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Title: English Narrative Poems
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Language: English
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                      ENGLISH NARRATIVE POEMS



           Macmillan's Pocket American and English Classics

   A Series of English Texts, edited for use in Elementary and
    Secondary Schools, with Critical Introductions, Notes, etc.

                 16mo     Cloth     25 cents each


  Addison's Sir Roger de Coverley.
  Andersen's Fairy Tales.
  Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
  Arnold's Sohrab and Rustum.
  Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
  Bacon's Essays.
  Bible (Memorable Passages from).
  Blackmore's Lorna Doone.
  Browning's Shorter Poems.
  Browning, Mrs., Poems (Selected).
  Bryant's Thanatopsis, etc.
  Bulwer's Last Days of Pompeii.
  Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress.
  Burke's Speech on Conciliation.
  Burns' Poems (Selections from).
  Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.
  Byron's Shorter Poems.
  Carlyle's Essay on Burns.
  Carlyle's Heroes and Hero Worship.
  Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Illustrated).
  Chaucer's Prologue and Knight's Tale.
  Church's The Story of the Iliad.
  Church's The Story of the Odyssey.
  Coleridge's The Ancient Mariner.
  Cooper's The Deerslayer.
  Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.
  Cooper's The Spy.
  Dana's Two Years Before the Mast.
  Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
  De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.
  De Quincey's Joan of Arc, and The English Mail-Coach.
  Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and The Cricket on the Hearth.
  Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities.
  Dryden's Palamon and Arcite.
  Early American Orations, 1760-1824.
  Edwards' (Jonathan) Sermons.
  Eliot's Silas Marner.
  Emerson's Essays.
  Emerson's Early Poems.
  Emerson's Representative Men.
  English Narrative Poems.
  Epoch-making Papers in U. S. History.
  Franklin's Autobiography.
  Gaskell's Cranford.
  Goldsmith's The Deserted Village,
              She Stoops to Conquer, and
              The Good-natured Man.
  Goldsmith's The Vicar of Wakefield.
  Gray's Elegy, etc., and Cowper's John Gilpin, etc.
  Grimm's Fairy Tales.
  Hawthorne's Grandfather's Chair.
  Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse.
  Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales.
  Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables.
  Hawthorne's Twice-told Tales (Selections from).
  Hawthorne's Wonder-Book.
  Holmes' Poems.
  Homer's Iliad (Translated).
  Homer's Odyssey (Translated).
  Hughes' Tom Brown's School Days.
  Huxley's Autobiography and Lay Sermons.
  Irving's Life of Goldsmith.
  Irving's Knickerbocker.
  Irving's The Alhambra.
  Irving's Sketch Book.
  Irving's Tales of a Traveller.
  Keary's Heroes of Asgard.
  Kingsley's The Heroes.
  Lamb's The Essays of Elia.
  Lincoln's Inaugurals and Speeches.
  Longfellow's Evangeline.
  Longfellow's Hiawatha.
  Longfellow's Miles Standish.
  Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn.
  Lowell's The Vision of Sir Launfal.
  Macaulay's Essay on Addison.
  Macaulay's Essay on Hastings.
  Macaulay's Essay on Lord Clive.
  Macaulay's Essay on Milton.
  Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome.
  Macaulay's Life of Samuel Johnson.
  Milton's Comus and Other Poems.
  Malory's Le Morte Darthur.
  Milton's Paradise Lost, Books I. and II.
  Old English Ballads.
  Old Testament (Selections from).
  Out of the Northland.
  Palgrave's Golden Treasury.
  Parkman's Oregon Trail.
  Plutarch's Lives (Cæsar, Brutus, and Mark Antony).
  Poe's Poems.
  Poe's Prose Tales (Selections from).
  Pope's Homer's Iliad.
  Pope's The Rape of the Lock.
  Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies.
  Ruskin's The Crown of Wild Olive and Queen of the Air.
  Scott's Ivanhoe.
  Scott's Kenilworth.
  Scott's Lady of the Lake.
  Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel.
  Scott's Marmion.
  Scott's Quentin Durward.
  Scott's The Talisman.
  Shakespeare's As You Like It.
  Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  Shakespeare's Henry V.
  Shakespeare's Julius Cæsar.
  Shakespeare's King Lear.
  Shakespeare's Macbeth.
  Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.
  Shakespeare's Richard II.
  Shakespeare's The Tempest.
  Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.
  Shelley and Keats: Poems.
  Sheridan's The Rivals and The School for Scandal.
  Southern Poets: Selections.
  Southern Orators: Selections.
  Spenser's Faerie Queene, Book I.
  Stevenson's Kidnapped.
  Stevenson's The Master of Ballantrae.
  Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey, and An Inland Voyage.
  Stevenson's Treasure Island.
  Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
  Tennyson's Idylls of the King.
  Tennyson's The Princess.
  Tennyson's Shorter Poems.
  Thackeray's English Humourists.
  Thackeray's Henry Esmond.
  Thoreau's Walden.
  Virgil's Æneid.
  Washington's Farewell Address, and
     Webster's First Bunker Hill Oration.
  Whittier's Snow-Bound and Other Early Poems.
  Woolman's Journal.
  Wordsworth's Shorter Poems.



                      [Illustration]

                  THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

               NEW YORK · BOSTON · CHICAGO
                      SAN FRANCISCO

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                 ENGLISH NARRATIVE POEMS

                    SELECTED AND EDITED
                           BY
                     CLAUDE M. FUESS
                           AND
                     HENRY N. SANBORN

        INSTRUCTORS IN ENGLISH IN PHILLIPS ACADEMY
                  ANDOVER, MASSACHUSETTS

                         New York
                   THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
                           1911

                   _All rights reserved_



                     COPYRIGHT, 1909,

                 BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

      Set up and electrotyped. Published October, 1909.
             Reprinted  June, 1910; June, 1911.


                      Norwood Press
          J. S. Cushing Co.--Berwick & Smith Co.
                  Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.



                         CONTENTS


                                                          PAGE
  INTRODUCTION.                                             ix

  COWPER.
     The Diverting History of John Gilpin                    1

  BURNS.
     Tam o' Shanter                                         11

  SCOTT.
     Lochinvar                                              19

  WORDSWORTH.
     Michael                                                21
     Lucy Gray                                              36

  CAMPBELL.
     Hohenlinden                                            39
     Battle of the Baltic                                   40

  WOLFE.
     The Burial of Sir John Moore                           43

  BYRON.
     The Prisoner of Chillon                                45
     Mazeppa                                                58
     The Destruction of Sennacherib                         86

  KEATS.
     The Eve of St. Agnes                                   88

  TENNYSON.
     Dora                                                  103
     Oenone                                                108
     Enoch Arden                                           117
     The Revenge                                           146

  BROWNING.
     "How they brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix"    154
     Incident of the French Camp                           156
     The Pied Piper of Hamelin                             158
     Hervé Riel                                            168

  ROSSETTI.
     The White Ship                                        175

  MORRIS.
     Atalanta's Race                                       187

  LONGFELLOW.
     The Wreck of the Hesperus                             211
     Paul Revere's Ride                                    214

  WHITTIER.
     Skipper Ireson's Ride                                 219
     Barclay of Ury                                        222
     Barbara Frietchie                                     226

  HOLMES.
     Grandmother's Story of Bunker Hill Battle             230

  NOTES                                                    241



           INTRODUCTION


Narrative poetry is distinguished from other types of verse in that it
aims to relate a connected series of events and, therefore, deals
primarily with actions, rather than with thoughts or emotions. This
definition, however, simple as it appears to be in theory, is often
difficult to apply as a test because other matter is blended with the
pure narrative. In any story where the situation is made prominent,
description may be required to make clear the scene and explain
movements to the reader; thus _Enoch Arden_ begins with a word picture
of a sea-coast town. Again it is often necessary to analyze the motives
which actuate certain characters, and so it becomes necessary to
introduce exposition of some sort into the plot. The poems in this
collection serve to enforce the lesson that the four standard rhetorical
forms--narration, description, exposition, and argumentation--are
constantly being combined and welded in a complicated way. In cases
where these various literary elements are apparently in a tangle, a
classification, if it be made at all, must be based on the design of the
poem as a whole, and the emphasis and proportion given to the respective
elements by the author. If the stress is laid on the recounting of the
events which make up a unified action, and if the other factors are made
subordinate and subsidiary to this end, then the poem in question
belongs to the narrative group.

The antiquity of the narrative as a form of literature is undisputed.
Indeed it has been established with a reasonable degree of certainty
that poetry in its very beginnings was narrative and in its primitive
state must have been a sort of rude, rhythmical chant, originated and
participated in by the tribe as a whole, and telling of the exploits of
gods or legendary heroes. In the course of time there arose the
_minstrel_, who, acting first as chorus leader, became eventually the
representative of the tribe and its own special singer. When we reach a
somewhat more advanced stage of civilization, we find regularly
appointed bards reciting their lays in the hall of the chieftain or
urging on the warriors to battle with rehearsals of past victories.
Originally these bards simply repeated the old oral traditions handed
down as common property, but the opportunity for the display of
individual genius soon induced them to try variations on the current
themes and to compose versions of their own. With this advance of
individualism, poetry became gradually more complex. Various elements,
lyrical, descriptive, and dramatic, assumed some prominence and tended
to develop separate forms. This differentiation, however, did not impair
the vigor of the story-telling spirit, and a constant succession of
narrative poems down to the present day evidences how productive and
characteristic a feature of our literature this form has been.

Obviously it is impracticable to undertake here even a brief summary of
the history of English narrative poetry and of the influences to which
it has been responsive. Something may, nevertheless, be done to map out
roughly a few divisions which may be of assistance in bringing this
material into orderly shape for the student. Many efforts at systematic
classification have been made, and a few fairly well-marked types have
been defined. In spite of this fact, the task still presents insuperable
obstacles over which there has been futile controversy. One type is
likely to run into another in a way which is uncomfortably baffling.
Then there are numerous nondescript works whose proper place seems
determinable by no law of poetics. The fact is that, here at least,
narrow distinctions are bound to be unsatisfactory. The critic finds it
imperative to avoid dogmatism lest he lay himself open to attack; his
only refuge is in the general statement which may be suggestive even if
it is not exact.

Of the fixed types, two of the best known, the _Epic_ and the _Ballad_,
were among the earliest to be created. The Epic in its original form was
a long poem of uniform metre, serious in tone and elevated in style,
introducing supernatural or heroic characters and usually dealing with
some significant event in racial or national history. In its first or
primitive shape it was anonymous, a spontaneous outgrowth of popular
feeling, though perhaps arranged and revised at a later date by some
conscious artistic hand. Such a primitive Epic is the old English
_Beowulf_: it is thoroughly objective; in it no clew to definite
authorship can be detected; in it personality is buried in the rush of
incident and the clash of action. When, with the broadening of the scope
of poetry, the individual writer displaced the tribe as the preserver of
folk-lore, the new order of things evolved the so-called artificial Epic
as represented by Milton's _Paradise Lost_. Here the conventional Epic
style and material is kept; the universe is the stage, and the figures
upon it are imposing and grand; but behind the poem is a single
personality whose mood colors and modifies the whole. The Epic is no
longer entirely racial or national, but individual; and we have the
introduction of such passages as Milton's reference to his own blindness
in Book Three.

Akin to the Epic is the Mock Epic, which appropriates the Epic machinery
and Epic style to use them in dealing with trivialities. In Pope's _The
Rape of the Lock_, the most artistic Mock Epic in English, the theft of
a single lock of hair becomes an act of national and supernatural
interest and a game of cards is described as if it were a mighty battle.

Almost parallel with and closely resembling the development of the Epic
is that of the _Ballad_. Like the primitive Epic in anonymity and
impersonality, the Ballad was much shorter, had rime and stanzas, and
dealt, as a rule, with incidents of less importance. Not so formal or
pretentious as the Epic, it was easily memorized even by the peasant,
and handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. Favorite
subjects were the legends of Robin Hood, the misfortunes of nobles, and
the incidents of Border warfare. Mixed in many of them was a tendency
toward superstition, a survival of the belief in ghosts, magicians, and
talking animals. Numerous examples gathered by antiquaries may be found
in the edition of old English Ballads in this series; among the better
known are _The Wife of Usher's Well_ and _Chevy Chase_. Later poets
naturally adapted the Ballad form to their own uses, and so we have the
artificial Ballad, illustrated by Cowper's _The History of John_
_Gilpin_, Longfellow's _The Wreck of the Hesperus_, and Swinburne's _May
Janet_. In these poems many of the trite expressions so peculiar to the
primitive Ballad are retained; but, like the artificial Epic, the work
is no longer communal, but individual, in origin and bears the stamp of
one mind animated by an artistic purpose.

In discussing the Epic and the Ballad one is on fairly safe ground, but
between these types one finds a vast amount of poetry, evidently
narrative, which suggests perplexing problems. Much of it may be made to
come under what we term loosely the _Metrical Romance_. This title is
often narrowed by scholars to apply strictly to a poetical _genre_,
arising in the Middle Ages and brought into England by the
Norman-French, which deals in a rambling way with the marvellous
adventures of wandering knights or heroes. Its plot, in which love and
combat are conspicuous features, is enveloped in a kind of glamour, an
atmosphere of unreality. It drew its material from many diverse sources:
from the legends of Troy and the stories of classical and Oriental
antiquity; from the tales of the Frankish Emperor Charlemagne and his
paladins; from the Celtic accounts of King Arthur and the Table Round.
Since its characters, sometimes not without anachronism, embodied the
chivalric ideals of courtesy and loyalty to ladies, hatred of paganism,
and general conduct according to a prescribed but unwritten code, its
appeal was made for the most part to the courtier and the
aristocrat,--though it must be added that many of the robuster
Charlemagne romances acquired currency with the humbler classes and were
sung in the cottage of the peasant. The fact that the greater number of
these Metrical Romances were mere redactions, taken from foreign
models, makes them seem deficient in English interest. Still, several of
the best were of native composition, an excellent example being the
well-known _Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight_.

But even in spite of a few slight advantages to be gained, it seems
unwise to restrict the Metrical Romance too closely. What we are
accustomed to call, rather vaguely, romance is a persistent quality in
narrative poetry, and is not limited to the literature of any particular
age or rank of society. A cursory examination will disclose many
evidences of the romantic spirit in both the Epic and the Ballad. And
certainly Scott's _The Lay of the Last Minstrel_, Keats's _The Eve of
St. Agnes_, Longfellow's _Evangeline_, and many other poems on similar
themes must remain unclassified unless we designate them broadly as
Metrical Romances. Of course, it is not essential that they should be
pigeon-holed and put away with the right label affixed. However, one or
two observations on the subject-matter with which works of this nature
deal may assist us in avoiding embarrassing confusion. Sometimes the
Metrical Romance (using the term in its broader sense) deals with
authenticated incidents of history. In such cases, the narrative,
founded as it is on matters of fact, is compelled to preserve
substantial accuracy with regard to the events which it uses for a
structure. The fancy is thus partly curbed through the necessity of not
departing radically from the truth. This restraint, logically enough,
does not prevent the introduction of fictitious characters or episodes;
but in the strict historical poem, as in the historical novel, it does
require adherence to chronology and a just representation of the period
in which the action takes place. Occasionally this form approaches a
poetical paraphrase, as in Rossetti's _The White Ship_. The nineteenth
century was singularly prolific in works of this sort; notable among
such works are Scott's _Marmion_, Tennyson's _The Revenge_, and
Longfellow's _Paul Revere's Ride_. If the basis of the poem is
mythological, we have a further species of the Metrical Romance. The
stories clustered around the gods and goddesses of unsophisticated
peoples are perennially attractive and offer a fruitful field to the
poet. In the setting there is frequent opportunity for elaborate
description, and there is often, as in Tennyson's _Oenone_ and William
Morris's _Atalanta's Race_, ornamentation used by the author that is
more than ordinarily remarkable. For such poetry the Greek and Latin
writers furnish a wealth of material for imitation. Nor have the myths
of other races been neglected in recent years. Matthew Arnold's _Balder
Dead_ has its inspiration in the Norse _Eddas_ and has its opening scene
in Valhalla where Odin, father of the gods, presides over the immortals.
William Morris's _Sigurd the Volsing_ is an adaptation of the myths of
the early Germans.

It is not aside from the point to refer here to the few poems in which
the subject-matter of the Metrical Romance is used, strangely enough, as
a means of teaching moral ideas. Spenser's _Faerie Queene_ presents such
an anomaly. In it conventional chivalric heroes undergo surprising and
impossible adventures, battling and loving as in the legends of
Charlemagne and Arthur. Indeed, in the _Faerie Queene_, Arthur himself
appears as the protagonist. But these knights and ladies are, we learn,
merely animated vices and virtues and are such, because, as Spenser
takes pains to tell us, the poem, though romantic in mood, is
allegorical in intention, its aim being "to fashion a gentleman or noble
person in vertuous and gentle discipline." The author in using his
characters as agents of moral instruction creates a type as much by
itself as _Pilgrim's Progress_ is in prose. Modern examples less
conspicuous for visible allegorical intention are Tennyson's _Idylls of
the King_, in which Arthurian material is once more revived with
something of an ethical purpose.

There is still to be taken up a large body of poems, usually, though not
always, shorter than the Metrical Romances, which deal with the
situations of common life and with the humbler members of society. By
some authorities the term Metrical Tale has been applied to such
compositions; though it is hardly exact or specific, since the word
"tale" is usually made synonymous with "story" and therefore does not
connote a limited subject-matter. We may accept it in a provisional way
as a convenient technical term for our purposes. The Metrical Tale,
then, as contrasted with the Metrical Romance, attempts a realistic
portrayal of the natural sorrows, losses, or pains which belong to our
everyday experience. The emotions of which it treats are fundamentally
strong and keep the style and versification from becoming
overelaborated. The Metrical Tale may be humorous as in Chaucer's _The
Miller's Tale_, or may be pathetic and tragic as in Tennyson's _Enoch
Arden_ or Wordsworth's _Michael_. In these poems it will be observed
that the diction and phraseology are exceedingly simple. But here, too,
candor requires the admission that the alleged difference between the
Romance and the Tale is likely to bring on a charge of inconsistency.
_Enoch Arden_, just now mentioned, abounds in romantic episodes, though
Enoch and Philip and Annie dwell in a little fishing village. Why, if
Chaucer chose to call his masterpiece the _Canterbury Tales_, should any
one take the liberty of questioning his nomenclature? The query is well
founded; and yet the reader must recognize a wide gulf in tone and
spirit between _The Knight's Tale_ and _The Reeve's Tale_. Call it, if
you will, the distinction between idealism and realism; at any rate it
exists, and ought to be made plain even at the risk of confronting
dilemmas of another sort.

Having a kind of relationship to what we call arbitrarily the Metrical
Tale is the Beast Fable in verse, in which animals and birds are endowed
with reason and speech. The excuse for the Beast Fable is an ethical
one, and the story, often humorous, is merely a vehicle for
instruction,--a fact evident enough from the so-called moral appended to
most Beast Fables. The best Beast Fables in English are those of John
Gay.

It is beyond the scope of this introduction to make any but a passing
reference to the forms of versification which have been used in
narrative poetry. In general, the range of metres is wide and varied,
though a few common lines and stanzas occur with much frequency. Blank
Verse, a favorite Epic measure used by Milton in _Paradise Lost_, has
also been effective in the Metrical Romance (Arnold's _Sohrab and
Rustum_) and the Metrical Tale (Wordsworth's _Michael_). It is
peculiarly fitting to longer poems of a serious character. The Heroic
Couplet, made up of two rimed iambic pentameters, was invented by
Chaucer and tried in many of the _Canterbury Tales_. It has since
become very common, being the measure of such widely different poems as
Marlowe's _Hero and Leander_, Pope's _The Rape of the Lock_, and Keats's
_Lamia_. Octosyllabic verse is frequently found,--sometimes in rimed
couplets as in Scott's _Marmion_, less often unrimed as in Longfellow's
_Hiawatha_. In the couplet form it is especially suited to war poetry
where a rapid movement is desirable. The standard four-lined ballad
stanza with rimed alternate lines has continued in popularity with the
artificial ballad writers and has been used in such poems as
Wordsworth's _Lucy Gray_ and Longfellow's _The Wreck of the Hesperus_.
Most complicated of all the narrative stanzaic forms is the Spenserian
stanza, devised by Spenser for his _Faerie Queene_ and imitated by Keats
in _The Eve of St. Agnes_. It has a stateliness which makes it well
adapted to dignified themes. In some few examples there is a metre
wholly irregular and following the movement of the story, as in
Tennyson's _The Revenge_ and Browning's _Hervé Riel_.

The discussion of narrative methods may be left to the will and
discretion of the teacher. A study of the separate poems here presented
will show that while the four almost indispensable elements of
narration--plot, setting, characters, and motive--may usually be found,
their use and emphasis vary greatly according to the theories and
personalities of the authors. The employment of such arts of
construction as suspense and climax may be discovered by the individual
student, who should also test each poem for its unity, coherence, and
proportion. In a collection such as this there is ample room for
instructive criticism and comparison. But narrative poems may well be
read for the interest they excite. If a narrative poem fails in this
respect, it is all but condemned from the start. It is hoped that these
examples may show the student that _poetry_ is not always dull and
lifeless; that it may possess at times all the features which make
literature attractive as well as inspiring.

The editors are grateful for assistance rendered them by Mr. A. W.
Leonard and Mr. Archibald Freeman, both instructors in Phillips Academy,
Andover, Massachusetts.



WILLIAM COWPER


THE DIVERTING HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN

SHOWING HOW HE WENT FARTHER THAN HE INTENDED, AND CAME HOME SAFE AGAIN

    John Gilpin was a citizen
      Of credit and renown,
    A trainband captain eke[1] was he
      Of famous London town.

    John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,                             5
      "Though wedded we have been
    These twice ten tedious years, yet we
      No holiday have seen.

    "To-morrow is our wedding day,
      And we will then repair                                         10
    Unto the Bell at Edmonton[2]
      All in a chaise and pair.

    "My sister, and my sister's child,
      Myself, and children three,
    Will fill the chaise; so you must ride                            15
      On horseback after we.[3]"

    He soon replied, "I do admire
      Of womankind but one,
    And you are she, my dearest dear,
      Therefore it shall be done.                                     20

    "I am a linendraper bold,
      As all the world doth know,
    And my good friend the calender[4]
      Will lend his horse to go."

    Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, "That's well said;                             25
      And for that wine is dear,
    We will be furnished with our own,
      Which is both bright and clear."

    John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
      O'erjoyed was he to find,                                       30
    That, though on pleasure she was bent,
      She had a frugal mind.

    The morning came, the chaise was brought,
      But yet was not allow'd
    To drive up to the door, lest all                                 35
      Should say that she was proud.

    So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,
      Where they did all get in;
    Six precious souls, and all agog[5]
      To dash through thick and thin.                                 40

    Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
      Were never folks so glad,
    The stones did rattle underneath,
      As if Cheapside[6] were mad.

    John Gilpin at his horse's side                                   45
      Seized fast the flowing mane,
    And up he got, in haste to ride,
      But soon came down again;

    For saddletree[7] scarce reach'd had he
      His journey to begin,                                           50
    When, turning round his head, he saw
      Three customers come in.

    So down he came; for loss of time,
      Although it grieved him sore,
    Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,                             55
      Would trouble him much more.

    'Twas long before the customers
      Were suited to their mind,
    When Betty screaming came down stairs,
      "The wine is left behind!"                                      60

    "Good lack!" quoth he--"yet bring it me,
      My leathern belt likewise,
    In which I bear my trusty sword
      When I do exercise."

    Now Mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)                               65
      Had two stone bottles found,
    To hold the liquor that she loved,
      And keep it safe and sound.

    Each bottle had a curling ear,
      Through which the belt he drew,                                 70
    And hung a bottle on each side,
      To make his balance true.

    Then over all, that he might be
      Equipp'd from top to toe,
    His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat,                        75
      He manfully did throw.

    Now see him mounted once again
      Upon his nimble steed,
    Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
      With caution and good heed.                                     80

    But finding soon a smoother road
      Beneath his well shod feet,
    The snorting beast began to trot,
      Which gall'd him in his seat.

    So, "fair and softly," John he cried,                             85
      But John he cried in vain;
    That trot became a gallop soon,
      In spite of curb and rein.

    So stooping down, as needs he must
      Who cannot sit upright,                                         90
    He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,
      And eke with all his might.

    His horse, who never in that sort
      Had handled been before,
    What thing upon his back had got                                  95
      Did wonder more and more.

    Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;
      Away went hat and wig;
    He little dreamt, when he set out,
      Of running such a rig.                                         100

    The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
      Like streamer long and gay,
    Till, loop and button failing both,
      At last it flew away.

    Then might all people well discern                               105
      The bottles he had slung;
    A bottle swinging at each side,
      As hath been said or sung.

    The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
      Up flew the windows all;                                       110
    And every soul cried out, "Well done!"
      As loud as he could bawl.

    Away went Gilpin--who but he?
      His fame soon spread around,
    "He carries weight! he rides a race[8]!                          115
      'Tis for a thousand pound!"

    And still as fast as he drew near,
      'Twas wonderful to view,
    How in a trice the turnpike men
      Their gates wide open threw.                                   120

    And now, as he went bowing down
      His reeking head full low,
    The bottles twain behind his back
      Were shatter'd at a blow.

    Down ran the wine into the road,                                 125
      Most piteous to be seen,
    Which made his horse's flanks to smoke
      As they had basted been.

    But still he seem'd to carry weight,
      With leathern girdle braced;                                   130
    For all might see the bottle necks
      Still dangling at his waist.

    Thus all through merry Islington[9]
      These gambols did he play,
    Until he came unto the Wash                                      135
      Of Edmonton so gay;

    And there he threw the wash about
      On both sides of the way,
    Just like unto a trundling mop,
      Or a wild goose at play.                                       140

    At Edmonton his loving wife
      From the balcony spied
    Her tender husband, wondering much
      To see how he did ride.

    "Stop, stop, John Gilpin!--Here's the house,"                    145
      They all at once did cry;
    "The dinner waits, and we are tired:"
      Said Gilpin--"So am I!"

    But yet his horse was not a whit
      Inclined to tarry there;                                       150
    For why?--his owner had a house
      Full ten miles off, at Ware.[10]

    So like an arrow swift he flew,
      Shot by an archer strong;
    So did he fly--which brings me to                                155
      The middle of my song.

    Away went Gilpin out of breath,
      And sore against his will,
    Till at his friend the calender's
      His horse at last stood still.                                 160

    The calender, amazed to see
      His neighbor in such trim,
    Laid down his pipe, flew to the gate,
      And thus accosted him:

    "What news? what news? your tidings tell;                        165
      Tell me you must and shall--
    Say why bareheaded you are come,
      Or why you come at all?"

    Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit,
      And loved a timely joke;                                       170
    And thus unto the calender
      In merry guise he spoke:

    "I came because your horse would come;
      And, if I well forbode,
    My hat and wig will soon be here,                                175
      They are upon the road."

    The calender, right glad to find
      His friend in merry pin,[11]
    Return'd him not a single word,
      But to the house went in;                                      180

    Whence straight he came with hat and wig;
      A wig that flow'd behind,
    A hat not much the worse for wear,
      Each comely in its kind.

    He held them up, and in his turn                                 185
      Thus show'd his ready wit,
    "My head is twice as big as yours,
      They therefore needs must fit.

    "But let me scrape the dirt away
      That hangs upon your face;                                     190
    And stop and eat, for well you may
      Be in a hungry case."

    Said John, "It is my wedding day,
      And all the world would stare,
    If wife should dine at Edmonton,                                 195
      And I should dine at Ware."

    So turning to his horse, he said,
      "I am in haste to dine;
    'Twas for your pleasure you came here,
      You shall go back for mine."                                   200

    Ah luckless speech, and bootless boast!
      For which he paid full dear;
    For, while he spake, a braying ass
      Did sing most loud and clear;

    Whereat his horse did snort, as he                               205
      Had heard a lion roar,
    And gallop'd off with all his might,
      As he had done before.

    Away went Gilpin, and away
      Went Gilpin's hat and wig:                                     210
    He lost them sooner than at first,
      For why?--they were too big.

    Now mistress Gilpin, when she saw
      Her husband posting down
    Into the country far away,                                       215
      She pull'd out half a crown;

    And thus unto the youth she said,
      That drove them to the Bell,
    "This shall be yours, when you bring back
      My husband safe and well."                                     220

    The youth did ride, and soon did meet
      John coming back amain[12];
    Whom in a trice he tried to stop,
      By catching at his rein;

    But not performing what he meant,                                225
      And gladly would have done,
    The frighted steed he frighted more,
      And made him faster run.

    Away went Gilpin, and away
      Went postboy at his heels,                                     230
    The postboy's horse right glad to miss
      The lumbering of the wheels.

    Six gentlemen upon the road,
      Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
    With postboy scampering in the rear,                             235
      They raised the hue and cry[13]:--

    "Stop thief! stop thief!--a highwayman!"
      Not one of them was mute;
    And all and each that passed that way
      Did join in the pursuit.                                       240

    And now the turnpike gates again
      Flew open in short space;
    The toll-men thinking as before,
      That Gilpin rode a race.

    And so he did, and won it too,                                   245
      For he got first to town;
    Nor stopp'd till where he had got up
      He did again get down.

    Now let us sing, "Long live the king,
      And Gilpin, long live he;"                                     250
    And when he next doth ride abroad,
      May I be there to see!



ROBERT BURNS


TAM O' SHANTER

  "Of brownyis and of bogilis full is this buke."
                                       GAWIN DOUGLAS.

A TALE

    When chapman billies[14] leave the street,
    And drouty[15] neebors, neebors meet,
    As market-days are wearing late,
    And folk begin to tak the gate[16];
    While we sit bousing at the nappy,[17]                             5
    And gettin' fou[18] and unco[19] happy,
    We think na on the lang Scots miles.
    The mosses, waters, slaps[20] and styles,
    That lie between us and our hame,
    Where sits our sulky sullen dame,                                 10
    Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
    Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

    This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
    As he frae[21] Ayr[22] ae night did canter,
    (Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses                            15
    For honest men and bonny lasses.)

    O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
    As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice!
    She tauld thee weel thou wast a skellum,[23]
    A blethering,[24] blustering, drunken blellum[25];                20
    That frae November till October,
    Ae market-day thou wasna sober;
    That ilka[26] melder,[27] wi' the miller,
    Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
    That every naig was ca'd[28] a shoe on,                           25
    The smith and thee gat roaring fou on;
    That at the Lord's house, even on Sunday,
    Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.
    She prophesied that, late or soon,
    Thou would be found deep drowned in Doon,[29]                     30
    Or catched wi' warlocks[30] in the mirk,[31]
    By Alloway's[32] auld haunted kirk.[33]

    Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,[34]
    To think how monie counsels sweet,
    How monie lengthened sage advices,                                35
    The husband frae the wife despises!

    But to our tale:--Ae market-night,
    Tam had got planted[35] unco right,
    Fast by an ingle,[36] bleezing finely,
    Wi' reaming swats,[37] that drank divinely;                       40
    And at his elbow, Souter[38] Johnny,
    His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
    Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither--
    They had been fou for weeks thegither!
    The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,                         45
    And aye the ale was growing better;
    The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
    Wi' favors secret, sweet, and precious;
    The souter tauld his queerest stories,
    The landlord's laugh was ready chorus;                            50
    The storm without might rair and rustle--
    Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

    Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
    E'en drowned himself amang the nappy!
    As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,                          55
    The minutes winged their way wi' pleasure:
    Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
    O'er a' the ills o' life victorious.

    But pleasures are like poppies spread,--
    You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;                          60
    Or like the snowfall in the river,--
    A moment white--then melts forever;
    Or like the borealis race,
    That flit ere you can point their place;
    Or like the rainbow's lovely form,                                65
    Evanishing amid the storm.
    Nae man can tether time or tide;
    The hour approaches Tam maun[39] ride:
    That hour, o' night's black arch the keystane,
    That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;                          70
    And sic a night he taks the road in
    As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
    The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
    The rattling showers rose on the blast;
    The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed;                         75
    Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellowed:
    That night, a child might understand,
    The Deil[40] had business on his hand.

    Weel mounted on his gray mare, Meg,
    (A better never lifted leg,)                                      80
    Tam skelpit[41] on through dub[42] and mire,
    Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
    Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet,
    Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet;
    Whiles glowering round wi' prudent cares,                         85
    Lest bogles[43] catch him unawares:--
    Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
    Where ghaists and houlets[44] nightly cry.

    By this time he was cross the ford,
    Where in the snaw the chapman smoored[45];                        90
    And past the birks[46] and meikle stane,[47]
    Where drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane;
    And through the whins,[48] and by the cairn,[49]
    Where hunters fand the murdered bairn[50];
    And near the thorn, aboon the well,                               95
    Where Mungo's mither hanged hersel'.
    Before him Doon pours all his floods;
    The doubling storm roars through the woods;
    The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
    Near and more near the thunders roll;                            100
    When, glimmering through the groaning trees,
    Kirk-Alloway seemed in a bleeze[51];
    Through ilka bore[52] the beams were glancing,
    And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

    Inspiring bold John Barleycorn,[53]                              105
    What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
    Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;
    Wi' usquebae,[54] we'll face the devil!--
    The swats sae reamed in Tammie's noddle,
    Fair play, he cared na deils a boddle.[55]                       110
    But Maggie stood right sair astonished,
    Till, by the heel and hand admonished,
    She ventured forward on the light;
    And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!
    Warlocks and witches in a dance;                                 115
    Nae cotillion brent[56] new frae France,
    But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys,[57] and reels,
    Put life and mettle in their heels.
    A winnock-bunker[58] in the east,
    There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;                          120
    A towzie tyke,[59] black, grim, and large,
    To gie them music was his charge;
    He screwed the pipes and gart them skirl,[60]
    Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.[61]
    Coffins stood round, like open presses,                          125
    That shawed the dead in their last dresses;
    And by some devilish cantrip slight[62]
    Each in its cauld hand held a light:
    By which heroic Tam was able
    To note upon the haly table,                                     130
    A murderer's banes in gibbet airns;
    Twa span-lang, wee unchristened bairns;
    A thief, new-cutted frae the rape,
    Wi' his last gasp his gab[63] did gape;
    Five tomahawks, wi' bluid red-rusted;                            135
    Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted;
    A garter which a babe had strangled;
    A knife, a father's throat had mangled,
    Whom his ain son o' life bereft,--
    The gray hairs yet stack to the heft:                            140
    Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',
    Which even to name wad be unlawfu'!

    As Tammie glow'red, amazed and curious,
    The mirth and fun grew fast and furious;
    The piper loud and louder blew;                                  145
    The dancers quick and quicker flew;
    They reeled, they set, they crossed, they cleekit,[64]
    Till ilka carlin[65] swat and reekit,
    And coost her duddies[66] to the wark,
    And linket[67] at it in her sark[68]!                            150

    Now Tam, O Tam! had thae been queans,[69]
    A' plump and strappin' in their teens;
    Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen,[70]
    Been snaw-white seventeen-hunder linen[71]!
    Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,                               155
    That ance were plush, o' guid blue hair,
    I wad hae gi'en them off my hurdies,[72]
    For ae blink o' the bonny burdies[73]!
    But withered beldams,[74] auld and droll
    Rigwooddie[75] hags wad spean[76] a foal,                        160
    Louping and flinging on a cummock,[77]
    I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

    But Tam kenned what was what fu' brawlie[78];
    There was ae winsome wench and walie,[79]
    That night enlisted in the core,[80]                             165
    (Lang after kenned on Carrick shore;
    For monie a beast to dead she shot,
    And perished monie a bonny boat,
    And shook baith meikle corn and bear,[81]
    And kept the country-side in fear.)                              170
    Her cutty-sark,[82] o' Paisley harn,[83]
    That while a lassie she had won,
    In longitude though sorely scanty,
    It was her best, and she was vauntie.[84]
    Ah! little kenned thy reverend grannie                           175
    That sark she coft[85] for her wee Nannie,
    Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches),
    Wad ever graced a dance o' witches!

    But here my Muse her wing maun cour;
    Sic flights are far beyond her power;--                          180
    To sing how Nannie lap and flang[86]
    (A souple jade she was, and strang),
    And how Tam stood like ane bewitched,
    And thought his very e'en[87] enriched:
    Even Satan glow'red and fidged fu' fain,[88] 185
    And hotched[89] and blew wi' might and main:
    Till first ae caper, syne[90] anither,
    Tam tint[91] his reason a' thegither,
    And roars out: "Weel done, Cutty-sark!"
    And in an instant all was dark:                                  190
    And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
    When out the hellish legion sallied.
    As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,[92]
    When plundering herds assail their byke[93];
    As open poussie's mortal foes,                                   195
    When, pop! she starts before their nose;
    As eager runs the market-crowd,
    When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;
    So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
    Wi' monie an eldritch[94] screech and hollow.                    200

    Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get they fairin'[95]!
    In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin'!
    In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin';
    Kate soon will be a woefu' woman!
    Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,                                  205
    And win the keystane o' the brig;
    There at them thou thy tail may toss,
    A running-stream they darena cross[96]!
    But ere the keystane she could make,
    The fient a tail she had to shake!                               210
    For Nannie, far before the rest,
    Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
    And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle,[97]--
    But little wist she Maggie's mettle!
    Ae spring brought off her master hale,                           215
    But left behind her ain gray tail:
    The carlin claught her by the rump,
    And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

    Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
    Ilk man and mother's son, take heed!                             220
    Whene'er to drink you are inclined,
    Or cutty-sarks run in your mind,
    Think ye may buy the joys o'er dear,--
    Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.



WALTER SCOTT


LOCHINVAR

    O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
    Through all the wide Border[98] his steed was the best;
    And, save his good broadsword, he weapons had none,
    He rode all unarm'd, and he rode all alone.
    So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,                      5
    There never was knight like the young Lochinvar.

    He staid not for brake, and he stopp'd not for stone,
    He swam the Esk river[99] where ford there was none;
    But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
    The bride had consented, the gallant came late:                   10
    For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
    Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.

    So boldly he enter'd the Netherby Hall,
    Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers, and all:
    Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword,             15
    (For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
    "O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war,
    Or to dance at our bridal, young Lord Lochinvar?"--

    "I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied;--
    Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like the tide--             20
    And now I am come, with this lost love of mine,
    To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
    There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
    That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar."

    The bride kiss'd the goblet: the knight took it up,               25
    He quaff'd off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
    She look'd down to blush, and she look'd up to sigh,
    With a smile on her lips, and a tear in her eye.
    He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar,--
    "Now tread we a measure!" said young Lochinvar.                   30

    So stately his form, and so lovely her face,
    There never a hall such a galliard[100] did grace;
    While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
    And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
    And the bride-maidens whisper'd, "'Twere better by far,           35
    To have match'd our fair cousin with young Lochinvar."

    One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
    When they reach'd the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
    So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
    So light to the saddle before her he sprung!                      40
    "She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur[101];
    They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.

    There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
    Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran;
    There was racing and chasing, on Cannobie Lee,                    45
    But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
    So daring in love, and so dauntless in war.
    Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?



