Called Back 1 v.
    Bound Together 2 v.
    Dark Days 1 v.
    A Family Affair 2 v.

  Fenimore Cooper:
    The Spy (w. portrait) 1 v.
    The two Admirals 1 v.
    The Jack O'Lantern 1 v.

  George L. Craik:
    Manual of English Literature & Language 2 v.

  Mrs. Craik (Miss Mulock):
    John Halifax, Gentleman 2 v.
    The Head of the Family 2 v.
    A Life for a Life 2 v.
    A Woman's Thoughts about Women 1 v.
    Agatha's Husband 1 v.
    Romantic Tales 1 v.
    Domestic Stories 1 v.
    Mistress and Maid 1 v.
    The Ogilvies 1 v.
    Lord Erlistoun 1 v.
    Christian's Mistake 1 v.
    Bread upon the Waters 1 v.
    A Noble Life 1 v.
    Olive 2 v.
    Two Marriages 1 v.
    Studies from Life 1 v.
    Poems 1 v.
    The Woman's Kingdom 2 v.
    The Unkind Word 2 v.
    A Brave Lady 2 v.
    Hannah 2 v.
    Fair France 1 v.
    My Mother and I 1 v.
    The Little Lame Prince 1 v.
    Sermons out of Church 1 v.
    The Laurel Bush 1 v.
    A Legacy 2 v.
    Young Mrs. Jardine 2 v.
    His Little Mother 1 v.
    Plain Speaking 1 v.
    Miss Tommy 1 v.

  Miss Georgiana Craik:
    Lost and Won 1 v.
    Faith Unwin's Ordeal 1 v.
    Leslie Tyrrell 1 v.
    Winifred's Wooing, and other Tales 1 v.
    Mildred 1 v.
    Esther Hill's Secret 2 v.
    Hero Trevelyan 1 v.
    Without Kith or Kin 2 v.
    Only a Butterfly 1 v.
    Sylvia's Choice;
    Theresa 2 v.
    Anne Warwick 1 v.
    Two Tales of Married Life 2 v. (Vol. I. Hard to Bear, Vol. II. _vide_
      M. C. Stirling.)
    Dorcas 2 v.
    Two Women 2 v.

  Mrs. A. Craven:
    Eliane. Translated by Lady Fullerton 2 v.

  F. Marion Crawford:
    Mr. Isaacs 1 v.
    Doctor Claudius 1 v.
    To Leeward 1 v.
    A Roman Singer 1 v.
    An American Politician 1 v.
    Zoroaster 1 v.

  J. W. Cross:
    _vide_ George Eliot's Life.

  Miss Cummins:
    The Lamplighter 1 v.
    Mabel Vaughan 1 v.
    El Fureidîs 1 v.
    Haunted Hearts 1 v.

  "Daily News,"
    War Correspondence 1877 by A. Forbes, etc. 3 v.

  De-Foe:
    Robinson Crusoe 1 v.

  Democracy.
    An American Novel 1 v.

  Charles Dickens:
    The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (w. portrait) 2 v.
    American Notes 1 v.
    Oliver Twist 1 v.
    The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby 2 v.
    Sketches 1 v.
    The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit 2 v.
    A Christmas Carol; the Chimes; the Cricket on the Hearth 1 v.
    Master Humphrey's Clock (Old Curiosity Shop, Barnaby Rudge, and other
      Tales) 3 v.
    Pictures from Italy 1 v.
    The Battle of Life;
    the Haunted Man 1 v.
    Dombey and Son 3 v.
    David Copperfield 3 v.
    Bleak House 4 v.
    A Child's History of England (2 v. 8° M. 2,70.)
    Hard Times 1 v.
    Little Dorrit 4 v.
    A Tale of two Cities 2 v.
    Hunted Down;
    The Uncommercial Traveller 1 v.
    Great Expectations 2 v.
    Christmas Stories 1 v.
    Our Mutual Friend 4 v.
    Somebody's Luggage;
    Mrs. Lirriper's Lodgings; Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy 1 v.
    Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions; Mugby Junction 1 v.
    No Thoroughfare 1 v.
    The Mystery of Edwin Drood 2 v.
    The Mudfog Papers 1 v.
    _Vide_ Household Words, Novels and Tales, and John Forster.

  Charles Dickens:
    The Letters of Charles Dickens edited by his Sister-in-law and his
      eldest Daughter 4 v.

  B. Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield):
    Coningsby 1 v.
    Sybil 1 v.
    Contarini Fleming (w. portrait) 1 v.
    Alroy 1 v. Tancred 2 v.
    Venetia 2 v.
    Vivian Grey 2 v.
    Henrietta Temple 1 v.
    Lothair 2 v.
    Endymion 2 v.

  W. Hepworth Dixon:
    Personal History of Lord Bacon 1 v.
    The Holy Land 2 v.
    New America 2 v.
    Spiritual Wives 2 v.
    Her Majesty's Tower 4 v.
    Free Russia 2 v.
    History of two Queens 6 v.
    White Conquest 2 v.
    Diana, Lady Lyle 2 v.

  The Earl and the Doctor:
    South Sea Bubbles 1 v.

  Mrs. Edwardes:
    Archie Lovell 2 v.
    Steven Lawrence, Yeoman 2 v.
    Ought we to Visit her? 2 v.
    A Vagabond Heroine 1 v.
    Leah: A Woman of Fashion 2 v.
    A Blue-Stocking 1 v.
    Jet: Her Face or Her Fortune? 1 v.
    Vivian the Beauty 1 v.
    A Ballroom Repentance 2 v.
    A Girton Girl 2 v.

  Miss Amelia B. Edwards:
    Barbara's History 2 v.
    Miss Carew 2 v.
    Hand and Glove 1 v.
    Half a Million of Money 2 v.
    Debenham's Vow 2 v.
    In the Days of my Youth 2 v.
    Untrodden Peaks and unfrequented Valleys 1 v.
    Monsieur Maurice 1 v.
    Black Forest 1 v.
    A Poetry-Book of Elder Poets 1 v.
    A Thousand Miles up the Nile 2 v.
    A Poetry-Book of Modern Poets 1 v.
    Lord Brackenbury 2 v.

  Miss M. Betham-Edwards:
    The Sylvestres 1 v.
    Felicia 2 v.
    Brother Gabriel 2 v.
    Forestalled 1 v.
    Exchange no Robbery 1 v.
    Disarmed 1 v.
    Doctor Jacob 1 v.
    Pearla 1 v.

  Barbara Elbon:
    Bethesda 2 v.