WILLIAM WORDSWORTH


MICHAEL

A PASTORAL POEM

    If from the public way you turn your steps
    Up the tumultuous brook of Greenhead Ghyll,[102]
    You will suppose that with an upright path
    Your feet must struggle; in such bold ascent
    The pastoral mountains front you, face to face.                    5
    But courage! for around that boisterous brook
    The mountains have all opened out themselves,
    And made a hidden valley of their own.
    No habitation can be seen; but they
    Who journey thither find themselves alone                         10
    With a few sheep, with rocks and stones, and kites
    That overhead are sailing in the sky.
    It is in truth an utter solitude;
    Nor should I have made mention of this Dell
    But for one object which you might pass by,                       15
    Might see and notice not. Beside the brook
    Appears a straggling heap of unhewn stones!
      And to that simple object appertains
    A story--unenriched with strange events,
    Yet not unfit, I deem, for the fireside,                          20
    Or for the summer shade. It was the first
    Of those domestic tales that spake to me
    Of shepherds, dwellers in the valleys, men
    Whom I already loved; not verily
    For their own sakes, but for the fields and hills                 25
    Where was their occupation and abode.
    And hence this Tale, while I was yet a boy
    Careless of books, yet having felt the power
    Of Nature, by the gentle agency
    Of natural objects, led me on to feel                             30
    For passions that were not my own, and think
    (At random and imperfectly indeed)
    On man, the heart of man, and human life.
    Therefore, although it be a history
    Homely and rude, I will relate the same                           35
    For the delight of a few natural hearts;
    And, with yet fonder feeling, for the sake
    Of youthful Poets, who among these hills
    Will be my second self when I am gone.
      Upon the forest side in Grasmere vale                           40
    There dwelt a shepherd, Michael was his name;
    An old man, stout of heart, and strong of limb.
    His bodily frame had been from youth to age
    Of an unusual strength; his mind was keen,
    Intense, and frugal, apt for all affairs,                         45
    And in his shepherd's calling he was prompt
    And watchful more than ordinary men.
    Hence had he learned the meaning of all winds,
    Of blasts of every tone; and, oftentimes,
    When others heeded not, he heard the South                        50
    Make subterraneous music, like the noise
    Of bagpipers on distant Highland hills.
    The shepherd, at such warning, of his flock
    Bethought him, and he to himself would say,
    "The winds are now devising work for me!"                         55
    And, truly, at all times, the storm, that drives
    The traveller to a shelter, summoned him
    Up to the mountains: he had been alone
    Amid the heart of many thousand mists,
    That came to him, and left him, on the heights.                   60
    So lived he till his eightieth year was past.
    And grossly that man errs who should suppose
    That the green valleys, and the streams and rocks,
    Were things indifferent to the shepherd's thoughts.
    Fields, where with cheerful spirits he had breathed               65
    The common air; hills which with vigorous step
    He had so often climbed; which had impressed
    So many incidents upon his mind
    Of hardship, skill or courage, joy or fear;
    Which, like a book, preserved the memory                          70
    Of the dumb animals, whom he had saved,
    Had fed or sheltered, linking to such acts
    The certainty of honorable gain;
    Those fields, those hills--what could they less? had laid
    Strong hold on his affections, were to him                        75
    A pleasurable feeling of blind love,
    The pleasure which there is in life itself.
      His days had not been passed in singleness.
    His Helpmate was a comely matron, old--
    Though younger than himself full twenty years.                    80
    She was a woman of a stirring life,
    Whose heart was in her house: two wheels she had
    Of antique form; this large, for spinning wool;
    That small, for flax; and if one wheel had rest
    It was because the other was at work.                             85
    The Pair had but one inmate in their house,
    An only Child, who had been born to them
    When Michael, telling o'er his years, began
    To deem that he was old,--in shepherd's phrase,
    With one foot in the grave. This only Son,                        90
    With two brave sheep-dogs tried in many a storm,
    The one of an inestimable worth,
    Made all their household. I may truly say,
    That they were as a proverb in the vale
    For endless industry. When day was gone,                          95
    And from their occupations out of doors
    The Son and Father were come home, even then,
    Their labor did not cease; unless when all
    Turned to the cleanly supper-board, and there,
    Each with a mess of pottage and skimmed milk,                    100
    Sat round the basket piled with oaten cakes,
    And their plain home-made cheese. Yet when the meal
    Was ended, Luke (for so the Son was named)
    And his old Father both betook themselves
    To such convenient work as might employ                          105
    Their hands by the fireside; perhaps to card
    Wool for the Housewife's spindle, or repair
    Some injury done to sickle, flail, or scythe,
    Or other implement of house or field.
      Down from the ceiling, by the chimney's edge,                  110
    That in our ancient uncouth country style
    With huge and black projection overbrowed
    Large space beneath, as duly as the light
    Of day grew dim the Housewife hung a lamp;
    An aged utensil, which had performed                             115
    Service beyond all others of its kind.
    Early at evening did it burn--and late,
    Surviving comrade of uncounted hours,
    Which, going by from year to year, had found,
    And left, the couple neither gay perhaps                         120
    Nor cheerful, yet with objects and with hopes,
    Living a life of eager industry.
    And now, when Luke had reached his eighteenth year,
    There by the light of this old lamp they sate,
    Father and Son, while far into the night                         125
    The Housewife plied her own peculiar work,
    Making the cottage through the silent hours
    Murmur as with the sound of summer flies.
    This light was famous in its neighborhood,
    And was a public symbol of the life                              130
    That thrifty Pair had lived. For, as it chanced,
    Their cottage on a plot of rising ground
    Stood single, with large prospect, north and south,
    High into Easedale,[103] up to Dunmail-Raise,
    And westward to the village near the lake;                       135
    And from this constant light, so regular
    And so far seen, the House itself, by all
    Who dwelt within the limits of the vale,
    Both old and young, was named THE EVENING STAR.
      Thus living on through such a length of years,                 140
    The Shepherd, if he loved himself, must needs
    Have loved his Helpmate; but to Michael's heart
    This son of his old age was yet more dear--
    Less from instinctive tenderness, the same
    Fond spirit that blindly works in the blood of all--             145
    Than that a child, more than all other gifts
    That earth can offer to declining man,
    Brings hope with it, and forward-looking thoughts,
    And stirrings of inquietude, when they
    By tendency of nature need must fail.                            150
    Exceeding was the love he bare to him,
    His heart and his heart's joy! For oftentimes
    Old Michael, while he was a babe in arms,
    Had done him female service, not alone
    For pastime and delight, as is the use                           155
    Of fathers, but with patient mind enforced
    To acts of tenderness; and he had rocked
    His cradle, as with a woman's gentle hand.
      And, in a later time, ere yet the boy
    Had put on man's attire, did Michael love,                       160
    Albeit of a stern unbending mind,
    To have the Young-one in his sight, when he
    Wrought in the field, or on his shepherd's stool
    Sate with a fettered sheep before him stretched
    Under the large old oak, that near his door                      165
    Stood single, and from matchless depth of shade,
    Chosen for the Shearer's covert from the sun,
    Thence in our rustic dialect was called
    The Clipping Tree, a name which yet it bears.
    There while they two were sitting in the shade,                  170
    With others round them, earnest all and blithe
    Would Michael exercise his heart with looks
    Of fond correction, and reproof bestowed
    Upon the child, if he disturbed the sheep
    By catching at their legs, or with his shouts                    175
    Scared them, while they lay still beneath the shears.
      And when by Heaven's good grace the boy grew up
    A healthy Lad, and carried in his cheek
    Two steady roses that were five years old;
    Then Michael from a winter coppice cut                           180
    With his own hand a sapling, which he hooped
    With iron, making it throughout in all
    Due requisites a perfect shepherd's staff,
    And gave it to the boy; wherewith equipt
    He as a watchman oftentimes was placed                           185
    At gate or gap to stem or turn the flock;
    And, to his office prematurely called,
    There stood the urchin, as you will divine,
    Something between a hindrance and a help;
    And for this cause not always, I believe,                        190
    Receiving from his father hire of praise;
    Though nought was left undone which staff, or voice,
    Or looks or threatening gestures, could perform.
      But soon as Luke, full ten years old, could stand
    Against the mountain blasts; and to the heights,                 195
    Not fearing toil, nor length of weary ways,
    He with his father daily went, and they
    Were as companions, why should I relate
    That objects which the shepherd loved before
    Were dearer now? that from the Boy there came                    200
    Feelings and emanations--things which were
    Light to the sun and music to the wind;
    And that the old Man's heart seemed born again?
      Thus in his father's sight the Boy grew up;
    And now, when he had reached his eighteenth year,                205
    He was his comfort and his daily hope.
      While in this sort the simple household lived
    From day to day, to Michael's ear there came
    Distressful tidings. Long before the time
    Of which I speak, the Shepherd had been bound                    210
    In surety for his brother's son, a man
    Of an industrious life, and ample means;
    But unforeseen misfortunes suddenly
    Had prest upon him; and old Michael now
    Was summoned to discharge the forfeiture,                        215
    A grievous penalty, but little less
    Than half his substance. This unlooked-for claim,
    At the first hearing, for a moment took
    More hope out of his life than he supposed
    That any old man ever could have lost.                           220
    As soon as he had armed himself with strength
    To look his troubles in the face, it seemed
    The Shepherd's sole resource to sell at once
    A portion of his patrimonial fields.
    Such was his first resolve; he thought again,                    225
    And his heart failed him. "Isabel," said he,
    Two evenings after he had heard the news,
    "I have been toiling more than seventy years,
    And in the open sunshine of God's love
    Have we all lived; yet if these fields of ours                   230
    Should pass into a stranger's hand, I think
    That I could not lie quiet in my grave.
    Our lot is a hard lot; the sun himself
    Has scarcely been more diligent than I;
    And I have lived to be a fool at last                            235
    To my own family. An evil man
    That was, and made an evil choice, if he
    Were false to us; and if he were not false,
    There are ten thousand to whom loss like this
    Had been no sorrow. I forgive him;--but                          240
    'Twere better to be dumb than to talk thus.
      When I began, my purpose was to speak
    Of remedies and of a cheerful hope.
    Our Luke shall leave us, Isabel; the land
    Shall not go from us, and it shall be free;                      245
    He shall possess it, free as is the wind
    That passes over it. We have, thou know'st,
    Another kinsman--he will be our friend
    In this distress. He is a prosperous man,
    Thriving in trade--and Luke to him shall go,                     250
    And with his kinsman's help and his own thrift
    He quickly will repair this loss, and then
    He may return to us. If here he stay,
    What can be done? Where every one is poor,
    What can be gained?"
                         At this the old Man paused,                 255
    And Isabel sat silent, for her mind
    Was busy, looking back into past times.
    There's Richard Bateman, thought she to herself,
    He was a parish-boy--at the church-door
    They made a gathering for him, shillings, pence                  260
    And halfpennies, wherewith the neighbors bought
    A basket, which they filled with pedlar's wares;
    And, with this basket on his arm, the lad
    Went up to London, found a master there,
    Who, out of many, chose the trusty boy                           265
    To go and overlook his merchandise
    Beyond the seas; where he grew wondrous rich,
    And left estates and monies to the poor,
    And, at his birthplace, built a chapel, floored
    With marble which he sent from foreign lands.                    270
    These thoughts, and many others of like sort,
    Passed quickly through the mind of Isabel,
    And her face brightened. The old Man was glad,
    And thus resumed:--"Well, Isabel! this scheme
    These two days, has been meat and drink to me.                   275
    Far more than we have lost is left us yet.
    --We have enough--I wish indeed that I
    Were younger;--but this hope is a good hope.
    --Make ready Luke's best garments, of the best
    Buy for him more, and let us send him forth                      280
    To-morrow, or the next day, or to-night:
    --If he _could_ go, the Boy should go to-night."
      Here Michael ceased, and to the fields went forth
    With a light heart. The Housewife for five days
    Was restless morn and night, and all day long                    285
    Wrought on with her best fingers to prepare
    Things needful for the journey of her son.
    But Isabel was glad when Sunday came
    To stop her in her work: for, when she lay
    By Michael's side, she through the last two nights               290
    Heard him, how he was troubled in his sleep;
    And when they rose at morning she could see
    That all his hopes were gone. That day at noon
    She said to Luke, while they two by themselves
    Were sitting at the door, "Thou must not go:                     295
    We have no other Child but thee to lose,
    None to remember--do not go away,
    For if thou leave thy Father, he will die."
    The Youth made answer with a jocund voice;
    And Isabel, when she had told her fears,                         300
    Recovered heart. That evening her best fare
    Did she bring forth, and all together sat
    Like happy people round a Christmas fire.
      With daylight Isabel resumed her work;
    And all the ensuing week the house appeared                      305
    As cheerful as a grove in Spring: at length
    The expected letter from their kinsman came,
    With kind assurances that he would do
    His utmost for the welfare of the boy;
    To which, requests were added, that forthwith                    310
    He might be sent to him. Ten times or more
    The letter was read over; Isabel
    Went forth to show it to the neighbors round;
    Nor was there at that time on English land
    A prouder heart than Luke's. When Isabel                         315
    Had to her house returned, the old Man said,
    "He shall depart to-morrow." To this word
    The Housewife answered, talking much of things
    Which, if at such short notice he should go,
    Would surely be forgotten. But at length                         320
    She gave consent, and Michael was at ease.
      Near the tumultuous brook of Greenhead Ghyll,
    In that deep valley, Michael had designed
    To build a Sheepfold; and, before he heard
    The tidings of his melancholy loss,                              325
    For this same purpose he had gathered up
    A heap of stones, which by the streamlet's edge
    Lay thrown together, ready for the work.
    With Luke that evening thitherward he walked:
    And soon as they had reached the place he stopped,               330
    And thus the old man spoke to him:--"My son,
    To-morrow thou wilt leave me: with full heart
    I look upon thee, for thou art the same
    That wert a promise to me ere thy birth,
    And all thy life hast been my daily joy.                         335
    I will relate to thee some little part
    Of our two histories; 'twill do thee good
    When thou art from me, even if I should touch
    On things thou canst not know of.--After thou
    First cam'st into the world--as oft befalls                      340
    To new-born infants--thou didst sleep away
    Two days, and blessings from thy Father's tongue
    Then fell upon thee. Day by day passed on,
    And still I loved thee with increasing love.
    Never to living ear came sweeter sounds                          345
    Then when I heard thee by our own fireside
    First uttering, without words, a natural tune;
    While thou, a feeding babe, didst in thy joy
    Sing at thy mother's breast. Month followed month
    And in the open fields my life was passed                        350
    And on the mountains; else I think that thou
    Hadst been brought up upon thy Father's knees.
    But we were playmates, Luke: among these hills,
    As well thou knowest, in us the old and young
    Have played together, nor with me didst thou                     355
    Lack any pleasure which a boy can know."
    Luke had a manly heart; but at these words
    He sobbed aloud. The old Man grasped his hand,
    And said, "Nay, do not take it so--I see
    That these are things of which I need not speak.                 360
    --Even to the utmost I have been to thee
    A kind and a good Father: and herein
    I but repay a gift which I myself
    Received at others' hands; for, though now old
    Beyond the common life of man, I still                           365
    Remember them who loved me in my youth.
    Both of them sleep together: here they lived,
    As all their Forefathers had done; and when
    At length their time was come, they were not loth
    To give their bodies to the family mould.                        370
    I wished that thou should'st live the life they lived:
    But, 'tis a long time to look back, my Son,
    And see so little gain from threescore years.
    These fields were burthened when they came to me;
    Till I was forty years of age, not more                          375
    Than half of my inheritance was mine.
    I toiled and toiled; God blessed me in my work,
    And till these three weeks past the land was free.
    --It looks as if it never could endure
    Another Master. Heaven forgive me, Luke,                         380
    If I judge ill for thee, but it seems good
    That thou should'st go."
                             At this the old Man paused;
    Then, pointing to the stones near which they stood,
    Thus, after a short silence, he resumed:
    "This was a work for us; and now, my Son,                        385
    It is a work for me. But, lay one stone--
    Here, lay it for me, Luke, with thine own hands.
    Nay, Boy, be of good hope;--we both may live
    To see a better day. At eighty-four
    I still am strong and hale;--do thou thy part;                   390
    I will do mine.--I will begin again
    With many tasks that were resigned to thee:
    Up to the heights, and in among the storms,
    Will I without thee go again, and do
    All works which I was wont to do alone,                          395
    Before I knew thy face.--Heaven bless thee, Boy!
    Thy heart these two weeks has been beating fast
    With many hopes; it should be so--yes--yes--
    I knew that thou could'st never have a wish
    To leave me, Luke: thou hast been bound to me                    400
    Only by links of love: when thou art gone,
    What will be left to us!--But, I forget
    My purposes. Lay now the corner-stone,
    As I requested; and hereafter, Luke,
    When thou art gone away, should evil men                         405
    Be thy companions, think of me, my Son,
    And of this moment; hither turn thy thoughts,
    And God will strengthen thee: amid all fear
    And all temptation, Luke, I pray that thou
    May'st bear in mind the life thy Fathers lived,                  410
    Who, being innocent, did for that cause
    Bestir them in good deeds. Now, fare thee well--
    When thou return'st, thou in this place wilt see
    A work which is not here: a covenant
    'Twill be between us; but, whatever fate                         415
    Befall thee, I shall love thee to the last,
    And bear thy memory with me to the grave."
      The Shepherd ended here; and Luke stooped down,
    And, as his Father had requested, laid
    The first stone of the Sheepfold. At the sight                   420
    The old Man's grief broke from him; to his heart
    He pressed his Son, he kissed him and wept;
    And to the house together they returned.
    --Hushed was that House in peace, or seeming peace,
    Ere the night fell:--with morrow's dawn the Boy                  425
    Began his journey, and when he had reached
    The public way, he put on a bold face;
    And all the neighbors, as he passed their doors,
    Came forth with wishes and with farewell prayers,
    That followed him till he was out of sight.                      430
      A good report did from their Kinsman come,
    Of Luke and his well-doing: and the Boy
    Wrote loving letters, full of wondrous news,
    Which, as the Housewife phrased it, were throughout
    "The prettiest letters that were ever seen."                     435
    Both parents read them with rejoicing hearts.
    So, many months passed on: and once again
    The Shepherd went about his daily work
    With confident and cheerful thoughts; and now
    Sometimes when he could find a leisure hour                      440
    He to that valley took his way, and there
    Wrought at the Sheepfold. Meantime Luke began
    To slacken in his duty; and, at length,
    He in the dissolute city gave himself
    To evil courses: ignominy and shame                              445
    Fell on him, so that he was driven at last
    To seek a hiding-place beyond the seas.
      There is a comfort in the strength of love;
    'Twill make a thing endurable, which else
    Would overset the brain, or break the heart:                     450
    I have conversed with more than one who well
    Remember the old Man, and what he was
    Years after he had heard this heavy news.
    His bodily frame had been from youth to age
    Of an unusual strength. Among the rocks                          455
    He went, and still looked up to sun and cloud,
    And listened to the wind; and, as before,
    Performed all kinds of labor for his sheep,
    And for the land, his small inheritance.
    And to that hollow dell from time to time                        460
    Did he repair, to build the Fold of which
    His flock had need. 'Tis not forgotten yet
    The pity which was then in every heart
    For the old Man--and 'tis believed by all
    That many and many a day he thither went,                        465
    And never lifted up a single stone.
      There, by the Sheepfold, sometimes was he seen
    Sitting alone, or with his faithful Dog,
    Then old, beside him, lying at his feet.
    The length of full seven years, from time to time,               470
    He at the building of this Sheepfold wrought,
    And left the work unfinished when he died.
    Three years, or little more, did Isabel
    Survive her Husband: at his death the estate
    Was sold, and went into a stranger's hand.                       475
    The Cottage which was named the EVENING STAR
    Is gone--the ploughshare has been through the ground
    On which it stood; great changes have been wrought
    In all the neighborhood:--yet the oak is left
    That grew beside their door; and the remains                     480
    Of the unfinished Sheepfold may be seen
    Beside the boisterous brook of Greenhead Ghyll.



LUCY GRAY; OR SOLITUDE

    Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:
    And, when I crossed the wild,
    I chanced to see at break of day
    The solitary child.

    No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;                                     5
    She dwelt on a wide moor.
    --The sweetest thing that ever grew
    Beside a human door!

    You yet may spy the fawn at play,
    The hare upon the green;                                          10
    But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
    Will never more be seen.

    "To-night will be a stormy night--
    You to the town must go;
    And take a lantern, child, to light                               15
    Your mother through the snow."

    "That, Father! will I gladly do:
    'Tis scarcely afternoon--
    The minster-clock has just struck two,
    And yonder is the moon!"                                          20

    At this the father raised his hook,
    And snapped a faggot-band;
    He plied his work;--and Lucy took
    The lantern in her hand.

    Not blither is the mountain roe:                                  25
    With many a wanton stroke
    Her feet disperse the powdery snow,
    That rises up like smoke.

    The storm came on before its time:
    She wandered up and down;                                         30
    And many a hill did Lucy climb,
    But never reached the town.

    The wretched parents all that night
    Went shouting far and wide;
    But there was neither sound nor sight                             35
    To serve them for a guide.

    At day-break on a hill they stood
    That overlooked the moor;
    And thence they saw the bridge of wood,
    A furlong from their door.                                        40

    They wept--and turning homeward, cried,
    "In heaven we all shall meet!"
    --When in the snow the mother spied
    The print of Lucy's feet.

    Then downwards from the steep hill's edge                         45
    They tracked the footprints small;
    And through the broken hawthorn hedge,
    And by the long stone-wall;

    And then an open field they crossed;
    The marks were still the same;                                    50
    They tracked them on, nor ever lost;
    And to the bridge they came.

    They followed from the snowy bank
    Those footmarks, one by one,
    Into the middle of the plank;                                     55
    And further there were none!

    --Yet some maintain that to this day
    She is a living child;
    That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
    Upon the lonesome wild.                                           60

    O'er rough and smooth she trips along,
    And never looks behind;
    And sings a solitary song
    That whistles in the wind.



THOMAS CAMPBELL


HOHENLINDEN

    On Linden, when the sun was low,
    All bloodless lay the untrodden snow,
    And dark as winter was the flow
    Of Iser,[104] rolling rapidly.

    But Linden saw another sight,                                      5
    When the drum beat at dead of night,
    Commanding fires of death to light
    The darkness of her scenery.

    By torch and trumpet fast arrayed,
    Each horseman drew his battle blade,                              10
    And furious every charger neighed,
    To join the dreadful revelry.

    Then shook the hills with thunder riven,
    Then rushed the steed to battle driven,
    And louder than the bolts of heaven,                              15
    Far flashed the red artillery.

    But redder yet that light shall glow,
    On Linden's hills of stained snow,
    And bloodier yet the torrent flow
    Of Iser, rolling rapidly.                                         20

    'Tis morn, but scarce yon level sun
    Can pierce the war-clouds, rolling dun,
    Where furious Frank and fiery Hun
    Shout in their sulphurous canopy.

    The combat deepens. On, ye brave,                                 25
    Who rush to glory, or the grave!
    Wave, Munich! all thy banners wave!
    And charge with all thy chivalry!

    Few, few shall part where many meet!
    The snow shall be their winding-sheet,                            30
    And every turf beneath their feet
    Shall be a soldier's sepulchre.



BATTLE OF THE BALTIC


    I

    Of Nelson and the North,
    Sing the glorious day's renown,
    When to battle fierce came forth
    All the might of Denmark's crown,
    And her arms along the deep proudly shone;                         5
    By each gun the lighted brand,
    In a bold determined hand,
    And the Prince of all the land
    Led them on.


    II

    Like leviathans afloat,                                           10
    Lay their bulwarks on the brine;
    While the sign of battle flew
    On the lofty British line:
    It was ten of April morn by the chime:
    As they drifted on their path,                                    15
    There was silence deep as death;
    And the boldest held his breath,
    For a time.


    III

    But the might of England flush'd
    To anticipate the scene;                                          20
    And her van the fleeter rush'd
    O'er the deadly space between.
    "Hearts of oak!" our captain cried; when each gun
    From its adamantine lips
    Spread a death-shade round the ships,                             25
    Like the hurricane eclipse
    Of the sun.


    IV

    Again! again! again!
    And the havoc did not slack,
    Till a feeble cheer the Dane                                      30
    To our cheering sent us back;--
    Their shots along the deep slowly boom:--
    Then ceased--and all is wail,
    As they strike the shatter'd sail;
    Or, in conflagration pale,                                        35
    Light the gloom.


    V

    Out spoke the victor then,
    As he hailed them o'er the wave;
    "Ye are brothers! ye are men!
    And we conquer but to save:--                                     40
    So peace instead of death let us bring;
    But yield, proud foe, thy fleet,
    With the crews, at England's feet
    And make submission meet
    To our King."                                                     45


    VI

    Then Denmark bless'd our chief,
    That he gave her wounds repose;
    And the sounds of joy and grief
    From her people wildly rose,
    As Death withdrew his shades from the day,                        50
    While the sun looked smiling bright
    O'er a wide and woful sight,
    Where the fires of funeral light
    Died away.


    VII

    Now joy, Old England, raise!                                      55
    For the tidings of thy might,
    By the festal cities' blaze,
    Whilst the wine-cup shines in light;
    And yet amidst that joy and uproar,
    Let us think of them that sleep,                                  60
    Full many a fathom deep,
    By thy wild and stormy steep,
    Elsinore!


    VIII

    Brave hearts! to Britain's pride
    Once so faithful and so true;                                     65
    On the deck of fame that died;--
    With the gallant good Riou[105];
    Soft sigh the winds of Heaven o'er their grave
    While the billow mournful rolls,
    And the mermaid's song condoles,                                  70
    Singing glory to the souls
    Of the brave.



CHARLES WOLFE


THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE AT CORUNNA[106]

    Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
      As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
    Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot
      O'er the grave where our hero we buried.

    We buried him darkly at dead of night,                             5
      The sods with our bayonets turning;
    By the struggling moonbeam's misty light,
      And the lantern dimly burning.

    No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
      Not in sheet nor in shroud we wound him;                        10
    But he lay like a warrior taking his rest
      With his martial cloak around him.

    Few and short were the prayers we said,
      And we spoke not a word of sorrow;
    But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,               15
      And we bitterly thought of the morrow.

    We thought as we hollowed his narrow bed,
      And smoothed down his lonely pillow,
    That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
      And we far away on the billow!                                  20

    Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone,
      And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him,--
    But little he'll reck, if they let him sleep on
      In the grave where a Briton has laid him.

    But half of our weary task was done                               25
      When the clock struck the hour for retiring;
    And we heard the distant and random gun
      That the foe was sullenly firing.

    Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
      From the field of his fame fresh and gory;                      30
    We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone--
      But we left him alone with his glory.



LORD BYRON


THE PRISONER OF CHILLON

A FABLE


    I

    My hair is gray, but not with years,
        Nor grew it white
        In a single night,
    As men's have grown from sudden fears.[107]
    My limbs are bowed, though not with toil,                          5
      But rusted with a vile repose,
    For they have been a dungeon's spoil,
      And mine has been the fate of those
    To whom the goodly earth and air
    Are banned, and barred--forbidden fare;                           10
    But this was for my father's faith
    I suffered chains and courted death;
    That father perished at the stake
    For tenets he would not forsake;
    And for the same his lineal race                                  15
    In darkness found a dwelling-place;
    We were seven--who now are one,
      Six in youth, and one in age,
    Finished as they had begun,
      Proud of Persecution's rage;                                    20
    One in fire, and two in field,
    Their belief with blood have sealed[108]:
    Dying as their father died,
    For the God their foes denied;--
    Three were in a dungeon cast,                                     25
    Of whom this wreck is left the last.


    II

    There are seven[109] pillars of Gothic mould
    In Chillon's dungeons deep and old,
    There are seven columns massy and gray,
    Dim with a dull imprisoned ray,                                   30
    A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
    And through the crevice and the cleft
    Of the thick wall is fallen and left:
    Creeping o'er the floor so damp,
    Like a marsh's meteor lamp[110]:                                  35
    And in each pillar there is a ring,
      And in each ring there is a chain;
    That iron is a cankering[111] thing,
      For in these limbs its teeth remain,
    With marks that will not wear away                                40
    Till I have done with this new day,
    Which now is painful to these eyes,
    Which have not seen the sun so rise
    For years--I cannot count them o'er,
    I lost their long and heavy score                                 45
    When my last brother drooped and died,
    And I lay living by his side.


    III

    They chained us each to a column stone,
    And we were three--yet, each alone;
    We could not move a single pace,                                  50
    We could not see each other's face,
    But with that pale and livid light
    That made us strangers in our sight:
    And thus together--yet apart,
    Fettered in hand, but joined in heart;                            55
    'Twas still some solace, in the dearth
    Of the pure elements[112] of earth,
    To hearken to each other's speech,
    And each turn comforter to each
    With some new hope or legend old,                                 60
    Or song heroically bold;
    But even these at length grew cold.
    Our voices took a dreary tone,
    An echo of the dungeon stone,
      A grating sound--not full and free                              65
      As they of yore were wont to be;
      It might be fancy--but to me
    They never sounded like our own.


    IV

    I was the eldest of the three,
      And to uphold and cheer the rest                                70
      I ought to do--and did my best--
    And each did well in his degree.
      The youngest, whom my father loved,
    Because our mother's brow was given
    To him--with eyes as blue as heaven,                              75
      For him my soul was sorely moved:
    And truly might it be distressed
    To see such bird in such a nest;
    For he was beautiful as day--
      (When day was beautiful to me                                   80
      As to young eagles being free)--
      A polar day,[113] which will not see
    A sunset till its summer's gone,
      Its sleepless summer of long light,
    The snow-clad offspring of the sun:                               85
      And thus he was as pure and bright,
    And in his natural spirit gay,
    With tears for naught but others' ills,
    And then they flowed like mountain rills,
    Unless he could assuage the woe                                   90
    Which he abhorred to view below.


    V

    The other was as pure of mind,
    But formed to combat with his kind;
    Strong in his frame, and of a mood
    Which 'gainst the world in war had stood,                         95
    And perished in the foremost rank
      With joy:--but not in chains to pine:
    His spirit withered with their clank,
      I saw it silently decline--
      And so perchance in sooth[114] did mine:                       100
    But yet I forced it on to cheer
    Those relics of a home so dear.
    He was a hunter of the hills,
      Had followed there the deer and wolf;
      To him this dungeon was a gulf,                                105
    And fettered feet the worst of ills.


    VI

      Lake Leman[115] lies by Chillon's walls,
    A thousand feet in depth below
    Its massy waters meet and flow;
    Thus much the fathom-line was sent                               110
    From Chillon's snow-white battlement,
      Which round about the wave inthrals:
    A double dungeon wall and wave
    Have made--and like a living grave.
    Below the surface of the lake                                    115
    The dark vault lies wherein we lay,
    We heard it ripple night and day;
      Sounding o'er our heads it knocked
    And I have felt the winter's spray
    Wash through the bars when winds were high                       120
    And wanton in the happy sky;
      And then the very rock hath rocked,
      And I have felt it shake, unshocked,
    Because I could have smiled to see
    The death that would have set me free.                           125


    VII

    I said my nearer brother pined,
    I said his mighty heart declined,
    He loathed and put away his food;
    It was not that 'twas coarse and rude,
    For we were used to hunter's fare,                               130
    And for the like had little care:
    The milk drawn from the mountain goat
    Was changed for water from the moat,[116]
    Our bread was such as captive's tears
    Have moistened many a thousand years,                            135
    Since man first pent his fellow-men
    Like brutes within an iron den;
    But what were these to us or him?
    These wasted not his heart or limb;
    My brother's soul was of that mould                              140
    Which in a palace had grown cold,
    Had his free breathing been denied
    The range of the steep mountain's side;
    But why delay the truth?--he died.
    I saw, and could not hold his head,                              145
    Nor reach his dying hand--nor dead,--
    Though hard I strove, but strove in vain,
    To rend and gnash my bonds in twain.
    He died, and they unlocked his chain,
    And scooped for him a shallow grave                              150
    Even from the cold earth of our cave.
    I begged them, as a boon, to lay
    His corse in dust whereon the day
    Might shine--it was a foolish thought,
    But then within my brain it wrought,                             155
    That even in death his freeborn breast
    In such a dungeon could not rest.
    I might have spared my idle prayer--
    They coldly laughed--and laid him there:
    The flat and turfless earth above                                160
    The being we so much did love;
    His empty chain above it leant,
    Such murder's fitting monument!


    VIII

    But he, the favourite and the flower,
    Most cherished since his natal hour,                             165
    His mother's image in fair face,
    The infant love of all his race,
    His martyred father's dearest thought,
    My latest care, for whom I sought
    To hoard my life, that his might be                              170
    Less wretched now, and one day free;
    He, too, who yet had held untired
    A spirit natural or inspired--
    He, too, was struck, and day by day
    Was withered on the stalk away.                                  175
    Oh, God! it is a fearful thing
    To see the human soul take wing
    In any shape, in any mood:--
    I've seen it rushing forth in blood,[117]
    I've seen it on the breaking ocean                               180
    Strive with a swoln convulsive motion,
    I've seen the sick and ghastly bed
    Of Sin delirious with its dread:
    But these were horrors--this was woe
    Unmixed with such--but sure and slow;                            185
    He faded, and so calm and meek,
    So softly worn, so sweetly weak,
    So tearless, yet so tender--kind,
    And grieved for those he left behind;
    With all the while a cheek whose bloom                           190
    Was as a mockery of the tomb,
    Whose tints as gently sunk away
    As a departing rainbow's ray--
    An eye of most transparent light,
    That almost made the dungeon bright,                             195
    And not a word of murmur--not
    A groan o'er his untimely lot,--
    A little talk of better days,
    A little hope my own to raise,
    For I was sunk in silence--lost                                  200
    In this last loss, of all the most;
    And then the sighs he would suppress
    Of fainting nature's feebleness,
    More slowly drawn, grew less and less:
    I listened, but I could not hear--                               205
    I called, for I was wild with fear;
    I knew 'twas hopeless, but my dread
    Would not be thus admonishèd;
    I called, and thought I heard a sound--
    I burst my chain with one strong bound,                          210
    And rushed to him:--I found him not,
    _I_ only stirred in this black spot,
    _I_ only lived--_I_ only drew
    The accursed breath of dungeon-dew;
    The last--the sole--the dearest link                             215
    Between me and the eternal brink,
    Which bound me to my failing race,
    Was broken in this fatal place.
    One on the earth, and one beneath--
    My brothers--both had ceased to breathe;                         220
    I took that hand which lay so still,
    Alas! my own was full as chill;
    I had not strength to stir, or strive,
    But felt that I was still alive--
    A frantic feeling, when we know                                  225
    That what we love shall ne'er be so.
        I know not why
        I could not die,
    I had no earthly hope--but faith,
    And that forbade a selfish death.[118]                           230


    IX

    What next befell me then and there
      I know not well--I never knew--
    First came the loss of light, and air,
      And then of darkness too:
    I had no thought, no feeling--none--                             235
    Among the stones I stood a stone,
    And was, scarce conscious what I wist,[119]
    As shrubless crags within the mist;
    For all was blank, and bleak, and gray,
    It was not night--it was not day,                                240
    It was not even the dungeon-light,
    So hateful to my heavy sight,
    But vacancy absorbing space,
    And fixedness--without a place;
    There were no stars--no earth--no time--                         245
    No check--no change--no good--no crime--
    But silence, and a stirless breath
    Which neither was of life nor death;
    A sea of stagnant idleness,
    Blind, boundless, mute, and motionless!                          250


    X

    A light broke in upon my brain,--
      It was the carol of a bird;
    It ceased, and then it came again,
      The sweetest song ear ever heard,
    And mine was thankful till my eyes                               255
    Ran over with the glad surprise,
    And they that moment could not see
    I was the mate of misery;
    But then by dull degrees came back
    My senses to their wonted track,                                 260
    I saw the dungeon walls and floor
    Close slowly round me as before,
    I saw the glimmer of the sun
    Creeping as it before had done,
    But through the crevice where it came                            265
    That bird was perched, as fond and tame,
      And tamer than upon the tree;
    A lovely bird, with azure wings,
    And song that said a thousand things,
      And seemed to say them all for me!                             270
    I never saw its like before,
    I ne'er shall see its likeness more:
    It seemed like me to want a mate,
    But was not half so desolate,
    And it was come to love me when                                  275
    None lived to love me so again,
    And cheering from my dungeon's brink,
    Had brought me back to feel and think.
    I know not if it late were free,
      Or broke its cage to perch on mine,                            280
    But knowing well captivity,
      Sweet bird! I could not wish for thine!
    Or if it were, in wingèd guise,
    A visitant from Paradise;
    For--Heaven forgive that thought! the while                      285
    Which made me both to weep and smile;
    I sometimes deemed that it might be
    My brother's soul[120] come down to me;
    But then at last away it flew,
    And then 'twas mortal--well I knew,                              290
    For he would never thus have flown,
    And left me twice so doubly lone,--
    Lone--as the corse within its shroud,
    Lone--as a solitary cloud,[121]
      A single cloud on a sunny day,                                 295
    While all the rest of heaven is clear,
    A frown upon the atmosphere,
    That hath no business to appear
      When skies are blue, and earth is gay.


    XI

    A kind of change came in my fate,                                300
    My keepers grew compassionate;
    I know not what had made them so,
    They were inured to sights of woe,
    But so it was:--my broken chain
    With links unfastened did remain,                                305
    And it was liberty to stride
    Along my cell from side to side,
    And up and down, and then athwart,
    And tread it over every part;
    And round the pillars one by one,                                310
    Returning where my walk begun.
    Avoiding only, as I trod,
    My brothers' graves without a sod;
    For if I thought with heedless tread
    My step profaned their lowly bed,                                315
    My breath came gaspingly and thick,
    And my crushed heart fell blind and sick.


    XII

    I made a footing in the wall,
      It was not therefrom to escape,
    For I had buried one and all                                     320
      Who loved me in a human shape;
    And the whole earth would henceforth be
    A wider prison unto me:
    No child--no sire--no kin had I,
    No partner in my misery;                                         325
    I thought of this, and I was glad,
    For thought of them had made me mad;
    But I was curious to ascend
    To my barred windows, and to bend
    Once more, upon the mountains high,                              330
    The quiet of a loving eye.


    XIII

    I saw them--and they were the same,
    They were not changed like me in frame;
    I saw their thousand years of snow
    On high--their wide long lake below,                             335
    And the blue Rhone in fullest flow;
    I heard the torrents leap and gush
    O'er channelled rock and broken bush;
    I saw the white-walled distant town,
    And whiter sails go skimming down;                               340
    And then there was a little isle,[122]
    Which in my very face did smile,
        The only one in view;
    A small green isle it seemed no more,
    Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,                            345
    But in it there were three tall trees,
    And o'er it blew the mountain breeze,
    And by it there were waters flowing,
    And on it there were young flowers growing,
        Of gentle breath and hue.                                    350
    The fish swam by the castle wall,
    And they seemed joyous each and all;
    The eagle rode the rising blast,
    Methought he never flew so fast
    As then to me he seemed to fly,                                  355
    And then new tears came in my eye,
    And I felt troubled--and would fain
    I had not left my recent chain;
    And when I did descend again,
    The darkness of my dim abode                                     360
    Fell on me as a heavy load;
    It was as is a new-dug grave,
    Closing o'er one we sought to save,--
    And yet my glance, too much oppressed,
    Had almost need of such a rest.                                  365


    XIV

    It might be months, or years, or days,
      I kept no count--I took no note,
    I had no hope my eyes to raise,
      And clear them of their dreary mote;
    At last men came to set me free,                                 370
      I asked not why, and recked not where,
    It was at length the same to me,
    Fettered or fetterless to be,
      I learned to love despair.
    And thus when they appeared at last,                             375
    And all my bonds aside were cast,
    These heavy walls to me had grown
    A hermitage--and all my own!
    And half I felt as they were come
    To tear me from a second home:                                   380
    With spiders I had friendship made,
    And watched them in their sullen trade,
    Had seen the mice by moonlight play,
    And why should I feel less than they?
    We were all inmates of one place,                                385
    And I, the monarch of each race,
    Had power to kill--yet, strange to tell!
    In quiet we had learned to dwell--
    My very chains and I grew friends,
    So much a long communion tends                                   390
    To make us what we are:--even I
    Regained my freedom with a sigh.[123]



MAZEPPA


    I

    'Twas after dread Pultowa's[124] day,
      When Fortune left the royal Swede.
    Around a slaughter'd army lay,
      No more to combat and to bleed.
    The power and glory of the war,                                    5
      Faithless as their vain votaries, men,
    Had pass'd to the triumphant Czar,
      And Moscow's walls were safe again,
    Until a day more dark and drear,[125]
    And a more memorable year,                                        10
    Should give to slaughter and to shame
    A mightier host and haughtier name;
    A greater wreck, a deeper fall,
    A shock to one--a thunderbolt to all.


    II

    Such was the hazard of the die[126];                              15
    The wounded Charles was taught to fly
    By day and night through field and flood,
    Stain'd with his own and subjects' blood;
    For thousands fell that flight to aid;
    And not a voice was heard t' upbraid                              20
    Ambition in his humbled hour,
    When truth had naught to dread from power.
    His horse was slain, and Gieta[127] gave
    His own--and died the Russians' slave.
    This too sinks after many a league                                25
    Of well-sustain'd, but vain fatigue;
    And in the depth of forests darkling,
    The watch-fires in the distance sparkling--
      The beacons of surrounding foes--
    A king must lay his limbs at length.                              30
      Are these the laurels and repose
    For which the nations strain their strength?
    They laid him by a savage tree,
    In outworn nature's agony;
    His wounds were stiff--his limbs were stark--                     35
    The heavy hour was chill and dark;
    The fever in his blood forbade
    a transient slumber's fitful aid:
    And thus it was; but yet through all,
    Kinglike the monarch bore his fall,                               40
    And made, in this extreme of ill,
    His pangs the vassals of his will:
    All silent and subdued were they,
    As once the nations round him lay.


    III

    A band of chiefs!--alas! how few,                                 45
    Since but the fleeting of a day
    Had thinn'd it; but this wreck was true
      And chivalrous: upon the clay
    Each sate him down, all sad and mute,
      Beside his monarch and his steed,                               50
    For danger levels man and brute,[128]
      And all are fellows in their need.
    Among the rest, Mazeppa made
    His pillow in an old oak's shade--
    Himself as rough, and scarce less old,                            55
    The Ukraine's hetman,[129] calm and bold.
    But first, outspent with his long course,
    The Cossack prince rubb'd down his horse,
    And made for him a leafy bed,
      And smooth'd his fetlocks and his mane,                         60
      And slack'd his girth, and stripp'd his rein,
    And joy'd to see how well he fed;
    For until now he had the dread
    His wearied courser might refuse
    To browse beneath the midnight dews:                              65
    But he was hardy as his lord,
    And little cared for bed and board;
    But spirited and docile too;
    Whate'er was to be done, would do.
    Shaggy and swift, and strong of limb,                             70
    All Tartar-like he carried him;
    Obey'd his voice, and came to call,
    And knew him in the midst of all:
    Though thousands were around,--and Night,
    Without a star, pursued her flight,--                             75
    That steed from sunset until dawn
    His chief would follow like a fawn.


    IV

    This done, Mazeppa spread his cloak,
    And laid his lance beneath his oak,
    Felt if his arms in order good                                    80
    The long day's march had well withstood--
    If still the powder fill'd the pan,
      And flints unloosen'd kept their lock--
    His sabre's hilt and scabbard felt,
    And whether they had chafed his belt--                            85
    And next the venerable man,
    From out his haversack and can,
      Prepared and spread his slender stock;
    And to the monarch and his men
    The whole or portion offer'd then                                 90
    With far less of inquietude
    Than courtiers at a banquet would.
    And Charles of this his slender share
    With smiles partook a moment there,
    To force of cheer a greater show,                                 95
    And seem above both wounds and woe;--
    And then he said--"Of all our band,
    Though firm of heart and strong of hand,
    In skirmish, march, or forage, none
    Can less have said or more have done                             100
    Than thee, Mazeppa! On the earth
    So fit a pain had never birth,
    Since Alexander's days till now,
    As thy Bucephalus[130] and thou:
    All Scythia's[131] fame to thine should yield                    105
    For pricking on o'er flood and field."
    Mazeppa answer'd--"Ill betide
    The school wherein I learn'd to ride!"
    Quoth Charles--"Old Hetman, wherefore so,
    Since thou hast learn'd the art so well?"                        110
    Mazeppa said--"'Twere long to tell;
    And we have many a league to go,
    With every now and then a blow,
    And ten to one at least the foe,
    Before our steeds may graze at ease                              115
    Beyond the swift Borysthenes[132];
    And, sire, your limbs have need of rest,
    And I will be the sentinel
    Of this your troop."--"But I request,"
    Said Sweden's monarch, "thou wilt tell                           120
    This tale of thine, and I may reap,
    Perchance, from this the boon of sleep;
    For at this moment from my eyes
    The hope of present slumber flies."

    "Well, sire, with such a hope, I'll track                        125
    My seventy years of memory back:
    I think 'twas in my twentieth spring--
    Ay, 'twas,--when Casimir was king--
    John Casimir,--I was his page
    Six summers, in my earlier age.                                  130
    A learned monarch, faith! was he,
    And most unlike your majesty:
    He made no wars, and did not gain
    New realms to lose them back again;
    And (save debates in Warsaw's diet)                              135
    He reign'd in most unseemly quiet;
    Not that he had no cares to vex,
    He loved the muses and the sex;
    And sometimes these so froward are,
    They made him wish himself at war;                               140
    But soon his wrath being o'er, he took
    Another mistress, or new book.
    And then he gave prodigious fêtes--
    All Warsaw gather'd round his gates
    To gaze upon his splendid court,                                 145
    And dames, and chiefs, of princely port:
    He was the Polish Solomon,
    So sung his poets, all but one,
    Who, being unpension'd, made a satire,
    And boasted that he could not flatter.                           150
    It was a court of jousts and mimes,[133]
    Where every courtier tried at rhymes;
    Even I for once produced some verses,
    And sign'd my odes 'Despairing Thyrsis.[134]'
    There was a certain Palatine,[135]                               155
      A count of far and high descent,
    Rich as a salt or silver mine;
    And he was proud, ye may divine,
      As if from heaven he had been sent.
    He had such wealth in blood and ore                              160
      As few could match beneath the throne;
    And he would gaze upon his store,
    And o'er his pedigree would pore,
    Until by some confusion led,
    Which almost look'd like want of head,                           165
      He thought their merits were his own.
    His wife was not of his opinion--
      His junior she by thirty years--
    Grew daily tired of his dominion;
      And, after wishes, hopes, and fears,                           170
      To virtue a few farewell tears,
    A restless dream or two, some glances
    At Warsaw's youth, some songs, and dances,
    Awaited but the usual chances,
    (Those happy accidents which render                              175
    The coldest dames so very tender,)
    To deck her Count with titles given,
    'Tis said, as passports into heaven;
    But, strange to say, they rarely boast
    Of these, who have deserved them most.                           180


    V

    "I was a goodly stripling then;
      At seventy years I so may say,
    That there were few, or boys or men,
      Who, in my dawning time of day,
    Of vassal or of knight's degree,                                 185
    Could vie in vanities with me;
    For I had strength, youth, gaiety,
    A port, not like to this ye see,
    But as smooth as all is rugged now;
      For time, and care, and war, have plough'd                     190
    My very soul from out my brow;
      And thus I should be disavow'd
    By all my kind and kin, could they
    Compare my day and yesterday.
    This change was wrought, too, long ere age                       195
    Had ta'en my features for his page:
    With years, ye know, have not declined
    My strength, my courage, or my mind,
    Or at this hour I should not be
    Telling old tales beneath a tree,                                200
    With starless skies my canopy.
    But let me on: Theresa's form--
    Methinks it glides before me now,
    Between me and yon chestnut's bough,
    The memory is so quick and warm;                                 205
    And yet I find no words to tell
    The shape of her I loved so well.
    She had the Asiatic eye,
      Such as our Turkish neighbourhood,
      Hath mingled with our Polish blood,                            210
    Dark as above us is the sky;
    But through it stole a tender light,
    Like the first moonrise of midnight;
    Large, dark, and swimming in the stream,
    Which seem'd to melt to its own beam;                            215
    All love, half languor, and half fire,
    Like saints that at the stake expire,
    And lift their raptured looks on high
    As though it were a joy to die;--
    A brow like a midsummer lake, 220
      Transparent with the sun therein,
    When waves no murmur dare to make,
      And heaven beholds her face within;
    A cheek and lip--but why proceed?
      I loved her then--I love her still;                            225
    And such as I am, love indeed
      In fierce extremes--in good and ill;
    But still we love even in our rage,
    And haunted to our very age
    With the vain shadow of the past,                                230
    As is Mazeppa to the last.


    VI

    "We met--we gazed--I saw, and sigh'd,
    She did not speak, and yet replied:
    There are ten thousand tones and signs
    We hear and see, but none defines--                              235
    Involuntary sparks of thought,
    Which strike from out the heart o'erwrought[136]
    And form a strange intelligence
    Alike mysterious and intense,
    Which link the burning chain that binds,                         240
    Without their will, young hearts and minds:
    Conveying, as the electric wire,
    We know not how, the absorbing fire.--
    I saw, and sigh'd--in silence wept,
    And still reluctant distance kept,                               245
    Until I was made known to her,
    And we might then and there confer
    Without suspicion--then, even then,
      I long'd, and was resolved to speak;
    But on my lips they died again,                                  250
      The accents tremulous and weak,
    Until one hour.--There is a game,
      A frivolous and foolish play,
      Wherewith we while away the day;
    It is--I have forgot the name--                                  255
    And we to this, it seems, were set,
    By some strange chance, which I forget:
    I reckon'd not if I won or lost,
      It was enough for me to be
      So near to hear, and oh! to see                                260
    The being whom I loved the most.
    I watch'd her as a sentinel,
    (May ours this dark night watch as well!)
      Until I saw, and thus it was,
    That she was pensive, nor perceived                              265
    Her occupation, nor was grieved
    Nor glad to lose or gain; but still
    Play'd on for hours, as if her will
    Yet bound her to the place, though not
    That hers might be the winning lot.                              270
      Then through my brain the thought did pass
    Even as a flash of lightning there,
    That there was something in her air
    Which would not doom me to despair;
    And on the thought my words broke forth,                         275
      All incoherent as they were--
    Their eloquence was little worth,
    But yet she listen'd--'tis enough--
      Who listens once will listen twice;
      Her heart, be sure, is not of ice,                             280
    And one refusal no rebuff.


    VII

    "I loved, and was beloved again--
      They tell me, sire, you never knew
      Those gentle frailties; if 'tis true,
    I shorten all my joy or pain;                                    285
    To you 'twould seem absurd as vain;
    But all men are not born to reign,
    Or o'er their passions, or as you
    Thus o'er themselves and nations too.
    I am--or rather _was_--a prince,                                 290
      A chief of thousands, and could lead
      Them on where each would foremost bleed;
    But could not o'er myself evince
    The like control.--But to resume:
      I loved, and was beloved again;                                295
    In sooth, it is a happy doom,
      But yet where happiest ends in pain.--
    We met in secret, and the hour
    Which led me to that lady's bower
    Was fiery Expectation's dower.                                   300
    My days and nights were nothing--all
    Except that hour which doth recall
    In the long lapse from youth to age
      No other like itself--I'd give
      The Ukraine back again to live                                 305
    It o'er once more--and be a page,
    The happy page, who was the lord
    Of one soft heart and his own sword,
    And had no other gem nor wealth
    Save nature's gift of youth and health.--                        310
    We met in secret--doubly sweet,
    Some say, they find it so to meet;
    I know not that--I would have given
      My life but to have call'd her mine
    In the full view of earth and heaven;                            315
      For I did oft and long repine
    That we could only meet by stealth.


    VIII

    "For lovers there are many eyes,
      And such there were on us;--the devil
      On such occasions should be civil--                            320
    The devil!--I'm loth to do him wrong,
      It might be some untoward saint,
    Who would not be at rest too long
      But to his pious bile gave vent--
    But one fair night, some lurking spies                           325
    Surprised and seized us both.
    The Count was something more than wroth--
      I was unarm'd; but if in steel,
    All cap-à-pie[137] from head to heel,
    What 'gainst their numbers could I do?--                         330
    'Twas near his castle, far away
      From city or from succour near,
    And almost on the break of day;
    I did not think to see another,
      My moments seem'd reduced to few;                              335
    And with one prayer to Mary Mother,
      And, it may be, a saint or two,
    As I resign'd me to my fate,
    They led me to the castle gate:
      Theresa's doom I never knew,                                   340
    Our lot was henceforth separate--
    An angry man, ye may opine,
    Was he, the proud Count Palatine;
    And he had reason good to be,
      But he was most enraged lest such                              345
      An accident should chance to touch
    Upon his future pedigree;
    Nor less amazed, that such a blot
    His noble 'scutcheon[138] should have got,
    While he was highest of his line;                                350
      Because unto himself he seem'd
      The first of men, nor less he deem'd
    In others' eyes, and most in mine.
    'Sdeath! with a _page_--perchance a king
    Had reconciled him to the thing;                                 355
    But with a stripling of a page--
    I felt--but cannot paint his rage.


    IX

    "'Bring forth the horse!'--the horse was brought;
    In truth, he was a noble steed,
    A Tartar of the Ukraine breed,                                   360
    Who look'd as though the speed of thought
    Were in his limbs; but he was wild,
      Wild as the wild deer, and untaught,
    With spur and bridle undefined--
      'Twas but a day he had been caught;                            365
    And snorting, with erected mane,
    And struggling fiercely, but in vain,
    In the full foam of wrath and dread
    To me the desert-born was led.
    They bound me on, that menial throng,                            370
    Upon his back with many a thong;
    They loosed him with a sudden lash--
    Away!--away!--and on we dash!--
    Torrents less rapid and less rash.


    X

    "Away!--away!--My breath was gone--                              375
    I saw not where he hurried on:
    'Twas scarcely yet the break of day,
    And on he foam'd--away!--away!--
    The last of human sounds which rose,
    As I was darted from my foes,                                    380
    Was the wild shout of savage laughter,
    Which on the wind came roaring after
    A moment from that rabble rout:
    With sudden wrath I wrench'd my head,
      And snapp'd the cord, which to the mane                        385
      Had bound my neck in lieu of rein,
    And writhing half my form about,
    Howl'd back my curse; but 'midst the tread,
    The thunder of my courser's speed,
      Perchance they did not hear nor heed:                          390
    It vexes me--for I would fain
    Have paid their insult back again.
    I paid it well in after days:
    There is not of that castle gate,
    Its drawbridge and portcullis' weight,                           395
    Stone, bar, moat, bridge, or barrier left;
    Nor of its fields a blade of grass,
      Save what grows on a ridge of wall
      Where stood the hearth-stone of the hall;
    And many a time ye there might pass,                             400
    Nor dream that e'er that fortress was:
    I saw its turrets in a blaze,
    Their crackling battlements all cleft,
      And the hot lead pour down like rain
    From off the scorch'd and blackening roof,                       405
    Whose thickness was not vengeance-proof.
      They little thought that day of pain,
    When launch'd, as on the lightning's flash,
    They bade me to destruction dash,
      That one day I should come again,                              410
    With twice five thousand horse, to thank
      The Count for his uncourteous ride.
    They play'd me then a bitter prank,
      When, with the wild horse for my guide,
    They bound me to his foaming flank:                              415
    At length I play'd them one as frank--
    For time at last sets all things even--
      And if we do but watch the hour,
      There never yet was human power
    Which could evade, if unforgiven,                                420
    The patient search and vigil long
    Of him who treasures up a wrong.


    XI

    "Away, away, my steed and I,
    Upon the pinions of the wind.
      All human dwellings left behind;                               425
    We sped like meteors through the sky,
    When with its crackling sound the night
    Is chequer'd with the northern light.
    Town--village--none were on our track,
      But a wild plain of far extent,                                430
    And bounded by a forest black;
      And, save the scarce seen battlement
    On distant heights of some stronghold,
    Against the Tartars built of old,
    No trace of man: the year before                                 435
    A Turkish army had march'd o'er;
    And where the Spahi's[139] hoof hath trod,
    The verdure flies the bloody sod.
    The sky was dull, and dim, and gray,
      And a low breeze crept moaning by--                            440
      I could have answer'd with a sigh--
    But fast we fled, away, away--
    And I could neither sigh nor pray;
    And my cold sweat-drops fell like rain
    Upon the courser's bristling mane;                               445
    But, snorting still with rage and fear,
    He flew upon his far career.
    At times I almost thought, indeed,
    He must have slacken'd in his speed;
    But no--my bound and slender frame                               450
      Was nothing to his angry might,
    And merely like a spur became:
    Each motion which I made to free
    My swoln limbs from their agony
      Increased his fury and affright:                               455
    I tried my voice,--'twas faint and low,
    But yet he swerved as from a blow;
    And, starting to each accent, sprang
    As from a sudden trumpet's clang.
    Meantime my cords were wet with gore,                            460
    Which, oozing through my limbs, ran o'er;
    And in my tongue the thirst became
    A something fierier far than flame.


    XII

    "We near'd the wild wood--'twas so wide,
    I saw no bounds on either side; 465
    'Twas studded with old sturdy trees,
    That bent not to the roughest breeze
    Which howls down from Siberia's waste
    And strips the forest in its haste,--
    But these were few and far between,                              470
    Set thick with shrubs more young and green,
    Luxuriant with their annual leaves,
    Ere strown by those autumnal eves
    That nip the forest's foliage dead,
    Discolour'd with a lifeless red,                                 475
    Which stands thereon like stiffen'd gore
    Upon the slain when battle's o'er,
    And some long winter's night hath shed
    Its frost o'er every tombless head,
    So cold and stark the raven's beak                               480
    May peck unpierced each frozen cheek.
    'Twas a wild waste of underwood,
    And here and there a chestnut stood,
    The strong oak, and the hardy pine;
      But far apart--and well it were,                               485
    Or else a different lot were mine--
      The boughs gave way, and did not tear
    My limbs; and I found strength to bear
    My wounds already scarr'd with cold--
    My bonds forbade to loose my hold.                               490
    We rustled through the leaves like wind,
    Left shrubs, and trees, and wolves behind;
    By night I heard them on the track,
    Their troop came hard upon our back,
    With their long gallop which can tire                            495
    The hound's deep hate and hunter's fire:
    Where'er we flew they follow'd on,
    Nor left us with the morning sun;
    Behind I saw them, scarce a rood,
    At daybreak winding through the wood,                            500
    And through the night had heard their feet
    Their stealing, rustling step repeat.
    Oh! how I wish'd for spear or sword,
    At least to die amidst the horde,
    And perish--if it must be so--                                   505
    At bay, destroying many a foe.
    When first my courser's race begun,
    I wish'd the goal already won;
    But now I doubted strength and speed.
    Vain doubt! his swift and savage breed                           510
    Had nerved him like the mountain-roe;
    Nor faster falls the blinding snow
    Which whelms the peasant near the door
    Whose threshold he shall cross no more,
    Bewilder'd with the dazzling blast,                              515
    Than through the forest-paths he past--
    Untired, untamed, and worse than wild;
    All furious as a favour'd child
    Balk'd of its wish; or fiercer still--
    A woman piqued--who has her will.                                520


    XIII

    "The wood was past; 'twas more than noon,
    But chill the air although in June;
    Or it might be my veins ran cold--
    Prolong'd endurance tames the bold;
    And I was then not what I seem,                                  525
    But headlong as a wintry stream,
    And wore my feelings out before
    I well could count their causes o'er.
    And what with fury, fear, and wrath,
    The tortures which beset my path,                                530
    Cold, hunger, sorrow, shame, distress,
    Thus bound in nature's nakedness,
    (Sprung from a race whose rising blood
    When stirr'd beyond its calmer mood,
    And trodden hard upon, is like                                   535
    The rattlesnake's in act to strike,)
    What marvel if this worn-out trunk
    Beneath its woes a moment sunk?
    The earth gave way, the skies roll'd round,
    I seem'd to sink upon the ground;                                540
    But err'd, for I was fastly bound.
    My heart turn'd sick, my brain grew sore,
    And throbb'd awhile, then beat no more;
    The skies spun like a mighty wheel;
    I saw the trees like drunkards reel,                             545
    And a slight flash sprang o'er my eyes,
    Which saw no farther: he who dies
    Can die no more than then I died.
    O'ertortured by that ghastly ride,
    I felt the blackness come and go,                                550
      And strove to wake; but could not make
    My senses climb up from below:
    I felt as on a plank at sea,
    When all the waves that dash o'er thee,
    At the same time upheave and whelm,                              555
    And hurl thee towards a desert realm.
    My undulating life was as
    The fancied lights that flitting pass
    Our shut eyes in deep midnight, when
    Fever begins upon the brain;                                     560
    But soon it pass'd, with little pain,
      But a confusion worse than such:
      I own that I should deem it much,
    Dying, to feel the same again;
    And yet I do suppose we must                                     565
    Feel far more ere we turn to dust:
    No matter; I have bared my brow
    Full in Death's face--before--and now.


    XIV

    "My thoughts came back; where was I? Cold,
      And numb, and giddy: pulse by pulse                            570
    Life reassumed its lingering hold,
    And throb by throb: till grown a pang
    Which for a moment would convulse,
      My blood reflow'd though thick and chill;
    My ear with uncouth[140] noises rang,                            575
      My heart began once more to thrill;
    My sight return'd, though dim, alas!
    And thicken'd, as it were, with glass.
    Methought the dash of waves was nigh:
    There was a gleam too of the sky,                                580
    Studded with stars;--it is no dream;
    The wild horse swims the wilder stream!
    The bright broad river's gushing tide
    Sweeps, winding onward, far and wide,
    And we are half-way, struggling o'er                             585
    To yon unknown and silent shore.
    The waters broke my hollow trance,
      And with a temporary strength
        My stiffen'd limbs were rebaptized.
    My courser's broad breast proudly braves                         590
    And dashes off the ascending waves,
    And onward we advance!
      We reach the slippery shore at length,
        A haven I but little prized,
    For all behind was dark and drear,                               595
    And all before was night and fear.
    How many hours of night or day
    In those suspended pangs I lay,
    I could not tell; I scarcely knew
    If this were human breath I drew.                                600


    XV

    "With glossy skin, and dripping mane,
      And reeling limbs, and reeking flank,
    The wild steed's sinewy nerves still strain
      Up the repelling bank.
    We gain the top: a boundless plain                               605
    Spreads through the shadow of the night,
      And onward, onward, onward, seems,
      Like precipices in our dreams,
    To stretch beyond the sight;
    And here and there a speck of white,                             610
      Or scatter'd spot of dusky green,
    In masses broke into the light,
    As rose the moon upon my right.
      But nought distinctly seen
    In the dim waste would indicate                                  615
    The omen of a cottage gate;
    No twinkling taper from afar
    Stood like a hospitable star;
    Not even an ignis-fatuus[141] rose
    To make him merry with my woes:                                  620
      That very cheat had cheer'd me then!
    Although detected, welcome still,
    Reminding me, through every ill,
      Of the abodes of men.


    XVI

    "Onward we went--but slack and slow;                             625
      His savage force at length o'erspent,
    The drooping courser, faint and low,
      All feebly foaming went.
    A sickly infant had had power
    To guide him forward in that hour;                               630
      But useless all to me.
    His new-born tameness nought avail'd--
    My limbs were bound; my force had fail'd,
      Perchance, had they been free.
    With feeble effort still I tried                                 635
    To rend the bonds so starkly tied--
      But still it was in vain;
    My limbs were only wrung the more,
    And soon the idle strife gave o'er,
      Which but prolong'd their pain.                                640
    The dizzy race seem'd almost done,
    Although no goal was nearly won:
    Some streaks announced the coming sun--
      How slow, alas! he came!
    Methought that mist of dawning gray                              645
    Would never dapple into day;
    How heavily it roll'd away--
      Before the eastern flame
    Rose crimson, and deposed the stars,
    And call'd the radiance from their cars,                         650
    And filled the earth, from his deep throne,
    With lonely lustre, all his own.


    XVII

    "Up rose the sun; the mists were curl'd
    Back from the solitary world
    Which lay around--behind--before;                                655
    What booted it to traverse o'er
    Plain, forest, river? Man nor brute,
    Nor dint of hoof, nor print of foot,
    Lay in the wild luxuriant soil;
    No sign of travel--none of toil;                                 660
    The very air was mute;
    And not an insect's shrill small horn,
    Nor matin bird's new voice was borne
    From herb nor thicket. Many a werst,[142]
    Panting as if his heart would burst,                             665
    The weary brute still stagger'd on;
    And still we were--or seem'd--alone.
    At length, while reeling on our way,
    Methought I heard a courser neigh
    From out yon tuft of blackening firs.                            670
    Is it the wind those branches stirs?
    No, no! from out the forest prance
      A trampling troop; I see them come!
    In one vast squadron they advance!
      I strove to cry--my lips were dumb.                            675
    The steeds rush on in plunging pride;
    But where are they the reins to guide?
    A thousand horse--and none to ride!
    With flowing tail, and flying mane,
    Wide nostrils--never stretched by pain,                          680
    Mouths bloodless to the bit or rein,
    And feet that iron never shod,
    And flanks unscarr'd by spur or rod,
    A thousand horse, the wild, the free,
    Like waves that follow o'er the sea,                             685
      Came thickly thundering on,
    As if our faint approach to meet.
    The sight re-nerved my courser's feet,
    A moment staggering, feebly fleet,
    A moment, with a faint low neigh,                                690
      He answer'd, and then fell;
    With gasps and glazing eyes he lay,
      And reeking limbs immoveable;
        His first and last career is done!
    On came the troop--they saw him stoop,                           695
      They saw me strangely bound along
      His back with many a bloody thong:
    They stop--they start--they snuff the air,
    Gallop a moment here and there,
    Approach, retire, wheel round and round,                         700
    Then plunging back with sudden bound,
    Headed by one black mighty steed
    Who seem'd the patriarch of his breed,
      Without a single speck or hair
    Of white upon his shaggy hide.                                   705
    They snort--they foam--neigh--swerve aside,
    And backward to the forest fly,
    By instinct, from a human eye.--
      They left me there to my despair,
    Link'd to the dead and stiffening wretch,                        710
    Whose lifeless limbs beneath me stretch,
    Relieved from that unwonted weight,
    From whence I could not extricate
    Nor him nor me--and there we lay
      The dying on the dead!                                         715
    I little deem'd another day
      Would see my houseless, helpless head.

    "And there from morn till twilight bound,
    I felt the heavy hours toil round,
    With just enough of life to see                                  720
    My last of suns go down on me,
    In hopeless certainty of mind,
    That makes us feel at length resign'd
    To that which our foreboding years
    Presents the worst and last of fears                             725
    Inevitable--even a boon,
    Nor more unkind for coming soon;
    Yet shunn'd and dreaded with such care,
    As if it only were a snare
    That prudence might escape:                                      730
    At times both wish'd for and implored,
    At times sought with self-pointed sword,
    Yet still a dark and hideous close
    To even intolerable woes,
      And welcome in no shape.                                       735
    And, strange to say, the sons of pleasure,
    They who have revell'd beyond measure
    In beauty, wassail, wine, and treasure,
    Die calm, or calmer oft than he
    Whose heritage was misery:                                       740
    For he who hath in turn run through
    All that was beautiful and new,
      Hath nought to hope, and nought to leave;
    And, save the future (which is view'd
    Not quite as men are base or good,                               745
    But as their nerves may be endued,)
      With nought perhaps to grieve:--
    The wretch still hopes his woes must end,
    And Death, whom he should deem his friend,
    Appears, to his distemper'd eyes,                                750
    Arrived to rob him of his prize,
    The tree of his new Paradise.
    To-morrow would have given him all,
    Repaid his pangs, repair'd his fall;
    To-morrow would have been the first                              755
    Of days no more deplored or curst,
    But bright, and long, and beckoning years,
    Seen dazzling through the mist of tears,
    Guerdon of many a painful hour;
    To-morrow would have given him power                             760
    To rule, to shine, to smite, to save--
    And must it dawn upon his grave?


    XVIII

    "The sun was sinking--still I lay
      Chain'd to the chill and stiffening steed;
    I thought to mingle there our clay;                              765
      And my dim eyes of death had need,
      No hope arose of being freed.
    I cast my last looks up the sky,
      And there between me and the sun
    I saw the expecting raven fly,                                   770
    Who scarce would wait till both should die
      Ere his repast begun.
    He flew, and perch'd, then flew once more,
    And each time nearer than before;
    I saw his wing through twilight flit,                            775
    And once so near me he alit
      I could have smote, but lack'd the strength;
    But the slight motion of my hand,
    And feeble scratching of the sand,
    The exerted throat's faint struggling noise,                     780
    Which scarcely could be call'd a voice,
      Together scared him off at length.--
    I know no more--my latest dream
      Is something of a lovely star
      Which fix'd my dull eyes from afar,                            785
    And went and came with wandering beam,
    And of the cold, dull, swimming, dense
    Sensation of recurring sense,
      And then subsiding back to death,
      And then again a little breath,                                790
    A little thrill, a short suspense,
      An icy sickness curdling o'er
    My heart, and sparks that cross'd my brain--
    A gasp, a throb, a start of pain,
      A sigh, and nothing more.                                      795


    XIX

    "I woke--Where was I?--Do I see
    A human face look down on me?
    And doth a roof above me close?
    Do these limbs on a couch repose?
    Is this a chamber where I lie?                                   800
    And is it mortal, yon bright eye
    That watches me with gentle glance?
      I closed my own again once more,
    As doubtful that the former trance
      Could not as yet be o'er.                                      805
    A slender girl, long-hair'd, and tall,
    Sate watching by the cottage wall:
    The sparkle of her eye I caught,
    Even with my first return of thought;
    For ever and anon she threw                                      810
      A prying, pitying glance on me
      With her black eyes so wild and free.
    I gazed, and gazed, until I knew
      No vision it could be,--
    But that I lived, and was released                               815
    From adding to the vulture's feast.
    And when the Cossack maid beheld
    My heavy eyes at length unseal'd,
    She smiled--and I essay'd to speak,
      But fail'd--and she approach'd, and made                       820
      With lip and finger signs that said,
    I must not strive as yet to break
    The silence, till my strength should be
    Enough to leave my accents free;
    And then her hand on mine she laid,                              825
    And smooth'd the pillow for my head,
    And stole along on tiptoe tread,
      And gently oped the door, and spake
    In whispers--ne'er was voice so sweet!
    Even music follow'd her light feet;--                            830
      But those she call'd were not awake,
    And she went forth; but, ere she pass'd,
    Another look on me she cast,
      Another sign she made, to say,
    That I had nought to fear, that all                              835
    Were near at my command or call,
      And she would not delay
    Her due return:--while she was gone,
    Methought I felt too much alone.


    XX

    "She came with mother and with sire--                            840
    What need of more?--I will not tire
    With long recital of the rest,
    Since I became the Cossack's guest.
    They found me senseless on the plain--
      They bore me to the nearest hut--                              845
    They brought me into life again--
    Me--one day o'er their realm to reign!
      Thus the vain fool who strove to glut
    His rage, refining on my pain,
      Sent me forth to the wilderness,                               850
    Bound, naked, bleeding, and alone,
    To pass the desert to a throne,--
      What mortal his own doom may guess?--
      Let none despond, let none despair!
    To-morrow the Borysthenes                                        855
    May see our coursers graze at ease
    Upon his Turkish bank,--and never
    Had I such welcome for a river
      As I shall yield when safely there.
    Comrades, good night!"--The Hetman threw                         860
      His length beneath the oak-tree shade,
      With leafy couch already made,
    A bed nor comfortless nor new
    To him who took his rest whene'er
    The hour arrived, no matter where:                               865
      His eyes the hastening slumbers steep.
    And if ye marvel Charles forgot
    To thank his tale _he_ wonder'd not,--
      The king had been an hour asleep.



THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB


    The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
    And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
    And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
    When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

    Like the leaves of the forest when Summer is green,                5
    That host with their banners at sunset were seen:
    Like the leaves of the forest when Autumn hath blown,
    That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

    For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
    And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;                 10
    And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
    And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!

    And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
    But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride;
    And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,                15
    And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

    And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
    With the dew on his brow, and the rust on his mail,
    And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
    The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.                         20

    And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
    And the idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
    And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
    Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord!



JOHN KEATS


THE EVE OF ST. AGNES


    I

      St. Agnes' Eve--Ah, bitter chill it was!
      The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
      The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
      And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
      Numb were the Beadsman's[143] fingers, while he told             5
      His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
      Like pious incense from a censer old,
      Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
    Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.


    II

      His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;                    10
      Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees
      And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
      Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
      The sculptured dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
      Emprison'd in black, purgatorial rails:                         15
      Knights, ladies, praying in dumb orat'ries,
      He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails
    To think how they may ache in icy hoods and mails.


    III

      Northward he turneth through a little door,
      And scarce three steps, ere Music's golden tongue               20
      Flatter'd to tears this aged man and poor;
      But no--already had his death-bell rung;
      The joys of all his life were said and sung:
      His was harsh penance on St. Agnes' Eve;
      Another way he went, and soon among                             25
      Rough ashes sat he for his soul's reprieve,
    And all night kept awake, for sinners' sake to grieve.


    IV

      That ancient Beadsman heard the prelude soft;
      And so it chanced, for many a door was wide,
      From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,                          30
      The silver, snarling[144] trumpets 'gan to chide:
      The level chambers, ready with their pride,
      Were glowing to receive a thousand guests:
      The carved angels, ever eager-eyed,
      Stared, where upon their heads the cornice rests,               35
    With hair blown back, and wings put crosswise on their breasts.


    V

      At length burst in the argent revelry,
      With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
      Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
      The brain, new-stuff'd, [145]in youth, with triumphs gay        40
      Of old romance. These let us wish away,
      And turn, sole-thoughted, to one Lady there,
      Whose heart had brooded, all that wintry day,
      On love, and wing'd St. Agnes' saintly care,
    As she had heard old dames full many times declare.               45


    VI

      They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve,[146]
      Young virgins might have visions of delight,
      And soft adorings from their loves receive
      Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
      If ceremonies due they did aright;                              50
      As, supperless to bed they must retire,
      And couch supine their beauties, lily white;
      Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
    Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.


    VII

      Full of this whim was thoughtful Madeline:                      55
      The music, yearning like a God in pain,
      She scarcely heard: her maiden eyes divine,
      Fix'd on the floor, saw many a sweeping train
      Pass by--she heeded not at all: in vain
      Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier,                           60
      And back retired; not cool'd by high disdain,
      But she saw not: her heart was otherwhere;
    She sigh'd for Agnes' dreams, the sweetest of the year.


    VIII

      She danced along with vague, regardless eyes,
      Anxious her lips, her breathing quick and short:                65
      The hallow'd hour was near at hand: she sighs
      Amid the timbrels, and the throng'd resort
      Of whisperers in anger, or in sport;
      'Mid looks of love, defiance, hate, and scorn,
      Hoodwink'd with faery fancy; all amort,[147]                    70
      Save to St. Agnes and her lambs[148] unshorn,
    And all the bliss to be before to-morrow morn.


    IX

      So, purposing each moment to retire,
      She lingered still. Meantime, across the moors,
      Had come young Porphyro,[149] with heart on fire                75
      For Madeline. Beside the portal doors,
      Buttress'd[150] from moonlight, stands he, and implores
      All saints to give him sight of Madeline,
      But for one moment in the tedious hours,
      That he might gaze and worship all unseen;                      80
    Perchance speak, kneel, touch, kiss--in sooth[151] such
              things have been.


    X

      He ventures in: let no buzz'd whisper tell:
      All eyes be muffled, or a hundred swords
      Will storm his heart, Love's fev'rous citadel:
      For him, those chambers held barbarian hordes,                  85
      Hyena[152] foemen, and hot-blooded lords,
      Whose very dogs would execrations howl
      Against his lineage: not one breast affords
      Him any mercy, in that mansion foul,
    Save one old beldame,[153] weak in body and in soul.              90


    XI

      Ah, happy chance! the aged creature came,
      Shuffling along with ivory-headed wand,
      To where he stood, hid from the torch's flame,
      Behind a broad hall-pillar, far beyond
      The sound of merriment and chorus bland:                        95
      He startled her; but soon she knew his face,
      And grasp'd his fingers in her palsied hand,
      Saying, "Mercy, Porphyro! hie thee from this place;
    They are all here to-night, the whole bloodthirsty race!


    XII

      "Get hence! get hence! there's dwarfish Hildebrand;            100
      He had a fever late, and in the fit
      He cursed thee and thine, both house and land:
      Then there's that old Lord Maurice, not a whit
      More tame for his gray hairs--Alas me! flit!
      Flit like a ghost away."--"Ah, Gossip[154] dear,               105
      We're safe enough; here in this armchair sit,
      And tell me how"--"Good Saints! not here, not here;
    Follow me, child, or else these stones will be thy bier."


    XIII

      He follow'd through a lowly arched way,
      Brushing the cobwebs with his lofty plume;                     110
      And as she mutter'd "Well-a--well-a-day!"
      He found him in a little moonlight room,
      Pale, latticed, chill, and silent as a tomb.
      "Now tell me where is Madeline," said he,
      "O tell me, Angela, by the holy loom[155]                      115
      Which none but secret sisterhood may see,
    When they St. Agnes' wool are weaving piously."


    XIV

      "St. Agnes! Ah! it is St. Agnes' Eve--
      Yet men will murder upon holy days:
      Thou must hold water in a witch's sieve,[156]                  120
      And be liege-lord of all the Elves and Fays,
      To venture so: it fills me with amaze
      To see thee, Porphyro!--St. Agnes' Eve!
      God's help! my lady fair the conjuror plays
      This very night: good angels her deceive!                      125
    But let me laugh awhile, I've mickle[157] time to grieve."


    XV

      Feebly she laugheth in the languid moon,
      While Porphyro upon her face doth look,
      Like puzzled urchin on an aged crone
      Who keepeth closed a wond'rous riddlebook,                     130
      As spectacled she sits in chimney nook.
      But soon his eyes grew brilliant, when she told
      His lady's purpose; and he scarce could brook
      Tears, at the thought of those enchantments cold,
    And Madeline asleep in lap[158] of legends old.                  135


    XVI

      Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
      Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
      Made purple riot[159]: then doth he propose
      A stratagem, that makes the beldame start:
      "A cruel man and impious thou art:                             140
      Sweet lady, let her pray, and sleep, and dream
      Alone with her good angels, far apart
      From wicked men like thee. Go, go! I deem
    Thou canst not surely be the same that thou didst seem."


    XVII

      "I will not harm her, by all saints I swear,"                  145
      Quoth Porphyro: "O may I ne'er find grace
      When my weak voice shall whisper its last prayer,
      If one of her soft ringlets I displace,
      Or look with ruffian passion in her face:
      Good Angela, believe me by these tears;                        150
      Or I will, even in a moment's space,
      Awake, with horrid shout, my foemen's ears,
    And beard them, though they be more fang'd than wolves and bears."


    XVIII

      "Ah! why wilt thou affright a feeble soul?
      A poor, weak, palsy-stricken, church-yard thing,               155
      Whose passing-bell may ere the midnight toll;
      Whose prayers for thee, each morn and evening,
      Were never miss'd." Thus plaining, doth she bring
      A gentler speech from burning Porphyro;
      So woful, and of such deep sorrowing,                          160
      That Angela gives promise she will do
    Whatever he shall wish, betide her weal or woe.


    XIX

      Which was, to lead him, in close secrecy,
      Even to Madeline's chamber, and there hide
      Him in a closet, of such privacy                               165
      That he might see her beauty unespied,
      And win perhaps that night a peerless bride,
      While legion'd fairies paced the coverlet,
      And pale enchantment held her sleepy-eyed.
      Never on such a night have lovers met,                         170
    Since Merlin[160] paid his Demon all the monstrous debt.


    XX

      "It shall be as thou wishest," said the Dame:
      "All cates[161] and dainties shall be stored there
      Quickly on this feast-night: by the tambour frame[162]
      Her own lute thou wilt see: no time to spare,                  175
      For I am slow and feeble, and scarce dare
      On such a catering trust my dizzy head.
      Wait here, my child, with patience; kneel in prayer
      The while: Ah! thou must needs the lady wed,
    Or may I never leave my grave among the dead."                   180


    XXI

      So saying she hobbled off with busy fear.
      The lover's endless minutes slowly pass'd;
      The Dame return'd, and whisper'd in his ear
      To follow her; with aged eyes aghast
      From fright of dim espial. Safe at last,                       185
      Through many a dusky gallery, they gain
      The maiden's chamber, silken, hush'd and chaste;
      Where Porphyro took covert, pleased amain.
    His poor guide hurried back with agues in her brain.


    XXII

      Her falt'ring hand upon the balustrade,                        190
      Old Angela was feeling for the stair,
      When Madeline, St. Agnes' charmed maid,
      Rose, like a mission'd spirit, unaware:
      With silver taper's light, and pious care,
      She turn'd, and down the aged gossip led                       195
      To a safe level matting. Now prepare,
      Young Porphyro, for gazing on that bed;
    She comes, she comes again, like ring-dove fray'd and fled.


    XXIII

      Out went the taper as she hurried in;
      Its little smoke, in pallid moonshine, died:                   200
      She closed the door, she panted, all akin
      To spirits of the air, and visions wide:
      No uttered syllable, or, woe betide!
      But to her heart, her heart was voluble,
      Paining with eloquence her balmy side;                         205
      As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
    Her throat in vain, and die, heart-stifled in her dell.


    XXIV

      A casement high[163] and triple arch'd there was,
      All garlanded with carven imag'ries
      Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass,             210
      And diamonded with panes of quaint device,
      Innumerable of stains and splendid dyes,
      As are the tiger-moth's deep-damask'd wings;
      And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries,[164]
      And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings,[165]                215
    A shielded scutcheon blush'd with blood of queens and kings.


    XXV

      Full on this casement shone the wintry moon,
      And threw warm gules[166] on Madeline's fair breast,
      As down she knelt for heaven's grace and boon;
      Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest,                  220
      And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
      And on her hair a glory, like a saint:
      She seem'd a splendid angel, newly drest,
      Save wings, for heaven:--Porphyro grew faint;
    She knelt, so pure a thing, so free from mortal taint.           225


    XXVI

      Anon his heart revives: her vespers done,
      Of all its wreathed pearls her hair she frees;
      Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one;
      Loosens her fragrant bodice; by degrees
      Her rich attire creeps rustling to her knees:                  230
      Half-hidden, like a mermaid in sea-weed,
      Pensive awhile she dreams awake, and sees,
      In fancy, fair St. Agnes in her bed,
    But dares not look behind, or all the charm is fled.


    XXVII

      Soon, trembling in her soft and chilly nest,                   235
      In sort of wakeful swoon, perplex'd she lay,
      Until the poppied warmth of sleep oppress'd
      Her soothed limbs, and soul fatigued away;
      Flown, like a thought, until the morrow-day;
      Blissfully haven'd both from joy and pain;                     240
      Clasp'd like a missal[167] where swart Paynims pray;
      Blinded alike from sunshine and from rain,
    As though a rose should shut, and be a bud again.


    XXVIII

      Stol'n to this paradise, and so entranced,
      Porphyro gazed upon her empty dress,                           245
      And listen'd to her breathing, if it chanced
      To wake into a slumberous tenderness;
      Which when he heard, that minute did he bless,
      And breathed himself: then from the closet crept,
      Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness,                        250
      And over the hush'd carpet, silent, stept,
    And 'tween the curtains peep'd, where, lo!--how fast she slept.


    XXIX

      Then by the bed-side, where the faded moon
      Made a dim, silver twilight, soft he set
      A table, and, half anguish'd, threw thereon                    255
      A cloth of woven crimson, gold, and jet:--
      O for some drowsy Morphean[168] amulet!
      The boisterous, midnight, festive clarion,
      The kettle-drum, and far-heard clarionet,
      Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:--                   260
    The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone.


    XXX

      And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep,[169]
      In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender'd,
      While he from forth the closet brought a heap
      Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;                 265
      With jellies soother[170] than the creamy curd,
      And lucent[171] syrops, tinct with cinnamon;
      Manna and dates, in argosy transferr'd
      From Fez; and spiced dainties, every one,
    From silken Samarcand to cedar'd Lebanon.                        270


    XXXI

      These delicates he heap'd with glowing hand
      On golden dishes and in baskets bright
      Of wreathed silver: sumptuous they stand
      In the retired quiet of the night,
      Filling the chilly room with perfume light.--                  275
      "And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!
      Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite[172]:
      Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes' sake,
    Or I shall drowse beside thee, so my soul doth ache."


    XXXII

      Thus whispering, his warm, unnerved arm                        280
      Sank in her pillow. Shaded was her dream
      By the dusk curtains:--'twas a midnight charm
      Impossible to melt as iced stream:
      The lustrous salvers in the moonlight gleam;
      Broad golden fringe upon the carpet lies:                      285
      It seem'd he never, never could redeem
      From such a steadfast spell his lady's eyes;
    So mused awhile, entoil'd in woofed phantasies.


    XXXIII

      Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,--
      Tumultuous,--and, in chords that tenderest be.                 290
      He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute,
      In Provence call'd "La belle dame sans mercy:[173]"
      Close to her ear touching the melody;--
      Wherewith disturb'd, she utter'd a soft moan:
      He ceased--she panted quick--and suddenly                      295
      Her blue affrayed eyes wide open shone:
    Upon his knees he sank, pale as smooth-sculptured stone.


    XXXIV

      Her eyes were open, but she still beheld,
      Now wide awake, the vision of her sleep:
      There was a painful change, that nigh expell'd                 300
      The blisses of her dream so pure and deep
      At which fair Madeline began to weep,
      And moan forth witless words with many a sigh;
      While still her gaze on Porphyro would keep;
      Who knelt, with joined hands and piteous eye,                  305
    Fearing to move or speak, she look'd so dreamingly.


    XXXV

      "Ah, Porphyro!" said she, "but even now
      Thy voice was at sweet tremble in mine ear,
      Made tuneable with every sweetest vow;
      And those sad eyes were spiritual and clear:                   310
      How changed thou art! how pallid, chill, and drear!
      Give me that voice again, my Porphyro,
      Those looks immortal, those complainings dear!
      Oh leave me not in this eternal woe,
    For if thou diest, my Love, I know not where to go."             315


    XXXVI

      Beyond a mortal man impassion'd far
      At these voluptuous accents, he arose,
      Ethereal, flush'd, and like a throbbing star
      Seen 'mid the sapphire heaven's deep repose;
      Into her dream he melted, as the rose                          320
      Blendeth its odour with the violet,--
      Solution sweet: meantime the frost-wind blows
      Like Love's alarum pattering the sharp sleet
    Against the window-panes; St. Agnes' moon hath set.


    XXXVII

      'Tis dark: quick pattereth the flaw-blown sleet:               325
      "This is no dream, my bride, my Madeline!"
      'Tis dark: the iced gusts still rave and beat:
      "No dream, alas! alas! and woe is mine!
      Porphyro will leave me here to fade and pine.--
      Cruel! what traitor could thee hither bring?                   330
      I curse not, for my heart is lost in thine,
      Though thou forsakest a deceived thing;--
    A dove forlorn and lost with sick unpruned wing."


    XXXVIII

      "My Madeline! sweet dreamer! lovely bride!
      Say, may I be for aye thy vassal blest?                        335
      Thy beauty's shield, heart-shaped and vermeil dyed?
      Ah, silver shrine, here will I take my rest
      After so many hours of toil and quest,
      A famish'd pilgrim,--saved by miracle.
      Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest                   340
      Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well
    To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.


    XXXIX

      "Hark! 'tis an elfin storm from faery land,
      Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:
      Arise--arise! the morning is at hand:--                        345
      The bloated wassailers[174] will never heed:--
      Let us away, my love, with happy speed;
      There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,--
      Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
      Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,                        350
    For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."


    XL

      She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
      For there were sleeping dragons all around,
      At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready spears--
      Down the wide stairs a darkling way they found.--              355
      In all the house was heard no human sound.
      A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door;
      The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound,
      Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar;
    And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.                 360


    XLI

      They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
      Like phantoms to the iron porch they glide,
      Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
      With a huge empty flagon by his side:
      The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook his hide,               365
      But his sagacious eye an inmate owns:
      By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide:--
      The chains lie silent on the footworn stones;--
    The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans;


    XLII

      And they are gone: aye, ages long ago                          370
      These lovers fled away into the storm.
      That night the Baron dreamt of many a woe,
      And all his warrior-guests, with shade and form
      Of witch, and demon, and large coffin-worm,
      Were long be-nightmared. Angela[175] the old                   375
      Died palsy-twitch'd, with meagre face deform;
      The Beadsman, after thousand aves told,
    For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes cold.