  George Eliot:
    Scenes of Clerical Life 2 v.
    Adam Bede 2 v.
    The Mill on the Floss 2 v.
    Silas Marner 1 v.
    Romola 2 v.
    Felix Holt 2 v.
    Daniel Deronda 4 v.
    The Lifted Veil and Brother Jacob 1 v.
    Impressions of Theophrastus Such 1 v.
    Essays 1 v.

  George Eliot's Life as related in her Letters and Journals. Arranged
      and ed. by her Husband J. W. Cross 4 v.

  Mrs. Elliot:
    Diary of an Idle Woman in Italy 2 v.
    Old Court Life in France 2 v.
    The Italians 2 v.
    The Diary of an Idle Woman in Sicily 1 v.
    Pictures of Old Rome 1 v.
    Diary of an Idle Woman in Spain 2 v.
    The Red Cardinal 1 v.

  Essays and Reviews 1 v.

  Estelle Russell 2 v.

  Expiated 2 v.

  G. M. Fenn:
    The Parson o' Dumford 2 v.
    The Clerk of Portwick 2 v.

  Fielding:
    The History of Tom Jones 2 v.

  Five Centuries of the English Language and Literature 1 v.

  George Fleming:
    Kismet 1 v.
    Andromeda 2 v.

  A. Forbes:
    My Experiences of the War between France and Germany 2 v.
    Soldiering and Scribbling 1 v.
    See also "Daily News," War Correspondence.

  Mrs. Forrester:
    Viva 2 v.
    Rhona 2 v.
    Roy and Viola 2 v.
    My Lord and My Lady 2 v.
    I have Lived and Loved 2 v.
    June 2 v.
    Omnia Vanitas 1 v.
    Although he was a Lord, etc. 1 v.
    Corisande, etc. 1 v.

  John Forster:
    Life of Charles Dickens 6 v.
    Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith 2 v.

  Jessie Fothergill:
    The First Violin 2 v.
    Probation 2 v.
    Made or Marred and "One of Three" 1 v.
    Kith and Kin 2 v.
    Peril 2 v.

  "Found Dead," Author of--
    _vide_ James Payn.

  Caroline Fox:
    Memories of Old Friends from her Journals, edited by Horace N. Pym 2 v.

  Frank Fairlegh 2 v.

  E. A. Freeman:
    The Growth of the English Constitution 1 v.
    Select Historical Essays 1 v.

  Lady G. Fullerton:
    Ellen Middleton 1 v.
    Grantley Manor 2 v.
    Lady-Bird 2 v.
    Too Strange not to be True 2 v.
    Constance Sherwood 2 v.
    A stormy Life 2 v.
    Mrs. Gerald's Niece 2 v.
    The Notary's Daughter 1 v.
    The Lilies of the Valley 1 v.
    The Countess de Bonneval 1 v.
    Rose Leblanc 1 v.
    Seven Stories 1 v.
    The Life of Luisa de Carvajal 1 v.
    A Will and a Way 2 v.
    Eliane 2 v. (_vide_ Craven).
    Laurentia 1 v.

  Mrs. Gaskell:
    Mary Barton 1 v.
    Ruth 2 v.
    North and South 1 v.
    Lizzie Leigh 1 v.
    The Life of Charlotte Brontë 2 v.
    Lois the Witch 1 v.
    Sylvia's Lovers 2 v.
    A Dark Night's Work 1 v.
    Wives and Daughters 3 v.
    Cranford 1 v.
    Cousin Phillis, and other Tales 1 v.

  Geraldine Hawthorne _vide_ "Miss Molly."

  Agnes Giberne:
    The Curate's Home 1 v.

  Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone:
    Rome and the newest Fashions in Religion 1 v.
    Bulgarian Horrors: Russia in Turkistan 1 v.
    The Hellenic Factor in the Eastern Problem 1 v.

  Goldsmith:
    Select Works: The Vicar of Wakefield; Poems; Dramas (w. portrait) 1 v.

  Major-Gen. C. G. Gordon's Journals, at Kartoum. Introduction and Notes
    by A. E. Hake (with eighteen Illustrations) 2 v.

  Mrs. Gore:
    Castles in the Air 1 v.
    The Dean's Daughter 2 v.
    Progress and Prejudice 2 v.
    Mammon 2 v.
    A Life's Lessons 2 v.
    The two Aristocracies 2 v.
    Heckington 2 v.

  Miss Grant:
    Victor Lescar 2 v.
    The Sun-Maid 2 v.
    My Heart's in the Highlands 2 v.
    Artiste 2 v.
    Prince Hugo 2 v.
    Cara Roma 2 v.

  W. A. Baillie Grohman:
    Tyrol and the Tyrolese 1 v.

  "Guy Livingstone," Author of--
    Guy Livingstone 1 v.
    Sword and Gown 1 v.
    Barren Honour 1 v.
    Border and Bastille 1 v.
    Maurice Dering 1 v.
    Sans Merci 2 v.
    Breaking a Butterfly 2 v.
    Anteros 2 v.
    Hagarene 2 v.

  J. Habberton:
    Helen's Babies & Other People's Children 1 v.
    The Bowsham Puzzle 1 v.
    One Tramp; Mrs. Mayburn's Twins 1 v.

  Hake:
    _v_. Gordon's Journals.

  Mrs. S. C. Hall:
    Can Wrong be Right? 1 v.
    Marian 2 v.

  Thomas Hardy:
    The Hand of Ethelberta 2 v.
    Far from the Madding Crowd 2 v.
    The Return of the Native 2 v.
    The Trumpet-Major 2 v.
    A Laodicean 2 v.
    Two on a Tower 2 v.
    A Pair of Blue Eyes 2 v.

  Agnes Harrison:
    Martin's Vineyard 1 v.

  Bret Harte:
    Prose and Poetry (Tales of the Argonauts; Spanish and American
      Legends; Condensed Novels; Civic and Character Sketches; Poems) 2 v.
    Idyls of the Foothills 1 v.
    Gabriel Conroy 2 v.
    Two Men of Sandy Bar 1 v.
    Thankful Blossom 1 v.
    The Story of a Mine 1 v.
    Drift from Two Shores 1 v.
    An Heiress of Red Dog 1 v.
    The Twins of Table Mountain, etc. 1 v.
    Jeff Briggs's Love Story, etc. 1 v.
    Flip, etc. 1 v.
    On the Frontier 1 v.
    By Shore and Sedge 1 v.
    Maruja 1 v.

  Sir H. Havelock, by the Rev. W. Brock, 1 v.

  N. Hawthorne:
    The Scarlet Letter 1 v.
    Transformation 2 v.
    Passages from the English Note-Books 2 v.

  "Heir of Redclyffe," Author of--
    _vide_ Yonge.

  Sir Arthur Helps:
    Friends in Council 2 v.
    Ivan de Biron 2 v.

  Mrs. Hemans:
    The Select Poetical Works 1 v.

  Mrs. Cashel Hoey:
    A Golden Sorrow 2 v.
    Out of Court 2 v.

  Oliver Wendell Holmes:
    The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table 1 v.
    The Professor at the Breakfast-Table 1 v.
    The Poet at the Breakfast-Table 1 v.

  Household Words conducted by Ch. Dickens. 1851-56. 36 v.
    Novels and Tales reprinted from Household Words by Ch. Dickens.
      1856-59. 11 v.

  Miss Howard:
    One Summer 1 v.
    Aunt Serena 1 v.
    Guenn 2 v.

  W. D. Howells:
    A Foregone Conclusion 1 v.
    The Lady of the Aroostook 1 v.
    A Modern Instance 2 v.
    The Undiscovered Country 1 v.
    Venetian Life (w. portr.) 1 v.
    Italian Journeys 1 v.
    A Chance Acquaintance 1 v.
    Their Wedding Journey 1 v.
    A Fearful Responsibility, etc. 1 v.
    A Woman's Reason 2 v.
    Dr. Breen's Practice 1 v.

  Thos. Hughes:
    Tom Brown's School Days 1 v.

  Jean Ingelow:
    Off the Skelligs 3 v.
    Poems 2 v.
    Fated to be Free 2 v.
    Sarah de Berenger 2 v.
    Don John 2 v.

  J. H. Ingram:
    _vide_ E. A. Poe.

  Washington Irving:
    Sketch Book (w. portrait) 1 v.
    Life of Mahomet 1 v.
    Successors of Mahomet 1 v.
    Oliver Goldsmith 1 v.
    Chronicles of Wolfert's Roost 1 v.
    Life of George Washington 5 v.

  Helen Jackson:
    Ramona 2 v.

  G. P. R. James:
    Morley Ernstein (w. portrait) 1 v.
    Forest Days 1 v.
    The False Heir 1 v.
    Arabella Stuart 1 v.
    Rose d'Albret 1 v.
    Arrah Neil 1 v.
    Agincourt 1 v.
    The Smuggler 1 v.
    The Step-Mother 2 v.
    Beauchamp 1 v.
    Heidelberg 1 v.
    The Gipsy 1 v.
    The Castle of Ehrenstein 1 v.
    Darnley 1 v.
    Russell 2 v.
    The Convict 2 v.
    Sir Theodore Broughton 2 v.

  Henry James:
    The American 2 v.
    The Europeans 1 v.
    Daisy Miller 1 v.
    Roderick Hudson 2 v.
    The Madonna of the Future, etc. 1 v.
    Eugene Pickering, etc. 1 v.
    Confidence 1 v.
    Washington Square 2 v.
    The Portrait of a Lady 3 v.
    Foreign Parts 1 v.
    French Poets and Novelists 1 v.
    The Siege of London, etc. 1 v.
    Portraits of Places 1 v.
    A Little Tour in France 1 v.

  J. Cordy Jeaffreson:
    A Book about Doctors 2 v.
    A Woman in Spite of herself 2 v.
    The Real Lord Byron 3 v.

  Mrs. Jenkin:
    "Who Breaks--Pays" 1 v.
    Skirmishing 1 v.
    Once and Again 2 v.
    Two French Marriages 2 v.
    Within an Ace 1 v.
    Jupiter's Daughters 1 v.

  Edward Jenkins:
    Ginx's Baby; Lord Bantam 2 v.

  "Jennie of 'the Prince's,'" Author of--
    _vide_ Mrs. Buxton.

  Douglas Jerrold:
    The History of St. Giles and St. James 2 v.
    Men of Character 2 v.

  "John Halifax," Author of--
    _vide_ Mrs. Craik.

  "Johnny Ludlow," Author of--
    _vide_ Mrs. Wood.

  Johnson:
    The Lives of the English Poets 2 v.

  Emily Jolly:
    Colonel Dacre 2 v.

  "Joshua Davidson," Author of--
    _vide_ E. Lynn Linton.

  Miss Kavanagh:
    Nathalie 2 v.
    Daisy Burns 2 v.
    Grace Lee 2 v.
    Rachel Gray 1 v.
    Adèle 3 v.
    A Summer and Winter in the Two Sicilies 2 v.
    Seven Years 2 v.
    French Women of Letters 1 v.
    English Women of Letters 1 v.
    Queen Mab 2 v.
    Beatrice 2 v.
    Sybil's Second Love 2 v.
    Dora 2 v.
    Silvia 2 v.
    Bessie 2 v.
    John Dorrien 3 v.
    Two Lilies 2 v.
    Forget-me-nots 2 v.

  Annie Keary:
    Oldbury 2 v.
    Castle Daly 2 v.

  Elsa D'Esterre-Keeling:
    Three Sisters 1 v.

  Kempis:
    _vide_ Thomas a Kempis.

  R. B. Kimball:
    Saint Leger 1 v.
    Romance of Student Life abroad 1 v.
    Undercurrents 1 v.
    Was he Successful? 1 v.
    To-Day in New-York 1 v.

  A. W. Kinglake:
    Eothen 1 v.
    Invasion of the Crimea v. 1-10.

  Charles Kingsley:
    Yeast 1 v.
    Westward ho! 2 v.
    Two Years ago 2 v.
    Hypatia 2 v.
    Alton Locke 1 v.
    Hereward the Wake 2 v.
    At Last 2 v.

  Charles Kingsley:
    His Letters and Memories of his Life edited by his Wife 2 v.

  Henry Kingsley:
    Ravenshoe 2 v.
    Austin Elliot 1 v.
    The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn 2 v.
    The Hillyars and the Burtons 2 v.
    Leighton Court 1 v.
    Valentin 1 v.
    Oakshott Castle 1 v.
    Reginald Hetherege 2 v.
    The Grange Garden 2 v.

  May Laffan:
    Flitters, Tatters, and the Counsellor, etc. 1 v.

  Charles Lamb:
    The Essays of Elia and Eliana 1 v.

  Mary Langdon:
    Ida May 1 v.

  "Last of the Cavaliers," Author of--
    Last of the Cavaliers 2 v.
    The Gain of a Loss 2 v.

  Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands from 1848 to 1861,
      1 v.
    More Leaves from the Journal of a Life in the Highlands from 1862 to
      1882, 1 v.