ALFRED TENNYSON


DORA

      With farmer Allan at the farm abode
    William and Dora. William was his son,
    And she his niece. He often looked at them,
    And often thought, "I'll make them man and wife."
    Now Dora felt her uncle's will in all,                             5
    And yearn'd towards William; but the youth, because
    He had been always with her in the house,
    Thought not of Dora.
                            Then there came a day
    When Allan call'd his son, and said, "My son:
    I married late, but I would wish to see                           10
    My grandchild on my knees before I die:
    And I have set my heart upon a match.
    Now therefore look to Dora; she is well
    To look to; thrifty too beyond her age.
    She is my brother's daughter: he and I                            15
    Had once hard words, and parted, and he died
    In foreign lands; but for his sake I bred
    His daughter Dora: take her for your wife;
    For I have wish'd this marriage, night and day,
    For many years." But William answer'd short:                      20
    "I cannot marry Dora; by my life,
    I will not marry Dora." Then the old man
    Was wroth, and doubled up his hands, and said:
    "You will not, boy! you dare to answer thus!
    But in my time a father's word was law,                           25
    And so it shall be now for me. Look to it;
    Consider, William: take a month to think,
    And let me have an answer to my wish;
    Or, by the Lord that made me, you shall pack,
    And never more darken my doors again."                            30
    But William answer'd madly; bit his lips,
    And broke away. The more he look'd at her
    The less he liked her; and his ways were harsh;
    But Dora bore them meekly. Then before
    The month was out he left his father's house,                     35
    And hired himself to work within the fields;
    And half in love, half spite, he woo'd and wed
    A laborer's daughter, Mary Morrison.
      Then, when the bells were ringing, Allan call'd
    His niece and said: "My girl, I love you well;                    40
    But if you speak with him that was my son,
    Or change a word with her he calls his wife,
    My home is none of yours. My will is law."
    And Dora promised, being meek. She thought,
    "It cannot be: my uncle's mind will change!"                      45
      And days went on, and there was born a boy
    To William; then distresses came on him;
    And day by day he pass'd his father's gate,
    Heart-broken, and his father help'd him not.
    But Dora stored what little she could save,                       50
    And sent it them by stealth, nor did they know
    Who sent it; till at last a fever seized
    On William, and in harvest time he died.
      Then Dora went to Mary. Mary sat
    And look'd with tears upon her boy, and thought                   55
    Hard things of Dora. Dora came and said:
      "I have obey'd my uncle until now,
    And I have sinn'd, for it was all thro' me
    This evil came on William at the first.
    But, Mary, for the sake of him that's gone,                       60
    And for your sake, the woman that he chose,
    And for this orphan, I am come to you:
    You know there has not been for these five years
    So full a harvest: let me take the boy,
    And I will set him in my uncle's eye                              65
    Among the wheat; that when his heart is glad
    Of the full harvest, he may see the boy,
    And bless him for the sake of him that's gone."
      And Dora took the child, and went her way
    Across the wheat, and sat upon a mound                            70
    That was unsown, where many poppies grew.
    Far off the farmer came into the field
    And spied her not; for none of all his men
    Dare tell him Dora waited with the child;
    And Dora would have risen and gone to him,                        75
    But her heart fail'd her; and the reapers reap'd,
    And the sun fell, and all the land was dark.
      But when the morrow came, she rose and took
    The child once more, and sat upon the mound;
    And made a little wreath of all the flowers                       80
    That grew about, and tied it round his hat
    To make him pleasing in her uncle's eye.
    Then when the farmer pass'd into the field
    He spied her, and he left his men at work,
    And came and said: "Where were you yesterday?                     85
    Whose child is that? What are you doing here?"
    So Dora cast her eyes upon the ground,
    And answer'd softly, "This is William's child!"
    "And did I not," said Allan, "did I not
    Forbid you, Dora?" Dora said again:                               90
    "Do with me as you will, but take the child,
    And bless him for the sake of him that's gone!"
    And Allan said, "I see it is a trick
    Got up betwixt you and the woman there.
    I must be taught my duty, and by you!                             95
    You knew my word was law, and yet you dared
    To slight it. Well--for I will take the boy;
    But go you hence, and never see me more."
      So saying, he took the boy, that cried aloud
    And struggled hard. The wreath of flowers fell                   100
    At Dora's feet. She bow'd upon her hands,
    And the boy's cry came to her from the field,
    More and more distant. She bow'd down her head,
    Remembering the day when first she came,
    And all the things that had been. She bow'd down                 105
    And wept in secret; and the reapers reap'd,
    And the sun fell, and all the land was dark.
      Then Dora went to Mary's house, and stood
    Upon the threshold. Mary saw the boy
    Was not with Dora. She broke out in praise                       110
    To God, that help'd her in her widowhood.
    And Dora said, "My uncle took the boy;
    But, Mary, let me live and work with you:
    He says that he will never see me more."
    Then answer'd Mary, "This shall never be,                        115
    That thou shouldst take my trouble on thyself:
    And, now I think, he shall not have the boy,
    For he will teach him hardness, and to slight
    His mother; therefore thou and I will go,
    And I will have my boy, and bring him home;                      120
    And I will beg of him to take thee back:
    But if he will not take thee back again,
    Then thou and I will live within one house,
    And work for William's child, until he grows
    Of age to help us."
                          So the women kiss'd                        125
    Each other, and set out, and reach'd the farm.
    The door was off the latch: they peep'd, and saw
    The boy set up betwixt his grandsire's knees,
    Who thrust him in the hollows of his arm,
    And clapt him on the hands and on the cheeks,                    130
    Like one that loved him: and the lad stretch'd out
    And babbled for the golden seal, that hung
    From Allan's watch, and sparkled by the fire.
    Then they came in: but when the boy beheld
    His mother, he cried out to come to her:                         135
    And Allan set him down, and Mary said:
      "O Father!--if you let me call you so--
    I never came a-begging for myself,
    Or William, or this child; but now I come
    For Dora: take her back; she loves you well.                     140
    O Sir, when William died, he died at peace
    With all men; for I ask'd him, and he said,
    He could not ever rue his marrying me--
    I had been a patient wife: but, Sir, he said
    That he was wrong to cross his father thus:                      145
    'God bless him!' he said, 'and may he never know
    The troubles I have gone thro'!' Then he turn'd
    His face and pass'd--unhappy that I am!
    But now, Sir, let me have my boy, for you
    Will make him hard, and he will learn to slight                  150
    His father's memory; and take Dora back,
    And let all this be as it was before."
      So Mary said, and Dora hid her face
    By Mary. There was silence in the room;
    And all at once the old man burst in sobs:--                     155
      "I have been to blame--to blame. I have kill'd my son.
    I have kill'd him--but I loved him--my dear son.
    May God forgive me!--I have been to blame.
    Kiss me, my children."
                            Then they clung about
    The old man's neck, and kiss'd him many times                    160
    And all the man was broken with remorse;
    And all his love came back a hundredfold;
    And for three hours he sobb'd o'er William's child,
    Thinking of William.
                          So those four abode
    Within one house together; and as years                          165
    Went forward, Mary took another mate;
    But Dora lived unmarried till her death.



  OENONE--1832


    There lies a vale in Ida,[176] lovelier
    Than all the valleys of Ionian[177] hills.
    The swimming vapour slopes athwart the glen,
    Puts forth an arm, and creeps from pine to pine,
    And loiters, slowly drawn. On either hand                          5
    The lawns and meadow-ledges midway down
    Hang rich in flowers, and far below them roars
    The long brook falling thro' the clov'n ravine
    In cataract after cataract to the sea.
    Behind the valley topmost Gargarus[178]                           10
    Stands up and takes the morning: but in front
    The gorges, opening wide apart, reveal
    Troas[179] and Ilion's[180] column'd citadel,
    The crown of Troas.
                         Hither came at noon
    Mournful Oenone, wandering forlorn                                15
    Of Paris,[181] once her playmate on the hills.
    Her cheek had lost the rose, and round her neck
    Floated her hair or seem'd to float in rest.
    She, leaning on a fragment twined with vine,
    Sang to the stillness, till the mountain-shade                    20
    Sloped downward to her seat from the upper cliff.

    "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
    Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    For now the noonday quiet holds the hill:
    The grasshopper is silent in the grass:                           25
    The lizard, with his shadow on the stone,
    Rests like a shadow, and the winds are dead.
    The purple flower droops: the golden bee
    Is lily-cradled: I alone awake.
    My eyes are full of tears, my heart of love,                      30
    My heart is breaking, and my eyes are dim,
    And I am all aweary of my life.

    "O mother Ida, many-fountained Ida,
    Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    Hear me, O Earth, hear me, O Hills, O Caves                       35
    That house the cold crown'd snake! O mountain brooks,
    I am the daughter of a River-God,[182]
    Hear me, for I will speak, and build up all
    My sorrow with my song, as yonder walls
    Rose slowly to a music slowly breathed,[183]                      40
    A cloud that gather'd shape: for it may be
    That, while I speak of it, a little while
    My heart may wander from its deeper woe.

    "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
    Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.                               45
    I waited underneath the dawning hills,
    Aloft the mountain lawn was dewy-dark,
    And dewy-dark aloft the mountain pine:
    Beautiful Paris, evil-hearted Paris,
    Leading a jet-black goat white-horn'd, white hooved,              50
    Came up from reedy Simois[184] all alone.

    "O mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    Far-off the torrent call'd me from the cleft:
    Far up the solitary morning smote
    The streaks of virgin snow. With down-dropt eyes                  55
    I sat alone: white-breasted like a star
    Fronting the dawn he moved; a leopard skin
    Droop'd from his shoulder, but his sunny hair
    Cluster'd about his temples like a God's:
    And his cheek brightened as the foam-bow brightens                60
    When the wind blows the foam, and all my heart
    Went forth to embrace him coming ere he came.

    "Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    He smiled, and opening out his milk-white palm
    Disclosed a fruit of pure Hesperian[185] gold,                    65
    That smelt ambrosially,[186] and while I look'd
    And listen'd, the full-flowing river of speech
    Came down upon my heart.

                                  "'My own Oenone,
    Beautiful-brow'd Oenone, my own soul,
    Behold this fruit whose gleaming rind ingrav'n                    70
    "For the most fair," would seem to award it thine
    As lovelier than whatever Oread[187] haunt
    The knolls of Ida, loveliest in all grace
    Of movement and the charm of married brows.'

    "Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.                              75
    He prest the blossom of his lips to mine,
    And added, 'This was cast upon the board,
    When all the full-faced presence of the Gods
    Ranged in the halls of Peleus[188]; whereupon
    Rose feud, with question unto whom 'twere due:                    80
    But light-foot Iris[189] brought it yester-eve,
    Delivering, that to me, by common voice
    Elected umpire, Herè[190] comes to-day,
    Pallas[191] and Aphroditè,[192] claiming each
    This meed of fairest. Thou, within the cave                       85
    Behind yon whispering tuft of oldest pine,
    Mayst well behold them unbeheld, unheard
    Hear all, and see thy Paris judge of Gods.'

    "Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    It was the deep midnoon: one silvery cloud                        90
    Had lost his way between the piney sides
    Of this long glen. Then to the bower they came,
    Naked they came to that smooth-swarded bower.
    And at their feet the crocus brake like fire,
    Violet, amaracus,[193] and asphodel,[194]                         95
    Lotos and lilies: and a wind arose,
    And overhead the wandering ivy and vine,
    This way and that, in many a wild festoon
    Ran riot, garlanding the gnarled boughs
    With bunch and berry and flower thro' and thro'.                 100

    "O mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    On the tree-tops a crested peacock[195] lit,
    And o'er him flow'd a golden cloud, and lean'd
    Upon him, slowly dropping fragrant dew.
    Then first I heard the voice of her, to whom                     105
    Coming thro' heaven like a light that grows
    Larger and clearer, with one mind the Gods
    Rise up for reverence. She to Paris made
    Proffer of royal power, ample rule
    Unquestion'd, overflowing revenue                                110
    Wherewith to embellish state, 'from many a vale,
    And river-sunder'd champaign clothed with corn,
    Or labour'd mine undrainable of ore.
    Honour,' she said, 'and homage, tax and toll,
    From many an inland town and haven large,                        115
    Mast-throng'd beneath her shadowing citadel
    In glassy bays among her tallest towers.'

    "O mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    Still she spake on and still she spake of power,
    'Which in all action is the end of all;                          120
    Power fitted to the season; wisdom-bred
    And throned of wisdom--from all neighbour crowns
    Alliance and allegiance, till thy hand
    Fail from the sceptre-staff. Such boon from me,
    From me, Heaven's Queen, Paris, to thee, king-born,              125
    A shepherd all thy life but yet king-born,
    Should come most welcome, seeing men, in power
    Only, are likest gods, who have attain'd
    Rest in a happy place and quiet seats
    Above the thunder, with undying bliss                            130
    In knowledge of their own supremacy.'

    "Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    She ceased, and Paris held the costly fruit
    Out at arm's-length, so much the thought of power
    Flatter'd his spirit; but Pallas where she stood                 135
    Somewhat apart, her clear and bared limbs
    O'erthwarted with the brazen-headed spear
    Upon her pearly shoulder leaning cold,
    The while, above, her clear and earnest eye
    Over her snow-cold breast and angry cheek                        140
    Kept watch, waiting decision, made reply.

    "'Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
    These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
    Yet not for power (power of herself
    Would come uncall'd for) but to live by law,                     145
    Acting the law we live by without fear;
    And, because right is right, to follow right
    Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.'

    "Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    Again she said: 'I woo thee not with gifts.                      150
    Sequel of guerdon[196] could not alter me
    To fairer. Judge thou me by what I am,
    So shalt thou find me fairest.
                                    Yet indeed,
    If gazing on divinity disrobed
    Thy mortal eyes are frail to judge, of fair,                     155
    Unbias'd by self-profit, oh! rest thee sure,
    That I shall love thee well and cleave to thee,
    So that my vigour wedded to thy blood,
    Shall strike within thy pulses, like a God's
    To push thee forward thro' a life of shocks,                     160
    Dangers, and deeds, until endurance grow
    Sinew'd with action, and the full-grown will,
    Circled thro' all experiences, pure law,
    Commeasure perfect freedom.'
                                    'Here she ceas'd,
    And Paris ponder'd, and I cried, 'O Paris,                       165
    Give it to Pallas!' but he heard me not,
    Or hearing would not hear me, woe is me!

    "O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
    Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    Idalian[197] Aphroditè beautiful,                                170
    Fresh as the foam, new-bathed in Paphian[198] wells,
    With rosy slender fingers backward drew
    From her warm brows and bosom her deep hair
    Ambrosial, golden round her lucid throat
    And shoulder: from the violets her light foot                    175
    Shone rosy-white, and o'er her rounded form
    Between the shadows of the vine-bunches
    Floated the glowing sunlights as she moved.

    "Dear mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    She with a subtle smile in her mild eyes,                        180
    The herald of her triumph, drawing nigh
    Half-whisper'd in his ear, 'I promise thee
    The fairest and most loving wife in Greece.'
    She spoke and laugh'd: I shut my sight for fear:
    But when I look'd, Paris had raised his arm,                     185
    And I beheld great Herè's angry eyes,
    As she withdrew into the golden cloud,
    And I was left alone within the bower;
    And from that time to this I am alone,
    And I shall be alone until I die.                                190

    "Yet, mother Ida, hearken ere I die.
    Fairest--why fairest wife? am I not fair?
    My love hath told me so a thousand times.
    Methinks I must be fair, for yesterday,
    When I past by, a wild and wanton pard,[199]                     195
    Eyed like the evening star, with playful tail
    Crouch'd fawning in the weed. Most loving is she?
    Ah me, my mountain shepherd, that my arms
    Were wound about thee, and my hot lips prest
    Close, close to thine in that quick-falling dew                  200
    Of fruitful kisses, thick as Autumn rains
    Flash in the pools of whirling Simois.

    "O mother, hear me yet before I die.
    They came, they cut away my tallest pines,
    My tall dark pines, that plumed the craggy ledge                 205
    High over the blue gorge, and all between
    The snowy peak and snow-white cataract
    Foster'd the callow eaglet--from beneath
    Whose thick mysterious boughs in the dark morn
    The panther's roar came muffled, while I sat                     210
    Low in the valley. Never, never more
    Shall lone Oenone see the morning mist
    Sweep thro' them; never see them overlaid
    With narrow moon-lit slips of silver cloud,
    Between the loud stream and the trembling stars.                 215

    "O mother, hear me yet before I die.
    I wish that somewhere in the ruin'd folds,
    Among the fragments tumbled from the glens,
    Or the dry thickets, I could meet with her
    The Abominable,[200] that uninvited came                         220
    Into the fair Peleïan banquet-hall,
    And cast the golden fruit upon the board,
    And bred this change; that I might speak my mind,
    And tell her to her face how much I hate
    Her presence, hated both of Gods and men.                        225

    "O mother, hear me yet before I die.
    Hath he not sworn his love a thousand times,
    In this green valley, under this green hill,
    Ev'n on this hand, and sitting on this stone?
    Seal'd it with kisses? water'd it with tears?                    230
    O happy tears, and how unlike to these!
    O happy Heaven, how canst thou see my face?
    O happy earth, how canst thou bear my weight?
    O death, death, death, thou ever-floating cloud,
    There are enough unhappy on this earth;                          235
    Pass by the happy souls, that love to live;
    I pray thee, pass before my light of life,
    And shadow all my soul, that I may die.
    Thou weighest heavy on the heart within,
    Weigh heavy on my eyelids: let me die.                           240

    "O mother, hear me yet before I die.
    I will not die alone, for fiery thoughts
    Do shape themselves within me, more and more,
    Whereof I catch the issue, as I hear
    Dead sounds at night come from the inmost hills,                 245
    Like footsteps upon wool. I dimly see
    My far-off doubtful purpose, as a mother
    Conjectures of the features of her child
    Ere it is born: her child!--a shudder comes
    Across me: never child be born of me,                            250
    Unblest, to vex me with his father's eyes!

    "O mother, hear me yet before I die.
    Hear me, O earth. I will not die alone,
    Lest their shrill happy laughter come to me
    Walking the cold and starless road of death                      255
    Uncomforted, leaving my ancient love
    With the Greek woman.[201] I will rise and go
    Down into Troy, and ere the stars come forth
    Talk with the wild Cassandra,[202] for she says
    A fire dances before her, and a sound                            260
    Rings ever in her ears of armed men.
    What this may be I know not, but I know
    That, wheresoe'er I am by night and day,
    All earth and air seem only burning fire."



ENOCH ARDEN


      Long lines of cliff breaking have left a chasm;
    And in the chasm are foam and yellow sands;
    Beyond, red roofs about a narrow wharf
    In cluster; then a moulder'd church; and higher
    A long street climbs to one tall-tower'd mill;                     5
    And high in heaven behind it a gray down
    With Danish barrows[203]; and a hazelwood,
    By autumn nutters haunted, flourishes
    Green in a cuplike hollow of the down.

      Here on this beach a hundred years ago,                         10
    Three children, of three houses, Annie Lee,
    The prettiest little damsel in the port,
    And Philip Ray, the miller's only son,
    And Enoch Arden, a rough sailor's lad
    Made orphan by a winter shipwreck, play'd                         15
    Among the waste and lumber of the shore,
    Hard coils of cordage, swarthy fishing-nets,
    Anchors of rusty fluke,[204] and boats updrawn;
    And built their castles of dissolving sand
    To watch them overflow'd, or following up                         20
    And flying the white breaker, daily left
    The little footprint daily wash'd away.

      A narrow cave ran in beneath the cliff;
    In this the children play'd at keeping house.
    Enoch was host one day, Philip the next,                          25
    While Annie still was mistress; but at times
    Enoch would hold possession for a week:
    "This is my house and this my little wife."
    "Mine too," said Philip, "turn and turn about:"
    When, if they quarrell'd, Enoch stronger made                     30
    Was master: then would Philip, his blue eyes
    All flooded with the helpless wrath of tears,
    Shriek out, "I hate you, Enoch," and at this
    The little wife would weep for company,
    And pray them not to quarrel for her sake,                        35
    And say she would be little wife to both.[205]

      But when the dawn of rosy childhood past,
    And the new warmth of life's ascending sun
    Was felt by either, either fixt his heart
    On that one girl; and Enoch spoke his love,                       40
    But Philip loved in silence; and the girl
    Seem'd kinder unto Philip than to him;
    But she loved Enoch: tho' she knew it not,
    And would if ask'd deny it. Enoch set
    A purpose evermore before his eyes,                               45
    To hoard all savings to the uttermost,
    To purchase his own boat, and make a home
    For Annie: and so prosper'd that at last
    A luckier or a bolder fisherman,
    A carefuller in peril, did not breathe                            50
    For leagues along that breaker-beaten coast
    Than Enoch. Likewise had he served a year
    On board a merchantman, and made himself
    Full sailor; and he thrice had pluck'd a life
    From the dread sweep of the down-streaming seas:                  55
    And all men look'd upon him favorably:
    And ere he touch'd his one-and-twentieth May
    He purchased his own boat, and made a home
    For Annie, neat and nestlike, halfway up
    The narrow street that clamber'd toward the mill.                 60

      Then, on a golden autumn eventide,
    The younger people making holiday,
    With bag and sack and basket, great and small,
    Went nutting to the hazels. Philip stay'd
    (His father lying sick and needing him)                           65
    An hour behind; but as he climb'd the hill,
    Just where the prone edge of the wood began
    To feather toward the hollow, saw the pair,
    Enoch and Annie, sitting hand-in-hand,
    His large gray eyes and weather-beaten face                       70
    All-kindled by a still and sacred fire,
    That burn'd as on an altar. Philip look'd,
    And in their eyes and faces read his doom;
    Then, as their faces drew together, groan'd,
    And slipt aside, and like a wounded life                          75
    Crept down into the hollows of the wood;
    There, while the rest were loud in merrymaking,
    Had his dark hour unseen, and rose and past
    Bearing a lifelong hunger in his heart.

      So these were wed, and merrily rang the bells,                  80
    And merrily ran the years, seven happy years,
    Seven happy years of health and competence,
    And mutual love and honorable toil;
    With children; first a daughter. In him woke,
    With his first babe's first cry, the noble wish                   85
    To save all earnings to the uttermost,
    And give his child a better bringing-up
    Than his had been, or hers; a wish renew'd,
    When two years after came a boy to be
    The rosy idol of her solitudes,                                   90
    While Enoch was abroad on wrathful seas,
    Or often journeying landward; for in truth
    Enoch's white horse, and Enoch's ocean-spoil
    In ocean-smelling osier,[206] and his face,
    Rough-redden'd with a thousand winter gales,                      95
    Not only to the market-cross were known,
    But in the leafy lanes behind the down,
    Far as the portal-warding lion-whelp[207]
    And peacock-yewtree[208] of the lonely Hall,
    Whose Friday fare was Enoch's ministering.                       100

      Then came a change, as all things human change.
    Ten miles to northward of the narrow port
    Open'd a larger haven: thither used
    Enoch at times to go by land or sea;
    And once when there, and clambering on a mast                    105
    In harbor, by mischance he slipt and fell:
    A limb was broken when they lifted him;
    And while he lay recovering there, his wife
    Bore him another son, a sickly one:
    Another hand crept too across his trade                          110
    Taking her bread and theirs: and on him fell,
    Altho' a grave and staid God-fearing man,
    Yet lying thus inactive, doubt and gloom.
    He seem'd, as in a nightmare of the night,
    To see his children leading evermore                             115
    Low miserable lives of hand-to-mouth,
    And her he loved, a beggar: then he pray'd
    "Save them from this, whatever comes to me."
    And while he pray'd, the master of that ship
    Enoch had served in, hearing his mischance,                      120
    Came, for he knew the man and valued him,
    Reporting of his vessel China-bound,
    And wanting yet a boatswain. Would he go?
    There yet were many weeks before she sail'd,
    Sail'd from this port. Would Enoch have the place?               125
    And Enoch all at once assented to it,
    Rejoicing at that answer to his prayer.

      So now that shadow of mischance appear'd
    No graver than as when some little cloud
    Cuts off the fiery highway of the sun,                           130
    And isles a light in the offing: yet the wife--
    When he was gone--the children--what to do?
    Then Enoch lay long-pondering on his plans;
    To sell the boat--and yet he loved her well--
    How many a rough sea had he weather'd in her!                    135
    He knew her, as a horseman knows his horse--
    And yet to sell her--then with what she brought
    Buy goods and stores--set Annie forth in trade
    With all that seamen needed or their wives--
    So might she keep the house while he was gone.                   140
    Should he not trade himself out yonder? go
    This voyage more than once? yea, twice or thrice--
    As oft as needed--last, returning rich,
    Become the master of a larger craft,
    With fuller profits lead an easier life,                         145
    Have all his pretty young ones educated,
    And pass his days in peace among his own.

      Thus Enoch in his heart determined all:
    Then moving homeward came on Annie pale,
    Nursing the sickly babe, her latest-born.                        150
    Forward she started with a happy cry,
    And laid the feeble infant in his arms;
    Whom Enoch took, and handled all his limbs,
    Appraised his weight and fondled father-like,
    But had no heart to break his purposes                           155
    To Annie, till the morrow, when he spoke.

      Then first since Enoch's golden ring had girt
    Her finger, Annie fought against his will:
    Yet not with brawling opposition she,
    But manifold entreaties, many a tear,                            160
    Many a sad kiss by day by night renew'd
    (Sure that all evil would come out of it)
    Besought him, supplicating, if he cared
    For her or his dear children, not to go.
    He not for his own self caring but her,                          165
    Her and her children, let her plead in vain;
    So grieving held his will, and bore it thro'.

      For Enoch parted with his old sea-friend,
    Bought Annie goods and stores, and set his hand
    To fit their little streetward sitting-room                      170
    With shelf and corner for the goods and stores.
    So all day long till Enoch's last at home,
    Shaking their pretty cabin, hammer and axe,
    Auger and saw, while Annie seem'd to hear
    Her own death-scaffold raising, shrill'd and rang,               175
    Till this was ended, and his careful hand,--
    The space was narrow,--having order'd all
    Almost as neat and close as Nature packs
    Her blossom or her seedling, paused; and he,
    Who needs would work for Annie to the last,                      180
    Ascending tired, heavily slept till morn.

      And Enoch faced this morning of farewell
    Brightly and boldly. All his Annie's fears,
    Save as his Annie's, were a laughter to him.
    Yet Enoch as a brave God-fearing man                             185
    Bow'd himself down, and in that mystery
    Where God-in-man is one with man-in-God,
    Pray'd for a blessing on his wife and babes,
    Whatever came to him: and then he said
    "Annie, this voyage by the grace of God                          190
    Will bring fair weather yet to all of us.
    Keep a clean hearth and a clear fire for me,
    For I'll be back, my girl, before you know it."
    Then lightly rocking baby's cradle, "and he,
    This pretty, puny, weakly little one,--                          195
    Nay--for I love him all the better for it--
    God bless him, he shall sit upon my knees
    And I will tell him tales of foreign parts,
    And make him merry, when I come home again.
    Come, Annie, come, cheer up before I go."                        200

      Him running on thus hopefully she heard,
    And almost hoped herself; but when he turn'd
    The current of his talk to graver things,
    In sailor fashion roughly sermonizing
    On providence and trust in Heaven, she heard,                    205
    Heard and not heard him; as the village girl,
    Who sets her pitcher underneath the spring,
    Musing on him that used to fill it for her,
    Hears and not hears, and lets it overflow.

      At length she spoke, "O Enoch, you are wise;                   210
    And yet for all your wisdom well know I
    That I shall look upon your face no more."

      "Well then," said Enoch, "I shall look on yours.[209]
    Annie, the ship I sail in passes here
    (He named the day), get you a seaman's glass,                    215
    Spy out my face, and laugh at all your fears."

      But when the last of those last moments came,
    "Annie, my girl, cheer up, be comforted,
    Look to the babes, and till I come again,
    Keep everything shipshape, for I must go.                        220
    And fear no more for me; or if you fear
    Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.
    Is He not yonder in those uttermost
    Parts of the morning? if I flee to these
    Can I go from him? and the sea is His,                           225
    The sea is His: He made it."

                                 Enoch rose,
    Cast his strong arms about his drooping wife,
    And kiss'd his wonder-stricken little ones;
    But for the third, the sickly one, who slept
    After a night of feverous wakefulness,                           230
    When Annie would have raised him Enoch said,
    "Wake him not; let him sleep; how should the child
    Remember this?" and kiss'd him in his cot.
    But Annie from her baby's forehead clipt
    A tiny curl, and gave it: this he kept                           235
    Thro' all his future; but now hastily caught
    His bundle, waved his hand, and went his way.

      She, when the day, that Enoch mention'd, came,
    Borrow'd a glass, but all in vain: perhaps
    She could not fix the glass to suit her eye;                     240
    Perhaps her eye was dim, hand tremulous;
    She saw him not: and while he stood on deck
    Waving, the moment and the vessel past.

      Ev'n to the last dip of the vanishing sail
    She watch'd it, and departed weeping for him;                    245
    Then, tho' she mourn'd his absence as his grave,
    Set her sad will no less to chime with his,
    But throve not in her trade, not being bred
    To barter, nor compensating the want
    By shrewdness, neither capable of lies,                          250
    Nor asking overmuch and taking less,
    And still foreboding "what would Enoch say?"
    For more than once, in days of difficulty
    And pressure, had she sold her wares for less
    Than what she gave in buying what she sold:                      255
    She fail'd and sadden'd knowing it; and thus,
    Expectant of that news which never came,
    Gain'd for her own a scanty sustenance,
    And lived a life of silent melancholy.

      Now the third child was sickly-born and grew                   260
    Yet sicklier, tho' the mother cared for it
    With all a mother's care: nevertheless,
    Whether her business often call'd her from it,
    Or thro' the want of what it needed most,
    Or means to pay the voice who best could tell                    265
    What most it needed--howsoe'er it was,
    After a lingering,--ere she was aware,--
    Like the caged bird escaping suddenly,
    The little innocent soul flitted away.

      In that same week when Annie buried it,                        270
    Philip's true heart, which hunger'd for her peace
    (Since Enoch left he had not look'd upon her),
    Smote him, as having kept aloof so long.
    "Surely," said Philip, "I may see her now,
    May be some little comfort;" therefore went,                     275
    Past thro' the solitary room in front,
    Paused for a moment at an inner door,
    Then struck it thrice, and, no one opening,
    Enter'd; but Annie, seated with her grief,
    Fresh from the burial of her little one,                         280
    Cared not to look on any human face,
    But turn'd her own toward the wall and wept.
    Then Philip standing up said falteringly,
    "Annie, I came to ask a favor of you."

      He spoke; the passion in her moan'd reply,                     285
    "Favor from one so sad and so forlorn
    As I am!" half abash'd him; yet unask'd,
    His bashfulness and tenderness at war,
    He set himself beside her, saying to her:

      "I came to speak to you of what he wish'd,                     290
    Enoch, your husband: I have ever said
    You chose the best among us--a strong man:
    For where he fixt his heart he set his hand
    To do the thing he will'd, and bore it thro'.
    And wherefore did he go this weary way,                          295
    And leave you lonely? not to see the world--
    For pleasure?--nay, but for the wherewithal
    To give his babes a better bringing-up
    Than his had been, or yours: that was his wish.
    And if he come again, vext will he be                            300
    To find the precious morning hours were lost.
    And it would vex him even in his grave,
    If he could know his babes were running wild
    Like colts about the waste. So, Annie, now--
    Have we not known each other all our lives?--                    305
    I do beseech you by the love you bear
    Him and his children not to say me nay--
    For, if you will, when Enoch comes again,
    Why then he shall repay me--if you will,
    Annie--for I am rich and well-to-do.                             310
    Now let me put the boy and girl to school:
    This is the favor that I came to ask."

      Then Annie with her brows against the wall
    Answer'd, "I cannot look you in the face;
    I seem so foolish and so broken down.                            315
    When you came in my sorrow broke me down;
    And now I think your kindness breaks me down;
    But Enoch lives; that is borne in on me;
    He will repay you: money can be repaid;
    Not kindness such as yours."
                                 And Philip ask'd                    320
    "Then you will let me, Annie?"
                                   There she turn'd,
    She rose, and fixt her swimming eyes upon him,
    And dwelt a moment on his kindly face,
    Then calling down a blessing on his head
    Caught at his hand, and wrung it passionately,                   325
    And past into the little garth[210] beyond.
    So lifted up in spirit he moved away.

      Then Philip put the boy and girl to school,
    And bought them needful books, and every way,
    Like one who does his duty by his own,                           330
    Made himself theirs; and tho' for Annie's sake,
    Fearing the lazy gossip of the port,
    He oft denied his heart his dearest wish,
    And seldom crost her threshold, yet he sent
    Gifts by the children, garden-herbs and fruit,                   335
    The late and early roses from his wall,
    Or conies[211] from the down, and now and then,
    With some pretext of fineness in the meal
    To save the offence of charitable, flour
    From his tall mill that whistled on the waste.                   340

      But Philip did not fathom Annie's mind:
    Scarce could the woman when he came upon her,
    Out of full heart and boundless gratitude
    Light on a broken word to thank him with.
    But Philip was her children's all-in-all;                        345
    From distant corners of the street they ran
    To greet his hearty welcome heartily;
    Lords of his house and of his mill were they;
    Worried his passive ear with petty wrongs
    Or pleasures, hung upon him, play'd with him,                    350
    And call'd him Father Philip. Philip gain'd
    As Enoch lost; for Enoch seem'd to them
    Uncertain as a vision or a dream,
    Faint as a figure seen in early dawn
    Down at the far end of an avenue,                                355
    Going we know not where: and so ten years,
    Since Enoch left his hearth and native land,
    Fled forward, and no news of Enoch came.

      It chanced one evening Annie's children long'd
    To go with others nutting to the wood,                           360
    And Annie would go with them; then they begg'd
    For Father Philip (as they call'd him) too:
    Him, like the working bee in blossom-dust,
    Blanch'd with his mill, they found; and saying to him,
    "Come with us, Father Philip," he denied;                        365
    But when the children pluck'd at him to go,
    He laugh'd, and yielded readily to their wish,
    For was not Annie with them? and they went.

      But after scaling half the weary down,
    Just where the prone edge of the wood began[212]                 370
    To feather toward the hollow, all her force
    Fail'd her; and sighing, "Let me rest," she said:
    So Philip rested with her well-content;
    While all the younger ones with jubilant cries
    Broke from their elders, and tumultuously                        375
    Down thro' the whitening hazels made a plunge
    To the bottom, and dispersed, and bent or broke
    The lithe reluctant boughs to tear away
    Their tawny clusters, crying to each other
    And calling, here and there, about the wood.                     380

      But Philip sitting at her side forgot
    Her presence, and remember'd one dark hour
    Here in this wood, when like a wounded life
    He crept into the shadow: at last he said,
    Lifting his honest forehead, "Listen, Annie,                     385
    How merry they are down yonder in the wood.
    Tired, Annie?" for she did not speak a word.
    "Tired?" but her face had fall'n upon her hands;
    At which, as with a kind of anger in him,
    "The ship was lost," he said, "the ship was lost!                390
    No more of that! why should you kill yourself
    And make them orphans quite?" And Annie said
    "I thought not of it: but--I know not why--
    Their voices make me feel so solitary."

      Then Philip coming somewhat closer spoke.                      395
    "Annie, there is a thing upon my mind,
    And it has been upon my mind so long,
    That tho' I know not when it first came there,
    I know that it will out at last. Oh, Annie,
    It is beyond all hope, against all chance,                       400
    That he who left you ten long years ago
    Should still be living; well then--let me speak:
    I grieve to see you poor and wanting help:
    I cannot help you as I wish to do
    Unless--they say that women are so quick--                       405
    Perhaps you know what I would have you know--
    I wish you for my wife. I fain would prove
    A father to your children: I do think
    They love me as a father: I am sure
    That I love them as if they were mine own;                       410
    And I believe, if you were fast my wife,
    That after all these sad uncertain years,
    We might be still as happy as God grants
    To any of His creatures. Think upon it:
    For I am well-to-do--no kin, no care,                            415
    No burthen, save my care for you and yours:
    And we have known each other all our lives,
    And I have loved you longer than you know."

      Then answer'd Annie; tenderly she spoke:
    "You have been as God's good angel in our house.                 420
    God bless you for it, God reward you for it,
    Philip, with something happier than myself.
    Can one love twice? can you be ever loved
    As Enoch was? what is it that you ask?"
    "I am content," he answer'd, "to be loved                        425
    A little after Enoch." "Oh," she cried,
    Scared as it were, "dear Philip, wait a while:
    If Enoch comes--but Enoch will not come--
    Yet wait a year, a year is not so long:
    Surely I shall be wiser in a year:                               430
    Oh, wait a little!" Philip sadly said,
    "Annie, as I have waited all my life
    I well may wait a little." "Nay," she cried,
    "I am bound: you have my promise--in a year;
    Will you not bide your year as I bide mine?"                     435
    And Philip answer'd, "I will bide my year."

      Here both were mute, till Philip glancing up
    Beheld the dead flame of the fallen day
    Pass from the Danish barrow overhead;
    Then, fearing night and chill for Annie, rose,                   440
    And sent his voice beneath him thro' the wood.
    Up came the children laden with their spoil;
    Then all descended to the port, and there
    At Annie's door he paused and gave his hand,
    Saying gently, "Annie, when I spoke to you,                      445
    That was your hour of weakness. I was wrong.
    I am always bound to you, but you are free."
    Then Annie weeping answered, "I am bound."

      She spoke; and in one moment as it were,
    While yet she went about her household ways,                     450
    Ev'n as she dwelt upon his latest words,
    That he had loved her longer than she knew,
    That autumn into autumn flash'd again,
    And there he stood once more before her face,
    Claiming her promise. "Is it a year?" she ask'd.                 455
    "Yes, if the nuts," he said, "be ripe again:
    Come out and see." But she--she put him off--
    So much to look to--such a change--a month--
    Give her a month--she knew that she was bound--
    A month--no more. Then Philip with his eyes                      460
    Full of that lifelong hunger, and his voice
    Shaking a little like a drunkard's hand,
    "Take your own time, Annie, take your own time."
    And Annie could have wept for pity of him;
    And yet she held him on delayingly                               465
    With many a scarce-believable excuse,
    Trying his truth and his long-sufferance,
    Till half another year had slipped away.

      By this the lazy gossips of the port,
    Abhorrent of a calculation crost,                                470
    Began to chafe as at a personal wrong.
    Some thought that Philip did but trifle with her;
    Some that she but held off to draw him on;
    And others laughed at her and Philip too,
    As simple folk that knew not their own minds;                    475
    And one in whom all evil fancies clung
    Like serpent's eggs together, laughingly
    Would hint at worse in either. Her own son
    Was silent, tho' he often look'd his wish;
    But evermore the daughter prest upon her                         480
    To wed the man so dear to all of them
    And lift the household out of poverty;
    And Philip's rosy face contracting grew
    Careworn and wan; and all these things fell on him
    Sharp as reproach.
                        At last one night it chanced                 485
    That Annie could not sleep, but earnestly
    Pray'd for a sign, "my Enoch, is he gone?"
    Then compass'd round by the blind wall of night
    Brook'd not the expectant terror of her heart,
    Started from bed, and struck herself a light,                    490
    Then desperately seized the holy Book,
    Suddenly set it wide to find a sign,
    Suddenly put her finger on the text,
    "Under the palm-tree.[213]" That was nothing to her:
    No meaning there: she closed the Book and slept:                 495
    When lo! her Enoch sitting on a height,
    Under a palm-tree, over him the Sun:
    "He is gone," she thought, "he is happy, he is singing
    Hosanna in the highest: yonder shines
    The Sun of Righteousness, and these be palms                     500
    Whereof the happy people strowing cried
    'Hosanna in the highest!'" Here she woke,
    Resolved, sent for him and said wildly to him,
    "There is no reason why we should not wed."
    "Then for God's sake," he answer'd, "both our sakes,             505
    So you will wed me, let it be at once."

      So these were wed and merrily rang the bells,
    Merrily rang the bells and they were wed.
    But never merrily beat Annie's heart.
    A footstep seem'd to fall beside her path,                       510
    She knew not whence; a whisper on her ear,
    She knew not what; nor loved she to be left
    Alone at home, nor ventured out alone.
    What ail'd her then, that ere she enter'd, often,
    Her hand dwelt lingeringly on the latch,                         515
    Fearing to enter: Philip thought he knew:
    Such doubts and fears were common to her state,
    Being with child: but when her child was born,
    Then her new child was as herself renew'd,
    Then the new mother came about her heart,                        520
    Then her good Philip was her all-in-all,
    And that mysterious instinct wholly died.

      And where was Enoch? prosperously sail'd
    The ship Good Fortune, tho' at setting forth
    The Biscay,[214] roughly ridging eastward, shook                 525
    And almost overwhelm'd her, yet unvext
    She slipt across the summer of the world,[215]
    Then after a long tumble about the Cape
    And frequent interchange of foul and fair,
    She passing thro' the summer world again,                        530
    The breath of heaven came continually
    And sent her sweetly by the golden isles,
    Till silent in her oriental haven.

      There Enoch traded for himself, and bought
    Quaint monsters for the market of those times,                   535
    A gilded dragon, also, for the babes.

      Less lucky her home-voyage: at first indeed
    Thro' many a fair sea-circle, day by day,
    Scarce-rocking her full-busted figure-head
    Stared o'er the ripple feathering from her bows:                 540
    Then follow'd calms, and then winds variable,
    Then baffling, a long course of them; and last
    Storm, such as drove her under moonless heavens
    Till hard upon the cry of "breakers" came
    The crash of ruin, and the loss of all                           545
    But Enoch and two others. Half the night,
    Buoy'd upon floating tackle and broken spars,
    These drifted, stranding on an isle at morn
    Rich, but the loneliest in a lonely sea.

      No want was there of human sustenance,                         550
    Soft fruitage, mighty nuts, and nourishing roots;
    Nor save for pity was it hard to take
    The helpless life so wild that it was tame.
    There in a seaward-gazing mountain-gorge
    They built, and thatch'd with leaves of palm, a hut,             555
    Half hut, half native cavern. So the three,
    Set in this Eden of all plenteousness,
    Dwelt with eternal summer, ill-content.

      For one, the youngest, hardly more than boy,
    Hurt in that night of sudden ruin and wreck,                     560
    Lay lingering out a five-years' death-in-life.
    They could not leave him. After he was gone,
    The two remaining found a fallen stem[216];
    And Enoch's comrade, careless of himself,
    Fire-hollowing this in Indian fashion, fell                      565
    Sun-stricken, and that other lived alone.
    In those two deaths he read God's warning, "Wait."

      The mountain wooded to the peak, the lawns
    And winding glades high up like ways to Heaven,
    The slender coco's drooping crown of plumes,                     570
    The lightning flash of insect and of bird,
    The lustre of the long convolvuluses[217]
    That coil'd around the stately stems, and ran
    Ev'n to the limit of the land, the glows
    And glories of the broad belt of the world,[218]                 575
    All these he saw; but what he fain had seen
    He could not see, the kindly human face,
    Nor ever hear a kindly voice, but heard
    The myriad shriek of wheeling ocean-fowl,
    The league-long roller thundering on the reef,                   580
    The moving whisper of huge trees that branch'd
    And blossom'd in the zenith, or the sweep
    Of some precipitous rivulet to the wave,
    As down the shore he ranged, or all day long
    Sat often in the seaward-gazing gorge,                           585
    A shipwreck'd sailor, waiting for a sail:
    No sail from day to day, but every day
    The sunrise broken into scarlet shafts
    Among the palms and ferns and precipices;                        590
    The blaze upon the waters to the east:
    The blaze upon his island overhead;
    The blaze upon the waters to the west;
    Then the great stars that globed themselves in Heaven,
    The hollower-bellowing ocean, and again
    The scarlet shafts of sunrise--but no sail.                      595

      There often as he watch'd or seem'd to watch,
    So still, the golden lizard on him paused,
    A phantom made of many phantoms moved
    Before him, haunting him, or he himself
    Moved haunting people, things and places, known                  600
    Far in a darker isle beyond the line;
    The babes, their babble, Annie, the small house,
    The climbing street, the mill, the leafy lanes,
    The peacock-yewtree and the lonely Hall,
    The horse he drove, the boat he sold, the chill                  605
    November dawns and dewy-glooming downs,
    The gentle shower, the smell of dying leaves,
    And the low moan of leaden-color'd seas.

      Once likewise, in the ringing of his ears,
    Tho' faintly, merrily--far and far away--                        610
    He heard the pealing of his parish bells;
    Then, tho' he knew not wherefore, started up
    Shuddering, and when the beauteous hateful isle
    Return'd upon him, had not his poor heart
    Spoken with That, which being everywhere                         615
    Lets none who speaks with Him seem all alone,
    Surely the man had died of solitude.