  Holme Lee:
    _vide_ Miss Parr.

  S. Le Fanu:
    Uncle Silas 2 v.
    Guy Deverell 2 v.

  Mark Lemon:
    Wait for the End 2 v.
    Loved at Last 2 v.
    Falkner Lyle 2 v.
    Leyton Hall 2 v.
    Golden Fetters 2 v.

  Charles Lever:
    The O'Donoghue 1 v.
    The Knight of Gwynne 3 v.
    Arthur O'Leary 2 v.
    The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer 2 v.
    Charles O'Malley 3 v.
    Tom Burke of "Ours" 3 v.
    Jack Hinton 2 v.
    The Daltons 4 v.
    The Dodd Family abroad 3 v.
    The Martins of Cro' Martin 3 v.
    The Fortunes of Glencore 2 v.
    Roland Cashel 3 v.
    Davenport Dunn 3 v.
    Con Cregan 2 v.
    One of Them 2 v.
    Maurice Tiernay 2 v.
    Sir Jasper Carew 2 v.
    Barrington 2 v.
    A Day's Ride: a Life's Romance 2 v.
    Luttrell of Arran 2 v.
    Tony Butler 2 v.
    Sir Brook Fossbrooke 2 v.
    The Bramleighs of Bishop's Folly 2 v.
    A Rent in a Cloud 1 v.
    That Boy of Norcott's 1 v.
    St. Patrick's Eve; Paul Gosslett's Confessions 1 v.
    Lord Kilgobbin 2 v.

  G. H. Lewes:
    Ranthorpe 1 v.
    Physiology of Common Life 2 v.
    On Actors and the Art of Acting 1 v.

  E. Lynn Linton:
    Joshua Davidson 1 v.
    Patricia Kemball 2 v.
    The Atonement of Leam Dundas 2 v.
    The World well Lost 2 v.
    Under which Lord? 2 v.
    With a Silken Thread etc. 1 v.
    Todhunters' at Loanin' Head etc. 1 v.
    "My Love!" 2 v.
    The Girl of the Period, etc. 1 v.
    Ione 2 v.

  Laurence W. M. Lockhart:
    Mine is Thine 2 v.

  Longfellow:
    Poetical Works (w. portrait) 3 v.
    The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri 3 v.
    The New-England Tragedies 1 v.
    The Divine Tragedy 1 v.
    Three Books of Song 1 v.
    The Masque of Pandora 1 v.

  M. Lonsdale:
    Sister Dora 1 v.

  A Lost Battle 2 v.

  Lutfullah:
    Autobiography of Lutfullah, by Eastwick 1 v.

  Lord Lytton:
    _vide_ Bulwer.

  Robert Lord Lytton (Owen Meredith):
    Poems 2 v.
    Fables in Song 2 v.

  Lord Macaulay:
    History of England (w. portrait) 10 v.
    Critical and Historical Essays 5 v.
    Lays of Ancient Rome 1 v.
    Speeches 2 v.
    Biographical Essays 1 v.
    William Pitt, Atterbury 1 v.
    (See also Trevelyan).

  Justin McCarthy:
    Waterdale Neighbours 2 v.
    Lady Disdain 2 v.
    Miss Misanthrope 2 v.
    A History of our own Times 5 v.
    Donna Quixote 2 v.
    A short History of our own Times 2 v.
    A History of the Four Georges vol. 1.

  George MacDonald:
    Alec Forbes of Howglen 2 v.
    Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood 2 v.
    David Elginbrod 2 v.
    The Vicar's Daughter 2 v.
    Malcolm 2 v.
    St. George and St. Michael 2 v.
    The Marquis of Lossie 2 v.
    Sir Gibbie 2 v.
    Mary Marston 2 v.
    The Gifts of the Child Christ, etc. 1 v.
    The Princess and Curdie 1 v.

  Mrs. Mackarness:
    Sunbeam Stories 1 v.
    A Peerless Wife 2 v.
    A Mingled Yarn 2 v.

  Charles McKnight:
    Old Fort Duquesne 2 v.

  Norman Macleod:
    The old Lieutenant and his Son 1 v.

  Mrs. Macquoid:
    Patty 2 v.
    Miriam's Marriage 2 v.
    Pictures across the Channel 2 v.
    Too Soon 1 v.
    My Story 2 v.
    Diane 2 v.
    Beside the River 2 v.
    A Faithful Lover 2 v.

  "Mademoiselle Mori," Author of--
    Mademoiselle Mori 2 v.
    Denise 1 v.
    Madame Fontenoy 1 v.
    On the Edge of the Storm 1 v.
    The Atelier du Lys 2 v.
    In the Olden Time 2 v.

  Lord Mahon:
    _vide_ Stanhope.

  E. S. Maine:
    Scarscliff Rocks 2 v.

  Lucas Malet:
    Colonel Enderby's Wife 2 v.

  Lord Malmesbury:
    Memoirs of an Ex-Minister 3 v.

  R. Blachford Mansfield:
    The Log of the Water Lily 1 v.

  Mark Twain:
    The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1 v.
    The Innocents Abroad; or, the New Pilgrims' Progress 2 v.
    A Tramp Abroad 2 v.
    "Roughing it" 1 v.
    The Innocents at Home 1 v.
    The Prince and the Pauper 2 v.
    The Stolen White Elephant, etc. 1 v.
    Life on the Mississippi 2 v.
    Sketches 1 v.
    Huckleberry Finn 2 v.

  Marmorne 1 v.

  Capt. Marryat:
    Jacob Faithful (w. portrait) 1 v.
    Percival Keene 1 v.
    Peter Simple 1 v.
    Japhet 1 v.
    Monsieur Violet 1 v.
    The Settlers 1 v.
    The Mission 1 v.
    The Privateer's-Man 1 v.
    The Children of the New-Forest 1 v.
    Valerie 1 v.
    Mr. Midshipman Easy 1 v.
    The King's Own 1 v.