      Thus over Enoch's early-silvering head
    The sunny and rainy seasons came and went
    Year after year. His hopes to see his own,                       620
    And pace the sacred old familiar fields,
    Not yet had perish'd, when his lonely doom
    Came suddenly to an end. Another ship
    (She wanted water) blown by baffling winds,
    Like the Good Fortune, from her destined course,                 625
    Stay'd by this isle, not knowing where she lay:
    For since the mate had seen at early dawn
    Across a break on the mist-wreathen isle
    The silent water slipping from the hills,
    They sent a crew that landing burst away                         630
    In search of stream or fount, and fill'd the shores
    With clamor. Downward from his mountain gorge[219]
    Stept the long-hair'd, long-bearded solitary,
    Brown, looking hardly human, strangely clad,
    Muttering and mumbling, idiot-like it seem'd,                    635
    With inarticulate rage, and making signs
    They knew not what: and yet he led the way
    To where the rivulets of sweet water ran;
    And ever as he mingled with the crew,
    And heard them talking, his long-bounden tongue                  640
    Was loosen'd, till he made them understand;
    Whom, when their casks were fill'd they took aboard
    And there the tale he utter'd brokenly,
    Scarce-credited at first but more and more,
    Amazed and melted all who listen'd to it;                        645
    And clothes they gave him and free passage home;
    But oft he work'd among the rest and shook
    His isolation from him. None of these
    Came from his county, or could answer him,
    If question'd, aught of what he cared to know.                   650
    And dull the voyage was with long delays,
    The vessel scarce sea-worthy; but evermore
    His fancy fled before the lazy wind
    Returning, till beneath a clouded moon
    He like a lover down thro' all his blood                         655
    Drew in the dewy meadowy morning-breath
    Of England, blown across her ghostly wall:
    And that same morning officers and men
    Levied a kindly tax upon themselves,
    Pitying the lonely man, and gave him it:                         660
    Then moving up the coast they landed him,
    Ev'n in that harbor whence he sail'd before.

      There Enoch spoke no word to any one,
    But homeward--home--what home? had he a home?
    His home, he walk'd. Bright was that afternoon,                  665
    Sunny but chill; till drawn thro' either chasm,
    Where either haven open'd on the deeps,
    Roll'd a sea-haze and whelm'd the world in gray;
    Cut off the length of highway on before,
    And left but narrow breadth to left and right                    670
    Of wither'd holt[220] or tilth[221] or pasturage.
    On the nigh-naked tree the robin piped
    Disconsolate, and thro' the dripping haze
    The dead weight of the dead leaf bore it down:
    Thicker the drizzle grew, deeper the gloom;                      675
    Last, as it seem'd, a great mist-blotted light
    Flared on him, and he came upon the place.

      Then down the long street having slowly stolen,
    His heart foreshadowing all calamity,
    His eyes upon the stones, he reach'd the home                    680
    Where Annie lived and loved him, and his babes
    In those far-off seven happy years were born;
    But finding neither light nor murmur there
    (A bill of sale gleam'd thro' the drizzle) crept
    Still downward thinking, "dead, or dead to me!"                  685

      Down to the pool and narrow wharf he went,
    Seeking a tavern which of old he knew,
    A front of timber-crost antiquity,
    So propt, worm-eaten, ruinously old,
    He thought it must have gone; but he was gone                    690
    Who kept it; and his widow, Miriam Lane,
    With daily-dwindling profits held the house;
    A haunt of brawling seamen once, but now
    Stiller, with yet a bed for wandering men.
    There Enoch rested silent many days.                             695

      But Miriam Lane was good and garrulous,
    Nor let him be, but often breaking in,
    Told him, with other annals of the port,
    Not knowing--Enoch was so brown, so bow'd,
    So broken--all the story of his house.                           700
    His baby's death, her growing poverty,
    How Philip put her little ones to school,
    And kept them in it, his long wooing her,
    Her slow consent, and marriage, and the birth
    Of Philip's child: and o'er his countenance                      705
    No shadow past, nor motion: any one,
    Regarding, well had deem'd he felt the tale
    Less than the teller; only when she closed,
    "Enoch, poor man, was cast away and lost,"
    He, shaking his gray head pathetically,                          710
    Repeated muttering, "cast away and lost;"
    Again in deeper inward whispers, "lost!"

      But Enoch yearned to see her face again;
    "If I might look on her sweet face again
    And know that she is happy." So the thought                      715
    Haunted and harass'd him, and drove him forth,
    At evening when the dull November day
    Was growing duller twilight, to the hill.
    There he sat down gazing on all below;
    There did a thousand memories roll upon him,                     720
    Unspeakable for sadness. By and by
    The ruddy square of comfortable light,
    Far-blazing from the rear of Philip's house,
    Allured him, as the beacon-blaze allures
    The bird of passage, till he madly strikes                       725
    Against it, and beats out his weary life.

      For Philip's dwelling fronted on the street,
    The latest[222] house to landward; but behind,
    With one small gate that open'd on the waste,
    Flourish'd a little garden square and wall'd:                    730
    And in it throve an ancient evergreen,
    A yewtree, and all round it ran a walk
    Of shingle,[223] and a walk divided it:
    But Enoch shunn'd the middle walk and stole
    Up by the wall, behind the yew; and thence                       735
    That which he better might have shunn'd, if griefs
    Like his have worse or better, Enoch saw.

      For cups and silver on the burnish'd board
    Sparkled and shone; so genial was the hearth:
    And on the right hand of the hearth he saw                       740
    Philip, the slighted suitor of old times,
    Stout, rosy, with his babe across his knees;
    And o'er her second father stoopt a girl,
    A later but a loftier Annie Lee,
    Fair-hair'd and tall, and from her lifted hand,                  745
    Dangled a length of ribbon and a ring
    To tempt the babe, who rear'd his creasy[224] arms,
    Caught at, and ever miss'd it, and they laugh'd:
    And on the left hand of the hearth he saw
    The mother glancing often toward her babe,                       750
    But turning now and then to speak with him,
    Her son, who stood beside her tall and strong,
    And saying that which pleased him, for he smiled.

      Now when the dead man come to life beheld
    His wife his wife no more, and saw the babe                      755
    Hers, yet not his, upon the father's knee,
    And all the warmth, the peace, the happiness,
    And his own children tall and beautiful,
    And him, that other, reigning in his place,
    Lord of his rights and of his children's love,--                 760
    Then he, tho' Miriam Lane had told him all,
    Because things seen are mightier than things heard,
    Stagger'd and shook, holding the branch, and fear'd
    To send abroad a shrill and terrible cry,
    Which in one moment, like the blast of doom,                     765
    Would shatter all the happiness of the hearth.

      He therefore turning softly like a thief,
    Lest the harsh shingle should grate underfoot,
    And feeling all along the garden wall,
    Lest he should swoon and tumble and be found,                    770
    Crept to the gate, and open'd it, and closed,
    As lightly as a sick man's chamber-door,
    Behind him, and came out upon the waste.

      And there he would have knelt, but that his knees
    Were feeble, so that falling prone he dug                        775
    His fingers into the wet earth, and pray'd.

      "Too hard to bear! why did they take me thence?
    O God Almighty, blessed Saviour, Thou
    That didst uphold me on my lonely isle,
    Uphold me, Father, in my loneliness                              780
    A little longer! aid me, give me strength
    Not to tell her, never to let her know.
    Help me not to break in upon her peace.
    My children too! must I not speak to these?
    They know me not. I should betray myself.                        785
    Never: no father's kiss for me--the girl
    So like her mother, and the boy, my son."

      There speech and thought and nature fail'd a little
    And he lay tranced; but when he rose and paced
    Back toward his solitary home again,                             790
    All down the long and narrow street he went
    Beating it in upon his weary brain,
    As tho' it were the burthen of a song,
    "Not to tell her, never to let her know."

      He was not all unhappy. His resolve                            795
    Upbore him, and firm faith, and evermore
    Prayer from a living source within the will,
    And beating up thro' all the bitter world,
    Like fountains of sweet water in the sea,
    Kept him a living soul. "This miller's wife,"                    800
    He said to Miriam, "that you spoke about,
    Has she no fear that her first husband lives?"
    "Ay, ay, poor soul," said Miriam, "fear enow!
    If you could tell her you had seen him dead,
    Why, that would be her comfort;" and he thought                  805
    "After the Lord has call'd me she shall know,
    I wait His time;" and Enoch set himself,
    Scorning an alms, to work whereby to live.
    Almost to all things could he turn his hand.
    Cooper he was and carpenter, and wrought                         810
    To make the boatmen fishing-nets, or help'd
    At lading and unlading the tall barks,
    That brought the stinted commerce of those days;
    Thus earn'd a scanty living for himself:
    Yet since he did but labor for himself,                          815
    Work without hope, there was not life in it
    Whereby the man could live; and as the year
    Roll'd itself round again to meet the day
    When Enoch had return'd, a languor came
    Upon him, gentle sickness, gradually                             820
    Weakening the man, till he could do no more,
    But kept the house, his chair, and last his bed.
    And Enoch bore his weakness cheerfully.
    For sure no gladlier does the stranded wreck
    See thro' the gray skirts of a lifting squall                    825
    The boat that bears the hope of life approach
    To save the life despair'd of, than he saw
    Death dawning on him, and the close of all.

      For thro' that dawning gleam'd a kindlier hope
    On Enoch thinking, "after I am gone,                             830
    Then may she learn I lov'd her to the last."
    He call'd aloud for Miriam Lane and said,
    "Woman, I have a secret--only swear,
    Before I tell you--swear upon the book
    Not to reveal it, till you see me dead."                         835
    "Dead," clamor'd the good woman, "hear him talk;
    I warrant, man, that we shall bring you round."
    "Swear," added Enoch sternly, "on the book."
    And on the book, half-frighted, Miriam swore.
    Then Enoch rolling his gray eyes upon her,                       840
    "Did you know Enoch Arden of this town?"
    "Know him?" she said, "I knew him far away.
    Ay, ay, I mind him coming down the street;
    Held his head high, and cared for no man, he."
    Slowly and sadly Enoch answer'd her:                             845
    "His head is low, and no man cares for him.
    I think I have not three days more to live;
    I am the man." At which the woman gave
    A half-incredulous, half-hysterical cry.
    "You Arden, you! nay,--sure he was a foot                        850
    Higher than you be." Enoch said again,
    "My God has bow'd me down to what I am;
    My grief and solitude have broken me;
    Nevertheless, know you that I am he
    Who married--but that name has twice been changed--              855
    I married her who married Philip Ray.
    Sit, listen." Then he told her of his voyage,
    His wreck, his lonely life, his coming back,
    His gazing in on Annie, his resolve,
    And how he kept it. As the woman heard,                          860
    Fast flow'd the current of her easy tears,
    While in her heart she yearn'd incessantly
    To rush abroad all round the little haven,
    Proclaiming Enoch Arden and his woes;
    But awed and promise-bounden she forbore,                        865
    Saying only, "See your bairns before you go!
    Eh, let me fetch 'em, Arden," and arose
    Eager to bring them down, for Enoch hung
    A moment on her words, but then replied:

      "Woman, disturb me not now at the last,                        870
    But let me hold my purpose till I die.
    Sit down again; mark me and understand,
    While I have power to speak. I charge you now
    When you shall see her, tell her that I died
    Blessing her, praying for her, loving her;                       875
    Save for the bar between us, loving her
    As when she lay her head beside my own.
    And tell my daughter Annie, whom I saw
    So like her mother, that my latest breath
    Was spent in blessing her and praying for her.                   880
    And tell my son that I died blessing him.
    And say to Philip that I blest him too;
    He never meant us any thing but good.
    But if my children care to see me dead,
    Who hardly knew me living, let them come,                        885
    I am their father; but she must not come,
    For my dead face would vex her after-life.
    And now there is but one of all my blood,
    Who will embrace me in the world-to-be:
    This hair is his: she cut it off and gave it,                    890
    And I have borne it with me all these years,
    And thought to bear it with me to my grave;
    But now my mind is changed, for I shall see him,
    My babe in bliss: wherefore when I am gone,
    Take, give her this, for it may comfort her:                     895
    It will moreover be a token to her,
    That I am he."

                    He ceased; and Miriam Lane
    Made such a voluble answer promising all,
    That once again he roll'd his eyes upon her
    Repeating all he wish'd, and once again                          900
    She promised.

                    Then the third night after this,
    While Enoch slumber'd motionless and pale,
    And Miriam watch'd and dozed at intervals,
    There came so loud a calling of the sea,
    That all the houses in the haven rang.                           905
    He woke, he rose, he spread his arms abroad,
    Crying with a loud voice "A sail! a sail!
    I am saved;" and so fell back and spoke no more.

      So past the strong heroic soul away.
    And when they buried him the little port                         910
    Had seldom seen a costlier funeral.



THE REVENGE


A BALLAD OF THE FLEET


    I

    At Flores in the Azores[225] Sir Richard Grenville lay,
    And a pinnace like a flutter'd bird, came flying from far away:
    'Spanish ships of war at sea! we have sighted fifty-three!'
    Then sware Lord Thomas Howard[226]: 'Fore God I am no coward;
    But I cannot meet them here, for my ships are out of gear,         5
    And the half my men are sick. I must fly, but follow quick.
    We are six ships of the line; can we fight with fifty-three?'


    II

    Then spake Sir Richard Grenville: 'I know you are no coward;
    You fly them for a moment to fight with them again.
    But I've ninety men and more that are lying sick ashore.          10
    I should count myself the coward if I left them, my Lord Howard,
    To these Inquisition[227] dogs and the devildoms of Spain.'


    III

    So Lord Howard passed away with five ships of war that day,
    Till he melted like a cloud in the silent summer heaven;
    But Sir Richard bore in hand all his sick men from the land       15
    Very carefully and slow,
    Men of Bideford[228] in Devon,
    And we laid them on the ballast down below;
    For we brought them all aboard,
    And they blest him in their pain, that they were not left to
        Spain,                                                        20
    To the thumbscrew[229] and the stake[230] for the glory of the
        Lord.


    IV

    He had only a hundred seamen to work the ship and to fight
    And he sailed away from Flores till the Spaniard came in sight,
    With his huge sea-castles heaving upon the weather bow.
    'Shall we fight or shall we fly?                                  25
    Good Sir Richard, tell us now,
    For to fight is but to die!
    There'll be little of us left by the time this sun be set.'
    And Sir Richard said again, 'We be all good English men.
    Let us bang these dogs of Seville,[231] the children of the
        devil,                                                        30
    For I never turn'd my back upon Don[232] or devil yet.'


    V

    Sir Richard spoke and he laugh'd, and we roar'd a hurrah, and so
    The little Revenge ran on sheer into the heart of the foe,
    With her hundred fighters on deck, and her ninety sick below;
    For half of her fleet to the right and half to the left were
        seen,                                                         35
    And the little Revenge ran on thro' the long sea-lane between.


    VI

    Thousands of their soldiers look'd down from their decks and
        laugh'd,
    Thousands of their seamen made mock at the mad little craft
    Running on and on, till delay'd
    By their mountain-like San Philip that, of fifteen hundred
        tons,                                                         40
    And up-shadowing high above us with her yawning tiers of guns,
    Took the breath from our sails, and we stay'd.


    VII

    And while now the great San Philip hung above us like a cloud
    Whence the thunderbolt will fall Long and loud,                   45
    Four galleons[233] drew away
    From the Spanish fleet that day,
    And two upon the larboard and two upon the starboard lay,
    And the battle-thunder broke from them all.


    VIII

    But anon the great San Philip, she bethought herself and went     50
    Having that within her womb that had left her ill content;
    And the rest they came aboard us, and they fought us hand to hand,
    For a dozen times they came with their pikes and musqueteers,
    And a dozen times we shook 'em off as a dog that shakes his ears
    When he leaps from the water to the land.                         55


    IX

    And the sun went down, and the stars came out far over
        the summer sea,
    But never a moment ceased the fight of the one and
        the fifty-three.
    Ship after ship, the whole night long, their high-built
        galleons came,
    Ship after ship, the whole night long, with her battle-thunder
        and flame;
    Ship after ship, the whole night long, drew back with
        her dead and her shame.                                       60
    For some were sunk and many were shatter'd, and so
        could fight us no more--
    God of battles, was ever a battle like this in the world
        before?


    X

    For he said, 'Fight on! fight on!'
    Tho' his vessel was all but a wreck;
    And it chanced that, when half of the short summer night was
        gone,                                                         65
    With a grisly wound to be drest he had left the deck,
    But a bullet struck him that was dressing it suddenly dead,
    And himself he was wounded again in the side and the head,
    And he said 'Fight on! fight on!'


    XI

    And the night went down, and the sun smiled out far
        over the summer sea,                                          70
    And the Spanish fleet with broken sides lay round us all
        in a ring;
    But they dared not touch us again, for they fear'd that
        we still could sting,
    So they watch'd what the end would be.
    And we had not fought them in vain,
    But in perilous plight were we,                                   75
    Seeing forty of our poor hundred were slain,
    And half of the rest of us maim'd for life
    In the crash of the cannonades and the desperate strife;
    And the sick men down in the hold were most of them stark and
        cold,
    And the pikes were all broken or bent, and the powder
        was all of it spent;                                          80
    And the masts and the rigging were lying over the side;
    But Sir Richard cried in his English pride,
    'We have fought such a fight for a day and a night
    As may never be fought again!
    We have won great glory, my men!                                  85
    And a day less or more
    At sea or ashore,
    We die--does it matter when?
    Sink me the ship, Master Gunner--sink her, split her in twain!
    Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!'         90


    XII

    And the gunner said 'Ay, ay,' but the seamen made reply:
    'We have children, we have wives,
    And the Lord hath spared our lives.
    We will make the Spaniard promise, if we yield, to let us go;
    We shall live to fight again and to strike another blow.'         95
    And the lion there lay dying, and they yielded to the foe.


    XIII

    And the stately Spanish men to their flagship bore him then
    Where they laid him by the mast, old Sir Richard caught at last,
    And they praised him to his face with their courtly foreign
        grace;
    But he rose upon their decks, and he cried:                      100
    'I have fought for Queen and Faith like a gallant man and true;
    I have only done my duty as a man is bound to do:
    With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville die!'
    And he fell upon their decks, and he died.


    XIV

    And they stared at the dead that had been so valiant and
        true,                                                        105
    And had holden the power and glory of Spain so cheap
    That he dared her with one little ship and his English few;
    Was he devil or man? He was devil for aught they knew,
    But they sank his body with honour down in the deep,
    And they mann'd the Revenge with a swarthy alien crew,           110
    And away she sail'd with her loss and long'd for her own;
    When a wind from the lands they had ruin'd awoke from sleep,
    And the water began to heave and the weather to moan,
    And or ever that evening ended a great gale blew,
    And a wave like the wave that is raised by an earthquake
         grew,                                                       115
    Till it smote on their hulls and their sails and their
        masts and their flags,
    And the whole sea plunged and fell on the shot-shatter'd navy
        of Spain,
    And the little Revenge herself went down by the island crags
    To be lost evermore in the main.



ROBERT BROWNING

"HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX."


[16--]

    I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;
    I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
    "Good speed!" cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;
    "Speed!" echoed the wall to us galloping through;
    Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,                  5
    And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

    Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace
    Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
    I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
    Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique[234] right,        10
    Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit,
    Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

    'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
    Lokeren,[235] the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
    At Boom,[236] a great yellow star came out to see;                15
    At Düffeld,[237] 'twas morning as plain as could be;
    And from Mecheln[238] church-steeple we heard the half-chime,
    So Joris broke silence with, "Yet there is time!"

    At Aershot,[239] up leaped of a sudden the sun,
    And against him the cattle stood black every one,                 20
    To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
    And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
    With resolute shoulders, each butting away
    The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray:

    And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back          25
    For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
    And one eye's black intelligence,--ever that glance
    O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance!
    And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and anon
    His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.                    30

    By Hasselt,[240] Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur!
    Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her,
    We'll remember at Aix"--for one heard the quick wheeze
    Of her chest, saw the stretched neck and staggering knees,
    And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,                   35
    As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

    So, we were left galloping, Joris and I,
    Past Looz[241] and past Tongres,[242] no cloud in the sky;
    The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
    'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright stubble like chaff;      40
    Till over by Dalhem[243] a dome-spire sprang white,
    And "Gallop," gasped Joris, "for Aix is in sight!"

    "How they'll greet us!"--and all in a moment his roan
    Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
    And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight                  45
    Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,[244]
    With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
    And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.

    Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall.
    Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,                50
    Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear,
    Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer;
    Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise, bad or good,
    Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.
    And all I remember is--friends flocking round                     55
    As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
    And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
    As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
    Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
    Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.        60



INCIDENT OF THE FRENCH CAMP

    You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:
      A mile or so away,
    On a little mound, Napoleon
      Stood on our storming-day;
    With neck out-thrust,[245] you fancy how,                          5
      Legs wide, arms locked behind,
    As if to balance the prone brow
      Oppressive with its mind.

    Just as perhaps he mused[246] "My plans
      That soar, to earth may fall,                                   10
    Let once my army-leader Lannes[247]
      Waver at yonder wall,"--
    Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew
      A rider, bound on bound
    Full-galloping; nor bridle drew                                   15
      Until he reached the mound.

    Then off there flung in smiling joy,
      And held himself erect
    By just his horse's mane, a boy:
      You hardly could suspect--                                      20
    (So tight he kept his lips compressed,
      Scarce any blood came through)
    You looked twice ere you saw his breast
      Was all but shot in two.

    "Well," cried he, "Emperor, by God's grace                        25
      We've got you Ratisbon!
    The Marshal's in the market-place,
      And you'll be there anon
    To see your flag-bird[248] flap his vans
      Where I, to heart's desire,                                     30
    Perched him!" The chief's eye flashed; his plans
      Soared up again like fire.

    The chief's eye flashed; but presently
      Softened itself, as sheathes
    A film the mother-eagle's eye                                     35
      When her bruised eaglet breathes;
    "You're wounded!" "Nay," the soldier's pride
      Touched to the quick, he said:
    "I'm killed, Sire!" And his chief beside,
      Smiling the boy fell dead.                                      40



THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN

A CHILD'S STORY

(Written for, and inscribed to, W. M. the Younger)


    I

      Hamelin[249] Town's in Brunswick,
    By famous Hanover city;
      The river Weser, deep and wide,
      Washes its wall on the southern side;
      A pleasanter spot you never spied;                               5
    But when begins my ditty,
      Almost five hundred years ago,
      To see the townsfolk suffer so
        From vermin, was a pity.


    II

      Rats!                                                           10
    They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
      And bit the babies in the cradles,
    And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
      And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles,
    Split open the kegs of salted sprats,                             15
    Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
    And even spoiled the women's chats
      By drowning their speaking
      With shrieking and squeaking
    In fifty different sharps and flats.                              20


    III

    At last the people in a body
      To the Town Hall came flocking:
      "'Tis clear," cried they, "our Mayor's a noddy;
      And as for our Corporation--shocking
    To think we buy gowns lined with ermine                           25
    For dolts that can't or won't determine
    What's best to rid us of our vermin!
    You hope, because you're old and obese,
    To find in the furry civic robe ease?
    Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking                        30
    To find the remedy we're lacking,
    Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!"
    At this the Mayor and Corporation
    Quaked with a mighty consternation.


    IV

    An hour they sat in council;                                      35
      At length the Mayor broke silence:
    "For a guilder[250] I'd my ermine gown sell,
      I wish I were a mile hence!
    It's easy to bid one rack one's brain--
    I'm sure my poor head aches again,                                40
    I've scratched it so, and all in vain.
    O for a trap, a trap, a trap!"
    Just as he said this, what should hap
    At the chamber-door but a gentle tap?
    "Bless us," cried the Mayor, "what's that?"                       45
    (With the Corporation as he sat,
    Looking little though wondrous fat;
    Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
    Than a too-long-opened oyster,
    Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous                        50
    For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
    "Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
    Anything like the sound of a rat
    Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!"


    V

    "Come in!" the Mayor cried, looking bigger:                       55
    And in did come the strangest figure!
    His queer long coat from heel to head
    Was half of yellow and half of red,
    And he himself was tall and thin,
    With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,                            60
    And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin,
    No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
    But lips where smiles went out and in;
    There was no guessing his kith and kin:
    And nobody could enough admire                                    65
    The tall man and his quaint attire.
    Quoth one: "It's as my great grandsire,
    Starting up at the Trump of Doom's[251] tone,
    Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!"


    VI

    He advanced to the council-table:                                 70
    And, "Please your honors," said he, "I'm able,
    By means of a secret charm, to draw
    All creatures living beneath the sun,
    That creep or swim or fly or run,
    After me so as you never saw!                                     75
    And I chiefly use my charm
    On creatures that do people harm,
    The mole and toad and newt and viper;
    And people call me the Pied Piper."[252]
    (And here they noticed round his neck                             80
    A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
    To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;
    And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
    And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
    As if impatient to be playing                                     85
    Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
    Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
    "Yet," said he, "poor piper as I am,
    In Tartary I freed the Cham,[253]
    Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats;                         90
    I eased in Asia the Nizam[254]
    Of a monstrous brood of vampire-bats:
    And as for what your brain bewilders,
    If I can rid your town of rats
    Will you give me a thousand guilders?"                            95
    "One? fifty thousand!"--was the exclamation
    Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.


    VII

    Into the street the Piper stept,
      Smiling first a little smile,
    As if he knew what magic slept                                   100
      In his quiet pipe the while;
    Then, like a musical adept,
    To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
    And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
    Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;                     105
    And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
    You heard as if an army muttered;
    And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
    And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
    And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.                    110
    Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
    Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,
    Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
      Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
    Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,                             115
      Families by tens and dozens,
    Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives--
    Followed the Piper for their lives.
    From street to street he piped advancing,
    And step by step they followed dancing,                          120
    Until they came to the river Weser,
    Wherein all plunged and perished!
    --Save one who, stout as Julius Cæsar,[255]
    Swam across and lived to carry
    (As he, the manuscript he cherished)                             125
    To rat-land home his commentary[256]:
    Which was, "At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
    I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
    And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
    Into a cider-press's gripe:                                      130
    And a moving away of pickle-tub boards,
    And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
    And a drawing the corks of train-oil flasks,
    And a breaking the hoops of butter casks:
    And it seemed as if a voice                                      135
    (Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
    Is breathed) called out, 'O rats, rejoice!
    The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
    So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
    Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'                            140
    And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
    Already staved, like a great sun shone
    Glorious scarce an inch before me,
    Just as methought it said, 'Come, bore me!'
    --I found the Weser rolling o'er me."                            145


    VIII

    You should have heard the Hamelin people
    Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple.
    "Go," cried the Mayor, "and get long poles,
    Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
    Consult with carpenters and builders,                            150
    And leave in our town not even a trace
    Of the rats!"--when suddenly, up the face
    Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
    With a, "First, if you please, my thousand guilders!"


    IX

    A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;                      155
    So did the Corporation too.
    For council dinners made rare havoc
    With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
    And half the money would replenish
    Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.                        160
    To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
    With a gypsy coat of red and yellow!
    "Beside," quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
    "Our business was done at the river's brink;
    We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,                            165
    And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
    So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
    From the duty of giving you something for drink,
    And a matter of money to put in your poke[257];
    But as for the guilders, what we spoke                           170
    Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
    Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
    A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!"


    X

    The Piper's face fell, and he cried;
    "No trifling! I can't wait, beside!                              175
    I've promised to visit by dinner time
    Bagdat, and accept the prime
    Of the Head-Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
    For having left, in the Caliph's kitchen,
    Of a nest of scorpions no survivor:                              180
    With him I proved no bargain-driver,
    With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver[258]!
    And folks who put me in a passion
    May find me pipe after another fashion."


    XI

    "How?" cried the Mayor, "d'ye think I brook                      185
    Being worse treated than a Cook?
    Insulted by a lazy ribald
    With idle pipe and vesture piebald[259]?
    You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
    Blow your pipe there till you burst!"                            190


    XII

    Once more he stept into the street,
      And to his lips again
    Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
      And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
    Soft notes as yet musician's cunning                             195
      Never gave the enraptured air)
    There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
    Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling;
    Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
    Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,             200
    And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
    Out came the children running.
    All the little boys and girls,
    With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
    And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,                        205
    Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
    The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.


    XIII

    The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
    As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
    Unable to move a step, or cry                                    210
    To the children merrily skipping by,
    --Could only follow with the eye
    That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
    But how the Mayor was on the rack,
    And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,                          215
    As the Piper turned from the High Street
    To where the Weser rolled its waters
    Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
    However, he turned from South to West,
    And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,                      220
    And after him the children pressed;
    Great was the joy in every breast.
    "He never can cross that mighty top!
    He's forced to let the piping drop,
    And we shall see our children stop!"                             225
    When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
    A wondrous portal opened wide,
    As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
    And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
    And when all were in to the very last,                           230
    The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
    Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
    And could not dance the whole of the way;
    And in after years, if you would blame
    His sadness, he was used to say,--                               235
    "It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
    I can't forget that I'm bereft
    Of all the pleasant sights they see,
    Which the Piper also promised me.
    For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,                        240
    Joining the town and just at hand,
    Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew
    And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
    And everything was strange and new;
    The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,                   245
    And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
    And honey-bees had lost their stings,
    And horses were born with eagles' wings:
    And just as I became assured
    My lame foot would be speedily cured,                            250
    The music stopped and I stood still,
    And found myself outside the hill,
    Left alone against my will,
    To go now limping as before,
    And never hear of that country more!"                            255


    XIV

    Alas, alas! for Hamelin!
      There came into many a burgher's pate
      A text which says that heaven's gate
      Opes to the rich at as easy rate
    As the needle's eye[260] takes a camel in!                       260
    The Mayor sent East, West, North, and South,
    To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
      Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
    Silver and gold to his heart's content,
    If he'd only return the way he went,                             265
      And bring the children behind him.
    But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavor,
    And Piper and dancers were gone forever,
    They made a decree that lawyers never
      Should think their records dated duly                          270
    If, after the day of the month and year,
    These words did not as well appear,
    "And so long after what happened here
      On the Twenty-second of July,
    Thirteen hundred and seventy-six:"                               275
    And the better in memory to fix
    The place of the children's last retreat,
    They called it the Pied Piper's Street--
    Where any one playing on pipe or tabor
    Was sure for the future to lose his labor.                       280
    Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
      To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
    But opposite the place of the cavern
      They wrote the story on a column,
    And on the great church-window painted                           285
    The same, to make the world acquainted
    How their children were stolen away,
    And there it stands to this very day.
    And I must not omit to say
    That in Transylvania there's a tribe                             290
    Of alien people who ascribe
    The outlandish ways and dress
    On which their neighbors lay such stress,
    To their fathers and mothers having risen
    Out of some subterraneous prison                                 295
    Into which they were trepanned
    Long time ago in a mighty band
    Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
    But how or why, they don't understand.


    XV

    So, Willy, let me and you be wipers                              300
    Of scores out with all men--especially pipers!
    And, whether they pipe us free fróm rats or fróm mice,
    If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise!



HERVÉ RIEL


    I

    On the sea and at the Hogue,[260] sixteen hundred ninety-two,
      Did the English fight the French,--woe to France!
    And, the thirty-first of May, helter-skelter through the blue,
    Like a crowd of frightened porpoises a shoal of sharks pursue,
      Came crowding ship on ship to Saint Malo on the Rance,[261]      5
    With the English fleet in view.


    II

    'Twas the squadron that escaped, with the victor in full chase;
      First and foremost of the drove, in his great ship, Damfreville.
        Close on him fled, great and small,
        Twenty-two good ships in all;                                 10
    And they signalled to the place
    "Help the winners of a race!
      Get us guidance, give us harbor, take us quick--or, quicker
        still,
    Here's the English can and will!"


    III

    Then the pilots of the place put out brisk and leapt on board;    15
      "Why, what hope or chance have ships like these
         to pass?" laughed they:
    "Rocks to starboard, rocks to port, all the passage scarred and
        scored,
    Shall the 'Formidable' here with her twelve and eighty guns
      Think to make the river-mouth by the single narrow way,
    Trust to enter where 'tis ticklish for a craft of twenty tons,    20
        And with flow at full beside?
        Now, 'tis slackest ebb of tide.
      Reach the mooring? Rather say,
    While rock stands or water runs,
      Not a ship will leave the bay!"                                 25


    IV

    Then was called a council straight,
    Brief and bitter the debate:
    "Here's the English at our heels; would you have them take in tow
    All that's left us of the fleet, linked together stern and bow,
    For a prize to Plymouth Sound[262]?                               30
    Better run the ships aground!"
      (Ended Damfreville his speech.)
    "Not a minute more to wait!
      Let the Captains all and each
      Shove ashore, then blow up, burn the vessels on the beach!      35
    France must undergo her fate.


    V

    "Give the word!" But no such word
    Was ever spoke or heard;
      For up stood, for out stepped, for in struck amid all these
    --A Captain? A Lieutenant? A Mate--first, second, third?          40
        No such man of mark, and meet
        With his betters to compete!
        But a simple Breton sailor pressed[263] by Tourville[264]
                 for the fleet,
    A poor coasting-pilot he, Hervé Riel the Croisickese.[265]


    VI

    And "What mockery or malice have we here?" cries Hervé Riel:      45
      "Are you mad, you Malouins? Are you cowards, fools, or rogues?
    Talk to me of rocks and shoals, me who took the soundings, tell
    On my fingers every bank, every shallow, every swell,
      'Twixt the offing here and Grève where the river disembogues?
    Are you bought by English gold? Is it love the lying's for?       50
        Morn and eve, night and day,
        Have I piloted your bay,
    Entered free and anchored fast at the foot of Solidor.
      Burn the fleet and ruin France? That were worse than fifty
           Hogues!
        Sirs, they know I speak the truth! Sirs, believe
                    me there's a way!                                 55
    Only let me lead the line,
      Have the biggest ship to steer,
        Get this 'Formidable' clear,
    Make the others follow mine,
    And I lead them, most and least, by a passage I know well,        60
      Right to Solidor past Grève,
        And there lay them safe and sound;
        And if one ship misbehave,
        --Keel so much as grate the ground,
    Why, I've nothing but my life,--here's my head!" cries
        Hervé Riel.                                                   65


    VII

    Not a minute more to wait.
      "Steer us in, then, small and great!
      Take the helm, lead the line, save the squadron!" cried its
        chief.
    Captains, give the sailor place!
      He is Admiral, in brief.                                        70
    Still the north-wind, by God's grace!
    See the noble fellow's face
    As the big ship, with a bound,
    Clears the entry like a hound,
    Keeps the passage as its inch of way were the wide sea's
        profound!                                                     75
      See, safe through shoal and rock,
      How they follow in a flock,
    Not a ship that misbehaves, not a keel that grates the ground,
      Not a spar that comes to grief!
    The peril, see, is past,                                          80
    All are harbored to the last,
    And just as Hervé Riel hollas "Anchor!"--sure as fate,
    Up the English come--too late!


    VIII

    So, the storm subsides to calm:
      They see the green trees wave                                   85
      On the heights o'erlooking Grève.
    Hearts that bled are stanched with balm.
    "Just our rapture to enhance,
      Let the English rake the bay,
    Gnash their teeth and glare askance                               90
      As they cannonade away!
    'Neath rampired Solidor pleasant riding on the Rance!"
    How hope succeeds despair on each Captain's countenance!
    Out burst all with one accord,
      "This is Paradise for Hell!                                     95
      Let France, let France's King
      Thank the man that did the thing!"
    What a shout, and all one word,
      "Hervé Riel!"
    As he stepped in front once more,                                100
      Not a symptom of surprise
      In the frank blue Breton eyes,
    Just the same man as before.


    IX

    Then said Damfreville, "My friend,
    I must speak out at the end,                                     105
      Though I find the speaking hard.
    Praise is deeper than the lips:
    You have saved the King his ships,
      You must name your own reward.
    'Faith, our sun was near eclipse!                                110
    Demand whate'er you will,
    France remains your debtor still.
    Ask to heart's content and have! or my name's not Damfreville."


    X

    Then a beam of fun outbroke
    On the bearded mouth that spoke,                                 115
    As the honest heart laughed through
    Those frank eyes of Breton blue:
    "Since I needs must say my say,
      Since on board the duty's done,
      And from Malo Roads to Croisic Point, what is it but
        a run?--                                                     120
    Since 'tis ask and have, I may--
      Since the others go ashore--
    Come! A good whole holiday!
      Leave to go and see my wife, whom I call the Belle Aurore!"
      That he asked and that he got,--nothing more.                  125


    XI

    Name and deed alike are lost:
    Not a pillar nor a post
      In his Croisic keeps alive the feat as it befell;
    Not a head in white and black
    On a single fishing smack,                                       130
    In memory of the man but for whom had gone to wrack
      All that France saved from the fight whence England bore
        the bell.
    Go to Paris: rank on rank
      Search the heroes flung pell-mell
    On the Louvre, face and flank!                                   135
      You shall look long enough ere you come to Hervé Riel.
    So, for better and for worse,
    Hervé Riel, accept my verse!
    In my verse, Hervé Riel, do thou once more
    Save the squadron, honor France, love thy wife the
        Belle Aurore!                                                140



DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI


THE WHITE SHIP

Henry I[266] of England--25th Nov., 1120

    By none but me can the tale be told,
    The butcher of Rouen,[267] poor Berold.
      (_Lands are swayed by a king on a throne._)
    'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
    Yet the tale can be told by none but me.                           5
      (_The sea hath no king but God alone._)

    King Henry held it as life's whole gain
    That after his death his son should reign.

    'Twas so in my youth I heard men say,
    And my old age calls it back to-day.                              10

    King Henry of England's realm was he,
    And Henry Duke of Normandy.

    The times had changed when on either coast
    "Clerkly Harry" was all his boast.[268]

    Of ruthless[269] strokes full many an one                         15
    He had struck to crown himself and his son;
    And his elder brother's eyes were gone.[270]

    And when to the chase his court would crowd,
    The poor flung ploughshares on his road,
    And shrieked: "Our cry is from King to God!"                      20

    But all the chiefs of the English land
    Had knelt and kissed the Prince's hand.

    And next with his son he sailed to France
    To claim the Norman allegiance:

    And every baron in Normandy                                       25
    Had taken the oath of fealty.[271]

    'Twas sworn and sealed, and the day had come
    When the King and the Prince might journey home:

    For Christmas cheer is to home hearts dear,
    And Christmas now was drawing near.                               30

    Stout Fitz-Stephen came to the King,--
    A pilot famous in seafaring;

    And he held to the King in all men's sight,
    A mark of gold for his tribute's right.

    "Liege[272] Lord! my father guided the ship                       35
    From whose boat your father's[273] foot did slip
    When he caught the English soil in his grip,

    "And cried: 'By this clasp I claim command
    O'er every rood[274] of English land!'

    "He was borne to the realm you rule o'er now                      40
    In that ship with the archer carved at her prow:

    "And thither I'll bear an' it be my due,
    Your father's son and his grandson too.

    "The famed White Ship is mine in the bay;
    From Harfleur's harbor[275] she sails to-day,                     45

    "With masts fair-pennoned as Norman spears
    And with fifty well-tried mariners."

    Quoth the King: "My ships are chosen each one,
    But I'll not say nay to Stephen's son.

    "My son and daughter and fellowship                               50
    Shall cross the water in the White Ship."

    The King set sail with the eve's south wind,
    And soon he left that coast behind.

    The Prince and all his, a princely show,
    Remained in the good White Ship to go.                            55

    With noble knights and with ladies fair,
    With courtiers and sailors gathered there,
    Three hundred living souls we were:

    And I Berold was the meanest hind[276]
    In all that train to the Prince assign'd.                         60

    The Prince was a lawless shameless youth;
    From his father's loins he sprang without ruth:

    Eighteen years till then had he seen,
    And the devil's dues in him were eighteen.

    And now he cried: "Bring wine from below;                         65
    Let the sailors revel ere yet they row:

    "Our speed shall o'ertake my father's flight
    Though we sail from the harbor at midnight."

    The rowers made good cheer without check;
    The lords and ladies obeyed his beck;                             70
    The night was light and they danced on the deck.

    But at midnight's stroke they cleared the bay,
    And the White Ship furrowed the water-way.

    The sails were set, and the oars kept tune
    To the double flight of the ship and the moon:                    75

    Swifter and swifter the White Ship sped
    Till she flew as the spirit flies from the dead:

    As white as a lily glimmered she
    Like a ship's fair ghost upon the sea.

    And the Prince cried, "Friends, 'tis the hour to sing!            80
    Is a songbird's course so swift on the wing?"

    And under the winter stars' still throng,
    From brown throats, white throats, merry and strong,
    The knights and the ladies raised a song.

    A song,--nay, a shriek that rent the sky,                         85
    That leaped o'er the deep!--the grievous cry
    Of three hundred living that now must die.

    An instant shriek that sprang to the shock
    As the ship's keel felt the sunken rock.

    'Tis said that afar--a shrill strange sigh--                      90
    The King's ships heard it and knew not why.

    Pale Fitz-Stephen stood by the helm
    'Mid all those folk that the waves must whelm.

    A great King's heir for the waves to whelm
    And the helpless pilot pale at the helm!                          95

    The ship was eager and sucked athirst,
    By the stealthy stab of the sharp reef pierced,

    And like the moil[277] round a sinking cup,
    The waters against her crowded up.

    A moment the pilot's senses spin,--                              100
    The next he snatched the Prince 'mid the din,
    Cut the boat loose, and the youth leaped in.

    A few friends leaped with him, standing near.
    "Row! the sea's smooth and the night is clear!"

    "What! none to be saved but these and I?"                        105
    "Row, row as you'd live! All here must die!"

    Out of the churn of the choking ship,
    Which the gulf grapples and the waves strip,
    They struck with the strained oars' flash and dip.

    'Twas then o'er the splitting bulwarks' brim                     110
    The Prince's sister screamed to him.

    He gazed aloft still rowing apace,
    And through the whirled surf he knew her face.

    To the toppling decks clave one and all
    As a fly cleaves to a chamber-wall.                              115

    I Berold was clinging anear;
    I prayed for myself and quaked with fear,
    But I saw his eyes as he looked at her.

    He knew her face and he heard her cry,
    And he said, "Put back! she must not die!"                       120

    And back with the current's force they reel
    Like a leaf that's drawn to a water-wheel.

    'Neath the ship's travail they scarce might float,
    But he rose and stood in the rocking boat.

    Low the poor ship leaned on the tide:                            125
    O'er the naked keel as she best might slide,
    The sister toiled to the brother's side.

    He reached an oar to her from below,
    And stiffened his arms to clutch her so.                         130
    And "Saved!" was the cry from many a throat.

    And down to the boat they leaped and fell:
    It turned as a bucket turns in a well,
    And nothing was there but the surge and swell.

    The Prince that was and the King to come,                        135
    There in an instant gone to his doom,

    In spite of all England's bended knee
    And maugre[278] the Norman fealty!

    He was a Prince of lust and pride;
    He showed no grace till the hour he died.                        140

    When he should be king, he oft would vow,
    He'd yoke the peasant to his own plough.
    O'er him the ships score their furrows now.

    God only knows where his soul did wake,
    But I saw him die for his sister's sake.                         145

    By none but me can the tale be told,
    The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.
    (_Lands are swayed by a king on a throne._)

    'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
    Yet the tale can be told by none but me.                         150
    (_The sea hath no king but God alone._)

    And now the end came o'er the waters' womb
    Like the last great Day that's yet to come.

    With prayers in vain and curses in vain,
    The White Ship sundered on the mid-main:                         155

    And what were men and what was a ship
    Were toys and splinters in the sea's grip.

    I Berold was down in the sea;
    And passing strange though the thing may be,
    Of dreams then known I remember me.                              160

    Blithe is the shout on Harfleur's strand
    When morning lights the sails to land:

    And blithe is Honfleur's[279] echoing gloam
    When mothers call the children home:

    And high do the bells of Rouen beat                              165
    When the Body of Christ[280] goes down the street.

    These things and the like were heard and shown
    In a moment's trance 'neath the sea alone;

    And when I rose, 'twas the sea did seem,
    And not these things, to be all a dream.                         170

    The ship was gone and the crowd was gone,
    And the deep shuddered and the moon shone:

    And in a strait grasp my arms did span
    The mainyard rent from the mast where it ran;
    And on it with me was another man.                               175

    Where lands were none 'neath the dim sea-sky,
    We told our names, that man and I.

    "O I am Godefroy l'Aigle hight,[281]
    And son I am to a belted knight."

    "And I am Berold the butcher's son                               180
    Who slays the beasts in Rouen town."

    Then cried we upon God's name, as we
    Did drift on the bitter winter sea.

    But lo! a third man rose o'er the wave,
    And we said, "Thank God! us three may He save!"                  185

    He clutched to the yard with panting stare,
    And we looked and knew Fitz-Stephen there.

    He clung, and "What of the Prince?" quoth he.
    "Lost, lost!" we cried. He cried, "Woe on me!"
    And loosed his hold and sank through the sea.                    190

    And soul with soul again in that space
    We two were together face to face:

    And each knew each, as the moment sped,
    Less for one living than for one dead:

    And every still star overhead                                    195
    Seemed an eye that knew we were but dead.

    And the hours passed; till the noble's son
    Sighed, "God be thy help! my strength's foredone[282]!

    "O farewell, friend, for I can no more!"
    "Christ take thee!" I moaned; and his life was o'er.             200

    Three hundred souls were all lost but one,
    And I drifted over the sea alone.

    At last the morning rose on the sea
    Like an angel's wing that beat tow'ds me.

    Sore numbed I was in my sheepskin coat;                          205
    Half dead I hung, and might nothing note,
    Till I woke sun-warmed in a fisher-boat.

    The sun was high o'er the eastern brim
    As I praised God and gave thanks to Him.

    That day I told my tale to a priest,                             210
    Who charged me, till the shrift[283] were releas'd,
    That I should keep it in mine own breast.

    And with the priest I thence did fare
    To King Henry's court at Winchester.[284]

    We spoke with the King's high chamberlain,                       215
    And he wept and mourned again and again,
    As if his own son had been slain:

    And round us ever there crowded fast
    Great men with faces all aghast:

    And who so bold that might tell the thing                        220
    Which now they knew to their lord the King?
    Much woe I learned in their communing.

    The King had watched with a heart sore stirred
    For two whole days, and this was the third:

    And still to all his court would he say,                         225
    "What keeps my son so long away?"

    And they said: "The ports lie far and wide
    That skirt the swell of the English tide;

    "And English cliffs are not more white
    Than her women are, and scarce so light                          230
    Her skies as their eyes are blue and bright;

    "And in some port that he reached from France
    The Prince has lingered for his pleasaunce."[285]

    But once the King asked: "What distant cry
    Was that we heard 'twixt the sea and sky?"                       235

    And one said: "With suchlike shouts, pardie[286]
    Do the fishers fling their nets at sea."

    And one: "Who knows not the shrieking quest
    When the sea-mew misses its young from its nest?"

    'Twas thus till now they had soothed his dread                   240
    Albeit they knew not what they said:

    But who should speak to-day of the thing
    That all knew there except the King?

    Then pondering much they found a way,
    And met round the King's high seat that day.                     245

    And the King sat with a heart sore stirred,
    And seldom he spoke and seldom heard.

    'Twas then through the hall the King was 'ware
    Of a little boy with golden hair,

    As bright as the golden poppy is                                 250
    That the beach breeds for the surf to kiss:

    Yet pale his cheek as the thorn in Spring,
    And his garb black like the raven's wing.

    Nothing heard but his foot through the hall,
    For now the lords were silent all.                               255

    And the King wondered, and said, "Alack!
    Who sends me a fair boy dressed in black?

    "Why, sweet heart, do you pace through the hall
    As though my court were a funeral?"

    Then lowly knelt the child at the dais,[287]                     260
    And looked up weeping in the King's face.

    "O wherefore black, O King, ye may say,
    For white is the hue of death to-day.

    "Your son and all his fellowship
    Lie low in the sea with the White Ship."                         265

    King Henry fell as a man struck dead;
    And speechless still he stared from his bed
    When to him next day my rede[288] I read.

    There's many an hour must needs beguile
    A King's high heart that he should smile,--                      270

    Full many a lordly hour, full fain
    Of his realm's rule and pride of his reign:--

    But this King never smiled again.

    By none but me can the tale be told,
    The butcher of Rouen, poor Berold.                               275
      (_Lands are swayed by a king on a throne._)
    'Twas a royal train put forth to sea,
    Yet the tale can be told by none but me.
      (_The sea hath no king but God alone._)



WILLIAM MORRIS


ATALANTA'S RACE

ARGUMENT

    Atalanta, daughter of King Schoeneus, not willing to lose
      her virgin's estate, made it a law to all suitors that
      they should run a race with her in the public place, and
      if they failed to overcome her should die unrevenged; and
      thus many brave men perished. At last came Milanion, the
      son of Amphidamas, who, outrunning her with the help of
      Venus, gained the virgin and wedded her.

      Through thick Arcadian[289] woods a hunter went,
    Following the beasts up, on a fresh spring day;
    But since his horn-tipped bow, but seldom bent,
    Now at the noon-tide naught had happed to slay,
    Within a vale he called his hounds away,                           5
    Hearkening the echoes of his lone voice cling
    About the cliffs and through the beech-trees ring.

      But when they ended, still awhile he stood,
    And but the sweet familiar thrush could hear,
    And all the day-long noises of the wood,                          10
    And o'er the dry leaves of the vanished year
    His hounds' feet pattering as they drew anear,
    And heavy breathing from their heads low hung,
    To see the mighty cornel[290] bow unstrung.

      Then smiling did he turn to leave the place,                    15
    But with his first step some new fleeting thought
    A shadow cast across his sunburnt face;
    I think the golden net that April brought
    From some warm world his wavering soul had caught;
    For, sunk in vague sweet longing, did he go                       20
    Betwixt the trees with doubtful steps and slow.

      Yet howsoever slow he went, at last
    The trees grew sparser, and the wood was done;
    Whereon one farewell, backward look he cast,
    Then, turning round to see what place was won,                    25
    With shaded eyes looked underneath the sun,
    And o'er green meads and new-turned furrows brown
    Beheld the gleaming of King Schoeneus'[291] town.

      So thitherward he turned, and on each side
    The folk were busy on the teeming land,                           30
    And man and maid from the brown furrows cried,
    Or midst the newly blossomed vines did stand,
    And as the rustic weapon pressed the hand
    Thought of the nodding of the well-filled ear,
    Or how the knife the heavy bunch should shear.                    35

      Merry it was: about him sung the birds,
    The spring flowers bloomed along the firm dry road,
    The sleek-skinned mothers of the sharp-horned herds
    Now for the barefoot milking-maidens lowed;
    While from the freshness of his blue abode,                       40
    Glad his death-bearing arrows to forget,
    The broad sun blazed, nor scattered plagues as yet.

      Through such fair things unto the gates he came,
    And found them open, as though peace were there;
    Wherethrough, unquestioned of his race or name,                   45
    He entered, and along the streets 'gan fare,
    Which at the first of folk were wellnigh bare;
    But pressing on, and going more hastily,
    Men hurrying too he 'gan at last to see.

      Following the last of these, he still pressed on,               50
    Until an open space he came unto,
    Where wreaths of fame had oft been lost and won,
    For feats of strength folk there were wont to do.
    And now our hunter looked for something new,
    Because the whole wide space was bare, and stilled                55
    The high seats were, with eager people filled.

      There with the others to a seat he gat,
    Whence he beheld a broidered canopy,
    'Neath which in fair array King Schoeneus sat
    Upon his throne with councillors thereby;                         60
    And underneath this well-wrought seat and high,
    He saw a golden image of the sun,[292]
    A silver image of the Fleet-foot One.[293]

      A brazen altar stood beneath their feet
    Whereon a thin flame flickered in the wind;                       65
    Nigh this a herald clad in raiment meet
    Made ready even now his horn to wind,
    By whom a huge man held a sword, intwined
    With yellow flowers; these stood a little space
    From off the altar, nigh the starting-place.                      70

      And there two runners did the sign abide
    Foot set to foot,--a young man slim and fair,
    Crisp-haired, well-knit, with firm limbs often tried
    In places where no man his strength may spare;
    Dainty his thin coat was, and on his hair                         75
    A golden circlet of renown he wore,
    And in his hand an olive garland bore.

      But on this day with whom shall he contend?
    A maid stood by him like Diana[294] clad
    When in the woods she lists[295] her bow to bend,                 80
    Too fair for one to look on and be glad,
    Who scarcely yet has thirty summer's had,
    If he must still behold her from afar;
    Too fair to let the world live free from war.

      She seemed all earthly matters to forget;                       85
    Of all tormenting lines her face was clear,
    Her wide gray eyes upon the goal were set
    Calm and unmoved as though no soul were near,
    But her foe trembled as a man in fear;
    Nor from her loveliness one moment turned                         90
    His anxious face with fierce desire that burned.

      Now through the hush there broke the trumpet's clang
    Just as the setting sun made eventide.
    Then from light feet a spurt of dust there sprang,
    And swiftly were they running side by side;                       95
    But silent did the thronging folk abide
    Until the turning-post was reached at last,
    And round about it still abreast they passed.

      But when the people saw how close they ran,
    When half-way to the starting-point they were,                   100
    A cry of joy broke forth, whereat the man
    Headed the white-foot runner, and drew near
    Unto the very end of all his fear;
    And scarce his straining feet the ground could feel,
    And bliss unhoped for o'er his heart 'gan steal.                 105

      But midst the loud victorious shouts he heard
    Her footsteps drawing nearer, and the sound
    Of fluttering raiment, and thereat afeard
    His flushed and eager face he turned around,
    And even then he felt her past him bound                         110
    Fleet as the wind, but scarcely saw her there
    Till on the goal she laid her fingers fair.

      There stood she breathing like a little child
    Amid some warlike clamor laid asleep,
    For no victorious joy her red lips smiled;                       115
    Her cheek its wonted freshness did but keep;
    No glance lit up her clear gray eyes and deep,
    Though some divine thought softened all her face
    As once more rang the trumpet through the place.

      But her late foe stopped short amidst his course,              120
    One moment gazed upon her piteously,
    Then with a groan his lingering feet did force
    To leave the spot whence he her eyes could see;
    And, changed like one who knows his time must be
    But short and bitter, without any word                           125
    He knelt before the bearer of the sword;

      Then high rose up the gleaming deadly blade,
    Bared of its flowers, and through the crowded place
    Was silence how, and midst of it the maid
    Went by the poor wretch at a gentle pace,                        130
    And he to hers upturned his sad white face;
    Nor did his eyes behold another sight
    Ere on his soul there fell eternal night.

           *       *       *       *       *

      So was the pageant ended, and all folk,
    Talking of this and that familiar thing                          135
    In little groups from that sad concourse broke,
    For now the shrill bats were upon the wing,
    And soon dark night would slay the evening,
    And in dark gardens sang the nightingale
    Her little-heeded, oft-repeated tale.                            140

      And with the last of all the hunter went,
    Who, wondering at the strange sight he had seen,
    Prayed an old man to tell him what it meant,
    Both why the vanquished man so slain had been,
    And if the maiden were an earthly queen,                         145
    Or rather what much more she seemed to be,
    No sharer in the world's mortality.

      "Stranger," said he, "I pray she soon may die
    Whose lovely youth has slain so many an one!
    King Schoeneus' daughter is she verily,                        150
    Who when her eyes first looked upon the sun
    Was fain to end her life but new begun,
    For he had vowed to leave but men alone
    Sprung from his loins when he from earth was gone.

      "Therefore he bade one leave her in the wood,                  155
    And let wild things deal with her as they might,
    But this being done, some cruel god thought good
    To save her beauty in the world's despite:
    Folk say that her, so delicate and white
    As now she is, a rough, root-grubbing bear                       160
    Amidst her shapeless cubs at first did rear.

      "In course of time the woodfolk slew her nurse,
    And to their rude abode the youngling brought,
    And reared her up to be a kingdom's curse,
    Who grown a woman, of no kingdom thought,                        165
    But armed and swift, 'mid beasts destruction wrought,
    Nor spared two shaggy centaur kings to slay,
    To whom her body seemed an easy prey.

      "So to this city, led by fate, she came
    Whom known by signs, whereof I cannot tell,                      170
    King Schoeneus for his child at last did claim,
    Nor otherwise since that day doth she dwell,
    Sending too many a noble soul to hell.--
    What! thine eyes glisten! what then, thinkest thou
    Her shining head unto the yoke to bow?                           175

      "Listen, my son, and love some other maid,
    For she the saffron gown[296] will never wear,
    And on no flower-strewn couch shall she be laid,
    Nor shall her voice make glad a lover's ear:
    Yet if of Death thou hast not any fear,                          180
    Yea, rather, if thou lovest him utterly,
    Thou still may'st woo her ere thou comest to die,

      "Like him that on this day thou sawest lie dead;
    For, fearing as I deem the sea-born one,[297]
    The maid has vowed e'en such a man to wed                        185
    As in the course her swift feet can outrun,
    But whoso fails herein, his days are done:
    He came the nighest that was slain to-day,
    Although with him I deem she did but play.

      "Behold, such mercy Atalanta gives                             190
    To those that long to win her loveliness;
    Be wise! be sure that many a maid there lives
    Gentler than she, of beauty little less,
    Whose swimming eyes thy loving words shall bless,
    When in some garden, knee set close to knee,                     195
    Thou sing'st the song that love may teach to thee."

      So to the hunter spake that ancient man,
    And left him for his own home presently:
    But he turned round, and through the moonlight wan
    Reached the thick wood, and there, 'twixt tree and tree          200
    Distraught he passed the long night feverishly,
    'Twixt sleep and waking, and at dawn arose
    To wage hot war against his speechless foes.

      There to the hart's flank seemed his shaft to grow,
    As panting down the broad green glades he flew,                  205
    There by his horn the Dryads[298] well might know
    His thrust against the bear's heart had been true,
    And there Adonis' bane[299] his javelin slew,
    But still in vain through rough and smooth he went,
    For none the more his restlessness was spent.                    210

      So wandering, he to Argive[300] cities came,
    And in the lists with valiant men he stood,
    And by great deeds he won him praise and fame,
    And heaps of wealth for little-valued blood;
    But none of all these things, or life, seemed good               215
    Unto his heart, where still unsatisfied
    A ravenous longing warred with fear and pride.

      Therefore it happed when but a month had gone
    Since he had left King Schoeneus' city old,
    In hunting-gear again, again alone                               220
    The forest-bordered meads did he behold,
    Where still mid thoughts of August's quivering gold
    Folk hoed the wheat, and clipped the vine in trust
    Of faint October's purple-foaming must.[301]

      And once again he passed the peaceful gate,                    225
    While to his beating heart his lips did lie,
    That, owning not victorious love and fate,
    Said, half aloud, "And here too must I try,
    To win of alien men the mastery,
    And gather for my head fresh meed of fame,                       230
    And cast new glory on my father's name."

      In spite of that, how beat his heart, when first
    Folk said to him, "And art thou come to see
    That which still makes our city's name accurst
    Among all mothers for its cruelty?                               235
    Then know indeed that fate is good to thee
    Because to-morrow a new luckless one
    Against the whitefoot maid is pledged to run."

      So on the morrow with no curious eyes
    As once he did, that piteous sight he saw,                       240
    Nor did that wonder in his heart arise
    As toward the goal the conquering maid 'gan draw,
    Nor did he gaze upon her eyes with awe,
    Too full the pain of longing filled his heart
    For fear or wonder there to have a part.                         245

      But O, how long the night was ere it went!
    How long it was before the dawn begun
    Showed to the wakening birds the sun's intent
    That not in darkness should the world be done!
    And then, and then, how long before the sun                      250
    Bade silently the toilers of the earth
    Get forth to fruitless cares or empty mirth!

      And long it seemed that in the market-place
    He stood and saw the chaffering folk go by,
    Ere from the ivory throne King Schoeneus' face                   255
    Looked down upon the murmur royally,
    But then came trembling that the time was nigh
    When he midst pitying looks his love must claim,
    And jeering voices must salute his name.

      But as the throng he pierced to gain the throne,               260
    His alien face distraught and anxious told
    What hopeless errand he was bound upon,
    And, each to each, folk whispered to behold
    His godlike limbs; nay, and one woman old
    As he went by must pluck him by the sleeve                       265
    And pray him yet that wretched love to leave.

      For sidling up she said, "Canst thou live twice,
    Fair son? canst thou have joyful youth again,
    That thus goest to the sacrifice,
    Thyself the victim? nay then, all in vain,                       270
    Thy mother bore her longing and her pain,
    And one more maiden on the earth must dwell
    Hopeless of joy, nor fearing death and hell.

      "O fool, thou knowest not the compact then
    That with the three-formed goddess she has made                  275
    To keep her from the loving lips of men,
    And in no saffron gown to be arrayed,
    And therewithal with glory to be paid,
    And love of her the moonlit river sees
    White 'gainst the shadow of the formless trees.                  280

      "Come back, and I myself will pray for thee
    Unto the sea-born framer of delights,
    To give thee her who on the earth may be
    The fairest stirrer-up to death and fights,
    To quench with hopeful days and joyous nights                    285
    The flame that doth thy youthful heart consume:
    Come back, nor give thy beauty to the tomb."

      How should he listen to her earnest speech?
    Words, such as he not once or twice had said
    Unto himself, whose meaning scarce could reach                   290
    The firm abode of that sad hardihead--
    He turned about, and through the market stead
    Swiftly he passed, until before the throne
    In the cleared space he stood at last alone.

      Then said the King, "Stranger, what dost thou here?            295
    Have any of my folk done ill to thee?
    Or art thou of the forest men in fear?
    Or art thou of the sad fraternity
    Who still will strive my daughter's mates to be,
    Staking their lives to win to earthly bliss,                     300
    The lonely maid, the friend of Artemis?"

      "O King," he said, "thou sayest the word indeed;
    Nor will I quit the strife till I have won
    My sweet delight, or death to end my need.
    And know that I am called Milanion,                              305
    Of King Amphidamas the well-loved son:
    So fear not that to thy old name, O King,
    Much loss or shame my victory will bring."

      "Nay, Prince," said Schoeneus, "welcome to this land
    Thou wert indeed, if thou wert here to try                       310
    Thy strength 'gainst some one mighty of his hand;
    Nor would we grudge thee well-won mastery.
    But now, why wilt thou come to me to die,
    And at my door lay down thy luckless head,
    Swelling the band of the unhappy dead,                           315

      "Whose curses even now my heart doth fear?
    Lo, I am old, and know what life can be,
    And what a bitter thing is death anear.
    O Son! be wise, and hearken unto me,
    And if no other can be dear to thee,                             320
    At least as now, yet is the world full wide,
    And bliss in seeming hopeless hearts may hide:

      "But if thou losest life, then all is lost."
    "Nay, King," Milanion said, "thy words are vain.
    Doubt not that I have counted well the cost.                     325
    But say, on what day will thou that I gain
    Fulfilled delight, or death to end my pain?
    Right glad were I if it could be to-day,
    And all my doubts at rest forever lay."

      "Nay," said King Schoeneus, "thus it shall not be,
    But rather shalt thou let a month go by,                         331
    And weary with thy prayers for victory
    What god thou know'st the kindest and most nigh.
    So doing, still perchance thou shalt not die:
    And with my good-will wouldst thou have the maid,                335
    For of the equal gods I grow afraid.

      "And until then, O Prince, be thou my guest,
    And all these troublous things awhile forget."
    "Nay," said he, "couldst thou give my soul good rest,
    And on mine head a sleepy garland set,                           340
    Then had I 'scaped the meshes of the net,
    Nor shouldst thou hear from me another word;
    But now, make sharp thy fearful heading sword.

      "Yet will I do what son of man may do,
    And promise all the gods may most desire,                        345
    That to myself I may at least be true;
    And on that day my heart and limbs so tire,
    With utmost strain and measureless desire,
    That, at the worst, I may but fall asleep
    When in the sunlight round that sword shall sweep."              350

      He went with that, nor anywhere would bide,
    But unto Argos[302] restlessly did wend;
    And there, as one who lays all hope aside,
    Because the leech has said his life must end,
    Silent farewell he bade to foe and friend,                       355
    And took his way unto the restless sea,
    For there he deemed his rest and help might be.

           *       *       *       *       *

      Upon the shore of Argolis there stands
    A temple to the goddess that he sought,
    That, turned unto the lion-bearing lands,                        360
    Fenced from the east, of cold winds hath no thought,
    Though to no homestead there the sheaves are brought,
    No groaning press torments the close-clipped murk,
    Lonely the fane stands, far from all men's work.

      Pass through a close, set thick with myrtle-trees,             365
    Through the brass doors that guard the holy place,
    And entering, hear the washing of the seas
    That twice a day rise high above the base,
    And with the southwest urging them, embrace
    The marble feet of her that standeth there,                      370
    That shrink not, naked though they be and fair.

      Small is the fane through which the sea-wind sings
    About Queen Venus'[303] well-wrought image white,
    But hung around are many precious things,
    The gifts of those who, longing for delight,                     375
    Have hung them there within the goddess' sight,
    And in return have taken at her hands
    The living treasures of the Grecian lands.

      And thither now has come Milanion,
    And showed unto the priests' wide-open eyes                      380
    Gifts fairer than all those that there have shown,
    Silk cloths, inwrought with Indian fantasies,
    And bowls inscribed with sayings of the wise
    Above the deeds of foolish living things,
    And mirrors fit to be the gifts of kings.                        385

      And now before the Sea-born One he stands,
    By the sweet veiling smoke made dim and soft,
    And while the incense trickles from his hands,
    And while the odorous smoke-wreaths hang aloft,
    Thus doth he pray to her: "O Thou, who oft                       390
    Hast holpen[304] man and maid in their distress,
    Despise me not for this my wretchedness!

      "O goddess, among us who dwell below,
    Kings and great men, great for a little while,
    Have pity on the lowly heads that bow,                           395
    Nor hate the hearts that love them without guile;
    Wilt thou be worse than these, and is thy smile
    A vain device of him who set thee here,
    An empty dream of some artificer?

      "O great one, some men love, and are ashamed;                  400
    Some men are weary of the bonds of love;
    Yea, and by some men lightly art thou blamed,
    That from thy toils their lives they cannot move,
    And 'mid the ranks of men their manhood prove.
    Alas! O goddess, if thou slayest me                              405
    What new immortal can I serve but thee?

      "Think then, will it bring honor to thy head
    If folk say, 'Everything aside he cast
    And to all fame and honor was he dead,
    And to his one hope now is dead at last,                         410
    Since all unholpen he is gone and past:
    Ah, the gods love not man, for certainly,
    He to his helper did not cease to cry."

      "Nay, but thou wilt help; they who died before
    Not single-hearted as I deem came here,                          415
    Therefore unthanked they laid their gifts before
    Thy stainless feet, still shivering with their fear,
    Lest in their eyes their true thought might appear,
    Who sought to be the lords of that fair town,
    Dreaded of men and winners of renown.                            420

      "O Queen, thou knowest I pray not for this:
    O, set us down together in some place
    Where not a voice can break our heaven of bliss,
    Where naught but rocks and I can see her face,
    Softening beneath the marvel of thy grace,                       425
    Where not a foot our vanished steps can track,--
    The golden age, the golden age come back!

      "O fairest, hear me now, who do thy will,
    Plead for thy rebel that she be not slain,
    But live and love and be thy servant still:                      430
    Ah, give her joy and take away my pain,
    And thus two long-enduring servants gain.
    An easy thing this is to do for me,
    What need of my vain words to weary thee!

      "But none the less this place will I not leave                 435
    Until I needs must go my death to meet,
    Or at thy hands some happy sign receive
    That in great joy we twain may one day greet
    Thy presence here and kiss thy silver feet,
    Such as we deem thee, fair beyond all words,                     440
    Victorious o'er our servants and our lords."

      Then from the altar back a space he drew,
    But from the Queen turned not his face away,
    But 'gainst a pillar leaned, until the blue
    That arched the sky, at ending of the day,                       445
    Was turned to ruddy gold and changing gray,
    And clear, but low, the nigh-ebbed windless sea
    In the still evening murmured ceaselessly.

      And there he stood when all the sun was down,
    Nor had he moved, when the dim golden light,                     450
    Like the far lustre of a godlike town,
    Had left the world to seeming hopeless night,
    Nor would he move the more when wan moonlight
    Streamed through the pillars for a little while,
    And lighted up the white Queen's changeless smile.               455

      Naught noted he the shallow flowing sea
    As step by step it set the wrack a-swim,
    The yellow torchlight nothing noted he
    Wherein with fluttering gown and half-bared limb
    The temple damsels sung their midnight hymn,                     460
    And naught the doubled stillness of the fane
    When they were gone and all was hushed again.

      But when the waves had touched the marble base,
    And steps the fish swim over twice a day,
    The dawn beheld him sunken in his place                          465
    Upon the floor; and sleeping there he lay,
    Not heeding aught the little jets of spray
    The roughened sea brought nigh, across him cast,
    For as one dead all thought from him had passed.

      Yet long before the sun had showed his head,                   470
    Long ere the varied hangings on the wall
    Had gained once more their blue and green and red,
    He rose as one some well-known sign doth call
    When war upon the city's gates doth fall,
    And scarce like one fresh risen out of sleep,                    475
    He 'gan again his broken watch to keep.

      Then he turned round; not for the sea-gull's cry
    That wheeled above the temple in his flight,
    Not for the fresh south-wind that lovingly
    Breathed on the new-born day and dying night,                    480
    But some strange hope 'twixt fear and great delight
    Drew round his face, now flushed, now pale and wan,
    And still constrained his eyes the sea to scan.

      Now a faint light lit up the southern sky,
    Not sun or moon, for all the world was gray,                     485
    But this a bright cloud seemed, that drew anigh,
    Lighting the dull waves that beneath it lay
    As toward the temple still it took its way,
    And still grew greater, till Milanion
    Saw naught for dazzling light that round him shone.              490

      But as he staggered with his arms outspread,
    Delicious unnamed odors breathed around,
    For languid happiness he bowed his head,
    And with wet eyes sank down upon the ground,
    Nor wished for aught, nor any dream he found                     495
    To give him reason for that happiness,
    Or make him ask more knowledge of his bliss.

      At last his eyes were cleared, and he could see
    Through happy tears the goddess face to face
    With that faint image of Divinity,                               500
    Whose well-wrought smile and dainty changeless grace
    Until that morn so gladdened all the place;
    Then he unwitting cried aloud her name,
    And covered up his eyes for fear and shame.

      But through the stillness he her voice could hear              505
    Piercing his heart with joy scarce bearable,
    That said, "Milanion, wherefore dost thou fear?
    I am not hard to those who love me well;
    List to what I a second time will tell,
    And thou mayest hear perchance, and live to save                 510
    The cruel maiden from a loveless grave.

      "See, by my feet three golden apples lie--
    Such fruit among the heavy roses falls,
    Such fruit my watchful damsels carefully
    Store up within the best loved of my walls,                      515
    Ancient Damascus,[305] where the lover calls
    Above my unseen head, and faint and light
    The rose-leaves flutter round me in the night.

      "And note, that these are not alone most fair
    With heavenly gold, but longing strange they bring               520
    Unto the hearts of men, who will not care,
    Beholding these, for any once-loved thing
    Till round the shining sides their fingers cling.
    And thou shalt see thy well-girt swiftfoot maid
    By sight of these amid her glory stayed.                         525

      "For bearing these within a scrip with thee,
    When first she heads thee from the starting-place
    Cast down the first one for her eyes to see,
    And when she turns aside make on apace,
    And if again she heads thee in the race                          530
    Spare not the other two to cast aside
    If she not long enough behind will bide.

      "Farewell, and when has come the happy time
    That she Diana's raiment must unbind
    And all the world seems blessed with Saturn's[306] clime,        535
    And thou with eager arms about her twined
    Beholdest first her gray eyes growing kind,
    Surely, O trembler, thou shalt scarcely then
    Forget the Helper of unhappy men."

      Milanion raised his head at this last word,                    540
    For now so soft and kind she seemed to be
    No longer of her Godhead was he feared;
    Too late he looked, for nothing could he see
    But the white image glimmering doubtfully
    In the departing twilight cold and gray,                         545
    And those three apples on the steps that lay.

      These then he caught up quivering with delight,
    Yet fearful lest it all might be a dream,
    And though aweary with the watchful night,
    And sleepless nights of longing, still did deem                  550
    He could not sleep; but yet the first sunbeam
    That smote the fane across the heaving deep
    Shone on him laid in calm untroubled sleep.

      But little ere the noontide did he rise,
    And why he felt so happy scarce could tell                       555
    Until the gleaming apples met his eyes.
    Then, leaving the fair place where this befell,
    Oft he looked back as one who loved it well,
    Then homeward to the haunts of men 'gan wend
    To bring all things unto a happy end.                            560

           *       *       *       *       *

      Now has the lingering month at last gone by,
    Again are all folk round the running-place,
    Nor other seems the dismal pageantry
    Than heretofore, but that another face
    Looks o'er the smooth course ready for the race,                 565
    For now, beheld of all, Milanion
    Stands on the spot he twice has looked upon.

      But yet--what change is this that holds the maid?
    Does she indeed see in his glittering eye
    More than disdain of the sharp shearing blade,                   570
    Some happy hope of help and victory?
    The others seemed to say, "We come to die,
    Look down upon us for a little while,
    That, dead, we may bethink us of thy smile."

      But he--what look of mastery was this                          575
    He cast on her? why were his lips so red?
    Why was his face so flushed with happiness?
    So looks not one who deems himself but dead,
    E'en if to death he bows a willing head;
    So rather looks a god well pleased to find                       580
    Some earthly damsel fashioned to his mind.

      Why must she drop her lids before his gaze,
    And even as she casts adown her eyes
    Redden to note his eager glance of praise,
    And wish that she were clad in other guise?                      585
    Why must the memory to her heart arise
    Of things unnoticed when they first were heard,
    Some lover's song, some answering maiden's word?

      What makes these longings, vague, without a name,
    And this vain pity never felt before,                            590
    This sudden languor, this contempt of fame,
    This tender sorrow for the time past o'er,
    These doubts that grow each minute more and more?
    Why does she tremble as the time grows near,
    And weak defeat and woful victory fear?                          595

      But while she seemed to hear her beating heart,
    Above their heads the trumpet blast rang out,
    And forth they sprang; and she must play her part;
    Then flew her white feet, knowing not a doubt,
    Though, slackening once, she turned her head about,              600
    But then she cried aloud and faster fled
    Than e'er before, and all men deemed him dead.

      But with no sound he raised aloft his hand,
    And thence what seemed a ray of light there flew
    And past the maid rolled on along the sand;                      605
    Then trembling she her feet together drew,
    And in her heart a strong desire there grew
    To have the toy; some god she thought had given
    That gift to her, to make of earth a heaven.

      Then from the course with eager steps she ran,                 610
    And in her odorous bosom laid the gold.
    But when she turned again, the great-limbed man
    Now well ahead she failed not to behold,
    And, mindful of her glory waxing cold,
    Sprang up and followed him in hot pursuit,                       615
    Though with one hand she touched the golden fruit.

      Note, too, the bow that she was wont to bear
    She laid aside to grasp the glittering prize,
    And o'er her shoulder from the quiver fair
    Three arrows fell and lay before her eyes                        620
    Unnoticed, as amidst the people's cries
    She sprang to head the strong Milanion,
    Who now the turning-post had well-nigh won.

      But as he set his mighty hand on it
    White fingers underneath his own were laid,                      625
    And white limbs from his dazzled eyes did flit;
    Then he the second fruit cast by the maid,
    But she ran on awhile, then as afraid
    Wavered and stopped, and turned and made no stay,
    Until the globe with its bright fellow lay.                      630

      Then, as a troubled glance she cast around,
    Now far ahead the Argive could she see,
    And in her garment's hem one hand she wound
    To keep the double prize, and strenuously
    Sped o'er the course, and little doubt had she                   635
    To win the day, though now but scanty space
    Was left betwixt him and the winning-place.

      Short was the way unto such winged feet,
    Quickly she gained upon him, till at last
    He turned about her eager eyes to meet                           640
    And from his hand the third fair apple cast.
    She wavered not, but turned and ran so fast
    After the prize that should her bliss fulfil,
    That in her hand it lay ere it was still.

      Nor did she rest, but turned about to win,                     645
    Once more, an unblest woful victory--
    And yet--and yet--why does her breath begin
    To fail her, and her feet drag heavily?
    Why fails she now to see if far or nigh
    The goal is? why do her gray eyes grow dim?                      650
    Why do these tremors run through every limb?

      She spreads her arms abroad some stay to find,
    Else must she fall, indeed, and findeth this,
    A strong man's arms about her body twined.
    Nor may she shudder now to feel his kiss,                        655
    So wrapped she is in new unbroken bliss:
    Made happy that the foe the prize hath won,
    She weeps glad tears for all her glory done.

           *       *       *       *       *

      Shatter the trumpet, hew adown the posts!
    Upon the brazen altar break the sword,                           660
    And scatter incense to appease the ghosts
    Of those who died here by their own award.
    Bring forth the image of the mighty Lord,
    And her who unseen o'er the runners hung,
    And did a deed forever to be sung.                               665

      Here are the gathered folk, make no delay,
    Open King Schoeneus' well-filled treasury,
    Bring out the gifts long hid from light of day,
    The golden bowls o'erwrought with imagery,
    Gold chains, and unguents brought from over sea,                 670
    The saffron gown the old Phoenician[307] brought,
    Within the temple of the Goddess wrought.

      O ye, O damsels, who shall never see
    Her, that Love's servant bringeth now to you,
    Returning from another victory,                                  675
    In some cool bower do all that now is due!
    Since she in token of her service new
    Shall give to Venus offerings rich enow,
    Her maiden zone, her arrows, and her bow.



HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW


THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS

    It was the schooner Hesperus,
      That sailed the wintry sea;
    And the skipper had taken his little daughtèr,
      To bear him company.

    Blue were her eyes as the fairy-flax,                              5
      Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
    And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
      That ope in the month of May.

    The skipper he stood beside the helm,
      His pipe was in his mouth,                                      10
    And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
      The smoke now West, now South.

    Then up and spake an old sailòr,
      Had sailed the Spanish Main,
    "I pray thee, put into yonder port,                               15
      For I fear a hurricane.

    "Last night, the moon had a golden ring,
      And to-night no moon we see!"
    The skipper, he blew a whiff from his pipe,
      And a scornful laugh laughed he.                                20

    Colder and louder blew the wind,
      A gale from the Northeast;
    The snow fell hissing in the brine,
      And the billows frothed like yeast.

    Down came the storm, and smote amain,                             25
      The vessel in its strength;
    She shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
      Then leaped her cable's length.

    "Come hither! come hither! my little daughtèr,
      And do not tremble so;                                          30
    For I can weather the roughest gale,
      That ever wind did blow."

    He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
      Against the stinging blast;
    He cut a rope from a broken spar,                                 35
      And bound her to the mast.

    "O father! I hear the church-bells ring,
      O say, what may it be?"
    "'Tis a fog-bell on a rock-bound coast!"--
      And he steered for the open sea.                                40

    "O father! I hear the sound of guns,
      O say, what may it be?"
    "Some ship in distress, that cannot live
      In such an angry sea!"

    "O father! I see a gleaming light,                                45
      O say, what may it be?"
    But the father answered never a word,
      A frozen corpse was he.

    Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
      With his face turned to the skies,                              50
    The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
      On his fixed and glassy eyes.

    Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
      That savèd she might be;
    And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
      On the Lake of Galilee.                                         56

    And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
      Through the whistling sleet and snow,
    Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
      Towards the reef of Norman's Woe.                               60

    And ever the fitful gusts between,
      A sound came from the land;
    It was the sound of the trampling surf,
      On the rocks and the hard sea-sand.

    The breakers were right beneath her bows,                         65
      She drifted a dreary wreck,
    And a whooping billow swept the crew
      Like icicles from her deck.

    She struck where the white and fleecy waves
      Looked soft as carded wool,                                     70
    But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
      Like the horns of an angry bull.

    Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
      With the masts went by the board;
    Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,                       75
      Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

    At daybreak on the bleak sea-beach,
      A fisherman stood aghast,
    To see the form of a maiden fair,
      Lashed close to a drifting mast.                                80

    The salt-sea was frozen on her breast,
      The salt tears in her eyes;
    And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
      On the billows fall and rise.

    Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,                               85
      In the midnight and the snow!
    Christ save us all from a death like this,
      On the reef of Norman's Woe!



PAUL REVERE'S RIDE

    Listen, my children, and you shall hear
    Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,[308]
    On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
    Hardly a man is now alive
    Who remembers that famous day and year.                            5

    He said to his friend, "If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to-night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church[309] tower as a signal light,--
    One, if by land, and two, if by sea;                              10
    And I on the opposite shore will be,
    Ready to ride and spread the alarm
    Through every Middlesex village and farm,
    For the country-folk to be up and arm."

    Then he said, "Good night!" and with muffled oar                  15
    Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
    Just as the moon rose over the bay,
    Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
    The Somerset, British man-of-war;
    A phantom ship, with each mast and spar                           20
    Across the moon like a prison bar
    And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
    By its own reflection in the tide.

    Meanwhile his friend, through alley and street,
    Wanders and watches with eager ears,                              25
    Till in the silence around him he hears
    The muster of men at the barrack door,
    The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
    And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
    Marching down to their boats on the shore.                        30

    Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
    Up the wooden stairs with stealthy tread,
    To the belfry-chamber overhead,
    And startled the pigeons from their perch
    On the sombre rafters, that round him made                        35
    Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
    Up the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
    To the highest window in the wall,
    Where he paused to listen and look down
    A moment on the roofs of the town,                                40
    And the moonlight flowing over all.

    Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
    In their night-encampment on the hill,
    Wrapped in silence so deep and still
    That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,                      45
    The watchful night-wind, as it went
    Creeping along from tent to tent,
    And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
    A moment only he feels the spell
    Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread                   50
    Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
    For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
    On a shadowy something far away,
    Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
    A line of black that bends and floats                             55
    On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

    Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
    Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
    On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
    Now he patted his horse's side,                                   60
    Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
    Then impetuous, stamped the earth,
    And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
    But mostly he watched with eager search
    The belfry-tower of the Old North Church,                         65
    As it rose above the graves on the hill,
    Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
    And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
    A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
    He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,                    70
    But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
    A second lamp in the belfry burns!

    A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
    A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
    And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark                75
    Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
    That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
    The fate of a nation was riding that night;
    And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
    Kindled the land into flame with its heat.                        80

    He has left the village and mounted the steep,
    And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
    Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
    And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
    Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,                      85
    Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

    It was twelve by the village clock
    When he crossed the bridge into Medford[310] town.
    He heard the crowing of the cock,
    And the barking of the farmer's dog,                              90
    And felt the damp of the river fog,
    That rises after the sun goes down.

    It was one by the village clock,
    When he galloped into Lexington.
    He saw the gilded weathercock                                     95
    Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
    And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
    Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
    As if they already stood aghast
    At the bloody work they would look upon.                         100

    It was two by the village clock,
    When he came to the bridge in Concord[311] town.
    He heard the bleating of the flock,
    And the twitter of birds among the trees,
    And felt the breath of the morning breeze                        105
    Blowing over the meadows brown.
    And one was safe and asleep in his bed
    Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
    Who that day would be lying dead,
    Pierced by a British musket-ball.                                110

    You know the rest. In the books you have read,
    How the British Regulars fired and fled,--
    How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
    From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
    Chasing the red-coats down the lane,                             115
    Then crossing the fields to emerge again
    Under the trees at the turn of the road,
    And only pausing to fire and load.

    So through the night rode Paul Revere;
    And so through the night went his cry of alarm                   120
    To every Middlesex village and farm,--
    A cry of defiance and not of fear,
    A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
    And a word that shall echo forevermore!
    For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,                        125
    Through all our history, to the last,
    In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.                         130



JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER


SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE

    Of all the rides since the birth of time,
    Told in story or sung in rhyme,--
    On Apuleius's Golden Ass,[312]
    Or one-eyed Calender's horse of brass,[313]
    Witch astride of a human back,                                     5
    Islam's prophet on Al-Borák,[314]--
    The strangest ride that ever was sped
    Was Ireson's, out from Marblehead!
      Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
      Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart                      10
        By the women of Marblehead!

    Body of turkey, head of owl,
    Wings a-droop like a rained-on fowl,
    Feathered and ruffled in every part,
    Skipper Ireson stood in the cart.                                 15
    Scores of women, old and young,
    Strong of muscle, and glib of tongue,
    Pushed and pulled up the rocky lane,
    Shouting and singing the shrill refrain:
      "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,                       20
      Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
        By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    Wrinkled scolds with hands on hips,
    Girls in bloom of cheek and lips,
    Wild-eyed, free-limbed, such as chase                             25
    Bacchus[315] round some antique vase,
    Brief of skirt, with ankles bare,
    Loose of kerchief and loose of hair,
    With conch-shells blowing and fish-horns' twang,
    Over and over the Mænads[316] sang:                               30
      "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
      Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
        By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    Small pity for him!--He sailed away
    From a leaking ship in Chaleur Bay,[317]--                        35
    Sailed away from a sinking wreck,
    With his own town's-people on her deck!
    "Lay by! lay by!" they called to him.
    Back he answered, "Sink or swim!
    Brag of your catch of fish again!"                                40
    And off he sailed through the fog and rain!
      Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
      Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
        By the women of Marblehead!

    Fathoms deep in dark Chaleur                                      45
    That wreck shall lie forevermore.
    Mother and sister, wife and maid,
    Looked from the rocks of Marblehead
    Over the moaning and rainy sea,--
    Looked for the coming that might not be!                          50
    What did the winds and the sea-birds say
    Of the cruel captain who sailed away?--
      Old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
      Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
        By the women of Marblehead!                                   55

    Through the street, on either side,
    Up flew windows, doors swung wide;
    Sharp-tongued spinsters, old wives gray,
    Treble lent the fish-horn's bray.
    Sea-worn grandsires, cripple-bound,                               60
    Hulks of old sailors run aground,
    Shook head, and fist, and hat, and cane,
    And cracked with curses the hoarse refrain:
      "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,
      Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt                      65
        By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    Sweetly along the Salem road
    Bloom of orchard and lilac showed.
    Little the wicked skipper knew
    Of the fields so green and the sky so blue.                       70
    Riding there in his sorry trim,
    Like an Indian idol glum and grim,
    Scarcely he seemed the sound to hear
    Of voices shouting, far and near:
      "Here's Flud Oirson, fur his horrd horrt,                       75
      Torr'd an' futherr'd an' corr'd in a corrt
        By the women o' Morble'ead!"

    "Hear me, neighbors!" at last he cried,--
    "What to me is this noisy ride?
    What is the shame that clothes the skin                           80
    To the nameless horror that lives within?
    Waking or sleeping, I see a wreck,
    And hear a cry from a reeling deck!
    Hate me and curse me,--I only dread
    The hand of God and the face of the dead!"                        85
      Said old Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
      Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
        By the women of Marblehead!

    Then the wife of the skipper lost at sea
    Said, "God has touched him! why should we?"                       90
    Said an old wife mourning her only son,
    "Cut the rogue's tether and let him run!"
    So with soft relentings and rude excuse,
    Half scorn, half pity, they cut him loose,
    And gave him a cloak to hide him in,                              95
    And left him alone with his shame and sin.
      Poor Floyd Ireson, for his hard heart,
      Tarred and feathered and carried in a cart
        By the women of Marblehead!



BARCLAY OF URY

    Up the streets of Aberdeen[318]
    By the kirk[319] and college green
        Rode the Laird[320] of Ury.
    Close behind him, close beside,
    Foul of mouth and evil-eyed,                                       5
        Pressed the mob in fury.