  Florence Marryat:
    Love's Conflict 2 v.
    For Ever and Ever 2 v.
    The Confessions of Gerald Estcourt 2 v.
    Nelly Brooke 2 v.
    Véronique 2 v.
    Petronel 2 v.
    Her Lord and Master 2 v.
    The Prey of the Gods 1 v.
    Life of Captain Marryat 1 v.
    Mad Dumaresq 2 v.
    No Intentions 2 v.
    Fighting the Air 2 v.
    A Star and a Heart 1 v.
    The Poison of Asps 1 v.
    A Lucky Disappointment 1 v.
    My own Child 2 v.
    Her Father's Name 2 v.
    A Harvest of Wild Oats 2 v.
    A Little Stepson 1 v.
    Written in Fire 2 v.
    Her World against a Lie 2 v.
    A Broken Blossom 2 v.
    The Root of all Evil 2 v.
    The Fair-haired Alda 2 v.
    With Cupid's Eyes 2 v.
    My Sister the Actress 2 v.
    Phyllida 2 v.
    How They Loved Him 2 v.
    Facing the Footlights (w. portrait) 2 v.
    A Moment of Madness 1 v.
    The Ghost of Charlotte Cray, etc. 1 v.
    Peeress and Player 2 v.
    Under the Lilies and Roses 2 v.
    The Heart of Jane Warner 2 v.
    The Heir Presumptive 2 v.

  Mrs. Marsh:
    Ravenscliffe 2 v.
    Emilia Wyndham 2 v.
    Castle Avon 2 v. Aubrey 2 v.
    The Heiress of Haughton 2 v.
    Evelyn Marston 2 v.
    The Rose of Ashurst 2 v.

  Emma Marshall:
    Mrs. Mainwaring's Journal 1 v.
    Benvenuta 1 v.
    Lady Alice 1 v.
    Dayspring 1 v.
    Life's Aftermath 1 v.
    In the East Country 1 v.

  H. Mathers:
    "Cherry Ripe!" 2 v.
    "Land o' the Leal" 1 v.
    My Lady Green Sleeves 2 v.
    As he comes up the Stair, etc. 1 v.
    Sam's Sweetheart 2 v.
    Eyre's Acquittal 2 v.
    Found Out 1 v.
    Murder or Manslaughter? 1 v.

  "Mehalah," Author of--
    Mehalah 1 v.
    John Herring 2 v.

  Whyte Melville:
    Kate Coventry 1 v.
    Holmby House 2 v.
    Digby Grand 1 v.
    Good for Nothing 2 v.
    The Queen's Maries 2 v.
    The Gladiators 2 v.
    The Brookes of Bridlemere 2 v.
    Cerise 2 v.
    The Interpreter 2 v.
    The White Rose 2 v.
    M. or N. 1 v.
    Contraband; or A Losing Hazard 1 v.
    Sarchedon 2 v.
    Uncle John 2 v.
    Katerfelto 1 v.
    Sister Louise 1 v.
    Rosine 1 v.
    Roy's Wife 2 v.
    Black but Comely 2 v.
    Riding Recollections 1 v.

  George Meredith:
    The Ordeal of Feverel 2 v.
    Beauchamp's Career 2 v.
    The Tragic Comedians 1 v.

  Owen Meredith:
    _vide_ Robert Lord Lytton.

  Milton:
    Poetical Works 1 v.

  "Miss Molly," Author of--
    Geraldine Hawthorne 1 v.

  "Molly Bawn," Author of--
    Molly Bawn 2 v.
    Mrs. Geoffrey 2 v.
    Faith and Unfaith 2 v.
    Portia 2 v.
    Loÿs, Lord Berresford, etc. 1 v.
    Her First Appearance, etc. 1 v.
    Phyllis 2 v.
    Rossmoyne 2 v.
    Doris 2 v.
    A Maiden all Forlorn, etc. 1 v.
    A Passive Crime 1 v.

  Miss Florence Montgomery:
    Misunderstood 1 v.
    Thrown Together 2 v.
    Thwarted 1 v.
    Wild Mike 1 v.
    Seaforth 2 v.
    The Blue Veil 1 v.

  Moore:
    Poetical Works (w. portrait) 5 v.

  Lady Morgan's Memoirs 3 v.

  Henry Morley:
    Of English Literature in the Reign of Victoria. With Facsimiles of
      the Signatures of Authors in the Tauchnitz Edition [v. 2000].

  E. C. Grenville: Murray:
    The Member for Paris 2 v.
    Young Brown 2 v.
    The Boudoir Cabal 3 v.
    French Pictures in English Chalk (1st Series) 2 v.
    The Russians of To-day 1 v.
    French Pictures in English Chalk (2nd Series) 2 v.
    Strange Tales 1 v.
    That Artful Vicar 2 v.
    Six Months in the Ranks 1 v.
    People I have met 1 v.

  "My little Lady," Author of--
    _vide_ E. Frances Poynter.

  New Testament [v. 1000].

  Mrs. Newby:
    Common Sense 2 v.

  Dr. J. H. Newman:
    Callista 1 v.

  "Nina Balatka," Author of--
    _vide_ Anthony Trollope.

  "No Church," Author of--
    No Church 2 v.
    Owen:--a Waif 2 v.

  Lady Augusta Noel:
    From Generation to Generation 1 v.

  Hon. Mrs. Norton:
    Stuart of Dunleath 2 v.
    Lost and Saved 2 v.
    Old Sir Douglas 2 v.

  Novels and Tales
    _vide_ Household Words.

  Not Easily Jealous 2 v.

  L. Oliphant:
    Altiora Peto 2 v.

  Mrs. Oliphant:
    Passages in the Life of Mrs. Margaret Maitland of Sunnyside 1 v.
    The Last of the Mortimers 2 v.
    Agnes 2 v.
    Madonna Mary 2 v.
    The Minister's Wife 2 v.
    The Rector, and the Doctor's Family 1 v.
    Salem Chapel 2 v.
    The Perpetual Curate 2 v.
    Miss Marjoribanks 2 v.
    Ombra 2 v.
    Memoir of Count de Montalembert 2 v.
    May 2 v.
    Innocent 2 v.
    For Love and Life 2 v.
    A Rose in June 1 v.
    The Story of Valentine and his Brother 2 v.
    Whiteladies 2 v.
    The Curate in Charge 1 v.
    Phoebe, Junior 2 v.
    Mrs. Arthur 2 v.
    Carità 2 v.
    Young Musgrave 2 v.
    The Primrose Path 2 v.
    Within the Precincts 3 v.
    The greatest Heiress in England 2 v.
    He that will not when he may 2 v.
    Harry Joscelyn 2 v.
    In Trust 2 v.
    It was a Lover and his Lass 3 v.
    The Ladies Lindores 3 v.
    Hester 3 v.
    The Wizard's Son 3 v.

  Ossian:
    Poems 1 v.