    Flouted him the drunken churl,
    Jeered at him the serving-girl,
        Prompt to please her master;
    And the begging carlin,[321] late                                 10
    Fed and clothed at Ury's gate,
        Cursed him as he passed her.

    Yet, with calm and stately mien,
    Up the streets of Aberdeen
        Came he slowly riding;                                        15
    And, to all he saw and heard,
    Answering not with bitter word,
        Turning not for chiding.

    Came a troop with broadswords swinging,
    Bits and bridles sharply ringing,                                 20
        Loose and free and froward;
    Quoth the foremost, 'Ride him down!
    Push him! prick him! through the town
        Drive the Quaker coward!'

    But from out the thickening crowd                                 25
    Cried a sudden voice and loud:
        'Barclay! Ho! a Barclay!'
    And the old man at his side
    Saw a comrade, battle tried,
        Scarred and sunburned darkly,                                 30

    Who with ready weapon bare,
    Fronting to the troopers there,
        Cried aloud: 'God save us,
    Call ye coward him who stood
    Ankle deep in Lützen's[322] blood,                                35
        With the brave Gustavus?'

    'Nay, I do not need thy sword,
    Comrade mine,' said Ury's lord;
        'Put it up, I pray thee:
    Passive to his holy will,                                         40
    Trust I in my Master still,
        Even though He slay me.

    'Pledges of thy love and faith,
    Proved on many a field of death,
        Not by me are needed.'                                        45
    Marvelled much that henchman bold,
    That his laird, so stout of old,
        Now so meekly pleaded.

    'Woe's the day!' he sadly said,
    With a slowly shaking head,                                       50
        And a look of pity;
    'Ury's honest lord reviled,
    Mock of knave and sport of child,
        In his own good city!

    'Speak the word, and, master mine,                                55
    As we charged on Tilly's[323] line,
        And his Walloon[324] lancers,
    Smiting through their midst we'll teach
    Civil look and decent speech
        To these boyish prancers!'                                    60

    'Marvel not, mine ancient friend,
    Like beginning, like the end,'
        Quoth the Laird of Ury;
    'Is the sinful servant more
    Than his gracious Lord who bore                                   65
        Bonds and stripes in Jewry?

    'Give me joy that in his name
    I can bear, with patient frame,
        All these vain ones offer;
    While for them He suffereth long,                                 70
    Shall I answer wrong with wrong,
        Scoffing with the scoffer?

    'Happier I, with loss of all,
    Hunted, outlawed, held in thrall,
        With few friends to greet me,                                 75
    Than when reeve and squire were seen,
    Riding out from Aberdeen,
        With bared heads to meet me.

    'When each goodwife, o'er and o'er,
    Blessed me as I passed her door;                                  80
        And the snooded[325] daughter,
    Through her casement glancing down,
    Smiled on him who bore renown
        From red fields of slaughter.

    'Hard to feel the stranger's scoff,                               85
    Hard the old friend's falling off,
        Hard to learn forgiving;
    But the Lord his own rewards,
    And his love with theirs accords,
        Warm and fresh and living.                                    90

    'Through this dark and stormy night
    Faith beholds a feeble light
        Up the blackness streaking;
    Knowing God's own time is best,
    In a patient hope I rest                                          95
        For the full day-breaking!'

    So the Laird of Ury said,
    Turning slow his horse's head
        Towards the Tolbooth[326] prison,
    Where, through iron gates, he heard                              100
    Poor disciples of the Word
        Preach of Christ arisen!

    Not in vain, Confessor old,
    Unto us the tale is told
        Of thy day of trial;                                         105
    Every age on him who strays
    From its broad and beaten ways
        Pours its seven-fold vial.

    Happy he whose inward ear,
    Angel comfortings can hear,                                      110
        O'er the rabble's laughter;
    And while Hatred's fagots burn,
    Glimpses through the smoke discern
        Of the good hereafter.

    Knowing this, that never yet                                     115
    Share of Truth was vainly set
        In the world's wide fallow[327];
    After hands shall sow the seed,
    After hands from hill and mead
        Reap the harvests yellow.                                    120

    Thus, with somewhat of the Seer,
    Must the moral pioneer
        From the Future borrow;
    Clothe the waste with dreams of grain,
    And, on midnight's sky of rain,                                  125
        Paint the golden morrow!



BARBARA FRIETCHIE

    Up from the meadows rich with corn,
    Clear in the cool September morn,

    The clustered spires of Frederick stand
    Green-walled by the hills of Maryland.

    Round about them orchards sweep,                                   5
    Apple and peach tree fruited deep,

    Fair as the garden of the Lord
    To the eyes of the famished rebel horde,

    On that pleasant morn of the early fall
    When Lee marched over the mountain-wall;                          10

    Over the mountains winding down,
    Horse and foot, into Frederick town.

    Forty flags with their silver stars,
    Forty flags with their crimson bars,

    Flapped in the morning wind: the sun                              15
    Of noon looked down, and saw not one.

    Up rose old Barbara Frietchie then,
    Bowed with her fourscore years and ten;

    Bravest of all in Frederick town,
    She took up the flag the men hauled down;                         20

    In her attic window the staff she set,
    To show that one heart was loyal yet.

    Up the street came the rebel tread,
    Stonewall Jackson riding ahead.

    Under his slouched hat left and right                             25
    He glanced; the old flag met his sight.

    'Halt!'--the dust-brown ranks stood fast.
    'Fire!'--out blazed the rifle-blast.

    It shivered the window, pane and sash;
    It rent the banner with seam and gash.                            30

    Quick, as it fell, from the broken staff
    Dame Barbara snatched the silken scarf.

    She leaned far out on the window-sill,
    And shook it forth with a royal will.

    'Shoot, if you must, this old gray head,                          35
    But spare your country's flag,' she said.

    A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
    Over the face of the leader came;

    The nobler nature within him stirred
    To life at that woman's deed and word;                            40

    'Who touches a hair of yon gray head
    Dies like a dog! March on!' he said.

    All day long through Frederick street
    Sounded the tread of marching feet:

    All day long that free flag tost                                  45
    Over the heads of the rebel host.

    Ever its torn folds rose and fell
    On the loyal winds that loved it well;

    And through the hill-gaps sunset light
    Shone over it with a warm good-night.                             50

    Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
    And the Rebel rides on his raids no more.

    Honor to her! and let a tear
    Fall, for her sake, on Stonewall's bier.

    Over Barbara Frietchie's grave,                                   55
    Flag of Freedom and Union, wave!

    Peace and order and beauty draw
    Round thy symbol of light and law;

    And ever the stars above look down
    On thy stars below in Frederick town!                             60



OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES


GRANDMOTHER'S STORY OF BUNKER HILL BATTLE

AS SHE SAW IT FROM THE BELFRY

    'Tis like stirring living embers when, at eighty, one remembers
    All the achings and the quakings of "the times that
         tried men's souls[328];"
    When I talk of _Whig_ and _Tory_,[329] when I tell the
          _Rebel_ story,
    To you the words are ashes, but to me they're burning coals.

    I had heard the muskets' rattle of the April running
        battle[330];                                                   5
    Lord Percy's hunted soldiers, I can see their red coats still;
    But a deadly chill comes o'er me, as the day looms up before me,
    When a thousand men lay bleeding on the slopes of Bunker's Hill.

    'Twas a peaceful summer's morning, when the first thing
         gave us warning.
    Was the booming of the cannon from the river and the shore:       10
    "Child," says grandma, "what's the matter, what is all
         this noise and clatter?
    Have those scalping Indian devils come to murder us once more?"

    Poor old soul! my sides were shaking in the midst of all my
        quaking,
    To hear her talk of Indians when the guns began to roar:
    She had seen the burning village, and the slaughter and
        the pillage,                                                  15
    When the Mohawks[331] killed her father with their bullets
        through his door.

    Then I said, "Now, dear old granny, don't you fret and worry any,
    For I'll soon come back and tell you whether this is work or
        play;
    There can't be mischief in it, so I won't be gone a minute"--
    For a minute then I started. I was gone the livelong day.         20

    No time for bodice-lacing or for looking-glass grimacing;
    Down my hair went as I hurried, tumbling half-way to my heels;
    God forbid your ever knowing, when there's blood around her
        flowing,
    How the lonely, helpless daughter of a quiet household feels!

    In the street I heard a thumping; and I knew it was the
        stumping                                                      25
    Of the Corporal, our old neighbor, on the wooden leg he wore,
    With a knot of women round him,--it was lucky I had found him,
    So I followed with the others, and the Corporal marched before.

    They were making for the steeple,--the old soldier and his
        people;
    The pigeons circled round us as we climbed the creaking stair,    30
    Just across the narrow river--Oh, so close it made me shiver!--
    Stood a fortress on the hill-top that but yesterday was bare.

    Not slow our eyes to find it; well we knew who stood behind it,
    Though the earthwork hid them from us, and the stubborn walls
        were dumb:
    Here were sister, wife, and mother, looking wild upon each
        other,                                                        35
    And their lips were white with terror as they said,
        THE HOUR HAS COME!

    The morning slowly wasted, not a morsel had we tasted,
    And our heads were almost splitting with the cannons' deafening
        thrill,
    When a figure tall and stately round the rampart strode sedately;
    It was PRESCOTT, one since told me; he commanded on
         the hill.                                                    40

    Every woman's heart grew bigger when we saw his manly figure,
    With the banyan[332] buckled round it, standing up so straight
        and tall;
    Like a gentleman of leisure who is strolling out for pleasure,
    Through the storm of shells and cannon-shot he walked around
        the wall.

    At eleven the streets were swarming, for the red-coats'
         ranks were forming;                                          45
    At noon in marching order they were moving to the piers;
    How the bayonets gleamed and glistened, as we looked far down,
         and listened
    To the trampling and the drum-beat of the belted grenadiers!

    At length the men have started, with a cheer (it seemed
        faint-hearted),
    In their scarlet regimentals, with their knapsacks on
         their backs,                                                 50
    And the reddening, rippling water, as after a sea-fight's
        slaughter,
    Round the barges gliding onward blushed like blood along their
        tracks.

    So they crossed to the other border, and again they formed in
        order;
    And the boats came back for soldiers, came for soldiers,
        soldiers still:
    The time seemed everlasting to us women faint and fasting,--      55
    At last they're moving, marching, marching proudly up the hill.

    We can see the bright steel glancing all along the lines
        advancing--
    Now the front rank fires a volley--they have thrown away their
        shot;
    For behind their earthwork lying, all the balls above them
        flying,
    Our people need not hurry; so they wait and answer not.           60

    Then the Corporal, our old cripple (he would swear sometimes
         and tipple),--
    He had heard the bullets whistle (in the old French war)
        before,--
    Calls out in words of jeering, just as if they all were
        hearing,--
    And his wooden leg thumps fiercely on the dusty belfry floor:--

    "Oh! fire away, ye villains, and earn King George's shillin's,    65
    But ye'll waste a ton of powder afore a 'rebel' falls;
    You may bang the dirt and welcome, they're as safe as
        Dan'l Malcolm[333]
    Ten foot beneath the gravestone that you've splintered with
        your balls!"

    In the hush of expectation, in the awe and trepidation
    Of the dread approaching moment, we are well-nigh breathless
        all;                                                          70
    Though the rotten bars are failing on the rickety belfry railing,
    We are crowding up against them like the waves against a wall.

    Just a glimpse (the air is clearer), they are nearer,--nearer,
        --nearer,
    When a flash--a curling smoke-wreath--then a crash--the steeple
        shakes--
    The deadly truce is ended; the tempest's shroud is rended;        75
    Like a morning mist is gathered, like a thunder-cloud it breaks!

    O the sight our eyes discover as the blue-black smoke blows over!
    The red-coats stretched in windrows as a mower rakes his hay;
    Here a scarlet heap is lying, there a headlong crowd is flying
    Like a billow that has broken and is shivered into spray.         80

    Then we cried, "The troops are routed! they are beat--it
         can't be doubted!
    God be thanked, the fight is over!"--Ah! the grim old soldier's
        smile!
    "Tell us, tell us why you look so?" (we could hardly speak we
         shook so),--
    "Are they beaten? _Are_ they beaten? ARE they
         beaten?"--"Wait a while."

    O the trembling and the terror! for too soon we saw our error:    85
    They are baffled, not defeated; we have driven them back in vain;
    And the columns that were scattered, round the colors that
        were tattered,
    Toward the sullen silent fortress turn their belted breasts again.

    All at once, as we were gazing, lo! the roofs of Charlestown
        blazing!
    They have fired the harmless village; in an hour it will be
        down!                                                         90
    The Lord in Heaven confound them, rain his fire and
        brimstone round them,--
    The robbing, murdering red-coats, that would burn a peaceful town!

    They are marching, stern and solemn; we can see each massive
        column
    As they near the naked earth-mound with the slanting walls
        so steep.
    Have our soldiers got faint-hearted, and in noiseless
         haste departed?                                              95
    Are they panic-struck and helpless? Are they palsied or asleep?

    Now! the walls they're almost under! scarce a rod the foes
        asunder!
    Not a firelock flashed against them! up the earthwork they will
        swarm!
    But the words have scarce been spoken when the ominous calm is
        broken,
    And a bellowing crash has emptied all the vengeance
        of the storm!                                                100

    So again, with murderous slaughter, pelted backwards to the
        water,
    Fly Pigot's running heroes and the frightened braves of Howe;
    And we shout, "At last they're done for, it's their
        barges they have run for:
    They are beaten, beaten, beaten; and the battle's over now!"

    And we looked, poor timid creatures, on the rough old
        soldier's features,                                          105
    Our lips afraid to question, but he knew what we would ask:
    "Not sure," he said; "keep quiet,--once more, I guess, they'll
        try it--
    Here's damnation to the cut-throats!" then he handed me his flask,

    Saying, "Gal, you're looking shaky; have a drop of Old Jamaiky;
    I'm afeared there'll be more trouble afore the job is done;"     110
    So I took one scorching swallow; dreadful faint I felt and
        hollow,
    Standing there from early morning when the firing was begun.

    All through those hours of trial I had watched a calm clock dial,
    As the hands kept creeping, creeping,--they were creeping round
        to four,
    When the old man said, "They're forming with their bayonets
         fixed for storming:                                         115
    It's the death-grip that's a-coming,--they will try the works
        once more."

    With brazen trumpets blaring, the flames behind them glaring,
    The deadly wall before them, in close array they come;
    Still onward, upward toiling, like a dragon's fold uncoiling,--
    Like the rattlesnake's shrill warning the reverberating drum!    120

    Over heaps all torn and gory--shall I tell the fearful story,
    How they surged above the breastwork, as a sea breaks over a deck;
    How, driven, yet scarce defeated, our worn-out men retreated,
    With their powder-horns all emptied, like the swimmers from
        a wreck?

    It has all been told and painted; as for me, they say I
        fainted,                                                     125
    And the wooden-legged old Corporal stumped with me down the
        stair:
    When I woke from dreams affrighted the evening lamps were
        lighted,--
    On the floor a youth was lying; his bleeding breast was bare.

    And I heard through all the flurry, "Send for Warren! hurry!
        hurry!
    Tell him here's a soldier bleeding, and he'll come and dress
        his wound!"                                                  130
    Ah, we knew not till the morrow told its tale of death and
        sorrow,
    How the starlight found him stiffened on the dark and
        bloody ground.

    Who the youth was, what his name was, where the place from
        which he came was,
    Who had brought him from the battle, and had left him at
        our door,
    He could not speak to tell us; but 'twas one of our
       brave fellows,                                                135
    As the homespun plainly showed us which the dying soldier wore.

    For they all thought he was dying, as they gathered round him
        crying,--
    And they said, "Oh, how they'll miss him!" and,
        "What _will_ his mother do?"
    Then, his eyelids just unclosing like a child's that has been
        dozing,
    He faintly murmured, "Mother!"--and--I saw his eyes were
        blue.                                                        140

    --"Why, grandma, how you're winking!"--Ah, my child, it sets
        me thinking
    Of a story not like this one. Well, he somehow lived along;
    So we came to know each other, and I nursed him like a--mother,
    Till at last he stood before me, tall, and rosy-cheeked,
        and strong.

    And we sometimes walked together in the pleasant
        summer weather;                                              145
    --"Please to tell us what his name was?"--Just your own,
        my little dear.
    There's his picture Copley[334] painted: we became so well
        acquainted,
    That,--in short, that's why I'm grandma, and you children are
        all here!"



NOTES


WILLIAM COWPER

William Cowper was born at Great Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England,
in 1731. He was educated first at a private school and afterwards at
Westminster in London. He studied law, but his progress in the
profession was blocked because of an attack of insanity brought on in
1763 by nervousness over an oral examination for a clerkship in the
House of Commons. After fifteen months he recovered and went to live at
Huntingdon, where he met the Unwin family and began what was to be a
lifelong friendship with Mrs. Unwin. Upon Mr. Unwin's death in 1767,
Cowper moved with Mrs. Unwin to Olney, passing a secluded life there
until 1786. In 1773 he suffered a second attack of melancholia, which
lasted sixteen months. Soon after his recovery he coöperated with the
Rev. John Newton in writing the well-known _Olney Hymns_ (1779). In 1782
he published his first volume of poems, and a second volume followed in
1785, containing _The Task_, _Tirocinium_, and the ballad of _John
Gilpin_. A translation of Homer was completed in 1791. After 1791 his
reason became hopelessly deranged, and he passed the time until his
death in 1800 in utter misery.

Cowper was a man of kind and gentle character, a lover of nature in her
milder aspects, and especially fond of animals. As one of the
forerunners of the so-called Romantic movement in English poetry, his
name is significant. Though at his best in work of a descriptive or
satiric kind, he was also gifted with a subtle humor which appears
frequently in many short tales and ballads. A good biography of Cowper
is that by Goldwin Smith in the English Men of Letters Series.


THE DIVERTING HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN (Page 1)

The story of John Gilpin was told to Cowper by his friend, Lady Austen,
who had heard it when a child. The poet, upon whom the tale made a deep
impression, eventually turned it into this ballad, which was first
published anonymously in the _Public Advertiser_ for November 14, 1782.
It became popular at once, and is to-day probably the most widely known
of the author's works. It is written in the conventional ballad metre,
and preserves many expressions characteristic of the primitive English
ballad style.

[1] 3. =Eke=; also.

[2] 11. =Edmonton= is a suburb a few miles directly north of London.

[3] 16. =After we.= John Gilpin's wife does not hesitate to sacrifice
grammar for the sake of rime.

[4] 23. =Calender=; one who operates a calender, a machine for giving
cloth or paper a smooth, glossy surface.

[5] 39. =Agog=; eager.

[6] 44. =Cheapside= was one of the most important of the old London
streets.

[7] 49. The =saddletree= is the frame of the saddle.

[8] 115. =Carries weight.= The bottles seem to resemble the weights
carried in horse races by the jockeys.

[9] 133. =Islington=, now part of London, was then one of its suburbs.

[10] 152. =Ware= is a town about fifteen miles north of London.

[11] 178. =Pin=; mood.

[12] 222. =Amain=; at full speed.

[13] 236. =The hue and cry=; a term used to describe the rousing of the
people in pursuit of a rogue.


ROBERT BURNS

Robert Burns was born of peasant parentage near Ayr, Scotland, on
January 25, 1759. Up to the time when he was twenty-five years old he
lived and worked on his father's farm, except for two short absences in
near-by towns. While he was very young, he formed bad habits, from which
he could never free himself, and which eventually wrecked his career. He
was frequently in love, and many of the resulting entanglements brought
him little but sorrow. In 1786, as a result of an unfortunate affair
with Jean Armour, he determined to sail for America, and in order to
raise the necessary money, published a volume of poems for which he was
paid twenty pounds. The book was received with enthusiasm and so elated
Burns with his success, that he decided to remain in Scotland. He
accepted an invitation to Edinburgh, where he was entertained royally by
literary circles. However, he was compelled to return to farming, and
after marrying Jean Armour took a tenancy at Ellisland in 1788. A little
later he was appointed exciseman, but his convivial tendencies were
undermining his health, and he found his duties hard to attend to. He
moved to Dumfries, where he died in poverty in 1796.

Burns as a writer of songs, especially of love lyrics, is unsurpassed.
He touched the depths of human passion as few have ever done, and has
made his poetry live in the hearts of the people. He is also the poet of
Scottish peasant life, the enemy of oppression and tyranny, and the
supporter of patriotism. Failure though he was from a worldly point of
view, he was more unfortunate than culpable, and deserves our pity
rather than our censure.

Carlyle's _Essay on Burns_ gives an excellent idea of the character and
work of the poet.


TAM O'SHANTER (Page 11)

Written in 1790 in a single day and first published in 1791 as a
contribution to Grose's _Antiquities of Scotland_, it has been called "a
masterpiece of Scottish character, Scottish humor, Scottish witch-lore,
and Scottish imagination." Burns himself considered it to be his finest
poem.

[14] 1. =Chapman billies=; pedlar fellows.

[15] 2. =Drouthy=; thirsty.

[16] 4. =Tak the gate=; take the road.

[17] 5. =Nappy=; liquor.

[18] 6. =Fou=; tipsy.

[19] 6. =Unco=; very.

[20] 8. =Slaps=; gates in fences.

[21] 14. =Frae=; from.

[22] 14. =Ayr=; a town in Ayrshire, Scotland, on the west coast about
thirty miles south of Glasgow. Near it is the birthplace of Burns.

[23] 19. =Skellum=; ne'er-do-well.

[24] 20. =Blethering=; talking nonsense.

[25] 20. =Blellum=; babbler.

[26] 23. =Ilka=; every.

[27] 23. =Melder=; corn or grain sent to the mill to be ground.

[28] 25. =Ca'd=; driven.

[29] 30. =Doon=; a river near Ayr immortalized in Burns's song, "Ye
banks and braes of bonny Doon."

[30] 31. =Warlocks=; wizards.

[31] 31. =Mirk=; dark.

[32] 32. =Alloway=; a small town near Ayr, Scotland.

[33] 32. =Kirk=; church.

[34] 33. =Gars me greet=; makes me weep.

[35] 38. =Planted=; fixed.

[36] 39. =Ingle=; fireside.

[37] 40. =Reaming swats=; foaming new ale.

[38] 41. =Souter=; shoemaker.

[39] 68. =Maun=; must.

[40] 78. =The Deil=; the Devil.

[41] 81. =Skelpit=; hurried.

[42] 81. =Dub=; puddle.

[43] 86. =Bogles=; bogies or goblins.

[44] 88. =Houlets=; owls.

[45] 90. =Smoored=; smothered.

[46] 91. =Birks=; birches.

[47] 91. =Meikle stane=; huge stone.

[48] 93. =Whins=; furze bushes.

[49] 93. =Cairn=; pile of stones.

[50] 94. =Bairn=; child.

[51] 102. =Bleeze=; blaze.

[52] 103. =Bore=; hole.

[53] 105. =John Barleycorn=; a Scotch term for whiskey.

[54] 108. =Usquebae=; whiskey.

[55] 110. =Boddle=; farthing.

[56] 116. =Brent=; brought.

[57] 117. =Strathspeys.= The strathspey was a Scottish dance.

[58] 119. =Winnock-bunker=; window-seat.

[59] 121. =Towzie tyke=; shaggy dog.

[60] 123. =Gart them skirl=; made them shriek.

[61] 124. =Dirl=; ring.

[62] 127. =Cantrip slight=; magic charm.

[63] 134. =Gab=; throat.

[64] 147. =Cleekit=; took hold.

[65] 148. =Carlin=; witch.

[66] 149. =Coost her duddies=; threw off her clothes.

[67] 150. =Linket=; tripped.

[68] 150. =Sark=; shirt.

[69] 151. =Queans=; young women.

[70] 153. =Creeshie flannen=; greasy flannel.

[71] 154. =Seventeen-hunder linen=; fine linen. Technical weaving terms
were familiar to the hand-loom workers of Burns's district.

[72] 157. =Hurdies=; hips.

[73] 158. =Burdies=; maidens.

[74] 159. =Beldams=; hags.

[75] 160. =Rigwoodie=; ancient.

[76] 160. =Spean=; wean.

[77] 161. =Crummock=; a short staff.

[78] 163. =Brawlie=; perfectly.

[79] 164. =Walie=; large.

[80] 165. =Core=; corps.

[81] 169. =Bear=; barley.

[82] 171. =Cutty-sark=; short shirt.

[83] 171. =Paisley harn=; a coarse cloth, made in Paisley, a Scotch town
famous for its cloth-making industry.

[84] 174. =Vauntie=; proud.

[85] 176. =Coft=; bought.

[86] 181. =Lap and flang=; leapt and capered.

[87] 184. =E'en=; eyes.

[88] 185. =Fidged fu' fain=; fidgeted with eagerness.

[89] 186. =Hotched=; jerked his arm while playing the bagpipe.

[90] 187. =Syne=; then.

[91] 188. =Tint=; lost.

[92] 193. =Fyke=; fret.

[93] 194. =Byke=; hive.

[94] 200. =Eldritch=; unearthly.

[95] 201. =Fairin'=; reward.

[96] 208. According to an old superstition, witches are unable to pursue
their victims over running water. Compare the story of the Headless
Horseman in Irving's _The Legend of Sleepy Hollow_.

[97] 213. =Ettle=; aim.


WALTER SCOTT

Walter Scott was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1771, of an old Border
family. Up to the age of four he was rather feeble, an attack of fever
having left him with a shrunken right leg. This disability, though it
did not prevent his becoming a strong, sturdy man, still gave him ample
leisure for wide reading while he was young. In high school and at the
University of Edinburgh he was not known as a scholar, though he was
popular with his companions, especially as a storyteller. In obedience
to his father's wishes he took up law and toiled unenthusiastically at
this profession for some years. Some trips of his into the Scotch
Highlands led him to make a collection of old ballads, published in
_Border Minstrelsy_ (1802). From this time on he devoted himself
exclusively to literature. His first important original poem, _The Lay
of the Last Minstrel_, came out in 1805, followed by _Marmion_ (1808),
_The Lady of the Lake_ (1810), _The Vision of Don Roderick_ (1811), and
others of less merit. He had about this time become a silent partner in
the printing firm of Ballantyne Brothers, contributing largely to the
capital. In 1812 he purchased a farm on the river Tweed and built the
famous house Abbotsford. The estate was an unprofitable investment, as
it led him into extravagances apparently justified by an increasing
income but really based on a false optimism.

In 1814 Scott wrote _Waverley_, the first of the long series of novels
which made him distinguished as a prose-writer. From this time on his
major work was in prose. He recognized without envy that Byron was
beating him on his own ground in poetry, and accordingly changed to a
field where success was surer. He was apparently prospering financially
when, in 1827, the firm of which he was a member went into bankruptcy,
largely because of poor business management, and he was left shouldered
with a debt of about $600,000. Undaunted he set to work at the age of
fifty-five to satisfy his creditors, and book after book poured from his
pen until in four years he had paid off $270,000. The effort, however,
was too much for his health; he broke down, and, after a short visit to
Italy, died at Abbotsford in 1832.

Scott's character was almost wholly admirable. He was manly,
courageous, faithful, and generous. Always popular, he was a lavish
entertainer in his prosperous days. He did his work cheerfully and bore
up without complaint against misfortune and suffering such as few men
are called upon to endure.

As a poet he was fluent, vigorous, and spirited, but usually paid little
attention to form and polish. He made no effort to become a careful
writer; but this is sometimes compensated for by a certain robustness
which most of his verses possess. His poetical genius is best shown in
narrative, where the movement is rapid and the action full of exciting
moments. If his poems lack intense passion and deep meditation, they are
at least picturesque and interesting.

J. G. Lockhart, Scott's son-in-law, is the author of the most complete
biography. A good shorter life is that by R. H. Hutton in the English
Men of Letters Series.


LOCHINVAR (Page 19)

Published first in _Marmion_ (1808) as "Lady Heron's Song."

[98] 2. =Border=; the country on the border between England and
Scotland, a region of warfare and strife for many centuries.

[99] 8. The =Esk= River is in southwest Scotland, and flows into Solway
Firth.

[100] 32. =Galliard=; a lively dance of the period.

[101] 41. =Scaur=; a steep bank of rock.


WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

William Wordsworth was born in 1770 at Cockermouth on the borders of the
beautiful English lake country. During a boyhood spent largely out of
doors, rowing, walking, and skating, he imbibed a love for nature which
had a broader manifestation in his later life and poetry. After a short
period at Hawkshead School, he entered St. John's College, Cambridge,
where he took a degree in 1791. He then resided for a time in France;
but was driven from there in 1793 by the Reign of Terror, and passed a
few years in a rather idle way in the vicinity of London. His real
poetic awakening came in 1797, when he and Coleridge lived near each
other at Alfoxden among the Quantock Hills in Somerset. Here, in 1798,
the two young men published _Lyrical Ballads_, a collection of poems
written for the most part by Wordsworth, though Coleridge contributed
_The Rime of the Ancient Mariner_ and a few others. This book,
especially in its treatment of nature, was a reaction against the
stilted formalism which had characterized much of the English poetry of
the eighteenth century, and as such it was the real stimulus for the
revival of Romanticism which followed its appearance. After a year in
Germany with his sister Dorothy, Wordsworth returned to the lake region
now associated with his name, living at Grasmere until 1813, and after
that at Rydal Mount. He married his cousin, Mary Hutchinson, in 1802.
Among his later important works were _The Prelude_ (1805), _The
Excursion_ (1814), and many shorter poems and sonnets. He was made
poet-laureate in 1843, and died seven years after in 1850.

Wordsworth, though a radical in his youth, became more conservative in
later years. He was a man of quiet tastes, and deliberately chose to
live where he could be among simple people. As a poet, he was first of
all an interpreter of nature, endowed with extraordinary keenness of
observation and delighting in all her phases. In humanity, too, he had a
sympathetic interest, especially in the everyday emotions and
occupations of the plain men and women around him. And influencing his
attitude toward both nature and humanity was a sort of religious
mysticism which conceived the spirit of God as permeating all things,
flowers and trees as well as the human heart.


MICHAEL (Page 21)

Written in 1800 and published in the same year. Wordsworth's own note on
the poem is as follows: "Written at Town-end, Grasmere, about the same
time as 'The Brothers.' The Sheepfold, on which so much of the poem
turns, remains, or rather the ruins of it. The character and
circumstances of Luke were taken from a family to whom had belonged,
many years before, the house we lived in at Town-end, along with some
fields and woodlands on the eastern shore of Grasmere. The name of the
Evening Star was not in fact given to this house, but to another on the
same side of the valley, more to the north."

[102] 2. =Greenhead Ghyll=; a ravine near Grasmere.

[103] 134. =Easedale=; a small lake near Grasmere.


LUCY GRAY; OR, SOLITUDE (Page 36)

Written in 1799 and published first in 1800. Wordsworth says of it:
"Written at Goslar in Germany. It was founded on a circumstance told me
by my Sister, of a little girl, who, not far from Halifax, in Yorkshire,
was bewildered in a snowstorm. Her footsteps were traced by her parents
to the middle of the lock of a canal, and no other vestige of her,
backward or forward, could be traced. The body, however, was found in
the canal."


THOMAS CAMPBELL

Thomas Campbell was born at Glasgow, Scotland, July 27, 1777. He was
educated at the University of Glasgow, where he made somewhat of a
reputation as a versifier and translator. After some desultory attempts
at tutoring, he published in 1799, _The Pleasures of Hope_, a long
didactic poem which brought him real fame and a considerable financial
reward. Soon after he travelled on the continent, where many of his war
ballads were written. In his later days he was a figure in literary
circles and was given a pension by the crown. He died in 1844 and was
buried in Westminster Abbey.

Much of Campbell's longer poetic work is dull and unequal. However, in
his own field of the vigorous patriotic ballad, he is without a rival.
Saintsbury says of him, "He holds the place of best singer of war in a
race and language which are those of the best singers, and not the worst
fighters, in the history of the world."


HOHENLINDEN (Page 39)

Written in 1800, after the author had visited the battlefield.

In the battle of Hohenlinden (December 3, 1800), the French under
General Moreau defeated the Austrians and compelled the Austrian Emperor
to sue for peace. The treaty of Luneville, which followed, extended
French territory to the Rhine.

[104] 4. The =Iser= is a river rising in northern Switzerland and
flowing into the Danube.


BATTLE OF THE BALTIC (Page 40)

Written in 1809.

The battle of the Baltic took place in the Baltic Sea before Copenhagen,
April 2, 1801, between the English and the Danish fleets. England had
accepted a declaration of the Armed Neutrality League (Russia, Denmark,
and Sweden) as being really in the interests of her enemy, France, and
the English fleet under Lord Parker was sent to the Baltic. Under Lord
Nelson, the second in command, a decisive victory was gained, largely
through the fact that Nelson refused to obey the orders of his superior
officer.

[105] 67. =Riou= was one of Nelson's officers.


CHARLES WOLFE

Charles Wolfe was born at Dublin, Ireland, in 1791 and died at
Queenstown in 1823. He graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, in 1814 and
became curate of Donoughmore, Ireland. His _Remains_, with a brief
memoir, were published in 1825.

His only poem of any distinction is the one here printed, _The Burial of
Sir John Moore_.


THE BURIAL OF SIR JOHN MOORE AT CORUNNA (Page 43)

First published in the _Newry Telegraph_, an Irish paper, in 1817, under
the initials C. W.

Sir John Moore (1761-1809) was commander of an English army of
twenty-four thousand men in Spain against a French force of eighty
thousand under Soult. At the battle of Corunna, January 16, 1809, the
English army won a doubtful victory in which their leader was killed.
After burying him at dead of night, the English troops embarked for
their own country.

[106] =Corunna= is a city in northwest Spain.


BYRON

George Gordon, Lord Byron, was born in London, January 22, 1788, and
died at Missolonghi, April 19, 1824, at the age of thirty-six. Byron's
father, a captain in the guards, after a romantic first marriage, wedded
Catharine Gordon, a wealthy girl, of Aberdeenshire, whom, after
squandering her fortune, he deserted shortly after young Byron's birth.
Byron's mother was a quick-tempered, impulsive woman, ill-fitted to
bring up a son who had a temperament almost exactly like her own. Once
when a companion said to Byron, "Your mother's a fool," the boy
answered, "I know it."

As a boy at school Byron formed passionate attachments, entered into the
games he played with an unusual fierceness of spirit, and exhibited that
sensitive pride which was the cause of much of his posing there and in
later life. He was club-footed, a deformity about which he was extremely
sensitive. Before entering Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1805, he had
attended Harrow for five years. At Cambridge he remained less than three
years, but in that time made some close friends and took an active part
in all sorts of sports, especially riding and swimming. His vacations he
spent at London or Southwell, generally quarrelling violently with his
mother.

His first published poetry was _Hours of Idleness_, which appeared in
1807, and which was attacked by the _Edinburgh Review_ so strenuously
that Byron replied in 1809 with _English Bards and Scotch Reviewers_. In
the same year he took his seat in the House of Lords, but he had no
interest in politics, and, accordingly, left England for two years'
travel on the continent. This tour was the occasion of the first two
cantos of _Childe Harold_. This poem was received so warmly that Byron
remarked that "he awoke one morning to find himself famous." From now
till the separation from his wife in 1816, after a year of wedded life,
he was the lion of British society, but society took sides on this
family difference, and as most of them sympathized with Lady Byron,
Byron himself left England. He spent some time on Lake Geneva, where the
Castle of Chillon is situated. He then went to Italy, where, amid his
usual life of dissipation, he became interested in the Italian
Insurrection. Among his friends and companions in Italy were Shelley
and Leigh Hunt. In 1823, becoming attracted by the attempts of the
Greeks to overthrow Turkish rule, he went to Greece as a leader, but he
contracted a fever at Missolonghi, where he died, April 19, 1824.

As a poet Byron appeals especially to youth. His tales are so
interesting that Scott made the remark that Byron beat him at his own
game. Rapidity and force of movement, intensity and passion, excellent
description, and a great, though not fine, command of poetic sound are
the chief characteristics of his poetry. The romantic tale, _Childe
Harold_, and the satire, _Don Juan_, are perhaps his best-known works.


THE PRISONER OF CHILLON (Page 45)

The castle of Chillon is situated near Montreux at the opposite end of
Lake Geneva from the city of Geneva. It is a large castle, built on an
isolated rock twenty-two yards from the shore of the lake. Beneath this
castle, but some nine or ten feet above the surface of the lake,
supported by seven detached pillars and one semi-detached, is a vaulted
chamber, which was formerly used as a prison. Here, from 1530 to 1536,
was imprisoned Francis Bonnivard.

Bonnivard, the son of the Lord of Lune, was born in 1496. When sixteen
years old, he inherited from his uncle the priory of St. Victor, near
Geneva. Later he allied himself with this city against the Duke of
Savoy, but was captured and imprisoned for two years in Grolée. In 1530
he again fell into the hands of the Duke of Savoy, who this time
confined him for six years in Chillon castle. At the end of this period
he was liberated by the Bernese and Genevese and returned to Geneva to
live a brilliant but wild life until 1570.

Byron takes no pains to stick to the facts of Bonnivard's imprisonment
or life, or even to the facts about the prison itself. Notice, however,
that he calls the poem "A Fable."

Byron and Shelley made a visit to Chillon in June, 1816, and while
delayed for two days at Ouchy, a village on Lake Geneva, Byron wrote
this poem.

Byron and Shelley belonged to a group of poets who were influenced by
the French Revolution. Byron's love of freedom was so great that he
aided Italy, and finally died from a fever contracted at Missolonghi,
where he had gone to aid the Greek revolutionists. The following sonnet,
which was prefixed to _The Prisoner of Chillon_, gives an idea of
Byron's love of liberty.


SONNET OF CHILLON

    "Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
      Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art,
      For there thy habitation is the heart--
    The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
    And when thy sons to fetters are consigned--
      To fetters, and the damp vault's dayless gloom,
      Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
    And Freedom's fame finds wings on every wind.

    "Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
      And thy sad floor an altar--for 'twas trod,
    Until his very steps have left a trace
      Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
    By Bonnivard!--May none those marks efface!
      For they appeal from tyranny to God."


[107] 4. =Sudden fears.= Marie Antoinette's hair has been said to have
turned gray on the return from Varennes to Paris. It certainly turned
gray very quickly during the anxiety of the Revolution.

[108] 22. =Sealed.= How?

[109] 27.-----------

[110] 35. =Marsh's meteor lamp=; will o' the wisp.

[111] 38. =Cankering thing.= What does canker do?

[112] 57. The =elements= are fire, air, earth, and water.

[113] 82. =Polar day.= What is the length of the day near the poles?

[114] 100. =Sooth=; truth.

[115] 107. =Lake Leman=; another name for Lake Geneva.

[116] 133. The =moat= was the ditch which surrounded a castle. The moat
of Chillon Castle, however, was the part of the lake which separated the
rock from the shore.

[117] 179. =Rushing forth in blood.= Byron is said to have been fond of
the symptoms of violent death. He, a year after writing this poem, saw
three robbers guillotined, taking careful notice of his own and their
actions. Goethe, the German poet, even thought that Byron must have
committed murder, he seemed so interested in sudden death.

[118] 230. =Selfish death=; suicide.

[119] 237. =Wist=; the imperfect tense of _wit_, _to be aware of_, _to
know_.

[120] 288. =Brother's.= It was a Mohammedan belief that the souls of the
blessed inhabited green birds in paradise.

[121] 294. =Solitary cloud.= This line is one of several very close
similarities in this poem to Wordsworth; cf.:--

    "I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o'er vales and hills."

[122] 341. The =little isle= referred to is Ile de Peilz, an islet on
which a century ago were planted three elms.

[123] 392. =With a sigh.= It is not unheard of for men long imprisoned
to lose all desire for freedom, and even to return to their place of
confinement after being set free.


MAZEPPA (Page 58)

The following extract from Voltaire's _History of Charles XII_ was
prefixed to the first edition of _Mazeppa_ as the "Advertisement":--

"The man who then filled this position [Hetman of Ukraine] was a Polish
gentleman, named Mazeppa, who had been born in the Palatinate of
Podolia. He had been brought up as a page to John Casimir, at whose
court he had taken on some of the color of learning. An intrigue which
he had in his youth with the wife of a Polish gentleman having been
discovered, the husband had him bound, all naked, upon a wild horse, and
in this condition let go. The horse, which was from the country of
Ukraine, returned and brought there Mazeppa, half-dead with weariness
and hunger. Some peasants helped him: he remained a long time among them
and distinguished himself in several expeditions against the Tartars.
The superiority of his wisdom brought him great consideration among the
Cossacks. His reputation increased day by day, until the Czar was
obliged to make him Prince of Ukraine."

The real life of Mazeppa was as follows: Ivan Stepánovitch Mazeppa was
born in 1645, of Cossack origin and of the lesser nobility of Volhynia.
When fifteen years old, he became the page to John Casimir V of Poland,
and, while holding this office, learned Latin and much about
statesmanship. Later, however, being banished on account of a quarrel,
he returned home to his mother in Volhynia. While here, to pass the
time, he fell in love with the wife of a neighbor, Lord Falbouski. This
lord, or pane, discovering his wife and her lover, caused Mazeppa to be
stripped and bound to his own horse. The horse, enraged by lashes and
pistol shots and then let loose, ran immediately to Mazeppa's own
courtyard.

Mazeppa, later, after holding various secretaryships, was made hetman,
or prince, over all of Ukraine, and for nearly twenty years he was the
ally of Peter the Great. Afterwards, however, he offered his services to
Stanislaus of Poland, and finally to Charles XII of Sweden. "Pultowa's
Day," July 8, 1709, when Charles was defeated by the Russians and put
to flight, was the last of Mazeppa's power. He fled with Charles across
the river Borysthenes and received protection from the Turks. He died a
year later at Varnitza on the Dneister, just in time to escape being
delivered over to Peter.

[124] 1. =Pultowa.= See Introductory Note.

[125] 9. =Day were dark and drear=; Napoleon's famous defeat, and
retreat from Moscow, October, 1815.

[126] 15. =Die.= What is the plural?

[127] 23. =Gieta= was a colonel in the king of Sweden's army.

[128] 51. =Levels man and brute.= Burke says in his _Speech on
Conciliation with America_, "Public calamity is a mighty leveller."

[129] 56. =Hetman.= See Introductory Note. Mazeppa was sixty-four years
old.

[130] 104. =Bucephalus=; the horse of Alexander the Great. Alexander,
when a boy, was the first to tame this horse, thereby, in fulfilment of
the oracle, proving his right to the throne.

[131] 105. =Scythia= was a country, north and northeast of the Black
Sea, which was inhabited by nomadic people. It was noted for its horses.

[132] 116. =Borysthenes=; another name for the Dnieper River.

[133] 151. A =Mime= was a sort of farce, travestying real persons or
events.

[134] 154. =Thyrsis= was one of the names commonly used for shepherds in
the Greek and Latin pastoral poets, as Theocritus, Bion, Virgil. The
names were conventionally used by modern imitators of these poets.

[135] 155. =Palatine= (from _palatium_, meaning palace) was a name given
to a count, or ruler of a district, who had almost regal power.

[136] 237. =O'erwrought=; the past participle of _overwork_. Cf.
_wheelwright_, _wainwright_, etc.

[137] 329. =Cap-à-pie=; from head to foot.

[138] 349. ='Scutcheon=, or escutcheon, is the shield-shaped surface
upon which the armorial bearings are charged.

[139] 437. =Spahi's=; the name of a Turkish corps of irregular cavalry.