  Ouida:
    Idalia 2 v.
    Tricotrin 2 v.
    Puck 2 v.
    Chandos 2 v.
    Strathmore 2 v.
    Under two Flags 2 v.
    Folle-Farine 2 v.
    A Leaf in the Storm; A Dog of Flanders and other Stories 1 v.
    Cecil Castlemaine's Gage 1 v.
    Madame la Marquise 1 v.
    Pascarèl 2 v.
    Held in Bondage 2 v.
    Two little Wooden Shoes 1 v.
    Signa (w. portrait) 3 v.
    In a Winter City 1 v.
    Ariadnê 2 v.
    Friendship 2 v.
    Moths 3 v.
    Pipistrello 1 v.
    A Village Commune 2 v.
    In Maremma 3 v.
    Bimbi 1 v.
    Wanda 3 v.
    Frescoes, etc. 1 v.
    Princess Napraxine 3 v.
    A Rainy June (60 Pf.). Othmar 3 v.

  Miss Parr (Holme Lee):
    Basil Godfrey's Caprice 2 v.
    For Richer, for Poorer 2 v.
    The Beautiful Miss Barrington 2 v.
    Her Title of Honour 1 v.
    Echoes of a Famous Year 1 v.
    Katherine's Trial 1 v.
    Bessie Fairfax 2 v.
    Ben Milner's Wooing 1 v.
    Straightforward 2 v.
    Mrs. Denys of Cote 2 v.
    A Poor Squire 1 v.

  Mrs. Parr:
    Dorothy Fox 1 v.
    The Prescotts of Pamphillon 2 v.
    Gosau Smithy 1 v.
    Robin 2 v.

  "Paul Ferroll," Author of--
    Paul Ferroll 1 v.
    Year after Year 1 v.
    Why Paul Ferroll killed his Wife 1 v.

  James Payn:
    Found Dead 1 v.
    Gwendoline's Harvest 1 v.
    Like Father, like Son 2 v.
    Not Wooed, but Won 2 v.
    Cecil's Tryst 1 v.
    A Woman's Vengeance 2 v.
    Murphy's Master 1 v.
    In the Heart of a Hill 1 v.
    At Her Mercy 2 v.
    The Best of Husbands 2 v.
    Walter's Word 2 v.
    Halves 2 v.
    Fallen Fortunes 2 v.
    What He cost Her 2 v.
    By Proxy 2 v.
    Less Black than we're Painted 2 v.
    Under one Roof 2 v.
    High Spirits 1 v.
    High Spirits (Second Series) 1 v.
    A Confidential Agent 2 v.
    From Exile 2 v.
    A Grape from a Thorn 2 v.
    Some Private Views 1 v.
    For Cash Only 2 v.
    Kit: A Memory 2 v.
    The Canon's Ward 2 v.
    Some Literary Recollections 1 v.
    The Talk of the Town 1 v.
    The Luck of the Darrells 2 v.

  Miss Fr. M. Peard:
    One Year 2 v.
    The Rose-Garden 1 v.
    Unawares 1 v.
    Thorpe Regis 1 v.
    A Winter Story 1 v.
    A Madrigal 1 v.
    Cartouche 1 v.
    Mother Molly 1 v.
    Schloss and Town 2 v.
    Contradictions 2 v.
    Near Neighbours 1 v.

  Bishop Percy:
    Reliques of Ancient English Poetry 3 v.

  E. A. Poe:
    Poems and Essays. Edited with a new Memoir by John H. Ingram 1 v.
    Tales. Edited by John H. Ingram 1 v.

  Pope:
    Select Poetical Works (w. portrait) 1 v.

  E. Frances Poynter:
    My little Lady 2 v.
    Ersilia 2 v.
    Among the Hills 1 v.
    Madame de Presnel 1 v.

  Mrs. Campbell Praed:
    Zéro 1 v.
    Affinities 1 v.

  Mrs. E. Prentiss:
    Stepping Heavenward 1 v.

  The Prince Consort's Speeches and Addresses 1 v.

  Horace N. Pym:
    _vide_ C. Fox.

  W. F. Rae:
    Westward by Rail 1 v.

  Charles Reade:
    "It is never too late to mend" 2 v.
    "Love me little love me long" 1 v.
    The Cloister and the Hearth 2 v.
    Hard Cash 3 v.
    Put Yourself in his Place 2 v.
    A Terrible Temptation 2 v.
    Peg Woffington 1 v.
    Christie Johnstone 1 v.
    A Simpleton 2 v.
    The Wandering Heir 1 v.
    A Woman-Hater 2 v.
    Readiana 1 v.
    Singleheart and Doubleface 1 v.

  "Recommended to Mercy," Author of--
    Recommended to Mercy 2 v.
    Zoe's 'Brand' 2 v.

  James Rice:
    _vide_ W. Besant.

  Alfred Bate Richards:
    So very Human 3 v.

  Richardson:
    Clarissa Harlowe 4 v.

  Mrs. Riddell (F. G. Trafford):
    George Geith of Fen Court 2 v.
    Maxwell Drewitt 2 v.
    The Race for Wealth 2 v.
    Far above Rubies 2 v.
    The Earl's Promise 2 v.
    Mortomley's Estate 2 v.

  Rev. W. Robertson:
    Sermons 4 v.

  Charles H. Ross:
    The Pretty Widow 1 v.
    A London Romance 2 v.

  Dante Gabriel Rossetti:
    Poems 1 v.
    Ballads and Sonnets 1 v.

  J. Ruffini:
    Lavinia 2 v.
    Doctor Antonio 1 v.
    Lorenzo Benoni 1 v.
    Vincenzo 2 v.
    A Quiet Nook 1 v.
    The Paragreens on a Visit to Paris 1 v.
    Carlino and other Stories 1 v.

  W. Clark Russell:
    A Sailor's Sweetheart 2 v.
    The "Lady Maud" 2 v.
    A Sea Queen 2 v.

  G. A. Sala:
    The Seven Sons of Mammon 2 v.

  John Saunders:
    Israel Mort, Overman 2 v.
    The Shipowner's Daughter 2 v.
    A Noble Wife 2 v.

  Katherine Saunders:
    Joan Merryweather and other Tales 1 v.
    Gideon's Rock 1 v.
    The High Mills 2 v.
    Sebastian 1 v.

  Sir Walter Scott:
    Waverley (w. portrait) 1 v.
    The Antiquary 1 v.
    Ivanhoe 1 v.
    Kenilworth 1 v.
    Quentin Durward 1 v.
    Old Mortality 1 v.
    Guy Mannering 1 v.
    Rob Roy 1 v.
    The Pirate 1 v.
    The Fortunes of Nigel 1 v.
    The Black Dwarf;
    A Legend of Montrose 1 v.
    The Bride of Lammermoor 1 v.
    The Heart of Mid-Lothian 2 v.
    The Monastery 1 v.
    The Abbot 1 v.
    Peveril of the Peak 2 v.
    The Poetical Works 2 v.
    Woodstock 1 v.
    The Fair Maid of Perth 1 v.
    Anne of Geierstein 1 v.

  Professor Seeley:
    Life and Times of Stein 4 v.
    The Expansion of England 1 v.

  Miss Sewell:
    Amy Herbert 2 v.
    Ursula 2 v.
    A Glimpse of the World 2 v.
    The Journal of a Home Life 2 v.
    After Life 2 v.
    The Experience of Life; or, Aunt Sarah 2 v.

  Shakespeare:
    Plays and Poems (with portrait) (_Second Edition_) compl. 7 v.
    _Shakespeare's_ Plays may also be had in 37 numbers, at M. 0,30.
      each number.
    Doubtful Plays 1 v.

  Shelley:
    A Selection from his Poems 1 v.

  Nathan Sheppard:
    Shut up in Paris (_Second Edition, enlarged_) 1 v.

  Sheridan:
    Dramatic Works 1 v.

  J. Henry Shorthouse:
    John Inglesant 2 v.

  Smollett:
    The Adventures of Roderick Random 1 v.
    The Expedition of Humphry Clinker 1 v.
    The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle 2 v.

  Society in London. By a Foreign Resident 1 v.

  Earl Stanhope (Lord Mahon):
    History of England 7 v.
    The Reign of Queen Anne 2 v.

  Sterne:
    The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy 1 v.
    A Sentimental Journey (w. portrait) 1 v.

  Robert Louis Stevenson:
    Treasure Island 1 v.

  "Still Waters," Author of--
    Still Waters 1 v.
    Dorothy 1 v.
    De Cressy 1 v.
    Uncle Ralph 1 v.
    Maiden Sisters 1 v.
    Martha Brown 1 v.
    Vanessa 1 v.

  M. C. Stirling:
    Two Tales of Married Life 2 v.
    Vol. II, A True Man,
    Vol. I. _vide_ G. M. Craik.

  "The Story of Elizabeth," Author of--
    _v_. Miss Thackeray.

  Mrs. H. Beecher Stowe:
    Uncle Tom's Cabin (w. portrait) 2 v.
    A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin 2 v.
    Dred 2 v.
    The Minister's Wooing 1 v.
    Oldtown Folks 2 v.

  "Sunbeam Stories," Author of--
    _vide_ Mackarness.

  Swift:
    Gulliver's Travels 1 v.

  J. A. Symonds:
    Sketches in Italy 1 v.
    New Italian Sketches 1 v.

  Baroness Tautphoeus:
    Cyrilla 2 v.
    The Initials 2 v.
    Quits 2 v.
    At Odds 2 v.

  Colonel Meadows Taylor:
    Tara: a Mahratta Tale 3 v.

  Templeton:
    Diary & Notes 1 v.

  Lord Tennyson:
    Poetical Works 7 v.
    Queen Mary 1 v.
    Harold 1 v.
    Ballads and other Poems 1 v.
    Becket; The Cup; The Falcon 1 v.

  W. M. Thackeray:
    Vanity Fair 3 v.
    The History of Pendennis 3 v.
    Miscellanies 8 v.
    The History of Henry Esmond 2 v.
    The English Humourists 1 v.
    The Newcomes 4 v.
    The Virginians 4 v.
    The Four Georges;
    Lovel the Widower 1 v.
    The Adventures of Philip 2 v.
    Denis Duval 1 v.
    Roundabout Papers 2 v.
    Catherine 1 v.
    The Irish Sketch Book 2 v.
    The Paris Sketch Book (w. portrait) 2 v.

  Miss Thackeray:
    The Story of Elizabeth 1 v.
    The Village on the Cliff 1 v.
    Old Kensington 2 v.
    Bluebeard's Keys 1 v.
    Five Old Friends 1 v.
    Miss Angel 1 v.
    Out of the World 1 v.
    Fulham Lawn 1 v.
    From an Island 1 v.
    Da Capo 1 v.
    Madame de Sévigné 1 v.
    A Book of Sibyls 1 v.

  Thomas a Kempis:
    The Imitation of Christ 1 v.

  A. Thomas:
    Denis Donne 2 v.
    On Guard 2 v.
    Walter Goring 2 v.
    Played out 2 v.
    Called to Account 2 v.
    Only Herself 2 v.
    A narrow Escape 2 v.

  Thomson:
    Poetical Works (with portrait) 1 v.

  F. G. Trafford:
    _vide_ Mrs. Riddell.

  G. O. Trevelyan:
    The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay (w. portrait) 4 v.
    Selections from the Writings of Lord Macaulay 2 v.

  Trois-Etoiles:
    _vide_ Murray.

  Anthony Trollope:
    Doctor Thorne 2 v.
    The Bertrams 2 v.
    The Warden 1 v.
    Barchester Towers 2 v.
    Castle Richmond 2 v.
    The West Indies 1 v.
    Framley Parsonage 2 v.
    North America 3 v.
    Orley Farm 3 v.
    Rachel Ray 2 v.
    The Small House at Allington 3 v.
    Can you forgive her? 3 v.
    The Belton Estate 2 v.
    Nina Balatka 1 v.
    The Last Chronicle of Barset 3 v.
    The Claverings 2 v.
    Phineas Finn 3 v.
    He knew he was Right 3 v.
    The Vicar of Bullhampton 2 v.
    Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite 1 v.
    Ralph the Heir 2 v.
    The Golden Lion of Granpere 1 v.
    Australia and New Zealand 3 v.
    Lady Anna 2 v.
    Harry Heathcote of Gangoil 1 v.
    The Way we live now 4 v.
    The Prime Minister 4 v.
    The American Senator 3 v.
    South Africa 2 v.
    Is he Popenjoy? 3 v.
    An Eye for an Eye 1 v.
    John Caldigate 3 v.
    Cousin Henry 1 v.
    The Duke's Children 3 v.
    Dr. Wortle's School 1 v.
    Ayala's Angel 3 v.
    The Fixed Period 1 v.
    Marion Fay 2 v.
    Kept in the Dark 1 v.
    Frau Frohmann, etc. 1 v.
    Alice Dugdale, etc. 1 v.
    La Mère Bauche, etc. 1 v.
    The Mistletoe Bough, etc. 1 v.
    An Autobiography 1 v.
    An Old Man's Love 1 v.