[140] 575. =Uncouth=; literally, unknown.

[141] 618. =Ignis-fatuus=; will-o-the-wisp, Jack-o'-lantern.

[142] 664. =Werst=; a Russian measure equal to about two-thirds of a
mile.


THE DESTRUCTION OF SENNACHERIB (Page 86)

Read _2 Chronicles_, chapter 32, and _Isaiah_, chapters 36 and 37.


JOHN KEATS

John Keats was born October, 1795, and died on the 23d of February,
1821. He was the son of a livery-stable keeper, who had married his
former proprietor's daughter. The parents had wished to educate Keats
and his two brothers, but before Keats was fifteen, both his father and
mother had died. He was then apprenticed to a surgeon at Edmonton, under
whom he remained four years, and then went up to London to complete his
training for a medical degree. This he received in due time and began to
practise, but he found literature so much more attractive that, in about
a year, he gave up his attempt to practise medicine. At about this time
he became acquainted with Leigh Hunt, who had a good deal of influence
upon Keats's literary beginnings. His first volume of poetry, which
appeared in 1817, shows this influence strongly. A year later his
_Endymion_ was published and was so severely criticised by _Blackwood's_
and especially by the _Quarterly_ that Keats took it much to heart; some
have supposed that this attack very much hastened his death. His
brother George had moved to America in 1818, and his brother Tom was now
dying with consumption. Keats nursed him faithfully until his death.
Immediately after this sorrow, he fell deeply in love, but his health
was so greatly impaired that he found it necessary, in 1820, to take a
trip to Italy. He did not grow stronger, however, but died at Rome on
the 23d of February, 1821.

Keats's poetry is noted especially for its sensuous beauty, its
descriptions, and its remarkable reproduction of the Greek and romantic
spirits.


THE EVE OF ST. AGNES (Page 88)

Around St. Agnes' Eve, which is the night before the Feast of St. Agnes
on January 21, and which corresponds to the Scotch "Hallowe'en," there
grew up the superstition that a maiden could, by observing certain
traditional precautions, have in her sleep a vision of her future
husband. Perhaps the most common way to obtain this vision was for the
girl to go to sleep on her back with her hands behind her head; then at
midnight she would dream that her lover came and kissed her. This is the
superstition that Keats has made use of in _The Eve of St. Agnes_.

St. Agnes was a Roman girl, who at thirteen was loved by the son of a
Roman prefect, but, however, being like her parents a Christian and
having vowed virginity, she told her lover that she was already
betrothed. The youth, thinking he had some earthly rival, as a result
fell so very sick that his father tried to intercede with the girl's
parents. When he found these people were Christians, he tried to compel
Agnes to become a vestal virgin or marry his son. Agnes, because she
refused to do either of these things, was dragged to the altar, but
because here, by her prayers, she restored to her lover the sight which
he had lost, she was set free by the Prefect. The people, however, tried
to burn her, but were themselves consumed in the fire, until finally one
of their number slew her with his sword. A few days after her death, her
parents had a vision of her, surrounded by angels and accompanied by a
lamb (Agnus Dei). After her canonization it was customary to sacrifice
on St. Agnes' Day, during the singing, two lambs whose wool the next day
was woven by the nuns into pallia for the archbishops. (Cf. I. 115,
117.) Cf. _Agnus_ and _Agnes_.

[143] 5. =Beadsman.= =Bead= originally meant prayer; hence "to say one's
beads." A beadsman was an inmate of an almshouse who was bound to pray
for the founders of the house. In Shakespeare the word is used to denote
one who prays for another.

[144] 31. =Snarling.= Does this verse resemble the sound described? What
is the name of this figure?

[145] 40. =New-stuffed.= What does this mean here?

[146] 46. =St. Agnes' Eve.= See Introductory Note.

[147] 70. =Amort= (Fr. à la mort); lifeless, spiritless.

[148] 71. =Lambs.= See Introductory Note.

[149] 75. =Porphyro= (Gr. _porphyro_ = a purple fish, purple). Why did
Keats choose this name instead of Lionel, as he first intended?

[150] 77. =Buttress'd= means supported, but here it must mean protected
from; _i.e._ Porphyro was in the shadow of the buttress.

[151] 81. =Sooth=; truth. Cf. _soothsayer_.

[152] 86. =Hyena.= Find out the characteristics of this animal, and see
what the force of the epithet is here.

[153] 90. =Beldame= (_bel + dame_) originally meant a fair lady, then
grandmother and, in general, old woman or hag.

[154] 105. =Gossip= originally meant a sponsor at baptism (_God-sib_),
then a boon companion, and finally a tattler.

[155] 115. =Holy loom.= See Introductory Note.

[156] 120. =Witch's sieve.= This refers to the superstition that witches
could hold water in sieves and could sail in them. Cf. _Macbeth_, I. 3.
1, 8:--

    "But in a sieve I'll thither sail,
    And, like a rat without a tail,
    I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do."

[157] 126. =Mickle=; much.

[158] 135. =Lap.= "Madeline is asleep in her bed; but she is also asleep
in accordance with the legends of the season; and therefore the bed
becomes their lap as well as sleep's."

                    --LEIGH HUNT.

[159] 138. How make =purple riot= in his heart?

[160] 171. =Merlin= was the sorcerer in Arthur's court. Vivien succeeded
in getting from him a secret by which she shut him up in a hollow tree.
See Tennyson's _Merlin and Vivien_. Malory has another version of the
story.

[161] 173. =Cates=; provisions,--especially rich, luxurious provisions.
Cf. _cater_, _caterer_.

[162] 174. =Tambour frame.= Tambour is a kind of drum; cf. _tambourine_.
A tambour frame is a round frame for holding material which is to be
embroidered.

[163] 208. =Casement high....= On these next three stanzas Keats spent
much time. They are considered beautiful description. Why?

[164] 214. =Heraldries= are coats of arms.

[165] 215. =Emblazonings=; colored heraldries.

[166] 218. =Gules=; the tincture red. In a shield without color gules is
indicated by vertical parallel lines.

[167] 241. =Missal=; a mass book for the year. What is the meaning of
this line? =Paynims=; pagans.

[168] 257. =Morphean.= Morpheus was the god of sleep.

[169] 262. =Azure-lidded sleep.= Note the different senses appealed to
in these next stanzas. Keats is called one of our most sensuous poets.

[170] 266. =Soother=; used here for _more soothing_.

[171] 267. What are =lucent syrops=? Note derivation.

[172] 277. =Eremite=; hermit.

[173] 292. Keats wrote a poem about this time called _La Belle Dame sans
Merci_.

[174] 346. =Wassailers= was a term originally used for men drinking each
other's health with the words _wes h[=a]l_, be whole.

[175] 375. Angela. Have the deaths of Angela and the Beadsman been
foretold?


ALFRED TENNYSON

Alfred Tennyson was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England, on August
6, 1809, and died at Aldworth in Surrey in 1892. He was the third of
twelve brothers and sisters, several of whom later showed evidences of
genius. As early as 1827 he and his brother Charles published _Poems by
Two Brothers_, for which they received ten pounds. At Trinity College,
Cambridge, which he entered in 1828, he won the chancellor's gold medal
for a prize poem _Timbuctoo_. On the death of his father in 1831 he left
Cambridge without a degree. Before this in 1830 he had published _Poems,
chiefly Lyrical_, and two years later in 1832 a new volume appeared
which was severely criticised, though it contained much excellent work.
The death of his close friend, Arthur Henry Hallam, in 1833 was a
terrible blow to Tennyson and one from which it took him many years to
recover. It was, however, the inspiration for his elegy _In Memoriam_,
written for the most part during the period when the loss was felt most
keenly. For some time after, Tennyson lived quietly, gaining in power
and expression, and busy training himself for the future. The product of
this seclusion came in two volumes of poetry, printed in 1842, which
were enthusiastically greeted. In 1845 Wordsworth wrote, "Tennyson is
decidedly the first of our living poets." _The Princess; A Medley_,
appeared in 1847, and three years later he gave to the world the
completed _In Memoriam_. This same year (1850) is also notable for his
marriage with Miss Emily Sellwood and his appointment as poet-laureate
in place of Wordsworth, who had just died.

From this time on his place in literature was secured, and he lived a
happy life, making occasional short trips in England and on the
continent, but remaining for the most part quietly at his estate on the
Isle of Wight. Among his later works are _Maud_ (1855), _Enoch Arden_
(1864), _Idylls of the King_ (finished 1872), a group of _Ballads, and
Other Poems_ (1880), and several dramas. He accepted a peerage in 1883.
Nine years later he died and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

Tennyson, in the range and scope of his work, in the variety of his
interests, and in the versatility of his art, is the most representative
poet of the nineteenth century. He tried many kinds of poetry and met
with some success in all. He learned versification as Stevenson did his
prose style, by long-continued study and practice, with the result that
he became eventually a supreme literary artist, a master of melody in
words. His diction is admirably precise and exact, and he is easy to
read and understand. While he is rarely profound or searching, like
Browning, neither is he overintellectual; but he embeds sane and safe
thought in a mould of beauty. He was a national poet in his patriotism
and fondness for English scenery. Finally he was an apostle of religious
optimism, ready to combat the morbid beliefs which were disturbing
contemporary philosophy.


DORA (Page 103)

Published in 1842.

The clearness and simplicity of this exquisite pastoral make any
explanatory notes superfluous. Regarding it, Wordsworth once said to
Tennyson, "I have been endeavoring all my life to write a pastoral like
your Dora and have not yet succeeded."


OeNONE (Page 108)

Most of this poem was written in 1830 while Tennyson was travelling in
the Pyrenees Mountains with his friend, Arthur Henry Hallam. The
descriptions of scenery belong, therefore, to that district, and not to
the vicinity of ancient Troy. _Oenone_ was first published in 1832,
but was afterward frequently revised; it appears here in the final form
approved by Tennyson himself.

[176] 1. =Ida= is a mountain in northwest Asia Minor near the site of
Troy.

[177] 2. =Ionian=; Grecian.

[178] 10. Gargarus is the highest peak of Mount Ida.

[179] 13. =Troas= is the district in northwest Asia Minor in which was
located the city of Troy.

[180] 13. =Ilion= was the Greek name for Troy.

[181] 16. =Paris= was the son of Priam, king of Troy, and his wife
Hecuba.

[182] 37. =River-God=; Cebren, the god of a small river near Troas.

[183] 40. =Rose slowly.= According to tradition, Neptune, the god of the
sea, was the founder of Troy, but was assisted by Apollo, who raised the
walls to the music of his lyre.

[184] 51. =Simois=; a river having its source in Mount Ida.

[185] 65. =Hesperian gold.= The apples of Hesperides were made of pure
gold. They were given to Herè as a wedding present, and thereafter
guarded night and day by a dragon. Hercules finally secured three of
them through a stratagem.

[186] 66. =Ambrosially.= Ambrosia was the food of the gods.

[187] 72. =Oread.= The Oreads were nymphs who were supposed to guide
travellers through dangerous places on the mountains.

[188] 79. =Peleus=; a king of Phitia who married Thetis, a sea-nymph. To
the wedding feast all the immortals were invited except Eris, goddess of
discord. In revenge, she cast a golden apple on the banquet table before
the gods and goddesses, with an inscription awarding it to the most
beautiful among them. The strife which followed resulted in the choosing
of Paris as judge in the matter.

[189] 81. =Iris= was the messenger and attendant of Juno. She frequently
appeared in the form of a rainbow.

[190] 83. =Herè= (Roman Juno) was the wife and sister of Zeus (Roman
Jupiter), and therefore Queen of Heaven.

[191] 84. =Pallas= (Roman Minerva) was the goddess of wisdom.

[192] 84. =Aphroditè= (Roman Venus) was the goddess of beauty and love.

[193] 95. =Amaracus=; a fragrant flower.

[194] 95. =Asphodel=; supposed to have been a variety of Narcissus.

[195] 102. The =peacock= was a bird sacred to Herè.

[196] 151. =Guerdon=; reward.

[197] 170. =Idalian=; so-called from Idalium, a town in Cyprus sacred to
Aphroditè.

[198] 171. =Paphian=; a reference to Paphos in Cyprus where Aphroditè
first set foot after her birth from sea foam.

[199] 195. =Pard=; leopard.

[200] 220. =The Abominable=; Eris, the goddess already referred to.

[201] 257. =The Greek woman=; Helen, wife of Menelaus, king of Sparta.
She was the wife promised to Paris by Aphroditè as his reward for his
decision. Paris stole her from her husband through the direction of
Aphroditè, and carried her back to Troy. As a result of this act, the
Greeks, under Menelaus and his brother Agamemnon, joined in an attack on
Troy which ended, after ten years, in the capture of that city. In the
course of the siege Paris was killed.

[202] 259. =Cassandra=; the daughter of Priam, and hence the sister of
Paris. She was condemned by Apollo to utter prophesies which, though
true, would never be believed.

The conclusion of the story of Oenone and Paris may be read in
Tennyson's own _Death of Oenone_ or in William Morris's _Death of
Paris_.


ENOCH ARDEN (Page 117)

This poem was written in 1862, its actual composition taking only two
weeks, although the poet had been considering the theme for some time.
It was first printed in 1864 and became popular at once, sixty thousand
copies being sold in a very short period.

[203] 7. =Danish barrows= are burial mounds supposed to have been left
by the early Danish invaders of England.

[204] 18. The =fluke= is the part of the anchor which fastens in the
ground.

[205] 36. =Wife to both.= This line is a prophecy of future events in
the story.

[206] 94. =Osier.= The reference is to baskets made of osier, a kind of
willow.

[207] 98. The =lion-whelp= was evidently a heraldic device over the
gateway to the hall.

[208] 99. =Peacock-yewtree=; a yewtree cut, after the fashion of the old
landscape gardeners, into the shape of a peacock.

[209] 213. =Look on yours.= This is another prophetic line.

[210] 326. =Garth=; a yard or garden.

[211] 337. =Conies=; rabbits.

[212] 370. =Just ... begun=; notice here the repetition of line 67: each
of the two lines introduces a crisis in the life of Philip. Several
other such repetitions may be found in the poem.

[213] 494. =Under the palm-tree=; found in _Judges_ iv. 5.

[214] 525. The =Bay of Biscay= is off the west coast of France and north
of Spain.

[215] 527. =Summer of the world=; the equator.

[216] 563. =Stem=; the trunk of a tree.

[217] 573. =Convolvuluses=; plants with twining stems.

[218] 575. =The broad belt of the world.= The ancients considered the
ocean to be a body of water completely surrounding the land.

[219] 633. This description may be compared with that of Ben Gunn in
Stevenson's _Treasure Island_.

[220] 671. A =holt= is a piece of woodland.

[221] 671. A =tilth= is a name for land which is tilled.

[222] 728. =Latest=; last.

[223] 733. =Shingle=; coarse gravel or small stones.

[224] 747. =Creasy=; full of creases.


THE REVENGE (Page 146)

Published first in the _Nineteenth Century_, March, 1878. Reprinted in
_Ballads, and other Poems_, 1880.

_The Revenge_ deals with an incident of the war between England and
Spain during the latter half of the sixteenth century. Sir Richard
Grenville, the hero, came from a long line of fighters and was one of
the most famous naval commanders of the period. He had led, in 1585, the
first English colony to Virginia, and had been in charge of the Devon
coast defence at the time of the _Armada_ (1588) when that great Spanish
fleet, organized to deal a crushing blow to England, was defeated and
almost entirely destroyed by English ships and seamen under Lord Howard
and Sir Francis Drake. In 1591 he was given command of the _Revenge_, a
second-rate ship of five hundred tons' burden and carrying a crew of
two hundred and fifty men, and sent to the Azores to intercept a Spanish
treasure fleet. While there, he was cut off from his own squadron and
left with two alternatives: to turn his back on the enemy, or to sail
through the fifty-three Spanish vessels opposed to him. He refused to
retreat, and the terrible battle described in the ballad was the result.

Grenville was a somewhat haughty and tyrannical leader, though
noble-minded, loyal, and patriotic. In Charles Kingsley's _Westward Ho!_
which gives a vivid portrayal of English national feeling and character
during these stirring times, he is made to take an important part, and
is idealized as "a truly heroic personage--a steadfast, God-fearing,
chivalrous man, conscious (as far as a soul so healthy could be
conscious) of the pride of beauty, and strength, and valour, and
wisdom." Froude calls him "a goodly and gallant gentleman." Perhaps the
best comment on him is found in his own dying words: "Here die I,
Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind: for that I have ended
my life as true soldier ought to do, that hath fought for his country,
Queen, religion, and honour. Whereby my soul most joyfully departeth out
of this body, and shall always leave behind it an everlasting fame of a
valiant and true soldier; that hath done his dutie as he was bound to
do."

_The Revenge_ is styled by Stevenson (the _English Admirals_) "one of
the noblest ballads in the English language." Indeed, in vigor of
spirit, and in patriotic feeling, there are few poems which surpass it.

[225] 1. The =Azores= (here pronounced _A-zo-res_) are a group of
islands in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island of _Flores_ (pronounced
_Flo-res_) is the most westerly of the group.

[226] 4. =Lord Thomas Howard= was admiral of the fleet to which the
_Revenge_ belonged.

[227] 12. =The Inquisition= was a system of tribunals formed in the
thirteenth century by the Roman Catholic Church to investigate and
punish cases of religious unbelief. In the sixteenth century the
Inquisition became infamous in Spain because of the cruelty of its
persecutions, many people suffering terrible tortures and dying the most
painful deaths, through its instrumentality.

[228] 17. =Bideford= in Devon was the birthplace of Sir Richard
Grenville. In the sixteenth century it was one of England's chief
seaports and sent seven vessels to fight the Armada. It is described in
the opening chapter of _Westward Ho!_

[229] 21. The =thumbscrew= was an instrument of torture employed by the
Inquisition.

[230] 21. Victims of the Inquisition were sometimes tied to a =stake=
and burned alive.

[231] 30. =Seville= is a city in southwestern Spain. It is here to be
pronounced with the accent on the first syllable.

[232] 31. =Don=; a Spanish title of rank, here used to designate any
Spaniard.

[233] 46. =Galleon=; a name applied to sailing vessels of the fifteenth
and sixteenth centuries.


ROBERT BROWNING

Robert Browning was born at Camberwell, May 7, 1812, and died at Venice,
December 12, 1889. Browning's father, as his grandfather had been, was
employed in the Bank of England. Mr. Browning, who was an indulgent
father, decided that his son's education should be under private tutors.
This lack of being educated with other boys is sometimes supposed to
have been one of the causes why Browning found difficulty in expressing
his thoughts clearly to other people. It was at first planned that
Browning should become a lawyer, but as he had no taste for this, his
father agreed to allow his son to adopt literature as a profession.
When Browning had made his choice, he read Johnson's Dictionary for
preparation. _Pauline_, his first published poem, attracted almost no
attention, but Browning kept on writing, regardless of inattention. The
actor, Macready, with whom he became friendly, turned Browning's
attention to the writing of plays, but he was never successful as a
writer for the stage. On his return from his second visit to Italy, in
1844, he read Miss Elizabeth Barrett's _Lady Geraldine's Courtship_ and
expressed so much appreciation of this poem that, on the suggestion of a
common friend, he wrote to tell Miss Barrett how much he liked her work.
This was the beginning of one of the famous literary love affairs of the
world. Although Miss Barrett was several years older than Browning and a
great invalid, they were married, against family opposition, in 1846,
and went immediately to Italy. Mrs. Browning's health was now much
improved, and she lived till 1861. On her death, Browning, greatly
overcome, returned to England. Gradually he went more and more into
society, and as his popularity as a poet increased, he became a
well-known figure in public. He continued writing throughout his life.
He died at his son's house in Venice in 1889.


HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX (Page 154)

Browning wrote concerning this poem: "There is no sort of historical
foundation about _Good News from Ghent_. I wrote it under the bulwark of
a vessel off the African coast, after I had been at sea long enough to
appreciate even the fancy of a gallop on the back of a certain good
horse 'York' then in my stable at home. It was written in pencil on the
fly-leaf of Bartoli's _Simboli_, I remember." Such an incident might,
of course, have happened at the "Pacification of Ghent," a treaty of
union between Holland, Zealand, and southern Netherlands under William
of Orange, against Philip II of Spain. The distance between Ghent and
Aix as mapped out in this poem is something more than ninety miles. Do
you think a horse could gallop that distance? Notice that the verse
gives the effect of galloping.

[234] 10. =Pique=; seems to be the pommel.

[235] 14 ff. =Lokeren=, =Boom=, =Düffeld=, =Mecheln=, =Aerschot=,
=Hasselt=, =Looz=, =Tongres=, =Dalhem=; towns varying from seven to
twenty-five miles apart on the route taken from Ghent to Aix.

[236] See Note 235 above.

[237] See Note 235 above.

[238] See Note 235 above.

[239] See Note 235 above.

[240] See Note 235 above.

[241] See Note 235 above.

[242] See Note 235 above.

[243] See Note 235 above.

[244] 46. =Save Aix.= Notice that this is the first we know of the
purpose of this ride. Is this an advantage or a disadvantage?


INCIDENT OF THE FRENCH CAMP (Page 156)

Ratisbon (German Regensburg), which has been besieged seventeen times
since the eighteenth century, was stormed by Napoleon, May, 1809, during
his Austrian campaign. Mrs. Sutherland Orr, the biographer of Browning,
says this incident actually happened, except that the hero was a man and
not a boy.

[245] 5. =Neck out-thrust.= Notice how Browning gives the well-known
attitude of Napoleon.

[246] 9. =Mused.= What effect has this supposed soliloquy of Napoleon?

[247] 11. =Lannes=; a general of Napoleon's, and the Duke of Montebello.

[248] 29. =Flag-bird.= What bird was on Napoleon's flag?


THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN (Page 158)

There are many versions of this story which Browning might have used. He
is said to have used directly the account in _The Wonders of the Little
World; or a General History of Man_, written by Nathaniel Wanley and
published in 1678. This poem, however, from whatever source the story
was taken, was deservedly popular long before Browning himself was. It
was written to amuse, during a sickness, the son of William Macready,
the most prominent English actor of his time and a close friend of
Browning's.

[249] 1. =Hamelin=; a town near Hanover, the capital of the province of
Brunswick, Prussia.

[250] 37. =Guilder=; a Dutch coin worth about forty cents.

[251] 68. =Trump of Doom.= The Archangel Gabriel was to blow his trumpet
to summon the dead on the Day of Judgment.

[252] 79. =Pied Piper.= _Pied_ means variegated like a magpie. Cf.
_piebald_.

[253] 89. =Cham.= The Great Cham, or Khan, was the ruler of Tartary.
Marco Polo, the Venetian traveller, gives an account of him. Dr. Johnson
was called the Great Cham of literature.

[254] 91. =Nizam=; a native ruler of Hyderabad, India.

[255] 123, 126. =Julius Cæsar and his Commentary.= Julius Cæsar, the
great Roman general and dictator, who wrote his _Commentaries_ on his
wars in Gaul and Britain.

[256] 169. =Poke=; pocket.

[257] 182. =Stiver=; a small Dutch coin.

[258] 188. =Piebald.= Cf. _pied_, line 79.

[259] 260. =Needle's eye.= Cf. _Matthew_ xix. 24; _Mark_ x. 25; _Luke_
xviii. 25.


HERVÉ RIEL (Page 168)

[260] 1. =Hogue.= Cape La Hogue, on the east side of the same peninsula
as Cape La Hague, was the scene, in 1692, of the defeat of the French by
the united English and Dutch fleets.

[261] 5. =Saint Malo on the Rance=; a town on a small island near the
shore of France. The entrance to its fine harbor is very narrow and
filled with rocks. At high tide there is forty-five to fifty feet of
water, but at low tide this channel is dry.

[262] 30. =Plymouth Sound.= Plymouth is on the southwestern coast of
England.

[263] 43. =Pressed=; forced into military or naval service.

[264] 43. =Tourville=; the famous French admiral, who commanded at La
Hogue.

[265] 44. =Croisickese=; La Croisic, a small fishing village near the
mouth of the Loire, which Browning often visited.


DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI

Dante Gabriel Rossetti was born in London, of Italian parentage, in
1828. He was educated at King's College School, but became very early a
student of painting, in which art he attained considerable prominence.
He was a member of the famous pre-Raphaelite group of artists and
authors, and was largely responsible for the movement started by them.
In 1861 he published _The Early Italian Poets_, a volume of
translations; in 1870, _Poems_; and in 1881, _Ballads and Sonnets_. His
last days were unhappy, his death in 1882 being hastened by
overindulgence in narcotics.

Rossetti's painting had a marked effect upon his poetry, chiefly in
giving him the faculty of vivid and ornate description. Though
essentially a lyric poet, he revived old English ballad forms with much
success, and his narrative poems are vigorous and spirited. A good short
life of Rossetti is that by Joseph Knight in the Great Writers Series.


THE WHITE SHIP (Page 175)

First published in 1881 in the volume called _Ballads and Sonnets_.

Henry the First, the third son of William the Conqueror had, on the
death of his brother William the Second (William Rufus) in 1100, seized
the crown of England by force from his other elder brother, Robert, Duke
of Normandy. In 1106, after overthrowing Robert at Tenchebray, he became
also Duke of Normandy, thus uniting under himself the two nations. This
bond of union he further strengthened by marrying Mathilda, an English
princess. His reign, which lasted until 1135, marked a revival in
English national feeling, and a long step was taken toward the
assimilation of the victorious Normans by the people whom they had
conquered.

Henry and Mathilda had only one son, William, who was born in 1103. The
following account of his death is given by William of Malmesbury (edited
by J. C. Giles): "Giving orders for returning to England, the king set
sail from Barfleur just before twilight on the seventh before the
kalends of December; and the breeze which filled his sails conducted him
safely to his kingdom and extensive fortunes. But the young prince, who
was now somewhat more than seventeen years of age, and, by his father's
indulgence, possessed everything but the name of king, commanded another
vessel to be prepared for himself; almost all the young nobility
flocking around him, from similarity of youthful pursuits. The sailors,
too, immoderately filled with wine, with that seaman's hilarity which
their cups excited, exclaimed, that those who were now ahead must soon
be left astern; for the ship was of the best construction and recently
fitted with new materials. When, therefore, it was now dark night, these
imprudent youths, overwhelmed with liquor, launched the vessel from the
shore.... The carelessness of the intoxicated crew drove her on a rock
which rose above the waves not far from shore.... The oars, dashing,
horribly crashed against the rock, and her battered prow hung immovably
fixed. Now, too, the water washed some of the crew overboard, and,
entering the chinks, drowned others; when the boat having been launched,
the young prince was received into it, and might certainly have been
saved by reaching the shore, had not his illegitimate sister, the
Countess of Perche, now struggling with death in the larger vessel,
implored her brother's assistance. Touched with pity, he ordered the
boat to return to the ship, that he might rescue his sister; and thus
the unhappy youth met his death through excess of affection; for the
skiff, overcharged by the multitudes who leaped into her, sank, and
buried all indiscriminately in the deep. One rustic alone escaped; who,
floating all night upon the mast, related in the morning the dismal
catastrophe of the tragedy."

[266] Henry never recovered from the shock of this disaster; and
although he married again, he left at his death no direct male heir to
the throne.

[267] 2. =Rouen=; a city in northwest France on the river Seine.

[268] 14. =Clerkly Henry.= In his youth Henry had been a student and
scholar--hence his early nickname "Henry Beauclerc."

[269] 15. =Ruthless=; pitiless.

[270] 17. =Eyes were gone.= According to a legend, which, however, has
no historical foundation, Henry had put out the eyes of his brother
Robert.

[271] 26. =Fealty.= Under the feudal system each vassal or dependant was
required to take an oath of allegiance to his overlord.

[272] 35. =Liege=; having the right to allegiance.

[273] 36. =Father's foot.= William the Conqueror, Henry's father,
defeated Harold, the English king, at Hastings in 1066 and thus became
master of England.

[274] 39. =Rood=; the fourth part of an acre.

[275] 45. =Harfleur's harbor.= Harfleur is a seaport town on the north
bank of the outlet of the river Seine in northwest France.

[276] 59. =Hind=; servant.

[277] 98. =Moil=; wet.

[278] 138. =Maugre=; notwithstanding.

[279] 163. =Honfleur=; a town on the south bank of the outlet of the
river Seine, opposite Harfleur.

[280] 166. =Body of Christ=; the procession of the Holy Communion.

[281] 178. =Hight=; called.

[282] 198. =Foredone=; gone.

[283] 211. =Shrift=; the confession made to a priest.

[284] 214. =Winchester=; a cathedral city in southern England, the
ancient capital of the country.

[285] 233. =Pleasaunce=; pleasure.

[286] 236. =Pardie=; certainly or surely. It was originally an oath from
the French _par Dieu_.

[287] 260. =Dais=; the platform on which was the king's throne.

[288] 268. =Rede=; story.


WILLIAM MORRIS

William Morris was born in 1834 in Walthamstead, Essex, England, and
died in London in 1896. He went to Exeter College, Oxford, in 1853,
where he formed a close friendship with Edward Burne-Jones, the future
artist. A little later he came under the influence of Rossetti, who
induced him to attempt painting, an art which he followed with no great
success. In 1858 he published _The Defence of Guinevere, and Other
Poems_. This volume was followed by _The Life and Death of Jason_
(1867), _The Earthly Paradise_ (finished 1872), and _Sigurd the Volsung_
(1876). In 1863 he became a manufacturer of wall paper and artistic
furniture, branching out afterwards into weaving, dyeing, and other
crafts. After 1885 he was a confirmed Socialist, speaking frequently at
laborers' meetings and pouring forth a steady stream of leaflets and
pamphlets in support of his radical beliefs. His death was probably due
to overwork.

Morris was by instinct a lover of the beautiful and harmonious. A fluent
versifier, he delighted especially in the composition of narrative
poetry, which he adorned with ornate description and superb decoration.
This very richness sometimes cloys the taste and tends to arouse a
feeling of monotony. His longest work, _The Earthly Paradise_, is
modelled somewhat on Chaucer's _Canterbury Tales_, and contains
twenty-four stories, twelve mediæval and twelve classic in origin.

A satisfactory short life is that by Alfred Noyes in the English Men of
Letters Series.


ATALANTA'S RACE (Page 187)

Published in 1868 as the first story in the collection called _The
Earthly Paradise_. The episode was a favorite with Greek and Latin
writers, and has been used occasionally in modern times. The metre in
this version is the antiquated Rime Royal.

[289] 1. =Arcadia= was a province of the Grecian peninsula.

[290] 14. =Cornel= is a kind of wood of great hardness used for making
bows.

[291] 28. =King Schoenus=; a Boeotian king, the son of Athamas. Most
other versions of the story name Iasius as Atalanta's father.

[292] 62. =Image of the sun=; a statue of Phoebus Apollo, the sun-god.

[293] 63. =The Fleet-foot One=; Mercury (Hermes), the messenger of the
gods.

[294] 79. =Diana=; the daughter of Jupiter and Latona, and the sister of
Apollo. She was the goddess of the moon and of the hunt. She was also
the protector of chastity. See Guerber, _Myths of Greece and Rome_,
Chapter VI.

[295] 80. =Lists=; desires.

[296] 177. =Saffron gown=; the orange-yellow dress indicative of the
bride.

[297] 184. =The sea-born one=; Aphrodite (Venus). See page 266.

[298] 206. The =Dryads= were wood-nymphs who were supposed to watch over
vegetation.

[299] 208. =Adonis' bane=; the wild boar. Adonis was a beautiful youth
who was passionately loved by Venus, though he did not return her
affection. He was mortally wounded at a hunt by a wild boar, and died in
the arms of the goddess.

[300] 211. =Argive=; Grecian.

[301] 224. =Must=; the juice of the grape before fermentation.

[302] 353. =Argos=; a city in Argolis, a province in the northeast part
of the Peloponnesian peninsula in Greece.

[303] 373. =Queen Venus.= It was to Venus, the goddess of love, that
unhappy lovers were accustomed to turn for aid.

[304] 391. =Holpen=; the old past participle of the word help.

[305] 516. =Damascus=; the chief city of Syria.

[306] 535. =Saturn= (Cronus or Time) was the father of Jupiter. Under
his rule came the so-called Golden Age of the world.

[307] 671. =Phoenician.= The Phoenicians lived on the eastern shore
of the Mediterranean Sea, and were famous for their commerce and trade.


HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, on February 27,
1807. He entered Bowdoin College at the early age of fifteen, graduating
there in 1825. He then spent about three years abroad preparing himself
for a position, as Professor of Modern Languages at Bowdoin, which he
took on his return. There he remained six years, leaving in 1834 to
become a professor in Harvard College. His first book of poems, _Voices
of the Night_, appeared in 1839, and two years later he published
_Ballads and other Poems_. Both volumes were received cordially and had
a wide circulation. Other important later works were _Evangeline_
(1847), _Hiawatha_ (1855), _The Courtship of Miles Standish_ (1858), and
_Tales of a Wayside Inn_ (finished 1873). In 1854 he left off teaching
and settled down to a quiet literary life. During a trip to Europe in
1868 he was given honorary degrees by both Oxford and Cambridge. He died
in Boston in 1882. It is a testimonial to his popularity in England that
his bust was placed in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey, the only
memorial to an American author there.

Longfellow was a scholarly and cultured poet, influenced much by foreign
literatures and proficient in translation. His verse is rarely
impassioned, but is usually simple, smooth, and polished. America has
had no finer narrative poet; and it is unquestionable that this form of
poetry was well adapted to his genius, which was fluent, but not often
strongly emotional.


THE WRECK OF THE HESPERUS (Page 211)

Longfellow's diary for the date December 17, 1839, contains the
following entry: "News of shipwrecks horrible on the coast. Twenty
bodies washed ashore near Gloucester, one lashed to a piece of wreck.
There is a reef called Norman's Woe, where many of these took place;
among others the schooner Hesperus--I must write a ballad upon this."
Two weeks later he wrote: "I sat last evening till twelve o'clock by my
fire, smoking, when suddenly it came into my mind to write the 'Ballad
of the Schooner Hesperus,' which I accordingly did. Then I went to bed,
but I could not sleep. New thoughts were running in my mind, and I got
up to add them to the ballad. It was three by the clock. I then went to
bed and fell asleep. I feel pleased with the ballad. It hardly cost me
an effort. It did not come into my mind by lines, but by stanzas."

Published first in 1841 in _Ballads and Other Poems_.


PAUL REVERE'S RIDE (Page 214)

Published in 1863 as _The Landlord's Tale_ in the first series of _Tales
of a Wayside Inn_.

General Gage, commander of the British forces in Boston and vicinity,
despatched, on the night of April 18, 1775, a body of troops to seize
stores said to be concealed at Concord. According to the story, Paul
Revere spread the warning throughout the surrounding country, and when
the British arrived at Lexington they found a small body of militia
lined up to oppose them. A skirmish ensued in which the first blood of
the war was spilled, several being killed and others wounded.

[308] 2. =Paul Revere= (1735-1818) was a goldsmith and engraver who
became one of the most active of the colonial patriots.

[309] 9. =North Church.= There is some dispute as to what church is
referred to here. A tablet on the front of Christ Church, Salem Street,
Boston, points that out as the church from which the lanterns were hung.
Other good authorities, however, support the claims of the North Church,
formerly standing in North Square, but now torn down.

[310] 88. =Medford= is on the Mystic River about five miles northwest of
Boston.

[311] 102. =Concord= is about nineteen miles northwest of Boston.


JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER

John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, December
17, 1807, and died at Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, September 7, 1892.
Whittier's ancestors for several generations had been New England
farmers on the same farm where the original Whittier immigrant had
settled. The family was too poor to give Whittier an education, so that
two terms at Haverhill Academy, the tuition for which he paid by
shoemaking and school teaching, completed his school training. He early
became interested in journalism, and was employed in editorial work in
Boston and in Hartford. When abolition became an agitation, Whittier
became one of the leaders. He was instrumental in bringing the English
Abolitionist, George Thompson, to America; and, while on a tour with
him, was stoned and shot at by a mob in Concord, New Hampshire. Later,
when he was editor of the _Philadelphia Freeman_, his office was burned
by a mob. During this period he wrote many anti-slavery poems, such as
the _Ballads_, _Anti-Slavery Poems_, etc., of 1838 and the _Voices of
Freedom_ of 1841. In spite of his interest in politics, for he was twice
elected to the Massachusetts legislature, Whittier led a very simple
life in accordance with his Quaker beliefs. He never married, partly, it
seems, because he had the care of his mother and sister Elizabeth, until
the latter's death in 1864. The latter part of his life he lived at
Amesbury and Danvers, Massachusetts.

Whittier's poetry is of three kinds. He is at times more thoroughly than
any other writer the poet of New England country life; again he is
essentially an anti-slavery poet; and, finally, he has written many
religious poems. His best-known poem is _Snow-Bound_, which gives an
admirable picture of a farmer's life in the hard storms of a New England
winter.


SKIPPER IRESON'S RIDE (Page 219)

[312] 3. =Apuleius's Golden Ass.= Apuleius was a Roman satirist who
lived in the first half of the second century. His most celebrated work
was _Metamorphoses, or the Golden Ass_, a satirical romance to ridicule
Christianity.

[313] 4. =Calender's horse of brass.= See the story in the _Arabian
Nights_.

[314] 6. =Islam's prophet on Al-Borák.= Mohammed was believed to make
his journeys between heaven and earth upon a creature, which some say
was a camel, named Al-Borák. (The word signifies lightning.)

[315] 26. =Bacchus=; the god of wine and revelry. A Bacchanalian revel
was a common subject for decorations.

[316] 30. =Mænads=; women who attended Bacchus, the god of wine, waving,
as they danced and sang, the thyrsus, a wand entwined with ivy and
surmounted by a pine cone.

[317] 35. =Chaleur Bay=; an inlet of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between
Gaspé and New Brunswick. It is a great resort for mackerel fishing.


BARCLAY OF URY (Page 222)

"Among the earliest converts to the doctrines of the Friends in Scotland
was Barclay of Ury, an old and distinguished soldier, who had fought
under Gustavus Adolphus, in Germany. As a Quaker, he became the object
of persecution and abuse at the hands of the magistrates and populace.
None bore the indignities of the mob with greater patience and nobleness
of soul than this once proud gentleman and soldier. One of his friends,
on an occasion of uncommon rudeness, lamented that he should be treated
so harshly in his old age who had been so honored before. 'I find more
satisfaction,' said Barclay, 'as well as honor, in being thus insulted
for my religious principles, than when, a few years ago, it was usual
for the magistrates, as I passed the city of Aberdeen, to meet me on the
road and conduct me to public entertainment in their hall, and then
escort me out again, to gain my favor.'"--WHITTIER.

[318] 1. =Aberdeen=; a city in northeastern Scotland.

[319] 2. =Kirk=; the Scotch word for church.

[320] 3. =Laird=; lord.

[321] 10. =Carlin=; Scotch word for old woman.

[322] 35. =Lützen=; a town in Saxony, province of Prussia.

[323] 56. =Tilly.= "The barbarities of Count de Tilly after the siege of
Magdeburg made such an impression upon our forefathers that the phrase
'like old Tilly' is still heard sometimes in New England of any piece of
special ferocity."--WHITTIER.

[324] 57. =Walloon=; from certain provinces of Belgium.

[325] 81. =Snooded.= The snood was a band which a Scottish maiden wore
in her hair as a sign of her maidenhood.

[326] 99. =Tolbooth=; a name commonly applied to a Scottish prison.

[327] 117. =Fallow=; ploughed but unsown land.


BARBARA FRIETCHIE (Page 226)

"This poem was written in strict conformity to the account of the
incident as I had it from respectable and trustworthy sources. It has
since been the subject of a good deal of conflicting testimony, and the
story was probably incorrect in some of its details. It is admitted by
all that Barbara Frietchie was no myth, but a worthy and highly esteemed
gentlewoman, intensely loyal and a hater of the Slavery Rebellion,
holding her Union flag sacred and keeping it with her Bible; that when
the Confederates halted before her house, and entered her dooryard, she
denounced them in vigorous language, shook her cane in their faces, and
drove them out; and when General Burnside's troops followed close upon
Jackson's, she waved her flag and cheered them. It is stated that May
Quantrell, a brave and loyal lady in another part of the city, did wave
her flag in sight of the Confederates. It is possible that there has
been a blending of the two incidents."--WHITTIER.


OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES

Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1809. He
studied at Phillips Academy, Andover, and later at Harvard College,
where he graduated in the famous class of 1829. He tried law for a year,
but gave this up for medicine. In 1833 he went abroad, returning in 1835
for a medical degree at Harvard. He at once began the active practice of
his profession, but accepted a professorship at Dartmouth in 1838. He
remained there only a short time, coming back again to Boston, where he
married and resumed his work as a physician. In 1847 he became Parkman
Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at Harvard, and held this position
until 1882. In 1857, through the influence of James Russell Lowell, he
began to contribute regularly to the _Atlantic Monthly_. After 1882 he
devoted himself almost exclusively to writing and lecturing. He died in
1894 in Boston.

While Holmes is best known as the author of _The Autocrat of the
Breakfast Table_ and other prose works, he published numerous poems,
most of them humorous in tone. Many of them were written for specific
occasions, and as such are distinguished for their wit and cleverness
rather than for strong emotion or profound thought.


GRANDMOTHER'S STORY OF BUNKER HILL BATTLE (Page 230)

First published in 1875 at the time of the centennial of the battle of
Bunker Hill.

The so-called battle of Bunker Hill was the first important engagement
of the Revolutionary War. On June 17, 1775, five thousand British
soldiers under Howe, Clinton, and Pigott attacked a smaller number of
Americans then stationed on Breed's Hill near Boston, under Colonel
William Prescott. They were twice beaten back, but captured the hill on
their third charge. The British loss was about twelve hundred men, while
the Americans lost only four hundred, among them, however, being the
patriot, Dr. Joseph Warren.

[328] 2. =Times that tried men's souls=; a quotation from the first of a
series of tracts called _The Crisis_ by Thomas Paine, 1776.

[329] 3. =Whig and Tory.= In the Colonies the Whigs were the
Revolutionists, while the Tories were the supporters of the King. The
Whigs were also called Rebels.

[330] 5. =April running battle=; the fight at Lexington and Concord,
April 19, 1775, when the British forces were led by Lord Percy.

[331] 16. =Mohawks=; one of the tribes of the Six Nations notorious for
their cruelty in the French and Indian War.

[332] 42. =Banyan=; a colored morning-gown.

[333] 67. =Dan'l Malcolm=; an allusion to an inscription on a gravestone
in Copp's Hill Burial Ground, Boston. The inscription is as follows:--

    "Here lies buried in a
     Stone Grave 10 feet deep
   Capt. Daniel Malcolm Mercht
     Who departed this Life
      October 23, 1769,
      Aged 44 years,
    A true son of Liberty,
   A Friend to the Publick,
   An Enemy to oppression,
   And one of the foremost
  In opposing the Revenue Acts
         On America."

[334] 147. =J. S. Copley= (1737-1815) was a distinguished American
portrait-painter.



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  [** Transcriber's Note:

    - [=a] stands for an "a" with a bar over it
    - [oe] ligatures replaced with simply "oe"
    - in LOCHNIVAR, l.34, changed bridgroom to bridegroom
    - in HOHENLINDEN, l.89, changed "." to ","
    - in ENOCH ARDEN corrected line number to 355 from 455
    - in ending advert, changed Lambs' to Lamb's
                                                           **]





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