  T. Adolphus Trollope:
    The Garstangs of Garstang Grange 2 v.
    A Siren 2 v.

  The Two Cosmos 1 v.

  "Vèra," Author of--
    Vèra 1 v.
    The Hôtel du Petit St. Jean 1 v.
    Blue Roses 2 v.
    Within Sound of the Sea 2 v.
    The Maritime Alps and their Seaboard 2 v.

  Victoria R. I.:
    _vide_ Leaves.

  Virginia 1 v.

  L. B. Walford:
    Mr. Smith 2 v.
    Pauline 2 v.
    Cousins 2 v.
    Troublesome Daughters 2 v.

  Mackenzie Wallace:
    Russia 3 v.

  Eliot Warburton:
    The Crescent and the Cross 2 v.
    Darien 2 v.

  S. Warren:
    Passages from the Diary of a late Physician 2 v.
    Ten Thousand a-Year 3 v.
    Now and Then 1 v.
    The Lily and the Bee 1 v.

  "Waterdale Neighbours," Author of--
    _vide_ Justin McCarthy.

  Miss Wetherell:
    The wide, wide World 1 v.
    Queechy 2 v.
    The Hills of the Shatemuc 2 v.
    Say and Seal 2 v.
    The Old Helmet 2 v.

  A Whim and its Consequences 1 v.

  W. White: Holidays in Tyrol 1 v.

  "Who Breaks--Pays," Author of--
    _vide_ Mrs. Jenkin.

  J. S. Winter:
    Regimental Legends 1 v.

  Mrs. Henry Wood:
    East Lynne 3 v.
    The Channings 2 v.
    Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles 2 v.
    Verner's Pride 3 v.
    The Shadow of Ashlydyat 3 v.
    Trevlyn Hold 2 v.
    Lord Oakburn's Daughters 2 v.
    Oswald Cray 2 v.
    Mildred Arkell 2 v.
    St. Martin's Eve 2 v.
    Elster's Folly 2 v.
    Lady Adelaide's Oath 2 v.
    Orville College 1 v.
    A Life's Secret 1 v.
    The Red Court Farm 2 v.
    Anne Hereford 2 v.
    Roland Yorke 2 v.
    George Canterbury's Will 2 v.
    Bessy Rane 2 v.
    Dene Hollow 2 v.
    The Foggy Night at Offord, etc. 1 v.
    Within the Maze 2 v.
    The Master of Greylands 2 v.
    Johnny Ludlow (_First Series_) 2 v.
    Told in the Twilight 2 v.
    Adam Grainger 1 v.
    Edina 2 v.
    Pomeroy Abbey 2 v.
    Lost in the Post, etc. By Johnny Ludlow 1 v.
    A Tale of Sin, etc. By Johnny Ludlow 1 v.
    Anne, etc. By Johnny Ludlow 1 v.
    Court Netherleigh 2 v.
    The Mystery of Jessy Page, etc. By Johnny Ludlow 1 v.
    Helen Whitney's Wedding, etc. By Johnny Ludlow 1 v.
    The Story of Dorothy Grape, etc. By Johnny Ludlow 1 v.

  Wordsworth:
    Select Poetical Works 2 v.

  Lascelles Wraxall:
    Wild Oats 1 v.

  Edm. Yates:
    Land at Last 2 v.
    Broken to Harness 2 v.
    The Forlorn Hope 2 v.
    Black Sheep 2 v.
    The Rock Ahead 2 v.
    Wrecked in Port 2 v.
    Dr. Wainwright's Patient 2 v.
    Nobody's Fortune 2 v.
    Castaway 2 v.
    A Waiting Race 2 v.
    The Yellow Flag 2 v.
    The Impending Sword 2 v.
    Two, by Tricks 1 v.
    A Silent Witness 2 v.
    Recollections and Experiences 2 v.

  Miss Yonge:
    The Heir of Redclyffe 2 v.
    Heartsease 2 v.
    The Daisy Chain 2 v.
    Dynevor Terrace 2 v.
    Hopes and Fears 2 v.
    The Young Step-Mother 2 v.
    The Trial 2 v.
    The Clever Woman of the Family 2 v.
    The Dove in the Eagle's Nest 2 v.
    The Danvers Papers;
    the Prince and the Page 1 v.
    The Chaplet of Pearls 2 v.
    The two Guardians 1 v.
    The Caged Lion 2 v.
    The Pillars of the House 5 v.
    Lady Hester 1 v.
    My Young Alcides 2 v.
    The Three Brides 2 v.
    Womankind 2 v.
    Magnum Bonum 2 v.
    Love and Life 1 v.
    Unknown to History 2 v.
    Stray Pearls (w. portrait) 2 v.
    The Armourer's Prentices 2 v.
    The two Sides of the Shield 2 v.

  _The price of each volume is 1 Mark 60 Pfennige._



  Collection of German Authors.


  B. Auerbach:
    On the Heights. Transl. by F. E. Bunnett. Second Authorized Edition,
      thoroughly revised, 3 v.
    Brigitta. From the German by C. Bell, 1 v.
    Spinoza. From the German by Nicholson, 2 v.

  G. Ebers:
    An Egyptian Princess. Translated by E. Grove, 2 v.
    Uarda. From the German by Bell, 2 v.
    Homo Sum. From the German by Bell, 2 v.
    The Sisters. From the German by Bell, 2 v.

  Fouqué:
    Undine, Sintram, etc. Translated by F. E. Bunnett, 1 v.

  Ferdinand Freiligrath:
    Poems. From the German. Edited by his Daughter. Second Copyright
      Edition, enlarged, 1 v.

  W. Görlach:
    Prince Bismarck (with Portrait). From the German
      by Miss M. E. von Glehn, 1 v.

  Goethe:
    Faust. From the German by John Anster, LL.D. 1 v.
    Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship. From the German by Eleanor
    Grove, 2 v.

  K. Gutzkow:
    Through Night to Light. From the German by M. A. Faber, 1 v.

  F. W. Hackländer:
    Behind the Counter [Handel u. Wandel]. From the German by Howitt, 1 v.

  W. Hauff:
    Three Tales. From the German by M. A. Faber, 1 v.

  P. Heyse:
    L'Arrabiata and other Tales. From the German by M. Wilson, 1 v.
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Transcriber's note:

  Hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in
    the original.

  Three pages of handwriting at front were not easily read and
    there might be errors in transcription.

  Page 72, "Lilybæaum" changed to "Lilybæum"

  Page 149, "Golden, und gleaming" changed to "Golden, and gleaming"

  Page 279, "turned aud beheld" changed to "turned and beheld"





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